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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, May 29, 2015
HASTERT INDICTED ON CRIMINAL CHARGES
Flashback to BRAD BLOG coverage of blackmail, bribery allegations from years past, as former GOP House Speaker charged with paying $3.5m to cover up 'prior misconduct'...
Montana's Fight to Save U.S. Elections: 'BradCast' 5/28/15
MT's Commissioner of Political Practices discusses his disturbing court battle that may rock elections across the country; Nebraska does the right thing again; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/28/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly deluges in TX, OK; Deadly heat in India; Heat-driven fires shut down tar sands oil in Canada; Farmers concede in CA drought; PLUS: Obama protects drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 5/21/15 - 5/19/15 - Archives...
On 'White Fragility' and On Smearing Bernie Sanders: 'BradCast' 5/27/15
Journalist Austin Squire on privileged white males' tenous grip on power. Plus: The MSM continues to marginalize Sanders, even after his huge kickoff rally this week...
Roads to Nowhere: Do Voters Really Want New Ones?
Voters keep rejecting increased taxes for new and improved roads. Environmental reporter Miles Grant wonders if there's a reason above and beyond aversion to increased gas taxes...
Oil, Toil, Flooding & Trouble: 'BradCast' 5/26/15
Science Editor Andrew Freedman on deadly TX, OK flooding; Good news out of Ireland; A 'GyroCopter Guy' update; PLUS: Our report from the Santa Barbara oil spill...
Memorial Day Weekend Toons We'd Love to Forget
Arctic drilling; Texas 'justice'; Hillary Inc.; Iraq 'whoppers' continued and more in PDiddie's latest collection...
Gov. Don Siegelman's Son on Father's Case; 'Bin Laden's Bookshelf': 'BradCast' 5/22/15
GUEST: Joseph Siegelman; Plus: Was al-Qaeda hoping to hack a US election?...
'Bin Laden's Bookshelf' Contained Classic Book on Hacking Computer Elections
Reading material said to have been on the al-Qaeda leader's shelf when he was killed may not be a surprise to BRAD BLOG readers...
GOP State Sen. on Nebraska's 'Veto Proof' Death Penalty Ban: 'BradCast' 5/21/15
Guest: State Sen. Al Davis (R); Plus: Siegelman appeal denied; Jeb still rewriting Iraq history; Goodbye, Dave; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/21/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Major oil spill off CA coast; New settlement in 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill; Fossil fuels subsidized $5 TRILLION/year; PLUS: Obama to Coast Guard cadets: climate threatens NatSec...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/15 - 5/14/15 - Archives...
BREAKING: Appeals Court Denies Siegelman Retrial
AL's former Dem Governor's request denied. He remains in federal prison as Repubs who orchestrated 'political prosecution' (including 'wife-beating' Judge Mark Fuller) remain free...
Walker, Christie, GOP, FCC, Untethered From Reality: 'BradCast' 5/20/15
Facts and reality matter; Journalist turned media-activist Sue Wilson helps explain...
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) on Obama's Executive Order to Demilitarize the Police: 'BradCast' 5/19/15
Plus: A spate of new voting laws, good and bad, around the country...
'Green News Report' 5/19/15
'Paddle in Seattle' to stop Shell's Arctic drilling; Study finds new emmissions rules will save lives...so GOP blocking them; PLUS: Indigenous tribe nixes natgas billions...
Walker and GOP Turn 1st Amndmnt On Head
The FCC's blow to free speech rights you probably never heard about, and how, if Walker and Republicans have their way, it may soon get even worse...
People v. Shell in Seattle; Truth v. Iraq Lies on Fox: 'BradCast' 5/18/15
Guest: Seattle Councilman Mike O'Brien; Now Rubio trips over Iraq; TX shootout; Antarctica ice shelf disappearing...
The 'Br'er Rabbit Strategy' To Fend Off A Sanders-Led Democratic Revolution
Wall Street and MSM say they fear Sanders could 'pull Hillary to left'. But is there more to their strategy?...
Sunday Toons: Off the Rails
From the TPP to tragedy in Philly to GOP 2016ers on Iraq to drilling in the Arctic and marriage equality in TX, common sense continues to be derailed...
Learning From History & GOP Rewriting Iraq's: 'BradCast' 5/15/15
Guest: Journalist Peter Dykstra, formerly of CNN, on how enviros should learn from the past; GOP 2016ers trying to rewrite Iraq...
Texas Republicans Hoping to Block Even More Legit Voters With New ID Scheme
New law, if adopted by state, would take already unconstitional Photo ID voting restrictions to new level...
NSA Spying & 'USA Freedom Act'; Jeb Between Iraq, Hard Place: 'BradCast' 5/14/15
Guest: Marcy Wheeler; Plus: Feingold's back! OH GOP still suppressing voters; 600th GNR...
'Green News Report' 5/14/15
OUR 600th EPISODE! - Hours after Amtrak crash, GOP votes to cut Amtrak budget; FBI spied on KXL protesters; PLUS: Hawaii to be 1st in nation to go 100% renewable...
CIA Drugging of 9/11 Detainees? & Jeb Too Dumb to Run: 'BradCast' 5/13/15
VICE News' investigative reporter Jason Leopold on his new exclusive CIA documents; MORE...
Dems: 'No' to Obama on TPP
'BradCast' 5/12/15
Salon's David Dayen joins us to discuss Dems' refusal to go along with Obama (for now); Plus: 1st election lawsuit of 2016; Jeb on Iraq, Allen West on 'Sharia Law'...
NY Nuke Plant Fire, Oil Spill; Vanishing NC Voter Registrations: 'BradCast' 5/11/15
Guests: Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen; 'DocDawg' of Daily Kos...
Bernie Who? 'Meet the Press' Ignores Sanders
Media watchdog documents NBC's Chuck Todd snubbing Sanders' entry into 2016 Presidential primary, while covering GOP also-rans dozens of times...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Flashback to BRAD BLOG coverage of bribery, blackmail allegations by FBI translator/whistleblower Sibel Edmonds from years past...
By Brad Friedman on 5/28/2015 11:04pm PT  

Oh, man...

CHICAGO (AP) — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep an unidentified person silent about "prior misconduct" by the Illinois Republican who was once third in line to the U.S. presidency, according to a federal grand jury indictment handed down on Thursday in Chicago.

The indictment, which does not describe the misconduct Hastert was allegedly trying to conceal, charges the 73-year-old with one count of evading bank regulations as he withdrew tens of thousands of dollars at a time to make the payments. He is also charged with one count of lying to the FBI about the reason for the unusual bank withdrawals.

Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
...
Hastert withdrew a total of around $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts from 2010 to 2014, and then provided it to the person identified in the indictment only as Individual A. Hastert allegedly agreed to pay the person $3.5 million, but never apparently paid that full amount.

Specifically, the indictment reads, the payoffs were to cover up "past misconduct by defendant against Individual A that had occurred years earlier." That "years earlier" part could be important here. See AP's story for much more, including the 7-page indictment itself.

I'll be on the road for a few days as of Friday for some long-scheduled family obligations, so I won't be able to delve much into this for the moment. However, we covered a number of questions about Hastert and criminality in some detail here as far back as 2006. At the time, many seemed to think such questions were outlandish. Much of our coverage stemmed from allegations made about Hastert by former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. She had charged, years ago, that Hastert was mixed up with shadowy Turkish interests and even suitcases full of cash, generally speaking. For example, from the 241-page transcript [PDF] her sworn video taped testimony during a 2009 case, Edmonds claimed Hastert was involved in...

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Guest: Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl...
By Brad Friedman on 5/28/2015 5:33pm PT  

Nebraska does it again! The majority-GOP state legislature overrides yet another veto by the state's GOP governor to do the right thing yet again, this time to allow the children of immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses. The latest move by Conservative legislators in the state comes on the heels of overriding vetoes and/or filibuster-proof majorities to protect voting rights, raise tax revenue to repair roads and bridges and ban the death penalty. (Today's news, by the way, was available last week to regular BradCast listeners, as it was hinted at quite directly on our show at the time by my guest that day, Republican state Sen. Al Davis.)

In the meantime, my guest on today's The BradCast is Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices John Motl. He explains the state's latest disturbing court battle to retain their long-standing caps on campaign donations. As noted during the show, this case could very well end up at the U.S. Supreme Court and serve to remove all caps on donations to candidates across the country. So it's very important. This in a state which recently saw SCOTUS gut it's 100-year old prohibition on corporate campaign spending (the Corrupt Practices Act of 1912) in the wake of Citizens United.

"We fully understand we are standing in on behalf of the average person," Motl tells me. "We're not standing here on behalf of the large moneyed interests. And we're willing to take that burden on." He adds that he's confident they will win this case. "If there's justice, we will prevail." I'm not quite as confident as he is, to be frank. Pay attention to this case.

Plus: An amusing new RW conspiracy theory, of sorts; Saudi Arabia's oil minister says we may be nearing the end of fossil fuels(!); and extreme weather ravishing the nation and the world on the latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Journalist, playwright Aurin Squire...
By Brad Friedman on 5/27/2015 4:36pm PT  

As the corporate media continues to smear and/or ignore and/or marginalize Bernie Sanders' candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination, we're happy to play extended excerpts from Tuesday's massive kick-off rally in Burlington, VT on today's BradCast. You're welcome, Politico and "everyday Americans" everywhere!

Then, I was joined by journalist and playwright Aurin Squire to discuss his recent TPM essay on "Biker Gangs, Tamir Rice, And The Rise Of White Fragility". Squire raises a number of important issues in his piece concerning how so many in the nation's white, male, privileged power structure seem to be desperately trying to cling to control they think they are losing. In the meantime, they are voting against their own best interests, even as they try to restrict the rights of "the others".

Plus: Breaking news on the bipartisan Nebraska state legislature successfully overriding their GOP Governor's veto to abolish the death penalty once and for all; three new GOP candidates set to get into the 2016 race; and John Boehner's latest, ridiculous dog whistles...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Andrew Freedman of Mashable.com on deadly TX, OK storms; Plus: Our report from the Santa Barbara oil spill and MORE...
By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2015 4:15pm PT  

Good news and bad today on The BradCast. As is too often the case, mostly bad.

We get the good news out of the way early. Namely, the overwhelming approval by voters for a Constitutional amendment for marriage equality in the very Catholic nation of Ireland over the weekend. The mandate was loud and clear and, thanks to publicly hand-counted, hand-marked paper ballots in Ireland, unmistakable.

Then, horrific, deadly flooding in Texas and Oklahoma on the heels of a years-long drought there. Mashable.com's Science Editor Andrew Freedman joins us to discuss the ongoing disaster and the influence of climate change on events like this --- which we seem to be seeing more and more of...just as climate scientists have been warning for decades.

Also today, a report on our own weekend encounter with private security guards at the scene of the Santa Barbara, CA oil spill after the rupture of a crude pipeline owned by a company named Plains All American.

An update on charges now filed against Doug Hughes, the postal worker who landed his gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in April to deliver a message about the need for campaign finance reform (our full interview with Hughes from back in April is right here).

All that, and a few more items of note in today's BradCast!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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GUEST: Joseph Siegelman...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2015 3:18pm PT  

We've reported for years about the ease with which foreign entities could hack a computerized US election with little possibility of being discovered. Well, guess what classic book was reportedly found on 'Bin Laden's Bookshelf'? We discuss on today's BradCast!

Then, my guest is the imprisoned Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL)'s son Joseph Siegelman (pictured above with his father and sister Dana just before his father was sent back to federal prison in 2012 to serve out his 6.5 year sentence on "bribery" charges), on the latest disturbing ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals concerning his father's appeal for a new trial and/or reduced sentence in his outrageously politicized prosecution by the Bush Administration.

Joseph, now an attorney, explains what the court's decision this week means; where the case goes from here; whether he thinks the Obama Administration will ever right the wrong; and how you can help to restore justice in this matter.

"This is something that shouldn't happen in America," he told me. "If a sitting governor can be unseated and prosecuted and imprisoned for something that he did not do --- and for something that had not even been considered a crime in this country until he was convicted of it --- what chance do anyone one of us have?"

That and a bit more, including listener mail and some breaking voting news out of MD, on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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'Black Box Voting' author Bev Harris tells BRAD BLOG: 'He must have been looking at how fucked up the western world really is'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2015 6:35am PT  

We've long warned about the dangers that electronic voting and tabulation systems pose to our democracy, not just from simple insider attacks and domestic hacking, but also from foreign governments and other, even shadier entities.

In 2009, just by way of one of scores (if not hundreds) of examples, we covered the chilling presentation given by the CIA's cybersecurity expert Steven Stigall to a panel convened by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) during a field hearing in Orlando, FL. Stigalll warned at the time: "You heard the old adage 'follow the money. I follow the vote. And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to...make bad things happen."

"For several years," Stigall said, according to the transcript [WORD], "I've worked with others in my organization to try and identify foreign threats, emphasis on 'foreign threats,' to important U.S. computer systems. A few years ago it occurred to us that that should include potential foreign threats to the computers upon which our elections in this country are increasingly dependent."

Well, funny thing. Remember that Osama Bin Laden guy? On Thursday, The Hill and others published a list [PDF] of about forty English-language books said to have been found at Bin Laden's compound when he was killed. Among them, amusingly enough, were "9/11 conspiracy theory" books. Another was the New York Times best-seller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by our friend, investigative reporter Greg Palast.

Interesting. But look at what else showed is said to have been found on Osama's bookshelf...

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Plus: Siegelman's appeal rejected; Jeb still rewriting Iraq history; MORE...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2015 5:21pm PT  

After a bunch of breaking news on The BradCast today --- out of Baltimore, on Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL)'s rejected criminal appeal, on Jeb Bush's latest easily disprovable nonsense in hopes to rewriting Iraq and his brother's criminal culpability in it --- I was delighted to move on to some very encouraging news out of Nebraska.

On Wednesday, in Nebraska's unique, non-partisan unicameral state Senate, Republicans and Democrats voted --- with a "veto proof majority" --- to end the use of the death penalty in the state. The move, in the pretty deeply Republican state, seems to have shocked many, particularly with the state's Republican Governor having just announced his purchase of a a new batch of drugs to kill people with...from a very questionable source.

State Sen. Al Davis (R-District 43), one of those who voted to end the state's immoral killing of prisoners, joined me on today's show to explain why he voted as he did (on this matter and in the recent bipartisan rejection of a polling place Photo ID voting restriction); whether he believes the "veto proof" majority on the death penalty ban will hold at this point; why the state's unicameral, non-partisan chamber seems to result in common sense alliances rarely seen elsewhere across our dysfunctional partisan landscape; and what other surprising moves (yes, increased taxes and more!) may soon come out of the majority Republican statehouse.

All of that today, along with a thought on David Letterman's departure and Desi Doyen with the latest, very oily, Green News Report...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2015 6:28pm PT  

From AP late today:

A federal appeals court has upheld the bribery conviction and prison sentence of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Siegelman was not entitled to a new trial. The judges also upheld Siegelman's 78-month sentence.

The ruling is the latest legal blow to Siegelman, who has been fighting to overturn his 2006 conviction in a government corruption case. A federal jury convicted Siegelman of appointing former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to a state board in exchange for campaign donations.

Siegelman, a Democrat, had argued that a prosecutor with ties to GOP politics remained involved in his case despite her recusal. Federal judges said there was no evidence she influenced the prosecution team

Siegelman is projected to get out of prison in 2017.

See below for an appearance of mine on Thom Hartmann's television show in 2013 discussing the status of the Siegelman case at the time. Hartmann describes him as "America's Political Prisoner". The appearance coincided with the dismissal of the conviction against former Republican U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for money laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars. 113 bi-partisan former state Attorneys General have stated that what Siegelman was convicted of had never been a crime until he was charged with it.

The court's decision, however, could help to finally clear the way for clemency or a pardon from the President, as advocates have long sought. See Jeffrey Toobin's January 2015 New Yorker column calling for same.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller (the former head of the Alabama GOP and George W. Bush-appointed federal judge who oversaw Siegelman's trial and sentencing after refusing to recuse himself despite long-held grudges against the popular Democratic governor) remains a free man. His criminal record has been expunged despite having been arrested for allegedly beating his wife in a hotel room last summer. (911 call here and embed below.) Unless impeached by Congress, Fuller will retain his $200k/year seat on the federal bench for life.

More info at Free-Don.org.

USA. USA. USA.

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My 2013 appearance on Hartmann's show and a video snippet of the chilling 911 call from Judge Fuller's wife in 2014, both follow below...

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GUEST: Journalist turned media-activist documentarian Sue Wilson...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2015 4:08pm PT  

We've been talking about reality here a lot lately, and the difficulty a huge portion of our population has with it.

On today's BradCast: Our nation's untethering from reality, as it affects accountability for Iraq War war crimes and torture, the 2016 race, climate change and much more. We can't fix our problems until we can agree on the facts, but Governors Chris Christie and Scott Walker remind us once again that we are nowhere near such agreement. (Even as we must take a side trip through the Bush Family's relationship with Nazi Germany to help understand it all.)

Journalist-turned-media-activist and documentarian Sue Wilson from Media Action Center joins us to discuss the FCC ruling that upends the First Amendment and Walker and his supporter's efforts to make things even worse in a Wisconsin criminal investigation into his 2012 recall election that may have an enormous impact on the entire nation in 2016.

Plus: Minimum wage boosted to $15/hour here in Los Angeles; Another huge oil spill in Santa Barbara; and much more on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!

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Plus: A spate of new voting laws, good and bad, around the country...
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2015 4:53pm PT  

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA-4) returned to The BradCast today to take a bit of a victory lap after President Obama's Executive Order this week restricting the flow of heavy armaments from the Dept. of Defense to state and local police via the Pentagon's 1033 program.

Johnson spoke with us most recently last summer, after Ferguson blew up, and as he was preparing to file his "Stop Militarization Law Enforcement Act of 2015" [PDF]. Long before that, he had been working to roll back the obscene militarization of our local police. So he was justifiably happy about this week's development, even while explaining that its still important to pass his legislation because Executive Orders are easily undone by Congress and Republicans are, somewhat schizophrenically, in the process of actually trying to expand the 1033 program.

Then we cover a spate of new voting laws working their way through statehouses around the country from TX to OH to NH to FL to VT to MD. While most off the new laws in Republican states are predictably restrictive and in Democratic states more expansive, there is one pleasantly surprising exception to that rule this week.

Also, millions of spiders falling from the skies in Australia! And Desi Doyen joins for the latest Green News Report, which actually includes a some encouraging good for a change!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!

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

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GUEST: Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien...
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2015 5:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast: much more on the 2016 GOP candidates still --- incredibly --- tripping up over Iraq. Over the weekend, once again, it was Marco Rubio's turn after a disastrous appearance on Fox "News" Sunday with Chris Wallace. And no, once again, the Iraq War wasn't "a mistake", it was a crime and should be treated as such.

Then, I was joined for a fascinating conversation with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien as Shell Oil's 400-foot Polar Pioneer offshore oil rig is now docked in the Port of Seattle's Elliot Bay and facing ShellNo.org protesters on both land and sea. They hope to keep the rig from heading into the pristine Arctic waters to drill for oil this summer, after the Obama Administration has granted "conditional approval".

O'Brien says the City Council has determined that Shell is there "in violation of the existing permits," and tells us they are now "working on enforcement actions to get them back into compliance." Unfortunately, he concedes, that may mean, for now, little more than a $500/fine fine. But he also says the city is working hard to see what else they might be able to do to block the rig from moving north this season and, as importantly, keep any more oil rigs from using the port at all in the future.

On why O'Brien, who also took to a kayak himself to protest the rig last week, isn't only fighting Shell from the safety of his City Councilmember's office, but is actually taking to the water along with other "kayaktivists", he says: "For me, because it's happening right here in my city on my waterfront, I, frankly, can't just stay in my chambers and work on this. I felt the need to get out there and join with my fellow citizens to be part of the activity on the water." He adds: "The number of us and the size of us compared to this monstrosity is a monument to the hubris of the oil industry."

Well worth listening to today's interview! Also today: The weekend's deadly biker gang shootout in Waco results in TX legislators calling for more guns; Religious freedom in Indiana? Not so much if your religion is Rastafarianism; And a 10,000 year old ice shelf in Antarctica is about to disappear entirely. But why worry?...

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GUEST: Environmental journalist Peter Dykstra...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2015 5:44pm PT  

With Jeb Bush's disastrous week of blunders concerning the Iraq War, the GOP and its 2016 candidates are now desperately trying to rewrite the history of this nation's greatest foreign policy debacle by claiming that the "intelligence was faulty". It wasn't. Their memory, however, may conveniently be.

On today's BradCast, we set the story straight, again, on what really happened when George W. Bush sent the country to war based on known lies.

Plus, environmental journalist from EHN.org and CNN's former executive producer of their Science and Technology division (until they disbanded the division) Peter Dykstra joins us to discuss his new article on how environmentalists would be wise to learn from our nation's history of civil rights battles. "Want to change the future?," says Dykstra, "pay attention to the past." Good advice all around today.

Also, Boston Marathon bomber sentenced to death; Philadelphia Amtrak disaster underscores U.S. failure; the passing of blues legend B.B. King and more on today's BradCast...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2015 12:22pm PT  

The polling place Photo ID voting restriction enacted by Republicans in Texas has been repeatedly found in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Most recently, late last year, a federal judge found, after a full trial on the merits of the law, that the restrictive statute "creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose." U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos went on to note in her 147-page ruling [PDF] that the law also "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

Based on evidence from the state examined at trial, the law could serve to disenfranchise as many as 600,000 already legally registered voters in the state, not to mention more than a million eligible voters in Texas over all.

Naturally, Texas Republicans who currently run the state are appealing that ruling. Not because they have been able to demonstrate any actual "voter fraud" that might have been deterred by their restrictions, but because, with rapidly changing voter demographics in the Lone Star State, keeping legal voters (specifically, those that tend to lean towards Democrats) from being able to cast their otherwise legal vote has become a top priority for the GOP if they hope to keep their stranglehold on political power there in coming decades.

With all of that in mind --- including the existing law having been found in violation of both federal law and the U.S. Constitution --- state Republicans are hoping to make the law even more restrictive, and last week in the state House, the GOP passed another law to make it even more difficult for certain people to vote...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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GUEST: Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel...
By Brad Friedman on 5/14/2015 4:48pm PT  

The new USA Freedom Act has just sailed through the U.S. House and now heads to the Senate, as a replacement for the bulk spying provisions of the USA Patriot Act. National security blogger/muckraker Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net joins us on today's BradCast to explain what it all means, whether it will pass, what happens if it doesn't, and whether the new bill will make things better or worse.

Also, way-too-dumb-to-be-President Jeb Bush takes his fifth embarrassing stab at answering a very simple question about Iraq; We finally find a Republican who isn't running for President in 2016; Great news for progressive Democrats in Wisconsin!; And Desi Doyen joins us for our 600th(!) Green News Report!...

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GUEST: VICE News investigative journalist Jason Leopold...
By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2015 4:01pm PT  

I'm joined today on The BradCast by VICE News' investigative journalist Jason Leopold to discuss the exclusive documents he obtained concerning the drugging of detainees during interrogations after 9/11. Also, Leopold, who has spent quite a bit of time lately as a reporter at Guantanamo Bay, discusses why President Obama may suddenly be in a hurry to keep his promise to shut down the controversial facility.

Also, after defending Jeb Bush on his Iraq comments on yesterday's show, I'm forced to offer a retraction today in light of Jeb's second attempt to answer the same question. It is clear that he's at least as dumb as his brother, and certainly too dumb to be President of these United States.

Finally, millions of dollars in campaign contributions are flowing to elected officials from fossil fuel interests in exchange for billions in tax-payer funded subsides, reports The Guardian --- Plus, the story of the Iowa farmer who claims an oil executive offered him a 'teenage prostitute' in exchange for giving up his land to a new Bakken Shale oil pipeline...

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