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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, May 30, 2016
A Minimum Income and Maximum Infrastructure?: 'BradCast' 5/26/16
Guest host Angie Coiro with Dave Johnson of Campaign for America's Future; Plus: Historians on the Trump/Hitler comparison...
L.A. County Clerk Explains 'Uncharted Territory' of CA Primary: 'BradCast' 5/25/16
Guest: L.A. Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan; Plus: Orange County, CA pollworker-in-training w/ viral video calls in...
Why Dems Should be BEGGING Sanders to Stay in Through CA: 'BradCast' 5/24/16
Guest: Washington Monthly's David Atkins; Plus: Sanders files for 'recanvass' in KY and very good news for OH voters!...
'Green News Report' 5/19/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canada insurers call for climate strategy; Pakistan and India heat wave; Renewables record in Portugal; Exxon killed the electric car; PLUS: Trump preps for rising seas (really!)...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/16 - 5/17/16 - Archives...
Think Twice About 'Bernie or Bust': 'BradCast' 5/23/16
Columnist and Sanders supporter Harold Meyerson offers some historic warnings for other Sanders supporters; Also: More bad polls for Clinton; More bad 'track conditions' for Dems; Planet's climate crisis worsens...
Sunday Toons of the Slowly-Realized Moment
A number of toons in PDiddie's collection of this week's best should be prize winners, frankly. Check them all out...
Jill Stein: 'We're Seeing the Dean Scream of 2016': 'BradCast' 5/19/16
The Green Party's 2012 Presidential nominee and 2016 candidate offers thoughts on Dems, Sanders, the 'two-party system', the 'spoiler effect' and more in our exclusive interview...
'Green News Report' 5/19/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump will toss UN climate pact; Coal export terminal halted in WA; Nestle water plant halted in OR; Duke ordered to close coal ash pits in NC; PLUS: Another climate win for kids in MA...
Previous GNRs: 5/17/16 - 5/12/16 - Archives...
OR, KY Results, And 'Fraud' Concerns Examined (Where Possible): 'BradCast' 5/18/16
Also: Climate disaster in Sri Lanka; CT adds automatic voter registration; KS ordered to restore voting rights to 18,000...
Trump Gains on Clinton; Big Win Against Coal in WA State: 'BradCast' 5/17/16
Sierra Club's Mary Anne Hitt on another huge win for grassroots activism; And corporate media fails us again...
'Green News Report' 5/17/16
Global climate protests ignored by MSM; New evacuations for Ft. McMurray fire; New EPA methane rules; Shell spills in Gulf; A win for whales; PLUS: April 2016 hottest ever...
MO Repubs Seek To State Amendment To Impose Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Some state Dems back 'compromise' that will leave 200k legally registered voters at risk of disenfranchisement...
SCOTUS Punts ObamaCare Case; NV Dems Descends Into Chaos: 'BradCast' 5/16/16
Ian Millhiser on Court's latest unprecedented (post-Scalia) move; Chaos at NV state Dem convention...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
Big Government bathroom inspections in NC, Trump and Sanders shaking up the establishment, and more in PDiddie's collection of the week's best political toons...
Strange Days Indeed: 'BradCast' 5/13/16
Oil Spills; Pathological Trump lies; GOP transgender freak outs; EXCLUSIVE details on MD's decertification of Baltimore's 4/26 Primary Election results...
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: Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder (R)...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2016 4:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as voters head to the polls for the big Presidential Primary in Indiana --- where many of them will again cast 100% unverifiable votes on touch-screen voting systems --- a Republican State Senator from Missouri joins us to explain his bill to do away with such systems in the Show-Me State. [Link to audio of the show at bottom of article.]

In April, St. Louis County held a disastrous local primary election in which, for the first time in years, they used only paper ballots at the polling places, since election officials said they did not have enough time, following the state's Presidential Primary in March, to reprogram the County's touch-screen systems. The County has long given voters the option to vote on hand-marked, optically-scanned paper ballots or on unverifiable touch-screen systems, with more and more voters choosing paper, even as local election officials encouraged them to vote on the oft-failed, easily-manipulated touch-screen machines.

The April disaster occurred when the County's co-Election Directors (one Democrat and one Republican, both of whom have gone on record to state they love the touch-screens and regard them as virtually infallible) failed to provide the correct paper ballots to some 60 precincts. There are now multiple ongoing investigations into the disaster from the state level on down. The Democratic Director has now been suspended and the Republican has tendered his resignation.

It's hardly the first time St. Louis County has screwed up their elections, but those human errors can be corrected with competent personnel. What can never be corrected is the fact that, for example, in the state's Presidential Primary in March, the reported margins of victory were so small (just over a thousand votes on each side), and the number of votes cast on unverifiable touch-screens in MO so large, that it is impossible to know if Trump actually beat Cruz on the Republican side and if Clinton actually beat Sanders on the Democratic side. Not a great way to run elections in the once-key swing state of Missouri.

Republican state Senator Bob Onder joins me on today's program to discuss his bill (SB 771) that calls for doing away with the state's touch-screen voting systems all together. Acknowledging the recent paper ballot foul-ups, Onder explains why the touch-screens are still worse: "you can't audit an electron."

"Only with a paper ballot can we have an auditable, verifiable record of a voter's intent as he or she casts a vote and exercises their most sacred privilege in our democratic republic, which is the right to vote," he says, going on to recall another local election in 2014 "in which the margin was very tight" and where "the loser in that election" is "not really sure he lost."

The GOP's Asst. Majority Floor Leader in the State Senate tells me about the various obstacles his legislation is facing, including from the state's Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander who, he says, "is a big fan of electronic voting machines" and "an enemy of paper ballots."

It's a fascinating and encouraging conversation over all...at least until we discuss the MO Republicans' continuing push for disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions in the state, which Onder, unfortunately, supports (though apparently based on fraudulent information provided to him by some notorious GOP "voter fraud" hucksters, as I explain during the program.)

But, hey, we'll take what we can get! And if Republicans are willing to work with the long-time Election Integrity champions at Missourians for Honest Elections on the issue of banning touch-screens, I'll take it! We can try to get Dems on board and fight with Republicans about everything else on another day.

Also on today BradCast: Republican officials in WI and in KS continue their effort to suppress the vote and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' with good news for lions, elephants and children, but not so good for opponents of fracking...

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

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GUEST: Attorney Ernest A. Canning; Plus: Ecuador quake; Doha meeting; How Hillary campaign undermines fight to overturn 'Citizens United'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2016 4:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we begin with a late update on the weekend's devastating earthquake in Ecuador and the failure of oil producing nations to reach an agreement to cut production (in hopes of raising worldwide oil prices).

Then, we move on to domestic politics, with Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz once again skunking Donald Trump out of another delegate contest over the weekend, this time in Wyoming, while concerns continue to emerge among Democrats about voting hours and "mysteriously switched" voter registrations in New York state in advance of Tuesday's big Presidential Primary there.

We've got some answers to at least some of those concerns from an election official or two in NY, which may ease concerns a bit...maybe...about voting hours not beginning until noon in many counties around the state tomorrow, and about what may be happening to some of those reported party affiliation changes on voter registrations in the Empire State.

Then, BradBlog.com legal analyst Ernest A. Canning joins us with updates from two states in the fight to overturn Republicans' unlawful, unconstitutional, disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions both in the state of Texas and in Wisconsin where, believe it or not, we've actually got a bit of good news from the courts!

Finally, Hillary Clinton's campaign undermines the Democrats' argument to overturn the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. I explain that and much more on today's BradCast! Enjoy!

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

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Overdue ruling may ameliorate disenfranchisement for some voters...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/18/2016 6:35am PT  

The same U.S. 7th Circuit Appeals Court panel that, in 2014, opened the door to mass disenfranchisement via Wisconsin's strict GOP-enacted Photo ID voting law ("Act 23"), has now issued a decision that could, in many instances, lead to the reinstatement of the precious right of citizens to cast votes.

Specifically, the panel determined in a ruling issued last week, Wisconsin's strict photo ID restrictions may not be used to disenfranchise any voter who lacks the ability "to obtain a qualifying photo ID with reasonable effort." The appellate court has remanded the matter back to the trial court so that the District Court Judge who heard the original case can determine how to best fashion a remedy that could keep many otherwise legal and often long-time voters from being turned away again at the ballot box.

The new ruling in the Frank v. Walker case comes too late for approximately 300,000 disproportionately minority and poor voters (nearly 10% of the Badger State electorate), who may have been disenfranchised during the state's recent April 5th primary election. It is difficult yet to ascertain the precise effect the polling place Photo ID restriction had in either the Republican or Democratic Presidential primaries that day, but the restrictions had the potential to alter the outcome of those races as well as a Wisconsin Supreme Court contest. The Scott Walker-supported Republican, Rebecca Bradley, reportedly defeated independent jurist JoAnne Kloppenburg by approximately 95,000 votes. The highly controversial Bradley was thus elected to serve out a 10-year term on the Badger State's highest court after being appointed by Walker to fill a vacancy last year.

As ordered by the federal appellate court, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman may now provide a remedy for those whom ACLU attorney Sean Young described as the "most impacted" by Wisconsin's polling place Photo ID restrictions. The likely remedy was outlined by the 5th Circuit panel, which noted that the new decision was intended to bring Wisconsin's law in line with Indiana law where a voter "who contends he has been unable to obtain a complying photo ID for financial or religious reasons may file an affidavit to that effect and have his vote provisionally counted."

The court ruled the restriction on voting should not be applied to three classifications of voters for whom the plaintiffs had sought relief:

(1) eligible voters unable to obtain acceptable photo ID with reasonable expense and effort because of name mismatches or other errors in birth certificates or other necessary documents; (2) eligible voters who need a credential from some other agency (such as the Social Security Administration) that will not issue the credential unless Wisconsin’s Department of Motor Vehicles first issues a photo ID, which the DMV won’t do until the other credential has been obtained; (3) eligible voters who need a document that no longer exists (such as a birth certificate issued by an agency whose records have been lost in a fire).

Had such a remedy been in place before the state's recent primary, voters like Eddie Lee Holloway, a 58-year-old African-American man who moved from Illinois to Wisconsin in 2008 and voted without problem there until the WI GOP's Act 23 was instituted, might not have been disenfranchised at all. Holloway, despite owning at least three different forms of ID, including his expired Illinois photo ID, birth certificate and Social Security card, was unable to obtain the required Photo ID to vote in WI, as The Nation's Ari Berman documented last week. "He’d spent $200, visited two states, and made seven trips to different public institutions" in his effort to get an ID to vote, "but still couldn’t vote in Wisconsin," Berman reported, in yet another now-all-too-common tale of longtime voters facing absurd new obstacles simply trying to cast a vote in the wake of such new voting restrictions.

But Holloway was hardly alone...

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




By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2016 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover the results, the fallout and the voting disasters from Tuesday's Primary Election in Wisconsin --- the most important parts of which continue to be ignored by the bulk of the corporate mainstream media.

First up (after a bit of breaking news out of West Virginia), both Ted Cruz on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, reportedly won their respective Presidential Primaries yesterday by huge numbers and record turnout. Yet, with the growing likelihood of contested conventions for both the Republican and Democratic parties, the corporate media continue to downplay the Sanders surge against Hillary Clinton (he's now won 7 of the last 8 nominating contests, most of them by 'yuge' margins), even as they continue to go round-the-clock in their coverage of Donald Trump and the GOP nomination fiasco.

They also continue to ignore the difficulties that so many Americans are having even casting their vote, thanks, in particular in Wisconsin, to the GOP's Photo ID restriction law that we've been warning about for a very long time and which resulted in untold thousands of voters, particularly at universities around the state, waiting in lines for hours --- if they were able to wait at all and if they were able to get the "proper ID" --- to simply cast a vote. (See this very short video of a very long line, by way of just one example, if you don't believe me.)

If it was this bad for a Primary in WI (and in AZ, IL, NC, MO, FL and elsewhere, so far this year), imagine what November will be like when all 50 states vote at the same time. The MSM better start ignoring those concerns immediately!

We then take a few listener calls and emails on all of the above (including my thoughts on the "Bernie or Bust" movement) before our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen on the Keystone pipeline springing a leak, another heat wave in Alaska, new details on the number of Americans who will be killed by climate change, and much more that, coincidentally, is also being under-reported and/or completely ignored by the mainstream corporate media...

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

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300k otherwise-legal voters imperiled by WI GOP's new Photo ID law...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2016 5:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast, in the wake of the disgraceful voter suppression that took place last week in AZ (and, before that, in IL, MO, NC, FL, etc. so far this cycle), we detail, among other things, the disasters that await voters next week during the crucial Dem and GOP primaries in Scott Walker's WI.

Despite being found illegal and/or unconstitutional by three different courts, the Badger State's new Photo ID voting restriction, instituted by state Republicans, will be in place next week for the first time during a major election. The law, determined by a federal court to imperil the otherwise legal votes of some 300,000 already-registered voters, will be implemented nonetheless, thanks to a factually-inaccurate ruling by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2014.

That, despite the federal judge who found it "absolutely clear," based on evidence and expert testimony during the lengthy trial he oversaw, that Wisconsin's Photo ID voting restriction will "prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes." And, also, despite the lack of required notice the state has given to voters concerning the disenfranchising new restriction on voting rights.

So, buckle up for that fun and for remaining primary disasters in other states where too many registered voters are waiting until Election Day to be surprised by changed voting rules, long lines and mysteriously changed party registrations. (Yes, talking to you, NY and CA voters, among many others!)

We also get some more information on the mystery concerning all of those delegates Bernie Sanders was supposed to have won last week in WA and hear about the harrowing tale of the 82-year old African-American plaintiff challenging NC's Photo ID voting restriction.

Finally, we take a ton of listener calls today, for a happy change, on all of the above and much more in another very lively 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: Brendan Fischer of WI's Center for Media and Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2015 5:33pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please listen to the full amazing interview below!

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

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

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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: 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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Guest: John Nichols of The Nation | PLUS: Hillary finally takes a position on the Keystone XL pipeline...
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2015 5:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast...

First: The Nation's Washington Correspondent and Wisconsin native son John Nichols joins us to explain what went wrong with the Walker campaign and what to expect in the wake of a state Supreme Court Justice dying yesterday in court.

"The fantasy," upon which Walker's campaign was built, Nichols tells me, "was that Americans hate trade unions so much --- they hate living wages, they hate good benefits, they hate weekends off, they hate vacations --- so much, that they were ready to elect a guy whose only argument for himself was that he got in a fight with the unions. And when Walker actually got the spotlight and he started talking about his record, what he wanted to do, everybody got bored in about five minutes."

Even Republicans "said, 'what else do you have for us?'," he says. "In fact a fifth of Republicans say they think unions should be stronger. So the notion that there's some scorching anti-union sentiment out there isn't true."

Nichols contends it wasn't a lack of funding that did Walker in, but he also explains why the Koch Brothers --- who have long been Walker's his biggest supporters --- didn't bother riding to his rescue. "When you play with billionaires, they always set the rules of the game," he explains.

Also, Nichols details how yesterday's sudden death of state Supreme Court Justice N. Patrick Crooks could shake up the balance of the court --- perhaps even more in Scott Walker's favor than it already is --- as another contentious court election battle now looms once again in the Badger State.

Next: The U.S. Judicial Conference sends its report [PDF] to the U.S. Congress on the now-resigned and long-disgraced U.S. District Court Judge Mark F. Fuller, following his arrest on domestic violence charges last year. Turns out, as we've long suspected and reported, Fuller was found, during the year-long investigation, to be a serial wife-beater.

"Judge Fuller physically abused [his second wife] Kelli Fuller at least eight times, both before and after they married, which included and culminated in the assault that took place on August 9, 2012, in the Riz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Atlanta, Georgia," the cover letter on the report to Congress reads. The Special Commission of federal judges investigating the matter also found the Judge lied (committed perjury) to the panel of federal judges carrying out the probe, and should be impeached by Congress for his "reprehensible conduct", even though he has already resigned.

I offer details and background on the full case on today's program, including information on Fuller's lifetime appointment to the federal bench by George W. Bush in 2002, his participation in the Karl Rove-cabal takedown of Alabama's Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman (who is still in federal prison following his sentencing by Fuller), and more.

My full report on this latest Fuller news, including some of the apparently false information his attorney offered me earlier this year (which I declined to report at the time), and Kelli Fuller's chilling 911 call from that hotel room in Atlanta last year, is now posted here.

Finally: Mid-show today, we received word that Hillary Clinton finally decided to take a public position on the Keystone XL pipeline. We've got her announcement and reaction to it from her fellow Democratic 2016 opponents and even a predictable thought or two from the Republican side of the contest...

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

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Guest: Lawrence Norden, co-author of Brennan Center's disturbing study
PLUS: Walker drops out, Fiorina moves up...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2015 5:39pm PT  

We've got a lot to cover on today's BradCast (in addition to welcoming about our newest affiliate partner, WLRI 93FM in Lancaster, PA!)

First, some Presidential politics, including the late breaking news of Republican superstar and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker plummeting to the bottom of the 2016 GOP race for President and then promptly dropping out. At the same time, failed businesswoman and successful fantasist Carly Fiorina has surged in to 2nd place nationallly, even as Fox "News", of all outlets, challenges her on her pretend memories of a deceptively edited Planned Parenthood smear video.

Then, Volkswagen admits that their cars were built to hoax emissions testing by only kicking in pollution controls when the cars' computers sensed that they were undergoing emissions tests!

That, sadly enough, is meant to take us to our main story today, the new report from Brennan Center for Justice warning that "America's Voting Systems are at Risk" [PDF]. My guest is Lawrence Norden, co-author of the new report with Christopher Famighetti, explaining how the electronic voting systems in at least 43 states are more than a decade old and could fail entirely at any moment.

"The biggest finding is that, in the vast majority of the country, machines are at or rapidly approaching the ends of their life spans, and that, right now anyway, in most places, there aren't plans or budgets to replace them," Norden explains. "With older machines also comes just a difficulty in finding replacement parts. They're often running on very old software which creates security vulnerabilities --- so there are a lot of reasons that we need to start taking this more seriously."

Those failing machines, he goes on to tell me, resulted in some 500-700,000 votes being lost in last year's election alone, thanks to long lines that occur when these machines fail to work at all on Election Day. There is also a racial disparity to go along with those numbers, as Norden details, because "wealthier counties are in a position to replace their equipment that is aging, and those that don't have those resources are not."

While the report is expansive, well-researched and, justifiably, received a decent amount of attention from mainstream media sources upon its release last week, I share my concern with Norden that, while the study covers so much of what we've known for years (and have reported, virtually non-stop, for more than a decade both here at The BRAD BLOG and on The BradCast), the study's recommendations to replace old electronic systems with new electronic systems that will have many of the same problems is quite troubling. Nowhere in the report are overseeable, fully transparent hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballot systems discussed, despite such systems being regarded by many as Democracy's Gold Standard.

I also share my concerns with Norden about the report's timing, coming out right now when it is largely too late to replace voting systems --- at least with new electronic systems --- before voting begins in the 2016 cycle.

Norden, who I've had lively debates with in the past on related issues, says the Center's report is "not favoring any kind of technology," even if it is clear that they are calling for computer technology over more transparent and overseeable hand-counted systems. "I'm not crazy about the idea of having people just vote on paper without some kind of notification of potential errors," he argues, "notification that their vote won't be read."

He also argues, in making his case that computers are "more accurate" than hand-counts, that "a lot of vote-by-mail is not counted", mostly due to voter error.

Beyond that, I'll let you give the conversation a listen and you can decide for yourself what to make of the new report and its recommendations. I'll be delighted to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!...

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

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Guest: NatSec journo Shane Harris on his startling Daily Beast exclusive
Also: New Presidential politics and polling news and MUCH more today...
By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2015 6:11pm PT  

Today's BradCast is packed with news from top to bottom. Please buckle up before listening.

First, Big Oil's deceptive scam in California (as discussed on yesterday's show) has succeeded, for now, as Dems pull landmark legislation that would have called for a 50% cut in petroleum usage in the state.

Then, new polling finds Bernie Sanders overtaking Hillary Clinton now in Iowa, as well as New Hampshire, while the party's internecine battle over more debates continues. On the GOP side, candidates not named Trump are flailing as they desperately try to get attention. It's not working --- neither is their lost hopes of scuttling the Iran peace plan.

Next, author and national security correspondent Shane Harris joins us to discuss his disturbing new exclusive at The Daily Beast on 50 U.S. intelligence analysts now reportedly charging that the U.S. has been "cooking" its intel on ISIS.

The still-unnamed military intelligence analysts working for CENTCOM, as Harris explains, are reportedly seeing some of their own reports manipulated by higher-ups. "Key pieces of [their analyses] that they feel are very important [are being] taken out, not given the proper context, [and] in some cases making it look like ISIS and al Qaeda are weaker than these analysts actually believe they are."

So are these charges akin to the way intel on Iraq and WMD was manipulated by the Bush Administration in the 2002/2003 lead-up to war, as revealed by the notorious Downing Street Memos ("the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy")? Or are these claims more akin to the hyperventilation over unsubstantiated allegations from the Right concerning Benghazi?

Harris tells me his reporting suggests it is more likely the former than the latter, though it remains unclear who is behind the alleged manipulation of intel and how high up it might go, even if proven true. "What I think is notable is that these 50 --- actually 52 --- professionals who are doing this every day, to go against their bosses, to take this to the IG is a very bold move. They feel very strongly that they have a case," he explains. "I've never seen anything like this. Usually whistle-blowers are in ones and twos, but for a group of people en masse to complain like this is certainly unique in my experience as a reporter."

We discuss who may be behind the alleged "cooking" of the intel and whether President Obama or the White House is somehow directing all of this as the Bush/Cheney Administration was doing in the case of the manipulated intel on Iraq. Tune in for Harris' response to those questions and many others, in what seems, at least as of now, a startling, if still-developing story.

Finally, our latest Green News Report is also a very busy one today, and not only because it includes several fresh examples of Sarah Palin's unparalleled ignorance...

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

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Guest: Journalist David Roberts of Vox.com...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2015 3:58pm PT  

Over the weekend, supposedly moderate, supposedly reasonable 2016 GOP Presidential candidate Carly Fiorna discussed climate change --- for four long minutes --- with Yahoo News' Katie Couric. In the bargain, as climate journalist David Roberts of Vox.com noted, "everything she said was wrong." Really wrong.

Roberts joins me on today's BradCast to dissect Carly's clap-trap, and to discuss a new report from those lefty, environmentalist, tree-huggers over at Citi GPS (the research arm of Citigroup), finding that moving to clean renewable energy now, in order to try and help mitigate climate change, is ultimately less expensive for the world than sticking with our current fossil fuel economy status quo.

"Moderate Republicans have decided that outright science denial is no longer working for them," Roberts explain in regard to Fiorina's bizarre climate comments. "They've concluded that it makes them look old and cranky and backwards, and it's hurting them with young people and Latinos. So there's at least a small collection of Republicans who have started thinking 'How do we oppose doing anything without denying the science?' That's the dilemma that's in front of them. That's what Fiorina is trying to solve here."

The results, for the failed businesswoman and failed U.S. Senate candidate, as we discuss point-by-point --- from her silly claims to Couric about wind farms and birds, to the one about solar power requiring "huge amounts of water" --- were as disastrous as her failed reign as CEO of HP.

"Republicans have spent so long dug in on this stupid science debate over climate change," Roberts tells me, "they haven't bothered to notice or look around or educate themselves at all about what's going on in this area. So, now they are leaving science denial behind --- slowly but surely --- [and] wandering out into this territory where they know almost nothing. They're just stepping on rakes everywhere."

Summarizing Citi's new report, Roberts explains its findings this way: "It's basically, 'Do you do the same thing you're doing at enormous risk, or do you take this alternative route which costs about the same and avoids this enormous risk?' At the end of all this they basically say, 'Why would you not do this? It's got so many benefits and so little downside. Why aren't we doing that?' And, of course, why we aren't has everything to do with politics."

"If you want to say that the transition to clean energy is going to destroy the economy, then the burden of proof is on you at this point, because there's so much research saying otherwise," he adds during our wide ranging --- and kinda fun --- conversation!

Also on today's show: Glenn Beck's coming-soon tyranny apocalypse; Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both continue to surge in New Hampshire polling...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Also: Bernie Sanders & ignoring corporate media are good for you too...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2015 5:46pm PT  

No, I wasn't just blowing smoke when I told you many many months ago that vaping (quitting tobacco and moving to e-cigs) is a life saver and that those who were trying to restrict its use were helping to kill people unnecessarily.

A new independent expert study out this week, commissioned by the UK government's Public Health England (PHE), underscores exactly that, as we discuss at the top of today's BradCast.

As the new study finds, e-cigs are "around 95% less harmful" than tobacco cigarettes; there is no evidence that vaping is a "gateway" to tobacco smoking; horrible reporting has misinformed the public to believe that e-cigs are as dangerous as tobacco; vaping helps smokers quit and saves lives; and that public officials (shamefully, many of them Democrats!) should be encouraging smokers to move to vaping, rather than discouraging the use of e-cigs, since they are harming the public by doing so.

All stuff we've told you long ago. And here's another study, a major one, proving that The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast had it right to begin with.

Speaking of stuff we've told you long ago, we then move back to Presidential politics and how --- as we told you on the day he entered the race in mid-June (before almost anybody was taking him seriously --- they are now!) --- Donald Trump has blown up both the 2016 campaign and the Republican Party along with it.

Today's latest high-larious examples include both Jeb Bush and Scott Walker absolutely falling over themselves trying to figure out and/or flip-flop on their positions on immigration (and "anchor babies" and Constitutional birthright citizenship) and the latest embarrassment for now-disgraced Republican favorite Josh Duggar and the rest of his Republican Party.

Finally, we finish with an adult politician, Democratic 2016 Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, and his extended response this week (you're welcome!) to corporate media failure in covering the substance of important campaigns and why he refuses to attack Hillary Clinton just to please them...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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U.S. Administration's 'evidence is as sketchy as one could imagine,' charges the intelligence veteran turned peace activist...
By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2015 5:00pm PT  

It's been just over one year since we were told by Sec. of State Kerry and President Obama that pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 killing all 298 on board. The evidence to support the claims, as repeatedly cited by Sec. of State John Kerry at the time, was based largely on "social media". But no hard evidence has been presented by the U.S. since that no time.

On today's BradCast, we are joined by retired, 27-year CIA analyst turned peace activist Ray McGovern, who personal delivered the CIA's Presidential Daily Briefings to several Presidents, including Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. His organization,Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) --- which includes several high-ranking former intelligence professionals and whistleblowers --- have called, once again, on the U.S. to release any evidence to support their claims that Russia was behind the downing of MH17.

"We're investing 90 billion dollars a year in U.S. intelligence and when push comes to shove, we have to rely on social media?," he asks incredulously. "The evidence is as sketchy as one could imagine." In fact, he goes on to tell me on today's program that "there is no good evidence that pro-Russian separatists, so called, or the Russians themselves shot down that plane. I am morally certain were there to be such evidence, it would be [shouted] from the housetops as proof that Kerry was right.""

In support of his disturbing assertions, McGovern cites, for example, the so-called "Government Assessment" that was publicly issued by the Administration just days after the incident, in place of a traditional "Intelligence Assessment". "What [Kerry] offered was a 'Government Assessment', which means it was written in the White House, which means it was a political document written by political hacks, and that the intelligence analysts would not sign on to it," McGovern tells me. "That is significant. This is a new genre of report not supported by the intelligence analysts, and that speaks volumes."

"The reason why there could be no intelligence assessment," he asserts, "is because my former colleagues were honest enough to prevent that. They said, 'look, we don't want to sign on, like our former colleagues did, in a fraudulent estimate saying Iraq has weapons of mass destruction'."

McGovern, who is decidedly non-partisan (see his infamous personal 2006 confrontation with then-SecDef Donald Rumsfeld over lies about WMD, for evidence) offers several cases of similar misinformation offered by the U.S. in the recent past (during his time with the Reagan Administration, for example), and goes on to explain why he believes the U.S. is concealing "available" evidence and/or failing to correct previous assertions during our must-listen conversation on today's show.

Also on today's BradCast: Several other breaking news items and updates, as well as our latest Green News Report...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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'They approached the phone companies before 9/11,' he says, citing new Edward Snowden disclosures that 'vindicate' his 2006 revelations...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2015 5:29pm PT  

Today on The BradCast...First, I need to pick up with a few more points from yesterday's show, concerning how the Republican Party is, frankly, no longer a legitimate political party, how they have absolutely no governing philosophy, how they will say whatever they need to say in order to support whatever they feel like "believing in" at any particular time and, basically, how they are simply making this shit up as they go at this point. I offer a few more examples of that today concerning Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Donald Trump and a couple of others.

Then, it's on to our main interview with AT&T/NSA whistleblower Mark Klein, the now-retired 22-year AT&T employee who, in 2006, infamously exposed that the company had a secret room in its San Francisco facility --- Room 641A --- where the NSA had been allowed to install a splitter to trap and record all Internet traffic coming and going over AT&T's backbone lines.

Over the weekend, the New York Times and Pro and ProPublica revealed newly disclosed documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden concerning AT&T's long and happy --- and illegal --- relationship with the NSA. The documents, in many ways, he believes, vindicate precisely what he had blown the whistle on in 2006.

I discuss the newly released documents with Klein on today's show, what they reveal about AT&T and NSA, how he came about discovering the secret NSA room at AT&T, and his experience since then as a whistleblower.

Among other things, he tells me he doesn't buy "the government's cover story that 9/11 changed everything," pointing to the new Snowden docs which cite AT&T's cooperation with the NSA going back as far as 1985. The friendly relationship between AT&T and the NSA goes back decades and underscores his contention that "AT&T gives NSA what it wants."

On the billions (perhaps trillions?) of land lines, cell phone lines and Internet traffic intercepted by the government illegally, he says that "there was no warrant that could cover this. Warrants are supposed to be specific, covering individual people, papers and whatnot - they were sweeping up everything."

On George W. Bush's claims that "we're just listening to a few phone calls from no-good people who are calling the Middle East," he says: "That was a complete lie and a diversion from the fact that they were collecting billions and billions of communications every day on the Internet."

On the recently passed legislation, the USA Freedom Act, which was supposed to have curbed many of the greatest warrantless wiretapping abuses under the USA Patriot Act, Klein says: "That law does not address Internet surveillance at all, it does not touch the secret rooms that are still in place doing what I already described. That law did not address that at all. So the Freedom Act is a fraud, in my opinion."

Klein also harshly criticizes then-Senator Obama for voting in 2008 to grant AT&T and other telecoms retroactive immunity on the heels of his 2006 disclosures. Obama "knew what he was doing," he argues. "He was running against Hillary for the nomination in 2008, so he postured to the left and said explicitly he would oppose any bill with immunity in it. He tried to gather his liberal supporters by making that promise. As soon as he won the nomination and beat Hillary, he quickly switched sides, and came out for immunity. It was a cynical move on his part, not some light-minded stupidity."

We covered much more during our discussion, so please give the full interview a listen!

Finally, speaking of Obama and Hillary, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as the Obama Administration gives final approval for Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic, even as Obama announces a visit to the Arctic to decry global warming and as Hillary comes out against drilling in the Arctic. Try and square all of those (Arctic) circles if you can!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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