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'Green News Report' 9/30/14
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Obama creates world's largest marine sanc- tuary; Humans wiped out 1/2 of world wildlife; Also to blame for AUS' hottest year ever; PLUS: Oil co. joins Google to dump ALEC...
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Brad discusses bizarre threat of legal action by longtime Republican voter registration schemer Nathan Sproul...
BREAKING: 5-4 SCOTUS Ruling Restores GOP Restrictions on Early Voting in OH
Bad news for voters. Good news for Republicans who like to win elections by trying to limit voters' ability to cast their vote...
7th Circuit Deadlock Means WI Photo ID Law Still in Place
Longtime court vacancy likely made difference in 5-5 tie; Scott Walker, GOP rejoice as 'electoral choas' reigns in 'toss up' re-election race; SCOTUS likely next stop for plaintiffs...
Too Much Voting Going On!: GA County Repubs Block Early Sunday Voting
Board of Elections votes against 'partisan' proposal to make voting more convenient, even though County already funded it...
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Federal Court Panel Denies OH Attempt to Avoid Restoration of Early Voting
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Climate Week Special Coverage continues: China will cut emissions; Experts say we're not doing enough; Admin makes econ case for action; PLUS: Corporate titans step up...
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GOP Values: Beating Wives, Suppressing Votes, Threatening Journalists - KPFK 'BradCast'
Latest on cases of GOP wife-beating judge Fuller; GOP voter operative Sproul; MORE...
Sproul Threatens BRAD BLOG With Legal Action After FL Confirms Our 2012 Reporting
GOP operative linked to years of registration fraud allegations sends bizarre email after yet another arrest of one of his workers...
'Green News Report' 9/23/14
GNR Special Coverage: Climate Week 2014 -- Climate March (largest in history), Wall Street protests (can ya hear us now?), special U.N. Climate Summit...
Report Cites Armed Walker Supporters Plotting to Target Democratic Voters in WI
'We can get our agents to watch polling location, identify the individual, and follow them to their residence'...
Resignation or Impeachment Would Be a Gift for Wife-Beating Judge Mark Fuller
2012 docs suggest domestic abuse of two wives and children by federal judge w/ lifetime appointment...
ACLU Files Emergency Petition to Halt 'Electoral Chaos' in WI
Seeks full 7th Circuit hearing after three-GOP judge ruling reinstates Photo ID law just weeks before election...
'Green News Report' 9/18/14
DiCaprio's UN climate role; Jindal plays dumb; Fracking confirmed (again) to contaminate; Black lung coal disease on rise; PLUS: Polluter front groups newest attack...
Audio of 911 Call from Judge Mark Fuller's Wife as She's Heard Repeatedly Struck
Chris Hayes plays horrifying audio from wife-beating incident by U.S. District Court Judge; ALSO: Calls for accountability from two Alabama U.S. Congresswoman...
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'
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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...

By Ernest A. Canning on 10/15/2012 6:35am PT  

Where, in Pennsylvania, the state GOP admitted that they are not aware of so much as a single instance in which an ordinary citizen has been charged with, let alone convicted of in-person voter impersonation --- the only form of voter fraud that can be prevented by disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction laws --- there have been a growing number of claims that political elites have used a false residence to vote, often to insure their own elections in a district where they do not reside.

On October 2, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ordered that "Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon [D] and his wife will face trial on 23 felony counts of perjury and voter fraud" when the couple allegedly used a false address to both vote and qualify for elective office within LA's 7th district, according to Los Angeles Times. The Alarcons claim they were simply using a second home outside the district while their other home was being renovated.

The issue of false residency voter fraud is neither novel nor limited to Democrats like Alarcon. Indeed, as Brad Friedman has tirelessly documented, the issue of false residency voter fraud amongst high-profile Republicans --- including the GOP's 2012 nominee for President of the United States --- has approached epidemic proportions.

Class, as well as party, may explain the disparity between the ability of the elites to commit false residency voter fraud with near impunity as compared to the harsh impact of Photo ID laws that address a phantom menace as applied to the most vulnerable segments of our society.

Here are just a few recent cases of false residency voter fraud by some faces you will be very familiar with. Only one of them, to date, has faced any sort of actual accountability for their election crimes...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 10/7/2012 12:49pm PT  

As she has done in the past, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! offered a real-time alternative to the narrow constraints of a Presidential debate, which constricted the scope of political discourse to that which had been presented by the two major party candidates.

Two third party Presidential candidates, Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, responded to questions posed by Presidential debate moderator Jim Lehrer following the initial responses of President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was invited but declined to take part in the Democracy Now! forum.

Where much of the post-debate analysis focused on the President's failure to forcefully respond to his opponent's deceptive claims or to point to his weaknesses, such as outsourcing in relation to his tenure at Bain Capital and his 47% remark, the scope of the two-party debate was also constricted by the questions posed by moderator Jim Lehrer. As Goodman observed, "some domestic issues went virtually unmentioned…including immigration policy, global warming, gun control, incarceration rates and poverty." One could add to that the disturbing failure to include such issues as Supreme Court appointments, Citizens United, Occupy Wall Street and issues of gender equality and women's health.

But, even within the confines of Lehrer's myopic questions, Stein and Johnson offered responses that suggest how including all Presidential candidates who have qualified to be on the ballot, into a single, extended debate, would serve to enhance the knowledge base of the U.S. electorate...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 10/2/2012 10:11pm PT  

Today, democracy in Pennsylvania was granted a reprieve. For now. Of a sort.

In response to a recent state Supreme Court remand, unanimously voiding his previous August ruling, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, a Republican, issued his new ruling [PDF] today on the state GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction law.

He enjoined just a part of the law, but it effectively strikes down the most onerous provision of it --- but only for this November's Presidential election. There were also a number of troubling caveats with what he left in place, rather than striking down the entire statute as the petitioners had sought.

There has been some confused and confusing reporting on the ruling today. Here is where --- barring any additional court challenges --- the law stands at this moment, just over one month from Election Day...

  • Voters will NOT have to show a state-issued Photo ID at the polling place in order to cast a normal ballot.
  • Poll workers SHALL ask voters for Photo ID, but they may NOT keep them from voting if they do not have one.
  • Voters will NOT have to cast a provisional ballot if they do not have state-issued Photo ID.

Hopefully that clarifies the key points of today's ruling, which is being misreported in some quarters.

Also of note, the court refused to enjoin the Commonwealth's tax-payer funded $5 million ad campaign, as written into the statute for the purposes of "educating" the public about the polling place Photo ID requirement (even though it no longer practically applies for this election.)

Given that, and given that poll workers may still ask for ID this November, and given that the Photo ID requirements, barring more legal challenges, will be allowed to take effect next year, it is almost guaranteed that confusion will reign in parts of Pennsylvania this year. On the upside, the 1.6 million otherwise-eligible voters who it was feared could be disenfranchised, will at least be allowed to vote in this year's Presidential election, presuming they can navigate all of the confusion left in place by Judge Simpson.

Contrary to the claim made by GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, Hans Van Spakovsky, the court did not rule on the constitutionality of PA's Photo ID statute. A ruling on that aspect of the law will not be made until after the case proceeds to a trial, following the election, on the plaintiff's request for a permanent injunction.

Tonight, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow also discussed the confusion likely to be brought by the state's continuing ad campaign along with the other vagueries allowed to continue by Judge Simpson's ruling today...

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Petitoners argue Judge's suggested partial injunction would disenfranchise voters, violate state Supreme Court's mandate...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/30/2012 9:30pm PT  

A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge may be on the verge of "splitting the baby" in his latest ruling on the challenge to the state Republicans' polling place Photo ID law, despite a clear mandate from the state Supreme Court ordering him to either find the new law will not disenfranchise any voters this year, or block it entirely with an injunction.

Last Friday, attorneys representing the petitioners in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the state GOP's draconian polling place Photo ID law, filed a 26-page Post Hearing Brief [PDF] in which they counseled Commonwealth Judge Robert E. Simpson not to defy the state Supreme Court by issuing only a "limited injunction" in the case.

Such a ruling, they argue, could force a minimum of 90,000, but perhaps as many as 1.6 million voters who lack the requisite Photo IDs, to cast provisional ballots --- which are sometimes counted, sometimes not --- during the Nov. 6, 2012 election.

The brief was filed one day after Judge Simpson informed the parties to the case that, despite evidence that there was no conceivable means by which the Commonwealth could supply all of the otherwise eligible voters with the requisite Photo IDs now needed to vote under the new law before the Nov. 6 election, he was inclined to enjoin only that portion of the Photo ID law's provisional ballot section that contains disenfranchising language.

Petitioners contend not only that such an injunction would defy the mandate laid down by the Supreme Court when it vacated Judge Simpson's previous order earlier this month, denying their request for a preliminary injunction, but that it would amount to an "inadequate remedy" that would create "a bifurcated system" that would entail a "naked disenfranchisement" of untold numbers of previously-eligible voters.

From the content of the brief, it is clear that unless Judge Simpson issues a full preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the Photo ID law with respect to the Nov. 6 election, this case will be headed back to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court once again, just over 30 days before the Presidential Election...

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Far Rightwing U.S. Chamber of Commerce gets off 'Scott'-free...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/25/2012 5:05pm PT  

In a debate, it is not always enough for one candidate to accuse the other of making up numbers from whole cloth --- especially when the opposing candidate presents analysis from highly partisan lobbying groups as "independent" sources on par with the Congressional Budget Office or Office of Management and Budget.

Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) missed the opportunity to highlight the non-independence of the "independent" sources Sen. Scott Brown (R) cited during their first televised debate last week (see video below). He claimed that her policies would raise $3.4 trillion in taxes "on the backs of citizens" and "cut 700,000 jobs nationwide". The numbers were proffered by Brown in response to Warren's criticism of the Republican Senator's votes against three critical jobs bills that she asserted would have been paid for by "a fractional tax on people making more than one million dollars a year."

Warren accused Brown of making up his numbers from whole cloth and drove home her central point --- that Brown is willing to hold middle class taxpayers hostage in order to prevent a restoration of the Clinton level of taxes on the top two percent of Americans.

But she missed the opportunity to call out Brown for his laughably misleading use of statistics from highly partisan lobbying organizations --- specifically the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce --- as coming from "independent groups"...

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Rollback of existing voting rights presents significant legal issues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/24/2012 6:35am PT  

The veteran's advocacy group, VoteVets.org filed an amicus curiae brief [PDF] last Wednesday in support of U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus' recent order compelling Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) to restore Early Voting for all registered Ohio voters during the three days immediately preceding the Nov. 6, 2012 election.

The order came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Obama Campaign challenging the Buckeye State Republicans attempt to restrict voting in that period to all but active duty military. The Romney Campaign supported the Republican attempt to restrict the voting rights that had previously been shared by all state residents.

In their brief, VoteVets argues that Husted's directive adversely affects the voting rights of Ohio's more than 900,000 veterans, including more than 90,000 disabled veterans, many of whom are incapable of standing in long lines on Election Day.

The brief also alleges that the Republicans' new restrictions on Early Voting, for all but active duty military in the Buckeye State during those three days, could also arbitrarily deprive many active members of the armed forces of their right to cast an early in-person absentee ballot as well. This can occur, says the group, because Husted left the decision whether "to open those three days for in-person voting by [active military] voters...[to] the discretion of the individual county boards of elections."

The point also raises another salient legal issue, not fully considered by many of the Election Law experts who have weighed in on both the specific and broader implications of the Secretary of State's pending, expedited appeal of Judge Economus' recent decision to restore those three days of Early Voting for all...

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At least by his own moveable standards...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/17/2012 10:50am PT  

On Friday, ABC's George Stephanopoulos caught Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaking out of both sides of his mouth. (Not that it's all that hard to do.)

As TPM's Josh Marshall described the remarks --- tongue only somewhat in cheek --- "Romney Apologizes to Muslim Rioters".

Romney, over the course of his lengthy ABC interview, finally acknowledged that the statement issued by the Cairo Embassy condemning "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims --- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions" was made before the protests began.

However, the GOP candidate, who had shamelessly seized upon that statement to falsely accuse the Embassy and President Obama of having "sympathize[d] with those who waged the attacks," evaded a direct answer to Stephanopoulos' direct question: "Where do they show sympathy for those who waged the attacks?"

Instead, Romney insisted it was "inappropriate" for the Cairo Embassy to leave the statement up on its website after its wall was breached. "The statement was reiterated after they had breached the sovereignty of the embassy," Romney proclaimed.

After its wall was breached, the Cairo Embassy tweeted: "This morning's condemnation (issued before protest began) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy."

Without explaining why he felt it was inappropriate for the Embassy to retain its condemnation of the film's scurrilous slander of the prophet Muhammad while simultaneously condemning the "unjustified breach of the Embassy," Romney followed up with a criticism of the film that was virtually indistinguishable from that which had been initially issued by the Cairo Embassy...

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Questions raised about GOP nominee's fitness to serve
UPDATED: Obama says Romney 'shoots first, aims later'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/12/2012 1:05pm PT  

"It's disgraceful," Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney proclaimed, "that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."

Except, none of what Romney said was actually true.

While factual misrepresentation has proved to be a hallmark of the Romney/Ryan campaign (e.g. the lie that Obama stole $716 billion from Medicare to fund "Obamacare" or the bogus claim that the President's Ohio lawsuit, which sought to open Early Voting for all, was actually an effort to suppress the military vote), the effort to exploit a tragic assault that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his aides was seen by Robert Dreyfuss of The Nation as so despicable as to "disqualify" Romney as a candidate for our nation's highest office.

The statement which Romney seized upon was not made by the President or anyone on its staff, but from the Cairo Embassy. More importantly, Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast observed, the Cairo Embassy statement was issued before either it or the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was attacked.

For the same reasons expressed by General David Petraeus two years ago when he warned that a plan to commemorate 9/11 by burning Qurans would endanger U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo had sought to prevent a violent reaction by condemning "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims --- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."

Nonetheless, TPM's Benjy Sarlin notes that Romney shamelessly refused to back off his inaccurate critique of the President --- in the midst of a very live, ongoing crisis during which the whereabouts of a U.S. Ambassador remained unknown --- even when confronted by reporters about the chronology of events, because the Cairo Embassy apparently was not as swift as Romney felt they should have been in taking down their tweets in the wake of a violent assault on their Embassy and the one in Libya. Romney insisted the President was responsible for the Embassy's statement, which statement, the GOP Presidential candidate claimed, was "akin to [an] apology."

In truth, neither the President nor the Embassy "sympathized" with the attack or the attackers. To the contrary, the Cairo Embassy followed the attack with this tweet (emphasis added): "This morning's condemnation (issued before protest began) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy."

But the incident has turned out to be rather revealing about the GOP nominee's readiness to serve as President of the United States...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/10/2012 6:35am PT  

Chalk up another blow to transparency and an informed electorate, and another judicial victory for the democratic perversion known as corporate "free speech."

Last week, in Minnesota Citizens for Life, Inc. v Swanson, six of the eleven jurists serving on the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeal struck down the provisions of a Minnesota statute requiring corporations which create separate political funds in excess of $100 to file periodic financial disclosure reports with the state.

The case had been filed by three corporations, all of which contended that the reporting requirements were so onerous as to amount to a de facto ban on corporate free speech that violated Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission [PDF]. That argument had been rejected first by a U.S. District Court Judge and then by way of a 2-1 Eighth Circuit panel decision. The majority on that panel had noted that even Citizens United recognized the government's right to "regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements" so long as the government did "not suppress that speech altogether."

On rehearing before the full 8th Circuit, Chief Judge William C. Reilly, a George W. Bush appointee, writing for the six member majority, acknowledged that the Minnesota statute "does not prohibit corporate speech." The majority ruled, however, that that state statute entailed excessive regulation which included an "ongoing" reporting requirement on the part of the corporate political fund that continues unless or until the corporation dissolves the fund. Chief Judge Reilly described that burden as both "onerous" and "monstrous."

The five dissenting jurists, which also included George W. Bush appointees, vigorously disagreed...

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By his own admission, they argue, hundreds of thousands of legal voters may be disenfranchised by the GOP-enacted law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/4/2012 6:35am PT  

The petitioners challenging the Republican polling place Photo ID restriction law as a violation of the state Constitution in Pennsylvania, have filed their appeal to the state's Supreme Court, after being caught off-guard by a surprising and stinging defeat at the hands of a Republican Commonwealth Judge last month.

In their 68-page Pennsylvania Supreme Court brief [PDF], the petitioners in Applewhite vs. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania set forth a compelling legal case to demonstrate the need for a preliminary injunction in advance of the November 2012 President Election in order to prevent what they describe as the potential disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of lawfully registered voters.

The brief does much more than simply urge that Commonwealth Judge Robert E. Simpson, erred in applying the federal "minimum scrutiny" standard instead of subjecting Photo ID to "strict scrutiny" under state law because, they argue, it threatens to deprive hundreds of thousands of Keystone State citizens of a fundamental right to vote. The brief lays bare many of the GOP myths about the purpose of polling place Photo ID restrictions, while demonstrating why the GOP-enacted Pennsylvania law would not qualify as constitutional even under the less demanding test laid down by six of the U.S. Supreme Court's nine Justices in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections, their 2008 decision approving Indiana's version of a similar restriction on voting in that state...

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But stops short of a call to end 'corporate personhood'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/2/2012 6:42pm PT  
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER?
President Obama, during his surprise Reddit chat last Wednesday, jumps into the Citizens United fray.

"I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it)," President Barack Obama wrote last week during a surprise public Reddit chat.

"Consider mobilizing?" Groups like Move to Amend and Public Citizen initiated that mobilization shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court's radical-right quintet handed down that infamous decision in 2010. By July of this year, California had become the sixth state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen's United.

"Assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it?" The Court had an opportunity to revisit Citizens United earlier this year, or at least to limit its impact to federal elections. Instead, the same radical-right quintet expanded the reach of that democracy destroying decision by overturning a Montana Supreme Court decision which had sought to uphold a century old, state anti-corruption law.

While the President's remarks will no doubt be welcomed by the already-mobilized movement, one should not lose sight of the fact that they fall far short of an endorsement of either Vermont's proposed constitutional amendment or the measure introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the U.S. Senate. Both efforts call for the end to "corporate personhood" and a determination that money does not equal free speech under the First Amendment.

If the President truly desires to spotlight what amounts to a hostile corporate takeover of our democracy, he will confront Mitt "corporations are people, my friend" Romney in the upcoming Presidential debates with an openly stated support for a constitutional amendment that, as the Sanders measure provides, establishes that the "rights protected by the Constitution...are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes." Indeed, that position could frame the issue for all candidates seeking public office in the 2012 election.

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Freedom of political choice vs. slavery in post-'Citizens United' America...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/27/2012 2:39pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In a case where the employment of several members of the United Public Workers (UPW) was terminated after they failed to fully participate in unpaid, off-duty campaign activities on behalf of a union-supported Congressional candidate, three Republican members of the Federal Elections Commission produced an astounding Aug. 21 decision. They ruled that it is perfectly lawful for unions and corporations to compel their members and employees to engage in such activities, sans compensation, as part of "independent campaign efforts."

In their "Statement of Reasons" [PDF], the three GOP Commissioners explained the basis for their remarkable ruling.

They acknowledged that the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, 2 USC §441b(a), as well as FEC "regulations prohibit a labor organization [or a corporation] from facilitating the making of a contribution by means of 'coercion, such as the threat of a detrimental job action...to make a contribution or engage in fundraising activities on behalf of a candidate." But, they wrote: "These provisions do not apply to UPW's independent campaign efforts."

UPW's independent use of its paid workforce to campaign for a federal candidate post-Citizen's United was not contemplated by Congress and, consequently, is not prohibited by either the Act or Commission regulations.

The FEC's three Republican appointees thus presented not only a novel but a remarkable extension of Citizens United given that 2 USC §441b(c) makes it "unlawful" even for a corporation's or union's "segregated fund" to provide "anything of value" that is secured by a threat of financial reprisal. The statute mandates that employees must be told about their "right to refuse to so contribute without any reprisal."

In their separate "Statement of Reasons" [PDF], the three FEC Democrats, along with Office of General Counsel (OGC), found a clear-cut violation of Section 441b. "Nothing in Citizens United," the FEC Democrats opined, "suggests...that the Court intended to expand the rights of corporations and unions at the expense of their employees' longstanding rights to be free from coercion and to express or decline to express their political views."

According to the Congressional Research Service [PDF], at least four votes are required for the FEC "to exercise core functions." Thus, the 3-3 deadlock prevented the FEC from disciplining the union for anything beyond the fine for non-reporting of the "independent expenditure."

Setting aside the fact that the OGC's and FEC Democrats' interpretation appears to find direct support in the language of Section 441b of the U.S. Code, there's a fundamental constitutional issue that arises from the disturbing GOP interpretation of Citizens United which neither side addressed --- slavery!...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/24/2012 12:24pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Speaking to a crowd of supporters from the balcony of Ecuador's U.K. Embassy last Sunday, WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, demanded that the United States end its "war on whistleblowers" --- a war that, Assange said, not only threatens WikiLeaks but "the freedom of expression and the health of our societies." The U.S., he said, must choose between returning to the "revolutionary values" upon which it was founded, or "lurch off the precipice, dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world under which journalists fall silent under fear of prosecution."

Assange credited citizen activism for the fact that Britain did not carry out its unlawful threat last week to "storm" Ecuador's Embassy, stating:

If the UK did not throw away the Vienna Conventions the other night, it was because the world was watching. And the world was watching because you were watching.

So the next time somebody tells you it is pointless to defend those rights that we hold dear, remind them of your vigil in the dark before the Embassy of Ecuador. Remind them how, in the morning, the sun came up on a different world, and a courageous Latin American nation took a stand for justice.

Assange called upon the U.S. to "pledge, before the world, that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful."

"There must be no more foolish talk about prosecuting any media organization, be it WikiLeaks or be it the New York Times," he declared. "The U.S. Administration's war on whistleblowers must end."

The controversial Assange went on to call for the release of "one of the world's foremost political prisoners, Bradley Manning," noting that the former Army Intelligence Analyst had just "spent his 815th day of detention without trial. The legal maximum is 120 days."

Manning is the U.S. Army Private alleged to have released classified material to Assange's WikiLeaks. Legendary Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, during a late 2010 interview with Brad Friedman, described Manning as a "patriot" for his release of the documents.

The full video of Assange's 8/19/12 statement from the balcony of London's Ecuadorian Embassy, where he has been granted asylum by the Latin American country, follows below...

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Federal lawsuit to prevent mass disenfranchisement may be imminent...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/22/2012 12:35pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Pennsylvania has refused to turn over documents that the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) had sought in order to determine whether the state's new polling place Photo ID restriction law is in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and other federal laws.

As previously reported by The BRAD BLOG, on July 23, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez submitted a four-page letter [PDF] to Carol Aichele, the Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (coincidentally, the wife of Gov. Tom Corbett's Chief of Staff), requesting information in electronic format for 16 broad categories of documents that the DoJ felt were needed to evaluate whether the Keystone State's Photo ID law complied with federal laws barring discriminatory election laws.

In an Aug. 17 letter [PDF], the Commonwealth's General Counsel, James D. Schultz, responded to Perez, by telling him that PA would not comply with what Schultz described as an "unprecedented attempt to compel [PA], a state not within the purview Section 5 of the VRA, to present information concerning compliance with Section 2 of the VRA."

Section 5 of the VRA requires some 16 different jurisdictions in the U.S., with a history of racial discrimination, to get pre-clearance for new election-related laws. Pennsylvania is not one of those jurisdictions. However, all 50 states are barred from instituting discriminatory laws under Section 2 of the act.

Schultz accused the DoJ of targeting "a growing number of states…simply because they instituted legislation designed to insure the integrity of the voting process"...

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'Paycheck Protection' Initiative just another scheme to further erode union voices in politics...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/20/2012 8:35am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

California’s Proposition 32 --- the so-called "Paycheck Protection" Initiative --- is nothing less than a cynical attempt by "the one percent" to manipulate the revulsion now felt by "the 99 percent" towards the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United ruling in order to solidify the ability of corporate wealth and power to destroy any semblance of government of, for or by the people.

The text of the initiative, set for this November's ballot in the Golden State, reads as follows:

"Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. Prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees. Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees."

In a video decrying the ballot measure, the "No on 32: Stop the Special Exemptions Act" campaign, describe it as "Miracle-Grow for...billionaires and their super PACs"...

The initiative was drafted by the Lincoln Club of Orange County --- the same group of right-wing mega millionaires and billionaires whose political hit piece, Hillary: The Movie became the centerpiece of the Citizens United ruling and the ensuing, democracy-destroying flood of dark money into our political system. Its top "$50,000 and over" donors represent a list of the state's wealthiest corporatist Republicans.

Although corporations enjoy a 15-to-1 advantage in political donations over organized labor, according to Open Secrets.org, CA's Prop 32 lumps these two very different forms of organizations under the same "special interest" umbrella.

Under the guise of ending the corrupting influence of "special interest" monies, Proposition 32's wealthy backers seek to eliminate the ability of organized labor to fund campaign ads for political candidates that would otherwise compete with the dominant corporate message, while providing loopholes that are large enough for "the one percent" to haul a trainload of politically corrupting gold bullion from Ft. Knox to Sacramento...

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