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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, July 30, 2015
Michael Mann on 'Bombshell' New Report on Sea Level Rise: 'BradCast' 7/29/15
'Uncertainty, it turns out, was reason to act even faster,' says the Nobel Prize winning climate scientist...
Trump, 'Spousal Rape',
and His Horrible Attorney:
'BradCast' 7/28/15
Plus: Hacks, election debates, pipelines, spying, GOP approval ratings and much more...
'Green News Report' 7/28/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hillary goes big on solar; Jeb wants to eliminate ALL energy subsidies; PLUS: New study suggests worst case sea level rise may happen much sooner than previously thought...
Previous GNRs: 7/21/15 - 7/23/15 - Archives...
Hillary's Climate Plan & the Awful Truth About It: 'BradCast' 7/27/15
Journalist David Roberts of Vox.com; Plus: Bernie beats all GOPers; Trump continues to surge; MUCH MORE...
U.S. House Passes Bill to Block 'Right to Know' About GMOs
Despite recent scientific findings on dangers of GMOs, failure of existing governmental testing standards, Repubs lead fight to keep you in the dark about what's in your food...
Sunday Toons: Guns Trump All
Also in this week's collection from 'PDiddie': Sandra Bland, Donald Trump, Iran, Climate Science and Planned Parenthood...
High Times for Pot Biz; Plus: More Shootings, More Trump: 'BradCast' 7/24/15
Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project joins us to discuss some encouraging news. Also: The Lafayette theater shooting; Perry's felonies; and Trump cracks the code...
Kansas SoS Kobach Defrauding Voters; FBI Whistleblower Coleen Rowley on 'Terrorism': 'BradCast' 7/23/15
A big show. But even bigger when our guest is a TIME Mag Person of the Year!...
'Green News Report' 7/23/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
OH's Kasich jumps into 2016 GOP race - we decipher his climate position; Dem candidate links global warming to ISIS - Fox goes nuts; PLUS: Two CA Guvs slam climate deniers...
Previous GNRs: 7/21/15 - 7/16/15 - Archives...
The Woman Who Led the #BlackLivesMatter Protest Against Sanders & O'Malley in AZ: 'BradCast' 7/22/15
Tia Oso on why she did it and reaction from progressives. Plus: Hillary in trouble? MORE...
Who the Hell is John Kasich and Why is He Running for Prez?: 'BradCast' 7/21/15
Journalist John Michael Spinelli of Ohio's PlunderBund; Plus: Trump soars in polls!...
'Green News Report' 7/21/15
Extreme weather whips CA - bridges collapse and cars burn; June 2015 hottest on record; PLUS: Record warming in Pacific kicks hurricane season off to record start...
America's Top Psychological Org Colluded w/ Bush on Torture: 'BradCast' 7/20/15
Dr. Yosef Brody of Psychologists for Social Responsibility; Plus: Progressive protesters disrupt Sanders; Trump disrupts himself...
Sunday Toons: Plutocracy is Not a Planet
Plus: 'Jade Helm'; Cosby; Iran; Greece and the rest of last week's messes in cartoon form, as curated by 'PDiddie'...
Mother of All GOP Voter Suppression Laws on Trial in NC: 'BradCast' 7/17/15
Nation's Ari Berman, at the trial this week, joins us. Plus: More on Walker/WI corruption & Maine's dumb Guv!...
Walker Wins & Democracy Loses (Again. Big Time.): 'BradCast' 7/16/15
We don't use the phrase 'death of democracy' lightly. But there's good reason to today. Brendan Fischer explains today's outrageous ruling by WI's corrupt Supreme Court...
'Green News Report' 7/16/15
Graham chides fellow GOPers on climate; Cap & trade nets big bucks for states; Dirty coal on the way out in U.S.; PLUS: Boy band joins climate movement...
Iran, Trump Rising & Confederate Monument Worth Keeping?: 'BradCast' 7/15
We cover a lot of ground today, plus listener calls and more (including Brad wrestling w/ tech probs, which is always amusing -- for you!)...
Chart of the Moment: You v. Donor Class
Wondering why you can't have nice things? This is why...
Not a Dime's Worth of Difference? Really?: 'BradCast' 7/14/15
Iran nuke deal; Then Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser on what really separates the two major parties...
'Green News Report' 7/14/15
Scott Walker's in! Here's his climate position; Warmest June ever for the Western U.S.; Exxon knew about global warming in 1981; PLUS: Latest denialist scam debunked...
Debunking New 'Mini Ice Age' Scam; Man Who Punked Scott Walker: 'BradCast' 7/13/15
Guests: Physicist Joe Romm; Ian 'David Koch' Murphy...
#FeelTheBern
Sanders is drawing crowds far larger than any other candidate, Dem or Repub, in the race for the 2016 Presidential nomination...
Stories Behind the Stories: On Confederate Flag, Trump, Marriage: 'BradCast' 7/10/15
Facts behind the headlines you may not have heard! Also: More on nation's dumbest Guv; Listener complaint...
Good Election & Campaign Finance News!: 'BradCast' 7/9/15
Prof. David Schultz on new rulings and how campaign finance can be reformed right now!; Plus: SC, Trump...
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...


'Uncertainty, it turns out, was a reason to act even faster,' says the Nobel Prize winning climate scientist...
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2015 5:06pm PT  

Today, for a change, we're happy to offer you a (virtually) Trump-free BradCast! You're welcome!

First, a quick update on a conversation we had last week with FBI Special Agent turned 9/11 whistleblower turned TIME Magazine's 2002 "Person of the Year", Coleen Rowley. We had her on to speak about the difference between terrorism and hate crimes, as defined by the federal government, and as randomly applied after the (apparently non-terroristic) race-based hate crime shootings in Charleston, SC versus the shootings at U.S. Marine facilities in Chattanooga, TN last week. The latter which is being investigated as "terrorism". (My full conversation with Rowley from last week is here.)

During the discussion, Rowley noted how the difference between "terrorism" and "hate crimes" seems to be "clear as mud" to FBI and federal prosecutors, with "terrorism" charges now "uniquely set for Muslims or for Arab nations". But she also mentioned how terror charges are also applied to animal rights activists, specifically mentioning "mink farms". While we didn't have time to discuss that aspect last week, the very next day, news broke about the arrest of animal righs activists who'd released thousands of mink across the country. The crimes they are charged with, according to AP, "terrorizing the fur industry...under a conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act."

Next, we're joined by Dr. Michael E. Mann, climate scientist, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, creator of the infamous "Hockey Stick" graph, and author of more than 160 peer-reviewed publications, as well as the book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines to discuss last week's "bombshell" new study from NASA's former chief scientist Dr. James Hansen, warning that sea level rise of 10 feet or more is likely to happen much sooner than scientists previously expected. It could happen even as early as 2050.

Mann tells me Hansen's disturbing study suggests that "climate change is proceeding faster, and it's larger in magnitude than what the IPCC [UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] reported. And that's been true at every juncture. We have tended to underestimate the rate and magnitude of the changes...What Hansen has shown is that indeed there is reason to at least suspect the possibility of a worst case scenario that is a lot worse than anything the IPCC talks about."

We also discuss the politics of this entire fine mess and the irony of 2016 GOP Presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, both of Florida, denying the realities of the science --- each in their own way --- as their own state will be among the first to begin to disappear. That, of course, is only if Hansen is right --- as he has been in pretty much every case since he first rang the alarm about global warming in the U.S. Senate back in 1988.

"If we had acted when we already knew that there was a potential problem [back in 1988]," says Mann. "If we had acted then, then the emissions curve would be a bunny slope...a pretty gradual, smooth transition. It wouldn't be very hard to do, it wouldn't be very expensive. Instead, what several decades of delay have bought us is that we now face the black double diamond slope. That's what we're confronting now."

Listen to the entire conversation, please. It's really important and Mann --- who actually is a scientist (hint, hint, GOP candidates!) --- knows what he's talking about.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project...
By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2015 4:49pm PT  

Today, on another action packed episode of The BradCast...Another mass shooting at another movie theater --- and another GOP Governor/Presidential candidate who says all we can do is 'pray' about it. How misallocation of resources from crime and domestic terrorism to international terrorism is killing us. Literally.

Then, encouraging movement this week in the U.S. Senate concerning the absolutely absurd way that legal pot shops around the country are forced to handle their huge amounts of cash, since federal law still prohibits banks from doing business with them. Dan Riffle, Director of Federal Policies at the Marijuana Policy Project joins us to explain the Congressional news and the "crazy, crazy, crazy situation" that legal dispensaries face.

"Employees and customers in those businesses are just crossing their fingers that nobody comes in and robs the place," he tells me. "We've seen dispensaries that pay their taxes by putting the cash on to a pallet and then loading it into a Brinks truck and then driving it over to the state or county auditor's office," he says.

Riffle also discusses the wildly varying positions on marijuana legalization from the 2016 Presidential candidates (and between the two major parties), and whether 'Big Pharma' is behind the recent denial of legal medicinal use by PTSD victims in Colorado (of all places.)

Also today: breaking news on GOP Governor turned Presidential candidate Rick Perry's felony charges and Donald Trump has, officially, cracked the code on how to run for President as a Republican --- and it is driving his Republican opponents crazy...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Brendan Fischer of Center for Media & Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2015 5:11pm PT  

I had to ask my guest on today's BradCast whether I was being overly dramatic in seeing today's stunning news from the Wisconsin Supreme Court as "the death of democracy". He did not warn me off that thinking.

Before that, however, we quickly covered two other breaking stories today: The verdict in the Aurora, CO shooting case and another new shooting today at two U.S. Marine facilities in Chattanooga, TN --- along with some thoughts on both of them.

Then, it's onto the jaw-dropping WI Supreme Court verdict in the challenge to the prosecutorial investigation into blatant collusion between Gov. Scott Walker and a number of Rightwing groups which spent millions in an alleged "criminal scheme" to help Walker win his 2012 recall election.

Brendan Fischer, general counsel at the Center for Media and Democracy joins us to explain the outrageous ruling. It's disturbing on several levels and bodes ominously for campaign finance laws across the entire nation. It's a must-hear interview, frankly.

In short, Walker and his campaign colluded with those "outside" groups in violation of state campaign finance law and what the U.S. Supreme Court said, in Citizens United, was not supposed to happen. But, it did --- to the tune of millions of dollars to help get Walker elected. Amazingly, it was the Rightwing groups that went to court in this matter to claim that their rights were being abridged by the prosecutors' investigation (a Republican prosecutor, by the way). We explain, in detail, how they made that case and how the Court's Justices went along with them to shut down the so-called "John Doe II" investigation.

But, the most outrageous part is the fact that the very same groups who sued to quash the probe also funded the elections (to the tunes of millions of dollars) of the very same Rightwing WI Supreme Court Justices who found in their favor today. That, despite both the prosecutor's request that those Justice's recuse themselves and a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Caperton v. Massey) finding that judges must recuse if the case they are hearing involves a party with a "significant and disproportionate influence" on their elections.

"This is not just about past conduct, this is about future conduct, as well," Fischer tells me. "The court has okayed outside coordination between outside groups and candidates. It applies to their own campaigns, it applies to elections for judges....And the exact same groups that were parties to this case are going to be able to coordinate directly with these justices when they are up for re-election."

And, as if all of that isn't outrageous enough, this case, as I've long warned, is part of a national effort to eviscerate similar campaign finance restrictions across the entire nation --- because Citizens United and McCutcheon etc. apparently isn't yet enough for these Republicans.

"There's really not a whole lot left," Fischer says. "And you can see this being a huge mile-marker in the continued erosion on limits of money in politics. And it's not going to turn out well." Oh, well. I did try to warn everyone at least a year ago that this case was "about much more than just Walker and his corruption."

There's much more. But, as I said, a must-hear conversation today.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/10/2015 5:24pm PT  

As history is made, today's BradCast takes a look at the background, context and FACTS behind a number of stories in today's headlines which haven't been reported as well as they should have been.

From the Confederate flag coming down in South Carolina today (it wasn't raised due to the Civil War, but rather, in response to a remarkable chapter in the fight for civil rights); to the bizarre intra-GOP fight over the Confederate flag in Congress (Hint: It's not really about the flag at all, it's about the EPA); to the facts, not fiction, behind Donald Trump's Republican Party immigration follies (he's just plain wrong); to the continuing (and hysterical) wingnut fallout from the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality (no, Glenn Beck, you won't be thrown off the air for opposing Constitutional equality for all, but that County Clerk in Kentucky should be tossed out of his job for failing to follow the law.)

Also: The nation's dumbest Governor invokes the "Pee-Wee Herman" defense; Responding to a complaint from a radio station manager; And much more! All on today's very busy BradCast!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Brendan Fischer of Center for Media & Democracy
By Brad Friedman on 7/7/2015 4:50pm PT  

I'm back on The BradCast today after a much-need July 4 weekend respite! My huge thanks to Nicole Sandler of RadioOrNot.com for filling in for me yesterday!

While Nicole covered some important items that might have otherwise disappeared into the holiday weekend news hole, there was at least one notable story that she missed, which a few folks in Wisconsin --- specifically, Gov. Scott Walker (R) and his allies in the state legislature --- had hoped nobody would notice: their blatant attempt to completely gut the state's beloved Open Records law.

"This was an effort by Walker and some Republicans in the legislature to undermine open government in the dead of night," my guest today, Brendan Fischer, general counsel at the Center for Media and Democracy tells me. And it was done, he suggests, in hopes of keeping piles of fresh baggage from making its way into the mainstream media as Walker --- whose entire career now seems to be predicated on secrecy and lack of transparency --- prepares to announce his candidacy for the GOP Presidential nomination in a week or so.

What the Badger State's Republican-dominated legislature tried to pull off over the weekend was extraordinary. "There was no public statement whatsoever," Fischer explains. "This was introduced, through this last minute budget amendment that was passed on the evening of the holiday weekend. There was no public debate. This was something they tried to do in the dead of night."

Fischer also catches us up on the status of several other cases now pending against Walker and/or his closest allies, including one that is set to face a crucial ruling shortly by the state's Supreme Court. That challenge in that case, known as "John Doe 2", is being brought by the largest financial supporters of both Walker's and several of the court's elected(!) Republican Justices!

Also today: We catch up after the holiday weekend on the latest developments in Greece and with Trump, marriage, the Confederate flag and more!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guests: Antonia Juhasz on BP Gulf Spill settlement & Jason Leopold on Hillary Clinton's emails...
Guest Hosted by Nicole Sandler!...
By Nicole Sandler on 7/6/2015 5:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, guest hosted by me, Nicole Sandler of radioornot.com...

Last week we saw two major news dumps! The first was Tuesday night at 9pm (!), the time the State Department thought was optimal for them to release the first batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her private mail server. Jason Leopold, "FOIA Terrorist" from Vice News, filed the FOIA requests that led to this release. He spent the Fourth of July weekend reading the damned things so we wouldn't have to, and he joined in for the last few minutes of the show.

The other big dump came Thursday night, on the eve of the Independence Day holiday, as the U.S. DoJ and five Gulf states announced a deal with BP representing a final settlement on the world's largest offshore oil spill in history in 2010. Oil industry expert/journalist Antonia Juhasz, who covered the deal at Rolling Stone, arguing that, though it's the largest such settlement in history, BP still "got off cheaply", gives us all the details.

Also, if you ever wondered why Brad uses the theme song he does, I've got the "exclusive" on that. Plus, South Carolina legislator really embarrasses himself over marriage equality, and we're happy to help him...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/4/2015 9:35am PT  

Sigh...

[Hat-tip The New Civil Rights Movement...]

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Guest: Financial journalist David Dayen...
By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2015 3:39pm PT  

Greece is the word! On today's BradCast, financial journalist David Dayen joins us to explain the latest news in the Greek fiscal crisis and how austerity measures being forced on them continue to harm the nation even as the Eurozone and IMF move to make things worse, citizens head to the polls to help decide what to do about it and the "vultures" continue to make out like bandits.

"The problem is that these European institutions want Syriza [Greek's currently ruling leftist party] to suffer because they want to snuff this out," Dayen explains. "If an anti-austerity party is successful in one country in the Eurozone, that's going to tell the rest of the Eurozone that they don't have to live under these conditions anymore."

Dayen also tips us off to a similar fiscal mess now unfolding in Puerto Rico and how, even though "FastTrack" authority for the TPP (and other trade agreements for the next six years) has now been passed by Congress and signed by Obama, the controversial secret trade agreement could still be blocked in the U.S. House.

Then, I explain the Supreme Court decision you probably didn't hear about this week, which --- though good in that it tells Republican "voter fraud" fraudster and KS Sec. of State Kris Kobach to go to hell --- still leaves more than 30,000 otherwise perfectly legal voters in Kansas (and many in Arizona as well) unable to cast a vote in their own state.

Finally, Trump-mania continues as The Donald is fired by one group after another yet still manages to vault into 2nd place in Iowa polling. Donald Trump is the modern Republican Party id, whether they'll admit it or not, and they've got a real problem on their hands. On the other hand, I couldn't be enjoying it more!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Michael B. Gerrard of the Sabin Center for Climate Change...
By Brad Friedman on 6/30/2015 5:38pm PT  

Today on The BradCast...NJ Gov. Chris Christie is officially in! He's running for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination with the slogan: "Telling Like It Is".

But was he telling it like it was when he secretly snuck out of New Jersey in 2011 to secretly give the keynote address at the Koch Brothers secret billionaire summit in Vail, Colorado, as we reported exclusively here at BRAD BLOG and at Mother Jones that year?

We'll tell you the real truth that Christie didn't and won't. And we'll play a bit of the secret audio tapes of Christie and David Koch (calling him "my kind of guy"), that we'd obtained and published at the time. (Read/listen to all the Koch Tapes stories, with audio and transcript, right here: BradBlog.com/KochTapes)

Also, wingnuts - from Cruz to O'Reilly to Huckabee and beyond --- melt down following last week's Supreme Court rulings on marriage and "Obamacare". After picking such stupid fights in the first place, what would you expect? We enjoy laughing at them.

Then, we're joined by attorney Michael B. Gerrard, director of Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, to discuss yesterday's Supreme Court ruling striking down the EPA's rule limiting mercury and other pollutants from coal-fired power plants (he explains a silver lining there), and the arguably even bigger news out of the Netherlands last week, where a court responded to a citizen lawsuit by ordering the Dutch government to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"I would say this is the most important decision on climate change law outside of the United States ever issued," Gerrard explains about the first-of-its-kind, landmark ruling. "Assuming that it stands, it is an extremely important decision."

Finally today, a bit of breaking news out of Cuba and then Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report on all of the above and more...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Former AZ state legislator Ted Downing...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2015 4:19pm PT  

It was another big day of decisions out the U.S. Supreme Court today, their last one of the session.

So, on today's BradCast, we cover the new SCOTUS rulings knocking down the EPA's rule limiting mercury and arsenic emissions by coal-fired power plants (the health of the citizenry be damned); allowing the beastly use of a certain type of drug in executions (while opening the door to a Constitutional challenge to the Death Penalty); and upholding [PDF] the Arizona voter referendum requiring an "independent" commission carry out Congressional and state redistricting, rather than the state Legislature, as perfectly Constitutional.

On that last ruling, a very important one in a number of ways, we speak today with Ted Downing, former AZ state legislator and the first head of its state Electoral Integrity Commission. While he agrees with me the decision was very good for the nation, for several key reasons, Downing, formerly a Democrat, now an independent, has quite a few concerns about the "so-called independent" redistricting commission created by the state's 2000 voter referendum. Downing explains the "huge conflict of interest" in the structure of that commission which, he says, is completely "rigged" in favor of the Republican and Democratic parties.

Plus: More Trump-mentum, and even more Bernie-mentum, as both of those 2016 candidates continue to surge in New Hampshire polling! All of that and more on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Mike Rogers of Raw Story...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2015 4:13pm PT  

Today's landmark SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality was an extraordinary end to an extraordinary week. So, that what I was more than happy to cover on today's BradCast.

Rights win again, as the U.S. Supreme Court finally declares marriage equality to be a fundamental right to Americans in all 50 states in the union. We discuss the 5-4 opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, its Constitutional basis, its fallout, its dead enders, and how we predicted it years ago --- even as the GOP was using "gay marriage" as a politicized weapon back in the 2004 elections.

Our guest is Raw Story's Mike Rogers, who, as a journalist, has been helping to lead the way in this fight for years and served as the inspiration behind Kirby Dick's 2009 documentary film, Outrage, "a searing expose of the secret lives of closeted gay politicians".

Rogers credits the Internet and the first-hand coverage of cases that it allowed, for shifting American opinion so quickly on the issue. It "gave us the opportunity to do the most important thing, which is to tell the stories in our own voices," he explains. "America hearing from those folks, and being able to more creatively use the media and the web --- to be able to move those stories of people with kids, people with spouses, people who were widowed like Jim Obergefell in his case, and what it will mean for him and his family now that his marriage is recognized in Ohio --- that happened because of a shifting change in the media. Change doesn't happen without that."

Mike has also been a long-time friend of the blog and the show, having joined us for our "Big Gay Hour" episodes years before such things were done in polite company over our nation's public airwaves. Plus: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, to take us into the weekend. Enjoy the show!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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