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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, August 28, 2015
'A Crazy Man Got a Gun': 'BradCast' 8/27/15
Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
'Green News Report' 8/27/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th anniv. of Hurricane Katrina; NASA warns 3 ft. of sea level rise now locked in; Obama heads to the Arctic; PLUS: Switch to clean energy will cost less than fossil fuel, says Citigroup
Previous GNRs: 8/25/15 - 8/20/15 - Archives...
Let's Go to the Phones: 'BradCast' 8/26/15
Covering a lot of ground with listener callers -- from the on-air shootings in Roanoke, VA to why Democrats shouldn't be so gleeful about Donald Trump -- and much more...
Carly's Climate Clap-Trap or The Fiorina Follies:
'BradCast' 8/25/15
Journalist David Roberts on the 'moderate', 'reasonable' GOP candidate's ridiculous climate comments and Citigroup's global warming report. Plus: Beck, Trump and Sanders...
'Green News Report' 8/25/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
July 2015 hottest month ever recorded; Record wildfires get worse; Mysterious whale deaths in WA; Oil hit hard by China crash; PLUS: Obama calls out anti-free market ideology...
Previous GNRs: 8/20/15 - 8/18/15 - Archives...
TX Photo ID Law Found Illegal, Yet Still Suppressing Voters: 'BradCast' 8/24/15
Guests: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on TX' discriminatory law; Financial journalist David Dayen on Dow 'crash'...
Sunday Toons, Untrustworthy Edition
Hillary's email; Ashley Madison's mess; Subway's Jared; Schumer's shame; Amazon agonistes; Trump's tyranny and more...
E-Cigs Are Good For You; GOP is Not: 'BradCast' 8/21/15
Also: Bernie Sanders & ignoring corporate media are good for you too...
5th Circuit Photo ID Ruling Could Leave Thousands Without Right to Vote in TX
'Good news' decision could leave 600k lawfully registered voters disenfranchised in 2016...
'No Good Evidence' Russia Behind MH17 Shootdown in Ukraine, Says Longtime CIA Analyst: 'BradCast' 8/20/15
Exclusive interview with 27-year, top CIA vet turned peace activist Ray McGovern...
'Green News Report' 8/20/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Fox 'News' now 'cares' about environment; Hillary opposes Arctic drilling; EPA rules to cut methane; Islamic leaders call for climate action; PLUS: River toxins create intersex fish...
Previous GNRs: 8/18/15 - 8/13/15 - Archives...
Did KXL Judges Profit Off Ruling?: 'BradCast' 8/19/15
Investigative journalist Steve Horn on two judges who allowed the disturbing precedent that led to the completion and opening of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline...
AT&T/NSA Whistleblower Mark Klein on New AT&T/NSA Docs: 'BradCast' 8/18/15
'They approached the phone companies before 9/11,' he says, citing new Snowden disclosures that 'vindicate' his own 2006 revelations...
'Green News Report' 8/18/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Shell gets Obama go-ahead to drill Arctic, Obama to visit to Arctic; July 2015 hottest on record; 'Monster' El Nino brewing; PLUS: Oregon kids sue govt over global warming...
Previous GNRs: 8/13/15 - 8/11/15 - Archives...
Demise of the Death Penalty and Rise of The Donald's GOP; 'BradCast' 8/17/15
With Diann Rust-Tierney of the National Coaltion to Abolish the Death Penalty; Plus: 'Godzilla El Nino!' & more!...
Sunday Toons: Money Changes Everything
Another great collection this week from 'PDiddie'! On money in politics, poison in the river, Rick Perry in trouble and much more...
Happy 80th Social Security! And What's China Up To?: BradCast 8/14/15
Guest host Nicole Sandler interviews Eric Kingson on Social Security and more and Dave Johnson on China's currency manipulation...
VERDICTS IN: On ME Guv; CO Cakes; CT Death Penalty, ID 'Ag-Gag' & TX Photo ID: 'BradCast' 8/13/2015
Analyzing several recent, important rulings along with BRAD BLOG's Ernest A. Canning...
'Green News Report' 8/13/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
More than half of US Forest Service budget now going to fight wildfires; Australia's climate targets denounced; New Zealand ditches coal; PLUS: Free solar for African schools...
Previous GNRs: 8/11/15 - 8/6/15 - Archives...
Walker, Bush Lies and Bernie's Rise: 'BradCast' 8/12/15
The Nation's John Nichols on new revelations of Scott Walker lying about a criminal investigation and on the Black Lives Matter movement and Sanders a better candidate; Plus: Big news for Bernie & more!
'The Kids Who Die'
The words of Langston Hughes, spoken in a new video, capture the essence of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Please take less than three minutes to watch...
'Feeling the Bern' in L.A.; Ferguson One Later: 'BradCast' 8/11/15
With Cassandra Fairbanks in Ferguson; Margot Paez at the L.A. Sanders rally, and Nicole Sandler's exclusive intvw w/ Bernie Sanders...
'Green News Report' 8/11/15
Toxic spill contaminates waterways in Southwest; Single mention of climate in Fox/GOP debates; Kasich backtracks on climate; PLUS: Shell breaks up with ALEC...
Last Week's Messes: 'BradCast' 8/10/15
Catching up on a lot that fell through the cracks during last week's busy news week. From Jon Stewart to new toxic spill in SW to sentencing verdict for Aurora shooter to GOP debate answers media aren't discussing & more...
Federal Court Nixes Idaho 'Ag-Gag' Law
Finds journalists and whistleblowers have Constitutional right to videotape abuses at private factory farms...
Sunday Toons: Debates, Deniers, and De-rest
The title of this week's collection of last week's best political toons, as curated by 'PDiddie', says it all...
'Crazy Train' - Dissecting the First GOP/Fox 'News' Debate(s): 'BradCast' 8/7/15
With award-winning blogger/journalists Heather 'Digby' Parton and Paul Rosenberg...
Voting Rights Act 50th Anniversary: Special 'BradCast' Coverage, 8/6/2015
Sam Walker of Selma's Nat'l Voting Rights Museum; Former DoJ atty Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez...
'Green News Report' 8/6/15
Opponents attack landmark emissions rule; Majority supports fight against global warming; First off-shore U.S. windfarm; PLUS: Repubs get a new 2016 contender...
Sanders' 'Militarism', Obama's 'Propaganda' & Big TX Voting News: 'BradCast' 8/5/2015
With peace activist, author David Swanson; Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
U.S. COURT OF APPEALS STRIKES DOWN TEXAS GOP'S PHOTO ID VOTING LAW
Huge opinion from conservative court on day before 50th anniv. of Voting Rights Act...
Cartoonist Rall Blasts Bizarre LAPD-Fueled Firing by LATimes: 'BradCast' 8/4/15
Award-winning journo tells Brad LAPD trying 'to send a message to other reporters' Also: D.R. Tucker on MSNBC firing of Ed Schultz...
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 8/16/2012 10:58pm PT  

Some good-ish news late tonight for Florida voters, and more bad-ish news for Republican Gov. Rick Scott and friends, as reported by AP:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A federal court says a Florida law that restricts the number of early-voting days could result in a dramatic reduction in participation by blacks.

The Republican-controlled Florida legislature last year cut the number of early-voting days to 8 from 12.

But the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled late Thursday that because of the law's potential impact on minority voters, it would not allow Florida to put the changes in place in five Florida counties covered by federal voting laws.

The 119-page ruling did say there were ways that the state could ultimately come up with a plan to change early voting that would not adversely affect minority voting rights.

Still, the ruling raises the prospect that Florida will have two different types of early voting for this year's crucial presidential election.

To unpack this (without having looked at the actual ruling yet), while this is certainly positive news in general, it only applies to the five counties in Florida covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Those jurisdictions require pre-clearance from either the U.S. Dept. of Justice or a 3-judge panel from the U.S. District Court in D.C. for new election-related laws, thanks to the long history of racial discrimination in those jurisdictions.

Three of the counties, Hardee, Hendry and Monroe are fairly small, with fewer than 100,000 voters. Collier (home of Naples) has a population of more than 300,000 and the largest of the five, Hillsborough, is home to Tampa, with a population of about 1.2 million voters. It will also be the home of the upcoming Republican National Convention.

As AP notes, that could mean that only those five counties have 12 days of early voting, while the rest of the state (the other 62 counties), are still restricted to 8. Given that Republicans hung a hat on pretending to demand consistent rules across the state for vote counting during the Bush v. Gore fight in 2000, and that the state Supreme Court agreed, I imagine another fight may be in store on this matter, and how the Republican-run state will --- or won't --- enact consistent Early Voting hours across the state.

This case was decided by the U.S. District Court in D.C. because the state of Florida decided to bypass the DoJ, thinking they'd have better luck with the court system. They were wrong.

It's been a tough year for the state of Florida's attempt to game the voting system in their favor this year, so far, under the rule of their Tea Party Governor. Though, lord knows, they've tried.

In May, a federal judge blocked the bulk of their new voter registration restrictions which had forced the League of Women Voters to call off their registration drive in the Sunshine State for the first time in 72 years, rather than face onerous new rules, fines and even jail time. Last month, after almost all of the state's Supervisors of Elections refused to carry out a hugely flawed voter roll purge of "potential non-citizen voters" (almost all of whom were not), Scott and his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner were forced to halt their purge (subsequently misreported by the corporate mainstream media), even after pretending the federal government was blocking the purge to keep non-citizen voters on the rolls (they weren't, and Florida knew it, as documents we published exclusively proved.)

Oh, and then there was the former state Republican Chair who admitted, under oath, in a 630-page deposition, that party officials "were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting," during his tenure.

Here's a thought, Florida Republicans: Come up with good ideas that help the citizens of the state by improving their general welfare and domestic tranquility and maybe they'll just vote for you all by themselves without you having to game the system and suppress the vote. Or, you can just keep doing what you're doing.

[Hat-tip @JeffersonObama on the Twitters.]

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Diplomatic row said to threaten fabric of international law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/16/2012 11:23am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Undaunted by a U.K. threat to "storm" Ecuador's London embassy if the Latin American nation refused to hand over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to British authorities, this morning, Ecuador granted Assange's request for political asylum.

At a press conference in Quito, Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patino strongly denounced the threat received from the U.K.: "Today we've received a threat by the United Kingdom, a clear and written threat that they could storm our embassy in London if Ecuador refuses to hand in Julian Assange."

Ecuador's decision to grant asylum in the face of the U.K.'s threat have not only triggered a diplomatic row but have threatened to tear apart the very fabric of international rule of law, according to experts. Where one could anticipate Sweden's denouncement of Ecuador's asylum decision as "unacceptable", as it summoned Ecuador's ambassador to Stockholm, the British threat to storm Ecuador's embassy was described by University of Australia Professor of International Law Don Rothwell as "extraordinary" and a "significant violation" of Article 22 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Rights that could "find its way before an international court."

As Ecuador's foreign minister issued an angry denouncement of the U.K. threat, noting that his nation was "not a British colony", American filmmaker Michael Moore called on his friends in the U.K. to mount a protest of the U.K. threat outside Ecuador's London embassy. Occupy Wall Street protesters called for "people to take part in a 24/7 occupation of the British consulate in New York." Reuters reported a "clash between protesters and British police outside of Ecuador's embassy."

But, as discussed in a must-read opinion piece by Mark Weisbrot of the UK Guardian, the very concept of an international rule of law is open to question given the impunity by which the United States and its allies have operated both at home and abroad...

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

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Exhaustive analysis finds fraud that might be deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions 'virtually non-existent'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2012 10:04pm PT  

Of course, we've been spending the better part of the last ten years making the exact same case, so none of this should come as a surprise to long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG. But now a major new nationwide analysis by News21 of all known cases of election fraud in the U.S. since 2000 underscores our years of accurate and detailed reporting once again...

A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.

In an exhaustive public records search, reporters from the investigative reporting project "News21" sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of fraudulent activity including registration fraud, absentee ballot fraud, vote buying, false election counts, campaign fraud, casting an ineligible vote, voting twice, voter impersonation fraud and intimidation.

Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.

10 cases. 10 cases of in-person voter impersonation that might have been deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions out of hundreds of millions of votes cast in all 50 states since 2000 --- restrictions which, according to study after study, could keep as many as 21 million perfectly legal eligible voters from being able to cast their legal vote.

But, again, the Republicans who have been enacting these laws are doing it for exactly that reason: to keep those who are most likely to lack the type of state-issued Photo ID required to vote under these new restrictions --- the elderly, minorities, the poor and students (read: Democratic-leaning voters) --- from being able to cast their legal vote.

For those in the corporate mainstream media still unaware of what this is called (this includes you, NPR), it's called Voter Suppression.

And this exhaustive new study, once again, makes that case crystal clear...

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

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Plaintiffs vow to appeal ruling by Republican judge as 1.6 million legal votes said to be imperiled by new law this November...
UPDATED: Plaintiffs filed formal notice of appeal...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2012 12:02pm PT  

A state court has upheld the state constitutionality of the new Republican-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction law in Pennsylvania which critics say may imperil the votes of more than a million legally registered voters in the Keystone State this November.

In his 70-page ruling [PDF] issued today, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson acknowledged that the plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and other civil rights organizations, "did an excellent job of 'putting a face' to those burdened by the voter ID requirement," but failed to demonstrate "facial unconstitutionality". The judge did not rule on the merits of the case, but on whether or not it could be enjoined by the court.

That, despite the fact that:

  • The Pennsylvania state Constitution guarantees that "Every citizen 21 years of age [lowered to 18 years of age by the twenty-sixth amendment to the U.S. Constitution]...shall be entitled to vote at all elections," subject to certain restrictions by the General Assembly as to who may register to vote.
  • Independent studies have determined that some 1.6 million otherwise eligible voters in PA, including nearly a million in Democratic-leaning Philadelphia alone, may lack an unexpired state-issued driver's license by this November's Presidential election, which is just 83 days away.
  • The state admitted, before the trial even began, that they were unaware of any "investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania"; that they "are not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and do not have direct personal knowledge of in person voter fraud elsewhere"; and that the state would offer no evidence at the trial "that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID law."
  • The Republican Secretary of the Commonwealth, charged with implementing the law, admitted on the stand that she does not "know what the law says."
  • The Republican Governor who signed the bill, and lied about "voter fraud" in the state, does not even know what type of ID would now be eligible for voting under the new restrictions.
  • The Republican House Majority Leader admitted that the bill, passed in the state legislature without a single Democratic vote, was meant to "allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania" this year.
  • During the trial, as described by plaintiffs, "[S]tate officials admitted they underestimated the number of registered voters without acceptable photo ID, admitted the law will disenfranchise voters, admitted the law will hold different voters to different standards, admitted voters casting an absentee ballot will be able to vote without ID."

Given all of the above, following the close of the trial, the plaintiffs had predicted a "slam dunk" ruling in their favor. We had also predicted that the law was likely to "go down in flames."

We're still reviewing the opinion of Judge Simpson, who is a Republican, and will have a more detailed analysis of the specifics of his ruling in the coming days.

Plaintiffs have already vowed to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court, where four votes will be needed to overturn the Commonwealth Court's ruling. Currently, there is a 3-3 Republican/Democratic split on the high court, as the 7th jurist, a Republican, has stepped aside for the moment pending a corruption investigation. If the state Supreme Court splits on the verdict, Simpson's ruling would hold. Though, depending on how the state Supremes decide, and if federal rulings are a part of whatever decision they may make, it is possible the plaintiffs could later take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court in the event that the state Supreme Court fails to overturn the lower court's verdict.

Separately, the U.S. Dept. of Justice has opened it's own investigation of the law to determine whether or not it may be in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and/or the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause. They may decide to file their own federal case to block the law in the weeks ahead.

UPDATE 8/18/12: On Aug. 16 plaintiffs filed a formal notice of appeal. Once the opening brief is available, The BRAD BLOG will furnish a detailed analysis of that appeal in the context of the rationale applied by Simpson, along with an assessment of the alternative litigation which the U.S. Department of Justice could potentially file in U.S. District Court.

UPDATE 9/4/12: The plaintiffs have now filed their appeal to the PA Supreme Court. Our legal analyst Ernest Canning details their appeal and some of the absurdities they point out in the original ruling by the Commonwealth Court judge right here...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2012 10:04pm PT  

"I understand that this is a Republican talking point because I've heard it repeated over and over again ... These numbers have been debunked, as you know... You can't just repeat it and make it true, sir."

I don't know what's gotten into CNN's Soledad O'Brien lately, but, to bastardize apocryphal Lincoln, can we send a whole case of it to the rest of the Beltway Press Corps?

We highlighted a similar moment from O'Brien in June, when she doggedly attempted to get an actual answer from a Senior Romney Adviser on whether the presumptive GOP nominee still supports Arizona's controversial "Papers Please" law. She refused to let it go --- like a real journalist or something.

Again today she went full "Newsroom" on Mitt Romney surrogate John Sununu, the Chair of his National Steering Committing, especially on his attempt to lie about Obama having "gutted Medicare"...

Watch:

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/6/2012 11:50am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In the third of our three-part series on the U.S. Government's failed 'War on Drugs,' earlier this year, we noted that drug prohibition was vital to the very existence of the deadly Mexican drug cartels. As we noted, the carnage, which included 13,000 deaths inside Mexico in "the first three quarters of 2011 --- a number that does not include the more than 5,000 people who have disappeared" --- is now spilling over the border into the U.S.

Over the past five years, some 60,000 have died in the Mexican drug war, and "the U.S. has played a big part in it," according to a new video from the Brave New Foundation on behalf of GunWar.org. The free flow of increasingly sophisticated weaponry from the U.S. to Mexico --- extremely profitable for the U.S. small arms industry and deadly for innocent civilians --- is part of the very "scourge" which the U.N. was seeking to address in its Arms Trade Treaty negotiations before the Obama Administration caved in the face of the National Rifle Association's campaign of blatant lies about the accord.

All of the Mexican carnage, as the video explains, is due, in no small part, to the tremendously lax oversight of the sale of such weapons here in the U.S., thanks to the political strong-arming by groups such as the NRA who oppose virtually any and all oversight or regulation of any type.

"Around 70% of all firearms seized in Mexico and submitted for tracing, come from the United States," Brave New World explains. "Most gun sellers don't care. The more they sell, the more they profit."

The additionally tragic irony underscoring these facts: All of this has played out even as Republicans have spent the last year or so pretending to be concerned about their so-called "Fast and Furious scandal", the poorly-considered ATF "gun walking" program begun by the Bush Administration and continued by members of the ATF based in Arizona during the Obama Administration. A federal program designed (poorly or otherwise) to try and catch gun-runners and drug lords: Bad --- at least when it's carried out by a Democratic administration. Little to no restriction on the "legal" purchase of military-grade assault weapons in the U.S., resulting in tens of thousands of them pouring over the border for decades: That's just one of the many benefit that members receive in exchange for sending their hard-earned cash to the terrorist-enabling NRA...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/2/2012 4:26pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning with Brad Friedman

Cowering in the face of blatantly false claims by the terrorist-enablers and dishonest fear-mongerers of the National Rifle Association (NRA), and one of their most vocal lying supporters, the Obama administration torpedoed talks at the United Nations on a proposed international treaty which sought to regulate the $60 billion international small arms trade.

The talks were designed to deal with a problem the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs describes as having created "a worldwide scourge" that has placed weapons in the hands of insurgents, armed gang members, drug lords, pirates and terrorists.

Dishonestly claiming the treaty was intended to regulate domestic U.S. arms sales, the NRA and its supporter, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, led a wholly deceptive charge against the long-sought treaty.

The accord, says Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International, was meant "to prevent countries and arms exporters from selling guns and military hardware to human rights abusers." But such a treaty was a bridge too far for those, like Bolton and the leadership of the NRA, who favor the profits U.S. arms manufacturers can realize if they can sell firearms to anyone and everyone. And, for now, even the Obama administration, which has, time and again, wilted whenever it feels the heat that accompanies an NRA 2nd Amendment propaganda barrage, has proven willing to sacrifice a much needed international treaty rather than square off with the terrorist-enabling NRA and their lies.

"Any treaty that includes civilian firearms ownership in its scope will be met with the NRA's greatest force of opposition," NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said during his purposely deceptive testimony at the UN earlier this month. What he purposely failed to note? The treaty had absolutely nothing to do with "civilian firearms ownership" in the U.S. of any kind.

LaPierre's testimony was just another chapter in the NRA's long-perpetuated scam to continue pimping for the firearms industry by hoaxing their membership into believing that the Obama Administration --- which has, several times, expanded the rights of civilian firearms owners since taking office --- is secretly plotting to undermine the 2nd Amendment in hopes of taking guns away from law abiding citizens.

"I am here to announce NRA's strong opposition to anti-freedom policies that disregard American citizens right to self-defense," LaPierre lied during his UN testimony. "We will not stand idly by while international organizations, whether state-based or stateless, attempt to undermine the fundamental liberties our men and women in uniform have fought so bravely to preserve...and on which our entire American system of government is based"...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 7/30/2012 1:20pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The horror that played out during the recent midnight massacre inside a Century theater in Aurora, CO is but the latest example of the danger posed to our safety and our very lives by the radical right's expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment.

On June 28, 2008, that view --- that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm unconnected to service in a state militia --- became the law of the land, courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court's hard right quintet's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller ("Heller") --- a 5-4 decision that ignored precedent, history and basic rules of constitutional interpretation.

Heller not only elevated the profits of the domestic small arms industry above the ability of government to protect our safety, our general welfare, our domestic tranquility and our very lives, but provided a disturbing new context to the eerily prescient 1991 warning provided by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) when he likened the confirmation of Clarence Thomas as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court to a game of "Russian Roulette"...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 7/26/2012 4:53pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Last April, in an article which covered an ethics complaint filed by the Center for Media and Democracy against 43 Republican state legislators, The BRAD BLOG went to great lengths to explain how the "legislative task force" system employed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was not merely subverting but supplanting our representative form of democracy. It was an article that would later be reprinted by The American Trial Lawyer magazine.

But, leave it to a Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist, like Mark Fiore, to provide a more succinct explanation of the same phenomenon in this relatively short but powerful animated toon...

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Yet mainstream media misreport easily verifiable facts, continue to fall for FL Governor, Secretary of State's deceptive spin...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/25/2012 1:22pm PT  

A BRAD BLOG investigation by Ernest A. Canning & Brad Friedman

Florida Governor Rick Scott's attempted purge of "potential non-citizen" voters --- a purge which Scott's Republican predecessor Gov. Charlie Crist described last week as a "shameless," "mean-spirited," "insidious" and "sweeping" effort to gain partisan advantage "under the guise of removing non-U.S. citizens" --- has been an abject failure.

Scott's claims of success in unearthing "non-citizens" said to be registered to vote in the Sunshine State, repeated by his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner and uncritically echoed by a compliant mainstream corporate media, have amounted to less --- far less --- than meets the eye.

Over the course of our months-long investigation, which included public records requests and interviews with state and county officials, The BRAD BLOG has discovered that the Scott/Detzner claim of having captured some 107 "non-citizens" on the Sunshine State voter rolls as a result of their purge is, at best, a reckless overstatement. Yet, that number (107), which Scott described as "alarming," has been uncritically accepted as fact by corporate mainstream media.

Even if it had been accurate, 107 would amount to an infinitesimal percentage of the original 182,000 who had initially been identified as "potential non-citizens" by Florida officials --- 107 as against Florida's 11.2 million legally registered voters, with an untold number of perfectly legal voters threatened with losing their right to vote as collateral damage of the state's attempted purge.

But the 107 number isn't even close to being accurate. To the contrary, Florida election officials have been unable to confirm that more than ten percent of those whom Scott and Detzner claim their purge captured were in fact non-citizens.

For example, in the two counties, Lee and Collier, where 92 of Scott and Detzner's claimed 107 have been removed, just nine (9) of them have actually been verified, to date, as "non-citizens" named by Scott and Detzner on their list of "potential non-citizens" sent to county election officials for purging earlier this year. The rest have either been removed from the rolls without independent verification of whether or not they are lawfully registered U.S. citizens, or they were removed after their names surfaced on a separate list that had nothing to do with the list compiled by Scott and Detzner. That separate list, as gathered by a local news outlet, similarly, may or may not accurately identify the named registered voters as "non-citizens".

Despite the extraordinary failure to date, Scott and Detzner have repeatedly proclaimed "victory" in their voter purge scheme. Making matters worse for the general populace trying to make sense of what is actually going on, numerous corporate-owned media outlets have compliantly echoed their extraordinarily misleading and deceptive spin...

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Case would represent first instance of the federal agency challenging such a law under Section 2 of Voting Rights Act...
By Brad Friedman on 7/23/2012 8:12pm PT  

Good news for fans of democracy and voting rights, and for foes of discrimination! Bad news for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, his GOP state legislature, and perhaps others like them in different states.

The U.S. Dept. of Justice may soon be filing a legal challenge to Pennsylvania's new GOP-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction. The law will affect the ability of some 750,000 legal voters to cast their once-legal vote in the Keystone State this November, unless it is overturned. If the feds choose to bring suit against the new law, it would be the first time the federal agency has used the anti-discrimination provisions of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 to block such a law.

Last February, as a civil rights group had filed a federal challenge against the state of Wisconsin, charging that state's new GOP-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction violated the federal constitution, we explained how the moment presented a "golden opportunity" for the U.S. Dept. of Justice to join the case and challenge it, as well as similar laws in other states, under Section 2 of the VRA.

As Ernie Canning detailed at the time, the DoJ has, to date, only challenged recently-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction laws in jurisdictions which are covered by Section 5 of the VRA. That section of the landmark federal law requires that new election laws in some 16 states, or parts of states with long histories of racial discrimination at the polls, receive federal government preclearance for the new laws before they may be enforced. Section 5 places the burden on the jurisdictions themselves to demonstrate that the new laws will not have a discriminatory effect.

Since these particular laws have been shown, indeed, to be designed to discriminate against largely Democratic-leaning voters, the states where the laws have been denied preclearance by the DoJ --- states like Texas and South Carolina, for instance --- have been unable to demonstrate their laws did not have the effect of discriminating against legal minority voters. In both of those cases, using data supplied to the DoJ by the states, it was simple to show the discriminatory effect of the new laws. (For example, in South Carolina, African-American voters were found to be 20% more likely to lack the type of ID needed to vote under the new law than white voters. In Texas, the state's own data showed that legal Hispanic voters were as much as 120% more likely to lack the requisite ID to vote under the new law than non-Hispanic voters.)

But similar laws passed in states not covered by Section 5 --- states like Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kansas, and Pennsylvania --- have yet to face the same kind of legal scrutiny from the federal government --- until now...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/22/2012 11:00pm PT  

The fact that they haven't yet been labeled a terrorist-associated group is due only to the fact that if they were, they would rain down hellfire --- and one of the mightiest propaganda and lying campaigns you've ever seen --- against those associated with having made that decision.

That, of course, is how any terrorist group worth its assault plies its trade: Scare the hell out of those who might oppose them. Let them know there will be serious consequences to those who even try, to those who even discuss it. So that anyone even thinking of it becomes crippled with fear to the point they won't do a thing to even appear to threaten the terrorists' agenda in any way.

In this case, of course, it's mostly just political terrorism. But in the real world, given the carnage they continue to enable year after year and tear after tear, it's difficult to say whether the NRA should best be described as terrorist enablers, or just plain terrorists, for the all of the indescribable violence they help perpetuate and, arguably, even help to fund.

Without the help of the NRA and those who fund them, James Holmes, the alleged gunman of Colorado's latest massacre, might not have been able to shoot nearly 70 Americans in a matter of minutes, killing 12 of them, in a sold-out movie theater just after midnight last Friday night. Neither would it have been so simple for Jared Loughner to shoot 19 Americans and kill 6 of them, including nearly murdering Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, AZ just over a year ago, leading to her eventual resignation from Congress.

Thanks to years of terror-enabling by the National Rifle Association, both the AZ and CO sociopaths were able to maximize their rage through a maximum of carnage against their fellow citizens. And both incidents are just a drop of blood in the NRA's great American bucket.

Despite AZ and CO and the tens of thousands of deaths by firearm in this country each year, despite even coming within a hair's breadth of losing one of their own last year in the bargain, Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress are unable and unwilling to lift a finger to do a damn thing about any of it. Neither is the President of the United States. They are all cowards, shriveling in abject fear of the almighty menace to sanity and common-sense and domestic tranquility that is today's NRA...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 7/20/2012 1:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

This week, the Minnesota Supreme Court heard the League of Women Voters' argument against language set to be used in a ballot initiative this November which, if passed by the electorate, would amend the state's constitution to require that valid, Government-issued Photo ID be presented at the polling place before voters are allowed to vote.

The initiative was placed on the ballot by the GOP majority in the state legislature, but, as we detailed earlier this month, the League has filed suit charging that the language used in the ballot question is extremely deceptive and that it fails to accurately explain how the constitutional amendment would change the voting system in Minnesota, while putting the legal rights of voters at risk.

During oral arguments (video clip posted below) in League of Women Voters of Minnesota v. Ritchie [PDF], veteran MN Supreme Court Justice Paul H. Anderson suggested that the issue before the Court, of whether the ballot question was misleading, was more profound than even the League's attorney, William Pentelovitch, was characterizing it.

The hearing produced the following remarkable colloquy...

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ALSO: Court challenges heard on similar restrictions in MN, TX, as new report finds some 10 million eligible voters disadvantaged by the Republican-supported polling place schemes...
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2012 12:05pm PT  

If there was any doubt before, after several findings by several courts that the Wisconsin GOP's attempts to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions were in strict violation of their state Constitution, yesterday's verdict ought to (but probably won't) put a hard end to that question...

A Dane County judge on Tuesday permanently barred enforcement of the photo identification requirements of Wisconsin's voter ID law, saying that it imposes too great a burden on voters in Wisconsin than the state constitution allows.

Circuit Judge David Flanagan ruled that Wisconsin Act 23, the voter ID law, "tells more than 300,000 Wisconsin voters who do not now have an acceptable form of photo identification that they cannot vote unless they first obtain a photo ID card."

That requirement, he wrote, imposes a "substantial burden" upon a significant proportion of state residents who are registered or eligible to vote because of the cost and difficulty of obtaining documents needed to apply for a state photo ID. That creates a "substantial impairment" to the right to vote guaranteed by the Wisconsin Constitution, he wrote.

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By D.R. Tucker on 7/17/2012 12:31pm PT  

Guest editorial by D.R. Tucker

As a disillusioned conservative, what I wouldn't give to have someone who could make logical, fact-based arguments from the right. How interesting would it be to have someone just as intellectually skilled as MSNBC's Chris Hayes, just as sharp as him, just as devoted to sound logic as him-but coming from the opposite perspective?

Where the hell are the public intellectuals on the right, anyway? It used to bug me that Fox "News" Channel would promote Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity as the main faces of their network. I never had the sense that O'Reilly was actually a conservative, merely someone who knew that repeating conservative memes over and over again would be lucrative. As for Hannity, he lost me back in 2001 when I tuned into his radio show and heard him declare that he would condemn his kid if he decided to get an earring. What is this, I thought to myself, 1978?

One can debate when the right stopped investing in its intellectual infrastructure, but one cannot debate the reality of this phenomenon. Oh, wait --- the right debates the reality of certain phenomena all the time. Look at global warming, for just a start...

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