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Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure
After the state GOP repealed the law to move to paper ballots, votes now reportedly flipping again on a controversial Amendment to the state Constitution...
More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)
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'Green News Report' 10/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2010 1:35pm PT  

On the road for much of today (and for much of this week, actually), so no time to make the argument for it, other than just to mention it, for the moment, and let others run with the ball if inclined.

With Justice John Paul Stevens now said to be preparing to retire, how about a movement to call on Obama to replace him with George Washington University Law School's Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley?

Turley's blog is here, his bio is here, his Wikepedia entry is here.

Pros? Cons? (If anyone in comments would like to link to any of Turley's many important media appearances on video --- particularly during the Bush years and particularly on the issue of the unconstitutionality of torture, war crimes, spying, and on the failure by the Obama administration to undo those policies and/or hold accountable those who implemented them --- it would be very welcome, as I've got to hit the road right now.)

P.S. Looks like there was a similar call for Turley to be named to the high court in 2009 when David Souter retired and was ultimately replaced by Sonia Sotomayor. A DailyKos blogger called a Turley appointment a "no brainer" at the time, and a Facebook page was created here in support of the notion. Might be time to freshen up that Facebook page!

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The latest chapter of a 40-year assault on Constitutional Democracy
And the long overdue effort by the People to reclaim their democratic heritage...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/19/2010 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The American people already believe that corporate special interests and their lobbyists run the show around here. I mean, the halls are crawling with them. But that’s not enough. Now the Court says to the big banks, to the drug companies, to the insurance companies, ‘Hey, all bets are off, and it’s open season. Our elections are for sale.’ A law won’t fix this; we have to fix it in the Constitution. So today I’ll introduce a constitutional amendment so that we, the people, can take back our elections and our democracy."
-- Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1/28/10

In "Activist U.S. Supreme Court Makes It Official, We're Now 'The Corporate States of America'", Brad Friedman, along with so many others, expressed alarm over the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission [PDF], as well he should have.

Notwithstanding the sophistries offered by Jan Witold Baran, who neglected to mention in his Jan. 26, 2010 New York Times editorial that he is a former general counsel for the Republican National Committee, it is clear from the broad language applied by the five-member majority of the Supreme Court that Citizens United calls into question the validity of all laws which seek to prohibit or even limit the ability of corporate bought-and-paid-for candidates to flood the airwaves with the corporate message, either directly or through corporate-purchased propaganda time slots; an ability that can drown out the right of citizens to see and hear those who do not tow the corporate line.

As I will explain in this first of a series of articles, this ruling perverts the very reason why the framers included "freedom of the press" in the First Amendment to the Constitutional amendments.

Unfortunately, as I will also explain in this series, the ruling in Citizens United was not unexpected. To the contrary, it is but the latest salvo in a 40 year, billionaire-funded assault on the very foundations of our constitutional republic and the rule of law.

A belated effort to reclaim our basic heritage has emerged via a move to amend the Constitution to overcome the devastating impact of Citizens United. Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig argues that a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United will not be enough; that we have to overcome what he describes as "the economy of influence" which now controls Congress. Lessig has called for a new Constitutional Convention. Another activist group, The Peace Team, has denounced the decision in Citizens United as an "act of treason." The Peace Team features an on-line petition calling for the impeachment of the five members of the Supreme Court who signed onto the majority opinion.

Regardless of where one stands on these efforts, a full appreciation of the big picture may be required before an effective movement can counter the well-funded and well organized assault on liberty...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2010 10:50pm PT  

Never thought I'd miss the 2000s, but if this week is any indication of what's to come, can we please roll back the clock?

Hundreds of thousands died in Haiti. Detainees were revealed to have been murdered in American custody at Gitmo. Democracy died again in Diebold's Massachusetts. A faint hope for reviving the death of the public's airwaves dies yet again as Air America dies. And the U.S. Supreme Court commits mass murder of everbody and everything else that had still been left teetering.

Worse. Week. Ever.

As it happened, I was previously scheduled to be a guest on Peter B. Collins' podcast yesterday to discuss MA. Suffice to say, the conversation ended up a bit broader, and a great deal darker.

If you'd like to listen, if you can stand to, it's now posted here...

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'We the People' lose, 'You the Corporations' Win...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2010 11:00am PT  

"The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation," wrote Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissenting opinion on today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, which will overturn decades of established campaign finance law.

"Threatens to"? That could be the understatement of the century. But this is what comes of not counting election results. We can thank, among a long list of others, John Kerry for having rolled over in Ohio in 2004.

In a 5 to 4 decision today, by an activist U.S. Supreme Court that actually requested to make a decision to hear this matter, despite the fact that the original case brought to them had little to do with their larger, most destructive finding, has decided that corporations may give as much money as they wish to federal election campaigns.

This would be 'Game Over,' folks, for those who believe in "We the People," rather than "We the Corporations," unless a movement like the one launched today at MoveToAmend.org (on which we are an original signer) can gain traction. You can (and must) join the call by signing on at FreeSpeechForPeople.org as well.

Some key quotes from today's ruling, which pretty much encapsulate the entire horrifying story:

In the majority opinion of the court, Justice Kennedy writes: "The Court has recognized that First Amendment protection extends to corporations."

Concurring, Chief Justice Roberts wrote of his fear that if the decision had gone the other way, "First Amendment rights could be confined to individuals, subverting the vibrant public discourse that is at the foundation of our democracy."

...And Justice Scalia, equating corporate money with free speech wrote "We should celebrate rather than condemn the addition of this speech to the public debate."

In dissent, Justice Stevens wrote "While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics."

We will, no doubt have more on this soon (currently buried in a number of other items and still on road). In the meantime, we're sure the "grass roots" Tea Baggers, outraged by corporate money special interests, will be infuriated by this decision, light up new protests in every town in every state in the union, and demand that our country be returned to "We the People" as the founders envisioned.

Right?

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Former AL Governor says same people working on his case even after Obama took office...
By Rebecca Abrahams on 12/18/2009 11:20am PT  

Guest Blogged by Rebecca M. Abrahams

Two weeks ago Washington Post reported that U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan named federal prosecutor Henry Schuelke to investigate whether gross prosecutorial misconduct tainted the government's case against now-former Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. At issue, whether prosecutors withheld critical evidence from the defense or whether the case was improperly handled under pressure to meet deadlines.

US Attorney General Eric Holder, in a stunning move, threw out the government's corruption case against Stevens last April and issued the following statement:

After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial. In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial.

Holder also relocated attorneys who worked on the case including William H. Welch II, who ran the Department's public integrity unit.

WaPo failed to report that William Welch is currently under criminal contempt of court for his role in the case against Stevens. Welch was also involved in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Siegelman was convicted of bribery in 2006 and served nine months in prison before his release was ordered pending appeal.

Despite Welch's pending legal issues, his name continues to be listed on recent filings in Siegelman's case. Siegelman finds this "quite curious as he's been hot after my prosecution for a good long time now."

Aside from alleged governmental misconduct in the Siegelman case, there are paramount legal issues that have been recognized by 91 former State Attorneys General and a group of First Amendment law professors across the country. And yet, while the DOJ is making a point to review Republican cases, not one case against a Democrat has been completely overturned and, as Siegelman told me in a recent interview, he believes very little has changed at the department, other than the names "at the top"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2009 4:44pm PT  

We missed last night's Daily Show, but thanks to the alert Megan Carpentier at Jezebel, we see that BRAD BLOG commenter "Roger" was quoted in reply to Sen. Linsdey Graham (R-SC)'s ingenious use of anonymous Internet slams on Sonia Sotomayor to attack her during her Senate oversight hearings this week...

Well done, Roger! Good anonymous name-calling! We couldn't be prouder. :-)

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Cognitive Deficiencies of Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III
VIDEO: Sessions' 'checkered past,' history of baseless minority 'voter fraud' allegations reviewed...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/15/2009 2:03pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." - Judge Sonia Sotomayor, 2001.

"I want to state up front, unequivocally and without doubt, I do not believe that any ethnic, racial, or gender group has an advantage in sound judging. I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge regardless of their background or life experiences." - Judge Sonia Sotomayor, July 14, 2009.

A fair reading of the full context of Judge Sotomayor's 2001 University of California remarks reveals that the above two statements are not inconsistent. In the first, Sotomayor was merely giving recognition to what cognitive science has long recognized --- that differences in culture, background, and experience create frames through which our minds process data, or as George Lakoff observes in Don't Think of an Elephant and in greater depth in Moral Politics: "Concepts are not things that can be changed by people telling us a fact. Frames are needed to make sense of the facts."

Sotomayor's personal history suggests a progressive world view, or what Lakoff refers to as the Nurturant Parent Model, which emphasizes concepts like empathy, fairness in opportunity and relativity.

Such concepts were put into stark contrast with those of her lead inquisitor in this week's Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearings, where Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) --- whose "checkered past" includes allegations of racism, a nearly-unprecedented rejection by a Republican-led Judiciary Committee for his appointment to the federal bench and a long track record of obsession with non-existent minority "voter fraud" --- led the ironic attack on her record...

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

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Judge Sonia Sotomayor likely to be opposed by Republicans despite previous federal confirmations...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/26/2009 12:04pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

President Barack Obama has nominated 54-year old Sonia Sotomayor, a Judge on the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeal in New York, to fill the upcoming vacancy brought about by the pending retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

Despite degrees from Princeton (A.B. summa cum laude 1976) and Yale Law School (J.D. 1979), Sotomayor's Puerto Rican roots are truly working class. Her father, a tool-and-die maker with a third grade education, died when she was nine years old. She and her brother, who became a physician, grew up in a Bronx housing project, raised by her single mother, a nurse.

Although she was initially nominated to the federal bench by George H. W. Bush, in 1998 (when she was approved by a vote of 35 to 11, among still serving U.S. Senators) and is considered a judicial centrist by the ABA journal, her nomination to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal was bottled up by Republicans for more than a year after she was nominated by President Clinton. The hold-up was no mere coincidence...

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

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Tally concludes finding 312 vote victory for the Democrat, as the Republican contester prepares his final appeal(s)
But does the state's former Senator have a legal leg to stand on?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/7/2009 11:07am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Author and former radio talk show host Al Franken, the Democratic challenger for the U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota, will be the state's next U.S. Senator, according to a final tally by the bi-partisan three-judge panel overseeing challenger Norm Coleman's election contest against him.

This morning in St. Paul, officials from the Minnesota Secretary of State's office, under the in-court direction of the three-judge Election Contest panel in the former Senator's contest against Franken, tallied all remaining lawfully cast absentee-ballots that were not previously opened and counted. This was done on camera, in open court. The attorneys from both sides, along with the media, were all present.

The final tally of the remaining ballots was 198 votes for Franken, 111 votes for Coleman and 42 votes for "other." When this is combined with the initial 225 vote lead, certified by the bi-partisan State Canvassing Board in December, it adds up to a 312 vote Franken victory, arrived at by both a transparent, post-election hand-count late last year, and the additional tallies added under the painstaking care exercised by the three-judge panel in Coleman's three-month long contest trial.

Al Franken has now won the U.S. Senate seat, but do Coleman's promised appeal(s) stand a chance of winning? And will the Democrats in the U.S. Senate now assume their Constitutional right to dutifully seat the Senator from Minnesota?...

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

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Will the shameful former Senator allow himself to be sacrificed as 'Republican Sore Loser for All Time'?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2009 12:24pm PT  

As we wait for the 3-judge panel in Minnesota to issue their verdict in former Sen. Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate race, in which the Democratic challenger Al Franken was found to be the winner by a bi-partisan state canvassing board, D.C. lawmakers are cranking up the political battle which awaits beyond that decision, which could come any day now, and its predictable appeal to the MN Supreme Court by the loser (who will "probably" be Coleman, according to his own attorney).

Sen. "Big Bad" John Cornyn (R-TX), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Conspiratorial Committee (NRSC), is now threatening "World War III" if the Dems try to seat Franken before a U.S. Supreme Court appeal is completed, or even a new federal suit that could be filed by Coleman in U.S. District Court if he chooses...even if those additional judicial processes could take "years"...

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

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More evidence they may be preparing an appeal strategy to call for a 'do-over' in MN's U.S. Senate Election
UPDATE: 'Swiftboat' Ben Ginsberg declares trial a 'legal quagmire'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2009 11:27am PT  

[Updated at end of article.]

While God may have chosen him, if not the voters of Minnesota, evidence is growing that former Sen. Norm Coleman may be preparing for a "do-over" gambit. We'd offered speculation on this front a week or two ago, and yesterday, following another slog of a day at the U.S. Senate Election Contest court in St. Paul, the Republican's top legal spokes, Ben Ginsberg, described the election as "fatally-flawed" in his post-trial presser. The freshly floated phrase has re-ignited speculation about Coleman's longer-term legal strategy...

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

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Wherein we all guess what the hell Coleman's ultimate endgame may be, even as he makes it up while going along...
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2009 12:36am PT  

Remember back in 2000 when the Republicanists belittled elderly (and minority) voters, claiming that 'if they failed to fill out their ballots correctly, and failed to follow the simple voting rules, then they're idiots and their votes shouldn't be counted'? They made the case over and over again, cynically, of course, because it would mean that, even though more voters had intended to vote for Al Gore than George W. Bush (and actually did [PDF], had they bothered to count them all) Bush should still be allowed to "win" the Presidency.

Well, as we've had to say so many times during our previous coverage of the GOP flip-floppery that is the election contest of former Senator Norm Coleman against Al Franken in MN: that was then and this is now.

At right, take a look at the short, approximately 1-minute video of Coleman (and FL 2000 Bush v. Gore) attorney Ben Ginsberg, trying to keep a straight face in a presser after his team argued today that yet another cherry-picked voter/witness whose absentee ballot was legitimately rejected --- in this case because she failed to sign the ballot --- should have her vote counted anyway.

(Video courtesy of TheUptake.org. Disclosure: VelvetRevolution.us, co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, is a financial contributor to TheUptake.)

Like we said, that was then and this now. So never mind that whole "voter fraud" argument. Not useful today for the GOP opportunists. And now, while I'll try to stay out of the deep weeds tonight on today's proceedings at the Coleman/Franken circus (you're welcome), Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com argues convincingly --- based on fairly reliable reads of usually-predictable WSJ and other Wingnut Tea Leaves --- that Team Coleman may ultimately be angling for a do-over. That is, a re-vote for the entire election.

He may be right. Though there may be another plan, even though admittedly, the Coleman campaign is largely making all of this up as they go along, and any or all of the following guesswork may end up being their "strategy"...

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

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High court throws out lawsuit challenging Obama's citizenship...
By Jill C. on 12/9/2008 2:54am PT  

Guest blogged by Jill C. of Brilliant at Breakfast

When Bill Clinton became president in 1992, there were many on the right who felt his presidency wasn't "legitimate" because he didn't receive a popular vote majority. When he DID receive his popular vote majority in 1996, the witch hunt began in earnest. Not one of these people uttered a peep when the Supreme Court awarded the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000. But right on cue, the nutballs are out again now that a Democrat has once again been elected to the presidency.

The "issue" of Barack Obama's citizenship status has been kicking around the lunatic right throughout the entire campaign season, and it's become clear that there is not one piece of identification Barack Obama can offer that will prove his "natural born citizenship" to the satisfaction of these people...

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

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Member of the Republicans' Own 'Honest and Open Election Committee' is a Bit Too Open and Honest in Interview with 'Politico'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2008 9:05am PT  

[Ed Note: Please "Reddit" this one up, as Republicans have been trying to down rate it over there!]

A devastating article on Sunday destroys the GOP's claims of "voter fraud" as a member of McCain's own (amusingly named) "Honest and Open Election Committee" has admitted that Republicans are unable to cite a single "documented instance of voting fraud that resulted from a phony registration form."

The admission underscores our bold and knowing assertion of same, back in the early days of this year's fake GOP ACORN "scandal", when such assertions weren't popular, as noted for history both here at The BRAD BLOG and at the UK's Guardian.

The fact-based comments were made despite the once-honorable Republican nominee's dangerously specious claims during the final Presidential debate, that the ginned-up "crisis" was "one of the greatest frauds in voter history" and was "maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."

Looks like someone in his own campaign failed to get the memo. But it's not about facts, it's about fears, even ones that they themselves have created. As we've come to learn, that's more than good enough for the U.S. Supreme Court at least, and certainly for those attempting to keep you from being able to cast your legal vote...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2008 4:26pm PT  

Still running from one thing to another today, so only the briefest coverage here for now, on two very important points (and even victories!) today...

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

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