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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, November 17, 2017
Recall Effort for GA SoS After Election Disasters, 'Server Wipe': 'BradCast' 11/16/17
Guest: John Ziegler of 'Voice for All GA'; Also: Keystone Pipeline spill; House passes tax bill; Menendez mistrial in NJ; Moore tanking in AL...
'Green News Report' 11/16/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
AK's National Wildlife Refuge now one step closer to oil drilling; African-Americans bear brunt of fossil fuel pollution; PLUS: France to cover U.S. funding for U.N. climate science...
Previous GNRs: 11/14/17 - 11/9/17 - Archives...
Chilling Senate Hearing on Presidential Use of Nukes: 'BradCast' 11/15/17
Guest: Nuclear analyst Stephen Schwartz: Also: Dems win again in OK; Moore madness in AL; Maddening details on N. Cal shooting...
Ready to Step Up? It's 'National Run for Office Day'!: 'BradCast' 11/14/17
Guest: Ross Morales Rocketto of 'Run for Something'; Also: Another mass shooting at an elementary school; MORE...
'Green News Report' 11/14/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
US a bit schizophrenic at U.N. climate talks; Report: Paris Agreement targets not nearly enough; Fossil fuel lobbyist approved for top EPA post; PLUS: PR damages nearly $95B...
Previous GNRs: 11/9/17 - 11/7/17 - Archives...
New Assault Claim Against Moore, More Trouble for GOP: 'BradCast' 11/13/17
Callers ring in on latest developments, allegations plaguing Alabama's 'conservative' 'Christian' U.S. Senate nominee...
Moore Sunday Toons
Moore, Moore, Moore...How do ya like it? How do ya like it? Moore, Moore, Moore! And then still more in PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Real Moore News
and More Real News: 'BradCast' 11/10/17
(And some real news about some fake news!) Also: Trump/Kobach's 'Election Integrity' Comm. is sued by once of its Commissioners!...
Reaping the Whirlwind:
Roy Moore Scandal in AL,
GOP 'Chaos' After Election: 'BradCast' 11/9/17
Guest: The Nation's John Nichols; Also: More GOPers quit; Hearings on Prez use of nukes...
'Green News Report' 11/9/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
US now alone on climate denial, but cities, states picking up slack; Election creates 'Blue Wall' for climate action in West; PLUS: Ozone hole smallest on record, after global treaty...
Previous GNRs: 11/7/17 - 11/2/17 - Archives...
'Tidal Wave' Election For Dems:
'BradCast' 11/8/17
Plus, Mark Joseph Stern of Slate on his idea for how 'blue states' can take action immediately on gun violence...
FCC to Allow One Corp. to Buy Every TV Station in Your Town: 'BradCast' 11/7/17
Guest: Media reformer Sue Wilson; Also: Trump seeks diplomacy w/ NK; Many red flags should have prevented TX church massacre...
'Green News Report' 11/7/17
SPECIAL COVERAGE - The Nat'l Climate Assessment is out, with dire warnings on climate change impacts, hope that governments can act in time to reduce emissions...
'Thoughts and Prayers' After Texas Church Massacre: 'BradCast' 11/6/17
The NRA/GOP and Military Industrial Complex win again, after 26 killed in Sutherland Springs; Also: Trump in Asia, wildly misled on U.S. defensive missile capabilities...
Sunday Fall Back Toons
A few steps in the right direction and much more in PDiddie's latest Sunday collection of the week's best political toons...
Facts v. Frauds: 'BradCast' 11/3/17
Trump, terror, justice, guns, Gitmo, Puerto Rico, Kobach, voter fraud, tax cuts, and climate...
State AG Quits Defense of GA SoS in Election 'Server Wipe' Case: 'BradCast' 11/2/17
Guest: Marilyn Marks, Repub plaintiff in GA-06 suit calls GOP SoS response to deleted evidence 'shameful'...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
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...


Also: New details on how 'dark money' helped GOP steal SCOTUS, with guests Margaret Sessa-Hawkins & Andrew Perez of MapLight...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It often feels like we're fighting to save whatever little is left of representative American democracy. Today is certainly one of those days. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

First up today, Associated Press reports that the computer server at Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections in Georgia was "wiped clean" in early July, just days after the state's contentious June 20 Special Election Runoff for the U.S. House Seat in GA's 6th Congressional District, and as a federal lawsuit [PDF] was filed to challenge the results of that election.

Kennesaw's Center has been contracted by the state for some 15 years to program virtually all aspects of Georgia's elections, including their electronic pollbook voter registration databases and the highly hackable and 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems and electronic tabulators used across the entire state.

The complete deletion of information on the server in July --- and, reportedly, two backups of that server in August --- is particularly disturbing given questions about the accuracy of the reported results in the race, said to have been won by Georgia's former Republican Sec. of State Karen Handel over Democrat Jon Ossoff. Some of the concerns were detailed in the ongoing lawsuit filed by a number of plaintiffs, including Republican election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks of the Coalition of Good Governance. (We discussed that suit with Marks on The BradCast in July and concerns revealed about the results of the April Primary with VoterGA's Garland Favorito in May. We hope to speak with both of them on the show again very soon.)

The federal complaint had sought a forensic analysis of the Kennesaw server to determine whether it may have been manipulated in some way. AP reports: "Wiping the server clean 'forestalls any forensic investigation at all,' said Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer scientist who has closely followed the case. 'People who have nothing to hide don't behave this way.'" Marks is quoted in the same report noting: "I don't think you could find a voting systems expert who would think the deletion of the server data was anything less than insidious and highly suspicious."

The server was discovered by a data security researcher to have been left online and unprotected --- exposing personal voter records, voting system programming files and administrative system passwords --- in August of 2016. Yet, GA's Secretary of State, Republican Brian Kemp (who is running for Governor in 2018), claims to have not been notified, and the server was left unprotected through both the 2016 Presidential election, as well as this year's special U.S. House race. The personal information of some 6.7 million voters, ballot definition files used on voting machines and tabulators, as well as system passwords used by election officials to access those systems were reportedly left vulnerable to manipulation for at least six months, if not longer. (We reported on that aspect of this mess in June of this year.)

Today we discuss the alarming new AP report and what it means, following our own months of coverage of related concerns about the GA-06 special election, failures during tabulation, many questions from Election Integrity advocates about its reported results and, of course, our years (nearly 15 of them) warning about exactly such a situation as this.

Then, speaking of a "rigged" democracy, we're joined by Maplight's Dark Money Watch journalists MARGARET SESSA-HAWKINS and ANDREW PEREZ to discuss their new reporting on federal 'disclosure' documents revealing that millions of dollars were spent to support the Republican U.S. Senate effort to block President Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, and the subsequent effort to confirm the nomination of President Trump's nominee to that same seat, Neil Gorsuch. The two reporters detail their findings including that, of the $17 million in "dark money" raised and spent on both efforts, a single donation for $17.9 million, from an unknown source to the rightwing Judicial Crisis Network, may have accounted for most, if not all of that effort.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on concerns about two dodgy contracts for $500 million to purportedly help rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid; a new report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the $350 BILLION U.S. tax-payer dollars spent on climate-related disasters over the past decade, and much MUCH more!...

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

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Guest: David Daley of FairVote.org on 'Gill v. Whitford'; Plus: Updates on the disaster in Puerto Rico, gun massacre in Las Vegas...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2017 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the future of American democracy itself is once again in the hands of a now-stolen U.S. Supreme Court, in what democracy advocates describe as a case that is likely to help determine the partisan balance of Congress and state legislatures for decades.

But, first up today: Updates on Donald Trump's embarrassing Tuesday jaunt to hurricane-torn Puerto Rico, where the official death toll has now doubled from 16 to 34 and is expected to go much higher as 3.4 million U.S. citizens on the island still face desperate circumstances with food and water shortages and 95% of the island remains without power two weeks after Hurricane Maria (despite Trump's bizarre claims to the contrary.) Also, a few updates on what little more we now know about the massacre in Las Vegas on Sunday, the lack of a known motive for the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and the shamefully transparent attempts by both the White House and Congressional Republicans to avoid any legislative policy action in its wake.

Then we move on to what democracy advocates describe as one of the most important cases to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in years. Oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford were heard on Tuesday. That is the case where a three-judge federal court determined the state of Wisconsin had used severe (and secret) partisan gerrymandering to redraw district maps after the 2010 census. In so doing, despite receiving a minority of votes (48.6%) after the new maps were drawn, Republicans gained an extraordinary 60-to-39 majority in the State Assembly.

The GOP is now appealing that federal court ruling to SCOTUS, which has held racial gerrymandering to be unconstitutional in the past, but has never ruled on whether purely partisan gerrymandering, as in this case, violates the Constitutional rights of voters.

We're joined by the man who wrote the book on modern-day gerrymandering, DAVID DALEY, author of Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. Daley, formerly Editor-in-Chief at Salon, now Senior Fellow at at FairVote.org, spent the night on the sidewalk outside the Court on Monday, to get one of 50 seats at Tuesday's hearing.

He explains how high the stakes are in this case (which could result in court challenges to electoral maps in virtually every state in the union), the arguments presented by both sides in the matter, and how everyone --- attorneys and Justices alike, were focused on making their case to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will most likely determine the course of U.S. democracy for decades to come, thanks to the Republicans' stolen 5 to 4 majority on the Supreme Court itself.

"This case is everything," Daley tells me. "If this case is not decided on the side of democracy, on the side of competitive elections, there will be nothing to stop Republicans, who are likely to be holding the pens in all of these states in 2021 from doing the same thing, only with more sophisticated technology that's developed over the last decade, with better data analytic skills than they had in 2011, with stronger predictive algorithms to try to figure out where people are going to live and how they are going to vote for the next decade. It will be 2031 before Democrats get another shot at the maps if this case is decided the other way."

Daley sees the case now before the Supremes as "potentially bigger" than either 2010's Citizens United, which gutted campaign finance laws, or 2013's Shelby County, which gutted the Voting Rights Act. "This is the future of our democracy right here."

"Republicans reinvented the gerrymander in 2010 and 2011. This is not the same kind of gerrymander that you had 'back in the day.' This is different," he insists, as I press him on whether Democrats are carrying out the same type of partisan maps in states that they control. "This is space-age extreme gerrymandering on steroids. It has given Republicans huge advantages in all of these states that they control. Ohio, a very swing state, is represented by 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Michigan is 9-5, even though Democrats in 2012 got a quarter of a million more votes. These are 50-50 states and it has made our politics deeply uncompetitive. There's no swing in these swing districts. You have not had a single seat go from red to blue in any of those swing states. On these maps, no seats have gone from red to blue this entire decade."

Incredibly, the Republican Justices other than Kennedy seem to believe the matter should not be decided by the courts, but should be left to the same rigged legislatures which created this mess in the first place. "In Michigan, this last decade," he notes, "Democrats have gotten more total votes every time. Republicans have kept control. This is the case in state after state. They have enshrined this problem. We need the Court here to come in and fix democracy"...

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: Legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Trouble in TrumpLand continues, but we're all paying the price for it --- and likely will for decades to come. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price is out. He’s just the latest top Administration official to be fired or to resign during the first eight chaotic months of this Administration. Price, who claimed to be a fiscal conservative during his years in the U.S. House, had come under fire for spending hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars on chartered private and military plane travel since taking office, even while working to take health care away from millions of Americans. Several other top Trump cabinet officials (EPA’s Pruitt, Treasury’s Mnuchin, Interior’s Zinke) are also now under the spotlight for similar travel issues, even though Price's corruption, while in the U.S. House, was an open secret completely ignored by the GOP Senate during his confirmation.

Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, the situation on the ground following Hurricane Maria continues to deteriorate, despite Trump and his Acting Director of the Dept. of Homeland Security declaring the recovery effort "a good news story", to date. The Mayor of San Juan urgently and desperately disagrees.

Then, speaking of U.S. Senate Republicans rubber-stamping Presidential nominees no matter how extremist, crazy or corrupt they may be, we're joined by Slate's legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN to discuss what he describes as the Trump Administration's attempt to lay the groundwork for overturning marriage equality. Yes, really.

While it seems impossible to imagine, Stern makes his case --- a disturbing one --- after we discuss whether a High School principal in Louisiana has the legal right, as threatened, to suspend student football players for taking a knee in peaceful protest during the national anthem.

The letter sent this week to students and parents by Parkway High School's Wayne Bates "made my jaw drop to the floor," Stern says, going on to detail well-established SCOTUS rulings on the First Amendment in schools. “You just can't do that. Students have a fundamental free speech right to take a knee during the anthem. And if this principal goes any farther with this crazy campaign, he's gonna get slapped with a lawsuit that is going to make his hair fall out.”

But, how interested are Trump’s judicial appointees in maintaining “settled” law? Stern warns that with some of Trump’s lifetime appointees still likely to still be serving on the federal bench as late as 2067, a long list of extreme Rightwingers now been confirmed by Senate Republicans, same-sex marriage rights are not nearly as secure as many of us may think.

“Republicans are completely ruthless in their endeavor to stack the court with wackadoodles,” he says. “And Democrats need to get their act together, or the world is going to be incredibly bleak in 2067 --- so bleak that Trump judges may be the least of our problems.”

Finally, Stern has a few choice thoughts on the unapologetic rightwing extremism of illegitimate Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, as the Court returns for its first full new term with a stolen Republican majority...

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: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason of George Washington University; Hurricane Maria on Irma's path of destruction...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Here come more hurricanes, political and otherwise. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Hurricane Maria, on a similar path to the devastating Hurricane Irma just over a week ago, has now strengthened to a deadly Category 4 before its projected landfall on many of the same Caribbean islands still reeling from Irma. But Maria is hardly the only storm swirling right now in the Atlantic and the Pacific (including Jose, Norma, Lee and Otis!).

Then, while Republicans and so-called "conservatives" last week pretended to be furious about the suggestion that Trump was working out an agreement with Democrats to protect some 800,000 kids of undocumented immigrants --- previously protected by DACA until Trump reversed it --- from deportation, in exchange for non-Border Wall border security, it turns out they're not all that angry after all. Evidence to support that argument --- along with the GOP's stated intention to balloon the national debt with massive new tax cuts and military spending --- underscores, yet again, that Republicans, like their President, have no real ideology, other than saying and doing what they believe is necessary to stay in power.

Yes, even anti-immigration zealot Rep. Steve King (R-IA) who claimed, after the deal between Dems and Trump was made public last week, that Trump's base was "blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair," said over the weekend that he was "gonna stick with President Trump".

Speaking of a lack of "convictions" (pun intended there), we're then joined by former Asst. U.S. Attorney RANDALL D. ELIASON, now a blogger and professor of law at George Washington University, to explain the ongoing corruption trial of sitting U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Given the recent constraints the U.S. Supreme Court has placed on charges of bribery and public corruption by officials (see SCOTUS' dismissal last year of the guilty convictions against Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and the limits on quid pro quo political bribery detailed by Citizens United and related rulings), can prosecutors successfully make charges stick against Menendez, who is charged with a number of felony counts relating to taking a huge amount of "gifts" from a physician friend, allegedly in exchange for "official acts" by the Senator.

"It's basically an exchange for these luxury trips, and jet trips, and pretty large political donations over the years, that Senator Menendez was working on these various things on Dr. Melgen's behalf," according to federal prosecutors, explains Eliason. "What the government has to prove is that there was a corrupt link between the two, that it was because of the gifts that the Senator was doing this."

Eliason, who headed up the Public Corruption/Government Fraud section at the U.S. Attorney's District of Columbia office for many years, walks us through the legal weeds of the case, which has received shockingly little attention in the corporate media, as storms --- both political and climatic --- have sucked up a lot of press attention in recent weeks.

And, though the investigation into Menendez was begun under Obama (on the heels of a completely fake news story, published by a Rightwing "news" outlet), are there any lessons we may take from this prosecution as it relates to potential charges being investigated against Team Trump? As it turns out, there are, as the always-insightful Eliason details today.

Finally, Trump's Homeland Security Advisor H.R. McMaster claimed over the weekend that Trump might be willing to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, but only if the there were better terms for the U.S. Our own Desi Doyen has a thought or two in response to that claim...

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: Author, journalist Zachary Roth of The Daily Democracy | Also: Juan Cole responds to listeners on Afghanistan; Trump Admin reviews on Nat'l Monuments and the power grid; Hurricane Harvey aims at Texas...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2017 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we pick up with the news that broke at the end of yesterday's show, as a federal court in Texas had --- yet again (for at least the 6th or 8th time, nobody can even keep it straight anymore!) --- found the state's Photo ID voting restriction to be discriminatory, and intentionally so, against racial minorities. [Audio link to show follow below.]

We're joined by journalist and author ZACHARY ROTH, formerly of MSNBC, now of The Daily Democracy, to discuss what he describes as "the Rasputin of voting laws. It just refuses to die."

But, while it may or may not finally be dead forever, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos has "permanently" struck down both the strict Photo ID law passed by Texas Republicans in 2011 (SB 14) and the amendment to it (SB 5) passed just this year in response to her previous rulings finding that the GOP law was written to intentionally and disproportionately disenfranchise racial minorities.

Roth finds that both of Gonzalez Ramos' rulings, on SB 14 previously and on SB 5 now, are "incredibly careful, well-reasoned and cogent. What she found in Wednesday's ruling is that the new, modified voter ID law that Texas passed this year does not do nearly enough to fix the problems of the original law that led to it being blocked." He says that she found, in fact, some elements of the new amendment make it "even more racially discriminatory" and include harsh new penalties that "appear to be efforts at voter intimidation" which, he describes as a "remarkably strong statement from a judge about a state's intentions."

The biggest questions now are: a) Will the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the most conservative in the land, overturn the lower court (they didn't last time)?; b) Will the stolen Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court do so?; c) Will SCOTUS finally block all such discriminatory Photo ID laws nationally?, and; d) Perhaps the biggest question: Will Texas finally be bailed back in to the Voting Rights Act's provision requiring federal pre-clearance for all new voting laws in jurisdictions with a long history of racial discrimination? (Texas was covered under that requirement until SCOTUS struck down the VRA's list of such jurisdictions in 2013. Meanwhile, courts have now blocked three different discriminatory voting laws there in just the last eight days!)

We discuss all of that and more with Roth today, including why the GOP has been working so hard, for so many years, to enact this law; the lack of any evidence that it is actually meant to prevent fraud; the Trump DoJ's reversed position on this case; several other recent cases regarding redistricting in TX in which state Republicans were also found to have intentionally discriminated against minorities; and Roth's 2016 book, The Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy.

Then, we received a number of interesting responses this week to my recent discussion with Middle East expert Juan Cole regarding Trump's flip-flop decision to remain in Afghanistan. We share some of those responses --- regarding oil pipelines and opium production --- along with Cole's e-mailed responses to them.

And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' and a number green-related stories that have broken since, including on Ryan Zinke's Interior Department review of whether or not to shut down a number of National Monuments, Rick Perry's Energy Department review of whether renewable energy threatens the nation's power grid, and Hurricane Harvey which is now set to barrel into the Texas Gulf coast and linger for days, with a huge amount of rainfall along with it...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/23/2017 9:35am PT  

The tragic events, that left three dead and 35 injured in Charlottesville, Virginia, occurred only after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) obtained a preliminary injunction from U.S. District Court Judge Glen E. Conrad that forced the City of Charlottesville to allow White supremacists --- nationwide groups that included American Nazis and the KKK --- to hold their "Unite the Right" rally.

The ACLU's long-standing posture, as explained by its Executive Director, Anthony D. Romero, is that all forms of speech, even words which are hateful, discriminatory and repugnant, are protected by the First Amendment. The right to publicly protest, Romero insists, must "be applied neutrally and equally to all protesters."

But there were two critical issues that were overlooked by the ACLU and Judge Conrad: (1) the prospect that a heavily armed band of neo-Nazis and other White supremacists, whose ideological goal is to destroy every liberty guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, would misuse the First Amendment protest privilege as an excuse to carry out illegal acts, and (2) the impact of unleashing armed fanatics upon the rights of others.

The so-called "Alt Right" descended on Charlottesville like an invading army --- one hell bent on intimidation and violence. In securing an injunction that contained no provision proscribing the use of armor and weapons, the ACLU succeeded in endangering the rights of the peaceful, multi-racial and multi-cultural citizens of Charlottesville to go about their daily lives free from fear, intimidation, and physical harm.

Fortunately, in the aftermath of Charlottesville, the ACLU reversed course. "The First Amendment," the civil rights organization correctly proclaimed, "does not protect people who incite or engage in violence...If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activities protected by the United States Constitution." The ACLU, thus, will not defend a right to "armed protest."

The ACLU's reversal accords with both the First and Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution...

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




Guest: VOA White House Bureau Chief and 26-year East Asia correspondent Steve Herman; Also: DoJ flips in key voting rights case; Trump continues to ignore terror attack on MN mosque...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the fire, fury, and potentially deadly bluster continues. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump re-upped and doubled-down on his recent threats to bring "fire and fury like the world has never seen before" against North Korea, telling reporters at his golf club in New Jersey on Thursday that "maybe that statement wasn't tough enough."

His original threat earlier this week was in response to North Korea's threats against the U.S., after the United Nation's security council voted unanimously for new sanctions against the isolated nation. And, in response, North Korea's military offered an unusually detailed plan to fire a salvo of missiles at Guam, a U.S. territory and home to several U.S. military bases.

We're joined to discuss the still-increasing tensions between the two nuclear powers by VOA's White House Bureau Chief STEVE HERMAN, who returned to report stateside earlier this year after serving as a correspondent and bureau chief in east Asia for more than 25 years.

When he last joined us in April, during the last round of threats between NK and the U.S., the always-remarkably level-headed Herman offered a tip, as a veteran journalist in the region, as to how to assess whether or not NK was bluffing with their public statements. We find out whether the new round of threats from NK's military is now finally cause for legitimate concern, and whether Trump's own bellicose threats --- and the potential for a preemptive U.S. strike --- pose an even greater threat to stability in the region.

Herman also offers some criticism of the U.S. commercial broadcast coverage on this issue, details the divides over the matter within the Trump Administration itself, discusses what North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may actually be seeking here, how big the stakes are for all sides in "this ultimate poker game", and confirms that, despite the increasingly heated rhetoric from both sides, back-channel diplomacy is still ongoing and may ultimately help to avoid what otherwise appears to be a deadly collision course.

He also offers a thought or two on which has been more difficult to cover, the whole of East Asia during his time overseas, or the Trump Administration now that he's reporting from the White House.

Also today: Political appointees (not career civil rights officials) file legal documents to flip the DoJ's previous position in a crucial voting rights case scheduled to be heard this fall by the U.S. Supreme Court. And, nearly a week has gone by without Donald Trump saying or tweeting a word about last weekend's terror bombing of a mosque in Minnesota...

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Guest: Constitutional expert Ian Millhiser; Also: Senate vows ObamaCare repeal vote; Dems unveil 2018 plan, put 'single-payer on the table'; Healthcare fight moves U.S. to the left; Impeachment getting popular...
By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2017 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the turmoil continues in the Senate over the GOP undead attempt to repeal health care for millions, and in the White House where Team Trump faces the ongoing investigations of the Dept. of Justice's Special Counsel. [Audio link to complete show follows at end of article.]

A new analysis out late Friday from the U.S. Senate Parliamentarian suggests that a number of provisions in the GOP's scheme to repeal and replace ObamaCare may not pass muster under Senate rules for passage under 'budget reconciliation' with just a 51 vote majority. Instead, 60 votes may be needed, in which case, the scheme may be in even more trouble than it already appears. Or, Senate Republicans could simply try to kill the legislative filibuster instead. Either way, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promising a vote to proceed on Tuesday, even though it remains unclear exactly what Senators will be voting on.

At the same time, Democrats are unveiling their own scheme ("A Better Deal") to try and win back voters in 2018. Comments over the weekend from Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggest that the passionate advocacy from progressives for a "Medicare-for-all" style system (single payer) or, at least a public option for health care insurance, may finally be moving the party establishment.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues publicly attacking his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions and talking about Presidential pardon powers for some reason. But some of those powers, contrary to conventional wisdom, may not be as absolute as he and others have argued, including the power to pardon himself. We're joined by author and Constitutional law expert IAN MILLHISER, Senior Editor of ThinkProgress Justice, to discuss legal assessments from the Nixon era though the Clinton era through now, in regards the power of the Presidential pardon, and the dangers that power could present for Donald Trump himself if he chooses to exercise it for some of his close aides and family members.

Among the man related questions and "myths" discussed: What dangers lurk for the President from those he may pardon? Can the President really pardon himself? Can a sitting President be criminally indicted?

But, of course, much remains unknown when it comes to the various extraordinary ways we are discussing the power of the Presidential pardon, of late, because the U.S. Supreme Court has not rung in on most of it. That's because, as Millhiser notes, "most Presidents don't commit federal offenses when they're in office."

"Here's what this really comes down to: Everyone has assumed that the President would be capable of shame. I'm dead serious about that. Why did Nixon resign? He resigned because he was capable of shame," Millhiser argues. "Everyone assumes that if the President somehow was not capable of shame, then the Congress would be capable of shaming him. When you go back and you read James Madison or Alexander Hamilton, they did not understand the inevitability of political parties," Millhiser argues. "So the Constitution was written on this assumption that you've got all these ambitious people in Congress...and so if you've got a rogue President, they'll all band together to throw that President out because it's good for their careers. They did not understand that, in 2017, we would have the kind of extraordinary partisanship we have right now, where you have a President who is incapable of shame, and you have Congress controlled by the President's party, which is unwilling to do anything to undermine its party's President. Our Constitution is not fit for this set of circumstances."

Finally today, in related matters, the public is much more in favor of impeachment now than they were at the start of the Watergate scandal, four years and six months into Richard Nixon's term as President. And, speaking of public interests, it appears the GOP attempt to undermine ObamaCare has resulted in many more Americans believing the federal government has a responsibility to ensure health care coverage for all...

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Guest: Jane Mayer, DARK MONEY
Guest hosted by ANGIE COIRO of IN DEEP RADIO
By Angie Coiro on 7/5/2017 6:17pm PT  

Sure, Brad and Desi can take the week off from The BradCast. It's a holiday - how big a news week can it be?

So much for that. Your guest host this week is me, Angie Coiro, and right up front I've gathered various reactions and opinions on North Korea's claim to have successfully tested a missile that could hit Alaska. More headlines: the American Enterprise Institute (!) has found that the gender pay gap has tripled since Trump moved into the White House - it's 37% compared to the national 17%; accusations of CNN's "blackmail" of a "15-year-old" ex-Redditor turn out to be wrong in both senses; and Rep. Maxine Waters has some deliciously spicy words for HUD's Ben Carson. And White House aides are - not surprisingly - nervous about Trump's pending meeting with Putin.

Trump's EPA got dinged by a DC federal court, leaving intact for the moment President Obama's plan to curb oil industry methane emissions. I talked with Jane Mayer not too long ago, about how demonstrably false "science" funded by dark money ends up part of mainstream dialogue, eventually yielding battles just like this. She discusses too the influence of Steve Bannon in the White House, and how investigating the Kochs compromised her own safety.

Finally, taco salad + Queen Victoria + Chris Christie = revelations about America's class system. You'll just have to listen.

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: CBO Finds GOP Senate health bill to result in coverage lost for 22 million Americans...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2017 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the stolen U.S. Supreme Court begins to pay dividends for Republicans and the GOP's deadly Senate healthcare legislation continues to take much-deserved heat from all sides, including doctors, Nobel laureate economists and now the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, first up today, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach, the long-time "voter fraud" fraudster who has been tapped to head up President Trump's so-called "Election Integrity Commission" (actually, a voter suppression commission), has been sanctioned by a federal court for "deceptive conduct" in the ACLU's case against his attempted proof-of-citizenship voter registration restrictions. That's almost the best news we have on tap today, though we do manage to find a few bright spots here and there.

The CBO on Monday came out with its score of the Senate Republicans' legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") and finds it will result in 22 million fewer Americans having access to health care coverage by 2026, with 15 million losing coverage in 2018 alone! Despite that, and with still more groups (now including both the American Medical Association and a group of Nobel Prize winning economists) excoriating the Republican bill, Senate leadership still vows a vote before the July 4th holiday recess this week.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court session came to a close on Monday, with the Court allowing some of Trump's Executive Order "travel ban" to be implemented in advance of a full hearing now scheduled for next October, when the Court's new session begins, in what my guest today describes as a "qualified victory" for the Administration. The Supremes also issued a ruling today requiring state officials to allow same-sex parents to be listed on birth certificates, and scheduled a hearing for next session regarding businesses who choose to discriminate against same-sex couples, in what my guest, legal journalist MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate.com, describes as a case that could seriously imperil non-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ community and become a full-blown "constitutional catastrophe" in the bargain. Stern argues that the birth certificate opinion reveals the position of Justice Neil Gorsuch ("he of the stolen seat"), to be "a surefire vote against LGBTQ rights" and "just as bad" as the late Antonin Scalia on such matters.

Then, with a new study from AP finding extreme partisan gerrymandering accounted for some 22 Republican U.S. House victories in 2016 and untold number of GOP state legislative victories, we discuss SCOTUS announcements from last week in two free-speech cases and a related Court ruling issued on a rather massive case of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

That case, as Stern describes, could have an impact on American elections as far reaching as Citizens United but, depending on how the Court rules, in a positive direction for those of us who give a damn about free and fair democratic representation and elections. On the other hand, if the stolen majority on the Court decides the wrong way, it could result in our embarrassing system of "democracy" becoming even more so.

Finally today, we close with a much needed laugh regarding some "100% unverifiable" listener email...

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But justice may soon be at hand due to a governmental realignment...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/15/2017 10:05am PT  

In his April 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lamented: "Justice too long delayed is justice denied". No case underscores the civil rights icon's assertion better than the years long fight by North Carolina Republicans to keep unlawfully gerrymandered state and Congressional district maps in place, long after they've been repeatedly found by courts to be in violation of the law and the Constitution.

The tortured history of Covington v. North Carolina --- a "successful" challenge to the illegal racial gerrymandering of 28 of North Carolina's state House and Senate Districts --- exposes the injustice occasioned by Republican tactical delays. It is a strategy that, thanks to those racial gerrymanders, permitted Tar Heel State Republicans to retain overwhelming majorities in the legislature following last November's General Election –- 34-16 in the state Senate and 74-45 in the House --- even though, in the very same statewide election Democrats Roy Cooper and Joshua Stein were respectively elected governor and attorney general.

But a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court should finally result in new maps, and Special Elections under them, in the Tar Heel State, where the maps have been in place for elections since 2012. Recent legal precedent and a political realignment are on the side of those seeking to force the state to finally carry out those new elections in 2017, rather than waiting for the 2018 mid-terms...

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




Plus: More bad court news for Trump on his 'travel ban' and the Emoluments Clause, but perhaps good court news for him in GA-06...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2017 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast, things are not going well in the judicial system for Donald Trump. And, an election-related whistleblower joins us to offer insight into the undoubtedly agonizing decision of another election-related whistleblower who was arrested just last week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The week is not starting off well for Trump in the courts. A second U.S. Court of Appeals has now upheld lower court rulings blocking his second Muslim "travel ban" Executive Order. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals echoed a similar finding by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals late last month. The new court loss comes on the same day that the Attorneys General of Washington D.C. and Maryland filed a lawsuit against Trump's alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clauses, prohibiting elected officials like Trump from receiving payments from foreign and state governments.

But he may have won one in Georgia where, late last week, a state judge denied and dismissed [PDF] a complaint [PDF] and motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [PDF] seeking to demand paper ballots at the polling place for next week's much-watched (and most expensive ever) U.S. House special election. That, as voters will still be forced instead to use 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems at the polling place instead.

Then, speaking of elections and Diebold's unverifiable touch-screen systems, we're joined by "Diebold Document Whistleblower" [PDF] STEPHEN HELLER who, while working at a law firm in 2004, discovered the company and its attorneys were lying to the state of California about having illicitly installed uncertified hardware and software into its unverifiable voting systems that were, back then, allowed for use in the state. The touch-screen voting systems were decertified by the state following Heller's disclosures, but he paid a stiff price for sharing attorney-client privileged documents with the media. The same system he blew the whistle on in 2004 will be use in Georgia for next week's Special Election, and Heller offers thoughts on that issue.

But Heller joined us specifically today to share his unique perspective on another election-related leaker/whistleblower, 25-year old NSA contractor and Air Force vet Reality Leigh Winner. Her arrest comes on the heels of the release of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, whose 35-year sentenced was commuted by President Obama before leaving office, to the seven years Manning served since her conviction.

Winner was charged [PDF] last week under the 1917 Espionage Act for leaking a "Top Secret" NSA analysis to the press, which asserted that, prior to last year's election, Russian intelligence had used spear-phishing attacks to try and gain access to the computers of election officials around the country. Those same computers are often used to program voting systems, tabulators and voter registration databases. Under the espionage charges, Winner will not be allowed to make her case to the jury as to why she leaked the classified materials, nor explain how she believed them to be in the public interest, said fellow NSA-contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden last week.

Heller offers his own insight into the difficult decision he believes Winner faced when deciding to leak the documents, and explains why whistleblowers like him are often forced to decide to do the wrong things for the right reasons. "I felt that the crime of violating attorney-client privilege in this single, isolated, discrete instance, was worthwhile --- that I had to get this information out to the public so that the people of California and the rest of the country would know that this corporation was diddling our elections," he tells me.

"I think the message in both Ms. Winner's situation and mine is essentially the same --- our elections are under attack. And we Americans can't be complacent. We must protect our elections. Keep them clean, fair, open, untainted either by corporations or foreign nations or our own politicians and elections officials."

"What is illegal is not always wrong," Heller goes on to explain, from his unique perspective on the agonizing choices that folks like him and Winner (and Manning, and Snowden, et al) face when deciding to do what they did. "There's no question that if she did indeed leak these documents, as is alleged, that was illegal. But is it wrong? Reasonable minds may disagree."

Lots of stuff in my conversation with Heller (who, by way of full disclosure, has become a friend and occasional BRAD BLOG contributor in his years since blowing the whistle on Diebold) is worth tuning in for today. Much more than I can detail here!

Finally, a major energy utility company in Virginia tries to help choose the winner of the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, and an otherwise Trump-loving Fox "News" anchor charges Trump's problem isn't fake news or the media, it's Donald Trump...

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And other things you've been distracted from by the Trump Circus...
By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2017 6:39pm PT  

We'll not be distracted by the Trump Circus (well, mostly), despite what he said in the Rose Garden and on Twitter today! On today's BradCast, just a little bit of Trump, but a whole lot of failed 'conservatism' from the American Heartland to Great Britain. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Thursday's elections in the UK resulted in disaster for Prime Minister Theresa May. Her Conservative Party took an absolute drubbing as young voters turned out to reject the conservative austerity agenda by casting a for change with the Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn.

Back here in the U.S., hard evidence of the utter failure of "conservative" policies is very much on display if you bother (or know where) to look. Republican-run states like Kansas and Oklahoma are facing desperate budget shortfalls following years of tax cuts that neither boosted the economy nor increased government revenues, as promised. Cuts to essential services like health care and public education have been implemented in hopes of making up for failed GOP economics. Yes, the young, the sick, the poor and the elderly pay the price in the bargain, as usual.

But voters last November and legislators this week in Kansas, at least, are striking back at Gov. Sam Brownback by reversing his failed GOP austerity policies. Given what school kids in Oklahoma are now facing after years of budget shortfalls due to tax cuts and subsidies for the fossil fuel industry by the state's GOP legislature and aptly-named Governor Mary Fallin, voters in the Sooner State will --- hopefully sooner rather than later --- reject similarly failed hard-right policies and elected officials just as Kansas has finally begun to do.

Later this month, at least in one part of Georgia, voters may also send a similar message in the upcoming U.S. House Special Election in a very "red" district, where the young, first-time Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff is now said to be leading by 7 points, at least in one new poll, over Karen Handel, his "conservative" GOP establishment opponent. (She made the case against "conservatism" very nicely this week, when she said, during a debate, that she does "not believe in a livable wage", citing that as "the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative".)

Meanwhile, millionaire Greg Gianforte, the Trump "conservative" who managed to eke out a win in the U.S. House special election in Montana last week after body slamming a reporter the night before the election, will now plead guilty to misdemeanor assault in the matter after buying his way out of a civil suit.

Back at the D.C. White House Circus today, the day after his fired FBI Director James Comey's sworn testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Donald Trump accused him of lying and suggested again that the White House may have tapes to prove it. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have finally asked for copies of those tapes...if they exist. And, as you were distracted, Republicans in the House were quietly passing a bill to roll back the Dodd-Frank big banking reforms enacted after the 2007 global economic collapse and, in the Senate, quietly paving the way to repeal Obamacare, no matter how many millions of Americans will lose their healthcare in the bargain.

Finally, with more news of failed "conservative" policies in both practice and at the polling place, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report, before we close with yet another U.S. Supreme Court rejection this past week of a massive racial gerrymandering scam in yet another "red" state...

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Guest: John Nichols of The Nation | Plus: Trump undermines own 'travel ban', blasts London Mayor after attacks, ignores Orlando mass shooting...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How Donald Trump continues to be his own worst enemy (and, arguably, the world's) and the case for why Democrats should declare themselves "the accountability party" and immediately begin the effort to impeach the President of the United States. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, the fallout from Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement continues as, CNN reports today that the Acting U.S. Ambassador to China, a 27-year career foreign service officer, has resigned over the decision. But he's not the only American diplomat Trump seems to have upset of late, as the acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. was also forced to publicly take sides against Trump following the weekend terror attacks in London.

At the same time, Trump seems determined to make certain he loses his own Department of Justice's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to restore his second Executive Order "travel ban" which has been put on hold, repeatedly, by federal courts from Maryland to Hawaii. In a weekend long Twitter tirade, continuing through Monday, the President offered one incriminating statement after another, blasting both the courts and his own DoJ, in a series of statements that will almostly certainly be held against him and his own Solicitor General's case to lift the current injunction on his ban.

Trump also thought it wise, for reasons few can figure out, to disparage (now, at least twice!) the Mayor of London following the attacks in Britain on Saturday. And while Trump had plenty to say about London, it should be noted he had far less to say last week after two American men were killed defending Muslim women from an anti-Muslim tirade by a self-proclaimed "patriot" on a train in Portland, Oregon.

Moreover, Trump has, so far, had absolutely nothing to say following a mass shooting rampage on Monday morning in Orlando, Florida. That attack, with a semi-automatic pistol, allegedly carried out by a white, non-Muslim American, killed five of the shooter's former co-workers, all said to have been shot in the head multiple times by the assailant who then killed himself. Some suicide attacks, it seems, are worse than others to this President and his party which continue to insist on making firearms easier to obtain, even by the mentally ill.

Then, as Trump's approval ratings continue to fall, and a plurality of Americans, according to at least one poll, support his impeachment, we're joined by progressive author and journalist John Nichols of The Nation who argues that the time to begin the effort to impeach Donald Trump is now. Nichols details his case for impeachment, from both a Constitutional and historical point of perspective, and offers just some of what he believes should be investigated during impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Congress doesn't have to wait" for the DoJ Special Counsel to complete its own criminal investigation, Nichols tells me. "In fact, it shouldn't wait...to allow the office of the Presidency to be polluted, to be undermined, to be warped in a way that might harm the country."

"Virtually half --- and I suspect after recent events it may get higher --- of Americans now say that the President should be impeached," he argues. "I know that a lot of people would like to begin with the list of particulars of what Trump did. But the fact that there is mass popular support for impeachment, [that's] the place at which we ought to begin. A representative branch of government should respond to that. It should recognize that there are tremendous numbers, tens of millions of Americans, who believe that this guy is governing in a way so atrocious, so damaging, that action should be taken to remove him from his position."

"We ought to stop fetishizing the impeachment power and start recognizing that it is a tool of governance that was established to make government work better. Not to create a Constitutional crisis, but to address the potential of a Constitutional crisis," Nichols says.

"If Democrats are serious about politics, they have to be about accountability," he tells me. "I think when you take [impeachment] off the table, as so many Democratic leaders have suggested we should, you really disarm. You put yourself in a position where holding a President to account is left to chance, left to long term processes that lack the urgency that the American people would like to see."

So, should Dems go so far as to promise impeachment to voters if they are elected to the majority in Congress in 2018? Or does such a promise risk political blow-back making it harder for them to take majorities in the House and Senate in the first place? And, frankly, should that even matter? We discuss all of that and much more along those lines today, and also the national Democratic party's failure to adequately support their own candidates in special U.S. House elections in recent weeks, in both Kansas and Montana, and whether they've learned any lessons on that in advance of still more U.S. House special elections set for both Georgia and South Carolina later this month...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 5/30/2017 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump is back from his "incredible, historic" overseas trip, where everything was wildly successful, according to the White House. Longtime U.S. allies, however, do not appear to agree. Also, both he and fellow Republicans are facing a number of setbacks in court on both immigration and election-related matters. [Audio link to show posted below.]

The President returned from his 9-day overseas trip over the weekend amid still-growing investigations into Team Trump's secretive dealings with Russia and after, apparently, ticking off a number of very close U.S. allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in particular, appeared disturbed about several issues, including Trump's failure to commit to keeping the US in the landmark UN Paris Climate agreement. Also, both before and during the trip, Trump managed to repeatedly lie about NATO members' commitments to the alliance. We've got some much-needed fact checking on that.

In the meantime, over the past week, there have been a number of landmark court rulings, both at the Appellate Court level (regarding Trump's second attempt at an Executive Order banning travel from six Muslim-majority nations and indefinitely barring refugees from war-torn Syria) and at the U.S. Supreme Court in two separate election-related cases (one on campaign finance and one on partisan and racial gerrymandering that could have far-reaching consequences.) Both cases also reveal interesting --- and somewhat surprising --- positions from Justice Clarence Thomas and the stolen Supreme Court's newest Justice Neal Gorsuch.

Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate.com joins us to unpack all of those encouraging rulings, to explain why each is important, and to discuss what happens moving forward in all of them. He also offers a much-needed reminder of how the Trump Administration is still working below the mainstream media radar to deport thousands of undocumented immigrants --- on the thinnest of grounds, such as a traffic ticket --- despite many of them having lived in the U.S. since childhood or otherwise having children and family here. Those disturbing deportations continue, even as so many in the media (including us!) get too easily distracted by, as Stern notes, "Trump's latest tweets".

As to the election-related cases at SCOTUS, one of them, upholding campaign finance restrictions on the amount that individuals are allowed to donate to candidates and parties, may reveal what many have argued about Gorsuch --- whose seat was stolen for him by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate Republicans. Namely, that he is at least as far to the Right as Clarence Thomas, and perhaps even more so.

The other finding by the Supremes last week, agreeing with a lower court ruling that two North Carolina Congressional Districts were unlawfully drawn on a racial basis, is likely to have far reaching consequences as applied to a number of other recent, similar cases (in Texas, Virginia, Alabama, etc.) in which Republicans were found to have unconstitutionally drawn districts based on race. But, and here's where last week's ruling may set an important precedent, the majority opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan also finds that using race as a proxy for partisan gerrymandering is also in violation of the Constitution. In recent years, Republicans have argued that certain voting restrictions and gerrymandered districts were not done on a racial basis, but on a partisan one. The latter, they argue, is perfectly legal and Constitutional. Incredibly enough, that may be true --- at least for the moment --- but it was rejected in the NC case.

The state had argued that black voters were packed into just a couple of districts because they tend to vote Democratic, not because they were black. "The problem for the Court with that was that even though North Carolina purported to be using race as a mere proxy for partisanship,it was still using race," Stern explains. "And the five Justices in the majority said, 'Look, we get that you think this was just about partisanship. We get that you weren't trying to discriminate against black people. You were trying to discriminate against Democrats. But you still used race, you used black people, to accomplish your goals. And that, in itself, is a violation of the Equal Protection clause.'"

In other words, he says, the Court found: "You are no longer allowed to use the excuse that you weren't discriminating against blacks, you were discriminating against Democrats. It doesn't matter who you were trying to discriminate against --- what matters is that you used race as a proxy. That is the constitutional tripwire."

As to whether discriminating against Democrats on a partisan basis, that argument is now being tested in courts, says Stern. For now, though, it appears to have failed, at least in this North Carolina case and, in a seemingly shocking turn, didn't even win over Clarence Thomas, of all people. He joined the Court's liberal justices to give them the 5 to 3 majority in the case!...

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

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About Brad Friedman...
Brad is an independent investigative
journalist, blogger, broadcaster,
VelvetRevolution.us co-founder,
expert on issues of election integrity,
and a Commonweal Institute Fellow.

Brad has contributed chapters to these books...


...And is featured in these documentary films...

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Brad Friedman/The BRAD BLOG Named...
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Project Censored 2010 Award Recipient
The 2008 Weblog Awards



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