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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, October 22, 2020
Are Americans Ready (or Even Able) to Roll Back the GOP's 'Permanent Minority Rule'?: 'BradCast' 10/21/20
Guest: David Daley; Also: Lawyers hate Trump; Fed court allows TX to reject mail-in ballots...
Good News, Bad News!
It's 'The Caveat Show!':
'BradCast' 10/20/20
All sorts of reasons for Dems to feel good about Biden and re-taking the Senate...And plenty of reasons to remain concerned about both...
'Green News Report' 10/20/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Massive CO wildfires; Trump flip-flops on disaster aid to CA; Wind, solar energy now the cheapest energy in the world; PLUS: Biden talks clean energy at ABC Town Hall...
Previous GNRs: 10/15/20 - 10/13/20 - Archives...
Voting is Not Enough: How YOU Can Help Oversee and Protect Our Elections!: 'BradCast' 10/19/20
Guest: Emily Levy of Scrutineers.org; Also: Bad news for MI voters; FL voting website fails...
Sunday 'A Bigger Boat' Toons
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the voting booth...PDiddie offers his latest collection of the week's best toons...
2020's Federal Court Voting Rights Roller Coaster: 'BradCast' 10/16/20
Guest: Univ. of KY election law Prof. Joshua A. Douglas; Also: Trump's CA wildfire emergency disaster relief roller coaster...
'Deranged Power Grab': Barrett SCOTUS Hearings Conclude: 'BradCast' 10/15/20
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: E-Pollbook systems fail in GA; FBI reports 'unauthorized access to elections systems'...
'Green News Report' 10/15/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Barrett sure sounds like a climate denier during Senate hearings; Sen. Whitehouse breaks down dark-money polluter capture of judiciary; PLUS: Sept. 2020 hottest ever recorded...
Previous GNRs: 10/13/20 - 10/5/20 - Archives...
'Hypocrisy in Daylight? Look for Power in the Shadows': 'BradCast' 10/14/20
Guest: Lisa Graves on Sen. Whitehouse's revelations of GOP's $250M SCOTUS-packing coup; Also: Good voting news in VA, TX, AK!...
Barrett's Hypocritical, Scalia-Fueled 'Originalist' Hoax: 'BradCast' 10/13/20
Also: Touchscreens fail on 1st day of Early Voting near Houston; Trump judges okay absentee suppression in TX; Online registration fails on deadline day in VA...
'Green News Report' 10/13/20
Cleanup, recovery in battered LA in wake of Hurricane Delta; PLUS: Climate change in the spotlight (sort of) at the one and only 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate...
Judge Finds 'Serious Security Vulnerabilities' in New GA Vote Systems, Allows Them Anyway: 'BradCast' 10/12/20
Guest: Plaintiff Marilyn Marks; Also: GA systems fails on first day of early voting...
Federal Court Upholds NJ Canvass of Mail-In Ballots Prior to Election Day
Also upholds counting of mail-in ballots received by 11/5, two days after Election Day, even without a postmark...
Sunday SuperSpreader Toons
Look! Up in the sky! It's COVID-19 being spread by the goddamn President of the United States! That and many more sick toons in PDiddie's latest weekly collection...
Tyranny Loves Company:
'BradCast' 10/9/20
Guest Host Nicole Sandler with 'Strongman' author Kenneth C. Davis...
Buzz-worthy, But Otherwise Refreshingly 'Normal' VP Debate: 'BradCast' 10/8/20
Special Coverage with Heather Digby Parton, David Faris; Also: Suspended on Twitter for tweeting completely accurate news about GA's flawed voting system...
BRAD BLOG Suspended by Twitter for 100% Accurate Tweet About GA's New Touchscreen Vote Systems
The tweet in question and federal court evidence proving it's true. [UPDATED x 2!] ...
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...


Judge blasts new Postal Service mandates as 'intentional effort to disrupt' and delegitimize the 2020 elections and to disenfranchise voters...
UPDATE 9/22/20: 2nd federal court enjoins USPS; separate preliminary injunction motion pending in D.C. federal court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/18/2020 3:30pm PT  

On Thursday, by way of a 13-page Order [PDF] issued in State of Washington v. Trump, U.S. District Court Judge Stanley A. Bastian not only enjoined the United States Postal Service (USPS) from continuing to implement the "transformative" nationwide changes to its mail delivery capacities effectuated since July under the direction of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, but also ordered USPS to "replace, reassemble or reconnect" all of the high-speed sorting and labeling machines that had previously been decommissioned.

In his decision, Judge Bastian found that the 14 State Plaintiffs --- Attorneys General in WA, CO, CT, IL, MD, MI, MN, NV, NM, OR, RI, VT, VA, WI --- "established a likelihood that they will prevail on their claims that the [USPS] and Postmaster General violated 39 U.S.C. §3661". He characterized DeJoy's mandates as an "attack on the Postal Service [that] is likely to irreparably harm the states’ ability to administer the 2020 general election."

As we explained last month when covering the States' complaint, under Section 3661(b), DeJoy had a "non-discretionary duty" to request and obtain an advisory opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) before instituting "a change in the nature of postal services which will generally affect service on a nationwide or a substantially nationwide basis." Under that statute, the PRC cannot issue that advisory opinion "until an opportunity for a hearing on the record...has been afforded to...users of the mail." At that hearing, "an officer of the [PRC]...shall be required to represent the public interest."

DeJoy's failure to comply with those statutory requirements, Judge Bastion noted, "suggests" the USPS "acted ultra vires" --- beyond its power --- when it effectuated DeJoy's "transformative" changes.

The court also found that the Plaintiffs established a likelihood that the USPS "actions have infringed" upon the "States' constitutional right to appoint presidential electors and set the time, place, and manner of elections; that the current changes are the result of an effort by the current Administration to use the [USPS] as a tool in partisan politics, which violates the spirit and purpose of the Postal Reorganization Act and the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act."

In his written ruling, Judge Bastian blasted the USPS actions, charging they would result in "voter disenfranchisement"...

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




Guests: Heather Digby Parton on Kamala as VEEP; Jeanne Dufort on why the Peach State's new, $100 million digital-scanners failed to count thousands of valid votes and how to fix it before November...
By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2020 7:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Two mysteries solved in one single, if hectic, show! [Audio link to full show is posted at end of article.]

The first is the mystery of who presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden would select as his Vice-Presidential partner. Now we know. Less than an hour before showtime today, it was announced that California's first-term U.S. Senator Kamala Harris will become the first black woman (and first South Asian American woman) to be part of a major party's Presidential ticket. On short notice, we were able to scrounge up the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo blog to join us for her "top-line, knee-jerk, hot-take" response to the big news and how she thinks it will play both among the electorate at large and the far, FAR more picky progressive electorate.

Parton, a progressive herself, who says she was rooting for Elizabeth Warren to be named for the slot, describes Harris as a "a very skilled politician"; argues that her selection "says something nice about Biden"; discusses the "legitimate concerns that progressives have had about Harris"; and whether she believes "the Left" will be able to "put aside their differences" to get behind the ticket, before "going to fight tooth and nail about the things that we care about" in the event that Biden actually becomes President next January.

Today's other solved mystery is much trickier. And it has to do with Georgia, which is holding primary runoff elections today, along with state primary elections on Tuesday in Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin. (We'll have noteworthy results from all of those states, as available, on tomorrow's BradCast, of course). Naturally, because it's Election Day in Georgia --- a key battleground state which some believe could finally flip from "red" to "blue" this year for the first time in decades --- there are problems at the polls. While hopefully not as terrible as the meltdown caused by the state's new unverifiable touchscreen voting systems and electronic pollbooks that resulted in hours-long lines in largely Democratic-leaning precincts during the state's June primary, we have early indications that the same, new, overly-complex, computerized voting systems failed voters again today in at least some of the 94 (of 159) counties participating in today's runoffs.

Despite that distressing (if unsurprising) news today in Georgia, there was some good-ish news from the State Elections Board (SEB) there. They met on Monday to adopt new procedures in advance of the November 3rd Presidential election. The SEB unanimously agreed to allow voters to request absentee ballots for November via a new online webpage to go live by the end of the month. That's good news for those who have easy online access. But, shamefully, it comes along with the news that Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, after successfully sending out Vote-by-Mail applications to all of the state's active registered voters before the June primary, will NOT be doing so before this year's Presidential election. Apparently, that plan worked too well and allowed too many to easily vote from home, when they might otherwise have had to struggle with long lines and Raffensperger's failed electronic voting systems at the polling place in the middle of an ongoing global pandemic.

Also at Georgia's SEB meeting on Monday, the Board agreed to make a change to the state's new computer-tabulation systems that scan and count those hand-marked paper absentee ballots. (Voters at the polls are forced to use unverifiable touchscreen systems.) The SEB's change to a software setting on the systems came about, thanks in no small part, to our guest today, JEANNE DUFORT of the Coalition for Good Governance.

Following the June primaries, Dufort was on a bi-partisan citizens' panel reviewing digital images of hand-marked paper absentee ballots on which the computerized digital-scanners believed there were over-votes with, for example, more than one oval in a single race seen by the computer as being filled in. State law requires manual examination of such ballots to determine if the voter's intent is discernible or not. While reviewing those ballots, Dufort and the other panelists in Morgan County noticed that the tabulation system had marked some clearly discernible votes on many of those same ballots as containing "no vote". Why were those votes not counted by the new, $100 million tabulation system made by the Canadian firm Dominion Voting? And would elections officials manually examine ALL of the hand-marked ballots to count those "lost" votes? As Dufort told us on this program at the time she discovered the problem after the June primary, there were potentially tens of thousands of perfectly legitimate votes that had gone uncounted.

Well, today we finally have the answer to the mystery of why the system had failed to count some of those votes. It has to do with a sensitivity setting on the digital optical-scan tabulators that the Secretary of State's office claims they did not originally know about when they initially dismissed Dufort's concerns back in June. That setting, apparently, directs the computer to ignore votes in which less than 12% of the bubble was filled in. (Often, instead of inking in the entire bubble, voters will use a check-mark or an X. While the voter's intent is easily discernible to the human eye, the new computers that tabulate votes were set to record such marks --- that filled less than 12% of the bubble --- as a "no vote".)

"It assigns it a 'percentage of fill'," Dufort tells me. "In our case in Georgia, what we later found out was that these Dominion factory settings said if a vote was deemed to cover more than 35% of that area...if the threshold percentage hit 35% or above, the system said, 'Yep, that's a vote! It counts!' If the threshold was between 12-35%, it said, 'that's ambiguous, I'm not sure something is there, better get a human to look at it.' If it fell below 12%, it said, 'I see that, but it's not a vote, so I'm going to label it unvoted, and I'm not even going to call it to the attention of the humans.'"

While Dufort says that it is good news that the SEB has now agreed to lower the bottom of the software sensitivity range setting to 10%, the longtime Election Integrity advocate says that she and others in the state believe it should be set lower still, to avoid more lost votes, in advance of the Presidential Election. "We think 10% is still too high," she says. "So we're going to be out talking to them. This rule is out for 30 days of public comment. We'll be saying thank you, but you really need to take it down to 5, which we have learned is what Colorado uses. And they've been doing hand-marked paper ballots statewide for a very long time. We think that's a good benchmark for Georgia."

She also observes that the the old settings, less sensitive settings, are still being used to tally today's runoff elections, which could be a problem in the event of close races. Moreover, she explains, "the color of the ink [and] the brand of the ink in your pen can change how the computer measures it." We discuss all of that, how the changes may affect results this November, and whether we should be worried that such a software setting could be abused by ill-intentioned election insiders (or hackers) in the critical battleground state (or others that use similar systems) during the Presidential election.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more deadly fossil fuel disasters, a warning about this year's already-record Atlantic Hurricane season, and some very disturbing climate change news out of Canada, where the last intact ice shelf has finally collapsed and broken away...

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

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Guest: Election and criminal justice expert Daniel Nichanian; Also: House schedules new impeachment hearing as Trump appeals federal ruling finding 'Presidents are not kings'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2019 6:44pm PT  

At the BRAD BLOG and on today's BradCast, we'll even fight for Donald Trump's right to vote --- even from prison, should he find himself there at any time in the near-ish future. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a bit of impeachment-related news, even as Congress is on recess for the Thanksgiving holiday. The House Judiciary Committee (as opposed to the House Intelligence Committee) has announced a new impeachment hearing for next Wednesday. Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler sent a letter to the President on Tuesday, inviting him and his counsel to attend and potentially question witnesses in the hearing titled Titled "The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment." Along with his invitation, Nadler also offered a warning about the White House's continued refusal to make witnesses and documents available to the Constitutional proceedings in the U.S. House.

In related news, Trump's Dept. of Justice on Tuesday filed for a stay to a blistering federal court ruling ordering that former White House Counsel Don McGahn appear for scheduled testimony in response to a lawful Congressional subpoena regarding the House's examination of the Robert Mueller investigation. McGahn played a key role in the probe, helping to detail Trump's multiple attempts to obstruct the Special Counsel's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and Team Trump's cooperation with the effort.

The DoJ is now seeking a pause pending an appeal to U.S. District Judge Ketanji Jackson Brown's scathing 121-page ruling [PDF] issued on Monday, in which she eviscerated the DoJ argument that Presidents and their current and former White House officials enjoy "absolute immunity" from Constitutionally-mandated Congressional oversight. "Stated simply," the Judge wrote, "the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings."

Trump, however, appears to feel otherwise. In addition to appealing the order, Trump tweeted today that "The D.C. Wolves and Fake News Media are reading far too much into people being forced by Courts to testify before Congress," adding that while he "would love" to have top Executive Branch officials like Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton testify in impeachment hearings in the Ukraine bribery affair, he is only "fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President. Other than that, I would actually like people to testify."

But whether Trump wins his "absolute immunity" defense while President, it is unlikely to help him once he is out of office. To that end, yes, we'd hate to see him lose his right to vote if he ever should find himself imprisoned for any of his countless crimes. In the meantime, however, there are millions in prison who have already lost that right --- a right, not a privilege, even if many treat it that way --- while behind bars. There has been some noteworthy successful (and even bi-partisan in some cases) efforts of late in a number of states to help enfranchise former felons or those out of jail on probation or parole though state constitutional amendments, legislation or executive actions. But when it comes to the right to vote for those still in prison, the debate has been slower and more contentious. Currently, only Maine and Vermont allow prisoners to vote, a policy which Vermont's U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders strongly defended during a CNN Presidential Candidate Town Hall earlier this year.

At the same time, as our guest today, DANIEL NICHANIAN, Editor of The Appeal Political Report (better known as @Taniel on Twitter) points out, lawmakers in eight states and D.C. have filed legislation this year to allow people behind bars to exercise the right to vote. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) has done the same at the federal level.

After a Republican New York state Assemblyman recently described a state Senate bill there that would enfranchise convicts as "insulting [to] members of law enforcement and the criminal justice system who worked diligently to get these dangerous predators off the street," Nichanian reached out to prosecutors, correctional facility officers and elected officials in Maine and Vermont to see if they agreed. You'll be surprised to learn that not one of them did, with almost all either finding it to be no problem or, more frequently, lauding the connection to "the real world" that voting allows imprisoned citizens as they pay their debt to society.

Nichanian, a Senior Fellow at the Justice Collaborative and expert on criminal justice reform and mass incarceration, shares insight from the officials he spoke with, and explains why reform on this issue (which disproportionately affects minorities) --- and a number of related topics --- is long overdue.

"We are not treating the right to vote as an inalienable, fundamental right of U.S. democracy, as a right that every citizen should have, and have protected," he tells me, explaining why "ending felony disenfranchisement would also mean that law enforcement professionals are no longer the arbiters of who gets to exercise democratic rights."

Nichanian notes that "the way in which we talk about people who are incarcerated, it would seem like we forget that these people have families, they have kids who go to school, and the school board elections matter to them. They have families who also need to care about their elected officials."

"There's all sorts of arguments of whether people are worthy of voting or not, whether people have shown enough civic capacity to vote or not," he argues. "And I find all of that universe of questions to be questionable, because we are claiming for ourselves the power and authority to decide whether our fellow citizens should have the same rights as us. I find that to be a problematic question. And I think that's just the bottom line: whether we want the right to vote to be a protected right for all U.S. citizens."

He says that "we are definitely seeing the criminal justice reform conversation encompass these issues of rights restoration, as a tool of re-entry, as a tool of thinking about how people remain human, as a way of thinking about economic justice and racial justice throughout the process." But whether that, theoretically bipartisan effort will ultimately become a fight for re-enfranchising felons remains to be seen.

We also discuss how the imprisoned population is used in the fight over apportionment, with the incarcerated counted in the census and for redistricting purposes, even while that huge chunk of the population is disallowed from exercising any real political power through the vote. "The time to address it is literally now, because the next round of redistricting and map-drawing is coming up. If this is going to be reformed, it has to be in the next couple of years, or else we'll have ten more years of problems on this."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report as "climate emergency" is named "Word of the Year" by the Oxford Dictionary and, unfortunately, for very good reason...

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

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All Americans, progressive or otherwise, should stand for what is right...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/6/2019 11:09am PT  

The right of inmates to vote is not a radical idea. In addition to Maine and Vermont, 21 other democracies, including Canada, Sweden and Israel, allow all prisoners to vote.

Seventy (70) civil rights and advocacy groups have now joined Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in calling for restoring the right of all inmates to vote. Although Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) have stopped short of agreeing with Sanders' proposal, both appear to be considering it. Warren stated simply that she was "not there yet." Harris, a former prosecutor, who is focused on restoring post-release felon voting rights, acknowledged that "we should have that conversation."

Inmate voting rights advocates argue that, while the rule of law requires appropriate punishments for crimes, this can be done without sacrificing the right of every citizen to vote --- a right that provides the cornerstone for a free and democratic society. Moreover, there's a rehabilitative purpose. Inmate voting encourages prisoners, who retain their First Amendment rights while incarcerated, to responsibly stay connected or reconnect with society. Indeed, some inmates have gone on to become "eloquent advocates" for social justice.

Ironically, while incarcerated, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison, would go on to become the formerly apartheid South Africa's first black President and a recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize.

Opponents of inmate voting appeal to the natural repugnance the electorate holds towards some of our nation's most heinous crimes and those who carried them out: individuals, like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted as the Boston Marathon Bomber and Dylann Roof, who was convicted for the Charleston Church Massacre.

While gut level repugnance towards these especially heinous crimes is understandable, from the perspective of societal needs, there are multiple reasons to question the validity of adding, as a form of punishment, inmate disenfranchisement to imprisonment, fines, restitution, and, in the cases of Tsarnaev and Roof, to their death sentences...

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




Guest: Wisconsin's own John Nichols; Also: Surprise concession in KS GOP Guv primary; CO's anti-gay cake baker is back in court...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2018 6:06pm PT  

There was a little something for everyone, it seems, in Tuesday's primary elections in Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin. We cover as much of it as we can on today's BradCast, as voters in all but 10 states have now selected their candidates for the crucial 2018 midterms. [Audio link to show follows below.]

There were a lot of "firsts" and reasons for Democrats to be optimistic about November, based on the reported results today, and some of that optimism comes from races that Donald Trump believes he is happy about today, as his party moves farther and farther to the right to become the Party of Trump. It should also be noted that many of the Democratic winners on Tuesday were both progressive and political newcomers.

Among the many noteworthy contests on Tuesday covered on today's show, we now have the first transgender person to become a major party nominee for Governor (Christine Hallquist in VT); the first African-American woman to likely represent New England in the U.S. House (former teen mother turned "Teacher of the Year", Jahana Hayes in CT); the first Somali-American refugee who will likely become one of two of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress (Ilhan Omar in MN); a stunning upset in Minnesota's Republican gubernatorial primary (front-runner and former two-term Gov. Tim Pawlenty was crushed by Trump-endorsed Jeff Johnson); and there were some encouraging Democratic wins in Wisconsin and victories over moderate GOPers by fully Trumped-up Republicans in several races.

We're joined today by native Wisconsinite and longtime progressive journalist JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation and of Madison, WI's Capitol Times for analysis and insight on all of the above, as WI's controversial, union-busting, two-term Republican Gov. Scott Walker faces his greatest political challenge this November against Tuesday's Democratic nominee, state school superintendent Tony Evers, and as the Democrats' face a tough fight to flip retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan's seat from "red" to "blue" with the Bernie Sanders-endorsed iron-worker and union organizer turned first time politician, Randy Bryce.

We cover a LOT of ground on today's show (including the late domestic abuse allegations against MN Rep. Keith Ellison, who easily won his Democratic primary in the state's Attorney General's race), so it's best I just let you listen rather than try to summarize Nichols' keen insights on Tuesday's races and more.

Also today: Democrats celebrate Governor Jeff Colyer's surprising sudden concession last night to Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach in the razor-thin battle for the GOP Gubernatorial nomination following last week's primary in the state; And the anti-gay Colorado baker/bigot who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple's wedding, under the pretext of "religious liberty", is now back in court after refusing to sell a cake to a transgender customer...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/11/2017 9:25am PT  

Last week, at the behest of the "terrorist-enabling" National Rifle Association (NRA), the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act [PDF] (CCRA or HR-38), by way of a mostly party-line vote, 231 to198.

Under the provisions of this proposed federal statute, anyone who has a right to carry a concealed handgun in their own state --- such as "Wild, Wild West Nevada" where everyone is entitled to open or conceal carry all manner of firearms --- must now be permitted to carry a concealed weapon inside any other state that allows citizens to apply for, but not necessarily receive, a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

According to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., "Someone from Vermont, where there are no permit requirements, could come into New York City with a loaded gun, come to Times Square, go to the subways." This, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill added, "will make New York City less safe and our job as law enforcement much harder."

Organizing for America's Jesse Lehrich similarly observed in a tweet, that where Massachusetts "has a rigorous process to obtain a Concealed Carry permit, Vermont has no requirements. Under HR-38, a guy from MA could just buy a gun in VT & bring it back & override MA laws."

As a practical matter, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for local law enforcement to determine whether an individual sporting a concealed weapon has a permit from another state without first "detaining" them long enough to check their ID. That, as Lehrich notes, could also get them sued, because HR-38 allows someone with a permit from another state to sue law enforcement for simply detaining them.

The legislation, if adopted, would also appear to override states' rights in gun safety conscious states, like California, where both open and concealed carry is generally prohibited, though residents may apply for a license to carry a concealed firearm. The NRA's proposed federal statute would prohibit CA law enforcement from "arresting or detaining" a NV resident with a permit, even though CA residents who could not meet the criteria for a concealed carry license under state law could be prosecuted for the same offense.

Fortunately, if the life-endangering CCRA is enacted into law, there's a good chance it will subsequently be struck down as unconstitutional, even by our current U.S. Supreme Court...

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Guest: Gaius Publius of 'Down With Tyranny'; And another hurricane over Mexico, another North Korean missile over Japan...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2017 5:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Art of the Scammer; the Equifax outrage, and Dems work to win back the populist Left. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump is working very hard to have it both ways since reversing Barack Obama's Executive Order last week on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA). The program had served to protect some 800,000 children of undocumented immigrants, brought here through no fault of their own, from deportation. On Wednesday night, following dinner with the President, Democratic Congressional leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi announced they had struck an agreement with Trump to pass DACA legislatively, in exchange for more border security, as long as it didn't include Trump's long-promised border wall with Mexico.

Trump has been flip-flopping and flop-flipping on that reported deal ever since, pretending that his wall is already being built, and trying to otherwise appease his angry(ish) base at the same time he's apparently trying to close a deal with both Democratic and Republican leadership in Congress.

Then, we're joined by blogger GAIUS PUBLIUS to discuss his coverage of last week's massive Equifax data breach, including what you can and should do to protect yourself in its wake, and whether the massive credit monitoring firm will face any accountability at all for what they did to help cause --- and cover up --- the hack which reportedly exposed the personal information of some 143 million Americans.

We also discuss Sen. Bernie Sanders' single-payer "Medicare-for-All" health care bill, introduced in the U.S. Senate this week, with the co-sponsorship of some 16 Senate Democrats, many of whom are thought to be 2020 Presidential contenders. What does the sudden popularity of "Medicare-for-All" in both the U.S. Senate and House signal for Democrats? And will their tepid steps towards economic populism help turn the tide for them at the national level in 2018 and 2020?

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, on the long tail of catastrophic devastation left behind by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. And, as if all of that isn't enough, also today: Yet another hurricane comes ashore in Mexico (their second in the past week), and North Korea launches another ballistic missile over Japan...

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

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Guest: Meteorologist, author, and Republican climate change champion Paul Douglas; Also: GOP healthcare plan still failing; Republicans repudiate Trump 'wire-tap' claim; much more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2017 6:09pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, the record-breaking March Blizzard of 2017 (sorry, Weather Channel, we won't call it "Stella"!), may be mostly gone from the Northeast, but a blizzard of disinformation remains in its wake. We do our best to shovel out a bit today with our favorite Republican meteorologist. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

I'm happy to be joined today by Paul Douglas, longtime Minnesota broadcast meteorologist, StarTribune columnist and co-author of Caring for Creation: The Evangelicals Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment to respond to, among many other things, those on the right (led by Matt Drudge), charging that the blockbuster late-season winter storm that swept through the Midwest and Northeast, leaving record snowfall in its wake, was actually evidence that Donald Trump should "clear out [the] climate hysterics" from the National Weather Service.

While he's here, Douglas also explains the dangers of Donald Trump's proposed massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other science, weather and climate-related federal agencies. NOAA, he says, whose satellites are relied upon as the "eyes" of the National Weather Service, is also "essential for the private sector, and for the military". Without those eyes, many of which are already beyond their expected lifespan, Douglas argues that the nation will be "more vulnerable" to all matter of threats.

Douglas also offers his thoughts on last week's comments by Trump's EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, claiming, in contradiction of well-established science, that the scientific evidence is lacking to prove that CO2 is the primary driver of man-made climate change. Douglas gives us a non-denier Republican perspective on the entire matter, noting that we "can't pollute our way to prosperity" and argues that "the final chapter is not written yet" when it comes to the GOP response to climate change. Somehow or another he remains "optimistic" that his party will come around to reality on that score...eventually. (I remain dubious.)

Also today: A new poll finds the (deadly) GOP/Trump plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is wildly unpopular among voters; Top Congressional Republicans repudiate Trump's wire-tapping claim against former President Obama; We take a few fairly salacious calls from listeners; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report...

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

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Guest: Alternet's Steve Rosenfeld on a report from legal experts finding more than 50 Trump electors were unlawfully seated...
By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's another busy day of warmongering on Capitol Hill, attempts to gut American's health care systems, and one last-ditch effort to keep Trump from becoming the President-Elect. [Audio link to the show follows below.]

The cyberwar-mongering against Russia continued today in both the U.S. media and U.S. Congress, despite wildly erroneous reporting by mainstream media outlets and the disturbing lack of public evidence to support both the claims and calls from Democrats and some Republicans alike, to go on the offensive against the former Soviet nation. Those calls increased today during a U.S. Senate hearing with outgoing Dir. of National Intelligence James Clapper (who previously lied to Congress about the NSA's bulk collection on American email and phone call information), and despite new revelations that the FBI never examined the computer servers of the DNC, which they allege to have been hacked by Russia in hopes of supporting Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

Then, a new report documents an attempt from a bi-partisan legal team hoping to block the ratification of Trump's Electoral College victory in Congress on Friday. The effort is based on the group's 1,000-page documented legal finding that more than 50 of Trump's electors were unlawfully and/or unconstitutionally seated.

Alternet journalist Steve Rosenfeld, who broke the story late last night, joins us to explain the basis for the last-ditch effort to stop Trump, its chances for success, and some Congressional Democrats' surprising response to it.

"Everywhere you look under the rug, there's something else that is either broken or not followed when it comes to the partisan tinkering of elections," Rosenfeld tells me, arguing that Dems should use the information from the legal experts to both challenge Trump's (lack of) mandate and, at the very least, "as a moment to lecture the Republicans on voter suppression." He adds that despite the seeming Hail Mary nature of the effort, "today people are frantically searching for a Senator" to support a challenge to the Electoral College results during the Joint Session of Congress scheduled for Friday. Good luck with that.

Also today: U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan announces that the GOP plans to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, despite the organization's popularity and Desi Doyen joins us for the first Green News Report of the new year, with a whole bunch of environmental-related news that you may have missed over our holiday break, including the blatantly false story late last week by the Washington Post charging that "Russian hackers penetrated [the] U.S. electricity grid"...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 1/5/2017 11:33am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: While we were out: President Obama created two new national monuments; Wisconsin solved climate change...by deleting it; Ohio's governor reinstated renewable energy standards; Michigan banned plastic bag bans; PLUS: Activists got high to protest Dakota Access Pipeline... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): How to Save $23 Trillion Per Year: 100% Renewable Energy for the World; Warming Crushes Global Records Again In 2016; House Passes Bill To Overturn 'Midnight' Regulations En Masse; Oil Industry Fears Trump May Hit Them Up on Tax Reform; China To Plow $361 Billion Into Renewable Fuel By 2020; Court Delays Appeal Over Obama’s Fracking Rule; US Workers Making BPA Have Enormous Loads Of It In Them... PLUS: Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest Faces Fracking Threat... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Plus: Team Trump ups efforts to shut down 'recounts'; New VT law undermines democracy; Paper v. Computer counts; More...
By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2016 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the latest breaking news on how broken optical-scan tabulation computers may have undermined the ability to count tens of thousands of ballots in Michigan --- specifically in or near Detroit --- and much more "recount" 2016 related news, even from Vermont! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

With a reported margin of just over 10,000 votes for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in MI --- out of some 5 million votes tallied in the state --- the ability to hand-count tens of thousands of votes in Green Party candidate Jill Stein's federal court-ordered [PDF] "recount" may be at risk of "chaos" under state law, thanks to the failure of computerized paper-ballot optical-scanners which may have mistallied ballots in some fashion on Election Day.

Hopefully, hand-counts can reconcile mismatches between poll book signatures and computer printouts from "610 of 1,680" precincts in Wayne County, which includes heavily Democratic-leaning Detroit, where "392 of 662" or 59% of precincts may now be uncountable. That's a major concern, obviously, not just due to the state's razor thin margin, but also, as Stein points out today, since some 75,000 ballots --- until now, completely unexamined by human beings --- were reported by the computers to have no vote at all for President. That's a 70% increase from 2012 in the number of ballots reported to have Presidential undervotes, a number that is more than seven-fold the margin of votes that could flip the state from Trump to Clinton.

All of that as Team Trump ups their efforts in both state and federal court to stop the counting in MI entirely and as Stein pushes back in both court cases, including a move to force the recusal of two state Supreme Court judges named by Trump as potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees.

Also, while a recent change to state law by Republicans in WI has resulted in many of the largest counties simply running paper ballots through the same computer scanners that tallied them (either correctly or incorrectly, who knows?) the first time in that state's "recount", it's not just Republicans who prefer unverified computer tallies over hand-counts. In Vermont, the will of the voters may never been known in two exceedingly close state legislative races, thanks to a 2014 state law supported Democrats, requiring that computers, not people, tally ballots during ongoing "recounts" there. Two incumbent Democratic lawmakers who supported the new law may now be undone by it, as one is set to lose a "recounted" race by just six votes, and the other is facing a tie, depending on whether two questionably marked paper ballots were tallied by the scanner or not. (I wonder how they could figure out if they were?)

All of that may be good news to the Washington Post, however, which published an op-ed yesterday explaining why the authors believe, in contravention of computer scientists and voting systems experts, that "computers are better than humans at counting ballots." Of course, to know that for certain, the authors suggest...um...counting ballots by hand.

Also on today's BradCast: Al Gore meets with Donald Trump to discuss Climate Change and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the weekend's victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, on Trump reportedly eying Native American lands for energy development and Exxon Mobile's CEO for Sec. of State, and a bit of good renewable energy news out of Texas (of all places)...

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

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GUEST: VOA correspondent Steven L. Herman from Bangkok...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2016 5:49pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, while voters head to the polls again in several states, and as the media continue to misreport the race, at least on the Democratic side, we mark this week's 5-year anniversary since Japan's triple disasters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown struck in March of 2011. [Link to the complete show's audio is below.]

I'm joined once again on today's show by Voice of America's Steven L. Herman from Bangkok. We spoke to Herman originally on the program five years ago, just after the initial disaster(s), when he was one of the first journalists to visit the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant and the 50-mile "exclusion zone" around it, following the meltdown or near-meltdown of 4 of its 6 reactors and the mass evacuation of hundreds of thousands of nearby residents --- back when, as Japan's former Prime Minister now admits, the nation was just a "paper-thin margin" away from a total catastrophe.

"We were on the ground just 24 hours after the quake struck in Fukushima," Herman recalls today. "We got the last flight into Fukushima Prefecture and when we were boarding that flight, they were contemplating canceling [it] because of concerns about a possible meltdown of the nuclear power plant."

Herman, who was then VOA News' Northeast Asia bureau chief and is now in charge of its Bangkok bureau, recently visited Fukushima again and reports today on the continuing battle to control unstable nuclear material at the plant, the lack of a long term plan to dispose of toxic water and soil that continues to pile up (at as many as 115,000 makeshift locations around the Fukushima Prefecture!), as well as on the plight of many residents who lived near the plant and are still unable to return to their homes all of these years later, due to radiation levels.

"You have this cleanup effort that is going to last decades and cost hundreds of billions of dollars," Herman tells me. "Forty years is the official estimate, costs around $250 billion. But you talk to a lot of people who are experts in the field and they say that is a very optimistic figure, that it is going to take much longer and cost much more --- and the burden of this is being borne by the Japanese taxpayers."

"Nine million cubic meters of radioactive soil are being stored in these black bags throughout the prefecture. But there is a continuing buildup of more stored water. And one consultant I talked to, an American and former US diplomat, said Tokyo Electric Power [TEPCO] can't decide what to do with all of it, and they refuse to let any foreign experienced program management companies come and help them out with this."

There's far more important information in my detailed interview with Herman than I can possibly give justice to by sharing here in a short description, concerning the "paralysis" that both Japan and TEPCO seem to be facing in dealing with the crisis, the strained if co-dependent relationship between the two entities, the recent indictments of several top officials in charge of the plant at the time, the human toll of the cleanup both now and in the hours after the initial disaster, the restart of several other nuclear plants in the country, and the continuing concerns for the stability of the precariously crippled plant "if there were to be another huge earthquake, or a tsunami were to strike the facility again --- then you're talking about a situation of total chaos."

I think it's a must-listen interview, frankly. And it was a pleasure, if a chilling and disturbing one, to catch up with Herman, who is just a tremendous reporter, all of these years later. Please check it out in full below.

Also on today's program: More on the media misreporting of the race between Sanders and Clinton and the Democratic party's unpledged, so-called "SuperDelegates" (in this case, by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow) and, finally, some very good non-Bernie related news for voters in the great state of Vermont...

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

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(And how did Jim Gilmore 'win' an entire Massachusetts town?!)
By Brad Friedman on 3/2/2016 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast we examine what the big Super Tuesday wins mean, and don't, for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as well what the media is both misreporting and failing to report at all. [Audio linked below.]

First, the GOP is now in full panic mode following Trump's seven-state victory yesterday, as the DNC and corporate media use misleading numbers to describe Clinton's own seven-state victory. In addition to the general horse-race numbers, and the Republican drama, we examine how the MSM continues to ill-serve the public in their coverage of the Democratic race to date, specifically when it comes to the unpledged so-called "SuperDelegates".

We also look at a few more of the more than 2,000 reports of voting problems that came into the non-partisan Election Protection coalition yesterday; More touch-screen trouble, this time in TN; And what the hell happened in Chelsea, MA, where former VA Gov. Jim Gilmore(!?!), who dropped out of the race weeks ago, crushed the Republican Primary competition, at least according to the paper-ballot optical-scan computers that tallied the results last night?...

The paper ballots in Chelsea were initially tabulated by the same type of op-scan systems used in states all over the country and shown to be capable of flipping elections without notice in the jaw-dropping finale of HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy. Today, the numbers have now been "corrected" [PDF] by the clerk's office [Update: The link to the document at the Chelsea government site is now broken, so here's a copy of the PDF that had been linked there] and, apparently, chalked up to "the computer system that reported the results". Ya don't say. Was it anything like this similar failure from Stoughton, WI in 2014?

Also today: Listener email in response to my interview earlier this week with Current Affairs magazine editor Nathan J. Robinson, who had offered his persuasive case, based on his recent feature article, for why Trump is likely to win the Presidency if Democrats fail to nominate Bernie Sanders. We look at the arguments from a number of you who disagreed with Robinson.

Finally: A short, but refreshing break from politics as Scott Kelly, the American astronaut who has been in space for the past year, returns safely to Earth with his Russian counterpart in furtherance of NASA's planned manned missions to Mars...

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

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Guest: Heidi Hess of CredoAction...
By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2015 5:08pm PT  

The USA Freedom Act passes as a long overdue replacement to the Patriot Act. Mitch McConnell weeps and Rand Paul raises money. That's good. But is it a good bill and will it end mass government surveillance by the NSA?

Then, we've finally learned if disgraced U.S. District Judge Mark 'Wife-Beater' Fuller, set to 'resign in shame', will receive a federal retirement pension. Heidi Hess of CREDOAction.com joins us to discuss that, her organization's complaint against Fuller at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the five vacancies now on Alabama's federal court (which Republicans are trying to keep vacant for as long as possible.)

Plus some good voting news in Vermont and maybe in Wisconsin; the bizarre disposition of the Dennis Hastert indictments; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with the climate change positions of four new candidates in the 2016 race...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Plus: A spate of new voting laws, good and bad, around the country...
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2015 4:53pm PT  

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA-4) returned to The BradCast today to take a bit of a victory lap after President Obama's Executive Order this week restricting the flow of heavy armaments from the Dept. of Defense to state and local police via the Pentagon's 1033 program.

Johnson spoke with us most recently last summer, after Ferguson blew up, and as he was preparing to file his "Stop Militarization Law Enforcement Act of 2015" [PDF]. Long before that, he had been working to roll back the obscene militarization of our local police. So he was justifiably happy about this week's development, even while explaining that its still important to pass his legislation because Executive Orders are easily undone by Congress and Republicans are, somewhat schizophrenically, in the process of actually trying to expand the 1033 program.

Then we cover a spate of new voting laws working their way through statehouses around the country from TX to OH to NH to FL to VT to MD. While most off the new laws in Republican states are predictably restrictive and in Democratic states more expansive, there is one pleasantly surprising exception to that rule this week.

Also, millions of spiders falling from the skies in Australia! And Desi Doyen joins for the latest Green News Report, which actually includes a some encouraging good for a change!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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