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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, July 25, 2014
'Green News Report' 7/24/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Breaking: Storm ravages VA campground; New rules for explosive oil trains; Big win against Big Oil in small Maine town; PLUS: U.S. and Rush Limbaugh lead world in denial...
Previous GNRs: 7/22/14 - 7/17/14 - Archives...
Israeli Attack on UN Shelter Kills At Least 15 in Gaza
The strategy of bombing children, but warning them first, will almost certainly result in years of peace and prosperity for the region...
The Good Fight Continues: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad speaks with John Wellington Ennis, documentarian and activist, on his newest film and his decade-long fight for election integrity...
What We Do Now
"It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time"..."Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died"...
'Green News Report' 7/22/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record wildfires burn the Pacific Northwest; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Previous GNRs: 7/17/14 - 7/15/14 - Archives...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A Rightwing caller's admission in response to Brad on a radio show in NC underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's fake news show Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal the 1960 Election From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Adds Call to Overturn 'Citizens United' to Ballot
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama takes action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: California gets tough on water wasters...
Previous GNRs: 7/15/14 - 7/10/14 - Archives...
Koch Brothers' Radical Libertarianism Broke Kansas
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's Democratic opponent after tax cuts for the wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
Killing Zombie Myths Dead: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad takes on a bunch of lies this week that just won't die this week -- from e-cigs to Ann Coulter's voter fraud to 'global cooling' to the death penalty to marriage equality in Mississippi and more...
FEDERAL JUDGE FINDS CA DEATH PENALTY VIOLATES U.S. CONSTITUTION
George W. Bush appointee rules state system violates Constitution's ban of 'cruel and unusual punishments'...
'Green News Report' 7/15/14
Divesting from fossil fuels; Germany gives $1b to climate fund; Australia carbon tax repeal; All-electric Formula E racing revs up; PLUS: Climate denier Murdoch...
MO's Democratic Governor Discourages Quitting Smoking
Jay Nixon vetoes bill that would have exempted non-lethal e-cigs from being taxed like dangerous tobacco...
CNBC's Santelli Gets Schooled on CNBC
Fellow CNBCer slams the 'Tea Party' progenitor during on-air shout-fest in the perfect example of why people watch cable 'news' channels -- and why they don't...
GOP Voter Fraud Queen Ann Coulter Urges MS Senate Candidate McDaniel to NOT Pursue Fraud Concerns
Given her well-documented personal history, perhaps she shoulda stayed out of this one?...
'Green News Report' 7/10/14
Debunking the 70's 'global cooling' myth; Anti-science coal nuts in KY; BP oil in Gulf fish; Canada tar sands linked to cancer; PLUS: Pesticide killing birds & bees...
Challenging 'The Nation's Most Restrictive Voter Suppression Law': KPFK 'BradCast'
Journalist Ari Berman, just out of the federal courtroom in North Carolina, joins Brad to discuss the federal case; Plus MUCH MORE...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


GOP right to be concerned, just not for the reasons they claim
Wrong and Wronger: Bill pits former, currrent GOP Sec of State's against each other...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2013 4:41pm PT  

An ambitious election reform bill supported by state Democrats and the Colorado County Clerks Association, which is largely made up of Republicans, will soon land on the desk of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, despite the objections of Republican lawmakers and the state's extraordinarily partisan Republican Sec. of State.

The bill has now been approved by both chambers of the Colorado legislature --- along party lines in each --- but must be approved again in the House due to "technical" amendments from the Senate. But while it may be too late, partisans and lawmakers would have been wise to look carefully before leaping in support of this bill which offers both excellent reforms and reasons to be very concerned about one of its central provisions.

John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent offered a detailed report earlier this week on the major concerns and somewhat confusing partisan divides on both sides of this particular piece of legislation.

There's a lot of good, long-overdue provisions in the sweeping, 126-page bill [PDF] (mercifully summarized on pages 2 through 4). The key provisions --- and main points of contention --- are summarized this way by Tomasic:

House Bill 1303 seeks to expand voter participation mainly by establishing a system that includes same-day registration up to Election Day and that mails ballots to all eligible voters in the state. Under the proposed law, voters would choose whether to mail their ballots back to the clerks, drop them off at early voting centers or fill them out at the polls on Election Day.

Tomasic goes on to explain that the bill, dubbed "The Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act", is sponsored by Democrats in both the CO House and Senate, but it's "based on a plan approved by a large bipartisan majority of clerks who run the state’s elections county to county. The Colorado County Clerks Association reports that 75 percent of the 64 clerks in the state support the bill. The Association is anything but a left-wing cabal: At least 44 of the clerks, some 70 percent, are Republican officeholders."

The politics on this one may be understandably confusing to some --- particularly with a former Republican Sec. of State favoring the bill, and the current Republican Sec. of State ardently opposing it --- but the professed concerns of the latter (that the expanded registration provisions will lead to "voter fraud") are largely nonsense. While the advocacy of the former (pushing broad expansion of vote-by-mail ballots to every voter in the state) ignores very real fraud concerns...

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

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Announcement follows Nevada state Senate approval of resolution to repeal longtime Constitutional marriage equality ban...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2013 12:43pm PT  

It was quite a moving show last night in the Nevada State Senate, as a Joint Resolution was passed that would repeal the Constitutional ban on marriage equality in that state, as passed by voters over a decade ago.

All of the state Senate's Democrats supported the resolution, and one Republican jumped onto the right side of history in a surprise last-minute move. One Democratic Senator even came out as gay during the floor proceedings.

The measure passed the Nevada Senate 12 to 9 and will now head to the Assembly. If successful there, it will face one more vote in both chambers in 2015 before appearing on the 2016 ballot for approval by voters who, according to recent polls there, are now believed to be in favor of lifting the ban. So, as MLK famously said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

Dramatic speeches on the floor during debate on the resolution led even jaded long-time Nevada report Jon Ralston, who covered the debate live via his Twitter feed, to observe: "Too often we who cover politics think of these people as automatons pressing a red or green button. Not tonight. Raw, emotional, human."

"Great to be not just a witness to history (or the beginning, at least), but to see politicians stripped down to who they are was something," he noted, before adding: "I feel sorry for reporters who weren't here to feel the electricity in this chamber."

But with Democrats across the country now seemingly falling over themselves to suddenly support marriage equality --- redefining the word "evolution" (or, perhaps, more accurately, attempting to redefine the word "flip-flop") --- even Republicans, at least Republicans in the Northeast, are also now showing signs of scrambling to get onto the right side of history as well.

This early evidence of that arrived in my inbox this morning, from the FreedomToMarry.org group...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/2/2013 3:18pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Will major tar sands pipeline spill in AR doom Keystone XL?; How about the spills in WI, MN, UT?; NASA's Dr. James Hansen steps down to step up activism; SCOTUS smacks down Big Oil lawsuit; PLUS: Score one for breathers: EPA's new rules cut deadly air pollution - but Republicans are against it ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): How U.S. could blow the energy boom; Air pollution kills 1.2m Chinese, 3.2m worldwide; China's losing battle against state-backed polluters; Japan: Nuclear plant operator cites 'poor preparation'; Lake Erie doomed to future of massive toxic algae blooms?; US drought season off to a bad start; Dominion Energy: $14m fine for air pollution violations; Invention of the day: A bladeless wind turbine; Booming oil supplies haven't lowered price at the pump; Sugar industry adopts tobacco industry tactics; What is the 'Monsanto Protection Bill'? ... PLUS: Germany's solar-power success: Too much of a good thing? ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 2/28/2013 3:49pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Climate change already hitting Rocky Mtn ski resorts; House Dems slam Republicans for obstruction of climate action; Shell Oil calls it quits in the Arctic --- for now; Fox 'News' makes a stunning admission; Drought in the West, Flooding in Europe PLUS: Finally, some good news for kids in Detroit ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Sequestration would be bad news for clean energy and a clean environment; You may be eating toxic chemicals, even if you eat organic, avoid plastic; High court throws out $1B fraud verdict in Exxon leak case; US nuclear dump is leaking toxic waste; USDA warns farmers of accelerating climate change; Loss of wild bees serious threat to crop yields; Weather extremes provoked by trapping of giant waves in atmosphere ... PLUS: The New Abolitionists: Global Warming Is The Great Moral Crisis Of Our Time ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/26/2013 10:47am PT  

I'd strongly recommend that you read this piece by Jeff Spross, entitled "The Debt Everyone is Freaking Out About Does Not Exist", in full. It's a very smart and sober primer explaining...well, exactly what the headline says.

Yes, Washington D.C. and the corporate media which cover it, are spending a whole lot of time and resources playing into what amounts to a massive presentation of kabuki theater, and its not one that actually helps us with the addition of new jobs or economic growth in any real way whatsoever. Arguably, as Spross explains, it may well accomplish just the opposite.

It's difficult to select just the key passages from the piece, as mentioned, since it's chock full of smart analysis throughout. But, for those without the patience to read the whole thing, here are a few of the central thoughts that you should educate yourself about...

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

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NBC News documentary on the lies used to sell the Iraq War, while worthy, conveniently avoids several key points...
By David Swanson on 2/19/2013 12:52pm PT  

As our government was making a fraudulent case to attack Iraq in 2002-2003, the MSNBC television network was doing everything it could to help, including booting Phil Donahue and Jeff Cohen off the air.

The Donahue Show was deemed likely to be insufficiently war-boosting and was thus removed 10 years ago next week --- and 10 days after the largest antiwar (or anything else) demonstrations in the history of the world --- as a preemptive strike against the voices of honest peaceful people.

From there, MSNBC proceeded to support the war with mild critiques around the edges, and to white-out the idea of impeachment or accountability.

But now MSNBC has seen its way clear to airing a documentary about the fraudulent case it assisted in, a documentary titled Hubris. This short film (which aired between 9 and 10 p.m. ET Monday night, but with roughly half of those minutes occupied by commercials --- watch the entire documentary now online here) pointed out the role of the New York Times in defrauding the public, but not MSNBC's role.

Yet, my primary response to that is joy rather than disgust. It is now cool to acknowledge war lies. Truth-tellers, including truth-tellers rarely presented with a corporate microphone, made that happen...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/18/2013 10:15am PT  

One wonders whether the synapses simply fail to connect in the minds of zealots.

First we get a zealot like Scott Roeder who was so consumed with the "right to life" that he murdered Dr. George Tiller.

Then there’s the more recent case of the infamous ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, who told his captive, Jim Reynolds, that he had gone on his murderous rampage because he wanted to clear his name.

Now comes the case of 45-year old Everett Basham, who was so upset with the injustice of new gun safety legislation that he allegedly sent an email to California State Senator Leland Yee (D) threatening to kill him unless Yee "stopped pushing legislation to ban so-called 'bullet buttons,' devices that permit swift reloading of military-style assault weapons by allowing for rapid exchange of ammunition magazines."

"The author of the email specifically stated that if I did not cease our legislative efforts to stop gun violence that he would assassinate me in or around the Capitol," Yee said in a statement last week. "He stated that he was a trained sniper and his email detailed certain weapons he possessed."

Then, again, perhaps Basham, the alleged author of the email, will claim that he was simply following the advice of James Yeager, the CEO of Tactical Response, a Tennessee company that specializes in weapons and tactical training. Yeager posted a video on YouTube in January in which he threatened to "start killing people" if President Obama continued to advance a gun safety agenda.

Prosecutors in Santa Clara County have charged Basham with ten felonies, including illegal possession of assault weapons, illegal possession of a destructive device and bomb making materials, criminal threats and the forging and possession of a fake driver's license. There's been no indication, as yet, that Tennessee authorities have undertaken to charge Yeager in connection with his terrorist threat, though his concealed carry permit was quickly suspended following his video-taped threat.

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 2/12/2013 3:35pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 'Too pooped to pope': Pope Benedict's green legacy; Did global warming find Nemo?; State of the Union - Obama's next act on climate change; Wind power now cheaper than coal in some countries; PLUS: Fox 'News' surrenders to Germany (in the clean energy race) ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Koch-backed 'Tea Party' started in 2002 with Big Tobacco; Meet your newest national park; Shell's damaged Arctic drilling rigs go to Asia; Map of cities to avoid as sea levels rise; Keystone XL pipeline: Just Say No; National Journal covers rising costs of inaction on climate change; Bloomberg's clean energy investor factbook; Flame retardants linked to ADHD; Why the US drilling boom lowered gas prices ... PLUS: Energy Subsidies and the 'Free Market' Lie ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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Contrived deficits part of broader Rightwing plan to eliminate government as source of public service...
UPDATED to include Credo Action on-line petition
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/8/2013 11:47am PT  

The massive operating deficits that have driven the U.S. Post Office to announce an end to delivery of First Class mail on Saturdays, beginning in August, are not the product of postal service ineptitude. Those deficits are not the product of increased public access to emails or from competition by private delivery services like UPS or FedEx.

The U.S. Postal Service has been victimized by the Orwellian-labeled Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA), which embodies a scheme designed to destroy the constitutionally established U.S. Postal Service in order to privatize mail and parcel delivery. In a lame duck session, at the peak of the USPS' profitability and productivity, a then Republican-controlled Congress forced the U.S. Postal Service "to pre-fund 75 years worth of pensions" in the span of ten years, "a requirement not made of any other public or private institution." If not for the onerous and unprecedented requirements of the PAEA, the U.S. Postal Service, which is not funded by any taxes, would now be experiencing a $1.5 billion surplus.

The contrived demise of the postal service must be understood within the broader subversive goals of libertarian and right wing philosophy --- a philosophy which, despite the express provisions of both the Preamble and Article I of the U.S. Constitution, rejects the right of government to "promote the general welfare"...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 1/24/2013 3:46pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Will John Kerry, or won't John Kerry?; Sierra Club vows to break the law for climate change and to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline; Dangerous air pollution in Salt Lake City; PLUS: The Mafia wants a piece of the clean energy action ... 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): Somebody is paying cash to anti-wind protesters (Trump?); World's biggest renewable energy storage farm opens in TX; Charting a New Course for the U.S. and the Environment; Google's Driverless Car Is Worth Trillions; Airlines 'made billions in windfall profits' from EU carbon tax; Colorado: January red flag fire warning; Rising Sea Level: How High Could the Tide Go?; Medical Experts Warn The Rise Of Resistant Bacteria Will Cause ‘Antibiotic Apocalypse’; CNN's Brain Freeze On Climate Change --- again... PLUS: What holds energy tech back? The infernal battery ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2013 12:25pm PT  

The one thing the Senate Majority Leader never seems to fail at: Failing.

Harry Reid last May, on the Senator floor, apologizing to Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM) for blocking their 2010 attempt to weaken the filibuster: "These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn’t," Reid said then. "And they were right. The rest of us were wrong --- or most of us, anyway. What a shame… If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rule, because it’s been abused, abused and abused."

Harry Reid today, after striking a deal with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to ensure anything close to (small "d") democracy stays decidedly out of the U.S. Senate: "I’m not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold."

See Ezra Klein for more of Reid's reasons for striking a deal to make minor procedural changes to Senate rules which do absolutely nothing to change the use --- and abuse, abuse, abuse --- of the filibuster. See Sam Stein and Ryan Grim for more of an explanation of what the marginal procedural changes to be made actually are.

In short, as many Filibuster reformers are noting today: Harry Reid's filibuster reform doesn't actually reform the filibuster in any way.

But let's spread some blame around. According to Merkley --- who had been leading a coalition of Democratic Senators and activists calling for the requirement of a "talking filibuster" (already fairly weak tea when it comes to filibuster reform) --- during a conference call last week, he called on reformers to pressure these Democratic Senators who were still "wrestling with his proposal", as Politico characterized it: Max Baucus (MT), Patrick Leahy (VT), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Barbara Boxer (CA), Joe Manchin (WV) and Mark Pryor (AR).

Presuming the Reid/McConnell deal is adopted today, as it likely will be, another chance to reform --- or kill --- the filibuster all together will not occur until the first legislative day of the next U.S. Congress, in 2015. All of which goes some way towards supporting the suggestion offered by progressive activist David Swanson during my interview with him last November, that Dems, at least a minority with enough power to undermine their caucus, have little interest in reforming the filibuster, as it gives them an excuse to make sure things they want to act like they believe in, but actually don't, will never see the light of day in the U.S. Senate.

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By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2013 12:14pm PT  

Palm Beach Post's George Bennet wrote last week about how so-called "Tea Party" groups seem to be running away from the "Tea Party" name in places like Florida.

The South Florida Tea Party, for example --- the one that helped launch the national career of Sen. Marco Rubio and hosted Donald Trump while he was initially pretending to think about running for President --- is changing their name to the National Liberty Federation.

"As Tea Party groups go," observes Steven Benen at MaddowBlog, "the South Florida Tea Party was one of the bigger and better organized outfits."

But it's little wonder these folks are running from the name. Their popularity, and their name brand, is now plummeting along with the fortunes of the Congressional Republican Party. As Bennet notes, even Rightwing pollsters like Rasmussen are finding that support for the "Tea Party" movement is absolutely cratering...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/17/2013 10:18am PT  

While the short answer is that it is no doubt protected against criminal prosecution by the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution, one can't help but think of how the successive efforts by radical 'Tea Party' Republicans, first during the manufactured "fiscal cliff" crisis, and now by way of holding a figurative gun to the head of the nation's and world's economy, in order to extract concessions that would destroy the New Deal safety net (see two Jan. 14 segments of the Ed Schultz show below), resembles the crime of extortion, perhaps even treason.

For those of us who live in California, this latest round of GOP hostage-taking comes as no surprise. Year-after-year, the CA GOP utilized the Golden State's requirement of a 2/3 vote for passage of either spending or revenue enhancing measures as a means to force austerity, such as former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's draconian $15 billion cuts to education and health care. By refusing to pass a budget, the CA GOP at one point forced the state controller to issue $2.6 billion in IOUs. And, all during the CA GOP reign of economic terror, the Golden State's budget deficit expanded --- reaching an indebtedness in excess of $20 billion despite those massive cuts.

Democracy struck back. The percentage of CA voters who are registered Republicans dropped to less than 30%. During the 2012 election, CA voters passed a relatively progressive, revenue-enhancing tax measure supported by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) by a wide margin and the GOP's ability to hold the state hostage was eliminated when Democrats achieved a super-majority in the state legislature.

As a result, fiscal sanity was restored. CA is now on track to achieving a budget surplus even as $5.2 billion has been added to the state's school, university and health care budgets.

It is appropriate that President Barack Obama, who unfortunately lacks a record of holding fast to principle, has, so far, stated that he will not give in to the latest extortion demands concerning the upcoming need to raise the debt ceiling once again. But, given the nature of the far greater damage to both the U.S. and even global economy that could be wrought by the Congressional GOP's latest round of hostage-taking, can the nation or the world await a subsequent election to deal with extortion by an organization, the so-called 'Tea Party,' that is funded and controlled by the rapacious billionaires Charles and David Koch, whose Koch Industries was described by William Koch, David's twin, as a form of "organized crime?"

Two 1/14/2013 segments of MSNBC's The Ed Show addressing GOP hostage-taking on the debt ceiling follow below...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/5/2013 2:07pm PT  

"I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me." – Former FL Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, 9/6/2012

"Anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee should have their head examined." - Rep. Peter King (R-NY), 1/2/2013.

In the wake of the Jan. 1, 2013 decision by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to postpone a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief until after the 113th Congress was sworn in, NY Rep. Peter King's sense of betrayal, which he described as "a knife in the back" in a remarkable floor speech, is understandable, but his proposed remedy is woefully deficient.

The only way that Republicans in an entire region of the country --- the Northeast --- can achieve meaningful representation in the 113th Congress may be by way of a massive party switch. The increasingly rare breed of "moderate House Republicans" may soon only be left with the choice of emulating the late Sen. Arlen Specter's 2009 party switch, by either becoming Democrats or by becoming independents who will caucus with the Democrats.

Of course, that didn't work out terribly well for Specter either...

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By Brad Friedman on 12/23/2012 3:54pm PT  

Steve Heller notes in BRAD BLOG comments today...

Regarding the "2nd Amendment protects us from tyranny" argument: Let's think about the so-called Patriot Act. That law isn't some right-wing paranoid fantasy about "Obama will take our guns!" or black helicopters or blue-helmeted UN troops putting us in concentration camps. That law is a REAL infringement on our liberties. Under the still-in-effect Patriot Act, the fed. govt. can, at any time and without having to provide any reason, cry "National Security!" and arrest us without warrant or charges, imprison us indefinitely, hold us incommunicado, deny us legal representation, search our homes, persons, cars, papers, email, phone records, snail mail, etc. in secret and without a warrant, take away our right to Habeas Corpus (the right to go before a judge to contest our imprisonment), send us to foreign nations for "interrogation" by the authorities of said foreign nation (read "torture"), and a host of other liberty-destroying provisions too numerous to list here.

Where was the NRA while the Patriot Act was being passed? Where are they now while it's still in effect?

Most importantly, why didn't our right to bear arms protect us from this drastic, powerful, and seemingly permanent destruction of many of our Constitutional liberties??

Look, if gun owners really and truly want to protect our liberties, they should put down their guns and get politically active. Guns did not protect us and would not have protected us from the Patriot Act. Only active engagement in our political system would have or could still save us from the Patriot Act and/or other infringements of our liberties.

He then added separately...

P.S. Forgot to add, I'm a gun owner. But I try (in my very small and limited way) to protect liberty not by carrying my gun everywhere but by being actively engaged in the political process.

We'd add only one other thought for now: Where does the 2nd Amendment, or any other, afford anybody the "civil liberty" of buying and purchasing as many semi-assault rifles, boxes of ammo and high-capacity magazines as they want without restriction or regulation? We can't seem to find that in our copy of the U.S. Constitution and, though we've asked, no one has yet identified for us where that "liberty" is enumerated.

That said, Heller's point above is probably far more important.

IMAGE: Shutterstock/Sascha Burkard

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