The BRAD BLOG http://bradblog.com Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! Sat, 16 Dec 2017 23:22:02 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.0.2 en GOP Tax Scam's Final Mile; Tillerson's NK Flip-Flop; Packing the Courts; Trump Family Fail: 'BradCast' 12/15/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12409 http://bradblog.com/?p=12409#comments Sat, 16 Dec 2017 02:21:21 +0000 Brad Friedman BRAD BLOG Media Appearance New York Alabama North Korea United Nations Accountability U.S. House U.S. Senate Health Care Economy KPFK Donald Trump Bernie Sanders Federalist Society Paul Ryan IRS/Taxes BradCast Roy Moore Mike Pence Rex Tillerson Bob Corker Steve Mnuchin Election 2018 Election 2017 John Kennedy http://bradblog.com/?p=12409 On today's BradCast, a spoonful or two of sugar where we can find it, along with much too much bitter medicine. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's jam-packed 'BradCast'...

First up: The massively unpopular Republican tax scam lurches toward the finish line after the last of the pretend GOP hold-outs in the U.S. Senate now seem to be on board. They all know it's a scam, of course, one that will not, as they pretend, "pay for itself". And most predict the tax bill will gravely hurt the GOP's chances of holding on to the U.S. House in 2018. But they don't seem to care for some reason Moreover, they are openly admitting publicly that they are coming for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid almost as soon as the largest redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to corporations and the wealthy in the history of the nation is completed before Christmas.

Then: Earlier in the week, Trump's beleaguered Sec. of State Rex Tillerson had announced that the U.S. was ready to meet with the North Koreans for peace talks without preconditions. By week's end, however, that hopeful message of potential peace took a drastic u-turn, as Tillerson appears to have reversed course at the last minute during his remarks at the U.N. on Friday.

Meanwhile, even though they have, up until now, failed to enact any major legislation to date, Trump and the Republicans have been wildly successful at ramming lifetime appointments of radical right-wing jurists to the federal bench through the U.S. Senate. Some of those appointees have been ridiculously unqualified, though at least one Senate Republican is beginning to put the brakes on those nominees. We share part of the astonishing Senate Judiciary Committee colloquy this week between Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Mark Spencer Petersen, Trump's embarrassingly unqualified nominee for a lifetime post on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Finally, we get to at least a spoonful of sugar with a musical tribute to the apparently failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, plummeting approval ratings for the President, the Vice-President and the entire Republican Party, and the hilarious case of pretty much every member of the Trump family in D.C. successfully suppressing their own votes in last month's New York mayoral election.

All of that and much more in today's BradCast. Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
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]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12409 Trump FCC Kills 'Net Neutrality', Endangering Free Speech on the Internet: 'BradCast' 12/14/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12408 http://bradblog.com/?p=12408#comments Fri, 15 Dec 2017 02:27:13 +0000 Brad Friedman Fox 'News' BRAD BLOG Mainstream Corporate Media BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Alabama Rights And Freedoms Freedom of the Press Corporate Media Mainstream Media Failure Accountability U.S. House Fairness Doctrine U.S. Senate Barack Obama Net Neutrality Republicans FCC Al Franken EPA Bill Clinton KPFK Donald Trump News Corp. IRS/Taxes BradCast Google AT&T Blake Farenthold Verizon Disney http://bradblog.com/?p=12408 On today's BradCast: Disturbing news for Americans and free speech before Christmas, but great news for huge corporations enjoying record profits already. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, yet another media mega-merger is announced as Disney says they will purchase much of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox in a $52 billion dollar deal, even as Trump and the Congressional GOP push to give them all huge tax breaks --- at the expense of the poor and middle class. Republicans are hoping for final passage of their tax bill before Christmas and before presumptive Sen.-elect Doug Jones (D-AL) can be seated and further reduce the GOP's slim U.S. Senate majority.

On the upside today, one of Trump's wildly inappropriate industry shills nominated to the EPA has reportedly withdrawn, as have two wholly unqualified nominees for lifetime judgeship appointments to the federal bench.

Then, as expected on Thursday, Trump's Republican-led Federal Communications Commission (FCC), voted 3 to 2 along party lines to kill "Net Neutrality" rules for Internet Service Providers like AT&T, Verizon, Charter and Comcast. That, despite a letter from 18 state Attorneys General who asked the Commission to delay the vote until after a legitimate public comment period. The previous one, they charge, was manipulated by as many as 2,000,000 comments that New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has found found to have been faked.

Nonetheless, right-wing FCC Commissioner and former Verizon attorney Ajit Pai did not delay the vote, and the Commission voted to kill the rules that had long prevented ISP's from blocking or slowing down certain websites or apps, or charging more for access to them. Longtime media reform activist SUE WILSON joins us today and describes the latest actions by the FCC as little more than a move toward the end of free speech on the Internet.

She argues that the move to kill Net Neutrality echoes the efforts to pass the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was also sold by proponents at the time as a boon for competition and innovation that would result in more free speech over our public airwaves. Instead, the public radio waves have become the nearly exclusive domain of corporate right-wing political speech and propaganda in the 20 years since the measure was signed by President Bill Clinton.

"They made a lot of promises, when they consolidated radio, that we would end up with a much more diverse speech for everybody," Wilson explains. "Anybody who listens to radio knows that it's almost impossible to find a show like The BradCast on the air because it is now dominated by pro-Republican, conservative --- no, 'alt-right' --- speech, to the exclusion of all others. They flat-out lied to us, and guess what? That's what they're doing today."

A similar future may soon be in store for the Internet, unless promised lawsuits or Congressional legislation is able to block or reverse today's shamefully under-reported and disturbing turn of events.

"The claim that the Federal Communications Commission Republicans are making is that we need to give more money to broadband services so that they can invest in rural areas," says Wilson. "However, if you look at the Securities and Exchange [Commission] documents, which these corporations have to fill out --- under penalty of prosecution if they lie --- the six CEOs of publicly-traded broadband companies are telling their investors that the FCC's current Net Neutrality rules have not in any way impacted their investment strategies. Again, we're looking at the Federal Communications Commission, as headed by Ajit Pai, just making things up out of whole cloth."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with an update on the record and still-growing Southern California wildfires, more bad news about the Arctic, some good news for Tesla, and a worldwide embarrassment for the United States...

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

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]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12408 'Green News Report' - December 14, 2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12407 http://bradblog.com/?p=12407#comments Thu, 14 Dec 2017 19:32:06 +0000 Desi Doyen California Environment France Green News Donald Trump Wind Solar Climate change Extreme weather China Arnold Schwarzenegger Agriculture Transportation Electric vehicles Tesla Paris Agreement Arctic NOAA Emmanuel Macron http://bradblog.com/?p=12407

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Officials warn of toxic smoke from Southern California wildfires; New bad news for the Arctic; New good news for Tesla; At global summit, the world fights climate change without the U.S.; PLUS: French president makes good on promise to fund U.S. climate scientists, after Trump drops out... 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): NOAA: The Arctic shows “no sign” of returning to a “reliably frozen region.”; Avocados and lemons also victims of CA fires; Babies born near fracking sites face low birth weight; U.S. meat industry is the largest source of drinking water pollution throughout the Midwest; Trump Admin wrongly withheld funds from ARPA-e; Final GOP tax bill would ANWR drilling; Climate change made Harvey rainfall 15 percent more intense; Exxon to disclose climate risks to shareholders; Former EPA chiefs blast Pebble Mine project; Trump EPA chemical safety nominee withdraws; New discoveries on increase in earthquakes in KS, OK; Puerto Rico object to new excise tax in GOP tax bill... PLUS: United States of Petroleum: Government's secret alliance with Big Oil... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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

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


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

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

  • ]]>
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    Veteran Recount Attorney Sees Little Chance for Moore 'Recount' in AL: 'BradCast' 12/13/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12406 http://bradblog.com/?p=12406#comments Thu, 14 Dec 2017 01:57:41 +0000 Brad Friedman Election Reform BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Alabama Paper Ballots Legislation Accountability U.S. House U.S. Senate Democrats Republicans Chuck Schumer KPFK Donald Trump Mitch McConnell IRS/Taxes BradCast Roy Moore Election 2018 Election 2017 Doug Jones http://bradblog.com/?p=12406 On today's BradCast: It was an all too rare moment of good news, of late, for Democrats and, indeed, the nation on Tuesday, after what appears to have been a stunning upset by Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's U.S. Senate Special Election. But Dems may not want to spend too much time celebrating. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

    Following Jones' apparent stunning victory on Tuesday, his highly controversial opponent has so far refused to concede or reportedly even speak to Jones. At the same time, despite Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's demand in 2010, when Democrats controlled the U.S. Senate, to wait to hold a vote on the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') until Republican Sen. Scott Brown could be seated after his special election in Massachusetts, the GOP appears to be barreling ahead with their plan to vote on their radical and wildly unpopular tax scheme in the coming days, before Jones can be seated. That, even after McConnell had held a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court open for almost a year, claiming that "the American people should have a voice" in who would be the next Supreme Court Justice during the 2016 Presidential election.

    In the meantime, even after the voice of AL voters seems to have quite clearly said they want to be represented by a Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Moore suggested on Tuesday night that he may hold out for a "recount" of paper ballots processed by computer scanners across the state. AL's Sec. of State John Merrill told CNN Tuesday night that Moore has the right to do so, but election statutes in the state seem to say otherwise.

    We're joined today by veteran recount expert, attorney, author and professor CHRIS SAUTTER of American University, to discuss all of this. Sautter, formerly an adviser to Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and many other Democrats, worked on the recount efforts by Al Gore in Florida in 2000 and Al Franken in Minnesota in 2008, among many other such efforts going back decades.

    "I've been doing recounts now since the 1984 [U.S.] House recount in Indiana that was ultimately decided by 4 votes --- still the closest House race in modern times," Sautter tells me. "One thing I've observed is that in the heart of the narrowly-defeated candidate lies the belief that he actually won or at least the hope that a recount will somehow salvage a victory. It's another way of describing denial in an election that is close, heartbreakingly close, for the loser."

    Sautter was also part of the team supporting the multi-partisan lawsuit recently filed in Alabama in hopes of forcing the state to retain digital "ballot images" created by their paper ballot computer scanners. Those images, many election integrity advocates argue, can be useful for public oversight of results, particularly in states like Alabama which make it virtually impossible for citizens to oversee tabulation of paper ballots, and which simply rescan them through the same computers a second time in the rare event of a "recount".

    As we have been reporting, the transparency advocates who filed that lawsuit appeared to have won it on Monday afternoon, but by Monday evening, in a ruling that Sautter describes as "extraordinary" the night before the Election, the Sec. of State was successful in convincing the state Supreme Court to allow counties to destroy those "ballot images" altogether.

    Sautter offers insight, among other things, as to Moore's chances of success in a potential "recount" (and of being allowed to have one at all under state law); on the bizarre circumstances under which the AL Supremes reversed the lower court's "ballot images" ruling at the last minute without input from the plaintiffs; and how he and other election integrity advocates hope to take their fight for transparency nationwide in 2018.

    Finally, while Jones' apparent victory on Tuesday may have been good news for Democrats, Alabama, the nation as a whole (and even the Republican Party), we explain why what happened on Tuesday actually serves as a startling reminder of just how rigged against Democrats the electoral system is as they prepare to head into next year's crucial mid-term elections...

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

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    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12406 Internet Freedom of Speech at Stake http://bradblog.com/?p=12404 http://bradblog.com/?p=12404#comments Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:13:27 +0000 Sue Wilson Rights And Freedoms Net Neutrality Republicans Rush Limbaugh FCC Donald Trump AT&T http://bradblog.com/?p=12404 Two days before Thanksgiving, the Federal Communications Commission announced [PDF] it will vote December 14 on a new Federal rule that may very easily take away our Freedom of Speech on the Internet.

    That's not an exaggeration.

    The three Republican presidential appointees on the FCC will pass a federal rule that could result in any content provider with a website or app --- from AirBnb to Zillow to The BRAD BLOG --- being forced to pay your Internet Service Provider big fees for the privilege of bringing their content onto your device or computer. If they don't pay up, their content slows down, and you can't get the content you want unless you wait. And wait. Research shows if you wait just ten seconds, many just give up. It's not so bad for content from well-funded players, but what happens when the guy who blogs about your local school board gets shut out? Chalk another one up for Big Media controlling what information we are allowed to see...

    Pretty much everyone --- except for the big service providers --- is against this rule change. Netflix, Facebook, Google, Mozilla, you name it, they're fighting it. (Just do a search for your favorite online site's stance on "net neutrality" and see what it says.) On so-called "Cyber Monday", more than 200 companies like Crayon sent a letter of protest to Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

    But the Internet Service Providers themselves, ATT, Comcast, Verizon all love the proposed rule. (Did I mention that Chairman Pai is a former Verizon lawyer?)...

    The FCC's order [PDF] claims that existing Net Neutrality rules are detrimental for ISPs because they may be "deterring them from investing in broadband." Better broadband would mean quicker service, they argue, especially in rural areas, and that would be a good thing. But Public Knowledge Senior VP Harold Feld says there simply is no deterrence. "More than six CEOs of publicly traded broadband companies told investors --- under penalty of SEC prosecution for false or misleading statements --- that the FCC's current Net Neutrality rules did not in any way impact their investment strategies."

    So as you've guessed, this is about money.

    But it's also about whose political views come to the forefront and whose get stalled.

    We've seen this movie before and it's a horror show. Republican promises in the 1990's that consolidated radio would provide more diverse speech resulted in an onslaught of one sided Limbaugh-esque lies. Now they'd have us believe that putting GOP favored corporations in control of what speech We the People can access online will provide a freer society. (Cue the music from "Jaws.")

    Next add the FCC's November 16 vote that allows just one company to own the newspaper and multiple TV and radio stations in one town to the agency's upcoming push to permit Sinclair Broadcasting to reach 73% of the nations' airwaves with its so-called "alt-right" philosophy (up from the current cap of 39%,) and you get a pattern of purposeful manipulation of the national discourse. "Orwell rolls in his grave," as filmmaker Jeff Cohen puts it.

    Here's the kicker: We can protest all we want, but the 3-2 Republican majority on the Commission will vote to gut Internet freedom anyway. These people are not elected by We the People; they serve at the pleasure of the President and cannot be swayed by constituent pressure.

    While Democratic politicians pledge to fight for Net Neutrality, they really need to draft legislation --- laws, not rules passed by political appointees in a ping-pong political process. The first law should remand the FCC to making rules about technology issues, and put public policy in the hands of those who are directly accountable to We the People.

    Meanwhile, We the People still need to make our voices heard. The public record does count when groups like Free Press file lawsuits to protect the public interest. (See Media Action Center for links.)

    The only elected official who could protect our Freedom of Speech at this juncture is President Donald Trump, whose administration has come out against Net Neutrality.

    But he has been known to change his mind.

    * * *

    Sue Wilson is an Emmy and AP award winning broadcast journalist turned media reform activist, director of the media reform documentary Broadcast Blues, and founder of the Media Action Center. You can reach her at sue@mediaactioncenter.net or on Twitter at @sueblueswilson.


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    AL Supreme Court Allows Destruction of 'Ballot Images' in Senate Election: 'BradCast' 12/12/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12405 http://bradblog.com/?p=12405#comments Wed, 13 Dec 2017 00:55:25 +0000 Brad Friedman ES&S California Election Reform Mainstream Corporate Media Washington Post BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Election Fraud New York Alabama Rights And Freedoms Corporate Media Paper Ballots Legislation New York Times Photo ID Laws Mainstream Media Failure Environment Hillary Clinton Voter Registration Vote Caging Health Care EPA KPFK Donald Trump Natural gas Canada Russia Oil Extreme weather Election 2016 BradCast Roy Moore Public lands Ryan Zinke Election 2017 Doug Jones http://bradblog.com/?p=12405 On today's BradCast: A last minute ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court, without plaintiffs even present, will allow the state to destroy electronic "ballot images" created by the state's digital computer ballot scanners in Tuesday's special election. Also, was it the fake news or the real news that tipped last year's Presidential election? [Audio link to show follows below.]

    In Alabama, computer tabulators determine the intent of voters (either correctly or incorrectly), as cast on hand-marked paper ballots from Tuesday's highly contentious U.S. Senate Special Election between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. The state Supreme Court, in a late ruling on Monday, issued a stay [PDF] that effectively reversed a lower court order [PDF] on Monday. That order had required all digital scanners in the state to be set to retain all such images created by the system as ballots are scanned through it. The stay now means that only in the exceedingly rare event of a hand "recount" of paper ballots will the public be able to oversee elections results to determine if the computers got it right on Tuesday.

    We've been covering this issue for some time. (My original interview last week with election integrity and transparency advocate John Brakey, who helped organize the AL lawsuit is here.) Yesterday, it looked like a win for Brakey and the multi-partisan plaintiffs who filed in court to demand the state's retention of all digital images for inspection by the public, as per federal law requiring all election materials be retained for 22 months. But late on Monday, Secretary of State John Merrill and Alabama's state Election Administrator Ed Packard argued their case [PDF] ex parte (in otherwords, alone, without the plaintiffs there or allowed to respond) and received a favorable ruling from Roy Moore's old colleagues on the court. (Moore was formerly a State Supreme Court Justice, until twice being removed for failing to follow federal court orders.)

    I spoke with Brakey and attorney working on the case, Chris Sautter, earlier today, as well as other experts. I've got details on their comments, and from the court documents, on today's show. Essentially, the state argued that state election officials didn't have jurisdiction to order county election officials to turn on the software switch on the scanners to retain all ballot images, and that doing so at the last minute, as the Circuit Court ordered on Monday, would "cause confusion among elections officials and be disruptive to" the election on Tuesday. That, even though the Circuit Court judge found it wouldn't cost the state anything to do so and that failing to turn on the setting that retains the images would lead to irreparable harm to the plaintiffs. Sautter tells me the state did not make the case for last minute confusion during the lower court arguments.

    I suspect we'll have much more on that and on other problems reported at the polls today, on tomorrow's BradCast, along with whatever results --- accurate or inaccurate (who knows?) --- that the computers may report by then.

    Then, after a flurry of fake news over the weekend during the final run-up to Tuesday's U.S. Senate election in Alabama, we discuss an alarming new study analyzing the effect of both real and fake news during the run-up to last year's Presidential election. Was it so-called fake news and Russian Facebook ads that gave Donald Trump the edge to defeat Hillary Clinton last year? Or, was it a failure by the mainstream corporate media --- the "real news" --- to responsibly cover important issues that the electorate needed before casting their vote? DAVID M. ROTHSCHILD, co-author of the new study published by Columbia Journalism Review, joins us today to discuss their --- at times, remarkable --- findings.

    I'd strongly urge you to read their full damning report --- particularly if you are of the mind that fake news and ads said to have come from Russia, turned this election --- because there are too many detailed and troubling findings in it for me to adequately summarize either here or during today's program.

    But, to cite just one aspect of my conversation with Rothschild about the report's analysis of 150 front-page articles in the New York Times over the 69 days prior to last year's November election, he tells me: "150 stories. And of that, there were just 10 stories where they actually really touched on a specific policy initiative of either of the candidates, the ideal thing that you would want the 'paper of record' to be supplying to people. The vast majority of stories were miscellaneous campaign stories. Over 50% of them talked about the horse race. Very small percentages, 15% or less, actually talked anything about policy, with even smaller percentages actually talking about the policies themselves. It was all about the horse race, all about the scandals, not about the impact of the election itself on policy, which is ultimately why we have elections and ultimately defines the impact of these elections."

    His study notes that in just six days right before the election, "The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election." That said, ironically enough, as Rothschild notes, even the MSM coverage of the purported scandals was terrible, misleading and inaccurate as well! They, and we, never seem to learn.

    Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green New Report, as unprecedented winter wildfires continue to ravage Southern California and as the Trump Administration continues to ravage the environment...

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

    * * *
    While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12405 'Green News Report' - December 12, 2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12403 http://bradblog.com/?p=12403#comments Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:00:20 +0000 Desi Doyen California Utah Montana Environment Republicans EPA Fracking Donald Trump Natural gas Climate change Extreme weather Mining Native Americans Dept. of Interior Public lands Ryan Zinke http://bradblog.com/?p=12403

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Southern California's Thomas Fire now 5th largest in state history; Trump Administration attacks private company over national monument lawsuit; Trump to open up East Coast to offshore drilling; PLUS: Surprise! Trump's EPA has slowed down enforcement actions against polluters... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

    Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

    Link:
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    Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

    IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): GOP tax cut bill's fossil fuel provision would personally enrich GOP lawmakers; In CA, mixed results for regulations meant to help stop fires; GOP tax cut bill would penalize CA firefighting victims; France’s Macron takes lead in climate change battle; World leaders gather (without Trump) for One World climate conference; Judges skeptical of DOJ bid to dismiss kids' climate lawsuit; Alaska oil lease sale draws just 7 bids; Trump slashes NASA climate research funding; FERC seeks delay on coal-nuclear bailout; Recycling chaos as China bans 'foreign' waste; After tax cut, Trump looks to localities to fund infrastructure... PLUS: Build, flood, rebuild - Flood insurance program's expensive cycle... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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

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


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

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

  • ]]>
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    Moore, Moore, Moore...and Other Vital News: 'BradCast' 12/11/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12402 http://bradblog.com/?p=12402#comments Tue, 12 Dec 2017 01:58:32 +0000 Brad Friedman ES&S California Election Reform BRAD BLOG Media Appearance War On Terror Election Fraud New York Alabama Rights And Freedoms New Mexico Paper Ballots Legislation Kansas Photo ID Laws Barack Obama Voter Registration Dept. of Defense RNC Republicans LGBTQ KPFK Donald Trump Climate change Extreme weather IRS/Taxes BradCast Religion Race Roy Moore Election 2017 Richard Shelby Doug Jones http://bradblog.com/?p=12402 On today's BradCast, we take a deep dive into the insane state of play in the final days before voters finally head to the polls in Alabama for the U.S. Senate special election between the Republican, twice-removed-from-the-bench judge Roy Moore and Democratic former US Attorney Doug Jones.

    But first, a few quick news items today, including an update on the still-out-of-control Southern California wildfires; The mostly-failed terror bombing by an alleged ISIS sympathizer in the subway near Times Square today; news in the case of three white rightwing "militiamen" on trial for an alleged scheme to bomb a community of Muslim Somali refugees in Kansas. Their motion seeks to get more Trump-supporters from elsewhere in the state on their terror trial jury; New details on the school shooting (by another white guy) in New Mexico last week that took three lives, including that of the shooter. Despite FBI investigators interviewing the man last year after he is said to have left online comments seeking information on weapons to use in a mass shooting, he was able to legally purchase a semi-automatic pistol and high-capacity magazines last month anyway.

    And then it's onto our deep dive into "deep red" Alabama and the state of the important Moore/Jones U.S. Senate election before Election Day on Tuesday. Among the issues covered on that front today:

    • Election Integrity advocates obtained a big win on Monday morning, when receiving an order [PDF] from a state court requiring state election officials retain digital ballot images created by computer scanners tabulating the paper ballots used across much of the state. (My interview last week with John Brakey, the election integrity advocate who organized the court action, explaining why its necessary, is here.)
      UPDATE 12/12/2017: After a private ex parte motion (meaning, the opposition was not present) later in the day, by the defendants, AL's Sec. of State and State Election Director, the Alabama Supreme Court stayed the earlier Circuit Court ruling and set a hearing on the matter for later this month. That, effectively, means that ballot images will not be preserved after all. More on this remarkable late ruling on today's BradCast...
    • Some last minute news on the anti-gay, anti-Muslim Moore, who has been accused by 9 different women of inappropriate sexual contact with them when they were teenagers (including one who was 14-years old at the time), on his belief that Constitutional Amendments which came after the ten in the Bill of Rights --- including those that ended slavery and gave voting rights to African-Americans and woman --- somehow violated the intentions of the nation's Founders;
    • New polling from Fox "News" claiming to find the Democrat Jones up by 10 points over Moore on the eve of the election, and another new poll from Emerson finding Moore up over Jones by 9 points;
    • How the entire race will come down to turnout, particularly in the African-American community, and whether they are allowed to vote and to have their votes counted as cast, given the state's Photo ID voting restrictions and other practices which Republican state lawmakers have been caught admitting to having designed specifically to suppress black and Latino voting;
    • AL's senior Senator Richard Shelby, a fellow Republican, announces he could not vote for Moore, based on the allegations against him;
    • And, finally, a remarkable focus group led by Republican pollster Frank Luntz for VICE News with so-called "conservative" Alabamians explaining why they plan to vote for Moore despite the allegations by nine different women against him...

    Buckle up!...

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

    * * *
    While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12402 GOP/NRA's 'Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act' Likely Unconstitutional http://bradblog.com/?p=12398 http://bradblog.com/?p=12398#comments Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:25:12 +0000 Ernest A. Canning California New York Massachusetts Rights And Freedoms U.S. Constitution Vermont Accountability U.S. House Republicans U.S. Supreme Court Nevada Clarence Thomas Donald Trump NRA/Gun Violence Neil Gorsuch Las Vegas Massacre http://bradblog.com/?p=12398 Last week, at the behest of the "terrorist-enabling" National Rifle Association (NRA), the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act [PDF] (CCRA or HR-38), by way of a mostly party-line vote, 231 to198.

    Under the provisions of this proposed federal statute, anyone who has a right to carry a concealed handgun in their own state --- such as "Wild, Wild West Nevada" where everyone is entitled to open or conceal carry all manner of firearms --- must now be permitted to carry a concealed weapon inside any other state that allows citizens to apply for, but not necessarily receive, a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

    According to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., "Someone from Vermont, where there are no permit requirements, could come into New York City with a loaded gun, come to Times Square, go to the subways." This, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill added, "will make New York City less safe and our job as law enforcement much harder."

    Organizing for America's Jesse Lehrich similarly observed in a tweet, that where Massachusetts "has a rigorous process to obtain a Concealed Carry permit, Vermont has no requirements. Under HR-38, a guy from MA could just buy a gun in VT & bring it back & override MA laws."

    As a practical matter, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for local law enforcement to determine whether an individual sporting a concealed weapon has a permit from another state without first "detaining" them long enough to check their ID. That, as Lehrich notes, could also get them sued, because HR-38 allows someone with a permit from another state to sue law enforcement for simply detaining them.

    The legislation, if adopted, would also appear to override states' rights in gun safety conscious states, like California, where both open and concealed carry is generally prohibited, though residents may apply for a license to carry a concealed firearm. The NRA's proposed federal statute would prohibit CA law enforcement from "arresting or detaining" a NV resident with a permit, even though CA residents who could not meet the criteria for a concealed carry license under state law could be prosecuted for the same offense.

    Fortunately, if the life-endangering CCRA is enacted into law, there's a good chance it will subsequently be struck down as unconstitutional, even by our current U.S. Supreme Court...

    No 2nd Amendment right to concealed carry

    The NRA seeks to obtain from Congress that which it failed to obtain from the judiciary.

    In 2016's Peruta v. County of San Diego [PDF], the full U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of a San Diego County regulation that is part of California's "multifaceted statutory scheme for regulating firearms".

    As noted in that case, California "generally prohibits carrying concealed firearms in public, whether loaded or unloaded." There are exceptions, such as the right of peace officers to conceal carry. Local regulations in San Diego authorize citizens to apply for a concealed carry permit. However, as implemented by the SD Sheriff's Department, an individual will not be issued such a permit based solely on a generalized concern for their personal safety. Instead, concealed carry permits will be issued only upon proof of "documented threats, restraining orders and other related situations where an applicant can demonstrate they are a specific target at risk."

    The NRA, through its affiliate, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, argued that the SD Sheriff's Department's restrictions on concealed carry violated the Second Amendment. The full 9th Circuit disagreed. It upheld the constitutionality of CA's statutory scheme, including San Diego's limits on concealed carry. The U.S. Supreme Court, by way of a 7 - 2 decision, with Justices Gorsuch and Thomas dissenting, declined to hear the case.

    Thus, as the law now stands, there is no established Second Amendment right to carry a concealed handgun.

    'Police powers'

    Should the CCRA be passed by the Senate as well, and then signed into law, it is likely to be challenged by states such as California. The right of individual states to pass laws designed to protect the public health and safety within their borders, (aka "police powers"), has been recognized by our courts throughout the nation's history.

    Here, for example, the State of California has, as observed by the 9th Circuit in Peruta, adopted "a multifaceted scheme regulating firearms." That scheme has included a legislative determination that it is generally a bad idea to allow people to carry weapons (open or concealed; loaded or unloaded) in public.

    CA has a right to prevent carnage, like that occasioned by the Las Vegas Massacre, where the shooter in the words of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, transported "20 rifles into [his Mandalay Bay] hotel room without attracting untoward attention for doing it." His ability to do so with impunity was facilitated by Nevada's open-carry law and an out-of-control gun culture.

    Commerce Clause

    Under our federal system of government, the regulation of purely local activities is ordinarily left to the states. However, Congress has frequently and lawfully enacted statutes, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, under its constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce.

    As the Supreme Court observed in Gonzales v. Raich (2005) , "case law firmly establishes Congress' power to regulate purely local activities that are part of an economic 'class of activities' that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce".

    In that case, the Court upheld the supremacy of the federal Controlled Substance Act over California's effort to legalize medical marijuana, because the activities Congress sought to regulate --- the cultivation, sale and consumption of a commodity (marijuana) --- were "quintessentially economic".

    But the criteria --- "economic activities" that "substantially affect interstate commerce" --- also defines the limits of federal power under the Commerce Clause. The local "activity" that Congress seeks to regulate via the CCRA (carrying a handgun) is not an "economic activity" that "substantially affects interstate commerce", according to the rationale applied by the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Lopez (1995) --- a case that should be regarded as a controlling precedent.

    In Lopez, the Court overturned the conviction of a 12th-grade student pursuant to the federal Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990 because the "activity" the act sought to prevent was not an "economic activity" that "substantially affected interstate commerce."

    There is a monumental difference between a federal law that aspires to enhance public safety (the Gun-Free School Zone Act, for example) and a federal law that seeks to hamper the ability of local law enforcement to protect and serve (the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act). But, in both instances, we deal with federal legislation that seeks to regulate the identical local, non-economic activity --- carrying a handgun. In both instances, Congress will have exceeded its authority to "regulate interstate commerce".

    Full Faith and Credit

    The use of the word "reciprocity" in the bill's name, hints at a claim that the NRA is suggesting that states like California must recognize the right to conceal carry within their borders in order to give Full Faith and Credit with respect to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of other states.

    But, as long ago determined by the Supreme Court in Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. Industrial Accident Commission (1939), generally, a law passed to regulate events that occur domestically in one state doesn't control the law that applies to the same activity that occurs in another state.

    In that case, the Court held that the fact that both an employer and employee were Massachusetts residents did not prevent California from applying its own workers' compensation law when the employee was injured within the state of California.

    So, the fact that Nevada may permit conceal carry within its borders does not prevent California's right to limit concealed carry within its own borders.

    Whether the newly radical and stolen Republican majority on the Supreme Court will agree with its own precedents, however, will undoubtedly be tested if the CCRA ever becomes the law of the land.

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


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    Sunday Toons of the Soulless Moment http://bradblog.com/?p=12401 http://bradblog.com/?p=12401#comments Sun, 10 Dec 2017 14:29:01 +0000 PDiddie Toons http://bradblog.com/?p=12401

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


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