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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, October 24, 2016
'Too Big to Rig?':
'BradCast' 10/21/2016
The no-spin truth about our vulnerable U.S. election systems, as a major DDoS attack cripples huge Internet sites from Twitter to Amazon today; Plus: MUCH MORE!...
Election Rigging, Integrity, Amnesia - The Final Debate: 'BradCast' 10/20/16
Bad hombres! Nasty women! And SUSPENSE! Special coverage with Heather Digby Parton of Salon and David Dayen of Fiscal Times...
Everything is 'Peachy Dory': 'BradCast' 10/19/16
Trump still plummeting; Wingnuts still falling for phony 'voter fraud' (MSM helping them); Good news for KS, FL (and maybe) GA voters; Huge early turnout; Clinton WikiLeaks; #FreeDesi!...
Will It Be 'Rigged'? 'Hacked'?: 'BradCast' 10/18/16
Dems and DHS warned of election system hacking a few weeks ago. Now, not so much. Fact-based discussion about our vulnerable US elections w/ Verified Voting's Pam Smith...
Neocon: 'Nazi Echoes in Trump's Tweets'
Former adviser to John McCain, Jeb Bush sees shadow of Third Reich in Trump response to NC GOP campaign office firebombing...
'Green News Report' 10/18/16
Major new int'l agreement phases out HFCs; US emissions lowest since 1991; Sept. 2016 hottest ever recorded; PLUS: Wikileaks reveals Clinton dinging climate activists...
NH GOPer Decries Trump 'Rigging', But Denies Party Claimed 'Voter Fraud'(?!?): 'BradCast' 10/17/16
Guest: Former state GOP Chair Fergus Cullen. Also: Good news for FL voters, bad for OH...
Federal Judge Blocks FL's 'Illogical', 'Obscene' Absentee Ballot Rejection Scheme
Thousands of Vote-by-Mail ballots likely saved as court blocks GOP suppression scam at last minute...
Sunday Toons of the Unshackled Moment
Please do not touch, grab, or grope -- as the shackles come off in this week's collection of the week's best toon via 'PDiddie'...
'Dark' Presidential 'Debate' a Product of Strangled Democratic Discourse
Presidential Debate Commission joins corporate media in failing to help fully educate the electorate...
The Meltdown Began Long Before Trump:
'BradCast' 10/14/16
Through the darkness and towards the light...
FL Preps for Election 'Storm'; Michelle: 'Enough is Enough': 'BradCast' 10/13/16
Guest: Palm Beach, FL election chief on extended registration, e-tabulator failure, hack worries...
'Green News Report' 10/13/16
Gore, Clinton rally Millennials to #VoteClimate; Court allows Dakota Access construction; Matthew's toxic aftermath in NC; PLUS: OK Gov. calls for oil prayer...
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
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

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...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

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...

Guests: Sam Walker of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, AL; Former DoJ attny Katherine Culliton-González of Advancement Project...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2015 2:33pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, special coverage in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 --- the crowning jewel legislation of the civil rights movement, written with the blood and tears of thousands, and now under fire today as it has never been since its passage helped lift the nation out from under the shackles of the Jim Crow era.

Sam Walker historian at Selma, Alabama's National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, joins us to discuss the Act's history and legacy --- from the circumstances of the courageous Bloody Sunday march from Selma to Montgomery that finally resulted in the passage of the VRA, to the release of the movie Selma last year.

Among other things, he reminds us of the difficulty African-Americans faced in simply trying to register to vote in the deep south prior to the VRA. "Two days a month --- the first Monday and the third Monday --- were the only two days you could go and attempt to register," he told me. "Those were the days when they would see people coming and they would lock the door when they tried to come inside....You still couldn't register because you couldn't get inside the building to sign up."

Walker, who we haven't had on the show since the 40th anniversary of the VRA back in 2005, shares stories that need to be heard, even today. One, for example, about his meeting, years later, with one of the state troopers who took part in the beatings on Bloody Sunday. Another, about the importance of cameras and national media on that infamous day in Selma.

"The people in the media had their cameras set up when the attack happened, so when people were being beaten and tear-gassed, all those scenes were captured by the TV cameras and by the news media on camera. And that started a new momentum to try to get the right to vote for all our citizens." Sound familiar?

Then, former DoJ Civil Rights Voting Section attorney Katherine Culliton-González of the Advancement Project, joins us to discuss the ongoing legal battles in the fight for voting rights across the country in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court gutting the VRA's landmark Section 5 provision in 2013 --- and the battle to restore it.

"All we have to do is look around us and unless they're living in a bubble, they can see that's there's been a renaissance in discrimination in voting since they took away that protection," she explains. From Congress to Texas to North Carolina to Wisconsin and beyond, the fight continues 50 years later.

"There are many, many voting changes across the country, and particularly in the South, at the local level that do all kinds of maneuvers of politicians trying to manipulate the vote. Moving poling places away from people of color - that happens a lot in the Native American community, the African-American community. We've seen laws requiring documentary proof of citizenship that have a strong disparate impact on the Latino community and the African-American community. For example, if you're a naturalized citizen and you don't have those papers, it's going to cost you at least $600 to get what's needed" to vote, she says. "All of this would have been subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act."

Culliton-González reminds us, as the NC NAACP civil rights leader Reverend William Barber says, "this is our Selma".

Finally, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), beaten by state troopers on Bloody Sunday as he courageously and stoically helped lead the march across the Edmund Pettus bridge as a 25-year old, discusses the importance of LBJ signing the Act in 1965. It's one of many historical sounds and songs that help us mark this historic day.

I hope you enjoy today's very special program!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guests: Peace activist David Swanson; Const. law expert Ian Millhiser
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2015 5:27pm PT  

It was a much bigger show today than we had expected when we started it!

First up on today's BradCast, author, peace activist David Swanson joins us to discuss Obama's speech today at American University on the Iran Nuclear Agreement. While Swanson is (somewhat uncharacteristically) optimistic and encouraged by the deal, he has concerns about how Obama and other Dems are misleading Americans in order to sell it. "I love that, for once, President Obama wants peace. I love that, for once, he's using diplomacy rather than war. I wish he would use that in eight other places on earth," Swanson tells me. "But at the same time he's pushing the propaganda of his opponents."

Then, Swanson asks, "Why Won't Bernie Talk About War?" A new petition from asks Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to start speaking up against U.S. militarism which, as Swanson argues, the U.S. Senator from Vermont has, up until now, been very reluctant to do for some reason.

Then, as we went to break, huge news came in from the very conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal striking down the Texas GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction law. The opinion confirms most of a lower court judge's previously ruling finding the restriction to be in strict violation of the Voting Rights Act as well as the U.S. Constitution. Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser joins us to explain the very encouraging opinion from the court --- which comes, incidentally, just one day before the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 --- and what happens next.

"The court got that voter ID laws do not really serve the purpose that their supporters say they're supposed to serve," Millhiser explains. "The court got that this was an attempt to dress up something that looks like a legitimate voter regulation in order to really do something else, which was to prevent groups like racial minorities and low-income voters who tend to prefer Democrats over Republicans from casting a ballot."

But, he also warns, "this wasn't a total victory for the good guys." Listen to the show for all the details.

Finally, in the few minutes we have left, we squeeze in some Presidential politics in advance of tomorrow night's first GOP Presidential debate, as sponsored --- and rigged by --- Fox "News". And, yes, that Republican debate will take place, ironically enough, on the 50th Anniversary of the landmark federal Voting Rights Act which Republicans used to support...until they decided they couldn't win elections anymore if all those "people" (read: qualified American voters who tend to vote Democratic) were allowed to vote.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Author/journalist Ari Berman of The Nation...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2015 4:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we start where we left off on yesterday's show, regarding Thursday's amazingly corrupt and disturbing ruling in favor of Scott Walker and his cronies --- by the amazingly corrupt Wisconsin Supreme Court --- and how, if Republicans have their way, that ruling may soon enough become the law of the land for the entire nation.

As our producer Desi Doyen noted on today's show: "This is your early warning system." Ignore at your peril. Then it was on to a couple of quick items and updates, including dumb Confederate flag wavers in Oklahoma and Maine's even dumber Governor Paul LePage.

From there, we head to North Carolina, where "the most extreme anti-voter bill passed by any state since the Jim Crow Era", as we initially described it when it was passed by state Republicans back in 2013, is finally now facing trial against the NAACP, the ACLU, the DoJ and other democracy and voting rights advocates.

We are joined by The Nation's author/journalist Ari Berman, who was in the federal courtroom in Winston-Salem, NC this week as the trial finally got under way. The results of this trial are likely to head all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, one way or another, and may well determine the future of voting rights in this country. The new voting restrictions were passed in 2013, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court demolished the provision of the Voting Rights Act that otherwise, says Berman, would have kept this law --- which is "already disenfranchising voters" --- from even taking effect.

"That's such a clear case study to me that the Supreme Court was wrong when it said that the special protections of the Voting Rights act weren't needed." Berman goes on to explain why he believes NC, a state which had made astounding progress in voting rights over the previous decade, has now become the new Selma, Alabama, where the bloody fight for voting rights led directly to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965.

"In North Carolina, they had seemingly everything," Berman tells me. "They had all these voting reforms --- early voting, same day registration, pre-registration for 16 &17 year olds. And it was all taken away or reduced" when the GOP took over both the state legislature and Governor's mansion for the first time since Reconstruction in 2013.

"What Selma in the 1960s and what North Carolina in the 2013-2015 era shows is how far these conservative white Southerners will go to protect political power. There aren't billy clubs. There aren't literacy tests. But they're saying this is how black turnout increased --- North Carolina went from 48th in voter turnout in the late 80s, to 11th in voter turnout in 2012 --- Republicans there basically said we're gonna tamp this turnout down."

And now it's left to the courts to find out if those rights, once granted, can be taken away by political whim --- and if NC, and other states with a history of racial discrimination in elections, will be forced once again to face preclearance from the federal government before they can enforce any new voting restrictions.

Berman has a lot of insight on all of this. His new book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, will be published next month to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of passage of the VRA. As I note during the show, the book is an exhaustively researched and heart-wrenching documentation of the uniquely American and harrowing tale of the fight to vote in this country --- and the outrageously long and continuing effort to block it. That fight continues, sadly, to this day. Go buy his book!

Finally, Desi joins us again for some listener email and then a stunningly upbeat Green News Report for a change!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Annie Platoff of the North American Vexillological Association; Plus: Callers, Trump surge & more!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2015 5:22pm PT  

As the Confederate flag falls, once again, across the South, in the wake of the Charleston AME church terrorist attack, flag expert Annie Platoff of the North American Vexillological Association (yes, there is such a thing!) joins us to a question I've had all week on The BradCast: Why so much passion about a piece of colored cloth?!

I understand why people want the Confederate Battle Flag taken down. But I have much less understanding of why people are so passionate and emotional about wanting it, or any other flag, to be raised in the first place --- at least outside of a military context.

Platoff, who, in addition to being a flag expert is also a librarian at UCSB, explains the history of flags, their symbolic importance, and why they inspire such passion --- both for and against. She also tells us about the Apollo mission flags, which are still on the Moon, and about which wrote a paper when she worked as a lunar/Mars librarian at NASA. (She's also an expert on Russian flags and discussed their history and use in more recent context, both after the fall of the Soviet Union and during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.)

Also on today's BradCast: A whole lot of breaking news on a whole lot of stuff, including Donald Trump's surge into 2nd place in the GOP 2016 race in New Hampshire (told ya so!); Listener/callers weigh in on the controversial Confederate flag and more; Plus: Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2015 1:24pm PT  

As you know, last week, Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Texas, calling for expanded early voting in all 50 states and for universal voter registration for all eligible U.S. citizens. During the speech, she also called out some of her potential Republican rivals vying for the GOP's 2016 Presidential nomination, among them, former TX Gov. Rick Perry who, Clinton accurately noted, "signed a law that a federal court said was actually written with the purpose of discriminating against minority voters."

She added, Perry "applauded when the Voting Rights Act was gutted [by the Supreme Court] and said the law’s protections were 'outdated and unnecessary'."

Clinton's remarks there were in reference to the Texas Republicans' draconian polling place Photo ID voting restrictions, which, after being passed in 2011, were barred by the Voting Rights Act (VRA) as discriminatory, before the statute was implemented anyway by state Republicans just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the provision of the VRA under which the TX voting restriction had been found in violation of that law. Late last year, after a full trial on the merits of the law, a federal judge subsequently found the law to be in violation of other, still-standing sections of the VRA as well as the U.S. Constitution --- and, perhaps worse still, found it to be purposely discriminatory.

U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, based on statistics supplied by the state of Texas itself, found the statute could serve to disenfranchise some 800,000 already legally registered voters in the Lone Star state (not to mention hundreds of thousands of others who had yet to register) and slammed both the discriminatory effect and purpose of the law in her written ruling. "The Court holds that SB 14 [the TX GOP's Photo ID restriction] creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose," she wrote, adding that the law also "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

On CNN, stammering in response to Clinton calling him out in her speech, Perry failed to explain how either Clinton or Judge Ramos was incorrect. "You need a photo I.D. to get a library book, or to get on an airplane," he incorrectly asserted. (More on that below.) "I think we make it pretty easy in the state of Texas for people to vote, so, you know, again, I don't know what her beef is with the people of the state of Texas about voter I.D."

But there's another point about the TX law that neither Clinton nor Perry noted: its discriminatory effect on women, as highlighted in a Letter to the Editor from this week's Concord Monitor in New Hampshire...

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

By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2015 12:22pm PT  

The polling place Photo ID voting restriction enacted by Republicans in Texas has been repeatedly found in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Most recently, late last year, a federal judge found, after a full trial on the merits of the law, that the restrictive statute "creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose." U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos went on to note in her 147-page ruling [PDF] that the law also "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

Based on evidence from the state examined at trial, the law could serve to disenfranchise as many as 600,000 already legally registered voters in the state, not to mention more than a million eligible voters in Texas over all.

Naturally, Texas Republicans who currently run the state are appealing that ruling. Not because they have been able to demonstrate any actual "voter fraud" that might have been deterred by their restrictions, but because, with rapidly changing voter demographics in the Lone Star State, keeping legal voters (specifically, those that tend to lean towards Democrats) from being able to cast their otherwise legal vote has become a top priority for the GOP if they hope to keep their stranglehold on political power there in coming decades.

With all of that in mind --- including the existing law having been found in violation of both federal law and the U.S. Constitution --- state Republicans are hoping to make the law even more restrictive, and last week in the state House, the GOP passed another law to make it even more difficult for certain people to vote...

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

Some, but not all, attempted GOP cutbacks to Early Voting nixed...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2015 12:35pm PT  

A deal announced today by Ohio's Secretary of State may help avoid some of the legal nightmares that plagued the Buckeye State's 2014 elections. While the legal settlement [PDF] restores some of the early voting access Republicans have been attempted, for years, to impose, it also leaves other rollbacks to voting reforms passed after the state's 2004 Presidential nightmare in place.

MSNBC's Zach Roth explains the agreement between Ohio's Republican Sec. of State and the ACLU, which had sued on behalf of the Ohio NAACP and League of Women Voters last year to block new GOP cuts to polling place access:

The deal, announced Friday morning between Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, and the ACLU, undoes some but not all of the damage to voting access caused by last year's cuts. It restores one day of Sunday voting and adds weekday evening hours, but lets stand the elimination of a week when Ohioans had been able to register and vote all in one day.

Both sides hailed the new agreement --- hopefully ending a years-long, roller-coaster legal battle --- as a victory for voters, though Roth added on Twitter that the deal, overall, seemed to be more of a victory for the GOP than for voting rights advocates. Elections expert Daniel Smith is a bit more optimistic about it today, noting that it's "a much bigger deal to have extended hours" and Sunday "Souls to the Polls" voting restored, even as the ACLU, for its part, concedes the settlement is "far from perfect"...

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

GUESTS: Estee Chandler; Ernest Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2015 2:35pm PT  

Was Netanyahu/Likud's win last week in Israel the best possible outcome for Palestinians? While it seems counter-intuitive at first blush, some who follow Israeli/Palestinian politics very closely say it was.

My guest on this week's Pacifica Radio BradCast, Estee Chandler of and the producer/co-host of KPFK's Middle East in Focus program believes that is the case and tells me why. She offers a different (and very welcome) perspective than the Right/Left (and now, sadly, Republican/Democratic) narrative we've heard so much of from most of the media since last week's election.

Also, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernie Canning joins me to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the WI Photo ID voting case and what that means for voting across the country in 2016, as well as the error the CA Supreme Court seems to have made when they removed Prop 49 (the "Overturn Citizens United" initiative) from the 2014 ballot last year.

Plus, Ted Cruz' astoundingly ingenious if extraordinary cynical remark the day after he declared his intention to seek the 2016 GOP nomination for President; OH tries a new voter suppression tactic; another predictable Internet Voting failure in Australia; Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and MUCH MORE!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

'DHS may have been the easy one': Much more legislative brinksmanship, chaos ahead as critical funding deadlines loom for GOP Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2015 2:43pm PT  

In his "Morning Plum" round-up today at Washington Post, Greg Sargent's collection of items on legislative priorities in the new Congress reads more like a warning than anything else. Buckle up. The serious dysfunction in the Republican House and Senate is only going to get very bad before it gets better.

His opening item details the improbability of the Voting Rights Act, broken in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court, being fixed by the Republican majority in both houses any time soon. Indeed, as The Nation's Ari Berman tweets today, even on the heels of the weekend's 50th anniversary commemoration of the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights in Selma, AL, just 10 House Republicans currently support the Republican-authored bill to restore the VRA.

"There's no incentive for House Republicans to act" on it, observes Sargent. That's true, in so much as, ya know, simply doing the right thing would otherwise provide incentive to at least some lawmakers.

Similarly, Sargent notes, it seems unlikely that Republicans will be able to make much progress on immigration reform, a long-promised, so-called GOP version of health care reform, or even on their own legislative priorities, such as tax reform or trade deals, given the necessity of having to deal with Democrats to get almost anything passed in the Senate and a Democratic President who is disinclined to gut programs that "Tea Party" Republicans tend to poison their own legislation with.

But, following last week's predictable GOP brinksmanship on funding for the Dept. of Homeland Security, Sargent cites Ashley Parker at the New York Times and her round up of the long list of must-pass spending bills that are coming due soon with hard deadlines and a likelihood --- some might say certainty, at this point --- that much more governing-by-brinksmanship lies in our near future. All of that, it seems, is all but certain to take up any time that might have been used to pass bills meant to, ya know, actually help the American people...

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

By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2015 1:55pm PT  

President Barack Obama offered a stirring speech this afternoon at the entrance to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March in Selma, Alabama in 1965.

The brutal police violence brought against courageous, peaceful marchers that day, and the subsequent peaceful marches that followed it, led directly to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, widely regarded as one of the most important pieces of legislation in our nation's history.

The transcript of Obama's speech today is posted in full below. But, here is the portion of his remarks calling for the restoration of the VRA which was renewed for 25 years in 2006 by George W. Bush (one of very few Republican officials in attendance today), but then gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013...

And with effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge — and that is the right to vote. Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor.

How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects. If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.

Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone. If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we'd still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples. Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life. What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought? How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America's future?

* * *

The complete transcript of Obama's prepared 3/7/2015 speech commemorating the sacrifices of the 3/7/1965 Bloody Sunday March, along with many other sacrifices in our storied and continuing fight for civil rights in the U.S., follows in full below...

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

Court's decision on whether to hear a challenge to the Wisconsin GOP's 'unconstitutional' voting restriction is a moment of truth for democracy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/6/2015 2:03pm PT  

As we find ourselves smack dab on the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama, there are some key decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, coming very soon, which may well determine whether millions of otherwise lawfully registered and disproportionately Democratic-leaning African-American and Hispanic voters will be prevented from voting in the 2016 elections.

The decision that emerges from the Supreme Court's March 20, 2015 Conference in the Wisconsin polling place photo ID case, Frank v. Walker, could well be dispositive in that regard. It also may be the last chance to avoid the legal chaos that plagued the 2014 elections, during which similar voting restrictions, in state-after-state, were implemented, struck down, restored, or, with respect to Wisconsin, blocked again. Where, last year, the Court's eleventh hour decisions preserved the right to vote in Wisconsin, that same Supreme Court, on the eve of the 2014 mid-term, eliminated the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of predominantly African-American and Hispanic voters in Texas and North Carolina. The failure of the Supreme Court to take up the issue now could produce an even darker cloud of doubt over the integrity and legitimacy of the 2016 Presidential Election.

The immediate issue now before the Court is not whether SCOTUS agrees with a U.S. District Court judge and half the judges on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal that WI's law (aka Act 23) is both unconstitutional and violative of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. As those judge found, Act 23, if implemented in the Badger State, could disenfranchise more than 300,000 lawfully registered Wisconsin voters.

Rather, the immediate issue at the March 20 Conference is whether the Supremes will grant an ACLU petition for a writ of certiorari (aka "cert petition") and schedule oral arguments on the Constitutionality of the Republican-enacted law. Or whether, as urged by the attorneys representing WI's Republican Governor Scott Walker, the Court will defer its decision until similar legal challenges to strict photo ID laws in other states, such as North Carolina and Texas, wind their way through the trial and appellate courts.

In other words, do they hear the Wisconsin case now, as urged by the ACLU and other voting rights advocates? Or do they wait to combine the matter with several other challenges to substantively identical voting restrictions implemented by Republicans in other states, as urged by one of the men who stands to benefit from delaying such a decision as long as possible?

That decision whether to hear the case now, rather than later, may well have a huge impact on who will serve as the next President of the United States...

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

By Ernest A. Canning on 1/5/2015 7:05am PT  

- with Brad Friedman

[An earlier version of this article was originally published by Truthout...]

Both election integrity advocates and dissembling GOP proponents of Photo ID voting restrictions were taken by surprise in late 2013 when 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Posner said, during an interview with HuffPo Live, that the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision on the matter "would have been decided differently" if the Court had known then "about the abuse of voter identification laws."

That, in and of itself, was a remarkable turn of events. What was ultimately to come was even more so.

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is the case which Republican proponents of strict Photo ID voting laws now (incorrectly and often disingenuously) cite as giving them carte blanche to enact similar laws in other states, irrespective of the extent to which photo ID laws serve to disenfranchise demographic groups --- minorities, students, the poor, women --- that all tend to vote for Democrats.

Posner is not just any judge. He is a renowned legal scholar and Reagan appointee to the federal bench, who has served on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal since 1981. More importantly here, Posner was the author of the 7th Circuit's opinion in Crawford. In that case, Posner rejected an allegation that Indiana's polling place photo ID restriction was unconstitutional. That decision was affirmed at the time by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posner, who is, as Yale Law Professor Fred Shapiro notes, the most cited jurist of the 20th Century, was not alone in his view in 2013 year that Crawford "would have been decided differently" if the Court knew then what it knows now.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the author of the plurality opinion in Crawford --- an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy --- told the Wall Street Journal following Posner's remarks at the time, that he "always thought that [dissenting Justice] David Souter got the thing correct, but my own problem with the case was that I didn't think the record [before the Court in 2008] supported everything he said in his opinion." Souter would have struck down the Indiana law as unconstitutional because, as he argued at the time, it "threatens to impose nontrivial burdens" upon the right to vote.

Joined by four other 7th Circuit jurists last October, Posner penned an extraordinarily powerful and compelling dissent [PDF] in Wisconsin's photo ID voting case. The previously missing evidence is now in, as the judge meticulously detailed in the opinion. GOP claims that photo ID restrictions are needed to combat "voter fraud", he wrote, are "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government"...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

Posner's carefully crafted dissent does more than establish why the U.S. Supreme Court should ultimately sustain the District Court's finding that Wisconsin's photo ID law is both unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act --- a finding later echoed by a federal District Court in Texas as well. Posner's dissent obliterates the factual premise that had served as a pillar upon which his, and subsequently the Supreme Court's, decisions in Crawford were based.

Polling place photo ID laws do not promote voter confidence in the integrity of elections, as Posner and the Crawford Supreme Court plurality had erroneously assumed. The assertion that they do was a "mistake" --- Posner's mistake! --- and he now admits as much, with the support of devastating new data from recent studies to back him up.

His powerful dissent amounts to more than just a response to the Wisconsin GOP's new Photo ID voting law. It is an elegant plea that the U.S. Supreme Court finally right a grievous wrong that he was personally responsible for. Posner presents an astonishing, air-tight case for ruling that all "strict Photo ID laws," which, as he demonstrates, have only been enacted in states sporting GOP-controlled legislatures, must now be struck-down as unconstitutional...

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

Mind-boggling response to BRAD BLOG: 'No correction warranted'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2014 2:19pm PT  

A few weeks ago, Francis Barry, whose bio identifies him as having "previously served as Director of Public Affairs and Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg," had a piece published by Bloomberg View (the op-ed arm of the Bloomberg News outlet), portending to examine whether Photo ID voting laws had an adverse effect on turnout this year.

Specifically, as the very first paragraph of his piece explained, Barry claims to have been looking at whether "voter identification laws suppress turnout" since, as he opined in the same graf, "Liberals" argue "not all citizens have the type of ID that many states now require at the polls."

The piece, headlined "Quit Blaming Low Turnout on Voter ID", went out of its way to make the case that such laws had nothing to do with turnout this year, as some states with such laws even saw higher turnout than others without them. While one could attempt to make such an argument, in this case, unfortunately, Barry used extraordinarily deceptive data and moving goal posts in order to do so, as detailed in the emails (posted below) between me, him and one of his editors.

The main trick he employed was an apples to oranges comparison of turnout rates in "21 states that had a competitive gubernatorial or Senate race", where, he misleadingly claimed, "Fourteen of the 21 states had a voter ID requirement in place, while seven didn't".

But here's the thing. Barry deceptively swapped the type of very specific Photo ID laws cited in his first paragraph, with very non-restrictive ID laws that are in use without objection in many states.

When I explained all of this in detail to him and his editors via email (all posted below), the response I received back was, as I noted, "mind-boggling, to be frank"...

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

State Republicans' attempt to delay next summer's trial described as 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
UPDATE: Court Denies Motion to Delay Trial...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/5/2014 2:03pm PT  

North Carolina Republicans are now seeking to delay the full federal trial challenging their massive election reform law, which has been described as the worst-in-the-nation and as a "monster" voter suppression law.

The tactic threatens to, once again, undermine any ruling by the court, should it be made too close to the state's 2016 elections. The trial in the case had previously been set, according to a timetable established in federal court in December of 2013, to take place during the July 2015 trial calendar. State Republicans, however, now argue that a separate state court challenge to one section of its massive voter suppression law, scheduled during the same period next summer, will "severely prejudice" their ability to defend themselves in the federal case which follows it.

Plaintiffs argue in response that the move is "another step in Defendants continued attempts to delay the ultimate resolution of this action."

The attempt to re-schedule comes from the same North Carolina Republicans who, this past October, successfully persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an appellate court order restoring a number of voter registration and voting provisions that were blocked by the state GOP's law, simply because the court order restoring those voting rights was issued too close to the Nov. 4, 2014 election.

The state's argument at the time was that "Court orders affecting elections...can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls. As an election draws closer, that risk will increase."

The trial which the state is now attempting to stall is in response to the same federal lawsuit involving legal challenges to the state's Voter Information Verification Act ("VIVA"). This site, and many others, described the legislation as the "nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era," when state Republicans enacted the extraordinarily wide-reaching restrictions on voting and registration in NC within days of the U.S. Supreme Court gutting a key portion of the Voting Rights Act in the summer of 2013...

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

By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2014 1:39pm PT  

It's investigative Election Integrity muckraking in East Coast/West Coast stereo!

My thanks to Thom for inviting me for this week's longer-than-usual panel conversation on his Big Picture TV show, and to Palast for being the inimitably indefatigable Greg Palast!

Lively discussion includes everything from the secret GOP Crosscheck program to Greg's assertion that it cost Democrats several key U.S. Senate races to the U.S. now ranked 26th in electoral integrity among world democracies (last among Western nations) to the Republicans' long hard fight to return to Jim Crowism in TX and beyond...

[Thanks to Palast's office for stitching both segments together in one easy-to-watch clip! I've replaced the original embed with that version above.]

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