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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, October 22, 2018
Sunday 'House of Sawed' Toons
This week, PDiddie has gathered another chilling and, unfortunately, dark collection of political toons...
Harvard Law Prof: Dems Must Pack SCOTUS or Face 'Political Suicide': 'BradCast' 10/19/18
Guest: Harvard's Michael Klarman; Also: Trump praises GOP Rep's violence against journalist in MT, as Khashoggi murder roils...
GOPers Rethink Climate Change, Elections in NC, FL: 'BradCast' 10/18/18
Also: NC Election Board 'unconstitutional'; FL Guv 'bends' election rules after Michael; More Repubs endorse Dems for Guv in WI, KS...
'Green News Report' 10/18/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly flooding in TX and France; Death toll rising after Michael; Global warming coming for your beer; PLUS: O'Rourke, Cruz asked about climate in Texas U.S. Senate debate!...
Previous GNRs: 10/16/18 - 10/8/18 - Archives...
WV Smartphone Vote Scheme Threatens Midterms, Security: 'BradCast' 10/17/18
Guest: Dr. David Jefferson on myth of 'secure' blockchain voting; Also: More suppression in GA, ND, elsewhere...
Repubs Attempt State Supreme Court Coups in FL, WV: 'BradCast' 10/16/18
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: SCOTUS stealing Senate; GA Early Vote failure; Michael death toll rising...
'Green News Report' 10/16/18
Florida Panhandle facing catastrophe; Michael was 4th 'major' hurricane to make US landfall in 15 months; PLUS: GOP still denying science, economic impacts...
GA Rejecting Alarming Number of Mail-in Ballots: 'BradCast' 10/15/18
Guest: WhoWhatWhy's Jordan Wilkie; Also: Despite cost of recent hurricanes, Rubio, Trump offer false claim about economy to justify lack of climate action...
Sunday Category 5 Distraction Toons
Anything and everything to keep us looking away from stuff that matters, in PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Ignoring Cries of Stranded Kids:
'BradCast' 10/12/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ Tina Vasquez on ICE; Bill Browder on Khashoggi; Sarah Craft on the death penalty; Eliza Griswold on a family's fight against fracking...
Where is Khashoggi?: 'BradCast' 10/11/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro on Trump protecting Saudis; Also: Power of women's rage w Nelini Stamp, Soraya Chemaly...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Trump cancels pay raise for federal workers; Felonious coal-baron Blankenship nixed (again) from WV ballot...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2018 6:43pm PT  

We start off with some very good news on today's BradCast, for a change. (The less good news comes later...but it's nowhere near as bad as the good news is good.) On Wednesday, the California state legislature adopted a measure that will require the state to use only 100% "carbon-free" electricity by 2045. The landmark climate change bill, which state lawmakers have been debating for two years, now awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

We're joined by Vox.com's environment and energy journalist DAVID ROBERTS to discuss what that actually means, if the goal is feasible, and what could prevent Brown from signing the landmark measure. (For a complete and, yes, wonky explanation of the debate over a separate if related measure that could hold up Brown's signature on this one, see Roberts' recent article here.)

Roberts breaks down what the legislation's change from 100% "renewable" to 100% "carbon-free" electricity means and why the entire effort is such a huge frickin' deal that deserves more coverage than its likely to get right now. Last year, the state of Hawaii lead the way by adopting a similar measure, but with California as the world's 5th largest economy, this move, as the Los Angeles Times recently reported, would truly turn the Golden State into a world leader on climate change action.

"If you put together the size of the economy, the nearness of the targets, and the ambition, I think this is as big as anyone has gone. I think this is as big as it gets," Roberts tells me. "I don't think there's another economy in the world that is comparably large and carbon-intensive, that has anything close to comparably ambitious goals."

The measure also increases the state's current goal of moving to 50% renewable energy by 2030, up to 60% by the same year. That, as Roberts explains, because California has almost reached its previous goal already, years earlier than planned! "They'll probably beat these targets, too," he says. "One of the reasons this is happening is most utilities in California are closing in on their 2030 targets already, and its 2018."

As usual, Roberts makes all of this otherwise-wonky stuff accessible to mere mortals --- and actually enjoyable. Well, at least I enjoyed it. Hope you will too!

Then, back to some less good news of the day. On Thursday, President Trump informed Congress that he wants to cancel the scheduled pay raise for federal workers that is due them in January, charging "Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases". That, after giving a $1.5 trillion tax cut to corporations and the wealthy last December and signing a $717 billion defense appropriation bill just weeks ago. Both have resulted in what even the White House now admits will be unprecedented year-after-year trillion dollar deficits. Trump and Republicans now hope to force the "forgotten men and women" of the working class, that he pretended to care about during the 2016 election, to pay the price for it, even though non-military federal workers have already seen pay and benefits cuts of more than $200 billion since 2011 and now earn 5% less than they did at the start of the decade.

In West Virginia, coal baron and convicted felon Don Blankenship will not be allowed to run for the U.S. Senate this year on the Constitution Party's ballot line. The state's Supreme Court (or what's sufficing for it at the moment, with two of its five members recently resigned and the three others facing impeachment by the GOP state legislature --- see my conversation with Slate's Mark Joseph Stern about that earlier this week), agreed with their Sec. of State that Blankenship's candidacy would run afoul of the state's "sore loser" statute after he placed third last May in the Republican primary contest for that party's Senate nomination. The ruling is good news for the state's Attorney General and GOP Senate nominee Patrick Morrisey, as Blankenship might have siphoned off some of his support. Morrisey hopes to unseat the conservative incumbent Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, this November.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with more on today's encouraging news out of California, some bad news for those who live in areas with high air pollution, and the disturbing news that Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria is now officially the deadliest U.S. natural disaster in more than 100 years --- though Donald Trump still thinks he did a heckuva job in his response to it...

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

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: EPA blocks mainstream media outlets, forcibly removes reporter, from water contamination event...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2018 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A host of important and troubling news items that you're probably not hearing much about as the corporate media continue their seemingly non-stop focus on investigations into massive Trump corruption. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, a disturbing move by the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday suggests a very dark moment for American democracy as reporters from AP, CNN and elsewhere were blocked from attending a water contamination event held EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. One AP journalist is said to have been "forcibly removed" from the building. That, just about one week after reports that the Trump Administration is blocking the publication of a major new report finding widespread water contamination across the country. That study is reportedly being withheld because the Administration believes it would be a "public relations nightmare" for the chemical companies involved, if it was released.

Meanwhile, a federal court on Monday found Texas in violation of both the U.S. Constitution and the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) for refusing to allow residents who update their drivers license online to register to vote at the same time, as required by the 1993 law. The Republican-controlled state appealed the ruling to the rightwing U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals just minutes after it was issued by the U.S. District Court judge, all but assuring the case, originally filed in 2016, will continue beyond this November's mid-terms.

And, speaking of Republicans who don't want certain people to vote, in Florida, John Ward, a GOP candidate for the U.S. House, was caught on videotape arguing that U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico who moved to the Sunshine State following the devastation of Hurricanes Maria and Irma last year, should not be allowed to register to vote in Florida and should go back "where they belong".

Next, we're joined by Slate's fantastic legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN to offer clarity on two disturbing, and very important cases this week.

The first is the story of a 24-year old DACA recipient from Seattle who was brought here by his father when he was five years old and detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency last year just after Trump took office. Daniel Ramirez Medina, a "Dreamer" with no criminal record, legally working in the U.S. after twice receiving protected status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, was arrested by ICE in February of 2017 when they went to his house to detain his father. ICE subsequently booked Ramirez, lied about him --- blatantly doctoring a document to make it appear Ramirez admitted to being a member of a non-existent gang (he never was) --- in order to remove his protection and begin deportation proceedings.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez, a George W. Bush appointee, found that ICE repeatedly lied about Ramirez and to the court about their evidence against him. "Judge Martinez is no flaming liberal, but he looked at the evidence before him, and he was clearly disgusted and incensed by what the agency had done," says Stern.

He describes how Ramirez was saved, for now, only due to his protected status under the Obama-era DACA program, which Trump continues to try to kill. "The only reason that this story rose to the top, and that it actually got before a federal judge who could rule on it, is because this guy is lucky enough to have DACA status. So he had this extra layer of protection that most undocumented immigrants don't have." Unfortunately, the dishonest tactics ICE attempted to use against Ramirez are usually successful, Stern says, explaining, "ICE agents do this all the time".

Then, we turn to an outrageous 5 to 4 decision by the stolen, rightwing U.S. Supreme Court this week that demolished the clear, statutory right established by decades-old New Deal-era labor reforms, allowing employees to file collective class-action lawsuits against their employers for wage theft.

As Stern explains, Monday's hypocritical and legally erroneous majority opinion in Epic Systems v. Lewis [PDF], written by the corrupt, self-proclaimed "textualist" Justice Neil Gorsuch (who occupies the seat stolen for him by the GOP Senate after Antonin Scalia's death in early 2016), was blasted by a furious Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her minority opinion, as the ruling, according to Stern, "effectively legalizes low-level wage theft" and is "nothing less than catastrophic for workers across the country."

It's really even worse than you may have heard --- if you even heard anything about it. But, Sterns adds with a glimmer of hope, the law in question that was blatantly misinterpreted by Gorsuch's judicial activism could very easily be amended for clarity in order to reverse this SCOTUS decision. The fix, however, would likely require a Democratic Congress and a cooperative President.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with some insane new climate denialism by Republicans on the U.S. House Science Committee, and some much more encouraging news on several other related fronts from Britain to San Francisco to China...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/22/2018 11:06am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Republicans waste public's time denying rising sea levels in House Science Committee hearing; NASA study finds humans are driving major changes in the global fresh water supply; British government to launch non-recyclable plastic tax; PLUS: He's back! Ex-con former coal baron Don Blankenship launches third party bid for U.S. Senate... 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): A 100 per cent renewable grid isn’t just feasible, it’s already happening; EPA bans CNN, AP from covering summit on chemicals, ‘forcibly’ removes reporter; Cell phones thrown in the trash are exploding, causing 5-alarm fires in garbage trucks; Seattle 'kayaktivists' join Kinder Morgan pipeline protest; In victory for biogas industry groups, farm bill fails in House; Paper mills likely major source of chemical pollution in waterways; Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals; National parks report on climate change finally released, uncensored; New study suggests future hurricanes will be slower and wetter as Earth warms... PLUS: China's Xi urges end to waste and irrational consumption in eco push... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Author, columnist, gun safety advocate Cliff Schecter on recent mass shootings in Texas, Florida, Vegas; Also: Trump remains dangerously clueless in advance of planned summit with North Korea...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2018 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The shootings and body counts mount while GOP politicians refuse to take action and rightwing media fan the flames. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today (after a quick thanks to In Deep Radio's Angie Coiro for covering for us late last week so I could "enjoy" some emergency oral surgery), a quick preview of Tuesday's primary elections in Arkansas, Kentucky and Georgia and primary run-offs in Texas, where the internecine battles between progressives and establishment Democrats continue to shake out.

Also, news that Don Blankenship, West Virginia coal baron and former federal felon (convicted for his role in safety violations resulting in the 2010 deaths of 29 minors in one of his mines in 2010) announces his plan to run on the Constitution Party ticket for U.S. Senate this November after coming in third in WV's GOP U.S. Senate primary two weeks ago.

Then, new details on the politically brain-addled man who opened fire inside the Trump National Doral Miami resort in South Florida on Friday, and a trove of witness statements are released related to the October 2017 massacre in Las Vegas where a gunman opened fire on outdoor concert goers on the Strip, killing 58 and wounded more than 800 in a matter of minutes. Though officials never declared a motive for that shooting, the newly released statements suggest the shooter was an anti-government fanatic who had cited longtime Fox "News" and Rightwing talk radio tropes such as Waco, Ruby Ridge and FEMA camps in the days before the massacre.

Then, in a sadly similar vein, we're joined by author, Daily Beast columnist, podcaster and longtime gun legislation advocate CLIFF SCHECTER on fallout following Friday's mass shooting at Santa Fe High School outside of Houston, where a 17-year old student killed 10 and wounded at least 10 others. With the US now averaging at least one school shooting per week in 2018, we discuss who is to blame, what (if anything) can finally be done about any of it, and how Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has courageously taken a very hard stand against the years-long failure of NRA-backed Republican politicians who offer "thoughts and prayers", but no actual action to try and help curb the nation's continuing, tragic and obscene gun epidemic.

"In Western European countries, you certainly have these radical rightwing groups like you do here," Schecter argues. "The key is they don't all have access to guns. They do here. That's what we're seeing. We're seeing white men radicalized and then armed. This is the predictable result of that."

"You're never going to prevent everything. There's still one shooting or two in Canada, and they've got much more stringent gun control. The key here is when you look at a public health crisis, you say 'What are the various ways, through regulations, policy, cultural change, shaming and the rest, that we can get to a place where people take this more seriously?'" Schecter goes on to explain how recent changes to gun laws have decreased gun violence, despite the idiotic statements of folks like Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and others who suggest that gun regulations make things worse, and how citizen ballot initiatives can be used to work around intransigent politicians.

Finally today, some thoughts on the perilously planned June summit between North Korea's Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, and the embarrassingly plain fact that Trump has absolutely no idea what he is doing, as revealed (once again) following National Security Adviser John Bolton's ridiculously ill-advised "Libyan model" comments...

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

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Guest: West Virginia's Bob Kincaid; Also: McConnell says no to protecting Mueller, Mattis got Trumped on Syria, Kobach found in contempt (again) in KS, and Cuomo expands voting rights in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2018 6:44pm PT  

Yes, my guest argues on today's BradCast, West Virginia Republicans may very well nominate a man just out of jail on charges related to the deaths of 29 coal miners to be their nominee for the U.S. Senate this year. [Audio link to show is posted below below.]

But, before we head down to Coal County for that conversation today, a few news headlines...Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is vowing to prevent a bi-partisan proposal for protecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by Donald Trump, from coming to the Senate floor for a full vote, even if, as now appears likely, the bill is approved by the GOP-lead Senate Judiciary Committee.

The notoriously obstructionist McConnell also appears ready to block any new Congressional military Authorization for the Use of Force --- as currently being considered in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee --- citing, along with GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, the AUMFs from 2001 and 2002, for authorization of war against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Iraq after 9/11, as valid enough approval for Trump to bomb Syria, however he sees fit. Speaking of which, the NYTimes is reporting that Defense Secretary James Mattis had tried to insist that Trump obtain Congressional authorization before attacking Syria last week, but was overruled by the President.

Meanwhile, in Kansas today, a federal judge found GOP Sec. of State Kris Kobach in contempt of court, amidst the long-watched ACLU cases challenging a state law he'd championed, which has kept thousands of otherwise valid voters off the rolls for failing to provide proof of citizenship documents to the state. Kobach, one of the nation's leading Republican "voter fraud" fraudsters, was slapped by the George W. Bush-appointed federal judge in her ruling [PDF] and ordered to pay the ACLU's legal fees for the contempt hearing. This is the second time that Kobach, now a candidate for the 2018 Republican nomination for Governor in Kansas, has been found in contempt.

Also today, in more good news for voters, New York's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, facing a primary challenge from progressive actress and activist Cynthia Nixon, announced a plan to immediately restore voting rights to some 35,000 parolees by executive order.

Then, we're joined by West Virginia's own BOB KINCAID, the always-colorful, long-time radio host and President of West Virginia's Coal River Mountain Watch, to discuss the remarkable re-emergence of disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship, the former Massey Energy CEO who was released from prison last year following a one-year sentence for his involvement in safety violations at the company's Upper Big Branch Mine, where an explosion killed 29 workers in 2010.

Blankenship, to the supposed horror of establishment GOPers, is running for the party's nomination for the U.S. Senate in the state's May 8th primary, in hopes of taking on incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Remarkably, Blankenship's fortunes appear to be rising, just three weeks out from a contest against a number of very Trumpy primary opponents. That has now forced the national GOPers to form a "local" PAC to purchase ads that take on Blankenship by pretending to be against Massey's coal-related pollution of drinking water in the state. In return, Blankenship is now firing back at his former ally Mitch McConnell.

"It's all swamp," Kincaid says. "Don Blankenship is the ultimate swamp. If McConnell is a swamp Captain, then Don Blankenship is a swamp Field Marshal. Remember, [McConnell] got behind a Supreme Court candidate in this state some years back solely so that he could protect Massey Energy from a jury verdict that they deserved --- trying to make sure that verdict would be overturned once it got to the [state] Supreme Court. That's swampy behavior if anything is."

Kincaid details the once-wildly powerful Blankenship's deadly background and the contours of the now-bizarre race --- which is beginning to echo Roy Moore's disastrous GOP run for the U.S. Senate in Alabama last December --- in a state where Trump won by some 40 points in 2016 and the conservative Manchin is considered to be amongst the most vulnerable Democratic Senators up for re-election this year.

"They really don't know quite what to do with him because, frankly, Don Blankenship doesn't give a damn. He has that in common with Geezer Disgustus over in the White House. It seems like everything just bounces of off him. Mainly because he can just push it off to one side, he can run his own ads, he can finance his own campaign. There's a certain element of people in this state who would vote for the Devil himself --- and Blankenship is pretty close --- if he said 'I hate that Obama'," argues Kincaid, adding, "There's a whole lot of white-lash still left in West Virginia."

We also discuss what progressives --- whose own Democratic primary candidate, Paula Jean Swearengin, does not appear to be gaining traction in the state --- ought to do this November, if faced with a choice between a vote for the coal-loving corporatist Manchin and whoever becomes the GOP nominee amid our ever-deepening, Trump-induced national emergency.

"The fact of the matter is, we've been in a Constitutional crisis ever since the Electoral College failed to do that which the Framers said the Electoral College was designed to do. And if you let this Congress continue, there is no hope whatsoever of saving the Republic," he warns...

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: Barbara Arnwine of the new Nat'l Commission for Voter Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2018 6:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're still fighting for the right to vote and to have that vote counted, 60 years after MLK's "Give Us the Ballot" speech, 50 years after the passage of the hard-won Voting Rights Act, 4 years after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted it, and one day after what my guest today describes as a "really wicked decision" by the Court on Thursday to set aside a landmark ruling on gerrymandering that was meant to finally correct a grave injustice to voters in 2018. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

With Republicans in the U.S. House, on Thursday, having passed a short-term stopgap spending bill to keep the U.S. Government from shutting down beginning on Friday night at midnight, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are still racing to figure out how to overcome a filibuster of the same bill. The measure includes support for kids that rely on the currently-expired Children's Healthcare Insurance Program (CHIP), but leaves some 800,000 kids of immigrants who came here with their parents still facing deportation as early as March, after Trump ended Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. So, once again, rather than simply including a fix to DACA, Republicans are using children as human shields to try and force Democrats to vote with them for a short-term bill to avoid a shutdown of the federal government. It would be the first such shutdown in U.S. history while the House, Senate and White House are all controlled by the same party.

Sick of this sort of BS? If so, you can theoretically do something about it this year at the ballot box. But the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court isn't making it easy. On Thursday, SCOTUS stayed a landmark ruling by a lower federal court panel that had ordered North Carolina to immediately redraw the state's U.S. House district maps, since the Republican majority legislature admitted that they, unconstitutionally, drew them to ensure a Republican advantage. Though it's largely a 50/50 state, NC Republicans hold 10 seats in the U.S. House to the Democrats' 3.

That's just one of the ways that Republicans hope to keep cheating voters this year in order to hang on to power as the mid-terms approach. Another way was through Trump's discredited and now disbanded "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity", run by the GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach. He had hoped to use the Commission to make it harder (for certain people) to vote, but he faced yet another embarrassment in court this week. When Kobach's Commission was originally shut down a week or two ago, there was a cry from voting rights advocates for a national committee to study and call out the real scourge of American democracy: voter suppression.

That call may have been answered this week with the formation of the non-partisan National Commission for Voter Justice, co-chaired by my guest today, BARBARA ARNWINE, former longtime Executive Director of the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and now President and Founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition. Arnwine explains the new Commission's mission, responds to the "wicked" SCOTUS ruling on NC maps and other recent voting rights issues, and details many of the threats to democracy that must be overcome in 2018, more than sixty years after, as she and John Nichols note at The Nation this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his landmark "Give Us the Ballot" address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1957.

"We gotta remember, we are looking at the Roberts Court. This is a man who made his life ambition the evisceration and the weakening of the Voting Rights Act. In fact, if he had had his way, there wouldn't be a Voting Rights Act, as he wrote many, many years ago," Arnwine says in response to the SCOTUS stay on the NC redistricting ruling and a similar one in Texas. "They are fine with these kinds of schemes --- gerrymandering and other devices and tactics that deny people the right to vote --- because they believe in their hearts that the result is fair, it's a result that they want, and it's a result that puts people into power that they favor. And that's wrong."

"We believe that democracy should be for every single voter. That's why we created the National Commission for Voter Justice, because every voter should have the right to be able to vote and to have their vote counted," the animated Arnwine explains. "Democracy should always be about a competition of ideas, a competition of the best candidates, and then the people make their choices. Politicians should never pick who their constituents are. The constituents should pick the politicians. We are in a reverse democracy right now."

It has, sadly, been that way for a while. I recalled today, while prepping for the show, that Arnwine and I were on a National Public Radio show back in 2008, facing off against the notorious GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Hans von Spakovsky, who, I suspect, was very used to getting away with his lies before that show. I also recall Arnwine's testimony to the Baker/Carter Commission on Voting Rights which was a panel created by Republican Party vote suppressors in 2005 to push for Photo ID voting restrictions. In comparison to the Trump/Kobach Commission, however, that panel was blue ribbon! The fight for democracy is never ending, it seems.

"Democracy is never permanent. It requires vigilance. It requires engagement. It requires organizations to monitor, to advocate for it," Arnwine tells me. "But it shouldn't be as bad as it is in the United States. That's the problem. The problem is that even with the fact that you've got to constantly seek it, it shouldn't be this bad. We should not have millions upon millions of voters finding themselves blocked from the polling booth. We shouldn't have three-hour lines. We shouldn't have machinery that everybody knows is worthless."

"But that's why the National Commission for Voter Justice is going to be coming to every area where we can," she says. "We're going to have over 20 hearings around the country, so that we can hear directly from voters what they are encountering, what their experiences are and, more importantly, what some of the solutions are, helping people to advocate for those changes."

Don't miss the full conversation today! It should get you pretty fired up for 2018, if you need any help.

And, finally, speaking of what Republicans are willing to do to get and hang on to power, a disturbing comparison of the dates set for U.S. House Special Elections to fill the seats of two different Congress members who both resigned during the same week last year (there will be a special election to fill the GOP seat in May, but the Dem seat will remain vacant until November), and the four --- count 'em, four --- convicted Republican criminals who have declared their intention to run for seats in the U.S. House and Senate in 2018...

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

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Guest: Emily Atkin of New Republic...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2017 6:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's a grim day in the U.S.A. And while that's been happening quite a bit lately, today seems particularly dark. [Audio link to show follows below.]

As the GOP's devastating tax cuts increases for millions of low- and middle-income Americans and seniors move forward in the U.S. Senate, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, tweeted out three different anti-Muslim propaganda videos initially posted by a member of a far-right extremist nationalist party in the UK called Britain First. The disturbing postings by the President of what are being described as "ISIS snuff films", drew worldwide statements of condemnation from conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May and many other members of Parliament, as well as Muslim and Jewish groups in the US, academics and more. But, at least one person, in addition to Britain First, thanked Trump for the postings: David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the KKK. We discuss this rather embarrassing and dispiriting moment in American history.

Then, we take a much-needed shower before heading to Charleston, West Virginia, where the (now, ironically named) Environmental Protection Agency is holding its one and only hearing on EPA Chief Scott Pruitt's plan to kill Obama's Clean Power Plan, a landmark measure meant to curb dangerous greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Environment reporter EMILY ATKIN of New Republic joins us from WV, after spending the past two days at the forum which she describes as a "tragedy" and a "farce", featuring testimony from coal barons like Robert Murray, CEO of the nation's largest private coal company --- who brought his employees in full mining regalia, hard hats and all, to the hearing room --- as well as from environmentalists who were allowed to testify, but were largely relegated to separate rooms entirely.

Atkin discusses what the hearings suggest about the current EPA, which is now doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry itself, as well as how industry leaders and Republican officials admit that coal has a bleak future --- thanks to cleaner, cheaper natural gas and renewable energy --- even while lying about it to those directly suffering in Coal Country, like miners and their families.

The miners, she tells me, "completely buy into" the industry's "War on Coal" propaganda. "And that was what I think is the tragedy of the whole thing. They accept that there has been decline in the industry. The miners that I spoke to --- and just the average coal supporting people in West Virginia that I spoke to --- completely attribute it to Obama-era regulations, and completely believe what they're being told by coal executives and Republican politicians, that once [the Clean Power Plan] is gone, everything's going to be okay. And their industry is going to thrive again in the way that it used to. ... It's the hypocrisy of these executives and these politicians who go in front of the miners and tell them everything's going to be okay when, in other settings, they well admit that the decline of coal is happening no matter what."

Atkin describes her brief conversation at the hearing with Murray, and how his own employees there contradicted one of his claims. And she explains how, though Pruitt chose to hold the forum in Charleston in order "to hear from those most impacted" by the Clean Power Plan, there are many others, in non-coal states, that are "equally affected", including those "communities that surround emitting coal plants [and] communities that surround coal ash pits that hold coal's toxic waste that can seep into groundwater and into water systems."

"The fence-line communities that live near producing plants, which often are disproportionately low-income and minority communities, those aren't based in West Virginia. And I would argue that they are just as impacted by the Clean Power Plan as a coal miner. And yet, the EPA doesn't have any scheduled public hearings in any of those areas."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report, with some of the most encouraging news of the day, before a bit of breaking news out of the U.N. on Trump's continuing threats of war against North Korea...

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

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GUEST: West Virginia radio host and anti-coal activist Bob Kincaid
PLUS: Former WI State Senate GOPer says party was 'giddy' about Photo ID suppression...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2016 6:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a former Wisconsin State Senate official says GOP Photo ID voter suppression led him to leave the party; And Don Blankenship, West Virginia's "Dark Lord of Coal Country" is sentenced to just one year in prison for acts leading to the deaths of 29 miners. [Audio link for complete show follows below.]

First up today, Todd Allbaugh, a former Chief of Staff in the WI State Senate says he left the Republican Party when, during a closed-door caucus meeting to discuss the state's Photo ID voting restriction law in 2011, GOP lawmakers were "giddy" about the prospect of using the law to disenfranchise Democratic voters in the Badger State.

Then, WV's own Bob Kincaid, Head-On Radio Network host, co-founder of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Campaign and President of Coal River Mountain Watch, joins us to discuss Blankenship's federal sentencing yesterday for his part in conspiring to violate mine safety regulations leading to the tragic 2010 Upper Big Branch (UBB) coal mine explosion.

Kincaid details the once-powerful coal baron's rise to power, why the former CEO of Massey Energy got off so lightly in both federal and state court, why coal remains king among both Democrats and Republicans in WV, and how Obama's mythical "War on Coal" shows no signs of ending deadly coal mining and toxic mountaintop removal in the state.

On the emotional reaction by families of UBB victims following Wednesday's sentencing (see this from a miner, Tommy Davis, who lost his brother, son and nephew in the disaster), Kincaid describes it as "heartbreaking" and yet "another chapter in the 125-plus-year-long exploitation and devastation of the people of this state and this region" which has resulted in coal industry-caused deaths numbering "in the tens of thousands".

Despite the disaster that has devastated the community, he warns "of course, it's going to happen again, because Don Blankenship was not the only coal boss who hates safety regulations. Remember, here in West Virginia, and generally in the Republican Party, those are not 'safety regulations' that Don Blankenship conspired to evade. Those were 'job-killing regulations'."

"In 2014," Kincaid notes, even after the horrific UBB disaster, WV voters "ran --- they did not walk --- they ran to the polls to elect a slate of Republicans on the principle that the Republicans said they were going to make the coal come back." He goes on to explain how "Appalachia has lost 500 mountains" through the toxic practice of Mountain Top Removal mining (allowing coal companies to get more coal with many fewer miners) and how the Obama Administration has done nothing to stop it during his nearly 8 years in office.

"The idea that there's a 'War on Coal' is just a sad, cynical, and tragic little joke --- perpetrated on people who, I guess, like their confirmation bias," he tells me. Near the end of the enlightening and colorful conversation (in which he also offers his unvarnished opinions on the plans for Coal Country from Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders), as I beg for evidence of a hopeful sign, somehow, somewhere out of Coal Country, Kincaid offers: "You know what's hopeful? The fact that the people who do understand the reality of it aren't backing down. We're not going away. We're not going to quit. We're not going to quit living in the land of reality while other people live in a fantasy world. We're going to keep making the noise. We just need more people making noise with us."

Please listen to the complete, very lively interview in the show linked below!

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/7/2016 11:47am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Coal boss convicted in deaths of 29 miners is sentenced to just 1 year in prison; Sec. of State John Kerry tells private sector to pick up the pace on clean energy; Saudi Arabia planning ahead for world without oil; BP's $20b Gulf oil spill settlement now tax-deductible; PLUS: Dam good news for salmon and people on the Klamath River in Oregon... 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): Wind and Solar Are Crushing Fossil Fuels; Frack Wastewater May Be Messing With Hormones; Oklahoma Governor Declares State of Emergency Over Wildfires; Soil Could Be The Key To Fighting Climate Change; Banned Chemical From Hospital IVs Linked To Attention Deficit Disorder; PFOA Testing Expanded To Include 11 More Vermont Sites; Almost Half Of Natural World Heritage Sites Are Threatened By Industry; Smithsonian Gives Nod to More 'Dark Money' Funding for Willie Soon... PLUS:Big Seed: How Industry Turned From Small-Town Firms To Global Giants... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Special Coverage: 2015 GNR Year in Review
By Desi Doyen on 12/29/2015 12:08pm PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 'Green News Report' Special Coverage 2015 Year In Review: Before 2015 and its landmark events slip into the history books, a quick review of just some of the most important environment and energy stories from a watershed year for the planet... And all in just six minutes!...In today's year-ending Green News Report!

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

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Year of Clout: 10 Stories of Indigenous Environmental Influence in 2015; Greener choice, bar soap or body wash?; Storms snarl travel, threaten rare Winter tornadoes in U.S.; Nuke plant contractors faked 10 years of inspection records; Obama signs microbead pollution ban; Superbug bacteria resistant to all antibiotics found in UK... PLUS: Shale Oil running out of survival tricks as OPEC ramps up pressure ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




GUEST: Radio Sputnik's Dimitri Boschmann from Paris climate talks...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2015 5:51pm PT  

Catching up with quite a bit today on The BradCast --- or, at least, trying to!

First up, the "Dark Lord of Coal" Don Blankenship is found guilty of just one misdemeanor count related to the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia, where 29 mine workers were killed. At the same time, the last of the BP executives who might have spent time in jail for the 2010 Gulf Oil disaster, where 11 workers were killed, gets off without jail time.

Next, facts, fall out and several open questions following Wednesday's mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA, where 14 were killed and another 21 injured. "Thoughts and prayers" still seem to be failing to solve the epidemic gun violence problem in the U.S., no matter how much the terrorist-supporting NRA's bought and paid for GOP stooges continue to avoid taking any real action.

Then, Dmitri Boschmann, Chief Editor for Radio Sputnik in France, joins us from on the ground in Paris to discuss the U.N. climate talks there (COP21), the security surrounding the largest gathering of world leaders in history, President Vladimir Putin's surprisingly strong warning about global warming (Boschmann calls it "quite a surprise" and "also quite symbolic"), as well as his perspective on both the French and Russian governments interests in a global climate treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with an American perspective on the same conference in our latest Green News Report on the progress and the undermining of progress that awaits a world hoping to avoid climate disaster...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/5/2015 3:10pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Gag order lifted in criminal trial of Massey Energy coal boss Don Blankenship; Sea levels rose 5 inches in 2 years in the Northeast; Oil drillers illegally dumping toxic wastewater in California; Air pollution standards cut rates of childhood asthma in half; PLUS: Republicans fail to override Obama's Keystone XL veto, but vow to try again...and again...and again... 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): Your shower wastes water. Here's what you can do about it; Anti-pollution documentary taking China by storm; NYC could see 6 feet of sea level rise; Revealed: secret plan to confuse public on climate change launched in 1998; Canada pushing First Nations to give up land rights; Christie's office pushed sweetheart pollution deal for Exxon; McDonald's to limit antibiotics in chicken... PLUS: K-cup founder regrets the 'environmental scourge' he invented... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Media outlets successful in lifting order issued in trial against former Massey Energy CEO following nation's worst mine disaster in 40 years...
By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2015 10:23am PT  

A federal appeals court has lifted the gag order that had been imposed by a lower court in the criminal trial of West Virginia coal baron Don Blankenship.

The appellate court's unsigned order [PDF] on Thursday was issued in response to a suit filed by a number of media outlets, including AP, the Wall Street Journal and the Charleston Gazette, challenging the gag order by U.S. District Court Judge Irene C. Berger. That order, issued last November, had also sealed all documents in the indictment of the former Massey Energy CEO, who faces four criminal counts related to the massive April 2010 explosion at the company's Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine in West Virginia, resulting in the deaths of 29 miners.

Finding that the U.S. District Court had been "sincere and forthright" in its "proactive effort to ensure to the maximum extent possible that Blankenship’s right to a fair trial before an impartial jury will be protected", the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nonetheless determined that "The public enjoys a qualified right of access to criminal trials"...

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




Former Massey Energy CEO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Director could get 31 years for 2010's deadly West Virginia mine disaster...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/19/2014 6:05am PT  

On Friday, one day after the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a 43-page, four-count Criminal Indictment [PDF] against infamous, long-time West Virginia coal boss Donald L. Blankenship, U.S. District Court Judge Irene C. Berger issued a gag order in the case in an effort to secure a federal jury in West Virginia that could "be fair and impartial and whose verdict [will be] based only upon evidence presented during trial."

That will be no easy feat.

Blankenship, whom Rolling Stone described in 2010 as "the Dark Lord of Coal Country," is the former CEO and Chairman of the Board of Massey Energy Co. An extraordinarily rapacious capitalist, Blankenship is credited with transforming coal into an "aggressive, partisan industry" where the goal was to extract coal "as fast and as cheap as possible."

Blankenship is a principle force behind the environmentally destructive "mountaintop removal" --- a practice that "has destroyed 2,000 miles of streams and damaged more than a million acres of forest," according to Jeff Goodell at Rolling Stone. Under Blankenship's leadership, the magazine reports, Massey also "injected toxic coal slurry," a biproduct of washing coal before its used for burning, "near underground aquifers" resulting in contamination of drinking water. (Where, elsewhere in the U.S., heart disease is the top killer, in Appalachia cancer is the number one cause of death.)

Last week's federal indictment, however, relates to "the Dark Lord's" role in the massive April 5, 2010 explosion at the Massey-owned Upper Big Branch mine ("UBB") that resulted in the deaths of 29 Massey employees. It was the nation's worst mine disaster in the past 40 years.

The indictment alleges that "Blankenship...conspired to commit and cause routine violations of mandatory federal mine safety standards," including "ventilation" regulations designed to prevent explosions, in order to maximize profits; that he "conspired to defraud the United States by impeding the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration ("MSHA") in carrying out its duties at UBB," and that Blankenship made "materially false statements...to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission" essentially to protect the value of Massey stock.

If convicted, Blankenship could wind up serving 31 years in federal prison. If convicted. Therein lies the rub....

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




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