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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Trumpwreck: The First Presidential Debate: 'BradCast' 9/27/16
Smart and, at times, hilarious coverage of the Trump/Clinton Hofstra debate, with journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
'The Most Audacious Political Heist of Our Time':
'BradCast' 9/26/2016
David Daley on 'RatF**ked' and how the GOP 'stole' the U.S. House for a decade as Dems 'fell asleep at the wheel'...
Sunday Toons of the First Debate Moment
The final stretch for the general election begins and so do the Presidential Debates, as documented in PDiddie's collection of the best political toons of the week...
Eyewitness to Shooting at Protest Questions Official Account: 'BradCast' 9/22/16
Guest: Linda Flynn of Charlotte Spirituality Center was 'feet away', believes police activity sparked violence at peaceful demonstration...
'Green News Report' 9/22/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
U.N. climate pact reaches crucial threshold; White House orders NatSec planning for climate change; Good/bad news in the Arctic; PLUS: Obama to world: Time to step up...
Previous GNRs: 9/20/16 - 9/15/16 - Archives...
Caller Debate Questions
for Trump and Clinton:
'BradCast' 9/21/16
Plus: Police shootings and protests in NC, OK; Earth smashes more heat records; Trump leads Clinton in new national poll...
Trump Charity Scam; Warren v. Wells CEO; TX Defies Court: 'BradCast' 9/20/16
A whole lotta liars, cheats and scam artists on today's show! (So what else is new?)...
'Green News Report' 9/20/16
AL pipeline spill; Court reprieve for Dakota Access; U.N. trying to 'Trump proof' climate pact; PLUS: Leonardo DiCaprio wants you to watch over the oceans...
Terror Attacks in NY, NJ, MN; Massive Pipeline Spill in AL: 'BradCast' 9/19/16
What we know (and don't) in both cases. Guest: Alabama Media Group's natural resources reporter Dennis Pillion...
Sunday Toons of the Slightly Queasy Moment
'Slightly'?! ... 'PDiddie' may need a moment to see if it passes...
Trump's (Latest) Trap; Voting Rights Rulings in KS and OH: 'BradCast' 9/16/16
Also: Nat'l polls tied; Trump leads in OH; Sanders warns against 3rd-party voting; Colbert cheers us up...
'Green News Report' 9/15/16
Dakota Access pipeline fails climate test; House Comm probes state AGs on Exxon; Lead paint maker bought WI immunity; PLUS: LA floods U.S. 3rd costliest disaster...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guest: David Daley on his new book 'RatF**ked', on how the GOP 'stole' the U.S. House majority for a decade as Dems 'fell asleep at the wheel'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2016 4:35pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Where the Presidential race stands as we head into the debates and how an ingenious GOP scheme in 2010 may have served to undermine (small-d) democracy in the U.S. for a decade or more. [Audio link posted below.]

As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prepare to face off in their first Presidential debate, national polls are now, largely --- and amazingly --- a dead heat, with Trump beginning to take the lead in several key states that would give him the Presidency.

Meanwhile, as Dems struggle to hold on to the White House and fight long and longer odds to regain control of the U.S. Senate, a majority in the U.S. House, once again, remains seemingly out of grasp entirely for Democrats despite their candidates and policies being far more popular amongst the national electorate.

David Daley, until recently the Editor in Chief at Salon, now a Fellow at the University of Georgia's Grady School of Journalism, joins me on today's BradCast to discuss his new book, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. In it, Daley documents "Operation REDMAP", the insidious (and brilliant) Republican scheme carried out with a few million dollars and a handful of GOP operatives back in 2010 that succeeded in putting the U.S. House out of reach for Democrats for a decade --- while they were still celebrating their 2008 victory and barely paying attention to what Republicans were up to.

"It is nothing short of the most audacious political heist of our time," Daley tells me. "The Republican State Leadership Committee, they realize that 2008 might have been a wipe-out for the Republicans, but that did not matter if they could win in 2010. Because the census requires that you redraw every district line in every state legislature and in the Congress every ten years they came up with a brand new idea."

That successful idea in 2010 resulted in Democrats receiving 1.4 million more votes than Republicans for their U.S. House candidates in 2012, while still losing control of the chamber to Republicans by 33 seats. "The party completely fell asleep at the wheel," he says, allowing "an overwhelming avalanche of dark money and negative ads, into these small little towns" that would determine control of state legislatures, followed by an unprecedented computer-aided gerrymander of every GOP controlled state in the nation. That, in turn, led to the seemingly uncrackable Republican majority in the House that has served to bastardize so much of our national politics through today.

"The Democrats didn't have the imagination to come up with this idea," Daley argues. "It is entirely legal. However, it is also entirely and deeply undemocratic." The GOP came up with "a partisan hammer to take control and hold it," in what Daley describes as nothing short of a "political moneyball" plan that would "lock in partisan control of a chamber [of Congress] for a decade or more."

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

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Guest: Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians | Plus: Breaking news on NC voting rights from SCOTUS and AZ, FL state primary results...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2016 5:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Primary season is still going (believe it or not), and we've got several important results from Arizona and Florida's contests on Tuesday. Also, important breaking news for the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Obama Administration gets sued to stop new leases to oil and gas companies on federal lands. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First today, Donald Trump goes to Mexico for a brief visit with the Mexican President. Our coverage is mercifully even briefer.

Then, the Scalia-free U.S. Supreme Court splits 4 to 4 in response to North Carolina's emergency attempt to stay a blistering ruling from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal in late July, where the state Republicans' massive voter suppression law was struck down after being found to have been enacted with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-American with almost surgical precision". The tie at SCOTUS means the lower court's ruling, nixing the law, will stand, even though four Justices (guess which ones) on the highest court in the land would have preferred to keep a law broadly seen as the nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era in place for this November's Presidential election!

Speaking of elections, we review the results of several key races from Tuesday's state primaries in Arizona and Florida, where the reelection battles of Sens. John McCain and Marco Rubio may determine the balance of the U.S. Senate this November. Also, the controversial Democratic FL Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz survives, as does controversial Republican Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, AZ. But the news for Helen Purcell, Maricopa's Republican County Recorder in Phoenix, who many blame for the disastrous Presidential Primary in the state earlier this year, may have reached the end of her 30-year career, with just a few hundred votes (out of more than 25,000 cast) now hanging in the balance.

Then, why is the Obama Administration, which has placed a moratorium on new federal land leases to coal companies, still selling millions of acres of leases to oil and gas companies? Jeremy Nichols, Director of the Climate and Energy Program at WildEarth Guardians, who, with Physicians for Social Responsibility, filed a suit last week seeking a moratorium from the Administration's Bureau of Land Management on such auctions, joins me to discuss the landmark federal lawsuit.

"What we're seeing here is a pattern and practice of the Administration continuing to hand over rights to our public lands to the oil and gas industry," Nichols explains. "By leasing these lands, they basically convert them to the ownership of the industry, and industry can hang on to these lands for as long as they want. It really is what we call an irreversible commitment of public resources here."

He goes on to tell me that while, in many respects, the Obama Administration has been a champion for the climate and the environment, on this issue, it seems, they appear to have "a very serious blind spot."

"We feel that it's high time for this administration to apply the same scrutiny to the oil and gas program that is has applied to coal-fired power plants, its coal mining program, and other aspects of our fossil fuel consumption," says Nichols. "We are in essence condoning the release of a lot more carbon into our atmosphere and, at this moment in time, pumping more carbon into the atmosphere is the last thing that this administration --- and we as the American public --- should be condoning."

At the same time, he says, the fossil fuel industry is actually suing the Obama Administration for not making more land available to them. "It's really a shocking filing on their end," Nichols argues. "They're basically saying that even though they've gotten everything they want on our public lands --- 10 million acres of our public lands since President Obama has taken office --- that it's not enough for them."

Finally today, a few follow-ups on a number of stories we've been covering over the past week, from Maine Gov. Paul LePage's mental and political breakdown to the reports of an official law enforcement investigation into more high-level GOP voter registration fraud in Florida, this time by Trump's top campaign chief. Oh, and Vladimir Putin has been arrested at a supermarket in Florida! No, really!

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

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Nation's dumbest Governor receives an intervention amidst racist outbursts, obscene voice mails, death threats to political opponents...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2016 5:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Maine's Republican Governor Paul LePage is melting down. [Audio link posted below.]

We've been reporting on the two-term, 'Tea Party' dimwit for years, describing him variously as both the nation's dumbest Governor and the worst in history. But now, at the seeming climax of a months-long saga concerning racist comments by LePage, a threatening and obscene voicemail he recently left for a Democratic state lawmaker, comments about shooting that lawmaker in the head and, this week, an apparent emergency intervention by GOP state legislators, the possibility of resignation --- or, perhaps, mental breakdown --- is seeming likelier by the minute.

We cover that insane story today, how this loon became a two-term Governor in the first place in an otherwise not-insane state (hint: you can thank third party challengers), and how, even after all of the years of LePage's various embarrassments, Donald Trump has said this month that he'd be delighted to consider the Maine Governor for a role in his White House cabinet!

Then, Apple owes $14.5B in back taxes in Europe, but it could cost the U.S.; One county official in Colorado is standing up to a major coal company in bankruptcy to force them to pay what they owe in taxes; Desi Doyen joins us for an unusually uplifting Green News Report; and, finally, closing the circle on today's show, how some residents of an impoverished area of Maine (LePage voters, no doubt) tried to block a land grant and millions of dollars to the local community in order to prevent President Obama from establishing a new national monument in that portion of the Maine North Woods...

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: Eric Boehlert on Rightwing media after the firing of FNC's founder and propaganda mastermind amid sexual harassment charges
Plus: Another deadly heatwave; Trump gets convention 'bump'; Clinton taps Kaine for Veep...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2016 5:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a very rocky start for Democrats in Philadelphia and bad news for Fox 'News' may be good news for the country. [Link to complete audio of show posted below.]

Before our coverage of today's remarkable news from the Democratic National Convention, some late (and overlooked) news on the mass shootings in Munich last week and in Fort Meyers, Florida on Sunday night. Also, record deadly heat continues to grip both the U.S. and the world, and new polling shows Donald Trump now taking a lead both nationally and in key battleground states after receiving a 'bump' from last week's GOP convention in Cleveland.

Then, with Dems gathering for their own convention in Philly this week, things were off to a very bumpy start on Day 1. The release of hacked emails written by DNC insiders (in which The BradCast makes a very brief cameo) have led to Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), a long time Hillary Clinton supporter, finally stepping down from her role as DNC Chair before the gathering was even gaveled to order. That followed booing for the controversial party chief by protesters at a breakfast meeting of the Florida delegation, as well as similar jeers for California Democrats and even for Bernie Sanders himself after an appearance asking his supporters to defeat Trump and elect Clinton.

Then, we're joined by Eric Boehlert of Media Matters on what history may well regard as the biggest news of the past chaotic week: the firing of Fox 'News' mastermind Roger Ailes on the heels of sexual harassment allegations, now said to be supported by some twenty-five other staffers in the company's internal investigation.

"I can't even calculate how much more powerful Roger Ailes is to the Republican Party than Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is to the Democratic Party," Boehlert notes early in our conversation, before we discuss what finally took down Ailes, what more is still to come, what happens next for the Rightwing propaganda outlet, and whether or not Fox' remarkable effect on the national electorate for the past twenty years can continue in Ailes' absence.

"That Islamophobia, that race-baiting, that ugly hate rhetoric, 'Democrats are traitors' --- that all came from Roger Ailes. That came from the top," Boehlert explains. "Certainly under Obama, you could make the argument [Ailes] was running the Republican Party. He was picking the candidates. He was picking the talking points. Fox News created the 'Tea Party' with non-stop coverage back in 2009."

"The Beltway press, for twenty years for the most part, has treated Roger Ailes as this brilliant genius," he tells me. "Never a hint that any of this was going on. The press has treated Ailes with kid gloves, considering the damage he's done to politics. ... I think people try to put Fox and the right-wing media into this box, 'Well, it doesn't affect me, it doesn't affect our politics, those people are crazy'. It permeates everything, and the Trump campaign is the best example of that. People are crying: 'Where did he come from?! Oh my gosh, how is this happening to America?!' It's been broadcast for twenty years."

Finally, just in case you hadn't heard, in what would normally be today's lead story, if these were normal times, Clinton has chosen Sen. Tim Kaine, a moderate and well-liked Democrat from Virginia, as her Vice Presidential running mate. Yes, all of that and much more on today's BradCast...

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

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Guest: Longtime GOP campaign consultant and 2012 Presidential candidate Fred Karger from Cleveland...
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2016 5:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Once again, as we go to air today, breaking news, this time concerning Fox "News", where its founder, CEO and evil rightwing propaganda mastermind Roger Ailes is officially pushed out after 20 years, on the heels of sexual harassment allegations from at least two Fox stars, and as many as 20 women over all. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

Then, as the GOP continues to step on itself all week during its national nominating convention in Cleveland, second place 2016 GOP Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is booed off stage, during his primetime speaking slot, for failing to endorse Donald Trump. As it turns out, the Trump camp knew that Cruz wouldn't endorse days ago, but gave him the high-profile time slot at the convention anyway. All of which served to obscure the official acceptance speech of Vice Presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana. Idiocy or genius?

We discuss all of that and much more related on today's show with longtime Republican consultant and 2012 GOP Presidential candidate (the first openly gay one from either major party) Fred Karger, who tells me from Cleveland that he was one of the folks on the floor booing last night --- though not necessarily for the same reason as others. "Any chance I get to boo Ted Cruz, I will do it," he explains.

Karger, who says he's attending his 11th RNC, after having served as a senior campaign adviser to Presidents Ford and Reagan, discusses his broken party and what he believes broke it. He tells me he won't be supporting Trump this year --- (tune in to find out who he will support) --- but warns of the likelihood of a "Trump victory."

"He's a master promoter and look what he's done in 13 months," he says. "He's not only the nominee, but he's taken over the Republican Party. And he's neck-and-neck with Hillary." Yup. And, as Karger notes, the Republican delegates in Cleveland have actually warmed up to Trump over the past several days, despite the apparent chaos to those of us non-wingnuts watching from afar.

Finally, if you're not concerned enough yet, the Republican nominee has not only sown chaos at his own convention but, now, also amongst U.S. allies around the world, with remarkably cavalier comments to the New York Times about the future of NATO and other foreign policy issues under a Trump Presidency.

All of that and more (including more breaking news mid-show, as the NBA exercises it's free market rights to pull their 2017 all-star game from Charlotte, NC, in response to that state GOP's anti-LGBT law) on today's BradCast...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/17/2016 5:05pm PT  

It's been a rough week, so today on The BradCast, we try and catch up on a whole bunch of stuff we haven't been able to get to over the past several days in the wake of Orlando. [Audio link to complete show follow below.]

It's now been one full year since Donald Trump entered the race --- and since we accurately predicted the precise effect he would have on the GOP's 2016 Presidential Primary. Sure enough, the wheel's are now falling completely off for Republicans. Among the fresh evidence: John McCain declares (repeatedly) that Obama is "directly responsible" for the Orlando Massacre, while lying about how and why we 'left' Iraq. It's now so bad for Republicans that George W. Bush, of all people, is coming to the party's 'rescue'. Good luck with that. But, no worries, the GOP has declared the Republican National Convention a gun-free (and fruit-free) zone, so all is well.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, Bernie Sanders offers an online message to supporters, calling on them to work together to defeat Trump and to run for office at the state and local level to the continue the "political revolution". Meanwhile, polls begin to look very good for Hillary Clinton nationally and even in a number of traditionally very "red" states (could a Dem actually win in Utah and in Kansas this year?) All of that would seem to be good news for Democrats, but only if they are allowed to vote this November, which may just have gotten slightly easier for some in Kansas, where GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, Sec. of State Kris Kobach, continues to shame the state.

Finally today, we finish up with the latest Green News Report following the hottest May ever recorded on Planet Earth, and the emergence of new proof that Trump was for action on climate change before he decided to pretend it was all "a hoax".

All of that and much more on today's BradCast!...

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: HuffPo Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim...
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2016 4:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast, voter head to the polls in the New York Presidential Primary and encounter yet another electoral mess, while down in Mississippi, the decades-long false 'promises' of the Prison Industrial Complex come back to bite local jurisdictions in the ass.

First up, it's like clockwork, and just as we predicted on yesterday's BradCast. As voting began today in NYC, reports of problems began immediately rolling in. Some of them, concerning vote-flipping, are complete hoaxes (which I won't link to, but I explain on the show), while others --- concerning tens of thousands of voters purged from the rolls in Brooklyn, optical-scan computer tabulators breaking down around the city, and polling places that failed to open on time --- are quite real and, once again, it is voters who are paying the price.

We'll have much more on those problems in the days ahead, I suspect, as reports have continued to emerge upstate and elsewhere, as predicted, since putting today's show to bed.

Then, we're joined by Huffington Post Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim on the newly emerging failures of the "conservative" budget scam concerning private prisons and reliance on the Prison Industrial Complex. With Republican unwillingness to raise taxes to increase revenue to pay for services, coupled with a decreasing prison population, some county and local budgets in Mississippi are now suddenly "devastated" thanks to broken promises from state officials.

"In the late 90s," Grim tells me, "the state was facing massive over-crowding issues as the era of mass incarceration was really hitting its peak and starting to plateau. The state reached out to the counties and said, we would love to help you build regional facilities, and we will then send you state prisoners. That's gravy for you. You got empty beds, we're going fill 'em, and every time we fill them you get money."

Those payments, however, didn't last. Grim has been reporting on how small towns and counties which fell for that scam and promises of high prison capacities are now unable to meet budget requirements, sometimes even for the most basic of services, as private for-profit prison companies continue to make money from tax-payers.

"Local officials are also talking quite openly about how this exposes the state and federal government's conservatism as bankrupt, and not true conservatism," Grim explains. That's also a problem which more and more states are discovering (hello, Kansas!) on a number of fronts as tax cuts and an unwillingness to raise taxes when necessary to meet budget shortfalls is now hurting many smaller jurisdictions around the country.

Speaking of folks who "fell for it", we finish up today with a bunch of Republican voters in a bunch of counties in one state who are now calling for seceding from the Union! Sounds good to me!...

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: Documentarian Jen Senko; PLUS: GOP unraveling continues...
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2016 5:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the GOP continues to unravel, in both its Presidential nomination process and its increasingly untenable stand against even holding a hearing for Obama's U.S. Supreme Court nominee, and we speak to the filmmaker of a new documentary examining both the rise of the vast Rightwing media machine and how it has succeeded in tearing apart countless American families with its brilliant lies, conspiracies and rabid hostility.

First up, the quixotic search for a Donald Trump alternative continues for the GOP, as John Kasich's fanciful quest for the nomination after winning only the primary in his home state of Ohio continues. That, while Ted Cruz, the only mathematically viable (and, yet, hated) alternative for gaining enough delegates to actually win the nomination, welcomes a notoriously discredited, Islamaphobic conspiracy theorist into his campaign as a national security adviser. Some "alternative"!

And, as if that's all not embarrassing enough for Republicans, President Obama's nomination yesterday of the very moderate and well-respected D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court is already proving problematic for Senate Republicans who have vowed to not even hold hearings for any nominee made by this President. The Senate Judiciary Committee's Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who has repeatedly supported and promoted Garland in the past, including for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, had trouble facing even the usually friendly questioning of Fox "News" in light of his party's bizarrely ill-conceived campaign.

Then, speaking of Fox "News" and dysfunction, I'm joined by documentary filmmaker Jen Senko to discuss her new film, The Brainwashing of My Dad. The documentary details both the rise of the Rightwing media in the U.S. over the past several decades and her own father's disturbing transition from a peaceful, loving Democrat into a hostile, angry 'conservative' after becoming addicted and, yes, brainwashed by Rush Limbaugh, Fox "News" and the rest of the "vast Rightwing conspiracy" machine that has torn apart so many families like her own.

While the film's tagline is "The truth behind the right-wing media machine that changed a father...and divided the nation," an alternative version for so many who will recognize, within their own families, the story of what happened to Senko's father, might have been: "You are not alone!"

"When I started the Kickstarter campaign" for the film, she tells me, "people just started writing me every day, with these heartbreaking stories about so-and-so in their family wouldn't speak to them anymore, or they couldn't talk about anything without them getting angry. It was really shocking. That's when I realized what a phenomenon it was."

Senko explains how her suspicions about what was happening to her father over the years, thanks to Rush, Fox, the endless forwarded emails containing long-disproven conspiracies about the Clintons, Obama and the so-called "liberal media" constituted actual brainwashing, as described by a number of experts in the film.

We discuss not only the long rise of what Hillary Clinton accurately described, in 1998, as the "vast Rightwing conspiracy" machine, but Democrats' own culpability in the scheme, and how it has all culminated in the ascendancy of someone like Donald Trump as the GOP frontrunner for President of the United States in 2016. The non-RW media, Senko notes, "keep saying people are angry because of the way the system is going. No. They're angry because of Fox News and rightwing media --- that includes emails from think tanks and so forth --- [which] have told them lies."

Without giving away the ending to her film, I'll just note that it is both encouraging and underscores that, just perhaps, there is a way out of the ugly, angry mess that so many families --- not to mention the country itself --- now find themselves in after decades of being repeatedly battered by the Republicans' well-crafted political lie machine.

And speaking of encouraging news, we finish up today with a bit of exactly that on St. Patrick's Day, underscoring that, yes, progressive change may take a long time (a very long time, in this case), but it eventually comes and the struggle is always worth it...

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GUEST: Author, historian Prof. Harvey J. Kaye of Univ. of WI-Green Bay
PLUS: Crucial primaries in OH, IL, MO, NC and FL; Feb. heat records 'shock' scientists...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2016 4:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, while Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are busy smearing Bernie Sanders as "extreme" and even "communist", the broad and progressive social programs the Vermont Senator is calling for in his campaign are, as my guest explains today, as American as apple pie and Thomas Paine.

First, however, voters head to the polls for crucial Presidential primary elections in OH, IL, MO, NC and FL and run into a few problems; Massive flooding hits climate deniers in the south, shutting down major interstates and requiring the costly rescue of thousands in TX and LA; And, February global heat records "shock" even climate scientists.

Then, we're joined for today's interview by Univ. of Wisconsin-Green Bay Professor of Democracy and Justice Studies Harvey J. Kaye to discuss the rich history of social democracy (or, as Sanders calls it, "democratic socialism") in the U.S. and how, as noted in the headline of his article for Moyer's & Company, "Social Democracy is 100% American".

"Social democracy means that we harness the powers of democratic government to make American life freer, more equal and more democratic," he tells me. "That stands in contrast to a conservative approach, which is either to empower a hyper-individualism in the libertarian sense, or, as we've seen so often in the Republican Party, empowering big capital and corporations to pursue their interests with some idea that it will all trickle down."

Kaye, author of the books Thomas Paine and the Promise of America and The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great, details how "the original visionary of Social Democracy was the American revolutionary Thomas Paine," oft-embraced by the modern Tea Party and other Republicans, even as they fail to notice his loud and frequent calls for "social security and other public initiatives" that would benefit all.

From Paine through Lincoln through FDR, Eisenhower and beyond --- at least until Ronald Reagan --- U.S. leaders helped "pioneer" a vast number of landmark social programs akin to the ones Sanders is now calling for in his Presidential campaign and on which our nation has been built from the beginning. Kaye, a supporter of the Democratic underdog, explains how and why he believes that "democratic socialism" has been turned into a pejorative over the years, thanks to both "red-baiting" Republicans hoping to tie it "communism", but also thanks to Democrats who have been playing into the same "class war from above."

"The Republican onslaught has been predictable," Kaye says, after detailing example after example of wildly popular socialist programs in the U.S. ever since our founding and through recent decades. "The corporate class war from above was predictable. But where are the Democrats to challenge it?"

Fear of such programs of social justice and economic prosperity, particularly by theoretically "progressive" Democrats, is a fairly new phenomenon in the U.S., which, he tells me, young people may not realize. "These last forty years we have seen this Republican-conservative ascendance that has so limited political possibilities. It has also limited our political imagination."

Please tune in for today's fascinating conversation as we wait for, or become exasperated by, the corporate media reporting on "Super Duper Tuesday" results...

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

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GUEST: Author and UNC political scientist Jonathan Weiler...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2016 5:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast, more Super Tuesday election results clean up, the GOP in full panic mode, and a political scientists' explanation for Trump's ascendancy. [Audio link to the complete show is below.]

First up, more information on some of the seemingly inexplicable computer-reported election results from Super Tuesday that we discussed in more detail on yesterday's program. The MA city which originally reported Jim Gilmore as "winning" the GOP primary in a landslide has "corrected" results, with little explanation. Though I was able to receive an an explanation from Roanoke County VA's General Registrar who responded to our query about why Bernie Sanders seemed to lose 600 votes in the county on election night, moving him from the "win" to the "loss" column there.

Next up, Mitt Romney's remarkable speech attacking Donald Trump as a "phony" and a "fraud" today, and how it may be as likely to help Trump as hurt him.

Then, my fascinating and even chilling conversation with Jonathan Weiler, author, blogger and UNC Chapel Hill political scientist, on the one trait that academics have recently identified to be most predictive of whether you will be a Trump supporter. It isn't racism, education level or economic concerns, as some might have guessed. It's authoritarianism.

As described in his recent article, "Understanding Trump: It's the Authoritarianism, Stupid" and in his 2009 book with Marc Hetherington, Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics --- published long before the rise of Trump --- authoritarianism, as defined by political scientists, is distinct from both racism and conservatism, even as the ideas can cross over in a number of ways.

Weiler explains how political scientists are able to determine who has such tendencies and who does not, based on survey questions regarding not political matters, but on family and child rearing. He goes on to note that authoritarianism, which had fallen out of favor somewhat in the 20th century, had been prevalent in the Democratic Party as well as the GOP, as recently as 1992.

"In 1992, there was really no difference in terms of the level of authoritarianism of the average Democrat and the average Republican," he tells me. "What's happened over the past quarter century is what a lot of political scientists call a 'sorting process,' where the non-authoritarians have increasingly gravitated from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party, and a lot of authoritarians have gravitated from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. In a nutshell, this has been a long complicated process that has played out over 40 years."

Authoritarians, he says, are not "particularly interested in the conservative economic agenda. They [are] not necessarily in favor of smaller government or lower taxes. The pieces of what has become modern conservatism that attracted them are more these kind of 'Us vs. Them' issues" and "Trump has really zeroed in, quite precisely, on what authoritarians care about, and what they don't care about."

While Weiler says he doesn't believe the GOP has been specifically targeting such followers, the gravitation to the Republican Party for authoritarians is the results of the party's specific messages about fear and division over recent decades. "Trump feels like he is the Republican id come to life. In that regard, he is in many ways a kind of logical extension of a dynamic that's been underway for a long time," he explains. "There's a kind of dance that goes on between elites and their followers. Elites come up with these 'Us vs. Them' messages --- these messages that attract authoritarians --- and they cultivate a base. And then that base turns around and says, 'all right, you've got our attention, you've promised to deliver on these issues, and now we expect you to'. So the monster, if you will, that the Republican Party created was in a very strongly authoritarian base that Donald Trump --- whether by instinct or consciously, I don't really know --- he's been the guy who's really taken advantage of that."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report covering, among a bunch of other stuff, the shocking death of a Big Oil CEO on the day after he was indicted on criminal conspiracy charges...

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

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GUEST: Political science researcher Sean McElwee of Demos
ALSO: Disturbing Photo ID voter suppression in NH and elsewhere; OR militia standoff finally over; Massive Porter Ranch, CA natural gas leak finally stopped...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2016 4:56pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 2/2/2016 10:29am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Sen. Ted Cruz promises to eliminate all energy subsidies --- but there's a catch; Sen. Marco Rubio was for climate action, before he was against it; Crashing oil prices blow a billion-dollar hole in North Dakota's budget; PLUS: Bad news for salmon, good news for solar, in California... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Amid denials, state workers in Flint got clean water; FBI joins drinking water investigation; SEC criticized for lax enforcement of climate risk disclosure; WHO declares Zikia virus a public health emergency; Historic deal to protect Canadian rainforest from logging;
G.E. to phase out C.F.L. lightbulbs... PLUS: SoCal Gas knew Aliso Canyon wells were deteriorating a year before leak... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




GUEST: Novelist, father, Flint resident Connor Coyne
PLUS: GOP bigwigs choose Trump over Cruz; Bernie surges in IA; Vets blast Palin; More...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2016 5:11pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: The national media is still missing the disturbing anti-democratic problem at the center of the Flint, MI lead-poisoning disaster; New, kind of amazing, poll numbers out of Iowa for both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders; The GOP establishment continues to warm up to Trump...and much more.

First up, we're joined by Connor Coyne, Flint resident, father and novelist, to discuss his detailed article at Vox on "what the national media got wrong" in their coverage of the city's disastrous and continuing water crisis.

Coyne, who is a stay-at-home dad, says that while his two young daughters appear to be fine at the moment, "Nothing is definitive. And, in a way, that is part of what makes this such a scary experience for all of us. We don't know now, and really will not know for quite some time, how extensive the damage is."

"Flint now has hundreds, possibly thousands, of kids who are going to be dealing with the consequences of this crisis for the rest of their lives," he tells me. "They could live to be 90 years old, they could move anywhere in the world, they're going to be dealing with lead poisoning their entire lives." He adds: "If there is one organization I'd like to give a boost to it's FlintKids.org," a local organization collecting funds to help with medical support that the children of Flint are going to need for a very long time.

Coyne then goes on to explain how this disaster came about, thanks directly to Michigan's appalling, undemocratic "Emergency Manager" system that allows Governor Rick Snyder (R), to unilaterally appoint anyone of his choosing to completely replace local democratically-elected officials, including the Mayor and the entire City Council, in any city he likes, for whatever reason he determines.

It was, in fact, one of Snyder's hand-selected Emergency Managers who switched the city's water supply from the clean Lake Huron to the corrosive Flint River without bothering to put the appropriate filtering system first. As he notes at Vox, it's "inconceivable" that this problem would have occurred or, at least, gone this horribly wrong, "had Flint residents been able to threaten incumbents at the ballot box." But with the Emergency Manager system, there is no such accountability.

"Flint may be the most dramatic example of that system having gone wrong," he tells me. "But I think about all of the cities that have been under Emergency Managers --- Pontiac, Detroit [also Highland Park, Benton Harbor and elsewhere] --- it hasn't really gone right anywhere. Emergency Management doesn't work ethically, but it also doesn't work practically. It just flat out does not work."

Coyne explains how voter turnout has been getting "worse and worse and worse since" Flint's Emergency Manager was installed and, of course, why shouldn't it? Elected officials are stripped of all power under Snyder's tyrannical system. We also discuss how voters, state-wide, voted to do away with the Emergency Manager law in a statewide referendum back in 2012, only to see it immediately re-implemented by state Republicans in an almost identical form --- though with an added provision that legally bars the law from repeal by voter referendum.

Where are the "Tea Partiers" and "Patriot Movement" and "Militiamen" now? And how can it be that even the Washington Post, who reported on this story in December after well over a year of poisonous drinking and cooking and bathing water in Flint, didn't even bother to use the words "Emergency Manager" in their coverage? Unfortunately, WaPo wasn't alone either, as we discuss in our enlightening, if disturbing, interview today.

Also on today's show: The GOP establishment continues to warm up to Donald Trump (because, in no small part, they despise Ted Cruz even more); New polling numbers out of Iowa show fairly remarkable surges for both Trump and Bernie Sanders (though the poll's specific type of sampling may be key in both cases here); Vets blast Sarah Palin for blaming her son's domestic violence arrest and PTSD on President Obama; And Desi Doyen joins us for the Green News Report on the hottest year ever recorded on Planet Earth and much more...

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

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GUEST: Lauren Randall of Sunrun and Alliance for Solar Choice
PLUS: Martin O'Malley, Iowa kingmaker?; Koch Bros. empire built on Nazi money; MORE...
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2016 4:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How outrageous new fees imposed on behalf of Nevada's monopoly electricity company and the state's Big Government Republicans have suddenly resulted in thousands of lost jobs, ripped-off consumers, and a mass exodus of solar companies from the state where the industry had previously been booming.

What did GOP Governor Brian Sandoval --- whose top staffers are also lobbyists for the state's NV Energy company --- know and when did he know it? And how much did he personally have to do with his appointees on the state's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ripping off solar customers by raising rates on them, while lowering the amount of money rooftop solar owners are paid for selling back unused, clean power to the grid?

Lauren Randall, manager of public policy for Sunrun, which describes itself as the largest dedicated residential solar company in the U.S., and a spokesperson for The Alliance for Solar Choice the rooftop solar industry's advocacy group, joins us to explain what just happened in NV and how it has resulted in Sunrun, Solar City and several other rooftop solar companies being forced to shut down entirely in the state. That, after Sandoval had previously offered incentives to encourage private consumers to invest in clean, solar energy.

"It's absolutely outrageous," Randall tells me on today's program. "The easiest way to understand this is it's a 'bait and switch'. Nevada passed incentives to attract residents to go solar, and then after baiting homeowners with incentives, the state switched the rules, penalizing solar homeowners to deliver basically additional profit to NV Energy."

She says there is a "tremendous amount of backlash from both sides of the aisle on this," after "the rules were changed in the middle of the game for over 16,000 customers who went solar to save money on their electricity bills and to move the country away from fossil fuels and on toward more clean energy."

During the interview, she details how her company is now suing the state to force Sandoval to release communications between himself and his staffers, the PUC and NV Energy, as the industry hopes to roll back the devastating new rules which were announced just before Christmas and took effect on the first of the year.

Sandoval's commission, Randall explains, "just presented the most anti-business, anti-solar rules that we've seen, really anywhere in the country. It's been just catastrophic for families in Nevada. What we're seeing now is upwards of a thousand job losses from this."

Randall is hopeful that public outrage may force the PUC to overturn their new rules that have otherwise just killed the solar industry in sunny Nevada. She charges that the effort is a "coordinated campaign" among fossil fuel-based utility companies in a number of states (and could be coming to a state near you!) and asks folks to sign up to help in the fight.

Also on today's busy show: The Koch Brothers empire was built on Nazi money as well as communist Russian money; Martin O'Malley could decide whether Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders wins Iowa; and Desi Doyen joins us for Green News Report coverage of Obama's final State of the Union address...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2016 5:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it was a trip through the week in wingnuttery, as we catch up with a number of stories we've been following of late, including (but not limited to):

• America's dumbest Governor, Paul LePage (R-ME), is apparently also America's most racist;
• President Obama's exceedingly modest and popular executive actions on gun safety freak out the NRA and the stooges who follow them;
• Native Americans in Oregon speak out against the out-of-state militiamen who've taken over a federal facility on their tribal lands;
• The Chief Justice of Alabama's Supreme Court, Roy S. Moore, reignites confusion over same-sex marriage in the state;
• And, Wheaton College shames itself still further by attempting to terminate a tenured professor because she believes Muslims and Christians "worship the same god".

As I said: A week of wingnuttery. (And some well-deserved righteous rants in response.) Enjoy!

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

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