The BRAD BLOG http://bradblog.com Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! Sun, 20 Aug 2017 13:41:51 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.0.2 en Sunday Toons of the 'Many Sides' Moment http://bradblog.com/?p=12264 http://bradblog.com/?p=12264#comments Sun, 20 Aug 2017 13:41:51 +0000 PDiddie Toons http://bradblog.com/?p=12264

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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.


]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12264 The 25th for 45?; Plus: Bannon Out and Over One Million Chicago Voter Records Exposed (Again): 'BradCast' 8/18/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12261 http://bradblog.com/?p=12261#comments Sat, 19 Aug 2017 01:03:32 +0000 Brad Friedman ES&S BRAD BLOG Election Reform Illinois BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Virginia U.S. Constitution Impeachment Accountability U.S. House U.S. Senate Barack Obama Voter Registration Andrew Breitbart KPFK Donald Trump Climate change BradCast Chicago Mike Pence Steve Bannon Bob Corker Tim Scott http://bradblog.com/?p=12261 On today's BradCast, another tumultuous week, another White House firing, another major election system breach and another look at how it all could end. [Audio link follows below.]

White House Chief Strategist --- and once and future head of the far-right fake 'news' outlet Breitbart --- is fired after yet another tumultuous week of self-inflicted wounds by Donald Trump.

Also today, 11 years after The BRAD BLOG first reported exclusively on a massive breach of personal voting records for some 1.5 million Chicago voters, the private company contracted to run the city's voter registration system did it again. ES&S, the largest electronic voting system vendor in the nation, was discovered to have been storing 1.8 million voter registration records on an unprotected web server this week, exposing citizens to data theft and the city's administrative voting system passwords. All underscoring, yet again, the continuing failures and dangers of having privatized our public electoral system, as we've been trying to highlight for nearly 15 years now.

Then, with the President's approval rating at an historic low and support for his impeachment climbing, concerns about his fitness for office continue to mount in the wake of his equivalence between neo-Nazis and those who protest them, following the murder of a counter-protester in Charlottesville. New articles of impeachment are filed in the U.S. House, more Presidential advisory councils are disbanding, with CEOs and other business leaders (even James Murdoch of Fox "News"!) quickly distancing themselves from Trump, even some top Republicans who previously supported him are now finally suggesting he may be unfit for office.

So, how might this all end? We're joined today by columnist, author and political scientist DAVID FARIS of Roosevelt University to discuss that, Bannon, and his new piece at The Week on the Constitutional ambiguities of the 25th Amendment. Can it and should it be invoked to remove Trump from office? And how the hell does it even work?

Faris argues "we cannot take three-and-a-half more years of this nonstop hell without experiencing a collective nervous breakdown," describes the firing of Bannon as "a great victory for The Resistance", and offers his thoughts on whether the latest shake-up at the continuously chaotic White House is ultimately good for the nation. Then, he compares the difficulties of the impeachment process versus those in invoking the never-before-used Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to remove a President who is judged to be unfit for office. Faris also handicaps the odds --- and advantages to both the GOP Congress and Vice-President --- of either option actually being triggered.

Finally, as if things aren't troubling enough, we're joined by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report, as National Monuments are on the Administration's chopping block, Trump revokes Obama's Executive Order protecting the nation's infrastructure, and the U.S. looks forward to its first total eclipse of the sun in nearly 100 years...

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

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]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12261 Fighting for Free Speech For and Against Nazis, Trump, and Israel: 'BradCast' 8/17/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12260 http://bradblog.com/?p=12260#comments Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:10:42 +0000 Brad Friedman Fox 'News' BRAD BLOG Media Appearance War On Terror Virginia Rights And Freedoms North Korea United Nations Mainstream Media Failure Accountability Dept. of Justice U.S. Senate Democrats Republicans Chuck Schumer Israel KPFK Donald Trump Ted Cruz BradCast Religion Race Steve Bannon Spain http://bradblog.com/?p=12260 On today's BradCast: Constitutional free political speech matters, especially speech we may disagree with. There's seems to be a lot of confusion about that of late. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first today, after breaking news on Thursday's deadly terror attack in Barcelona, new evidence, via Steve Bannon of all people, that at least some inside the White House appear to understand that "there's no military solution" for North Korea, despite President Trump's dangerous militaristic posturing over the past two weeks.

Then, we move on to a number of free speech issues regarding last weekend's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and those protesting against them, a wildly intrusive warrant from the Department of Justice demanding personal information on some 1.3 million Americans who visited an anti-Trump website, and a bill working its way through Congress that would seem to call for a wildly unconstitutional ban on the free speech of those wishing to peacefully protest the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

We're joined by ANIQA RAIHAN of the Institute for Policy Studies to discuss her article, recently published by The Nation and Foreign Policy in Focus, detailing the proposed "Israel Anti-Boycott Act" which is currently being co-sponsored by nearly 50 Republican and Democratic U.S. Senators. "Leading Republicans and Democrats in both parties," Raihan stresses, including many on the Right who pretend to advocate for both free speech and free markets.

The bill would make it a felony --- assessing harsh financial penalties and even jail time --- for Americans who boycott Israeli-owned business and companies which do business with them. "What's really scary about it is that it tells you --- no matter what your views are on Israel-Palestine, whether you support a two-state solution or a one-state solution --- as long as you don't do business with Israel, we're going to criminalize you," Raihan explains. "There are tons of people who go through their lives and, for whatever reason, don't happen to buy products made in Israel, and there's no problem with that. But the second that you say 'I'm doing this because I believe in XYZ, I believe in Palestinian human rights', that becomes a problem. Which is completely criminalizing people for their political action, and their commitment to living their values out in their lives."

The legislation, on its face, appears to be in direct contrast with a unanimous 1982 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, finding that penalties assessed against Mississippi civil rights advocates in response to a 1960's civil rights era boycott of white-owned businesses, was an unconstitutional violation of political free speech rights. Last month, the ACLU blasted the bill in a letter to lawmakers, leading one Democrat, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, to remove her co-sponsorship. We discuss all of that, as well as the origins and controversies behind the new proposal.

Finally today, yet another Fox "News" personality breaks down in tears on air in response to the controversies and related racial issues following Charlottesville and Trump's disturbing response to it. Is the original fake news channel finally being to crack under the stress of the wildly unfit and arguably racist President that they created?...

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

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]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12260 'Green News Report' - August 17, 2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12259 http://bradblog.com/?p=12259#comments Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:31:50 +0000 Desi Doyen California Montana Environment Green News Donald Trump Coal Solar Climate change Extreme weather NASA Transportation Dept. of Interior Ryan Zinke http://bradblog.com/?p=12259

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Trump revokes Obama's executive order protecting the nation's infrastructure from floods; July 2017 was the hottest July on record, and the hottest month ever; Monday's total solar eclipse to have big impact on solar energy generation; PLUS: National monuments on the chopping block in unprecedented monument review... 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): Court lets Exxon off the hook for Mayflower, AR pipeline damages; Trump EPA to rewrite coal plant wastewater rules; National Park Service ends ban on plastic water bottles; Thousands of dead sharks found on trawler illegally fishing in Galapagos marine sanctuary; Miami taxpayers foot the bill to protect city from climate change; Tough questions at solar panel trade dispute hearing; PA's shad return for first time in hundreds of years after dam removal; Environmental groups lose court challenge to stop LNG export terminal... PLUS: Yemen record 500,000 Cholera Cases, nearly 2,000 Deaths... 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:

  • ]]>
    http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12259
    After Charlottesville, Trump's Presser: Something Happening Here?: 'BradCast' 8/16/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12258 http://bradblog.com/?p=12258#comments Thu, 17 Aug 2017 00:57:56 +0000 Brad Friedman Fox 'News' Election Reform Indiana Texas BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Maryland Virginia Election 2008 Rights And Freedoms U.S. Constitution Impeachment Accountability Barack Obama Vote Caging Mitt Romney Republicans KPFK Donald Trump Voting Rights Act BradCast Religion India Race Mike Pence http://bradblog.com/?p=12258 On today's BradCast: Is something happening here? Finally? [Audio link to show follows below.]

    Following Donald Trump's insane press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, during which he vociferously equated neo-Nazis and White Supremacists with those who oppose them --- just days after the murder of a counter-protester by an apparent White nationalist in Charlottesville --- even some Republicans are finally condemning him. Sort of. But not nearly enough.

    At the same time, Confederate monuments are being removed around the country and business leaders who claim to be furious have withdrawn from Trump's two different business councils, which he has now been forced to shut down. Nonetheless, despite their half-hearted protestations, Republicans continue to intentionally suppress minority voting in state after state. Another Federal Court determined as much this week in Texas, finding --- for the 11th time in recent years --- that state Republicans intentionally suppressed minority voters there.

    Another such state is Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana, where a new analysis from the Indy Star finds that early voting sites were shuttered in Democratic counties and expanded in Republican counties after Obama won the state in 2008, and as Pence served as Governor. The strategy worked. Republican turnout increased in counties where voting rights were expanded and Democratic votes decreased in the state's largest and most Democratic leaning counties, where voting sites were shuttered. Now Pence heads up Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission.

    Long-time BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING joins us to detail his new article on the two federal lawsuits, alleging violations of both the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, that have now been filed in the Hoosier State.

    Then, along with a clip of a GOP strategist breaking down into tears on Fox "News" in the wake of Trump's response to Charlottesville, callers --- including my own father! --- ring in on all of the above. Is Trump "a Nazi" himself? Will this moment ultimately make any difference moving forward? And, can the GOP officials rebuking Trump be taken seriously, given that they are still suppressing the votes of African-Americans and Latinos all across the nation at the very same time?...

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

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    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12258 Federal Lawsuits Challenge Indiana's Wildly Disparate Precinct, Early Voting Site Laws http://bradblog.com/?p=12252 http://bradblog.com/?p=12252#comments Wed, 16 Aug 2017 17:35:10 +0000 Ernest A. Canning Election 2008 Rights And Freedoms U.S. Constitution Barack Obama John McCain Republicans Voting Rights Act Election 2018 http://bradblog.com/?p=12252 In two separate federal lawsuits, Common Cause v Marion County Board of Elections (May 2, 2017) and Indiana NAACP v. Lawson (Aug. 9, 2017), both challenging restrictions on voting rights in Indiana, civil rights organizations have sought to block what they describe as unconstitutional Republican schemes that, with "surgical precision", seek to depress the vote in large minority, Democratic-leaning counties while contemporaneously enhancing voter turnout in white, Republican-leaning counties.

    The lawsuits entail two sets of laws. One of the lawsuits seeks to block a law that specifically targets Lake County --- and only Lake County --- for precinct consolidation and/or elimination. Lake County sports the state's second largest African-American population and its largest Hispanic population. The other lawsuit challenges a voter suppression scheme that significantly reduces early absentee voting sites for a significant number of African-American (Democratic) voters in Marion County, even while mostly white (Republican) voters in neighboring counties benefit from a significant expansion in the number of available early absentee voting sites.

    Both sets of laws, as observed by Slate's Mark Joseph Stern, are part of the still-ongoing Republican response to the 2008 Presidential Election in which Barack Obama narrowly defeated John McCain 49.85% to 48.82% in long-Republican Indiana. That narrow victory was secured, in part, because, in the two populous counties that are the subject of these lawsuits, Lake and Marion, Obama received 66.7% and 63.8% of the vote totals, respectively.

    That was a bridge too far for many Republican officials in the Hoosier State...

    Early voting sites

    Marion County, which includes the city of Indianapolis, has the highest percentage (28%) of African-Americans in Indiana. The Common Cause lawsuit seeks to enjoin the Indiana GOP's effort to significantly suppress the early absentee African-American Democratic vote in Marion County. Under a Marion County Board of Elections (MCEB) 2008 rule, registered voters in Marion County could cast early absentee ballots at one of three polling stations --- a central location and two satellite locations.

    Republicans on the MCEB eliminated the two satellite locations in 2010 and have repeatedly blocked their reinstatement. This meant that in 2016, there was but a single absentee early voting station for Marion County's nearly 700,000 registered voters. Just one early voting station per 699,709 registered voters in Marion County sharply contrasts with contiguous, and mostly White, Republican counties, who's election boards unanimously expanded the numbers of their early voting sites in 2016.

    For example, in solidly Republican Johnson County (107,546 registered voters), election officials approved five (5) early voting sites, in addition to a site inside the office of the Circuit Court Clerk. Thus, during the 2016 election, Johnson County had one early voting site for every 17,924 registered voters --- as compared to just one for 699,709 voters in Marion County.

    The result, as revealed by Fatima Hussein of IndyStar last week, was a 63% increase in White/Republican Hamilton County "in absentee voting from 2008 to 2016, while Marion County saw a 26% decline." Similar increases in early voting occurred in "Central Indiana Republican strongholds, including Boone, Johnson and Hendricks counties."

    Where the elimination of two of the three early voting sites served to suppress Democratic Marion County turnout in the 2012 and 2016 elections, "voter turnout in each county contiguous to Marion County where satellite sites have been approved has steadily increased," according to the Common Cause complaint.

    The issue stems also from a 2013 law that applied different rules to "counties with populations over 325,000", requiring that the adoption of additional early absentee voting sites receive unanimous approval by the county election board. That means that the single Republican on Marion's election commission has been able to block any expansion for its 700,000 voters. Only two of the state's 92 counties, Marion and Lake, had poulations larger than 325,000 when the state legislature adopted the bill in 2013.

    In arguing that this disparate availability of early absentee voting in different Indiana counties violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Common Cause complaint alleges that Indiana has maintained "an unequal system of early voting that unnecessarily and disproportionately burdens Marion County voters"...

    The only location authorized for early voting: the office of the Marion County Circuit Court Clerk, is located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis...with little to no free parking. For some voters in the outlying townships, a trip downtown can be more than a 20-mile round trip and takes well over an hour by private vehicle, and two or more hours by public transportation.

    Many Marion County voters, and especially those of color, also experience disadvantages in education, income, employment, and access to transportation, which when compounded by complications caused by childcare responsibilities and/or class schedules, makes it extremely difficult if not impossible for them to vote on Election Day. These disadvantages interact with other pre-existing election laws, including the earliest Election Day closing time in the nation (6:00 p.m.), the absence of an Indiana statute requiring employers to give employees time off to vote, and the absence of no-fault, mail-in absentee voting for able-bodied voters under the age of 65, to further exacerbate the burdens on Marion County voters by the arbitrary limitation of early in-person absentee voting to a single location.

    Common Cause additionally alleges that this disparate system violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Indiana Constitution, which guarantees that all elections be "free and equal."

    The lawsuit seeks to establish at least two additional satellite early absentee voting locations for the 2018 election via an injunction that would prevent the MCEB from continuing to obstruct the creation of those satellite voting locations.

    Consolidation/reduction of precincts

    The NAACP lawsuit challenges a law, SB 220 (The Lake County Precinct Consolidation Law or LCPCL) , passed by the Republican super-majority in the state's General Assembly earlier this year. The law mandates the consolidation of "small precincts" (600 "active" voters or less). Curiously, this "consolidation" was purportedly passed as a cost savings measure, despite the fact that the "consolidation" had not been sought by Lake County. (The complaint alleges that the General Assembly usurped Lake County's right to determine what cost measures are appropriate.)

    There are a total of 92 Indiana counties, including 24 other counties with "small precincts", yet the General Assembly arbitrarily singled out Lake County --- and only Lake County --- for precinct consolidation or elimination, according to the NAACP complaint.

    Because of the definition of "small precinct," even within Lake County, the law has a disparate impact upon minority-majority cities --- Gary, East Chicago and Hammond --- which face consolidation or elimination of 83%, 70% and 81% of their existing precincts, respectively. This contrasts sharply with the 14 majority-White cities, towns, and unincorporated communities where only 41% of their existing precincts are at risk of consolidation or elimination of their existing precincts. "None of the approximately 1,345 precincts located in Indiana counties other than Lake County that contain under 600 active voters are at risk of consolidation or elimination," according to the NAACP complaint.

    The NAACP complaint alleges disparate burdens that are quite similar to those in the Common Cause case.

    Given that Lake County lacks a meaningful, reliable public transportation system, voters who live in poverty and do not have access to a car --- in many cases as a direct result of Indiana's history of discrimination --- will suffer particularly severe burdens in attempting to exercise their right to vote if their precinct is eliminated and their polling place is changed. Low-income voters who typically have little flexibility in their work day and must vote during a narrow window before or after work will similarly suffer severe burdens.

    The NAACP complaint goes on to allege that the LCPCL will increase costs, and that, by compressing large number of voters into fewer voting sites, the consolidation will enhance the prospect for long lines on Election Day.

    These allegations are consistent with the conclusions set forth in a recent University of Florida research paper, prepared by three political science professors, who studied the impact of precinct consolidation/elimination in Manatee County, Florida.

    Alterations of Election Day polling stations do not appear to be random --- falling disproportionately on racial and ethnic minorities as well as younger voters and those registered to vote with the Democratic Party...Not only can seemingly benign changes to precinct boundaries and polling place locations marginalize voters who habitually depend on traditional Election Day voting, it can affect their propensity to vote at all in a subsequent election. As with legislative gerrymandering, the redrawing of precincts can be done with the aim of advantaging or disadvantaging the turnout of certain populations.

    The NAACP complaint goes on to note that the Lake County law fails to include funds for educating voters about the changes: "It is highly likely that a significant number of voters will be unaware that their precincts or polling locations have changed until they attempt to vote in 2018." Voters could "be turned away, or be forced to cast a provisional ballot that will not be counted because Indiana law mandates the rejection of any ballot cast by a voter in a precinct other than the one he or she is assigned."

    The NAACP complaint alleges that the LCPCL violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, along with the 1st, 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution; that the law is arbitrary and fails to serve a valid governmental interest; that emergency and permanent injunctions should issue to prevent the State of Indiana from enforcing the law.

    The legal arguments presented in both cases appear sound, but the cases will have to move swiftly if minority voting rights are to be protected as we approach the 2018 midterm election.

    * * *

    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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    Pathway to Peace with North Korea? Also: New CBO Health Care Report Undercuts Trump Threat: 'BradCast' 8/15/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12257 http://bradblog.com/?p=12257#comments Wed, 16 Aug 2017 01:14:35 +0000 Brad Friedman BRAD BLOG Media Appearance War On Terror Virginia North Korea Journalist Intimidation Accountability FBI Barack Obama Health Care KPFK Donald Trump DHS Oklahoma BradCast James Mattis CBO South Korea John Kelly Sebastian Gorka http://bradblog.com/?p=12257 On today's BradCast: Digging deeper and/or trying to catch up with the runaway news on North Korea, Charlottesville and Trump's continuing threats to radically undermine the Affordable Care Act. [Audio link to show follows below.]

    Among the (many) stories covered on today's show:

    • A faint glimmer of hope for peace --- or at least diplomacy --- breaks out in the U.S./North Korea nuclear standoff, as all sides (including South Korea) suggest options that could help to avert disaster;
    • Trump digs himself deeper by using a somewhat insane press conference on Tuesday at Trump Tower to equate the "alt-left" (his words) with White Nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville over the weekend, even while claiming (over and over again) that his previously criticized remarks were only due to the fact that he insists on getting his facts straight before speaking. "Unlike you," he said to the assembled press, over and over, without irony, "before I make a statement, I like to know the facts." (Insert your own joke here);
    • New reporting reveals an FBI and DHS intelligence report warned the Trump Administration in May about the threat of violent Rightwing domestic terrorism far out-pacing that of Islamic (or any other form of) terrorism in the U.S., at the same time the Administration was deciding to block a previously announced grant to a group that helps people escape the grip of White Nationalist groups. (Following up our conversation on yesterday's show with former neo-Nazi Tony McAleer of Life After Hate, the group whose grant was withdrawn);
    • More CEO's remove themselves and their companies from the President's Manufacturing Council in protest of his response to the tragic violence in Charlottesville over the weekend. (By the end of the show today, the number went from four to six);
    • The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office issues a report [PDF] today finding that Trump's threats of withholding funding to insurance companies meant to cover costs for low-income consumers under the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare'), could spike all individual premium rates by 20 percent in 2018, force companies to stop selling insurance at all in certain regions, and raise the federal deficit by nearly $200 billion over the next decade.

    All of that (and more) may explain why Trump's approval ratings hit new, all-time lows this week. Enjoy!...

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

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    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12257 'Green News Report' - August 15, 2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12256 http://bradblog.com/?p=12256#comments Tue, 15 Aug 2017 18:16:41 +0000 Desi Doyen Florida Middle East Louisiana Environment Green News Natural gas Oil Climate change Extreme weather Agriculture Oceans Africa http://bradblog.com/?p=12256

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Hundreds dead in massive Sierra Leone mudslide triggered by torrential rains; This year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone is largest on record; 124 degrees for ten days straight in Iraq, as scientists warn 'super heat waves' to get more frequent across globe; Fossil fuel industry gets $5 trillion in subsidies per year; PLUS: It's not your imagination, Florida --- sea levels really are rising faster in the Southeast... 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): Fast-melting Arctic an ominous sign'; Global warming explodes devastating larch beetle population; Exxon refinery still pumping toxins into black community in Texas; Trump EPA polluter fines drop 60%; Alaskan towns face rising seas as Trump Admin cancels federal help; EPA Pruitt carrying out his deregulatory agenda in secret; US and Mexico finalize CO River water deal; Houston is missing the next energy revolution; UT counties testing 'molten salt' nuclear power ... PLUS: The West's latest mining frenzy is over 'extraterrestrial' gold.... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

    • Hundreds dead in mudslides in Sierra Leone:
    • Mandatory heat wave 'holiday' declared in Iraq:
    • 'Super heat waves' to get more frequent on current emissions path:
    • IMF: Fossil fuel industry receives $5 trillion in subsidies every year:
      • Fossil fuel subsidies are a staggering $5 tn per year (Guradian UK):
        A new study finds 6.5% of global GDP goes to subsidizing dirty fossil fuels
      • Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Still Total More Than $5 Trillion Annually (Clean Technica):
        Not all of that is in the form of cash money. Much of it is in avoided costs — things the fossil fuel crowd are responsible for but are excused from paying for. They include “not only supply costs but also environmental costs like global warming and deaths from air pollution and taxes applied to consumer goods in general.” The authors argue that this broader view of subsidies is the correct view because they “reflect the gap between consumer prices and economically efficient prices.” They do not include such incidentals as the US military...

    • NOAA: Gulf of Mexico dead zone largest on record:
      • Gulf of Mexico ‘dead zone’ is the largest ever measured (NOAA.gov):
        June outlook foretold New Jersey-sized area of low oxygen
      • AUDIO: The Gulf Of Mexico's Dead Zone Is The Biggest Ever Seen (NPR):
        Farmers use those nutrients on fields as fertilizer. Rain washes them into nearby streams and rivers. And when they reach the Gulf of Mexico, those nutrients unleash blooms of algae, which then die and decompose. That is what uses up the oxygen in a thick layer of water at the bottom of the Gulf, in a band that follows the coastline..."Fish that can swim will move out of the way. Organisms that are living on the bottom, that the fish feed on, can't move, and they often die," Scavia says.
      • Nutrient pollution: Voluntary steps are failing to shrink algae blooms and dead zones (The Conversation):
        The United States contributes over 80 percent of Lake Erie’s total phosphorus load. In sum, major load reductions will have to come from agriculture, mostly from U.S. farms...But in the Mississippi River basin this [voountary] approach has failed. In spite of more than 30 years of research and monitoring, over 15 years of assessments and goal-setting, and over US$30 billion in federal conservation funding since 1995, average nitrogen levels in the Mississippi have not declined since the 1980s.

    • Sea levels really are rising faster in the Southeastern U.S.:
      • The Sea Level Did, in Fact, Rise Faster in the Southeast U.S. (NY Times):
        For people in the southeastern United States, and especially in Florida, who feel that annoying tidal flooding has sneaked up on them in recent years, it turns out to be true. And scientists have a new explanation. In a paper published online Wednesday, University of Florida researchers calculated that from 2011 to 2015, the sea level along the American coastline south of Cape Hatteras rose six times faster than the long-term rate of global increase.
      • Sea Level Rise Is Speeding Up in Parts of the Southeastern U.S. (E&E News):
        A combination of natural factors has driven the rise, but climate change has exacerbated the problem...“Things can really change in five years, and when you look at the projections, you don’t really get that sense,” she said. “I think the projections give you a false sense of security because you say, ‘OK, we’re not going to get to this level until the year 2060 or whatever.’ But in reality, it can happen much faster.”

    '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

    • Science Says: Fast-Melting Arctic Sign Of Bad Global Warming (AP):
      One of the coldest places on Earth is so hot it’s melting. Glaciers, sea ice and a massive ice sheet in the Arctic are thawing from toasty air above and warm water below. The northern polar region is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the planet and that’s setting off alarm bells...“The melting of the Arctic will come to haunt us all,” said German climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf.
    • Climate Explodes Larch Beetle Numbers, Transforming Minnesota Forests (Minneapolis Star-Tribune):
      Eastern larch beetles, tiny burrowing bugs native to Minnesota, are exploding in number across the state’s northern forest and have killed or damaged about a third of the state’s tamarack trees — one of the first clear signs of a rapidly changing climate.
    • The West’s Latest Mining Frenzy? Extraterrestrial Gold (High Country News):
      Companies are hunting for lithium near Moab, Utah." "White Oil, Oro Blanco, Extraterrestrial Gold: lithium, the lightweight element key to rechargeable batteries, has recently acquired a slew of hyperbolic nicknames. As the demand for electric cars, laptops and smartphones has surged, the search is on for more domestic sources of this energy-critical element.
    • A Legacy of Environmental Racism (The Intercept):
      Exxon Mobil Is Still Pumping Toxins into Black Community in Texas 17 Years After Civil Rights Complaint...A block and a half from Gaines’s house, the street ends in an Exxon Mobil refinery that processes “sour crude,” oil that contains high amounts of sulfur. The process of removing the impurities and refining the oil into gasoline produces sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other gases that can cause respiratory, neurological, cardiac, and other serious health problems. Those gasses also give the neighborhood a rotten egg odor that occasionally wafted in with the warm breeze as Gaines and I sat on his porch.
    • Polluter Fines Drop 60 Percent Under Trump (Washington Post):
      The Trump administration has collected 60 percent less from civil penalties for environmental wrongdoing than the administrations of presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton did on average in their first six months in office.
    • Alaskan Towns Facing Rising Seas Alarmed As Trump Pulls Federal Help (Guardian UK):
      The US government’s withdrawal from dealing with, or even acknowledging, climate change may have provoked widespread opprobrium, but for Alaskan communities at risk of toppling into the sea, the risks are rather more personal.
    • Scott Pruitt Is Carrying Out His EPA Agenda in Secret, Critics Say (NY Times):
      When career employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are summoned to a meeting with the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, at agency headquarters, they no longer can count on easy access to the floor where his office is, according to interviews with employees of the fedeal agency.
    • U.S. and Mexico Finalizing Colorado River Deal (Palm Springs Desert Sun):
      The U.S. and Mexican governments may be sharply at odds on President Donald Trump's plan for a border wall, but when it comes to water – and the potential for a major shortage along the Colorado River – the two sides seem to be on the same page.
    • Is Houston missing the next energy wave? (Houston Chronicle) [emphasis added]:
      City failing to draw new tech ventures for a world shifting from fossil fuels...For all its dominance in oil and gas, and all the brain power devoted to getting more from out of the ground and under the sea, Houston has very few young companies incubating new technologies and very few large ones that conduct clean energy research here..."Why would entrepreneurs come to Houston, when they could move to San Francisco, where it's easier to raise money?" Coburn asks.
    • New battery material goes with the flow (Argonne National Laboratory):
      The material, created by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, consists of carefully structured molecules designed to be particularly electrochemically stable in order to prevent the battery from losing energy to unwanted reactions. The results of the experiment, some of the best ever recorded for batteries of this type, are published today in Advanced Energy Materials. In this type of battery, called nonaqueous redox flow, energy is stored in negatively and positively charged solutions inside large tanks.
    • Intimidation or accountability? A mining company goes after Kentucky regulators' own money (Louisville Courier-Journal):
      The family of the newest Republican governor – billionaire Jim Justice of West Virginia is going after the personal assets of two top Kentucky environmental regulators after Kentucky sought to collect millions in unpaid fines from the coal-mining companies they control.
    • 7 Utah counties exploring experimental nuclear power from ‘molten salt’ (Salt Lake Tribune):
      Rural Utah counties looking to partner with firm proposing to produce medical isotopes, other valuable materials
    • Sierra Club Sues U.S. Energy Department Over Power Grid Study (Reuters):
      Environmental group the Sierra Club sued the U.S. Energy Department on Monday in hopes of forcing it to reveal the groups it has consulted in conducting an eagerly awaited study on the electricity grid.
    • FERC's Chatterjee: Coal plants should be 'properly compensated' for grid value (Utility Dive):
      The interim chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission endorsed enhanced compensation for coal generators and said the resource should remain part of the U.S. power mix in an appearance on the agency's podcast.
    • U.S. scientists contradict Trump's climate claims (AP) [emphasis added]:
      "There are no alternative explanations, and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate," says the report, citing thousands of peer-reviewed studies. "Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans"...[T]he draft federal report sends the overriding message that failing to curb carbon pollution now will exacerbate negative consequences in the future. That assessment calls into question the wisdom of Trump's environmental and energy policies..."
    • The Uninhabitable Earth: When will climate change make earth too hot for humans? (New York Magazine):
      Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak - sooner than you think.
    • 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:

  • ]]>
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    Making America Hate Again: From Charlottesville to Oklahoma to the White House and Back Again: 'BradCast' 8/14/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12255 http://bradblog.com/?p=12255#comments Tue, 15 Aug 2017 01:33:08 +0000 Brad Friedman BRAD BLOG Media Appearance War On Terror Virginia North Korea Accountability FBI Barack Obama Kentucky Democrats Republicans Chuck Grassley KPFK Donald Trump DHS Oklahoma Marco Rubio China BradCast Orrin Hatch Terry McAuliffe James Mattis http://bradblog.com/?p=12255 On today's BradCast, the disturbing and tragic weekend events in Charlottesville, how they came about, the failure by Donald Trump to single out white nationalism in their wake, and what some former domestic extremists are trying to do about it all. And, the world remains on edge of war as the Trump Administration continues its aggressive threats in response to North Korea's. [Audio link to show follows below.]

    With the weekend's tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the leaders of North Korea and the United States are still promising annihilation at one another and, as discussed today, should the U.S. shoot first, China has a longstanding treaty obligation to side with its ally North Korea. So, yes, we remain on the brink of what could quickly become another World War under the deft leadership of President Donald Trump today.

    Also today, an alleged anti-government militant in Oklahoma attempted to set off what he believed was a 1,000 pound bomb at a Federal Reserve bank, in the fashion of Timothy McVeigh's 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, according to the FBI. The domestic terrorist was charged over the weekend.

    And, speaking of aggrieved white men, we get caught up with the White Supremacist march which led to violence and death on Saturday in Charlottesville, Trump's refusal to declare any of it a terrorist incident or single out the armed and dangerous white nationalist neo-Nazi groups, as well as the condemnation of both him and Rightwing hate groups by other officials, including top Republicans. All of that before Trump's "mulligan" remarks today in which he finally condemned the hate movement by name...sort of.

    Then, for insight and perspective on all of this, we're joined by TONY MCALEER, co-founder and board chair at LifeAfterHate.org, a non-profit group formed by former members of violent American far-right extremist movements, with the goal of "countering the seeds of hate" they once planted. Life After Hate was promised federal grant funding by the Obama Administration, as part of their anti-extremist efforts targeting both domestic extremism and Islamic terror. But, funding for the domestic Rightwing extremist groups was pulled by the Trump Administration's DHS in June, despite the mountain of evidence revealing that such homegrown terrorists pose a greater immediate threat to Americans.

    McAleer, a former skinhead and organizer for the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), explains what the rather well-to-do white nationalists parading in Charlottesville --- and those in the White House and elsewhere who seem to support them --- are actually angry about (it doesn't have much to do with Confederate statues), and why it is that their message is so appealing to some.

    "The removal of the statues, I think, is deemed as a battle line that has been drawn, and their perceived threat of political correctness," McAleer tells me. "I think they perceive it as erasing white history. The memory of the Confederacy is being erased. I think that's a philosophical and political battle line that they've drawn. [But,] I think most of the people that were there [in Charlotte] aren't even from the South, so it doesn't make sense from that perspective."

    "Their message doesn't thrive unless people are in a place of pain, looking for someone to blame," he explains. "When things aren't going so well, they start looking for someone to blame. And you've got a large group of people looking for answers, and then you've got demagogues stepping forward and offering simplistic solutions and answers that aren't correct and people are buying into them."

    McAleer goes on to discuss his own journey into the dark world of neo-Nazism and how he was eventually able to both pull out of it and co-found his organization to help others do the same.

    "I actually believe the level to which we're willing to dehumanize another human being is a reflection of how internally disconnected and dehumanized we are within ourselves. Who joins extremist groups?," he asks rhetorically, citing research on terrorism and its causes. "The number one correlated factor in the history of somebody joining a violent extremist group is childhood trauma. Because nobody comes into the world a neo-Nazi."

    Finally today, Trump had no problem quickly condemning, by name, an African-America CEO today, after his withdrawal from the President's Manufacturing Council in response to Trump's failure to condemn the racists groups on Saturday. And then, today's show wraps up where it began, with more breaking news on still more dangerous saber-rattling between the US and North Korea...

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

    * * *
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    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12255 Sunday Toons of the 'Superior Race/Arms Race' Moment http://bradblog.com/?p=12254 http://bradblog.com/?p=12254#comments Sun, 13 Aug 2017 13:42:15 +0000 PDiddie Toons http://bradblog.com/?p=12254


    * * *

    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.


    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12254