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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, August 29, 2015
10 Years Later - Crawford and Katrina: 'BradCast' 8/28/15
Personal remembrances and audio from our on-air, on-the-ground 2005 coverage of Cindy Sheehan's anti-war uprising at the Bush 'ranch' in TX as Hurricane Katrina stormed ashore...
'A Crazy Man Got a Gun': 'BradCast' 8/27/15
Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
'Green News Report' 8/27/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th anniv. of Hurricane Katrina; NASA warns 3 ft. of sea level rise now locked in; Obama heads to the Arctic; PLUS: Switch to clean energy will cost less than fossil fuel, says Citigroup
Previous GNRs: 8/25/15 - 8/20/15 - Archives...
Let's Go to the Phones: 'BradCast' 8/26/15
Covering a lot of ground with listener callers -- from the on-air shootings in Roanoke, VA to why Democrats shouldn't be so gleeful about Donald Trump -- and much more...
Carly's Climate Clap-Trap or The Fiorina Follies:
'BradCast' 8/25/15
Journalist David Roberts on the 'moderate', 'reasonable' GOP candidate's ridiculous climate comments and Citigroup's global warming report. Plus: Beck, Trump and Sanders...
'Green News Report' 8/25/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
July 2015 hottest month ever recorded; Record wildfires get worse; Mysterious whale deaths in WA; Oil hit hard by China crash; PLUS: Obama calls out anti-free market ideology...
Previous GNRs: 8/20/15 - 8/18/15 - Archives...
TX Photo ID Law Found Illegal, Yet Still Suppressing Voters: 'BradCast' 8/24/15
Guests: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on TX' discriminatory law; Financial journalist David Dayen on Dow 'crash'...
Sunday Toons, Untrustworthy Edition
Hillary's email; Ashley Madison's mess; Subway's Jared; Schumer's shame; Amazon agonistes; Trump's tyranny and more...
E-Cigs Are Good For You; GOP is Not: 'BradCast' 8/21/15
Also: Bernie Sanders & ignoring corporate media are good for you too...
5th Circuit Photo ID Ruling Could Leave Thousands Without Right to Vote in TX
'Good news' decision could leave 600k lawfully registered voters disenfranchised in 2016...
'No Good Evidence' Russia Behind MH17 Shootdown in Ukraine, Says Longtime CIA Analyst: 'BradCast' 8/20/15
Exclusive interview with 27-year, top CIA vet turned peace activist Ray McGovern...
'Green News Report' 8/20/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Fox 'News' now 'cares' about environment; Hillary opposes Arctic drilling; EPA rules to cut methane; Islamic leaders call for climate action; PLUS: River toxins create intersex fish...
Previous GNRs: 8/18/15 - 8/13/15 - Archives...
Did KXL Judges Profit Off Ruling?: 'BradCast' 8/19/15
Investigative journalist Steve Horn on two judges who allowed the disturbing precedent that led to the completion and opening of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline...
AT&T/NSA Whistleblower Mark Klein on New AT&T/NSA Docs: 'BradCast' 8/18/15
'They approached the phone companies before 9/11,' he says, citing new Snowden disclosures that 'vindicate' his own 2006 revelations...
'Green News Report' 8/18/15
Shell gets go-ahead to drill Arctic, Obama to visit to Arctic; July 2015 hottest on record; 'Monster' El Nino brewing; PLUS: Oregon kids sue govt over global warming...
Demise of the Death Penalty and Rise of The Donald's GOP; 'BradCast' 8/17/15
With Diann Rust-Tierney of National Coaltion to Abolish Death Penalty; Plus: 'Godzilla El Nino!' & more!...
Sunday Toons: Money Changes Everything
Another great collection this week from 'PDiddie'! On money in politics, poison in the river, Rick Perry in trouble and much more...
Happy 80th Social Security! And What's China Up To?: BradCast 8/14/15
Guest host Nicole Sandler interviews Eric Kingson on Social Security and more and Dave Johnson on China's currency manipulation...
VERDICTS IN: On ME Guv; CO Cakes; CT Death Penalty, ID 'Ag-Gag' & TX Photo ID: 'BradCast' 8/13/2015
Analyzing several recent, important rulings along with BRAD BLOG's Ernest A. Canning...
'Green News Report' 8/13/15
Half of US Forest Service budget now fighting wildfires; Australia's climate targets denounced; New Zealand ditches coal; PLUS: Free solar for African schools...
Walker, Bush Lies and Bernie's Rise: 'BradCast' 8/12/15
The Nation's John Nichols on new Walker revelations and Black Lives Matter makes Sanders a better candidate; Plus: Big news for Bernie & more!
'The Kids Who Die'
The words of Langston Hughes, spoken in a new video, capture the essence of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Please take less than three minutes to watch...
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...


Guests: Blogger/journalists Heather Digby Parton and Paul Rosenberg...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2015 3:32pm PT  

Buckle up! On today's BradCast, we jump on board the crazy train to dissect last night's GOP/Fox 'News' Presidential Debate(s)!

My guests today are award-winning blogger/journalists Heather Digby Parton of Digby's Hullabaloo and Paul Rosenberg of Random Lengths News --- both also contributors for Salon.

Can Trump ever be derailed? Fox 'News' and Roger Ailes sure seems to be trying. And does any of it actually matter a year and a half out from the general election and more than six months before any votes are ever cast? We discuss all of the above (after "Digby" and I take short victory lap concerning Donald Trump!) and much more in today's post-debate roundtable!

"[Trump] has absorbed all of the rightwing tropes of the past 30 years and made them his own. He's ingested them, digested them, regurgitated them, played with them, shaped them into figurines, and just endlessly fascinated himself with them, and invited people to play along with him," Rosenberg tells me. "And people are happy to do so, because he is their ideal --- he is a super-wealthy person who is 'just one of us'."

For her part, Parton says the debate actually does matter, for one reason, "because what we're seeing are the contours and outlines of the Republican argument. I think it's pretty clear they're going to be running as war-mongering, tax-cutting, slash-and-burn politicians who are going to roll back everything that's happened in the last eight years. And they're going to do it all in the first day, so that's good."

A fascinating and fun discussion! Plus: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' on another new candidate in the GOP race and the pushback against the President's new rules for emissions cuts...

What a week. An incredibly busy one, but we've got some really good shows to show for it, I think. Enjoy today's!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Prof. David Schultz of Hamline University...
By Brad Friedman on 7/9/2015 4:43pm PT  

We have a number of encouraging items on today's BradCast, believe it or not, regarding elections and campaign finance for a change.

But first today, after an emotional debate in South Carolina, the Confederate flag will finally come down at the state capitol on Friday - clearing the way for debate on stuff that may actually reduce gun violence, racism and terrorism. But in the U.S. House, it's business as usual as the GOP fails on a Confederate flag-related amendment.

After that, another reminder why Internet Voting would be a disaster, and a bit of Trump news (which I know you crave every single moment --- don't lie!), some very good news today from the Florida Supreme Court on redistricting and even more good news from the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. on campaign finance.

Hamline University professor of political science and law David Schultz --- author of last year's Election Law and Democratic Theory and the upcoming Presidential Swing States: Why Only Ten Matter --- joins us to discuss those cases and four important steps he's laid out which could be taken immediately to reform our nation's campaign finance embarrassment. The best news: none of the steps require either a Constitutional amendment or our broken Congress! (Though it might require the President of the United States to step up.)

Among those steps, the FCC, for example, could immediately require free airtime for candidates over our public airwaves. "About 60-70% of all the money that will be spent in Presidential elections will be spent on media advertising predominantly on television," Schultz explains. "Forty years ago, the average time that a candidate got on the national news to describe his or her position was about a minute. Now it's down to about ten seconds."

"Requiring that free air time would be perfectly Constitutional" in exchange for licenses granted by the FCC. "If the FCC can move on Net Neutrality, it can move on this." But that's just one of several executive agencies which the President could instruct to take action without the need for Congress or amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Plus: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the terrible climate position of the latest Democrat to enter the 2016 Presidential race and much more...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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CORRECTION 7/10/2015: My guest Dan Schultz writes to say that he mispoke in regard to the U.S. Appeals Court case which upheld the ban on political donations by federal contractors as discussed in the show above. The case was a challenge to a 1940s-era law, not a Presidential Executive Order as asserted at one point during the show. For more details on the correction, listen to the top of the 7/10/2015 BradCast now posted here.... Apologies for the error!

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Guest: Miles Grant of the National Wildlife Federation...
By Brad Friedman on 5/29/2015 3:05pm PT  

[I'm on the road today, so this BradCast was taped yesterday, just prior to the indictment of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. For some quick thoughts on that, please see this article from last night. More when we return next week, no doubt. - BF]

President Obama says the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is "the most progressive trade agreement the world has ever seen." Maybe. But if we can't see it, how can we know? Democrats (lots of them) say the trade pact is anything but progressive. So who's right? Who can tell when it's all being done in secrecy? We discuss on today's BradCast.

Then I'm joined by Miles Grant, Communications Director of the National Wildlife Federation and blogger at TheGreenMiles.com, to talk about his recent piece on the nation's "Roads to Nowhere" and whether voters really want more of them. We discuss why new, expanded roads don't solve traffic woes and why there's such a disconnect between politicians' billion-dollar new road projects and the public's desire to repair the ones we already have.

Plus: A recent IRS data hack holds lessons (again) for Internet Voting proponents; Seattle literally rejects Shell Oil's shit, and much more on today's BradCast!

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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By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2015 5:10pm PT  

I've been having sort of a running conversation/debate with author, comedian, friend and KPFK/Pacifica Radio colleague Jimmy Dore ever since the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. He heard my take on the shootings, as discussed on KPFK at the time, and picked it up (a less generous person might say, misinterpreted it) on his own show.

We then had it out on his show and, finally, with the weekend shootings in Garland, TX at a rightwing group's event offering $10,000 for the most offensive cartoon featuring the prophet Mohammed, it seemed like a good time to pick up that conversation to see if either his or my views have changed.

So, Jimmy was my guest on today's BradCast and I think you'll enjoy the discussion!

Also, Bernie Sanders' refreshing words on a Sunday network news show; Carly and Carson both jumped into the 2016 GOP nomination clown car; one encouraging moment in Nepal amongst unspeakable tragedy following their recent devastating earthquake; the FEC continues to be dysfunctional, with one of their chairs now out-and-out noting that campaign finance regulations are unlikely to be enforced during the 2016 Presidential elections, despite record "dark money" set to be spent on them.

All of that and more on today's show! Please enjoy and spread the word!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we'll be posting 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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GOP 'voter fraud' fraudster Catherine Engelbrecht warns of 'trickle down tyranny', 'civil unrest' at Senate AG confirmation hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2015 6:03am PT  

"I am not a victim," Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of the Rightwing voter suppression group calling themselves "True the Vote" told members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning. It was an odd turn of phrase given all that came before it in her testimony, both written and oral, at the confirmation hearings for U.S. Attorney General-nominee Loretta Lynch.

"I'm here today because I was targeted by the government for daring to speak out," the non-victim informed the Senators and those watching via C-Span at the very top of her remarks, much of which followed her written testimony [PDF] submitted in advance, and much of which did not. She is, she explained, just "one of thousands of Americans who have become living examples of a kind of trickle down tyranny that is actively endorsed by the current Administration and rigorously enforced by the Department of Justice."

"Over the years it has become clear to me that they don't just want True the Vote shut down, they want me broken," Engelbrecht wrote dramatically, but, for some reason, didn't say during her spoken testimony [video posted at the end of this article].

But, remember, she is "not a victim" at all. She is, on the other hand, the head of a wingnut Tea Party grifter organization which has, as we described in detail earlier this week, stepped on one rake after another since its ignominious appearance on the "voting rights" scene in 2010 when, in their introductory video, the group included a Photoshopped photo of an African-American woman holding a sign at a protest reading: "I ONLY GOT TO VOTE ONCE!" Another faked sign behind her head read "I'M WITH STUPID." (In actuality, as the original photos from a protest during the Presidential election theft in Florida in 2000 show, the woman's sign read: "DON'T MESS WITH OUR VOTES." The sign behind her had read "Gore/Lieberman 2000.")

During her testimony, Engelbrecht, after years of faking voter fraud statistics to try and help the GOP case for polling place Photo ID restrictions, even had the temerity to describe her organization as "a national non-profit initiative to protect voters' rights and promote election integrity."

Faking the truth seems to come easy to Engelbrecht and her group, as they've spent years attempting to intimidate voters at the polls under the guise of protecting against pretend Democratic "voter fraud". At the Senate hearing on Thursday, however, it was often what she didn't say during her oral testimony, as contrasted with her written testimony submitted beforehand, that may have been most revealing.

For some reason, for example, she --- or, perhaps a staffer on the new Republican-majority Senate committee --- must have thought it better not to discuss "pigment of skin" in polite company at the confirmation hearings for the first African-American woman to be nominated as the nation's chief law enforcement official. That part didn't make it into to Engelbrecht's spoken outrage...

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

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Helping prove again that 'Fox 'News' is the most effective and sophisticated propaganda outfit in the history of the world'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2014 4:43pm PT  

During an appearance last week on the Allan Handelman Show on WSJS in North Carolina --- a state, like almost every one in the union now, where non-corporatist, non-wingnut views are almost non-existent over our public airwaves --- I was discussing the state Republicans' new voter suppression law, which is, hands-down, the most draconian in the nation since the era of Jim Crow was supposed to have ended.

While a Rightwing caller, apparently, was on hold to participate in the show, I detailed the fact that the polling place Photo ID restriction part of the GOP law (just one part of their horrific anti-voting statute) would do nothing to prevent so-called "voter fraud", since polling place impersonation is, for all intents and purposes, non-existent in this country, as this 2012 study by a non-partisan news consortium, detailing every known and/or reported incident of election or voter fraud in all 50 states going back to 2000, illustrated once again.

Once the caller "Jay" finally made it to air, his admission was quite revealing --- and even courageous --- yet illustrative of just about everything that is wrong with our corporate media (and the politics it has created) these days.

What he had to say is not what you'd probably expect. Give it a listen...

Download MP3 or listen online below. [Appx 9 mins, lightly edited to cover for a commercial break between two segments]...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2014 8:35am PT  

The least surprising news of the week, except to those in the media who bought in to the months of Rightwing/Republican/Darrell Issa/GOP Victimization propaganda...

Those numbers, showing that progressive groups as well as "conservative" ones seeking tax-exempt status were given additional scrutiny by the IRS, are based on docs received via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests made by Think Progress.

We noted this very point in our initial coverage of the phony "IRS is targeting conservatives!!!" scam last year, just after the White House had (pathetically) fallen for it as well. (See here, then here, then here.)

While one might be excused for buying in to the scam in the first five minutes, 24 hours after it broke everyone should have known it was a scam. Nonetheless, the GOP, without having any legitimate basis for still being in business, has been making a career out of pretend scandals, including the one that "Obama is using the IRS to destroy Tea Party conservatives!!!" Their stupid base is dumb enough to believe them.

At this point, the Republican Party is no longer a political party. It's a permanent campaign organization with little more than self-victimization as their central platform.

For the record, as we've discussed many times, the problem is not the IRS giving too much scrutiny to political groups (aligned with either party) masquerading as "social welfare organizations", it's the fact that they are allowing such groups to continue the masquerade, despite the very clear statutory prohibition on any political activity by such groups.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2013 9:14pm PT  

It was another news week from hell on today's KFPK/Pacifica Radio BradCast.

We covered today's Supreme Court rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA with Evan Wolfson, one of the architects of the national marriage equality strategy, from FreedomtoMarry.org.

I had a word or three to say about the Court gutting the Voting Rights Act this week.

I also offered a thought or two on NBC's David Gregory suggesting that journalist Glenn Greenwald "aided and abetted" NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and on the jackassery of national embarrassment Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and the collapse of his pretend IRS "scandal". Desi Doyen joined me for the latest Green News Report update on President Obama's landmark climate speech this week.

And somehow we managed to fit in a few phone calls and a thought or two on Wendy Davis' stand in TX late last night and the state Republicans attempt to fraudulently pass a radical anti-abortion bill anyway. We got all of that into an incredibly fast moving single show, which follows for you below. Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online here [appx 58 mins]...

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As we told you, the IRS 'scandal' was phony from the jump...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2013 6:05am PT  

If you had read The BRAD BLOG when the Treasury Department's Inspector General's report on the pretend IRS "scandal" came out, you'd already know just about all of this. We tried to tell ya way back then. You see, unlike the rest of the media, it seems, we bothered to actually read that report before reporting on it. For anybody who did the same, the scam should have been pretty clear.

Now we learn that IRS flagged progressive groups for additional targeted scrutiny when applying for tax-exempt status --- just as they did for "Tea Party" groups. But, in the case of progressives, they continued doing so until this month, even after they had stopped flagging "Tea Party"-related groups, according to documents[PDF] released by Democrats on the U.S. House Ways and Means committee on Monday.

That, of course, is why we also described the pretend "scandal", in a subsequent report, as "nearly as phony as the Shirley Sherrod, Van Jones and ACORN 'scandals'".

As the New York Times describes the newly released documents...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
SPECIAL REPORT: Disaster in Moore, OK
By Desi Doyen on 5/21/2013 3:56pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: A Green News Special Report: Devastation as another record tornado hits Moore, OK - The city wakes up to the day after, questions about resilience and the influence of climate change ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

Link:
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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): Midwest drought: Wells dry, fertile plains turn to dust; Utilities vs. rooftop solar: What the fight is about; Native chiefs walk out of Keystone XL negotiations; US hits 100k plug-in vehicles; Feds again delay restarting San Onofre nuke plant; Remember when IRS targeted environmental groups?; US approves natural gas export terminal; After 30 years, Camp Lejeune coming clean on toxic water ... PLUS: We Have Met the Unknown Unknowns --- and They are Us ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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Racing to jump on the 'scandal' bandwagon, top-tier network newsmen each get the stories wrong, fail to correct record...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2013 12:38pm PT  

Despite completely misreporting on Administration emails related to the pretend Benghazi "scandal", after they were misquoted (and/or fabricated) to him by a reportedly Republican source, ABC News and their White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl still refuse to properly correct and apologize for having lied about "obtaining" those emails.

Had Karl's error --- compounded by his "cover-up" even more than his original "crime" --- contained news that falsely appeared good for Democrats instead of for Republicans, he would have been hammered and forever discredited by the Right until finally fired by ABC News. But, alas, his completely false report on Benghazi benefited Republicans rather than Democrats, so no biggie, it seems. He gets to keep his career!

ABC's Karl, however, wasn't the only top-tier network newsman who blew it big time, further tarnishing the profession over the past week, not by a long shot.

Here's how NBC's Brian Williams opened --- opened! --- NBC Nightly News last Tuesday, the same day that the Treasury Department's Inspector General report was released, offering zero evidence of White House involvement in the so-called IRS "scandal"...

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

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But Obama (and media) fall for it again...
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2013 4:20pm PT  

"Listening to the nightly news, this appears to be just the latest example of a culture of cover-ups --- and political intimidation --- in this administration," declared the opportunistic Republican Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee during a hearing today on the "scandal" related to the IRS use of Rightwing words such as "Tea Party" to help identify groups applying for tax-exempt status which might be operating in violation of the tax code.

The key phrase there is: "Listening to the nightly news..."

Rep. David Camp (R-MI) was correct in at least that part of his statement. If you listened to the way this supposed "scandal" is being reported by the bulk of the corporate media, you'd think the poorly chosen criteria used by low-level IRS officials in trying to identify taxpayer-subsidized organizations that might be carrying out political operations in violation of the law, was part of a "culture of cover-up" and "political intimidation" on par with Richard Nixon ordering his Dept. of Justice to target political enemies.

Then again, if you listened only to the corporate media, you --- like the Obama Administration --- also probably thought that the phony, trumped-up "scandals" that led to the inappropriate firing of USDA official Shirley Sherrod, the cowardly firing of White House green jobs adviser Van Jones and the outrageous federal defunding of ACORN were also the unhappy result of an endemic culture of corruption by the Obama Administration, the Democratic Party and its insidious political apparatchiks.

Those fake scandals, however, all three of them, were shams. They were eventually identified as such, though only after a great deal of harm to Sherrod, Jones and ACORN had already been done by the Democrats who fell for them and acted out of knee-jerk and cowardly fear to try and contain the perception of "scandal" which was, naturally, helped along by the very loud misreporting of "the nightly news".

The supposed IRS "scandal", as we detailed yesterday both here at The BRAD BLOG and at Salon --- after having bothered to actually read the full Treasury Department Inspector General's report [PDF] before reporting on it (didn't anybody else?!) --- appears almost as phony as those other three "scandals", despite the "outrage" over seemingly non-existent "misconduct", as Obama described it, by IRS employees.

Our general assessment --- based on the IG's findings --- that this "scandal" appears to be an enormous over-reaction to poorly thought out procedures and lousy management by low-level IRS officials, has been shored up since publishing our article yesterday, both by today's House hearings and by scattered media coverage elsewhere.

As usual, with these things, the Republicans cry "COVER-UP!", "OUTRAGE!", "SCANDAL!"; the corporate media credulously, unskeptically and dutifully reports it as such; the Obama Administration knee-jerks out of fear and starts firing people (like the Acting Commissioner of the IRS who wasn't even at the agency during the period in question) in hopes of showing how they are on top of things and will not tolerate such "outrages!"; and Republicans opportunistically use the entire matter to create a phony sense of partisanship, incompetence and tyranny (seemingly opposite notions, but never mind that) on the part of the Administration.

It works every time, it seems, since the very top-tier corporate media, as well as the Obama Administration, keep falling for it over and over and over again...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2013 6:05am PT  

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

During remarks at the White House yesterday evening, President Obama offered his opinions on the Treasury Department Inspector General's report [PDF] finding that the IRS used "inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status," in order to review those groups "for indications of significant political campaign intervention."

He described "the misconduct that is uncovered" in the report as "inexcusable". He said that "Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it," adding that he "will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives."

Obama then announced that his Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, had requested and accepted the resignation of the Acting Commissioner of the IRS --- the man who wasn't even in that role during the period in question at the IRS --- "because given the controversy surrounding this audit, it’s important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward."

That all sounds very tough and decisive(!), but after having slogged through the full IG's report, I'm not sure what "misconduct" the President is actually referring to. That word would seem to imply that someone at the IRS was purposely or criminally misbehaving. They may have been, and further investigation may uncover such behavior, but if there was purposeful or criminal misconduct by anyone in the office, the IG's report doesn't seem to offer any actual evidence of it.

The IG's report offers evidence of much confusion, poor training, unclear directives and what seems to be pretty lousy, or, at least, extremely ineffective management at the department of the IRS tasked with approving or rejecting tax-exempt status for 501(c)(3) "charitable groups" and 501(c)(4) "social welfare organizations". Members of Congress, as well as government watchdog groups have long argued that many of those tax-payer subsidized organizations have abused the privilege and violated the legal restrictions on political activity by such groups. The abuse has been particularly widespread, they argue, in the wake of the Citizens United decision and the flood of largely unrestricted, often completely anonymous money funneled to those types of groups for often purely-political purposes.

Further investigation, including a criminal investigation promised by the Dept. of Justice, may uncover the type of "misconduct" the President claims to be outraged by, but the evidence for it is not found in the IG's report, no matter how much Republicans are currently suggesting the opposite.

Also NOT found in the IG's report:

  • Any evidence that "Tea Party" related groups were identified during this process for nefarious reasons;
  • Any type of identification, political or otherwise, for the groups whose applications were similarly flagged and delayed ("Tea Party" related groups made up only a minority, approximately 1/3 of the groups whose applications were delayed and held for further examination);
  • Any indication or evidence whatsoever that the White House, or anybody outside of the IRS units handling these cases, had anything to do with what happened;
  • Any response to the other question the IG's office was tasked by Congress to investigate, namely: "whether existing social welfare organizations are improperly engaged in a substantial, or even predominant, amount of campaign activity."

Allow me to offer some quick details in support of each of the bullet points above...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2013 4:26pm PT  

Apparently, we were wrong last March, when we interpreted Attorney General Eric Holder's Congressional testimony to mean that the big banks were just "too big to jail".

"I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large," Holder testified at the time.

"It has an inhibiting influence --- impact --- on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate," he continued. "So, the concern that you raise is actually one that I share."

That's what he said in March. But apparently, despite that, he now says, banks are not too big to jail. That's what Holder "very, very, very" much wants us now to believe, according to his testimony in Congress today...

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

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But Obama's IRS and DoJ/AP scandals didn't happen in a vacuum...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2013 6:05am PT  

Government officials and employees responsible for the allegedly inappropriate scrutiny of Rightwing groups applying for non-profit, tax-exempt status as "social welfare organizations" (tax-payer subsidized, supposedly non-partisan 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) groups) should be investigated and, if appropriate, disciplined, fired and/or charged under criminal statutes.

Government officials and employees responsible for secretly subpoenaing the phone records of AP reporters ought to similarly be investigated and, if appropriate, disciplined, fired and/or charged under criminal statutes --- though it is likely that the government has already given itself legal dispensation to carry out that sort of invasive, seemingly extra-Constitutional, certainly un-American intimidation of whistleblowers and journalists alike.

That said, it's been predictably amusing over the past 24 hours or so, witnessing the outrage --- outrage! --- of Rightwingers over the very things that they not only didn't give a rat's ass about when the same, and often much worse, was carried out by the Bush Administration, but that they actively supported at the time.

"They say two wrongs don’t make a right, but ignoring one of those wrongs while vilifying the other is intellectually dishonest and violently hypocritical, among other things," writes Bob Cesca at The Daily Banter, noting that "Democrats have almost universally condemned the actions of the IRS, as they’ve done when the congressional Republicans and, naturally, the Bush administration used the nearly unlimited might of the government to engage in similar investigations — or worse."

"Republicans," he writes, "spent eight years defending, applauding and enabling Bush abuses on this front, while subsequently cheerleading the congressional Republicans as they carry forward the politics of intimidation and government overreach into the Obama era."

Cesca goes on to list "10 Examples of Bush and the Republicans Using Government Power to Target Critics", beginning with the Republican-supported Big Government assaults on Planned Parenthood, ACORN (which succeeded in putting a four-decade old community organization out of business), and on even the ability of perfectly legal American voters to simply cast a vote in their own elections. He also reminds us of the abuse of the Bush Dept. of Justice which, specifically, targeted Democrats for prosecution, and for the firing of U.S. Attorneys without cause, other than they were not partisan enough for the tastes of the Bush White House.

But while the Obama Administration deserves appropriate scrutiny and investigation and accountability for whatever its part in both the developing IRS and DoJ/AP scandals, let us not forget some of these certainly-as-bad, arguably-worse scandals related to both the IRS and the DoJ --- from during the Bush Administration --- that Republicans not only didn't give a damn about, but often applauded for most of the past decade...

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

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