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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, December 19, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
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...


Fully-militarized police shut down town, try to shut down press coverage, while 'Tea Party' 'patriots' still nowhere to be found...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2014 10:34pm PT  

It's not enough that the police are killing unarmed African-Americans in Ferguson, Missouri. Now they're arresting journalists like Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly and Washington Post's Wesley Lowery for sitting in a McDonald's to recharge their cell phones while writing up their coverage of the protests and militarized police riots in response to the police killing of Michael Brown.

Read Reilly's account of his arrest here ("They essentially acted as a military force), and Lowery's here ("'My hands are behind my back,' I said. 'I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.' At which point one officer said: 'You’re resisting. Stop resisting.'")

Here's a statement sent out tonight by HuffPo's Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim following the arrest, and subsequent release of Reilly and Lowery...

"We are relieved Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery are safe, but we are disturbed by their arrest and assault.

"Ryan was working on his laptop in a McDonald's near the protests in Ferguson, MO, when police barged in, armed with high-powered weapons, and began clearing the restaurant. Ryan photographed the intrusion, and police demanded his ID in response. Ryan, as is his right, declined to provide it. He proceeded to pack up his belongings, but was subsequently arrested for not packing up fast enough. Both Ryan and Wesley were assaulted.

"Compared to some others who have come into contact with the police department, they came out relatively unscathed, but that in no way excuses the false arrest or the militant aggression toward these journalists. Ryan, who has reported multiple times from Guantanamo Bay, said that the police resembled soldiers more than officers, and treated those inside the McDonald's as 'enemy combatants.' Police militarization has been among the most consequential and unnoticed developments of our time, and it is now beginning to affect press freedom."

With all due respect to Grim, and I have much, while "police militarization" has, indeed, been among the most consequential developments of our time, it has not gone "unnoticed" and it has been "affect[ing] press freedom" for quite some time. The BRAD BLOG burned quite a few late-night pixels in a whole bunch of stories back in 2011 during the hey-day of the Occupy Movement trying to make exactly that point loud and clear, and again in 2012 when journalists were being arrested for their coverage. (And, certainly, years earlier than that as well.)

At the time, we also noted that the pretend patriots of the "Tea Party" movement didn't seem to give a damn about any of it, which still rings true today, as we echoed tonight on Twitter while we catching up with the evening's ongoing madness in #Ferguson...

But I'm certain the "patriots" will be arriving anytime now to help restore liberty to the citizens of Ferguson, unless they're home polishing their big manly rifles so they can help "protect our American rights and freedoms"...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2014 5:42pm PT  

[Hat-tip @GGreenwald...]

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UPDATED with response, petition from 'Yes on Prop 49' proponents...
By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2014 9:49pm PT  

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...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2014 3:24pm PT  

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...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2014 6:35am PT  

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...

Hospital Corporation of America, the biggest for-profit hospital network in the country, reported a 6.6 percent decrease in uninsured patients across its 165 hospitals, according to Bloomberg. And in the four states where HCA operates that expanded Medicaid, the drop was 48 percent.

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.

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GUEST: Filmmaker John Wellington Ennis
By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2014 8:33am PT  

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]...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/23/2014 10:17pm PT  

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:

Officials administered the lethal drugs at 1:52 p.m. Wood's eyes closed.

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"...

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

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State legislature, governor add proposition to general election ballot calling for amendment to overturn 'Citizens United'...
UPDATE: 'Overturn Citizens United Act' will appear as 'Prop 49' on November ballot | LATER UPDATE: No, it won't...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/18/2014 1:24pm PT  

California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown has permitted SB 1272, an advisory measure entitled the Overturn Citizens United Act, to appear on the state's November 2014 ballot.

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...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2014 9:50pm PT  

We covered too much on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast this week to go into great detail here, but the common thread seemed to be: Stamping out Zombie Myths.

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...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2014 1:03pm PT  

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"...

U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney handed down an order Wednesday, finding that the system is arbitrary and in violation of the Constitution's 8th Amendment.

"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.

* * *

UPDATE: MSNBC's Adam Serwer notes that Judge Carney "was nominated to the federal bench in 2002 by President George W. Bush."

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By Brad Friedman on 7/14/2014 2:00pm PT  

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...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/9/2014 6:05am PT  

Via UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen...

Thanks to a reader for pointing out last week’s district court order [PDF] in the Texas voter id case. The court mostly denied Texas’s motion to dismiss, even allowing claims to go forward at this point on voter id as a poll tax and as a First Amendment violation. That’s not to say these will be winning claims, but it is significant that plaintiffs will get to advance a number of federal theories against the id law.

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:

"Wisconsin Federal Court Decision Could Mark Beginning of End For GOP Photo ID Restrictions" (5/2/2014)

"Federal Judge Orders TX to Produce Legislative Docs That May Prove Polling Place Photo ID Restriction Law Was Racially-Motivated" (4/7/2014)

"Texas GOP's Polling Place Photo ID Law Almost Certain to Get Nixed. Again. Here's Why..." (9/4/2013)

"Texas AG Defrauds Texas in Response to DoJ Lawsuit Against Polling Place Photo ID Law" (8/23/2013)

* * *
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DoJ, ACLU, others seek to block sweeping GOP election reform under still-standing provisions of federal Voting Rights Act
Plaintiffs cite state's recent history of attempted discriminatory voting practices...
By Brad Friedman on 7/7/2014 12:07pm PT  

[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...

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

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Outgoing GOP Sec. of State Matt Schultz failed to find 'voter fraud', both candidates hoping to replace him reject his Photo ID strategy
Is the decade-long voter suppression scheme finally in its death throes?...
By Brad Friedman on 7/3/2014 1:53pm PT  

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...

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

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By Katie Klabusich on 6/26/2014 2:04pm PT  

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...

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