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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, August 30, 2015
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 will cost 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
  w/ Brad & Desi
July 2015 hottest month ever recorded; Record wildfires get worse; Mysterious whale deaths in WA; Oil hit hard by China crash; PLUS: Obama calls out anti-free market ideology...
Previous GNRs: 8/20/15 - 8/18/15 - Archives...
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
  w/ Brad & Desi
Fox 'News' now 'cares' about environment; Hillary opposes Arctic drilling; EPA rules to cut methane; Islamic leaders call for climate action; PLUS: River toxins create intersex fish...
Previous GNRs: 8/18/15 - 8/13/15 - Archives...
Did KXL Judges Profit Off Ruling?: 'BradCast' 8/19/15
Investigative journalist Steve Horn on two judges who allowed the disturbing precedent that led to the completion and opening of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline...
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...
'Green News Report' 8/18/15
Shell gets go-ahead to drill Arctic, Obama to visit to Arctic; July 2015 hottest on record; 'Monster' El Nino brewing; PLUS: Oregon kids sue govt over global warming...
Demise of the Death Penalty and Rise of The Donald's GOP; 'BradCast' 8/17/15
With Diann Rust-Tierney of National Coaltion to Abolish Death Penalty; Plus: 'Godzilla El Nino!' & more!...
Sunday Toons: Money Changes Everything
Another great collection this week from 'PDiddie'! On money in politics, poison in the river, Rick Perry in trouble and much more...
Happy 80th Social Security! And What's China Up To?: BradCast 8/14/15
Guest host Nicole Sandler interviews Eric Kingson on Social Security and more and Dave Johnson on China's currency manipulation...
VERDICTS IN: On ME Guv; CO Cakes; CT Death Penalty, ID 'Ag-Gag' & TX Photo ID: 'BradCast' 8/13/2015
Analyzing several recent, important rulings along with BRAD BLOG's Ernest A. Canning...
'Green News Report' 8/13/15
Half of US Forest Service budget now fighting wildfires; Australia's climate targets denounced; New Zealand ditches coal; PLUS: Free solar for African schools...
Walker, Bush Lies and Bernie's Rise: 'BradCast' 8/12/15
The Nation's John Nichols on new Walker revelations and Black Lives Matter makes Sanders a better candidate; Plus: Big news for Bernie & more!
'The Kids Who Die'
The words of Langston Hughes, spoken in a new video, capture the essence of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Please take less than three minutes to watch...
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...


By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2015 5:12pm PT  

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

• Breaking news from today's on-air shooting in Roanoke, VA.

• Some fallout and followup from a few recent BradCasts. (The one we referenced with AT&T/NSA whistleblower Mark Klein is here. The one we referenced about the Malaysian Airlines flight shot down over Ukraine, with 27-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern, is here. The story about the illegal Texas voting restriction that is still disenfranchising voters even after being found illegal by three different federal courts is here. My interview about it with attorney Ernest A. Canning is here.)

• Why Donald Trump actually matters (and not just to Republicans) and why Democrats might think twice about being quite as gleeful about his potential (likely?) nomination.

• And then, a whole bunch of listener callers discussing all of the above and much more on today's live show.

• Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the heels of Planet Earth's hottest month in recorded history...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guests: Attorney Ernest A. Canning; Financial journalist David Dayen...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2015 5:45pm PT  

First up on today's BradCast, financial journalist David Dayen joins us to explain why the Dow Jones Industrial average plummeted 1000 points over the past two trading days, whether or not you should be worried about it, and how the U.S. is missing a golden opportunity in the bargain.

Then, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest A. Canning joins us to explain why --- even after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently found Texas Republicans' polling place Photo ID voting restriction to be discriminatory and illegal (just as the lower U.S. District Court did last year and just as the federal government did well before that) --- the GOP's voting restriction is, increcibly, still in effect anyway and may serve to disenfranchise some 600,000 lawfully registered (largely Democratic-leaning) voters during the 2016 Presidential election.

Canning wrote about the disturbing situation in detail last week in an article at The BRAD BLOG and explains the mess in brief on today's show: "It seems nonsensical to say a law has been struck down but it is still in force. But that's basically where we stand right now."

"This law has a discriminatory impact --- it disparately impacts minorities and the poor," he says, citing the Appeals Court's latest decision. "You now have this identical finding three successive times in court dating back to 2012, and here we are in 2015 and we're having to worry about whether that discrimination is going to occur again in 2016."

Also on today's BradCast: Texas health care situation is still among the worst in the nation; Trump wows 'em in Alabama; California is NOT in chaos (no matter what disinformed Republicans may tell you); And fall-out from my rant last week about the excellent new British government findings on the safety and efficacy of e-cigs; and more!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download MP3 or listen online below..

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Guests: Sam Walker of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, AL; Former DoJ attny Katherine Culliton-González of Advancement Project...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2015 2:33pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, special coverage in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 --- the crowning jewel legislation of the civil rights movement, written with the blood and tears of thousands, and now under fire today as it has never been since its passage helped lift the nation out from under the shackles of the Jim Crow era.

Sam Walker historian at Selma, Alabama's National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, joins us to discuss the Act's history and legacy --- from the circumstances of the courageous Bloody Sunday march from Selma to Montgomery that finally resulted in the passage of the VRA, to the release of the movie Selma last year.

Among other things, he reminds us of the difficulty African-Americans faced in simply trying to register to vote in the deep south prior to the VRA. "Two days a month --- the first Monday and the third Monday --- were the only two days you could go and attempt to register," he told me. "Those were the days when they would see people coming and they would lock the door when they tried to come inside....You still couldn't register because you couldn't get inside the building to sign up."

Walker, who we haven't had on the show since the 40th anniversary of the VRA back in 2005, shares stories that need to be heard, even today. One, for example, about his meeting, years later, with one of the state troopers who took part in the beatings on Bloody Sunday. Another, about the importance of cameras and national media on that infamous day in Selma.

"The people in the media had their cameras set up when the attack happened, so when people were being beaten and tear-gassed, all those scenes were captured by the TV cameras and by the news media on camera. And that started a new momentum to try to get the right to vote for all our citizens." Sound familiar?

Then, former DoJ Civil Rights Voting Section attorney Katherine Culliton-González of the Advancement Project, joins us to discuss the ongoing legal battles in the fight for voting rights across the country in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court gutting the VRA's landmark Section 5 provision in 2013 --- and the battle to restore it.

"All we have to do is look around us and unless they're living in a bubble, they can see that's there's been a renaissance in discrimination in voting since they took away that protection," she explains. From Congress to Texas to North Carolina to Wisconsin and beyond, the fight continues 50 years later.

"There are many, many voting changes across the country, and particularly in the South, at the local level that do all kinds of maneuvers of politicians trying to manipulate the vote. Moving poling places away from people of color - that happens a lot in the Native American community, the African-American community. We've seen laws requiring documentary proof of citizenship that have a strong disparate impact on the Latino community and the African-American community. For example, if you're a naturalized citizen and you don't have those papers, it's going to cost you at least $600 to get what's needed" to vote, she says. "All of this would have been subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act."

Culliton-González reminds us, as the NC NAACP civil rights leader Reverend William Barber says, "this is our Selma".

Finally, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), beaten by state troopers on Bloody Sunday as he courageously and stoically helped lead the march across the Edmund Pettus bridge as a 25-year old, discusses the importance of LBJ signing the Act in 1965. It's one of many historical sounds and songs that help us mark this historic day.

I hope you enjoy today's very special program!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guests: Politico's Tarini Parti; American-Statesmen's Chuck Lindell...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2015 5:10pm PT  

Last week, Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosures for the 2016 Presidential contest confirmed that wealthy Super PAC donors are now spending more than three times as much as small donors. As Politico describes the "gusher of cash" now pouring into American elections from millionaires and billionaires, the "67 biggest donors, each of whom gave $1 million or more, donated more than three times as much as the 508,000 smallest donors combined."

At the same time as that obscenity plays out, a select few GOP Presidential candidates auditioned for the Koch Brothers and rich friends over the weekend in California, where Charles Koch compared their political fight to the Civil Rights Movement. Seriously. Politico's Tarini Parti, joins us on today's BradCast to discuss all of the above and Politico's own controversial role in the weekend confab.

Then, Chuck Lindell of the Austin American-Statesman joins us to discuss today's indictment and arrest of Texas' brand-new Attorney General Ken Paxton (R-Tea Party) on three felony counts related to securities fraud. Thanks to a law Paxton helped pass when he was a member of the TX House, he could now be facing life in prison if convicted on the charges being brought by Special Prosecutors (one of whom was formerly Republican U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's defense lawyer). The indictment is in response to a complaint filed by one of Paxton's fellow GOP statehouse members. None of that, of course, has kept the state's Republican Party from declaring the entire matter to be a partisan witch hunt.

Lindell also updates us on the status of Texas' even more notorious felony indictment, the one against the state's former Governor and current GOP candidate for the 2016 Presidential nomination, Rick Perry. The trial in that case, Lindells tells me, "could take place as early as December --- or right before primary season opens up" in January.

Finally today, President Obama unveiled the new EPA rules for cutting carbon emissions at power plants in all 50 states by some 30% over 2012 levels. Can you hear the wingnut heads exploding?...

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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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Plus: Hacks, debates, pipelines, spying, approval ratings and more...
By Brad Friedman on 7/28/2015 4:47pm PT  

Before things get really dirty today on today's BradCast, breaking news on Planned Parenthood getting hacked and what that should mean for your electoral system; a U.S. Senator reports that Obama plans to reject the Keystone XL pipeline; NSA plans to finally destroy American phone records (thanks to Edward Snowden); and approval ratings fall off a cliff for the Republican Party --- especially by Republicans!

Then, though you may need a shower afterward (I do!), the latest Trump mess on allegations of 'rape' by his former wife Ivana and the amazing response to those claims by Trump's long-time attorney --- who needs to be fired...immediately.

Yes, this is the man who is now the front-runner for the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States in 2016. Moreover, the first official Presidential debate is scheduled on Fox "News" for a week from Thursday. So, I guess it's time to start covering the man as we'd cover any other legitimate candidate, much less the front-runner, right?

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report to make everything better again --- except for that stuff about the imminent destruction of the human race...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/23/2015 4:50pm PT  

A big BradCast today!...

First up, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (R) continues his years-long phony "voter fraud" crusade, but now he's been given more authority to cause even more damage to the fundamental right to vote! After years of blatantly lying about "voter fraud" in the state (which we document in detail), he has now been given prosecutorial authority by the state's Republican Governor to personally clean up his pretend scourge in Kansas.

His first act? Setting up a webpage to allow the public to report instances of fraud on the SoS website (since he's been unable to find any on his own during his five years in office since being elected to "Stop Voter Fraud!"). But, conveniently, he's left off the option for the public to report on Kansas' much more pressing problem: voter suppression --- especially by guys like Kobach, who, since taking office, has successfully blocked tens of thousands of legal Kansas voters from being able to vote in state elections.

Then, former FBI Special Agent, 9/11 whistleblower and TIME Magazine's 2002 Person of the Year, Coleen Rowley joins us to explain why Dylann Roof, the alleged Charleston, SC shooter and avowed racist, was charged with hate crimes this week, but not terrorism. What's the difference between terrorism and hate crimes? And does the SC shooting now prove (once again) that the term "terrorism" has become little more than meaningless propaganda?

The term "terrorism", Rowley tells me, is now "uniquely set for Muslims, or for Arab nations that we have had agendas with in the past. The media is primed for that message."

"The definitions have a propaganda value, but they are not clear, and they're not good for purposes of law enforcement at all because they're not even making sense. In fact, I think that's all they are serving now --- as propaganda," she explains, before citing one of her favorite quotes: "A poor man's war is terrorism. A rich man's terrorism is war."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with the climate position of the latest entrant into the 2016 GOP race and how a Democratic candidate has made Fox "News" heads explode by telling the truth about the relationship between climate change and the rise of ISIS...

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Guest: Tia Oso of BlackAlliance.org...
By Brad Friedman on 7/22/2015 5:02pm PT  

Over the weekend, #BlackLivesMatter protesters disrupted a political forum featuring Democratic Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley at the progressive Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix, AZ.

The leader of that lively and lengthy (and, apparently, controversial) protest, Tia Oso, National Coordinator of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) joins us on today's BradCast to explain why she did it and to discuss the reactions from O'Malley, Sanders and the progressives who support them.

"We talk a lot. There are a lot of town halls. We have NAACP and Urban League at the national level having these conversations all the time. Reports are issued. And the fact that it takes almost a spectacle of black suffering for people to even have their hearts moved is heartbreaking to me," Oso tells me.

Also on today's program: Hate crimes charges filed against the Charleston AME Church shooter (though not terrorism charges); Hillary Clinton may be in trouble against Republicans in three key swing states; the Pope's popularity is faltering in the U.S. (largely among Rightwingers, for some reason); and why it's a problem when candidates, like Hillary, get so much of their campaign money from the wealthy donor class...

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Guest: Author/journalist Ari Berman of The Nation...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2015 4:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we start where we left off on yesterday's show, regarding Thursday's amazingly corrupt and disturbing ruling in favor of Scott Walker and his cronies --- by the amazingly corrupt Wisconsin Supreme Court --- and how, if Republicans have their way, that ruling may soon enough become the law of the land for the entire nation.

As our producer Desi Doyen noted on today's show: "This is your early warning system." Ignore at your peril. Then it was on to a couple of quick items and updates, including dumb Confederate flag wavers in Oklahoma and Maine's even dumber Governor Paul LePage.

From there, we head to North Carolina, where "the most extreme anti-voter bill passed by any state since the Jim Crow Era", as we initially described it when it was passed by state Republicans back in 2013, is finally now facing trial against the NAACP, the ACLU, the DoJ and other democracy and voting rights advocates.

We are joined by The Nation's author/journalist Ari Berman, who was in the federal courtroom in Winston-Salem, NC this week as the trial finally got under way. The results of this trial are likely to head all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, one way or another, and may well determine the future of voting rights in this country. The new voting restrictions were passed in 2013, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court demolished the provision of the Voting Rights Act that otherwise, says Berman, would have kept this law --- which is "already disenfranchising voters" --- from even taking effect.

"That's such a clear case study to me that the Supreme Court was wrong when it said that the special protections of the Voting Rights act weren't needed." Berman goes on to explain why he believes NC, a state which had made astounding progress in voting rights over the previous decade, has now become the new Selma, Alabama, where the bloody fight for voting rights led directly to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965.

"In North Carolina, they had seemingly everything," Berman tells me. "They had all these voting reforms --- early voting, same day registration, pre-registration for 16 &17 year olds. And it was all taken away or reduced" when the GOP took over both the state legislature and Governor's mansion for the first time since Reconstruction in 2013.

"What Selma in the 1960s and what North Carolina in the 2013-2015 era shows is how far these conservative white Southerners will go to protect political power. There aren't billy clubs. There aren't literacy tests. But they're saying this is how black turnout increased --- North Carolina went from 48th in voter turnout in the late 80s, to 11th in voter turnout in 2012 --- Republicans there basically said we're gonna tamp this turnout down."

And now it's left to the courts to find out if those rights, once granted, can be taken away by political whim --- and if NC, and other states with a history of racial discrimination in elections, will be forced once again to face preclearance from the federal government before they can enforce any new voting restrictions.

Berman has a lot of insight on all of this. His new book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, will be published next month to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of passage of the VRA. As I note during the show, the book is an exhaustively researched and heart-wrenching documentation of the uniquely American and harrowing tale of the fight to vote in this country --- and the outrageously long and continuing effort to block it. That fight continues, sadly, to this day. Go buy his book!

Finally, Desi joins us again for some listener email and then a stunningly upbeat Green News Report for a change!...

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Guest: Brendan Fischer of Center for Media & Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2015 5:11pm PT  

I had to ask my guest on today's BradCast whether I was being overly dramatic in seeing today's stunning news from the Wisconsin Supreme Court as "the death of democracy". He did not warn me off that thinking.

Before that, however, we quickly covered two other breaking stories today: The verdict in the Aurora, CO shooting case and another new shooting today at two U.S. Marine facilities in Chattanooga, TN --- along with some thoughts on both of them.

Then, it's onto the jaw-dropping WI Supreme Court verdict in the challenge to the prosecutorial investigation into blatant collusion between Gov. Scott Walker and a number of Rightwing groups which spent millions in an alleged "criminal scheme" to help Walker win his 2012 recall election.

Brendan Fischer, general counsel at the Center for Media and Democracy joins us to explain the outrageous ruling. It's disturbing on several levels and bodes ominously for campaign finance laws across the entire nation. It's a must-hear interview, frankly.

In short, Walker and his campaign colluded with those "outside" groups in violation of state campaign finance law and what the U.S. Supreme Court said, in Citizens United, was not supposed to happen. But, it did --- to the tune of millions of dollars to help get Walker elected. Amazingly, it was the Rightwing groups that went to court in this matter to claim that their rights were being abridged by the prosecutors' investigation (a Republican prosecutor, by the way). We explain, in detail, how they made that case and how the Court's Justices went along with them to shut down the so-called "John Doe II" investigation.

But, the most outrageous part is the fact that the very same groups who sued to quash the probe also funded the elections (to the tunes of millions of dollars) of the very same Rightwing WI Supreme Court Justices who found in their favor today. That, despite both the prosecutor's request that those Justice's recuse themselves and a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Caperton v. Massey) finding that judges must recuse if the case they are hearing involves a party with a "significant and disproportionate influence" on their elections.

"This is not just about past conduct, this is about future conduct, as well," Fischer tells me. "The court has okayed outside coordination between outside groups and candidates. It applies to their own campaigns, it applies to elections for judges....And the exact same groups that were parties to this case are going to be able to coordinate directly with these justices when they are up for re-election."

And, as if all of that isn't outrageous enough, this case, as I've long warned, is part of a national effort to eviscerate similar campaign finance restrictions across the entire nation --- because Citizens United and McCutcheon etc. apparently isn't yet enough for these Republicans.

"There's really not a whole lot left," Fischer says. "And you can see this being a huge mile-marker in the continued erosion on limits of money in politics. And it's not going to turn out well." Oh, well. I did try to warn everyone at least a year ago that this case was "about much more than just Walker and his corruption."

There's much more. But, as I said, a must-hear conversation today.

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By Brad Friedman on 7/15/2015 5:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast...

• Obama responds to critics of the Iran deal --- legitimate ones and Republicans. (I'm glad the grownup is driving.)

• Trump continues to rise --- and for good reason. (Should we endorse him?)

• NAACP wants to sandblast a huge monument to the Confederacy --- which feels a bit too Taliban-y for my tastes. (But am I wrong?)

• All of that and more today, including: Listener calls on all of the above; I wrestle with technical probs; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report! Enjoy!

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