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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, February 7, 2016
'Progress' v. 'Revolution': Bernie and Hillary's Lively NH Debate: 'BradCast' 2/5/16
Coverage and 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
  w/ Brad & Desi
Dems keep pushing climate action, Repubs keep ignoring it; FL mayors slam Rubio on sea level rise; CA AG files suit over massive gas leak; PLUS: FBI launches Flint probe...
Previous GNRs: 2/2/16 - 1/28/16 - Archives...
FL Mayors Slam Rubio on Climate Flip-Flop; Cruz Accused of 'Fraud' in IA: 'BradCast' 2/3/16
Rising ire, rising tides. Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, FL joins us...
What the Hell Just Happened in Iowa?!: 'BradCast' 2/2/16
Concerned about missing votes, coin tosses, videos suggesting fraud? Caucus expert Prof. David P. Redlawsk explains it all (and more) for you...and me...
'Green News Report' 2/2/16
Cruz promises to kill all energy subsidies; Rubio was for climate action, before against it; Crashing oil prices blow hole in NC budget; PLUS: Bad and good news in CA...
Sanders on the 'Edge'? Really, NY Times?: 'BradCast' 2/1/16
Jim Naureckas of FAIR on corporate media's false balance; Plus: More Dem debates; Trump's Iowa faux pas; Leaker Petraeus gets another pass...
Sunday Toons of the Hawkeye State Moment
Documenting the moments before the Iowa Caucuses via PDiddie's weekly collection of political toons...
Microsoft's App at the Iowa Caucuses: 'BradCast' 1/28/16
Also, the latest on the Oregon 'Patriot' standoff with independent journalist Arun Gupta...
'Green News Report' 1/28/16
Dems focus on climate, energy in IA; FL mayors smack Rubio on climate; Flint stuck with bad pipes, water; Poor bear brunt of pollution; PLUS: Victory for coal miners...
Ernie on Bernie: 'BradCast' 1/27/16
BRAD BLOG legal analyst turned Vets for Bernie advisor Ernest A. Canning on Sanders' electability and much more; PLUS: New OR standoff news, GOP/Dem debate controversies, listener calls!...
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...


GUESTS: Kentucky civil rights attorney Joe Dunman; Crooks and Liars' Managing Editor Karoli Kuns...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2016 4:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as you might have guessed, it's post-debate analysis of last night's very lively head-to-head debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire.

Joining us to make sense of it all is Joe Dunman, the Kentucky civil rights attorney who represented the same-sex couples suing Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to grant marriage licenses last year, Karoli Kuns, Managing Editor of the great Crooks and Liars blog.

During the debate, the first since the Iowa Caucuses and the last between Democrats before voters head to the primary polls in NH on Tuesday, the two candidates sharpened their dispute over potential directions for the Democratic Party (and the nation, along with it), as they hashed out whether to protect and expand on successful Obama Administration policies, as Clinton hopes, or fight for expansive and "revolutionary" new progressive policies as Sanders is calling for.

That question, a worthy one, also leads to a lively debate among the panelists on today's program, which you can listen to in full below! And, if you'd like to ring in on the issue yourself, I'd love to hear your thoughts in comments below, since I think this fight will be continuing for a while. Enjoy!...

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: Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, FL...
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2016 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the latest news in the Presidential contest, including two GOP candidates dropping out today, newly scheduled Democratic debates, new polling since Iowa, and new charges from Donald Trump that Ted Cruz "stole" the GOP's Iowa caucuses!

I also speak with Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, FL today, about the open letter [PDF] she recently sent, with 14 other Mayors from across the Sunshine State, to Marco Rubio, seeking a meeting with the Florida U.S. Senator, now a leading candidate for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination, decrying his flip-flops on climate action.

Rubio, as Lerner explains, was once in favor of action to stave off the worst effects of global warming --- such as the sea level rise already encroaching on south Florida towns like Lerner's --- before he decided to run for President and become a climate change denier.

"Marco Rubio and all the Republican candidates who are in denial, it's really part of a campaign strategy, an ideology, that ignores the reality of the consequences we're facing," she tells me.

Lerner notes that where Republicans in Florida had once actual lead on Climate Change, since Republican Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011, state GOPers have almost completely reversed course. That, even as the "very porous geology that the peninsula of Florida was built on" is already taking on more salt water than can be handled as sea levels rise and "100-year storms" are now "coming several times a year."

"Our infrastructure was never built to contemplate addressing the capacity needs that we now find ourselves in," she explains. "We are literally drowning here in South Florida and have no leadership, clearly, at the state level, and have to rely on our next President understanding the risk that we, and the other coastal communities all over this country, are facing."

She describes Rubio's new position of denial as "beyond disappointing," adding: "It's really disgusting to listen to somebody that we well know he knows better. He's just reading from a script that he thinks is going to help him get into higher office."

"We are ground zero," she says about her Village of Pinecrest and the other towns and cities whose Mayors signed on to the letter seeking a meeting with Rubio. "We are the canary in the coal mine, so to speak, of what's going to be happening throughout the United States, and he needs to stand up and lead on these initiatives."

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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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 2/2/2016 10:29am PT  

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

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

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

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

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




GUEST: Jim Naureckas of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2016 4:36pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, as voters finally head to the caucuses to cast the very first votes of the 2016 Presidential election year, we examine how the mainstream corporate media have decided for themselves which candidates are and are not acceptable for American voters.

Jim Naureckas of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting joins us to discuss the marginalization of Bernie Sanders and his very popular policies by mainstream corporate media outlets such as the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.

Somehow, despite more than 30 years as an elected official, Sanders, according to the Times over the weekend, is an "outsider" representing the "fringe" of the Democratic Party base. He does not, as the Tribune recently warned, represent the "broad, sensible center." Ya know, exactly the way Donald Trump is a fringe outsider threatening the "broad, sensible center" of the Republican Party because, as we all know by now, everything is always "fair and balanced" in Mainstream Corporate Media World.

"Much of the corporate media are really trying to maintain the idea that there are acceptable candidates within the circle of acceptable ideas, and candidates who are beyond the pale, who decent voters should turn their back on," Naureckas tells me. "They should listen to the New York Times and vote for one of the approved candidates."

Those "approved candidates," Naureckas wryly explains, are the ones who are "part of the club." Never mind that, unlike Trump's extremist positions, Sanders' policy positions are actually wildly popular --- not just among Democrats, but among the American electorate as a whole. Nonetheless, if follow mainstream print media, the long-serving Vermont Senator is an "outsider" offering "fringe" policies that are far beyond what is acceptable to the "sensible center."

"The way that corporate media use the word 'center' is not the way that ordinary people use it. You'd think that it means the policies that are embraced by a majority of the people are 'centrist' policies. That's not what they mean in the media. They mean policies that are embraced by the establishment. And that can be policies that are quite unpopular --- like cutting Social Security to reduce the deficit is a 'centrist' idea that is wildly unpopular. It's really kind of a shell game on the part of the media to try to present these ideas, that have very little popular support, as the ideas of the 'middle'."

Also on today's program: The DNC appears to be ready to finally add more debates to the schedule, including a new one this week in advance of next Tuesday's New Hampshire primary; Former CIA head and four-star general David Petraeus will face no more penalties (and not a single day in jail) for leaking tons of highly classified information to his mistress/biographer. (Take that, Edward Snowden!); And the very not conservative Donald Trump makes a faux pas while pretending to be an evangelical Christian in Iowa...

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

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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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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: Independent investigative journalist Arun Gupta...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2016 4:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We explain that new Microsoft app set to be used at the Iowa Caucuses and get the latest from Oregon following the arrest of the militant leaders (and the shooting death of one of them) at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. [Audio link to complete show is posted below...]

First up, independent investigative journalist Arun Gupta, who has been in Burns, Oregon over the past week covering the "Patriot Movement" standoff for Raw Story, joins us with the latest. He is dubious about the FBI's explanation for the killing of one of the leaders of the occupation; explains how the Rightwing protesters are "essentially wanting to overthrow the U.S. Government"; and how the treatment of the armed demonstrators differed from the treatment of Occupy Wall Street protesters, which he had also covered.

"There's a lot of anger out there around this," Gupta tells me. "There's a lot of anger about land management issues, about a lack of economic development, and there's a lot of extreme Rightwing groups --- many of them pretty racist, white supremacists --- that can take advantage of this. So I don't think we have seen the end of this."

Then, late news on the "debate debates" on both the Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle --- with veterans groups hitting Donald Trump for hiding behind them while pulling out of Thursday's Fox "News" debate and Bernie Sanders playing hardball over the addition of new debates on the Dem side.

Next, while we've been working on this story for a while, it seems that everyone today has noticed that Microsoft has created a free app --- two of them, actually --- for the Democratic and Republican parties to use to help tally votes in the first-in-the-nation caucuses in Iowa next Monday.

Now that the Sanders camp has become "suspicious of Microsoft's influence in the Iowa Caucus," as MSNBC reports it, a lot of folks have begun freaking out about the matter. "You’d have to ask yourself why they’d want to give something like that away for free," a Sanders spokesman is quoted as saying, even as both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns have created their own apps for tracking local results at caucus sites next week.

I explain what the Microsoft apps do and don't do --- for each of the parties --- and if they, or you, should be concerned about it...no matter which candidate that you may or may not support in either of the parties holding caucuses next week in the Hawkeye State.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Florida mayors calling out Marco Rubio for his climate change denial, an update on Flint and America's poor bearing the brunt of toxic pollution in the U.S., a win for coal miners in the fight against black lung disease, and much more in another busy BradCast today!...

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 1/28/2016 11:50am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Democratic Presidential candidates focus on climate and clean energy in Iowa; Florida mayors ask Florida Senator and Presidential Candidate Marco Rubio to stop ignoring climate change; Flint, MI residents stuck with corroded pipes and contaminated water, for now; It's not just Flint --- poor Americans bear the brunt of the most toxic pollution; PLUS: Score one for coal miners in the fight against black lung disease... 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): ‘It was us or nobody': Meet the heroic professor who helped uncover the Flint lead water crisis; U.S. Senate begins hearings on comprehensive bipartisan energy bill; 3 more arrests in Oregon Standoff; Canada delays two pipeline projects; Air regulator sues California gas utility over historic methane leak; Ohio town also has high lead contamination in their water; Saudi Arabia keeps pumping oil despite financial and political risks... PLUS: Canadian scientists warn of pesticide risk to bees... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




GUEST: Myrna Peréz of the Brennan Center for Justice
ALSO: Climate crisis v. Islamic extremism; A new Dem debate?; And the Election Integrity community loses a champion and key voice...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2016 5:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast, with the first Presidential caucuses and primaries of 2016 now just days away and the first mass voter suppression trial of the year now underway (in North Carolina), we look at a number of recommendations to improve our voting system. But is it too late to make much of a difference for 2016?

First up, some breaking news on the possibility of an added Democratic debate after the Iowa caucuses and before the New Hampshire primary, and some thoughts on the human cost of Climate Change-fueled extreme weather (over just the past month) versus Islamic terror attacks in the U.S. in the 15 years since 9/11.

Then, on to our conversation with Myrna Peréz of the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program to discuss her new report: Election Integrity: A Pro-Voter Agenda. The paper offers six important areas --- from voter registration to polling access to vote casting and counting --- where the U.S. system can and must improve its integrity without sacrificing security or access to the voting booth.

"It is possible to protect election integrity without disenfranchising eligible voters," Peréz writes in her report about the solutions she and the Brennan Center offer. "All target fraud risks as they actually exist. None will unduly disenfranchise those who have the right to vote."

As she explains to me today: "We are having is a very contested moment in time where the right to vote is being challenged in a way that we haven't seen in decades. We are seeing politicians trying to manipulate the rules of the game such that some people can participate and some people can't. And we have that butting up against states that have very restrictive budgets, and may not actually have the money or resources to make reforms that would even save money long-term, because they require an initial investment. That, coupled with infrastructure problems --- like we have been registering voters in a really out-of-date way for too long, and we haven't updated our voting machines --- are all colliding to produce a period of worry, where when voters step into the polls on Election Day in November, they're not going to be getting the best customer service for their tax dollars. And that they're not going to be voting in a way that's consistent with what the greatest democracy in the world should be doing."

"We tried to look at where there were opportunities to improve what we're doing, and actually study and address some of the concerns that folks are having," Peréz says. "And do it in a way that is sensible and thoughtful and common sense, in terms of making sure that the cure isn't worse than the disease. And make sure that we're not disenfranchising more people than we're trying to prevent from perpetuating fraud."

We discuss, among many things in our detailed conversation, the real threats to election integrity --- not "voter fraud" by individuals at the polling place, as vote suppressors on the Right would like you to believe, but far more often, and in a much larger way, by political and election insiders. "We need to make sure that our politicians, who are using our resources and our taxpayer dollars, are fixing a problem that is real and addressing it in the most cost-effective and efficient way."

Finally on today's show, a few words and memories in regard to the recent tragic loss of Wisconsin's John Washburn, an integral member of the U.S. Election Integrity community and a reliable and important source over the past decade to me here at BradBlog.com and on the radio, on e-voting in general and, in particular, on some of the nightmarish elections disasters in the Badger State over recent years. John was a great proponent of transparency, open government, proper testing of electronic voting systems and, frankly, one helluva guy. As noted in my more detailed In Memoriam on today's program, John's loss, at the age of 53, is a particularly tragic and costly one for the cause of democracy and free and fair elections in Wisconsin as well as the rest of the nation. We send our thoughts and best wishes to his family, including his wife and three children. His institutional knowledge, good humor and wit will be greatly missed in 2016 and beyond, but his good fight will continue.

(John's guest blog contributions to The BRAD BLOG are here. You can sort through some of his other contributions to our stories and radio programs over the years here. And much more documentation of his work on EI matters and more is still available at his personal website right here. UPDATE: John's family has requested remembrances be posted on this tribute page.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GUEST: Mathematics professor John Allen Paulos of Temple University
PLUS: Sanders takes lead in IA and NH and why elections matters...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2016 5:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast, oil prices crash, Sanders surges in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the GOP tries to find an alternative to Trump, we're joined by the mathematician who says that the George W. Bush "Presidency" was his fault...sort of --- and we discuss why it all still matters today.

First up, Desi Doyen joins us to discuss the importance of and reasons for the plunging price of oil, which fell below $30/barrel today for the first time since 2003.

Next, new polling out of both Iowa and New Hampshire suggest the potential for very closes races, on both the D and R side of the aisle, this year. Bernie Sanders, who had been trailing Hillary Clinton in IA for months, has now overtaken her there, according to new numbers, and has increased his lead in NH over the woman still described by corporate media as "the Democratic front-runner". On the GOP side of the aisle, Trump retains his lead in NH, while IA tightens and the search for an "establishment" alternative takes a few surprising turns.

Then, speaking of close elections, we're joined by Dr. John Allen Paulos, professor of mathematics at Temple University to discuss the mother of all close elections, and why he believes his November 22, 2000 NYTimes op-ed helped lead directly to the U.S. Supreme Court stopping the ballot count in the Sunshine State, resulting in their (s)election of George W. Bush.

After I recount (pardon the pun), just some of the chicanery and still-unexplained anomalies that resulted in the exceedingly close tallies reported by Florida in 2000, Paulos, author of the New York Times best-seller, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences and, his latest, A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours, explains how he still "regrets" his mathematical analysis of the race at the time, which ended up being cited by the courts during the legal battle that eventually stopped the tally of paper ballots in Florida.

(For the record, yes, had Florida counted all of the ballots in the state at the time, as the Times reported on November 12, 2001 --- so you are forgiven, if you didn't notice --- Gore would likely have won the state, "no matter what standard was chosen to judge voter intent.")

"People talk about the 'Butterfly Effect' in dynamical systems [ed note: as opposed to the Butterflly Ballots in Palm Beach County, FL!], where tiny little initial differences lead to huge disparities down the road. This was, in a sense, a case where I was the little butterfly flapping its wings in South America leading, after many intermediate events, to a hurricane in New Orleans."

"In retrospect, obviously, I wish I hadn't done that," Paulos tells me about his op-ed, published 15 years ago last month, adding: "As a moral tiebreaker, Gore won almost half a million more votes nationwide. At the very least, they should have flipped a coin" and "Oh, yeah, they should have counted the ballots. That's what should have happened."

Finally, speaking of the consequences of elections and actually counting votes to determine the intent of voters, we conclude today's show by discussing how the George W. Bush administration allowed North Korea to obtain the atomic bombs that the rogue nation is once again using to threaten the world. Yes, more fallout from the disastrous Bush Administration, still affecting us today because we failed to count the voters' ballots.

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Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2016 5:29pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, new polls reveal Bernie Sanders far outpacing Hillary Clinton in head-to-head match-ups against all potential Republican challengers and public sector unions take a beating in the U.S. Supreme Court.

First up today, new pre-election polls from NBC/WSJ and PPP in both Iowa and New Hampshire echo recent national polling suggesting that, contrary to so-called "conventional wisdom", Sanders is more electable against the leading Republican opponents than Clinton is.

Then, constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser joins us to report on today's "brutal" oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case which threatens to gut public sector union funding.

Millhiser, author of the new book, Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, was at the Court for today's hearing, and the news is not encouraging. As he explains, the case challenges the federal government's allowance of "agency fees" charged to non-union members in public sector union shops to help defray the costs of union negotiations. That fee makes sense, since non-union workers must receive the same wages and benefits at such shops as their union colleagues. Non-union workers benefit from those negotiations, he says, since "workers in unionized shops on average receive about 12% more pay than workers in non-unionized shops."

"As a general rule," Millhiser wrote after today's oral argument, "the First Amendment does not permit the government to compel someone to say something they disagree with, and the plaintiffs claim that requiring non-union members to subsidize collective bargaining by a union that they may not agree with essentially rises to the level of compelled speech."

He tells me today that striking down the right to charge these agency fees "creates what's called a 'free rider' problem. If I get something, whether I pay for it or not, a lot of people are going to say 'Well, why would I pay for this when I get it for free?'" That, in turn, threatens the viability of such unions entirely.

Millhiser goes on to say: "It was pretty clear today that there were five votes that are ready to strike down these agency fee agreements --- and that's going to be not great for the future of many public sector unions."

We also discuss how an adverse decision for the public unions here may also potentially be used by the Right to go after private unions as well. "What we've seen from conservative movement attorneys over the last seven or eight years is an extraordinary entrepreneurship. They've been really, really clever in coming up with creative news ways to try to convince courts to implement their policy preferences," he says.

Citing both that point and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's new call for nine, incredibly radical (and regressive) amendments to the U.S. Constitution (which Millhiser describes as the new Republican governor's "plan to repeal the 20th century"), I ask why it is that Democrats and progressives don't show similar "entrepreneurship" in pushing forward their own agenda.

In response, Millhiser defends Dems and progressives by noting a peculiarity about this particular moment in history: "I think conservatives right now increasingly believe that the last 80 years of American history are illegitimate. They believe that our society has started to go off the rails and we have to fundamentally rethink what our government does. Democrats are now in the unfamiliar position of being the nation's conservative party. I don't mean in the sense that they are now to the right of the Republicans. I mean 'conservative' in the sense that Democrats are conservative in the sense that it wants to preserve the gains that we already have."

The result is that Dems are put on the defensive, instead of pushing new, progressive programs forward, as I argue in return, leaving voters less than clear about what it is Democrats hope to do when and if they are elected to office.

Finally, we offer a short goodbye to David Bowie and receive late breaking word from the the U.S. Supreme Court concerning imprisoned former Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL)'s final appeal for a new trial...Neither of those news items are encouraging either, unfortunately.

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

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