The last graf from an AP article describing the plunge in spending by "outside" Rightwing groups, so far this year, on 2014 campaigns...
w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The last graf from an AP article describing the plunge in spending by "outside" Rightwing groups, so far this year, on 2014 campaigns...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: ELECTION 2013: the first climate election? Climate science denier Ken Cuccinelli defeated in VA; Local races with big environmental impacts for the country; PLUS: We're goin' the wrong way!!! Greenhouse gas emissions rise to record levels... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Fukushima cleanup enters dangerous phase; Western black rhino now extinct; Fossil fuels get $500B annual subsidies; China solar panel makers invest in solar farms; New investment project for North Africa solar; Whopping CO2 footprint for Australian coal mines; Debating 'Pandora's Promise'; PA gives fracking industry $1 billion; ExxonMobil fined $2 million for AR pipeline spill ... PLUS: It's time to adapt to unstoppable climate change, say scientists ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Climate scientists go nuclear; Coal spills & kills; Obama announces major new climate action; UN's latest warning; PLUS: Germany breaks its own clean energy record --- again ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Video: Why GMO labeling is a 'Story of Solutions'; Britain’s new flood protection plan is to surrender to the ocean; Antibiotic resistance spreads to birds, wildlife; Even LBJ knew about climate change; The secret, dirty cost of ethanol; Oops: carbon capture and storage causes earthquakes; US natural gas reserves wildly overestimated; Facial scrub plastic micro-beads polluting Great Lakes ... PLUS: The caveman dilemma: Why we take such lousy care of ourselves and our planet ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Students disrupt Obama's healthcare rally to protest Keystone XL pipeline; Koch Brothers' pipeline spills in Texas; BP's toxic oil spill still hurting Gulf fishermen; Spain's remarkable solar record; PLUS: Stanford University confirms: Renewable energy can provide 100% of the world's energy needs ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The 1 percent’s flood insurance scam; Big Coal's law firm withheld evidence of black lung; Fukushima's precarious next step; ‘Zombie Pipeline Act’ would speed up pipeline approval process; Can science explain Tea Partiers’ rage?; Netherlands town becomes first to divest from fossil fuels; CA condors poisoned by lead bullets; USDA plans to speed up poultry-processing lines; Al Gore: 'Carbon bubble is about to burst'; California's reservoirs drying up; US won't finance overseas coal plants ... PLUS: Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt ... and much, MUCH more! ...
With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) up for re-election next Tuesday, we've been getting quite a bit of traffic here from Mother Jones where I originally broke my series of exclusive reports on audio recordings from inside the Koch Brothers' secret 2011 Summer Summit near Vail, CO that year.
As a quick reminder of what was heard on those tapes, and what happened there, Christie --- literally --- had snuck out of New Jersey to fly to Vail for the day to perform as the keynote speaker at the super-secret Koch Brothers gathering with a few hundred very select Republican millionaires and billionaires who were meeting to plot what Charles Koch described to the assembled as "the mother of all wars...for the life or death of this country." That, along with comparing President Obama to Saddam Hussein, was how he described what would be their fight for the 2012 Presidential election.
Billionaire brother David is heard introducing Christie at the event as "my kind of guy", describing him as "a true political hero". He boasted that he'd met with Christie secretly, not long before, "for about two hours --- just the two of us," in David Koch's New York City office, and that he was hoping the NJ Governor would some day have "a larger stage where, God knows, he is desperately needed."
Given that this week also happens to be the one year anniversary of "Superstorm Sandy" and Christie is out taking curtain calls for his performance in its wake, it's also well worth noting that, during his effusive introduction to Christie, David Koch also went on to laud him for pulling out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a landmark agreement by a number of northeastern states to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the region...
Christie's surprise withdrawal from RGGI was met with great applause in the banquet hall in Colorado, as well as from Rightwing climate change denialists when it actually occurred. He pulled out of the landmark pact just weeks after Koch and Christie had their secret meeting in New York City, a little over a year before the global warming-linked Sandy would result in the loss of more than a hundred citizens and billions of dollars worth of damage. After we published the secret Koch tapes, Christie would claim that he never discussed RGGI with the Kochs --- it "never came up", he said --- though the Director of the NJ Sierra Club told me that Christie should not be believed.
As to Christie's secret speech itself that night in Colorado --- the security for which was so extreme there were speakers set up around the perimeter of the dining hall to pump "pink noise" into the mountainside to stymie long-range parabolic microphones --- the NJ Governor delivered a stem-winder to the Kochs' assembled high and mighty. He bragged about how he'd fooled Democrats in the state legislature into supporting massive cuts to state pensions, and how he'd planned next to "take on the teachers' union once and for all."
The full audio and text transcripts of the remarks by Charles and David Koch, as well as the speech by Christie, are posted in full here, in case New Jersey voters would like to review the record before heading to the polls next Tuesday.
The full series of stories and their fallout can be perused here.
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' conspiracy theory website InfoWars decries "tin-foil hat"-wearing "nut-jobs" for citing a "nefarious conspiracy" and "baseless theories" for which "there is no actual evidence."
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: China choking on toxic air; Air pollution causing lung cancer everywhere; Anti-fracking protests spread across Europe...and turn violent in Canada, while France holds the line; PLUS: Some good news: US carbon emissions falling for the 5th year in a row ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Koch Brothers Could Make $100 Billion if Keystone XL Pipeline Approved; Another oil train explodes in Canada; Fukushima: toxic water overflows after storm; State Dept. officials warns 'rigid' climate deal won't fly; Paper giant funds secret science to deflect asbestos lawsuits; 'Divest now from ‘sub-prime’ coal, oil before carbon bubble bursts'; Gulf ecosystem still in crisis 3 years after BP spill; Koch-owned BP refinery waste piles up in Chicago; $26b to build UK's first new nuclear plant; 300 elephants poisoned ... PLUS: "The ocean is broken" ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Last night, climate scientist and MacArthur Fellow ("Genius Grant" recipient, but what do they know?), Peter Gleick tweeted: "Moon landing deniers, evolution deniers, tobacco causes cancer deniers, #climate deniers, now 'debt-limit' deniers."
But, it doesn't have to be that way, at least the "climate denier" part, according to this video released by The League of Conservation voters yesterday...
It's cute. And the "slow jam" may stay with you for hours. Sorry about that.
While discussing that video with a number of climate folks yesterday, our own not-frequent-enough guest blogger D.R. Tucker had this thought:
Well, there's that.
NOTE: Those subscribed for free via iTunes should now be receiving automatic downloads again! We believe we've found the problem (a single bad character in the RSS file!) that's been holding up the subscriber feed for a number of weeks! Please let us know if it's fixed or still a problem! - BF
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Government shutdown doesn't stop record blizzard or National Weather Service meteorologists in Upper Midwest; 'Energy is the solution': making the economic case for climate action; Climate change denial industry harassing academics --- again; PLUS: Bright side to accidental power outage at Fukushima: at least we know the back-up systems work ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Professional climate science deniers manufactured the global warming 'pause'; Judge hears conflicting estimates in BP Oil Spill trial; 2 large coal plants close in PA; Diesel fumes linked to bees disappearance; Europe vs. Russia in natural gas antitrust suit; Battle in WA State over GMO labeling; CDC: Salmonella outbreak while government inspectors are furloughed; Radioactive fracking wastewater contaminated PA stream; Mass extinction may already be underway in world's oceans ... PLUS: IPCC Carbon Budget: How to Slice a Global Carbon Pie? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
As the latest round(s) of GOP hostage taking play out in Congress, it's worth stepping back a moment to take note of what is at the heart of their ploy-slash-temper tantrum-slash-effort to undermine the very essence of American democracy.
It's also worth taking note of the fact that it's unlikely, ultimately, to work and, if we can take any lessons from what has happened here in California, is very likely to redound, big time, against the Republicans and their "contempt for the democratic process," as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) described it Friday, now on display in the nation's capitol.
"This whole debate over Obamacare is just a small part of what this right wing agenda is all about," Sanders observed during an appearance on MSNBC, as he described the twin threats of a government shutdown and defaulting on our financial obligations in the debt ceiling fight a few weeks from now, as but a part of "a right wing extremist agenda funded by people like the Koch brothers…who put hundreds of millions of dollars into the 'Tea Party.'"
Sanders' observation is vital to a comprehensive understanding as to why the very survival of our representative form of democracy may hinge upon a refusal to cave into a tactic that the Senator describes as "blackmail". Indeed, the New York Times describes the latest GOP tactics as the equivalent of a "ransom note" filled with "extortionist demands". President Obama, who once made the mistake of negotiating with Republicans on such terms, now aptly described the GOP threats, in a speech to The Business Roundtable, as a form of extortion.
Sanders noted that it's as if the Republicans now say: "Elections don't matter! We can shut down the government at any time to get our way!"
And, he's right. That's the plan. But it's not likely to get them what they want. More encouragingly, it's very likely to backfire on them completely...
Last week, civil rights groups filed two lawsuits in a North Carolina U.S. District Court, seeking to block what Brad Friedman aptly described as "the most extreme anti-voter bill passed by any state since the Jim Crow Era."
The Tar Heel State has a sordid history of official discrimination, a history that includes 30 successful challenges to discriminatory voting laws under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) over the past 30 years. Until the recent Republican takeover of the state, NC had become somewhat more progressive in the area of election law, even allowing for same day registration and voting which is lacking in even most of the more progressive states in the union.
Then, everything changed. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed a sweeping new election "reform" bill. The breadth the new law is unprecedented. It targets "nearly every aspect of the voting process," according to one of the new lawsuits. Both complaints allege that the newly minted Voter Information Verification Act ("VIVA" aka HB 589) reflects nothing less than a deliberate, racially-motivated attempt to deprive African-Americans of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.
The League also filed a separate legal challenge in state court, Currie v. North Carolina [PDF]. The state case alleges that VIVA’s polling place Photo ID restrictions violate the NC Constitution, which treats voting as a "fundamental right." (A legal analysis of the state challenge will be covered in a subsequent article).
Earlier this Summer, when the U.S. Supreme Court carved out the very heart of the federal Voting Right Act with their 5 to 4 Shelby County v. Holder decision, they acknowledged that their ruling "in no way affects the permanent nationwide ban on racial discrimination." The controversial decision rejected the formula established by Congress in the VRA's Section 4, used to identify jurisdictions to be covered by the Act's Section 5 requirement for those covered jurisdictions to receive preclearance from the DoJ or a U.S. District Court before enacting any new election-related laws. The SCOTUS decision did not, however, eliminate the right of individuals, civil rights organizations, or the DoJ to file lawsuits seeking to block discriminatory laws under the VRA's Section 2, which bars discrimination in all 50 states.
Therefore, the new federal lawsuits filed in NC do not, and need not, challenge the Shelby County decision. Their factual allegations, however, suggest that Chief Justice John Roberts was in grave error when asserting, on behalf of the Court's right-wing majority, that "the conditions that originally justified [Section 5 preclearance] no longer characterize voting in covered jurisdictions"...
The Department of Justice (DoJ) will not idly remain on the sidelines as the GOP seeks to illegally game the electoral system in the wake of what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder referred to as the "deeply disappointing and flawed" Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder.
That decision, which carved out the very heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by finding unconstitutional the formula used to determine which jurisdictions with a long history of racial discrimination are required to "pre-clear" new election laws with the federal government before they can be enacted, has been a dramatic "setback", as Holder described it, to the voting rights movement, and has even proven to be a great leap forward for vote suppressors.
But, in a speech last week to the National Urban League Conference in Philadelphia, Holder signaled his intentions to fight back against the activist Court:
And today I am announcing that the Justice Department will ask a federal court in Texas to subject the State of Texas to a preclearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act...based on the evidence of intentional racial discrimination that was presented last year in the redistricting case, Texas v. Holder – as well as the history of pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities that the Supreme Court itself has recognized – we believe that the State of Texas should be required to go through a preclearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices.
The DoJ then promptly filed a July 25, 2013 "Statement of Interest" in Perez v. Texas, a federal court case challenging the imposition of new Congressional redistricting maps in the wake of the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act, despite the fact that both the DoJ and a panel of federal judges nixed the same map last year after it was found to have been purposefully discriminatory just last year.
The DoJ argued in its filing last week that, because the evidence presented both in Perez and in Texas v. United States, revealed intentional violations of the 14th and 15th amendments in the redistricting schemes at issue, the court should impose a ten year preclearance requirement upon the State of Texas as an equitable remedy available pursuant to Section 3(c) of the VRA.
In short, while SCOTUS gutted the VRA's existing Section 4 formula for determining jurisdictions to be covered by Section 5 pre-clearance requirements, it left Section 3, which allows for jurisdictions to be added or "bailed in" to the list of those subject to preclearance intact. The DoJ now wants Texas added to the list of such jurisdictions.
It is of critical importance to note, however, that Holder's Urban League speech made clear that his intentions of pushing back were neither limited to Texas nor to Section 3.
"This is the Department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last," Holder vowed.
He then stated (emphasis added): "My colleagues and I are determined to use every tool at our disposal to stand against discrimination wherever it is found."
As observed by University of California Irvine Law Prof. Rick Hasen, Holder's pledge to have the DoJ "use whatever tools it has remaining in its arsenal to protect minority voting rights" is "a big deal."
It's a "big deal" not just because of the creative use of Section 3 in Perez, but also because the DoJ is joining a case originally brought "under Section 2 of the [VRA] to enforce the guarantees of the [14th & 15th] Amendments against racial discrimination in voting." The DoJ's actions here suggests that they are finally prepared to add the power and resources of the federal government to legal efforts to protect the right to vote that had been primarily made during the last election cycle by privately-funded, public interest groups like the ACLU and League of Women Voters...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Greenpeace activists scale Shell Tower to protest Arctic drilling; US, China agree to cut emissions; Air pollution more deadly than thought; CNBC fails viewers...again; PLUS: Hell freezes over: Fox News reports on climate change?!?! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Monsanto's GMO seeds lead to rise in insecticide use; Hansen: Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming; Fukushima chief engineer dies of cancer; Exxon blames manufacturer for AR tar sands pipeline spill; BP appeals oil spill settlement; Climate activists can learn from LGBT marriage success; FP: Canada now a 'rogue petrostate'; Power plants linked to 78% drop in fish stocks ... PLUS: Funny: Can a Sharknado really happen? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Wildfire season turns tragic - 19 firefighters killed in AZ and the climate connection; Record SW heat wave "one of the greatest in American history"; L.A. bets on solar; Billionaire Koch Bros. sneaky 'No Climate Tax' pledge ... PLUS: Obama keeps up climate change pressure ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The Bike Boom: more Americans now choosing bicycles to get around; A new normal for Arctic sea ice; MIT: new solar cell could be 1,000x more powerful; Chemical, oil companies say EPA rule will expose trade secrets; Sunday news shows ignored Obama's historic climate speech; GOP silent as DOE launches billions in fossil fuel loan guarantees; Maine lobstermen now support climate action; CO2 has big consequences for ocean food chain ... PLUS: The Coal Lobby's Fight for Survival ... and much, MUCH more! ...
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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