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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 14, 2024
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 4/9/24 - 4/4/24 - Archives...
'Pink Slime': Fake 'Local News' Sites Proliferating in Advance of Election: 'BradCast' 4/10/24
Guest: Alex Mahadevan of MediaWise; Also: Trump CFO goes back to jail; GOP chaos, panic in AZ after 1864 abortion ban restored...
Dirty Tricks and the Dirtiest Candidate Of All Time: 'BradCast' 4/9/24
A CA three-way!; Polls shift toward Biden; RW scam artists pay the price; Trump rejected again in NY criminal case, facing trouble for phony $175M bond in NY civil case...
'Green News Report' 4/9/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Big hurricane season coming; Colorado River water used mostly for cattle; Good news for CA mountain snowpack, for now; PLUS: Disney's Tomorrowland says goodbye to Yesterdayville...
Previous GNRs: 4/4/24 - 4/2/24 - Archives...
'Titanic Law' Reform Just Tip of Iceberg in Quest for Key Bridge Accountability: 'BradCast' 4/8/24
Guest: Helen Santoro; Also: Media echo Trump abortion lies; Biden's new debt relief for 30M...
Sunday 'Dark Days Indeed' Toons
FEATURING: The Eclipse! Disinformation! 'Victimless' Crimes! And much more in our latest collection of the week's darkest toons...
Trump's Very Bad Day in Court(s) & Other Good (& Less Good) News: 'BradCast' 4/4/24
No Labels out; Soft sentence for GOP vote fraudster; WI reconsiders drop-boxes; NE nixes Electoral College change; Biden v. Israel; Sanders and Biden tout drug price success...
WI Supremes May Restore Drop-Box Voting
High Court approves expedited hearing in advance of 2024 election...
'Green News Report' 4/4/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hunger crisis amid drought in Africa; Biden invests billions to decarbonize manufacturing; Melting ice is bending time; America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm...
Previous GNRs: 4/2/24 - 3/21/24 - Archives...
WI Voters Approve Ballot Measures That Could Cripple Its Elections: 'BradCast' 4/3/24
Guest: Alex Burness; Also: OK voters remove neo-Nazi from office; Prez Primary results from RI, CT, NY, WI...
Politico's Josh Gerstein Owes a Retraction
Misleading tweet suggests Hillary Clinton was invited to 'join' the Federalist Society in 1997. Archival documents show no such thing...
More GOP Election Fraud; Overdue Justice for Crystal Mason: 'BradCast' 4/2/24
Also: AZ Repubs move to end early, mail-in voting; Trump files $175M bond in NY, gag order expanded; FL approves abortion ban and abortion rights ballot measure...
'Green News Report' 4/2/24
Biden vows Key Bridge money, Repubs: 'Maybe'; Storms collapse part of CA's iconic Highway 1; PLUS: Admin clamps down on methane leaks, truck pollution, more...
Last Week Today with OG Bloggers:
'BradCast' 4/1/24
Guests: 'Driftglass' and Frances Langum of 'The Pro Left' podcast on (almost) everything we missed last week, and why it still matters this week...
Sunday 'He Is Ris' Toons
FEATURING: Jesus Christ! State Border Brownshirts! SCOTUS To-Do List! More! Check out our holy roller collection of the week's best Holy Week toons!...
BRAD BLOG Spring Breaking
And not a moment too soon...
Sunday 'Roll Out the Barrel' Toons
FEATURING: Rich Con, Poor Con!...Sex-Havers!...March Madness!...More! Have a barrel of fun with our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
It's Up to You, New York:
'BradCast' 3/21/24
Trump facing civil, criminal reckoning in NY; Also: Biden forgives $6B more in student loans; U.S. seeks 'ceasefire' in Gaza; Scientists baffled by global heat spike...
'Green News Report' 3/21/24
Biden EPA issues biggest climate regs in U.S. history; Rio hits 144°F heat index!; Exxon CEO blames YOU for climate change; PLUS: U.N. issues 'red alert'!...
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...


Callers ring in on the politics of the 'Insurrection Disqualification Clause'; Also: Horrific disasters in Morocco, Libya; Somewhat brighter news for Maui; Lee continues to strengthen, menace the U.S. East Coast...
By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2023 6:15pm PT  

Thanks to recent travel, holidays, studio construction, Presidential indictments and arraignments, hurricanes, wildfires and more, we've been unable to open our phones to listeners on The BradCast for several weeks. Today, we try to begin making up for failing! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, Planet Earth is angry. The frantic search for survivors continues today in Morocco, where a 6.8 magnitude quake on Friday was already confirmed to have killed more than 2,700 as of airtime. In eastern Libya, 2,000 are feared dead today in massive, climate change-enhanced flooding over the weekend. In what suffices for slightly less grim news over the same weekend, Hawaii's Governor reported that the number of missing following last month's climate change-enhanced wildfires on Maui has now dropped to 66, as the horrific confirmed death toll holds steady, for now, at 115. And, Desi Doyen joins us as we continue to keep our eyes on the massive, climate change-enhanced Hurricane Lee in the Atlantic, as it continues to gain strength as it moves northward through exceedingly warm waters toward Bermuda and threatens the northern East Coast of the U.S. and Canada.

Next, we've been talking for some time (about two years now, if memory serves, but who's counting?) about the fact that the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" bars Donald Trump from office and, therefore, next year's 2024 ballot. Over the last several weeks, the corporate media has finally decided to take notice, largely after two Constitutional law scholars from the right-wing Federalist Society issued a 126-page law review paper [PDF] concluding that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies the former President from running again, due to his having "engaged in insurrection" on January 6, 2021.

Secretaries of State and other chief election officials across the country are now grappling with whether Trump can Constitutionally qualify for the 2024 GOP Primary ballot and some Democratic U.S. Senators are finally speaking up about the matter --- even if several of them believe the matter should be left up to voters next year, as opposed to the Constitution and the Courts.

It is our position that an originalist, textualist reading of the Constitution's Civil War-era 14th Amendment is clear. Trump is, in fact, now barred from running for or serving in office. That may be a good or a bad thing for Democrats. But the decision will ultimately be made by the Courts. In this case, almost certainly, by the stolen, packed and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court whose rightwing majority is, no doubt, already twisting itself into a pretzel trying to figure out how to declare the Constitution to be unconstitutional.

But the political question is a very different one. Sure, Trump is disqualified based on a fair, simple or even scholarly reading of the Constitution. But is that a trigger that should be pulled? For that matter, will it lead to actual triggers being pulled in response?

We open up the phones today to listeners on those very questions and, I'm happy to say, they did not disappoint...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Election officials grapple with Trump's Constitutional ballot disqualification; Also: Proud Boy boss gets 22 years for 1/6; Courts order lawless AL, FL to restore Black-majority U.S. House Districts...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2023 6:24pm PT  

We're back! Both on today's BradCast and even in L.A., after fleeing the state last month to avoid weeks of construction on the roof of the apartment housing our home studio. To no one's surprise, the work is taking longer than we were told, so please pardon our efforts this week to work around it as best as possible after taking last week off to both avoid it and to enjoy the last days of Summer 2023 before the 2024 fight for Democracy (represented this year by Democrats) and Autocracy (represented by a lawless Republican party) begins in earnest.

Among our stories today...

  • Enrique Tarrio, former head of the far-right Proud Boys gang was sentenced to 22 year in federal prison on Tuesday following his conviction for Seditious Conspiracy for his role in the January 6th, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection. It's the longest sentence for any of the MAGA insurrectionists to date. Also, of note, Tarrio wasn't even in Washington D.C. that day. Point taken: One didn't need to be personally smashing windows and storming the Capitol to be held to serious account for what happened that day. Got it. Hopefully other jurors in other upcoming related cases will get it as well.
  • The federal Courts are still holding. Mostly. For now. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel found that Alabama Republicans blatantly defied an order from the U.S. Supreme Court to add another Black-majority district to their U.S. House map. The SCOTUS order to do so --- after finding the state violated both the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act with their racially gerrymandered districts --- came in Allen v. Milligan [PDF] in early June. Alabama didn't care. In an unprecedented move, they gave the finger to the Court and drew up a new map with the very same deficiencies featuring just one Black-majority district out of seven, in a state where some 27% of residents are Black. The federal court panel has now assigned a Special Master to draw U.S. House districts for the state, after a lawless Gov. Kay Ivey joined with lawless legislators in the gerrymandered statehouse to defy SCOTUS, the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution. Alabama is now appealing the ruling to the same U.S. Supreme Court Justices who rejected their arguments barely three months ago.
  • The story is similar in authoritarian Governor and Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis' lawless state of Florida this weekend. In this case, a state court judge on Saturday ordered the state legislature to draw a new U.S. House map restoring a Black-majority district in Northern Florida that DeSantis had personally ordered state lawmakers to break into pieces and divvy up its Black voters into White Republican districts. The weekend's court order would seem to be good news. However, the State will now appeal the ruling directly to its Supreme Court where DeSantis has hand-picked a majority of the Justices. As we have long been warning, the fight between Democracy and Autocracy (or Fascism, as one of our longtime listeners insists), continues into 2024.
  • Next, I finally catch up with a bunch of news on a growing story --- some of which we've been discussing over the past two years --- that I've otherwise been trying to get to for weeks, but for all of the various indictments, hurricanes, wildfires, debates, etc. continually sidetracking me. The news has to do with the continuing feeling I have that Donald Trump will ultimately not be on the ballot come next November. As noted, that's not a prediction or an inside scoop. It's simply a feeling for now, but one that I can't shake as an increasingly swelling body of evidence seems to support its possibility.

    Today, that evidence includes polling last month finding nearly two-thirds of Americans say they will either "definitely" (53%) or "probably" (11%) not support Trump in 2024. Might such numbers begin to grab the notice of Republican Primary voters? (So far, the answer is largely no. But we've got a long way to go --- and a lot of criminal trials --- before the GOP's nominating convention next July.) There are already a number of high profile Republicans calling on Trump to drop out of the race or noting that he very well may be Constitutionally disqualified entirely from the ballot.

    It is that part of this story today --- disqualification from the ballot via Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for his role in the January 6 Insurrection --- that we focus on today. Namely, the far-right, Federalist Society legal scholars who recently issued a 126-page law review paper [PDF] finding Trump to be Constitutionally ineligible for the ballot --- "cannot be president --- cannot run for president, cannot become president, cannot hold office" --- due to his roll in the January 6 insurrection.

    And now, there is a host of state Secretaries of State --- both Republican and Democratic --- around the country who are currently or soon to be grappling with the decision as to whether Trump is even eligible to be on their state ballots in 2024.

    Among those Secretary of State's discussed today, after they recently offered various opinions on the matter: New Hampshire's David Scanlan (R); Ohio's Frank LaRose (R); Arizona's Adrian Fontes (D), New Mexico's Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D); Maine's Shenna Bellows (D) and Michigan's Jocelyn Benson (D). (Benson gets credit for the first part of today's headline. REO Speedwagon gets credit for the alternate hed.)

    I welcome your feelings on this matter as well. Feel free to drop me an email or a note in comments and perhaps I'll share it on air in the days ahead.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen is back as well, of course, with our latest Green News Report, catching up with a bunch of stuff we missed while we were out, and as the Summer of Climate Disasters turns to...well, most likely the Autumn of Climate Disasters...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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GOPers in gerrymandered state legislative seats float possibility of removing newly elected Justice over state gerrymandering case...
UPDATE 08/23/23: Elections Commission files neutral response; WI Legislature moves to intervene; named GOP Senators oppose, named Dems respond in support; UPDATE 08/26/23 briefing scheduled on GOP recusal motion...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/21/2023 9:19am PT  

If acted upon, a recent threat by Wisconsin's Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to impeach newly seated state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz could give rise to a Badger State constitutional crisis --- albeit, a crisis that can be somewhat ameliorated by the ability of Wisconsin's Democratic Governor Tony Evers to appoint her replacement.

The political gamesmanship that could play out in the weeks ahead, thanks to sore loser Republicans in the state's gerrymandered Legislature, may rival or even surpass some of the worst partisan excesses of the fading Scott Walker era.

As detailed last week, Wisconsin voters, mathematicians and computer scientists filed a pair of petitions (Clarke v. Wisconsin Election Commission and Wright v. Wisconsin Election Commission) directly with the Wisconsin Supreme Court earlier this month.

Petitioners seek to break the chains of the GOP's 12-year entrenched and politically-engineered control of both chambers of the Badger State legislature --- control that was and is the product of what petitioners allege to be unlawful extreme partisan gerrymandering.

The petitions, consistent with a dissent issued by three of the Court's liberal justices last year in Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, allege that the Badger State's existing Legislative maps violate voter rights as guaranteed by multiple provisions of the Wisconsin Constitution.

The voters' petition in Clarke not only seeks the creation of fair state Senate and Assembly maps in time for next year's election, but also seeks the issuance of an emergency writ that would schedule a Special Election for those WI Senators whose terms would not otherwise expire until 2027. The voter petitioners argue that all currently serving state Senators "lack legal entitlement" to their respective offices because they were procured via unconstitutionally configured districts.

Vos, who owes his position as Speaker to those partisan gerrymandered maps, claims Protasiewicz "prejudged" the outcome of the new cases during her campaign for the seat earlier this year. He threatened to impeach her if she dared take part in the pending challenges. That "prejudgment" accusation, however, would be far more apt when applied to right-wing WI Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley when, last year, she joined with the right wing majority, in Johnson --- a decision, which, per the dissent, violated Wisconsin's constitutionally-mandated separation of powers by overriding a governor's veto in order to saddle the electorate with the Republican-drawn, partisan gerrymandered Legislative map.

Bradley authored an intemperate dissent in the new cases...

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




Success would offer a fair shot at flipping state legislative seats, but leave Republicans' gerrymandered U.S. House delegation in place...
UPDATED: Court orders responsive brief; Gerrymandered legislature threatens impeachment...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/14/2023 9:35am PT  

Elections have consequences.

Recently, in "The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn", we described how the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court's corrupt, right-wing "radicals in robes" last year to overturn the Constitutional right to an abortion led directly to the election of pro-choice Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz "by 11 percentage points, a huge margin in a narrowly divided state," as The New York Times described it.

On Aug. 1, the new Justice was seated, thereby flipping the WI's Supreme Court from a 4-3 right-wing majority to a 4-3 liberal majority for the first time in more than 15 years.

The very next day, on Aug. 2, state voters filed a Petition [PDF] directly with the WI Supreme Court. In Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, petitioners seek to break the chains of the GOP's 12-year entrenched control in both Houses of the Badger State legislature --- control that was and is the product of what petitioners allege to be unlawful, extreme partisan gerrymandering.

Two days after that, a second Petition [PDF] (Wright v. Wisconsin Elections Commission) was also filed in the WI Supreme Court by a group of mathematicians and computer scientists. In addition to presenting essentially the same legal challenge, the Wright petitioners bolstered both cases with objective scientific evidence establishing that the 2011 and 2021 Wisconsin legislative maps are the product of unlawful gerrymandering.

Both petitions are based upon a scathing judicial dissent issued last year in Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission. In their dissenting opinion, the Court's three liberal Justices --- then in the minority --- opined that the WI Supreme Court's right-wing majority usurped the constitutional functions of the Badger State's other branches. In Johnson, the Court's then-majority overrode Democratic Governor Tony Evers' veto of the 2021 gerrymander after Badger State Republicans in the Legislature failed to muster sufficient votes to override the Governor's veto on their own. Both petitions and the dissent identify multiple provisions within the WI Constitution that were violated by extreme partisan gerrymandering.

The Clarke Petition not only seeks to replace the partisan gerrymandered map with a fair map in time for next year's legislative elections but also seeks an emergency writ that would schedule a 2024 special election for all Badger State senators, including those whose terms would not otherwise expire until 2027. This is based upon the argument that all state Senators "lack legal entitlement to their office" because their respective offices are the product of unconstitutionally configured districts.

The Petitions, however, do not seek to redress Wisconsin's partisan gerrymandered Congressional map which helped hand Republicans six of the Badger State's eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, in a state where almost all statewide seats are now held by Democrats and where Joe Biden won in 2020...

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




Guest: Robin Marty of the West Alabama Women's Center, author of 'The End of Roe v. Wade'; Also: Deadly, climate fueled wildfires in Maui, HI...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2023 6:33pm PT  

It was a great day for democracy in Ohio on Tuesday. And how often do we get to say that on The BradCast? [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But first, it's not a great day for our friends in Maui, Hawaii, where windswept wildfires have leveled homes and businesses and a historic town; killed at least six and injured dozens so far; and sent some residents fleeing into the ocean to avoid the flames. That, as wind gusts above 60 mph --- part of Hurricane Dora passing about 500 miles safely to the south --- kept firefighting helicopters out of the sky, while climate change-fueled dry conditions and non-native, non-drought tolerant plant species (brought there by humans) went up like torches. Sending our best wishes to our listeners at our affiliate station, KAKU 88.5FM, "The Voice of Maui"! Please drop us a line when you can to let us know how you're doing!

Moving on from that terrible news, to much better news out of Ohio last night, where democracy was literally on the ballot. The Buckeye State GOP's anti-democracy constitutional amendment, known as Issue 1 on Tuesday's special election ballot, went down to huge defeat by some 13 points --- 57% to 43% --- according to the latest unconfirmed tallies. The measure, which could have passed with a simple majority, would have changed the state constitution to require 60% voter approval for all future constitutional amendments. As it turns out, voters don't like voting their own democracy away.

As Ohio's Sec. of State Frank LaRose was eventually caught on tape admitting to supporters --- after claiming for months it had nothing to do with abortion --- the measure was "100% about abortion". It was meant to preempt a citizen-led ballot initiative set for this November that will codify reproductive freedoms into the constitution of the otherwise right-leaning and wildly gerrymandered state.

We spend some time today explaining what happened, why it happened, and just how extraordinarily corrupt and hypocritical the measure's lead proponent, LaRose, actually is, as he hopes to become the state's GOP nominee to square off with Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown next year. Good luck after Tuesday's $20 million, anti-democracy boondoggle, Frank!

But what happened in Ohio on Tuesday is reverberating throughout the nation today and will, almost certainly, continue to reverberate into next year's 2024 general election. It is also giving hope to a lot of otherwise "deep red" states, proving again that their citizenry can also successfully push back against GOP forces of hypocrisy, anti-democracy and pro-autocracy. Even in states like "deep red" Alabama.

We're joined today by ROBIN MARTY, Operations Director at the West Alabama Women's Center, and the prescient author of 2019's The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America and The End of Roe v. Wade: Inside the Right's Plan to Destroy Legal Abortion.

Marty, as you might guess, is elated about the great news out of Ohio. "Of course, I am very excited about it," she says, before adding: "I'm not surprised, though. This is yet another in a series of wins for abortion rights when it is put up to a statewide vote." Indeed, every time a measure even tangentially related to reproductive rights has appeared on a statewide ballot since the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, reproductive freedoms have ultimately won. That is true in both "red" and "blue" states alike.

But Marty also shares just some of the authoritarian horror still playing out in her own home state where abortion has now been banned entirely by state Republicans, and where her West Alabama Women's Center still offers much-needed healthcare for woman...but may no longer provide them with abortion services.

Most incredibly, as Marty tells details today, the medical professionals at her clinic are not even allowed, by law, to tell patients where they might go --- which states or clinics --- to receive lawful abortion care elsewhere. That, she says, could result in felony charges and up to 99 years in prison. In fact, she wasn't even certain she could tell me about that on air!

"The moment it became illegal in our state, not only did we have to stop every bit of abortion care that we were doing in the clinic," she explains, "our Attorney General made statements saying that, in his opinion, he believed that providing a person with information about how they could access abortion care somewhere else would, in fact, constitute a criminal conspiracy. And people could be arrested over that."

The center has just filed suit against the state A.G., hoping to win back their free speech rights. As the ACLU describes the case, the lawsuit was last month "in federal court to prevent Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and district attorneys throughout the state from prosecuting those who assist Alabamians seeking to travel across state lines to access abortion care where abortion is legal. Attorney General Marshall has explicitly threatened that health care providers could face felony charges for assisting Alabamians seeking to travel out of state to obtain abortion where it is legal."

The health care providers are fighting the law adopted by the very same hypocritical GOP lawmakers who pretended to be "outraged" about "Big Government coming between a patient and their doctor" during the passage of ObamaCare in 2010. And the very same ones who, today, are pretending to be "outraged" about Trump being prosecuted for "nothing more than exercising his Free Speech rights!" (that's not why he is being prosecuted) and pretending to be concerned that social media sites are "censoring" rightwing opinions.

Marty has a lot to say on all of these topics, so I hope you'll tune in for today's very lively conversation with her!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Democracy can reverse the damage wrought by corrupt, right-wing Supreme Court ideologues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/7/2023 9:49am PT  

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that."
-- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When our corrupted U.S. Supreme Court, in June, handed down their closing opinions for last year's term, it became clear that we are facing a dark judicial hour in this nation.

Dark for women whose reproductive liberty and very lives have been placed at risk; dark for those who are drowning in seemingly insurmountable student debt; dark for those in the LGBTQ+ community who are seeing their very existence and right to medical care being challenged; dark for young African-American students hoping to acquire a higher education so as to overcome our nation's legacy of systemic racism; dark for the families of the ever-growing number of victims of mass shootings.

Our judicial institutions, for the moment, are still holding when it comes to accountability for the scoundrel who served as our 45th President. But, for too many others, the High Court has wrought a darkness brought on by the corrosive influence of the billionaire class and the "dark money" that billionaires and corporations use to corrupt our political and legal institutions.

That darkness comes courtesy of the Supreme Court's infamous 2010 Citizens United decision. It is a darkness also facilitated by political chicanery resulting in a Republican Party, which lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight Presidential Elections, packing a "corrupt" supermajority of six right-wing ideologues onto the nine-member High Court.

Their dark, radical interpretations of the Rule of Law have done more than simply endanger democracy's survival. By inventing a Second Amendment right of an individual to bear arms unrelated to military service in a State's "well-regulated" militia, the Roberts Court has become "destructive" of the first of the "unalienable Rights" listed in our nation's Declaration of Independence --- the right to "Life"!

Early last month, for example, CBS published a jaw-dropping U.S. statistic, citing "26 mass shootings in the first five days of July."

Yet, it is the dark and oppressive nature of the immensely unpopular decisions handed down by six unelected "radicals in robes", that, ironically, may help to facilitate a new dawn. The bright side of their decisions can be found in an incensed electorate, whose approval of the Court, as presently constituted, has plunged to a dismal 29%.

Democracy, as the late British MP Tony Benn described it, is "more revolutionary than socialist ideas." It is the light that can drive out the darkness.

The very existence of public revulsion towards the dark turn by the Court in recent years, such as overturning abortion rights and much more, make a 2024 Blue Tsunami possible. If the source of the darkness lies in the decisions of a corrupt and radicalized Supreme Court, then Democrats must convey a clear and coherent message that a vote for their candidates will serve to restore the light...including with reform of the Court itself...

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




And his inability to read the simple text of the U.S. Constitution; Also: Callers ring in on him, Trump and other democracy v. autocracy issues...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2023 6:07pm PT  

Whenever we're able to open up the phones to callers on The BradCast, I invite listeners to ring in and disrupt all of my plans for the day. Happily, they took me up on the offer today! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Thus, my plan for the second half of today's show --- to focus on Trump's latest criminal charges (Which ones? Take your pick!) --- was largely waylaid by folks who wanted to discuss both him and the topic of my monologue in the first part of today's show regarding the wildly corrupt U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page ran parts of fawning 4-hour interview with Alito, in which he falsely claimed: "No provision in the Constitution gives [Congress] the authority to regulate the Supreme Court-period."

Perhaps Alito has never read the U.S. Constitution? For example, he must have missed the part (Article III, Section 2) which reads: "[T]he supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact...and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make." [Emphasis mine.]

As Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) pointed out on CNN over the weekend in response to Alito's B.S., Alito arguably owes his seat to the fact that Congress has regulated the number of seats that are on the Court (and have changed that number many times over the years) since the Constitution was founded! Of course, Alito likely also hates the fact that Congress, after Watergate, as per the Constitution, created legislation (regulations!) requiring annual financial disclosures by SCOTUS Justices. As ProPublica recently detailed, Alito has flouted that legislation by failing to disclose his luxury travel funded by GOP megadonors and other Republican ideologues.

Arguably worse, however, is the fact that one of the authors of the WSJ piece is attorney David Rivkin. He is currently representing the far-right Leonard Leo before the U.S. Senate, which is seeking Leo's testimony as part of their consideration of reforming the corrupted Court. Leo is the longtime head of the Federalist Society, which has spent decades shaping the federal judiciary --- including SCOTUS --- to the liking of billionaire rightwing ideologues.

Even more shameful than that, Rivkin currently has a case pending before the High Court next term! Moore v. U.S. is likely to result in a landmark ruling that could establish whether or not a wealth tax --- long sought by progressive Dems and opposed by rightwing ideologues --- is Constitutional or not.

And yet, Rivkin arguably gave Alito something of value --- presumably for free --- in his four-hour softball interview with the Justice, headlined "Samuel Alito, The Supreme Court's Plain Spoken Defender," in which Rivkin and his co-writer (WSJ Editorial Page Editor James Taranto) fluffed him up with a 2,400-word puff piece including remarks praising Alito, for instance, for his "candor that is refreshing and can be startling."

I'm sure Sammy appreciates it and will remember the favor when it's time to decide Moore v. U.S next year. That's because Alito is damned near as corrupt as Clarence Thomas and don't even get me started here on him today. (I had a few words for the corrupted Clarence on today's show, however.)

After that, my plans to cover Donald Trump's latest criminal problems and two recent Court losses (one today, one last Friday) in the second part of the show, as mentioned, were largely waylaid by callers. And happily so! We had some very good ones! Enjoy!...

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Guest: Gov. Don Siegelman on GOP lawmakers ignoring Court order on racial gerrymander; Also: More on Democracy v. Autocracy and GOP efforts in MO, OH to undermine voters, abortion rights ballot measures...
By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2023 6:42pm PT  

With two major stories in the last several days regarding Alabama and the U.S. Supreme Court, it seemed like another good opportunity to bring their former Governor onto The BradCast to discuss both matters. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, a bit more from where we left off last week in my rant about the 2024 election coming down to the ongoing existential battle between democracy and autocracy as, sadly, represented largely now by the two major political parties. Democrats largely represent the pro-democracy forces, while the Republican party now, by and large, firmly on the side of the autocrats from Donald Trump on down to the state and local level.

Just one example this week comes out of my old home state of Missouri, where the state Supreme Court unanimously ordered its state Attorney General Andrew Bailey last week to approve the certification for a Constitutional ballot measure that would enshrine the right to make personal decisions about abortion, birth control, childbirth and other issues related to pregnancy directly into the state constitution. That, in a state with one of the most draconian bans on reproductive rights in the nation.

Bailey had been holding up the measure for 135 days for a process that usually takes his office just over 50 days. He had been claiming that the State Auditors assessments that the measure might cost the state about $50,000 a year was "drastically" wrong, and that it would actually cost the Show-Me State some $12 billion instead! Either way, the state Supremes held that the A.G.'s office has no statutory right to hold up signature gathering for a ballot initiative based on his own personal disagreement with a State Auditor's cost assessment.

The MO A.G. is hardly the only GOP state official of late to simply defy the law, the courts and the Constitution. Republican lawmakers in Ohio recently engineered a special election for August 8 --- in defiance of their own law passed just months ago that largely bans August elections --- in order to feature a Constitutional measure to raise the approval percentage needed to enact a ballot initiative from 50% to 60%. That, just in time to interfere with an abortion rights ballot measure in November. The state GOP's measure on the ballot next month to make future initiatives more difficult for voters to adopt, of course, will require only 50% for passage.

Ohio's Republican lawmakers also spent the last year simply ignoring orders from the state's Supreme Court to redraw partisan gerrymandered U.S. House districts. And, last week, the GOP legislature in Alabama simply chose to defy the U.S. Supreme Court which, in June, ordered the state to redraw their House maps to include two Black-majority voting districts. Currently, the state has just one such district out of seven U.S. House seats, despite Black voters comprising more than a quarter of the state's voting age population.

While shamefully approving a new map drawn in a special session last week with just one Black majority district again --- it was signed by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey just hours later --- the state had no problem following a separate SCOTUS ruling last week that allowed them to kill a prisoner, even though three prior attempted executions were a disaster in the state. Two were called off indefinitely as officials couldn't figure out how to find a vein to insert an IV, and the other one took three hours to complete. The three liberals Justices dissented from the Court's six, corrupted, blood-thirsty rightwingers.

We're joined once again today by Alabama's former Gov. DON SIEGELMAN, the last Democrat to serve in that role, after being the only one in state history to serve in all four statewide positions, SoS, A.G., Lt. Gov. and Gov.

Early last month, Siegelman joined us to discuss an op-ed he'd written for WaPo with Alabama's former Republican Gov. Robert Bentley on the death penalty, with the two men conceding that they had come to regret presiding over the barbaric punishment, largely thanks to so many instances of prosecutorial misconduct --- particularly in cases where Black men are convicted and executed.

We picked up on some similar themes today in the wake of last week's SCOTUS ruling and the state killing of James Barber. "It's tragic," Siegelman tells me today. "But the worst part is that we have 167 on Alabama's death row. 115 of those people are sentenced to death growing out of an 1870 Jim Crow law that took Alabama from a state that required a unanimous jury to execute people to one now that allows someone to be sentenced to death on a jury recommendation that is non-unanimous. To my knowledge, Alabama is the only state in the country that is continuing this practice."

"We also have the distinction of having 31 people on Alabama's death row who were not sentenced to death by a jury, but sentenced to death by a judge who overrode the jury," he explains. "The jury recommended life in prison without parole, and the judge said, 'No, I think I'm going to go ahead and kill you anyway.'"

Siegelman also emphasizes that, "If we want to end wrongful prosecutions, if we want to end mass incarcerations, if we want to end the abuse of power by police, prosecutors --- and, I would say, by Presidents --- we've got to repeal the immunity that's been given to prosecutors," when they purposely mishandle a case.

As to Alabama Republicans stunning defiance of last month's Supreme Court order to add a second Black majority U.S. House district in the state under the Voting Rights Act, Siegelman argues: "I would hope the federal court would take action if their order is disobeyed. Including sending U.S. Marshals to pick up the state Attorney General and put him jail for a little while until he comes to his senses."

That's no small assertion from a former state Attorney General himself. Siegelman's got a lot more to say about the matter today, but hopefully that comment will entice you to tune in for our full conversation...

NOTE: We have covered Gov. Siegelman's personal story many times over the past two decades, before, during and after his time as a political prisoner as he was targeted for prosecution by a corrupt Republican cabal, including Karl Rove, state officials, and a federal judge who was eventually forced to resign after being arrested for beating his wife. Alabama's Governor from 1999 to 2003 and the only Democrat to serve in every statewide office, Siegelman tells his story in full in his 2020 book, STEALING OUR DEMOCRACY: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation.

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Guest: Alexandra Flores-Quilty of Free Speech for People; Also: Kari Lake attorneys sanctioned; DeSantis campaign sinking; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2023 6:40pm PT  

The question posed by today's BradCast: Donald Trump is arguably ineligible to serve as President of the United States, according to the "insurrection disqualification clause" of the U.S. Constitution (Section 3 of the 14th Amendment). And yet, he is also arguably the easiest GOP candidate for Joe Biden to defeat next year in a race that will, once again, be a proxy battle between democracy and autocracy. With that in mind, should the former President be barred from running nonetheless? [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

As the New York Times detailed today, the stakes couldn't be higher. A team of former Trump White House officials has been constructing an agenda for whoever becomes the next Republican President that will involve a radical takeover of independent Executive Branch agencies and a consolidation of all "Unitary Executive" power in the Oval Office. (Here's a free gift link to read the NYT piece. You should be terrified by it.)

As the paper makes clear, no matter who the GOP nominee is next year, if they win, American democracy as we know it is in very very big trouble. With that in mind --- and the argument that Trump is likely to be the easiest for Biden to defeat --- are pro-democracy and good government advocates certain they want to disqualify Trump from the ballot next year?

We're joined today by ALEXANDRA FLORES-QUILTY, Campaign Director at the non-profit, non-partisan, pro-democracy good government group, Free Speech for People. Her organization, along with Mia Familia Vota, recently launched a campaign to argue that "Trump is Disqualified from the Ballot". They sent letters [PDF] to the top election officials in ten states, informing them of the need to bar him from the 2024 ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment which disqualifying those who, "having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States" from holding office if they subsequently "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same." Of course, that's exactly what a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate found that Trump did on January 6, 2021, as well as the bipartisan U.S. House Committee which also investigated the matter.

Recently, a spokesperson for Colorado's Democratic Sec. of State Jena Griswold declined to comment "at this time" on whether Trump will be allowed on next year's ballot. She has until January 5 to decide in the state. FSFP and MFV have also sent similar letters to chief election officials in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania. They argue that those officials have the ability --- and responsibility --- to disqualify Trump, just as they do for any candidate who does not meet requirements (age, residency, etc.) for office.

"Secretaries of State have a duty to ensure that candidates who seek to appear on their state ballots meet the Constitutional qualifications for serving in public office. In fact," notes Flores-Quilty, "Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has actually confirmed that Secretaries of State may refuse ballot placement to candidates for President who do not meet the Constitutional requirements of the office. [See 2012's Hassan v. Colorado in which Gorsuch, while still a 10th Circuit Appeals Court judge, found that states may "exclude from the ballot candidates who are constitutionally prohibited from assuming office."]

Moreover, Flores-Quilty argues it "is not a requirement" for Trump to have been criminally charged and found guilty of "insurrection" to be disqualified under the clause, which dates back to the post-Civil War era, when the 14th Amendment was adopted. "There is clear precedent from when it was originally enacted that that was not a requirement. No criminal conviction is necessary in order to enforce this critical provision of the Constitution."

"It's really important that we're doing public education and creating a public mandate that Secretaries of State --- it's not only within their power but it's their responsibility --- ensure that somebody who has so clearly violated this provision of the Constitution is not allowed to appear on the ballot. Trump has been able to get away with breaking the law, time and time again. Impunity is emboldening. So the rules need to be enforced."

Okay, but is it politically smart for either Democrats or pro-democracy advocates at this precarious moment to press this point to disqualify Trump from the ballot and potentially pave the way for a Republican candidate who may be equally authoritarian, but more able to defeat Biden next year?

Flores-Quilty --- and a bunch of our callers today --- ring in with their answers to that critical question!

Also today: Ron DeSantis' floundering campaign fires at least 10 workers. Failed AZ Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake's attorneys (including Alan Dershowitz) sanctioned for $122,000 for bogus election fraud claims.

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Actors on strike; Contraceptives for sale; GOP megadonors blown off; New U.S. House maps for NY; Free tuition at UNC; Biden's new student loan repayment plan; And much more...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2023 6:30pm PT  

We not only cover a whole bunch of news stories on today's BradCast, we also explain what they mean and why they matter. As always, we want you to not only know what happened, but understand why it did and what can be done about it, so you can pass that important information on to others. [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

Among the many stories both reported and explained on today's program...

  • Film and TV actors of SAG-AFTRA join the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in going on strike against producers in hopes of proper payment and residuals for streaming services and AI usage, among other appropriate demands.
  • We take another quick spin through my new favorite website --- FoxWeather.com --- where they report on all of the catastrophic effects of climate change now devastating much of the planet, but because Fox hates its duped readers and viewers so much, they never even once explain why all of these disasters are now happening. (Hint for Fox "News" dupes, if I'm lucky enough that you stopped by: It's the climate change, stupid, as caused by the burning of fossil fuels.)
  • The Biden FDA approves the first ever over-the-counter birth control pill. Happily, this should be bring the abortion rate way down. So, rightwingers will be delighted with this news, right?
  • Dumb GOP megadonors in Illinois lose their ill-considered fight to prevent the use of clean, electric leaf blowers on their 22-acre estate. But it's a win for their neighbors and for the rest of us. (And even for them, whether they too dumb to know it or not!)
  • A state court orders New York to redraw U.S. House maps before the 2024 elections. That alone could end up flipping the House back to Democratic control next year, after the GOP flipped four NY seats from "blue" to "red" last year, after the state court blocked an attempted Democratic gerrymander. It's complicated.
  • Great news for North Carolina residents! After Republicans on the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court recently blocked Affirmative Action for college admissions at the University of North Carolina (and everywhere else in the bargain), the school has announced it will be offering FREE tuition to many in-state students "as part of their continued effort to boost diversity".
  • Late last month, the corrupt rightwing SCOTUS majority used their recently invented-from-whole-cloth "Major Questions Doctrine" to block the Biden Administration from using the specific text of the federal HEROES Act to forgive up to $20,000 in student loans to borrowers. The President has announced a new plan to use a different law to accomplish even broader forgiveness, though it will take a bit more time than his initial plan. In the meantime, beginning next month, a newly restructured repayment plan for loans will allow millions to pay just $0 a month (you read that right) without seeing any interest added. Their entire loan may then be considered as paid in full after 10 years. We break down the key details of the new plan and how Republicans are already attempting to undermine it, because they hate people who aren't millionaires or billionaires.
  • Finally, it's our latest disturbing Green News Report with Desi Doyen here to drive you crazy as the summer of climate catastrophes continue. Among our coverage: another major insurer flees Florida; California works out a deal with manufacturers to phase out polluting big rigs; and the U.S. becomes the blackout capital of the world, thanks to the many failures of natural gas...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate on that and other 'Major Questions' from our radical, activist, corrupted U.S. Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2023 6:35pm PT  

It's been too long, but we're delighted to have one of our favorite guests back on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first, in a rare, one day only special session of the State Legislature called by Iowa's Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday, GOP lawmakers in the Hawkeye State hastily adopted a ban on almost all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before most know they are even pregnant.

Reynolds had the temerity to declare that "the voices of Iowans and their democratically elected representatives cannot be ignored any longer." That, despite recent state polling finding that 61% of voters in Iowa support legal abortion in all or most cases, with just 35% saying it should be banned.

Well, the "elected representatives" have now been heard --- Reynolds plans to sign the measure on Friday, when it will immediately take effect --- but the voices of Iowans certainly haven't. The new law was passed with only Republican votes. It allows limited exceptions after 6 weeks in some cases of rape, incest and certain medical emergencies. A lawsuit by proponents of reproductive freedom was filed today. We explain the details and the news that former Vice President and current 2024 GOP candidate for President, Mike Pence, is both calling for a similar ban at the federal level and believes abortion should be banned even when a pregnancy is not viable and doctors have determined a baby cannot survive outside of the womb. (None of the other 2024 GOP candidates has been willing to say they disagree with Pence.)

That cruelty, unfortunately, is now par for the course in the Republican Party, and is reflected in similar legislative bans on reproductive freedoms now in at least 17 states just one year after the corrupted, far-right U.S. Supreme Court activist majority overturned Roe v. Wade's 50 years of Constitutional reproductive freedoms.

Rulings made by SCOTUS this year, sadly, are no less radical, even as several of them issued at term's end last month have been cited by some in the media to suggest that Chief Justice John Roberts has somewhat "moderated" the most extreme positions of the Court. That would be inaccurate, but exactly what Roberts had hoped for.

We're joined today by the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist at Slate to discuss a number of those decisions, and what has now emerged as Roberts' neat trick to hoax the media into regarding him and some of the opinions issued by the Court this year as "moderate".

In short, as Stern details today, Roberts is essentially manipulating the Court's docket --- by determining which cases to hear and which ones not to --- in order to make SCOTUS' end-of-term opinions appear less extreme, overall, than they actually are.

"They have consistently taken up these cases that sort of seem designed to terrify liberals. Then, when the case comes down in a way that's not the end of the world, they get good headlines," he explains.

"The Court really shouldn't have been hearing a lot of these cases in the first place. So, by deciding them in a so-called 'liberal way', they create this image of balance and moderation that's not really deserved," he argues. "There's no better example of that than the Independent State Legislature case [Moore v. Harper]. There was absolutely no reason for the Supreme Court to intervene, and yet it reached down and grabbed that case. And, by deciding it in a somewhat moderate way --- although Roberts left the door open for mischief, as he so often does --- the Court got great headlines as being so moderate and thoughtful."

"That is a trick that the Chief Justice is very good at playing on the media. But it's not one I think we should fall for, given how obvious it is and how many decisions that he really cares about [that] end up coming out so far to the right over and over again."

"We pretend as though these cases emerged out of nowhere, when in reality, the Court is building a very careful story, using each individual case to try to show something about the Court that it thinks will appeal to the public." But that doesn't reveal the full story, Stern argues. "The 'liberal victories' simply leave the law as it was, without making any changes. Whereas the conservative victories radically overhaul the law in ways that were unimaginable just five or six years ago. That's also something that I think is very difficult to explain to people who don't watch the Court closely, but becomes blazingly obvious once you apply a little bit of scrutiny to how this Court operates."

And now, it's all making much more sense.

We saw that neat trick play out once again this year, as the stolen, packed and corrupted far-right majority, at terms end, ultimately reverted to form to overturn decades-old precedents regarding race-based Affirmative Action in college admissions (though not other Affirmative Actions, for example, legacy admissions and those for the kids of high ticket donors); the Court expanded newly discovered Constitutional "religious freedoms" to allow web page designers (and, actually, any other business) to discriminate against LGBTQ+ customers based on imaginary --- in fact, wholly fraudulent --- grievances; they picked up on last year's Judicial Activism by further restricting the EPA's ability to meet mandates of landmark laws passed by Congress, in this year's case, the Clean Water Act; and, they determined that while forgiving millions of dollar in loans to so-called small businesses and cutting taxes for billionaires was just fine, forgiving $10,000 to student loan borrowers during a national emergency --- in specific accordance with the original text of federal law --- was a bridge too far for a President of the United States...or, at least for the current President of the United States. (The Court showed no such "conservatism" when Donald Trump used the same exact law to "modify or waive" conditions for the same student loans.)

As bad as all of those decisions were, I had specific questions about one of them that sort of seems to give away the game for this far-right Court, with six Republican-appointed Justices now more than happy to legislate from the bench after years of their party pretending to be against that sort of thing.

As it turns out, the case I had questions about --- the one I saw as the most alarming and worst ruling of the term --- is one that Stern felt the same about. It's the one in which the Court relies on a made-up-out-of-whole-cloth, completely subjective test they now refer to as the "Major Questions Doctrine" whenever they don't have a legitimate reason to block an Executive Branch action, even when it's based on the specific text of a law they may not like.

"Justice Kagan has called this a 'get-out-of-text-free card,'" Stern tells me. "This is not a legitimate tool of statutory interpretation, because it means that the Court can set aside what the actual words of the law say, and just apply their own opinion, under this very thin guise of trying to uphold Congress' will." Last year they cited this pretend "doctrine" to say the EPA couldn't regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, despite the specific text of the law, because it was just too much of a "Major Question" that Congress had to speak to in more specific language somehow. This year, they used it to block President Biden from forgiving certain student loans amid the COVID pandemic, as specifically allowed by the HEROES Act.

"When you're dealing with the federal government, every policy is going to be major," Stern argues. "Every policy is going to affect as many as 300 million Americans. Every policy is going to have a fiscal impact of more than billions of dollars. So this is really just an excuse, in every single case, for the Court to ignore the law that Congress has passed, perversely while claiming to uphold Congress' wishes."

We discuss that and much more today, including which upcoming cases most concern him on the docket for the Court's next term. Should we freak out about them? Or are they also now just part of Robert's insidious manipulation to be sure to have a few cases on which the Court's rightwingers can appear to be far less radical than they actually are?...

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The fight against propaganda, denial, corruption and racism continues...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2023 6:37pm PT  

We wrap up our last BradCast before standing down next week with a bunch of disparate stuff, both good and bad, and even a song to help you whistle as you leave the theater before next week's holiday. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

WE DID START THE FIRE: And we're also responsible for the smoke from hundreds of them in Canada, now threatening the health of more than 100 million Americans. We're also responsible for the record, weeks-long deadly, triple-digit heat wave in Texas now spreading north and east and touching off deadly severe storms along with it. Of course, those who watch Fox "News" and the read their deceptive Fox Weather website will never know who's to blame for it all and who is endangering their lives and those of their great grand-kids. But keeping their viewers and readers dumb and disinformed is the whole purpose of the Fox fake news project. Sadly, we all pay the price.

'CEASEFIRE AND NEGOTIATE!': Happily, it seems the 24-hour mutiny in Russia last weekend --- wherein longtime Vladimir Putin-ally, Yevgeny Prigozhin, gave the game away by declaring that their imperialist invasion of Ukraine was built on lies and was never about either "demilitarizing" or "de-Nazifying" Ukraine --- has helped the scales fall from a bunch of Americans' eyes. New polling from Reuters/Ipsos since the Prigozhin's short-lived insurrection finds a nearly 20-point bump since last month in American support for Joe Biden's policy of helping Ukraine defend themselves. That includes majorities in both major parties as well as independents. That's very good news. And, while I'm unlikely to reach many of the duped rightwingers who have fallen hook, line and sinker for Putin (and Trump) propaganda about the conflict, I am hoping that I might still be able to help some of those on the supposed anti-war Left who have fallen for the same propaganda. I'm talking largely about the "ceasefire and negotiate!" crowd. A few words for them today in hopes of helping a least a few of them understand how they have also been played by the same, authoritarian sources as the rightwingers.

'THIS IS NOT A NORMAL COURT': President Biden was right about that today, at least. We knew after all of the surprisingly good rulings of late from our otherwise corrupted, stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court majority --- on issues of democracy and voting, in particular --- that it was almost certainly too good to last. As the high court's 2022 term comes to a close, they returned to their corrupted form on Thursday by overturning more than 40 years of precedent to bar Affirmative Action policies in college admissions for all private and public colleges and universities (while exempting military academies for some odd reason). Though it's not easy, we try to make sense of the Court's dizzying 237-page ruling [PDF], including multiple concurrences and dissents, as the far-right activists on the bench --- and those that put them there --- get to cross another long-term project off their list today.

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: And lungs, from the record shattering Canadian wildfires. At least if you live in any of a whole bunch of states in the mid-west or east this week. That, and more climate news, both good and bad, as Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report.

THEY DEFINITELY DIDN'T START THE FIRE: But they did, after 34 years, put all news words to it! And not a moment too soon, in my opinion! Yours may vary. Either way, we're happy to close out today's final show before taking off next week over the Independence Day holiday, with Fall Out Boy's brand-new version of a 1989 Billy Joel classic...

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Guest: Election expert Dr. Philip Stark of UC-Berkeley; Also: More Alito corruption; More on the 'single most important constitutional case for American Democracy since the Nation's Founding'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2023 6:40pm PT  

Yup. We're heading back to the critical battleground state of Georgia again on today's BradCast, as their ridiculous Sec. of State gets ridiculouser in his indefensible defenses of his ridiculously vulnerable, brand-new touchscreen voting systems which he is still refusing to upgrade, despite warnings from the federal government and increasing urging from voting system and cybersecurity experts. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST, a few more quick words on yesterday's landmark U.S. Supreme Court opinion [PDF] in Moore v. Harper, in which Chief Justice John Roberts and two Trump-appointed Justices joined with the Court's three liberals to put the kibosh, hopefully once and for all, on the bonkers, so-called Independent State Legislature theory pushed by far-rightwingers. Had SCOTUS given a majority blessing to the fringe Constitutional theory giving complete, unreviewable say over all federal election laws to State Legislatures, it would have wreaked indescribable havoc on some 250 years of election laws across all 50 states. It would also have given authority to those State Legislatures to overturn Presidential elections by selecting slates of electors not chosen by state voters!

As one of the nation's most conservative and respected former federal judges, Michael Luttig, tweeted today: "It would be impossible to overstate the [enormousness] of yesterday's seminal decision in Moore v. Harper. Not only is it now the single most important constitutional case for American Democracy since the Nation's Founding almost 250 years ago. ... It is also now one of the most important constitutional cases for representative government in America. ... Today, it takes its deserved place in the pantheon of great Supreme Court cases that give meaning to the Constitution's genius of a separation of powers --- among the national Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary, and also between the national government and the governments of the respective 50 states of the United States."

But there were three Justices who voted in the minority in that case. As it turns out, all three of them were recently highlighted by investigate journalists for their, shall we say, dubious ethics practices. Clarence Thomas (see here, here, here and here), Neil Gorsuch (see here), and Sam Alito (see here).

In addition to Alito's undisclosed, luxury fishing trip to Alaska on the private jet (and dime) of GOP megadonor and vulture capitalist billionaire Paul Singer, as revealed by ProPublica last week, this week The Intercept offers a new story shedding some fresh light on Alito's years of climate change-denialism and his Court decisions on behalf of the oil and gas industry.

NEXT UP, it's back to Georgia, where Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger is reportedly giving testimony in Atlanta today to prosecutors working on Special Counsel Jack Smith's probe of the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the other myriad ways in which Team Trump attempted to steal the 2020 Presidential Election. (One of those ways included Donald Trump's now-infamous phone call to Raffensperger, attempting to strongarm him to "find" the 11,780 votes he would have needed to flip the state's results from the winner, Joe Biden.)

But where Raffy has been seen as a hero by some for refusing to roll over to Trump after the 2020 election, we have explained for years that he is anything but. Now, he's under fire for the massive vulnerabilities discovered by cybersecurity and voting system experts in his new, $150 million Dominion touchscreen voting systems, and for his refusal, as first reported by The BRAD BLOG in mid-May, to install Dominion's security patches to them before the 2024 Presidential election. That, despite urgent warnings from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and many longtime election experts and computer scientists.

Now, Raffensperger's office is going on the offensive, attacking those experts as "paranoiacs and conspiracists", attempting to conflate them with the rightwing, Sidney Powell-organized MAGA loons who tried to steal the election in 2020 and breached the state's voting systems in Coffee County, GA on January 7th, 2021, the day after the Trump-insighted insurrection in D.C.

"The paranoiacs and conspiracists of the world have their beliefs reinforced when they read reports of theoretical 'vulnerabilities' that fail to mention the real-world security measures already in place," sniped Mike Hassinger, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office, to Politico last week. "If the PhDs don’t like being put in the same category as the Pillow salesman, tough noogies," he actually said. "They should stop saying similar things."

We're joined today by one of those paranoiac conspiracist PhD's on today's program. Our guest is DR. PHILIP STARK, Professor at University of California, Berkeley; inventor of the post-election Risk-Limiting Audit protocol; Advisory Board member at the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) and advisor to plaintiffs in the long-running Curling v. Raffensperger lawsuit in Georgia seeking to replace the state's new vulnerable and unverifiable touchscreen voting systems with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots. (The same plaintiffs in the same federal lawsuit were able to win an order from the judge in 2019 that banned the state's previous touchscreen systems made by Diebold after they were found to be so vulnerable and unverifiable as to be unconstitutional.)

Stark has a few choice words of his own in response to both the obnoxious and un-scientific remarks from the Sec. of State's office as well as Dominion, both of whom have been blasting the damning Halderman Report, as created on behalf of plaintiffs in Curling and finding at least nine alarming vulnerabilities confirmed by CISA in the Dominion systems. Both the State and private voting system vendor claim that the Univ. of MI's Dr. Alex Halderman failed to take into account, in his report, the physical protections of the state's 70,000 vote system devices. They believe that will adequately protect next year's Presidential election in the battleground state. In doing so, they seem to be pretending that the Coffee County breach by Team Trump in 2021 didn't already run roughshod over the state's voting systems, including by copying and distributing its sensitive, proprietary software over the Internet.

"If [Raffensperger's] spokesperson can't tell the difference between what we're saying and what the [MAGA] group is saying, then they are not competent to do their job," charges Stark.

"There is a world of difference between 'This system is Swiss cheese from a perspective of security, it's really vulnerable and you need to harden it,' and 'The election was rigged and the wrong person was announced to have won.' That's just not the same claim at all. Secondly, the idea that we should stop pointing out vulnerabilities and trying to improve the trustworthiness of voting systems because someone might twist our words --- the argument seems to be 'You should lie to people in order to increase their trust in you' --- that seems to be perverse. What we want is justified public trust in the outcome of elections."

He summarizes some of the most noteworthy concerns from the Halderman Report --- detailing the ease by which malware can be implanted into the system by a single voter via any one of the state's 35,000 touchscreen voting machines or by one person at the County level who can infect every machine in the jurisdiction --- before explaining how inadequate and naive the Secretary's responses have been.

Both Raff's office and Dominion cite a competing study to Halderman's commissioned by Dominion from a group named MITRE. Their unsigned report was created without access to the Dominion machines, unlike Halderman's report, and offers the misleading claim that physical security of the voting systems is likely adequate to prevent exploitation of the vulnerabilities meticulously documented by Halderman. Stark is among nearly 30 election experts now calling on MITRE to retract their report on that basis and others.

"First of all, they're just wrong," Stark charges, wondering what their instructions may have been from Dominion. "I conjecture that they were told to assume that those [physical] protections were in place. I doubt that they did any independent research to determine whether in fact there were effective protections in place."

"I liken this to saying it's completely fine to drive a car on bald tires, as long as you have a policy of only driving straight on dry pavement and never turning sharply, or applying the brakes. Except that's not how it actually works in practice. And here, it's very, very clear that the assumption that there is rigorous physical security around these devices is just not true."

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Also: Attorney Keith Barber on newly released July 2021 audio tape of Trump showing classified military Iran attack plans to book authors...
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2023 6:13pm PT  

It's a good day on The BradCast. Let's enjoy it while it lasts. [Audio link to full program follows below this summary.]

After a full year of five-alarm warnings on this program about the the Moore v. Harper case at the U.S. Supreme Court, and the havoc its so-called Independent State Legislature theory would wreak on American elections and hundreds of years of American election law if approved by a Court majority, I'm very happy to say, the grave threat is over. For now.

By a 6 to 3 majority, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Kavanaugh and Barrett joining all three liberals on the Court, the fringe ISL theory was soundly rejected (PDF). That theory, pushed by Rightwingers --- especially by Trumpers after the 2020 election --- holds that the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause, allowing State Legislatures to determine "times, places and manner" of federal elections in their state, also give those Legislatures plenary power to make all laws pertaining to federal elections without the possibility of any sort of judicial review.

Had the Supreme Court majority gone the other way in this case, as many feared, State Legislatures would have had the only power to make such laws and rules. No Gubernatorial veto or state Supreme Court or state constitution --- or even state ballot initiative adopted by voters --- could have blocked them. They could have instituted partisan gerrymanders, even if their state's constitution barred them. They could have chosen which Presidential electors to send to the Electoral College, even if state voters had selected a different candidate. (It is under the ISL theory that Trump and his legal stooges like Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman tried to convince State Legislatures in Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, etc., that they had the power to choose Trump electors, even though voters in all of those states had voted for Biden.)

Voting rights advocates are breathing a huge sigh of relief today. Had the Court gone the other way, as many feared, more than 170 state constitutional provisions, over 650 state laws delegating authority to make election policies to state and local officials, and thousands of regulations down to the location of polling places could have been affected or simply overturned, according to Brennan Center for Justice.

Tuesday's news follows several other, surprisingly not insane rulings by the Court in recent weeks, where enough rightwingers peeled off to join the Court's Liberals to avoid worst case scenarios. As Slate's Mark Joseph Stern concludes in his article today on the Moore v. Harper decision, headlined "John Roberts Has Wrested Back Control of the Supreme Court": "So far this term, [Roberts] is once again in the driver’s seat—and the court is acting a lot more like a court than this time last year. It’s too early for grand conclusions. But it sure looks like a majority of the justices want us to know that they are backing away from the brink."

There are a few more major rulings to come --- on Affirmative Action in college admissions; on Biden's student loan forgiveness program; and on another dumb anti-LGBTQ "religious rights" case --- before this year's term wraps up at week's end. Decisions are likely to come on Thursday. But, even adverse rulings on those issues, as expected, are unlikely to have the democracy-rattling effect of what the case over the ISL theory would have wreaked, or had the Supremes gutted what is left of the Voting Rights Act (which was also feared but, also surprisingly, the Court did the right thing instead by following both precedent at the Constitution.) Perhaps a few members of SCOTUS' far-rightwing have learned a thing or two since their disastrous Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade this time last year.

On the other hand, having not learned a think since this time last year is our twice-criminally indicted former President. On Monday night, CNN released the actual audio recording of a meeting cited in Special Counsel Jack Smith's 37-count felony indictment [PDF] against Trump on charges related to violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice. It's a tape of the July 2021 meeting at his Bedminster, New Jersey resort, as described on pages 15 & 16 of the indictment, wherein Trump claims to be showing classified documents on military plans for an attack on Iran to a group of people writing a book.

Trump is heard in the audio telling his cackling audience that the documents he is showing them are "highly confidential," "done by the military [and] given to me," and that he no longer had the power to declassify them, now that he was out of office.

His recent explanation about the incident to Bret Baier of Fox "News", when asked about the description in the indictment prior to the release of the actual tape on Monday night, appears to be in pretty stark contradiction with what is heard on the audio tape. We play both recordings in full today so you can decide.

We're joined again today by former Republican attorney and U.S. Army Captain turned Daily Kos blogger KEITH BARBER to discuss the Trump tape; how it compares to its description in the Mar-a-Lago indictment; who might have leaked it and why; what the same behavior would have earned him as a member of the military; and what it is likely to mean for Trump's stolen documents case as it plays out in Florida under a wildly inexperienced and arguably corrupt Trump-appointed federal judge.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest 'Green News Report' with rough news on the climate changed-fueled extreme weather pounding much of the nation this week (especially Texas), but with some far better news for EV charging standards and the solar industry as it overtakes fossil fuels...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/27/2023 10:57am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Extreme heat and deadly storms spread across much of the U.S.; Train carrying hazardous chemicals derails into Montana's Yellowstone River; PLUS: More EV carmakers adopt Tesla's fast-charging standard... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Humans approaching limits of 'survivability' as sweltering heatwaves engulf parts of Asia; Vast fossil fuel and farming subsidies causing 'environmental havoc'; Vast fossil fuel and farming subsidies causing 'environmental havoc'; 'Its absolutely guaranteed': the best and worst case scenarios for sea level rise; Intensifying rains pose hidden flood risks across U.S.; Oil spill from Shell pipeline fouls farms and a river in a long-polluted part of Nigeria; Paris climate finance summit fails to deliver debt forgiveness plan; Samuel Alito's wife leased land to an oil and gas firm while the justice fought the EPA; Giant wind farm takes root off coast of Massachusetts... PLUS: Wolves that nearly died out have recovered, now helping island's ecosystem... and much, MUCH more! ...

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