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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, February 8, 2016
'Progress' v. 'Revolution': Bernie and Hillary's Lively NH Debate: 'BradCast' 2/5/16
Coverage and analysis with KY civil rights attorney Joe Dunman and Crooks and Liars' Managing Editor Karoli Kuns...
Black Box Voting's Bev Harris on Iowa Caucus Mess, NH Concerns: 'BradCast' 2/4/16
ALSO: 'Hero of Democracy' Tom Courbat, In Memoriam...
'Green News Report' 2/4/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Dems keep pushing climate action, Repubs keep ignoring it; FL mayors slam Rubio on sea level rise; CA AG files suit over massive gas leak; PLUS: FBI launches Flint probe...
Previous GNRs: 2/2/16 - 1/28/16 - Archives...
FL Mayors Slam Rubio on Climate Flip-Flop; Cruz Accused of 'Fraud' in IA: 'BradCast' 2/3/16
Rising ire, rising tides. Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, FL joins us...
What the Hell Just Happened in Iowa?!: 'BradCast' 2/2/16
Concerned about missing votes, coin tosses, videos suggesting fraud? Caucus expert Prof. David P. Redlawsk explains it all (and more) for you...and me...
'Green News Report' 2/2/16
Cruz promises to kill all energy subsidies; Rubio was for climate action, before against it; Crashing oil prices blow hole in NC budget; PLUS: Bad and good news in CA...
Sanders on the 'Edge'? Really, NY Times?: 'BradCast' 2/1/16
Jim Naureckas of FAIR on corporate media's false balance; Plus: More Dem debates; Trump's Iowa faux pas; Leaker Petraeus gets another pass...
Sunday Toons of the Hawkeye State Moment
Documenting the moments before the Iowa Caucuses via PDiddie's weekly collection of political toons...
Microsoft's App at the Iowa Caucuses: 'BradCast' 1/28/16
Also, the latest on the Oregon 'Patriot' standoff with independent journalist Arun Gupta...
'Green News Report' 1/28/16
Dems focus on climate, energy in IA; FL mayors smack Rubio on climate; Flint stuck with bad pipes, water; Poor bear brunt of pollution; PLUS: Victory for coal miners...
Ernie on Bernie: 'BradCast' 1/27/16
BRAD BLOG legal analyst turned Vets for Bernie advisor Ernest A. Canning on Sanders' electability and much more; PLUS: New OR standoff news, GOP/Dem debate controversies, listener calls!...
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...


GUESTS: Kentucky civil rights attorney Joe Dunman; Crooks and Liars' Managing Editor Karoli Kuns...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2016 4:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as you might have guessed, it's post-debate analysis of last night's very lively head-to-head debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire.

Joining us to make sense of it all is Joe Dunman, the Kentucky civil rights attorney who represented the same-sex couples suing Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to grant marriage licenses last year, Karoli Kuns, Managing Editor of the great Crooks and Liars blog.

During the debate, the first since the Iowa Caucuses and the last between Democrats before voters head to the primary polls in NH on Tuesday, the two candidates sharpened their dispute over potential directions for the Democratic Party (and the nation, along with it), as they hashed out whether to protect and expand on successful Obama Administration policies, as Clinton hopes, or fight for expansive and "revolutionary" new progressive policies as Sanders is calling for.

That question, a worthy one, also leads to a lively debate among the panelists on today's program, which you can listen to in full below! And, if you'd like to ring in on the issue yourself, I'd love to hear your thoughts in comments below, since I think this fight will be continuing for a while. Enjoy!...

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

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GUESTS: Salon's Heather Digby Parton and Crooks & Liars' John Amato...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2016 4:02pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, our All-American, Super-Smart, Most-Patriotic-Ever Panel of Geniuses try and make sense of whatever the hell happened last night in Iowa during the GOP Debate on Fox "News", as front-running boycotter Donald Trump's bizarre, competing "fundraiser for veterans" happened at the exact same time just down the street.

Joining me today for that not-so-simple task is Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo blog ("Trump plays the networks off each other masterfully."); John Amato, creator and publisher of the great Crooks and Liars blog ("Trump showed that he'd stand up to Ailes. Nobody in the GOP does that."); and, of course, our own Desi Doyen.

We also try to make sense of the neck-and-neck, anybody's-call, jump ball of a Democratic race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, as Iowa prepares for its first-in-the-nation caucuses on both sides of the aisle on Monday.

Become instantly smarter --- and enjoy more than a few laughs --- by listening to today's program. Enjoy!

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

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GUEST: Independent investigative journalist Arun Gupta...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2016 4:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We explain that new Microsoft app set to be used at the Iowa Caucuses and get the latest from Oregon following the arrest of the militant leaders (and the shooting death of one of them) at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. [Audio link to complete show is posted below...]

First up, independent investigative journalist Arun Gupta, who has been in Burns, Oregon over the past week covering the "Patriot Movement" standoff for Raw Story, joins us with the latest. He is dubious about the FBI's explanation for the killing of one of the leaders of the occupation; explains how the Rightwing protesters are "essentially wanting to overthrow the U.S. Government"; and how the treatment of the armed demonstrators differed from the treatment of Occupy Wall Street protesters, which he had also covered.

"There's a lot of anger out there around this," Gupta tells me. "There's a lot of anger about land management issues, about a lack of economic development, and there's a lot of extreme Rightwing groups --- many of them pretty racist, white supremacists --- that can take advantage of this. So I don't think we have seen the end of this."

Then, late news on the "debate debates" on both the Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle --- with veterans groups hitting Donald Trump for hiding behind them while pulling out of Thursday's Fox "News" debate and Bernie Sanders playing hardball over the addition of new debates on the Dem side.

Next, while we've been working on this story for a while, it seems that everyone today has noticed that Microsoft has created a free app --- two of them, actually --- for the Democratic and Republican parties to use to help tally votes in the first-in-the-nation caucuses in Iowa next Monday.

Now that the Sanders camp has become "suspicious of Microsoft's influence in the Iowa Caucus," as MSNBC reports it, a lot of folks have begun freaking out about the matter. "You’d have to ask yourself why they’d want to give something like that away for free," a Sanders spokesman is quoted as saying, even as both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns have created their own apps for tracking local results at caucus sites next week.

I explain what the Microsoft apps do and don't do --- for each of the parties --- and if they, or you, should be concerned about it...no matter which candidate that you may or may not support in either of the parties holding caucuses next week in the Hawkeye State.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Florida mayors calling out Marco Rubio for his climate change denial, an update on Flint and America's poor bearing the brunt of toxic pollution in the U.S., a win for coal miners in the fight against black lung disease, and much more in another busy BradCast today!...

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

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GUEST: Veteran weatherman Paul Douglas says added warmth, moisture in atmosphere akin to 'pouring rocket fuel on a Bic lighter'...
PLUS: More trouble for MI's Snyder; Cruz is a liar; One state is cancelling e-voting...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2016 5:51pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, as the East Coast digs out from the weekend's record super storm that dumped more than 30 inches of snow on five different states, killing at least 30 people in the bargain, we're joined by veteran meteorologist Paul Douglas who says his "jaw dropped" after looking at the storm data.

Among his reasons for amazement, he tells me, were the extraordinary snow fall amounts ("3 to 5 inches an hour" in many places) as well as "water temperatures in the Gulf Stream in the mid- to even upper-70s" in January, which, he says, is "at least 6-7 degrees warmer than average."

"The warmer the water, the higher the water vapor above the Gulf Stream. There's simply more water in the air, more fuel. This was the equivalent of pouring rocket fuel on a Bic lighter," he explains. "It intensified into a 'bomb' that was able to suck all this additional Atlantic moisture inland, and hurl it at New York and Philly and Washington, and all points in between"

Douglas, who is both a self-identified Republican and evangelical Christian, says this storm --- and the many record storms we've witnessed over the past several years --- adds still more evidence of a climate "on steroids," thanks to the continued burning of fossil fuels.

"There's little doubt in my mind that this storm was 'juiced'," he says. "We are conducting an experiment on not only the atmosphere, but the oceans, and hoping that everything turns out okay."

The veteran Minneapolis-based broadcast meteorologist, data expert and entrepreneur goes on to explain why he believes his fellow Republicans fail to grasp the increasing urgency of global warming, how they are continuing to deny not only scientific reality, but even urgent warnings from the U.S. Military. He also offers his advice on what voters can and should do about it.

"The most important thing you can do is vote," Douglas argues. "And vote for local, state and federal officials who still have a respect for science. You can have a faith in God, you can have a faith in something more than what we can observe, and still have a respect for science."

Also on today's show: More evidence that MI Gov. Rick Snyder's office knew posed by using the Flint River for drinking water long before he currently admits; More evidence that Ted Cruz is an extraordinarily accomplished liar; The good news on the one state that is canceling its plans to use electronic voting machines this year; And new, conflicting details on the Washington State man who says he accidentally fired his gun at a showing of the new Benghazi movie last week...

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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After Court erred in nixing 2014 'advisory measure', lawmakers petition to have original initiative placed before voters this year...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/25/2016 8:35am PT  

The California Legislature asked its state Supreme Court to direct CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla to place Proposition 49 on the November 8, 2016 ballot. That 2014 statewide referendum --- which didn't make it onto the ballot at the time for reasons explained below --- seeks the advice of the Golden State’s electorate as to whether Congress should propose, and the Legislature ratify, a federal Constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision.

Per Prop 49, the amendment should "make clear that the rights protected by the United States Constitution are the rights of natural persons only."

The ballot measure was a result of SB 1272. When originally adopted by the state Legislature it directed then Secretary of State Debra Bowen to place Prop 49 on the November 4, 2014 ballot. However, in August of that year, in response to a legal challenge filed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association (HJTA), the CA Supreme Court directed the Secretary of State to refrain from placing the initiative on the 2014 ballot. The Court, at that time, did not rule on the merits of HJTA's legal challenge. It simply concluded that, as an "advisory measure", as opposed to an actual statute, the ballot initiative's "validity was uncertain." Thus, in 2014, California citizens were denied the opportunity to formally express their views via the ballot on whether Citizens United should be overturned.

At the beginning of this year, almost a year and a half after their original ruling had then "temporarily" nixed the 2014 measure, the state Supremes, in a subsequent ruling [PDF] on the merits of the HJTA complaint, explained that their previous ruling had been based on their assessment that "the balance of hardships from permitting an invalid measure to remain on the ballot, as against delaying a proposition to a future election, weighed in favor of immediate relief." [Emphasis added]. However, according to the Court's new decision, Prop 49 was not invalid. After a thorough examination of the merits, the Court finally ruled that the California Legislature had the lawful authority under both the U.S. and California Constitutions to place this non-binding advisory measure on the ballot.

While the Court did not come out and expressly say it, that essentially means that this same Court had erred when it issued its earlier decision, as proponents of Prop 49 had previously argued. In removing a perfectly valid proposition from the ballot, the Court had intruded upon the Legislature's prerogative to timely secure the advice of the California electorate on November 4, 2014.

With the Court's reversal of it's earlier ruling, one might think that would then allow the measure to finally be placed onto the ballot before state voters in 2016. However...

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




By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2016 5:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we do our best to keep you warm and dry --- and perhaps even provide a smile or two while we're at it --- as the monster snow storm socks the East Coast.

We cover a lot of ground today's show: From the reasons for 'Snowzilla' and the cost of low oil prices; to Obama's victory in court today for his Clean Power Plan; to new signs that the GOP is utterly broken (but why Dems should still be careful what they wish for!); to our latest American Islamophobia Update; to new evidence that Open Carry laws are ridiculous; to some very smart listener mail about Dems and health care; and a number of the absolutely craziest effin' things we've ever heard (with apologies to Stephen Colbert).

You'll have to tune in to find out what today's graphic (above) is all about. But it is, no doubt, one of the craziest effin' things I've ever heard.

Enjoy...and stay warm, dry and safe out there!

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

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GUEST: Novelist, father, Flint resident Connor Coyne
PLUS: GOP bigwigs choose Trump over Cruz; Bernie surges in IA; Vets blast Palin; More...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2016 5:11pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: The national media is still missing the disturbing anti-democratic problem at the center of the Flint, MI lead-poisoning disaster; New, kind of amazing, poll numbers out of Iowa for both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders; The GOP establishment continues to warm up to Trump...and much more.

First up, we're joined by Connor Coyne, Flint resident, father and novelist, to discuss his detailed article at Vox on "what the national media got wrong" in their coverage of the city's disastrous and continuing water crisis.

Coyne, who is a stay-at-home dad, says that while his two young daughters appear to be fine at the moment, "Nothing is definitive. And, in a way, that is part of what makes this such a scary experience for all of us. We don't know now, and really will not know for quite some time, how extensive the damage is."

"Flint now has hundreds, possibly thousands, of kids who are going to be dealing with the consequences of this crisis for the rest of their lives," he tells me. "They could live to be 90 years old, they could move anywhere in the world, they're going to be dealing with lead poisoning their entire lives." He adds: "If there is one organization I'd like to give a boost to it's FlintKids.org," a local organization collecting funds to help with medical support that the children of Flint are going to need for a very long time.

Coyne then goes on to explain how this disaster came about, thanks directly to Michigan's appalling, undemocratic "Emergency Manager" system that allows Governor Rick Snyder (R), to unilaterally appoint anyone of his choosing to completely replace local democratically-elected officials, including the Mayor and the entire City Council, in any city he likes, for whatever reason he determines.

It was, in fact, one of Snyder's hand-selected Emergency Managers who switched the city's water supply from the clean Lake Huron to the corrosive Flint River without bothering to put the appropriate filtering system first. As he notes at Vox, it's "inconceivable" that this problem would have occurred or, at least, gone this horribly wrong, "had Flint residents been able to threaten incumbents at the ballot box." But with the Emergency Manager system, there is no such accountability.

"Flint may be the most dramatic example of that system having gone wrong," he tells me. "But I think about all of the cities that have been under Emergency Managers --- Pontiac, Detroit [also Highland Park, Benton Harbor and elsewhere] --- it hasn't really gone right anywhere. Emergency Management doesn't work ethically, but it also doesn't work practically. It just flat out does not work."

Coyne explains how voter turnout has been getting "worse and worse and worse since" Flint's Emergency Manager was installed and, of course, why shouldn't it? Elected officials are stripped of all power under Snyder's tyrannical system. We also discuss how voters, state-wide, voted to do away with the Emergency Manager law in a statewide referendum back in 2012, only to see it immediately re-implemented by state Republicans in an almost identical form --- though with an added provision that legally bars the law from repeal by voter referendum.

Where are the "Tea Partiers" and "Patriot Movement" and "Militiamen" now? And how can it be that even the Washington Post, who reported on this story in December after well over a year of poisonous drinking and cooking and bathing water in Flint, didn't even bother to use the words "Emergency Manager" in their coverage? Unfortunately, WaPo wasn't alone either, as we discuss in our enlightening, if disturbing, interview today.

Also on today's show: The GOP establishment continues to warm up to Donald Trump (because, in no small part, they despise Ted Cruz even more); New polling numbers out of Iowa show fairly remarkable surges for both Trump and Bernie Sanders (though the poll's specific type of sampling may be key in both cases here); Vets blast Sarah Palin for blaming her son's domestic violence arrest and PTSD on President Obama; And Desi Doyen joins us for the Green News Report on the hottest year ever recorded on Planet Earth and much more...

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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GUESTS: Bernie advocate Jimmy Dore; Hillary advocate Hal Sparks!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2016 3:40pm PT  

Democrats held another 'secret' Presidential Debate over the weekend, but the DNC's effort to hide it from the public, yet again, hasn't kept us from full post-debate coverage and analysis on today's BradCast!

It was a very serious and substantive debate. Therefore, I've asked a couple of comedians to join me and Desi Doyen to help us make sense of it all! Incredibly enough, it is also the last scheduled debate before voters actually go to the polls and caucuses in Iowa and New Hampshire about two weeks from now to cast the very first votes of the 2016 cycle.

So, with all of that in mind, today, unlike on our debate coverage up until now on The BradCast, I've invited actual advocates for each of the two front-runners, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, to have it out and make their best case for their respective candidates.

Joining me on today's raucous, lively and occasionally very funny program...

• In support of Hillary Clinton: actor, comedian and radio broadcaster, the great Hal Sparks, formerly of E's Talk Soup, Showtime's Queer as Folk, currently of Disney XD's Lab Rats and the Hal Sparks Radio Program Mega-Worldwide on WCPT in Chicago!

• In support of Bernie Sanders: comedian, author of Your Country Is Just Not That Into You, host of The Jimmy Dore Show on KPFK and Pacifica Radio, and regular contributor for The Young Turks, the no-less great Jimmy Dore!

• In support of Martin O'Malley: Well, no one. But that doesn't mean we won't talk about him behind his back on today's hilarious, helpful and, hopefully, very insightful edition of 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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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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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 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!

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GUEST: Stewart Rhodes, President and Founder of OathKeepers.org
PLUS: Obama's announces executive action to take on America's gun scourge...
By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2016 5:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm back! And with huge thanks to Nicole Sandler of the awesome RadioOrNot.com for filling in for me and Desi over the holidays to help us get some some much-needed time off!

First up on today's show: President Obama announces his Executive Actions to combat the scourge of gun violence in this country.

Then, I'm joined by Stewart Rhodes, Founder and President of Oath Keepers, a group which describes itself as "a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to 'defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.'"

While the Oath Keepers were on the front lines of the armed 2014 standoff against the federal government at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada, Rhodes has declined to join the ongoing armed take-over of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon by other members of the so-called "Patriot Movement," including two of rancher Cliven Bundy's sons.

Rhodes explains how he believes the showdown at the Bundy Ranch differs from the current situation at Malheur. He claims the former resulted in stopping the "assassination" of the Bundy clan by federal officials, whereas, in the latter case, "I haven't seen any direct threat to anybody's life."

He describes one of the men holed up in the federal Oregon facility as "either insane or an agent provocateur who...wants to see violence," and another as a "loose cannon idiot who has a martyr complex." He suggests that Bundy's son Ammon, who helped lead the takeover in Oregon, is "naive" and "has people right there with him who are unstable, who may initiate violence."

"They want to go down in a glorious firefight," Rhodes warns about at least two of the individuals. "If they don't get that, it's entirely possible they might initiate it." And while the other Bundy son, Ryan, has reportedly said he was "willing to kill and be killed if necessary," in the stand-off, Rhodes rejects the idea that the men are "terrorists".

I also pressed Rhodes about critiques of his own organization, which has been described as "conspiracy theorists", "vigilantes", "rightwing extremists" and even "racists" at various times. Many have accused them and others in the Patriot and Militia Movements of looking to pick fights with the federal Government. I ask him why his group and others like it didn't come to the aid of the Occupy Movement when those peaceful protests were brutally crushed by local, state and federal officials back in 2011 and why they haven't been louder in opposition to the ongoing epidemic of police violence across the country.

We also discussed the claims made in a Rolling Stone feature article this week, charging that former Oath Keeper Sam Andrews was drummed out of the group for attempting to organize with African-Americans in Ferguson, MO. Rhodes calls Andrews a "liar".

As to the Bundys, Rhodes claims the family took advantage of his group back in 2014. "We didn't go there to get cattle back. We went there to keep the Bundy family from being murdered. They then took advantage of that situation and went and got their cattle back," he tells me. "They didn't say 'come help us with armed supporters to go get our cattle back'. That's not what they did. They said 'we're about to be murdered, come protect us'. And so Ammon Bundy has displayed the propensity to deceive people. And he's doing that right now [in Oregon.]"

There was a lot more in our spirited conversation --- we both agree, for example, about the outrage of "minimum sentencing" laws of the type at the center of the current dispute up in Oregon right now, as well as at the heart of the so-called "Drug War" --- but you'll have to give the full show a listen for complete details...

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

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GUEST: Dr. Joe Romm on the historic U.N. Paris Agreement and beyond
PLUS: KY's new GOP Guv disenfranchises 140,000; Trump supporter arrested with bomb...
By Brad Friedman on 12/23/2015 5:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we've got both good news and bad at year's end.

First up, Kentucky's new 'Tea Party' Republican Governor Matt Bevin revokes the restoration of voting rights for 140,000 former felons as instituted by the former Democratic Governor. That, after the dubious and completely unverified results of the state's November gubernatorial contest. Yes, as we've noted for well over a decade now, elections matter! Bevin also did away with the previous governor's increase to the minimum wage for state workers, while he was at it.

Also today, quick news on the Trump supporter (a middle-aged white guy) arrested with a bomb after threatening to kill Muslims at a mosque in California more than two weeks ago. Also, a quick word on the record number of sign-ups this year at Healthcare.gov for new and renewed health insurance policies thanks to the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare").

Then, I'm joined by Dr. Joe Romm, editor of Climate Progress and former Asst. Sec. of Energy in the Bill Clinton Administration, after his return from Paris where the UN struck its historic agreement just over one week ago to curb greenhouse gasses that cause global warming.

As usual, Romm offers extremely informed and helpful insight, including his explanation for how the UN talks began earlier this month with the challenging goal of an agreement that would keep global temps from rising any higher than 2 degrees Centigrade, but surprisingly ended with an landmark pact that included the aspirational goal of 1.5C.

"It became clear from just looking at the science that there's nothing safe about 2 degrees Centigrade," he explains. "What we've learned in the last 18 months, with the instability in the West Antarctic ice sheet, and all the extreme weather events that we're already seeing, and the brutal droughts we're seeing in this country and elsewhere, that we're already at dangerous impacts, and we're only at 1 degree Centigrade of warming. So, I think that reality did set in." He adds: "If you want to limit to 2 degrees Centigrade total warming, the planet's net emissions have to go to zero by the end of the century. So, pretty much every country is going to have to go to zero."

Romm details exactly what that means and echoes remarks from my interview with Dr. Michael Mann last week, where Mann declared that the Paris Agreement signals the "end of the age of fossil fuels."

"We are talking about the end of the fossil-fuel driven Industrial Revolution that began 250 or so years ago," Romm tells me. "And that's why, in some senses, this is such a big deal. Because you literally had every single significant country in the world, large and small, rich and poor, all sign on to this agreement, which recognizes, yeah, the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end."

We cover a number of the steps ahead ("I was describing this as Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. We have a lot more battles before us.") during our wide-ranging conversation that also includes his complaints about Bill Gates' big new clean tech fund, and his response to the charge by NASA's former chief scientist Dr. James Hansen that the Paris Agreement is a "fraud".

"I think we're certainly at an inflection point," says Romm. "You know, change happens slowly, until it happens quickly. I tend to think we have now entered the phase of much more rapid changed than people expected."

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

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GUESTS: Journalists David Dayen and Jacki Schechner...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2015 4:42pm PT  

The DNC seems to have wanted their Democratic Presidential Debate in New Hampshire over the weekend to remain a secret. Otherwise, why would have they have scheduled it on the Saturday before Christmas?!

On today's BradCast, we spoil the secret by talking about that and everything else that actually went on during Saturday's debate on ABC between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley.

Joining me are financial journalist David Dayen of The Fiscal Times, Salon, The Intercept and everywhere else and health care reform advocate and journalist Jacki Schechner, formerly of CNN and CurrentTV.

Among the issues covered in today's post-debate coverage and analysis:

  • Do voters actually care about last Friday's database breach by the Sanders campaign?
  • Is the DNC 'in the bag' for Hillary Clinton?
  • Do Democrats play into GOP/corporate media narratives by spending so much time discussing ISIS and terrorism?
  • Is there any real daylight between Clinton and Bernie Sanders' positions on gun safety reform?
  • Does Martin O'Malley bring anything to the contest that Clinton and Sanders don't already have covered?
  • Why did ABC News spend so much time on Republicans during Saturday's Democratic debate?
  • Does the math really work for Sanders' plan to provide free college tuition to all public colleges and universities by instituting a tax on Wall Street transactions?
  • Does the math really work for Sanders' call for a single payer health care system?
  • Did ABC's Martha Raddatz completely misinform America in her question to Clinton concerning Obamacare?

All of that and much more on today's BradCast, as expertly answered by Dayen and Schechner! Especially helpful to those of you who might have had something else to do on a Saturday night before Christmas...like, I dunno, go see Star Wars!

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

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GUEST: Author, journalist Ari Berman of The Nation
PLUS: More RW terrorism; More racism from Justice Scalia; U.N. climate conference in Paris turning out much better than expected...
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2015 5:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast, more rightwing domestic terrorism in the U.S., more Scalia race-baiting, another rightwing challenge to minority voting rights heard by SCOTUS, and some potentially good news for the climate out of Paris. [Link to the full program follows below.]

First up today, another 'active shooter' situation plays out as we go to air. And, once again, the terrorist in question appears to be a rightwinger --- at least based on the 'Tea Party' flag on his pickup truck.

Next, we're joined by The Nation's Ari Berman, author of the recently published Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, to discuss Evenwell v. Abbott, the somewhat astonishing rightwing challenge to minority voting rights heard this week at the U.S. Supreme Court (for some reason).

Despite the "One person, one vote" principal having been seen by most as settled law for about 50 years in the U.S., the Court took up a challenge to that idea brought by the same man who successfully challenged the Voting Rights Act --- which SCOTUS subsequently gutted --- back in 2013. Now comes the idea out of Texas that each state's legislative districts should not be drawn with an approximately equal population in each, as they are now, but rather an equal portion of eligible voters in each Congressional and state house district.

Redrawing maps in this way --- and it would likely need to be done in all 50 states --- would lead not only to chaos, but it have the effect of seriously undercutting minority voting rights, as Berman explains on today's program.

If the plaintiffs in Evenwell are successful, he observes, "many people who are now counted would be excluded, because they are not eligible voters, such as those who are under 18, those who are not U.S. citizens, both documented and undocumented [and] prisoners who have lost the right the vote. All of those people will not be counted [when drawing up legislative maps]. So if you look at the math itself...that will mean that 55% of Latinos, 45% of Asian-Americans, and 30% of African-Americans will not be counted towards representation. And that's why this case is such an attack on minority voting representation."

Few, including Berman, saw such a challenge coming, though perhaps we should have. The case, he tells me, is "brought by the same people that challenged the Voting Rights Act, the same people that challenged affirmative action, and seemingly everything they bring --- particularly this one guy, Ed Blum and his Project on Fair Representation --- everything he brings seems to be heard by this Supreme Court. It's literally like he's sitting around thinking 'What's the next way I can try to attack voting rights? What's the next way I can attack racial equality?' And they keep thinking of more and more creative schemes. And it like they're just going through everything that was done in the 1960s and challenging it --- whether it's the Voting Rights Act or the Fair Housing Act or it's 'One person, one vote'. All of these landmark achievements that have been so successful are now under attack, and this is just the next iteration of this."

After spending months researching for his book, Give Us The Ballot, Berman observes the fight against voting rights today is a continuation of the same fight that has been waged since the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act half a century ago. "There has been a 50 year attempt to try to restrict voting rights. And one of the things that I've noticed is that there's always new ways thought up to try to roll voting rights back. And we've seen a dramatic escalation, I think, of a very old strategy...And they don't seem likely to stop anytime soon."

Berman details how the questions from the Justices at Wednesday's oral arguments to suggest that we are likely looking at another 5 to 4 split decision from the Court...one way or another.

Also today: Justice Antonin Scalia, the Donald Trump of the Supreme Court, offers remarkably offensive comments about African-Americans; Rush Limbaugh's guest host testifies on climate change (sort of) in Ted Cruz' U.S. Senate Science Committee hearing; And the U.N. climate conference in Paris (COP21) comes down to the wire and may be set to produce an even better global agreement than almost anyone had predicted...

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

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GUEST: Author, columnist, gun safety activist Cliff Schecter...
By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2015 5:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, President Obama's primetime address to the nation on Sunday discussed the nexus between terror and guns. We discuss that same nexus and much more on today's program.

First up, a quick welcome to our newest affiliate partner, Grateful Dread Public Radio in Nashville!

Then, how Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric --- including his call today to block all Muslims from entering the country --- has real world consequences, perhaps even in last week's San Bernardino massacre, as suggested by the disturbing Islamophobic tweets from one of the shooting victims who had been a co-worker of the male shooter.

With that event, and more shootings and Islamophobic incidents than we can even keep up with at this point, we are joined Cliff Schecter, gun safety activist, Daily Beast columnist and author of the best selling The Real McCain to discuss all of it.

Schecter, formerly a competitive shooter, discusses how U.S. extremists from the NRA to the GOP on down the line are blocking reform of the nation's gun laws at the federal level, and how that failure to respond to the majority interests in the country underscores a serious deficiency in our system of democracy "where we have to balance the rights of people who want to own guns versus the rights the rest of us are guaranteed in numerous parts of our Constitution, to live."

"When people are being shot in multiple instances, every day," he opines, "these are the kinds of things that are happening that aren't supposed to happen in a society like ours, and just proves how out of whack things have gotten. If you are a waitress and you have to be scared to actually ask one of your customers to stop smoking, if you have to be nervous about going to movie theaters, or getting in arguments with people --- which we all do with random people in life --- I mean, what kind of society is that? That's a sick society."

We also discuss the refusal of Republican lawmakers in Congress, as recently as last week, to close the so-called "Terror Gap" that allows those on the Terror Watch List to purchase weapons in the U.S., even without any background check at all (as Al-Qaeda has been very happy to note).

Republicans, he explains, have chosen the NRA's financial support over protecting the American people. "I don't think it gets any weaker on terrorism than that. They are trading in people's safety here for NRA money and NRA support. That's sad and that's pathetic."

When I ask if he agrees with my long-held assertion that the NRA is a terrorist-supporting/enabling organization, he responds: "If you don't want to call them straight-out terrorist, which I would. They are the political wing of various domestic terrorist organizations --- of white supremacist organizations, of militias, and all these other groups --- quite clearly."

We also discuss the New York Times' landmark weekend editorial calling for a ban on assault weapons (and actually taking them away from citizens) and the largely good news out of the U.S. Supreme Court today, upholding a lower (Right-leaning) appellate court decision on an assault weapon ban in an Illinois community.

Also today: Some very good news for former President Jimmy Carter and more...

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

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