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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, January 18, 2019
WI Lame Duck GOP Election Power-Grab Blocked: 'BradCast' 1/18/19
Guest: One Wisconsin Now's Analiese Eicher; Also: New MI SoS to settle gerrymander case; Explosive BuzzFeed report says Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project...
'Collusion' Confusion, Shutdown Woes, Tax Truth: 'BradCast' 1/17/19
Trump paid Cohen to rig online polls; Giuliani moves Russia goal posts (again); Prez throws Pelosi tantrum; Shutdown taking toll; And why Ocasio-Cortez is freaking out the GOP...
'Green News Report' 1/17/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Dems grill Trump EPA chief nom; Federal criminal action against polluters hit 30-year low; Historic heat grips Australia; PLUS: Biz world finally waking up to climate impacts...
Previous GNRs: 1/15/19 - 1/10/19 - Archives...
'Low Barr' for AG Nom, and a 'Symphony of Lawlessness': 'BradCast' 1/16/19
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Surprisingly good court news; SOTU cancelled?; ISIS not defeated...
Power to the People?: CA Could Buy State's Largest Private Utility at 'Fire Sale' Price: 'BradCast' 1/15/19
Guest: LATimes' Michael Hiltzik; Also: Court blocks Census question; Barr testifies...
'Green News Report' 1/15/19
Intense winter storms from coast to coast; Govt shutdown threatens public health, safety; 2018 was hottest year on record for world's oceans, putting planet in hot water...
'Unauditable' Barcoded 'Paper Ballot' Systems for GA, L.A. County: 'BradCast' 1/14/19
Guest: Marilyn Marks; Also: Crippling weather; Trump shutdown, probe news; PG&E to seek bankruptcy protection; L.A. teachers on strike...
Sunday 'Hitting the Wall' Toons
All in all it's just a...'nother episode of PDiddie's weekly toon collection. And another brick in the 2019 American wall...
Shutdown or Shakedown?: 'BradCast' 1/11/19
Guest: TX Civil Rights Project's Ricky Garza on Trump's Rio Grande land grab; Also: An impossible (but real!) 60-year old warning about 'Trump' & his 'wall'...
Shutdown Threatening Safety of Nation's Food Supply: 'BradCast' 1/10/19
Guest: Food/ag coorespondent Tom Philpott; Also: 'Nat'l emergency' coming as shutdown polls plummet for Trump and Senate Repubs?...
'Green News Report' 1/10/19
Fiat-Chrysler's big fines; Trump threatens to cut off CA FEMA funds; U.S. emissions spiked in 2018; PLUS: Dems push back, and ahead, on climate action...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Also: Trump fires Sessions, but we won't let that derail us today...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2018 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Some brakes --- some --- may now finally be applied to our ongoing Trump-induced national emergency, in the wake of his election two exhausting years ago. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Despite shameful obstacles placed in front of voters across the country during Tuesday's midterms, Democrats managed to wrestle back control of the U.S. House of Representatives by flipping at least 27 seats, as of airtime, with the results of several other races still unknown, according to unverified computer tabulation in all 50 states. Setting aside partisan issues, women and diverse candidates were the biggest winners yesterday...along with the American people.

At the same time, the GOP reportedly picked up several seats in the U.S. Senate, even while Democrats racked up some very important (and, occasionally stunning!) wins at the gubernatorial level. Those wins and losses (including Scott Walker ousted and Kris Kobach denied!) are likely to reverberate for the next decade, as the next round of redistricting occurs after the 2020 census.

Today we review as many of the noteworthy reported results from House, Senate and Governor races as we can possibly jam into one single show....and then we hit several important ballot initiative results as well.

Moreover --- and, perhaps, as importantly --- we look at several "too close to call" races where no winner has yet been declared by media and/or a number of contests with outcomes worth questioning, including in Florida, Georgia, Texas and elsewhere. (If only every candidate sounded like Georgia's Stacey Abrams at the end of a reportedly very close election night!)

Election Day may be over, but the fight for public oversight of results may just be beginning.

Oh, and as we long predicted would happen if results didn't go Trump's way on November 6, today he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions to begin his move against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Nonetheless, for today at least, we won't allow Trump to hijack our news cycle on The BradCast...

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

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Hours long lines, failed voting systems leave voters, ballots, stranded; Also, journalist Lulu Friesdat reports on tabulation mysteries, unlawful Wi-Fi computer hook-ups in Dallas County, TX counting room...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2018 5:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Who could have foreseen it? Oh, yeah, we did. For months. Years, actually. At this point, even decades. [Audio link to show follows below.]

American voters finally had their chance on Tuesday to respond to the ongoing, two-year national emergency precipitated by the 2016 election of Donald Trump and full Republican control of Congress. Control of the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House and dozens of governorships were up for grabs today. But Election Day 2018 was --- yet again --- marred by completely predictable disasters for voters, including hours-long lines and failing voting and registration computers at polling places across the country.

Today we cover just some of the worst reported messes (there are still more to come to light and many more that we simply couldn't get to)...

  • In New York City, where paper ballot computer scanners failed leading to hours-long lines across city;
  • In Georgia, where many voters in African-American precincts stood in line for hours due to failing electronic pollbook systems and too few 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting machines (amid the tight race between the vote-suppressing GOP Sec. of State and Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp and his African-American Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams);
  • In South Carolina, where oft-failed, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by ES&S were reportedly flipping votes and officials were (outrageously) said to be making calibration adjustments to them in the middle of Election Day (a very dangerous idea!);
  • In Kansas and Missouri where voters also reportedly fought with many problems, incluing long lines, voting systems that failed and poll workers unlawfully demanding Photo IDs to vote. In Kansas, Sec. of State and GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach is overseeing his own very tight race for Governor, and in Missouri, Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is fighting for her life as Democrats hope to claw back a majority in the U.S. Senate or keep Republicans from expanding their current one.

Then, we're joined by Emmy award-winning journalist and documentarian LULU FRIESDAT with a troubling exclusive report for us out of Dallas County, Texas, amid the reportedly close contest for U.S. Senate between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and his popular upstart Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke.

Friesdat reports on two different serious concerns out of the Long Star State's second-most populous county, where numbers reported by the County's ES&S tabulators from the state's March primary are still not adding up correctly (yes, months later, questions are still emerging), and from the County's counting room, where a Texas election integrity group is reporting today that a computer in the tabulation facility appears to be hooked up to WiFi. That Friesdat tells me, is highly unlawful and potentially very troubling for a number of reasons.

"It is not okay for it to be around voting machines and tabulators, because that is one of the easiest ways for election results to be hacked," says Friesdat, who has been covering concerns about voting systems for many years now. "So there are usually very, very clear laws regarding internet connectivity or Wi-Fi in a tabulating area. And that is the case in Texas. They have laws that forbid Wi-Fi or connectivity." That, in a county where their vendor is ES&S, the nation's largest voting machine vendor, which recently lied to the New York Times about whether their systems include remote access software. (Turns out many of them do, but that's not what they initially told the Times, even as it still remains unclear which counties use ES&S systems with such capabilities, and even with cellular modems.)

Friesdat does close on a positive note, however, noting that many in the public are becoming aware of these concerns and that observations by the public are helping. "The more people get involved and keep looking, down to the nitty gritty, what's going on in your elections --- it's helping, folks! Keep it up!"

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with some bad news about plastic and the air we breathe, but some good news from the U.S. Supreme Court (believe it or not) and from the World Bank, which has now said it will no longer help finance coal-fired power plants anywhere in the world, because renewables are now cheaper than coal.

Results --- as reported...probably --- tomorrow...

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: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks on Brian Kemp's repeated 'cybercrimes' lies, as reported by media, while he oversees own gubernatorial election against Stacey Abrams...
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2018 6:27pm PT  

It's the final day before Election Day polls open for the crucial 2018 midterms, and I hope you'll not believe a word about what you are hearing regarding who may or may not win or lose. In fact, for many reasons discussed on today's BradCast, nobody actually knows. And, given the way we tally votes in this country, it's possible nobody will ever know who won or lost, no matter whether Democrats or Republicans end up taking control of the Senate, the House or dozens of Governors' mansions across the country. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, over the weekend, amidst one of the nation's most hotly contested gubernatorial races, it was revealed by independent online news outlet WhoWhatWhy, that Georgia's entire voter registration database is completely vulnerable online such that "even a low-skilled hacker" could compromise all registrations in the state via its online My Voter Page portal. The stunning security hole allows any voter registration to be easily changed --- or even cancelled entirely --- as recently as this weekend, just hours before Election Day polls open on Tuesday for our crucial midterms.

The information about the vulnerability, as the outlet's Jordan Wilkie and Timothy Pratt reported first exclusively, came from an astute observer in Georgia who notified the state Democratic Party when he discovered the problem. In turn, the Dems notified U.S. intelligence officials and Georgia's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp, who happens to be overseeing his own reportedly very close race for Governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams. By Sunday morning, incredibly enough --- and without providing any evidence whatsoever --- Kemp released a statement falsely accusing the Democratic Party of Georgia of cybercrimes, suggesting they had attempted to hack the state's online voter registration database.

Shamefully, the corporate media ran with Kemp's claims. It would be hours before the actual facts of the matter were picked up, if at all, by those same media outlets who could simply have read WhoWhatWhy's original exclusive for details on what had actually happened in the first place.

We're joined today by MARILYN MARKS, Election Integrity champion and the Republican founder of Coalition for Good Governance, a non-partisan organization which has been taking Kemp to court countless times over recent months regarding his failed oversight of the state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting system, his voter roll purges of legitimate voters, and his rejection of absentee ballots from disproportionately African-American voters.

Her group was among the first to learn of the stunning online registration system vulnerability and help alert WhoWhatWhy to the problem. Marks details how Kemp --- who has resoundingly lost several times in federal court over the past week alone --- has pulled the same, almost identical scam on the public in the past. She tells me that this is at least the third time that Kemp has falsely claimed whistleblowers who discreetly reported vulnerabilities they discovered in the state's electoral system are actually attempting to hack it. He did the same in 2016 before, six months later, the Dept. of Homeland Security's Inspector General finally found that Kemp's allegations were completely baseless. And he did so again in 2017, after a data researcher discovered the state's entire voter registration database, voting machine programming and administrative passwords had been left online before and after the 2016 Presidential election with no security protections.

Then, as now, Kemp falsely reported the matter to the FBI as a cyber crime. Marks also had a word or two for the media outlets which continue to credulously parrot Kemp's claims, despite the complete lack of evidence to support the allegations. Marks described the latest incident as a "total abuse of [Kemp's] position as Secretary of State".

All of that comes over the weekend, even as the Dept. of Homeland Security, according to the Boston Globe today, is said to have discovered an alarming rate of actual attempted hacks --- some which they say have had "limited success" --- of our electoral systems in the weeks leading up to Tuesday's election.

Next, a few words of advice about voting from Oprah Winfrey, before we open the phone lines to callers regarding why they will or won't be voting in Tuesday's midterms.

Oh, and here's Jennifer Cohen's article today at the New York Book Review, in which she quotes me a time or three regarding "What Could Possibly Go Wrong" both at the polls on Tuesday and on the computer tabulators which will tally ballots --- correctly or incorrectly --- in all 50 states on Tuesday night...

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

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Guest: Voting rights journalist Ari Berman on voter suppression and important down-ballot voting; Also: Election Day nightmares previewed in WI, TN, ND?; Third-party pull-outs in AZ, MT U.S. Senate races...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2018 6:32pm PT  

Nearing the final stretch, voters fight to overcome suppression; a few potential nightmare scenarios for Election Day voting preview themselves as Early Voting wraps up; and we look at a number of Secretary of State contests on Tuesday that could have big (and good!) consequences for voting rights before the 2020 Presidential election.

Among the stories covered on today's BradCast [Audio link to show posted below]...

Internet outages across Wisconsin are causing problems for voters hoping to get information on candidates and polling places from the state website. And voters in Rutherford County, Tennessee were unable to vote for an hour on the final day of Early Voting, due to the reported failure of a "primary data storage system" in the county that left polling places unable to verify registrations on electronic-pollbook systems which access voter files across the Internet. These situations, including reliance on the Internet voting at the polls, would result in havoc if they occur next Tuesday. What could possibly go wrong?

A federal judge in North Dakota denies an emergency motion filed by Native American voting rights groups to lift the state's new law requiring street addresses on IDs. Thousands of Native Americans living on reservations do not have such addresses. The George W. Bush-appointed judge claims federal precedent bars most last minute changes to election laws in order to avoid chaos, though the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the new GOP law to stand just weeks ago, despite it having been stayed during the state's primary in June (by the same judge). Chaos has reigned ever since, as tribes scramble to assign addresses and print new IDs, and the GOP Secretary of State refuses to say whether those new addresses will be accepted for voting purposes on Tuesday;

Georgia's Republican Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp loses again in court, as a judge rules he may not bar thousands of voters wrongly flagged by the state as non-citizens from voting on a normal, non-provisional ballot, when they present documents proving their citizenship at the polls.

Then, we're joined by Mother Jones' voting rights journalist ARI BERMAN to discuss his recent New York Times article on the extraordinary voter suppression playing out across the country in several GOP-controlled states, and a potentially available antidote for some of those problems before 2020: electing Secretaries of State who will expand the right to vote rather than restrict it.

Berman, author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, details a number of Democratic candidates who could pick up SoS offices next week in several key states, including Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia and others where Republicans currently enforce (and abuse) voting laws. Of course, voters will have to overcome voting roll purges and other suppression methods at the polls on Tuesday in order to see those important changes before 2020.

He suggests the scope of the suppression we're seeing this year is broader, because "it's happening in so many states," in no small part because there are "a lot of elections in states that normally aren't competitive." Add to that bad laws in many of those states which have "created a really toxic combination for suppression."

Much of it, Berman explains, would have been blocked from ever happening, had the U.S. Supreme Court not gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. "Texas, Georgia, a bunch of these Southern states, basically they kind of feel like they can do whatever they want. You can try to stop them if you want, but they don't have to worry about the federal government or the Voting Rights Act anymore" when it comes to federal preclearance for racially discriminatory laws.

"If Democrats are able to take back Governor's seats and Secretary of State races, and all of these other important down-ballot offices in key states, they can do the reverse. They can start passing things to expand voting rights, and that sort of takes the Supreme Court out of the ballgame somewhat," he tells me, before we wade through some of the currently held GOP Secretary of State seats that may see Dem takeovers this year, and in some surprising places. "I hope all this focus on voter suppression --- because it's been getting a lot more coverage in 2018 than 2016 --- will actually lead to some changes in policy, especially if some of these key states flip."

We also discuss some of the initiatives on the ballot next week in several states that could dramatically help to expand the electorate, make registration easier, and end partisan gerrymanders entirely in some states.

Finally today, third-party candidates pull out of two different closely watched and very tight U.S. Senate races in Arizona and Montana. That's likely good news for Democrats in one state, good news for Republicans in the other. But, in both cases, those former candidates will remain on Tuesday's actual ballot, since they dropped out so late in the game...

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: Dylan Scott of Vox with good news for Dems in a bunch of states; Also: More trouble at polls in GA, TX, IL; Accountability for Zinke?...
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2018 6:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Nobody said it was going to be easy. But the fight to vote in next Tuesday's crucial midterms continues, and beyond the House and Senate, there may be some very good news for Democrats in dozens of currently GOP-controlled states. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up: More trouble at the polls today reported out of Texas, where voter intimidation is said to be higher than seen in decades; In Georgia, where voters are still trying to overcome suppression in absentee Vote-by-Mail voting in DeKalb County (suburbs east of Atlanta) and with failing, unverifiable voting machines at all polling places across the state; And in Illinois, where voters are also reportedly encountering failures on DuPage County's similarly unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in the Chicago suburbs.

Meanwhile, there's been a fair amount of coverage of high profile gubernatorial races with Democratic takeover chances in Florida and Georgia (where Oprah is now lending a hand), and in a number of the similarly tight U.S. Senate races that will determine partisan control of the upper chamber in Congress for the next two years. But there has been far less national coverage of several other gubernatorial contests around the country where Democrats are also in very close "Toss Up" contests to take control of dozens of executive mansions.

These races are crucial not only between now and the next Presidential Election, but could well determine control of the U.S. House over the next decade. That's right. The way voters vote on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, may well help determine who is in charge of the U.S. House beginning in 2022, once redistricting takes place around the country following the 2020 Census --- and then for another ten years thereafter!

While Dems hope to win a majority in the House next week, control of Governorships by Democrats in a number of key swing states could help add anywhere from 15 to 30 more winnable seats in the U.S. House over the next decade, according to experts.

Political reporter DYLAN SCOTT of Vox.com joins us to detail which states will be most important to that decennial reapportionment and why state Governors are so crucial to the process.

"Republicans won a lot of governor seats in 2010," he explains. "That gave them a lot of control over redistricting in 2011. And even though in 2012, 2014 and 2016, the Democrats actually won more votes for their House candidates across the country, the maps were drawn as such that Republicans were still able to hold a majority for all of the last decade. I think the stakes should be pretty clear to people after what we've seen with GOP control across the country over the last ten years," Scott argues. But are they? We discuss.

Also, Scott breaks down what appears to be a host of very good opportunities for Democrats in more than a dozen states beyond Florida and Georgia, currently controlled by GOP Governors, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, Maine, Alaska and even South Dakota! We cover a lot of ground on this today --- along with the politics and polling involved --- and much of it should be very encouraging for Democrats.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with news on some potential accountability for Donald Trump's corrupt Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, more disturbing indications that the effects of global warming will be much worse, much sooner than previously thought, and more related news underscoring why Tuesday's election is so crucial to the existential fight against man-made climate change...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Oliver 'OJ' Semans of Four Directions: Also: Kemp denied again in GA; Tough re-election fight for OR's Dem Guv; KMOX, 'The Voice of St. Louis', misinforms voters in MO about 'tamper-proof' voting machines...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2018 6:40pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump unwanted in Pittsburgh and former top Repub excoriates party, 'rightwing propaganda industry'; Also: News on fighting to vote (and counting it accurately) in TX and environment is on midterm ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2018 6:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the darkness continues, even as some rays of light appear in the electoral distance. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

On Monday, attorneys for one of three far-right militiamen convicted in a plot to bomb a Kansas apartment building that was home to over a hundred Somali Muslim refugees in late 2016, cited Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric during the President campaign as reason for shortening the man's life sentence. In sentencing documents, the lawyers charge that then-candidate Trump and videos from rightwing media personalities such as Fox News' Sean Hannity helped stoke their client's hatred "to 11".

On Tuesday, despite being told by victims' families, the city's mayor, and thousands of members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community that he was not welcome, Trump came to the city's grief-stricken Squirrel Hill neighborhood to visit the Tree of Life synagogue where 11 Jewish worshipers were gunned down during services on Saturday. Trump came to the city where he was not wanted today, even as the first funerals for victims got under way, because it reportedly fits in with his campaign schedule that otherwise includes political rallies around the country every day for the rest of the week until next Tuesday's crucial midterms.

The anti-Semitic, anti-immigration rightwinger charged in the Pittsburgh massacre had espoused anti-"globalist" rhetoric akin to those from the Trump fan charged last week with mailing bombs to more than a dozen top Democrats, philanthropists, media outlets and celebrities who had been vilified in recent months by the President. Both men had referenced the so-called Central American migrant "caravan" that Trump, Republican candidates and media outlets from the Right and non-Right have been focusing on over the past several weeks. The group of slowly walking refugees still remains some 1,000 miles from the U.S. border and is unlikely to arrive here for months, posing zero threat to the U.S. Nonetheless, on Monday, Trump ordered the immediate deployment of at least 5,200 more U.S. military troops to the border in advance of next week's election.

Despite the increasing wave of Rightwing violence, the President and the White House and Rightwing news outlets continue to cite the "caravan" as an existential threat. Former top Republican strategist Steve Schmidt unloaded on what has become of the GOP under Trump and the years-long barrage of Rightwing media propaganda. He describes "this whole caravan in the last week of the election" as "a giant lie" and as "Trump's Reichstag Fire".

We share the full, must-listen segment from his remarkable appearance on last night's All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, in which the former campaign chair for John McCain's 2008 Presidential run describes the GOP as having become no more than a "cult of personality...that is authoritarian in nature" and charges the "Rightwing propaganda machine industry" has "blood on their hands" after having "radicalized" those who are now committing violence against minorities and immigrants.

Then, just to lighten things up a bit, some election news out of Texas, where legal officials with the Beto O'Rourke (D) campaign tell me about their concerns regarding reports of votes flipping to Ted Cruz (R) on Democratic straight ticket ballots cast on 100% unverifiable Hart-Intercivic eSlate voting computers used across much of the state.

We've also got a bit of slightly brighter news from the Lone Star state, where threats of legal action have resulted in the expansion of early voting opportunities on the campus of Texas State University after students were turned away last week, and a rollback to new voter registration requirements recently imposed at the historically African-American Prairie View A&M University.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with details on the serious environmental threat posed by this week's election of the hard-right Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and a number of important climate and environment initiatives that are on the ballot in several U.S. states on November 6th...

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Taking the voters' pulse with open phone lines and more...
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2018 6:06pm PT  

After another long (though important) fund drive at KPFK, our Pacifica Radio Network flagship station here in Los Angeles, we're finally able to open the phones to hear from listeners on today's BradCast. [Audio link follows below.]

It's been a harrowing and deadly week --- and weekend --- filled with Rightwing hate and hate mongering (coincidentally, one week before Election Day for the most important election most of us have ever lived through). So, today we kick open the phones to callers on all of the above to get a sense of where things stand at this point and to help answer a bunch of questions about the crucial midterms.

Listeners ring in with questions about reported voting problems and voter suppression around the country and failing voting machines. Also, we discuss what voters can do beyond voting to participate in democracy over the next week or so.

And then there's the caller who rang in to explain why he says he has never voted, and doesn't plan to this year either. As you might imagine, both I, and a whole bunch of callers, have a few thoughts for that guy on today's program. Enjoy!...

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Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Trump fan charged in mail bombings...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2018 6:45pm PT  

Among the many stories covered on today's BradCast, a bit more than one week from the crucial midterm Election Day. [Audio link follows below.]...

  • A 56-year old white man from Florida, suspected of sending mail bombs to about a dozen perceived enemies of Donald Trump, is arrested and charged with federal crimes. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the alleged MAGABomber, Cesar Sayoc, Jr. turns out to be a huge fan of Donald Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fails to call it terrorism;
  • In Tennessee, a state court rules in favor of voting rights advocates who sued to require Shelby County (Memphis) election officials to allow thousands of new registrants to cure any alleged omissions or errors on their voter registration applications through Election Day, and to allow those voters to vote on normal, not provisional, ballots. The Republican-majority commission in the very Democratic-leaning county, has said they would appeal the ruling. The matter could be crucial to the tight race for U.S. Senate between popular former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the contest to fill the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Bob Corker;
  • In Georgia, massive attempted voter suppression overseen by Republican Sec. of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, should qualify the entire state as a crime scene, at this point. More troubling news along those lines today, as the DeKalb County Election Commission appears to have lost nearly 5,000 vote-by-mail applications. The Democratic Party claims they turned in 4,700 requests, but the County tells the NYTimes they only received 48! The potential disenfranchisement of thousands of voters could effect the tight gubernatorial race between Kemp and African-American Democrat Stacey Abrams. Given the massive suppression attempts in the state, I don't see how a Kemp victory could possibly be seen as legitimate;
  • In Texas, amid the very tight U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke, many of the 100% unverifiable electronic voting machines used across the state are reportedly selecting Cruz during some attempts at straight ticket Democratic votes. State and county election officials confirm the problem with their voting systems made by Hart-Intercivic of Austin has existed for years. Nonetheless, they are blaming voters, rather than themselves or Hart, their private election vendor, for the failure. That, despite conceding that it is those systems, used in many TX counties, that are at the root of the problem for voters;
  • Finally, we're joined by energy and politics writer DAVID ROBERTS of Vox.com, to discuss a very important initiative on the ballot in Washington state this year. Roberts explains Initiative 1631, which, if adopted on November 6th, would create a price for carbon pollution by creating a fee for the use of fossil fuels that cause global warming. The revenue raised by the measure would be used to fund key initiatives to improve the environment and help middle and lower income Americans. Roberts describes, as he recently wrote in much more detail, how the new initiative differs from the revenue-neutral carbon tax which failed at WA polls in 2016, and how the fossil fuel industry is spending tens of millions to crush this effort (just as they did in 2016).

    All of this on a week, which we also discuss, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has staked his 2019 re-election chances on a new national carbon tax and dividend policy. The politically courageous effort was announced this week, despite what is predicted to be a neck-and-neck contest next year with his Conservative Party opponent. The scheme would tax the use of fossil fuels and send all revenue from the measure straight back to Canadians each year in the form of a check.

    Expect to see many more such efforts both in North America and across the world, to place a price on carbon pollution, as the globe continues to warm while fossil fuel companies continue to pollute the atmosphere for free. As Roberts notes: "Civilization is on the line."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Shelby County, TN Democratic Chair Corey Strong; Also: Good news for GA voters; Bad news for ExxonMobil; Pipe bombs sent to Obama, Clinton, CNN, other Dem targets of Trump's 'right-wing ire'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2018 6:29pm PT  

It was a dark day on Wednesday, but there were a few rays of light that managed to shine through anyway on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We'll start here with the grim news. Pipe bombs were discovered to have been sent to perceived political enemies targeted by Donald Trump, including former President Obama, Hillary Clinton, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and CNN. The explosive devices each appear to have been sent by the same person and follow on a similar one sent to Democratic Party funder George Soros earlier this week. All the intended targets have been widely derided for months, if not years, by Trump, Fox "News" and their many Republican followers.

Thankfully, nobody was hurt. But, as discussed today, the biggest surprise may be how long it has taken for something like this to happen, given the President of the United States --- and his fellow Republicans --- targeting their opponents and the corporate media as the "enemy of the people" with increasingly vitriolic attacks as the midterms approach.

Next up: Tens of thousands of voter registrations were recently rejected by Shelby County (Memphis), Tennessee election officials, with thousands more not yet even processed, even as Early Voting began in the state last week, and the November 6th midterms are now less than two weeks away. Moreover, many of those rejected voters haven't been notified and given a chance to cure the problem, in the very Democratic-leaning, majority-minority county.

The non-partisan Tennessee Black Voter Project, which submitted some 36,000 registration applications in recent months, has threatened the County with legal action. In turn, the County's Republican-led Board of Elections has blamed the Project for turning in a "staggering" number of registrations, many allegedly with what they claim to be errors or missing information. (The group is required to turn in ALL registration forms collected, whether or not they contain either major or minor errors when filled in by prospective voters.)

We're joined today by Shelby County Democratic Party Chair COREY STRONG to explain the hurdles that voting rights advocates there are now actively attempting to overcome, and the history of voter suppression that, he explains, African-American voters in Memphis continue to face this year.

He charges that local officials are disenfranchising minority voters. "We have a history of our Election Commission in Shelby County not necessarily taking it upon themselves to really uphold the values of fair and just elections," he tells me. "If all of the issues end up affecting one side --- the Democratic, urban, poor, minority voters --- then you have to start asking questions, and somebody's got to be held accountable."

The battle on behalf of Shelby County voters comes amidst a reportedly very tight U.S. Senate race between popular Democratic former Governor Phil Bredesen and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, in the contest to fill the U.S. Senate of retiring GOP Sen. Bob Corker. The strongly "blue" county (which went to Clinton by 30 points in 2016 in a state that went to Trump by 25 points) is "very pivotal to statewide elections," Strong explains. In this case, it's central to the state's Senate race as well as Democratic hopes of gaining control of the upper chamber and Republican efforts to hold on to their thin majority.

Strong also discusses concerns about problems during Early Voting, the failure and dangers of electronic pollbooks used across state, and the 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems that voters in Memphis are still forced to use to cast their votes at the polling place

But, as noted, we do have a few rays of encouraging news on today's show as well!

On Wednesday, a federal judge ordered an injunction on Georgia's rejection of absentee ballots from disproportionately African-American voters. The rejections are said to be based on ballot signatures that allegedly do not match ones voters' signatures on file. The court found [PDF] voters were being disenfranchised by the scheme that allowed partisan, non-handwriting expert election officials to discard ballots without allowing voters an opportunity to cure any suspected problems on their mail-in ballot envelopes. According to several voting rights groups who sued Republican Sec. of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, today's ruling is a big victory amid Kemp's tight race for Governor against African-American Democrat Stacey Abrams.

And, in a bit more good news today, the New York Attorney General, following a three-year investigation, has filed suit against ExxonMobil for an alleged "longstanding fraudulent scheme" to defraud shareholders by publicly downplaying --- and spending millions to deny and confuse the public about --- the serious risks that climate change poses to the company's bottom line. The suit could cost the company hundreds of millions, if not more, and expose Exxon to additional litigation elsewhere. According to the complaint, while publicly claiming concern about global warming as caused by their products in recent years, the company “employed internal practices that were inconsistent with its representations, were undisclosed to investors, and exposed the company to greater risk from climate change regulation than investors were led to believe"...

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Also: Trump's Saudi wrist slap; Bomber targets Soros; DeSantis ducks in FL; Record Early Voting in TX, GA, NV elsewhere may be misleading...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2018 6:03pm PT  

It's another very busy show on today's BradCast (for a change), exactly two weeks out from this year's crucial midterm elections. Among the stories covered [audio link to show is posted below]...

  • After Trump describes the Saudi lies about their assassination of WaPo journalist Jamal Khashoggi as "the worst" coverup "in the history of coverups" (who would know coverups better?!), the Administration announces they will revoke visas for some of those involved. Good thing those guys only chopped up a journalist instead of showing up at our border to legally claim asylum or they'd have been thrown in jail without their children for months!;
  • We finally found the "angry left wing mob"! Apparently one of them put a bomb in the mailbox of Democratic funder George Soros. That seems an odd thing for "the left" to do, doesn't it? (Happily, nobody has attempted to bomb either the Koch Brothers or the many other Republican funders like Sheldon Adelson who give far more money to GOPers than Soros has ever given to Dems.);
  • Florida's Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis really doesn't want to answer any actual questions. On Sunday, he dodged just about everything asked of him during his debate with Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum on CNN and on Monday he cancelled an hour-long interview with the Editorial Board of the USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida;
  • Rolling Stone releases audio of Georgia's Republican Sec. of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, from a private campaign fundraising event last Friday, in which Kemp, the state's chief election official, is heard lamenting that his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams is spending millions on GOTV efforts which, he says, "continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote."

    Little wonder Kemp has spent years trying to keep Georgians from voting, supports the state's easily-hacked, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems, and is being sued by at least five different voting rights organizations for the myriad ways the state has been working hard to prevent voters --- particularly African-American ones, like Abrams --- from voting;

  • In Texas (as in Georgia, Nevada, and elsewhere around the country), early voting turnout is breaking records over previous midterm elections and even nearing Presidential election numbers in some cases. But Democrats would be wise not to make too much of those numbers for a host of reasons that we discuss in detail today. Among them: evidence suggests GOP enthusiasm is up as well and lines shouldn't be as long as they are, with hours-long waits in some places, suggesting unprepared election officials and failing voting equipment which could make for a nightmarish Election Day;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with more global warming-fueled hurricanes coming (including Hurricane Willa now crashing into Mexico and gunning for Texas and maybe later this week, the East Coast, as well as Typhoon Yutu barrelling towards the Marianas and Guam), more new global heat records, and some reasonably encouraging news about debates taking place around the country in advance of the November 6 midterms, where candidates are finally being asked by journalist moderators about their positions on climate change!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Harvard Law's Michael Klarman; Also: Trump praises GOP Rep's violence against journalist at MT rally, as Khashoggi assassination roils...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2018 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's no longer only political pundits and activists calling for Democrats to pack the U.S. Supreme Court by adding several seats as soon as possible, in the wake of the Republican Party's blatant theft of the high court majority. Esteemed law professors are now joining that call. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a word or two on the President of the United States' appalling celebration of violence against journalists at a political rally in Montana on Thursday night. To the cheers of his supporters, Donald Trump praised the criminal assault on Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs by Republican U.S. House member Greg Gianforte. The attack last year was carried out by Gianforte, and caught on tape, on the eve of his special election to the state's only U.S. House seat.

"Any guy that can do a body slam --- he's my kind of guy," Trump declared to laughter and wild applause from supporters at the campaign rally for Gianforte in Missoula on Thursday, lauding him as "one tough cookie." The Congressman initially lied to police after the assault, claiming that he was attacked by Jacobs. Later, after he won the election, and after a Fox News crew who witnessed the attack detailed what actually happened, Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, apologized to Jacobs and paid a small fine in addition to performing 40 hours of community service and receiving 20 hours of anger management counseling.

Trump's disgusting --- and chilling --- praise for the violent attack against a reporter doing his job, comes amidst Trump's seeming support for Saudi Arabia following their reported assassination and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. Journalists today --- including the Guardian's Editor and the head of the White House Correspondents Association --- are decrying Trump's support for violence against reporters, despite his sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution's First Amendment. We decry it --- and the dark path where it's leading --- on today's show as well.

Next, we're joined by MICHAEL KLARMAN, the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School to discuss his recent essay at the Take Care Blog, detailing "Why Democrats Should Pack the Supreme Court" if they are ever able to regain control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. The public conversation in support of expanding the number of seats on the high court --- which can be done statutorily, without a Constitutional Amendment --- has been intensifying in recent weeks. What had begun as a call from activists to restore a Democratic majority, stolen from them by Republicans in 2016, has quickly spread to academic and legal circles.

Klarman, the author of many books on American law and history and a former clerk to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, argues that, in addition to the GOP's historically unprecedented theft of the high court and his belief that Trump was likely elected only due to unlawful foreign interference, a host of radical actions by Republicans in recent years at both the state and federal level, leaves Democrats with only the choice to respond in kind. If not, he argues, it will be nothing less than "unilateral disarmament" and an act of "political suicide" for the party.

"It's not radical. It's responding to an extraordinary rightward shift in the Republican Party that is tearing apart the rules of democracy," he argues. "The Republicans have already packed the Court," so "unpacking" it, he says, would be warranted.

"There's a kind of sickness that's been spreading in the Republican Party for the last decade or two. It's certainly not true of all Republican voters, many of whom I think would be unaware of these things, and would have a problem with them if they knew about it," he tells me. "But the Democratic Party can't go on playing by the established norms and traditions of democracy when the Republican Party is willing to do anything to win. That's unilateral disarmament. It usually doesn't work out well for the party that disarms. So this is a fairly mild way to fight back."

"My argument is not that Democrats should control the Supreme Court at any cost --- I think that's the Republicans' position, [that] 'we get to control the Supreme Court even if it means stealing an appointment.' My position is their theft has to be offset, and put us back in the position that we ought to have been at if the seat hadn't been stolen."

He leaves the case of whether Dems should run on a promise to expand the Court, or wait until they gain back control before announcing such a plan, to political scientists, but he notes: "We're going to have to think creatively in order to rescue democracy. And that may mean occasionally fighting back in ways that Democrats don't gravitate toward naturally, and that they would prefer not to have to use at all in a normal political environment. But you can't just respond by disarming in the face of this incredible threat that the Republican Party is posing to the basic norms and institutions of democracy."

Finally today, more news on the ongoing allegations of attempted voter suppression, particularly in southern states once covered by the Voting Rights Act until the central part of the Act was gutted by SCOTUS Republicans in 2013. That, on the same day that Trump's former longtime lawyer and business partner Michael Cohen broke his media silence to plead with the American public to vote this November or face "another two or another six years of this craziness." And then we enjoy another musical close to today's show, this time from actress Jenifer Lewis, of ABC's Blackish, who explains, in song, why it's time to "Get your ass out and vote!"...

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

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Also: NC Elections Board found unconstitutional; FL Guv 'bends' election rules; Still more Repub lawmakers endorse Dems for Guv in WI, KS...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2018 6:35pm PT  

It's remarkable how one's thinking about global warming can change when a tree falls into your house, or your house is blown away entirely. Among the stories covered on today's BradCast [audio link to show is posted below]...

  • Some GOPers in North Carolina are rethinking their climate change denial in the wake of Hurricane Florence;
  • Also in NC, a state court panel finds the latest GOP scheme to restructure the state Board of Election to take away power from the Democratic Governor to be unconstitutional, but allows the Board to stay in place until after the midterms, when voters will be voting on a Republican Constitutional amendment to make the otherwise unconstitutional scheme legal. And a Republican county elections board appointee in NC is forced to step down after alleging that Democrats hope to make pedophilia legal;
  • In Florida, where the death toll following last week's Hurricane Michael has climbed to 35, Republican Gov. Rick Scott issued an emergency Executive Order [PDF] to "bend" state election laws to make it easier for voters in a number of storm-ravaged counties to vote in the November 6th midterms. The new rules for eight counties in the Republican-leaning Panhandle offer leeway to county officials to declare new early voting sites, send absentee ballots to addresses other than those on file for voters, allow voters without ID to vote on normal ballots, and allows early voting to continue right up until Election Day in the affected counties. All measures that the Florida Governor and his state Republican Party have charged in the past would result in voter fraud. But, with the termed-out Scott now in his own tight race for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, he doesn't seem quite as concerned about it. (For the record, I'm in favor of these changes for voters, many of whom have had their polling places destroyed, or absentee ballots and IDs blown away in the storm. But it's a shame that Scott has shown much less concern for the voting rights of the rest of the state's more Democratic-leaning voters over the years.);
  • In Wisconsin, a fourth former Gov. Scott Walker administration cabinet secretary comes out against Walker to endorse his Democratic opponent Tony Evers in the state's very close gubernatorial contest;
  • And, in Kansas, a second former Republican Governor has publicly endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly in her race against controversial Republican Sec. of State and GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach. Former KS Gov. Mike Hayden is just the latest in a long list of current and former GOP lawmakers who have endorsed the Democrat over Kobach in a race believed to be tied between the two (though independent Greg Orman's candidacy may very well serve to throw the election to Kobach).

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with updates on Hurricane Michael, the topic of climate change finally being raised by journalists at a Texas debate for the U.S. Senate between Republican climate science denier Ted Cruz and his Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke, and some news about the one thing that could end up changing many minds about the impacts of global warming...

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

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