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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 30, 2015
TPP Secrets and Roads to Nowhere: 'BradCast' 5/29/15
Obama calls the TPP trade pact the 'most progressive ever'. Many Dems disagree. Who's right? Who knows? It's all a secret. Plus: NWF's Miles Grant on the 'new roads' scam...
HASTERT INDICTED ON CRIMINAL CHARGES
Flashback to BRAD BLOG coverage of blackmail, bribery allegations from years past, as former GOP House Speaker charged with paying $3.5m to cover up 'prior misconduct'...
Montana's Fight to Save U.S. Elections: 'BradCast' 5/28/15
MT's Commissioner of Political Practices discusses his disturbing court battle that may rock elections across the country; Nebraska does the right thing again; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/28/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly deluges in TX, OK; Deadly heat in India; Heat-driven fires shut down tar sands oil in Canada; Farmers concede in CA drought; PLUS: Obama protects drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 5/21/15 - 5/19/15 - Archives...
On 'White Fragility' and On Smearing Bernie Sanders: 'BradCast' 5/27/15
Journalist Austin Squire on privileged white males' tenous grip on power. Plus: The MSM continues to marginalize Sanders, even after his huge kickoff rally this week...
Roads to Nowhere: Do Voters Really Want New Ones?
Voters keep rejecting increased taxes for new and improved roads. Environmental reporter Miles Grant wonders if there's a reason above and beyond aversion to increased gas taxes...
Oil, Toil, Flooding & Trouble: 'BradCast' 5/26/15
Science Editor Andrew Freedman on deadly TX, OK flooding; Good news out of Ireland; A 'GyroCopter Guy' update; PLUS: Our report from the Santa Barbara oil spill...
Memorial Day Weekend Toons We'd Love to Forget
Arctic drilling; Texas 'justice'; Hillary Inc.; Iraq 'whoppers' continued and more in PDiddie's latest collection...
Gov. Don Siegelman's Son on Father's Case; 'Bin Laden's Bookshelf': 'BradCast' 5/22/15
GUEST: Joseph Siegelman; Plus: Was al-Qaeda hoping to hack a US election?...
'Bin Laden's Bookshelf' Contained Classic Book on Hacking Computer Elections
Reading material said to have been on the al-Qaeda leader's shelf when he was killed may not be a surprise to BRAD BLOG readers...
GOP State Sen. on Nebraska's 'Veto Proof' Death Penalty Ban: 'BradCast' 5/21/15
Guest: State Sen. Al Davis (R); Plus: Siegelman appeal denied; Jeb still rewriting Iraq history; Goodbye, Dave; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/21/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Major oil spill off CA coast; New settlement in 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill; Fossil fuels subsidized $5 TRILLION/year; PLUS: Obama to Coast Guard cadets: climate threatens NatSec...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/15 - 5/14/15 - Archives...
BREAKING: Appeals Court Denies Siegelman Retrial
AL's former Dem Governor's request denied. He remains in federal prison as Repubs who orchestrated 'political prosecution' (including 'wife-beating' Judge Mark Fuller) remain free...
Walker, Christie, GOP, FCC, Untethered From Reality: 'BradCast' 5/20/15
Facts and reality matter; Journalist turned media-activist Sue Wilson helps explain...
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) on Obama's Executive Order to Demilitarize the Police: 'BradCast' 5/19/15
Plus: A spate of new voting laws, good and bad, around the country...
'Green News Report' 5/19/15
'Paddle in Seattle' to stop Shell's Arctic drilling; Study finds new emmissions rules will save lives...so GOP blocking them; PLUS: Indigenous tribe nixes natgas billions...
Walker and GOP Turn 1st Amndmnt On Head
The FCC's blow to free speech rights you probably never heard about, and how, if Walker and Republicans have their way, it may soon get even worse...
People v. Shell in Seattle; Truth v. Iraq Lies on Fox: 'BradCast' 5/18/15
Guest: Seattle Councilman Mike O'Brien; Now Rubio trips over Iraq; TX shootout; Antarctica ice shelf disappearing...
The 'Br'er Rabbit Strategy' To Fend Off A Sanders-Led Democratic Revolution
Wall Street and MSM say they fear Sanders could 'pull Hillary to left'. But is there more to their strategy?...
Sunday Toons: Off the Rails
From the TPP to tragedy in Philly to GOP 2016ers on Iraq to drilling in the Arctic and marriage equality in TX, common sense continues to be derailed...
Learning From History & GOP Rewriting Iraq's: 'BradCast' 5/15/15
Guest: Journalist Peter Dykstra, formerly of CNN, on how enviros should learn from the past; GOP 2016ers trying to rewrite Iraq...
Texas Republicans Hoping to Block Even More Legit Voters With New ID Scheme
New law, if adopted by state, would take already unconstitional Photo ID voting restrictions to new level...
NSA Spying & 'USA Freedom Act'; Jeb Between Iraq, Hard Place: 'BradCast' 5/14/15
Guest: Marcy Wheeler; Plus: Feingold's back! OH GOP still suppressing voters; 600th GNR...
'Green News Report' 5/14/15
OUR 600th EPISODE! - Hours after Amtrak crash, GOP votes to cut Amtrak budget; FBI spied on KXL protesters; PLUS: Hawaii to be 1st in nation to go 100% renewable...
CIA Drugging of 9/11 Detainees? & Jeb Too Dumb to Run: 'BradCast' 5/13/15
VICE News' investigative reporter Jason Leopold on his new exclusive CIA documents; MORE...
Dems: 'No' to Obama on TPP
'BradCast' 5/12/15
Salon's David Dayen joins us to discuss Dems' refusal to go along with Obama (for now); Plus: 1st election lawsuit of 2016; Jeb on Iraq, Allen West on 'Sharia Law'...
NY Nuke Plant Fire, Oil Spill; Vanishing NC Voter Registrations: 'BradCast' 5/11/15
Guests: Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen; 'DocDawg' of Daily Kos...
Bernie Who? 'Meet the Press' Ignores Sanders
Media watchdog documents NBC's Chuck Todd snubbing Sanders' entry into 2016 Presidential primary, while covering GOP also-rans dozens of times...
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...


Guest: Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl...
By Brad Friedman on 5/28/2015 5:33pm PT  

Nebraska does it again! The majority-GOP state legislature overrides yet another veto by the state's GOP governor to do the right thing yet again, this time to allow the children of immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses. The latest move by Conservative legislators in the state comes on the heels of overriding vetoes and/or filibuster-proof majorities to protect voting rights, raise tax revenue to repair roads and bridges and ban the death penalty. (Today's news, by the way, was available last week to regular BradCast listeners, as it was hinted at quite directly on our show at the time by my guest that day, Republican state Sen. Al Davis.)

In the meantime, my guest on today's The BradCast is Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices John Motl. He explains the state's latest disturbing court battle to retain their long-standing caps on campaign donations. As noted during the show, this case could very well end up at the U.S. Supreme Court and serve to remove all caps on donations to candidates across the country. So it's very important. This in a state which recently saw SCOTUS gut it's 100-year old prohibition on corporate campaign spending (the Corrupt Practices Act of 1912) in the wake of Citizens United.

"We fully understand we are standing in on behalf of the average person," Motl tells me. "We're not standing here on behalf of the large moneyed interests. And we're willing to take that burden on." He adds that he's confident they will win this case. "If there's justice, we will prevail." I'm not quite as confident as he is, to be frank. Pay attention to this case.

Plus: An amusing new RW conspiracy theory, of sorts; Saudi Arabia's oil minister says we may be nearing the end of fossil fuels(!); and extreme weather ravishing the nation and the world on the latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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GUEST: Journalist turned media-activist documentarian Sue Wilson...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2015 4:08pm PT  

We've been talking about reality here a lot lately, and the difficulty a huge portion of our population has with it.

On today's BradCast: Our nation's untethering from reality, as it affects accountability for Iraq War war crimes and torture, the 2016 race, climate change and much more. We can't fix our problems until we can agree on the facts, but Governors Chris Christie and Scott Walker remind us once again that we are nowhere near such agreement. (Even as we must take a side trip through the Bush Family's relationship with Nazi Germany to help understand it all.)

Journalist-turned-media-activist and documentarian Sue Wilson from Media Action Center joins us to discuss the FCC ruling that upends the First Amendment and Walker and his supporter's efforts to make things even worse in a Wisconsin criminal investigation into his 2012 recall election that may have an enormous impact on the entire nation in 2016.

Plus: Minimum wage boosted to $15/hour here in Los Angeles; Another huge oil spill in Santa Barbara; and much more on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!

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By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2015 12:22pm PT  

The polling place Photo ID voting restriction enacted by Republicans in Texas has been repeatedly found in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Most recently, late last year, a federal judge found, after a full trial on the merits of the law, that the restrictive statute "creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose." U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos went on to note in her 147-page ruling [PDF] that the law also "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

Based on evidence from the state examined at trial, the law could serve to disenfranchise as many as 600,000 already legally registered voters in the state, not to mention more than a million eligible voters in Texas over all.

Naturally, Texas Republicans who currently run the state are appealing that ruling. Not because they have been able to demonstrate any actual "voter fraud" that might have been deterred by their restrictions, but because, with rapidly changing voter demographics in the Lone Star State, keeping legal voters (specifically, those that tend to lean towards Democrats) from being able to cast their otherwise legal vote has become a top priority for the GOP if they hope to keep their stranglehold on political power there in coming decades.

With all of that in mind --- including the existing law having been found in violation of both federal law and the U.S. Constitution --- state Republicans are hoping to make the law even more restrictive, and last week in the state House, the GOP passed another law to make it even more difficult for certain people to vote...

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Guests: TX blogger Perry 'PDiddie' Dorrell; Attorney Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 5/7/2015 4:22pm PT  

It was a very busy BradCast today!

We started with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling finding that the NSA's mass surveillance of US citizens under the Patriot Act is, in fact, illegal; Then, more arrests of top elected officials in NY state (Who's next?);

Next, I was joined by BRAD BLOG's Texas blogger and 'toon curator Perry "PDiddie" Dorrell of Brains & Eggs to discuss the "Ace in the Hole (and on the Bench)" in the ongoing criminal felony trial of former TX Governor and presumptive 2016 GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry. (And for an update on whether he's properly prepared for the imminent "Jade Helm 15" U.S. government takeover of Texas!)

Then BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning on "the democracy deficit" and how it applies to Bernie Sanders and his run for the 2016 Dem nomination.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for a very busy Green News Report on Oklahoma tornado outbreak, 'oil bomb' trains, the progressive take over of Alberta, Canada's government, and Elon Musk's huge new announcement...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!

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

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Guest: Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2015 4:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast we finally get the chance to catch up on at least one of the big items we missed last week while Baltimore was on fire: the landmark oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which is likely to result (finally!) in the whole big enchilada decision on marriage equality for all 50 states.

Constitutional law expert and reporter Ian Millhiser of Think Progress joins me to discuss the hearing, the history, the likely outcomes, who to watch, and what could happen thereafter.

Also, Huckabee joins the 2016 GOP nomination circus; Chris Christie begs for a subpoena in 'BridgeGate'; more on the Garland, TX 'anti-muslim' group shootings; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with the climate positions of the three new candidates tossing their hats into the 2016 race...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we'll be posting The BradCast here everyday, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/23/2015 9:02pm PT  

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court severely curtailed the government's ability to utilize a routine traffic stop as an excuse to subject motorists to a canine-sniff of their vehicles as a precursor to a search for narcotics.

In Rodriguez v. United States, the Court ruled that the right of "seizure" during a routine traffic stop extends only for the length of time necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop --- a purpose that ends with the issuance of a citation or warning for the routine stop. While the time needed to effectuate the purpose of the stop includes such measures as necessary to protect an officer’s safety, it does not, according to the Supremes, include a "dog sniff" which, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote on behalf of the court's majority, relates to "the Government’s endeavor to detect crime in general or drug trafficking in particular."

While the 6 to 3 decision (Justices Thomas, Alito and Kennedy dissenting) was handed down in a case in which a motorist was caught transporting methamphetamine inside his car, it also serves to protect the rights of those who are innocent, such as 63-year old Dennis Eckhart, whose nightmarish plight --- including multiple, invasive, forced medical procedures --- all came about as the result of a routine traffic stop and wholly unfounded suspicion by local police...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/13/2015 7:44am PT  

The videos were good for a barrel of laughs. The Director of Florida's Div. of Emergency Management, Brian Koon was forced to engage in verbal gymnastics so as to avoid violating a state ban on using the words "climate change."

In another clip, replayed by Comedy Central's John Stewart, former FL EPA employee Kristina Trotta uses the words, "nuisance flooding," to evade the ban on mentioning "sea level rise." That drew an amusing Stewart suggestion that, in order to evade mentioning that a global warming-connected rise in sea level could eventually lead to an underwater Miami, state employees could refer to "moisture inconvenience!"

The exchanges were hilarious. But there is nothing funny about the attempt to erect thought control regimes, first in Florida and now in Wisconsin. In both states, the practice is verging on that deployed by Oceania's Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984. In that classic but ominous work of fiction, written accounts of inconvenient truths were incinerated inside "memory holes."

While ominous, the clumsy efforts at "thought control" are quite useful. They underscore the warnings we offered nearly five years ago that the real future offered by the so-called "Tea Party" and the Koch Brothers' brand of "libertarianism" includes "Fascism [and] Feudalism --- an authoritarian reality that has already come to fruition in states like Florida and Wisconsin where Charles and David Koch, along with other rightwing billionaires, have already tightened the reigns of oligarchic control over ostensibly "public" institutions...

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Decision means Constitutionality of 'discriminatory' voting laws unlikely to be determined by Supremes before 2016 Presidential elections...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2015 2:36pm PT  

A few weeks ago, our legal analyst Ernie Canning warned how the U.S. Supreme Court's pending decision on whether or not to hear the ACLU's challenge to the Wisconsin GOP Photo ID voting law might be the last chance before the 2016 Presidential elections to determine the Constitutionality of such laws.

On Monday, the Supreme Court decided not to grant cert in the WI challenge in the Frank v. Walker case. The decision is not a ruling on the merits of the case or the Constitutionality of the law. It simply means that, for now, there were not four votes on the Court to hear the ACLU's challenge at this time.

It also means that, barring further court action or a quick decision on a similar law out of another state, polling place Photo ID restrictions on voters will be allowed in the Badger State in 2016. That, despite the fact that the federal trial court found, when striking down the law as unconstitutional and a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act last year, that the new Republican-enacted law may serve to bar some 300,000 disproportionately Democratic-leaning and already lawfully registered voters from casting a ballot in the state's Presidential election.

There is also more than a bit of irony in this matter, in that, after U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman soundly rejected the law in 2014 --- finding that "evidence adduced at trial demonstrates" WI's Act 23 "disproportionately impacts Black and Latino voters" and that the law would "prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes" --- the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals deadlocked (disingenously) 5 to 5 on whether to stay the original ruling. That deadlock meant the stay would be granted and the WI law would be allowed, barring further court challenges, despite the fact that 6 federal judges had voted to strike down the law, while just 5 had voted in its favor. To make matters worse, Act 23 had also been struck down previously in state court as a violation of the state constitution as well. Nonetheless, in this matter, a minority of judges successfully ruled against the majority.

All of that, despite a blistering dissent filed in last year's 7th Circuit Court WI decision by against the law (and all such laws) from revered conservative 7th Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner. Posner's original ruling in favor of a Photo ID restriction law in Crawford v. Marion County, Indiana, was the basis of the first such case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, upholding Indiana's Photo ID law in 2008. So his unambiguous reversal on the issue, now that we know much more about such laws, was noteworthy and, opponents of the law had hoped, convincing to the Supremes who have, for many years, favorably cited the legal scholar's opinions.

Though the 7th Circuit's decision to temporarily stay the original ruling striking down the law was later vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court last year --- on the basis that the stay was made too close to the election --- the discriminatory law is now back in place in the state. The refusal by the Court to grant cert this weeks means that it will likely remain in place as the next Presidential election begins.

Some watching these matters closely, however, believe that Monday's decision by SCOTUS to not hear the Wisconsin case may ultimately be a good thing, perhaps "a blessing in disguise"...

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

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Advocacy groups argue court should restore 'advisory measure' for a new Constitutional amendment to 2016 ballot...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/13/2015 7:05am PT  

Last year, the California State Supreme Court improperly nixed a ballot initiative meant to encourage state Legislators to support an amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision, according to a court brief recently filed by several state advocacy groups.

In the summer of 2014, the California state Legislature enacted SB 1272, a ballot initiative (Prop 49), asking California voters to advise whether the state's elected representatives should pursue passage of an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would overturn Citizens United. The advisory measure, had it been allowed on the general election ballot last year, had sought to establish that corporations are not people and that the rights enshrined in our nation's founding documents apply only to living, breathing human beings.

The effort to permit voters to weigh-in on the subject was cut short when the CA Supreme Court promptly ordered then Secretary of State Debra Bowen to remove Prop 49 from the November ballot pending full briefing and argument with respect to a legal challenge filed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association ("HJTA") --- an anti-tax organization founded by Republican Howard Jarvis.

As described on the Court's docket sheet, the state Supremes removed Prop 49 from last year's ballot based on a 1984 CA Supreme Court decision, American Federation of Labor v. Eu ("Eu"), which established "that substantial harm can occur if an invalid measure is permitted to remain on the ballot."

In Eu, the CA Supremes struck down a ballot initiative that sought "to compel California's elected representatives, on penalty of loss of salary, to apply to Congress to convene a constitutional convention for the…purpose of proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget." (Emphasis added).

But, according to the amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief, recently filed by Free Speech for People (FSP) and other advocacy groups, the Court's earlier decision in Eu does not support last year's decision to remove the Overturn Citizens United initiative from the 2014 ballot. The brief explains that the state Legislature does, indeed, have the constitutional authority to seek advisory instructions from the Golden State's electorate via the ballot.

FSP not only defends the legality of the Prop 49 initiative, as measured against both the U.S. and California Constitutions, but presents both historical and legal arguments that, if successful, could define the very essence of our (small "r") republican form of government (aka, representative democracy) --- a form of government that is guaranteed in every state by Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution...

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FULL TRANSCRIPT OF STIRRING SPEECH NOW POSTED...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2015 1:55pm PT  

President Barack Obama offered a stirring speech this afternoon at the entrance to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March in Selma, Alabama in 1965.

The brutal police violence brought against courageous, peaceful marchers that day, and the subsequent peaceful marches that followed it, led directly to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, widely regarded as one of the most important pieces of legislation in our nation's history.

The transcript of Obama's speech today is posted in full below. But, here is the portion of his remarks calling for the restoration of the VRA which was renewed for 25 years in 2006 by George W. Bush (one of very few Republican officials in attendance today), but then gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013...

And with effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge — and that is the right to vote. Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor.

How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects. If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.

Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone. If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we'd still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples. Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life. What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought? How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America's future?

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The complete transcript of Obama's prepared 3/7/2015 speech commemorating the sacrifices of the 3/7/1965 Bloody Sunday March, along with many other sacrifices in our storied and continuing fight for civil rights in the U.S., follows in full below...

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

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Court's decision on whether to hear a challenge to the Wisconsin GOP's 'unconstitutional' voting restriction is a moment of truth for democracy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/6/2015 2:03pm PT  

As we find ourselves smack dab on the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama, there are some key decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, coming very soon, which may well determine whether millions of otherwise lawfully registered and disproportionately Democratic-leaning African-American and Hispanic voters will be prevented from voting in the 2016 elections.

The decision that emerges from the Supreme Court's March 20, 2015 Conference in the Wisconsin polling place photo ID case, Frank v. Walker, could well be dispositive in that regard. It also may be the last chance to avoid the legal chaos that plagued the 2014 elections, during which similar voting restrictions, in state-after-state, were implemented, struck down, restored, or, with respect to Wisconsin, blocked again. Where, last year, the Court's eleventh hour decisions preserved the right to vote in Wisconsin, that same Supreme Court, on the eve of the 2014 mid-term, eliminated the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of predominantly African-American and Hispanic voters in Texas and North Carolina. The failure of the Supreme Court to take up the issue now could produce an even darker cloud of doubt over the integrity and legitimacy of the 2016 Presidential Election.

The immediate issue now before the Court is not whether SCOTUS agrees with a U.S. District Court judge and half the judges on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal that WI's law (aka Act 23) is both unconstitutional and violative of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. As those judge found, Act 23, if implemented in the Badger State, could disenfranchise more than 300,000 lawfully registered Wisconsin voters.

Rather, the immediate issue at the March 20 Conference is whether the Supremes will grant an ACLU petition for a writ of certiorari (aka "cert petition") and schedule oral arguments on the Constitutionality of the Republican-enacted law. Or whether, as urged by the attorneys representing WI's Republican Governor Scott Walker, the Court will defer its decision until similar legal challenges to strict photo ID laws in other states, such as North Carolina and Texas, wind their way through the trial and appellate courts.

In other words, do they hear the Wisconsin case now, as urged by the ACLU and other voting rights advocates? Or do they wait to combine the matter with several other challenges to substantively identical voting restrictions implemented by Republicans in other states, as urged by one of the men who stands to benefit from delaying such a decision as long as possible?

That decision whether to hear the case now, rather than later, may well have a huge impact on who will serve as the next President of the United States...

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By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2015 9:15pm PT  

It's kind of remarkable what seems to be going on in our country right now. Amidst the years-long ongoing Rightwing hissy-fit over "Obamacare", the GOP has, of late, been enjoying another one concerning immigration. That latest resulted in a completely pointless delay in Congressional funding of the Department of Homeland Security, as the Right pretended that because they really really want something to happen, it must happen. Ya know, kinda like a three-year old.

The GOP Congress gave up the ghost of that particular hissy-fit, at least the part where they pretended they wouldn't fund DHS because of it, earlier today. But there will be more ahead. "I also shudder for the future of this Congress," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said after the House finally approved the clean funding everybody knew they eventually would.

And now, tonight, we've got a similar hissy-fit from the Alabama Supreme Court, as they pretend they can overrule the federal courts in regard to Constitutional equal rights protections...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2015 2:43pm PT  

[UPDATED to reflect the successful adoption of the resolution.]

While Republican state legislatures around the nation have been working to limit access to the polls over recent years, Democrats moved a non-partisan initiative forward over the weekend to help expand --- or, at least, to help protect --- the franchise for all Americans.

At their Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, the Democratic National Committee unanimously voted to adopt a resolution calling for a "Right-to-Vote" Amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution.

According to the resolution, posted in full below, the Democrats are calling for "amending the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual's right to vote."

The resolution also calls on "state parties to work with state lawmakers and others to access the need to petition for a statewide referendum on the November 2016 general election ballot (and all states where this is possible), advocating to amend the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual's right to vote."

As the document stresses, there is currently no such explicit right stated in our nation's founding document, although several amendments bar the restriction of access to the polls based on race, sex and age. It also notes that while, in the past, the U.S. Supreme Court "has called the right to vote a fundamental right," the court's 2013 decision striking down a key element of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has served to "undermine" that right.

"Of the 119 nations that elect their public officials using some form of democratic elections," the resolution notes, "108 have the right to vote in their constitution, but the United States is one of the 11 nations --- including Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, India, Indonesia, Nauru, Samoa, and the United Kingdom --- that does not explicitly contain a citizen's right to vote in its constitution."

"A 'right to vote' constitutional amendment applies to and should be supported by all Americans because it is (a) nonpartisan - not Democratic, Republican or independent; (b) non-ideological - not liberal or conservative; (c) non-programmatic - it does not require you to support or oppose any particular legislative program(s); and (d) non-special interest - its application is not limited to minorities, women, labor, business, seniors, lesbians and gays or any other special interest groups."

The full resolution, adopted on Saturday, February 21, 2015, at the DNC Winter Meeting, follows below...

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'One step closer', says Congresswoman calling for accountability of federal judge arrested on wife-beating charges last year...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2015 2:30pm PT  

In case you thought the clamor, such that it is, for accountability for U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller has waned, it hasn't. At least according to some behind-the-scenes, bi-partisan budgeting measures in the GOP-controlled U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which is now quietly preparing for the possibility of impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush's 2002 lifetime-appointee to the Alabama federal bench.

Fuller was arrested last August on charges related to physically abusing his wife in an Atlanta hotel room after she called 911 asking for help and an ambulance as the dispatcher heard what sounded like the Judge beating her. Here's a portion of Kelli Fuller's chilling phone call...

As Ken Hare of Montgomery's NBC affiliate WSFA summarized last week, when police responded to the 911 call at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta, Fuller's wife had "visible lacerations to her mouth and forehead," according to the police report. She told police the Judge "threw her to the ground and kicked her" in response to confronting him about an alleged affair with his court clerk. (Her own affair with Judge Fuller, ironically, began during his previous marriage, while she served as his court bailiff.) The police report says Kelli Fuller "stated she was dragged around the room and Mr. Fuller hit her in the mouth several times with his hands."

Despite the startling claims, supported by both evidence found by police in the hotel room, the audio of the 911 call excerpted above and eerily similar assertions made in court documents by Fuller's previous wife during their 2012 divorce, the state court in Atlanta allowed Fuller to enter a minimal pretrial diversion program which, once successfully completed, will completely expunge his criminal record --- as if his arrest on domestic battery charges never even happened.

While Fuller may get off the hook for criminal charges, his $200,000/year lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary is another matter. Unless he resigns or retires, the only way that a federal judge can be forced off the federal bench is through an act of Congress. And it is that act, the rare impeachment of a sitting federal judge, which the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has now budgeted for in its new session...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2015 3:33pm PT  

While the specific names of U.S. Senate and House committees don't always foretell precisely what very specific areas they may oversee or regard as their own purview, the renaming of such a committee by its new chair, as is occasionally done at the start of a new session, particularly when control of the chamber changes hands from one party to another, can be very telling.

I believe this may be one such instance where quite a bit can actually be read into the new name for what had previously been the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee's "Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights"...

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