w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
The "Overturn Citizens United Act", or Prop 49, will not appear on California's ballot this November after all.
As we reported in some detail last month, the unusual "advisory measure" was placed on the ballot very recently by the California state legislature. It called for Congress to "propose an amendment...to the United States Constitution" to overturn the infamous Citizens United decision and its progeny, and "to make clear that the rights protected by the United States Constitution are the rights of natural persons only."
But now, the state Supreme Court in California, dominated by 5 Republican appointees and 1 Democratic appointee, has intervened to remove the measure from this year's general election ballot, as the Sacramento Bee reports tonight...
We're on the road this week, so can't get into great detail. But not much is needed, as Justin Levitt's piece at Washington Post's "Wonk Blog" does all the heavy lifting.
We've previously reported on the exhaustive study by the non-partisan News21 consortium which found just 10 incidents of possible voter fraud that might have been deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions in all 50 states from 2000 to 2012. That report was based on all of the official actions filed in each state during that time period, of all forms of potential voter fraud or voter registration fraud or, more broadly, election fraud in general.
But now Levitt --- a constitutional and democracy law professor at Loyola University Law School, who also works on related issues with NYU's Brennan Center for Justice and frequently testifies as an expert in various law suits and hearings regarding voting rights --- offers an update to those numbers. The results are remarkable, though unsurprising to those who have followed the creation of this Republican stalking horse for the past decade.
Levitt's offers an even more expansive investigation than News21's, and includes all known incidents and allegations, even those which haven't been filed formally with election or law enforcement officials.
"To be clear," he writes, "I'm not just talking about prosecutions. I track any specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls, in any way that an ID law could fix."
His explanation of what he has found --- from every known allegation of this type of voter fraud between 2000 and 2014 in all 50 states --- is staggering, to say the least...
With each passing day it becomes more and more clear --- as if it wasn't from the get-go, when Republicans initially began objecting to Obama's advocacy for a Republican-created health insurance reform plan --- that the GOP's objections to "ObamaCare" have nothing to do with the plan itself and everything to do with the fact that they didn't pass it.
No matter that we'd prefer to see a single-payer plan, where every American enjoys a right to receive good health care, the Affordable Care Act's success in seeing millions of previously-uninsured Americans become insured is no longer debatable by serious people.
And now we begin seeing the upside for corporations like private hospitals as well...
LifePoint Hospitals reported that the percentage of its patients paying for their own care declined from 7.1 percent to 4.8 percent over the last year, according to Bloomberg.
Those trends have led to a brightening financial outlook for the companies, according to Bloomberg. Both HCA and LifePoint increased their fiscal forecast recently as the increase in paying customers became clear. LifePoint specifically estimated that Obamacare added $13 million to its total earnings in the second quarter, 40 percent above its expectations.
Sounds terrible. No wonder Republicans are "furious" about it.
This week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio was a fund drive show for the station, but it included some interesting stuff along the way, including an in-studio visit with documentary filmmaker and election integrity advocate John Wellington Ennis, who's newest film, Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes, has its L.A. "green carpet" premiere next week. (Note: I appear in the documentary, but from the early cuts I've seen, it's excellent anyway.)
It also allowed me to
rant a bit about connect a few dots between things like last weekend's aborted "recount" in the California Controller's primary election (which, as I reported earlier this week, helped draw a roadmap for how to steal an election in this state with little likelihood of being caught), and the more-than-decade-long fight for election integrity, including the continuing fight for actual citizen oversight of public elections, which both Ennis and I have waged in parallel journeys.
Moreover, it allowed me to connect some dots again between things like the infamous Citizen's United decision, which cut off much hope for election integrity at its knees in 2010, and the emergence of the mainstream Republican global warming denialist movement. Yes, the two issues are directly connected. (For more on that, which I didn't get time to fully cover on the show as hoped, see this.)
Finally, it also allowed me to talk about, and play some great clips from, three of my favorite election integrity documentaries (one of them Ennis' Free For All: One Dude's Quest to Save Democracy), which we made available as premiums for listeners pledging support for KPFK's fund drive. (And you are still welcome to call the number and offer your support as well, if you like!)
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...
According to the first-hand account of the AP reporter/witness of Arizona's state-sanctioned killing of convicted murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood this afternoon:
About 10 minutes later, the gasping began.
Wood's jaw dropped, his chest expanded, and he let out a gasp. The gasps repeated every five to 12 seconds. They went on and on, hundreds of times. An administrator checked on him a half-dozen times. He could be heard snoring loudly when an administrator turned on a microphone to inform the gallery that Wood was still sedated, despite the audible sounds.
As the episode dragged on, Wood's lawyers frantically drew up an emergency legal appeal, asking federal and state courts to step in and stop the execution.
"He has been gasping for more than an hour," the lawyers pleaded in their filings. "He is still alive."
The Arizona Supreme Court convened an impromptu telephone hearing with a defense lawyer and attorney for the state to decide what to do.
Wood took his last breath at 3:37 p.m. Twelve minutes later, Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles L. Ryan declared Wood dead. The state court was informed of the death while its hearing was underway.
It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time.
The spokesperson for the AZ Attorney General, however, was "surprised by how peaceful it was"...
The measure not only calls upon Congress to "propose an amendment...to the United States Constitution" to overturn the infamous Citizens United decision and its progeny, but "to make clear that the rights protected by the United States Constitution are the rights of natural persons only."
According to state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the author of SB 1272, the measure is intended to send "a message to Congress" that we "should not equate money with free speech and corporations are not people."
A constitutional amendment that eliminated "corporate personhood" would not only invalidate Citizens United but would overturn the newly minted right to "corporate religious liberty" established in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc. (2014).
Unfortunately, the language Lieu included in the measure stops short of "money is not speech." Instead, the measure simply provides for "full regulation or limitation of campaign contributions and spending, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of wealth, may express their views to one another."
While the ballot proposition is not binding, and has produced critics who describe the measure as little more than a political stunt, if adopted by an overwhelming majority of California voters this fall, it could very well help to ignite a nationwide groundswell of opposition to a series of decisions by an oligarchic Supreme Court that have threatened the very survival of our constitutional representative democracy...
In other words, those popular lies and deceptions that never seem to die on everything from e-cigs and vaping to the death penalty to Ann Coulter's voter fraud to Fox "News" propaganda on global warming and polling place Photo ID laws (too many of those to link here) to the fight for marriage-equality in Mississippi.
In other words, there was a lot packed in to this week's 58 minutes, including a lot of bullshit to dispel, a bunch of great callers, and even one who totally disagreed with me on e-cigs and children. That was fun.
Check it out. I think you'll enjoy it...
Download MP3 or listen online below...
P.S. During the show, a caller questioned the facts of a quote I read on air from a press release issued today by the Freedom to Marry organization, citing the first Mississippi mayor to call for marriage equality in the state. The quote in question was from the group's President Evan Wolfson, who said in the statement: "More same-sex couples are raising children in Mississippi than in any other state."
The caller, appropriately, challenged the veracity of the statement, and I promised I'd look into the details, since I had just received the release prior to air time and didn't have the details handy. Now I do. Here's where that claim comes from...
Just in, via HuffPo, a federal judge in California has ruled that the state's death penalty system violates the U.S. Constitution's restriction against "cruel and unusual punishments"...
"California's death penalty system is so plagued by inordinate and unpredictable delay that the death sentence is actually carried out against only a trivial few of those sentenced to death," Carney writes. "For all practical purposes then, a sentence of death in California is a sentence of life imprisonment with the remote possibility of death --- a sentence no rational legislature or jury could ever impose."
Carney continues: "Inordinate and unpredictable delay... has resulted in a system in which arbitrary factors, rather than legitimate ones like the nature of the crime or the date of the death sentence, determine whether an individual will actually be executed. And it has resulted in a system that serves no penological purpose. Such a system is unconstitutional."
The story goes on to note that the judge also vacated petitioner Ernest Dwayne Jones' death sentence --- he had been convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die in 1995, and that "an analysis by the Los Angeles Times found that the state spent $308 million on each execution." That analysis underscores what critics of the death penalty have long pointed out, that the cost of killing prisoners far outpaces the cost to the state of keeping them imprisoned for life.
Missouri's Democratic Governor Jay Nixon had an opportunity to encourage people to quit smoking. He didn't take it. In fact, he actually made the choice to help encourage people to continue smoking, despite the fact the deadly habit kills nearly half a million people in the U.S. alone each year.
On Monday, the Governor vetoed Senate Bill 841. While the legislation would have restricted the sale of nicotine vaping products such as e-cigarettes to minors, and required sellers to receive a license from the state, it also exempted the non-lethal devices and products --- which are quickly becoming very popular as a method to quit smoking --- from existing laws and taxes levied against harmful tobacco products.
"This bill appears to be nothing more than a thinly disguised and cynical attempt to exempt e-cigarettes from taxes and regulations protecting public health," Nixon said in his veto message.
This sort of dangerous short-sightedness, unfortunately, is not unusual for Democrats, of late. It also flies in the face of both science and common sense...
So there's some encouraging news to start your day.
For much more on the pending federal challenge to the TX Republicans' attempt to institute their disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction --- a law which had otherwise been repeatedly rejected as discriminatory by both the DoJ and federal courts until SCOTUS gutted the central protections of the Voting Rights Act last year --- see just some of our recent previous coverage here:
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
[This article now cross-published by Salon...]
The case against North Carolina's radical voter suppression law begins hearings today, as the U.S. Dept. of Justice, the ACLU, the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs seek a preliminary injunction on the most sweeping and restrictive "election reform" bill in the nation.
After Republicans took over both the legislature and the Governor's office in the Tar Heel State for the first time since Reconstruction, they instituted what we described after passage of the law in 2013 as "the nation's most restrictive voter suppression law".
In addition to draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions (despite any evidence of in-person voter impersonation in the state), the legislation also shortens the early voting period; eliminates NC's very successful same-day voter registration program; eliminates pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds; bars counting provisional ballots cast in the right county but wrong precinct; prohibits extending poll hours even for extraordinary circumstances such as long lines; allows any registered voter in a county to challenge the eligibility of anyone else to vote in the same county; and much more.
Virtually every anti-voting provision that has been passed or attempted to be passed by Republicans across the country was included in NC's legislation. After House Bill 589 --- known officially as the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA) --- was originally adopted in July of 2013, then signed days later by Gov. Pat McCrory (R), we explained it to be "the whole ball of wax. Everything that a Republican desperate to stay in power by keeping legal (Democratic-leaning) voters from being able to cast their legal vote could ever want, short of a provision declaring outright that 'Non-Republican voters need not apply'."
As the hearings begin, the Winston-Salem Journal's coverage over the weekend drew a bead on just how transparently partisan this legislation is, as it ballooned from 16 to 57 pages just days after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the federal Voting Rights Act, before the law was adopted by both the state House and Senate in just two days...
If the race for Sec. of State in Ohio is any indication, we may have still more evidence now to suggest that the decade-long Republican effort to enact disenfranchising poling place Photo ID restrictions, under the guise of fighting "voter fraud", may be turning a corner toward its final end as a viable GOP voter suppression strategy.
In May we wrote an article titled "Peak GOP 'Voter Fraud' Fraud?", offering several disparate clues to suggest that the well-funded, well-organized, initally under-the-radar national effort by Republicans to disenfranchise Democratic-leaning voters by requiring state-issued Photo ID they knew that many of them did not have, was headed towards a slow, but inevitable death.
That article followed on the heels of a seemingly devastating blow to Wisconsin's Photo ID restriction law by a federal judge who struck it down, finding in his landmark ruling that the statute was in violation of both the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act, and that it was "absolutely clear" that the GOP-enacted law in the Badger State would "prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."
Our legal analyst Ernie Canning analyzed the WI ruling along side the other federal challenges against similar laws that are still pending in states like Texas, North Carolina and Arkansas, to suggest the WI decision "does not bode well for Republicans who have been attempting to advance such electoral schemes in recent years, as based on misleading 'facts', wild claims and dishonest interpretations of case law and court precedent." His legal analysis attempts to explain why the WI case "would likely mark the beginning of the end for Republican-enacted, polling place Photo ID restrictions."
We'll see if we're right in the months ahead, but the race for Secretary of State currently under way in Iowa to replace the incumbent Republican SoS --- one who had been embarrassed to find next to no "voter fraud" after running in 2010 on the notion of stamping it out --- suggests that even Republicans are moving on to other ideas...
Despite having their own 100-foot buffer zone of protection at the Court, the U.S. Supreme Court Justices unanimously struck down Massachusetts' state-wide 35-foot buffer around reproductive healthcare clinics in this country with their McCullen v Coakley decision today.
They have just announced that it is 'Open Season' on reproductive healthcare clinics in this country.
According to SCOTUS blog, where the decision was being reported live, the issue is about restricting free speech in public spaces: "A state can go beyond narrow laws that block obstructions to clinics, and more broadly ban abortion protests, only if it builds a record showing that the narrower measures don't work." (More at scotusblog.com)
I am a long-time clinic defense escort volunteer in cities from Los Angeles to Chicago to New York. The idea that the people standing outside clinics screaming and yelling, chasing people into the streets, surrounding medical transport vehicles and threatening staff are there for First Amendment expression reasons would be laughable if the potential for violence wasn't so real. They show up to intimidate patients and companions and terrorize communities.
More than 300 acts of violence were committed against reproductive healthcare clinics just between 2010 and 2012. That includes eight murders and seventeen attempted murders since 1991. More than 80% of facilities have called the police and National Abortion Federation members overwhelmingly report that buffer zones prevent violence and make staff and patients feel safer.
Apparently intimidation and terrorizing those seeking legal medical procedures is now an important First Amendment expression of "free speech", according to the Supreme Court Justices. The Court has weighed the safety of healthcare providers and American citizens against potential violence and has decided they aren't worried...
The case against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), charging that he ran a "criminal scheme" by coordinating his 2012 recall election campaign with about a dozen "outside" groups, is about much more than just Walker and his corruption.
On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I spoke with Brendan Fischer, general counsel at the Center for Media and Democracy about what could be the very last piece of campaign finance law to fall in the wake of 2010's Citizens United and 2014's McCutcheon rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. Depending on how the challenge against the case against Walker goes, there may be nothing left that keeps candidate campaigns from putting unlimited, undisclosed millions to work in buying our elections. In short, as I discussed with Fischer, democracy could well become even more hosed than it already is in this country. Who knew that was even possible, at this point?
Also, on this very busy BradCast on a very busy day: "the most prolific multiple voter in memory" (a case of massive GOP voter fraud in WI); the shadowy Photo ID initiative that went down in flames in CA; the terrible "recount" bill in CA that has now been (largely) killed following BRAD BLOG's recent exposé; a word or two about the latest absurdity in the GOP's pretend IRS "scandal"; and, as usual, Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and a some utter nonsense from Fox and Friends.
All of that and more (seriously) in this week's insanely busy BradCast! Enjoy!
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...
A Few Great Blogs
· Baghdad Burning
· Brilliant at Breakfast
· Crooks and Liars
· Dan Froomkin
· Fired Up! Missouri
· Freedom's Phoenix
· Freeway Blogger
· Glenn Greenwald
· Huffington Post
· Jesus' General
· Juan Cole
· Washington Monthly
· Media Matters
· Nashua Advocate
· Oliver Willis
· RAW STORY
· Sanoma State's
Project Censored Sites:
· Daily Censored
· Media Freedom
· Project Censored
· Scholars & Rogues
· Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
· Talking Points Memo
· Think Progress
· Tom Tomorrow
· TV Newser
· Ben Sargent
· Bill Deore
· Bob Gorrell
· Cagle's Index
· Chan Lowe
· Don Wright
· Doug Marlette
· Glenn McCoy
· Jeff Danziger
· Joel Pett
· Mike Luckovich
· Non Sequitur
· Not Banned Yet
· Pat Oliphant
· Paul Conrad
· Ted Rall
· This Modern World
· Thomas Burns
· Tom Toles
· Tony Auth
· Stuart Carlson
Or by Snail Mail
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