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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...


Guest: Author and 'REDMAP' gerrymandering expert David Daley; Also: Lawyers hate Trump; Dems to boycott Barrett vote?; Federal court allows TX to reject mail-in ballots without contacting voters...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2020 6:56pm PT  

There's a lot to digest on today's BradCast, so I'll try to keep this teaser brief so you can just listen. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

First up, it turns out lawyers really don't like Donald Trump, even the ones he actually pays millions to work for him. In Congress, Dems vow "no more business as usual" on Amy Coney Barrett's nomination, but how much are they actually able to do about it? We may be about to find out.

And, as if it wasn't difficult enough to vote safely --- or at all --- in Texas amid the pandemic (or even before the pandemic!), still more vote suppression has just been ordered there by the radical rightwing judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal.

A ruling like the one they've just issued to allow mail-in ballots to be rejected based on perceived signature mismatches (as adjudicated by non-handwriting experts) without contacting voters first to allow them to cure any perceived problems, is the type of voter suppression that might have been blocked in advance by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act before it was gutted by the GOP-majority U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, in the infamous Shelby County case.

That ruling of a piece of with Karl Rove and the GOP's "Plot for Permanent Minority Rule", as expertly detailed by our guest today, author and FairVote.org Senior Fellow DAVID DALEY in his new must-read cover story for The New Republic this month. Daley unspools the full story of how the unlikely Republican voting rights hero, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), partnered with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and voting rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in 2006 to ensure the re-authorization of the VRA in full for 25 more years. Sensenbrenner held a dozen hearings with nearly 50 witnesses as Chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, in order to compile some 12,000 pages of recent, compelling evidence of racially-based voter suppression that supported the need to extend the then 40-year old landmark civil rights law.

But that was before Karl Rove's successful scheme to gain GOP control of state legislatures in 2010 after that year's Census, in order to gerrymander "democracy" within an inch of its life for the entire next decade. And it was before the Republican SCOTUS majority ignored Sensenbrenner's work on the VRA entirely --- and a bipartisan 98-0 vote in the U.S. Senate to extend the Act --- in order to gut it.

The nation has been paying a very steep price ever since. Republicans in gerrymandered districts in Congress and state legislatures no longer worry about working and compromising with Democrats. Their only concern became primary challenges from the Right. So the party moved ever farther in that direction until arriving where we are today, when the idea of fixing the now-gutted VRA has become unthinkable --- just a few short years after it was re-authorized by a Republican House, Senate and President. The scheme also allowed opportunists like Donald Trump to take advantage of the lost protections for voting rights in gerrymandered state after gerrymandered state, which continues to haunt America's hobbled democracy today.

Daley discusses how all of this came about, how --- and if --- it can be corrected, and how he was able to get so many Republicans who now regret building the "Frankenstein monster that has devoured our politics" to speak on the record about those regrets --- as regular Americans pay an unspeakable price for it all.

"This was not caused by Donald Trump. It did not start with him," Daley tells me. "The fight over the vote has been deeply entwined in this nation ever since the founding of this nation. But these battles did not start in 2016. They will not end on Election Day 2020. And there is a real, deeply embedded, [GOP] minority rule that has been built atop a system that already advantaged Republicans geographically in the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College."

"This has been baked in to our politics for a long time. It's going to take a lot of time for us to get it out. This is a Census year. This is a redistricting year. So state legislatures and the next decade of maps are on the line again," he cautions. So, please VOTE and remember to vote ALL THE WAY DOWN THE BALLOT THIS YEAR! "There are more of us than there are of them," Daley notes, "but there are more of them on the Supreme Court than us, and that's a big, big problem."

And if that sounds like a heavy show, don't worry! Mel Brooks is here at the end to help calm your anxiety --- and mine --- just a little bit...

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

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Guest: Plaintiff Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: My escape from 'Twitter Jail'; GA's vote system fails, causes long lines on first day of early voting; CA GOP's fake mail-in drop boxes...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2020 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A long-awaited ruling in the federal case challenging Georgia's new, unverifiable, already-failed $100+ million touchscreen vote systems --- which failed again on day one of early voting today in the Peach State. Also, my escape from "Twitter Jail" and the California GOP deploys fraudulent mail-in drop-boxes across the state. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We start today by avoiding, for now, the first day of the illegitimate confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Instead, we offer some exclusive news that is not being reported elsewhere on two fronts, both related to Georgia's disastrous new voting system. First up, an explanation --- or, a conclusion for now --- to the saga that resulted in my 4 days suspension on Twitter beginning late last week, for the crime of posting a completely accurate tweet about two weeks ago, reporting that GA's Secretary of State informed elections officials in all 159 counties to immediately halt pre-election testing of their new touchscreen voting systems, due to an error that prevented candidates in one of Georgia's two U.S. Senate elections this year from appearing on screen for voters. The error, as I noted in my infamous (and accurate) tweet, would eventually require all new software for the November elections. In fact, as the federal ruling we discuss today reveals, the state installed all new, uncertified software on all 34,000 of the new voting machines just days ago, in violation of state law. You can read the full saga, with links to the federal court filings proving the accuracy of the tweet, and why I eventually relented and deleted it right here.

As Georgia began its first day of early voting on Monday, sure enough, the vote system I was warning about in that tweet failed, leading to six-hour lines to vote in some places. But the long-running federal court case whose emergency filings revealed the serious problem I was tweeting, finally came to a conclusion --- of sorts, at least for now --- late on Sunday night. That is when U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg finally released her long-awaited ruling in the case which challenged the security, accuracy and constitutionality of the state's use of new, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion Voting Systems. The Plaintiffs called for them to be replaced by a cheaper, verifiable hand-marked paper ballots system.

Last year, Totenberg found the state's previous, 20-year old Diebold touchscreen systems to be unsecure, unverifiable and, thus, unconstitutional, ordering them banned for all future elections in the state. On Sunday night, in her long-awaited 147-page ruling [PDF] that begins by citing the plot to the movie Groundhog Day, Totenberg once again finds the state's new touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) "presents serious system security vulnerability and operational issues that may place Plaintiffs and other voters at risk of deprivation of their fundamental right to cast an effective vote that is accurately counted." The judge warned "these risks are neither hypothetical nor remote" and slams "the insularity" of the "stance" by the GA Sec. of State and the state's private vendor, Canadian-based Dominion Voting Systems, "in evaluation and management of the security and vulnerability of the BMD system [which] does not benefit the public or citizen's confident exercise of the franchise."

After detailing lies, inaccuracies and a lack of knowledge in the testimony of the state's "experts" in the case (no actual cybersecurity experts were presented by them, only employees of the vendors who admitted they had no actual cybsersecurity experience, nor did any penetration tests of the systems before certifying them for use in GA elections!), Judge Totenberg concludes: "The Plaintiffs’ national cybersecurity experts convincingly present evidence that this is not a question of 'might this actually ever happen?' – but 'when it will happen,' especially if further protective measures are not taken. Given the masking nature of malware and the current systems described here, if the State and Dominion simply stand by and say, 'we have never seen it,' the future does not bode well."

For now, that future includes the use of the systems that Totenberg clearly finds so dangerous because, as she explains, it might cause chaos for elections officials if she ordered the use of hand-marked paper ballots at the polling places this close to Election Day.

We're joined once again to discuss the case today by MARILYN MARKS of case plaintiff Coalition for Good Governance, which has been leading this long and important federal court battle now for several years. She has been joining us to discuss it at critical junctures, even while most of the broadcast media has studiously avoided covering it all. Marks offers her reaction to the judge's long-awaited ruling, describes her disappointment in the ultimate order from the judge (for now), while expressing confidence that these systems --- just like the state's previous ones --- will eventually be barred by this judge for use for the very same reasons that she ordered the state's old ones to finally be trashed.

"What we see here is these systems are put together in a slipshod fashion, without security being an important priority at all to these companies," Marks tells me. "These voting system vendors will say anything, and unfortunately many of our election officials who are purchasing these systems will repeat and parrot whatever those words are. You begin to wonder what is it that drives these elections officials, like Secretary [of State Brad] Raffensberger in Georgia, to buy the most expensive and least-auditable equipment."

Noting that unverifiable BMD systems similar to the ones now being forced on voters for the first time at the polls in other critical battlegrounds --- such as Philadelphia, the most Democratic-leaning county in North Carolina, all of South Carolina, as well as key counties in Texas and Ohio, not to mention the nation's most populous voting jurisdiction, Los Angeles County --- Marks decries the damage to democracy being done in all of those locations, while still being hopeful for the future.

"If there's good news in the judge's denial of relief for November, she did write a very solid yet scathing opinion, and explained in detail why these systems are not secure," she explains. "I'm hopeful that her opinion can spread across --- certainly Los Angeles, and all the counties that are using these systems in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, and even my home county of Mecklenberg, North Carolina --- and shake up some of these election officials. But maybe, most importantly, some of these candidates. That is such a shame that we don't have the parties and we don't have the candidates demanding a fair system."

Marks adds: "We're confident we'll win the case. We've proven our point. We've proven that they're unconstitutional. We've proven that they're insecure. We've proven that people shouldn't be permitted to vote on them. The only piece that's missing is, how long does it take? How long does it take for jurisdictions to be prepared to do something simple, like hand out hand-marked paper ballots? Given how important this election is, it is a real shame that we have to put up with these machines in November."

Finally, we close with the news that Republicans in California --- after Trump and his GOP have been suing to do away with mail-in drop-boxes all over the country --- are actually deploying fake ones up and down the Golden State, in apparent violation of the law, according to California's Secretary of State...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Vote Common Good's Doug Pagitt; Also: More TX vote restrictions, bribery allegations against its A.G.; Biden calls for unity at Gettysburg...
By Brad Friedman on 10/7/2020 5:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A mess in Texas (several of them!), a call for unity from the Democratic Presidential nominee, and a newly discovered, scientifically-supported way to finally reach evangelical and Catholic supporters of Donald Trump and help turn them toward Joe Biden. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

First, the GOP War Against Voting and Voters continues, shamefully, to gain ground in Texas as the all-Republican state Supreme Court, on Wednesday, nixed the Harris County Clerk's plan to send absentee ballot applications to all 2.4 million registered voters in the Democratic-leaning Houston area. That follows on the heels of Gov. Greg Abbott's proclamation late last week that no county may have more than one mail-in ballot drop-off location. (So, Dem-leaning Harris County's 2.4 million voters get just one drop-box in the nation's third most populous county stretching across 1,777 square miles...as do the 60,000 voters of GOP-leaning Rockwall County, on less than 150 square miles.)

Many of the new restrictions for the general election were not in place during this year's primary in the Lone Star State, which is just one of five that is not allowing expanded mail-in voting during the pandemic, thanks in no small part to its radically far-right Attorney General Ken Paxton. Among other efforts to prevent voting, he went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent voters under 65-years of age from citing fear of contracting COVID-19 as a valid excuse for requesting an absentee ballot.

The Republican War on Voting in Texas is aided, no doubt, by the fact that Joe Biden is just over 3 points behind Trump, according to the RealClearPolitics' polling average today, in a state which hasn't elected a Democrat for President since 1976. Moreover, a large "blue" turnout this year could mean that Democrats finally take control of the state House of Representatives for the first time in 20 years.

But, here's the kicker, AG Ken Paxton, the man spearheading the state's war against democracy by claiming that loosening voting restrictions would violate state and federal laws and lead to massive "voter fraud", is himself under criminal felony indictment for securities fraud. He has been fighting those long-standing charges for years. But now, over this past weekend, 7 top executives in his own office --- including Paxton's own first assistant --- have asked federal law enforcement officials to investigate the state AG for what they describe as "improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal offenses."

Gov. Abbott says the charges by Paxton's own employees "raise serious concerns" and the AG's former top aide turned Congressman, Rep. Chip Roy, has called on Paxton to resign immediately. All of this comes as Paxton continues to suppress Texas voters while the federal lawsuit he headed up with 17 other state AGs to strike down the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in its entirely will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court just ten days after Election Day.

So, yeah, it's a mess in Texas.

While it remains to be seen if Democrats can finally turn the Lone Star State blue --- especially with these extraordinary efforts by Republicans to block the vote --- Biden's lead over Trump continues to expand across the nation and most of the states considered to be battlegrounds, according to recent polling. But our guest today, DOUG PAGITT, Executive Director and Co-founder of the faith-based group Vote Common Good, believes an interesting new scientific survey carried out by his organization in consultation with human behavior experts from universities around the country, may have finally found a way to reach evangelical and Catholic voters who supported Trump in 2016.

Pagitt, a progressive evangelical pastor and, coincidentally, radio host at our affiliate station am950 KTNF in Minneapolis/St. Paul, is now on the road in five swing-states with Vote Common Good, a non-profit organization focused on reaching voters with the message that Americans can actively spread good in their own communities through the voting booth. He recently wrote an article for NBC News about his organization's fascinating polling of Christian voters in those five key battlegrounds --- Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin --- in August, revealing what he says is the key to turning enough Christian Trump voters in favor of Biden to flip at least four of those five states.

The ">survey [PDF] spoke to Catholic and evangelical voters about seven core virtues (kindness, generosity, humility, chastity, modesty, diligence and patience) and seven sins (lust, sloth, greed, wrath, gluttony, envy and pride), asking them to compare Trump and Biden. He explains how just one of those virtues --- or, in Trump's case, lack thereof --- was more central to any other vice or virtue in changing the minds of his 2016 voters.

"The one thing that causes someone to move away from supporting Donald Trump is his lack of kindness," Paggit explains. Surprisingly, it wasn't his many "sins," which were largely well known in 2016 during his race with Hillary Clinton. He goes on to explain why that is and how the group's surprising finding can effectively be used to reach out to your faith-based friends and family members who may now be on the fence or even still supporting Trump. His organization has even set up a way for you to reach out to those voters in swing states with postcards and yard signs that include the necessary message.

Please tune in for this fascinating discussion!

Finally, speaking of bringing people together, Biden attempted to do just that on Tuesday, in an effective speech delivered at the Civil War battleground of Gettysburg, PA yesterday. We close today's program by sharing some extended remarks from his address...

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

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Super-spreader Donald Trump has helped infect at least 11 senior White House officials and U.S. Senators and appears to have lied about both his infection and treatment. How many more Americans will he sicken before this nightmare finally ends?...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2020 5:55pm PT  

As you might guess, on today's BradCast we are forced to cover super-spreader Donald Trump's bout with COVID-19, as it appears he has helped to infect at least a dozen other high profile officials in both the White House and U.S. Senate and members of the White House press corps. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

As we began the show, he was still being treated at Walter Reed Medical Center, though had already cavalierly announced his plans to head back to the White House after a manic, likely steroid-induced Twitter storm this morning. By the end of the show, he had arrived back at the People's House after enjoying many days in a row of free, tax-payer funded healthcare, despite infrequently paying any federal income taxes at all.

For about half of today's program, we open the show to listener calls. And we had some great ones, including the one which inspired today's headline above, and the final one --- a Republican woman from San Diego who accuses me of "not having [my] facts straight". Sadly, she called too late in the show for me to really enjoy the call as I might have otherwise. Still, it was a nice closer for today.

Before that, we review some of the many lies, obfuscations an evasions from Trump's White House physician Dr. Sean Conley, and the ongoing questions about the seriousness of the President's condition, given the "kitchen sink" of treatments --- experimental or otherwise --- that he has been given, some of which are supposed to be used only for severely or critically ill patients. So, is Trump severely or critically ill? If so, why he he's going "home" already? If not, why was he given so many extraordinary treatments?

Then there is the matter of putting his Secret Service contingent at risk (along with their families) on Sunday by his appalling little drive-by for supporters outside Walter Reed on Sunday.

How many more Americans will Donald Trump kill or make sick before his disastrous tenure as President is brought to a merciful end (with more than 210,000 already killed and nearly 7 and a half million infected in this country --- zero of whom that have received the same extraordinary care and attention he has, so far.)

So, how much should Trump's doctors be believed? How will all of this affect the already-ongoing Presidential election? Will the two more scheduled Presidential Debates happen as scheduled? Will any of this serve to slow down or block the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process in the U.S. Senate of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat left vacant by progressive icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg now that at least three GOP Senators have contracted the virus, apparently via the Rose Garden event announcing Barrett's nomination a week ago Saturday?

All of those questions (and many others) asked and/or answered on today's very lively program!...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2020 4:56pm PT  

I'll try to keep my BradCast summary as short and sweet as possible, as tonight's Presidential Debate in Cleveland begins shortly --- with full special coverage of it on tomorrow's program! [Audio link to today's full show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered today, beginning with some good news and slowly sliding downhill from there...

  • At around 7 points, Joe Biden's current lead in the national polling average against Donald Trump is the largest since Bill Clinton's re-election in 1996. But don't get too excited just yet. We don't run national elections. We run 50 state-by-state elections and it's the Electoral College votes of each of those states that matters, not the popular vote...except for this year, when the popular vote actually could end up making a huge difference in who becomes the next President. I explain why;
  • Biden's pre-election polling lead in the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania, according to a new WaPo/ABC News poll, is now at a substantive 9 points. With the poll's margin of error factored in, however, it could be a much tighter race that that number suggests in Biden's birth state, which is being seen of late, by both campaigns, as the potential tipping point state for the Electoral College this year. But the news is much more good than bad for Biden in the key battleground, in that he is outperforming Hillary Clinton's 2016 lead over Trump in the noteworthy Dem-leaning parts of the state, and has substantially cut into Trump's 2016 margins in the Republican regions of the state and among voters (for example, white without college degrees) that Trump would need to repeat his very narrow reported victory in the Keystone State four years ago;
  • There are, however, many "X Factors" this year that should prevent anyone from thinking they know anything about how all of this could ultimately play out based on either national or battleground state polling numbers --- from the pandemic and the unprecedented number of absentee ballots this year, to the US Postal Service slowdowns, to new, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in many locations, to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court and how those "Radicals in Robes" could still help game the system between now and Election Day (and in the days after), particularly if Republicans are able to steal an even larger the majority by ramming Trump's SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett onto the Court before Election Day, as Senate Republicans currently intend;
  • One of those "X Factors," for example, is playing out right now in New York City today, where the Board of Elections has an apparent disaster on its hands after their vendor sent out tens of thousands of mail-in ballots with the wrong names and addresses printed on the accompanying return envelopes. The BOE claims they will make good on the problem by getting corrected envelopes to voters in time to vote, but once again, chaos reigns for voters in Brooklyn, who are asked by the BOE to contact Apply4Absentee@boe.nyc or call 1-866-VOTE-NYC if they received an absentee ballot with the incorrect name or address on the return envelope;
  • Meanwhile, ballot battles continue in both state and federal courts regarding, among other things, how long after Election Day that mail ballots in swingstates like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina may arrive at County headquarters to still be included in the final results. We're joined today by BRAD BLOG's long-serving legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING to discuss some of those cases and how the U.S. Supreme Court's so-called "Purcell Principle" may serve to overturn (or uphold) rulings in both lower federal courts and in state Supreme Courts. Canning also offers some thoughts on Trump's nomination of Barrett to SCOTUS and how the latest Federalist Society-backed judge to be packed onto the high court illustrates the sweeping lurch to the radical right on our federal court system over the past 40 years;
  • Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report. The news she's got today is pretty grim...but don't blame Desi. There ain't much good news out there to work with these days...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern on Amy Coney Barrett: Also: GA SoS orders pre-election testing stopped on new, touchscreen voting systems after major errors found affecting all 159 counties...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2020 6:49pm PT  

If you haven't already heard about the huge news regarding Donald Trump's taxes, I strongly recommend you go read it, because it's quite stunning. And yet, we didn't have enough time on today's BradCast to more than wave at that news at the top of the show. That's because the news at the U.S. Supreme Court is about to change this nation for a generation, according to our guest today, and perhaps forever. And not for the better. Also, we've got news that broke late Friday night out of Georgia that you almost certainly haven't heard about, but that is jaw-dropping and could result in an absolute disaster for every voter who chooses to vote at the polls in all 159 counties in the key battleground state this year. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

So, with that encouraging warm up, we turn first to the weekend's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett by Donald Trump to become the sixth rightwing justice on the U.S. Supreme Court following the recent death of progressive icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Before Ginsburg was even buried (her funeral is scheduled later this week), Trump wasted no time in naming Barrett, a proud disciple of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, to the high court. That as more than 20 states are already voting in this year's Presidential election. No nominee has ever been named this close to a Presidential election, and Republicans vow to have her seated before Election Day, even though they refused to even give Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing after Scalia died almost 300 days before the 2016 election. Republicans claimed at the time that "the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice," since voting had already begun in the primaries that year. At the same time, as multiple polls make clear, huge majorities of Americans believe whoever is elected in November should be the one to name the next Justice to SCOTUS.

While disingenuous, duplicitous, dishonest, hypocritical Republicans lied in 2016 about that, they couldn't care less in 2020. So they are planning to ram Barrett through the confirmation process as quickly as possible, according to our guest today, Slate's great legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN, so that she will be seated in time for the Court to throw the election to Trump as needed. "Donald Trump has selected her for the express purpose of handing him the election by nullifying enough Democratic votes to secure him a second term," Stern makes clear at the outset. "He has said that out loud on multiple occasions. We have every reason to believe that was his chief criterion in selecting Barrett."

Beyond that, as to what Barrett's vote on the Court on other issues will mean for this nation, for health care, for abortion rights, for gun rights, for voting rights, for the environment, for LGBTQ rights, for immigration rights and much more, Stern pulls no punches today. The outlook is bleak. Very bleak.

"She is going to allow states to ban abortion, to punish and prosecute women who terminate their pregnancies, and even to let Congress ban abortion nationwide so that no state can give people access to the procedure," Stern details in his no-uncertain-terms litany of what Americans can expect under a 6 to 3 Court led by Barrett. "She isis against almost any kind of gun control law, including basic gun safety laws that keep violent criminals from obtaining firearms. ... She does not believe in the right to vote. She believes that states should be able to strip individuals of their right to participate in democracy for arbitrary and discriminatory reasons. ... She does not support LGBTQ equality. She rejects the idea of same-sex marriage. She does not even believe it's real marriage, so far as we can tell. ... She is going to strip our federal laws of all environmental and labor regulations that have any effect. She is going to abolish the federal government's ability to regulate carbon emissions, mercury, lead, to protect workers from labor exploitation," he explains before summing up: "She is going to remake this entire country's law in a way that might satisfy a robber baron of the 1800s, but will make every one else feel --- rightly --- like they're living in the dark ages."

Other than that, she's great! Actually, that's just a partial list of what he says should be expected if/when she is confirmed.

But he's equally clear about what he sees as the only way that Democrats --- and the nation itself --- can now be preserved. And that is the expansion of the Supreme Court with the addition of 4 more seats to restore the Court majority to liberals who should rightly have it after the GOP stole the Court majority from them in 2016. Presuming Dems take the White House and Senate majority this year, Stern argues: "Nothing else the Democrats do is going to matter if they don't begin here first. This is it. This is the test. If Democrats fail this, there might not be any coming back from it."

Would such a "radical" move make things worse? Will it lead to an endless cycle of SCOTUS Wars and the delegitimization of the Court itself? Stern speaks to all of that and much more today. Please tune in.

Then, the news that you almost certainly haven't heard out of Georgia. On Friday night, the Secretary of State's office informed elections officials in all 159 counties that they should immediately stop pre-election testing of the state's brand-new, $100 million, unverifiable touch-screen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting system due to what Election Director Chris Harvey described in an email as "an error in the November database which will require every county to get a new database for the November 3, 2020 election."

"I am very sorry to have to tell you this," Harvey continued, somewhat understating how serious this matter is. "I know that everyone is working as hard as they can to be prepared. We will do everything we can to minimize the delay this will cause. I will give you an update Monday on any ETA for your new database."

While it's still unclear when the corrected databases (or whatever the problem actually is) will be available, the Coalition for Good Governance, which has a long-running federal lawsuit to block the use of the state's new unveriflable touchscreen voting systems --- which every voter in the state is forced to use at the polling place, instead of safer, verifiable, hand-marked paper ballots --- filed a motion on Friday night explaining to the court that it is simply too late to properly test the 80,000 or so separate pieces of the system, as required by law, before Early Voting begins in two weeks.

"[U]nder the current plan," the Coalition spells out in the filing, pre-election "Logic and Accuracy testing is required for 34,000 touchscreens, 34,000 BMD [Ballot Marking Device] printers, 8,600 pollPads [electronic pollbooks], 3,800 precinct scanners, and 175 high volume mail ballot scanners," adding that "A far more manageable, realistic, and safe solution for an orderly and defensible November election is to use hand marked paper ballots instead of the BMD touchscreens and printers, while maintaining a single BMD in every polling place for accessibility needs, to satisfy the requirements of HAVA [the federal Help America Vote Act]."

The federal judge who found the state's previous, 20-year old touchscreen systems to be unsecure, unverifiable and, therefore, unconstitutional, is set to make a ruling at any moment on whether the new systems are equally unconstitutional and should be banned like the old ones were last year. She called all the parties in the case to an emergency hearing on Monday following Friday's stunning news, placing into question whether the state will be able to use the systems at all this November.

We will have much more on this disturbing story as it develops in coming days. But this is just another reason why it is insane to use these types of systems in any election, much less the most critical one in this nation's history. In addition to the entire state of Georgia --- a key battleground state this year --- similar unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Device systems are being used for the first time this year in many of the most Democratic-leaning counties in key battleground states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and Texas, among others, not to mention Los Angeles County in California, the most populous voting jurisdiction in the nation...

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Guest: Attorney, former FCC official Art Belendiuk and media reformer Sue Wilson; Also: FBI Director says no evidence of widespread ballot fraud; Federal Judge orders Census to continue until completed...
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2020 7:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A good answer to the question of how the hell we got here. We have an FCC that appears fully captured by the very (rightwing) corporate entities it is supposed to be regulating while overseeing control of our public airwaves. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first, before we get to our main story today, which is a scoop you probably haven't heard about elsewhere, Donald Trump's own FBI Director Christopher Wray testified in the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee on Thursday that he is unaware of any evidence to suggest widespread absentee ballot fraud is underway. That runs completely contrary to the President of the United States' continued, persistent, repeated, evidence-free claims that Democrats are running some kind of massive absentee ballot fraud scam to steal the election from Trump.

On the other hand, Donald Trump was and is trying to steal the U.S. Census from the people of the United States. But on Friday, a federal judge ordered a stop to it, based on testimony and email from Census Bureau officials revealing that the Commerce Department's order for the Constitutionally-mandated decennial head count to be prematurely ended this month would result in fatally flawed headcount data. The Trump Administration has been trying to complete the tally in time to turn it over to the President for final approval by the end of this year, to avoid the current deadline of April 2021 when Joe Biden could be in office to approve it instead. The attempt to force an under-count, according to critics, would bastardized U.S. House seat apportionment, as well as thousands of state legislative seats and the distribution of some $1.5 trillion in federal spending for the next ten years. It would also result in the under-count of minorities and the shifting of political power to white, rural Republican districts.

And speaking of politically captured federal agencies, earlier this week at The BRAD BLOG, award-winning journalist turned media reform activist SUE WILSON broke the story of a "Petition to Deny" license renewals filed against three broadcast television stations in the Baltimore market. The petition, filed by longtime, D.C.-based Republican communications attorney and former FCC official ART BELENDIUK, charges that the giant, rightwing corporate TV station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group is unlawfully violating the Telecommunications Act [PDF] by secretly owning or controlling three stations in the Baltimore market, when they are only allowed to own one.

Belendiuk and Wilson join me on today's program to explain how the far-right Sinclair, which own Baltimore's WBFF, also secretly controls the ownership of Cunningham Broadcast, which nominally owns WNUV and Deerfield Media, which holds the license to WUTB in the same market. Belendiuk explains how that violates federal restrictions on media ownership, while noting that his "Petition to Deny", filed in Baltimore in hopes of blocking the stations' licensing renewals, is just the first such Petition, given that Sinclair is pulling the same corporate shell game scam with stations all across the country.

"You can have relationships with other stations in the market, but they're carefully regulated by the FCC," Belendiuk tells me. "But Sinclair has gone way beyond that, down to the point of setting the salary of the president of Cunningham. That's not the kind of thing you do at arm's length. Cunningham, which is the main partner of Sinclair, has twenty stations in twenty different markets and they're all paired with Sinclair. So this isn't a Baltimore problem, it's just that the petition had to be filed in Baltimore because of FCC reasons. The first place you could file was in Baltimore."

Wilson detailed in her recent report how, under the FCC's regulation of the Telecommunications Act, "In a single local broadcast market, one company may apply to own two stations --- if there are nine or more stations in that market. [But] Baltimore has just eight stations, and three of them are actually owned by Sinclair."

Sinclair, which officially owns almost 200 hundred TV stations across the county in more than 100 markets, largely in the South and Midwest, first came to national prominence when they mandated their hundreds of otherwise trusted local TV news anchors to read a script on air about "fake news" being a threat to democracy, back in early 2018. As their stations are affiliated with various networks such as ABC, Fox and The CW, local viewers often have no idea they are actually watching a Sinclair station, with a far-right corporate owner controlling the local station's newsroom.

"What's really at stake here are the diversity of voices that we the people get to hear on our local TV stations," Wilson explains. "Local television news is really the medium that most of us trust more than any other today for our news. This is really cutting away at that kind of trust, when you allow one company to own so many stations." She says "the law is clear," but the FCC, whose chairman Ajit Pai was appointed by Donald Trump, is failing to enforce it, even though the details of the sham ownership of the stations and companies controlled by Sinclair were discovered in both FCC and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents, according to Belendiuk's petition

"The commission is aware of this," Belendiuk insists. "Enough is enough. it's time for the FCC to stop looking the other way."

The self-described "political conservative" also shares the progressive Wilson's concerns about the dangers of the lack of diversity over our public airwaves. "In many markets --- take Columbus, Ohio --- they own two major network affiliates, Fox and I believe an NBC station. That means every day at 6 o'clock there are two local newscasts going out holding one political view. That's not what the Communications Act intended. The Communications Act intended that there should be a diversity of views. If there's a Sinclair with a clear rightwing view, there should be another station that has a middle-ground view, and one that maybe has a leftwing view. There shouldn't be one voice."

He goes on to discuss the serious "impacts" all of this has on our politics and elections. "It really, really matters to the people of Columbus, Ohio. And they're being deprived of the information they need to vote for the candidate of their choice. Whether you're voting Republican or Democrat, that vote should be an informed vote. When you control the local news, which is really what I see as the problem, then I'm no longer getting that kind of information that I need to make an informed decision."

Belendiuk notes that station license renewals, which come up every eight years, will also be happening soon in other markets around the country where, he says, "any citizen can file a petition saying why they don't serve --- and this is in the Communications Act --- 'the public interest, convenience, or necessity'," before he details how Sinclair has been repeatedly fined by the FCC for other violations over the years when they were found to not be acting in the public interest as mandated.

Sinclair has until October 1 to respond to the Petition, after which the matter will either be decided by the FCC or, if they ignore or attempt to whitewash the complaint, by a federal Appeals Court, Belendiuk vows.

There is much more on all of this in today's show, including information on how you can reach him and take action locally if you feel, like he does, that "enough is enough".

Finally today, because this week has been more than "enough", we end with the overdue return of one of our favorite Trump-era musical satirists! Randy Rainbow sends us off into the weekend with a tune that we dare you to get out of your head after you hear it...

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Staring down --- and making sense of --- Trump's cowardly threats against a peaceful transition and to democracy itself; Also: Accountability coming soon for Trump Family in NY; And, yes, even TX is now in play...
By Brad Friedman on 9/24/2020 6:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: He wants you to be frightened. He wants to terrorize you. Don't let him. Vote instead. [Audio link to today's show.]

The fact that time is running out for the Trump Crime Family and their decades of fraud in New York --- as Eric also clearly knows --- is probably not helping, but Donald Trump is getting desperate. Hence, his refusal to commit, when when asked about it during a press briefing Wednesday at the White House, to a peaceful transfer of power after this year's Presidential election.

His excuse? "The ballots are a disaster...Get rid of the ballots....The ballots are out of control." While many have been discussing the disturbing options that some Republican controlled states may consider using to override the ballots by having their legislature select Electors to the Electoral College this year in defiance of voters, that's probably not what Trump was talking about yesterday when pretending "the ballots are out of control!"

He has been complaining for months about states that are automatically sending absentee ballots to all active registered voters this year. He is pretending this is "out of control" and a "scam" by Democrats to somehow steal the election. In fact, as we break down on today's show, Trump's complaints are, themselves, a scam.

In short, 5 states (Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah and Hawaii) have long sent all voters absentee ballots, whether they request one or not. Of those, only Utah is a so-called "red" state, and none of them are seen as anywhere close to likely to flip their Presidential vote from the way they voted in 2016. So, Trump is almost certainly not complaining about those five states.

But this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that Trump failed so disastrously to control, 5 other states (California, Vermont, New Jersey, Montana and Nevada) will also be sending mail-in ballots to all voters. Of those, the first three are very reliably Democratic states in Presidential elections. Trump won Montana by some 20 points in 2016. So, of those five, only Nevada (whose Republican Secretary of State is in charge of the election) could be considered, in any sense, a swing-state --- though it hasn't elected a Republican nominee for President since 2004, and a new Fox "News" poll out this afternoon shows Trump trailing Joe Biden there by 11 points.

If somehow, magically --- due to some imagined massive Democratic fraud --- both Montana and Utah suddenly flipped to Biden this year, but Trump managed to hold all the same other states he won in 2016 (none of which have instituted universal Vote-by-Mail this year), Trump would still win the Electoral College.

So what is he pretending to be so bothered by? Actually, nothing. He is simply desperate to win and, as his chances of doing so are dwindling, he's desperately grasping to pretend there is a massive Democratic scheme to cheat him out of that win with universal Vote-by-Mail. There isn't.

But make no mistake, he will do nearly anything to come up with a way to get a "win" --- as long as it's other people who will risk their lives for it. That, of course, is also why he is hoping to further pack an already stolen, 5 to 3 rightwing U.S. Supreme Court, and why he is signaling that there may not be a peaceful transfer of power in the event that he loses.

Despite his threats, Trump is a coward. Bullies want you to be afraid of them, when, in fact, they are terrified of you. As well he now should be.

This nation is about to be tested in a way that we haven't seen since at least the Civil War. But, as we discuss today --- and in agreement with both Nancy Pelosi's and Bernie Sanders' responses today to Trump's Briefing Room thuggery --- the solution is the vote. An overwhelming landslide of a vote, which is now completely possible if we all step up and do our duty to save this democracy. To paraphrase Barack Obama: Yes, we can!...But will we?

We will find out over the next six weeks...and beyond. We offer both advice and encouragement to that end on today's show.

Also today, just a few more reasons for Trump's increasing panic, in addition to the New York State Attorney General and the Manhattan District Attorney both quickly closing in on Trump Organization crimes in two separate probes: A federal court this week tossed out the Trump/RNC lawsuit in Nevada seeking to block their Vote-by-Mail election, despite legislation adopted by the state legislature and signed by its Governor; And the news that even Texas could now be in play, with a record 1.6 million newly registered voters, Democrats spending millions on TV ads in a state long previously considered to be a Republican state, the Biden Campaign hiring on-the-ground staffers, and CBS' latest Battleground Tracker poll finding Trump leading Biden by just two points in a state that hasn't elected a Democratic nominee for President since 1976. Oh, and Republicans appear so frightened about what could happen if voters are allowed to cast their votes in Texas this year, that a bunch of them are suing their own Republican Governor to roll back his tepid expansion of Early Voting in response to the coronavirus.

Finally, Desi Doyen has quite a bit of "big" and, yes, very good news for us today (for a change) in our latest Green News Report...

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An investigation of FCC, SEC documents in a citizen-filed 'Petition to Deny' licensing for three stations controlled by the media behemoth may finally help put an end to the 'sham' control of our public airwaves...
By Sue Wilson on 9/23/2020 11:03am PT  

Baltimore's crowded TV market highlights the shell game that media goliath Sinclair Broadcasting plays across the nation to illegally dominate the information Americans can consume over our public airwaves. The agency tasked with overseeing those airwaves, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has long turned a blind eye to allow Sinclair, the very powerful purveyor of rightwing propaganda, to violate US law.

Congress passed the Telecommunications Act [PDF] so no single television company could dominate the news and information available to "We the People" in any single market or even nationwide. Under the law, a single TV company is permitted to reach no more than 39% of viewers in the United States over all. In a single local broadcast market, one company may apply to own two stations --- if there are nine or more stations in that market.

Baltimore has just eight stations, and three of them are actually owned by Sinclair: WBFF, WNUV, and WUTB.

Sinclair lawyers (who also represent Cunningham Broadcasting and Deerfield Media) will say Sinclair owns WBFF, Cunningham owns WNUV and Deerfield owns WUTB. But, in a September 1 legal Petition to Deny the renewal of all three stations' licenses, due to both the shell game and the lies Sinclair has told to protect its unlawful ownership, Republican attorney Art Belendiuk researched Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents to prove that both Deerfield and Cunningham are actually both controlled by Sinclair.

"Sinclair controls three television stations in Baltimore, while the FCC rules do not permit it to control more than one," the petition, filed on behalf of local viewer Ihor Gawdiak, argues, while detailing how the shell game of nominal ownership by the other two companies is simply meant to mask Sinclair's violation of federal law...

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




On her historic, nation-changing legacy and the unspeakable GOP hypocrisy over her replacement; Also: Callers ring in on what Dems must do next and on expanding the stolen SCOTUS...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2020 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: I suspect you know what we'll be covering. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, briefly today, before we get to the titanic battle over what may happen in the next 43 days before Election Day, we begin with a few words of warning from Desi Doyen on the latest incoming Hurricanes/Tropical Storms. In the most immediate case, Tropical Storm Beta (so named because we've run out of alphabetical names in this record, climate change-fueled storm season), is set to make landfall near flood-prone Houston on Monday night before a very slow and dangerously wet roll up the Gulf Coast toward New Orleans.

But every tragedy and disaster steps on another one these days (even as our COVID-19 disaster has now resulted in at least 200,000 Americans dead, and a Trump Administration that has politicized the CDC so much that once world-respected federal agency removed its warning that the coronavirus is airborne from its website today, with little explanation.) Despite all of that, we are forced to move in short order to the story of the day --- and perhaps of the next 43 days or more --- the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg from metastatic pancreatic cancer, as announced on Friday evening.

We discuss her extraordinary historic legacy both on the Court and before she became a federal jurist 40 years ago, all too briefly today, as the fight over filling her vacant seat began within seconds of her death being announced late last week. Nearly as quickly, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to hold a vote in the Senate on Donald Trump's nominee this year --- either before or after Election Day --- despite spending a full year in 2016 disingenuously claiming that "the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice" after Justice Antonin Scalia's death in February of 2016. Back then, Obama nominated centrist jurist Merrick Garland a full 237 days before the Presidential election, while McConnell --- holding fast to his dishonest line that the "vacancy should not filled until we have a new President" --- refused to even hold a hearing on the nomination, much less an up or down vote on the Senate floor.

But now, in this case, following the death of a Democratic appointee with a Republican now in the White House, just 46 days before the 2020 Presidential election, McConnell and most of his Republican caucus in the Senate appear ready to move ahead with their rank hypocrisy at lightning speed. That includes Sen. Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham, who repeatedly said over the years since 2016 that he would never support seating a new SCOTUS Justice during a Presidential year --- and that we should remember his comments and hold him to them, if the need ever arises. Nonetheless, with the death of RBG on Friday, the unmatched world-class hypocrite Graham declared the very next day, on Saturday, that he would indeed "support" Donald Trump "in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg."

It appears it will now be up to the voters of South Carolina to hold Graham accountable. According to the latest polling in the state, he is said to be tied in a tough re-election challenge this year against Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jaime Harrison.

So far, just two Republican Senators have gone on record to say they would not support a vote to replace Ginsburg before this year's election (does that mean they'd support it afterward, even if Biden wins? Unknown at the moment.) Those two are Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Collins is also facing a tough reelection battle in her own home state this year against Democrat Sara Gideon. While there are boatloads of Republican Senators who previously vowed they'd not support the seating of a new Justice in 2020, it remains to be seen which, if any, will be able to avoid an appalling, Lindsey Graham-like flip-flop. As of now, just two more Republican Senators would have to dig deep enough to find the courage and intellectual honesty to do the right thing in order to stop any appointment until after the next President is determined by the American people.

There are a number of other possible factors that may come in to play in the days ahead. For example, the potential election of Democratic nominee Mark Kelly over Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona on November 3rd, in what is actually a Special Election in that contest, could result in Kelly's seating in November, instead of January with the new Congress. If that came to pass, it could mean that just one more Republican vote could stop this charade. There is also the possibility that Democrats could file another impeachment (or two) in the U.S. House to force a trial in the Senate to slow down the nomination battle over whoever Trump nominates to fill RBG's seat.

And, of course, no matter what happens, Democrats need to begin making plans to expand the number of seats on the stolen U.S. Supreme Court NO MATTER WHAT happens with the GOP's attempt to ram through another rightwinger to build on their ALREADY STOLEN Court majority.

And with that, we open the phone lines today for thoughts on RBG's legacy and, much more so, what Democrats should and/or must do now...

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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!... ---




Guest: Marilyn Marks of plaintiff Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Hurricane Sally drenches AL, FL; Results from 2020's final primary in DE...
By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2020 7:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Last year, a federal judge in Georgia banned the state's 20-year old, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems, finding them to be "unsecure, unreliable and grossly outdated" and, thus, effectively unconstitutional for use in federal elections. This week, that same federal judge held a hearing to determine whether the new unverifiable touchscreen voting systems Georgia has chosen to use this year for the first time are any better, or whether the Peach State should have listened to the cybersecurity and voting systems experts who strongly urged the state to move, instead, to a verifiable hand-marked paper ballot system. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first today, Hurricane Sally slammed ashore near the Alabama / Florida border this morning. As predicted, the very slow moving storm is packing a punch, with rainfall "measured in feet, not inches swamping homes and forcing the rescue of hundreds of people as it pushed inland." Desi Doyen joins us for the latest on that slow moving disaster as water is quickly rising, rescues continue, the storm moves into Georgia, and as more hurricanes are already lining up behind it in an already record breaking Atlantic hurricane season (which still continues until late November!)

Even as that climate change-intensified disaster unfolds on the heels of Hurricane Laura just three weeks ago (with thousands still without power and in shelters in Louisiana), along with the record deadly climate-fueled wildfires out west, Donald Trump has chosen --- amid all of this --- a notorious climate science denier for a top position on "environmental observation and prediction" at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

If those stories don't underscore the existential importance of this year's elections, we don't know what would.

On that score, the final state Primary Elections of the 2020 season were held on Tuesday in Joe Biden's adopted home state of Delaware, with most ballots cast by mail, and with both masks and social distancing in place at the polls. Happily, there have been no reported voting problems to come to my attention yet and, as expected, there were few surprises in the reported computer-tallied results. Some of them, however, are either eyebrow raising, historic, or just plain fun. Among those categories is the QAnon conspiracist who is now the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in the state; the first openly transgender person to (almost certainly) win a seat in a state Senate; and the 12-year, Democratic state legislator who opposed same-sex marriage being beaten soundly on Tuesday --- in a landslide --- by a local, gay, progressive drag queen!

And with the primaries finally (and thankfully!) out of the way, we move straight to the general elections and back to Georgia, which Democrats hope to flip from red to blue in the Presidential election this year for the first time in decades. But it's also a state where not one, but two vulnerable Republican U.S. Senators are facing tough re-election challenges from Democrats.

There is a lot riding politically on the state of Georgia this year, which makes this week's much-anticipated three-day virtual hearing in an Atlanta federal court all the more critical. When the second day of the three-day hearing which wrapped up this week, regarding the security of the state's vulnerable new computer voting, pollbook and tabulation systems was interrupted --- "Zoom bombed" --- with photos of the 9/11 attacks, swastikas and pornography posted by a user calling him or herself "Osama", it would have been impossible for U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg to miss the irony.

"It was a very sobering reminder of just how vulnerable electronics are, and just how targeted the United States and our elections are right now," says MARILYN MARKS, our guest today. She is Executive Director of the non-partisan Coalition for Good Governance, a lead plaintiff in the long-running case. She says it served as a reminder of the need to "get hand-marked paper ballots that are verifiable and auditable."

The Coalition is suing for a ruling that would find Georgia's new, unverifiable, $100+ million touchscreen voting system made by the Canadian firm Dominion Voting Systems to be an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote. That would be a similar finding to the one Totenberg issued last year, effectively banning and decertifying the state's 20-year use of its previous insecure, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold.

In addition to hoping to see those systems replaced with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots, the Coalition is asking the judge to order backup paper pollbooks at every polling place, after the new electronic pollbook systems failed during the state's June primary elections, leading to hours-long lines, largely in minority voting districts. The plaintiffs are also calling for oversight of the state's optical-scan tabulation systems which failed to tally thousands of votes on absentee ballots during the state's recent primaries. (We interviewed Jeanne DuFort, who discovered that problem, and is also a plaintiff in this case on several recent programs.)

Marks shares her observations from this week's hearings, including on the testimony and cross-examination of the Coalition's cybersecurity and voting systems expert witnesses (many of whom have also appeared multiple times on this show, including Univ. of Michigan's Alex Halderman, UC-Berkley's Philip Stark, expert data researcher Kevin Skoglund and legendary Finnish cybersecurity expert Harri Hursti). Similarly, Marks offers her thoughts on the state's, um, less-than-expert witnesses and responds to a number of allegations made by the attorney representing Georgia and its Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, who selected this new, "Rube Goldberg" computerized voting system despite the urging of experts and voters alike.

Among the stunning points noted by Marks was the testimony from the man who led the certification testing of this system for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Marks reports the witness seemed "quite confused about the technology" and "admitted to having no real security background and not really any long-term established security people on his team." She says his testimony "made it clear that security is really not a top priority for the certification of voting systems" at the federal level, adding, "It was really kind of unbelievable."

While transcripts may be available from the hearing soon (we'll update with a link to them here when they are), Marks noted some portions will be redacted, since the state argued privately in front of the judge on certain issues that even the plaintiffs were not allowed to witness. (Though I wonder whether "Osama" did?)

"The public learned a lot from these expert witnesses about just how seriously vulnerable the Georgia election system is," she tells me. "The expert witnesses gave extremely compelling testimony during the direct examination by our attorneys. But when the state's attorneys got them up on the stand for cross-examination, they were equally strong. Quite frankly, the state was really not able to get in any type of evidence --- because there is none --- that would help get anyone comfortable with their equipment."

When it came to the witnesses from the state and the voting system vendors, she says, her attorneys explained to the court that those "experts have not been able to tell the court just the basic fundamental operational and security details --- the plaintiffs have been the ones who bring all the information. The state basically had no one with any independence. Every expert witness they had had a financial interest in ballot-marking devices. Two of the expert witnesses are [voting system] vendors, three of the expert witnesses are vendors of ballot-marking device suppliers. So they were hardly considered independent, at least by the laymen who were watching."

While Marks says she does not know when Totenberg will issue her ruling, it is likely to be soon. Reports from the virtual courtroom via AP suggest Judge Totenberg appeared concerned by points made by the plaintiffs and may be forced to implement changes --- if she determines there is time to do so with Early Voting beginning in just four weeks in the Peach State. Marks believes there is plenty of time to make the state's elections more secure and overseeable, though the state begs to differ. Soon we'll learn how the Judge feels.

During closing arguments, according to AP's coverage, Robert McGuire, an attorney for the Coalition and individual voter plaintiffs, "recalled Totenberg's prior admonitions to the state" by noting that "Totenberg previously told the state that a new voting system should address the need for 'transparent, fair, accurate, and verifiable election processes that guarantee each citizen's fundamental right to cast an accountable vote.'" But the state's new computerized Ballot Marking Device system "satisfies none of these requirements," McGuire said...

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Guest: Journalist David Sirota; Also: DHS whistleblower and new report reveal U.S. Intelligence now fully corrupt, upside-down under Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2020 6:59pm PT  

We warned you weeks ago to "buckle up" for what was to come between then and Election Day. On today's BradCast, a mountain of reminders as to why we issued the warning, as we hope that everyone remains buckled up until the madness comes to a full and complete stop. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

We begin today with the news that rocked the nation on Wednesday and continues reverberating today. Excerpts of audio recordings from Bob Woodward's eighteen separate interviews with Donald Trump for his new book revealed (among many other things) that the President was fully aware of the dangers of the coronavirus crisis as early as the beginning of the year, even while he was misleading the public about it. During one recording on February 7th this year, Trump told the Washington Post's Watergate journalist that the virus was transmitted through the air, was "more deadly than your strenuous flues" and was "deadly stuff". By March 19th, he is heard on tape telling the best-selling author that the COVID-19 disease was also affecting "plenty of young people" and that he "wanted to play it down" because, according to the recordings, he didn't "want to create a panic".

At the exact same time that he was telling Woodward one thing, Trump was lying about the virus publicly as more than 190,000 Americans have now died in the months since he first made clear to Woodward that the disease was wildly contagious and lethal. In mid-March, when he explained his strategy of down-playing the virus, only 150 Americans had died. Still, Woodward sat on the information until this week.

No doubt you've seen the reactions by now from many Democrats, including Joe Biden and even from anti-Trump Republicans. But what of the responsibility that Woodward himself had to warn the public about what Trump knew but was refusing to acknowledge publicly --- and, in fact, was lying publicly about?

We're joined today by investigative journalist DAVID SIROTA, former speech-writer for Bernie Sanders' 2020 campaign and now founder of the "Too Much Information" (TMI) newsletter. On Wednesday, in his TMI column, Sirota charged (as we long have) that Trump's actions constitute "a horrific crime against humanity," but, he adds, "it was aided and abetted by the popular face of investigative journalism: Mr. All The President's Men himself."

"The President of the United States said something to the nation's most famous reporter, and the most famous reporter sat on that information for seven months while tens of thousands of people died," Sirota says today. "Donald Trump committed a crime against humanity and Bob Woodward drove the getaway car."

Sirota is not the only journalist, progressive or otherwise, who has been highly critical of Woodward over the past 24 hours. So has Esquire's Charlie Pierce. So has The American Prospect's David Dayen. So has even the Washington Post's own Margaret Sullivan. And so are we.

"As a journalist, your job is to get the news from elected officials and to, at minimum, report what they say, and certainly report discrepancies in what they are saying," Sirota argues. "Your job is not to suppress that information, to hold that information while tens of thousands of people die, and to hold it to juice your book sales later on at a more opportune time. That is what happened."

Woodward has attempted to defend himself in several interviews since WaPo released the stunning recordings (which also reveal much more than Trump's secret views and/or knowledge about COVID-19). Sirota responds to Woodward's limp defense and to Trump's use of Woodward as "a human shield" today, when the President tweeted that Woodward's failure to release the information earlier was evidence that Trump's remarks were not "bad or dangerous," otherwise Woodward would have "immediately report[ed] them in an effort to save lives."

Sirota describes the entire fiasco as a "collision of both the corrupt political system and a deeply corrupt media culture" and tells me: "I genuinely believe that this is the biggest scandal in modern journalism."

As journalists, he asserts, we have "a duty to warn". Ironically, as the Poynter Institute, a journalism think-tank and fact-checking organization, reports in its own story asking "Was it unethical for Bob Woodward to withhold Trump’s coronavirus interviews for months?", Woodward himself is very aware of that duty --- if, perhaps, not for himself. "Woodward will be on CBS’s '60 Minutes' Sunday," Poynter's Al Tompkins reports. "In an excerpt of that interview, Woodward told CBS’s Scott Pelley, 'The president of the United States has a duty to warn.'"

Next up --- if you're still buckled in --- a new report from Microsoft today finds that Russia's military intelligence agency, the G.R.U., the same group alleged to have hacked and leaked email from the Hillary Clinton Campaign in 2016, is back at work in 2020 and has become more adept at covering their tracks. Moreover, the findings of the report contradict the Trump Administration's claims about both Russia and China. And for good reason. The Administration has corrupted U.S. intelligence to report what Trump wants the public to believe, rather than actual facts.

The new report alleges that Russia is attempting to access material from both the Trump and Joe Biden campaigns, and that China --- which Trump and the White House National Security Advisor and the U.S. Attorney General all claimed to be a greater threat to the 2020 election than Russia --- is actually focused on hacking Biden, not Trump. The Administration has claimed, falsely apparently, that China prefers Biden over Trump. Today's report, however, suggests just the opposite.

Given the extraordinary whistleblower report released on Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee from one of Trump's senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security, none of this should be a surprise. The official, Brian Murphy, details in his complaint how he was instructed to change intelligence to remove references to Russian interference and add threats from China and Iran instead, because Russian interference in the U.S. election "made the president look bad," according to complaint.

Murphy's complaint also details how he and others were instructed to change intelligence assessments to match Trump's misleading claims and rhetoric regarding "antifa", to minimize the greater threat of White Supremacy groups, and to downplay anything about Russia all together. He says he was also instructed to change data to match the Administration's false narrative about terrorists coming across the U.S.-Mexico border, and about the dismal conditions in Central America that were undermining the Trump Administration's asylum policies. The result, Murphy charges, is intelligence assessments that "more closely resemble a policy document...than an intelligence document.”

As noted on today's show, this is decidedly not how intelligence gathering and analysis is supposed to work. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Murphy refused to make the changes mentioned, and he was eventually cut out from work on the national Homeland Threat Assessment and demoted from Deputy Under Secretary in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis to a position in the agency's Management Division.

Finally, as if all of this wasn't nightmarish enough, the delightful Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the man-made climate change-fueled wildfires now exploding up and down the West Coast, the media's failure to tie them to our climate crisis, and Trump's pre-election flip-flop on offshore oil drilling to try and win votes in the battleground state of Florida...

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on that and DoJ's rescue of Trump in rape defamation case; Also: 'Unprecedented' climate change-fueled infernos in OR, WA, CA...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2020 7:02pm PT  

No matter everything else on today's BradCast, we end with some bona fide very good news today for voters in a key battleground state! [Audio link to full show follows below summary.]

Speaking of key battleground states, it was state primary Election Day on Tuesday in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, the penultimate primaries of the season (with only Delaware left to go next Tuesday in Joe Biden's home state.) We cover noteworthy results today from both states, even if there were few surprises.

Next, folks up and down the West Coast have literally been "seeing red" over the past day or two, as wind-sparked, heat-fueled, climate change-intensified infernos continue to burn out of control through millions of acres at a record pace today. Among the results has been blood red sunlight across parts of Northern California and much of the Pacific Northwest, even in areas far from any active blazes.

During a press conference this afternoon, Oregon's Gov. Kate Brown described the outbreak of fires burning in both her state and neighboring Washington as "unprecedented", warning they could result in "the greatest loss of human life and property due to wildfire in our state's history." As we went to air, officials were prioritizing the safety of residents --- many of whom are evacuating, others who had to be airlifted out --- and homes, with hundreds already reportedly destroyed. These apocolyptic stories of millions of acress burned and communities completely wiped out should be front page news everywhere, but aren't. And every story should about them should tie the record-setting, catastrophic disasters to our quickly worsening climate crisis, but they don't. We do.

Then, we're joined by Slate's ace legal reporter, and one of our favorite guests, MARK JOSEPH STERN, for a two-fer today. First up, Stern explains the unprecedented use of the Federal Tort Claims Act, as invoked in a federal court filing on Tuesday night by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, to try and protect Donald Trump from a defamation lawsuit filed against him in New York state court. The case involves columnist E. Jean Carroll who alleges Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990's. After she described the incident in a recent book, Trump called Carroll a liar, claiming to have never even met her (despite a photograph of them together), and asserted he couldn't have raped her because she was "not my type."

Carroll sued the President for defamation and, after successfully defeating several motions to dismiss by Trump's personal lawyers, was set to both depose Trump in the case and obtain a DNA sample from him that she believes will match a stain on the dress she said she was wearing during the alleged assaulted at NY's Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1995.

On Tuesday, the DoJ intervened with a stunning motion to move the case from state to federal court, and replace Trump's personal defense attorneys with their own. If upheld by the court, that would effectively end the case under the Federal Tort Claims Act, where defamation suits against federal employees are barred. Stern, however, explains what the law is meant to do --- protect federal officials from being held personally liable for lawful acts done in the course of carrying out their jobs --- versus how the DoJ is now attempting to use it to shield Trump from liability for defaming a woman who says she has evidence of a rape more than two decades before he became President. Whether Bill Barr's DoJ attorneys will successfully prove to a federal court that defaming a citizen while responding to reporters questions about a rape twenty-five years ago is truly within the scope of a President's duties remains to be seen. But the filing itself is now likely to push the deposition and DNA test, in any case, beyond the November 3rd election, as Trump was hoping for.

Finally, we get to the bona fide good news today out of North Carolina, where a panel of state court judges late last week finally struck down an 1877 law meant to "secure white supremacy" in the state following the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. The law barred former felons who completed their prison sentences as well as all parole and probation from registering to vote if they still owed court-imposed fines and fees. As Stern reports --- and as revealed during the course of the case --- the law was originally spearheaded by a state lawmaker who presided over the lynching of three Black men and was meant, according to documents [PDF] unearthed by an expert witness historian for the plaintiffs, to prevent "the honest vote of a white man" from being "off-set by the vote of some negro."

The court's ruling means that some 100,000 NC residents are now newly eligible to vote in the 2020 Presidential election in one of the most closely divided states in the nation Another ruling from the same panel, likely to come after a trial, according to Stern, could result in another 70,000 currently disenfranchised former felons becoming eligible to vote as well. Moreover, as the case involves state law and is in state court, it cannot be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Stern --- who recently published "An Extremely Comprehensive Guide to Making Sure Your Vote County, In Every State", also explains that the ruling will almost certainly not be overturned by the 6 to 1 liberal majority on NC's Supreme Court because, as he tells me, "there are a lot of bad ass women of color on North Carolina's state Supreme Court, and I think these individuals are going to say we cannot tolerate a racist law from 150 years ago."

Not coincidentally, as a racist, 150-year old Jim Crow measure is finally being knocked down in NC, the GOP majority in Florida's state legislature just adopted a nearly identical measure just last year to bar former felons from voting if they have not paid off all court-imposed fines and fees. That law was found to amount to an unconstitutional poll tax by a federal judge earlier this year, but his ruling has now been stayed by SCOTUS until after the 2020 Presidential election in that key swingstate. The stay allowing Florida's "pay-to-vote" law is likely to block as many as 1.5 million potential new voters --- including a quarter of the state's male African-American population --- from voting this November in the Sunshine State...

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Guest: Will Goodwin of VoteVets.org; Also: Record climate change-fueled heat and fires in CA; The ransomware election specter; Barr's election fraud lie; Progressive champion, Kevin Zeese, passes away...
By Brad Friedman on 9/8/2020 6:51pm PT  

We're back on today's BradCast, after surviving a long hot holiday weekend here in California (with huge thanks to Nicole Sandler for covering for us for a few days!) [Audio link to today's show is posted below summary.]

Amid record heat in Southern California --- with one city in L.A. County city topping out at a record 121 degrees on Sunday! --- fires raged and continue to do so, up and down the state. Nearly 300 people stranded by smoke and fires in various parts of the Golden State needed to be rescued by helicopters over the past four days as climate change-fueled blazes have, so far, chewed through a record 2 million acres in the state, destroying more than 3,300 structures in 900 different fires since mid-August. The scariest part: the worst months for California's ever-lengthening fire season are usually September and October. So, even after the worst fire season now on record, the worst may still be yet to come this year, as our climate crisis continues to intensify and a climate change denier is once again heading up the Republican Party's Presidential ticket.

It would be nice if we weren't one of the few media outlets connecting those particular dots. Absentee ballots have now begun to ship out to voters in states like North Carolina which has, itself, been ravaged in recent years by various climate related crises, from hurricanes to toxic coal ash spills to ever-rising sea levels. As voting for the general election finally begins there and in other battleground states, the corporate media would help us all if they focused (or even mentioned!) so many of the very real issues that are at stake in this year's critical Presidential election, including the devastation of climate change!

Speaking of which, a new story today gives me reason once again to cite one of my worst fears for this November's elections, as the Hartford Public School District in Connecticut was forced to cancel its first day of classes today. The cancellation was not due to the continuing COVID crisis, but caused by a ransomware attack that crippled the District's computer networks. That attack echoes a series of attacks against the Miami-Dade County Public School system in Florida last week, and could foreshadow trouble to come on November 3rd. Because so many voting jurisdictions now foolishly rely on computer networks and the Internet to cast, count and even check people in to vote on electronic pollbooks, a ransomware attack before or on Election Day would be devastating.

But don't worry! Your U.S. Dept. of Justice in on the job! Ya know, the one led by Donald Trump's fixer and Attorney General Bill Barr who lied to CNN's Wolf Blitzer last week about massive absentee ballot fraud, claiming a 2017 "indictment" in Texas for the theft of 1,700 mail-in ballots. After the actual state prosecutors called BS on Barr's claim's, the DoJ was forced to admit it was false. Ironically, Barr also claimed that "people have to have confidence in the results of the election and the legitimacy of the government." That would be more likely, of course, if we didn't have a U.S. Attorney General willing to casually forward two year old false claims about election fraud on major cable news networks.

Then we move to the biggest story over the holiday weekend, the report from The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg that Donald Trump regards members of the military, including those were killed or captured and tortured during their service, as "losers" and "suckers". Goldberg's reporting has now been independently confirmed by multiple other media outlets, including even Fox "News", while Trump and the White House unconvincingly describe the detailed and independently corroborated reporting as "fake news". In his attempt to distract from that story on Monday, Trump attacked his own top military brass, claiming that too much is spent on defense contractors --- even after Trump has spent years citing his own increases to defense spending as one of his Administration's top accomplishments.

We're joined today by WILL GOODWIN, U.S. Army veteran, West Point grad and now Director of Government Relations for VoteVets.org, the nation's largest progressive veterans organization, founded in 2006, and now representing more than 500,000 vets, families and supporters. In the wake of the stunning (if not surprising) reports of Trump's disparagement of military members --- from the captured and tortured Vietnam War prisoner of war John McCain, to the shot down WWII fighter pilot George H.W. Bush, to the 1,800 U.S. Marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood during WWI --- as "losers" and "suckers" all, VoteVets has now released several different video ads in response.

In one, family members of those who lost loved ones in recent wars respond to the President's remarks and, in another, a 98-year old WWII veteran, captured and forced into slave labor for 42 months, encourages Americans to vote for Joe Biden and against "other politicians if they continue to support Donald Trump."

For his part, Goodwin shares his thoughts in response to the reported insults by the Commander-in-Chief --- who he regards as "a maniac in the Oval Office" --- and how they are likely to affect the votes cast by members of the nation's armed forces this year. Despite popular belief that the military tends to support the Republican candidate, Goodwin cites polling to suggest the opposite --- polling completed before last week's news from The Atlantic. He says that Goldberg's report "is nothing new from Donald Trump when it comes to his hatred toward the military, towards military families, and towards our veterans, but somehow it's a new low." Goodwin goes on to describe Trump's tenure as "four years of failed leadership as Commander-in-Chief," before detailing a seemingly endless list of ways in which Trump has failed our troops, our veterans, our Gold Star Families, as well as the nation's security and standing on the world stage.

"Our allies have turned away from us --- they do not know how to work with a maniac in the Oval Office like Donald Trump --- and our enemies and adversaries are emboldened. They're emboldened to continue attacking the very integrity of our democracy and going after our elections infrastructure. And, frankly, they have taken more direct actions, escalating military tensions. The Russian buzzing US Navy ships, intercepting our aircraft. The continued expansion of the Chinese footprint in various places around the world," Goodwin argues. "We have seen Democrats across the board, including in [Congressional] seats where Donald Trump may be popular, standing up once again and speaking the truth on how disgusting this is. And we're seeing the same failure from Republicans to speak up at all. Republicans who represent massive military and veteran populations...refusing to condemn the President."

Finally today, we close on a very sad note, with the news that Kevin Zeese, longtime progressive activist, attorney, fighter for universal healthcare, fair elections, racial and economic justice and peace, passed away suddenly on Sunday from what appears to have been a heart attack as he slept. Kevin was also a friend of both The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast, having joined on us on air on many occasions while taking on our nation's worst failures and most insidious corporate oligarchs. We share several thoughts on his passing from a number of other progressive activists today. Zeese was 64 and will be dearly missed...as his good fight for a better and more just world will, and must, continue...

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

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