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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, July 4, 2015
Into the Holiday With a Bang: 'BradCast' 7/2/15
After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
'Green News Report' 7/2/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska, Northwest on fire; Warming oceans linked to NC shark attacks; China, Brazil commit to emissions cuts; PLUS: Fracking companies can now be sued for earthquakes...
Previous GNRs: 6/30/15 - 6/25/15 - Archives...
Ann Who?
The long-overdue irrelevance of Ann Coulter. The former GOP Superstar (and voter fraud queen) just doesn't matter anymore...
Kochs' Chris Christie; Wingnut Marriage Meltdown; 'Most Important Climate Ruling':
'BradCast' 6/30/15
Guest: Michael B. Gerrard of Columbia's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law...
'Green News Report' 6/30/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
SCOTUS nixes mercury pollution rules; Christie jumps in, we tell you his position on climate; Coal plant cleaned up in Navajo Nation; PLUS: Solar plane's dangerous Pacific crossing...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/15 - 6/23/15 - Archives...
The Good, Bad and SCOTUS Ruling on AZ Redistricting: 'BradCast' 6/29/15
Former AZ state legislator Ted Downing; Plus: much more on latest SCOTUS rulings...
Sunday Toons: Flags & Fits
Both supremacy and Supremes are at issue in PDiddie's collection of the week's best (and most iconic) political toons...
'A More Perfect Union': 'BradCast' 6/26/15
An extraordinary end to an extraordinary week. Mike Rogers of Raw Story joins us to discuss the landmark SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality and how we got here...
MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR ALL
The U.S. Supreme Court finally recognizes what The BRAD BLOG has for more than a decade. Because rights ultimately win and haters ultimately lose...
Scalia Lies (Again); And 2014's Last Election Contest: 'BradCast' 6/25/15
Dr. Laura Pressley, Austin City Council candidate, explains why she's challenging her 100% unverifiable 2014 election...
'Green News Report' 6/25/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jindal's in! Here's his weird climate position; Deadly heat in Pakistan; New studies see climate change as 'catastrophic' for health; PLUS: Landmark ruling in Netherlands...
Previous GNRs: 6/23/15 - 6/18/15 - Archives...
Vexillology! Why Flags Matter:
'BradCast' 6/24/15
Annie Platoff, flag expert from North American Vexillological Association explains it all for you! (Even flags on the moon!); Plus: Callers, Trump surge & more!...
TRUMP-MENTUM!
Republican's newest Frankenstein Monster and billionaire real estate developer surges into 2nd place in NH GOP Primary poll! Not to say 'we told ya so' or anything...
Sanders Destroyed Fed Chair in 2003
Years before the economy would collapse, then-Rep. Bernie Sanders unloaded on Alan Greenspan during a Congressional hearing. Years later, the Fed Chair admitted he was wrong...
Fox 'News', Bill O'Reilly and All Their Racist Viewers: 'BradCast' 6/23/15
Sean McElwee of Demos on his new study; More (positive) fallout from Charleston; (Some) Senate Dems help move TPP forward...
'Green News Report' 6/23/15
Repubs in bind after Papal encyclical on climate; Massive algae bloom shuts down West Coast fisheries; May 2015 hottest on record; PLUS: Goodbye, Eastern Cougar...
Race, Guns, Flags, Terrorism and the Right's Quickly Changing Politics of Denial: 'BradCast' 6/22/15
Historic GOP flip-flops and Fox's 'pathological denial' w/ Eric Boehlert of Media Matters...
Sunday Toons: Identity Crises Edition
This is now getting really strange. And 'PDiddie' has the week's collection of toons to prove it...
RW Domestic Terror in SC & Beyond; Big Govt GOP in TX; 'BradCast' 6/19/15
The 2009 DHS report Repubs hope you've forgotten; Plus: Adam Briggle of Frack Free Denton on GOP banning fracking bans and democracy in TX...
Sanders on 'Democratic Socialism'
'Bernie-mentum' begins to show itself in the polls as Sanders' message is heard on 'Late Night', beginning a challenge to nation's woeful 'democracy deficit'...
Evangelical Response to the Pope's Climate Encyclical: 'BradCast' 6/18/15
Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, Repub CEO of Evangelical Environmental Network; PLUS: Latest on SC church massacre; Limbaugh's lie about the Pope...
'Green News Report' 6/18/15
The Pope's unprecedented call for climate action; RWers freak out about it; India goes solar in big way; PLUS: Trump's running, thinks global warming is a hoax...
GOP's World of Trump: 'BradCast' 6/17/15
Has Trump blown up the GOP primary? Is he more than just a joke? Is he the Frankenstein Monster created by 40 years of Reaganism and Fox 'News'? Callers weigh in on that, Bernie Sanders and more!...
RW Radio Rescues Limbaugh in Boston
More wingnut welfare and Heart-less abuse of our public airwaves for corporate profit as Premiere radio uses it's corporate-owned station to save the failing Rush...
The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster': 'BradCast' 6/16/15
Heather Digby Parton on Trump as 'culmination of 30 years of American Dream propaganda' by the Right; Plus: 'Dickensian' Kansas; Politifact fail...
TRUMP: THE CANDIDATE
Sure, he's a clown and the latest into the 2016 GOP clown car. But 'misunderstimate' his candidacy at your peril...
'Pope Francis: The Encyclical' (The Movie)
The Pope kicks climate ass, takes climate names...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 7/2/2015 3:47pm PT  

It's our last BradCast before the long holiday weekend, so, after an amazingly encouraging week or two of news, we head into the July 4th weekend today with a whole bunch of stories that we've been trying to clear off our desk for the past week or two, along with a bunch of breaking news as well today.

From Trump and Bernie-mentum to Jim Webb entering the 2016 race to the dead-enders in Kentucky still fighting the Supreme Court ruling on marriage to more green news than we can even fit into a single Green News Report with Desi Doyen.

Oh, and real-life killer robots on the rise --- no, it's not product placement for the new Terminator movie, but it sure sounds like it --- before we finally end today's show with an encouraging bang (courtesy of our friend D.R. Tucker at Washington Monthly)!

Please enjoy and have a happy (and safe) 4th of July!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

* * *
P.S. We're taking a long weekend off from the show, so our friend Nicole Sandler of RadioOrNot.com will be filling in for us on Monday! We'll be back on Tuesday though! Peace!

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Guest: Police officer-turned-U. of SC asst. professor Seth Stoughton...
By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2015 5:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I was joined by Seth Stoughton, former cop and now asst. professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, to discuss the "Guardian v. Warrior" cop mentality as displayed in this past weekend's viral video of a pool party gone bad in suburban McKinney, TX.

Stoughton, who teaches criminal law and police regulation, analyzed the video for Talking Points Memo and explained what lessons might be learned from both the behavior of the helpful ("guardian") cops seen in the video and the other ("warrior") cop mentality as displayed by McKinney Officer Eric Casebolt who is seen inappropriately roughing up and threatening a number of African-American teens during the incident.

"Originally the warrior mindset referred to the mental tenacity, the sheer determination that an officer had to have to survive a life and death struggle," Stoughton tells me. "Now what we see, the warrior mindset refers to a more hyper-vigilant, often-aggressive approach to policing where everyone that the officer deals with is a potential threat."

But our discussion is much broader than all of that, as we talk about how these lessons apply to police everywhere in the U.S., whether the spate of recent videos of racist and/or rogue cops might actually be good news over all, and what are some steps that may improve things for everybody in the future.

Also today: Quantifying the startling epidemic of shootings by police in the U.S.; Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleads "not guilty"; Breaking news about marriage equality out of Arkansas; And climate change deniers gather to continue deluding themselves at a "climate change conference" sponsored by fossil fuel-funded Heartland Institute loons in Washington, D.C...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Heidi Hess of CredoAction...
By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2015 5:08pm PT  

The USA Freedom Act passes as a long overdue replacement to the Patriot Act. Mitch McConnell weeps and Rand Paul raises money. That's good. But is it a good bill and will it end mass government surveillance by the NSA?

Then, we've finally learned if disgraced U.S. District Judge Mark 'Wife-Beater' Fuller, set to 'resign in shame', will receive a federal retirement pension. Heidi Hess of CREDOAction.com joins us to discuss that, her organization's complaint against Fuller at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the five vacancies now on Alabama's federal court (which Republicans are trying to keep vacant for as long as possible.)

Plus some good voting news in Vermont and maybe in Wisconsin; the bizarre disposition of the Dennis Hastert indictments; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with the climate change positions of four new candidates in the 2016 race...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/5/2015 9:42am PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The race for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination just doubled in size: Fox 'News' darling Ben Carson jumps in; former CEO Carly Fiorina jumps in; former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee jumps in --- climate change deniers all; PLUS: The Pope's moral message on climate change... 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): Elon Musk unveils fancy new Tesla battery — ’cause existing batteries “suck”; Scientists call for limits on non-stick and stain-resistant chemicals that can leach into foods; CA crops raised with oil-field water; Ominous signs for endangered Great Lakes blue butterfly; Heartland Institute's president denies they are deniers; GOP lawmakers slash NASA budget... PLUS: Climate change drives 'new era' in Arctic, say Norwegian scientists... and much, MUCH more! ...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/30/2015 11:32am PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Senator Bernie Sanders, climate hawk, enters the 2016 Presidential race; Thanks to fossil fuels, California still has the nation's dirtiest air; Study finds most extremely hot days caused by global warming; PLUS: Pope Francis wants to protect God's Creation, and the rightwing, fossil fuel-funded Heartland Institute wants him to knock it off... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Break-up of the century: U.S. emissions and economic growth are really, finally separating; New Survey Shows TV Weathercasters Increasingly Accept Climate Change (but not Fox News); Duke Energy to hand out bottled water in North Carolina after wells polluted; Bees Love Nicotine, Even Though It's Killing Them; Forest fire threatens Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear zone... PLUS: Exposure to widespread diabetes drug feminizes male fish... and much, MUCH more! ...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/21/2015 12:34pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, five years later; As Earth Day comes and goes, Obama pushes again for climate action; Jan-March 2015 was the hottest ever recorded; PLUS: Jeb Bush thinks climate change might actually be a thing... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 10 tips to make every day Earth Day; Geologists think they know what caused TX earthquakes; Everything you think you know about CA water is wrong; Majority of e-waste collected in 2014 not recycled correctly; Arctic is ‘unraveling’ due to climate change; Geologists blame fracking injection wells for TX earthquakes; Support for carbon tax reaches almost 70%; Electrical grid infrastructure needs major changes, report finds... PLUS: Since BP Spill, 9 Million Acres in Gulf Leased for Drilling... and much, MUCH more! ...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2015 6:59pm PT  

"War is peace. And more war is 'mellowing out'," according to the U.S. corporate mainstream media. War is now the default. Peace is "extremist" and we can't have it breaking out in Iran.

I explain in this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio.

Plus, we take tons of listener calls, details some more GOP lies about 'Obamacare' and much more. And, of course, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report...

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By PDiddie on 4/15/2015 12:46pm PT  

Brad has been graciously allowing me to add a version of the Sunday Funnies I post at my shop for awhile now, but sometimes a cartoon's topicality can't wait for the weekend. Astute readers here will recall that I did make big fun of Ted Cruz's gang-style teardrop icon a few weeks ago, so turnabout is fair play...

Along with her campaign announcement on Sunday, Clinton showed off her new logo—a big blue H with a red arrow striking through it, pointing to the right. Of course, the Internet freaked out and issued a torrent of snark-laden reactions to the design.

Critics commented on everything from the direction the arrow is pointing to other logos it reminds them of (cough, FedEx, cough) and of course made some other super-tangential-oddball associations.

I agree with the 'hospital entrance sign' comparison.  On the other hand...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/14/2015 12:47pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another GOP climate science denier enters the 2016 race; And a non-denier jumps in on the Democratic side; Bad news for Big Coal in China; PLUS: Florida's denier disease is spreading --- now officials in Wisconsin barred from work on climate change... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate censorship gains steam in red states; Rapid global warming may be coming sooner than you think; The last time oceans went acidic this fast, 96% of marine life went extinct; Why new study on Arctic permafrost is so scary - it's the microbes; L.A. mayor envision greener city where people walk and use mass transit; 5 years after BP Oil Spill, Obama Admin proposes new safety rules... PLUS: Republican Wins Award For Believing In Climate Change... and much, MUCH more! ...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/9/2015 3:25pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Climate change-denier Sen. Rand Paul is running for President (and Brad is delighted about it!); Climate denial a looming problem for the GOP; Thawing permafrost a looming problem for the planet; PLUS: Greening the City of Angels: Mayor Garcetti's ambitious sustainability plan for L.A.....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): The Arctic has melted so much that now people want to race yachts through it; Tea Party hires actors to feign indignation over plan to save Everglades; Plummeting sardine numbers could prompt U.S. West coast fishing ban; New York just quietly raided its climate program for cash; Michael Bloomberg puts up $30m to kill coal; Utility sales may drop by half as homes make their own power... PLUS: VIDEO: Is "Game of Thrones" Cli-Fi... and much, MUCH more! ...

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GUEST: Physicist Joe Romm of ClimateProgress.org...
By Brad Friedman on 4/8/2015 9:07pm PT  

On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio (and many other fine affiliate stations), we talk to physicist, former Clinton Administration official and founding editor of ClimateProgress.org Joe Romm about Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell's "immoral" attempt to undermine the U.S. in international climate talk negotiations as the big U.N. treaty summit is set for Paris later this year.

Romm, who served as Chief Science Adviser for last year's Emmy-award winning Years of Living Dangerously series on Showtime, also breaks a bit of news on The BradCast by confirming that there will be a season two for the groundbreaking environmental documentary series. He promises that "it will be on a cable network that has a far greater reach" than Showtime, though he can't let us know which one yet.

PLUS: Rand Paul jumps into the 2016 GOP Presidential circus; Ohio's Republican Gov. John Kasich does the right thing (sort of) in vetoing a new GOP voter-suppression scheme in the state; Jeb Bush appears to have committed a felony in Florida; California's Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom does the right thing before everybody else (again) in announcing support for full legalization of marijuana in the Golden State; and much more, including Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report.

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Today's Savannah Guthrie echoes CNN's Erin Burnett and D.C. 'conservative consensus' that war is actually peace...
By Brad Friedman on 4/8/2015 12:33pm PT  

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

Most of the attention that will be paid today to this interview by NBC's Savannah Guthrie will, no doubt, focus on Sen. Rand Paul's dismissive and somewhat condescending treatment of the female Today anchor. It does echo, after all, a similarly condescending and arrogant tone he struck last February during an interview with CNBC's Kelly Evans when he, literally, "shushed" her and told her to "calm down a bit", as she asked him uncomfortable questions.

But what caught my eyes and ears in this latest video (posted below) was something else entirely. And it's something which reflects far more poorly on Guthrie and the corporate media in general than it does on the junior Senator from Kentucky and now 2016 Republican Presidential candidate.

While it's true Paul appears to have trouble dealing respectfully with female interviewers and is now wildly reversing many of his previously strongly held foreign policy positions in hopes of wooing GOP voters, it's the mindset behind Guthrie's opening question which disturbs me far more. And it's one that we've seen before in the supposedly "mainstream" media...

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Former Massey Energy CEO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Director could get 31 years for 2010's deadly West Virginia mine disaster...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/19/2014 6:05am PT  

On Friday, one day after the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a 43-page, four-count Criminal Indictment [PDF] against infamous, long-time West Virginia coal boss Donald L. Blankenship, U.S. District Court Judge Irene C. Berger issued a gag order in the case in an effort to secure a federal jury in West Virginia that could "be fair and impartial and whose verdict [will be] based only upon evidence presented during trial."

That will be no easy feat.

Blankenship, whom Rolling Stone described in 2010 as "the Dark Lord of Coal Country," is the former CEO and Chairman of the Board of Massey Energy Co. An extraordinarily rapacious capitalist, Blankenship is credited with transforming coal into an "aggressive, partisan industry" where the goal was to extract coal "as fast and as cheap as possible."

Blankenship is a principle force behind the environmentally destructive "mountaintop removal" --- a practice that "has destroyed 2,000 miles of streams and damaged more than a million acres of forest," according to Jeff Goodell at Rolling Stone. Under Blankenship's leadership, the magazine reports, Massey also "injected toxic coal slurry," a biproduct of washing coal before its used for burning, "near underground aquifers" resulting in contamination of drinking water. (Where, elsewhere in the U.S., heart disease is the top killer, in Appalachia cancer is the number one cause of death.)

Last week's federal indictment, however, relates to "the Dark Lord's" role in the massive April 5, 2010 explosion at the Massey-owned Upper Big Branch mine ("UBB") that resulted in the deaths of 29 Massey employees. It was the nation's worst mine disaster in the past 40 years.

The indictment alleges that "Blankenship...conspired to commit and cause routine violations of mandatory federal mine safety standards," including "ventilation" regulations designed to prevent explosions, in order to maximize profits; that he "conspired to defraud the United States by impeding the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration ("MSHA") in carrying out its duties at UBB," and that Blankenship made "materially false statements...to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission" essentially to protect the value of Massey stock.

If convicted, Blankenship could wind up serving 31 years in federal prison. If convicted. Therein lies the rub....

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Vote against ending debate underscores importance of 2014 elections; Rand Paul, Koch Brothers cut from same cloth...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2014 7:35am PT  

On Monday, the U.S. Senate voted to move forward with a final vote on a joint resolution to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would overturn the Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision.

The 79 to 18 vote to end debate and move on to a final vote on the measure included 25 "yes" votes from Republicans. However, The Hill reports, many of the GOP Senators are expected to vote against the resolution, "but by allowing it to proceed [they] ensured that it will tie up the Senate for most of the week." The Senate, which just returned from its 5-week summer recess on Monday, is in session for just two weeks before breaking for mid-term elections. A vote on the resolution may help to run out the clock on other Democratic priorities before the next recess.

Citizens United, as we wrote just after the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 decision, has "opened the door to the creation of a new master-class under the aegis of the most undemocratic of institutions --- the private corporation." In fact, it has proven to have opened the floodgates for would be oligarchs, like the self-described "libertarian" Koch brothers, to further undermine the very foundation of our representative form of democracy --- a strategy that has resulted in their spending as much as $300 million to win control of the U.S. Senate for Republicans in the upcoming mid-term elections alone.

"We should have debate on this important amendment," Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) declared before casting his vote for cloture, in order to end the debate on Monday. "The majority should be made to answer why they want to silence critics."

One Republican Senator who voted against cloture, who is apparently not even in favor of allowing the U.S. Senate to vote on the measure, is Kentucky's Rand Paul. The similarly "self-described libertarian" Paul, who is not up for re-election this year, but is currently a front-runner for the 2016 Republican nomination for President, joined a minority of his GOP colleagues in voting against allowing the proposed amendment to receive an up or down vote. That vote, as well as his past efforts to shield corporations from democratic and legal accountability, underscore once again that the Kentucky Senator and the infamous Koch brothers are cut from the same cloth.

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a co-sponsor of the amendment, observed, the measure entails the "major issue of our time": to wit, "whether the United States of America retains its democratic foundation or whether we devolve into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires are able to control our political process by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who represent their interest."

If it's up to Rand Paul, clearly he favors the latter.

Monday's vote is also a reminder that the upcoming 2014 mid-term elections are far more important than ordinary citizens may realize. The long-shot resolution, S.J. Res 19, would require two-thirds approval in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives before moving on for ratification as an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by three-quarters of the state legislatures. Given that extraordinary requirement, those voters who may oppose unlimited "dark money" political spending by corporations and billionaires would have to ignore a blizzard of Koch propaganda this year and vote Democratic or independent candidates into control of both chambers of Congress in order for the Amendment to become a reality.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2014 2:34pm PT  

In response to concerns about the militarization of local police, which America has seen on shameful display in Ferguson, MO following the police killing of Michael Brown, President Obama indicated during a presser last Monday that there could be some change coming.

"There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don't want those line blurred," he said about the horses which long ago left the barn. "That would be contrary to our traditions."

He added: "I think that there will be some bi-partisan interest in re-examining some of those programs."

On Saturday, Obama announced an official review of the Pentagon's "1033 Program" which, since 1990, has transferred, for free, some $4 billion worth of surplus military equipment, such as Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, armored Humvees, high-caliber weapons, aircraft, armed drones and silencers, to local law enforcement agencies around the country. As CNN has just reported:

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of programs allowing for state and local enforcement to buy military equipment, a senior administration official said Saturday.

The decision follows public criticism of the use of such assets recently in Ferguson, Missouri.

The review will touch on several points, including

-- Whether such programs and funding are appropriate;

-- Whether state and local enforcement agencies have the necessary training and guidance after getting such equipment;

-- Whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding.

White House staff --- including members of the Domestic Policy Council, the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget --- will lead the review in coordination with Congress, according to the official.

Reuters adds that "relevant U.S. agencies including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury," will also participate in the review.

Last week, we reported on the small, but seemingly growing bi-partisan support for re-thinking the federal militarization of local law enforcement agencies. The rightwing New American, citing some of our coverage, has more on the bi-partisan calls for reform, noting that the "SWAT Lobby" (yes, apparently there's a "SWAT Lobby") is now working to defend the program.

On this week's BradCast we interviewed Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), a proponent of blocking the transfer of this kind of militarized equipment and for including accountability measures for the billions of dollars worth of equipment which has already been given to local agencies.

"My main hope is to stop the flow of this military grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies throughout America," Johnson told us during the interview on KPFK/Pacifica Radio. "We've been flooding the streets with this surplus military weaponry, and I think the situation in Ferguson exemplifies what happens when you have too much powerful equipment in the hands of folks who don't have the judgment or the training to utilize it properly." (Full interview here.)

The latest version of Johnson's "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" [PDF] is here. The Congressman had begun work on the legislation long before Ferguson erupted, but is finally receiving recognition for that effort. Now, it seems, he and other proponents may have some support from the White House. But, we'll see. These "reviews" have a way of disappearing into the ether. Legislation like Johnson's, on the other hand, is what is needed to really make a difference in this shameful practice, which has, in truth, become little more than a way around the long-standing Posse Comitatus Act (1878) which expressly limited the use of federal military personnel to enforce local and state laws.

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