w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
During Thursday's Green News Report, we briefly discussed Charles Koch's claim in his Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, that he and his brother David, are using their inherited fossil-fuel millions to discredit global warming science (and other inconvenient realities), simply because they are fighting "to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans." Sure they are.
Over at the Washington Post's "Plum Line" blog, Paul Waldman has another thought on the Koch op-ed this week, which was published at virtually the same moment as the rightwing judicial activists on the U.S. Supreme Court trashed 40 years of campaign finance law in order to allow the approximately 600 Americans who had already maxed out their previously allowed $125,000 per-election-cycle donations to political candidates and parties to be "free" to give millions to candidates and parties instead.
Waldman avers that the Koch op-ed and the SCOTUS McCutcheon decision "are parts of the same effort," which, he argues convincingly, is "Nothing less than the construction of a new version of liberty."
In his WSJ piece, Koch joined a growing procession of billionaire Rightwingers recently whining aloud about their perceived persecution at the hands of...well, anyone who doesn't share their political views and who doesn't have the "freedom" to also have billions, inherited or otherwise, in their bank accounts.
"Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists [ed note: apparently he means anyone who is not a Republican?] strive to discredit and intimidate opponents," Koch bemoans. "They engage in character assassination," he complains, before adding parenthetically,"(I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.)"
"Poor" fellow. Waldman, however, sees the Koch Agonistes very differently...
Scrambling to prep for today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, so this will have to be quick today, but you've probably already read about the U.S. Supreme Court's horrible 5-4 decision in the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case by now.
If not, Andrew Kroll's explainer "The Supreme Court Just Gutted Another Campaign Finance Law. Here's What Happened." is excellent, as is Ian Millhiser's "How The Supreme Court Just Legalized Money Laundering By Rich Campaign Donors".
[Millhiser will be joining me this evening on The BradCast.]
In (incredibly) brief, the SCOTUS ruling means that aggregate limits --- put in place 40 years ago, after the Watergate scandal --- that a single person may contribute to federal candidates and political parties were found to be an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment free speech rights. While limits of contributions to individual federal candidates of $2,600 per election (that's $2,600 for a primary and another $2,600 for the general) and $5,000 to a political committee stay in place, the aggregate amount they may now give to many candidates and political parties will now be lifted.
So, where a single donor could previously give no more than $117,000 to all federal candidates and political committees during the 2012 cycle, that limit has now been entirely trashed. As the SCOTUS minority argued in the case, the ruling will now allow a single individual to give up to $3.5 million in a cycle, if they give to all federal candidates running. In turn, those candidates and political parties may now pool that money and divert it to the most needed races.
This ruling is great news, for an incredibly small number of very wealthy people. As Richard Wolf and Fredreka Schouten encapsulate it at USA Today...
A U.S. District judge has ruled that Republican legislators in North Carolina must provide documents revealing their work in passing and implementing a radical election reform bill which, when it was passed last year, was described by opponents as the "worse-than-anyone-would-have-ever-imagined voter suppression bill."
Late last week, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake issued an Order [PDF] in which she rejected a blanket refusal by NC Republican state legislators to provide any documents that relate to the question of whether the sweeping legislation known as the Voter Information Reform Act ("VIVA" aka HB 589) amounted to nothing less than a racially-motivated attempt to deprive African-Americans of their constitutional right to vote.
As we observed when the law was hastily enacted last year, among the law's myriad ways of making registration and voting much more difficult, VIVA includes "draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions (despite the absence of any evidence of polling place impersonation in the state), shortens the early voting period and eliminates NC's very successful same-day voter registration program."
VIVA was quickly passed last year on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial, 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The decision resulted in the gutting of a central provision of the federal Voting Rights Act. Before that, most of the measures in VIVA could not have taken effect unless they received advance approval from either the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) or a federal court. Such approval could have been obtained only if NC established that VIVA was neither intended to nor would have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color or being the member of a language minority.
The new ruling may help plaintiffs establish violations of both the still-standing elements of the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, the order to compel documentation concerning the law's genesis in NC, if upheld, could also have a broader national significance...
Oh, the irony of Newt Gingrich never ends...
"Whether it's the Koch brothers or [George] Soros on the left or Sheldon," said the former House speaker in an interview with National Journal on Friday, ticking off other campaign mega-donors, "if you're going to have an election process that radically favors billionaires and is discriminating against the middle class-which we now have-then billionaires are going to get a lot of attention."
Gingrich was asked about the gathering of some top Republicans in Las Vegas for what officially is the spring meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Some have even taken to dubbing the event the "Sheldon Primary," for the casino mogul who almost single-handedly bankrolled Gingrich's presidential candidacy in 2012 and is said to be looking for another horse to back for the White House in 2016.
That's from Billy House's piece at National Journal today.
But if you want to know what Gingrich proposes to help even the score in elections between the billionaires and the middle class, you have to read to the last line of House's article...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Was logging a factor in deadly Washington landslide?; New BP oil spill in Lake Michigan; Rooftop solar endangers the electric grid? 'Bullsh*t', says former Energy Secretary; Next UN climate report warns climate change will affect 'every aspect of human life' and 'cost trillions'; PLUS: Irreversible climate change could be locked in as early 2036... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): House of Representatives votes for No More National Parks; U.S. Oil Boom Shifts Alliance as Obama Visits Saudi King; Ridiculously Resilient Ridge Hangs Tough; Fracking’s Earthquake Risks Push States to Collaborate; Fracking the USA: New Map Shows 1 Million Oil, Gas Wells; EPA moves to protect streams, wetlands; Drug companies agree to curb livestock antibiotic use ... PLUS: Millions of salmon begin migration --- by truck ... and much, MUCH more! ...
I haven't gotten to go to the phones for weeks on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast, so that's what we did on this week's show. No guests. Just me, a few rants, lots of callers (and, of course, Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report).
The rants included more on the mad media misinformation/neo-con war-baiting over Ukraine (which, thankfully, it appears Obama no longer seems to be falling for or taking the bait on); the Democrats woeful 2014 campaign plans and --- the one that got ALL the phone lines ringing off the hook --- the rapidly increasing media disinformation about e-cigs.
Lots of good calls, but my favorite on that last was from "David in Los Angeles". I think his opinion may be a nearly perfect distillation of the entire, insane backlash against the public health miracle that is vaping. David describes his concern: "We don't want to encourage the behavior of smoking, even if its not harmful." My question to him is, "Why?" He explains: "because it's the perceived behavior that is negative." You'll have to tune in to see how that call, and all the others, worked out.
It was a very lively show this week. Hope you'll enjoy it...
Download MP3 or listen online below...
Well, it just makes sense. Republicans aren't actually running on anything in 2014 other than "Democrats are no good! Also, Obamacare!"
As Jesse LaGreca points out, however, "50+ repeal votes, a SCOTUS decision and a Presidential election, still no GOP alternative to Obamacare, just trolling & BS."
So, it's not much to run on. But that's okay. The Rs have an advantage this year thanks to the D's huge wins in 2008, leaving Dems with much more territory to defend this year in the U.S. Senate. More importantly, while Republicans have little or no policy initiatives to actually run on --- or, at least, few they'd like to mention out loud --- they don't really need to. The Koch Brothers are so desperate to see Republicans back in power, and all the swell goodies that come with it, they are unleashing everything they can to simply buy their way back into greater control of our nation's once-of-the-people, by-the-people, for-the-people government.
At the same time, unfortunately, Democrats aren't running on much more themselves. "We're not crazy Republicans!" may be true, but it doesn't give American voters much to vote for, especially while the Kochs are outspending outside Democratic-leaning groups 10 to 1 so far this year. So it all makes sense that with the Kochs' money running this year in lieu of actual Republicans with policies, Democrats seem to be set on simply run against the Kochs. That appears to be the plan. Or, at least the one that's working for them so far, according to Dave Weigel at Slate today:
But five emails mentioned, in at least some way, the Koch brothers. Those asks raised $32,668.72, an average of $6,533.74 per email. The Democratic base, which has been hearing about and fearing the Kochs for nearly four years, responds to this stuff.
So, running against The Koch Brothers brings in three times as much money as running on...whatever else the Dems have been trying to run on so far this year.
It'd be nice if the Democrats gave voters something concrete to vote for. It might even solve their oft-cited problem of D voters not turning out for mid-terms. Why should they, after all? That's not a criticism, that's an actual question. Why should voters turn out? What are they supposed to be voting for?Democrats might want to start thinking about offering a concrete reason or three. But, in lieu of that, running against the two privileged sons of an oil baron who are willing to spend as much of their father's hard-earned money as they need to in hopes of buying the United States whole hog will have to suffice, apparently. In 2014, with few, if any, policy promises (so far) presented to voters, Koch is it.
Unfortunately, for every dollar raised by the Dems, the Kochs can just cut a check for three or ten more. So, if you'd like to start questioning the Democrats' 2014 election strategy, now would be a good time.
You also might want to ask them why they aren't doing much more to fight against the madness unleashed by the infamous Citizens United in 2010 and the way that Republicans (particularly the Kochs and Karl Rove) have gamed every last inch of whatever scraps are left of campaign finance law in this country. Come to think of it, a hard promise to pass laws to effectively overturn Citizens United and restore campaign finance enforcement at the FEC would be just one concrete policy that Americans might actually turn out to vote affirmatively for. And, Democrats could beat up on the Kochs all they like in the bargain. Win-win! So, of course, Democrats probably won't do it.
Republicans enjoy pretending to be "tough on terrorism". But, as with most things they pretend to be, they are not. If they actually were, they'd have sprung into action long ago to deal with the massive infrastructure vulnerability of our antiquated nationwide power grid.
As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) warned some time ago, as per a secret memo recently revealed by Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Smith [subscription req'd], the entire nationwide grid could be brought down by an attack on as few as 9 of the nation's 55,000 electrical substations during a heat wave. Knock out a transformer manufacturer at the same time and the power --- nationwide --- would stay collapsed "for at least 18 months, probably longer".
Of course, after Smith's report, the U.S. government is not angry at the lack of action to protect against the vulnerability. They are mad at Smith for reporting it, even though she withheld key details.
The entire issue became even more critical recently, after last April's "mysterious and sophisticated sniper attack" on a substation in San Jose, CA.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Secret federal memo warns entire nationwide electric grid could be knocked out; More new evidence NC collaborated with Duke Energy to derail lawsuits; BP is back in the Gulf, baby!; PLUS: Surprise! Paris discovers stopping traffic really does stop pollution ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Pest develops resistance to GMO corn; Scientists sound alarm about climate change - again; Antarctic rubbish dump will cost millions to clean up; Unskilled and destitute are hiring targest for Fukushima cleanup; East Harlem explosion highlights risk of natural gas leaks; Floods cause oil spill in ND; Thames Barrier hits yearly operational limit in 2 months; Global warming melts 'stable' edge of Greenland ice sheet ... PLUS: GAO: Climate Change Threatens Energy Infrastructure ... and much, MUCH more! ...
During last Tuesday's Green News Report, we briefly discussed the U.S. Senate "all nighter" on climate change, where 28 Democrats and 1 Republican (Inhofe, the GOP's "Denier-in-Chief" who stuck around long enough to mock the effort) stayed up all night making speeches calling for climate change action in hopes of drawing attention to the issue.
We mocked it ourselves a bit, suggesting that Democrats might have carried out such a stunt during the day, instead of in the middle of the night when most people were asleep, if they really wanted folks to notice. In the meantime, our friend Kenny Pick of Turn Up the Night has been slogging through CSPAN's 17-hour video posting of the session and sends us a clip that caught his eye.
In it, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), co-sponsor along with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) of the Senate #Up4Climate event, focuses a laser light on the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous 2010 Citizens United decision as a turning point --- a very bad one --- for climate change denialism, specifically on the flip-flopping by Republicans on an issue they actually did once appear to care about...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Battle lines drawn in contentious U.S. Senate hearing on Keystone XL; Hottest winter on record for California; China is declaring war --- on pollution; Drilling boom creating huge drilling waste problem; PLUS: Secretary of Energy Moniz cites a boom in solar and wind ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Texas: 'cheapest solar power deal ever seen'; Utility death spiral accelerates in Germany; US risks national blackout even in small-scale attack; NJ moves to shut down Tesla; Officials shut down fracking wells due to quakes; 18 Ohio coal plants operating without permits; Is this plant the future of 'clean coal'?; Asian carp eggs found as far north as Wisconsin; State Dept vastly overestimated oil-by-rail in Keystone XL report ... PLUS: Climate science predicted California drought ten years ago ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Up all night for climate in the U.S. Senate; Alaska's iconic Iditarod race struggles without snow; California breaks solar power records; PLUS: 3rd anniversary of the meltdown at Fukushima, and the legacy of nuclear disaster ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climatologist who predicted California drought 10 years ago says it may soon be ‘even more dire’; Daylight Savings Time could be costing billions yearly in electricity; Canadian tar sands oil gets new route across US; IEA: wind and solar can carry bulk of energy transformation; New ozone-depleting gases found in atmosphere; Get ready for El Nino...maybe; What slowdown? NASA says long-term warming likely to be significant; Duke CEO: All customers to pay for coal ash cleanup ... PLUS: 'Pollution burden' much higher for California's minority populations ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Whatever your feelings about the Affordable Care Act (ACA or 'ObamaCare'), one of its main objectives was to lower the number of Americans without health insurance. According to new data out today from Gallup, the health care insurance law seems to be having precisely that effect...
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, released Monday, found that 15.9 percent of U.S. adults are uninsured thus far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent for the last three months --- or calendar quarter--- of 2013.
That translates roughly to 3 million to 4 million people [who previously did not have health insurance, now] getting coverage.
Gallup said the share of Americans who lack coverage is on track to drop to the lowest quarterly level it measured since 2008, before Obama took office.
The survey found that almost every major demographic group made progress getting health insurance, although Hispanics lagged.
The Gallup poll is considered authoritative because it combines the scope and depth found in government surveys with the timeliness of media sampling. Pollsters interview 500 people a day, 350 days a year. The latest health care results were based on more than 28,000 interviews, or about 28 times as many as in a standard national poll.
The survey can be an early indicator of broad shifts in society. Gallup saw a modest decline in the uninsured rate in January, and now two full months of data indicate a trend is taking shape.
Gallup said the drop coincides with the start of coverage under the health care law on Jan. 1.
While The BRAD BLOG has been no particular fan of ObamaCare, and has long advocated for a "Medicare for All" type single-payer system, (we've long been loud supporters of a much better and more moral system than that offered by "ObamaCare", and still are) the facts about ACA are the facts.
In addition to the continuing fall in the number of uninsured Americans, we also noted last November that the rise in the cost of health care has been the flattest in U.S. history during the three years since the passage of the law. And, on a personal note, last December I detailed the ObamaCare "nightmare" I suffered by spending less than an hour on the CA state exchange website to sign up for a new plan with the same health care provider I had previously, and saved $300/month ($3,600/year) in the process.
Yes, if I was a Republican I'd want to pretend "ObamaCare" was a disaster and do everything possible to repeal it as well.
Some encouraging news to begin your week, along with apologies to Ian Millhiser for running his short and sweet piece in full, but I'm off the grid for much of today and would like to flag his main point here...
The poll is the second blow in just one week to Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R), who campaigned in 2010 on his support for voter ID, a common voter suppression law. Last Wednesday, an Iowa judge permanently struck down Schultz's attempt to purge voters from the voter rolls on suspicion that they could be non-citizens.
Although voter ID's supporters typically claim that they are necessary to prevent ineligible voters from showing up at the polls, the truth is that this kind of voter fraud is exceedingly rare - one study found that just 0.0023 percent of votes are the product of such fraud. What voter ID laws do accomplish, however, is that they disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters, low-income voters and students - all of whom are groups that tend to prefer Democrats over Republicans.
The Des Moines Register poll suggests that voters will oppose such an effort once they understand the real impact of voter ID. Indeed, this is exactly what happened in Minnesota in 2012, where support for a voter ID ballot initiative collapsed as voters learned more about it.
Millhiser may be more bullish on the American people "getting it" than I am. The Rightwing "voter fraud" propaganda has run long and deep, and (unlike The BRAD BLOG) both Democrats and progressives in general took way too long to begin responding to the insidious and very well organized voter suppression strategy by Republicans. Still, I hope he's right and I'm wrong, and that, like so many other issues, the American people will get it right once they truly understand the facts of the long-running and effective GOP scam.
The data points Millhiser cites are encouraging, however, and are in line with a general anecdotal assessment I offered in January, as based on responses from Reddit commenters to the Pennsylvania court that nixed the Keystone State's disenfranchising and unconstitutional polling place Photo ID restriction law passed into law by Republicans there last year.
And, one more point, since the piece above discusses Iowa: A reminder that when the GOP in the Hawkeye State were able to run any type of election they wanted (without having to worry about running afoul of state or federal law or Constitutional issues) in their own 2012 GOP Iowa Caucuses, they chose to not require their own voters present Photo ID before participating, despite working very hard in the year prior to require such restrictions for all voters in the general election.
(In a related point, the Iowa GOP also chose to use hand-counted paper ballots, rather than optical-scan or touch-screen computers in their Presidential caucuses that year as well. Thanks only to that public oversight of the balloting the real winner of the 2012 Iowa GOP Caucus was eventually determined. Without those publicly-counted paper ballots, the man who didn't win, Mitt Romney, who was unofficially declared to be the "winner" on election night in Iowa, would have almost certainly have gone on to become the official "winner" as well, despite receiving fewer votes than Rick Santorum.)
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