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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, November 28, 2014
'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 seemed before this week's show'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in Town of Long Island, reverse results of very close state contest, leaving officials baffled...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Gov. Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank issue's dire warning...
Previous GNRs: 11/20/14 - 11/18/14 - Archives...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting of Michael Brown
A few early thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice on the night of his announcement...
'Recount' Ahead for Oregon's GMO Labeling 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...
GOP House Intel Committee Findings Debunk GOP BENGHAZI! 'Scandal'
Final report released quietly before holiday weekend and before eighth Republican BENGHAZI! committee set to convene...
Monster Energy Drink Not Just Crappy, Also the Work of Satan!
The indisputable video proof is now here!...
'Green News Report' 11/20/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record-breaking storm breaks Buffalo; October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Repubs: China to cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy...
Previous GNRs: 11/18/14 - 11/13/14 - Archives...
Extreme Weather? What Extreme Weather?
Yes, scientists have been warning us about this for years. And, yes, the record breaking storm in Buffalo is tied to global warming...
We're #26! Harvard 'Electoral Integrity' Report Dings U.S.
'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
Gag Order Won't Ensure Impartial Jury in Trial of 'Dark Lord of Coal Country'
WV's criminally indicted coal boss and U.S. Chamber of Comm. director Don Blankeship presents challenge for federal prosecutors...
Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year: 'Vape'
That small point likely underscores some very encouraging news for the health of the world...
'Green News Report' 11/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL; Can Congress override the Prez next year?; Native Americans: KXL is 'an act of war'; PLUS: Accountability for 'The Dark Lord of Coal'...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/14 - 11/11/14 - Archives...
Sanders on Colbert: Midterms a Vote Against Both Parties
For those mad at us for asserting 'not voting IS a vote', look who just said the same thing...
Exclusive: St. Louis County Was Warned Before Election Paper Ballots Would Run Out
Email obtained by BRAD BLOG reveals County's top election official ignored warnings from election experts, leading to shortages...
Not Voting IS a Vote
Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
This segment makes clear once again that it's very very sad The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
Historic US-China agreement that GOP said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l treaty; Repub freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but good start...
Crucial Moment for FCC & 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Hartmann TV: Election 2014 Mess
On thousands of 'missing' votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. 'results', on Rightwing 'True the Vote' voter fraud fraudsters, and on much more...
'Green News Report' 11/11/14
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
IN MEMORIAM: Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, America added another casualty from the War on Iraq -- one who, after first meeting and interviewing him in 2005, we will never forget...
Early Data Suggests TX GOP Photo ID Restrictions 'Worked'
Provisional ballots doubled, turnout down by more 1/4 million votes, despite larger population, contested gov's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for paper ballot tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes in city of Stoughton, WI...
The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans: A Response to Nate Silver
The statistics guru unhelpfully explains away mid-term's surprising outcome by presuming pre-election polling was wrong and unverified election results were all correct...
'True the Vote' Group Fails to Find 'Voter Fraud' (Again)
Laughingstock RW org's 'army' of monitors and smart phone app uncover just 18 benign 'irregularities', 0 cases of polling place impersonation...
'Green News Report' 11/6/14
Election 2014-pocalypse: Republican hegemonic hellscape!; Climate deniers now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news...
About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guest Matthew Segal of OurTime.org joins Brad to discuss whether young voters are to blame for Tuesday's election results and, if not them, then who...or what...
Reuters: Voting Probs Around Nation, 2,000 Missing Election Judges in Chicago
Wire service summarizes machine probs, Photo ID vote suppression and a really strange story out of Chicago...
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 8/1/2014 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...

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

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GUEST: Brendan Fischer of Center for Media and Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2014 6:03am PT  

The case against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), charging that he ran a "criminal scheme" by coordinating his 2012 recall election campaign with about a dozen "outside" groups, is about much more than just Walker and his corruption.

On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I spoke with Brendan Fischer, general counsel at the Center for Media and Democracy about what could be the very last piece of campaign finance law to fall in the wake of 2010's Citizens United and 2014's McCutcheon rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. Depending on how the challenge against the case against Walker goes, there may be nothing left that keeps candidate campaigns from putting unlimited, undisclosed millions to work in buying our elections. In short, as I discussed with Fischer, democracy could well become even more hosed than it already is in this country. Who knew that was even possible, at this point?

Also, on this very busy BradCast on a very busy day: "the most prolific multiple voter in memory" (a case of massive GOP voter fraud in WI); the shadowy Photo ID initiative that went down in flames in CA; the terrible "recount" bill in CA that has now been (largely) killed following BRAD BLOG's recent exposé; a word or two about the latest absurdity in the GOP's pretend IRS "scandal"; and, as usual, Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and a some utter nonsense from Fox and Friends.

All of that and more (seriously) in this week's insanely busy BradCast! Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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Who's really behind the failed November ballot scheme?
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2014 7:35am PT  

Here's a bit of good news for California voters for a change: an effort to place a measure on the November 2014 ballot that would have implemented polling place Photo ID restrictions on voting in the Golden State has failed to gather enough signatures to qualify.

Similar voting restrictions enacted by Republicans around the country have recently been found to be in violation of both the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. See this recent federal court ruling in Wisconsin, for instance, or this state ruling in Pennsylvania.

Despite those recent blows and others to GOP efforts to implement such policies, the aborted effort in California, headed up by a shadowy organization calling itself GuardMyVote.org, would deny the right to vote to otherwise legal voters who failed to present very specific types of Photo ID at the polls, or a photocopy of same for absentee voters. The legislative language of the detailed 7-page initiative [PDF] would have required voters to present a Photo ID with an expiration date that, among other requirements, "was issued by the United States or the State of California (excluding public colleges and universities)."

Why state-issued Photo ID from public colleges and universities would not have been acceptable is not stated in the proposed measure, but similar GOP-enacted Photo ID restrictions in other states have been found by courts and academic studies alike to disproportionately discriminate against those who tend to vote Democratic, including minorities, the elderly, the poor and student voters.

Had the initiative made it onto the ballot and then been adopted by California voters, it would have taken effect on January 1, 2016, just in time for that year's Presidential election cycle. The failed effort may also prove to be a dodged bullet for Pete Peterson, the state's 2014 Republican nominee for Secretary of State who would have also been on the same ballot. Peterson managed to dodge some of The BRAD BLOG's specific questions about his position on such initiatives in "blue" California.

In a short search, the only names The BRAD BLOG has been able to find involved in the failed CA Photo ID measure appear to be two Rightwingers, though it's unlikely that either crafted the detailed legislative language of the proposal. The woman who submitted the initiative to the state identifies herself as a "conservative" talk radio host who broadcasts out of Palm Springs, even though, as the summary of the initiative [PDF] created by the state Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance found, the fiscal impact of the initiative was anything but conservative. The initiative, if adopted, would have included increased costs to state and local governments "potentially in the range of tens of millions of dollars per year" and required a potential increase in state funding of elections to the tune of "about $100 million," according to the legislative analysis.

The slick GuardMyVote.org webpage describes the group as a "pending" non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)4 social welfare organization. According to the site's "About Us" page: "Guard My Vote is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to protecting the integrity of the vote and the voter rights of all eligible California citizens, native born or naturalized."

The site accepts contributions but offers no information on exactly who they are, or who has funded either the initiative or the website. For all of their claims about "integrity," the site fails to list a single name or organization backing the initiative, so we had to do a bit of digging...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/23/2014 4:03pm PT  

Just getting back on the grid today after a few days off of it, so getting caught up with much, including today's release of the legal memo [PDF] detailing the Obama Administration's claim of legal authority for the 2011 targeted drone killing of U.S. citizen and alleged terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

(Three other U.S. citizens were also killed in drone strikes abroad, including al-Awlaki's 16-year old son one month after his father, though the Administration contends those killings were incidental deaths during strikes targeting others...as if that makes them less awful somehow? In any event...)

As the Washington Post notes, portions of the document are redacted, including "paragraphs that presumably explained why the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel determined that killing Awlaki in a drone strike would not violate the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees due process to U.S. citizens accused of crimes."

The paper adds, however, that "the memo provides previously unknown details about the reasoning behind one of the most controversial counterterrorism operations carried out by the U.S. government since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."

But what caught my eye in particular today, was the Congressional Progressive Caucus' somewhat snarky, if very clever, promotion of their press release in response to the released (and redacted) memo, which Roll Call's Steven Dennis describes as "Progressive Caucus Trolls Obama on Drone Memo"...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/16/2014 6:05am PT  

Apparently, swinging and missing on three separate occasions is not enough to get either Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich or its Republican Secretary of State John Husted to walk away from the plate.

After U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus issued an August 2012 preliminary injunction that forced the Buckeye State to restore early voting for the three days preceding the November 2012 Presidential Election, Husted found it necessary to apologize to the court for what appeared to be a contemptuous directive to the state's 88 county Boards of Election that they not establish hours for voting on those days, pending the state's appeal of the preliminary injunction. Strike one!

In early October 2012, a unanimous three judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against Husted, expressly sustaining every aspect of Judge Economus' August 2012 decision. Strike two!

That same month, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily rejected Husted's request for an emergency stay. Strike three!

Undaunted, in Feb. 2014 Gov. Kasich signed into law a new elections bill that failed to correct the previous disparate deadlines for in-person voting, allowing military voters to vote on the last days before the election, but nobody else. Husted then issued a directive that provided for early voting between 8:00 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, but failed to provide for any voting hours on either Sunday, Nov. 2 or Monday, Nov. 3 --- despite the still-existing law allowing military members to cast their vote those days.

As it happens, African-American churches have traditionally used early voting on the Sunday before elections as "Souls to the Polls" day to help get out the vote. In turn, Republicans in Ohio have been working hard to end early voting on the Sunday before election day.

In his original 2012 ruling, Judge Economus held that all Ohio voters had a "constitutionally protected right to participate in the 2012 election --- and all elections --- on an equal basis." That is why he declared the effort to limit early voting to only active duty military members on the weekend before the election to be an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

This year's latest gambit led to the issuance last week of a Permanent Injunction [PDF] on the Republican scheme, pursuant to which Judge Economus has ordered the recalcitrant Ohio Secretary of State [emphasis added] "to set uniform and suitable in-person early voting hours for all eligible voters for the three days preceding all future elections." Strike four?

Amusingly, rather than attempting to violate the court order this time around, SoS Husted is pretending that all of this is simply what he wanted all along, declaring in a statement (via the "Election Law Blog"), issued after losing again in court last week: "I am pleased that the federal court has affirmed what I have long advocated --- that all voters, no matter where they live, should have the same opportunity to vote. Thankfully, uniformity and equality won the day."

Also, up is down, black is white, and John Husted is a great champion of voting rights.

* * *
Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system --- now in our ELEVENTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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