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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 20, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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...

Is the evil, that many cite as indicative of the 'failure' of the 'War on Drugs,' actually a perverse indices of its success?
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/20/2012 8:05am PT  

Guest Editorial Series by Ernest A. Canning

Even a glimpse at the statistics leads knowledgeable sources, like Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, to describe the 'War on Drugs' as a "failed prohibitionist policy."

"Over the last 40 years, more than 45 million drug-related arrests have cost an estimated $1 trillion," Amy Goodman reported on Democracy Now! "Yet drugs are cheaper, purer and more available today than ever."

And that's just in the U.S.

According to the United Nations' 2011 World Drug Report [PDF], "in 2009, between 149 and 272 million people...aged 15-64 used illicit substances at least once in the previous year." The UN estimated that Cannabis was "consumed by between 125 and 203 million people worldwide in 2009," adding:

Drug traffickers and organized criminals are forming transnational networks, sourcing drugs on one continent, trafficking them across another, and marketing them in a third. In some countries and regions, the value of the illicit drug trade far exceeds the size of the legitimate economy.

But Nadelmann's description of the 'War on Drugs' as a "failed prohibitionist policy" is derived from the supposition that the 'War on Drugs', at least here in the U.S., was actually formulated with a desire to suppress or eliminate drug abuse.

In PART 1 of this series, we examined the question of whether the U.S. Government's effort to challenge legalization of marijuana in California and elsewhere was akin to shutting down the competition, given the CIA's long-documented history of profiting from the world-wide drug trade. In PART 2 we posited that an end to the 'War on Drugs' could deliver a devastating blow to the bottom line of American corporations who have come to depend upon the Prison Industrial Complex in the U.S. and its huge pool of slave laborers --- most, non-violent drug offenders.

So now, we must examine the hypothesis that, if accurate, should rock us all to our core.

What if the horrific consequences of the worldwide drug trade, which, per the UN 2011 World Drug Report, includes an annual death toll of 200,000, are precisely what President Nixon and the covert branches of U.S. Empire had in mind when formulating a policy that would enhance the domination of the 1% over the 99%? Are we now living in a form of Aldus Huxley's Brave New World in which "Failure is Success" can be added to the three slogans from George Orwell's 1984 --- "War is Peace," "Freedom is Slavery" and "Ignorance is Strength" --- a world in which a vote against legalization is actually a vote in favor of illicit distribution by organized crime and their allies in the CIA?...

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

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Decision coincides with ALEC's announcement that they are abandoning Photo ID restriction advocacy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/18/2012 2:34pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued two one-sentence orders declining to hear both appeals filed by Republican state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen in two different polling place Photo ID cases. In both, judges in lower courts had blocked the controversial voting rights restrictions passed by Republicans last year, finding that the law violated the state Constitution's guaranteed right to vote.

Republicans had hoped to overturn the temporary injunction placed on the law by Dane County Circuit David Judge Flanagan in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker and the permanent injunction issued by Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Neiss a week later in League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Inc. v. Walker.

The issue of a permanent injunction in the NAACP case is being heard this week in Judge Flanagan's court. The evidence included the videotaped testimony of 84-year old, home-born Ruthelle Frank, an elected member of the Brokaw Village Board who has voted in every election since 1948. Frank now faces disenfranchisement because her lack of a birth certificate prevents her from obtaining one of the "free" photo ID forms needed to cast a vote under the now enjoined law, unless she is willing to spend more than $200 for both a birth certificate and the necessary changes to state birth records to correct typos on her name in the state registry.

Van Hollen, whose office said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the Supreme Court's decision, had sought an immediate stay of the injunctions on the grounds of perceived irreparable harm if the upcoming recall elections were conducted without his party's new, draconian Photo ID restrictions in place.

The WI Supreme Court decision this week coincides with an announcement by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), in response to "a massive corporate exodus," that it is abandoning its effort to see that state legislatures pass its "model" polling place photo ID restrictions...

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

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Would legalization disrupt the economics of the Prison Industrial Complex and its pool of slave laborers?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/18/2012 7:05am PT  

Guest Editorial Series by Ernest A. Canning

This is the second of our three-part series advancing the hypothesis that one must turn to economics to make sense of the so-called 'War on Drugs' and the U.S. government's seemingly irrational obsession with shutting down something as innocuous as medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

PART 1 examined both historical and recent links between the CIA and the illicit drug trade. It explored the extent to which the so-called 'War on Drugs' has been used as cover for the CIA's covert import of narcotics, both into the U.S. and other nations, in order to fund the mischief the Agency engages in on behalf of U.S. Empire. It postulated that the government’s opposition to controlled legalization, taxation and medical, educational and psychological assistance in avoiding substance abuse is the product of an illicit supplier shutting down the competition.

Here, we will examine the profitability of the Prison Industrial Complex in the U.S. and the extent to which the world's largest prison population provides a ready source of slave labor for some of the world's largest corporations…

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

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Would legalization reduce CIA access to covert funding?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/16/2012 6:05am PT  

Guest Editorial Series by Ernest A. Canning

How does one explain it?

The Eric Holder Department of Justice (DOJ) is faced with massive banking and Wall Street fraud that nearly brought the world's economic system to its knees, yet no bankers are prosecuted. It is confronted by environmental crimes that have poisoned our air, water and even the food we eat, yet, for the most part, those crimes go unpunished. It has its hands full fending off voter suppression laws concocted by a billionaire-funded, subversive organization, which is also responsible for deadly "stand your ground" laws and an assault on the right of citizens to engage in collective bargaining.

Yet, the DOJ and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) make it a priority to target California medical marijuana dispensaries and to raid Oaksterdam University, a school founded by Richard Lee, a legalization activist who offers training in the cultivation and use of medical marijuana. It does so even though, in 1996, CA voters, by a wide margin, passed an initiative that "allows patients with a valid doctor's recommendation...to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use." The raids were also made against the backdrop of polls showing that a majority of Americans support legalization of marijuana.

In this three-part series, we will advance the hypothesis that this seemingly irrational obsession with busting medicinal marijuana dispensaries and fending off legalization of even the most innocuous of drugs, Cannabis, can only be understood in the context of U.S. Empire and the economics of the Prison Industrial Complex.

In this first part of the series, we examine both historical and recent links between the CIA and the illicit drug trade. We touch upon the extent to which the so-called 'War on Drugs' has been used as cover for the CIA's covert import of narcotics, both into the U.S. and other nations, in order to fund the mischief the Agency engages in on behalf of U.S. Empire. That operation, evidence strongly suggests, continues to this day.

At the core of that hypothesis is the question as to whether an end to the phony 'War on Drugs' and its replacement by controlled legalization, taxation and medical, educational and psychological assistance in avoiding substance abuse would cut off a key, illicit source of covert CIA funding...

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

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UPDATE: Call to end 'corporate personhood' passes Vermont Assembly...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/14/2012 1:39pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

On Wednesday, by a bi-partisan vote of 26-3, the Vermont state Senate passed a resolution "calling for an amendment to the [U.S.] Constitution that corporations are not people and money is not speech and can be regulated in political campaigns" according to advocacy group, Move to Amend.

A majority of Senate Republicans joined with all of the Democrats in voting to approve the measure. The three nay votes came from Republicans after similar resolutions were passed in March by 64 different communities in Vermont.

Move to Amend observed that the Green Mountain State's Senate resolution goes much further than similar resolutions passed in Hawaii and New Mexico, which sought only to overturn the infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission [PDF]. (The CA State Assembly also passed a resolution last month to overturn Citizens United).

In 2010, President Barack Obama blasted Citizens United as "devastating to the public interest." During his 2010 State of the Union Address, the President said the Court's decision would "open the floodgates for special interests --- including foreign corporations --- to spend without limit in our elections."

However, the President has, as yet, not offered a rejoinder to the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt "Gordon Gekko" Romney, by squarely stating that "corporations are not people!"

If the President followed Vermont's lead, would it portend to a Democratic landslide in November? Would the SCOTUS, faced with the prospect of a Constitutional Amendment that would put an end to corporate personhood altogether, feel pressured to either overrule or, at a minimum, curtail the reach of Citizens United?...

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

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Powerful corporate lobbying syndicate's 'privatized legislative system' said to undermine state's public institutions, rule of law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/3/2012 3:37pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The War for Wisconsin continues.

In one of the latest Battles for the Badger State, Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) filed a broad-based ethics complaint [PDF] with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (G.A.B) charging that 43 Republican state legislators are in violation of both the state's ethics and lobbying laws. The named respondents in the March 23 complaint include three Republican Senators, Scott L. Fitzgerald, Van H. Wanggard and Terry Moulton, who are now facing recall elections.

The complaint alleges that lawmakers now serving in the Wisconsin state legislature violated state ethics laws by accepting corporate lobbyist-funded "scholarships", in order "to attend meetings of the American Legislative Council (ALEC)" and that many of them failed to list receipt of monies from the ALEC scholarship fund on their 2011 Statement of Economic Interests, as required by state law. In several instances, the complaint also asserts, legislators received prohibited "gifts" from corporations and their lobbyists in violation of Wisconsin ethics and lobbying laws.

The CMD complaint goes on to argue that the ALEC legislative "Task Force" system, in which "ALEC legislators and corporate lobbyists meet behind closed doors on 'model' legislation," violates Wisconsin's Open Meeting Laws. The serious charge speaks to the extent to which corporate power has not merely undermined but supplanted the very essence of "representative democracy"...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 3/25/2012 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In Wisconsin, two Dane County Circuit Court judges, David Flanagan and Richard Niess both issued injunctions against the state GOP's polling place photo ID restriction ("Act 23") --- Flanagan's temporary, Niess' permanent --- after finding that the law was in direct violation of the WI state constitution's guaranteed right to vote.

Immediately after the first of those two injunctions, issued by Judge Flanagan in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker, the WI GOP filed an ethics complaint with the WI Judicial Commission, alleging that the judge had violated the WI Code of Judicial Conduct because he had signed a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) and failed to disclose that fact before issuing his ruling.

However, when Flanagan's temporary injunction was promptly followed not only by Neiss' permanent injunction one week later, but by a subsequent refusal by an intermediate WI appellate court to stay the temporary injunction, the hard-right, operating under another right-wing billionaire front group, the Landmark Legal Foundation, filed ethics complaints against 29 WI judges who also signed recall petitions.

If you can't beat 'em, hit 'em with ethics violations complaints...

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

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UPDATE: CA Assembly asks U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/22/2012 10:17am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Citizens United rejected a congressional legislative ban on corporate campaign contributions. It says nothing about the ability to tax such contributions...

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

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Will a criminal probe undo the GOP Guv even before a recall?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/19/2012 12:55pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

What is it with Republicans and residency laws? Recently, in covering the conviction of Indiana's Republican Secretary of State Charlie White for six felonies, including three counts of felony voter fraud, Brad Friedman listed the growing number of high-level Republicans, including Mitt Romney, who may have committed voter fraud by casting ballots as registered voters from residences where they did not reside.

Now we find a little-noticed Feb. 23 report from Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) which reveals that criminal defense attorney Frank Gimbel filed a motion for change of venue --- from Milwaukee County to Columbia County --- in the criminal case pending against his client, Kelly M. Rindfleisch. Rindfleisch served as Scott Walker's Deputy Chief of Staff when Walker was the Milwaukee County Chief Executive and is one of four top deputies to have been indicted, so far, as part of Milwaukee County prosecutors' long-running "Joe Doe" investigation.

In his motion, Gimbel alleges Rindfleisch, "didn't live in Milwaukee County when the misconduct allegedly took place," according to WPR.

In the bargain, as a comparison of Gimbel's motion to the allegations contained in the 51-page criminal complaint [PDF] (the "Rindfleisch complaint") against her suggests, Gimbel may have implicated Rindfleisch and Walker in a criminal conspiracy to violate the residency requirement for Milwaukee County employment. That apparent violation appears to have occurred as part of the broader scheme alleged by prosecutors to misuse that office to gain a political advantage for Walker and other GOP candidates during the 2010 campaign...

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

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Rulings could have major impact on looming recall elections...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/17/2012 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Friday, an intermediate Wisconsin appellate court denied a request made by WI Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R), on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker's administration, to stay an order issued earlier this month by a Dane County Circuit Court that temporarily suspended the state GOP's polling place Photo ID law.

In Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker --- the first of two cases within the past two weeks to result in an injunction on the voting restrictions, known as "Act 23," enacted by a Republican-majority last year --- Judge David Flanagan temporarily enjoined [PDF] enforcement of the law on the grounds that it was in violation of the WI Constitution's guaranteed right to vote.

As of now, that injunction will still stand. In the bargain, local election officials are now seeking to comply with Judge Flanagan's order, so that Photo ID will not be required at the polls in the statewide April primary elections, upcoming recall elections scheduled for May and June, or for the 2012 general election this November.

Unless the denial of a stay is promptly reversed by the partisan Republican majority on the WI Supreme Court, the ruling could have an immediate adverse impact on the ability of the state's controversial Governor, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and the Republican state Senators facing upcoming recall elections to retain office...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 3/15/2012 10:04am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Democrats clearly feel they've got a potent campaign year issue in fighting back against what they've described, justifiably, as the "Republican Party's War on Women." In a fundraising email from Sen. Barbara Boxer's "PAC for a Change," the California Democrat writes:

My work is my words, and it is rare for me to admit that I need help expressing the depth of my feelings. But given recent events surrounding the vicious attacks on women's health in the Senate, in the House, and on the radio airwaves, I have turned to music to help me express why it is so crucial to elect more women who will stand up for our rights and for the respect we deserve.

The email includes a link to a music video meant to support her WinWithWomen2012.com campaign. The webpage for the campaign, described as "a Project of Barbara Boxer's PAC for Change," asks supporters to "Elect the most women Senate candidates in history," and highlights 11 different female Democratic U.S. Senate candidates who are set to be on this year's ballot.

The video, obviously, speaks for itself...

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The Wisconsin Governor's creation of a 'legal defense fund' suggests as much...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/11/2012 9:13pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Wisconsin's embattled Governor Scott Walker (R) will almost certainly face a recall election soon, but he is not - repeat - not a target of an ongoing criminal investigation in Milwaukee County...even though last month he hired two criminal defense attorneys to represent him and, on Friday, he announced the creation of an official legal defense fund, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Daniel Bice.

The no-uncertain-terms denial about his status in the criminal probe comes from Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews who took pains to note on Friday, as the creation of his legal defense fund was announced: "We reiterate that Gov. Walker has been told that he is not a target of this investigation."

On the other hand, state law only allows for such funds to be created under certain circumstances. Bice notes that according to the state's Government Accountability Board [PDF], "Wisconsin Statutes permit a state government official who is being investigated for or charged with a violation of campaign finance laws or prohibited election practices to establish a 'legal defense fund' for expenditures supporting or defending the candidate while that person is being investigated for, or charged with, or convicted of a violation of those chapters."

So who is telling the truth? There's at least one person who may have an inside track to the Milwaukee prosecutors' long-time investigation, in which four top officials of Walker's have already been snagged, and that insider suggests Walker is likely in trouble...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 3/5/2012 4:16pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"When you let university administrators or other employers rather than women and their doctors dictate whose medical needs are legitimate and whose are not, a woman’s health takes a back seat to a bureaucracy focused on policing her body." - Georgetown Univ. Law Student, Sandra Fluke

One unfortunate aspect of the firestorm surrounding Rush Limbaugh's profoundly uninformed, deceptive and misogynistic vitriol and calls for accountability for the Rightwing radio blowhard, is that it has completely overshadowed the substance of Fluke's testimony on the importance of access to prescription contraceptives to women's health.

The Limbaugh firestorm has also overshadowed the fact that the American Taliban (aka the elected Tea Party House Republicans) prevented Fluke from testifying at a House Oversight Committee hearing, framed by the Republican majority as a hearing on "religious freedom", because, as the Washington Post described, "she was not a member of the clergy."

Indeed, while much is made of the fact that the first panel at the 2/16/12 House Oversight Committee examining an issue vital to women's health was all-male, few have taken note that it was also all-clergy. In opening the hearing, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) announced: "Today, the committee will hear testimony from leaders of different faiths."

Not only did the right-wing GOP House leaders fail to so much as recognize Fluke's right to be heard, but, according to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (see video embedded in above-linked Washington Post article), they also refused to permit House Democrats to use the House Recording Studio as part of an effort to try and prevent the public from seeing and hearing Fluke's testimony at all. Instead, Pelosi and the Democrats of the Democratic Steering Committee were forced to hold a separate, unofficial "forum", in order to hear Fluke's testimony.

The video of Fluke's opening statement, the testimony that Republicans sought to prevent from being heard at all, is now posted below.

But it is the larger, arguably more disturbing constitutional ramifications of the actions of House Republicans that we'd like to take a moment to highlight on, as they have been almost entirely overlooked in this unnecessary brouhaha...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/29/2012 3:35pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Last September's hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights established that polling place photo ID restriction laws have nothing to do with eliminating "voter fraud."

They are, instead, part of what Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, described at the time as the "largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era" --- part of the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP exercise in voter suppression. Her testimony established, yet again, that such laws have a disparate impact upon minorities, the poor, the elderly and students (all of whom happen to have the unfortunate tendency of voting Democratic).

Despite the national nature of this coordinated, well-documented and well-funded assault on minority voting rights, so far the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has confined its legal response to such newly-enacted laws to only the small number of "covered" jurisdictions, for example, South Carolina, that are subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). That section of the law requires federal preclearance for new election-related laws in those "covered" jurisdictions, since they each have demonstrated a long history of racial discrimination.

The narrow action taken by the DoJ to date, as based only on Section 5 of the VRA, could all change if they took the time to study the content of the new complaint, Jones v. Deininger [PDF], as filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The complaint alleges that Wisconsin's new polling place photo ID law ("Act 23") "is a voter suppression law that burdens African-American and Latino voters most heavily [which]...results in them having 'less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice,' and, thereby, constitutes a denial and abridgment of their right to vote in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act."

The complaint in Jones, which was signed by attorney Charles T. Curtis, Jr. of Arnold & Porter, LLP, seeks to enjoin the implementation of Wisconsin's Act 23 and a declaration that it violates Section 2 of the VRA. When asked whether he contemplates seeking a preliminary injunction on the new law prior to the next election, Curtis was only able to tell The BRAD BLOG at this time that they "want to move the case as quickly as the Court will allow, and plan to request a pretrial conference to discuss motion and briefing schedules."

The additional question remains, however, will the U.S. DoJ defend federal law by opting to join this lawsuit as a plaintiff?...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/28/2012 3:24pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

We recently detailed how legal documents reveal that prosecutors in Wisconsin are painstakingly examining evidence that may well place Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) at the center of a criminal conspiracy to illegally utilize employees within the Milwaukee County Executive Office to engage in fundraising and campaign activities. We observed that a recall may therefore be the least of Walker's worries.

The relationship between Walker's potential criminal liability and his recall vulnerability has not gone unnoticed by the WI Democratic Party. Asserting that Walker "has given a blizzard of contradictory statements about what he knew and when he knew it," WI Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate released an ad which refers to the pending criminal scandal as "Walkergate" (see video below) and draws an analogy to Richard Nixon's role in Watergate.

Simultaneously, the embattled governor on Monday abandoned his effort to challenge the more than one million signatures submitted on the Recall Walker petition...

Recall Walker ad comparing Scott Walker to Richard Nixon follows...

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About Brad Friedman...
Brad is an independent investigative
journalist, blogger, broadcaster,
VelvetRevolution.us co-founder,
expert on issues of election integrity,
and a Commonweal Institute Fellow.

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