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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, July 26, 2016
DNC Chair Out Amid Hacks, Protests; Plus: Fox After Ailes: 'BradCast' 7/25/16
Eric Boehlert on the firing of FNC's founder, propaganda mastermind: Also: Deadly heat; Trump 'bump'; Clinton taps Kaine as Veep...
Sunday Toons of the Conscientious Moment
'PDiddie' rounds up the week's best toons following a chaotic week at the RNC in Cleveland and much more...
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...


By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2016 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Climate change continues to ravage Americans and take lives in the east and west, surprisingly good news from the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.K. remains gripped with panic, confusion and uncertainty in the wake of last week's vote 'Brexit' vote to leave the European Union.

We start today with more on the historic deadly flooding and "mass destruction" in West Virginia 'coal country' and the out-of-control wildfires across bone-dry Southern California. Yes, it's everything we've been warning you about for so long on both The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast, even if just the latest example of the enormous (and growing) cost of climate change, as still both under-reported by the corporate media and over-shadowed by other new events across both the U.S. and world.

Then, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down several major decisions on its final day of the session. Surprisingly, a number of those decisions were very good news for progressives, even on an otherwise divided Court with its still-vacant 9th seat. The biggest decision concerned abortion rights in Texas, where the Court dealt a devastating blow to Republican laws meant to shut down women's health clinics under the guise of 'safety'. The Court saw through the Rightwing con, and the 5-3 decision could result in the overturning of similar "TRAP laws" enacted by Republicans in other states. In any event, the decision is a huge setback for rightwing anti-abortion activists and a big victory for those who believe in Constitutionally protected reproductive rights and freedoms. Can we take anything from this decision as to how SCOTUS might eventually rule in the Texas Photo ID voting restrictions case --- another GOP law meant to rob (certain) citizens of their rights for entirely specious reasons?

Also, the right of states to restrict the possession of guns by domestic abusers was upheld in a surprising bi-partisan 7 to 2 opinion, as was a new rule by the U.S. Dept. of Labor concerning overtime pay for home healthcare workers.

In an unusual unanimous decision by the Supremes, Virginia's former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell saw his bribery conviction vacated, despite having accepted some $165,000 in personal gifts and cash loans from a wealthy businessman hoping the Governor would help promote his products. Will that decision have any effect on Alabama's former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman, who is now serving his 6th year in federal prison for having done far less than McDonnell was found guilty of? That, even as the Republican federal judge who sentenced Siegelman has resigned from the bench after having been arrested for beating his wife and the Republican heads of all three branches of government in Alabama face removal of office via impeachment (Governor), ethics charges (Chief Justice of the AL Supreme Court) and multiple felony conviction (AL Speaker of the House) for various crimes, alleged and proven, in their home state.

Finally today, last week's 'Brexit' vote continues to wreak havoc as world financial markets continue to plunge (though not nearly as low as I incorrectly reported it on today's show, as based on an inaccurate number reported by my iPhone's stock app!); the British government is in complete disarray about how (or, perhaps, even, if) they will officially begin the formal procedure required to leave the EU; voters express 'bregret' over having voted to exit; questions arise about overseas voters failing to correctly receive ballot papers at all; and some call for a second ("do-over") referendum.

All of that and much more on yet another insanely busy BradCast today!

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

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Guest: CNN columnist John D. Sutter | Also: Tar sands oil country on fire; NC violates U.S. law; Trump finds new way to offend Latinos...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2016 5:19pm PT  

Are Republican voters 'warming up' to the science of climate change? A new study suggests as much, as CNN columnist and environmental reporter John D. Sutter details on today's BradCast. [See link to audio of today's show at end of article.]

That news comes not a moment too soon, as record high temps in Alberta, Canada's tar sands oil region (ironically enough) sets the town of Fort McMurray on fire and sends some 80,000 residents scrambling for their lives amidst "apocalyptic" devastation. But are the attitudes of GOP voters on the planet's climate crisis changing quickly enough to prevent the worst effects of global warming, even as the Republican Party's apparent standard-bearer this year, Donald Trump, regards the science as little more than a massive "hoax"?

"I think there's a lot less division on this issue than gets made out in the media," Sutter tells me on today's show. "The skeptical voices, especially on the conservative side, are often heard the loudest. They come through the loudest on blogs. They have big media platforms and they get attention. But I don't think that's representative of what the actual American public thinks, and what the voters think. I do think there's a lot more room for agreement on climate change between conservatives and liberals than is often made out in the media."

In fact, as Sutter notes in his column on the new survey from the Yale and George Mason University's programs on on Climate Change Communication, "The percentage of conservative Republicans (not just Republicans but conservative Republicans) who believes climate change is happening has jumped 19 percentage points in the last two years, to 47%." He goes on to explain why that movement seems to be occurring now and to offer his explanation for the apparent contradiction between a huge majority of GOPers who support research into clean, renewable energy, even as so many of them remain climate crisis deniers.

"I think there's a disconnect between what people believe out there in reality and what politicians are willing to say. Because for them to propose regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, for example, they'd have to go up against some pretty monied special interests," he says. "There's a difference between real people and what politicians are willing to take up."

We also discuss Sutter's very encouraging recent reporting on the upcoming Washington state Initiative-732, which would put a price on carbon emissions --- "this often gets called the 'Holy Grail' of climate change policies," he says --- so that polluters will no longer be allowed to pollute for free. Just over the border in British Columbia, where a carbon tax was implemented in 2008, he explains, "the sky didn't fall" as predicted by fossil fuel industry opponents. In fact, "their economy has actually been out-pacing the rest of Canada" and "the level of support for the carbon tax has grown over time."

While Sutter's reporting on these issues at the CNN website is fantastic, I felt I still needed to ask him about the dearth of climate reporting on CNN's airwaves where, as a study last month found, viewers "see far more fossil fuel advertising than climate change reporting."

Also on today's BradCast: The U.S. Dept. of Justice notifies of North Carolina that their new law to discriminate against the LGBT community is a violation of the federal Civil Rights Act and may cost the state more than $2 billion in federal education funding; and Donald Trump, who will desperately need Hispanic voters if he hopes to win the Presidency this November, offers a remarkably offensive tweet on Cinco De Mayo. Because, of course he does.

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

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From money in politics to criminal injustice to voter suppression, how can the U.S. fix its broken systems of politics, elections and governance?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2016 5:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we catch up on a number of items in the news, almost all of which underscore a rigged system in the U.S. and the need to unrig it.

From the new effort by more than 100 bipartisan state Attorneys General to see former AL Gov. Don Siegelman (D) turned political prisoner receive a pardon from President Obama; to the obscene amount of corporate and billionaire cash now pouring into U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan's Republican campaign machine; to new lawsuits filed in Arizona by the DNC (with both the Clinton and Sanders camps joining), as well as by transpartisans charging voter suppression in the state's disastrous March 22nd primary; to remaining concerns about the results of recent Presidential nominating contests around the country.

All of those stories, including the increasingly loud insistence (whether supported by the evidence or not) from Sanders and Trump supporters who believe that both major political parties have "rigged" the Presidential nomination selection process against their favored candidates, underscore how the broken U.S. system desperately needs fixing.

So what to do about it? Some of our listeners have ideas, even ones I may or may not agree with. All of that and much more, including our latest Green News Report, on today's program...

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

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(And how did Jim Gilmore 'win' an entire Massachusetts town?!)
By Brad Friedman on 3/2/2016 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast we examine what the big Super Tuesday wins mean, and don't, for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as well what the media is both misreporting and failing to report at all. [Audio linked below.]

First, the GOP is now in full panic mode following Trump's seven-state victory yesterday, as the DNC and corporate media use misleading numbers to describe Clinton's own seven-state victory. In addition to the general horse-race numbers, and the Republican drama, we examine how the MSM continues to ill-serve the public in their coverage of the Democratic race to date, specifically when it comes to the unpledged so-called "SuperDelegates".

We also look at a few more of the more than 2,000 reports of voting problems that came into the non-partisan Election Protection coalition yesterday; More touch-screen trouble, this time in TN; And what the hell happened in Chelsea, MA, where former VA Gov. Jim Gilmore(!?!), who dropped out of the race weeks ago, crushed the Republican Primary competition, at least according to the paper-ballot optical-scan computers that tallied the results last night?...

The paper ballots in Chelsea were initially tabulated by the same type of op-scan systems used in states all over the country and shown to be capable of flipping elections without notice in the jaw-dropping finale of HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy. Today, the numbers have now been "corrected" [PDF] by the clerk's office [Update: The link to the document at the Chelsea government site is now broken, so here's a copy of the PDF that had been linked there] and, apparently, chalked up to "the computer system that reported the results". Ya don't say. Was it anything like this similar failure from Stoughton, WI in 2014?

Also today: Listener email in response to my interview earlier this week with Current Affairs magazine editor Nathan J. Robinson, who had offered his persuasive case, based on his recent feature article, for why Trump is likely to win the Presidency if Democrats fail to nominate Bernie Sanders. We look at the arguments from a number of you who disagreed with Robinson.

Finally: A short, but refreshing break from politics as Scott Kelly, the American astronaut who has been in space for the past year, returns safely to Earth with his Russian counterpart in furtherance of NASA's planned manned missions to Mars...

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

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Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2016 5:29pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, new polls reveal Bernie Sanders far outpacing Hillary Clinton in head-to-head match-ups against all potential Republican challengers and public sector unions take a beating in the U.S. Supreme Court.

First up today, new pre-election polls from NBC/WSJ and PPP in both Iowa and New Hampshire echo recent national polling suggesting that, contrary to so-called "conventional wisdom", Sanders is more electable against the leading Republican opponents than Clinton is.

Then, constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser joins us to report on today's "brutal" oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case which threatens to gut public sector union funding.

Millhiser, author of the new book, Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, was at the Court for today's hearing, and the news is not encouraging. As he explains, the case challenges the federal government's allowance of "agency fees" charged to non-union members in public sector union shops to help defray the costs of union negotiations. That fee makes sense, since non-union workers must receive the same wages and benefits at such shops as their union colleagues. Non-union workers benefit from those negotiations, he says, since "workers in unionized shops on average receive about 12% more pay than workers in non-unionized shops."

"As a general rule," Millhiser wrote after today's oral argument, "the First Amendment does not permit the government to compel someone to say something they disagree with, and the plaintiffs claim that requiring non-union members to subsidize collective bargaining by a union that they may not agree with essentially rises to the level of compelled speech."

He tells me today that striking down the right to charge these agency fees "creates what's called a 'free rider' problem. If I get something, whether I pay for it or not, a lot of people are going to say 'Well, why would I pay for this when I get it for free?'" That, in turn, threatens the viability of such unions entirely.

Millhiser goes on to say: "It was pretty clear today that there were five votes that are ready to strike down these agency fee agreements --- and that's going to be not great for the future of many public sector unions."

We also discuss how an adverse decision for the public unions here may also potentially be used by the Right to go after private unions as well. "What we've seen from conservative movement attorneys over the last seven or eight years is an extraordinary entrepreneurship. They've been really, really clever in coming up with creative news ways to try to convince courts to implement their policy preferences," he says.

Citing both that point and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's new call for nine, incredibly radical (and regressive) amendments to the U.S. Constitution (which Millhiser describes as the new Republican governor's "plan to repeal the 20th century"), I ask why it is that Democrats and progressives don't show similar "entrepreneurship" in pushing forward their own agenda.

In response, Millhiser defends Dems and progressives by noting a peculiarity about this particular moment in history: "I think conservatives right now increasingly believe that the last 80 years of American history are illegitimate. They believe that our society has started to go off the rails and we have to fundamentally rethink what our government does. Democrats are now in the unfamiliar position of being the nation's conservative party. I don't mean in the sense that they are now to the right of the Republicans. I mean 'conservative' in the sense that Democrats are conservative in the sense that it wants to preserve the gains that we already have."

The result is that Dems are put on the defensive, instead of pushing new, progressive programs forward, as I argue in return, leaving voters less than clear about what it is Democrats hope to do when and if they are elected to office.

Finally, we offer a short goodbye to David Bowie and receive late breaking word from the the U.S. Supreme Court concerning imprisoned former Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL)'s final appeal for a new trial...Neither of those news items are encouraging either, unfortunately.

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2016 5:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it was a trip through the week in wingnuttery, as we catch up with a number of stories we've been following of late, including (but not limited to):

• America's dumbest Governor, Paul LePage (R-ME), is apparently also America's most racist;
• President Obama's exceedingly modest and popular executive actions on gun safety freak out the NRA and the stooges who follow them;
• Native Americans in Oregon speak out against the out-of-state militiamen who've taken over a federal facility on their tribal lands;
• The Chief Justice of Alabama's Supreme Court, Roy S. Moore, reignites confusion over same-sex marriage in the state;
• And, Wheaton College shames itself still further by attempting to terminate a tenured professor because she believes Muslims and Christians "worship the same god".

As I said: A week of wingnuttery. (And some well-deserved righteous rants in response.) Enjoy!

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2015 5:22pm PT  

Following last week's horrific terror attacks in Paris, Republican Governors and Presidential candidates have turned against those fleeing terror in Syria by calling for states to keep out the huddled Syrian masses of men, women and children yearning to be free.

Despite the existing, incredibly onerous, nearly two-year process of vetting such refugees before they are allowed to come here --- and despite state Governors having no direct control over immigration/refugee policies at the federal level, more than 30 of them have now declared they will not allow refugees from the war torn nation to be relocated within their state borders.

Presidential candidates like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and even the supposedly "reasonable" and "moderate" Jeb Bush have declared we need to consider shutting down mosques and/or institute a Christians-only policy for refugees coming to the U.S. from countries under siege by terrorists.

These GOP cowards and liars have little more evidence to back up their assertions about dangerous refugees "pouring into our country from Syria" than they did when they warned President Obama was allowing an Ebola epidemic to land on our shores and kill us all just a few short months ago.

Nonetheless, some gullible and frightened American citizens have responded to the offensive, anti-American rhetoric of GOP leaders by turning against their fellow citizens, sometimes violently, for the "crime" of being Muslim or even just appearing to be of Middle-Eastern origin.

All of the above, of course, is precisely what Osama bin Laden --- and now ISIS --- long ago announced to be exactly what they were hoping for.

All of that and many more disturbing tales from the 'Land of the Free' and the 'Home of the Brave' in today's BradCast...

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

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Congressman charges oil company's 'affirmative campaign against science of climate change' echoes conspiracy case against Big Tobacco...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2015 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) joins me to explain the letter [PDF] he sent late last week, with Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), to Attorney General Loretta Lynch seeking an investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution of ExxonMobil.

In light of internal company documents recently unearthed and published by Inside Climate News and by the Los Angeles Times revealing that Exxon knew about the "potentially catastrophic" dangers of global warming as early as 1977 and their subsequent funding of the climate change denial industry in an attempt to obscure their own science, Lieu tells me he believes that a conspiracy case, akin to the one brought against Big Tobacco, would now be appropriate against the world's largest oil producer.

"In the case of [Big] tobacco," Lieu explains on today's program, "it's having knowledge that your product had a tendency to cause harm in people, and then denying that was the case, and affirmatively selling your product in the face of that knowledge."

He believes Exxon's actions are very similar and likely to trigger the broad "conspiracy statute" known as RICO, as successfully brought against the tobacco industry in the largest such prosecution ever.

"It wasn't just that Exxon remained silent and didn't share [what their scientists had confirmed]. They took affirmative steps to campaign against the science of climate change. They funded organizations that obscured the science behind climate change. Their top executives would make statements to say that climate change either isn't happening or 'these are just models that we don't know much about and things are very uncertain'," Lieu tells me. "And keep in mind, they internally took actions to take advantage of global warming," by changing their business strategy in the Arctic where drilling would become easier thanks to the melting caused by the use of their product.

"So this is beyond hypocrisy," he says. "An investigation is warranted into what Exxon knew, when they knew it, and what they said about it."

[My recent interview with Neela Banerjee, co-author of Inside Climate News' blockbuster investigative report, is posted here.]

Also on today's program: New polls are out in the wake of last week's Democratic debate in Las Vegas suggesting that things may be changing for both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, though not necessarily as the corporate media had predicted; Alabama's Republican Governor attempts to roll back the closure of drivers license offices that threaten to further disenfranchise African-American voters in the state; And Jeb Bush throws his own brother under the bus on voting rights, in hopes of winning the 2016 Republican nomination...

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...

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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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Guest: John Nichols of The Nation | PLUS: Hillary finally takes a position on the Keystone XL pipeline...
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2015 5:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast...

First: The Nation's Washington Correspondent and Wisconsin native son John Nichols joins us to explain what went wrong with the Walker campaign and what to expect in the wake of a state Supreme Court Justice dying yesterday in court.

"The fantasy," upon which Walker's campaign was built, Nichols tells me, "was that Americans hate trade unions so much --- they hate living wages, they hate good benefits, they hate weekends off, they hate vacations --- so much, that they were ready to elect a guy whose only argument for himself was that he got in a fight with the unions. And when Walker actually got the spotlight and he started talking about his record, what he wanted to do, everybody got bored in about five minutes."

Even Republicans "said, 'what else do you have for us?'," he says. "In fact a fifth of Republicans say they think unions should be stronger. So the notion that there's some scorching anti-union sentiment out there isn't true."

Nichols contends it wasn't a lack of funding that did Walker in, but he also explains why the Koch Brothers --- who have long been Walker's his biggest supporters --- didn't bother riding to his rescue. "When you play with billionaires, they always set the rules of the game," he explains.

Also, Nichols details how yesterday's sudden death of state Supreme Court Justice N. Patrick Crooks could shake up the balance of the court --- perhaps even more in Scott Walker's favor than it already is --- as another contentious court election battle now looms once again in the Badger State.

Next: The U.S. Judicial Conference sends its report [PDF] to the U.S. Congress on the now-resigned and long-disgraced U.S. District Court Judge Mark F. Fuller, following his arrest on domestic violence charges last year. Turns out, as we've long suspected and reported, Fuller was found, during the year-long investigation, to be a serial wife-beater.

"Judge Fuller physically abused [his second wife] Kelli Fuller at least eight times, both before and after they married, which included and culminated in the assault that took place on August 9, 2012, in the Riz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Atlanta, Georgia," the cover letter on the report to Congress reads. The Special Commission of federal judges investigating the matter also found the Judge lied (committed perjury) to the panel of federal judges carrying out the probe, and should be impeached by Congress for his "reprehensible conduct", even though he has already resigned.

I offer details and background on the full case on today's program, including information on Fuller's lifetime appointment to the federal bench by George W. Bush in 2002, his participation in the Karl Rove-cabal takedown of Alabama's Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman (who is still in federal prison following his sentencing by Fuller), and more.

My full report on this latest Fuller news, including some of the apparently false information his attorney offered me earlier this year (which I declined to report at the time), and Kelli Fuller's chilling 911 call from that hotel room in Atlanta last year, is now posted here.

Finally: Mid-show today, we received word that Hillary Clinton finally decided to take a public position on the Keystone XL pipeline. We've got her announcement and reaction to it from her fellow Democratic 2016 opponents and even a predictable thought or two from the Republican side of the contest...

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

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Impeachment of now-resigned jurist recommended; Report contradicts prior, unreported claims made by Fuller's attorney to The BRAD BLOG
Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL), sentenced by corrupt, disgraced, abusive judge who failed to recuse, remains in federal prison as Fuller roams free...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2015 12:37pm PT  

"Impeachment of former United States District Judge Mark E. Fuller [Middle District, Alabama] may be warranted," according to the Special Committee to the Judicial Council of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court.

While Fuller has already resigned from his lifetime appointment in the wake of his wife-beating scandal, the panel of federal judges found "the severity of the misconduct" by the former jurist so "reprehensible", they believe impeachment may be appropriate nonetheless.

"In the event that the House of Representatives determines in its sound discretion that impeachment is not warranted, this certification may also serve as a public censure of Judge Fuller's reprehensible conduct, which has no doubt brought disrepute to the Judiciary and cannot constitute the 'good behavior' required of a federal judge," U.S. Judicial Conference Secretary James C. Duff wrote in his letter [PDF] to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, accompanying the final report of the Special Committee.

As the panel of federal judges tasked by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court with investigating the 2014 arrest of Alabama's U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller on spousal abuse charges proceeded over the past year, his Birmingham attorney, Barry Ragsdale, was adamant about his client's innocence.

Fuller "never hit, punched, slapped or kicked," his wife Kelli on the night he was hauled away by police from the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta following her chilling call to 911, Ragsdale repeated over and over to any media outlet which would listen.

Judge Fuller made similar "repeated statements under oath before the Special Committee," according to Duff. The Committee found those assertions to be "false."

As we suspected over the past year --- and as both 911 evidence and evidence from the divorce proceedings in Judge Fuller's previous marriage suggested as well --- Ragsdale's assertions on behalf of his client were completely untrue. At least according to the final report issued by that panel of judicial investigators last week.

In an email exchange with The BRAD BLOG earlier this year, Ragsdale even went so far as to describe our detailed coverage of the Fuller affair [see complete index below] as "sensationalized and misleading". He suggested that Fuller's second wife Kelli --- who, during that chilling call to 911, tearily begged for an ambulance, as apparent sounds of battering could be heard through the phone --- had made the entire thing up. Ragsdale claimed she admitted as much under oath during the probe by the judges impaneled to investigate the matter.

"Your blog entries on this case suffer from the very glaring misapprehension that Kelli Fuller was telling the truth when she claimed that Judge Fuller was 'beating on me' to the 911 dispatcher," Ragsdale told The BRAD BLOG via email last March. "The only thing that is clear from the 911 call is that Kelli Fuller was drunk when she made the call."

The Birhimgham attorney asserted that he had "a very decided advantage" over us "when discussing the facts of this matter," due to the fact that he had heard "the sworn testimony of all of the witnesses with knowledge about this case, and I have examined and cross-examined them under oath."

"The truth," Ragsdale continued in one part of his email that we declined to report publicly at the time, "is that even Kelli Fuller has admitted under oath that the 'slap' sounds that you think you hear on the 911 tape were not caused by Judge Fuller hitting her. Instead, Kelli Fuller has admitted under oath that the brief physical altercation between her and Judge Fuller was over before she ever called 911."

He claimed that it was Kelli Fuller who, in fact, "assault[ed]" and "attack[ed]" the judge, who was otherwise lying on the bed, minding his own business while watching TV.

Ragsdale's description of events at the Ritz-Carlton that night appear to be in stark contradiction to the report submitted by the panel of federal judges. They assert that Judge Fuller's behavior towards his wife was far worse than we had reported and included "at least" eight different instances of spousal abuse between Fuller and his second wife Kelli, "both before and after they were married, which included and culminated in the assault that took place on August 9, 2014, in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Atlanta, George," according to Duff's description of the Judicial Conference report.

While we reported some of Ragsdale's comments at the time, we declined to report both his characterization of Kelli Fuller's sworn testimony before the panel of judges, as well as his characterization of the sworn testimony by Fuller's first wife Lisa. In both cases, the testimony had been confidential at the time and it was impossible for us to verify what had or hadn't been said. We had only Ragsdale's word for it. Moreover, as his previous public assertions were often in apparent contradiction from known evidence --- and he was unwilling or unable to offer evidence to back up his assertions about the sworn, confidential testimony and other supposed evidence that he claimed to have access to --- it seemed irresponsible to uncritically publish hearsay and unverifiable claims that he was clearly offering us in hopes of exonerating his own client in the "court of public opinion".

The 11th Circuit Court's Judicial Council report, forwarded to the U.S. Judiciary Council and then to the U.S. House of Representatives last week, as AP notes, paints a very different picture of that probe, declaring that, in fact, Judge Fuller was a serial domestic abuser, whose conduct was nothing short of "reprehensible"...

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




Guest Joe Dunman, attorney for the couples challenging Clerk Kim Davis: 'Imagine a Muslim clerk denying licenses to Christian couples'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/1/2015 6:02pm PT  

Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis continues to defy federal court orders to issue marriage licenses to two gay and two straight couples. Their attorney, Joe Dunman, joins us on today's BradCast for a fascinating discussion of the case, how we got here, and where it all goes from here.

"To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience," the elected County Clerk said in a statement today following the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal yesterday to hear Davis' application for an "asylum of conscience" and her own refusal, once again today, to issue licenses.

"It is a Heaven or Hell decision," she adds. Guess which one she's choosing?

Dunman, who also represented the Kentucky couples in SCOTUS' landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case that declared marriage equality a fundamental right in all 50 states, tells me that Davis is not required to actually perform any marriages. "She's not obligated to solemnize a marriage at all. The only thing she has to do is stamp her name on the documents that are filed with the state."

"In her arguments so far, she claims that [by] putting her name on it, she is 'authorizing and blessing' those marriages." But the U.S. District Court Judge (as well as the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and now the U.S. Supreme Court) "disagreed, and said 'look, you're just certifying that they meet the legal standards, that they're eligible for marriage licenses --- that's all you're doing. You're not blessing anything. For that reason she doesn't have a religious objection. Not to mention that there's no case law to support the idea that public officials have religious rights that trump the civil rights of other people."

"Extending her logic outward, there's really no end to what a public official could do. All they'd have to claim that they sincerely believe something, and they just do it," Dunman explains. "I want people to imagine a Muslim clerk in Kentucky denying licenses to Christian couples as they walk in the door, and whether or not people would be standing up for 'religious freedom.'"

The attorney also notes that Kentucky's Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Matt Bevin, "has come out strongly in her support" for Davis, who is actually a Democrat, "going so far as to say 'Clerks Lives Matter' during a rally in her favor."

Also on today's BradCast: Reverberations following yesterday's interview with Beth Clarkson, the Kansas statistician who believes she's found evidence of "voting machine manipulation", but is being blocked by KS Sec. of State Kris Kobach from examining the e-voting system's paper audit logs from the 2014 election.

Plus: A crazy case of "voter suppression" --- of a very bizarre sort --- in Columbia, Missouri; Alabama's plans to shut down 45 of its 49 driver's license offices (despite the state's strict Photo ID voting restriction law); and Obama makes an impassioned plea for action on climate change up in the Arctic...

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

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Guests: Attorney Ernest A. Canning; Financial journalist David Dayen...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2015 5:45pm PT  

First up on today's BradCast, financial journalist David Dayen joins us to explain why the Dow Jones Industrial average plummeted 1000 points over the past two trading days, whether or not you should be worried about it, and how the U.S. is missing a golden opportunity in the bargain.

Then, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest A. Canning joins us to explain why --- even after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently found Texas Republicans' polling place Photo ID voting restriction to be discriminatory and illegal (just as the lower U.S. District Court did last year and just as the federal government did well before that) --- the GOP's voting restriction is, increcibly, still in effect anyway and may serve to disenfranchise some 600,000 lawfully registered (largely Democratic-leaning) voters during the 2016 Presidential election.

Canning wrote about the disturbing situation in detail last week in an article at The BRAD BLOG and explains the mess in brief on today's show: "It seems nonsensical to say a law has been struck down but it is still in force. But that's basically where we stand right now."

"This law has a discriminatory impact --- it disparately impacts minorities and the poor," he says, citing the Appeals Court's latest decision. "You now have this identical finding three successive times in court dating back to 2012, and here we are in 2015 and we're having to worry about whether that discrimination is going to occur again in 2016."

Also on today's BradCast: Texas health care situation is still among the worst in the nation; Trump wows 'em in Alabama; California is NOT in chaos (no matter what disinformed Republicans may tell you); And fall-out from my rant last week about the excellent new British government findings on the safety and efficacy of e-cigs; and more!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guests: Sam Walker of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, AL; Former DoJ attny Katherine Culliton-González of Advancement Project...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2015 2:33pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, special coverage in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 --- the crowning jewel legislation of the civil rights movement, written with the blood and tears of thousands, and now under fire today as it has never been since its passage helped lift the nation out from under the shackles of the Jim Crow era.

Sam Walker historian at Selma, Alabama's National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, joins us to discuss the Act's history and legacy --- from the circumstances of the courageous Bloody Sunday march from Selma to Montgomery that finally resulted in the passage of the VRA, to the release of the movie Selma last year.

Among other things, he reminds us of the difficulty African-Americans faced in simply trying to register to vote in the deep south prior to the VRA. "Two days a month --- the first Monday and the third Monday --- were the only two days you could go and attempt to register," he told me. "Those were the days when they would see people coming and they would lock the door when they tried to come inside....You still couldn't register because you couldn't get inside the building to sign up."

Walker, who we haven't had on the show since the 40th anniversary of the VRA back in 2005, shares stories that need to be heard, even today. One, for example, about his meeting, years later, with one of the state troopers who took part in the beatings on Bloody Sunday. Another, about the importance of cameras and national media on that infamous day in Selma.

"The people in the media had their cameras set up when the attack happened, so when people were being beaten and tear-gassed, all those scenes were captured by the TV cameras and by the news media on camera. And that started a new momentum to try to get the right to vote for all our citizens." Sound familiar?

Then, former DoJ Civil Rights Voting Section attorney Katherine Culliton-González of the Advancement Project, joins us to discuss the ongoing legal battles in the fight for voting rights across the country in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court gutting the VRA's landmark Section 5 provision in 2013 --- and the battle to restore it.

"All we have to do is look around us and unless they're living in a bubble, they can see that's there's been a renaissance in discrimination in voting since they took away that protection," she explains. From Congress to Texas to North Carolina to Wisconsin and beyond, the fight continues 50 years later.

"There are many, many voting changes across the country, and particularly in the South, at the local level that do all kinds of maneuvers of politicians trying to manipulate the vote. Moving poling places away from people of color - that happens a lot in the Native American community, the African-American community. We've seen laws requiring documentary proof of citizenship that have a strong disparate impact on the Latino community and the African-American community. For example, if you're a naturalized citizen and you don't have those papers, it's going to cost you at least $600 to get what's needed" to vote, she says. "All of this would have been subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act."

Culliton-González reminds us, as the NC NAACP civil rights leader Reverend William Barber says, "this is our Selma".

Finally, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), beaten by state troopers on Bloody Sunday as he courageously and stoically helped lead the march across the Edmund Pettus bridge as a 25-year old, discusses the importance of LBJ signing the Act in 1965. It's one of many historical sounds and songs that help us mark this historic day.

I hope you enjoy today's very special program!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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