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'Green News Report' - February 27, 2014

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:37


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Cancer clusters found downwind of Canada's tar sands; Nebraska judge rejects Keystone XL tar sand pipeline route; Inspector General finds no conflicts of interest in Keystone XL environmental report; Tesla wants to free you from your electric utility!; PLUS: Can wind turbines really slow down hurricanes?... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

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): Drought & Dystopia in Syria: Vision of Mankind’s Future?; Save the butterflies: limits sought on Monsanto weedkiller; Climate change is coming for your coffee; Acidic waters kill 10m scallops in PacNW; Oil train rail cars unsafe, 'unacceptable'; NY utilities ordered to prepare for climate change ... PLUS: That fresh pine forest scent can also limit climate change ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

Categories: Brad Blog

The Agitprop of Ajit Pai: The Republican FCC Commissioner Calls Out the Troops

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 14:06

The entire right-wing mediasphere flexed its powerful muscles last week against its only regulator, the Federal Communications Commission.

It started when the new Republican FCC Commissioner, Ajit Pai, ignored traditional inter-agency channels and went straight to the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal to accuse his colleagues of "meddling with the news."

That was all it took.

Pai's beef? That the FCC would be conducting a "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs" (CIN) to question radio and TV reporters and editors about how they determine which stories to run and which not to run. The study would also ask ask about "perceived station bias" and "perceived responsiveness to underserved populations."

As I reported at The BRAD BLOG way back in 2011, "The FCC is tasked with making sure the broadcast media --- via the limited broadcast spectrum which is owned by we, the people --- serves the public interest. Every four years, as required by the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the FCC must revisit the issue of public interest in media ownership." Despite the right wing hyperventilation over the nefariousness of the CIN study, it's simply part of the FCC's statutory mandate, as explained here.

What's most interesting, however, is that Pai enlisted the very same right wing Pied Pipers who have long taken control of and, indeed, dominate the very airwaves we ALL own, and which most of us agree need more diversity and public oversight --- in hopes of intimidating the new Democratic FCC Chair Tom Wheeler into providing less diversity and public oversight.

That bit of upside-down policy jujitsu was, ironically enough, enabled by the tremendous power of broadcasting over our publicly-owned airwaves.

Following the siren call of Pai's piping, both Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck dutifully took to those airwaves coast-to-coast to work their 30 million or so radio listeners into a frenzy to prevent the FCC from following the agency's decades-long mandate for determining whether local broadcast news organizations are serving the "public interest" or whether they are merely producing news stories mandated by their corporate owners.

Pai's ploy appears to have worked...

After a Republican inquiry [PDF] led by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chair of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, Wheeler responded that "The Commission has no intention of regulating political or other speech of journalists or broadcasters." He then announced the FCC, in light of the uproar, would revise its study entirely.

Wheeler's agreement to back off came, no doubt, in response to the calls and emails from the "outraged" citizenry worked into the type of lather that only 30 million disinformed Talk Radio listeners can bring to bear. (In the past, similarly disinformed anti-government right-wingers have unleashed violence and death threats.)

But there's a silver lining in this tale. Perhaps for the first time, Wheeler truly understands that the right-wing of this nation is dominating our nation's radio airwaves, and that only he, as chief regulator, stands between the corporate cabal that commandeered public communications and the rest of us who deserve to have similar access to our own airwaves.

As I have been reporting for years, due to the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the FCC is powerless to change media ownership laws that allow one corporation to own as many radio stations nationwide as they can buy. Only Congress can change this corrosive law which, by virtue of monopolizing the national conversation, has polarized our nation.

But the FCC can and must enforce rules which, even though they are at the margins, are meant to protect the rest of us from the same kind of onslaught Wheeler has just experienced. The FCC must learn whether news offered over our public airwaves in a given community reflects the community's needs or only the parent company's corporate line. It must similarly prevent radio stations from using OUR airwaves to promote candidates of only ONE political party.

My non-profit project Media Action Center's case requesting the FCC enforce comparable time rules will hit Tom Wheeler's desk any day now. We are also asking that the FCC deny Right Wing Radio's argument that they may exclusively support Republican Party candidates over our public airwaves because, as they are now claiming in hopes of skirting both the spirit and intent of the law, Right Wing Talk Radio is "bonafide news". You can assist this effort to return Alice back from Wonderland by signing our petition to "Tell the FCC: Talk Radio is NOT Bonafide News!"

I'd love to get the word out about our case and our petition over our public airwaves. It would be nice to work the citizenry into a lather over the truth, for a change, rather than over pretend outrages fomented by corporatist charlatans. But, alas, non-Rightwingers no longer have access to the public airwaves of our nation.

For the first time, I suspect --- or at least hope --- that Tom Wheeler finally realizes why this is so important.

* * *

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.


Categories: Brad Blog

Real Conservatism for TX: Federal Judge Finds State Ban on Marriage Equality Unconstitutional

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 16:04

And now, from deep in the heart of Texas...

A federal judge declared a same-sex marriage ban in deeply conservative Texas unconstitutional on Wednesday, but will allow the nation's second-most populous state to enforce the law pending an appeal that will likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Orlando Garcia issued the preliminary injunction after two gay couples challenged a state constitutional amendment and a longstanding law. His ruling is the latest in a tangled web of lawsuits across the country expected to end up in the Supreme Court next year.

It's not that "tangled". As Constitutional law correspondent Ian Millhiser noted via Twitter just after the ruling came down, "Marriage equality is 7-0 in federal courts" since the U.S. Supreme Court found the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional in last year's United States v. Windsor case.

"There've been pro-equality decisions in UT, OK, OH, KY...IL and VA since Windsor. No decisions against equality," Millhiser tweeted, later adding, "Texas decision makes it more likely #SCOTUS will have to hear marriage equality. Will appeal to 5th Circuit, which is severely conservative."

"Before TX," he wrote, "it was possible circuit courts could be unanimous in siding w/ marriage equality. 5th Circuit will probably create circuit split."

I'm less certain about a "severely conservative" court creating a split. If the court really is as conservative as believed, versus simply "activist" Rightwinger Republicans, they are unlikely to find anything in the U.S. Constitution to support Texas, or anybody else, treating some people less equally under the law than others when it comes to marriage. As we've long argued, marriage equality for all is the true conservative position, as true conservatives both here and elsewhere, have also long affirmed.

In his federal ruling on the Texas ban today Judge Garcia seems to agree. "Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution," he wrote, according to AP. "These Texas laws deny plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex."


Categories: Brad Blog

'Green News Report' - February 25, 2014

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 17:50


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Natural gas methane leaks found to be 50% higher than EPA estimates; CO passes first-ever emissions regulations for oil & gas industry; Mississippi River shut down by oil spill; 2014 was hottest Winter Olympics ever; PLUS: ExxonMobil's CEO says fracking is fine for your backyard --- but not for his... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Please help us connect the climate change dots for another 5 years!
(and help us celebrate Desi's birthday!!!)

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

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): Hog factories poisoning Iowa's drinking water; Enbridge tar sands pipeline had 35 unreported spills; Small volcanoes tamping down atmospheric warming; CNN: Why are we still 'debating' climate change?; Legal setback for Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska; Supreme Court justices question EPA emissions authority; IPCC: Climate impacts 'very evident', 'we are not prepared' ... PLUS: Global Shift to Clean Energy No Longer 'Theoretical' ... 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 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

    Dumb or Dumbest?: AZ State Sen. Supports Anti- Gay Discrimination Bill, Also Running for Governor

    Tue, 02/25/2014 - 15:35

    Normally, I wouldn't waste your time by covering a story like this. It's a ridiculous wedge issue that extremist Rightwingers are trying to mainstream, and the bill that allows for their hoped for discrimination against gay people in Arizona (which is already allowable under existing law in AZ) is probably going to be vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) anyway, if reports today are reliable and if she has any interest in taking the advice of some of the most powerful and influential Republicans from the state. Even three of the Republican state Senators who voted for the bill are now asking Brewer to veto it. [Update 2/26/1: Brewer has now vetoed the bill, as expected.]

    But given that three-term state Sen. Al Melvin (R) is also running for Governor of AZ in 2014, I suppose it's important to help folks understand how extreme and --- mostly --- stupid this clown really is.

    I'd normally ignore this story even on that basis, on the premise that this guy is obviously too stupid to be elected to any office, much less governor of the state.

    However, Arizona is also the state that, remarkably, managed to re-elect the similarly daft Jan Brewer as the state's chief executive. So, I suppose anyone who gives too much credit to the voters of AZ to save themselves (or to have the ability to oversee their own election results determined by computer tabulators instead of human beings) does so at their own peril.

    With all of that in mind, please watch the video of his interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper (who deserves credit here) and take note of how unapologetically dumb state Sen. Al Melvin --- candidate for Governor of AZ --- actually is. The only defense I can manufacture in his favor: if he's not incredibly stupid, he's just indescribably dishonest. So, take your pick...

    [Hat-tip RAW STORY...]


    Categories: Brad Blog

    BRB

    Wed, 02/19/2014 - 15:35

    I may or may not be able to blog for a few days, as I'll be on the road for a bit. (No, the police are not after me. Yet. Just need to take care of some outta state bidness.)

    Please talk amongst yourselves until I return...No fighting, or I will turn this car right around.

    A couple of things to not fight about: If you missed my story yesterday here at The BRAD BLOG on the Sunday "news" shows' shameful "debate" about climate change, Salon is re-running it today.

    If you'd like to hear my 30 second version/re-enactment of pretty much everything you need to know from David Gregory's shameful Meet the Press climate change "debate" on Sunday's show, listen to yesterday's 5th Anniversary Green News Report.

    Also, this investigative report by Inside Climate News, Center for Public Integrity and the Weather Channel is a blockbuster on the unreported air quality health hazards of the massive fracking boom now taking over much of Texas; the state's hard work to not notice or report it to the public; and the seemingly rotten-to-the-core corruption of the Lonestar State's public officials and agencies who are supposed to be regulating it all and keeping its citizens safe from these types of catastrophes.

    This chart from the year-long investigative study offers an idea of just how upside down --- in favor of the oil and gas companies and against the citizenry --- that the Texas system has become...

    Back, hopefully, soon! (As ever, tips for road money are tremendously appreciated and very much needed!)


    Categories: Brad Blog

    'Green News Report' - February 18, 2014

    Tue, 02/18/2014 - 18:40


     

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama's plan to keep on truckin'...with much less oil; Secretary of State John Kerry goes 'weapons grade' on climate change; PLUS: It's GNR's 5th anniversary! So to celebrate, the Sunday network news shows all finally covered climate change --- really badly... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

    Please help us connect the climate change dots for another 5 years!
    PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

    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): Fracking boom spews toxic air emissions on Texas residents; CA city fights 'environmental racism'; NC coal ash spill found 70 mi. downstream; Gov. McCrory denies involvement in Duke Energy sweetheart deal; Brazil: land disputes escalate over illegal mining; BP Oil Spill giving tuna heart disease; Arctic on track to warm 23 degrees F ... PLUS: Michigan: Vast Spill Of Liquid Manure Hidden Under Snow ... 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 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

    Networks Befuddle 'While England Drowns, and Australia Burns, and California Dies of Thirst'

    Mon, 02/17/2014 - 21:27

    [This article now cross-published by Salon...]

    Now that the East Coast and parts of the southern U.S. have been battered over and again with extreme weather this winter, and while California is in the midst of its worst and longest drought on historical record, the Sunday "news" shows, all at once, decided to cover what they describe as "climate change" --- or, in the words of NBC's Meet the Press host, David Gregory, "The Politics of Weather".

    All four of the major Sunday "news" shows --- NBC's Meet the Press, ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation and Fox's Fox "News" Sunday --- covered the matter in various (lousy) ways.

    Out of all four of them, just This Week and Face the Nation, bothered to book an actual climate scientist to take part in the conversation with their various bevies of political and journalistic deniers and non-scientists. Only Face the Nation offered a one-on-one with a climate scientist before then bringing on the denier.

    Gregory, who Esquire's Charlie Pierce aptly described today as a "noodlebrained bag of useless flesh", tipped his hand last Friday by announcing excitedly via Twitter that MTP would be "Debating Climate change" on this week's show with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), one of Congress' top carbon industry proponents and global warming deniers and Bill Nye "The Science Guy", a mechanical engineer turned TV science personality. No actual climate scientists necessary, apparently, to "debate" climate change in Meet the Press World.

    Pierce called the embarrassing exchange "every bit as grim as you can imagine", and it certainly was. Here's just part of his scathing, dead-on-the-money response to it...

    Yesterday, and I am not exaggerating a bit here, David Gregory and the Meet The Press gang presented the definitive argument not only for their mutual expulsion from the company of sentient primates, but also the single best example of why the entire elite political class of this country is one day going to be subject to a massive class-action negligence suit on the part of whatever rodents are left. Let us stipulate from the outset --- among the people who actually know what they're talking about, there is no debate about climate change. None. It is occurring. Humans are exacerbating it at an unacceptable rate and, if something isn't done, beachfront property in Indianapolis one day is going to be at a premium. Neither political party has shown itself overly willing to confront this reality, but only one of them mocks the science and slanders the scientists.

    Pierce responds to Blackburn's idiotic word salad about "hypotheses or theories or unproven sciences," to say: "Hypothesis. Theories. Unproven sciences. While England drowns and Australia burns and California dies of thirst."

    We've discussed the record rains and flooding in Great Britain several times of late on our Green News Report and on a television appearance last week on RT America, but we haven't written about it much here. Last week, in response to the unrelenting extreme weather and storm surges swamping much of Southern England, Great Britain's Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to promise: "The Government will do everything it can to coordinate the nation's resources. If money needs to be spent, it will be spent. If resources are required, we will provide them. If the military can help, they will be there."

    The very next day, Cameron promised as he announced the deployment of the UK military to build a 60 meter high sea wall in one area of the country: "Money is no object in this relief effort. Whatever money is needed for it, will be spent."

    He went on to explain that in yet another area, Somerset, "There have been more than 65 million cubic meters of flood water. There is now around 3 million tons of water being pumped out every day. The equivalent of three Wembley Stadiums."

    If you're wondering what all those "scientists" and their crazy talk of "sea rise" is about, here's just a few seconds of video from over the weekend in Newlyn, Cornwall (video that the U.S. news networks apparently haven't bothered to show you)...

    Yes, even actual conservatives now, such as Cameron, have come to appreciate the dangers of global warming, even if it is only after disaster has struck his constituents, only after they are forced to deal with its costly consequences. And those consequences are becoming more and more costly by the year. Globally, in 2013, according to a recent report by reinsurance group Aon Benfield, we had the most extreme weather events in history that caused damage of $1 billion or more each, with 41 such events. "That's one more than the previous set in 2010," notes Climate Central's Brian Kahn, detailing the steady and costly increase in such catastrophes over recent decades.

    In the bargain, actual conservatives in this country may also like to not notice that failure to prepare for extreme weather events hastened by global warming has cost the U.S. some $1.15 trillion over the past thirty years, according to the Dept. of Homeland Security's Secretary for Policy last week. He added, during his Congressional testimony, that it's expected to cost at least another trillion over the coming decades.

    But why bother doing anything about it? Denial is much easier, if much more costly.

    On Sunday, NBC and Fox "News" and the others were giving airtime to jackasses like Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel to explain the reason scientists use the term "climate change" now instead of "global warming". (In fact, they don't. Both terms have long been used, with climate change used even earlier than global warming, though Republican and Fox "News" contributor Frank Luntz famously wrote a memo urging the GOP to use"climate change" instead of "global warming", because he thought it was less frightening.) Strassel's answer to Chris Wallace's straw man question about why it's "climate change" now instead of "global warming": Because "you couldn't prove that there was much global warming anymore, you know."

    Really? Tell that to the people of Australia, where they were recently forced to add a new color to their weather maps to denote newly extreme heat; where there were 203 heat-related deaths in Victoria alone last month; and where the frequency of such heatwaves has now "surpasse[d] levels previously predicted for 2030".

    "Heatwaves are coming earlier, they are lasting longer and they are hotter," Tim Flannery of the Australian Climate Council told the Guardian today in conjunction with the group's new report on Australia's unprecedented heat waves. "They build up for days and before you know it, elderly people, infants and the homeless are in danger."

    Nonetheless, the Rightwing Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott still remains in denial there, last week claiming that "there have always been tough times and lush times," as he refused to link the nation's record heat and wildfires and drought to climate change. Not enough dead people there yet, apparently.

    "We're not looking at these things in a linked-up way," Flannery told the Guardian in response to Abbott's denial. "We don't seem to recognise the relationship between the number and intensity of heatwaves on bushfires, and the impact on droughts...and people don't want to face the truth."

    "Governments have a responsibility to keep Australians safe from dangers such as climate change. You need to be explicit about that threat. We have yet to see that policy yet," he said.

    In this country, of course, we haven't seen it either. Here, even the non-wingnut journalists have now been cowed into not linking the human use of fossil fuels to global warming.

    Despite the fact that 97% of the 4,000 scientific studies on the cause of global warming over the past 20 years have found that human activity is to blame for warmer global temperatures, non-wingnuts like NBC weatherman Al Roker offers viewers nonsense such as: "Is it a natural cycle? Is it due to human interference or human conditions that we have created? That remains open to debate. But there is no doubt the climate is changing."

    No, humanity's contribution to climate change does not remain open to debate, at least if you bother to listen to the vast consensus of the world's climate scientists for the past several decades. But what do they know? And why should anybody want to include them on a network news shows' "debate" about climate change?

    "What Roker's doing here is what you might call skepticism-once-removed," The Wire's Philip Bump explains in his fact-check of Sunday's MTP "debate". "He's too smart and too prominent to deny that climate change exists, but he also doesn't want to get nasty emails from people who hate the idea that anyone would say climate change exists. ... Roker is wrong."

    But rather than climate scientists, better to offer views of TV-friendly weathermen like Roker and mechanical scientists like Nye and offer viewers the sage wisdom of Republican denialists like Blackburn and North Carolina's Gov. Pat McCrory (the 28-year former executive of Duke Energy) who appeared on two different Sunday shows this week (neither of which bothered to ask him on NC's recent massive coal ash spill by Duke Energy) and "balance" that with folks like Fox's version of a "liberal", Kirsten Powers and NBC's Chuck Todd.

    Powers explained on Sunday that while global warming "has become very much an article of faith on the left," (no, Kirsten, science is not "faith"), it's probably best to not talk about it all very much. We should just call for "reducing carbon emissions" because, "whether you believe in climate change or not, I think [that] is something that people should be able to get behind."

    "I mean less pollution is definitely a good thing," declared Powers, so as not to explain the truth too much to sensitive fossil fuel propagandized viewers. "So that might be a better way to make the argument rather than claiming that climate change is the cause of every single thing that happens with the weather."

    Naturally, over on NBC, Todd agreed with the general let's-not-upset-everybody notion. He suggested on the Meet the Press roundtable on Sunday that maybe it's better to keep the actual causes of this whole human-caused global warming thing to ourselves.

    "I wonder if there's too much --- you know, I know some environmentalists are frustrated with that portion of the debate --- but maybe you steer away from it and say, it doesn't matter," Todd advised. Who cares why it's happening?! Better to just discuss what we'll need to do now to mitigate it. He'd like to "table that part of the debate" regarding how we might make it all less horrific.

    "We have to tackle this infrastructure problem. You got to build different higher seawalls in some places. We're going to have to figure out a different way to distribute water in California....and the Federal government is going to have to pay for this...pay for all these things. And so I wonder if everybody should say, you know what? Let's table this debate. We know what's happening. Table that part of the debate because when you do that, then it becomes this like clubbing each other with --- with --- with political argument that takes away from what we have to do."

    Esquire's Pierce found Todd's suggestion particularly absurd.

    "How, precisely, would this policy approach work?," Pierce asked rhetorically. "'We will spend a few billion to build state-of-the-art seawalls but we won't bother giving a reason for why we're doing it. We're going to rearrange radically the way 38 million people get their water and we'll be apolitically vague when people ask why they woke up one morning with a fking aqueduct in their backyard.'"

    Apparently, the important thing is that the Sunday "news" shows either don't mention climate change or all, or if they do, have deniers and non-climate scientists talk about it, and when they finally do talk about it, maybe it's better to just not mention the reason for it at all. That way nobody --- especially the fossil fuel industry, which is a huge sponsor of all the network news outlets and most of our elected officials in Congress --- will have to discuss reality and scare those sensitive viewers and voters with actual information.

    Fox "News" disinformation not withstanding, last year was the 4th warmest year on record globally, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They also report that the 10 hottest years on record globally have all occurred since 1998. And, yet, a Media Matters study found in January this year that NBC's Meet the Press "fail[ed] to offer a single substantial mention of climate change in all of 2013."

    Given what David Gregory and friends offered this week, perhaps it's best they go back to not talking about it in 2014 if this is the way he and his colleagues are going to cover it while, as Pierce says, "England drowns, and Australia burns, and California dies of thirst..."


    Categories: Brad Blog

    Federal Judge Cites Lincoln in Striking Down VA's Ban on Marriage Equality as Unconstitutional

    Fri, 02/14/2014 - 15:01

    From US District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen's ruling [PDF] yesterday, finding that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional under federal law (just as both Utah's and Oklahoma's bans were recently found)...

    Almost one hundred and fifty four years ago, as Abraham Lincoln approached the cataclysmic rending of our nation over a struggle for other freedoms, a rending that would take his life and the lives of hundreds of thousands of others, he wrote these words: "It can not have failed to strike you that these men ask for just. . . the same thing---fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have. "

    The men and women, and the children too, whose voices join in noble harmony with Plaintiffs today, also ask for fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as it is in this Court's power, they and all others shall have.

    While undoubtedly Virginia's law would have been found unconstitutional and overturned eventually anyway --- just like similar laws in all fifty states will be very shortly --- it arguably will have happened much faster there and (take note, conservatives) with much less cost to the taxpayers, thanks to the results of last November's elections. Yes, as we've been detailing for more than ten years now, elections really do matter.

    Oh, and happy Valentines Day, Virginia...and everyone else!

    [Hat-tip Mariah Blake at Mother Jones...]


    Categories: Brad Blog

    Mitch McConnell Tastes His Own Medicine in Attack Ad by Senate Conservatives Fund [VIDEO]

    Fri, 02/14/2014 - 01:29

    This is what politics now looks like inside the Republican Party, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is staring down the double barrels of a very aggressive "Tea Party" primary challenge from Matt Bevin, and then a very close contest with Democratic general election candidate and Kentucky Sec. of State Alison Lundergan Grimes...

    Remember, that ad is by fellow Republicans. In other words, the ridiculous and toxic (if too often effective) tactics they've been using for years against Democrats are now being deployed against each other.

    As Josh Marshall said when flagging the ad above, "I guess you make your own bed." Or, perhaps, as the most most haunting movie ad ever said: "The call is coming from inside the house."

    Good luck with that, Republicans. You are what you eat.


    Categories: Brad Blog

    'Green News Report' - February 13, 2014

    Thu, 02/13/2014 - 18:33


     

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fossil fuels booming in the US --- literally --- with more new explosions this week; World's largest solar plant now open; Extreme winter weather again cripples the South; Extreme weather is extremely expensive and becoming more so; PLUS: Yes, climate change is coming for your Winter Olympics ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

    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): Church of England takes on 'giant evil' of climate change; Russian environmentalist jailed; No country will take tanker ablaze and adrift in Pacific; How much to fix climate change, and how much if we don't? Abrupt climate change: the 'expected unexpected'; CA to ban sale of polluting 'microbeads' in cosmetics; FEMA won't reimburse WV for chemical spill costs ... PLUS: Fusion energy breakthrough: US scientists achieve 'turning point' ... 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 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

    Brad AND Desi on Abby Martin's 'Breaking the Set' [VIDEO]

    Thu, 02/13/2014 - 09:05

    I've been on Abby Martin's Breaking the Set on RT America a number of times (see here and here), but on Wednesday it was my first time being on the show along with the delightful Desi Doyen, my co-host on the Green News Report.

    In a 10-minute or so segment, we covered everything from California's current drought (its worst on record) to the madness of fracking during it, to the two recent toxic coal-related spills in WV, to the recent massive coal ash spill in NC, to the record storms and floods now devastating Great Britain, to the mainstream corporate media's shameful failures to connect the climate change dots on all of the above, and what the hell we ought to be doing about it all.

    Here's the full show. Desi and I start just after the 17:15 minute mark...


    Categories: Brad Blog

    MSNBC's Krystal Ball: 'I Don't Want Hillary Clinton to Run in 2016' [VIDEO]

    Wed, 02/12/2014 - 16:46

    I've never been particularly impressed with MSNBC's Krystal Ball. She's never come across to me as much more than a knee-jerk Democratic Party loyalist, willing to join too many others on the cable news net to offer various versions of the same predictable party line.

    Yesterday, however, she called for Hilary Clinton to not run for President in 2016, so as to make room for a more progressive candidate, one more appropriate to this moment...such as Elizabeth Warren.

    "I've come to a difficult realization," says Ball in the video monologue below. "I don't want Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2016. I do not think that she's the right person for this moment." And good on her for saying as much...especially on MSNBC...


    Categories: Brad Blog

    'Green News Report' - February 11, 2014

    Tue, 02/11/2014 - 18:54


     

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: British military deployed to combat extreme rain, flooding in UK; Oops - NC officials backtrack on water safety after massive coal waste spill; Another toxic coal waste spill into WV's drinking water; 2013 breaks record for billion-dollar extreme weather disasters; PLUS: We correct three --- count 'em, three! --- errors... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

    Please help us connect the climate change dots over your public airwaves!
    PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE!
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    IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Heads up, Atlanta: new winter storm on the way; Too much winter, not enough propane in US; Oil industry double-dipping with government, insurance payments; Australia: weather service human-caused global warming responsible for record heat; WV chemical spill: 40% of homes still contaminated; BLM cheats taxpayers with giveaways to coal industry; Scientists criticize US decision to de-list wolves ... PLUS: Smear campaign: after scientist said weed-killer chemical was harmful, its maker pursued him ... 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 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

    Republicans Expand Renewed 'Block the Vote' Strategy in Florida

    Tue, 02/11/2014 - 15:39

    On the heels of Florida's Republican Sec. of State Ken Detzner blocking the usage of the student union at the University of Florida in Gainesville as an early voting site for the upcoming March special election, local Republican election officials elsewhere in the state are also working to reduce access to the voting booth this year (for certain voters).

    From Josh Israel at Think Progress...

    On a party-line vote, a Florida county's Republican majority Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to eliminate almost one-third of Manatee County's voting sites. The board accepted a proposal by Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett (R) by a 6-1 vote to trim the number of precincts, despite unanimous public testimony against the move - and complaints by the lone Democratic Commissioner that it would eliminate half of the polling places in his heavily minority District 2.
    ...
    In the public comment section of the meeting, all ten speeches strongly opposed the move. Representatives of the local NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Council warned that the cuts would decrease voter turnout because voters would have to travel further to a polling place, especially among the elderly and people without cars, and noted that the cuts disproportionately affected minority-heavy precincts.
    ...
    Bennett assured the commission that if lines are longer in 2014 as a result of these changes, he would ask them to revisit the decision in 2015, before the 2016 elections.

    Manatee's Supervisor of Elections Bennett, as Israel points out, is no stranger to voter suppression. In fact, he seems to rather love it. While serving as a State Senator in 2011, he endorsed a Republican bill to limit early voting during the 2012 Presidential election by explaining: "I wouldn't have any problem making it harder. I would want them to vote as badly as I want to vote. I want the people of the state of Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who's willing to walk 200 miles...This should not be easy."

    Hmmm..."That person in Africa". Just a common turn of phrase, apparently.

    That 2011 bill was eventually passed, signed by Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott and successfully created hours-long lines for (certain) voters in the Sunshine State in 2012.

    As we noted in our coverage last week of SoS Detzner's recent refusal to allow thousands of UF students to vote early at their own student union --- forcing the many car-less students to try and vote at a polling location five miles away instead --- both Scott and his hand-picked Sec. of State "had once pretended to be embarrassed about the long lines they caused (and refused to correct) at the polls during the 2012 election".

    Those days of pretending to give a damn about voting rights must be over for some Florida Republicans, however, particularly with Scott up for re-election this year and his polling numbers looking fairly bleak against his likely challenger, former Republican Governor turned Democratic candidate Charlie Crist.

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    Categories: Brad Blog

    80,000+ Furious 'Tea Partiers' Marched in Protest of Democratic Policies Over the Weekend

    Mon, 02/10/2014 - 18:50

    Oh, I'm sorry. Those weren't more than 80,000 'Tea Partiers' marching in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, over the weekend. Those were people peacefully demonstrating against the radical Rightwing 'Tea Party' policies of the North Carolina Legislature and Governor.

    Had they been 'Tea Partiers' protesting, of course, you would have already heard about the march, as it likely would have been featured by every news outlet in the nation, along with the repeated claim that such a massive gathering of angry voters portends disaster for Democrats this November.

    Such as these were not angry Rightwingers marching, however, the event barely made the "news" beyond North Carolina's borders. But it happened, whether the national, so-called "liberal media" covered it or not and, as these photos demonstrate, it was pretty damned huge...

    Saturday's protest was described as the "Moral March on Raleigh". It was both the 8th annual rally of the "Historic Thousands on Jones Street" coalition, so named after the street that houses the NC legislature, and an offshoot of the widespread weekly Moral Monday protests that cropped up in Raleigh and elsewhere in North Carolina in 2013, as organized by the North Carolina NAACP and other groups (such as Occupy Raleigh, Planned Parenthood-NC and the NC Association of Educators) in response to the radical rightward lurch of state policy over the past year or more.

    "Since North Carolina Republicans took over both legislative chambers in 2010," Think Progress summarizes in their coverage of the weekend march, "legislators have eliminated a host of programs and raised taxes on the bottom 80 percent, repealed a tax credit for 900,000 working families, enforced voter suppression efforts, blocked Medicaid coverage, cut pre-Kindergarten funding, cut federal unemployment benefits, and gave itself the authority to intervene in abortion lawsuits."

    Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest provided a round-up of the broad local coverage, even as the national media, by and large, ignored the massive rally.

    According to Peter Montgomery at RH Reality Check, Rev. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP and the keynote speaker at Saturday's event, "made 'higher ground' a theme of his remarks, contrasting the movement's public policy ideals with a litany of the 'mighty low' policies that became law after a far-right takeover of state government in the 2010 and 2012 elections."

    Montgomery detailed the marchers "five demands for state government that reflect the broad concerns of its coalition --- and the targets of right-wing leaders":

    1. Secure pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that insure economic sustainability.
    2. Provide well-funded, quality public education for all.
    3. Promote health care for all, including affordable access, the expansion of Medicaid, women's health, and environmental justice in every community.
    4. Address the continuing disparities in the criminal justice system on the basis of race and class.
    5. Defend and expand voting rights, women's rights, immigrants' rights, LGBT rights, and the fundamental principle of equality under the law for all people.

    "Multimillionaire Art Pope, a sort of home-grown Koch brother, had poured money into state elections," Montgomery explains. Pope, a longtime Koch Brothers associate and power-player in both the state and in the Koch's national Americans for Prosperity political operation, was named the state's Budget Director in 2012 by the Republican Governor Pat McCrory who Pope had paid handsomely to get elected that year.

    "Far-right Republicans took the governorship and a supermajority in the state legislature [in 2012]. And in 2013 they made the most of it, gutting spending on education, rejecting the expansion of Medicaid to half a million poor people, and passing one the worst anti-voting laws in the country. They raised taxes on poor people by abolishing the Earned Income Tax Credit for almost a million families and used the savings to fund new tax breaks for a handful of the state's richest residents. The governor violated a campaign pledge by signing a law that further restricts access to abortion," writes Montgomery.

    "North Carolina became, in short, the proving grounds for an untrammeled Tea Party approach to governance and what Barber calls 'extreme, constitutionally inconsistent, morally indefensible, economically insane policies.'," Montgomery says in his detailed report on the broad coalition that has come together via the "Moral" protests over the past year.

    Citing the four African-American students who "kicked off the 1960s civil rights movement by trying to eat at a segregated lunch counter at Woolworth's in downtown Greensboro," North Carolina, The Nation's Ari Berman reports, "it was fitting that North Carolina's Moral Monday movement held a massive 'Moral March' in Raleigh [on Saturday] which began at Shaw University, exactly fifty-four years after North Carolina's trailblazing role in the civil rights movement."

    The number of marchers was estimated to be between 80,000 and 100,000, though that number comes from rally organizers. No matter, its more than clear from the photos and videos [see the one posted below] that the march was fairly massive. It's hard to imagine it wouldn't have garnered topline coverage on cable news outlets and front pages of the nation's mainstream newspapers had it been a "Tea Party" rally.

    The organizers say they plan to continue to grow their Moral Monday rallies in the new year.

    "If today’s rally was any indication, the Moral Monday movement will be bigger and broader in 2014," reports Berman. "An estimated 15,000 activists attended the HKonJ rally last year, bringing thirty buses; this year, the NC NAACP estimated that 80,000 to 100,000 people rallied in Raleigh, with 100 buses converging from all over the state and country. It was the largest civil rights rally in the South since tens of thousands of voting rights activists marched from Selma to Montgomery in support of the Voting Rights Act."

    But, shhh, don't tell the mainstream national media about it.

    * * *

    If any further proof is needed that this not-Tea Party rally actually happened, here's video from the rally over Rev. Barber's remarks, as posted by the Charlotte News & Observer on Saturday...

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    Categories: Brad Blog

    Republicans' Fraudulent Candidate Websites, Fundraising Merit Investigation, Prosecution

    Mon, 02/10/2014 - 10:05

    Last year, as we reported at the time, California Republicans who sought to sabotage the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, sent out deceptive mailers to constituents at taxpayer expense directing them to a fake "Obamacare" website.

    This year, picking up on the idea that duping the public (committing fraud) is the key to their success, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) was recently found to have created at least eighteen websites built to appear to support Democratic candidates while, in actuality, using the sites to fund raise against those same candidates.

    The website seen in the graphic above, for example, appears to support Arizona Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's re-election bid --- unless you are very careful to read the fine print. The site, AnnKirkpatrick.com, "might greet visitors with a welcoming photo of the Arizona congresswoman and a screaming 'Kirkpatrick for Congress' logo, but that design belies its true agenda," according to the Los Angeles Times. That agenda, they say, includes duping supporters of Democratic candidates into donating towards their defeat --- a tactic, which, the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center's senior counsel Paul S. Ryan describes as a "slam dunk" violation of Federal Election Commission (FEC) Rules.

    As we've recently been reporting, however, "slam dunk" violations of federal campaign finance laws and FEC rules are anything but a "slam dunk" when it comes to their actual enforcement by the FEC...

    There is a serious question as to whether the FEC will enforce rules that prevent such deceptive tactics.

    As Craig Holman, the Government Affairs Lobbyist for Public Citizen's Congress Watch explained during an interview last month with Brad Friedman on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast, the six-Commissioner FEC is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Since 2008, Republicans have determined to use that split for little more than political advantage by nominating GOP Commissioners dedicated to holding up virtually any and all campaign finance policing by the federal agency. In the bargain, Holman explained, there has been a "nine-fold" increase in 3-3 deadlocked votes that have effectively blocked FEC enforcement of almost all federal campaign finance laws over the past five years.

    Campaign Legal Center attorney Ryan, who sees the GOP's new bogus "Democratic" websites as a "slam dunk" violation, is also the attorney who recently filed a complaint in U.S. District Court seeking to overturn what the plaintiffs describe as an "arbitrary" and "capricious" refusal by the three Republican FEC Commissioners to investigate apparent violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971 by Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS. That refusal, as the complaint details, occurred despite express findings by the FEC's own Office of Legal Counsel that Rove's Republican front group likely violated the law.

    While the 3-3 partisan deadlock is problematic, if, as the L.A. Times reports, the supporters of Democratic candidates have been duped into donating money for their chosen candidate's defeat via these new websites, there are remedies available that do not require an FEC ruling. Every state in the nation has laws to prevent fraud. Those laws not only provide civil remedies, but often treat such cases as a criminal offense.

    Last year, CA Attorney General Kamela Harris ordered at least ten fake "Obamacare" websites to be shutdown. She and other state attorneys general should undertake the same action with respect to these fraudulent candidate websites created by Republicans. Such actions should also include criminal investigations of those who are responsible for putting them up in what appears to be a very transparent attempt to defraud the voting public.

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

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    Categories: Brad Blog

    Imagine That, Florida's Gov. Rick Scott and SoS Ken Detzner Are Still Trying to Suppress the Vote

    Fri, 02/07/2014 - 16:10

    Ian Millhiser notes today that Florida Gov. Rick Scott's hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner is still working hard to keep certain voters there from voting in the upcoming special election in March.

    While both Scott and Detzner had once pretended to be embarrassed about the long lines they caused (and refused to correct) at the polls during the 2012 election, it turns out, even with Scott facing re-election this year, the pair are still working hard to suppress the vote in the Sunshine State...

    Gainesville, Florida, in an attempt to avoid the six-hour lines that characterized last Election Day, sought approval to use the University of Florida's student union as an early voting site. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner denied the request, sparking outrage.

    Detzner justified the decision by claiming that the Reitz student union does not fit the list of eligible early voting sites, which was expanded last year to reduce lines. Now, municipalities can use fairgrounds, government-owned community centers, convention centers, stadiums, courthouses, civic centers, and county commission buildings. "The terms 'convention center' and 'government-owned community center' cannot be construed so broadly as to include the Reitz Union," the state's Division of Elections argued.

    Local officials contend that the Reitz Union qualifies as a government-owned community center, as it is part of a public university.

    "I'm very upset about this," Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards told the Tampa Bay Times. "I just can't understand why they feel the need to be so restrictive about where people are allowed to vote...This is strategic. They're worried about young people voting."

    Instead, UF students will have to travel more than five miles off campus in order to cast their vote in the March special election --- a difficult trip for a mostly car-less population.

    The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Reitz student union is "used as a regular voting precinct in county, state and national elections. About 50,000 students attend UF, and the city said the request to use the Reitz Union for early voting came from a group of students."

    Deirdre Macnab, president of the League of Women Voters, called the decision "jaw dropping".

    The Times quotes Senate Ethics & Elections Chairman Jack Latvala (R), described as the sponsor of SB 600, "the 2013 law that expanded early voting sites", claiming that "we really did not specifically allow for [early voting sites] to be on campus."

    However, HB 7013 (the companion bill in the FL House to SB 600, the one that was actually passed and signed into law) says nothing about disallowing early voting cites that are on campus. It reads specifically (see page 25 [PDF])...

    The supervisor may also designate any city hall, permanent public library facility, fairground, civic center, courthouse, county commission building, stadium, convention center, government-owned senior center, or government-owned community center as early voting sites; however, if so designated, the sites must be geographically located so as to provide all voters in the county an equal opportunity to cast a ballot, insofar as is practicable. In addition, a supervisor may designate one early voting site per election in an area of the county that does not have any of the eligible early voting locations. Such additional early voting site must be geographically located so as to provide all voters in that area with an equal opportunity to cast a ballot, insofar as is practicable.

    It would hardly be the first time Scott and Detzner managed to piss off local election officials in recent years. In 2012, by way of just one example, their attempted purge of supposed "non-citizen" voters (who actually weren't) sparked outrage among many of the state's county election officials. And, more recently, just last December, they faced a veritable mutiny by many of those county Supervisors of Elections (both Republican and Democratic), after Detzner issued a decree changing the rules for absentee ballot casting at the last minute to make it --- you guessed it --- harder for voters to cast their votes.

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    Categories: Brad Blog

    Snowden on the Dangers of the 'Privatized' National Security State, in the Interview the U.S. 'News' Networks Didn't Bother to Show You

    Fri, 02/07/2014 - 09:05

    Almost three weeks ago, all three of the major Sunday network news shows --- NBC's Meet the Press, CBS' Face the Nation and ABC's This Week --- allowed very powerful elected officials, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), to come on the air and claim, without evidence, that they'd seen "clues" suggesting former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden was, somehow, a Russian agent.

    The officials were required to offer absolutely no evidence for their extraordinary claims on the three major broadcast networks. Snowden was subsequently forced to strongly rebut the scandalous charges, which are apparently straight out of the Nixon/Cold War era playbook.

    While that sort of wholly substance-free red-baiting is now perfectly appropriate, seemingly, on network "news" shows, it's similarly remarkable that it seems those very same networks, and most of the others, obsessed with unsubstantiated bullshit claims about Snowden, failed to even note a full-length, detailed, substantive videotaped interview with Snowden on Germany television's ARD almost two weeks ago on January 26th.

    Interestingly, on the ARD website, where the exclusive interview was originally posted, a note on the page explains cryptically: "Due to legal reasons the video is only available in Germany." Huh. So it can't be watched there from here in the U.S. Okay. So, here's the full interview as posted at LiveLeak...

    Please decide for yourself if he's a "Russian agent", as based on his comments here and the actual public evidence that exists (none) to support the defamatory claims of the very powerful elected members of Congress. The entire interview is interesting and as fascinating as he is.

    I'm not sure if it offers a lot of new information, in regard to Snowden's leaks (as he notes several times during the conversation, he's leaving it to the journalists to decide what is newsworthy and what isn't from amongst the documents which he reportedly no longer even has), but there's one section I wanted to underscore, as it's something we've discussed here for many years. Namely, the dangers of privatizing our national security/surveillance state, which he speaks to very directly in the interview...

    INTERVIEWER: How does a young man from Elizabeth City in North Carolina, thirty years old, get in such a position in such a sensitive area?

    SNOWDEN: That's a very difficult question to answer. Um, in general, I would say it highlights the dangers of privatizing government functions. I worked previously as an actual staff officer, a government employee for the Central Intelligence Agency, but I've also served much more frequently as a contractor in a private capacity. What that means is you have private for-profit companies doing inherently governmental work, like targeted espionage, surveillance, compromising foreign systems. And anyone who has the skills, who can convince a private company that they have the qualifications to do so, will be empowered by the government to do that and there's very little oversight. There's very little review.
    ...
    INTERVIEWER: You worked for the NSA through a private contractor with the name Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the big ones in the business. What is the advantage for the U.S. Government or the CIA to work through a private contractor to outsource essential government functions?

    SNOWDEN: Contracting culture of the national security community in the United States is a complex topic. It's driven by a number of interests between primarily limiting the number of direct government employees, at the same time as keeping lobbying groups in Congress --- typically from very well-funded businesses, such as Booz Allen Hamilton --- the problem there is, you end up in a situation where government policies are being influenced by private corporations who have interests that are completely divorced from the public good in mind.

    The result of that is what we saw at Booz Allen Hamilton, where you have private individuals who have access to what the government alleges were millions and millions of records that they could walk out the door with at any time, with no accountability, no oversight, no auditing. The government didn't even know they were gone.

    For those who have been on a jihad against Snowden since his initial disclosures last year --- whether they are powerful elected officials from both major parties, like Feinstein and Rogers, neo-conservative Republicans who have long supported an all-powerful surveillance state in defiance of the Constitution, or Democratic loyalists of Barack Obama who are torturing themselves to find any reason to attack Snowden because they believe his allegations somehow hurt the President --- I'd love to hear what their defense is for privatizing our national security/surveillance "needs" to private, 100% unaccountable corporate interests.

    Specifically, I wonder, how it is that they justify the type of behavior that it has allowed, not just in the Snowden case, but, for example, in the planned 2011 multi-million dollar attack that was being prepared for launch against private U.S. citizens and journalists --- in this case, including myself and my family --- by intelligence contractors using taxpayer-funded tools developed for the so-called "War on Terror".

    Advancing a case that charges Snowden is the "bad guy" here, whether the argument is substance-based or created out of whole cloth (as most such arguments against him appear to be), succeeds only in supporting that kind of unaccountable, fascistic corporate/government structure which has proven to offer little, if any, benefits to the citizenry, but plenty of unrestrained power with which to counter pretty much everything otherwise known as "an American value" found at the heart of our U.S. Constitution.

    Remember, that privatized national security/surveillance state is not a bug to those private corporations profiteering off of it, it's a feature. Please recall the selling point written into the proposal [PDF] to pitch their so-called "Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell" that three intelligence contracting firms had prepared for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, when the firms were hoping to win a $12 million contract to spy and commit espionage against people like me: "[W]ho better to develop a corporate information reconnaissance capability than companies that have been market leaders within the DoD and Intelligence Community."

    Who better, indeed.


    Categories: Brad Blog

    'Green News Report' - February 6, 2014

    Thu, 02/06/2014 - 18:09


     

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: No end in sight for coal ash waste spill in NC; Sniper attack exposes security vulnerabilities of aging US electrical grid; Fracking depleting water supplies in drought-stricken states; Tesla electric cars, now driving cross-country for free; PLUS: The Great Barrier Reef to become a sacrifice zone for coal ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

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

    IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Record number of billion-dollar disasters in 2013; How to deconstruct the difficult math of Keystone XL's carbon footprint; USDA launches 'climate hubs' to help farmers with drought; Winter Olympics: downhill forecast in a warming world; From Occupy to climate justice ... PLUS: Big Coal’s ash mess follows its chemical spill. Is this some kind of bad joke? ... 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 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