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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: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Surprisingly good news from the courts; SOTU cancelled?; ISIS not defeated...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2019 6:42pm PT  

We start off today's BradCast with two encouraging legal rulings from the courts with our guest today, Slate legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN. [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

First up, the damning opinion issued on Tuesday by a U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan finding Treasury Secretary Wilbur Ross repeatedly violated the law --- and lied about his reasons for doing so --- in adding a controversial question on citizenship to the 2020 U.S. Census. Stern joins the federal judge in calling out Ross' lies about adding the question supposedly at the request of the the Dept. of Justice to help enforce the Voting Rights Act (rather than as a blatant attempt to rig the Census in hopes of boosting GOP political power during the next round of redistricting).

"By my count, Judge Furman held that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated the law by adding the citizenship question in at least six different ways," Stern observes. "When you add them all together, it is a sort of symphony of lawlessness that cannot be ignored by the courts."

"Ross just lied. He lied to Congress. He lied in court filings about why he added this citizenship question. It is very clear, black letter law, that when a federal agency like the Commerce Department wants to take some kind of formal action, it has to give the real and truthful grounds for its decision, it has to justify it truthfully. Ross just didn't do that here." He goes on to explain, however, that, despite the encouraging ruling yesterday, the Republicans' stolen Supreme Court will ultimately enjoy the final say on the matter. He also shares his thoughts on whether Ross should be and/or will be criminally prosecuted for lying to Congress and the courts about the issue, as made clear by the federal court ruling.

Then, Stern offers some surprisingly good news from SCOTUS today regarding a unanimous(!) opinion from the Court supporting the right of some workers to bypass costly arbitration clauses and file class action lawsuits against employers when they are ripped off by them --- though only in certain circumstances. Still, given the unanimous opinion in this case, authored by Neil Gorsuch of all Justices, we'll take it!

Next, we review Tuesday's confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Donald Trump's Attorney General nominee William Barr. Stern warns that his troubling record alone --- "Barr takes a wildly expansive view of executive power and authority" --- might have been enough to derail his nomination in any other time, but for the fact that so many Democrats and Republicans alike are now desperate to replace Trump's wildly unqualified (and, arguably, unlawfully appointed) Acting AG Matthew Whitaker.

Barr, who served briefly as AG in 1991 during the George H.W. Bush Administration (where he successfully pushed for Presidential pardons for a number of top officials involved in the Iran-Contra scandal), promised independence from the White House and that he would allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller to complete his probe into Team Trump's alleged involvement with Russia and obstruction meant to cover it up. However, Barr equivocated on a number of points related to the probe, such as whether he'd recuse himself from overseeing it if DoJ ethics officials advised him to do so, and whether he would release Mueller's report at all to the public.

Stern shares insight and response to a number of other troubling moments from Tuesday's hearings, such as when Barr responded to a question from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) about whether a sitting President could be indicted and when he was asked directly by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) about whether the Justice Department, under his command, would "jail reporters for doing their jobs". Barr's response on the former was questionable, at best, and downright chilling on the latter, from the man tapped to be the nation's top law enforcement official. "There's just a right and wrong answer here," Stern quips, "and he gave the wrong one."

Finally today, the State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress previously scheduled for later this month may now be cancelled amid the ongoing historic federal government shutdown, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rescinded her invitation to Trump today. And, in Syria today, four Americans --- two U.S. troops and two civilians --- were killed and three others wounded after a bombing claimed by ISIS in a crowded area. The attack in the northern city of Manbij comes on the heels of Trump's claim to have ordered the withdraw of all U.S. troops in country, based on his assertion that "we have defeated ISIS in Syria." The President's claim --- which helped lead to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis before Christmas --- was, remarkably, repeated by Vice President Mike Pence today during an address at the State Department several hours after the news of the deadly attack on Americans and others in the war torn nation had become public...

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 in trouble; Shutdown looms; Bevin brays in KY; NC9 primary do-over?; MI GOP power grab; Arctic collapsing...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2018 6:45pm PT  

Among the many messes covered on today's BradCast [Audio link to full show is posted below]...

  • Trump can't seem to find anyone who wants to be his new Chief of Staff. So, his son-in-law Jared Kushner now appears to be in the running;
  • Trump finally responded (on Fox "News", naturally) to Wednesday's news that his former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen received a three year prison sentence after cooperating with federal investigators and pleading guilty to a number of felonies. The charges include an illegal 2016 hush-money payout scheme to women said to have had sexual affairs with Trump, which Cohen and the prosecutors describe as having been "directed" by Trump in violation of campaign finance laws. Trump now says it wasn't unlawful, but if it was, it was only a civil, not criminal violation --- and that he didn't do it in any case, but if he did, it was all Cohen's fault --- and that Cohen only pleaded guilty to it as a favor to federal prosecutors in order to "embarrass" Trump. Or something. Got it?;
  • Meanwhile, a federal government shutdown next week before Christmas is looking increasingly likely. After Trump's televised Oval Office tantrum with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer earlier this week over funding for his Border Wall, it's become apparent that Republicans in Congress currently have no plan to avoid a shutdown next week after Trump declared during the meeting that he would happily take the blame for such a shutdown. Even in the House, where Republicans still hold a large majority until January, they seem unable to pass a version of a spending bill that includes funding for the wall that Trump repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for;
  • In Kentucky, taking a page from Trump, Tea Party Republican Governor Matt Bevin released a bizarre video on Twitter Wednesday night, attacking the Louisville Courier-Journal for their new partnership with independent, non-profit investigative reporting outlet ProPublica. Bevin charges ProPublica is a "far-left" organization secretly funded by "George 'I Hate America' Soros" and, therefore, everyone should "disregard" the reporting from the Courier-Journal. ProPublica responded to the charges, and suggests a recent damning exposé by the paper finding Bevin hired an old friend for a top IT job in the state and gave him a $215,000 raise after less than a year, is just one of the reasons Bevin may be hoping Kentuckians stop reading the paper;
  • In North Carolina, the mess created by the GOP absentee ballot election fraud scandal in the state's 9th Congressional District continues. Republican lawmakers, on Wednesday, passed legislation that would allow the State Board of Elections to call not just a new general election for the U.S. House in NC9, but for a new primary as well, following evidence of absentee fraud in both elections this year by a GOP contractor hired by Mark Harris, the Republican candidate. Harris is said to have defeated incumbent Congressman Robert Pittenger by just over 800 votes in the May GOP primary and his Democratic opponent Dan McCready by just over 900 votes in the November midterm. State Republicans seem to now be conceding that both races were tainted with fraud by their candidate and will now require a do-over;
  • In Michigan, GOP lawmakers are scrambling to pass a measure in the lame duck session that would make it much harder for voters to place statewide initiatives on the ballot. That's just one of several ongoing efforts by Republicans in the state to strip power from voters and the Executive Branch before Democrats can be sworn in as Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State next month.
  • And finally, in The Arctic....well, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report to detail that frightening and worsening mess, along with several others...

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's Oval Office tantrum; The 'Bottomless Pinocchio'; New misconduct in NC-9 election fraud probe; FL's late absentee ballots; The 'Axis of Oil'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2018 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A preview of the unimaginably worse dysfunction that awaits us all after Democrats take over the U.S. House majority in January and Donald Trump becomes even worse and more dishonest at his job? [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, some quick news headlines, including Time Magazine's announcement that several journalists, killed or imprisoned, are "Person of the Year" for 2018, and a life sentence plus 419 years recommended by the jury for the neo-Nazi who murdered activist Heather Heyer by plowing a car into counter-protesters during the August 2017 "United the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Also, the Washington Post Fact Checkers have been forced to create a new category to describe Donald Trump's dozens of endlessly repeated lies, such as his claims that Mexico would pay for his border wall (he's demanding U.S. tax-payers do so instead) and that his tax cuts were the largest in U.S. history (they weren't. They were the 8th largest.) The new category will be called "Bottomless Pinocchio" and will apply to lies that repeated more than 20 times after they've long been debunked by the fact-checkers as a falsehood. To date, Trump is the only politician to merit such a rating. At least 14 of his most frequently repeated lies have already earned the dubious new distinction.

Then, Trump's bizarre on-camera pageant in the Oval Office today with presumptive, soon-to-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. During a media avail before what was to be a meeting regarding the impending federal budget deadline, the three bickered about Trump's threat to shut down the U.S. Government if a budget deal fails to include billions for his southern border wall. "If we don't get what we want," Trump threatened the Democrats during the lengthy and bizarre televised negotiation, "I will shut down the government."

Pelosi and Schumer tried to convince the President to accept one of two bi-partisan deals they say could be immediately passed by both the House and Senate. But Trump, the great deal-maker, failed to budge --- so far. Trump's threat to shutdown the U.S. Government despite the costs to Americans and the economy, comes even while Republicans still control both chambers of Congress. Things are likely to get much uglier once Dems take over the House with their (at least) 40-seat majority on January 3.

Speaking of which, we've got a few more new details today on the GOP election fraud scandal in North Carolina's still-uncertified 9th Congressional District race. Republican Mark Harris is said to have won the election in November by just 905 votes over Democrat Dan McCready. But evidence of absentee ballot fraud by a GOP contractor hired by Harris (in both the general election and Republican primary) has delayed certification of the race by the State Board of Elections. They will decide whether to order a new election or declare one of the two candidates the winner. The Board had planned to review evidence from the ongoing investigation by December 21, but has now told a state court they they may need more time, given that the Harris Campaign has been slow in responding to documents subpoenaed by the Board.

Also, new evidence this week reveals that election workers in Bladen County (one of two NC counties at the center of the probe), illegally tabulated early vote results and leaked them to non-election officials (the Harris campaign?) several days prior to the close of polls on November 6th.

Meanwhile, election officials in Florida have now revealed that more than 6,600 vote-by-mail absentee ballots sent and post-marked by Election Day went uncounted in the Sunshine State's midterm election. Those numbers don't yet include ballots from Palm Beach County, a Democratic stronghold. The untabulated ballots might have effected a number of close races in FL, including those tallied in statewide "recounts" for U.S. Senate, Governor and Agricultural Commissioner. While state law allows ballots post-marked by Election Day from overseas military votes to be included in the tally if they are received up to ten days after the election, all other "late" ballots are ignored.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with news from COP24, the U.N. climate conference in Poland, where the U.S. has joined Russia and Saudi Arabia in an "Axis of Oil" and is, literally, being laughed at for pushing coal while youth protesters demand fossil fuels be kept in the ground. Back home, the Trump Administration is now planning to reclassify high-level nuclear waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state (and other facilities) in order to avoid billions of dollars in clean-up at the nation's most polluted former nuclear weapons site...

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: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern with legal insight on a fire hose of news, from Ivanka's emails to Whitaker's appointment to Trump's trouble in court to encouraging midterm push-back against partisan gerrymandering...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2018 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we fly through a mountain of incoming stories (with the help of a great guest!) as the news gods seem to be unleashing a tidal wave in advance of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. [Audio link posted below. Buckle up before clicking.]

Among the ridiculous number of stories covered today...

  • Five are dead after three shootings in three different states over the past 24 hours;
  • Despite warning of an "invasion" on the U.S. southern border by a migrant caravan from Central America prior to the midterm elections, now that the elections are done, the Trump Administration is reportedly withdrawing more than 5,000 military troops they had deployed to the border just weeks ago;
  • The President's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump reportedly sent hundreds of government related emails via a private email server over the course of 2017 in the months following her father's election in which he repeatedly called for his opponent, Hillary Clinton, to be "locked up" for doing the same thing. Ivanka's husband, Jared Kushner, also a senior adviser to Trump, reportedly used the same private server for government-related communications.

On the election results front...

  • Republican Rep. Will Hurd has reportedly squeaked out a victory over Democratic challenger Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas' 23rd Congressional District. The contest was among a handful of still-undecided races;
  • At the same time, Democrat Ben McAdams appears to have pulled back into the lead over GOP Rep. Mia Love in Utah's 4th Congressional District, where it now appears McAdams will be the victor by fewer than 700 votes out of some 270,000 tallied, flipping yet another U.S. House seat from "red" to "blue". The final margin is reportedly 0.258%, just above the 0.25% that would have allowed Love to request a recount in the otherwise ruby "red" state.
  • When the few remaining undecided U.S. House seats are called, Democrats appear on track to have picked up an extraordinary 39 seats in their "blue wave".
  • One of the three still-undecided House races is in Georgia, where this year's Libertarian candidate for Sec. of State has now endorsed Democratic candidate John Barrow in the upcoming December 4th runoff against Republican Brad Raffensperger to replace GA's vote suppressing Sec. of State, now Governor-elect Brian Kemp;
  • In Wisconsin, Democrats won every single statewide race on November 6th, including Governor (unseating Scott Walker) and U.S. Senate. They also outvoted Republicans in State Assembly races by 8 percentage points, 54 to 46 percent. Nonetheless, thanks to the GOP's extreme partisan gerrymandering in the Badger State, Republicans will hold 63 seats to the Democrats' 36 in the new Assembly;

The great (and newly wed!) MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist at Slate, joins us to discuss how voters pushed back against gerrymandering this year by approving ballot initiatives --- and other measures --- in several states on November 6th, in an attempt to restore fair(er) elections in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court opting to not strike down partisan gerrymanders as unconstitutional in states such as Wisconsin and North Carolina earlier this year. Among the many other issues we fly through with Stern today, on which he offers his as-always cogent legal insight...

  • Ivanka and Hillary's email issues (Stern hopes a Democratic House investigation will result in real reform to the "arguably improper" if not unlawful use of private email by officials like Trump and Clinton, though not in the opportunistic political fashion that GOPers previously dealt with the issue);
  • Trump's appointment of GOP operative Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General (which Stern describes as blatantly "illegal" and, he believes, very likely to be struck down by the Courts). He also describes the DoJ's legal defense of the maneuver as "laughable";
  • A federal court on Monday night blocked the Trump Administration's new regulation denying asylum claims by immigrants who fail to present themselves at a port of entry (Stern explains the judge found the Administration's new rule to be in strict violation of federal laws, and predicts that even Chief Justice John Roberts, based on similar rulings he made against the Obama Administration, will be forced to agree when the case reaches SCOTUS);
  • The decision by a Trump-appointed federal judge to order the White House to restore press credentials to CNN's Jim Acosta (Stern is impressed with the Trump judge's anti-Trump ruling, I remain a bit more skeptical);
  • And how (and why) Trump's controversial new Justice Brett Kavanaugh has, so far, laid low by not yet fuly tossing in with the Court's nihilist right-wing caucus.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as the catastrophic wildfires continue to burn in California, Trump shows up to make things worse, and a coming turn in the weather signals both good news and bad for firefighters and recovery workers amid the record disaster...

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: 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...

* * *
While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)




The fight to count every vote in FL and GA gets messier still, as Dems pick up yet another U.S. House seat; Also: Ernest A. Canning on CNN's lawsuit against the Trump White House...
By Brad Friedman on 11/14/2018 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The electoral dysfunction --- and the fight to count every vote anyway --- continues today in Florida and Georgia, along with some new good news for Democrats elsewhere. At the same time, of course, the dysfunction of Donald Trump's White House never ends. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

After a quick update today on several thousand newly tabulated votes in Georgia (most of which were for Democrat Stacey Abrams in her uphill battle for Governor against Republican vote suppressor Brian Kemp), we start today with news that another U.S. House seat has flipped from "red" to "blue" in California. As the counting continues in the Golden State, the AP and others declared first-time Democratic candidate Josh Harder the winner over four-term Republican U.S. Rep Jeff Denham in the previously GOP-leaning Central Valley.

That brings Dems to a 33-seat pickup, so far, in U.S. House contests this year. A number of other races in previously very Republican areas of California, such as Orange County, have already been declared as flipped to Democrats, with several others still undecided but trending towards Democrats. Those remaining undecided House races and a few in other states could ultimately result in a massive "Blue Wave" as large as 39 new seats in Congress, by my count, as votes from the November 6th midterms continue to be tallied.

In Florida, however, as the state's 67 counties scramble to complete an unprecedented three statewide computer "recounts" in the U.S. Senate, Governor and Agriculture Commissioner races (not to mention several other state legislative and local races) by this Thursday at 3pm, dozens of lawsuits are being filed in state and federal courts.

We cover some of the most notable today, including incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson's suit to extend the arbitrary "recount" deadline set for Thursday. At least one county, Democratic-leaning Palm Beach, has already said that it will be physically impossible to complete all of the machine rescans there in time, thanks to their aging computer tabulation system which can only scan one single race on 300 ballots at a time. Making matters still worse in the state's third most-populous county, those scanners reportedly overheated this week, leading to mismatched tabulations for the first batch of 174,000 ballots scanned (of some 700,000 total). That means that batch will need to be re-rescanned.

And all of that before a similarly absurd statutory Sunday deadline to complete any subsequent so-called "manual recounts" in races such as Nelson's U.S. Senate contest against Republican Gov. Rick Scott, where the margin is less than 0.25 percent. (It's currently reported to be just 0.13%, or 12,562 votes out of more than 8 million cast.)

Nelson has asked a federal court to extend the deadlines in all 67 Florida counties and, in separate filings, seeks to force a review of tens of thousands of absentee vote-by-mail ballots rejected across the state due to claims of signature mismatches and other unspecified "voter-caused error". Scott's hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner is opposing those suits, and Scott has filed several of his own to try and halt the ongoing tabulation.

But not all Republicans oppose extending the deadlines and counting of all ballots, as we also note today, even as most of them, including the President of the United States, are calling for "recounts" to end and incomplete tallies reported from last weekend --- just days after the Tuesday midterms --- to be certified instead. (Friendly reminder here that Republicans held up a statewide hand-count in the 2008 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota for eight months in order to keep Al Franken from being seated in the Senate until July of 2009!)

Then, we're joined by BradBlog.com legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING for the latest on the lawsuit filed by CNN this week (and supported by Fox "News" of all outlets!) against the White House for their removal of press credentials for White House Correspondent Jim Acosta. Not only is the White House in violation of the Constitution's First and Fifth Amendments, the complaint alleges, but the White House and Secret Service also reportedly blocked Acosta from a planned interview with French President Emmanuel Macron last weekend at an event marking the centennial of the WWI Armistice. That, even though the interview was approved by France...and Trump failed to even show up at the event!...

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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!... ---




Guest: Sara Henderson of Common Cause GA; Also: Dems flip Senate seat in AZ; First Lady calls for firing of top Admin official...
By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2018 6:33pm PT  

The Trump dumpster fire continues at the White House today, with CNN filing a lawsuit to restore White House press credentials for White House correspondent Jim Acosta, fresh rumors of top Administration officials about to be axed, and a "stunning" public call from the First Lady to fire National Security Advisor John Bolton's top deputy. But it's still the ongoing dumpster fires in Georgia and Florida that we focus in on once again on today's BradCast, as Democrats and voting rights advocates fight to ensure all legitimately cast ballots are tallied and the results are accurately recorded and reported. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

With the news out of Arizona late last night night that the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Republican Jeff Flake has most likely been won by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema over Republican Martha McSally, many have lauded the GOP Congresswoman's gracious concession video Monday night, even as Trump and the RNC were reportedly pressuring her to advance phony claims of fraud and miscounts in the race. To her credit, she did not take the bait. But that's likely only because she still hopes to be appointed by the Governor to the state's other U.S. Senate seat in the coming months.

Meanwhile, in Florida, an unprecedented three statewide "recounts" are now underway (as we discussed in detail on yesterday's BradCast), with Republicans holding diminishing leads in both the U.S. Senate and Governor's race. Those so-called "recounts" must be completed by Thursday November 15th. But, as our guest yesterday, Ion Sancho (who oversaw the state's 2000 Presidential "recount") explained, it will be physically impossible for paper ballot tabulation computers in Palm Beach County to finish the job before the state's absurdly short and largely arbitrary deadline this week.

Today, a state judge in Leon County, FL extended that deadline for Palm Beach --- one of the state's most populous and Democratic-leaning counties --- until November 20th. (Note: I incorrectly called it the most populous on today's show. I mispoke. It's the third most populous in the state.) Will similar court orders for other counties, such as Broward, be far behind? If not, the incomplete results tabulated by last Saturday, November 10th, just days after the Tuesday midterm elections, will be used in the final results, according to state law.

Will Republicans file a federal challenge to today's state court order? GOPers have been repeating their Florida 2000 playbook which successfully robbed voters of a legitimate count (and, likely, Democrats of a Presidential victory) that year. Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Donald Trump have been offering up evidence-free charges of "fraud" in the vote count and ginning up protests outside tabulation centers. So, a similar federal legal challenge may not be far behind if the numbers keep narrowing against Republican Gov. Rick Scott in his Senate race against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, and against Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis in his gubernatorial contest against Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum.

At the same time, in Georgia, the federal courts continue to find in favor of voting rights advocates. On Monday night, a federal judge ordered the state to hold off on certification of election results and to review the voter registrations of those forced to vote by provisional ballot. The judge in the case brought by Common Cause Georgia said the state must create a website or telephone hotline for provisional voters to learn whether their votes had been counted or rejected --- with detailed reasons for the rejection and an opportunity to cure whatever is said to be have been the cause of it --- before Friday.

In a separate case today, brought by the Coalition for Good Governance and the National Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights, a different federal judge granted an emergency ruling to stop the unlawful rejection of Vote-by-Mail absentee ballots in Gwinnett County, GA based only on missing information such as a voters birth date. The judge found the state's process to be in violation of the federal Civil Rights Act.

We're joined today by Common Cause GA Executive Director SARA HENDERSON to try and make sense of the continuing dumpster fires in the state set ablaze by Republican vote suppressor Brian Kemp who resigned his position as Secretary of State last week after declaring victory in his race for Governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams --- even as the fight continues to tally thousands of uncounted or rejected absentee and provisional ballots. Kemp is reportedly leading the race with 50.24% of the vote, less than one-quarter of one percent above the 50% mark that would trigger a December runoff between him and Abrams.

Henderson explains that, thanks to the disastrous way Kemp has run the election, as well as how the state's electoral system has been allowed to whither over the past several decades, it's virtually impossible to know how many uncounted or incorrectly tabulated ballots remain across the state. "This whole circus that we're witnessing is just a product of years and years of defunding elections," she tells me.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with our latest Green News Report on the horrific and record-breaking wildfires in California, and the latest federal court rejection of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline...

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

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Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ the latest on that and other news; Also: Amber McKinney on DACA; D.D. Guttenplan on a progressive future...
By Angie Coiro on 11/9/2018 7:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I’m in for Brad and Desi today – Angie Coiro, of In Deep with Angie Coiro.

My guests are AMBER McKINNEY, from Law360, discussing the DACA ruling from the 9th circuit and Trump’s latest royal edicts on immigration; and D.D. GUTTENPLAN, editor-at-large at The Nation, and author of the new book The Next Republic: The Rise of a New Radical Majority.

Of course, we have to start off with a lovely story: the Wall Street Journal reports that Donald Trump's been caught red-handed, connected directly to the hush money sent to former mistresses.

Then it's onto the two ongoing big stories: horrific fires in Northern and Southern California, and the elections grinding on in Florida, Arizona, and Georgia. Both the NAACP and a passel of retired generals have weighed in against GOP interference.

A review of the numerous headlines on Trump's efforts to alter immigration policy by presidential proclamation, and his loss in the 9th Circuit court on his efforts to undercut DACA.

A sprinkling of good news (Ruth Bader Ginsberg already back and work! Thousands in the street protecting Mueller!), then D.D. Guttenplan with his new book on revolutionaries rejuvenating our republic.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Campaigns fight to 'count every vote' amid uncounted and rejected ballots, undervotes, computer-tabulation concerns
Also: 12 killed in CA shooting; RBG hospitalized; White House lies about, bars CNN journalist; Constitutional Crisis concern mounts after Trump fires Sessions...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2018 7:33pm PT  

We're getting tired of being right about this stuff. The political apocalypse we predicted for the day(s) after the 2018 midterm --- from problems counting ballots to Trump's "burn it all down" response to the results --- appears to be playing out in a number of ways today. We have several big news items today regarding reported results in Florida, Arizona and Georgia on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

But first today, we needed to hit several disturbing breaking news headlines...

  • 12 people were killed in a mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA, a wealthy suburb just outside of Los Angeles in Ventura County, during it's popular country music college night. The shooter, who took his own life, was reportedly a 28-year old white male Marine combat veteran thought to be suffering from PTSD. Victims are said to include the bar's security guard, an armed Sheriff's deputy, and a survivor of the October 2017 massacre in Las Vegas that killed 58 and left more than 800 wounded;
  • 85-year old U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was reportedly hospitalized on Thursday, after fracturing three ribs in a fall in her office;
  • A three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump Administration's attempt to kill President Obama's 2012 DACA program was likely done so in violation of the law. For now, the protection from deportation for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought here as children will stay in place, though the Administration has filed for a quick ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court;
  • The White House has barred CNN's Jim Acosta from the White House, after the President's bonkers post-election press conference on Wednesday. The White House lied about their reasons for doing so, despite video of the presser revealing their blatant lie;
  • And Trump's firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the day after the midterms is quickly leading to a full-on Constitutional Crisis, as he has named Matthew Whitaker, a former political operative and opponent of Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation, as Acting AG responsible for overseeing that probe. Normally, the Deputy AG --- Rod Rosenstein, who had been overseeing it following Sessions' recusal --- would fill that role. It's feared Whitaker, a Trump loyalist, is likely to move to scuttle the Mueller investigation at any moment.

Meanwhile, the fight to count votes continues to grow predictably uglier in several states following Tuesday's contentious midterms. Democrats are now said to have picked up at least 31 seats in the U.S. House, taking back control of the chamber from Republicans, with analysts forecasting that they could end up winning as many as 38 new seats, as votes continue to be tabulated and canvassed across the country. But there are growing concerns about computer-tabulated results in U.S. Senate and Governors races in at least three different states tonight...

  • In Florida, a "recount" now appears inevitable in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and his Republican challenger Gov. Rick Scott, with the margin between the two at less than 0.22% as of airtime. That would trigger an automatic statewide hand count in the Sunshine State. But there remain many questions about uncounted provisional and absentee ballots, as well as tens of thousands of suspicious undervotes in the Senate race reported by the paper ballot computer tabulators in Broward County. Some 25,000 voters, according to the computers, voted for down-ticket races like Agricultural Commission, but failed to vote in the top-of-the-ticket U.S. Senate race?

    In the state's gubernatorial election, Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis' lead over Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum, has now fallen to 0.47 percent. If it stays below 0.5 percent, it would trigger an automatic machine "recount" statewide. (The margin must be below .25 percent for a hand count in Florida.)

  • In Arizona, there are nearly three-quarters of a million completely uncounted ballots across the state, leaving the results of the highly-contested and very close U.S. Senate race between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in doubt. Arizona sources tell me that this many still-uncounted early and absentee ballots is now unusual for the state. But with all eyes on whether Democrats can flip the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake blue, a lot more people are now noticing. Sinema currently leads McSally by about one-half of a percentage point, according to the latest computer-tabulated numbers.
  • And in Georgia, attorneys for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams held a news conference today, in which they offered a blistering response to Sec. of State Brian Kemp's declaration of victory in the Governor's race, and his belated resignation as SoS along with it. Team Abrams charges there are thousands of wrongly rejected and still-uncounted ballots in the state, though --- thanks to Kemp's horrific administration of the election --- they are unable to know how many there actually are and how many voters were unlawfully prevented from voting at all. They forcefully repeated Abrams' Election Night vow to fight to assure that every vote is counted, even if legal action is required to ensure it.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with both good news and bad for the environment from Tuesday's midterm elections.

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

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Guest: DuPage, IL County Clerk candidate Jean Kaczmarek; Also: In wake of still more mail bombs, Trump, White House return to attacks on media, Rightwing pounces on conspiracies...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2018 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Like clockwork the righwing conspiracy theories regarding pipe bombs begin, as do the voting system failures around the country, less than two weeks before this year's crucial midterm election. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, a few quick updates on the mail bombs sent to several of the many vilified political critics of Donald Trump. In addition to explosive devices sent this week to former President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, John Brennan, Rep. Maxine Waters, George Soros and CNN, additional similar packages were reported today to have been delivered to former Vice President Joe Biden and actor Robert DeNiro. Where Trump and the White House called for unity and an end to divisive rhetoric on Wednesday, for about 5 minutes, both Trump and WH Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly renewed their vitriolic attacks on the media shortly thereafter and again on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, as investigators reportedly focus on Florida as a possible source for the packages, the rightwing quickly cranked up conspiracy theories about the explosive devices being "fake bombs" meant to discredit the President in advance of the November 6 midterms.

Meanwhile, voting is already underway for those elections, as are the lawsuits aiming to prevent voter suppression and election fraud. A federal judge on Wednesday determined that Georgia may not discard absentee ballots on the basis of "signature mismatch" as determined by partisan officials with no training in hand-writing analysis. The state's legal defense for that statute was rather amazing, as we discuss. Happily, it was thoroughly dismissed by the U.S. District Court judge.

Also, the NAACP has filed official complaints with the state regarding reports of votes flipping in at least four counties on the state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems. Votes are reportedly hopping repeatedly from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to her opponent, Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who oversees and has long defended the states easily-hacked and oft-failed Diebold touchscreen systems. We explain, however, why the reported flips are not likely to be hacks, but why that also doesn't really matter.

Similar, completely predictable voting system and ballot programming failures are beginning to rear their ugly head in other states as well with early, in-person voting now underway in some 30 states. The name of the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State in Arkansas was discovered left off of the touchscreen ballots in one Arkansas county, leading to lost votes and poll closures. And in DuPage County, Illinois, a fiasco erupted this week surrounding the appearance on the ballot (or lack thereof) for a Democratic candidate for the state House of Representatives, resulting in election officials scrambling to distribute paper ballots to early voting locations where, normally, only touchscreen systems are available to voters.

We're joined today by longtime DuPage County election integrity champion and government watchdog JEAN KACZMAREK, who is now the Democratic candidate for County Clerk in DuPage. She joins us to explain what is only the latest mess in a years-long stream of computer voting and tabulation system boondoggles by the Election Commission in the heavily Republican-leaning suburban county west of Chicago, where she has now been endorsed by the local Daily Herald.

Kaczmarek also details the County's astonishing refusal to provide her with serial numbers for the replacement paper-ballot scanners scavenged from unknown sources and recently supplied to the County by its private voting system contractor to replace more than 100 of the machines (originally purchased from Diebold in 2001) after they were damaged by an astounding failure during this year's March primary. The County has told the County Clerk candidate that their refusal to provide her with the serial numbers --- so she may try and determine where the machines were previously used --- is due to a bizarre "security risk" claim.

"I'm concerned mostly because of the lack of a chain of custody. At least the old machines that are in DuPage County have been stored here, and have been maintained here. Yes, I do have issues with those machines, but we do have that," Kaczmarek tells me. "But these other machines, we have no idea where they've been, who has maintained them, how much mileage they have. And I'm concerned there might be problems on these machines, perhaps a virus."

Her concerns are not without warrant, and are similar to such replacement schemes by mystery machines in other states, such as Wisconsin and elsewhere. Earlier this year, for example, at the DefCon hacking conference in Las Vegas, attendees discovered Chinese pop tunes and other software on voting systems recently discarded by elections officials around the country. "Here we are again," she says. "We have no transparency and accountability, and we're told to trust the results."

Finally today, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, with a bunch of pretty major environment news regarding a massive hurricane striking U.S. territories in the Pacific, a record year for tropical cyclones, New York state's new lawsuit against ExxonMobil charging the company defrauded investors regarding climate change, and a landmark new carbon tax announced this week by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau...

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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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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!"...

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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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Newspapers push back as GOPers agree with Trump's Nixonian attacks on media; Trade war leads to U.S. factory closures; Trump's $92M parade; Zinke's land lie; Pruitt's toxic desk; Poison in your cereal; RIP Aretha...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2018 6:43pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: On the 47th anniversary of the Nixon White House creating its then-confidential "enemies list" featuring, among others, many members of the media, Donald Trump's intensifying attacks on the press have now resulted in a majority of Republicans (51%) believing that the press is the "enemy of the people" rather than "an important part of democracy", according to a new Quinnipiac poll finding just 36% of self-identified GOPers agree with the latter. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

(Though I've also got a few thoughts and, perhaps, a warning on today's show regarding what to make of polling of self-identified Republicans these days. I think it's very possible our polls may now be broken, as we discuss a bit today.)

In response to the repeated and worsening attacks on the press by the President of the United States, some 350 newspapers today issued editorials in support of press freedoms. We join them in calling for support of media outlets --- particularly local newspapers and independent outlets --- who are struggling to stay alive and, yet, are needed more now than ever. (Yes, we too welcome your support for the same reason.)

That, as evidence continues to come to light underscoring the lies told to the American people by Donald Trump and the GOP while selling their tax cuts for the rich and corporations to the American people. In fact, those tax cuts won't not "pay for themselves" (the federal deficit this year will now be close to $1 trillion, thanks to plummeting revenue to the government in the wake of the cuts to the wealthy and corporations), nor have they increased wages for members of the working class (who are now making less than they did before the cuts, thanks to inflation and pay that has remained largely stagnant for workers.)

Less than three months out from the crucial 2018 midterms, Trump's tariffs and trade wars are continuing to worsen their toll on workers as well. Factories are shutting down or moving jobs to Mexico and other "off shore" locations in order to survive new added costs of tariffs on imported manufacturing supplies from China and elsewhere.

And, speaking of con jobs by this President, a new report finds his planned military parade, scheduled just days after the upcoming midterm elections, is now estimated to cost taxpayers some $92 million. That is some $80 million higher than a report on the parade's estimated cost last month, which was "only" $12 million at the time. That lower price tag is almost as much as the cost of military exercises with South Korea that Trump cancelled after his recent summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un because, at $14 million, they were "tremendously expensive" and, he tweeted, "we save a fortune" by not holding them. (Shortly after we got off air today, new reports suggest the military parade will now be postponed until 2019...if it's ever held at all.)

Also today, before we get to today's Green News Report', a brief tribute to the life and civil rights legacy of Aretha Franklin, the beloved "Queen of Soul", who died today at the age of 76.

Then, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest GNR, in which --- among many other stories --- Interior Dept. Secretary Ryan Zinke is revealed as a liar for promising, upon taking office, that public lands would not be sold off. In fact, as reported this week, his Department has now drawn up draft plans to do exactly that.

So, if you're keeping track this week, the President of the United States has called the press "the enemy of the people" and "very disgusting", while the head of his Interior Department has called mainstream environmental groups "terrorists". But it's Democrats, we are told, who are being uncivil in their response to this Administration.

Finally, a disturbing follow-up to today's GNR for people who eat food, after last week's $289 million jury award to a man with terminal cancer, after determining that Monsanto knowingly sold toxic RoundUp weed killer despite studies finding that it causes cancer. And, in related news, recently obtained internal EPA emails reveal that its disgraced and now former chief Scott Pruitt's staff were very concerned about formaldehyde used in a desk they were considering purchasing for his newly remodeled office, even as the agency blocked the release of a public report highlighting the dangers of the very same carcinogen in public drinking water...

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

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