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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, February 25, 2024
Sunday 'Useful Idiot' Toons
Comrades! Please enjoy our latest weekly toon collection! Courtesy of highly trusted whistleblowers and military-grade informants!...
Our Russian Nesting Doll: 'BradCast' 2/22/2024
How the U.S. has fallen prey to a decade-long Russian intel op; Also: Lindell owes $5M for lost 2020 contest; Media ignore good Biden polling amid ill-considered bids to replace him...
'Green News Report' 2/22/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
EPA's 'Good Neighbor' pollution rule at SCOTUS; Bizarre heat in Japan; Near-universal global public support for climate action; PLUS: Biden Admin cleans up nation's drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 2/20/24 - 2/15/24 - Archives...
DeSantis' Anti-Labor Law Now Nixing Unions for 1000s of FL Workers: 'BradCast' 2/21
Guest: Rich Templin of FL's AFL-CIO; Also: NY A.G. may seize Trump building to cover fines; Biden forgives another $1.2B in student loans...
Wisconsin's Decade-Long Un-Democracy Finally Undone. (Almost.): 'BradCast' 2/20
Guest: WI's John Nichols; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
'Green News Report' 2/20/24
Record ocean heat decimating FL's coral reefs; Plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam; PLUS: Nearly half of world's migratory species in decline, U.N. study finds...
After Navalny: 'BradCast' 2/19/24
Also: Massive election fraud alleged in Pakistan; Final death blow for GOP fraudsters' phony election fraud film, '2000 Mules'...
Sunday 'Partying With Putin' Toons
Can someone let Tucker know that Vlad got another one? It's our latest collection of the week's best toons...
In Memoriam: Alexei Navalny (1976-2024)
So, remind me again how wonderful Vladimir Putin is...
Guns Again, Trump as Ever, Media Failure and the Way Forward: 'BradCast' 2/15/24
Also: Special Counsel probing Hunter Biden indicts informant who lied about 'bribes' to the Bidens from a Ukrainian energy company...
'Green News Report' 2/15/24
Oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago; Greenland getting greener; Wildfires reversing hard-won gains against air pollution; PLUS: Climate change comes for chocolate...
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: Chris Geidner of Law Dork; Also: Did Trump TV network unlawfully obtain and distribute voting machine company passwords after 2020?...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2024 6:26pm PT  

If, by now, you don't realize that Republicans are attacking both democracy and the rule of law itself in this country, I don't know what world you live in. But on today's BradCast we've got two fresh --- and disturbing --- examples/warnings. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST UP today: Did the far-right, pro-Trump propaganda outlet called One America News (OAN) obtain passwords for employees of voting system vendor Smartmatic and then share them with Trump attorney Sidney Powell after the 2020 election? That appears to be what Smartmatic is charging in recently filed court documents, according to CNN, as part of its billion dollar defamation lawsuit against the fake Trump TV "news" outlet.

OAN was just one of many such rightwing outlets that echoed and forwarded Team Trump's false claims of election fraud in 2020. OAN was particularly aggressive in their evidence-free mission to hoax viewers into believing that systems made by Smartmatic and Dominion, another voting system vendor, flipped votes to help Joe Biden that year. The claims against Smartmatic were particularly absurd, given that the company has just one contract in the U.S. for voting systems. That is here in Los Angeles County, were Biden reportedly defeated Trump in 2020 by nearly 2 million votes.

As explained today, however, the reason that the pretend "election integrity" advocates who emerged on the right following 2020, only to offer evidence-free claims and falsely tie Smartmatic to Dominion (and Venezuela's dead former President Hugo Chavez), is likely thanks in no small part to some exclusive reporting we did on the two companies here at The BRAD BLOG, circa 2008 to 2010, which was cited and bastardized by Powell and others on the right after 2020. You're welcome!

NEXT UP: A new legal chapter in a story that deserves much more coverage than it has received to date. In one respect, it's not surprising that it hasn't received much coverage, given that it is based on an absurd legal premise --- one already rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court --- that few thought would ever advance beyond the Trump-appointed U.S. District Court judge who initially gave it credence in a redistricting lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of the NAACP against the state of Arkansas in 2022.

In short, the case was dismissed [PDF] before reaching the merits by U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky on the novel grounds that neither voters nor private organizations like the NAACP have the right to sue to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Only the U.S. Attorney General may do so, according to the Rudofsky. That news must have come as a great surprise to the hundreds of private plaintiffs who have successfully hundreds of such cases since adoption of the landmark Act in 1965. It also may come as a surprise to the U.S. Supreme Court which, as recently as last June, ruled in favor of private litigants in a redistricting lawsuit against the state of Alabama. Congress is likely shocked as well, given they have reviewed, rewritten and reauthorized the VRA several times since 1965, without ever noticing there was no private right of action to enforce the law.

While the initial ruling was ridiculous enough, a split decision by a three-judge panel on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November, incredibly, allowed the lower court ruling to stand. But it got even more absurd this week, when, on Tuesday, the full en banc 8th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 7 to 3 deny a rehearing of the matter, upholding the original lower court's radical, unprecedented ruling. The ACLU described the ruling as "appalling and unjustified," after "More than 400 Section 2 cases have been litigated in federal court in the past four decades to protect the voting rights of racial and language minorities. Private plaintiffs have brought the vast majority of them."

The 8th Circuit, comprised of 10 Republican appointees and one appointed by a Democrat, is not even considered the most radical in the nation. That would be the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals which has recently rejected the notion --- along with SCOTUS --- that there is no right to private action for voters to sue under Section 2.

We're joined today by CHRIS GEIDNER, longtime legal journalist at Law Dork, to explain this gob-smacking series of rulings and what they mean moving forward, as the matter almost certainly will head to the U.S. Supreme Court. For now, the ruling is the law of the land "only" in the seven states that comprise the 8th Circuit (Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota). That could change, however, once the notoriously anti-VRA High Court gets a crack at this case.

Geidner decries the "out-of-control" appeals courts which seem to no longer believe it is necessary to follow long-standing precedent, if it regards laws that they don't like. "And then things go up to the Supreme Court," he charges, "and it's almost a win-win for the conservatives on the Supreme Court because if they reverse one or two of every three ridiculous decisions, they are able to set themselves up as a 'moderating' force that pulls back the extremes, while they are still letting one of every three extreme rulings go through."

"One of the underlying bases for a legal system is stability," Geidner tells me today. "When you have a legal system that is in such upheaval that lower courts have been told from the Supreme Court that 'No precedent is too sacred. We will overturn any precedent if we decide it should be overturned,'" that leads appellate courts to think that "if there's a chance that their opinion can lead to a revisiting of a precedent that they think is wrong, why wouldn't they go for it?"

"The answer," he notes, "is the rule of law, and they shouldn't. That's up to the Supreme Court, and until the Supreme Court does it, they need to follow precedent. But that's not the world in which we are living."

We also get some thoughts today from Geidner on the curious, now nearly month-long delay by a three-judge panel on the U.S. District Court of Appeals in D.C. to issue their ruling in response to Donald Trump's ridiculous claim that he is immune from criminal prosecution for any actions he performed while serving as President. A ruling was expected by many to have been issued by now. The case was heard on an emergency basis, as Trump's scheduled March 4 federal trial for attempting to steal the 2020 election is currently on pause in the bargain. But, Geidner notes that "the fact that we are quickly approaching a month" since the case was heard by what appeared to be three skeptical jurists, it is now beginning to look like "a dereliction of duty" and "a failure on the D.C. Circuit's part."

Stay tuned...

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Guest: ACLU voting rights attorney Jonathan Topaz; Also: Israel-Hamas truce extended for two more days amid more hostage releases...
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2023 6:05pm PT  

We're back live on today's BradCast after a much-needed holiday break. Thanks to those of you who helped us avoid disaster last week! Now the question is whether we'll be able to avoid disaster in next year's Presidential election where we will have "as stark a choice as the United States has ever faced."

A lot happened while we were off (as usual), but none as critical, as far as I'm concerned, as the mind-blowing ruling issued last week by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, upholding an insane lower U.S. District Court Judge's ruling in an Arkansas voting rights case.

The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP, challenges Arkansas' gerrymandered legislative maps which should --- if the rule of law and Constitution mean anything anymore --- include another five Black-majority voting districts before the 2024 elections.

However, last year, a Trump-appointed District Court Judge, while recognizing the merits of the case, found for the first time in U.S. history that individual voters and private organizations like the NAACP and ACLU have no "right to private action" to sue against violations of Section 2 of the landmark Voting Rights Act. The lower court judge found that only the U.S. Attorney General may sue to block racially discriminatory laws under Section 2. And, last week, incredibly enough, that ruling was upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals panel featuring two Trump judges and one George W. Bush appointed judge.

We're joined today by JONATHAN TOPAZ, Staff Attorney at the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, who worked on the case at both the district and appellate court level. He explains that the District Court ruling "was the first court in the history of the United States to determine that Section 2 lacked a private right of action, which means that private plaintiffs are unable to vindicate their rights under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. This, at the time, and is today, is an incredibly radical ruling. We appealed, because it had no basis in the text and structure of the Voting Rights Act, it had no basis in the precedent, and it certainly had no basis in the practice of decades and decades of private plaintiffs bringing suits to vindicate the incredibly important right to vote free of racial discrimination under the Voting Rights Act."

But, as Topaz goes on to explain, it got worse. Last week "a divided panel of the 8th Circuit voted to affirm the District Court's finding. So now these are the only two courts in the history of the United States that have ever made such a finding."

Indeed, the arguably even more "conservative" 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, recently found the opposite, that private plaintiffs do have the right to sue. So, the 8th Circuit Court is an outlier, with what Topaz describes as "a radical opinion on appeal to the voters of Arkansas and voters around the country."

What happens next? What will it mean if it is upheld by SCOTUS? What are the chances of that actually happening? How can it be that neither SCOTUS nor Congress nor dozens and dozens of courts have previously noticed this flaw in the VRA over the past six decades? And, if SCOTUS does find in favor of the 8th Circuit, what will that mean for the hundreds of Section 2 cases previously decided in favor of private plaintiffs? Tune in for answers to all of those questions and many more.

Also today, a bit of what suffices for "good news" out of the Middle East on Monday, as Israel and Hamas agreed to extend their four-day pause in hostilities for another two days to allow for the release of more hostages from Gaza and more Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.

That largely encouraging news, however, is somewhat tempered by events back here in the U.S. over the weekend, where three Palestinian students were shot at close range in otherwise peaceful Burlington, Vermont. The three young men, all 20 years old, were heading to dinner at one of the men's grandmother's house. A suspect was arrested on Sunday. We discuss.

Then, we open things up to listeners via phone and email in our closing few minutes...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Special Coverage with Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Pro Left Podcast's 'Driftglass'; Also: Willis requests Trump RICO trial begin this October!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2023 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's special coverage of the first GOP Presidential Primary debate of the 2024 campaign. It featured eight candidates, none of which were named Trump, But he was there anyway. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

The raucus two-hour debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was sponsored by Fox "News" and held before a rowdy audience of booing and cheering Republicans who, at times, resembled a pro wrestling crowd --- or a lynch mob --- more than supporters of an American political party.

The actual participants on the stage were (in order of polling popularity before the debate): Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; 38-year old entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (who, if you hadn't heard of him before last night, you probably have now); Former Vice President Mike Pence; Former South Carolina Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley; Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott; Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (who, if you hadn't heard of him before last night, you may still have no idea who he is today.)

We're joined today by some favorite BradCast special coverage guests to try and make sense of it all. (Which was no easy feat, frankly!) HEATHER DIGBY PARTON is a longtime, award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog; "DRIFTGLASS" is otherwise known as both @Mr_Electrico on the site formerly known as Twitter and occasional as just "Bill" back at home in "Flyover Country, Illinois" where he produces the weekly Professional Left Podcast.

Among the questions asked, answered and/or discussed today...

  • Who and what is Vivek Ramaswamy? And why was he both the target and obnoxious star of the evening?
  • What did all those red ties worn by everyone but Christie, Hutchinson and Haley actually mean?
  • What happened to Great White (Non-Trump) Hope DeSantis? Why was he largely ignored? And why was he screaming?
  • Holy crap! Was that a question about Climate Change on a Fox 'News' sponsored debate?!
  • Has Pence been underestimated after so many years in Trump's shadow?
  • Did Haley help or hurt herself in calling for a "new generation" of GOP leaders (while clearly being part of the old generation of GOP leaders)?
  • Wait, they all think Pence did the right thing on January 6, 2021, but almost all of them would support Trump next year even if convicted on felony crimes?
  • Have Christie and Pence figured out how to use the Constitution as a weapon against Trump?
  • Remember when even Republican debates included actual policy issues?
  • Who on that stage would be more likely than Trump to defeat Joe Biden next year?
  • If Trump is somehow removed from contention, who becomes the party's front-runner?
  • Was Trump right or wrong to stay out of the debate?

All of that and many more questions asked, answered, discussed or dodged on today's special edition of The BradCast, as Trump heads to a jail in Atlanta to be booked on his fourth criminal indictment of the year and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis asks the Court [PDF] to begin his racketeering trial just two months from now in October(!) and as the once Grand Ole Party continues its long, dangerous descent into madness.

POST-SHOW UPDATE: The judge quickly approved Willis' request for an October 23 trial, but only for Trump attorney Ken Chesebro (alleged architect of the fake electors scheme), who invoked Georgia's speedy trial law. The other defendants do not yet have a trial date. So The Cheese stands alone...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The BradCast and Green News Report are standing down until after the Labor Day Holiday! See you in September!...

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Also: Trump's stolen Israeli antiquities; MI charges 16 fake electors; AL defies SCOTUS on racial gerrymandering; MUCH MORE...
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2023 7:05pm PT  

We're old enough here on BradCast to remember when the Republican Party and their scofflaw cult leader used to pretend, at least, to believe in the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution and even the Judiciary system. That was then. This is the Trump Era. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

You may need to buckle up for today's show --- or stay away from sharp objects --- for your own safety. Among the insane amount of stuff --- breaking and otherwise --- that we do our best to cover today...

  • First, some listener mail following yesterday's program on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which makes it pretty clear that Donald Trump is Constitutionally barred from running or holding any federal office after having "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the U.S. Government on January 6, 2021. That same "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" will come up again later on today's show, so pay attention!
  • Oh, look! It's not only tens of thousands of documents that Trump stole upon leaving the White House, Haaretz is reporting that he appears to have stolen priceless Israeli artifacts as well! "Antiquities belonging to Israel have been kept for the past several months at former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, and senior Israeli figures have unsuccessfully tried to have them returned to Israel. ... Among the antiquities are ancient ceramic candles which are part of Israel’s national treasures collection. They were sent to the U.S. in 2019 with the approval of then-Director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, Israel Hasson, on the condition that they be returned within weeks, yet almost four years later, they have yet to be returned." Yup, we're also old enough here to remember when Trump pretended to love Israel too.
  • Wrapping up just prior to airtime, the first federal court hearing before the unrecused, Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in Special Counsel Jack Smith's 38-count criminal indictment against Trump and his valet, Walt Nauta, in the stolen documents case. The DoJ seeks a speedy trial to begin in December. Team Trump wants an indefinite delay until some point after the 2024 election. Reports from those in the courtroom suggest the Judge was "disinclined" to grant the DoJ's requested December trial, "but also seemed skeptical" of a delay until after 2024. Her decision is supposedly coming "soon".
  • In Georgia, where Trump and a broad array of co-conspirators are likely to be charged next month (if not sooner) as part of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' criminal investigation of his attempt to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State, the state's Supreme Court, on Monday, unanimously rejected Team Trump's ill-considered preemptive motion to block any indictment and to remove Willis from the case.
  • The biggest news of the day, arguably, is Trump's long, rambling social media revelation on Tuesday morning that he received a letter from the Justice Dept. on Sunday, notifying him that he is the target of Jack Smith's broad investigation surrounding the January 6 insurrection and other efforts to steal the 2020 election (and otherwise profit off of false claims that it was stolen from him). Even though the source of the targeting claim is Trump, there are still a number of tea leaves to be read here, including who may now be cooperating with Smith's probe on yet another imminent indictment against the disgraced former President.
  • BREAKING just moments before airtime today, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that she had filed criminal charges against 16 fake Republican electors in the state, including the co-chair of the MI GOP and the state's Republican National Committeewoman. Each of the "false electors" signed paperwork claiming to be MI's "duly elected and qualified electors" after the 2020 election, Nessel notes, even though Joe Biden won the state. Each have now been charged with eight felony counts, including forgery.
  • A number Republican candidates for the 2024 Presidential nomination --- a contest in which Trump is currently the far and away front-runner, despite being indicted on (so far) 71 criminal felony charges at both the state and federal level, with more coming soon --- were asked to respond to his claim about being targeted and likely soon indicted by Jack Smith in his January 6 probe. Only one of them (so far), was smart enough to point out that any charges related to the insurrection will further disqualify him from both office and the ballot under the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" (Section 3 of the 14th Amendment). Will any of his other supposed opponents have the moral courage to point that out?
  • Voting rights advocates were stunned last month when Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the Court's three liberal justices in a majority to uphold the Voting Rights Act and its ban on racial gerrymanders. The case came out of Alabama and the opinion, written for the majority by Roberts, held that the state's U.S. House District maps violated the VRA by including just one Black majority District out of seven. (Black voters comprise nearly 30% of the state's population.) Roberts' SCOTUS opinion [PDF] ordered a new map in the state that "will need to include two districts in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it." On Monday, following a special session of the GOP-controlled state legislature, the newly drawn map was revealed to include...just one majority Black district. Again. Apparently, while Republicans no longer give a damn about the rule of law, they also have no problem defying the U.S. Supreme Court either.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Also: Unrelenting climate change-fueled weather pummels nation...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2023 6:17pm PT  

Welp, it was another slow news weekend [insert eyes-rolling emoji here]. But we try to come up with something to cover on today's BradCast nonetheless. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program...

  • Extreme weather and warnings of same walloping much of the nation today, as two weeks of historic triple digit temperatures in Texas spread to other states, resulting in major storms, deadly tornadoes, widespread power outages and cancelled flights from Arizona through the mid-west up into New England and down to the Carolinas and Florida. But if you hear about these seemingly ever-worsening nightmares from some major U.S. outlets --- like Fox "News" (and even ABC, etc.) --- you may hear absolutely nothing about the man-made climate change that is fueling our intensifying global crisis.
  • On Friday, Politico finally covered the story that we broke on this show six weeks ago about how Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger says he will not be installing urgently recommended security upgrades to its horribly vulnerable Dominion voting systems until after the 2024 Presidential election in the critical battleground state. We covered that news exclusively here in mid-May. Politico covered it here on Friday. And my tweet pointing both out was throttled by Twitter over the weekend so that it's nearly impossible to find without a direct link. That is here. (More, hopefully, on this issue tomorrow!)
  • Speaking of Georgia, a federal judge has ordered Rudy Giuliani to pay the legal fees for the two Atlanta election workers --- Shaye Moss and her elderly mother Ruby Freeman --- who are suing him for defamation after he (and Trump, and the rest of the MAGA crew) falsely accused them of committing fraud in the ballot tabulation room during the 2020 Presidential election.
  • Curiously enough, the far-right, wildly corrupted U.S. Supreme Court keeps making not terrible rulings at the end of this year's term. Today, a challenge to a ruling on a case out of Louisiana, where a federal court mandated an additional black majority U.S. House district, was rejected. The case will be sent back to a lower court. If the lower court rules as SCOTUS did a few weeks ago --- when they stunned the world by upholding the Voting Rights Act and requiring another black majority House district in Alabama --- today's decision could be very good news for those that care about voting rights, the Constitution, and equal representation for all.
  • Also today, SCOTUS allowed several lawsuits against Ohio State University to proceed, after it was discovered the school had, for years, protected a serial sexual abuser who served as a team doctor for years. This is probably not good news for OSU's former wrestling coach and serial denier Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
  • The lower courts are holding as well, for now. Last week, a federal judge permanently overturned Arkansas' unspeakably cruel ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender kids, and a federal judge in Florida temporarily blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis' anti-freedom crusade to ban minors from attending drag shows. Amusingly, one of the reasons the judge blocked the new law was because it was in conflict with DeSantis' so-called "Parents Bill of Rights" legislation adopted in 2021.
  • Finally today, before opening the phones to listeners, we discuss the bizarre story of whatever the hell happened over the weekend in Russia where, for about 24 hours or so, civil war nearly broke out. That, as Yevgeny Prigozhin, formerly a close ally of Vladimir Putin and commander of the mercenary Wagner Group (arguably Russia's best fighting force in Ukraine), declared Russia's justification for attacking Ukraine --- to demilitarize and de-Nazify the sovereign nation --- to be a lie. Wagner's march toward Moscow, however, ended as quickly as it began, with Putin theoretically granting Prigozhin safe harbor in Belarus, even if both his future and those of the troops in the Wagner brigade remain uncertain at this hour. We open the phones with what is left of today's show to discuss what the hell is going on and where both Russia and Putin's fortunes may be heading from here...

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Judge finds state statue would cause child plaintiffs 'irreparable harm'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/14/2023 9:57am PT  

Last week, a U.S. District Court judge in the Southern District of Florida issued an important preliminary injunction [PDF] to a cruel state measure blocking medical treatment for transgender kids.

Relying upon medical science and a U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeal decision handed-down last year, Judge Robert Hinkle temporarily enjoined provisions of a Republican-engineered state statute and rules issued by state medical boards to enforce it, which make it a crime and grounds for terminating a license to practice medicine, for physicians who furnish minors (under 18) with gender-affirming care.

In his 44-page ruling, Judge Hinkle found that the plaintiffs (adolescent transgender children and their parents) were likely to succeed in their claims that the state's new restriction on gender-affirming care violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Allowing the law to take effect, he explained, was likely to cause "irreparable harm" to the child plaintiffs...

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Guest: Alex Burness of Bolts Magazine; Also: More on need for media to call out pro-murder, anti-democracy Republicans; KY Repubs ban health care for trans kids; AR's GOP Guv further restricts absentee voting...
By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2023 5:30pm PT  

We'll just have to keep saying it on The BradCast: Republicans are pro-murder and anti-democracy. It's just that simple. And we've got too much more evidence of that today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, the fallout continues following Monday's school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, where three 9-year olds and three adults were killed by an AR-15 wielding shooter at a private Christian elementary school. The U.S. Congressman representing the district where The Covenant School is located is Republican Congressman Andy Ogles.

Last year, Ogles sent out Christmas cards featuring himself, his wife and his children in front of a Christmas tree, proudly posing with their AR-15 style assault rifles. Since the shooting in his district, he has apparently taken down his social media posting of the festive card. A reporter from Sky News confronted him this week to try and learn why he hadn't taken it down previously, after other similar massacres, and why he seems to favor guns and murder over the lives of children and their right to be safe at school.

Jon Stewart, earlier this month, also had a related conversation with a Republican state lawmaker in Oklahoma by the name of Nathan Dahm. The GOP state Senator has authored bills to loosen restrictions on firearms and apparently believes that drag shows that may be seen by children must be banned, because "the government does have a responsibility to protect" them. But, as Stewart points out, Dahm appears to have no similar concerns about protecting kids from being murdered with guns, which is now the leading cause of death for U.S. children and teens.

In a similar vein, Big Government Republicans in Kentucky's legislature today voted to override the veto of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, to enact a law that will ban health care for trans kids and mandate that doctors begin "detransitioning" children currently on puberty blockers and hormones, despite the alarming rate of suicide by such kids. The bill also bars all discussion of sexual orientation and gender identify in schools for students of any age, as the Nanny State Republican party continues to pretend they favor free speech.

Meanwhile, this is an election year in Virginia, where the entire state legislature comes up for reelection in odd-numbered years and where the commonwealth's 1902 constitutional provision created to prevent black people from voting remains in place. The measure in question allows VA's Governor to decide, on any criteria they may like, whether or not to re-enfranchise former felons.

Under processes enacted first by former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and then broadly expanded and automated by subsequent Democratic Governors Terry McCauliffe and Ralph Northam, the voting rights for hundreds of thousands of Virginians were restored. But, since taking office last year, VA's new, so-called "moderate" Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has re-enfranchised almost nobody. Moreover, his office has finally informed state lawmakers that he will be using a secret process to personally decide, on a case-by-case basis, who will and won't be allowed to vote.

We're joined today by voting rights, criminalization and justice reporter ALEX BURNESS, staff writer at the progressive Bolts Magazine. He has been reporting on Youngkin's appalling, anti-democracy policy, and how it is harming those who are simply hoping to return to civil society after imprisonment in Virginia.

"We still don't know what the criteria is going to be, but it is clarifying in the sense that the policy is 'I'm going to do whatever I want and, at least for the moment, I'm not going to tell you what that means,'" Burness tells me, adding that the commonwealth's constitution mandates the Governor "literally has the power to make up criteria, based on whether you own a dog or a cat, or anything."

Burness explains why Democrats in the state have yet to pass a constitutional amendment to change this absurd, Jim Crow relic, despite the heartbreaking stories from so many who have served their time and simply want to have their rights as citizens fully restored. "This is one of a million reasons why Virginia's upcoming elections matter. Particularly with what Youngkin has done now, there is some renewed passion by folks to settle this once and for all and not leave it up to the whims of the Governor," says Burness.

The pathetic vote suppression by Youngkin comes on the heels of Minnesota's Democratic Governor signing a law this month to re-enfranchise some 55,000 citizens of voting age who are no longer incarcerated, whether they are on parole or probation or not; New Mexico's Democratic Governor signing a similar law that will restore voting rights to about 11,000 New Mexicans; and a recently advanced measure by Democratic lawmakers in Oregon to allow voting even for those still in prison, akin to the rights afforded to the incarcerated in Maine, Vermont and Washington D.C.

Finally today, more voter suppression is enacted by Arkansas' new Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Yesterday, we detailed her newly signed law adopted by Republican state lawmakers that will make it much much harder for Democrats to place citizen initiatives on the statewide ballot. (Even though the statute appears to be a violation of the state constitution.) Today, the American Democracy Minute's Brian Beihl details three other new bills recently signed by Huckabee Sanders to make absentee voting much more difficult in the state...

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Pence ordered to testify; More white GOP voter fraud in FL; SCOTUS allows KS racial gerrymander; AR Repubs attack direct democracy; Mentally ill TN shooter legally purchased seven guns...
By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2023 5:13pm PT  

Ya know, if their ideas were popular, Republicans wouldn't have to work so hard to undermine democracy, would they? An example or three of that on today's BradCast.

Among today's many stories...

  • Cowardly Mike Pence's attempt to avoid testifying about Donald Trump's January 6th insurrection to Special Counsel Jack Smith's grand jury is denied by a federal judge.
  • Yet another white Republican in Florida is charged with election fraud. Yet again, he was not arrested at gunpoint on camera and hauled to jail like the people of color who Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered rounded up before last year's election, even though they had no idea they had voted unlawfully. The white Republican voter turned himself in to authorities at his own convenience.
  • Our corrupt, stolen and packed rightwing U.S. Supreme Court majority has declined to review a ruling by the state Supreme Court in Kansas which found that intentionally discriminating against minority voters was just fine, after state Republicans gerrymandered Kansas City by cutting it into two different Congressional districts in order to dilute the power of black voters.
  • In Arkansas, voters have repeatedly made clear through recent rejections of GOP ballot initiatives, that they really really oppose making it more difficult for citizens to put stuff on statewide ballot initiatives and see it adopted by voters. So now, Republicans in the state legislature, giving the finger to voters, have simply passed a new law to make it virtually impossible for Democrats to place measures on the statewide ballot. AR's new democracy-hating Republican Governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, happily signed the measure which, on its face, seems to blatantly violate the state's own Constitution. The League of Women Voters of Arkansas and other fans of democracy are now suing to block what the League's President accurately describes as "an attack on direct democracy."
  • The 28-year old shooter in Monday's mass shooting --- the 130th of the year so far --- reportedly purchased SEVEN weapons from five local guns shops in Nashville, Tennessee before using at least two of them to kill three 9-year olds and three adults at a private Christian elementary school. All of that while the assailant was said to have been under a doctor's care for an emotional disorder, according to the Nashville police chief. Seven guns, at least two of them semi-automatic assault weapons, and none of it triggered any red flags to authorities. Nonetheless, Republicans in Congress today, according to media reports, still lack the courage to support any new gun safety laws that might make such massacres less likely or more difficult. They are, as Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) correctly noted today, "cowards". AND PLEASE NOTE: This is not a problem with "Congress" or "lawmakers in D.C." The problem is Republicans. Period. They do not want to make it more difficult to murder people, while Democrats do. It's as simple as that. If media outlets are unable to call out Republicans, specifically, for fear of sounding "partisan", they are doing a grave disservice to their readers, viewers, listeners and country.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on the weekend's massive tornado(s) in Mississippi; more flooding in California's unending storms; ongoing deadly drought in Somalia; U.N. warning of water wars; and a new global record for clean, renewable energy production...

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Also: Trump's secret $600k study that failed to find 2020 fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2023 5:47pm PT  

In the first 43 days of 2023, there were 67 mass shootings. This is America. What, if anything, are we ever gonna do about it? Welcome to today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered today...

  • Three students were killed, five were in critical condition at Michigan State University's East Lansing campus as we went to air today, following yet another mass shooting massacre on Monday night. "Run, Hide, Fight" was the message texted to students by MSU at 8:31pm, as gun fire broke out. That might as well be the national anthem for a generation of students who grew up in the wake of the demise of the federal Assault Weapons Ban. It was allowed to expire in 2004 by George W. Bush and every terrorist-supporting Congressional Republican who, since then, has refused to renew it. They have chosen to place support for their donors in the deadly gun industry over the lives of tens of thousands of Americans killed by guns each and every year since. Horrifically, some of the students victimized by Monday's shooting at MSU had also lived through another mass shooting at their high school back in 2021.
  • The author of the now-sunsetted 1994 federal Assault Weapons Ban, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), announced today that she will not be seeking reelection next year. The news was not a surprise. Three Democratic House members --- Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee --- have already announced or made clear their intentions to run for the 89-year old Senator's seat next year. Feinstein's political career was formed, in no small part, out of gun violence after she personally attempted to save the life of Harvey Milk after the assassination of the San Francisco City Supervisor and then-Mayor George Moscone. She was elected to replace Moscone as Mayor and eventually became California's first female Senator. Today we share just one of the petty, ironic, patronizing attacks against her on the floor of the U.S. Senate in 1993 --- by a later-discredited Republican Senator --- during her successful campaign to pass the landmark gun safety legislation.
  • Former South Carolina Governor and Donald Trump's U.N. Ambassador Nikky Haley released a video on Tuesday declaring her intention to run for the 2024 Republican Presidential nomination. In it, she claims, "I don't put up with bullies". But her history as a 2016 Trump critic --- of his lying, support for the KKK and more --- before then choosing to become his U.N. Ambassador and sing his praises for years thereafter, suggests otherwise. That said, Trump, for reasons we explain today, is delighted to have her in the race.
  • A lot of horrible stuff came out of Donald Trump's endless lies about voter fraud and his evidence-free claims that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from him when, in fact, he was actually trying to steal the election from Joe Biden and the American people. There was his deadly 1/6/21 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, followed by a host of newly restrictive voting laws adopted by Republican-controlled states, using his false claims of fraud as cover for new means of voter suppression. But, in a (very) few cases, some GOPers have figured out that the computer voting systems and tabulators their party has supported for years, actually make it more difficult, if not impossible, for Americans to oversee the results of their own elections. Last month, a court in rural Cleburne County, Arkansas mandated a change from computer tabulated elections to hand-marked and hand-counted paper ballots. The group who pushed the measure hopes to do the same in the state's 74 other counties. At the same time, the County Clerk in Nye County, Nevada --- which moved last year to a hand-count protocol as a parallel tally to its computer tabulation --- says that the hand-counts by some 200 volunteers in the rural county were ultimately more accurate than the computer tallies. (Just as we've been trying to tell ya for about 20 years now.)
  • Also, some important news was broken by the Washington Post over the weekend. But it was largely buried by the media's over-inflated panic about "balloons". As it turns out, Donald Trump's campaign paid some $600,000 to a research group in late 2020 for a study on that year's election results. Specifically, the firm was tasked to ferret out any possible evidence of fraud in six key swing-states that might have swung the election from Trump to Biden. As one of those familiar with the study explained to WaPo: "They looked at everything: change of addresses, illegal immigrants, ballot harvesting, people voting twice, machines being tampered with, ballots that were sent to vacant addresses that were returned and voted. Literally anything you could think of. Voter turnout anomalies, date of birth anomalies, whether dead people voted. If there was anything under the sun that could be thought of, they looked at it." But the results of the study were never released. Why? Because the well-paid researchers were unable to find any evidence that the election was stolen, fraudulent or even in error in anyway. The results were given to Trump, however, in December of 2020. Nonetheless, days later, on January 6, 2021, he continued his lies anyway, leading directly to the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, for which he has yet to be held to account in any way.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with the wildly under-reported news of the chemical train derailment, fire and controlled release of toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio last week; After ExxonMobil declared record profits last year, they have signaled their intent this year to do away with their algae biofuel research scam they've been green-washing their company with for years now; And some seemingly good news for EVs following Sunday's Super Bowl...

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Guest: ACLU attorney Jonathan Topaz; Also: IA, NY GOPers charged with mass vote fraud; OH Guv signs bill restricting voting rights...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2023 6:17pm PT  

What a way to "celebrate" Martin Luther King Day this year on The BradCast. Fifty-eight years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act and 10 years since the rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court gutted one of its central provisions, our even farther rightwing courts now appear to be gunning for much of the rest of the landmark civil rights voting law. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up today, while GOP-appointed federal judges are finding new ways to allow racial discrimination at the voting booth, Republicans --- including a top election official in upstate New York, and the wife of a U.S. House candidate in Iowa --- are nabbed by the Justice Department for committing mass vote fraud with absentee ballots.

The DoJ announcements in those cases come after a year in which Republicans filed a record number of anti-voting lawsuits --- in hopes of preventing (certain) voters from voting and/or having their votes counted as cast --- under the pretend guise of fighting fraud. They also come just days after Ohio's supposedly "moderate" GOP Governor signed new legislation to make it more difficult for (certain) voters to vote at all in upcoming elections.

Voting rights advocates in the Buckeye State charge the new measure will create barriers to the ballot for the elderly, rural voters and members of the military. But if it makes it more difficult for minority voters to vote, it may soon be impossible for groups like the League of Women Voters or the NAACP or the ACLU to file lawsuits charging violations of anti-discrimination laws under the Voting Rights Act.

When SCOTUS gutted Section 5 of the VRA in 2013 --- the part that required new election laws in jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination at the polling place to be precleared by federal authorities before they could go into effect --- the rightwing majority on the High Court claimed the provision was antiquated and no longer necessary. Besides, even though thousands of discriminatory laws had been blocked by Section 5 since 1965, there was always Section 2, which blocks racially discriminatory voting laws in all 50 states.

After all, as an ACLU attorney was forced to point out during a federal appeals court hearing this week: “For over 40 years, dozens of federal courts have heard hundreds of Section 2 claims brought by federal plaintiffs.”

Unfortunately, that lawyer was defending the use of Section 2 before a three-judge panel, where she had to add that, “In that time, not one court denied the plaintiffs their day in court because of a lack of private action.”

The hearing in question came this week after a lower, federal district Court judge in Arkansas tossed out a challenge to a new state House district map implemented by state Republicans. The map includes 11 black majority districts, when the population of the state suggests there should be 16 such districts.

But Judge Lee Rudofsky, a Donald Trump appointee, dismissed the challenge to the new map, declaring that Section 2 of the VRA does not allow private individuals and groups, like the ACLU or NAACP, to file suit against such laws. Only the U.S. Attorney General may do so, he held.

As our guest explains today, Rudofsky's court "the first court in the history of the country to find that there is no private right of action" in Section 2. For a host of reasons, it's an absurd argument. And yet, this week at the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, according to CNN, two of the three judges on the appeals panel (all of them are Republican appointees) appeared open to the idea that there is no right to private action under Section 2, because the federal statute doesn't specifically say as much. Never mind that private parties have been suing for decades under Section 2, including at the U.S. Supreme Court, where the Justices never said a word against it.

We're joined to explain this newly-attempted GOP voter suppression nightmare by JONATHAN TOPAZ, the ACLU Voting Rights Project staff attorney who served as the trial attorney on the initial case that was tossed by Judge Rudofsky last year.

"I think it's hard for most people to fathom that this is a question that needs to be litigated in 2023," Topaz tells me. "There have been hundreds of cases over the course of Section 2's history litigated by private plaintiffs, and many of those cases --- at least 10 at the Supreme Court, and at least 18 in the 8th Circuit where we were arguing earlier this week --- were brought by private plaintiffs."

"Congress had opportunities --- in 1982 when they amended the Voting Rights Act, as recently as 2006 when they reauthorized the Voting Rights Act --- to correct any mistakes it saw out there as private plaintiffs brought cases across the country, which would have been purportedly in open defiance of what Congress had intended, and Congress never saw fit to correct anyone," he explains.

Topaz goes on to cite a case as recently as 1996 when "five justices of the Supreme Court --- so, a majority --- held that there was a private right of action under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act." Of course, our newly corrupted, stolen, and extremist rightwing majority on the High Court has had no trouble of late reversing its own precedents whenever they feel like it. So this case, which will almost certainly end up at SCOTUS no matter what happens at the 8th Circuit, could tee up a potentially near-fatal blow to the already teetering VRA.

"Section 2 is one of the crown jewels of American legislative history," Topaz argues today. "It's one of the finest statutes ever passed. Section 2 is absolutely essential in terms of ensuring equal voting access around the country. And we will do everything we can do defend it."

In the meantime, as he observes, this particular fight has prevented the courts from deciding on the merits of the original case, which means that --- even if it's ultimately settled at SCOTUS in favor of the ACLU --- "there will have been several elections taking place with discriminatory maps in Arkansas."

In 1957, in his "Give us the Ballot" speech eight years before passage of the VRA, MLK reportedly said: "So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind --- it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact --- I can only submit to the edict of others."

Happy Martin Luther King Day. It's on Monday.

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Also: The corruption of Zinke in MT; The ridiculousness of Walker in GA; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2022 6:44pm PT  

Until (and unless) Democrats can pick up at least two seats in the U.S. Senate this November in order to reform the filibuster --- while retaining their majority in the U.S. House and control of the White House --- the fight for personal freedoms, such as reproductive rights and voting rights, is going to remain a grueling, state-by-state slog. That's where we are right now. But we can change that this November if we ALL turn out and fight like hell to cast our vote. In the meantime, on today's BradCast, we've got some good news in at least some of those state-by-state battles.

Among the many stories covered today...

  • New evidence of the unapologetic corruption of Donald Trump's disgraced former Interior Dept. Secretary Ryan Zinke, who, incredibly enough, is currently the front-runner to win a new U.S. House seat in Montana. Voters in Montana would be wise to reconsider that idea.
  • New evidence of the unspeakable ignorance of former NFL great Herschel Walker, who is now the embarrassing Trump-backed nominee for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, where he is running against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Despite lying about his past, and offering inane, barely comprehensible comments on the campaign trail, not to mention his latest ridiculous response to the Democrats' landmark new climate bill, investing $370 billion to take on our climate crisis, Walker remains very much in the running to unseat Warnock. Voters in Georgia would be wise to reconsider that idea.
  • Newly triggered abortion bans went into effect in three more states on Thursday, in Idaho, Tennessee and Texas. That brings the number of states where reproductive rights and personal freedoms are now completely banned or severely restricted to 14. Many of those states do not allow exceptions for rape, incest or even the life or health of the mother. As the President of the Center for Reproductive Rights told HuffPost, "Vast swaths of the nation, especially in the South and Midwest, are now abortion deserts that, for many, will be impossible to escape." There was a small bit of good news on this front on Wednesday in federal court, however, regarding Idaho's draconian restrictions, as challenged by the Biden Administration's Dept. of Justice. Voters in all of these states are going to need to show up in unprecedented numbers to make their voices heard in November.
  • There was also some good news on this front following this week's elections in New York and Florida, even beyond the political earthquake of Democratic candidate Pat Ryan's win in a special election for the U.S. House in a NY swing-district that would almost certainly have been won by the Republican candidate prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's corrupt GOP majority overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this summer. In FL, the sole Democrat in the state House to vote in favor of new restrictions on abortion and in favor of the Republicans' "Don't Say Gay" law was booted from his job on Tuesday. Also, a judge in FL's Hillsborough County, who made himself infamous earlier this year by denying an abortion to a 17-year old girl because he didn't think her grades were high enough, was also tossed out of his job. Good work, Florida voters! More like that on November 8, please!
  • And then there's the state-by-state fight for voting rights. Here, we've got several encouraging pieces of news from the court in recent days. Earlier this month, a federal court in Texas rejected a state voter suppression law that would leave those who do not live permanently in the state (for example, those who may attend school there) from being able to register to vote in either that state or their own home state! "The part-time and off-campus college students are undeniably disenfranchised because they are unable to register to vote both where they have moved and where they have moved from," the U.S. District Court Judge wrote when issuing his summary judgment [PDF] in favor of plaintiffs. "The court is likewise unable to discern where college students should register as the Temporary-Relocation Provision [of Senate Bill 1111] is written. And the possible repercussions are not just complete disenfranchisement, but also criminal liability. The Temporary-Relocation Provision does not overcome any degree of constitutional scrutiny," he found in tossing out the provision. Naturally, the state's criminally-indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton is appealing the matter to the rightwing 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Late last week, there was good news for voters in North Carolina, as the state's Supreme Court determined that two state Constitutional Amendments --- one to impose Photo ID restrictions on voters, the other to lower taxes --- were unlawfully adopted by a racially gerrymandered state legislature. Some 28 seats in the GOP-majority General Assembly were found by a federal court to have been unlawful racial gerrymanders. But, after that finding and before a new election to correct the gerrymanders, the state Assembly rushed a vote to put the Amendments onto the state ballot. Without the illegal gerrymanders, they likely wouldn't have had enough votes to do so. NC's high court last week ruled, as WRAL summarized, "lawmakers who won their seats through unconstitutional racial gerrymandering cannot then submit constitutional amendments that would permanently disadvantage the same groups discriminated against in the racial gerrymandering process." The state's Republican House Speaker vows to appeal to SCOTUS.
  • And, also late last week, a federal judge determined that Arkansas violated the Voting Rights Act by restricting the number of people who could receive assistance in voting --- such as help in translating an English language ballot --- by any one person. The state law said no single person could help more than six voters. The court found that to be arbitrary and in violation of federal law. "Arkansas has determined that voters should only get the assistor of their choice up to a point," the Judge wrote in his ruling, "but there is no evidence Congress contemplated this numerical restriction on the right.” A similar suit has been filed in Missouri, where state Republicans have limited the number of voters who may be helped by any one person to...one!
  • Finally, before we get to today's Green News Report with Desi Doyen --- in which compelling reason is offered to Virginia voters to vote out their GOP climate change denying Congressman Bob Good --- some breaking news out of California, where regulators have finalized a requirement that will allow only new, zero-emissions vehicles (for example, all-electric vehicles) to be sold in the Golden State as of 2035. Desi explains why that's very good news for both the state and the world. Then, she closes out today's program with our latest GNR, including disturbing news on the worst draught in Europe in at least 500 years; the surprising popularity of climate action among Americans; troubling news about fracking and children's health; and oil giant Saudi Arabia's plan to break into the emerging EV market...

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How the Uvalde school shooting came to happen, who must be held accountable, and what must come next; Also: Noteworthy results from Tuesday's midterm primaries in AL, AR, GA and TX...
By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2022 5:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: While seemingly separate issues, the school shooting in Texas on Tuesday and the same day's midterm primary elections aren't separate issues in the least. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Tuesday, at least 19 fourth graders and two teachers were murdered at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. As in Buffalo, New York just over a week ago, the shooter in TX was 18-years old, armed to the teeth with sophisticated semi-automatic weaponry, wearing body armor and able to easily overcome "a good guy with a gun." In Buffalo, the "good guy" was an ex-cop turned grocery store security guard who was killed trying to stop the gunman. In Uvalde it was a school security guard and two local cops --- three law enforcement officials in all --- who were unable to prevent the gunman from battling his way into the school to use the two AR-15 style assault rifles and nearly 400 rounds of ammo that he'd just purchased immediately upon turning 18 this month. All of that, thanks to the Republicans in Texas, from the Governor to the state Legislature to the Attorney General to the state's voters, who made it all not just possible, but easy.

While so much of this has become normalized, none of it actually is. We cover a lot of territory on all of this today, from the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that worked well from 1994 to 2004, before Republicans, by then fully captured by the gun lobby, allowed it to end; to President Biden's emotional and at times angry remarks in response; to the horrific increase in recent years in crimes carried out with these types of weapons; to the pathetic statements from Texas' chief law enforcement official Attorney General Ken Paxton and its Governor Greg Abbott who both worked hard to make all of this carnage not just possible but much more likely; to responses from Abbott's Democratic opponent this November, Beto O'Rourke and even the Golden State Warriors head coach Bill Kerr; to a sobering reminder from Richard Nixon's conservative Republican U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger in 1991, when he made it clear that 2nd Amendment has been the subject of "one of the greatest frauds every committed on the American people."

While the demons at the NRA and in the Republican party and on the GOP's stolen and packed Supreme Court all share in the blame, so do we the people for continuing to elect the (mostly) Republican lawmakers who have helped to ensure these unspeakable tragedies will continue by refusing, for decades now, to take any legislative action at all to prevent them.

The ballot box is now our only way out.

To that end today, we also cover noteworthy results from Tuesday's critical primary elections in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and, yes, the very bloody state of Texas...

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Also: We finally got boosted!; And, another deadly climate change fueled disaster devastates Midwest...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2021 6:26pm PT  

We've got a lot to catch up with on today's BradCast, after a weekend lost to recovery from our Moderna booster shots. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, we discuss how things went following Friday boosters for both Desi and myself. For me, as after the second shot, not so good (though much better than actual COVID!) For Desi...it was pretty much business as usual beyond a bit of fatigue. Either way: Go get your shots! Also, just before air, California announced they are re-instituting a statewide mask mandate for indoor, public spaces amid another surge in COVID cases.

Next, 74 people are now confirmed dead in Kentucky alone, and more than a dozen were killed in four other Midwestern states on Friday night after a swarm of very late season tornadoes devastated an eight-state area, as unusually warm December air met with a cold front. Predictably, a climate change-fueled disaster ensued as the states, particularly Kentucky, now wrestle with mass power and water outages amid freezing temperatures for tens of thousands of residents while trying to sift through rubble and continue recovery efforts. Desi details the extreme weather's known connections to climate change and how (and if) corporate media are bothering to cite the causes for yet another deadly, intense, out-of-season extreme weather event.

Then, also breaking over the weekend, the release of a PowerPoint document called "Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for JAN 6". It was obtained by the U.S. House Select Committee investigating January 6, from Donald Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The document was turned over to the Committee as part of a tranche of email and text message documents from Meadows before he decided he would stop cooperating with them. He will now almost certainly face federal criminal contempt charges, just as Trump's former aide Steve Bannon is now facing for also failing to answer lawful subpoenas from Congress.

This latest "smoking gun" document --- a 38-page version of which was circulated after the election last year, and a very similar 36-page version dated on Jan. 5 --- further cements the details behind the broad criminal conspiracy to steal the 2020 election from Joe Biden and the American people by Donald Trump and his minions. In this case, those cronies include the bulk of his Campaign staff and attorneys, much of his White House staff, members of the Dept. of Justice and a whole bunch of elected officials both in Congress and in the states.

We walk through a number of the evidence-free assertions made in the PowerPoint presentation which, according to Meadows, was to be shared with people "on the Hill" on January 5. Among those assertions, that China and Venezuela had "systematically gained control over our election system constituting a national security emergency," after "electronic voting machines were compromised."

Of course, there is zero evidence included in the document for those extraordinary claims. And those referencing Venezuela are known to be nonsense, since they are directly based on my own exclusive reporting at The BRAD BLOG from 2008 to 2010, which Team Trump subsequently lifted, twisted, mangled and bastardized to somehow support their false, easily-disproven and evidence-free narrative.

As to the "national security emergency" cited by the document, Trump was encouraged to declare one in order to then order ballots collected by the National Guard and U.S. Marshalls in all 50 states, to be counted by them once "invalid" and "fraudulent" ballots were somehow removed. Those same National Guard members, Meadows' documents also assert, according to the House Committee, were also to be tasked to "protect pro Trump people" on January 6 during the attack on the U.S. Capitol after Pence refused to go along with the plan to declare the Electoral College votes invalid. The last effort by Team Trump to steal the election was, as we all know, to hurl thousands of his gullible supporters at the Capitol itself in hopes of preventing the Constitutional certification of Joe Biden's legitimate election victory. The subsequent deadly attack was exactly what Bannon blatantly teased on his "War Room" podcast on January 5th. They were all in on it, including a bunch of members of Congress, as the Jan 6 Committee has recently been suggesting.

We explain much more detail on what is revealed by the ridiculous claims in the PowerPoint presentation on today's program, and how the guy --- retired U.S. Army Colonel Philip Waldron --- who reportedly circulated it among the dupes on the Right, actually met with Meadows at the White House as many as 10 times in the run-up to January 6th.

But the main point is this: Donald Trump and his minions employed a coordinated attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election. It was not haphazard and it was not just low level operatives. And it was not, as media and many Dems still mis-describe it, an attempt to overturn or reverse or question or subvert the results. It was not an attempt to ferret out "voter fraud" or "election fraud". Donald Trump tried to STEAL the 2020 election and this was the "Rosetta Stone" road map for it. It would help the nation understand how close we came to losing what is left of our democracy entirely if it was described in those simple, basic and absolutely accurate terms.

What do about it? That will, no doubt, be the subject of future programs. But, at least today, hopefully, you will understand what happened and what didn't --- along with what they tried to do, and what they failed to do --- so we can all take action to make sure, somehow, something like this can never happen again...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: $1T bipartisan infrastructure bill clears Senate; Dominion sues more wingnuts; MyPillow Guy's CNN nightmare...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2021 6:24pm PT  

As Desi notes on today's BradCast, the underlying theme to our boatload of stories is that "elections matter". Then again, that seems to pretty much be our underlying theme every day on this program. Glad she's finally noticed! [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

Among the too-many stories covered on today's show...

  • Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally resigns amid his sexual harassment scandal. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will become New York's next Governor and the first woman to serve in that role;
  • $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill finally clears the U.S. Senate with a 69 to 30 vote (including 19 Repubs voting in favor with all of the Dems.) It's a big early victory for President Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda and a feather in his cap. But there's a long way to go still, including an eventual vote in the House and, most importantly since everything hinges on it, agreement among Dems on the much larger $3.5 trillion, Dems-only reconciliation package paired to go with it. But, for now, so far so good;
  • Pandemic horrors continue to worsen in the U.S., despite easy availability of free, safe and effective vaccines to prevent it. The most devastated states are run mostly or completely by Republicans. Arkansas had just 8 ICU beds available in the entire state as of Monday, according to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, after throwing away 80,000 unused vaccine doses last week. Mississippi had 0 ICU beds open and more than 200 patients waiting in ERs for a room, with all numbers heading straight up. Louisiana hospitals have returned to the bad old pre-vaccine days, but Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is "praying and fasting", so that should help. Florida is smashing their pandemic records with hospitalizations at an all-time peak and young, healthy and unvaccinated residents now dying (many from the same church over the past two weeks.) At the same time, Texas is halting elective medical procedures and begging out-of-state health care workers to come to the state. But the Republican Governors in both TX and FL are banning school districts from requiring masks for staff and children (who, under 12, cannot be vaccinated!) in the new school year. Two of the largest districts in Texas are, thankfully, defying Gov. Greg Abbott's authoritarian order. Several districts in Florida are doing the same in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is now threatening to withhold salaries of Superintendents and School Board Members who ignore his tyrannical and deadly edicts;
  • In Wisconsin, where a Democratic Governor presides along side a gerrymandered GOP-controlled state legislature, Gov. Tony Evers vetoed several Republican absentee ballot voter suppression laws today, which would have affected disabled and elderly voters in particular, and challenged the state Assembly's schemes to carry out an Arizona-style post-election "audit";
  • Speaking of 2020 denialism, Dominion Voting Systems filed three more defamation lawsuits today, seeking $1.6 billion in damages each, against wingnut news outlets Newsmax and One America News Network (OANN), as well as Trump MAGA billionaire Patrick Byrne, the former Overstock CEO and a major financier of the AZ Audit and huckster of 2020 denialism and fetishist merchandise and media. Today's new legal complaints, filed in federal court, are in addition to previous similar ones filed against Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, as well as MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and Fox "News". (Ever wonder why these "news" organizations are being sued by voting machines companies, but we haven't been, despite our nearly-20 years of critical reporting on them? There's a reason for that, as we also discuss today.);
  • And, speaking of the MyPillow Guy, CNN's Drew Griffin took apart his "Absolute Proof" of election fraud in an investigative report late last week. Even as Griffin made a few errors himself, suffice to say it didn't go well for MyPillow Guy, who is also reportedly having a tough time today kicking off his three-day "Cyber Symposium" in South Dakota, after which he has promised his "absolute proof" will result in a 9 to 0 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate Donald Trump before the month is out! Sounds plausible;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the U.N. declares "code red for humanity" in its latest assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), while apocalyptic wildfires and drought play out around the world at the very same time from Northern California to Greece. What an elaborate "hoax"!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: The Nation's John Nichols on all of that, plus infrastructure; Also: We found a Republican Governor who seems to regret killing people!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2021 6:09pm PT  

Oddly enough, covering good old fashion primary special election results for the U.S. House feels like a palate cleanser today on The BradCast, with all of the other ongoing nightmares around us. Even a scrappy one between Democrats in Ohio. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

Two vacant U.S. House seats are up for grabs in the Buckeye State. One in a very "red" district (the 15th), vacated by GOP Rep. Steve Stiver for a gig at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. It will almost certainly stay in Republican hands this November. The other, in the very "blue" 11th Congressional District, comprised of Cleveland and Akron, was vacated by Rep. Marcia Fudge, who became Joe Biden's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. That one will almost certainly stay in Democratic control this Fall. So, all the action in both races was to win their respective party's nomination on Tuesday.

In the 15th, the Donald Trump-endorsed coal lobbyist Mike Carey, who vows to vote like Ohio's Rep. Jim Jordan, easily topped an 11-candidate field to keep "draining the swamp" in D.C., by filling it up with Republican lobbyists in elected positions. And in the 11th, Cuyahoga County Council member Shontel Brown appears victorious over former Ohio legislator turned Bernie Sanders' backer Nina Turner, in a race that seemed to be Turner's to lose until things got very ugly in the final weeks.

Brown, the centrist, was supported nationally by Hillary Clinton, SC's kingmaker Rep. James Clyburn, and, in the final weeks, both the Israel lobby and the Congressional Black Caucus, which usually doesn't become involved in primary races, particularly between two African-American candidates. Both groups dumped millions into the race on behalf of Brown in the weeks before Election Day. Turner, for her part, was supported nationally by Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other well-known progressives, including many in the CBC. But, according to Turner in her concession speech Tuesday night, it was "evil money" from outside groups that turned the tide against her. To be fair, Turner's own words and actions were turned against her in TV ads, highlighting some pretty ugly attacks she had made against the Democratic Party and even its standard bearer Joe Biden during the 2020 primaries. Nonetheless, it does appear to have been establishment money that ultimately tipped the scales against Turner.

We're joined today once again by longtime progressive champion and journalist JOHN NICHOLS, Washington Correspondent at The Nation, to break down what the results on Tuesday night mean --- or don't --- for Democrats and the feisty progressive movement hoping to challenge the Party establishment.

Nichols sees the local party machine as having made the ultimate difference for Brown, who chaired the Cuyahoga County Dems. He says the local party has "real strength," adding: "I do think that there was a tremendous amount of pressure brought on that race that focused a lot of attention on things that Nina Turner had said in the past about Joe Biden, about some other Democrats, and she was portrayed as being somebody who wouldn't be loyal enough to the Democratic Party or to Democratic organization."

But "there are always battles for the soul of political parties," he observers. "This goes back 75-80 years, this battle between progressives and centrists, between those who want the party to be transformational, and those who want it to be managerial.  Similarly, there have been such battles in the Republican Party over the years, going back definitely to the days of Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, a fight between the further right and moderates."

"What I'm telling you is, this is politics," he says.

We also discuss the big money in the 11th District race and the pathetically low voter turnout --- less than 17%, which both media and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections described as "higher than expected"(!) --- as factors in Tuesday's primary and what all of it means, if anything, for the Party moving forward.

Also today, in a second segment with Nichols, we discuss the "Death Cult" that is now the GOP, as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis --- even as his state is https://www.reuters.com/...rnor-2021-08-02/smashing all-time pandemic records for both infections and hospitalizations --- actually issued an Executive Order just last week barring schools from requiring face coverings as the school year begins in a matter of weeks. That, even while GOP denialism and the Delta variant of the coronavirus have helped the Sunshine State to lead the nation right now in per capita COVID infections.

As Nichols reports at The Nation this week, DeSantis is hardly the only one in his party putting constituents at risk with mad, anti-science positioning in hopes of becoming the next Donald Trump, or even his 2024 running-mate. But, Nichols explains, while "DeSantis has fully taken in this authoritarian rightwing approach," there are signs that his "really destructive approach" to governing may be backfiring as he faces re-election in 2022. He cites new statewide polling showing that potential Democratic opponents to the Governor "are suddenly either ahead of him or essentially tied with him." Apparently independent voters in the state aren't all that keen on "death by DeSantis".

We also discuss the potentially "transformational" infrastructure, jobs and health care package that Biden and the Democrats are --- against all odds --- still on track to pass this year via a $1 trillion bipartisan bill and a $3.5 trillion Democratic-only bill paired with it, that both establishment and progressive Dems hope to hammer out and push through with a simple majority vote. Does Nichols believe this remarkable achievement will be possible in the end? Tune in to find out.

Finally, while many elected Republicans are falling over themselves to kill their own constituents as quickly as possible by pushing against mask and vaccine mandates and science itself, one Republican Governor --- who had played along for a while, earlier this year --- now has regrets...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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