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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, November 27, 2014
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seemed before this week's show'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in Town of Long Island, reverse results of very close state contest, leaving officials baffled...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Gov. Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank issue's dire warning...
Previous GNRs: 11/20/14 - 11/18/14 - Archives...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting of Michael Brown
A few early thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice on the night of his announcement...
'Recount' Ahead for Oregon's GMO Labeling Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
GOP House Intel Committee Findings Debunk GOP BENGHAZI! 'Scandal'
Final report released quietly before holiday weekend and before eighth Republican BENGHAZI! committee set to convene...
Monster Energy Drink Not Just Crappy, Also the Work of Satan!
The indisputable video proof is now here!...
'Green News Report' 11/20/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record-breaking storm breaks Buffalo; October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Repubs: China to cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy...
Previous GNRs: 11/18/14 - 11/13/14 - Archives...
Extreme Weather? What Extreme Weather?
Yes, scientists have been warning us about this for years. And, yes, the record breaking storm in Buffalo is tied to global warming...
We're #26! Harvard 'Electoral Integrity' Report Dings U.S.
'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
Gag Order Won't Ensure Impartial Jury in Trial of 'Dark Lord of Coal Country'
WV's criminally indicted coal boss and U.S. Chamber of Comm. director Don Blankeship presents challenge for federal prosecutors...
Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year: 'Vape'
That small point likely underscores some very encouraging news for the health of the world...
'Green News Report' 11/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL; Can Congress override the Prez next year?; Native Americans: KXL is 'an act of war'; PLUS: Accountability for 'The Dark Lord of Coal'...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/14 - 11/11/14 - Archives...
Sanders on Colbert: Midterms a Vote Against Both Parties
For those mad at us for asserting 'not voting IS a vote', look who just said the same thing...
Exclusive: St. Louis County Was Warned Before Election Paper Ballots Would Run Out
Email obtained by BRAD BLOG reveals County's top election official ignored warnings from election experts, leading to shortages...
Not Voting IS a Vote
Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
This segment makes clear once again that it's very very sad The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
Historic US-China agreement that GOP said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l treaty; Repub freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but good start...
Crucial Moment for FCC & 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Hartmann TV: Election 2014 Mess
On thousands of 'missing' votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. 'results', on Rightwing 'True the Vote' voter fraud fraudsters, and on much more...
'Green News Report' 11/11/14
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
IN MEMORIAM: Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, America added another casualty from the War on Iraq -- one who, after first meeting and interviewing him in 2005, we will never forget...
Early Data Suggests TX GOP Photo ID Restrictions 'Worked'
Provisional ballots doubled, turnout down by more 1/4 million votes, despite larger population, contested gov's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for paper ballot tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes in city of Stoughton, WI...
The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans: A Response to Nate Silver
The statistics guru unhelpfully explains away mid-term's surprising outcome by presuming pre-election polling was wrong and unverified election results were all correct...
'True the Vote' Group Fails to Find 'Voter Fraud' (Again)
Laughingstock RW org's 'army' of monitors and smart phone app uncover just 18 benign 'irregularities', 0 cases of polling place impersonation...
'Green News Report' 11/6/14
Election 2014-pocalypse: Republican hegemonic hellscape!; Climate deniers now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news...
About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guest Matthew Segal of OurTime.org joins Brad to discuss whether young voters are to blame for Tuesday's election results and, if not them, then who...or what...
Reuters: Voting Probs Around Nation, 2,000 Missing Election Judges in Chicago
Wire service summarizes machine probs, Photo ID vote suppression and a really strange story out of Chicago...
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...


With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 1/7/2014 3:40pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Baby it's record cold outside (but only in the U.S.); PLUS: It's that time of year again --- deniers pretend snow and cold means no more global warming ... All that and more in our first Green News Report of the year!...

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

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 4 states confirm water pollution from natural gas drilling; Driest year ever in California sparks drought, fire fears; Colorado River drought means painful choices ahead; Toyota introduces hydrogen fuel-cell car; West Coast sardine crash radiates through ecosystem; Exxon faces criminal charges over illegally dumping fracking wastewater; 20 questions on GMOs; US sailors sue TEPCO over Fukushima; Fact vs. fiction on spread of Fukushima radiation ... PLUS: China admits millions of acres too polluted for farming ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 12/19/2013 3:23pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Network news managed to notice extreme weather, but not climate change in 2013; Congrats, Fox 'News'! Someone finally found fraud at the EPA!; Amnesty for the Arctic 30; Good news for Ecuadoran villagers suing Chevron; The #1 Environmental Story of the Year; PLUS: RETHINK your holidays --- make 'em greener! ... All that and more in our last Green News Report of the year!

Please help us connect the climate change dots over your public airwaves!
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

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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): Yep, we feed cows chicken poop (thanks, FDA); Pres. Eisenhower was an environmentalist (video); November 2013 warmest on record; Chevron failed to maintain SF refinery; L.A. mandates 'cool roofs'; Japan's battle to prove Fukushima fish are safe; Obama & climate change: the real story; BP's oil still killing dolphins; 60 watt incandescents phased out Jan. 1 ... PLUS: In the Deep South, dirty energy and disenfranchisement go hand in hand ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 12/12/2013 3:28pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Scientists warn of abrupt climate change; Prominent scientists call for a carbon tax... while Big Oil is secretly planning for it; FDA moves to ban some antibiotics in factory farming; PLUS: After moving to claim the North Pole as their own, Canada promises to protect Santa from the Russians ... All those new fronts in the War on Christmas in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Can We Avert the End of Elephants?; Competitive hunting of wolves, coyotes in Idaho sparks outcry; We can get 100% of our aluminum from recycling using only 5% of the energy; US fracking boom destroying homes' real estate value; Extreme weather worries insurers, farmers; Arctic Warming Drives More Extreme Summer Heat Waves, Droughts And Deluges; Japan to store radioactive Fukushima soil; Chinese media touts the 'benefits' of extreme pollution, while government trains airline pilots to land in extreme smog; EPA to cut back on inspections ... PLUS: Iraq and Climate Change are both case studies in the failure of journalism ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2013 1:07pm PT  

The last graf from an AP article describing the plunge in spending by "outside" Rightwing groups, so far this year, on 2014 campaigns...

Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, saturated Iowa mailboxes and telephone lines recently to support conservative city council candidates [in the November 5, 2013 election]. But they all lost.
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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/7/2013 3:35pm PT  


 

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!

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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! ...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/5/2013 4:33pm PT  


 

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!

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): 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! ...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Scary Halloweeny Edition!
By Desi Doyen on 10/31/2013 4:10pm PT  


 

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!

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

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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! ...

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

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Exclusive audio revealed Rightwing gathering cheered NJ Guv's rejection of landmark greenhouse gas initiative weeks after secret one-on-one with billionaire brother, just months before state coast devastated by global warming-linked 'Superstorm Sandy'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2013 6:06am PT  

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...

DAVID KOCH: Another example of Governor Christie's commitment to the free enterprise system is that only a few weeks ago he announced that New Jersey would be withdrawing from the [Regional] Greenhouse Gas Initiative which is a [cheers and applause], which would have raised energy costs, reduced economic growth and led to very little, if any, benefit for the environment. [A 'boo' is heard.]

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.

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By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2013 12:49pm PT  

Yes. Seriously.

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."

I quit.

[Hat-tip @DaveWeigel...]

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/22/2013 3:25pm PT  


 

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!

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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! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2013 9:35am PT  

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:

I have only one problem with this ad: it doesn't show the Republican congressman who becomes a climate hero being primaried right out of his seat by a redneck, low-IQ, kindergarten-dropout piece of shit who's received thousands from the Kochs. I mean, you've got to tell the whole story...

Well, there's that.

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/8/2013 4:02pm PT  

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!

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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): 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! ...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/30/2013 2:11pm PT  

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...

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

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Offer new opportunity for AG Holder to make good on promise to use 'every tool' at his disposal to fight discriminatory voting laws...
UPDATE: DoJ filed suit today, seeking to block TX Photo ID Law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/22/2013 12:54pm PT  

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 two federal lawsuits are NAACP v. McCrory [PDF] and League of Women Voters v. North Carolina [PDF].

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"...

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

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Files papers seeking requirement of federal preclearance for voting laws in TX, promises similarly aggressive action elsewhere...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/29/2013 1:47pm PT  

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:

I have already directed the Department’s Civil Rights Division to shift resources to the enforcement of a number of federal voting laws not affected by the Supreme Court’s decision --- including the remaining provisions of the Voting Rights Act [VRA], prohibiting voting discrimination based on race, color, or language.

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...

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

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