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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Trumpwreck: The First Presidential Debate: 'BradCast' 9/27/16
Smart and, at times, hilarious coverage of the Trump/Clinton Hofstra debate, with journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
'The Most Audacious Political Heist of Our Time':
'BradCast' 9/26/2016
David Daley on 'RatF**ked' and how the GOP 'stole' the U.S. House for a decade as Dems 'fell asleep at the wheel'...
Sunday Toons of the First Debate Moment
The final stretch for the general election begins and so do the Presidential Debates, as documented in PDiddie's collection of the best political toons of the week...
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 Charity Scam; Warren v. Wells CEO; TX Defies Court: '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
AL pipeline spill; Court reprieve for Dakota Access; U.N. trying to 'Trump proof' climate pact; PLUS: Leonardo DiCaprio wants you to watch over the oceans...
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: Nat'l polls tied; Trump leads in OH; Sanders warns against 3rd-party voting; Colbert cheers us up...
'Green News Report' 9/15/16
Dakota Access pipeline fails climate test; House Comm probes state AGs on Exxon; Lead paint maker bought WI immunity; PLUS: LA floods U.S. 3rd costliest disaster...
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...

By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2015 11:29am PT  

Not to say "we told ya so," but...well...

In February of 2004, in the 15th article we ever posted to The BRAD BLOG, in a short piece headlined "Gay Marriage. Done Deal." we wrote rather presciently (even if we say so ourselves) and seemingly against all odds at the time: "The wall seems to be finally coming down, and the GOP and DNC are as powerless to stop it as East German Chancellor Erich Honecker was to stop the Berlin Wall from toppling in '89."

While the institutional barriers erected against marriage equality didn't fall quite as quickly as the Berlin Wall was finally toppled, today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling [PDF] in Obergefell v. Hodges, determining that marriage is a fundamental Constitutional right in all fifty states in the union, came faster than almost everyone had could have predicted, certainly 11 years ago.

In September of 2010, in the midst of some seemingly dark days for the nation, but even as the first of many federal court cases began to reveal the utter moral bankruptcy of the case against equal rights for all, we reminded readers once again that rights always win and haters always lose...eventually.

Here's what we wrote at the time...

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




Guest: Dr. Laura Pressley, Austin City Council candidate...
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2015 5:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast...The U.S. Supreme Court announces its decision [PDF] in King v. Burwell, a case that would have gutted the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"). As usual, Justice Scalia, on the losing side once again, displayed his extraordinary hypocrisy in his dissent to a case that was stupid to begin with. I explain on today's show.

Then, the last election challenge of 2014 (as far as we know): Dr. Laura Pressley joins me explains why it's impossible to know whether the results of her runoff election for Austin City Council were accurately tabulated on the 100% unverifiable electronic voting systems used in Travis County, across much of the state of Texas and across much of our country.

"We're not just fighting this for our single city council district race. This is a bigger issue," Pressley explains. "Elections have to be verifiable. Candidates need to have the right to question and ask for validation. This is a tenet of our democracy."

Pressley charges that the unverifiable Hart-Intercivic eSlate voting systems actually violate the Lone Star state's own elections laws, even as they clearly undermine overseeable democracy. Remarkably, she says she is now facing a potential court fine of $100,000 for simply bringing her challenge, following some rather disturbing irregularities on the voting systems during her runoff and a complete inability to recount thousands of in-person electronic ballots despite an exact tie on the Vote-by-Mail paper ballots.

Her case was dismissed in state court, but she is appealing the decision and tells me: "One of the comments [in court] was, we needed to be punished as a candidate for challenging these electronic voting systems and that the sanctions should reflect a punishment to deter other candidates from bringing this forward."

Plus: Fox 'News' discovers that electronic voting systems can be hacked; Texas continues preparation to survive its impending take-over by the U.S. government. All on today's BradCast!...

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Guest: Annie Platoff of the North American Vexillological Association; Plus: Callers, Trump surge & more!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2015 5:22pm PT  

As the Confederate flag falls, once again, across the South, in the wake of the Charleston AME church terrorist attack, flag expert Annie Platoff of the North American Vexillological Association (yes, there is such a thing!) joins us to a question I've had all week on The BradCast: Why so much passion about a piece of colored cloth?!

I understand why people want the Confederate Battle Flag taken down. But I have much less understanding of why people are so passionate and emotional about wanting it, or any other flag, to be raised in the first place --- at least outside of a military context.

Platoff, who, in addition to being a flag expert is also a librarian at UCSB, explains the history of flags, their symbolic importance, and why they inspire such passion --- both for and against. She also tells us about the Apollo mission flags, which are still on the Moon, and about which wrote a paper when she worked as a lunar/Mars librarian at NASA. (She's also an expert on Russian flags and discussed their history and use in more recent context, both after the fall of the Soviet Union and during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.)

Also on today's BradCast: A whole lot of breaking news on a whole lot of stuff, including Donald Trump's surge into 2nd place in the GOP 2016 race in New Hampshire (told ya so!); Listener/callers weigh in on the controversial Confederate flag and more; Plus: Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report!...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2015 1:07pm PT  

You people scoffed --- scoffed! --- when I suggested (along with Heather Digby Parton) that Donald Trump could end up doing very well among the GOP base in the Republican 2016 primary race for President...

Who's scoffing now?

He’s dismissed by the political professionals, but there is no denying that the appetite for Donald Trump among Republican primary voters is real.

The New York developer and reality television star is second among 2016 presidential candidates in a new Suffolk University poll of New Hampshire Republicans – behind only former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

The poll of 500 likely GOP presidential primary voters found 14% back Mr. Bush. Mr. Trump is right behind at 11%. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio come next, with 8% and 7%, respectively.




Guest: Sean McElwee of Demos...
By Brad Friedman on 6/23/2015 4:52pm PT  

Fallout continues --- much of it surprisingly encouraging, thankfully --- following last week's racist terrorist shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

In its wake, I spoke to Sean McElwee of Demos on today's BradCast about his new study comparing the racist views of white Fox 'News' viewers versus white non-Fox 'News' viewers, and self-identified "conservative" Fox 'News' viewers with "conservatives" who don't watch Fox.

He describes the findings as "a deep indictment of the way that Fox News portrays the news." The analysis also examines whether regular viewers of Fox' The O'Reilly Factor are more racist than Fox 'News' viewers who do not regularly watch O'Reilly. The results, as they'd say on The Factor, will shock you! (Or not.)

"It's very clear that Fox News is playing on the racism and the latent racial resentment of many whites in the country," McElwee tells me. "You can see that on their coverage of the 'ground zero mosque'. You can see that on their coverage of the Trayvon Martin case. It's very clear." But does that racist coverage rub off on their viewers or vice versa? We discuss, you decide.

Also on today's show, several Senate Democrats help Republicans and President Obama move "Fast Track" authority for TPP and other trade deals forward in Congress; FEC Commissioners are not 'persons', according to the FEC; And an update on the federal case against postal worker Douglas Hughes, who landed his gyrocopter at the U.S. Capitol in April (our interview with him at the time is right here) in hopes of bringing attention to the need for campaign finance reform...

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Guest: Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America...
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2015 5:51pm PT  

News events are now moving very quickly following the terrorist shooting last week at Charleston, SC's Emanuel AME Church. On today's BradCast, we do our best to bring you up to date if you made the mistake a taking a few minutes off over the weekend!

Politicians (Republican ones, particularly those running for President --- but even one or two in the Obama Administration) are now being forced to flip their previous positions at lightning speed, even as the state's Republican Governor Nikki Haley announced today that she is calling for the South Carolina legislature to remove the Confederate Flag --- a long time symbol of slavery, rebellion, divisiveness and hatred --- from the grounds of the state capitol.

But we'll get you up to speed on the rapidly "evolving", all-new positions from Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Ben Carson and many others.

In the bargain, Fox 'News' and all of the politicos and pundits who swear allegiance to it, now find their ideological walls closing in on them, after years of being mired with "pathological denial" on all of the very topics the SC shooting tragedy highlights (and many more.) Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America joins us to talk about it all on today's BradCast.

Also, we begin to catch up on a few items we've had to push off due to last week's breaking events...

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Guest: Adam Briggle of FrackFreeDenton.com...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2015 4:53pm PT  

Remember that 2009 Dept. of Homeland Security report about Rightwing Domestic Extremism that Republicans forced the Obama Administration to retract?

We do --- once again --- on today's BradCast, particularly in the bloody wake of this week's domestic terrorist attack at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church. For some reason, Rightwingers don't want to remember that report, much less describe this week's attack at "terrorism". Wonder why. And so does Jon Stewart.

Then, speaking of extremist Republicans, the state of Texas has overruled a voter-approved ban on fracking in the city of Denton and declared such local control illegal. TX Gov. Greg Abbott actually says, with a straight face, that, in fighting for fossil fuel industry profits over people, he's protecting private property rights from the "heavy hand of local regulation." (Yes, he actually said that.)

Adam Briggle of FrackFreeDenton.com joins us to discuss how Denton hopes to fight the GOP's Big Government attack on democracy, local control and private property rights across the state --- ya know, all that stuff Republicans like to pretend they believe in.

"The industry went to the legislators that they have bought and paid for, and they wrote a new law for them to change the rules," Briggle tells me. "They just bought a new law that changed the standards by which you evaluate the constitutionality of local ordinances."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, on the Pope's climate encyclical and Donald Trump's global warming denialism...

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Guest: Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network; Plus: Latest on the South Carolina AME church massacre...
By Brad Friedman on 6/18/2015 5:08pm PT  

We start today's BradCast with the latest grim news out of Charleston, South Carolina after Wednesday night's horrific gun massacre at the historic African Methodist Episcopal Church --- and word that the suspected gunman has now been apprehended.

Then, things brighten up a bit with our coverage of the landmark encyclical on the environment, as issued today by Pope Francis, who calls for "a bold cultural revolution" in response to the moral imperative of fighting climate change "due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases released mainly as a result of human activity."

My guest to discuss it is Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, President and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network.

Hescox, a Republican who has testified before Congress and spoken at the White House, offers his key takeaways from the Pope's historic 184-page teaching letter and explains his organization's fight for climate action, and how other evangelicals and fellow Republicans must once again join the fight. "We see ourselves as a bridge between many Republicans," he tells me, "to help them understand that climate change is not about polar bears. It's about our children. It's not about a future event. It's about what's happening now."

"We do have to have a price on carbon," Hescox explains. "There is no ifs, ands or buts in anybody's mind that the fossil fuel industry has put the cost of fossil fuel energy into the lives of each of our children and they've taken the profits. And, as a conservative, that's not fair. That's not even true market economics."

He believes "a Republican cannot win the White House unless he talks about climate change" and that it's "something which the Republican Party has to deal with." Hescox tells me he hopes ("prays", actually) that the Pope's encyclical "will be another step forward in empowering the world to act together to solve what we like to say is the greatest moral challenge of our generation."

Plus: After Rush Limbaugh pathetically attempts to smear Pope Francis as a "Marxist" for hoping to save humanity, we offer definitive, irrefutable, water-tight evidence that the extremist rightwing radio host is an unrepentant liar and hypocrite on the topics of both climate change and "Marxism"...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/17/2015 5:34pm PT  

So, did Donald Trump just blow up the GOP primary? Is he more than just a joke? Is he the Frankenstein Monster created by 40 years of Reaganism, Fox 'News' and the Tea Party as we charged (along with Heather Digby Parton) on yesterday's BradCast? Could he actually win the Republican nomination and...gasp...the White House?

On today's BradCast, callers weigh in on 'Trump World' and other 2016 game changers like Bernie Sanders.

Plus: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, on Jeb and Hillary's climate strategy (or lack thereof, in one of those cases) and the Pope's upcoming, highly anticipated (and satirized) environmental encyclical...

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Heather Digby Parton on Donald 'The Candidate' Trump, 'the culmination of 30 years of American Dream propaganda' by the Republican Party...
By Brad Friedman on 6/16/2015 3:41pm PT  

As I suggested earlier today, I believe Donald Trump just blew up the 2016 Republican Presidential primary, and maybe even the 2016 general election.

All bets are off, now that, as our guest on today's BradCast, Heather 'Digby' Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabalo explains, the very embodiment of the misbegotten Reaganist American Dream --- and a TV star, at that --- has entered the contest for the Republican nomination.

Born a millionaire, Trump "became a billionaire, which is really kind of the ultimate American Dream. In fact, it's the only American Dream now," Parton opines. "You're a billionaire or your not and anything less than that is, you're kind of a loser."

Am I right when I argue that media and political pundits who disregard him as a clown (which he is), "misunderestimate" Trump's candidacy at their own peril? Parton, a 2014 Hillman Foundation Prize winner for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, seems to believe I could be. After all, she notes, "this is the culmination of about 30 years of propaganda" that folks like Reagan, Fox "News" and Roger Ailes put in place.

Trump "is channeling the GOP id," she says, adding: "The grand metaphor of this era, is Frankenstein's monster getting out of control. And that's what happened on the Right. And Donald Trump is another manifestation of that particular metaphor coming to life."

Plus: Speaking of misbegotten Reaganists, how Gov. Sam Brownback's Kansas has officially become "a Dickensian nightmare"; And Politifact fails again in rating Hillary Clinton's facts about the voting rights records of her opponents...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/16/2015 11:45am PT  

From Charlie Pierce at Esquire [emphasis added]...

[T]his is the day in which the denizens of the epistemically closed hallucinatory menagerie of the political right become reality. The conjuring words finally have worked. The black spirits of the conservative imagination walk the landscape, making news.

Donald Trump, [will] actively pretend to run for president this time around, and ... announced his intentions in a speech that apparently was written by elves who learned English 20 minutes before Trump walked on stage.

"Politicians are all talk, no action. Nothing is going to get done. They will not bring us, believe me, to the promise land. They will not. I've been on the circuit making speeches and I hear my fellow Republicans - and they're wonderful people, I like them! They all want me to support them! - ... I watch the speeches of these people and they say, 'The sun will rise, the moon will set! All sorts of wonderful things will happen!'"

Personally, I think saying that the sun will rise and the moon will set are two of the easiest campaign promises to keep ever.
...
Trump's vaguely paragraph-like globs of words were shot through with magical spells. There's this doctor he knows who doesn't like the Affordable Care Act. There's this manufacturer he knows who's having trouble with China. They all call Trump --- perhaps through his bridgework, perhaps not --- and unburden themselves on him because they know that Trump is the person who can solve their problems because he is a problem-solver on the art of the deal, the four bankruptcies notwithstanding.

He is the inevitable result of 40 years of political conjuring, mainly by Republicans, but abetted by far too many Democrats as well. He is the inevitable product of anyone who ever argued that our political institutions should be run "like a business." ... He is the inevitable product of anyone who ever argued why the government can't balance its books "the way any American family would." He is the inevitable result of the deregulated economy that was deregulated out of a well-cultivated wonder and awe directed at the various masters of the universe. Sooner or later, all of this misbegotten magical thinking was going to burp up a clown like Donald Trump.

Only quibble with Pierce here: Trump is not "pretend[ing] to run" for President. He's actually running. And anybody who 'misunderestimates' what the Republican Party has become at this point --- who they would actually nominate as their standard bearer and, by extension, who they might actually be able to get "elected" in the US of A in 2016, through any means necessary --- does so at their own peril...




By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2015 10:01pm PT  

With Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change due later this week --- and wingnuts freaking out about it (talking to you, Rick Santorum) --- this parody video is pretty Popin' brilliant...

By the way, fun fact to keep in your back pocket this week: Pope Francis, back when he was just Jorge Mario Bergoglio, likely received more training in science than any of the folks running for President this year. He graduated from technical school as a Chemical Technician.




Rove, Republicans & the broken FEC w/ Craig Holman of Public Citizen...
By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2015 5:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast...Jeb Bush makes it official! (But don't notice his brother!) Who could have guessed he'd run, after spending so many months violating federal campaign finance laws? And Hillary launches her campaign with a rally on Roosevelt Island in NY, promising to support a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and "end the flow of secret, unaccountable money distorting our elections".

Public Citizen's Craig Holman joins us to discuss all of the above and how "we are now being besieged --- in the last election it was $300 million --- by dark money. Money that influences our elections, but we have no idea where it came from."

More specifically, Holman discusses how Republicans on the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) continue to block any and all enforcement of existing campaign finance law, as seen in the organization's ongoing lawsuit attempting to hold Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS accountable for campaign finance violations from as long ago as 2010!

"Just as big of a problem, when it comes to enforcing our campaign finance laws, is the Federal Elections Commission," Holman says, while explaining again how the FEC has become purposely paralyzed by its three Republican commissioners who flatly refuse to enforce existing statutes. "When [the FEC] cannot act and when it cannot make a decision, we literally have no cop on the beat when it comes to money in politics."

His use of the word "literally" there, is literally correct, for a change. That's right, even without the Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision --- even if it eventually gets overturned somehow --- unless the courts or the DoJ step in to take control of the matter (which, he explains, they actually can!), the GOP and their operatives on the FEC will allow campaigns to get away with campaign finance murder during yet another Presidential election. Listen to today's show for much more on this. But, yes, Citizens United ain't the half of it...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Matthew Menendez of Brennan Center; Plus: House Progressives block Obama and Republicans (for now) on TPP 'FastTrack'!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2015 5:15pm PT  

It was a major victory (for now) for progressives in the U.S. House hoping to block the TPP trade agreement favored by Obama and the Republicans. On today's BradCast, we explain what actually happened on Friday. (Since all you'll hear from the MSM is how "Obama suffered a humiliating defeat by Democrats!" He did, but that's not what matters.)

Then: Apparently Republicans don't understand how the whole "Laboratories of Democracy" idea for states is supposed to work. At least not based on how the disastrous ongoing experiments of Reaganist Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in Kansas are going. The state has several incredible messes on their hand, all stemming from the far rightwingers' tax cuts for the wealthy which have now resulted in a massive $400 million budget deficit which must be closed by law before next week.

But, perhaps even more extraordinary, is a law signed this week by Brownback that would, if the court system dares to disagree with him and fellow Republicans on state funding, result in the entire state Judicial system being defunded. No, seriously. Matthew Menendez, Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program, joins me to explain the insanity. And, apparently, it's as mad as it sounds! "It is incredible," Menendez tells me, as I beg him to explain how I've got it wrong. "I have never seen anything like this," he says.

Also today: Yet another major hack, this time of security clearance info for intel and military personnel. (But, again, Internet Voting and e-voting is totally security, as run by your local election official. Don't worry!); And Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report on, among other things, the G7 declaring the end of fossil fuels and Santorum v. Pope!...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2015 1:24pm PT  

As you know, last week, Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Texas, calling for expanded early voting in all 50 states and for universal voter registration for all eligible U.S. citizens. During the speech, she also called out some of her potential Republican rivals vying for the GOP's 2016 Presidential nomination, among them, former TX Gov. Rick Perry who, Clinton accurately noted, "signed a law that a federal court said was actually written with the purpose of discriminating against minority voters."

She added, Perry "applauded when the Voting Rights Act was gutted [by the Supreme Court] and said the law’s protections were 'outdated and unnecessary'."

Clinton's remarks there were in reference to the Texas Republicans' draconian polling place Photo ID voting restrictions, which, after being passed in 2011, were barred by the Voting Rights Act (VRA) as discriminatory, before the statute was implemented anyway by state Republicans just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the provision of the VRA under which the TX voting restriction had been found in violation of that law. Late last year, after a full trial on the merits of the law, a federal judge subsequently found the law to be in violation of other, still-standing sections of the VRA as well as the U.S. Constitution --- and, perhaps worse still, found it to be purposely discriminatory.

U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, based on statistics supplied by the state of Texas itself, found the statute could serve to disenfranchise some 800,000 already legally registered voters in the Lone Star state (not to mention hundreds of thousands of others who had yet to register) and slammed both the discriminatory effect and purpose of the law in her written ruling. "The Court holds that SB 14 [the TX GOP's Photo ID restriction] creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose," she wrote, adding that the law also "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

On CNN, stammering in response to Clinton calling him out in her speech, Perry failed to explain how either Clinton or Judge Ramos was incorrect. "You need a photo I.D. to get a library book, or to get on an airplane," he incorrectly asserted. (More on that below.) "I think we make it pretty easy in the state of Texas for people to vote, so, you know, again, I don't know what her beef is with the people of the state of Texas about voter I.D."

But there's another point about the TX law that neither Clinton nor Perry noted: its discriminatory effect on women, as highlighted in a Letter to the Editor from this week's Concord Monitor in New Hampshire...

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




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