Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
Citizens United rejected a congressional legislative ban on corporate campaign contributions. It says nothing about the ability to tax such contributions...
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
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Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
Citizens United rejected a congressional legislative ban on corporate campaign contributions. It says nothing about the ability to tax such contributions...
We've been covering the extraordinary means by which the GOP establishment has been going to shut out the voices of the organized and well-numbered supporters of Republican Presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul at caucuses and delegate conventions, of late.
Here's our recent coverage of the extraordinary scenes (and, thankfully, video) of what happened at the Missouri Caucuses in St. Charles County over the weekend and in Athens-Clarke County, GA the weekend prior. (You can watch all the videos referenced in this broadcast at that link.)
Here's my appearance on RT TV Tuesday night discussing the entire fine mess, and charging that the "GOP establishment hates democracy". (That video has been viewed more than 13,000 times in the 24 hours since being posted by RT after its airing on the satellite/cable channel.)
Today, on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show, I was joined by two of the key players at both of those of remarkable scenes. My guests were Brent Stafford, the Paul organizer seen, incredibly enough, being arrested while trying to reconvene the aborted caucus in St. Charles after pandemonium had broken out inside, and Lori Bone of Athens, who was seen (also on video, thankfully) trying to demand an explanation from Republican Party officials in GA after they'd rammed through a slate of delegates at the Clarke County GOP convention, and then ended the proceedings, ignoring the Paul supporters majority --- all in blatant violation of the official rules.
Stafford told us the St. Charles County GOP is likely to be forced to hold a new caucus (since they didn't even get to vote on delegates before everything broke down, as police were called to the scene). That ought to be interesting.
And Bone explained how Paul supporters in Clarke County took it upon themselves to reconvene the caucus the next day in order to elect their own slate of delegates for the upcoming district and state GOP conventions. Thought ought to be even interestinger.
After my conversation with Stafford and Bone, we finished things up with a bit of Green News Report with the always lovely and very wise Desi Doyen....
Download MP3 or listen online below (appx 58 mins)...
I was back on RT TV this afternoon (this time, without a wingnut loon to waste our time), to discuss the GOP caucus chaos over the weekend in MO, where Ron Paul supporters stood up for themselves, rather than allowing the Republican establishment to railroad them.
Once again, the host was RT's Liz Wahl. Here's what happened today...
438 756 comments on this video at YouTube in the 3 18 hours since it was posted there, where it has now been viewed more than 10,000 times during that period.
By the way, for those who have asked over there, the complete videos of what happened on Saturday in St. Charles, MO and the Saturday before that in Clarke County, GA, as referenced in the conversation above, are all posted right here.
Also, Brent Stafford, the Ron Paul supporter who was arrested outside the aborted GOP caucus in St. Charles, MO over the weekend, will be my guest on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show Wednesday at 3p PT. It will stream live right here.
UPDATE 3/2/12: My KPFK/Pacifica interview with Stafford, mentioned above, is now posted here.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama mocks GOP clean energy obstructionists; Romney gets Edison and the lightbulb wrong; It's officially Spring, but already summer in the U.S. --- meaning more sex for pine beetles!; Electric Highway opens in Oregon; PLUS: Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oil) reveals real rea$on he's a climate change denier... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Global sea levels could rise as much as 70 ft; Louisiana to elevate Gulf Coast highways; Solar micro-spheres collect 360 sunshine; Antibiotic-resistant superbugs could mean 'end of modern medicine'; ‘Pink slime’ is the tip of the iceberg; Chinese foodies have a solution for Asian carp invasion; CA farm country's water is dangerously polluted; Spring sprung too soon means death blow to butterfly; Speed record on the power grid ... PLUS: O.E.C.D. warns of ever-higher greenhouse gas emissions ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Fresh off of telling women they should just "close your eyes" when they are forced by the state to have the government come between them and their doctor for a mandated ultrasound before being allowed to terminate a pregnancy, Pennsylvania's Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is now just making stuff up concerning "voter fraud" in his state.
Comments highlighted by Steve Benen at Maddow Blog today suggest the Governor is willing to say just about anything to justify the disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions just passed and signed into law by Republicans in the Keystone State...
When some of the precincts come in with a 112 percent reporting you have to scratch your head and say how does that happen?" questioned Governor Corbett.
At a certain level, that may seem persuasive. If there were precincts in the Keystone State that had 112% participation, then Republicans would have a pretty strong case for new measures intended to crack down on abuses.
But here's the trouble: there are no examples of Pennsylvania precincts, at [any] time or in [any] election, coming in with 112% participation. Corbett appears to have simply made this up.
We thought we'd double check on that with Marybeth Kuznick, founder of VotePA, the non-partisan election integrity watchdog organization which has been fighting to improve the state's electoral system --- and help stop election fraud --- for years now.
She concurs that Corbett's statement is, as she described it to us, simply "ludicrous"...
[UPDATES: My appearance on RT TV discussing the story below, is now posted here. || Brent Stafford, the Ron Paul supporter who was arrested outside the aborted GOP caucus in St. Charles, MO over the weekend, and Lori Bone seen trying to hold GOP officials accountable after the Clarke County, GA delegate convention was stolen the week prior, both stories discussed and seen on video below, were my guests on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show Wednesday, 3/21/12. You can now listen to those interviews here. - BF]
This is just amazing. At yesterday's GOP caucus in St. Charles, MO --- one of the largest and most conservative counties in the state --- the Republican establishment is seen blatantly attempting to steal the caucus from supporters of Ron Paul.
As the caucus was prematurely shut down before a vote, with state police called in, no delegates were elected at what "was to have been the biggest single prize of the day," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch coverage of the Missouri Caucuses' mess. It was just the latest, of many, embarrassments to arise out of a GOP caucus state this year.
A Facebook page called "Hold St. Charles Republican Tyrants Accountable" includes many cell phone videos of the near riots that occurred as party leaders attempted to commandeer the caucus to thundering cries of protest and shouts of "Point of Order!" and "Division!" (a non-debatable process in Roberts Rules of Order requiring the chair to have an immediate vote by a different means, such as rising, after a contested voice vote) by what seems to be hundreds of Paul supporters.
Despite the GOP ordering recording devices to be turned off at the outset of the meeting for some reason, a number of videos [several are posted below] appear to document what happened as one man declared himself chair --- without the approval of attendees --- before subsequently naming a parliamentarian and other caucus officials, in what looks to be a very clear violations of the rules of order that are supposed to be used in the MO GOP caucuses.
A very similar commandeering of the Athens-Clarke County, Georgia delegate convention was reported --- and also documented on video --- last week. Those videos [also posted below] show state and county GOP officials blatantly ignoring what appears to be a majority of Paul supporters hoping to elect their own as delegates to the district and state GOP conventions. There as well, calls for "Division" votes were summarily ignored by the chair, and the official proceedings were prematurely shut down without the required two-thirds majority vote.
At the St. Charles caucus yesterday, state and local police were called in and the caucus was prematurely "voted" to a close (or, at least, announced as much by the local party apparatchik who had declared himself chairman). An impromptu parking lot meeting of Paul supporters outside the venue afterward was then broken up by several dozen police, a hovering helicopter, police sirens, and the arrest of Brent Stafford, the man who is seen as the local leader of the Paul supporters. Stafford was peacefully addressing the crowd in the parking lot when he was handcuffed and hauled away to shouts of "Right to Assemble!" from the onlookers.
I can't say that I've ever seen anything like the huge St. Charles event or the very similar, if smaller and less unruly, Athens-Clarke County, GA affair. At both events, Republican Party officials appear to be caught in the act --- and on video tape --- of blatantly stealing the democratic processes away from supporters of Paul.
All of that, amidst the background of elected Republican officials across the nation implementing disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions in order to, they claim, deter "voter fraud" from corrupting elections...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: War with China? Trade war, that is; March heatwave kills spring, brings early summer for US; Keystone XL pipeline more bad than good for the economy and the environment; PLUS: TV weatherman singlehandedly overturns the laws of physics ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Planet-saving, Nobel-winning ozone scientist passes; US, UK set to agree to emergency oil stocks release; Gulf Coast to get 80% of BP fines; Refiners Push EPA to scrap gas rule wanted by automakers; US solar grows to new record; 'Dark days' for coal; GOP 'playing politics' with wind credits; Water pollution from farming worsening ... PLUS: Will your city see record flooding in 2020? There's a map for that ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Sen. Inhofe puts God before science; GOP puts Keystone lies before U.S. oil and jobs; Fukushima 1 year later; Room for improvement in the US nuclear industry; Wacky warm winter leads to wacky wet early spring; Fracking caused Ohio earthquakes; PLUS: Rick Santorum: anti-science before anti-science was cool ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): World water supply increasingly at risk; Greenland ice melt seen at lower temperatures; 3D solar panels to replace roof shingles?; Breakthrough: Salt-tolerant wheat; Carbon emissions threaten world's oceans & food supply; Mine owner charged in Crandall Canyon Mine Disaster; Planet-saving ozone layer scientist dies ... PLUS: VIDEO: James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change ... and much, MUCH more! ...
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"...
In an unambiguous finding stating that "the legislature and governor have exceeded their constitutional authority" and that "voter fraud is no more poisonous to our democracy than voter suppression," a second Dane County Circuit court in less than a week, has determined that the Wisconsin GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction on voters is in strict violation of the state Constitution.
Today, in his 12-page ruling on the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess found that "Act 23," the new law which strips voters of their right to vote unless they are able to produce a state-issued Photo ID at the polling place violates the WI Constitution's Article III which guarantees the right to vote to all state residents who are 18 and over (Section 1) other than in cases where the legislature may place restrictions on convicted felons and those adjudicated to be incompetent (Section 2).
Niess has issued a permanent injunction on the law today, in a complaint filed last October by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin arguing that legally registered voters would be unconstitutionally barred from exercising their guaranteed right to vote under the Republican's new restrictive law.
"The motion documents reveal no disputed issue of material fact requiring further evidentiary proceedings. [The plaintiffs] present a purely legal issue ripe for decision," Niess declared in his ruling, stating that Article III of the state Constitution "is unambiguous, and means exactly what it says."
Last week, in response to a complaint filed the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP, another Dane County Circuit Court Judge, Richard Flanagan, also ruled "Act 23" to be unconstitutional on a similar basis. He had issued a temporary injunction on the law in that case, in advance of the state's April primary elections. A trial is currently scheduled to begin on that complaint next month.
In response to both rulings now, the Republican State Attorney General has vowed to appeal, though both his legal and political basis for doing so may be quickly fading with today's second, nearly-identical finding from a second court.
There are also two complaints pending on a federal basis against the same Republican law in Wisconsin. In none of them has the GOP so far been able to demonstrate a case of voter fraud which might have been prevented by the new law. On the other hand, opponents have detailed a mountain of fact-based evidence demonstrating that otherwise legal voters will ultimately be disenfranchised if the law is allowed to take full effect in advance of this year's Presidential election, and as the state gears up for a new round of recall elections meant to unseat the very Republicans responsible for creating the state's new barrier to voting...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Wisconsin's embattled Governor Scott Walker (R) will almost certainly face a recall election soon, but he is not - repeat - not a target of an ongoing criminal investigation in Milwaukee County...even though last month he hired two criminal defense attorneys to represent him and, on Friday, he announced the creation of an official legal defense fund, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Daniel Bice.
The no-uncertain-terms denial about his status in the criminal probe comes from Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews who took pains to note on Friday, as the creation of his legal defense fund was announced: "We reiterate that Gov. Walker has been told that he is not a target of this investigation."
On the other hand, state law only allows for such funds to be created under certain circumstances. Bice notes that according to the state's Government Accountability Board [PDF], "Wisconsin Statutes permit a state government official who is being investigated for or charged with a violation of campaign finance laws or prohibited election practices to establish a 'legal defense fund' for expenditures supporting or defending the candidate while that person is being investigated for, or charged with, or convicted of a violation of those chapters."
So who is telling the truth? There's at least one person who may have an inside track to the Milwaukee prosecutors' long-time investigation, in which four top officials of Walker's have already been snagged, and that insider suggests Walker is likely in trouble...
Last night, Rachel Maddow ran an update on the GOP War on Voting. Her report included a number of items we've covered here recently --- such as the protest by former U.S. Marine Tim Thompson who refused to show a Photo ID when trying to vote under TN's new voter suppression law on Tuesday, the Wisconsin court ruling temporarily blocking the state's Photo ID restrictions after finding it likely violates the WI Constitution's "right to vote" clause.
Here's Maddow's full report...
Maddow also covers several stories that we haven't been able to cover at The BRAD BLOG yet. Among them, the new Photo ID restriction law that was passed yesterday in the Pennsylvania Senate and is likely to become law, if not stopped somehow, this November. As Pennsylvania is not one of the "covered jurisdictions" subject to preclearance of new election laws by Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act, it would be another excellent candidate, like the one in Wisconsin, for challenge by the DoJ under Section 2 of that act, as our own legal analyst Ernie Canning persuasively argued recently.
Another story in Maddow's otherwise excellent report, however, is the one about the 86-year old WWII Vet in Ohio who was unable to vote on a normal ballot Tuesday, because his Veteran's ID didn't have his address on it. According to the The Plain Dealer's coverage:
“I had to stop driving, but I got the photo ID from the Veterans Affairs instead, just a month or so ago. You would think that would count for something. I went to war for this country, but now I can’t vote in this country.”
It's a horrible story, but on this one, Maddow appears to have been in slight error in her coverage...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama fires back at GOP over rising gas prices; Incredible rightwing hypocrisy on pain at the pump; Newt's hypocrisy on algae biofuels (Thanks, videotape from 2008!); PLUS: Abandoning Kiribati: the world's first climate change refugees ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change (video); Iceland to turn CO2 into rock; Euro Car of the Year: Chevy Volt; Iowa outlaws undercover journalism; US pollution also Made in China; Spiders invading flood-stricken Australia; Alien species invading Antarctica; Carbon emissions threaten world's oceans ... PLUS: What if the Fukushima nuclear fallout crisis had happened in the US? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Great news for voters today in Wisconsin, via Project Vote...
Circuit Judge David Flanagan called the voter ID measure “the single most restrictive voter eligibility law” in the nation, according to the Associated Press.
“The NAACP’s Milwaukee branch and immigration rights group Voces de la Frontera sued over the law last year. A trial on whether to grant a permanent injunction is scheduled for April 16,” AP reports.
The groups asserted that more than 220,000 eligible voters would be unable to prove identity to vote under the new law.
“The scope of the impairment has been shown to be serious, extremely broad and largely needless,” Flanagan wrote in his court order. “There is no doubt that the plaintiffs have shown a very substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”
The state is expected to appeal the decision.
“It’s a solid victory for voting rights and all voters in the state of Wisconsin,” said Richard Saks, attorney for the NAACP. “It’s a win for the hundreds of thousands who have difficulty or find it impossible to get voter ID under Act. 23,” Saks said.
In granting the temporary injunction, Flanagan's 11-page order [PDF] "concludes that the plaintiffs have demonstrated the probability of success as well as the likelihood of irreperable harm," in their original complaint which is set for trial beginning next month. The case, Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Scott Walker, is based solely on the argument that Act 23 is in violation of the WI state constitution. Flanagan's ruling is grounded in a fundamentally conservative interpretation of the state constitution's guaranteed right to vote, and on historic precendents where the state Supreme Court has decided in favor of that right over legislative laws affecting that right to the disadvantage of the voter.
Today's ruling is the first judicial blow against the vote suppressing law passed by Republicans in the wake of their 2010 electoral victory in the Badger State. There are now at least four different legal complaints filed against Wisconsin's Act 23 challenging both the state and federal Constitutionality of the law. The most recent suit was filed late last month, and detailed by our own Ernest Canning who also calls for the U.S. Dept. of Justice to intervene in the case in order to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in Wisconsin, on the basis of racial discrimination.
Late last year the ACLU filed a 54-page federal class action complaint on behalf of some 17 named plaintiffs, including elderly, student, minority and even veteran voters, all of whom may otherwise be unable to cast their once-legal vote under the state's new law passed by its GOP legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Scott Walker in 2011.
The lead plaintiff in that case, 86-year old Ruthelle Frank, is disabled and was born at home. She never had a birth certificate. Though she's been legally voting in every election since 1948 and is an elected member of the Brokaw Village Board, she may have to pay more than $200 in order to have a birth certificate created and typos in her name, as recorded by the state registrar, corrected before she can receive the "free" state-issued Photo ID that would allow her to vote under the new law.
Even younger, more able-bodied voters have had problems jumping through some of the hoops required to obtain a so-called "free" ID in Wisconsin, as documented on video tape last summer by a woman attempting to help her son obtain one from the state DMV.
In a small primary in the state late last month, the first full implementation of the statute, a number of voters were reportedly denied their right to vote --- at polling places where they had legally voted for years prior --- after they were unable to present Photo ID which met the state's new draconian restrictions. For now, at least for the upcoming April primary in Wisconsin, those restrictions will mercifully be on hold.
UPDATE: Flanagan's ruling was extremely powerful and likely very difficult to rebut, short of an out-and-out activist ruling by the Right-leaning state Supreme Court. (They've done it before, so I wouldn't put it past them.) I've posted a few additional snippets from Flanagan's must-read decision in comments below. Our legal analyst Ernest Canning, who has been closely covering the WI challenges to Act 23, has also now rung in with a few more thoughts on Flanagan's decision there as well.
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