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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, July 24, 2016
Trump's RNC Acceptance Speech and the GOP's Dark Future: 'BradCast' 7/22/16
Salon's Heather Digby Parton on the rise of a 'demagogue' and the fall of 'conservatism' after the GOP's 'dystopian hellscape convention'...
Ailes Out, Cruz Booed, and a World on Edge With 'President Trump': 'BradCast' 7/21/16
Guest: Longtime GOP campaign adviser, 2012 Presidential candidate, 2016 Cruz booer, Fred Karger from Cleveland...
5th Circuit Court Finds TX Photo ID Law Violates Federal Law: 'BradCast' 7/20/16
Also: 'Liars, Lucifer & Jail!' - RNC Day 2 coverage w/ Jimmy Dore in Cleveland, and why he believes Trump is no worse than Clinton...
Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth: 'BradCast' 7/19/16
ALSO: New insider election fraud warnings, worry, woes in several states as another national poll finds Trump and Clinton tied...
Happy Birthday to Me?
It's a pretty big birthday over here. Not that we'll much be able to enjoy it all that much this year, unfortunately. But you can help!...
'Green News Report' 7/19/16
Trump's Veep pick is also a science denier; UK's new PM abolishes climate dept.; AK heat wave breaks records; PLUS: India breaks amazing record for tree planting...
CIA Vet on Turkey Coup, Declassified 9/11 Pages: 'BradCast' 7/18/16
Guest: 27-year analyst, briefer of Presidents Ray McGovern; Also: RNC kicks off; Ailes 'out' at Fox?!...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
Trump hearts Pence; Ginsburg and Christie are sorry; and 'bomb delivery robots'?! Yes, all of those toons and more in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best...
After Nice; Pence Tapped by Trump; Dem Poll 'Freak Out': 'BradCast' 7/15/16
Not hijacked by fear or terror. A science denier will be the GOP Veep nom. Trump leads Clinton in new poll...
'Feeding at the Pig Trough': What to Expect at the Cleveland RNC: 'BradCast' 7/14/16
GOP Presidential historian, adviser Doug Wead; Also: More bad poll news for Clinton...
'Green News Report' 7/14/16
Porn: dirty, Coal: clean!, says GOP; Senate Dems call out 'web' of professional deniers; June 2016 was hottest on record in U.S.; PLUS: Another fracking explosion...
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...


ALSO: 'Liars and Lucifer and Jail', Oh My! - RNC Day 2 coverage w/ Jimmy Dore in Cleveland, and why he believes Trump is no worse than Clinton...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2016 6:22pm PT  

BIG BREAKING NEWS just before going to air for today's BradCast! [Link to complete audio below.] The full, very conservative U.S. 5th Circuit Court of appeals has just issued a very surprising and very encouraging ruling finding that the Texas GOP's long-contested Photo ID voting restrictions are, in fact, a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act!

Moreover, a federal court in Wisconsin issues an order allowing those without GOP-approved Photo IDs to be allowed to vote anyway. And, Day 2 of this year's insane Republican National Convention results in the official nomination of Donald J. Trump for President of the United States.

First up, the very encouraging breaking news out of Texas, where the most conservative appellate court in America has just undercut one of the nation's most draconian Republican Photo ID voting restrictions. Conservatives had been hoping --- despite the lack of voter fraud that could possibly even be deterred by the law --- that the full 5th Circuit would overturn the rulings of court after court after court all finding the GOP law has both a racially discriminatory intent and effect. But it looks like it was not to be. The 5h Circuit's 203-page ruling [PDF] today finds the law in violation of the Voting Rights Act and remands the case back down to the lower court (where it had already been found both unconstitutional and in violation of the VRA), in order to find a remedy that may allow for something like an affidavit to be signed by voters who do not have the strict type of ID now required by Republicans to cast a vote at poling places under the controversial law.

Some 600,000 already legally registered Texans had faced potential disenfranchisement during this fall's Presidential election. That is now looking much less likely, even as the remedy still needs to be fashioned and the case could still go to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, even a tie there would revert the case back to today's very positive ruling by the 5th Circuit. In related news, a federal court struck a "critical blow" to the Wisconsin GOP's version of the same law. The court there has ordered that state to implement a program to allow voters without the newly-requisite Photo ID to vote anyway, by signing an affidavit.

A lot of legal votes may have just been saved today in those two states, as well as in others where similar laws are being challenged by voting rights advocates and/or considered for passage by other Republican-controlled legislatures.

Then, it's on to our somewhat-truncated (due to the above) coverage of Day 2 of the RNC in Cleveland, where the GOP officially nominated Trump as their standard bearer on Tuesday. Comedian Jimmy Dore of Pacifica Radio's Jimmy Dore Show and The Young Turks joins us from Cleveland with a report on his bizarre (if not totally surprising) conversations with Republican delegates at the convention. He then goes on to offer his own impassioned case as to why he, a longtime Bernie Sanders supporter, will not support Hillary Clinton this year, and believes that a Trump Presidency would ultimately be no worse, and perhaps even better for the country, than a Clinton Presidency.

Suffice to say, I disagree with my friend Jimmy on a number of points, despite his well-argued case, in our very lively and spirited conversation today. All of that and much much more in another fast-paced edition of The BradCast! Enjoy!

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

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Guest: Constitutional law expert and author Ian Millhiser...
By Brad Friedman on 6/23/2016 5:35pm PT  

We do our best on today's BradCast to keep up with an insane amount of breaking news that continues to pour in today, from the Democratic 'sit-in' protest in the U.S. House to two major rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court to the British vote to leave the European Union to extreme weather in China and back to the U.S. again for even more still-breaking news. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The Dems' unprecedented 'occupation' of the U.S. House to force a vote on gun legislation came to an end --- without the vote Democrats sought --- earlier today after more than 25 hours, as Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan largely gave up by simply declaring the chaotic House in adjournment until after the July 4th holiday. But will it start all over again when Congress reconvenes? And will Democrats come to regret their popular upheaval the next time they are in the majority?

Meanwhile, constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser, author of Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, joins us to explain the two major U.S. Supreme Court rulings handed down today, one is very bad news for the Obama Administration's immigration policy and, the other, a very surprising decision on affirmative action admissions policy at public university and colleges.

"The good news" on the immigration ruling, he says, "is that because this is an even split, it means that's there's no precedential value to this. It means that when a ninth justice is confirmed [to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Scalia], it can be re-litigated all over again. But the bad news is that until there's that ninth justice, the program is at the mercy of some lower courts that are very hostile to immigration." As to today's other ruling, Millhiser explains: "People have thought that affirmative action was on its deathbed for a really long time. It had a series of near-death experiences. This case has been kicking around for something like eight years, and they finally get around to deciding it, and surprise, they don't strike down the program. There was a lot of language in the opinion that I think is going to give a lot of heartburn to people who support affirmative action, but the punchline is affirmative action lives to see another day."

But wait! There's much more breaking news on today's program: Yet another oil pipeline ruptures in Southern California; 'Oil Bomb' trains set to begin running again in Oregon just three weeks after fiery derailment; 'Brexit' voting in Great Britain ends amidst flash flooding that could effect turnout, as the 'LEAVE' coalition predicts defeat; Extreme weather, including a rare tornado, kills 78 in China; Volkswagen agrees to pay more than $10 billion to customers amidst emissions cheating scandal; and Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with still more bad court news for the Obama Administration, this time on fracking rules, but some good news (at least for some of us) about the last remaining nuclear power plant in California.

Buckle up...

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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Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) tells 'BradCast' GOP shutdown of C-SPAN cameras 'astonishing', lack of vote 'disgusting'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2016 5:36pm PT  

U.S. House Democrats roared back to life just before noon today in Washington D.C., as 76-year old civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) called for a 'sit-in' to protest Republican Leadership's refusal to allow a debate and vote on gun safety legislation.

Congressmembers answered the call and one of them, Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida, joins us on today's BradCast to explain what the Democrats are hoping to accomplish with this very rare protest and how long they intend to continue their occupation of the House Floor to do it. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

"We don't have a filibuster option in the House," Deutch says, stepping off the floor for a few moments to talk to us. "When the leadership of the House will not allow us to have a vote, and will twist the rules in whatever way they deem necessary to prevent us from voting on the most basic gun safety legislation, then we're forced to find other ways to bring that vote forward. That's what we're doing today."

Members were forced to break House rules by using cell phones to stream video of their 'occupation' on Facebook and Periscope, which C-SPAN has been subsequently rebroadcasting, after Republicans gaveled the chamber into recess and ordered C-SPAN cameras and microphones shut off.

"What's astonishing to me is that the Speaker apparently is so distraught at the idea of members of the House speaking out --- and speaking out on behalf of the people who sent them there --- that he has told C-SPAN to turn off their cameras," the Congressman tells me. "It's disgusting that we've not had a single vote on gun safety legislation. It is embarrassing, however, for House leadership --- that they are so embarrassed by their own records --- that they've told C-SPAN to cease broadcasting because they don't want any more attention brought to their shameful inaction."

"There's been no vote because they don't want to have to go on record and vote against the interests of their constituents, and vote in support of the gun lobby," he says. "It's so hard for people to understand how it is that Congress cannot even engage in a debate on the House floor, that we're forced to have a 'sit-in' just to talk about the most common sense gun safety measures."

Deutch says the House Democrats came up with the idea for their occupation last night, and that they plan to continue the protest until they either get a vote or are, essentially, arrested and physically removed.

"The only way to have order is for the Sergeant-at-Arms to haul people off. That's one option. I can't imagine that is an option they want to pursue. I can't imagine for a minute that the House leadership is prepared to tell the Sergeant-at-Arms to take John Lewis and the rest of us, and drag us off the House floor. And if that doesn't happen, the only way that this stops is to for us have a vote, and I think we're all prepared to stay at this as long as we need to until we have a vote."

"Overnight?," I ask him. "Absolutely," says the Congressman. "I am certainly prepared to do that."

The House Dems, like their counterparts in the Senate (a number of whom have stopped by the sit-in, in support) have been insisting, since the Orlando Massacre just over a week ago, on votes to close the online and gun show background check loopholes and for legislation to help prevent people on the FBI's suspected terrorist and 'No Fly' lists from purchasing weapons. They are supported on those measures by nearly 90% of Americans across all political parties, according to recent polling.

And what if Dems get their vote and the measures fail, as expected, in the Republican-controlled House? "The voters will know which members of Congress stand with them and who stands with the gun lobby. And that's when accountability will start," says Deutch.

At the end of our conversation, the Congressman also offers his thoughts on his Florida colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio, announcing his intention today to run for re-election, despite his abysmal attendance record and previous vows, during his failed run for the GOP Presidential nomination, to leave the U.S. Senate at the end of this term.

Also on today's busy show: Momentum for a bi-partisan 'compromise' bill in the U.S. Senate regarding gun purchases by those on the 'No Fly List'; And vote counting continues in California following the June 7th primary, while citizen observers fight for the inclusions of Provisional Ballots in the final tally and as the statewide vote margin between Sanders and Clinton narrows to single digits...

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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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/16/2016 10:49am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: House Republicans' new agenda calls for rolling back pollution standards; The streak continues: May 2016 was the hottest May on record; Power plants no longer the nation's largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions; New report finds Obama's Clean Power Plan will save Americans $38 billion a year; PLUS: Turns out, Donald Trump was for climate action before he was against it... 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): Small-Town America Has a Serious Drinking-Water Problem; Millions of American Children Missing Early Lead Tests, Reuters Finds; DuPont May Dodge Toxic Lawsuits By Pulling a Disappearing Act; Lawsuit Accuses Range Resources And Lab Of Doctoring Water Test Results; Exxon Asks U.S. Court To Throw Out Subpoena In Climate Change Inquiry; Rules On GMO Crops In Hawaii Heads To US Appeals Court; Big Coal Funded This Prominent Climate Change Denier, Docs Reveal; Wall Street Journal Accepts Environmentalist Ad But Charges Extra... PLUS: France Ratifies Paris Climate Agreement... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Mark Muro, public policy expert from Brookings Institution | Plus: Ryan endorses Trump; Sanders and Clinton still neck and neck in CA...
By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2016 4:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Paul Ryan gets on board the 'Trump Train', polls remain tight before the California Primary (and continue to give a big edge to Sanders against The Donald), and sudden changes to public policy by both Democratic and Republican elected officials continue to undermine the otherwise booming rooftop solar market across the country. [Audio link to show posted at end of article.]

First up: It's official! U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is now all in on the 'Trump Train' after weeks of pretending that maybe he wouldn't be. Then, still more polls in California show Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders virtually tied in the state in advance of next Tuesday's Primary, while the same polls continue to show Sanders doing far better against Donald Trump than Clinton does.

Next, after an electric utilities district in the desert near Palm Springs suddenly closed off an important 'net metering' program for new residential rooftop solar customers (which had allowed those residents to recoup their investment by selling back unused clean energy to the utility company), CA Democrats in the state Assembly quietly kill a bill that would have corrected the problem. There is still no explanation from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the Appropriations Committee Chair, as to why she shelved AB 2329 last Friday before the holiday weekend, despite the problem which has left some residents on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in solar investments.

But a similar problem is happening in states all over the country, as utility companies begin to freak out at the plummetting cost and growing popularity of residential rooftop solar energy. We're joined today by the Brookings Institution's Mark Muro, whose new report finds that, despite utility company and fossil fuel industry claims to the contrary, "the economic benefits of net metering actually outweigh the costs and impose no significant cost increase for non-solar customers."

"We do think it is a canard to say there is this huge shift of costs to non-solar people," Muro tells me. "If anything, solar households are benefiting the grid."

We covered some similar territory on The BradCast in January, after "catastrophic" new fees on solar owners, levied by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval's appointees on the state's Public Utilities Commission, crushed the industry and killed hundreds of jobs there. Brookings' reports solar installations have "plunged 92 percent in Nevada in the first quarter of 2016," thanks to the sudden policy change after remarkably booming growth in sunny Nevada's market in the years prior.

"The uncertainty created by the Nevada decision absolutely shut down solar installation in Nevada," Muro explains. "But it's also been part of a chilling nationally. In the first quarter of this year, there's been, for no apparent reason, a massive slowdown in permitting and installation. I think the uncertainty that's been created here --- and especially the retroactive effect in Nevada --- has created a real question mark nationally for homeowners. So, I think we do have a problem. Installation depends on stable policy, and now policy is looking unstable."

We discuss what and who may be behind this "chill throughout the entire system" and what residents and voters can do to help restore stabilitity to the politics and policy currently harming an otherwise booming residential solar market amidst our planet's worsening climate crisis.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with coverage of Donald Trump's recent, amazing, "everything but the unicorns" energy speech and his remarkable explanation for why he believes there's not really a drought at all in the state of California...

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 columnist, UNH asst. professor Seth Abramson
Also: MD decertifies Baltimore primary results; Obama Admin issues historic new methane rules; GOP leadership comes together behind Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 5/12/2016 6:03pm PT  

Is there still a realistic path for Bernie Sanders to secure the Democratic Party's Presidential nomination? My guest today on The BradCast says "Yes!" and explains how it would, could and, in his opinion, should happen. [Audio link for show is at end of article.]

But first, some breaking news as the state of Maryland decertifies the results of the April 26th primary election in Baltimore, due to a number of troubling and currently unexplained "irregularities" brought to their attention by Election Integrity advocates; The Obama Administration issues historic new regulations concerning the release of methane which, our own Desi Doyen describes as "a very big deal"; And Donald Trump and Paul Ryan meet to smooth over disagreements as the GOP continues to coalesce behind their presumptive Republican nominee.

Then, I'm joined by Huffington Post columnist, attorney, author and University of New Hampshire Asst. Professor Seth Abramson to discuss his latest column headlined: "Bernie Sanders Could Still Win the Democratic Nomination --- No, Seriously".

Abramson offers a persuasive, if provocative scenario, for how the Democratic Party may end up nominating Bernie Sanders at their convention this July in Philadelphia, particularly if he keeps winning primaries between now and mid-June and more bad polls --- like recent ones from Reuters and from Quinnipiac --- show her tied with or losing to Trump in head-to-head matchups both nationally and in key swing-states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

To understand his argument, you must also understand why the Democrats instituted their system of unpledged "Super Delegates" consisting of party insiders and elected officials in the first place. He offers the history of how that system came about following the party's contested 1980 convention, and explains why the Party may come to decide this year that it's the right time to invoke that system for the purpose for which it was originally created.

"The only time that Super Delegates are activated," Abramson explains, "the only time that they really matter, and they're actually doing something other than just showing up to the convention and validating what's already happened, is when they are in fact contradicting the will of the popular vote and the delegate count, and are voting down a presumptive nominee. The reason they would do that is the same reason they would have wanted to do that in 1980, and that's if they think that the presumed nominee cannot win the fall election."

Abramson, a long-time Sanders supporter, details the specific, if plausible scenario he says would need to unfold over the next several weeks of remaining Primaries and how, as he argues, "I don't think it at that point it becomes a question of whether the Super Delegates would change their [support for Clinton]...The only question is how many of them would." In his scenario, he says, party insiders will be forced to ask themselves what needs to be done to avoid electing Trump to the White House, who he describes as "one of the most dangerous politicians ever to run for office in American history."

But what about rejecting the collective popular will of Democratic Party primary and caucus voters in such a scenario? What of the early states that initially supported Clinton in such huge numbers? And what of the arguments that the Sanders campaign has made in the past concerning the undemocratic nature of so-called Super Delegates? Tune in for Abramson's responses to all of those questions and more!

Finally today, we close out once again with another explosive edition of the Green News Report...

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: Salon's Amanda Marcotte on the latest GOP effort to stop The Donald | PLUS: The landmark Paris Agreement signed; Another mass shooting weekend; And thinking big about progressive policy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2016 5:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast [audio link below] we return to Republican Presidential politics for the first time in a while, as Ted Cruz and John Kasich announce a plan to team up, sort of, against Donald Trump. (Good luck with that.) But, first, a few stories that haven't received nearly the coverage they deserve from the corporate mainstream media over the weekend.

On Friday, Earth Day, world leaders gathered at the U.N. for the largest-ever first day signing of a worldwide global agreement. The signing of the landmark Paris Agreement to curb global greenhouse gas emissions comes not a moment too soon, as the world smashes heat record after heat record and faces a likely rise in temperatures that will far exceed the targets of the agreement unless further voluntary measures are taken. Desi Doyen joins us to explain it all, and how the Obama Administration plans to get around both ratification by the GOP's denier-controlled U.S. Senate and how the pact was designed to keep the next U.S. President from being able to easily undo it.

Also, another spate of mass shootings took place over the weekend in Republican-controlled states, from OH to GA to AL to WI to AZ, but, as with the Paris Agreement, the corporate mainstream barely noticed as such mass gun deaths have simply become commonplace in these Locked and Loaded States of America.

Then we're joined by Salon political writer Amanda Marcotte to discuss the new alliance between Cruz and Kasich in their desperate bid to take down the GOP front-runner Donald Trump. Marcotte, who describes the plan, much-ballyhooed by the corporate media, as "comically pathetic", explains why the GOP's latest "conspiracy" is unlikely to derail The Donald as hoped.

She says the scheme, which includes Kasich pulling campaign resources out of Indiana in exchange for Cruz pulling resources out of New Mexico and Oregon, doesn't even include telling their own voters to vote for the other guy in those states. "They're not even going that far. That's how dumb this plan is. They're not taking their name off the ballot or doing anything that might actually cause anyone to change their vote. They're just not campaigning in each other's chosen states."

Marcotte believes the move is even likely to help Trump. "For weeks now, Donald Trump has been running around the country claiming that he's a victim of an elite conspiracy to shut him out of his rightful nomination...And here they have come out with great fanfare and announce they are conspiring against him!"

She also tells me about what she sees as "a complete tornado of incompetence" in the Republican Party in general, including from its great white hope in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan. "The Republican Party has a bunch of ideologues, but they don't have anybody who knows how to do anything. Like basic politics, basic governance," Marcotte explains. "Donald Trump is one of the luckiest people alive because he just sort of wandered into this situation where everyone else is so bad he looks good in comparison."

But is all of this GOP dysfunction and a crumbling Republican Party actually good for Democrats and progressives? Tune in for that discussion and more.

Finally, as voters head to the polls on Tuesday in PA, MD, CT, DE and RI, a closing thought on Democrats "thinking big" about progressive policy, as shared by both Bernie Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden...

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: John Opdycke of OpenPrimaries.org | PLUS: Prince dead at 57; 'Outrage' over Harriet Tubman; Paper ballots finally return to MD...
By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2016 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Tragic breaking news, ridiculous wingnut 'outrage', good news for Maryland voters, and, perhaps, a better way to nominate public officials. [Audio link to the full show is posted below.]

First up, coverage of the shocking loss of musical icon Prince, whose death today at age 57 at his home in Minnesota has stunned the world; Then, Rightwing "outrage" about U.S. President Andrew Jackson, the racist, slave holding, "genocidal maniac" (as Desi Doyen describes him today, with good reason) being replaced on the $20 bill by African-American abolitionist and former slave Harriet Tubman; And some (hopefully) good news about next week's Presidential Primary elections in MD, where voters will, for the first time in more than 15 years, finally be allowed to vote on hand-marked paper ballots instead of 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines.

[Some of our exclusive reporting referenced on today's show in regard MD's Diebold touch-screen systems: "DIEB-THROAT" (2005), MD's SAIC Report (2006), MD Election Director storms out of interview (2008), Argonne Lab's remote Diebold hack (2011)]

Then, I'm joined by John Opdycke, President of OpenPrimaries.org, for a fascinating discussion about the anti-democratic (small "d") problem of primary nomination contests that are closed to non-party affiliated voters. The conversation kicks off following concerns about Tuesday's primary in New York, where voters faced voter registration purges and other problems at the polling place, along with the nation's earliest voter deadline for changing party affiliation in order to be allowed to participate in the state's closed primary elections. (Voters had to change party affiliation by October 9th of last year to be able to vote in this year's Presidential Primary on April 19th!)

Opdycke explains why shutting non-party affiliated voters out of the process is of particular concern in primaries that are run with tax-payer funding and resources. But, he explains, the problem is larger than that. "This is a very serious question. Who does the political process belong to? Does the process itself belong to the people, or does it belong to the political parties? Right now, our democracy belongs lock, stock and barrel to the political parties, from top to bottom. And that is a very big problem and it is beginning to come to light."

"What the open primaries movement is pushing for is public primaries, not partisan primaries," he tells me, citing states like California, Nebraska and Washington that hold "Top Two" primaries (also known as "Cajun" or "Jungle" primaries) for many elected public offices, allowing candidates of all (or no) parties to compete against each other to run in the general election. "This is a fundamentally different conception of what a primary is. It's a public primary. Not a partisan primary."

While recognizing that political parties are private organizations with a First Amendment right to organize as they see fit, Opdycke explains how the result blocks people from the process and makes it nearly impossible to change the system. "They control the political process. They control the boards of elections. They control how redistricting is done. They control the primaries. They control voter registration. They control every aspect. They even control the Presidential debates. And we Americans, we've participated in that. We have in some ways ceded our power to these political organizations and I think the time has come to take that back. Not abolish political parties, but simply return them to an appropriate place."

He goes on to respond to various concerns and critiques of "Top Two" primary systems, as we have reported on them in years past (here and here, for example) at The BRAD BLOG, in what I hope is a very enlightening conversation and one that needs to be continued in the months and years ahead, all over the country.

Finally, we finish up with a much-needed laugh, courtesy of Stephen Colbert, on a day when we could all really use one...

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From money in politics to criminal injustice to voter suppression, how can the U.S. fix its broken systems of politics, elections and governance?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2016 5:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we catch up on a number of items in the news, almost all of which underscore a rigged system in the U.S. and the need to unrig it.

From the new effort by more than 100 bipartisan state Attorneys General to see former AL Gov. Don Siegelman (D) turned political prisoner receive a pardon from President Obama; to the obscene amount of corporate and billionaire cash now pouring into U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan's Republican campaign machine; to new lawsuits filed in Arizona by the DNC (with both the Clinton and Sanders camps joining), as well as by transpartisans charging voter suppression in the state's disastrous March 22nd primary; to remaining concerns about the results of recent Presidential nominating contests around the country.

All of those stories, including the increasingly loud insistence (whether supported by the evidence or not) from Sanders and Trump supporters who believe that both major political parties have "rigged" the Presidential nomination selection process against their favored candidates, underscore how the broken U.S. system desperately needs fixing.

So what to do about it? Some of our listeners have ideas, even ones I may or may not agree with. All of that and much more, including our latest Green News Report, on today's program...

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ALSO: More 'Democracy Spring' arrests; Death threats from Trump supporters; Listener calls on 'Bernie or Bust' and more...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2016 6:42pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, among a lot of other stuff, we have exclusive comment from the Wyoming state Democratic Party Executive Director in response to concerns from Bernie Sanders supporters about the reportedly large number of "surrogate" ballots cast for Hillary Clinton.

First up, after some 400 arrests at the nation's Capitol on Monday in response to peaceful "Democracy Spring" demonstrations to get money out of politics and for other electoral reforms, some 85 senior citizens were arrested on Tuesday during the second day of a scheduled week-long series of protests in Washington D.C.

Then, with Donald Trump declaring the nomination process is being "rigged" by his own Republican Party, reports of death threats and other intimidation tactics from Trump supporters begin to emerge.

Next, speaking of charges of "rigging" the nomination process, Bernie Sanders supporters over the past weekend were incensed after seeing a huge turnout for their candidate at the Wyoming caucuses, only to see their delegate count somewhat undercut by "surrogate" ballots cast by Hillary Clinton supporters. The two candidates ended up splitting the state's 14 pledged delegates 7 to 7, but claims of Clinton campaign "ballot box stuffing" with those surrogate forms were only exacerbated by a campaign aide who reportedly told CNN that their "secret sauce" was Wyoming's "onerous vote-by-mail rules that required anyone voting by mail to have voted as a Democrat in the 2014 midterms."

Surrogate (or vote-by-mail/absentee ballot) forms may only be cast by registered Democrats who say they are unable to attend the party's caucuses for one of several specific reasons, as listed on the surrogate form. There is nothing on the affidavit or on the party's website regarding that "onerous" rule about having voted in the 2014 midterms. So, after several days of phone and email tag, seeking an explanation from Aimee Van Cleave, the WY Dems' Executive Director, I was finally able to speak with her just before air today.

Her full explanation is on today's program, but, in short, she says CNN's explanation of that "rule" from the Clinton aide, was "a little bit correct, but mostly incorrect." Van Cleave tells me that the confusion comes from the state's statutory practice of purging voters from the rolls if they did not vote in the 2014 general election and then failed to respond to a "purge notice" sent by the state in 2015. Normally, Van Cleave explains, that's not a problem for voters, since the state has same-day registration on Election Day. That means anyone who has been purged can simply re-register and vote on the same day. But, for the caucuses, which the parties run, not the state --- and, as WY only allows County Clerks or their officials to register voters --- there is no voter registration at party caucuses. That means voters had to be registered as Democratic voters two weeks before the April 9th caucus in order to participate either in person or via a surrogate ballot.

To that end, she says, while the Clinton team was aggressive in their surrogate vote turnout effort, so was the Sanders camp. "If you look at the number of surrogate ballots received, the numbers between Clinton and remarkable close," Van Cleave says. According to her current estimates, Clinton received "just over 1,500" such votes, while Sanders received "just shy of 1,300". So, she says, the disparity between them was not as large as his supporters had claimed them to be over the weekend and in the days since the caucuses.

The party's Executive Director also tells me that, while they've always been a caucus state, "this is our first year testing out the surrogate vote system. It's a new thing for us and we have actually had wonderful positive feedback from people who would not otherwise have had their voices heard." She added: "Wyoming has a rather old population, so we have a lot of people who, for them, getting out for a caucus is not something that is easy to do."

I've got much more specific comment from Van Cleave during today's program in response to a number of related concerns from Sanders supporters.

Finally, we take a bunch of listener calls related to the above, and from those explaining why they think the "Bernie or Bust" idea is a good one, and then Desi Doyen joins for the latest Green News Report at the end of a very busy BradCast!...

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GUEST: Author, energy analyst, Quartz correspondent Steve LeVine
ALSO: Paul Ryan 'will not' run; And more news from 'Discrimination Nation'....
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2016 5:06pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, we take a brief if blessed break from 2016 Presidential politics madness (mostly) to look at what could be a moment, last week, when everything changed, though few may have actually noticed.

But first, Republican U.S. House Paul Ryan absolutely, positively, definitely (maybe) says he will not run for President and we have a number of updates from 'Discrimination Nation' where Republicans just can't seem to get it through their thick skulls that the "free market" really doesn't like that they continue to pass discriminatory, anti-LGBT laws. North Carolina's Governor is now scrambling to make changes (sort of) to his state's new pro-discrimination law, even as Tennessee is enacting their own, which arguably goes even further.

Then, Steve LeVine, energy analyst, Washington correspondent for Quartz and author of The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World, joins us to discuss what may well be the "iPhone Moment" --- or, "Nokiafication", if you prefer --- of the auto industry, in the wake of the introduction of Tesla's Model 3 last week and the thousands around the world who lined up overnight to purchase it before they had even seen it.

While LeVine reports that other automakers are still downplaying what just happened, the unprecedented pre-sales of this new, all-electric car (which will offer more than 200 miles on a single charge and won't even be available until late 2017 at the earliest), suggests this may be a moment akin to when Nokia, once a cellphone goliath, suddenly disintegrated, virtually overnight, after the introduction of Apple's iPhone. By "getting people lined around the block and 115,000 orders sight unseen --- and then, once people saw the car, another 200,000 orders," Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk "demonstrated there is a very sizable group of people in the world who are prepared to pay $35,000 for an electric car. This was notice to the whole industry that the incumbent car companies who, themselves, even now, are sitting on the sidelines waiting to see whether Musk will pull this off --- they could end up like Nokia."

"Hello! 325,000 orders!," LeVine observes, adding "there's going to be blood on the floor" for those companies that don't take quick action to respond to a market inflection point that may now finally be occurring. He also explains, however, that Musk could still blow it, before we then move to the "momentous geo-political shift" that will soon occur with the proliferation of battery-powered vehicles and a world beyond petro-dollars.

"Oil has made the world go around now, literally, for 150 years...But, hang on to your hats!," he warns. Countries whose influence is built on oil could see "their whole economic and power structure pulled out right from under them. It's going to be fascinating to watch."

Finally, in a brief return to 'Discrimination Nation', we close with President Obama's designation today of the nation's newest national monument honoring women's suffrage and 'Equal Pay Day'.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/8/2016 4:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we catch up on a lot of news, polls, twists and turns --- most of which underscore, yet again, why elections and representative democracy matter...no matter what the corporate "news" media tries to tell ya.

Among the stories covered on today's thrilling episode!...

  • New polls find, once again, that Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton in match-ups against all potential Republican opponents (and even among Democrats nationally); Also, that the front-runners in each party are remarkably unpopular within their own parties.
  • Bruce Springsteen cancels a North Carolina concert Sunday due to the state Republicans' new pro-discrimination law;
  • The GOP in Nebraska is attempting to 'swipe' a potential electoral college vote from Democrats;
  • San Francisco (where the economy is booming, as it is elsewhere here in California, now under Democratic control), becomes the first U.S. city to mandate paid parental leave;
  • More clear evidence that thinking big about policies and progressive ideas pays off when the people bother to fight for them and turn out to vote (when they are allowed to vote, anyway), rather than turn cynical and stay home.

All of that and much much more on today's program, including new evidence that the Keystone pipeline leak in South Dakota is far worse than originally reported by TransCanada, the company which owns it, and Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report which also includes some very encouraging news today...

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

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Or, if you prefer, 'The Farce Awakens'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2015 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Congress and the President leave D.C. for the holidays, but not before coming together to pass a huge, bi-partisan(!) spending and tax bill.

Peace on Earth? Not quite, but its a start, as Obama noted in his year end press conference today.

In the meantime, another massive reporting failure from the New York Times (once again) creates confusion for the nation following the recent terror attack in San Bernardino, prompting its Public Editor to call for "systematic change" in the way stories are reported at the nation's so-called "paper of record".

The Bernie Sanders campaign files suit against the DNC after being shut out from their own voter database following charges that his campaign inappropriately accessed Hillary Clinton's voter data after a firewall went down on the DNC's server. Sanders' supporters are crying foul against the Democratic Party, just one day before the next 2016 Democratic Presidential Debate (which is, again, being hidden on a Saturday --- this one, just before Christmas --- and on the same weekend the new Star Wars movie opens.)

And finally, the nation continues to cower in fear --- making GOP Presidential candidates very happy, no doubt --- as another entire school district gets shuts down on Friday over something even more absurd than what led to the shutdown of the L.A. school system earlier this week. Are we becoming South Park Nation? That news (and much more) at week's end may suggest as much.

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GUEST: Grenada's Energy Policy Advisor Dr. Hugh Sealy from Paris...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2015 6:22pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It's not just Donald Trump, stupid, it's the entire Republican Party. Also, another report from the U.N. climate conference in Paris, this time from the perspective of small island nations.

First up, Senate Republicans, once again, do the bidding of the NRA and terrorists by blocking a Democratic bill to keep those on the Terror Watch List from being able to easily buy guns and explosives.

Then, some weapons grade trolling from Donald Trump, as he calls for a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. That call has delighted the far right fringes of the party, but they're not the only Republicans who love it. Even Republican U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, while claiming to condemn Trump's dangerous, terror-enabling position, vows to support him should he become the GOP nominee for President of the United States.

It's a sad day when we must turn to Dick Cheney and George W. Bush --- yes, seriously --- for reason among Republicans. That day, however, thanks to years of race baiting by Fox "News" and friends --- and the GOP approving of it all --- is today.

Next, something not quite as regrettably stupid: Another dispatch from the U.N. climate conference in Paris (COP21), this time from Dr. Hugh Sealy, Energy Policy Advisor to the Government of Grenada, appointed by the United Nations Development Programme as a consultant to climate change negotiators for the small island developing states. Many of those nations are on the front of the front lines in the battle against climate change, some facing the possibility of disappearing completely underneath the sea.

That group is hoping for an agreement that will limit global temperature rise to just 1.5 degrees Celsius, even as the consensus of the parties to the treaty is to institute greenhouse gas emissions cuts to prevent temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial times. That goal, set to ensure the Earth stays inhabitable, is already a long shot, according to most experts.

"Two degrees is too much," Sealy tells me during today's interview. "We need 1.5 to stay alive. We're already at 1C of warming and are already starting to see the effects of 1 degree where I live, which is in Grenada in the Caribbean. We are already experiencing sea level rise of around 3mm per year and that sea level rise is accelerating. We are already locked in to 1 meter [approximately 3 feet] of sea level rise by the end of this century. We are already starting to see warming. We are already starting to see extreme weather events. And our scientists are telling us we will not survive at 2 degrees."

Sealy, who is also an environmental scientist and Associate Professor at St. George's University, explains: "This is not something that is an economic issue for us, it's an existential issue for us. Our backs are literally against the wall on this one. And therefore we will fight for our existence. We will fight for 1.5 to be anchored in the agreement. 2 degrees is just too much for us. The richer countries are saying 'Well, it's going to be too difficult, too economically difficult for us to reach 1.5 degrees, so we can keep it below 2'. My response to them is the small islands are the canaries in the coal mine. If we go down, you're going to go down as well."

"If you think the Syrian refugee crisis is bad now," he adds, "imagine if all the low-lying areas in the world have to migrate. And it's not only the small islands. The majority of the world's population lives on a coastline, and all those areas will be displaced."

He goes on to explain exactly what it is that the Small Islands are hoping to walk away with from the Paris conference, how the world now needs "a Global Marshal Plan" to fight climate change, and how there is no "denier community" in Grenada and other small island nations. "The most important thing, in my mind," he says, "grow a global mitigation effort that will guarantee us survival."

Finally on today's program, a bit of good news (because we could really use some!): Renewable energy is now set to overtake coal as the world's largest power source. So, there's that. And maybe, with it, some hope after all...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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