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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 1, 2016
WI Failing to Provide Voting IDs as Promised in Federal Court: 'BradCast' 9/30/16
Guest: Kathleen Unger of VoteRiders, the group which found WI appears to have lied about DMV's 'free' Photo ID program...
Trump's Law, Order, Denial: 'BradCast' 9/29/16
Several new and long overdue reports on the GOP nominee's unlawful business practices and a fact-check on his global warming denialism. Oh, and a song!...
'Green News Report' 9/29/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Clinton promotes clean energy, Trump denies his own denial in the first Presidential debate; PLUS: Big Coal tries to kill Obama's landmark emissions standards in federal court...
Previous GNRs: 9/22/16 - 9/20/16 - Archives...
Fallout from the 'Trumpwreck' Debate: 'BradCast' 9/28/16
The public reaction to the first Trump/Clinton Presidential debate --- from polls, betting markets, newspapers and listener callers (lots of them!)...
Trumpwreck: The First Presidential Debate: 'BradCast' 9/27/16
Smart and, at times, hilarious coverage of the Trump/Clinton Hofstra debate, with journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
'The Most Audacious Political Heist of Our Time': 'BradCast' 9/26/16
David Daley on 'RatF**ked' and how the GOP 'stole' the House for a decade as Dems 'fell asleep at the wheel'...
Sunday Toons of the First Debate Moment
The final stretch for the general election begins and so do the Presidential Debates, as documented in PDiddie's collection of the best political toons of the week...
Eyewitness to Shooting at Protest Questions Official Account: 'BradCast' 9/22/16
Guest: Linda Flynn was 'feet away', believes police activity sparked violence at peaceful demonstration...
'Green News Report' 9/22/16
U.N. climate pact at crucial threshold; WH orders NatSec planning for climate change; Good/bad news in the Arctic; PLUS: Obama to world: Time to step up...
Callers' Debate Qs for Trump, Clinton: 'BradCast' 9/21/16
Plus: Police shootings, protests in NC, OK; Earth smashes more heat records; Trump leads Clinton in nat'l poll...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Overdue ruling may ameliorate disenfranchisement for some voters...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/18/2016 6:35am PT  

The same U.S. 7th Circuit Appeals Court panel that, in 2014, opened the door to mass disenfranchisement via Wisconsin's strict GOP-enacted Photo ID voting law ("Act 23"), has now issued a decision that could, in many instances, lead to the reinstatement of the precious right of citizens to cast votes.

Specifically, the panel determined in a ruling issued last week, Wisconsin's strict photo ID restrictions may not be used to disenfranchise any voter who lacks the ability "to obtain a qualifying photo ID with reasonable effort." The appellate court has remanded the matter back to the trial court so that the District Court Judge who heard the original case can determine how to best fashion a remedy that could keep many otherwise legal and often long-time voters from being turned away again at the ballot box.

The new ruling in the Frank v. Walker case comes too late for approximately 300,000 disproportionately minority and poor voters (nearly 10% of the Badger State electorate), who may have been disenfranchised during the state's recent April 5th primary election. It is difficult yet to ascertain the precise effect the polling place Photo ID restriction had in either the Republican or Democratic Presidential primaries that day, but the restrictions had the potential to alter the outcome of those races as well as a Wisconsin Supreme Court contest. The Scott Walker-supported Republican, Rebecca Bradley, reportedly defeated independent jurist JoAnne Kloppenburg by approximately 95,000 votes. The highly controversial Bradley was thus elected to serve out a 10-year term on the Badger State's highest court after being appointed by Walker to fill a vacancy last year.

As ordered by the federal appellate court, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman may now provide a remedy for those whom ACLU attorney Sean Young described as the "most impacted" by Wisconsin's polling place Photo ID restrictions. The likely remedy was outlined by the 5th Circuit panel, which noted that the new decision was intended to bring Wisconsin's law in line with Indiana law where a voter "who contends he has been unable to obtain a complying photo ID for financial or religious reasons may file an affidavit to that effect and have his vote provisionally counted."

The court ruled the restriction on voting should not be applied to three classifications of voters for whom the plaintiffs had sought relief:

(1) eligible voters unable to obtain acceptable photo ID with reasonable expense and effort because of name mismatches or other errors in birth certificates or other necessary documents; (2) eligible voters who need a credential from some other agency (such as the Social Security Administration) that will not issue the credential unless Wisconsin’s Department of Motor Vehicles first issues a photo ID, which the DMV won’t do until the other credential has been obtained; (3) eligible voters who need a document that no longer exists (such as a birth certificate issued by an agency whose records have been lost in a fire).

Had such a remedy been in place before the state's recent primary, voters like Eddie Lee Holloway, a 58-year-old African-American man who moved from Illinois to Wisconsin in 2008 and voted without problem there until the WI GOP's Act 23 was instituted, might not have been disenfranchised at all. Holloway, despite owning at least three different forms of ID, including his expired Illinois photo ID, birth certificate and Social Security card, was unable to obtain the required Photo ID to vote in WI, as The Nation's Ari Berman documented last week. "He’d spent $200, visited two states, and made seven trips to different public institutions" in his effort to get an ID to vote, "but still couldn’t vote in Wisconsin," Berman reported, in yet another now-all-too-common tale of longtime voters facing absurd new obstacles simply trying to cast a vote in the wake of such new voting restrictions.

But Holloway was hardly alone...

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U.S. Supreme Court must quickly restore Lone Star State voting rights...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/11/2016 10:19am PT  

Unless either the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal or Supreme Court intervenes, more than 608,000 lawfully registered Texans, who were illegally disenfranchised during three successive elections (the General Elections in 2014 and 2015 and this year's Presidential Primary), are likely to again be barred from casting a vote in the November 2016 general election.

A disproportionate number of those who have been and may be deprived of a right that is, at least in part, supposedly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) are impoverished African-Americans and Hispanics.

The source of disenfranchisement is a Republican-sponsored polling place Photo ID law which state Democrats had spent years, and no small amount of effort (even life-endangering effort) attempting to oppose.

Republicans insist that such laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud. But, as detailed by the 2011 sworn Congressional testimony of Justin Levitt (then a Loyola Law Professor, now an Assistant U.S. Attorney), cases of in-person voter impersonation fraud --- the only type of voter fraud that can be prevented by polling place Photo ID restrictions --- are extraordinarily rare: nine possible cases out of more than 400 million votes cast. "Americans are struck and killed by lightening more often," Levitt observed.

Later, in a 2014 update to his comprehensive investigation of all existing reports "voter fraud" in the U.S. over the 14 preceding years, Levitt announced evidence of just 31 cases of the type of voter fraud that might have been deterred by Photo ID restrictions out of more than 1 billion votes cast since the year 2000.

Claims of this type of "voter fraud," according to the renowned, Reagan-appointed 7th Circuit jurist, Richard Posner, are but "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government"...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

Posner's comments came in a federal Wisconsin case where a deeply flawed and extraordinarily partisan panel decision resulted in electoral chaos and the potential disenfranchisement of some 300,000 legally-registered Wisconsin voters during last week's Presidential Primary elections in the Badger State. That flawed decision, which upheld Wisconsin's Photo ID law as lawful, despite the trial court's very clear findings to the contrary, was allowed to stand because the full 7th Circuit Court was evenly divided (5-5) on the matter.

In Texas, however, a Republican state Attorney General has been permitted to enforce a Photo ID statute (SB-14) even after three federal courts unanimously determined that, at a minimum, the statute unlawfully violates rights guaranteed by the VRA. In Texas, mass disenfranchisement has been the product of an epic failure by our courts to uphold constitutional and statutory rights that every member of our judiciary has sworn to uphold and protect.

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court acts quickly, it could happen once again during the 2016 Presidential General election...

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After Court erred in nixing 2014 'advisory measure', lawmakers petition to have original initiative placed before voters this year...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/25/2016 8:35am PT  

The California Legislature asked its state Supreme Court to direct CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla to place Proposition 49 on the November 8, 2016 ballot. That 2014 statewide referendum --- which didn't make it onto the ballot at the time for reasons explained below --- seeks the advice of the Golden State’s electorate as to whether Congress should propose, and the Legislature ratify, a federal Constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision.

Per Prop 49, the amendment should "make clear that the rights protected by the United States Constitution are the rights of natural persons only."

The ballot measure was a result of SB 1272. When originally adopted by the state Legislature it directed then Secretary of State Debra Bowen to place Prop 49 on the November 4, 2014 ballot. However, in August of that year, in response to a legal challenge filed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association (HJTA), the CA Supreme Court directed the Secretary of State to refrain from placing the initiative on the 2014 ballot. The Court, at that time, did not rule on the merits of HJTA's legal challenge. It simply concluded that, as an "advisory measure", as opposed to an actual statute, the ballot initiative's "validity was uncertain." Thus, in 2014, California citizens were denied the opportunity to formally express their views via the ballot on whether Citizens United should be overturned.

At the beginning of this year, almost a year and a half after their original ruling had then "temporarily" nixed the 2014 measure, the state Supremes, in a subsequent ruling [PDF] on the merits of the HJTA complaint, explained that their previous ruling had been based on their assessment that "the balance of hardships from permitting an invalid measure to remain on the ballot, as against delaying a proposition to a future election, weighed in favor of immediate relief." [Emphasis added]. However, according to the Court's new decision, Prop 49 was not invalid. After a thorough examination of the merits, the Court finally ruled that the California Legislature had the lawful authority under both the U.S. and California Constitutions to place this non-binding advisory measure on the ballot.

While the Court did not come out and expressly say it, that essentially means that this same Court had erred when it issued its earlier decision, as proponents of Prop 49 had previously argued. In removing a perfectly valid proposition from the ballot, the Court had intruded upon the Legislature's prerogative to timely secure the advice of the California electorate on November 4, 2014.

With the Court's reversal of it's earlier ruling, one might think that would then allow the measure to finally be placed onto the ballot before state voters in 2016. However...

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State Rep's admission of plot to oust African-American U.S. Congresswoman comes on eve of landmark Supreme Court hearing...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/9/2015 9:05am PT  

It is rather remarkable what one can learn when the presumed private remarks uttered by Republicans and their oligarchic benefactors are captured on secretly recorded audio and videotapes.

Four years ago, Brad Friedman revealed the secretly recorded audiotapes from a Koch Brothers Summer Seminar that captured Charles Koch's "mother of all wars" remark and David Koch's introduction in which he described keynote speaker, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) as his "kind of guy." This was followed by a bombshell in the form of a secretly recorded video that captured Mitt Romney's "46%" remark that the GOP Presidential nominee erroneously believed would be heard only by a group of well-heeled donors.

Now comes a new, secretly recorded audiotape, published by Politico and, subsequently included as part of an in-depth analysis provided by News One. The audio captures Florida Republican state Rep. Janet Adkins at a meeting with the North Florida GOP, plotting to dilute minority representation at the polls by deliberately redrawing Florida's 5th Congressional District so as to include some 18 prisons, disproportionately populated by African-Americans who are ineligible to vote.

Adkins, who is white, described the scheme as the "perfect storm." She explained that if the district was redrawn in this way it would enable Florida Republicans to oust the 12-term, African-American incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown. "You draw [the district] in such a fashion so perhaps, a majority, or maybe not a majority, but a number of them will live in the prisons, thereby not being able to vote," Adkins is heard explaining on the recording, after making sure that all the reporters had left the room. (When interviewed by News One, Brown noted that, in addition to the prison populations, there are approximately 6,000 felons living in the newly proposed district whose voting rights have not been restored by the state.)

The secretly recorded audio arrives at a very propitious moment...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/25/2015 9:22am PT  

The core message that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) delivered last month when he addressed Party leaders at the Summer Meeting of the Democratic National Committee entailed a lesson in electoral math, according to The Nation's John Nichols.

"Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate or the U.S. House, will not be successful in dozens of governor races across the country," Sanders observed, "unless we generate excitement and momentum to produce a huge voter turnout."

The "electoral math" to which both Sanders and Nichols refer is the math which, they argue, is achievable during the second stage of a Sanders-led, "political revolution". That would be a phase --- once Sanders was able to secure the Democratic Party nomination and prior to the November 2016 election --- in which it would be all but impossible for the corporate-owned media and Democratic Party establishment to conceal or evade Sanders' issue-based message. Even those members of the Democratic Party whose careers have been linked to monetary contributions from what Noam Chomsky describes as "the substantial people" would, at that point, be hard-pressed to stand in the way of the revolution's momentum.

But, for now, Sanders is in the midst of the far more difficult first stage --- one that requires overcoming the corporate-owned media's marginalization of his campaign. It also entails overcoming the exercise in self-protection by the Democratic Party establishment. Long before the first vote has been cast in either a caucus or primary, the Clinton campaign boasted that its backroom deals had already netted one-fifth of the delegates needed to secure the nomination from amongst the unelected super-delegates --- party leaders who do not have to abide by the will of the electorate in their respective states. Simultaneously Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), the DNC chair and former co-chair of the Hillary Clinton 2008 campaign, has sought to blunt Sanders' attempt to eliminate the "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their "representatives" occasioned by the manner in which elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population --- with her imposition of severe limits on the number and timing of the Democratic Party Presidential Debates.

Sanders has countered those maneuvers, somewhat, by relying instead upon alternative and social media, drawing huge crowds, growing an army of grass roots volunteers and, most importantly, offering both authenticity and substance in his campaign.

The results, to date, have been encouraging for the Vermont Senator. Just a few months ago, Clinton's leads in New Hampshire and Iowa appeared insurmountable. But now, as New Hampshire Public Radio noted recently, "The latest polls show Sanders leading Clinton by 22 points in New Hampshire and by 10 points in Iowa." Some who have examined polling trends, such as historian Eric Zuesse, have gone so far as to boldly predict Sanders will become the next President of the United States.

That's the current battle of phase one of the electoral math. More interesting, however, is the dynamics of what could become the second and third phases of a Sanders-led democratic revolution...

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More than 600,000 lawfully registered voters will be disenfranchised during 2015-2016 elections unless the 5th Circuit Court promptly acts...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2015 1:43pm PT  

Early last month, a three-judge, U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal panel affirmed the lower District Court's finding that Texas' draconian polling place Photo ID restriction (SB14), which threatens to disenfranchise 608,470 legally registered voters (and many others not already registered), violates federal law.

That ruling marked the third occasion in which a federal court has expressly found that the TX Republicans' strict ID law disparately impacted minorities and the poor. "Hispanic registered voters and Black registered voters," the 5th Circuit appellate panel observed in their recent ruling, "were respectively 195% and 305% more likely than their Anglo peers to lack [the requisite Photo] ID" now required to cast a vote at the polls under SB 14.

While the ruling ostensibly struck down SB14, finding it in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), as we have previously explained, those 600k+ lawfully registered voters remain at risk of disenfranchisement during this Fall's 2015 elections and the 2016 Presidential cycle because the appellate panel failed to lift an "emergency" stay of the District Court's original permanent injunction intended to prevent enforcement of an unlawful Photo ID statute.

The failure of the appellate court to lift the stay on the lower court's no-uncertain-terms ruling may not have been problematic if, as contemplated by the 5th Circuit decision's mandate, the case were to be promptly returned to the District Court, which it directed to re-examine a separate issue --- whether the TX Legislature had a "discriminatory purpose" when it enacted SB14. That prompt remand would have permitted the District Court to fashion an interim remedy. Indeed, in its decision, the appellate panel suggested that the District Court issue an order directing TX to accept valid voter registration cards, in lieu of a very narrow handful of state-approved Photo ID, for all voting-related purposes. The 5th Circuit panel also, perhaps somewhat naively, called upon TX to cooperate in the prompt fashioning of that remedy.

Oh, that silly 5th Circuit panel...

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Former MD Governor turned Presidential candidate equates constricted debate to a 'decree of silence'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/31/2015 1:20pm PT  

Standing at a podium before the Democratic National Committee (DNC), within arms length of DNC Chair and 2008 Hillary Clinton national campaign co-chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), former Maryland Governor and now a 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Martin O'Malley slammed the DNC for what he described as an "unprecedented" effort to "rig" the 2016 nomination process. (See video of O'Malley's DNC speech below).

Speaking at the DNC's Summer Meeting in Minneapolis over the weekend, O'Malley described the Party's decision to severely constrict the timing and number of Democratic Presidential primary debates (six total, just four before Primary voting begins) as "cynical." The DNC edict also imposes a punitive exclusivity clause that would prevent any candidate from participating in the DNC-sanctioned debates if they took part in any other unsanctioned debate. This contrasts sharply with the 26 Democratic Presidential primary debates that took place during the 2007-08 election cycle --- a process that was described as "an important factor in underdog Barack Obama's victory" over then front-runner Hillary Clinton.

This time, the first Democratic Presidential primary debate has been delayed until Oct. 13, 2015 --- four days after the deadline for unaffiliated NY voters to register to vote in the state's April 19, 2016 Democratic primary. O'Malley added that the one debate in New Hampshire, now scheduled on Saturday, Dec. 19, has been "cynically wedged in the high point of the holiday shopping season so that as few people watch it as possible."

"Four debates and only four debates --- we are told, not asked --- before voters in our earliest states make their decision," O'Malley said. "This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before. One debate in Iowa. That's it. One debate in New Hampshire. That's all we can afford."

O'Malley's charge, and palpable tension with party chair Wasserman-Schultz at the weekend event, echo a familiar process of establishment party politicians looking out for what they perceive as their own best interests, if not that of rank and file supporters...

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While its recent decision upheld a lower court finding that the state's Photo ID law was discriminatory, more than 600,000 lawfully registered voters could be disenfranchised in 2016 anyway...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/21/2015 6:35am PT  

The recent decision by a unanimous three judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in Veasey v. Abbott was greeted as "very good news." After all, it marked the first occasion in which a federal appellate court made an express finding that a state-enacted polling place Photo ID law violated the provisions of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

The appellate panel affirmed the lower U.S. District Court's finding late last year that a Texas polling place Photo ID law (SB 14), which threatened to disenfranchise 608,470 already legally registered voters (and many others not already registered), disparately impacted minorities and the poor. "Hispanic registered voters and Black registered voters," the 5th Circuit appellate panel observed in their recent ruling, "were respectively 195% and 305% more likely than their Anglo peers to lack [the requisite Photo] ID" now required to cast a vote at the polls under the Texas law.

This was the same conservative appellate panel whose "emergency" stay of the lower court's injunction on SB 14 last year, in all likelihood, helped to facilitate the illegal disenfranchisement of as many as 600,000 lawfully registered voters during the 2014 mid-term election. That "emergency" stay was subsequently affirmed by a sharply divided Supreme Court, whose right-wing majority elevated the risk of confusion that could arise by an eleventh-hour, court-ordered change in election laws above the risk that hundreds of thousands of lawfully registered voters could be illegally disenfranchised by reason of the Texas Photo ID law. Both the 5th Circuit and the SCOTUS majority handed down that ruling, although, at that point, neither court was in a position to contest the District Court's finding that SB-14 not only violated Section 2 of the VRA but that the Photo ID statute had been enacted for a discriminatory purpose.

The SCOTUS decision last year, as The BRAD BLOG observed at the time, belied the contention made by the Supreme Court majority in Shelby County v. Holder, the 2013 case that gutted the VRA, that their destruction of Section 5 pre-clearance requirements for new election laws in states with a history of discrimination, "in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in [Section] 2." In truth, per last year's decision, racial discrimination in voting will be allowed in those cases where a court order upholding that "ban" is issued too close to an election.

This case provided a classic example of the damage wrought by the gutting of Section 5. Prior to Shelby County, Section 5 mandated that Texas prove that its Photo ID statute woulds not have a disparate impact on minority voting rights before the Photo ID law could take effect. In 2012 a unanimous three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal refused to grant Section 5 pre-clearance to Texas' SB 14 precisely because of its disparate adverse impact upon minorities and the poor. Absent the Supreme Court's troubling decision in Shelby County neither the current, ongoing costly litigation on SB 14, nor the mass 2014 disenfranchisement would have ensued.

The new 5th Circuit panel's decision affirms that SB 14 has the effect of discriminating against racial minorities and the poor. Yet it failed to lift a stay that it imposed on a supposed "emergency" basis. Instead, it vacated the District Court's "discriminatory purpose" finding and remanded the case back to that court for further adjudication....

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/12/2015 10:51am PT  

"In 1938," according to the online civil rights organization, Color of Change, "civil rights activist and poet Langston Hughes wrote his chilling poem 'Kids Who Die' which illuminates the horrors of lynching during the Jim Crow era." Hughes presciently foresaw a civil rights movement, later carried out in the 1950s and 1960s, that would counter racial segregation and hatred with interracial solidarity and love.

Listen, kids who die --
Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you
Except in our hearts
Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp
Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field,
Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Leibknecht
But the day will come --
You are sure yourselves that it is coming --
When the marching feet of the masses
Will raise for you a living monument of love,
And joy, and laughter,
And black hands and white hands clasped as one,
And a song that reaches the sky --
The song of the life triumphant
Through the kids who die.

This Danny Glover narrated, Frank Chi and Terrance Green video demonstrates the ongoing relevance of "Kids Who Die" and underscores why the #BlackLivesMatter movement must be a critical component of a just and equitable future. Please take less than three minutes to watch it...




Journalists, whistleblowers may not be barred from recording abuses...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/10/2015 9:52am PT  

In a carefully reasoned, 29-page decision, Chief U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill struck down, as unconstitutional, an "Ag-Gag" statute that, according to the court, had been drafted for the express purpose of shielding Idaho's agricultural and dairy industries "from undercover investigators and whistleblowers who expose the agricultural industry to 'the court of public opinion.'"

"Under the law," the decision explains, "a journalist or animal rights investigator can be convicted for not disclosing his media or political affiliations when requesting a tour of an industrial feedlot, or applying for employment at a dairy farm. An employee can be convicted for videotaping animal abuse or life-threatening safety violations at an agricultural facility without first obtaining the owner’s permission." The offender not only faces up to one year in prison, but could be ordered to pay twice the economic loss an owner suffered as a result of publication of the video even if its content was true.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ADLF) and several other organizations, including the ACLU, filed the federal lawsuit and moved for summary judgment, alleging that the Idaho "Ag-Gag" statute violated both the First Amendment right to free speech and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The court agreed, expressly noting that "agricultural...operations that affect food and worker safety are not exclusively a private matter" and that the right to free speech includes the ability to rely upon audio and visual recording...

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GOP's 'Winner-Take-All' system may open nomination door to Trump...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/3/2015 7:05am PT  

Initially utilized by William Shakespeare in Hamlet, the phrase "to be hoisted by his own petard" now refers to someone who is hurt or destroyed by their own plot or device. That phrase may well come into play by July 18, 2016 when the Republican Party gathers in Cleveland for its national convention --- precisely because of the undemocratic nature of the GOP's own primary rules.

The Democratic Party will, for the most part, select pledged delegates to its national convention on a proportional basis, based on primary and caucus results in each state. Additionaly, the Democratic Party employs an undemocratic feature in the form of "superdelegates", consisting of Democratic governors, members of Congress, members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other party leaders, including current and former Democratic Presidents.

Like the Democrats, the Republicans also utilize "superdelegates" who are able to play a role in final selection of the party's Presidential nominee. Beyond that, however, the process the Republican Party uses to select its rank and file delegates to their national nominating convention is notably different. Only 16 states, which hold primaries or caucuses prior to March 14, 2016, will select delegates on a proportional basis. All other pledged delegates to the 2016 RNC will be selected based on a winner-take-all system from each state's primary or caucus system.

Where some, like the right-wing National Review, suggest that the crowded field of GOP presidential candidates could produce the first brokered Republican convention since 1976, recent polls suggest a greater likelihood that the GOP will nominate as its standard bearer the candidate least likely to succeed in the general election.

A recently released Quinnipiac University poll, reports that, "with 20 percent of Republican voters, Donald Trump is the clear leader in the crowded Republican presidential primary field." At the same time, interestingly enough, he also "tops the 'no way' list as 30 percent of Republican voters say they would definitely not support him," according to the Quinnipiac poll. Trump has "the worst favorability rating of any Republican or Democrat, a negative 27-59 percent among all voters." The poll also finds that whether matched up against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, Trump would lose the general election by a wide margin.

It really doesn't matter that, nationally, 80% of Republicans may prefer another GOP candidate. In winner-take-all states, like Florida, where Trump leads his closest rival, the state's former two-term Governor Jeb Bush, 26% to 20%, Trump does not have to secure a majority of Republican votes. He need only secure enough votes to defeat whoever comes in second to gain the entire list of Sunshine State delegates to the convention. Accomplish that feat in enough crowded primary states, and Trump becomes the next GOP nominee for President of the United States.

Thus, there's a distinct prospect that the GOP may be hoisted by its own, undemocratic winner-take-all primary petard.

CORRECTION: Originally, we erroneously reported that pledged delegates to the RNC would be selected on a proportional basis in only 4 states. The correct number is actually 16. The article above has been modified to reflect those accurate numbers.

* * *
Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam Vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @cann4ing.




Opponents vow fight against 'Monsanto Protection Act' in Senate...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/27/2015 8:05am PT  

By a vote of 275-150 (including the support of 45 Democrats), the U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Safe and Accurate Food Act" this past week.

Don't be fooled by the name.

The Act, which would prevent state and local governments from mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs), has alternatively been described by opponents as the "Deny Americans the Right to Know" or "DARK Act", as well as the "Monsanto Protection Act".

Disturbingly, the House vote comes on the heels of a new, peer-reviewed scientific report finding an "accumulation of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and a dramatic depletion of glutathione, an anti-oxidant necessary for cellular detoxification, in GMO soy, indicating that formaldehyde and glutathione are likely critical criteria for distinguishing the GMO from its non-GMO counterpart."

The study, published in Agricultural Sciences this month, used "a new biology method to integrate 6,497 in vitro and in vivo laboratory experiments, from 184 scientific institutions, across 23 countries." It is critical of the U.S. government's current standard for GMO assessment which, the report concludes, are "outdated and unscientific for genetically engineered food since it was originally developed for assessing the safety of medical devices in the 1970s."

Peer review of the study cited its new methods and findings to conclude that "until such Standards are developed for testing, we believe it premature to approve GMOs and to consider them safe." The study's lead author, MIT-trained biologist Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D, adds: "This is not a pro- or anti-GMO question. But, are we following the scientific method to ensure the safety of our food supply? Right now, the answer is 'no'."

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), one of 300 organizations opposing the "DARK Act", has vowed to fight the measure in the U.S. Senate.

Although the legislation would deprive U.S. citizens of a right to know possessed by citizens in 64 other nations including China and most of Europe, there is a silver lining, of sorts. No doubt final passage would furnish comedian Bill Maher with the material needed to repeat the hilarity he offered following California's rejection of a GMO labeling initiative last year.

"If you’re one of the millions of Californians who voted against labeling genetically modified foods," Maher said, "you can’t complain when it turns out there’s horse meat in your hamburger and your sushi is made out of lost cats and condoms. You said you didn’t want to know. Now lap that shit up!"

* * *
Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam Vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @cann4ing.




By Ernest A. Canning on 7/12/2015 9:59am PT  

"In an age of universal deceit," George Orwell once wrote, "telling the truth is a revolutionary act." That act is now drawing crowds in the thousands --- far larger than any other candidate, Democratic or Republican, in the race for their respective party's 2016 nomination for President of the United States.

The phenomenon known as "Bernie-mentum" could be just the beginning. Bernie Sanders, who is more the focal point of a democratic revolutionary movement than the leader of a presidential campaign, appears to be tapping into what historian Howard Zinn described in A Power Governments Cannot Suppress as "an aroused citizenry."

We are seeing the power of social media and the exponential growth of the Sanders revolution grow to challenge what Noam Chomsky describes as the "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their "representatives", occasioned by the manner in which "elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population…freeing the elected leadership to serve the substantial people." Even now, long before the first debate, Hillary's advisers informed The New York Times that they fear Sanders "could move past her in Iowa polls by fall and even defeat her there."

Hillary and, later, Republicans will rely on huge sums to pay for slick political ads. Yet, Sanders is banking on his hope that no amount of ad money can be effective against an "informed" and aroused working and middle class electorate --- one that includes the 63% who did not vote in the last election.

Every new Sanders event not only serves to convince those in attendance to vote for Sanders. They add thousands of new activists to the burgeoning movement. Whether that will be enough to translate into electoral victories remains to be seen. But, as Sanders argues near the end of this video created by his grassroots supporters: "When millions of people stand up and fight, they win." #FeelTheBern ...




By 2008, Alan Greenspan was forced to admit Sanders had it right...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/24/2015 7:05am PT  

In a blistering confrontation with then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan during a 2003 Congressional Hearing (see video below) --- five years before the 2008 meltdown of Wall Street --- then-Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) revealed why he may be better positioned now to square off against right-wing economics than Hillary Clinton who, twenty years ago, served as a member of the Wal-Mart Board of Directors.

(The Arkansas-based company was a principal beneficiary of President Bill Clinton's decision to ram NAFTA through on the fast track. And, even now, though Hillary has been critical of a number of the company's practices, influential members of the Walton family, the mega-billionaire owners of the retail giant, have been very supportive of the Clintons.)

During that 2003 hearing, as revealed by this must-see video compiled by Sanders supporters, the Congressman arguably demolished not only Greenspan, but the fundamentalist market-based economics that remain the centerpiece of today's Republican Party and at the center of the dispute over new international trade agreements, such as the TPP.

After chastising the Fed Chairman for being out of touch with the needs of ordinary Americans --- "You don't know what's going on in the real world!" --- Sanders unleashed this...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Ernest A. Canning on 6/19/2015 8:05am PT  

In "Bernie Sanders Versus the 'Democracy Deficit'" we argued that the independent senator from Vermont's principal opponent in the upcoming election was not Hillary Clinton but the media and PR industries which have created what Noam Chomsky describes as a "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions held by the electorate and those of their "representatives". Chomsky argues that is occasioned by the manner in which "elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population…freeing the elected leadership to serve the substantial people."

Sanders, who, even before any actual debates, is beginning to show strength in a number of different polls, demonstrated how he believes that gap can be bridged. He explained to Seth Meyers and his audience, during an appearance on Late Night earlier this month, why his self-description as a "Democratic Socialist" is an asset, rather than a liability...




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