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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, October 6, 2022
KBJ Defends VRA on 'Originalist' Terms at SCOTUS: 'BradCast' 10/5/22
Guest: Dan Vicuña of Common Cause; Also: Walker revelations prove GOP doesn't care about abortion or think it's 'murder'...
'Green News Report' 10/4/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
Ian's catastrophic damage, death toll; FL climate resilience community passes Ian's test; Biden vows timely, full aid to P.R. after Fiona; PLUS: SCOTUS threatens clean water...
Recent GNRs: 9/29/22 - 9/27/22 - Archives...
New Bill Would Bar Congressmembers, Family from Trading Stocks: 'BradCast' 10/3/22
Guest: Craig Holman; Also: Ian's death toll; Biden in P.R.; Putin's failures; Brazil's lessons...
Sunday 'Think About It' Toons
There's plenty to ponder in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
High Cost of Climate Denial and Collapse of FL's Insurance Industry: 'BradCast' 9/30/22
Guest: Thomas Frank of E&E News; Also: DeSantis suddenly supports federal aid; Big Oil exposed (again) lying about climate change...
Keeping Up With Ian and Trump's GOP Fraudsters: 'BradCast' 9/29/22
Guest: Nicole Sandler from FL; Also: Election tampering charges in MI; Bad days in court for Powell, Dobbs, Fox 'News'; Trump's corrupt MAL judge strikes again...
'Green News Report' 9/29/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
Ian smashes records, pummels FL; Manchin's permitting bill collapses; New probe for PG&E; PLUS: Mysteriioius breaches on Russian pipelines to Europe...
Recent GNRs: 9/27/22 - 9/22/22 - Archives...
KS Abortion Referendum Data Suggest Women Being Under-Counted in Midterm Polling: 'BradCast' 9/28/22
Guest: Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: Hurricane Ian storms ashore in FL...
Critical Elections, Catastrophic Storm Bear Down: 'BradCast' 9/27/22
Poll workers needed!; Ian closing in on FL; Scofflaw TX A.G. flees process server; Congress nears Electoral Count Act update; Listener mail...
'Green News Report' 9/27/22
Ian takes aim at FL; Fiona broke records in Canada; Noru pummels Philippines; Winter fuel prices soar; PLUS: Island nations call for fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty at U.N.
'Gold Standard' SCOTUS Poll Finds Majority of Americans Support Expansion of High Court: 'BradCast' 9/26/22
Also: Disinformationists; Fascism rising; Hurricane Ian threatens FL; Callers ring in...
Sunday 'Heavy Traffic' Toons
Be sure to check PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons before crossing state borders. You're welcome!...
Trump, Lindell, Ginni Thomas --- Geniuses All!: 'BradCast' 9/22/22
GOP election conspiracists have bad lawyers; Also: Garland's moving (and telling) remarks at swearing-in of new American citizens...
'Green News Report' 9/22/22
U.N. Sec-Gen wants fossil fuel industry to pay up; New plastics initiative; P.R. still lacking power and clean water; PLUS: Senate approves first climate treaty in decades...
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: Dan Vicuña of Common Cause; Also: Walker revelations prove GOP doesn't care about abortion or think it's 'murder'; Another court loss for Trump in stolen docs case...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2022 6:32pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Walker, Georgia Hypocrite...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2022 6:30pm PT  

It's another 10-pound show in another 5-pound BradCast today. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the many stories covered...

  • A state police detective in Michigan, according to email obtained by Reuters, recommends criminal charges be brought against Stephanie Scott, a Republican Michigan township clerk, for yet another breach of yet another voting tabulator and for allegedly giving a database of confidential voter data to a fellow 2020 election conspiracist. The media outlet reports there have been at least 18 similar breaches or attempted breaches of voting systems across the country by sore loser election deniers, including 12 in MI alone. Separately, a state Special Prosecutor is currently investigating nine people "for an alleged conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to voting equipment in a case that involves alleged breaches across the state." One of those under investigation is the GOP's Attorney General nominee Matt DePerno.
  • Speaking of 2020 election conspiracists, pillow salesman Mike Lindell's petition to the U.S. Supreme Court was rejected on Monday. He was seeking to challenge one of two defamation suits filed against him by a voting machine company, in this case, Dominion, which he baselessly accused of helping to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump. Lindell had been hoping to change long-standing federal law regarding defamation suits brought by public figures. SCOTUS rejected him. So the previous ruling in the matter, by a Trump-appointed federal District Court judge in D.C., means that Dominion's $1.3 defamation suit against Lindell may now move forward to discovery and trial. (Along with several other defamation lawsuits against a bunch of Lindell's fellow GOP election fraudsters and rightwing media outlets.)
  • Speaking of SCOTUS, Monday was the first day of their new term. It included oral argument in a case challenging the EPA's authority to regulate the waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act. It was also the first oral argument to feature the Court's newest member, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. By all reports and audio evidence, she kicked ass. We detail the case and explain KBJ's awesome first day performance.
  • Speaking of asses, Donald Trump filed an emergency request to SCOTUS on Tuesday, seeking their intervention in his dispute over hundreds of pages of stolen documents marked as classified that were retrieved by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago as part of the DoJ's criminal probe into the former President's apparent violations of the Espionage Act and other federal statutes. Trump's filing comes just days after a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (featuring two Trump appointees), dismembered a lower court ruling by another Trump judge who is corruptly attempting to stall the investigation with her appointment of a Special Master to review the documents in question.
  • Next up, the pathetic story that broke over the last 24 hours regarding Republican U.S. Senate nominee, former football hero and seemingly mentally unstable liar, Herschel Walker. He is running to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia next month. On Monday night, The Daily Beast's Roger Sollenberger reported that Walker --- who is running, in no small part, on claims to oppose abortion in every instance, without exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother (which he called "excuses") --- paid for a girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009. Sollenberger appears to, literally, have the receipts to prove it. But, even as Walker was flatly denying the charges on Fox "News" on Monday night and vowing to sue The Daily Beast for defamation, one of his adult children lit up a Twitter storm with an astonishing rant, characterizing his father as a liar and hypocrite and anything but a "family man." Christian Walker charged, among many other things, that his father committed "atrocities" against his mom. She charged years ago, on CNN, that Walker held a gun to her head "and said he was gonna blow my brains out." Incredibly enough, prior to the hectic revelations of the last 24 hours, and despite a long list of proven lies told by Walker, the GOP nominee was virtually tied in pre-election polling with Warnock in GA, for reasons that, as we discuss, are difficult to even fathom.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with updates on Hurricane Ian's catastrophic damage and death toll in Florida; Biden's visit to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Fiona; and the SCOTUS case heard on Monday challenging the EPA's power to enforce the Clean Water Act...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/4/2022 10:35am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Florida residents face the catastrophic damage and death toll of Hurricane Ian; Community specifically designed for climate resilience passes Ian's test; President Biden pledges timely, full aid for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Fiona; PLUS: Next on the U.S. Supreme Court's chopping block: the Clean Water Act... 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!

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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): Deep State of Denial: Far right furiously rationalizing Hurricane Ian; Ian exposes messy politics of disaster spending; Pakistan disease outbreaks after floods spur calls for crisis plan; Carbon capture project faces local pushback in Louisiana; Free shipping isn't free for everyone; The EV boom is about to begin - does the U.S. have the power to charge it?; California suffers driest 3 years on record, with no end in sight... PLUS: Memories of the end of the last ice age, from those who were there.... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Poll workers needed!; Ian threatens FL; Scofflaw TX A.G. flees process server; Congress nears Electoral Count Act update; Listener mail...
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2022 5:48pm PT  

We've got a grab bag of items on today's BradCast, as the critical midterm elections loom and a potentially catastrophic storm threatens the Sunshine State. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the potpourri of news on today's program...

  • Some listener mail in response to yesterday's lively call-in show focused on expansion of the Supreme Court and the necessity of electing Democrats this November in hopes of saving American democracy.
  • NASA scientists successfully fired a vending machine sized projectile last November toward a 560-foot wide moonlet orbiting around an asteroid traveling at thousands of miles per hour nearly 7 million miles away. They hit it on their first try. But, other than that, when it comes to things like our climate crisis and fighting infectious diseases here on Earth, scientists don't anything about anything and should be completely ignored, right?
  • Texas' top law enforcement official, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, was indicted for securities fraud felonies seven years ago. He has been dodging a trial for those crimes ever since. In the meantime, he's facing a whistleblower lawsuit from former top deputies charging he abused his office and a criminal probe by the FBI regarding similar allegations. On Monday, his state Senator wife Angela (the one he was cheating on with a girlfriend who was given a job by one of his wealthy donors), served as a getaway driver for Paxton after he ran out of the house and fled by to dodge a process server attempting to serve the state's top attorney with two subpoenas. Cause that's what "the rule of law" looks like in the Lone Star State. Paxton will face Democratic A.G. nominee Rochelle Garza during his reelection contest this November.
  • False claims of fraud in the 2020 election and threats against poll workers by Donald Trump and his flying MAGA monkey are resulting in a surprising number of folks signing up to be poll workers on both the Left and the Right. That's actually a very good thing! But many more poll workers are still needed to help protect democracy this year! Please contact your local elections office to consider becoming one!
  • And, speaking of protecting democracy, last week, the House passed a bipartisan bill to update the Electoral Count Act of 1887. That is the arcane and confusingly written law that Trump and the MAGA monkeys tried to exploit in hopes of stealing the 2020 Presidential election on January 6, 2021. A similar bipartisan bill to the one passed by the House with little GOP support is now quickly moving through the U.S. Senate. And today, republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell came out in support of it. That means the measure is likely to get the 10 Republican votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the undemocratic upper chamber. This much-needed reform to help prevent just one of the ways that Republicans could steal the 2024 Presidential election may see passage in the full Senate before the end of this year.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Disinformationists; Fascism rising; Hurricane Ian threatens disaster in FL; Callers ring in to fight about Dems before critical midterms...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2022 5:59pm PT  

It was another lively call-in show today on The BradCast, even with one caller accusing me of "professional, managerial class gate-keeping for the Democrats." (Okay. But, if so, where do I pick up my managerial class paycheck?!) [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to the listener calls, however, some important news items today...

  • Good news: Italy has just elected its first female Prime Minister! Bad news: She represents a far-right authoritarian party with its roots in Italian World War II neo-fascism.
  • Last week began with three enormous climate change-fueled storms simultaneously slamming Puerto Rico (which is still largely without power or clean water), Alaska and Japan. This week begins similarly, with three huge storms. One (the same one that hit Puerto Rico) slamming eastern Canada and another super-typhoon that spun up from tropical storm to Cat 5 in 24 hours before ravaging The Philippines. The third storm, Hurricane Ian, is now building strength as it edges Cuba as a Cat 2. It's expected to make potentially catastrophic landfall somewhere in Florida in the next day or two, potentially as a Cat 4. Exact landfall location is still unknown, but Desi Doyen joins us to explain how insanely dangerous Ian could turn out to be, particularly for the city of Tampa Bay.
  • Then, new polling from the Marquette University Law School, considered the "gold standard" for polling on the U.S. Supreme Court, finds, for the first time, that a majority of Americans are either "strongly" or "somewhat" in favor of expanding the the number of Justices on the Court. As you'll recall, the Republican majority Senate during the Trump Administration, packed and stole the Court majority, first by holding a vacant seat open for a full year (effectively, changing the number of seats from 9 to 8 in 2016); then by a blowing up the Senate filibuster rule requiring 60 votes to seat Justices for lifetime positions on the bench. They did that for three controversial far-right Justices who have since helped the corrupted Republican majority on the Court turn the Constitution and nation upside down by ignoring precedent, making up new "doctrines" from thin air, and overturning critical Constitutional rights established by half-century old SCOTUS opinions like Roe v. Wade.

    For many of the reasons discussed on today's show, expansion of the Court is --- at least in my opinion --- the number one reason for voting for Democrats in this November's critical midterm elections. Everything else --- codifying Roe's protection of reproductive rights into federal law, protecting democracy and the planet itself --- are all ultimately subordinate to the High Court. As corrupted as it currently is, expanding the Court to rebalance it is a must...even if many Democrats in Congress and the White House don't yet seem to understand that. Happily, a majority of Americans, across virtually every demographic sector, now agree.

  • Then, we open up the phones to callers on all of the above and more. With, as usual, a bunch of folks calling in to disagree with me, and at least one who correctly identifies the "Big Lie of the Left," that "both parties" are equally bad. They aren't. Not by a demonstrable long shot, as we discuss. Which, apparently, is proof enough that I'm a "professional, managerial class gate-keep[er] for the Democrats!" Who knew? But check please!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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GOP election conspiracists have bad lawyers; Also: Garland's moving (and telling) remarks at swearing-in ceremony for new American citizens...
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2022 7:04pm PT  

If you're dumb enough to fall for the disgraced former President's evidence-free claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, you probably deserve whatever nightmares are coming for you. We cover at least three of those dumb dupes on today's BradCast. [Audio link to today's full show follows below this summary.]

  • It's been a really really bad week for failed President and 2020 election conspiracist Donald Trump. His hand-picked Special Master in the Mar-a-Lago stolen documents case has been doing him no favors. And, yesterday, Trump and his kids and his company were slammed with a massive $250 million fraud lawsuit by the state of New York which may end his ability to do business in the state ever again. And, just a few hours later, a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, including two Trump-appointed judges, unanimously sided with the Dept. of Justice in a no-uncertain-terms rebuke of Trump's claim's that the classified documents he stole from the White House somehow belong to him, and to the dumb and/or corrupt U.S. District Court Judge who facilitated his ridiculous legal challenge. And no, despite what The Former Guy tried to tell Sean Hannity last night, a President can't simply declassify documents with his mind. But, even if he could, as the 11th Circuit Court helpfully pointed out in their scathing ruling [PDF], the classified status of the stolen documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago is little more than a "red herring".
  • It's also been a really really bad week for pillow salesman and 2020 election conspiracist Mike Lindell. On Monday, a federal court in Minnesota denied Lindell and his company's motions to dismiss the massive defamation suit filed against them by Smartmatic, a voting system vendor. The next day, Lindell tried to get himself a similar deal to the one that Trump got in that destined-to-fail Mar-a-Lago lawsuit by filing a lawsuit against the Dept. of Justice, seeking to get his cell phone back. FBI official seized Lindell's phone last week while he was at a fast-food restaurant drive-thru, based on a probable cause search warrant. Lindell's own destined-to-fail lawsuit filing included a copy of the FBI's search warrant, revealing that the bedding magnate is being investigated for identity theft and intentional damage to a protected computer related to the breach of Dominion voting system software in Mesa County, Colorado by its indicted County Clerk, Tina Peters. Lots to explain here. We give you the full story.
  • As to 2020 election conspiracist and far-right Republican activist Ginni Thomas, wife of far-right Republican activist Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, her bad weeks may just be beginning. Hopefully. Four months ago, it was revealed that that she actively lobbied Trump's then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a corrupt Trump lawyer named John Eastman, and several state lawmakers in battleground states to help steal the 2020 election for Trump. On Wednesday, Ginni's attorney announced that she has finally agreed to give testimony to the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's multiple failed attempts to steal the election. It is unclear when Thomas' will be interviewed, though the agreement comes months after she had originally claimed to be eager to "clear up misconceptions" about her role in trying to help steal the 2020 election. In related news, the J6 Committee is currently scheduled to hold what may be their last public hearing next week, before releasing their final report at year's end.
  • In news that is far less stupid, though also related to much of the above, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland offered incredibly moving remarks (video, transcript) at Ellis Island in New York last week at the swearing in ceremony for 200 new American citizens. The A.G. had a difficult time holding himself together as he recounted his family's history of coming to America while attempting to escape the Holocaust. But it was his telling remarks on "the rule of law" and "the promise of equal justice under law" that may offer clues about what is likely to happen in the days ahead, at a moment when he is almost certainly deciding whether or not to indict a former President of the United States for the first time in history.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Climate Week unfolds in New York during the United Nations General Assembly. She has coverage of the UN Sec. General's call for the fossil fuel industry to pay up for its unspeakable damage across the globe; the continuing toll of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico; and some good news on the first climate change treaty in decades to actually be adopted by the U.S. Senate.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Tiny Delaware's huge mistake; Graham's nationwide abortion ban bill; Also: Franken on the illegitimacy of our U.S. Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2022 6:18pm PT  

The three states carrying out the final midterm primary elections of the year on Tuesday offer a great side-by-side comparison of voting systems on today's BradCast, from the very best to the very worst in the nation. Also, Sen. Lindsey Graham offers an example of the GOP's very worst politics, even as it is likely to work out for the very best for Democrats. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered on today's program...

  • Why Delaware's so-called "hybrid" Ballot Marking Device (BMD) system made by ES&S and forced on all voters in the state at the polls, places the tiny state in contention for having the very worst voting systems in the country. You'd think they would realize that a 100% unverifiable touchscreen system that prints voters' selections on a paper ballot for them is already a terrible idea. But one that allows the computer to secretly reprint a voter's ballot --- allowing it to add, change or delete votes --- after voters think they've already approved their computer-marked ballot, is unspeakable stupid. That said, the system's "Permission to Cheat" feature is arguably even worse.
  • Contrast DE's voting system with New Hampshire and Rhode Island's fully verifiable hand-marked paper ballot system. They, along with DE are also holding primaries today. But in about 40% of NH towns, they go even further in respecting voters by hand-counting all hand-marked paper ballots at the polling place, in public, as soon as polls close and before ballots are moved anywhere. That would be Democracy's Gold Standard. RI, in the meantime, tallies all ballots by computer, but at least (unlike in DE), they're hand-marked ballots, so can be known to reflect the intent of the voters. Well, most of them, anyway. As discovered during the early voting period in four towns, candidates from 2018 appeared on the 2022 touchscreen ballots for some voters who chose to use the state's new BMD systems, made available at the polls for optional use by disabled voters.
  • Next, a follow-up to our conversation last week with Marilyn Marks, Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance, which is suing Georgia and its Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, hoping to ban the state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen BMD voting systems in favor of hand-marked paper ballots. Marks was on the show to discuss the security camera surveillance video she unearthed in her federal lawsuit last week, revealing a bunch of Team Trump MAGA Republicans being allowed in to the Coffee County, GA election office last year to unlawfully breach the state's Election Management System software made by Dominion. The breach, as we discussed, was covered-up by Raffensperger, even though the Trumpers copied, stole and shared the critical software with others. That makes the 2022 and 2024 elections in the state (and elsewhere, where the same systems are used) uniquely vulnerable to malware and manipulation, given that Coffee County's system is connected to the state system, which programs all of the identical systems that Raffensperger forces every county in the state to use.

    Shortly after Marks' appearance on the show last week, a hearing was held in her federal lawsuit, and the judge inquired as to how the Coffee County breach relates to the plaintiffs' complaint. One of their attorneys, David Cross, gave a brilliant explanation in response (see transcript here, beginning on page 4), ending his remarks on the matter with a fantastic metaphor: "If we're going on a skydiving trip and we saw a bunch of bad actors unpack our parachutes, take them all apart, and then repack them and put them back and we learned that when we were on an airplane and if the pilot said to you, it is probably fine, your parachute is probably fine, just go ahead and jump and we'll find out when you're in the air, no one would jump out of that plane.

    "That is where we are," Cross added. "It is not an exaggeration. We have lots of people who are widely considered bad actors because of the lies that they spread about the 2020 election who had unmitigated access to the election system --- not pieces, not disconnected pieces --- the actual system in practice for the better part of two weeks. And we don't know what all they did. But we do know what they could have done. And it is not satisfactory to tell voters, 'Let's just hope the system works, and we have begun an investigation in the last couple of weeks, let's hope that that doesn't find that the system doesn't work.' That, Your Honor, we don't think is an appropriate way to proceed. And that is why this is so critically important for our claims."

  • In what ought to win an award for worst, most tin-ear politics of the century, so far, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a bill today to ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy in all 50 states. States that wish to go further, however, by banning abortions all together, are more than welcome to do so under his nationwide bill. So, this measure --- deceptively being sold by Graham as a "late-term" abortion --- would largely only affect "blue" states where privacy rights and reproductive freedoms are still respected. The bill, which Graham's own Republican Party is already furious about, comes after the GOP's corrupted, stolen and packed (with Graham's help) U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June and just weeks after Graham previously said he believes "states should decide the issue of abortion." Turns out that was just another pathetic lie from one of the nation's most pathetic U.S. Senators.
  • Speaking of the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court (and tin-ears), Chief Justice John Roberts offered his first public remarks last Friday since his Court overturned Roe. He blasted those who question the legitimacy of the Court because they disagree with its decisions. "Simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for criticizing the legitimacy of the Court," the Chief Justice said, completely missing the point. Over the weekend, the much-missed former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) appeared on CNN to debate Roberts' remarks with GOP strategist April Stewart. As you'll hear, it did not go well for Stewart.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as a hurricane finally ends California's record heat wave; reactors are finally shut down at Ukraine's besieged nuclear power plant; a showdown finally looms in Congress over energy permitting; and a climate champion finally ascends to become King of Britain...

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Guest: Legal analyst, author Dahlia Lithwick; Also: Lincoln Project begs Former Guy to sue them; Judge tosses Trump's ridiculous Clinton, Comey 'conspiracy' lawsuit; DoJ offers corrupt Mar-a-Lago judge an off-ramp...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2022 6:33pm PT  

For all of the legal experts on TV and Twitter helping the nation understand a flood of ridiculous rulings by corrupt, rightwing, Federal Society-approved judges and Justices, it might also be helpful if they started pointing out the desperate need for structural change in our federal judiciary. We can't lawyer our way out of this mess, but we can reform it. But we're gonna need their help. One of those legal experts joins us on today's BradCast to help make exactly that case. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, however, the Republican "Never Trumpers" of the Lincoln Project are back. And their latest ad is another doozie, pointing out how Trump's sleazy Save America PAC is little more than a "sucker's game" meant to scam his own supporters. "Trump told you the election was stolen to rip you off, to sucker you, to take your hard-earned money and shovel it into his pockets ... It was the biggest scam in political history. ... It was a sucker's game all along."

Apparently, Lincoln Project is running the ad on Fox "News" and it appears to be driving The Former Guy crazy. So much so that he's threatened to sue the Lincoln Project. And now the group's co-founder, Rick Wilson, is begging him to. We share the ad, Trump's pathetic (though hilarious) social media tantrum and Wilson's acerbic (though hilarious) response.

While Trump is unlikely to actually sue Lincoln Project --- and open up his corrupt Save America PAC to the discovery process! --- one of his most recent impotent lawsuits, filed against Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, and bunch of other folks at the FBI and DoJ claiming a "conspiracy" against him regarding Russia's interference in the 2016 election, spectacularly crashed and burned before a federal judge in South Florida on Thursday. It was a real judge. Not one that Trump appointed.

As to the federal judge in South Florida that Trump did appoint, Judge Aileen Cannon, who issued the absurd, unprecedented and completely unworkable order on Monday in response to the FBI's court-ordered seizure of thousands of government documents stolen by Trump and stored at Mar-a-Lago, the DoJ pushed back on Thursday night. On Monday, Cannon ordered an injunction against the DoJ's use of the stolen documents, many of them highly classified, in their criminal investigation of Trump's theft until a Special Master examined all of the documents for potential attorney-client and executive privilege conflicts. (There can be no executive privilege conflicts since Trump hasn't asserted it and, no longer the Executive, he is not entitled to any such privilege.)

In their filing [PDF] on Thursday night, however, the DoJ offered a compromise and an off-ramp to Cannon, before they otherwise plan to appeal her ruling in full to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals next week. Hopefully, Cannon takes the off-ramp to allow the critical criminal investigation and national security damage assessment to continue. But, otherwise, the DoJ may have a long slog before the appeals court which has now been packed with Trump-appointed judges.

All of this --- not to mention the unprecedented rulings by the packed, stolen and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court majority at the end of their term earlier this summer --- underscores how broken our federal judicial system has become. And while there is no shortage of well-meaning legal experts on TV and social media explaining how best to respond to corrupted rulings by corrupted courts, these are problems that the nation cannot litigate itself out of, as our guest argues today.

We're joined again by the great DAHLIA LITHWICK, longtime legal analyst at Slate, MSNBC contributor, podcast host, and author of the new book, LADY JUSTICE: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America.

Writing this week with our other legal reporter friend from Slate, Mark Joseph Stern, in an article headlined "The Solution to the Trump Judge Problem Nobody Wants to Talk About" the pair reference the court battle over the stolen documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago: "The problem is not just the extreme and heinous flaws in Cannon’s ruling. It’s also the Trump-shaped world in which Cannon operates, with impunity, which we will all have to endure for the foreseeable future. It’s the brutal reality that we may face a steady stream of depraved decisions like Cannon’s for the rest of our lives --- and the pain of hearing from every quarter that nothing can be done to remedy it."

"There are too many things wrong with the Cannon order to litigate," they conclude. "And there are too many things wrong with Trump’s judicial dominion of every part of our lives --- for years to come --- to litigate. So maybe it's time to stop litigating them and start fixing them."

How to start fixing them? Well, that's at the center of my discussion today with Lithwick, beginning with the need for "big-swing structural reform" of our courts and how to start making the noise needed to help make it happen.

Also, we discuss LADY JUSTICE, Lithwick's brand-new book --- hitting "shelves" in just a few days --- which "knits together these stories of extraordinary women lawyers" who "faced unbelievable odds" and "changed the world in the Trump era". Now, she argues, "they could do it again."

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Also: The corruption of Zinke in MT; The ridiculousness of Walker in GA; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2022 6:44pm PT  

Until (and unless) Democrats can pick up at least two seats in the U.S. Senate this November in order to reform the filibuster --- while retaining their majority in the U.S. House and control of the White House --- the fight for personal freedoms, such as reproductive rights and voting rights, is going to remain a grueling, state-by-state slog. That's where we are right now. But we can change that this November if we ALL turn out and fight like hell to cast our vote. In the meantime, on today's BradCast, we've got some good news in at least some of those state-by-state battles.

Among the many stories covered today...

  • New evidence of the unapologetic corruption of Donald Trump's disgraced former Interior Dept. Secretary Ryan Zinke, who, incredibly enough, is currently the front-runner to win a new U.S. House seat in Montana. Voters in Montana would be wise to reconsider that idea.
  • New evidence of the unspeakable ignorance of former NFL great Herschel Walker, who is now the embarrassing Trump-backed nominee for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, where he is running against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Despite lying about his past, and offering inane, barely comprehensible comments on the campaign trail, not to mention his latest ridiculous response to the Democrats' landmark new climate bill, investing $370 billion to take on our climate crisis, Walker remains very much in the running to unseat Warnock. Voters in Georgia would be wise to reconsider that idea.
  • Newly triggered abortion bans went into effect in three more states on Thursday, in Idaho, Tennessee and Texas. That brings the number of states where reproductive rights and personal freedoms are now completely banned or severely restricted to 14. Many of those states do not allow exceptions for rape, incest or even the life or health of the mother. As the President of the Center for Reproductive Rights told HuffPost, "Vast swaths of the nation, especially in the South and Midwest, are now abortion deserts that, for many, will be impossible to escape." There was a small bit of good news on this front on Wednesday in federal court, however, regarding Idaho's draconian restrictions, as challenged by the Biden Administration's Dept. of Justice. Voters in all of these states are going to need to show up in unprecedented numbers to make their voices heard in November.
  • There was also some good news on this front following this week's elections in New York and Florida, even beyond the political earthquake of Democratic candidate Pat Ryan's win in a special election for the U.S. House in a NY swing-district that would almost certainly have been won by the Republican candidate prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's corrupt GOP majority overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this summer. In FL, the sole Democrat in the state House to vote in favor of new restrictions on abortion and in favor of the Republicans' "Don't Say Gay" law was booted from his job on Tuesday. Also, a judge in FL's Hillsborough County, who made himself infamous earlier this year by denying an abortion to a 17-year old girl because he didn't think her grades were high enough, was also tossed out of his job. Good work, Florida voters! More like that on November 8, please!
  • And then there's the state-by-state fight for voting rights. Here, we've got several encouraging pieces of news from the court in recent days. Earlier this month, a federal court in Texas rejected a state voter suppression law that would leave those who do not live permanently in the state (for example, those who may attend school there) from being able to register to vote in either that state or their own home state! "The part-time and off-campus college students are undeniably disenfranchised because they are unable to register to vote both where they have moved and where they have moved from," the U.S. District Court Judge wrote when issuing his summary judgment [PDF] in favor of plaintiffs. "The court is likewise unable to discern where college students should register as the Temporary-Relocation Provision [of Senate Bill 1111] is written. And the possible repercussions are not just complete disenfranchisement, but also criminal liability. The Temporary-Relocation Provision does not overcome any degree of constitutional scrutiny," he found in tossing out the provision. Naturally, the state's criminally-indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton is appealing the matter to the rightwing 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Late last week, there was good news for voters in North Carolina, as the state's Supreme Court determined that two state Constitutional Amendments --- one to impose Photo ID restrictions on voters, the other to lower taxes --- were unlawfully adopted by a racially gerrymandered state legislature. Some 28 seats in the GOP-majority General Assembly were found by a federal court to have been unlawful racial gerrymanders. But, after that finding and before a new election to correct the gerrymanders, the state Assembly rushed a vote to put the Amendments onto the state ballot. Without the illegal gerrymanders, they likely wouldn't have had enough votes to do so. NC's high court last week ruled, as WRAL summarized, "lawmakers who won their seats through unconstitutional racial gerrymandering cannot then submit constitutional amendments that would permanently disadvantage the same groups discriminated against in the racial gerrymandering process." The state's Republican House Speaker vows to appeal to SCOTUS.
  • And, also late last week, a federal judge determined that Arkansas violated the Voting Rights Act by restricting the number of people who could receive assistance in voting --- such as help in translating an English language ballot --- by any one person. The state law said no single person could help more than six voters. The court found that to be arbitrary and in violation of federal law. "Arkansas has determined that voters should only get the assistor of their choice up to a point," the Judge wrote in his ruling, "but there is no evidence Congress contemplated this numerical restriction on the right.” A similar suit has been filed in Missouri, where state Republicans have limited the number of voters who may be helped by any one person to...one!
  • Finally, before we get to today's Green News Report with Desi Doyen --- in which compelling reason is offered to Virginia voters to vote out their GOP climate change denying Congressman Bob Good --- some breaking news out of California, where regulators have finalized a requirement that will allow only new, zero-emissions vehicles (for example, all-electric vehicles) to be sold in the Golden State as of 2035. Desi explains why that's very good news for both the state and the world. Then, she closes out today's program with our latest GNR, including disturbing news on the worst draught in Europe in at least 500 years; the surprising popularity of climate action among Americans; troubling news about fracking and children's health; and oil giant Saudi Arabia's plan to break into the emerging EV market...

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Guest: Data analyst Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: House Special election in NY a political 'earthquake' and other results from NY, FL, OK...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2022 6:01pm PT  

For some, it was a political "earthquake" on Tuesday. For us here at BradCast, it largely served to confirm what we've been arguing for many months now: Reports about a Democratic shellacking this fall are greatly exaggerated. And, the swing-district Democratic win in a New York U.S. House special election on Tuesday isn't the only new evidence today helping to support that case. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, we run through some of the noteworthy reported election results from yesterday's primaries and runoffs in Oklahoma, Florida and New York. Tune in for specific details and specific races. But while there was good news and bad for both Democrats and progressives on Tuesday, the biggest story of the night was clearly Democratic candidate Pat Ryan's defeat of Republican Marc Molinaro in what both parties have been regarding as a bellwether for this November, a special U.S. House election in NY's 19th Congressional District. The Hudson Valley district is a classic "swing-district" that tends to follow the mood of the nation. It barely went for Biden in 2020 and for Trump and Obama in the years prior. In a "red wave" year for Republicans --- as both the GOP and media have long been instructing us that this year's midterms would be --- Molinaro should have easily won on Tuesday. Instead, he lost by 2 points.

In another special election for the U.S. House yesterday, in the state 23rd District, the Republican candidate won in the very Trumpy district, but by just over 6 points. That, after the Republican who previously held the seat had won it by 17 points back in 2020. It was yet another contest in which Democrats gained over their 2020 numbers, rather than lost, as would be expected in a "red wave" year.

In fact, where Republicans earlier this year had been winning special elections for the House by anywhere from 10 to 20 points more than Trump had won the same districts just two years ago, everything changed on June 24, when the GOP's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court, in their Dobbs decision, overturned Roe v. Wade and its 50 years of Constitutionally-protected privacy rights and reproductive freedoms. Since that ruling, every single special House election --- four of them, from Nebraska to Minnesota to New York --- has seen results swing toward Democrats from their 2020 numbers in the same district.

Ryan's victory on Tuesday in NY-19 is being chalked up to his campaign focused on abortion rights, fueled by campaign signs reading "Choice is on the Ballot." Indeed, Ryan also tied choice to freedom and democracy, as noted in his victory tweet last night. "Choice was on the ballot. Freedom was on the ballot, and tonight choice and freedom won," said Ryan, adding: "We voted like our democracy was on the line because it is." In the bargain, he concluded, "We upended everything we thought we knew about politics and did it together."

The GOP candidate, meanwhile --- a fairly strong candidate, not one of the Trump-backed insane ones --- attempted to make the contest a referendum on President Biden, inflation, crime and against one-party rule in D.C., as Republicans have hoped to do elsewhere for this November's midterms. It didn't work.

We've been arguing for many months now on this show that voters should simply ignore "Conventional Wisdom" based on historical data for this year's elections, as these are decidedly UNconventional times. There are many things that make it so, but the overturning of Roe v. Wade is certainly a great big one.

Evidence of that is also showing up elsewhere, as our guest today, TOM BONIER, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic data firm, has been noticing and tweeting excitedly about over the past few weeks since Kansas voters decisively rejected a state Constitutional ballot initiative that would have allowed Republicans in the traditionally conservative state to ban abortion rights.

Since then, Bonier explains, in state after state that he has examined --- so-called "red" and "blue" ones and even critical battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina, among others --- the data for new voter registrations after the Dobbs ruling show numbers are spiking for women, particularly Democratic women and, specifically, those under 25.

"I'm not one that's prone to hyperbole," Bonier tells me, responding to a question about one of the stats he posted to Twitter, which he described as "jaw-dropping." He says that "when analyzing election data, you generally don't see variations from the norm, from past historical precedent, that are really that substantial." But, after being stunned by what happened in Kansas, he noticed there had been a huge spike in voter registrations in the state in its run-up.

"Of the voters who registered to vote in Kansas after the June 24th Dobbs decision, 70% were women," he found. "I've never seen anything approaching that degree of gender gap. It just doesn't happen."

"The reason you look at new registrants is because it's a great indicator of intensity. It's not that new registrants by themselves will swing the election, but it is a reliable indicator of which groups are really fired up about voting, and that's what's going to decide this election."

He discovered similarly "jaw-dropping" numbers for Pennsylvania after the Dobbs ruling. "It's not just that women are registering to vote. When you look at who those women are, they're overwhelmingly women and Democrats." New Dem registrations, he says, are outpacing Republicans 4 to 1. "Over half of them --- 54% of them --- are under the age of 25. So again, they're younger, they're more likely to be Democrats, overwhelmingly, young Democratic women being engaged."

In North Carolina, like Pennsylvania, where Democrats are eyeing another potential U.S. Senate pick-up that seemed impossible just several weeks ago, Bonier says he is seeing a similar trend. Before Dobbs, "Republicans had a one point advantage among new registrants. Since Dobbs that's shifted to a 5-point Democratic advantage...again, driven by younger women primarily, though not exclusively."

In Ohio, a similar story. In fact, Bonier says women are out-registering men in Idaho, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Arkansas and elsewhere.

Has he drilled down on these statewide numbers to see if they will have an affect on the heavily gerrymandered new maps that will favor Republicans in the U.S. House this year? So far, Bonier argues, they are "seeing the same pattern in these more potentially competitive Congressional districts."

Are the numbers large enough that, even with that gerrymandering, Democrats might actually be able to hold their majority in the House this November? "If you'd asked me this a few months ago, I never would have said this, but yes, Democrats have a chance. It's still an uphill battle --- especially because of the structural disadvantages --- but there's clearly a chance. We're not talking about the slimmest of margins, we're talking about a real opportunity. But for that to bear fruit for Democrats, it's going to take this trend continuing. It's going to take Dobbs being an inflection point, where we look back and we say, 'This election cycle, there was pre-Dobbs and there was post-Dobbs, and Dobbs is really what changed everything.'"

Bonier cautions that it "will still be difficult" and nothing is certain, especially since betwen this and so much else this year, there are simply no modern historical equivalents to compare it to. "So the best thing we can do is go out, work as hard as we can, and fight for every vote."

Have we been right to argue for so many months that voters should simply ignore the "conventional wisdom" --- from political professionals, including guys like Bonier --- in these UNconventional times? Tune in for his answer...

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Guest: ACLU's Ben Wizner; Also: Results from KS abortion amendment recount; Dems quietly outsmart GOP/SCOTUS on climate; More...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2022 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Based on the FBI's unsealed warrant for their recent court-approved search at Mar-a-Lago, we now know that our disgraced former President is being criminally investigated by the Dept. of Justice for violation of at least three federal statutes. One of them --- the one which has arguably received the most headlines --- is the Espionage Act. But that very broad federal statute has been wildly misused by the government over the years to target free political speech and, in modern days, both whistleblowers and journalists. Today, we speak with national security whistleblower Edward Snowden's lead ACLU attorney in hopes of better understanding the controversial law, what's wrong with it, how it needs to be amended, and if it is now properly being applied against Donald Trump. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, however, as primary elections are underway in New York, Florida and Oklahoma today (noteworthy results and problem reports for voters on our next 'BradCast'), we wanted to close a loop on a story we reported last week. Anti-abortion activists in Kansas had hoped for a statewide hand recount of the ballot measure for a state constitutional amendment that failed so thoroughly during their primary elections earlier this month. The measure, trounced by about 18 points, would have allowed state Republicans to ban abortion rights in Kansas. Activists vaguely claimed there was evidence of fraud and asked for a hand-count of 9 of the state's largest counties after failing to raise enough money to count the whole state. That hand-count was completed over the weekend and very few votes changed at all. The "Yes" campaign netted an additional 63 votes out of more than 556,000 tallied by hand in those counties.

We've got some thoughts on that hand count to share today, including a response to the Kansas Sec. of State who claims the hand-count "proves once and for all that there is no systemic election fraud in our state's election process" (it doesn't) and for Democrats who decry lawful, public hand-counts --- paid for by challengers, even if they are loony ones --- as undermining our election system. They don't. In fact, they add confidence to it. Tune in for more.

Next, on Monday night, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump stole at least 300 documents marked as classified, many of them said to be incredibly sensitive national security documents. (Contrast that with the total of 3 documents found to have been sent to Hillary Clinton via her private email address marked as classified, for which Trump and his supporters railed to "LOCK HER UP!" for so many years.) All told, it took a year and a half to get those stolen documents back, after a year of negotiation and pleading by the National Archives, a grand jury subpoena from the DoJ, a personal visit to Mar-a-Lago by its top counter-espionage official, and, ultimately, the FBI search earlier this month.

Throughout that time, the paper reports, "Trump went through the boxes himself in late 2021," before failing to turn them all in and, even now, it is unknown if all of the stolen documents have yet been returned. Whether marked as classified or not --- and whether Trump declassified them or not (he didn't) --- it was still illegal for Trump to have any of them in his possession.

The federal search warrant revealed that he is being investigated for, among other things, violation of the Espionage Act. Writing last week at Politico, the Knight First Amendment Institute's Jameel Jaffer, formerly of the ACLU, argued that the Act has been abused over the years in its application against whistleblowers and journalists, such as Chelsea Manning (who released classified documents revealing war crimes by the U.S. Military), Reality Winner (who released a classified document revealing Russia's 2016 breach of U.S. voter registration systems) and, more recently, WikiLeak's Julian Assange.

But, Jaffer writes, while the overly-broad law desperately needs to be amended or even scrapped entirely, its use against Trump appears to be perfectly appropriate.

We're joined today by BEN WIZNER of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. Wizner serves as the principal legal advisor for Edward Snowden, the national security whistleblower who, charged with Espionage Act crimes, is currently living in Russia to avoid prosecution.

Wizner explains the many problems with the more than 100-year old law as it was originally used --- before being somewhat amended decades later --- to prosecute thousands of Americans for legitimate political speech. "In fact, the abuses of the Espionage Act at the outset really had something to do with the formation of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920," he tells me. "It was used by Woodrow Wilson's administration to go after pacifists and anti-war activists, labor activists. Eugene Debs was prosecuted and imprisoned under the Espionage Act. So in its early years, it really is associated with all of the excesses of the first Red Scare and the crackdown on dissent, and immigrants and other radicals." (Debs ultimately ran for President from his prison cell, as Trump may now wish to take note.)

"In it's modern history, the core critique of the Espionage Act has been that it doesn't distinguish between selling the country's secrets to a foreign adversary for personal gain and sharing those same secrets with respected journalists in the public interest," Wizner explains. "In the Snowden case, you have somebody who shared information with news organizations. Those news organizations won the highest awards in journalism, a public interest Pulitzer Prize [based on documents from Snowden.]

But the most egregious part of the Espionage Act, as Wizner notes regarding Snowden's case and his exile abroad: "He's not able to argue, if he's brought to court under this law, that he was acting in the public interest, [and] that in fact the law [was] changed as a result of his actions. All of that would be irrelevant and inadmissible under an Espionage Act prosecution."

In other words, Snowden would be disallowed from even offering a defense for what he did. "The first person ever prosecuted under the Espionage Act for leaks to the press in the public interest, rather than trying to provide secrets to a foreign entity was, of course, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, in 1971," Wizner reminds us. (We discussed Snowden's case with Ellsberg on the show back in 2013. Audio and transcript here.)

There is much more to discuss about this bad law and the need to amend it, as several lawmakers from both major parties have long been trying to do. Tune in for that.

As to whether Wizner agrees with his former ACLU colleague, Jaffer, regarding the Espionage Act's correct application against Trump? While he argues "there's no good justification for what Trump did here," Wizner says he is keeping powder dry" regarding Trump's alleged Espionage Act violations. "I am very open to the possibility that when we find out why they cited that statute, I will be a full-throated advocate of what they did in this case. I'm just saying I don't have the information yet to be that full-throated advocate...It matters what those documents were. The fact that they were marked classified is a key fact. I still want to know what was in them."

"I believe Jameel Jaffer is correct that the concerns that the ACLU and other have raised about the Espionage Act are not implicated here," Wizner tells me. "We've been saying you shouldn't equate two different categories --- spies and whistleblowers. What we have here is a third category."

Finally, after some breaking news on President Biden reportedly deciding to forgive up to $10,000 in student loans for some federal borrowers, and Desi Doyen's explanation of how Democrats may have quietly and ingeniously outsmarted both Republicans and their stolen U.S. Supreme Court majority by declaring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses to be "pollutants" in their recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, she joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the summer of extreme extreme weather continues...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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New poll finds democracy now top issue for voters; Also: Latest Trump accountability news; Midterm election news; Callers ring in on why they're voting this November...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2022 6:24pm PT  

Longtime listeners of The BradCast know that we see democracy as pretty much the number one issue that makes pretty much everything else possible. Even the climate crisis comes second for that reason. Congressional Democrats, on the other hand, have yet to make the threat that democracy itself now faces in America, thanks to Donald Trump and his GOP, much of a campaign issue. That's both curious and troubling, particularly following a new poll out today finding that democracy is "the most important issue facing the country for a plurality of registered voters." [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's show --- followed by some great callers in the second half today...

  • On Sunday, a federal appeals court gave Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) a short reprieve from his scheduled testimony before the special grand jury in Georgia investigating the Trump-led criminal conspiracy to try and steal Georgia's 2020 election. Graham, who reportedly called the GA Sec. of State to see if it might be possible to toss thousands of lawfully cast votes, claims he was just doing his job as a Senator...from South Carolina...and has absolute immunity under the Constitution's "speech and debate" clause. His reprieve [PDF] from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' probe is unlikely to last for long.
  • A different federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the Justice Department must release a memo written by its Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) during the Trump Administration, regarding then-Attorney General Bill Barr's decision to not charge the former President for some ten instances of obstruction of Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. The DoJ claimed the memo, sought by a good government watchdog group under FOIA laws, was exempt from disclosure because it was part of the deliberative process in deciding whether or not to charge Trump. In fact, as a lower court previously determined, the memo was written after the DoJ had already determined they would not charge Trump.
  • Then, we move from the 2016 and 2020 elections back to the current one, now just 78 days away, when political pundits had long been telling us that Democrats would take a shellacking in Congress this November. But, as we've long noted, that Conventional Wisdom is by no means a certainty during these decidedly UNconventional times. Among the latest examples from 2022's UNconventional Times files, emotional remarks last week from a Republican South Carolina lawmaker who regrets his vote --- just weeks after casting it --- to restrict abortion in the state. He relates a disturbing story of a pregnant 19-year old woman whose water broke at 15 weeks, making the pregnancy unviable. But thanks to the state's new "fetal heartbeat" law, attorneys advised her doctors they could not extract the fetus until its heart stopped beating...two weeks later. She could have lost her uterus or even died during the interim. We share some of the state Rep's emotional response and his reasons for refusing to vote in favor of an even more draconian restriction on reproductive freedom now moving through the SC state legislature.
  • Still more today from the UNconventional Times file: Signs that inflation appears to be coming down on tons of products whose prices had surged last year. And signs, along with it, that pandemic supply chain snarls appear to finally be easing up as well.
  • Of course, all of that good news for American consumers is bad news for Republicans who have been hoping for a terrible economy to help them win back majorities in Congress this November. A new forecast from Fox "News" out today, however, finds that to be less and less likely as polling and other conditions continue to trend back in favor of Democrats. It's still an uphill climb for them in the gerrymandered House, but the GOP is clearly getting nervous. We discuss.
  • At the same time, in a lengthy deep-dive, Politico Magazine reported over the weekend that a number of old school Dems from the Carter Administration are concerned that Congressional Democrats are not making enough of a campaign issue out of the threat that Republicans now pose to American democracy itself. That, following Trump's January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection and the boatload of bat-crap insane, Trump-endorsed 2020 election deniers who have been nominated for key positions to help decide the 2024 election in swing-states and non-swing-states alike this year. While Congressional Dems offer a reasonable argument for why they have been sticking with other issues this year --- "from energy and the environment to education, roads and infrastructure, abortion, health care, Trump and guns" --- rather than the threat posed by Republicans to democracy itself....
  • So, what do our listeners care most about this November? What issues are leading them to vote (or not vote)? We open the phones to find out and get some very good callers in response including a fun one from a confused Republican...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-4), on his bills to expand the Court, impose term limits and ethics rules for 'unaccountable', 'corrupt' Justices; Also: TN's Thursday primaries and unverifiable voting systems...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2022 6:49pm PT  

I suspect you'll get much more out of listening to today's BradCast than I can possibly share in this summary. Hearing my conversation with the Congressman --- who has a very dry wit --- is also much, much funnier than reading about it. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, before we get there today, voters in Tennessee were voting in their midterm primaries on Thursday. Yes, on a Thursday! In a state where the right-wingers who run it aren't all that interested in democracy, apparently. Otherwise, they would hold primaries on a normal Tuesday, and they wouldn't have upended a state law passed years ago --- when Democrats held the legislative majority there --- to move from unverifiable touchscreen voting systems to hand-marked paper ballots. A story today out of one of their counties where a touchscreen system appears to have failed for one of their voters (described misleadingly in the report as "a rare glitch") underscores this point and my continuing, expanding, years-long nightmare.

Then, we're joined by REP. HANK JOHNSON, Democrat from Georgia's 4th Congressional District and Chair of the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Courts, for a detailed and lively discussion about his ongoing attempts to bring accountability to what he describes as the "corrupt system" embodied by today's U.S. Supreme Court.

In April of last year, Johnson introduced the Judiciary Act of 2021, a simple, single paragraph bill [PDF], co-sponsored by a number of House colleagues and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) who declared, at the time, that when "Republicans stole the Court’s majority" they "undermined its legitimacy, and threatened the rights of millions of Americans". Over a year later, with little progress for the measure, after a full term with the Republicans' packed majority now having run roughshod over longstanding Constitutional rights and Court precedents --- on everything from the rights of voters to those of detainees, to gun safety and the environment and, of course, privacy rights and reproductive freedoms --- the bill's sponsors held another press event last month in front of the Capitol to try and bring focus to the need to, as Johnson describes it today, "re-balance the Court away from this current 6-3 rightwing extremist majority that was packed by Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and the Federalist Society."

This week Johnson also introduced another measure --- this one, just three pages [PDF] long --- called the Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization (TERM) Act of 2022, to introduce term limits for Justices and mandating that new appointees shall be appointed solely by each President in the first and third years of their terms.

"It would establish an 18-year term limit for Supreme Court Justices, if that legislation passes --- and it needs to pass along with the Judiciary Act to expand the Court. We don't really need Justices letting the grass grow under their feet, becoming insulated and removed from accountability from the public", Johnson charges. "You can appoint a conservative judge, but that judge's views would have to end up being subject to being replaced by another judge at the end of that judge's tenure. So, in this way, we give every President the opportunity to appoint new blood into the Supreme Court. Keep the Supreme Court from getting old, stale, and rotten, as it is now...starting with the Honorable Clarence Thomas. "

The Georgia Congressman has also introduced the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act of 2022 [PDF], recently marked-up in the Judiciary Committee to bring ethics reform to the High Court, where Justices currently are allowed to police themselves and are exempt from the judicial ethics rules and requirements which govern the rest of the federal judiciary. That, he asserts, has brought us to the "corrupt system" we have to today.

"The Supreme Court can simply decide to ignore all of the cases it chooses to ignore, and cherry-pick cases that have been inserted into the legal pipeline by activists who are intent on getting their way in the United States Supreme Court," says Johnson. "These are the same activists that have these same Supreme Court Justices traveling to exotic locations to be wined and dined, to deliver a speech to the assembled audience, who happen to be stakeholders in one position or another, that they want to insert into the Court and have the Court decide it their way."

"This is the system that we have now, with the Court being able to select a few cases in the pipeline, for that pipeline to be packed with issues that are ripe for these rightwing Justices carefully indoctrinated through their law school years with Federalist Society 'free market' thinking," the Congressman continues. "They have gotten the jobs with the law firms and with the prosecutors' offices that put them on a track to be nominated by a Republican to a judgeship. And they preside over the judgeship and then they get elevated to the United States Supreme Court, after being recommended by the same Federalist Society that indoctrinated them from law school and secured the job for them. These Justices are primed to rule in favor of the rightwing, 'free-market' capitalist interests that put them in the pipeline. It's a corrupt system that we have at this point, and Congress definitely is in position to do something about it."

Johnson has created a website called CourtReformNow.com to detail these measure and many others in order "to do something about it."

That said, many of these long-overdue reforms have had trouble gaining traction in Congress. I ask the Congressman if there is any reason, for example, that his Subcommittee couldn't call in Justice Thomas (who he describes as "ethically bankrupt") to discuss years of impropriety, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars those same activist groups have given his wife Ginni. (She was also recently revealed to have been a key player in helping Donald Trump to try and steal the 2020 Presidential election.) In response, Johnson offers a fascinating --- and amusing --- insight into how the House and its leadership work. That alone is worth tuning in for. But, the central point is that Committee and Subcommittee Chairs don't necessarily have the final say on what those committees may do and who they may call in for testimony. Moreover, as Johnson collegially chafes against some of those restrictions, he also underscores the need to "educate my colleagues about the power that we have and the need for us to use the power."

At "a political moment when the future of our democracy, our freedoms, are at risk," he notes, pressure from the public "has a lot of bearing" on what Committees and the Party itself in Congress are able and allowed to do.

As mentioned, tune in for this one for a much more expansive and colorful explanation on all of this.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a very "sexy" close to today's show...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Critical lessons (and warnings) from primary results in AZ, KS, MI, MO, WA, OH; Also: IN Rep. Walorski killed in crash; A farewell to Vin Scully...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2022 6:07pm PT  

Look at the faces in that photo. Those are the faces of people grappling to understand a profound truth that they simply had no idea about prior to Tuesday night. Those faces should serve as inspiration for every Democrat and/or progressive on the ballot in every race in all 50 states between today and November 8. And as a warning for every Republican.

On today's BradCast, selective, noteworthy, curated results --- or what is known about them, unofficial, incomplete or otherwise --- from Tuesday's primary elections in six states, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington and Ohio. (And several problems for voters in Pinal County, AZ.) [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Of course, the biggest news from Tuesday, hands down, was the stunning landslide rejection of a state constitutional amendment in Kansas that would have allowed the state's Republicans to restrict and/or ban abortion rights. (That's what the folks in that photo were just learning about.) It was the first statewide vote on the matter anywhere in the nation since the newly extremist, far-right, radical, activist, corrupt, Republican U.S. Supreme Court majority overturned 50-years of Constitutionally protected rights and freedoms by striking down 1973's Roe v. Wade decision.

Even in the theoretically "conservative" state of KS, voters soundly rejected that proposed Amendment with their "NO" votes by a stunning 18 points over "YES" as of airtime. The "NO" vote did well in large and small, rural and urban, Democratic and Republican counties alike. Turnout, thanks to this measure --- in a midterm primary where Republicans assumed few would notice --- was enormous and at levels normally seen in Presidential primaries or even mid-term general elections in the recent past.

The question now is whether Democrats will finally have the confidence and courage to run on this issue, following the overturning of Roe in June, in every state in the country and for virtually every office on the ballot from Governor to Attorney General to District Attorney to County Sheriff to state Judge to state Supreme Court Justice. And, whether Democrats will be able to capitalize on Josh Marshall's "Roe and Reform" campaign that he's been pushing hard at Talking Points Memo, calling for a very specific promise to voters from Democrats on the federal level: Let us hold our House majority and give us two more seats in the Senate and we vow, come January 2023, to reform the Senate filibuster to codify the protections of Roe into federal law, guaranteeing privacy rights and reproductive freedom in all 50 states.

Nothing short of that very specific "You give us that, we'll give you this" promise will do, as Josh has smartly been explaining for weeks now. We have long argued ourselves that candidates must give voters something very clear and specific to vote for. When they do, as proven on Tuesday in Kansas --- where the stakes were crystal clear, and voters knew exactly what they would get from their one single vote --- they will respond in large numbers.

Of course, all of this also further underscores the argument I've been making for months that Democrats and progressives must ignore the "conventional wisdom" from so-called political professionals about the historical odds of impending doom this November. These are decidedly UNconventional times, proven once again in KS yesterday.

Beyond that very encouraging news on Tuesday, there was still more good news in both the Secretary of State and Attorney General races in KS; Somewhat disappointing news in the MO race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt; Potentially concerning news out of MI's Republican gubernatorial contest, where a well funded, Trump-backed loon will run against the state's popular Democratic Governor; And wildly troubling news out of AZ on the Republican side in the contests for the Gubernatorial and Sec. of State nominations, in what could turn out to be two of the most critical races in the nation this November.

All of that and many other races covered and explained, with context, on today's busy show.

Finally, we close with some tragic news on the death this afternoon of Indiana's 58-year old Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and two of her young staffers in an automobile accident. And, some pleasant thoughts following the passing on Tuesday night of Hall of Fame broadcasting legend Vin Scully at age 94. He served as the inimitable and nationally recognized voice of Dodger baseball --- in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles --- for 67 incomparable years...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Anti-choicers embracing 21st century 'Fugitive Slave Act' mentality
UPDATE 7/26/22: Oklahoma threatens librarians with job loss/fines/jail if they say 'abortion'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/25/2022 10:05am PT  

"Abortion is an essential component of women's health care" -- American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology

"When women are compelled to carry and bear children, they are subjected to 'involuntary servitude' in violation of the [13th] amendment" -- Andrew Koppelman, Northwestern Univ. Law Review (2010)

The moment the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Dobbs --- the case in which five of the Court's six right-wing Radicals in Robes voted to completely overturn Roe v. Wade (1973) --- it resurrected a cruel and grotesque division between States that had not existed since the end of the American Civil War.

In 1860, prior to passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, the very existence of a "United States" was under a grave threat due to an unsustainable, race-based divide between Slave States and Free States.

Today, courtesy of Dobbs, our nation finds itself mired in an unsustainable, gender-based divide between Free States, where a woman's reproductive liberties are preserved, and Slave States, where reproductive liberties no longer exist. (Andrew Koppelman's 2010 paper argued that "forced pregnancy" doesn't just deprive women of their "individual liberty". It also denies Equal Protection under law guaranteed by the 14th Amendment because that "deprivation is selectively imposed on women.")

The immediate impact of Dobbs was felt in Ohio, where the only option available to the parents of a 10-year old rape victim was to flee to neighboring Indiana so that their child would not be forced to carry the rapist's baby to term. But even the liberty that 10-year old's parents took advantage of is now threatened by a gender-based, Fugitive Slave Act mentality...

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




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