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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, March 4, 2021
'Green News Report' 3/4/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Gulf Stream weakest in 1,000 years, climate change likely to blame; COVID carbon rebound; Biden raises Paris pact targets; PLUS: Volvo latest carmaker to say goodbye to gasoline...
Previous GNRs: 3/2/21 - 2/25/21 - Archives...
Mann on Gates: Climate Scientist Says MS Founder 'Wrong-Headed' on Climate: 'BradCast' 3/3/21
Guest: Dr. Michael E. Mann; Also: RW threat on Capitol; House renews Trump tax subpoena...
Haaland's Historic Nomination Becomes 'Proxy Fight' Over Much More: 'BradCast' 3/2/21
Guest: Julian Brave NoiseCat of Canim Lake Band Tsq'escen; Also: Biden announces vaccine for all U.S. adults by May; Abbott lifts ALL masking, business restrictions in TX...
'Green News Report' 3/2/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Water crisis persists in TX, MS; Latinos get worst water in US; COVID bill boosts heating assistance; PLUS: As cities move to electrify buildings, NatGas industry is striking back...
Previous GNRs: 2/25/21 - 2/23/21 - Archives...
'We're Screwing it Up All Over Again': 'BradCast' 3/1/21
Guest: Dr. Karl Krupp of U. of AZ's College of Public Health; Also: Former French Prez convicted; Water out for weeks in Jackson, MS; $1.9T COVID package heads to Senate...
Sunday 'Party Unity' Toons
Let's all come together for PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons...
SCOTUS Could Soon Kill the Voting Rights Act:
'BradCast' 2/26/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
Texans Pay Big Price for Enron-Like Deregulation
A Green New Deal didn't cause the Lone Star State's deadly power crisis, but it could help prevent the next one...
You Never Forget Your First: 'BradCast' 2/25/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with historian/author Alexis Coe...
'Green News Report' 2/25/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic Interior nom fends off GOP attacks; New USPS trucks won't be all-electric; TX deregulation cost users $28 billion; PLUS: TX refineries released tons of toxins during crisis...
Previous GNRs: 2/23/21 - 2/18/21 - Archives...
SCOTUS Puts Both Trump and Future Elections in Legal Peril: 'BradCast' 2/24/21
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Virginia is no longer for death penalty lovers...
Merrick Garland, Cyrus Vance and Trump Accountability: 'BradCast' 2/23/21
Guest: Marcy Wheeler; Also: SCOTUS ends 2020 GOP election challenges; GA Repubs' vote suppression bills...
'Green News Report' 2/23/21
TX power returns, water crisis continues; Repubs who lied about wind energy got big bucks from Big Oil; PLUS: U.S. officially rejoins Paris Climate Agreement...
Seeking Environmental Justice in the 'ALONE' Star State: 'BradCast' 2/22/21
Guest: Dr. Robert Bullard of Nat'l Black Environmental Justice Network; Also: COVID kills 500k; SCOTUS denies Trump; Dominion sues MyPillow guy for $1.3B...
Sunday 'Kick the Can' Toons...
Kick back with PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
Cruz Deserts Texas, NASA Returns to Mars: 'BradCast' 2/18/21
Guest: Margot Paez, formerly of 'BradCast' and NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab; Also: TX crisis spikes oil, gas prices...
'Green News Report' 2/18/21
Special Coverage: TX power grid devastated by deep freeze, death toll climbs, privatization to blame, RWers launch TX disinfo campaign to falsely blame wind power...
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...

A Green New Deal didn't cause the Lone Star State's deadly power crisis, but it could help prevent the next one...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/26/2021 10:35am PT  

Contrary to GOP gaslighting, the source of the Lone Star State's disastrous power outage cannot be found in the yet-to-be adopted Green New Deal or in a failure of wind turbines, which account for only a small percentage of the energy supply in Texas. As Naomi Klein observed, when she recently appeared on Democracy Now, "Texas is about as far from a Green New Deal as you can possibly get."

The true source of the Texas energy failure, per Klein, lies in the Enron-like deregulation of the Texas energy grid.

As has occurred in other privatized and profit-driven sectors of the economy, like healthcare, where profit-driven "efficiencies" resulted in an insufficient hospital bed capacity in the midst of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, Texas failed to deploy "built-in redundancies," she explained. While uniquely refusing to be a part of either of the two national energy grids, the state's 1999 deregulation scheme also failed to account for the impact of extreme weather on its own, isolated statewide power grid.

The failure of some wind turbines in TX, for example, was entirely avoidable. Wind turbines, according to a Canadian government study, can include "cold weather packages" that allow them to function in temperatures as low as -30C (-22F). In fact, the U.S. Research Station at McMurdo Sound in Antarctica operates on wind turbines that produce enough electricity to power 100 American homes.

Thermal energy production by natural gas, coal and nuclear, accounts for about 80% of energy production in the state. Those systems, which were also not winterized, brought the most disruption to the state's energy supply.

But the problem isn't limited to the profit-driven evasion of "built-in redundancies". Those Texans who didn't lose power became victims of what Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen's Energy Program described as "predatory utility pricing" in which the cost per megawatt hour (MWh) suddenly spiked from $20/MWh to $9,000/MWh. Roland Burns, CFO of Comstock Resources, Inc., a natural gas supply company owned by Dallas Cowboys' billionaire owner Jerry Jones, boasted that the Texas power disaster was "like hitting the jackpot."

Sound familiar? It should...

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Survival of the republic may now hinge on a wide-ranging criminal probe...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/15/2021 11:01am PT  

It's bad enough that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), based upon deeply flawed opinion memos, issued by its own Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), believes a sitting President cannot be prosecuted while in office for his or her crimes.

Now, 43 Republican Senators have sought to justify their "not guilty" votes in Donald J. Trump's second impeachment trial based on the specious assertion that an impeached President cannot be tried in the Senate for crimes committed while in office after he/she is no longer in office. That disingenuous notion is at odds with historical Senate precedent, the opinions of more than 170 legal scholars from both the Right and Left, and a simple reading of the plain text of the U.S. Constitution, not to mention the Senate's own decisive, bi-partisan, 56-44 majority vote at the start of this latest Senate Impeachment trial establishing that such a trial is indeed Constitutional.

Obviously most of the 43 "impartial" Republican jurors --- a number of whom share responsibility for the insurrection because they either directly perpetrated or failed to timely refute the Big "Stop the Steal" Lie --- latched onto the "no jurisdiction" defense in a desperate effort to erect plausible deniability for themselves. A fig leaf, if you will, designed to conceal their own duplicity and cowardice. Indeed, the remarks by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered on the floor of the Senate immediately after he cast his "not guilty" vote reveal that the factual case presented by the House Managers was both clear and convincing.

For that reason, an historically huge, bi-partisan, 57-43 majority of the U.S. Senate found Trump guilty as charged of "Incitement of Insurrection". That there were enough misinformed, duplicitous or simply cowardly Republican Senators to prevent the two-thirds vote required to meet the incredibly high bar for conviction under Senate Impeachment rules is of little moment.

A political impeachment process is very different from a legal proceeding. There are, in fact, grave statutory crimes at the heart of Trump's most recent Article of Impeachment, including 18 U.S. Code § 373 - Solicitation to commit a crime of violence; 18 U.S. Code § 2383 - Rebellion or insurrection; and 18 U.S. Code § 2384 - Seditious conspiracy. With that in mind, the DOJ's failure or refusal to prosecute the former President could result in impunity with respect to an Office that is already considered the most powerful on earth.

Trump's attempted coup may have failed, but if we cloak the Office of the President with impunity, we invite a more skilled, future demagogue to do anything --- legal or illegal --- to retain power. To counter that more-serious-than-ever concern, the DOJ, under the leadership of Attorney General-designate Merrick Garland, must investigate and prosecute the former President for violations of applicable federal laws...

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Landmark bill would enact long-overdue voting reforms, but needs at least one key rewrite to close a loophole regarding hand-marked paper ballots...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/5/2021 10:35am PT  

As their first official bills in each chamber of Congress --- H.R.1 in the House and S.1 in the Senate --- Democrats are proposing a remarkably ambitious election, campaign and ethics reform measure which would go a long way towards enhancing our system of democracy. At least one important rewrite is needed, however, in order to close a loophole in its mandate regarding hand-marked paper ballots.

H.R.1 or the For The People Act of 2021, was introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) with hundreds of Democratic co-sponsors on January 4. It is supported by both Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

With the exception of partisan gerrymandering as applied to State legislative offices --- which is out of the hands of federal lawmakers --- the bill would, for all intents and purposes, outlaw a wide array of voter suppression, intimidation and deceptive practices that have, for decades, been used to undermine American democracy.

The massive bill, clocking in at nearly 800 pages, also includes Congressional ethics reforms and other important measures, but we focus here on the statute's provisions to help outlaw suppressive measures and improve election security, transparency and the verifiability of results.

As presently written, the measure appears to mandate the use of "voter verified permanent paper ballots" in all federal elections. That aspect, however, must be improved with minor, but very important revisions to mandate the availability of hand-marked paper ballots --- the only type that can be known to be "voter verifiable" --- for all voters at the polling place for both early and Election Day voting.

H.R.1 also includes provisions for either hand-counting of paper ballots or the use of optical scanning computers accompanied by Risk Limiting Audits. It includes mechanisms to fund those post-election activities.

The bill provides for minimum periods during which States must make early voting available in federal elections and promotes, streamlines and secures mail-in voting. It tightens ethical standards and also takes a stab at reducing the role of dark money in campaigns, while prohibiting the presence of foreign money and interference in our elections. This includes a mandate that TV, radio and online platforms "make reasonable efforts to ensure that [election-related] communications...are not purchased by a foreign national".

The real question isn't whether H.R.1, if appropriately amended, should become law. The question is whether a sufficient number of Senators are willing and able to do what is necessary to ensure it becomes law...

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Did the Framers really wish to give Get-Out-of-Jail Free cards to insurrectionists?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/15/2021 11:30am PT  

When Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe was interviewed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell last year, his remarks specifically related to Presidential self-pardons. His observations, however, reveal why the Department of Justice (DOJ) should also contest any effort by President Donald J. Trump to grant a pardon to anyone who could be considered a co-conspirator in carrying out an insurrection designed to allow the loser of the 2020 Presidential Election to remain in power...

If a self-pardon could be given recognition by any court, then the President would know that he could commit crimes from day one of his presidency to the end of four years --- even horrible crimes; crimes like treason, crimes like making war on his own people...That would, as George Mason said, turn us from a constitutional republic to a monarchy, or worse.

In an amicus brief [PDF] filed late last year in the Michael Flynn case, the legal advocacy group, Free Speech for People (FSFP) observed that, while the U.S. Supreme Court, in Schick v Reed (1974), described the Presidential pardon power as "plenary", or absolute, the Court added that the limitations on the pardon power, "if any, must be found in the Constitution itself." Citing a recent Georgetown Law Review article [PDF] that reached a similar conclusion, FSFP argued that the U.S. Constitution's command that a President ensure that the laws be "Faithfully Executed" broadly prevents a President from granting a pardon for a corrupt purpose.

Although U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan issued a 43-page Memorandum Opinion explaining that he had dismissed the Flynn case as moot following Flynn's acceptance of a Presidential pardon, the court neither referenced nor rejected the corrupt purpose limitation set forth by the FSFP amicus brief. Even if that ruling implicitly entailed a rejection of the FSFP argument, as applied to the Flynn case, it would not foreclose a DOJ challenge to the limits of the pardon power with respect to the unprecedented events that occurred on Jan. 6th.

This is not an abstract question. An attorney representing insurrectionist Jacob Anthony Chancey announced he'd request a Presidential pardon, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman reported. Evidence suggests that Chancey, who was filmed "shirtless, wearing buffalo horns and holding a spear", may be one of the rioters who intended "to capture and assassinate elected officials," according to Goodman. As rioters yelled "Hang Mike Pence", the charging documents allege, Chancey aka the "QAnon Shamen", left a note on the VP's desk that ominously warned that "it's only a matter of time, justice is coming", according to Anna Lucia Murillo of the Daily Beast.

No President, before this one, has ever been implicated in a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2383 - Rebellion or insurrection or 18 U.S. Code § 2384 - Seditious conspiracy. It is virtually impossible to believe that the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended the availability of the pardon power to be utilized as an instrument designed to entice others to assist in the ultimate violation of the solemn oath to see that the laws of the United States are "Faithfully Executed". The framers of the U.S. Constitution regarded the duty to "Faithful Execute" our laws as so central to our constitutional scheme of governance that Art. II, §1, Cl. 8 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that every President "shall" take the oath before entering office.

* * *
Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, and Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). He previously served as a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. Canning has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing




Op-ed from all 10 living former DefSecs offers ominous warning...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/4/2021 12:08pm PT  

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller --- and every civilian and sworn member of the U.S. military under Miller's chain-of-command --- has a legal duty, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to refuse to carry out an unlawful order to take part in a military coup that is designed to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to the duly elected 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021. That duty holds even if the order to carry out that military coup is issued by the current Commander in Chief.

This is not an abstract concern.

Recall that the increasingly desperate Donald Trump previously discussed with the disgraced and recently pardoned, former National Security Advisor, Lt. General Michael Flynn, the possibility of utilizing the military to facilitate a re-do of what U.C. Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen described as a "decisive" electoral victory for his opponent, Joseph R. Biden.

The prospect that Trump would dare to issue an unlawful coup order was driven home by the fact that all ten living former Secretaries of Defense found it necessary to publish an ominous Washington Post editorial on Sunday that they directed to Miller. With his subordinates, Miller has failed to fully cooperate with the transition, according to President Elect Biden.

The former Secretaries of Defense not only admonished Donald Trump's newly placed Acting Secretary of Defense that he had a duty to facilitate the transition, but also issued a stark warning: "Civilian or military officials who carry out [efforts to involve the U.S. military in the election] would be accountable, including facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequence of their actions on our republic."

The potential for such an unlawful order is underscored by the fact that the former Secretaries of Defense, who signed off on the op-ed, included Mark Esper. He was fired by Presidential Tweet on November 9 --- two days after the networks called the election for Biden. While we don't know precisely what Trump may have conveyed to Esper, there can be no doubt but that Esper, more than any other former Secretary of Defense, is acutely aware of Trump's post-election state of mind.

The word needs to go out, not only to Miller's subordinates and to high-ranking members of the military, serving at the Pentagon, but also to everyone who wears the uniform. You must not obey an unlawful order to carry out a military coup.

* * *
Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, and Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). He previously served as a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. Canning has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing




Deception, repeatedly rejected meritless claims and two 'beyond the pale' 11th-hour lawsuits justify legal discipline, perhaps even disbarment...
UPDATE, 1/1/21: Ohio State Law Professor describes latest assault on election as 'breathtaking and preposterous'; UPDATE, 1/2/21: Court dismisses Gohmert 'legal' challenge; UPDATE, 1/3/21: 5th Circuit panel denies Gohmert motion for an expedited appeal; UPDATE, 1/4/21: DC District Court denies motion for a preliminary injunction; contemplates imposing sanctions...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/31/2020 10:35am PT  

As recently reported by John Kruzel of The Hill, the attorneys taking part in Donald Trump's dishonest effort to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 Presidential election "face mounting ethics complaints" that could result in sanctions ranging from fines to censure, suspension or even disbarment.

Michigan's Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel recently explained why she is seeking to have Team Trump attorney Sidney Powell and others subjected to discipline, including disbarment, for professional misconduct in conjunction with continuing frivolous legal efforts to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 Presidential Election...

Every lawyer, in order to become a licensed professional, takes an oath of office in which they swear to uphold the Constitution. Instead, she [Powell] has done nothing but undermine it. There are so many Rules of Professional Conduct. You can't bring frivolous lawsuits that are not based on fact or the law. You can't have fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, things that are prejudicial to justice. You can't knowingly bring evidence that is false, or make misleading claims. She's broken each and every one of these in all of her cases. Just in the Michigan cases alone, she's breached each and every one of these codes of conduct.

Nessel's observations are certainly consistent with Rules 3.1 and 3.3 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct [PDF] which prevent the pursuit of frivolous claims and forbids attorneys from knowingly making false statements of fact or law to any tribunal. "An action is frivolous," Rule 3.1 explains, "if the lawyer is unable to make a good-faith argument on the merits of the action taken, or to support the action taken by a good-faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law."

MI's rules are in line with the American Bar Association's Rules of Professional Conduct as well.

Nessel is by no means alone in her critique of the dubious legal tactics being taken by a number of attoneys allied with Trump. In Delaware, a state judge, on his own motion, issued an order "to Show Cause why the permission to practice" pro hac vice (in a specific case), previously extended to out-of-state Georgia Attorney L. Lin Wood, Jr., should be "revoked". The court believes Wood may have "engaged in conduct in other jurisdictions, which, had it occurred [in a Delaware case], would violate the Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct."

There's a growing body of evidence that multiple attorneys have knowingly pursued frivolous claims that in hopes of undergirding Trump's dangerous and baseless conspiracy theories that the election was somehow stolen from him. They've piled up 59 losses in state and federal courts, many entailing outright dismissals by judges who described the pleadings as "without merit". Yet, that didn't stop right-wing groups of attorneys from recently filing 11th hour federal complaints that are not merely meritless but beyond the pale. So much so, that the D.C. and state bar associations might consider imposing the ultimate tool of attorney discipline --- disbarment...

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Conservative Judge shreds Campaign plea 'to disenfranchise almost 7 million voters' without supporting evidence of 'speculative accusations'...
UPDATE 11/23: 3rd Circuit Orders Expedited Briefing on Trump's limited appeal; UPDATE 11/27: 3rd Circuit unanimously rejects Trump's appeal...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/22/2020 9:09pm PT  

Late Saturday, by way of an Order and Opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew W. Brann dismissed President Donald J. Trump's unprecedented "legal" effort to prevent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from certifying the results of an election in which his opponent, Joseph R. Biden, defeated him by more than 80,000 votes, according to the soon to be certified, unofficial results. Judge Brann also dismissed Trump's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) as moot.

The reasons for bringing what the judge clearly found to be a frivolous and absurd legal challenge to a swift conclusion were summed up by the Court in the "Introduction" to his 36-page eviscerating opinion...

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We can begin to help restore the nation and the world if Peach State voters hand Dems majority control of Congress' upper chamber in January...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/16/2020 12:58pm PT  

It all hinges on the outcome of the two U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia on January 5, 2021. If each of the Democratic candidates in those contests, Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, prevail, it would create a 50 – 50 tie in the U.S. Senate. Vice President Kamala Harris would then provide the tie-breaking vote. This would elevate a Democratic Senator into the position of Majority Leader.

Last April, during a joint appearance with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), President-Elect Joe Biden not only committed to a $15/hour minimum wage but also vowed to become the most progressive President since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Consistent with that vow, the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force produced a Plan [PDF] to "Combat the Climate Crisis and Pursue Environmental Justice" that, for all intents and purposes, could appropriately be labeled a Green New Deal. The President-Elect's science-based plan to combat COVID-19 entails a task that is essential to safely climb our way out of the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression. These ambitious goals, combined with Biden's egalitarian plan to compel billionaires and mega-corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, portend to a future that entails a more just, empathetic and (small "d") democratic society.

Unfortunately, it is not enough to elect a President who is committed to such lofty goals and who maintains a desire to model his administration after the nation's only four-term President. FDR may have been the architect of the original New Deal, but it's doubtful that even he could have lifted this nation up from the depths of the Great Depression if, in the 1930s, Congress had been under the thumb of a reactionary obstructionist like Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). That is why it is vital --- for the good of the nation and the world --- that when Biden takes office, he is greeted by a Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate.

The task ahead is daunting. However, in a state where Biden appears to have defeated Trump by more than 14,000 votes, the prospect for Democrats to control the Senate is certainly achievable. Here's how...

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Also upholds legislative presumption that mail-in ballots received by 11/5, two days after Election Day, were timely mailed, even without a postmark...
UPDATE 10/23/20: In a subsequent order, the court dismissed the Trump campaign's complaint...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/12/2020 9:35am PT  

By way of a 31-page Memorandum Opinion this past week, U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Shipp rejected the Trump Campaign's effort to challenge the legality of a recently enacted New Jersey statute that permits Garden State election officials to begin "canvassing" mail-in ballots ten days prior to the November 3 Presidential Election Day.

As defined by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), a "canvass" is a "compilation of election returns and validation of the outcome that forms the basis of the official results".

NJ's COVID-driven election law in question, AB 4475, was enacted last August by the New Jersey state legislature and promptly signed into law by the Garden State's Democratic Governor Phil Murphy. The statute contains a number of provisions designed to facilitate an efficiently-run, mostly mail-in ballot Presidential Election. These include a directive that election officials, 29 days prior to the election, send mail-in ballots to every registered voter. The statute also includes a requirement that election officials provide secure absentee ballot drop-boxes in every county.

Existing NJ law mandates that the State's election officials certify the Nov. 3 election results by Nov. 20. The results must then be submitted to the NJ Secretary of State by Nov. 24.

AB 4475 streamlined the procedures for tallying the expected heavy influx of mail-in ballots by permitting election officials to begin processing and canvassing mail-in ballots ten days prior to Election Day. The new law, however, prohibits Garden State election officials from running a tabulation report or revealing any results before the polls close on Nov. 3.

Contending that the NJ statute was preempted by federal Election Day law, the Trump Campaign sought a preliminary injunction that would prevent NJ officials from canvassing mail-in ballots before Nov. 3. The Campaign also contested a section of AB 4475 establishing that "every ballot without a postmark...received by the county boards of elections from the [U.S. Postal Service] within 48 hours of the closing of the polls, shall be considered valid and shall be canvassed, assuming the ballot meets all other statutory requirements."

The court rejected the Trump Campaign's legal arguments and denied Trump's motion for a preliminary injunction.

The Trump Campaign did not respond to a Fox "News" inquiry as to whether it intended to appeal the decision. The President's "favorite propaganda network" described the decision as "a significant ruling for the state that will keep the current rules in place, barring a swift and successful appeal from the Trump campaign"...

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Judge blasts new Postal Service mandates as 'intentional effort to disrupt' and delegitimize the 2020 elections and to disenfranchise voters...
UPDATE 9/22/20: 2nd federal court enjoins USPS; separate preliminary injunction motion pending in D.C. federal court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/18/2020 3:30pm PT  

On Thursday, by way of a 13-page Order [PDF] issued in State of Washington v. Trump, U.S. District Court Judge Stanley A. Bastian not only enjoined the United States Postal Service (USPS) from continuing to implement the "transformative" nationwide changes to its mail delivery capacities effectuated since July under the direction of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, but also ordered USPS to "replace, reassemble or reconnect" all of the high-speed sorting and labeling machines that had previously been decommissioned.

In his decision, Judge Bastian found that the 14 State Plaintiffs --- Attorneys General in WA, CO, CT, IL, MD, MI, MN, NV, NM, OR, RI, VT, VA, WI --- "established a likelihood that they will prevail on their claims that the [USPS] and Postmaster General violated 39 U.S.C. §3661". He characterized DeJoy's mandates as an "attack on the Postal Service [that] is likely to irreparably harm the states’ ability to administer the 2020 general election."

As we explained last month when covering the States' complaint, under Section 3661(b), DeJoy had a "non-discretionary duty" to request and obtain an advisory opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) before instituting "a change in the nature of postal services which will generally affect service on a nationwide or a substantially nationwide basis." Under that statute, the PRC cannot issue that advisory opinion "until an opportunity for a hearing on the record...has been afforded to...users of the mail." At that hearing, "an officer of the [PRC]...shall be required to represent the public interest."

DeJoy's failure to comply with those statutory requirements, Judge Bastion noted, "suggests" the USPS "acted ultra vires" --- beyond its power --- when it effectuated DeJoy's "transformative" changes.

The court also found that the Plaintiffs established a likelihood that the USPS "actions have infringed" upon the "States' constitutional right to appoint presidential electors and set the time, place, and manner of elections; that the current changes are the result of an effort by the current Administration to use the [USPS] as a tool in partisan politics, which violates the spirit and purpose of the Postal Reorganization Act and the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act."

In his written ruling, Judge Bastian blasted the USPS actions, charging they would result in "voter disenfranchisement"...

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




Failure to contain the deadly pandemic has led to dehumanizing statistics and a new White House plan to simply let millions of Americans die
UPDATE 9/15/20: 98 former Stanford medical colleagues denounced Dr. Atlas' falsehoods, misrepresentations of science and 'herd immunity' strategy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/8/2020 1:41pm PT  

The COVID-19-related tale that the President spun last month, during his lengthy RNC acceptance speech, wasn't even close to the truth. His administration is not "focusing on the science, the facts and the data" in order "to save as many lives as possible." His new "plan" will not permit everyone, other than high-risk Americans, "to safely return to work and to school". (Emphasis added).

To the contrary, with the U.S. COVID death toll already approaching a gruesome 190,000, Trump's Orwellian "plan" is to depict his abject failure to save lives as a smashing success. In addition to recklessly and dangerously claiming to prepare for a Nov. 1 date for the release of a COVID-19 vaccine prior to the completion of clinical trials, the White House has now adopted a pseudo-scientific and lethal strategy that could kill millions of Americans.

It is one thing for epidemiologists, in their medical literature, to describe "herd immunity" as a naturally occurring phenomenon, where, as the result of an epidemic --- as opposed to a safely developed and fully-tested vaccine --- a large number of surviving individuals acquired long-term immunity to a communicable disease. Epidemiological literature tracks instances where the number of naturally immunized survivors reached a "threshold", which, in turn, led to a decline in the incidence of future infections to such a disease, creating an "indirect immunity" for a community at large.

It was an altogether different proposition when the new White House "Covid Health Advisor", Dr. Scott Atlas, recently proposed a strategy to create a naturally occurring "herd immunity" to the deadly COVID-19 virus in the United States. Aside from, somehow, attempting to protect a small group of high-risk individuals --- the elderly, the sick and the immune-compromised --- Atlas' proposed scheme, echoed by the President, would allow the deadly virus to spread quickly to everyone else as they "return to work and to school."

The notion that you can protect a small group of high-risk individuals, while allowing the deadly virus to spread to everyone else, ignores the science of community spread. Children who acquire the virus at school, for example, can serve as a major source of COVID-19 infections for their more vulnerable parents and grandparents. Moreover, while risk levels may differ, coronavirus infections have led to deaths within all age groups. The death toll is not confined only to those with already-compromised immune systems. As Kristin Urquiza said, when tearfully addressing the Democratic National Convention, her previously healthy 63-year old father's "only preexisting condition was believing in Donald Trump."

Atlas is a Senior Fellow from the libertarian Hoover Institution. He is a radiologist, with no professional expertise in epidemiology or in treating infectious diseases. Like many Trump sycophants, he has frequently appeared as a contributor on the President's favorite propaganda outlet, Fox "News".

His proposal to create "herd immunity" was promptly embraced by our science-eschewing President and by his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, according to The New York Times, which cited a recent appearance on Fox in which Trump moronically averred, "Once you get to a certain number --- we use the word 'herd' --- once you get to a certain number, it's going to go away."

Horrified medical experts were quick to describe the Atlas/Trump "herd immunity" strategy as "dangerous". But it's much worse than that. Given deadly uncertainties and the potential for a genocidal death toll, the Atlas/Trump "herd immunity" strategy is patently insane.

While it may not entail the same deliberate desire to commit mass murder, an effort to create a naturally occurring COVID-19 "herd immunity" is as mad as Adolf Hitler's infamous "Final Solution" --- at least in terms of the massive lethal results.

Yes, it is that insane...

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




Multi-State legal challenges expose illegality, but it may be too late to fully repair damage even if Trump's Postmaster General is ordered to do so...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/24/2020 7:35am PT  

Even if several multi-state legal challenges result in a federal court order directing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to repair the damage wrought by his allegedly "illegal" sabotage of the U.S. Postal Service's mail delivery capabilities, absent significant additional funds, it's unlikely DeJoy could fully comply with that order.

The facts laid out in one of the recently filed cases and echoed in the others, along with subsequent developments, suggest that DeJoy was, at best, disingenuous when, in an August 18 formal statement [PDF], he claimed he was "suspending" his nationwide mail sorting, labeling and delivery changes until after the Nov. 3 Presidential Election.

The complaint describes how, pursuant to an Equipment Reduction Plan [PDF], Defendants removed, dismantled and/or destroyed 671 high-speed sorting and labeling machines that had a combined hundreds of millions of dollars in value. As a result, the States allege, "some major cities have already had their ability to sort mail reduced by hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail per hour." (Emphasis in original text).

On the same day that DeJoy issued his "suspension" statement, emails were submitted by Kevin Couch, the USPS Director of Maintenance Operations, informing Maintenance Managers that, irrespective of instructions from their plant managers, they must not reconnect or reinstall sorting machines that had previously been disconnected absent approval from USPS HQ.

Last Friday, while testifying before the U.S. Senate, DeJoy made it clear that he has "has no intention" of reinstalling the sorting machines, even as he claimed that election related mail would receive top priority from the Postal Service. Contrary to DeJoy's rosy predictions, however, the USPS's own Service Performance memo reflects a significant drop in overall performance which precipitated a USPS warning to 46 states that their deadlines for Vote-by-Mail ballots "might impede the timely delivery of mail-in ballots, possibly disenfranchising millions of voters"

While there's ample reason for a court to order reinstallation, absent significant additional USPS funding, which Trump opposes, it is doubtful that DeJoy could fully undo the damage even if he were ordered to do so.

VOTERS BEWARE: Do not be lulled into a false sense of security by DeJoy's "suspension" of changes at the USPS until after Election Day, or by his unsupported assurance that USPS can timely process and deliver every ballot. The wiser course, as laid out in our previously related article, is to deposit your mail-in ballots in secure, state-supplied drop-boxes (where available) or at designated drop-off locations. Check your local jurisdictions to learn what options may be available where you live. In some jurisdictions, voters can deposit their mail-in ballots at the polls either during early voting or on Election Day. In some jurisdictions, voters can link to election official websites to track the processing of their own ballots as well...

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




How states, counties and YOU must help defend our 'last firewall'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/10/2020 10:05am PT  

This will not be easy. It never is. But, this year, we are facing obstacles to voting that we have never seen before. Not only from the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, which is already difficult enough, but from those who hope to exploit the pandemic along with their access to the levers of power to make voting --- by some --- as difficult as possible. It is now up to all of us to overcome those obstacles.

President Trump is, by no means, the first right-wing Republican to recognize that he can't win if voters turn out in large numbers.

"I don't want everybody to vote," Paul Weyrich, the GOP's notorious godfather of right-wing voter suppression infamously quipped during a 1980 address to a group of evangelical Christian ministers. "In fact, our leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down," he added, after denigrating those who seek "good government" through maximum, informed voter participation, as people who suffer from "goo goo syndrome".

(The soaring pandemic death toll and an unprecedented 32.9% annualized second quarterly plunge in the GDP, serve as testament to what happens when We the People allow those opposed to "good government" to be placed in charge of our political economy.)

Trump's repeated attempts to suppress voter turnout are by no means novel --- as amply demonstrated during our two-part coverage (here and here) of the 2011 U.S. Senate hearings concerning a spike in GOP-engineered, state voter suppression laws. During those hearings nearly a decade ago, civil rights litigator Judith Browne Dianis described that spike as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era."

What makes our current circumstance both novel and extraordinarily dangerous is that an authoritarian-wannabe Donald Trump is the first Republican President who has been positioned to weaponize a pandemic by forcing voters to choose between exercising their fundamental right to vote and the risk of contracting a deadly virus. Instead of simply relying upon state voter suppression laws, Trump has aspired to engage in wholesale suppression on a national scale. Operating through a major GOP/Trump donor-turned-Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Trump seeks to actively sabotage the social distancing protection that Vote-by-Mail (VBM) affords by creating delays in U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries.

Last Friday, during a must-listen-to segment of The BradCast, Mark Dimondstein, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), confirmed that mail slow-downs were "happening across the country" at a time in which the USPS was already in "crisis mode" as a result of the dangers posed by COVID-19. In his view, the Post Office is now at the "epicenter" of the 2020 battle over "voting rights", noting that "without Vote-by-Mail people aren't going to be able to vote."

Thus, in addition to fending off "dubious" Republican legal challenges to mail-in voting expansion, democracy's defenders --- which, in this case, includes We the People --- must now double our own efforts to navigate Trump's sabotage of mail delivery. This, at a time when election officials in states that have not previously engaged in near-universal VBM must upgrade their electoral infrastructure in order to accommodate and tabulate an unprecedented volume of hand-marked paper VBM ballots.

But there are proactive steps that jurisdictions --- and, yes, you! --- can take to maximize the odds that your ballot is tallied this year...

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




Measuring the risks of such an escalation by local officials...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/24/2020 1:00pm PT  

Philadelphia's progressive District Attorney Larry Krasner told Democracy Now's Amy Goodman on Thursday that any federal officers who break state law within the City of Brotherly Love will be arrested and prosecuted. His comments come in response to President Trump's threat to expand the "totalitarian" assaults by his secret police from Portland, Oregon to other cities run by "liberal Democrats."

While Krasner and other local law enforcement agencies likely possess the authority to arrest law breaking federal agents, should they?

Krasner acknowledged that federal officers have a right to enter the city, and often do so for agreed upon joint law enforcement activities, but argued that no one, including the President, has a right to violate state law:

If people are going to come to Philadelphia and, in uniform, they're going to fracture the skulls of protesters with rubber bullets, they're going to jump out of rental vans and drag people into those vans without probable cause, they are committing crimes under the Pennsylvania statutes. These are Pennsylvania offenses over which the district attorney in Philly has jurisdiction over that area, and we can bring those charges.

The argument may be legally supportable, but the issue entails not only the question of whether local DAs and police have the authority to effectuate the arrest of miscreant federal agents but also of weighing the risk of potentially adverse consequences...

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




Despite legal challenges, White House threatens to expand 'shock troop' operation 'across heartland of the country'...
UPDATE, 7/23/20: Federal 'thugs' attack 'wall of moms', Navy vet; Tump/AG Barr expand 'illegal' assault to Kansas City, Chicago and Albuquerque; Judge issues TRO against feds...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/21/2020 1:21pm PT  

Under the guise of protecting federal property and public safety, a militarized secret federal police force, deployed by President Trump to Portland, Oregon, has unleashed a totalitarian assault on democracy and the rule of law. The brutal assault has trampled the civil liberties of peaceful protesters, journalists, legal observers and bystanders.

The astonishing offensive has extended well beyond the boundaries of federal enclaves. It also entailed a great deal more than the arbitrary application of police violence. Wearing military fatigues with patches bearing only the word "POLICE", previously unidentified, armed federal stormtroopers roamed city streets and sidewalks, arbitrarily snatching-up terrified citizens, who they whisked away in unmarked vehicles.

In a federal lawsuit filed late on Friday, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenbaum challenged these wholesale violations of civil liberties and alleges that the arbitrary snatch and grab operation also creates a "risk" that law abiding, peaceful protesters could be kidnapped by armed and unaccountable, civilian right-wing "militias".

Separately, the ACLU, seeking to rein in what its staff attorney, Vera Eidelman, aptly described as an "unconstitutional nightmare", filed a 2nd amended complaint, which added the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) as party Defendants to the ACLU's already successful federal lawsuit. That lawsuit was initially filed previously against the City of Portland.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and, later, a Preliminary Injunction [PDF], that blocked the Portland Police Bureau "from arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force...against any person they know or reasonably should know is a Journalist or Legal Observer...unless the Police have probable cause to believe such individual has committed a crime." The injunction also prevents police from seizing photographic, audio and video-recording equipment. (To its credit, the City of Portland agreed to the issuance of the preliminary injunction.)

By way of a newly filed Motion for a TRO [Temporary Restraining Order] and Preliminary Injunction, the ACLU now seeks a ruling from Judge Simon that would provide the same injunctive relief against the DHS and the USMS. In their motion, the ACLU described Trump's secret police as "shock troops" who "were successfully subjugating protesters and carrying out [the President's] longstanding vendetta against the press."

DHS and USMS were not the only federal agencies that have taken part in the trampling of civil liberties in Portland. In its federal complaint, Oregon also named the Federal Protection Service (FPS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as party Defendants.

Where both the ACLU and Oregon complaints lay out facts that support the assessment offered by Kelly Simon, ACLU Oregon's interim legal director, that Trump's stormtroopers have been "terrorizing the community, risking lives, and brutally attacking protesters," Oregon's complaint, unlike the ACLU's, seeks declaratory and injunctive relief designed to remedy the violations of the 1st, 4th and 5th Amendment rights of all affected citizens, including protesters and bystanders. Oregon also alleges that these agencies, especially the CBP, have violated Oregon's sovereign right to protect its own citizens.

Despite this disturbing, uninvited and unwelcome federal deployment --- as well as the now very serious legal challenges --- on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox "News" to expect a "roll out" of similar deployments to "Chicago or Portland or Milwaukee or someplace across the heartland of the country"...

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




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