On today's BradCast, hate is on the rise in the U.S., for some reason; More reminders of impossible e-voting results in advance of SC and NV; And, we mark two important anniversaries. [Audio link for the program follows below.]
First up, on this day in 1988, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was sworn in after the Republican nominee was unanimously approved by a Democratic-majority U.S. Senate...during an Election Year, and with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor calls on Republicans to "get on with it".
Then, another reminder --- before this weekend's Democratic Nevada Caucuses and 100% unverifiable Republican South Carolina Primary --- of electronic election results that remain impossible to explain, including the conservative Texas Supreme Court Justice who reportedly received ZERO votes in one county back in 2006, after winning that same county by huge margins in both 2002 and 2004. (See our 2006 coverage of Steve Smith's eventually aborted election challenge back here. And see how this group of Bernie Sanders supporters is hoping to help oversee the results by filming the caucuses in Nevada.) Oh, and there was also that time in 2000 when Al Gore was credited with receiving NEGATIVE 16,022 votes on a paper ballot optical-scan system in Volusia County, FL.
Next up, we are joined by Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to discuss the disturbing rise in domestic hate groups in the U.S., after several years of decline. We talk about both the numbers and reasons --- and what Donald Trump and the Internet have to do with it all --- from Potok's new report on "The Year in Hate and Extremism".
It's a fascinating discussion in which Potok explains how the SPLC defines "hate groups" --- including rightwing extremists as well as black separatists --- which saw an overall 14% spike in their 2015 numbers. Also on the rise were so-called "Patriot" movement groups, though they are not (necessarily) included among the "haters".
"Probably the unique thing that happened in the last year," Potok tells me, "was the just astounding extent to which people like Donald Trump were willing to directly inject really Rightwing extremist poison into the political mainstream. Some of the things Trump has said, we really haven't seen the likes of in many, many decades."
Potok notes that with the GOP frontrunner's outrageous claims about immigrants and Muslims, similar rhetoric from extremist groups now "seems more normal to people. They don't seem quite as far out. After all, if Donald Trump thinks Muslims shouldn't be allowed in this country, what's wrong with joining a group that says Muslims are involved in a conspiracy to destroy the rest of us?"
We also discuss the difference in media coverage and political rhetoric concerning Islamic terrorism versus Rightwing domestic terrorism in the U.S., as well as how the Black Lives Matter movement and legalization of same-sex marriage over the past year has seemingly terrified many on the Right who feel that "their white privilege is being taken away from them...stok[ing] rage on the part of whites who feel that this is somehow part of their birthright."
Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our 7th Anniversary Green News Report (our 690th GNR episode!) with both disturbing and encouraging news for the planet. And, if you can help us to continue connecting the climate change dots for yet another seven years, like almost nobody else in the media, we'd greatly appreciate it! Please consider making a DONATION RIGHT HERE and it'll be an even happier anniversary, indeed!...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)