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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Scott Walker's Latest Scam: 'BradCast' 7/7/15
Brendan Fischer of Center for Media & Democracy on what the WI Guv and 2016 GOP hopeful tried to pull off over the holiday, when he thought nobody would notice...
BP Settles in Gulf Oil Spill Disaster: 'BradCast' 7/6/15
Journalist Antonia Juhasz explains to guest host Nicole Sander of RadioOrNot.com how BP 'got off cheaply'; Plus, Jason Leopold on Hillary's emails & an exclusive chat w/ Brad...
July 4th, 2015 Toons
Between marriage equality, the Confederate flag, the GOP's decline, Greece and TPP, the political cartoonists have plenty to cover this week. 'PDiddie' rounds 'em up...
Into the Holiday With a Bang: 'BradCast' 7/2/15
After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
'Green News Report' 7/2/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska, Northwest on fire; Warming oceans linked to NC shark attacks; China, Brazil commit to emissions cuts; PLUS: Fracking companies can now be sued for earthquakes...
Previous GNRs: 6/30/15 - 6/25/15 - Archives...
Ann Who?
The long-overdue irrelevance of Ann Coulter. The former GOP Superstar (and voter fraud queen) just doesn't matter anymore...
Kochs' Chris Christie; Wingnut Marriage Meltdown; 'Most Important Climate Ruling':
'BradCast' 6/30/15
Guest: Michael B. Gerrard of Columbia's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law...
'Green News Report' 6/30/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
SCOTUS nixes mercury pollution rules; Christie jumps in, we tell you his position on climate; Coal plant cleaned up in Navajo Nation; PLUS: Solar plane's dangerous Pacific crossing...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/15 - 6/23/15 - Archives...
The Good, Bad and SCOTUS Ruling on AZ Redistricting: 'BradCast' 6/29/15
Former AZ state legislator Ted Downing; Plus: much more on latest SCOTUS rulings...
Sunday Toons: Flags & Fits
Both supremacy and Supremes are at issue in PDiddie's collection of the week's best (and most iconic) political toons...
'A More Perfect Union': 'BradCast' 6/26/15
An extraordinary end to an extraordinary week. Mike Rogers of Raw Story joins us to discuss the landmark SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality and how we got here...
MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR ALL
The U.S. Supreme Court finally recognizes what The BRAD BLOG has for more than a decade. Because rights ultimately win and haters ultimately lose...
Scalia Lies (Again); And 2014's Last Election Contest: 'BradCast' 6/25/15
Dr. Laura Pressley, Austin City Council candidate, explains why she's challenging her 100% unverifiable 2014 election...
'Green News Report' 6/25/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jindal's in! Here's his weird climate position; Deadly heat in Pakistan; New studies see climate change as 'catastrophic' for health; PLUS: Landmark ruling in Netherlands...
Previous GNRs: 6/23/15 - 6/18/15 - Archives...
Vexillology! Why Flags Matter:
'BradCast' 6/24/15
Annie Platoff, flag expert from North American Vexillological Association explains it all for you! (Even flags on the moon!); Plus: Callers, Trump surge & more!...
TRUMP-MENTUM!
Republican's newest Frankenstein Monster and billionaire real estate developer surges into 2nd place in NH GOP Primary poll! Not to say 'we told ya so' or anything...
Sanders Destroyed Fed Chair in 2003
Years before the economy would collapse, then-Rep. Bernie Sanders unloaded on Alan Greenspan during a Congressional hearing. Years later, the Fed Chair admitted he was wrong...
Fox 'News', Bill O'Reilly and All Their Racist Viewers: 'BradCast' 6/23/15
Sean McElwee of Demos on his new study; More (positive) fallout from Charleston; (Some) Senate Dems help move TPP forward...
'Green News Report' 6/23/15
Repubs in bind after Papal encyclical on climate; Massive algae bloom shuts down West Coast fisheries; May 2015 hottest on record; PLUS: Goodbye, Eastern Cougar...
Race, Guns, Flags, Terrorism and the Right's Quickly Changing Politics of Denial: 'BradCast' 6/22/15
Historic GOP flip-flops and Fox's 'pathological denial' w/ Eric Boehlert of Media Matters...
Sunday Toons: Identity Crises Edition
This is now getting really strange. And 'PDiddie' has the week's collection of toons to prove it...
RW Domestic Terror in SC & Beyond; Big Govt GOP in TX; 'BradCast' 6/19/15
The 2009 DHS report Repubs hope you've forgotten; Plus: Adam Briggle of Frack Free Denton on GOP banning fracking bans and democracy in TX...
Sanders on 'Democratic Socialism'
'Bernie-mentum' begins to show itself in the polls as Sanders' message is heard on 'Late Night', beginning a challenge to nation's woeful 'democracy deficit'...
Evangelical Response to the Pope's Climate Encyclical: 'BradCast' 6/18/15
Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, Repub CEO of Evangelical Environmental Network; PLUS: Latest on SC church massacre; Limbaugh's lie about the Pope...
'Green News Report' 6/18/15
The Pope's unprecedented call for climate action; RWers freak out about it; India goes solar in big way; PLUS: Trump's running, thinks global warming is a hoax...
GOP's World of Trump: 'BradCast' 6/17/15
Has Trump blown up the GOP primary? Is he more than just a joke? Is he the Frankenstein Monster created by 40 years of Reaganism and Fox 'News'? Callers weigh in on that, Bernie Sanders and more!...
RW Radio Rescues Limbaugh in Boston
More wingnut welfare and Heart-less abuse of our public airwaves for corporate profit as Premiere radio uses it's corporate-owned station to save the failing Rush...
The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster': 'BradCast' 6/16/15
Heather Digby Parton on Trump as 'culmination of 30 years of American Dream propaganda' by the Right; Plus: 'Dickensian' Kansas; Politifact fail...
TRUMP: THE CANDIDATE
Sure, he's a clown and the latest into the 2016 GOP clown car. But 'misunderstimate' his candidacy at your peril...
'Pope Francis: The Encyclical' (The Movie)
The Pope kicks climate ass, takes climate names...
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
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'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...


Guest: Brendan Fischer of Center for Media & Democracy
By Brad Friedman on 7/7/2015 4:50pm PT  

I'm back on The BradCast today after a much-need July 4 weekend respite! My huge thanks to Nicole Sandler of RadioOrNot.com for filling in for me yesterday!

While Nicole covered some important items that might have otherwise disappeared into the holiday weekend news hole, there was at least one notable story that she missed, which a few folks in Wisconsin --- specifically, Gov. Scott Walker (R) and his allies in the state legislature --- had hoped nobody would notice: their blatant attempt to completely gut the state's beloved Open Records law.

"This was an effort by Walker and some Republicans in the legislature to undermine open government in the dead of night," my guest today, Brendan Fischer, general counsel at the Center for Media and Democracy tells me. And it was done, he suggests, in hopes of keeping piles of fresh baggage from making its way into the mainstream media as Walker --- whose entire career now seems to be predicated on secrecy and lack of transparency --- prepares to announce his candidacy for the GOP Presidential nomination in a week or so.

What the Badger State's Republican-dominated legislature tried to pull off over the weekend was extraordinary. "There was no public statement whatsoever," Fischer explains. "This was introduced, through this last minute budget amendment that was passed on the evening of the holiday weekend. There was no public debate. This was something they tried to do in the dead of night."

Fischer also catches us up on the status of several other cases now pending against Walker and/or his closest allies, including one that is set to face a crucial ruling shortly by the state's Supreme Court. That challenge in that case, known as "John Doe 2", is being brought by the largest financial supporters of both Walker's and several of the court's elected(!) Republican Justices!

Also today: We catch up after the holiday weekend on the latest developments in Greece and with Trump, marriage, the Confederate flag and more!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/2/2015 3:47pm PT  

It's our last BradCast before the long holiday weekend, so, after an amazingly encouraging week or two of news, we head into the July 4th weekend today with a whole bunch of stories that we've been trying to clear off our desk for the past week or two, along with a bunch of breaking news as well today.

From Trump and Bernie-mentum to Jim Webb entering the 2016 race to the dead-enders in Kentucky still fighting the Supreme Court ruling on marriage to more green news than we can even fit into a single Green News Report with Desi Doyen.

Oh, and real-life killer robots on the rise --- no, it's not product placement for the new Terminator movie, but it sure sounds like it --- before we finally end today's show with an encouraging bang (courtesy of our friend D.R. Tucker at Washington Monthly)!

Please enjoy and have a happy (and safe) 4th of July!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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P.S. We're taking a long weekend off from the show, so our friend Nicole Sandler of RadioOrNot.com will be filling in for us on Monday! We'll be back on Tuesday though! Peace!

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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: Journalist turned media-activist documentarian Sue Wilson...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2015 4:08pm PT  

We've been talking about reality here a lot lately, and the difficulty a huge portion of our population has with it.

On today's BradCast: Our nation's untethering from reality, as it affects accountability for Iraq War war crimes and torture, the 2016 race, climate change and much more. We can't fix our problems until we can agree on the facts, but Governors Chris Christie and Scott Walker remind us once again that we are nowhere near such agreement. (Even as we must take a side trip through the Bush Family's relationship with Nazi Germany to help understand it all.)

Journalist-turned-media-activist and documentarian Sue Wilson from Media Action Center joins us to discuss the FCC ruling that upends the First Amendment and Walker and his supporter's efforts to make things even worse in a Wisconsin criminal investigation into his 2012 recall election that may have an enormous impact on the entire nation in 2016.

Plus: Minimum wage boosted to $15/hour here in Los Angeles; Another huge oil spill in Santa Barbara; and much more on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, 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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The FCC's blow to free speech rights you probably never heard about, and how, if Republicans have their way, it may get even worse...
By Sue Wilson on 5/19/2015 9:35am PT  

It's been an entire year since the First Amendment suffered a gigantic blow as a result of the 2012 Scott Walker recall campaign in Wisconsin, though it's one that very few Americans above and beyond astute BRAD BLOG readers, even know about. And now, there is another threat to Free Speech, stemming from that same recall of GOP Presidential hopeful Walker looming at the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.

Walker's attorneys are now arguing at the Wisconsin State Supreme Court that it is a violation of the First Amendment rights to even investigate whether the Walker campaign broke state law by the controversial candidate personally soliciting funds from non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups so donors to his campaign could remain secret. In a separate gambit, they also tried to make that case to the United States Supreme Court, which early Monday sent the case back to Wisconsin.

And it now appears that Right Wing Radio talkers --- at the core of a very real First Amendment blow suffered one year ago --- are, once again, in the thick of all of it.

This is all related to what Media Action Center (MAC) members discovered during the 2012 recall campaign when talk hosts on Wisconsin radio giants WTMJ and WISN gave hundreds of hours of free airtime for GOP luminaries like Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus and Wisconsin GOP Vice Chair Brian Schimming in order to promote and recruit volunteers for Walker during that contentious campaign....

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/13/2015 7:44am PT  

The videos were good for a barrel of laughs. The Director of Florida's Div. of Emergency Management, Brian Koon was forced to engage in verbal gymnastics so as to avoid violating a state ban on using the words "climate change."

In another clip, replayed by Comedy Central's John Stewart, former FL EPA employee Kristina Trotta uses the words, "nuisance flooding," to evade the ban on mentioning "sea level rise." That drew an amusing Stewart suggestion that, in order to evade mentioning that a global warming-connected rise in sea level could eventually lead to an underwater Miami, state employees could refer to "moisture inconvenience!"

The exchanges were hilarious. But there is nothing funny about the attempt to erect thought control regimes, first in Florida and now in Wisconsin. In both states, the practice is verging on that deployed by Oceania's Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984. In that classic but ominous work of fiction, written accounts of inconvenient truths were incinerated inside "memory holes."

While ominous, the clumsy efforts at "thought control" are quite useful. They underscore the warnings we offered nearly five years ago that the real future offered by the so-called "Tea Party" and the Koch Brothers' brand of "libertarianism" includes "Fascism [and] Feudalism --- an authoritarian reality that has already come to fruition in states like Florida and Wisconsin where Charles and David Koch, along with other rightwing billionaires, have already tightened the reigns of oligarchic control over ostensibly "public" institutions...

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Where the man and his logo really come from...
By PDiddie on 3/29/2015 5:28am PT  

Or perhaps inspired by...

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Decision means Constitutionality of 'discriminatory' voting laws unlikely to be determined by Supremes before 2016 Presidential elections...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2015 2:36pm PT  

A few weeks ago, our legal analyst Ernie Canning warned how the U.S. Supreme Court's pending decision on whether or not to hear the ACLU's challenge to the Wisconsin GOP Photo ID voting law might be the last chance before the 2016 Presidential elections to determine the Constitutionality of such laws.

On Monday, the Supreme Court decided not to grant cert in the WI challenge in the Frank v. Walker case. The decision is not a ruling on the merits of the case or the Constitutionality of the law. It simply means that, for now, there were not four votes on the Court to hear the ACLU's challenge at this time.

It also means that, barring further court action or a quick decision on a similar law out of another state, polling place Photo ID restrictions on voters will be allowed in the Badger State in 2016. That, despite the fact that the federal trial court found, when striking down the law as unconstitutional and a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act last year, that the new Republican-enacted law may serve to bar some 300,000 disproportionately Democratic-leaning and already lawfully registered voters from casting a ballot in the state's Presidential election.

There is also more than a bit of irony in this matter, in that, after U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman soundly rejected the law in 2014 --- finding that "evidence adduced at trial demonstrates" WI's Act 23 "disproportionately impacts Black and Latino voters" and that the law would "prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes" --- the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals deadlocked (disingenously) 5 to 5 on whether to stay the original ruling. That deadlock meant the stay would be granted and the WI law would be allowed, barring further court challenges, despite the fact that 6 federal judges had voted to strike down the law, while just 5 had voted in its favor. To make matters worse, Act 23 had also been struck down previously in state court as a violation of the state constitution as well. Nonetheless, in this matter, a minority of judges successfully ruled against the majority.

All of that, despite a blistering dissent filed in last year's 7th Circuit Court WI decision by against the law (and all such laws) from revered conservative 7th Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner. Posner's original ruling in favor of a Photo ID restriction law in Crawford v. Marion County, Indiana, was the basis of the first such case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, upholding Indiana's Photo ID law in 2008. So his unambiguous reversal on the issue, now that we know much more about such laws, was noteworthy and, opponents of the law had hoped, convincing to the Supremes who have, for many years, favorably cited the legal scholar's opinions.

Though the 7th Circuit's decision to temporarily stay the original ruling striking down the law was later vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court last year --- on the basis that the stay was made too close to the election --- the discriminatory law is now back in place in the state. The refusal by the Court to grant cert this weeks means that it will likely remain in place as the next Presidential election begins.

Some watching these matters closely, however, believe that Monday's decision by SCOTUS to not hear the Wisconsin case may ultimately be a good thing, perhaps "a blessing in disguise"...

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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...

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Wherein the GOP's latest 2016 front-runner gets caught in a lie...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2015 6:24pm PT  

With Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, incredibly enough, having vaulted to the front of the GOP pack of 2016 Presidential hopefuls in Iowa and a number of other states, he'll undoubtedly (or, at least, hopefully) come under much more scrutiny on a national level for the kind of policies he's been carrying out back home. (And, additionally, as Brendan Fischer explains, "Rumors of the Walker [John Doe] Probe's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated")

One aspect of those policies was noticed by Jonas Persson and Mary Bottari at the Center for Media and Democracy's PRWatch this week. It seems Walker, without publicly mentioning it during a recent speech on his newly proposed state budget, included $300 million in cuts to the University of Wisconsin (UW) System along with some other troubling changes.

"The unprecedented cut, which amounts to 13 percent of the state funding for the university system and 2.5 percent of the total budget, accompanied by a tuition freeze will result in the defunding of scores of departments and jeopardize the livelihood of faculty and graduate students," PRWatch reports. The cuts come on the heels of Walker's tax breaks for the wealthy and cuts to social services which have left Wisconsin "32nd in the nation in new job growth," while "the state faces a $2.2 billion dollar deficit." Not helpful numbers when running for President (at least in a general, versus primary, election.)

"In a grim irony, the cut also comes amid reports that other states in the Midwest, such as Minnesota (which recently reported a $1.04 billion budget surplus), Indiana, Iowa and Ohio, are ramping up funding for its state universities, the Wisconsin State Journal reports."

PRWatch adds that, under Walker's proposed new structure for the UW System, "The Board of Regents appointed by the governor would be the governing body and the legislature and the public would have less of a role in protecting academic freedom and other statutory rights."

As much as some are alarmed by the restructuring and massive budget cuts to state education, a rather striking change to the UW System's written mission statement in the budget proposal has left some "nearly speechless", setting off arguably more controversy about what Walker, after being called on it, initially described as little more than "a drafting error"...

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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...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2014 8:05am PT  

On the stump this week for Republican candidates, NJ's Gov. Chris Christie said GOP governors need to win this year, so they can be in control of the "voting mechanisms" during what he believes might be his own run for President in 2016. He cited three races in particular, in three states that would be crucial to him as the GOP nominee, as reported by New Jersey's The Record...

Governor Christie pushed further into the contentious debate over voting rights than ever before, saying Tuesday that Republicans need to win gubernatorial races this year so that they're the ones controlling "voting mechanisms" going into the next presidential election.

Republican governors are facing intense fights in the courts over laws they pushed that require specific identification in order to vote and that reduce early voting opportunities. Critics say those laws sharply curtail the numbers of poor and minority voters, who would likely vote for Democrats. Christie - who vetoed a bill to extend early voting in New Jersey - is campaigning for many of those governors now as he considers a run for president in 2016.

Christie stressed the need to keep Republicans in charge of states - and overseeing state-level voting regulations - ahead of the next presidential election.
...
"Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?" he asked.

Great questions, Governor Christie! Let's take a crack at offering some answers for ya...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2014 4:25pm PT  

Hopefully you've read the amazing opinion offered by the conservative, Reagan-appointed appellate court Judge Richard Posner by now, absolutely demolishing both Wisconsin's Republican-enacted Photo ID voting law, and pretty much all others --- including the first-in-the-nation such law in Indiana that Posner himself was responsible for upholding back in 2008!

If not, go read it and then come back. It's that good and that important. Either way, we may have a bit more to say about it in the near future, as it's an absolutely landmark opinion on this issue --- one that we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG for more than a decade now --- even as a dissent.

But there's one fairly amazing sidebar to all of this, at least to me, that I've been meaning to note here --- if only because it seems so bizarre...

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Supremes grant last minute reprieve to Badger State democracy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/9/2014 8:56pm PT  

In a late 6 to 3 ruling, just weeks before Election Day, and coming just minutes after the release of very good news in regard to a similar law in Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court has now blocked Wisconsin's Photo ID voting law for this November's election.

A 1-page order [PDF] vacates a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals stay of the U.S. District Court’s permanent injunction that had, until blocked by the Appeals court, prevented Wisconsin from enforcing its Republican-enacted photo ID law.

SCOTUS has now restored the right of some 300,000 duly registered Badger State voters to take part in the November 4, 2014 election. Many of those lawfully registered voters would have lost that right, simply because they lacked a narrow form of a state-approved photo ID.

According to the District Court Judge Lynn Adelman's April ruling after the trial, it was "absolutely clear," based on evidence and expert testimony, that Wisconsin's law would have "prevent[ed] more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."

Thursday's SCOTUS order is likely to come as a disappointment to WI's Republican Gov. Scott Walker who has regarded the Photo ID law as a top priority in advance of his "toss up" re-election contest against Democratic challenger Mary Burke. Though 300,000 registered voters --- 10% of the electorate in WI --- might have been disenfranchised by the law, but for tonight's ruling by the Supremes, Walker was named the winner of his initial 2010 election by just under 125,000 votes...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2014 1:20pm PT  

If you didn't make it through our detailed rant on how factually wrong, from top to bottom, rightwing Judge Frank Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal was in his "horrendous" ruling on Wisconsin's GOP Photo ID voting law (now pending an emergency ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court), the ACLU focused in a press release on the same thing we did --- but in a much shorter version.

Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, said in a statement issued after the ruling: "Permitting this law to go into effect so close to the election is fueling voter confusion and election chaos in Wisconsin, particularly for the many voters who have already cast their ballots. Voters deserve a fair shake, and this last-minute disruption changes the rules of the game in an election that is already underway, and risks locking out thousands of voters."

Then, the ACLU offered this pithy bullet point --- which summarizes our long article (taking apart each of these false claims one by one) --- to underscore the "factual inaccuracies in the appeals panel's ruling":

The Seventh Circuit also could not fathom that so many registered Wisconsin voters lack a photo ID "in a world in which photo ID is essential to board an airplane, . . . pick up a prescription at a pharmacy, open a bank account or cash a check at a currency exchange, buy a gun, or enter a courthouse to serve as a juror or watch the argument of this appeal." Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again. Wisconsin fliers, patients, bank customers, gun owners, and court watchers do not need photo IDs. Only Wisconsin voters.

Yup. More than 300,000 registered voters in the state --- nearly 10% of the registered electorate --- as determined during the full trial on the merits of the case in the U.S. District Court. That trial resulted in the law being struck down as both unconstitutional and in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Until that ruling was overturned by a 5 to 5 decision by the 7th Circuit, later justified by the Federalist Society's Judge Easterbrook's "horrendous" ruling earlier this week.

And, remember, Republican Governor Scott Walker, who is in a "toss up" re-election contest against Democratic challenger Mary Burke this year, was named the winner of his original 2010 election by just 124,638 votes. That margin is less than half of the number of legally registered voters in the state who are now unlikely to be able to cast a vote at all in this year's election, unless SCOTUS tosses out the ridiculous, falsehood-riddled ruling of the 7th Circuit.

Given the SCOTUS decisions this week in NC and last week in OH, that possibility seems to be growing dimmer by the hour.

Nice to have friends in high places who are willing to just make shit up though, eh Governor?

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By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2014 6:05am PT  

KPFK/Pacifica Radio is on fund drive of late, but with all the breaking election news this week, I couldn't stand to not do a fresh BradCast for my syndicated network affiliates who deserve better than a "Best Of" on a week like this one, as Election Day draws near.

So, since it appears this year's election is likely to be decided in the courts, before we even get to Election Day, here's our non-KPFK "Special Election Coverage Edition" for the affiliates and for you, as produced here at The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters, rather than at the radio station as it is usually done.

No guests, no callers, just me, lots of information and rants, and an occasionally thought or question from my producer Desi Doyen. Given all of that, and the news this week and last (particularly from SCOTUS), the result may be somewhere between a radio broadcast and a primal scream. But many of my shows seem to amount to that these days.

We covered, among other things, the new GAO report confirming Photo ID voting restrictions depress turnout of African-American and younger voters; SCOTUS overturning appellate courts to allow GOP voter suppression laws in NC and in OH, with a decision on WI's voter suppression law not far behind (thanks to the federal judge who lied about it); Federal court striking down VA's gerrymandered Congressional map (for now); the GOP Attorney General candidate in AR caught committing voter fraud and, a lot of unusually good (and very welcome!) news in our latest Green News Report!

Buckle up, and enjoy! (And please consider donating below to our efforts! Your help is very much needed right now!)

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system --- now in our ELEVENTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)

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