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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, February 11, 2016
Study: 'Racial Resentment' at Heart of 'Tea Party':
'BradCast' 2/11/16
Guest: Sean McElwee of Demos; Also: Photo ID vote suppression in NH, elsewhere; OR standoff ends; CA gas leak finally stopped...
'Green News Report' 2/11/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Sanders slams Repubs for denial in NH; SCOTUS halts historic emissions standards; U.N. sets new emissions standards for airlines; PLUS: Record heat wave in the Arctic...
Previous GNRs: 2/9/16 - 2/4/16 - Archives...
Sanders and Trump Dominate NH Primaries; Satan Wins in Phoenix: 'BradCast' 2/10/16
Guest: Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser. Also: Federal court finds NC racially gerrymandered Congressional districts...
Before the Storm: Dirty Tricks, Voting Rights, Election Integrity and the NH Primary: 'BradCast' 2/9/16
Catching up with a LOT of news, and why voters in every state should be concerned...
'Green News Report' 2/9/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Clinton pushes action for Flint Water Crisis; Trump calls out GOP on eminent domain; Sanders fights to block new pipelines; PLUS: Obama proposes new oil tax...
Previous GNRs: 2/4/16 - 2/2/16 - Archives...
Rubio Short-Circuits, Cruz Keeps Lying, Trump Keeps Winning: 'BradCast' 2/8/16
GOP NH Debate coverage and analysis with Salon's Heather Digby Parton and Washington Monthly's Martin Longman...
Super Sunday Toons!
From the NFL's brain injury epidemic to the questionable brains of the 2016 candidates running for President (and more) in the moment before NH voters go to the primary polls...
'Progress' v. 'Revolution': Bernie and Hillary's Lively NH Debate: 'BradCast' 2/5/16
Coverage and analysis with KY civil rights attorney Joe Dunman and Crooks and Liars' Managing Editor Karoli Kuns...
Black Box Voting's Bev Harris on Iowa Caucus Mess, NH Concerns: 'BradCast' 2/4/16
ALSO: 'Hero of Democracy' Tom Courbat, In Memoriam...
'Green News Report' 2/4/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Dems keep pushing climate action, Repubs keep ignoring it; FL mayors slam Rubio on sea level rise; CA AG files suit over massive gas leak; PLUS: FBI launches Flint probe...
Previous GNRs: 2/2/16 - 1/28/16 - Archives...
FL Mayors Slam Rubio on Climate Flip-Flop; Cruz Accused of 'Fraud' in IA: 'BradCast' 2/3/16
Rising ire, rising tides. Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, FL joins us...
What the Hell Just Happened in Iowa?!: 'BradCast' 2/2/16
Concerned about missing votes, coin tosses, videos suggesting fraud? Caucus expert Prof. David P. Redlawsk explains it all (and more) for you...and me...
'Green News Report' 2/2/16
Cruz promises to kill all energy subsidies; Rubio was for climate action, before against it; Crashing oil prices blow hole in NC budget; PLUS: Bad and good news in CA...
Sanders on the 'Edge'? Really, NY Times?: 'BradCast' 2/1/16
Jim Naureckas of FAIR on corporate media's false balance; Plus: More Dem debates; Trump's Iowa faux pas; Leaker Petraeus gets another pass...
Sunday Toons of the Hawkeye State Moment
Documenting the moments before the Iowa Caucuses via PDiddie's weekly collection of political toons...
Microsoft's App at the Iowa Caucuses: 'BradCast' 1/28/16
Also, the latest on the Oregon 'Patriot' standoff with independent journalist Arun Gupta...
'Green News Report' 1/28/16
Dems focus on climate, energy in IA; FL mayors smack Rubio on climate; Flint stuck with bad pipes, water; Poor bear brunt of pollution; PLUS: Victory for coal miners...
Ernie on Bernie: 'BradCast' 1/27/16
BRAD BLOG legal analyst turned Vets for Bernie advisor Ernest A. Canning on Sanders' electability and much more; PLUS: New OR standoff news, GOP/Dem debate controversies, listener calls!...
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: Political science researcher Sean McElwee of Demos
ALSO: Disturbing Photo ID voter suppression in NH and elsewhere; OR militia standoff finally over; Massive Porter Ranch, CA natural gas leak finally stopped...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2016 4:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Breaking news out of Oregon and California, more disturbing voter suppression news out of New Hampshire and elsewhere and a new study finds hard evidence that "racial resentment" is central to the so-called "Tea Party" movement.

First up, the latest breaking news on the bizarre and bitter end of the Rightwing militia standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and the concurrent arrest of Nevada's scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy.

Next, more disturbing Photo ID voter suppression news out of New Hampshire and elsewhere, including a new paper out of UC-San Diego finding that strict Photo ID restrictions result in an alarming rate of suppressed Latino and African-American votes. In general elections, for example, based on examinations of some 50 elections in states both before and after implementation of polling place restrictions by GOP lawmakers, "states with strict photo ID laws show a Latino turnout 10.3 points lower than in states without them."

Then, after a brief throwback to the early days of the so-called "Tea Party" (our complete short documentary from 2009, Rise of the Tea Bags, can be enjoyed here), I'm joined by political science researcher Sean McElwee of Demos to discuss his new study, with Jason McDaniel, offering empirical evidence that it is not opposition to "Big Government" or concerns about the economy or spending or taxes that mainly drives those who identify as being sympathetic to the Tea Party --- it's racial resentment.

McElwee explains how his study controlled "for race, ethnicity, partisanship, ideology, income, education, gender, religiosity" and that "once you compare the various strengths of these variables, the one that ends up becoming really the overwhelming predictor of Tea Party identification is racial resentment."

"From the beginning," of the movement, he tells me, "what you're seeing is this sort of racially-coded rhetoric. So, right from the beginning, you have a very great explanation of conservative politics of the last 30 years --- which is plutocratic policies being wrapped up in racist rhetoric in order to benefit a plutocratic agenda. And you have a lot of white middle class and working class people who have bought into that agenda."

"What Fox [News] has done is taken that model and actually weaponized it, politicized it, and used it to attack policies that benefit the vast majority of Americans," McElwee argues, even as the Rightwing network's viewers have little clue how they are being played. "What we have in a lot of cases are people who are very frustrated about what is going on, but lack the political knowledge to actually understand the causal mechanism for how this bad thing is happening. And if you don't have that --- if you don't connect government policy to your lived experiences --- what you end up doing is saying 'I'm upset, I don't know why my life is bad'. And if someone tells you your life is bad because 'immigrants are taking your jobs', or 'the government is helping black people with your tax dollars', people are susceptible to that message."

McElwee goes on to explain how his research finds that many who previously identified with the Tea Party have now folded into the Trump campaign, even though the Republican 2016 front-runner has called for massive government programs and increased spending --- things that Tea Partiers previously decried. We also discuss much more, including whether hatred for Obama from the Right can be attributed to the fact that he is black or, simply, that he is a Democrat.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report and the breaking news out of Porter Ranch, CA that the month's long, massive methane gas leak there has finally been stopped...for now...

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: Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser
ALSO: Federal court finds NC racially gerrymandered Congressional districts...
By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2016 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we look at the huge (yooge?) victories for both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary elections, not to mention a victory for the devil in Arizona and for justice in North Carolina.

First, in New Hampshire, both Sanders and Trump each destroyed their competition by record margins. But also both Sanders and Trump absolutely dominated virtually every demographic in their respective parties. The victories served to reveal how the political party establishment and corporate U.S. media pundits continue to be radically out of touch with the American electorate and how the "electability" arguments that have been put forward concerning both candidates are finally being questioned.

Moreover, on the Republican side, the contest resulted in both Fiorina and Christie heading back to Palookaville, while Rubio sunk like a stone and the GOP establishment may have found their next new "savior" in Kasich.

Then, we're joined by Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser to discuss how a "Satanic Temple" trolled its way into killing the opening religious invocation long used by the City Council in Phoenix, AZ. Also, Millhiser explains a new federal court ruling finding that NC GOPers racially gerrymandered two Congressional districts in the key swing state.

"Finally! Satan gets a break in the United States!," Millhiser tells me in regard to the Phoenix story. He says that while the "satirical church" doesn't "actually worship the devil, they do believe that there shouldn't be these public displays of Christianity at City Council meetings." He describes their victory in Phoenix, as well as in other cities where the group has successfully "trolled" elected officials in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that has begun to collapse the nation's long-standing separation between church and state.

"The Roberts Court has started to tear down those walls that have existed for a really long time," Millhiser, author of the new book Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, tells me, before offering his best guess as to why the five conservative Justices on the Court are so "hostile to the notion of separating church and state."

Finally, Millhiser details the federal district court's redistricting ruling in NC --- what it will mean, how it may or may not affect the state's upcoming elections, how those hostile to minorities figured out long ago that they can use the slow pace of the U.S. Court system to game elections, and how doing so has suddenly become even easier following the Supreme Court's 2013 gutting of the key Voting Rights Act meant to prevent such schemes.

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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By Brad Friedman on 2/9/2016 4:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we catch up with a number of breaking items, as well as items from the last several days (while we were otherwise covering the GOP and Democratic debates), even as voters in New Hampshire finally head to the polls for the First-in-the-Nation primary today.

Among the stories we hit today, as we await the completely unverified results from NH tonight...

  • Democratic party officials "unilaterally" changed Iowa Caucus results;
  • Why nobody should simply 'trust' unverified computer-tallied results that will be reported in NH (or anywhere else);
  • How NH's new Photo ID voting restriction law could affect turnout;
  • Rubio-bot does it again;
  • Another mysterious Republican dirty trick in NH;
  • Jeb now wants to "eliminate" the Citizens United ruling;
  • Voting Rights restored to 40,000 in MD;
  • MD forced to ditch new touch-screen systems for paper ballots;

Plus much more --- including our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen!...

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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ALSO: 'Hero of Democracy' Tom Courbat, In Memoriam...
By Brad Friedman on 2/4/2016 5:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Des Moines Register joins the fray to declare "something smells" in Iowa's Democratic caucus results and procedures. Bev Harris of Black Box Voting joins us to examine the concerns about "caucus integrity" on both the Democratic and Republican sides --- what we know, what we don't, and what we should. [Link to the complete audio of the program is at the bottom of this article.]

With partisans on the Right and Left now charging, appropriately or not, that the caucuses were "stolen", and both the Register and Sanders' camp calling for state Democrats to release raw vote totals, Harris notes: "Really, the bottom line is, if they won't disclose stuff, then it smells. If they disclose it, everybody can see for themselves."

"People say, well, there's problems in every election," she continues. "My mantra is: That may be true, but let's see the problems. All I'm saying is let us see them, and let us address them. Most people I talk to --- even if they're very partisan --- they say, 'If I can see it and we lost fair and square, I will accept that.' It really ticks people off when you say, 'we won, and we aren't going to show you how.'"

I ask her about the (now infamous, for some reason) coin tosses, videos revealing chaos and/or miscounts at certain locations, charges that the election was "stolen" for Hillary Clinton and much more, including Donald Trump's charge that Ted Cruz "stole" the election from him and that it amounted to "voter fraud".

"They call everything voter fraud!," Harris tells me. "It's so odd! Even Trump is claiming that when one of the candidates spreads some gossip that wasn't true about another candidate, that that was voter fraud! How is this voter fraud? Can we just call it was it is, which is a problem with election integrity, or in some cases election tampering. But it's not about the voters. Why are we pointing fingers at the most idealistic level, the voters?"

We go on to discuss worries about the even less transparent New Hampshire Primary, where most of the state still uses the same Diebold paper ballot optical-scan computer systems to tally votes that were seen flipping a mock election in HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy. (Watch how it was done right here, and feel free to be concerned when the 100% unverified results are reported next Tuesday night.)

Among the recommendations Harris offers for those concerned about Election Integrity next week (and for the rest of the year, frankly): "One thing I think is really important --- is for people to get out their mobile phones, take a picture of the results at the polling place [at the end of the night] and they can text it to themselves, to a friend, put 'em on Facebook, Tweet it." She says that puts a timestamp on the graphic image of results as they were produced by computers at the precinct, which can later be compared to the results reported by the state on the web. "I think that's one thing that's pretty important this time. Just photograph the paperwork. It's not hard. Ship it off electronically somewhere, which will automatically timestamp it."

That's particularly important in places like New Hampshire where, she explains, the state "very quietly, and actually wrongfully, passed a law in 2003 so that we cannot go back and look at [paper ballots after the election] ... In New Hampshire, they put an amendment on an unrelated bill, the dark of night, and quietly said 'ballots are not a public record anymore'. So while they may say, 'we have ballots and anyone can look', that's not true. I tried."

Finally, we discuss another heartbreaking loss this week to the Election Integrity community. Last night, we lost Riverside County, California's longtime EI champion, Tom Courbat. A Vietnam-era vet stationed in South Korea, Tom heroically battled multiple myeloma related to Agent Orange exposure for years. As I note on today's show, I spoke with Tom on the phone several times throughout those years about EI issues, even when he was literally in the hospital receiving chemo therapy.

Tom appeared on air with me on a number of occasions over the years, and was often an important source for many blockbuster stories here at The BRAD BLOG. (For example, the 2006 discovery of the infamous "Yellow Button" on the back of Sequoia touch-screen systems that allow voters to cast as many votes as they like until physically restrained from doing so; the 2007 "hack" challenge to the cowardly Riverside County Board of Supervisors who fought in favor of 100% unverifiable voting systems; the blocked recount of CA's anti-GMO initiative, Prop 37, in 2013; And the 2013 law he successfully shepherded through the CA legislature to require that counties release election results in downloadable formats; Those are just some of the reasons why, in 2007, we called Tom a "Hero of Democracy" who is "one of many such quiet, and usually unrecognized, heroes around the country, to whom our nation owes a debt of gratitude which can never be adequately repaid.")

Rest in peace, my friend. You deserve it. I miss you already, but will always remain inspired by you...

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: Independent investigative journalist Arun Gupta...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2016 4:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We explain that new Microsoft app set to be used at the Iowa Caucuses and get the latest from Oregon following the arrest of the militant leaders (and the shooting death of one of them) at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. [Audio link to complete show is posted below...]

First up, independent investigative journalist Arun Gupta, who has been in Burns, Oregon over the past week covering the "Patriot Movement" standoff for Raw Story, joins us with the latest. He is dubious about the FBI's explanation for the killing of one of the leaders of the occupation; explains how the Rightwing protesters are "essentially wanting to overthrow the U.S. Government"; and how the treatment of the armed demonstrators differed from the treatment of Occupy Wall Street protesters, which he had also covered.

"There's a lot of anger out there around this," Gupta tells me. "There's a lot of anger about land management issues, about a lack of economic development, and there's a lot of extreme Rightwing groups --- many of them pretty racist, white supremacists --- that can take advantage of this. So I don't think we have seen the end of this."

Then, late news on the "debate debates" on both the Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle --- with veterans groups hitting Donald Trump for hiding behind them while pulling out of Thursday's Fox "News" debate and Bernie Sanders playing hardball over the addition of new debates on the Dem side.

Next, while we've been working on this story for a while, it seems that everyone today has noticed that Microsoft has created a free app --- two of them, actually --- for the Democratic and Republican parties to use to help tally votes in the first-in-the-nation caucuses in Iowa next Monday.

Now that the Sanders camp has become "suspicious of Microsoft's influence in the Iowa Caucus," as MSNBC reports it, a lot of folks have begun freaking out about the matter. "You’d have to ask yourself why they’d want to give something like that away for free," a Sanders spokesman is quoted as saying, even as both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns have created their own apps for tracking local results at caucus sites next week.

I explain what the Microsoft apps do and don't do --- for each of the parties --- and if they, or you, should be concerned about it...no matter which candidate that you may or may not support in either of the parties holding caucuses next week in the Hawkeye State.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Florida mayors calling out Marco Rubio for his climate change denial, an update on Flint and America's poor bearing the brunt of toxic pollution in the U.S., a win for coal miners in the fight against black lung disease, and much more in another busy BradCast today!...

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: Attorney, author, Vets for Bernie advisor Ernest A. Canning
PLUS: New news on Oregon standoff and both GOP and Dem debates; And listener calls!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2016 5:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we are live from KPFK/Pacifica Radio in Los Angeles with attorney, author, longtime BRAD BLOG legal analyst, Vietnam vet and now Senior Advisor to Veterans for Bernie, Ernest A. Canning.

First up, Canning updates us on California's statewide "Overturn Citizens United" initiative known as Prop 49. The 2014 "advisory measure" was removed from the ballot incorrectly by the state Supreme Court, which has now admitted as much. But the question remains how and if it will now be placed before voters during the 2016 general election. He explains the latest legal move by the state legislature on this front, and why Prop 49 matters to both California and the nation.

Then, it's Ernie on Bernie! What the 74-year old "democratic socialist" from Vermont stands for, why Canning, who has been writing about Sanders at LA Progressive of late, believes Sanders' policies are important to veterans, and a few thoughts on the old "electability" argument already being used (by Republicans and Democrats) against Sanders.

Plus: Listener calls on all of the above!

Also on today's busy show: A few updates on the news of last night's arrests of 8 leaders of the armed militia standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and the killing of one of its spokesmen; New news on this week's GOP debate on Fox "News" (which Trump now says he will boycott); The possibility of an added Democratic debate next week in New Hampshire; And, finally, the latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen...

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: Myrna Peréz of the Brennan Center for Justice
ALSO: Climate crisis v. Islamic extremism; A new Dem debate?; And the Election Integrity community loses a champion and key voice...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2016 5:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast, with the first Presidential caucuses and primaries of 2016 now just days away and the first mass voter suppression trial of the year now underway (in North Carolina), we look at a number of recommendations to improve our voting system. But is it too late to make much of a difference for 2016?

First up, some breaking news on the possibility of an added Democratic debate after the Iowa caucuses and before the New Hampshire primary, and some thoughts on the human cost of Climate Change-fueled extreme weather (over just the past month) versus Islamic terror attacks in the U.S. in the 15 years since 9/11.

Then, on to our conversation with Myrna Peréz of the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program to discuss her new report: Election Integrity: A Pro-Voter Agenda. The paper offers six important areas --- from voter registration to polling access to vote casting and counting --- where the U.S. system can and must improve its integrity without sacrificing security or access to the voting booth.

"It is possible to protect election integrity without disenfranchising eligible voters," Peréz writes in her report about the solutions she and the Brennan Center offer. "All target fraud risks as they actually exist. None will unduly disenfranchise those who have the right to vote."

As she explains to me today: "We are having is a very contested moment in time where the right to vote is being challenged in a way that we haven't seen in decades. We are seeing politicians trying to manipulate the rules of the game such that some people can participate and some people can't. And we have that butting up against states that have very restrictive budgets, and may not actually have the money or resources to make reforms that would even save money long-term, because they require an initial investment. That, coupled with infrastructure problems --- like we have been registering voters in a really out-of-date way for too long, and we haven't updated our voting machines --- are all colliding to produce a period of worry, where when voters step into the polls on Election Day in November, they're not going to be getting the best customer service for their tax dollars. And that they're not going to be voting in a way that's consistent with what the greatest democracy in the world should be doing."

"We tried to look at where there were opportunities to improve what we're doing, and actually study and address some of the concerns that folks are having," Peréz says. "And do it in a way that is sensible and thoughtful and common sense, in terms of making sure that the cure isn't worse than the disease. And make sure that we're not disenfranchising more people than we're trying to prevent from perpetuating fraud."

We discuss, among many things in our detailed conversation, the real threats to election integrity --- not "voter fraud" by individuals at the polling place, as vote suppressors on the Right would like you to believe, but far more often, and in a much larger way, by political and election insiders. "We need to make sure that our politicians, who are using our resources and our taxpayer dollars, are fixing a problem that is real and addressing it in the most cost-effective and efficient way."

Finally on today's show, a few words and memories in regard to the recent tragic loss of Wisconsin's John Washburn, an integral member of the U.S. Election Integrity community and a reliable and important source over the past decade to me here at BradBlog.com and on the radio, on e-voting in general and, in particular, on some of the nightmarish elections disasters in the Badger State over recent years. John was a great proponent of transparency, open government, proper testing of electronic voting systems and, frankly, one helluva guy. As noted in my more detailed In Memoriam on today's program, John's loss, at the age of 53, is a particularly tragic and costly one for the cause of democracy and free and fair elections in Wisconsin as well as the rest of the nation. We send our thoughts and best wishes to his family, including his wife and three children. His institutional knowledge, good humor and wit will be greatly missed in 2016 and beyond, but his good fight will continue.

(John's guest blog contributions to The BRAD BLOG are here. You can sort through some of his other contributions to our stories and radio programs over the years here. And much more documentation of his work on EI matters and more is still available at his personal website right here. UPDATE: John's family has requested remembrances be posted on this tribute page.)

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Hottest year ever; Palin and Trump; MI Gov. apologizes (sort of); OK turning 'blue'?!; Good news for KS voters; Listener calls; MORE!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2016 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast, live from the KPFK/Pacifica Radio studios in Los Angeles...

• NASA and NOAA announce that 2015 is, officially, the hottest year ever recorded on Planet Earth --- beating out the previous global heat record from 2014...by a mile. But, why worry?
• Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder apologizes for poisoning the people of Flint, but not for the tyranny.
• Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump in Iowa, but is then a no-show, as her son is arrested for domestic violence after punching his girlfriend, holding an AR-15 to his head and threatening to kill himself.
• Several new efforts for disclosure of "dark money" in our political system on the 6th anniversary of the infamous Citizens United decision.
• Oklahoma turning "blue"?
• KS Sec. of State and GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach loses in court again --- so voters win.

Plus: Listener calls on all of the above (and more) and Desi Doyen with the latest (very busy) Green News Report! Enjoy!...

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GUEST: Jon Schwarz of The Intercept on how Obama could implement campaign finance reform, on his own, immediately...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2016 5:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast...

First up: New polling shows Bernie Sanders surging in NH among Democrats and Gov. John Kasich --- yes, John Kasich --- surging to second place among Republicans in the state...if you believe those sorts of things. At the same time, during the GOP establishment's half-hearted search for an alternative to Cruz/Trump, the Republican Party appears to be plummeting in popularity during the course of the 2016 Primary cycle, even as actual Republican voters seem to be warming up to the idea of Trump as their party's nominee.

Then, a remarkable new study from Oxfam finds that the world's richest "62 people own the same wealth as half the world" (the planet's 3.5 billion poorest!) And, some of those 62 richest-people-on-the-planet --- like the Koch Brothers and the Walmart heirs --- are amongst the biggest spenders when it comes to attempts to buy our political system.

So, what can be done about that last part? Jon Schwarz, Senior Editor at The Intercept, joins me to discuss how, despite "eloquent" comments suggesting otherwise during his State of the Union address last week, President Obama could take executive action immediately, on his own, to help radically reduce the "dark money" in our electoral and political system.

"One thing that Obama absolutely can do, by himself, this afternoon, if he wants to, is sign an executive order placing requirements on federal contractors," Schwarz explains, describing other similar actions that the President has taken in the recent past concerning federal contracting. "He can do it and he's done it in the past. What he could do about money in politics now is issue an executive order saying that federal contractors have to disclose any dark money contributions that they're making."

"If he did that, that would cover about 70 percent of the biggest corporations," Schwarz tells me. "So, it would not force the disclosure of any and all dark money, but it would force disclosure of a great deal of that. And, as I say, he could do that this afternoon."

We discuss some of the reasons Obama has failed to do this, to date, despite his calls for campaign finance reform throughout his career and as recently as last week's SOTU --- even with so many calls from so many quarters to take this action. "Obama likes to say really great-sounding stuff about money in politics --- he's said it his whole Senate career, his whole Presidency --- but he's never done anything. It's really extraordinary."

Finally on today's show, a few words on last night's passing of The Eagle's Glenn Frey and the latest on the outrageous lead poisoning crisis in Flint, MI, caused by the tyranny (literally) of Gov. Rick Snyder (R)...

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GUESTS: Bernie advocate Jimmy Dore; Hillary advocate Hal Sparks!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2016 3:40pm PT  

Democrats held another 'secret' Presidential Debate over the weekend, but the DNC's effort to hide it from the public, yet again, hasn't kept us from full post-debate coverage and analysis on today's BradCast!

It was a very serious and substantive debate. Therefore, I've asked a couple of comedians to join me and Desi Doyen to help us make sense of it all! Incredibly enough, it is also the last scheduled debate before voters actually go to the polls and caucuses in Iowa and New Hampshire about two weeks from now to cast the very first votes of the 2016 cycle.

So, with all of that in mind, today, unlike on our debate coverage up until now on The BradCast, I've invited actual advocates for each of the two front-runners, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, to have it out and make their best case for their respective candidates.

Joining me on today's raucous, lively and occasionally very funny program...

• In support of Hillary Clinton: actor, comedian and radio broadcaster, the great Hal Sparks, formerly of E's Talk Soup, Showtime's Queer as Folk, currently of Disney XD's Lab Rats and the Hal Sparks Radio Program Mega-Worldwide on WCPT in Chicago!

• In support of Bernie Sanders: comedian, author of Your Country Is Just Not That Into You, host of The Jimmy Dore Show on KPFK and Pacifica Radio, and regular contributor for The Young Turks, the no-less great Jimmy Dore!

• In support of Martin O'Malley: Well, no one. But that doesn't mean we won't talk about him behind his back on today's hilarious, helpful and, hopefully, very insightful edition of The BradCast!

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GUEST: Election integrity expert Jim Soper
PLUS: Obama's Final SOTU, listener calls and more!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2016 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we expose a dangerous, deceptive new scheme to hoax California voters into allowing Internet Voting across the entire state. Plus, we discuss Obama's final State of the Union and take calls on all of the above.

First (after an official welcome to our newest affiliate --- the great am950 KTNF in Minnesota!), I explain the newly proposed California ballot initiative describing itself as the "Election Data Security & Military Ballot Access Act". The initiative is nothing of the sort. It is little more than a very well-financed and completely deceptive scam to force Internet Voting into the Golden State by describing it as something other than it is.

Rather than use the words "Internet Voting" or even "Internet" in any way, the 46-page initiative describes the proposed, dishonest new scheme as "electronically delivered vote-by-mail"!

Who's behind it? We still don't know. But it was submitted recently to the state Attorney General by the high-priced Sacramento law firm of Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP and needs to be, at the very least, retitled before it ends up on the state ballot.

This is important even if you don't live in California! When it comes to voting systems, what happens here (where we have the most electoral votes in the nation) is often adopted by states across the country!

Election Integrity expert and advocate Jim Soper of CountedAsCast.org and the CA Voting Rights Task Force, joins us from the state capitol building in Sacramento to discuss the deceptive initiative and a similar (if somewhat less deceptive) legislative initiative sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting (San Francisco). The latter, happily, was killed in committee today, Soper reports.

He explains why the ballot initiative is so misleading, why Internet Voting is a horrific idea --- as virtually every computer scientist and security expert has demonstrated over and again --- and asks listeners to contact the CA Attorney General by Thursday, when the comment period on the initiative is supposed to end.

Please ask AG Kamala Harris to change the title of this scammy initiative before allowing it to be circulated for signatures! Comments on the "Election Data Security & Military Ballot Access Act --- Version 2", Initiative No. 15-0118, may be left here. Alternately, you may email your comment to the AG's office here or snail mail to: CA Attorney General, ATTN: Initiative Coordinator, 1300 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

In the second part of today's show, we go on to cover last night's State of the Union Address, President Obama's last, including his call, once again, to correct our woeful electoral system.

Finally, we turn to listener calls --- and a lot of folks who want to talk about e-voting concerns --- before being joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, including disturbing news on the new regulatory scheme that has now forced solar companies out of sunny Nevada.

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GUEST: Mathematics professor John Allen Paulos of Temple University
PLUS: Sanders takes lead in IA and NH and why elections matters...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2016 5:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast, oil prices crash, Sanders surges in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the GOP tries to find an alternative to Trump, we're joined by the mathematician who says that the George W. Bush "Presidency" was his fault...sort of --- and we discuss why it all still matters today.

First up, Desi Doyen joins us to discuss the importance of and reasons for the plunging price of oil, which fell below $30/barrel today for the first time since 2003.

Next, new polling out of both Iowa and New Hampshire suggest the potential for very closes races, on both the D and R side of the aisle, this year. Bernie Sanders, who had been trailing Hillary Clinton in IA for months, has now overtaken her there, according to new numbers, and has increased his lead in NH over the woman still described by corporate media as "the Democratic front-runner". On the GOP side of the aisle, Trump retains his lead in NH, while IA tightens and the search for an "establishment" alternative takes a few surprising turns.

Then, speaking of close elections, we're joined by Dr. John Allen Paulos, professor of mathematics at Temple University to discuss the mother of all close elections, and why he believes his November 22, 2000 NYTimes op-ed helped lead directly to the U.S. Supreme Court stopping the ballot count in the Sunshine State, resulting in their (s)election of George W. Bush.

After I recount (pardon the pun), just some of the chicanery and still-unexplained anomalies that resulted in the exceedingly close tallies reported by Florida in 2000, Paulos, author of the New York Times best-seller, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences and, his latest, A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours, explains how he still "regrets" his mathematical analysis of the race at the time, which ended up being cited by the courts during the legal battle that eventually stopped the tally of paper ballots in Florida.

(For the record, yes, had Florida counted all of the ballots in the state at the time, as the Times reported on November 12, 2001 --- so you are forgiven, if you didn't notice --- Gore would likely have won the state, "no matter what standard was chosen to judge voter intent.")

"People talk about the 'Butterfly Effect' in dynamical systems [ed note: as opposed to the Butterflly Ballots in Palm Beach County, FL!], where tiny little initial differences lead to huge disparities down the road. This was, in a sense, a case where I was the little butterfly flapping its wings in South America leading, after many intermediate events, to a hurricane in New Orleans."

"In retrospect, obviously, I wish I hadn't done that," Paulos tells me about his op-ed, published 15 years ago last month, adding: "As a moral tiebreaker, Gore won almost half a million more votes nationwide. At the very least, they should have flipped a coin" and "Oh, yeah, they should have counted the ballots. That's what should have happened."

Finally, speaking of the consequences of elections and actually counting votes to determine the intent of voters, we conclude today's show by discussing how the George W. Bush administration allowed North Korea to obtain the atomic bombs that the rogue nation is once again using to threaten the world. Yes, more fallout from the disastrous Bush Administration, still affecting us today because we failed to count the voters' ballots.

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GUEST: Election integrity watchdog Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2016 5:49pm PT  

Last year ended with a number of voter database breaches --- from the Sanders/Clinton/DNC database kerfuffle to the discovery of the still-mysterious posting of some 191 million voter records online shortly thereafter.

But those concerns may pale in comparison to the fact that the nation is about to begin voting in Presidential primaries and caucuses using electronic voting systems and tabulators that have failed time and again, that remain vulnerable to both malfunction and malfeasance, and that are often impossible for the public to oversee in any meaningful way.

On today's BradCast: Welcome to Presidential Election 2016! Good luck! (We're gonna need it.)

Joining us to discuss the voter database breaches as well as concerns about election integrity and oversight in early caucus and primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and beyond is Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org.

Harris, the election integrity watchdog featured in HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy, has been investigating and writing about those voter database breaches lately, including a new one that has just been discovered concerning tens of millions of additional voter records.

While voter registration databases actually contain public information, she explains, there are restrictions on their use, and they are not supposed to simply be posted publicly for download. "This stuff is not secure. It'll probably never be secure," she warns. "One of the things I did was really research how many of the breaches have occurred over time, and it's a shocking number. You can't secure this stuff." As we discuss on today's program, that point is something to keep in mind when you hear advocates of Internet Voting systems (the next nightmare that some hope to force upon American democracy) claim otherwise.

We then step through the differing voting processes used in each of the early voting states, with Harris explaining that completely unverified and/or unverifiable e-voting and tabulation systems --- most of them hacked many times in the past --- will once again be in use in every state in the union. Yes, even where hand-marked paper ballots are used, almost all of those ballots are tabulated by unverified computer systems.

"I'm not at war with a machine," she explains. "I'm at war with no transparency. We have to be able to have some way to see and authenticate that count, before the ballots travel anywhere."

Harris tells me: "The key here is not that there will never be a mistake, or never be fraud. The key is that the public has a right to accountability. If you can catch it, and do something about it --- if you're vigilant enough and doing a patriotic duty of vigilance --- then that's the whole point. When you start saying, 'No, you can never see, you can never account for it,' then you have a problem."

We discuss how it was, in fact, public oversight of hand-counted paper ballots at GOP caucus sites in Iowa in 2012 which resulted in the correct results actually becoming known weeks later, long after the Republican Party misreported them on the night of the caucuses.

Transparency, however, is not quite as easy in other early voting states like New Hampshire (remember the unbelievably unverified mess there in 2008, when Hillary Clinton's victory defied even Exit Polls taken on the day of the Primary?) and, especially, South Carolina (remember the unknown Alvin Greene's 100% unverifiable and inexplicable victory in their 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate primary?)

"There's not just one magic wand you can wave, but there are things to at least force some accountability into it," Harris tells me, describing some of the ways election integrity advocates can try to force the issue a bit. Among her suggestions: "You can go [to the polling place at closing time] and snap a picture of what those [computer tabulated] results are with your cell phone and compare it with, at least, what they report" later on.

We cover a lot of ground in the conversation and I suspect we'll be discussing this issue with her, and others, a lot more as the election year moves forward. But today's show is a good place to begin.

Finally, speaking of warnings we keep trying to give you, Desi Doyen joins us for the very first Green News Report of the new year as El Niño --- turbo-charged by climate change --- ravaged the globe over the holidays and beyond...

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Guests: Move to Amend's David Cobb; EDF's Tim O'Connor
Guest Hosted by Nicole Sandler
By Nicole Sandler on 1/4/2016 2:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast, guest host Nicole Sandler of Radio or Not speaks with David Cobb from Move to Amend about their efforts to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

She also checks in with Tim O’Connor of the Environmental Defense Fund about the ongoing leak and toxic methane gas cloud hanging over Porter Ranch, just north of Los Angeles, and why this could be more dangerous than the Deepwater Horizon spill a few years back.

And the crazy militia people are at it again! (But Brad will finally be back tomorrow to discuss that and more!)

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GUEST: Dr. Joe Romm on the historic U.N. Paris Agreement and beyond
PLUS: KY's new GOP Guv disenfranchises 140,000; Trump supporter arrested with bomb...
By Brad Friedman on 12/23/2015 5:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we've got both good news and bad at year's end.

First up, Kentucky's new 'Tea Party' Republican Governor Matt Bevin revokes the restoration of voting rights for 140,000 former felons as instituted by the former Democratic Governor. That, after the dubious and completely unverified results of the state's November gubernatorial contest. Yes, as we've noted for well over a decade now, elections matter! Bevin also did away with the previous governor's increase to the minimum wage for state workers, while he was at it.

Also today, quick news on the Trump supporter (a middle-aged white guy) arrested with a bomb after threatening to kill Muslims at a mosque in California more than two weeks ago. Also, a quick word on the record number of sign-ups this year at Healthcare.gov for new and renewed health insurance policies thanks to the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare").

Then, I'm joined by Dr. Joe Romm, editor of Climate Progress and former Asst. Sec. of Energy in the Bill Clinton Administration, after his return from Paris where the UN struck its historic agreement just over one week ago to curb greenhouse gasses that cause global warming.

As usual, Romm offers extremely informed and helpful insight, including his explanation for how the UN talks began earlier this month with the challenging goal of an agreement that would keep global temps from rising any higher than 2 degrees Centigrade, but surprisingly ended with an landmark pact that included the aspirational goal of 1.5C.

"It became clear from just looking at the science that there's nothing safe about 2 degrees Centigrade," he explains. "What we've learned in the last 18 months, with the instability in the West Antarctic ice sheet, and all the extreme weather events that we're already seeing, and the brutal droughts we're seeing in this country and elsewhere, that we're already at dangerous impacts, and we're only at 1 degree Centigrade of warming. So, I think that reality did set in." He adds: "If you want to limit to 2 degrees Centigrade total warming, the planet's net emissions have to go to zero by the end of the century. So, pretty much every country is going to have to go to zero."

Romm details exactly what that means and echoes remarks from my interview with Dr. Michael Mann last week, where Mann declared that the Paris Agreement signals the "end of the age of fossil fuels."

"We are talking about the end of the fossil-fuel driven Industrial Revolution that began 250 or so years ago," Romm tells me. "And that's why, in some senses, this is such a big deal. Because you literally had every single significant country in the world, large and small, rich and poor, all sign on to this agreement, which recognizes, yeah, the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end."

We cover a number of the steps ahead ("I was describing this as Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. We have a lot more battles before us.") during our wide-ranging conversation that also includes his complaints about Bill Gates' big new clean tech fund, and his response to the charge by NASA's former chief scientist Dr. James Hansen that the Paris Agreement is a "fraud".

"I think we're certainly at an inflection point," says Romm. "You know, change happens slowly, until it happens quickly. I tend to think we have now entered the phase of much more rapid changed than people expected."

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