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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...|
Guest Editorial Series by Ernest A. Canning
Even a glimpse at the statistics leads knowledgeable sources, like Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, to describe the 'War on Drugs' as a "failed prohibitionist policy."
"Over the last 40 years, more than 45 million drug-related arrests have cost an estimated $1 trillion," Amy Goodman reported on Democracy Now! "Yet drugs are cheaper, purer and more available today than ever."
And that's just in the U.S.
According to the United Nations' 2011 World Drug Report [PDF], "in 2009, between 149 and 272 million people...aged 15-64 used illicit substances at least once in the previous year." The UN estimated that Cannabis was "consumed by between 125 and 203 million people worldwide in 2009," adding:
But Nadelmann's description of the 'War on Drugs' as a "failed prohibitionist policy" is derived from the supposition that the 'War on Drugs', at least here in the U.S., was actually formulated with a desire to suppress or eliminate drug abuse.
In PART 1 of this series, we examined the question of whether the U.S. Government's effort to challenge legalization of marijuana in California and elsewhere was akin to shutting down the competition, given the CIA's long-documented history of profiting from the world-wide drug trade. In PART 2 we posited that an end to the 'War on Drugs' could deliver a devastating blow to the bottom line of American corporations who have come to depend upon the Prison Industrial Complex in the U.S. and its huge pool of slave laborers --- most, non-violent drug offenders.
So now, we must examine the hypothesis that, if accurate, should rock us all to our core.
What if the horrific consequences of the worldwide drug trade, which, per the UN 2011 World Drug Report, includes an annual death toll of 200,000, are precisely what President Nixon and the covert branches of U.S. Empire had in mind when formulating a policy that would enhance the domination of the 1% over the 99%? Are we now living in a form of Aldus Huxley's Brave New World in which "Failure is Success" can be added to the three slogans from George Orwell's 1984 --- "War is Peace," "Freedom is Slavery" and "Ignorance is Strength" --- a world in which a vote against legalization is actually a vote in favor of illicit distribution by organized crime and their allies in the CIA?...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued two one-sentence orders declining to hear both appeals filed by Republican state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen in two different polling place Photo ID cases. In both, judges in lower courts had blocked the controversial voting rights restrictions passed by Republicans last year, finding that the law violated the state Constitution's guaranteed right to vote.
Republicans had hoped to overturn the temporary injunction placed on the law by Dane County Circuit David Judge Flanagan in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker and the permanent injunction issued by Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Neiss a week later in League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Inc. v. Walker.
The issue of a permanent injunction in the NAACP case is being heard this week in Judge Flanagan's court. The evidence included the videotaped testimony of 84-year old, home-born Ruthelle Frank, an elected member of the Brokaw Village Board who has voted in every election since 1948. Frank now faces disenfranchisement because her lack of a birth certificate prevents her from obtaining one of the "free" photo ID forms needed to cast a vote under the now enjoined law, unless she is willing to spend more than $200 for both a birth certificate and the necessary changes to state birth records to correct typos on her name in the state registry.
Van Hollen, whose office said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the Supreme Court's decision, had sought an immediate stay of the injunctions on the grounds of perceived irreparable harm if the upcoming recall elections were conducted without his party's new, draconian Photo ID restrictions in place.
The WI Supreme Court decision this week coincides with an announcement by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), in response to "a massive corporate exodus," that it is abandoning its effort to see that state legislatures pass its "model" polling place photo ID restrictions...
Guest Editorial Series by Ernest A. Canning
This is the second of our three-part series advancing the hypothesis that one must turn to economics to make sense of the so-called 'War on Drugs' and the U.S. government's seemingly irrational obsession with shutting down something as innocuous as medicinal marijuana dispensaries.
PART 1 examined both historical and recent links between the CIA and the illicit drug trade. It explored the extent to which the so-called 'War on Drugs' has been used as cover for the CIA's covert import of narcotics, both into the U.S. and other nations, in order to fund the mischief the Agency engages in on behalf of U.S. Empire. It postulated that the government’s opposition to controlled legalization, taxation and medical, educational and psychological assistance in avoiding substance abuse is the product of an illicit supplier shutting down the competition.
Here, we will examine the profitability of the Prison Industrial Complex in the U.S. and the extent to which the world's largest prison population provides a ready source of slave labor for some of the world's largest corporations…
Guest Editorial Series by Ernest A. Canning
How does one explain it?
The Eric Holder Department of Justice (DOJ) is faced with massive banking and Wall Street fraud that nearly brought the world's economic system to its knees, yet no bankers are prosecuted. It is confronted by environmental crimes that have poisoned our air, water and even the food we eat, yet, for the most part, those crimes go unpunished. It has its hands full fending off voter suppression laws concocted by a billionaire-funded, subversive organization, which is also responsible for deadly "stand your ground" laws and an assault on the right of citizens to engage in collective bargaining.
Yet, the DOJ and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) make it a priority to target California medical marijuana dispensaries and to raid Oaksterdam University, a school founded by Richard Lee, a legalization activist who offers training in the cultivation and use of medical marijuana. It does so even though, in 1996, CA voters, by a wide margin, passed an initiative that "allows patients with a valid doctor's recommendation...to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use." The raids were also made against the backdrop of polls showing that a majority of Americans support legalization of marijuana.
In this three-part series, we will advance the hypothesis that this seemingly irrational obsession with busting medicinal marijuana dispensaries and fending off legalization of even the most innocuous of drugs, Cannabis, can only be understood in the context of U.S. Empire and the economics of the Prison Industrial Complex.
In this first part of the series, we examine both historical and recent links between the CIA and the illicit drug trade. We touch upon the extent to which the so-called 'War on Drugs' has been used as cover for the CIA's covert import of narcotics, both into the U.S. and other nations, in order to fund the mischief the Agency engages in on behalf of U.S. Empire. That operation, evidence strongly suggests, continues to this day.
At the core of that hypothesis is the question as to whether an end to the phony 'War on Drugs' and its replacement by controlled legalization, taxation and medical, educational and psychological assistance in avoiding substance abuse would cut off a key, illicit source of covert CIA funding...
Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning
On Wednesday, by a bi-partisan vote of 26-3, the Vermont state Senate passed a resolution "calling for an amendment to the [U.S.] Constitution that corporations are not people and money is not speech and can be regulated in political campaigns" according to advocacy group, Move to Amend.
A majority of Senate Republicans joined with all of the Democrats in voting to approve the measure. The three nay votes came from Republicans after similar resolutions were passed in March by 64 different communities in Vermont.
Move to Amend observed that the Green Mountain State's Senate resolution goes much further than similar resolutions passed in Hawaii and New Mexico, which sought only to overturn the infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission [PDF]. (The CA State Assembly also passed a resolution last month to overturn Citizens United).
In 2010, President Barack Obama blasted Citizens United as "devastating to the public interest." During his 2010 State of the Union Address, the President said the Court's decision would "open the floodgates for special interests --- including foreign corporations --- to spend without limit in our elections."
However, the President has, as yet, not offered a rejoinder to the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt "Gordon Gekko" Romney, by squarely stating that "corporations are not people!"
If the President followed Vermont's lead, would it portend to a Democratic landslide in November? Would the SCOTUS, faced with the prospect of a Constitutional Amendment that would put an end to corporate personhood altogether, feel pressured to either overrule or, at a minimum, curtail the reach of Citizens United?...
On my KPFK/Pacifica show Wednesday, I devoted the first part of the show to the question of "What's the problem with ALEC?" My argument was, essentially, that what the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC does via its so-called "nonpartisan public-private partnership of America's state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government, and general public" may be abhorrent, but, by and large, it is nonetheless perfectly allowable under our current, horrendous, system of corporate lobbying and campaign finance laws.
I posited that while their system of secretly crafting corporate-sponsored "model legislation" --- such as disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction laws and so-called "Stand Your Ground" laws, better described as "Shoot to Kill" laws, which are then introduced by member state legislators (almost all of whom are Republican, not "bi-partisan", as ALEC would have you believe) --- runs counter to the values of progressives, the real problem with ALEC is that they have opportunistically taken advantage of either loopholes or pro-corporate/anti-citizen statutes in state and federal law.
The BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest Canning joined me for the discussion on Wednesday and generally seems to disagree with my overall assessment, noting, among other things that it's not quite so clear that ALEC isn't violating the law. He also points to, among other things, his recent report detailing a complaint that has been filed by the Center for Media & Democracy against 43 Republican legislators in Wisconsin, members of ALEC all, who, the complaint alleges, are operating in violation of state disclosure and open meeting laws vis a vis their dealings with ALEC.
But that, I argued, is the ethical and/or legal failure of the state legislators, not specifically of ALEC.
Today, Suzanne Merkelson at United Republic, an actual non-partisan organization, dedicated to highlighting the corruption of public officials via "special interests and big money lobbyists", offers a bit of ammunition which buttresses Canning's argument...
[Now UPDATED with audio archives below. Enjoy!]
We're back tonight guest-hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show tonight and it's gonna be a busy one!
We'll be BradCasting, as usual, LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at our Sante Fe affiliate KTRC 1260, or our Minnesota affiliate KTNF 950 (use code 55447 when asked). Also, you should be able to listen live at WhiteRose Society if the radio gods are with us.
POST-SHOW UPDATE: All three "hours", busy ones, commercial-free, now follow below. My Easter/Passover gift to you. Enjoy! (And no, Elijah never showed up, even though we kept an open mic for him all night. Slacker.)...
Today on KPFK/Pacifica Radio's The BradCast I spoke to Pamela Smith, President of Verified Voting Foundation and Dan McCrea, President of the Florida Voters Foundation about the recent mess in Palm Beach County, FL where the electronic Dominion/Sequoia optical-scanners declared several losing candidates as the "winners" in a March 13th election. It took approval of a court to carry out a hand-count last weekend to determine the real winners of the elections.
So do either Smith or McCrea have confidence that the same problem hasn't already occurred or won't occur again in the 14 states (including many swing states and even Wisconsin) which use identical computer systems to tabulate votes? Do they think enough is enough and it's time to simply hand-count paper ballots, as per "Democracy's Gold Standard"? You'll have to listen to find out.
We were also joined by Margo Paez, just back from Santa Monica College, with her report on the outrageous pepper spraying of students (and one toddler) there last night; Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and a remembrance of MLK who was assassinated in Memphis 44 years ago today as we find ourselves still in much the same fight for civil and human rights all of these decades later (hat-tip Tony Sorrentino and Desi Doyen for the really cool, and touching, montage!)...
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...
P.S. Reminder: We don't post all of The BradCasts here, but you can subscribe to the RSS feed to get all of our weekly shows as soon as they're archived, or you can visit the KPFK archives page for the show anytime.
We've been busy covering election issues and other pressing matters, but the fully weaponized
police military state that the U.S. has become post-9/11 --- as we reported in great detail late last year --- continues apace.
Last night, another horrifying example occurred out here near Los Angeles at Santa Monica College were campus security guards reportedly pepper sprayed some 30 students, without warning, in the hallway just outside of an open Board of Trustees meeting. Several hundred had shown up to try and voice their opinions during (ironically enough) the Public Comment period about the cost of some classes being raised by as much as 400% percent.
We've yet to see video of the actual use of the chemicals said to have been used, but this was the scene just after it...
While I don't believe it's yet been confirmed, there were several reports of either a 4 or 5-year old being among those doused with pepper spray, even while there were no arrests made.
In other words, the use of chemical weapons on peaceful demonstrators (and, perhaps, infants) now appears to be among the first, rather than a last resorts used in the disturbing rise of "police" violence against peaceful citizens expressing their First Amendment rights.
Via Xeni Jardin's report at BoingBoing, we're pointed to the following disturbing observation from blogger zunguzungu --- a student at UC Berkley, where cops resorted to the violent use of batons to break up peaceful student demonstrators last November (video here) --- on the troubling implications of what happened last night in Santa Monica and at several other recent attempts at peaceful demonstration...
In today's New York Times, Jim Arkedis and Lindsay Mark Lewis of the Progressive Policy Institute (Lewis also previously worked for the DNC), warn that Super-PACS aren't just perverting the electoral system through millions in deceptive ads for or against the candidates they are secretly funded to support, but they may also pose an even more direct, more insidious threat to our democracy.
After acknowledging that even President Obama is now embracing the same shadowy-funded PACs he once claimed to eschew, as he refuses to "unilaterally disarm", there is a different between inclinations of left and right, in that one side generally works to increase voter turnout, while the other hopes to suppress it. The lack of accountability and the supposed "firewall" of separation between Super PACs and candidates creates a situation rife for the worst kind of dirty tricks and voter suppression in an atmosphere which is even more difficult to regulate than in the past (when such dirty tricks were already pretty easy to pull off without paying a price --- or, at least, without a price that could be paid before it was far too late).
Their warning is both compelling and ominous, particularly as we don't need to look very far into the recent past --- even here at The BRAD BLOG --- in order to find evidence in support of it...
Our own crack legal analyst Ernie Canning pulls together many of the strands we've been reporting here, for many months, on the Wisconsin GOP's attempt to dismantle voting rights in their state in advance of both the 2012 Presidential Election and, perhaps more importantly, before the upcoming recall elections of Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state Senators.
It's all a part of the continuing "War for Wisconsin" which we've been covering in great detail here at The BRAD BLOG for quite a while.
If you've had any trouble keeping up, or missed any of the thrilling chapters in the state Republicans' if-ya-can't-beat-'em-disenfranchise-'em, take-no-prisoners assault on the voting rights of legal voters, Ernie puts it all together and brings you right up to date in an interview today by OpEdNews' Joan Brunwasser...
I don't necessarily care for the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "ObamaCare"), any more than any other non-disinformed, non-wingnut. Neither am I enough of a Constitutional expert to argue for or against its Constitutionality, which is currently being argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
But over the last several days, on Twitter, I've been asking to hear from folks who have been negatively affected by "ObamaCare" personally, in any way whatsoever. Given the fits and tortured distortions and twisted outrages that Republicans have been pretending to throw over the law, and its individual mandate requiring those who do not already have health insurance to buy some, I'm sure there must be many personal horror stories to relate, right?
I've got a lot of wingnuts and Breitbots who follow me on the Twitters, and they are usually all too happy to take whatever shots they can at me or Obama or anything else they can imagineer, even if they have to make shit up to do it. But, in this case, not a one of 'em was able to point to a single instance of being negatively affected personally by "ObamaCare" in any way. Go figure.
There is, of course, a reason for that...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
In Wisconsin, two Dane County Circuit Court judges, David Flanagan and Richard Niess both issued injunctions against the state GOP's polling place photo ID restriction ("Act 23") --- Flanagan's temporary, Niess' permanent --- after finding that the law was in direct violation of the WI state constitution's guaranteed right to vote.
Immediately after the first of those two injunctions, issued by Judge Flanagan in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker, the WI GOP filed an ethics complaint with the WI Judicial Commission, alleging that the judge had violated the WI Code of Judicial Conduct because he had signed a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) and failed to disclose that fact before issuing his ruling.
However, when Flanagan's temporary injunction was promptly followed not only by Neiss' permanent injunction one week later, but by a subsequent refusal by an intermediate WI appellate court to stay the temporary injunction, the hard-right, operating under another right-wing billionaire front group, the Landmark Legal Foundation, filed ethics complaints against 29 WI judges who also signed recall petitions.
If you can't beat 'em, hit 'em with ethics violations complaints...
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