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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, September 29, 2016
Fallout from the 'Trumpwreck' Debate: 'BradCast' 9/28/16
The public reaction to the first Trump/Clinton Presidential debate --- from polls, betting markets, newspapers and listener callers (lots of them!)...
Trumpwreck: The First Presidential Debate: 'BradCast' 9/27/16
Smart and, at times, hilarious coverage of the Trump/Clinton Hofstra debate, with journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
'The Most Audacious Political Heist of Our Time':
'BradCast' 9/26/2016
David Daley on 'RatF**ked' and how the GOP 'stole' the U.S. House for a decade as Dems 'fell asleep at the wheel'...
Sunday Toons of the First Debate Moment
The final stretch for the general election begins and so do the Presidential Debates, as documented in PDiddie's collection of the best political toons of the week...
Eyewitness to Shooting at Protest Questions Official Account: 'BradCast' 9/22/16
Guest: Linda Flynn of Charlotte Spirituality Center was 'feet away', believes police activity sparked violence at peaceful demonstration...
'Green News Report' 9/22/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
U.N. climate pact reaches crucial threshold; White House orders NatSec planning for climate change; Good/bad news in the Arctic; PLUS: Obama to world: Time to step up...
Previous GNRs: 9/20/16 - 9/15/16 - Archives...
Caller Debate Questions
for Trump and Clinton:
'BradCast' 9/21/16
Plus: Police shootings and protests in NC, OK; Earth smashes more heat records; Trump leads Clinton in new national poll...
Trump Charity Scam; Warren v. Wells CEO; TX Defies Court: 'BradCast' 9/20/16
A whole lotta liars, cheats and scam artists on today's show! (So what else is new?)...
'Green News Report' 9/20/16
AL pipeline spill; Court reprieve for Dakota Access; U.N. trying to 'Trump proof' climate pact; PLUS: Leonardo DiCaprio wants you to watch over the oceans...
Terror Attacks in NY, NJ, MN; Massive Pipeline Spill in AL: 'BradCast' 9/19/16
What we know (and don't) in both cases. Guest: Alabama Media Group's natural resources reporter Dennis Pillion...
Sunday Toons of the Slightly Queasy Moment
'Slightly'?! ... 'PDiddie' may need a moment to see if it passes...
Trump's (Latest) Trap; Voting Rights Rulings in KS and OH: 'BradCast' 9/16/16
Also: Nat'l polls tied; Trump leads in OH; Sanders warns against 3rd-party voting; Colbert cheers us up...
'Green News Report' 9/15/16
Dakota Access pipeline fails climate test; House Comm probes state AGs on Exxon; Lead paint maker bought WI immunity; PLUS: LA floods U.S. 3rd costliest disaster...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


GUEST: Financial journalist David Dayen...
By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2015 4:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast (audio link below): The U.S. House rolls over for ISIS. And, could NAFTA and TPP lead to a return of the previously rejected Keystone XL pipeline?

First, the U.S. House voted today to do the bidding of ISIS by passing a bill that would essentially block refugees from war-torn Syria and Iraq from coming to the U.S.. Shamefully, while the bill was passed mostly by Republicans, some 47 cowardly Democrats voted in favor of what both Bin Laden and ISIS have made very clear they would love to see.

Meanwhile, wingnut conspiracy theories about Obama's super secret plan to force a "Muslim overthrow of the U.S." and the "Islamization" of our country continue to grow from the bowels of rightwing radio up through state legislatures and even into Congress and the U.S. Presidential race.

All of that, as, surprise surprise, a new report finds that illegal Mexican immigration is actually at a net negative during the Obama Administration, with some 130,000 fewer undocumented Mexicans now in the country, versus prior to 2009.

Then, financial journalist David Dayen of The Fiscal Times, Salon, WaPo, The Intercept and more joins us to explain his disturbing assertion about the troubling mechanism built in to both NAFTA and the newly released TransPacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement that could lead to approval, after all, of the Keystone XL pipeline --- even though the dirty tar sands project has finally been rejected by the White House.

Dayen explains how KXL's owner, TransCanada, could invoke the "extra-judicial tribunal" known in both trade agreements as the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system in order to force compensatory damages that might either lead to approval of the pipeline after all and/or serve to help scuttle the TPP itself.

The ISDS tribunals, as Dayen explains today, are "composed of corporate lawyers who can act on behalf of the corporation in one case and then sit on a panel judging that corporation on another case." He says that "one of the options" TransCanada now has is that "through the ISDS system in NAFTA, they can sue and say 'this is a violation, you are discriminating against a foreign pipeline operator relative to domestic pipeline operators, and we are going to sue for compensatory damages based on our expected future profits'." The resulting decision could become a "political footbal" at the "worst possible timing for the Administration," as they hope to put TPP up for a vote in a Congress where more Republicans and Democrats are coming out against the agreement.

There is much more that you need to know about in our conversation concerning the proposed TPP agreement, now that its 5,000 or so pages have finally been released to the public and now that the frontrunners for President in both the Republican and Democratic Parties have come out against it. "Political football," indeed.

Listen to today's show for much more welcome clarity on all of the above!

Finally, speaking of pipelines and more, Desi Doyen joins us with our latest Green News Report on yet another rejected Canadian pipeline; the GOP's intensifying witch hunt against scientists (as discussed in more detail on a recent BradCast with David Roberts); and the planet's hottest October ever recorded...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Screenshots suggests disappearing 'Yes' votes on Election Night; OH Sec. of State's office offers us an explanation, downplays concerns
PLUS: Citizen calls for hand-count grows in Kentucky; And Fossil Fuel's very bad week...
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2015 5:15pm PT  

Did someone or something flip election results last week in Ohio's statewide ballot initiative Issue 3 to legalize marijuana? We try to get to the bottom of that question --- and many others --- on today's BradCast. (Audio is linked below.)

As initially reported by Ohio's Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, and later by Steve Rosenfeld, screenshots captured from several different media outlets on Election Night last week show what appear to be impossible results on both Issue 3 and on Issue 1, a ballot measure for redistricting reform in the Buckeye State.

For example, according to screenshots from Dayton's WHIO-TV website, as published in the Fitrakis, Wasserman and Rosenfeld articles, Issue 3 reportedly had 969,662 "Yes" votes with 39% of precincts reporting. But later in the night, with 45% of precincts, there were only 614,866 "Yes" votes on Issue 3. That's a seemingly impossible drop of more than 300,000 votes in the initiative that is said to have ultimately failed, according to the unverified election night results reported by the OH Sec. of State.

Similarly, screenshots of results on Issue 1, which ended up reportedly passing, saw "No" votes drop impossibly from 990,555 to 486,596 later in the evening.

What explains these numbers? I spoke to Matt McClellan, Communications Director for Ohio Sec. of State John Husted (R) earlier today. He says that WHIO and the other media outlets whose screenshots were cited by Fitrakis, Wasserman and Rosenfeld, were all Cox Media outlets and "the problem was on their end."

"Someone was manually entering data," McClellan told me. "When they noticed the mistake, they made a correction." He went on to say that the Secretary of State's website had no such discrepancies or irregularities throughout the evening. His office does not take their own screenshots throughout the night, so we can't confirm that either way, at the moment, though McClellan says the office "went back and double-checked to make sure" after the issue was initially reported.

In response to the Sec. of State office's assertions (we offer more detail on them during the show), Fitrakis shared pre-election tracking poll results with me, that suggest the marijuana initiative should have passed, rather than lost, by a 2 to 1 margin. "Tracking polls suggest more that [results] were flipped than not flipped," he told me today. Fitrakis was is skeptical of the explanation from Husted's office, while adding that if Cox is manually entering results on the fly on Election Night, "then they need to stop, because it's absurd."

For the record, our calls to try and confirm the OH SoS' claims with WHIO and/or Cox Media have not yet been returned. But, again, much more detail during the program.

As if all of that isn't enough of a mess, the citizen movement to demand a hand count of the questionable results of last week's Kentucky Governor's race continues to grow. A petition has been posted to Change.org asking KY SoS Allison Lundergan Grimes to carry out a hand count of paper ballots statewide. So far, more than 10,000 have signed on to the effort, as we discuss today as well.

Finally on today's show, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report on the fossil fuel industry's no good, very very bad week...

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

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GUEST: Karoli Kuns of CrooksAndLiars.com...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2015 5:21pm PT  

It is a primal scream of a BradCast today, following what happened --- once again --- on Election Day yesterday. We see, again, the nightmare scenario I've warned about for so many years: a U.S. election where all of the pre-election polls suggest Candidate X is set to win, but Candidate Y ends up winning by a huge margin instead and nobody even bothers to verify that the computer tabulated results accurately reflect the intent of the voters. (Audio link to today's full show is below.)

That's exactly what happened in Kentucky on Tuesday, where Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway was leading by a fair margin (about 3 to 5 points) in almost every pre-election poll in his race for Governor, but then ended up being announced as the loser to 'Tea Party' Republican candidate Matt Bevin by a landslide (almost 9 points) --- according to the state's 100% unverified computer tabulation systems.

As detailed on today's program with my guest Karoli Kuns of Crooks And Liars, there are a number of reasons to question the reported results. Among them, as Kuns points out today at C&L, the Democrats running in the down ballot races --- for Secretary of State, Attorney General (Conway's current job) and even state Auditor --- each reportedly received tens of thousands more votes than Conway did at the top of the ticket!

Bev Harris, of BlackBoxVoting.org, who I spoke with earlier today, described the higher vote totals in the down ballot races as a "significant anomaly". She tells me that, at least until more records are requested and examined, the KY-Gov's race "has to be looked at as a questionable outcome, particularly because of the discrepancies in the down ballot races. More votes in those races and not at the top...that just doesn't happen."

(Here is a link to a helpful Public Records Request toolkit [PDF] from Black Box Voting for those of you who may be interested in helping to try and obtain some transparency in this race, as we also discussed on today's program.)

There are many other reasons for supporters to question the reported results in the KY-Gov's race, as I detail during the show. Of course, the reported results could also be completely accurate. But, without public, human examination of the hand-marked paper ballots (which, thankfully, now actually exist across most of the state!) and other related records, we have yet another unverified, 100% faith-based election to leave supporters wondering if they really won or lost.

We've seen this before, of course. Too many times. We've seen malfunctioning paper ballot op-scan systems report losers as "winners" until a hand-count corrects the record. We've seen how easy it is for hackers to game election equipment. We've seen election insiders, even as recently as last week, breaking in to computerized central tabulators. And we've even seen high-ranking election officials in Kentucky (including County Clerks, Circuit Court Judges and School Superintendents!) convicted for decades of insider election fraud, including the manipulation of electronic voting systems.

We've seen both Democrats and Republicans alike fall victim to similarly anomalous and unverified results. And, while none of it bodes well for 2016 and beyond, neither does it bode well for those immediately and directly impacted by Tuesday's elections --- such as the 400,000 Kentuckyians who stand to lose health care under a new Republican Governor who has vowed to shut down the state's expansion of coverage under ObamaCare by the very popular if term-limited and outgoing Democratic Governor.

Also today: More election results from races around the country, from the attempt to legalize marijuana in Ohio, to campaign finance reform in Maine, to the recall of Koch Brothers-funded school board officials in Colorado...

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

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GUESTS: Salon's Heather Digby Parton & Colorado Statesman's John Tomasic...
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2015 4:53pm PT  

It was a 'Rocky Mountain Mess' to many, but we try to make sense of CNBC's GOP Presidential Debate in Boulder, CO last night on today's BradCast anyway!

My guests today are Heather Digby Parton --- Salon contributor, Hillman Foundation opinion journalism award winner, and proprietor of Digby's Hullabaloo blog and the Colorado Statesman's John Tomasic.

"Digby" has joined us for all of our post-debate coverage so far this year and offers smart insight yet again today. Tomasic shares his on-the-ground perspective after covering the goings on inside and outside of the Coors Event Center before, during and after yesterday's debate(s).

Was anything learned from either the 'Kiddie Table' or 'Main' debates? Is Jeb finally done for? Did Kasich's gambit work? Did Trump accidentally make sense again? Does Jindal have a magic wand he doesn't know about? Is Social Security really a scam?

Were the CNBC moderators as awful as the GOP would like us all to believe? Why was a Republican debate held in the liberal "Mecca" of Boulder in the first place? And why were the students at CU-Boulder kept from attending it?

We search for reasonable answers to all of those questions and more on today's BradCast! Wish us luck!...

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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GUEST: Author and Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser
ALSO: GOP in disarray, Dems in denial; Murdered elephants; Colbert v. vegetarians...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2015 3:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast...the Republican Party may appear to be falling apart on one level --- because it is (and we cover quite a bit of their various disasters in advance of tonight's Republican Presidential debate in Boulder, CO today) --- but on another level, the GOP still controls not just both chambers of the U.S. Congress, but also the vast majority of statehouses and Governor's mansions across the country.

So, while the Democrats' Presidential prospects may be encouraging for them, are they actually in denial about their real problems? And/or is there another way out of their current morass?

Ian Millhiser, journalist, Constitutional law expert and author of the new book, Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, joins us to discuss what may be the Democrats' best way out of the mess: The U.S. Supreme Court and as many as four vacancies that may occur on the bench during the next Presidency. "The Future Of The Democratic Party," he wrote recently, "Will Be Decided By The Supreme Court."

"A big reason why Democrats are so far underwater when it comes to state legislative races, when it comes to House races, is because of the Supreme Court," Millhiser tells me on today's show. "The Supreme Court has ordered the lower federal courts not to even look at partisan gerrymandering cases. They're not allowed to even consider them under existing Supreme Court doctrine."

Millhiser goes on to explain how the Court's recent rulings on voting rights have also made things far more difficult for Democrats. SCOTUS, he argues, "isn't enforcing the Constitution and at other times its mangling the Constitution."

"The situation Democrats find themselves in is due to a number of problems layered on top of each other, many of which are at the fault of the Supreme Court. Many of these problems could be solved if we had a Supreme Court that was prepared to give us fairer elections," he notes. With as many as four --- four --- seats potentially becoming vacant on the Court during the next Presidency, the party that controls the White House as of 2017 will have an enormous opportunity to affect what happens in this country for generations.

While both major parties often use the potential for Supreme Court vacancies to underscore the importance of controlling the White House, Millhiser explains the reasons --- and there are many --- why the 2016 election really is different from recent elections where that argument has been offered. "If the Supreme Court gets even more conservative," he warns, "then you're looking at an apocalypse for the Democratic Party."

Also today: Elephants murdered in Zimbabwe; GMO labeling hypocrisy; Colbert takes on vegetarians after bad news about smoke meats; And much more...

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

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GUEST: Financial journalist David Dayen
ALSO: 2016 shakeups; Dog shoots owner; 'Black Friday' news; Excrement in D.C.; More...
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2015 4:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast (link to complete audio below), Republican and Democratic leadership strike a deal to avoid defaulting on U.S. loan payments and to keep the government open for two years. But at what cost?

Financial journalist David Dayen of Salon joins us to explain both the grand deal and its cost to both Republicans and Democrats (though, arguably, much more to Democrats.)

"In general what this whole thing does is prevent a bunch of hostage-taking," on the part of Republicans, Dayen explains. "I think that is the real problem that the House Freedom Caucus [formerly the 'Tea Party Caucus'] has with it." Other than that, as he breaks it down for us, Republicans and war hawks seem to get a much better deal out of the bargain.

Democrats, while getting some much needed relief to arbitrary spending caps on several social programs, ultimately pay a price for cuts to Medicare and Social Security in this agreement, says Dayen. While Republicans, on the other hand, receive a huge $32 billion "slush fund" above and beyond anything Democrats get, in order to pay for more militarism under the bogus guise of "Overseas Contingency Operations".

"When we have homeless people that need shelter or poor people that need food for the food stamp program, then the answer is 'We're broke! We cannot pay for that! We're selling out our children's future! There's no way we can scrounge up any more money out of the couch cushions!," Dayen explains on today's show. "But when this little kitty that Pentagon generals want to use to protect their favorite program or build more weapons of any kind --- that we have plenty of money for, and if you don't like it you hate the troops and you're un-American."

All of that and much more detail to help you understand what's really going on in this deal and on one crucial point concerning the nation's debt ceiling that Dayen describes as "a total failure...by the leadership of the Democratic Party."

Also today: Poll shakeups in the Presidential race(s); The dog who shot his owner; The major retailer that plans to close for "Black Friday"; And --- speaking of excrement "in the barn" in Washington D.C. --- Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a new plan to literally put it all to good use and much more...

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

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GUESTS: Fracking expert and Mahoning County, OH voter Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer; Columbia County, NY Election Commish Virginia Martin...
PLUS: A few words on the continuing GOP 'Benghazi Investigation' circus...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2015 5:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast, first a rant about the nonsense that is the Benghazi "investigation", and then on to a real investigation concerning an anti-fracking initiative on the ballot in Mahoning County, OH, questions about the results reported by the county's electronic tabulators, and an election official or two who are caught on tape going kinda nuts when asked about it.

To talk about our latest example of "Election Officials Behaving Badly", I'm joined on today's show by Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, the voter who asked a simple question at a recent Mahoning County, Ohio Board of Elections meeting, before the officials accused him of accusing them of a crime in response!

And, since the Mahoning County election officials --- the ones caught on tape responding so outrageously to Beiersdorfer's reasonable request for a hand-count --- failed to reply to our multiple requests to join us on the show, we are joined instead by Virginia Martin of the Columbia County, NY Board of Elections to comment on all of this. (Our invitation remains open to Mahoning County election officials David Betras (D) and Mark Munroe (R) if they'd like to respond to today's program.)

Beiersdorfer is a geology professor, fracking expert and supporter of the ProtectYoungstown.org anti-fracking initiative. As you'll here, at the meeting of the Elections Board, he politely asked for a hand-count of paper ballots regarding the ballot initiative, after a post-election poll appeared to offer contradictory results to those reported by the unverified computer optical-scan tabulation systems used in the county. (An electronic tabulation system, I'll note, which has failed in election after election elsewhere.) In response, Betras freaks out and charges that Beiersdorfer has accused him of "rigging an election".

"You just basically accused this board of elections of election fraud!," Betras, a Democratic, snaps in outraged response, as caught on tape. "I find it highly offensive you’d accuse me of a crime!" His fellow election commissioner, Munroe, a Republican, takes similar offense.

All of that, simply because a voter wished to oversee the results of an election to confirm that computer-reported results were accurate --- in a town with a history of election problems and where some of the same election officials reportedly spent some $30,000 of tax-payer money in a failed effort to keep the initiative off the ballot in the first place (before being overruled by the state Supreme Court.)

"I certainly wasn't accusing anyone of a crime," Beiersdorfer tells me today (and as the tape confirms). "I just pointed out the discrepancy and I asked for a public, open, transparent hand-count of the ballots. I was a little bit surprised at how he reacted to that --- and basically attacked me."

Unfortunately, it's not an isolated case. We've seen similar responses from election officials elsewhere. Martin, the Democratic co-chair of the Columbia County, NY Board of Elections --- one of the few counties in the nation to publicly hand-count every paper ballot before certifying any election (my recent interview with Martin and her Republican co-chair on that specific topic is here) --- explains on today's show: "We election officials often find ourselves in the crosshairs. There's always somebody in the public who's not happy about something that's transpired at the Board of Elections. There's a winner and there's a loser, so we often are in a position of having to defend ourselves. I can understand why they would be very sensitive."

But, she adds, that type of concern simply doesn't come up in her county, given that the public is invited to oversee the hand-count of paper ballots for every election. As an election official, she insists on hand-counts, she says, because: "I wasn't comfortable with trusting what the computer said, because I know computers can make mistakes. I know that computers can be programmed incorrectly --- inadvertently. I also know they can be manipulated, they can be tampered with. I personally can't know how a computer counts anything, because I don't get to see that. So how am I going to know that the result is correct?"

I think it's a fascinating show today --- as this is a problem that occurs more and more, as election officials and electronic voting and tabulation systems make it far more difficult for the citizenry to oversee their own elections --- but you'll be the judge. Give it a listen below!...

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

[You can watch the complete, exclusive Mahoning County, OH video from which we played audio clips today, here. And the full video of Pima County, AZ Election Supervisor Brad Nelson caught on tape similarly freaking out back 2007, which we played a bit of as well today, can be seen here.]

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GUEST: Artist, author and former felon Anthony Papa on criminal justice reform and his '15 years to life' for a first-time, non-violent drug crime...
ALSO: More climate dots connected; Trump, Jeb & Dubya; Arrest of a Fox 'News' fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2015 5:38pm PT  

We cover a lot of ground, yet again, on today's BradCast.

First: More climate change dots connected out here in California, as another freeway is shut down (the third in the last couple of months) thanks to yet another extreme weather disaster.

Next: As Donald Trump correctly notes that George W. Bush did not "keep us safe" either before or after 9/11, Jeb tries again to come to his brother's defense and fails almost as much as his own campaign is now floundering.

Then: With federal sentencing reform for non-violent drug offenders about to result in freedom for 6,000 federal inmates (and another 40,000 likely in the near future), we are joined today by artist and author Anthony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Papa (self-portrait seen above in today's BradCast logo) shares his amazing story about how he was sentenced to "15 years to life" for a first-time, non-violent, drug-related crime under New York's "tough on crime", "war on drugs" policies of the 80s. He served 12 years of hard time --- for delivering 4 ounces of cocaine in exchange for $500 --- before he was finally granted clemency by the Governor.

He follows his first book, 15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom up with his latest, An Open Letter to Men and Women Returning Home in the Age of Reform, just released on Kindle today.

Papa was lucky enough to earn three degrees while serving 12 years in prison, where he also discovered he knows how to paint. He now serves as Artist in Residence at Drug Policy Alliance and has had his work exhibited at the Whitney Museum. On today's show, in addition to his personal story, he shared his optimistic thoughts on criminal justice reform ("mandatory minimum sentencing became the poison that literally broke the system"), some words of advice to those about to be released ("these men and women coming home into a society that is not ready for them, can be a problem"), and his opinions on the outrage of restrictions on voting placed on both current and former felons.

"The greatest thing for me being in prison, was my discovery for me of my political awareness," he tells me. But, after his release, he learned he would still not be able to vote for another five years, even though he had served his time under laws passed by officials he should have been able to vote against. "Before I went to prison, I didn't even bother to vote. I was a regular Joe. When I came out, discovering I couldn't vote was very painful for me. So it took five years, but when the time came, I cast that vote. I felt like I was whole again. It was a wonderful feeling."

Finally today: Wayne Simmons, the "former CIA operative" regularly featured on Fox "News" for more than a decade, where he has been cited by wingnuts time and again on everything from Benghazi to torture to ISIS and their "19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States" (which don't exist), turns out to have never worked for the CIA at all and has now been arrested on federal fraud charges.

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

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GUEST: Michael Collins of Drug Policy Alliance
PLUS: GOP now coming apart at the seams...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2015 4:43pm PT  

I'm back after a few days off for today's BradCast! My huge thanks to Radio Or Not's Nicole Sandler for guest-hosting over the past several days and affording Desi and me a bit of much-needed down time.

Of course, as soon as we stood down, everything blew up in Congress and everywhere else. So, I touch on a few of those points --- particularly the Republican Party coming apart at the seams, as we now see in their inability to find a House Speaker or even a Presidential candidate for that matter --- on today's program.

Then, it's on to the continuing fight for the right to vote across the country. We've got some troubling news out of Kansas, where their Sec. of State Kris Kobach (R) is attempting to justify his voter suppression with new prosecutions. And then we've got some very good news out of California, where voter registration will now be automatic and could lead to as many as 6.6 million new voters in the Golden State.

At the same time, Fox "News" is now offering a huge lie about the state's new law, as advanced on air today by Judge Andrew Napolitano.

After offering his (rather remarkable) opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court "wrongly" found voting to be "a fundamental right," Napolitano asserted the lie that "once it said that, states like California decided to allow people to vote who aren't qualified by law to vote because of the fundamental aspect." The former Judge then added to his lie by claiming that "an illegal alien in California...can vote in local, state, and federal elections in California and those votes count," simply by obtaining a drivers license under the new Motor Voter Law signed over the weekend by Gov. Jerry Brown (D).

In response to Napolitano, we obtained a statement via email from Dean Logan, the Los Angeles County Register-Recorder/County Clerk, describing the outrageous assertion as categorically "false". "The new Motor Voter law only applies to those identified by DMV records as meeting the eligibility requirements to be registered to vote --- including citizenship," Logan says in his statement this afternoon, as read on air. "The law specifically mandates that distinction and the adoption of regulations to ensure against registration of non-eligible persons. The contention that the law automatically places non-citizens on the voter rolls is false."

Since airtime, the office of CA Sec. of State Alex Padilla (D) has also responded to our query and confirms that the new law "expressly prohibits" voter registration for non-citizens. Of course, Fox couldn't be bothered to find out and accurately inform their viewers.

Next, we are joined by Michael Collins of the Drug Policy Alliance to discuss the federal Bureau of Prisons' long overdue reform to sentencing guidelines that will result in some 6,000 inmates being freed within days, and perhaps a total of 46,000 thereafter. Collins explains how the changes came about and notes: "The Sentencing Commission definitely deserves to be applauded for what it's doing. But, at the same time, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the overall prison population."

"Drug offenses and the hysteria around drugs in the 80s and 90s, where laws were introduced, mandatory minimum sentencing was introduced, and we saw the prison population grow through the roof," requires reform that only Congress can provide. But, as dysfunctional as Collins acknowledges Congress to be, he says, on this issue, there is actually very real, bipartisan momentum in favor of reform in both chambers.

"There is a strong, bi-partisan movement for criminal justice reform and for sentencing reform," he tells me. "Republicans, Democrats, liberals, Tea Partiers, hard-core conservatives, old-school law and orders --- you name it --- there's this broad bi-partisan momentum to do something on criminal justice reform."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with an opportunity to call out Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for his remarkable display of hypocrisy in the wake of historic flooding in his home state.

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

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GUEST: The Nation's Joshua Holland...
By Brad Friedman on 10/7/2015 5:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Examining yet another enduring NRA myth in the wake of the Oregon massacre at Umpqua Community College; the GOP race for U.S. House Speaker could get very interesting; and more.

The Nation's Joshua Holland joins us to discuss his article this week: "Combat Vets Destroy the NRA's Heroic Gunslinger Fantasy", investigating whether there are any facts to back up the NRA and its scam artist Vice President Wayne LaPierre's long contention that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

You'll be shocked to learn that (unlike the liar LaPierre) folks who actually fire guns --- and have had them fired at them in combat --- have a very different opinion about the best way to stop that "bad guy with a gun."

"Wayne La Pierre has been a lobbyist for his entire career, and has no concept of what it really means when people start shooting at you," Holland tells me. The folks he talked to, he said, "did know that." In fact, as study after study confirm, he explains, guns often serve only to make bad situations much much worse.

I don't want to to share more of the conversation, for now, because I'd prefer you give it a listen in full --- gun fans and foes alike. (Click to listen to the full show below.)

Also on today's program: the Congressman who, in 1996, sponsored legislation that blocked the CDC from collecting statistics on gun deaths and public health now has regrets; How John Boehner could find himself remaining as Speaker of the House, even after the date he plans to resign; Desi Doyen with our latest Green News Report on the historic, global warming-fueled flooding in SC and new EPA regulations to help curb ozone and pesticides...

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

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GUEST: Climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann on that and much more
PLUS: Updates on AL vote suppression; NM's indicted SoS; OR's school massacre...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2015 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm joined by climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann of Pennsylvania State University, to discuss the historic flooding event now ongoing in South Carolina, even as Hurricane Joaquin missed the state by hundreds of miles.

The award-winning Mann, author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, offers a sobering explanation of the relationship between climate change and record flooding in SC. He also discusses what is actually meant by the phrase "1000-year flood", as so casually cited by SC Gov. Nikki Hailey (R) over the weekend, even as more than half of her state now faces unprecedented disaster.

"When you hear a statistic like that, 'it's a 1000-year event', that's based on the assumption that what's happening right now is no different from the sorts of things that were happening in the distant past, that the climate isn't changing. And it is," Mann tells me. "Climate change is very detectably increasing the likelihoods of precisely these sorts of events. Things we used to call a '1000-year event' become '100-year events'. And pretty soon, if we continue on the course that we are on, what was a '100-year event' becomes a '3 or 4-year event'."

Mann goes on to explain the climatic patterns that made the SC event possible, and how we are likely to experience much more of it in the very near future. "Part of the story --- and don't let anyone tell you otherwise --- was record heat in the Atlantic, which meant there was record moisture off the coast. And it's that record level of moisture in the atmosphere giving us these record levels of rainfall."

"There's no question --- what we're seeing play out is precisely what we warned would play out decades ago," he tells me, before discussing what we may be able to expect from this year's record El Nino out West, where the ocean is also at record temperatures amidst a "1000-year drought" here in California.

He also offers some thoughts on the new blockbuster report from Inside Climate News (as I discussed with the co-author of that investigative series last week), concerning Exxon's knowledge, as early as 1977, of the catastrophic dangers of man-made global warming, thanks to the use of their product and their subsequent about-face decision to fund climate change denialist organizations beginning in the 1990s. Man describes the opportuninty for Exxon to have led us to a scientific solution long ago as both "sad" and "tragic", among other things.

Also today: Updates on the closure of DMVs in Alabama for, purportedly, "budgetary reasons", even as the shutdowns will disproportionately affect the ability of African-Americans to cast a vote in the state and could cost more in the defense of lawsuits than is saved by the closures; New Mexico's Sec. of State Dianna Duran (R) is now facing a 65th(!!!) criminal count --- this one for identify theft and forgery --- as we are reminded, once again, why simply "trusting" election officials is not a valid option in our Constitutional representative democracy; And, finally, updates on last week's shooting massacre in Oregon and how Fox 'News' and the Republicans are still doing all they can do to do nothing at all to prevent more such massacres in the future...

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

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GUEST: Historian Ben Railton of Fitchburg State University...
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2015 5:58pm PT  

In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Oregon on Thursday, President Obama asked Americans to address the epidemic of mass shootings, in part, by turning to the ballot box. We concur. And we've got a great idea about who to vote out of office first on today's BradCast!

Then: Are Muslims the new Catholics? Ben Railton, Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Fitchburg State University, joins us to discuss the historical parallels he recently documented at Talking Points Memo, between centuries of anti-Catholic sentiment in the U.S. and today's similarly toxic political rhetoric regarding Muslims.

2016 GOP Presidential candidate Ben Carson's recent assertions that a Muslim must "renounce Islam" before he'd consider them qualified to be President of the United States is just one example that echoes a similar sentiment about Catholics earlier in this country's history.

"It can seem like something 19th century, something really distant, but as recently as half a century ago, there was a pretty sustained debate in our mainstream political media, our body politic" Railton tells me, "of the genuine concern on behalf of many that any Catholic --- including John F. Kennedy, the candidate for President --- would owe a first allegiance not to anything within the United States, not to America, not to the American government or the American people, but to that entity, that foreign scary place, the Vatican and the Pope and the Catholic Church."

"Many of the fears that are directed at Muslim-Americans and Muslim communities are directed at the idea of these communities and their customs and beliefs, themselves representing an internal threat," he explains, while going on to remind us that, even with a well-established Muslim community in the U.S. at its founding ("We have Muslim-American communities going back to the Revolutionary Era...so fears of religious 'others' do date back to the very beginning"), this country's Constitutional framers determined there would be no religious test for the highest office in the land.

Railton's message is ultimately a very an encouraging one --- we have, it seems, finally moved beyond our fear of a Papal takeover in this country, after all, so we are likely to do the same with Muslims --- but is that historic comparison an appropriate analogue given the threat so many feel of an actual hostile takeover by Islamic extremists? We discuss.

Finally today, as ironic as it might be, the best news of all may well come from Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report. How often does that happen?!...

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

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GUEST: ACLU voting rights attorney Julie Ebenstein
PLUS: All of today's grim breaking news to remind us why voting matters...
By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2015 5:52pm PT  

We start today's BradCast with the grim news of yet another mass shooting, this time in Oregon, and a massive storm bearing down on the U.S. East Coast.

As too-occasional BRAD BLOG contributor D.R. Tucker noted: "We have a superstorm on the East Coast brought to us by a problem right-wingers refuse to acknowledge, followed by another massive school shooting caused by a problem right-wingers refuse to do anything about."

But we can do something about it. We can vote those folks out of office. But, of course, only if we're allowed to vote.

Today we discuss two states, specifically (and a few more, generally) controlled by Republicans where they are making it much more difficult for many of their voters to vote. First, the state of Alabama has announced it will shut down 31 DMV offices, after the state's new Photo ID voting restriction just went into effect last year. You'll be shocked to learn that the closures disproportionately affect voters in the state's "Black Belt", including the closure of offices in "Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters."

Then, in Iowa, we look at the ongoing legal challenge to the more than 100,000 former felons who have fully completed their sentences, but are being kept from voting for life by one man: the state's Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who, by executive order, has rolled back Iowa's previous policy that had automatically restored voting rights to former, non-violent felons.

ACLU Voting Rights attorney Julie Ebenstein, who spent years fighting similar voter suppression tactics by Republicans in Florida, joins us on today's program to discuss the latest legal battle(s) for the right to vote in the Hawkeye State (and elsewhere).

"It's shameful the way that we treat our fellow citizens because of a prior conviction, sometimes decades ago," Ebenstein tells me. "The confluence of over-criminalization, mass incarceration, and the ongoing collateral consequences of that --- which is disenfranchisement, sometimes for life --- is something that really rips at our democracy."

It is shameful. As Think Progress noted earlier this year, "in the 2008 election, 5.3 million Americans, or one in 40 adults, were unable to vote due to a felony conviction, according to the Sentencing Project." But, as bad as that is, it's even worse for African Americans. "Nationally, 2.2 million --- or one in every 13 --- black adults is disenfranchised."

And as bad as that is, Ebenstein explains, it's even worse in Florida which, she notes, "like Iowa, has a lifetime ban on voting for people who have committed a felony. And, as a result of that, there's over 1.5 million citizens in Florida who are disenfranchised. So that's about 10 per cent of the voting population --- 1 in 5 African-American men in Florida --- who remain disenfranchised."

Also today: Oklahoma halts all scheduled executions indefinitely following the state's latest death penalty disaster. And a quick look at Bernie Sanders' rather extraordinary fund-raising operation, built on small donations from the Internet, as the independent Vermont Senator almost outraised Hillary Clinton in the third quarter of 2015.

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

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Guest: Timothy O'Connor of the Environmental Defense Fund...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2015 5:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the facts behind the insanely deceptive political ads blanketing the airwaves in California claiming the state will soon start "rationing gas" and "penalize and fine us if we drive too much or use too much gas".

Attorney Timothy O'Connor, Director of the Environmental Defense Fund's California Climate Initiative joins us to explain the absurd Big Oil-funded DontTakeMyGas.org campaign. You'll be shocked to learn that it's sponsored, to the tune of millions of dollars, by the scam artists of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) in hopes of blocking the state's proposed landmark effort (SB-350) to cut petroleum use by 50% by 2030.

"If other states see California --- the nation's leader in gasoline use --- cutting its consumption and its spending," O'Connor tells me, "I think they're going to want some of that for themselves. And that's where I think WSPA really wants to stop this snowball from growing and taking hold, and really rolling into something pretty big nationally."

Also today: Dick Cheney lies again, this time on the Iran Deal; More follow-up on the anti-gay KY County Clerk; And listener calls on all of the above!...

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

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