The BRAD BLOG Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! 2017-06-24T01:37:39Z Copyright 2017 WordPress Brad Friedman <![CDATA['American Carnage' (Or, the Senate Republican 'Health Care' Plan): 'BradCast' 6/23/2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12195 2017-06-24T01:37:39Z 2017-06-24T01:37:39Z BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Rights And Freedoms Environment U.S. Senate Health Care Economy KPFK Donald Trump Dean Heller Rick Perry Mitch McConnell Climate change U.K. IRS BradCast Electric vehicles Dept. of Energy On today's BradCast: Donald Trump repeatedly promised not to cut Medicaid during his Presidential Campaign. During his Inauguration, he vowed to "end the American carnage". Now he's prepared to slash Medicaid under the GOP health care legislation, which is certain to create untold "American carnage" in its wake. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Hospitals, doctors and other health care providers have been blasting the Senate Republicans' health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare", since the legislation, crafted in secret, was finally unveiled on Thursday. It has not aged well in the past 24 hours. That's for very good reason, as my guest today, IGOR VOLSKY, health care reform advocate, a Vice President at the Center for American Progress, and co-host of the Thinking CAP podcast explains in detail.

Volsky, who we last spoke with during the Democrats' fight to enact Obamacare back in 2009 and 2010, explains how the GOP plan's cuts and restructuring of both the ACA's Medicaid expansion and the traditional, 52-year old Medicaid program will stifle or end medical care for massive numbers of children and elderly, not to mention the poor.

"Medicaid is a program that covers 74 million Americans," says Volsky. "It's not just lower income Americans --- who we usually, I think, think of when we talk about Medicaid --- 49% of all births are covered by Medicaid. 64% of all nursing home residents have Medicaid coverage. 76% of poor children, 39% of all children. So you're really talking 20% of Americans rely on Medicaid. The House bill cuts it by about $834 billion. The Senate bill is even worse. Because not only do they go after [Obamacare's] Medicaid expansion, but they also cap the [traditional Medicaid] program and change the way its funded by the federal government."

"It's really going after lower-income and middle-income Americans in a way that we've never seen before," he tells me. "They want to push those folks into private insurance. That's really the end goal --- to drown the program over time in the bathtub entirely."

But the GOP's scheme will also adversely affect those who receive health insurance via the Obamacare exchanges as well as via employers, while giving massive tax cuts to a tiny handful of very wealthy families in exchange.

"My favorite statistic is that for the 400 richest tax filers, they get a tax cut totaling --- are you ready for this? --- 2.8 billion dollars," Volsky explains. "You look at this bill, and it looks like Republicans don't think they'll ever have to face a fair election ever again." Hmmm...

We also discuss what you can do to help derail this deadly plan (among those things, call your Senators and otherwise check out the Center's TrumpCareToolkit.org for more info), and which Republican Senators may be in a position to block the scheme together.

Finally then, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with a bunch of news related to Trump's super-genius Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry and much more....

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
[See post to listen to audio]

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]]> Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Secrets Revealed: DoD Damage Assessment of Manning Leaks, GOP Senate Healthcare Bill: 'BradCast' 6/22/2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12194 2017-06-23T01:09:47Z 2017-06-23T01:09:47Z CNN Iraq War BRAD BLOG Media Appearance National Security Rights And Freedoms Afghanistan Journalist Intimidation Accountability U.S. Senate Dept. of Defense Health Care Democrats Republicans WikiLeaks Bradley/Chelsea Manning KPFK Donald Trump Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Mitch McConnell Edward Snowden James Comey BradCast On today's BradCast, Republicans in the U.S. Senate finally released a draft of their secret plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or 'ObamaCare', and the Dept. of Defense finally releases a redacted version of a damage assessment from 2011, examining the fallout to national security from the Bradley/Chelsea Manning leaks of 2010. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: The secret working group of white, male Republicans in the Senate finally revealed their new scheme, dubbed the "Better Care Reconciliation Act", to rewrite 1/5th of the U.S. economy by replacing ObamaCare with what Donald Trump has promised would be a healthcare plan "with heart" that was less "mean" than the version he celebrated after its narrow passage by Republicans in the U.S. House several weeks ago.

The release of the new Senate plan did not go well. Democrats, independents, and healthcare advocates alike --- not to mention elderly protesters in wheelchairs dragged away from outside the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell --- slammed the legislation for its massive tax cuts to the wealthy in exchange for deeply cruel cuts to federal Medicaid funding, and the promise of stingier premium subsidies for less generous health care policies.

A number of Republicans in the Senate also currently oppose the plan as written, because it doesn't repeal ObamaCare enough, but we'll see if they change their tune before the bill comes up for a vote next week, as promised by McConnell, before Congress leaves for the July 4th recess. The GOP can only afford to lose the support of two Republicans among their 52-seat caucus.

Then, we're joined by BuzzFeed News journalist and "FOIA terrorist" JASON LEOPOLD, to discuss the newly unearthed Dept. of Defense damage assessment of the hundreds of thousands of documents on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, as well as diplomatic cables, leaked by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010.

During her trial, Government officials charged that the disclosures caused massive damage to national security and endangered counts lives of both U.S. personnel and our allies, but is that what the DoD's own secret 2011 assessment --- finally released this week in heavily redacted form in response to Leopold's Freedom of Information Act request --- actually found? We discuss that and the "passionate responses" he has received since publishing the assessment.

We also discuss the new White House ban on cameras during press briefings and how the Trump Administration compares to previous administrations on matters of government secrecy and document classification.

"In the overall picture, you have an administration that operates under intense secrecy that wants to limit access --- 'access' being the key word there --- that journalists depend upon. Access is really important, and it's really important to be able to confront government officials," Leopold tells me, while placing the news about the ban in context with the Trump Administration's secrecy and on-going battle with journalists elsewhere. "This type of behavior trickles down to various levels within the federal government and, I've seen, it also goes into local and state governments, as well. This intense secrecy, where elected officials who are accountable to the people are simply not interested in speaking --- and then try and set up some new rules that basically bars the press from confronting them."

Leopold goes on to cite the increased difficulty he is beginning to have prying documents loose via FOIA requests under the Administration, while noting that "some of these agencies are having trouble trying to figure out how to respond to requests, largely because you have a President now who is tweeting, who is arguably declassifying --- instantly declassifying --- information that would otherwise remain secret."

Speaking of which, finally today, Trump tweeted that, despite his previous suggestions, he has no audio tapes of his one-on-one conversations with now-fired FBI Director James Comey. But is he telling the truth, or bluffing yet again?...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
[See post to listen to audio]

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]]> Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - June 22, 2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12193 2017-06-22T18:23:09Z 2017-06-22T18:23:09Z California Great Britain Environment Nevada Green News CNBC Donald Trump Rick Perry Coal Nuclear power Wind Solar Climate change China Germany Oceans Electric vehicles Dept. of Energy Joe Kernen Denmark Antarctica

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Trump suggests solar panels on his border wall with Mexico; Energy Secretary Rick Perry goes full science denial; Trump Administration seeks to reactivate Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository; Plastic pollution has reached Antarctica; Renewable energy actually helps electric grid stability; PLUS: British government to invest a billion dollars in shift to electric cars... 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): Tropical Storm Cindy drenches Gulf Coast; Worldwide coal bleaching event may finally be ending; Methane leaks spike in natural gas production in NM; Publishers defend Greenpeace in dispute with logging company; Zinke screws up 3 denier talking points in Senate hearing; Volcanoes 'triggered dawn of dinosaurs'; Miami-Dade signs on to Paris Agreement... PLUS: Solar paint makes hydrogen fuel from solar energy and water vapor... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page


FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Tuesday's 100% Unverifiable U.S. House Special Election Results in GA, SC: 'BradCast' 6/21/2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12192 2017-06-22T01:35:09Z 2017-06-22T01:35:09Z Diebold/Premier ES&S Election Reform Georgia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Princeton University Paper Ballots Legislation Touch-Screen Vote Flipping U.S. House U.S. Senate South Carolina Democrats Republicans KPFK DHS Russia Election 2016 BradCast Election 2017 Jon Ossoff Karen Handel On today's BradCast, we cover the reported results from Tuesday's U.S. House Special Elections in Georgia's 6th District and South Carolina's 5th, and whether anybody in America can or should have confidence in those unverified and unverifiable results as reported. [Audio link to complete, rant-filled show follows below.]

    In both cases, the Republican candidates are reported to have narrowly defeated the Democratic candidates in very Republican districts. In both cases, the computer tabulated results are based on votes cast on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. In both cases, the results may be absolutely right or completely wrong. In both cases, absolutely nobody knows for certain either way. And, in both cases, if anybody tells you otherwise, they are either lying or don't know what they're talking about.

    We do know, according to the state's reported results, that Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican Karen Handel in GA-06 by a nearly 2 to 1 on the only verifiable ballots used in the race, the paper absentee mail-in ballots. Or, at least we can know that, if anybody ever bothers to check them against the computer tallies. But the rest of the race, run on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems, will remain 100% faith-based, despite the fact that, as we reported in detail on Monday, the folks who program all of Georgia's voting and voter registrations systems (Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which is paid $750,000 a year to do so) left the system passwords online, unprotected, at their website since last August and perhaps much longer and then covered it up. Moreover, the Republican candidate in GA-06, the state's former Sec. of State Handel, also personally covered up security failures at at Kennesaw's Center for Elections during her term as the state's chief election official.

    Other than all of that, why worry? Last night and today, Democrats and progressives have been continuing their internecine battles, blaming one another for a candidate who wasn't progressive enough (in GA), even as they blamed each other for a candidate seen as too progressive in many areas just weeks ago, after losing Montana's U.S. House Special Election.

    I'd suggest, as I do on today's show (and last night on Twitter), that Democrats might be better served if they fought like hell for actual human oversight of our voting and vote-counting system before reloading their circular firing squad. But that's just me. In both GA and SC yesterday, those unverified results, if you believe them, do show a nearly 20 point swing towards Dems since last November's election. Similarly encouraging results have been seen in all of the special elections this year. That should be a good sign for Dems, even as a "loss" is a loss, no matter how one looks at it, and whether they actually lost or not.

    Ironically enough today, in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, top intelligence officials from the FBI and DHS testified in regard to concerns about alleged Russian manipulation of the 2016 election. Neither they, nor the elections officials who also testified today, seemed to know much of anything about the actual vulnerability of U.S. voting systems. Or, if they did, they certainly offered a whole lot of demonstrably inaccurate information about whether voting systems are connected to the Internet (they are), whether our decentralized voting and tabulation systems make it impossible to hack a a Presidential election (it doesn't), and whether actual voting results were manipulated in the 2016 President race (they claimed that they weren't, even while the DHS finally admitted they never actually checked a single machine or counted a single ballot to find out!)

    On the other hand, one computer scientist and voting machine expert, Dr. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, also testified today and he actually knows what he's talking about, because he's personally hacked just about every voting system in use in the U.S. today, including 10 years ago when he first hacked the exact same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines used in the state of Georgia during Tuesday's Special Election for U.S. House, the most expensive such election in U.S. History. As he explained in his prepared remarks [PDF] today, 10 years ago, he "was part of the first academic team to conduct a comprehensive security analysis of a DRE [touch-screen] voting machine." It was a Diebold touch-screen machine, the exact same type used in GA yesterday, as obtained from a source of mine and given to his crew at Princeton University at the time.

    "What we found was disturbing," he testified (even as the Senators had no clue that he was referencing the same systems used yesterday in Georgia), "we could reprogram the machine to invisibly cause any candidate to win. We also created malicious software --- vote-stealing code --- that could spread from machine-to-machine like a computer virus, and silently change the election outcome." I broke that story originally at Salon and at The BRAD BLOG in 2006, but Georgia is shamefully still forcing voters to use the exact same hackable, unverifiable machines.

    In his remarks shared on today's show, Halderman also testifies to the fact that machines thought not to be attached to the Internet actually are vulnerable to malware from the Internet, and that our decentralized and disparate system of computerized voting machines and tabulators provides no real safeguards against malicious hackers, whether they are from Russia or France or Cleveland or Atlanta.

    Finally today, we close with a few listener calls on all of the above and Desi Doyen with our latest, sweltering, Green News Report...

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

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    ]]> Brad Friedman <![CDATA['Bedlam' Ahead: Obstruction, Recusals, Chain of Succession, Impeachment and Indictments: 'BradCast' 6/20/2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12191 2017-06-21T00:48:05Z 2017-06-21T00:48:05Z Arizona Georgia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Touch-Screen Vote Flipping Impeachment Accountability Environment Dept. of Justice U.S. Senate South Carolina Health Care Republicans John Cornyn KPFK Donald Trump Rick Perry Mitch McConnell Climate change James Comey BradCast Dept. of Interior Election 2017 Rod Rosenstein Robert Mueller Dana Boente Rachel Brand On today's BradCast, given the reports that Donald Trump is now personally being investigated for obstruction of justice, we unpack the chaos that may soon come about if the Deputy Attorney General is forced to recuse himself (or is fired) from overseeing the Special Counsel's probe of Team Trump. [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

    But, while all the madness of the DoJ's Trump investigations are going on, Senate Republicans indicated today that they will call for a vote on their secret Obamacare replacement bill before the July 4th recess next week. They also announced they will have the votes needed for passage. If they are right, the results are likely be devastating for millions of Americans, and not only the poor. One of out three elderly Americans in nursing homes, for example, rely on Medicaid to cover the costs, and the GOP is about to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the program in exchange for massive tax cuts for the wealthy.

    We discuss that and, as record heat blasts the Western US, the unbelievably stupid explanation for climate change just offered by Energy Secretary Rick Perry (it's not CO2, he says, it's "the ocean waters and this environment that we live in"!) We also offer a very quick preview of the U.S. House Special Elections being held today on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines in BOTH Georgia and South Carolina. (We'll have full results, whatever they are reported to be, on tomorrow's show).

    Then we're joined by attorney, author, columnist and UNH asst. professor SETH ABRAMSON to step through his recent 50 tweet(!) tweetstorm detailing the 'bedlam' that is likely to ensue when and if (he insists "when") Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein is forced to recuse himself from overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Team Trump and, reportedly, obstruction of justice by the President himself in his firing of FBI Director James Comey.

    The chain of events that could come about as the result of Rosenstein's recusal, as Abramson details on the show today, are amazing and could lead to a very real Constitutional Crisis and even completely separate obstruction of justice charges against Trump based on an entirely different investigation related to his February mass firing of all of the US Attorneys.

    Lots of somewhat jaw-dropping 'bedlam' unpacked and explained and to be absorbed in detail on this front on today's show, including whether or not Rosenstein himself could come under investigation; who the next officials in line are to take his place (first, a friend of Ted Cruz' named Rachel Brand, then a man named Dana Boente) and what their conflicts are; how Trump could personally come to appoint the person overseeing the Special Counsel's investigation after we go through Brand and Boente; and why, if sitting Presidents cannot be indicted, as many argue, Mueller would be carrying out a criminal obstruction of justice investigation of Trump in the first place.

    "Honestly, If I were to lay out the full complexity of the situation right now at the DoJ, which goes well beyond the question of Rachel Brand possibly becoming the Acting AG in the very near term, it would take --- and I am not exaggerating --- probably about 500 tweets," Abramson tells me. "We are in so many unprecedented situations and sub-situations at the DoJ, it is bewildering even for attorneys," he says, adding later: "This is the most complex and public litigation of probably the last 100 years in American political history."

    Finally today, another heartbreaking story of yet another immigrant victim of Trump's, now facing deportation and separation from his family despite spending months in the clean-up efforts at Ground Zero after 9/11...

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

    * * *
    While we post The BradCast here every day, 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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    ]]> Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - June 20, 2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12190 2017-06-20T18:09:47Z 2017-06-20T18:09:47Z Arizona North Korea Environment Michigan Oil Climate change Extreme weather NASA Water Rick Snyder Native Americans Dakota Access Pipeline NOAA

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Record heat wave scorches Western U.S.; New criminal indictments in the Flint Water Crisis; Massive wildfire in Portugal kills more than 60; May 2017 was second, or third, hottest May ever recorded; PLUS: A court victory and major environmental award for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe... 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): CNBC allows Rick Perry to spout nonsense on live TV; Bitter scientific debate erupts over the future of America's power grid; Big Oil joins organization calling for a carbon tax; Scientists report nearly-unheard of Antarctic melt event; PA Supreme Court rules oil and gas royalties from public lands must be used for conservation; U.S. electric grid experts say no cyberattacks in 2016, but still cause for concern; Hundreds of scientists call for ban on anti-bacterial chemicals; Fish are migrating north, away from warmer waters; Once rare, wildfires increasing across Great Plains; Houston fears rising sea levels; Atlantic salmon population continues to decline... PLUS: Exxon makes a biofuel breakthrough... and much, MUCH more! ...

    STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

    'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

    For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page

    • A bitter scientific debate just erupted over the future of America's power grid (Washington Post):
      Scientists are engaged in an increasingly bitter and personal feud over how much power the United States can get from renewable sources, with a large group of researchers taking aim at a popular recent paper that claimed the country could move beyond fossil fuels entirely by 2055.
    • CNBC allows Rick Perry to spout nonsense on live TV without any fact checking
      Even Fox News has debunked this.
      (Climate Progress):

      Ironically, when EPA chief Scott Pruitt defended his absurd claim that CO2 is not "a primary contributor to the global warming that we see" on Fox News Sunday in early April, anchor Chris Wallace rebuked him: "Mr. Pruitt, there are all kinds of studies that contradict you."..The media should remember that the next time someone on team Trump tries to blow smoke in their face.
    • Exxon, Shell, and BP joined a Republican-led council that proposes to put a $40 carbon tax on emissions (Climate Progress):
      "Buried in pages of supposedly 'free market' solutions is a new regulation exempting polluters from facing legal consequences for their role in fueling climate change," Greenpeace's Naomi Ages said in a statement. "ExxonMobil will try to dress this up as climate activism, but its key agenda is protecting executives from legal accountability for climate pollution and fraud."
    • Scientists Saw a Nearly Unheard of Antarctic Meltdown (Climate Central):
      Antarctica is unfreezing. In the past few months alone, researchers have chronicled a seasonal waterfall, widespread networks of rivers and melt ponds and an iceberg the size of Delaware on the brink of breaking away from the thawing landscape.
    • PA Supreme Court rules state forest gas royalty transfers unconstitutional (Pittsburgh Post_Gazette):
      The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that royalties from oil and gas leases on state forest land must be dedicated to conservation of the Commonwealth's public natural resources, not used for general budgetary purposes...does not give the state government a right to spend proceeds from the sale of publicly owned oil and gas for non-conservation purposes, even if they are generally in the public good.
    • A U.S. Grid Clear Of 2016 Attacks Is Hardly Worry-Free — NERC (E&E News):
      The North American Electric Reliability Corp., in its 'State of Reliability 2017' report, noted there were no cybersecurity attacks that took down parts of the U.S. grid in 2016, but NERC officials took little comfort in the conclusion.
    • Exxon Makes a Biofuel Breakthrough (Bloomberg):
      It’s the holy grail for biofuel developers hoping to coax energy out of algae: Keep the organism fat enough to produce oil but spry enough to grow quickly. J. Craig Venter, the scientist who mapped the human genome, just helped Exxon Mobil Corp. strike that balance, with a breakthrough that could enable widespread commercialization of algae-based biofuels.
    • Feeling the Heat: How Fish Are Migrating from Warming Waters (Yale e3260:
      Steadily rising ocean temperatures are forcing fish to abandon their historic territories and move to cooler waters. The result is that fishermen’s livelihoods are being disrupted, as fisheries regulators scramble to incorporate climate change into their planning.
    • Hundreds of Scientists Call For Caution On Anti-Microbial Chemical Use (Environmental Health News):
      More than 200 scientists outline a broad range of concerns for triclosan and triclocarban and call for reduced use worldwide ". "Two ingredients used in thousands of products to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses linger in the environment and pose a risk to human health, according to a statement released today by more than 200 scientists and health professionals.
    • Wildfires, Once Rare In Great Plains, More Than Triple In 30 Years (Washington Post):
      The grasslands of U.S. Great Plains have seen one of the sharpest increases in large and dangerous wildfires in the past three decades, with their numbers more than tripling between 1985 and 2014, according to new research.
    • Houston Fears Climate Change Will Cause Catastrophic Flooding (Guardian UK):
      Human activity is worsening the problem in an already rainy area, and there could be damage worthy of a disaster movie if a storm hits the industrial section...“If you can see your crime statistics, shouldn’t you be able to see your flood risk also? And other risks as well, human-induced risks?” he said. The site will be named Buyers Be-Where.
    • New Teflon Toxin Found in North Carolina Drinking Water (The Intercept):
      A persistent and toxic industrial chemical known as GenX has been detected in the drinking water in Wilmington, North Carolina, and in surface waters in Ohio and West Virginia.
    • Conservationists: Imperiled Atlantic Salmon Decline Worsens (AP):
      Fewer of North America's Atlantic salmon are making it back to rivers to spawn, which bodes poorly for the future of the imperiled fish, an international conservation group says.
    • Energy Department Closes Office Working on Climate Change Abroad (NY Times):
      The Energy Department is closing an office that works with other countries to develop clean energy technology, another sign of the Trump administration’s retreat on climate-related activities after its withdrawal from the Paris agreement this month.
    • UN Announces 23 New Nature Reserves While U.S. Removes 17 (National Geographic):
      The International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), meeting this week in Paris, added 23 new sites to the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), a program of the United Nations.
    • Mayor of sinking island defends Trump as not 'really a sea level rise guy' (Climate Progress):
      Trump called the mayor of Tangier Island to reassure him that he "believes" the island will withstand sea level rise and erosion.
    • A reactor in Idaho could change the future of nuclear energy - if it survives Trump's budget (Washington Post):
      But the still-nascent technology faces a threat: President Trump's budget would not renew the expiring grant that the Energy Department is using to help fund the project as it goes through a lengthy and expensive development phase. So far NuScale, the technology company after whom the project is named, has spent more than $400 million designing its reactor and still has about $600 million more spend through the final push. But even if everything proceeds on schedule, the plant won't produce any power or draw any revenue until 2025.
    • EPA chief exaggerates growth of coal jobs by tens of thousands (Climate Progress):
      Coal mining jobs increased by only a few hundred during first three months of 2017.
    • A beginner's guide to the debate over 100% renewable energy (Vox):
      Clean-energy enthusiasts frequently claim that we can go bigger, that it's possible for the whole world to run on renewables - we merely lack the "political will." So, is it true? Do we know how get to an all-renewables system? Not yet. Not really.
    • No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously (Vox):
      If we mean what we say, no more new fossil fuels, anywhere.


    FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[GA's Unverifiable E-Vote System Passwords, Voter Database, More, Found on Unsecured Server: 'BradCast' 6/19/2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12189 2017-06-20T01:47:57Z 2017-06-20T01:47:57Z Diebold/Premier Election Irregularities Election Reform Georgia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance War On Terror Virginia Election Fraud National Security Touch-Screen Vote Flipping U.S. House U.S. Senate Barack Obama Health Care Democrats Republicans KPFK Donald Trump Russia U.K. Election 2016 Syria BradCast Religion Claire McCaskill Election 2017 Jon Ossoff War Powers Act Karen Handel On today's BradCast, another blockbuster report confirms vulnerabilities in our nation's voting systems that I've been trying to warn about for more than a decade, and several other stories not receiving the dire attention merited this week. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

    In advance of Tuesday's highly contested U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District --- the most expensive House race in U.S. history --- Politico Magazine's Kim Zetter offers an absolutely chilling bombshell of a report headlined "Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?" She reports that gigabytes of unsecured data --- including passwords for e-voting system central tabulators, voter registration databases and much more were kept on a wholly unsecured web server, potentially for years, at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems.

    The KSU Center, as they describe on their website, was "created and charged with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of voting systems in Georgia" since the state adopted its statewide, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting system in 2002. Those same machines are still used there today, despite their age (they run on a version of Windows 2000) and massive, well-documented vulnerabilities to hacking and insider manipulation. Nonetheless, the Center for Election Systems has long been cited as a model for election administration by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and is responsible for the security and programming of every 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system, computerized central tabulator, and electronic pollbook used across the state of Georgia.

    The unsecured data files at Kennesaw, according to Zetter, were discovered prior to last year's Presidential Election and reported to the Center, but were still available online for download without a password at the beginning of March this year, during the run-up to the April primary election in the GA-06 House race. The data may, in fact, have been available there for years, even as Kennesaw's Executive Director Merle King, who has spent years testifying in court on behalf of Diebold's systems, reportedly failed to inform GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp about the breach last year after he was informed of it. In fact, Zetter notes that he warned the outside computer security researcher who discovered it not to inform the state. GA's former Sec. of State, Karen Handel, is the Republican House candidate in the reportedly very tight GA-06 race against Democrat Jon Ossoff and is said to have repeatedly blocked a security analysis of the Center years earlier while serving as the state's chief election official.

    When the results of the House contest are announced on Tuesday night --- whichever party's candidate is declared the winner --- it will be virtually impossible to know if the results are accurate or if even one vote cast on GA's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems were recorded as per any voter's intent.

    While many of the vulnerabilities in GA's terrible voting and tabulation systems have been publicly known for years, the fact that the security at Kennesaw's Center for Elections is even far worse than ever imagined is both new and absolutely chilling in regard to both Georgia elections, and all others across the country, as I explain in detail on today's program.

    Beyond that nightmarish report today, we also cover two different fatal attacks on Muslims over the past 24 hours, one in London and one in Virginia (and Donald Trump's failure to comment on either of them); The new Democratic strategy to slow down progress on the Obamacare replacement bill being crafted by Senate Republicans in complete secrecy, without public hearings or amendments in advance of a possible floor vote on the controversial legislation before the July 4th recess; And, the U.S. shoots down a Syrian bomber over Syria in violation of international law and without any authorization (or complaint or debate) from Congressional Republicans or Democrats alike, even as the weekend incident has drawn the wrath and potential targeting of U.S. aircraft over Syria by its ally Russia...

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

    Several other recent programs in The BradCast's series of reports leading up to the GA-06 U.S. House Special Election:

    • 4/4/2017: Computer and e-voting expert Barbara Simons on the initial reports of a "massive breach" of the state voter database files at Kennesaw State University
    • 5/8/2017: Garland Favorito of election watchdog VoterGA.org on the group's disturbing analysis of the central computer tabulator failure on the night of the April primary in GA-06.
    • 6/6/2017: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks on her lawsuit demanding hand-counted paper ballots in the GA-06 race.
    • 6/12/2017: Diebold document whistleblower Steven Heller on Diebold caught lying in California in 2004 about the exact same machines still used in Georgia in 2017. (CA decertified them after Heller's disclosure.) And on the NSA analysis recently released by NSA contractor Reality Winner on spear-phishing attacks that may have allowed access to the voting system computers of election officials across the country prior to the 2016 Presidential election.

    * * *
    While we post The BradCast here every day, 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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    ]]> PDiddie <![CDATA[Sunday Toons of the Rhetoric Toning Moment]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12188 2017-06-18T13:53:15Z 2017-06-18T13:53:15Z Toons

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    Perry Dorrell blogs as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, usually on topics concerning the strange brew of Texas politics. He's also on Twitter @PDiddie.


    ]]> Brad Friedman <![CDATA[On the Road, Off the Grid for a Few Days...]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12186 2017-06-15T21:05:48Z 2017-06-15T21:05:48Z BRAD BLOG BradCast Just a quick note to let you know that I need to be on the road for a couple of days for some family matters. I'll be running some re-runs on Thursday and Friday for The BradCast, but returning, barring any surprises with fresh BradCasts beginning on Monday as usual.

    That also means no new Green News Report until next Tuesday as well.

    Try not to be troubled by the otherwise eerie and unavoidable silence here over the next few days. Or, enjoy it! :-)

    In the meantime, if you're inclined to help us fill up the gas tank once or twice for my travels this week, here is our BRAD BLOG Donate page. Thanks in advance to anyone who can toss a few coins in the tip jar!

    Also, a story that I had hoped to cover on Wednesday's BradCast before breaking news shattered that plan, is a MUST READ prior to next Tuesday's Special U.S. House Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. It's at Politico, by Kim Zetter, headlined "Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?".

    It is absolutely chilling. The stuff of my nightmares. I'll try to cover it in detail when I return for Monday's BradCast!

    Back soon!...


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    Ernest A. Canning <![CDATA[NC Racial Gerrymandering Highlights GOP 'Justice Delayed, Justice Denied' Strategy]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12181 2017-06-15T17:05:36Z 2017-06-15T17:05:36Z North Carolina U.S. Constitution Accountability Democrats Republicans U.S. Supreme Court Election 2016 John Roberts Pat McCrory Roy Cooper Election 2018 Election 2017 Joshua Stein In his April 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lamented: "Justice too long delayed is justice denied". No case underscores the civil rights icon's assertion better than the years long fight by North Carolina Republicans to keep unlawfully gerrymandered state and Congressional district maps in place, long after they've been repeatedly found by courts to be in violation of the law and the Constitution.

    The tortured history of Covington v. North Carolina --- a "successful" challenge to the illegal racial gerrymandering of 28 of North Carolina's state House and Senate Districts --- exposes the injustice occasioned by Republican tactical delays. It is a strategy that, thanks to those racial gerrymanders, permitted Tar Heel State Republicans to retain overwhelming majorities in the legislature following last November's General Election –- 34-16 in the state Senate and 74-45 in the House --- even though, in the very same statewide election Democrats Roy Cooper and Joshua Stein were respectively elected governor and attorney general.

    But a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court should finally result in new maps, and Special Elections under them, in the Tar Heel State, where the maps have been in place for elections since 2012. Recent legal precedent and a political realignment are on the side of those seeking to force the state to finally carry out those new elections in 2017, rather than waiting for the 2018 mid-terms...

    Justice delayed and denied...

    Gov. Cooper and Attorney General Stein were elected after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a GOP requested stay of an injunction issued by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal in North Carolina Conference of NAACP v. McCrory. In that case, the 4th Circuit struck down a comprehensive GOP voter suppression law that the unanimous appellate panel said had been drafted with "surgical precision" in order to deprive African-Americans of their right to vote.

    The federal appellate court found that a Republican state legislature, supported by a Republican governor, enacted "the most restrictive voting law North Carolina has seen since the Jim Crow era." (In a separate case, Cooper v. Harris (May 26, 2017), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court finding that North Carolina's partisan redistricting of two U.S. Congressional Districts violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution because race had been a primary factor behind the GOP's gerrymandering in that case as well.)

    Disturbingly, the Covington case regarding the racial gerrymandering was initially filed on May 19, 2015. It reveals that many of the Republican legislators, who had sought "with surgical precision" to deprive African-Americans of their right to vote, secured their positions in the North Carolina General Assembly as a result of unlawful racial gerrymandering in 28 state House and Senate Districts. Although, via an Aug. 11, 2016 opinion, the unanimous three-judge District Court panel ruled that the plaintiffs had proven that unlawful racial gerrymander violated the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, there was insufficient time to remedy that violation prior to the November 8, 2016 general election. It's August 15 injunction applied only to elections conducted after Nov. 8, 2016.

    That result was compelled by the U.S. Supreme Court's so-called "Purcell principle", which requires that, because of the risk of uncertainty and potential election day chaos, courts should refrain from ordering last minute changes in election procedures.

    On Nov. 29, 2016, the three-judge panel in Covington issued an order directing North Carolina to draw up new redistricting plans by March 15, 2017 with an eye towards Special Elections with primaries to be held in late August or early September, and a November 2017 general election. However, as the District Court observed in its June 9, 2017 Notice: "Rather than submit a proposed redistricting plan, Defendants sought and obtained a stay...pending review of the merits...in the [U.S.] Supreme Court."

    On June 5, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court summarily affirmed the District Court's finding that all 28 districts were the product of illegal racial gerrymandering. Although it vacated the stay of the 2017 Special Elections remedy previously issued by the lower court, the Supremes directed the three-judge District Court panel to weigh equitable factors set forth in its decision so as to redetermine whether the special elections remedy --- the order to hold new elections with new maps this year --- is still appropriate.

    The issue now before the three-judge panel is whether this illicitly elected legislative body must now redraw lawfully constituted districts in time for special elections in 2017? The alternative would be to permit those Republican members of the General Assembly to continue to benefit from their unlawful racial gerrymandering scheme until after the Nov. 2018 election. It is a decision that will, in large measure, turn on whether there is sufficient time, per the Purcell principle, to redistrict and schedule both primary and general elections in 2017. On that issue, thanks to the results of last year's gubernatorial election, "prompt" justice may finally be within reach...

    Equities and realigned interests point to swift justice

    As reflected by the three-judge panel's June 9 Notice, elections have consequences. Last year, when North Carolina chose to seek a Supreme Court stay of the District Court's Nov. 29 decision in the Covington case, rather than move forward with a new redistricting plan, the NC GOP, led by Republican then-Gov. Pat McCrory sought and was granted a Supreme Court stay. The stay was not lifted until June 5 this year. But, by then, McCrory was a "former" governor. Democrats now control the two key positions in the Tar Heel State's executive branch --- governor and attorney general.

    The District Court panel's June 9 Notice in Covington reflects that the only parties now opposed to the plaintiffs' June 8 motion to expedite a hearing on whether to schedule new elections in 2017 are Republican state legislators. The "North Carolina Board of Elections takes no position on the motions," the District Court observed, and "the State of North Carolina 'agrees that the public interest calls for a prompt decision on the possibility of a special election in 2017.'"

    In its Notice, the District Court not only requested briefs from the parties on the equitable considerations mandated by the Supreme Court's decision, but specifically asked the parties to address "which Defendant, or group of Defendants, has the authority under state law to speak on behalf of the State with regard to the various equitable considerations..."

    That issue was previously addressed by Attorney General Stein in a brief that was filed in the Supreme Court in the North Carolina NAACP case --- the case in which the 4th Circuit struck down the NC GOP's massive voter suppression law. Stein, who had previously moved to withdraw North Carolina's petition for a writ of certiorari (the appeal for a hearing before SCOTUS on the matter), argued that the North Carolina General Assembly was not authorized to represent the state and had no authority to hire outside counsel in the case.

    When it issued its order denying petition for writ of certiorari in the North Carolina NAACP case, Chief Justice John Roberts complained of "the blizzard of filings over who is and who is not authorized to seek review in this Court under North Carolina law."

    It is difficult to imagine a circumstance in which the federal District Court panel would side with the General Assembly and against Gov. Cooper if the Attorney General provides a convincing argument that the state can complete the necessary redistricting so as to facilitate primary and general elections in 2017 --- especially since those Republicans who oppose such an order seek to retain positions within the General Assembly that are the product of illegal racial gerrymandering. After all, we are talking about the same Republican legislators who opted to seek and obtain a stay rather than comply with the panel's Nov. 29 order last year to draw up new districting plans by March 15 of this year.

    It is likely that, at that point, the District Court panel will conclude that any further delay is justice denied.

    UPDATE: When interviewed on WFAE, Charlotte's NPR news source, Gov. Cooper said he didn't think North Carolina "should have another budget pass or another legislative session" until the unlawful racial districting lines were fixed. He noted that "the Republican leadership is dragging its feet on drawing these maps," and suggested that Republicans might, at the eleventh hour, present maps that would again reflect an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. He suggested that it would be better if the court drew up the maps rather than simply provide the Republicans with another timeline.

    But that may be an onerous task to impose upon the court. Perhaps a better course would be for the governor, the attorney general and attorneys for the plaintiffs to draw-up their own proposed maps and submit them to the court for approval. That could insure a timely resolution.

    * * *
    Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968) and a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. He has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing


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