After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
Before we get started with this week's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, a final noteworthy thought or two on last week's RNC in Tampa.
The first comes as Twitter battles continue over the truthiness of VP nominee Rep. Paul Ryan's acceptance speech last Wednesday, with trolls continuing to insist, somehow, that Ryan wasn't lying about one thing after another. The trolls will be disappointed to learn that George W. Bush's Chief Political Strategist, Matthew Dowd, disagrees with them. Yes, Ryan lied, said Dowd on ABC's This Week on Sunday...
DOWD: Paul Ryan, what he did in his speech, I think so stretched the truth. And I like Paul Ryan, have a lot of great respect for Paul Ryan, but the elements that he said about closing the GM plant which closed before Barack Obama took President [sic], about the Simpson-Bowles bill which he opposed and then all of a sudden he faults Barack Obama for. At some point, the truth should matter…He was trying to convey that Barack Obama was responsible for the closing of that GM plant and that isn’t true.
President Obama, during his surprise Reddit chat last Wednesday, jumps into the Citizens United fray.
"I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it)," President Barack Obama wrote last week during a surprise public Reddit chat.
"Consider mobilizing?" Groups like Move to Amend and Public Citizen initiated that mobilization shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court's radical-right quintet handed down that infamous decision in 2010. By July of this year, California had become the sixth state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen's United.
"Assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it?" The Court had an opportunity to revisit Citizens United earlier this year, or at least to limit its impact to federal elections. Instead, the same radical-right quintet expanded the reach of that democracy destroying decision by overturning a Montana Supreme Court decision which had sought to uphold a century old, state anti-corruption law.
If the President truly desires to spotlight what amounts to a hostile corporate takeover of our democracy, he will confront Mitt "corporations are people, my friend" Romney in the upcoming Presidential debates with an openly stated support for a constitutional amendment that, as the Sanders measure provides, establishes that the "rights protected by the Constitution...are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes." Indeed, that position could frame the issue for all candidates seeking public office in the 2012 election.
Mike is off tonight, so we're back guest hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show once again.
As usual, we're BradCasting LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open, at the bottom of this item, a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
RNC UNWOUND - Thoughts on the insane week that was at the Republican National Convention.
BIG VOTING RIGHTS VICTORIES (and some losses) - The string of federal voting rights victories over the last several weeks in OH, in TX, in TX again, in OH again, in MN and in FL, along with the lies, challenges and fights to come between now and Election Day 2012.
PLUS!Your phone calls on all of the above over your public airwaves at 877-520-1150 and your tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at our Sante Fe affiliate KTRC 1260, or our Minnesota affiliate KTNF 950 (tell 'em you're in MN if asked!). Also, you should be able to listen live at WhiteRose Society if the radio gods are with us.
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POST-SHOW UPDATE: We had a very lively show, and one maddening interview with Gov. Siegelman. The commercial-free audio archives all now follow below (as well as the chat room archives.) Enjoy 'em over the holiday weekend on me!...
That message, and the push-back against it (for now) culminated finally in a short, but still-embarrassing-to-the-GOP mini-outburst on the floor of the Republican National Convention yesterday afternoon, after the RNC Rules Committee had approved new rules last week (to keep pesky party supporters of non-establishment-approved candidates from gaining any foothold in future election cycles) and after they'd barred most of Ron Paul's delegates from Maine from being seated.
Here is video of the raucus scene on the floor yesterday afternoon in Tampa as the Credentials Committee jammed through it's own establishment-approved slate of delegates and Paul supporters erupted in chants of "Seat them now!" and "Point of order!" against the backlash of "USA! USA! USA!" from Romney supporters...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: An anxious Gulf Coast awaits Hurricane Isaac; Tampa GOP prays the storm away (rejoices when it veers towards Louisiana!); Massive refinery fire in Venezuela; More MPG for American cars, but Romney's against it; PLUS: Melting ice in the Arctic hits a new record low ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): OH: Coal miners lose day's pay to attend mandatory Romney rally; Greenpeace activists occupy Arctic oil rig; Food companies fight GMO labeling in CA; Cyanide spill at Alaska mine; Australia & EU to merge carbon markets; China to spend $300+ billion in 3 years on energy efficiency ... PLUS: Onion: RNC Builds Levee Out Of Poor People To Protect Convention Site ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: A Green News Special Report: Mitt Romney's Energy Agenda - oil, oil and even more oil; PLUS: A hurricane of irony threatens the Republican National Convention in Tampa ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below):
Bill Nye: Media must ask candidates about climate change; GOP Rep: mentioning climate change would 'divide America'; India boosts community solar projects; KY coal plant cancels pollution upgrades; TX judge rules Transcanada can seize property for Keystone XL pipeline; Arctic and Antarctic both show rapid ice melt; Corporations spending millions to defeat GMO labeling ... PLUS: UK Science advisor warns climate target 'out the window ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Pennsylvania has refused to turn over documents that the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) had sought in order to determine whether the state's new polling place Photo ID restriction law is in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and other federal laws.
As previously reported by The BRAD BLOG, on July 23, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez submitted a four-page letter [PDF] to Carol Aichele, the Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (coincidentally, the wife of Gov. Tom Corbett's Chief of Staff), requesting information in electronic format for 16 broad categories of documents that the DoJ felt were needed to evaluate whether the Keystone State's Photo ID law complied with federal laws barring discriminatory election laws.
In an Aug. 17 letter [PDF], the Commonwealth's General Counsel, James D. Schultz, responded to Perez, by telling him that PA would not comply with what Schultz described as an "unprecedented attempt to compel [PA], a state not within the purview Section 5 of the VRA, to present information concerning compliance with Section 2 of the VRA."
Section 5 of the VRA requires some 16 different jurisdictions in the U.S., with a history of racial discrimination, to get pre-clearance for new election-related laws. Pennsylvania is not one of those jurisdictions. However, all 50 states are barred from instituting discriminatory laws under Section 2 of the act.
Schultz accused the DoJ of targeting "a growing number of states…simply because they instituted legislation designed to insure the integrity of the voting process"...
They also know that while Republicans have long pretended there is massive Democratic voter fraud occurring, what they don't want you to know is how many Republicans --- very high-level Republicans, in fact --- are actually committing real fraud (both election fraud and voter fraud), as we summarized once again last week after four GOP U.S. House staffers of Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI) were charged with 36 criminal felony and misdemeanor election fraud-related charges for allegedly turning in fake signatures and petitions in a failed scheme to get McCotter on the ballot this year.
And what do we learn just days later? Another Republican appears to be involved in another massive election scheme --- this time, to fraudulently defeat a fellow Republican. And, as is almost always the case, no polling place Photo ID restrictions in the world would have deterred the allegedly fraudulent absentee ballot scheme (which is said to have included illegally changing Democratic registrations into Republican ones, among other appalling crimes)...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama stumps for clean energy, while Romney promotes...coal; Wildfires rage across the West; Nuclear reactor in hot water; PLUS: Mutant butterflies in Japan. This may not end well... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US CO2 emissions drop to 20-yr low (thanks to natural gas); KY to export coal to India; Rep. Ryan denies he lobbied for stimulus; Dallas to spray after West Nile virus deaths; Meet the new Ocean Health Index; Toilet Of The Future runs on sun ... PLUS: GOP 'Agenda 21' conspiracy theory, now offially in GOP platform ... and much, MUCH more! ...
No doubt during this election cycle, like every election cycle over the past forty years, we'll hear from the GOP about "tax and spend" Democrats.
Even though it doesn't detail how every Republican since Reagan has combined massive, unpaid-for tax cuts for the wealthy with runaway, unpaid-for military spending --- creating a great excuse to destroy the New Deal safety net, in order to slash their runaway deficit-spending --- this chart is, nonetheless rather revealing...
None of that, of course, has kept the bulk of the "Lamestream Media" from repeating the myth of Republicans as "fiscal conservatives," a concept this site has spent many years attempting to debunk. Last night, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow did exactly the same thing when it came to the claim that Mitt Romney's newly chosen Veep pick, Paul Ryan, is a "fiscal conservative."
To borrow from CNN's Soledad O'Brien yesterday, "I understand that this is a Republican talking point because I've heard it repeated over and over again" --- in this case by the Beltway Media --- but "you can't just repeat it and make it true."
Maddow dispatches with the "Ryan as 'fiscal conservative'" nonsense in the unforgiving video below, in which she notes:
If we really are going to be stuck with Paul Ryan as the face of Republicanism for a long time, and if the term "fiscal conservative" is supposed to mean anything, we should get clear there may be a lot of great stuff to say about this guy, but "fiscally conservative" is not one of the things you really can say about him. ... If that counts as fiscal conservative for you, you don't speak English
"I understand that this is a Republican talking point because I've heard it repeated over and over again ... These numbers have been debunked, as you know... You can't just repeat it and make it true, sir."
I don't know what's gotten into CNN's Soledad O'Brien lately, but, to bastardize apocryphal Lincoln, can we send a whole case of it to the rest of the Beltway Press Corps?
We highlighted a similar moment from O'Brien in June, when she doggedly attempted to get an actual answer from a Senior Romney Adviser on whether the presumptive GOP nominee still supports Arizona's controversial "Papers Please" law. She refused to let it go --- like a real journalist or something.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Romney's Veep Ryan no friend of clean energy; Obama announces emergency assistance for drought-stricken farmers; New drilling plans for Alaska's Nat'l Petroleum Reserve - now with Improved Environmental Protection!; PLUS: Shell Oil crashes into the Iceberg of Irony in the Arctic... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate change will bring more severe US droughts; Methane leaks from fracking worse than thought; As coal sinks, renewables soar; CA gov smacks down climate deniers with new website; Drought looms in India ... PLUS: Mutant butterflies found in Fukushima ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Stumbling starts aside though, a Ryan/Romney Romney/Ryan vs. Obama/Biden contest might have made for a very welcome debate on two fairly, some might say starkly, different visions for this country's future, at least on fiscal and domestic policy issues. A very clear governing mandate for one of those two different directions might have helped move this country forward for a change.
If we had a level playing field with a system of publicly financed elections, access for all to the voting booth and a citizen-overseeable voting and tabulation system in this country so that this nation could have deliberated, spoken and have been heard in a crystal clear voice this November, this one might have been a really good and healthy election.
Given disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction laws Republicans have enacted in nearly a dozen states over the past year, you'd think there was an epidemic of Democratic "voter fraud" in this nation. That's certainly the way the GOP has framed it, fooled the corporate mainstream media into reporting it, and even scammed the White House and Congressional Democrats into going along with it when they signed legislation that defunded ACORN, a four-decade old community organization never found to have committed voter fraud, or even helped to see a single fraudulent vote cast in any election anywhere.
As it turns out, not only is there no such epidemic of Democratic voter fraud, but the opposite is true. Over the past year, very high profile Republicans --- including this year's presumed standard bearer, Mitt Romney; the Sec. of State of Indiana (the first state to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions) Charlie White; one time GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich; MO's new GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate Todd Akin; and the group hired the Sacramento, CA Republican Party to collect voter registrations this year for Rep. Dan Lungren; among others (all detailed below) --- have each been revealed as having committed or participated in election fraud --- both voter registration fraud and actual voter fraud --- in state after state.
So really, should we be surprised to learn that four aides to former long-shot GOP Presidential candidate and U.S. House Rep. Thaddeus McCotter --- Representative of the state's 11th and one of its most Republican districts --- were indicted yesterday on dozens of criminal felony and misdemeanor election fraud charges for having turned in over 1,500 forged and falsified signatures in a "blatant" and "disgraceful" attempt, as the state's Republican AG described it, to qualify the Congressman for this year's ballot?...