w/ Brad & Desi
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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...
|U.S. Chamber of Commerce 'Terror Tools' Spy Plot...|
|Wisconsin 2011 Supreme Court Election Debacle...|
|Japan Quake/Tsunami/Nuke Emergency...|
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In today's New York Times, Jim Arkedis and Lindsay Mark Lewis of the Progressive Policy Institute (Lewis also previously worked for the DNC), warn that Super-PACS aren't just perverting the electoral system through millions in deceptive ads for or against the candidates they are secretly funded to support, but they may also pose an even more direct, more insidious threat to our democracy.
After acknowledging that even President Obama is now embracing the same shadowy-funded PACs he once claimed to eschew, as he refuses to "unilaterally disarm", there is a different between inclinations of left and right, in that one side generally works to increase voter turnout, while the other hopes to suppress it. The lack of accountability and the supposed "firewall" of separation between Super PACs and candidates creates a situation rife for the worst kind of dirty tricks and voter suppression in an atmosphere which is even more difficult to regulate than in the past (when such dirty tricks were already pretty easy to pull off without paying a price --- or, at least, without a price that could be paid before it was far too late).
Their warning is both compelling and ominous, particularly as we don't need to look very far into the recent past --- even here at The BRAD BLOG --- in order to find evidence in support of it...
I don't necessarily care for the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "ObamaCare"), any more than any other non-disinformed, non-wingnut. Neither am I enough of a Constitutional expert to argue for or against its Constitutionality, which is currently being argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
But over the last several days, on Twitter, I've been asking to hear from folks who have been negatively affected by "ObamaCare" personally, in any way whatsoever. Given the fits and tortured distortions and twisted outrages that Republicans have been pretending to throw over the law, and its individual mandate requiring those who do not already have health insurance to buy some, I'm sure there must be many personal horror stories to relate, right?
I've got a lot of wingnuts and Breitbots who follow me on the Twitters, and they are usually all too happy to take whatever shots they can at me or Obama or anything else they can imagineer, even if they have to make shit up to do it. But, in this case, not a one of 'em was able to point to a single instance of being negatively affected personally by "ObamaCare" in any way. Go figure.
There is, of course, a reason for that...
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...
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
Last September's hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights established that polling place photo ID restriction laws have nothing to do with eliminating "voter fraud."
They are, instead, part of what Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, described at the time as the "largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era" --- part of the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP exercise in voter suppression. Her testimony established, yet again, that such laws have a disparate impact upon minorities, the poor, the elderly and students (all of whom happen to have the unfortunate tendency of voting Democratic).
Despite the national nature of this coordinated, well-documented and well-funded assault on minority voting rights, so far the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has confined its legal response to such newly-enacted laws to only the small number of "covered" jurisdictions, for example, South Carolina, that are subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). That section of the law requires federal preclearance for new election-related laws in those "covered" jurisdictions, since they each have demonstrated a long history of racial discrimination.
The narrow action taken by the DoJ to date, as based only on Section 5 of the VRA, could all change if they took the time to study the content of the new complaint, Jones v. Deininger [PDF], as filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The complaint alleges that Wisconsin's new polling place photo ID law ("Act 23") "is a voter suppression law that burdens African-American and Latino voters most heavily [which]...results in them having 'less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice,' and, thereby, constitutes a denial and abridgment of their right to vote in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act."
The complaint in Jones, which was signed by attorney Charles T. Curtis, Jr. of Arnold & Porter, LLP, seeks to enjoin the implementation of Wisconsin's Act 23 and a declaration that it violates Section 2 of the VRA. When asked whether he contemplates seeking a preliminary injunction on the new law prior to the next election, Curtis was only able to tell The BRAD BLOG at this time that they "want to move the case as quickly as the Court will allow, and plan to request a pretrial conference to discuss motion and briefing schedules."
The additional question remains, however, will the U.S. DoJ defend federal law by opting to join this lawsuit as a plaintiff?...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
On Tuesday, a divided three judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage --- a right that had otherwise previously existed for same sex couples in the state --- violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The majority opinion in Perry vs. Brown [PDF] this week decided an issue that was so narrow and so tightly crafted to meet the criteria of a 1996 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Romer v. Evans, that it minimized the chances that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide to hear the case, let alone reverse the decision.
As we examine the future course of the Prop 8 litigation, it's appropriate, if only briefly --- while this particular issue remains far away in the rear view mirror --- to offer a reminder of the still unresolved question as to whether CA voters actually approved the controversial measure at the ballot box in the first place...
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
The title of historian Kevin Phillips' otherwise excellent work, Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich, is somewhat misleading. With the exception of constitutional monarchies, which preclude royalty from all but figurehead status, democracy and the concentration of great wealth cannot co-exist in the same society.
If citizens can see past the corporate media-erected contest of personalities so as to examine how it reflects the undemocratic structure of our society, the 2012 Presidential election can provide us with a teachable moment of great value. This is true whether we examine the flood of SuperPAC monies, courtesy of the now infamous Citizens United decision, the striking similarities in their methodology of wealth acquisition depicted both in the 1987 movie Wall Street through its fictional Gordon Gekko and in real life by Bain Capital and Mitt Romney, the ridiculously low 13.9% federal taxes on Romney's $21.7 million income in 2010, his extensive Goldman Sachs holdings and as much as $32 million maintained in off-shore accounts, or the fact that only one, essentially marginalized Presidential candidate in either of the two major political parties --- Ron Paul --- is willing to discuss an end to perpetual war and our global military presence.
Here, Mitt "Gordon Gekko" Romney provides the principle focus, not because of personality, or "envy", but because his candidacy affords an opportunity to explore the inconsistency between wealth and democracy...
What a difference two years and one brutally ugly, obscenely cash-based GOP Primary Election cycle makes. One wonders if even Republicans, at this point, are finally beginning to realize the problems wrought by the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision two years ago yesterday.
If this Rasmussen poll can be believed, the Right-leaning polling firm now finds that 58% of Americans are calling for new campaign finance laws. That's up from three years earlier when, as ThinkProgress notes, a majority of the nation, according to the same polling firm, felt that it would be "good" if then-existing campaign finance laws were struck down by the court.
Well, they got their wish two years ago yesterday. Wonder how they feel about it now.
To mark yesterday’s somber and embarrassing anniversary, John Wellington Ennis, filmmaker of the wonderful, smart, insightful and often deftly amusing 2008 documentary FREE FOR ALL!: One Dude's Quest to Save Democracy, has another one on the way. The new one will focus on our now even-sorrier state of "democracy" in the long dark shadow of Citizens United. While the new feature-length film, Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes is due later this year, yesterday Ennis released a short documentary, based on some of the work he's done on that film, focusing on how Citizen's United came about, and what is has meant to the nation.
His new soulful short, Citizens United: How Did It Happen? follows below. I'm honored to say that I appear in it myself, but it's very good anyway. Ennis has a few additional thoughts on it all right here today. But, at the very least, you owe it to yourself to give his new short documentary below a look on this 2nd anniversary of the horrific SCOTUS decision that is actively undermining our absolutely most central values as a nation...
By the way, The BRAD BLOG's 8th(!) anniversary is this Tuesday! Unfortunately, we have not been the recipient of secret millions from corporate "people" in the wake of Citizens United. In fact, we have never enjoyed either corporate or foundational support for our completely independent work here, and continue to rely almost solely on you, our readers, to keep going. We have survived this long, barely, thanks to you! But we desperately need your support to continue.
Please consider an 8th Birthday donation to The BRAD BLOG to help us continue our important work in what is guaranteed to be a long, ugly and difficult Election Year, when your help here is needed the most. Also quite welcome are sustaining monthly donations of any amount you choose! For that (or our snail mail address for olde tyme paper check contributions), please see the light blue box about halfway down the right sidebar of all of our pages. Anything you can offer is greatly appreciated! My sincere thanks in advance!
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
This week, the Montana Supreme Court stood up to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, rejecting the much-criticized 2010 federal decision by declaring that, in their state at least, a century-old prohibition on corporate money in local politics will be allowed to stand.
By way of a 5-2 decision in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. vs. Attorney General of Montana [PDF], the state's high court upheld the constitutionality of the long-standing Corrupt Practices Act of 1912, which prevents direct contributions by corporations to candidates or political committees. The law does not, however, prohibit voluntary individual contributions to separate segregated funds created by shareholders, employees or members of a corporation.
The state law also mandates disclosure of who pays for political communications, while the 2010 Citizens United ruling allows for unlimited secret money to flood into campaigns, for use either for or against any particular candidate.
The majority opinion in the Montana case, written by Chief Justice Mike McGrath, sought to distinguish their state law from Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission [PDF] by pointing to factors in the state --- its dependence upon agriculture and extractive resource development, as well as its sparse population and history of low campaign expenditures --- which, he claimed, make the state "especially vulnerable to...corporate control to the detriment of democracy".
Even one of the dissenters in the MT decision, Justice James C. Nelson, while making clear that he believes the SCOTUS decision likely takes legal precedent over their own state law, offered a blistering critique to the very underpinnings of Citizens United --- a case we previously predicted "will live in infamy" --- by taking direct aim at the absurd concept of "corporate personhood" in his dissenting opinion...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
In light of GOP Presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich's recently revitalized attacks on the judiciary as, apparently, not yet extreme or activist enough for his tastes --- though he finds, like most of the other GOP candidates, Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito to be "pretty darn good" --- it's worth taking note of just some of the recent behavior, judicial temperament and fundamental principles of those far-Right extremist Supreme Court Justices he apparently does approve of.
To that end, the opening paragraph of a Nov. 14 Los Angeles Times article was disturbing but not surprising:
While basic canons of judicial ethics suggest that judges should avoid even the appearance of impropriety, it remains exceedingly doubtful that the gathering of signatures on a Credo Action Petition will prompt either of these two "radicals in robes" to recuse themselves...
Attorney General Martha Coakley said on Thursday the lawsuit was filed in state court in Boston against Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co Inc, Citigroup Inc, Wells Fargo & Co and Ally Financial.
Coakley's office said the lawsuit was filed after more than a year of negotiations with the banks involving all 50 states.
By the way, while I realize that corporations are "people," I wonder how many actual people, after committing massive felonies, are allowed "more than a year" to "negotiate" with law enforcement over whether they will be indicted for those felony crimes or not.
UPDATE: A few more details now from Boston Globe...
The suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, also names the private company Mortgage Electronic Registration System Inc. and its parent, MERSCORP Inc., as defendants, according to the attorney general’s office.
“The AG’s lawsuit seeks accountability for the banks’ unlawful and deceptive conduct in the foreclosure process, including unlawful foreclosures, false documentation and robo-signing, MERS, and deceptive practices related to loan modifications,’’ the news release from Coakley’s office said.
And while we're waiting for more info on the above, let's not forget the woman who was arrested by New York City police for daring to close her Citibank account, as seen on video tape. The NYPD is not being sued by the AG (although they should). She did not receive a year to negotiate with the plain-clothed cops who physically picked her up and dragged her back into the Citibank branch just moments after she had the temerity to close her own personal account at the bank. Rather, it's been left to the woman herself to file a lawsuit against the cops and NYC that were both doing the bidding of Citibank on the tax-payers' dime, as Ernest Canning detailed yesterday.
I can't imagine what those Occupy Wall Street folks are calling for. Gosh and golly, just what are their demands?! It's all so confusing.
[Now UPDATED with audio archives below...]
Our week guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show continues tonight and tomorrow!
As usual tonight, we'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or at WhiteRose Society or via MikeMalloy.com.
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Well, this show was just loony toons! If you don't believe me, give it a listen! The audio archives are now posted below (along with the chat room archives)...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
New video has emerged (posted below), courtesy of ThinkProgress of an apparently unprovoked Oakland police officer shooting a cameraman during a recent stand-off with Occupy Oakland demonstrators.
In an email to The BRAD BLOG, Sgt. Christopher Bolton, Oakland PD's Chief of Staff, confirmed that the incident involved an "OPD use of force" which took place at 16th Street near San Pablo Ave. in Oakland on the morning of Nov. 3, 2011 and that the matter was "under investigation." (Recall that a general strike took place in Oakland on Nov. 2. This event, per the cameraman, took place shortly after midnight.)
However, Bolton did not directly answer specific follow-up questions designed to pin down details of the incident.
At YouTube, the unidentified cameraman denied that there had been any "violence or confrontation of any kind underway" at the time the OPD officer can be seen aiming and firing (as seen 31 seconds into the 40 second video below.)
Because this potentially involves an unprovoked police assault on a citizen-journalist, the issue at stake entails more than police misconduct. If it was unprovoked battery, the incident reflects nothing less than a direct assault on the First Amendment, democratic accountability and the public's right to monitor police misconduct.
Video captures moment officer fires...
"The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation." - President Jimmy Carter
(Inaugural Address, 1/20/1977)
Oh, well. It was a nice idea at the time.
Nonetheless, happy 87th birthday (yesterday), Mr. President!
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