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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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)
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'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...

Tom Courbat wins another for democracy with AB 813...
By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2013 6:45pm PT  

I'm in the middle of a number of other things, but I wanted to just offer a quick --- and very belated --- note of congrats to longtime citizen Election Integrity advocate Tom Courbat of Riverside County, CA. (Decidedly not to be confused with Pennsylvania's democracy-hating Gov. Tom Corbett.)

Late in the summer, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed AB 831, a short and simple bill, brought to the legislature by Courbat and introduced there by a Republican, requiring elections officials in CA counties to publish the "Statement of Vote" --- the official precinct-by-precinct results --- to their websites "in a downloadable spreadsheet format".

While that doesn't seem extraordinary --- and may even come to a surprise to many who might have presumed all elections officials already do that --- it really is an important and helpful bill for those who understand the difficulty and frustration, in many cases, that citizens may sometimes have in trying to oversee election results. Some of you "election geeks", in particular, may appreciate how difficult it can often be to make sense of questionable election results, or to double-check very close races in places where precinct results are not made available at all, or where they are published only in HTML or PDF formats which are not easily imported into a spreadsheet where numbers can be more carefully examined for inconsistencies, irregularities or simply missing votes.

As Courbat noted after the bill was signed, the new CA state law "will make it much easier for candidates and election integrity advocates to rapidly analyze election results for any anomalies."

"Candidates wishing to request a recount have only five days after publication of the Statement of Vote to file for a recount," he noted. "Since recounts can be quite expensive, this capability to analyze sometimes voluminous data can be the deciding factor in a go/no-go decision by a candidate."

As anyone who followed our harrowing detailed coverage this year of Virginia's still-ongoing November 5th Attorney General's race may recall, it was, in fact, exceedingly close citizen scrutiny of precinct-by-precinct results which discovered some 3,000 missing votes from Election Night results. Those "found" votes may well turn out to have made the difference in that state's closest-ever statewide race (which currently has a 165 vote margin as it heads into VA's version of a "recount" just over a week from now)...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/9/2013 5:24pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progress...]

The government's Supreme Court petition [PDF] in the upcoming cases concerning a supposed 'religious right' of for-profit corporations to ignore the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Afford Care Act (ACA) is a worthwhile read, simply because it slices through the fog of the GOP's relentless, anti-Obamacare propaganda war. That war includes a purported religious assault on the scientific, economic, egalitarian and humanitarian basis for contraceptive coverage.

Of course, the brief also contains compelling legal reasons why for-profit, corporate employers have no business dictating to their female employees whether or not they should opt for FDA-approved contraception in order to meet their own personal health care needs.

As we recently reported, where mainstream media articles that focus on every glitch in the federal Healthcare.gov website (and on provider cancellation of deficient policies), very few article mentioned that, since the passage of the ACA, health care price inflation has slowed to its lowest rate in the past 50 years. Fewer still have mentioned that the GOP's repeatedly proposed repeal of the ACA would return us to a "free market" status quo that not only left 47 million Americans without any health care coverage, but was so corrupt and dysfunctional that nearly 45,000 of our citizens died each year simply because they were too poor to afford coverage. The 45,000 is in addition to the number of Americans who died under that status quo because carriers used the excuse of "preexisting conditions" to deny coverage for vital procedures. Pre-ACA, medical bills contributed to half of the personal bankruptcies in the U.S.

In listing reasons why the contraceptive coverage provisions are based upon a "compelling" governmental interest, the government's SCOTUS petition both debunks GOP myths about the government's pre-ACA role in mandating minimum conditions in government-subsidized group health care plans and in explaining why the ACA already appears to have helped in blunting rising health care costs...

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

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Former Dem opponent says State Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R) was also tied to previous deceptive mailings...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/6/2013 4:29pm PT  

The Ventura County Star reports that my CA Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Thousand Oaks), and three other members of the California Republican Assembly Caucus abused their public mailing privileges by sending nearly 260,000 deceptive mailers to their constituents.

According to a former opponent of his that I spoke with, it wouldn't be the first time Gorell has been linked to deceptive mailers.

Instead of directing constituents who desire to take advantage of the state's Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange, the mailer "labeled as 'A California Resource Guide' to explain federal health care reform", points constituents to a fake website created by state Republicans. Rather than the official CoveredCA.com website, the new mailers direct the recipient to CoveringHealthCareCA.com, a bogus Republican site which, though attempting to appear to be the official CA health care exchange site, doesn't actually provide the ability to shop for or purchase policies.

"Though it launched in August," ABC News reports, "the site made waves this week after a number of GOP Assembly members sent out mailers to their constituents, highlighting the page as a 'resource guide' for information on the Affordable Care Act."

The deceptive, publicly funded mailers sent by the self-described "fiscal conservatives" cost CA taxpayers $77,496, according to the Star's public records request. The money, they report, came from the state Assembly's "taxpayer-funded operating budget."

Since the fraud was exposed, the LA Times reports, the GOP site has added some links to the official CA health care site. The original site, according to Karoli at Crooks and Liars who helped expose the scam, included "links to negative articles and twisted messages intended to sour people on signing up for health insurance before they ever land at the official health exchange site."

The effort comes on the heels of a what ABC describes as an "onslaught of fake insurance sites popping up in the state --- 10 of which were shut down by Calif. Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris in November --- since the implementation of Obamacare."

This is not the first occasion in which Gorell, an outspoken opponent of the Affordable Care Act, has been tied to deceptive constituent mailers. Last year, the chairman of a local Democratic Club asked me to speak on the subject of GOP voter suppression laws and e-voting issues. While there, I was approached by Democrat Eileen MacEnery, Gorell's unsuccessful 2012 Assembly opponent. She was still miffed by what she described as a deceptive Gorell mailer. In it, she told me, Gorell included his name and photo, alongside those of Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein and Rep. Julia Brownley. MacEnery claimed the mailer falsely implied that the Democratic Party supported all three, even though Gorell is a dedicated member of the GOP.

Gorell was the only local Republican who retained a seat in my area after state redistricting converted what had been a Republican-majority district into one where registered Democrats hold a slim majority. Last month, Gorell announced that he will challenge Brownley for her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Hopefully local voters will keep his deceptive record in mind when any of Gorell's mailings show up in their mailbox.

* * *
Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @Cann4ing.

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By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2013 8:05am PT  

I asked on Thursday's Green News Report, but it deserves highlight and asking again: Is Maine's Governor Paul LePage (R) the dumbest governor in the country? Or the dumbest governor in history?

Via David Edwards at RAW STORY...

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) on Thursday encouraged people to look on the bright side of global warming.

At the 64th annual Maine Transportation Conference, the governor bucked the thinking of many Republicans and admitted that the planet was getting warmer, but he said that people were thinking about it the wrong way.

"Everybody looks at the negative effects of global warming, but with the ice melting, the Northern Passage has opened up," LePage explained, according to the Bangor Daily News. "So maybe, instead of being at the end of the pipeline, we're now at the beginning of a new pipeline."

As Edwards goes on to note, "The Voice of Russia reported in 2011 that 85 percent of the ships crossing the Northern Sea Route were carrying gas or oil."

As Desi Doyen said in response to my unanswerable question on GNR: "Yup, they break the Arctic, and he's happy because they can make money on it." Yup. And speed up the breaking of the entire planet in the process. Paul LePage is a genius.

* * *

UPDATE: Just a couple more points to help you determine just how brilliant LePage is. While celebrating more oil shipping, thanks to Arctic ice melt (caused by burning oil), LePage fails to note the dangers posed to Maine's maple syrup industry by climate change, not to mention the cancellation of the 2014 shrimping season in the Gulf of Maine "in response to the species' collapse." Last year's shrimp harvest was the smallest in decades and the report that led to cancellation of this year's season "attributed the collapse in part to warming ocean temperatures."

As Glen Brand, the director of the Sierra Club of Maine told the Bangor Daily News, "Maine is already suffering from numerous problems from climate change, including threats to the state's fisheries, forests, coasts and tourist industries."

Other than all that though, LePage remains a genius for celebrating global warming and the great effects it'll have for his constituents in Maine!

LATER UPDATE: Sorry, just had to include one more, since I think this may answer the "dumb or dumbest?" question about LePage once and for all. See this, particularly the last sentence...

LePage, however, isn't known for his concern over the risks of climate change. Earlier this year, he pushed to get Maine exempted from certain anti-smog regulations, saying an exemption would promote economic development in the state. In June, he vetoed a bill that would have established a working group for climate change adaptation in Maine. And in April, he claimed a wind turbine in Maine depended on a "little electric motor that turns the blades."
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Non-RW listeners in largest and most progressive media markets to be almost completely unserved over our publicly-owned airwaves
UPDATE: Move may also signal very bad news for Rush Limbaugh...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2013 2:55pm PT  

The largest media market in the world is about to lose its only non-Rightwing commercial talk radio station. Los Angeles' KTLK 1150am will be flipped to a far Rightwing station featuring hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and other rightwing talkers. "The changes are set to take effect for the first broadcast of 2014," according to the Los Angeles Times this afternoon.

KTLK is owned by Clear Channel Communications, Inc., the nation's largest owner of radio stations. Clear Channel is now owned by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital LLC. The talkers mentioned above who will be taking over the previously-progressive station are also syndicated by Clear Channel-owned Premiere Networks, the largest radio syndicator in the nation. The BRAD BLOG has long argued that the outsized control of our public airwaves enjoyed by Clear Channel/Premiere and a handful of other conglomerates --- including their ability to leverage our public airwaves (licensed from we, the people, in exchange only for their promise to serve the public interest) to distribute their own syndicator's shows --- is a likely violation of U.S. v. Paramount, the 1948 anti-trust Supreme Court decision which found that the major movie studios could not also control the means of distribution by owning the nation's largest theater chains at the same time.

As if ending progressive talk radio in L.A. isn't bad enough, Clear Channel will now also reportedly be flipping its formerly progressive San Francisco talk station KNEW 960am (a move which they had threatened and then partially changed their mind about flipping in late 2011), over to a completely Right-leaning station as well, says the Times. That will leave San Francisco, arguably the most progressive city in the nation, without any commercial progressive talk radio outlet at all. But, as in L.A., listeners will still have many different Right-leaning talks outlets on our public airwaves to choose from, several of them owned by the same major corporation.

In Los Angeles, Clear Channel also owns KFI 640am, the number one station in the market. That station currently runs Limbaugh, along with a host of other Right-leaning local talk shows. KTLK, had once described itself as "Progressive Talk", before changing it's tag line to "L.A.'s Voice" earlier this year. They had already gutted of most of the station's progressive-leaning talk shows over the past several years. The station will now be re-dubbed "The Patriot". The Times reports that "Clear Channel is hoping to pump up [KTLK] as an outlet exclusively dedicated to right-leaning chatter"...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 12/5/2013 2:35pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama 'finds the courage': orders federal government to increase use of renewable energy; Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) celebrates melting Arctic; ALEC and Koch Bros. launch an attack on solar; Solar panel maker takes on Germany's electric utilities; PLUS: The Heartland Institute is lying again, this time about the American Meteorological Society ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Please help us continue connect climate change dots over your public airwaves!
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Download MP3 or listen online here (6 mins)...

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): No climate change deniers in the global re-insurance industry; Abrupt climate change: what's in store for us?; Big Oil already prepared to pay carbon tax; Massive winter storms assault UK, EU, US; Experts worried rise in TX earthquakes caused by fracking injection wells; Hitachi unveils storage for solar, wind; Chicago tests pollution-eating concrete; We're #1: Lake Superior heating up faster than any other lake on Earth ... PLUS: Nelson Mandela led coalition of global elders to halt climate change ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2013 2:30pm PT  

NELSON MANDELA, 1918 - 2013

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By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2013 7:17pm PT  

After many months of chatting back and forth via email, we were both finally able to work out our schedules so that I could talk with Dr. Michael E. Mann live on air today on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast!

Mann, for those who don't know, is the creator of the famous (or infamous, depending on whether you're sponsored and/or duped by the fossil fuel industry or not), "Hockey Stick Graph", which is likely the most controversial graph in history and certainly among the most consequential, as he agreed during our conversation today.

The "Hockey Stick Graph", showing stable and even declining temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere over the past thousand years, until they suddenly spike upwards over the last hundred (similar in shape to a hockey stick), thrust the physicist and climatologist Mann into a world of global warming and climate change controversy that he told me he could never have imagined. Following its publication over the past decade, while the recipient of many awards and honors, he has also received death threats, had his professional emails stolen (in the pretend "ClimateGate" scandal), and has been the focus of an unprecedented smear campaign by science denialists, including attacks by sitting U.S. Congressmen and (unsuccessful) subpoenas of his private documents and email by woeful Rightwing denialists and tools like (the happily outgoing) Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Environmental activist and author Bill McKibben, who describes Mann as "a hero", has correctly noted that "very few people have sounded more important alarms about our climate future, and very few people have paid a higher price for doing so."

Mann's latest book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, now in paperback with a new foreword by Bill Nye "The Science Guy", tells the whole story and much more. (Tell Big Fossil Fuel to go to hell by buying a copy!)

My conversation with Mann today ranged from all of that, to the parallel denier tactics employed by both Big Tobacco and Big Fossil Fuel, to whether or not scientists should enter the political realm, to why it is that so many TV weathermen seem to be denialists (though the vast majority actually aren't.)

In the back end of the show, I covered the new uprising by Florida election officials against FL Sec. of State Ken Detzner, new Pope news(!) and much more. Enjoy the show!...

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

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Gov. Rick Scott and SoS Ken Detzner under fire yet again
'Not worth the paper it's printed on,' one of the defiant officials tells The BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2013 6:35am PT  

At this point, the slogan for Republican Secretaries of State around the country seems to be: "If it ain't broke, break it!"

That's certainly the case in Florida, where Sec. of State Ken Detzner --- fresh off his and Governor Rick Scott's embarrassing and failed 2012 purge of supposed "non-citizen voters" from the rolls (with another more recent attempt underway since then) --- is at it again. And this time, Detzner seems to be facing a full-blown uprising from county Supervisors of Elections (SOE) refusing to carry out a new directive which would make it more difficult for absentee voters to cast their ballot.

The elected SOEs are claiming that the new directive by Detzner, an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott (R), was neither asked for nor necessary under state law. They Supervisors have also denied Detzner's initial claim that the directive was issued in response to requests by two SOEs.

Last week, Detzner issued a directive [PDF] to county SOEs instructing them that they may no longer allow voters to use secured remote absentee ballot drop-off stations created at locations like public libraries and tax-collectors offices. Suddenly, according to Detzner's new rules, all absentee ballots must either be mailed in, or dropped off at county election offices.

The directive was issued just prior to an upcoming special election to replace the late, long-serving Republican Congressman Bill Young in the 13th Congressional District, and it has led to both suspicion for its motives, and somewhat of a bi-partisan mutiny from election officials, leading one well-known Florida SOE to respond tersely to The BRAD BLOG's request for comment last week this way: "I do have a comment, legally it's not worth the paper it's printed on"...

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

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Will religious rights now also be extended to fictional 'persons'?
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/3/2013 8:26pm PT  

The Affordable Care Act (ACA, or "Obamacare") mandates that preventive care under group health insurance plans include a "full range" of FDA-approved "contraceptive methods". That requirement has resulted in two cases now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court which may result in "religious rights" being extended to so-called "corporate persons".

The cases are brought by two different for-profit corporations, each arguing that the mandate violates the corporate employer's rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Neither of the cases involve non-profit religious institutions, which are exempt from the ACA's contraceptive mandate.

The RFRA, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993, requires that an otherwise neutral government action "not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion" absent a compelling governmental interest.

The government, in its Supreme Court petition [PDF], argues that the "contraceptive coverage" mandate does not "substantially burden" an employer's free exercise of religion. (More on that particularly point in a subsequent article on this.) But while additionally urging that the contraceptive coverage mandate is based upon a compelling government interest, the government sets forth a number of significant ACA benefits that have been obscured by the fog of the unrelenting right wing, anti-Obamacare propaganda war. The critical threshold issue that must be met in these cases, before any of those additional issues need be reached, entails the validity and/or scope of the controversial concept of "corporate personhood".

Will the religious rights of actual persons now be extended to fictional corporate "persons"? That is one of the key issues that will now be decided by the same U.S. Supreme Court which handed down the now infamous Citizens United case...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 12/3/2013 4:05pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's official: Hottest spring on record Down Under; Big Fossil Fuel = Big Tobacco; BP suit halts Gulf Oil Spill compensation; New rules for toxic flame retardants; Say goodbye to antibacterial soaps; PLUS: Wall Street may finally be looking to cover its (unburnable) assets ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Please help us connect the climate change dots over your public airwaves!
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

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): 'Rat retraction reaction': journal withdraws controversial GMO rat study; Arctic Ocean leaking methane at 'alarming' rate; The ugly aftermath for families in AR pipeline spill; Sea level rise 'too fast' to reverse climate change; First Nations fracking protestors refuse to back down; WA State lawmakers investigate impacts of coal export terminals; Judge rejects climate refugee plea; US $38b nuclear waste fiasco ... PLUS: Why Climate Change Skeptics and Evolution Deniers Joined Forces ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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Post-election battles in closest ever statewide race could run through Christmas and include a partisan 'nuclear option'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2013 5:05am PT  

Election 2013 is but a memory --- good or bad --- for much of the nation. But, in Virginia, election officials, attorneys and partisans will still be busy as elves throughout much of the holiday season, and potentially even beyond, determining final results of the statewide November 5th Attorney General's election this year.

Last week, on the day before Thanksgiving, Virginia's Republican AG candidate Mark Obenshain filed for a recount [PDF] of the incredibly close race at the Richmond Circuit Court. Two days prior, his Democratic challenger Mark Herring had been certified by the state as the winner of the race by just 165 votes out of more than 2.2 million votes cast early last month.

Should those state-certified results hold, Herring would replace Republican Ken Cuccinelli as Virginia's AG. Cuccinelli was unsuccessful in his own run for Governor in November against Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Along with the Democratic win in the Lt. Governor's race as well, a Herring victory would result in the first time since 1969 that Democrats held all three statewide offices, and the first time in twenty years that Virginia will have a Democratic AG.

A "recount", in Virginia, however --- as we've documented previously (see last section of this article) --- amounts to much less than it may seem, given the technology used in the state and some of the ridiculous "recount" laws specified by the Virginia election code [PDF].

As bad as those "recount" statutes are, however, a margin of 165 votes could certainly be reversed, even in a state where most votes are currently recorded (either accurately or inaccurately, who knows?) by 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems, and where the rest are tallied (either accurately or inaccurately, who knows?) by paper-ballot optical-scan tabulators that will be used once again to "recount" (either accurately or inaccurately, who knows?) most of the state's paper ballots.

Yes, that's right. Hundreds of thousands of 100% unverifiable electronic votes cast in the closest statewide race in VA state history cannot be "recounted" now in any meaningful way. For those votes, state election code specifies that, during the "recount", election officials will merely recheck the voting machine computer printouts from Election Night to make sure the certified results match. Meanwhile --- and short of a court order --- votes that were cast on paper ballots will simply be run through the same optical-scan computers that tallied them the first time, after they've been reprogrammed to set aside all ballots which the scanner sees as an over vote, an under vote or a write-in vote in the AG's race. Those set aside paper ballots, at least, will then be examined by hand, in public, by actual human beings.

As ridiculous as the VA "recount" statute is, the "contest" law --- another procedure which the candidate who loses the "recount" may file thereafter --- is even more ridiculous. But, depending on the results of the "recount", that may be the only option Obenshain is left with...and it could result in a GOP "victory", even with fewer recorded popular votes, presuming there are enough heavily partisan Republicans in the VA state legislature...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2013 9:07pm PT  

Great thanks to Peter Sinclair and his "Climate Denial Crock of the Week" last week for plotting this out in a quick video. The parallels between the denialist PR scams, lies, pretend science, spending and attacks by both 'Big' industries here are, indeed, striking.

It's also interesting to see both Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the man who apologized to BP after the 2010 Gulf Oil Disaster, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), the man who handed out checks from Big Tobacco on the floor of the U.S. House, both playing sleazily similar roles now for Big Fossil Fuel denialism as they did for Big Tobacco denialism back in the 90s...

[By the way, for more on the same band of con-men playing the same roles now as then, see Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. M. Conway's Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.]

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By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2013 1:14pm PT  

A very quick note of thanks, on this Thanksgiving weekend, particularly to those of you who have answered the call in our recent fund drive. We're still figuring out how to survive through our tenth anniversary in January (and hopefully well beyond!), but to those of you who have helped get us this far with your contributions, we are incredibly grateful.

We're still working to figure out how to make our work sustainable without having to ask for your help as we do. Those who know me realize that I really hate doing so. Nonetheless, without an angel or three showing up, or even one or two percent of our daily readership signing up for sustaining monthly contributions (see below!), I'll have to keep asking.

One more idea for now to both help us continue our work and help counter the rampant corporatization of everything in our world (which is what, ultimately, makes it so difficult for us to continue our completely independent muckraking and trouble-making here): Instead of giving your money to major corporations on "Black Friday", considering sharing some with us instead. Or, if you are planning to "save" money by spending it on "Black Friday", please consider sharing some of your savings with us! We'll call it "Brad Friday"! Either way, we promise to put your contributions to much better use than Target, Best Buy or Walmart will...

And Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us here at The BRAD BLOG...

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Guest: Gary Ruskin of the Center for Corporate Policy
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2013 8:49pm PT  

Hope you'll grab this one for some Thanksgiving weekend listening!

My guest on this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio was the Center for Corporate Policy's Gary Ruskin, author of the new report, "Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage of Nonprofit Organizations" [PDF]. The report is "spooky" for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that I am named in the report, as one of the targets of an extraordinary $12 million espionage plot by the loathsome, rightwing U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

[The scheme involved the U.S. Chamber, their powerful and sleazy law firm Hunton & Williams, LLP and three grifter U.S. defense/intel contractors, HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies. It was meant to use tools developed for the "war on terror" against me, my family and a number of progressive organizations. None of the parties involved have been held accountable to this day. Read more about it here...]

Ruskin's report is chilling and the interview is disturbing. But the second half of the show is (largely) much less troubling! We update a lot of the stories we've been covering of late on The BradCast, most of them with good news updates!

So, curl on up to the holiday radio hearth and give it a listen...and all of my best to you and yours for Thanksgiving! (Or, as we call it around here since Chanukah falls on the same day this year: Thanksalatke!)

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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