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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 20, 2018
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: Harvard Law's Michael Klarman; Also: Trump praises GOP Rep's violence against journalist at MT rally, as Khashoggi assassination roils...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2018 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's no longer only political pundits and activists calling for Democrats to pack the U.S. Supreme Court by adding several seats as soon as possible, in the wake of the Republican Party's blatant theft of the high court majority. Esteemed law professors are now joining that call. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a word or two on the President of the United States' appalling celebration of violence against journalists at a political rally in Montana on Thursday night. To the cheers of his supporters, Donald Trump praised the criminal assault on Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs by Republican U.S. House member Greg Gianforte. The attack last year was carried out by Gianforte, and caught on tape, on the eve of his special election to the state's only U.S. House seat.

"Any guy that can do a body slam --- he's my kind of guy," Trump declared to laughter and wild applause from supporters at the campaign rally for Gianforte in Missoula on Thursday, lauding him as "one tough cookie." The Congressman initially lied to police after the assault, claiming that he was attacked by Jacobs. Later, after he won the election, and after a Fox News crew who witnessed the attack detailed what actually happened, Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, apologized to Jacobs and paid a small fine in addition to performing 40 hours of community service and receiving 20 hours of anger management counseling.

Trump's disgusting --- and chilling --- praise for the violent attack against a reporter doing his job, comes amidst Trump's seeming support for Saudi Arabia following their reported assassination and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. Journalists today --- including the Guardian's Editor and the head of the White House Correspondents Association --- are decrying Trump's support for violence against reporters, despite his sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution's First Amendment. We decry it --- and the dark path where it's leading --- on today's show as well.

Next, we're joined by MICHAEL KLARMAN, the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School to discuss his recent essay at the Take Care Blog, detailing "Why Democrats Should Pack the Supreme Court" if they are ever able to regain control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. The public conversation in support of expanding the number of seats on the high court --- which can be done statutorily, without a Constitutional Amendment --- has been intensifying in recent weeks. What had begun as a call from activists to restore a Democratic majority, stolen from them by Republicans in 2016, has quickly spread to academic and legal circles.

Klarman, the author of many books on American law and history and a former clerk to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, argues that, in addition to the GOP's historically unprecedented theft of the high court and his belief that Trump was likely elected only due to unlawful foreign interference, a host of radical actions by Republicans in recent years at both the state and federal level, leaves Democrats with only the choice to respond in kind. If not, he argues, it will be nothing less than "unilateral disarmament" and an act of "political suicide" for the party.

"It's not radical. It's responding to an extraordinary rightward shift in the Republican Party that is tearing apart the rules of democracy," he argues. "The Republicans have already packed the Court," so "unpacking" it, he says, would be warranted.

"There's a kind of sickness that's been spreading in the Republican Party for the last decade or two. It's certainly not true of all Republican voters, many of whom I think would be unaware of these things, and would have a problem with them if they knew about it," he tells me. "But the Democratic Party can't go on playing by the established norms and traditions of democracy when the Republican Party is willing to do anything to win. That's unilateral disarmament. It usually doesn't work out well for the party that disarms. So this is a fairly mild way to fight back."

"My argument is not that Democrats should control the Supreme Court at any cost --- I think that's the Republicans' position, [that] 'we get to control the Supreme Court even if it means stealing an appointment.' My position is their theft has to be offset, and put us back in the position that we ought to have been at if the seat hadn't been stolen."

He leaves the case of whether Dems should run on a promise to expand the Court, or wait until they gain back control before announcing such a plan, to political scientists, but he notes: "We're going to have to think creatively in order to rescue democracy. And that may mean occasionally fighting back in ways that Democrats don't gravitate toward naturally, and that they would prefer not to have to use at all in a normal political environment. But you can't just respond by disarming in the face of this incredible threat that the Republican Party is posing to the basic norms and institutions of democracy."

Finally today, more news on the ongoing allegations of attempted voter suppression, particularly in southern states once covered by the Voting Rights Act until the central part of the Act was gutted by SCOTUS Republicans in 2013. That, on the same day that Trump's former longtime lawyer and business partner Michael Cohen broke his media silence to plead with the American public to vote this November or face "another two or another six years of this craziness." And then we enjoy another musical close to today's show, this time from actress Jenifer Lewis, of ABC's Blackish, who explains, in song, why it's time to "Get your ass out and vote!"...

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

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Also: NC Elections Board found unconstitutional; FL Guv 'bends' election rules; Still more Repub lawmakers endorse Dems for Guv in WI, KS...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2018 6:35pm PT  

It's remarkable how one's thinking about global warming can change when a tree falls into your house, or your house is blown away entirely. Among the stories covered on today's BradCast [audio link to show is posted below]...

  • Some GOPers in North Carolina are rethinking their climate change denial in the wake of Hurricane Florence;
  • Also in NC, a state court panel finds the latest GOP scheme to restructure the state Board of Election to take away power from the Democratic Governor to be unconstitutional, but allows the Board to stay in place until after the midterms, when voters will be voting on a Republican Constitutional amendment to make the otherwise unconstitutional scheme legal. And a Republican county elections board appointee in NC is forced to step down after alleging that Democrats hope to make pedophilia legal;
  • In Florida, where the death toll following last week's Hurricane Michael has climbed to 35, Republican Gov. Rick Scott issued an emergency Executive Order [PDF] to "bend" state election laws to make it easier for voters in a number of storm-ravaged counties to vote in the November 6th midterms. The new rules for eight counties in the Republican-leaning Panhandle offer leeway to county officials to declare new early voting sites, send absentee ballots to addresses other than those on file for voters, allow voters without ID to vote on normal ballots, and allows early voting to continue right up until Election Day in the affected counties. All measures that the Florida Governor and his state Republican Party have charged in the past would result in voter fraud. But, with the termed-out Scott now in his own tight race for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, he doesn't seem quite as concerned about it. (For the record, I'm in favor of these changes for voters, many of whom have had their polling places destroyed, or absentee ballots and IDs blown away in the storm. But it's a shame that Scott has shown much less concern for the voting rights of the rest of the state's more Democratic-leaning voters over the years.);
  • In Wisconsin, a fourth former Gov. Scott Walker administration cabinet secretary comes out against Walker to endorse his Democratic opponent Tony Evers in the state's very close gubernatorial contest;
  • And, in Kansas, a second former Republican Governor has publicly endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly in her race against controversial Republican Sec. of State and GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach. Former KS Gov. Mike Hayden is just the latest in a long list of current and former GOP lawmakers who have endorsed the Democrat over Kobach in a race believed to be tied between the two (though independent Greg Orman's candidacy may very well serve to throw the election to Kobach).

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with updates on Hurricane Michael, the topic of climate change finally being raised by journalists at a Texas debate for the U.S. Senate between Republican climate science denier Ted Cruz and his Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke, and some news about the one thing that could end up changing many minds about the impacts of global warming...

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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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)




Guest: Voting systems expert Dr. David Jefferson on the myth of 'secure' blockchain voting; Also: Suppression continues in GA, ND, elsewhere...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2018 6:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Debunking the myth of "secure" Internet Voting schemes --- even with "blockchain" technology --- as West Virginia allows overseas military voters to use their mobile phones to vote for the first time in a general election. What could possibly go wrong? [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up today, plenty is already going wrong for voters hoping to participate in midterm elections, whether via hand-marked paper ballot or, as in Georgia, where early voting began this week, on 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems at the polling place. We've been closely following voting in the Peach State recently, given the many voter suppression schemes that have come to light in the state this year, such as the recent purging of hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls, the suspensions of more than 50,000 registrations for failing to exactly match names or addresses, down to the letter or punctuation, and an abnormally high rate of rejected absentee mail-in ballots.

Thus, it was disturbing to see a busload of elderly African-Americans from a county-run senior center blocked from voting on Monday (someone didn't like the "Black Voters Matter" bus they were using) in Jefferson County, and three-hour long lines to vote near Atlanta, on just the third official day of advance voting in the state. While some may see the reportedly huge early turnout as good news, there are also reasons to be concerned that state election officials, led by Republican Sec. of State and Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, are under-prepared for what could be enormous turnout on Election Day. Several new lawsuits have now been filed against Kemp charging racially discriminatory election practices, as his race for Governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, an African-American, is believed to be very tight.

Meanwhile, in North Dakota, Native American voting rights advocates say they will be posted outside of polling places with laptop computers in hand, ready to assign official addresses and new Tribal IDs to thousands of Native Americans who will now not otherwise be allowed to vote. The effort is in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week which permitted a last minute change to ID requirements sought by state Republicans hoping to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp this year. Some 5,000 voters who live on tribal reservations using P.O. boxes, rather than street addresses, are now blocked from voting under the new law, enacted in the wake of Heitkamp's 2012 victory by less than 3,000 votes.

But in West Virginia, officials believe they've got a sure-fire way to make sure overseas military voters are able to cast votes this year: Internet Voting via smartphone! The state is the first in the nation to allow such voters to cast a ballot via smartphone --- on a mobile app called Voatz, created by a private Boston-based technology firm --- in a live (and crucial!) general election. But, don't worry! The state and the Voatz company are quick to claim that their scheme is completely secure, since it "employs blockchain technology to ensure that, once submitted, votes are verified and immutably stored on multiple, geographically diverse verifying servers."

Blockchain, in short, is a widely distributed public ledger, or database, that is used to track Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But, as long time voting system expert and Internet Voting critic DR. DAVID JEFFERSON of Livermore National Laboratory and of Verified Voting explains on today's show, the technology solves none of the many problems with using the Internet to cast votes in American elections, as he recently detailed at the non-partisan Verified Voting site.

Jefferson, an internationally recognized expert on voting systems and elections technology, has spent much of the past two decades advising five successive California Secretaries of State on voting technology. He has also been instrumental in helping to block a number of attempted Internet Voting schemes, including one he helped analyze (and stop in its tracks) as devised by the Pentagon during the George W. Bush era.

Today, he explains why use of blockchain technology, which he describes as a "fad", fails to make the Internet any more secure or auditable when it comes to American democratic elections. "All of the most serious threats to Internet voting occur before the ballot even ever gets back to the database or the blockchain," he tells me, detailing how malware on smartphones can change votes, how the authentication of the voter is also endangered by the use of such schemes and how, despite claims to the contrary by advocates of such technologies, the accuracy of results based on votes cast via the Internet can never be audited by the public after an election.

He's hardly the only technologist to decry the scheme. TechCrunch for example, recently called the Voatz app "a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad idea", and Vanity Fair cited experts who describe the plan as a "horrifically bad idea". But, none of that has stopped either WV or Voatz from pressing ahead, even with this year's midterms (and potentially control of the U.S. House and Senate) on the line.

"The blockchain back end of it doesn't do anything more to secure an election than any of the other technologies do," Jefferson argues. "It doesn't even play a role until the very last stage of balloting --- after you've authenticated yourself, after you've made your ballot choices, after you've transmitted them back, only then does the blockchain play any role." And by then, he says, your vote may have been tampered with, and it's unlikely that you or anybody else would ever know.

"What if there is malware on the phone or the computer that the person is voting from? Malware that is exposing the person's vote to some third party, or is modifying the vote, or is just throwing the vote away without telling the voter, making him think he's voted but he hasn't voted. That malware is not affected by, and cannot be detected by, the blockchain or the back end at all."

"That vote may be blocked or thrown away, or otherwise disturbed by a denial of service attack, for example, on the server. A blockchain server is no more invulnerable to a denial of service attack than any other service," he warns, adding "there just isn't any possibility of auditability in any online voting system, and blockchains don't change that fact."

Jefferson's preferred technology for elections: "Hand-marked paper ballots." He details why on today's program, and also notes that newer technologies, such as Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) that require voters to use touchscreen computers to print out their selections on a paper ballot --- which many jurisdictions (including Los Angeles, the largest in the nation) are moving towards --- present similar dangers when it comes to the authentication and public auditability of election results.

"I endorse your idea that if you're going to vote in person at the precinct, the best system is to use is hand-mark a paper ballot," he explains near the end of our conversation, allowing --- as I do --- that some voters may need assistive technology to vote, but that most voters do not. And worse, as we saw today at early voting cites near Atlanta, when computers are needed to vote, it can result in long lines and suppressed votes at the precinct.

"Only three or four voters per precinct can be voting simultaneously when you only have three or four ballot marking devices. With hand-marked paper ballots, you can get twenty voters voting in parallel if you have cardboard privacy booths around, and twenty cheap pencils. There are far fewer lines built up, and the cost is so radically reduced."

Finally today, a word or two from some older voters who would really REALLY prefer if young people did not bother to vote at all this year...

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-host Angie Coiro on the possibility of sanctions against Saudi Arabia, as Trump protects arms sales; Also: The power of women's rage, with Nelini Stamp and Soraya Chemaly...
By Angie Coiro on 10/11/2018 6:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm your guest host --- Angie Coiro of In Deep with Angie Coiro.

Among the headlines today:

The news about Jamal Khashoggi gets more and more grim. Turkey claims to have both audio and video evidence of the missing journalists murder --- although for reasons I detail in the show, Turkey is not an entirely reliable narrator here. US sources tell the Washington post this sounds to them like a failed rendition attempt. Donald Trump is twiddling and fretty lest the US lose arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and what’s a missing journalist compared to that?

The ACLU is among those sounding the alarm about new regulations proposed for the National Park Service to inflict on White House protestors. It's ugly stuff; maybe the most blatant bit is shaving down to just five feet --- yes, FIVE FEET --- of White House sidewalk space allowed to protesters. That, and raising the cost of permits and fees. If you ain't got the coin, there goes your "free" speech. You can comment directly to the NPS, or via the page set up by the ACLU.

Melania Trump is the most bullied person in the world. No, really.

The percentage of American kids without vaccinations has quadrupled since 2001, proving once again that idiocy is highly contagious.

And Joe Biden thinks Dems have a shot at taking both the House and the Senate in the midterm elections. From your lips etc., Joe!

After the headlines roundup: a conversation with NELINI STAMP, Organizing Director with the Working Families Party and a key organizer in the #BlackFridays movement. Last Friday was the kickoff for women – particularly women of color and non-binary women – to don black clothes and walk out of work at 3pm local time. Nelini reviews that impressive first week, and what the movement is about.

Then, SORAYA CHEMALY discusses her new, highly-researched book, Rage Becomes Her. It probes cultural messaging about anger – and the effects of that messaging – on every era of women’s lives, from the cradle onward. The footnotes section is both impressive and sad – impressive because it is so. Darn. Thorough. And sad because – as the author is a woman – research tells us she's viewed as inherently less credible, and she has to work that much harder showing her work.

Download MP3 or listen 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!




By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2018 6:57pm PT  

Among the many stories covered on today's BradCast, with vigor and no small amount of occasional vitriol. [Audio link to show follows below.]...

  • The catastrophic and climate change-fueled Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida on Wednesday as a deadly and unprecedented Category 4, the strongest ever to strike the Panhandle since record keeping began in 1851;
  • In not unrelated news, another major coal company, one of the nation's oldest, declares bankruptcy. It's the fourth to do so in the past three years;
  • ExxonMobil gets some great publicity from Bloomberg by spending just $1 million (which they generated every two minutes in 2017) in pretending to support a carbon tax scheme (that would benefit them anyway);
  • The U.S. Supreme Court allows a lower court's voter ID ruling to stand in North Dakota, despite the fact that the rule is a change from voting laws used during the April primary and is now likely to result in the disenfranchisement of thousands of Native Americans in a state where Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp faces re-election after winning by just 3,000 votes in 2012. (Here's the ridiculous effort that thousands of Native Americans without a residential address, as now required by ND law to vote, must now go through to get one registered somehow before November 6th.);
  • A state court in Missouri blocks part of their new voter ID law for being "contradictory and misleading" and "impermissibly infring[ing] on a citizen's right to vote" in the state where Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is in a very close re-election battle. Her opponent, Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley is defending the law and is likely to seek an appeal from a higher state court;
  • After Georgia's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp was found to have purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls over the past several years, AP finds that some 53,000 voter registrations are currently in a suspended state due to GA's "exact match" rule, which allows election officials to block registrants whose names aren't listed identically to the way they are on found on file at either the state's Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration. A missing hyphen or a typo by officials entering a name into one of the databases is enough to result in a suspension which, the AP finds, is disproportionately keeping black voters off the rolls. 70% of those blocked are African-Americans, even though GA’s population is just 32% black. Kemp is currently running for Governor against Stacey Abrams who, if successful on November 6th, would become the nation's first African-American female Governor;
  • Some listener mail on a recent show regarding West Virginia's Sen. Joe Manchin, who voted in favor of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court last weekend, as the coal state Democrat faces re-election after WV voted for Trump by 42 points in 2016;
  • And, finally, a viral musical ditty to close us out today on the "very scary time for young men," as Donald Trump appallingly described it, following the multiple credible allegations of sexual assault by now-Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh...

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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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)




Guest: Fordham Law's Jed Shugerman; Also: More reported vote.org registration probs; Vote-flipping in MO; Willie Nelson's 'Vote 'em Out!'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2018 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the GOP's far-right take-over of the U.S. Supreme Court for generations --- including one blatantly stolen seat and two men accused of sexual misconduct and/or assault --- is now all but complete, and we discuss an upcoming SCOTUS case that some have cited as reason for the Trump/GOP panic to get their man on the bench as soon as possible. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

On Friday, the four theoretically previously-undecided U.S. Senators announced how they planned to vote on the confirmation of accused sexual assaulter and confirmed liar Brett Kavanaugh for his lifetime appointment to SCOTUS. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced her intention to vote against him, while Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democrat Joe Manchin all declared they will vote in favor of the most contentious nominee to the high court, perhaps in U.S. history. We discuss what all of that means today, moving forward, as the far-right cements its stolen majority. As you might imagine, both Desi and I have some thoughts on all of that today.

Then, we're joined by legal historian and Fordham Law School professor JED SHUGERMAN, author of The People's Courts, to discuss the upcoming Supreme Court case that many Trump opponents have cited in recent days as one of the explanations for Republicans' apparent panic to seat Kavanaugh on the Court as quickly as possible. The case, Gamble v. U.S., involves what some on both the Right and civil libertarian Left consider to be unconstitutional double jeopardy regarding an Alabama man who was convicted at both the state and federal levels for unlawful possession of a firearm. Some Trump critics have suggested, depended on how its decided, that the case could result in states being barred from prosecuting Donald Trump, his associates, or his family members in the event that they are pardoned at the federal level.

Shugerman --- who was one of more than 2,400 legal professors to sign on to a recent letter published by the New York Times calling on the Senate to reject Kavanaugh's nomination due to his lack of appropriate judicial temperament --- explains why he believes the Gamble case poses no threat to state prosecutions of Trump and/or his associates, nor to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and prosecution of Team Trump.

He also explains today why he signed the public letter opposing Kavanaugh, how it now may affect lawyers who signed it when arguing cases before Justice Kavanaugh, why he believes the GOP has been in such a hurry to seat Kavanaugh, and the "completely unprecedented" public opposition to him by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Shugerman also describes some of his major concerns for the Court once Kavanaugh is finally in place: how Chief Justice John Roberts is going to be forced to deal with it. "How is he going to manage this explosive controversy and the unprofessional conduct, the injudicious conduct, of Judge Kavanaugh? How will he restore consensus to this Court? How will he manage Judge Kavanaugh, given that he should have reason to fear that Judge Kavanaugh cannot be balanced, and won't be perceived to be balanced when he's on the Court?"

Finally today, some listener mail regarding more voter registration problems via the vote.org service (we recommend registering either in-person or via your Sec. of State or County website, rather than via third-party app, is possible); the first reports of 100% unverifiable touchscreen vote-flipping in the general election (in the very close U.S. Senate race in Missouri between Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and her GOP challenger Josh Hawley); and Willie Nelson's new song, Vote 'em Out!, debuted for the first time at last weekend's 55,000-person rally in Texas, in support of Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke's surging campaign against Lone Star State Republican Sen. Ted Cruz...

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Guests: AUDIT-USA's Emily Levy and attorney Chris Sautter; Also: Reports of FBI ignoring dozens of Kavanaugh witnesses persist, Trump mocks accuser, Americans can't wait to vote...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2018 6:56pm PT  

We work hard on today's BradCast to stay focused on the crucial upcoming elections, even as Brett Kavanaugh's cavalcade of shame continues in D.C. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

Senate Republicans intensified their push for a floor vote as soon as possible, even as reports persist that the FBI is either refusing or failing to interview dozens of witnesses in their supplemental background probe of Kavanaugh following sexual assault against the U.S. Supreme Court nominee. At the same time, former classmates and clerks of Kavanaugh are retracting previous support for him, and three key Republican Senators (Flake, Collins and Murkowski) gently rebuked Donald Trump on Wednesday for mocking Kavanaugh's first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, at a campaign rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night.

Amidst that circus, it's no easy feat to stay focused on the crucial upcoming midterm elections. But we try. And so are an extraordinary number of Americans. Today we learn that last week, on National Voter Registration Day, more than 800,000 signed up to vote, stunning organizers and smashing the previous record of 771,000 who registered on National Voter Registration Day in 2016, before the Presidential election.

But, even with all of the apparent enthusiasm, will all of those new and previous voters be allowed to vote this year? If so, will their votes be counted, tallied accurately, and in a way that the public can know they have been tallied accurately? In recent days, corporate media --- right on schedule --- has suddenly begun to churn out articles questioning the accuracy and security of our wildly insecure and frequently inaccurate electronic voting and tabulation systems...once its largely too late to do much about any of it, just weeks before an election. (That, of course, is why we have been trying to do so year 'round over the past 15 years!)

The corporate election vendors who have been allowed to privatize our public elections with systems that have long ago (over a decade ago) been found to be easily hacked --- and which have failed in election after election --- continue to sell their flawed systems to officials and offer false claims about security to the public.

One of those companies, Election Systems & Software, LLC (ES&S), the nation's largest voting system vendor, has now threatened a lawsuit against a small, non-profit election transparency organization which has been fighting to encourage election officials to take advantage of a security setting available on newer models of paper ballot scanners made by ES&S and others. The group, AUDIT-USA, has been sent a cease and desist letter [PDF] by ES&S corporate attorneys objecting to the organization posting user manuals for their scanners that capture digital images of ballots when they are scanned. The group has been working to encourage states and counties to make sure those which use the newer systems have them set to retain all such ballot images so they can potentially be reviewed by the public after an election. That, in lieu of the public being allowed to examine paper ballots themselves in order to assure unverified computer-tabulated results are accurate.

We're joined today by long-time election integrity champion EMILY LEVY of AUDIT-USA and their long-time election attorney CHRIS SAUTTER of American University, to discuss the ES&S threat letter sent to the group last week, charging copyright infringement for making their instruction manuals available to the public. The letter, as we discuss, fails to even cite security concerns. Levy notes the irony in this case, given that AUDIT-USA is actually supporting the newer ES&S systems for their security feature that many election officials appear unaware of.

"What we've found from talking to election officials around the country is that a lot of them don't really understand the systems that they're using in their own counties," Levy tells me. "They don't understand why they need ballot images when they have the paper ballots. And they don't understand that, in order to preserve the ballot images, all they need to do is not change the settings that the machines come with. The default settings on the machines are to preserve the ballot images, and it's only by having someone --- whether a vendor working for them or elections officials themselves --- changing those settings that the ballot images get destroyed.

"So we want people to understand both the importance of the ballot images and preserving them --- that it's legally required to preserve them, just as it is to preserve all election materials. And that's it's not a difficult thing to do."

Sautter argues the information in question, as posted to their website, is in the public interest and, therefore, falls under the Fair Use Doctrine. "Cease and desist letters like the one that ES&S sent AUDIT-USA are a common form of intimidation," he says. "These companies have a lot of money, and sometimes they figure, well, we can overpower them, we'll file this lawsuit and we'll try to break this little non-profit in attorneys fees and we'll set an example."

As we also discuss, threats of lawsuits by voting system vendors against voting system experts and computer scientists have been going on for years (here's The BRAD BLOG exclusive from 2008 that I cite on the show), even as tax payers continue dolling out billions of dollars to these shameless and irresponsible private companies...

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Guest: Journalist David Dayen on new NAFTA, CA's new Net Neutrality law (and DoJ lawsuit), Amazon's new minimum wage; Also: Senate Repubs hope to force vote, bury FBI probe on U.S. Supreme Court nominee...
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2018 6:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the FBI investigation into multiple allegations of sexual assault and belligerent drunken behavior by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues, as Republicans in the U.S. Senate prepare to force a vote on his confirmation before Senators, much less the public, get a full look at the information gathered by the brief and limited probe. As that shameful illustration of a process broken by Republicans for the nation's highest court plays out, a number of other noteworthy news stories slip through the cracks just over one month before the crucial 2018 midterm elections. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On Sunday, California's Governor signed a Net Neutrality bill into law, meant to replace the Obama-era consumer protection that was gutted by the Trump Administration's Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Hours later, Trump's Dept. of Justice sued the Golden State to prevent the new law from taking effect. So much for the GOP's pretend love of "states rights".

On Monday, Trump announced "a brand new deal to terminate and replace NAFTA" [the North American Free Trade Agreement] with a "totally" new deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico as "the biggest trade deal in United States History." Even though it is NAFTA 2.0, it will now be called, if adopted by the U.S. Congress (a big "if", as our guest explains today), the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

And, on Tuesday, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced the company will be increasing their minimum wage for all workers, both permanent and seasonal, to $15/hour beginning next month, after years of attacks by critics for low wages paid by the world's second most valuable company.

We're joined by financial journalist and author DAVID DAYEN to discuss all three of those news items, whether they are a "Big Deal or No Big Deal?", and how the news may or may not affect the upcoming November elections.

On Amazon's increased wages, Dayen tells me it is "only going to bid the price of labor up. So that is a good thing." He also explains why it is "a political success for Bernie Sanders and this idea that you need to put pressure on these huge, monopolistic companies in order the get them to do right by their workers." But, he also warns, "there's an escape valve here for Amazon."

The new NAFTA includes an end to what Dayen calls the "corporate shakedown regime" in NAFTA's "horrendous" extrajudicial process for settling trade disputes between corporations and countries. That's a "huge deal" he says, which could help set a template to vastly improve other trade deals as well, and potentially increase wages for workers. But he also explains why unions are, nonetheless, not yet all in for the deal and notes that it can only be approved by the next Congress --- which will likely be far more Democratic than the current one --- if labor buys in.

On DoJ's challenge to California's own Net Neutrality law, Dayen explains, the Administration may have little choice but to try and block it, even as Republicans --- when it comes to states other than California, anyway --- argue states should decide what's best for their own residents. In the Golden State, however, "if you give net neutrality protections, if you allow the state of California to pass them, then that's going to migrate," he says. "There's a genuine concern that these regulations --- which of course were in place at the federal level and were taken out by FCC Chair Ajit Pai and the conservatives on the FCC --- would almost, by default, come back if this were allowed to stand. ... All that work they did at the FCC could be for naught."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with our latest Green News Report, with record rainfall numbers from Hurricane Florence (and the giant mosquitoes which have arrived in its wake), the Trump Administration's use of catastrophic climate change data to justify a deadly rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards, and the French President calling for the nations of the world to reject trade deals with any country who is not a party to the Paris Climate Agreement (that would include only the U.S., which has announced its intention of pulling out of the landmark pact as soon as allowable --- the first day after the Presidential election in 2020)...

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Guest-host Angie Coiro's audio documentation of a harrowing day in the U.S. Senate as Jeff Flake confronts history; Also: Counseling for assault survivors in wake of hearings with guest Dr. Lashanda Nalls...
By Angie Coiro on 9/28/2018 5:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm your guest host --- Angie Coiro, of In Deep with Angie Coiro. Brad and Des have one more day on the road!

Special note to anyone in our audience who's suffered trauma hearing about or watching the Kavanaugh hearings: the last segment of today's show is for you. My guest is DR. LASHANDA NALLS, Director of Trauma Therapy at Our Resilience in Chicago. Empathy and advice from the front lines, for both survivors and anyone in their loving circle. If you want to skip the rest and go right to that segment of the show, it's 45 minutes and 53 seconds into the show. And my most fervent wishes for your well-being.

Jeff Flake will go down in history as a split-the-difference kinda guy. It was his "neither this nor that" stance at the end of today's hearing that might well spell the end for SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh. I refer in today's show to an image on the New York Times story - a screen capture of a video by Erin Schaff. A man with much on his mind.

Flake voted yes, but not until he threw a wrench in the works: he wants an FBI investigation over the next week. It was utterly unclear even to his colleagues whether that was a motion or not - I've got the audio in the show for you - but it started the dominoes falling. Lisa Murkowski joined him in his stance. Mark Judge, the sole alleged witness to the assault on Ford, agreed to cooperate with the FBI. Finally, Donald Trump followed suit.

So was Flake's conscience sparked by Ford's story, or the other allegations, or the protesters --- more sexual assault victims --- who followed him to an elevator and made him listen? Or did he reach sudden clarity on what this episode will look like to future generations, and decide he'd better straddle that line but quick?

It doesn't matter, ultimately. The dominoes are down.

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Also: Toxic environmental disaster begins after Florence; AL SoS sued for Twitter blocking; Bad news for 'dark money', good news for voters...
By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2018 6:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Except for our Florence coverage, it's all about November 6th, including the GOP's rush to seat another alleged sexual predator on the U.S. Supreme Court. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, a quick update on the still-ongoing disaster of Hurricane Florence, with the human death toll rising to 37 and the poultry and pork death tolls in the millions, after three feet of rain fell on parts of the Carolinas, thousands remain in shelters, and the environmental disasters --- including toxic human waste and animal waste now streaming into swelling rivers and floodwaters --- may just be beginning.

Next, the reason why Republicans are in such a panic to minimize the allegations of attempted rape by Brett Kavanaugh, their nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, in any way they possibly can in advance of the quickly arriving November 6th midterm elections. That minimization includes avoiding both time and an FBI investigation at any cost. The White House could have already requested one, which Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) insisted was "the very right thing to do" --- at least during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the 1991 sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill against then-nominee, now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Then, you may recall at the beginning of the year I reported on a strange conversation I had on Twitter with Alabama's Sec. of State John Merrill regarding the state's voting systems, resulting in Merrill blocking me on the social media site. It wasn't the first time Merrill had blocked election experts or journalists or his own constituents. But, even after a federal court later in the year found that Donald Trump was violating the First Amendment rights of his constituents by blocking them on Twitter, Merrill still refused to unblock anybody. A query to his office about that, just before the state's May primary elections, resulted in a bizarre and unhinged exchange via phone and email with the Secretary. Today, Merrill is being sued by the ACLU of Alabama for violating his constituents' First Amendment rights for blocking them and, of course, that means that AL taxpayers will likely be on the hook to pay for the so-called "conservative" Merrill's knowingly unconstitutional behavior.

Also, speaking of transparency and the rule of law, the U.S. Supreme Court, just weeks before the 2018 midterms, has allowed a lower court ruling on "dark money" to take immediate effect, meaning that some political non-profits will now have to disclose the names of wealthy donors who spend more than $200 per year in hopes of buying elections. The Koch-sponsored hit squads, including their ringers on the FEC, are none too happy it.

Finally, we've got some good news for voters in California, where the Governor has now signed a bill requiring election officials to notify voters when local officials believe signatures on Vote-by-Mail ballots don't match the one on their registration file. Such voters will now be notified at least eight days before any results are certified, so they have a chance to fix the problem, which could happen for many reasons, before the ballot is simply discarded (as tens of thousands have routinely been tossed in previous elections).

Also, good news for Democrats in Wisconsin, where the "gold standard" of Wisconsin polling outfits finds divisive, two-term Republican Gov. Scott Walker now trailing Democrat Tony Evers in this year's Gubernatorial race.

And, in Kansas, yet another top former Republican official has endorsed Laura Kelly, the Democratic candidate for Governor, in her race against controversial GOP nominee Sec. of State Kris Kobach...

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Guest: Salon's Amanda Marcotte; Also: DE primary results, KS GOP election fraud arrest, FL ordered to comply with Voting Rights Act for dislocated Puerto Ricans, Barack Obama returns...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2018 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Some encouraging election news. More disturbing news about the Republican's "sham" rush rob to ram through another GOP activist onto the U.S. Supreme Court before they could lose their slim majority in the U.S. Senate. And the re-emergence of Barack Obama before the November midterms. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, noteworthy reported results from Thursday's midterm primary elections in Delaware and some largely good election news elsewhere.

In Florida on Friday, a federal judge ordered 32 counties sued by a number of voting rights and Latino advocacy groups to immediately publish election materials in Spanish, in addition to English, in compliance with the Voting Rights Act. As we discussed with Demos' Senior Counsel Stuart Naifeh on a program last week, the groups had sued after the counties failed to comply with the VRA, despite some 50,000 U.S. citizens who were dislocated from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria having trouble re-registering and voting in the Sunshine State's "English only" counties. The judge's ruling, suffice to say, suggests he was VERY unhappy with the defendants in the case.

In Kansas, a Republican candidate for the state's House of Representatives has been arrested on election fraud charges. Notably, the Sec. of State Kris Kobach, a longtime GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and now the state's Republican nominee for Governor, had no comment on the arrest after having failed to bring the charges himself, despite convincing the state legislature to give him prosecutorial powers (the only SoS in the nation with such powers) and despite having made claims of a massive "voter fraud" epidemic central to his role as the state's chief election official.

Then, the week-long circus at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearings for Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee, former Republican activist turned D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh, wrapped up on Friday, with still more late disclosure's about Kavanaugh's record while serving as an operative in the George W. Bush Whitehouse. The disclosures come from documents from during that period which Republicans had attempted to keep "confidential" from the American public.

Salon's political reporter AMANDA MARCOTTE, who's been reporting on the proceedings, joins us to discuss what we've learned --- and haven't --- about Kavanaugh and the Democrats' surprisingly united and aggressive attempt to block his confirmation. "The Senate Democrats came at this in a way that I don't think I've ever seen them do anything of this sort before. They had an organized strategy, and they executed it pretty well," she explains.

We focus specifically today on Kavanaugh's "threat to women's health and safety" with his disingenuous and misleading statements to the Committee (and to potential swing voting Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski) about Roe v. Wade's Constitutional right to an abortion as "settled law". Several lines of questioning from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) this week, as well as so-called "committee confidential" documents released by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) --- at threat of Senate expulsion --- underscore the con that both Republicans and the activist Judge Kavanaugh are attempting to pull off on the American public.

"If you were a space alien and you just dropped in to watch these hearings, you would get the impression that the Republicans think of Brett Kavanaugh as a liberal lion. All they do is talk about how anti-racist he is, how pro-equality. The cases that he's ruled on that they've highlighted were the three or four extremely rare ones where he sided with working people or oppressed people or people trying to get healthcare. The tiny minority of his cases. They barely go a minute without talking about how much he loves women, and he's practically a feminist," Marcotte says. "It's been kind of surreal, because obviously they don't believe a word of it, because if they actually thought he was any of the things they were presenting him as, they wouldn't have nominated him."

She charges Kavanaugh has been trying to "imply that he's going to uphold Roe", though "he clearly has no intention of doing it. That's why the leaked emails were such a big deal...These hearings should be understood as an elaborate theater to give Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski cover while they vote, to claim that they're pro-choice while voting to overturn to Roe v. Wade."

We also take a few minutes to discuss Marcotte's recently published book, Troll Nation: How the Right Became Trump-Worshiping Monsters Set on Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself --- not that she has particularly strong opinions on such things. :-)

Finally, after another tough week --- almost a year and a half of them, in fact --- former President Barack Obama reemerged on Friday with a speech at the University of Illinois that unloaded on Trump as, among other things, "a symptom, not the cause" of our current woes. More importantly, he offered some advice and inspiration regarding the necessity of voting in this November's midterms and elections beyond them. We close out the week with some excerpts from his address...

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Guest: Richard 'R.J.' Eskow; Also: Gulf Coast facing Hurricane Gordon...
By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2018 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The first day of hearings in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's very unpopular nominee to fill the U.S. Supreme Court by "swing vote" Justice Anthony Kennedy last month, started with tens of thousands of documents withheld by the White House over the weekend, kicked off Tuesday morning with pandemonium from Democratic committee members objecting to the proceedings, and continued with protests and arrests of some 70 observers in the chamber throughout the day. Just another unprecedented day in the U.S. Senate in the Trump Era. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today we cover much of the havoc with extended excerpts from the hearings, and then a visit with columnist, Zero Hour radio host and former Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign writer RICHARD ESKOW, who joins us to try and help us make sense --- any sense --- of it all.

With some 100,000 documents from Kavanaugh's time in the George W. Bush White House (where he served as legal adviser and Staff Secretary during some of Dubya's most consequential decisions, on everything torture to marriage equality) being withheld at the instruction of the Trump Administration late on Friday night and some 42,000 documents dumped on Committee members on the Labor Day Monday evening before hearings were to begin on Tuesday morning, we discuss whether Democrats should have shown up at all for today's hearings for the longtime Republican Party operative turned federal judge turned SCOTUS nominee.

Kavanaugh, who appears to have lied to the U.S. Senate during his 2006 Senate hearings for the D.C. Court of Appeals, is now being rammed through in what appears to be a desperately mad dash by Republicans to seat him with a bare majority before they may lose control of the U.S. Senate after this November's midterms. So, should Democrats have even played along with what some are describing as an "illegitimate" process or should they simply have refused to show up altogether?

"Even the strongest statements [from Democrats] today were not strong enough. They were good, they were fine, but every debater knows that as long as you allow your opponent to establish a phony premise or a phony setup for the debate, you're going to lose," Eskow argues. "By showing up --- even by voicing their objections --- the Democrats, by the way they are handling this, are legitimizing the process, in my opinion."

We also discuss the media coverage of the nomination and subsequent hearings, and the dilemma we in the media face in how (and if) to cover the substantive issues and related concerns about Kavanaugh's hard-right record as a jurist. On one hand, we are legitimizing an illegitimate process in doing so. On the other, if seated on the GOP's already-stolen U.S. Supreme Court, Kavanaugh will almost certainly serve as the fifth vote to rollback and/or reverse decades of hard-fought civil rights victories and much more for at least a generation. So, we do need to cover it, right? (That's a very real question that I've been debating for quite a while. Would welcome your thoughts in comments below!)

And all of this, mind you, for a potential Justice nominated by a President facing a serious criminal investigation, and who will almost certainly, if seated, sit in judgment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into the same President who nominated him for a lifetime position on the nation's highest Court.

"It's Alice in Wonderland," charged Vermont's Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, who has been in the Senate for 44 years, overseeing the Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearings for every single Justice currently on the Court, during his opening remarks on Tuesday: "Today, the Senate is not simply phoning in our vetting obligation, we're discarding it. It's not only shameful, it's a sham...And any claim that this has been a through transparent process is downright Orwellian...This is the most incomplete, most partisan, least transparent vetting for any Supreme Court nominee I have ever seen...and I've seen more of those than any person serving in the Senate today."

Also on today's show (albeit very quickly!): Voters head to the polls for primary election day in Massachusetts on Tuesday, Delaware on Wednesday, and fast-moving Hurricane Gloria now threatens the Gulf Coast...

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on that and WV GOP's state Supreme Court coup; Also: Massive voting system failures in AZ primary...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2018 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Details on the extraordinary court ruling out of North Carolina on Monday, and the judicial coup being staged in West Virginia. But first, voters went to the polls for Tuesday's primary elections in Arizona and Florida and in Oklahoma for primary runoff elections. It did not go well in Arizona. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Maricopa County (Phoenix)'s paper ballot optical-scan computer systems failed in at least 100 precincts, according to the County Recorder. Many polling places were closed entirely this morning, and it was nearly noon before the systems were said to finally be working in all precincts. It's still unclear what the precise failure was, but the new County Recorder Adrian Fontes (who won his election after the previous, long-time Recorder was booted out for shutting polling places during the 2016 Primaries), tied it to pre-election tests that failed on Monday, and then a lack of contractors from the voting machine company (Dominion Voting) on hand to properly set up the systems before polls were to open today. "The contractor responsible for the voting machines was supposed to provide more than 100 technicians to assist with issues, but only 70 were available," the Arizona Republic reports Fontes as telling them at a news conference this morning. If we learn more, of course, we'll share it on tomorrow's show along with noteworthy problems and results in all three states holding elections today.

Then, following up on a story that broke minutes before airtime on Monday, we're joined today by Slate's excellent legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN to detail the extraordinary ruling issued by a three judge federal court panel finding all of North Carolina's U.S. House districts --- for a second time --- to be partisan gerrymanders in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Remarkably, the judges are considering ordering new maps to be drawn up before this November's elections, after already having found last January that Republicans had unlawfully gerrymandered the state's U.S. House districts. That ruling, however, was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court which punted in June by ordering the lower court to review matters of standing. After having done so, the three-judge panel found the same Constitutional infirmities.

"The real villain here, in a sense --- aside from the Republicans, who obviously drew these incredibly gerrymandered maps --- is the Supreme Court and Justice Anthony Kennedy," says Stern. "A virtually identical ruling came down in January, at which point the US Supreme Court could have and should have acted on this question of partisan gerrymandering. Instead, the Supreme Court punted [and] sent this case back down for reconsideration. Now the [lower] court has reached the same conclusion it did in January."

The map in question was the one drawn up in 2016 after the state's previous GOP-drawn map, used in 2012 and 2014, was found to have been an unlawful racial gerrymander. So, Stern explains, the federal judges in North Carolina seem to have had enough and may now order new maps "on this incredibly compressed timetable where the election is looming" in just over 70 days, ballots need to go out to overseas voters 45 days in advance, and the state's primaries were already been held in May.

The unconstitutional maps have resulted in a wildly unbalanced 10 to 3 GOP majority in the state's Congressional delegations, despite North Carolina's status as a very divided swing state which narrowly elected Obama in 2008, Trump in 2016, and a Democrat to be its Governor in that same election. If the matter is appealed to SCOTUS by the state (as it almost certainly will be), the Supremes could deadlock 4 to 4, if Justice Kennedy's seat has yet to be filled, and the lower court ruling would stand. We could be in for a lot of chaos ahead (as if we need any more this year.)

Stern also explains the astonishing situation in West Virginia, where that state's Republican-majority House of Delegates recently impeached all four sitting members of the state's Supreme Court. (Its 5th member had already resigned after been charged with a felony crime.) The move, Stern reports, was timed in such a way to avoid allowing voters to replace the justices at the ballot box this year. That means the previously 3 to 2 Democratic-leaning court may soon become a 5 to 0 Republican court, and stay that way through 2020. Following impeachment trials of the justices in the state Senate, any vacancies will be filled by the appointments of Trump-loving Republican Gov. Jim Justice, a Democrat when he ran and won the Governor's race in 2016, but who flipped parties shortly thereafter.

"There are no good guys, per se, in this story," Stern notes. However, it serves as yet another example of Republicans blatantly hoping to pack the courts, and could prove to be another useful example that Democrats could cite in the future. If they ever re-take control of the U.S. House, Senate and White House, they'll be able to cite such moves when and if they decide to move to add seats to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to restore a majority that should have been theirs, until Senate Republicans stole a vacant seat in 2017 after holding it open for nearly a year following the early 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Speaking of that stolen U.S. Supreme Court, Stern also offers his thoughts on whether Senate Democrats will be able to block --- or even stall --- the seating of Donald Trump's second nominee to the Court. Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Senate Judiciary Confirmation hearings are currently scheduled to begin next week and, Stern argues, "he owes an explanation as to why he thinks it's perfectly valid and legitimate and acceptable to be nominated by a racist and openly corrupted President to the Supreme Court."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report on, among other things, the record rainfall in Hawaii following Hurricane Lane over the weekend, and the complicated climate legacy of the late Republican U.S. Senator and former GOP Presidential nominee, John McCain.

(And, on a related note, next week will be our 900th episode of the GNR! If you have not contributed lately to our efforts to continue connecting the climate change dots over your public airwaves for the past 10 years --- along with all else that we do --- please consider doing so now by stopping by BradBlog.com/Donate! Thanks! We rely only on you to keep going! But, don't do it for me! Do it for Desi! Pretty please?)

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Guest: Stuart Naifeh of Demos; Also: 500k disenfranchised voters in AZ?; Trump says he's quitting NAFTA; DNC scraps 'SuperDelegates'; U.S. Govt student loan ombudsman quits in disgust; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2018 6:30pm PT  

Lots of news (for a change?) on today's BradCast after a tremendously busy news weekend (for a change?) [Audio link to today's show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered on today's program: In a fairly transparent attempt to distract from all of his Administration's --- and his own personal --- scandals, Donald Trump announed today that he plans to pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and is striking a new trade agreement with Mexico only. We caution to be very aware of that claim.

Then, we're joined by STUART NAIFEH, Senior Counsel at Demos to discuss the lawsuit recently filed by his group and a number of Hispanic-American organizations against 32 counties in the state of Florida. Following last year's catastrophic Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, more than 133,000 U.S. citizens living on the island relocated to the Continental U.S., according to the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, which estimates [PDF] more than 54,000 of them now live in Florida. These U.S. Citizens, many of whom speak Spanish only, can now re-register and vote in the state, but the counties named in the lawsuit make election materials available in English only, in violation, the groups argue, of Section4(e) of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The groups are suing to force those counties to produce election materials in Spanish before the November 2018 midterms and argue that the English-only procedures have led to lower than expected registration by these potential voters in the Sunshine State. Naifeh says this has been a longstanding issue in Florida, but even more of an issue since Maria, since there are suddenly "a lot of people coming all at once with limited English," he says.

Naifeh also explains another lawsuit just filed by the group against the state of Arizona, where the Secretary of State is not properly re-registering voters who have changed their addresses on their drivers licenses through the DMV. That, he argues, means that some 500,000 registered voters, whose registrations should be automatically moved, may find themselves unable to vote or will have their provisional ballots tossed out this November, because "Arizona has been systematically failing to update voting addresses," as required by 1993's National Voter Registration Act. Voters in both states --- Florida and Arizona --- are heading to the polls on Tuesday for their state's midterm primary elections.

Then, some breaking news out of North Carolina, where a federal court panel has found the state's U.S. House Districts to be an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. That, after the federal courts found the previous maps were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. The court may order new maps to be redrawn in advance of the November election! If they do, and if the U.S. Supreme Court is deadlocked 4 to 4 on an emergency appeal by the state before a new Justice is seated, then the lower court's order to use new maps for the November 6th election would stand!

Next, over the weekend, the DNC voted to change their bylaws to restrict the role of so-called SuperDelegates (party insiders, activists and elected officials) in the nominating process for Presidential candidates. Under the new scheme, adopted by an overwhelming voice vote at the weekend's annual Summer meeting in Chicago, SuperDelegates would have no vote for the party's Presidential nominee on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention, leaving the selection of the nominee (if he or she can get a majority on the first ballot) up to state primary and caucus voters, rather than party insiders, before the Convention.

Also today, the Government's student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has resigned, charging in a scathing resignation letter that the Trump Administration is using the Bureau "to serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in America" by allowing private for-profit colleges, universities and student loan companies to run roughshod over American families, despite mandates from Congress to end the decades-long ripoffs by such companies.

Finally, we open up the phone lines today to calls on all of the above!...

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Trump's dark week gets darker; Dems nix SCOTUS nom meetings; Majority of Repubs support 'Medicare for All'; Very bad polling news for GOP; GA county poll closure scam falls apart; Hurricane Lane threatens Hawaii...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2018 6:30pm PT  

Like the news cycle, we're all over the place on today's BradCast with politics, accountability and corruption news, democracy and voting news, green news and court news and much much more. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the many stories covered today...Some Democratic Senators are now refusing to meet with Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, following the convictions of Trump's campaign chair Paul Manafort and the guilty pleas of his personal lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen, implicating the President himself in a conspiracy to commit serious criminal campaign finance felonies.

On related fronts today: Trump has now finally admitted (after years of lies about it by him and his staff) that he did, in fact, make hush-money payouts to women before the 2016 election; Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis offers more details on what his client may know regarding Trump's early knowledge of hacked DNC emails before they were released in 2016; and Trump's longtime friend David Pecker [pictured above], who runs the National Enquirer and helped kill stories about Trump's mistresses, is reportedly now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller after being granted an immunity deal.

Also, a Trump-supporting juror from the first Manafort trial says there was only one person on the jury who prevented him from being found guilty on all 18 counts of tax and bank fraud, versus the 8 on which he was found guilty. A mistrial was declared on the 10 other counts.

A new Reuters poll today finds that more than 70% of Americans now support a "Medicare for All" styled universal healthcare program, including a majority of Republicans. And a new poll from Fox "News" offers an avalanche of bad news for Trump and Republicans in advance of the 2018 midterm elections. (For example, Mueller is more popular than Trump by double-digits, and other numbers that may spell trouble in November.)

Speaking of which, following a public outcry, Randolph County, Georgia, whose two-person Board of Elections is set to vote on a proposal to close 7 of 9 polling places before the November election in the majority African-American county, now admits it has no evidence to support the claim that those precincts need to be closed due to violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Moreover, it has now fired the consultant --- hired on the recommendation of GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp (the Republican nominee for Governor this year) --- who urged the poll closures at, what he initially said, had been Kemp's recommendation.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the Trump EPA's deadly new proposed rule to replace Obama's landmark "Clean Power Plan", the Administration's spate of recent court failures blocking their attempts to overturn environmental protections, and the latest news on Hurricane Lane which is bearing down on Hawaii and threatening record rainfall among other potential dangers which, the Governor warns, could cripple the island for several weeks...

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

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