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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, June 5, 2020
The Fight For the Soul of the Nation: 'BradCast' 6/5/20
Guest host Nicole Sandler with The Nation's John Nichols on his new book, 'The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party'...
Unlikely 11th Circuit Will Sustain FL Governor's Appeal of Felon Voting Rights Decision
Appeals court previously found state's new poll tax unconstituional...
'Green News Report' 6/2/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Cristobal takes aim at U.S.; Global warming increasing extreme rain events; Building new wind, solar cheaper than existing coal plants; PLUS: UC divests from all fossil fuels...
Previous GNRs: 6/2/20 - 5/28/28 - Archives...
New Charges in MN; Tough Guy Trump Backs Down; Primary Elections Across U.S.: 'BradCast' 6/3/20
Guest: Down With Tyranny's Howie Klein on progressives wins and losses on Tuesday...
Independent Autopsy: Floyd 'Died...Due to Neck AND BACK Pressure', a Homicide
Experts' findings raise questions about County Medical Exam, support charges against other officers...
Is It Time to 'Defund the Police'?:
'BradCast' 6/2/20
Guest: Policing expert Alex S. Vitale on failed reforms and a new solution; Also: Messy primaries underway in a dozen states; Tough Guy Trump unleashes federal troops...
'Green News Report' 6/2/20
EPA to block states' authority on pipelines; U.N. delays crucial climate summit due to pandemic; 13 more coal plants closing; PLUS: Siberian heat, 'zombie fires'...
Weekend of American Dystopia: What Did You See, How Do You See It?: 'BradCast' 6/1/20
Police-instigated violence sweeps nation in response to largely peaceful demonstrations...
Sunday 'Respiratory Issues' Toons
Enjoy a laugh riot...in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons...
KY U.S. Sen. Candidate on Shooting of 7 Protesters, Defeating McConnell:
'BradCast' 5/29/2020
Guest: Farmer, teacher, Marine Lt. Col. Mike Broihier; Also: Latest in Minn protests...
Unemployment Deepens, Market Soaring Anyway. Why?: 'BradCast' 5/28/20
Guest: The Prospect's David Dayen; Also: PA Repubs kept COVID infection a secret from Dems; Absentee applications for all in WI...
'Green News Report' 5/28/20
NOAA: bad hurricane season coming amid pandemic; Locust plague in India; NY, NJ reject pipeline; PLUS: Ad campaign links Trump coronavirus denial and climate denial...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
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...

Appeals court previously found state's new poll tax unconstitutional...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/5/2020 10:35am PT  

Last week, Florida's Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, announced that he would legally challenge a federal court decision that would, with the exception of those convicted for murder or sexual offenses, permit most former felons in the state to register to vote prior to the November 3rd Presidential Election. "It will go to the 11th Circuit," DeSantis said, adding in Trump-like language: "We will see what happens."

The good news is that, at least with respect to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeal, the chances that DeSantis will prevail can be rated at somewhere between slim and none. The bad news is that, even with the benefit of U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Hinkle's erudite 125-page decision in Jones v. DeSantis, the voting rights organization plaintiffs (League of Women Voters and the NAACP) may find it extraordinarily difficult to register those otherwise eligible former felons in time to cast a vote in the upcoming General Election due to the adverse impact of COVID-19.

But, as to the good news for the moment, a statute that may appear constitutional on its face can then be rendered unconstitutional by the manner in which it has been applied by a state agency. The background and the history of this case, as well as Judge Hinkle's "as applied" reasoning, help to explain why his decision will likely be upheld by the 11th Circuit...

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Experts' findings raise questions about veracity of Hennepin County Medical Examiner; may support charges against other officers...
UPDATE: MN AG elevates charges against Chauvin to include 2nd degree murder; others charged with 'aiding and abetting' murder and manslaughter with negligence...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/3/2020 11:18am PT  

After performing an independent autopsy at the request of the Floyd family's attorney, Ben Crump, Dr. Michael Baden, the world-renowned former NY forensic pathologist and Dr. Allecia Wilson, the Univ. of Michigan Medical School's Director of Autopsy and Forensic Services, released an initial report, which found, in pertinent part, that George Floyd's death could be classified a "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain" [emphasis added].

That finding, and additional observations, so sharply contrast with the initial findings of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner as to call into question the credibility of that public institution. The County Medical Examiner initially asserted that there were "no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation." In a final report, the County Medical Examiner classified Floyd's death as a "homicide" but listed the cause of death as "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual [sic.], restraint, and neck compression."

Subsequent to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's initial findings, set forth in the criminal complaint filed by the Hennepin County DA against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin --- the officer seen forcefully pressing his knee to Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes --- Governor Tim Walz, a member of the Democratic Farmer Labor Party, appointed the state's Attorney General, Keith Ellison, a former progressive Democratic Congressman, to take the lead role in Chauvin's prosecution.

Tuesday, while appearing on NBC's Today Show, Crump said he'd heard from prosecutors that they "expect to charge" the other officers who were present at the time of Floyd's death.

There are aspects of Baden and Wilson's findings that could support the filing of criminal charges against the two officers seen in a second video kneeling atop Floyd's back and lower torso while Chauvin had his knee pressed against Floyd's neck. However, a comment from Baden raises a doubt as to whether Ellison, as urged by Crump, could successfully prosecute Chauvin for first degree murder...

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Rightwing organization and GOP candidate Darrell Issa charge mailing ballots to every registered voter violates the U.S. Constitution...
UPDATE: Per CA Sec. of State VBM ballots will only be mailed to 'active' registered voters; bill introduced to send VBMs to all voters...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/26/2020 9:35am PT  

In a desperate attempt to prevent a high turnout of California voters for the critical 2020 General Election, attorneys from the extreme right-wing organization, Judicial Watch, filed a federal complaint [PDF] late last week on behalf of former Republican Congressman turned candidate again Darrell Issa with several named Republican voters in the U.S. District Court (Eastern District CA)

The complaint alleges that CA Governor Gavin Newsom and Secretary of State Alex Padilla, both Democrats, unlawfully usurped the power of the CA state legislature when, on May 8, they issued an emergency Executive Order in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The order directed the election officials of every CA county to "transmit Vote-by-Mail [VBM] ballots for the November 3, 2020 General Election to all [registered] voters" no later than "the last day on which [VBM] ballots may be transmitted."

The complaint alleges that the Executive Order violates the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Art. I, §4. That clause provides, in pertinent part: "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof."

The CA legislature, via the state's Voter's Choice Act, set forth explicit criteria that each county must meet in order to become an all VBM county. The Republican plaintiffs argue the Executive Order permits counties that have not met that criteria to act as VBM counties; that permitting all voters to cast VBM ballots "dilutes" the votes of the Republican voter plaintiffs who live in counties which have not met the statutory criteria. They seek to invalidate the Executive Order and compel those CA voters who have not timely requested absentee ballots under CA law, as it existed prior to May 8, to either vote in-person or not at all.

The Republicans' legal filing drew a sharp retort from Padilla: "Exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to justify voter suppression is despicable, even for Judicial Watch's pathetically low standards."

From a legal standpoint, the Republicans' legal arguments are frivolous...

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Judge rules 'all qualified candidates' must remain on the ballot in case filed by former hopeful Andrew Yang with the support of Bernie Sanders
UPDATE: 2d Circuit summarily rejects NY appeal...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/6/2020 10:05am PT  

Bernie Sanders, thanks to Andrew Yang, is now back on the Presidential Primary ballot in New York state. So is Yang. At least for the moment.

By way of a 30-page decision [PDF] on Tuesday night, U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres ordered the New York State Board of Elections to reinstate the Empire State's June 23 Democratic Presidential Primary and to include, on the ballot, those candidates who previously suspended their campaigns but did not elect to remove their names from the ballot.

Last week, the Board's two Democratic Party Commissioners unilaterally removed from the ballot Presidential candidates who had suspended their campaigns. Because that left only one candidate, Joe Biden, they effectively cancelled the NY Democratic Presidential Primary.

Biden, Sanders, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state Democratic Party and the DNC all say they did not request the cancellation carried out by the two Commissioners on the Board. The Commissioners say they did so as a safety precaution in order to decrease polling place turnout during the coronavirus epidemic, even as Cuomo had previously ordered that all registered voters be mailed an absentee ballot application. Sanders and his supporters expressed outrage at the Board's decision.

The next day, however, former Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, along with seven of his pledged delegates, filed a legal challenge to the New York Board's decision...

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...And ensure the former Veep keeps his promise for 'one of the most progressive administrations since Roosevelt'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/24/2020 11:05am PT  

While it might appear counterintuitive, if a significant number of people vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the remaining primaries, that could enhance former Vice President Joe Biden's chances to defeat President Trump this November.

Let there be no mistake as to the tactical reasoning behind this assertion.

As observed recently by one of the Left's foremost intellectuals, Prof. Noam Chomsky, the U.S. 2020 Presidential Election will be "the most crucial election in human history." The re-election of Donald J. Trump, whom Chomsky describes as a "sociopath" and a "gangster", would produce an "indescribable disaster." It would threaten the survival of constitutional democracy and rule of law in these United States. Citing the climate crisis and an enhanced threat of nuclear war, Chomsky also argued that Trump's re-election would threaten the very survival of humanity.

It is vital that Trump be defeated. Basic math tells us that the only way sensible Americans --- Democrats, Independents and sane Republicans --- can avert Chomsky's "indescribable disaster" is to unite in support of the Democratic Party Nominee. There is virtually no chance that a third party candidate can win the 2020 election. Disaster cannot be averted by refusing to vote as a form of ill-considered protest.

Basic delegate math also reveals that, as Sanders clearly asserted, Biden will be the nominee. He offered that assessment, first, when he announced his decision to suspend his campaign and, again, during a joint, must-watch livestream endorsement. (See video posted below).

In Chomsky's view, there are "many enormous differences" between the presumptive empathetic Democratic Party Presidential Nominee and the "sociopath" who now occupies the White House.

As demonstrated by the President's asinine and unlawful decision to cut Congressionally authorized funding of the World Health Organization in the midst of a deadly global pandemic, Trump is impervious to either legality or political pressure. That stands in stark contrast to Biden, who, over his decades-long tenure on the Senate Judiciary Committee, demonstrated a basic commitment to the rule of law, and who, per Chomsky, can be "pushed" to accept a progressive agenda.

So why does a vote for Sanders now help Biden win this fall?...

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Countering the deadly media-supported, health insurance industry spin...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/29/2020 9:35am PT  

As Americans are being hoodwinked by a slick health insurance industry PR campaign, the time has come to carefully examine Medicare For All by separating myth from reality.

While morally repugnant, the privately-owned health insurance industry's deceptions are economically understandable. By the time Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the U.S. Senate --- two months after Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, introduced H.R. 1384 - Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the House --- the industry realized that it faced an existential threat.

Medicare for All would create an entirely new single-payer healthcare system that, with limited exceptions (cosmetic surgery, home care nursing), would eliminate the need for anyone to purchase health insurance.

While the parasitic health insurance industry has faced-off against them in the past, single-payer advocates are better positioned to prevail in 2020 than at any time in the past 75 years. Sanders' single-payer healthcare legislation, S. 1129, was co-sponsored by 14 Senate Democrats. Those co-sponsors included several Presidential candidates --- Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamela Harris (D-CA). More than one-half of all Democrats in the House (112), co-sponsored Jayapal's version of the bill. Medicare for All is also supported by 63 national organizations. More importantly, a poll taken in 2018 --- prior to a barrage of pro-insurance industry propaganda --- found that Medicare for All was immensely popular. It was supported by a whopping 70% of all Americans, including 84% of Democrats and a mind-boggling 52% of Republicans.

With their very survival at stake, the health insurance profiteers, along with large hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry, created a new PR front-group, Partnership for America's Healthcare Future (PAHF), to wage their defensive. According to Wendell Potter, a former CIGNA executive and author of Deadly Spin: How PR is Killing Healthcare and Deceiving Americans (2011), PAHF is the industry's newest propaganda arm.

In addition to carefully-timed commercial advertising, PAHF acts in concert with industry-funded politicians and mainstream media pundits. Their goal is to erect an industry-friendly frame that serves to mask the blatant deficiencies of our inordinately expensive, yet woefully inefficient, subsidized "free market" healthcare system. This, as Julie Hollar of the media watchdog FAIR observed, has succeeded in turning some of the recent Democratic Presidential Debates into "over the top, industry-friendly spectacle[s]."

Potter, the recovering healthcare industry veteran, told Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzek: "Health insurers have been successful at two things: making money and getting the American public to believe they're essential." But, "the truth", argues Hiltzik, "is that private health insurers have contributed nothing to the American healthcare system."

Most Americans, he charges, "blindly tolerate" our inordinately expensive, yet dysfunctional private insurance system "because the vast majority...don't have a complex interaction with the healthcare system within a given year...[One percent] of patients account for more than one-fifth of all medical spending, and 10% account for two-thirds." Far too many Americans fail to appreciate the "inadequacies of our private insurance system" until those inadequacies are thrust upon them by an unexpected serious illness or injury, according to the Pulitzer Prize winning business columnist.

Hence, the need to separate healthcare insurance myth from fact-based reality...

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Setting politics aside, why the evidence-free Trump/GOP claims about Ukraine and the 2016 election actually make no sense whatsoever...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/29/2019 10:05am PT  

Sometimes, when faced with an insidious canard, it isn't enough to either expose the true source of a conspiracy theory or the absence of any facts to support it. In order to thoroughly demolish it, one can identify a reductio ad absurdum --- "a form of argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications to absurd conclusions".

It is indeed important that, throughout the recent public impeachment hearings, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) referred to allegations that CrowdStrike and the Ukrainians hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server in 2016 as a "debunked" conspiracy theory and that none of the State Department and National Security Counsel (NSC) officials who testified during the impeachment hearings could identify any evidence that would support that "debunked" theory. It is also important that, in her opening statement, Dr. Fiona Hill, Trump's own former NSC Senior Director of Russian and European Affairs, proclaimed that Russian intelligence agencies were the source of that "fictional" canard.

While there is ample evidence to support the conclusions offered by Dr. Hill and Chairman Schiff, one can deliver the coup de grâce to the baseless but insidious theory that Ukraine and CrowdStrike hacked the DNC by asking "why" they would do that?...

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AG Barr ordered to hand over grand jury transcripts, exhibits redacted from the Mueller Report to Congress by October 30
UPDATE 10/29/19: DC Circuit Court of Appeal Grants Temporary Stay of Order to Release Grand Jury Materials...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/28/2019 9:35am PT  

In her landmark, 75-page decision filed on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell did much more than simply grant a motion filed by the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) to compel the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide it with grand jury materials from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe that had been previously concealed. In that same order, the court systematically demolished every quasi-legal objection the DOJ and White House have raised in their specious efforts to interfere with an ongoing and lawful impeachment inquiry.

The core question raised by HJC's motion was whether the court should order the DOJ to release pertinent grand jury materials in accordance with Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Although grand jury testimony and exhibits are ordinarily kept secret, Rule 6(e) authorizes a court to order the disclosure of such materials "preliminarily to" or "in connection with a judicial proceeding" when there is a "particularized need" for disclosure.

Judge Howell suggested that a House impeachment inquiry, in and of itself, may be considered a "judicial proceeding". She concluded, however, that the court did not have to reach that issue because the HJC was correct in its assertion that its impeachment inquiry was "preliminary to" a judicial proceeding.

In her erudite decision, Howell cited historical practice, the Federalist Papers, the text of the Constitution, and both Supreme Court and binding DC Circuit Court of Appeals precedent. All of these make it abundantly clear: U.S. Senate impeachment trials are "judicial proceedings". Indeed, the DOJ's contrary position is not only at odds with the appellate decision in Haldeman v. Sirica (1974) but also with the DOJ's own legal position in that Watergate-era decision. The DOJ was unable to satisfactorily explain why, under Attorney General William P. Barr, it had changed its previous, long-standing legal position.

The "particularized need" to release the materials arises, in this instance, because Mueller, in deference to the opinions of the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that a sitting President may not be indicted,* refrained from reaching conclusions about the legality or illegality of the President's conduct. "This," the court observed, "leaves the House as the only federal body that can act on allegations of presidential misconduct." Yet, the court observed, "under the DOJ's reading of Rule 6(e), the Executive Branch would be empowered to wall off any evidence of presidential misconduct from the House by placing that evidence before a grand jury."

The DOJ's contentions were, thus, not simply wrong but untenable. "In carrying out the weighty constitutional duty of determining whether impeachment of the President is warranted," Judge Howell observed at the outset of her opinion, "Congress need not redo the nearly two years of effort spent on the Special Counsel's investigation, nor risk being mislead by witnesses, who may have provided information to the grand jury and the Special Counsel that varies with what they tell HJC."

Had she stopped there, Judge Howell's ruling would be significant. Her demolition of every argument against the validity of the impeachment inquiry that has been presented by the DOJ, by the White House and by some Republican members of Congress, however, was nothing short of breathtaking...

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Democracy's need for lifeboats in the form of hand-marked paper ballots...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/30/2019 9:35am PT  

Like those who took part in the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic as it blindly traversed the Atlantic, many American citizens are rushing headlong towards a pivotal 2020 election, unmindful of the potential for yet another e-voting catastrophe.

In 1912, in defiance of science, passengers and crew mistakenly believed that the Titanic was "unsinkable". In 2019, far too many Americans are either unaware of or have chosen to ignore repeated warnings from computer scientists. For many, the very idea that a Presidential selection could be the product of election fraud or failure in the form of undetectable, malicious manipulation or error of electronically tabulated ballots in disparate local, county and state-run election systems across an entire nation is simply unthinkable.

In 1912, ignoring the danger led to the deaths of 1,500 of the Titanic's 2,224 passengers and crew --- paltry numbers when measured against the threat to humanity's very survival that would be embodied in another four years of the Trump Administration's greed-over-science, anti-environmental policies.

Over the past two decades, the central problem for both computer scientists and election integrity advocates has not been the question as to whether all e-voting and electronic tabulation systems are vulnerable to manipulation via external hacks, mis-programming or malicious insider manipulations --- they are! Instead, they've been stymied by the near impossible task of proving that a given election result was fraudulent. That inability is occasioned by the fact that, in the absence of timely forensic access to the system, its ballot programming and its source codes, electronic theft is largely undetectable in any system that does not deploy hand-marked paper ballots.

While e-voting vulnerabilities to all manner of manipulation, as well as unintended programming errors, have always been present, both the threat of wholesale electronic theft and the dire consequences of that threat in 2020 have never been greater.

Fortunately, just as help for the surviving Titanic passengers and crew was just over the horizon in the form of the HMS Carpathia, democracy itself may be saved as the result of the valiant efforts by the Coalition for Good Governance ("the Coalition") to help compel the State of Georgia to conduct verifiable elections on hand-marked paper ballots. The help may not only save Georgia, but save the entire country, eventually, as evidenced by the extraordinarily well-informed 153-page ruling [PDF] that was recently handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg…

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Typhoid Fever, Bubonic Plague make a comeback in L.A. at the bleeding tip of the spear of epidemic U.S. homelessness, despair...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/1/2019 9:35am PT  

Notwithstanding Donald Trump's 4-Pinocchio claim that low-end wages are on the rise, there is an ample body of evidence that wealth inequality has reached levels not seen since the onset of the Great Depression. Those who study the issue often compare the financial holdings of the privileged few to those of the many.

A 2017 study, for example, revealed that just three individuals – Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos – had, at that point, held as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the American population --- some 160 million people. It's a wealth gap that continues to grow exponentially.

Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos is the Ebenezer Scrooge-like poster child for obscene wealth disparity. Last year, Bezos agreed to pay Amazon employees $15 per hour wages, but only after sustained pressure from Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who introduced the StopBezosAct.

At $15 per hour, a full time, 40 hour per week Amazon employee would earn $31,200 per year, before taxes. How generous! According to Business Insider, every 60 seconds, Bezos earns $149,353. That's more than four (4) full-time Amazon employees collectively earn in a year. Bezos' per minute earnings are $56,000 higher than the $93,170 in annual earnings an individual would have to make in order to be placed within the top 10%.

In the minds of most people, $215 million looks like an enormous sum of money, and it is. Business Insider reports that Bezos rakes in $215 million per day, every day, and more than $6.5 billion per year. Amazon, which reported $11.2 billion in earnings last year, did not pay one dime in federal taxes.

While these numbers are essential to understanding our gaping inequality problem, they really don't do much by way of exposing what life is like for those at the bottom end of the scale, to wit: the homeless, who, to many, are simply "invisible" .

In a recently released report (see below) titled, "Paradise Lost", Eric Johnson of Seattle ABC News affiliate, KOMO, takes an in depth look at what wealth disparity has wrought for those at the very bottom --- the 59,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County. Not mentioned by Johnson is that 11% of those struggling to survive without a roof over their heads are U.S. military veterans. The numbers of individuals in L.A. who are slipping into the homeless abyss, according to Johnson, are increasing --- by 16% over the previous year.

Johnson focused on what he described as "the worst man-made disaster in the United States" --- "53 square blocks of suffering and mental illness and drugs on a level that is hard to fathom." For the homeless of L.A., conditions may be even worse than those experienced during the Great Depression. They face what Johnson described as "the long-ignored cousin of addiction and homelessness: disease."

"We have not seen conditions for humans like this since medieval times. Period. And that's a fact," Dr. Drew Pinsky told Johnson. He is, literally, correct...

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Two federal courts uphold Legislative oversight of the Executive Branch...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/27/2019 2:37pm PT  

The federal courts, so far anyway, are holding up well amidst the Constitutional Crisis foisted upon the nation with President Donald Trump's attempts to stymie all Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch and the potentially criminal record of its chief occupant. The Judicial Branch firewall, at least according to one renowned Constitutional law expert --- and at least on the matter of the Congressional subpoenas --- should hold up all the way to even the otherwise very divided U.S. Supreme Court.

On May 20, just seven days after hearing oral arguments, United States D.C. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta issued an erudite 41-page decision [PDF] in which he ordered Donald Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Oversight Committee. Both the subpoena and subsequent court order directs Mazars to provide financial records from Trump and several affiliated entities to the panel. Judge Mehta also denied Trump's request to stay the order pending appeal, reasoning that the President had failed to either cite "potentially persuasive authority" or "present serious legal questions" to overcome nearly 140 years of Supreme Court case law establishing the right of Congress to obtain the requested records as part of its broad investigative authority.

Judge Mehta's rationale was so compelling --- and the "legal" arguments advanced on behalf of the President so specious --- that, when Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, a preeminent constitutional expert appeared on MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell following the ruling, he predicted the President's appeal would not only be swiftly denied by the United States D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal, but that the Supreme Court would either deny the President's request that it hear the case or swiftly affirm the District Court decision. Tribe described the law in this realm as a "slam dunk" and said he'd "expect all nine Justices...would follow the law."

It took only one day for Tribe's sentiment to be echoed elsewhere. Citing Mehta's decision, Judge Edgardo Ramos at the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, issued a bench ruling immediately after oral arguments in a separate, if related case. Ramos directed Deutsche Bank and Capital One to comply with a Congressional subpoena to turn over the President's bank records. That subpoena, according to The New York Times, seeks "to elicit information on potential money laundering and bank fraud." Like Mehta, Judge Ramos refused to issue a stay pending appeal...

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All Americans, progressive or otherwise, should stand for what is right...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/6/2019 11:09am PT  

The right of inmates to vote is not a radical idea. In addition to Maine and Vermont, 21 other democracies, including Canada, Sweden and Israel, allow all prisoners to vote.

Seventy (70) civil rights and advocacy groups have now joined Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in calling for restoring the right of all inmates to vote. Although Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) have stopped short of agreeing with Sanders' proposal, both appear to be considering it. Warren stated simply that she was "not there yet." Harris, a former prosecutor, who is focused on restoring post-release felon voting rights, acknowledged that "we should have that conversation."

Inmate voting rights advocates argue that, while the rule of law requires appropriate punishments for crimes, this can be done without sacrificing the right of every citizen to vote --- a right that provides the cornerstone for a free and democratic society. Moreover, there's a rehabilitative purpose. Inmate voting encourages prisoners, who retain their First Amendment rights while incarcerated, to responsibly stay connected or reconnect with society. Indeed, some inmates have gone on to become "eloquent advocates" for social justice.

Ironically, while incarcerated, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison, would go on to become the formerly apartheid South Africa's first black President and a recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize.

Opponents of inmate voting appeal to the natural repugnance the electorate holds towards some of our nation's most heinous crimes and those who carried them out: individuals, like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted as the Boston Marathon Bomber and Dylann Roof, who was convicted for the Charleston Church Massacre.

While gut level repugnance towards these especially heinous crimes is understandable, from the perspective of societal needs, there are multiple reasons to question the validity of adding, as a form of punishment, inmate disenfranchisement to imprisonment, fines, restitution, and, in the cases of Tsarnaev and Roof, to their death sentences...

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History reveals it is unnecessary to wait for a Special Counsel report...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/30/2019 11:01am PT  

The time for the U.S. House of Representatives to initiate an inquiry into the question of whether President Donald J. Trump should be impeached is now.

Those, who suggest that the U.S. House of Representatives should await a formal report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller before passing a resolution that would authorize the House Judiciary Committee to initiate an impeachment inquiry, ignore both the U.S. Constitution and historical precedent.

The same is true with respect to those, who suggest that percipient witnesses, like Michael Cohen, could, when appearing before Congress, refuse to answer questions if those questions touched upon the same subject matter that is a topic of Mueller’s investigation...

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After overcoming corporate media at the polls in 2018, a progressive class of U.S. House freshmen began facing down their next obstacle in 2019...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/23/2019 8:45am PT  

When, in 2015, former President Jimmy Carter told talk show host Thom Hartmann that the United States had become "an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery", he did so in relation to the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous 2010 decision in Citizens United --- a decision that removed virtually all restraints on corporate campaign donations. This, the 39th President asserted, has produced "a complete subversion of our political system".

"Complete" but not irreversible.

While sometimes difficult to notice amidst our Trumpian nightmare, the U.S. is, nonetheless, in the midst of what 2016 Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders described as a "political revolution" that strives to diminish the grip of corporate wealth at the polls via grassroots-funded progressive candidates who refuse to accept corporate money. Progressive activists and candidates have been succeeding by utilizing every inexpensive means of communication available to ordinary citizens that does not entail the inordinate expense of political advertising via the corporate-owned mainstream media. It is a task that has been most effectively taken on by a younger generation of adept, tech savvy activists and candidates.

While overcoming the power of corporately-powered political propaganda during the 2018 midterm election, a newly elected class of young progressives recently entered the U.S. House of Representatives only to be confronted with a second obstacle: the insidious reach of corporate lobbyists…

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Legal scholars find DoJ opinion fails to consider Constitutional measure for Executive Branch continuity during a President's criminal trial...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/17/2018 9:35am PT  

So long as there is a prospect for the issuance of a pardon by a Vice President once he/she becomes President, or the expiration of the statute of limitations while a President remains in office, the indictment of a sitting President may be the "only" constitutional means for ensuring "Equal Justice Under Law".

That conclusion, of course, is at odds with the official U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) position that a sitting President cannot be indicted until after he/she leaves office. The DoJ's position is based upon the December 10, 2000 Opinion issued by the DoJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), citing an earlier OLC opinion that "the institution of criminal proceedings 'would interfere with the President's unique official duties, most of which cannot be performed by anyone else.'"

But that position is flawed and is being challenged by a number of legal scholars, including Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, a preeminent constitutional expert, whose famous former students include Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and President Barack Obama.

In a December 10 Boston Globe op-ed and during a subsequent appearance on MSNBC's Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell (see video below), Tribe noted that the long-controversial OLC opinion lacks the force of a judicial precedent and is at odds with the legal accountability required of all federal officers, including the President...

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