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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, January 21, 2019
Sunday 'Hamberder Helper' Toons
Have it your way, with a heaping helping in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
WI Lame Duck GOP Election Power-Grab Blocked: 'BradCast' 1/18/19
Guest: One Wisconsin Now's Analiese Eicher; Also: New MI SoS to settle gerrymander case; Explosive BuzzFeed report says Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project...
'Collusion' Confusion, Shutdown Woes, Tax Truth: 'BradCast' 1/17/19
Trump paid Cohen to rig online polls; Giuliani moves Russia goal posts (again); Prez throws Pelosi tantrum; Shutdown taking toll; And why Ocasio-Cortez is freaking out the GOP...
'Green News Report' 1/17/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Dems grill Trump EPA chief nom; Federal criminal action against polluters hit 30-year low; Historic heat grips Australia; PLUS: Biz world finally waking up to climate impacts...
Previous GNRs: 1/15/19 - 1/10/19 - Archives...
'Low Barr' for AG Nom, and a 'Symphony of Lawlessness': 'BradCast' 1/16/19
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Surprisingly good court news; SOTU cancelled?; ISIS not defeated...
Power to the People?: CA Could Buy State's Largest Private Utility at 'Fire Sale' Price: 'BradCast' 1/15/19
Guest: LATimes' Michael Hiltzik; Also: Court blocks Census question; Barr testifies...
'Green News Report' 1/15/19
Intense winter storms from coast to coast; Govt shutdown threatens public health, safety; 2018 was hottest year on record for world's oceans, putting planet in hot water...
'Unauditable' Barcoded 'Paper Ballot' Systems for GA, L.A. County: 'BradCast' 1/14/19
Guest: Marilyn Marks; Also: Crippling weather; Trump shutdown, probe news; PG&E to seek bankruptcy protection; L.A. teachers on strike...
Sunday 'Hitting the Wall' Toons
All in all it's just a...'nother episode of PDiddie's weekly toon collection. And another brick in the 2019 American wall...
Shutdown or Shakedown?: 'BradCast' 1/11/19
Guest: TX Civil Rights Project's Ricky Garza on Trump's Rio Grande land grab; Also: An impossible (but real!) 60-year old warning about 'Trump' & his 'wall'...
Shutdown Threatening Safety of Nation's Food Supply: 'BradCast' 1/10/19
Guest: Food/ag coorespondent Tom Philpott; Also: 'Nat'l emergency' coming as shutdown polls plummet for Trump and Senate Repubs?...
'Green News Report' 1/10/19
Fiat-Chrysler's big fines; Trump threatens to cut off CA FEMA funds; U.S. emissions spiked in 2018; PLUS: Dems push back, and ahead, on climate action...
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: Analiese Eicher of One Wisconsin Now; Also: MI's new Dem SoS looks to settle gerrymander case; Buzzfeed charges Trump told Cohen to lie to feds about Moscow Trump Tower project...
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2019 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, good news for voters in Wisconsin and Michigan, not nearly as good news for Donald Trump. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, the White House is desperately scrambling for new distractions from Trump's unpopular, nearly month-long federal government shutdown and, of more pressing import for the President on Friday, an explosive report published Thursday night by BuzzFeed News. The otherwise uncorroborated article alleges that Trump instructed his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to federal investigators about the Trump Organization's proposed deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The story cites two unnamed sources as "federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter" and claims that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office learned about the directive "through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents."

Cohen has admitted to lying to Congress and federal investigators about a number of matters and was sentenced last November to three years in prison after cooperating with Mueller's probe. If the story proves true that Trump instructed him to lie about the project --- which was reportedly still being worked on by Trump through June of 2016, much later than he had initially admitted --- it would, according to Democrats today, amount to evidence of the subornation of perjury as well as obstruction of justice, both impeachable offenses.

We also share the reaction today from Trump and the White House, neither of which denied the reporting initially, choosing to attack Cohen and BuzzFeed instead. Later, Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani asserted that "Any suggestion --- from any source --- that the President counseled Michael Cohen to lie is categorically false." [POST-SHOW UPDATE: In a rare and carefully worded statement issued late Friday evening by Mueller's office, after we got off air, they disputed BuzzFeed's "description of specific statements...and characterization of documents and testimony obtained" by the Special Counsel.]

In other news today, a federal judge in Wisconsin on Thursday made short order of a challenge to new limits on Early Voting and allowable polling place IDs in the state after Republicans rammed through new restrictions during an extraordinary lame-duck session of the legislature last December, following Governor Scott Walker's re-election loss in the November midterm election. Thanks to heavy turnout, including record Early Voting numbers, Democrats won every statewide contest on the ballot and 54% of the votes for the State Assembly. But, thanks to partisan gerrymandering by state Republicans, they won only one third of its seats.

In a terse, 5-page ruling [PDF] on Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Peterson ruled it was "not a close question" that the GOP's newly enacted voting restrictions were an unconstitutional violation of voting rights, just as he had found nearly identical provisions to be, as passed by GOP lawmakers in 2016.

We're joined today by ANALIESE EICHER, one of the named plaintiffs from One Wisconsin Now's lawsuit challenging both the 2016 law and the late 2018 lame-duck version which Walker signed just days before leaving office. In addition to that court victory on Thursday, the non-partisan group had another on Friday, when a different court ruled that Republican lawmakers were in violation of the First Amendment by blocking the organization and others on Twitter. (Heads up, Alabama Sec. of State John Merrill!)

In neighboring Michigan, the new Democratic Sec. of State Jocelyn Benson announced she was seeking a settlement with Democratic challengers to the legislative and Congressional districts drawn by Republicans in that state. The previous Sec. of State, a Republican, was preparing to defend what Dems describe, with very good evidence, to be an extreme and unconstitutional partisan gerrymander after the 2010 Census. (One such piece of evidence are emails from GOP lawmakers discussing districts mean to "give the finger" to a former Democrat Congressman, and to "cram ALL the Dem garbage" into four districts so Republicans could control more seats across the state.)

A settlement with the newly seated SoS could result in new district maps drawn before the 2020 election. Last November, MI voters approved a ballot initiative that would put an independent redistricting commission in charge of drawing maps following the 2020 Census.

Finally today, we're sent off into the weekend with a pretty hilarious song about Donald Trump's wall, courtesy of satirist Randy Rainbow...

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

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GOP knew about fraud, ignored it; Also: GOP fraud in NY; 82 Walker noms approved in WI lame duck; Lame duck 'GOP smash and grab' in MI...
By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2018 6:45pm PT  

No, Iraq hasn't (yet) announced plans to invade North Carolina to help spread democracy. But, on today's BradCast, it's starting to look like it might not be a bad idea. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Just before air today, Dan McCready, the Democratic candidate in NC's 9th Congressional District U.S. House race tainted by evidence of GOP absentee ballot election fraud, withdrew his concession offered last month. McCready charges that Republican Mark Harris "bankrolled criminal activity" in the district in the hiring of contractor McCrae Dowless who appears to have gamed absentee ballots in Bladen and perhaps Robeson Counties, resulting in the 905-vote margin by which Harris had previously been thought to have won.

At the same time, NC-9's incumbent Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger, who Harris reportedly defeated in the primary last May, tells Washington Post that his concerns about fraud during that race --- when he lost to Harris by just 828 votes (more than half of them absentee ballots from Bladen) --- were shared with both state and national GOP officials at the time. Nonetheless, despite years-long claims of concern about fraud leading to passage of often unconstitutional GOP laws that restrict the ability of many Democratic-leaning voters to cast ballots, Republicans took no action after the primary. In fact, similar concerns about absentee ballot fraud by the same contractor surfaced after the 2016 election in the state as well.

The Charlotte Observer has now called for the 2018 election in NC-9 to be started over, from scratch, beginning with the primary. "Evidence demands it," their editorial board opined this week. We've got a whole bunch of late-breaking news related to the burgeoning NC-9 election fraud scandal today (along with my completely irresponsible prediction about how this entire thing ends).

Also, in related news, a newly emerging election fraud scandal in New York, where Republican and Independence Party leaders have now been charged with forging signatures on nominating petitions in order to boost chances for GOP candidates. (If that sounds familiar, it's because Republicans, apparently --- including very high-profile ones --- do that quite a bit.)

Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin and Michigan this week continued their efforts to undermine the will of the midterm voters in the wake of disastrous performances in the November elections. In Wisconsin, where the GOP-gerrymandered legislature on Wednesday adopted unprecedented measures during an extraordinary lame duck session to remove power from the Governor, the Attorney General and voters in advance of Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers and AG-elect Josh Kaul taking office next month, state lawmakers also confirmed 82 appointees of outgoing Republican Governor Scott Walker to state positions in one single day. Several of the positions had reportedly been vacant for as long as a year, and more than 30 of the new appointees have had no public hearing whatsoever in the state Senate. That power grab is particularly hypocritical for Walker, who warned his Democratic predecessor in 2010 to avoid all new appointments in the final two months of his term.

In Michigan, GOP lawmakers have proven similarly disdainful of voters during the lame duck session. Earlier this year, they adopted two voter-initiated ballot measures concerning increases to the state's minimum wage and paid sick leave for workers in order to prevent the proposals from appearing on the November ballot. But, this week, during the lame duck period before Democrat Gretchen Whitmer can be sworn in, Republican lawmakers gutted the measures they had just adopted in September. They would not have been able to do that had they been voted on by voters. The controversial --- and perhaps unconstitutional --- effort was given the green light by outgoing Republican AG Bill Schuette, who lost his bid for Governor in November to Whitmer.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with a bunch of very bad news on global carbon emissions and climate change, but a bit of encouraging news from several major companies in response to it...

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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Trump tariff idiocy; Runoff results and an election contest in GA; Good news in Little Rock, AR; More on NC-9's GOP election fraud scandal; WI Republicans muscle through their brazen power grab...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2018 7:10pm PT  

Given many of the stories covered on today's BradCast, it's beginning to feel more and more each day like the GOP is a party in its death throes. Of course, rumors of that death have been greatly exaggerated in the past. [Audio link to show follows below]

Among the many stories covered on today's program...

  • The stock market was closed today in observance of a national day of mourning declared for President George H.W. Bush, whose funeral ceremony was held on Wednesday at the National Cathedral in D.C. The market closures may prove to have been a good thing, given that the Dow plummeted some 800 points on Tuesday after it became clear that Donald Trump and his Administration had lied over the weekend regarding a deal with China to avoid more tariffs on Chinese imports. During a Twitter rant that helped send the markets plunging, Trump appeared to reveal once again that he has no idea what tariffs actually are. He seems to believe they involve foreign countries paying money to the U.S., rather than an actual tax on American consumers. Is it conceivable that he really does not understand this by now? Or is he just continuing to play his supporters for chumps? We discuss;
  • In Georgia's runoff election for Secretary of State on Tuesday, Republican Brad Raffensperger has declared himself the winner over Democrat John Barrow, in a race that will have serious repercussions for the 2020 Presidential election in the trending-"blue" southern state, where voter suppression and 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems created havoc in the 2018 Gubernatorial race said to have been won by GOP Sec. of State Brian Kemp. Raffensperger has called for new 100% touchscreen systems that create unverifiable computer-marked/barcoded ballot summary cards. Barrow, who is waiting for late absentee ballots to actually be tallied, has called for the only system of voting that is actually verifiable by the public after an election: hand-marked paper ballots.

    At the same time, the state's largest newspaper, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, has finally noticed the wildly anomalous undervote rate from the November 6th general election in the Lt. Governor's race, as only seen in the unverifiable touchscreen results, not on the vote-by-mail paper absentee ballots. Last week, we discussed these concerns with plaintiff Marilyn Marks of the non-partisan Coalition for Good Governance. Two weeks ago, Marks filed an election lawsuit contesting the results of the Lt. Governor's race. She and other plaintiffs are seeking a first-of-its-kind post-election forensic audit of the state's voting systems in light of the seemingly inexplicable undervote numbers;

  • But there was some good news from Tuesday's runoffs as well. In Little Rock, Arkansas, where, six decades after angry white mobs protested the integration of nine black students at the Little Rock Central High School in 1957, the town will now have its very first elected African-American mayor!;
  • In North Carolina, new details continue to emerge from the intensifying GOP absentee ballot election fraud scandal which has prevented the certification of Republican Mark Harris' purported 905-vote "win" over Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th District U.S. House race. A second woman has now come forward to allege that she was paid to unlawfully collect absentee ballots by McCrae Dowless, a former felon contracted by Harris in Bladen Country and, as discussed today, by the Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker. The GOP Sheriff has deleted his campaign webpage on Facebook and refuses to comment after he was found to have paid thousands of dollars to Dowless along with Harris.

    A top Democrat in the U.S. House has now suggested that "Republican operatives stole" the House seat and cites the silence from the Trump Administration about it. "LOCK THEM UP," quipped new House Democratic Caucus chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) on Tuesday. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) has now called for a new election and, on Wednesday, he was joined in that call by the editorial board of The Charlotte Observer, the state's largest newspaper.

    (For my part, I'm just happy that at least some in the media reporting on this have finally noticed they were previously misreporting on it as a "voter fraud", rather than election fraud, scandal, even though voters are accused of having done nothing wrong here. In fact, they are the ones who appear to have been defrauded in this matter by GOP insiders! Happily, the Washington Post removed three references to "voter fraud" in one of their stories after my complaints last week.)

    All of that, even as Republicans in the state's legislature continue to jam through a polling place Photo ID voting restriction during the lame duck period before they lose their supermajority in the upcoming new session, along with their ability to override a veto from the state's Democratic Governor. The Photo ID measure, which they've been trying to adopt for years, claiming it necessary to prevent "voter fraud", did not, until today, apply to absentee voting --- where actual fraud clearly exists;

  • Finally today, speaking of lame ducks, the GOP-gerrymandered and controlled state legislature in Wisconsin worked, literally, all night to jam through a bill aimed at stealing power from incoming Democratic Governor Tony Evers, incoming Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul and from the state's voters who elected Democrats for every statewide office in November. Adopted by party line votes in both chambers as the sun rose today after another all-night session, Republicans hope GOP Gov. Scott Walker will sign the measure before leaving office after the first of the year. Walker, who was rejected by voters last month, has said he planned to do so.

    As we discussed on yesterday's program, the outrageous GOP power grab in WI mirrors a similar coup by the NC legislature in 2016 after a Democrat was elected as Governor in that state. Republican lawmakers in Michigan are also considering similarly desperate measures before Democrats take over as Governor and Sec. of State in that state next month. All in all, the desperate power grabs by GOPers around the country do not suggest a healthy party but, rather, one that may well be revealing its political death throes.

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

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Guest: OneWisconsinNow's Analiese Eicher; Also: Updates on the GOP absentee ballot election fraud probe in the NC-9 U.S. House race...
By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2018 6:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The GOP's utter contempt for democracy and voters is now on full display in several states where things did not go well for the party during the November midterms, and nowhere more so than Wisconsin. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In states where Democratic candidates did well in last month's midterms, leading to a loss of control by Republican lawmakers, there is now a desperate and brazen scramble in lame duck legislative sessions to pass laws in hopes of robbing power from incoming Democrats before they can be seated. In Michigan, for example, where Dems won statewide races for Governor and Secretary of State and voters overwhelmingly adopted ballot initiatives to expand voting rights, GOPers are jamming through last-minute legislation to prevent the Election Day registration that voters had adopted.

In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled state legislature is ramming through a Photo ID restriction law before they lose their Super-Majority to override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper's vetoes. That action is particularly hypocritical as the state is in the midst of a massive absentee ballot election fraud scandal, apparently perpetrated by a GOP contractor and former felon hired by Republican Mark Harris in his race against Democrat Dan McCready for the U.S. House seat in the state's 9th district. Republicans claim that Photo ID voting restrictions at the polling place are necessary to prevent fraud --- of which there is little or none by voters --- even while calling for Harris to be certified by the state despite clear evidence of serious absentee ballot fraud on behalf of the Republican candidate. We've got more new details on that ongoing probe today, which has prevented Harris' reported win --- by just 905 votes out of more than 280,000 tallied --- from being certified by the state Board of Elections.

But it is Wisconsin today where the GOP is attempting perhaps the most audacious power grab in the nation this year. As Republican Gov. Scott Walker was voted out in November in favor of Democrat Tony Evers, the GOP is attempting to usurp the powers of the incoming Governor, along with Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, on a litany of issues before they can be sworn in. The new provisions, never mentioned by Republicans during the campaign, were introduced suddenly in a massive 144-page bill unveiled late last Friday night in a special legislative lame duck session called before Walker is finally out.

Despite Democrats having won every statewide contest on the ballot in Wisconsin's 2018 midterms, Republicans were able to retain control of the wildly gerrymandered State Assembly. They received just 45 percent of the vote overall, but will nonetheless control 63 of 99 seats in the Assembly. This week, they are using that ill-gotten legislative muscle to swipe the incoming Governor and AG's powers. They hope to block the Democrats' campaign promises to expand healthcare and ease suppressive voting restrictions (which arguably resulted in enough voter disenfranchisement to narrowly give the state to Donald Trump in 2016). Republicans are also attempting to restrict early voting in 2020 in hopes of avoiding losses similar to those suffered by GOPers in 2018. The unprecedented Republican power grab has led to protests at the state capital in Madison this week of the type not seen since shortly after Walker took power in 2011 and immediately worked with the Republican legislature to strip collective bargaining rights from public union members.

We're joined today by OneWisconsinNow's ANALIESE EICHER --- a plaintiff in the 2016 federal case which struck down the WI GOP's previous attempt to curtail early voting --- to detail the outrageous and unprecedented #WIGOPPowerGrab being strong-armed through the state legislature tonight.

"What we're seeing here is the obliteration of the separation of powers," Eicher tells me. "We know that when Republicans don't like the results, they seek to change the rules and to change how things operate. With Democrats sweeping six statewide elections here in Wisconsin, the only option for the Republicans to maintain what they thought was their really, really great unilateral control of the State of Wisconsin is to make changes."

"We're seeing everything from limiting local governments' abilities to do work on their roads, limiting their abilities to pay a prevailing wage, changing the makeup and composition of boards and commissions in Wisconsin, so that the legislature has equal or more power than the Governor in regards to appointments. We're seeing change's to people's abilities to get healthcare and receive benefits," she says.

"We're seeing changes to the Attorney General's office, as to whether the Attorney General can leave a lawsuit or join a lawsuit," she explains, referring to Kaul's vow to remove WI from the federal lawsuit by several GOP-controlled states challenging the Constitutionality of ObamaCare and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. "This extraordinary session bill severely limits his ability to essentially do what he campaigned on, and what people voted for him to do."

As one Democrat noted during hearings today in Madison, the action being taken by the legislature "will invalidate the results of the will of the people and shows direct contempt for the voters". But, of course, that is the whole idea, since Republicans now clearly hate democracy. Eicher argues Republicans "want to stay in power, no matter what the cost" and suggests "voters are not responding well to what's happening in this extraordinary session." She believes they will pay a price for this in 2020.

Finally today, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, with a look at the late George H.W. Bush's environmental legacy, Donald Trump's isolation of the U.S. on climate change policy at the recent G20 meeting in Argentina, and a warning for the world issued this week as the annual U.N. climate summit opened this week in Poland...

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: 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"...

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Guest: Harold Feld of Public Knowledge; Also: Khashoggi was banned by Saudi Arabia after criticizing TRUMP; Still fighting voter suppression...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2018 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More chilling Khashoggi news, more maddening voter suppression, and the Republican deregulation of phone companies in Florida and at the FCC have deadly consequences in the Sunshine State. [Audio link to full show is at bottom of article.]

First up today, an update on the latest in the alleged Saudi murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the wildly unreported fact that he had "self-exiled" from Saudi Arabia after being banned by the Saudis from writing and appearing on television or at conferences back in December of 2016 --- for being critical of then President-elect Donald Trump! That point seems quite important, given the Trump Administration's continuing efforts to help cover up the assassination in coordination with the Saudis and their ruling Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, after they repeatedly lied about the grisly killing of a journalist who had been mildly critical of Trump, as first reported in late 2016 and by the U.S. State Department in 2017.

Next, GOP voter suppression continues across many states in advance of the crucial November 6th midterms. Over the weekend on Twitter, President Trump lauded Georgia's Republican Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, who as Secretary of State, has been working for years to suppress tens and even hundreds of thousands of disproportionately African-American voters in the Peach State. Kemp, as the state's chief election official, is overseeing his own election in a reportedly tight race for Governor against African-American Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams.

Trump also took the opportunity on Twitter over the weekend to falsely fan the flames of the GOP's phony claims of "VOTER FRAUD" in hopes, according to the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, of inciting government officials and law enforcement to intimidate minority voters before the crucial November 6 election. The Lawyer's Committee heads up the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline to answer question and help trouble-shoot voting problems, such as recent reports that early voters are being either turned away or forced to vote by provisional ballot --- rather than normal ones --- if the address on their ID does not match the one under which they are registered. Georgia's Photo ID voting restriction does not require registration addressees to match those on IDs (e.g. student voters who may not have in-state driver licenses or those who recently moved but have not yet updated their license.) Please contact the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline with questions about local voting laws or any problems at the polls --- and share that number far and wide over the next two weeks!

Finally, despite national media now focusing elsewhere, the devastation in Florida's Panhandle following the Category 4 Hurricane Michael two weeks ago continues and the official death toll is still rising. At the same time, power and phone service is still out in a number of rural areas, thanks in no small part to the deregulation of telecommunications company rules by Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott shortly after taking office in 2011, and by Donald Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

We're joined today by Public Knowledge's Senior Vice President HAROLD FELD, who has been warning for years about exactly such a situation. Feld explains how Scott gutted almost all of Florida's telecom company rules when he signed the "Regulatory Reform Act of 2011" and how Pai went still further when he gutted Obama-era phone company regulations in November of 2017.

Scott's 2011 measure "was a complete deregulation of the telephone industry in Florida. It removed the state Public Service Commission from any sort of jurisdiction over residential telephone service. It removed something called 'Carrier of Last Resort,' which means there always has to be a telephone provider in the area. It even removed the ability of the Public Service Commission to take complaints from consumers," Feld tells me. He describes it as "one of the most radical deregulations in the country."

As to the federal regulations scrapped by Trump's FCC, that was in response to federal regulations enacted in the wake of the disastrous performance by Verizon following SuperStorm Sandy in 2012, when copper lines were swept away, and phone companies failed to restore them, claiming that the use of cell phones meant they were no longer necessary. Obama's FCC insisted that "no repairing was not an option," says Feld. But Pai "insisted that there was no reason for any of these regulations [and] that companies have private incentive to deploy these networks, despite everything that actually happened," particularly in rural areas, following Sandy.

The Government, he notes, largely for decades has recognized "that it's always going to be profitable [to ensure service] in the cities, [but] it's not going to be profitable once you get out into the rural areas." So, it's been a value and tradition "through each upgrade of our communication network --- when we went from letters to the telegraph, from the telegraph to the telephone" to ensure service to all. But that's no longer the case.

Like Gov. Scott's Florida, Feld describes, some 37 states have lifted similar decades-old telecommunications requirements, thanks to legislation encouraged by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a privately-funded partnership between major corporations and (mostly) Republican state lawmakers.

The Republicans' deregulate-at-all-costs efforts to gut regulations --- regulations that Pai scoffed at before he became Trump's FCC Chairman --- may now be costing lives in Florida, as many in rural areas, as of late last week, remained unaccounted for, weeks after the storm. The non-partisan Public Knowledge group is suing for a reversal of those deregulations, and Florida's own Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal, a longtime resident of the Panhandle himself, is now also begging Pai to consider a reversal...

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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...

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Also: Why 118,000 voters were left off the pollbooks in Los Angeles; Buyers remorse as Trump trade war, immigration policies undercut his own voters...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2018 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast: While voters head to the polls today in Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas and Washington state (results and problem reports from those states on tomorrow's show), we look at some of the problems still emerging from primary races earlier this year, and new documentation on Donald Trump's now-disbanded hoax "voter fraud" commission, headed up by Kansas' con-man Secretary of State Kris Kobach (who is on the KS ballot seeking the GOP nomination for Governor today). We also look at some of the Trump voters who say they've had enough, and the "idiots" still with him, even as he continues to undermine them, the economy and small business across the country. [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's program...

  • Maine's Democratic Sec. of State Matt Dunlap who, as a Commissioner on Trump's so-called "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" was forced to sue the Commission to get documentation on what they were actually doing, calls his time on the panel "the most bizarre thing I've ever been a part of". After finally receiving some 8,000 documents by court order, Dunlap concedes the Commission was little more than a scam to try and prove Trump's evidence-free theory that anywhere from 3 to 5 million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election (in which some 3 million more votes were cast for Hillary Clinton than Trump.) Long-time GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach responds to Dunlap today, by citing two easily-debunked "reports" on "voter fraud" created by rightwing outlets to hoax the nation into instituting disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions at the polls.
  • New evidence and testimony submitted with a new court filing in a lawsuit against Georgia and its Sec. of State (and, now, GOP gubernatorial nominee) Brian Kemp, reveal massive problems during the state's May primaries and July primary runoffs, including voters given the wrong ballots, the wrong precincts at which to vote, and, in at least once precinct, 670 ballots cast despite only 276 registered voters in the precinct. (The lawsuit challenges GA's use of 100% unverifiable voting systems and seeks to force the state to move to hand-marked paper ballots before November. My most recent interview with plaintiff Marilyn Marks, the Exec. Dir. of the non-partisan Coalition for Good Governance, is here.)
  • Los Angeles County finally has an explanation for why more than 118,000 names were left off the printed polling place voter rosters during California's June 5th statewide primary. The County's official explanation is posted here, along with a link to the Executive Summary [PDF] of the report by IBM Security Services, the group commissioned to carry out an independent probe of what happened. The County has chosen to not share the full investigative report with the public.
  • Trump's trade war is continuing to take its toll. Toyota recently announced that as much as $3,000 could be added to the sticker price of some of its most popular models, and thousands of U.S. jobs may be imperiled in the bargain. And, as NBC News finds Trump's anti-immigration policies are costing small businesses dearly --- particularly in "Trump Country" from the Midwest to Texas to Maryland --- CNN finds that some, but not all, Trump voters are regretting their 2016 votes and deeply embarrassed by this President.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as record heat takes its toll across the globe, thousands of fire fighters in California are battling some 16 wildfires, including the largest in state history, toxic algae is stinking up the state of Florida, and something really stinks in North Carolina.

Enjoy!...

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Guest: Common Cause Nat'l Redistricting Manager Dan Vicuna; Also: Scheme to add Medicaid work requirements in KY struck down, and Trump's trade wars are now costing real American jobs...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2018 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court, is all hope lost for overturning partisan (and racial) gerrymanders that have helped to keep Democrats and their voters from enjoying appropriate and Constitutional representation at both the state and federal level?

But, before that today: What appears to be good news from a U.S. District Court striking down the Trump Administration's approval of Kentucky's cruel new work requirement for Medicaid recipients as "arbitrary and capricious", may not end up being quite as good news as it sounds. We explain why.

Next: Trump's tariffs and trade wars are beginning to cost jobs in the U.S., and the first jobs losses are to Trump supporters in Missouri. The next victims could be those who work in the U.S. automobile industry. Of course, all of this could be stopped in its tracks but, apparently, the Republicans who control both houses of Congress have no interest in putting the brakes on this out of control and dangerous Presidency.

Then: The final two weeks of the U.S. Supreme Court's term have been disappointing ones for many, including opponents of both partisan and racial gerrymandering. Federal courts in multiple states had determined that Republican-controlled states (and one Democratic one) had unlawfully and unconstitutionally created U.S. House and state legislative maps that impermissibly prevented voters from being appropriately represented in Congress and state legislatures.

Over the past two weeks, however, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that had struck down several racial gerrymanders in Texas, and they also punted three different partisan gerrymandering cases, in Wisconsin, Maryland and North Carolina, back to the lower courts for rehearing. Perhaps the most disappointing such case was Common Cause v. Rucho in the closely divided swing-state of North Carolina, where a federal appeals court found a clear case of partisan gerrymandering and ordered the entire U.S. House map to be redrawn in time for the 2018 midterms.

In that case, the Republicans who drew the map admitted they did so in order to give the GOP a 10 to 3 partisan advantage in U.S. House seats, despite state voters narrowly supporting Obama in 2008, Trump in 2016, and with Democrats winning statewide elections for Governor and Attorney General that same year.

And all of those SCOTUS punts came just before Justice Anthony Kennedy, who gerrymandering opponents had hoped would finally be the swing vote to end the practice of partisan redistricting once and for all, announced his retirement instead.

We're joined today by Common Cause's National Redistricting Manager DAN VICUNA to explain the outcomes and current status of those cases in TX, WI, MD and NC, and how opponents of gerrymandering plan to move ahead now that Kennedy --- their greatest hope for ending the practice nationally, once and for all --- will no longer be on the Court when those cases ultimately return.

"Mind you," Vicuna points out, regarding the thumbs up, for now, that SCOTUS gave to NC to continue using their current partisan gerrymanders in 2018, "the reason why they redrew these maps in 2016, late in a Census redistricting cycle, is because their original map was struck down as an illegal racial gerrymander."

Finally, speaking of the extremist Republican legislature in NC, lawmakers there on Friday approved a statewide initiative for the 2018 ballot, on a partyline vote, that would, if supported voters, amend the state constitution to require Photo ID voting restrictions at the polling place. That, after a law they had passed to do the same thing was struck down in 2016 by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because it was found to have targeted African-American voters "with almost surgical precision"...

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

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P.S. Tables are turned on me, a bit, in a new podcast from the great Terrence McNally, long time progressive broadcaster and podcaster, in which he interviews me on all manner of things, from how The BRAD BLOG got started in the first place about 15 years ago, to what we need to do to climb out of the soup this country is now in as we barrel toward the 2018 mid-terms. McNally is a great interviewer, and the discussion, I think you'll find, is quite a lively and fun one --- particularly given the dark hours we're now in! It airs this weekend, but you can listen to it now right here...

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Guest: NatSec journalist Marcy Wheeler on leaked Mueller questions, Cohen tossed under the bus, and Trump stealing his own medical records; Also: GOP photo ID voting restriction law blocked in AR, allowed in TX...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2018 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The chaos that is the Trump Administration continues to move faster than anyone can possibly keep up with. But we try. [Audio link to show follows below]

First up today: Late last week a judge in Arkansas found the state's second try at a Photo ID voting restriction law to be as unconstitutional as the one struck down by the state Supreme Court four years ago. The new measure, adopted by Arkansas' Republican-majority legislature, has now been blocked in advance of the state's mid-term primaries coming up later this month. Leslie Rutledge, the state Attorney General who unsuccessfully defended the law, failed to demonstrate any evidence of voter fraud in court. The state is now appealing the lower court ruling. But, as we reported back in 2014, Rutledge herself committed actual voter fraud when she voted by mail in Arkansas even after registering to vote in Washington D.C.!

News out of Texas on this front is not as encouraging, as a split decision by a three-judge panel on the conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided to allow that state's new version of its voter-suppressing Photo ID law to be used in the 2018 mid-terms, though opponents are likely to appeal. Lower courts --- and even a unanimous panel on the 5th Circuit itself --- have repeatedly found both versions of the state's GOP-adopted state statute to be unlawful and/or in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Then, we're joined today by national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel to try and make sense of, among other things, the nearly four dozen questions said to be from Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe for Donald Trump, as published by the New York Times on Monday night after apparently being leaked by someone on Team Trump. Those questions include queries on Trump's alleged obstruction of justice, as well as Team Trump's so-called "collusion" with Russia before and after the 2016 election.

Wheeler explains why she believes the information was leaked and how its being desperately used by Trump to (falsely) suggest the Special Counsel has found no evidence of "collusion", despite the many published questions in the list which cite issues related to a conspiracy between Russians and members of the Trump Campaign.

"These guys are incompetent at governing and most every other thing, but they are very competent at playing the press. And they have played the press for the last six months, making it seem as if the only risk to Trump has to do with obstruction," Wheeler argues. "More than a third of these questions go to the conspiracy. It was never just about just obstruction."

We also try to make sense of the bizarre, late-breaking story regarding Trump's infamous gastroenterologist, Dr. Harold Borenstein, who is now charging that Trump's longtime personal bodyguard Keith Schiller and a Trump Organization lawyer "raided" his office last year to take Trump's medical records without the required legal forms, shortly after Borenstein told the media that Trump uses a hair-loss drug.

Wheeler also offers her insights into the new evidence suggesting that Trump is now tossing his old business partner and personal lawyer Michael Cohen under the bus in the wake of the recent FBI raids on Cohen's office and residences. "There are so many weird things about the Cohen thing that I hesitate to settle on an explanation for what's going on there, aside from the fact that I think that yeah, Trump is worried about him flipping."

All of it is perhaps best summed up by Wheeler's comment today: "It's a mess. Trump is in trouble."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as an EPA whistleblower (and Trump supporter) charges that embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt lied to Congress during recent testimony, and the Trump Administration is trying again to rollback fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. Both of those stories also have late updates today, as we now learn that two top (and controversial) EPA officials have recently resigned amid the mountain of Pruitt-related scandals, and as California and 17 other states sue the Trump Administration over its new attempt to rollback fuel efficiency...

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Guest: Pam Vogel of Media Matters; Also: Another mass shooting; Good news for voters in two federal voter registration cases in TX and FL...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2018 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Good news for voters in two separate federal court cases concerning the National Voter Registration Act, and bad news for democracy, as a rightwing media outlet is using trusted local television anchors --- and our public airwaves --- to deceptively promote the Trump Agenda. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, some breaking news as we go to air today on yet another mass shooting. This time, it was at the YouTube headquarters building in San Bruno, California, with few details known as of airtime, other than the news that four were known to have been wounded and the shooter appears to have been a women who killed herself after her spree.

Then, some happier breaking news out of Texas, where a federal court found in favor of the Texas Civil Rights Project on Tuesday, in their lawsuit against the state on behalf of plaintiffs who were denied voter registration via the online Department of Public Safety (DPS) website system when they obtained or changed their drivers' licenses. Under the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA or "motor voter" law), the judge ruled the state is required to process changes to drivers' licenses as voter registration applications when users click a box to confirm they wish to register to vote. Some 1.5 million Texans annually, according to the complaint [PDF], have attempted to do so, only to find out they were not actually registered to vote via the system when they showed up to the polls.

In further encouraging court news for voters, a federal judge in Florida on Friday found against a group of long-time Republican "voter fraud" fraudsters who sued, under a different provision of the NVRA, claiming that Broward County wasn't purging their voting rolls aggressively enough. That case was the first to come to trial among several similar cases filed by the rightwing groups calling themselves Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) and the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU). The judge's ruling seriously undercuts at least one of the major claims made by longtime GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters asserting evidence of massive "voter fraud" supposedly being carried out by Democrats.

Then, after a remarkable video mashup of dozens and dozens of local TV news anchors all robotically reading the same corporate-supplied script decrying "fake news" went viral over the weekend, there has been intense scrutiny of the rightwing Sinclair Broadcast Group, the company which forced the local stations it owns to produce the promos. Sinclair currently owns nearly 200 local TV stations and, despite already being the largest owner of stations nationwide, is in the process of purchasing at least 40 more that are owned by Tribune Media.

Media Matters' researcher PAM VOGEL, who has been reporting on Sinclair's misuse of our public airwaves via their local stations for several years, joins us to detail the concerns behind otherwise longtime trusted local media outlets becoming little more than propaganda outlets for the Trump Administration.

"Sinclair has been so successful for so long, because they kind of fly under the radar with smaller-scale local news," Vogel explains. The company uses it's stations --- affiliates of various networks, like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox --- to "exploit the inherent trust that people have for their local news. You aren't necessarily aware of who is pulling the strings behind the scenes. There's no Sinclair logo on the screen."

Beyond forcing stations to run promos like the "hostage video" that went viral over the weekend, Sinclair also forces them to use regular "must-run" commentaries like those from former Trump Campaign official Boris Epshteyn.

Vogel also details what is known about the FCC Inspector General's reported investigation into whether Trump Administration officials and his FCC Chairman Ajit Pai improperly colluded with Sinclair executives to change long-standing FCC media ownership rules in order to accommodate Sinclair's attempted takeover of Tribune Media.

"They are already the largest owner of local television stations in the country, but this deal is completely unprecedented," she tells me. "And it wouldn't have actually been possible unless Trump's FCC --- now that it was under Republican-majority control, with Trump in office --- made some special moves to make that deal possible in the first place."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, in which the EPA has reversed fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks enacted by the Obama Administration; EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt finds himself under renewed scrutiny in several corruption scandals; DoJ sues the state of California over federal lands; and ExxonMobil's attempt to block climate change lawsuits against them gets tossed by a federal judge...

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Guest: Redistricting expert Brian Amos on new PA U.S. House map; Plus; Trump's bump-stock ban gimmick; Buying a gun is easier than voting in Florida; Maine GOP's fake news site; The GNR's 9th Anniversary...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2018 6:24pm PT  

There is big news out of Pennsylvania again on today's BradCast, concerning the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections. And it appears to be very good news indeed for Democrats. [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of article.]

But first up, Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he is directing the Dept. of Justice to propose new regulations that, if adopted, would ban the sale of so-called bump stock devices that turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic machine guns. That, nearly four months after such devices were used in the massacre that killed 58 concert-goers and wounded some 500 others on the Las Vegas Strip in a matter of minutes in October, and less than one week since a 19-year old gunman killed 17 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, without using a bump-stock, on his legally purchased AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. The process Trump called for will take months and likely face legal challenges, if it ever results in any such devices being banned for sale. Congress could ban them today, if they wished to. Republicans supported by the NRA however, do not.

At the same time, as we discuss today, it is easier in many states to purchase an AR-15 or similar weapon than it is to cast a vote, including in Florida. While an ID is needed to both register and then to cast a ballot at the polls on Election Day in the Sunshine State, an unlimited number of semi-automatic rifles can be purchased there without any ID or background check at all. And, unlike voter registration in FL, gun sales can be carried out online, completely anonymously, even as GOP lawmakers in the state have made it harder and harder to both register and vote in the state in recent years.

Next, following up on a story we covered in detail on Friday's show, regarding fake news sites (actual fake news sites!) set up to look like real ones by Republican officials across the country to support Republican candidates and attack Democrats. The Executive Director of the Maine Republican Party has now admitted that he is behind the anonymously-run Maine Examiner site which, last December, falsely claimed leaked emails of the Democratic candidate for mayor in Maine's second largest city called voters a "bunch of racists". Days later, after the fake news story took off, that candidate, Ben Chin, is said to have lost his election by just 145 votes to the Republican. While many are worried about Russians posing as Americans to post attacks on social media in support of Republicans and attacking Democrats --- using fake claims about "voter fraud" taken directly from GOP outlets like Fox 'News' and Breitbart --- this new scheme by GOP officials (from coast to coast) to create fake news websites in support of Republican candidates should be very troubling for Dems in advance of the 2018 mid-terms.

But, there is some better news today for Democrats in Pennsylvania where, after the Republican-controlled state legislature failed to draw "fair and equal" U.S. House maps, as ordered by the State Supreme Court, the Court itself released its own map to be used in the 2018 election. The commonwealth's primaries are set for May, with candidates beginning their signature gathering process in days.

The new map follows a finding by the state's high court in January that the map drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature in 2011 was an unlawful partisan gerrymander under the state constitution. The previous map resulted in Democrats holding just 5 of the state's 18 U.S. House seats election after election, in what is otherwise a largely 50/50 state (with nearly half a million more registered Democrats than Republicans.)

We're joined today to discuss the new map, and what it is likely to mean for Democrats, Republicans and the rest of the country where many other partisan gerrymanders will still remain in effect this year, by redistricting expert BRIAN AMOS of the University of Florida. Amos, a PH.D. candidate specializing in the intersection of geography and politics, served as an analyst for the Florida team that was the first in the nation to successfully challenge a Republican drawn district plan in state court on partisan gerrymandering grounds.

Amos details the expected effect of the new PA map, drawn up by the court and released on Monday, which is expected to result in at least 3 or 4 more Democrats in the U.S. House, even though Trump won in 10 of the new districts in 2016, while Hillary Clinton won only 8 of them.

We also discuss the geographical and political challenges (and opportunities) of drawing maps that are fair to voters of all parties, when those maps are drawn up by partisan legislatures. That's become even more of a problem, not just after the GOP's REDMAP Project to take over state legislatures before the 2010 Census so they could draw the new maps in 2011, but also because of the geological self-sorting that is taking place, as Dems tend huddle in more urban areas, while Republicans spread out in rural districts.

"Democrats tend to live in densely Democratic areas --- cities --- whereas Republicans tend to live in areas that are a bit more balanced, like 60% Republican, 40% Democrat," Amos explains. "So the arguments tends to be that, if we have to draw geographic districts, it's harder to spread out those Democrats across districts in order to make an even balance. In a lot of cases I think you'll see something like what we saw from the court's map, where it's as fair as you can get, but it's still 10-8 [in favor of Republicans.]"

The outcome could have been better for Republicans in PA, Amos explains, they could have put their own map forward that was more fair. But, he says, "they got too greedy." State Republicans are still vowing to challenge the new map in some federal court or another, but experts suggest that may be very difficult, given that this was a state court ruling.

For his part, Amos, though not an attorney, tells me that "when the state fails to pass a map, then somebody has to step in and that's always been the courts. So maybe they'll find some friendly federal court somewhere, but it seems like a stretch." Meanwhile, as recent federal court rulings finding unlawful partisan gerrymandering carried out in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Texas, Maryland and elsewhere are currently on hold at the U.S. Supreme Court, "we're all waiting on Justice Kennedy," says Amos. But that ruling --- sadly, for those of us who believe in fairer elections --- is not expected until June, likely too late to effect the 2018 mid-terms.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our 9th Anniversary Green News Report, as the Trump Administration's EPA and Dept. of Energy face new trouble from the courts and the Inspector General. And we reminisce about the vastly difficult political landscape that existed 9 years ago, when we began the GNR, and when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, but were unable to pass cap and trade legislation to put a price on the release of carbon pollution, in hopes of mitigating our current and worsening climate crisis.

Thank you, from Desi and myself, to those of you who have stopped by BradBlog.com/Donate to help us continue the GNR into our 10th year! For some reason, ExxonMobil will still not cough up any sponsorship funds for us, even though we talk about them all the time!...

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Trump proves (again) he knows nothing about climate change; Former CO GOP Chair sentenced for voter fraud; and other news you need to know...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2018 6:17pm PT  

Today's BradCast took several unexpected turns as news broke, callers called, and the Trump-era debunkery continued. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the many stories covered and/or debunked on today's program, before we opened up the line to callers...

  • In a surprise reversal, some good news to start off, as Donald Trump's EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt puts the brakes on a huge, dangerous, proposed Canadian mining project in Alaska's pristine Bristol Bay watershed;
  • In a weekend interview, Trump once again made clear he knows nothing at all about climate science (beyond what they told him about it on Fox "News) and doesn't care to learn. Desi Doyen joins us to correct at least some of the misinformation offered by the President of the United States' embarrassing comments to Piers Morgan;
  • Former Colorado Republican Party Chair and rightwing radio host Steve Curtis (pictured above) was found guilty of forgery and voter fraud in the 2016 Presidential election last year, after claiming on air, just before the election, that only Democrats commit voter fraud and they should be prevented from voting at all. On Friday, he was sentenced to four years of probation and community service, even as he claims he didn't know that voting his ex-wife's absentee ballot was unlawful. ("He knew exactly what he was doing," the prosecutor argued during the trial's closing arguments. "He received it in the mail, opened it, voted, signed it, sealed it back up and sent it in." All in his wife's name. She had moved out 11 months earlier.)
  • We then contrast the white Republican Curtis' lenient sentence for voter fraud to that of a Mexican national who came here as an infant, has long been a permanent US resident with four U.S. citizen children, but was sentenced last year to 8 years in federal prison and likely deportation thereafter for unlawfully voting. She thought she was allowed to do so as a permanent US resident;
  • On the encouraging side of election and voting rights news today, however, the North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday sided with the state's new Democratic governor, and effectively reversed a years-long effort by the state's Republican legislature to roll back many voting rights in the key swing-state.

And, with all of that, we then open our phone lines to all sorts of interesting listener calls, including one caller (one of our favorites) who argues that progressives should mount write-in campaigns to take on corporatist Dems, (we debate whether doing that or primarying such Dems is the smarter route to take), and another right-wing caller who pretends to have no idea how Photo ID voting restrictions suppress the legal votes of minorities --- or he simply doesn't care. (He also revealed himself to be a climate change denier, what a surprise, as the call turned quickly South)...

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

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In wake of President's reported 'shithole countries' comment, the GOP's toxic, racist policies are laid bare in the U.S. and across the globe...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2018 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Buckle up, and maybe take a few pre-emptive antibiotics just for safety. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We begin with a few responses to the racist President of the United States Donald Trump's reported description of Haiti, El Salvador and Africa nations as "shithole countries". As a measure of just how appalling the comments were, we actually declare George W. Bush no longer the "Worst President Ever", before turning to outraged responses from right-wingers Glenn Beck and Frank Luntz, of all people, to help underscore both how offensive and, frankly, inaccurate Trump's comments were.

But, as several have noted, while Trump's remarks are disturbing, the fact that his racism is embodied within his policies --- on immigration, policing, and much more, including voting and elections --- is far more troubling. That racism and dishonesty was on display in the sham Presidential Commission created by Trump, supposedly to root out the millions of illegal votes he falsely claims were cast against him when he lost the popular vote by millions to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

But his bogus Commission, headed up by disgraced GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was abruptly shut down last week after facing an onslaught of legal challenges and finding none of the supposed voter fraud they had set out to highlight. After the Commission's ignominious closure, Kobach claimed he would be advising the Dept. of Homeland Security who, he said, would be taking the Commission's data and preliminary findings to continue the investigation. While worrying a number of voting rights advocates, those claims too have so far proven to be false, according to statements from DHS and legal documents filed by the DoJ in response to lawsuits.

Meanwhile, Trump's poisonous racism and failed Presidency is having ripple effects across the globe, and not just with those nations he is said to have described as "shitholes". The U.N. and the Vatican have now condemned his remarks, he has been forced to cancel a planned trip to Great Britain (which, naturally, he has lied about) and, following the recent resignation of the U.S. Ambassador to Panama who says he can no longer justify serving under this Administration, Trump's newly appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, has been mercilessly called out by the Dutch in recent days for multiple lies.

Hoekstra, a former Republican Congressman from Michigan and immigrant from the Netherlands, had recently denied having made wholly discredited racist charges, in 2015, claiming Muslim immigrants were burning Dutch politicians to death and creating so-called "no-go zones" in the Netherlands. After he charged a Dutch journalist with reporting "fake news" for asking him about his fully-documented and video-taped false claims (and then claiming in the same interview he hadn't charged the journalist with reporting "fake news") the new Ambassador's first press conference this week in The Hague did not go well, to say the least. On Friday, Hoekstra was finally forced to admit his 2015 comments were wrong, though his shame appears to not yet be over.

All of which underscores that while Donald Trump may be the highest profile symptom of a very sick Republican Party, he is but a small part of a very widely spread disease that has poisoned his party and has made America anything but "great again" in the eyes of the world...

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All of that and more evidence of wheels coming off everywhere...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2018 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The wheels seem to be coming off everywhere. That's both good and bad news. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We start here: After a two month back and forth since the November 2017 off-year elections in Virginia, it appears that Republicans will retain --- if just barely --- their majority control of the Virginia House of Delegates (for now) following a random drawing out of a bowl in Richmond today resulted in Republican David Yancey being named the winner over Democrat Shelly Simonds.

That, despite a "recount" in the 94th District race finding the Democrat had won, until a Republican observer changed his mind and a Republican Circuit Court panel of judges agreed with him. That was followed by a rejected court challenge by the Democrat, today's random drawing to determine the winner of that court-declared tie, a likely second "recount" to come in the same race, a court challenge to a separate very close race in the 28th district decided by 73 votes with at least 147 voters receiving the wrong ballot entirely, and Democrats across the obscenely gerrymandered state having out-voted Republicans by a "landslide" 10% margin in the November 7, 2017 elections.

We detail all of that today --- including my brief, if telling, email conversation with the election official in the city of Newport News who supposedly oversaw the race in the 94th district. And, for the record, here is a JPG of the one single ballot in question which led to the current tie.

Then, in other election related news, we move on to Donald Trump's monumentally failed "voter fraud" Commission, disastrously helmed by longtime GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach. The Commission, created after Trump's evidence-free assertions that millions of unlawful votes were cast against him in 2016, has been besieged with lawsuits against it, including by one of its own Commissioners. But there may be another reason that Trump suddenly, and without notice to anyone, disbanded it entirely by Executive Order on Wednesday evening: he got mad at Steve Bannon. Democrats and voting rights advocates are rejoicing after the news, but will the dissolution of the Commission result in even more concerns for advocates of free and fair elections?

Speaking of which, heads up! Trump's Dept. of Justice appears to have a new idea for how to game the 2020 Census (which is also an election-related issue).

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for a bone-chilling first Green News Report of the new year, as a dangerous blast from the melting Arctic slams much of the country, the Trump Administration guts even more environmental and safety regulations over the holiday weekend when few were noticing, before announcing a new disturbing scheme today to open up 90 percent of nation's off-shore oil reserves to new commercial drilling.

The wheels seem to be coming off both the world and the Trump Administration. We'll hope for the latter in time to prevent the former...

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

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