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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, January 17, 2021
Our Long National Nightmare Almost Over, Trump's Just Beginning: 'BradCast' 1/15/21
Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Tragic COVID milestone; Biden's $1.9T plan; Creepy new Capitol Insurrection revelations...
DOJ Must Contest Validity of Presidential Self-Pardons and Pardons of Seditious Co-Conspirators
Did the Framers really wish to give Get-Out-of-Jail Free cards to insurrectionists?...
'Green News Report' 1/14/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Former MI Gov. charged in Flint Water Crisis; Trump EPA parting gift to polluters; U.S. emissions plummet, due to coronavirus; PLUS: World's biggest battery farm now online in CA...
Previous GNRs: 1/12/21 - 1/7/21 - Archives...
'A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER': TRUMP IMPEACHED AGAIN: 'BradCast' 1/13/21
Guest: Former diplomat, Rep. Tom Perriello of Open Society Foundations US on nation's need for accountability beyond impeachment...
America or Autocracy? - GOPers Choosing Sides: 'BradCast' 1/12/21
Also: Military condemns Capitol insurrection; Corporations dump Repub coup-supporting lawmakers; Adelson dead; GOP support for impeachment; Schwarzenegger's response...
'Green News Report' 1/12/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
2020 tied with 2016 for hottest year on record; 2020 also shattered record for billion-dollar disasters in U.S.; PLUS: Fossil fuel industry shuts revolving door on Trump energy staffers...
Previous GNRs: 1/7/21 - 1/5/21 - Archives...
To Impeach or Not Impeach? Why It's Even a Question: 'BradCast' 1/11/21
Callers ring in following last week's deadly, Trump-incited riot, while timing looms large before Inauguration Day, and as MAGA Mobsters gears up for more violence...
Sunday 'Death to America!' Toons
PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection finds, once again, the call is coming from inside the (White) House...
Trump Must Be Impeached Again, EVEN if He Leaves First: 'BradCast' 1/8/21
Guest: Former federal prosecutor Ben Clements; Also: Officer dead after Capitol riot; Pelosi to Trump: resign or be impeached; Dominion's $1.3B suit against Powell...
'An Unspeakable Assault on Our Nation and Our People': 'BradCast' 1/7/21
Biden's victory affirmed by Congress after attempted MAGA Mob insurrection; Fallout continues, including WH resignations, calls for impeachment, 25th Amendment...
'Green News Report' 1/7/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Dems win Senate majority, paving way for climate action; Amid attempted coup, Admin auctions off drilling rights in ANWR; PLUS: Britain achieves new record in offshore wind...
Previous GNRs: 1/5/21 - 12/22/20 - Archives...
MAGA MOB STORMS CAPITOL; GA DEMS WIN SEN. CONTROL: 'BradCast' 1/6/21
Guest: Philly Inquirer's Will Bunch on the D.C. mayhem, the Dem Senate victories and the MAGA legislative mob's insurrection in Pennsylvania's state Senate...
The Last Voting Day of '2020':
'BradCast' 1/5/21
Guest: Lauren Windsor of 'The Undercurrent'; Also: Trump's escape to Scotland?; How GOPers plan to challenge Biden's Electoral College victory in Congress...
'Green News Report' 1/5/21
Trump Admin parting gifts: 'bomb' trains and more asthma attacks; MI signs settlement in Flint Water Crisis; PLUS: Japan's plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050...
'Chickens Home to Roost': Trump, GOP's Last Scheme to Steal 2020: 'BradCast' 1/4/21
Guest: Democracy scholar Paul Lehto; Also: SecDefs' warning; Prez threatens GA SoS...
U.S. Military Must Disobey Coup Order
Ernie Canning: Op-ed from all 10 living former DefSecs offers ominous warning...
Sunday 'Hindsight is...' Toons
Don't miss PDiddie's first toon collection of the new year! Now that it's 2021, everything is just great!...
2020 Hindsight (and Thanks)
From all of us at The BRAD BLOG...Here's to a Happier New Year...for all...
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: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Tragic COVID milestone; Biden's $1.9T COVID plan; Creepy new Capitol Insurrection revelations...
By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2021 6:43pm PT  

It's beginning to feel like the beginning of the end on today's BradCast. And while there remains plenty to be concerned about and lots of work ahead...it's beginning to feel just a little bit better all the same. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

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

  • The world crossed a new, tragic COVID milestone. 2 million dead. That's the equivalent of 10 jumbo passenger jets falling from the sky every day for the past year. In the U.S., with more deaths by far than any other country thanks to Donald Trump's delinquent efforts, and the rate quickly rising, well over 390,000 are now dead --- or 2 jumbo jet crashes every single day for the past year;
  • Joe Biden's Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, predicts we may see as many as 500,000 COVID deaths in the U.S. before the end of next month. Therefore, it is very good to see the President-elect unveil a comprehensive, $1.9 trillion plan to both fight the virus and revive the economy --- and even raise the minimum wage to $15/hour at the same time! Republicans will oppose it, naturally. But almost everything in Biden's plan, save for the minimum wage increase, says The Prospect's David Dayen, can be adopted in the U.S. Senate with a simple majority vote...presuming all Dems are on board;
  • The nation is certainly on board for the Biden Presidency at this point, with Joe's approval rating up since the election and Trump's plummeting to an all-time low on his way out the door, according to a new survey out today from Pew Research;
  • Biden's Inauguration rehearsal has reportedly postponed due to security concerns following last week's Trump-incited Capitol Insurrection, and a warning from U.S. intelligence agencies that his "Domestic Violence Extremist" supporters may be planning more attacks, thanks to Trump's continuing, false, evidence-free claims that the election was stolen;
  • In a court filing, federal prosecutors said that Capitol Insurrectionists hoped to "capture and assassinate elected officials". Late today, they began to walk back that claim;
  • After a Congresswoman and former U.S. Navy pilot Mikie Sherril (D-NJ) charged this week that some insurrectionists were given "reconnaissance" tours of the Capitol by Republican lawmakers the day before last week's deadly riot Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)'s Chief of Staff reports that all of the panic buttons in the Congresswoman's office were found to have been mysteriously removed prior to assault;

Then, as moving vans begin hauling the remnants of the Trump Administration away, the outgoing President is reportedly angry and increasingly isolated. (Sad!) But as our long national nightmare will soon come to a close, his legal and financial nightmares may be just beginning. Even that, however, comes with threats to the security of the nation.

We're joined today by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo.  She's been writing about Trump's crumbling corporate empire both before, but especially in the wake of his failed Capitol Insurrection and the security concerns his financial woes pose to the nation. She explains why on today's show.

We also discuss the fallout from Trump's second historic Impeachment and how the U.S. Senate will proceed with the trial even as Biden takes office and hopes to see his cabinet confirmed and agenda enacted. And then there's the question of what we should expect as the "Ghost of Trumpism" lingers --- and continues to rot --- the soul of the Republican Party after he mercifully leaves office on Wednesday.

Finally, we close with some good news that got somewhat lost in the stampede of this week's instant Impeachment proceedings. Following a report from the Commerce Department Inspector General, the Census Bureau has now been instructed to abandon Trump's almost-certainly unconstitutional Executive Order scheme to withhold undocumented immigrants from apportionment data to be sent to Congress. Thus ends the Republicans desperate --- and now failed --- attempt to use the Constitutionally-mandated decennial federal Census as a means to shift political power from urban, Democratic-leaning areas of the country, to white, rural Republican districts...at least for another 10 years.

And with that good news, I wish you a great holiday weekend!...

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

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Did the Framers really wish to give Get-Out-of-Jail Free cards to insurrectionists?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/15/2021 11:30am PT  

When Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe was interviewed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell last year, his remarks specifically related to Presidential self-pardons. His observations, however, reveal why the Department of Justice (DOJ) should also contest any effort by President Donald J. Trump to grant a pardon to anyone who could be considered a co-conspirator in carrying out an insurrection designed to allow the loser of the 2020 Presidential Election to remain in power...

If a self-pardon could be given recognition by any court, then the President would know that he could commit crimes from day one of his presidency to the end of four years --- even horrible crimes; crimes like treason, crimes like making war on his own people...That would, as George Mason said, turn us from a constitutional republic to a monarchy, or worse.

In an amicus brief [PDF] filed late last year in the Michael Flynn case, the legal advocacy group, Free Speech for People (FSFP) observed that, while the U.S. Supreme Court, in Schick v Reed (1974), described the Presidential pardon power as "plenary", or absolute, the Court added that the limitations on the pardon power, "if any, must be found in the Constitution itself." Citing a recent Georgetown Law Review article [PDF] that reached a similar conclusion, FSFP argued that the U.S. Constitution's command that a President ensure that the laws be "Faithfully Executed" broadly prevents a President from granting a pardon for a corrupt purpose.

Although U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan issued a 43-page Memorandum Opinion explaining that he had dismissed the Flynn case as moot following Flynn's acceptance of a Presidential pardon, the court neither referenced nor rejected the corrupt purpose limitation set forth by the FSFP amicus brief. Even if that ruling implicitly entailed a rejection of the FSFP argument, as applied to the Flynn case, it would not foreclose a DOJ challenge to the limits of the pardon power with respect to the unprecedented events that occurred on Jan. 6th.

This is not an abstract question. An attorney representing insurrectionist Jacob Anthony Chancey announced he'd request a Presidential pardon, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman reported. Evidence suggests that Chancey, who was filmed "shirtless, wearing buffalo horns and holding a spear", may be one of the rioters who intended "to capture and assassinate elected officials," according to Goodman. As rioters yelled "Hang Mike Pence", the charging documents allege, Chancey aka the "QAnon Shamen", left a note on the VP's desk that ominously warned that "it's only a matter of time, justice is coming", according to Anna Lucia Murillo of the Daily Beast.

No President, before this one, has ever been implicated in a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2383 - Rebellion or insurrection or 18 U.S. Code § 2384 - Seditious conspiracy. It is virtually impossible to believe that the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended the availability of the pardon power to be utilized as an instrument designed to entice others to assist in the ultimate violation of the solemn oath to see that the laws of the United States are "Faithfully Executed". The framers of the U.S. Constitution regarded the duty to "Faithful Execute" our laws as so central to our constitutional scheme of governance that Art. II, §1, Cl. 8 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that every President "shall" take the oath before entering office.

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




Also: Another Schadenfreude Update as Trump's empire crumbles...
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2021 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's Big Lie(s) continue to pose a terror threat, even as his world is crumbling. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]

On Wednesday, during the debate in the U.S. House over Donald Trump's second impeachment, a number of GOPers argued that the bipartisan call for accountability in response to the President of the United States inciting a terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol last week would only serve to make matters worse. A number of Trump's defenders charged that if the Congress that was attacked by his MAGA Mob attempted to hold him to account it would be too "divisive" and anger his supporters at a time that the nation needed "unity" and "healing".

At the very same time, according to Greg Sargent at Washington Post today, a number of U.S. intelligence agencies, including DHS and DoJ, issued a memo warning that Trump's Big Lie about a "stolen election" was serving as the driving force for "Domestic Violence Extremists" (DVEs) who pose a serious threat of further violence in coming days.

Nonetheless, few of those Republicans in the House pretending to be concerned about dividing the nation further were willing to say the one thing that might actually "lower the temperature": That Joe Biden won the election fair and square according to all available evidence and that Donald Trump lost it in the same fashion.

Phony GOP concerns about "divisiveness" not withstanding, their refusal to do the right thing by debunking Trump's ridiculous claims that the election was stolen, rather than play along with them, has resulted in news that the National Mall in D.C. will now reportedly be closed entirely for the first time during a Presidential Inauguration due to the threat of domestic terrorism.

Trump's Big Lie about the election is not the only one. Some of the House Republicans on Wednesday were attempting to rewrite reality by claiming that Trump, at his MAGA Mob rally before the insurrection at the Capitol, did little more than "urged attendees to, quote, unquote, peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. There was no mention of violence, let alone calls to action." That was the claim made by Pennsylvania's lying Rep. Guy Reschenthaler. Reality --- and actual evidence --- prove otherwise, as we do as well on today's program. Given that Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate on this very matter awaits, it seems wise to get a jump on this newest Big Lie.

But, as dark as this moment may be for the safety of Americans and future of American democracy, there is still plenty of Trump Schadenfreude News to be enjoyed today. Including the fact that Trump is reportedly "isolated and angry at aides for failing to defend him" during his second impeachment; his approval ratings have plummeted 11 points since December; and New York City is joining a growing list of those cutting ties to the disgraced Trump. As his Trump Organization empire begins to crumble, he is already losing millions of dollars worth of business from those who regard his brand as too toxic to get anywhere near at this point. And things are likely to get much much worse for him in the days ahead.

All of that and much more, with gusto, on today's program, before we close with some accountability news when Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report...

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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Callers ring in on demands for accountability following last week's deadly, Trump-incited riot at the U.S. Capitol. But timing looms large before Inauguration Day, and as the MAGA Mob gears up for more violence...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2021 7:40pm PT  

We open up the phone lines on today's BradCast for the first time since Donald Trump's deadly attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol last week, to get feedback from callers on whether it makes sense to impeach him again with just about a week and a half left in his term. (For the record, my own opinion is "YES!," and I explain why throughout the course of today's show.) [Audio link to full show is below the summary.]

We start with some of the latest breaking news...

  • Trump's illegally appointed Acting Homeland Security Chief Chad Wolf announced, just before air time, that he is stepping down after being critical of Trump following last week's insurrection that killed at least five people, including a Capitol Police officer. Wolf called the riot "tragic and sickening".
  • The FBI has reportedly notified all 50 states of the possibility of armed attacks on state houses, as Trump's MAGA Mob are continuing to tell each other that Trump will be inaugurated on January 20th (he won't be) and that we should all prepare for a national emergency in which Trump invokes the Insurrection Act and begins "high profile arrests" between now and Inauguration Day. All of that, his minions have convinced themselves, come amid what they describe to each other as "a battle for our republic against elites that are attempting the very coup that they are accusing Trump of doing."
  • Over the weekend, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed House Dems that if Trump refused to resign, she would hold a vote on a resolution calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power. If that doesn't work (it doesn't appear that it will), a vote on a second Impeachment could be held in the House as early as Wednesday. We share the Article [PDF], formally filed in the House today by Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ted Lieu (D-CA), David Cicilline's (D-RI), and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) for "Incitement of Insurrection", on today's program.
  • Over the weekend, both Democrats (like AOC) and Republicans like Sen. Pat Toomey (PA), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Ben Sasse (NE) and Trump ally and former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie all suggested they might support impeachment and removal of the President. As Christie noted, "If inciting to insurrection" isn't an impeachable offense then "I don't really know what is."
  • Nonetheless, a number of Republicans are suggesting that if either the 25th or impeachment are invoked, it would lead to further violence. As Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) pathetically tweeted on Saturday, "Those calling for impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment in response to President Trump's rhetoric this week are themselves engaging in intemperate and inflammatory language and calling for action that is equally irresponsible and could well incite further violence." --- In other words, if you hold anybody accountable for inciting violence, you are inciting the same people to more violence. So, best to do absolutely nothing, apparently. Very patriotic and courageous, Congressman.
  • On Sunday night, the PGA pulled their planned 2022 Championship from Trump's Bedminster, NJ golf resort, adding to the schadenfreude already most likely being enjoyed by anti-Trumpers since Twitter permanently banned him from the social media platform late on Friday.

As to the timing of how to pull off an impeachment with just days left in Trump's Presidency, it's important to understand --- as we discussed with former federal prosecutor Ben Clements on last Friday's show --- that an official doesn't even have to still be in office to be impeached. There is historical precedent for that. Clements, and others, argue it's important to impeach Trump if only to convict him at trial so that he cannot run for public office ever again.

It should also be noted that the House may vote to impeach this week or next, but wait until after Biden is sworn into office before sending the Articles to the Senate for a trial. That's what some Dems are now calling for. Rep. James Clyburn wants to wait until Biden's first 100 days are over. Others suggest waiting just long enough to allow Biden's cabinet to be sworn in, since all Senate business must stop when a Senate impeachment trial begins. With Chuck Schumer as Majority Leader, after Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are sworn in, a real trial could be held in the Senate, with dozens and dozens of witnesses, unlike the show trial McConnell held to quash the charges Trump was previously impeached for last year.

So, lots to chew over on today's program, and lots of callers ringing in with thoughts on all of the above...

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: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern on recent cases, Bill Barr, Kris Kobach and accountability for TX' attempt to overturn the election; Also: GOP now eating its own with GA's U.S. Senate runoffs underway...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2020 7:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: While the GOP's packed and stolen 6 to 3 U.S. Supreme Court did the right thing last Friday in unanimously rejecting [PDF] indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's attempt to steal the 2020 election (and receive a Presidential Pardon for his thanks), there remains the question of accountability for those who signed on to the frivolous and arguably "seditious" attempt to undermine democracy. Especially from the 19 wingnut state Attorneys General who should both have known better and, according to our guest today, have a legal obligation to do so. In the meantime, SCOTUS made a couple of other rulings this week that have received far less notice, but that are also surprisingly good, given the Court's radical, far-right majority. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

But first up today, a few quick observations on the Republican Party that now seems to be eating itself alive in the wake of Trump's loss. On yesterday's BradCast we noted the weekend MAGA Mob rally in D.C., where angry brain-poisoned Trump supporters broke into chants of "Destroy the GOP!" before booing Georgia's incumbent Republican U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue who are facing tough runoffs against Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff for contests that will determine control of the U.S. Senate on January 5.

Today, sore loser Donald Trump, who has been attacking Georgia's extremely Trumpy Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger for weeks in order to (absurdly) blame them, instead of himself, for losing the election in the state, upped the stakes considerably. He retweeted a message from a mentally unbalanced Georgia attorney and conspiracy theorist calling for Kemp and Raffensperger to be jailed. The post also includes Photoshopped graphics of Kemp and Raffensperger --- both of whom are Trump supporters that have faced death threats since Trump turned on them --- wearing masks with Chinese flags on them.

But, hey, at least Mitch McConnell finally recognized the election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris today, after Monday's Electoral College vote confirmed their "landslide" victory. Also, one "courageous" and very rightwing House Republican, on Monday, decided he has finally had enough of his colleagues' attacks on democracy itself and has announced he is officially becoming an "independent"...now that he'll be leaving Congress at the end of the year anyway.

Then its on to a number of not horrible things done over the past several days by the U.S. Supreme Court, as we are delighted to be joined once again by one of our very favorite legal reporters, MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate.

On Monday, SCOTUS rejected an appeal by the state of Indiana in a years-long case brought by a number of married lesbian couples regarding marriage rights. The couples all had children using artificial insemination, but Indiana law had forced the spouses of the women who gave birth to go through onerous, expensive adoption procedures in order to become a legal parent. There is no such requirement for men in opposite-sex marriages to do so in similar situations. Happily, the Court dismissed Indiana's challenge to lower courts which found the state's law unconstitutional, in what might have been the first chance to roll back marriage equality protections since Amy Coney Barrett was rammed onto the Court.

Also on Monday, SCOTUS put a merciful end, once and for all, to the voter suppression law written by disgraced former Kansas Sec. of State and GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach requiring proof of citizenship papers when registering to vote in the state. The 2013 law would have disenfranchised tens of thousands of legal Kansas voters and was found unconstitutional by court after court. The SCOTUS decision to not hear the case finally makes Kobach's unnecessary law a dead letter, though Stern says he believes it's likely to pop up again in similar forms from other states, given the radical, anti-voter, anti-immigrant, anti-democracy fever running rampant right now in the GOP.

In addition to a eulogy, of sorts, for the pathetic "clownish" legacy of Kansas' failed former Sec. of State, failed gubernatorial candidate and failed Senatorial candidate, Kobach --- who is also now mixed up with an anti-immigrant "Build the Wall" group facing fraud charges with Steve Bannon --- Stern unloads with another eulogy for the legacy of another similarly disgraced rightwinger today, U.S. Attorney General and Trump fixer Bill Barr. Trump tweeted on Monday that Barr would be leaving DoJ just weeks before the one-term President leaves office, after Barr had the temerity to admit that there is no known evidence of mass voter fraud that stole the election for Biden.

Barr, Stern argues, is "more offensive, terrifying and obnoxious" than Trump himself, because he is "
a creature of the Republican Establishment, a creature of the conservative legal movement. Bill Barr is at the heart of it." He believes "Barr did immense damage to the rule of law" and "may have permanently hobbled the Justice Department's integrity and legitimacy." That's just part of Stern's invective for Barr, who he describes as "just an awful person, and I wish him nothing but bad luck for the rest of his life."

Finally, we dig into the mess surrounding the shameless attempt to win a Presidential Pardon by TX Attorney General Paxton, who, as he filed his suit last week, was also subpoenaed by the FBI in a bribery and abuse of power investigation by the FBI. His lawsuit [PDF] filed with SCOTUS on behalf of Texas, sought to nullify all of the votes --- some 20 million of them --- in four different states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia) in a fruitless attempt to steal the election for Trump. We've got lots to discuss on this today. The radical legal concept at the center of Paxton's case (and several others which similarly failed over the past month) would nullify all election laws, rules and regulations not expressly enacted by state legislatures and ONLY state legislatures. In addition to turning centuries of American democracy and voting rights on its head, this literal, radical, ill-considered, "textualist " or "originalist" reading of the Constitution's Elections Clause --- arguing that Governors, Secretaries of State and even state courts may have no say at all over election rules --- would have broad ramifications for all sorts of other laws. For example, as we discuss, if Governors may no longer veto State Legislatures regarding election laws, does that mean a President may not veto Congress on tax laws, given they are granted the power of taxation in the Constitution by a similarly literal reading?

While SCOTUS rejected Paxton's case on jurisdictional grounds Friday night, many of the failed cases brought by Team Trump hoping to overturn the election results over the past month similarly relied on that radical theory. They were tossed before that question could be answered by the courts, however. So, will Republicans continue to push for a SCOTUS opinion on this matter from the high court in the months and years ahead? Stern believes that, before Amy Coney Barrett was added to the Court, there were at least four Justices who had signaled willingness to support the radical theory.

Should Texas' election results also be thrown out under Paxton's theory, given that its Governor Greg Abbott, without legislative approval, limited mail-in dropboxes to just one per county for November? How about Alabama's results, where its Republican Sec. of State John Merrill decreed curbside voting to be unlawful in a case which was met with approval by SCOTUS earlier this year?

Also, what of the 18 state Attorneys General who signed on to Paxton's cuckoo complaint, who are members of the bar and officers of the court with a duty to not bringing frivolous, much less arguably "seditious" (as Pennsylvania's defendant AG described it) lawsuits. Should they be punished in some way? Can they be sanctioned for their actions? And, as one caller asked during yesterday's show, should all of these repeated attempts filed by Republicans in hopes of overturning a legitimate Presidential election be regarded as "treasonous"? (My answer yesterday was "no", but does Stern agree?)

All of that and much more on today's very lively --- and, hopefully, informative --- BradCast!...

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Also: BARR OUT AT DOJ; Trump legal fights mopped up, rejected in WI; MAGA Mob sparks weekend violence in D.C., shuts down MI capitol...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2020 7:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we won't be broken, even by more breaking news than we might have guessed. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

We knew we were starting with late breaking news today as California gave President-elect Joe Biden the requisite votes (270) needed to win the Electoral College just minutes before air time. But, because this is the Trump Era, that was quickly superseded by the breaking news just seconds before air time that Donald Trump's corrupt fixer and Attorney General Bill Barr is now out at the Dept. of Justice after recently conceding there was no massive fraud in the 2020 election that Trump decisively lost.

In other news covered on today's program on what developed into a surprisingly good news day by and large (at least by 2020 standards)...

  • We begin with a fireside story for your holidays called "The President's New Suit". Spoiler alert: only his closest courtiers and sycophants (126 House members and, even more shamefully, 19 wingnut state Attorneys General) can see it. Even his stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court saw nothing there on Friday and dismissed the last-ditch effort to disenfranchise millions of American voters in four swing-states that voted for Biden, as filed last week by the indicted Republican Texas Attorney General and Presidential Pardon Hustler Ken Paxton.
  • As the nation crosses its latest undescribably grim milestone today of more than 300,000 deaths from COVID-19, Trump continued to spend his time over the weekend lying about about "fraud" in the election that he lost, rather than the lives needlessly lost under his failed pandemic management as the surging crisis continues to smash new records each day. But, on Monday, the first doses of the first approved vaccine for the disease began to be distributed and administered to health workers and elderly Americans in assisted living facilities. It will likely be Spring before much of the general public will have access.
  • No matter his lies and failures, Team Trump's onerous attempts to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters in Wisconsin --- but only in its two most diverse, most Dem-leaning, most African-American counties --- continued over the weekend. Two different legal efforts in the Badger State, one in federal court and one in state court, fared no better than his 60 or so previous attempts to steal the election from Biden. Of the two latest cases, the last ones that we know of in WI, neither of which included evidence of fraud, one was dismissed by a Trump-appointed judge in federal court on Saturday, and the other was tossed by a 4 to 3 vote of the rightwing Wisconsin state Supreme Court on Monday. A conservative Justice, once again, voted with the court's three liberals, and excoriated the Campaign's attempt to toss more than 200,000 lawfully cast votes in a strategy that one Justice said "smacks of racism". The ruling came just moments before Wisconsin cast its 10 Electoral College votes for Biden.
  • Down in Georgia, where 16 Electoral College votes were cast for Biden today --- eventually giving him 306 votes, versus the 304 votes Trump ultimately received in 2016, when he called his victory over Hillary Clinton a "landslide" --- former Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams cast her vote as a Democratic Elector and offered some comments on bringing the nation together under the new Democratic President-elect, which we share on today's show.
  • And though we ran out of time for details, here's the story of the Michigan state capitol which had to be shut down today for security reasons during the casting of that state's 16 Electoral College votes for Biden, as a state GOP lawmaker appeared to threaten violence in Lansing this morning.
  • Finally, in our remaining few minutes, we open up the phone lines to listeners, one of whom sees the continuing and futile Team Trump lawsuits as "treason", another who questions the safety of the COVID vaccine, and another who ends today's show with a rather appropriate song...

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Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attny Randall D. Eliason of GWU Law School...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2020 8:08pm PT  

The madness continues on today's BradCast. But, midway through the show, SCOTUS put the unanimous brakes on the MAGA Mob's latest greatest hope to overturn the 2020 election, while top Republicans increase their eliminationist rhetoric to foment violence and Trump prepares to hand out pardons like Christmas candy.

A new survey out this week from Gallup finds a huge drop in the self-identified mental health of Americans. Not surprising. Perhaps also not surprising is that, among demographic groups which saw double-digit drops from their previous self-ratings of "excellent" mental health, Republicans and independents were near the top, while Democrats were among those groups identified with the smallest change in their own mental health ratings from previous surveys.

Not sure what that may mean exactly, but somehow it seems relevant today as the Republican Party appears to be mentally crumbling before our eyes as it begins to sink in for them that they've been lied to about Trump having "won" the 2020 election. Or even that they would somehow be able to come up with evidence --- any evidence --- that proves in court that Joe Biden and the Democrats and dead Hugo Chavez somehow stole it from Trump.

Last week, Trump Campaign lawyer and former U.S. Attorney, Joe diGenova, called for a former top DHS official, Chris Krebs, to be "taken out at dawn and shot" because he dared believe the 2020 election was "the most secure in American history." DiGenova and the Trump Campaign and Newsmax TV, the wingnut outlet which aired the Team Trump call to execute a former government official, all now face a serious lawsuit from Krebs.

Over at the old school wingnut outlet, Fox "News", formerly sane business anchor turned racist wingnut drama queen Lou Dobbs broke into a frothy rage while interviewing top White House advisor Stephen Miller because Trump and his party, as Dobbs sees it, aren't fighting hard enough to overthrow the election while "the Republican Party...is watching its blood drain into the streets because they're gutless."

And out in Arizona, where the very Trumpy Republican Governor Doug Ducey has been forced to repel entreaties by the President of the United State to stage a coup and declare the loser President to be the "winner" of the state's electoral votes, the state GOP, chaired by a loon named Kelli Ward, is asking Twitter followers to give their lives (literally) for Donald Trump. The AZ GOP even went so far as to follow up that request with a second tweet that includes a clip of "Rambo" holding an arrow to someone's head, while uttering: "This is what we do, who we are. Live for nothing, or die for something." That, in a state where a gun massacre was carried out in 2011 at a Democratic event that killed six and almost fatally wounded then Rep. Gabby Giffords whose husband, Mark Kelly, just unseated the state's Republican U.S. Senator on November 3rd.

All of that madness came before the U.S. Supreme Court today unanimously rejected the only case to come before the Court to challenge the 2020 Presidential election results. (The Trump Campaign has promised to go to SCOTUS themselves, but hasn't.) The rejected case was filed by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and several Pennsylvania state lawmakers challenging the new absentee ballot law that they passed (and voted for) last year as a violation of the state Constitution. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court already strongly rejected the challenge, and this afternoon, mid-show, SCOTUS refused to hear the attempted federal appeal.

But, if some 50 (and counting) failed, evidence-free court cases from Team Trump haven't yet done the trick, and they are unable to spark the violent new civil war they are clearly hoping for, Donald Trump is still busy preparing to give away pardons "like Christmas gifts" to his aides, friends, family and even himself while he still has the chance. As of today, such a pardon appears to have helped the admitted felon and former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn off the hook after he twice pleaded to lying to the FBI (while also admitting that he was an undeclared paid agent of Turkey.) So, in lieu of a violent upheaval --- or maybe along with it --- why not issue Presidential Pardons to all of your corrupt friends, family and business associates on the way out the door? Even before they've been charged with any crime? That appears to be coming very soon at this point.

To discuss the awesome, virtually unchallengeable Constitutional power of the Presidential Pardon, we are joined today again by former Asst. U.S. Attorney RANDALL D. ELIASON of George Washington University Law School. Several weeks ago, Eliason wrote an excellent primer on the scope and recent history (and abuse) of the Pardon power and the PardonPalooza that both he (and I) expect to see in the coming days.

Eliason challenges some of the common wisdom concerning Presidential Pardons (for example, whether it's true that someone who is pardoned loses their 5th Amendment right to refuse to testify about the criminal matter to Congress and law enforcement officials and whether or not a Pardon is actually an acknowledgement of "guilt"); whether Pardons may be legally challenged as corrupt or unlawfully self-dealing and, if so, how exactly; whether a President is Constitutionally allowed to pardon himself; and whether this one is likely to do so (answer in short: of course he is!)

As the news that U.S. Circuit Court Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the Michael Flynn case as "moot" just before airtime today, and the news that SCOTUS unanimously declined to take up the challenge to Pennsylvania's electors came during our discussion, we also get Eliason's reaction to both of those breaking matters.

Yes, it's another chocked-full-o-information BradCast, appropriately seasoned, we hope, with just enough snark along the way to help keep you both informed and sane! Good luck!...

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Also: U.S. COVID infection, hospitalization, death numbers surge to heartbreaking records, wasn't a 'hoax' after all...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2020 7:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Donald Trump Crazy Train keeps chugging along. And its getting crazier, and seemingly farther off the tracks with each passing hour as the outgoing President's days in the White House continue to diminish and his likelihood of facing criminal accountability grows nearer and nearer. One of the biggest remaining questions is how many of his supporters are still to get run over by that train.

Among the many stories we cover today...

  • Before we dive deep into The Crazy, some very grim milestones in the COVID crisis which, turns out, wasn't a hoax at all, as both Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz "guaranteed" us before the election. On Wednesday, there were more than 200,000 new cases, more than 100,000 hospitalizations and more than 2,777 deaths confirmed from COVID. All of them single day records, as the pandemic will continue to get far worse in coming months before it begins to get better. All thanks, in no small part, to idiots like Trump, Cruz and whole bunch of other Republicans who sadistically sacrificed their constituents' lives in dashed hopes of seeing Trump re-elected;
  • Following Attorney General Bill Barr's comments to AP earlier this week that, "to date," the Dept. of Justice has "not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election," Trump, as expected, reportedly blew a gasket. It resulted in a two and half hour meeting for Barr at the White House and Trump said to be considering whether he will now fire his second AG, despite his years of covering up and lying for the President and his unprecedented directive to dozens of Asst. U.S. Attorneys to investigate bogus claims of "massive fraud" before and after the election;
  • On Thursday, the rightwing Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the Trump Campaign's latest attempt to toss out hundreds of thousands of votes in a state that Trump lost. Of note, as has been the case in every suit they've filed (by way of contrast to what they say publicly to the chumps and suckers who believe in them), Team Trump offered zero evidence of fraud in their complaint. Rather, they complained about absentee ballot procedures that have been in place since before the 2016 election, when Trump is said to have won the state, as well as during this year's primaries. Apparently they forgot to claim that WI's absentee voting laws were illegal in those past elections. The suit was rejected today, however, because the court ruled it needs to be filed in a lower state court first before it can be heard by the state Supremes. The Campaign also filed another federal case in the state on Wednesday. It does not argue their was fraud in this year's election either;
  • It's become so embarrassing that even top Trump sycophant Sen. Lindsey Graham is taking to Fox "News" to tell the Trump legal team that they need to provide proof of their fraud claims in court. "Doing a video is not proof," he said, shortly after Trump released a 46-minute video on Wednesday, falsely claiming (without evidence, naturally) that he actually won virtually every state in the union this year;
  • Lack of evidence of fraud, however, has not stopped the Rudy Giuliani Traveling Dog 'n' Pony Show. After making presentations to GOP state legislators in "hearings" held in rented hotel banquet rooms in Pennsylvania and Arizona this week, the Republicans of the gerrymandered Michigan state legislature opened an actual hearing room in the state capital to the Rudy Show. It did not go well. We share the testimony from Melissa Carone, of one of the "witnesses" that Rudy hauled up to the stand. It's something to behold;
  • Meanwhile, down in Georgia on Wednesday, a huge "Stop the Steal" rally at the Peach State capital, headed up by self-disgracing attorneys and Trump Crazy Train Conductors Sidney Powell and Lin Wood (who may actually be mentally ill), likely drove the what's left of the actual GOP crazy. Wood attacked the very Trumpy Republican Governor Brian Kemp, resulting in "Lock him up!" chants from the QAnon brain-poisoned crowd, before instructing the misinformed throngs that they should absolutely not vote for incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler or David Perdue in the upcoming January 5th runoff elections that will determine partisan control of the U.S. Senate;
  • Finally, we close with some helpful words, believe it or not, from far-right, not insane Trump supporter Erick Erickson. In a Twitter thread this week, the former Editor-in-Chief of the rightwing RedState blog, finally seems to have had enough of the madness of GOP conspiracy theorists who now believe that Trump's own DOJ, FBI, CIA, Attorney General, and the Republican Governors of states like Georgia and Arizona, not to mention others, have all teamed up to steal the election for Joe Biden. "Maybe…and I know this might just blow your mind…but maybe what if you've been lied to the whole time. There is no conspiracy. There is no theft of the election," Erickson unloads, suggesting that "maybe, just maybe" the problem is Trump and supporters who can't understand that "ultimately it is really you who are the problem because you so willingly got played and even now want to be played because now you're emotionally invested in a cause and a candidate and to admit you were played and he lost and there was no deep state conspiracy or theft of the election would actually make you look bad. So it's better to double down on the lies and bullshit and blame everyone else."

Sounds about right. Thanks, Erick. You can stop blocking me on Twitter now.

Buckle up and/or pop a bucket of popcorn or two for today's BradCast...

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Guest: Redistricting expert Dan Vicuña; Also: Why Krebs is almost right, but wrong, as Trump attorney says former CISA chief should be 'shot'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2020 8:05pm PT  

Attorney General Bill Barr may now be in big trouble with Donald Trump at the DoJ. One of Trump's personal attorneys may be in big trouble with the D.C. Bar. And Trump's attempt to game the Census and Apportionment of Congressional seats for the next 10 years may be in big trouble at his stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court. All of that big trouble and more on today's BradCast! [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

First up, Attorney General Barr has undoubtedly infuriated his boss today by admitting to The Associated Press that "to date," the Justice Dept. has "not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election."

Uh, oh. The last senior Administration official who said something similar --- Chris Krebs, Trump's Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the new DHS agency that oversees elections infrastructure --- was fired just days later after his federal agency and others (along with several voting machine vendors, so take it with a grain of salt) announced that the 2020 election was "the most secure in American history."

Speaking of Krebs, he was interviewed by CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday, where he stood by that assessment and chalked the success of the 2020 election up to "paper ballots."

"Paper ballots give you the ability to audit," he told CBS' Scott Pelley, "to go back and check the tape and make sure you got the count right. That's really one of the keys to success for a secure 2020 election. That gives you the ability to prove that there was no malicious algorithm or hacked software that adjusted the tally of the vote."

Well, he was so close. "Paper ballots" don't protect elections, HAND-MARKED paper ballots protect elections. And there is a big difference. Krebs goes on to cite, for example, Georgia's terrible new Dominion Voting Systems touchscreen computers that voters are forced to vote on at the polls, and the subsequent statewide hand-count of ballots to make his case. But Georgia's systems, as we've long reported in great detail, print out computer-marked paper ballot summaries which can never be known after an election to reflect the intent of any voter. As we explain yet again today, studies show that the vast majority of voters do not check their computer-printed summary, and that 93%(!) of them do not notice if the computer has changed one of their votes. We offer much more detail --- yet again --- on today's show.

But Krebs, a lifelong Republican who has been bravely outspoken in attempting to debunk false claims about fraud both before and after the election, is certainly a hero for his efforts. The fact that Joe diGenova, one of Donald Trump's personal lawyers, took to the air on Monday to call for Krebs to be murdered --- literally --- is a chilling sign of our times and should result in disbarment for Trump's latest Fox "News" TV attorney for hire. "Anybody who thinks this election went well like that idiot Krebs," diGenova said on a wingnut radio program yesterday, "that guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn and shot."

Krebs suggested to NBC News today that he is likely to take legal action. But you know who else "thinks this election went well," apparently? Bill Barr! We'll see if diGenova calls for him to be executed now as well, or which of the two Trump lackeys will be fired by Trump first.

Next up, we're joined by DAN VICUÑA, National Redistricting Manager at Common Cause, one of the good-government immigration advocacy groups that sued the Trump Administration after a Presidential Memorandum from Trump last year directed U.S. Census apportionment data to leave out "illegal aliens" despite the Constitution's mandate to include the "whole number of persons in each State" for purposes of determining how many U.S. Congressmembers each state shall have for ten years following each decennial Census.

Four different lower courts largely agreed with the plaintiffs challenging Trump's decree --- which would increase political power for rural, white, Republican-leaning districts and take it away from more urban, Democratic-leaning, minority heavy jurisdictions --- finding it to be illegal and/or unconstitutional. On Monday, Trump's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in the matter, and Vicuña reports today on how things went. In short, it appears to have not gone well for the Administration, even with three Trump-appointed Justices now packed onto the bench.

Vicuña, notes that "citizenship status has never been used as a determining factor in whether a person will be counted." He also explains the dangers of Trump's unprecedented decree and how his attempt to bastardize the "plain language" of the U.S. Constitution and "two centuries of precedent" to instead use only "voter-eligible" citizens in counts to determine apportionment in the U.S. House, endangers not only the immigrant population, but everyone else in America, even in so-called "red" states.

"The Administration's lawyers are dancing a strange dance," he tells me while describing Monday's hearing. "The President's memo very clearly states what the President wants, which is to exclude every undocumented person living in the United States --- undocumented people who contribute billions to the economy, who pay taxes on things that they may never see [like] Social Security. The President's attorneys are going into court and saying, 'Well, we're only going to do this within the strictures of what's allowable by law, so for that reason, you shouldn't even rule on this case now. There's no need to address the plaintiffs' challenge, because we don't exactly know how we're going to implement the President's goals' --- even though the President states them clearly --- 'so you should punt.'"

Whether the Court will go along with the Administration on this, and how the incoming Biden Administration may make all of this moot anyway, is all discussed on today's program.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with our latest Green News Report, in which the Trump Administration actually does something that is not only NOT horrible, but very very good for folks in Alaska who have been challenging the creation of the controversial Pebble Mine for more than a decade. Other than that, however, the final days of Trump's environmental smash and grab continue apace...

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Guest: Const'l attorney John Bonifaz of Free Speech for People on Trump's failed election coup and the need for accountablity from the new Administration; Also: Biden victories certified in PA, NV; A few overdue corrections; And several things we're thankful for before the holiday...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2020 7:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we see some light at the end of America's dark tunnel. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On Tuesday, the swing-states of both Pennsylvania and Nevada certified Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump, joining Michigan from Monday. In Arizona, which certifies next week, its very Trumpy Republican Governor Doug Ducey conceded that "Joe Biden did win". And, despite Trump's repeated lie that the stock market would crash if Biden was elected, it continued to soar today, with the Dow closing above 30,000 for the first time. Trump stayed largely inside his White House bunker while continuing to falsely tweet that he won the election, though he did come out long enough to "pardon" a couple of turkeys. He's probably warming up for what is to come during the last desperate days of his failed Presidency.

We're joined today to discuss all of that and much more by Constitutional attorney and election law expert JOHN BONIFAZ, co-founder and President of the nonpartisan, non-profit good government group Free Speech for People (FSFP). His organization won several important victories in key voting rights cases prior to the election. One of them helped extend Arizona's registration deadline during the pandemic, allowing for 35,000 new registrations in the state that Democrats now appear to have won, for the first time in decades, by about 10,000 votes.

Our conversation today focuses largely on accountability, and the need for the President-elect to assure the criminal Administration of the previous four years does not escape it, as the Obama Administration allowed the George W. Bush Administration to do in their ill-considered effort to "look forward not back". Biden has reportedly been uttering similar thoughts of late. Bonifaz argues that would be a fatal mistake. "You can draw a straight line from the decision that President Obama made to only look forward, not to look back at the war crimes, the torture that had taken place during the Bush Administration --- you can draw a straight line from that decision, that strategic error, to the rise of Donald Trump. And I do think that we cannot make that mistake again," he tells me.

Among the areas of accountability that await the outgoing President, as Bonifaz sees it and hopes to ensure with FSFP: Crimes that were not included in Trump's impeachment for attempted extortion of the Ukrainian President (Bonifaz co-wrote a book on those crimes); obstruction of justice and other crimes touched on by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that remain unpunished; horrors carried out by the current administration at our nation's borders, including the "kidnapping" of children; the ongoing attempted coup to overthrow the results of the 2020 election; and even crimes against humanity for Trump's unforgivable failure to help avoid the unnecessary deaths of more than a quarter of a million Americans (to date) thanks to his criminal lies about the COVID pandemic --- just to name a few.

"What we've been left with now, since the election is perhaps the worst abuse of power of them all," explains Bonifaz, who is also founder of the National Voting Rights Institute. "His effort to subvert the Constitution, to disenfranchise millions of voters based on this falsehood that mail-in voting has been fraudulent, and to effectively overturn the Presidential election results, and engage in an attempted coup. All of that is not only an abuse of power, but it's a broad criminal conspiracy for which this President should be held accountable once he is out of office."

We also discuss whether Trump has the Constitutional power to pardon himself for any of those crimes before leaving office, and whether the Republican claims at having newfound concerns about election integrity (based in no small part on years of my own investigative reports, though bastardized by the cretinous lawyers currently representing Trump in his attempt to reverse his reelection loss by both hook and crook), might result in a new reason for hope for the real, decades-old Election Integrity movement. Longtime advocates like Bonifaz and myself have fought for years in that movement against the privatization of our elections by corporate voting system vendors and their proprietary computer voting and tabulation systems. Perhaps after the partisan opportunists have peeled off from the GOP's current false claims about "Dominion!" and "Smartmatic!" and "Hugo Chavez!", we'll find new legitimate allies from the Right.

"We have to reach for the gold standard of election integrity, which are hand-marked paper ballots for all of our jurisdictions across the country, with assistive devices for those who need it," Bonifaz tells me. "But we cannot have the private voting systems industry be in charge of counting our votes, because it leads to this distrust. It leads to this lack of verifiability. The reality here is that because so many people voted by mail this year, we actually had an ability to verify the election even more so than previous cycle. Hand-marked paper ballots are the gold standard."

Also today: A few overdue corrections before the holiday and several things that I am exceedingly grateful for, even in these dark days. And Desi Doyen joins us for our last Green News Report before Thanksgiving, which includes several items to be thankful for as well...for a happy change...

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

P.S. Guest-host Nicole Sandler is in for us tomorrow! We'll see you next week after the holiday! Please stay safe and HEALTHY!

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Also: 87-year old Grassley tests positive for COVID; Graham reportedly attempts unlawful interference in GA's vote count...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2020 7:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we open with the breaking news about the longest serving Senator in Congress. 87-year old Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley from Iowa has tested positive for the coronavirus. We wish him well, as the COVID crisis explodes across the nation because Grassley's party and President failed to even try to combat the deadly pandemic that has, so far, killed almost a quarter of a million Americans, and may kill as many more by the time Donald Trump mercifully leaves office in January. The rest of today's show is moderately less infuriating. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We start off today with good news/bad news stories regarding both the incoming President-elect and the definitely, whether he's man enough to say it out loud, soon-to-be-former outgoing President. Unfortunately with 64 more days until he's out, by law, the increasingly unstable Trump still has his finger on the nuclear button. The bad news is, as the New York Times reports, he is attempting to launch an attack on Iran his final days. The predicate is a recent report from the the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) finding that --- thanks to Trump reneging on the hard-fought, successful 6-party deal struck under President Obama that prevented Iran from being able to build a nuclear weapon --- the nation is once again rebuilding its nuclear stockpile. The good news is that there are apparently just enough not-insane top officials left in the White House and Pentagon that they were reportedly able to talk our deranged President out of sparking WWIII on his way out the door. For now.

The good news/bad news regarding President-elect Joe Biden is that, according to sources who spoke with NBC News, he is disinclined to seek accountability for the many crimes committed by Trump and his administration over the past four years. Yes, it's an echo of Obama's failed "look forward, not back" policy regarding George W. Bush Administration crimes after the Democrat took back the White House in 2008. As we've long argued, that lack of accountability paved the way for the rise of Donald Trump and other GOP miscreants. The good news (good-ish, anyway), is that Biden also says, according to advisers, that he hopes to restore the important separation between the White House and the Department of Justice upon taking office. That means that prosecutors will be free to follow the law and investigate and prosecute as they see fit. Much of this, therefore, rests upon whoever Biden names as Attorney General, though none of this will protect Trump from criminal accountability at the state level, especially in New York.

Then, it's back to Election 2020 Crazy Land, where...

  • Trump must decide by Wednesday if he's gonna cough up $7.9 million dollars for an almost certainly futile "recount" in Wisconsin;
  • Trump crony Sen. Lindsey Graham appears to have tried to convince Georgia's Republican Secretary of State to toss out lawfully cast ballots in the state, according to the woeful and embattled Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. That could amount to any number of both state and federal crimes committed by the man who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, as we explain;
  • Amid Raffensperger's ongoing quasi-audit, quasi-recount, quasi-recanvass in Georgia --- an otherwise wholly-meaningless and extra-legal exercise invented by Raffensperger to try to kiss up to Trump and the other Republicans who are being mean to him because Trump lost Georgia --- nearly 2,600 untallied ballots were discovered in GOP-leaning Floyd County. With those ballots added to the current totals, Trump will pick up some 778 votes on his approximately 14,000 vote deficit against Biden in the Peach State;
  • In Pennsylvania, the crazy is almost too much to keep up with today. On Sunday, Team Trump revised its baseless federal lawsuit by removing a demand to toss some 680,000 ballots. That leaves only a complaint regarding Democratic-leaning counties which lawfully allowed voters who cast mail-in ballots that were deficient in some way (missing a signature or the secrecy ballot) to come in and "cure" the deficiency before Election Day. Republican-leaning counties, for unknown reasons, didn't bother. Either way, there are reportedly nowhere near enough such ballots to overcome Trump's current deficit of more than 73,000 votes.

    But the amusing part is that almost the entire legal team representing the Trump Campaign in the Keystone State withdrew from the case entirely by Monday, leaving one poor GOP schmo with a rightwing radio show representing Trump as his attorney on the case. (Just days after Election Day, the same schmo also told his listeners on air that "no bombshells are about to drop that will derail a Biden presidency," that "litigation will not work" and "will not reverse this election.")

    After a federal judge denied the schmo an extension for Tuesday's emergency hearing, so he could bone up on the case, Trump sent Rudy Giuliani to rescue him, even though Rudy hasn't appeared as an attorney in a courtroom since 1992. We had no news from today's hearing by airtime, but we have since heard it did not go well.

    But just before airtime, we did get word out of the PA Supreme Court on a separate case, in which Team Trump lost yet again. This time, on their counter-factual claims that Republican observers were not allowed to properly oversee counting in Philadelphia. The state Justices found that they were allowed, as per state law, and that the claim was false. That brings Trump's losses to date in his election related challenges to something like 25 out of 26 cases nationally. But don't worry! He's totally gonna "win" this thing any day now!

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as Hurricane Iota slams Nicaragua (the record-smashing 30th Atlantic storm of the season, and the most powerful to date in 2020); the Trump Administration rushes to sell off drilling rights in the previously-pristine Alaska National Wildlife Refuge; and President-elect Biden meets with business and labor leaders to begin moving forward again on both the economy and climate...

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Guest: TIP's Nils Gilman on warning about this moment, what happens next; Also: RWers' newfound BRAD BLOG-fueled 'election integrity' concerns; Caller questions on phony GOP 'voter fraud' claims...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2020 8:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Dozens of top, bi-partisan experts in government, national security and media predicted this moment last Summer, as they gamed out the various scenarios that might occur after Election Day. At the same time today, it's wildly amusing to watch Republicans continue to pick up on so many of our reports on election integrity at The BRAD BLOG over the years and suddenly pretend to be concerned about it, after years of scoffing at such "libtard, sore loser conspiracy theories" regarding the dangers of computerized vote tallies and private voting system vendors in control of our public elections. [Audio link to today's show is posted below summary.]

First up, the experts who predicted this moment. Most of the scenarios that the Transition Integrity Project (TIP) gamed out, they feared, would result in at least some level of violence and a potential Constitutional crisis. Donald Trump is largely proceeding as they'd predicted. But the co-founder of TIP, which organized the exercises to examine what Trump might do in the wake of a Joe Biden victory, tells me today that while "it's like poison into the veins of the body politic...they're not going to be able to get away with actually stealing the election."

Dr. NILS GILMAN is an historian, Vice President of Programs at the Berggruen Institute and TIP co-founder and joins me again on today's show. Earlier this year, in table-top exercises he helped to organize, the TIP group gamed out the various ways that Election 2020 might play out [PDF]. When we spoke with Gilman in August he cautioned that "all signs appeared to be flashing red," as the experts found that all potential scenarios other than a "Biden landslide" could result in "both street-level violence and political impasse".

So, with Trump's continuing unwillingness to concede the election two weeks later; his false claims of massive "voter fraud" in at least half a dozen states failing to include any actual evidence; at least two dozen lawsuits challenging the election being tossed out of court or withdrawn by plaintiffs; along with the Administration's refusal to work with the Biden Transition team, it seemed a good time to check back in with Gilman to see if the current scenario was predicted and, if so, how experts believed it would play out from here.

"We looked at four different scenarios" last summer, Gilman explains. But now, he says, "the world we ended up in was somewhere between the 'Biden landslide' and the 'Biden clear-but-close-victory'. So you see the moves that Trump is trying to do that we anticipated when we ran these exercises last Summer. They are very similar to the ones we saw. He's trying to convince people that there was cheating going on in the election, that there was electoral fraud. He's trying to get state legislatures to potentially consider throwing out the results of the popular vote and instead putting in place a slate of Republican electors even though the people voted for Democratic electors."

"I don't think any of that is going to end up working," says Gilman. "We're not quite in 'Biden landslide' territory, but we're not in a close election either. That's why I don't think Trump is going to be able to pull off what he was probably scheming to do."

While he says "there's a lot of crazy stuff happening in the fever swamps" and, indeed, there was some violence after Trump supporters and counter-protesters clashed over the weekend, Gilman believes that the conditions that would lead to worst of the scenarios examined have yet to materialize. And that's a very good thing. So far. He explains why that is and what is, so far, missing from one of those worst case scenarios examined by his project.

Also today, Republicans --- yes, even Sean Hannity! --- is suddenly very troubled by secret software made by private voting system vendors like Dominion Voting, a company that we've been reporting on (along with all of the other equally shitty vendors) for years. In the past, the folks at Fox "News" like Hannity and now dead Breitbart "News" founder Andrew Breitbart, scoffed at our reporting. Breitbart took particular glee in attacking me personally over my reporting on the now defunct Diebold Elections Systems, Inc. (It seems unlikely that Breitbart "News", with their "reporting" on Dominion today, even realize that the company now owns many of Diebold's assets!)

But, over the past week or two, our traffic here has gone through the roof as the Rightwingers have suddenly become concerned about these issues for some odd reason, after years of dismissing them. Thanks, Rightwingers! (Yes, for example, if you are hearing misleading murmurs from the fever swamps --- including from Hannity and Trump himself --- tying Dominion to Venezuela in order to claim the company secretly stole the election for Biden, it's due to this exclusive BRAD BLOG story that we broke more then 10 year ago! Glad ya'll have finally decided to notice and become alarmed about our reporting! Just wait until you hear what George W. Bush did in Iraq!)

Then, we open up the phone lines to answer some more questions about all of this, including one caller who wonders what's up with what she's been seeing all over YouTube about Venezuela and Dominion?! And another who picked up on part of my conversation with Gilman about whether the Biden Administration intends to hold the criminal Trumpers accountable or whether, like the Obama Administration with the Bushies, they will make the mistake of "looking forward, not back."

"People have to look close at what created the mess we're in now," says our wise caller Kelwin. "Trump is a bed sore on a sick, cancer-ridden political body of the United States. And getting rid of Trump is going to be like fixing a bed sore on a dying body. I like to say that charging and going after these people, that IS looking forward. It's looking at stopping the pattern."

All of that and much much more on today's BradCast!...

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Guest: Eddie Perez of the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Inst.; Also: New results elsewhere; Election officials sickened by COVID; More...
By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2020 7:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Georgia's embattled Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made a surprising --- and somewhat bizarre --- announcement at a press conference on Wednesday morning. He declared that the state would be carrying out a full, statewide hand-count in the Presidential race of "every single piece of paper, every single ballot, every single lawfully cast ballot." As of airtime, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump in that race by more than 14,000 votes out of nearly five million votes cast this year in the Peach State, with very few ballots reportedly left to tally. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

"With the margin being so close, it will require a full, by-hand recount in each county," Raffensperger declared. "This will help build confidence. It will be an audit, a recount, and a recanvass all at once." But, as our guest today explains, an audit, recount and recanvass all very different things that can't and don't actually happen at the same time.

The announcement has resulted in a lot of questions today, that we both ask and try to answer.

For a start, recount laws in Georgia only appear to allow the Sec. of State to declare a recount in the event that there is evidence of fraud that could change the final results. He has offered no such evidence. Otherwise, if the margin of difference between the two leading candidates is 0.5% or less, a candidate may then petition the Secretary for a recount. To my knowledge, however, neither candidate has yet petitioned for such a count, even with the margin currently at 0.28% and still rising for Biden. One reason is likely because a recount can't be petitioned until after the race has been certified. County certification in the state is due this Friday, with the deadline for certification by the state not until next Friday (November 20th.)

Earlier this year, however, Georgia announced a new pilot program for a post-election Risk-Limiting Audit (or RLA) process. An RLA, in short, is a process and protocol invented in recent years by UC-Berkley Prof. Philip Stark (who has been a guest on our show) in which hand-counts of small, randomly-selected samples of ballots in a race are carried out to determine, supposedly with 95% scientific certainty, that the results reported by the computer tabulators accurately reflect voter intent. The larger the margin in a race, the fewer ballots need to be counted to achieve that certainty under the mathematical RLA protocol. In very close races, or if mistallies are found along the way while hand-counting, a larger sample is then counted, all the way up to a full hand-count of all ballots, when necessary.

In Georgia, Raffensperger had previously announced that the state's pilot RLA program would be carried out on just one single race every two years. The race would be personally selected by the Secretary. Until today, that race was not expected to be the Presidential race in Georgia. In fact, in the first outing for the state's pilot RLA program after their June primaries earlier this year, just 27 ballots were counted in total in the RLA. Today, however, for reasons still unknown, Raffensperger declared that the Presidential race would be selected for the RLA and that, due to its tight margin, all ballots would be hand-counted.

Raffensperger has long been under fire from Election Integrity advocates for his recent selection of the Dominion Voting Systems touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) for in-person voting. That, after a federal judge last year ordered the state to get rid of its 20-year Diebold touchscreens which she determined to be unsecure, unverifiable and, therefore, unconstitutional. The new systems chosen by Raffensperger may eventually face the same fate, according to the judge.

The new touchscreens print out a computer-marked paper ballot summary, supposedly to be reviewed by each voter at the end of the touchscreen process. But they are 100% unverifiable after an election. Nobody can know if the summaries were reviewed or not, much less accurately. Studies show that most voters do not review them, and that 93% of voters do not notice when the computer has changed one of their votes. RLAs of paper ballot summaries produced by BMDs, according to Stark, cannot possibly confirm voter intent. They can only confirm whether the computerized optical-scan tabulators tallied them correctly as per the QRCode printed on each ballot summary. (Yes, voters who do bother to review the printouts will review the human-readable summary printed on them. That portion of the ballot is not actually tallied by the scanners --- the QR barcode is tallied instead.)

And while Election Integrity folks have long been critical of Raffensperger (and, in fact, are suing the state of Georgia to get rid of the BMDs and move to a less expensive, verifiable hand-marked paper ballot system for all voters at the polling place, as recommended by cybersecurity and voting systems experts), this week, many on the Right have suddenly decided that they are also now also critical of Raffensperger's selection of the Dominion systems and his administration of the Presidential election that Trump appears to have lost in the state. On Monday night, the state's two incumbent Republican U.S. Senators called on Raffensperger to resign in advance of the two U.S. Senate runoffs set for January 5th, which which will determine whether Democrats are able to take back control of the upper chamber in Congress. (For my part, I've invited Republicans to join my call for all hand-marked and hand-counted paper ballots for those easy to count runoffs, as that would provide full transparency that even the GOP shouldn't complaint about, since it would remove Dominion's hardware and software from the entire process.)

At the same time, millions of hand-marked paper ballots were also cast in this year's election in Georgia, due to the COVID pandemic. A hand-count of those ballots under the RLA process may or may not reveal errors in the tabulation, but --- presuming the chain of custody has been secure --- would help confirm the accuracy of the reported results...at least for the hand-marked ballots.

None of this, meanwhile, will change the ultimate results of the Presidential election nationally --- at least not on its own. Even if the results in Georgia were to somehow flip to Trump, Biden would still have more than enough Electoral College votes, even without Georgia, to win the Presidency if his current leads in all of the other states remain.

If all of this sounds like a confusing mess, that's because it is. And, to be frank, it's unclear, at least to me, whether Raffensperger even knows what the hell he is talking about in declaring this simultaneous RLA/Recount/Recanvass. Nonetheless, we try to make sense of what is known and unknown today --- and both ask and answer many more questions --- with my guest EDDIE PEREZ, Global Director of Technology and Standards at the nonpartisan, nonprofit Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Institute. Before joining OSET, Perez spent some 15 years as the Director of Product Management at Austin, TX-based Hart-Intercivic, the nation's third-largest private voting systems vendor.

Jump on in to today's full show for what I hope is an invaluable, detailed conversation about all of this, if you want to know what the hell is now going on in Georgia and whether any of it can actually work or otherwise ultimately effect the Presidential results. Perez has a lot of experience and insight to share while he expresses his own concerns that what may be going on here is "a kind of election integrity theater" being carried out by Raffensperger, "where neither side is particularly satisfied" by the ultimate result....whatever it may turn out to be.

Also on today's program: The latest updates on several election results elsewhere; 28 election officials in one Missouri County have contracted COVID, most likely from voters during the election; A new poll from Reuters finds that nearly 80% of the electorate --- including Republicans --- believe Biden is the winner...

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

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on Kavanaugh's terrifying, error-riddled opinion in the case that blocks WI from counting thousands of timely cast mail-in ballots; Also: Trump's very VERY bad day...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2020 7:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was a very very bad day for Donald J. Trump and for his odds of winning re-election. At least on paper. Don't get too excited just yet. (But please do vote, ASAP, if you have not done so already! And if you're voting by mail-in ballot, do not mail it in! Deliver it in person, at this point!) [Audio link to full show is posted beneath summary.]

Among the very bad news for our failed President on Wednesday...

  • 'Anonymous' was revealed to have been the Chief of Staff of his own Dept. of Homeland Security, who has now endorsed Joe Biden;
  • The stock market --- the only thing that Trump has left to crow about --- plummeted on concerns about the startling third-peak surge in the U.S. COVID pandemic, thanks to Trump's bungled response, with the Dow falling more than 950 points;
  • Hackers defaced the Trump Campaign website;
  • The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released an embarrassing document detailing the Trump Administration's "accomplishments", leading off with "Ending the COVID-19 pandemic"! If you have any doubts about that, they quote noticed science and technologist Ivanka Trump as supporting evidence;
  • 20 former Republican U.S. Attorneys, serving in Presidential administrations from Eisenhower to George W. Bush came out with their "strongest endorsement" for...Joe Biden. (So much for Trump as the self-proclaimed "law and order President");
  • Hundreds of Trump supporters were left stranded by the Trump Campaign in frigid temps on an airstrip in Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday night, after Trump's latest super-spreader rally. Seven supporters were hospitalized "with a variety of medical conditions" as they waited in the dark until after midnight for buses to arrive to drive them back three miles to their cars;
  • And, all the while, the polling both nationally and in battleground states continues to appear bleak for Trump, including one (frankly, hard-to-believe) new poll from ABC News/Washington Post finding Biden up by 17 points in Wisconsin.

As noted, it was a very bad day for Donald Trump's reelection effort. At least in theory. But he still has a few Trump Cards that he believes --- with good reason --- he may be able to play at his stolen and corrupt U.S. Supreme Court. That effort will involve preventing timely cast ballots from being tabulated at all following Election Day.

If the concurrence filed in a Wisconsin case on Monday night by former GOP operative turned GOP activist Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, however, is any indication of how this scheme will work, you should plan to either laugh or cry yourself to death in the coming days.

We're joined today once again by Slate's brilliant legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN to explain which of those two options is more likely at this point. Or, as he says today, "be the 'Angel of Doom' on your show, here to deliver some bad news from the heavens and generally terrify you about what's coming from our Supreme Court in the coming weeks and months."

On Monday night, the Supremes issued an order that blocked a lower federal court's ruling allowing the counting of mail-in ballots postmarked in the Badger State by Election Day that arrive up to six days after November 3rd. The opinion was a party-line 5 to 3 vote, with Kavanaugh issuing an extraordinary 18-page concurrence [PDF] with his majority vote to nullify potentially hundreds of thousands of legitimate ballots. The concurrence, however, was full of demonstrable, laughable, egregious errors of fact, including the claim that states like to declare winners on Election Night (zero of them actually do, as Stern correctly notes) and that counting ballots after Election Day might "potentially flip the results of an election."

Since elections are never certified by states on Election Night --- only the media declare "winners", in that sense --- official state results cannot be "flipped" with the counting of ballots after Election Day. It takes anywhere from days to weeks to tally ballots and certify winners even when we're not in the middle of an horrific pandemic that has resulted in an all-time record use of vote-by-mail options across the country.

That said, as insane as Kavanaugh's opinion was, both he and Trump's first stolen Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, offered a "totally deranged attempt", as Stern described it, to hew to a rejected opinion from the Bush v. Gore case in 2000 that handed the Presidency to George W. Bush. Though it came from a minority of Justices at the time --- in an opinion that specifically said it could never be used as a precedent in any other case --- it does now seem to be one of the Trump Cards that could be played to try and steal this year's election.

As Stern explains today, the portion of Bush v. Gore cited by Kavanaugh (inaccurately claiming it was from a unanimous majority opinion when it was neither unanimous nor in the majority!) was so radical at the time that even Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy refused to concur with it. Nonetheless, incredibly enough, there are now three Republican Party attorneys who worked on that Florida case in 2000 on behalf of Bush --- John Roberts, Kavanaugh and now Amy Coney Barrett --- actually sitting on the Court as Justices. That means anything could now happen, depending on how things work out as of next Tuesday night. So buckle up, as Stern details why all of this could come into play week and in the future, "because if this comes down to a few thousand or a few hundred ballots --- hoo boy --- it's going to make Bush v. Gore look like a warmup act for what's coming next."

We also get some reaction from Stern on Biden's recently stated position to call for a bi-partisan panel of Constitutional scholars to make recommendations for Court reform and/or expansion (presuming Biden wins and Dems take back the Senate), and a federal court's rejection this week of the DoJ's absurd attempt to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against Trump, filed in NY state court by columnist E. Jean Carroll who alleges he raped her in the 1990's.

Finally, we use a few minutes to name the "winner" of our recent bumper music trivia "contest" from Monday, when our guest was Ion Sancho (the legendary former Florida election official who oversaw the aborted 2000 "recount") and then, just in case you needed any more inspiration today to help ensure a landslide next week, we close with a parody song performed by Lauren Myers with lyrics written by our friend and regular guest-host Nicole Sandler!

Oh, and P.S., if you want to share that absolutely bone chilling Lincoln Project ad we opened today's show with, it's right here.

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

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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Computer check-in system causing long Early Voting lines in GA; FBI warns of 'unauthorized access to elections support systems'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2020 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's full speed ahead for Senate Republicans' desperate attempt to further pack the U.S. Supreme Court while they still have the chance. And it's anything but feel speed for voters forced to wait in hours-long Early Voting lines in Georgia. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The Peach State could very well turn "blue" this year, according to Nate Silver at Five Thirty Eight, in both the Presidential election and not one, but two U.S. Senate races there this year. But voters will have to work like hell to make that happen. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports today that the state's new voting check-in computers --- needed to operate the state's new unverifiable touchscreen voting machines --- appear to be the main cause of intolerably long lines for voters since Early Voting began on Monday. Some voters have reportedly left without voting, others waited as long as 12 hours to cast their votes. Now that AJC has identified the check-in computers to be a main bottleneck, Georgia's terrible Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger --- who previously attributed the hours-long lines to "voter enthusiasm" --- has apparently told the private software vendor responsible for those check-in computers at Voting Centers to increase network bandwidth to speed up the process. Early reports in Atlanta suggest the expanded bandwidth may be helping to speed things up, but we'll see.

In the meantime, as voters in Georgia must now navigate at least 4 different computer systems (programmed by private companies) to cast their one vote, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of the Dept. of Homeland Security, are warning they are aware of "some instances" in which malicious actors (most likely foreign, they suggest) have obtained "unauthorized access to elections support systems." They quickly note, however, they have "no evidence to date that integrity of elections data has been compromised." Feel better?

Our guest today, Slate's great legal reporter, MARK JOSEPH STERN, is definitely not feeling better after a week of hearings in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, meant to further pack the Republicans' already-stolen Supreme Court with Amy Coney Barrett before Election Day. The hearings revealed little or nothing about Donald Trump's third far-right nominee to the highest court in the land, Stern reports. "It was a terrible week. It was one of the worst on record," he tells me, describing the proceedings as a "deranged power grab" and the nominee as establishing a new low for such hearings.

"Amy Coney Barrett has established a new rule for Supreme Court confirmations, which is that the nominee doesn't just have to be kind of evasive or squirrelly. The nominee can literally say nothing of substance and simply announce a rule at the outset that she won't say anything of substance, and then just swat down questions that try to get her to say anything meaningful."

Barrett refused to (or couldn't?) answer even simple, non-political questions and matters of basic federal law, such as whether it is illegal to intimidate voters at the polls. (It is.) "I don't understand why we all had to go through this entire experience. It was a psychic wound, it was demeaning to all of us. She won't even say whether this federal law exists, whether it is real," Stern observes. "Will she acknowledge that gravity exists?"

Among the many related points we discuss today...

  • While Barrett allies herself with the great myth of the late Justice Antonin Scalia's so-called "Constitutional originalism," is she in fact "a legal lightweight"?;
  • Do Republicans even care about her "remarkable paucity of experience"? (Stern charges: "I don't think that she's necessarily being picked on the merits of her own scholarship.");
  • If SCOTUS nominees are now going to refuse to answer any question on virtually anything, have these hearings and the Advise and Consent clause itself become little more than a meaningless joke at this point?;
  • Is Barrett's bizarre assertion that Roe v. Wade is not a "super-precedent" --- apparently meaning a ruling that cannot be overturned --- actually a real legal concept in any way, shape or form?;
  • What, if anything, was the impact of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's stunning thirty-minute detailing on Tuesday (video here, transcript here) of the decades-long, $250 million, rightwing dark-money court-packing conspiracy? And did it help Americans appreciate the insidious scam that wealthy rightwingers have been running with the GOP for years now to capture our entire federal judicial system? ("Amy Coney Barrett didn't just magically appear in that seat. She didn't just find herself nominated to the Supreme Court. She has been elevated, propped up, by this massive dark money machine," Stern notes.);
  • Did Democrats do all that they could to highlight the outrage of how Republicans are undermining the very legitimacy of our federal courts, even as Dems have little or no way to stop it right now?;
  • Will Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have the courage to do the right thing for justice and the American people by expanding the Supreme Court to save cherished American rights and the court system itself IF they are able to win the White House and Senate majority this November?;
  • And, why the hell was ranking Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) hugging the Judiciary Committee Chair, Sen. Lindsey Graham (maskless!), at the end of today's final day of hearings?

All of those questions asked and mostly answered on today's lively --- if maddening --- program...

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

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Brad is an independent investigative
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VelvetRevolution.us co-founder,
expert on issues of election integrity,
and a Commonweal Institute Fellow.

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