Really. And kudos to Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal...
w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|More Special Coverages Pages...|
Really. And kudos to Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal...
In what Washington Post's Karen DeYoung describes as an "explosive report" on CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday, the venerable TV news magazine offered "a harrowing account of the extremist attack that killed four Americans" at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya last year.
Naturally, Fox "News" and others on the Right --- such as Sen. Lindsey Graham who promised on Wednesday to block all of President Obama's nominees following the report --- have been trumpeting it all week.
In the report, CBS' Lara Logan interviews a man pseudonymously identified as "Morgan Jones", a British supervisor of security guards protecting the mission. He tells Logan that, as the attack that night went on and four U.S. officials were ultimately killed, he scaled the compound's 12-foot wall, took out an al-Qaeda terrorist "with the butt end of a rifle" and eventually was at the hospital to witness the lifeless corpse of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
But, as reported by DeYoung at WaPo today, that story by "Jones", as offered on 60 Minutes, appears to be completely untrue. That "harrowing account" by "Jones," whose real name is reportedly Dylan Davies, is completely at odds, according to the Post, with the written account that he "provided to his employer three days after the attack" when he said he was nowhere near the diplomatic compound on the night of the deadly tragedy...
On Thursday, despite a deal said to have been struck with Democrats in August, Senate Republicans successfully used the filibuster to block meaningful economic reform again.
With just 42 Republican votes, the GOP was able to block the majority and continue to prevent the President's nominee --- his second --- from taking taking the helm at a crucial federal agency, ensuring the man appointed by George W. Bush would remain in that key role.
In late summer, in "GOP Filibuster Still 'Single Largest Obstacle to Meaningful Economic Recovery'", we explained how the Senate’s Republican minority had successfully used the filibuster to prevent the Obama Administration from replacing Bush Administration holdover Edward DeMarco as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency(FHFA) . The FHFA is the federal agency which oversees government-sponsored mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own 60% of all mortgages in the United States.
Last year, in a petition to President Barack Obama, the advocacy group Change.Org described DeMarco as "the single largest obstacle to meaningful economic recovery". That assessment was shared by The New York Times' Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, who called for President Obama to "Fire Ed DeMarco," after DeMarco, in defiance of the Obama Administration, rejected a U.S. Treasury Department request "that he offer debt relief to troubled homeowners --- a request backed by an offer that the U.S. Treasury would pay up to 63 cents to the FHFA for every dollar of debt forgiven."
Although Krugman explained at the time that "a reduction in debt burdens would strengthen the economy," creating "greater revenues" that could "offset any losses from the debt forgiveness itself," DeMarco has consistently sought to protect the Wall Street casino (aka the mortgage backed securities market) against any relief to homeowners who were victimized by those fraudulent schemes.
All of these years later, Republicans in the U.S. Senate, defying the majority will of the American people, continue to help him...
The reasoning employed by Chief Justice John Roberts in Shelby County—that Section 5 of the act was such a spectacular success that it is no longer necessary—was the equivalent of taking down speed cameras and traffic lights and removing speed limits from a dangerous intersection because they had combined to reduce accidents and traffic deaths.
I won't be surprised if history finds the Shelby County ruling, along with Citizens United, to be right up there in the Dred Scott pantheon of terrible rulings by a U.S. Supreme Court. That both occurred within years of each others on the John Roberts Court speaks volumes --- and does not bode well for whatever may still be to come.
How's that for a scary Halloween night posting?...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Students disrupt Obama's healthcare rally to protest Keystone XL pipeline; Koch Brothers' pipeline spills in Texas; BP's toxic oil spill still hurting Gulf fishermen; Spain's remarkable solar record; PLUS: Stanford University confirms: Renewable energy can provide 100% of the world's energy needs ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The 1 percent’s flood insurance scam; Big Coal's law firm withheld evidence of black lung; Fukushima's precarious next step; ‘Zombie Pipeline Act’ would speed up pipeline approval process; Can science explain Tea Partiers’ rage?; Netherlands town becomes first to divest from fossil fuels; CA condors poisoned by lead bullets; USDA plans to speed up poultry-processing lines; Al Gore: 'Carbon bubble is about to burst'; California's reservoirs drying up; US won't finance overseas coal plants ... PLUS: Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt ... and much, MUCH more! ...
If you haven't been able to follow Reagan-appointed federal appellate court judge Richard Posner's stunning disavowal of his landmark 2007 polling place Photo ID law ruling - from admitting he got it wrong a few weeks ago...to unconvincingly unadmitting it this week --- I'd hardly blame ya.
On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I tried to help make sense of the Photo ID Posner Coaster, as much as possible, and explain where it leaves the continuing fight against the ramped up GOP voter suppression in this country.
We also covered the criminal charges recently filed against repeat offender Diebold (for what the U.S. Attorney described as "a worldwide pattern of criminal conduct"); the new way that KS and AZ have come up with to keep legal voters from voting; and, with NJ Gov. Chris Christie up for re-election next week and taking a bow for his post-"Superstorm Sandy" performance one year ago this week, it seemed a good time to revisit the secret Koch Brothers audio tapes we revealed in 2011, when Christie was lauded at a secret Koch Brothers meeting in Colorado, where brother David introduced him proudly as "my kind of guy", among other praises sung.
Oh, and Desi Doyen joined us, as usual, for the latest Green News Report and lessons --- learned or otherwise --- one year after "Sandy"...
MP3 Download or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...
With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) up for re-election next Tuesday, we've been getting quite a bit of traffic here from Mother Jones where I originally broke my series of exclusive reports on audio recordings from inside the Koch Brothers' secret 2011 Summer Summit near Vail, CO that year.
As a quick reminder of what was heard on those tapes, and what happened there, Christie --- literally --- had snuck out of New Jersey to fly to Vail for the day to perform as the keynote speaker at the super-secret Koch Brothers gathering with a few hundred very select Republican millionaires and billionaires who were meeting to plot what Charles Koch described to the assembled as "the mother of all wars...for the life or death of this country." That, along with comparing President Obama to Saddam Hussein, was how he described what would be their fight for the 2012 Presidential election.
Billionaire brother David is heard introducing Christie at the event as "my kind of guy", describing him as "a true political hero". He boasted that he'd met with Christie secretly, not long before, "for about two hours --- just the two of us," in David Koch's New York City office, and that he was hoping the NJ Governor would some day have "a larger stage where, God knows, he is desperately needed."
Given that this week also happens to be the one year anniversary of "Superstorm Sandy" and Christie is out taking curtain calls for his performance in its wake, it's also well worth noting that, during his effusive introduction to Christie, David Koch also went on to laud him for pulling out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a landmark agreement by a number of northeastern states to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the region...
Christie's surprise withdrawal from RGGI was met with great applause in the banquet hall in Colorado, as well as from Rightwing climate change denialists when it actually occurred. He pulled out of the landmark pact just weeks after Koch and Christie had their secret meeting in New York City, a little over a year before the global warming-linked Sandy would result in the loss of more than a hundred citizens and billions of dollars worth of damage. After we published the secret Koch tapes, Christie would claim that he never discussed RGGI with the Kochs --- it "never came up", he said --- though the Director of the NJ Sierra Club told me that Christie should not be believed.
As to Christie's secret speech itself that night in Colorado --- the security for which was so extreme there were speakers set up around the perimeter of the dining hall to pump "pink noise" into the mountainside to stymie long-range parabolic microphones --- the NJ Governor delivered a stem-winder to the Kochs' assembled high and mighty. He bragged about how he'd fooled Democrats in the state legislature into supporting massive cuts to state pensions, and how he'd planned next to "take on the teachers' union once and for all."
The full audio and text transcripts of the remarks by Charles and David Koch, as well as the speech by Christie, are posted in full here, in case New Jersey voters would like to review the record before heading to the polls next Tuesday.
The full series of stories and their fallout can be perused here.
New revelations and global protests by ordinary citizens and world leaders --- including U.S. allies --- over NSA surveillance, have now settled into an almost daily affair.
In the meantime, during an interview on Democracy Now! this week, journalist Glenn Greenwald offered up an analysis that may help explain what he now describes as an "institutional obsession" with surveillance by the U.S. government.
"If you reveal to populations around the world that their calls are being spied on by the millions, they’ll first wonder, 'Why are my calls of interest to the U.S. government?'," Greenwald observes. "But when it becomes apparent that the United States government is doing this for economic advantage, they start to feel personally implicated, like they’re being actually robbed."
While readers would do well to watch the entirety of the interview (see video below), the analysis offered within by Greenwald is especially poignant because it ties the NSA’s massive surveillance state in many of these foreign countries, not to the prevention of terrorism, but to the seemingly insatiable quest on the part of the U.S.-based, corporate global empire to secure economic advantage...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: One year later: the lessons of Superstorm Sandy - Scientists question rebuilding in coastal areas, warn of future climate impacts & of sea level rise; PLUS: It's official: the Poles are having a heat wave! (No, not the Polish people) ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Leaked Documents Reveal the Secret Finances of a Pro-Industry Science Group; Voters in 2014 swing states favor EPA carbon rules; Washington State county to vote on Big Coal's future; Coal industry lawyers hid evidence of black lung among sick miners; Most Powerful Storm in 14 Years Sweeps Northwestern Europe; Wireless electric car charging works, researchers show; BBC criticized for promoting climate science deniers; Battery breakthrough with graphene-coated power cell; BP Oil Disaster: Gulf fishermen say 'there's no life out there'; Western governors sign climate agreement ... PLUS: The National Review’s worst nightmare: Climate activists might win ... and much, MUCH more! ...
[This article now cross-published by The Progressive...]
Okay. Now this is beginning to get completely absurd.
In an article at New Republic headlined "I Did Not 'Recant' on Voter ID Laws'," published Monday, 7th Circuit Appellate Court Judge Richard Posner now claims he hasn't actually disavowed his landmark majority opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board after all!
The record will show, however, the Reagan-appointed judge may have a bit of a faulty --- or, at least, selective --- memory.
The Crawford case is the now-infamous 2007 challenge to Indiana's then new polling place Photo ID restriction law which Posner voted to uphold in a 2 to 1 decision. The law was subsequently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. It is the only high-profile case to uphold such laws as Constitutional, even though Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the controlling opinion at SCOTUS, now believes dissenting Justice David Souter "got the thing correct."
Despite recent comments by Posner, in both his new book and at HuffPo Live, appearing fairly clearly to suggest he now believes he was wrong about his original decision in the case (which is often incorrectly cited by Republican supporters of such disenfranchising laws); and his expressed belief that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals dissenter Judge Terrence Evans "was right"; and his assertion that such laws are "now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention," Posner now appears to be wobbling back again in his latest response to his own controversy...
[This article now cross-published by Salon...]
Perhaps predictably, the Rightwing is now turning on the otherwise well-respected, Reagan-appointed appellate court judge who recently admitted his majority opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections (2007), the landmark polling place Photo ID restriction law case, "was wrong."
Sergio Munoz at Media Matters details the recent --- and, frankly, absurd --- attacks being leveled against Judge Richard Posner by such outlets as National Review Online and long-time discredited GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters like Hans von Spakovsky.
See Munoz for all the details on the sleazy efforts being put forward by the Right's propaganda machine in their desperate attempt to salvage the only high-profile case they are able to cite that supports --- very meekly --- the disenfranchising Photo ID restriction laws they are trying to enact in state-after-state in order to keep Democratic-leaning voters from casting their otherwise legal votes. That, even though Crawford doesn't even actually say what its GOP advocates pretend that it says. (See our coverage of the DoJ's pending case against the Texas GOP's Photo ID law, to get an idea of how the Lone Star state's own Attorney General Greg Abbott is either lying about Crawford, or simply doesn't understand it. Take your pick.)
But I want to highlight a point or two that I haven't been able to cover previously on all of this, including comments given to The BRAD BLOG by one of the Democratic Party's lead attorneys on the original case, after what he describes as Posner's "stunning" admission.
Also, Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the U.S. Supreme Court's controlling decision in Crawford affirming Posner's lower court ruling, offered noteworthy comments as well recently, when he was asked about Posner's admission. Justice Stevens now offers a similar admission about his own SCOTUS ruling in the case...
A headline in the bi-monthly magazine, Pacific Standard declares: "The Scientific Debate About GM Foods Is Over: They're Safe". The article cites multiple scientific journals and governmental organizations to support the assertion.
Anyone reading the article might assume that, like global climate change, there is a consensus within the scientific community that food made of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are perfectly safe for human consumption; that there's no need for a debate; that the now-pending initiative to require GM foods to be labeled as such in Washington State is just silly.
After articles like the one offered by Pacific Standard --- and a $17.2 million ad campaign by Monsanto and the Grocer's Manufacturing Association --- enough Evergreen State voters are seemingly now convinced that there is no need to label GMOs that pollsters have declared the initiative "too close to call" at the moment. Why, after all, should we bother to label food in the face of a scientific consensus that GMOs are perfectly safe?
The problem is, according to the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Studies (ENSSER), no such scientific consensus exists...
When Don Yelton, North Carolina Republican Party Executive Committee Member and GOP Precinct Chair of Buncombe County, NC tried to explain to The Daily Show that the state's new polling place Photo ID restriction law wasn't racist at all, things went from bad to worse.
Mind you, the "bad" was when he (actually!) claimed that one of his best friends was black! So...you can only imagine what the "worse" was...
Yeah. Pretty amazing. In an interview with Mountain Xpress after the show aired Wednesday night, Yelton said he was pleased with the way the Daily Show had edited the conversation. "The comments that were made, that I said, I stand behind them. I believe them," he told the paper. "To tell you the truth, there were a lot of things I said that they could’ve made me sound worse than what they put up."
But the Republican Party --- currently fighting in court to support the most restrictive voter suppression law to be passed in the nation since the Jim Crow era --- is not quite as pleased. The Buncombe County GOP said in a statement on Facebook, that "Mr. Yelton’s comments do not reflect the belief or feelings of Buncombe republicans, nor do they mirror any core principle that our party is founded upon."
And, late Thursday, as Prachi Gupta at Salon reports, despite initially standing behind his comments, Yelton has now stepped down as the GOP precinct chair in Buncombe County:
Nathan West, Communications Director of the Buncombe County GOP, told Salon over the phone that he is worried about the "artificial damage" Yelton has caused the party.
Um, artificial damage?
Gawker reports that Yelton has now also stepped down from his state Republican Party leadership position as well. Moral for Republicans: It's okay to think it and pass laws based on it, just don't say it out loud, please and thanks, and certainly not in front of a TV camera!
UPDATE: Yelton has a new story. He now says The Daily Show took him out of context (in contrast to what he said previously, as seen above), then goes on to use the n-word to defend himself and calls his local Republican Party "gutless" because says they could have "turn[ed the interview] into a positive" by using it to show they accept all points of view. Seriously. See TPM for more...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Arizona electric company's secret plot to kill solar industry; Hawaiian island rejects being a testing ground for GMOs and pesticides; Washington State fighting GMOs, too; Another U.S. city breaks up with coal; PLUS: Warning: fossil fuels may not be a good investment ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): NYC hurricane expert: "Sandy wasn't the Big One"; Top 10 Food Facts on World Food Day; Australia: Thousands evacuate as conditions worsen; Exposure to DDT may be passed down through subsequent generations; Invasion of the False Widow Spider media stories!; Tea Party Republicans back water infrastructure bill; Monsanto insists Roundup is 'safe' after cancers spike in Argentina; ND pipeline spill raises questions on oversight, inspections; Canada: Spike in carcinogens downwind of petrochemical plants; FDA asks for help as pet deaths spike ... PLUS: Why we don't care about saving our grandchildren from climate change ... and much, MUCH more! ...
[This article now cross-published by Salon...]
One of the world's largest ATM manufacturers and, formerly, one of the largest manufacturers of electronic voting systems, has been indicted by federal prosecutors for bribery and falsification of documents.
The charges represent only the latest in a long series of criminal and/or unethical misconduct by Diebold, Inc. and their executives over the past decade.
According to Cleveland's Plain Dealer, a U.S. Attorney says the latest charges are in response to "a worldwide pattern of criminal conduct" by the company....
The two-count criminal information and deferred prosecution agreement calls for Diebold to pay nearly $50 million in penalties: $23 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and $25 million to the Department of Justice.
The agreement with federal prosecutors also calls for the implementation of rigorous internal controls that includes a compliance monitor for at least 18 months. The government agreed to defer criminal prosecution for three years, and drop the charges if Diebold abides by the terms of the agreement.
Despite at least $1.75 million in bribes said to have been paid the company around the globe, nobody will go to jail for what U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach describes as their "worldwide pattern of criminal conduct," because they are a corporation --- and you are not.
The $50 million the company has agreed to pay is a mere fraction of the firm's $3 billion in annual revenues. That, even though Diebold is a repeat offender --- which may be describing it mildly...
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