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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
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'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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...
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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
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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
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CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
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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...

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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 12/23/2011 3:25pm PT  

No time to detail this one for the moment, as I'm preparing to guest host the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show tonight, so I'll just link to TPM's breaking coverage for the moment. I'll almost certainly have more to say on this on the show tonight, but for now, it looks like we've got still more good news this Christmas!

The Dept. of Justice has denied preclearance [PDF] of the South Carolina GOP's new polling place Photo ID restriction law, finding it was likely to disenfranchise voters, particularly minority voters, as "the state’s own statistics demonstrated that the photo identification requirement would have a much greater impact on non-white residents, DOJ said in a letter to the state on Friday," according to TPM.

The racial disparity seen by the DoJ is similar to the hardships, from such laws, to students and elderly voters (you know, the ones who tend to vote for Democrats, which is why the GOP is instituting these voter suppression laws in the first place.)

The GOP has long used the lie about an an epidemic of "voter fraud" by voter impersonation at the polling place, though they have failed to document virtually any instances of it. Nonetheless, they've been using such false claims to institute these types of laws around the country after Republicans took over a number of state legislatures in 2010. States that are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 must receive preclearance for such laws before they can be enacted, given the history of racism in the covered jurisdictions.

The BRAD BLOG's own crack legal analyst, Ernie Canning, detailed the concerns that the DoJ had about the disenfranchising affects of the law back in September, noting that they seemed to be signaling at the time that preclearance would be unlikely, given many serious flaws in the state law.

A final decision on DoJ preclearance is still pending in Texas where the agency has also indicated they are likely to reject the new Photo ID laws. Meanwhile, in states not covered by Section 5, such as Wisconsin, it's fallen to non-governmental organizations, such as the ACLU, to challenge the new laws in the court system, as they did earlier this month.

All of this follows on Indiana's first-in-the-nation Photo ID restriction law, approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. Ironically enough, yesterday in the Hoosier State, the Republican Secretary of State Charlie White, now facing seven criminal felony counts, including three of them for voter fraud, was ordered removed from his post by a circuit court judge who found he was not eligible to vote or be on the ballot at all in 2010. The judge has ordered White be replaced by the second-highest vote-getter, Democrat Vop Osili. Our coverage of that incredible "White Christmas" story is right here.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2011 8:36pm PT  

Frustrating. I spent much of the day prepping for my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show today, only to get to the station this afternoon to find out we were on a last minute, emergency fund drive this week, so my show was preempted, but I didn't get the message (literally).

Had planned to do a long overdue War on Voting update, as I haven't gotten to cover elections much on the show for months. Had prepared to discuss everything from AG Eric Holder's speech on voting rights issues at the LBJ Library in Austin (who knew we even had an AG?!); to Ohio voters putting the kibosh on GOP voter suppression laws going into effect next year to 96-year old Dorothy Cooper now unable to vote in TN under the GOP's new voter suppression laws there; to 84-year old Ruthelle Frank told she may have to pay $200 to vote in WI under the GOP's new voter suppression laws there; to the ACLU's new federal lawsuit against Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP's voter-suppression laws in WI; to the League of Women Voters state suit against same; to the jackass Jeffery Karnitz in WI recently arrested after defacing 'Recall Walker' petitions; to our Special Report this week on the battle for election integrity in Venango County, PA and the unexplained "remote access" on "multiple occasions" found, via a forensic investigation, to have taken place on their ES&S e-voting systems during recent elections (and the attempt by ES&S and the County Commissioners to spike that investigation by the county Board of Elections.)

What a show that coulda been!

The bad news: I couldn't do it today at KPFK for the aforementioned reason. The good news: Mike Malloy has asked me, at the last-ish minute, to guest host his show this Friday night! So today's show prep for KPFK will be delivered to Malloy listeners on Friday instead!

Relatedly, I'll also be in for Mike next Friday (before XMas weekend) and the Thursday and Friday thereafter (before New Years weekend). As usual, we'll have LIVE listening streams and chat rooms here during the show each night that I'm guest hosting, 6p-9p PT / 9p-Mid ET, so I hope you'll join us! Especially since it'll be our last few nights on our Clear Channel affiliate, Green960 in San Francisco, before the only progressive AM talk station on the air in one of the nation's most liberal cities disappears from our public airwaves!

For now, anyway, these things are all First World Problems. Though only as long as we remain a First World Nation. Given the way things are going, that is no longer a safe bet for much longer...

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First confirmed use of unmanned 'terror tool' spy plane in U.S. against U.S. citizenry...
By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2011 9:33am PT  

Golly. All those pinko, commie, terrorist-loving Leftists who have long been warning about the dangers of Big Government overreach and the dangerously increasing use of terror tools against U.S. citizens --- the same thing that "Tea Party" RWers pretended, only after Obama's election, to be concerned about --- were nothing but America-hating alarmists, weren't they?

From KTLA::

Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front
Unmanned aircraft from an Air Force base in North Dakota help local police with surveillance, raising questions that trouble privacy advocates.

Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in the early evening of June 23. Three men brandishing rifles chased him off, he said.

Janke knew the gunmen could be anywhere on the 3,000-acre spread in eastern North Dakota. Fearful of an armed standoff, he called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties.

He also called in a Predator B drone.

As the unmanned aircraft circled 2 miles overhead the next morning, sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare.

But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials said.

It's a shame the Predator B Drone didn't just unload some heat-seeking missiles on the three suspected cow rustlers, eh? Think of all the gas money they could have saved the Sheriff's office from having to drive in and arrest them in person.

What was it that you "Tea Partiers" were saying about Big Government and Big Brother again, even as you were then, and are still now, supporting the unfettered, unConstitutional use of terror tools in the "War on Terrorism U.S. Cow Rustlers"?

And what will you use an excuse to rationalize it all this time? Our comment section is open for your hypocritical justifications, as usual.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/8/2011 5:12pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Many of the individuals who were swept up by last week's LAPD raid on the Occupy LA encampment at Los Angeles City Hall were arrested even as they attempted to disperse in accordance with police directives, according to testimonials from some who were detained in the early morning hours of November 30th and held on misdemeanor charges for days after.

Their videotaped testimonials [some of which are posted below] both corroborate and reinforce the excessive force and post-arrest abuse charges detailed in our previous article on the Occupy LA raid, in which detainees charged that they were hand-cuffed behind their backs and left to languish inside L.A. County Sheriff's Department (LASD) buses for eight to nine hours without access to food, water, medicine, or toilets as they were left to urinate on themselves in their seats.

The details also suggest that these conditions were imposed upon innocent demonstrators who were the victims of indiscriminate, false arrests by law enforcement officials. Worse, one written account suggests the LAPD's misconduct included not only pillaging the encampment and police brutality, but even torture...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
It's not easy being green...
By Desi Doyen on 12/6/2011 2:25pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's not easy being green!: Fox 'News' goes to war with Kermit T. Frog!; Crunch week at UN climate talks; Million-dollar fines for Massey Energy's WV coal mine disaster; PLUS: Protesting the World Bank's major coal projects ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

Link:
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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): BP accuses Halliburton of destroying evidence in Gulf Oil Spill; $50 million Gulf restoration fund urged; More radioactive water leaks from Japan's Fukushima plant; Climate change already severely impacting agriculture; Humans responsible for 3/4 of climate change; GOP Fail: Military housing solar project a 'go' ... PLUS: The brutal logic of climate change. It ain't pretty ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 11/23/2011 11:44am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Last September The BRAD BLOG, unlike the corporate-owned media, offered detailed coverage of a U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights hearing on the spate of GOP voter suppression laws (PART 1 and PART 2).

Now, Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films has produced a powerful video that exposes the Koch-funded assault on your democracy, along with a petition that you can sign demanding that the Eric Holder-led Department of Justice live up to its name...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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But bad news for Mississippi voters...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2011 10:34pm PT  

The voters of Maine appear to have registered a stinging rebuke to their Republican Governor and Legislature's attempt to kill the state's 38-year tradition of Election Day voter registration at the polling place.

As the Lewiston Sun Journal reports tonight: "And it wasn't close."

That's an understatement. The People's Veto of the GOP bill was on the ballot tonight and, if the results are accurate as reported, the people of Maine couldn't have been clearer. Question 1 has is said to have passed by a remarkable 61 to 39% 60 to 40% margin (with 90% 98% 100% of the results in), quite literally winning in every single county in the state:

The overwhelming victory for voters' rights in the Pine Tree State comes on the heels of Maine's GOP Chair Charlie Webster embarrassing himself and his party over the last several months with his complaint to the GOP Sec. of State Charles Summers, Jr. that out-of-state college students were committing "voter fraud" in the state.

Despite some 200 names Webster submitted to Summers for an investigation, no evidence of fraud was found by the SoS. That lack of evidence of voter fraud, however, didn't keep Summers from sending intimidating letters to those legal student voters.

Nonetheless, Mainers of all stripes today appear to have soundly rejected the GOP's "voter fraud" fraud in their People's Veto at the ballot box.

"The advantage we had was the truth," David Farmer, a spokesman for Protect Maine Votes told the Sun Journal. "The facts carried the day. Same-day voter registration works and it has for nearly 40 years. Unlike other states, Mainers wouldn't stand for the erosion of their voting rights. They should be very proud of that."

They should indeed.

The contrast was stark, however, from results being reported in Mississippi tonight...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2011 10:10am PT  

No wonder MSNBC buried Chris Hayes' new show in in the absurdly early hours of the weekend TV ghetto. He should be hosting, at a minimum, NBC's Meet the Press.

Had he been doing so for the last several years --- rather than the clueless elitists who have been, along with their weekly parade of meaningless softballs served up to similarly clueless elitist guests and panelists --- we likely wouldn't be in this mess.

Yesterday's compelling round-table discussion on UP with Chris Hayes, about so much that is actually at the heart of this nation's problems, follows below. I hope you will watch it...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2011 5:59pm PT  

As there are still a number of brain-dead and/or entirely corrupt and/or entirely dishonest phonies who, even now, pretend they're unclear on what Occupy Wall Street's message is, Dahlia Lithwick smartly dispatches with their hooey today. Those folks aren't really worth our time.

But the fact is, the wholesale takeover of the American government by corporate "persons" --- and the (at least) 30 years of corruption and crapping on the middle class that has come with it --- has some 99% of us with a long, 30 year-list of complaints. They don't easily fit on one single bumper sticker. Ultimately, though, there seems just one thing that underscores all of those complaints: the end of any real accountability for every one of those corrupting influences and often criminal acts.

It has become almost unimaginable that flagrant lawlessness by the elite --- be they in government or corporatist America --- will ever be met with any sort of real accountability, any kind of accountability that might actually dissuade others from the same behavior in a way that might serve to reverse the ever increasing race to lower the bar below ground. That, I suspect, is the frustration at the heart of every Occupation and ever Occupier or those who support them in the country.

Two back-to-back interviews on Tuesday night's Rachel Maddow Show seemed to make these points as plain as could be, and one even offered some hope in the bargain. The first was with NY state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who actually suggests he gets it, and is actually pursuing real accountability, with real investigations into criminality by the banks and the banksters before, during and after the explosion of the mortgage crisis. We'll see if he means it (or if he gets "caught" with a hooker first.) The second interview was with Constitutional attorney, Salon blogger and author of the new book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, Glenn Greenwald.

Key points on accountability from both interviews are excerpted below, and the full videos of each are embed below that. Both are worth reading and/or watching in full if you haven't. It's about the accountability, stupid...

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

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UPDATED: Super-genius Barr responds, shoots self again...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2011 11:53am PT  

Apparently, disgraced former HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr just can't help himself.

The guy who lost his job and was publicly humiliated after promising to reveal the identities of the supposed leadership of hacktivist group Anonymous and getting caught devising a plan to illegally discredit, defraud and spy on perceived opponents of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America is now palling around with a self-appointed NYPD/FBI "snitch" at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and beyond, according to --- ironically enough --- emails accidentally released on the Internet by the "snitch" himself, Thomas Ryan.

These two are the government corporate welfare queens and "cyber security" clowns that can't shoot straight, it seems. But at least they have each other --- and your tax-payer dollars --- as they both work for highly remunerated, government contracted security firms. And while they each claim to represent different sides of the partisan aisle, strangely enough, as an investigation by The BRAD BLOG reveals, they've found common ground in representing government and corporations in their fight against We, the People.

Barr had been CEO of the U.S. government contracted firm HBGary Federal until earlier this year, after the firm was embarrassed when their hard drives were scrubbed, their websites hacked, Barr's Twitter account defaced, his iPad remotely wiped and some 70,000 of the "cyber security" company's emails were stolen and posted on the Internet by Anonymous in retaliation against Barr who, the hacktivist group claimed, was poised to release inaccurate information about the group's supposed "leadership".

Found among the treasure trove of Barr's HBGary emails was a $12 million plot being hatched on behalf of the criminal thugs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest and most powerful Rightwing lobbying outfit. The scheme was being secretly devised, according to the emails, by the Chamber's high-powered D.C. law firm Hunton & Williams along with HBGary and two other U.S. cyber security contractors, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies. Their plans were to smear, defraud, plant fake documents and spy --- even hack --- perceived political opponents of the Chamber.

The plot was accidentally discovered via Anonymous' hack of HBGary just days before it was to be put into action. The scheme was to take tools developed by the three companies with public money for use in the "War on Terror" and turn them against U.S. Citizens like myself and my family who were discovered to have been named as targets in the emails, along with photos and personal details about us. A number of progressive advocates and organizations, including other journalistic outlets, were also to have been targets of the Chamber's plot.

Also discovered among the emails was a parallel scheme being coordinated by the same D.C. law firm and the same three U.S. government-funded cyber security firms --- who had banded together to call themselves "Team Themis" --- to target perceived proponents of WikiLeaks, including Salon journalist Glenn Greenwald, on behalf of the corporate giant Bank of America. In both plots, HBGary's Aaron Barr was seen as the lead developer of the various extra-legal schemes.

Barr, who has claimed on a number of occasions to be a Democrat, became a public laughing stock and was forced to resign in shame last February on the heels of the revelations. But his proclivity for scheming against law-abiding U.S. citizens and his vendetta against members of Anonymous has yet to be assuaged, as evidenced by both his recent bizarre, blue-haired appearance at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in Manhattan, and his various collaborative appearances in recently released emails and several Twitter exchanges with the Rightwing Ryan...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 10/22/2011 5:31pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

That'll teach 'em to mess with the Military-Industrial Complex.

As the Washington Post reported earlier this month, Maryland's "Montgomery County Council resolution asking Congress to spend less on wars and redirect the funds to social programs has drawn the scrutiny of one of the county’s largest employers and other lawmakers."

Despite the non-binding resolution's [PDF] 5 to 4 majority support on the Council, it was withdrawn from consideration after "Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin," a giant manufacturer of sophisticated military weapons, "which employs more than 5,000 workers in Montgomery, urged county officials against the resolution."

The Lockheed lobbyists were joined in their efforts to derail the County Council's resolution --- supported by Democratic members of the council --- by Democratic state and county officials concerned about implications of insulting the weapons contractor giant, while officials in neighboring Virginia "gleefully watch[ed] from afar" as the two states are in frequent competition for billions of Pentagon dollars and the jobs that portend to go with them.

But Pentagon dollars are among the least efficient ways to increase jobs and wealth in any given community, as explained by John Feffer, a co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies and Jean Athey, a coordinator of Montgomery County Peace Action, a supporter of the now-withdrawn Montgomery resolution:

Spend a billion dollars on the military, economists Robert Pollin and Hedi Garrett-Peltier estimate, and you get about 11,000 jobs (just a little more than what Lockheed Martin employs in all of Maryland). Spend that same billion dollars on clean energy projects and you generate about 17,000 jobs. The same money invested in education produces nearly 30,000 jobs.

Nonetheless, Lockheed and other longtime members of the Military-Industrial Complex continue to work with public officials in exploiting the "jobs scam" in order to pit state against state, county against county and town against town to bilk tax-payers out of billions under the cynical rubrik of "job creation."

And when that doesn't work, there are other, darker methods that can be used to send the "right" message to those members of the public who might have the temerity to oppose their corporate interests...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/26/2011 12:02pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Since taking power in statehouses across the nation in 2010, Republicans have been feverishly implementing new restrictions on democracy in advance of the 2012 Presidential election. A number of those laws, clearly --- and often deceptively --- designed to carve out blatant partisan advantage for the GOP next year, were examined during a recent hearing by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The video of the hearing on "New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot" can be viewed here.

This is the second of our two-part analysis of the hearing.

In Part 1, we covered the subcommittee's examination of new polling place photo ID restrictions designed to make it more difficult for lawfully registered (and disproportionately Democratic-leaning) voters to cast their ballots at the precincts on Election Day. That issue --- which included some devastating cross-examination of long-time GOP "voter fraud" front-man Hans Von Spakovsky by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) --- was the first of three categories, as defined by committee chair Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) of new state voting laws covered in the hearings. All of the new voter suppression laws have been recently rammed through Republican-majority statehouses across the country.

In this concluding piece, we will cover the two additional categories examined: laws erecting barriers to the ability of individuals and non-partisan, non-governmental organizations to offer convenient registration for new voters and laws imposing significant reductions on early voting periods. Both are likely to restrict the number of voters able to cast their lawful vote in 2012 and, again, each is likely to disproportionately affect Democratic-leaning voters.

Finally, We'll also touch upon the status of legal challenges to these new laws by democracy proponents and challenges to the Voting Rights Act itself by operatives on the Right. Moreover, it's impossible to look at any of these issues without drawing inferences about what the combination of new laws in all three categories means, particularly in light of the fact that the models for these new laws were drafted by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2011 5:41pm PT  

There are two important late Friday announcements from the newly revived, post-Bush Voting Unit at U.S. Dept. of Justice's Civil Rights Division this afternoon. In both cases, they've raised serious concerns about discrimination by Republican Presidential front-runner Rick Perry's Texas against Hispanic and African-American voters.

Given the Lone Star State's history of discrimination against racial minorities, new laws and regulations which relate to elections and voting must be pre-cleared by the Dept. of Justice before they can be put into effect, as per Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act.

In one finding, the DoJ sees purposeful discrimination against minorities in the state's redistricting plans [PDF] for apportioning both new statehouse districts, as well as four new U.S. House seats being added in the wake of the 2010 census. The new seats are being added due to an increase in the TX population, thanks in no small part, ironically enough, to huge growth in the state's Hispanic population. The DoJ finds the proposed statehouse plan violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, stating that it "was adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives."

The TX plan for the U.S. House didn't fare much better (see below), with similar findings that minorities are likely to see a "retrogressive effect" in their ability "to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the United States House of Representatives" under Perry's approved scheme.

Moreover, in a letter that echoes questions recently sent by the DoJ to the state of South Carolina about their new polling place Photo ID restrictions, as The BRAD BLOG detailed earlier this month, the DoJ has a series of questions concerning Texas' new, very similar restrictions. As the law mirrors the one in South Carolina --- and in many of the other states where the GOP has been able to ram through similar voter suppression bills over the past year --- many of the questions from the DoJ to TX also ask about the their plans for notification about the law, and issuance of free IDs to the more than 600,000 otherwise-legally qualified voters who don't currently own state-issued ID that would meet the strict new requirements to cast a vote at the polls on Election Day.

In TX, the DoJ voting unit is curious about how many of those residents who don't have such IDs also happen to have Spanish surnames...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2011 12:40pm PT  

Lee Fang at Think Progress offers devastating coverage in response to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)'s recent claim to The Street's Mallory Factor (video here) that those who pollute streams with benzene should be thrown in jail.

"I don’t want to pollute the water. I don’t want to pollute streams," said Paul, "If you dump benzene in the stream, I want you to go to jail."

Really, Senator? Are you calling for the billionaire Koch brothers --- likely two of your biggest and wealthiest fans --- to be thrown in jail then?

As Fang details, Koch Industries was indicted by the DoJ in 2000 for knowingly dumping "at least 91 metric tons of uncontrolled benzene in its liquid waste streams" at its Corpus Christi refinery, and for conspiring to cover it up in an attempt to deceive regulators.

After George W. Bush took office in 2001, however, "his Attorney General John Ashcroft dropped 88 counts against Koch for the benzene spill and cover-up" in exchange for a guilty plea to falsifying documents and a $20 million fine (a settlement from $350 million in potential fines.)

The Kochs made out pretty well in exchange for their $32,200 contribution to the 2000 Bush campaign. The job killing Koch brothers are making out even better under Barack Obama. But more on that later. [UPDATE: Those thoughts now here.]

Suffice to say, neither the Kochs, nor anybody who works for them, went to jail for "dump[ing] benzene in the stream," as Paul is calling for, even as he calls for doing away with even more environmental regulations in his remarks to The Street.

As we've been highlighting of late, the Republicans have been on a tear against clean air and water regulation by the EPA recently, and have shown themselves willing to partner with their various front groups in the media, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and with folks like the Koch brothers to simply make stuff up about such regulations "killing jobs", in their 2012 "mother of all wars" to retake the White House.

ReddIt this story!



By Ernest A. Canning on 9/23/2011 7:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

A nearly two-hour hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights earlier this month (full video available here), carefully examined the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP effort to enact new state voting laws across the country.

The coordinated, nationwide GOP voter suppression effort was aptly described by Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, and a witness in the second three-member panel, as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era."

"Our country has not seen such widespread attempts to disenfranchise voters as we have seen this year in more than a century. Inclusive democracy is under attack," she testified, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) described the "brazen" GOP attempts to undermine the right to vote.

Subcommittee Chair and Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin (D-IL) broke the new state voting laws into three major categories, and the discussions of each are worth covering here over two different articles. In Part 1 here, we'll cover the first category: Polling place Photo ID laws restricting the ability of lawfully registered voters to cast their ballot on Election Day. The hearing produced several remarkable face-offs, including between Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and long-time GOP "voter fraud" front man Hans von Spakovsky (cue James Bond villain music), as detailed below.

In Part 2, we will cover the discussion of the other two categories at the hearing --- draconian new restrictions on voter registration, and laws which significantly reduce early voting periods --- plus a very troubling event that "reactionaries" have planned for the 2012 election, according to Dianis' testimony [UPDATE: Part 2 is now posted here]...

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

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