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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, November 23, 2014
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By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2012 10:29pm PT  

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL-19) joined me live on today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio to discuss two things:

1) Our exclusive from earlier this week on FL Gov. Rick Scott's voter purge/DHS database deception (an issue which Deutch has been raising hell about for several weeks) and 2) His OCCUPIED Amendment to get corporate money the hell out of our electoral system, particularly in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Montana's 100-year old anti-corruption law on Monday.

I was delighted to hear the Congressman was nearly as furious about both as I was. He also confirmed that nobody has been able to verify the "100 or so" alleged "non-citizens" that Scott says have been found on the rolls (out of 182,000 identified in the initial purge list and out of 11.2 million voters), and also that there are still three FL counties --- Lee, Collier and Bay --- where the Supervisors of Elections may still be carrying out the faulty and disenfranchising systematic purge.

My rant explaining Scott's scam kicks off the show, before Deutch then joins us. Then, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report and we take a couple of quick amusing calls.

Oh, and though I mentioned it at the top of the show, I forgot to reiterate it again at the end of the show, so I'll do so now: FL Gov. Rick Scott, FL Secretary of State Ken Detzner and/or their spokesmen were invited to appear on the show to offer their response to our Monday exposé. They declined to even respond to the invitation.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2012 11:50am PT  

I was on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture yesterday to discuss The BRAD BLOG's special exclusive report on Monday in which counselor Canning and I detailed how Gov. Rick Scott (R) and the state of Florida is attempting to deceive the media, the public, and apparently even the federal court system about this year's attempted voter purge in the Sunshine State. The Dept. of Justice has filed suit alleging that the systematic removal of voters within 90 days before Florida's federal primary is a violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

As documented in our investigative report, claims being made by Scott, his Sec. of State Ken Detzner and their surrogates in a recent media blitz, charging that the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security was purposely restricting them from access to a federal immigration database in order to keep the state from using it, appear to be baseless. FL had hoped to use the SAVE database to help purge some 182,000 "potential non-citizen" voters they claim are on the rolls.

But FL's claims (which is used to underscore a dark conspiracy the actions of the federal government are all being done to enhance President Obama's re-election prospects), are belied by documented email concessions from the FL Dept. of State's Asst. General Counsel Maria Matthews who acknowledged, as long ago as October of 2011, that the state simply didn't have the unique numeric identifiers required by DHS to check those "suspected non-citizens" against their immigration and citizenship database.

Here's my conversation with Hartmann last night about our story...

For more on all of the above, see our original investigative report, including email documentation from public records requests, etc., revealing Florida's attempted deception. We have now also added a Timeline page for the entire story right here.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I will be discussing all of the above and more with Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL-19) on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show today (Wednesday) at 6p ET/3p PT. You can listen live at http://KPFK.org/listen-live.html.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2012 11:38am PT  

-Special Report by Brad Friedman and Ernest A. Canning, The BRAD BLOG

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), his recently appointed Secretary of State Ken Detzner (R), and their surrogates are attempting to deceive the media, the public, and possibly even the federal court system about their state's effort to use a federal immigration database as part of a state program that could result in the purge up to 182,000 registered voters who, the state says, are "potential non-citizens".

A review of public documents and internal emails obtained by The BRAD BLOG on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed against the state last week by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) --- charging that Florida's attempted purge of voter rolls violates federal law --- reveals that claims being repeatedly made by the Florida officials about both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and DoJ are disingenuous at best.

Admissions made to DHS officials on at least two occasions, by a high-ranking attorney at the FL Dept. of State (FDOS), undermine the public assertions of both Scott and Detzner, who each claim that the federal government is purposely withholding access to a federal immigration database so that it cannot be used for scrubbing illegal voters off the state rolls.

The false allegation that the DHS has "refused" to provide access to the database, so as to prevent the state from lawfully removing illegally registered non-citizen voters, was also repeated in Florida's own federal complaint, which it recently filed against DHS.

In offering this deceptive claim, Scott and Detzner are knowingly inflaming an unsubstantiated conspiratorial scheme that the Obama Administration is working to keep illegal voters on the rolls in order to enhance the President's 2012 election prospects.

The first-hand evidence reviewed by The BRAD BLOG, obtained via public records requests under Florida's Sunshine Act, reveals that both Scott and Detzner are advancing the "refused access" canard --- echoed by both the Rightwing and non-Rightwing media --- in order to confuse the public and obscure the reality that the state's controversial purge could potentially disenfranchise thousands of perfectly legal citizen voters...

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

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DOJ responds to FL claim that feds illegally withholding DHS immigrant database
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/18/2012 12:52pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Last week, after notifying the state of Florida of its intention to do so, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit [PDF], seeking to halt what Asst. U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez described in his June 11, 2012 letter [PDF] to FL Sec. of State Ken Detzner (R), as "a new program for systematic voter removal, which may ultimately target more than 180,000 registered voters."

A longtime respected election official in the state went further, describing the attempted scrubbing of the rolls to be "un-American".

The lawsuit alleges that the ongoing, systematic voter removal program violates the provisions of the National Vote Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which "expressly forbids such removal programs during the 90-day period before an election for Federal office."

The complaint seeks not only an immediate federal court injunction to stop the purge, but an order directing FL officials "to take all steps necessary to ensure that no registered voter identified as potentially ineligible based on the [faulty FL Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles] database and voter verification procedures...is removed from the voter rolls within 90 days of a primary or general election for Federal office."

The injunction may prove to be necessary only in three of the Sunshine State's 67 counties --- Lee, Collier and Bay --- where election officials have signaled they intend to continue the allegedly unlawful voter roll purge, even after the actions taken by the DOJ.

When interviewed last week by Brad Friedman on the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show, Leon County (Tallahassee), FL's legendary Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho --- the man placed in charge of the aborted 2000 Florida Presidential recount --- explained the reasons why most of the Supervisors of Elections (both Democratic and Republican) in each of the state's 67 counties have now refused to carry out the state-ordered purge. He described the ongoing effort by the Governor and Sec. of State as "shameful."

The DOJ's 6/11/12 letter also responded to, and seemed to debunk, the claim made by FL that it had been denied access to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration database. The state, in its own lawsuit filed against the DHS last week, has cited lack of access to that database as their reason for using the less reliable state Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) database for the basis of its voter purge.

The purge, to date, has identifies hundreds of perfectly legal citizen voters for removal from the rolls.

The state of FL, in its response to the DOJ, appears not to be offering the full facts about their attempt to use the DHS database and, as it turns out, Republican Gov. Rick Scott should, by now, be very well acquainted with the perils of voter purges based on inaccurate information...as an apparent victim of one such purge himself...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2012 3:42pm PT  

Yesterday morning, we detailed the ACLU's lawsuit against the state of Florida for their attempted, illegal purge of as many as 180,000 "potential non-citizens" from the voter rolls, despite the fact that, to date, almost all of the targeted voters have been shown to be both legal citizens and legal voters. (In his coverage, Ernest Canning also offered a nice summarized round-up of Florida's twelve-year recent history of pulling this crap by illegally removing legal voters from the voting rolls in election after election.)

Later yesterday, Florida filed suit against the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), arguing that the feds are refusing to turn over their database, so that the attempted voter purge might more accurately target actual non-citizens. The state claims they've been trying to gain access to that federal database for months --- since it is supposedly more accurate than the state's drivers license database (which legally includes non-citizens, but fails to note many them have become naturalized citizens since getting their drivers license.) The suit argues that the feds have disallowed them from doing so, for some reason.

Now, the real story becomes a bit easier to understand, thanks to a 5-page letter [PDF] released later in the day yesterday from the Dept. of Justice to the State of Florida in response to their previous refusal to halt the illegal voter roll purge.

The new letter explains why FL is currently being denied access to the federal DHS database; details how FL is blatantly violating several federal laws with their attempted purge; requests the state "immediately cease this unlawful conduct"; and, just in case they don't, notifies them that the DoJ has now "authorized the initiation of an enforcement action against Florida in Federal court."

In other words, the DoJ is going to court to sue the state of Florida to stop the illegal purge.

* * *

I'd go into more details on the above, but I'm scrambling to prepare for tonight's nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show (which I'm guest hosting all week). So hopefully the above will give you the skinny on this maddening attempt at voter suppression by the GOP in the Sunshine State for the moment.

We'll be speaking more about this on the show tonight, with my guest, the legendary Leon County, FL Supervisor of Election Ion Sancho --- the man who was put in charge of the 2000 Presidential Recount (which never happened) in Florida! He's got quite a few thoughts on all of the above. Don't miss it! You'll be able to the show streaming links here at The BRAD BLOG later tonight, if you're not lucky enough to get the Malloy Show on either SiriusXM ch. 127 or an air station near you..

* * *

UPDATE 6/13/12: My interview with Ion Sancho about all of the above, and much more, is now posted here...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Latest attempted GOP voter roll scrub of legal voters continues growing tradition in Sunshine State...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/11/2012 6:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The state of Florida and it's Secretary of State Ken Detzner (R) are knowingly violating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in their attempted purge of "potential non-citizens" from the Sunshine State voting rolls, according to a new federal lawsuit [PDF] filed by the ACLU and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The complaint follows on the heels of a May 31, 2012 two-page letter submitted to FL election officials by T. Christian Herren, the chief lawyer of the U.S. Justice Department's Voting Rights Division. In his letter, Herren opined that the state's voter roll purge is in violation of Section 5 --- at least in the 6 Florida counties "covered" by that section --- because the state has not sought preclearance from either the DOJ or a federal court, as required by that section of the 40-year old federal law.

Additionally, the DOJ notes in its letter, the purge, coming as it does within the 90 days before Florida's federal primary election, is also in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) which covers the entire state.

In response, FL State Department spokesman Chris Cates initially said they would continue the purge nonetheless, as they were "firmly committed to doing the right thing and preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot." In his official response to the DOJ a few days later, Detzner all but challenged the feds to bring a suit in order to stop the state from continuing their efforts.

Of the original 180,000 names identified by the state as potential non-citizens, out of some 11.3 million registered voters in the state of Florida, 2,700 were sent to county election officials with instructions to notify those voters that they had just 30 days to prove their citizenship or be removed from the rolls. As reported by the Christian Science Monitor, "Before heeding DOJ’s order to stop the purge" county election officials had identified just four noncitizens who "may have voted in past elections, making them potentially guilty of voter fraud," while clearing hundreds of voters who had, in fact, been legally registered voters. Hundreds of others may have been removed from the rolls, despite being legally registered citizen voters.

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, Herren had demanded that FL officials "advise whether the State intends to cease the practice," but stopped short of issuing an actual "order" that FL immediately cease and desist. Such an order would have to come by way of an injunction issued by a U.S. District Court. The ACLU lawsuit now seeks that injunction even though, according to the Miami Herald, county elections supervisors across the state, led by Leon County's Ion Sancho, are now refusing to carry out a purge which Sancho describes as "illegal."

The ACLU lawsuit alleges facts that suggest the FL GOP is relying upon a FL Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DMV) database that it knows cannot provide an accurate basis for establishing non-citizenship until 2017.

Unfortunately, this year's purge in Florida continues a tradition that has been affecting legal voters in Florida --- and, along with them, the rest of the nation --- cycle after cycle since at least the 2000 election...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/3/2012 12:28pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Reports by the Miami Herald and by Democracy Now report that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has "ordered Florida...to end a controversial voter purge that's primarily targeted Latino, Democratic and independent-minded voters" (see video below) may not be technically accurate.

Both refer to the two-page letter submitted by T. Christian Herren, the chief lawyer of the DOJ's Voting Rights Division, to FL officials which suggested that the purge, ordered by Republican Gov. Rick Scott under the unsubstantiated pretense that the state had thousands of non-citizens registered to vote, violated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because FL had not sought preclearance for the new voter roll purge either from the DOJ or a federal court. Herren, as the Miami Herald article observed, demanded that FL officials "advise whether the State intends to cease the practice," but stopped short of issuing an actual "order" that FL immediately cease and desist.

Election officials across the state have confirmed that the Governor's purge list includes hundreds, if not thousands, of legally registered U.S. citizens who are improperly identified as "non-citizens" to be removed from the rolls.

Only five of Florida's 67 counties are "covered jurisdictions" under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That means that while Supervisors of Elections in some counties had vowed not to carry out Scott's purge, others, like Seminal County's Republican Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel, signified their intent to carry out what amounts to a new form of GOP "caging lists" in which those voters who do not respond to official letters in a designated fashion are automatically purged from the eligible voter rolls. On Friday, an attorney from the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, representing all 67 counties, sent a memo to officials recommending they do not carry out the scrub as called for by the state.

The DOJ letter to FL also noted that the voter roll purge across the entire state appears to be in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which bans the removal of voters from the rolls in the 90 days prior to a federal election. Florida is set to hold its federal primary election on August 14th, making May 16th the last legal day for the type of voter roll maintenance the state now claims to be carrying out.

Even assuming that Herren's letter to the state amounts to a DOJ "order," it may not be enough to stop what The Advancement Project estimated in its May 17 letter to Herren [PDF] could ultimately produce an illegal purge of as many as 180,000 otherwise eligible voters based on a flawed, eleventh hour pre-election effort to match voter rolls against the FL driver's license data base.

After receiving the letter from the DOJ, Florida Dept. of State Spokesperson Chris Cates said they intended to continue with their purge anyway. "Bottom line is," Cates told Think Progress, "we are firmly committed to doing the right thing and preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot."

The purge has already ensnared U.S. citizens like Bill Internicola, the 91-year old, Brooklyn-born, World War II veteran and Bronze Star recipient who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and Archibald Bowyer, another 91-year old WWII vet who has been citizen since the age of 2, and who received his letter from the state warning he would be purged just as his wife had died.

Cates has marginalized such incidents as "a handful of people [who] have been inconvenienced.”

To halt the purge, groups like the ACLU and the DOJ may need to initiate a federal lawsuit in which they seek yet another preliminary injunction, like the one issued late Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Hinkle in League of Women Voters v. Browning [PDF]. That ruling, as we reported on Thursday, spoke to a different aspect of this year's GOP voter suppression effort in FL. Hinkle's ruling ordered an official federal injunction on the draconian restrictions imposed on voter registration workers by the FL GOP, which had earlier led to groups like the League of Women Voters of Florida being forced to cancel their voter registration drives for the first time in some 70 years.

Florida has until June 6th to official respond to the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

* * *

Video of Democracy Now segment on the DOJ's response to the FL purge follows...

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

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The formerly-gagged FBI translator-turned-whistleblower's new memoir is 'a masterpiece revealing corruption and unaccountability in Washington, D.C.' and 'a rotten barrel of toxic waste that will sooner or later infect us all'...
By David Swanson on 5/2/2012 11:57am PT  

[Ed Note: The BRAD BLOG has been reporting on the remarkable story of Sibel Edmonds since the darkest days of 2005 and in nearly 100 articles since then. Once described by the ACLU as the "the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America", the Iranian-born former FBI translator fought to blow the whistle on traitorous deception and cover-up inside the FBI, blackmail inside the U.S. Congress and startling allegations of espionage and nuclear secrets sold to U.S. enemies on the foreign black market by some of our nation's highest ranking officials.

In 2007, after the Supreme Court had refused to hear her case thanks to the Bush Administration's persistent use of the so-called "State Secrets Privilege," legendary "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg told The BRAD BLOG her allegations were "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers" on the heels of her exclusive announcement on these pages that she would break her gag order to tell all to any major U.S. media outlet who would allow her a platform to do so.

Even though CBS' 60 Minutes had covered her story in 2002 when she was not allowed to speak, they showed no interest once she promised to do so anyway, leading Ellsberg to guest blog here decrying the American media as "complicit in cover-up". It took the UK's Sunday Times (a Rupert Murdoch property!) to finally break some of her most explosive allegations publicly in 2008, which outed CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson would describe as "stunning".

Finally, her 3-hour long video-taped deposition, in answer to a subpoena in someone else's lawsuit in the summer of 2009, once Obama had come to power and declined to re-invoke the "State Secrets Privilege" against her, allowed the full story to begin to come out.

Now, after waiting more than 340 days for the FBI's pre-clearance review of her memoir --- they are supposed to do so within 30 days --- Edmonds has decided to release her own story, in full, without their prior approval or redactions. We've now got our own copy of her new book, Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, but our colleague, author and activist David Swanson has happily beaten us to reading it in full and has generously offered us his own review which follows below. - BF]

* * *

Sibel Edmonds' new book, Classified Woman, is like an FBI file on the FBI, only without the incompetence.

The experiences she recounts resemble K.'s trip to the castle, as told by Franz Kafka, only without the pleasantness and humanity.

I've read a million reviews of nonfiction books about our government that referred to them as "page-turners" and "gripping dramas," but I had never read a book that actually fit that description until now...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2012 8:05am PT  

No matter the strongest admonitions against it, for years, by virtually all computer science and security experts to offer an opinion on it --- ya know, the folks who actually know how this stuff works, or doesn't --- proponents of Internet Voting are relentless in their advocacy. Kind of how the proponents of polling place e-voting used to tell us that such schemes were tamper-proof, error-free and much more secure than paper.

No matter how many Internet Voting schemes fall flat on their face (voter participation plummeted 83% when Honolulu tried it), get entirely hacked (even by computers in Iran and China) or are taken down by a 10,000 computer denial of service attack (but that was in Canada, so no biggie, right?), some seem to care so little about transparent, oversee-able democracy and self-governance, that they are willing to risk entire elections and the verifiable votes of the citizenry in order to carry out such dangerous and ill-considered adventures.

And so, yet again, with all of those warnings ignored, we find another online election has been wholly compromised --- and now cancelled --- after it was discovered that a business school student hacked into it and stole hundreds of passwords and IDs, so that he could fix the results of the election...

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

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Time for DoJ to step up and challenge voter suppression laws in states not covered by Voting Rights Act Section 5...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2012 3:29pm PT  

[NOTE: I interviewed 90-year old Joyce Block from Pennsylvania, the woman discussed in the story below, today (Wed, 4/25) on my KPFK/Pacific Radio show, and she offered a bit of a "good news" update on her story. That interview is now posted here. - BF]

And now it's the voters in Pennsylvania who are beginning to lose their right to vote under new Republican voter suppression laws. The latest story of a citizen having their rights robbed by Big Government GOP disenfranchisement laws is that of Joyce Block, a 90-year old grandmother from Doylestown who has voted for 70 years without a problem --- until now.

We've been reporting for some time on legal voters who are being disenfranchised by Republican-passed polling place Photo ID restrictions around the country. For example, in Indiana there were the 80- and 90-year old nuns who were turned away from the polls in 2008 after that state's first-in-the-nation Photo ID restriction had taken away the rights they'd freely and legally exercised for decades at their own monastery. (They were turned away that year by the poll worker, their fellow sister, who had been forced to follow the new voter suppression law.)

Of course, that same law in the Hoosier State didn't prevent their top election official, charged with overseeing the law, Republican Sec. of State Charlie White, from committing three voter fraud felonies himself. He was found guilty in February of this year and forced to leave office. But these laws aren't actually meant to stop voter fraud. Even proponents of such laws are unable to cite any cases of polling place impersonation --- the only type of voter fraud that could possible be deterred by such laws --- which might have been prevented in their state by polling place Photo ID restrictions. These laws are meant solely to disenfranchise perfectly legal, usually Democratic-leaning voters who disproportionately lack the type of ID now needed to vote in states where these laws have been approved.

We told you about 87-year old Ruthelle Frank, an elected town official in Wisconsin who would have to come up with more than $200 for her "free" ID to vote under the GOP's new law there. And then there was 77-year old Bettye Jones for whom it would be strictly impossible to vote at all under WI's law which was, thankfully, recently found to be in violation of the state Constitution by two separate judges in two separate lawsuits in the Badger State.

Down in Tennessee, we told you about 96-year old Dorothy Cooper who was denied a "free" Photo ID, as now needed to vote there, even though she had her birth certificate to prove she was who she said she was. And we also highlighted 93-year old Thelma Mitchell, who used to clean the Governor's office in the statehouse, but was told that her ID was no longer good enough to cast a vote in the Volunteer State.

We could, of course, go on and on and on with such examples, even as we could detail the many high-profile Republicans who have committed voter fraud --- folks like Mitt Romney and Ann Coulter and many others, to name just a few --- who would not have been prevented from committing their crimes even under Photo ID restrictions, because that's not how voter fraud generally occurs and not the sort of voters these laws are meant to disenfranchise. It is, however, a swell way to keep hundreds of thousands, even millions, of perfectly legal --- largely elderly, minority and student (read: Democratic leaning) --- voters from being able to cast their legal vote.

And now, in Pennsylvania, the most recent state where Republicans have approved a polling place Photo ID restriction law --- and where the state's Republican Governor Tom Corbett blatantly lied about it to the media --- we see the 90-year old grandmother-in-law of a local Borough Council president who looks as if she'll be forced to break her perfect 70-year voting record this November, as she too is unable to receive the supposedly "free" ID soon required to vote in the Keystone State...

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

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Is the evil, that many cite as indicative of the 'failure' of the 'War on Drugs,' actually a perverse indices of its success?
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/20/2012 8:05am PT  

Guest Editorial Series by Ernest A. Canning

Even a glimpse at the statistics leads knowledgeable sources, like Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, to describe the 'War on Drugs' as a "failed prohibitionist policy."

"Over the last 40 years, more than 45 million drug-related arrests have cost an estimated $1 trillion," Amy Goodman reported on Democracy Now! "Yet drugs are cheaper, purer and more available today than ever."

And that's just in the U.S.

According to the United Nations' 2011 World Drug Report [PDF], "in 2009, between 149 and 272 million people...aged 15-64 used illicit substances at least once in the previous year." The UN estimated that Cannabis was "consumed by between 125 and 203 million people worldwide in 2009," adding:

Drug traffickers and organized criminals are forming transnational networks, sourcing drugs on one continent, trafficking them across another, and marketing them in a third. In some countries and regions, the value of the illicit drug trade far exceeds the size of the legitimate economy.

But Nadelmann's description of the 'War on Drugs' as a "failed prohibitionist policy" is derived from the supposition that the 'War on Drugs', at least here in the U.S., was actually formulated with a desire to suppress or eliminate drug abuse.

In PART 1 of this series, we examined the question of whether the U.S. Government's effort to challenge legalization of marijuana in California and elsewhere was akin to shutting down the competition, given the CIA's long-documented history of profiting from the world-wide drug trade. In PART 2 we posited that an end to the 'War on Drugs' could deliver a devastating blow to the bottom line of American corporations who have come to depend upon the Prison Industrial Complex in the U.S. and its huge pool of slave laborers --- most, non-violent drug offenders.

So now, we must examine the hypothesis that, if accurate, should rock us all to our core.

What if the horrific consequences of the worldwide drug trade, which, per the UN 2011 World Drug Report, includes an annual death toll of 200,000, are precisely what President Nixon and the covert branches of U.S. Empire had in mind when formulating a policy that would enhance the domination of the 1% over the 99%? Are we now living in a form of Aldus Huxley's Brave New World in which "Failure is Success" can be added to the three slogans from George Orwell's 1984 --- "War is Peace," "Freedom is Slavery" and "Ignorance is Strength" --- a world in which a vote against legalization is actually a vote in favor of illicit distribution by organized crime and their allies in the CIA?...

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

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Would legalization disrupt the economics of the Prison Industrial Complex and its pool of slave laborers?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/18/2012 7:05am PT  

Guest Editorial Series by Ernest A. Canning

This is the second of our three-part series advancing the hypothesis that one must turn to economics to make sense of the so-called 'War on Drugs' and the U.S. government's seemingly irrational obsession with shutting down something as innocuous as medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

PART 1 examined both historical and recent links between the CIA and the illicit drug trade. It explored the extent to which the so-called 'War on Drugs' has been used as cover for the CIA's covert import of narcotics, both into the U.S. and other nations, in order to fund the mischief the Agency engages in on behalf of U.S. Empire. It postulated that the government’s opposition to controlled legalization, taxation and medical, educational and psychological assistance in avoiding substance abuse is the product of an illicit supplier shutting down the competition.

Here, we will examine the profitability of the Prison Industrial Complex in the U.S. and the extent to which the world's largest prison population provides a ready source of slave labor for some of the world's largest corporations…

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

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Would legalization reduce CIA access to covert funding?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/16/2012 6:05am PT  

Guest Editorial Series by Ernest A. Canning

How does one explain it?

The Eric Holder Department of Justice (DOJ) is faced with massive banking and Wall Street fraud that nearly brought the world's economic system to its knees, yet no bankers are prosecuted. It is confronted by environmental crimes that have poisoned our air, water and even the food we eat, yet, for the most part, those crimes go unpunished. It has its hands full fending off voter suppression laws concocted by a billionaire-funded, subversive organization, which is also responsible for deadly "stand your ground" laws and an assault on the right of citizens to engage in collective bargaining.

Yet, the DOJ and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) make it a priority to target California medical marijuana dispensaries and to raid Oaksterdam University, a school founded by Richard Lee, a legalization activist who offers training in the cultivation and use of medical marijuana. It does so even though, in 1996, CA voters, by a wide margin, passed an initiative that "allows patients with a valid doctor's recommendation...to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use." The raids were also made against the backdrop of polls showing that a majority of Americans support legalization of marijuana.

In this three-part series, we will advance the hypothesis that this seemingly irrational obsession with busting medicinal marijuana dispensaries and fending off legalization of even the most innocuous of drugs, Cannabis, can only be understood in the context of U.S. Empire and the economics of the Prison Industrial Complex.

In this first part of the series, we examine both historical and recent links between the CIA and the illicit drug trade. We touch upon the extent to which the so-called 'War on Drugs' has been used as cover for the CIA's covert import of narcotics, both into the U.S. and other nations, in order to fund the mischief the Agency engages in on behalf of U.S. Empire. That operation, evidence strongly suggests, continues to this day.

At the core of that hypothesis is the question as to whether an end to the phony 'War on Drugs' and its replacement by controlled legalization, taxation and medical, educational and psychological assistance in avoiding substance abuse would cut off a key, illicit source of covert CIA funding...

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

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Another battlefront report from the GOP War on Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2012 1:55pm PT  

Recently, the New York Times reported on an analysis by the paper suggesting that new, draconian restrictions (and criminal penalties) on voter registration programs in Florida may be responsible for a sizable drop-off in registrations this year, compared to the same period in 2008.

"In the months since its new law took effect in May [of 2011], 81,471 fewer Floridians have registered to vote than during the same period before the 2008 presidential election," according to their analysis.

Though the Times cautiously notes that, "It is difficult to say just how much of the decrease is due to the restrictions in the law, and how much to demographic changes, a lack of enthusiasm about politics or other circumstances, including the fact that there was no competitive Democratic presidential primary this year."

Nonetheless, they detail that, "new registrations dropped sharply in some areas where the voting-age population has been growing, the analysis found, including Miami-Dade County, where they fell by 39 percent, and Orange County, where they fell by a little more than a fifth."

Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall --- a Republican --- charges that it is the new law, imposing strict time limitations and harsh criminal penalties, such as fines and jail time, on third party voter registration groups, which has led to the shortfall in new voter registrations this year.

"The drop-off is our League of Women Voters, our five universities in Volusia County, none of which are making a concentrated effort this year," McFall says.

Indeed, the new laws --- passed by a Republican legislature and signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Scott last year --- have been met with a great deal of criticism from both election officials (even Republican ones, like McFall), as well as non-partisan voter organizations in the Sunshine State. As has been widely reported, the non-partisan League of Women Voters in Florida has been forced to call off their voter registration drive this cycle, for the first time in 72 years, thanks to fears that their workers will be faced with strict criminal sanctions and harsh fines if they are unable to meet new, often impossible, time restrictions on turning in registration forms to officials.

Last November we told you about about one of the FL high-school teachers who was arrested and charged for signing up her students to vote, after being turned in to state prosecutors by McFall who said she felt "sick to [her] stomach" for having to do it.

But, setting aside, for a moment, whether the drop-off in registrations is directly attributable to the new Republican laws --- which also include shortening the numbers of days for Early Voting --- it was this startling piece of information from the Times article which caught our eye...

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

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Finds registered Hispanic voters anywhere from 46% to 120% more likely than non-Hispanics to lack state-issued ID needed to vote under the new law...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2012 8:02pm PT  

The good news for voters, of late, keeps coming --- at least against the title wave of GOP voter suppression laws instituted around the country by Republicans since taking over legislatures and executive branches in 2010.

In addition to last week's temporary injunction of the Wisconsin's GOP polling place Photo ID restriction, and today's permanent injunction of the same law by a second judge in a separate complaint (both judges found the law in strict violation of the state Constitution's ironclad guarantee of the right to vote), today also saw the U.S. Dept. of Justice blocking a similarly disenfranchising Photo ID restriction enacted last year by Texas Republicans.

Currently, according to data supplied to the DoJ by the state of TX, more than 600,000 legally registered voters do not possess the type of ID that would be required to vote under the law passed last year, as previously set to take effect before this year's Presidential Election.

But it is the discriminatory effect of the new law which led the DoJ to nix the new changes to TX' voting laws.

Finding that the state's own statistics reveal legally registered Hispanic voters will be disproportionately disenfranchised by the TX law --- by anywhere from 46% to 120% over non-Hispanics, depending upon which set of a data submitted by TX is used for the analysis --- the DoJ rejected the statute under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That section of the federal law requires preclearance for new election laws in certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination. Texas is one of those covered jurisdiction.

Today, the DoJ objected to the new law after determining that the state had not met it's "burden of showing that a submitted change [to an election law] has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect"...

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

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