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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, August 30, 2015
10 Years Later - Crawford and Katrina: 'BradCast' 8/28/15
Personal remembrances and audio from our on-air, on-the-ground 2005 coverage of Cindy Sheehan's anti-war uprising at the Bush 'ranch' in TX as Hurricane Katrina stormed ashore...
'A Crazy Man Got a Gun': 'BradCast' 8/27/15
Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
'Green News Report' 8/27/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th anniv. of Hurricane Katrina; NASA warns 3 ft. of sea level rise now locked in; Obama heads to the Arctic; PLUS: Switch to clean energy will cost less than fossil fuel, says Citigroup
Previous GNRs: 8/25/15 - 8/20/15 - Archives...
Let's Go to the Phones: 'BradCast' 8/26/15
Covering a lot of ground with listener callers -- from the on-air shootings in Roanoke, VA to why Democrats shouldn't be so gleeful about Donald Trump -- and much more...
Carly's Climate Clap-Trap or The Fiorina Follies:
'BradCast' 8/25/15
Journalist David Roberts on the 'moderate', 'reasonable' GOP candidate's ridiculous climate comments and Citigroup's global warming report. Plus: Beck, Trump and Sanders...
'Green News Report' 8/25/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
July 2015 hottest month ever recorded; Record wildfires get worse; Mysterious whale deaths in WA; Oil hit hard by China crash; PLUS: Obama calls out anti-free market ideology...
Previous GNRs: 8/20/15 - 8/18/15 - Archives...
TX Photo ID Law Found Illegal, Yet Still Suppressing Voters: 'BradCast' 8/24/15
Guests: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on TX' discriminatory law; Financial journalist David Dayen on Dow 'crash'...
Sunday Toons, Untrustworthy Edition
Hillary's email; Ashley Madison's mess; Subway's Jared; Schumer's shame; Amazon agonistes; Trump's tyranny and more...
E-Cigs Are Good For You; GOP is Not: 'BradCast' 8/21/15
Also: Bernie Sanders & ignoring corporate media are good for you too...
5th Circuit Photo ID Ruling Could Leave Thousands Without Right to Vote in TX
'Good news' decision could leave 600k lawfully registered voters disenfranchised in 2016...
'No Good Evidence' Russia Behind MH17 Shootdown in Ukraine, Says Longtime CIA Analyst: 'BradCast' 8/20/15
Exclusive interview with 27-year, top CIA vet turned peace activist Ray McGovern...
'Green News Report' 8/20/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Fox 'News' now 'cares' about environment; Hillary opposes Arctic drilling; EPA rules to cut methane; Islamic leaders call for climate action; PLUS: River toxins create intersex fish...
Previous GNRs: 8/18/15 - 8/13/15 - Archives...
Did KXL Judges Profit Off Ruling?: 'BradCast' 8/19/15
Investigative journalist Steve Horn on two judges who allowed the disturbing precedent that led to the completion and opening of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline...
AT&T/NSA Whistleblower Mark Klein on New AT&T/NSA Docs: 'BradCast' 8/18/15
'They approached the phone companies before 9/11,' he says, citing new Snowden disclosures that 'vindicate' his own 2006 revelations...
'Green News Report' 8/18/15
Shell gets go-ahead to drill Arctic, Obama to visit to Arctic; July 2015 hottest on record; 'Monster' El Nino brewing; PLUS: Oregon kids sue govt over global warming...
Demise of the Death Penalty and Rise of The Donald's GOP; 'BradCast' 8/17/15
With Diann Rust-Tierney of National Coaltion to Abolish Death Penalty; Plus: 'Godzilla El Nino!' & more!...
Sunday Toons: Money Changes Everything
Another great collection this week from 'PDiddie'! On money in politics, poison in the river, Rick Perry in trouble and much more...
Happy 80th Social Security! And What's China Up To?: BradCast 8/14/15
Guest host Nicole Sandler interviews Eric Kingson on Social Security and more and Dave Johnson on China's currency manipulation...
VERDICTS IN: On ME Guv; CO Cakes; CT Death Penalty, ID 'Ag-Gag' & TX Photo ID: 'BradCast' 8/13/2015
Analyzing several recent, important rulings along with BRAD BLOG's Ernest A. Canning...
'Green News Report' 8/13/15
Half of US Forest Service budget now fighting wildfires; Australia's climate targets denounced; New Zealand ditches coal; PLUS: Free solar for African schools...
Walker, Bush Lies and Bernie's Rise: 'BradCast' 8/12/15
The Nation's John Nichols on new Walker revelations and Black Lives Matter makes Sanders a better candidate; Plus: Big news for Bernie & more!
'The Kids Who Die'
The words of Langston Hughes, spoken in a new video, capture the essence of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Please take less than three minutes to watch...
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...

If the FEC is too (purposely) gridlocked to do it, state Attorneys General should take action...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/10/2014 7:05am PT  

Last year, as we reported at the time, California Republicans who sought to sabotage the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, sent out deceptive mailers to constituents at taxpayer expense directing them to a fake "Obamacare" website.

This year, picking up on the idea that duping the public (committing fraud) is the key to their success, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) was recently found to have created at least eighteen websites built to appear to support Democratic candidates while, in actuality, using the sites to fund raise against those same candidates.

The website seen in the graphic above, for example, appears to support Arizona Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's re-election bid --- unless you are very careful to read the fine print. The site, AnnKirkpatrick.com, "might greet visitors with a welcoming photo of the Arizona congresswoman and a screaming 'Kirkpatrick for Congress' logo, but that design belies its true agenda," according to the Los Angeles Times. That agenda, they say, includes duping supporters of Democratic candidates into donating towards their defeat --- a tactic, which, the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center's senior counsel Paul S. Ryan describes as a "slam dunk" violation of Federal Election Commission (FEC) Rules.

As we've recently been reporting, however, "slam dunk" violations of federal campaign finance laws and FEC rules are anything but a "slam dunk" when it comes to their actual enforcement by the FEC...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/3/2014 6:05am PT  

With Brad Friedman...

After a recent three-to-three decision by a partisan-deadlocked Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Karl Rove may have thought he was off the hook for federal campaign finance violations by his Crossroads GPS organization. Two non-profit, good government groups, however, feel differently. Last Friday, they filed a federal lawsuit [PDF] against the FEC in hopes of forcing the agency to reverse its ruling, revisit the complaint against his group's 2010 electioneering, and to enforce federal campaign finance rules as specified by law.

Late last Friday, Attorneys from the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center and the Public Citizen Litigation Group filed a civil complaint against the FEC in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.

The suit seeks to reverse what the plaintiffs describe as an "arbitrary" and "capricious" decision by the three Republican FEC Commissioners, in contradiction of the advice of their own staff attorneys, to dismiss the administrative complaint the groups had filed against Rove's organization. That administrative complaint charged that Rove's group violated federal campaign finance law during the 2010 election cycle.

The votes by the three Republican FEC Commissioners effectively quashed any further official investigation into the allegations that Rove's group violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) when it spent the majority of its money during the 2010 election cycle on electioneering, but failed to register as a "political committee" with the FEC, as required by law. Their decision to shut down the investigation came after what the FEC's own staff attorneys found to be a likely violation of the federal campaign finance law.

By dismissing the administrative complaint and shutting the door on the investigation, the Republican FEC Commissioners not only allowed Rove to keep, as a secret, the identity of donors of tens of millions of dollars used to support Republican Congressional campaigns in 2010, but effectively offered Rove carte blanche to conceal donor identities with respect to monies spent in subsequent elections, such as the 2012 election cycle in which Crossroads GPS "spent at least $71 million on federal campaign activity," according to the newly filed federal complaint.

The plaintiffs charge that the FEC's deadlock was the result of "an impermissible interpretation of FECA," and the agency's own published guidelines due to an "abuse of discretion" by the Republican commissioners in a manner that was "otherwise contrary to law"...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/31/2014 11:57am PT  

In the lead up to this Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII, an advocacy group calling itself SackNFLTaxBreaks.org announced its formation "to sack the National Football League's anti-fan behavior, its nonprofit tax-free status, as well as the overall government subsidization of the league."

Co-founded by "New Orleans Saints fan Lynda Woolard" and Ryan Rudominer, "a proud shareholder of the Green Bay Packers, the NFL's only publicly owned team," the group says it hopes to "bring together supporters from associations, nonprofits, unions, corporations, government, journalism, think tanks, academia, the law, and leading advocacy organizations from across the political spectrum."

Their advocacy, to date, is largely built upon a petition launched last year by Woolard calling on Congress to revoke the non-profit, tax-exempt status of the National Football League. Her petition, so far, has obtained more than 300,000 signatures.

On their home page, the group notes that "Despite making $10 billion annually in profits, and paying Commissioner Roger Goodell a whopping $29.5 million dollars-a-year (15 times more than the nonprofit tax-free league gives to charity), the NFL receives a billion dollars annually in government assistance."

The NFL is a separate entity from the individual teams in the league, which do pay taxes. At least two U.S. Senators, Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn and Maine independent Angus King (who caucuses with the Democrats), have recently "started a push to end" the NFL's non-profit status.

While the movement to end the NFL's special tax breaks is relatively new, the issue of corporate welfare via professional sports has been the subject of previous, blistering critiques...

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

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And, no, Photo ID restrictions wouldn't have stopped him
(Or the VERY high profile GOPers who committed same)...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/30/2014 5:05pm PT  

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles County jury convicted California State Senator Roderick D. Wright (D) of false residency voter fraud, after finding that he lied about his address on voter registration and candidacy papers.

Wright's crime was an elite form of voter fraud, which, along with almost all of the most prevalent forms of voter fraud, would not have been prevented by polling place Photo ID restriction laws.

The jury was not persuaded by Wright's claim that he resided in the Inglewood residence of his common law stepmother. Prosecutors presented extensive evidence that established that Wright resided in an "upscale Baldwin Hills neighborhood" that was outside the district. They found that, in addition to lying about his address on his voter registration and candidacy papers, he fraudulently voted in five elections.

As we have repeatedly explained, most recently in covering a recent judicial determination that Pennsylvania's Photo ID law violated that state's constitution, cases involving in-person voter impersonation by ordinary citizens --- the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be prevented by polling place Photo ID restrictions --- are about a scarce as hen's teeth. False residency, by contrast, is a form of voter fraud that has reached epidemic proportions amongst our political elites in both parties, especially, as Brad Friedman has tirelessly documented, amongst the very high-level Republicans who hypocritically call for Photo ID restrictions for everybody else.

Where millions of innocent Americans are at risk of disenfranchisement as a result of the phantom menace of in-person voter fraud, prosecutions of elite politicians for false residency voter fraud have been rare. In one of those rare instances, former Indiana Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was convicted in 2012 of three counts of felony false residency voter fraud. His conviction was particularly ironic, given that he was the chief election official in the first state in the nation to implement polling place Photo ID restrictions. Despite his felony voter fraud charges (and four others) White has not had to serve so much as a single day in jail. Wright, a Democrat, faces up to eight years in prison.

[Update 1/31/2014: Following a meeting by the Democratic caucus, California State Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg (D) announced that Wright will retain his seat pending appeal. However, the Democratic caucus, which sports a super-majority in the state Senate, removed Wright from his position as the Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.]

Here are just a few of the cases of false residency voter fraud we've documented over recent years, by some high-profile GOPers you will be very familiar with...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/20/2014 9:35am PT  

The small City of Deming, New Mexico (2010 pop. 14,855) has agreed to pay $1.6 million to a man who had been the victim of what reporters at KOB Eyewitness News 4 in Albuquerque described as "a humiliating violation of [his] body by police and doctors."

Last November, we covered how, what, at most, was a routine traffic stop for an alleged failure to yield upon exiting a Wal-Mart parking lot, turned into an indescribably invasive, fourteen-hour ordeal for the man who was pulled over...

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

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Finds Republican-enacted statute would disenfranchise 'hundreds of thousands' of legal voters for 'no compelling state interest'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/19/2014 9:30am PT  

A Pennsylvania Photo ID law that one Republican lawmaker once boasted would deliver the Keystone State to Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential Election was struck down by a Pennsylvania trial court.

Judge Bernard L. McGinley of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled that several sections of Act 18, the Republican-sponsored polling place Photo ID statute that was signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in March of 2012, violated the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court, which previously prevented the law from taking effect by the issuance of a preliminary injunction, ordered that Act 18's in-person Photo ID requirement be permanently enjoined.

That ruling does not come as a surprise.

In May of 2012, The BRAD BLOG predicted that the plaintiffs in Applewhite vs Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would likely establish that Act 18's polling place Photo ID restrictions violate of that state's constitution. The lawsuit --- named after its 93-year old lead plaintiff Vivian Applewhite, who had voted for 50 years without a problem until 2012 --- alleged that the Act's Photo ID restrictions would deny or significantly impair the right to vote. That right, according to the Keystone State's constitution, is considered "fundamental."

Under judicially recognized Equal Protection standards, a law that impairs or abridges a "fundamental right" cannot survive a constitutional challenge unless the law is narrowly tailored to serve a "compelling state interest." That interest, we observed in our original article, cannot be found in what amounts to the "phantom menace" of in-person voter impersonation --- a point PA Republicans later conceded via a formal, in-court stipulation, entered near the outset of the case, in which they acknowledged they were "not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and do not have direct personal knowledge of in-person voter fraud elsewhere."

While he included additional reasons for issuing the permanent injunction, Judge McGinley's lengthy decision [PDF] reveals that our original assessment of the case, and our prediction about its likely outcome, were spot on...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/30/2013 8:35am PT  

Don't care for the secretly-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal? You're not gonna like the Trans-Atlantic 'Free Trade' Agreement (TAFTA) much better.

Earlier this year, in "Please Don't Notice the Global Corporate Coup", we explained how, via the TPP, giant multinational corporations --- through a secret negotiation process that they, not we, the people, have access to --- were working with the U.S. State Department and it's trade partners to supplant the sovereignty of participating nation-states with a privately-controlled, all encompassing, corporate, global "investor state". That "investor-state" is embodied in the deal through the creation of arbitration tribunals, which are granted the power to negate the effectiveness of laws passed by individual nation-states that are parties to the treaty.

The Obama Administration has taken extraordinary measures to hide the content of the TPP negotiation texts from the public as negotiations have proceeded in secret, but for the access granted to hundreds of corporate lobbyists. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), one of the few members of Congress to acquire access to the secret draft texts described the deal to date as "NAFTA on steroids." Last month, however, WikiLeaks published TPP's 94-page, Intellectual Property (IP) chapter, a chapter that would, according to WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange, permit corporate IP rights to "trample over individual rights and free expression."

The content of that chapter, according to Public Citizen's Lori Wallach will, among other things, not only extend the length of pharmaceutical patents (thus delaying the availability of more reasonably priced generic versions of the same medicine), but also attempt to expand patents to surgical procedures, both of which will serve to expand corporate profits at the expense of individual patients.

TPP represents only one-half of this ongoing, attempted, global corporate coup d'état. The second half finds its embodiment in the equally secretive TAFTA, which may prove a greater threat to our nation's sovereignty than the TPP in light of the fact that, as Public Citizen notes, "European-based corporations own more than 24,000 subsidiaries in the United States."

Like the TPP, they explain, TAFTA is also being secretly negotiated by some 600 U.S. corporate trade advisers and contains many of the very same threats to nation-state sovereignty…

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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/22/2013 6:49pm PT  

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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/20/2013 8:24am PT  

"True the Vote" (TTV), the Orwellian-named Republican "voter fraud" front group with a long and sordid history of deception and fraud won't take 'no' for an answer. Release the hounds.

The group has filed a formal notice of appeal [PDF] of U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos' recent refusal to permit TTV to intervene as a party defendant in the U.S. Justice Department's (DoJ) federal legal challenge to SB-14, the Texas polling place Photo ID statute.

Judge Ramos found that the interests of the organization --- which masquerades as an "election integrity" group in order to actually advocate for voter suppression --- were already adequately represented in the lawsuit by the state of Texas itself.

As they were filing their notice of appeal, the disgraced GOP "voter fraud" front man, Hans von Spakovsky --- who also just happens to serve on the "advisory board" for TTV --- challenged the court's rejection of the groups Motion to Intervene in an article published at the right-wing National Review. His work there, as usual, represents a masterful example of deception, dishonesty and well-remunerated cherry-picking. That is, apparently, what Hans von Spakovsky does for a living.

He is amongst good friends in the Republican Fraud community this time out...

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

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Judge finds Republican voter suppression front group adequately represented by the state...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/16/2013 6:35am PT  

A federal District court judge has nixed a rightwing "voter fraud" group's Motion to Intervene on behalf of the state of Texas in the U.S. Dept. of Justice's lawsuit to block the Lone Star state's polling place Photo ID restriction law.

Last month, The BRAD BLOG reported on the DoJ's Opposition motion filed in response to the motion by the Republican "voter fraud" fraudsters who call themselves "True the Vote" (TTV). In its motion, TTV sought to become a party to the DoJ's federal legal challenge to SB-14, the state's polling place Photo ID restriction law which TX Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) instituted just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court demolished one of the central protections of the long-standing federal Voting Rights Act this past summer.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos tersely dismissed TTV's motion, issuing a two-page order [PDF] finding that the organization's "interests are generalized and are adequately represented by the State Defendants."

"The Court finds that True the Vote's intended contribution to this case may be accomplished without the necessity of, or burden incident to, making it a party," Ramos said.

The Judge's ruling was in line with the DoJ's own response to TTV's motion. They had argued that the group had not established a right to intervene because their motion detailed little more than a generalized grievance and because its allegation "that illegal voting might be prevented by enforcement of SB 14 is, at best, speculative." Permissive intervention was inappropriate because, the DoJ argued at the time, since the group was adequately represented already by the State of Texas itself. Its participation in the case, the DoJ claimed, would be unduly burdensome in that the group seeks to divert the court's attention from the legal issues relating to polling place Photo ID restriction laws "to issues concerning True the Vote's numerous allegations of purported voter registration irregularities."

In our previous piece on the DoJ's response to True the Vote, we highlighted the group's extraordinary track record of deceptive voter suppression tactics and noted that it would be "absurd" that the hapless TTV should be ever be taken seriously by anybody, much less allowed to intervene in a critical federal lawsuit.

Although the court will still permit TTV to file amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs, last week's ruling should serve to help expedite the proceedings without unnecessary diversionary tactics from this unreliable, deceptive Republican voter suppression front group.

Judge Ramos has set a September 2014 trial date in the case, which will come just two months before Abbott, defending the state as AG, will likely face his own election contest for Governor as the Texas Republican Party's currently-presumptive nominee. This past September, we detailed how the TX law at issue had already been found in violation of both federal law and the Constitution in previous cases that had come before the courts prior to the U.S. Supreme Court carving out the heart of the federal Voting Rights Act in late June of this year.

* * *
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Rep. Mel Watt finally approved by bipartisan U.S. Senate vote...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/11/2013 11:04am PT  

Yesterday, nearly five years after President Barack Obama first assumed office, the U.S. Senate removed what has been described by some progressives as the "single largest obstacle to meaningful economic recovery" when it was finally allowed to vote for the confirmation of Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) as the new Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

In a vote allowed by a recent change to filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate, Watt will now replace Bush appointee Edward J. DeMarco, who was first appointed in 2008 and became the acting Director of the federal agency in 2009.

The FHFA oversees the government-sponsored mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which collectively own 60% of all mortgages in the United States. The agency also oversees 12 Federal Home Loan Banks, which, according to the Washington Post, "serve as major sources of funding for hundreds of banks."

In a statement issued late yesterday, praising Watt's confirmation and chiding Senate Republicans for their obstructionism in holding up this and many other uncontroversial Presidential nominations, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, highlighted the importance of the FHFA's intended role in safe-guarding homeowners.

"Republicans in the U.S. Senate callously blocked the confirmation of the supremely qualified Congressman Mel Watt to be our nation's Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency," Becerra said. "Today, by a bipartisan vote of 57 to 41, Rep. Watt is on his way to lead the FHFA as America's watchdog over the American Dream. What a difference a day makes when the Senate is free of the mischief of exploitive filibusters"...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/9/2013 5:24pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progress...]

The government's Supreme Court petition [PDF] in the upcoming cases concerning a supposed 'religious right' of for-profit corporations to ignore the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Afford Care Act (ACA) is a worthwhile read, simply because it slices through the fog of the GOP's relentless, anti-Obamacare propaganda war. That war includes a purported religious assault on the scientific, economic, egalitarian and humanitarian basis for contraceptive coverage.

Of course, the brief also contains compelling legal reasons why for-profit, corporate employers have no business dictating to their female employees whether or not they should opt for FDA-approved contraception in order to meet their own personal health care needs.

As we recently reported, where mainstream media articles that focus on every glitch in the federal Healthcare.gov website (and on provider cancellation of deficient policies), very few article mentioned that, since the passage of the ACA, health care price inflation has slowed to its lowest rate in the past 50 years. Fewer still have mentioned that the GOP's repeatedly proposed repeal of the ACA would return us to a "free market" status quo that not only left 47 million Americans without any health care coverage, but was so corrupt and dysfunctional that nearly 45,000 of our citizens died each year simply because they were too poor to afford coverage. The 45,000 is in addition to the number of Americans who died under that status quo because carriers used the excuse of "preexisting conditions" to deny coverage for vital procedures. Pre-ACA, medical bills contributed to half of the personal bankruptcies in the U.S.

In listing reasons why the contraceptive coverage provisions are based upon a "compelling" governmental interest, the government's SCOTUS petition both debunks GOP myths about the government's pre-ACA role in mandating minimum conditions in government-subsidized group health care plans and in explaining why the ACA already appears to have helped in blunting rising health care costs...

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

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Former Dem opponent says State Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R) was also tied to previous deceptive mailings...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/6/2013 4:29pm PT  

The Ventura County Star reports that my CA Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Thousand Oaks), and three other members of the California Republican Assembly Caucus abused their public mailing privileges by sending nearly 260,000 deceptive mailers to their constituents.

According to a former opponent of his that I spoke with, it wouldn't be the first time Gorell has been linked to deceptive mailers.

Instead of directing constituents who desire to take advantage of the state's Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange, the mailer "labeled as 'A California Resource Guide' to explain federal health care reform", points constituents to a fake website created by state Republicans. Rather than the official CoveredCA.com website, the new mailers direct the recipient to CoveringHealthCareCA.com, a bogus Republican site which, though attempting to appear to be the official CA health care exchange site, doesn't actually provide the ability to shop for or purchase policies.

"Though it launched in August," ABC News reports, "the site made waves this week after a number of GOP Assembly members sent out mailers to their constituents, highlighting the page as a 'resource guide' for information on the Affordable Care Act."

The deceptive, publicly funded mailers sent by the self-described "fiscal conservatives" cost CA taxpayers $77,496, according to the Star's public records request. The money, they report, came from the state Assembly's "taxpayer-funded operating budget."

Since the fraud was exposed, the LA Times reports, the GOP site has added some links to the official CA health care site. The original site, according to Karoli at Crooks and Liars who helped expose the scam, included "links to negative articles and twisted messages intended to sour people on signing up for health insurance before they ever land at the official health exchange site."

The effort comes on the heels of a what ABC describes as an "onslaught of fake insurance sites popping up in the state --- 10 of which were shut down by Calif. Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris in November --- since the implementation of Obamacare."

This is not the first occasion in which Gorell, an outspoken opponent of the Affordable Care Act, has been tied to deceptive constituent mailers. Last year, the chairman of a local Democratic Club asked me to speak on the subject of GOP voter suppression laws and e-voting issues. While there, I was approached by Democrat Eileen MacEnery, Gorell's unsuccessful 2012 Assembly opponent. She was still miffed by what she described as a deceptive Gorell mailer. In it, she told me, Gorell included his name and photo, alongside those of Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein and Rep. Julia Brownley. MacEnery claimed the mailer falsely implied that the Democratic Party supported all three, even though Gorell is a dedicated member of the GOP.

Gorell was the only local Republican who retained a seat in my area after state redistricting converted what had been a Republican-majority district into one where registered Democrats hold a slim majority. Last month, Gorell announced that he will challenge Brownley for her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Hopefully local voters will keep his deceptive record in mind when any of Gorell's mailings show up in their mailbox.

* * *
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.

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Will religious rights now also be extended to fictional 'persons'?
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/3/2013 8:26pm PT  

The Affordable Care Act (ACA, or "Obamacare") mandates that preventive care under group health insurance plans include a "full range" of FDA-approved "contraceptive methods". That requirement has resulted in two cases now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court which may result in "religious rights" being extended to so-called "corporate persons".

The cases are brought by two different for-profit corporations, each arguing that the mandate violates the corporate employer's rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Neither of the cases involve non-profit religious institutions, which are exempt from the ACA's contraceptive mandate.

The RFRA, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993, requires that an otherwise neutral government action "not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion" absent a compelling governmental interest.

The government, in its Supreme Court petition [PDF], argues that the "contraceptive coverage" mandate does not "substantially burden" an employer's free exercise of religion. (More on that particularly point in a subsequent article on this.) But while additionally urging that the contraceptive coverage mandate is based upon a compelling government interest, the government sets forth a number of significant ACA benefits that have been obscured by the fog of the unrelenting right wing, anti-Obamacare propaganda war. The critical threshold issue that must be met in these cases, before any of those additional issues need be reached, entails the validity and/or scope of the controversial concept of "corporate personhood".

Will the religious rights of actual persons now be extended to fictional corporate "persons"? That is one of the key issues that will now be decided by the same U.S. Supreme Court which handed down the now infamous Citizens United case...

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

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Change in filibuster rule restores possibility of functioning Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/22/2013 6:05am PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progressive...]

It took awhile. A few years even. But, on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) finally decided he'd had enough.

By a majority vote of 52 to 48, the U.S. Senate changed their rules to partially end the filibuster, invoking what some refer to as the so-called "nuclear option". The rule change, which will permit an up-or-down majority vote on all Presidential nominations for executive and judicial office (with the exception of Supreme Court nominations), is better described as the "democracy option".

The rule change, for now, would have no effect on the use of the filibuster by the minority to block legislation. Three Democrats, Carl Levin (D-MI), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mark Pryor (D-AR), voted with Republicans to sustain the previous filibuster rules, last changed in 1975 when the Senate amended their Standing Rules to reduce the number of Senators required for cloture --- to end debate --- from two-thirds to three-fifths.

Although there had been noise, and urging from many quarters, for a dramatic change of the filibuster rules for some time, especially after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) drew the dubious distinction of becoming the first U.S. Senator in history to filibuster his own bill, the impetus became particularly strong over the past several weeks with the outrageous block put on the nominations of every one of President Obama's nominations to the important D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal, the court which oversees federal regulations.

The result of yesterday's rule change in the U.S. Senate could well be a return, at least in part, to the Constitutionally designed functions of three different branches of government, as envisioned by our founding documents. It may also mark an end to a thirty-year scheme by Republicans to pack the courts with radical, right wing jurists...

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

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