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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, January 16, 2019
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
  w/ Brad & Desi
Intense winter storms from coast to coast; Govt shutdown threatening public health, safety; 2018 was hottest year on record for the world's oceans, putting the planet in hot water...
Previous GNRs: 1/10/19 - 1/8/19 - Archives...
'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: Historic shutdown fallout, and an impossible (but real!) 60-year old warning about 'Trump' & his 'wall'...
Trump Shutdown Threatening Safety of Nation's Food Supply, More: 'BradCast' 1/10/19
Guest: Food and ag correspondent Tom Philpott; Also: 'National emergency' likely as polls plummet for President, Senate Repubs...
'Green News Report' 1/10/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Fiat-Chrysler's big fines; Trump threatens to cut off CA FEMA funds; U.S. greenhouse gas emissions spiked in 2018; PLUS: Democrats push back, and push ahead, on climate action...
Previous GNRs: 1/8/19 - 12/20/18 - Archives...
'Governing by Tantrum' and How Trump 'Played' the Networks: 'BradCast' 1/9/19
Guest: Matt Gertz of Media Matters; Also: Dems win big in VA; Trump orders cut to FEMA's CA wildfire recovery aid...
Trump's Shutdown Crisis is Real, 'Border Crisis' is Not: 'BradCast' 1/8/19
HUD closure threatens evictions; Pence immigration lies; SCOTUS on redistricting; 2018 'blue wave' brings good news in FL, MI, ME, elsewhere...
'Green News Report' 1/8/19
Shutdown impacting nat'l parks, federal science research; EPA launches attack on public health; PLUS: New Dem majority pledges to act on climate crisis...
How to Solve the Shutdown? Give Trump What He Asked For: 'BradCast' 1/7/19
Closures having real effects (but not on Trump's biz); RBG absent at SCOTUS; High Court rejects Exxon; AOC floats tax increase, GOP freaks out; Callers ring in...
Sunday Swearing In Toons
You'll swear by PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons to kick off this new year...
Not Much Can Stop a Trump-Declared 'Nat'l Emergency': 'BradCast' 1/4/19
Guest-host Angie Coiro with shutdown news, HR-1, border update; Also: More with health care futurist Joe Flower...
She's In! Pelosi Takes the Gavel:
'BradCast' 1/3/19
Guest-host Angie Coiro on first day of new Congressional session; Also: Diversity in Kids' Lit w/ Hannah Ehrlich and Joe Flower on navigating health care...
She's BACK: Pelosi's Return:
'BradCast' 1/2/19
Guest-host Angie Coiro on shutdown, wall, Election 2020, Reid's legacy. Guests Dave Johnson, Sarah Kendzior...
Sunday Auld Lang Syne Toons
It's PDiddie's (mercifully) final weekly toon collection of 2018! Things can only get better from here....right?....
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
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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 on that and WV GOP's state Supreme Court coup; Also: Massive voting system failures in AZ primary...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2018 6:22pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Conrad Schneider of Clean Air Task Force; Also: Presidency collapsing; Hawaii v. Hurricane Lane; McCain's cancer battle nears end; GA county nixes poll closures; Repub wins U.S. House Special Election...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2018 6:36pm PT  

Before we get to our guest on today's BradCast, a number of news items (and that may be an understatement) of note. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

  • First, the latest in the quickening collapse of the Trump Presidency, as his darkest week gets darker by the day, now including the Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization reportedly being granted immunity to cooperate with federal prosecutors in their ongoing probe(s) of all manner of criminality by Donald J. Trump and his 2016 campaign;
  • Hurricane Lane is already wreaking havoc in Hawaii as it very slowly sweeps near the islands, dumping catastrophic amounts of rain (35 inches in 48 hours on the Big Island!) in its wake; And, speaking of Hawaii, listeners answer our call in response to a question we had yesterday regarding a slang Hawaiian term used by Sen. Mazie Hirono's (D-HI) in cancelling her planned meeting with Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, charging that "an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal matter, does not deserve the courtesy of a meeting with his nominee --- purposely selected to protect, as we say in Hawaii, his own okole";
  • Senator John McCain's family announced on Friday that he will no longer accept medical treatment in his year long battle against terminal brain cancer. We discuss, a bit, what that could mean for Trump's Supreme Court nominee in advance of Arizona's midterm primaries, with Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who would appoint McCain's successor, on the ballot next Tuesday. Also, we note, the President's appalling recent behavior towards the ailing Senator;
  • In Ohio's 12th Congressional District, Troy Balderson (R) is finally officially declared the winner over Danny O'Connor (D) in the U.S. House Special election held nearly three weeks ago. Balderson is said to have won by a razor-thin 1,680 votes out of more than 200,000 votes cast on the 100% unverifiable touchscreen systems used on Election Day in the previously very Republican district. The margin is just over the amount that would have triggered an automatic, state-sponsored "recount". The two candidates will face off yet again in November's general election, when a number of factors, as we discuss, could tip the advantage to O'Connor;
  • And, in Georgia, as we predicted on yesterday's BradCast, the Randolph County Board of Elections quickly rejected a proposal to shutter 7 of 9 precincts in the majority African-American county in advance of the November midterms. The scheme, which used the pretext of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), was proffered by a consultant hired by the County at the recommendation of GOP Sec. of State Brian Kemp. The plan had drawn national outrage in a year when Kemp is running for Governor against Stacey Abrams, who could become the nation's first female African-American chief of state;

Then, as the nation is justifiably distracted by a Presidency quickly spiraling out of control, his policies continue to move forward nonetheless, including this week's major new (if little covered) Trump EPA proposal to "repeal and replace" Obama's landmark 2015 "Clean Power Plan", which would otherwise reduce deadly and climate change causing emissions from coal-fired power plants with something the Administration is calling the "Affordable Clean Energy Rule". By the Administration's own admissions, the Trump scheme would lead annually to at least 1,400 premature American deaths over Obama's plan, and result in tens of thousands of news cases of respiratory illness each year.

CONRAD SCHNEIDER, former U.S. Dept. of Justice trial attorney and current Advocacy Director at the non-profit Clean Air Task Force and lecturer on Environmental Law and Policy at Maine's Bowdoin College, joins us to explain the dangers --- and coal-industry corruption --- of what he calls the EPA's new "Dirty Power Plan".

"Thousands and thousands of Americans would die prematurely under the Trump plan whose lives would have been saved under the Obama plan," Schneider warns. "And that's just the tip of a pyramid of health effects that include hospital visits, emergency room visits, asthma attacks, children missing school days and adults missing work as a result of the pollution that would occur here" in what he describes as "just the latest of [Trump's] efforts to try to resuscitate the coal industry."

But, he also cautions, "this political promise" to the industry "runs headlong into the requirements of the Clean Air Act" and so, Schneider predicts, the plan may well face problems in court, where he promises, "we'll be arguing that as much as they might want to throw a lifeline to coal, the Clean Air Act is not the appropriate venue to do that."

"What we are doing here is we are fiddling while the planet burns. We're fighting things in court, when we really don't have the time to waste," he tells me, as we discuss why it is that the Trump Administration's many attempts at reversing Obama Administration environmental protections --- from water rules, to chemical plant safety regulations, to the Keystone XL pipeline (to name only a few from the past few weeks) --- continue to be blocked, overturned or delayed, by one federal court after another...

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

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Primary results from WY, AK; Hurricane bears down on HI; Rep. Duncan Hunter, wife indicted on 60 counts of fraud, campaign finance violations...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2018 6:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the fallout, both political and legal, continues today after the extraordinary news events of the past 24 hours, when Donald Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight federal felonies and the President's longtime personal attorney and 'fixer', Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to another eight, including two that implicate Trump in a serious criminal campaign finance violation conspiracy related to hush-money payoffs made to two women just before the 2016 election. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But all of that wasn't the only bad news for Trump and Republicans yesterday. Late on Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and his wife were indicted on 60(!) astonishing counts of fraud, conspiracy and campaign finance violations. Hunter was the second member of Congress to support Trump's 2016 run for President, after Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), the first in the U.S. House to endorse him, was federally charged earlier this month with insider trading. Hunter's indictment may not be all that surprising if one is familiar with his (and his father's) track record of lying to the public. His previously-believed-to-be "safe" Republican House seat in his San Diego Congressional District may now be in peril.

All-in-all, it's starting to feel a whole lot like 2006, when a similar avalanche of failures and corruption by a GOP Administration and a scandal-ridden Republican House resulted in a "blue wave" election in November.

We're joined again today by Salon and Hullabaloo's award-winning opinion journalist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, as we try to make sense of what feels, in her words, like "the weirdly unfamiliar impression that something real and recognizable had happened".

We discuss the fallout from the Manafort and Cohen guilty verdicts and pleas, including the new subpoena Cohen received today from the state of New York in the case against Trump's phony charitable foundation, and the remarkable statement from Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis last night, that his client "has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to the special counsel," regarding Team Trump's infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians and the "computer crime of hacking" that year. Davis now says Cohen is "more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows."

"Digby" shares her thoughts on what surprised her from the Cohen plea deal, what all of this may mean for the President, the GOP and Democrats just over two months out from the crucial 2018 midterms and for Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Also today, a rare, if very dangerous, Category 5/4 Hurricane Lane bears down on Hawaii and we cover noteworthy results from Tuesday's primary elections in very Republican Wyoming and occasionally-independent Alaska, where a three-way race for Governor could result in a Republican win this November...

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

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Guest: Attorney, election integrity advocate, journalist Jennifer Cohn...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2018 6:20pm PT  

Well, it was one of those days again on today's BradCast, with an avalanche of huge, incoming breaking news which we do our best to cover --- even as we keep our eyes on the November prize on what may officially have been the worst day of Donald Trump's Presidency, to date. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Our first piece of breaking news: Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort was convicted on 8 felony counts related to bank and tax fraud in his Virginia trial. The jury couldn't agree on 10 other counts brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, so the judge declared a mistrial on those counts. Manafort now faces another federal trial on felony charges, also brought by Mueller, in Washington D.C. next month, related to his undeclared work with a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

Also, in arguably bigger and worse breaking news for Trump, his longtime personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to 8 federal felonies related to bank and tax fraud, as well as campaign finance law violations related to a hush-money payoff of $130,000 made to porn actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 Presidential election. The payment, Cohen admitted in a NY federal courtroom on Tuesday, was carried out "at the direction of" Trump "for the principal purpose of influencing the election". Now facing 4 to 5 years in federal prison, he may be inclined to cooperate with Mueller to receive a shorter sentence. With Cohen's plea deal ending that particular investigation in NY, it may also mean that Trump will now be forced to sit for an under-oath deposition in the lawsuit filed against Trump by Daniels.

All of that, after Microsoft announced last night it had discovered and shut down several fake Russian websites said to have targeted U.S. Senate offices and two conservative think tanks in advance of the November primary.

Then, as voters head to the primary polls in Alaska and Wyoming today, we're still working to make sense of two still-unexplained election night tabulation failures in both Michigan and Kansas during their August 7th primaries. We're joined today by JENNIFER COHN, attorney turned election integrity advocate and journalist, following her recent trip to Kansas to investigate the reported "computer glitch" in Johnson County, KS which crippled election night tabulation in the state's most populous county.

That "glitch" resulted in GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach, Secretary of State, reportedly defeating KS Gov. Jeff Colyer to secure the GOP nomination for Governor by just over 100 votes out of 311,00 cast on Election Day. The still-unexplained failure occurred on the county's brand new, unverifiable ES&S ExpressVote touchscreen voting and tabulation system, approved just months ago by the county's election chief who was appointed by Kobach. The same unverifiable voting system will be used by voters in some 16 states and D.C. this November. (For the record, they will be used in AZ, D.C., FL, IA, ID, ME, MI, MO, MS, NV, OH, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI and WV.)

Her must-read article published by The BRAD BLOG in March on the dangers of such systems --- which produce barcoded "paper ballots" that can't be verified by voters after an election --- foretells many of the problems that occurred in Kansas on August 7. "All the problems that I predicted came to fruition, with the long lines, and machines failing, and then not having paper ballot backups," Cohn reports, noting that some voters were disenfranchised and others were given confusion instructions about whether or not they should try "to even verify those computer-marked, so-called paper ballot summary cards" produced by the systems.

During her short visit to Kansas, Cohn was denied an interview with the Kobach-appointed JoCo Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker and blocked from viewing the ES&S voting systems as well as the tabulation of provisional ballots. "We were just stonewalled, really, all day long, about everything," she tells me. "On the tabulating, they wouldn't even tell me if they were tabulating in the building."

She goes on to explain why we should all be very concerned about all of this, and what can possibly be done to try and oversee the validity of computer-marked paper ballots and electronically tabulated results on similar systems in use across the country this November.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the story which was supposed to have be Trump's great triumph today, the announcement of his EPA's new plan to replace Barack Obama's 'Clean Power Plan' with a scheme that will allow coal plants to keep polluting, global warming to worsen, and, as the documentation of the plan admits, result in the avoidable deaths and illness of tens of thousands of Americans each year...

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Wisconsin's own John Nichols; Also: Surprise concession in KS GOP Guv primary; CO's anti-gay cake baker is back in court...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2018 6:06pm PT  

There was a little something for everyone, it seems, in Tuesday's primary elections in Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin. We cover as much of it as we can on today's BradCast, as voters in all but 10 states have now selected their candidates for the crucial 2018 midterms. [Audio link to show follows below.]

There were a lot of "firsts" and reasons for Democrats to be optimistic about November, based on the reported results today, and some of that optimism comes from races that Donald Trump believes he is happy about today, as his party moves farther and farther to the right to become the Party of Trump. It should also be noted that many of the Democratic winners on Tuesday were both progressive and political newcomers.

Among the many noteworthy contests on Tuesday covered on today's show, we now have the first transgender person to become a major party nominee for Governor (Christine Hallquist in VT); the first African-American woman to likely represent New England in the U.S. House (former teen mother turned "Teacher of the Year", Jahana Hayes in CT); the first Somali-American refugee who will likely become one of two of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress (Ilhan Omar in MN); a stunning upset in Minnesota's Republican gubernatorial primary (front-runner and former two-term Gov. Tim Pawlenty was crushed by Trump-endorsed Jeff Johnson); and there were some encouraging Democratic wins in Wisconsin and victories over moderate GOPers by fully Trumped-up Republicans in several races.

We're joined today by native Wisconsinite and longtime progressive journalist JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation and of Madison, WI's Capitol Times for analysis and insight on all of the above, as WI's controversial, union-busting, two-term Republican Gov. Scott Walker faces his greatest political challenge this November against Tuesday's Democratic nominee, state school superintendent Tony Evers, and as the Democrats' face a tough fight to flip retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan's seat from "red" to "blue" with the Bernie Sanders-endorsed iron-worker and union organizer turned first time politician, Randy Bryce.

We cover a LOT of ground on today's show (including the late domestic abuse allegations against MN Rep. Keith Ellison, who easily won his Democratic primary in the state's Attorney General's race), so it's best I just let you listen rather than try to summarize Nichols' keen insights on Tuesday's races and more.

Also today: Democrats celebrate Governor Jeff Colyer's surprising sudden concession last night to Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach in the razor-thin battle for the GOP Gubernatorial nomination following last week's primary in the state; And the anti-gay Colorado baker/bigot who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple's wedding, under the pretext of "religious liberty", is now back in court after refusing to sell a cake to a transgender customer...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: KS GOP Gubernatorial primary counting fight update; MO Repubs elect another Nazi; Interior Sec. Zinke says environmentalists are 'terrorists'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2018 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Our long 'Digby' drought is finally over! [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, an update on the ongoing counting from (and fights over) last week's incredibly close GOP gubernatorial primary in Kansas between Sec. of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is accusing Kobach's deputy of giving incorrect instructions to counties regarding the counting of provisional ballots. Some 9,000 provisionals are now being processed as Kobach leads the current unofficial count by just over 100 votes out of some 311,000 cast last week. The latest battle is over whether provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters who did not officially declare a party affiliation at the polls (because poll workers failed to instruct them to do so) should be included in the tallies. Colyer's office argues yes. Kobach's deputy --- who is overseeing the post-election canvas following Kobach's recusal --- says no. We explain both positions.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Missouri last week, Republican voters in Clay County appear to have elected a huge Hitler fan, by a very large margin, as their nominee for the state House of Representatives. Earlier this year a former member of the American Nazi party won the GOP nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in a Congressional district outside of Chicago.

Then, as the defense rested Tuesday without bringing forward any evidence or witnesses in the first of two federal indictments against former Trump Campaign chairman Paul Manafort, we're joined by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of both Salon and Hullabaloo, to catch up on a number of stories boiling over from within the Trump Scandal Swamp.

Most notably, she explains her recent spot-on observation that the Whitewater scandals during the Clinton Presidency, rather than Nixon's Watergate scandal, may offer "a better window into the current behavior of the Republican Party" when it comes to their denial of and outrageously partisan attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Team Trump/Russia coordination in the 2016 Presidential election.

After drawing apt comparisons to Watergate (and there are plenty), Parton moves to Ken Starr's Whitewater investigation. "What the Republicans did in that era --- it was kind of the beginning of this 'scorched earth' partisanship that we see today. They brought all hands on deck to go after Bill Clinton, starting in 1992," she says. After which, "they started to use this scandal-mongering as a political weapon. This became their weapon of choice."

Thus, she concludes, "that's how they're viewing the Russia scandal. They are portraying it to their people as a partisan weapon, that 'They're using all of this to damage Trump, there's no substance to it!' In their view, they can convince their people that this is how scandals work because that's what they do" in their own so-called investigations, which really are, more often than not, the "witch hunts" that Trump and Congressional Republicans characterize the probe by Mueller (a lifelong Republican) to be.

While we're in the swamp, we also discuss the Manafort case, Trump's Dept. of Justice firing of senior FBI counter-intelligence official Peter Strzok (who oversaw the beginning of the Trump/Russia investigation in 2016) on Monday, and the importance (or lack thereof) regarding sensational new allegations being made by fired White House staffer and former TV reality star Omarosa Manigault Newman this week, in conjunction with the release of her new tell-all book.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report in which, among other things, we discuss more record heat and fires threatening national parks and forests, the Trump Administration's efforts to use those disasters to cripple the Endangered Species Act and help out the logging and farming industries, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's on-tape charge that "environmental terrorist groups" are to blame for massive record wildfires currently engulfing large areas of the West...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Guest: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center; Also, new numbers in OH-12, KS GOP Guv primary, Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria death toll...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2018 5:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Understanding two new, seemingly conflicting directives on "dark money" in campaigns --- one of them very encouraging --- and a new complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission charging several GOP Senators unlawfully colluded with the NRA during the 2014 and 2016 elections. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, adjusting some numbers! In this past Tuesday's very close U.S. House Special Election in Ohio's (previously, very Republican) 12th Congressional District, the Trump-endorsed GOP candidate Troy Balderson was reportedly up over Democrat Danny O'Connor by just over 1,700 votes out of about 200,000 tallied on election night in the closely watched, bellwether race. On Wednesday, however, Franklin County's Board of Elections discovered an electronic cartridge from one precinct, with 588 votes stored on it, had not been included in the original unofficial tallies. With those ballots now added, O'Connor has netted 190 additional votes over Balderson, lowering the current unofficial margin in the contest to just 0.8 points. A margin of 0.5 or less would trigger an automatic "recount", as thousands of provisional and late vote-by-mail ballots are still being processed.

In Kansas, Tuesday's even tighter race between Sec. of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Jeff Colyer for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, saw its margin cut by more than half, from 191 votes to just 91, out of some 311,000 cast. The adjustment appears due to an incorrectly entered number by the Sec. of State's office on Tuesday night. The controversial, hard-right Kobach's razor-thin lead may further erode (or expand) as some 10,000 provisional and late mail-in ballots are still to be processed. A recount in that contest is all but certain.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico, in an official statement to Congress, now acknowledges that at least 1,427 were killed during and after Hurricane Maria last year, a vastly different figure than the island's still-official death toll of 64. The new numbers place Maria's death toll much closer to the 1,833 said to have been killed during and after 2005's Hurricane Katrina. We discuss why it has been so difficult for Puerto Rican officials to acknowledge those far-higher numbers, long ago estimated by many experts.

Then we're joined by BRENDAN FISCHER, Associate Counsel at the Washington D.C.'s Campaign Legal Center (CLC), to help explain several important, if seemingly conflicting, pieces of campaign finance related news. About two weeks ago, the Treasury Department announced that non-profits who spend money on political campaigns --- so-called "Dark Money" groups --- would no longer be required to disclose the names of their donors to the IRS. The timing of that new policy, Fischer notes, "was pretty terrible. It happened on the same day that federal prosecutors charged Maria Butina with being an unregistered Russian agent who tried to influence American politics through the NRA, which had spent at least $35 million through its 501c4 [non-profit political action committee] arm during the last election cycle."

"So, if you're concerned about foreign money in elections, you should be really concerned about the Treasury Dept. stating that 501c4s, like [Karl Rove's] Crossroads GPS or the NRA, no longer have to disclose their top donors to the IRS."

Then, a week or so later, last Friday, a federal judge ordered the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to rewrite their current rules, within 45 days, in order to require the disclosure of the names of donors to many of those same "dark money" groups. Fischer details how the new mandate from Judge Beryl Howell, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, differs from the Treasury Dept. directive and, in fact, could be very good news indeed for those who believe in transparency and public oversight of elections!

"If the FEC was doing its job, then it wouldn't matter quite so much if the IRS was not collecting this information," Fischer tells me. "Judge Howell said that the FEC has been failing at its job, and it needs to go back to the drawing board and draft new rules that are going to ensure effective donor disclosure for certain types of political advertising."

"Judge Howell's decision is a reminder that the FEC is largely to blame for the rise of dark money. It's not just the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, it also is in large part the fault of the FEC for failing to enforce the laws that are on the books. The Supreme Court has endorsed donor disclosure, and the laws passed by Congress say that donors to politically active dark money groups must be disclosed. It falls to the FEC to draft the rules that interpret laws passed by Congress and to enforce those rules. But what the FEC has done is draft rules that narrow the donor disclosure laws passed by Congress, and then they failed to enforce even those narrow rules."

While acknowledging the new ruling as "a very big deal", Fischer explains why questions remain as to whether the ruling will be (or even can be) appealed and how the current vacancies on the FEC may prevent them from being able to act within the time ordered by Judge Howell.

In a separate, if somewhat related matter, Fischer details CLC's recently filed complaint with the FEC charging that the campaigns of four different Republican U.S. Senators unlawfully coordinated with the NRA's political action committee in violation of long-standing campaign finance laws during the 2014 and 2016 elections. The GOP Senators named in the complaint: Ron Johnson (WI), Tom Cotton (AR), Cory Gardner (CO) and Thom Tillis (NC).

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with still more record heat, pushback from California against the Administration's attempt to undermine state mileage and emissions standards, and the extraordinary revelation that Trump's EPA is actually attempting to bring deadly asbestos back! Seriously!...

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Also: Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY-Trump) indicted for insider trading...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2018 6:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Election Administrator's (and Election Integrity journalist's) Prayer was decidedly not answered on Tuesday, based on reported results in at least two key races, and problems in the four states (Kansas, Missouri, Michigan and Washington) which held midterm primaries and the one (Ohio) which held the final major U.S. House Special Election of the year. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

But, first up today, Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New York, the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump's candidacy, was indicted Wednesday morning, along with his son and the father of his son's fiancee, for an insider trading scheme, after he had tipped off his son to failed testing for a multiple sclerosis treatment by an Australian company in which Collins was the top shareholder and a member of its board. According to the indictment by the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, it sure looks like they've caught Collins red-handed. Though he vows to fight the charges and remain on the ballot this November, his once-safe seat is now believed to be in danger.

Then, onto yesterday's Election Day and the very long night that followed.

In the OH-12 special election, Democrat Danny O'Connor trails Republican Troy Balderson by about 1,700 votes out of some 200,000 cast, mostly on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems across seven Ohio counties. About 3,500 uncounted provisional and late vote-by-mail ballots could change the outcome in the days ahead, or at least lead to a state-mandated "recount" in the district that, for decades --- until Tuesday --- had been solidly "red". In 2016, Trump carried the district by 11 points and the now-resigned House GOP incumbent had carried it by 36 points. That has clearly changed with a virtual dead heat contest on Tuesday, leading to growing confidence in a "blue wave" this November by many Democrats and, yes, a "RED WAVE" in the same crucial midterms, as predicted today by Donald Trump.

In Detroit, where voters cast hand-marked paper ballots, they were able to continue voting even during power outages at more than a dozen polling places on Tuesday, following storms the night before. We have results from MICHIGAN's closely-watched Gubernatorial primaries and the somewhat bizarre, two separate Democratic primary races (one normal, one special) to fill the U.S. House seat left vacant last year by Rep. John Conyers resignation. State Dems will now host an historic, all-female slate at the top of the ticket for Governor, U.S. Senator, Attorney General and Sec. of State, and Rashida Tlaib will become the first Muslim woman in Congress.

In KANSAS, $10 million wasted on new, unverifiable touch-screen voting systems didn't help voters as some of the brand new ES&S ExpressVote ballot marking devices failed to work at all on Tuesday morning, and electronic tabulation grounded to a halt all together in Johnson County, the state's most populous, due to a problem that remains unclear at this hour. All of it resulted in another "too close to call" race today, in the GOP's gubernatorial primary between current Gov. Jeff Colyer and the controversial Trump-endorsed Sec. of State Kris Kobach. He leads, according to unverifiable touch-screen results finally reported on Wednesday morning, by just 191 votes(!) out of some 300,000 cast. A "recount" (overseen by Kobach himself) almost certainly awaits, as do future failures on the ExpressVote systems which produce unverifiable barcoded "paper trails" instead of hand-marked paper ballots. Sadly, the same systems are also being adopted by many other jurisdictions around the country as well.

In MISSOURI, a few Republicans came up with a novel new way to stop voters from voting. But that didn't deter the state which voted for Trump by double digits in 2016 from soundly rejecting a GOP anti-union (so-called "Right-to-Work") measure by a 2 to 1 margin. And, in St. Louis County, in a triumph of democracy, Bill McCulloch, the 7-term Democratic prosecutor who failed to bring charges in the 2014 police killing of Ferguson's Michael Brown, was defeated by Wesley Bell, one of the African-American leaders of the 2014 protests there. Bell had become a City Council member in Ferguson in 2015 and he will now be St. Louis County's Prosecuting Attorney.

And finally today, in WASHINGTON state, results of several U.S. House primaries suggest incumbent Republicans previously thought to be in safe "red" districts --- including Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest ranking female in Congress --- may not be quite as safe in this November's midterms as they had thought...

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Guest: Aaron Weiss of Center for Western Priorities; Also: TN primary results; Trump endorses guy not actually running; TX chemical company indicted after toxic Hurricane Harvey explosions...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2018 6:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's kind of amazing that Trump's wildly corrupt Interior Dept. Secretary Ryan Zinke is still in office. Now that the EPA's Scott Pruitt is gone, and Interior just accidentally released a whole bunch of revealing information, maybe Zinke is a bit closer to the exit door. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up today, results from Tennessee's primary elections on Thursday, and the outlook for November in the key U.S. Senate race to replace the state's outgoing Republican Sen. Bob Corker. Popular former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen is now set to face off against the very Trumpy GOP nominee Rep. Marsha Blackburn in a race is central to Democrats' chances of winning back a majority in the upper chamber of Congress in this year's midterms.

Following up our preview yesterday of next week's important U.S. House Special Election in Ohio's 12th Congressional District --- where Democratic candidate Danny O'Connor could very well flip that seat from "red" to "blue" on Tuesday --- our stable genius President tweeted out an endorsement yesterday for a Republican who is not even running in the race.

Also today, some encouraging news out of Texas, where the corporate owners and manager of the Arkema Chemical plant near Houston were indicted on Friday, following the "reckless" release of toxins into the air during an explosion at the plant amid Hurricane Harvey flooding last year.

Then, we're joined by AARON WEISS, Media Director of the Center for Western Priorities (and host of its Go West, Young Podcast), to explain the "monumental" screw-up last month when the U.S. Department of Interior accidentally released unredacted documents regarding the agency's deliberations over the unprecedented lifting of federal protections for a huge portion of the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument in Utah.

"We'd always suspected that the outcome was preordained. But this really makes it crystal clear that the fix was in from the beginning," Weiss tells me, detailing the Department's subsequent redactions in the documents, revealing what Zinke's agency hoped the public wouldn't find out. Namely, that priceless archaeological treasures, native American relics, and a huge tourist and recreational industry benefiting the local economies, are now endangered by the unprecedented closure of nearly half of the Grand Staircase and some 85% of Bears Ears monument (also in Utah). The two monuments are the first to be scaled back in response to Donald Trump's executive order calling for the review of some 27 national monuments established by previous Presidents.

Weiss explains the how the screw-up came about in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests: "Under the Freedom of Information Act, you're allowed to redact certain things. But then you also have this very broad exception, it's called the 'B-5 deliberative process exemption.' And it's supposed to be so that officials can discuss policy options candidly. But oftentimes we see that B5 redaction being used as what's called the 'because I want to' redaction. And that's exactly what happened here, because they wanted to redact stuff that didn't look good for them, they called that stuff 'deliberative'. even though many of these sections were not discussing policy options, they were just basic facts."

"If you look at what got mistakenly unredacted in just this one document, and think about the tens of thousands of other pages already released and yet to be released, it does raise huge questions about the way they're abusing that B5 deliberative exemption."

He goes on to offer an update on the several legal challenges facing the unprecedented closures by the Trump Administration, and how the unredacted revelations underscore Team Trump's pretty clear aim of aiding their friends in the fossil fuel extraction industry at the expense of all others. Weiss also highlights a newly emerging scandal regarding what appears to be a wildly corrupt development deal in Zinke's hometown of Whitefish, Montana, involving the Secretary, his wife, and the CEO of oil services giant Halliburton.

Finally today, we share a portion of a short video rant unleashed yesterday by Ring of Fire co-host Farron Cousins, regarding concerns about election system security and hacking in the upcoming election. In the clip, he argues that these worries might have been avoided entirely had both Democrats and Republicans listened "to people like Brad Friedman at The BRAD BLOG" who have been warning about these concerns "for more than 14 years". "If we would have listened to them years ago," Cousins argues, "we wouldn't even be having this conversation today." [Fact-check: Mostly true!]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest-host Angie Coiro with Clayborne Carson, Sheila Thomas, Jessica Bruder...
By Angie Coiro on 7/23/2018 6:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm sitting in for Brad and Desi, frantically sifting through news from every direction.

First it's a review of the headlines, including word that the FBI has turned twelve audio tapes seized from Michael Cohen over to federal prosecutors. Donald Trump screams at Iran in ALL CAPS on Twitter; Iran snarls back. The battle over the Carter Page FISA application release rages, but one thing the GOP can't really fight back on: the case made in those pages looks pretty bad for Team Trump.

A deep dive into an incredibly revealing portrait of Southern Baptist churchgoers in Luverne, Alabama. Stephanie McCrummen at the Washington Post did an amazing job on the story.

Then --- in honor of Adam Parkhomenko & Co's fantastic occupation of Lafayette Park outside the White House --- a conversation with attorney SHEILA THOMAS and Martin Luther King historian CLAYBORNE CARSON. We talk about effective protest, and how the art of protest has evolved since the civil rights revolution.

Finally --- did you spend money with Amazon on "Prime Day"? You and everybody else --- or at least enough of everybody else to jam up their system. JESSICA BRUDER'S Nomadland is her hands-on testament to nomadic Americans who've fallen out of the vanishing middle class, and are driving from job to job with Amazon, Walmart, amusement parks, state camping grounds, and more.

Download MP3 or listen 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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