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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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
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On today's BradCast, our lead story almost certainly would have been the historic acceptance speech of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination, but for the landmark ruling out today from a federal appeals court in North Carolina. [Audio link to show is below.]
As reported in more detail at The BRAD BLOG earlier today, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down North Carolina's massive voting restriction law --- the nation's worst since the Jim Crow era --- finding that it was enacted by state Republicans with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision." We cover the court's landmark ruling --- which has far-reaching consequences beyond North Carolina and beyond the 2016 election --- at the top of today's show. As I explain, according to legal experts, it seems almost certain now that today's ruling, following on similarly encouraging blows to GOP Photo ID restrictions in federal courts in both Texas and Wisconsin just last week, will succeed in permanently striking down NC's purposefully disenfranchising poling place Photo ID restriction, reduction to the early voting period, removal of same-day registration, and other disingenuous and unnecessary restrictions on the franchise.
In short, while there are still a very few narrow corridors for appeal or delay for the vote suppressors here, as explained on the show, this is a long coming and very good day for voting rights in America!
Then, we move on to Clinton's historic nomination as the first female nominee to be put forward by one of the two major American political parties. For perspective on that, both historical and political, we are joined once again by Salon's very wise Heather Digby Parton. She and our own Desi Doyen share the personal meaning of Clinton's nomination and acceptance speech and, yes, even the historical significance of Clinton's white pant suit. (Yes, there apparently is one!)
We also go on to discuss how and if the speech --- and the entire week in Philadelphia, for that matter --- met the DNC's goal for reaching out to the bulk of progressive Sanders supporters as well as disaffected Republicans. Parton seems bullish on both matters, and suggests that Clinton's speech, embracing "the most progressive Democratic platform in history" (as hashed out recently by both Clinton and Sanders proponents), represents a potential realignment for American politics.
"By embracing the platform in the way that she did," Parton argues, "having put the Democratic Party at the center of American politics, she has now said, 'That's the center. That progressive platform is where the center of America is. Going forward, that's the mainstream philosophy of America.' It could end up being important because this election may just finish off a realignment that's been in the making for a long time."
Please listen to the show for much more on all of that, as well as our conversation on where the Presidential race and both major political parties are heading from here...with just 100 days left until the 2016 election...on today's exciting thrill ride otherwise known as The BradCast!...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down all of the very worst provisions of North Carolina's voter suppression law, which we originally described, after it was enacted in 2013, as "the nation most restrictive voter suppression law" and "the worst since the Jim Crow era". Others have described it as "the mother of all voter suppression laws."
In its 83-pages of decisions [PDF], the three-judge panel on the 4th Circuit finds that North Carolina acted with a racially discriminatory intent when enacting the law which included Photo ID voting restrictions, the reduction of early voting days, cancellation of the state's successful same-day registration option, the counting of provisional ballots cast out-of-precinct, and pre-registration of young voters who would be 18 years old by Election Day.
Those provisions, the 4th Circuit holds, "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision."
This is a huge and long-fought victory for voting rights, and it comes on the heels of similar wins within the past week as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the state of Texas' similarly draconian Photo ID restriction had a racially discriminatory effect, and as a federal court in Wisconsin ordered that state to allow voting provisions for those who do not own the few, narrow types of Photo ID now required to vote at the polling place under the new voting restriction adopted there.
All three laws --- in NC, TX, WI --- were enacted by Republican legislatures and put in place after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the federal Voting Rights Act in 2013...
On today's BradCast [audio link posted below], our coverage of the Democratic National Convention continues; a fascinating conversation with a longtime Sanders supporter who explains his gut-wrenching decision to vote for Clinton this November; and pundits on the Right continue to melt down as the two major party conventions illustrate stark differences in world views between Democrats and Republicans.
First up, Donald Trump does not want you to watch the proceedings in Philadelphia, as he told supporters in a fund raising email today. Wednesday night's blockbuster DNC speeches from President Obama and Vice President Biden to the one from Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine to a particularly stinging Trump critique from self-made billionaire and former Republican-turned-Independent NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, make the case for why Trump would be delighted if you didn't notice what was going on in Philly.
But it's not all unity and flowers at the DNC, as some Sanders supporters and anti-war advocates continue to protest, and as polls between Clinton and Trump remain very tight for now.
Then, we're joined by Black Lives Matter advocate and fierce Bernie Sanders supporter Shaun King --- former Daily Kos blogger turned NY Daily News journalist --- to discuss his column this week describing the difficult choice he's made to support Bernie Sanders by supporting Hillary Clinton.
He explains, in detail, that while he's "disgusted that the Democratic establishment clearly did everything in its power to make sure Bernie didn't win," he has determined that Trump represents a "dangerous threat" to the nation that must be stopped with "a necessary vote" for Clinton this fall.
"Donald Trump has out-maneuvered and out-thought seventeen other candidates in the Republican primaries, and I think he's doing it now in this presidential race," King warns. "I think it's going to be a dog-fight to the very end. There's a distinct likelihood he could win. And anybody who says otherwise doesn't really have their finger on what people are thinking right now."
I think it's important that you, particularly Sanders supporters, listen to the conversation, hear out the reasons for his decision --- which he has clearly struggled with --- and then decide for yourself what to make of it. So, I don't want to quote too much from our conversation today. I will note, however, that he tells me: "I trust Bernie as a person and as a politician. He's maybe the only politician I would say that about. I felt like if he could swallow not only a sense of pride but compromise on some of the things that matter most to him --- be it disagreements he's had with the Clinton campaign --- then if he could do that then I could do it."
I also get King's thoughts on why he has long supported (and still supports) Sanders; on the belief of Bernie partisans that the primary was "stolen" by fraud; about the option for voting "third party"; on the idea that only after a Trump win, as some suggest, will the Democratic Party finally learn its lesson; and why it is that some folks at his former journalistic home Daily Kos (one of the places where The BradCast is posted every day) seem to absolutely freak out whenever I report on polling that suggests Clinton may have a difficult time defeating Trump. (Or, frankly, when I report on anything that they perceive as being critical, somehow, of the Democratic nominee. That, even as Sanders supporters elsewhere have been accusing me for months of being a "HillBot". Sigh. As much as I love democracy, sometimes I really hate elections.)
Finally, Bill O'Reilly seems to be melting down, again, as he plays the victim card on behalf of himself and Fox 'News', again, following his recent comments about slavery. All of that and more on today's show...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
On today's BradCast [audio link posted below], the historic nomination of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States on Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, as Dems continue to seek unity in a still-fractured party, Republican nominee Donald Trump calls for Russia to hack and publicly release emails from Clinton's time as Sec. of State, and the latest data-based prediction from FiveThirtyEight.com finds Trump with a 55% likelihood of winning the Presidency, compared to Clinton's 45%, if the election were held today.
With all of that history and madness in mind, we turn to calls from listeners on all of the above. Many (though not all) say they still refuse to vote Clinton, despite Bernie Sanders' plea for them to do so. Others argue why Clinton (and even Trump) should be elected. Our friend and historian Jon Wiener, of The Nation and Pacifica Radio's KPFK also calls in to (somewhat) refute FiveThirtyEight's prediction, and I do my best to challenge everyone to support their positions.
Suffice to say, it was a very lively caller segment today.
We then finish up with Desi Doyen and the Green News Report's wrap up of last week's Republican convention in Cleveland (including a fact-check on Trump's promise to burn much more coal), and new data on more record heat across the globe...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
Not to give away the ending, but by the close of today's BradCast, Hillary Clinton became the Democrats' nominee for President of the United States.
Before we got there, however, we were joined from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia by longtime progressive journalist and author John Nichols of The Nation and Madison, Wisconsin's Capital Times to discuss yesterday's early tumult with the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and what we should expect from her interim replacement Donna Brazile between now and Election Day.
The bulk of our conversation, however, centers on how some of the most die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters and convention delegates are feeling today, what it may take for Clinton to win their votes between now and November, and where Sanders' progressive movement may go thereafter. "Bottom line is," he cautions, "it's not what you hear at the convention, necessarily. It's about what comes after."
On an optimistic note, Nichols describes how he has been seeing many progressive Sanders supporters step up to run for office in recent days "all over this country. You won't know all their names, and neither will I, because a lot of them will be running for Drainage Commissioner. But that's how the Christian Coalition got its power, because they figured out there was a Religious Right way to be a Drainage Commissioner. And I can tell you something: there is absolutely a democratic socialist way to be a Drainage Commissioner."
As to the likelihood of a Trump Presidency, Nichols is very concerned. "He's talking to people who have had the hell beaten out of them by globalization, de-industrialization, automation. So it is not shocking at all that there are people feeling so pressured that they might consider an option that, by any reasonable measure, seems madness. We must accept that. The reality of politics. If we don't, we end up with a surprise like Reagan in '80. We tell ourselves something couldn't happen, and then it goes and happens."
But does the Democratic Party understand that? And is Nichols' own home state of Wisconsin really in play this year, as Republicans seem to suggest every year? His answers to all of those questions and many others on today's BradCast!
Also on today's program: Extended excerpts from the moving and inspiring Day 1 speeches of Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders and others, and a brilliant new way that one group concerned about climate change is hoping to entice new young voters to register...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: At the RNC in Cleveland, Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump (and his Veep nominee Mike Pence) promise to roll back environmental standards and bring back dirty coal; PLUS: U.S. walloped by deadly heat wave, as June 2016 breaks yet another new temperature record... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Link Between Armed Conflict And Climate Change Just Got A Bit Stronger; EPA Clears Path To Regulate Carbon Emissions From U.S. Aircraft; Obama Admin. Announces $4.5 Billion In DOE Loan Guarantees For EV Charging; Donald Trump Loses His War Against a Scottish Wind Farm; Out-of-control wildfire grows to more than 33,000 acres in Santa Clarita Valley; New Zealand Announces Plan to Wipe Out Invasive Predators; Tesla Wants To Help You Become Your Own Solar Utility. And Sell Lots Of Self-Driving Cars... PLUS: Vancouver plans to go 100% renewable. I asked the city's manager about the challenges it faces... and much, MUCH more! ...
On today's BradCast, a very rocky start for Democrats in Philadelphia and bad news for Fox 'News' may be good news for the country. [Link to complete audio of show posted below.]
Before our coverage of today's remarkable news from the Democratic National Convention, some late (and overlooked) news on the mass shootings in Munich last week and in Fort Meyers, Florida on Sunday night. Also, record deadly heat continues to grip both the U.S. and the world, and new polling shows Donald Trump now taking a lead both nationally and in key battleground states after receiving a 'bump' from last week's GOP convention in Cleveland.
Then, with Dems gathering for their own convention in Philly this week, things were off to a very bumpy start on Day 1. The release of hacked emails written by DNC insiders (in which The BradCast makes a very brief cameo) have led to Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), a long time Hillary Clinton supporter, finally stepping down from her role as DNC Chair before the gathering was even gaveled to order. That followed booing for the controversial party chief by protesters at a breakfast meeting of the Florida delegation, as well as similar jeers for California Democrats and even for Bernie Sanders himself after an appearance asking his supporters to defeat Trump and elect Clinton.
Then, we're joined by Eric Boehlert of Media Matters on what history may well regard as the biggest news of the past chaotic week: the firing of Fox 'News' mastermind Roger Ailes on the heels of sexual harassment allegations, now said to be supported by some twenty-five other staffers in the company's internal investigation.
"I can't even calculate how much more powerful Roger Ailes is to the Republican Party than Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is to the Democratic Party," Boehlert notes early in our conversation, before we discuss what finally took down Ailes, what more is still to come, what happens next for the Rightwing propaganda outlet, and whether or not Fox' remarkable effect on the national electorate for the past twenty years can continue in Ailes' absence.
"That Islamophobia, that race-baiting, that ugly hate rhetoric, 'Democrats are traitors' --- that all came from Roger Ailes. That came from the top," Boehlert explains. "Certainly under Obama, you could make the argument [Ailes] was running the Republican Party. He was picking the candidates. He was picking the talking points. Fox News created the 'Tea Party' with non-stop coverage back in 2009."
"The Beltway press, for twenty years for the most part, has treated Roger Ailes as this brilliant genius," he tells me. "Never a hint that any of this was going on. The press has treated Ailes with kid gloves, considering the damage he's done to politics. ... I think people try to put Fox and the right-wing media into this box, 'Well, it doesn't affect me, it doesn't affect our politics, those people are crazy'. It permeates everything, and the Trump campaign is the best example of that. People are crying: 'Where did he come from?! Oh my gosh, how is this happening to America?!' It's been broadcast for twenty years."
Finally, just in case you hadn't heard, in what would normally be today's lead story, if these were normal times, Clinton has chosen Sen. Tim Kaine, a moderate and well-liked Democrat from Virginia, as her Vice Presidential running mate. Yes, all of that and much more on today's BradCast...
Salon's Heather Digby Parton --- who was with us on Day 1 of Trump's candidacy last year, when we largely predicted what has now happened (while most everyone else saw it as a joke) --- joins us to try and make sense of where things are now for the nation, for the nominee and for the future of the Republican Party's 'conservative movement', which she sees in its final death throes.
"This has been a sick and unhealthy party for a very long time," Parton (better known as just "Digby" of the Hullabaloo Blog ) tells me. "It finally succumbed to the illness. And the reason is not not because of bad leadership or they had terrible choices for President. It's really their ideology that they adopted --- starting back with Goldwater, reaching its zenith with Reagan --- [on which] this conservative movement was built. They called it 'the 3-legged stool'. There was social conservatism/family values, small government/free markets, and a strong national defense. All three of those collapsed within the last 15 years. They failed in spectacular fashion."
As I argue in turn today, as we dissect Trump's fear-mongering speech, his movement, the media coverage and everything else from the week in Cleveland, I am not quite as confident about the collapse of the Republican Party, whose imminent death, to paraphrase Twain, may still be greatly exaggerated. That, particularly given the continuing disservice to the electorate and the nation performed by our dreadful "both sides do it" corporate media, which, after decades, are still misleading and misinforming the country about the candidates, the parties, the facts and the dysfunctional state of American politics.
"The Republican Party isn't dead," she counters. "There will always be opposition. But the form that we're familiar with isn't operative any longer. I don't think it's ideological anymore at all. What's left is Trumpism. That's nationalism, xenophobia, nativism, and authoritarianism."
Okay. But mightn't that be enough to win another Presidential election given a dynamic, if sociopathic, TV-friendly GOP candidate, a not-terribly popular Democratic candidate, a misinformed electorate, and a divided nation? All of those questions asked, answered and debated on today's BradCast, including some listener e-mail and a few other odds, ends and thoughts on what Digby describes as this past week's "dystopian hellscape convention"...
On today's BradCast: Once again, as we go to air today, breaking news, this time concerning Fox "News", where its founder, CEO and evil rightwing propaganda mastermind Roger Ailes is officially pushed out after 20 years, on the heels of sexual harassment allegations from at least two Fox stars, and as many as 20 women over all. [Audio link to full show posted below.]
Then, as the GOP continues to step on itself all week during its national nominating convention in Cleveland, second place 2016 GOP Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is booed off stage, during his primetime speaking slot, for failing to endorse Donald Trump. As it turns out, the Trump camp knew that Cruz wouldn't endorse days ago, but gave him the high-profile time slot at the convention anyway. All of which served to obscure the official acceptance speech of Vice Presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana. Idiocy or genius?
We discuss all of that and much more related on today's show with longtime Republican consultant and 2012 GOP Presidential candidate (the first openly gay one from either major party) Fred Karger, who tells me from Cleveland that he was one of the folks on the floor booing last night --- though not necessarily for the same reason as others. "Any chance I get to boo Ted Cruz, I will do it," he explains.
Karger, who says he's attending his 11th RNC, after having served as a senior campaign adviser to Presidents Ford and Reagan, discusses his broken party and what he believes broke it. He tells me he won't be supporting Trump this year --- (tune in to find out who he will support) --- but warns of the likelihood of a "Trump victory."
"He's a master promoter and look what he's done in 13 months," he says. "He's not only the nominee, but he's taken over the Republican Party. And he's neck-and-neck with Hillary." Yup. And, as Karger notes, the Republican delegates in Cleveland have actually warmed up to Trump over the past several days, despite the apparent chaos to those of us non-wingnuts watching from afar.
Finally, if you're not concerned enough yet, the Republican nominee has not only sown chaos at his own convention but, now, also amongst U.S. allies around the world, with remarkably cavalier comments to the New York Times about the future of NATO and other foreign policy issues under a Trump Presidency.
All of that and more (including more breaking news mid-show, as the NBA exercises it's free market rights to pull their 2017 all-star game from Charlotte, NC, in response to that state GOP's anti-LGBT law) on today's BradCast...
BIG BREAKING NEWS just before going to air for today's BradCast! [Link to complete audio below.] The full, very conservative U.S. 5th Circuit Court of appeals has just issued a very surprising and very encouraging ruling finding that the Texas GOP's long-contested Photo ID voting restrictions are, in fact, a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act!
Moreover, a federal court in Wisconsin issues an order allowing those without GOP-approved Photo IDs to be allowed to vote anyway. And, Day 2 of this year's insane Republican National Convention results in the official nomination of Donald J. Trump for President of the United States.
First up, the very encouraging breaking news out of Texas, where the most conservative appellate court in America has just undercut one of the nation's most draconian Republican Photo ID voting restrictions. Conservatives had been hoping --- despite the lack of voter fraud that could possibly even be deterred by the law --- that the full 5th Circuit would overturn the rulings of court after court after court all finding the GOP law has both a racially discriminatory intent and effect. But it looks like it was not to be. The 5h Circuit's 203-page ruling [PDF] today finds the law in violation of the Voting Rights Act and remands the case back down to the lower court (where it had already been found both unconstitutional and in violation of the VRA), in order to find a remedy that may allow for something like an affidavit to be signed by voters who do not have the strict type of ID now required by Republicans to cast a vote at poling places under the controversial law.
Some 600,000 already legally registered Texans had faced potential disenfranchisement during this fall's Presidential election. That is now looking much less likely, even as the remedy still needs to be fashioned and the case could still go to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, even a tie there would revert the case back to today's very positive ruling by the 5th Circuit. In related news, a federal court struck a "critical blow" to the Wisconsin GOP's version of the same law. The court there has ordered that state to implement a program to allow voters without the newly-requisite Photo ID to vote anyway, by signing an affidavit.
A lot of legal votes may have just been saved today in those two states, as well as in others where similar laws are being challenged by voting rights advocates and/or considered for passage by other Republican-controlled legislatures.
Then, it's on to our somewhat-truncated (due to the above) coverage of Day 2 of the RNC in Cleveland, where the GOP officially nominated Trump as their standard bearer on Tuesday. Comedian Jimmy Dore of Pacifica Radio's Jimmy Dore Show and The Young Turks joins us from Cleveland with a report on his bizarre (if not totally surprising) conversations with Republican delegates at the convention. He then goes on to offer his own impassioned case as to why he, a longtime Bernie Sanders supporter, will not support Hillary Clinton this year, and believes that a Trump Presidency would ultimately be no worse, and perhaps even better for the country, than a Clinton Presidency.
Suffice to say, I disagree with my friend Jimmy on a number of points, despite his well-argued case, in our very lively and spirited conversation today. All of that and much much more in another fast-paced edition of The BradCast! Enjoy!
On today's BradCast: Day One of Donald Trump's Republican National Convention in Cleveland was insane. But it was all going well enough until it became apparent late on Monday night that portions of Melania Trump's headliner speech was plagiarized directly from Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic convention speech.
Incredibly, the man who made 'You're fired!' a catch phrase can't seem to muster up the ability to hold anyone in his own campaign accountable for it. As such, the oratorical fraud and, more importantly, how its being handled (and denied) by Team Trump, offers a stark warning to voters as to how a Trump Presidency might handle the actual serious issues and difficult decisions that need to be made.
Or, at least, it should.
Speaking of warnings, new national polling remains tight between Trump and Hillary Clinton, who continues losing ground in several of them. That, as several new cases and disturbing allegations of voter registration fraud by Republican election insiders in a number of states, along with some very troubling news from the U.S. Dept. of Justice concerning their plans to no longer send observers to polling places in certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination, should serve as yet another stark warning for American voters...
But will it?
All of that and Desi Doyen with today's Green News Report on the latest BradCast...
Today's my birthday. And a pretty big one at that. But I gotta work today anyway, for some reason.
That said, you guys have traditionally been pretty generous on my birthdays over the years. And, as I haven't been able to do much, if any, fund raising over the past year or so since producing a daily radio show each day (we didn't even get to celebrate BRAD BLOG's 12th Anniversary this year, given the ridiculousness of the breaking news cycle and the madness of the primaries!), please forgive me for taking this opportunity to ask you to consider supporting the work that we do here at The BRAD BLOG with a donation. If you're in the mood, that might help to make this birthday (and this year!) slightly more enjoyable than it might otherwise be.
That is all. And thank you in advance, from both Desi and me, for any support/birthday gift you are able and/or inclined to offer. It is, as ever, much needed and greatly appreciated! --- "Old Man" Brad
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Surprise! Donald Trump's running mate is also a climate science denier; UK's new conservative prime minister abolishes climate department on her first day; Heat wave breaks records in Alaska; PLUS: India breaks record for most number of trees planted in a single day (you'll never guess how many!)... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): June marks 14 consecutive months of record heat for the globe; Inside the diabolical Ukrainian hack that put the U.S. grid on high alert; France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels; Canada to Introduce National Carbon Price in 2016; You'll never believe how cheap solar is now; China's $22 billion flood now the 5th costliest non-U.S. disaster in history; Crowd harasses Alaskan mountain goat to death... PLUS: Oil refiners agrees to pay $425 million to settle air pollution violations... and much, MUCH more! ...
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