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'Green News Report' 4/24/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
NatGas explosion in WY; Cowboys & Indians against Keystone XL; Landmark fracking judgment; Oil biz unprepared for Arctic spills; PLUS: BP Gulf disaster, four years later...
Previous GNRs: 4/22/14 - 4/17/14 - Archives...
No, Mr. Issa. The IRS Wasn't 'Targeting Conservatives'.
New documents reveal what BRAD BLOG reported long ago: Progressive groups were singled out by IRS, and even more than Rightwing groups. Both properly so!
California 'Democracy'; USA Torture: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guests: CA Green Party SoS candidate David Curtis, fresh off being excluded from the Sacramento Press Club debate; Journalist Jason Leopold, fresh off his interview with CIA torture program architect James Mitchell...
Daily Show Must-Watch: 'The Broads Must Be Crazy'
Cuz you know how these gals are! Jon Stewart takes on the media-enforced double-standard faced by female politicians. (Worth watching just for the crying clips!)...
'Green News Report' 4/22/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
It's our 500th episode! Coincidentally, it's also Earth Day! So, we look both back and forward at climate coverage & the GNR in a very special Green News Report!...
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CA Green Party SoS Candidate Excluded from Sacramento Press Club Debate
Despite a recent poll showing he leads two candidates who were invited, David Curtis gets snubbed by press group, and he's not happy...
'In Your Heart, You Know He's Right'
Barry Goldwater, the GOP's most conservative Presidential nominee ever, was a leftist, tree-hugging, Big Govt environmentalist whacko hell-bent on destroying the economy...
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat we face with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find any reason to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2012 11:13am PT  

There were a lot of pretty impressive speeches at this week's Democratic National Convention. Many of the very smart headline speeches, such as Michelle Obama's, Bill Clinton's, and Joe Biden's, received plenty of coverage. Some of the shorter, but very noteworthy rallies, like Deval Patrick's and Ted Strickland's and Lilly Ledbetter's, also, deservedly, received a fair bit of notice.

But for pure ass-kickin' and theatrics, the winner, at least among those we've been able to see so far, must go to Jennifer Granholm, Michigan's Democratic Governor from 2003 to 2011 and now prime-time Current TV host.

My initial take after watching it online late last night: Just "Wow!"

Her speech yesterday was short, but incredibly potent and she lit the hall on fire with it in the bargain. If you didn't catch it previously, it's well worth a quick look for the history books. What a pity that she's Canadian-born...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2012 9:56pm PT  

From President Barack Obama's acceptance speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention...

OBAMA: And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet - because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They're a threat to our children's future. And in this election, you can do something about it.

Contrast that with Mitt Romney's mockery of climate change issues at the RNC last week.

On a related note, during his speech tonight, Obama took the following jab at a recent Mitt Romney foreign policy faux pas: "After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp."

To which emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler responded on Twitter: "Except, of course, climate change is a FAR bigger threat than both."

She is, of course, correct.

* * *

For the slightly longer version of the section on energy and climate change in Obama's speech tonight (you can ignore the "clean coal" part, he doesn't really mean that, right? Hey, at least he didn't mention nukes!) see below...

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

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Highlights 96-year old Dorothy Cooper's fight to vote this year...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2012 6:35am PT  

There is much, much more in-between our cuts here, including a storyline involving a hacking scandal that mirrors Rupert Murdoch and Newscorp's, but at the core of the recent Season 1 finale of HBO's "must-see" Aaron Sorkin series The Newsroom, was the nationwide Republican voter suppression effort.

Specifically, the finale centers around the GOP-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction laws that may serve to keep tens of thousands, including 96-year old Tennessee resident Dorothy Cooper (who The BRAD BLOG reported on last year) from being able to cast her vote this year, even after she's been legally voting there for 75 years without a problem --- even during the Jim Crow era in the South.

Is Sorkin reading The BRAD BLOG? Among other evidence throughout the season that suggests as much, one character, as you'll hear in the clip below, charges, as we often have, that this issue deserves much greater prominence in the corporate mainstream media. In regard Cooper and the spate of Republican voter suppression laws that may well determine the outcome of this year's elections, the character demands to know: "I wanna know why I don't see it on the news?!...Why isn't this the first story on the news every night?!"...

(For much more of the news monologue by Will Macavoy (Jeff Daniels) on Republicans and the Tea Party in this particular episode, see this version which has received almost 2 million views on YouTube, and includes his entire speech, though it lacks the key hospital scene seen above.)

When we first wrote about The Newsroom in July after its premiere, we suggested that the show was worth subscribing to HBO for, all on its own. While it continues to be flawed in some respects --- most notably in some of its soap opera-ish elements, and some of the casting --- it is still absolutely must-see TV in our opinion.

The show's focus on what it might look like if a mainstream corporate media outlet actually decided to focus on covering the actual news that the nation needs to become a more informed electorate --- exposing the many Breitbartian scams of Fox "News" and today's GOP and the Koch Brothers and their astroturf Tea Party along the way, using real breaking news events and footage along the way --- could well, as we wrote at the time, "change the way actual news is reported in this nation." There is even evidence, perhaps, that it may have even already done so, to an extent.

Though the first season is now over, the show has been renewed for Season 2. In the meantime, all of the episodes are available to HBO subscribers via On Demand and HBO GO, so it's still well worth jumping into from the start (the first episode is available to all here), before the next season begins.

* * *
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 9/5/2012 4:42pm PT  

Unlike the rigged votes at last week's Republican National Convention, the rigged vote during today's Democratic National Convention didn't have its results pre-determined by TelePrompter. Instead, it was left to Los Angeles Mayor and Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa to simply ignore the shouts of "NO!", in passing an amendment this afternoon to the party platform "by a two-thirds vote in the affirmative"...

The otherwise-unscheduled vote came about after President Obama and the Democrats withered under several hours of GOP and Fox "News" criticism of the fact that the word "God" and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, did not appear in this year's party platform. That, despite Obama's previously stated belief that the Israeli capital should be in an undivided Jerusalem, the existing platform reference to an "unshakable commitment to Israel's security", and the lengthy passage on faith and the importance of religion already present in this year's Democratic platform.

It took three tries, as seen in the video above, before Villaraigosa got up the nerve to pretend that the "Ayes" had it by the two-thirds majority required to adopt the amendment, which included restoring the party's 2008 platform language that had included the word "God", without debate. Well, Republicans and Fox "News" will be happy now at least. Right? And, after all, responding to fake Republican scandals, with a pretend vote, about an invisible bearded man floating in the sky, is certainly among the most important things that should happen at a Democratic National Convention.

* * *
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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Republicans going 'whole nine yards' to suppress vote in OH, says former President in advance of DNC speech
UPDATE: Clinton cites GOP voter suppression during DNC speech...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2012 11:16am PT  

"Do you really want to live in a country where one party is so desperate to win the White House that they go around trying to make it harder for people to vote if they’re people of color, poor people or first generation immigrants?," Bill Clinton asked rhetorically on Tuesday night during an event organized by the Arkansas Democratic Party.

In what The Nation's Ari Berman highlighted as a possible "preview" of the former President's remarks tonight in Charlotte, where he'll be headlining at the DNC, Clinton savaged the Republican efforts, particularly in Pennsylvania and Ohio, to suppress the Democratic vote:

“Do you really want to live in a country where one party is so desperate to win the White House that they go around trying to make it harder for people to vote if they’re people of color, poor people or first generation immigrants?

“In Pennsylvania, where they passed all these voter ID requirements, the House Republican leader who passed it said it was one of the most important achievements because it will enable Governor Romney to defeat the president in Pennsylvania.

“In Ohio, they passed the whole nine yards. The problem was in Ohio you can actually put this stuff on the ballot pretty easily to overturn it. So they went back in—you gotta give it to Republicans, they’re good. They vetoed it, then they snuck in an end to advance voting. Then they allowed the counties—and every county in Ohio has an election commission of three Democrats and three Republicans [Ed Note: actually it's two and two]—to decide if they were going to go around advance voting. The Democrats, we were for it. So in every county that was Republican, Democrats said ‘OK, we’ll have advance voting.’ And in every single county that is overwhelming Democratic, the Republicans voted against allowing advance voting.

Berman goes on to note that Clinton offered similar sentiments during a speech he made last year, when he decried the "Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today":

In last year's speech, a clip of which we'll post again below, Clinton said:

I can’t help thinking, since we just celebrated the Fourth of July and we’re supposed to be a country dedicated to liberty, that one of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time. There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.
...
Why is all this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate.

Will Clinton offer similar sentiments tonight during his speech in Charlotte?

UPDATE 9:10pm PT: In fact, Clinton did give a shout out against GOP voter suppression during his rousing convention speech tonight: "If you want ever American to vote and you think it is wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority, and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama!"

* * *

The short clip from President Bill Clinton's 7/6/2011 speech to student voters, in which he slammed Republicans for their voter suppression efforts follows below.

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2012 10:35pm PT  

According to Twitter, "The end [of] @MichelleObama's speech drove a higher Tweets-per-minute peak than @MittRomney's at #GOP2012. 28,003 vs. 14,289 for the Gov."

If you saw it, you probably know why that was. We don't take sides in these things, but we know a good speech when we see it. Even Chris Wallace on Fox "News" had little choice, as much as it seemed to pain him, but to call it "masterful". Former Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele described it as "one helluva speech."

While partisans always enjoy pretending First Ladies (anybody's), or even hopeful First Ladies, are just "amazing", they rarely are. This one, on the other hand, no matter what you may feel about her husband, actually is --- at least if her eloquent and extraordinary speech tonight is any indication.

Too bad shitty speakers like Bill Clinton on Wednesday and Barack Obama on Thursday, are gonna have to meet her incredibly high first night bar.

If you missed the speech that lit up Twitter tonight --- and even led some to call (only half joking?) for "Michelle Obama 2016!" --- the video of the entire speech follows below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2012 5:40pm PT  

The New York Times is reporting, and the campaign of Green Party Presidential nominee Jill Stein is confirming, that Google TV Ads is lifting its block on an ad for Stein featuring a partially bleeped "obscenity".

Google TV Ads, which, according to the Times, "fills advertising slots for television stations", had "initially rejected the commercial...citing the use of 'inappropriate language'".

After a "Tell Google TV Ads Not to Censor Our Ads!" campaign by the Green Party, the "hundred thousand dollars worth of airtime" that the campaign had purchased to run the ad mostly on cable TV in targeted markets, will move ahead as scheduled this week.

"Never mind that these ads already comply with F.C.C. regulations regarding appropriate content," the Green Party had argued, "what Google does not seem to understand is that federal law prohibits broadcasters from censoring ads submitted by candidates for public office."

The Times reports that Ben Manski, Stein's campaign manager, explained that the "ad was primarily intended to be shown on cable and satellite channels, like MSNBC and Comedy Central, which, like the Internet, are not subject to government regulation of objectionable language in the way that words and images broadcast over the airwaves still are."

Here is the shocking ad. Be sure to remove all young children, or the faint of heart, from the room before hitting the play button...

In the meantime, there continues to be no prohibition against blatant lies being told in campaign ads by Presidential candidates or any others. Go figure.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2012 10:53am PT  

Before we get started with this week's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, a final noteworthy thought or two on last week's RNC in Tampa.

The first comes as Twitter battles continue over the truthiness of VP nominee Rep. Paul Ryan's acceptance speech last Wednesday, with trolls continuing to insist, somehow, that Ryan wasn't lying about one thing after another. The trolls will be disappointed to learn that George W. Bush's Chief Political Strategist, Matthew Dowd, disagrees with them. Yes, Ryan lied, said Dowd on ABC's This Week on Sunday...

DOWD: Paul Ryan, what he did in his speech, I think so stretched the truth. And I like Paul Ryan, have a lot of great respect for Paul Ryan, but the elements that he said about closing the GM plant which closed before Barack Obama took President [sic], about the Simpson-Bowles bill which he opposed and then all of a sudden he faults Barack Obama for. At some point, the truth should matter…He was trying to convey that Barack Obama was responsible for the closing of that GM plant and that isn’t true.

The second and, for now, last point in RNC wrap-up, was this response to it all from President Obama on the stump, Saturday in Iowa...

The president recalled the GOP convention as a look backward. “It was a re-run — we’d seen it before,” he said. “You might as well have watched it on a black-and-white TV.”
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By his own admission, they argue, hundreds of thousands of legal voters may be disenfranchised by the GOP-enacted law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/4/2012 6:35am PT  

The petitioners challenging the Republican polling place Photo ID restriction law as a violation of the state Constitution in Pennsylvania, have filed their appeal to the state's Supreme Court, after being caught off-guard by a surprising and stinging defeat at the hands of a Republican Commonwealth Judge last month.

In their 68-page Pennsylvania Supreme Court brief [PDF], the petitioners in Applewhite vs. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania set forth a compelling legal case to demonstrate the need for a preliminary injunction in advance of the November 2012 President Election in order to prevent what they describe as the potential disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of lawfully registered voters.

The brief does much more than simply urge that Commonwealth Judge Robert E. Simpson, erred in applying the federal "minimum scrutiny" standard instead of subjecting Photo ID to "strict scrutiny" under state law because, they argue, it threatens to deprive hundreds of thousands of Keystone State citizens of a fundamental right to vote. The brief lays bare many of the GOP myths about the purpose of polling place Photo ID restrictions, while demonstrating why the GOP-enacted Pennsylvania law would not qualify as constitutional even under the less demanding test laid down by six of the U.S. Supreme Court's nine Justices in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections, their 2008 decision approving Indiana's version of a similar restriction on voting in that state...

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

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But stops short of a call to end 'corporate personhood'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/2/2012 6:42pm PT  
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER?
President Obama, during his surprise Reddit chat last Wednesday, jumps into the Citizens United fray.

"I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it)," President Barack Obama wrote last week during a surprise public Reddit chat.

"Consider mobilizing?" Groups like Move to Amend and Public Citizen initiated that mobilization shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court's radical-right quintet handed down that infamous decision in 2010. By July of this year, California had become the sixth state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen's United.

"Assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it?" The Court had an opportunity to revisit Citizens United earlier this year, or at least to limit its impact to federal elections. Instead, the same radical-right quintet expanded the reach of that democracy destroying decision by overturning a Montana Supreme Court decision which had sought to uphold a century old, state anti-corruption law.

While the President's remarks will no doubt be welcomed by the already-mobilized movement, one should not lose sight of the fact that they fall far short of an endorsement of either Vermont's proposed constitutional amendment or the measure introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the U.S. Senate. Both efforts call for the end to "corporate personhood" and a determination that money does not equal free speech under the First Amendment.

If the President truly desires to spotlight what amounts to a hostile corporate takeover of our democracy, he will confront Mitt "corporations are people, my friend" Romney in the upcoming Presidential debates with an openly stated support for a constitutional amendment that, as the Sanders measure provides, establishes that the "rights protected by the Constitution...are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes." Indeed, that position could frame the issue for all candidates seeking public office in the 2012 election.

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TONIGHT: Former AL Gov. Don Siegelman; RNC Unwound; Big Voting Rights Victories; MORE!...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2012 3:12pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with audio archives below! Enjoy!]

Mike is off tonight, so we're back guest hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show once again.

As usual, we're BradCasting LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from 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.)

Scheduled tonight:

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 our Sante Fe affiliate KTRC 1260, or our Minnesota affiliate KTNF 950 (tell 'em you're in MN if asked!). Also, you should be able to listen live at WhiteRose Society if the radio gods are with us.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: We had a very lively show, and one maddening interview with Gov. Siegelman. The commercial-free audio archives all now follow below (as well as the chat room archives.) Enjoy 'em over the holiday weekend on me!...

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

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Finds 'arbitrary' restrictions for all but military voters disproportionately harms low-income and minority voters
Decision continues recent spate of federal voting rights victories...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2012 1:16pm PT  

The recent spate of federal court victories in favor of voting rights across the nation continued today, as a U.S. District Court judge in Ohio sided with Democrats and the Obama campaign, finding that the removal of in-person Early Voting for all voters on the final three days before Election Day in the Buckeye State was an "arbitrary" decision made by the state's Republican lawmakers and Secretary of State.

The removal of in-person Early Voting in those last three days before the election --- when some 100,000 voters had cast their votes in the state during the 2008 Presidential Election --- for all but active-duty military voters, is likely to "irreparably harm" the voting rights of "low-income and minority voters [who] are disproportionately affected by the elimination of those voting days," according to the ruling by U.S. District Judge Peter Economus [PDF].

The ruling is another major win for Ohio voters, as the judge ruled in favor of the Democratic complaint seeking a temporary injunction on the state's new voting restrictions.

Through a convoluted series of legislative actions by Republican state lawmakers and rulings by Sec. of State John Husted, which we detailed earlier this month, Ohio had restricted Early Voting on the final weekend before the Tuesday election to all but active duty military voters. We also explained in that same article how the Romney campaign --- based on a false assertion initially posited by the Republican propaganda website Breitbart.com and subsequently forwarded loudly by Fox "News" --- argued dishonestly that the Obama campaign was attempting to "undermine" and restrict voting rights of the military, which the GOP nominee described on his Facebook page as an "outrage".

In fact, as the very first paragraph of the Obama complaint [PDF] made quite clear, the Democrats were not attempting to restrict the rights of military voters, but, in reality, suing to "restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day," including for some 900,000 veterans in the state whose rights had similarly been removed by the Ohio Republicans.

Today, the Democrats' argument prevailed in federal court, as Economus found that "Plaintiffs have a constitutionally protected right to participate in the 2012 election --- and all elections --- on an equal basis with all Ohio voters, including [active duty military] voters"...

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

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And reads them off a TelePrompter...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2012 4:54pm PT  

This is amusing and/or interesting and/or not surprising at all on several levels.

First, of course, ever since Obama has taken office, Republicans have pretended that there is something wrong with using a TelePrompter when speaking --- at least when it's done by Obama because, you know, he's so stupid he needs one, or something.

But, more of note, the two videos below offer amusing proof that the GOP is even willing to fix the results of their own elections at their own national conventions....

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

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3-judge panel finds law discriminatory under Voting Rights Act, would 'disenfranchise minorities and the poor'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2012 9:57am PT  

Following on the U.S. Dept. of Justice finding last March that the Republican-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction law in Texas was discriminatory, in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act (VRA), a three-judge U.S. District Court panel has again blocked the law from being implemented.

The decision by the federal panel, which included one judge appointed by George W. Bush, was unanimous.

Texas had appealed the DoJ decision earlier this year, seeking a declaratory judgment from the court, after the federal agency had found the state had not met its "burden of showing that a submitted change [to an election law] has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect," under Section 5 of the VRA, which requires preclearance for new election laws in 16 different U.S. jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination. The Lone Star State is one of those jurisdictions.

The DoJ had determined [PDF] that, based on the state's own statistics, the law would have disproportionately disenfranchised registered Hispanic voters in the state. They found that registered Hispanics are anywhere from 46% to 120% more likely than non-Hispanics to lack the type of state-issued Photo ID that would have now been required to vote under the new law.

The 56-page ruling by the U.S. District court panel in D.C. today [PDF] found that "the law will almost certainly have retrogressive effect" as "it imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas [who] are disproportionately likely to live in poverty."

"Crucially," the court added, "the Texas legislature defeated several amendments that could have made this a far closer case" when they ignored warnings that the law "as written, would disenfranchise minorities and the poor."

In Texas, as Democratic lawmakers had pointed out while the bill was being debated, some registered voters would have to travel as far as 250 miles round trip to receive their "free" ID from a state Dept. of Public Safety (DPS) driver's license facility, presuming they owned or were able to afford buy the underlying documentation required to obtain that "free" ID. The burden would be especially difficult for those without drivers licenses in the first place. Moreover, as the DoJ had previously found, "in 81 of the state’s 254 counties, there are no operational driver’s license offices," and many of them have limited hours of operation.

The court blasted both the Republican lawmakers and the attorneys who presented their case. "Everything Texas has submitted as affirmative evidence is unpersuasive, invalid, or both. Moreover, uncontested record evidence conclusively shows that the implicit costs of obtaining [Photo ID that would satisfy the new law] will fall most heavily on the poor and that a disproportionately high percentage of African Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty. We therefore conclude that SB 14 is likely to lead to 'retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.'"

This was the second stinging loss for Texas Republicans in one week. On Monday, their plan for Congressional Redistricting in the state, on the heels of four new seats gained after the 2010 Census, was also struck down by a three-judge federal panel for violations of the VRA...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2012 1:48pm PT  

As we reported last September, the U.S. Dept. of Justice found that the state Republicans' Congressional redistricting map for Texas, as signed by Gov. Rick Perry, was in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act. The DoJ found that the new plan --- which added four Congressional seats in the state after an increase in population was found by the 2010 Census --- was purposefully discriminatory against minority voters.

The DoJ asserted that the plan "was adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives."

Texas appealed that ruling to a Federal District court which made its ruling yesterday. They agreed with the DoJ that the state was discriminating against it's own minority citizens, as Ari Berman reports at The Nation...

Today a three-judge federal court in Washington concurred with DOJ, writing that Texas’s redistricting plans were “enacted with discriminatory purpose” and did not deserve preclearance under Section 5 [of the federal Voting Rights Act.]

Here are the relevant facts of the case: Texas gained 4.3 million new residents from 2000–10. Nearly 90 percent of that growth came from minority citizens (65 percent Hispanic, 13 percent African-American, 10 percent Asian). As a result, Texas gained four new Congressional seats, from thirty-two to thirty-six. Yet under the Congressional redistricting map passed by Texas Republicans following the 2010 election, white Republicans were awarded three of the four new seats that resulted from Democratic-leaning minority population growth. The League of Women Voters called the plan “the most extreme example of racial gerrymandering among all the redistricting proposals passed by lawmakers so far this year.”

Berman has more details on the specific findings in the ruling, and notes that a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups late last year asserts that "even though Whites’ share of the population declined from 52 percent to 45 percent, they remain the majority in 70 percent of Congressional Districts." He also notes that the court found "Texas Republicans not only failed to grant new power to minority voters in the state, they also took away vital economic resources from minority Democratic members of Congress."

The state may now, and likely will, appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, says Berman, "An interim map drawn by a federal court in San Antonio in February will be used for the 2012 election."

Earlier this year, the DoJ similarly rejected a new polling place Photo ID restriction law enacted by Republicans also in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Based on two differing sets of data supplied by the state, the DoJ found [PDF] that currently registered Hispanic voters were anywhere from 46.5% to 120% more likely than registered white voters to lack the type of state-issued Photo ID which would now be required to vote under the GOP's new law.

The state appealed that ruling as well to the same federal District Court panel in D.C. which heard the redistricting case. Their ruling on the Photo ID restriction law is expected very soon.

* * *

UPDATE 8/30/12: The federal court has similarly rejected the Texas Republicans' polling place Photo ID restriction law, finding it, like the Congressional Redistricting map, to be purposefully discriminatory against minorities. Full details on that ruling now here...

* * *
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