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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Buying U.S. Elections; TX AG Indicted; Obama's Emissions Cuts: 'BradCast' 8/3/15
With guests Tarini Parti of Politico and Chuck Lindell of the Austin American-Statesman...
GOP Could be Hoisted On Own Undemocratic Primary Petard
Thanks to the Republican Party's 'Winner-Take-All' system in most state primaries and caucuses, blocking Donald Trump's nomination could be even more difficult...
Sunday Toons: 'Did Nazi It Coming' Edition
Cecil the Lion, Huckabee the candidate, Trump the phenomonon and more in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
At Least Six Ways to Hack the 2016 Election: 'BradCast' 7/31/15
With computer security expert Michael Gregg; Plus: 'Paper of record' keeps digging; Gullible global warming trolls; MORE...
NYTimes Blows It Again: 'BradCast' 7/30/15
Eric Boehlert of Media Matters on the latest fiasco by the 'paper of record' (and how it always hurts Dems); Also: Medicare turns 50; Trump dominates GOP (loses to Dems)...
'Green News Report' 7/30/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Portland activists blocking Arctic drilling; Wildfires explode across West, getting much worse around world; PLUS: The killing of Cecil the Lion ignites a firestorm of controversy...
Previous GNRs: 7/28/15 - 7/21/15 - Archives...
Michael Mann on 'Bombshell' New Report on Sea Level Rise: 'BradCast' 7/29/15
'Uncertainty, it turns out, was reason to act even faster,' says the Nobel Prize winning climate scientist...
Trump, 'Spousal Rape',
and His Horrible Attorney:
'BradCast' 7/28/15
Plus: Hacks, election debates, pipelines, spying, GOP approval ratings and much more...
'Green News Report' 7/28/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hillary goes big on solar; Jeb wants to eliminate ALL energy subsidies; PLUS: New study suggests worst case sea level rise may happen much sooner than previously thought...
Previous GNRs: 7/21/15 - 7/23/15 - Archives...
Hillary's Climate Plan & the Awful Truth About It: 'BradCast' 7/27/15
Journalist David Roberts of Vox.com; Plus: Bernie beats all GOPers; Trump continues to surge; MUCH MORE...
U.S. House Passes Bill to Block 'Right to Know' About GMOs
Despite recent scientific findings on dangers of GMOs, failure of existing governmental testing standards, Repubs lead fight to keep you in the dark about what's in your food...
Sunday Toons: Guns Trump All
Also in this week's collection from 'PDiddie': Sandra Bland, Donald Trump, Iran, Climate Science and Planned Parenthood...
High Times for Pot Biz; Plus: More Shootings, More Trump: 'BradCast' 7/24/15
Dan Riffle of Marijuana Policy Project joins us with some encouraging news. Also: Lafayette theater shooting; Perry's felonies; Trump cracks the code...
Kansas SoS Kobach Defrauding Voters; FBI Whistleblower Coleen Rowley on 'Terrorism': 'BradCast' 7/23/15
A big show. But even bigger when our guest is a TIME Mag Person of the Year!...
'Green News Report' 7/23/15
OH's Kasich jumps in - we decipher his climate position; Dem candidate links global warming to ISIS - Fox goes nuts; PLUS: Two CA Guvs slam climate deniers...
The Woman Who Led the #BlackLivesMatter Protest Against Sanders & O'Malley in AZ: 'BradCast' 7/22/15
Tia Oso on why she did it and reaction from progressives. Plus: Hillary in trouble? MORE...
Who the Hell is John Kasich and Why is He Running for Prez?: 'BradCast' 7/21/15
Journalist John Michael Spinelli of Ohio's PlunderBund; Plus: Trump soars in polls!...
'Green News Report' 7/21/15
Extreme weather whips CA - bridges collapse and cars burn; June 2015 hottest on record; PLUS: Record warming in Pacific kicks hurricane season off to record start...
America's Top Psychological Org Colluded w/ Bush on Torture: 'BradCast' 7/20/15
Dr. Yosef Brody of Psychologists for Social Responsibility; Plus: Progressive protesters disrupt Sanders; Trump disrupts himself...
Sunday Toons: Plutocracy is Not a Planet
Plus: 'Jade Helm'; Cosby; Iran; Greece and the rest of last week's messes in cartoon form, as curated by 'PDiddie'...
Mother of All GOP Voter Suppression Laws on Trial in NC: 'BradCast' 7/17/15
Nation's Ari Berman, at the trial this week, joins us. Plus: More on Walker/WI corruption & Maine's dumb Guv!...
Walker Wins & Democracy Loses (Again. Big Time.): 'BradCast' 7/16/15
We don't use the phrase 'death of democracy' lightly. But there's good reason to today. Brendan Fischer explains today's outrageous ruling by WI's corrupt Supreme Court...
Iran, Trump Rising & Confederate Monument Worth Keeping?: 'BradCast' 7/15
We cover a lot of ground today, plus listener calls and more (including Brad wrestling w/ tech probs, which is always amusing -- for you!)...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOP's 'Winner-Take-All' system may open nomination door to Trump...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/3/2015 7:05am PT  

Initially utilized by William Shakespeare in Hamlet, the phrase "to be hoisted by his own petard" now refers to someone who is hurt or destroyed by their own plot or device. That phrase may well come into play by July 18, 2016 when the Republican Party gathers in Cleveland for its national convention --- precisely because of the undemocratic nature of the GOP's own primary rules.

The Democratic Party will, for the most part, select pledged delegates to its national convention on a proportional basis, based on primary and caucus results in each state. Additionaly, the Democratic Party employs an undemocratic feature in the form of "superdelegates", consisting of Democratic governors, members of Congress, members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other party leaders, including current and former Democratic Presidents.

Like the Democrats, the Republicans also utilize "superdelegates" who are able to play a role in final selection of the party's Presidential nominee. Beyond that, however, the process the Republican Party uses to select its rank and file delegates to their national nominating convention is notably different. With the exception of four states (IA, NH, SC and NV), all pledged delegates to the 2016 RNC will be selected based on a winner-take-all system from each state's primary or caucus system.

Where some, like the right-wing National Review, suggest that the crowded field of GOP presidential candidates could produce the first brokered Republican convention since 1976, recent polls suggest a greater likelihood that the GOP will nominate as its standard bearer the candidate least likely to succeed in the general election.

A recently released Quinnipiac University poll, reports that, "with 20 percent of Republican voters, Donald Trump is the clear leader in the crowded Republican presidential primary field." At the same time, interestingly enough, he also "tops the 'no way' list as 30 percent of Republican voters say they would definitely not support him," according to the Quinnipiac poll. Trump has "the worst favorability rating of any Republican or Democrat, a negative 27-59 percent among all voters." The poll also finds that whether matched up against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, Trump would lose the general election by a wide margin.

It really doesn't matter that, nationally, 80% of Republicans may prefer another GOP candidate. In winner-take-all states, like Florida, where Trump leads his closest rival, the state's former two-term Governor Jeb Bush, 26% to 20%, Trump does not have to secure a majority of Republican votes. He need only secure enough votes to defeat whoever is in second to gain the entire list of Sunshine State delegates to the convention. Accomplish that feat in enough crowded primary states, and Trump becomes the next GOP nominee for President of the United States.

Thus, there's a distinct prospect that the GOP may be hoisted by its own, undemocratic winner-take-all primary petard.

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Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam Vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @cann4ing.

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Opponents vow fight against 'Monsanto Protection Act' in Senate...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/27/2015 8:05am PT  

By a vote of 275-150 (including the support of 45 Democrats), the U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Safe and Accurate Food Act" this past week.

Don't be fooled by the name.

The Act, which would prevent state and local governments from mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs), has alternatively been described by opponents as the "Deny Americans the Right to Know" or "DARK Act", as well as the "Monsanto Protection Act".

Disturbingly, the House vote comes on the heels of a new, peer-reviewed scientific report finding an "accumulation of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and a dramatic depletion of glutathione, an anti-oxidant necessary for cellular detoxification, in GMO soy, indicating that formaldehyde and glutathione are likely critical criteria for distinguishing the GMO from its non-GMO counterpart."

The study, published in Agricultural Sciences this month, used "a new biology method to integrate 6,497 in vitro and in vivo laboratory experiments, from 184 scientific institutions, across 23 countries." It is critical of the U.S. government's current standard for GMO assessment which, the report concludes, are "outdated and unscientific for genetically engineered food since it was originally developed for assessing the safety of medical devices in the 1970s."

Peer review of the study cited its new methods and findings to conclude that "until such Standards are developed for testing, we believe it premature to approve GMOs and to consider them safe." The study's lead author, MIT-trained biologist Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D, adds: "This is not a pro- or anti-GMO question. But, are we following the scientific method to ensure the safety of our food supply? Right now, the answer is 'no'."

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), one of 300 organizations opposing the "DARK Act", has vowed to fight the measure in the U.S. Senate.

Although the legislation would deprive U.S. citizens of a right to know possessed by citizens in 64 other nations including China and most of Europe, there is a silver lining, of sorts. No doubt final passage would furnish comedian Bill Maher with the material needed to repeat the hilarity he offered following California's rejection of a GMO labeling initiative last year.

"If you’re one of the millions of Californians who voted against labeling genetically modified foods," Maher said, "you can’t complain when it turns out there’s horse meat in your hamburger and your sushi is made out of lost cats and condoms. You said you didn’t want to know. Now lap that shit up!"

* * *
Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam Vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @cann4ing.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 7/12/2015 9:59am PT  

"In an age of universal deceit," George Orwell once wrote, "telling the truth is a revolutionary act." That act is now drawing crowds in the thousands --- far larger than any other candidate, Democratic or Republican, in the race for their respective party's 2016 nomination for President of the United States.

The phenomenon known as "Bernie-mentum" could be just the beginning. Bernie Sanders, who is more the focal point of a democratic revolutionary movement than the leader of a presidential campaign, appears to be tapping into what historian Howard Zinn described in A Power Governments Cannot Suppress as "an aroused citizenry."

We are seeing the power of social media and the exponential growth of the Sanders revolution grow to challenge what Noam Chomsky describes as the "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their "representatives", occasioned by the manner in which "elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population…freeing the elected leadership to serve the substantial people." Even now, long before the first debate, Hillary's advisers informed The New York Times that they fear Sanders "could move past her in Iowa polls by fall and even defeat her there."

Hillary and, later, Republicans will rely on huge sums to pay for slick political ads. Yet, Sanders is banking on his hope that no amount of ad money can be effective against an "informed" and aroused working and middle class electorate --- one that includes the 63% who did not vote in the last election.

Every new Sanders event not only serves to convince those in attendance to vote for Sanders. They add thousands of new activists to the burgeoning movement. Whether that will be enough to translate into electoral victories remains to be seen. But, as Sanders argues near the end of this video created by his grassroots supporters: "When millions of people stand up and fight, they win." #FeelTheBern ...

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By 2008, Alan Greenspan was forced to admit Sanders had it right...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/24/2015 7:05am PT  

In a blistering confrontation with then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan during a 2003 Congressional Hearing (see video below) --- five years before the 2008 meltdown of Wall Street --- then-Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) revealed why he may be better positioned now to square off against right-wing economics than Hillary Clinton who, twenty years ago, served as a member of the Wal-Mart Board of Directors.

(The Arkansas-based company was a principal beneficiary of President Bill Clinton's decision to ram NAFTA through on the fast track. And, even now, though Hillary has been critical of a number of the company's practices, influential members of the Walton family, the mega-billionaire owners of the retail giant, have been very supportive of the Clintons.)

During that 2003 hearing, as revealed by this must-see video compiled by Sanders supporters, the Congressman arguably demolished not only Greenspan, but the fundamentalist market-based economics that remain the centerpiece of today's Republican Party and at the center of the dispute over new international trade agreements, such as the TPP.

After chastising the Fed Chairman for being out of touch with the needs of ordinary Americans --- "You don't know what's going on in the real world!" --- Sanders unleashed this...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/19/2015 8:05am PT  

In "Bernie Sanders Versus the 'Democracy Deficit'" we argued that the independent senator from Vermont's principal opponent in the upcoming election was not Hillary Clinton but the media and PR industries which have created what Noam Chomsky describes as a "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions held by the electorate and those of their "representatives". Chomsky argues that is occasioned by the manner in which "elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population…freeing the elected leadership to serve the substantial people."

Sanders, who, even before any actual debates, is beginning to show strength in a number of different polls, demonstrated how he believes that gap can be bridged. He explained to Seth Meyers and his audience, during an appearance on Late Night earlier this month, why his self-description as a "Democratic Socialist" is an asset, rather than a liability...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/18/2015 6:35am PT  

Since the entrance of Sen. Bernie Sanders into the race for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination (and even well before), we've been discussing the concept of the "democracy deficit", defined by Noam Chomsky as the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their "representatives", occasioned by the manner in which, as he argues, "elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population…freeing the elected leadership to serve the substantial people."

An article by Kevin Cirilli in The Hill last week, "Banks brace for Bernie Sanders" provides yet another opportunity to examine that troubling paradigm and the well-organized role the nation's corporate elite play in it.

While an effective, issue-based campaign from a self-declared "democratic socialist" like Sanders could otherwise serve to galvanize a bottom-up, small "d" democratic revolution at the polls, The Hill fails to so much as suggest that Wall Street is in any way concerned about what might transpire if Sanders were actually to secure the Democratic Party Presidential nomination. "He poses no real threat to the former secretary of State’s eventual nomination," Cirilli writes, citing the self-fulfilling prophecy of the elusive "conventional wisdom".

Instead, quoting one banking lobbyist after another, each who marginalize Sanders, the DC-based publication reports only that "Wall Street is worried that Sen. Bernie Sanders’s vigorous calls for banking industry reform will pull Hillary Clinton to the left, as the two presidential candidates battle for the 2016 Democratic nomination"...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/11/2015 6:35am PT  

When Vermont's independent Senator Bernie Sanders recently entered the race for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination, we explained how the corporate U.S. media was certain to "set out to marginalize candidates who pose a threat to corporate wealth and power."

Now, a venerable media watchdog organization has documented how, as predicted, both America's "Paper of Record," The New York Times and the nation's most widely watched Sunday public affairs program, NBC's Meet the Press, wasted little time in fulfilling that prediction.

As we recently wrote (and discussed some days later during an appearance on The BradCast), Sanders' principle opponent in the upcoming primary election is not Hillary Clinton. It is, in fact, what Noam Chomsky describes as the "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their elected representatives. Chomsky attributes the "democracy deficit" to the manner in which "elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population…freeing the elected leadership to serve the substantial people."

In our article, we pointed to two examples in which the corporate-owned media, sans any discussion of where Sanders or Clinton stood on vital issues, had immediately set out to marginalize the Sanders candidacy by either describing it as a "long shot," or dismissing it altogether with headlines such as the Washington Post's: "Bernie Sanders isn’t going to be president. That's not the point." The practice of simultaneously anointing a corporate friendly candidate as a "front runner" while dismissing those who challenge the status quo is designed to become a self-achieving prophesy at the polls by discouraging citizens from backing a media-dubbed "long shot."

The respected media watchdog organization, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), has now begun to document instances in which The New York Times and Chuck Todd, host of NBC's Meet the Press, applied a second, tried and true media method to both evade issues and marginalize candidates who threaten the interests of "the substantial people." The strategy appears to entail "manipulation by omission" --- a method in which the MSM aspires to mold public opinion by simply pretending that a disfavored candidate and his/her issue-laden campaign doesn't even exist...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/1/2015 10:39am PT  

In anticipation of Thursday's formal announcement, the L.A. Times described the effort by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to secure the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States as a "long shot."

That assessment is consistent with a recent ABC News/Washington Post Presidential Preference Poll finding that Hillary Clinton not only trounces any potential Democratic challenger but also showing her well ahead of specifically-named GOP candidates. It is also consistent with the MSM's past practice of immediately setting out to marginalize candidates who pose a threat to corporate wealth and power.

The "long shot" perception is both a reflection and product of what Prof. Noam Chomsky, in Failed States, described as the "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their elected representatives. Long before the Supreme Court handed down its infamous Citizens United decision, Chomsky attributed the "democracy deficit" to the manner in which "elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population…freeing the elected leadership to serve the substantial people."

As reflected by this Washington Post headline from Chris Cillizza --- "Bernie Sanders isn’t going to be president. That’s not the point." --- the 2016 MSM marginalization strategy is already in play. Without waiting to see how the public, itself, would react to a Sanders/Clinton debate, or even see how they'll react to his policy positions when and if they get to hear them, the Post tells its readers to just forget about it.

Sanders countered Cillizza's contention during his April 30 news conference: "We're in this race to win." (See video below)

As Sanders, himself, appears to recognize, it is not Hillary Clinton, but the "democracy deficit," that is his true opponent. "Hillary Clinton is a remarkable woman with an extraordinary history of public service," Sanders said earlier this year, during an address at the National Press Club. "It would not be my job to run against her. It would be my job, if she ran and if I ran, to debate the serious issues facing our country."

In this age of deception, where the oligarchy's PR industry and corporate-owned MSM tirelessly strive for message control, Sanders' effort to bridge the "democracy deficit" by way of a campaign based on "serious issues" is a daunting task. But it's one that, if successful, could not only lead to a Sanders landslide but also to nothing less than a "democratic revolution"...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/23/2015 9:02pm PT  

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court severely curtailed the government's ability to utilize a routine traffic stop as an excuse to subject motorists to a canine-sniff of their vehicles as a precursor to a search for narcotics.

In Rodriguez v. United States, the Court ruled that the right of "seizure" during a routine traffic stop extends only for the length of time necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop --- a purpose that ends with the issuance of a citation or warning for the routine stop. While the time needed to effectuate the purpose of the stop includes such measures as necessary to protect an officer’s safety, it does not, according to the Supremes, include a "dog sniff" which, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote on behalf of the court's majority, relates to "the Government’s endeavor to detect crime in general or drug trafficking in particular."

While the 6 to 3 decision (Justices Thomas, Alito and Kennedy dissenting) was handed down in a case in which a motorist was caught transporting methamphetamine inside his car, it also serves to protect the rights of those who are innocent, such as 63-year old Dennis Eckhart, whose nightmarish plight --- including multiple, invasive, forced medical procedures --- all came about as the result of a routine traffic stop and wholly unfounded suspicion by local police...

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A comprehensive approach in all sectors of the economy to conserve and increase supply must be undertaken...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/22/2015 10:04am PT  

Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to mandate a 25% reduction of urban water use in California was absolutely necessary and woefully inadequate.

The unprecedented mandatory restriction is necessary because the state faces an historically acute and potentially catastrophic shortage of freshwater. Newly released NASA data suggests the state could run out of surface water reserves completely within the next year.

The severe water shortage, however, is not merely acute. It is chronic. The Golden State is now in its fourth year of an extreme, global climate change-linked drought that scientists predict could continue for decades.

There are a multitude of reasons why Brown's overly simplistic 25% urban water use reduction --- a meager 6.25% of water consumption by all sectors of the California economy --- is woefully inadequate when measured against both acute and chronic extreme drought conditions...

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

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

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

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

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/7/2015 7:05am PT  

Auto racing, which has long served as both a testing ground and source of commercial development of automotive technology, is going green.

The formally sanctioned racing organization, FIA Formula E Championship, was formed for the express purpose of promoting sustainable automotive technology. In 2013, it commissioned a study that was designed to measure "the global value of Formula E to the EV [electric vehicle] market over the next 25 years (2015-2040) and its wider economic, environmental and social impact." The authors of the study concluded that an all electric vehicle racing circuit would "help sell an additional 77 million EVs worldwide, save 4 billion barrels of oil and help make savings of 2 billion euros [$2.179 billion] in healthcare."

Study in hand, in September 2014 the group kicked-off its inaugural Formula E race season in Beijing --- the first stop on an international 10-race calendar. Appearing at Long Beach State University in advance of the 6th race, the Long Beach ePrix over this past weekend, Formula E Series CEO Alejandro Agag told students that the goal was to "fundamentally change how the public sees electric vehicles" and that "Formula E is the future."

In its pre-event coverage of the April 4 race in Long Beach, California, the L.A.Times reported that fans would be spared the noise of ordinary racing and that, instead of refueling, pit stops would involve the changing out of batteries. Formula E Series cars have plenty of horsepower, however, accelerating from 0 to 62 mph in 3 seconds, with maximum speeds topping out near 150 mph.

FIA Formula E is not the first racing organization to raise environmental concerns. In 2013, the Indy 500 addressed emission concerns via race cars that utilized "ethanol blends."

However, as observed by the Colombia Water Center, a number of "scientists argue that when the life cycle of ethanol production is compared to that of conventional gasoline, there may be no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions at all." Citing an Argonne National Laboratory study, they note that corn ethanol is water intensive, consuming between "20 to 324 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol."

Of course, if FIA Formula E really wishes to advance sustainable technology, it should rely upon photovoltaic solar to recharge the batteries used in its race cars. As noted by the Sierra Club, electric vehicles that rely upon coal power plants "may emit more CO2 and SO2 pollution than hybrid electric vehicles."

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Advocacy groups argue court should restore 'advisory measure' for a new Constitutional amendment to 2016 ballot...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/13/2015 7:05am PT  

Last year, the California State Supreme Court improperly nixed a ballot initiative meant to encourage state Legislators to support an amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision, according to a court brief recently filed by several state advocacy groups.

In the summer of 2014, the California state Legislature enacted SB 1272, a ballot initiative (Prop 49), asking California voters to advise whether the state's elected representatives should pursue passage of an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would overturn Citizens United. The advisory measure, had it been allowed on the general election ballot last year, had sought to establish that corporations are not people and that the rights enshrined in our nation's founding documents apply only to living, breathing human beings.

The effort to permit voters to weigh-in on the subject was cut short when the CA Supreme Court promptly ordered then Secretary of State Debra Bowen to remove Prop 49 from the November ballot pending full briefing and argument with respect to a legal challenge filed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association ("HJTA") --- an anti-tax organization founded by Republican Howard Jarvis.

As described on the Court's docket sheet, the state Supremes removed Prop 49 from last year's ballot based on a 1984 CA Supreme Court decision, American Federation of Labor v. Eu ("Eu"), which established "that substantial harm can occur if an invalid measure is permitted to remain on the ballot."

In Eu, the CA Supremes struck down a ballot initiative that sought "to compel California's elected representatives, on penalty of loss of salary, to apply to Congress to convene a constitutional convention for the…purpose of proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget." (Emphasis added).

But, according to the amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief, recently filed by Free Speech for People (FSP) and other advocacy groups, the Court's earlier decision in Eu does not support last year's decision to remove the Overturn Citizens United initiative from the 2014 ballot. The brief explains that the state Legislature does, indeed, have the constitutional authority to seek advisory instructions from the Golden State's electorate via the ballot.

FSP not only defends the legality of the Prop 49 initiative, as measured against both the U.S. and California Constitutions, but presents both historical and legal arguments that, if successful, could define the very essence of our (small "r") republican form of government (aka, representative democracy) --- a form of government that is guaranteed in every state by Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/27/2015 6:05am PT  

On Thursday, by way of a 3-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted 'Net Neutrality' regulations that embody the "bright-line" rules that had been proposed by President Barack Obama last November.

The new policy is unquestionably a victory for both the idea of Internet freedom, as well as for the unprecedented campaign waged by the public to advocate in favor of 'Net Neutrality' over the past several years. An outspoken public won the day, for a change, against very powerful interests. It was a victory that, particularly over previous years, seemed to be anything but assured.

Of course, as anticipated, the ruling drew harsh reactions from some Congressional Republicans as well as major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which could otherwise profit from the imposition of tolls on the Internet. (See two video explainers at end of article). Those reactions included a prediction by AT&T and by the Telecommunications Association, an industry trade group, that the new rules would be overturned either by Congress or the courts.

While both litigation and a GOP challenge to the newly adopted 'Net Neutrality' rules are almost certain, neither legal nor Congressional challenges are likely to succeed. Here's why…

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