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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Kochs' Chris Christie; Wingnut Marriage Meltdown; 'Most Important Climate Ruling':
'BradCast' 6/30/15
Guest: Michael B. Gerrard of Columbia's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law...
'Green News Report' 6/30/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
SCOTUS nixes mercury pollution rules; Christie jumps in, we tell you his position on climate; Coal plant cleaned up in Navajo Nation; PLUS: Solar plane's dangerous Pacific crossing...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/15 - 6/23/15 - Archives...
The Good, Bad and SCOTUS Ruling on AZ Redistricting: 'BradCast' 6/29/15
Former AZ state legislator Ted Downing; Plus: much more on latest SCOTUS rulings...
Sunday Toons: Flags & Fits
Both supremacy and Supremes are at issue in PDiddie's collection of the week's best (and most iconic) political toons...
'A More Perfect Union': 'BradCast' 6/26/15
An extraordinary end to an extraordinary week. Mike Rogers of Raw Story joins us to discuss the landmark SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality and how we got here...
MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR ALL
The U.S. Supreme Court finally recognizes what The BRAD BLOG has for more than a decade. Because rights ultimately win and haters ultimately lose...
Scalia Lies (Again); And 2014's Last Election Contest: 'BradCast' 6/25/15
Dr. Laura Pressley, Austin City Council candidate, explains why she's challenging her 100% unverifiable 2014 election...
'Green News Report' 6/25/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jindal's in! Here's his weird climate position; Deadly heat in Pakistan; New studies see climate change as 'catastrophic' for health; PLUS: Landmark ruling in Netherlands...
Previous GNRs: 6/23/15 - 6/18/15 - Archives...
Vexillology! Why Flags Matter:
'BradCast' 6/24/15
Annie Platoff, flag expert from North American Vexillological Association explains it all for you! (Even flags on the moon!); Plus: Callers, Trump surge & more!...
TRUMP-MENTUM!
Republican's newest Frankenstein Monster and billionaire real estate developer surges into 2nd place in NH GOP Primary poll! Not to say 'we told ya so' or anything...
Sanders Destroyed Fed Chair Greenspan in 2003
Years before the economy would collapse, then-Rep. Bernie Sanders unloaded on the Fed Chair during a Congressional hearing. Years later, Alan Greenspan admitted he was wrong...
Fox 'News', Bill O'Reilly and
All Their Racist Viewers: 'BradCast' 6/23/15
Sean McElwee of Demos on his new study; More (positive) fallout from Charleston; (Some) Senate Dems help move TPP forward...
'Green News Report' 6/23/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Repubs in bind after Papal encyclical on climate; Massive algae bloom shuts down West Coast fisheries; May 2015 hottest on record; PLUS: Goodbye, American Eastern Cougar...
Previous GNRs: 6/18/15 - 6/16/15 - Archives...
Race, Guns, Flags, Terrorism and the Right's Quickly Changing Politics of Denial: 'BradCast' 6/22/15
Historic GOP flip-flops and Fox's 'pathological denial' w/ Eric Boehlert of Media Matters...
Sunday Toons:
Identity Crises Edition
This is now getting really strange. And 'PDiddie' has the week's collection of toons to prove it...
RW Domestic Terror in SC & Beyond; Big Govt GOP in TX; 'BradCast' 6/19/15
The 2009 DHS report Repubs hope you've forgotten; Plus: Adam Briggle of Frack Free Denton on GOP banning fracking bans and democracy in TX...
Sanders on 'Democratic Socialism'
'Bernie-mentum' begins to show itself in the polls as Sanders' message is heard on 'Late Night', beginning a challenge to nation's woeful 'democracy deficit'...
Evangelical Response to the Pope's Climate Encyclical: 'BradCast' 6/18/15
Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, Repub CEO of Evangelical Environmental Network; PLUS: Latest on SC church massacre; Limbaugh's lie about the Pope...
'Green News Report' 6/18/15
The Pope's unprecedented call for climate action; The Right predictably freaks out about it; India goes solar in a big way; PLUS: Trump's running, thinks global warming is a hoax...
GOP's World of Trump: 'BradCast' 6/17/15
Has Trump blown up the GOP primary? Is he more than just a joke? Is he the Frankenstein Monster created by 40 years of Reaganism and Fox 'News'? Callers weigh in on that, Bernie Sanders and more!...
RW Radio Rescues Limbaugh in Boston
More wingnut welfare and Heart-less abuse of our public airwaves for corporate profit as Premiere radio uses it's corporate-owned station to save the failing Rush...
The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster': 'BradCast' 6/16/15
Heather Digby Parton on Trump as 'culmination of 30 years of American Dream propaganda' by the Right; Plus: 'Dickensian' Kansas; Politifact fail...
TRUMP: THE CANDIDATE
Sure, he's a clown and the latest to get into the 2016 GOP clown car. But 'misunderstimate' his candidacy at your own peril...
'Green News Report' 6/16/15
Jeb Bush finally jumps in; Hillary Clinton pushes for renewable energy; Shell's Arctic drilling rig escapes Seattle; PLUS: The Pope's summer blockbuster, coming soon to a planet near you...
'Pope Francis: The Encyclical' (The Movie)
The Pope kicks climate ass, takes climate names...
'Citizens United' Ain't the Half of It: 'BradCast' 6/15/15
Rove, Republicans & the lawsuit against the utterly broken FEC with guest Craig Holman of Public Citizen. Plus: Jeb jumps in (don't think about Dubya!) and Hillary launches...
Sunday Toons: Help Wanted Edition
Where the jobs are (and aren't); TPP; Climate change; McKinney, TX; and the Jurassic World of GOP politics...
THIS is What's the Matter With Kansas: 'BradCast' 6/12/15
Guest Matthew Menendez says he's 'never seen anything like' Gov. Sam Brownback's amazing, new decree; Plus: Progressives block TPP 'Fast-Track' (for now)...
TX GOP's War on Voting While Female
After Hillary Clinton called out former TX Gov. and 2016 GOP hopeful Rick Perry for his support of discriminatory voting restrictions, a NH voter makes another good point...
Oversight, Transparency, Journalism & FOIA on Trial in U.S. House: 'BradCast' 6/11/15
VICE News reporter Jason Leopold on his U.S. House testimony and more; Also Tamir Rice news, call to stop TPP & poor Rick Santorum...
'Green News Report' 6/11/15
MSM challenges Santorum on science denial; G7's expiration date for fossil fuels; NASA's new tool to view future climate effect; PLUS: Denier group's secret donors...
Rep. Sherman Slams TPP: 'BradCast' 6/10/15
California Dem tells Brad why the proposed agreement 'continues worst trade policies in history of mammalian life' and why he believes Obama is living 'in a cloister'...
Limbaugh's Wingnut Reprieve in Boston?
After being dumped from his decades long radio home, wingnut welfare may ride to the rescue to return the controversial extremist to a market which rejected him...
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...


County Clerks vow to begin marriages immediately, while Republican AG warns them not to, pending appeal
NOW UPDATED WITH SOME FANTASTIC WEDDING PHOTOS!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2014 4:17pm PT  

[Ed Note: Be sure to check out the great photos added at the bottom of this post! - BF]

To head into the weekend with some good news, a federal judge has now overturned Wisconsin's ban on marriage equality. So freedom comes to the Badger State, despite its Governor, Scott Walker's continuing effort against such freedom, and against Constitutionally conservative values. It's hardly the first time Walker has been on the wrong side of the Constitution, the wrong side of conservatism, and the wrong side of history.

"Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution," U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote in her 88-page ruling [PDF] striking down a state constitutional amendment passed in 2006, finding it in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

There's a bit of a legal skirmish ongoing tonight in the state, as Crabb did not stay her ruling pending the inevitable appeal, though suggested she might do so later after hearing responses from both sides of the lawsuit which was filed by the ACLU on behalf of eight gay couples.

State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has vowed to appeal, just as he did recently after losing the federal challenge to state Republicans' polling place Photo ID voting restriction. That statute, enacted by self-described "conservatives", was found by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman to have placed draconian and discriminatory restrictions on yet another American freedom (the right to vote) in violation of both the Wisconsin state and federal Constitutions.

"Current law remains in force," Van Hollen says tonight about the ban on marriage equality, though few seem to be listening or agreeing. According to the Journal Sentinel, County Clerks in Dane and Milwaukee Counties have announced they will begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples immediately...

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

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State GOP's voter suppression law working as designed; Why has DoJ not challenged it yet?...
By Brad Friedman on 6/4/2014 12:41pm PT  

Yesterday we covered the story of 93-year old Willie Mims, the African-American man who was turned away from the polling place in Alabama for lack of a Photo ID, after having voted successfully in nearly every election since WWII.

Mims had a drivers license, but it had expired. So, according to the polling place Photo ID restriction law enacted by state Republicans, even though Mims would have had his photo on it and even an address that matched his voter registration, he was not allowed to cast his vote during yesterday's primary election.

But Mims was hardly the only one who was kept from voting yesterday, under the first official statewide run of the AL GOP's polling place Photo ID law. (The law was passed in 2011, but didn't take effect until now, since the state was waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to knock down the section of the Voting Rights Act that would likely have blocked the racially discriminatory statute from taking effect.)

Kay Campbell of AL.com shared this story yesterday of another long time voter who lost her right to vote thanks to the same law...

A Huntsville woman, 92, who has lived in the same house in Huntsville for 57 years and voted in every election since she was eligible, was turned away from the polls today because her driver's license expired nine months ago.

The voter, a great-grandmother to five, was deeply embarrassed by the whole incident and declined to talk directly with AL.com, but she gave her go-ahead for her neighbor, who took her to the polls, to relay the incident, with the provision that her name not be used.
...
The license had expired in August 2013. She had not renewed it because her eyesight is failing and she has made the tough decision to quit driving. But she thought since it was so recent, it would work. She uses it to cash checks and in other rare incidences when she is asked for an ID.

As we also noted yesterday, via MSNBC's Zachary Roth, Alabama has a loophole built into the law, which the NAACP Legal Defense fund describes [PDF] as "an illegal relic of the Jim Crow South". It allows a voter without the very specific state-issued Photo ID now required to cast a ballot, to vote anyway so long as two poll workers at the precinct can vouch for them.

Campbell reports that Libba Nicholson, the neighbor who drove the elderly woman to the polling place, "said that the woman in charge of the Help Desk asked the other poll workers if any of them recognized her - just one more verification would have done it, Nicholson said, but no one did."

And then there was this...

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

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10th Circuit stays order compelling EAC to add 'Proof of Citizenship' requirement to federal voter registration form...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/27/2014 8:35am PT  

Early last week, with little attention in the media, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeal applied the brakes, for now, to one of the newest voter suppression schemes on the bleeding front edge of the GOP's ongoing War on Voting.

The insidious new Republican scheme, if it manages to overcome continuing challenges in court, such as the stay and appeal it now faces in the 10th Circuit, could result in thousands of otherwise eligible voters in Kansas and Arizona (and elsewhere, if the effort is allowed to move forward in KS and AZ) unable to even register to vote, much less cast a ballot on Election Day.

An investigative report by the Arizona Republic last year found the evidence for the purported basis of the new law --- claims by Republicans that non-citizens are casting ballots in the state --- to be "nearly non-existent".

Judith Brown Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, described the nearly decade-long, coordinated, nationwide GOP voter suppression effort as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era". While appearing before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee in 2011, she described the effort as one designed to make "it harder to register to vote, harder to cast a ballot and harder to have a vote counted."

One of the primary GOP efforts to make it "harder to cast a ballot" can be found in the spate of polling place Photo ID laws that Republicans have sought to justify on the basis of what amounts to a phantom menace. Cases of in-person voter impersonation --- the only type of voter fraud that can be prevented by Photo ID --- are about as scarce as hen's teeth.

The same can be said about baseless GOP claims of an epidemic of voter fraud in the form of votes cast by non-citizens --- an allegation that is now being used as part of the new Republican ploy to prevent perfectly lawful citizens from even registering to vote...

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

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Asa Hutchinson almost lost his own vote on Primary Day...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2014 1:49pm PT  

This morning, in reporting on 92-year old Texan Ruby Barber's inability to receive a Photo ID to vote under the state Republicans' new law restricting legal voters who don't have a very specific type of ID, we noted that there are hundreds of thousands of otherwise legally registered voters in TX (and millions across the nation), who are likely to find themselves unable to vote at all, unless these purposely discriminatory voting laws are struck down once and for all by the courts.

While the elderly, the poor, students and minorities (all of whom just happen to lean Democratic) are far and away more likely to lose their right to vote under these Republican-enacted restrictions, they are not the only ones at risk of losing their franchise, as evidenced Tuesday during Arkansas' primary election...

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

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George W. Bush-appointed judge concludes 'We are a better people than what these laws represent'
UPDATE: Governor decides to NOT appeal ruling court's ruling...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2014 12:35pm PT  

Just hours after a similar decision in Oregon yesterday, Pennsylvania now becomes the 19th state where the Constitutionally conservative value of equal protection for all under the law becomes the law of the land again.

The Keystone State's ban on marriage equality has just been found by a federal judge to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution there. Wildly unpopular Republican Gov. Tom Corbett --- who lost today on this issue, as well as in his recent failed defense of Republican polling place Photo ID restrictions --- is believed likely to appeal the decision. (He recently chose not to appeal the indefensible polling place restrictions which, as the state was forced to admit before the trial even began, had nothing to do with stopping "voter fraud".)

Corbett, a self-proclaimed "conservative", hired a private $400/hour firm to defend the law after Democratic state Attorney General Kathleen Kane refused to do so. The wildly unpopular Corbett faces a very tough re-election this November.

District Court Judge John E. Jones, a George W. Bush appointee, described the state's ban on marriage quality as "an injustice" and wrote in his rather moving decision today, featuring section headers that mirror the classic wedding vows, that "all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage."

"In future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage," he concluded. "We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."

* * *

UPDATE 5/21/2014: As he did after the court's recent rejection of PA's polling place Photo ID restriction law, Corbett has now announced he will not appeal the trouncing his side of the argument received in court yesterday. Let the weddings, and equality, begin...

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Law found in violation of U.S. Constitution; Judge declares 'let us look to each other...and rise'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2014 12:51pm PT  

Constitutionally conservative victories for equal protection under the law are piling up across the country faster than we can note them here!

Moments ago, the latest victory was announced in Oregon, where a federal judge just found [PDF] the state's ban on marriage equality to be in violation of the 14th Amendment...

Because Oregon's marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Well, that was easy. Marriages are expected to begin in the state "almost immediately".

The final paragraph of District Court Judge Michael J. McShane's opinion was particularly thoughtful...

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

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Ruling allows weddings to begin Friday
UPDATE: 9th Circuit Court now puts weddings on hold pending appeal...
By Brad Friedman on 5/14/2014 7:00pm PT  

Hopefully, conservative Republicans are celebrating in Idaho tonight, as constitutional equal protection under the law is set to begin on Friday there, according to a federal court today...

BOISE, Idaho (AP) --- A federal magistrate judge has refused to put gay marriages on hold in Idaho pending an appeal from the state's governor.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale wrote Wednesday morning that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's appeal isn't likely to succeed, and so there's no reason to keep same-sex couples from seeking marriage licenses or marrying on Friday.

On Tuesday, Dale struck down Idaho's same-sex marriage ban in response to a lawsuit from four Idaho couples.

Dale said Idaho's law unconstitutionally denies gay and lesbian couples their fundamental right to marry and wrongly stigmatizes their families. She said the state must start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Friday morning.

* * *

UPDATE 5/15/2014 12:33pm PT: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals puts freedom on hold for the moment in Idaho...

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That's the best you've got, 'Senator Freedom & Liberty'?...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2014 1:29pm PT  

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is running for President. There's little question of that. But he's got a lot to get ahead of if he hopes to have a prayer of doing so successfully.

Namely, as even the Rightwing HotAir site observes, he's got some race issues to deal with, such as "his old comments on the Civil Rights Act, his father's newsletters, having the 'Southern Avenger' on staff, even agreeing with Cliven Bundy about federal land-use practices before quickly denouncing him after his comments about blacks went viral."

So Paul has been spending the last year or so on an occasional outreach tour to African-American communities, trying to smooth things over. His latest stop was in Memphis on Friday, where he met with black pastors and, afterward, very softly --- though in terms that will reverberate in a 2016 GOP Presidential primary nonetheless --- broke with his party's orthodoxy on discriminatory polling place Photo ID restriction laws. Sort of...

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

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NEXT DAY UPDATE: Marriages have begun in AR...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2014 3:34pm PT  

A state judge has found Arkansas' state Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Here's a statement on the case, just in from the Freedom to Marry advocacy group...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2014

Arkansas Judge Strikes Down Marriage Ban

New York - Today Judge Chris Piazza of Arkansas upheld same-sex couples' freedom to marry, striking down the state's discriminatory constitutional amendment and becoming one of more than a dozen judges to rule in favor of the freedom to marry since last year's Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

"Today a state circuit judge in Arkansas ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, the latest in a unanimous wave of favorable rulings from more than a dozen state and federal judges across the country in recent months. Judge Piazza held that there is no good reason for discriminating against couples and their loved ones just because they are gay. With nearly 70 marriage cases now making their way through the courts, and five federal appellate courts now hearing arguments and soon to rule, today's decision out of Arkansas underscores that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry."

A record-high 59% of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples. 50% of Southerners support marriage, with only 42% opposed.

###
Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.

Constitutionally conservative equal protection under the law continues to sweep across the nation, as we'd long ago predicted it would.

Indeed, the race is on, at this point, to figure out which state will be the last in the union to accept the inevitable. Surprisingly, as both we and The Daily Show discovered not long ago, it's unlikely to be whichever state you might have otherwise guessed.

So, which state will be last? Leave your guesses in comments for history. We should be able to determine the winner before very long --- likely even well before Obama leaves office, at this rate.

* * *

UPDATE 5/10/14: The first same-sex marriages in the state have begun. Congrats, Arkansas!...

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UPDATED: Wisconsin Republicans will appeal to 7th Circuit...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/2/2014 1:23pm PT  

This week's federal court decision to strike down Wisconsin's polling place Photo ID law has national significance and 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.

The court's landmark decision in the Wisconsin case contains a methodology for testing the law's constitutionality that, if applied by other courts in similar federal challenges to similar laws in other states, would likely mark the beginning of the end for Republican-enacted, polling place Photo ID restrictions. We describe that possibility as "likely", given that a careful reading of prior case law suggests that six of the Supreme Court's nine Justices have already subscribed to legal opinions that are consistent with the methodology used by the federal court in Wisconsin.

In late 2011, shortly after the filing of the first of the two federal cases that resulted in this week's ruling finding that Wisconsin's polling place Photo ID law (Act 23) violated both the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), The BRAD BLOG explained why the issues before the federal bench in Wisconsin "could reverse similar laws nationwide."

The 90-page decision and order [PDF] that U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman meticulously crafted, not only after a full trial on the merits, but over a span of more than 3 1/2 months following it, suggests that our earlier prediction may have been an understatement.

In declaring Wisconsin's Republican-enacted Photo ID law unconstitutional and a violation of federal law, Judge Adelman applied a very specific test for the law, one called for by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2008. That same test, measuring the potential benefits of such laws against their possible harm to voters' rights, if similarly applied elsewhere, would likely invalidate most, if not all of the similar restrictions which have been rammed through numerous GOP-majority state legislatures over the past six years.

While stopping short of describing Republican "justifications" for such laws as a mere pretext for voter suppression, Judge Adelman's decision persuasively finds that the core GOP claims about the supposed need for polling place Photo ID restrictions cannot withstand judicial scrutiny when tested against a fact-based reality in a court of law. The judge found, in no uncertain terms, that such laws are constitutionally infirm because, without legitimate state interests for such restrictions, they serve only to disproportionately disenfranchise the poor, the elderly and minority voters...

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

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GUESTS: Dr. Margaret Flowers of Popular Resistance; Christina Tobin of Free & Equal...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2014 10:51pm PT  

It was a very independent and very activist-y BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio this week, on a whole bunch of levels.

First up: Christina Tobin, Founder & Chair of The Free & Equal Elections Foundation --- and co-moderator, with Larry King, of the 2012 Presidential Debate where all of the major candidates were invited (as opposed to to just two of them). We discussed her group and their upcoming United We Stand Fest at UCLA on May 10th, which is set to feature a ton of very cool politicians (of all parties), journalist, musicians...and me.

Next: Why Tuesday's landmark decision in a federal court in Wisconsin, striking down that state's GOP polling place Photo ID restriction law is so important to the entire nation, and why Scott Walker and a whole bunch of Republicans across the country aren't gonna like it at all.

Then: Dr. Margaret Flowers of PopularResistance.org --- a pediatrician who left her private practice in 2007 to become a full time activist and advocate for single payer health care --- tells my why, despite what I see as Obamacare's very clear success, I'm completely wrong about it, why it's a "scam" and why she's a "conscientious objector" to the Affordable Care Act.

Followed by: A few brief remarks about the crushing loss this week --- for the entire nation --- of our friend Tim Carpenter, the indefatigable and relentless co-founder of Progressive Democrats of America.

Finally: As always, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report and a preview of more fossil fuel disasters to be covered tomorrow...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

* * *

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Finds Republican restrictions on voting violate both the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2014 6:43pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Very big news out of a federal court in Wisconsin today, where the state's polling place Photo ID law (Act 23) has now been struck down as both a violation of the federal Constitutional as well as under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

While similar laws, all enacted by Republicans, have been struck down by state courts before --- indeed, Wisconsin's, was already found in violation of the state constitution in state court --- and in federal courts under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, today's ruling is the first to strike down such a law under Section 2 of the VRA.

The landmark ruling will almost certainly have national implications for federal challenges in other states against similar restrictions recently enacted by Republicans.

Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the heart of the VRA by making Section 5 unenforceable until Congress passes new legislation to determine which jurisdictions must pre-clear new elections laws with the U.S. Dept. of Justice before they are put into effect, due to a history of racial discrimination in elections in those jurisdictions. Section 2, however, bars discrimination in all 50 states, even though, unlike Section 5, it cannot be applied until after the new law in question goes into effect.

Judge Lynn Adelman's ruling [PDF] today, finding WI's version of the law discriminatory and in violation of both Section 2 and the 14th Amendment of the federal Constitution, is likely to have an impact on federal challenges to similar laws in states such as Texas and North Carolina, where federal cases are pending to block similarly discriminatory polling place restrictions.

Moreover, the judge placed the racial and class discrimination and disenfranchisement that would be caused by this law in stark terms, in regard to how many otherwise legal voters in Wisconsin might lose their right to vote, and how such a law might have directly affected the results of the state's 2010 election, had it been place at the time...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2014 4:15pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

A Circuit Court judge has resoundingly rejected Arkansas' new Photo ID restrictions on voting, declaring the law to be "null and void" and in violation of the state's Constitutional right to vote.

Last year, after Republicans took over the Arkansas statehouse for the first time since Reconstruction, they passed an onerous Photo ID restriction law for voting. The Democratic Governor Mike Beebe vetoed the new restrictions, but that veto was subsequently overridden by the Republican legislature.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Davis Fox' 2-page Summary Judgement [PDF] finds in favor of plaintiffs in the case, the Pulaski County Election Commission and against both the defendant, the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners, as well as the Republican Party of Arkansas which intervened on behalf of the Board of Election.

In his Thursday ruling, Fox found the law to be "unconstitutional in that it violates Articles 3, Section 1 and Article 3, Section 2 of the Arkansas Constitution."

Section 1 of Article 3 details the "Qualifications of Electors" in the Arkansas state Constitution, declaring that, "Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, any person may vote in an election in this state who is: (1) A citizen of the United States; (2) A resident of the State of Arkansas; (3) At least eighteen (18) years of age; and (4) Lawfully registered to vote in the election."

Section 2, on the "Right of Suffrage" states that "Elections shall be free and equal. No power, civil or military, shall ever interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage; nor shall any law be enacted whereby such right shall be impaired or forfeited, except for the commission of a felony, upon lawful conviction thereof."

Given the very clear and straightforward language of the state Constitution, this seems to have been a very easy case. Republicans, however, are reportedly preparing to appeal the ruling...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2014 6:05am PT  

Given that every Sunday network news show decided to completely ignore it, I thought it my duty to read the entirety of the leaked findings from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA Torture and Detention on the air during this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio.

You're welcome, war criminals!

Also on this week's show, the continually growing evidence of the success of "Obamacare" (and a caller who self-identifies as "full on Left. I'm not even liberal, I'm further Left than that", who takes me to task for citing the facts) --- and why it's time for Dems to grow a pair and start running to not just retain the Senate but also take the U.S. House.

A word or two on home-grown Rightwing extremist terrorism and the fecklessness of the Dept. of Homeland Security which, thanks to bullying from Republicanists and Fox "News", cowered from and retracted their report on same back in 2009 despite the mounting death toll ever since.

Also, a bunch of good callers and more that you'll just have to tune in to hear about, including a visit by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and some other stuff. Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2014 3:39pm PT  

Late last week, the twenty conclusions of the U.S. Senate's report on the Bush-era's secret CIA torture and detention program was leaked and published by McClatchy.

As we noted on Friday, when we also published the report's disturbing conclusions [PDF], the 6,600-page study, based on first-hand CIA documentation, reveals massive illegalities and war crimes by everyone from CIA contractors to agents to higher level officials at that agency and others.

The report is said to detail wide-spread crimes that are not only in violation of U.S. law, but also international laws which our nation has an obligation to enforce, thanks to treaties we have long been a party to. And, if we don't enforce those laws and hold the criminals accountable for lawlessness such as torture, all the rest of the nations signed on to such treaties along with us, such as the UN Convention against Torture, have a legal obligation to do so.

The prohibition against torture under that treaty is absolute for all nations. "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture," according to Article 2 of the treaty.

All of that comes on the heels of revelations that the CIA itself had used the computers of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in an attempt to sabotage the committee's report.

Yet, with a report that important and a story that big, not a single U.S. network "news" show on Sunday found the time to even mention the report. Not NBC's Meet the Press with David Gregory, not ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, not CBS' Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer, not Fox "News" Sunday with Chris Wallace.

On Friday, we mentioned that the U.S. Senators who recently voted to release 500 redacted pages of the report (we're still waiting on the White House to take action to redact and release it), argue that release is necessary to avoid this country ever going down this same path again.

We opined in response that "only actual prosecution will deter that eventuality", that "As long as those who committed such vile and abhorrent crimes are not actually held accountable, all of this will almost certainly be repeated in the future," (by both us and other nations) and that "if we fail to prosecute, we will also have little ground to hold other rogue countries accountable for the same crimes in the future."

The fact that the twenty, very easy-to-read bullet point conclusions from the U.S. Senate report, which has been years in the making --- as based on first-hand documentation of the crimes --- were released last week, and not even mentioned once on any of the four major Sunday network news shows underscores our point. The release of data is all well and good. But it's only when the perpetrators start being frog-marched to jail that the mainstream corporate media --- and, thus, the American public --- will begin to give a damn about one of the darkest moments in this nation's history.

As of now, at least if Sunday is any indication, evidence suggests that the MSM doesn't give a damn. Therefore, neither will the American people. Thus, we are destined to repeat this abhorrent chapter and, once again, like so many shameful chapters in our recent past, the corporate mainstream media themselves will have played a lead role in helping to make sure that happens.

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