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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, June 30, 2016
Sanders, Clinton Surrogates Clash Over Democratic Party Platform: 'BradCast' 6/29/16
Guest: Ben Norton of Salon on the fight for progressive reform; Also: Trump seeks torture, CA seeks weed, some seek 'Texit'...
1000s of CA Primary Votes 'Saved' by Citizen Observer: 'BradCast' 6/28/16
'Ballots for Bernie' vote count observer Julie Tyler explains how she helped change L.A. County's provisional tally rules...
'Green News Report' 6/28/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly WV flooding, CA fires; World emissions pact undermined by Brexit?; VW to pay $15B in emissions scandal; PLUS: TransCanada demands $15B from U.S. for KXL rejection...
Previous GNRs: 6/23/16 - 6/21/16 - Archives...
Sunday Stay or Go Toons
Some sit in, others find the exit in Pdiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons from all sides of the pond...
Brexit: If it Could Happen There...: 'BradCast' 6/24/16
Also: NC voter suppression back in court; TX spending millions on unlawful Photo ID law; Did NY voter purge hurt Sanders or Clinton more?; Climate change death toll rising in WV, China...
SCOTUS on Immigration, Aff-Action; Dems End Gun 'Sit-in': 'BradCast' 6/23/16
Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser explains new Court rulings; and we cover far more breaking news than we can even fit here...
'Green News Report' 6/23/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Last CA nuke plant will close; Judge nixes Obama's fracking rules; Study: Toxic chemicals found in residents near fracking sites; PLUS: Researchers turn carbon emissions into stone...
Previous GNRs: 6/21/16 - 6/16/16 - Archives...
FL Rep.: Dems to 'Sit-In' Until Vote or GOP 'Hauls People Off Floor': 'BradCast' 6/22/16
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) explains House protest, calls GOP shutdown of C-SPAN 'astonishing', lack of vote on guns 'disgusting'...
Was Orlando the 'Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History?': 'BradCast' 6/21/16
Guest: USC historian Ariela J. Gross | ALSO: Trump's disastrous fundraising numbers; New polls; 700th 'GNR'!...
'Green News Report' 6/21/16
OUR 700TH EPISODE!!! Record heat in S.W.; Bernie wants YOU to fight climate change; PLUS: Obama climate change warning for national parks...
About That 'Stolen' Democratic Primary: 'BradCast' 6/20/16
Brad has a few thoughts. Plus: Sanders' call for progressive candidates and GOP/NRA/Trump gun lies, and more evidence elections matter...
Sunday Keepin' Bear Toons
The nation's political cartoonists on Orlando. 'PDiddie' rounds up political cartoonists response to Orlando and the end of Primary season...
Broken Party; Bernie's Message; Hillary Rising: 'BradCast' 6/17/16
A year into Trump. Sanders 'revolution' just starting? 'Red' states could turn 'blue'...
Former CDC Injury Chief on Federal Gun Research 'Ban': 'BradCast' 6/16/16
Dr. Mark Rosenberg on his 1996 'Dickey Amendment' showdown w/ Congress, NRA; Also: Dem 'filibuster' forces gun votes, Obama in Orlando...
'Green News Report' 6/16/16
House GOP to roll back pollution standards; May 2016 hottest on record; Clean Power Plan saves $38b/year; PLUS: Trump for climate action before against it...
Bullets and Ballots: 'BradCast' 6/15/16
Fights over both continue, after Orlando Massacre and Presidential primary voting. We cover the latest on both, take listener calls, and more...
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...


PLUS: A bonus SECOND hour of special coverage with calls from tons of Southern California voters and poll workers, all live from KPFK!
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2016 6:23pm PT  

On today's very busy, very lively BradCast (and extra, special, surprise, bonus hour of The BradCast!), we cover the results of the latest (and, thankfully, final for this cycle) 'Super Tuesday' primary contests in California, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico and Montana yesterday. [Audio links to both hours posted below!]

After coverage of responses from all three remaining candidates (Trump, Clinton and Sanders) to last night's reported results, and where they will each go from here, we take a look at some of the reported problems that folks had casting their votes, particularly here in Los Angeles County (the nation's largest voting jurisdiction).

Are the problems being reported in California as "just chaos" (LATimes) and "mired in voting problems" (HuffPo) as bad as some are reporting them to be? The main concerns, at this hour, seem to involve failed electronic ballot readers at L.A. polling places (which don't actually tabulate votes anyway) and voters forced to cast Provisional Ballots (some 240k in LA County alone) for a variety of reasons, some legit, some a bit more troubling.

Both voters and poll workers --- lots of them! --- call in today to report on polling problems from Tuesday, views on the primary in general, on AP reporting the Democratic contest as over on Monday before voters even voted on Tuesday, and much much more on today's show. In fact, the phone lines were so busy, with so many callers, that KPFK asked us to continue on for an unprecedented second hour of our special coverage! Both of which are now posted below...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

Download MP3 (BONUS HOUR!) or listen online below...

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Guest: Prof. Jonathan H. Adler on 'Baptists, Bootleggers and E-Cigs'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2016 5:10pm PT  

I usually try to avoid talk about elections on election days themselves, but the AP, NBC, CNN and all the rest in the corporate media gave me little choice on today's BradCast, even as millions of voters go to the polls today in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Last night, just after we got off air, Associated Press decided to declare that Hillary Clinton had "clinched" the Democratic nomination. Their reporting was based on conversations with unpledged Super Delegates who do not actually cast their vote in the nominating process until the end of July (July 25th, to be specific), at the Democratic National Convention. So, with their misleading, inaccurate pronouncements of the Democrats having 'selected a female nominee for the first time in history' (they haven't --- yet), I offer a word or two today --- okay, a rant or two --- on the amazing disservice those news organizations have done to voters (not to mention the Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns, their supporters, the DNC and American democracy itself) with their inaccurate and misleading misreporting.

Then, I'm joined by Jonathan H. Adler, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law & Regulation at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, to discuss the strange bedfellows who've joined forces in support of onerous new FDA regulations on life-saving vaping (e-cigarette) technology. We've discussed the topic on the show on a number of occasions in the past (most recently here), not only because half a million Americans still die each year, unnecessarily, from cigarette smoking, but because, bizarrely, it has largely been Democrats and other supposedly anti-tobacco crusaders who have been leading the deadly campaign against vaping, making it much harder for smokers to quit smoking in the bargain.

Why would Dems be fighting --- alongside Big Tobacco(!) --- to kill the vaping industry, despite scientific studies finding e-cigarettes to be at least 95% safer than smoking and the UK's Royal College of Physicians (the equivalent of the office of the Surgeon General in the U.S.) recent pronouncement: "in the interests of public health it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes...as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking"?

In her recent article, "Democrats Work With Big Tobacco and Big Pharma to Choke the Vaping Industry," at the American Media Institute (and at the NY Observer), journalist Monica Showalter offers an answer. She details the "strange bedfellows against vaping," citing both Big Tobacco's support of the crippling new FDA regulations, along with massive donations given by Big Pharma to big name Democrats in the U.S. Senate, just as those politicians came out in favor of restrictions on vaping. The Big Pharma companies include those which control the multi-billion dollar smoking-cessation nicotine industry that produces products such as nicotine gums, patches and, yes, inhalers!

Adler, the co-author of a study titled "Baptists, Bootleggers and E-Cigarettes", joins us to explain the strange coalition, and the powerful history of the "Baptist and Bootleggers" political/economic theory, where seemingly opposing groups, such as bootleggers and religious opponents of alcohol, worked together to keep Prohibition going as long as possible in the U.S. in the early part of the 20th century.

A similarly fascinating and powerful (and bizarre) political and financial coalition seems to be at work here, as Adler explains, to blunt the nascent and life-saving e-cigarette industry, despite recent studies showing, for example, "that when restrictions are imposed upon electronic cigarettes that either make them harder to get or make them more expensive, teen smoking rates go up. The idea that we could adopt policies in the name of public health that increase teen smoking rates should really be frightening."

Also, what should be similarly frightening to Democrats and others who claim to be against smoking, according to Adler, is that the Big Tobacco companies have been very supportive of the onerous FDA regulations no being applied to vaping products. Those are costly new rules that Big Tobacco can afford to comply with, but Mom and Pop vaping shops, currently leading the industry in the U.S., simply cannot. "The major tobacco companies asked [for] and supported the FDA's proposals to regulate e-cigarettes," Adler tells me. "Indeed, Phillip Morris is largely credited with helping to write the statute under which these regulations were adopted."

Finally, we end another very busy BradCast today with our latest very busy Green News Report!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/12/2016 11:26am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Judge rules children's federal climate change lawsuit may go forward; Big Oil spends $100 million a year on climate denial propaganda and obstruction; Some good news for wolverines, tigers and bees; PLUS: Probe into what Exxon knew about climate change science expands beyond Exxon... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Unable To Compete On Price, Nuclear Power On The Decline In The U.S.; Lawsuits Charge that 3M Knew About the Dangers of Its Chemicals; Climate-Related Death of Coral Around World Alarms Scientists; Climate-Related Death of Coral Around World Alarms Scientists; For The Navajo Nation, Uranium Mining's Deadly Legacy Lingers; Drowning History: Sea Level Rise Threatens US Historic Sites; Water With Unsafe Lead Amounts Found In Hundreds Of Schools; In Iowa Corn Fields, Chinese National's Seed Theft Shows Vulnerability... PLUS: Lousiana Tribe May Move Entire Community North In First-Of-Its-Kind Test Case... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 7/30/2015 1:15pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Portland activists suspend from a bridge to stop Arctic drilling; Wildfire season explodes across West; New study finds wildfire season getting much worse around the world; PLUS: The killing of Cecil the Lion ignites a firestorm of controversy... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate change 'triple threat' increases severe flooding risk in biggest US cities; U.S. Private Sector Vows To Ante Up On Climate Finance; Yet another study finds that reducing carbon emissions saves Americans money; Coal not good for reducing poverty, Oxfam report says; Coal industry gears up for court fight over proposed stream protection rule... PLUS: These national parks got an 'F' for air pollution... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl...
By Brad Friedman on 5/28/2015 5:33pm PT  

Nebraska does it again! The majority-GOP state legislature overrides yet another veto by the state's GOP governor to do the right thing yet again, this time to allow the children of immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses. The latest move by Conservative legislators in the state comes on the heels of overriding vetoes and/or filibuster-proof majorities to protect voting rights, raise tax revenue to repair roads and bridges and ban the death penalty. (Today's news, by the way, was available last week to regular BradCast listeners, as it was hinted at quite directly on our show at the time by my guest that day, Republican state Sen. Al Davis.)

In the meantime, my guest on today's The BradCast is Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices John Motl. He explains the state's latest disturbing court battle to retain their long-standing caps on campaign donations. As noted during the show, this case could very well end up at the U.S. Supreme Court and serve to remove all caps on donations to candidates across the country. So it's very important. This in a state which recently saw SCOTUS gut it's 100-year old prohibition on corporate campaign spending (the Corrupt Practices Act of 1912) in the wake of Citizens United.

"We fully understand we are standing in on behalf of the average person," Motl tells me. "We're not standing here on behalf of the large moneyed interests. And we're willing to take that burden on." He adds that he's confident they will win this case. "If there's justice, we will prevail." I'm not quite as confident as he is, to be frank. Pay attention to this case.

Plus: An amusing new RW conspiracy theory, of sorts; Saudi Arabia's oil minister says we may be nearing the end of fossil fuels(!); and extreme weather ravishing the nation and the world on the latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2015 6:05am PT  

How little do the Koch Brothers' "local" apparatchiks actually care, or even know, about the denizens of the various localities they are hoping to scam, with millions of dollars of misleading propaganda (lies), into voting against their own interests?

This little:

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) bashed the Koch brothers-funded conservative outside group Americans for Prosperity for botching the total population of Montana in a response to Montana Democrats advancing legislation that would expand Medicaid in the state.

The botched statement, by Montana Americans for Prosperity state director Zach Lahn said "the voices of millions of Montanans" didn't want to expand Medicaid through Obamacare. It came after the Montana House of Representatives passed a Medicaid expansion bill.

Montana's population does not extend into the millions.

"Montana's population passed one million people for the first time ever in 2012. So imagine my surprise when the latest billionaire-funded attack accused me of opposing the 'voices of millions of Montanans,'" Bullock wrote in a fundraising email on Monday. "Let me tell you what's most startling about this --- Not knowing how many 'millions' of people live in Montana won't stop the Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity from spending millions of dollars to buy our elections."




With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 1/22/2015 3:36pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: President Obama's State of the Union focuses on climate change; Republicans' sneaky move to give the Keystone XL pipeline a new name; Yellowstone River pipeline spill spews oil and cancer-causing benzene; PLUS: Yes, Republicans vote climate change is not a hoax --- but there's a catch... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Global nuclear decommissioning costs spiral; Good news: India's tiger population rebounds; What's the best way to drill for oil in a mostly untouched Alaskan tundra? Feds disagree; Organic farmers say pesticide drift contaminates and kills; US research labs lets livestock suffer in quest for profit; NM county's fracking ban struck down; Cutbacks in the Oil Patch... PLUS: VIDEO: “..a Bloodbath”: Efficiency, Renewables and Smart Grid will Kill Old Energy... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2015 2:35pm PT  

The good news, which Republicans in Congress won't care about, because it involves Americans, as opposed to (profits for foreign) corporations, is that, according to a new NBC/WSJ poll, just 41% of the American public supports building the Keystone XL pipeline.

The not-as-good news, however: Just 20% oppose it, while a full 37% "say they don't know enough to have an opinion".

It's somewhat astonishing, frankly, that so many still "don't know enough" about it after all this time. But that's certainly what its supporters are counting on.

It'll be interesting to see if the news about the oil pipeline rupture in Montana's Yellowstone River on Saturday --- and today's report that it has contaminated the drinking water supply with cancer-causing Benzene --- will have any effect on those poll numbers.

The Guardian reports: "Truckloads of bottled water were expected to be brought in on Tuesday, and residents were warned not to drink or cook with water from their taps. Up to 50,000 gallons of oil spilled on Saturday from a break in a 12-inch pipeline owned by Wyoming-based Bridger Pipeline Co." This week's spill follows another pipeline rupture on the Yellowstone in 2011 that dumped 63,000 gallons of crude along an 85-mile stretch of the river.

By way of comparison to the KXL, the pipeline that broke on Saturday, spilling "up to 50,000 gallons", was just a 12-inch pipe, while the the KXL, if completed, will be a 36-inch pipeline stretching from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico, right across the water supply for much of the Midwest. What could possibly go wrong?

And one more quick related point: Republican majorities (along with the help of a few pro-KXL Dems) blocked two Democratic amendments today to the GOP Senate bill to require completion of the pipeline. The amendments, proposed by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Al Franken (D-MN), would have required that all of the dirty oil transported through the pipeline be sold in the U.S., and that the pipeline be built with American-made steel.

Do the world a favor and feel free to pass on this short article to a few of those folks who "say they don't know enough to have an opinion" on Keystone XL.




With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/26/2013 3:53pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Water wars in the U.S.; Bad year for butterflies; ExxonMobil fined (barely) for Yellowstone River pipeline spill; Russia stockpiles snow for the 2014 Winter Olympics; PLUS: Apple computers goes renewable ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): World’s Most Powerful Private Supercomputer Won’t Cure Cancer, But Will Find Oil Super Fast; Ocean warming has accelerated in past 15 years; Scientists work to create fuel from CO2; Scientists link frozen spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss; Fracking companies win WY disclosure suit; IG: DOE mismanaged stimulus-backed climate program; Peru declares environmental state of emergency; Canada must leave tar sands in the ground: study ... PLUS: Trump trumped: Scottish government approves windfarm opposed by Donald Trump ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 12/11/2012 2:41pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar end with a whimper; Midwest weather whiplash; Enjoy snow skiing while you still can; PLUS: Sad news for the most famous wolf in Yellowstone National Park ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Salt Lake Trib: 'A Killing Climate'; Japanese nuclear plant sitting on active fault line; NOAA sees sea level rise of up to 6.6 feet by 2100; Wheat prices rise on global drought; SPUG's 1912 campaign against 'useless gifts'; NYC reconstruction will plan for climate change; CA to easily meet state renewable energy goals; NASA: Wildfires to increase in US; BP emails reveal underreporting of oil spill disaster ... PLUS: How Corruption Is Strangling U.S. Innovation ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2012 10:01am PT  

So much for states' rights from the so-called "conservative" U.S. Supreme Court --- as if 2000's Bush v. Gore didn't already tell you that they, like other "small government Conservatives", were largely full of shit when making that pretend claim...only when convenient to their policy goals, of course...

The Supreme Court reversed a decision by a Montana court supporting a state anti-corruption law passed in 1912 that prohibited corporate influence in state elections, reaffiriming that their Citizens United decision invalidates such restrictions. Montana, supported by 22 states and Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), had argued that their law should be allowed to stand because of the state’s unique history of corruption around its mining industry, which led to its passage by referendum. The court ruled against them 5-4, the same majority that determined Citizens United.

You can read more about the courageous decision earlier this year by the Montana Supreme Court --- the decision struck down today by SCOTUS --- in Ernie Canning's coverage from January. In that case, even the dissenting MT Justice found the U.S. Supreme Court's "entire concept" of corporate personhood to be "offensive."

"Corporations are not persons. Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people --- human beings --- to share fundamental, natural rights with soulless creations of government. ... Indeed, it is truly ironic that the death penalty and hell are reserved only to natural persons," wrote the dissenting Justice James C. Nelson who, clearly, disagreed with Citizens United, but dissented in the MT case because he believed --- as SCOTUS affirmed today --- that they, not states, can decide how campaign finance will or won't work for every state in the entire nation.

The 5-4 Citizens United majority has essentially told Montana --- and every other state in the union --- that they may not run their own elections as they wish. Even though Justice Anthony Kennedy had written for the majority in that case that "independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption," the high court today decided not to review the record of corruption --- essentially, mining companies buying up the entire state legislature in MT back at the turn of the 20th century --- which gave rise to the now-dead Montana law.

In Justice Stephen Breyer's dissenting opinion of today's summary reversal (made without even hearing oral arguments), he writes: "[E]ven if I were to accept Citizens United, this Court’s legal conclusion should not bar the Montana Supreme Court’s finding, made on the record before it, that independent expenditures by corporations did in fact lead to corruption or the appearance of corruption in Montana."

"Given the history and political landscape in Montana, that court concluded that the State had a compelling interest in limiting independent expenditures by corporations," Breyer wrote in the dissent (joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan). "Thus, Montana’s experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court’s decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubt on the Court’s supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so."

The court's one paragraph summary reversal and Breyer's full dissent can both be read here [PDF].




ES&S voting systems fail yet again...
By Brad Friedman on 6/11/2012 1:28pm PT  

Before, during and after last week's historic Wisconsin recall elections, we detailed why there is reason to be concerned about the computer-reported results of the votes cast across the state, even with the majority of those votes having been cast on paper ballots.

In short, the results are, and will remain, 100% unverified unless someone bothers to get a court order.

As we previously reported...

[T]hose ballots ... are tabulated by computer optical-scan systems like the ones in Palm Beach County, FL, which, in March of this year, had named several losing candidates to be the "winners." And like the ones in New York City which, in 2010, managed to toss out thousands of valid votes, including as many as 70% in one South Bronx precinct. And like the ones in Oakland County, Michigan, where officials found the same machines failed to count the same ballots the same way twice in 2008. And like the ones in Leon County, FL, which, in 2005, were hacked to entirely flip the results of a mock election.

In Palm Beach County, FL, the failure was discovered during a state-mandated, post-election spot check of 2% of the paper ballots. In New York City, it took nearly two years before the failures were discovered after the New York Daily News was able to examine the paper ballots via a public records request. In Oakland County, MI, election officials were lucky enough to discover the failure during pre-election testing. And in Leon County, FL, the hacker --- a computer security expert --- revealed the op-scan system flaw he exploited to flip the results of the election in an Emmy-nominated HBO documentary.

In all cases, it was only a hand examination of the paper ballots that revealed the mistabulations by the op-scanners.

Unfortunately, in Wisconsin, no such post-election hand-examination takes place for any ballots --- at least not without both a recount request and an order from a judge. There are no spot-checks to ensure accuracy, so there is no way to know if the results reported by the computers reflect what the actual voters said in Wisconsin. The reported results are therefore either accurate or they are not. Who knows?

We explained why all of the above means that we cannot know if Republican Scott Walker actually won his gubernatorial recall election anymore than we can know if John Lehman (D) won his challenge against incumbent state Sen. Van Wanggaard (R) in the District 21 state Senate recall on the same day. (If Lehman is certified as the winner, the Democrats will take majority control of the state Senate. Wanggaard should demand a hand count of all ballots. To do so, he needs to file for a recount, and then beg a judge to allow that count to be done by hand, rather by the same machines once again, as is the standard under the WI election code.)

For those who think such concerns are overwrought, if the above instance of op-scan machine failure aren't enough for you, take a look at what happened last week in three different counties in Montana, on the very same day of the recall elections in Wisconsin...

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




UPDATE: Call to end 'corporate personhood' passes Vermont Assembly...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/14/2012 1:39pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

On Wednesday, by a bi-partisan vote of 26-3, the Vermont state Senate passed a resolution "calling for an amendment to the [U.S.] Constitution that corporations are not people and money is not speech and can be regulated in political campaigns" according to advocacy group, Move to Amend.

A majority of Senate Republicans joined with all of the Democrats in voting to approve the measure. The three nay votes came from Republicans after similar resolutions were passed in March by 64 different communities in Vermont.

Move to Amend observed that the Green Mountain State's Senate resolution goes much further than similar resolutions passed in Hawaii and New Mexico, which sought only to overturn the infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission [PDF]. (The CA State Assembly also passed a resolution last month to overturn Citizens United).

In 2010, President Barack Obama blasted Citizens United as "devastating to the public interest." During his 2010 State of the Union Address, the President said the Court's decision would "open the floodgates for special interests --- including foreign corporations --- to spend without limit in our elections."

However, the President has, as yet, not offered a rejoinder to the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt "Gordon Gekko" Romney, by squarely stating that "corporations are not people!"

If the President followed Vermont's lead, would it portend to a Democratic landslide in November? Would the SCOTUS, faced with the prospect of a Constitutional Amendment that would put an end to corporate personhood altogether, feel pressured to either overrule or, at a minimum, curtail the reach of Citizens United?...

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




UPDATE: CA Assembly asks U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/22/2012 10:17am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Citizens United rejected a congressional legislative ban on corporate campaign contributions. It says nothing about the ability to tax such contributions...

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




Majority AND dissent unleash blistering critique of infamous SCOTUS decision, 'offensive' concept of 'corporate personhood'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/5/2012 4:37pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

This week, the Montana Supreme Court stood up to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, rejecting the much-criticized 2010 federal decision by declaring that, in their state at least, a century-old prohibition on corporate money in local politics will be allowed to stand.

By way of a 5-2 decision in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. vs. Attorney General of Montana [PDF], the state's high court upheld the constitutionality of the long-standing Corrupt Practices Act of 1912, which prevents direct contributions by corporations to candidates or political committees. The law does not, however, prohibit voluntary individual contributions to separate segregated funds created by shareholders, employees or members of a corporation.

The state law also mandates disclosure of who pays for political communications, while the 2010 Citizens United ruling allows for unlimited secret money to flood into campaigns, for use either for or against any particular candidate.

The majority opinion in the Montana case, written by Chief Justice Mike McGrath, sought to distinguish their state law from Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission [PDF] by pointing to factors in the state --- its dependence upon agriculture and extractive resource development, as well as its sparse population and history of low campaign expenditures --- which, he claimed, make the state "especially vulnerable to...corporate control to the detriment of democracy".

Even one of the dissenters in the MT decision, Justice James C. Nelson, while making clear that he believes the SCOTUS decision likely takes legal precedent over their own state law, offered a blistering critique to the very underpinnings of Citizens United --- a case we previously predicted "will live in infamy" --- by taking direct aim at the absurd concept of "corporate personhood" in his dissenting opinion...

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




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