The measure not only calls upon Congress to "propose an amendment...to the United States Constitution" to overturn the infamous Citizens United decision and its progeny, but "to make clear that the rights protected by the United States Constitution are the rights of natural persons only."
A constitutional amendment that eliminated "corporate personhood" would not only invalidate Citizens United but would overturn the newly minted right to "corporate religious liberty" established in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc. (2014).
Unfortunately, the language Lieu included in the measure stops short of "money is not speech." Instead, the measure simply provides for "full regulation or limitation of campaign contributions and spending, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of wealth, may express their views to one another."
While the ballot proposition is not binding, and has produced critics who describe the measure as little more than a political stunt, if adopted by an overwhelming majority of California voters this fall, it could very well help to ignite a nationwide groundswell of opposition to a series of decisions by an oligarchic Supreme Court that have threatened the very survival of our constitutional representative democracy...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: CA Governor warns climate change is here, and getting very expensive; Biblical flooding in Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia; Insurance Co. sues Chicago for failing to prepare for climate change; PLUS: India's new PM pledges solar across the nation... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Drought, hurricanes bigger threat to businesses; Antarctica, Greenland melting faster than thought; US historical sites threatened by rising sea levels; Coal Ash Sludge In The Dan River Is Finally Getting Vacuumed Up; NC GOP wants to make fracking chemical disclures a felony; 'CNN is the Wal-mart of news'; Appeals court rejects BP's request to reduce settlement payments for oil spill ... PLUS: Creationists now losing their minds because Neil deGrasse Tyson explained electricity ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Nonprofit organizations that make political contributions in California will have to disclose more information about the source of their money under a law Gov. Jerry Brown signed Wednesday.
Senate Bill 27 was inspired by the 2012 ballot measure wars in California, when two out-of-state nonprofit groups poured $15 million into fighting Proposition 30 and supporting Proposition 32. Because of the groups' nonprofit status, they were not required to report where their donations originally came from, leading some to describe the contributions as "dark money."
"Leading some to describe"? It was dark money! The groups did not disclose who the donors were when they spent millions and millions of that dark money to try and fraudulently effect election outcomes in the state!
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Deadly tornado outbreak rips across the South, but safer building codes still stalled by lawmakers; Good news for those who breathe: Supreme Court upholds EPA's cross-state pollution standard; PLUS: Happy 60th Birthday, solar energy! Look what we dug up to celebrate!... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Six grassroots environmental activists win prestigious Goldman Prize; Miscarriage Risk Rises With BPA Exposure: Study; Exxon’s $900 Billion Arctic Prize at Risk After Ukraine; BP doesn't want to pay for oil spill research; Capping Chernobyl - literally; New sweeping reforms to reduce coal mine dust, black lung disease ... PLUS: Pork prices spike as pig virus wipes out over 10% of nation's hogs ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: No end in sight for coal ash waste spill in NC; Sniper attack exposes security vulnerabilities of aging US electrical grid; Fracking depleting water supplies in drought-stricken states; Tesla electric cars, now driving cross-country for free; PLUS: The Great Barrier Reef to become a sacrifice zone for coal ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Record number of billion-dollar disasters in 2013; How to deconstruct the difficult math of Keystone XL's carbon footprint; USDA launches 'climate hubs' to help farmers with drought; Winter Olympics: downhill forecast in a warming world; From Occupy to climate justice ... PLUS: Big Coal’s ash mess follows its chemical spill. Is this some kind of bad joke? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's official: 2013 was 4th warmest year on record globally; West Virginia's water polluter Freedom Industries declares bankruptcy; Coal responsible for 50% of toxic water pollution; Halliburton exec gets probation for destroying evidence on 2010 BP Gulf spill; PLUS: California drought emergency - Arizona and New Mexico, you're next ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Utilities Would "Strangle Solar" if They Could; Unchecked CO2 emissions will double extreme El Niño weather events; Climate scientist to US Senate: 'Climate change is a clear and present danger'; China pollution wafting across Pacific; Kenya to generate over half of its electricity through solar power by 2016 ... PLUS: Despite international outcry, dolphin slaughter at Japan's Taiji Cove ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Unprecedented drought & wildfires in California; Unprecedented heat shuts down Australian Open; EPA smacks down Alaska's proposed Pebble Mine; Putting all the sh*t in Washington DC to good use!; PLUS: The impacts of the toxic chemical spill in West Virginia still flowing ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): World may have to suck gases from air to meet climate goals; TPP: WikiLeaks exposes what Obama's secret trade deal would do to the environment; Italy's government agrees to send in Army against mafia dumps; Floods and landslides in Southeast Asia; Keystone XL: TX high court gives hope to landowners in eminent domain fight; Massive Antarctic glacier has entered 'irreversible' melt ... PLUS: D. R. Tucker: Resentment Rules the Right -
'there are plenty of permanently ignorant people who actually want to be misinformed and lied to' ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: '60 Minutes' becomes a dirty word - Inside their new hit piece on America's clean energy industry; Don't tell the Fox 'News'-ified CBS News, but clean tech is booming; PLUS: Record drought in California, with no end in sight ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Nature Bombshell: Observations point to 10°F warming by 2100; Global warming warning stickers at gas pumps?; Food industry’s secret plan for a GMO (non)-labeling law; Radio Disney's pro-fracking elementary school tour sparks outrage; Mass Extinction: Let's not.; Big Oil moves to overturn oil export ban in U.S.; The endgame of GMO controversy; Record heat wave kills 100k bats in Australia; Senegal siezes Russian factory trawler; Not enough bees for Europe's crops; Hungarian town goes green after massive toxic sludge spill; Rising sea levels threaten L.A. ... PLUS: Stephen Colbert calls out Fox News on climate change: "Well Done. All The Best News Reports End With 'I Don't Know Where We Got This'" ... and much, MUCH more! ...
In a letter this week, twenty of the nation’s top climate scientists urged Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) to impose an immediate moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing (aka "fracking") as a means for extracting oil and natural gas in the Golden State.
Just days later, the state issued new draft regulations for "fracking". The new regulations were praised by the fossil fuel industry.
In the letter, the scientists warn Brown that "fracking," as applied to California's Monterey Shale Formation, would "exacerbate…environmental threats, particularly climate disruption, local air and water pollution, and resource consumption."
After noting that fracking "will likely rapidly increase fossil fuel development at a time when California is poised to transition to low-carbon renewable energy technology," the climate scientists expressed a number of specific environmental concerns...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: One year later: the lessons of Superstorm Sandy - Scientists question rebuilding in coastal areas, warn of future climate impacts & of sea level rise; PLUS: It's official: the Poles are having a heat wave! (No, not the Polish people) ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Leaked Documents Reveal the Secret Finances of a Pro-Industry Science Group; Voters in 2014 swing states favor EPA carbon rules; Washington State county to vote on Big Coal's future; Coal industry lawyers hid evidence of black lung among sick miners; Most Powerful Storm in 14 Years Sweeps Northwestern Europe; Wireless electric car charging works, researchers show; BBC criticized for promoting climate science deniers; Battery breakthrough with graphene-coated power cell; BP Oil Disaster: Gulf fishermen say 'there's no life out there'; Western governors sign climate agreement ... PLUS: The National Review’s worst nightmare: Climate activists might win ... and much, MUCH more! ...
In his syndicated "California Focus" column (appearing in 93 papers around the state), Thomas D. Elias opines today on the partisan-passed election reform bill we've been yelling about for months now here at The BRAD BLOG. He accurately describes SB 360 as "a prominent entry in the unofficial sweepstakes to determine this year's worst new state law".
Here's the possible threat: This measure will allow the California secretary of state to approve new electronic voting systems that have received no certification at all for use in actual elections. It also ends a long-standing requirement that all electronic voting systems be certified at the federal level before they're used here and allows counties to develop their own voting systems.
This bill cried out for a veto from Brown, considering the problems encountered by electronic voting systems during much of the last decade. Comprehensive testing demonstrated that many could be hacked, with the possibility that programming might be inserted so that - for one example - when a voter touched a screen favoring one candidate, the vote actually went into someone else's column.
Elias continues by pointing out the dishonest way in which the bill was represented to lawmakers and the public by its main sponsor, state Sen. Alex Padilla (D) who also happens to be a leading 2014 candidate for CA Secretary of State and, therefore, a potential main beneficiary of the unprecedented, sweeping new executive powers that the law will grant to the state's SoS.
Over the weekend, Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed SB 360, a radical new election reform bill, that will, for the first time in decades, end all federal testing of new e-voting systems approved for use in the state of California.
The measure, sold dishonestly by its supporters to the public and lawmakers, is expected to have an impact across the rest of the nation as well. It's enactment paves the way for the final development of a new, unverifiable touch-screen voting system for use in Los Angeles County, where it is then slated to be sold for use in jurisdictions elsewhere in the state and country.
Before the adoption of SB 360, new voting systems in California required two independent levels of testing, both at the federal and state levels before they could be used in an election here. Even with those two independent testing regimes in place, the systems certified by the Sec. of State over the past decade or more have been riddled with errors and security flaws that were later discovered. For those reasons, and others, The BRAD BLOG had been calling, unsuccessfully, for Brown's veto of SB 360.
As we've documented on these pages, the new law also affords sweeping new executive powers to the Sec. of State to approve new e-voting systems for use in so-called "pilot programs" without any certification testing at all, even from state auditors. Those "pilot" e-voting and tabulation systems, according to the new law, may now be used in "a legally binding election" at the sole discretion of the Sec. of State.
The BRAD BLOG has reported in great detail on this dangerous new bill, which was eventually passed along partisan lines with almost no debate in either chamber of the state legislature. It was supported by all the Democrats in both the state Senate and Assembly, and opposed by all but one Republican.
The bill, granting unprecedented power to the California Sec. of State, was authored by state Senator Alex Padilla (D) --- himself a leading 2014 candidate for California Sec. of State. It was also supported by one of his two main rivals for that job, State Sen. Leland Yee (D), who has also gone on record calling for Internet Voting systems in California.
The only one among the top three Democratic contenders to replace CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen (who is termed out in 2014), who did not go on record in support of SB 360, is former Common Cause official Derek Cressman.
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...
My OpEd News interview begins with this question from Brunwasser...
Republicans are notorious for trying to disenfranchise voters, mostly voters who tend to vote against their candidates. But in this case, as you point out, the ill-conceived legislation has Democratic backing, and is, in fact, Democrat-sponsored. What's that all about? Have public officials learned nothing since 2004?
Give the full interview a read to find out my answer to those questions, along with a number of other thoughts on Democratic science denial when it comes to unverifiable (and untested) election technology.
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If you've yet to give CA Governor Jerry Brown your opinion on whether he should sign or veto SB 360, you may do so right here. (Choose "SB00360" from the "Please choose your subject" dropdown box, and select Pro or Con on the next screen.) You may also call his office to leave your opinion at (916) 445-2841.
NOTE: The space-aged touch-screen system being developed by L.A. County, is also being planned for sale to other jurisdictions across the country. The way CA tests and certifies its voting machines, or doesn't, is very likely to have a direct impact on voting systems used in your jurisdictions across the nation as well!
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California State Sen. Alex Padilla continues to mislead the public about SB 360, his radical election reform bill passed recently by the state legislature along partisan lines, and now waiting for a signature, or veto, from Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bill, as we explained in our detailed exposé last week, would end all federal testing of new e-voting systems in the state of California. The use of only federally-approved voting systems had long been a requirement in the state. Moreover, the measure would grant unprecedented sweeping executive powers to the Sec. of State to approve new voting and tabulation systems for use in real elections without any certification testing at all, even by state auditors.
Last week, we explained how Padilla has been cynically selling this bill for many months as necessary in order for jurisdictions like Los Angeles County to own their own non-proprietary voting systems. Who, after all, other than private voting machine companies (and/or folks who'd like to use such systems to game elections), would be against the idea that voting systems should be publicly owned by the jurisdictions which use them to run their own public elections? But that explanation doesn't really tell the full story.
L.A. has been in the process of developing a new, publicly-owned, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system for some time. (See a new video of their design concepts, all quite troubling for those of us familiar with new, touch-screen e-voting systems, right here or at the bottom of this article.) The county has said they hope to sell their new system to other counties in the state and across the country. But, what Padilla doesn't mention to lawmakers or to the public while pitching his legislation, is that L.A. already owns their own current voting system and has for many years.
"I've introduced a piece of legislation that doesn't mandate, but allows, at the county level, county governments to own their voting systems," Padilla misleadingly announced on KSRO the day before the bill was finally approved by both chambers of the state legislature earlier this month. He cited L.A. County's development as the reason that counties should be able to own their own voting systems...which, he didn't mention, L.A. already does.
You can listen to Padilla's brief, 9/5/2013 interview on KSRO here [appx 4.5 mins]:
Since SB 360's introduction back in February, Padilla has been quoted similarly, and misleadingly, in every press release we've seen issued by his office, touting that "Allowing counties to develop, own and operate voting systems will increase voter confidence in the integrity of our elections."
The next, even more misleading part of the oft-used Padilla quote, has been modified only slightly in his press releases since the bill's introduction last February...