It was a very independent and very activist-y BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio this week, on a whole bunch of levels.
First up: Christina Tobin, Founder & Chair of The Free & Equal Elections Foundation --- and co-moderator, with Larry King, of the 2012 Presidential Debate where all of the major candidates were invited (as opposed to to just two of them). We discussed her group and their upcoming United We Stand Fest at UCLA on May 10th, which is set to feature a ton of very cool politicians (of all parties), journalist, musicians...and me.
Next: Why Tuesday's landmark decision in a federal court in Wisconsin, striking down that state's GOP polling place Photo ID restriction law is so important to the entire nation, and why Scott Walker and a whole bunch of Republicans across the country aren't gonna like it at all.
As a former Republican, I can't help noticing the dark irony in the abandonment of rogue Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy by Republican politicians and right-wing media figures on the heels of his incendiary comments last week about "the Negro."
Bigotry is never funny, as Los Angeles Clippers owner --- and (contrary to right-wing media misinformation) registered Republican --- Donald Sterling has proven. However, one can't help chuckling over the fact that right-wingers tried to wash their hands of Cliven the Cretinous just a few days after they celebrated a US Supreme Court ruling limiting affirmative-action efforts in higher education.
The two issues are connected, though not in the way one might think...
Very big news out of a federal court in Wisconsin today, where the state's polling place Photo ID law (Act 23) has now been struck down as both a violation of the federal Constitutional as well as under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
The landmark ruling will almost certainly have national implications for federal challenges in other states against similar restrictions recently enacted by Republicans.
Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the heart of the VRA by making Section 5 unenforceable until Congress passes new legislation to determine which jurisdictions must pre-clear new elections laws with the U.S. Dept. of Justice before they are put into effect, due to a history of racial discrimination in elections in those jurisdictions. Section 2, however, bars discrimination in all 50 states, even though, unlike Section 5, it cannot be applied until after the new law in question goes into effect.
Judge Lynn Adelman's ruling [PDF] today, finding WI's version of the law discriminatory and in violation of both Section 2 and the 14th Amendment of the federal Constitution, is likely to have an impact on federal challenges to similar laws in states such as Texas and North Carolina, where federal cases are pending to block similarly discriminatory polling place restrictions.
Moreover, the judge placed the racial and class discrimination and disenfranchisement that would be caused by this law in stark terms, in regard to how many otherwise legal voters in Wisconsin might lose their right to vote, and how such a law might have directly affected the results of the state's 2010 election, had it been place at the time...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Deadly tornado outbreak rips across the South, but safer building codes still stalled by lawmakers; Good news for those who breathe: Supreme Court upholds EPA's cross-state pollution standard; PLUS: Happy 60th Birthday, solar energy! Look what we dug up to celebrate!... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Six grassroots environmental activists win prestigious Goldman Prize; Miscarriage Risk Rises With BPA Exposure: Study; Exxon’s $900 Billion Arctic Prize at Risk After Ukraine; BP doesn't want to pay for oil spill research; Capping Chernobyl - literally; New sweeping reforms to reduce coal mine dust, black lung disease ... PLUS: Pork prices spike as pig virus wipes out over 10% of nation's hogs ... and much, MUCH more! ...
He makes a very cute campaign video. Please watch it above. It's quite clever. But it would be nice if California Secretary of State candidate Derek Cressman, one of two Democratic candidates vying for the job in the upcoming June 3rd primary, had a better understanding of the electronic voting systems he'd be overseeing as SoS.
I had originally intended to run the video above, because it's smart and fun, along with a throw-away remark expressing the wish that Cressman understood more about the very technical concerns about the security and verifiable of e-voting system --- particularly since the way CA deals with them has such a sweeping effect on the same systems as used across the country.
As a former Common Cause executive, Cressman has made his important fight to overturn the Supreme Court's abhorrent Citizens United ruling central to his campaign, as highlighted in the animated campaign video above. That's fine, but the office of Sec. of State, particularly in CA, requires much more.
Rather than offer that throw-away remark, however, I thought I'd see if Cressman had learned more about electronic voting systems since he and I briefly chatted in person at an event last summer, just as he was originally entering the race.
According to comments he sent in response to a recent query from The BRAD BLOG, while Cressman's general knowledge of the systems seems to have improved since we last spoke, and while he remains an ardent opponent of the madness of Internet Voting and some of the most unsecure methods of precinct-based voting, his understanding of the concerns about the vulnerability of e-voting remains troubling --- at least for a Sec. of State candidate in the nation's most populous state...
A Circuit Court judge has resoundingly rejected Arkansas' new Photo ID restrictions on voting, declaring the law to be "null and void" and in violation of the state's Constitutional right to vote.
Last year, after Republicans took over the Arkansas statehouse for the first time since Reconstruction, they passed an onerous Photo ID restriction law for voting. The Democratic Governor Mike Beebe vetoed the new restrictions, but that veto was subsequently overridden by the Republican legislature.
Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Davis Fox' 2-page Summary Judgement [PDF] finds in favor of plaintiffs in the case, the Pulaski County Election Commission and against both the defendant, the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners, as well as the Republican Party of Arkansas which intervened on behalf of the Board of Election.
In his Thursday ruling, Fox found the law to be "unconstitutional in that it violates Articles 3, Section 1 and Article 3, Section 2 of the Arkansas Constitution."
Section 1 of Article 3 details the "Qualifications of Electors" in the Arkansas state Constitution, declaring that, "Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, any person may vote in an election in this state who is: (1) A citizen of the United States; (2) A resident of the State of Arkansas; (3) At least eighteen (18) years of age; and (4) Lawfully registered to vote in the election."
Section 2, on the "Right of Suffrage" states that "Elections shall be free and equal. No power, civil or military, shall ever interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage; nor shall any law be enacted whereby such right shall be impaired or forfeited, except for the commission of a felony, upon lawful conviction thereof."
Given the very clear and straightforward language of the state Constitution, this seems to have been a very easy case. Republicans, however, are reportedly preparing to appeal the ruling...
"Hannity ate up that story so hard, Bundy should have charged him grazing fees," observed Stephen Colbert by way of introducing his brilliant Ballad of Cliven Bundy. "Like every folk hero," Colbert continued, "he deserves a folk song"...
While that tune and that segment couldn't be more brilliant, the Bundy situation on the range is now just getting plain sad. Here's a clip of his fairly pathetic appearance on CNN this morning...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another fossil fuel explosion, this time in Wyoming; State Department delays as Cowboys & Indians protest the Keystone XL pipeline; Landmark $3m judgment against fracking company; Oil industry unprepared for oil spill in the Arctic; PLUS: The legacy of the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf, four years later... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Sweeping reforms to protect coal miners from black lung disease; Game Over: killer video uses Tetris to explain climate change; China says 59% of its groundwater is polluted; Tea Party wants to help you go solar; WV coal ash spill: Health Dept. reports finally admits negative health impacts; Apple offers free recycling of its products; Score another victory for climate science and Michael Mann ... PLUS: Let This Earth Day Be The Last ... and much, MUCH more! ...
We noted this very point in our initial coverage of the phony "IRS is targeting conservatives!!!" scam last year, just after the White House had (pathetically) fallen for it as well. (See here, then here, then here.)
While one might be excused for buying in to the scam in the first five minutes, 24 hours after it broke everyone should have known it was a scam. Nonetheless, the GOP, without having any legitimate basis for still being in business, has been making a career out of pretend scandals, including the one that "Obama is using the IRS to destroy Tea Party conservatives!!!" Their stupid base is dumb enough to believe them.
At this point, the Republican Party is no longer a political party. It's a permanent campaign organization with little more than self-victimization as their central platform.
For the record, as we've discussed many times, the problem is not the IRS giving too much scrutiny to political groups (aligned with either party) masquerading as "social welfare organizations", it's the fact that they are allowing such groups to continue the masquerade, despite the very clear statutory prohibition on any political activity by such groups.
I was proud to have the 2014 Green Party candidate for CA Sec. of State David Curtis (in photo on the left, not smiling), as my first guest this week on the KPFK/Pacifica RadioBradCast. While he and I disagree on a few important things (like Internet Voting, which he still hopes for, despite our Twitter conversation last month), there's one thing we certainly agree on: It was outrageous that he was excluded from today's SoS candidates debate held by the Sacramento Press Club. That, despite the fact that he recently polled higher than two of the candidates who were invited to participate.
[CORRECTION: On air I said that the CA statewide primary was June 2 this year. In fact, it's on Tuesday, June 3. The deadline for voter registration by mail for the primary is May 19th. You can register online here. Apologies for the error!]
As my second guest this week, I was also proud to welcome back investigative journalist Jason Leopold on the heels of his Guardian interview with Dr. James Elmer Mitchell (in photo on the right, smiling), one of the central architects of the Bush/Cheney-era CIA torture program. The interview was Mitchell's first since turning the skills he acquired as the chief psychologist at a U.S. Air Force survival school --- where U.S. troops were trained in how to avoid false confessions and propaganda under enemy torture --- into a program to use torture techniques to extract...the truth(?)...from Al Qaeda prisoners after 9/11. While we aired a few never-before-aired clips from Leopold's interview with Mitchell, there are more now available right here.
Jon Stewart and The Daily Show's fantastic --- MUST-WATCH (just for the crying clips!) --- take on the outrageously absurd and demeaning media-enforced double-standard faced by female politicians over their male counterparts...
Today we crossed a milestone. As luck --- I mean, really smart planning a little over five years ago --- would have it, our 500th episode of the Green News Report just happened to be today...on Earth Day. Yes, we totally planned it that way.
Those who know The BRAD BLOG know that we have, for more than 10 years now, tried to cover what is important here. Stuff that really matters. Not stuff that may be popular. Not stuff that is meant to please any particular constituency or funder. Not stuff that will necessarily bring clicks and traffic and comments. Not 'listicles' and kitty photos and 'sideboob'. Rather, we try to focus on what you need to know and/or that which is not being adequately covered elsewhere.
To that end, we need your support to continue doing what so few sites are willing or able to do (much less for more than 10 years, as is the case with the blog --- and now more than 5 years bringing you and the public airwaves that will have us, 500 episodes of "independent green news, politics, analysis and snarky comment".)
In case you're wondering, nobody pays us to do the GNR. We do it because we believe it's needed and it's the right thing to do. I should say, nobody pays us to do the GNR other than you!
Please help us keep going. Your support here is, truly, the only chance that we've got. Please consider a donation below. A one-time donation of whatever you can afford is fantastic. A pledge of monthly sustaining support of whatever you can afford is even fantastic-er. Either or both are very much appreciated and very much needed.
Thanks for your consideration in helping us to both celebrate and survive...
- Brad & Desi
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's our 500th episode of the Green News Report ...coincidentally on Earth Day! So, since every day is Earth Day for us, we thought we'd take a look back at the GNR's beginning and where it and climate coverage have gone since then. For better or worse. All that and more in today's very special Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Apple will now recycle your old products; Cowboys and Indians descend on Washington to Protest Keystone XL Pipeline; First Nations see no compromise on BC tar sands pipeline; Scientists discover way to generate solar power in the dark; Polluted Superfund site now home to solar panel farm; Environmental activist missing in Ecuador; Lead poisoning nightmare in Nigeria may be easing ... PLUS: BP Oil Spill Anniversary: 4 years later, the legacy of disaster in the Gulf ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Democrats lead Republicans by 6 percentage points on a generic ballot test going into the midterm elections in November, according to a new poll.
A Marist-McClatchy poll released Tuesday found 48 percent of registered voters would choose a Democrat if the congressional elections were held today. Another 42 percent said they would support a Republican candidate. Six percent said they're undecided.
The last time the polling firm tested the question, in February, Democrats held only a 2-point lead. Other recent polling has shown a narrow edge for Democrats. The Real Clear Politics average has Democrats topping Republicans by about 2 percent as well.