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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, August 2, 2014
Ladies and Gentleman, Lenar Whitney...
Seriously. Lenar Whitney. The proud 'Palin of the South' and 'most frightening' U.S. House candidate veteran Congressional reporter Dave Wasserman has ever interviewed...
Hospitals Prospering Under 'ObamaCare' Too
While the 'controversial' Affordable Care Act has helped millions to obtain medical care, its benefits are even broader, despite lies about it GOP continues to tell...
'Green News Report' 7/31/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
20m gallon water main break in L.A. exposes decrepit U.S. water sytem; Record wildfires depleting budgets; Repubs fiddle as West burns; PLUS: Flesh-eating bacteria in Florida...
Previous GNRs: 7/24/14 - 7/29/14 - Archives...
FEC Commissioners at War Over Rove's Campaign Finance Violations
Deadlock vote, ignoring federal agencies own attorneys, leads to lawsuit and scathing attack of Dem Commissioners by GOP colleagues...
'A Kind of Propaganda War'
After U.N. denial, NBC's David Gregory apologized for use of unverified Israeli video claiming to show rockets fired from U.N. refugee shelter in Gaza where at least 15 were killed by Israel last week...
'Green News Report' 7/29/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Obama Admin approves sonic cannons for offshore oil exploration; Bizarre weather across U.S.; CO judge nixes fracking ban; PLUS: Neil Young wants your help in the rainforest...
Previous GNRs: 7/24/14 - 7/22/14 - Archives...
Bi-Partisan House to Obama: Get Out of Iraq
Overwhelming, if largely symbolic vote in the U.S. House, directs the President to pull U.S. troops back out of Iraq. Directive seen as stinging rebuke to GOP war haws in Senate..
'Green News Report' 7/24/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Breaking: Storm ravages VA campground; New rules for explosive oil trains; Big win against Big Oil in small Maine town; PLUS: U.S. and Rush Limbaugh lead world in denial...
Previous GNRs: 7/22/14 - 7/17/14 - Archives...
Israeli Attack on UN Shelter Kills At Least 15 in Gaza
The strategy of bombing children, but warning them first, will almost certainly result in years of peace and prosperity for the region...
The Good Fight Continues: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad speaks with John Wellington Ennis, documentarian and activist, on his newest film and his decade-long fight for election integrity...
What We Do Now
"It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time"..."Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died"...
'Green News Report' 7/22/14
Record wildfires in Pacific NW; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A RW caller's admission to Brad on NC radio underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal 1960 From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Ballot Prop to Overturn 'Citizens United'
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: CA gets tough on water wasters...
Kochs Radical 'Libertarianism' Broke KA
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Brownback's Dem opponent after tax cuts for wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
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...

By Ernest A. Canning on 8/2/2012 4:26pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning with Brad Friedman

Cowering in the face of blatantly false claims by the terrorist-enablers and dishonest fear-mongerers of the National Rifle Association (NRA), and one of their most vocal lying supporters, the Obama administration torpedoed talks at the United Nations on a proposed international treaty which sought to regulate the $60 billion international small arms trade.

The talks were designed to deal with a problem the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs describes as having created "a worldwide scourge" that has placed weapons in the hands of insurgents, armed gang members, drug lords, pirates and terrorists.

Dishonestly claiming the treaty was intended to regulate domestic U.S. arms sales, the NRA and its supporter, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, led a wholly deceptive charge against the long-sought treaty.

The accord, says Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International, was meant "to prevent countries and arms exporters from selling guns and military hardware to human rights abusers." But such a treaty was a bridge too far for those, like Bolton and the leadership of the NRA, who favor the profits U.S. arms manufacturers can realize if they can sell firearms to anyone and everyone. And, for now, even the Obama administration, which has, time and again, wilted whenever it feels the heat that accompanies an NRA 2nd Amendment propaganda barrage, has proven willing to sacrifice a much needed international treaty rather than square off with the terrorist-enabling NRA and their lies.

"Any treaty that includes civilian firearms ownership in its scope will be met with the NRA's greatest force of opposition," NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said during his purposely deceptive testimony at the UN earlier this month. What he purposely failed to note? The treaty had absolutely nothing to do with "civilian firearms ownership" in the U.S. of any kind.

LaPierre's testimony was just another chapter in the NRA's long-perpetuated scam to continue pimping for the firearms industry by hoaxing their membership into believing that the Obama Administration --- which has, several times, expanded the rights of civilian firearms owners since taking office --- is secretly plotting to undermine the 2nd Amendment in hopes of taking guns away from law abiding citizens.

"I am here to announce NRA's strong opposition to anti-freedom policies that disregard American citizens right to self-defense," LaPierre lied during his UN testimony. "We will not stand idly by while international organizations, whether state-based or stateless, attempt to undermine the fundamental liberties our men and women in uniform have fought so bravely to preserve...and on which our entire American system of government is based"...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 7/30/2012 1:20pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The horror that played out during the recent midnight massacre inside a Century theater in Aurora, CO is but the latest example of the danger posed to our safety and our very lives by the radical right's expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment.

On June 28, 2008, that view --- that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm unconnected to service in a state militia --- became the law of the land, courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court's hard right quintet's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller ("Heller") --- a 5-4 decision that ignored precedent, history and basic rules of constitutional interpretation.

Heller not only elevated the profits of the domestic small arms industry above the ability of government to protect our safety, our general welfare, our domestic tranquility and our very lives, but provided a disturbing new context to the eerily prescient 1991 warning provided by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) when he likened the confirmation of Clarence Thomas as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court to a game of "Russian Roulette"...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 7/26/2012 4:53pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Last April, in an article which covered an ethics complaint filed by the Center for Media and Democracy against 43 Republican state legislators, The BRAD BLOG went to great lengths to explain how the "legislative task force" system employed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was not merely subverting but supplanting our representative form of democracy. It was an article that would later be reprinted by The American Trial Lawyer magazine.

But, leave it to a Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist, like Mark Fiore, to provide a more succinct explanation of the same phenomenon in this relatively short but powerful animated toon...

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Yet mainstream media misreport easily verifiable facts, continue to fall for FL Governor, Secretary of State's deceptive spin...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/25/2012 1:22pm PT  

A BRAD BLOG investigation by Ernest A. Canning & Brad Friedman

Florida Governor Rick Scott's attempted purge of "potential non-citizen" voters --- a purge which Scott's Republican predecessor Gov. Charlie Crist described last week as a "shameless," "mean-spirited," "insidious" and "sweeping" effort to gain partisan advantage "under the guise of removing non-U.S. citizens" --- has been an abject failure.

Scott's claims of success in unearthing "non-citizens" said to be registered to vote in the Sunshine State, repeated by his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner and uncritically echoed by a compliant mainstream corporate media, have amounted to less --- far less --- than meets the eye.

Over the course of our months-long investigation, which included public records requests and interviews with state and county officials, The BRAD BLOG has discovered that the Scott/Detzner claim of having captured some 107 "non-citizens" on the Sunshine State voter rolls as a result of their purge is, at best, a reckless overstatement. Yet, that number (107), which Scott described as "alarming," has been uncritically accepted as fact by corporate mainstream media.

Even if it had been accurate, 107 would amount to an infinitesimal percentage of the original 182,000 who had initially been identified as "potential non-citizens" by Florida officials --- 107 as against Florida's 11.2 million legally registered voters, with an untold number of perfectly legal voters threatened with losing their right to vote as collateral damage of the state's attempted purge.

But the 107 number isn't even close to being accurate. To the contrary, Florida election officials have been unable to confirm that more than ten percent of those whom Scott and Detzner claim their purge captured were in fact non-citizens.

For example, in the two counties, Lee and Collier, where 92 of Scott and Detzner's claimed 107 have been removed, just nine (9) of them have actually been verified, to date, as "non-citizens" named by Scott and Detzner on their list of "potential non-citizens" sent to county election officials for purging earlier this year. The rest have either been removed from the rolls without independent verification of whether or not they are lawfully registered U.S. citizens, or they were removed after their names surfaced on a separate list that had nothing to do with the list compiled by Scott and Detzner. That separate list, as gathered by a local news outlet, similarly, may or may not accurately identify the named registered voters as "non-citizens".

Despite the extraordinary failure to date, Scott and Detzner have repeatedly proclaimed "victory" in their voter purge scheme. Making matters worse for the general populace trying to make sense of what is actually going on, numerous corporate-owned media outlets have compliantly echoed their extraordinarily misleading and deceptive spin...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 7/20/2012 1:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

This week, the Minnesota Supreme Court heard the League of Women Voters' argument against language set to be used in a ballot initiative this November which, if passed by the electorate, would amend the state's constitution to require that valid, Government-issued Photo ID be presented at the polling place before voters are allowed to vote.

The initiative was placed on the ballot by the GOP majority in the state legislature, but, as we detailed earlier this month, the League has filed suit charging that the language used in the ballot question is extremely deceptive and that it fails to accurately explain how the constitutional amendment would change the voting system in Minnesota, while putting the legal rights of voters at risk.

During oral arguments (video clip posted below) in League of Women Voters of Minnesota v. Ritchie [PDF], veteran MN Supreme Court Justice Paul H. Anderson suggested that the issue before the Court, of whether the ballot question was misleading, was more profound than even the League's attorney, William Pentelovitch, was characterizing it.

The hearing produced the following remarkable colloquy...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 7/13/2012 8:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Ah, what more can you say about those "small government conservatives" as they once again attempt to place the big government they claim to despise between citizens and their doctors by taking away more rights and freedoms?

In Mississippi, the Jackson's Women's Health Organization --- which operates the only remaining clinic to offer abortion services in the entire Magnolia State --- filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of a state law meant solely to shut them down and nullify the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade.

The new law requires any physician who performs an abortion to be both a board-certified OB-GYN and have admitting privileges at a local hospital. According to MSNBC's James Eng, this would almost certainly force the clinic to shut down because most of their physicians "live out-of-state or because local hospitals are reluctant to grant such privileges to physicians who perform abortions." That closure would "lead some to consider unsafe and illegal alternatives that pose grave risks to [women's] health, lives, and reproductive future," according to Nancy Northrup of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

On July 2, Reuters reported that "U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Jordan issued a temporary restraining order," stating that "plaintiffs have offered evidence --- including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers --- that the act's purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi." On Wednesday, in a hearing on the Jackson Women's Health Organization's motion for a preliminary injunction, Judge Jordan, who was nominated to the federal bench by George W. Bush, extended his TRO pending his ruling. So the clinic stays open for the moment.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the Michigan legislature silenced a female colleague, Rep. Lisa Brown (D), when she responded to their anti-women's reproductive rights measure last month by stating: "And, finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no'."

At least in that instance, the GOP "War on Women" produced an hilarious segment on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart entitled "The Vagina Ideologues". If you missed it a few weeks ago, have a look...

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Enabled by inaccurate coverage, state officials continue to mislead public about knowingly 'flawed' program...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/9/2012 1:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Only a handful of Americans understand what really took place inside a Tallahassee, FL federal courtroom on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, thanks to the skewed reality presented by mainstream corporate media coverage of the latest ruling to affect Florida's attempted purge of alleged "non-citizen" voters.

The extraordinary misreporting subsequently enabled top Florida officials, including Republican Gov. Rick Scott, to continue what has become a reliable pattern of public deception and disingenuous spin in its wake.

What happened, in short, on June 27, was this: The attorneys for FL Sec. of State Ken Detzner (R) walked into the federal courtroom, threw-up their hands and surrendered. There was no need for Judge Robert Hinkle to issue the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) sought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) in order to stop what the DoJ described as an illegal, systematic purge of "potential non-citizen" voters. Detzner voluntarily suspended the purge and promised the court it would not resume.

Accepting Detzner's surrender, Judge Hinkle denied the federal government's motion for a TRO, finding it unnecessary, but cautioned that the DoJ could revisit the issue if Detzner or any of Florida's county Supervisors of Elections resumed what he described as a flawed voter removal program that "probably ran afoul" of the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA).

Subsequent misreporting by the corporate mainstream media succeeded, however, in turning that reality upside-down. The failure comes courtesy of an MSM that has not so much as mentioned Scott and Detzner's documented mendacity, revealed by The BRAD BLOG's exclusive investigation of public records last month, concerning the alleged "refusal" by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide FL with access to a federal immigration database for use in its attempted voter purge.

The headlines written in response to the June 27 court hearing expose a classic MSM failure. "Fla. Judge Won't Halt Voter Roll Purge", CBS Miami dutifully reported immediately after Judge Hinkle's bench ruling. Yes, concurred Fox "News", "Judge refuses to block Florida voter purge", in a headline that would be repeated by the Huffington Post and again at ABC. Agreed, wrote Bloomberg, "Federal Judge Rejects U.S. Bid to Block Voter-Roll Purge".

At the Chicago Tribune we find "Judge Rejects U.S. request to stop Florida voter purge". Indeed, from the Miami Herald, we learned "Judge halts federal attempt to block Florida's voter purge". In fact, in perhaps the most twisted headline of all, the Orlando Weekly (mis)informed its readers, "Federal judge OKs Florida voter purge".

Trouble is, each and every one of those news organizations got it wrong, just as CNN and Fox "News" got it wrong when they initially filed erroneous reports claiming that the Supreme Court had struck down the Affordable Care Act.

What the media and the Governor depicted as a FL victory, one that would permit his attempted purge to continue, was, in fact, an abject capitulation by the authors of an unlawful voter roll purge...

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Thanks to a failed MSM and timid DoJ, most Americans do not realize true purpose of voter suppressing photo ID laws...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/2/2012 8:05am PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

The ACLU attorneys representing the petitioners in League of Women Voters of Minnesota v. Ritchie [PDF] (Ritchie), which is scheduled to be heard by the MN Supreme Court on July 17, 2012, have set forth powerful arguments why the Court should remove a polling place photo ID initiative from the November 2012 ballot.

The MN Constitution mandates that a ballot question must truthfully inform voters of what it is they are voting on. The ACLU, following the same format it applied when it successfully prevented a similar photo ID initiative from being placed on the November 2012 ballot in MO, sets forth specific examples of how the ballot question, as enacted by MN's GOP-controlled state legislature, falls well short of that standard.

The ACLU argument may well succeed before the MN Supreme Court. However, as reflected by polls suggesting nearly 80% of Minnesotans support the adoption of photo ID restrictions, there is a very real prospect that the ACLU's legal objections will neither be heard nor understood in the utterly deceived court of public opinion...

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Getting it right after CNN & Fox get it wrong...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/28/2012 2:46pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In case you were watching the misreporting by CNN and Fox "News", it was a win for the Obama Administration and a crushing defeat to the Republican opponents of health care insurance reform in this nation. It's that simple.

With the exception of that portion of the Act which permitted the federal government to punish states by cutting off the entirety of their federal Medicaid funds if they declined to expand state Medicaid services from limited categories of individuals to all individuals with incomes below 133% of the poverty level, the U.S. Supreme Court, by its 5-4 decision in National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius [PDF], upheld all provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 [ACA] against the constitutional challenges that had originally been filed in U.S. District Court by FL, 12 other states and business organizations...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/19/2012 4:13pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has taken refuge in Ecuador's Embassy in London, where he has applied for political asylum, stating:

'I can confirm that today I arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum. This application has been passed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital Quito.

I am grateful to the Ecuadorian ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application.

Ecuador, which, two years ago, offered Assange asylum and which also has an extradition treaty with the U.S., confirmed that it is considering Assange's asylum application, but stated that its decision to do so, "should in no way be interpreted as the government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden," according to CNN.

Assange, an Australian, as we previously reported, has maintained that the sex charges against him, and Sweden's request for extradition from England where Assange has been staying since the charges were initially filed against him, are being utilized as an excuse to ultimately transport him to the U.S. for political persecution.

Assange suffered a significant legal setback last week when the UK's Supreme Court dismissed his application to reopen his appeal against extradition. He was scheduled to be extradited to Sweden in nine days.

UPDATE 6/20/12: In a public email, the advocacy group, RootsAction alleges:

Sweden has a record of bowing to U.S. pressure, including the handing over of two men to the CIA in 2006 --- leading the U.N. to find Sweden complicit in torture.

The United States reportedly has a sealed indictment prepared for Assange, charging him with crimes against 'national security.'

The group has an on-line petition requesting that Ecuador grant asylum, which can be signed here.

Meanwhile, the UK's Guardian reports that Assange's asylum request could prove an empty gesture. Absent "giving Assange Ecuadorian diplomatic status...there seems no way in which he can get to Healthrow, let alone Ecuador, without being arrested for breach of his bail conditions," the Guardian reported.

A video containing Democracy Now's more extended coverage of the event, including London's announcement that Assange is now subject to arrest and Assange's prior interview of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on RT, is posted below...

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DOJ responds to FL claim that feds illegally withholding DHS immigrant database
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/18/2012 12:52pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Last week, after notifying the state of Florida of its intention to do so, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit [PDF], seeking to halt what Asst. U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez described in his June 11, 2012 letter [PDF] to FL Sec. of State Ken Detzner (R), as "a new program for systematic voter removal, which may ultimately target more than 180,000 registered voters."

A longtime respected election official in the state went further, describing the attempted scrubbing of the rolls to be "un-American".

The lawsuit alleges that the ongoing, systematic voter removal program violates the provisions of the National Vote Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which "expressly forbids such removal programs during the 90-day period before an election for Federal office."

The complaint seeks not only an immediate federal court injunction to stop the purge, but an order directing FL officials "to take all steps necessary to ensure that no registered voter identified as potentially ineligible based on the [faulty FL Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles] database and voter verification procedures...is removed from the voter rolls within 90 days of a primary or general election for Federal office."

The injunction may prove to be necessary only in three of the Sunshine State's 67 counties --- Lee, Collier and Bay --- where election officials have signaled they intend to continue the allegedly unlawful voter roll purge, even after the actions taken by the DOJ.

When interviewed last week by Brad Friedman on the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show, Leon County (Tallahassee), FL's legendary Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho --- the man placed in charge of the aborted 2000 Florida Presidential recount --- explained the reasons why most of the Supervisors of Elections (both Democratic and Republican) in each of the state's 67 counties have now refused to carry out the state-ordered purge. He described the ongoing effort by the Governor and Sec. of State as "shameful."

The DOJ's 6/11/12 letter also responded to, and seemed to debunk, the claim made by FL that it had been denied access to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration database. The state, in its own lawsuit filed against the DHS last week, has cited lack of access to that database as their reason for using the less reliable state Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) database for the basis of its voter purge.

The purge, to date, has identifies hundreds of perfectly legal citizen voters for removal from the rolls.

The state of FL, in its response to the DOJ, appears not to be offering the full facts about their attempt to use the DHS database and, as it turns out, Republican Gov. Rick Scott should, by now, be very well acquainted with the perils of voter purges based on inaccurate information...as an apparent victim of one such purge himself...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/14/2012 11:12am PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Newly introduced legislation would permit Wall Street wolves to drive off America's financial shepherds.

It is perhaps useful to think of the Wall Street executives who swindled their own investor/clients and nearly devoured the world's economy as predators.

One response to their predations has been exemplified by the Occupy Wall Street "move the money" campaign in which billions of dollars have been transferred from the "too big to fail" Wall Street banks to local banks and credit unions. Another response has come from former Wall Street broker/dealers, who, repulsed by a fraudulent system that created and sold toxic assets to unwitting investors even as their firms bet against the assets, opted instead to become independent Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) who will only accept fees from their own investor/clients to whom they owe a fiduciary duty to disclose all potential conflicts of interest.

Introduced by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), the Chairman of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee and the number one fundraiser from commercial banks, finance/credit companies, and mortgage bankers and brokers during the 2011-2012 election cycle, the so-called "Investment Advisor Oversight Act" of 2012 (H.R. 4624) claims that it is meant "to amend the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to provide for the registration and oversight of national investment adviser associations."

In reality, however, the bill represents nothing less than an effort by the Wall Street wolves to drive off these financial shepherds so that they may feast on a field of unprotected sheep (the consumers of financial products)...

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Latest attempted GOP voter roll scrub of legal voters continues growing tradition in Sunshine State...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/11/2012 6:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The state of Florida and it's Secretary of State Ken Detzner (R) are knowingly violating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in their attempted purge of "potential non-citizens" from the Sunshine State voting rolls, according to a new federal lawsuit [PDF] filed by the ACLU and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The complaint follows on the heels of a May 31, 2012 two-page letter submitted to FL election officials by T. Christian Herren, the chief lawyer of the U.S. Justice Department's Voting Rights Division. In his letter, Herren opined that the state's voter roll purge is in violation of Section 5 --- at least in the 6 Florida counties "covered" by that section --- because the state has not sought preclearance from either the DOJ or a federal court, as required by that section of the 40-year old federal law.

Additionally, the DOJ notes in its letter, the purge, coming as it does within the 90 days before Florida's federal primary election, is also in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) which covers the entire state.

In response, FL State Department spokesman Chris Cates initially said they would continue the purge nonetheless, as they were "firmly committed to doing the right thing and preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot." In his official response to the DOJ a few days later, Detzner all but challenged the feds to bring a suit in order to stop the state from continuing their efforts.

Of the original 180,000 names identified by the state as potential non-citizens, out of some 11.3 million registered voters in the state of Florida, 2,700 were sent to county election officials with instructions to notify those voters that they had just 30 days to prove their citizenship or be removed from the rolls. As reported by the Christian Science Monitor, "Before heeding DOJ’s order to stop the purge" county election officials had identified just four noncitizens who "may have voted in past elections, making them potentially guilty of voter fraud," while clearing hundreds of voters who had, in fact, been legally registered voters. Hundreds of others may have been removed from the rolls, despite being legally registered citizen voters.

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, Herren had demanded that FL officials "advise whether the State intends to cease the practice," but stopped short of issuing an actual "order" that FL immediately cease and desist. Such an order would have to come by way of an injunction issued by a U.S. District Court. The ACLU lawsuit now seeks that injunction even though, according to the Miami Herald, county elections supervisors across the state, led by Leon County's Ion Sancho, are now refusing to carry out a purge which Sancho describes as "illegal."

The ACLU lawsuit alleges facts that suggest the FL GOP is relying upon a FL Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DMV) database that it knows cannot provide an accurate basis for establishing non-citizenship until 2017.

Unfortunately, this year's purge in Florida continues a tradition that has been affecting legal voters in Florida --- and, along with them, the rest of the nation --- cycle after cycle since at least the 2000 election...

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

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Right to same sex marriage in CA stayed pending filing of a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/5/2012 11:11am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal issued a terse decision denying a petition for rehearing of the earlier 2-1 9th Circuit panel decision in Perry vs. Brown [PDF] in which the majority ruled that CA Proposition 8's effort to strip away the previously recognized right of same sex couples to marry was unconstitutional.

The court order noted: "The matter failed to receive a majority of the votes of non-recused active judges in favor of en banc consideration." (En banc essentially means 'by the full 9th Circuit', as opposed to a three judge panel.)

The order added, however: "The mandate is stayed for ninety days pending the filing of a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court. If such a petition is filed, the stay shall continue until final disposition by the Supreme Court."

This essentially means that, despite the determination that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, same sex couples in CA cannot effectuate their right to marry until either 90 days have lapsed, or longer if a Supreme Court challenge is filed.

As The BRAD BLOG previously averred, U.S. 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt's earlier majority opinion in this case was "so narrow and so tightly crafted to meet the criteria of a 1996 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Romer v. Evans, that it minimized the chances that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide to hear the case, let alone reverse the decision."

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/3/2012 12:28pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Reports by the Miami Herald and by Democracy Now report that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has "ordered Florida...to end a controversial voter purge that's primarily targeted Latino, Democratic and independent-minded voters" (see video below) may not be technically accurate.

Both refer to the two-page letter submitted by T. Christian Herren, the chief lawyer of the DOJ's Voting Rights Division, to FL officials which suggested that the purge, ordered by Republican Gov. Rick Scott under the unsubstantiated pretense that the state had thousands of non-citizens registered to vote, violated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because FL had not sought preclearance for the new voter roll purge either from the DOJ or a federal court. Herren, as the Miami Herald article observed, demanded that FL officials "advise whether the State intends to cease the practice," but stopped short of issuing an actual "order" that FL immediately cease and desist.

Election officials across the state have confirmed that the Governor's purge list includes hundreds, if not thousands, of legally registered U.S. citizens who are improperly identified as "non-citizens" to be removed from the rolls.

Only five of Florida's 67 counties are "covered jurisdictions" under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That means that while Supervisors of Elections in some counties had vowed not to carry out Scott's purge, others, like Seminal County's Republican Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel, signified their intent to carry out what amounts to a new form of GOP "caging lists" in which those voters who do not respond to official letters in a designated fashion are automatically purged from the eligible voter rolls. On Friday, an attorney from the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, representing all 67 counties, sent a memo to officials recommending they do not carry out the scrub as called for by the state.

The DOJ letter to FL also noted that the voter roll purge across the entire state appears to be in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which bans the removal of voters from the rolls in the 90 days prior to a federal election. Florida is set to hold its federal primary election on August 14th, making May 16th the last legal day for the type of voter roll maintenance the state now claims to be carrying out.

Even assuming that Herren's letter to the state amounts to a DOJ "order," it may not be enough to stop what The Advancement Project estimated in its May 17 letter to Herren [PDF] could ultimately produce an illegal purge of as many as 180,000 otherwise eligible voters based on a flawed, eleventh hour pre-election effort to match voter rolls against the FL driver's license data base.

After receiving the letter from the DOJ, Florida Dept. of State Spokesperson Chris Cates said they intended to continue with their purge anyway. "Bottom line is," Cates told Think Progress, "we are firmly committed to doing the right thing and preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot."

The purge has already ensnared U.S. citizens like Bill Internicola, the 91-year old, Brooklyn-born, World War II veteran and Bronze Star recipient who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and Archibald Bowyer, another 91-year old WWII vet who has been citizen since the age of 2, and who received his letter from the state warning he would be purged just as his wife had died.

Cates has marginalized such incidents as "a handful of people [who] have been inconvenienced.”

To halt the purge, groups like the ACLU and the DOJ may need to initiate a federal lawsuit in which they seek yet another preliminary injunction, like the one issued late Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Hinkle in League of Women Voters v. Browning [PDF]. That ruling, as we reported on Thursday, spoke to a different aspect of this year's GOP voter suppression effort in FL. Hinkle's ruling ordered an official federal injunction on the draconian restrictions imposed on voter registration workers by the FL GOP, which had earlier led to groups like the League of Women Voters of Florida being forced to cancel their voter registration drives for the first time in some 70 years.

Florida has until June 6th to official respond to the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

* * *

Video of Democracy Now segment on the DOJ's response to the FL purge follows...

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

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