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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Oil, Toil, Flooding & Trouble: 'BradCast' 5/26/2015
Science Editor Andrew Freedman on deadly TX, OK flooding; Good news out of Ireland; A 'GyroCopter Guy' update; PLUS: Our report from the Santa Barbara oil spill...
Memorial Day Weekend Toons We'd Love to Forget
Arctic drilling; Texas 'justice'; Hillary Inc.; Iraq 'whoppers' continued and more in PDiddie's latest collection...
Gov. Don Siegelman's Son on Father's Case; 'Bin Laden's Bookshelf': 'BradCast' 5/22/15
GUEST: Joseph Siegelman; Plus: Was al-Qaeda hoping to hack a US election?...
'Bin Laden's Bookshelf' Contained Classic Book on Hacking Computer Elections
Reading material said to have been on the al-Qaeda leader's shelf when he was killed may not be a surprise to BRAD BLOG readers...
GOP State Sen. on Nebraska's 'Veto Proof' Death Penalty Ban: 'BradCast' 5/21/15
Guest: State Sen. Al Davis (R); Plus: Siegelman appeal denied; Jeb still rewriting Iraq history; Goodbye, Dave; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/21/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Major oil spill off CA coast; New settlement in 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill; Fossil fuels subsidized $5 TRILLION/year; PLUS: Obama to Coast Guard cadets: climate threatens NatSec...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/15 - 5/14/15 - Archives...
BREAKING: Appeals Court Denies Siegelman Retrial
AL's former Dem Governor's request denied. He remains in federal prison as Repubs who orchestrated 'political prosecution' (including 'wife-beating' Judge Mark Fuller) remain free...
Walker, Christie, GOP, FCC, Untethered From Reality: 'BradCast' 5/20/15
Facts and reality matter; Journalist turned media-activist Sue Wilson helps explain...
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) on Obama's Executive Order to Demilitarize the Police: 'BradCast' 5/19/15
Plus: A spate of new voting laws, good and bad, around the country...
'Green News Report' 5/19/15
'Paddle in Seattle' to stop Shell's Arctic drilling; Study finds new emmissions rules will save lives...so GOP blocking them; PLUS: Indigenous tribe nixes natgas billions...
Walker and GOP Turn 1st Amndmnt On Head
The FCC's blow to free speech rights you probably never heard about, and how, if Walker and Republicans have their way, it may soon get even worse...
People v. Shell in Seattle; Truth v. Iraq Lies on Fox: 'BradCast' 5/18/15
Guest: Seattle Councilman Mike O'Brien; Now Rubio trips over Iraq; TX shootout; Antarctica ice shelf disappearing...
The 'Br'er Rabbit Strategy' To Fend Off A Sanders-Led Democratic Revolution
Wall Street and MSM say they fear Sanders could 'pull Hillary to left'. But is there more to their strategy?...
Sunday Toons: Off the Rails
From the TPP to tragedy in Philly to GOP 2016ers on Iraq to drilling in the Arctic and marriage equality in TX, common sense continues to be derailed...
Learning From History & GOP Rewriting Iraq's: 'BradCast' 5/15/15
Guest: Journalist Peter Dykstra, formerly of CNN, on how enviros should learn from the past; GOP 2016ers trying to rewrite Iraq...
Texas Republicans Hoping to Block Even More Legit Voters With New ID Scheme
New law, if adopted by state, would take already unconstitional Photo ID voting restrictions to new level...
NSA Spying & 'USA Freedom Act'; Jeb Between Iraq, Hard Place: 'BradCast' 5/14/15
Guest: Marcy Wheeler; Plus: Feingold's back! OH GOP still suppressing voters; 600th GNR...
'Green News Report' 5/14/15
OUR 600th EPISODE! - Hours after Amtrak crash, GOP votes to cut Amtrak budget; FBI spied on KXL protesters; PLUS: Hawaii to be 1st in nation to go 100% renewable...
CIA Drugging of 9/11 Detainees? & Jeb Too Dumb to Run: 'BradCast' 5/13/15
VICE News' investigative reporter Jason Leopold on his new exclusive CIA documents; MORE...
Dems: 'No' to Obama on TPP
'BradCast' 5/12/15
Salon's David Dayen joins us to discuss Dems' refusal to go along with Obama (for now); Plus: 1st election lawsuit of 2016; Jeb on Iraq, Allen West on 'Sharia Law'...
NY Nuke Plant Fire, Oil Spill; Vanishing NC Voter Registrations: 'BradCast' 5/11/15
Guests: Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen; 'DocDawg' of Daily Kos...
Bernie Who? 'Meet the Press' Ignores Sanders
Media watchdog documents NBC's Chuck Todd snubbing Sanders' entry into 2016 Presidential primary, while covering GOP also-rans dozens of times...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 12/2/2014 3:53pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: UN climate summit underway to map the future of global warming; California hit by record rain, amid record drought; Global implications of falling oil prices; PLUS: The toxic legacy of the world's worst industrial disaster thirty years later... 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): Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels; Florida regulators approve plan to gut energy efficiency goals, end solar power rebates; Takeout coffee cups messing with your hormones; Missing the Big Picture on Climate Change; Germany utility to quit gas and coal and focus on renewable energy; Politico’s normal, awful story on EPA’s new air rule; Hillary Clinton says fracking carries risks; Indiana backs coal producers over residents... PLUS: America could power itself 100 times over with solar energy... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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Razor-thin margin, failed tabulators, untallied ballots, terrible 'recount' provisions leave Barber-McSally contest unsettled...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2014 3:46pm PT  

Yes, we're still working on Election 2014 around here. As we've told you many times, problems in elections often take days, weeks or even months or years to reveal themselves, even after the mainstream media has long since moved on.

Last week we told you about the "recount" that awaits the GMO labeling ballot initiative in the state of Oregon and the amazing appearance of 21 "new" mystery ballots that flipped the results of a state Senate recount in Maine. And now, a "recount" lies ahead for the one remaining "too close to call" U.S. Congressional election in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District.

The state's first-ever "recount" of a Congressional race will be very different from the one that will be carried out for Oregon's Measure 92 and --- as demonstrated via a federal court ruling issued on Thanksgiving Day that disallowed the tally of some 133 provisional and early ballots before today's state certification of the race --- much more controversial. We can only hope no mystery ballots appear, as occurred in the still-unexplained contest in Maine.

The razor-thin contest in AZ-2 is between incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D) and his challenger Martha McSally (R). Out of some 220,000 votes cast in the AZ-2 race --- in Pima and Cochise Counties --- the paper ballot computer tabulators report a margin of "victory" for McSally over Barber of just 161 votes, according to results posted by the Sec. of State.

The U.S. House seat in Arizona's 2nd District was formerly occupied by Rep. Gabby Giffords (D) until she was critically injured in a 2011 mass shooting that killed six and wounded 13 during a public event in Tucson. After Giffords' resignation following the shooting, she was replaced in a special election by Barber, one of her top staffers who was also shot twice himself during the massacre. Barber then went on to defeat McSally in the 2012 general election by less than one percent.

Prior to today's certification of this year's rematch, there were a number of oddities and controversies during the tabulation period. Among the problems, the reported Election Night failure of the paper ballot optical-scan computer tabulators in Cochise County to read a number of memory cards from the Early Voting period. Those sensitive cards store results of precinct-scanned paper ballots. They had to be flown by helicopter to another county before their contents could be discerned (even though paper ballots existed that could have simply been counted by human beings, rather than relying on electronic tallying systems.)

In addition to the troubling ruling last week by the U.S. District Court and the flawed electronic tabulation of some early ballots, local election integrity experts are also concerned about the state mandated process for "recounting" the ballots, a process which includes using the same flawed electronic scanners once again to determine if the initial scan was carried out accurately...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2014 7:10pm PT  

I had hoped to keep this week's Thanksgiving BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio kinda light, cuz, ya know, it's Thanksgiving. St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch didn't make that easy.

Nonetheless, we ended up with a very lively show, covering one helluva election fraud mystery in Maine; some good election news in Oregon; and exclusive information on why Ferguson and St. Louis County ran out of paper ballots on Election Day.

Then, speaking of bad news, it's Thanksgiving week and, yes, the news is lousy, so what is there to be thankful for in the wake of this week's terrible news in Ferguson and all the bad news of late before it? Some great callers come to the rescue!

My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seemed before this week's show...

Download MP3 or listen online here...

* * *

UPDATE 12/10/2014: MAINE MYSTERY SOLVED! Full details now here...

* * *
Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system --- now completing our ELEVENTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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11-vote edge given to GOPer after 21 unexplained ballots - all for her - mysteriously appear in tiny Town of Long Island...
By Brad Friedman on 11/25/2014 8:21pm PT  

An election fraud mystery has emerged in Maine's tiny Town of Long Island. The strange case has not only changed the previously announced "winner" of the election, but the contested results affect the entire state Senate and are now the subject of an investigation demanded by the Maine Democratic Party.

On Election Night this year, Democrat Catherine Breen reportedly won the race for state Senate by a very slim 32 votes in Maine's Senate District 25, according to the then-unofficial tally. However, during a hand recount of the votes last week, 21 previously unaccounted-for ballots were discovered to be in the locked Long Island ballot box. All of the "new" ballots included votes for Cathleen Manchester, the Republican candidate who had requested the recount.

Those 21 "new" ballots were above and beyond the 171 votes counted by hand on Election Night (which proved to be an otherwise perfect count) and the 171 voters listed as having voted on the "voter manifest" at Long Island's only precinct.

The "new" votes, combined with a few other adjustments to the tallies in the 25th District's six other towns, were enough to reverse the results, giving an 11-vote victory to the Republican candidate after the recount, even as neither party is able to explain the appearance of the "phantom ballots" in Long Island...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/25/2014 3:27pm PT  


 

Today welcoming aboard GNR's newest affiliate partner:
KTNF am950 in Minnesota!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: NY Gov. Cuomo blames meteorologists for his failure to prep for deadly Buffalo snowstorm; Arrests in Canada protesting another tar sands pipeline; You'll never guess who is now the world leader in deforestation; PLUS: Those lefty treehugger hippies at the World Bank warn extreme weather will be the 'new normal' by 2050 ... 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): Solar and wind energy start to win on price vs. fossil fuels; Giving thanks for climate heroes big and small this thanksgiving; White House threatens to put brakes on alternative biofuels; EPA orders pollution upgrades on big TX coal plants; White evangelicals believe extreme weather disasters caused by End Times, not climate change; Neither rain nor snow nor heat sways views on climate science... PLUS: Leaked: The Oil Lobby's Conspiracy to Kill Off California's Climate Law... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2014 9:37pm PT  

"Seasons Greetings"? No "Merry Christmas"?! Fox "News" is gonna be furious.

* * *

P.S. A few selected thoughts of mine on the events in Ferguson this evening, from throughout the night on Twitter, follow below...

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

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Hand-count of paper ballots likely after computer tallies report margin of fewer than 900 votes out of over 1.5 million cast...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2014 2:48pm PT  

The November 4, 2014 elections are not over in several parts of the country. One of those places is Oregon, where progressive candidates and ballot measures were largely successful in bucking the rightward trend of election results produced by much of the rest of the nation. Nonetheless, a GMO-related ballot measure requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods appeared to have failed on Election Night in the wake of a record amount of campaign cash spent by food manufacturers to defeat it.

The measure, however, now appears headed toward a statewide "recount" as the official computer-reported results have greatly narrowed in the weeks following Election Day, with the race now regarded as "too close to call" by some. The "No" margin decreased to less than 1,500 votes as of late last week, after the Yes on 92 campaign was said to have been "reaching out to 13,000 voters whose ballots had signature problems and weren't counted," according to Oregon's KPTV.

[Note: The BRAD BLOG tends to use quotes around the word "recount", since most ballots in the U.S., even hand-marked paper ballots, are never actually counted by human beings in the first place, with most jurisdictions relying only on easily-manipulated and sometimes wildly inaccurate computer tabulators which tally ballots either correctly or incorrectly. Without an actual hand-count by human beings, its impossible to know either way.]

For the first time this year, the state publicly released the names of voters whose ballots had signature problems. That transparency allowed Measure 92's supporters to attempt to notify those voters to request they contact election officials to work out any discrepancies in order to have their ballots tallied.

As of Monday afternoon, numbers posted on the Oregon Sec. of State's results page show the margin having narrowed even further, with just 809 "No" votes outpacing "Yes" votes, out of more than 1.5 million ballots cast across the state. Finalized results are due from all counties by 5pm today...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2014 1:39pm PT  

It's investigative Election Integrity muckraking in East Coast/West Coast stereo!

My thanks to Thom for inviting me for this week's longer-than-usual panel conversation on his Big Picture TV show, and to Palast for being the inimitably indefatigable Greg Palast!

Lively discussion includes everything from the secret GOP Crosscheck program to Greg's assertion that it cost Democrats several key U.S. Senate races to the U.S. now ranked 26th in electoral integrity among world democracies (last among Western nations) to the Republicans' long hard fight to return to Jim Crowism in TX and beyond...

[Thanks to Palast's office for stitching both segments together in one easy-to-watch clip! I've replaced the original embed with that version above.]

* * *
Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system --- now completing our ELEVENTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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Released quietly before Thanksgiving, 7th report on matter concludes no wrong-doing; Republicans convening 8th shortly...
By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2014 3:24pm PT  

Well, I've been remiss over the years since 2012 in covering the BENGHAZI!!! "scandal" on these pages.

So allow me to make up for some of that lost time today, with this article just out from AP tonight:

WASHINGTON (AP) --- A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people.

The House Intelligence Committee report was released with little fanfare on the Friday before Thanksgiving week. Many of its findings echo those of six previous investigations by various congressional committees and a State Department panel.

The article continues describing the findings of the House Intel Committee report which its Republican chair Rep. Mike Rogers (MI) and Democratic ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD) announced today. Among those findings, in response to the epic reports of a "stand down order" said to have been issued by the CIA or the State Dept. or the White House, AP reports: "None of that is true, according to the House Intelligence Committee report."

You get the idea.

Nonetheless, as AP notes, "the eighth Benghazi investigation is being carried out by a House Select Committee appointed in May." That special select committee, convened by Congressional "conservatives", is set to cost tax payers some $4 million. How very "conservative" of them.

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By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2014 2:37pm PT  

It's a pretty cut and dry case here. Satan is totes busted...

As of Friday, November 21, the video above, posted on November 9, has received 7,082,535 views. If that's not further proof of Satan, I don't know what is.

[P.S. Speaking of the devil...Heading in to the studio to do a "Bigger Picture Panel" segment on election issues along with Greg Palast on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture TV show shortly. Watch live on RT America at 7p ET (it repeats at 10p ET), or check for other viewing options here. It also streams live online here.]

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/20/2014 3:11pm PT  


 

Today welcoming aboard GNR's newest affiliate partner:
KNCE 93.5 in Taos, NM!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Record-breaking extreme winter storm breaks Buffalo, NY; It's official: October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Republicans: China will cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy... 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): NASA video: a year in C02; Senate climate hawks introduce 'carbon fee & dividend' legislation; Keystone XL PR company plans dirty tricks campaign; Criminal charges for illegal toxic mine dumping in Alaska; World must 'mind the carbon emissions gap' to avoid dangerous climate change; Why are US farmers getting billions in aid amid record crop yields? ... PLUS: San Diego to use recycled wastewater for new drinking water supply ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2014 12:22pm PT  

Buffalo, New York...

NY Daily News reports, "there's more on the way" after the first wave which fell in about 24-36 hours [emphasis added]:

The western New York city and its suburbs are bracing for up to another three feet of snow by Friday morning after a storm already dropped nearly six feet on some areas in an epic display by Mother Nature that left at least seven people dead in the region.

One other problem: temps are expected to rise in Buffalo over the weekend after the next monster volley of snow. They will be pushing 60 degrees by Monday. Got flood insurance?

Not that scientists have been predicting this sort of thing for years now. Well, maybe they have. But what do "scientists" know about science?!

* * *

UPDATE: For more on why this record breaking storm is another result of global warming, listen to our latest Green News Report...

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'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2014 6:05am PT  

A report [PDF] by researchers at Harvard and the University of Sydney finds the U.S. ranks just 26th on a global index of election integrity. That finding places the U.S. in the category of nations with "Moderate" election integrity, ranking the country one notch above Mexico and one notch below Micronesia, according to the findings tracking elections in 66 countries.

The report, compiled earlier this year and published last month in the American Political Science Association's PS: Political Science and Politics journal, "aims to evaluate the quality of elections held around the world." It is the first of a planned annual series from the Electoral Integrity Project. The organization describes itself as "an independent non-profit scholarly research project based at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the University of Sydney's Department of Government and International Relations, funded by the Australian Research Council and other research bodies."

The group aims to document "why elections fail and what we can do about it."

This year's assessments by 855 election experts around the world are indexed and included in the survey which covers "all national parliamentary and presidential elections held in independent nation-states (with a population of more than 100,000) over an eighteen month period from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2013."

"Based on a survey collecting the views of election experts, the research aims to provide independent and reliable evidence to compare whether countries meet international standards of electoral integrity," the report's introduction explains. "The study collects 49 indicators to compare elections and countries around the globe."

While the researchers found even worse problems in the elections of many younger countries, some of those nations still managed to out-perform the U.S. on the overall ranking, as we brought up the tail end of Western democratic nations, according to the experts' analysis, as described in one of bullet-points summarizing the report's findings [emphasis in original]...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2014 12:01pm PT  

Well, this seems a very good omen...

The Oxford English Dictionary named "vape" - the word used for the act of drawing on an electronic cigarette instead of a burning stick of tobacco - as its 2014 word of the year.

"You are 30 times more likely to come across the word vape than you were two years ago, and usage has more than doubled in the past year," Oxford staff editors said.
...
The apparent rise of e-cigarettes was cited as the reason for the skyrocketing use of the word, along with countless debates over the safety of using the devices long term.

The word, according to the Oxford editors, was only added to OxfordDictionaries.com in August of this year. A bit slow there, chaps.

All in all though, very good news --- no matter how much the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries (and their acolytes) try to undermine progress towards a vastly healthier world. Vape on.

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

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

That will be no easy feat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Brad Friedman...
Brad is an independent investigative
journalist, blogger, broadcaster,
VelvetRevolution.us co-founder,
expert on issues of election integrity,
and a Commonweal Institute Fellow.

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