IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Deadly heat wave in the Midwest; Deadly famine in Somalia; More American jobs in clean energy than in oil & gas; Meet America's newest oil spill, now in Alaska (Thanks again, BP!) ... PLUS: It's the end of the line for NASA's space shuttle program --- Can America still do Big Things? ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate change 'threatens peace', UN official warns; Most of the U.S. could be energy self-sufficient; Judge denies BP request for White House emails; The true cost of gasoline? $13 a gallon; Polluted China plans carbon emissions trading scheme; Koch brothers declare war on offshore wind; OH Leads List of Top 20 States with Toxic Air; Can Bluefin Tuna Farms Work?; GAO: States Underreporting Violations of Drinking Water Standards; Fracking At Drinking Water Source for 80k in PA Raises Alarms; Staff Tells N.R.C. That U.S. Rules Need Overhaul After Fukushima; Japan Links More Cattle to Cesium-Tainted Feed; Mapping mercury fallout from coal-fired power plants ... PLUS: It's HOT! But Fox only talks about global warming when it's snowing ...
I'd like to take the opportunity, before we get closer to the 2012 election cycle and things change for the worse in the Buckeye State (and as I prepare to step off the grid, and into the mountains for the bulk of the week), to laud Ohio's new Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted for his willingness to stand up for voters by bucking his party and standing against the polling place Photo ID restrictions the GOP is working to implement in his state.
Husted made his opposition plain in a statement late last month, after attempting to work with the General Assembly in order to craft an acceptable election reform bill [emphasis added]:
“I want to be perfectly clear, when I began working with the General Assembly to improve Ohio’s elections system it was never my intent to reject valid votes. I would rather have no bill than one with a rigid photo identification provision that does little to protect against fraud and excludes legally registered voters' ballots from counting."
As The BRAD BLOG has had to explain far too many times over the years --- as based on empirical academic studies and even hard data from George W. Bush's own Dept. of Justice --- legislation implimented in order to restrict access to the polling place as based, ostensibly, on assertions of the incredibly rare crime of voter impersonation at the polls, is meant to do nothing more than suppress voters --- specifically, minority, urban, elderly, and student (read: Democratic-leaning) ones.
Some 18% of the country's legal electorate in this country do not possess the type of IDs required by these laws, and are likely to be disenfranchised or forced to pay a poll tax in order to exercise their legal right to vote, even though polling place impersonation is almost as rare as unicorns and leprechauns.
To that end, while I suspect we may end up taking various issue with Husted's positions or rulings in the future on related matters as the 2012 Presidential election looms in the always contentious state of Ohio, we'd just like to go on record for the moment here, to congratulate him for his intellectually honest stand on behalf of the voters of his state on this particular issue.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I can’t help thinking, since we just celebrated the Fourth of July and we’re supposed to be a country dedicated to liberty, that one of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time. There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.
Getting rid of same-day registration. Some states getting rid of all advanced voting. Governor of Florida proposed to reverse his Republican predecessor’s signing of a bill that gave people the right to vote when they got out of prison and they’d finished they’re [sic] probation period, even if they didn’t have a pardon—that’s one of the most important things we can do. Why should we disenfranchise people forever once they pay their price? Cause most of them in Florida were African Americans and Hispanics and would tend to vote for Democrats, that’s why.
Why do we want to get rid of same day registration? Why has New Hampshire made it almost impossible for college students who come from other states but live in New Hampshire most of the year to vote there? Why is all this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate.
Happily, since we're on the road, we'll associate with Think Progress' Ian Millhiser today who offers more background news on this and the GOP's War on Voting, in which he accurately concludes: "It’s much easier for the GOP to win the game, after all, if they can make it impossible for the other team’s players to even take the field."
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama calls again for eliminating billions in oil subsidies; Coal mine owner Massey Energy kept two sets of books; U.S. Interstate Highway system proves federal infrastructure good for business; PLUS: Jellyfish attack a nuclear power plant --- no, really --- natural disasters and the Achilles heel of the U.S. nuclear industry ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 2010: Second warmest year on record; How rising temperatures change weather; CA delays nation's 1st cap-and-trade emissions auctions; AAAS decries intimidation, threats aimed at climate scientists; Undercover video links major retailers to barbaric handling of pigs; How the meat industry turned abuse into a business model; Dick Cheney's Big Fracking Mess; Google's plan for cleantech world dominance; More radioactive water leaks from Fukushima; "Our economic system must adapt to climate change"; A clean, green economy will arrive 'like a grenade in a glasshouse; How to make solar panels with paint; Environmentalists Speak Out Against Excessive Cheese Logging; Did ExxonMobil break its promise to stop funding climate deniers?; CA to delay its greenhouse gas emissions trading system; Sierra Club Can't Join U.S. Lawsuit Seeking BP Spill Damages ... PLUS: Republican governors AWOL during state emergencies to attend secret Billionaire Koch Brothers event ...
On Sunday, Los Angeles Timesadded the name Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to a very long list of wealthy hypocrites who scream "socialism" all the way to the bank.
Bachmann, like most members of the Plutocrat (aka Republican) Party, rails against what she describes as "entitlements" (Social Security, Medicare and just about any other program designed to promote the general welfare of the American people – in her case even going so far as to label the 9/11 Responders bill as a "new entitlement program"). Yet, as the Times revealed, Bachmann not only voted against ending such "corporate entitlements" as subsidies for the oil and gas industry, but personally benefited from some $260,000 in federal taxpayer subsidies paid to her family farm and another $30,000 state subsidy to her husband's counseling clinic, part of which included monies from the federal government.
While Bachmann denied directly benefiting from either subsidy --- she went so far as to say "my husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm" --- her financial disclosure form reveals that she received income from the farm during the same period the farm received federal subsidies. Her claim that the clinic's public subsidies went to train its employees rather than her pocketbook provides a typical form of plutocratic denial that fails to acknowledge that the use of public funds to educate private sector employees eliminates the need for private employers to expend their own funds for training.
But the Bachmanns are but bit players in the great American corporate welfare scheme...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Summer of Floods, Summer of Fires continues to continue --- now with Extra Nuclear Flavor! Today's unlucky town: Los Alamos, NM and their nuclear labs; Nebraska nuke plants remain dry, sort of, hopefully...so stop worrying!; PLUS: Another climate science denier enters the 2012 Presidential race ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US military spends more on desert tent air conditioning than NASA's entire annual budget; The Spam factory's dirty secret; Middle East has huge climate vulnerability; Bike & pedestrian infrastructure projects create more jobs than car projects; Top 10 Greenest Airlines; DoD plans large-scale integration of electric vehicles; Antarctica ice melt accelerating; Arctic sea ice headed for another major melt this year; EPA warns GOP House bill would 'overturn' Clean Water law; Insiders doubt future of natural gas in US; Insiders warn shale gas may be a Ponzi scheme; New foe for US solar energy: railroad companies; Fox News' Wallace encourages viewers to remain misinformed on climate change; Caribou herd in Canada threatened by tar sands; College grads flocking to green jobs; Alternative nuclear reactor design seeks country willing to fund & build prototype ... PLUS: Meet The ‘Friendly Fracosaurus’: Natural Gas Industry's propaganda special coloring books for children ...
"In a time of universal deceit --- telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell
Ah, the 2012 election cycle is fast approaching. The Plutocrat (aka 'Republican') Party is in the process of garnering funds from far-right billionaires like the Koch brothers in order to present their usual "jobs, jobs, jobs" propaganda.
"Jobs, jobs, jobs" will come to us not only by way of paid-for political ads, but by way of corporate MSM "coverage" which will conveniently neglect to mention that the GOP-controlled House has not offered a single bill that would create a single job, or that the 2010 GOP "victories" have merely produced an all out assault on the middle-class including an effort to eliminate Medicare, an assault on the fundamental right to engage in collective bargaining, and drastic cuts in programs designed to protect the health, safety and economic well being of the vast majority of the American people at the same time they tirelessly strive to protect subsidies for the oil cartel and tax breaks for billionaires.
Against this backdrop, Robert Reich has come up with this two minute, fifteen second explanation of "What’s Wrong with the Economy..."
"Josh", a Right-leaning caller from Madison, WI and a self-identified "civil" and "very fair" person was incredulous that Wisconsin's new voter-suppressing polling place Photo ID restrictions would actually disenfranchise any voters, since they would have a year, he said, to get themselves one if they didn't already have one.
Most telling, though, was the way "Josh" --- a seemingly nice guy, but one who has been used and abused by the folks on the Right who are playing him for an idiot --- began his call explaining what a fair person he was because, as he informed me, he "used to have a Muslim co-worker" with whom he was able to "sit and talk". They even "used to be able to debate" without, presumably, the Muslim co-worker trying to blow him up or, I guess, vice versa!
Here's my amusing/distressing conversation with "Josh" from the Tuesday, June 21 Mike Malloy Show. [Appx 4.5 mins]...
* * *
By the way, here's some information on those 80- and 90-year old nuns turned away from the polling place in 2008 for lack of Photo ID, as I mentioned in reply to "Josh" during the call. And here are the remarkable hoops those nuns, and everybody else in Indiana, must now jump through in order to keep their vote from being completely thrown out if they don't happen to have an Indiana-issued Photo ID on Election Day.
Ironic, all of that, particularly in light of Charlie White, Indiana's new Republican Sec. of State (charged with overseeing the state's election laws), who is currently facing 7 felony indictments, 3 of them for voter fraud, which, curiously enough, were not detected or deterred by Indiana's draconian, voter-suppressing, polling place Photo ID restrictions. But, I guess, he's not a 90-year old nun, a student, or a WWII veteran.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Summer of Floods, Summer of Fires: today's unlucky town is Minot, ND; Bad news for US nukes; Sea level rise accelerating; PLUS: Al Gore slams Obama on climate change, Fox "News" gets all confused ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Can nuclear waste storage co-exist with nearby oil & gas drilling?; Drilling co. sells kids on fracking with new coloring book; Google hits $780M in total clean energy investing; Seafood processors accused of violations; Conservative group sues NASA for climate scientist's records; How livable streets make us happier humans; Answers from the E. coli outbreak in Germany; Are architects the change agents for the new Green Economy?; GOP House votes to weaken Clean Air permits for oil-drillers; Transocean blames BP for Gulf Oil Spill Disaster; Canada opposes labeling Asbestos as hazardous; DoD plans large-scale integration of electric vehicles; Civil Disobedience in DC this summer to stop the Keystone XL tar sands p pipeline; Congress: Let's just rename it the "Dirty Water Act" ... PLUS: Which cities can best adapt to climate change? (Congrats, Cleveland!) ...
"Over the past several decades, Republican methods for winning national power have come to resemble CIA techniques for destabilizing an enemy country --- through the use of black propaganda, political skullduggery and economic disruptions," Parry argues rather convincingly in his article which is also cross-posted at Alternet under the title, "The GOP's CIA Playbook: Destabilize Country to Sweep Back into Power".
So with the GOP doing what they've done now for years, placing party far ahead of country --- and, as Parry explains, mirroring strategies used in the past to take down foreign nations like Chile --- who is really to blame for the destruction they continue to wreak? Them? The media for enabling them? The Democrats for having no apparent strategy to counter them? Or the American public, for being gullible enough to fall for it time and time again?
My conversation with Parry today on all of the above (and a few words about Obama's "draw down" from Afghanistan), follows below.
Republicans made huge gains in the 2010 elections, promising to improve the economy. Isn’t it funny that the economy is now going back down? What isn’t funny is that 33 states — all with Republican controlled legislatures — have passed laws that make it more difficult to vote.
How can you tell that these laws are politically motivated? Well, in Texas, you can use a concealed handgun permit to identify yourself to vote, but you can’t use a student ID. And in Florida, they also restricted efforts by the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Proponents say the new laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud, but election law experts say that there is little evidence of voter fraud in US elections.
A senior aide and a consultant hired by former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) were indicted Thursday in a case stemming from thousands of anonymous robocalls placed on election night last year that suggested voters could stay home even though the polls were still open.
Paul Schurick, 54, Ehrlich’s de facto campaign manager, and Julius Henson, 62, a consultant paid by the campaign, were both charged with three counts of conspiracy to violate election laws, one count of influencing votes through fraud and one count of failing to identify the sponsor of the calls. In addition, Schurick was charged on one count of obstruction of justice.
In a statement, the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor, which obtained the indictments from a Baltimore grand jury, said its investigation is continuing. All but one of the charges handed down Thursday carry maximum prison sentences of five years.
Of course, while the Maryland scheme appears to have been criminal, this year, the more pressing problem is the fact that GOP state lawmakers aren’t resorting to robocall schemes; they’re just rigging the game before Election Day even comes.
As we talked about last week, there is a concerted national effort on the part of many Republican policymakers to make it harder for traditional Democratic voters to participate in the 2012 elections. Under the auspices of rooting out “voter fraud” — a problem that appears to exist largely in the over-active imaginations of GOP activists — Republicans are passing voter-ID measures, approving new laws restricting voter-registration drives, and closing early-voting windows.
If all goes according to plan, going forward, they won’t even need ridiculous schemes like the one in Maryland.
Of course, the new indictments handed down against Ehrlich's aides in MD (Ehrlich ended up losing the election anyway) are hardly the only examples of GOP election fraud going on out there, even as there are rarely indictments for any of it.
We recently detailed the story of the high-ranking Clay County, KY, election officials (including the County Clerk, a circuit court judge, and the school superintendent --- and other members of the County Election Commission) who were sentenced to a combined total of some 150 years in the federal penitentiary jail, for gaming elections for years in the county via buying and selling votes as well as, in 2006, actually changing the votes of voters on electronic touch-screen voting machines.
The complaint against Romney was filed by fellow GOP Presidential candidate Fred Karger, who was my in-studio guest last night on the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show (which I'm guest hosting this week and the beginning of next). The audio from my interview with Karger last night about his voter fraud investigation and complaint against Romney, and much more, can be downloaded here [MP3], or listened to online below...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The U.S. Forest Service warns AZ's record wildfire is just the tip of the melting iceberg; Now a 2nd study warns warmer winters are the new normal; More bad news for nukes, as Italy votes against them, and a plant in Nebraska is now threatened; PLUS: Ethanol subsidies saved from the chopping block --- for now ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US Nuclear Plant Safety Rules Inadequate; "Humans 'blissfully unaware' of coming climate crisis"; Sunspot Drop Won't Cause Global Cooling; EPA Administrator Calls Out Power Utilities; House Moves to Bar Genetically Modified Salmon; China in Lead Poisoning Cover-UP, Says Human Rights Watch; OH To Allow Oil and Gas Drilling at State Parks; A Green Solution, or the Dark Side to Cleaner Coal?; Building The Food Ark?; Google invests in home solar ... PLUS: Green jobs are real: U.S. solar employs more people than steel ...
Maddow's excellent report does not, however, delve into the recent and growing spate of high-profile GOPers who have, or appear to have committed similar felony voter fraud violations --- such as Romney's potential fellow Mormon GOP Presidential hopeful Gov. Jon Huntsman, Missouri's GOP U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, Indiana's Republican Sec. of State Charlie White (who is currently facing 3 voter fraud-related indictments), or GOP voter fraud queen Ann Coulter.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's official: record flooding on the Missouri River, record snowpack & record drought mean another record-breaking Spring in the US; Record drought in Europe too, bringing crop failure and blackouts this summer; Obama Administration boosts funding for the smart grid; PLUS: It's that time again: Get ready for a year and a half of Republican presidential campaigning ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 'Liquid battery" breakthrough?; Where's that green jobs revolution Obama promised?; Obama Pushes for More Cleantech, Green Jobs; Planet Earth Doesn't Know How To Make It Any Clearer It Wants Everyone To Leave; Oil to spike again before new recession; Japanese unite against nuclear power; NM Abandons Efforts to Restore Mexican Gray Wolves; New breed of wheat 'near immune' to devastating plague; Appeals Court Rules for Massey Over U.S; In Koch Country, KS gov begs federal government for climate disaster relief; High levels of Strontium Found at Fukushima Plant; EPA Delays Rule on Power Plant Emissions; New Rules For Offshore Fish Farms; 150 Chemicals No Longer Icognito; 2 Common Materials Pose Risk of Cancer; GAO finds most plants lack emissions controls; Do You Live Near One of the Top 25 Dirtiest Coal Plants?; Mining Company to Pay $263 Million settlement; Do we have a moral obligation to stop screwing up the planet? ... PLUS: "Humans ‘blissfully unaware’ of coming climate crisis"...