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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attorney dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical questions'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
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'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
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'Green News Report' 10/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
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WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
While not contesting lower court's finding of law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS precedent on last minute voting changes...
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  w/ Brad & Desi
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Previous GNRs: 10/9/14 - 10/7/14 - Archives...
Strange But True: Minority Ruled in WI Photo ID Case
A bizarre sidebar to the federal court's ruling in WI, thanks to a quirk in the law and Dems' inability to fill a vacant seat on the 7th Circuit...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
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Liar, Liar: Father and Son Reps Duncan Hunter Just Make Shit Up
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SCOTUS BLOCKS WI PHOTO ID VOTING LAW
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FEDERAL JUDGE STRIKES DOWN TX GOP'S 'UNCONSTITUTIONAL, DISCRIMINATORY' PHOTO ID VOTING LAW
U.S. District Court judge permanently enjoins GOP law, finds it discriminates, amounts to a poll tax...
ACLU on 'Photo ID Needed to Fly' Canard
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Non-KPFK 'BradCast': Special Election Coverage/Primal Scream Edition
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100s already disenfranchised; Nation's worst suppression law to have full trial next year...
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7th Circuit Offers Blatant FALSEHOODS in Ruling on WI Photo ID Voting Law
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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...
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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
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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
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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 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...

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

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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...

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

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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...

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Come November, CA voters may be forced to choose between two Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/30/2012 1:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Recently, The BRAD BLOG criticized the undemocratic features of the new "Top Two" open primary system (aka the "Cajun Primary") in California. The new system, approved via a ballot initiative in 2010, changes the state's primary to system to allow a single, open primary in which the two candidates who receive the highest numbers of votes, go on to face each other in the November general election even if the combined totals of the 'Top Two' do not amount to a majority of votes cast in the primary.

In our critique, we cited the race for the newly created CA-26 Congressional seat where, despite a Democratic Party voter registration advantage, come November, voters may be forced to choose between a 'Tea Party' Republican and a stealth Republican who changed her party registration to independent just days prior to the candidate filing deadline because the two are matched against four Democrats on the June 5 "Top Two" primary ballot.

Our analysis drew criticism in comments from some right-leaning readers claiming our critique was simply a case of sour grapes by a progressive author. But, the state's upcoming U.S. Senate race reveals that the undemocratic potential of the 'Cajun Primary' cuts both ways; that there is a distinct possibility that all Californians, come November, will be forced to choose between the incumbent corporate Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein, and the Occupy Wall Street-connected, computer scientist David Levitt (see video below), who is also a Democrat...

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CA-26 House race exemplifies anti-democratic potential of 2010's voter-approved 'Top Two' open primary system...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/23/2012 1:31pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

When the new Congressional map was first produced by the non-partisan California Citizens Redistricting Commission, CA's GOP leadership expressed concern that it might lose up to five of its nineteen Congressional seats in the bargain.

Although its legal challenge to redistricting was rejected by the CA Supreme Court (a majority of whom were appointed by Republican Governors), the June 5, 2012 "Top Two" open primary (aka "Cajun Primary") contests, approved by a 2010 ballot initiative, may allow for GOP pickups, even in areas where Republican voters represent the minority.

One example is in the newly created CA-26 Congressional District, which reveals a potential formula by which the GOP can overcome adverse party registration numbers --- in that case, 40% (D), 36% (R), 19% (I) --- in order to seize a Congressional seat.

Because four Democrats are competing in the CA-26 primary, long suffering progressives, including this writer, who had previously been forced to cast a protest vote in the now defunct, heavily gerrymandered CA-24 District of the outgoing, extreme right-wing Republican Elton Gallegly, may awake on June 6 to the reality that, come next November, they will be forced to choose between a 'Tea Party' Republican and a County Supervisor who "changed her voter registration...from Republican to 'no party preference' in preparation for her bid for Congress"...

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Robert Reich explains 'The Magic of Private Equity'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/15/2012 9:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

We covered the subject of wealth acquisition by the likes of Charles Koch and Mitt Romney in "Wealth vs. Democracy and the 2012 Presidential Campaign" --- "outsourcing, manipulations of the financial markets, of government and our laws" --- not as character flaws but as variants of the behaviors one can anticipate from their class.

As we approach the Fall campaign, we can anticipate a propaganda blitz that is based on variations of a line from the song "If I Were a Rich Man" of Fiddler on the Roof --- "When you're rich, they think you really know."

No doubt we will hear, time and again, that Mitt "Gordon Gekko" Romney's wealth acquisition is a testament to his business savvy that will equate to jobs creation. Against that backdrop is this short video (below) in which Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, provides a succinct rebuttal to the jobs scam canard...

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Despite legal setbacks, hard right still working to strike minority voting rights via state Constitutional Amendment...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/11/2012 3:41pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Good news for democracy. Bad news for the GOP deceivers and the billionaire sociopaths, like the Koch brothers, who fund them. Missouri's courts have shown that their state's nickname, "The Show-Me State," is apropos.

In Weinschenk v. State (2006), the MO Supreme Court struck down a GOP-enacted polling place photo ID law because it violated the Equal Protection clause of the MO Constitution which treats voting as a "fundamental right." It recognized a compelling governmental interest in preventing voter fraud, but observed that "the Photo-ID Requirement is intended to prevent only impersonation of a registered voter and will not affect absentee ballot or registration fraud."

As the GOP could not muster evidence of in-person impersonation, they failed to establish that their 2006 Photo ID law was narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling governmental interest. The Court, in Weinschenk, based on the facts presented, also determined that the 2006 GOP Photo ID law operated as an unconstitutional poll tax, thereby violating the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

But since when have Republicans hell-bent on undermining our system of electoral democracy let a few negative court rulings or fundamental Constitutional rights stand in their way?...

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