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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, October 16, 2018
'Green News Report' 10/16/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Florida Panhandle facing catastrophe; Michael was 4th 'major' hurricane to make US landfall in 15 months; PLUS: Despite destruction, GOP still denying science, economic impacts...
Previous GNRs: 10/8/18 - 10/4/18 - Archives...
GA Rejecting Alarming Number of Mail-in Ballots: 'BradCast' 10/15/18
Guest: Jordan Wilkie of WhoWhatWhy; Also: Despite devastating cost of recent hurricanes, Rubio, Trump offer false claims about economy to justify lack of action on climate change...
Sunday Toons of the Category 5 Distraction Moment
Anything and everything to keep us looking away from the stuff that actually matters, in PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Ignoring Cries of Stranded Kids: 'BradCast' 10/12/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ Tina Vasquez on ICE, immigration; Bill Browder on Khashoggi; Sarah Craft on the death penalty; Eliza Griswold on a family's fight against fracking...
Where is Jamal Khashoggi?:
'BradCast' 10/11/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro on possible sanctions against Saudi Arabia, Trump protecting arms sales; Also: The power of women's rage w/ Nelini Stamp, Soraya Chemaly...
'A Scary Time':
'BradCast' 10/10/18
Climate-change fueled Hurricane Michael makes landfall in FL, breaks records; Media promotes Exxon carbon tax scam; The absurd fights to vote in ND, MO, GA...
Progressive Evangelicals Hit Road to Take on Religious Right: 'BradCast' 10/9/18
Guest: Doug Pagitt of Vote Common Good; Also: Registration surge; Haley resigns; Michael intensifies...
'Green News Report' 10/8/18
World's scientists issue alarming new warning: Impacts of global warming coming far sooner than thought; PLUS: FL, AL, GA, Carolinas brace for Hurricane Michael...
Haunted by Manchin, Other Tough Choices for Progressives: 'BradCast' 10/8/18
Guest: WV's Bob Kincaid: Also: Vote purges, FL hurricane, Stark new UN climate report...
FL Midterm Could Prove National Landmark
Long overdue re-enfranchisement of former felons and a progressive Dem Gubernatorial candidate on the 2018 ballot could result in a national sea change for 2020...
Sunday 'Relax and Enjoy the Confirmation Process' Toons
Pdiddie's latest weekly toon collection is as fantastic this week as it is disturbing...
Kav Confirm All But Certain and the SCOTUS Case Cited as a Reason for the Rush: 'BradCast' 10/5/18
Guest: Law prof Jed Shugerman; Also: More vote.org probs; Touchscreen flipping in MO...
'White House Whitewash': FBI Report Released to Senate: 'BradCast' 10/4/18
Also: Enthusiasm high for midterms in BOTH parties, TX voter registrations in limbo, young voter turnout critical...
'Green News Report' 10/4/18
Big Oil wins big in new NAFTA deal; Two simultaneous Category 5s in Pacific; Arctic sea ice hits new low; PLUS: Tesla's Big Battery a big hit in South Australia...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Jordan Wilkie of WhoWhatWhy; Also: Despite devastation and huge cost of recent hurricanes, Rubio, Trump offer false claims about economy to justify lack of action on climate change...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2018 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We're back in L.A. after several weeks on the road (thanks to Angie Coiro for sitting in to allow us some travel time!) and with just over three weeks left until this year's crucial mid-term elections. Unfortunately, we return with still more troubling news for voters --- yet again --- in the state of Georgia. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up: After a another reminder of upcoming voter registration deadlines across the county, we have a quick update on the catastrophic and costly disaster left behind in Florida, Georgia and several other states by Hurricane Michael, which slammed the Florida Panhandle with record winds just days after Hurricane Florence dumped record rainfall onto several of the same states. Both deadly storms are precisely in line with years of scientific warnings about the catastrophic effect of man-made climate change and will now require tens of billions to be spent on recovery.

Nonetheless, over the weekend both Florida's Republican Senator Marco Rubio and President Donald Trump took to the airwaves to begrudgingly acknowledge the reality of global warming, even while offering evidence-free claims regarding its cause and utterly false claims about how taking action to stop the deadly emission of greenhouse gas emission would somehow "destroy the economy". We fact-check a number of those lies from both of the GOP climate change denialists.

Next, speaking of disasters in Florida and Georgia, an academic report last month by the University of Florida revealed that the Sunshine State had rejected approximately 1% of all mail-in absentee paper ballots over the previous two Presidential elections. That rate is about 10 times higher than for voters who vote in person (either early or on Election Day) and amounts to tens of thousands of discarded votes --- often for missing signatures or those believed by election officials to not match the one on the voter's registration file --- in the nation's third most populous and closely divided state.

As bad as that is, a startling new exclusive from WhoWhatWhy over the weekend finds that Georgia has been rejecting more than 9% of all mail-in ballots received during early absentee voting before this year's midterms. 40% of those rejections, according to the report, based on analysis from Professor Michael McDonald of the U.S. Election Project, come from one single county in the Peach State, leading McDonald to warn on Friday night that "something's going on" in the state.

The extraordinarily high rate of mail-in ballot rejection in Gwinnett County also follows a pattern seen in both Georgia and Florida: ballots cast by racial minorities are rejected at a far higher rate than those from white voters, and often for highly dubious reasons. We're joined today by criminal justice journalist and WhoWhatWhy election integrity reporter JORDAN WILKIE, who broke the story on the alarming rate of rejected absentee ballots in Georgia. Reporting from on the ground in Gwinnett, Wilkie tells me that the precise cause for the high number of rejections is "still unknown...there are a lot more stories to be told", even if it reveals a very clear pattern of suppression "disproportionately affecting minority voters."

He also reports that while Georgia law requires voters to be notified of rejected mail-in ballots, they may not be doing so in a timely manner. In Gwinnett, he says, "the county claims that after a ballot is rejected, within 72 hours a notice is going to be sent. I talked to people well outside of that timeline and they still had not been notified."

Moreover, Wilkie details how the state's process for allowing voters to cure rejected ballots is, in a word, absurd and includes just about everything other than re-registering. Such voters must re-apply for an absentee ballot, be accepted, be sent one by mail, vote it again, send it back and hope that it doesn't get rejected once again. He reports on one voter in Gwinnett who is now on his fourth attempt at casting an absentee ballot in this election!

"It's just another technical hurdle, another bureaucratic step that people are going to have to take to do something that many people aren't particularly excited to do in the first place, which is vote," he argues. "Everything that is happening here is part of a systematic effort that we've seen across Georgia --- and I come from North Carolina, and we see this across a lot of Republican-led states --- where there are just a number of barriers to vote that don't need to be there. The evidence is clear that the more barriers there are, the fewer people vote, and all these barriers disproportionately affect minority voters."

The clear pattern of race-based suppression in Georgia comes amid a "dead heat" contest in their Gubernatorial race between Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp who, as the state's chief election official, is overseeing his own contest to become the state's chief executive, and Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams who, if she wins, would become the nation's first female African-American governor.

The disturbing news about absentee ballot rejection in Georgia is just the latest maddening election news out of the state, where Kemp has overseen the recent purge of hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls, more than 50,000 registrations being held in suspense for allegedly violating the state's new "exact match" law, and the continued statewide use of wildly vulnerable, easily manipulated, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems on Election Day.

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

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Guest-host Angie Coiro on the possibility of sanctions against Saudi Arabia, as Trump protects arms sales; Also: The power of women's rage, with Nelini Stamp and Soraya Chemaly...
By Angie Coiro on 10/11/2018 6:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm your guest host --- Angie Coiro of In Deep with Angie Coiro.

Among the headlines today:

The news about Jamal Khashoggi gets more and more grim. Turkey claims to have both audio and video evidence of the missing journalists murder --- although for reasons I detail in the show, Turkey is not an entirely reliable narrator here. US sources tell the Washington post this sounds to them like a failed rendition attempt. Donald Trump is twiddling and fretty lest the US lose arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and what’s a missing journalist compared to that?

The ACLU is among those sounding the alarm about new regulations proposed for the National Park Service to inflict on White House protestors. It's ugly stuff; maybe the most blatant bit is shaving down to just five feet --- yes, FIVE FEET --- of White House sidewalk space allowed to protesters. That, and raising the cost of permits and fees. If you ain't got the coin, there goes your "free" speech. You can comment directly to the NPS, or via the page set up by the ACLU.

Melania Trump is the most bullied person in the world. No, really.

The percentage of American kids without vaccinations has quadrupled since 2001, proving once again that idiocy is highly contagious.

And Joe Biden thinks Dems have a shot at taking both the House and the Senate in the midterm elections. From your lips etc., Joe!

After the headlines roundup: a conversation with NELINI STAMP, Organizing Director with the Working Families Party and a key organizer in the #BlackFridays movement. Last Friday was the kickoff for women – particularly women of color and non-binary women – to don black clothes and walk out of work at 3pm local time. Nelini reviews that impressive first week, and what the movement is about.

Then, SORAYA CHEMALY discusses her new, highly-researched book, Rage Becomes Her. It probes cultural messaging about anger – and the effects of that messaging – on every era of women’s lives, from the cradle onward. The footnotes section is both impressive and sad – impressive because it is so. Darn. Thorough. And sad because – as the author is a woman – research tells us she's viewed as inherently less credible, and she has to work that much harder showing her work.

Download MP3 or listen 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!




By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2018 6:57pm PT  

Among the many stories covered on today's BradCast, with vigor and no small amount of occasional vitriol. [Audio link to show follows below.]...

  • The catastrophic and climate change-fueled Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida on Wednesday as a deadly and unprecedented Category 4, the strongest ever to strike the Panhandle since record keeping began in 1851;
  • In not unrelated news, another major coal company, one of the nation's oldest, declares bankruptcy. It's the fourth to do so in the past three years;
  • ExxonMobil gets some great publicity from Bloomberg by spending just $1 million (which they generated every two minutes in 2017) in pretending to support a carbon tax scheme (that would benefit them anyway);
  • The U.S. Supreme Court allows a lower court's voter ID ruling to stand in North Dakota, despite the fact that the rule is a change from voting laws used during the April primary and is now likely to result in the disenfranchisement of thousands of Native Americans in a state where Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp faces re-election after winning by just 3,000 votes in 2012. (Here's the ridiculous effort that thousands of Native Americans without a residential address, as now required by ND law to vote, must now go through to get one registered somehow before November 6th.);
  • A state court in Missouri blocks part of their new voter ID law for being "contradictory and misleading" and "impermissibly infring[ing] on a citizen's right to vote" in the state where Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is in a very close re-election battle. Her opponent, Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley is defending the law and is likely to seek an appeal from a higher state court;
  • After Georgia's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp was found to have purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls over the past several years, AP finds that some 53,000 voter registrations are currently in a suspended state due to GA's "exact match" rule, which allows election officials to block registrants whose names aren't listed identically to the way they are on found on file at either the state's Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration. A missing hyphen or a typo by officials entering a name into one of the databases is enough to result in a suspension which, the AP finds, is disproportionately keeping black voters off the rolls. 70% of those blocked are African-Americans, even though GA’s population is just 32% black. Kemp is currently running for Governor against Stacey Abrams who, if successful on November 6th, would become the nation's first African-American female Governor;
  • Some listener mail on a recent show regarding West Virginia's Sen. Joe Manchin, who voted in favor of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court last weekend, as the coal state Democrat faces re-election after WV voted for Trump by 42 points in 2016;
  • And, finally, a viral musical ditty to close us out today on the "very scary time for young men," as Donald Trump appallingly described it, following the multiple credible allegations of sexual assault by now-Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh...

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: Doug Pagitt of Vote Common Good; Also: Voter registration surge after Taylor Swift endorsement, Nikki Haley's mysterious (and dishonest) resignation, and Hurricane Michael intensifies before FL landfall...
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2018 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the religious left fights back! [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first: It's little wonder Fox 'News' doesn't like it when celebrities on the left speak out about politics. Sure, it's fine when a Republican actor or TV celebrity with zero political background runs for and becomes President of the United States. But if a singer or comedian sports hero on the left dares have an opinion, they need to "shut up and dribble". Vote.org reports a huge spike in voter registrations nationwide and in Tennessee this week, following pop star Taylor Swift's Instagram endorsement of the state's Democratic candidate, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, for the U.S. Senate in his race against Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Yes, bravely speaking out about politics helps. No wonder the right would like folks like Swift to shut up, especially as voter registration deadlines hit across the country this week and next.

At the same time, as a Category 3 hurricane barrels toward the Florida Gulf Coast, Democrats are forced to sue the state again, as they did in 2016, to force the Governor to extend voter registration, which officially ended on Tuesday night in the Sunshine State.

Also today, up in Washington, D.C., U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, one of the few top officials in the Trump Cabinet not considered to be a complete wingnut (a very low bar), announced her plan to resign at year's end for reasons that remain shrouded in much speculation. As she announced her planned exit today at the White House with Donald Trump, she managed to argue that since Trump --- who was laughed at, out loud, in the U.N. General Assembly just two weeks ago --- took office, "now, the United States is respected." As we discuss, that claim flies in the face of demonstrable facts supported by actual recent polling around the world.

Next up today, after Republicans ignored a statement last week from the National Coalition of Churches --- the nation's largest such group representing 38 denominations, 100,000 congregations and 40 million Americans --- to withdraw the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh "immediately", a group of evangelicals are now hitting the road for a national bus tour to "Flip Congress for the common good."

We're joined today by Vote Common Good founder and executive director, Pastor DOUG PAGITT, to explain his group's attempted outreach to white evangelicals who may have previously supported Trump and his Republican Party. The non-profit, non-partisan organization's cross-country tour began in Pennsylvania last week and is set to hit Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico before wrapping up in California before the November 6th election.

Pagitt, the founding pastor of Solomon's Porch Christian Comuninity in Minneapolis (and who also hosts an afternoon drive time show on our Minneapolis/St. Paul affiliate, am950 KTNF!) tells me that there is a need for liberal and progressive religious community leaders on the left to speak out for Christian values in the dangerous era of Trump, even if it risks their tax-exempt status and even as white evangelicals have institutionalized their support of the Republican Party with millions of dollars over the past several decades.

"What we are saying is the Republican Congress has lost its ability, lost its moral compass, lost its spine, when it comes to standing up to the Trump Administration. Our need to flip Congress now is a bipartisan, non-partisan civic duty to put restraints on the Trump Administration," he says. "I think pastors and churches all over the country should be willing to risk their non-profit status in order to speak out about the Trump Administration because the Trump Administration is that dangerous. The idea that the thing that makes a Christian community a Christian community is that people don't have to pay taxes on the money they give to you, is the lowest possible level that a Christian community could be proud of. It's almost like the government is saying is 'if you speak up against us, we're going to make that a financial burden upon you'. And I think Christian churches should take on that burden. If you lose that 501c3 non-profit contribution status? Fair enough. Be like every other business that has to function in this society."

Pagitt details how he believes that many Christian voters have been conned into giving up their values and otherwise intimidated and frightened into voting against biblical teachings. He calls for the Christian left to build a political coalition to counter the long-entrenched, so-called Religious Right.

"We are trying to call the bluff on the evangelicals who, out of one side of their mouth, want to say that they follow the teachings of Jesus, and out of the other side of their mouth, are not just endorsing Donald Trump but seem to be wanting to move into a full embrace of Trumpism," Pagitt tells me, explaining why many evangelicals who know Trump represents the opposite of their beliefs, may still be afraid of voting for Democrats. "People confuse their identity with their tactic. Voting is a tactic to bring about the common good. Voting ought not be seen as our identity, but a lot of religious people have merged their religious and civic identity with the political Republican Party...and [it's difficult] to start to separate out your identities from your tactics. When someone realizes in their life that they have a misplaced identity, that takes awhile for them to get their heads around."

It's a fascinating (and long overdue) national conversation that I recommend you tune in for.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as Hurricane Michael threatens Florida with catastrophic, global warming-fueled destruction and as the United Nations issues an alarming scientific report finding the worst impacts of climate change will arrive much sooner than predicted unless massive and immediate changes are made by the nations of the world...

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: WV's Bob Kincaid: Also: With Kavanaugh on SCOTUS, a hurricane headed toward FL, UN releases a stark new report on climate change...
By Brad Friedman on 10/8/2018 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast: In case it wasn't clear until now, the stakes for November's midterms couldn't be higher --- for the nation and for the planet --- leading to what might be a difficult choice for some voters. At this point, however, at least in my opinion --- as discussed at the opening of thd show today --- the choices are not difficult at all. [Audio link to show follows below.]

It's now official. Judge Brett Kavanaugh --- alleged sexual assaulter and demonstrably repeated perjurer --- is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court. That means that all five serving Republican appointees on the (currently) nine-person Court, serve under one cloud of illegitimacy or another. That said, while there are ways to reverse the terrifying course the nation (and planet) are now on --- including a difficult path towards restoring a majority to the stolen Court that might actually represent the majority of the country --- it will be neither easy nor painless. Nonetheless, the first major step on that path is the November 6th, 2018 midterm elections less than one month away, and now more crucial than ever.

As if another violent reminder of dangers that now lie ahead, Hurricane Michael is now barreling toward the Florida Gulf Coast, threatening to make landfall in the next day or two, and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a chilling new report on Monday, warning the worst effects of global warming are now set to arrive far sooner than previously predicted by the conservative scientific body. The new report details, among other things, the enormous contrast in impacts based on the half of a degree Celsius difference between holding the earth's warming to 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial times versus the 2 degrees or more where we are almost certainly headed unless very serious changes --- with "no documented historic precedent" --- are made by civilization, very quickly over the next 10 years. Are the corporate media up to the task of covering this? Much less civilization doing what is now needed?

With all of that (and much more) at stake, we are joined today by the inimitable BOB KINCAID of West Virginia's Coal River Mountain Watch and the Head-On Radio Network (HORN) to discuss WV Senator Joe Manchin's weekend vote in favor of Kavanaugh. He was the only Democratic Senator to do so, despite the nearly 10 point average lead he currently enjoys over his Republican re-election opponent in pre-election polling. Specifically, we focus on why Manchin voted the way he did and, more importantly, the difficult choice that voters like Kincaid now face in choosing between the barely Democratic Senator and his far-right, Trump-endorsed challenger Pat Morrissey.

With hopes of regaining control of one or both houses of Congress now the only way to begin putting the brakes on our Trump/GOP-inflicted national emergency, will progressives be able to hold their nose and vote for some candidates who they would never have even considered voting for during a primary season in which the Democratic Party was finally forced, at least a little bit, towards the progressive left? It's a question that many progressives --- not just in West Virginia --- will now have to seriously ask themselves before November, with many less-than-perfect Democrats on the ballot, but the very fate of the Republic and the planet now clearly on the line.

"Joe Manchin is a 'pro-life' Democrat from way back, going way back to when he was just a little, bitty, grasping, ambition-driven state senator," Kincaid argues, charging that both he and Kavanaugh are hard-core Roman Catholics" and that "He voted the Church doctrine. It's just clear as day."

Kincaid, who comes from generations of WV coal miners, is nonetheless a dyed-in-the-wool progressive who, on previous appearances on the show, has both strongly criticized Manchin and explained how difficult it would be to even consider voting for him in the midterm. The last time Kincaid was on, back in April, he described Manchin thusly: "This is really difficult for me, because Joe's a Democrat the way I'm Neptune, Lord of the Deep. Ya know, not at all."

Today, he says, for those who wonder how Manchin could "dismiss the experiences and the suffering of so many women and vote for a guy credibly accused of sexual assault? Let me explain to you: Joe Manchin has sat around for at least eight years, fully knowing what the toxic consequences are of mountaintop removal on babies in the womb, pregnant mothers, grandmothers, grandsons, sons, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, possums, everything. He has known that it poisons his own constituents, kills his own constituents, and yet he has slavishly continued to support that practice and ignored every bit of the science around it." He adds that "We have about a thousand deaths a year in the counties in West Virginia where mountaintop removal is practiced."

"I say all that," he tells me, "hoping that people will understand that I do not come to a decision about Joe Manchin lightly. I would not trust Joe Manchin with the carcass of a run-over skunk."

So, with the stakes now as high as they are, does he still find himself unable to vote for Manchin? And what of other progressives who may still believe that sitting this one out or voting "third party" or staying home instead of voting is the only way to cleanse the Democratic Party of its overly-conservative, overly-corporatist establishment? Please tune in for this important conversation with Kincaid today, that, he says, "he spent a long time thinking about" after he and I had a private discussion over the weekend, begging the question: "Do I vote as an American first, or a West Virginian first?"

Please listen to today's show and let me know, in comments below, how you feel about either his points or mine.

Finally, as voter registration deadlines end this week in more than a third of the states, the disturbingly high purge rates of voting rolls in a number of them continues. Particularly of concern are states with a history of racial discrimination at the polling place, who --- until the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013 --- had been required to receive preclearance from the federal government for such purges. A new list of purged GA voters has finally been obtained by reporter Greg Palast, who has created a searchable database for hundreds of thousands of purged GA voters, but the deadline to re-register is Tuesday. And the lists from other states are not as easily accessible. Please go to your state and/or county website to register or check your status as soon --- and as often --- as possible between now and November 6th! Yes, the fate of the planet now rests on 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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MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
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Choose monthly amount...


(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)




Long overdue re-enfranchisement of former felons and a progressive Democrat, both on the 2018 ballot, could result in a sea change for 2020...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/8/2018 10:41am PT  

Given the pivotal role Florida and its 29 electoral votes have played in recent Presidential elections, November's midterms could prove to be pivotal in the state, and not only for Florida. November 6th, 2018 could prove to be a landmark moment for democracy, helping to determine the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election.

The combination of a win by Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum, along with passage of the state's Amendment 4, could be a death knell to right wing voter suppression schemes which have long plagued the Sunshine State.

Amendment 4 is a ballot measure "designed to automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completing of their sentences including prison, parole and probation". As observed by the Intercept's Rachel Cohen, Florida's "draconian" felony disenfranchisement law --- "passed in 1868, after an unsuccessful attempt by Florida and other [former Confederate] states to reject the 15th amendment" --- has served to disenfranchise "more than 20% of otherwise eligible black voters in Florida."

If adopted by voters next month, the new Constitutional measure would automatically "restore voting rights to an estimated 1.5 million Floridians who have fully completed sentences," Cohen reports. If added to the 13 million currently registered Floridian voters, Amendment 4 could potentially increase total voter rolls by more than 10%.

Only 3% of African-Americans identify themselves as Republicans. Thus, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to calculate the potential impact of increasing, by 20%, the number of black Florida voters who would be eligible to vote in 2020.

But, felony convictions are not the only means by which Republicans have sought to suppress turnout of the "wrong" voters over the past two decades during which the GOP has occupied the Governor's mansion and exercised the Chief Executive's right to appoint Florida's Secretaries of State...

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Also: Enthusiasm for midterms high in BOTH parties, TX voter registrations in limbo, young voter turnout may prove decisive...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2018 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast, what else? The FBI's sham "investigation" of Kavanaugh and news of great note regarding the November midterm elections. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The FBI's supplemental background report on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was released on Thursday morning. Just one copy was made available to U.S. Senators only. It received much criticism from Senate Democrats and much approval from Senate Republicans who couldn't even have possibly read it by the time they were lauding it. The release comes on the heels of the National Council of Churches calling for Kavanaugh's nomination to be withdrawn "immediately", and more than 2,400 law professors (and counting) signing onto a statement seeking the same. Nonetheless, even before the "White House Whitewash" of a report was even released, Republicans scheduled a final floor vote on the confirmation of the most partisan, dishonest nominee the nation has likely ever seen.

Even 98-year old retired Justice John Paul Stevens, appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford and who lauded Kavanaugh in a 2014 book, announced he is now opposing his confirmation following his angry and partisan testimony last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to multiple sexual assault allegations. Justice Steven suggested --- as the churches and law professors did --- that Kavanaugh has proven he lacks the appropriate judicial temperament for a lifetime appointment on the U.S. Supreme Court.

But, even with hundreds of anti-Kavanaugh protesters descending on the Senate today, the only thing that ultimately matters will be the votes of five undecided U.S. Senators. One of them, Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who faces a tight re-election contest in Trump-leaning North Dakota in November, announced on Thursday she is a "No" on Kavanaugh. The others, Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have yet to commit, though Flake and Collins said on Thursday they found the FBI investigation --- which failed to interview dozens of witnesses, including Kavanaugh himself and his first accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford --- to offer no new corroboration to the allegations against the nominee. Collins says she found it to be "very thorough". Manchin, who, according to polling, is comfortably ahead of his Republican opponent this November --- even in state Trump won by 42 points in 2016 --- is reportedly "leaning 'Yes'" on Kavanaugh.

If all Dems vote against and just two Republicans join them, the confirmation will be killed. The first procedural vote, to invoke cloture and move to the final vote, is scheduled for tomorrow.

In the meantime, the divisive issue has helped fuel enthusiasm for the crucial November midterms by both Democrats and Republicans, according to new polling, which also finds younger voters far less likely to vote this year, sadly. The Democrats' hoped-for "blue wave" may rest on turnout of young voters, and may not be quite as certain as many believe, particularly with obstacles preventing voters from registering (the deadline for doing so comes up this weekend in many key states), from voting and from having votes verifiably counted as cast.

While last week's National Voter Registration Day was an unexpected success, thousands of citizens who registered to vote in Texas via the non-profit Vote.org will not be added to the rolls, according to a new report. That could be troubling news for a number of races in the Lone Star state, not the least of which is the contest between GOP Senator Ted Cruz and his surging Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with news on Big Oil's big win in the new NAFTA, several Category 5 storms spinning at the same time in the Pacific, a new record low for Arctic sea ice, and the big news of Tesla's Big Battery which is a big hit for South Australia's power grid...

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Guests: AUDIT-USA's Emily Levy and attorney Chris Sautter; Also: Reports of FBI ignoring dozens of Kavanaugh witnesses persist, Trump mocks accuser, Americans can't wait to vote...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2018 6:56pm PT  

We work hard on today's BradCast to stay focused on the crucial upcoming elections, even as Brett Kavanaugh's cavalcade of shame continues in D.C. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

Senate Republicans intensified their push for a floor vote as soon as possible, even as reports persist that the FBI is either refusing or failing to interview dozens of witnesses in their supplemental background probe of Kavanaugh following sexual assault against the U.S. Supreme Court nominee. At the same time, former classmates and clerks of Kavanaugh are retracting previous support for him, and three key Republican Senators (Flake, Collins and Murkowski) gently rebuked Donald Trump on Wednesday for mocking Kavanaugh's first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, at a campaign rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night.

Amidst that circus, it's no easy feat to stay focused on the crucial upcoming midterm elections. But we try. And so are an extraordinary number of Americans. Today we learn that last week, on National Voter Registration Day, more than 800,000 signed up to vote, stunning organizers and smashing the previous record of 771,000 who registered on National Voter Registration Day in 2016, before the Presidential election.

But, even with all of the apparent enthusiasm, will all of those new and previous voters be allowed to vote this year? If so, will their votes be counted, tallied accurately, and in a way that the public can know they have been tallied accurately? In recent days, corporate media --- right on schedule --- has suddenly begun to churn out articles questioning the accuracy and security of our wildly insecure and frequently inaccurate electronic voting and tabulation systems...once its largely too late to do much about any of it, just weeks before an election. (That, of course, is why we have been trying to do so year 'round over the past 15 years!)

The corporate election vendors who have been allowed to privatize our public elections with systems that have long ago (over a decade ago) been found to be easily hacked --- and which have failed in election after election --- continue to sell their flawed systems to officials and offer false claims about security to the public.

One of those companies, Election Systems & Software, LLC (ES&S), the nation's largest voting system vendor, has now threatened a lawsuit against a small, non-profit election transparency organization which has been fighting to encourage election officials to take advantage of a security setting available on newer models of paper ballot scanners made by ES&S and others. The group, AUDIT-USA, has been sent a cease and desist letter [PDF] by ES&S corporate attorneys objecting to the organization posting user manuals for their scanners that capture digital images of ballots when they are scanned. The group has been working to encourage states and counties to make sure those which use the newer systems have them set to retain all such ballot images so they can potentially be reviewed by the public after an election. That, in lieu of the public being allowed to examine paper ballots themselves in order to assure unverified computer-tabulated results are accurate.

We're joined today by long-time election integrity champion EMILY LEVY of AUDIT-USA and their long-time election attorney CHRIS SAUTTER of American University, to discuss the ES&S threat letter sent to the group last week, charging copyright infringement for making their instruction manuals available to the public. The letter, as we discuss, fails to even cite security concerns. Levy notes the irony in this case, given that AUDIT-USA is actually supporting the newer ES&S systems for their security feature that many election officials appear unaware of.

"What we've found from talking to election officials around the country is that a lot of them don't really understand the systems that they're using in their own counties," Levy tells me. "They don't understand why they need ballot images when they have the paper ballots. And they don't understand that, in order to preserve the ballot images, all they need to do is not change the settings that the machines come with. The default settings on the machines are to preserve the ballot images, and it's only by having someone --- whether a vendor working for them or elections officials themselves --- changing those settings that the ballot images get destroyed.

"So we want people to understand both the importance of the ballot images and preserving them --- that it's legally required to preserve them, just as it is to preserve all election materials. And that's it's not a difficult thing to do."

Sautter argues the information in question, as posted to their website, is in the public interest and, therefore, falls under the Fair Use Doctrine. "Cease and desist letters like the one that ES&S sent AUDIT-USA are a common form of intimidation," he says. "These companies have a lot of money, and sometimes they figure, well, we can overpower them, we'll file this lawsuit and we'll try to break this little non-profit in attorneys fees and we'll set an example."

As we also discuss, threats of lawsuits by voting system vendors against voting system experts and computer scientists have been going on for years (here's The BRAD BLOG exclusive from 2008 that I cite on the show), even as tax payers continue dolling out billions of dollars to these shameless and irresponsible private companies...

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Guest: Journalist David Dayen on new NAFTA, CA's new Net Neutrality law (and DoJ lawsuit), Amazon's new minimum wage; Also: Senate Repubs hope to force vote, bury FBI probe on U.S. Supreme Court nominee...
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2018 6:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the FBI investigation into multiple allegations of sexual assault and belligerent drunken behavior by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues, as Republicans in the U.S. Senate prepare to force a vote on his confirmation before Senators, much less the public, get a full look at the information gathered by the brief and limited probe. As that shameful illustration of a process broken by Republicans for the nation's highest court plays out, a number of other noteworthy news stories slip through the cracks just over one month before the crucial 2018 midterm elections. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On Sunday, California's Governor signed a Net Neutrality bill into law, meant to replace the Obama-era consumer protection that was gutted by the Trump Administration's Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Hours later, Trump's Dept. of Justice sued the Golden State to prevent the new law from taking effect. So much for the GOP's pretend love of "states rights".

On Monday, Trump announced "a brand new deal to terminate and replace NAFTA" [the North American Free Trade Agreement] with a "totally" new deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico as "the biggest trade deal in United States History." Even though it is NAFTA 2.0, it will now be called, if adopted by the U.S. Congress (a big "if", as our guest explains today), the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

And, on Tuesday, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced the company will be increasing their minimum wage for all workers, both permanent and seasonal, to $15/hour beginning next month, after years of attacks by critics for low wages paid by the world's second most valuable company.

We're joined by financial journalist and author DAVID DAYEN to discuss all three of those news items, whether they are a "Big Deal or No Big Deal?", and how the news may or may not affect the upcoming November elections.

On Amazon's increased wages, Dayen tells me it is "only going to bid the price of labor up. So that is a good thing." He also explains why it is "a political success for Bernie Sanders and this idea that you need to put pressure on these huge, monopolistic companies in order the get them to do right by their workers." But, he also warns, "there's an escape valve here for Amazon."

The new NAFTA includes an end to what Dayen calls the "corporate shakedown regime" in NAFTA's "horrendous" extrajudicial process for settling trade disputes between corporations and countries. That's a "huge deal" he says, which could help set a template to vastly improve other trade deals as well, and potentially increase wages for workers. But he also explains why unions are, nonetheless, not yet all in for the deal and notes that it can only be approved by the next Congress --- which will likely be far more Democratic than the current one --- if labor buys in.

On DoJ's challenge to California's own Net Neutrality law, Dayen explains, the Administration may have little choice but to try and block it, even as Republicans --- when it comes to states other than California, anyway --- argue states should decide what's best for their own residents. In the Golden State, however, "if you give net neutrality protections, if you allow the state of California to pass them, then that's going to migrate," he says. "There's a genuine concern that these regulations --- which of course were in place at the federal level and were taken out by FCC Chair Ajit Pai and the conservatives on the FCC --- would almost, by default, come back if this were allowed to stand. ... All that work they did at the FCC could be for naught."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with our latest Green News Report, with record rainfall numbers from Hurricane Florence (and the giant mosquitoes which have arrived in its wake), the Trump Administration's use of catastrophic climate change data to justify a deadly rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards, and the French President calling for the nations of the world to reject trade deals with any country who is not a party to the Paris Climate Agreement (that would include only the U.S., which has announced its intention of pulling out of the landmark pact as soon as allowable --- the first day after the Presidential election in 2020)...

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Sworn declaration accuses Kavanaugh of 'gang rapes'; Witnesses support Blasey Ford charge; Good news for PA student voters, FL, TX, AZ Dems...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2018 6:45pm PT  

What does it say about the state of the nation when reporting on sworn allegations against a U.S. Supreme Court nominee may be NSFW? Safe for work or otherwise, we have that along with much more encouraging news on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up, a report, for context, from Washington Post in 1990 about the alcohol and sex-fueled house party culture of several elite private high schools in Maryland, including the ones attended by both U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and at least one of his accusers.

Then, four sworn declarations were filed with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, under penalty of perjury, on Wednesday, by the attorneys for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, on behalf of witnesses who say they were told years ago by Ford about her allegation of the attempted rape by Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge during one such high school house party. Each witness describes how Ford informed them about what she says happened, long before Donald Trump selected Kavanaugh as his SCOTUS nominee. (It's also worth noting that Ford's letter to her U.S. House Representative about the incident was also reportedly sent prior to Kavanaugh actually being named to fill the seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy.)

Incredibly, none of those were the most startling declaration filed with the Committee under penalty of perjury on Wednesday by a long shot. Julie Swetnick, a long time federal agency employee with active and inactive Secret and Public Trust security clearances, filed a jaw-dropping affidavit detailing her years of knowing Kavanaugh and his close friend Mark Judge during high school in Maryland. In the declarations she says she attended many house parties at which the pair were present during those years, and charges that Kavanaugh "drank excessively" and would become abusive and physically aggressive toward girls whom he and Judge would "target" after spiking punch at the parties "with drugs and/or grain alcohol."

Most disturbingly, however, she describes her "firm recollection" of seeing both men lining up to participate in "gang rapes" of the incapacitated girls, and says that she became one of them in 1982. Swetnick attests that "shortly after the incident" she "shared what transpired with at least two other people" and is "aware of other witnesses that can attest to the truthfulness" of her statements.

Still, even with this third named accuser of alleged sexual crimes and misconduct in high school and college by Kavanaugh, the President of the United States refuses to order an FBI investigation into any of the charges, and Republicans on the Judiciary Committee intend, as of now, to move forward with Thursday's hearing with testimony only from Kavanaugh and Ford (but none of the many other witnesses or accusers). They say they plan to vote on his nomination in Committee the following day. A full Senate floor vote --- according to Donald Trump at a presser at the UN today, in which he described the allegations as part of a "big, fat con job" by Democrats --- could happen as early as this weekend, with the Court set to begin their new term on Monday.

Following those horrors today, we look toward the November midterms for at least some hope. A new poll by AP and MTV finds young voters, for some reason, citing increasing anxiety about the election. We also cover the widespread national effort to make voting easier for students on college campuses, and the effort by Republicans to prevent that. Happily, we can report an encouraging ending this week to one long fight to make it easier for students at a college near Philadelphia to participate in their own democracy.

Finally, we take a look at some mostly encouraging new polling for Democrats in U.S. Senate (and Gubernatorial) races in Florida, Texas and Arizona...

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Guest: Media critic Eric Boehlert; Also: National Voter Registration Day!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2018 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's National Voter Registration Day as the crucial midterm general elections on November 6th are now exactly 6 weeks away. Other than that, today's news may be somewhat less encouraging --- though we, and the world, manage to have a bit of a laugh at Donald Trump's expense, in the bargain. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: Happy National Voter Registration Day! Do you need to register to vote before November 6th? Have you checked your registration lately to make sure it's accurate? Today is a great day to do so!

Today is also a great day, apparently, for the world to laugh at the President of the United States, as they literally did at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. Not with Donald Trump, but at him, during his address to the Assembly.

While there, during a joint media avail with the President of Colombia, Trump also took the time to attack the two named women who have accused his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault during high school and his first year at Yale. Trump also dismissed the allegations as little more than "a con game being played by the Democrats." That, even as new information continues to buttress the allegations by the women and as the calls grow louder (even from Mormon women) for a full, legitimate investigation of their charges, which the White House and Republicans refuse to ask the FBI for (and which even potential Kavanaugh swing vote Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) now says she'd like to see.)

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh, a longtime GOP operative who claimed during his initial Senate confirmation hearings just weeks weeks ago that "the Supreme Court must never be viewed as a partisan institution", took to the right-wing Fox 'News' air waves on Monday night for a softball interview with his wife, in hopes of defending himself against the growing allegations. He and his first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, are scheduled to give testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. In advance, the all-white, all-male Republicans on the Committee have announced they are hiring a woman to ask questions of Ford on their behalf, though they won't identify her. They have also now scheduled a committee vote on Kavanaugh's nomination the very next day, on Friday.

At the same time on Thursday, Trump is scheduled to meet at the White House with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Republican who oversees the Robert Mueller Special Counsel probe into the alleged conspiracy between Team Trump and Russia. The meeting, at which many expect Rosenstein will be fired, follows a misleading exclusive report published by the New York Times charging Rosenstein had suggested secretly taping Trump and recruiting White House staffers to invoke the 25th Amendment early last year. As subsequent reporting by other outlets reveals, however, Rosenstein was reportedly being sarcastic with his comments, according to people who were actually at the meeting in question. Nonetheless, we are still barreling toward a potential Constitutional Crisis as early as Thursday, thanks in no small part to the pretext for firing Rosenstein --- and perhaps Mueller, shortly thereafter --- äs provided by the Times' reporting.

We're joined today by former Media Matters media critic, author and political writer ERIC BOEHLERT of ShareBlue to discuss both of these stories and where they may be headed, as well as for some insight into what the hell is wrong with the New York Times.

On the Supreme Court, Boehlert says, among many things of note today: "With Merrick Garland, and with Kavanaugh, the Republican Party in 18 months is this close to demolishing the legitimacy of the United States Supreme Court. That has huge implications, not just for law and justice, but for an authoritarian like Trump. Because corrupting the high courts is always a goal of any authoritarian, just like de-legitimizing the free press."

As to his analysis of the "institutional problems" at the Times, you'll have to tune in for details, but he notes: "There does seem to be a pattern. When they get things wrong, they get things wrong in a way that helps Republicans."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the impacts of Hurricane Florence continue in the Carolinas two weeks after landfall, including new evacuations, more record flooding, the toxic release of coal ash into North Carolina waters, and the media failure to connect the climate change dots to all of it. She also offers a bit of good news for us today, for a change, out of Cleveland, OH! So there's that!...

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Guest: Legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 9/24/2018 6:35pm PT  

Today's BradCast was perhaps best characterized by TV writer Jordon Nardino who tweeted on Sunday night: "Next week has been exhausting." [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Monday provided a bit of a fire drill for the upcoming Constitutional Crisis, when it looked like Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation into Team Trump's alleged conspiracy with Russia in 2016, appeared to be about to be either fired or forced to resign. That moment, for now, will likely not happen now until Thursday, when he is set to meet with Donald Trump at the White House after the President's appearance this week at the U.N. General Assembly.

The showdown with Rosenstein comes on the heels of what appears to be a somewhat misleading exclusive published last Friday by the New York Times, reporting that Rosenstein "suggested" using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office during a meeting at the Department of Justice last year, in the chaotic days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in his attempt to end the FBI's Trump/Russia investigation. Rosenstein, according to follow-up reports from other outlets quoting a source said to have actually been in the room at the time of the conversation in question, is said to have been sarcastic when mentioning wearing a wire to record the President.

Also coming up this Thursday, if all goes as currently scheduled, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is set to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee after a weekend of negotiations with Senate Republicans following her accusation of sexual assault by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when they were both in high school. Over the weekend, and into Monday, several other allegations of assault (we're up to four now) by Kavanaugh in high school and college, vague or otherwise, have begun to surface.

We're joined today by Slate's Supreme Court and legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN to try to make sense of all of these quickly developing stories. In the Rosenstein saga, Stern details his concerns about Trump's Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who would be next in the line of succession to become Acting Attorney General overseeing the Mueller probe if Rosenstein is removed from his post. He describes Francisco as a huge Trump supporter, who has simply made up stuff out of whole cloth, even while arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court. Stern explains why Francisco would be very likely to try and shut down the Special Counsel probe if given the opportunity.

"He is an extremely unscrupulous, unethical and dishonest man," he tells me. "To let this guy, who would lie whenever it's convenient for him, control this investigation --- it's a recipe for disaster."

We also discuss why Republicans are in a desperate state of panic to install Kavanaugh as quickly as possible on their already-stolen SCOTUS. Among the reasons cited by Stern are both the odds of Republicans losing their majority in the Senate this November and a number of cases important to Rightwingers that are to be heard by the Supremes when they begin their new term on October 1. A 4-4 tie in several of those cases would be likely to benefit progressives.

"They've got to squeeze it all in while they still have that one-vote majority" in the Senate, he explains. "Now they just have to cross this final finish line, shove these accusers to the side and get this man on the bench for life."

Stern also responds to the claims by many on the right who suggest Kavanaugh should not be held accountable for his behavior as a 17-year old. That assertion, however, is at odds with how courts deal with crimes by 17-year olds who aren't nominated for lifetime appoints to the Supreme Court.

Stern, who happens to be a licensed attorney in the state of Maryland, also speaks to the weekend claim by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that the crimes alleged to have been carried out by Kavanaugh in MD 36 years ago could no longer be prosecuted. Stern argues that is not true and local law enforcement officials in the state seem to concur.

Finally, as Rosenstein appears to be targeted for removal, as early as this week, we share a new song by Ben Folds, recently published by Washington Post Magazine, inspired by a derisive name Trump is said to use when referring to the Deputy Attorney General: Mr. Peepers - The Ballad of Rod Rosenstein...

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

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Good government groups file 'emergency petition' to stop him
UPDATE: FL Supreme Court finds Scott exceeded his authoriry, grants emergency petition...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/24/2018 9:35am PT  

The U.S. Supreme Court is not the only court where Republicans appear more than willing to steal seats that don't belong to them.

Rick Scott, Florida's Governor and Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, must not have much confidence in his own party holding onto control of the state's Executive Mansion after the November elections. He's now busy working to swipe the next Governor's power to make judicial appointments to the Sunshine State's Supreme Court, no matter who that Governor may be.

The terms of three of Florida's seven state Supreme Court Justices, Barbara J. Pariente, Peggy A. Quince, and R. Fred Lewis --- all originally appointed by Democrats, leaving four GOP-appointed Justices on the bench --- will end on January 8, 2019. Scott's term in office ends two days earlier, at midnight, on January 6, 2019. Nonetheless, he wants control of who will fill those upcoming vacancies, even after he has left office.

On Sept. 11 this year, Scott directed the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission (FSC JNC) to make its nominations to fill the prospective vacancies by November 10, 2018. The Commission has set an October 8 deadline for the filing of applications by prospective nominees.

That, even after Scott's own concession, in an earlier FL Supreme Court proceeding, that a governor's power to fill a judicial vacancy does not arise until after the vacancy occurs. The Governor's order also flatly defies the Florida electorate which, in 2014, rejected a GOP ballot initiative that would have amended the Florida constitution to permit outgoing governors to fill prospective vacancies before they actually occur.

The League of Women Voters, along with Common Cause, have now filed an emergency petition [PDF] with the Florida Supreme Court, seeking to prevent Scott from usurping his successor's power to fill prospective vacancies on the court.

While Scott is in a very tight "toss up" race for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, his state directive hints at what may be an attempt to stave off the potential impact of a possible blue wave at the polls this year. In Florida, that could result in Scott's party losing control of executive power in Tallahassee. Recent polling suggests a significant prospect that Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum could become the next Governor of Florida. Gillum currently leads Republican Ron Desantis, according to the RealClearPolitics average by 3.4% in polls taken between August 29 and September 16.

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UPDATE 10/15/18: The Florida Supreme Court issued an order [PDF] in which it granted the emergency writ. It expressly ruled that the next governor will have the sole authority to fill the vacancies and that Gov. Scott "exceeded his authority by directing the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission to fill these vacancies by November 10, 2018."

When they go to the polls on November 6, Florida voters will not only decide who will serve as their next governor. They will also indirectly determine who will be nominated to serve next three FL Supreme Court Justices.

More from Mark Joseph Stern, including a few caveats, here...

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Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968) and a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. He has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing




Guest: Plaintiff, Election Integrity advocate Marilyn Marks; Also: Flooding, toxic crisis worsening after Florence; Midterm voting officially begins...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2018 6:14pm PT  

Voting is now officially under way in the 2018 midterm general elections, as Early Voting finally began on Friday in Minnesota and South Dakota and, very shortly, in at least half a dozen other states around the country in advance of Election Day on November 6th. Voting, however, will not be nearly as simple and verifiable for voters in Georgia, as we discuss in some detail on today's BradCast. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

Meanwhile, as media continue to focus on the extraordinary allegation of sexual assault against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (and Trump's new response to them), as made by Palo Alto University psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford, and whether or not she will appear to give testimony about it to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee next week, the continuing danger and toxic fallout from Hurricane Florence continues in both North and South Carolina a full week after the storm first made landfall. An urgent warning Thursday from Duke Energy about the imminent rupture of a giant holding pond reservoir where toxic coal ash waste is stored became a reality on Friday. At the same time, the human death toll from the storm rose to at least 42, with new evacuations called for in South Carolina on Friday due to still-rising rivers as thousands remained dislocated or without power in North Carolina.

Next, we move to the shameful situation in Georgia, just weeks out from the crucial midterm elections, where Sec. of State Brian Kemp --- the Trump-endorsed Republican who is running for Governor this year against Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams --- is allowing inaccurate voter registration forms, falsely instructing first-time voters that they must mail in proof of residence when registering, to be used across the state.

Even more disturbing is the fact that Peach State voters will be forced, once again, to vote on 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems on Election Day, despite a U.S. District Court Judge finding them this week to be "unverifiable" and featuring "serious vulnerabilities" which are "not just a theoretical, paranoid notion at this point," as defendants in the case, including Kemp, had argued in court. Nonetheless, in response to a motion filed by plaintiffs seeking to force the state to allow Election Day voters to use the same hand-marked paper ballots used for absentee voting for years across the state, Judge Amy Totenberg is allowing GA's unsecurable and unverifiable 16-year old Diebold touchscreen voting machines to be used yet again this November. In her ruling [PDF], she cites defendants' claims of "chaos" and forced poll closures they threatened would ensue if hand-marked paper ballots were ordered for use at polling places this year.

We're joined today by longtime Election Integrity advocate and one of the plaintiffs in the GA case, MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance, to discuss this week's ruling and Kemp's disingenuous defense of his indefensible voting systems.

"The defendants put the judge in a very difficult place because they essentially threatened that they would sabotage the election. They didn't really use those words, but they said, 'We're going to shut down early voting locations in Fulton County'. Fulton County [Atlanta] has 21 early voting locations. They said 'We'll go down to three'. In their briefing, they said they'd go down to one. They also said they may close Election Day polling places if she were to require them to go to a paper ballot," Marks tells me. "And so the vast majority of Georgia's voters are going to vote on what the judge has basically said is going to be an unconstitutional system."

"The court was already very well aware of the science, and she was quite aware of the lack of any effort, and lack of any science, and lack of any expert testimony put on by the defendants. So I think that her decision didn't rest on the science. It was this whole threat of chaos."

Moreover, she says, the state has also falsely claimed that counties were required to use the unverifiable touchscreen systems. "The state not only had been saying it was required by state law, but they had threatened the counties who began to recognize it wasn't required by state law, and that the counties, local authorities, have the ability, on their own, to go to paper ballots. The Secretary of State has been threatening them, telling them 'No, you do not have that authority.' They even told the press that they would punish counties that went to paper ballots."

While Marks, who is a Republican herself, reports the multi-partisan plaintiffs are justifiably disappointed in the court's ruling for the short term, she also details several key findings from the ruling which will be important to the continuing efforts both in this case and other federal challenges like it around the country. Among the favorable finding are that plaintiffs do, in fact, have Constitutional standing to challenge such voting systems in federal court, and that "further delay", according to Judge Totenberg, in moving the state to a verifiable voting system after this year's elections, is "not tolerable".

"The important thing here," Marks explains, is that the judge "said that we were likely to prevail on the merits as we move forward in this case, and our claims are related to constitutional claims. And that is what the scholars, the lawyers, the election advocates across the country are recognizing as such a very important finding in the ruling she has made here. That we are likely to prevail in our argument that this is an unconstitutional system, when the voters cannot rely on an auditable, verifiable system."

Marks also explains one moment from the hearing where she said she thought later: "Man, I'm glad Brad isn't here to hear this, or his head would have exploded." My head subsequently explodes when she relays the story and for much of the rest of my interview today.

While Abrams, Kemp's African-American opponent in the Gubernatorial election, is calling for voters to cast hand-marked paper absentee ballots this year to increase the likelihood of them being accurately tallied, Marks explains why she is not certain that is actually a better option for voters in the state. She details the Catch-22 that GA voters are once again facing, not unlike the Catch-22 Judge Totenberg said she found herself in while deciding how to rule on plaintiffs' motion this week.

And again, my head explodes...

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

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Also: Toxic environmental disaster begins after Florence; AL SoS sued for Twitter blocking; Bad news for 'dark money', good news for voters...
By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2018 6:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Except for our Florence coverage, it's all about November 6th, including the GOP's rush to seat another alleged sexual predator on the U.S. Supreme Court. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, a quick update on the still-ongoing disaster of Hurricane Florence, with the human death toll rising to 37 and the poultry and pork death tolls in the millions, after three feet of rain fell on parts of the Carolinas, thousands remain in shelters, and the environmental disasters --- including toxic human waste and animal waste now streaming into swelling rivers and floodwaters --- may just be beginning.

Next, the reason why Republicans are in such a panic to minimize the allegations of attempted rape by Brett Kavanaugh, their nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, in any way they possibly can in advance of the quickly arriving November 6th midterm elections. That minimization includes avoiding both time and an FBI investigation at any cost. The White House could have already requested one, which Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) insisted was "the very right thing to do" --- at least during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the 1991 sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill against then-nominee, now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Then, you may recall at the beginning of the year I reported on a strange conversation I had on Twitter with Alabama's Sec. of State John Merrill regarding the state's voting systems, resulting in Merrill blocking me on the social media site. It wasn't the first time Merrill had blocked election experts or journalists or his own constituents. But, even after a federal court later in the year found that Donald Trump was violating the First Amendment rights of his constituents by blocking them on Twitter, Merrill still refused to unblock anybody. A query to his office about that, just before the state's May primary elections, resulted in a bizarre and unhinged exchange via phone and email with the Secretary. Today, Merrill is being sued by the ACLU of Alabama for violating his constituents' First Amendment rights for blocking them and, of course, that means that AL taxpayers will likely be on the hook to pay for the so-called "conservative" Merrill's knowingly unconstitutional behavior.

Also, speaking of transparency and the rule of law, the U.S. Supreme Court, just weeks before the 2018 midterms, has allowed a lower court ruling on "dark money" to take immediate effect, meaning that some political non-profits will now have to disclose the names of wealthy donors who spend more than $200 per year in hopes of buying elections. The Koch-sponsored hit squads, including their ringers on the FEC, are none too happy it.

Finally, we've got some good news for voters in California, where the Governor has now signed a bill requiring election officials to notify voters when local officials believe signatures on Vote-by-Mail ballots don't match the one on their registration file. Such voters will now be notified at least eight days before any results are certified, so they have a chance to fix the problem, which could happen for many reasons, before the ballot is simply discarded (as tens of thousands have routinely been tossed in previous elections).

Also, good news for Democrats in Wisconsin, where the "gold standard" of Wisconsin polling outfits finds divisive, two-term Republican Gov. Scott Walker now trailing Democrat Tony Evers in this year's Gubernatorial race.

And, in Kansas, yet another top former Republican official has endorsed Laura Kelly, the Democratic candidate for Governor, in her race against controversial GOP nominee Sec. of State Kris Kobach...

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

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