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FCC, 'McCutcheon', Guns, Knives, (No) Internet Voting and Racial Discrimination: KPFK 'BradCast'

Brad Blog - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 23:34

This week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast is chocked full of important news and insightful analysis that actually matters and that you simply won't hear anywhere else.

Among the items covered on the show this week:

And all of that in less than an hour! That oughta hold ya until next week!

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

* * *

P.S. While you're listening, please consider donating to The BRAD BLOG so we can continue to afford to keep bringing you this kind of news, programming, journalism and analysis. We really need your support these days to keep going. Thanks in advance!

Categories: Brad Blog

LIVE STREAM: The BRAD BLOG's Desi Doyen Guest Hosts 'The Young Turks' LIVE!

Brad Blog - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 16:50
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Desi Doyen of The BRAD BLOG's Green News Report is guest hosting on The Young Turks LIVE right now.

LIVE FEED HERE (6-8p ET / 3-5p PT)...

Categories: Brad Blog

'Green News Report' - April 8, 2014

Brad Blog - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 16:02


IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Study finds CNN and Fox 'News' FAIL on climate change; CNN looks for missing plane, finds an ocean full of garbage; PLUS: Energy company to pay record fine for 85 years of toxic waste dumping and they couldn't be happier about it... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Please help us connect the climate change dots over your public airwaves!

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

Link: Embed:

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 climate skeptic's on-air conversion in Showtime's 'Years of Living Dangerously'; Waters to flood part of CO River for just a few weeks; Final chapter of IPCC report to be published this week; Low-tech 'living fences' drastically reduce lion killings; Another oil spill on public lands ... PLUS: Scientists Focus on Polar Waters As Threat of Acidification Grows ... and much, MUCH more! ...


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

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

  • Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
  • Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
  • NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:

  • Categories: Brad Blog

    NJ's Chris Christie Proposes Tax and Spend 'Sin Tax' on E-Cigs, Gets Blasted by NJ Paper

    Brad Blog - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 15:37

    There are a number of reasons why it's difficult to stomach the claim that New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie is concerned about "public health". His newest proposal for a pricey new excise tax on e-cigs is just one of them.

    In 2010, Christie slashed $7.5 million --- virtually all of the state's investment --- in smoking prevention and cessation support from the state's "Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program". As a result, the American Lung Association (ALA) now ranks NJ as 50th in the nation on this issue, recently noting, they are "the only state in the country to provide no state funding" for such programs.

    Christie's gutting of the state's once-robust program has resulted in an "F" grade from the ALA on both "Tobacco Prevention" and "Cessation Coverage", leading them to write: "This lack of funding to help tobacco users quit is a stark contradiction with New Jersey's high tax rate of $2.70 per pack generating over $700 million each year in revenues."

    Thus, it's all the more absurd to hear the "fiscally conservative" Christie administration now calling for a massive new "sin tax" on e-cigarettes, which are known to be a far safer alternative to smoking, since "vaping" includes none of the deadly toxins, such as tar and carbon monoxide, found in combustible tobacco.

    But "conservative" hypocrisy aside, what makes Christie's new tax and spend plan even more absurd is that his state Treasurer is now claiming their "main concern is public health."

    Really? The NJ Star-Ledger editorial board --- which endorsed Christie's re-election last year (though they came to regret it after Christie's "BridgeGate" scandal emerged) --- ain't buying it...

    In an editorial today, the board blasted Christie and his administration's purported reasons for taxing e-cigs at the same rate as deadly cigarettes...

    "Our main concern is public health," [the state treasurer] said.

    Excuse our skepticism, but Christie cut $7.5 million from the state's anti-smoking programs in 2010, and since then the state has spent little to nothing on smoking cessation and education programs. No doubt another main concern is the governor's budget: Christie anticipates $35 million in revenue from this tax.

    But do we even know that e-cigarettes are a threat to public health?

    The Federal Food and Drug Administration has not yet evaluated them for safety or effectiveness, or issued regulations. All we know is that they can be less addictive than cigarettes, and lack the added tar and toxins. Many researchers say that nicotine alone is not a serious health hazard - that it's the deadly tar in conventional cigarettes that kills you. E-cigarette users avoid that by inhaling a nicotine-laced vapor, which is why it's called "vaping."

    Studies show this is at least as effective as nicotine patches in helping people quit smoking - the single largest cause of preventable death in our country, killing about 480,000 people a year.

    So there's a real, life-saving benefit to e-cigarettes, which may greatly outweigh any risks. If these gadgets are not known to be an enemy to public health, and may in fact be hugely beneficial, why tax them like cigarettes?

    I've spent no small amount of time plowing through all manner of scientific studies in relation to e-cigs over the past year or so (since quitting my own decades-long habit overnight, thanks to the public health miracle of vaping!) and I've noted on the pages of late that the reporting in the mainstream corporate media has been largely terrible on this issue to date. See this absurdity from the New York Times in late March, by way of just one example.

    But the Star-Ledger's editorial has it mostly right here. (The one exception being their claim that e-cigs "can be less addictive than cigarettes." I'm not sure where that data point comes from, and I'd be surprised if that was the case for all but those who choose to vape e-liquid containing 0% nicotine.)

    Making it more difficult --- or, in this case, more expensive --- for smokers to quit smoking with the use of e-cigs is a deadly idea, as I've noted on a number of recent occasions, such as last month when the L.A. City Council shamefully voted unanimously to ban their use in public spaces, as if they were cigarettes, or as the Minnesota state legislature has recently been considering a similar deadly ban.

    The former president of the American Lung Association has called such bans on e-cigs "misguided" and "a public health disservice."

    So the Star-Ledger editorial's conclusion, then, seems right on the money:

    Taxing e-cigs as if they were cigarettes only makes them less attractive to smokers who want to switch. And if the Christie administration's true concern is public health, that should be reason enough not to.
    Categories: Brad Blog

    Federal Judge Orders TX to Produce Legislative Docs That May Prove Polling Place Photo ID Restriction Law Was Racially-Motivated

    Brad Blog - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 08:35

    Just over a week ago, it was North Carolina legislators ordered by the court to cough up documentation relating to passage of new, draconian restrictions on voting rights in their state. Now, legislators in Texas are facing much the same thing, as that state's extreme polling place Photo ID restrictions also face legal and Constitutional challenge.

    By way of an eight-page Order [PDF] issued late last week, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos has directed the State of Texas to serve upon the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) documents that relate to the question of whether "state legislators, contrary to their public pronouncements, acted with discriminatory intent in enacting SB 14," the Lone Star State's polling place Photo ID restriction law.

    That law had previously been found to be discriminatory against minority voters in TX, and thus rejected by both the DoJ and a federal court panel as a violation of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). It was then re-enacted by the state of Texas almost immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a central provision of the VRA in the summer of 2013.

    As reported by The BRAD BLOG last September, the DoJ, and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), filed separate federal lawsuits (now consolidated into a single case, Veasey v. Perry) in which they allege that the Photo ID law enacted by the Texas legislature (SB 14) violates another section of the VRA, Section 2, as well as the U.S. Constitution.

    The documents in question, created by Republican officials and lawmakers, which must now be turned over to the court, may shed light on the actual intent of those officials in enacting the restrictive voting law...

    The DoJ's case cites previous findings made by the unanimous three-judge, U.S. District Court panel in Washington D.C., which had denied the state's request that it preclear SB 14 under Section 5 of the VRA. In that previous case, the court found: "Undisputed record evidence demonstrates that racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty and, because SB 14 will weigh more heavily on the poor, the law will likely have retrogressive effect" on their right to vote.

    When rejecting the law as discriminatory under Section 5 in 2012, the DoJ had determined [PDF], as based on the state's own statistics, that the law would have disproportionately disenfranchised registered Hispanic voters in the state. They found that registered Hispanics are anywhere from 46% to 120% more likely than non-Hispanics to lack the type of state-issued Photo ID that would now be required to vote under SB 14's restrictions.

    The new DoJ complaint also alleges that the Lone Star State's Photo ID law is part of a desperate, racially motivated attempt by state Republicans to cling to power in the face of demographic changes that will --- if accompanied by unobstructed, small-"d" democratic access to the polls --- reduce white voters in Texas, and with them, the TX GOP, to (ironically enough) minority status.

    As the DoJ explained in a supplement [PDF] to its motion to compel the release of documentation relating to legislative deliberation before enactment of the law, Texas refused to turn over a wide array of relevant documents, including "numerous communications concerning SB 14 and prior photographic voter identification proposals amongst Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, Senator Troy Fraser (Senate sponsor of SB 14), Representative Patricia Harless (House sponsor of SB 14), and their top aides."

    Texas Republicans asserted that they could conceal such evidence because of what they claim to be an "absolute" legislative privilege --- this despite numerous cases in which courts have not only held otherwise, but have relied upon such things as emails between legislators as evidence of discriminatory intent, according to the DoJ filing.

    Federal judges, in this case, and in the pending federal challenge to North Carolina's massive election "reform" bill have now both rejected the effort by Republicans to hide documentary evidence of discriminatory intent behind a shield of "absolute" legislative privilege.

    As occurred in the North Carolina case, Judge Gonzales recognized the existence of a "qualified" legislative privilege to protect such documents from being released. The question as to whether documents must be produced is arrived at by applying a five-part test: "(1) the relevance of the evidence sought to be protected; (2) the availability of other evidence; (3) the seriousness of the litigation and the issues involved; (4) the role of the government in the litigation; and (5) the possibility of future timidity by government employees who will be forced to recognize that their secrets are violable."

    That five-part test weighs the need for confidentiality amongst legislators and their aides against the need to eliminate "racial discrimination in voting --- the bedrock of this country's democratic system of government," as described by Ramos in her ruling.

    The court found that factors one through four all weighed in favor of disclosure, with three of the five strongly favoring disclosure.

    The evidence the United States seeks to compel is highly relevant to its claim because it bears directly on whether state legislators, contrary to their public pronouncements, acted with discriminatory intent in enacting SB 14. The federal government’s interest in enforcing voting rights statutes is, without question, highly important...Further, the state government’s role is direct. The motive and intent of the state legislature when it enacted SB 14 is the crux of this Voting Rights Act case.

    The court ruled that individual state legislators and the Texas Legislative Council (TLC) are not parties to this lawsuit. Therefore, any records they had not already placed in the possession of the state of Texas must be obtained by a subpoena, as opposed to a notice to produce. The court also ruled that 54 members of the state legislature have already waived their qualified legislative privilege.

    In order to limit the degree of intrusion, however, the court declined "to fully pierce the legislative privilege at this point by authorizing complete and public disclosure." Instead, the court ordered that the documents be produced to the DoJ "under seal," with the question of which documents must be disclosed to the public, as well as which documents should be admitted into evidence, being deferred until the time of trial.

    Trial in the case is scheduled to begin before Judge Ramos on Sept. 2, 2014.

    The TX Photo ID restriction law is being defended by the state's Republican Attorney General Greg Abbot, who will be on the general election ballot this November as he faces off in the Gubernatorial race against Democratic nominee Wendy Davis.

    * * *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.

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

    Categories: Brad Blog

    Toon of the Moment: Koch 'Mergers and Acquisitions'...

    Brad Blog - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 23:37

    It was a very good week for the Koch inheritance babies, no matter how much they now whine and pretend to be victims...

    Categories: Brad Blog

    'Honey Maid' Responds With 'Love' to Hate Mail Over Same-Sex, Interracial Commercial [VIDEO]

    Brad Blog - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 18:05

    Bravo, Honey Maid. Nabisco shows how to stand your ground with actual courage...

    Categories: Brad Blog

    'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Koch Brothers and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It

    Brad Blog - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 15:37

    During Thursday's Green News Report, we briefly discussed Charles Koch's claim in his Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, that he and his brother David, are using their inherited fossil-fuel millions to discredit global warming science (and other inconvenient realities), simply because they are fighting "to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans." Sure they are.

    Over at the Washington Post's "Plum Line" blog, Paul Waldman has another thought on the Koch op-ed this week, which was published at virtually the same moment as the rightwing judicial activists on the U.S. Supreme Court trashed 40 years of campaign finance law in order to allow the approximately 600 Americans who had already maxed out their previously allowed $125,000 per-election-cycle donations to political candidates and parties to be "free" to give millions to candidates and parties instead.

    Waldman avers that the Koch op-ed and the SCOTUS McCutcheon decision "are parts of the same effort," which, he argues convincingly, is "Nothing less than the construction of a new version of liberty."

    In his WSJ piece, Koch joined a growing procession of billionaire Rightwingers recently whining aloud about their perceived persecution at the hands of...well, anyone who doesn't share their political views and who doesn't have the "freedom" to also have billions, inherited or otherwise, in their bank accounts.

    "Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists [ed note: apparently he means anyone who is not a Republican?] strive to discredit and intimidate opponents," Koch bemoans. "They engage in character assassination," he complains, before adding parenthetically,"(I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.)"

    "Poor" fellow. Waldman, however, sees the Koch Agonistes very differently...

    What, exactly, is this "character assassination" of which he speaks? I haven't seen anybody arguing that Charles Koch has weird sexual proclivities, or was a terrible father, or has poor personal hygiene. All the criticism he and his brother get concerns their enormous business (the second-largest privately held company in America) and their involvement in politics. In short, it's about their public life, not their private life.

    The system of "free and open debate" Koch envisions is one in which the volume of your voice is determined by the amount of money you have, but no matter how loud that voice, you are exempted from any direct criticism. That would be a privilege only the wealthy would want or need.

    Think about it this way. Nobody is going to run an ad saying, "Barack Obama got a ten dollar contribution from Betty Lundegard of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Just how much do we know about Betty Lundegard? What's her agenda?" The reason is that it couldn't possibly matter, so no one cares. But if you pour $400 million into a campaign, then it does matter, and people will care. Betty Lundegard isn't affecting very many people's votes, elected officials won't jump to take Betty's calls. Furthermore, Betty won't have the luxury of publishing op eds in the Wall Street Journal defending herself.

    So freedom from criticism over your political spending is a freedom only the wealthy would need.

    Waldman goes on to add: "With the McCutcheon decision, there is a way in which the sum total of liberty in America has been expanded. But do you feel freer? Unless you've got a few hundred million in the bank, the answer is certainly no."

    "In a strict sense," he says, "Charles Koch and I both have the 'freedom' to donate a few million dollars directly to candidates. But in the actual world, only one of us has that freedom."

    Apparently, when you own as much "freedom" as the Koch Brothers, you can also purchase the ability not to be embarrassed in the least.

    Koch's op-ed could have been much shorter and to the point had he just quoted Abraham Lincoln instead: "Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government."

    Because if Charles and David Koch --- and all the other billionaire "victims" pretending they have lost "freedoms" by, like the Kochs, becoming richer than ever imaginable even just 5 or 10 year ago --- had an ounce of integrity, they would simply admit that the only "freedom" they are interested in at this point is the ability to buy both public opinion and the government to go with it.

    Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court once again this week, they are now well on their way...and you aren't. Feeling freer yet?

    Categories: Brad Blog

    'McCutcheon' Mints Millions for Mass Media

    Brad Blog - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 08:05

    Guess who is popping the champagne cork over this week's Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon vs. FEC, which will allow wealthy individuals to donate virtually unlimited dollars to candidates, political parties, and political action groups?

    Why, broadcasters, of course. The same companies which operate on our publicly owned airwaves stand to gain the most from McCutcheon and its earlier obscene counterpart, Citizens United.

    On Thursday, the radio industry newsletter Inside Radio wrote [subscription req'd] that the McCutcheon decision was "likely to boost [ad] spending" in 2014. They explain that the 2010 Citizens United decision "opened the floodgates to more dollars in politics and the result was record campaign spending on radio in 2012." They predict that the Court's ruling this week "could help spur even more spending."

    In another piece this week [also subscription req'd] the newsletter trumpets:

    Political ad spending forecast upsized.

    More competitive races, combined with a greater number of outside groups that don't qualify for the lowest unit rate, have the potential to make the 2014 mid-term election cycle more ad intensive than first thought. So much so, that the analysts at Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), have boosted their political spending forecast. Kantar estimates radio could see $180 million in political ad spending by Election Day."

    $180 million? That's chump change when it comes to what the television industry stands to make. Bloomberg reports that TV stations will make in excess of $2.5 billion --- with a "B" --- from political ad sales in 2014. And that's nothing compared to what they expect to make in 2016 during a Presidential race.

    And of course, many, if not most of those ads mislead or outright lie to the very public in whose interest the broadcasters are licensed to serve.

    Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?

    Overturning Citizens United and McCutcheon may take years, decades even, if it ever happens at all. But given that We the People have real power as the owners of the airwaves, I see some ways we can reduce at least some of the political ad spending, and perhaps take a lot of money out of politics...

    First, many of my allies are fighting for names of campaign donors to be disclosed. The FCC has the power to do this, and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) nearly derailed FCC Chair Tom Wheeler's nomination over this very issue. I think disclosure is a common sense idea (and one GOP politicians supported before they didn't), but I just can't see how telling people that Sal Russo paid for an ad that has just misled them will do much good.

    Second, as I have written at The BRAD BLOG before, broadcasters are required by law to air ads that are paid for by candidates. The stations may not fact check those ads, so candidates are free to lie to the public as much as they choose. However, stations do not have to accept any ads paid for by third parties.

    If they accept those ads, and if those ads lie to the public, the station may be held LIABLE. The problem here is one of legal standing: if an individual is defamed in an ad, he or she has standing to sue the station. But attorneys I have talked with say that the public has no standing to sue if ads lie to us, even though the airwaves belong to us, and even though We the People are clearly harmed by those lies. There MUST be a bright attorney out there who can make a case on our behalf, right?

    But perhaps the best idea is to float a ballot initiative out here in California, simply banning all political ads on our broadcast stations. The airwaves belong to us, after all, and perhaps it is time for We the People to take control of that which is ours, and sharply reduce the influence of money on our political system.

    I wonder if broadcasters would cover that initiative fairly --- or even at all. (So much for the corporate "liberal" media.)

    * * *

    Sue Wilson is a media activist, director of Public Interest Pictures' Broadcast Blues, and a 22 year veteran of broadcast journalism. Her numerous awards include Emmy, AP, RTNDA, and PRNDI for work at CBS, PBS, FOX, and NPR. She is the editor of the media criticism blog, Sue Wilson Reports and founder of the Media Action Center.

    [IMAGE: Shutterstock/Sean Locke Photography]

    Categories: Brad Blog

    'Green News Report' - April 3, 2014

    Brad Blog - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 17:59
    Today welcoming aboard GNR's newest affiliate partner:
    The Rick Smith Show!


    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Startlingly blunt U.N. climate report warns window of opportunity to act on climate change is closing; The Billionaire Koch Brothers are environmental freedom fighters --- according to the Koch Brothers; Texas breaks wind --- wind records, that is; PLUS: Exxon Mobil agrees 'the risk of climate change is clear' but says 'F#@K you, World! We're Exxon Mobil!'... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

    Please help us connect the climate change dots over your public airwaves!

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

    Link: Embed:

    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): 'Killer smog' in the UK; Supreme Court's campaign finance ruling is bad for Greens, good for Kochs; EPA failed to warn of cancer risk in research studies; 1/4 of Europe's bumblebees face extinction; Plowing under native US grasslands has consequences; Citigroup says 'age of renewables' has begun ... PLUS: All the positive and helpful things in the IPCC report no one will talk about ... and much, MUCH more! ...


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

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

  • Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
  • Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
  • NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:

  • Categories: Brad Blog

    Reproductive Rights, Campaign Finance Law and the First Amendment: KPFK 'BradCast'

    Brad Blog - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 20:22

    It was a roller-coaster of a news day today, so it was a roller-coaster of a BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio.

    First, I was joined by Katie Klabusich of KatieSpeak.com and Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League (PLAL). Klabusich was recently "targeted" by PLAL on their website, for her work as an abortion clinic escort trying to help women seeking cancer screenings, termination of pregnancies, prenatal care or birth control as they face a gauntlet of anti-choice protesters.

    Klabusich wrote an "Open Letter to Legislators From a Clinic Escort" this week at Truthout, calling for buffer zones around such clinics, so women can visit their doctor without harassment. Scheidler, who says he supports buffer zones around voting precincts, disagrees that buffer zones should be allowed around reproductive medical facilities. He also feels that his organization did not threaten Klabusich by posting her name, photo and the city where she lives and works and asking supporters to share it far and wide under the guise of "praying" for her.

    It was an enlightening conversation with the two of them.

    In the second part of the show, Constitutional Law expert Ian Millhiser joined me to discuss today's horrific Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission and the "money laundering by rich campaign donors," that Millhiser argues it will now allow.

    Two totally different issues, both posing serious questions surrounding First Amendment free speech issues.

    All of that, and a bit more here and there (including Desi Doyen and our "April FOX Day" Green News Report) in this week's show. Enjoy!

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

    Categories: Brad Blog

    SCOTUS 'McCutcheon' Ruling to Help Super Rich Purchase Even MORE of American 'Democracy'

    Brad Blog - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 13:50

    Scrambling to prep for today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, so this will have to be quick today, but you've probably already read about the U.S. Supreme Court's horrible 5-4 decision in the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case by now.

    If not, Andrew Kroll's explainer "The Supreme Court Just Gutted Another Campaign Finance Law. Here's What Happened." is excellent, as is Ian Millhiser's "How The Supreme Court Just Legalized Money Laundering By Rich Campaign Donors".

    [Millhiser will be joining me this evening on The BradCast.]

    In (incredibly) brief, the SCOTUS ruling means that aggregate limits --- put in place 40 years ago, after the Watergate scandal --- that a single person may contribute to federal candidates and political parties were found to be an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment free speech rights. While limits of contributions to individual federal candidates of $2,600 per election (that's $2,600 for a primary and another $2,600 for the general) and $5,000 to a political committee stay in place, the aggregate amount they may now give to many candidates and political parties will now be lifted.

    So, where a single donor could previously give no more than $117,000 to all federal candidates and political committees during the 2012 cycle, that limit has now been entirely trashed. As the SCOTUS minority argued in the case, the ruling will now allow a single individual to give up to $3.5 million in a cycle, if they give to all federal candidates running. In turn, those candidates and political parties may now pool that money and divert it to the most needed races.

    This ruling is great news, for an incredibly small number of very wealthy people. As Richard Wolf and Fredreka Schouten encapsulate it at USA Today...

    Nearly 1.3 million people donated more than $200 to federal candidates, party committees and PACs last year, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money. Only about 600 hit the maximum donation limit to federal candidates in the 2012 elections, the center found.

    So this new decision will now allow those 600 --- 600 individuals! --- who had maxed out their $117,000 aggregate campaign contribution limit in 2012, to buy an even larger slice of our democracy in 2014.

    Mind you, this decision deals only with campaign money given to candidates and political committees --- the old-fashioned type of political committees, not the Super PACS. Limits of giving to those organizations had already been done away with by the Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United ruling in 2010. On top of that, of course, there are the non-profit, so-called 501(c)(4) "social welfare" organizations, such as Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, which already have no limits on how much money they can receive from donors they do not have to name and, according to a recent FEC decision, those groups may now spend the majority of the funds --- hundreds of millions, if they like --- on political ads without repercussion.

    That FEC decision is being challenged in federal court, as we reported in detail in February. Given the current Supreme Court's general predilection for taking away virtually all limits on how much of our democracy that rich people can buy, it seems that case, even if successful at the District Court level, could ultimately be overturned as well by these Supremes, in order to favor the "free speech" of the super-rich over the "free speech" that folks like you and I can afford to purchase.

    "Taken together with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, today's decision eviscerates our nation's campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the minority's dissent.

    This current Supreme Court majority is in place thanks to the 2000 election of George W. Bush, in which he received fewer votes than his opponent Al Gore (even in Florida) and his 2004 re-election in which massive election irregularities took place in Ohio, but went completely unchallenged by his opponent John Kerry.

    In case we need to remind you again: Yes, elections --- and election results --- matter.

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

    Categories: Brad Blog

    'Green News Report' - April 1, 2014

    Brad Blog - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 18:01


    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: "The tide goes in, the tide goes out, never a miscommunication." --- It's our special 'April Fox Day' Edition of the Green News Report! Celebrating the anti-scientists and fossil-fueled fools at Fox "News"!...

    Please help us connect the climate change dots over your public airwaves!

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

    Link: Embed:

    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): Hurricanes, climate risk, and bears in the woods; MN: Soil contamination leaking toxic gases into homes; Cable news mostly ignores UN climate report; Toxic coal ash poses persistent threat to US waters; WA mudslide: emergency crews face toxic challenge; White House unveils plan to reduce methane emissions; Transparent solar panels coming to a window near you ... PLUS: Flip-floppin' Bill O'Reilly forgets he was against Tesla long before he was for it ... and much, MUCH more! ...


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

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

  • Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
  • Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
  • NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:

  • Categories: Brad Blog

    FCC Rolls Back Media Consolidation (A Little Bit)

    Brad Blog - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 20:30

    Finally. For the first time in years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rolled back the mad consolidation of our public airwaves by huge corporate interests.

    Today's party-line vote by commissioners is just one small step for the FCC, but it may suggest that, under its new Chair Tom Wheeler, the federal agency may once again be showing some interest in fulfilling its mission of assuring that the public airwaves actually serve the public interest...

    The Federal Communications Commission today took a critical first step toward tightening its rules and putting more of the public airwaves into the hands of local owners.

    In a tense vote, the agency closed a loophole that has allowed companies like Raycom, Sinclair and Tribune to evade federal ownership limits. The industry calls these loopholes "joint service agreements," but we call them "covert consolidation" because they allow companies to control as many as four TV stations in the same market. Companies that have exploited the JSA loophole have gutted newsrooms and often broadcast the exact same newscast on multiple stations in the same community - if they run any news at all.
    In the wake of this decision, some companies will be forced to sell off stations that violate the new rule.
    In addition, the JSA loophole was one of many. The Department of Justice has pushed the FCC to close all loopholes and a recent statement from the FCC's media bureau suggests it's primed to scrutinize future deals.

    The LA Times reports the new rules "will greatly reduce and potentially bring to an end the popular practice of business partnerships between competing local television stations."

    Mind you, many of the corporations who have been abusing the rules by partnering to avoid competing with other local stations are the very same corporations who pretend to be in favor of so-called "free market competition."

    The Times goes on to note that "FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said such partnerships have been abused by many broadcasters who have used so-called joint sales agreements to get around the regulatory agency's rules limiting the number of television stations a broadcaster can own."

    "Broadcasters will have two years to unwind their joint sales agreement arrangements or can file a request for a waiver and try to make the case that the partnership serves the public interest," the paper reports. Public advocates like Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron, who otherwise lauded today's vote, still has "concerns about how the FCC will apply waiver standards."

    Still, Aaron said in a statement issued today, the new rules amount to very encouraging news from the FCC for a change...

    "For years, a small handful of powerful conglomerates has used outsourcing agreements to dodge the FCC's ownership rules and grow their empires at the public's expense. And for too long the agency has looked the other way as these companies have dominated the airwaves.

    "While today's vote focuses only on Joint Sales Agreements, it signals that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is willing to break with the past and stop broadcasters from using shell companies to skirt the agency's ownership limits.

    "It's time for conglomerates to start playing by the rules. Divesting some of their stations could open the door for truly independent and diverse owners to enter a marketplace conglomerates have controlled for years."

    "Under the new rules," according to the Times, "a broadcaster that accounts for more than 15% of another station's advertising sales would be seen by the FCC as the defacto licensee of that station. For many broadcasters, such a caveat could put them in violation of the FCC's ownership rules. The FCC typically limits the amount of stations one company can own in an individual market to one in all but the biggest cities."

    Don't know that we've ever said it on this site --- especially following the FCC's most recent debacle folding under one-sided pressure from the corporate rightwing (ironically, issued over the very same public airwaves the FCC is supposed to oversee) forcing them to back off of a Congressionally mandated study that might have helped take back some of the public airwaves from the corporate rightwing which thinks they own them --- but: Good for the FCC!

    It remains to be seen if actual oversight of our public airwaves, as mandated by law, continues under Wheeler's chairmanship at the agency. We may know a lot more once they finally decide on the pending question of whether Rush Limbaugh and friends present "bona fide news" over our public airwaves, as the FCC will soon be forced to determine.

    Categories: Brad Blog

    9.5 Million Previously Uninsured Now Insured Thanks to 'Obamacare' (So Woe is Fox 'News')

    Brad Blog - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 14:43

    Well, this is fun. Today, a report out from the LA Times details a wide range of sources finding that "at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gotten health insurance since Obamacare started."

    That's 9.5 million Americans who previously had no reliable access to health care now having such access thanks to the various provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare").

    But don't tell, Fox "News". They are busy with their trademark misleading graphics today...

    Yes, they do that sort of thing quite a bit. Always fun.

    And, before we hear complaints from progressives, for those don't recall, while we've been very critical of the ACA over the years (we prefer a single-payer, "Medicare for All" time plan, versus the obsenity of private insurers profiteering off of sick people), as we noted late last year (when the ACA allowed me sign up for a new plan with my same insurer and save $300/month or $3,600/year in the bargain), more people now having access to health care --- the overall goal of the Republican-conceived "Obamacare" law --- is certainly a good thing, no matter how one slices it. That's true even if it's bad law (and it is.)

    But, as noted, don't tell Fox. For that matter, don't tell the Democrats who, for some unknown reason (perhaps because they are delicate, quivering, easily-intimidated flowers?) still haven't figured out how to run for office on their positive accomplishments, such as the ACA.

    * * *

    UPDATE 8:59pm PT: Moments before midnight on the east coast, just before the March 31, 2014 deadline for signing up for health care insurance without a penalty under the ACA, AP is reporting that the "Obamacare" health care exchange is "on track to sign up more than 7 million Americans for health insurance." That number was the original target set by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) when the bill was first passed into law and has been seen as the administration's initial goal for signups. That target was scaled back to 6 million after the disastrous opening of the website late last year (despite the misleading Fox "News" graphic indicating otherwise above). But if the AP is right, ACA has now exceeded its initial target...

    The 7 million target, thought to be out of reach by most experts, was in sight on a day that saw surging consumer interest as well as vexing computer glitches that slowed sign-ups on the HealthCare.gov website.

    Two government officials confirmed the milestone, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter ahead of an official announcement.

    Late last year and earlier this year, long after the goal had changed to 6 million, Obamacare opponents at rightwing websites like Fox "News" and Breitbart.com mercilessly mocked the administration for their initial target of 7 million sign-ups.

    If the AP's reporting is accurate tonight, Republican opponents are unlikely to mention much of the milestone --- and the Obama administration's exceeded goal --- though, as TPM's Josh Marshall offers in a predictive tweet this evening: "Behold the birth of Obamacare Sign Up Number Trutherism." He wryly added the hashtag: "#wheresthesignupcertificate".

    Sounds about right.

    Safe from the memory hole...

    Categories: Brad Blog

    Court: NC Legislators Must Reveal Documents, Purpose Behind Challenged Voting 'Reform'

    Brad Blog - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 08:35

    A U.S. District judge has ruled that Republican legislators in North Carolina must provide documents revealing their work in passing and implementing a radical election reform bill which, when it was passed last year, was described by opponents as the "worse-than-anyone-would-have-ever-imagined voter suppression bill."

    Late last week, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake issued an Order [PDF] in which she rejected a blanket refusal by NC Republican state legislators to provide any documents that relate to the question of whether the sweeping legislation known as the Voter Information Reform Act ("VIVA" aka HB 589) amounted to nothing less than a racially-motivated attempt to deprive African-Americans of their constitutional right to vote.

    As we observed when the law was hastily enacted last year, among the law's myriad ways of making registration and voting much more difficult, VIVA includes "draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions (despite the absence of any evidence of polling place impersonation in the state), shortens the early voting period and eliminates NC's very successful same-day voter registration program."

    VIVA was quickly passed last year on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial, 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The decision resulted in the gutting of a central provision of the federal Voting Rights Act. Before that, most of the measures in VIVA could not have taken effect unless they received advance approval from either the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) or a federal court. Such approval could have been obtained only if NC established that VIVA was neither intended to nor would have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color or being the member of a language minority.

    The new ruling may help plaintiffs establish violations of both the still-standing elements of the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, the order to compel documentation concerning the law's genesis in NC, if upheld, could also have a broader national significance...

    Hiding the evidence?

    As the DoJ explained in its Opposition [PDF] to the NC state legislators' motion to quash, all three plaintiffs (the NAACP, League of Women Voters and the DoJ) in the consolidated federal legal challenge to VIVA, allege "that HB 589 was enacted with the purpose of, and will have the result of, denying or abridging the right of minority voters to vote on account of race or color."

    In order to support those allegations, the DoJ added, the NAACP served subpoenas upon NC state legislators, seeking "a range of documents relating to the consideration and implementation of HB 585, including…documents reflecting legislative purpose, documents, received by State Legislators from individuals and groups outside the North Carolina General Assembly, such as constituents, lobbyists and public interest groups; and factual data and reports relating to, for example, rates of possession of photo identification among North Carolina voters, and the costs and other impacts of HB 589." Access to those records is vital, the DoJ argued, because those state "legislators...are likely to have first-hand knowledge relating to the development and passage of HB 589."

    The NC state legislators, the DoJ added, "took the position that the doctrine of legislative immunity categorically bars Plaintiffs from seeking any discovery from State Legislators."

    Judge Peake rejected the GOP legislators' "absolute immunity" claim. While state lawmakers are immune from personal liability for their legislative acts, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Corp. (1977) that a state legislator could be called to testify concerning the purpose of a law affecting voting rights. Subsequent case law establishes that, when it comes to civil discovery, state legislators possess only a "qualified" privilege and that documents must be produced so long as the request is not "unduly burdensome or invasive" of the legislative process.

    Significantly, while she stopped short of compelling responses to all categories of documents sought by plaintiffs, Judge Peake ruled that requiring production of documents that "involve communications with outside parties" is neither "unduly burdensome" nor "invasive of the legislative process."

    A long and ugly history of discrimination

    As The BRAD BLOG explained last August, shortly after the first two lawsuits against VIVA had been filed by the NAACP and League of Women Voters, the complaints allege that the "blight" of racial discrimination has remained ever-present in the Tar Heel State over the better part of the past three decades.

    The League's complaint detailed the state's long and well-documented history of racial discrimination:

    Over the past 30 years in North Carolina, there have been 30 successful cases brought under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and 40 objections to discriminatory changes to voting laws lodged by the Department of Justice under Section 5...Based on concerns about intimidation at the polling place, the United States Department of Justice sent federal observers to North Carolina to help enforce federal voting rights laws that protect ballot access in the November 2012 general election.

    That complaint went on to describe how the state's history of discriminatory behavior in elections continues through the present day:

    Up through recent history, political campaigns in North Carolina have been characterized by overt or subtle racial appeals, including discriminatory tactics … in elections deliberately and demonstrably designed to keep African Americans from registering and turning out to vote.

    Those allegations are based on information that is in the public record. In accordance with the judge's ruling last week, plaintiffs may now require documents maintained by the individual Republican state legislators, in order to establish a link to this sordid past. That ugly past itself, however, is already well established.

    Nationally significant implications

    While the parties will have to create "privilege logs," allowing the court to rule which documents must be produced and which documents remain privileged (and thus can be withheld), Judge Peake's determination that communications between the state's Republican legislators and "outside parties" are not privileged documents could have nationally significant implications.

    VIVA is but one example of the recent coordinated, nationwide GOP voter suppression effort that was aptly described by civil rights litigator Judith Browne Dianis, in testimony before a U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee in 2011 as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era."

    The effort is national in character because it has been concocted by Republicans along with the Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization of rightwing legislators and corporations seeking to pass "model legislation" on issues from election reform to so-called "stand your ground" gun laws to other so-called "free-market" initiatives.

    The speed with which the NC GOP was able to ram through what the NAACP described as an "armada of amendments" to VIVA would surprise only those who are unfamiliar with the ALEC scheme to privatize the legislative process; secretly drafting, delivering and, in those states where the GOP maintains a legislative majority, passing ALEC-model bills, such as polling place Photo ID restrictions, all without any meaningful public debate.

    Similar bills have been introduced in various state legislatures by one or more of some 2,000 ALEC legislative members. It seemed little coincidence that NC's state Sen. Tom Apodaca (R), who, within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County announced, "Now we can go with the full bill," just happens to be a legislative member of ALEC.

    "Before the bills are publicly introduced in state legislatures by ALEC politicians or alumni in the governor’s offices," according to Lisa Graves, whose Center for Media and Democracy obtained copies of more than 800 ALEC model bills, "they will be cleansed of any reference to the secret corporate voting or who really wrote them."

    Judge Peake's ruling reveals that plaintiffs' discovery has been sought, in part, to support a contemplated motion for a preliminary injunction that would seek to prevent VIVA's controversial, voter suppression provisions from being implemented before the upcoming 2014 elections. If the plaintiffs obtain a preliminary injunction, it could potentially prevent many, largely minority voters in NC from being disenfranchised. In addition to providing access to information that may support a preliminary injunction, Judge Peake's ruling could potentially serve to expose the role that ALEC has played in aiding and abetting voter suppression in the Tar Heel State, and elsewhere.

    * * *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

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

    Categories: Brad Blog

    Gingrich: Elections 'Favor Billionaires over Middle Class' (So Wait Until You See His 'Solution'!)

    Brad Blog - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:05

    Oh, the irony of Newt Gingrich never ends...

    Newt Gingrich says all the attention to be paid in Las Vegas by GOP officials and wannabe presidents this weekend to billionaire campaign donor Sheldon Adelson-a patron of Gingrich's 2012 White House bid-is something that won't go away until genuine campaign finance reform occurs.

    "Whether it's the Koch brothers or [George] Soros on the left or Sheldon," said the former House speaker in an interview with National Journal on Friday, ticking off other campaign mega-donors, "if you're going to have an election process that radically favors billionaires and is discriminating against the middle class-which we now have-then billionaires are going to get a lot of attention."

    Gingrich was asked about the gathering of some top Republicans in Las Vegas for what officially is the spring meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

    Some have even taken to dubbing the event the "Sheldon Primary," for the casino mogul who almost single-handedly bankrolled Gingrich's presidential candidacy in 2012 and is said to be looking for another horse to back for the White House in 2016.

    That's from Billy House's piece at National Journal today.

    But if you want to know what Gingrich proposes to help even the score in elections between the billionaires and the middle class, you have to read to the last line of House's article...

    This weekend, prospective 2016 GOP Presidential candidates and Republican Governors current and former Jeb Bush (FL), Chris Christie (NJ), Scott Walker (WI) and John Kasich (OH) are all set to be in Vegas, where each will be meeting privately with Adelson.

    As House points out, Adelson is said to have personally spent more money on elections in 2012 (in support of only Republicans --- millions of it to Ginrich's failed Presidential run) than anyone else in history. "ProPublica determined after combing through Federal Election Commission and IRS records that Adelson and his wife, Miriam, spent at least $98 million during that election cycle," reports House.

    So what sort of "reform" is Gingrich calling for to change the system which he complains "radically favors billionaires and is discriminating against the middle class"?

    He told House: "The truth is, we desperately need an election reform which allows candidates to receive the same amount of money as super PACs."

    Ah, that's it. Take all contribution caps off and let billionaires buy their candidates directly instead of going through super PACs to do it. That'll totally even the score for the middle class!

    Thanks, Newt!

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

    Categories: Brad Blog

    Brad on Progressive Radio in Minnesota as State Democrats Join Deadly 'War on Vaping'

    Brad Blog - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:09

    Finally, I'm no longer the only progressive taking to the air waves to call bullshit on the Democrats' deadly and stupid War on People Trying to Quit Smoking with E-cigs.

    On Thursday I was invited to discuss the issue with Ian Levitt of the Daily Report, the afternoon drive time show on KTNF, Minnesota's great Progressive AM950. Minnesota now joins the growing list of places where legislatures are considering a ban on vaping in public spaces because...well, I guess because they want more people to keep smoking rather than quitting via the non-smoking alternative of vaping. (I'm sure there must be some other reason --- and we discussed that a bit during the show --- but whatever that reason is, as is the case here in Los Angeles, it sure isn't based on science or public health benefits, as my interview with L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz, who sponsored and voted for the ban here, made very clear a few weeks ago!)

    It's time that Progressives (not to mention Democrats, but I don't necessarily hold out much hope for them) get on the right side of this issue. Here's my conversation about e-cigs and ill-considered bans against them, with Levitt yesterday...

    To his great credit, according to the Star Tribune, MN's Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has signalled the state's proposed ban goes "too far". So the bill has been sent back to committee in the state Senate.

    "Dayton said he would sign a bill to restrict children's ability to buy e-cigarettes and to keep the product out of schools, but he would likely oppose making them subject to the indoor air law," the paper reports. "Dayton told the Star Tribune that he's not convinced there is definitive evidence that secondhand vapor poses a danger similar to secondhand smoke."

    Here in Los Angeles, while the City Council voted to ban e-cig use like cigarettes, in public spaces such as parks, beaches, restaurants, bars, clubs, work spaces etc., Mayor Eric Garcetti has yet to approve the new ordinance. He can be contacted here, if you'd like to ring in with your thoughts on the new ban which is sure to make it harder for smokers to vape and, therefore, to quit smoking entirely.

    If you have any questions about the effectiveness of e-cigs, feel free to ignore my own testimonial (vaping has allowed me to stop smoking immediately after decades of being a smoker) and take a look at some of the almost identical testimonials from former smokers in that Star Tribune article I linked to previously on the Minnesota ban now being considered.

    Categories: Brad Blog

    'It's the Biggest Problem Facing Humanity': VICE's Shane Smith on Climate Change

    Brad Blog - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:35

    On last week's episode of VICE on HBO, the documentary news magazine's founder Shane Smith went to Greenland to cover the startling melting of its massive ice sheets

    Grist's Ted Alvarez interviewed Smith about the episode recently. Here are a few highlights from that interview...

    Q. What made you guys want to tackle climate change?

    A. I did a story last year - and I'm going to do this every season, every time we get a chance because I think it's the biggest problem facing humanity as a whole today. I don't know how you get bigger.
    Q. And yet mainstream media often shies away from covering it, at least in proportion to the seriousness of the problem.

    A. I find it incredibly strange that that's the case. When you talk to people in the scientific community and ask how much of this is our fault, they say, "Oh, 100 percent of it." And most people don't think it's true. But I guess there's people who deny gravity and evolution. ... It's not even that the gun is to our heads; the hammer has been cocked back. We have to do it now or we're screwed.
    Q. What made the biggest impression on you while out there on the ice?

    A. The scale of what's happening is amazing. I live in Tribeca, and during Sandy my whole street was underwater. It's personal: My house is going to sink. You realize the scope of the problem. Greenland is several miles thick, and it's sinking as fast as it can. We flew over this deglaciated land which has been covered for 50,000 years, and 10-15 miles of it is deglaciated. You realize what used to be miles wide and miles thick is just gone. If you understand the science, you understand it will happen at an exponential rate. And then it becomes wholly terrifying. You can see how a place that's three times the size of Texas is melting all at once. It's mind-bogglingly huge.
    I don't think the scientific community understands the war they're in. [They say], "It's difficult to say anything is 100 percent this or that." They don't understand that if they leave any loophole, the far right, the Koch brothers, the well-funded lobbies will exploit it. Ninety percent of the comments on anything we do [on VICE] are positive, but when we cover climate change they're negative, and it's because they're funded.

    That's what I really think is the most insidious. Look, we all know [climate change] is real - the science at this point is indisputable. But people who know the science is real are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for people to say it's not real. That's the definition of shitting where you eat: damning future generations so you can make short-term profit on fossil fuels.

    Unfortunately, the episode doesn't appear to be available online for free, other than for HBO subscribers at HBO Go. If you have access to either, you should try and watch VICE's disturbing "Greenland is Melting" segment. Here's Shane Smith's "Debrief" on the episode...

    Categories: Brad Blog

    Toon of the Moment: 'Build That Ark'

    Brad Blog - Thu, 03/27/2014 - 19:15

    [Hat-tip too-infrequent BRAD BLOG guest blogger D.R. Tucker]

    Categories: Brad Blog
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