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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, August 21, 2014
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and His Bill to Stop Police Militarization:
KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Brad...
Republicans Call Ferguson Voter Registration 'Disgusting'
Rightwingers decry effort 'to register Democratic voters' following the killing of Michael Brown. But who said anything about 'Democratic voters'?...
Seriously, Ferguson Police?
The front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reminds again how ridiculous the era of post-9/11 Wars has become, as does yet another comparison to the Bundy Bunch...
'Green News Report' 8/19/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Oregon nixes coal export facility; July 2014 4th hottest; Fracking industry illegally using diesel fuel, threatening water; PLUS GOP officials secretly accept climate science...
Previous GNRs: 8/14/14 - 8/12/14 - Archives...
Yes, Elections Still Matter: Brad on 'David Pakman Show'
With so many corrupt, corporatist politicians, even on the Democratic side, does voting and fighting voter suppression still even matter?...
Tale of Two Protests
The armed Bundy Bunch and the unarmed peaceful protesters of Ferguson -- one group was courageous enough to have possibly brought substantive, positive change to the nation...
97-Year Old Loses Right to Vote in KS for Lack of Photo ID
Kansas Sec. of State and long-time Republican 'voter fraud' fraudster Kris Kobach wins another one, as senior citizens turned away without voting on Primary Election Day...
'Green News Report' 8/14/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic storms, floods from NE to MI to NY, as CA breaks more heat records; China dumping coal, breaking solar records; PLUS: Jimmy Carter slams climate-denying 'nutcases'...
Previous GNRs: 8/12/14 - 8/5/14 - Archives...
News Summer from Hell Continues:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Peace activist and author David Swanson joins Brad to explain why using military force in Iraq, even to stop a genocide, is a terrible idea. PLUS: Much more...
Journalists Now Being Arrested in Ferguson
Reporters pulled out of a McDonald's by militarized police while covering protests of police killing of Michael Brown. Freedom-fighting 'Tea Party' 'patriots' still AWOL...
'Green News Report' 8/12/14
Is weather now more extreme?; ExxonMobil begins drilling with Russia in the Arctic; Methane rising; PLUS: U.S. underestimated Keystone XL emissions...
CA Supremes Nix Corporate Personhood 'Advisory Measure' from 2014 Ballot
Prop 49, a CA ballot initiative calling on Congress to amend the Constitution, will not be allowed on this year's ballot after all...
SIEGELMAN JUDGE ARRESTED FOR BATTERY
Controversial Republican federal judge Mark Fuller charged with beating wife; Daughter of AL's former, now-jailed Governor calls news 'shocking', 'karma'...
Keystone XL Emissions Vastly Underestimated by State Dept.: New Report
Independent study finds carbon pollution may increase four times the amount previously predicted by U.S....
1 BILLION Votes, 31 POSSIBLE Cases of Fraud
Law professor and voting rights expert reveals startling new numbers underscoring the massive, years long GOP polling place Photo ID restriction scam...
GOP Rep Decries 'Disgusting, Despicable Smear Campaign' After Primary Election
In his victory speech, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) lashed out at his U.S. Chamber-backed Republican opponents...
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 6/6/2013 1:29pm PT  

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), on December 1, 2009, when asked what he'd do if Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) died in office: "I don't think any responsible governor at this point would call for a Special Election that would cost ten million dollars."

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) on June 4, 2013, after Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) died in office: "I am calling for a special election to be held this year...I don’t know what the cost is and I quite frankly don’t care."

I've already offered a few of my own observations on the irresponsible Christie's cowardly, hilariously transparent, anything-but-fiscally-conservative hypocrisy in declaring a $24 million Special Election for the U.S. Senate this October, just three weeks before his own already-scheduled-anyway election in November. Now Jon Stewart offers his...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/4/2013 11:11pm PT  

Gov. Chris Christie (R) could have made 24 New Jersey school teachers millionaires today. But, instead, he decided to spend the taxpayers money on a Special Election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) this October, just three weeks before his own previously scheduled election in November.

"Party leaders sent around a list of the kind of budget cuts that Mr. Christie could restore with the money to be spent on the special election," the New York Times noted. "$10 million he cut from after-school programs for children in the state’s most troubled cities; $8.6 million in tuition subsidies for college students; and $12 million in charity care at hospitals. Just weeks ago, they noted, Mr. Christie vetoed a proposal to establish early voting, saying the price tag — $25 million — was too high."

"I don’t know what the cost is and I quite frankly don’t care," said the Governor who has pretended, since coming to office in 2009, to be a fiscal conservative. "We’re not going to be penny-wise and pound-foolish around here," he said cryptically.

"Despite the governor's public denials, Christie allies were concerned that if a special election coincided with the gubernatorial election, Democratic candidate Barbara Buono could benefit," reports National Journal. "With [Newark Mayor Cory] Booker as the favored Democratic Senate nominee, less-reliable Democratic voters, particularly African-Americans, would be more likely to show up at the polls. Even with a comfortable lead in the race, that's not a risk Christie welcomed."

Republicans, already incensed that Christie had the temerity to meet President Obama during a horrific natural disaster and not punch him in the face, are furious about it all.

While quietly working for a number of weeks prior to breaking the story of the Secret Koch Brothers Tapes and Christie's secret keynote stem-winder at their 2011 Summer Seminar, I recall, as I researched through hours of his speeches and various appearances, that this guy would have been the Democrats' worse nightmare had he decided to run for President in 2012. He was incredibly under-rated by Democrats who saw him only as a former Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney hack. He may have been a bald-faced liar, but he was really good at it, and really charming to boot, when he wanted (or needed) to be.

That, of course, was back when he was seen as a hard rightwinger (which he is, even today, as many have forgotten). Back when David Koch described him as "my kind of guy" after secretly meeting with him in New York City. Back prior to Christie's re-invention as a "reasonable bi-partisan Republican" --- a stroke of "luck" blown onshore by Superstorm Sandy and a common-sense willingness to not be a complete asshole while tens of thousands of his own constituents were literally drowning and/or fighting for their lives in the freezing cold, even if it was just days before a Presidential election.

That, in turn, earned him the eternal loathing of many of the base Primary voters in a party that hasn't a clue what's good for them, and stunningly high approval ratings from Democrats who may have forgotten who Christie really is, and just how opportunistically disingenuous he is willing to be.

His transparent edict today, declaring an extraordinarily wasteful Special Election only weeks before his own was already scheduled in the state, may remind Democrats about some of that, even as it further pisses of Republicans at the same time. But, at least just about everyone seemed happy to ignore his absurd protests that "There's no political purpose" to his purposely political move today. "The political purpose," he claimed with a straight face, "is to give the people a voice [because] the issues facing the United States Senate are too important not to have an elected representative making those decisions."

Yes, after waiting four months for that elected representative, the people of New Jersey simply couldn't have waited four months and three weeks. That would be a bridge too far. A bridge he'd be willing to sell you for about $24 million.

I don't have a whole lot to add right now to all of this, but it's a helluva fun story, so I figured I'd open it up to readers of The BRAD BLOG who may have some thoughts of their own to share on all of this. Will all be forgiven by the time the 2016 Primaries roll around? Will Christie be able to thread the impossible needle his party has created for him? Or will his rising star fall as quickly as it rose?

* * *

UPDATE 6/6/13: Jon Stewart now takes his own whack at Christie right here...

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Prosecutor: 'Absentee voting is the source of all voter fraud'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/3/2013 4:12pm PT  

It seems we may now have at least a partial answer to the Miami-Dade absentee ballot request cyberhacking mystery we initially reported on in March.

As we detailed at that time, some 2,500 absentee ballots were fraudulently requested online for three different 2012 primary elections in Miami-Dade, FL. One race involved requests for Democratic absentee ballots in a U.S. House primary, the other two involved requests for Republican ballots in two different Florida State House primary races. All of the fraudulent "phantom" ballot requests are said to have been flagged as such at the Supervisor of Election's office and, therefore, never fulfilled.

Late last year, a grand jury and federal prosecutors [PDF] were unable to identify the person or persons behind the failed attempts, as well as why they were actually made, since the ballots, had the fraudulent requests not been flagged and prevented, were set to go to the actual addresses of real voters whose online identities had been fraudulently used to make the requests online.

One of the reasons that prosecutors were originally unable to identify those behind the attempted July 2012 cyberhack was because the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses used for most of the requests were masked by proxy IP addresses from overseas. It was not until excellent investigative reporting from The Miami-Herald discovered that a number of the requests came from IP addresses located in the Miami-Dade area. For reasons currently chalked up to administrative confusion, the Elections Division never gave those Miami area IP addresses to the grand jury.

Armed with the new information offered by the Miami-Dade IP addresses, it now appears that prosecutors are closing in on suspects believed to be behind at least one of those sets of cyberhacks --- the ones involving the Democratic U.S. House primary. Over the weekend the investigation led to the resignation of the Chief of Staff of the Democratic Congressman who eventually won the primary in question, as well as last November's general election...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/30/2013 4:25pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Problems found on Keystone XL pipeline in TX; Illegal Monsanto genetically modified wheat discovered in Oregon; Wal-mart guilty of toxic waste dumping; Shell admits moving grounded Arctic rig to avoid paying taxes; Russia evacuates its Arctic research station; PLUS: ExxonMobil's CEO unclear on the concept of man-made climate change ... 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): Big win for Big Coal: Judge gives Patriot Coal OK to cut benefits; NM county first in nation to ban fracking to safeguard water; Video: the Impact Of Coal; Utilities fight shift to rooftop solar; Crappy solar panels threaten industry growth; Mountain of pet coke waste from tar sands looms in Detroit; China buys major US food supplier; Tesla to expand Supercharger network nationwide in 6 months ... PLUS: As glaciers melt, alpine mountains lose their glue... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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'Trans-Pacific Partnership' seeks to supplant nation-states with privatized, global investor-state...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/30/2013 7:35am PT  

While the U.S. corporate-owned media misdirect our attention by focusing on various pretend "scandals", the Obama administration has quietly sought "fast track authority" to secretly negotiate and ram through Congress the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP is a NAFTA-like "free trade" agreement that not only threatens our national sovereignty, but aspires to supplant the sovereignty of all participating nation-states with a privately-controlled, all encompassing, corporate, global "investor state". The "investor-state" finds its embodiment in the creation of arbitration tribunals which are granted the power to negate the effectiveness of laws passed by individual nation-states.

As explained by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, through TPP, U.S. corporations and their K-Street lobbyists seek to by-pass the legislative process and democratic accountability in order to undermine Internet freedom, U.S. environmental laws and regulations and local laws protecting the health and safety of our citizenry. "Many of those corporations that have failed to get what they want from Congress are now getting their way through the secret back door of the TPP," they write. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has also issued a warning that Wall Street is attempting to gut Dodd-Frank through trade agreements such as TPP.

But, as government watchdog group Public Citizen observes, TPP --- which is now augmented by a joint U.S./E.U. call for a similar Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement --- threatens not only U.S. sovereignty but the ability of all nations to protect their own citizenry through the expansion of an already "notorious investor-state system". Such a system allows ethically compromised international business arbitration tribunals to compel nation-states to fork over "taxpayer-funded" penalties to predominantly U.S.-based, multinational corporations as the result of "domestic regulatory frameworks concerning nuclear energy and currency stability, revocation of mining and oil licenses (often in response to contract violations), and numerous other government measures affecting public health, financial stability, access to essential services and the environment."

What, you hadn't heard about this? Perhaps because the corporate media, and both major political parties, would prefer you keep your eyes on the shiny, pretend objects (Benghazi "scandal"! IRS "scandal"!) rather than the policies supported by both parties that will actually have a very real impact on your life and our country...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/29/2013 4:01pm PT  

Despite another "no contest" plea to four charges of voter fraud today, Hamilton County (Cincinnati), OH's crackdown on voter fraud, has yet to produce a conviction for a crime that might have been stopped had GOP-supported polling place Photo ID restriction laws been in place.

Here's the latest, via Cincinnati's NPR affiliate WVXU:

Melowese Richardson, the Madisonville poll worker accused for voting illegally for herself and others over three elections, entered no contest pleas in court this morning to four of the eight charges against her.
...
The other four counts were dismissed.

The 58-year-old Richardson, a long-time poll worker at the Madisonville Recreation Center...voted twice for herself in the 2012 election; and in elections in 2012, 2011 and 2009, she cast ballots for a number of friends and family members - one of whom was in a coma at the time.

As usual, it was an election insider, in this case, a pollworker, who attempted to defraud the system. As a pollworker, she figured out how to cast ballots for folks she knew would not be showing up to vote in person themselves.

No polling place Photo ID restriction --- as favored by Republicans claiming to want to stop "voter fraud" (but, really, just hoping to stop legal, largely Democratic-leaning voters from being able to cast a vote) --- would have deterred her insider efforts.

Out of the 421,997 votes cast in Hamilton County's 2012 November general election (and more in primaries last year) prosecutors have also been able to net two more convictions, both for absentee ballot fraud, which is also not affected in any way by the polling place Photo ID restrictions called for by Republicans...

Earlier this month, Russell Glossop, a 74-year-old Symmnes Township man, entered a guilty plea to a charge of illegal voting by casting an absentee ballot last fall for his dead wife.
...
The same is true of Sister Marguerite Kloos, a Sister of Charity who had cast a ballot for another nun who had died last fall before absentee ballots had been mailed out.

As The BRAD BLOG has reported for years, based on empirical study after empirical study to back up the case, in-person polling place impersonation, the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by Photo ID restrictions, is extraordinarily rare. Republican-enacted laws passed (theoretically) to deter it, stand to disenfranchise far more perfectly legal voters --- exponentially so --- than fraudulent votes that might ever be deterred by such laws.

Last August, for example, we reported on a new nationwide analysis by a non-partisan news consortium which examined every single election fraud case in the U.S. going back to 2000. Their findings? Out of thousands of cases of fraud, and hundreds of millions of legal votes cast in all 50 states for more than a decade, the study identified just ten (10!) cases of in-person voter fraud that might have been deterred by Republican polling place Photo ID restriction laws.

At the same time, partisan Republican groups such as "True the Vote" continue to fraudulently claim a massive "voter fraud" epidemic in support of GOP Photo ID restrictions. As we reported last December, their website had boasted of "voter fraud convictions in 46 states", but deceptively failed to point out that ZERO of the allegations and convictions cited would have been deterred by polling place Photo ID laws.

In the meantime, if you're looking for actual fraud, please see our article from last August, detailing election fraud allegations and convictions, for very high profile Republicans --- including Mitt Romney and even the former Sec. of State of Indiana (who was convicted of 3 felony voter fraud counts, even while he was the chief election official tasked with overseeing and enforcing the state's first-in-the-nation polling place Photo ID restriction law). None of the cases cited in the article, of those very high-profile GOPers, would have been deterred by the type of voting restriction laws favored by Republicans.

* * *
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 --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- 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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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/28/2013 4:00pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: WA bridge collapse another 'wake-up call' on the nation's infrastructure; CA Gov. Brown calls for immediate action on climate change; Global protest "March Against Monsanto" against GMOs; PLUS: CBO says carbon tax a good idea - but only if you care about future Americans (Oh, and dead rats are falling from the sky!)... 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): Wal-mart pleads guilty to toxic waste dumping [no jail time!]; Stunning report slams U.S. food inspection, safety; Electric car-maker Better Place: what went wrong?; Shocker: CBS' Face the Nation covers climate change & extreme weather; Majority of world population to face water shortages by 2050; Explainer: Utilities vs. renewables for dummies; NY pilot program to compost city food scraps; Russia's Arctic research station evacuated due to melting ice ... PLUS: Ending world hunger with a 3-D printer? NASA's newest project ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/23/2013 3:11pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: House GOP votes again to expedite Keystone XL pipeline; New Energy Secretary Moniz declares climate change science 'not debatable'; Oklahoma tornado the 2nd costliest in U.S. history; New rules for fracking on public lands; PLUS: California teen invents a battery that could charge your cell phone in 20 seconds ... 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): How Memorial Day gas price hikes enrich oil companies; The truth about the anti-wind movement (tiny, paranoid, disinformed, Koch-funded); Top 10 cities to be screwed by climate change (sorry, Phoenix); CBO: Carbon tax an option to avoid 'catastrophic' outcomes; China to launch carbon emissions market; Print solar panels at home ... PLUS: Crazy Time: Alex Jones explains how "the government" caused deadly Oklahoma tornado ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
SPECIAL REPORT: Disaster in Moore, OK
By Desi Doyen on 5/21/2013 3:56pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: A Green News Special Report: Devastation as another record tornado hits Moore, OK - The city wakes up to the day after, questions about resilience and the influence of climate change ... 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): Midwest drought: Wells dry, fertile plains turn to dust; Utilities vs. rooftop solar: What the fight is about; Native chiefs walk out of Keystone XL negotiations; US hits 100k plug-in vehicles; Feds again delay restarting San Onofre nuke plant; Remember when IRS targeted environmental groups?; US approves natural gas export terminal; After 30 years, Camp Lejeune coming clean on toxic water ... PLUS: We Have Met the Unknown Unknowns --- and They are Us ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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PLUS: OK Senators favor federal disaster relief aid for constituents, even after voting against it following Superstorm Sandy...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2013 1:26pm PT  

Yesterday's horrific, tragic and enormous tornado in Moore, OK has been described as "the biggest, most destructive tornado in the history of the world."

In its wake, many are questioning the relationship between such monster storms and climate change. Here's a statement from Dr. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in response to that question, as obtained via email today by Peter Sinclair (he, of the geat Climate Denial Crock of the Week website):

Of course tornadoes are very much a weather phenomenon. They come from certain thunderstorms, usually super-cell thunderstorms that are in a wind shear environment that promotes rotation. The main climate change connection is via the basic instability of the low level air that creates the convection and thunderstorms in the first place.

Warmer and moister conditions are the key for unstable air.

The climate change effect is probably only a 5 to 10% effect in terms of the instability and subsequent rainfall, but it translates into up to a 32% effect in terms of damage.

(It is highly nonlinear).

So there is a chain of events and climate change mainly affects the first link: the basic buoyancy of the air is increased. Whether that translates into a super-cell storm and one with a tornado is largely chance weather.

So, in short, Trenberth seems to suggest that while one cannot directly "blame" climate change itself for any particular storm, the altered weather patterns, thanks to global warming and the increased moisture in the air, increase, fairly radically, the probability of such storms and, in turn, their size and destructive power.

Or, if you prefer, you can listen to leading climate science denier Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma who has said many times in the past that concerns about man-made climate change are nothing more than "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" and nothing to worry about.

While we haven't heard him say as much today yet, for some odd reason, he has explained that he --- like his fellow Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, will support federal disaster relief funding for his state, unlike their vote against federal disaster relief funding for the East Coast after Superstorm Sandy last year. Why? Because, as Inhofe explained today, the money for his state won't simply be a "slush fund", as he described the relief for the millions of East Coasters affected by Hurricane Sandy. "That won't happen in Oklahoma," he said.

Meanwhile, Coburn (who is also a climate change denier), after also voting against relief for Hurricane Sandy while tens of thousands were left homeless on the East Coast in the middle of winter, slammed those who charged hypocrisy in his promise of federal relief "without delay" for his own OK constituents.

"It is crass," his office said in a statement to reporters, "for critics to play disaster aid politics when first responders are pulling victims from the rubble."

By Coburn's reckoning, apparently, the time to "play disaster aid politics" is a few days or months later, as he did with Sandy aid, when victims were freezing and without power or homes.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/21/2013 7:04am PT  

In a white paper issued in March, the California Federation of Labor (CFL) called for reforms to "undo the damage" wrought by SB 899, a California GOP-sponsored workers' compensation "reform" bill that was touted by AP in April 2004 as “one of the biggest victories of [then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's] new political career".

The celluloid action hero insisted the "reform" was necessary to curtail the spiraling costs of workers' compensation insurance for California employers.

As the CFL white paper correctly notes, the rationale behind Schwarzenegger's workers' compensation "reform" legislation was largely a scam. Like so many other investment schemes, the source of spiraling workers' compensation costs can be found in the 1993 deregulation of the insurance industry and a subsequent burst of a workers' compensation insurance investment bubble. Yet, Schwarzenegger refused to include limits on the rates insurance companies could charge employers as part of his "reform" package.

Despite an initial drop in the cost of workers' compensation insurance in California, costs have again climbed --- so much so that, according to a May 15 article that appeared in the Ventura County Star, "the Port of Hueneme is preparing to pay 120 percent more for workers' compensation insurance" in the coming year.

Contrary to the philandering actor-turned-Governor's claims that the savings would not be extracted from the backs of injured workers, SB 899 contained drastic reductions in benefits --- so drastic that, in a 2004 letter published by Los Angeles Times, after pointing out that I had represented litigants in workers' compensation proceedings since 1979 and was regarded by my peers as an exceptionally effective litigator, I warned California employees that if they were injured on the job, God help them because I was not sure I could.

Whatever efforts are now made to "undo the damage" wrought by SB 899, they will come too late for my client, Charles Romano. Thanks to the law's massive reduction in prohibitive penalties that could have been assessed for bad faith refusals to furnish vital, life-sustaining medical treatment --- the new penalties are a drop-in-the-bucket compared to what it had cost to keep him alive --- Charles is no longer with us...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2013 12:53pm PT  

Recall that "massive budget deficit!!!" which was to be the death of our nation, as Republicans described it during the 2012 election cycle? Yes, the $1.4 trillion deficit inherited by Obama has been cut by more than half, according to the latest projection, and has all but returned to the size of Bush's second-to-last budget deficit prior to the global economic meltdown. (See CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION at end of story below for more details.) But it seems, for some reason, the GOP forget to tell people, for some reason...

While the rapidly disappearing deficit seen above is not necessarily a good thing --- at least for those interested in putting people back to work and the overall long-term health of the economy that would otherwise come with smart federal investments right now --- you'd think Republicans would be celebrating. But, of course, they're not, because they don't care now, nor have they ever, about budget deficits --- unless they can be used as a blunt object to try and harm their political opponents.

Rachel Maddow offered more last night on the chart above. Video follows below...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/16/2013 3:31pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Hysterical Fox 'News' flip-floppery on Tesla; Consensus strikes again: 97% of climate scientists say global warming is man-made, but the public thinks it's evenly split; CO2 levels pass 400ppm; You're already paying a 'disaster tax'; PLUS: Thanks to renewable energy, one town now has too much money ... 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): Explosive pig poo foam!; Supreme Court rules for Monsanto; Floods could overwhelm London barriers; Conoco-Philips CEO admits humans cause global warming - but is against getting off oil; Interior Dept issues new fracking rules; Ernie Moniz confirmed as Energy Secretary; Stephen Chu wishes he'd accomplished more on climate change; Japan takes first step to a permanent reactor shutdown after Fukushima ... PLUS: Vote with your wallet in the supermarket? There's an app for that ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2013 6:05am PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

During remarks at the White House yesterday evening, President Obama offered his opinions on the Treasury Department Inspector General's report [PDF] finding that the IRS used "inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status," in order to review those groups "for indications of significant political campaign intervention."

He described "the misconduct that is uncovered" in the report as "inexcusable". He said that "Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it," adding that he "will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives."

Obama then announced that his Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, had requested and accepted the resignation of the Acting Commissioner of the IRS --- the man who wasn't even in that role during the period in question at the IRS --- "because given the controversy surrounding this audit, it’s important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward."

That all sounds very tough and decisive(!), but after having slogged through the full IG's report, I'm not sure what "misconduct" the President is actually referring to. That word would seem to imply that someone at the IRS was purposely or criminally misbehaving. They may have been, and further investigation may uncover such behavior, but if there was purposeful or criminal misconduct by anyone in the office, the IG's report doesn't seem to offer any actual evidence of it.

The IG's report offers evidence of much confusion, poor training, unclear directives and what seems to be pretty lousy, or, at least, extremely ineffective management at the department of the IRS tasked with approving or rejecting tax-exempt status for 501(c)(3) "charitable groups" and 501(c)(4) "social welfare organizations". Members of Congress, as well as government watchdog groups have long argued that many of those tax-payer subsidized organizations have abused the privilege and violated the legal restrictions on political activity by such groups. The abuse has been particularly widespread, they argue, in the wake of the Citizens United decision and the flood of largely unrestricted, often completely anonymous money funneled to those types of groups for often purely-political purposes.

Further investigation, including a criminal investigation promised by the Dept. of Justice, may uncover the type of "misconduct" the President claims to be outraged by, but the evidence for it is not found in the IG's report, no matter how much Republicans are currently suggesting the opposite.

Also NOT found in the IG's report:

  • Any evidence that "Tea Party" related groups were identified during this process for nefarious reasons;
  • Any type of identification, political or otherwise, for the groups whose applications were similarly flagged and delayed ("Tea Party" related groups made up only a minority, approximately 1/3 of the groups whose applications were delayed and held for further examination);
  • Any indication or evidence whatsoever that the White House, or anybody outside of the IRS units handling these cases, had anything to do with what happened;
  • Any response to the other question the IG's office was tasked by Congress to investigate, namely: "whether existing social welfare organizations are improperly engaged in a substantial, or even predominant, amount of campaign activity."

Allow me to offer some quick details in support of each of the bullet points above...

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But Obama's IRS and DoJ/AP scandals didn't happen in a vacuum...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2013 6:05am PT  

Government officials and employees responsible for the allegedly inappropriate scrutiny of Rightwing groups applying for non-profit, tax-exempt status as "social welfare organizations" (tax-payer subsidized, supposedly non-partisan 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) groups) should be investigated and, if appropriate, disciplined, fired and/or charged under criminal statutes.

Government officials and employees responsible for secretly subpoenaing the phone records of AP reporters ought to similarly be investigated and, if appropriate, disciplined, fired and/or charged under criminal statutes --- though it is likely that the government has already given itself legal dispensation to carry out that sort of invasive, seemingly extra-Constitutional, certainly un-American intimidation of whistleblowers and journalists alike.

That said, it's been predictably amusing over the past 24 hours or so, witnessing the outrage --- outrage! --- of Rightwingers over the very things that they not only didn't give a rat's ass about when the same, and often much worse, was carried out by the Bush Administration, but that they actively supported at the time.

"They say two wrongs don’t make a right, but ignoring one of those wrongs while vilifying the other is intellectually dishonest and violently hypocritical, among other things," writes Bob Cesca at The Daily Banter, noting that "Democrats have almost universally condemned the actions of the IRS, as they’ve done when the congressional Republicans and, naturally, the Bush administration used the nearly unlimited might of the government to engage in similar investigations — or worse."

"Republicans," he writes, "spent eight years defending, applauding and enabling Bush abuses on this front, while subsequently cheerleading the congressional Republicans as they carry forward the politics of intimidation and government overreach into the Obama era."

Cesca goes on to list "10 Examples of Bush and the Republicans Using Government Power to Target Critics", beginning with the Republican-supported Big Government assaults on Planned Parenthood, ACORN (which succeeded in putting a four-decade old community organization out of business), and on even the ability of perfectly legal American voters to simply cast a vote in their own elections. He also reminds us of the abuse of the Bush Dept. of Justice which, specifically, targeted Democrats for prosecution, and for the firing of U.S. Attorneys without cause, other than they were not partisan enough for the tastes of the Bush White House.

But while the Obama Administration deserves appropriate scrutiny and investigation and accountability for whatever its part in both the developing IRS and DoJ/AP scandals, let us not forget some of these certainly-as-bad, arguably-worse scandals related to both the IRS and the DoJ --- from during the Bush Administration --- that Republicans not only didn't give a damn about, but often applauded for most of the past decade...

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

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