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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, March 4, 2015
AL's Republican Supreme Court Blocks Marriage Equality
As with all GOP 'governing' of late, if they just wish it enough, it must be true!...
'Green News Report' 3/3/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
A snowball's chance in the US Senate; Record warmth in US West; Big Oil calls for price on carbon; PLUS: In 1983, scientists warned GW would trigger unrest in Middle East. It has...
Previous GNRs: 2/26/15 - 2/24/15 - Archives...
MSM Ignores 'Climate Change' Despite Record Warm West
If it's cold in Manhattan, little else seems to matter, at least judging from coverage of unprecedented warmth in the West...
After the Low-Hanging Fruit of 'Net Neutrality'
With the hard fought victory for an open Internet now largely won, it's time for media reformers to return attention to reclaiming our public airwaves...
'Tea Party' Leader Now Begging for Health Care Funds
Former Sheriff Richard Mack, who hid behind the women on the 'front lines of freedom' at the Bundy Ranch last year, now asking public to pay for his and his wife's health care...
Inhofe's Argument Puts Climate Science on Ice
Sen. Inhofe, Chair of the U.S. Senate Environment Committee, offers a persuasive case that global warming is a hoax. Sen. Whitehouse, somehow, musters a response...
Can the FCC's 'Net Neutrality' Ruling Survive Legal, Congressional Challenges?
While the American public won a huge victory with the FCC's decision, will the ruling hold up to inevitable challenges coming its way?...
'Green News Report' 2/26/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate change and our extreme winter; Geo-engineering is madness, but... (CUE THE CHEMTRAILS!); Shell nixes Canadian tar sands; PLUS: Sucker born every minute...
Previous GNRs: 2/24/15 - 2/19/15 - Archives...
'U.S. Electoral Integrity Worst Among Long-Established Democracies': New Report
Worse than Mexico, better than Barbados: Harvard, Univ. of Sydney study finds U.S. elections ranked 45th among 107 nations...
'Green News Report' 2/24/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR's 6th Anniversary! VETOED: Obama nixes KXL; EXPOSED: Top denier outed; BUSTED: Feds clip Duke Energy; PLUS: Sorry, deniers, don't blame the sun...
Previous GNRs: 2/19/15 - 2/17/15 - Archives...
Top Climate 'Skeptic' Hid Fossil Fuel Payments
Docs reveal oft-cited Dr. Wei-Hock 'Willie' Soon failed to disclose funding from the Kochs, ExxonMobil, others when publishing 'scientific' papers disputing global warming...
Democrats Call for 'Right-to-Vote' Amendment
DNC adopts resolution calling for explicit individual right to vote to be added to the U.S. Constitution and for 2016 state ballot referendums in support...
Not Very Funny: David Swanson
"You don't have to 'Approve' or 'Disapprove' of Obama in some simplistic overall sense. There is no requirement in life or politics to be as stupid as a pollster's questions"...
When Presidential Selfies Were Hilarious
A sitting U.S. President joking about signing up for health care isn't funny or dignified! But you know what is?...
'Green News Report' 2/19/15
Another day, another oil explosion; 'Anti-petroleum' activists a security threat, says Canada; Jan. 2015 is 2nd hottest on record; PLUS: Obama on 'our best idea'...
Photo ID Restriction Bill Killed in Nebraska
A solid, bipartisan defeat of a polling place Photo ID law the Nebraska's 'non-partisan' legislature is very good news for voters...for a change...
Fox 'News' Exposes 'Biggest Science Scandal Ever Known!'
Except, you'll be shocked to learn, it isn't a scandal at all...and they are absolutely wrong. Again...
'Green News Report' 2/17/15
Another day, another TWO oil train explosions; Schizophrenic weather pounds U.S.; Southwest about to get a lot drier; PLUS: Ohio bans local fracking bans....
House Judiciary Comm. Preps for Possible Impeachment of Wife-Beating Federal Judge
Goodlatte, Conyers appear to be taking job of accountability for Judge Mark Fuller seriously; Request budget for experts, hearings, etc...
Shell Shocked: Big Oil Now Seeks 'Balance'
After decades of fossil fuel industry lies about global warming, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden is suddenly desparate to stave off the inevitable...
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 Brad Friedman on 3/3/2015 9:15pm PT  

It's kind of remarkable what seems to be going on in our country right now. Amidst the years-long ongoing Rightwing hissy-fit over "Obamacare", the GOP has, of late, been enjoying another one concerning immigration. That latest resulted in a completely pointless delay in Congressional funding of the Department of Homeland Security, as the Right pretended that because they really really want something to happen, it must happen. Ya know, kinda like a three-year old.

The GOP Congress gave up the ghost of that particular hissy-fit, at least the part where they pretended they wouldn't fund DHS because of it, earlier today. But there will be more ahead. "I also shudder for the future of this Congress," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said after the House finally approved the clean funding everybody knew they eventually would.

And now, tonight, we've got a similar hissy-fit from the Alabama Supreme Court, as they pretend they can overrule the federal courts in regard to Constitutional equal rights protections...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2015 7:14pm PT  

The courageous 'Tea Party' leader and former County Sheriff who hid behind the women on the 'front lines of freedom' at the Bundy Ranch last year, is now asking the public to pay for much needed health care for both himself and his wife. Via TPM...

Former Arizona county sheriff Richard Mack, a fierce opponent of Obamacare and a leader in the "constitutional sheriff" movement, is struggling to pay his medical bills after he and his wife each faced serious illnesses. The former sheriff and his wife do not have health insurance and started a GoFundMe campaign to solicit donations from family and friends to cover the costs of their medical care.

"Because they are self-employed, they have no medical insurance and are in desperate need of our assistance," reads a note on Mack's personal website.

Mack, the founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, suffered a heart attack in January and is in recovery. His wife fell ill late last year. Mack is on the board of Oath Keepers, a right-wing fringe group made up of police and military veterans, and is known for supporting Cliven Bundy in his standoff against the federal government. He is also an ardent opponent of Obamacare.

Well, huh. If only the tens of millions of Americans who were unable to receive health care prior to enactment of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), had just made a public name for themselves and then created GoFundMe sites to convince others to give them money to help pay for their care.

Others paying money to help their fellow countrymen receive health care. Now where have we heard that before? Oh, yeah. Too bad Mack appears to have been too much of a dumbass to sign up for Obamacare following his heart attack in January and prior to the close of this year's open enrollment period. We suspect he would have received great care at an affordable rate.

In case you don't recognize the name, Mack is the guy who, during the wingnut uprising in support of scofflaw Nevada rancher/bigot Cliven Bundy last year, discussed the Tea Partiers' courageous plan to use their wives as human shields. "We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front," Mack told Fox "News". "If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers."

Here's hoping both he and his wife receive the important medical care they deserve, even if other people are paying for it --- just as they would have, without begging, had Mack bothered to sign himself and his wife up for that federal tyranny known as Obamacare.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/27/2015 6:05am PT  

On Thursday, by way of a 3-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted 'Net Neutrality' regulations that embody the "bright-line" rules that had been proposed by President Barack Obama last November.

The new policy is unquestionably a victory for both the idea of Internet freedom, as well as for the unprecedented campaign waged by the public to advocate in favor of 'Net Neutrality' over the past several years. An outspoken public won the day, for a change, against very powerful interests. It was a victory that, particularly over previous years, seemed to be anything but assured.

Of course, as anticipated, the ruling drew harsh reactions from some Congressional Republicans as well as major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which could otherwise profit from the imposition of tolls on the Internet. (See two video explainers at end of article). Those reactions included a prediction by AT&T and by the Telecommunications Association, an industry trade group, that the new rules would be overturned either by Congress or the courts.

While both litigation and a GOP challenge to the newly adopted 'Net Neutrality' rules are almost certain, neither legal nor Congressional challenges are likely to succeed. Here's why…

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2015 2:28pm PT  

Recently, the Republicans were "outraged" by this not funny, undignified Presidential video released by BuzzFeed to help encourage Americans to sign up for health care insurance...

By way of reminder for you liberal, Obama-loving leftists out there, this is what an hilarious and dignified Presidential video looks like...

In his defense, by the time of that knee-slapping video in 2004, only about 1,300 U.S. troops had been killed by the joke. Eventually, some 4,500 of our troops would be killed by it.

If that's not hilarious and dignified, I don't know what is.

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By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2015 1:19pm PT  

A bit of good voting news, for a change, via Zach Roth at MSNBC today...

Opponents of a voter ID bill in the Nebraska legislature say they've succeeded in killing the measure.

Eleven Republicans joined all 14 Democrats Wednesday in voting to shelve for the year an ID bill that just last month was seen as having a good shot at passing.

"It is victory. It's done," state Sen. Adam Morfeld, who led the opposition, told msnbc moments after coming off the floor. "The bill is dead."

The utter lack of documented voter fraud in the state made the bill a tough sell even with many Republicans. The measure's backers were unable to cite even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law.

While that may be true, that same fact --- the lack of "even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law" --- hasn't stopped Republicans from passing similar restrictions on voting in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas, over the last several years (even as many of those restrictions have been found unconstitutional by courts thereafter.)

In 2012, a Photo ID restriction bill in Nebraska was defeated by a fillibuster, when, as AP reported at the time, critics "blasted the proposal as an attempt to keep poor,
elderly, disabled and college-aged voters from casting a ballot." This time, Roth reports, the bill was killed outright.

"We found out half-way through the filibuster that we actually had a majority of folks that wanted to kill the bill," Morfeld told MSNBC, which reports that "Voting rights advocates had said at least 112,000 Nebraskans, likely significantly more, lack the ID that would have been required" to vote under the proposed restriction.

But Roth also notes that the key to killing the bill outright was likely found in the non-partisan nature of the state's unicameral legislature which "isn't organized by party, though individual members have party affiliations. That makes it easier for lawmakers to vote their consciences."

"It's much less partisan in our body, and people are able to be more independent," Morfeld told MSNBC. "People aren't punished for not following the party lines on certain issues, because our leadership is non-partisan."

Also, it seems, thanks to the body's unique structure, the voters of the state will not be punished either, by purposely discriminatory partisan voting restrictions --- at least not this year.

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By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2015 2:55pm PT  

Encouraging news out of the embattled Deep South...

[Hat-tip TPM...]

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By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2015 3:33pm PT  

While the specific names of U.S. Senate and House committees don't always foretell precisely what very specific areas they may oversee or regard as their own purview, the renaming of such a committee by its new chair, as is occasionally done at the start of a new session, particularly when control of the chamber changes hands from one party to another, can be very telling.

I believe this may be one such instance where quite a bit can actually be read into the new name for what had previously been the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee's "Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights"...

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

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(If they are capable of being embarrassed...)
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/22/2015 5:52pm PT  

Sean Hannity and his friends on the Republican right must be furious about the outrageous land grab happening to private American citizens in Nebraska. Wait, what? He's in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline project anyway? How could that be?

The pipeline's owner, TransCanada Corp., has now filed an eminent domain action in a Nebraska state court seeking to force private landowners to grant an easement that would permit the Canadian-owned company to erect sections of the highly controversial Keystone XL on privately owned land.

The new filing comes on the heels of a controversial decision earlier this month in which a 3-judge minority of the 7-judge Nebraska Supreme Court were permitted to overturn a lower court ruling that the process by which the state's Republican Governor Dave Heineman permitted TransCanada to revise the pipeline's route was unconstitutional. Heineman's decision was upheld because of a Cornhusker state requirement that state constitutionality be determined by a super-majority of high court's justices. (The new route was necessary after both the Republican Governor and GOP-controlled state legislature objected to the originally-planned route.)

While the Nebraska Supreme Court's decision at the time served to shift the immediate focus of the debate back to Washington D.C., where the Republican-controlled House voted for fast-track approval of the pipeline and a similar bill is quickly working its way through the newly GOP-controlled U.S. Senate, TransCanada's eminent domain filing in the state may prove a major embarrassment to those same elected Republicans. Many of those same GOPers, and their mouthpieces in the media like Hannity, have previously declared fierce opposition to eminent domain abuse that occurs when either state or local entities condemn properties owned by ordinary citizens, where such condemnations primarily benefit commercial interests of wealthy corporations and developers...

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

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'Rephrased' questions to be heard by Court may not result in as definitive ruling as hoped, expected...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2015 6:35am PT  

UC Irvine law professor Rick Hasen was among the first to notice the "strange rephrasing" of the questions the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear [PDF] when it combined four different marriage equality challenges on Friday.

The questions from the different appellate court challenges that the Court agreed to entertain --- after the 6th Circuit broke with every other federal appeals court in the nation and allowed restrictions to remain on marriage rights in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee --- were combined to just two questions on which the Supremes agreed to hear arguments:

1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

Hasen described the way the first question was written as "quite odd", explaining: "Rather than ask about an equal right of gays and lesbians to marry same sex partners, it asks about the right of the states to deny same sex marriage."

Indeed, amid the jubilation following the narrow 2010 ruling by SCOTUS in the Windsor case, which effectively struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), The BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest Canning pointed out that "by limiting its decision...the court left open to future adjudication of two vitally important questions":

1. Do same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in states which have not formally recognized the right to do so?

2. Must states, which do not permit same-sex couples to marry, recognize the marital rights of those same-sex couples who have chosen to marry in other states where it is permitted?

Note the difference in the wording of Canning's "unresolved questions" from 2010 and how the Court has subtly adjusted the issue raised in the first question to become one of state's rights, rather than of equal justice under the law for the same-sex couples to be married there.

Hasen observes that the Court's new wording also "leaves open the possibility that states could get out of the marriage business entirely," as unlikely as they may seem. Other legal experts, such as Ilya Shapiro at Forbes, agreed the re-wording of questions by the Court was "unusual". "Typically the justices simply decide whether to take a case based on the petitioners' articulation," he explained.

Hasen says the unusual reframing by the Court and the late hour in the day on Friday that their order was finally released, "raises the question of why were they rewritten" in the way they were, and "with an accompanying direct order --- I've not seen that before --admonishing the parties to stick with discussing these questions presented."

So, is something afoot here?...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2015 4:29pm PT  

When will those butchers of ISIS and al-Qaeda learn how to treat others with peace, respect and dignity so that they can be welcomed into the world of civilized nations like our long time ally Saudi Arabia?...

Gruesome footage circulating on social media shows Saudi authorities publicly beheading a woman in the holy city of Mecca earlier this week. The execution is the tenth to be carried out in country in the last two weeks; setting 2015 up to be even more bloody than last year, when 87 people were punitively killed by the state.

Rare video of Monday's killing shows the woman, a Burmese resident named as Lalia Bint Abdul Muttablib Basim, screaming while being dragged along the street. Four police officers then hold the woman down before a sword-wielding man slices her head off, using three blows to complete the act.

In the chilling recording, Bashim, who was found guilty in a Saudi Sharia court of sexually abusing and murdering her seven-year-old step-daughter, is heard protesting her innocence until the very end. "I did not kill. I did not kill," she screams repeatedly.

[Ed Note: The original story at Vice links to a YouTube video of the beheading. We chose not to include that link in the above quoted text.]

The United States' long time friend Saudi Arabia, the world's second biggest oil producer (after Russia), and purchaser of the largest U.S. arms sale in American history (in 2010), has also made headlines of late for, as Vice's Harriet Salem describes it in the same article, "the public flogging of Raif Badawi, a blogger and political activist who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a total of 1,000 lashings for a range of offenses, including insulting religious authorities."

Last year, Saudi Arabia introduced a series of new laws following uprisings in other Arab nations. They claimed the laws were in response to the threat of terrorism. The royal decree is said to have defined terrorism, reportedly, as "calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based". The favored nation, according to the UK's Independent, also identified "a broad list of groups which the government considers to be terrorist organisations --- including the Muslim Brotherhood."

A spokesman for Human Rights Watch at the time explained that "Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but these recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism."

But, of course, they're our friends. So, beheadings? Oppression in the name of religion? It's all good.

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By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2015 6:46pm PT  

This week we picked up on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast where my "Why?" post (and excellent subsequent comments here at The BRAD BLOG), following the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, left off last week.

In short, my question is: Just because we can publish material offensive to millions, should we? Callers ring in with their thoughts --- lots of them --- during this interesting hour. Plus, Desi Doyen joins us, as usual, for the latest Green News Report, and to beat up the state of Texas a bit (because they deserve it)...

Download MP3 here or listen online below...

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By D.R. Tucker on 1/9/2015 6:45am PT  

"Honest statement," "Karl Rove" and "Fox News" are three phrases that usually do not belong in the same sentence (unless it's the one I'm writing now!), but George W. Bush's aide-de-camp actually told the truth on the January 6 edition of Fox's "America's Newsroom."

As The Hill reports [emphasis added]:

Karl Rove says Jeb Bush's support for Common Core education standards will be the biggest obstacle he faces as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.

"Common Core is, I think, the biggest challenge he faces," Rove said Tuesday on the Fox News show "America's Newsroom." "The question is, how can he defend high academic standards, which he believes in, when it has been conflated with the Obama administration."

Rove, formerly the top adviser to Bush's brother, President George W. Bush, said Common Core was originally a Republican idea put forth by Bill Bennett, the secretary of Education under President Reagan who was later appointed to a post in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

But Rove said President Obama has since grasped onto it, making it toxic to Republican voters.

Now how about that! Common Core --- a national state standards initiative for k-12 education --- was a GOP concept until a Democrat found merit in the idea, at which point it became radical-left tyranny.

The same, of course, is now true for the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), a scheme first proposed by the rightwing Heritage Foundation before it was later embraced by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, before Obama embraced it, so Republicans decided to pretend it was a precursor to full apocalypse.

But I can think of yet another major policy initiative that Republicans used to love until Democrats said they thought it was a good idea, too...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2015 8:05am PT  

I've been following, as I'm sure you have, Wednesday's horrific terror attack at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which resulted in the heartbreaking, pointless and outrageous deaths of 12 journalists, cartoonists and editors at the paper, including two police officers. As you know, the attack is said to have been carried out in retaliation for cartoons published by the paper over the years lampooning the Islamic Prophet Mohammed.

It was a barbaric, gruesome, and unjustifiable act, allegedly carried out by extremist adherents of the Islamic faith against a group of journalists who poked satirical fun at extremists of virtually all religious faiths over the years.

There is no question about the absolute right of the journalists to do what they did, no matter who it may have offended. Moreover, courageous responses by the journalism and cartoonist communities (some great toons in response here and here), along with that of the people of France (see these photos, akin to none that I am aware of in the U.S. after the September 11 terror attacks here) have been both uplifting and inspiring in the wake of the attack.

That said, I am still having trouble understanding at least one thing about all of this...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2015 6:05pm PT  

As Florida prepares to become the 36th state in the union to follow the Constitution and allow marriage equality after midnight tonight, Jeb Bush is still trying to figure out how to win the 2016 nomination for President from the base of the Republican Party, while still maintaining viability for a national general election.

When asked over the weekend, after a round of golf, to comment on court rulings that will lead to same-sex marriage becoming legal across the Sunshine State on Tuesday (and already today in Miami-Dade County), Bush muttered to the Miami Herald:

"It ought be a local decision. I mean, a state decision," the former governor said Sunday in a brief interview. "The state decided. The people of the state decided. But it's been overturned by the courts, I guess."

After the comment was met with criticism from advocates of the Constitution as well as Miami-Dade's Republican mayor who said he "believes adults should be free to marry whomever they desire" and that he "respects anyone's right to marry, gay or straight," Jeb attempted a mulligan and offered the following, almost impossibly non-committal, have-it-all-ways official statement...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/5/2015 7:05am PT  

- with Brad Friedman

[An earlier version of this article was originally published by Truthout...]

Both election integrity advocates and dissembling GOP proponents of Photo ID voting restrictions were taken by surprise in late 2013 when 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Posner said, during an interview with HuffPo Live, that the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision on the matter "would have been decided differently" if the Court had known then "about the abuse of voter identification laws."

That, in and of itself, was a remarkable turn of events. What was ultimately to come was even more so.

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is the case which Republican proponents of strict Photo ID voting laws now (incorrectly and often disingenuously) cite as giving them carte blanche to enact similar laws in other states, irrespective of the extent to which photo ID laws serve to disenfranchise demographic groups --- minorities, students, the poor, women --- that all tend to vote for Democrats.

Posner is not just any judge. He is a renowned legal scholar and Reagan appointee to the federal bench, who has served on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal since 1981. More importantly here, Posner was the author of the 7th Circuit's opinion in Crawford. In that case, Posner rejected an allegation that Indiana's polling place photo ID restriction was unconstitutional. That decision was affirmed at the time by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posner, who is, as Yale Law Professor Fred Shapiro notes, the most cited jurist of the 20th Century, was not alone in his view in 2013 year that Crawford "would have been decided differently" if the Court knew then what it knows now.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the author of the plurality opinion in Crawford --- an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy --- told the Wall Street Journal following Posner's remarks at the time, that he "always thought that [dissenting Justice] David Souter got the thing correct, but my own problem with the case was that I didn't think the record [before the Court in 2008] supported everything he said in his opinion." Souter would have struck down the Indiana law as unconstitutional because, as he argued at the time, it "threatens to impose nontrivial burdens" upon the right to vote.

Joined by four other 7th Circuit jurists last October, Posner penned an extraordinarily powerful and compelling dissent [PDF] in Wisconsin's photo ID voting case. The previously missing evidence is now in, as the judge meticulously detailed in the opinion. GOP claims that photo ID restrictions are needed to combat "voter fraud", he wrote, are "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government"...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

Posner's carefully crafted dissent does more than establish why the U.S. Supreme Court should ultimately sustain the District Court's finding that Wisconsin's photo ID law is both unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act --- a finding later echoed by a federal District Court in Texas as well. Posner's dissent obliterates the factual premise that had served as a pillar upon which his, and subsequently the Supreme Court's, decisions in Crawford were based.

Polling place photo ID laws do not promote voter confidence in the integrity of elections, as Posner and the Crawford Supreme Court plurality had erroneously assumed. The assertion that they do was a "mistake" --- Posner's mistake! --- and he now admits as much, with the support of devastating new data from recent studies to back him up.

His powerful dissent amounts to more than just a response to the Wisconsin GOP's new Photo ID voting law. It is an elegant plea that the U.S. Supreme Court finally right a grievous wrong that he was personally responsible for. Posner presents an astonishing, air-tight case for ruling that all "strict Photo ID laws," which, as he demonstrates, have only been enacted in states sporting GOP-controlled legislatures, must now be struck-down as unconstitutional...

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

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