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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, September 2, 2015
KY Clerk Defying SCOTUS, Refusing to Issue Marriage Licenses: 'BradCast' 9/1/15
Guest Joe Dunman, attorney for couples challenging County Clerk Kim Davis: 'Imagine a Muslim clerk denying licenses to Christians'...
'Green News Report' 9/1/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Obama makes case for climate action in melting Arctic; 2015 hurricane season breaking records; Huge e-car news; PLUS: RWers go nuts after nation's tallest mountain renamed...
Previous GNRs: 8/27/15 - 8/25/15 - Archives...
'Voting Machines Are Being Manipulated' - KS Statistician: 'BradCast' 8/31/15
Beth Clarkson explains remarkable allegations, evidence, and how KS SoS Kobach is blocking attempt to audit touch-screen patterns favoring GOP | Also: 64 criminal counts for NM SoS...
O'Malley Slams DNC's 'Rigged' Nomination Process
Former MD Governor and 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate excoriates party's announced debate schedule (and more) at DNC Summer Meeting in Minneapolis..
Sunday Toons: 'Concerns Perhaps Overblown' Edition
...Then again, perhaps not. 'PDiddie' rounds up the political cartoonists take on what you need to worry about this week...and what you don't...
10 Years Later - Crawford and Katrina: 'BradCast' 8/28/15
Personal remembrances and audio from our on-air, on-the-ground 2005 coverage of Cindy Sheehan's anti-war uprising at the Bush 'ranch' in TX as Hurricane Katrina stormed ashore...
'A Crazy Man Got a Gun': 'BradCast' 8/27/15
Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
'Green News Report' 8/27/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th anniv. of Hurricane Katrina; NASA warns 3 ft. of sea level rise now locked in; Obama heads to the Arctic; PLUS: Switch to clean energy costs less than fossil fuel, says Citigroup...
Previous GNRs: 8/25/15 - 8/20/15 - Archives...
Let's Go to the Phones: 'BradCast' 8/26/15
Covering a lot of ground with listener callers -- from the on-air shootings in Roanoke, VA to why Democrats shouldn't be so gleeful about Donald Trump -- and much more...
Carly's Climate Clap-Trap or The Fiorina Follies:
'BradCast' 8/25/15
Journalist David Roberts on the 'moderate', 'reasonable' GOP candidate's ridiculous climate comments and Citigroup's global warming report. Plus: Beck, Trump and Sanders...
'Green News Report' 8/25/15
July 2015 hottest month ever recorded; Record wildfires get worse; Whale deaths in WA; Oil hit hard by China; PLUS: Obama calls out anti-free market ideology...
TX Photo ID Law Found Illegal, Yet Still Suppressing Voters: 'BradCast' 8/24/15
Guests: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on TX' discriminatory law; Financial journalist David Dayen on Dow 'crash'...
Sunday Toons, Untrustworthy Edition
Hillary's email; Ashley Madison's mess; Subway's Jared; Schumer's shame; Amazon agonistes; Trump's tyranny and more...
E-Cigs Are Good For You; GOP is Not: 'BradCast' 8/21/15
Also: Bernie Sanders & ignoring corporate media are good for you too...
5th Circuit Photo ID Ruling Could Leave Thousands Without Right to Vote in TX
'Good news' decision could leave 600k lawfully registered voters disenfranchised in 2016...
'No Good Evidence' Russia Behind MH17 Shootdown in Ukraine, Says Longtime CIA Analyst: 'BradCast' 8/20/15
Exclusive interview with 27-year, top CIA vet turned peace activist Ray McGovern...
'Green News Report' 8/20/15
Fox now 'cares' about environment; Hillary opposes Arctic drilling; EPA rules cut methane; Islamic leaders call for climate action; PLUS: River toxins and intersex fish...
Did KXL Judges Profit Off Ruling?:
'BradCast' 8/19/15
Journalist Steve Horn on two judges who allowed disturbing precedent that led to completion and opening of Kestone XL pipeline's southern leg...
AT&T/NSA Whistleblower Mark Klein on New AT&T/NSA Docs: 'BradCast' 8/18/15
'They approached the phone companies before 9/11,' he says, citing new Snowden disclosures that 'vindicate' his own 2006 revelations...
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: Diann Rust-Tierney of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2015 4:39pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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: Computer security expert Michael Gregg
Plus (speaking of hacks): 'Paper of record' keeps digging & Gullible global warming trolls...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2015 4:14pm PT  

While we have, for more than a decade, covered the extreme vulnerabilities of voting machines and electronic tabulators and broken numerous exclusive stories about it on both The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast, my guest on today's show offers a number of additional ways --- some of which had largely never even occurred --- by which bad actors could disrupt U.S. elections.

Michael Gregg, IT security expert and COO of the private, Houston-based computer security firm, Superior Solutions wrote about some of those concerns recently at Huffington Post. He joins me today to discuss several of the ways that U.S. democracy could be disrupted by political hacktivists, election insiders or even foreign entities and how we might not ever even know about it if they did --- thanks to the type of electronic voting systems we now use in all 50 states and the different ways in which the public is now being blocked from overseeing our own elections and election results.

"Attackers could potentially get in and do these things and it would be very hard to prove. The scary part is, by the time any of this is worked out, the election is over with, so it's too late," he tells me. I ask him how elected officials in his home state of Texas --- much of which forces voters to use 100% unverifiable electronic voting systems --- react when he points out these concerns. "We've brought that up multiple times, but that seems to be the powers that be, how they want to do things."

Gregg, who I've never spoken to previously, concludes, as I have, that paper ballots (hand-marked and hand-counted, in my case) are the most secure way to run elections. "I agree with you 100%," he says. "If you have a paper-based system, it's very very hard to attack, it's very much easier to be able to detect those types of things."

As to Internet Voting, well, you'll want to tune in for this computer security professional's opinion on whether or not the Internet can ever be secure enough to use for the most important aspect of our representative democracy.

Also today: New York Times digs deeper still on their inaccurate Hillary Clinton reporting (as we covered in great detail on yesterday's show); Incurious global warming trolls fall, once again, for the old "Earth is cooling" scam; The racist Charleston, SC church shooter pleads "not guilty"; And Shell Oil evades activists to try and begin drilling in the Arctic...

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Guest: Former AZ state legislator Ted Downing...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2015 4:19pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl...
By Brad Friedman on 5/28/2015 5:33pm PT  

Nebraska does it again! The majority-GOP state legislature overrides yet another veto by the state's GOP governor to do the right thing yet again, this time to allow the children of immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses. The latest move by Conservative legislators in the state comes on the heels of overriding vetoes and/or filibuster-proof majorities to protect voting rights, raise tax revenue to repair roads and bridges and ban the death penalty. (Today's news, by the way, was available last week to regular BradCast listeners, as it was hinted at quite directly on our show at the time by my guest that day, Republican state Sen. Al Davis.)

In the meantime, my guest on today's The BradCast is Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices John Motl. He explains the state's latest disturbing court battle to retain their long-standing caps on campaign donations. As noted during the show, this case could very well end up at the U.S. Supreme Court and serve to remove all caps on donations to candidates across the country. So it's very important. This in a state which recently saw SCOTUS gut it's 100-year old prohibition on corporate campaign spending (the Corrupt Practices Act of 1912) in the wake of Citizens United.

"We fully understand we are standing in on behalf of the average person," Motl tells me. "We're not standing here on behalf of the large moneyed interests. And we're willing to take that burden on." He adds that he's confident they will win this case. "If there's justice, we will prevail." I'm not quite as confident as he is, to be frank. Pay attention to this case.

Plus: An amusing new RW conspiracy theory, of sorts; Saudi Arabia's oil minister says we may be nearing the end of fossil fuels(!); and extreme weather ravishing the nation and the world on the latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen...

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Guest: Journalist, playwright Aurin Squire...
By Brad Friedman on 5/27/2015 4:36pm PT  

As the corporate media continues to smear and/or ignore and/or marginalize Bernie Sanders' candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination, we're happy to play extended excerpts from Tuesday's massive kick-off rally in Burlington, VT on today's BradCast. You're welcome, Politico and "everyday Americans" everywhere!

Then, I was joined by journalist and playwright Aurin Squire to discuss his recent TPM essay on "Biker Gangs, Tamir Rice, And The Rise Of White Fragility". Squire raises a number of important issues in his piece concerning how so many in the nation's white, male, privileged power structure seem to be desperately trying to cling to control they think they are losing. In the meantime, they are voting against their own best interests, even as they try to restrict the rights of "the others".

Plus: Breaking news on the bipartisan Nebraska state legislature successfully overriding their GOP Governor's veto to abolish the death penalty once and for all; three new GOP candidates set to get into the 2016 race; and John Boehner's latest, ridiculous dog whistles...

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Plus: Siegelman's appeal rejected; Jeb still rewriting Iraq history; MORE...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2015 5:21pm PT  

After a bunch of breaking news on The BradCast today --- out of Baltimore, on Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL)'s rejected criminal appeal, on Jeb Bush's latest easily disprovable nonsense in hopes to rewriting Iraq and his brother's criminal culpability in it --- I was delighted to move on to some very encouraging news out of Nebraska.

On Wednesday, in Nebraska's unique, non-partisan unicameral state Senate, Republicans and Democrats voted --- with a "veto proof majority" --- to end the use of the death penalty in the state. The move, in the pretty deeply Republican state, seems to have shocked many, particularly with the state's Republican Governor having just announced his purchase of a a new batch of drugs to kill people with...from a very questionable source.

State Sen. Al Davis (R-District 43), one of those who voted to end the state's immoral killing of prisoners, joined me on today's show to explain why he voted as he did (on this matter and in the recent bipartisan rejection of a polling place Photo ID voting restriction); whether he believes the "veto proof" majority on the death penalty ban will hold at this point; why the state's unicameral, non-partisan chamber seems to result in common sense alliances rarely seen elsewhere across our dysfunctional partisan landscape; and what other surprising moves (yes, increased taxes and more!) may soon come out of the majority Republican statehouse.

All of that today, along with a thought on David Letterman's departure and Desi Doyen with the latest, very oily, Green News Report...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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GUEST: Environmental journalist Peter Dykstra...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2015 5:44pm PT  

With Jeb Bush's disastrous week of blunders concerning the Iraq War, the GOP and its 2016 candidates are now desperately trying to rewrite the history of this nation's greatest foreign policy debacle by claiming that the "intelligence was faulty". It wasn't. Their memory, however, may conveniently be.

On today's BradCast, we set the story straight, again, on what really happened when George W. Bush sent the country to war based on known lies.

Plus, environmental journalist from EHN.org and CNN's former executive producer of their Science and Technology division (until they disbanded the division) Peter Dykstra joins us to discuss his new article on how environmentalists would be wise to learn from our nation's history of civil rights battles. "Want to change the future?," says Dykstra, "pay attention to the past." Good advice all around today.

Also, Boston Marathon bomber sentenced to death; Philadelphia Amtrak disaster underscores U.S. failure; the passing of blues legend B.B. King and more on today's BradCast...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2015 4:29pm PT  

When will those butchers of ISIS and al-Qaeda learn how to treat others with peace, respect and dignity so that they can be welcomed into the world of civilized nations like our long time ally Saudi Arabia?...

Gruesome footage circulating on social media shows Saudi authorities publicly beheading a woman in the holy city of Mecca earlier this week. The execution is the tenth to be carried out in country in the last two weeks; setting 2015 up to be even more bloody than last year, when 87 people were punitively killed by the state.

Rare video of Monday's killing shows the woman, a Burmese resident named as Lalia Bint Abdul Muttablib Basim, screaming while being dragged along the street. Four police officers then hold the woman down before a sword-wielding man slices her head off, using three blows to complete the act.

In the chilling recording, Bashim, who was found guilty in a Saudi Sharia court of sexually abusing and murdering her seven-year-old step-daughter, is heard protesting her innocence until the very end. "I did not kill. I did not kill," she screams repeatedly.

[Ed Note: The original story at Vice links to a YouTube video of the beheading. We chose not to include that link in the above quoted text.]

The United States' long time friend Saudi Arabia, the world's second biggest oil producer (after Russia), and purchaser of the largest U.S. arms sale in American history (in 2010), has also made headlines of late for, as Vice's Harriet Salem describes it in the same article, "the public flogging of Raif Badawi, a blogger and political activist who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a total of 1,000 lashings for a range of offenses, including insulting religious authorities."

Last year, Saudi Arabia introduced a series of new laws following uprisings in other Arab nations. They claimed the laws were in response to the threat of terrorism. The royal decree is said to have defined terrorism, reportedly, as "calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based". The favored nation, according to the UK's Independent, also identified "a broad list of groups which the government considers to be terrorist organisations --- including the Muslim Brotherhood."

A spokesman for Human Rights Watch at the time explained that "Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but these recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism."

But, of course, they're our friends. So, beheadings? Oppression in the name of religion? It's all good.

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GUEST: Attorney and BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 9/3/2014 9:24pm PT  

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman became the first federal judge since the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 Windsor decision to uphold a state marriage-equality ban. But it's hardly the first questionable ruling by Feldman.

On this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast I was joined by BradBlog.com's legal analyst Ernest A. Canning to discuss his 2010 call for Feldman's impeachment after his ruling that lifted the temporary federal moratorium on off-shore drilling following the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. Feldman, it turns out, failed to disclose his many conflicts of interest in the case or recuse himself at the time.

(And speaking of corrupt federal judges with lifetime appointments who need to be impeached immediately, please do not forget this one!)

I also talked with Ernie about his belief that Photo ID voting restrictions will be struck down by the federal court in Texas, and then at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Other issues also covered on this week's show: rape and murder convictions tossed out after 30 years for two NC men on death row, thanks to DNA evidence; the CA 'recount' reform bill blocked by state Republicans after the close election in state history; the new report finding Citizens United has directly resulted in more Republicans elected to office; and much more, including, as usual, Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report...

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/3/2014 7:04am PT  

I'm sure fans of the Death Penalty will be terribly disappointed to learn that these two men have had their convictions tossed after 30 years in jail and before they could be killed by the Government...

LUMBERTON, N.C. - A North Carolina judge overturned the convictions Tuesday of two men who have served 30 years in prison for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl after another man's DNA was recently discovered on evidence in the case.

Superior Court Judge Douglass Sasser ordered the immediate release of Henry McCollum, 50, and Leon Brown, 46. The half brothers were convicted in the 1983 slaying of Sabrina Buie in Robeson County.

Lawyers for the men petitioned for their release after DNA evidence from a cigarette butt recovered at the crime scene pointed to another man. That man, who lived close to the soybean field where the dead girl's body was found, is already serving a life sentence for a similar rape and murder that happened less than a month later.
...
Authorities said McCollum, who was 19 at the time, and Brown, who was 15, confessed to killing Buie.

Attorneys said both men have low IQs and their confessions were coerced after hours of questioning. There is no physical evidence connecting them to the crime.

Both were initially given death sentences, which were overturned. At a second trial, McCollum was again sent to death row, where he remains, while Brown was convicted of rape and sentenced to life.

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UPDATE 9/3/2014: Dahlia Lithwick at Slate offers more details on this case, and explains how U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia cited the case of McCollum, who we now know to be innocent, several times over the years in support of the Death Penalty.

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By Brad Friedman on 7/23/2014 10:17pm PT  

According to the first-hand account of the AP reporter/witness of Arizona's state-sanctioned killing of convicted murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood this afternoon:

Officials administered the lethal drugs at 1:52 p.m. Wood's eyes closed.

About 10 minutes later, the gasping began.

Wood's jaw dropped, his chest expanded, and he let out a gasp. The gasps repeated every five to 12 seconds. They went on and on, hundreds of times. An administrator checked on him a half-dozen times. He could be heard snoring loudly when an administrator turned on a microphone to inform the gallery that Wood was still sedated, despite the audible sounds.

As the episode dragged on, Wood's lawyers frantically drew up an emergency legal appeal, asking federal and state courts to step in and stop the execution.

"He has been gasping for more than an hour," the lawyers pleaded in their filings. "He is still alive."

The Arizona Supreme Court convened an impromptu telephone hearing with a defense lawyer and attorney for the state to decide what to do.

Wood took his last breath at 3:37 p.m. Twelve minutes later, Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles L. Ryan declared Wood dead. The state court was informed of the death while its hearing was underway.

It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time.

The spokesperson for the AZ Attorney General, however, was "surprised by how peaceful it was"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2014 9:50pm PT  

We covered too much on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast this week to go into great detail here, but the common thread seemed to be: Stamping out Zombie Myths.

In other words, those popular lies and deceptions that never seem to die on everything from e-cigs and vaping to the death penalty to Ann Coulter's voter fraud to Fox "News" propaganda on global warming and polling place Photo ID laws (too many of those to link here) to the fight for marriage-equality in Mississippi.

In other words, there was a lot packed in to this week's 58 minutes, including a lot of bullshit to dispel, a bunch of great callers, and even one who totally disagreed with me on e-cigs and children. That was fun.

Check it out. I think you'll enjoy it...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

* * *

P.S. During the show, a caller questioned the facts of a quote I read on air from a press release issued today by the Freedom to Marry organization, citing the first Mississippi mayor to call for marriage equality in the state. The quote in question was from the group's President Evan Wolfson, who said in the statement: "More same-sex couples are raising children in Mississippi than in any other state."

The caller, appropriately, challenged the veracity of the statement, and I promised I'd look into the details, since I had just received the release prior to air time and didn't have the details handy. Now I do. Here's where that claim comes from...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2014 1:03pm PT  

Just in, via HuffPo, a federal judge in California has ruled that the state's death penalty system violates the U.S. Constitution's restriction against "cruel and unusual punishments"...

U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney handed down an order Wednesday, finding that the system is arbitrary and in violation of the Constitution's 8th Amendment.

"California's death penalty system is so plagued by inordinate and unpredictable delay that the death sentence is actually carried out against only a trivial few of those sentenced to death," Carney writes. "For all practical purposes then, a sentence of death in California is a sentence of life imprisonment with the remote possibility of death --- a sentence no rational legislature or jury could ever impose."

Carney continues: "Inordinate and unpredictable delay... has resulted in a system in which arbitrary factors, rather than legitimate ones like the nature of the crime or the date of the death sentence, determine whether an individual will actually be executed. And it has resulted in a system that serves no penological purpose. Such a system is unconstitutional."

The story goes on to note that the judge also vacated petitioner Ernest Dwayne Jones' death sentence --- he had been convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die in 1995, and that "an analysis by the Los Angeles Times found that the state spent $308 million on each execution." That analysis underscores what critics of the death penalty have long pointed out, that the cost of killing prisoners far outpaces the cost to the state of keeping them imprisoned for life.

* * *

UPDATE: MSNBC's Adam Serwer notes that Judge Carney "was nominated to the federal bench in 2002 by President George W. Bush."

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By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2013 11:33am PT  

Before things turn too ugly this week, let's take a moment to flag four great progressive things --- arguably, four great conservative progressive things --- which all happened on Friday.

The first two items got a fair amount of notice, the second two, not so much. But since they all happened on the same day, and that day was Friday, when such stories tend to disappear all together, they are all worth briefly flagging here to make sure you're aware of them...

  • Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), a co-sponsor of the unconstitutional "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) in 1996, became the first sitting Republican Senator to come out in favor of marriage equality for all. It took him learning that he had a gay son two years ago before he was finally able to do the right thing, but we'll take what we can get. It's another in a string of victories and very encouraging signs for conservative progressivism, specifically the right of equal protection under the law for all.
  • The Maryland legislature voted to ban the inhumane, abhorrent, expensive, ineffective and unequally applied Death Penalty. They become the 6th state in as many years to do so, and the 18th state overall. As Governor Martin O'Malley (D) notes in an op-ed today: "Across our ever-more-closely connected world, the majority of public executions now take place in just seven countries: Iran. Iraq. The People’s Republic of China. North Korea. Saudi Arabia. Yemen. And the United States of America." This is another clear victory for those who believe in the Constitutional value of equal justice for all under the law and who hate Big Government --- the biggest --- allowing itself to kill its own citizens.
  • A federal court ruled that the use of so-called "National Security Letters" --- essentially, a warrantless statement from the FBI handed over to banks, libraries, phone companies, etc., demanding unlimited private information about a specific person for supposed "national security purposes" --- is unconstitutional. Specifically, the gag order on those banks, libraries, phone companies, etc., disallowing them from notifying the target about the intrusion on their privacy, is what the judge found in violation of the First Amendment. The case brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation(EFF). The use of these letters have been one of the most insidious and abused elements of the PATRIOT Act for a very long time, ever since its passage following 9/11. The court ruling is likely to be appealed by the DoJ, but the finding is, for now, a positive step in the right direction --- at least for those of us conservative progressives who give a damn about unwarranted search and seizure, freedom of speech, etc. AP notes that "the FBI made 16,511 national-security-letter requests for information regarding 7,201 people in 2011" alone.
  • A federal appeals court has re-instated a case filed by the ACLU arguing that the CIA must, at the very least, respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests concerning the use of the drone strikes. The FOIA requests in question had sought information on "the legal basis for carrying out targeted drone killings; any restrictions on those who may be targeted; any civilian casualties; any geographic limits on the program; the number of targeted killings that the agency has carried out; and the training, supervision, oversight, or discipline of drone operators." Even if the ACLU is ultimately victorious in this case, the CIA would not necessarily have to provide the information sought in those requests, but they would at least have to respond to them and state which responsive documents they may have and why they are not responding. The ACLU notes that the drone program "has already been responsible for the deaths of more than 4,000 people in an unknown number of countries."

After the two court rulings above on Friday, former Constitutional attorney and civil liberties champion Glenn Greenwald tweeted wryly: "Wow ... it's like we have a 3rd branch or something."

Much of this nation's government, all three branches, are largely stuck and broken in the muck and mire of partisan, corporate-sponsored quagmire or worse. So the fact that we had four important, not-horrible, arguably excellent things happen within that quagmire all on the same day on Friday are worth, at least, noting here for the record.

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