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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Michael Mann on 'Bombshell' New Report on Sea Level Rise: 'BradCast' 7/29/15
'Uncertainty, it turns out, was reason to act even faster,' says the Nobel Prize winning climate scientist...
Trump, 'Spousal Rape',
and His Horrible Attorney:
'BradCast' 7/28/15
Plus: Hacks, election debates, pipelines, spying, GOP approval ratings and much more...
'Green News Report' 7/28/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hillary goes big on solar; Jeb wants to eliminate ALL energy subsidies; PLUS: New study suggests worst case sea level rise may happen much sooner than previously thought...
Previous GNRs: 7/21/15 - 7/23/15 - Archives...
Hillary's Climate Plan & the Awful Truth About It: 'BradCast' 7/27/15
Journalist David Roberts of Vox.com; Plus: Bernie beats all GOPers; Trump continues to surge; MUCH MORE...
U.S. House Passes Bill to Block 'Right to Know' About GMOs
Despite recent scientific findings on dangers of GMOs, failure of existing governmental testing standards, Repubs lead fight to keep you in the dark about what's in your food...
Sunday Toons: Guns Trump All
Also in this week's collection from 'PDiddie': Sandra Bland, Donald Trump, Iran, Climate Science and Planned Parenthood...
High Times for Pot Biz; Plus: More Shootings, More Trump: 'BradCast' 7/24/15
Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project joins us to discuss some encouraging news. Also: The Lafayette theater shooting; Perry's felonies; and Trump cracks the code...
Kansas SoS Kobach Defrauding Voters; FBI Whistleblower Coleen Rowley on 'Terrorism': 'BradCast' 7/23/15
A big show. But even bigger when our guest is a TIME Mag Person of the Year!...
'Green News Report' 7/23/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
OH's Kasich jumps into 2016 GOP race - we decipher his climate position; Dem candidate links global warming to ISIS - Fox goes nuts; PLUS: Two CA Guvs slam climate deniers...
Previous GNRs: 7/21/15 - 7/16/15 - Archives...
The Woman Who Led the #BlackLivesMatter Protest Against Sanders & O'Malley in AZ: 'BradCast' 7/22/15
Tia Oso on why she did it and reaction from progressives. Plus: Hillary in trouble? MORE...
Who the Hell is John Kasich and Why is He Running for Prez?: 'BradCast' 7/21/15
Journalist John Michael Spinelli of Ohio's PlunderBund; Plus: Trump soars in polls!...
'Green News Report' 7/21/15
Extreme weather whips CA - bridges collapse and cars burn; June 2015 hottest on record; PLUS: Record warming in Pacific kicks hurricane season off to record start...
America's Top Psychological Org Colluded w/ Bush on Torture: 'BradCast' 7/20/15
Dr. Yosef Brody of Psychologists for Social Responsibility; Plus: Progressive protesters disrupt Sanders; Trump disrupts himself...
Sunday Toons: Plutocracy is Not a Planet
Plus: 'Jade Helm'; Cosby; Iran; Greece and the rest of last week's messes in cartoon form, as curated by 'PDiddie'...
Mother of All GOP Voter Suppression Laws on Trial in NC: 'BradCast' 7/17/15
Nation's Ari Berman, at the trial this week, joins us. Plus: More on Walker/WI corruption & Maine's dumb Guv!...
Walker Wins & Democracy Loses (Again. Big Time.): 'BradCast' 7/16/15
We don't use the phrase 'death of democracy' lightly. But there's good reason to today. Brendan Fischer explains today's outrageous ruling by WI's corrupt Supreme Court...
'Green News Report' 7/16/15
Graham chides fellow GOPers on climate; Cap & trade nets big bucks for states; Dirty coal on the way out in U.S.; PLUS: Boy band joins climate movement...
Iran, Trump Rising & Confederate Monument Worth Keeping?: 'BradCast' 7/15
We cover a lot of ground today, plus listener calls and more (including Brad wrestling w/ tech probs, which is always amusing -- for you!)...
Chart of the Moment: You v. Donor Class
Wondering why you can't have nice things? This is why...
Not a Dime's Worth of Difference? Really?: 'BradCast' 7/14/15
Iran nuke deal; Then Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser on what really separates the two major parties...
'Green News Report' 7/14/15
Scott Walker's in! Here's his climate position; Warmest June ever for the Western U.S.; Exxon knew about global warming in 1981; PLUS: Latest denialist scam debunked...
Debunking New 'Mini Ice Age' Scam; Man Who Punked Scott Walker: 'BradCast' 7/13/15
Guests: Physicist Joe Romm; Ian 'David Koch' Murphy...
#FeelTheBern
Sanders is drawing crowds far larger than any other candidate, Dem or Repub, in the race for the 2016 Presidential nomination...
Stories Behind the Stories: On Confederate Flag, Trump, Marriage: 'BradCast' 7/10/15
Facts behind the headlines you may not have heard! Also: More on nation's dumbest Guv; Listener complaint...
Good Election & Campaign Finance News!: 'BradCast' 7/9/15
Prof. David Schultz on new rulings and how campaign finance can be reformed right now!; Plus: SC, Trump...
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 7/23/2015 4:50pm PT  

A big BradCast today!...

First up, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (R) continues his years-long phony "voter fraud" crusade, but now he's been given more authority to cause even more damage to the fundamental right to vote! After years of blatantly lying about "voter fraud" in the state (which we document in detail), he has now been given prosecutorial authority by the state's Republican Governor to personally clean up his pretend scourge in Kansas.

His first act? Setting up a webpage to allow the public to report instances of fraud on the SoS website (since he's been unable to find any on his own during his five years in office since being elected to "Stop Voter Fraud!"). But, conveniently, he's left off the option for the public to report on Kansas' much more pressing problem: voter suppression --- especially by guys like Kobach, who, since taking office, has successfully blocked tens of thousands of legal Kansas voters from being able to vote in state elections.

Then, former FBI Special Agent, 9/11 whistleblower and TIME Magazine's 2002 Person of the Year, Coleen Rowley joins us to explain why Dylann Roof, the alleged Charleston, SC shooter and avowed racist, was charged with hate crimes this week, but not terrorism. What's the difference between terrorism and hate crimes? And does the SC shooting now prove (once again) that the term "terrorism" has become little more than meaningless propaganda?

The term "terrorism", Rowley tells me, is now "uniquely set for Muslims, or for Arab nations that we have had agendas with in the past. The media is primed for that message."

"The definitions have a propaganda value, but they are not clear, and they're not good for purposes of law enforcement at all because they're not even making sense. In fact, I think that's all they are serving now --- as propaganda," she explains, before citing one of her favorite quotes: "A poor man's war is terrorism. A rich man's terrorism is war."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with the climate position of the latest entrant into the 2016 GOP race and how a Democratic candidate has made Fox "News" heads explode by telling the truth about the relationship between climate change and the rise of ISIS...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Author/journalist Ari Berman of The Nation...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2015 4:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we start where we left off on yesterday's show, regarding Thursday's amazingly corrupt and disturbing ruling in favor of Scott Walker and his cronies --- by the amazingly corrupt Wisconsin Supreme Court --- and how, if Republicans have their way, that ruling may soon enough become the law of the land for the entire nation.

As our producer Desi Doyen noted on today's show: "This is your early warning system." Ignore at your peril. Then it was on to a couple of quick items and updates, including dumb Confederate flag wavers in Oklahoma and Maine's even dumber Governor Paul LePage.

From there, we head to North Carolina, where "the most extreme anti-voter bill passed by any state since the Jim Crow Era", as we initially described it when it was passed by state Republicans back in 2013, is finally now facing trial against the NAACP, the ACLU, the DoJ and other democracy and voting rights advocates.

We are joined by The Nation's author/journalist Ari Berman, who was in the federal courtroom in Winston-Salem, NC this week as the trial finally got under way. The results of this trial are likely to head all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, one way or another, and may well determine the future of voting rights in this country. The new voting restrictions were passed in 2013, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court demolished the provision of the Voting Rights Act that otherwise, says Berman, would have kept this law --- which is "already disenfranchising voters" --- from even taking effect.

"That's such a clear case study to me that the Supreme Court was wrong when it said that the special protections of the Voting Rights act weren't needed." Berman goes on to explain why he believes NC, a state which had made astounding progress in voting rights over the previous decade, has now become the new Selma, Alabama, where the bloody fight for voting rights led directly to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965.

"In North Carolina, they had seemingly everything," Berman tells me. "They had all these voting reforms --- early voting, same day registration, pre-registration for 16 &17 year olds. And it was all taken away or reduced" when the GOP took over both the state legislature and Governor's mansion for the first time since Reconstruction in 2013.

"What Selma in the 1960s and what North Carolina in the 2013-2015 era shows is how far these conservative white Southerners will go to protect political power. There aren't billy clubs. There aren't literacy tests. But they're saying this is how black turnout increased --- North Carolina went from 48th in voter turnout in the late 80s, to 11th in voter turnout in 2012 --- Republicans there basically said we're gonna tamp this turnout down."

And now it's left to the courts to find out if those rights, once granted, can be taken away by political whim --- and if NC, and other states with a history of racial discrimination in elections, will be forced once again to face preclearance from the federal government before they can enforce any new voting restrictions.

Berman has a lot of insight on all of this. His new book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, will be published next month to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of passage of the VRA. As I note during the show, the book is an exhaustively researched and heart-wrenching documentation of the uniquely American and harrowing tale of the fight to vote in this country --- and the outrageously long and continuing effort to block it. That fight continues, sadly, to this day. Go buy his book!

Finally, Desi joins us again for some listener email and then a stunningly upbeat Green News Report for a change!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2015 1:24pm PT  

As you know, last week, Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Texas, calling for expanded early voting in all 50 states and for universal voter registration for all eligible U.S. citizens. During the speech, she also called out some of her potential Republican rivals vying for the GOP's 2016 Presidential nomination, among them, former TX Gov. Rick Perry who, Clinton accurately noted, "signed a law that a federal court said was actually written with the purpose of discriminating against minority voters."

She added, Perry "applauded when the Voting Rights Act was gutted [by the Supreme Court] and said the law’s protections were 'outdated and unnecessary'."

Clinton's remarks there were in reference to the Texas Republicans' draconian polling place Photo ID voting restrictions, which, after being passed in 2011, were barred by the Voting Rights Act (VRA) as discriminatory, before the statute was implemented anyway by state Republicans just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the provision of the VRA under which the TX voting restriction had been found in violation of that law. Late last year, after a full trial on the merits of the law, a federal judge subsequently found the law to be in violation of other, still-standing sections of the VRA as well as the U.S. Constitution --- and, perhaps worse still, found it to be purposely discriminatory.

U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, based on statistics supplied by the state of Texas itself, found the statute could serve to disenfranchise some 800,000 already legally registered voters in the Lone Star state (not to mention hundreds of thousands of others who had yet to register) and slammed both the discriminatory effect and purpose of the law in her written ruling. "The Court holds that SB 14 [the TX GOP's Photo ID restriction] 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," she wrote, adding that the law also "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

On CNN, stammering in response to Clinton calling him out in her speech, Perry failed to explain how either Clinton or Judge Ramos was incorrect. "You need a photo I.D. to get a library book, or to get on an airplane," he incorrectly asserted. (More on that below.) "I think we make it pretty easy in the state of Texas for people to vote, so, you know, again, I don't know what her beef is with the people of the state of Texas about voter I.D."

But there's another point about the TX law that neither Clinton nor Perry noted: its discriminatory effect on women, as highlighted in a Letter to the Editor from this week's Concord Monitor in New Hampshire...

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

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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...

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

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No, North Carolina (and Texas and Tennessee and South Carolina) Photo ID voting restrictions are NOT the same as those 'in 34 other states'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2015 9:35pm PT  

Recently, North Carolina opinion columnist and NC Insider editor Patrick Gannon misinformed readers of the Asheville Citizen-Times by telling them that the anti-voting law passed by Republicans after they took over the statehouse in 2013 --- a law which we (and others) have described as "the nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era" --- isn't actually so bad.

"In many ways," apologist Gannon writes, the bill simply "put North Carolina more on par with other states."

He argues, as if it's a good thing, that while NC "once had among the least restrictive --- or more voter-friendly --- sets of election laws...That is no longer true." So, less "voter-friendly" is just fine by him, it seems.

Gannon offers justification for each of the key restrictions that now hamstring NC's once rather progressive and, yes, voter-friendly election laws, by arguing that the GOP's changes do little more than put the state back in line with voting laws in other states "including Texas and South Carolina." Again, as if that's a good thing.

But a Citizen-Times letter writer, in response, offers a key clarification to one of the most egregious bits of misinformation offered by Gannon --- one frequently parroted by Rightwing vote suppressors --- that the Photo ID restrictions passed as part of NC's new law are just like provisions for Voter IDs in "34 states that have passed voter identification requirements."

That, as letter writer Mike Burns accurately (if more politely) explains, is complete bullshit...

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

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GUESTS: Estee Chandler; Ernest Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2015 2:35pm PT  

Was Netanyahu/Likud's win last week in Israel the best possible outcome for Palestinians? While it seems counter-intuitive at first blush, some who follow Israeli/Palestinian politics very closely say it was.

My guest on this week's Pacifica Radio BradCast, Estee Chandler of JewishVoiceForPeace.org and the producer/co-host of KPFK's Middle East in Focus program believes that is the case and tells me why. She offers a different (and very welcome) perspective than the Right/Left (and now, sadly, Republican/Democratic) narrative we've heard so much of from most of the media since last week's election.

Also, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernie Canning joins me to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the WI Photo ID voting case and what that means for voting across the country in 2016, as well as the error the CA Supreme Court seems to have made when they removed Prop 49 (the "Overturn Citizens United" initiative) from the 2014 ballot last year.

Plus, Ted Cruz' astoundingly ingenious if extraordinary cynical remark the day after he declared his intention to seek the 2016 GOP nomination for President; OH tries a new voter suppression tactic; another predictable Internet Voting failure in Australia; Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and MUCH MORE!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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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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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?

* * *

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...

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

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New Harvard, Univ. of Sydney survey finds elections in U.S. rank just below Mexico, just above Barbados...
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2015 6:35am PT  

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

Electoral integrity has not improved in the U.S. over the past year, according to a new study. In fact, elections in Mexico now have more integrity than ours, the new survey, based on the observations of some 1,400 international election experts, finds.

Last year we reported: "A report [PDF] by researchers at Harvard and the University of Sydney finds the U.S. ranks just 26th on a global index of election integrity. That finding places the U.S. in the category of nations with 'Moderate' election integrity, ranking the country one notch above Mexico and one notch below Micronesia, according to the findings tracking elections in 66 countries."

Well, bad news --- of a sort. This year's new Electoral Integrity Project report [PDF] is now out. It takes into account the 2014 mid-term elections in the U.S. and more elections in a number of additional countries. It appears the U.S. has fallen a few pegs from it's 26th place ranking in last year's report [emphasis in the original]...

[C]ontests in the United States scored the worst performance among any long-established democracy. Hence the 2012 Presidential elections was ranked 42nd worldwide, while the 2014 mid-term Congressional races was ranked 45th, similar to Colombia and Bulgaria. One reason is that experts expressed growing concern over US electoral laws and processes of voter registration, both areas of heated partisan debate.

To make matters worse, the survey fails to examine the effects of vote-casting and counting technology on the integrity of elections. But, while the new report highlights what appears to be a huge drop in U.S. election integrity since last year's study, with our most recent national elections now ranked just worse than Mexico's and slightly better than those in Barbados, it's not all as bad as the plummeting ranking would seem to suggest...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2015 1:19pm PT  

A bit of good voting news, for a change, via Zach Roth at MSNBC today...

Opponents of a voter ID bill in the Nebraska legislature say they've succeeded in killing the measure.

Eleven Republicans joined all 14 Democrats Wednesday in voting to shelve for the year an ID bill that just last month was seen as having a good shot at passing.

"It is victory. It's done," state Sen. Adam Morfeld, who led the opposition, told msnbc moments after coming off the floor. "The bill is dead."

The utter lack of documented voter fraud in the state made the bill a tough sell even with many Republicans. The measure's backers were unable to cite even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law.

While that may be true, that same fact --- the lack of "even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law" --- hasn't stopped Republicans from passing similar restrictions on voting in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas, over the last several years (even as many of those restrictions have been found unconstitutional by courts thereafter.)

In 2012, a Photo ID restriction bill in Nebraska was defeated by a fillibuster, when, as AP reported at the time, critics "blasted the proposal as an attempt to keep poor, elderly, disabled and college-aged voters from casting a ballot." This time, Roth reports, the bill was killed outright.

"We found out half-way through the filibuster that we actually had a majority of folks that wanted to kill the bill," Morfeld told MSNBC, which reports that "Voting rights advocates had said at least 112,000 Nebraskans, likely significantly more, lack the ID that would have been required" to vote under the proposed restriction.

But Roth also notes that the key to killing the bill outright was likely found in the non-partisan nature of the state's unicameral legislature which "isn't organized by party, though individual members have party affiliations. That makes it easier for lawmakers to vote their consciences."

"It's much less partisan in our body, and people are able to be more independent," Morfeld told MSNBC. "People aren't punished for not following the party lines on certain issues, because our leadership is non-partisan."

Also, it seems, thanks to the body's unique structure, the voters of the state will not be punished either, by purposely discriminatory partisan voting restrictions --- at least not this year.

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GOP 'voter fraud' fraudster Catherine Engelbrecht warns of 'trickle down tyranny', 'civil unrest' at Senate AG confirmation hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2015 6:03am PT  

"I am not a victim," Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of the Rightwing voter suppression group calling themselves "True the Vote" told members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning. It was an odd turn of phrase given all that came before it in her testimony, both written and oral, at the confirmation hearings for U.S. Attorney General-nominee Loretta Lynch.

"I'm here today because I was targeted by the government for daring to speak out," the non-victim informed the Senators and those watching via C-Span at the very top of her remarks, much of which followed her written testimony [PDF] submitted in advance, and much of which did not. She is, she explained, just "one of thousands of Americans who have become living examples of a kind of trickle down tyranny that is actively endorsed by the current Administration and rigorously enforced by the Department of Justice."

"Over the years it has become clear to me that they don't just want True the Vote shut down, they want me broken," Engelbrecht wrote dramatically, but, for some reason, didn't say during her spoken testimony [video posted at the end of this article].

But, remember, she is "not a victim" at all. She is, on the other hand, the head of a wingnut Tea Party grifter organization which has, as we described in detail earlier this week, stepped on one rake after another since its ignominious appearance on the "voting rights" scene in 2010 when, in their introductory video, the group included a Photoshopped photo of an African-American woman holding a sign at a protest reading: "I ONLY GOT TO VOTE ONCE!" Another faked sign behind her head read "I'M WITH STUPID." (In actuality, as the original photos from a protest during the Presidential election theft in Florida in 2000 show, the woman's sign read: "DON'T MESS WITH OUR VOTES." The sign behind her had read "Gore/Lieberman 2000.")

During her testimony, Engelbrecht, after years of faking voter fraud statistics to try and help the GOP case for polling place Photo ID restrictions, even had the temerity to describe her organization as "a national non-profit initiative to protect voters' rights and promote election integrity."

Faking the truth seems to come easy to Engelbrecht and her group, as they've spent years attempting to intimidate voters at the polls under the guise of protecting against pretend Democratic "voter fraud". At the Senate hearing on Thursday, however, it was often what she didn't say during her oral testimony, as contrasted with her written testimony submitted beforehand, that may have been most revealing.

For some reason, for example, she --- or, perhaps a staffer on the new Republican-majority Senate committee --- must have thought it better not to discuss "pigment of skin" in polite company at the confirmation hearings for the first African-American woman to be nominated as the nation's chief law enforcement official. That part didn't make it into to Engelbrecht's spoken outrage...

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

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GUEST: Attorney John S. Moot | AND: Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2015 6:45pm PT  

If you were looking for a fresh reminder as to why Vote-by-Mail is a terrible idea, why provisional ballots are not the same as actually casting a vote, and why there needs to be more accountability for and oversight of election officials, today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio should fit the bill.

In short, we cover the election contest now pending in the race for City Council (Seat 1) in the San Diego County city of Chula Vista, CA. The certified results from the November 2014 election show a 2-vote margin between the John McCann (R) and Steve Padilla (D) in a race with some 37,000 ballots cast. McCann has been certified as the "winner".

Trouble is, according to the lawsuit [PDF], at least 15 mail-in and provisional ballots were rejected, even though the signatures on them matched the signatures from the voters' registrations on file. That, argues attorney John S. Moot (my guest this week, and a former Chula Vista City Council Member himself), is in violation of the law.

The other trouble is, those ballots were rejected by San Diego County Registrar Michael Vu, who was the infamous Election Director of Cuyahoga County, Ohio's most populist (and most Democratic) county during the 2004 Presidential election, when two of his immediate subordinates were indicted and found guilty of rigging the Presidential "recount" in Cuyahoga. Yes, if you didn't know or don't remember, there was a partial "recount" of that election, across the entire Buckeye State, as requested by the Green and Libertarian Parties. And, yes, it was found to have been rigged in a court of law.

Vu, who was protected at the time by the Republicans who ran the Cuyahoga Election Board, was never charged and was happily hired not long thereafter by San Diego County, where elections have been little more than a joke for many years, even before Vu got there.

For the full story on this, listen to this week's show and Moot's commentary on the suit he's filed on behalf of his client, a long-time poll worker and voter from Chula Vista.

ALSO on this week's program: Accountability, finally, for an election official elsewhere (in St. Louis County, MO), and the fake "voter fraud" activist set to testify at AG-nominee Loretta Lynch's very real U.S. Senate nomination proceedings. Plus, as usual, much more, including Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report.

Enjoy!...

Download MP3 here or listen online below...

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Catherine Engelbrecht's work has been described as 'downright goofy' by revered Reagan-appointed conservative judge...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2015 6:27pm PT  

While it's amusing enough that former CBS News reporter Sharyl "BENGHAZI!!!" Attkisson has been scheduled by Republicans to appear at this week's Senate confirmation hearings of U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, another "expert witness" called by Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans is, arguably, even more absurd.

Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of the fraudulent Republican "voter fraud" group calling themselves True the Vote, is also scheduled to be called as a witness. Last September, as Dave Weigel notes at Bloomberg, when AG Eric Holder announced his intention to resign after a replacement was confirmed, Engelbrecht accused Holder of having carried out a "radical, racialist assault on voting rights."

That's her opinion, of course, but for her own sake, given her group's hilarious track record of failure, prevarication and complete fabrication, the GOP may not want to force this woman to be sworn in before she testifies this week...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/5/2015 7:05am PT  

- with Brad Friedman

[An earlier version of this article was originally published by Truthout...]

Both election integrity advocates and dissembling GOP proponents of Photo ID voting restrictions were taken by surprise in late 2013 when 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Posner said, during an interview with HuffPo Live, that the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision on the matter "would have been decided differently" if the Court had known then "about the abuse of voter identification laws."

That, in and of itself, was a remarkable turn of events. What was ultimately to come was even more so.

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is the case which Republican proponents of strict Photo ID voting laws now (incorrectly and often disingenuously) cite as giving them carte blanche to enact similar laws in other states, irrespective of the extent to which photo ID laws serve to disenfranchise demographic groups --- minorities, students, the poor, women --- that all tend to vote for Democrats.

Posner is not just any judge. He is a renowned legal scholar and Reagan appointee to the federal bench, who has served on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal since 1981. More importantly here, Posner was the author of the 7th Circuit's opinion in Crawford. In that case, Posner rejected an allegation that Indiana's polling place photo ID restriction was unconstitutional. That decision was affirmed at the time by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posner, who is, as Yale Law Professor Fred Shapiro notes, the most cited jurist of the 20th Century, was not alone in his view in 2013 year that Crawford "would have been decided differently" if the Court knew then what it knows now.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the author of the plurality opinion in Crawford --- an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy --- told the Wall Street Journal following Posner's remarks at the time, that he "always thought that [dissenting Justice] David Souter got the thing correct, but my own problem with the case was that I didn't think the record [before the Court in 2008] supported everything he said in his opinion." Souter would have struck down the Indiana law as unconstitutional because, as he argued at the time, it "threatens to impose nontrivial burdens" upon the right to vote.

Joined by four other 7th Circuit jurists last October, Posner penned an extraordinarily powerful and compelling dissent [PDF] in Wisconsin's photo ID voting case. The previously missing evidence is now in, as the judge meticulously detailed in the opinion. GOP claims that photo ID restrictions are needed to combat "voter fraud", he wrote, are "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government"...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

Posner's carefully crafted dissent does more than establish why the U.S. Supreme Court should ultimately sustain the District Court's finding that Wisconsin's photo ID law is both unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act --- a finding later echoed by a federal District Court in Texas as well. Posner's dissent obliterates the factual premise that had served as a pillar upon which his, and subsequently the Supreme Court's, decisions in Crawford were based.

Polling place photo ID laws do not promote voter confidence in the integrity of elections, as Posner and the Crawford Supreme Court plurality had erroneously assumed. The assertion that they do was a "mistake" --- Posner's mistake! --- and he now admits as much, with the support of devastating new data from recent studies to back him up.

His powerful dissent amounts to more than just a response to the Wisconsin GOP's new Photo ID voting law. It is an elegant plea that the U.S. Supreme Court finally right a grievous wrong that he was personally responsible for. Posner presents an astonishing, air-tight case for ruling that all "strict Photo ID laws," which, as he demonstrates, have only been enacted in states sporting GOP-controlled legislatures, must now be struck-down as unconstitutional...

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

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