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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Kochs' Chris Christie; Wingnut Marriage Meltdown; 'Most Important Climate Ruling':
'BradCast' 6/30/15
Guest: Michael B. Gerrard of Columbia's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law...
'Green News Report' 6/30/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
SCOTUS nixes mercury pollution rules; Christie jumps in, we tell you his position on climate; Coal plant cleaned up in Navajo Nation; PLUS: Solar plane's dangerous Pacific crossing...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/15 - 6/23/15 - Archives...
The Good, Bad and SCOTUS Ruling on AZ Redistricting: 'BradCast' 6/29/15
Former AZ state legislator Ted Downing; Plus: much more on latest SCOTUS rulings...
Sunday Toons: Flags & Fits
Both supremacy and Supremes are at issue in PDiddie's collection of the week's best (and most iconic) political toons...
'A More Perfect Union': 'BradCast' 6/26/15
An extraordinary end to an extraordinary week. Mike Rogers of Raw Story joins us to discuss the landmark SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality and how we got here...
MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR ALL
The U.S. Supreme Court finally recognizes what The BRAD BLOG has for more than a decade. Because rights ultimately win and haters ultimately lose...
Scalia Lies (Again); And 2014's Last Election Contest: 'BradCast' 6/25/15
Dr. Laura Pressley, Austin City Council candidate, explains why she's challenging her 100% unverifiable 2014 election...
'Green News Report' 6/25/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jindal's in! Here's his weird climate position; Deadly heat in Pakistan; New studies see climate change as 'catastrophic' for health; PLUS: Landmark ruling in Netherlands...
Previous GNRs: 6/23/15 - 6/18/15 - Archives...
Vexillology! Why Flags Matter:
'BradCast' 6/24/15
Annie Platoff, flag expert from North American Vexillological Association explains it all for you! (Even flags on the moon!); Plus: Callers, Trump surge & more!...
TRUMP-MENTUM!
Republican's newest Frankenstein Monster and billionaire real estate developer surges into 2nd place in NH GOP Primary poll! Not to say 'we told ya so' or anything...
Sanders Destroyed Fed Chair Greenspan in 2003
Years before the economy would collapse, then-Rep. Bernie Sanders unloaded on the Fed Chair during a Congressional hearing. Years later, Alan Greenspan admitted he was wrong...
Fox 'News', Bill O'Reilly and
All Their Racist Viewers: 'BradCast' 6/23/15
Sean McElwee of Demos on his new study; More (positive) fallout from Charleston; (Some) Senate Dems help move TPP forward...
'Green News Report' 6/23/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Repubs in bind after Papal encyclical on climate; Massive algae bloom shuts down West Coast fisheries; May 2015 hottest on record; PLUS: Goodbye, American Eastern Cougar...
Previous GNRs: 6/18/15 - 6/16/15 - Archives...
Race, Guns, Flags, Terrorism and the Right's Quickly Changing Politics of Denial: 'BradCast' 6/22/15
Historic GOP flip-flops and Fox's 'pathological denial' w/ Eric Boehlert of Media Matters...
Sunday Toons:
Identity Crises Edition
This is now getting really strange. And 'PDiddie' has the week's collection of toons to prove it...
RW Domestic Terror in SC & Beyond; Big Govt GOP in TX; 'BradCast' 6/19/15
The 2009 DHS report Repubs hope you've forgotten; Plus: Adam Briggle of Frack Free Denton on GOP banning fracking bans and democracy in TX...
Sanders on 'Democratic Socialism'
'Bernie-mentum' begins to show itself in the polls as Sanders' message is heard on 'Late Night', beginning a challenge to nation's woeful 'democracy deficit'...
Evangelical Response to the Pope's Climate Encyclical: 'BradCast' 6/18/15
Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, Repub CEO of Evangelical Environmental Network; PLUS: Latest on SC church massacre; Limbaugh's lie about the Pope...
'Green News Report' 6/18/15
The Pope's unprecedented call for climate action; The Right predictably freaks out about it; India goes solar in a big way; PLUS: Trump's running, thinks global warming is a hoax...
GOP's World of Trump: 'BradCast' 6/17/15
Has Trump blown up the GOP primary? Is he more than just a joke? Is he the Frankenstein Monster created by 40 years of Reaganism and Fox 'News'? Callers weigh in on that, Bernie Sanders and more!...
RW Radio Rescues Limbaugh in Boston
More wingnut welfare and Heart-less abuse of our public airwaves for corporate profit as Premiere radio uses it's corporate-owned station to save the failing Rush...
The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster': 'BradCast' 6/16/15
Heather Digby Parton on Trump as 'culmination of 30 years of American Dream propaganda' by the Right; Plus: 'Dickensian' Kansas; Politifact fail...
TRUMP: THE CANDIDATE
Sure, he's a clown and the latest to get into the 2016 GOP clown car. But 'misunderstimate' his candidacy at your own peril...
'Green News Report' 6/16/15
Jeb Bush finally jumps in; Hillary Clinton pushes for renewable energy; Shell's Arctic drilling rig escapes Seattle; PLUS: The Pope's summer blockbuster, coming soon to a planet near you...
'Pope Francis: The Encyclical' (The Movie)
The Pope kicks climate ass, takes climate names...
'Citizens United' Ain't the Half of It: 'BradCast' 6/15/15
Rove, Republicans & the lawsuit against the utterly broken FEC with guest Craig Holman of Public Citizen. Plus: Jeb jumps in (don't think about Dubya!) and Hillary launches...
Sunday Toons: Help Wanted Edition
Where the jobs are (and aren't); TPP; Climate change; McKinney, TX; and the Jurassic World of GOP politics...
THIS is What's the Matter With Kansas: 'BradCast' 6/12/15
Guest Matthew Menendez says he's 'never seen anything like' Gov. Sam Brownback's amazing, new decree; Plus: Progressives block TPP 'Fast-Track' (for now)...
TX GOP's War on Voting While Female
After Hillary Clinton called out former TX Gov. and 2016 GOP hopeful Rick Perry for his support of discriminatory voting restrictions, a NH voter makes another good point...
Oversight, Transparency, Journalism & FOIA on Trial in U.S. House: 'BradCast' 6/11/15
VICE News reporter Jason Leopold on his U.S. House testimony and more; Also Tamir Rice news, call to stop TPP & poor Rick Santorum...
'Green News Report' 6/11/15
MSM challenges Santorum on science denial; G7's expiration date for fossil fuels; NASA's new tool to view future climate effect; PLUS: Denier group's secret donors...
Rep. Sherman Slams TPP: 'BradCast' 6/10/15
California Dem tells Brad why the proposed agreement 'continues worst trade policies in history of mammalian life' and why he believes Obama is living 'in a cloister'...
Limbaugh's Wingnut Reprieve in Boston?
After being dumped from his decades long radio home, wingnut welfare may ride to the rescue to return the controversial extremist to a market which rejected him...
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 10/3/2014 3:48pm PT  

Sari Horwitz and Al Kamen at WaPo suggest that Obama's current Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, is at the top of the "short list" to replace outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

"We're hearing that Solicitor General (the No. 4 slot at the Justice Department) Don Verrilli --- formerly deputy White House counsel --- may be atop the list," they report. "He's smart --- many say 'brilliant' --- well-liked by Obama and was confirmed by the Senate three years ago on a 72-16 vote. And one of those 'aye' votes, as our colleague Ruth Marcus pointed out, was from Majority-Leader-in-waiting Sen. Mitch McConnell. (R-Ky.)"

That's all well and good, and might help make Verrilli more confirmable in the U.S. Senate than other, better choices. Naturally, someone that Republicans can approve of should be one of the highest priorities in selecting Barack Obama's next Attorney General. (Sigh...)

But, that said, this might be a good time to point you back to our piece from early 2013, written by our legal analyst Ernie Canning, headined, "Donald Verrilli: Obama's Incompetent Solicitor General, Muddled Middle or Both?"

In the piece, Canning offers a fairly devastating analysis of Verrilli's dismal performance before the U.S. Supreme Court in two landmark marriage equality cases last year. As he wrote at the time, if the side that Verrilli was on in those cases eventually prevailed (they did, in both cases) it would "be despite the half-baked arguments presented by the Solicitor General, not because of them."

We'll also note that Verrilli's performance in the Voting Rights Act case was similarly nothing short of dismal. The other attorneys who also argued on the same side in the case (most notably, the NAACP's Debo Adegbile, whose later nomination to head the Civil Rights division of DoJ was shamefully torpedoed by Republicans and several Democrats) argued their case smartly and persuasively. Verrilli, by stark contrast, was horrible during oral argument, just as we found him to be in the marriage equality cases. The voting rights case was ultimately lost and SCOTUS infamously gutted the Voting Rights Act in the bargain.

Perhaps Verrilli is a better attorney and/or administrator than his skills as a litigator in oral argument before the Supreme Court revealed. But, if not, based on those cases last year, at least, it seems he'd be a disastrous choice as the next AG. Just thought we should mention that.

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While concerned about intimidation, court permits expansion of voter challengers, reduction of early voting in 2014 election; But also offers important interpretation of Voting Rights Act provision
UPDATE: North Carolina requests stay at U.S. Supreme Court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/2/2014 10:22am PT  

A bit of encouraging voting news came out of North Carolina on Wednesday, believe it or not. We'll see how long it lasts.

By way of a 2-1 decision and a lengthy Opinion [PDF] on Wednesday, a three-judge panel on the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal ordered U.S. District Court Judge Thomas J. Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent the State of North Carolina from implementing two provisions of a sweeping election "reform" bill.

The court sharply criticized the lower court's ruling that previously allowed the law to move forward as is, despite the likelihood of a disproportionate effect on minority voters in the Tar Heel State.

The BRAD BLOG described the bill in question, when it was passed by the GOP legislature last year, as "the nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era." The law includes virtually every restriction on voting --- shortening early voting hours, ending same-day registration, implementation of disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions and much more --- ever attempted by Republicans across the country over the past decade. The legislation was, quite literally, rammed through the state's Republican-controlled legislature, with no period for public comment or debate, just one day after a sharply-divided U.S. Supreme Court gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act in the Summer of 2013.

The majority opinion at the 4th Circuit was highly critical of Schroeder's analysis in the case. They described it as "flawed," containing "grave errors" and "plainly wrong" on the law. The court found that the District Court judge abused his discretion in refusing to issue a preliminary injunction that would prevent implementation of two provisions of the state's H.B. 589.

In their decision, the three-judge panel's majority also offered significant interpretations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), that, if ultimately upheld, could minimize the damage wrought by the gutting of Section 5 by the U.S. Supreme Court last year...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 9/30/2014 2:49pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Good news: President Obama creates the world's largest marine sanctuary; Bad news: humans have wiped out half of the world's wildlife; Scientists find humans to blame for Australia's hottest year in history; PLUS: A major oil company joins Google in breaking up with Rightwing climate change-denying front group ALEC... 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): World War Fee: Utilities Holding Action on the Solar Revolution; Auditors Fault EPA for Lax Chemical Safeguards; California becomes first state to ban plastic bags; Tiny Spanish Island Nears 100 Percent Renewable Energy; Alaska Judge Dismisses Pebble Lawsuit Against EPA As Premature; Willie Nelson, Neil Young Lend Their Talents to Keystone XL Fight ... PLUS: China’s Haves and Have Nots: Clean air, water only for those who can afford it ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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Vacant seat on court since 2010 likely made the difference; Ruling, unless overturned, could result in re-election victory for Walker; Emergency petition to U.S. Supreme Court likely...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/29/2014 6:02am PT  

With just weeks to go before mid-term elections and a "too close to call" Gubernatorial contest, disenfranchisement and electoral chaos in Scott Walker's Wisconsin reign supreme. And only the U.S. Supreme Court may now be able to do anything about it.

In a 5 to 5 ruling, an evenly divided, en banc U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal has issued a Cursory Order [PDF], summarily denying an ACLU Petition for an Emergency Rehearing to put the brakes back on the state Republicans' Photo ID voting restriction in advance of the November election.

The ACLU petition followed on the recent extraordinary ruling by three Republican appointees to the federal bench that had vacated a permanent federal court injunction of the law. That injunction, until it was lifted by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel just weeks ago, prevented Wisconsin from enforcing a Photo ID voting law which a U.S. District Court judge had found would likely result in the disenfranchisement of up to 300,000 perfectly lawful registered voters who lack the now-requisite, state approved photo IDs.

As we recently reported, the ACLU, in its emergency petition, argued that it will be virtually impossible for the Badger state's Department of Motor Vehicles to process the number of official state photo IDs that would be required to insure that every lawfully registered voter who desires to vote would get the opportunity to vote in the upcoming Nov. 4 election. Moreover, thousands of absentee ballots that had already been mailed prior to the 7th Circuit panel's lifting of the injunction may not be counted since they did not include notice of the new rules requiring that they must be accompanied with copy of the voter's photo ID.

Following the 5 to 5 decision of the full 7th Circuit (one seat remains vacant, more on that below), the ACLU and other plaintiffs' only recourse for now will be an emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. Given the deadlock by the 7th Circuit and reasoning applied not only by the original U.S. District Court Judge in this case, and also by a 6th Circuit panel in an Ohio early voting case, as well as by six (6) of the (9) U.S. Supreme Court Justices who took part in a landmark 2008 Photo ID decision --- all decisions which were inconsistent with the reasoning applied by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel in the Wisconsin case, which has now been essentially upheld --- a challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court has at least a reasonable prospect of success.

If you're confused, read on. We'll help you make sense of this...

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

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Repubs file 'Emergency Petition for Rehearing' before full court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/26/2014 7:48am PT  

Yes, Ohio Republicans are still barred from limiting the early voting period and still required to restore the days and hours they had, yet again, tried to cut off. At least they are barred, again, for now.

On Wednesday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal issued a 50-page ruling [PDF] in which it upheld a lower court's preliminary injunction from three weeks ago that prevented Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State John Husted from implementing a Feb. 19, 2014 GOP-engineered statute, and his own further Directive, which would have drastically reduced the number of early voting days and hours and eliminated same-day registration and voting during the first five days of a previously established 35-day period of early voting in the Buckeye State.

Reflecting the fact that he anticipated an adverse ruling, Ohio's Republican Attorney General Michael DeWine filed an Emergency Appeal for a Rehearing [PDF] by the full 6th Circuit, on the very same day the three-judge panel handed down their decision. His appeal presents essentially the same arguments that have now, repeatedly, been rejected by the courts, first in a 2012 case, Obama for America v. Husted, and now, again, in Ohio State Conference of the NAACP v. Husted...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Climate Week 2014...
By Desi Doyen on 9/23/2014 4:22pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: GNR Special Coverage: Climate Week 2014 --- the People's Climate March (largest in history), the protests on Wall Street (can ya hear us now?), and the special United Nations Climate Summit (every country on board)... 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): In a warmer world, Anchorage may be the place to be; Watchdog warns nuke weapon sites at risk from natural disasters; U.S. energy infrastructure revamp may unlock $6 trillion market; Google chairman: ALEC is lying about climate change; Food from Fukushima disaster harms animals; Peanut mogul found guilty for knowingly selling tainted food... PLUS: Why the (awesome) climate march won’t change American politics ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2014 6:05am PT  

In an earlier life, I played a fake news man for some years. The character, which shared my name, was a slightly dumber Colbert-type rightwinger, though it pre-dated Colbert. (As I've previously noted, the line between fake news man and real one is uncomfortably thin.) At one point during that period, there had been an epidemic of well-publicized shootings. One of them was the Columbine Massacre. I remember using the satiric character, even at the time, to rail against the media for making the killers famous by headlining their names and plastering their faces on front pages and magazine covers, etc. In other words, for giving them exactly the infamy they likely sought in the first place.

You may have noticed we haven't written much about ISIS here. One of the reasons is because that's precisely what they'd like us all to do. And, since they emerged as the latest big scary menace on the world stage a few months ago, along with glossy and often horrible PR videos and a fairly sophisticated social media presence, the mainstream media and the political world seem to be all too happy to grant them every last bit of the very publicity they seek.

As of Wednesday night, it looks as though President Obama is similarly happy to take the ISIS bait and grant them the honor of being elevated as the latest Public Enemy #1 of the United States of America. The precise direct threat they pose to the U.S. at this time remains unclear. At least I haven't been able to figure it out and Obama's speech on Wednesday night made it no clearer. But the GOP war hawks seemed to be thrilled with it all, and party-line Democrats seem to be offering few, if any, objections either. The military industrial complex is certainly rejoicing over their newest apparent windfall.

To be clear, all available evidence suggests that ISIS or ISIL or the Islamic State is most certainly dangerous (at least to those within their expanding vicinity), extremely ruthless, and extraordinarily barbaric. Still, granting them the fame or infamy they seek --- be it in the mainstream media or from the U.S. Government, much less from the bully pulpit of the Presidency --- seems to be playing precisely into their hands. I'm not interested in doing so.

It's also, at least according to this report from Associated Press published just hours before the President's speech on Wednesday, exactly what their PR masterminds have been working towards. Another very public over-reaction to a most-likely "exaggerated" threat described by the AP as "no unstoppable juggernaut" and "wield[ing] outsize influence" thanks, in no small part, to their mastery of social media...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2014 11:36am PT  

Part 1 of this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio: How the NFL's Ray Rice knocked out his wife in a hotel elevator, lost his job and outraged America --- and how U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller beat his wife bloody in a hotel room, will have his arrest record expunged, gets to keep his lifetime appointment to the federal bench and very few in America seem to give a damn.

Part 2: What would you do about ISIS if you were President? Callers, lots of 'em, share their thoughts. I share a few of mine in kind. Nobody gets a free pass.

Plus, Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report, and a few more items here and there in what was a very lively show this week. You should listen to it.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2014 1:27pm PT  

When will this 'tyranny' end?! Out today from the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation:

MENLO PARK, Calif. - An early look at the cost of health insurance in 16 major cities finds that average premiums for the benchmark silver plan - the one upon which federal financial help under the Affordable Care Act to consumers is based - will decrease slightly in 2015. The new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation analyzes premiums in the largest cities in 15 states and the District of Columbia where information from rate filings is available.

Premiums for the second-lowest cost silver plan for individuals will fall by an average of 0.8 percent from current levels in these cities when open enrollment begins on Nov. 15, according to the study. The analysis finds that the premium for the second-lowest-cost silver plan is decreasing in 7 of the 16 areas studied - but also that changes in average premiums will vary considerably across areas. They range from a decline of 15.6 percent in Denver, Colorado (to $211 per month), to an increase of 8.7 percent in Nashville, Tennessee (to $205 per month). In both cases premiums are for a 40-year-old nonsmoker, before taking into account any tax credit. It is important to note that rate changes may be different in different rating areas in these states.

"There is variation, but so far, premium increases in year two of the Affordable Care Act are generally modest," said Drew Altman, Kaiser's President and CEO. "Double digit premium increases in this market were not uncommon in the past," Altman added.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2014 2:34pm PT  

In response to concerns about the militarization of local police, which America has seen on shameful display in Ferguson, MO following the police killing of Michael Brown, President Obama indicated during a presser last Monday that there could be some change coming.

"There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don't want those line blurred," he said about the horses which long ago left the barn. "That would be contrary to our traditions."

He added: "I think that there will be some bi-partisan interest in re-examining some of those programs."

On Saturday, Obama announced an official review of the Pentagon's "1033 Program" which, since 1990, has transferred, for free, some $4 billion worth of surplus military equipment, such as Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, armored Humvees, high-caliber weapons, aircraft, armed drones and silencers, to local law enforcement agencies around the country. As CNN has just reported:

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of programs allowing for state and local enforcement to buy military equipment, a senior administration official said Saturday.

The decision follows public criticism of the use of such assets recently in Ferguson, Missouri.

The review will touch on several points, including

-- Whether such programs and funding are appropriate;

-- Whether state and local enforcement agencies have the necessary training and guidance after getting such equipment;

-- Whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding.

White House staff --- including members of the Domestic Policy Council, the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget --- will lead the review in coordination with Congress, according to the official.

Reuters adds that "relevant U.S. agencies including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury," will also participate in the review.

Last week, we reported on the small, but seemingly growing bi-partisan support for re-thinking the federal militarization of local law enforcement agencies. The rightwing New American, citing some of our coverage, has more on the bi-partisan calls for reform, noting that the "SWAT Lobby" (yes, apparently there's a "SWAT Lobby") is now working to defend the program.

On this week's BradCast we interviewed Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), a proponent of blocking the transfer of this kind of militarized equipment and for including accountability measures for the billions of dollars worth of equipment which has already been given to local agencies.

"My main hope is to stop the flow of this military grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies throughout America," Johnson told us during the interview on KPFK/Pacifica Radio. "We've been flooding the streets with this surplus military weaponry, and I think the situation in Ferguson exemplifies what happens when you have too much powerful equipment in the hands of folks who don't have the judgment or the training to utilize it properly." (Full interview here.)

The latest version of Johnson's "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" [PDF] is here. The Congressman had begun work on the legislation long before Ferguson erupted, but is finally receiving recognition for that effort. Now, it seems, he and other proponents may have some support from the White House. But, we'll see. These "reviews" have a way of disappearing into the ether. Legislation like Johnson's, on the other hand, is what is needed to really make a difference in this shameful practice, which has, in truth, become little more than a way around the long-standing Posse Comitatus Act (1878) which expressly limited the use of federal military personnel to enforce local and state laws.

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GUEST: Peace activist, author David Swanson...
By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2014 6:02am PT  

On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I invited peace activist David Swanson to explain to me why it's wrong for the U.S. to take military action in Iraq amidst what the President describes as "genocide".

David is a friend, occassional guest blogger here, and author of War is a Lie (2007), When the World Outlawed War (2011) and War No More: The Case for Abolition (2013).

I pressed him and he offered a smart, persuasive, and well-reasoned case. Yet, I'm still not certain that I'm persuaded. Please give the short conversation a listen and let me know what you think.

We also took calls on the above, and covered a bunch of other stuff, including updates on the CA Supreme Court nixing the "corporate personhood" ballot initiative (Prop 49); the extraordinary North Carolina "voter suppression" law that a federal judge (W. Bush appointee) has allowed to move forward for now; and the remarkable story of federal judge Mark Fuller --- who helped railroad former AL Gov. Don Siegelman (D) into federal prison --- being arrested and charged for allegedly beating up his latest wife in an Atlanta hotel room over the weekend.

All of that, and a visit from Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, as the News Summer from Hell continues...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2014 5:42pm PT  

[Hat-tip @GGreenwald...]

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/12/2014 3:34pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: If it seems like there's more extreme weather --- you're right; What sanctions? ExxonMobil begins drilling with Russia in the Arctic; Methane rising in the melting Arctic; PLUS: Oops: Looks like the U.S. State Dept. vastly underestimated emissions from the Keystone XL pipeline ... 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): China Will Install More Solar This Year Than The U.S. Ever Has; Bamboo is the new 'green' steel; California Drought Transforms Global Food Market; Uranium mining poisons Navajo drinking water; Colgate Total Ingredient Triclosan Linked to Hormones, Cancer; Right-Wing Press' New Climate Change Lie; Media Still Disproportionately Including Views of Climate Change Skeptics; The World's Biggest PR Firm Is In Denial About Its Climate Change Denial... PLUS: When Did Republicans Start Hating the Environment? Roughly 1991... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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LA Times Buries 'grim' news on page A-11...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/11/2014 1:24pm PT  

The much-debated Keystone XL pipeline could increase global warming pollution by as much four times the amount estimated by the U.S. State Department, according to a new study by an independent non-profit research organization.

Without mentioning that the State Department's own environmental impact report may have been hopelessly compromised by "corporate conflicts of interest," Los Angeles Times offered an important article discussing the findings of the new report published Sunday by the journal Nature Climate Change.

The State Department's dubious estimate of the Keystone XL's anticipated impact on increased carbon emissions is critical to President Barack Obama's determination as to whether he will approve the controversial tar sands oil project since, as noted by the scientists who authored the report at the Stockholm Environment Institute, the President has stated that "he would only approve the Keystone XL pipeline…if it 'does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.'"

This new report may alter his calculation of exacerbated emissions expected to occur from building the massive pipeline that would ship dirty tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico for export, as the LA Times' Neela Banerjee explains in her article, headlined in the print version as "Grim estimates on pipeline"...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2014 6:35am PT  

With each passing day it becomes more and more clear --- as if it wasn't from the get-go, when Republicans initially began objecting to Obama's advocacy for a Republican-created health insurance reform plan --- that the GOP's objections to "ObamaCare" have nothing to do with the plan itself and everything to do with the fact that they didn't pass it.

No matter that we'd prefer to see a single-payer plan, where every American enjoys a right to receive good health care, the Affordable Care Act's success in seeing millions of previously-uninsured Americans become insured is no longer debatable by serious people.

And now we begin seeing the upside for corporations like private hospitals as well...

Hospital Corporation of America, the biggest for-profit hospital network in the country, reported a 6.6 percent decrease in uninsured patients across its 165 hospitals, according to Bloomberg. And in the four states where HCA operates that expanded Medicaid, the drop was 48 percent.

LifePoint Hospitals reported that the percentage of its patients paying for their own care declined from 7.1 percent to 4.8 percent over the last year, according to Bloomberg.

Those trends have led to a brightening financial outlook for the companies, according to Bloomberg. Both HCA and LifePoint increased their fiscal forecast recently as the increase in paying customers became clear. LifePoint specifically estimated that Obamacare added $13 million to its total earnings in the second quarter, 40 percent above its expectations.

Sounds terrible. No wonder Republicans are "furious" about it.

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