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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, April 18, 2024
Bad Climate News for Home, Car Owners; Good Labor News for Workers in the South: 'BradCast' 4/18/24
Also: Jury seated in NY; NV okays abortion initiative; OH Repubs block Biden from ballot...
'Green News Report' 4/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deluge in Dubai; Climate impacts to cost trillions per year; New lightbulb efficiency standards; PLUS: Biden Admin cracks down on toxic silica dust to protect workers' lungs...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/24 - 4/11/24 - Archives...
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Previous GNRs: 4/11/24 - 4/9/24 - Archives...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 4/9/24 - 4/4/24 - Archives...
'Pink Slime': Fake 'Local News' Sites Proliferating in Advance of Election: 'BradCast' 4/10/24
Guest: Alex Mahadevan; Also: Trump CFO back to jail; GOP chaos, panic after AZ's 1864 abortion ban restored...
Dirty Tricks and the Dirtiest Candidate Of All Time: 'BradCast' 4/9/24
A CA three-way!; Polls shift toward Biden; RW scam artists pay the price; Trump rejected again in NY criminal case, facing trouble for phony $175M bond in NY civil case...
'Green News Report' 4/9/24
Big hurricane season coming; Colorado River used mostly for cattle; Good news for CA snowpack, for now; PLUS: Disney's Tomorrowland says goodbye to Yesterdayville...
'Titanic Law' Reform Just Tip of Iceberg in Quest for Key Bridge Accountability: 'BradCast' 4/8/24
Guest: Helen Santoro; Also: Media echo Trump abortion lies; Biden's new debt relief for 30M...
Sunday 'Dark Days Indeed' Toons
FEATURING: The Eclipse! Disinformation! 'Victimless' Crimes! And much more in our latest collection of the week's darkest toons...
Trump's Very Bad Day in Court(s), Other Good (& Less Good) News: 'BradCast' 4/4
No Labels out; Soft sentence for vote fraudster; WI reconsiders drop-boxes; NE nixes Elctrl College change; Biden v. Israel; Sanders, Biden tout drug price success...
'Green News Report' 4/4/24
Hunger crisis amid drought in Africa; Biden invests billions to decarbonize manufacturing; Melting ice is bending time; America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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'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...


Explaining the bumpy and uncertain legal path toward protecting --- or ending --- a critical reproductive freedom in all 50 states
UPDATED 4/8/23: Conflicting preliminary injunctions issued by federal courts in WA & TX; 4/11/23 FDA seeks emergency appellate stay of TX case ruling...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/20/2023 9:35am PT  

The nationwide right to terminate a pregnancy with medication is now at stake in three pending federal lawsuits. One, in Texas, has been filed by abortion opponents. Another has been filed in West Virginia by a manufacturer of one of the drugs used to terminate a pregnancy, after state lawmakers have attempted to ban its use in the state. The third is a complaint from a physician in North Carolina where her ability to prescribe the drug may now be in peril.

The outcome of these three cases may ultimately succeed in protecting nationwide access to abortion rights even in states where Republican lawmakers have attempted to ban all such freedoms.

That said, while unlikely, it's also possible that one of these three cases could result in the elimination of the right to medical abortion in all 50 states...

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Guest: Kevin Drum of Jabberwocking; Also: Prepare yourself for the GOP's crash and burn Congressional 'investigations'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2023 6:04pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: The so-called investigations of the Biden Administration by GOP-led Congressional committees are virtually guaranteed to crash and burn for Republicans in the months ahead. But whether they crash and burn the national and global economies in the meantime remains a very real question. It's one about which our guest today has a few very interesting suggestions for Democrats. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, however, we pick up a bit on yesterday's coverage helping to gird you for the circus of insanity now barreling toward all of us with the GOP's takeover of the U.S. House. Yesterday, we detailed NBC's Chuck Todd (of all people!) calling out the lies of Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan --- the new Chair of both the House Judiciary Committee and the GOP's newly formed Select Subcommittee on "The Weaponization of the Federal Government" --- regarding Jordan's false equivalency between the handful of classified documents discovered and promptly returned by President Biden's aides, and Donald Trump's more than a year-and-a-half long effort to retain hundreds of classified documents he stole from the White House and refused to return.

In a similar vein today, the new Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Kentucky Rep. James Comer, made a yutz of himself on CNN over the weekend, trying to explain why President Joe Biden and his family must be investigated for "influence peddling," despite the lack of evidence to support the charge. That while, he insisted, there is absolutely nothing to look into regarding the mountain of actual known evidence suggesting influence peddling by Donald Trump and his family.

For good measure, we also help Marjorie Taylor Greene embarrass herself today by simply playing some of her very serious questions to the U.S. Comptroller --- about Drag Queen Story Hour and an elementary school she claimed received $5.1 billion in "COVID Cash" to teach Critical Race Theory --- at a House hearing today.

As to real damage that Republicans are capable of causing, the Treasury Department is currently taking "extraordinary measures" to avoid defaulting on our national debt for the first time in U.S. history as House Republicans figure out how to best hold the nation's (and world's) economy hostage to demands of cuts to federal spending before they are willing to raise the statutory debt limit. Unless they do so very soon, giving authority to the U.S. Treasury to borrow the money needed to pay for stuff that Congress and Presidents of both parties long ago authorized and/or purchased, the global economy could come crashing down on everyone. The White House refuses to negotiate on whether our bills must be paid. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, on behalf of his far-right caucus, is holding out for...something...though he has yet to make clear precisely what they want.

We're joined today by KEVIN DRUM, longtime blogger formerly of Washington Monthly and Mother Jones, now back on the indie blogging beat at his site, Jabberwocking, for insight on this dangerous mess.

In addition to thoughts on how he sees all of this ultimately shaking out; whether Republicans will really pull the trigger on the hostage this time; how it played out the last time they tried the same gambit when they had control of Congress while a Democrat occupied the White House in 2011; and the history of why the U.S. stands nearly alone among developed democracies in even having such a dumb statutory limit on paying our bills, Drum recently wrote about a couple of ways that Dems may consider moving forward without a vote from Republicans at all.

One idea long discussed by many on the Internet is that the President has the authority to simply order the minting of a $1 trillion platinum coin. Drum explains that well-worn --- if never invoked --- theory, what makes it lawful, and if it would actually work to allow our bills to continue to be paid without Congress voting to raise the debt ceiling.

Another idea he prefers, however, involves calling the GOP's bluff by citing Section 4 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which plainly states "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law ... shall not be questioned" and telling Republicans to "pound sand." Just continue writing checks as usual and let Republicans go to court to get a ruling that the U.S. Government must immediately stop sending Social Security checks to grandma, stop issuing food stamps to hungry families, stop paying for medical care for the poor and elderly, stop all military spending, and stop all interest payments on U.S. treasury bonds, etc.

"If this goes to court for one reason or another, that's actually pretty useful," Drum argues. "It makes Republicans really take a stand. It makes it clear that Republicans are the ones who are trying to cut off food stamps or Social Security or whatever it is."

But, while Drum explains why he believes it's a "low-risk" option, it could still be a dangerous one nonetheless. A favorable decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in days of yore might have been a no-brainer. But, with an entirely corrupted, far-right extremist super-majority now at SCOTUS, it's anyone's guess as to whether they would vote to uphold the clear text of the Constitution or not.

There's a lot to discuss with Drum today! I hope you'll tune in!...

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But DeSantis' totalitarian new law has even darker echoes...
UPDATE 3/16/23: 11th Circuit panel unanimously denied FL request to stay the preliminary injunction...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/1/2023 9:56am PT  

Late last year, by of way a blistering 139-page order [PDF], Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mark E. Walker agreed that a provision of Florida's totalitarian "Stop W.O.K.E. Act" pertaining to university professors and students should be blocked.

The acronym in the title of the bill --- also referred to, without apparent irony, as the Individual Freedom Act (IFA) --- stands for "Wrong to our Kids and Employees". But, turning to Judge Walker's decision in Pernell v. Fl. Bd. of Governors, it may be useful to understand the intended usage of the word "woke" in Act's title. As defined by Merriam-Webster, it means to be "aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)."

In pressing for passage and in signing this Act, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a current front-runner for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination, vowed "to fight the woke" in our schools, businesses and government agencies. He and other Republican thought police have perniciously conflated the mere mention of historical truths about societal facts and issues relating to race or social justice with "indoctrination".

Last year, Judge Walker's order in response to the Stop W.O.K.E., aka Individual Freedom Act (IFA), hauntingly cited George Orwell's 1984...

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Nothing less than a criminal prosecution will end it. (Maybe.)
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/23/2023 10:47am PT  

"Everything Donald does is transactional," Mary Trump, a licensed psychologist and niece of the disgraced former President has explained.

A scathing federal court decision late last week, awarding nearly one million dollars in sanctions against Don the Con and his attorney in response to just one of his many recent frivolous lawsuits against perceived political enemies, underscores Mary's point. It also details how, since leaving office, 2020's biggest loser has engaged in and continues to engage in a litigation grift.

The withering 46-page order [PDF] handed down last Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks in Donald J. Trump v. Hillary Clinton, et al. does more than explain why the veteran federal jurist awarded an eye-popping $937,989 in attorney's fee sanctions against the former President and his New Jersey lawyer, Alina Habba. The erudite legal ruling also contained an in-depth discussion of more than a half-dozen other deceptive and frivolous lawsuits that this "predator" and "successful sociopath" filed against those he has long hoped to paint as enemies since leaving office.

In an attempt at reversing his more than 7 million vote loss at the polls, Trump and his allies filed and lost 61 out of 62 post-election lawsuits. The cases were so devoid of merit, so replete with deceptive allegations, that many of the former President's attorneys were later confronted with ethics complaints and sanctions ranging from fines, to censure and even disbarment.

In the aftermath of that debacle, a normal, non-sociopathic person would have slunk off towards oblivion, tail between his/her legs. Not The Donald.

From a "transactional" perspective, those 61 "losing" cases were a smashing success. They provided the failed President an opportunity to rake-in $250 million from his gullible "base".

But, along with imposing nearly $1 million in attorney's fees sanctions --- including almost $172,000 that Trump will now have to pay out to perhaps his greatest perceived personal nemesis, Hillary Clinton --- Judge Middlebrooks expressed the need to remediate the harm caused to the 31 named Defendants, whom he regarded as the victims of an "abusive" and "completely frivolous" complaint. His Honor eviscerated Trump's lawsuit as one "that should never have been filed"; a lawsuit that was drafted only "to advance a political narrative; not to address legal harm caused by any Defendant." The veteran and very able jurist also expressed a hope that the eye-popping amount of court sanctions might act as a deterrent.

Nonetheless, as long as Trump's litigation fundraising continues to rake-in enormous sums, it's unlikely that anything short of criminal prosecution for some of his many alleged crimes will ultimately accomplish that worthy goal. Maybe...

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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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Guest: Slate's legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Griner heading home; 'Respect for Marriage Act' to become law; Report: DoJ seeking to hold Trump in contempt in stolen docs case...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2022 5:54pm PT  

It could have been much worse. That seems to be the message from our guest on today's BradCast after yesterday's oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court case that could blow up everything we know about American elections, including some 233 years of otherwise settled election laws in all 50 states. We'll hope he's right. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, first up today, some less ambiguous good news to kick things off. WNBA star Brittney Griner is on her way home from Russia, where she has been held as a prisoner for at least 8 months after authorities found less than a gram of cannabis oil in a vape cartridge in her suitcase. Her release comes as a swap for a notorious Russian arms dealer, but fails to include the release of Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned by Russia for nearly four years, who many hoped would also be included in the trade.

Griner's wife joined President Biden at the White House on Thursday to announce the good news, while urging the release of Whelan, whose brother praised the Administration for making "the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home, and to make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn’t going to happen."

Also on Thursday, more good news in D.C. as the U.S. House approved the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) with all Democrats voting in favor with almost 40 Republicans. Shamefully, 169 Republicans voted against recognizing the marriage rights of same-sex and interracial couples. The bill was passed by the U.S. Senate last week (also by all Democrats and opposed by the majority of Republicans) and now heads to the President's desk for his signature. Even though 2015's Obergefell ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land in all 50 states, federal lawmakers determined a statutory backstop was necessary after far-right activist Justice Clarence Thomas called for reconsidering the Obergefell decision when he voted with the Court's corrupted rightwing majority to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year.

We're joined today by Slate's longtime legal journalist and SCOTUS expert MARK JOSEPH STERN. Last month, he responded to progressive critics of the RFMA who felt it should have gone farther to require all states to license same-sex marriages --- as Obergefell currently does --- rather than simply mandating that states legally recognize such marriages. Today, Stern breaks down his legal argument for why he believes those critics are wrong about the new, landmark federal statute and notes that, "as a progressive in a same-sex marriage, I feel like I have some skin in the game here."

But, our initial reason for booking Stern today was to discuss Moore v. Harper, the ridiculous --- if wildly dangerous --- case heard by the Supremes on Wednesday. As discussed on yesterday's show with FairVote's David Daley, who attended the oral argument, if a majority on the Court agrees with North Carolina Republican petitioners, the fallout for American elections from Moore will be "seismic".

The case argues that a fringe, so-called "Independent State Legislature" theory found in the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause, means that only State Legislatures may craft specific state rules and laws for federal elections and may not be overruled or even reviewed by gubernatorial vetoes or state court review to ensure those laws meet requirements of state Constitutions. Even voter-approved ballot initiatives would be considered unlawful.

It would, in the case of Moore, allow North Carolina Republicans who control the gerrymandered majority in the evenly-divided state Legislature to gerrymander U.S. House districts however they like, even after the state Supreme Court determined their partisan gerrymander violated the state Constitution. By the same theory, a majority opinion in favor of the NC GOP, by the rigged 6 to 3 SCOTUS, could also allow state Legislatures to simply choose whichever Presidential Electors they preferred, even when voters voted otherwise. Yes, it's just that insane and, arguably, should never have even been heard at the High Court.

The good news today, is that, after yesterday's hearing --- when the "Court's most conservative justices got outplayed," as Stern reported at Slate --- he now believes the worst-case scenario is far less inevitable. "Those of us who’ve been ringing the alarm over this dangerous theory --- and who've been disgusted by the campaign to drag it from the far-right fringe all the way to the Supreme Court --- can take solace that these capable lawyers exposed [the Independent State Legislature theory] as an utter fraud," he wrote last night.

"Even though we have a ton of rules in every single state's Constitution that have been enforced for 230+ years, this theory says that all of those are invalid, we've been doing it wrong the whole time," Stern told me today, adding that he "heard maybe two votes for that position" during oral argument on Wednesday.

"But then, once you get into the more compromise positions, it gets harder to gauge," he warns. "I don't think the Court is going to totally cut out state Constitutions and state statutes from federal elections. I don't think that the Court is going to go as far as Republicans want. I think that there's a chance that the Court could issue a decision that is bad but not catastrophic, that essentially says that, as a general principle, state courts can regulate elections, but that federal courts get to double-check their work and decide if they got it wrong."

"But we have to be, when this decision comes down, really vigilant about drawing any conclusions before we figure out exactly where they land." If Federal courts can review state court rulings that are regarded as "egregious," Stern says he could live with that. But if they allow state courts only "mild deference," he explains, "that's no good, because that is really not how we do things in this country. State courts have the final say over the meaning of state law in almost all circumstances. And if we take that away, then it is just empowering this conservative super-majority on SCOTUS to decide all these cases in favor of Republicans."

Given the ridiculous basis for the Independent State Legislature theory --- that we've been doing it all wrong for more than 230 years since the nation's founding, but nobody noticed until now --- there would be hundreds of election laws in all 50 states that could then be challenged in federal courts. It's all somewhat ironic given that this fringe interpretation of the Elections Clause was, itself, built on "a fraudulent document that purported to be an account of the Constitutional Convention" that, as early as the 1800's, was described as "fake" by James Madison, "who actually did write the definitive account of the Constitutional Convention," notes Stern.

Much more on all of that today and, before he leaves, a quick explanation of how "stupid" the case heard earlier this week by SCOTUS regarding a web designer in Colorado who refuses to design a website for same-sex marriages actually is. Hint: She "has never been asked by any couple, gay or straight, to make a wedding website for them. Yet she sued before anyone could ask her, and argued that Colorado's civil rights law was infringing on her freedom of speech."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report with both good and bad news, as per usual, when news broke late from CNN that, according to their sources, the U.S. Dept. of Justice has asked a federal judge to hold Donald Trump in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena ordering him over the summer to turn over classified records he stolen upon leaving the White House.

It turns out that it may have been an even better day today than we originally thought...

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But the accountability is only just beginning...
By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2022 6:04pm PT  

Let's enjoy the good news on today's BradCast --- and we've got quite a bit of it --- because things may or may not be as bright tomorrow, as returns come in from the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia and the corrupt rightwing U.S. Supreme Court hears a case they may use to undermine American democracy as we have known it for more than 200 years. [Audio link to full show follow this summary.]

But, for tonight, at least, there is a whole bunch of good news regarding a whole bunch of bad news for our disgraced former President...which is great news for everyone else...

  • A New York jury in Manhattan took little more than one day to find the Trump Organization guilty of all criminal state tax fraud charges brought against it --- 17 counts in all. That follows its longtime Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg's guilty plea on 15 counts of fraud. He's set to receive about five months in prison after his plea and agreement to testify against the company. A company, however, can't be sentenced to prison, so a fine will be levied instead. But the Manhattan D.A.'s office may have other plans for criminal charges against Donald Trump, which we discuss as well today.
  • Meanwhile, Trump is now claiming that he didn't say what everybody saw him say, when he called for the "termination" of the U.S. Constitution over the weekend. It was, of course, part of his continuing effort to pretend the 2020 Presidential election that he lost was actually stolen from him. More disturbing, however, is the lack of elected Republican officials who, while pretending to be "Constitutional conservatives", are unable to say whether Trump's comments disqualify him from becoming President again.
  • But, back to brighter news as we continue to try and keep track of accountability for at least 56 known criminal violations of law by the former President since he first ran for office. (That doesn't include all of the civil violations, such as the $250 million lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James against him, his company and his three oldest children on state tax fraud violations.) The Manhattan D.A.'s office of Alvin Bragg, which successfully prosecuted the criminal tax fraud cases against the Trump Organization, has made a new hire that suggests the office may be eyeing new criminal charges against Trump himself this time. We 'splain.
  • Also on Tuesday, the Chair of the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's many failed attempts to steal the 2020 election, said that the panel will be making criminal referrals to the U.S. Dept. of Justice before year's end. That may or may not be bad news for Trump himself and many others in the MAGA Cinematic Universe. But it almost certainly ain't good news for any of them.
  • Also also on Tuesday, it is being reported that Jack Smith --- newly tapped by Attorney General Merrick Garland as Special Counsel overseeing the DoJ's federal criminal probes into January 6, the documents stolen by Trump from the White House, and any other matters related to either of those cases --- has issued his first subpoenas since taking his new position. Officials in Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona according to Washington Post, as well as in Pennsylvania, as confirmed by AP, have all recently received demands from Smith for "any and all communications with Trump, his campaign, and a long list of aides and allies."

It's going to be a very long rest-of-his-life for Donald Trump --- unless he pulls a Ken Lay first. Of course, we wish him nothing but the best.

  • And, finally, we finish up today with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, including news on the electric grid attack in North Carolina; Russia targeting energy infrastructure in Ukraine (a war crime); and EV sales now surging in U.S. and across the globe...

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Guest: Voice of America's former WH House Bureau Chief, Steve Herman, live in studio; Also: New flu, COVID surge; Russia's latest offensive in Ukraine; Trump calls for 'termination' of U.S. Constitution...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2022 7:11pm PT  

Of course, just as COVID and other respiratory viruses are surging in L.A. (and California, and much of the rest of the country), we have our first in-studio guest on The BradCast since the pandemic. Oh, well. Wish us luck! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

We're joined today by the great STEVE HERMAN of Voice of America who spent some 26 years covering various regions in Asia and serving as VOA correspondent and Bureau Chief in India, Korea, Thailand. In 2016, he returned stateside to serve as VOA's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, for a brief stint, before becoming the eight decade-old, U.S. funded media outlet's White House Bureau Chief. After serving 4 totally easy-peasy years at the White House during the Trump Administration and several months during Biden's, Herman is now on the road as VOA's Chief National Correspondent covering the 2024 campaign. (I know, I know...we're not even done with 2022 around here!)

In a broad, in-studio conversation today --- including questions from listener callers --- we cover, among many other things...

  • Herman's initial visit to the Fukushima nuclear plant just after the 2011 meltdown disaster...without any sort of physical protection! (That was when he first appeared as a guest on our program.)
  • How VOA stands virtually alone as a state-funded news outlet given its special charter, a "firewall" enshrined by federal statute that prevents the government from meddling in its coverage. "The White House, or even the head of our parent agency, the U.S. Agency for Global Media, cannot tell me or my editors what we have to report or cannot report. They cannot be involved editorially," says Herman.
  • How and why that makes VOA different from state-funded propaganda outlets in Russia, China, Iran and elsewhere. "I like to say VOA is probably the only news organization in the world that is mandated by law to be fair and effective," Herman explains. "In that charter it says we must reflect the different views of what's going on in the United States."
  • "Facts are facts," he tells me, regarding so much mis- and disinformation by both the Right and Left. "What they are reporting at RT [Russia Today] and Sputnik is not factual, especially about the war in Ukraine. ... It's a situation that we see from Chinese state media and Iranian state media. And this goes back all the way to why VOA was created after the start of World War II, because you had Nazi Germany on the airwaves, uncontested to a great degree, spitting out anti-American and pro-Nazi propaganda. What VOA was set up to do was to tell the audiences, initially in German and also in Japanese, what's going on with the war, whether it's good or bad."
  • The efforts by the Trump Administration, while Herman served as VOA's WH Bureau Chief, to affect the agency's news coverage and attempts to pressure Herman himself. "When these things have happened over the decades in various administrations, it also demonstrates that VOA is not a propaganda service," he argues. "If it were a propaganda service, we would not be getting complaints from within the United States government on some of the stories we've been doing."
  • - Herman's thoughts on the insane response by Donald Trump over the weekend to Matt Taibbi's "Twitter Files" thread detailing internal discussion/debate among Twitter executives in the run-up to the 2020 election when deciding whether or not to suppress questionably sourced reporting on Hunter Biden's laptop.
  • All of that and much more, including praise for sushi in Los Angeles from a guy who worked for decades in Asia!

Also covered today, a few news headlines at the top of the show...

  • Flu, COVID and other respiratory illness is "off the charts" in California, Los Angeles County and elsewhere around the country.
  • Russia's latest missile assault on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, and the nearly 600 documented cases of apparent war crimes by the aggressor nation since Putin's invasion in February.
  • The apparent coordinated domestic terror attacks on electric substations in Moore County, North Carolina that has knocked out power and water to tens of thousands of residents.
  • Early voting is over and Election Day now awaits on Tuesday in Georgia's U.S. Senate runoff between Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Trump-backed sociopathic liar Hershel Walker.
  • The weekend's aforementioned insane (and largely pointless) Twitter thread by Matt Taibbi, how it has been misreported by MAGA Republicans including Donald Trump, who dishonestly represented the reporting in order to call for "termination" of the U.S. Constitution (seriously!) in its wake...

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Guest: Theeda Murphy of No Exceptions Prison Collective; Also: Corrupt SCOTUS helps Trump on tax returns, Graham on GA testimony...
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2022 6:01pm PT  

We've been discussing for weeks (months, actually) on The BradCast how critical the November 8 midterm elections are to American democracy itself. I've even referred to it as the most critical midterms since the Civil War. Until recently, however, I had no idea how on the money that comparison actually is. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

In five states this year --- from so-called "red" states like Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee to the theoretically liberal bastions of Oregon and Vermont --- slavery itself will be on the ballot. Seriously. Or, at least "involuntary servitude". What's the difference between that and slavery? Even our guest today, an expert on such issues, has trouble discerning that.

The U.S. Constitution's 13th Amendment, adopted in 1865 to end slavery, reads [emphasis added]: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

In other words, slavery was abolished --- except for prisoners, who may be forced into involuntary servitude as part of their punishment. It's a not-accidental loophole, you'll be shocked to learn, that has been disproportionately exercised historically against Black Americans.

In 2020, however, several Democratic members of Congress introduced a resolution to begin amending that part of the 13th Amendment. But changing the U.S. Constitution is a heavy lift that requires passage by two-thirds of each chamber of Congress and approval by three-fourths of the states. In the meantime, there are the exact same or very similar references to involuntary servitude --- or even slavery itself --- still present in a number of state Constitutions and/or statutes. And, this year, there are ballot initiatives in the five states mentioned above to finally change or remove those references entirely.

So, yeah. Ending slavery, at least in some state constitutions, at least for prisoners, is actually on this year's ballot as well.

We're joined today for insight by THEEDA MURPHY, Co-Director of the No Exceptions Prison Collective, a non-profit, grassroots initiative based in Nashville, TN, dedicated to, among other things, aboloshing slavery!

"Any type of forced labor is slavery. Period. And should not exist in the United States in 2022," Murphy explains, stating what one would think should be obvious. Surprisingly, it isn't. There are elected officials --- both Democratic and Republican --- who have offered various reasons to oppose such initiatives to rewrite the 13th Amendment and the state-based provisions which echo it. Most of their reasons have to do with assuring that cheap prison labor can continue, a $500 billion industry where the average pay is $1/hour. (Though that is, somehow, not considered slavery!)

Over the past two elections, in 2018 and 2020, three states, Colorado, Nebraska and Utah, adopted measures to ban involuntary servitude. A recent effort here in California failed to make it onto the ballot this year. But the hope of advocates like Murphy is that, with reform at the state level, interest may grow in a federal Constitutional amendment that finally ends what is known as the "Punishment Clause" or the "Exception Clause'. But there are other reasons to adopt such measures as well.

States where similar changes have been made, explains Murphy, "are beginning to have these discussions about what does it mean to now have people that cannot be treated like property, that the state no longer owns, and what that means for every aspect of a person who is incarcerated. Can you deny them healthcare? What kind of food do you feed them? Do you charge them for their clothes? Those are the kinds of questions that begin to be answered, or to be asked, because people are no longer property."

Murphy says that in her home-state of Tennessee, internal polling shows both Democrats and Republicans are "united" on the ballot measure this year. "Nobody is FOR slavery," she quips. "Nobody at least will come out and SAY they're for it."

Hey! Maybe we found at least one issue that doesn't divide Americans? We'll find out after next Tuesday.

In other noteworthy news today...

  • After nearly four years of House Democrats attempting to exercise the federal law that mandates the IRS "shall furnish" the tax returns of any taxpayer to the heads of several Congressional committees upon request, Donald Trump is running out of legal (and illegal) options to block the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee from reviewing his tax documents. But, after the federal appeals court in D.C. unanimously said last week that the IRS must turn them over, Trump filed an emergency appeal to his stolen, packed and corrupted Supreme Court. Today, Chief Justice John Roberts placed a temporary administrative hold on the lower court's order, buying Trump at least 10 days while the House responds to the disgraced former President's motion. But now, every day counts, with the possibility of Democrats losing their majority at the beginning of next year, when Republicans will almost certainly drop the House request. The clock is ticking.
  • In somewhat brighter related news, after a similar administrative hold by the corrupt Justice Clarence Thomas last week, the Supremes have decided that Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) must sit for a deposition with the Special Grand Jury created by Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, in her investigation of the Trump-led conspiracy to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State. SCOTUS, however, has left open some doors for Graham to return to district court if he believes any of the questions he's asked violate his right to not answer questions related to his legislative activity as a Senator under the Constitution's Speech and Debate Clause.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with a bit of bona fide good news --- in several different stories, in fact --- to wrap up today's program...

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Guest: David Dayen of The American Prospect; Also: Follow science and save lives by voting NO on CA's Prop 31 vaping flavor ban!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2022 6:35pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, some help for voters in California trying to make sense of some of those confusing propositions on this year's midterm ballot, and some new worries for the entire nation when it comes to the GOP's vow to destroy the so-called "administrative state". [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

We're joined today by DAVID DAYEN, investigative financial journalist, Executive Editor of The American Prospect and author of (most recently), Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power. We've got quite a bit to discuss with him today.

First, ride-share companies Lyft and Uber scammed California voters two years ago with the landslide passage of Prop 22, which the companies spent nearly $250 million to put on the ballot and misrepresent to voters. They claimed that their workers in the state should not be treated as employees under CA law --- with all the benefits that come with it --- but as a new type of independent contractor. The companies told voters that, under Prop 22, their drivers would make at least 20% above minimum wage (currently $15/hour in the state) and would receive other increased benefits for healthcare, etc.

Now, two years in, it turns out that Uber and Lyft drivers in CA are averaging just $6.20/hour. Dayen explains how that can possibly be, adding: "When you allow a corporation to set the terms of employment and to opt out of, in this case, the state system that governs employment arrangements, they're probably going to take advantage of it for their devices. And that's exactly what happened here."

This year, Lyft is supporting another CA ballot initiative, Prop 30, that would tax millionaires to help subsidize elective vehicles for their drivers and to fund CA firefighting efforts. The state's Democratic Party seems to believe them. The state's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, on the other hand, doesn't. What explains that? We try to figure it out.

But, more importantly, Dayen argues the entire matter is symptomatic of what he now sees as CA's "failed experiment with direct democracy" in its ballot initiative process. Can it be reformed to make it work for the people as intended? Or has it been irreversibly taken over by corporate interests who have learned how to purchase their interests into state law?

Also today, Dayen breaks down last week's stunning ruling by a three-judge panel on the hard-right 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (all three were Trump appointees), finding that the way Congress chose to fund the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is, somehow, unconstitutional. The CFPB was created during the Obama Administration to protect consumers after the 2008 global banking crisis and subsequent Great Recession. It was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren before she became a Senator. The Bureau is the only federal agency built and devoted specifically to protecting consumers, as opposed to corporations.

As Dayen explains, the court's ruling, if allowed to stand, would not only make the CFPB go away entirely (long a goal of Republicans), but also hundreds of regulations and consumer protections that the Bureau oversees. Moreover, if the judges are right about the funding mechanism for CFPB being unconstitutional, well then so is the funding for dozens of other critical federal agencies and programs!

"The logic of the 5th Circuit's ruling is that all of those other agencies [including the FDA] are also unconstitutional," says Dayen. "There are also a number of mandatory spending items in America that are not funded through the appropriations process. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps. The logic of the 5th Circuit's ruling is that all those things are all unconstitutional."

In addition to "this ruling defunding the police --- the consumer protection police" in a case brought by the rapacious payday lending industry, he details how this is the very definition of the GOP's years-long vow to "destroy the administrative state". In this case, as Dayen argues, there are also a bunch of protections for big banks that would be wiped out as well unless the ruling is overturned. So, maybe that little glitch will --- ironically enough --- help to save the CFPB.

One more matter we touch on with the author of Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power, the recently announced takeover of Albertsons by Kroger, which already owns Ralph's, Food For less, and many others as the nation's largest grocery store conglomerate. Albertsons is the second largest. They own Vons, Safeway and many others. In short, Kroger's takeover, if it goes through, would result in one company owning --- and having near monopolistic pricing power over --- more than 60% of the nation's grocery stores. As you might imagine, Dayen has a few warnings about this "very, very disturbing merger," but adds that he's pretty sure that Biden's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) "is going to take a healthy look at it."

Finally today, one more thought on one more initiative on this November's CA ballot, one which is likely to spread like a deadly virus to much of the rest of the country if successful here. Prop 31 would ban the sale of flavored e-juice for vaping and e-cigs in the state. The disingenuous claim by supporters is that flavors --- like the one that I used, espresso, to finally successfully quit smoking --- are attractive to kids. Prop 31 proponents argue this ban on flavored vape juice is needed to keep kids from vaping. But the fact is that kids are already banned from buying these products in CA! Instead, the ban would serve only to kill actual smokers by preventing them from switching to vaping, which scientists universally find to be far safer than smoking. More details in support of "NO" on CA's Prop 31 --- a maddening and deadly scam --- on today's BradCast...

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A long time Bernie Sanders supporter on why we must vote 'blue' in '22...
UPDATE: Independent progressive Ralph Nader joins call to vote 'blue' in '22...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/24/2022 10:05am PT  

I was a long time Bernie Sanders supporter. I still am. As an attorney and Vietnam veteran I even served as a Senior Adviser to Vets for Bernie during his 2016 campaign. I also supported Sen. Sanders during the 2020 primaries. That was then. This is 2022.

President Biden was not engaging in hyperbole when he recently warned the nation that "democracy will be on the ballot" this November.

I recently underscored his message with my coverage of the amicus brief to SCOTUS from all 50 State Supreme Court Chief Justices warning in no uncertain terms against the dangers of the "fringe", so-called "Independent State Legislature" (ISL) theory, soon to be decided by the High Court. The case, Moore v. Harper, was brought to the Court via North Carolina Republicans seeking to override their own state Supreme Court regarding partisan gerrymandering. The theory they are using to do so echoes the radical interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause as advanced by disgraced former law professor, John Eastman, during his attempt to help Donald Trump steal the 2020 Presidential election.

Irrespective of whether it comes by way of a violent insurrection or via judicial fiat handed down from the U.S. Supreme Court's "radicals in robes", American democracy may soon be all but lost absent a massive turnout for the midterms by everyone who desires to save it.

If a SCOTUS majority embraces the ISL theory, it could lead to a circumstance where MAGA Republican State legislatures can not only rig all future U.S. House elections via partisan gerrymandering, voter suppression and intimidation but also present what the Brennan Center described as a "nightmare scenario" in which a partisan, gerrymandered State legislature "would invoke [the ISL] as a pretext to refuse to certify the results of a presidential election and instead select its own slate of electors." In other words, under the ISL theory a partisan gerrymandered State Legislature, and not the People, would hold the ultimate power to "elect" all future Presidents. Neither gubernatorial vetoes, nor state voters nor state Constitutions nor state Supreme Courts would be able to overrule them.

Where MAGA Republicans proponents of the ISL theory offer an absurd bastardization of the Constitution's Elections Clause as a ticket to undermine democracy, most legal scholars regard the same Clause as providing a means by which democracy can be saved...

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Rare brief submitted to SCOTUS by top state judges underscores how American democracy is, itself, on the ballot this November...
UPDATE 10/14/22: 2nd GOP petition seeks to overturn OH Supreme Court redistricting ruling based in 'Independent State Legislature' Theory...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/12/2022 11:05am PT  

A no-uncertain-terms brief [PDF] submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by all 50 state Supreme Court Chief Justices eviscerated the so-called "Independent State Legislature" (ISL) theory being pushed by far-right legal activists.

Their rare decision to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) SCOTUS brief reflects the unanimous recognition by all of the nation's State Chief Justices that the fringe ISL "legal" theory is so dangerous that, if it were to be embraced by a majority on our nation's highest federal court, it could hasten an end to our Constitutional democracy. And that is not hyperbole.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court, now dominated by six unelected "radicals in robes", granted review in Moore v. Harper, a case brought to SCOTUS by North Carolina's Republican-controlled State Legislature after their partisan gerrymandered Congressional redistricting plan was struck down by their state's Supreme Court on the grounds that it violated NC's Constitution.

Ironically, Tar Heel State Republicans owe their own control of the General Assembly to partisan gerrymandering. When Democratic Governor Roy Cooper was reelected in 2020, he defeated his Republican opponent 51.5% to 47% statewide, yet GOPers were able to retain control of 56% of NC Senate seats and 57.5% of the House thanks to extremely partisan state district maps.

In Moore the NC Republican petitioners to SCOTUS rely upon the same ISL theory advanced by disgraced former Chapman Univ. Law Professor John Eastman as part of Team Trump's effort to steal the 2020 Presidential election.

Their argument is that, absent a federal law to the contrary, a State legislature has a plenary right to engage in what NYU's Brennan Center for Justice describes as "deeply undemocratic" partisan gerrymandering of Congressional Districts. They contend that, when it comes to laws regarding federal elections, state legislatures may not be constrained by a state's constitution as interpreted by its state courts.

In their brief, the 50 State Chief Justices argue that the ISL, as advanced by NC Republicans, does violence to the meaning of the word "Legislature" as envisioned by the framers and as it appears in the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause (Article 1, Section 4), which provides that the "Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations."

Embrace of the ISL theory by a SCOTUS majority in Moore could similarly result in approval of Eastman's radical theory that state legislatures enjoy a Constitutional right to override the will of state voters to choose electors in the next Presidential election. It all underscores President Joe Biden's recent assessment that, come November, "democracy will be on the ballot"...

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Guest: Dan Vicuña of Common Cause; Also: Walker revelations prove GOP doesn't care about abortion or think it's 'murder'; Another court loss for Trump in stolen docs case...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2022 6:32pm PT  

What's left of the Voting Rights Act is in danger yet again, thanks to the Republicans' stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court majority. But this time, as we report on today's BradCast, the VRA has a new champion on the Court who seems to know how to speak in terms that even corrupt GOP Justices may have a difficult time ignoring. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up today, however, the continuing fallout from Monday's Daily Beast exclusive revealing that Georgia's Republican U.S. Senate nominee and accomplished liar, Hershel Walker, urged a girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009 and paid for the procedure himself. That, despite Walker's staunchly "pro-life" claims and campaign opposition to any and all abortions without exception, even in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother.

The blockbuster story has rocked GOP hopes of flipping the Peach State Senate seat currently occupied by Democratic Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock from "blue" to "red" in November and, if true (Walker "flat out" denies the allegations) reveals the former football pro to be an extraordinary hypocrite. More staggering than that, however, is the hypocrisy currently on display by Republican leaders who are standing behind Walker despite the well-documented reporting, revealing that they never actually gave a damn about abortion in the first place. As MSNBC's Chris Hayes correctly observed on Twitter: "I just want to be clear that in the moral cosmology of Herschel Walker and Republicans the accusation is that he paid to have his child murdered."

No worries! According to new reporting, Republicans knew about the allegations long ago and just hoped they wouldn't come to light before November. But now that it has, as we detail today, longtime GOP leaders, pundits and media influencers --- who have long claimed to be "family values" "conservatives" who believe abortion is "murder" --- have come up with all sorts of ways to justify their continued support of Walker because they believe they need him to win back a Senate majority next month.

Next: As detailed on yesterday's program, Ketanji Brown Jackson, the U.S. Supreme Court's newest Justice, made a splash during the Court's first day of oral argument in the new term on Monday, in her response to a rightwing challenge to the EPA's authority to regulate water under the Clean Water Act. On Tuesday, KBJ was spectacular once again during a rightwing challenge to provisions barring racial discrimination in voting under the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.

KBJ may have out-foxed fellow SCOTUS colleagues in her defense of the VRA, using an "originalist" defense for consideration of race in voting laws. We share the heart of her brilliant argument today, in detailing the Alabama case before the Court. Merrill v. Milligan challenges a unanimous appeals court ruling that the state's Republican legislature violated the Constitution and Section 2 of the VRA by creating just one Congressional District out of seven in the state, in which black voters would be able to select a candidate of their choosing following 2020 Census redistricting. That, despite the fact that more than a quarter of the state's population is black.

The Court of Appeals ordered AL to create a second majority-minority Congressional District in time for the 2022 elections. Instead, state Republicans challenged the ruling at SCOTUS, which, in February, put the lower court's ruling on hold until they could hear the case. (They also blocked a similar ruling in Louisiana, where state lawmakers were also ordered to create a second majority black Congressional District.)

In February, after the dubious SCOTUS ruling that would essentially steal a Congressional seat in AL (and in LA) for Republicans in the 2022 elections, we were joined to discuss it by DAN VICUÑA, longtime National Redistricting Manager at Common Cause. He joins us again today to discuss Tuesday's hearing at SCOTUS; KBJ's ingenious defense of "race conscious" Congressional map-making in response to AL's claim that redistricting should be "race neutral" despite mandates of the VRA and the Civil War's reconstructionist Constitutional Amendments that it is meant to enforce; and what the various potential rulings by the Court's corrupt, far-right super-majority may mean for the future of what is left of the VRA.

"What Alabama is seeking is a fairly radical change to the law and current Supreme Court jurisprudence," Vicuña explains. "It's essentially asking the court to allow a 'race-neutral' drawing of districts. And, as long as you are 'race neutral', it doesn't really matter if a community of color [is] allowed to elect their candidate of choice. They're basically saying the black community in Alabama could have no districts in which they elect their candidate of choice unless it was drawn in a so-called 'race neutral' way. It's a huge change, and I think Justice Jackson was rightfully pushing back in a forceful manner on what would be a significant change and blow to voting rights."

In her argument during Tuesday's hearing, Jackson went back to what the original framers of the Reconstruction-era 14th and 15th Amendments argued at the time of their adoption. And it appears to be the opposite of what AL is now arguing in court. In recent years, Republicans have claimed to support a so-called "originalist" legal theory when determining the Constitutionality of various laws. But now that KBJ has handed them such a theory for defending the VRA, it will be interesting to see if she helps to peel off enough rightwing Justices to stave off this latest attack on the nation's critical voter protection law.

Finally today, there was another procedural win handed down to the Dept. of Justice from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the criminal investigation of Donald Trump's theft of thousands of documents retrieved by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago in August...

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Dismantling pharmaceutical monopolies begins with repealing his 1987 Executive Order giveaway...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/14/2022 11:05am PT  

We should be both relieved and outraged!

Relieved that, earlier this month, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new round of booster shots specifically re-designed to address new variants of the deadly COVID virus.

Outraged because, despite the expenditure of tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars on research and development (R&D), the pharmaceutical industry's refusal to waive its "gifted" patent rights prevented a global rollout of the COVID vaccines. In turn, that refusal resulted in the need for the new booster shots.

Outraged because the industry's refusal to waive their patent rights has produced "excess mortality" with COVID that, as of the beginning of this month, has killed at least 6.5 million people worldwide, with no end in sight.

Outraged because this will, in all likelihood, not be the last newly reconstituted booster shot needed. It is the considered opinion of two thirds of the world's epidemiologists that the failure to provide global vaccinations will give rise to mutations that "could render current COVID vaccines ineffective."

And, yes, the patent rights were, indeed, a gift --- from the United States to the Pharmaceutical Industry...

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

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We're back! And we've got a LOT to catch up on...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2022 6:27pm PT  

Like it or not, we're back on today's BradCast after a much-needed week off! And, as it turns out, we've got plenty to talk about. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the huge number of stories covered on today's show, as we try to get caught up with both what we missed and what's still unraveling today...

  • It's hot here in Los Angeles. Really hot. A record heat wave (in both intensity and duration) now stretches from Southern California all the way up into Canada. And, no, it is not normal. (Or at least it didn't used to be.)
  • It's also not normal for Mississippi's capital city of Jackson to have no water for drinking, bathing, flushing or even fighting fires. But it was predictable. That's what happens when you lower taxes and defer maintenance on critical infrastructure for decades before a warming climate dumps tons of rain to knock your water systems offline entirely. Now the state's Republican Governor (who has been instrumental in deferring that maintenance), is discussing privatizing the water system. As of Sunday, in any event, water pressure is finally returning to residents after a full week without, and about a month of boil water notices prior to the outage.
  • Some good news following Labor Day: Public approval of labor unions, at 71% of the American people, is now the highest it has been since 1965, according to Gallup. That's a 7-point spike in their pre-Labor Day survey since the pandemic began and a more than 21-point jump since 2009. And, as we discuss, that's all good news for both union workers and non-union workers alike!
  • There is new evidence out of Coffee County, Georgia today --- including security camera surveillance video gathered via a federal lawsuit against Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger to block use of his unverifiable touchscreen voting systems --- revealing that rightwing MAGA Trump supporters lied about unlawfully breaching and making copies of the County's voting system software after the 2020 election. The long-running lawsuit was filed by Coalition for Good Governance founder Marilyn Marks, a regular guest on this program. She originally broke the Coffee County voting system software breach story on this show some months ago, along with detailing Raffensperger's clumsy, months-long efforts to cover-up of the entire boondoggle. More details on that story coming soon!
  • In the second-to-last primary day of the midterm election season, voters in Massachusetts are selecting party nominees for the contest to succeed the state's popular, outgoing Republican Governor in the otherwise liberal-leaning state. As in Maryland in July, the choice on the GOP side in MA is between a Trump-backed election denier and an otherwise normal-ish Republican candidate. In MD, the Trump-backed loon won, likely handing Governor's mansion to the Democrats this fall. Will the same thing happen in MA? Tune in tomorrow!
  • While we were out, Alaska's embarrassing former Republican Governor Sarah Palin, did not win the Special Election for the state's only U.S. House seat. After a Ranked Choice Voting election featuring two Republicans and one Democrat, the Democrat, Mary Peltola was elected to fill the seat occupied for nearly 50 years by the late Republican Rep. Don Young. She'll serve the rest of Young's term through the end of the year and becomes the first Alaska Native elected to Congress. The same three candidates, and one other, will square off in another RCV election in November for a full term beginning in January. Hopefully Palin will continue her losing streak.
  • Also, while we were out, the President of the United States found it necessary to offer a prime-time address to warn of the rising menace posed to democracy itself by Donald Trump and his supporters. Joe Biden was, of course, both correct and accurate in his remarks outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, highlighting the fact that democracy itself will be on the ballot this fall and the threat that demagogues from the right now pose to our nation. "What’s happening in our country today is not normal," he said, though corporate media outlets seemed to have a tremendously difficult time simply pointing out how Biden's assertions were demonstrably true. By way of just one example, after a Trump rally in Pennsylvania over the weekend, in which an invited speaker discussed support for January 6 insurrectionists, including her nephew, who is literally a Hitler fan, USA Today's Francesca Chambers actually said: "President Biden and former President Trump are having some difficulties when it comes to optical issues both could have avoided." (!!!)
  • Finally today, some thoughts on the Trump-appointed federal judge in Florida who, on Monday, issued an absurd ruling ordering a Special Master to review thousands of pages of highly classified and other stolen government documents obtained by the FBI during its federal court-ordered search of Donald Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago last month. The ruling by Judge Aileen Cannon --- to appoint a Special Master to examine the documents for both executive privilege (which hasn't been claimed by Trump, and can only be asserted by Biden) and for attorney-client privilege --- was ridiculous and absurd on several counts and yet still somewhat less of an outrage than many have characterized it to be over the past 24 hours. We explain why.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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