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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, May 1, 2016
Sneaky SCOTUS, Sad Establishment, & What The World Says About Trump!: 'BradCast' 4/29/16
Guest hosts Danielle and Shane-o are joined by John Nichols of The Nation!...
AZ Primary Lawsuit Dismissed; 'Disappearing' Votes in DE?: 'BradCast' 4/28/16
Emily Levy on court ruling against Phoenix election complaint; DE State Election Commissioner on 4,000 'lost' Sanders votes...
'Green News Report' 4/28/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump goes nuclear over climate; CNN fossil fuel ads beat climate stories; VW docs reveal test fraud; Mitsubishi cheated fuel tests; PLUS: US city mandates solar for new buildings...
Previous GNRs: 4/21/16 - 4/26/16 - Archives...
Primary Landslides for Trump and Clinton and What's Next: 'BradCast' 4/27/16
Also: 'Serial child molester' Hastert sentenced; Encouraging green news; And listener calls...
Blowback in NC, Calls for Hand-Counts in NY:
'BradCast' 4/26/16
GOP operative turned gay rights activist Fred Karger on GOP anti-LGBT lawss; Why voters should support hand-count of NY Primary...
'Green News Report' 4/26/16
30 years after Chernobyl, efforts to contain it; Record signing of Paris Agreement; World Bank calls for global carbon price; PLUS: Solar plane halfway round world...
Cruz, Kasich Join Forces and Some News That Actually Matters: 'BradCast' 4/25/16
Amanda Marcotte on new GOP 'conspiracy'; Plus: Paris Agreement; Mass shooting weekend; Thinking big...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
An 'unplanned' Pulitzer winner and a whole bunch of other worthy toons from the past week, as collected by 'PDiddie'...
'Gyrocopter Guy' Loses Voting Rights Protesting Elections: 'BradCast' 4/22/16
Guest Doug Hughes will go to jail, has 'no regrets'; Also: Former felons re-enfranchised in VA; NY election official suspended for purge...
Time to Open Our Nomination System to All Voters?: 'BradCast' 4/21/16
John Opdycke on 'Open Primaries'; Also: Prince dead at 57; 'Outrage' over Tubman; Paper ballots return to MD...
'Green News Report' 4/21/16
Criminal charges in Flint; BP victims protest new leases; Mexican oil facility explosion kills 3; U.S. air pollution; PLUS: World leaders to sign Paris Agreement...
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...


Screenshots suggests disappearing 'Yes' votes on Election Night; OH Sec. of State's office offers us an explanation, downplays concerns
PLUS: Citizen calls for hand-count grows in Kentucky; And Fossil Fuel's very bad week...
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2015 5:15pm PT  

Did someone or something flip election results last week in Ohio's statewide ballot initiative Issue 3 to legalize marijuana? We try to get to the bottom of that question --- and many others --- on today's BradCast. (Audio is linked below.)

As initially reported by Ohio's Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, and later by Steve Rosenfeld, screenshots captured from several different media outlets on Election Night last week show what appear to be impossible results on both Issue 3 and on Issue 1, a ballot measure for redistricting reform in the Buckeye State.

For example, according to screenshots from Dayton's WHIO-TV website, as published in the Fitrakis, Wasserman and Rosenfeld articles, Issue 3 reportedly had 969,662 "Yes" votes with 39% of precincts reporting. But later in the night, with 45% of precincts, there were only 614,866 "Yes" votes on Issue 3. That's a seemingly impossible drop of more than 300,000 votes in the initiative that is said to have ultimately failed, according to the unverified election night results reported by the OH Sec. of State.

Similarly, screenshots of results on Issue 1, which ended up reportedly passing, saw "No" votes drop impossibly from 990,555 to 486,596 later in the evening.

What explains these numbers? I spoke to Matt McClellan, Communications Director for Ohio Sec. of State John Husted (R) earlier today. He says that WHIO and the other media outlets whose screenshots were cited by Fitrakis, Wasserman and Rosenfeld, were all Cox Media outlets and "the problem was on their end."

"Someone was manually entering data," McClellan told me. "When they noticed the mistake, they made a correction." He went on to say that the Secretary of State's website had no such discrepancies or irregularities throughout the evening. His office does not take their own screenshots throughout the night, so we can't confirm that either way, at the moment, though McClellan says the office "went back and double-checked to make sure" after the issue was initially reported.

In response to the Sec. of State office's assertions (we offer more detail on them during the show), Fitrakis shared pre-election tracking poll results with me, that suggest the marijuana initiative should have passed, rather than lost, by a 2 to 1 margin. "Tracking polls suggest more that [results] were flipped than not flipped," he told me today. Fitrakis was is skeptical of the explanation from Husted's office, while adding that if Cox is manually entering results on the fly on Election Night, "then they need to stop, because it's absurd."

For the record, our calls to try and confirm the OH SoS' claims with WHIO and/or Cox Media have not yet been returned. But, again, much more detail during the program.

As if all of that isn't enough of a mess, the citizen movement to demand a hand count of the questionable results of last week's Kentucky Governor's race continues to grow. A petition has been posted to Change.org asking KY SoS Allison Lundergan Grimes to carry out a hand count of paper ballots statewide. So far, more than 10,000 have signed on to the effort, as we discuss today as well.

Finally on today's show, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report on the fossil fuel industry's no good, very very bad week...

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

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PLUS: Big victory for courageous student protesters in Missouri...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2015 5:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the power of protest and organization.

We start at the University of Missouri after African-American players on the football team there used their power over the weekend to collectively and courageously support a student hunger strike in a protest to force university system President Tim Wolfe to resign amidst a series of racially charged incidents on the Columbia, MO campus. The leverage used by the players is another great reminder of how smart and courageous protest can succeed in making substantive change --- even against some of the world's most powerful entities. Go Tigers!

Speaking of which, my guest today is, once again, Douglas Hughes. You may recall him as the 61-year old Florida postal worker who landed his homemade gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in a dramatic protest last spring. He was our guest back in April, just days after the incident where he had hoped to bring attention to the desperate need for campaign finance reform.

He was, at the time, arrested and charged with six felonies that might have netted him more than 9 years in jail for his attempt to deliver an important letter to all 535 members of Congress. Now, he has struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors and joins us to discuss the deal, why he took it, the latest developments in his case, and whether he feels his protest was ultimately worth the extraordinarily high cost.

Hughes tells us today that he has "no regrets" for having "stomped on the dragon's tail", despite losing his job at the Post Office, facing enormous fines, jail time, and even the loss of his ability to vote as a "felon".

"I stomped on the dragon's tail and I knew it was going to turn around and come after me," Hughes tells me. "And it has, and I have no regrets."

He credits the flight with helping to broaden the discussion about the need for reform, and says, despite the extraordinary cost, he'd do it again "in a heartbeat" as he continues his call for a "voters rebellion" to help "get the money out of politics so everybody that's in Congress knows they've got to answer to us."

Though Hughes was reluctant to mention it, he has a GoFundMe page where folks can donate to his legal defense fund and other needs as he is now struggling to survive day-to-date until his Social Security finally kicks in. Please consider helping him out if you can!

Lastly, it's wingnut v. wingnut over at Fox "News"! So, bust out the popcorn!...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2015 4:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast, breaking news on President Obama's final Keystone XL pipeline decision and more fallout following the completely unverified results of Tuesday's Gubernatorial election in Kentucky. (Audio link to complete show is below.)

On Keystone: Obama finally rejects TransCanada's application to build the controversial tar sands pipeline from Alberta down to the Gulf of Mexico. Our producer and green news expert Desi Doyen joins us to help separate fact from fiction on the long-awaited decision, and to offer long-overdue kudos to those citizens who organized, activated, advocated and otherwise successfully took on the most powerful interests in the history of civilization to block the project in the name of the environment.

On Kentucky: Several new developments following the completely unverified results of Tuesday's Gubernatorial election in Kentucky, where pre-election polls all predicted the opposite of the 'landslide' reported by the state's computer tabulators. Among those developments: A KY newspaper fires their well-respected pollster rather than bothering to find out if the polls were right and the results were wrong; Another reminder of why hand-marked paper ballots like those in KY are swell, but only if you bother to actually count them; We weather a few attacks from progressives who charge us with forwarding conspiracy theories and don't think we should bother to count ballots; And, new information out of Pima County (Tucson), AZ to remind us why citizen vigilance and oversight is needed to assure the survival of democracy.

Also today: The Koch Brothers tell MSNBC they are champions of the environment and MSNBC doesn't bother to correct them --- so, we do. Plus, a few other pieces of important news at week's end...

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

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GUEST: Journalist David Roberts of Vox.com
PLUS: More on concerns about KY election results; NY AG subpoenas ExxonMobil...
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2015 5:58pm PT  

Yes, there is a U.S. House Committee that is even worse than the Benghazi Committee, argues my guest on today's BradCast.

But, first, we follow up yesterday's disturbing show with a few more concerns about the accuracy of the 100% unverified results of Tuesday's Gubernatorial election in Kentucky and state Democrats' ability (or interest) in understanding the dangers of computerized vote tabulation systems. In short, they don't get it. Not by a long shot --- at least if my conversation with folks at the state Democratic Party today are currently any indication.

Next up today, David Roberts of Vox.com joins us to discuss the McCarthyesque behavior of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, as the Republican assault on science continues. Smith, Robert's reports, is wielding unprecedented new subpoena powers in an unyielding attack on scientists and public institutions researching climate change and more.

"In the almost two years since he's run the Science Committee, Lamar Smith has issued more subpoenas than all previous chairs of the committee, going back some fifty years," Roberts explains. "He's newly empowered and he's going nuts with it."

Roberts details three different cases in point, as laid out in his recent article at Vox, including extraordinary demands being made on a number of different, largely unknown scientists, who had the temerity to study and speak out about findings on global warming.

"Our politics are so crazy these days that it's hard to register anything as particularly extreme or outrageous because there's such a flood of extreme, outrageous stuff happening all the time," Roberts tells me. "But, honestly, the head of a Science Committee accusing the head of a government scientific research body of deliberately falsifying data in order to support a political effort to pass climate policy is really a serious accusation. It shouldn't just be part of the daily noise of politics. This is a serious deal."

Roberts says this amounts to little more than an effort to keep scientists from being able to do their work, to frighten them away from reporting their findings and, hopefully, find something --- anything --- that can be taken out of context in hopes of embarrassing them somehow. "Everybody knows why they want" all these personal emails, he tells me. They want to "look for bits and pieces that, if you yank them out of context, look suspicious, and selectively leak those emails to reporters --- who, history shows, will credulously eat it up. For all the incompetence and haplessness of the current GOP right now, one thing they're really good at is they've figured out how the media ecosystem works."

Making the case that this is all worse than what the ridiculous Benghazi Committee is doing, Roberts explains: "[Hillary Clinton], at least, has the power and the resources and the wherewithal to defend herself. But these individual scientists, they don't know anything about politics. They don't know how to play this game. They don't have money for lawyers. So the damage that this threatens to do to the open practice of science in the U.S., I think, is worse than the danger posed by these more high-profile political committees. The damage that they're doing to the practice of science in the U.S. is much deeper and more disturbing than whatever the ebb and flow of who's up and down in electoral politics."

Finally today, some late breaking news on a story we've been following closely for several months now, as New York's Attorney General files subpoenas against ExxonMobil concerning what the company knew about climate change, when they knew it, and how much they may have worked to obscure that information from the public (and their own investors)...

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

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GUEST: Karoli Kuns of CrooksAndLiars.com...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2015 5:21pm PT  

It is a primal scream of a BradCast today, following what happened --- once again --- on Election Day yesterday. We see, again, the nightmare scenario I've warned about for so many years: a U.S. election where all of the pre-election polls suggest Candidate X is set to win, but Candidate Y ends up winning by a huge margin instead and nobody even bothers to verify that the computer tabulated results accurately reflect the intent of the voters. (Audio link to today's full show is below.)

That's exactly what happened in Kentucky on Tuesday, where Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway was leading by a fair margin (about 3 to 5 points) in almost every pre-election poll in his race for Governor, but then ended up being announced as the loser to 'Tea Party' Republican candidate Matt Bevin by a landslide (almost 9 points) --- according to the state's 100% unverified computer tabulation systems.

As detailed on today's program with my guest Karoli Kuns of Crooks And Liars, there are a number of reasons to question the reported results. Among them, as Kuns points out today at C&L, the Democrats running in the down ballot races --- for Secretary of State, Attorney General (Conway's current job) and even state Auditor --- each reportedly received tens of thousands more votes than Conway did at the top of the ticket!

Bev Harris, of BlackBoxVoting.org, who I spoke with earlier today, described the higher vote totals in the down ballot races as a "significant anomaly". She tells me that, at least until more records are requested and examined, the KY-Gov's race "has to be looked at as a questionable outcome, particularly because of the discrepancies in the down ballot races. More votes in those races and not at the top...that just doesn't happen."

(Here is a link to a helpful Public Records Request toolkit [PDF] from Black Box Voting for those of you who may be interested in helping to try and obtain some transparency in this race, as we also discussed on today's program.)

There are many other reasons for supporters to question the reported results in the KY-Gov's race, as I detail during the show. Of course, the reported results could also be completely accurate. But, without public, human examination of the hand-marked paper ballots (which, thankfully, now actually exist across most of the state!) and other related records, we have yet another unverified, 100% faith-based election to leave supporters wondering if they really won or lost.

We've seen this before, of course. Too many times. We've seen malfunctioning paper ballot op-scan systems report losers as "winners" until a hand-count corrects the record. We've seen how easy it is for hackers to game election equipment. We've seen election insiders, even as recently as last week, breaking in to computerized central tabulators. And we've even seen high-ranking election officials in Kentucky (including County Clerks, Circuit Court Judges and School Superintendents!) convicted for decades of insider election fraud, including the manipulation of electronic voting systems.

We've seen both Democrats and Republicans alike fall victim to similarly anomalous and unverified results. And, while none of it bodes well for 2016 and beyond, neither does it bode well for those immediately and directly impacted by Tuesday's elections --- such as the 400,000 Kentuckyians who stand to lose health care under a new Republican Governor who has vowed to shut down the state's expansion of coverage under ObamaCare by the very popular if term-limited and outgoing Democratic Governor.

Also today: More election results from races around the country, from the attempt to legalize marijuana in Ohio, to campaign finance reform in Maine, to the recall of Koch Brothers-funded school board officials in Colorado...

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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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: Pima County (Tucson), AZ election integrity champ John Brakey...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2015 6:09pm PT  

Election Day is tomorrow in several states and many more local jurisdictions, but on today's BradCast, we've already got our first "irregularity".

My guest today is John Brakey, a longtime Election Integrity advocate from Pima County (Tucson), AZ. Last week, he caught an election official --- on video tape --- breaking the security seal on the county's new, central vote tabulator after party observers had left county election headquarters following pre-election "Logic & Accuracy" testing of the system.

"I looked at my screen,and I go: 'What is that guy doing? What's he doing over there? He's just opened the box up. Where's the Democratic observer?! Where's the Republican observer?!'," Brakey tells me about the incident on today's program.

He goes on to explain what happened, how he caught the guy, what the county did about it, and how you may wish to be concerned about the possibility for similar corruption with similar electronic systems in your home town.

Thanks to Brakey, the incident led to new L&A tests the next day, though the explanation for the entire affair from Pima County Election Director Brad Nelson (the original "Election Official Gone Wild", as seen in this 2006 video tape), remains questionable --- particularly since Nelson was in the room at the same time his subordinate was seen breaking into the system. We sought comment from Nelson, but he has yet to respond to our request.

For the record, Brakey is one of the stars of J.T. Waldron's riveting 2009 documentary film, Fatally Flawed: The Pursuit of Justice in a Suspicious Election which tells the remarkable --- and, at times, uplifting --- story of the years-long fight by Brakey and a transpartisan coalition of others in Tucson to obtain a recount of ballots from a questionable $2 billion 2006 bond initiative election in Pima County.

Also today: Obama "Bans the Box" that had required job applicants to reveal a criminal record before they've even had an interview on federal employment applications; The GOP's 2016 Presidential candidate/cry babies meet over the weekend to make new demands for networks holding GOP Presidential debates; Another candidate drops out of the 2016 Presidential contest; And, some quick tips (here are some more) on how to try and help protect your vote, and everybody else's, during tomorrow's elections around the country!...

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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PLUS: U.S. Boots on the ground in Syria, but Congress doesn't care; Jeb's campaign death rattle continues; Hillary calls for Exxon investigation; And climate change finds its way into a GOP Presidential debate...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2015 5:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast... With Boehner out, Ryan in and "all family business settled" (for now) in the U.S. House, the GOP looks elsewhere for enemies.

They find a lot of them.

This week's CNBC GOP debate opened up a great opportunity for new attacks on a favorite old enemy: the so-called "liberal media"! (Yes, they are actually considering Wall Street's favorite wingnut cable channel for the investment class to be part of the "liberal media" now, rather than blaming themselves for the failures of their own Presidential candidates!) But they also find new enemies amongst fellow Republicans like RNC Chair Reince Preibus, who may quickly become the Rightwing's new "John Boehner".

Plus: The White House announces U.S. boots will now be on the ground in Syria --- but does Congress even care?; Is Jeb's campaign really dead? Or should the voters decide that rather than the media?; Hillary joins the growing calls for investigation of ExxonMobil; And, climate change actually finds its way into a Republican Presidential debate!...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUESTS: Salon's Heather Digby Parton & Colorado Statesman's John Tomasic...
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2015 4:53pm PT  

It was a 'Rocky Mountain Mess' to many, but we try to make sense of CNBC's GOP Presidential Debate in Boulder, CO last night on today's BradCast anyway!

My guests today are Heather Digby Parton --- Salon contributor, Hillman Foundation opinion journalism award winner, and proprietor of Digby's Hullabaloo blog and the Colorado Statesman's John Tomasic.

"Digby" has joined us for all of our post-debate coverage so far this year and offers smart insight yet again today. Tomasic shares his on-the-ground perspective after covering the goings on inside and outside of the Coors Event Center before, during and after yesterday's debate(s).

Was anything learned from either the 'Kiddie Table' or 'Main' debates? Is Jeb finally done for? Did Kasich's gambit work? Did Trump accidentally make sense again? Does Jindal have a magic wand he doesn't know about? Is Social Security really a scam?

Were the CNBC moderators as awful as the GOP would like us all to believe? Why was a Republican debate held in the liberal "Mecca" of Boulder in the first place? And why were the students at CU-Boulder kept from attending it?

We search for reasonable answers to all of those questions and more on today's BradCast! Wish us luck!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GUEST: Financial journalist David Dayen
ALSO: 2016 shakeups; Dog shoots owner; 'Black Friday' news; Excrement in D.C.; More...
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2015 4:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast (link to complete audio below), Republican and Democratic leadership strike a deal to avoid defaulting on U.S. loan payments and to keep the government open for two years. But at what cost?

Financial journalist David Dayen of Salon joins us to explain both the grand deal and its cost to both Republicans and Democrats (though, arguably, much more to Democrats.)

"In general what this whole thing does is prevent a bunch of hostage-taking," on the part of Republicans, Dayen explains. "I think that is the real problem that the House Freedom Caucus [formerly the 'Tea Party Caucus'] has with it." Other than that, as he breaks it down for us, Republicans and war hawks seem to get a much better deal out of the bargain.

Democrats, while getting some much needed relief to arbitrary spending caps on several social programs, ultimately pay a price for cuts to Medicare and Social Security in this agreement, says Dayen. While Republicans, on the other hand, receive a huge $32 billion "slush fund" above and beyond anything Democrats get, in order to pay for more militarism under the bogus guise of "Overseas Contingency Operations".

"When we have homeless people that need shelter or poor people that need food for the food stamp program, then the answer is 'We're broke! We cannot pay for that! We're selling out our children's future! There's no way we can scrounge up any more money out of the couch cushions!," Dayen explains on today's show. "But when this little kitty that Pentagon generals want to use to protect their favorite program or build more weapons of any kind --- that we have plenty of money for, and if you don't like it you hate the troops and you're un-American."

All of that and much more detail to help you understand what's really going on in this deal and on one crucial point concerning the nation's debt ceiling that Dayen describes as "a total failure...by the leadership of the Democratic Party."

Also today: Poll shakeups in the Presidential race(s); The dog who shot his owner; The major retailer that plans to close for "Black Friday"; And --- speaking of excrement "in the barn" in Washington D.C. --- Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a new plan to literally put it all to good use and much more...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2015 5:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast we catch up with a bunch of news, breaking and otherwise, at week's end.

Among the stories covered --- with much gusto and an occasional bit of snark --- on today's program...

• The stuff that actually mattered from Hillary Clinton's testimony at Thursday's disastrous Benghazi Hearing in the U.S. House;
Record-breaking Hurricane Patricia barreling towards Mexico;
• New Mexico's Sec. of State Dianna Duran --- a longtime Republican "voter fraud" fraudster --- resigns after pleading guilty to multiple counts of election fraud and embezzlement;
• Ben Carson overtakes Donald Trump in two Iowa polls;
• Jeb Bush's campaign death rattle continues;
• Paul Ryan's attempt to become House Speaker could still be thwarted by "conservatives" ready to primary other "conservatives";
• And some listener mail on our Richard Viguerie interview...

There's a few more important news items littered throughout today's very lively and busy program, but you'll have to listen to learn about 'em...

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

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GUESTS: Fracking expert and Mahoning County, OH voter Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer; Columbia County, NY Election Commish Virginia Martin...
PLUS: A few words on the continuing GOP 'Benghazi Investigation' circus...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2015 5:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast, first a rant about the nonsense that is the Benghazi "investigation", and then on to a real investigation concerning an anti-fracking initiative on the ballot in Mahoning County, OH, questions about the results reported by the county's electronic tabulators, and an election official or two who are caught on tape going kinda nuts when asked about it.

To talk about our latest example of "Election Officials Behaving Badly", I'm joined on today's show by Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, the voter who asked a simple question at a recent Mahoning County, Ohio Board of Elections meeting, before the officials accused him of accusing them of a crime in response!

And, since the Mahoning County election officials --- the ones caught on tape responding so outrageously to Beiersdorfer's reasonable request for a hand-count --- failed to reply to our multiple requests to join us on the show, we are joined instead by Virginia Martin of the Columbia County, NY Board of Elections to comment on all of this. (Our invitation remains open to Mahoning County election officials David Betras (D) and Mark Munroe (R) if they'd like to respond to today's program.)

Beiersdorfer is a geology professor, fracking expert and supporter of the ProtectYoungstown.org anti-fracking initiative. As you'll here, at the meeting of the Elections Board, he politely asked for a hand-count of paper ballots regarding the ballot initiative, after a post-election poll appeared to offer contradictory results to those reported by the unverified computer optical-scan tabulation systems used in the county. (An electronic tabulation system, I'll note, which has failed in election after election elsewhere.) In response, Betras freaks out and charges that Beiersdorfer has accused him of "rigging an election".

"You just basically accused this board of elections of election fraud!," Betras, a Democratic, snaps in outraged response, as caught on tape. "I find it highly offensive you’d accuse me of a crime!" His fellow election commissioner, Munroe, a Republican, takes similar offense.

All of that, simply because a voter wished to oversee the results of an election to confirm that computer-reported results were accurate --- in a town with a history of election problems and where some of the same election officials reportedly spent some $30,000 of tax-payer money in a failed effort to keep the initiative off the ballot in the first place (before being overruled by the state Supreme Court.)

"I certainly wasn't accusing anyone of a crime," Beiersdorfer tells me today (and as the tape confirms). "I just pointed out the discrepancy and I asked for a public, open, transparent hand-count of the ballots. I was a little bit surprised at how he reacted to that --- and basically attacked me."

Unfortunately, it's not an isolated case. We've seen similar responses from election officials elsewhere. Martin, the Democratic co-chair of the Columbia County, NY Board of Elections --- one of the few counties in the nation to publicly hand-count every paper ballot before certifying any election (my recent interview with Martin and her Republican co-chair on that specific topic is here) --- explains on today's show: "We election officials often find ourselves in the crosshairs. There's always somebody in the public who's not happy about something that's transpired at the Board of Elections. There's a winner and there's a loser, so we often are in a position of having to defend ourselves. I can understand why they would be very sensitive."

But, she adds, that type of concern simply doesn't come up in her county, given that the public is invited to oversee the hand-count of paper ballots for every election. As an election official, she insists on hand-counts, she says, because: "I wasn't comfortable with trusting what the computer said, because I know computers can make mistakes. I know that computers can be programmed incorrectly --- inadvertently. I also know they can be manipulated, they can be tampered with. I personally can't know how a computer counts anything, because I don't get to see that. So how am I going to know that the result is correct?"

I think it's a fascinating show today --- as this is a problem that occurs more and more, as election officials and electronic voting and tabulation systems make it far more difficult for the citizenry to oversee their own elections --- but you'll be the judge. Give it a listen below!...

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

[You can watch the complete, exclusive Mahoning County, OH video from which we played audio clips today, here. And the full video of Pima County, AZ Election Supervisor Brad Nelson caught on tape similarly freaking out back 2007, which we played a bit of as well today, can be seen here.]

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Biden out, Ryan in...Maybe...As original 'funding father' of the modern conservative movement argues 'we are heading towards a cliff'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2015 5:28pm PT  

Joe Biden is out (of the race for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination) and Paul Ryan is in (sort of...for the contest to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House).

We cover both breaking stories today on The BradCast before settling in for a related, and at times, very lively, conversation with conservative icon Richard Viguerie about what the hell Republicans and 'conservatives' in the so-called Freedom Caucus are thinking at this point, as the GOP Civil War rages over control of the U.S. House and much more.

"I consider myself a conservative, not a Republican," Viguerie clarifies right off the bat. "I do operate in the Republican Party, but do consider myself a conservative, which is the case with many of my national conservative friends. They think of themselves as conservatives, not Republicans."

The 82-year old Viguerie is a legend amongst conservatives. He is regarded by many as the 'funding father' of the movement, thanks to his roll in the creation of direct mail political fund raising. He continues to play a very influential role among Republicans via his books --- such as Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It and Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause --- and the ConservativeHQ.com website, self-described as "the online news source for conservatives and Tea Partiers committed to bringing limited-government constitutional conservatives to power."

Right now, it seems, neither he nor the others at his Conservative HQ site are willing to agree to Ryan's newly issued demands to become the next Speaker. So, what are they and fellow Republicans thinking at this point?

Viguerie says he and those in the so-called Freedom Caucus are "looking for a fighter. The grassroots is white hot with anger at the silence and the ineptness of our supposed leaders out there. And that's what driving this problem with the House Speaker selection right now."

I did my best to press Viguerie on all matter of related issues, including whether he and his conservative compatriots support the U.S. Government defaulting on our loan payments for the first time in history, as may well be the case in the next several weeks if the "debt ceiling" is not raised and a budget is not passed to keep the government open and operating --- which, I tell him, seems very un-conservative to me!

His responses make clear that he is more than willing to take such gambles and has no intention of rolling over for those "Big Government Republicans" that he considers to have sold out the movement. He believes "we are heading towards a cliff," thanks to overspending and tells me that he is is willing to force spending cuts as "part of a deal" to raise the debt limit, even if that results in default or shutdown. "We need to have a conversation with the American people about our priorities."

On the hunt for a Presidential candidate, Viguerie insists: "Voters do not like establishment Republicans. They really do reject them across the board. When I talk to Republicans and they say 'we've got to beat Hillary', I say that's fine, I understand that, but if you nominate an establishment Republican --- a Chris Christie, a Jeb Bush type, a John Kasich --- you're going to lose. The people don't want an establishment Republican."

That's just a taste, of course, of what I'll call our very spirited conversation on all of the above and much more. Listen to the show below and let me know what you think in comments! Enjoy!...

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

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