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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, February 14, 2016
SCALIA DEAD AT 79
Notorious U.S. Supreme Court Justice found dead in Texas. A few very quick thoughts on his sudden passing and long legacy...
Behind the Rhetoric at PBS' Democratic Debate in WI: 'BradCast' 2/12/16
Journalists David Dayen and Jacki Schechner with substantive (and sometimes snarky) analysis of the last face-off before NV and SC...
Study: 'Racial Resentment' at Heart of 'Tea Party':
'BradCast' 2/11/16
Guest: Sean McElwee of Demos; Also: Photo ID vote suppression in NH, elsewhere; OR standoff ends; CA gas leak finally stopped...
'Green News Report' 2/11/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Sanders slams Repubs for denial in NH; SCOTUS halts historic emissions standards; U.N. sets new emissions standards for airlines; PLUS: Record heat wave in the Arctic...
Previous GNRs: 2/9/16 - 2/4/16 - Archives...
Sanders and Trump Dominate NH Primaries; Satan Wins in Phoenix: 'BradCast' 2/10/16
Guest: Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser. Also: Federal court finds NC racially gerrymandered Congressional districts...
Dirty Tricks, Voting Rights, Election Integrity and the NH Primary: 'BradCast' 2/9/16
Catching up with a LOT of news, and why voters in every state should be concerned...
'Green News Report' 2/9/16
Clinton pushes action for Flint Water Crisis; Trump calls out GOP on eminent domain; Sanders fights to block new pipelines; PLUS: Obama proposes new oil tax...
Rubio Short-Circuits, Cruz Keeps Lying, Trump Keeps Winning: 'BradCast' 2/8/16
GOP NH Debate coverage with Salon's Heather Digby Parton and Washington Monthly's Martin Longman...
Super Sunday Toons!
From the NFL's brain injury epidemic to the questionable brains of the 2016 candidates (and more) in the moment before NH voters go to the primary polls...
'Progress' v. 'Revolution': Bernie and Hillary's Lively NH Debate: 'BradCast' 2/5/16
Analysis with KY civil rights attorney Joe Dunman and Crooks and Liars' Managing Editor Karoli Kuns...
Black Box Voting's Bev Harris on Iowa Caucus Mess, NH Concerns: 'BradCast' 2/4/16
ALSO: 'Hero of Democracy' Tom Courbat, In Memoriam...
'Green News Report' 2/4/16
Dems keep pushing climate action, Repubs keep ignoring it; FL mayors slam Rubio on sea level rise; CA AG files suit over gas leak; PLUS: FBI launches Flint probe...
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: Political science researcher Sean McElwee of Demos
ALSO: Disturbing Photo ID voter suppression in NH and elsewhere; OR militia standoff finally over; Massive Porter Ranch, CA natural gas leak finally stopped...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2016 4:56pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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By Brad Friedman on 2/9/2016 4:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we catch up with a number of breaking items, as well as items from the last several days (while we were otherwise covering the GOP and Democratic debates), even as voters in New Hampshire finally head to the polls for the First-in-the-Nation primary today.

Among the stories we hit today, as we await the completely unverified results from NH tonight...

  • Democratic party officials "unilaterally" changed Iowa Caucus results;
  • Why nobody should simply 'trust' unverified computer-tallied results that will be reported in NH (or anywhere else);
  • How NH's new Photo ID voting restriction law could affect turnout;
  • Rubio-bot does it again;
  • Another mysterious Republican dirty trick in NH;
  • Jeb now wants to "eliminate" the Citizens United ruling;
  • Voting Rights restored to 40,000 in MD;
  • MD forced to ditch new touch-screen systems for paper ballots;

Plus much more --- including our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen!...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUESTS: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; WashMonthly's Martin Longman...
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2016 4:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we try to make sense of the amazing GOP debate in New Hampshire on Saturday, the final one before tomorrow's First-in-the-Nation primary in the Granite State.

First, I offer a very few quick reminders and action items for those interested in fighting for Election Integrity during tomorrow's primary in NH. This, in a state which uses hand-marked paper ballots, but refuses to actually verify that results are accurately tallied by the state's oft-failed, easily-manipulated Diebold optical-scan computers before announcing results to the public. (For a reminder of the nightmare that occurred on that system back in 2008, you can peruse our Special Coverage here.)

Then, I'm joined for today's post-debate coverage and analysis by two progressive bloggers who have been consistently right for years --- Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo and Martin Longman of Washington Monthly and Booman Tribune --- to discuss where Rubio, Cruz, Trump and the others, including the corporate media, went wrong on Saturday night...and, unfortunately, for so many years prior.

From Rubio's remarkable on-stage meltdown to Cruz' ability to lie with amazing impunity (even when he is actually called out as a "flat-out liar" by CNN!) to the danger that Trump's ability to "win" may hold for both Republicans and Democrats alike.

And, as if that doesn't give us all enough to cover today, we take the time to call out the corporate U.S. media (and the Obama Administration) for allowing this mind-bogglingly precarious moment in U.S. history to even have come about in the first place...

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

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ALSO: 'Hero of Democracy' Tom Courbat, In Memoriam...
By Brad Friedman on 2/4/2016 5:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Des Moines Register joins the fray to declare "something smells" in Iowa's Democratic caucus results and procedures. Bev Harris of Black Box Voting joins us to examine the concerns about "caucus integrity" on both the Democratic and Republican sides --- what we know, what we don't, and what we should. [Link to the complete audio of the program is at the bottom of this article.]

With partisans on the Right and Left now charging, appropriately or not, that the caucuses were "stolen", and both the Register and Sanders' camp calling for state Democrats to release raw vote totals, Harris notes: "Really, the bottom line is, if they won't disclose stuff, then it smells. If they disclose it, everybody can see for themselves."

"People say, well, there's problems in every election," she continues. "My mantra is: That may be true, but let's see the problems. All I'm saying is let us see them, and let us address them. Most people I talk to --- even if they're very partisan --- they say, 'If I can see it and we lost fair and square, I will accept that.' It really ticks people off when you say, 'we won, and we aren't going to show you how.'"

I ask her about the (now infamous, for some reason) coin tosses, videos revealing chaos and/or miscounts at certain locations, charges that the election was "stolen" for Hillary Clinton and much more, including Donald Trump's charge that Ted Cruz "stole" the election from him and that it amounted to "voter fraud".

"They call everything voter fraud!," Harris tells me. "It's so odd! Even Trump is claiming that when one of the candidates spreads some gossip that wasn't true about another candidate, that that was voter fraud! How is this voter fraud? Can we just call it was it is, which is a problem with election integrity, or in some cases election tampering. But it's not about the voters. Why are we pointing fingers at the most idealistic level, the voters?"

We go on to discuss worries about the even less transparent New Hampshire Primary, where most of the state still uses the same Diebold paper ballot optical-scan computer systems to tally votes that were seen flipping a mock election in HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy. (Watch how it was done right here, and feel free to be concerned when the 100% unverified results are reported next Tuesday night.)

Among the recommendations Harris offers for those concerned about Election Integrity next week (and for the rest of the year, frankly): "One thing I think is really important --- is for people to get out their mobile phones, take a picture of the results at the polling place [at the end of the night] and they can text it to themselves, to a friend, put 'em on Facebook, Tweet it." She says that puts a timestamp on the graphic image of results as they were produced by computers at the precinct, which can later be compared to the results reported by the state on the web. "I think that's one thing that's pretty important this time. Just photograph the paperwork. It's not hard. Ship it off electronically somewhere, which will automatically timestamp it."

That's particularly important in places like New Hampshire where, she explains, the state "very quietly, and actually wrongfully, passed a law in 2003 so that we cannot go back and look at [paper ballots after the election] ... In New Hampshire, they put an amendment on an unrelated bill, the dark of night, and quietly said 'ballots are not a public record anymore'. So while they may say, 'we have ballots and anyone can look', that's not true. I tried."

Finally, we discuss another heartbreaking loss this week to the Election Integrity community. Last night, we lost Riverside County, California's longtime EI champion, Tom Courbat. A Vietnam-era vet stationed in South Korea, Tom heroically battled multiple myeloma related to Agent Orange exposure for years. As I note on today's show, I spoke with Tom on the phone several times throughout those years about EI issues, even when he was literally in the hospital receiving chemo therapy.

Tom appeared on air with me on a number of occasions over the years, and was often an important source for many blockbuster stories here at The BRAD BLOG. (For example, the 2006 discovery of the infamous "Yellow Button" on the back of Sequoia touch-screen systems that allow voters to cast as many votes as they like until physically restrained from doing so; the 2007 "hack" challenge to the cowardly Riverside County Board of Supervisors who fought in favor of 100% unverifiable voting systems; the blocked recount of CA's anti-GMO initiative, Prop 37, in 2013; And the 2013 law he successfully shepherded through the CA legislature to require that counties release election results in downloadable formats; Those are just some of the reasons why, in 2007, we called Tom a "Hero of Democracy" who is "one of many such quiet, and usually unrecognized, heroes around the country, to whom our nation owes a debt of gratitude which can never be adequately repaid.")

Rest in peace, my friend. You deserve it. I miss you already, but will always remain inspired by you...

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: Iowa caucus expert Prof. David P. Redlawsk of Rutgers' Eagleton Institute explains it all for you...and me...
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2016 4:47pm PT  

It was like 2012 all over again. But the apparent mess was on the D side instead of the R side. So, as you might have guessed, we've got a very big show today on The BradCast.

We are joined today by Iowa Caucus expert (yes, there is such a thing!) Professor David P. Redlawsk of Rutger's Eagleton Institute of Politics to help us unpack what the hell happened last night (and this morning) now that the first votes have been cast in the 2016 race in the Hawkeye State.

We cover the reported winners and losers, along with explanations for some of the bizarre math, "missing" precinct results, coin tosses, concerns about fraud and much more, as the Democratic candidates battled to a virtual tie with Clinton finally declared the "winner" and Sanders' supporters asking lots of (good) questions in the bargain.

Redlawsk, an Iowa native and experienced Caucus Chair himself, as well as author of Why Iowa? How Caucuses and Sequential Elections Improve the Presidential Nominating Process, explains the history and sometimes impossibly arcane procedures used by the parties at their caucuses in Iowa, which resulted in a big win for Ted Cruz and, at least as AP and the state Democratic Party are now reporting, a razor-thin margin of victory for Clinton.

He also speaks to many of the concerns about those results which emerged last night and still today.

"The fact is that because the Democrats do this is in the form of 'stand up and be counted publicly', it's always more chaotic than if they were casting a secret ballot, for example," says Redlawsk, in response to queries about some of the videos revealing questionable behavior by some party officials and Clinton precinct captains. Though he also cites the Republican caucus where he observed the hand-counting as "a little chaotic" itself.

So, are Sanders supporters right to be concerned about the legitimacy of the process and the counting? We try to make sense of it all today, even as new information (and concerns) are expected to come to light in the days ahead as we barrel towards the New Hampshire primary next week. Redlawsk is exceedingly helpful and clarifying on all of the above. I'd call it a "must-listen" episode if I weren't so extraordinarily modest.

Then, as if today's show is not already big enough, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report as the cherry on top of today's BradCast...

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

P.S. If you can help out with a donation below, to help us keep going throughout this election year, it would be greatly appreciated!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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




GUESTS: Salon's Heather Digby Parton and Crooks & Liars' John Amato...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2016 4:02pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, our All-American, Super-Smart, Most-Patriotic-Ever Panel of Geniuses try and make sense of whatever the hell happened last night in Iowa during the GOP Debate on Fox "News", as front-running boycotter Donald Trump's bizarre, competing "fundraiser for veterans" happened at the exact same time just down the street.

Joining me today for that not-so-simple task is Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo blog ("Trump plays the networks off each other masterfully."); John Amato, creator and publisher of the great Crooks and Liars blog ("Trump showed that he'd stand up to Ailes. Nobody in the GOP does that."); and, of course, our own Desi Doyen.

We also try to make sense of the neck-and-neck, anybody's-call, jump ball of a Democratic race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, as Iowa prepares for its first-in-the-nation caucuses on both sides of the aisle on Monday.

Become instantly smarter --- and enjoy more than a few laughs --- by listening to today's program. Enjoy!

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

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GUEST: Veteran weatherman Paul Douglas says added warmth, moisture in atmosphere akin to 'pouring rocket fuel on a Bic lighter'...
PLUS: More trouble for MI's Snyder; Cruz is a liar; One state is cancelling e-voting...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2016 5:51pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, as the East Coast digs out from the weekend's record super storm that dumped more than 30 inches of snow on five different states, killing at least 30 people in the bargain, we're joined by veteran meteorologist Paul Douglas who says his "jaw dropped" after looking at the storm data.

Among his reasons for amazement, he tells me, were the extraordinary snow fall amounts ("3 to 5 inches an hour" in many places) as well as "water temperatures in the Gulf Stream in the mid- to even upper-70s" in January, which, he says, is "at least 6-7 degrees warmer than average."

"The warmer the water, the higher the water vapor above the Gulf Stream. There's simply more water in the air, more fuel. This was the equivalent of pouring rocket fuel on a Bic lighter," he explains. "It intensified into a 'bomb' that was able to suck all this additional Atlantic moisture inland, and hurl it at New York and Philly and Washington, and all points in between"

Douglas, who is both a self-identified Republican and evangelical Christian, says this storm --- and the many record storms we've witnessed over the past several years --- adds still more evidence of a climate "on steroids," thanks to the continued burning of fossil fuels.

"There's little doubt in my mind that this storm was 'juiced'," he says. "We are conducting an experiment on not only the atmosphere, but the oceans, and hoping that everything turns out okay."

The veteran Minneapolis-based broadcast meteorologist, data expert and entrepreneur goes on to explain why he believes his fellow Republicans fail to grasp the increasing urgency of global warming, how they are continuing to deny not only scientific reality, but even urgent warnings from the U.S. Military. He also offers his advice on what voters can and should do about it.

"The most important thing you can do is vote," Douglas argues. "And vote for local, state and federal officials who still have a respect for science. You can have a faith in God, you can have a faith in something more than what we can observe, and still have a respect for science."

Also on today's show: More evidence that MI Gov. Rick Snyder's office knew posed by using the Flint River for drinking water long before he currently admits; More evidence that Ted Cruz is an extraordinarily accomplished liar; The good news on the one state that is canceling its plans to use electronic voting machines this year; And new, conflicting details on the Washington State man who says he accidentally fired his gun at a showing of the new Benghazi movie last week...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GUEST: Jon Schwarz of The Intercept on how Obama could implement campaign finance reform, on his own, immediately...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2016 5:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast...

First up: New polling shows Bernie Sanders surging in NH among Democrats and Gov. John Kasich --- yes, John Kasich --- surging to second place among Republicans in the state...if you believe those sorts of things. At the same time, during the GOP establishment's half-hearted search for an alternative to Cruz/Trump, the Republican Party appears to be plummeting in popularity during the course of the 2016 Primary cycle, even as actual Republican voters seem to be warming up to the idea of Trump as their party's nominee.

Then, a remarkable new study from Oxfam finds that the world's richest "62 people own the same wealth as half the world" (the planet's 3.5 billion poorest!) And, some of those 62 richest-people-on-the-planet --- like the Koch Brothers and the Walmart heirs --- are amongst the biggest spenders when it comes to attempts to buy our political system.

So, what can be done about that last part? Jon Schwarz, Senior Editor at The Intercept, joins me to discuss how, despite "eloquent" comments suggesting otherwise during his State of the Union address last week, President Obama could take executive action immediately, on his own, to help radically reduce the "dark money" in our electoral and political system.

"One thing that Obama absolutely can do, by himself, this afternoon, if he wants to, is sign an executive order placing requirements on federal contractors," Schwarz explains, describing other similar actions that the President has taken in the recent past concerning federal contracting. "He can do it and he's done it in the past. What he could do about money in politics now is issue an executive order saying that federal contractors have to disclose any dark money contributions that they're making."

"If he did that, that would cover about 70 percent of the biggest corporations," Schwarz tells me. "So, it would not force the disclosure of any and all dark money, but it would force disclosure of a great deal of that. And, as I say, he could do that this afternoon."

We discuss some of the reasons Obama has failed to do this, to date, despite his calls for campaign finance reform throughout his career and as recently as last week's SOTU --- even with so many calls from so many quarters to take this action. "Obama likes to say really great-sounding stuff about money in politics --- he's said it his whole Senate career, his whole Presidency --- but he's never done anything. It's really extraordinary."

Finally on today's show, a few words on last night's passing of The Eagle's Glenn Frey and the latest on the outrageous lead poisoning crisis in Flint, MI, caused by the tyranny (literally) of Gov. Rick Snyder (R)...

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GUESTS: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; 2012 GOP candidate Fred Karger
By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2016 4:03pm PT  

Last night on the Fox Business Channel, nine lucky Republican Presidential candidates gathered to in South Carolina for a debate in hopes of taking down Donald Trump.

So, on today's BradCast, we try to make some sense of it all. Wish us luck!

I'm joined today by our returning champions, Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo blog and Fred Karger, former longtime GOP political consultant and 2012 GOP Presidential candidate (the first openly gay candidate from either major party).

And, of course, we offer you some of the smartest (and, occasionally, snarkiest) post-debate analysis and insight you'll find anywhere, as Trump and Cruz (and a few other folks) face off just two weeks before the first votes of 2016 are finally cast and, maybe, counted in Iowa...

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GUESTS: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; TV and radio's Hal Sparks!...
By Brad Friedman on 12/16/2015 4:35pm PT  

Once again, it's the smartest post-debate analysis you'll find anywhere on today's BradCast, following last night's fear- and war-mongering "national security" GOP debate in Las Vegas (in which neither climate change, nor guns, two of the actual greatest threats to national security, were even discussed.)

Yes, it's now Trump and Cruz' GOP world. All of the other candidates --- and the entire Republican Party (and maybe even you and me) --- just live in it.

I'm joined for today's coverage by our returning champion, the great Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo blog. And, for the first time, I'm also joined by actor, comedian and radio broadcaster Hal Sparks, formerly of E's Talk Soup, Showtime's Queer as Folk and currently of Disney XD's Lab Rats and the Hal Sparks Radio Program Mega-Worldwide on WCPT in Chicago!

As our theme song says, we're "tryin' to make some sense of it all," once again on today's program. No easy feat. But we go well beyond the "horse race" in our analysis, as usual, and as the 2016 Republican Presidential candidates (that's the year they're hoping to win the nomination, not the number running...it just seems that way) worked hard on the stage last night at Sheldon Adelson's Venetian Hotel and Casino to be the manliest-man and bombiest-bomber of them all!

Parton and Sparks offer incisive and lively commentary and fact-checking on what has seemingly now become a two-man race for the nomination. And I try to explain why Democrats ought to be very very careful what they wish for. Enjoy!

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GUEST: KPFK News Director Ernesto Arce...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2015 3:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover the 'credible threat' of terror said to have been received by Los Angeles school officials out here, leading to today's unprecedented, complete shutdown of the second largest school district in the nation.

I'm joined by Ernesto Arce, News Director at our flagship radio station here in Los Angeles, Pacifica Radio's KPFK, for the latest, including the growing belief that the entire matter was little more than a hoax; that there have been more than 150 reports of hate crimes against Muslims here in Southern California since the San Bernardino shootings two weeks ago; and that today's panic suggests, once again, that you don't have to fire a shot or set off a bomb to terrorize Americans.

Also today, the sentencing of the latest Republican Sec. of State --- New Mexico's Dianna Duran --- to be found guilty of election fraud crimes, even as the GOP still pretends that Democrats are committing massive "voter fraud"; I finally figure out a way that Donald Trump could be knocked off his throne and maybe not win the GOP 2016 nomination after all (maybe); And Desi Doyen joins us for special Green News Report coverage of the historic UN climate agreement that was finalized unanimously by almost 200 nations over the weekend in Paris...

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Award-winning climate scientist, creator of 'hockey stick graph', discusses landmark COP21 pact, GOP science denial, investigating Exxon, and how climate is now changing weather...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2015 5:07pm PT  

"It's difficult to understate the significance of this agreement," Dr. Michael E. Mann tells me on today's BradCast. "I think we are witnessing the end of the age of fossil fuels and the beginning of a new age of a clean global energy economy."

Mann, the Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, creator of the infamous "hockey stick graph", and author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, was speaking, of course, of the historic U.N. Paris Agreement, where negotiators from some 200 nations unanimously agreed over the weekend to curb the release of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, in hopes of staving off the worst effects of climate change.

The landmark COP21 accord has been some 21 years in the making, if not many more, as explained during today's show. While cautioning that "the devil is in the details" and "reductions that we'll get out of this agreement alone won't be enough to keep us below dangerous levels of warming," Mann says the agreement finally "starts to put us on the path to avoiding dangerous climate change."

But is it too little too late? Is it even possible to keep global temperatures from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, as called for by the agreement (which also asks nations to keep that rise no higher than 1.5C, if possible)? Mann tells me he believes there is still time to avoid the worst consequences of man's behavior and decades of inaction.

"I can give that answer confidently, as a scientist who studies the numbers. Yes, it is absolutely still physically possible," he says. "What is more in question, of course: is it doable? Is it achievable? And that's a matter of political will. That's really the only limitation."

We discuss those political limitations and much more today, including Mann's op-ed in last week's New York Times slamming Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chair of the U.S. House Science Committee, for his "assault on climate science," as well as Smith's published response to that op-ed. "There's not a truthful word in his statement," Mann retorts.

I also ask the professor about former NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen's assertion that the Paris Agreement is a "fraud" because it fails to include a specific global price on the release of carbon into the atmosphere; about the increasing calls for investigation and prosecution of ExxonMobil for obscuring their own scientists' findings about the "potentially catastrophic" effects of global warming as early as 1977; about that satellite data set cited by Republican climate deniers to suggest that global warming has either paused or doesn't exist at all; and a few more of what I characterize as my own "dumb science questions" about the effects of climate change on weather predictions and El Niño.

As usual, Mann pulls no punches in today's exclusive BradCast interview.

Also today: President Obama's update on the continuing military fight against ISIS and new polling news for both Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates (and the Sanders campaigns' decrying of a network news "Bernie Blackout") in advance of the next GOP Presidential debate on Tuesday...

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

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GUEST: Author, journalist Ari Berman of The Nation
PLUS: More RW terrorism; More racism from Justice Scalia; U.N. climate conference in Paris turning out much better than expected...
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2015 5:22pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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