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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, July 24, 2016
Trump's RNC Acceptance Speech and the GOP's Dark Future: 'BradCast' 7/22/16
Salon's Heather Digby Parton on the rise of a 'demagogue' and the fall of 'conservatism' after the GOP's 'dystopian hellscape convention'...
Ailes Out, Cruz Booed, and a World on Edge With 'President Trump': 'BradCast' 7/21/16
Guest: Longtime GOP campaign adviser, 2012 Presidential candidate, 2016 Cruz booer, Fred Karger from Cleveland...
5th Circuit Court Finds TX Photo ID Law Violates Federal Law: 'BradCast' 7/20/16
Also: 'Liars, Lucifer & Jail!' - RNC Day 2 coverage w/ Jimmy Dore in Cleveland, and why he believes Trump is no worse than Clinton...
Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth: 'BradCast' 7/19/16
ALSO: New insider election fraud warnings, worry, woes in several states as another national poll finds Trump and Clinton tied...
Happy Birthday to Me?
It's a pretty big birthday over here. Not that we'll much be able to enjoy it all that much this year, unfortunately. But you can help!...
'Green News Report' 7/19/16
Trump's Veep pick is also a science denier; UK's new PM abolishes climate dept.; AK heat wave breaks records; PLUS: India breaks amazing record for tree planting...
CIA Vet on Turkey Coup, Declassified 9/11 Pages: 'BradCast' 7/18/16
Guest: 27-year analyst, briefer of Presidents Ray McGovern; Also: RNC kicks off; Ailes 'out' at Fox?!...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
Trump hearts Pence; Ginsburg and Christie are sorry; and 'bomb delivery robots'?! Yes, all of those toons and more in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best...
After Nice; Pence Tapped by Trump; Dem Poll 'Freak Out': 'BradCast' 7/15/16
Not hijacked by fear or terror. A science denier will be the GOP Veep nom. Trump leads Clinton in new poll...
'Feeding at the Pig Trough': What to Expect at the Cleveland RNC: 'BradCast' 7/14/16
GOP Presidential historian, adviser Doug Wead; Also: More bad poll news for Clinton...
'Green News Report' 7/14/16
Porn: dirty, Coal: clean!, says GOP; Senate Dems call out 'web' of professional deniers; June 2016 was hottest on record in U.S.; PLUS: Another fracking explosion...
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...

GUEST: Artist, author and former felon Anthony Papa on criminal justice reform and his '15 years to life' for a first-time, non-violent drug crime...
ALSO: More climate dots connected; Trump, Jeb & Dubya; Arrest of a Fox 'News' fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2015 5:38pm PT  

We cover a lot of ground, yet again, on today's BradCast.

First: More climate change dots connected out here in California, as another freeway is shut down (the third in the last couple of months) thanks to yet another extreme weather disaster.

Next: As Donald Trump correctly notes that George W. Bush did not "keep us safe" either before or after 9/11, Jeb tries again to come to his brother's defense and fails almost as much as his own campaign is now floundering.

Then: With federal sentencing reform for non-violent drug offenders about to result in freedom for 6,000 federal inmates (and another 40,000 likely in the near future), we are joined today by artist and author Anthony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Papa (self-portrait seen above in today's BradCast logo) shares his amazing story about how he was sentenced to "15 years to life" for a first-time, non-violent, drug-related crime under New York's "tough on crime", "war on drugs" policies of the 80s. He served 12 years of hard time --- for delivering 4 ounces of cocaine in exchange for $500 --- before he was finally granted clemency by the Governor.

He follows his first book, 15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom up with his latest, An Open Letter to Men and Women Returning Home in the Age of Reform, just released on Kindle today.

Papa was lucky enough to earn three degrees while serving 12 years in prison, where he also discovered he knows how to paint. He now serves as Artist in Residence at Drug Policy Alliance and has had his work exhibited at the Whitney Museum. On today's show, in addition to his personal story, he shared his optimistic thoughts on criminal justice reform ("mandatory minimum sentencing became the poison that literally broke the system"), some words of advice to those about to be released ("these men and women coming home into a society that is not ready for them, can be a problem"), and his opinions on the outrage of restrictions on voting placed on both current and former felons.

"The greatest thing for me being in prison, was my discovery for me of my political awareness," he tells me. But, after his release, he learned he would still not be able to vote for another five years, even though he had served his time under laws passed by officials he should have been able to vote against. "Before I went to prison, I didn't even bother to vote. I was a regular Joe. When I came out, discovering I couldn't vote was very painful for me. So it took five years, but when the time came, I cast that vote. I felt like I was whole again. It was a wonderful feeling."

Finally today: Wayne Simmons, the "former CIA operative" regularly featured on Fox "News" for more than a decade, where he has been cited by wingnuts time and again on everything from Benghazi to torture to ISIS and their "19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States" (which don't exist), turns out to have never worked for the CIA at all and has now been arrested on federal fraud charges.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2015 5:00pm PT  

We were forced to reschedule our planned guest for today's BradCast at the last minute --- (you'll have to listen to the show to find out who it was to be, but I'm still very much looking forward to that conversation!) --- but that worked out just fine, as we had to much to cover on today's show as is!

Among the stories and issues we were, therefore, able to cover today...

• New insider whistleblower releases documents revealing the inner-workings of the United States' disastrous drone assassination program.
• Democratic debate suggests a new day for progressivism, if not for the still-failing corporate U.S. media.
• Finally, climate change takes the spotlight in a Presidential debate, as Rightwing deniers and fraudsters like Jeb and Rush freak out about it.

All of that a much (much) more on today's BradCast!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUESTS: Salon's Heather Digby Parton and Media Matters' Eric Boehlert...
By Brad Friedman on 10/14/2015 4:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast we dissect Tuesday night's pleasantly substantive (for the most part) Democratic Presidential Debate in Las Vegas.

Joining me on today's show are two of our favorite guests, both long time journalists/bloggers and both of whom have been pretty much right about pretty much everything for the past decade and more.

Heather Digby Parton --- Salon contributor, Hillman Foundation opinion journalism award winner, and proprietor of Digby's Hullabaloo blog --- joins us for the hour along with Eric Boehlert --- Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America and author of Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press.

Last night's debate drew in a record number of viewers and offered a striking contrast from the debates we've seen so far this year from Republicans. But, did it change either the trajectory or the conventional Beltway "wisdom" for any of the candidates? Has the Democratic Party finally broken away from the shackles of corporate wingnuttery?

Was Hillary Clinton able to overcome the absurd attacks over pretend scandals from corporate media and the GOP? Was Bernie Sanders able to demonstrate his viability as a general election candidate? And what of those other guys on stage with them --- and even one who was not on stage with them? Why did this debate draw even more viewers than the Clinton/Obama matchups in 2008? And was the DNC right in their decision to limit the number of debates for the Democratic candidates this cycle?

We discuss all of that and much more on today's BradCast, with really smart observations from two really smart journalists who are decidedly not "inside the Beltway" pundits...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Michael Collins of Drug Policy Alliance
PLUS: GOP now coming apart at the seams...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2015 4:43pm PT  

I'm back after a few days off for today's BradCast! My huge thanks to Radio Or Not's Nicole Sandler for guest-hosting over the past several days and affording Desi and me a bit of much-needed down time.

Of course, as soon as we stood down, everything blew up in Congress and everywhere else. So, I touch on a few of those points --- particularly the Republican Party coming apart at the seams, as we now see in their inability to find a House Speaker or even a Presidential candidate for that matter --- on today's program.

Then, it's on to the continuing fight for the right to vote across the country. We've got some troubling news out of Kansas, where their Sec. of State Kris Kobach (R) is attempting to justify his voter suppression with new prosecutions. And then we've got some very good news out of California, where voter registration will now be automatic and could lead to as many as 6.6 million new voters in the Golden State.

At the same time, Fox "News" is now offering a huge lie about the state's new law, as advanced on air today by Judge Andrew Napolitano.

After offering his (rather remarkable) opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court "wrongly" found voting to be "a fundamental right," Napolitano asserted the lie that "once it said that, states like California decided to allow people to vote who aren't qualified by law to vote because of the fundamental aspect." The former Judge then added to his lie by claiming that "an illegal alien in California...can vote in local, state, and federal elections in California and those votes count," simply by obtaining a drivers license under the new Motor Voter Law signed over the weekend by Gov. Jerry Brown (D).

In response to Napolitano, we obtained a statement via email from Dean Logan, the Los Angeles County Register-Recorder/County Clerk, describing the outrageous assertion as categorically "false". "The new Motor Voter law only applies to those identified by DMV records as meeting the eligibility requirements to be registered to vote --- including citizenship," Logan says in his statement this afternoon, as read on air. "The law specifically mandates that distinction and the adoption of regulations to ensure against registration of non-eligible persons. The contention that the law automatically places non-citizens on the voter rolls is false."

Since airtime, the office of CA Sec. of State Alex Padilla (D) has also responded to our query and confirms that the new law "expressly prohibits" voter registration for non-citizens. Of course, Fox couldn't be bothered to find out and accurately inform their viewers.

Next, we are joined by Michael Collins of the Drug Policy Alliance to discuss the federal Bureau of Prisons' long overdue reform to sentencing guidelines that will result in some 6,000 inmates being freed within days, and perhaps a total of 46,000 thereafter. Collins explains how the changes came about and notes: "The Sentencing Commission definitely deserves to be applauded for what it's doing. But, at the same time, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the overall prison population."

"Drug offenses and the hysteria around drugs in the 80s and 90s, where laws were introduced, mandatory minimum sentencing was introduced, and we saw the prison population grow through the roof," requires reform that only Congress can provide. But, as dysfunctional as Collins acknowledges Congress to be, he says, on this issue, there is actually very real, bipartisan momentum in favor of reform in both chambers.

"There is a strong, bi-partisan movement for criminal justice reform and for sentencing reform," he tells me. "Republicans, Democrats, liberals, Tea Partiers, hard-core conservatives, old-school law and orders --- you name it --- there's this broad bi-partisan momentum to do something on criminal justice reform."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with an opportunity to call out Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for his remarkable display of hypocrisy in the wake of historic flooding in his home state.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: The Nation's Joshua Holland...
By Brad Friedman on 10/7/2015 5:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Examining yet another enduring NRA myth in the wake of the Oregon massacre at Umpqua Community College; the GOP race for U.S. House Speaker could get very interesting; and more.

The Nation's Joshua Holland joins us to discuss his article this week: "Combat Vets Destroy the NRA's Heroic Gunslinger Fantasy", investigating whether there are any facts to back up the NRA and its scam artist Vice President Wayne LaPierre's long contention that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

You'll be shocked to learn that (unlike the liar LaPierre) folks who actually fire guns --- and have had them fired at them in combat --- have a very different opinion about the best way to stop that "bad guy with a gun."

"Wayne La Pierre has been a lobbyist for his entire career, and has no concept of what it really means when people start shooting at you," Holland tells me. The folks he talked to, he said, "did know that." In fact, as study after study confirm, he explains, guns often serve only to make bad situations much much worse.

I don't want to to share more of the conversation, for now, because I'd prefer you give it a listen in full --- gun fans and foes alike. (Click to listen to the full show below.)

Also on today's program: the Congressman who, in 1996, sponsored legislation that blocked the CDC from collecting statistics on gun deaths and public health now has regrets; How John Boehner could find himself remaining as Speaker of the House, even after the date he plans to resign; Desi Doyen with our latest Green News Report on the historic, global warming-fueled flooding in SC and new EPA regulations to help curb ozone and pesticides...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Steve LeVine on e-cars and our battery-powered near-future
ALSO: Sen. Lindsey Graham's short memory; GOP bum fight for U.S. House Speaker...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2015 5:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, idiocy in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House and --- much more importantly --- the future of cars and a clean, livable planet!

First up, as the death toll mounts in Guatemala and the waters continue to rise in South Carolina, all thanks to global warming, the state's U.S. Senator and woeful 2016 GOP Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham embarasses himself as he begs for federal relief from the government, while conveniently "forgetting" that he repeatedly voted against similar aid for other states after Hurricane Sandy.

Then, speaking of disasters and climate change, Steve LeVine, author of The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World, joins us to discuss his recent article, "Volkswagen’s best shot at a comeback now has the automaker right where Elon Musk wants it."

LeVine explains how Volkswagen, whose recent emissions test cheating scandal will cost them billions in fines, may be able to help save themselves by helping to power the future of electric cars in a massive way. That future, LeVine tells me, is just about here. "In the coming 3-5 years," he says, we will be hitting "a critical mass."

"All of this has been triggered by [Tesla CEO] Elon Musk. Musk has put the fear into car makers --- they think that he could be a game changer, and they could be left out," LeVine explains. "You've got GM, Audi, Porsche, Jaguar, BMW, Nissan [and] a bunch of others car-makers, all planning to launch their own 200-mile, $35-40K [electric] cars" in the next several years. Even Apple is getting in the game. But, that new generation of clean cars needs to be powered, and VW could help their horrible damaged image by taking a leading role.

Finally, we go back to more idiocy in Congress to finish out today's show, as two incapable jackasses battle it out to win the GOP nomination in hopes of becoming the next Speaker of the U.S. House and, incidentally, third in the line of succession to become the President of the United States. And, speaking of which, is that the "death rattle" of the Jeb Bush campaign that we hear?...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann on that and much more
PLUS: Updates on AL vote suppression; NM's indicted SoS; OR's school massacre...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2015 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm joined by climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann of Pennsylvania State University, to discuss the historic flooding event now ongoing in South Carolina, even as Hurricane Joaquin missed the state by hundreds of miles.

The award-winning Mann, author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, offers a sobering explanation of the relationship between climate change and record flooding in SC. He also discusses what is actually meant by the phrase "1000-year flood", as so casually cited by SC Gov. Nikki Hailey (R) over the weekend, even as more than half of her state now faces unprecedented disaster.

"When you hear a statistic like that, 'it's a 1000-year event', that's based on the assumption that what's happening right now is no different from the sorts of things that were happening in the distant past, that the climate isn't changing. And it is," Mann tells me. "Climate change is very detectably increasing the likelihoods of precisely these sorts of events. Things we used to call a '1000-year event' become '100-year events'. And pretty soon, if we continue on the course that we are on, what was a '100-year event' becomes a '3 or 4-year event'."

Mann goes on to explain the climatic patterns that made the SC event possible, and how we are likely to experience much more of it in the very near future. "Part of the story --- and don't let anyone tell you otherwise --- was record heat in the Atlantic, which meant there was record moisture off the coast. And it's that record level of moisture in the atmosphere giving us these record levels of rainfall."

"There's no question --- what we're seeing play out is precisely what we warned would play out decades ago," he tells me, before discussing what we may be able to expect from this year's record El Nino out West, where the ocean is also at record temperatures amidst a "1000-year drought" here in California.

He also offers some thoughts on the new blockbuster report from Inside Climate News (as I discussed with the co-author of that investigative series last week), concerning Exxon's knowledge, as early as 1977, of the catastrophic dangers of man-made global warming, thanks to the use of their product and their subsequent about-face decision to fund climate change denialist organizations beginning in the 1990s. Man describes the opportuninty for Exxon to have led us to a scientific solution long ago as both "sad" and "tragic", among other things.

Also today: Updates on the closure of DMVs in Alabama for, purportedly, "budgetary reasons", even as the shutdowns will disproportionately affect the ability of African-Americans to cast a vote in the state and could cost more in the defense of lawsuits than is saved by the closures; New Mexico's Sec. of State Dianna Duran (R) is now facing a 65th(!!!) criminal count --- this one for identify theft and forgery --- as we are reminded, once again, why simply "trusting" election officials is not a valid option in our Constitutional representative democracy; And, finally, updates on last week's shooting massacre in Oregon and how Fox 'News' and the Republicans are still doing all they can do to do nothing at all to prevent more such massacres in the future...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Historian Ben Railton of Fitchburg State University...
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2015 5:58pm PT  

In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Oregon on Thursday, President Obama asked Americans to address the epidemic of mass shootings, in part, by turning to the ballot box. We concur. And we've got a great idea about who to vote out of office first on today's BradCast!

Then: Are Muslims the new Catholics? Ben Railton, Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Fitchburg State University, joins us to discuss the historical parallels he recently documented at Talking Points Memo, between centuries of anti-Catholic sentiment in the U.S. and today's similarly toxic political rhetoric regarding Muslims.

2016 GOP Presidential candidate Ben Carson's recent assertions that a Muslim must "renounce Islam" before he'd consider them qualified to be President of the United States is just one example that echoes a similar sentiment about Catholics earlier in this country's history.

"It can seem like something 19th century, something really distant, but as recently as half a century ago, there was a pretty sustained debate in our mainstream political media, our body politic" Railton tells me, "of the genuine concern on behalf of many that any Catholic --- including John F. Kennedy, the candidate for President --- would owe a first allegiance not to anything within the United States, not to America, not to the American government or the American people, but to that entity, that foreign scary place, the Vatican and the Pope and the Catholic Church."

"Many of the fears that are directed at Muslim-Americans and Muslim communities are directed at the idea of these communities and their customs and beliefs, themselves representing an internal threat," he explains, while going on to remind us that, even with a well-established Muslim community in the U.S. at its founding ("We have Muslim-American communities going back to the Revolutionary Era...so fears of religious 'others' do date back to the very beginning"), this country's Constitutional framers determined there would be no religious test for the highest office in the land.

Railton's message is ultimately a very an encouraging one --- we have, it seems, finally moved beyond our fear of a Papal takeover in this country, after all, so we are likely to do the same with Muslims --- but is that historic comparison an appropriate analogue given the threat so many feel of an actual hostile takeover by Islamic extremists? We discuss.

Finally today, as ironic as it might be, the best news of all may well come from Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report. How often does that happen?!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: ACLU voting rights attorney Julie Ebenstein
PLUS: All of today's grim breaking news to remind us why voting matters...
By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2015 5:52pm PT  

We start today's BradCast with the grim news of yet another mass shooting, this time in Oregon, and a massive storm bearing down on the U.S. East Coast.

As too-occasional BRAD BLOG contributor D.R. Tucker noted: "We have a superstorm on the East Coast brought to us by a problem right-wingers refuse to acknowledge, followed by another massive school shooting caused by a problem right-wingers refuse to do anything about."

But we can do something about it. We can vote those folks out of office. But, of course, only if we're allowed to vote.

Today we discuss two states, specifically (and a few more, generally) controlled by Republicans where they are making it much more difficult for many of their voters to vote. First, the state of Alabama has announced it will shut down 31 DMV offices, after the state's new Photo ID voting restriction just went into effect last year. You'll be shocked to learn that the closures disproportionately affect voters in the state's "Black Belt", including the closure of offices in "Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters."

Then, in Iowa, we look at the ongoing legal challenge to the more than 100,000 former felons who have fully completed their sentences, but are being kept from voting for life by one man: the state's Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who, by executive order, has rolled back Iowa's previous policy that had automatically restored voting rights to former, non-violent felons.

ACLU Voting Rights attorney Julie Ebenstein, who spent years fighting similar voter suppression tactics by Republicans in Florida, joins us on today's program to discuss the latest legal battle(s) for the right to vote in the Hawkeye State (and elsewhere).

"It's shameful the way that we treat our fellow citizens because of a prior conviction, sometimes decades ago," Ebenstein tells me. "The confluence of over-criminalization, mass incarceration, and the ongoing collateral consequences of that --- which is disenfranchisement, sometimes for life --- is something that really rips at our democracy."

It is shameful. As Think Progress noted earlier this year, "in the 2008 election, 5.3 million Americans, or one in 40 adults, were unable to vote due to a felony conviction, according to the Sentencing Project." But, as bad as that is, it's even worse for African Americans. "Nationally, 2.2 million --- or one in every 13 --- black adults is disenfranchised."

And as bad as that is, Ebenstein explains, it's even worse in Florida which, she notes, "like Iowa, has a lifetime ban on voting for people who have committed a felony. And, as a result of that, there's over 1.5 million citizens in Florida who are disenfranchised. So that's about 10 per cent of the voting population --- 1 in 5 African-American men in Florida --- who remain disenfranchised."

Also today: Oklahoma halts all scheduled executions indefinitely following the state's latest death penalty disaster. And a quick look at Bernie Sanders' rather extraordinary fund-raising operation, built on small donations from the Internet, as the independent Vermont Senator almost outraised Hillary Clinton in the third quarter of 2015.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2015 5:35pm PT  

Among the many stories covered on today's very newsy BradCast (which also includes some excellent listener calls today)...

• Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin stays an execution at the last minute, for once;
• Democrats rescue U.S. House Republicans to keep the government open;
• Hurricane Joaquin hitting Bahamas, U.S. East Coast flooding imminent as storm barells toward continent;
• Russia begins air strikes in Syria, but are corporate media misreporting it?;
• Israel's former military defense chief confirms Iran Deal is good for Israel;
• Hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots are needed in the U.S.;
• How the U.S. corporate media continues to under-report what Exxon knew about global warming in the 70s;
• China's cap-and-trade carbon initiative and other Green News;

And much, much more (and, did I mention listeners calls too?)...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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GUESTS: Virginia S. Martin (D) and Jason J. Nastke (R), Columbia County Election Commissioners...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2015 6:01pm PT  

First on today's BradCast: Why Rush Limbaugh believes NASA has faked their discovery of flowing liquid water on Mars. Then, why MSNBC completely ignored Bernie Sanders on last night's Rachel Maddow Show.

Then, onto our interview with Virginia Martin and Jason Nastke, the Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners (respectively) of Columbia County, NY, where they refuse to certify results until every hand-marked paper ballot is publicly counted by hand after each election.

The two Commissioners joined me to respond to a recent Brennan Center study [PDF] warning that the nation's voting computers and tabulators are aging and failing and should be replaced as soon as possible with new computer systems. I agree with the first part of their findings, not so much with the second part, both of which we discussed in a recent BradCast with Lawrence Norden, co-author of that well-reported study.

Martin and Nastke don't seem to agree either, finding that hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand-counted by human beings, remain the best way to assure that every voter's intent is accurately and transparently tallied.

"In reality, computing is maybe 50 years old," the Republican Nastke tells me on today's program. "We use paper ballots and paper is hundreds, if not thousands of years old. Historical documents continue to exist to this day. So, what we know is that when a voter votes on a paper ballot that there is an absolute way for the voter's intent to be determined, and properly counted."

"When New York State and the federal government mandated that we use optical scans instead, I started looking at those systems, and my question was, how do I know that that result is the right result?," says the Democrat Martin. "I'm not going to be able to see how the voting machines added up the votes. So I'm not going to know and I'm going to have to certify these results and I feel very uncomfortable doing that. So how can I know that the machine results are correct? Well, we have the paper ballots, let's count them."

"It's not a Republican or a Democrat issue," Nastke insists. "The issue is one of what's right. And what is right is that every vote is counted." Martin adds: "The fact is that I and Jason are both very, very confident in the results that we certify. And I must say that I think the voters in our county are similarly confident. The candidates whose votes --- for or against --- we are counting, are similarly confident. If we've got a candidate that lost by a few votes, and they've been here and they've watched the process, they are very confident that they did truly lose."

"It works very well because it's so bipartisan. For every Democrat who is doing something, a Republican is watching like a hawk," she says. "And it's very, very accurate. People are thrilled to see how the process works, to understand how it works, and to actually be a part of it and see what the result is."

Martin recently responded in comments here at The BRAD BLOG following my interview with Norden. She expands on some of those thoughts today, as both Commissioners explain why they --- and their respective political parties in the county --- have been able to buck national trends to agree on hand-counting ballots, rather than using unverifiable computer systems.

I ask them, among many other questions, why other counties in New York state have yet to adopt their system?; Whether they have found errors from the optical-scan computers which initially tally ballots at each precinct (as required by the state) before the hand-count takes place?; Whether they believe humans or computers are able to count ballots more accurately? (Norden had asserted that computers were more accurate during our conversation last week); Why they don't hand-count at the precinct, rather than back at County headquarters?; Could their system work in a much larger county or is hand-counting only for small jurisdictions?; And what happens in those instances when party observers don't agree on voter intent or a voter has left their intent unclear?

We first reported on Columbia County turning to 100% hand-counts back in 2012, but this is the first time either Martin or Nastke has joined me on the show! So it's great to have them! Here's a recent article on Columbia "becoming known for hand-counting votes" from one of their local papers. Look close and you'll see some films and books I've contributed to sitting in front of Martin in the paper's photo! :-)

Please listen to the full interview on today's show...

Download MP3 or listen to the complete show online below...

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Guest: Neela Banerjee, co-author of an explosive report on Exxon's long knowlege of man-made global warming and their efforts to obscure it
Also today: Shell out of the Arctic; NASA's big discovery; Obama and Putin at the U.N....
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2015 5:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, first, a number of breaking news items, including Shell Oil coming up dry and calling an end (for now) to their misadventurous quest for oil in the otherwise pristine Arctic; NASA announcing the discovery of flowing liquid water on Mars, allowing for the possibility of human travel to the planet; And Presidents Obama and Putin both addressing the U.N. General Assembly, offering conflicting assessments of the worsening crisis in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Then, I'm joined by Neela Banerjee, investigative journalist at Inside Climate News, to discuss the Pulitzer Prize winning organization's explosive new series of reports revealing that Exxon's scientists had confirmed the catastrophic effects of man-made global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels as long ago as 1977. But, rather than continue their work on that finding, they turned tail in an attempt to obscure their own science with the massive funding of climate change denial front groups.

"In the '70s and '80s they really wanted to be seen as a leader in climate research because they understood the implications of climate change for their business as a fossil fuel producer," Banerjee explains. She says Exxon "thought that the best way to shape whatever policies would emerge to limit fossil fuel emissions...was do really good science and have a seat at the table. That's obviously different from the approach they started taking in 1989."

Banerjee, formerly a New York Times reporter and now co-author of Inside Climate's multi-part series based on months of digging into four decades of company documents and interviews with former Exxon scientists and other employees, goes on to explain the known circumstances of the company's sudden about-face to become a major funding source for the denialist movement.

"Even before the question of CO2 appeared on the scene and started to shape their thinking about continuing to produce fossil fuels, Exxon was already starting to think of potentially becoming a diversified energy company," she tells me, detailing the company's early work on lithium ion batteries, solar and nuclear energy and even hybrid cars. "Exxon had this mindset that they were not just wedded to oil and gas."

But then, with a drop in oil prices, things changed, including leadership at the company. Exxon began discussing "uncertainty and kept cherry-picking quotes from scientists to say that there was too much that was unclear to warrant enormous action on cutting back fossil fuels and changing our economy." In other words, they knew, they denied, and they didn't seem to care.

I also ask Banerjee about the lack of corporate mainstream media coverage of her remarkable series --- (even MSNBC has failed to cover it) --- and she describes how its even worse than I had realized. We also discuss whether Exxon (and other Big Oil entities) might face legal liability for obscuring the known harm caused by their products in the same way that Big Tobacco eventually did.

Lots of revealing conversation on all of that and more on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2015 5:49pm PT  

News is breaking like crazy today. We do our best to cover it all on today's BradCast, along with yet another new chapter in the long and shameful history of voter suppression by Republicans in the state of Florida.

Among the stories covered on today's thrilling, action-packed adventure!...

• The sudden resignation of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner; the gleeful reaction to it from Republicans; who might replace him, and who the hell would want to?

• China and the U.S. come to an 'understanding' on cyberhacks...at least some of them...as President Obama meets with President Xi Jinping in Washington D.C.

• Pope-mania continues, as Francis wows 'em at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City today.

• And we take a trip back down to Florida, where new audio recordings, revealing evidence of a blatant vote suppression scheme in the Sunshine State, remind us (yet again) why it is so outrageous that the Rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the federal Voting Rights Act...

All of that, plus China announces a nationwide cap-and-trade program to curb carbon emissions; AP has a new way to describe climate change deniers, and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report...

Download MP3 or listen to the complete show online below...

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Guest: Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network...
By Brad Friedman on 9/24/2015 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Pope Francis' historic addresses to the U.S. Congress on the heels of his landmark remarks at the White House yesterday.

Rev. Mitch Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network --- an organization working to bridge the partisan gaps on climate stewardship --- joins us to discuss both. He was at the White House on Wednesday for the Pope's address there and joined the throngs on the Mall in D.C. today. He describes the experience yesterday as "probably my most memorable experience".

He explains why that is and how the event has given him hope that we may get out of "our partisan silos" and "actually accomplish something in the United States. Instead of just having these partisan divides. We could agree on the things we agree on, and least dialogue on the things that we don't agree on."

We discuss why it is that, following the call for action on climate change and global warming from previous Popes we did not have the same kind of denialist response from the Right as we are now seeing. "What the Pope does more than anything else," Hescox says, "is he puts the issues of climate change...about being as pro-life, about being hope for rebuilding the economy, about sustainable energy for all. And that's the kind of language that, I think, awakens conservatives --- both theologically and political.

"I think that puts a little fear in people that the momentum is gathering against those who would differ on climate change, for all sorts of reasons... And it also puts fear in those whose way of life and, quite honestly, maybe whose funding sources may change."

Hescox rebuts the GOP/Fox "News" notion that Francis is "being political" in his positions on climate and other (suddenly) controversial issues. "He stands in the tradition of the Bible, which mandates to care for the Earth, to be good stewards of it and certainly, as we all know, to care for 'the least of these', which climate change impacts the most severely, both here in this country and around the world."

"Pastor Mitch" was last on the show in June, following the release of the Pope's encyclical on climate change. He tells me today that, since then, he's seen "a groundswell building" in the religious communinty and even saw, by way of one example, his own "moderate" Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), "support the EPA's Clean Power Plan basically because of his faith, because of the Pope's actions."

In the meantime, however, GOPers continue to try and marginalize the Pope as "meddling in politics" or, worse, as a "false Pope". Those folks are roundly criticized and held up to the ridicule they so richly deserve on today's program...which also includes one of the funniest moments in BradCast history. (At least in my opinion --- if not Desi Doyen's.)

Also today: More than 700 Muslim pilgrims are killed during an horrific stampede near a holy site in Saudi Arabia.

Download MP3 or listen to the complete program online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2015 4:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast, live from Pacifica Radio's KPFK, as Pope Francis makes his historic visit to the U.S., speaks at the White House on climate change, canonizes a controversial figure and makes Republicans heads explode, we discuss it all and take listener calls --- some of them fairly strange (though entertaining) --- on all of the above.

Also today, more on that new warning about old voting machines and how the Volkswagen computer software emissions scandal underscores worries about computerized voting and counting systems in 2016.

All of that and more today, including Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report. A very short description for a very busy show. Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen to the complete show online below...

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