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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, September 25, 2016
Eyewitness to Shooting at Protest Questions Official Account: 'BradCast' 9/22/16
Guest: Linda Flynn of Charlotte Spirituality Center was 'feet away', believes police activity sparked violence at peaceful demonstration...
'Green News Report' 9/22/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
U.N. climate pact reaches crucial threshold; White House orders NatSec planning for climate change; Good/bad news in the Arctic; PLUS: Obama to world: Time to step up...
Previous GNRs: 9/20/16 - 9/15/16 - Archives...
Caller Debate Questions
for Trump and Clinton:
'BradCast' 9/21/16
Plus: Police shootings and protests in NC, OK; Earth smashes more heat records; Trump leads Clinton in new national poll...
Trump's Charity Scam; Warren's Wells Fargo Slam; Texas' Photo ID Court Snub: 'BradCast' 9/20/16
A whole lotta liars, cheats and scam artists on today's show! (So what else is new?)...
'Green News Report' 9/20/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Gas pipeline spill in AL; Court reprieve for Dakota Access construction; U.N. trying to 'Trump proof' climate pact; PLUS: Leonardo DiCaprio wants you to watch over the oceans...
Previous GNRs: 9/15/16 - 9/13/16 - Archives...
Terror Attacks in NY, NJ, MN; Massive Pipeline Spill in AL: 'BradCast' 9/19/16
What we know (and don't) in both cases. Guest: Alabama Media Group's natural resources reporter Dennis Pillion...
Sunday Toons of the Slightly Queasy Moment
'Slightly'?! ... 'PDiddie' may need a moment to see if it passes...
Trump's (Latest) Trap; Voting Rights Rulings in KS and OH: 'BradCast' 9/16/16
Also: National polls tied; Trump leading in OH; Sanders cautions against third-party voting; Colbert tries to cheer us up...
Leaked Emails Reveal Walker's Illegal 2012 Fundraising, GOPers Faking Dem 'Fraud': 'BradCast' 9/15/16
Attorney Brendan Fischer on smoking guns from quashed criminal probe of WI Guv...
'Green News Report' 9/15/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Dakota Access pipeline fails climate test; House Comm probes state AGs probing Exxon; Lead paint maker bought WI immunity; PLUS: LA floods third costliest disaster in U.S. history...
Previous GNRs: 9/13/16 - 9/8/16 - Archives...
Criminal Bribery Complaint Filed Against Trump, Bondi: 'BradCast' 9/14/16
Guest: Noah Bookbinder, of complainant Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)...
Parade of 'Deplorables' (Cuz We're Gonna Need a Bigger Basket): 'BradCast' 9/13/16
String of hate crimes follow GOP 'outrage' over Clinton remarks & MSM ain't helping. Some good news too!...
'Green News Report' 9/13/16
Obama halts ND pipeline; Big Oil's push for pipelines; Judge stops plan to frack on CA public lands; Unfinished nuke plant for sale; PLUS: Aug 2016 hottest ever... again...
Trump Even Lies About 9/11; Big Oil's New Pipeline Trick: 'BradCast' 9/12/16
MSM's dangerous Clinton/Trump 'balance'; Plus: Steve Horn on fossil fuel industry scam to avoid enviro laws...
Courts and Coal Ash Dampen McCrory's Re-Election Chances
It's not for nothing that NC Repubs are working so hard to keep certain people out of the voting booth this Nov...
Sunday Toons of the Questionable Moment
What the hell is going on, and how long will keep going? PDiddie's latest collection of toons attempts to answer some of those unanswerables...
Fed Judge Denies ND Pipeline Halt, Fed Agencies Halt It: 'BradCast' 9/9/16
Also: TX violates court-ordered Photo ID remedy, new studies reveal such laws undermine democracy...
The Soft Bigotry of Trump Expectations: 'BradCast' 9/8/16
How Trump 'won' the 'Commander-in-Chief Forum' and Washington Monthly's Martin Longman on media coverage of actual Trump crimes v. Clinton 'scandals'...
'Green News Report' 9/8/16
Major fracking quake in OK; Violence at Dakota Access protest; Asian typhoons 50% stronger than in 70s; PLUS: Obama in China formally signs landmark climate pact...
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...

Nation's dumbest Governor receives an intervention amidst racist outbursts, obscene voice mails, death threats to political opponents...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2016 5:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Maine's Republican Governor Paul LePage is melting down. [Audio link posted below.]

We've been reporting on the two-term, 'Tea Party' dimwit for years, describing him variously as both the nation's dumbest Governor and the worst in history. But now, at the seeming climax of a months-long saga concerning racist comments by LePage, a threatening and obscene voicemail he recently left for a Democratic state lawmaker, comments about shooting that lawmaker in the head and, this week, an apparent emergency intervention by GOP state legislators, the possibility of resignation --- or, perhaps, mental breakdown --- is seeming likelier by the minute.

We cover that insane story today, how this loon became a two-term Governor in the first place in an otherwise not-insane state (hint: you can thank third party challengers), and how, even after all of the years of LePage's various embarrassments, Donald Trump has said this month that he'd be delighted to consider the Maine Governor for a role in his White House cabinet!

Then, Apple owes $14.5B in back taxes in Europe, but it could cost the U.S.; One county official in Colorado is standing up to a major coal company in bankruptcy to force them to pay what they owe in taxes; Desi Doyen joins us for an unusually uplifting Green News Report; and, finally, closing the circle on today's show, how some residents of an impoverished area of Maine (LePage voters, no doubt) tried to block a land grant and millions of dollars to the local community in order to prevent President Obama from establishing a new national monument in that portion of the Maine North Woods...

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

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning; Plus: Farewell to Gene Wilder...
By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2016 5:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As several polls tighten in advance of the Presidential election, the FBI issues a new warning to states about voting system intrusion and last minute battles continue in federal courts over voting rights access to the polls.

First up, a new report today from investigative journalist Michael Isikoff warns of recent intrusions, believe to be by foreign entities, into voter registration systems in both Illinois and Arizona. The report cites an "FBI Flash" warning [PDF] from its Cyber Division, recently issued to state election officials in hopes of warding off similar intrusions to electronic registration and voting systems in advance of the November election.

The latest news on the completely foreseeable vulnerabilities in our voting and registration systems underscores (yet again) what we've been warning about for so many years at both The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast. Unfortunately, as usual, reporting on this issue from mainstream corporate media comes too late to make much of a difference before the next election, after which the warnings are likely to be all but forgotten...until just before the next election.

Then, BradBlog.com's long-time legal analyst, attorney Ernest A. Canning joins us for an update on the roller coaster-like voting rights battles still waging in federal courts across the country, including the latest disturbing news on Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin and why something known as "The Purcell Principle" will, once again, play a key role in all of those legal fights this year.

Canning, who also wrote about the just the latest example of GOP "voter fraud" hypocrisy over the weekend, summarizes the latest dispositions in a number of key court fights against racially discriminatory Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin, Texas and North Carolina, and related legal battles over access to the polls in states such as Kansas, Arizona and the swing-state of Ohio. All of those cases are likely to have an impact on results up and down the ballot this year.

Finally, we say goodbye to the hilarious Gene Wilder today, a regular presence --- in both voice and spirit --- on The BradCast...

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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By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2016 6:00pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, it seems the Republican Party's Presidential nominee can't keep alleged criminals from running his own campaign --- but he wants the American people to trust his plan to keep them out of the country?! [Audio link to today's show posted below.]

Donald Trump may want to carry out some of that "extreme vetting" he has planned for immigrant refugees hoping to come to the U.S., on his own campaign staff. Credible new reports today reveal that Trump's newest campaign chief, Stephen Bannon --- hired after two previous ones were fired --- was charged with domestic violence in the 90s and allegedly threatened retribution against the victim, one of his former wives, for testifying against him.

Separately, it appears that Bannon, previously the chief executive for the far-rightwing Breitbart "News" site, also may have committed voter registration fraud and possibly tax evasion, by registering to vote in a state where he doesn't appear to have ever lived. (Since finishing today's show, the Guardian has now posted a second story to report that, since their first exclusive, Bannon has now moved his Florida voter registration to a different residence.)

If the new evidence reported today holds up, Bannon's case, as I detail on today's program, would be just the latest example of another very high profile Republican who appears to have committed the type of election-related fraud that Republicans disingenuously claim Dems are carrying out, and for which the GOP continues to enact voting restrictions that disproportionately block minority voters at the polls.

As discussed on today's program, we have covered, at The BRAD BLOG, on The BradCast, and in many other publications, in great detail and documentation over the past decade or more, the many cases of actual, well-documented voter and voter registration fraud carried out by the likes of GOP superstars like Ann Coulter, Mitt Romney, the former Sec. of State of Indiana, and a host of many other high-profile Republicans. That long list includes many who have, themselves, long called for "anti-fraud" measures meant only to make it harder for certain perfectly legal voters (Democratic-leaning ones) to participate in U.S. elections.

And, as if Trump's "extreme vetting" for his own campaign staff hasn't yet failed spectacularly enough by now, we end today's show with still one more brand new example! Yes, it's an epic romp through recent historical GOP hypocrisy on today's BradCast. Buckle up, and please enjoy responsibly!...

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

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Guest: David Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux; Plus: Clinton calls out Trump's 'Alt-Right' White Nationalist campaign...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2016 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the ugly fight over Presidential campaign 'bigotry' and the righteous battle by Native Americans to block another massive oil pipeline from being constructed in the Dakotas. [Audio link for show is posted below.]

After Hillary Clinton's Reno, NV address today, calling out Donald Trump for mainstreaming "alt-right" White Nationalism in his campaign, and Trump describing her as a 'bigot' in return, we head up to North Dakota, where thousands of Native American tribal members are camping out near the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball Rivers to protest and, hopefully, block the construction of the massive Dakota Access Pipeline.

David Archambault II (pictured above), Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, joins us to explain his concerns about the $3.7 billion dollar project set to pump crude oil 1,200 miles from the Bakken shale region down to refineries in southern Illinois. The tribal leader details the growing prayer camp protest where thousands are now in a stand off with state and federal officials, as well as Dallas-based pipeline owners, Energy Transfer Corporation which, he says, received approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build the pipeline across sacred ancestral lands and the tribe's water supplies without appropriate consultation with the sovereign nation.

Archambault explains how the decision to route the pipeline near their reservation was made after determining that any breach of the pipeline there would effect fewer people than an alternate route near metropolitan Bismark, ND. The American Indians, he argues, are once again being forced to pay a price for resource exploitation by others.

"What we look at are not only our ancestral sites, but we are looking at future generations. It may not be impacting our drinking water today or tomorrow, if it does go through, but we have to look after the kids that are not even here yet," Archambault tells me. "So there's a serious issue here with these Dallas-based corporations that are driven by greed and money to get a project done at all cost. And the cost that has to be paid is a burden placed on tribes."

"Ever since we learned about this, we said 'Stop, don't come here. It's a half-mile away from our reservation.' It seems like the company out of Dallas, the Corp of Engineers [and] the federal government does not listen. Right now what's happening is tribes are helping people remember that we are here, and we still exist, and we are a strong voice, and to take notice."

He goes on to detail the "State of Emergency" declared by ND Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) in response to the protest, the charge in his NYTimes op-ed today that "the state has militarized my reservation", as well as the federal court hearing on Wednesday in Washington D.C. where he is suing in hopes of an injunction to block the construction.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the deadly floods in India, very bad news for wolves in Washington state, and a celebration of the 100th birthday of the National Park Service...

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: Historian, columnist Matthew Rozsa | Plus: Unfolding deadly disasters in Italy, India and Louisiana...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2016 5:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast, deadly natural disasters across the world and the potential for a man-made one here in the U.S., depending on the outcome of the November election.

First up today, the latest breaking news on the disastrous, deadly earthquake in Italy where, as of air-time, at least 159 have been killed; the horrific and even deadlier flooding in India, where more than 300 have died; and President Obama's visit to the site of historic flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Then: Is voting for a so-called third party candidate in the November Presidential election tantamount to 'throwing your vote away'? That's a question confronting many U.S. voters who are dissatisfied with the two major party candidates. But does such a vote open the door to a deadly dangerous President Trump? And does it even matter if it does?

Historian and Salon columnist Matthew Rozsa, a Bernie Sanders supporter during the primary, joins me to discuss how American voters can take on the two-party duopoly, without taking the country and the world down with it, as discussed in his recent piece "Tired of Democrats vs. Republicans? Here's how to fix it".

Rozsa details what he sees as a moral case against Trump, that requires a vote for Clinton, even if his policy preferences are more closely aligned with someone like Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein. "When you juxtapose the possibility of a Clinton presidency with that of a Trump presidency," he argues, "you can see how policies they would implement on issues ranging from immigration, to taxes, to business regulations, would affect people directly. So when you say 'I don't see much of a difference between Clinton and Trump, and therefore I'm willing to risk the election of someone like Trump,' you are minimizing or ignoring how his policies would impact real people in this country."

But, he goes on to explain, there is a way to support third-parties in such a way that they can serve to crack the stranglehold of the two-party system and potentially even become viable at the Presidential level. "If you're going to try to empower third-party candidates, you shouldn't be indifferent for most of the four-year period, and then a few months before the general election say, 'oh, I don't like either of these alternatives, I'm going to vote third party to make that stance clear'. That doesn't accomplish anything. The way to really achieve this change is to be invested in the process constantly...even when it's not an election year," he says.

It's an interesting, detailed and history rich conversation, in which Rozsa and I disagree on a few key points, while agreeing on others. Please give it a listen and share your thoughts in comments.

Finally, don't count your chickens yet, Democrats. Trump regains the lead over Clinton in swing-state Florida, according to a new poll [PDF] out today from the Sunshine State...

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: Princeton computer scientist, vote system 'hacker' Andrew Appel...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2016 5:58pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, exceedingly powerful hacking tools from the NSA make their way to the black market as concerns about hackable U.S. election systems continue to raise concerns just weeks before our next Presidential Election. [Audio link to the show posted at end of article below.]

A shadowy hacking organization, thought to be a foreign entity, has made a set of hacking tools --- thought to have been purloined in some fashion from another shadowy hacking organization, thought to be the NSA --- available to the highest bidder. The vulnerabilities exposed by the malware tools suggests that the NSA is aware of serious, heretofore unknown vulnerabilities in worldwide computer networks, about which they have failed to notify the commercial vendors who produce the hardware and software found to be at risk.

The issue has raised disturbing questions and no small amount of outrage about the NSA's practice of keeping such vulnerabilities a secret, for their own cyber-offensive purposes, despite the risk it poses to our critical, commercial cyber-infrastructure.

In a somewhat related issue --- as we've been yelling and screaming about for more than a decade --- vulnerabilities to U.S. voting and tabulation computers have long been a threat to the nation, but are only now being taken (somewhat) seriously by corporate media, the U.S. government, and, as I report on today's program, at least one of the major political parties.

A man who knows all about the above --- if only because he was, as we reported back in 2007, one of the first to hack an electronic voting system in the U.S. after he purchased five Sequoia AVC Advantage voting systems for about $82 on the Internet (the same "closely guarded" systems, still used in states like NJ, PA, VA and LA, were originally sold for about $10,000 a piece) --- is Andrew Appel, Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University. (That's him in the photo above with one of his voting machines.)

Appel, who Politico recently noticed in Ben Wofford's excellent recent article, "How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes", has been writing about both of these issues of late.

On the NSA matter, Appel tells me today: "They should not hoard the vulnerabilities in the hope the NSA can use them to spy on everybody else. The assumption the NSA is implicitly making is that nobody else will be able to find these bugs and vulnerabilities and use them to spy on us, and do banking transactions in our name, and read our emails." That, he explains, is a huge mistake and a grave disservice.

On the continuing concerns about U.S. voting systems and the Dept. of Homeland Security's very recent attempt at helping local election officials before November 8, he cautions: "Security is not something you can just patch on by some sort of 'critical infrastructure security squad' that descends and surrounds your house with the National Guard. It's got to be built in to all the software we buy." He adds ominously, in describing the type of voting systems used across the country: "Whoever got to install the software most recently is the one who gets to decide what kind of results are reported."

Appel, tends to concur with my general assessment that it's largely too close to the election to make real changes to protect our voting systems. He also shares the warning I've tried to give so many years about the real vulnerabilities to our electronic voting and tabulation systems."In this country, most election fraud has been conducted by insiders, who have access to how the votes get added up." But, he also goes on to offer a few proactive measures --- including "witnesses in each polling place just at the close of polls" to independently track numbers as originally reported by the voting systems --- that, he says, can still be taken to try and safeguard results.

Also today: Obama visits flood disaster sites in Louisiana; Trump continues his (potentially illegal) voter suppression dog whistles; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with, among other things, a heart-wrenching tale of an Alaskan native American tribe forced to move their entire village as the Arctic continues to melt away...

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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Trump 'pivots', reaches out to African-American voters, forgets to tell the rest of his party...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2016 5:40pm PT  

Donald Trump's newly celebrated 'pivot' to becoming a 'maturity' as a Presidential candidate, as declared by some Republicans and some in the corporate media, may be far less of a 'pivot' than he and his surrogates are pretending, especially in his new attempts to woo African-American voters.

On today's BradCast [audio link posted below.], we take a look at some of the claims of Trump's surrogates, and how they stack up against reality. (Hint: Taking out a newspaper ad calling for the death penalty for five African-American kids found completely innocent of a horrible crime doesn't seem a particularly smart way to woo the African-American vote.)

Similarly, if the GOP wants to reach out to minority voters, they have a very peculiar way of showing it, as Republican Party officials, operatives and Governors --- from CA to NC, from NJ to MI --- re-double their efforts to keep 'certain' voters from being able to cast a vote at all this November.

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: Carl Takei of ACLU's National Prison Project...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2016 6:01pm PT  

Shockingly good news on today's BradCast, following today's remarkable announcement by the U.S. Dept. of Justice that they are working to end the federal government's "use of privately operated prisons".

After that, you may want to pop up some popcorn to best enjoy the rest of today's program. [Audio link to complete program is posted below.]

First up today, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memo, as Washington Post reported, instructing federal officials "to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or 'substantially reduce' the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is 'reducing --- and ultimately ending --- our use of privately operated prisons.'

Wow. Her memo goes on to cite a recent DoJ Inspector General's report finding that privately run prisons do not provide same level of service, "do not save substantially on costs" and "do not maintain the same level of safety and security" as those run by the federal government's Bureau of Prisons.

I am joined by Carl Takei, staff attorney for the ACLU's National Prison Project, for both an explanation and a bit of a victory lap after his organization and others have spent decades taking on the private, for-profit prison industry. Takei details what the announcement means, why it has finally come about now, and how the ACLU and others --- including investigative reporters, the Bernie Sanders campaign, and eventually the Hillary Clinton campaign --- have long argued precisely what the DoJ has admitted today.

"Handing control of prisons over to for-profit companies is a recipe for abuse, neglect, and misconduct because their primary duty is to their shareholders. They have to deliver value to their shareholders by skimming a profit off of whatever payments the government gives them to run the system," Takei tells me.

"In the 1990s, when the Bureau of Prisons first started this experiment with private prisons, the argument was they could provide incarceration more cheaply and that the innovations of the free market would somehow make things better. In fact, it turned out to be far worse. Because the major way that you can make money off incarceration is by cutting expenses," he says. "Some of the biggest expenses are security staff, medical staff, and providing medical services. Anywhere that the company starts cutting back its expenditures, it ends up harming the people inside."

He goes on to offer some startling examples of both that and of some of the easily-disproven responses and claims of the for-profit, private prison industry lobby.

Next, we look at how the coming and/or current GOP Civil War is shaping up not as a battle of ideas for the party's future, but as a wingnut street-fight over whose false version of 'reality' will win out. It's getting quite ugly. But also, at least for those of us on the outside, kinda hilarious in several regards.

Then, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with "some news that blows" and, finally, we close with the NYC Parks Department hilariously short response to the growing erection of naked Donald Trump statues around the city. You're welcome.

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: Eric Boehlert of Media Matters on the latest 'rightwing media coup'; Plus: California burning and 'Bye-Bye' to John McLaughlin...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2016 5:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump turns to a Rightwing 'news' blogger with no experience in national elections to help him save his campaign, and North Carolina Republicans further reveal their desperation to keep Democrats away from the voting booth this November. [Audio link posted at bottom of article.]

But first, California continues to pay the huge, early costs of climate change as brand new wildfires explode in bone-dry Southern California, leading to evacuations of more than 80,000 residents today and the destruction of an untold number of structures, including at least one Route 66 landmark.

Then, Donald Trump responds to plummeting poll numbers with a staff shake-up that taps a Rightwing media huckster with no political experience, from far-right propaganda/conspiracy website Breitbart 'News', to head up his campaign. Eric Boehlert from Media Matters joins us to explain how the GOP establishment's demand that the Republican nominee begin running a more traditional campaign has been answered by Trump's decision to do the complete opposite, as illustrated by the new hires.

"This is someone who has no campaign experience," Boehlert, a longtime Breitbart watcher explains, describing Trump's new campaign chief Stephen Bannon. "The Trump campaign, which has been hit hard for being amateurish, for having no ground game, for having no advance teams, poor fund-raising, no surrogate operation --- they decided what they really need is someone at the top of the campaign who's never been on a campaign, let alone a presidential campaign."

"There's already this raging civil war within the conservative media. We've never seen anything like it," he says. "In terms of that civil war, people were already pointing to Breitbart as the problem. So, for Trump to now go to Breitbart to get a new campaign chief, for the rest of the conservative movement, it's just proof positive that everyone in the Trump campaign is just completely off the rails and have no idea what they're doing."

"There's going to be so many reckonings after November," Boehlert predicts. We'll see if he's right about that.

In the meantime, desperate North Carolina Republicans have now filed an emergency petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to help them keep the state's "racially discriminatory" voter suppression law in place through November, even as GOP officials around the state work to adopt new restrictions on voting in lieu of the sweeping election law recently struck down by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals for having "target[ed] African-Americans with nearly surgical precision".

At this point, for unpopular Republicans in NC --- and, similarly, around much of the rest of the country --- voter suppression may be one of just a very few ways they have left to save their bacon this November.

Finally today, we say "Bye-Bye!" to legendary broadcaster John McLaughlin, who changed the political media landscape (for both better and worse), following news of his death this week at age 89...

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

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Guest: Michael Collins of Drug Policy Alliance | Plus: 'Third-party' Presidential woes, disturbing climate news and more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2016 6:02pm PT  

It's a very 'green' show on The BradCast today, on a number of levels, from marijuana policy to the Green Party Presidential candidate's position on environmental issues, to another rather disturbing Green News Report.

But first up today, some news about 'third-party' Presidential candidate troubles getting on the ballot and being kept out of Presidential debates, and a Republican governor who has now vetoed a law that would have added millions of voters to the rolls in his state.

Then, Michael Collins, Deputy Director for the Drug Policy Alliance's Office of National Affairs in Washington D.C., joins us to discuss the recent announcement by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that it will not reclassify marijuana from its current 'Schedule I' narcotic status --- which, like heroin means that it's classified as having "no accepted medical use" --- despite some 25 states which currently allow its sale and use for either medicinal or recreational purposes.

Collins explains what that classification actually means and how rescheduling it as a Schedule II drug wouldn't have been much more than a "symbolic victory" for proponents, particularly "in terms of prosecutions --- people getting arrested, the racial disparities we see because of the war on marijuana --- that would not have disappeared had the DEA rescheduled marijuana."

He goes on to describe the DEA as a "rogue agency", "rotten to the core", and long working against President Obama's "steps to unwind the war on drugs". "They're still fighting the drug war of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon," he tells me, in opposition to the advocacy of a number of elected Democratic (and even Republican) officials in Congress who were furious at the federal agency's decision.

"I think the DEA gets its science from the same people as climate change denialists," Collins quips. "To say that marijuana has no recognized medicinal value contradicts decades of scientific research and is a huge slap in the face to the thousands of people who use medical marijuana every day to alleviate their illnesses."

It's not all bad news, however. Collins notes that the DEA has announced they will allow an expansion of federal marijuana research facilities, ending what had been a monopoly, with just one facility in Mississippi, and that states are moving forward nonetheless, with expansive pot initiatives on the ballot in at least six states (California, Arizona, Maine, Nevada and Massachusetts) this November. "The question isn't 'Should we legalize marijuana?', but more 'When should we legalize marijuana?' The end is nigh," he tells me.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with breaking (and disturbing) news on more historic, deadly flooding in Louisiana and fires in California, July 2016 as the hottest month ever recorded on Planet Earth, and the official position on climate change action from Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party's freshly minted 2016 Presidential nominee...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2016 5:59pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: While the corporate media continues to amplify Trump's BS, we do our best to counter it with actual, independently verifiable facts. Yes, it is possible. [Audio to full show linked below.]

Fact-checks on today's program include long-disproven and yet still-repeated nonsense from Trump's 'major speech on national security and terrorism' in Ohio on Monday --- (You knew it wasn't going to go well when it started with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani claiming that in the "eight years before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attacks in the United States".) --- and on Trump's wildly misleading claims about 'voter fraud' in Pennsylvania on Friday.

Trump's latest lie concerning voters voting multiple times "in certain areas" in Pennsylvania (they don't) and about the 59 precincts in Philadelphia where Romney received zero votes in 2012 (he did, as we reported at the time, finding it to be neither surprising nor "fraudulent") have all been debunked long ago. But, as he and other desperate Republicans repeat the same bullshit, as he keeps sinking in the polls, we're happy to revisit the facts once again so you can check 'em for yourself.

As to the GOP Presidential nominee's new scheme to combat that 'voter fraud' in PA with police officers and citizens observers, he may be calling for something that is a violation of a long-standing, federal court-approved, 1983 consent decree, signed by the Republican National Committee after a similar voter intimidation scheme was carried out by the GOP in minority areas of New Jersey. We explain.

Also on today's program: Very important news from over the weekend that has not received the coverage it deserves. From the two Muslim clerics gunned-down execution style in broad daylight in Trump's hometown of Queens, NY on Saturday, to the devastating and growing cost of climate change as 20,000 residents of Louisiana were rescued amid record rain and flooding ("close to two feet over a 48-hour period") and 4,000 were evacuated as hundreds of homes were destroyed (for the second year in a row) amid wildfires in just one small, rural county in bone-dry California.

Finally on today's BradCast: the Rightwing talk radio host who may have finally realized what he and his fellow propagandists have done. "There's got to be a reckoning on all this," he said this weekend. "We've created this monster."

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

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Guest: Carroll Muffett of CIEL on old documents and new revelations; Plus: The dilemma of how to cover Trump and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2016 5:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast we'd be delighted to NOT cover Donald Trump. But, frankly, as annoying as it is, that would be journalistic malpractice for a number of reasons. We discuss the journalists' dilemma in covering Election 2016, and try our best to otherwise focus today on substance that both matters and is otherwise being ignored by the corporate media amidst the madness. [Audio link is posted below.]

To that end, the U.S. Dept. of Justice investigation of the Baltimore Police Department in the wake of the 2015 Freddie Gray killing sets off troubling, if all too familiar, alarm bells. Nonetheless, the findings represent yet another success of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Then Carroll Muffett of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) joins us to discuss startling new revelations from their "Smoke & Fumes" investigation detailing a treasure trove of old tobacco industry documents illustrating that Big Oil did not, in fact, model their decades of science denial after Big Tobacco. As it turns out, it was Big Tobacco who lifted their playbook from Big Oil!

Over the past year we've covered the explosive discovery of company documents revealing that Exxon knew of the dangers of man-made climate change from the burning of fossil fuels as early as the 1970s, and began secretly funding climate science denial organizations not long thereafter. But CIEL's new investigation now details how some 100 recently-noticed documents unearthed from among 14 million at the Tobacco Archives (a public University of California website database of industry documents made available via U.S. smoking and health litigation) offer jaw-dropping revelations suggesting Big Oil's anti-science scam actually began as long ago as the late 1940s. That work resulted in collusion with the tobacco industry in the 50s, to seemingly help avoid accountability and legislation --- no matter the cost to the public --- that might cut into profits for both industries.

"The [tobacco industry's] 'Smoke and Fumes Committee' had its genesis in the oil industry's efforts to respond to bad press, bad science, and the risk of regulations resulting from the L.A. smog crisis of the late 1940s and early 1950s," Muffett explains. "So, in late 1946, a group of oil industry executives came together and decided that they needed to create a joint effort to fund pollution science, and then combine that pollution science with an active PR effort that was designed to shape the public's opinion on the science related to environmental issues and air pollution issues."

"The tobacco companies themselves, when they were looking at how to develop their own deception campaigns around smoking, looked again and again and again to the oil industry for people, for models, and even for advice," he tells me, describing what has been found in the documents so far. "The links between the industries were far more extensive than we ever anticipated. What was truly novel in what we found was that it's not that Oil is the new Tobacco but that Tobacco was at one time the new Oil."

We go on to discuss how the recent discoveries are likely to effect ongoing investigation and litigation into ExxonMobil's deceitful practices by more than a dozen state Attorneys General; the "completely unprecedented" nature of U.S. House Republicans on the Science Committee attempting to intimidate those AGs and environmental groups with subpoenas; and the accompanying irony of the fossil fuel industry attempting to hide behind constitutional First Amendment protections for fraudulent practices (a tactic which failed when Big Tobacco used a similar defense during litigation in the 80s and 90s.)

Hope you'll take a few minutes off from your daily (hourly?) Trump fix to listen to today's fascinating and important conversation.

Then --- because we know you still need a fix --- Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, covering energy policies of Trump and Clinton, and a very encouraging climate precedent just established by a federal court...

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

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Donald Trump, 'stochastic terrorism', (hopefully temporary) bad voting news in WI, 'robosquitoes', and listener calls on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2016 6:21pm PT  

"If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is."

On today's BradCast, a few words on why Donald Trump's remarks about 'Second Amendment people' is more disturbing than he or the RNC or the NRA or Fox 'News' or actual voter fraud criminal Ann Coulter would like you to think.

Also today, three Republican appointed federal judges restore Wisconsin's unlawful Photo ID voting restriction (for now), a federal court in Texas officially restores the right to vote this November to 600k legal, already-registered voters, and I take a whole bunch of listener calls on all of the above.

Plus, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with several stories that sound more like science fiction horror films than reality. Sadly, however, all of those stories --- including a plan to release genetically-modified mosquitoes to fight Zika in Florida --- are all too real...

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

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Guest: Ernest A. Canning of 'Vets for Bernie' on tough November choices for hard-core Sanders supporters...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2016 5:23pm PT  

The primaries are over, the nominees are set, so what are the best options remaining for dyed-in-the-wool Bernie Sanders fans this November 8th?

On today's BradCast, attorney, veteran and longtime legal analyst at The BRAD BLOG, Ernest A. Canning, who serves as a senior advisor to VetsForBernie.org, joins us to discuss his new article, "Revolution at a Crossroad". [Audio link to show posted below.]

Canning walks through the pros and cons of the various possibilities (staying home, voting for the Libertarian or Green Party candidate, voting for Hillary Clinton, as Sanders suggests, or even, gasp, voting for Donald Trump) as now faced by hard-core Sanders supporters, before offering his recommendation for how best to vote in order to continue the Sanders-led "political revolution". (Ernie also responds to a number of reader comments from the lively debate in response to his article.)

"I think the critical issue, and I think the question that every thinking progressive has to ask themselves is: 'What is the most effective means for moving the goals of the democratic revolution forward?'," he explains while we work through the potential options and outcomes.

Also today, the fight to restore the Voting Rights Act continues. Voting rights advocates on the ground in North Carolina and elsewhere are working hard to assure access to the polls for all this year, on the heels of a number of recent, very encouraging state and federal court victories. And national leaders are, once again, pressing Republicans in Congress to simply allow hearings to discuss ways to try and fix the landmark 1965 legislation after it was gutted by a rightwing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

Finally, we wrap up today's show with a few thoughts from liberal author and intellectual Noam Chomsky, on the threat posed by Donald Trump to the globe and, indeed, life on earth...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2016 6:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the weekend marked 52 years since the signing of the Voting Rights Act, and Republicans in North Carolina still can't take "No Voter Suppression!" for an answer. At the same time, things appear to be going from bad to worse for Donald Trump. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Despite a U.S. appeals court finding in late July that their voter suppression law "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision" and despite previously telling the court they'd have no trouble responding to the ruling in time for this year's general election, and despite their previous appeal being denied, North Carolina and it's Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) vow to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Good luck with that.

Also today, Hillary Clinton's poll numbers continue to rise and Trump's continue to plummet, even in what have long been considered as "red" states. (She's now up by 7 points in Georgia?! Really?). In the meantime, long time GOPers --- from the national security industrial complex to college Republicans --- announce they are abandoning the Republican nominee, who they believe "would put at risk our country's national security and well-being" and serve as "a threat to the survival of the Republic". And the "Never Trumpers" have even come up with a new candidate, for some reason.

But are there reasons to question the reliability of those poll numbers and the sincerity of those Republicans? And is Trump an embarrassment to the GOP because he's an incompetent, uninformed, pathological menace, or because he's just saying out loud what most Republicans now believe? And while it's undeniable that Trump would pose a threat to the planet with his finger on the nuclear button, unfortunately, as we were reminded again over the weekend, he wouldn't even need nukes to help finish off humanity.

All of those stories and many more on today's BradCast!...

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

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