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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 28, 2016
A Minimum Income and Maximum Infrastructure?: 'BradCast' 5/26/16
Guest host Angie Coiro with Dave Johnson of Campaign for America's Future; Plus: Historians on the Trump/Hitler comparison...
L.A. County Clerk Explains 'Uncharted Territory' of CA Primary: 'BradCast' 5/25/16
Guest: L.A. Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan; Plus: Orange County, CA pollworker-in-training w/ viral video calls in...
Why Dems Should be BEGGING Sanders to Stay in Through CA: 'BradCast' 5/24/16
Guest: Washington Monthly's David Atkins; Plus: Sanders files for 'recanvass' in KY and very good news for OH voters!...
'Green News Report' 5/19/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canada insurers call for climate strategy; Pakistan and India heat wave; Renewables record in Portugal; Exxon killed the electric car; PLUS: Trump preps for rising seas (really!)...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/16 - 5/17/16 - Archives...
Think Twice About 'Bernie or Bust': 'BradCast' 5/23/16
Columnist and Sanders supporter Harold Meyerson offers some historic warnings for other Sanders supporters; Also: More bad polls for Clinton; More bad 'track conditions' for Dems; Planet's climate crisis worsens...
Sunday Toons of the Slowly-Realized Moment
A number of toons in PDiddie's collection of this week's best should be prize winners, frankly. Check them all out...
Jill Stein: 'We're Seeing the Dean Scream of 2016': 'BradCast' 5/19/16
The Green Party's 2012 Presidential nominee and 2016 candidate offers thoughts on Dems, Sanders, the 'two-party system', the 'spoiler effect' and more in our exclusive interview...
'Green News Report' 5/19/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump will toss UN climate pact; Coal export terminal halted in WA; Nestle water plant halted in OR; Duke ordered to close coal ash pits in NC; PLUS: Another climate win for kids in MA...
Previous GNRs: 5/17/16 - 5/12/16 - Archives...
OR, KY Results, And 'Fraud' Concerns Examined (Where Possible): 'BradCast' 5/18/16
Also: Climate disaster in Sri Lanka; CT adds automatic voter registration; KS ordered to restore voting rights to 18,000...
Trump Gains on Clinton; Big Win Against Coal in WA State: 'BradCast' 5/17/16
Sierra Club's Mary Anne Hitt on another huge win for grassroots activism; And corporate media fails us again...
'Green News Report' 5/17/16
Global climate protests ignored by MSM; New evacuations for Ft. McMurray fire; New EPA methane rules; Shell spills in Gulf; A win for whales; PLUS: April 2016 hottest ever...
MO Repubs Seek To State Amendment To Impose Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Some state Dems back 'compromise' that will leave 200k legally registered voters at risk of disenfranchisement...
SCOTUS Punts ObamaCare Case; NV Dems Descends Into Chaos: 'BradCast' 5/16/16
Ian Millhiser on Court's latest unprecedented (post-Scalia) move; Chaos at NV state Dem convention...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
Big Government bathroom inspections in NC, Trump and Sanders shaking up the establishment, and more in PDiddie's collection of the week's best political toons...
Strange Days Indeed: 'BradCast' 5/13/16
Oil Spills; Pathological Trump lies; GOP transgender freak outs; EXCLUSIVE details on MD's decertification of Baltimore's 4/26 Primary Election results...
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...


Also: Bernie Sanders & ignoring corporate media are good for you too...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2015 5:46pm PT  

No, I wasn't just blowing smoke when I told you many many months ago that vaping (quitting tobacco and moving to e-cigs) is a life saver and that those who were trying to restrict its use were helping to kill people unnecessarily.

A new independent expert study out this week, commissioned by the UK government's Public Health England (PHE), underscores exactly that, as we discuss at the top of today's BradCast.

As the new study finds, e-cigs are "around 95% less harmful" than tobacco cigarettes; there is no evidence that vaping is a "gateway" to tobacco smoking; horrible reporting has misinformed the public to believe that e-cigs are as dangerous as tobacco; vaping helps smokers quit and saves lives; and that public officials (shamefully, many of them Democrats!) should be encouraging smokers to move to vaping, rather than discouraging the use of e-cigs, since they are harming the public by doing so.

All stuff we've told you long ago. And here's another study, a major one, proving that The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast had it right to begin with.

Speaking of stuff we've told you long ago, we then move back to Presidential politics and how --- as we told you on the day he entered the race in mid-June (before almost anybody was taking him seriously --- they are now!) --- Donald Trump has blown up both the 2016 campaign and the Republican Party along with it.

Today's latest high-larious examples include both Jeb Bush and Scott Walker absolutely falling over themselves trying to figure out and/or flip-flop on their positions on immigration (and "anchor babies" and Constitutional birthright citizenship) and the latest embarrassment for now-disgraced Republican favorite Josh Duggar and the rest of his Republican Party.

Finally, we finish with an adult politician, Democratic 2016 Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, and his extended response this week (you're welcome!) to corporate media failure in covering the substance of important campaigns and why he refuses to attack Hillary Clinton just to please them...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While its recent decision upheld a lower court finding that the state's Photo ID law was discriminatory, more than 600,000 lawfully registered voters could be disenfranchised in 2016 anyway...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/21/2015 6:35am PT  

The recent decision by a unanimous three judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in Veasey v. Abbott was greeted as "very good news." After all, it marked the first occasion in which a federal appellate court made an express finding that a state-enacted polling place Photo ID law violated the provisions of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

The appellate panel affirmed the lower U.S. District Court's finding late last year that a Texas polling place Photo ID law (SB 14), which threatened to disenfranchise 608,470 already legally registered voters (and many others not already registered), disparately impacted minorities and the poor. "Hispanic registered voters and Black registered voters," the 5th Circuit appellate panel observed in their recent ruling, "were respectively 195% and 305% more likely than their Anglo peers to lack [the requisite Photo] ID" now required to cast a vote at the polls under the Texas law.

This was the same conservative appellate panel whose "emergency" stay of the lower court's injunction on SB 14 last year, in all likelihood, helped to facilitate the illegal disenfranchisement of as many as 600,000 lawfully registered voters during the 2014 mid-term election. That "emergency" stay was subsequently affirmed by a sharply divided Supreme Court, whose right-wing majority elevated the risk of confusion that could arise by an eleventh-hour, court-ordered change in election laws above the risk that hundreds of thousands of lawfully registered voters could be illegally disenfranchised by reason of the Texas Photo ID law. Both the 5th Circuit and the SCOTUS majority handed down that ruling, although, at that point, neither court was in a position to contest the District Court's finding that SB-14 not only violated Section 2 of the VRA but that the Photo ID statute had been enacted for a discriminatory purpose.

The SCOTUS decision last year, as The BRAD BLOG observed at the time, belied the contention made by the Supreme Court majority in Shelby County v. Holder, the 2013 case that gutted the VRA, that their destruction of Section 5 pre-clearance requirements for new election laws in states with a history of discrimination, "in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in [Section] 2." In truth, per last year's decision, racial discrimination in voting will be allowed in those cases where a court order upholding that "ban" is issued too close to an election.

This case provided a classic example of the damage wrought by the gutting of Section 5. Prior to Shelby County, Section 5 mandated that Texas prove that its Photo ID statute woulds not have a disparate impact on minority voting rights before the Photo ID law could take effect. In 2012 a unanimous three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal refused to grant Section 5 pre-clearance to Texas' SB 14 precisely because of its disparate adverse impact upon minorities and the poor. Absent the Supreme Court's troubling decision in Shelby County neither the current, ongoing costly litigation on SB 14, nor the mass 2014 disenfranchisement would have ensued.

The new 5th Circuit panel's decision affirms that SB 14 has the effect of discriminating against racial minorities and the poor. Yet it failed to lift a stay that it imposed on a supposed "emergency" basis. Instead, it vacated the District Court's "discriminatory purpose" finding and remanded the case back to that court for further adjudication....

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




'They approached the phone companies before 9/11,' he says, citing new Edward Snowden disclosures that 'vindicate' his 2006 revelations...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2015 5:29pm PT  

Today on The BradCast...First, I need to pick up with a few more points from yesterday's show, concerning how the Republican Party is, frankly, no longer a legitimate political party, how they have absolutely no governing philosophy, how they will say whatever they need to say in order to support whatever they feel like "believing in" at any particular time and, basically, how they are simply making this shit up as they go at this point. I offer a few more examples of that today concerning Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Donald Trump and a couple of others.

Then, it's on to our main interview with AT&T/NSA whistleblower Mark Klein, the now-retired 22-year AT&T employee who, in 2006, infamously exposed that the company had a secret room in its San Francisco facility --- Room 641A --- where the NSA had been allowed to install a splitter to trap and record all Internet traffic coming and going over AT&T's backbone lines.

Over the weekend, the New York Times and Pro and ProPublica revealed newly disclosed documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden concerning AT&T's long and happy --- and illegal --- relationship with the NSA. The documents, in many ways, he believes, vindicate precisely what he had blown the whistle on in 2006.

I discuss the newly released documents with Klein on today's show, what they reveal about AT&T and NSA, how he came about discovering the secret NSA room at AT&T, and his experience since then as a whistleblower.

Among other things, he tells me he doesn't buy "the government's cover story that 9/11 changed everything," pointing to the new Snowden docs which cite AT&T's cooperation with the NSA going back as far as 1985. The friendly relationship between AT&T and the NSA goes back decades and underscores his contention that "AT&T gives NSA what it wants."

On the billions (perhaps trillions?) of land lines, cell phone lines and Internet traffic intercepted by the government illegally, he says that "there was no warrant that could cover this. Warrants are supposed to be specific, covering individual people, papers and whatnot - they were sweeping up everything."

On George W. Bush's claims that "we're just listening to a few phone calls from no-good people who are calling the Middle East," he says: "That was a complete lie and a diversion from the fact that they were collecting billions and billions of communications every day on the Internet."

On the recently passed legislation, the USA Freedom Act, which was supposed to have curbed many of the greatest warrantless wiretapping abuses under the USA Patriot Act, Klein says: "That law does not address Internet surveillance at all, it does not touch the secret rooms that are still in place doing what I already described. That law did not address that at all. So the Freedom Act is a fraud, in my opinion."

Klein also harshly criticizes then-Senator Obama for voting in 2008 to grant AT&T and other telecoms retroactive immunity on the heels of his 2006 disclosures. Obama "knew what he was doing," he argues. "He was running against Hillary for the nomination in 2008, so he postured to the left and said explicitly he would oppose any bill with immunity in it. He tried to gather his liberal supporters by making that promise. As soon as he won the nomination and beat Hillary, he quickly switched sides, and came out for immunity. It was a cynical move on his part, not some light-minded stupidity."

We covered much more during our discussion, so please give the full interview a listen!

Finally, speaking of Obama and Hillary, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as the Obama Administration gives final approval for Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic, even as Obama announces a visit to the Arctic to decry global warming and as Hillary comes out against drilling in the Arctic. Try and square all of those (Arctic) circles if you can!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Diann Rust-Tierney of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2015 4:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the slow, painful death of the GOP as a legitimate political party continues, even as the corporate mainstream media continues to fail to notice and Donald Trump keeps rising in the bargain.

Then --- speaking of slow, painful deaths --- following the Connecticut Supreme Court's finding last week that the state's Death Penalty is unconstitutional, we're joined by Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty to assess where the nation has moved on capitol punishment in recent years, and how long it may be before the practice is once again banned across the entire country.

"Most of the country lives in a place that doesn't have the death penalty, Rust-Tierney tells me. "We have death penalty statutes on the books, but the reality is that there are only a handful of jurisdictions in the country that are using the death penalty."

She cites just three states --- Texas, Missouri and Florida --- in which 80% of the nation's executions took place in 2014 to help point out how "the system is broken from beginning to end" and how, "as the death penalty becomes rarer, it becomes more arbitrary and indefensible."

Carrying out executions is far more expensive than life in prison, she notes, adding that it also does not serve as a deterrent. "In the parts of the country where the death penalty is still used, the Southern region has the highest murder rates. The Northeast, which uses the death penalty the least, you see lower murder rates."

Also today: More disturbing signs and warnings of global warming out here in California --- from record fires to fear of floods and the coming predictions of a "Godzilla El Niño" this year. Is it really set to hit? Perhaps, but be careful what you wish for, bone dry California, as our own Desi Doyen reminds us of the horrific historical record from the state's Great Flood of 1862...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2015 4:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast we cover a number of important new rulings on a number of important cases around the country --- and most of those rulings are actually very good news!

I'm joined by Desi Doyen and The BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest A. Canning to discuss several of them (after a blessedly short few minutes on Trump and Fox 'News' at the top --- you're welcome!), including:

• The matter of the nation's dumbest Governor, Maine's Paul LePage (R), who tried, but failed, to properly veto some 65 pieces of legislation passed by his state legislature. The verdict is now back from the state Supreme Court, to whom LePage had appealed to help fix his epic failure. Suffice to say, LePage remains the nation's dumbest Governor.

• A Colorado state appellate court has now ruled on the case of a local baker who says he really doesn't mind serving gay people in his shop at all...unless they want to buy a cake to celebrate their wedding. Should he be allowed to refuse service based on a so-called religious belief?

• The Connecticut Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the state's death penalty after the legislature passed a law banning its use...on everybody except the 11 prisoners who were already sentenced to die before the state's moratorium was passed.

• A U.S. Appeals Court rules on whether Idaho's "Ag-Gag" law, barring journalists and whistleblowers from video taping abuses at factory farms, feed lots and slaughter houses, etc.,. violates the Constitution's First Amendment and whether those who violate that law can be thrown in jail, as the law mandates!

• A U.S. Appeals Court in Texas has ruled against the state Republicans' disenfranchising Photo ID voting restriction, finding it a violation of the Voting Rights Act. But will the state GOP be successful in appealing and/or forestalling that ruling until after next year's elections?

All of the above and more discussed, debated, analyzed and dissected on today's BradCast! Plus, the the latest Green News Report on the U.S. Forest Service now spending half of their budget on fighting fires, thanks to global warming, and Elon Musk stepping up to help save Africa...with the power of the sun...

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: The Nation's John Nichols...
By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2015 4:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we begin with the sad breaking news about Jimmy Carter's illness and a few thoughts on the ailing former President. Then, it's onto a bit of fact-checking on "ObamaCare" and on Jeb's silly, fact-free foreign policy propaganda speech last night at the Reagan Library.

Next, Wisconsin's own John Nichols of The Nation joins us to explain new revelations about an old criminal investigation of Wisconsin Governor and 2016 GOP candidate Scott Walker and his remarkable ability to blatantly lie about that and so much more.

"Scott Walker is, frankly, better than just about anybody in American politics at gaming the media," Nichols, who has covered him for years in the Badger State, tells me. "At counting on the media to take his absolute denial and give it the same treatment as the accusations, the charges, rather than getting to the bottom of it to actually figure out whether something is there."

He explains that Walker is clever enough to realize that lying works with today's Rightwing electorate, who get their news from very selective sources that rarely bother to fact-check. "He is, in fact, the embodiment of where our politics is going," Nichols warns, citing a description of Walker as "more Nixonian than Nixon."

Then, Nichols, a long time supporter of Bernie Sanders, addresses the recent controversy concerning Black Lives Matter protesters confronting the Vermont Senator and quickly rising 2016 Dem candidate to suggest that, as he explains in detail at The Nation today, such protests have, in fact, made Presidents such as FDR and Kennedy much greater than they might have been otherwise. He argues that the BLM protests have already had a similar effect on Sanders' campaign.

"What we should understand is that pressure from activists often makes politicians into what we like about them, what we respect about them," he says. "What it means is that pressure from activists forces politicians --- and Presidents even --- to step up, to do what they should do, do what will make them more universal in their appeal."

Finally, some very good polling news for Sanders in New Hampshire and more embarrassing polling news for Bush, Walker and the rest of the Republican Party...

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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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/12/2015 10:51am PT  

"In 1938," according to the online civil rights organization, Color of Change, "civil rights activist and poet Langston Hughes wrote his chilling poem 'Kids Who Die' which illuminates the horrors of lynching during the Jim Crow era." Hughes presciently foresaw a civil rights movement, later carried out in the 1950s and 1960s, that would counter racial segregation and hatred with interracial solidarity and love.

Listen, kids who die --
Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you
Except in our hearts
Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp
Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field,
Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Leibknecht
But the day will come --
You are sure yourselves that it is coming --
When the marching feet of the masses
Will raise for you a living monument of love,
And joy, and laughter,
And black hands and white hands clasped as one,
And a song that reaches the sky --
The song of the life triumphant
Through the kids who die.

This Danny Glover narrated, Frank Chi and Terrance Green video demonstrates the ongoing relevance of "Kids Who Die" and underscores why the #BlackLivesMatter movement must be a critical component of a just and equitable future. Please take less than three minutes to watch it...




Journalists, whistleblowers may not be barred from recording abuses...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/10/2015 9:52am PT  

In a carefully reasoned, 29-page decision, Chief U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill struck down, as unconstitutional, an "Ag-Gag" statute that, according to the court, had been drafted for the express purpose of shielding Idaho's agricultural and dairy industries "from undercover investigators and whistleblowers who expose the agricultural industry to 'the court of public opinion.'"

"Under the law," the decision explains, "a journalist or animal rights investigator can be convicted for not disclosing his media or political affiliations when requesting a tour of an industrial feedlot, or applying for employment at a dairy farm. An employee can be convicted for videotaping animal abuse or life-threatening safety violations at an agricultural facility without first obtaining the owner’s permission." The offender not only faces up to one year in prison, but could be ordered to pay twice the economic loss an owner suffered as a result of publication of the video even if its content was true.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ADLF) and several other organizations, including the ACLU, filed the federal lawsuit and moved for summary judgment, alleging that the Idaho "Ag-Gag" statute violated both the First Amendment right to free speech and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The court agreed, expressly noting that "agricultural...operations that affect food and worker safety are not exclusively a private matter" and that the right to free speech includes the ability to rely upon audio and visual recording...

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




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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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: Peace activist David Swanson; Const. law expert Ian Millhiser
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2015 5:27pm PT  

It was a much bigger show today than we had expected when we started it!

First up on today's BradCast, author, peace activist David Swanson joins us to discuss Obama's speech today at American University on the Iran Nuclear Agreement. While Swanson is (somewhat uncharacteristically) optimistic and encouraged by the deal, he has concerns about how Obama and other Dems are misleading Americans in order to sell it. "I love that, for once, President Obama wants peace. I love that, for once, he's using diplomacy rather than war. I wish he would use that in eight other places on earth," Swanson tells me. "But at the same time he's pushing the propaganda of his opponents."

Then, Swanson asks, "Why Won't Bernie Talk About War?" A new petition from RootsAction.org asks Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to start speaking up against U.S. militarism which, as Swanson argues, the U.S. Senator from Vermont has, up until now, been very reluctant to do for some reason.

Then, as we went to break, huge news came in from the very conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal striking down the Texas GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction law. The opinion confirms most of a lower court judge's previously ruling finding the restriction to be in strict violation of the Voting Rights Act as well as the U.S. Constitution. Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser joins us to explain the very encouraging opinion from the court --- which comes, incidentally, just one day before the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 --- and what happens next.

"The court got that voter ID laws do not really serve the purpose that their supporters say they're supposed to serve," Millhiser explains. "The court got that this was an attempt to dress up something that looks like a legitimate voter regulation in order to really do something else, which was to prevent groups like racial minorities and low-income voters who tend to prefer Democrats over Republicans from casting a ballot."

But, he also warns, "this wasn't a total victory for the good guys." Listen to the show for all the details.

Finally, in the few minutes we have left, we squeeze in some Presidential politics in advance of tomorrow night's first GOP Presidential debate, as sponsored --- and rigged by --- Fox "News". And, yes, that Republican debate will take place, ironically enough, on the 50th Anniversary of the landmark federal Voting Rights Act which Republicans used to support...until they decided they couldn't win elections anymore if all those "people" (read: qualified American voters who tend to vote Democratic) were allowed to vote.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2015 1:56pm PT  

Very good news, just breaking today from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas!...

One day before the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, one of the most conservative federal appeals courts in the country wielded that law to strike down a Texas voter suppression law. A unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in an opinion written by a George W. Bush appointee, held that Texas’s voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act and must, at the very least, be significantly weakened. Though the court did not accept every argument raised against the state’s voter ID law, and its opinion does not go nearly as far as a trial judge’s decision which also struck down this law, it is a significant blow to the state’s efforts to make voting more difficult.

Voter ID laws are a common obstacle raised, mostly by right-leaning lawmakers, in front of citizens seeking to exercise their right to vote. Though stringent voter ID laws, which require voters to show a photo ID before they can cast a ballot, are often justified as a shield against voter fraud, the kind of fraud these laws target barely exists. A Wisconsin study, for example, found just seven cases of fraud out of 3 million votes cast during the 2004 election — and none of these seven cases were the kind of in-person voter fraud that is prevented by a voter ID law. Similarly an investigation by former Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) found exactly zero cases of in-person voter fraud over the course of several elections.

What voter ID laws do accomplish, however, is they disproportionately disenfranchise groups that tend to prefer Democratic candidates over Republicans. As Judge Catharina Haynes explained in her opinion on behalf of the Fifth Circuit, one analysis determined that “Hispanic registered voters and Black registered voters were respectively 195% and 305% more likely than their Anglo peers to lack” a voter ID in the state of Texas. Indeed, even Texas’s own numbers confirmed that voter ID laws disproportionately impact racial minorities. Their own expert “found that 4% of eligible White voters lacked SB 14 ID, compared to 5.3% of eligible Black voters and 6.9% of eligible Hispanic voters.”

See Ian Millhiser over at Think Progress for more, as well as Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog for additional analysis. The court's opinion is here. [PDF]

We'll have more on this in The BradCast later today (and an explanation of some of the nuance here that, while it's a huge victory for voting rights advocates, the plaintiffs in the case have not yet won everything they had hoped for --- specifically, they wanted Texas to be required to pre-clear new voting laws with the federal courts from now on, as the state had to previously, before the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013.) On that issue, it appears the matter will be sent back down to the lower court, to establish whether their is strong enough evidence to prove the law was enacted with discriminatory intent, or whether it just had that effect. If the latter, striking down this version of the law will be enough. If the former, TX would have to get federal approval for such laws in the future --- and that would be a very big (and good!) deal.

But, for the moment, this is very good news for those of us who believe in the Right to Vote. And, by way of reminder, this is what we had noted late last year when the judge in the lower U.S. Circuit court in Texas absolutely eviscerated the law passed by state Republicans after a full trial...

In a 147-page ruling [PDF] released Thursday evening, "after hearing and carefully considering all the evidence" presented in the trial which ended on September 22nd, a U.S. District Court in Texas has found that the state's polling place Photo ID law, SB 14, is discriminatory and violates the U.S. Constitution in at least four different ways.

"The Court holds that SB 14 creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose," U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos writes in her ruling. "The Court further holds that SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."




Guest: Eric Boehlert of Media Matters
Plus: Medicare turns 50; Trump dominates GOP (But not Dems); MORE...
By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2015 5:02pm PT  

Today on The BradCast...

Medicare turns 50! That's right, the original "socialized medicine" that, Republicans told us, would be the end of freedom (sound familiar?) is just 15 years away from being eligible for Medicare! We revisit Ronald Reagan's completely wrong 1961 warnings about one of the nation's most successful and beloved social programs.

Trump beats everyone! Except for Democrats. He loses to all of them, but the polls continue to show The Donald beating all of his GOP competitors by a long shot. And now, he's even beating former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in Florida!

Then, the misinformation from the "paper of record" continues! Eric Boehlert of Media Matters joins us to discuss the latest New York Times "journalistic" fiasco. After getting it completely wrong on the Iraq War and then getting it completely wrong on James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart's ACORN "Pimp Hoax", they've moved on to reporting a completely false story about a "criminal probe" of Hillary Clinton. And then, to make matters worse, they screwed up their "apology".

As Boehlert tells me on today's show, these screw ups always seem to redound to the benefit of Republicans. "Who is the target always? Is it ever Jeb Bush? Is it ever the RNC? Is it ever the NRA? No. It's always progressives, it's always Demcorats, it's always the Clintons, it's always Obama, it's always a low-income advocacy group. Where are these colossal screw-ups when the New York Times digs in deep and screws up about a rightwing Republican organization? It doesn't happen. Because they know you cannot make mistakes when you go after the NRA. You cannot make mistakes when you go after the Republican front-runner."

"There's a pattern here," Boehlert argues. "Do you think the New York Times would've thrown up a half-hearted reported piece suggesting Jeb Bush was under criminal indictment, and then find out 90 minutes later none of it was right? And they never called the Bush campaign? And they never called anyone else? To me it's inconceivable. But if it's the Clintons, 'throw it up there, see what happens, we're gonna get huge traffic.'"

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the tragic story of the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe and about record wildfires in the U.S. west (and around the world)...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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'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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