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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, January 29, 2023
NJ 2022 Computer Mistally Means Loser Actually Won: 'BradCast' 1/26/2023
Also: 'Doomsday Clock' ticked forward; Opposing war and supporting Ukraine; And, 'Russia, please!'...
'Green News Report' 1/26/23
  w/ Brad & Desi
Spate of new studies find climate impacts escalating; Logging banned (again) in Alaskan rainforest; PLUS: 'Doomsday Clock' moved closer than ever to 'midnight'...
Recent GNRs: 1/24/23 - 1/19/23 - Archives...
Republican Dark Money Group's Multi-Million Dollar 'Grassroots' Vote Suppression Scheme: 'BradCast' 1/25/23
Guest: Brendan Fischer of Documented; Also: My ridiculous, couldn't-be-true Santos theory...
'Decisions are Imminent' in Trump Probe, Says Willis in GA: 'BradCast' 1/24/23
Also: Mass shooting spate; Pence found classified docs at home, returned them; Media still failing on Trump document theft story...
'Green News Report' 1/24/23
  w/ Brad & Desi
CA storm damage tops $1B; Offshore wind doesn't kill whales; Disasters displaced 3.3M in U.S. last year; PLUS: Hand-feeding manatees in FL appears to be saving them...
Recent GNRs: 1/19/23 - 1/17/23 - Archives...
Listeners Ring in on Just About Everything. (Everywhere. All at Once.): 'BradCast' 1/23/23
From the debit limit to Biden/Trump docs to mass shootings to Ukraine and much more...
Million Dollar Sanctions Ruling Underscores Trump's Seemingly Never-Ending Litigation Grift
Ernest A. Canning on why nothing less than a criminal prosecution will end it. (Maybe.)
Sunday 'Selective Focus' Toons
Keeping priorities straight in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons...
GOP Targets Ballot Initiatives After 2022 Progressive Wins: 'BradCast' 1/20/23
Guest: Chris Melody Fields Figueredo of Ballot Initiative Strategy Center; Also: Judge orders Trump to pay Hillary, others nearly $1M...
OH's Completely Moderate, Not-Corrupt-At-All Republican Governor: 'BradCast' 1/19/23
Dark money fossil fuel bribery and disen-franchising military voters in the Buckeye State; Also: GOP's dangerous limit debt game...
'Green News Report' 1/19/23
  w/ Brad & Desi
EU's plan to compete with U.S. on renewables; Banks spend billions on fossil fuel despite net zero pledges; PLUS: Dark money led Ohio Repubs to redefine NatGas as 'green energy'...
Recent GNRs: 1/17/23 - 1/12/23 - Archives...
GOP's 'One-Two Punch to Shut Down' House Ethics Watchdog: 'BradCast' 1/18/23
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: VA Guv kills new EV battery plant, 2,500 new jobs; Kobach fined by FEC as he becomes KS A.G...
GOP Election Denialist Candidate Arrested in NM Shooting Spree: 'BradCast' 1/17/23
What did you THINK would happen?; Also: House GOP to crash economy over debt limit...
'Green News Report' 1/17/23
As CA recovers from epic storms, water wars in U.S. West just beginning; Massive boost to U.S. solar thanks to new Biden/Dem law; PLUS: 1970s Exxon scientists nailed it...
Sunday 'Documenting the Atrocities' Toons
PDiddie curates another first draft of history in his latest weekly toon collection...
Republican Federal Courts Take Aim at VRA Section 2: 'BradCast' 1/14/23
Guest: ACLU attorney Jonathan Topaz; Also: IA, NY GOPers charged with mass vote fraud; OH Guv signs bill restricting voting rights...
Transparency and Public Oversight to the Rescue: 'BradCast' 1/12/23
Hand-count of 2020 Prez race in PA county confirms tally; Also: Garland taps Special Counsel in Biden docs case; Trump still obstructing justice in stolen docs case...
'Green News Report' 1/12/23
Extreme weather damage cost $1T in U.S. over past 7 years; Last 8 years hottest ever recorded; PLUS: Kitchen stove warning results in latest dumb Fox 'News' freak out...
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: Campaign finance expert Brendan Fischer of Documented; Also: My ridiculous, couldn't-possibly-be-true George Santos theory...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2023 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast we focus on two different rightwing scammers: The Heritage Foundation and George Santos. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The Heritage Foundation's decades-long effort to suppress the vote received a multi-million dollar boost following the 2020 election. Also, there is some new news today on what appears to be a fairly huge campaign finance violation by newly-elected Republican pathological liar, Rep. George Santos. But is it possible that Santos' scam is larger than anybody seems to yet appreciate?

We're joined today to discuss both scammers by BRENDAN FISCHER, one of the nation's foremost campaign finance experts who now serves as Deputy Executive Director for Documented, an investigative watchdog and journalism organization.

For some time, Fischer's group has been digging into and exposing the multi-state, multi-million dollar campaign by the rightwing Heritage Foundation's political action offshoot, Heritage Action. The "dark money" group has been pushing new voter suppression bills through swing-state legislatures with copy and paste "model legislation" in the wake of false claims of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. Their work is often disguised --- as Executive Director Jessica Anderson was caught boasting to donors about in a 2021 video tape --- to have that "grassroots, ya know, from the bottom-up type of vibe."

Documented recently unearthed Heritage's four-page "Election Integrity Plan" [PDF] from 2021. It details the effort to push restrictions on voting through state legislatures after "in some cases, we actually draft" the bills for them, as Anderson, a former Trump official, is seen bragging to donors on that tape.

"Iowa's the first state that we got to work in," she explains, "and we did it quickly and we did it quietly. Honestly? Nobody noticed!" Anderson also cites "eight key provisions" the group supposedly was able to get into Georgia's controversial 2021 voter suppression measure, SB202, which was quickly signed into law --- supposedly at Heritage's urging --- by Gov. Brian Kemp.

IA and GA were two of "19 states [that] passed 34 laws restricting access to voting" in 2021, according to the Brennan Center for Justice that year, more than in any year since they began tracking such legislation in 2011.

Earlier this month, in addition to obtaining and publishing Heritage Action's "Election Integrity Plan", Fischer joined with Ed Pilkington at The Guardian to detail the organization's previously-unreported tax filings from 2021 [PDF], detailing more than $5 million in outside lobbying services in at least 24 states. That, after spending $0 on outside lobbying the previous year. The anti-democracy "dark money" outfit also spent more than $6 million on contractors for "marketing and advertising" in 2021, a substantial increase from the year before. The expenditures including more than a million dollars spent in support of GA's bill alone. In all, as Fischer and Pilkington report, Heritage's "Election Integrity Plan" earmarked at least $24 million to push these measures in at least eight swing-states over the past two years.

In addition to efforts to adopt restrictions on voting in the states, Heritage also worked to block legislation that would protect voting rights at the federal level. "The millions of dollars that Heritage Action spent in 2021 included substantial expenditures to pressure [Senators Joe] Manchin and [Kyrsten] Sinema in order to not reform the filibuster and thwart democracy reform legislation," Fischer tells me today.

"In West Virginia, in particular, they also did it with drummed-up fake grassroots activity," he explains. "Heritage Action and other groups organized buses to bus activists from out of state to West Virginia for a rally that was intended to 'save the filibuster' and protest Manchin's potential openness to changing the filibuster rules." It worked. Manchin and Sinema refused to reform the Senate's anti-democratic filibuster rule to pass the landmark Freedom to Vote Act in 2021. That measure would have been the most comprehensive voting rights and campaign finance reform measure since the 1960s. And, yes, as Fischer notes, the bill would have also "ended dark money!"

We've got a lot more to discuss along those lines with Fischer today. But, as long as he was here, there was an unrelated matter I wanted to get his thoughts on.

On Tuesday night, newly elected Republican Congressman and unrepentant liar George Santos amended several of his campaign finance disclosure documents. Santos had previously claimed in FEC disclosures that he had loaned his own campaign some $700,000. That was already suspicious, given that two years earlier, Santos claimed to have been making about $50,000/year. But, as The Daily Beast's Roger Sollenberger noticed on Tuesday, his amended forms now claim the funds did not come from him personally --- though they don't explain where the money actually did come from. Any campaign donation that large from someone other than the candidate would be an unlawful contribution.

While the Santos campaign seems to be admitting to what Josh Marshall characterizes as "major crimes" in their new filings, I have a different, completely ridiculous, couldn't-possible-be-true theory to ask Fischer about today: Is it possible that nobody actually gave $700,000 to Santos' campaign? That it was a paper claim only? There was no such loans at all?

Of course, that seems absurd, but this is George Santos we're talking about. More to the point, it should be noted that last year Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) successfully won a case at the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court which held that personal loans made to campaigns by candidates could actually be paid back after the election, in unlimited amounts, by anyone else. Lobbyists, etc. Is it even possible that Santos could have claimed to have made those personal loans to his campaign but that no money was actually ever given to his campaign at all? Allowing him to be "repaid" later by others after the election? It would certainly be a swell way for a wayward conman like Santos to make a cool $700,000, no?

I pose the question about this to Fischer with the full expectation that I'll be told there's no way something like that could have happened without it being discovered by officials long ago. Tune in to hear his response...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Or, 'All the news that's fit to fight about over our public airwaves'...from the debit limit to the Biden and Trump docs to mass shootings to insurrection accountability and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2023 6:17pm PT  

There has been a boatload of news from late on Friday, over the weekend, right on up to airtime before today's BradCast. That seems to happen a lot these days. In any event, we tried to keep up or get caught up with a whole bunch of it today, and to take calls from a diverse range of listeners on almost all of it.

Among the topics and news items we discussed today (along with a number of callers who saw some of these things differently than me...at least when their calls began)...

  • The House GOP's dangerous plan to hold the nation's borrowing limit (and the nation's and world's economy along with it) hostage to their disingenuous demands to cut spending programs such as Social Security and Medicare. The White House is refusing to negotiate on the stupid, statutory debt limit, but should they?
  • The corporate media's ridiculous coverage of some more classified documents discovered at Joe Biden's home over the weekend, thanks to a 13-hour consensual search by the DoJ that uncovered a few more documents. Despite the entirely different nature of this case as compared to Donald Trump actually stealing classified documents, refusing to return them, even after subpoenaed, and lying to officials about them, corporate media outlets --- and elected Democrats who are too cowardly to challenge them --- are painting the two cases as somehow similar. Or, at least, claiming that Biden's case means charges cannot not be be brought against Trump for some reason. As explained, that is absurd.

    In fact, this is the "Goofus and Gallant" of document scandals, as fans of Highlights Magazine from the dentist office of your childhood may remember. Goofus (Trump) stole documents and, when caught, lied and refused to return them. Gallant (Biden) discovered he had documents he wasn't supposed to have, promptly notified authorities and returned them. As explained today, if anything, that stark difference should make it more, not less likely that Trump is charged. Or even that both are charged. But to suggest Trump can't be charged now --- as media and some Dems are doing --- is patently ridiculous. We discuss. Including with callers. One of whom tells us she also got in trouble regarding classified documents that were accidentally mishandled by someone who worked with her.

  • An 11th victim was pronounced dead shortly before airtime today in the mass shooting that took place at a dance hall Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, just east of L.A. over the weekend. One interesting caller tried to make the case that the problem with all of these mass shootings is not semi-automatic weapons with extended magazines that can kill dozens of people within second. The real problem is mental health issues in America, he argued. Our conversation was very interesting, I thought. You'll let me know if you agree.
  • Four more Oath Keepers were found guilty today of Seditious Conspiracy for their part in attacking the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection on January 6, 2021. The leader of that conspiracy, however --- the disgraced former President --- has yet to be charged.
  • The idiot infamously photographed putting his feet up on the desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the Jan. 6 insurrection was found guilty today on all 8 counts on which he was charged after just two hours of jury deliberation. He also brought a weapon into the office with him and stole an envelope. Apparently, the jury didn't buy his "I was just looking for the bathroom" defense.
  • A few thoughts on the nearly $1 million in sanctions slapped on Donald Trump and his attorney last week by a federal judge in response to a laughable dismissed-with-prejudice lawsuit filed by the former President against Hillary Clinton, James Comey and more than a dozen other FBI agents and elected officials. The largest single recipient of those sanctions will be Clinton, who Trump will have to give nearly $172,000 to. But Trump's litigation grift continues, as our own Ernie Canning wrote about here earlier this afternoon.
  • Another reminder today as to why elections and democracy matter. On Friday, the newly-elected Attorney General and newly-elected Governor in Arizona --- both Democrats for the first time in years --- finally put the state's death penalty on hold, following an horrifically "botched" execution that took more than two hours to complete in 2014. Hopefully, this will eventually result in a full moratorium on the barbaric practice in the state. None of this would have happened had Republicans been elected as Governor or Attorney General last November.
  • And, though I don't believe I raised the issue myself today, a caller rang in to explain why Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine is actually all the fault of the United States...or something. I disagreed and explained why. But, in fairness, as we got to the call very late in the hour, I had to end it much sooner than I would have liked. Hopefully we can pick it up again with more time the next time we're able to open up the phone lines! Always happy to have the conversation and appreciative of all of today's excellent callers!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Data researcher Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: Hilarious Republican failure to select a House Speaker continues into Day 2...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2023 5:59pm PT  

As the ingenious GOP on GOP rebellion continues in the U.S. House today, we cover that and some clarifying new insights from the 2022 elections regarding the "red wave" that never came (as we long told you it wouldn't) on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Day 2 of the GOP Rebellion Without Any Actual Cause That I Know Of continued on Wednesday, with Republicans failing on Ballots 4, 5 and 6 to secure a majority of votes of those present and voting for any candidate for House Speaker. The Democratic nominee on every ballot, their new leader Hakeem Jeffries, continued to be the top vote-getter in every round, receiving a unified 212 votes on each ballot.

On the GOP side, their leader Kevin McCarthy received just 201 votes on each of Wednesday's three ballots, down one vote from the third vote yesterday and still well shy of the 218 votes needed for a majority. The new trick today from the Republican "rebels" was nominating African-American second-term back-bencher Byron Donalds of Florida to be Speaker even though (or, perhaps, because?) he pleaded guilty to felony bribery charges back in 2000 in a scheme to defraud a bank. A bit on-brand for today's GOP but otherwise perfect for the job!

There were a few tiny nuances and the slightest movement (away from McCarthy and toward the Gaetz/Boehbert-led rebel group of 20) in the afternoon's three rounds of voting. We'll see what, if anything, happens when they reconvene for an evening session at 8pm ET on Wednesday night. (They just reconvened. The GOP moved to adjourn until Thursday at noon, and won that chaotic vote by the barest of margins.)

But, hey, so far, for two days in a row, the GOP House has been unable to do any legislative damage to the country!

Next, it's on to our guest today, the great TOM BONIER, master Tweeter and CEO of the Democratic data research firm, TargetSmart. Bonier joined us on the program a number of times since late last summer, in the run-up to the 2022 elections and in the days that followed. He was one of very few publicly on record (along with Simon Rosenberg of New Democrat Network) who presented hard data that correctly countered the false "red wave" narrative promulgated in the months before last year's November midterms.

Over the weekend, the New York Times ran a 4,000-word analysis headlined "The 'Red Wave' Washout: How Skewed Polls Fed a False Election Narrative". It explores no small amount of what we'd been trying to tell you since early last spring. Namely, that Democrats were likely to do much better than both history and professional pundits were telling you, and that, as Bonier and Rosenberg detailed in the face of mockery by some last year, the polls late in the season were actually misleading voters.

Specifically, as the paper reports, beginning in September last year, a bevy of partisan Republican polls with dodgy methodology were released, almost all suggesting the GOP was on the verge of not only a "red wave" election but a "red tsunami". The partisan numbers, cited with great excitement by rightwing media outlets initially and then by non-rightwing media, seemed to conflict with polls from most legitimate, nonpartisan polling outfits. But the public release of a ton of partisan polling served to game the polling averages at highly-trafficked forecast sites like 538 and RealClearPolitics. More disturbingly, the skewed numbers resulted in Democratic campaigns changing strategies and spending in hopes of shoring up otherwise safe seats, while abandoning races --- such as U.S. Senate contests in Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina and a bunch of House districts around the country --- that were almost certainly otherwise winnable.

Why did this happen? Was it a concerted strategy by Republicans to game the public polling averages? And, if so, why did the supposed polling gatekeepers --- like Nate Silver at 538, who dismissed and mocked folks like Bonier and Rosenberg for relying on "hopium" in their accurate data analysis --- fail to protect against the partisan manipulation? Also, while the Times analysis suggests otherwise, did those false numbers actually serve to goose Dem turnout in some races last year?

In short, when I ask Bonier directly today if Republicans figured out last year how to game the polling averages, he responds, "Yes. Simply, yes. That's what happened. And it couldn't have happened without others playing along with it and empowering it."

"In the end, they were successful," he tells me. "Were they successful to the point where they were able to create a red wave? No. But they were successful to the point where Republicans won some races that I don't think they would have without this happening."

So, what to do about it moving forward? We dig into details on that and much more with Bonier today, and also get his insight into whatever the hell is going on in the Republicans' dumpster fire failure to select a House Speaker to begin the 118th U.S. Congress after two days (and counting) of trying...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: AZ's former Dem Sinema pretends partisanship is the problem...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2022 6:05pm PT  

All election lawsuits are not created equal. Even in the same state, in the same elections, by members of the same political party, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Late on Friday, a bunch of Republican candidates who were certified last week by the state of Arizona to have lost their 2022 midterms races filed election contests in various courts of law in the state. For now, at least, it's a step up from violence, death threats and insurrections. So, there's that.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, Sec. of State hopeful Mark Finchem (along with failed U.S. House candidate Jeffrey Zink), and Attorney General nominee Abe Hamadeh, all filed suits last week asking the courts to simply name them the winner of the elections they were certified to have lost. In lieu of that, they'll each take a new election instead. (Which almost never happens.)

Of those lawsuits, only one, Hamadeh's, doesn't allege "fraud, manipulation or other intentional wrongdoing" by Democrats or election officials. And, its the only one which stands any sort of legitimate chance of not being laughed out of court. Hamadeh lost his race to AZ's Democratic A.G. candidate Kristin Mayes by a mere 511 votes out of more than 2.5 million votes cast. An automatic state recount will now begin in that race, as it should. In the meantime, the losing candidate has at least filed a generally plausible case for contesting results.

That is by contrast with and decidedly not the case in the spurious election contests filed by losers Lake, Finchem and Zink, as we explain in great detail on today's program. Yes, there were problems with the print-on-demand ballot printing and scanning (the cause of which is still being investigated) at a number of polling locations in Maricopa County (Phoenix) on Election Day last month. But, no, there is zero evidence of "mass disenfranchisement" or that Republicans were targeted by the voting system problems in any way, as Lake and the others are dishonestly trying to argue.

Moreover, it's somewhat amusing --- not to mention unspeakably ironic --- to hear Republicans now complaining about "long lines" at the polls, voters being wrongly turned away (they weren't) and other such concerns they haven't given a damn about for years when they have helped to disenfranchise Democratic voters. In this case, however, there is no evidence that Republicans were targeted by the Republican election officials who run the elections in Maricopa County or anywhere else.

Tune in for full details on all the madness.

Also on Friday, Arizona's U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema declared she is no longer a Democrat (was she ever?), but that she'll continue to caucus with them in the Senate majority, even though she has now registered as an independent...for reasons that only she seems to sort of understand. Her self-serving move is unlikely to change the new 51-49 majority in the U.S. Senate for those that caucus with the Democrats. But it could change the electoral outlook in 2024 when the wildly unpopular Sinema, if she runs again, will be up for reelection and will not have to face a Democratic primary challenger.

Finally today, a few callers ring in, including one is absolutely certain that --- despite my spending a half hour or so today defending one of the aforementioned GOP lawsuits in Arizona --- I must absolutely be a wildly partisan Democrat...or something...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: FairVote's David Daley on 'bonkers' Independent State Legislature theory's 'seismic consequences' as weighed by our corrupt High Court...
By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2022 6:19pm PT  

Democracy had a good night in Georgia on Tuesday night, before facing a brand-new nightmare by Wednesday morning at the far-right U.S. Supreme Court. We cover both on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The final votes of the 2022 midterms have at last been cast --- though some counting and recounting remains --- and Georgia's Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has been re-elected to his first full 6-year term in the U.S. Senate. His apparent defeat of Herschel Walker, loser Donald Trump's personally selected candidate in Tuesday's runoff election in the Peach State, caps a string of contests that the GOP arguably could have or should have won across the country in a midterm year like this one. But they chose to go with the far-right, loony-tunes candidates preferred by the disgraced former President instead.

After picking up a Senate seat this year, Democrats are set to hold an outright 51 to 49 majority in the upper chamber beginning in January, even as they narrowly lost their majority in the U.S. House. We discuss what all of that is likely to mean and review several remarkable historic milestones for Democrats in this year's anything-but-red-wave midterms.

After a late night of celebration, it was an early morning of worry, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard Moore v. Harper. We have long warned of the dangers of this case for American elections as we know them. The dispute comes from a challenge filed by North Carolina Republicans after the state's Supreme Court nixed partisan U.S. House maps gerrymandered by the state's GOP legislature. The state court ordered new, fair maps to be drawn instead for 2022, when Republicans and Democrats would evenly split the state's 14 House Districts, winning seven seats each in the closely divided state.

But state Republicans sued, arguing a novel, never-before-approved-by-SCOTUS legal theory they've recently discovered in the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause called the "Independent State Legislature" theory. They argue that the Constitution mandates that state laws regarding federal elections may be created only by state Legislatures and that no judicial review by state courts is allowable.

That means, as argued in Moore, that partisan-gerrymandered Legislatures may create election laws that cannot be vetoed by Governors or overruled by state courts or constitutions. The theory holds that even voter-approved ballot initiatives could suddenly be found unlawful and those same state legislative bodies could also select whoever they wish to be Presidential Electors no matter who state voters actually selected. It is just that insane. But it's actually in front of a corrupted, stolen and packed right-wing SCOTUS on which a radical majority may offer its blessing.

"The blast radius from their theory would sow elections chaos," warned former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, one of the three attorneys who argued on behalf of respondents to NC's Republican petitioners, "forcing a confusing two track system with one set of rules for federal elections and another for state ones" with "case after case" being brought before SCOTUS challenging long-established election laws in all 50 states as adopted over the past 233 years.

Gerrymandering expert and author DAVID DALEY of FairVote was in the Courtroom to witness the proceedings at SCOTUS Wednesday morning and joined us this afternoon from the U.S. Capitol to help unpack it all.

"The consequences for this case are seismic," Daley warns. "This is yet another case that could shake the very foundation of our democracy if the court were to find that state legislatures face no constraints, either from a Governor's veto or from a state constitution, or the state Supreme Court, in how they create election law, how they certify elections, how they draw redistricting maps. It would give these state Legislatures complete, unfettered power to effectively do as they will. And that is a terrifying prospect."

We discuss what he describes as the "bonkers" ISL theory and whether, as AP argued today in its coverage, Daley agrees that there were "at least six Supreme Court justices" who "sound skeptical of making a broad ruling that would leave state legislatures virtually unchecked when making rules for elections for Congress and the presidency."

Says Daley, based on what he witnessed at the High Court this morning: "I would say that there were three Justices who were opposed --- the three liberals, Jackson, Sotomayor and Kagan. There were three who seemed very much on board in Thomas, Gorsuch and Alito. And there were three that I would define not as 'skeptical' but as 'Independent State Legislature-curious'. And I don't think they were looking for a way to knock a bonkers theory down."

Tune in for much more on today's program...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cochise County ordered to certify results; Lake, Finchem attorneys sanctioned; Also: Warnock campaigner shot in GA; Boebert recount begins in CO; Dems avert rail strike, but about those paid sick days...
By Brad Friedman on 12/2/2022 6:37pm PT  

Nope. We're still not done with the 2022 Elections on The BradCast. And that's without even including next Tuesday's U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get to a number of election-related items today...

  • Some thoughts on the bill signed on Friday by President Biden to help avert a national rail strike and economic catastrophe along with it. I've seen a lot of misinformation out there from progressives over the past 24 hours or so about the political strategy employed by the White House and Congressional Dems. So I try to clear up a few points today, explain why what happened happened, and how the focus must now turn toward ensuring that Biden includes paid sick days for federally contracted rail workers in an Executive Order.

As to the continuing 2022 midterm elections...

  • A teenage election worker, campaigning for Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in Savannah, Georgia ahead of Tuesday's runoff against Herschel Walker (R), was shot while knocking on doors on Thursday. He was shot through a closed door and is being treated for what is described as "non-life threatening injuries". The Savannah Police Dept. has arrested the alleged shooter and claims that "At this point, there is no indication the shooting was politically motivated." Okay. Just shooting people randomly through front doors then?
  • Colorado Sec. of State Jena Griswold has officially ordered a mandatory recount in the 3rd U.S. House District race between incumbent far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) and challenger Adam Frisch (D) because the final margin was smaller than 0.5%. Boebert was certified to have won the race by just 550 votes out of more than 327,000 cast across the 27 counties that comprise the 3rd District which blankets almost all of western CO. This race, according to the nation's election forecasters, wasn't even supposed to have been close. Obviously, it was. Sadly, according to state law, all counties must now re-tally ballots in the recount by the same method used to count them originally. That means that all but one county in the state will tally their hand-marked paper ballots on the same optical-scan computers that tallied them the first time, either correctly or incorrectly. The only way to know for sure, of course, is to hand-count them. San Juan County will be the only one to do so, since that's how they originally tallied their voters' ballots.
  • An even closer race will soon be recounted statewide in Arizona, where Democrat Kris Mayes will be certified on Monday by the state as having defeated Trump-backed MAGA Republican Abe Hamadeh in the Attorney General's race by just 510 votes out of more than 2.5 million cast. That's a margin of just two one-hundredths of a percentage point! As in Colorado, Arizona, shamefully, recounts by computer as well.
  • A recount is only allowed in Arizona when the margin is less than 0.5%. But if the Republicans on the Cochise County Board of Supervisors had their way, there probably wouldn't be a recount at all in the razor-close AG's race, because Hamadeh would have lost by much more. Also, one U.S. House race would have flipped from a Republican victory to a Democratic victory, and the Dem, not the Republican would have been the winner in the state's school superintendent race. That's because the MAGA Republican dupes on the Cochise Board tried to avoid certifying their county's election results entirely, despite any evidence of fraud or miscount or anything else. Luckily for the County's 46,000 mostly-Republican voters, Democratic Sec. of State and soon-to-be Governor Katie Hobbs sued the county to force them to certify. On Thursday, a state judge ordered them to certify results immediately, preventing the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters (from all parties).
  • Cochise had a difficult time finding an attorney willing to represent them in the above-mentioned matter, after the County attorney refused, citing his original advise to the Board that refusing to certify was unlawful. Even the attorney for the buffoonish Cyber Ninjas turned them down! But attorneys thinking twice about taking lousy election cases is probably a good idea. At least a federal judge in Arizona thinks so, and is trying to make that point loud and clear. On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge John Tuchi sanctioned the attorneys representing failed Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and failed Sec. of State candidate Mark Finchem --- Trump-backed MAGA Republicans and election liars both --- for frivolous their frivolous complaints challenging the election systems in Maricopa (Phoenix) and Pima (Tucson) Counties. As Judge Tuchi made clear in his order for sanctions [PDF], it was meant to "penalize specific attorney conduct with the broader goal of deterring similarly baseless filings initiated by anyone, whether an attorney or not" and to "make clear that the Court will not condone litigants ... furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process."

And finally, today...

  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with good news for water drinkers in Mississippi; bad news for polluting oil and gas drillers in the U.S.; and disturbing news for everyone who lives near the rising seas on our coastlines...

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Guest: GA election integrity expert, observer Jeanne Dufort; Also: Dems unite behind new House leadership; Bills passed to help avert rail strike; Meadows ordered to testify in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2022 6:24pm PT  

As early voting records are smashed and lines are obscenely long once again in advance of Tuesday's U.S. Senate Runoff Election Day, today's BradCast offers a maddening reminder of why we've been covering Georgia elections, in such detail, for so many years. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Thanks to state Republicans who cut the time for runoff elections by more than half after the 2020 elections, voters across the GA are now forced to wait in hours-long lines to vote early this week in the contest between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Trump-backed former football player and unapologetic liar Herschel Walker. While early voting records are being broken, as we detailed yesterday, much of that is thanks to the GOP's SB202 voter suppression bill [PDF], adopted last year by the state legislature, supported by its Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger and signed by its Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

Where Peach State voters had as many as 17 early voting days in the November 8 elections, they now have no more than 7. And with the compressed time between the general and the runoff, few are able to request, receive and return absentee mail ballots in time. Instead, voters are now being forced to stand in line to vote at polling places on the state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen computer voting systems.

We're joined today to discuss that and much more by longtime election integrity champion JEANNE DUFORT of the Coalition for Good Governance. Dufort has served as Georgia election observer for many years, representing both the Democratic and Libertarian Parties at various times in the Peach State's rural, Republican-leaning Morgan County. She is also a named plaintiff (Full Disclosure: Along with me!) in the Coalition's lawsuit challenging several of the many disturbing provisions of SB202.

Dufort offers insight today from on the ground on how things went for voters on November 8, with most of SB202's voting restrictions in place; why it's now so difficult to vote there once again in the runoff; and why voters should be concerned about the ability to know if results reported next week by Raffensperger's insecure and unverifiable touchscreen systems --- forced on voters at every polling place, instead of verifiable hand-marked paper ballots! --- will actually reflect the intent of state voters.

"You can break all the daily [early voting] records that you want and still not have enough capacity for everybody who wants to vote," she explains. "All of the bottlenecks are at check-in. They haven't been able to figure out how to get enough check-in stations to get 17 days-worth of early voting, plus people who would prefer to vote by mail but don't think they can" into the short early voting period now allotted by SB202. "Compressing all that into these seven days is ten pounds in a five pound sack."

In addition to check-in bottlenecks, the computerized voting systems don't make any of it easier or faster, particularly in an election with one single race on most ballots across the state. "It would be faster if they handed them a ballot and just marked it. That would be faster than putting the card into the machine, bringing it up, tabbing through the things, do the check and waiting for the printer. It's just stupid. When you think about marking a ballot by a pen and then watch the process on a machine, it seems amazing that somebody would spend $3,000 on a machine to do what a $1 pen would do. But here we are."

As usual, there is much much more to discuss with Dufort about all of this today!

Also on today's program...

  • "Dems in array!" In a rare display of unity on the left, House Democrats voted unanimously on Wednesday for their new leadership beginning in January. New York's Rep. Hakeem Jeffries will be the first black American to head up a major political party in Congress, taking the reigns following Nancy Pelosi's historic tenure as she and the rest of the party's longtime leadership team step aside to allow a new, younger generation to take over. All of that by way of contrast with the chaos on the GOP side and whether Rep. Kevin McCarthy will be able to muster enough votes from his own caucus to become the new Republican House Speaker next year.
  • With Pelosi still serving as Speaker in the lame duck session of Congress, the House passed two bills today to try and help avert a rail strike that would cripple the nation's economy. With 4 of 12 rail unions opposing a new contract negotiated with the help of the White House in September --- granting a 24% pay raise to workers, but failing to allow for paid sick days --- a bipartisan bill would force the agreement to be adopted. A second bill passed by all Democrats and only three Republicans in the House on Wednesday would mandate seven paid sick days per year. Whether either measure can now be passed in the Senate, where approval by 10 Republicans would be needed to overcome a filibuster, remains to be seen.
  • And, in a unanimous three-paragraph ruling late Tuesday, the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered Trump's last Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, to testify before the Special Grand Jury in Atlanta convened by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to probe the Trump-lead conspiracy to strong-arm GA election officials into changing the 2020 results in his favor. Meadows argued he didn't have to testify due to executive privilege. SC's Supreme Court tersely responded in their order: "We have reviewed the arguments raised by [Meadows] and find them to be manifestly without merit." Ouch...

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Oath Keepers chief 'guilty'; GOP money launderer 'guilty'; AZ's Dem SoS/Guv-elect fights to keep Repubs from disenfranchising themselves...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2022 6:36pm PT  

It's another crazy day in MAGA Land on today's BradCast, as Accountability Season gets a very good start even before the 2022's Election Season fully wraps up. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our stories today from Accountability Season...

  • BREAKING at the top of today's program: Stewart Rhodes, founder of the far-right Oath Keepers clan (and former BradCast guest!) is found guilty of seditious conspiracy for his involvement in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Fellow Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs was found guilty as well. Both now face as much as 20 years in prison on the sedition charges alone. They, and others, were also charged with Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and more. Perhaps our former President who inspired them should begin to be concerned.
  • Speaking of the former guy... Earlier this month, Kremlin-linked Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as "Putin's Chef", boasted on social media that "we have interfered, are interfering and will interfere" with U.S. elections. "Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do." A week or two later, longtime GOP operative Jesse Benton --- who worked for Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, among others --- was found guilty on six counts related to money laundering some $100,000 for another Russian businessman before the 2016 election. He was charged with helping to funnel money to both the Trump campaign and RNC that year. As it happens, both Benton and seditious conspirator Rhodes both got their start in politics working as aides for Rep. Ron Paul. Benton is now married to Paul's granddaughter. He was charged last year (along with yet another BradCast guest --- who died shortly after being charged) just months after Trump had pardoned Benton for separate charges against him regarding campaign finance violations and bribery during the 2012 election. We 'splain the full sordid story and Russian collusion along with wistful memories of Tibetan monks and nuns and Al Gore from back in the day when Republicans used to pretend to care about unlawful campaign donations from foreign sources.

And from Election Season...

  • Welp, the days are getting crazier and crazier in Arizona. On Monday, the deadline for counties there to certify election results before the state certifies all results next Monday, the Board of Supervisors in Cochise County voted against doing so. They claim they will reconsider the matter on Friday. That, despite any evidence of fraud or voting system failure in the Republican-leaning county. Katie Hobbs, the state's Democratic Sec. of State and apparent Governor-elect, quickly went to court yesterday in an attempt to force Cochise to certify their result as, she argues, they are required by law. If they don't, all of the county's voters may be disenfranchised and the results of at least one U.S. House race would flip from Republican to Democratic, along with the statewide contest for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Moreover, any remaining chance for Abe Hamadeh, the GOP candidate running for Attorney General, to overcome his current 510-vote deficit against Democrat Kris Mayes, would almost certainly be gone. As the Arizona Republic's EJ Montini snarks today, if Hobbs was gaming the system to somehow help state Dems this year, as MAGA Republicans baselessly claim, "she really, really stinks at cheating"!
  • Meanwhile, Georgia voters are proving to be really, really good at early voting. They shattered all-time records for doing so on Sunday and again on Monday of this week, outpacing both Presidential and other general elections alike in the state's current runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker (R) for \ U.S. Senate. The big turnout could be a good sign for Democrats, though that's not certain. The long wait times it is causing for many voters around the Peach State, however, is a certain disgrace. (More on all of that, I hope, on tomorrow's show.)

And in other matters...

  • A bipartisan "Respect for Marriage" bill has been passed by the lame duck U.S. Senate to protect same-sex marriages following corrupt U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' recent opinion with the overturning of Roe v. Wade arguing that marriage equality should be one of the next rights stolen by the Court from the American people.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Pillow Guy is running!; Special Counsel wasting no time; Trumpers failed in AK too; Lake still pretending in AZ; Callers have a few thoughts...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2022 6:29pm PT  

We're back for today's BradCast after some much-needed down time last week over the holiday when we tried to look the other way for a few minutes. We've got a lot of catching up to do.

Among the stories we try to catch up with today...

  • The independent Special Counsel appears to be wasting no time. Even on a holiday. Prosecutor Jack Smith, recently tapped by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee two Trump-related criminal probes by the Dept. of Justice --- on the January 6th insurrection and the classified documents stolen by the former President upon leaving office --- jumped into the documents case on Thanksgiving Day. While we were eating turkey, Smith was filing a one paragraph argument with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals calling out Trump's attorneys for lying during a hearing earlier in the week. That hearing didn't go well for Team Trump, despite being heard by two Trump-appointed federal judges and one appointed by George W. Bush. Smith did not make things any better for them. We explain.
  • Two Trump-backed candidates in Alaska were each declared losers in the U.S. House [PDF] and U.S. Senate [PDF] races last week after weeks of counting in the state's Ranked Choice Voting midterm elections. Democrat Mary Peltola will fill the seat in the U.S. House previously held by the late Rep. Don Young, a Republican who occupied the state's only House seat for nearly 50 years. She defeated the failed former President's choice, the state's failed former Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, as well as two other candidates. And, moderate Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who voted to remove Trump from office during his second impeachment trial last year, was declared to have defeated Trump-endorsed GOP challenger Kelly Tshibaka. Dems will hold a narrow majority in the Senate next year no matter how the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Trump-endorsed Herschel Walker (R) works out next Tuesday. But, if yet another candidate supported by the disgraced former President crashes and burns next week too, the extra seat in the upper chamber could make a huge difference for Democrats.
  • Meanwhile, in Arizona, former TV news anchor and Trumpette, Kari Lake, is still pretending that she must have won the Governor's election. All of the available evidence suggests Democratic Sec. of State Katie Hobbs was the winner, albeit by less than one percent. The narrow margin, however, is just a bit higher than the trigger for a statewide recount. So, Lake is now suing the Republicans who run Maricopa County (Phoenix), on the basis that the County's print-on-demand ballot system prevented voters from voting. It didn't. Though some GOP voters reportedly chose not to cast their ballots after being told the precinct-based scanners couldn't read the hand-marked paper ballots printed at a number of the County's voting centers. Those ballots were placed into a locked box and scanned back at County HQ. On Monday, the County certified their results, and the usual parade of deplorables issued threats to the officials for doing so. The state is scheduled to certify results next week, which will be followed by a recount in the incredibly tight Attorney General contest. It is currently led by Democratic candidate Kris Mayes over Trump-endorsed Abe Hamadeh who trails by just 510 votes out of more than 2.5 million cast in the state's November midterms.
  • Meanwhile, the world's largest volcano, Mauna Loa, is erupting again in Hawaii...for the first time in nearly 40 years.
  • Finally, we open the phone lines today for a bit of a "reverse BradCast," where callers ring in with stuff they want me and/or the world to know about. Among the topics raised by callers: Israel, Julian Assange, accountability for Don Jr. and Eric, democracy beyond elections, and more...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Trump's running again; House, Senate GOP leadership chaos; MS moves to hand-marked paper ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2022 5:40pm PT  

It may be a somewhat disconcerting deja vu on today's BradCast for longtime listeners. Apologies in advance. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Seven and a half years ago, on the day Donald Trump came down his golden escalator at Trump Tower to declare that Mexicans were rapists and he was running for President, our guest was HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo. Since then, she's joined us to try and make sense of virtually every landmark event during his disastrous candidacy, Presidency and post-Presidency.

Back in June of 2015, when posting that day's show at The BRAD BLOG, I headlined it "The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster'". Most in the media considered Trump's candidacy a joke at the time. We felt otherwise. I believe history has proven us right on that one.

After multiple failed attempts at trying to steal the 2020 election, including inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in hopes of stealing it by force, and with multiple criminal investigations against him now underway at both the state and federal level, Trump announced (to the nation's chagrin) his third run for President on Tuesday night. He did so at a really long and boring super-spreader event at Mar-a-Lago, the scene of at least one of the many crimes for which he's being investigated. Parton joins us once again today to discuss whether we should be as worried this time about Trump's candidacy (she describes it at Salon today as "the America First Vengeance Tour 2024") and whether he or Ron DeSantis would be more difficult for Democrats to defeat in 2024.

We spend more time, however, discussing the three-ring circus, circular firing squad, or whatever metaphor you wish to use, for the Republican House and Senate leadership battles now under way following last week's midterm elections in which the GOP appears to have won the narrowest of majorities in the U.S. House --- but not much more than that anywhere else. Will the splintered, increasingly loony GOP caucus in the House even be able to get 218 votes for anybody as House Speaker come January? ("They have created an absolutely insane caucus filled with lunatics, and now they're having to pay the piper on this," says Parton. "This is what happens when you embolden people like Marjorie Taylor-Greene. She'll be operating as a shadow Speaker.")

Also today...A note of caution at the top of the show: Do not be fooled by Trump's deceptive call at his announcement speech on Tuesday night for "paper ballots" to help fight fraud in elections. He has no clue what he's talking about. Else he would have called for "hand-marked paper ballots," since all of the states he lost (but pretends to have won) already use paper ballots! He's also demanding new voter suppression measures. We explain all of the above today.

In related news, two counties in the state of Mississippi used hand-marked paper ballots in the 2022 midterms for the first time. After some 20 years of forcing voters to vote on 100% unverifiable touchscreen systems --- while we've been begging them to move to hand-counted paper ballots for all of those years --- the clerks of both counties report that voters and pollworkers loved the new system and it worked great! In fact, the clerks also found that it was both faster and more cost-efficient than their 20-year old unverifiable touchscreens. Who could have predicted it?

Following a new state law adopted in April, all counties in MS must upgrade their systems before the 2024 Presidential elections. As noted on today's show, I've long argued that it would likely take a high-profile Republican getting screwed by touchscreen voting systems before GOPers finally demanded a move to verifiable voting systems. I was close. What I should have said was that it would take a high-profile Republican pretending to be screwed by touchscreen voting systems before they'd finally demand such changes.

Finally, we close with some listener email. Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Progressive journalist, author, John Nichols of 'The Nation'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2022 5:30pm PT  

"Election Day" coverage continues today into its second week on BradCast, as more of the closest races are being called and as a clearer picture emerges as to what actually happened and why. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Shortly after airtime on Monday night, media outlets finally called the very close Arizona Governor's race for Democratic Sec. of State Katie Hobbs over former TV news anchor and failed Trump-wannabe Kari Lake. As we detail, Lake's apparent narrow loss was likely particularly satisfying for outgoing GOP Rep. Liz Cheney.

Hobbs' lead over Lake, with almost all votes tallied, is 0.7% as we go to air. That is above the 0.5% or less required for an automatic recount in AZ, where state law (shamefully) does not allow for candidates to request and pay for a recount on their own. That, of course, will allow Lake to continue to present evidence-free claims of "fraud" in her election, particularly given unexplained Election Day failures of some optical scanner at some polling places in Maricopa County. That shouldn't have prevented anybody from voting --- thankfully, Arizona votes on hand-marked paper ballots --- but it did mean that some ballots cast at the polls on Election Day had to be tabulated back at County headquarters later.

Presuming Hobbs' victory is certified as expected, that means the AZ's Governor's office turns from "red" to "blue" for the first time in 13 years. (It'll be the third state where that happened this year.) Add to that the state's two Democratic U.S. Senators and Democrat Adrian Fontes' victory over Trump-backed election liar Mark Finchem for Sec. of State, and Democrat Kris Mayes currently leading Republican Abe Hamadeh (if barely --- and easily within recount territory for now) in the race to replace the state's outgoing Republican Attorney General. All of that looks a lot like a new "blue" state, with every major statewide seat in AZ perhaps soon to be occupied by a Democrat in advance of 2024.

Yes, it was a stunning midterm election across the nation, as that "red wave" that Republicans and corporate media imagined and promised, never arrived.

"This is the best midterm election result for a newly-elected Democratic President in their first term since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1934," notes our guest today, progressive journalist and author JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, describing the results as "remarkable" and "against all sorts of historical patterns," while observing that this is the "third election cycle in a row where Donald Trump has been the dominant figure in the Republican Party and the Republican Party has lost. It's kind of a pattern."

So why did the results defy history? "I think the answer is that our politics have changed. We're not in the same world that we were in before," explains Nichols, who we have turned to many times over the years following Election Days to try and make sense of them. "Local media doesn't exist the way it used to, so elections are nationalized. We have seen the two parties go more to their corners --- the Democrats at least somewhat to the left, Republicans way to the right --- so we have to adjust our filter. And if we do, we understand that this election actually tells us a lot about where potential Democratic majorities and coalitions are in the future."

We dig deep into the remarkable results and how they may have been even better for the Democrats had the party not been so taken by their own fears that the media might have been right about the "red wave" which never came. Those poor predictions (which often contradicted the media's own available evidence to the contrary) also resulted in an overconfident GOP which, like the Democrats, ended up spending money in many of the wrong races. Nichols explains how Dem victories might have been even broader had they fought more aggressively and less defensively by funding, for example, more rural races where Democrats could have also won with more support from the Party.

He breaks down the likely reasons that the excellent Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes, in Nichols home state of Wisconsin, ended up losing to the insufferable Republican insurrection enthusiast Sen. Ron Johnson, and why other excellent candidates, if arguably less progressive ones, like Tim Ryan in Ohio and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina, ended up falling short.

In addition we also dig into how critical young voters --- lots of them! --- were to what ultimately happened this year. "Young people ought to be where you're putting a lot of your resources. As a party, Democrats need to be talking to young voters, bringing young people into leadership positions in the party. If you do, the rewards are immense," he avers. "Under 30 and especially under 25, the bias is 28% in favor of the Democrats. At the very end of the 2022 cycle, in states across the country, you had a lot of young voters lining up and casting votes. They don't turn out at the same percentage, at the same level, as older voters do. But if they turn out strong, it has a huge impact."

We also discuss how an institutionalist like Joe Biden has been clever enough as President to shift his policies toward the progressive left, in tune with those voters and the American electorate overall.

"Let's be very clear," Nichols argues today, "despite what games pundits try to play, Americans had a very clear choice. In 2022, they had a choice between an extreme rightwing Republican Party straying toward authoritarianism on many issues and a Democratic Party that was edging toward progressivism, and was attacked for that. And what did the American people decide to do? In a surprise to everyone, to the politicians and the pundits, they decided to go for the party that is edging towards progressivism."

Finally today, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, as Biden pledges leadership and funding at the U.N. climate conference in Egypt, and restarts climate negotiations with China...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/15/2022 10:53am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: President Biden pledges U.S. leadership and funding at U.N. climate summit; U.S. and China resume formal climate negotiations; Hurricane Nicole was a very expensive storm; PLUS: Democrats hold on to thin Senate majority, holding the line on U.S. climate policy... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 13 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US CELEBRATE WITH A DONATION!

Click here to listen or download MP3 (6 mins)...

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): COP27 considers 'loss and damage' fund, but has yet to commit; Weak GOP showing in midterms blunts possible attacks on Biden climate agenda; Is 'Global Shield': A climate fix or a distraction?; Offshore wind blowing up big time, in a good way; Manchin FERC shake-up may stymie Biden’s clean energy plans; UN to seek out methane emitters with data from space... PLUS: Texas' National Butterfly Center makes a comeback after rightwing attacks... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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