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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, November 19, 2018
Sunday Sort-of-a-Pyrokinetic Toons of the Moment
Horrific wildfires rage in California, as Trump rages in the aftermath of the midterm elections in PDiddie's lastest weekly toon collection...
'Blue Wave' Still Growing Despite GA Guv Setback, Theft: 'BradCast' 11/16/18
Guest: Heather Digby Parton; Also: Staggering new CA wildfire numbers; Orange County, CA turns 'Blue'; Abrams announces Kemp will 'win' GA election, vows suppression lawsuit...
FL 'Machine Recount' Exten-sion Denied, 'Hand Recounts' Begin: 'BradCast' 11/15/18
Also: The prob w/ Vote-by-Mail ballot sig-natures; Dems win House seat in ME Ranked Choice 'runoff'; GA's illegitimate Guv election...
'Green News Report' 11/15/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Death toll still rising as CA fires rage and state preps for tomorrow's disasters; Top EPA official indicted on corruption charges; PLUS: New Dems push for bold action on climate change...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/18 - 11/8/18 - Archives...
Lawsuits Fly in FL 'Recount' Mess:
'BradCast' 11/14/18
The fight to count every vote in FL and GA gets messier still, as Dems pick up another U.S. House seat; Also: Ernie Canning on CNN's lawsuit against Trump White House...
CNN Files Legal Action Against White House to Restore Acosta Press Credentials
News oulet cites violations of First, Fifth Amendment rights by Trump, Huckabee-Sanders, Secret Service...
New Court Rulings Favor Voters Amid FL, GA Counting Fiascos: 'BradCast' 11/13/18
Guest: CommonCauseGA's Sara Henderson; Also: Dems flip Senate seat in AZ; Melania wants NSA official fired...
'Green News Report' 11/13/18
N. Cal fire now most deadly in state history; Kids' landmark climate suit placed on hold, again; PLUS: Federal judge halts all work on Keystone XL pipeline...
FL 2000 'Recount' Chief: State 'Cannot Physically' Complete 'Recounts' by Deadline: 'BradCast' 11/12/18
Guest: FL's Ion Sancho; Also: CA fires; Sinema wins Senate in AZ; Legal fight for GA Guv...
Sunday 'VFW' Toons
(Veterans Forgotten by Washington)
PDiddie's weekly toons nod to those gone and forgotten by some, and those not gone, but who we'd like to forget...
Election Battles Rage in FL, GA:
'BradCast' 11/9/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ latest on election counts; Also: Law360's Amber McKinney on DACA; D.D. Guttenplan on progressivism's future...
Dems' Challenge to FL 'Sig-nature Mismatch' Law Could Determine Guv, Senate Races
Even former Democratic Rep. Murphy disenfranchised when ballot was rejected...
'Green News Report' 11/8/18
Big wins, losses for environment in 2018 midterms: Science to return to the House Science Comm, Big Oil money crushes state energy ballot measures...
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: Heather Digby Parton; Also: Staggering new CA wildfire numbers; Acosta ordered back into WH; Orange County, CA turns 'Blue'; FL 'hand count' continues; Abrams says Kemp will 'win' GA, vows lawsuit...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2018 6:45pm PT  

It was another very busy day on today's BradCast, as news breaks out of Georgia and California --- and seemingly everywhere else --- though we finally found at least a moment to take some stock of the midterm elections and what they portend, nearly two weeks after Election Day. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Before we get to elections and politics, however, there are horrifying new numbers today out of the ongoing, climate change-fueled wildfires in California. Officials now say that more 60 are known to have been killed, but on Thursday evening they also raised the number of those still unaccounted for amid the record Camp Fire in Northern California to a staggering and gut-wrenching 631. [Update: Just before posting this here, officials in Northern California increased the death toll, announcing 71 dead with more than an unfathomable 1,000 now said to be unaccounted for!]

Then, a Trump-appointed federal judge orders the White House to immediately restore press credentials to CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta.

Next, another midterm election victory is called by AP and others for Democrats in what had long been solidly Republican Orange County in California. Katie Porter, an unapologetically progressive Elizabeth Warren protégé, is now said to have defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters in the heart of what was once known as "Reagan Country", in the state's 45th Congressional district. Walters had easily won reelection by a huge 17% margin just two years ago, but now becomes the third of Orange County's four U.S. House members to see their seat flipped to a Democrat. The fourth seat, in CA's 39th Congressional district, is very likely to be called for Democrat Gil Cisneros over Young Kim any day now.

As of air time, Dems have reportedly picked up a net gain of 36 seats for their new House majority, though that number may still climb to 38 or even 39 seats as votes are tallied in the last of the undecided House races.

Meanwhile, in Florida today, statewide "hand counts" --- or what suffices for them in the Sunshine State --- continued on a ridiculously abbreviated schedule through Sunday in the state's U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who is said to lead by 0.41%, or just over 12,000 votes out more than 8 million cast.

The partial "hand count" in the Senate race moves forward after full "machine recounts" in three of the state's largest and most Democratic-leaning counties were rejected by Scott's Sec. of State. In Palm Beach, the County's old computer scanners could not physically tally fast enough to meet the Thursday 3pm deadline at the end of just five days. In Hillsborough County, the second machine count differed from the original count by more than 800 ballots, so the first count will be used (whether it's right or wrong, nobody knows.) And in Broward County, state officials rejected their new count because it was uploaded to the Sec. of State's office two minutes after the 3pm deadline. Seriously.

As a source in Palm Beach told me earlier today about the impossible timelines instituted by state Republicans: "These deadlines they codified into law set up big counties to fail. How a county like ours (population 1.3 million) has the same deadline as a county like Liberty County (population 8400) is beyond me. Five days isn't enough, a week isn't enough, two weeks isn't enough. This is done by design. Why? The biggest counties are blue counties and they don't want those votes counted. It's not complicated."

And, in Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams announced that her Republican opponent Brian Kemp would be the winner of their very close and contested election, thanks in no small part to the extraordinary voter suppression he has implemented over the past eight years during his tenure as Secretary of State.

"Let's be clear: This is not a speech of concession because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper," Abrams said in a speech to supporters, while denouncing Kemp's outrageous record as the state's chief election official. "As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that."

At the same time, she also announced she is forming a new organization --- Fair Fight Georgia --- that will sue Kemp and the state for "gross mismanagement" of the election as she declared "the law currently allows no further viable remedy" to overcome what many now see as a stolen election in the Peach State.

Finally, we're joined by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, to try and help us make sense of these past two tumultuous weeks since the midterms. We discuss the Dems' extraordinary (and under-appreciated) "Blue Wave", how it has clearly served to throw Trump into a dark emotional spiral while exposing him yet again as a con-man, even to many of his supporters, and how some Democrats appear to be taking the rightwing Fox "News" bait in hoping to block Nancy Pelosi's likely return as House Speaker and leader of the Congressional Democratic caucus in January...

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

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Cites violations of Constitutional First and Fifth Amendment rights
UPDATED: Court temporarily reinstates Acosta press pass citing 'due process' rights...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/14/2018 10:05am PT  

On Tuesday, CNN, along with its Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta, filed a federal complaint alleging President Donald J. Trump and high level White House personnel, including Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the U.S. Secret Service, violated their First Amendment free press rights to access White House press facilities.

They also allege the Trump administration violated their Fifth Amendment rights to due process when, without notice or a compelling reason for doing so, the White House rescinded Acosta's press credentials and seized his "hard pass" following a contentious November 7 Presidential press conference.

The complaint goes on to charge that the news organization's First Amendment rights were violated a second time on November 9, when Acosta traveled to France to cover the President's visit and to interview French President Emmanuel Macron during the centenary events commemorating the end of World War I. "The Secret Service refused to allow Acosta to attend an allegedly 'open' press event whose attendees included journalists from around the world," according to the CNN complaint. They did so even though "the French government issued credentials to Acosta." (Ironically, as they also note, Trump did not attend the event "due to inclement weather.")

Citing both facts and case law, the CNN complaint sets forth the argument that the President's actions against both Acosta and the news outlet amounted to an unlawful "attempt to censor the press and exclude reporters from the White House who challenge or dispute the President's point of view". However, that compelling argument, which is now supported by the White House Correspondents' Association, the ACLU and even by Fox "News", may not carry the day at the District Court level given that the case has been assigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly, a Trump appointee...

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




Even former Congressman disenfranchised when his ballot was rejected...
UPDATED 11/15/2018: Federal court orders county election boards to provide slightly more than 4,000 voters with an opportunity to cure mismatched rejections by Nov. 17...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/9/2018 4:27pm PT  

On Thursday, Florida Democrats filed a federal lawsuit in which they alleged that the Sunshine State's, county-by-county, subjective signature match procedures for rejecting vote-by-mail (VBM) and provisional ballots are arbitrary, lacking in standards, and, over several election cycles, inconsistently applied so as to have a disparate impact on minority and young voters. This, the complaint alleges, deprives those voters of Equal Protection under the law as mandated by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

As explained by the Democrats' attorney Marc Elias to WLRN Miami:

These laws, when taken together, condition the right to vote of millions of Floridians who vote-by-mail, or wind up voting provisionally, on the untrained opinions of canvassing boards or elections officials as to whether or not signatures match. The problem is that voters in one county are subject to different standards for reviewing signatures than others and there is no uniform standard or even sufficient training for this, and it's highly error prone.

Studies have shown that laypersons conducting signature matching are more likely to reject legitimate signatures as inauthentic than the other way around. This serves as an outright disenfranchisement and burden on the right to vote.

Elias' assertions about the arbitrary and erroneous nature of signature mismatch rejections appeared to be partially born out via a Nov. 9 Tweet published by former Rep. Patrick Murphy, after he learned on Election Day --- too late to remedy the problem --- that even his "absentee ballot wasn't counted due to 'invalid signature' match"...

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




Guest: Oliver 'OJ' Semans of Four Directions: Also: Kemp denied again in GA; Tough re-election fight for OR's Dem Guv; KMOX, 'The Voice of St. Louis', misinforms voters in MO about 'tamper-proof' voting machines...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2018 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast: There is no small amount of irony in the fact that the first people of this country, Native Americans, are now being forced in North Dakota to go through extraordinary measures to prove their residency in order to vote in America in next Tuesday's crucial midterm elections. [Audio link is posted at bottom of article.]

But, first up today, a small measure of good news from a federal court in Georgia regarding Republican Sec. of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp's continuing legal battle to throw out Vote-by-Mail ballots based on dubious hand-writing analysis made by partisan election officials. Kemp insists he has the right to toss out ballots without offering Constitutional due process to voters and continues to appeal the U.S. District Court judge's ruling, meant to avoid the disproportionate rejection of votes cast by African-Americans in Kemp's deadlocked race against African-American Democrat Stacey Abrams.

But while that race, which could turn the state "blue", has received a good deal of attention this year, the "toss-up" gubernatorial contest between Oregon's Democratic incumbent Gov. Kate Brown and her GOP challenger, Knute Buehler, has received far less notice. Despite an expected increase in Democratic turnout this year, the progressive Brown is facing a surprisingly close re-election contest in what is otherwise considered to be a very "blue" state, as the GOP and its corporate supporters are pouring millions into the effort to defeat Brown.

Next, we head to North Dakota, where an astonishing effort by state Republicans to disenfranchise Native Americans was recently approved by the U.S. Supreme Court. The effort to prevent the state's tribal members from voting began almost immediately after Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's razor-thin election by fewer than 3,000 votes back in 2012. Now that she's running for re-election against Republican Kevin Cramer, state Republicans have changed the state's Voter ID law to require physical street addresses rather than the P.O. Box addresses used by many Native American voters living on reservations. In early October, SCOTUS allowed the new requirement to stand, even though the restriction was not in place during primaries last June, giving tribal members less than a month to figure out how to assign addresses to thousands of eligible voters and help prevent chaos and confusion.

Chaos has reportedly reigned, however, even as the state's tribes have been banding together to assign street addresses and create new tribal IDs as quickly as they can, vowing to create such IDs outside polling places even on Election Day on November 6th. On Tuesday, a new lawsuit [PDF] was filed charging that election officials have been rejecting addresses on absentee ballot requests, since newly assigned addresses do not exist in some state databases, and the state's Secretary of State refuses to say whether IDs with new street addresses assigned by Native American voting rights groups will be allowed for use on Election Day.

We're joined today by longtime Native American voting rights advocate OLIVER "OJ" SEMANS, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and co-founder of the non-partisan Four Directions, which focuses on Native American voter engagement and access. He explains his group's extraordinary (and expensive) efforts being taken to help organize against the suppression of ND's shameful new law, why he believes it was enacted, and whether he feels that indigenous Americans in the state will be able to overcome it.

"The rulings by the 8th Circuit and by the [U.S.] Supreme Court was basically severe spinal damage to the backbone of democracy," he tells me. "The backbone of democracy, which is voting, can only take so many kicks in the back like that before it's broken. Native Americans, who have basically enlisted in the United States services, percentage-wise, more than any other race, and have fought for freedoms for the country, have decided that we're going to fight for our own country for awhile and stop this madness."

Semans explains how claims of "voter fraud" used to justify these restrictions by the GOP, in a very Republican state, have no evidence to support them. "More than likely there is fraud --- but it's not by the Native American Indian," he says. "How can you have one party being re-elected, ten years, sixteen years, twenty years, over and over, without some type of fraud being committed. So, yeah, there's probably fraud, but it's not in Indian Country."

He also details how this new voting restriction would never have been allowed to stand at all, had not the U.S. Supreme Court, in 2013, gutted the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 which previously had protected tribal members and other racial minorities from this sort of disenfranchisement. Semans has testified several times in D.C. on behalf of the VRA, going back more than a decade now.

I hope you'll tune in for this, at times, heart-breaking conversation.

Finally today, some listener mail and a bit of a rant against a laughably misleading report on voting systems in St. Louis County, MO, where the most powerful radio station in the state, the 50,000 clear-channel watt blowtorch, KMOX NewsRadio 1120, has misinformed voters that the County's oft-failed and easily-hackable 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting machines and optical scanners are "tamper-proof" and never connected to the Internet. Both assertions --- made by election officials and their private vendor, ES&S, and passed on this week by KMOX (the station I group up listening to) and reporter Kevin Killeen --- are patently false and wildly misleading. As I mentioned on Twitter today, it's a terrible disservice to Show Me State voters that the once-great KMOX would credulously echo such long-ago debunked misinformation to their millions of listeners and readers. I discuss both that, and the woeful response I received from Killeen on Twitter today, to his irresponsible "reporting"...

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: 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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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: 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...

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

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




Guest: Plaintiff, Election Integrity advocate Marilyn Marks; Also: Flooding, toxic crisis worsening after Florence; Midterm voting officially begins...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2018 6:14pm PT  

Voting is now officially under way in the 2018 midterm general elections, as Early Voting finally began on Friday in Minnesota and South Dakota and, very shortly, in at least half a dozen other states around the country in advance of Election Day on November 6th. Voting, however, will not be nearly as simple and verifiable for voters in Georgia, as we discuss in some detail on today's BradCast. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

Meanwhile, as media continue to focus on the extraordinary allegation of sexual assault against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (and Trump's new response to them), as made by Palo Alto University psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford, and whether or not she will appear to give testimony about it to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee next week, the continuing danger and toxic fallout from Hurricane Florence continues in both North and South Carolina a full week after the storm first made landfall. An urgent warning Thursday from Duke Energy about the imminent rupture of a giant holding pond reservoir where toxic coal ash waste is stored became a reality on Friday. At the same time, the human death toll from the storm rose to at least 42, with new evacuations called for in South Carolina on Friday due to still-rising rivers as thousands remained dislocated or without power in North Carolina.

Next, we move to the shameful situation in Georgia, just weeks out from the crucial midterm elections, where Sec. of State Brian Kemp --- the Trump-endorsed Republican who is running for Governor this year against Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams --- is allowing inaccurate voter registration forms, falsely instructing first-time voters that they must mail in proof of residence when registering, to be used across the state.

Even more disturbing is the fact that Peach State voters will be forced, once again, to vote on 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems on Election Day, despite a U.S. District Court Judge finding them this week to be "unverifiable" and featuring "serious vulnerabilities" which are "not just a theoretical, paranoid notion at this point," as defendants in the case, including Kemp, had argued in court. Nonetheless, in response to a motion filed by plaintiffs seeking to force the state to allow Election Day voters to use the same hand-marked paper ballots used for absentee voting for years across the state, Judge Amy Totenberg is allowing GA's unsecurable and unverifiable 16-year old Diebold touchscreen voting machines to be used yet again this November. In her ruling [PDF], she cites defendants' claims of "chaos" and forced poll closures they threatened would ensue if hand-marked paper ballots were ordered for use at polling places this year.

We're joined today by longtime Election Integrity advocate and one of the plaintiffs in the GA case, MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance, to discuss this week's ruling and Kemp's disingenuous defense of his indefensible voting systems.

"The defendants put the judge in a very difficult place because they essentially threatened that they would sabotage the election. They didn't really use those words, but they said, 'We're going to shut down early voting locations in Fulton County'. Fulton County [Atlanta] has 21 early voting locations. They said 'We'll go down to three'. In their briefing, they said they'd go down to one. They also said they may close Election Day polling places if she were to require them to go to a paper ballot," Marks tells me. "And so the vast majority of Georgia's voters are going to vote on what the judge has basically said is going to be an unconstitutional system."

"The court was already very well aware of the science, and she was quite aware of the lack of any effort, and lack of any science, and lack of any expert testimony put on by the defendants. So I think that her decision didn't rest on the science. It was this whole threat of chaos."

Moreover, she says, the state has also falsely claimed that counties were required to use the unverifiable touchscreen systems. "The state not only had been saying it was required by state law, but they had threatened the counties who began to recognize it wasn't required by state law, and that the counties, local authorities, have the ability, on their own, to go to paper ballots. The Secretary of State has been threatening them, telling them 'No, you do not have that authority.' They even told the press that they would punish counties that went to paper ballots."

While Marks, who is a Republican herself, reports the multi-partisan plaintiffs are justifiably disappointed in the court's ruling for the short term, she also details several key findings from the ruling which will be important to the continuing efforts both in this case and other federal challenges like it around the country. Among the favorable finding are that plaintiffs do, in fact, have Constitutional standing to challenge such voting systems in federal court, and that "further delay", according to Judge Totenberg, in moving the state to a verifiable voting system after this year's elections, is "not tolerable".

"The important thing here," Marks explains, is that the judge "said that we were likely to prevail on the merits as we move forward in this case, and our claims are related to constitutional claims. And that is what the scholars, the lawyers, the election advocates across the country are recognizing as such a very important finding in the ruling she has made here. That we are likely to prevail in our argument that this is an unconstitutional system, when the voters cannot rely on an auditable, verifiable system."

Marks also explains one moment from the hearing where she said she thought later: "Man, I'm glad Brad isn't here to hear this, or his head would have exploded." My head subsequently explodes when she relays the story and for much of the rest of my interview today.

While Abrams, Kemp's African-American opponent in the Gubernatorial election, is calling for voters to cast hand-marked paper absentee ballots this year to increase the likelihood of them being accurately tallied, Marks explains why she is not certain that is actually a better option for voters in the state. She details the Catch-22 that GA voters are once again facing, not unlike the Catch-22 Judge Totenberg said she found herself in while deciding how to rule on plaintiffs' motion this week.

And again, my head explodes...

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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: Author, columnist, political scientist David Faris on all of that and on 'packing' the U.S. Supreme Court once Dems return to power...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2018 6:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A stunning political upset in MA's primary on Tuesday, the Kavanaugh hearings continue, and a senior Trump Administration official drops an anonymous late day bombshell in the New York Times. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

First up today, primary election results out of Massachusetts, including the stunning, double-digit defeat of 10-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano by progressive challenger Ayanna Pressley. With no Republicans running in the state's 7th Congressional District this November, Pressley is set to become the first African-American woman to represent MA in the U.S. House.

Then, Judge Brett Kavanaugh dodges many questions as "hypothetical" --- including on whether a sitting President must respond to a subpoena and whether the Constitutional allows one to pardon to themselves-- from Democrats in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the second day of confirmation hearings for Donald Trump's nominee to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat of retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh also stumbled a bit when seemingly taken by surprise by a line of questioning from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) regarding about his knowledge of stolen emails from the Democratic Senator's office during the mid-2000s when, as a GOP operative, Kavanaugh was helping to shepherd George W. Bush nominees through Senate hearings. Leahy indicated that a number of emails still being protected as "committee confidential" for no legitimate reason, demonstrate Kavanaugh was aware of the ill-gotten information and lied about it during Senate testimony some years ago.

"There's a reason that Republicans don't want all of these documents released," argues my guest today, Roosevelt University political scientist DAVID FARIS, columnist at The Week and author of the recently published book It's Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics. He joins us to discuss all of the above, including his thoughts on the Democrats' strategy to oppose Kavanaugh's nomination and to continue his call, first published in his book this Spring, for Democrats, once they eventually regain control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, to "pack" the U.S. Supreme Court with enough new seats to create a Democratic majority to replace the one stolen from them by Republicans in 2016.

"We're still living in the dream palace of the previous normative order," he tells me. "And there's a lot of Senate Democrats who are clinging to the fantasy that if they adhere to Senate norms, then at some point in the future, we will return to what they see as regular order."

Faris discusses how Democrats might have fought harder or more effectively against Kavanaugh's nomination, while conceding they are most likely powerless to block his seating. "I think what's being revealed over the past two days is that they are stuck with a much worse nominee, with much greater baggage, than anyone understood," he says, before adding: "I wish I could say those revelations would be enough to have a couple of Republican senators vote against him, but I've really, over the last couple of years, just lost faith that there are even two people, two Republicans, in the US Senate who are willing to take a political hit to do the right thing."

He is optimistic, however, in describing what he sees as an incredible "generational transformation" of the Democratic Party over the past year or so, highlighted by the rise of more progressive, diverse and younger candidates vying for office, and details what he feels Democrats should do after the November midterms if they are able to regain control of one or both houses of Congress.

Finally today, just before we go off air, stunning breaking news of the anonymous op-ed by "a senior official in the Trump administration" published in the New York Times late on Wednesday. The remarkable column from a self-described member of a "quiet resistance within the administration" charges that Trump is unmoored from reality, that top officials must work to counter his "impulsive," "half-baked," "ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions" in order "contain" the worst and most dangerous of them. The author also asserts that cabinet officials had, at one time, considered "invoking the 25th Amendment" to remove the Trump from office given "the instability many witnessed", but decided against it in order to avoid "a constitutional crisis". Wow.

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Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ 'Gaius Publius' (Thomas Neuburger); Also: Keeping the arts alive in the era of Trump, w/ David Gans, Meredith Hagedorn, Ronit Widmann-Levy...
By Angie Coiro on 8/17/2018 6:12pm PT  

Today's BradCast is guest hosted by me, Angie Coiro, host of In Deep with Angie Coiro.

The Toddler-in-Chief gives us all more fodder than we can stand for a news review: telling Vietnam vets they can’t tell the difference between napalm and Agent Orange; doubling down on pulling security clearances, because anyone dared challenge his authority to do so (those puny blowhards in the military and from the CIA!); and blaming everyone but himself for the skyrocketing price tag of his vanity parade. He showed us! He'll go to Paris and look at their parade, and buy himself some new fighter jets.

Then it's 'GAIUS PUBLIUS' - or rather, THOMAS NEUBURGER, who’s now publishing his commentaries under his real name. You may know his prolific work at Down with Tyranny. He's asked some provocative questions about unions vs. liberals, and how the Democrats fit into that picture. Just as we were speaking, word came down about Trump threatening to pull Bruce Ohr's security clearance. He had some choice words about that, too.

Finally: how arts groups and independent performers are navigating the dual challenge of diminishing funding and politically divided audiences. DAVID GANS is an itinerant independent musician; MEREDITH HAGEDORN founded the small, eclectic Dragon Theatre in a Silicon Valley suburb; and RONIT WIDMANN-LEVY is Director of Arts and Culture at the Oshman Family JCC , a multiple-venue events space. They all face different hurdles keeping their art vibrant.

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Recognizing the 'gravity and importance' of right to an accurate count, court directs parties in lawsuit to focus on 'practical realities' of converting to hand-marked paper ballot system within 3 months...
UPDATE: Court schedules hearing for Sept. 17; rejects defense motions to dismiss...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/13/2018 10:46am PT  

Plaintiffs in a Georgia lawsuit seeking to force the state to move to a hand-marked paper ballot system in time for this year's midterm elections, promise to produce expert testimony to the court, demonstrating that "Georgia's voting system is a catastrophically open invitation to malicious actors intent on disrupting our democracy."

The Coalition for Good Governance and a group of multi-partisan individual plaintiffs filed a motion [PDF] on July 31, seeking a preliminary injunction in the federal case, to prevent Georgia from conducting this year's midterms on the state's notorious Diebold AccuVote TS (touchscreen) Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines. Instead, plaintiffs seek an order that Georgia's election officials utilize, for in-person voting, the same already-certified, Diebold paper ballot-based optical-scan system currently used for tabulation of the Peach State's absentee ballots.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg ordered an expedited briefing schedule on plaintiffs' motion to compel the State of Georgia to adopt this simple method for conducting a verifiable paper ballot election on November 6, 2018.

The plaintiffs cite a massive body of scientific evidence finding the 100% unverifiable Diebold touchscreen systems as essentially electronic black holes, prone to unintended systemic failures and vulnerable to all manner of undetectable malicious manipulation by insiders or anyone else who acquires minimal access to the system or any of its machines. They also point to evidence that the statewide system was previously compromised via the Internet. Plaintiffs argue the 16-year old system deprives the electorate of their constitutional right not only to cast a vote but to have their vote accurately counted.

Recognizing "the gravity and importance of the constitutional issues," the court directed the parties (principally GA Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the state's GOP nominee for governor), as well as the plaintiffs to address "the practical realities surrounding implementation of the requested relief in the next one to three months." Judge Totenberg asks defendants to address the "practical realities" issue in a response by August 14. Plaintiffs' reply is then due by August 20.

The question before the court is monumental and could help set a precedent across the country in other jurisdictions where voters are forced to use unverifiable touchscreens on Election Day, rather than a paper ballot system that is already available via the absentee systems used in all 50 states.

As we documented last year, in "Why Do Georgia Election Officials Insist on 100% Unverifiable Elections?", if the court issues the preliminary injunction, November 6, 2018 would mark the first time in more than a decade and a half that the State of Georgia will have held an election in which it will be possible for human beings to verify or refute the accuracy of an electronic vote tally, thanks to the use of hand-marked paper ballots...

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




Guest: Columnist, broadcaster, former insurance exec Richard 'R.J.' Eskow on the Koch Bros' misleading study on 'Medicare-for-All' cost...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2018 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as the President of the United States continues his tweets and rally cries targeting the free press as "the Enemy of the People", we offer another stark reminder of the danger of those attacks. Then, another reminder of the inevitable move toward "Medicare-for-All" in the U.S. and the mighty forces pushing back against it. [Audio link to today's show is posted below.]

First up, early Sunday morning, just hours before another one of Donald Trump's tweets targeting the media as "purposely caus[ing] division and distrust", characterizing them as "dangerous and sick" and, yes, "the Enemy of the People", a masked gunman opened fired inside of WORT-FM 89.9FM, a long-time progressive radio station (and Pacifica Radio Network affiliate) in Madison, WI. Luckily, among the three hosts in the studio at the time, there was just one, non-life-threatening injury. But the gunman is still on the loose and the volunteers who work at the station are lucky to be alive today.

Of course, progressive radio outlets have long been targets of violence by right-wingers --- long before Trump --- and we don't yet know what the motive was for the attacker at WORT in Madison. But with more and more folks in the mainstream corporate media receiving death threats now as well, as CNN's Brian Stelter noted over the weekend, citing a right-wing columnist at the New York Times, "we are approaching a day when blood on the newsroom floor will be blood on the President's hands". That could already be the case in Madison, WI.

In any event, please consider this a reminder to support the progressive media outlets --- many of them community stations run by volunteers --- who enable you to hear The BradCast every day, in any way that you can!

Next up, a lawsuit was filed against the Trump Administration late last week, alleging that it has failed to honor the Constitution's "Take Care" clause, requiring the President "faithfully execute" the laws of the land". The complaint, filed by the cities of Columbus and Cincinnati, OH, along with Baltimore, MD and Chicago, IL, charges that the Administration is unlawfully undermining and attempting to "sabotage" the Affordable Care Act (or, ObamaCare).

That suit was filed by the four cities, even as many progressives continue to push for a single-payer, universal, "Medicare-for-All" style healthcare system like the one Sen. Bernie Sanders has long called for. With such a plan growing in popularity among both voters and leading Democrats alike, a Koch Brothers-funded think-tank last week came out with a report that they'd hoped would undermine the prospect of a government-run, single-payer insurance program available to all Americans.

The report, misleadingly headlined "'Medicare for All' Plan Would Cost Federal Government $32 Trillion", was picked up by many media outlets who failed to highlight the more salient fact that the $32 trillion cited is actually $2 trillion LESS than Americans already spend on healthcare, even as millions are still without insurance and tens of millions more --- even if they are covered --- are still without access to important items like vision and dental care.

We're joined today by former insurance industry executive turned progressive blogger, columnist and broadcaster RICHARD "R.J." ESKOW to discuss his Los Angeles Times op-ed last week rebutting the misinformation that Charles Blahuas of the right-wing, Koch-funded Mercatus Center attempted to hoax American with.

Eskow, who hosts The Zero Hour podcast and also worked on Sanders' 2016 Presidential campaign, explains how the type of system that the Vermont Senator and, now, many leading 2020 Democratic Presidential contenders are endorsing, would both save Americans money and provide better and more complete care to tens and perhaps hundreds of millions.

"What the Koch Brothers and people who work for them are trying to get us to do is to only think about what the government spends," he tells me, explaining the sleight-of-hand the report uses to make families think such a plan would cost them more money than they are paying already. In fact, he explains, the average family of four would actually save $13,000 a year in healthcare costs.

"This guy who wrote this report unintentionally shot himself in the foot," Eskow argues, "Because even though I believe he stacked the deck against Medicare-For-All by under-estimating the savings and over-estimating the costs, he still couldn't avoid the conclusion that it would save $2 trillion over 10 years. I think it could save more than that, while giving people much better coverage. But even by his standards, the conservative standards, the right-wingers' standards, he has to admit it saves money!"

"We've been brainwashed into thinking that paying a nickel in taxes is worse than paying a dollar to some exploitative health insurance company. I don't think you make that sale anymore. I think people are getting wise to the truth."

Eskow also offers his insight into the fear that some "centrist" establishment Democrats have about such a system, and whether progressive voters should continue to push the party to be more in step with its own voters, or whether those voters need to look elsewhere...

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Guest-host Angie Coiro with Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dave Johnson...
By Angie Coiro on 7/30/2018 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, you won't hear Brad or Desi --- because you'll be very busy hearing me. I'm the host of In Deep with Angie Coiro.

You may have been fooled for a second --- nah, you're too smart --- but casual observers might mistake Jeff Sessions' announcement of a new DOJ "Religious Liberty Task Force" as an effort to address genuine hate crimes, including attacks on Muslim Americans, Jewish Americans, and Sikh Americans. But of course not. He made it clear it’s about bakers afraid of serving LGBTQ customers, or taxpayers having to support icky women – that sort of thing. ANNIE LAURIE GAYLOR is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She puts this latest news in the wider context of Trump’s pro-Christian pandering. While we're at it, we look at how bad for basic civil rights Brett Kavanaugh would be on the Supreme Court.

More news headlines, then DAVE JOHNSON of Seeing The Forest ponders how the concepts of markets, capitalism, and socialism get contorted by propaganda. Even respectable journalists fall victim...

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Guest: BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning; Also: Good news from the courts for voters in FL, IA; Bad news for GOP deficit hawks (if such a creature actually even exists)...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2018 6:42pm PT  

Donald Trump's grip on reality seems to be slipping more and more each day. Or, at least his interest in reality is slipping, if not his interest in deceiving his supporters and everyone around him about demonstrable reality. That sentiment was, perhaps, best summed up when, on Tuesday, the five-time draft dodger declared at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) annual convention in Kansas City: "What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening." Got it?

Among the things that actually are happening, as covered on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below]...

The Administration now (quietly) concedes they were wrong about last year's massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy paying for themselves through a rise in federal revenue. In the first half of 2018, we now know, corporate tax revenue plunged to its lowest level since such data was first tracked beginning in the 1940s. Thanks to slashed corporate tax rates, federal revenues are now lower than the then-historic plunge following the 2017 economic collapse. And, with that, deficits are now set to rise above $1 trillion annually for the foreseeable future. That, of course, is the exact opposite of what Trump, his White House and Congressional Republicans told Americans last year when pushing for their new tax rates and even worse than real economists at the time had predicted.

Then, after former CIA Director John Brennan declared Trump's "performance" at his joint press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last week was "nothing short of treasonous," the White House announced they were seeking to remove his security clearance, along with five other former top U.S. intelligence officials (two of whom no longer have such a clearance anyway) who have been critical of the President's behavior and statements regarding the investigation into Russia's alleged cyberattacks and other interference in the 2016 Presidential election.

The rank politicization of security clearances by a White House may be unprecedented and even one of many impeachable offenses by this President, but does his behavior regarding Russia really rise to "treason", as Brennan argued? BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING joins us today to discuss his recent article on the Constitutional definition of "treason" (the only crime defined in the founding document and one that is punishable by death) and whether the charge could possibly apply to Trump, given that we are not --- at least officially --- "at war" with Russia.

Canning, while he's here, also details two very encouraging court rulings handed down in advance of the crucial 2018 midterm elections, one from a federal court in Florida yesterday, and the other from a state court in Iowa today --- both regarding GOP attempts to restrict early voting and other related issues. In Florida, as Canning explains, the judge described the state's GOP-run state Election Division's restrictions on creating early voting sites at state colleges and universities displayed "a stark pattern of discrimination" in violation of the U.S. Constitution's 26th Amendment. And, in Iowa, the court ruled the Republican state legislature's newly enacted law and GOP Sec. of State effort to promote it "substantially and directly interfere with Iowans' constitutional rights to vote."

Finally today, speaking of reality, on Tuesday the Kremlin made clear they had no intention of accepting Trump's invitation for Putin to come to Washington D.C. this fall for a second summit. That, despite Trump and his Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders previously declaring that plans were already being made for the meeting. Today, White House officials were finally forced to admit the meeting will not, in fact, take place, though the admission was misreported by some in the media as, naturally, the White House pretended it was their choice, not Russia's...

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A compromised Russian asset, even if the President of the United States, cannot be guilty of treason unless we are 'at war' with Russia...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/23/2018 10:47am PT  

Of all of the reactions to the July 16 joint press conference in Helsinki, Finland in which Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump responded to reporters' questions, perhaps the harshest assessment came in a Tweet by former CIA Director John Brennan.

Trump's "performance", Brennan contended, "rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous."

Brennan may have been uniquely positioned to offer that assessment since he was amongst the intelligence officials, who, on Jan. 6, 2017, showed President-Elect Trump emails and texts between high-level members of Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, that purportedly establish that Putin had personally ordered the cyberattack on the 2016 election.

Various half-hearted walk-backs aside, Trump's continued refusal to accept that Putin personally ordered Russia's alleged cyberattacks on the 2016 election and denial that any such attacks might have even taken place, is at odds with (a) the bipartisan conclusions offered by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee; (c) an extraordinarily detailed, 37-page speaking indictment in February, setting forth how 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies allegedly carried out an illegal foreign influence campaign, and (d) the more recent, 29-page, July 13 indictment filed against 12 members of the GRU, laying out the dates and specific manner in which named individuals are said to have carried out cyberattacks on the DNC, Hillary Clinton's campaign chair and many others.

The July 13 indictment also details the manner in which Special Counsel investigators say emails --- purloined information --- from several of those attacks were weaponized for release during the campaign and that, for the first time, the GRU had targeted Clinton's "personal office" emails on the very same day that candidate Trump publicly called for Russia to find her "missing" emails during a July 27, 2016 campaign rally.

Ironically, as observed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, Trump's decision to cast aside the unanimous conclusions of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement after the Helsinki summit was promptly followed by a "Perry Mason moment" when Putin was questioned by Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason at the joint press conference of the two Presidents:

Mason: "Did you want President Trump to win the election, and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?"

Putin: "Yes, I did. Yes, I did."

Early-on, as we reported last February, after accepting an assignment to conduct a human-sourced intelligence investigation into Trump's ties to Russia, Christopher Steele, a former British MI-6 intelligence officer, informed Glenn Simpson of research firm Fusion GPS that he, Steele, had a professional responsibility to report his findings to the FBI. He explained his reasoning at the time. Steele believed he'd uncovered a "crime in progress" and that there was a chilling prospect that the man who might become the 45th President of the United States was and is a compromised Russian asset.

Hillary Clinton appeared to share Steele's concern. During a debate, she not only described Trump as "Putin's puppet," but also presciently added: "You encouraged espionage against our people, sign up for his wish list: break up NATO, do whatever he wants."

The very notion that a Commander-in-Chief could be a compromised foreign asset is so unprecedented that it is difficult to comprehend. Just think how history would have turned out if it had been George Washington instead of General Benedict Arnold who had committed treason.

Yet, the factors that suggest Trump is indeed compromised include, but are not limited to, (a) the retention of Michael Flynn for 18 days after Acting AG Sally Yates warned the White House that the DOJ believed Flynn was a compromised Russia asset, firing him only after Flynn was publicly exposed by the Washington Post; (b) the disclosure of highly classified information to Russia's ambassador during an Oval Office meeting; (c) the continuing refusal to impose Congressionally enacted sanctions against Russia --- a refusal that violates the President's duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed --- and (d) Trump's performance at and after the Helsinki Summit.

If Trump is, indeed, a compromised Russian asset, it would represent a monstrous betrayal, a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States and grounds for his removal from office. But, as Brad Friedman correctly observed during a July 16 BradCast, the question as to whether that betrayal amounts to "treason" entails a difficult, unsettled and far murkier legal issue as to whether the U.S. and Russia are at war...

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




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