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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, August 25, 2016
'Green News Report' 8/25/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
. 300+ dead, 6 million displaced by India flooding; Obama pledges long term LA flood aid; Bad news for WA state wolves; PLUS: 100th birthday of the National Park Service...
Previous GNRs: 8/23/16 - 8/18/16 - Archives...
Clinton, Trump and Cracking the Two-Party Duopoly: 'BradCast' 8/24/16
Guest: Historian, columnist Matthew Rozsa; Plus: Unfolding deadly disasters in Italy, India and Louisiana...
NSA Hacking Tools in the Wild, Hackable Elections in the US: 'BradCast' 8/23/16
Guest: Princeton computer scientist, e-vote 'hacker' Andrew Appel; Also: Obama in LA and Trump's latest vote suppression dog-whistle...
'Green News Report' 8/23/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
. Media failure on LA flooding; Floods accelerate Zika virus; PLUS: A tale of two warming Arctics -- Native American tribe forced to move, luxury cruises just getting started...
Previous GNRs: 8/18/16 - 8/16/16 - Archives...
'What Do You Have to Lose?': 'BradCast' 8/22/16
Trump 'pivots', reaches out to African-American voters, forgets to tell the rest of his party...
Sunday Toons of the Makeover Moment
PDiddie's round up of his favorite toons from last week focuses on campaign shake-ups, shuffles, makeovers and other political reality avoidance techniques...
Three Daves: 'BradCast' 8/19/16
Guest host Angie Coiro w/ Dave Johnson of Campaign for America's Future, David Atkins of Washington Monthly, and Chain of Title author David Dayen...
6th Circ. Upholds 'Straight-Party' MI Voting
Republican AG vows appeal to optional voting method used in state for 125 straight years, disproportionately used at polls by African-American voters...
DoJ to 'End' Private For-Profit Federal Prison System: 'BradCast' 8/18/16
Guest: Carl Takei of ACLU's National Prison Project; Plus: GOP 'Civil War' v. Reality; Trump comes up short in NYC...
'Green News Report' 8/18/16
. Explosive CA fire forces evacs for 80,000; New rules for heavy trucks; Report: Ending oil subsidies won't raise gas prices; PLUS: First-ever U.S. offshore wind farm...
Send in the Clowns: 'BradCast' 8/17/16
Eric Boehlert on Trump's bizarre staff shake-up; Plus: NC GOP's desperate voter suppression Hail Mary, California burning, and 'Bye-Bye' to John McLaughlin...
NC Files with SCOTUS for Emergency Stay of Unlawful Vote Suppression Law
State Republicans display remarkable chutzpah in their last gasp argument to keep a 'racially discriminatory' statute in place for November...
'Rogue' DEA Punts Pot: 'BradCast' 8/16/16
Guest: Michael Collins of Drug Policy Alliance on 'rotten to core' DEA's marijuana announcement; Plus: 'Third-party' Presidential woes, disturbing climate news, more...
'Green News Report' 8/16/16
. Another historic, deadly rain event in LA; Another massive fire in CA; July 2016 Earth's hottest month ever recorded; PLUS: Green Party nom Jill Stein on climate...
Facts Behind Fraud: 'BradCast' 8/15/16
Debunking Trump on terror, 'voter fraud' in PA and climate change; Plus: Even Rightwing propagandists beginning to realize 'We've created this monster'...
Sunday Toons of Performance Art Moment
Trump fails to win the gold in this week's Presidential olympics. Plus, other pratfalls in PDiddie's latest collection of his favorite toons of the past week...
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...


After Court erred in nixing 2014 'advisory measure', lawmakers petition to have original initiative placed before voters this year...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/25/2016 8:35am PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: Attorney and BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 1/6/2016 5:30pm PT  

It was a very busy live BradCast from the KPFK/Pacifica Radio studios in L.A. today, with a lot of breaking news, callers and more!

First: California Governor Jerry Brown declares a state of emergency as the massive natural gas leak at Porter Ranch, near Los Angeles, continues to pump millions of tons of climate changing methane (and more) into the atmosphere. And then, also breaking, Canadian tar sands oil company TransCanada files a complaint, under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and in federal court, charging the U.S. violated the so-called "free trade" pact when Obama blocked the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline late last year.

Next: We're joined by attorney and long-time BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning to discuss the new ruling by the CA Supreme Court overturning their 2014 decision that removed Proposition 49 from the state's general election ballot. The initiative, placed on the ballot by the state legislature, sought an "advisory opinion" from the electorate as to whether the state should call on Congress to overturn the infamous Citizens United decision with a Constitutional amendment.

Canning explains the new decision and how, as he reported here in early 2015, the state's high court got it wrong in the first place when they disallowed CA voters to express their opinion on Prop 49 back in 2014. He also explains why he's been absent, of late, from The BRAD BLOG! Tune in to find out why, where he's been, and if we'll ever get him back!

Then: Extreme weather, super-charged by climate change, kills scores of Americans in dozens of states across the U.S. over the holidays and the media misreports (or ignores) it completely. We correct the record (with an assist from our old friend, climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann!)

Finally: Listener calls! Including one that I am pretty sure comes from the old MovieFone guy!

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: Stewart Rhodes, President and Founder of OathKeepers.org
PLUS: Obama's announces executive action to take on America's gun scourge...
By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2016 5:16pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: Author, journalist Ari Berman of The Nation
PLUS: More RW terrorism; More racism from Justice Scalia; U.N. climate conference in Paris turning out much better than expected...
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2015 5:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast, more rightwing domestic terrorism in the U.S., more Scalia race-baiting, another rightwing challenge to minority voting rights heard by SCOTUS, and some potentially good news for the climate out of Paris. [Link to the full program follows below.]

First up today, another 'active shooter' situation plays out as we go to air. And, once again, the terrorist in question appears to be a rightwinger --- at least based on the 'Tea Party' flag on his pickup truck.

Next, we're joined by The Nation's Ari Berman, author of the recently published Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, to discuss Evenwell v. Abbott, the somewhat astonishing rightwing challenge to minority voting rights heard this week at the U.S. Supreme Court (for some reason).

Despite the "One person, one vote" principal having been seen by most as settled law for about 50 years in the U.S., the Court took up a challenge to that idea brought by the same man who successfully challenged the Voting Rights Act --- which SCOTUS subsequently gutted --- back in 2013. Now comes the idea out of Texas that each state's legislative districts should not be drawn with an approximately equal population in each, as they are now, but rather an equal portion of eligible voters in each Congressional and state house district.

Redrawing maps in this way --- and it would likely need to be done in all 50 states --- would lead not only to chaos, but it have the effect of seriously undercutting minority voting rights, as Berman explains on today's program.

If the plaintiffs in Evenwell are successful, he observes, "many people who are now counted would be excluded, because they are not eligible voters, such as those who are under 18, those who are not U.S. citizens, both documented and undocumented [and] prisoners who have lost the right the vote. All of those people will not be counted [when drawing up legislative maps]. So if you look at the math itself...that will mean that 55% of Latinos, 45% of Asian-Americans, and 30% of African-Americans will not be counted towards representation. And that's why this case is such an attack on minority voting representation."

Few, including Berman, saw such a challenge coming, though perhaps we should have. The case, he tells me, is "brought by the same people that challenged the Voting Rights Act, the same people that challenged affirmative action, and seemingly everything they bring --- particularly this one guy, Ed Blum and his Project on Fair Representation --- everything he brings seems to be heard by this Supreme Court. It's literally like he's sitting around thinking 'What's the next way I can try to attack voting rights? What's the next way I can attack racial equality?' And they keep thinking of more and more creative schemes. And it like they're just going through everything that was done in the 1960s and challenging it --- whether it's the Voting Rights Act or the Fair Housing Act or it's 'One person, one vote'. All of these landmark achievements that have been so successful are now under attack, and this is just the next iteration of this."

After spending months researching for his book, Give Us The Ballot, Berman observes the fight against voting rights today is a continuation of the same fight that has been waged since the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act half a century ago. "There has been a 50 year attempt to try to restrict voting rights. And one of the things that I've noticed is that there's always new ways thought up to try to roll voting rights back. And we've seen a dramatic escalation, I think, of a very old strategy...And they don't seem likely to stop anytime soon."

Berman details how the questions from the Justices at Wednesday's oral arguments to suggest that we are likely looking at another 5 to 4 split decision from the Court...one way or another.

Also today: Justice Antonin Scalia, the Donald Trump of the Supreme Court, offers remarkably offensive comments about African-Americans; Rush Limbaugh's guest host testifies on climate change (sort of) in Ted Cruz' U.S. Senate Science Committee hearing; And the U.N. climate conference in Paris (COP21) comes down to the wire and may be set to produce an even better global agreement than almost anyone had predicted...

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: Brendan Fischer of WI's Center for Media and Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2015 5:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Wisconsin Supreme Court drops the next amazing shoe in the mindblowing case against the "John Doe" criminal probe into campaign improprieties by Gov. Scott Walker and his Koch Brothers-funded rightwing crony organizations during the 2012 recall elections in the state. (Audio link posted below.)

I'm joined once again by Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy today to discuss the unprecedented move by the state's high court that has, in effect, resulted in the firing of the Republican special investigator in charge of the probe looking at illegal campaign coordination between those powerful "dark money" groups and the controversial Republican Governor.

"The Wisconsin Supreme Court has a four justice majority," Fischer explains in recounting this remarkable, and under-reported turn of events. "And that four justice majority was elected to the bench with $10 million dollars in spending from the same groups under investigation. The same groups that Walker was accused of coordinating with. The same groups that were party to the case. And the same groups that would be affected by an adverse ruling by a decision that what they did was illegal."

"Despite these conflicts of interests, these justices declined to recuse. They shut down the investigation, rewrote the law to benefit their biggest donors, and then the Special Prosecutor asked the Court to reconsider its investigation."

In response to that Motion to Reconsider, Fischer tells me, the Court's bought and paid for majority went far beyond what anybody might have imagined they would do. "Not only did they dismiss the Motion to Reconsider, they rewrote their July decision to say, 'you as Special Prosecutor can no longer be involved in this case.' Which means that he would be unable to appeal up to the U.S. Supreme Court and challenge the conflicts of interest on the WI Supreme Court."

The result, as both Fischer and the Court's minority note, is that we are now in wholly unprecedented territory for this case in the Badger State and for illegal campaign finance and coordination in Wisconsin and, potentially, the rest of the nation as the Right has been paying close attention to this case and spending a lot of money for the results they now seem to have achieved.

Please listen to the full amazing interview below!

Also on today's BradCast: Corporate media finally begin to notice the mess they've helped foster in this country over the past decade (and more) and some good news, for a very welcome change, in our latest Green News Report as the UN climate summit in Paris (COP21) reaches crunch time...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: Author, columnist, gun safety activist Cliff Schecter...
By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2015 5:28pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, even as that shameful "debate" bottoms out, rightwing schemes to further cripple the ability for Democrats to govern at all on the federal level continue. Ian Millhiser, journalist, Constitutional law expert and author of the new book, Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, joins us to discuss his disturbing observations from this year's annual gathering of the Federalist Society.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GUEST: Scott Greytak of Justice at Stake...
ALSO: E-Pollbooks failing on Election Day; Keystone XL finally dead (for now)...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2015 6:02pm PT  

It's Election Day on The BradCast, so, naturally, that means voter disenfranchisement throughout the country. Early reports today find e-pollbook systems failing at polling places in a number of states, which means voters are being turned away. (And, for some reason in Ohio(!) folks who were registered are finding they no longer are...for some reason.)

But, with more Election Day problems sure to come to light soon, we turn for the moment to the obscenity that has become judicial elections in the U.S. --- on a day that finds a record $15.8 million has been spent on today's Supreme Court election alone in Pennsylvania.

Scott Greytak of JusticeAtStake.org joins us to discuss his new report --- Bankrolling the Bench: The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2013-2014 (with Brennan Center for Justice and the National Institute on Money in State Politics) --- on the record amount of cash now being spent, "legally", to buy judges and state Supreme Court Justices via elections around the country. Millions of dollars now flow in to these contests from outside interests and political parties as well as lawyers and lobbyists.

"This is something that's, unfortunately, unique to America," Greytak explains. "It's really the United States and one other country in the world that decides to elect their judges." What began as "a populist impulse" about 100 years ago, "when folks were trying to break up big machine politics, trying to attack corruption," has now become a nightmare in the post-Citizens United age.

Judicial elections "which typically used to be pretty low-key affairs" are now being "targeted by politicians, legislators, or special interest groups that are hoping to shape the bench [or] targeted as sort of a referenda on big decisions that the court has heard or, more often, just opportunities for partisan groups to try and make political plays with these courts."

"It's deeply concerning," Greytak tells me. "Our data from this cycle found that about a third of all contributions to state Supreme Court judicial candidates came from lawyers and lobbyists. Another third came from business interests which, of course, are going to have cases that come in front of these courts, or have interests that come in front of these courts."

"When judges have to run for office, the folks who are closest to the courts, who know what's at stake, are often the lawyers and lobbyists who operate in them," he says. "So they turn and rely on the lawyers and lobbyists as a funding system. It becomes a reproducing cycle of conflicts of interests and this is what judicial elections has left us with."

With mostly Republican, but also Democratic groups spending millions in these races and using them as political bludgeons, jurists become vulnerable to offering rulings based on partisan interests rather than the rule of law. As discussed on today's program, what is happening in the state of Wisconsin right now has become a fantastic example of how judicial elections have become disastrous for those of us who believe in good government.

Finally today, big news in our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen, as a hurricane heads to Yemen (of all places) and the Keystone XL pipeline is finally dead...for now anyway...thanks in no small part to unrelenting citizen activists and organizers who stood up to the most powerful corporate interests in the history of civilization!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2015 5:49pm PT  

News is breaking like crazy today. We do our best to cover it all on today's BradCast, along with yet another new chapter in the long and shameful history of voter suppression by Republicans in the state of Florida.

Among the stories covered on today's thrilling, action-packed adventure!...

• The sudden resignation of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner; the gleeful reaction to it from Republicans; who might replace him, and who the hell would want to?

• China and the U.S. come to an 'understanding' on cyberhacks...at least some of them...as President Obama meets with President Xi Jinping in Washington D.C.

• Pope-mania continues, as Francis wows 'em at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City today.

• And we take a trip back down to Florida, where new audio recordings, revealing evidence of a blatant vote suppression scheme in the Sunshine State, remind us (yet again) why it is so outrageous that the Rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the federal Voting Rights Act...

All of that, plus China announces a nationwide cap-and-trade program to curb carbon emissions; AP has a new way to describe climate change deniers, and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report...

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

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More than 600,000 lawfully registered voters will be disenfranchised during 2015-2016 elections unless the 5th Circuit Court promptly acts...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2015 1:43pm PT  

Early last month, a three-judge, U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal panel affirmed the lower District Court's finding that Texas' draconian polling place Photo ID restriction (SB14), which threatens to disenfranchise 608,470 legally registered voters (and many others not already registered), violates federal law.

That ruling marked the third occasion in which a federal court has expressly found that the TX Republicans' strict ID law 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 SB 14.

While the ruling ostensibly struck down SB14, finding it in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), as we have previously explained, those 600k+ lawfully registered voters remain at risk of disenfranchisement during this Fall's 2015 elections and the 2016 Presidential cycle because the appellate panel failed to lift an "emergency" stay of the District Court's original permanent injunction intended to prevent enforcement of an unlawful Photo ID statute.

The failure of the appellate court to lift the stay on the lower court's no-uncertain-terms ruling may not have been problematic if, as contemplated by the 5th Circuit decision's mandate, the case were to be promptly returned to the District Court, which it directed to re-examine a separate issue --- whether the TX Legislature had a "discriminatory purpose" when it enacted SB14. That prompt remand would have permitted the District Court to fashion an interim remedy. Indeed, in its decision, the appellate panel suggested that the District Court issue an order directing TX to accept valid voter registration cards, in lieu of a very narrow handful of state-approved Photo ID, for all voting-related purposes. The 5th Circuit panel also, perhaps somewhat naively, called upon TX to cooperate in the prompt fashioning of that remedy.

Oh, that silly 5th Circuit panel...

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




Guest Joe Dunman, attorney for the couples challenging Clerk Kim Davis: 'Imagine a Muslim clerk denying licenses to Christian couples'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/1/2015 6:02pm PT  

Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis continues to defy federal court orders to issue marriage licenses to two gay and two straight couples. Their attorney, Joe Dunman, joins us on today's BradCast for a fascinating discussion of the case, how we got here, and where it all goes from here.

"To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience," the elected County Clerk said in a statement today following the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal yesterday to hear Davis' application for an "asylum of conscience" and her own refusal, once again today, to issue licenses.

"It is a Heaven or Hell decision," she adds. Guess which one she's choosing?

Dunman, who also represented the Kentucky couples in SCOTUS' landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case that declared marriage equality a fundamental right in all 50 states, tells me that Davis is not required to actually perform any marriages. "She's not obligated to solemnize a marriage at all. The only thing she has to do is stamp her name on the documents that are filed with the state."

"In her arguments so far, she claims that [by] putting her name on it, she is 'authorizing and blessing' those marriages." But the U.S. District Court Judge (as well as the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and now the U.S. Supreme Court) "disagreed, and said 'look, you're just certifying that they meet the legal standards, that they're eligible for marriage licenses --- that's all you're doing. You're not blessing anything. For that reason she doesn't have a religious objection. Not to mention that there's no case law to support the idea that public officials have religious rights that trump the civil rights of other people."

"Extending her logic outward, there's really no end to what a public official could do. All they'd have to claim that they sincerely believe something, and they just do it," Dunman explains. "I want people to imagine a Muslim clerk in Kentucky denying licenses to Christian couples as they walk in the door, and whether or not people would be standing up for 'religious freedom.'"

The attorney also notes that Kentucky's Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Matt Bevin, "has come out strongly in her support" for Davis, who is actually a Democrat, "going so far as to say 'Clerks Lives Matter' during a rally in her favor."

Also on today's BradCast: Reverberations following yesterday's interview with Beth Clarkson, the Kansas statistician who believes she's found evidence of "voting machine manipulation", but is being blocked by KS Sec. of State Kris Kobach from examining the e-voting system's paper audit logs from the 2014 election.

Plus: A crazy case of "voter suppression" --- of a very bizarre sort --- in Columbia, Missouri; Alabama's plans to shut down 45 of its 49 driver's license offices (despite the state's strict Photo ID voting restriction law); and Obama makes an impassioned plea for action on climate change up in the Arctic...

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

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