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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 29, 2016
AZ Primary Lawsuit Dismissed; 'Disappearing' Votes in DE?: 'BradCast' 4/28/16
Emily Levy on court ruling against Phoenix election complaint; DE State Election Commissioner on 4,000 'lost' Sanders votes...
'Green News Report' 4/28/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump goes nuclear over climate; CNN fossil fuel ads beat climate stories; VW docs reveal test fraud; Mitsubishi cheated fuel tests; PLUS: US city mandates solar for new buildings...
Previous GNRs: 4/21/16 - 4/26/16 - Archives...
Primary Landslides for Trump and Clinton and What's Next: 'BradCast' 4/27/16
Also: 'Serial child molester' Hastert sentenced; Encouraging green news; And listener calls...
Blowback in NC, Calls for Hand-Counts in NY:
'BradCast' 4/26/16
GOP operative turned gay rights activist Fred Karger on GOP anti-LGBT lawss; Why voters should support hand-count of NY Primary...
'Green News Report' 4/26/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
30 years after Chernobyl, new effort to contain it; Record signing of Paris Agreement; World Bank, IMF call for global price on carbon; PLUS: Solar plane goes halfway round world...
Previous GNRs: 4/21/16 - 4/19/16 - Archives...
Cruz, Kasich Join Forces and Some News That Actually Matters: 'BradCast' 4/25/16
With Salon's Amanda Marcotte on latest GOP 'conspiracy'; Plus: Paris Agreement signed; Mass shooting weekend; Thinking big...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
One unplanned Pulitzer Prize winner and a whole bunch of other worthy toons from the past week, as collected by 'PDiddie'...
'Gyrocopter Guy' Loses Voting Rights for Campaign Finance Protest: 'BradCast' 4/22/16
Guest Doug Hughes will go to jail, has 'no regrets'; Also: Former felons re-enfranchised in VA; NY election official suspended for purge...
Time to Open Our Nomination System to All Voters?: 'BradCast' 4/21/16
With John Opdycke of OpenPrimaries.org; Also: Prince dead at 57; 'Outrage' over Harriet Tubman; Paper ballots finally return to MD...
'Green News Report' 4/21/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Criminal charges in Flint; BP victims protest new drilling leases; Oil facility explosion kills 3 in Mexico; U.S. air pollution; PLUS: World leaders gather to sign Paris Agreement...
Previous GNRs: 4/19/16 - 4/14/16 - Archives...
NY Primary Results, Concerns, Investigations, Callers and More: 'BradCast' 4/20/16
Also: Accountability for Flint and VW, Tubman on the $20, and listener calls on latest state of the Democratic Presidential race...
NY Voting Probs (Real & Fake); MS Prison Industrial Scam: 'BradCast' 4/19/16
Separating fact from hoax in NY mess. Plus: Ryan Grim on 'conservative' budget nightmare down South...
'Green News Report' 4/19/16
Houston deluged w/ record rain; Hillary's plan to get lead out; World Bank warns world must stop new coal plants; PLUS: March 2016 was hottest on record...
Good News on Voting Rights; Concerns About NY Primary: 'BradCast' 4/18/16
Ernie Canning w/ Photo ID news in WI, TX; Plus: Ecuador quake; Hillary undermines 'Citizens United' fight...
U.S. Court Orders Fix to WI Photo ID Law
Overdue ruling by 7th Circuit Appeals Court may ease disenfranchisement for voters unable to vote under WI GOP's onerous restrictions...
Sunday Toons of the WTF Moment
We seem to be having quite a few 'WTF moments' in this country of late. 'PDiddie' rounds up a bunch of recent toons that may lead you to ask the same thing...
Brooklyn Brawl: Gloves Off at Clinton, Sanders' NY Debate: 'BradCast' 4/15/16
Peter B. Collins & Jackie Schechner join us to make sense of a raucous yet substantive debate!...
Unrigging the System: 'BradCast' 4/14/16
From money in politics to criminal injustice to voter suppression and beyond, how can the U.S. fix its broken systems of politics, elections and governance?...
'Green News Report' 4/14/16
Largest coal co. declares bankruptcy; Utility CEO foresees end to coal; GAO dings EPA; Sardine fishing banned again in West; PLUS: Ortho ends use of bee-killing pesticide...
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...


U.S. Supreme Court must quickly restore Lone Star State voting rights...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/11/2016 10:19am PT  

Unless either the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal or Supreme Court intervenes, more than 608,000 lawfully registered Texans, who were illegally disenfranchised during three successive elections (the General Elections in 2014 and 2015 and this year's Presidential Primary), are likely to again be barred from casting a vote in the November 2016 general election.

A disproportionate number of those who have been and may be deprived of a right that is, at least in part, supposedly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) are impoverished African-Americans and Hispanics.

The source of disenfranchisement is a Republican-sponsored polling place Photo ID law which state Democrats had spent years, and no small amount of effort (even life-endangering effort) attempting to oppose.

Republicans insist that such laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud. But, as detailed by the 2011 sworn Congressional testimony of Justin Levitt (then a Loyola Law Professor, now an Assistant U.S. Attorney), cases of in-person voter impersonation fraud --- the only type of voter fraud that can be prevented by polling place Photo ID restrictions --- are extraordinarily rare: nine possible cases out of more than 400 million votes cast. "Americans are struck and killed by lightening more often," Levitt observed.

Later, in a 2014 update to his comprehensive investigation of all existing reports "voter fraud" in the U.S. over the 14 preceding years, Levitt announced evidence of just 31 cases of the type of voter fraud that might have been deterred by Photo ID restrictions out of more than 1 billion votes cast since the year 2000.

Claims of this type of "voter fraud," according to the renowned, Reagan-appointed 7th Circuit jurist, Richard Posner, are but "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government"...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

Posner's comments came in a federal Wisconsin case where a deeply flawed and extraordinarily partisan panel decision resulted in electoral chaos and the potential disenfranchisement of some 300,000 legally-registered Wisconsin voters during last week's Presidential Primary elections in the Badger State. That flawed decision, which upheld Wisconsin's Photo ID law as lawful, despite the trial court's very clear findings to the contrary, was allowed to stand because the full 7th Circuit Court was evenly divided (5-5) on the matter.

In Texas, however, a Republican state Attorney General has been permitted to enforce a Photo ID statute (SB-14) even after three federal courts unanimously determined that, at a minimum, the statute unlawfully violates rights guaranteed by the VRA. In Texas, mass disenfranchisement has been the product of an epic failure by our courts to uphold constitutional and statutory rights that every member of our judiciary has sworn to uphold and protect.

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court acts quickly, it could happen once again during the 2016 Presidential General election...

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




GUEST: Author, historian Prof. Harvey J. Kaye of Univ. of WI-Green Bay
PLUS: Crucial primaries in OH, IL, MO, NC and FL; Feb. heat records 'shock' scientists...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2016 4:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, while Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are busy smearing Bernie Sanders as "extreme" and even "communist", the broad and progressive social programs the Vermont Senator is calling for in his campaign are, as my guest explains today, as American as apple pie and Thomas Paine.

First, however, voters head to the polls for crucial Presidential primary elections in OH, IL, MO, NC and FL and run into a few problems; Massive flooding hits climate deniers in the south, shutting down major interstates and requiring the costly rescue of thousands in TX and LA; And, February global heat records "shock" even climate scientists.

Then, we're joined for today's interview by Univ. of Wisconsin-Green Bay Professor of Democracy and Justice Studies Harvey J. Kaye to discuss the rich history of social democracy (or, as Sanders calls it, "democratic socialism") in the U.S. and how, as noted in the headline of his article for Moyer's & Company, "Social Democracy is 100% American".

"Social democracy means that we harness the powers of democratic government to make American life freer, more equal and more democratic," he tells me. "That stands in contrast to a conservative approach, which is either to empower a hyper-individualism in the libertarian sense, or, as we've seen so often in the Republican Party, empowering big capital and corporations to pursue their interests with some idea that it will all trickle down."

Kaye, author of the books Thomas Paine and the Promise of America and The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great, details how "the original visionary of Social Democracy was the American revolutionary Thomas Paine," oft-embraced by the modern Tea Party and other Republicans, even as they fail to notice his loud and frequent calls for "social security and other public initiatives" that would benefit all.

From Paine through Lincoln through FDR, Eisenhower and beyond --- at least until Ronald Reagan --- U.S. leaders helped "pioneer" a vast number of landmark social programs akin to the ones Sanders is now calling for in his Presidential campaign and on which our nation has been built from the beginning. Kaye, a supporter of the Democratic underdog, explains how and why he believes that "democratic socialism" has been turned into a pejorative over the years, thanks to both "red-baiting" Republicans hoping to tie it "communism", but also thanks to Democrats who have been playing into the same "class war from above."

"The Republican onslaught has been predictable," Kaye says, after detailing example after example of wildly popular socialist programs in the U.S. ever since our founding and through recent decades. "The corporate class war from above was predictable. But where are the Democrats to challenge it?"

Fear of such programs of social justice and economic prosperity, particularly by theoretically "progressive" Democrats, is a fairly new phenomenon in the U.S., which, he tells me, young people may not realize. "These last forty years we have seen this Republican-conservative ascendance that has so limited political possibilities. It has also limited our political imagination."

Please tune in for today's fascinating conversation as we wait for, or become exasperated by, the corporate media reporting on "Super Duper Tuesday" results...

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

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GUEST: Investigative journalist, 'FOIA terrorist', Jason Leopold of VICE...
ALSO: Wingnuts hope to count dead Scalia's votes and Obama's terrible SCOTUS idea...
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2016 5:33pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, it's back to fighting about Gitmo, fighting about SCOTUS and celebrating a delightful birthday.

Seven years after his initial attempt to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, President Obama presented yet another plan to Congress in hopes of doing so on Tuesday. Investigative journalist and notorious "FOIA terrorist" (we explain on the show) Jason Leopold of VICE.com joins us to explain the new plan, its shortcomings and the political pushback against it from both Democrats and Republicans.

Leopold, who has covered the U.S. detention center there for years, and is just back from another visit, tells me how the law ties Obama's hands in one regard, even as it requires him to present a plan to close the controversial prison.

"When [Obama] signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law in December, there was language in the NDAA that said that no Defense Department funds can be used by the Administration to transfer any detainees to the United States. It cannot be used to construct any new facilities or upgrade any facilities even at Guantanamo." But, he adds, even though Congress tied his hands, they told him: "'Even though you're not allowed to do any of these things, we'd still like to see what your plan looks like.' That's essentially what Congress was saying. Democracy at work."

Leopold joins both lawmakers and human rights advocates in his critique of the new plan, even while acknowledging the legal morass, political football and, as Obama mentioned when releasing the plan, the "stain" that the entire issue has become for the U.S.

Also today: As I predicted just after Scalia's death almost two weeks ago, some Rightwingers are now pushing for Scalia's votes on cases he'd already heard to be counted, even though he is now dead and, as is sometimes the case, Justices change their opinions before they are finally handed down. The White House floats a terrible idea for a U.S. Supreme Court nomination. And the NYTimes editorial board, years after it should have, describes Republican U.S. Senate leaders as "twisted" for their "deranged" attempt to block any nominee by Obama to the high court.

Finally: Desi Doyen joins us on her birthday with the latest Green News Report (and requests you stop by here with a gift!) and we tease the "progressive radio legend" currently booked to join guest host Nicole Sandler on tomorrow's BradCast for GOP Debate coverage! :-)

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

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GUEST: Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2016 5:24pm PT  

The fallout from the sudden death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia continues on today's BradCast.

First, the GOP continues to coalesce around the unprecedented idea that President Obama should not be allowed to appoint Scalia's successor, though some key cracks in that radical position may be emerging in the U.S. Senate.

Constitutional law expert and Supreme Court historian and author Ian Millhiser joins us to discuss the extraordinary stance by Senate Republicans, how it could result in a Constitutional crisis on a number of levels, and how Scalia's death means that much of what we thought we knew about cases already heard, but where the Court's opinions have not yet been handed down, is all now upside down.

"What Scalia's death means, in a lot of these cases, is where it looked like there was a possibility of a sweeping conservative change to law, that just doesn't look like it's on the table anymore," Millhiser says, as we examine how Scalia's death has changed everything we thought we knew about a number of very big cases now before the court --- on everything from immigration to women's rights to union rights to Congressional redistricting, affirmative action, the environment and more.

Scalia's votes, Millhiser explains, on opinions that have yet to be handed down by the Court are now null and void. The result could be that several cases that looked very bad for Progressives may now have a much more favorable outcome. In others, however, if Republicans refuse to allow a Presidential nominee to move forward, splits in Circuit Court decisions across the country could occur, with the result of different applications of Constitutional rights depending on which jurisdiction you happen to live in and the "potential for considerable chaos" along with it.

As to the GOP deciding to act responsibly to help avert a number of these potential nightmares for the nation, Millhiser is not optimistic. "What the Republican caucus is doing right now is unprecedented. It's unprofessional," he tells me. "I could come up with a lot of other words for it that I'm not allowed to say on the radio."

"We find ourselves potentially at the beginning of a Constitutional crisis right now, because it's not like Republican Senators are likely to be any keener to approve someone to the Supreme Court if its Hillary Clinton's nominee or a Bernie Sanders' nominee. So we could be waiting a really long time."

"Chances are the country is going to be in the exact same position if Mitch McConnell is still the Majority Leader [next year]," he notes ominously, adding that as many as three other vacancies on the Court could occur during the next Presidency. "It's possible these seats could remain vacant for years."

"For years"?! Oy. All of that and much more on today's show, including Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report with a bit good news for a change!...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUESTS: Salon's Heather Digby Parton, The Nation's Joshua Holland...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2016 4:30pm PT  

As you may suspect, it's a very busy program on today's BradCast for some reason.

Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo and Joshua Holland of The Nation and the "Politics and Reality Radio" podcast join me for coverage of both the political (and perhaps Constitutional) earthquake following Saturday's sudden death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and for the insane Republican Presidential Debate that took place in the wake of that huge news just hours later.

We discuss the bombshell Scalia news and the unprecedented response from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who immediately vowed to keep President Obama from his Constitutional duty of nominating and appointing a new Justice --- with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate --- now that the appointment would serve to tip the balance of the Court 5 to 4 toward Democratic Presidential appointees.

Meanwhile, at the GOP debate in South Carolina shortly thereafter on Saturday night, every remaining Republican Presidential candidate called for Senate Republicans to block any nomination made by this President. And, as if that's not insane enough, the entire debate then quickly devolved into a remarkable Pro Wrestling-style shouting and name-calling spectacle which, frankly, left me --- as well as my guests today --- more than a bit gobsmacked and amused.

From the word "LIAR!" used dozens of times by several candidates to the 15-years late Republican debate over who to blame for 9/11 and the Iraq War(!), I think I'm fairly safe in saying we have never seen any Presidential debate like it.

As Ohio Gov. John Kasich said at one point during the madness on display Saturday night, just days before this weekend's GOP Primary in South Carolina (which will be run on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems): "I gotta tell ya, this is just crazy. This is just nuts. Jeezo, man."

Couldn't have said it better myself...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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After Court erred in nixing 2014 'advisory measure', lawmakers petition to have original initiative placed before voters this year...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/25/2016 8:35am PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




GUESTS: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; 2012 GOP candidate Fred Karger
By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2016 4:03pm PT  

Last night on the Fox Business Channel, nine lucky Republican Presidential candidates gathered to in South Carolina for a debate in hopes of taking down Donald Trump.

So, on today's BradCast, we try to make some sense of it all. Wish us luck!

I'm joined today by our returning champions, Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo blog and Fred Karger, former longtime GOP political consultant and 2012 GOP Presidential candidate (the first openly gay candidate from either major party).

And, of course, we offer you some of the smartest (and, occasionally, snarkiest) post-debate analysis and insight you'll find anywhere, as Trump and Cruz (and a few other folks) face off just two weeks before the first votes of 2016 are finally cast and, maybe, counted in Iowa...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GUEST: Author and Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2015 6:13pm PT  

What a week. On today's BradCast (audio link below), Republican legislators and Presidential candidates continue their demonization of Muslims and refugees from war-torn Syria and we pause from their madness to shed some light on a disturbing new scheme to block Democratic policymaking altogether.

First, with an unabashed rejection of facts (and reality and history), Republicans from the state level to the Presidential candidate level put forward stunning new rejections of the nation's values. From the high-ranking GOP lawmaker in Tennessee who wants to use the National Guard to round-up and deport Syrian refugees in his state, to Donald Trump's disturbingly Nazi-like call to force all Muslims to register as such with the federal government, we reach new, shameful lows following the Paris attacks one week ago today.

Also of note: CNN's remarkable double standard in suspending a reporter for expressing sympathy for refugees. (Here's that Don Lemon/CC item I mentioned from The BRAD BLOG in 2010.); And a precious few rays of light from one GOP Congressman (at least for one courageous moment) and then from Stephen Colbert.

Finally, even as that shameful "debate" bottoms out, rightwing schemes to further cripple the ability for Democrats to govern at all on the federal level continue. 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 his disturbing observations from this year's annual gathering of the Federalist Society.

As reported in his recent article, "The Little-Noticed Conservative Plan To Permanently Lock Democrats Out Of Policymaking", Millhiser explains the rightwing group's broad new efforts to attack rule-making by federal agencies. He tells me how the group is now trying to "permanently hobble not just the federal rule-making process but the federal law-making process" itself.

"What groups like the Federalist Society are pushing," he charges, "is ways to change the fact that elections matter. To make it so that they can permanently put into place structures --- whether it's declaring something unconstitutional, whether it's changing the balance of power between the various branches of government --- they're looking to permanently put in place structures to make sure that only conservative policies can go into effect."

"The basic idea is to shut down the agency's power to regulate," Millhiser tells me. "Between gerrymandering and so many other factors, it's so difficult for Democrats to take the House [even when they win a majority of votes]. If they [the Federalist Society] can prevent [federal] agencies from regulating, then that means that, well, Democrats might be able to take the Presidency but they won't be able to do anything with it when they have it. It effectively shuts the Democrats out of the policy-making process even when they win the Presidential election."

That idea, he explains, absolutely dominated the group's recent gathering and it's one they hope to implement "by any means necessary", whether in Congress or, more disturbingly, through judicial activism on the federal bench.

While four Supreme Court Justices (Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and Alito) are already dedicated Federalist Society members, "the big scary," he reminds us, "is that there are four Supreme Court justices who are likely to retire in the next 5 or 6 years. So if the next President gets to replace four Justices, there's going to be a massive shift in the law. If that next President appoints four very conservative Justices in the vein of Justice Samuel Alito, then whatever agenda the Federalist Society wants to be able to enact in this phase, they're just going to enact it in the Court."

Please take note. And please listen to the full, disturbing conversation on today's BradCast.

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

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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: Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2015 5:28pm PT  

Last week at the Center for Media and Democracy, their general counsel Brendan Fischer warned "Darkness descends upon Wisconsin." Today, on The BradCast, Fischer joins me to explain the three new pieces of legislation being quickly rammed through the Republican-dominated state legislature in the Badger State, which, taken together, are set to serve an unprecedented blow to transparency, elections, and democracy. (Audio link to complete show follows below.)

Formerly, one of the most transparent states for election oversight and the ability to either prevent corruption or, at least, discover it and hold those accountable for it after it is found, WI is now set to become the very opposite unless something happens to prevent this full package of election reform bills from being enacted. Yes. Darkness descends upon Wisconsin and, frankly, the rest of the nation if these laws are all passed and signed by Gov. Scott Walker (R-Koch) expected.

One of the bills has already been adopted by the legislature and was hastily signed over the weekend by Walker. That one bars state prosecutors from investigating political corruption under the state's "John Doe" provisions. A WI John Doe investigation is akin to a grand jury process, but allows prosecutors to carry out criminal probes under the auspices of a state court. Such investigations in the past, for example, resulted in the conviction of six top aides and allies to Walker. A more recent John Doe probe into illegal campaign coordination between the Governor and his Koch Brothers-funded allies during the 2012 recall elections in WI, was shut down earlier this year by the same state Supreme Court justices elected and funded by those very same Koch Brothers-funded groups who stand to benefit from this entire package of "reform".

The other two bills were passed in the Assembly last week and are now pending in the state Senate. One replaces the state's non-partisan Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) --- the commission of retired judges convened to oversees state elections following a massive campaign finance scandal by both Dems and Republicans (uncovered by a John Doe probe!) back in 2007 --- with a new commission of partisan appointees modeled after (incredibly enough!) the entirely broken Federal Elections Commission!

Finally, saving the worst for last: The last of these three bills would allow unlimited undisclosed financing of political groups and campaigns in Wisconsin, as well as allow the millionaire and billionaire funders of those campaigns to remain completely secret to everyone but the candidate whose campaigns the funders would be supporting with unlimited cash payments!

"This is not something that voters in Wisconsin are calling for, neither Republicans nor Democrats," Fischer explains. "The only groups lobbying in favor of these three bills are the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity and other organizations with deep ties to Americans for Prosperity and Koch-tied groups. It's almost like a wish list of the Koch Brothers or other wealthy billionaires who want even more influence in elections."

"It's going to allow unlimited money from billionaires and corporations to political parties and legislative leaders. It's going to allow unlimited coordination between candidates and dark money groups," he tells me. "The implication of that is a candidate could form a non-profit group --- even have it operated out of its campaign headquarters --- and politicians can say to donors: 'Give to this dark money group I am working with. You can give as much as you want.' It can come from anywhere. It can come from Koch Industries corporate treasury. The money could even come from foreigners and the politician is going to know where the money is coming but the public will not."

And, of course, the existing non-partisan commission meant to oversee elections won't be able to block it (because they likely will not exist) and if there is anything left that is still illegal in such campaigns, state prosecutors will have much of their ability taken from them to be able to investigate it. It's a breathtaking set of reforms that, arguably, makes Walker's gutting of collective bargaining back in 2010 look like child's play. And all of this legislation and its provisions are being watched very closely by the GOP nationally, as this gutting of democracy is exactly what the party now hopes to see in every state, as well as at the federal level. Citizens United was not even the beginning of their scheming to undermine fairness and transparency in elections and campaigns.

Fischer goes on to note that, "with rightwing Republicans in control of a lot of state legislatures," similar "reform" is likely to be pushed forward elsewhere after it takes effect in WI, "even though it's not voters who are calling for it."

Please listen to today's program and pass it along to others! This matter needs a lot more national attention than it is currently receiving!

Also on today's program: Death and destruction over the weekend from Oklahoma to British Columbia to Pakistan and Afghanistan, even as Mexico and the U.S. may have dodged a bullet, of sorts, after the most powerful hurricane on record barreled ashore as a Category 5 storm.

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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State Rep's admission of plot to oust African-American U.S. Congresswoman comes on eve of landmark Supreme Court hearing...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/9/2015 9:05am PT  

It is rather remarkable what one can learn when the presumed private remarks uttered by Republicans and their oligarchic benefactors are captured on secretly recorded audio and videotapes.

Four years ago, Brad Friedman revealed the secretly recorded audiotapes from a Koch Brothers Summer Seminar that captured Charles Koch's "mother of all wars" remark and David Koch's introduction in which he described keynote speaker, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) as his "kind of guy." This was followed by a bombshell in the form of a secretly recorded video that captured Mitt Romney's "46%" remark that the GOP Presidential nominee erroneously believed would be heard only by a group of well-heeled donors.

Now comes a new, secretly recorded audiotape, published by Politico and, subsequently included as part of an in-depth analysis provided by News One. The audio captures Florida Republican state Rep. Janet Adkins at a meeting with the North Florida GOP, plotting to dilute minority representation at the polls by deliberately redrawing Florida's 5th Congressional District so as to include some 18 prisons, disproportionately populated by African-Americans who are ineligible to vote.

Adkins, who is white, described the scheme as the "perfect storm." She explained that if the district was redrawn in this way it would enable Florida Republicans to oust the 12-term, African-American incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown. "You draw [the district] in such a fashion so perhaps, a majority, or maybe not a majority, but a number of them will live in the prisons, thereby not being able to vote," Adkins is heard explaining on the recording, after making sure that all the reporters had left the room. (When interviewed by News One, Brown noted that, in addition to the prison populations, there are approximately 6,000 felons living in the newly proposed district whose voting rights have not been restored by the state.)

The secretly recorded audio arrives at a very propitious moment...

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




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