Really. And kudos to Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal...
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...|
Really. And kudos to Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal...
If you haven't been able to follow Reagan-appointed federal appellate court judge Richard Posner's stunning disavowal of his landmark 2007 polling place Photo ID law ruling - from admitting he got it wrong a few weeks ago...to unconvincingly unadmitting it this week --- I'd hardly blame ya.
On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I tried to help make sense of the Photo ID Posner Coaster, as much as possible, and explain where it leaves the continuing fight against the ramped up GOP voter suppression in this country.
We also covered the criminal charges recently filed against repeat offender Diebold (for what the U.S. Attorney described as "a worldwide pattern of criminal conduct"); the new way that KS and AZ have come up with to keep legal voters from voting; and, with NJ Gov. Chris Christie up for re-election next week and taking a bow for his post-"Superstorm Sandy" performance one year ago this week, it seemed a good time to revisit the secret Koch Brothers audio tapes we revealed in 2011, when Christie was lauded at a secret Koch Brothers meeting in Colorado, where brother David introduced him proudly as "my kind of guy", among other praises sung.
Oh, and Desi Doyen joined us, as usual, for the latest Green News Report and lessons --- learned or otherwise --- one year after "Sandy"...
MP3 Download or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...
New revelations and global protests by ordinary citizens and world leaders --- including U.S. allies --- over NSA surveillance, have now settled into an almost daily affair.
In the meantime, during an interview on Democracy Now! this week, journalist Glenn Greenwald offered up an analysis that may help explain what he now describes as an "institutional obsession" with surveillance by the U.S. government.
"If you reveal to populations around the world that their calls are being spied on by the millions, they’ll first wonder, 'Why are my calls of interest to the U.S. government?'," Greenwald observes. "But when it becomes apparent that the United States government is doing this for economic advantage, they start to feel personally implicated, like they’re being actually robbed."
While readers would do well to watch the entirety of the interview (see video below), the analysis offered within by Greenwald is especially poignant because it ties the NSA’s massive surveillance state in many of these foreign countries, not to the prevention of terrorism, but to the seemingly insatiable quest on the part of the U.S.-based, corporate global empire to secure economic advantage...
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' conspiracy theory website InfoWars decries "tin-foil hat"-wearing "nut-jobs" for citing a "nefarious conspiracy" and "baseless theories" for which "there is no actual evidence."
As everything falls apart on The Hill tonight, again, Sen. Ted Cruz' speech writer and senior communications adviser Amanda Carpenter just had the temerity to tweet this...
It's almost November and I have no idea what my health plan will be or what it will cost in January. This. Is. Awful.
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) October 15, 2013
She must be joking, right? Apparently, she isn't. Just completely and entirely tone deaf. Or just plain stupid. Congressional staffers are being forced to buy their health care on the Affordable Care Act exchanges because Republicans in the Senate added that requirement in an amendment during the fight over the ACA's passage in 2010, hoping that it would be a poison pill to kill the bill. The Democrats called their bluff and said, 'Okay, fine.' And now Carpenter is whining about the uncertainty it appears to be causing her.
That, while she and her boss are bringing down the U.S. government and potentially the global economy, in an attempt to keep some 50 million Americans from getting health care at all. Amazing.
UPDATE: With Fitch issuing a warning tonight that they may soon be forced to downgrade the U.S. government's AAA credit rating, thanks to the GOP's Cruz-inspired threats to default on the debt limit, maybe Carpenter will soon have the chutzpah to whine about the drop in value of her 401k plan.
[This is article now been cross-published by Salon...]
This is nothing less than remarkable. The 7th circuit court judge who wrote the majority opinion in the landmark Crawford v. Marion County Election Board case, has now admitted he got it wrong!
"I think we did not have enough information," Judge Richard Posner said in remarks at HuffPo Live today. "If the lawyers had provided us with a lot of information about the abuse of voter identification laws, this case would have been decided differently."
Crawford is the Indiana polling place Photo ID restriction case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was upheld in 2008. It is the case cited, usually inaccurately, by Republican advocates of such restrictions, who argue that such disenfranchising laws are not in violation of the U.S. Constitution. For example, it is the case cited (inaccurately) by TX Attorney General Greg Abbott, in his argument against the U.S. Dept. of Justice's current lawsuit attempting to block the Lone Star State's most recent attempt to institute that voting restriction at their polling places. "The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws do not suppress legal votes," Abbott said misleadingly in response to the DoJ's suit, as explained in detail last month by BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest Canning.
But, setting aside the misuse of SCOTUS' very limited ruling on Crawford, the remarkable news today comes via UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen, who transcribes remarks made today by Judge Richard Posner, author of the original 7th circuit majority opinion in Crawford, now completely recanting his original opinion on the case!
Read this from Hasen. It's amazing...
Speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate last week, on the third day of the federal government shutdown, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) excoriated Republicans in the House of Representatives as "extremists" and "anarchists", while offering an impassioned case for why "government matters."
[See video and transcript below.]
"When I hear the latest tirades from some of the extremists in the House, I am struck by how vague these complaints are," she said. "The anarchy gang is quick to malign government, but when was the last time anyone called for regulators to go easier on companies that put lead in children’s toys, or for food inspectors to stop checking whether the meat in our grocery stores is crawling with deadly bacteria, or for the FDA to ignore whether morning sickness drugs will cause deformities in little babies?"
She went on to argue that the American system of governance, though far from infallible, can carry out the will of the people who are positioned to correct it and make it better. "Our democracy is an experiment, and it’s always evolving. We constantly redesign and re-imagine and improve on what we do together."
"You can do your best to make government look like it doesn’t work when you stop it from working. You can do your best to make government look paralyzed when you paralyze it. You can do your best to make government look incompetent through your incompetence, and ineffective through your ineffectiveness. But sooner or later, the government will reopen. Because this is a democracy, and this democracy has already rejected your views," she said, before concluding with a message of optimism.
"Today," Warren said, "a political minority in the House that condemns government and begs for this shutdown has had its day. But like all the reckless and extremist factions that have come before it, their day will pass, and our democracy will return to the important work that we have already determined to do together."
Here's a video of the key section of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's powerful 10/3/2013 remarks on the U.S. Senate floor, (a longer version can be viewed here) followed by a text transcript...
[This is article has now been cross-published by Salon...]
The man who wrote Arizona's "Papers Please" law before running for Kansas Secretary of State in 2010 on the premise of stamping out "voter fraud" there ... before winning and subsequently not being able to find much, if any of it, at all, is nonetheless still at work attempting to keep legitimate voters from being able to cast their vote under the premise that thousands of non-citizens are somehow, secretly, illegally voting in the state of Kansas.
"In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive," Kris Kobach's personal website still reads today. He just can't seem to find any.
Despite that annoying little truth, he now has a new plan to try and keep those "alien voters" from voting, even if it involves keeping 17,500 or more perfectly legal U.S. citizen residents of Kansas from voting as well...
Have we hit rock bottom yet? Sadly, I don't think so. Not yet.
The Republicans still have much more to burn down, it seems. Starting with themselves. But they're well on the way. And they have only themselves to blame.
The good news...Perhaps the only good news: It all made for a very lively BradCast today on L.A.'s KPFK/Pacifica Radio, as we stomped out the myths that Chuck Todd refuses to, and heard from tons of callers in the bargain.
Oh, and there was much more, but you'll have to listen to find out about it. Enjoy! I know I did!
Download MP3 or listen online below...
Looking for something to do while the government is shut down? Sign up for "ObamaCare"!
At the same moment Republican extremists closed down the U.S. Government tonight at midnight Eastern Time, for the first time in 17 years, HealthCare.gov finally opened for business!...
The U.S. Justice Department announced today that it will be filing suit to block the central provisions of North Carolina's new, draconian restrictions on voting.
The DoJ will also ask the federal courts to require preclearance for new election-related laws in the state.
The Tar Heel State's massive new, controversial restrictions on voting were passed by Republicans this Summer just after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act in June. We've previously described the new measure as the nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era.
The DoJ lawsuit is the latest element of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's vow this summer to use "every tool" at the DoJ's disposal to fight for voting rights after SCOTUS dismantled a key provision of the VRA that required jurisdictions with a long history of racial discrimination in election laws, such as North Carolina, to seek federal approval, or "preclearance" before new election related laws could be enforced.
The suit follows similar action by the DoJ in Texas, where new polling place Photo ID restrictions and Congressional redistricting --- both previously found by the DoJ and federal courts to be purposefully discriminatory in the Lone Star State --- are also being challenged as violations of the VRA and the U.S. Constitution. The federal suit in NC is the latest of several complaints filed against the state's massive new voting restrictions, all of them alleging, with no small amount of evidence in support, that the law is a racially motivated attempt to suppress minorities and other Democratic-leaning voters.
From the DoJ announcement today:
Note the important point in the above alleging that the NC law is not only discriminatory, it is also purposely so. That argument will be key to the DoJ's case that the new law is in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as its argument that the state should be "bailed in" to require preclearance, as per Section 3(c) of the Act...
As the latest round(s) of GOP hostage taking play out in Congress, it's worth stepping back a moment to take note of what is at the heart of their ploy-slash-temper tantrum-slash-effort to undermine the very essence of American democracy.
It's also worth taking note of the fact that it's unlikely, ultimately, to work and, if we can take any lessons from what has happened here in California, is very likely to redound, big time, against the Republicans and their "contempt for the democratic process," as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) described it Friday, now on display in the nation's capitol.
"This whole debate over Obamacare is just a small part of what this right wing agenda is all about," Sanders observed during an appearance on MSNBC, as he described the twin threats of a government shutdown and defaulting on our financial obligations in the debt ceiling fight a few weeks from now, as but a part of "a right wing extremist agenda funded by people like the Koch brothers…who put hundreds of millions of dollars into the 'Tea Party.'"
Sanders' observation is vital to a comprehensive understanding as to why the very survival of our representative form of democracy may hinge upon a refusal to cave into a tactic that the Senator describes as "blackmail". Indeed, the New York Times describes the latest GOP tactics as the equivalent of a "ransom note" filled with "extortionist demands". President Obama, who once made the mistake of negotiating with Republicans on such terms, now aptly described the GOP threats, in a speech to The Business Roundtable, as a form of extortion.
Sanders noted that it's as if the Republicans now say: "Elections don't matter! We can shut down the government at any time to get our way!"
And, he's right. That's the plan. But it's not likely to get them what they want. More encouragingly, it's very likely to backfire on them completely...
Not sure what's going on, of late. But still more good news today...
It is the first time a court has struck down a state ban on same-sex marriage as a direct result of the Supreme Court’s ruling, and it comes as Gov. Chris Christie continues to oppose allowing gay marriage in the state. His administration may appeal.
Lawmakers passed legislation in 2012 to allow same-sex marriage, but it was vetoed by Mr. Christie, a Republican who is considered a leading candidate for his party’s 2016 presidential nomination.
Judge [Mary C.] Jacobson’s opinion said same-sex marriages would be allowed starting Oct. 21.
If Christie would like to be a true conservative here --- one who believes in equal protection for all, as per that thing called the U.S. Constitution --- he'd give up the ghost on this one and not appeal Jacobson's decision. But, Republican primary voters don't want actual conservatism. They want Rightwingism. Your move, Chris.
Either way, this continues to signal the ultimate end --- and probably sooner than we all suspect --- of marriage discrimination across the entire nation. (Yes, they're coming for you Utah, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, et al! Get over it.)
And it also represents still more surprisingly good news for a Friday --- for any day, actually --- following on this very good news previously. This can't continue.
If you can't beat 'em...take away their right to vote. [Emphasis added]...
Earlier this month, the ACLU and other civil rights organizations detailed the crisis of felon disfranchisement and the barriers to rights restoration in a Shadow Report submitted to the UN Committee on Human Rights, explaining U.S. non-compliance with its obligations as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The report highlights how, as of 2010, Florida has disfranchised more than 1.5 million citizens due to a felony conviction – amounting to 10.42 percent of the state's voting age population and 23.3 percent of Florida's African-American voting age population.
The arbitrary nature of Florida's rights restoration process is best illustrated by how the change in the state's administration – from Gov. Charlie Crist to Gov. Rick Scott – resulted in a shift from 115,000 grants of rights restoration in 2007 to a shutdown in the process in 2011, with the current governor denying or rendering ineligible the overwhelming majority of applications.
Good thing they don't have close elections in Florida.
Yesterday, as the GOP's latest Kabuki theater threat to shut down the government unless "ObamaCare" is defunded continued apace, investigative journalist Kurt Eichnwald tweeted: "How did the GOP persuade so many otherwise rational ppl that a system of private industry competition is government run healthcare?"
He then attempted to answer his own question in a second tweet: "How? How did the GOP do it? With endless streams of lies, dragged out 2 the gullible, from ppl fearful others will learn govnt can help ppl."
True. But the problem is both much worse and far more remarkable than that.
"You have probably heard that the reason people enjoy 'free healthcare' in Australia, in the U.K. and elsewhere is that they pay higher taxes," New York Times' best selling author and video blogger John Green proclaimed, as he openly acknowledged his effort to capture attention with "mind-blowing" facts.
"But, in fact, in the United States we spend more tax money, per capita, on healthcare than Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom or Canada," he explained. "That's right, you pay more in taxes for healthcare than you would if you were British. And in exchange for those taxes, you get...no healthcare."
(Green's "mind-blowing" facts tactic appears to have worked. The video, embedded in full below, has been viewed nearly 3.5 million times since it was published on YouTube last month.)
Green underscored his rant about the outrageous per capita price for health care in the U.S. with an on-screen chart detailing how both public and private per capita healthcare expenditures in the U.S., in 2007, far exceeded such expenditures in those other countries...
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