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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Report Cites Armed Walker Supporters Plotting to Target Democratic Voters in WI
'We can get our agents to watch their polling location, identify the individual, and then follow them to their residence'...
Resignation or Impeachment Would Be a Gift for Wife- Beating Judge Mark Fuller
2012 documents suggest years of repeated domestic abuse, of two wives and children by federal judge with lifetime appointment...
ACLU Files Emergency Petition to Halt 'Electoral Chaos' in WI
Seeks full 7th Circuit hearing after remarkable three-GOP judge ruling reinstating Photo ID restrictions just weeks before election...
'Green News Report' 9/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
DiCaprio takes climate role at UN; Jindal plays dumbest role yet; Fracking confirmed (again) to contaminate; Black lung coal disease on rise; PLUS: Polluter front groups newest attack...
Previous GNRs: 9/16/14 - 9/11/14 - Archives...
Oil & Water: KPFK 'BradCast'
BRAD BLOG's Desi Doyen sits in for Brad with guests Matthew Heberger on water wars, David O. Atkins on CA's latest fracking fight, and Margot Paez on Mars!...
Audio of 911 Call from Judge Mark Fuller's Wife as She's Heard Repeatedly Struck
MSNBC's Chris Hayes plays horrifying audio from the wife-beating incident of Federal Judge Mark Fuller; ALSO: calls for accountability from two Alabama U.S. Congresswoman...
Bobby Jindal: Climate Denier, Boy Genius
Louisiana's governor and pretend 2016 GOP Presidential hopeful pulls the old 'I know you are, but what am I?' maneuver by calling the Obama Administration 'climate deniers'...
'Green News Report' 9/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hottest year on record in CA, hottest Aug. on record for planet; Record hurricane hits Cabo San Lucas; Warm-water fish found in Alaska; PLUS: Burlington, VT now 100% renewable!...
Previous GNRs: 9/11/14 - 9/9/14 - Archives...
Wife-Beating Federal Judge Finally Mentioned on MSNBC
MSNBC contributor asks about lack of outrage, impeachment for federal judge Mark Fuller who beat his wife bloody in August...
Outrage Slowly Grows After Wife-Beating Federal Judge Avoids Prosecution
Fellow GOP District Court judge calls for accountability, says 'no one should trust Mark Fuller's judgment in a federal trial courtroom'...
GOP PHOTO ID RESTRICTION LAW RESTORED IN WI
Republican voter suppression laws getting huge boosts from GOP-appointed federal judges in NC, where 100s recently disenfranchised, and now in WI, in advance of critical mid-terms...
Not Taking the ISIS Bait
The media and the U.S. Government have decided to give the latest barbaric idiots to rise up in the Middle East all the publicity they crave, despite the 'exaggerated' threat posed to the U.S., or even in the region. We're not interested in playing along...
'Green News Report' 9/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Greenhouse gas emissions jump at record rate; Australia's emissions soar after carbon tax axed; Oceans acidifying at historic rate; PLUS: Some good news: Ozone Hole begone!...
Previous GNRs: 9/9/14 - 9/4/14 - Archives...
Accountability for Judge Fuller?; O, Mighty ISIS!:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Will Alabama's wife-beating U.S. District Court Judge face impeachment? Plus: Callers, lots of 'em, on what to do about ISIS...
Wife-Beaters: Rice Loses Job; Judge Fuller Continues Lifetime Appointment
America was outraged by the NFL superstar. So, what about Alabama's federal judge who beat his wife bloody and is now off scot-free?...
'Green News Report' 9/9/14
Floods: Catastrophic in Pakistan, Historic in Phoenix; Hillary on Global Warming; Rand Paul dismisses; PLUS: Lobster Boat Blockade wins!...
GA GOP State Senator: Too Many Black People Will Vote in DeKalb County!
Vows to close 'election loophole' allowing convenient Early Voting in area 'dominated by African Americans'; UPDATE: Says just wants 'more educated voters'...
GOP Allows 'Citizens United' Amendment to Move Forward, Will Vote Against
Koch Brothers' beneficiary Sen. Rand Paul wouldn't even allow that much...
NYT Public Editor Calls Out Paper for Phony 'Balance' on 'Voter Fraud', Global Warming
Margaret Sullivan's no weasel (unlike a predecessor). She's calling out the 'paper of record' again for misreporting on GOP myths...
Siegelman's Judge Strikes Deal to Avoid Trial After Beating Wife Bloody
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller to have record expunged following drug/alcohol evaluation, domestic abuse counseling...
ObamaCare 'Nightmare': 2015 Premiums Rates to DECLINE in Many Major Cities
This whole 'tyrannical government takeover of health care' thing is really a disaster...for Republicans...
Federal Judge Orders Restoration of Early Voting Hours in OH -- Again
'Ohio GOP keeps trying to cut early voting and federal courts keep striking the cuts down'...
'Green News Report' 9/4/14
Accountability for BP in Gulf Oil Spill Disaster and for PG&E in deadly pipeline explosion; CA bans plastic bags, regulates groundwater for first time in history...
The Corruption of U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman: KPFK 'BradCast'
GUEST: Attorney and BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
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...

By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2014 6:05am PT  

Given that every Sunday network news show decided to completely ignore it, I thought it my duty to read the entirety of the leaked findings from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA Torture and Detention on the air during this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio.

You're welcome, war criminals!

Also on this week's show, the continually growing evidence of the success of "Obamacare" (and a caller who self-identifies as "full on Left. I'm not even liberal, I'm further Left than that", who takes me to task for citing the facts) --- and why it's time for Dems to grow a pair and start running to not just retain the Senate but also take the U.S. House.

A word or two on home-grown Rightwing extremist terrorism and the fecklessness of the Dept. of Homeland Security which, thanks to bullying from Republicanists and Fox "News", cowered from and retracted their report on same back in 2009 despite the mounting death toll ever since.

Also, a bunch of good callers and more that you'll just have to tune in to hear about, including a visit by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and some other stuff. Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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PowerLine's 'Conservative' John Hinderaker offers tortured support for federal government freeloading...
By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2014 12:21pm PT  

Republicanist attorney John Hinderaker of the silly, hyper-partisan, rightwing PowerLine blog has always been more than happy to offer "legal" arguments to support whatever Rightwing nonsense his tribe would like to hear. When he's unable to come up with an actual legal argument, he's also happy to just type words to let the tribe know he's still on their side...even when the law isn't.

Commenting Monday night on the weekend's Bundy Ranch idiocy --- in which a scofflaw Nevada rancher who says he doesn't "recognize [the] United States government as even existing", has refused for the last twenty years to pay grazing fees for the use of public lands, as all other ranchers do --- Hinderaker admits that, "legally, Bundy doesn't have a leg to stand on."

Nonetheless, the Republican lawyer/blogger twists and turns to argue, "you should be sympathetic toward" ranch owner Cliven Bundy anyway. The reason for that sympathy takes some explaining, and some pretty impressive gymnastics to result in Hinderaker's final, rather laughable, argument for it.

Hinderaker must be desperate to get himself onto the non-RINO right flank of the Rightwing "FakeTriots" who rode in to southern NV last week with big manly guns a-blazin', but who, notably, did not ride in to the rescue when actual Big Government tyranny was actually cracking down on the public's right to occupy public spaces --- when the government actually used extraordinary violence to crush peaceful First Amendment-protected protests all around the country.

Neither does he, nor they, seem to give a damn when Big Government intrudes on the Constitutionally protected rights of women to privately take care of their own bodies; nor for the rights of millions of legal voters to freely cast their votes; nor for the rights of homeowners who've gone bankrupt and/or lost their homes thanks to Big Government-abetted crimes of gigantic, lawless, Wall Street corporations.

But what's most amusing about Hinderaker's article, in which he desperately (and transparently) attempts to get on the right side of folks he knows are wrong, but who are on his own political team, is that by the end of his article, he's finally figured out how to blame Big Bad Barack Obama and Harry Reid and, I guess, Liberalism or something for all the woes that Bundy is facing brought on himself. That, instead of calling out the rancher for his lack of personal responsibility in disobeying long-settled law, all while enjoying the Big Government welfare of "free" cattle grazing lands.

To do this, Hinderaker offers a pretend argument that the federal government isn't necessarily against development on public lands --- only certain types of development...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2014 3:39pm PT  

Late last week, the twenty conclusions of the U.S. Senate's report on the Bush-era's secret CIA torture and detention program was leaked and published by McClatchy.

As we noted on Friday, when we also published the report's disturbing conclusions [PDF], the 6,600-page study, based on first-hand CIA documentation, reveals massive illegalities and war crimes by everyone from CIA contractors to agents to higher level officials at that agency and others.

The report is said to detail wide-spread crimes that are not only in violation of U.S. law, but also international laws which our nation has an obligation to enforce, thanks to treaties we have long been a party to. And, if we don't enforce those laws and hold the criminals accountable for lawlessness such as torture, all the rest of the nations signed on to such treaties along with us, such as the UN Convention against Torture, have a legal obligation to do so.

The prohibition against torture under that treaty is absolute for all nations. "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture," according to Article 2 of the treaty.

All of that comes on the heels of revelations that the CIA itself had used the computers of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in an attempt to sabotage the committee's report.

Yet, with a report that important and a story that big, not a single U.S. network "news" show on Sunday found the time to even mention the report. Not NBC's Meet the Press with David Gregory, not ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, not CBS' Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer, not Fox "News" Sunday with Chris Wallace.

On Friday, we mentioned that the U.S. Senators who recently voted to release 500 redacted pages of the report (we're still waiting on the White House to take action to redact and release it), argue that release is necessary to avoid this country ever going down this same path again.

We opined in response that "only actual prosecution will deter that eventuality", that "As long as those who committed such vile and abhorrent crimes are not actually held accountable, all of this will almost certainly be repeated in the future," (by both us and other nations) and that "if we fail to prosecute, we will also have little ground to hold other rogue countries accountable for the same crimes in the future."

The fact that the twenty, very easy-to-read bullet point conclusions from the U.S. Senate report, which has been years in the making --- as based on first-hand documentation of the crimes --- were released last week, and not even mentioned once on any of the four major Sunday network news shows underscores our point. The release of data is all well and good. But it's only when the perpetrators start being frog-marched to jail that the mainstream corporate media --- and, thus, the American public --- will begin to give a damn about one of the darkest moments in this nation's history.

As of now, at least if Sunday is any indication, evidence suggests that the MSM doesn't give a damn. Therefore, neither will the American people. Thus, we are destined to repeat this abhorrent chapter and, once again, like so many shameful chapters in our recent past, the corporate mainstream media themselves will have played a lead role in helping to make sure that happens.

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Time to prosecute those accountable to fullest extent of the law...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2014 7:03pm PT  

The leaked release [PDF] of the conclusions from the long-researched and much-debated U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's still-unreleased 6,600-page report on the CIA's Bush-era secret detention and enhanced interrogation torture program reveals illegalities by the agency that include lying to Congress (and potentially the White House), the leaking of classified material and the misleading of federal investigators at both the CIA Inspector General's office as well as the Dept. of Justice.

The conclusions allege that the conditions for imprisonment and the torture that often accompanied it were "brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers." But that's not all.

The report finds the CIA was incompetent in their handling of the program, endangered national security in the process, and appears to have committed international war crimes. There is also the small fact that the interrogation techniques used by the CIA failed to reveal any actual intelligence and, as the report concludes, "damaged the United States' global reputation, and came with heavy costs, both monetary and non­-monetary."

Other than that, the program worked great!

It's little wonder then that the CIA has gone to such lengths --- including spying on and attempting to sabotage the work being done by the Senate committee itself since 2008 --- to try and cover it all up. It's also little wonder that one of the program's most ardent supporters, Dick Cheney, has been working so hard to lie about it all for so many years. If you were likely a war criminal, wouldn't you do the same thing?

What may be considered more of an outstanding question is why the Obama Administration decided that it was okay to not prosecute the perpetrators of the blatant and broad swath of U.S. and international crimes detailed in the report as having been allegedly carried out by the CIA, its agents, its contractors, and any number of other high-ranking federal officials who knew about some or all of it.

The Senate Intel Committee has voted to release about 500 pages of the report, though those pages must be first redacted and then released by the White House (which may have its own complicity in a number of the crimes detailed.) The Senators have argued that the release is necessary to avoid this country ever going down this path again. But, in truth, only actual prosecution will deter that eventuality. As long as those who committed such vile and abhorrent crimes are not actually held accountable, all of this will almost certainly be repeated in the future.

Furthermore, if we fail to prosecute, we will also have little ground to hold other rogue countries accountable for the same crimes in the future.

The report should be released in full, even if it must be leaked to the media, and the perpetrators of the crimes detailed within should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If the U.S. won't do that, other countries are obligated to try and do so themselves under treaties that both they and we are a party to.

The twenty bullet point findings from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's report, as leaked to McClatchy, which released them on Friday, follow in full below...

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

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PLUS: How the enormous open source vulnerability underscores madness of e-voting, Internet Voting...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2014 3:03pm PT  

Seriously, dudes?...

The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.

The NSA's decision to keep the bug secret in pursuit of national security interests threatens to renew the rancorous debate over the role of the government's top computer experts.

Heartbleed appears to be one of the biggest glitches in the Internet's history, a flaw in the basic security of as many as two-thirds of the world's websites. Its discovery and the creation of a fix by researchers five days ago prompted consumers to change their passwords, the Canadian government to suspend electronic tax filing and computer companies including Cisco Systems Inc. to Juniper Networks Inc. to provide patches for their systems.

So the NSA knew about this massive security flaw, one of the biggest in the history of the Internet, and rather than warning about the security vulnerability to all Americans, exploited it, instead.

While I can't say I'm particularly surprised by this, I can say, I'm infuriated by it.

If it wasn't before, the NSA has now become a complete joke. What part of "national security" is unclear to the National Security Agency, for chrissakes?!!

* * *

For an additional take on the Heartbleed bug as it pertains to electronic and Internet voting systems (For example, how the fact that this huge flaw in open source software was not discovered for years, underscoring the fact that open source is little more than a panacea when it comes to the foolhardy use of computers in elections, and how this bug should end all talk of Internet Voting forever) please listen to my rant during this week's BradCast, beginning approximately at the :31 minute mark.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2014 12:43pm PT  

Thanks, Obama. Looks like he's killing yet another "business" with his so-called "health care reform".

We all (well, those who don't watch Fox "News" exclusively, anyway) remember the shamefully long lines of Americans showing up at free health clinics, whenever and wherever they were set up around the country, trying to get much-needed health care in the days before the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or "Obamacare") became the law of the land.

Now that the ACA is underway and millions of Americans who could not get health care before are able to receive it, the days of the free clinic in the USA may be coming to an end.

That's what's happening to the 9th Street Mission Clinic in Mena, Arkansas, in any case, where the Director of that charitable outlet has announced that, thanks to "Obamacare", the number of clients at the once bustling clinic have dwindled to almost nothing.

"Because people are qualifying for insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, our free medical clinic will not be needed anymore," the clinic's Director, Stacey Bowser RN, told The Mena Star. "We've gone from seeing around 300 people a month on a regular basis, but as people were enrolling in Obamacare, the numbers we were seeing have dropped. We were down to 80 people that came through the medical clinic in February, all the way down to three people at the medical clinic in March. Our services won't be needed anymore, and this will conclude our mission."

The paper reports that "the free medical clinic at 9th Street Ministries was started to reach out to those who could not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, and did not have any other health insurance policy."

"There was such a need for many years that we would have people coming through the medical clinic from the time the doors opened early in the morning all the way until 4:00 in the afternoon," Bowser said about the clinic where a crew of 25 to 30 volunteers was said to always been on hand to meet the needs of those without health care in rural Polk County.

"This complete dropoff of numbers of people coming to the clinic is a result of all those who have successfully enrolled in an insurance policy now," she said.

After being open since 1998, the clinic's final day of operation will be April 24th. "Obamacare" is clearly destroying America as we know it.

[Hat-tip Daily Kos via TPM.]

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GUEST: Sue Wilson of the Media Action Center (With cameo appearances by Archie Bunker and Bill O'Reilly)...
By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2014 9:34pm PT  

This week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast is chocked full of important news and insightful analysis that actually matters and that you simply won't hear anywhere else.

Among the items covered on the show this week:

And all of that in less than an hour! That oughta hold ya until next week!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

* * *

P.S. While you're listening, please consider donating to The BRAD BLOG so we can continue to afford to keep bringing you this kind of news, programming, journalism and analysis. We really need your support these days to keep going. Thanks in advance!

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Star-Ledger excoriates tax on 'life-saving' devices after Guv slashed anti-smoking programs, now claims 'main concern is public health'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2014 1:37pm PT  

There are a number of reasons why it's difficult to stomach the claim that New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie is concerned about "public health". His newest proposal for a pricey new excise tax on e-cigs is just one of them.

In 2010, Christie slashed $7.5 million --- virtually all of the state's investment --- in smoking prevention and cessation support from the state's "Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program". As a result, the American Lung Association (ALA) now ranks NJ as 50th in the nation on this issue, recently noting, they are "the only state in the country to provide no state funding" for such programs.

Christie's gutting of the state's once-robust program has resulted in an "F" grade from the ALA on both "Tobacco Prevention" and "Cessation Coverage", leading them to write: "This lack of funding to help tobacco users quit is a stark contradiction with New Jersey's high tax rate of $2.70 per pack generating over $700 million each year in revenues."

Thus, it's all the more absurd to hear the "fiscally conservative" Christie administration now calling for a massive new "sin tax" on e-cigarettes, which are known to be a far safer alternative to smoking, since "vaping" includes none of the deadly toxins, such as tar and carbon monoxide, found in combustible tobacco.

But "conservative" hypocrisy aside, what makes Christie's new tax and spend plan even more absurd is that his state Treasurer is now claiming their "main concern is public health."

Really? The NJ Star-Ledger editorial board --- which endorsed Christie's re-election last year (though they came to regret it after Christie's "BridgeGate" scandal emerged) --- ain't buying it...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2014 9:37pm PT  

It was a very good week for the Koch inheritance babies, no matter how much they now whine and pretend to be victims...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2014 4:05pm PT  

Bravo, Honey Maid. Nabisco shows how to stand your ground with actual courage...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2014 1:37pm PT  

During Thursday's Green News Report, we briefly discussed Charles Koch's claim in his Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, that he and his brother David, are using their inherited fossil-fuel millions to discredit global warming science (and other inconvenient realities), simply because they are fighting "to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans." Sure they are.

Over at the Washington Post's "Plum Line" blog, Paul Waldman has another thought on the Koch op-ed this week, which was published at virtually the same moment as the rightwing judicial activists on the U.S. Supreme Court trashed 40 years of campaign finance law in order to allow the approximately 600 Americans who had already maxed out their previously allowed $125,000 per-election-cycle donations to political candidates and parties to be "free" to give millions to candidates and parties instead.

Waldman avers that the Koch op-ed and the SCOTUS McCutcheon decision "are parts of the same effort," which, he argues convincingly, is "Nothing less than the construction of a new version of liberty."

In his WSJ piece, Koch joined a growing procession of billionaire Rightwingers recently whining aloud about their perceived persecution at the hands of...well, anyone who doesn't share their political views and who doesn't have the "freedom" to also have billions, inherited or otherwise, in their bank accounts.

"Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists [ed note: apparently he means anyone who is not a Republican?] strive to discredit and intimidate opponents," Koch bemoans. "They engage in character assassination," he complains, before adding parenthetically,"(I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.)"

"Poor" fellow. Waldman, however, sees the Koch Agonistes very differently...

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

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GUESTS: Katie Klabusich & Eric Scheidler, for & against pro-choice advocate rights; Ian Millhiser on SCOTUS' McCutcheon ruling...
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2014 6:22pm PT  

It was a roller-coaster of a news day today, so it was a roller-coaster of a BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio.

First, I was joined by Katie Klabusich of KatieSpeak.com and Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League (PLAL). Klabusich was recently "targeted" by PLAL on their website, for her work as an abortion clinic escort trying to help women seeking cancer screenings, termination of pregnancies, prenatal care or birth control as they face a gauntlet of anti-choice protesters.

Klabusich wrote an "Open Letter to Legislators From a Clinic Escort" this week at Truthout, calling for buffer zones around such clinics, so women can visit their doctor without harassment. Scheidler, who says he supports buffer zones around voting precincts, disagrees that buffer zones should be allowed around reproductive medical facilities. He also feels that his organization did not threaten Klabusich by posting her name, photo and the city where she lives and works and asking supporters to share it far and wide under the guise of "praying" for her.

It was an enlightening conversation with the two of them.

In the second part of the show, Constitutional Law expert Ian Millhiser joined me to discuss today's horrific Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission and the "money laundering by rich campaign donors," that Millhiser argues it will now allow.

Two totally different issues, both posing serious questions surrounding First Amendment free speech issues.

All of that, and a bit more here and there (including Desi Doyen and our "April FOX Day" Green News Report) in this week's show. Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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(And a reminder why elections still matter.)
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2014 11:50am PT  

Scrambling to prep for today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, so this will have to be quick today, but you've probably already read about the U.S. Supreme Court's horrible 5-4 decision in the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case by now.

If not, Andrew Kroll's explainer "The Supreme Court Just Gutted Another Campaign Finance Law. Here's What Happened." is excellent, as is Ian Millhiser's "How The Supreme Court Just Legalized Money Laundering By Rich Campaign Donors".

[Millhiser will be joining me this evening on The BradCast.]

In (incredibly) brief, the SCOTUS ruling means that aggregate limits --- put in place 40 years ago, after the Watergate scandal --- that a single person may contribute to federal candidates and political parties were found to be an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment free speech rights. While limits of contributions to individual federal candidates of $2,600 per election (that's $2,600 for a primary and another $2,600 for the general) and $5,000 to a political committee stay in place, the aggregate amount they may now give to many candidates and political parties will now be lifted.

So, where a single donor could previously give no more than $117,000 to all federal candidates and political committees during the 2012 cycle, that limit has now been entirely trashed. As the SCOTUS minority argued in the case, the ruling will now allow a single individual to give up to $3.5 million in a cycle, if they give to all federal candidates running. In turn, those candidates and political parties may now pool that money and divert it to the most needed races.

This ruling is great news, for an incredibly small number of very wealthy people. As Richard Wolf and Fredreka Schouten encapsulate it at USA Today...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2014 6:30pm PT  

Finally. For the first time in years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rolled back the mad consolidation of our public airwaves by huge corporate interests.

Today's party-line vote by commissioners is just one small step for the FCC, but it may suggest that, under its new Chair Tom Wheeler, the federal agency may once again be showing some interest in fulfilling its mission of assuring that the public airwaves actually serve the public interest...

The Federal Communications Commission today took a critical first step toward tightening its rules and putting more of the public airwaves into the hands of local owners.

In a tense vote, the agency closed a loophole that has allowed companies like Raycom, Sinclair and Tribune to evade federal ownership limits. The industry calls these loopholes "joint service agreements," but we call them "covert consolidation" because they allow companies to control as many as four TV stations in the same market. Companies that have exploited the JSA loophole have gutted newsrooms and often broadcast the exact same newscast on multiple stations in the same community - if they run any news at all.
...
In the wake of this decision, some companies will be forced to sell off stations that violate the new rule.
...
In addition, the JSA loophole was one of many. The Department of Justice has pushed the FCC to close all loopholes and a recent statement from the FCC's media bureau suggests it's primed to scrutinize future deals.

The LA Times reports the new rules "will greatly reduce and potentially bring to an end the popular practice of business partnerships between competing local television stations."

Mind you, many of the corporations who have been abusing the rules by partnering to avoid competing with other local stations are the very same corporations who pretend to be in favor of so-called "free market competition."

The Times goes on to note that "FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said such partnerships have been abused by many broadcasters who have used so-called joint sales agreements to get around the regulatory agency's rules limiting the number of television stations a broadcaster can own."

"Broadcasters will have two years to unwind their joint sales agreement arrangements or can file a request for a waiver and try to make the case that the partnership serves the public interest," the paper reports. Public advocates like Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron, who otherwise lauded today's vote, still has "concerns about how the FCC will apply waiver standards."

Still, Aaron said in a statement issued today, the new rules amount to very encouraging news from the FCC for a change...

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

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UPDATE: AP reports ACA exchange to meet initial 7 million signup target before tonight's midnight deadline for 2014 enrollment...
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2014 12:43pm PT  

Well, this is fun. Today, a report out from the LA Times details a wide range of sources finding that "at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gotten health insurance since Obamacare started."

That's 9.5 million Americans who previously had no reliable access to health care now having such access thanks to the various provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare").

But don't tell, Fox "News". They are busy with their trademark misleading graphics today...

Yes, they do that sort of thing quite a bit. Always fun.

And, before we hear complaints from progressives, for those don't recall, while we've been very critical of the ACA over the years (we prefer a single-payer, "Medicare for All" time plan, versus the obsenity of private insurers profiteering off of sick people), as we noted late last year (when the ACA allowed me sign up for a new plan with my same insurer and save $300/month or $3,600/year in the bargain), more people now having access to health care --- the overall goal of the Republican-conceived "Obamacare" law --- is certainly a good thing, no matter how one slices it. That's true even if it's bad law (and it is.)

But, as noted, don't tell Fox. For that matter, don't tell the Democrats who, for some unknown reason (perhaps because they are delicate, quivering, easily-intimidated flowers?) still haven't figured out how to run for office on their positive accomplishments, such as the ACA.

* * *

UPDATE 8:59pm PT: Moments before midnight on the east coast, just before the March 31, 2014 deadline for signing up for health care insurance without a penalty under the ACA, AP is reporting that the "Obamacare" health care exchange is "on track to sign up more than 7 million Americans for health insurance." That number was the original target set by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) when the bill was first passed into law and has been seen as the administration's initial goal for signups. That target was scaled back to 6 million after the disastrous opening of the website late last year (despite the misleading Fox "News" graphic indicating otherwise above). But if the AP is right, ACA has now exceeded its initial target...

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

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