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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, October 26, 2020
Election Official Who Oversaw FL 2000 'Recount' Warns of 'Hacked' 2020 Results: 'BradCast' 10/26/20
Guest: Ion Sancho, former Leon Cnty election chief; Also: 3rd COVID peak; GA ransomware...
Sunday 'Losing It' Toons
We're just trying to keep it all together in PDiddie's penultimate pre-election weekly toon collection....
Special Coverage: The Final 2020 Presidential Debate: 'BradCast' 10/23/20
Guests: Heather Digby Parton and Richard 'R.J.' Eskow decode Thursday's face-off in Nashville and our nightmares before (and after?) Halloween...
Trump, Barr, Wolf Sued for Unlawful Voter Intimidation: 'BradCast' 10/22/20
Guest: Attorney Ron Fein; Also: Biden's Court expansion plan; Graham breaks rules to approve Barrett; Bad news for AL voters; Admin says Iran behind Dem email threats?!...
'Green News Report' 10/22/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Another new record storm in a record-breaking hurricane season; Great Barrier Reef half dead; First all-climate campaign ad; PLUS: The Hummer is back, and now it's all-electric...
Previous GNRs: 10/20/20 - 10/15/20 - Archives...
Are Americans Ready (or Even Able) to Roll Back the GOP's 'Permanent Minority Rule'?: 'BradCast' 10/21/20
Guest: David Daley; Also: Lawyers hate Trump; Fed court allows TX to reject mail-in ballots...
Good News, Bad News! It's 'The Caveat Show!': 'BradCast' 10/20/20
All sorts of reasons for Dems to feel good about Biden and re-taking the Senate...And plenty of reasons to remain concerned about both...
'Green News Report' 10/20/20
Massive CO wildfires; Trump flip-flops on disaster aid to CA; Wind, solar energy now the cheapest energy in the world; PLUS: Biden talks clean energy at ABC Town Hall...
Voting is Not Enough: How YOU Can Help Oversee and Protect Our Elections!: 'BradCast' 10/19/20
Guest: Emily Levy of Scrutineers.org; Also: Bad news for MI voters; FL voting website fails...
Sunday 'A Bigger Boat' Toons
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the voting booth...PDiddie offers his latest collection of the week's best toons...
2020's Federal Court Voting Rights Roller Coaster: 'BradCast' 10/16/20
Guest: Election law Prof. Joshua A. Douglas; Also: Trump's CA wildfire disaster relief roller coaster...
'Deranged Power Grab': Barrett SCOTUS Hearings Conclude: 'BradCast' 10/15/20
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: E-Pollbook systems fail in GA; FBI reports 'unauthorized access to elections systems'...
'Green News Report' 10/15/20
Barrett sounds like climate denier at Senate hearings; Sen. Whitehouse on dark-money polluter capture of judiciary; PLUS: Sept. 2020 hottest ever...
'Hypocrisy in Daylight? Look for Power in the Shadows': 'BradCast' 10/14/20
Guest: Lisa Graves on Sen. Whitehouse's revelations of GOP's $250M SCOTUS-packing coup; Also: Good voting news in VA, TX, AK!...
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...


Trump attorneys claim immunity for shooting someone on Fifth Ave.; WH attacks Bill Taylor; House RWers 'storm' Impeachment hearing; Facts keep undercutting Ukraine quid pro quo excuses; Also: Exxon scientists undercut oil giant on Capitol Hill...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2019 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Donald Trump needs a LOT of defending --- on virtually every front today. Lucky for him he's still got quite a few willing chumps, suckers and patsies willing to go down with his ship, from elected officials in Congress, to entire media networks invested in his criminal wingnuttery, to the best team of shameless lawyers his dirty money can buy. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

We kick off today with the remarkable argument offered by one his shameless attorneys in a federal appeals court in Manhattan, where a lower court judge recently ruled against Trump in his suit to block his longtime tax accountants at Mazars USA from turning over eight years of his tax and other financial documents as subpoenaed by state prosecutors. The probe is into payments made while Trump was in the White House to reimburse his then-attorney, now-convicted felon Michael Cohen for hush-money payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels just prior to the 2016 Presidential election.

After the lower federal court judge virtually laughed the Trump attorneys out of court earlier this month, finding their argument that a President may not be indicted or even investigated at the federal OR state level to be "repugnant to the nation's governmental structure and constitutional values," Team Trump quickly appealed to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard his argument today.

During today's hearing, the 3-judge federal panel, citing an infamous quip about Trump's ability to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue without losing any supporters, queried Trump attorney William Consovoy on whether law enforcement officials would be Constitutionally allowed to investigate or do anything about it, if that literally occurred. The President's attorney said no, they could not. It's a hypothetical that I've raised several times in the past, in response to the absurd, Constitutionally-weak, decades-old DoJ Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion memo asserting that a sitting President may not be criminal indicted. That OLC memo, never tested in a court of law, though cited by Robert Mueller when he failed to bring criminal Obstruction of Justice charges against the President despite mountains of supporting evidence, will now almost certainly have its day before the Republican's stolen U.S. Supreme Court in this matter.

Then, the many desperate attempts made by Republicans last night and today to try and defend the President following Tuesday's "damning" testimony to House impeachment investigators by Bill Taylor, Trump's acting Ambassador to Ukraine. The veteran diplomat rocked D.C. with his meticulously detailed recounting of how he learned that Trump was personally behind the quid pro quo pressure campaign to withhold nearly $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine unless its recently elected President, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly promised an investigation into Joe Biden and the 2016 election.

With no clear messaging campaign to push back against the explosive charges at the heart of the ongoing impeachment inquiry, Republicans from the White House to Congress to Fox "News" have been flailing over the past 24 hours. The White House Press Secretary released a statement attempting to tar the longtime civil servant and military veteran Taylor as a "radical unelected bureaucrat waging war on the Constitution"; Trump's former Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker took to Fox "News" to declare that "abuse of power" is not actually a crime; and Trump's far-right allies in the U.S. House stormed a secure room in the basement of the Capitol in a faux "riot" (reminiscent of the infamous "Brooks Brothers Riot" in Florida in 2000) to stall the planned impeachment deposition of Defense Department official Laura Cooper, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. It is believed Cooper was to testify on the Pentagon's finding that the White House's withholding of Congressionally-allocated military assistance to Ukraine was, in fact, unlawful.

Some of Trump's defenders today have been arguing that Taylor's testimony highlighted that Zelensky didn't know about the withheld U.S. military assistance and, therefore, the Administration's pressure campaign could not possibly have amounted to a quid pro quo. That argument, however, was neatly eviscerated late today via an exclusive from Associated Press, reporting that Zelensky was aware of the White House pressure campaign and the potential of losing U.S. aid if he didn't play ball in Trump's political scheme, as early as May of this year.

Finally today, the stalled impeachment deposition was not the only hearing on Capitol Hill today. Desi Doyen joins us for some highlights from a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday in which Exxon Mobil scientists testified about the oil giant's knowledge, decades ago, that the use of their product was endangering humanity by warming the globe, even as Exxon invested millions in an "immoral" public relations campaign to convince the world that the science on the matter was in doubt...

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

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Guest: Media analyst Eric Boehlert; Also: Trump calls impeachment a 'lynching'; Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine destroys Admin claim about withheld military assistance...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2019 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it was (another) very bad day for Donald Trump, but a good day for Hillary Clinton, if anybody was able to notice, thanks to another shameful weekend by the mainstream corporate media. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Our stable genius President didn't make it any easier on himself by beginning his day with a grotesquely offensively comparison of his ongoing Constitutional impeachment inquiry to "a lynching". But it got far worse for Trump (if nowhere near as bad as an actual lynching), when his top diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, testified before impeachment investigators in the U.S. House. The veteran diplomat and foreign policy elder statesman spelled out, in no uncertain terms --- based on copious, contemporaneous notes --- that Trump had personally tied the release of nearly $400 million in military assistance for Ukraine to a quid pro quo requirement that Ukraine's President publicly commit to investigating Trump's 2020 political rival Joe Biden.

The testimony, according to House impeachment investigators, directly contradicts Trump, numerous top White House officials, and a number of Trump-appointees who offered earlier testimony. It also included a 15-page opening statement from Taylor, accurately described as "damning" by a number of Democrats.

Then, while you may or may not have heard about the news which was buried deep inside weekend papers on Saturday, the State Department --- Trump's OWN State Department --- concluded its years-long probe of emails sent to and from Hillary Clinton's private email server. The report, sent to Congress with little or no fanfare from either the media or the Trump Administration, found "no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information" by Clinton or anybody else in the Department.

The faux "scandal" that Trump, his campaign and his party disingenuously used to help propel him to office in 2016 has officially ended with a barely imperceptible whimper. That, even as top White House officials from daughter Ivanka Trump to son-in-law Jared Kushner to Steve Bannon to Stephen Miller to Executive Agency heads like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have all since been found to have carried out government business on private email servers and have even reportedly shared classified information on private texting apps.

We're joined today by longtime media analyst ERIC BOEHLERT to discuss not only the phony "BUT HER EMAILS!" scandal that Trump falsely described during his campaign as "worse than Watergate" --- and which even today results in "Lock her up!" chants at his unhinged campaign rallies --- but the corporate mainstream media's dreadful failure and stunning "whitewash" of its own role in colluding with the Trump Campaign by constantly over-hyping the baseless charges in the run up to the fateful 2016 Presidential election.

"The email story does not exist without the Beltway press," Boehlert tells me, noting their coverage of the end of State Department's probe on page 16 (NYT) and 6 (WaPo) on Saturday. "Most of the network newscasts never even reported on the story over the weekend.

"This email story ran from March 2015 to November 2016," he rails. "This story rolled for months and months. If you take one peek, in September 2015, on average, if you look at the Washington Post --- print and online --- they were publishing two Clinton email stories every day for the month of September 2015. We forget how bad it was. Pick your adjective. Mind-boggling. Numbing. Irresponsible. Reckless. And what's important [is] to not let this happen again."

But, of course, it will, especially given the lack of contrition for this failure evidenced by the story's coverage this weekend. "These are smart people," he says. "They play dumb on an epic scale." Boehlert aptly compares the media's failure in becoming "hugely investigated in this story from the get to" to their similarly reckless coverage of the Bush Administration's claim that Iraq had WMD in the run-up to our disastrous war there beginning in 2003. He also goes on to offer warnings about the Administration's schemes to use the very same playbook in 2020.

"If you're concerned that we're going to have a repeat because the press not only refuses to learn any lessons from 2016, but doesn't even admit there are any lessons to be learned --- look at Joe Biden and the Ukraine. It's happening again. Not as bad as the other, because Trump has inadvertently impeached himself by publicly confessing to colluding with a foreign power. But we saw it in the beginning of this story, a lot of headlines, "Trump and Biden both tainted by Ukraine'. No, they're not. Let's not do that," he pleads.

We discuss why this seems to happen over and over (remember how the media fell for the John Kerry "Swiftboat scandal" in the 2004 campaign?) when it comes to the media's coverage of Democrats, what the media should have done both in 2016 and today, and what Americans can do to help avoid being taken for another predictable ride in 2020.

Finally, were joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report as Trump's Energy Secretary calls it quits, Arizona looks toward a future without water, and ExxonMobil goes on trial for climate fraud. All while the GNR creeps toward our 1000th episode and we gently ask for your support of unabashedly independent, fearless and accurate news over your public airwaves via BradBlog.com/Donate.

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

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Guest: Election Integrity advocate Jennifer Cohn; Also: Judge blocks FL GOP's attempt to disenfranchise felons (for now); MO's largest county finally moves to hand-marked paper ballots!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2019 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the catch-up work continues! In the week since returning from my month-long forced hiatus due to a family emergency, we've been so busy with Donald Trump's insanity and impeachment inquiry and withdrawal of troops from Syria and attempt to award himself the contract for the G7 Summit at his own Florida resort (which he retracted over the weekend under pressure from Republicans), that we haven't had any time to discuss concerns about "Plan B". Specifically, concerns about voting systems in a whole bunch of states and counties where elections officials are, insanely, moving towards vulnerable, 100% unverifiable touchscreen computer Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) in advance of 2020. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

We make up for a month's worth of lost time on today's show. But first, some actually encouraging news out of two different states. On Friday, a federal court judge placed a temporary injunction on Florida's new Republican-adopted law that prevents former felons from registering to vote, unless they've paid off all court-imposed fines and fees first. The judge ruled the GOP law, enacted by state lawmakers just after state voters overwhelmingly adopted a new Constitutional amendment to re-enfranchise former felons last November, essentially amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax. The ruling, for now, is limited and has a few caveats, but voting rights activists are hailing the decision.

In still more good news for voters, this time in Missouri, the St. Louis County Board of Elections last month (where I was born and raised), unanimously voted to move the state's largest county to a new, hand-marked paper ballot system for all voters, other than those disabled voters who choose to use an assistive electronic system, beginning this November. The move comes as a welcome safeguard for voters after the County allowed voters over the past decade to choose between touchscreens or hand-marked paper ballots at the polls, while subtly (and not-so-subtly) encouraging voters to use the unverifiable touchscreens. That good news would also make my late father very happy, given that he was also a proponent for hand-marked paper ballots, as made clear in an amusing 2006 BRAD BLOG entry, which we share on today's show.

The move in St. Louis, however, is contrary to similar choices being made in a number of key jurisdictions around the country, where officials are moving to unverifiable and hackable BMD systems before 2020. States such as Georgia, South Carolina, Delaware, and New Jersey are moving to these expensive and vulnerable systems, as well as key cities and counties in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia!), North Carolina (Mecklenberg County, the state's most populous) and California (Los Angeles County, the nation's most populous!)

We're joined today by journalist, attorney, Election Integrity advocate and Twitter activist JENNIFER COHN --- who has a new video presentation out today on the many concerns about private voting system vendors who have taken over our public elections, and on the desperate need for hand-marked paper ballots --- in hopes of beginning to catch up on much of the voting system news we missed over the past month!

Unfortunately, as Cohn details, other than in St. Louis, the outlook is pretty grim between now and next year, as even leading Democrats (hello, Sen. Amy Klobuchar!) seem to have a very difficult time fighting for the real security improvements necessary to protect our election system from adversaries --- both foreign and domestic --- before next year's critical Presidential election.

Cohn makes the crucial point that phrases other than "HAND-MARKED paper ballots" are, essentially, code words for unverifiable, hackable, computer-marked paper ballot summaries. Phrases often used by vendors, as well as election and elected official to confuse voters include: Voter-marked paper ballots, voter-verifiable (as opposed to veriFIED) paper ballots, back-up paper ballots (hello again, Sen. Klobuchar!) or simply "paper ballots", without using "hand-marked" before it. If you don't hear them say "hand-marked" first, they either don't know what they're talking about, or they're trying to put something over on you.

And, as Cohn notes, if they promise post-election audits to protect the integrity of the vote, but are doing so without using hand-marked paper ballots to "audit" with, they are also trying to scam you. At least according to the actual inventor of the post-election Risk-Limited Audit (RLA) protocol, Prof. Phil Stark of UC-Berkley, an opponent of universal use BMDs. He describes RLAs of computer-marked ballots as "worthless" and little more than putting "lipstick on a pig"...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Campaign Legal Center's Brendan Fischer; Also: Republican worms turning on impeachment after Mulvaney 'confession'?...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2019 5:51pm PT  

The outlook for Donald Trump appears grimmer by the day, but the systemic institutional problems that brought him to office and have now helped bring him to the brink of impeachment are of even larger concern on today's BradCast. [Audio link to today's program is posted below.]

First up, the latest in the House's ongoing impeachment inquiry, as the worm may --- emphasis on 'may' --- be turning, following Trump's Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's nationally-televised admission that the Administration withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in Congressionally-allocated military aide to Ukraine in an effort to strong-arm the former Soviet nation into investigating Democrats and the 2016 election. Mulvaney's "confession", as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described it, of a pretty clear quid pro quo has knocked several Republicans off their footing, as they struggle to find ways to defend the President's actions.

A number of Congressional Republicans in both the House and the Senate now appear troubled by the admission (which Mulvaney attempted to walk back just hours later) and it has led Ohio's former Republican Governor John Kasich to concede on Friday that he now supports the impeachment and removal of Trump based on the latest information.

Then, we're joined by BRENDAN FISCHER, Associate Counsel at the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) in Washington D.C., which filed a formal complaint with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) in July of 2018, detailing serious campaign fiance law violations by Rudy Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. The Soviet-born Ukrainian-Americans were dramatically arrested and indicted at Dulles International Airport just over a week ago by federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, as they were attempting to flee the country with one way tickets to Vienna. Parnas and Fruman were charged [PDF] with using a fake shell corporation to illegally funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars from an unknown source to Republicans, including Trump's America First Action SuperPAC, in a successful effort to gain political power.

They also paid some $500 thousand to Giuliani --- who is working, for free, as Trump's personal lawyer --- and donated to Texas Congressman Pete Sessions, all in an effort to act on the conspiracy theories used by Trump and Giuliani to strong-arm Ukraine. As Fischer lays out in a piece at CLC detailing the backstory of the arrests of the two Trump donors, "Working closely with the president’s personal attorney, Giuliani, their efforts touched two branches of U.S. government, two presidential administrations in Ukraine, at least five countries, numerous individuals in and out of government, and, now, an impeachment inquiry into the U.S. President himself."

"The big giving opened a lot of doors," Fischer tells me. "It got them into political fundraisers where they rubbed shoulders with President Trump's inner circle. That money allowed them to build and deepen a relationship with Giuliani. And they were able to leverage that relationship in order to advance this narrative about Ukraine --- the same narrative about Ukraine that President Trump espoused in his call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, which has now led to this impeachment inquiry."

In other words, despite the ongoing mysteries behind the true source of their funding, they got a lot of bang for their campaign finance bucks used to buy influence with GOP officials and effect actual U.S. foreign policy in the bargain. But, as Fischer explains on today's program, had they not used a phony corporation to do it with someone else's money (and lied about that to the FEC), everything they did appears to be largely perfectly legal under U.S. campaign finance laws! Yes, apparently if you have enough money, you are allowed to use it to buy a major political influence operation that can directly effect U.S. foreign and domestic policy, even out of the White House.

Fischer explains how the dark money operation --- which didn't even include all that much money --- is still being unraveled by federal investigators as the probe (which could even nab Giuliani) continues and, perhaps even more importantly, how it may represent just be the tip of a campaign finance iceberg that illustrates the dangers of our disgraceful campaign finance laws in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling in 2010.

"The indictment makes clear that the purpose of the political contributions that Parnas and Fruman made was to buy access and to build influence with powerful political officials in order to advance their own personal financial interests," says Fischer. "But that is not what they are being indicted for. They were indicted because they laundered the funds through shell corporations and then lied about it." So, had they actually been rich dudes who used their own money for this scheme, it would have been just fine? "Yes, it would have been just a beautiful expression of their First Amendment right to free speech."

“This indictment of Parnas and Fruman is really an indictment of our big money political system. It lays out very clearly how powerful political figures operate on this cash-for-access practice. It's become entirely commonplace for wealthy political actors to buy their way into Congressional offices and into the President's inner circle. If you don't have money, your voice does not get heard in our democracy.”

Finally, longtime good government watchdog Fischer also rings in on Mulvaney's stunning announcement that the Administration has officially selected Trump National Doral resort in Miami, Florida as the location for next year's G-7 Summit of world leaders, despite the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution which strictly bans payments to the President from foreign officials --- a point that even Fox "News" (well, at least some there) appear to have a problem with as well...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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U.S. bombs own base in retreat from Kurdish stronghold; Pelosi tells Trump 'all roads lead to Putin'; Elijah Cummings: Rest in Power...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2019 6:26pm PT  

I'm still out of breath from today's BradCast, even after I had to cut a whole bunch of breaking (and not so breaking) news to make room for the sad passing of a much-beloved Congressional giant.

We begin today with the devastating news of the untimely death of 68-year old Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the larger than life Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee whose extraordinary 23-year legacy in Congress and decades of civil rights work before it has left an indelible mark on the nation and our ongoing fight for democracy and equal justice for all.

Next up, as support for the impeachment and removal from office of Donald J. Trump continues to build, chaos continues to unravel in the Middle East following his recent green light for Turkey's invasion of Northern Syria. Trump's approval, given to Turkish President Erdogan on a recent phone call, stunned White House aides, the Pentagon, bi-partisan members of Congress, and our Kurdish allies in the long fight against ISIS in the region.

It also led to an incredibly bonkers threat letter sent by the U.S. President to his Turkish counterpart (which was ignored); the escape of ISIS prisoners being held by the now-endangered and fleeing Kurds; Kurdish forces choosing to ally with Russian and Iran-backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as Turkish and Russian forces rolled onto bases previously occupied by the U.S. and the Kurds; the U.S. military being forced to bomb its own military outpost and ammo dump near the Turkish border; bi-partisan condemnation from Congress (including from Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a lopsided 354 to 60 resolution vote in the U.S. House against the Trump policy), Russia's emergence as the new power-broker in the Middle East, and a meeting between Democratic Congressional leaders and the President on Wednesday that ended with furious Democrats storming out after Trump reportedly insulted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a "third-rate politician" and suggesting that the Democrats were communist sympathizers in what the Speaker described as a "meltdown" after she charged that "all roads lead to Putin" with this President.

And, amidst that chaos today, after Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were dispatched to Ankara to try and clean up the mess created by Trump with Turkey, a supposed "deal" was struck for a short-term cease-fire to allow the Kurds (and U.S. troops) to retreat, while all but giving Turkey everything that it had sought on the Turkish/Syrian border for years, with the U.S. promising to lift economic sanctions against its NATO ally.

It's all even more disastrous than that, according to Trump's own former Envoy in the Fight to Defeat ISIS who calls the new U.S. policy a "disaster" and "totally incoherent", and a former FBI official who warns that Trump is "spiraling down into a dangerous posture", acting in "almost total isolation" and is now "incredibly vulnerable" to foreign manipulation. But you'll have to both tune in and buckle up for the full details. They are worse than they sound.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with coverage of the lack of climate questions raised at the recent 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate in Ohio, California's latest plans to foil Trump's fossil fuel schemes in the Golden State and much more!...

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

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Guests: Rewire.News' Jodi Jacobson; Zero Hour's Richard 'RJ' Eskow...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2019 4:58pm PT  

The top TWELVE 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates --- yes, TWELVE --- gathered for 3 hours --- yes THREE --- on Tuesday night at Otterbein University, in Westerville, Ohio for their 4th primary debate of the 2020 nomination cycle. We devote the hour on today's BradCast, to post-debate coverage, analysis and, of course, occasional snark. [Audio link to program is posted below.]

The candidates at the CNN and NYTimes co-sponsored forum were: MA Sen. Elizabeth Warren; VT Sen. Bernie Sanders; former Vice President Joe Biden; CA Sen. Kamala Harris; NJ Sen. Corey Booker; MN Sen. Amy Klobuchar; Former HUD Sec. Julian Castro; South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg; HI Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; CA entrepreneur and activist Tom Steyer (making his first debate appearance); Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andrew Yang; and former El Paso, TX Rep. Beto O'Rourke.

Among the many issues and questions covered and discussed on today's program, following last night's forum...

  • Do we really need three hour debates?;
  • Do we really need 12 candidates?;
  • Do we really need Steyer to be one of them?;
  • Did the moderators do any better than they have in previous debates this cycle?;
  • Was there really not a single question on either our climate or voting rights crises worth asking the candidates?;
  • Did Elizabeth Warren perform well in the face of direct attacks from her opponents now that she is being perceived as the front-runner?;
  • Could she stand up to similar or almost certainly far worse attacks from Trump (presuming he is the GOP nominee)?;
  • Is Booker right to worry about sniping and some of the direct attacks between his fellow Democratic candidates?;
  • What's the reason he is not performing better in the polls?;
  • Why is Harris still slipping in the polls?;
  • Will Sanders' recent heart attack be a deal breaker for some voters (despite his energetic performance at Tuesday's debate)?;
  • As Biden slips in the polls, is he also showing signs of cognitive decline that may concern voters?;
  • What's the difference between "Medicare for All", as proposed by Sanders and Warren, and "Medicare for All Who Want It" and a "Public Option" as proposed by Biden, Buttigieg and Warren?;
  • Why won't Warren admit out loud, as Sanders has, that her Medicare for All plan will raise taxes on the middle class, even as she correctly points out that overall costs for such families would go down?;
  • And why do people who like their private insurance have to give it up under a "Medicare for All" plan?;
  • Were attacks by Klobuchar and Buttigieg and Biden against so-called progressive "pipe dreams" effective for their candidacies or just damaging to the party?;
  • Is "Accountable Capitalism" actually a thing?

All of those questions and many more are tackled with Eskow, Jacobson and even Desi Doyen and myself on today's very lively, insightful and intermittently humorous post-debate special coverage!...

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

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: 40k false voter purges prevented in Ohio; The return of 'GNR'!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2019 4:31pm PT  

Our long road toward catching up with a month's worth of news continues on today's BradCast, with voting news out of Battleground Ohio, the latest on Trump's impeachment and chaos in Syria (and the thing that ties them together), as well as the latest environmental and climate news after a month away. [Audio link to show posted at end of summary.]

First up today: Some surprisingly good news for voters out of Ohio! The biggest surprise, perhaps, is that it comes, at least in part, thanks to the state's new Republican Sec. of State Frank LaRose, who had the good sense to check with voting rights groups beforewrongly purging some 40,000 perfectly active and eligible voters from the rolls who should never have been flagged for removal in the first place! Most of his fellow Republicans are likely not happy about that.

Then, we're joined by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo to discuss the latest impeachment news and Trump's deadly withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syrian.

The impeachment inquiry over Trump's attempt to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in exchange for its President's trumped-up state investigation of Joe Biden and the 2016 election continues to gain steam, with half a dozen or more current and former Executive Branch officials now lining up to testify --- and not in favor of Trump or his lackey lawyer Rudy Giuliani --- to Congressional investigators. Trump's former Russia and Europe expert, Fiona Hill, testified for some ten hours on Monday, reportedly citing Giuliani's shadow foreign policy schemes meant to undermine U.S. foreign policy and personally enrich the President in some way.

According to reports of her deposition, her superior on the National Security Counsel, former National Security Advisor John Bolton, was so alarmed by Giuliani's efforts he described the former NYC Mayor turned Fox 'News' conspiracist as a "hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up". Bolton reportedly tried to warn White House attorneys about Giuliani's many attempts to undermine U.S. Ukraine policy. Bolton himself, the unlikeliest of heroes in this shameful saga, may soon be called to testify to Congress in coming days, along with a long list of other State, Defense and National Security officials who now seem eager to defy the White House's strategy of denying both documents and testimony in the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry. "They're defying the White House telling them not to go testify," Parton observes, "That is a change. That is different than what we've seen. Suddenly that stonewall is crumbling."

We also discuss Parton's reasonable theory as to why this matter has finally resulted in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi giving full permission to her caucus to proceed with impeachment, where clear evidence of felony obstruction of justice from Robert Mueller's report and Trump's hush-money payoffs to porn stars to help win the 2016 Presidential election did not. "This is the same kind of stuff that Trump was accused of [in 2016], that we all suspected him of doing, colluding with a foreign government to sabotage his rival's campaign. Here he is [with Ukraine] doing it in real time. I think that's really what has made the difference."

In not-at-all-unrelated news, Parton goes on to discuss her latest Salon column in which she details how Trump's Syria pullout appears to be anything but an impulsive decision after a recent phone call with Turkish President Erdogan, as many in the media are still describing the disastrous move. She explains how the U.S. abandonment of our Kurdish allies with the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Northern Syria is of a piece with Trump's feckless Ukraine policy. In both cases, she explains, there is one unavoidable fact in common --- even for those of us who may not be Russia hawks: both actions, like so many other controversial policies of the Trump Administration, are in the clear and direct interest of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Finally, we close today with the long-awaited return of the Green News Report, which we had been forced to suspend over the past month due to my family emergency. Somehow or another, Desi Doyen manages to fit in a month's worth of green news into the latest GNR in just six minutes. Buckle up --- and stay that way!...

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Guest: Nicole Sandler...
By Brad Friedman on 10/14/2019 5:02pm PT  

Desi and I are back on today's BradCast, after an unscheduled month-long hiatus as my otherwise very healthy 80-year old dad suffered a sudden and major stroke in mid-September before ultimately passing away a few weeks later. [That's him on the left with me in the photo. Audio for today's program is posted below.]

We share a few memories of Harvey Friedman at the top of today's show (there are many more here) and a couple of very important lessons learned both before and after his death that will almost certainly be of use to you and your family! The two booklets I mentioned on air today are Five Wishes (available via AgingWithDignity.org) and the Advance Health Care Directive (available via PrepareForYourCare.org). Both are likely to be wildly helpul to your family, should you or they find themselves in a similar situation. Please consider clicking on those links when you find some time.

Then, we're joined by the great NICOLE SANDLER of The Nicole Sandler Show who filled in for us, with absolutely no notice, over the past month (with some occasional help from Angie Coiro along the way) even as she did her own show as well nearly every damned day! Desi and I cannot thank her enough. Though we try to today.

Since Nicole filled in for us during what was clearly a very very slow news month, she gets us caught up on what we missed while we were "gone", from the Impeachment process now under way in the House in response to Trump's strong-arming of the Ukrainian President for (apparently false) dirt on Joe Biden and the 2016 election; to Trump's disturbing sudden withdraw of U.S. troops in the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria (and the death and chaos and escaped ISIS detainees and new deal cut between our previously-allied and now-abandoned Kurds and the Russian-supported Syrians in its wake); to the corporate media still falling for Trump's B.S. on everything from his "new impeachment attorney", former Rep. Trey Gowdy (who doesn't appear to have been hired after all) to his new trade deal with China (which may not be a deal after all); to the latest in the 2020 race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

After a month off the grid, we're wading gently back in today and this week with a little help from our friends. My thanks to so many of you for your kind words while we were gone, and our thanks to all of our listeners and affiliate stations for tolerating our unexpected and unprecedented absence! Hope you'll enjoy today's program as we gently get back into the swing of things...

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Guest: Cybsersecurity and voting systems expert Kevin Skoglund...
By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2019 6:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Questions about the results of a controversial do-over U.S. House election in North Carolina and about disturbing revelations from a secret reexamination of a wildly unsecure touchscreen voting system being deployed in Pennsylvania (and elsewhere) next year. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

At long last, NC's 9th Congressional District has held its do-over election, after a massive GOP Absentee Ballot Election Fraud scheme was uncovered to derail the contest last November. With a new Republican candidate, the very Trumpy state Senator Dan Bishop, and the same Democratic candidate, Marine vet Dan McCready (pictured above), the two faced off in the long-time Republican district on Tuesday. It had long been predicted to be a very close race, seen as a potential bellwether for 2020 and a referendum on Donald Trump, who, with Vice President Mike Pence, helicoptered into the district for last-minute rallies on Monday night.

According to the reported unofficial --- and unverified-by-any-human-being --- results posted by the State Board of Elections (SBE), the Republican Bishop defeated the Democrat McCready by just under 4,000 votes (a margin just over 2%) out of nearly 200,000 votes cast in the district, which is spread over parts or all of 8 counties. While Bishop's margin of victory is slightly more than 1% too large to allow for a candidate "recount", the county with the single largest share of the votes cast in the race is Mecklenberg, which forces voters to use 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems at the polls. So there would little to "count" there anyway. Most of the rest of the district votes on hand-marked paper ballots.

But even with the unofficial 2% spread, there may be reason for McCready's team to examine the results, despite his quick concession on Tuesday night after media outlets, using unofficial results, called it for Bishop. His quick concession followed a similar one last November, when he'd reportedly lost by less than 1,000 votes in a race that the NC SBE ultimately refused to certify due to the GOP election fraud for which seven contractors now face felony indictments. Given the fraud last time in NC09, and the importance that both Trump and the GOP had placed on this race in advance of 2020, one might think it appropriate to wait until all votes were at least canvassed by the state before conceding. Moreover, Democratic turnout during early voting outpaced Republican turnout by even more than it did during the very close race during last November's "blue wave" election.

But in a curious new twist, just before airtime today, another anomaly came to light, as shared with us by a listener that I detailed here with screenshots and video. As I break down at that link, video from MSNBC's coverage on Tuesday reveals that McCready, after leading in the vote count throughout the early part of the night after 52% of precincts had come in, was suddenly overtaken by Bishop once 55% of precincts had reported, according to MSNBC's chyron. While that's not unusual, what is unusual is that when it happened, McCready's vote tally actually DECREASED by more than 3,000 votes, even though more votes had supposedly been tallied! After that, Bishop retained a very similar lead for the rest of the night, ultimately "winning" by a margin just under 4,000 votes.

There could, of course, be a good explanation for the vote count appearing to go BACKWARD --- a typo at MSNBC, a transcription error at the SBE, a non-nefarious bad data transfer somewhere along the line --- we just haven't yet been able to figure out what it is yet. Bishop's total also decreased at the same point, but by just over 1,000 votes. If we do figure it out, of course, we'll let you know.

But those maddening anomalies underscore, yet again, the importance of the other big story we cover on today's BradCast out of Pennsylvania. There, a group of citizen election integrity advocates filed a petition some weeks ago demanding a re-examination of the state's newly certified ExpressVote XL voting system made by ES&S. The new 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting system (pictured above) was recently certified to be deployed in Philadelphia and other jurisdictions in the key battleground state of PA before next year's critical 2020 Presidential election. While PA's Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar, did, in fact, carry out the new examination of the system, as required by statute, apparently she did so in secret, employing the same company closely tied to ES&S that carried out the initially flawed certification testing, and did so in another state entirely (Colorado) with no notice or public oversight for the first time in PA history.

We're joined again today by KEVIN SKOGLUND, Chief Technologist for the Pennsylvania-based Citizens for Better Elections. He is a cybersecurity and voting systems expert and was one of the petitioners who joined us several weeks ago after the state agreed to the new examination. Skoglund, along with other long time election integrity advocates both nationally and in PA are outraged by the secret testing which, he explains, failed to even examine 7 of the petitioners' 10 cited concerns.

"This is the same company that did the initial examination. So, we're asking the people who gave the opinion the first time to give their opinion again. It doesn't really make sense," he tells me. "It's not a second opinion like you might get from a doctor." Moreover, he explains, "This was only a two-day examination. The lab that's doing this is not experienced in cybersecurity penetration testing. This is a voting system test lab that tests for the functionality of voting machines...These things are very technical in nature and they require specialists." In this case, it is a company who is actually paid by the vendor, ES&S, to test their systems.

As to those concerns which the examiners reportedly did bother to review [PDF] (in secret), they confirmed the petitioners' concerns. Nonetheless, Boockvar went ahead and recertified the new systems, citing new, additional procedures she hopes to impart to pollworkers next year as protection against the very serious security concerns cited by the petitioners and confirmed during the re-examination. One such concern, for example, is that the computer-marked paper ballot summary card produced by the ExpressVote's touchscreen system for theoretical verification by the voter before it is cast, returns back through the very same printer path after it is approved by the voter. That, Skoglund explains, would allow the voting system to change the voter's vote after they believe they have verified it for casting and counting by an optical scanner. New, similarly computerized touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices being deployed in other jurisdictions, such as Los Angeles County and Georgia (and in many other states before next year) appear to feature the same extraordinary security flaw.

"It's the craziest thing. This voting machines prints the information that you've selected on the screen onto a piece of paper, and then it presents it for you to review. And then, if you decide that it's acceptable, that piece of paper travels through a printer again before it's stored. So if you had a voting machine that was malfunctioning or manipulated or hacked, it could change that paper record before it gets stored. They 100 percent confirmed it," says Skoglund.

Other problems with the PA system include the fact that, due to the way it stores computer-marked ballots, the ballot secrecy of voters may be easily violated. Skoglund suggests the fight against these systems is not over by a long shot, and that the coalition of election integrity groups with whom he is working are reviewing their options for litigation in the days ahead. "We're definitely not giving up. We are not done contesting the certification of this machine."

As noted at the end of today's program, the woeful story of the likely unverifiable election in NC-09 underscores the important work being done by Skoglund and others BEFORE these dangerously unverifiable and easily hackable voting systems are deployed for U.S. elections in 2020...

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Guest: Ed Scruggs of Texas Gun Sense; Also: Bolton tossed out; Trump rallies, lies for GOPer in bellwether NC U.S. House Special Election...
By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2019 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Is it possible? Could gun reform really be coming to the gun-loving, GOP-run, NRA-controlled state of Texas in the wake of a spate of mass shootings in the Lone Star state? Our guest today, an expert in the matter, is surprisingly optimistic. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up, before we get there, some very quick news of the day. In a move that was a surprise, apparently, to even top White House officials, Donald Trump's very hawkish, very rightwing National Security Advisor --- his third --- John Bolton, was tossed out of his job abruptly on Tuesday morning. That's both good and bad news for several reasons, which we discuss, including the late day concerns about the man reportedly being tapped to replace him, who used to serve as a board member at an Islamophobic organization named as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

On Monday night, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence held rallies for the Republican candidate in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District U.S. House Special Election being held today. Though Trump won the district by some 12 points in 2016 and no Democrat has held its U.S. House seat since the 1960s, the GOP appears to be hedging their bets today by describing NC09 as a "swing district". NC election watchers are scoffing at those comments, citing them as coming from Republican officials in preparation for a potential loss by the extremely Trumpy Republican candidate Dan Bishop who is running in the do-over election against Democrat Dan McCready.

The race is being held to fill the nearly year-long vacancy after last November's contest in the district was never certified by the state, thanks to the discovery of an Absentee Ballot Election Fraud scheme engineered by a GOP contractor hired by the Republican Baptist preacher who had been running for the seat last year.

Tuesday's contest is being seen as both a bellwether for 2020 and a referendum on Trump's job performance. We'll have full coverage of reported results on tomorrow's program. But, at Trump's rally for Bishop on Tuesday night in Fayetteville, the President appeared to, once again, lie about the weather, just as he did during Hurricane Dorian. Those lies have now resulted in a crisis at the senior political level of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Then we're joined by ED SCRUGGS, President of Texas Gun Sense, a nonprofit advocacy group in the Lone Star state fighting for common sense --- and long overdue --- gun safety reforms. In the wake of two recent mass shootings in the state --- one a massacre that killed 22 at an El Paso Walmart last month and the other a rampage just two weeks later that killed 7 and injured more than 20 others in Odessa and Midland --- the previously very pro-gun, very pro-NRA Republican Governor Greg Abbott and his similarly pro-gun, pro-NRA Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, have been claiming that they are now open to reform of some of the state's gun laws in the very pro-gun state of Texas.

Scruggs was one of several reform advocates who met with the Governor following the Walmart shooting last month. He reports today that, in contrast with previous such meeting, both Abbott and Patrick brought "startling" and specific ideas for reforms themselves to the meeting planned for two hours, but which was extended to five. Among the measures discussed were expanded background checks to close the so-called "gun show" loophole (which was exploited by the Midland/Odessa shooter) and the possibility of "red flag" laws.

"Both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor actually had reforms that they brought to the table that they wanted the folks to consider there. Which was very unusual," Scruggs tells me. "I've never heard them speak that way. Two years ago, it never would have happened. It would have been unthinkable."

At the meeting, which occurred after El Paso but before Midland/Odessa, "Both the Lieutenant Governor and the Governor both said, 'Hey, we have this situation where people can get around the background check system. They can go on a private market and can get around it, and it's very dangerous'. And the Governor said, 'Well, that would be a crazy way to sell a weapon because how would you know that you wouldn't be selling a gun to a terrorist, or to a criminal.' Of course, these are things we've been saying for many years."

After the Midland and Odessa spree, Abbott even indicated he might not be opposed to ideas being discussed by state legislators regarding new restrictions on AR-style assault rifles used in a spate of mass shootings since Abbott has taken office as Governor. But, Scruggs explains, the devil will be in the details as far as what Abbott and Patrick may support --- and what the NRA will even allow them to. For example, he notes that Patrick has suggested ending "stranger-to-stranger" sales, while allowing for the ability to transfer firearms within your family, or to loan a gun to your friend or neighbor.

"Everyone agrees these stranger-to-stranger sales, the private sales that take place at gun shows, the sales over the Internet or out of the back of some guy's trunk in a big box store parking lot, something like that, we all know how dangerous and terrible those are. So, everyone seems to want to close that down. However, the catch is, if your exceptions for family transfer and transfer between friends is too large, you're just going to open up a new loophole again."

Nonetheless, Scruggs suggests that with the body count rapidly mounting in Texas and pressure being felt by Republican politicians facing very real demographic and political changes, even one of the nation's most staunchly pro-gun states may be on the verge of long-overdue reform. And if it can happen in Texas...

"There's a realization that's starting to set in where you have responsible gun owners saying, 'Hey, they've been so extreme now for so long, there's a backlash building, and I'm afraid if we don't do something now we're going to lose it all soon.' Because they know these shootings are going to continue. I think that's something that has really hung over the last few weeks in Texas. We're not done with this. So if you don't act, and there's another one, and then maybe there's another one, how much more difficult is it going to be?"

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, with more on the Trump-invoked NOAA scandal in the wake of Hurricane Dorian; an horrific potential death toll in the storm-ravaged Bahamas; and an investigation into what appears to be a corrupt anti-trust probe by the DoJ of four major automakers who made an agreement with California to lower auto-emissions and raise mileage standards in defiance of the Trump EPA's rollback of cost-saving and life-saving regulations enacted under the Obama Administration...

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(And we didn't even get to half of it!); Plus: Callers ring in on the Dem Primary, L.A. County's new unverifiable touchscreen vote system, more!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2019 6:08pm PT  

The weekend brought us another avalanche of news in the Trump Era. As usual, we try to catch up by focusing on the stories that actually matter. But, even at that, we couldn't get to half of what we'd planned for today BradCast. But we did have time for a bunch of great callers. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the many stories we cover today that they were calling in to comment on...

  • A federal judge has restored a nationwide injunction to block the Trump Administration's likely-unlawful new policy that bars asylum to migrants who travels to the U.S. through another country before entering the U.S.;
  • Former GOP Governor and Congressman Mark Sanford of South Carolina becomes the third major Republican candidate to announce his intention of running against Donald Trump for the party's 2020 Presidential nomination, after previously describing Trumpism as "a cancerous growth" and charging the Republican Party has "lost our way". His long-shot bid, joining former MA Gov. Bill Weld and former IL Rep. Joe Walsh, will be made all the more difficult now that the Republican Party in South Carolina, along with those in Nevada, Kansas and Arizona, have cancelled the GOP caucuses and primaries in those states for 2020 at the behest of our thin-skinned, cowardly, unfit President;
  • Next door in North Carolina, it now appears to be full-speed ahead for Tuesday's two U.S. House Special Elections which were imperiled for a time by Hurricane Dorian. While the storm resulted in some cancelled Early Voting days last week, most of those hours were made up with extended hours over the weekend, leaving Democrats with a larger share of the early vote in the 9th Congressional District than they even had during early voting in last November's "Blue Wave" election. The Republican candidate reportedly "won" that race by about 900 votes in a district held by Republicans since the 1960s. But the election was never certified after revelations of a massive GOP Absentee Ballot Election Fraud scheme. Both Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are in the 9th district on Monday night, with two separate rallies, for far-right GOP State Senator Dan Bishop in the do-over race against centrist Democrat Dan McCready. The contest is currently being characterized as a toss-up and is being regarded as a bellwether for the 2020 elections. The other race, in NC's 3rd Congressional District is to fill the seat of the late Republican Rep. Walter Jones in an even more "red", if Hurricane Dorian-battered, district on the state's coast;
  • And in D.C. today, Trump declared that year-long peace talks with Taliban officials and the Afghan government are now "dead". That, after Trump revealed his cancellation of a secret meeting that had been set with Taliban officials this week at Camp David --- on the week when the nation commemorates the 18th anniversary of 9/11 while the nation's longest war (in response to it) continues on with no end in sight despite campaign promises from Trump to end it;
  • We also briefly reference the plan announced today by Democrats on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to hold a formal vote this week to officially begin their impeachment inquiry of Donald J. Trump before opening up our lines to callers on all of the above and more.

    Among the additional topics on listeners minds today: The Democratic Presidential primary and the likely-disastrous move by Los Angeles County to replace its hand-marked paper ballot voting system with an ill-considered and 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting system (pictured above) before the 2020 Presidential elections. The new system (pictured above) was developed by its brainchild, L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan, who now refuses to appear on the show or answer our questions about the new, still uncertified system, as he used to. He calls it Voting Solutions for All People or VSAP. As one caller notes, the new system is shamefully being supported by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. One of them, longtime Democratic Supervisor Janice Hahn, has been (mis)representing the new system as an "exciting" "upgrade" from the previous system, despite the fact that the computer-marked "paper ballot" summaries the new system produces can never be known to reflect any voter's intent after an election in the nation's most populous voting jurisdiction. Similarly unverifiable touchscreen systems are being implemented in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas and other key states before the 2020 election, despite warnings against electronic Ballot Marking Devices from world-class cybersecurity and voting systems experts...

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Trump steals millions from hurricane ravaged bases; Creepy Fox 'News' zombie host; GOP scraps primaries for Trump; NC Special Elections threatened by Dorian; More House Repubs quit; And a musical happy ending...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2019 5:52pm PT  

We catch up on a whole bunch of stuff on today's BradCast, from Trump's ransacking of military hurricane recovery funds in order to pay for his border wall --- as Hurricane Dorian slams a military base in North Carolina that is still crippled from last year's Hurricane Florence --- to both the Horse Races and the Track Conditions for a bunch of upcoming elections between next week and next year. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of summary.]

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

  • Dorian ravages parts of the East Coast as the death toll rises in The Bahamas, and the President of the United States continues to spend time on his twisted, bizarre lies about his erroneous claims that it was going to hit Alabama;
  • At the same time, while an actual national emergency plays out, Trump's Administration is stealing $3.6 billion under the phony pretense of a "national emergency" in order to build his wall on the southern border. Hundreds of millions are being stolen from construction projects meant to help rebuild military bases in Florida, North Carolina and Puerto Rico after devastation from previous hurricanes over the past two years. That, as Camp Lejeune in NC hunkers down as Dorian hits, with blue tarps still serving as roofs on hundreds of structures there after Hurricane Florence last year. Lejeune is just one of scores of bases that Trump is robbing to pay for his wall, and there are bases in many other states losing millions as well, including in six states with Republican Senators facing reelection next year after voting for Trump's fake "national emergency". They will have to explain to voters why millions of dollars will not be coming into their local economies as previously allocated by Congress;
  • But, while those Senators may have trouble in their reelection bids, Team Trump is working to smooth his path to the GOP nomination. Politico reports the likely cancellation of GOP Presidential primaries and caucuses in at least four states next year where Trump might have faced embarrassing loses to several Republican challengers;
  • One of Trump's primary challengers, former Illinois Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh is none too happy about the GOP's attempt to rig the nominating contest next year for Trump by scrapping primaries and caucuses. Nonetheless, we congratulate the newly-reformed former Rep. both for his righteous efforts to call Trump out for the danger he poses to the nation, and for his somewhat chilling recent appearance on Fox Business Channel earlier this week with "Stepford" Stuart Varney, whose astonishing insistence that Trump has never lied to the American People is something that needs to be seen (or heard) to be believed;
  • Also, as Dorian strikes, voters in NC's 3rd and 9th Congressional districts are Early Voting in advance of next Tuesday's two U.S. House Special Elections there. Or, they are trying to, at least. We've got an update on poll closures due to the storm, extended hours set for this weekend, and some questions about whether either or both election may need to be postponed yet again because of the hurricane;
  • In California, a Democratic Congressman is facing an interesting challenge from a man with the exact same name...which leads us down a fascinating rabbit hole into instances when this has happened before (last year in another U.S. House race in Kansas, and way back in 2001, in fascinating local election in California);
  • Speaking of the U.S. House, GOP incumbents are racing for the exits, with yet another Texas Congressman announcing this week he will not seek re-election (the fifth to do so, so far, in the Lone Star State) and longtime Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner announcing his retirement as well. We've got memories, fond and otherwise, to share on the retiring Wisconsin Congressman (the state's second to call it quits this cycle.) So far, 13 House GOPers have announced they are getting out while the getting's good;
  • And, speaking of quitting, former Starbucks CEO and billionaire Howard Schultz officially declares that he is nixing his plans to run for President as a "centrist" independent, which many Democrats feared might help pave the way for a Trump re-election in 2020;

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Guest: Vox.com's energy and climate journalist David Roberts...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2019 5:55pm PT  

It's a very green BradCast today, but don't let that scare you away from hearing Bernie Sanders shout "DUUUHHH!" at Anderson Cooper. [Audio link to show follows below.]

As the twisted Trump Administration is attempting this week to roll back helpful regulations that enforce a bipartisan statute adopted in 2007 under George W. Bush that has saved millions of dollars for Americans while reducing vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions by lowering energy bills and usage with more efficient light bulbs, Democratic 2020 Presidential contenders had a few other ideas this week. In a first of its kind, town hall devoted to solutions to our global Climate Crisis, the ten current top contenders for the Democratic nomination --- Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Andrew Yang, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro and Cory Booker --- were granted 40 minutes a piece by CNN to answer questions and discuss their plans in a marathon 7-hour televised event on Wednesday night.

The result, as discussed today on the program with one of our favorite, if usually very cynical energy and climate journalists, DAVID ROBERTS of Vox.com, was surprisingly engaging and informative! "I will say that what happened was a thousand times better than a debate would have been," Roberts argues, citing the DNC's refusal to allow a single-issue debate focused solely on climate, while allowing for forums such as CNN's where candidates do not appear on the same stage at the same time.

"A climate debate when they only had 30 seconds at a time would have been a shallow, ridiculous show. This event turned out a thousand times better than I expected it to be," he tells me. "I expected a super-boring cliché fest, a bunch of shallow questions and shallow, cliché answers. 'Global warming is real.', 'We need to rejoin the Paris Agreement.' While the moderators varied in quality --- and Wolf Blitzer remains an embarrassment to cable news and to humanity --- overall, it was incredibly substantive and serious, beyond my expectations. I loved it."

We do our best today to make sense of the 7-hour event given the difficulty of doing so in the time available, which seems to somewhat mirror the difficulty of taking on climate change as a whole and the difficulty candidates have in articulating meaningful answers as they attempt (some more effectively than others) to overcome the difficulty of answering questions framed by the media to reflect rightwing and/or fossil fuel industry talking points.

Roberts offers his thoughts on both the successes and failures of the CNN anchors, the candidates responses, and on the often incredibly smart and insightful questions posed by audience members. Those, he describes with delight, were often far more substantive than the questions posed by the "professionals".

As to the actual substance of how to tackle the climate crisis as offered by candidates at the forum, we discuss their thoughts on how and if nuclear energy must play a part in solutions to the climate crisis; how some of the candidates pushed back on the idea that solutions must involve painful personal sacrifice (no, driving electric cars is not a sacrifice. "We are all going to love driving our electric cars!," Yang had to explain, over and again, to Blitzer); how government mandates already effect our food supply (often, adversely, thanks to corporate, profit-driven control of government institutions); whether the Senate filibuster must be dissolved in order to ever see real action that meets the existential challenges posed by global warming; and how candidates for office must reframe so many of these issues when discussing them with public and media, given years of corporate misframing adopted by media and politicians on the left and right alike (though especially on the right).

By way of one example, in response to Yang's comment on electric cars and Blitzer's harangue, Roberts notes: "That's the whole point about electric cars --- they're better! They're more fun to drive, they operate better, they accelerate faster, they need fewer repairs. This notion that it's all sacrifice is just what Republicans want. That's how Republicans want to frame the discussion. That's how they've wanted and attempted to frame every discussion about environmental policy going back four or five decades now. That's why it's sunk in in cable news land so much. They hear that from Republicans --- who they feature on their shows disproportionately --- all the time, so it just sinks in as a kind of background assumption. But it's absurd!"

We discuss all of that and much more, including Roberts' observations --- and often delightfully snarky views --- on which candidates excelled during the town hall and which ones too often fell for the bait offered by some of the CNN moderators.

Finally today, on what we promised would be a very green program, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with a bit more on the CNN Town Hall and coverage of Hurricane Dorian after the storm's two-day devastation of The Bahamas and it's current track threatening large swaths of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard....

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Guest: Dr. William 'DocDawg' Busa on that and two U.S. House Special Elections in NC as Dorian closes in; Also: TX shooting highlights 'gun show loophole'; Trump creates fake map to mask his AL hurricane lie...
By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2019 5:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast, w've got some very good news for democracy, for a change, today --- and it comes out of North Carolina of all places! But first, a few quick updates on some others stories we've been following recently on the program. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

  • Hurricane Dorian is weaker but larger after devastating parts of The Bahamas. The now-Category 2 storms is moving incredibly slowly northward, perilously close to the Florida Coast, and on a more direct path that could include landfalls in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and even Virginia. Massive storm surges and power outages are predicted for many of those states in the days ahead;
  • Following two recent mass shootings in Texas, one at a Walmart store in El Paso where 22 were killed by a white nationalist, the superstore chain announced a change to its policies on gun and ammo sales and is asking shoppers to no longer open carry weapons in their stores. Grocery giant Kroger has also now asked customers to leave their guns at home. In response, the terrorist-enabling NRA shot a letter to Walmart describing their new policy as "shameful".

    That, as law enforcement officials confirm that the gunman who killed 7 and injured more than 20 during a Labor Day holiday weekend shooting rampage in Odessa and Midland, TX had failed a federal background check for purchasing a firearm before buying his semi-automatic assault-style rifle through a private sale with no required no background check. The so-called "gun show loophole" in the federal background check law allows for private sales between friends and families, on a number of online forums, and via some vendors at gun shows. Such sales amount to an estimated 25% to 40% of all guns sales in the U.S., but NRA-controlled Republicans in Congress have refused for years to allow an up or down vote on measures that would close the loophole, despite overwhelming public support, including from members of the NRA;

  • Then, we get to the huge news out of the North Carolina Superior Court, where a three-judge panel (2 Dems and 1 Republican) unanimously ordered the GOP-dominated state legislature to redraw its state House and Senate maps before the 2020 elections. The court found the current maps to be partisan gerrymanders in violation of the state Constitution's Free Elections Clause, Equal Protection Clause, and Free Speech and Free Assembly Clauses. The current maps, as allowed for use in 2018 after the U.S. Supreme Court declared in early summer that federal courts may not block partisan gerrymandering, were themselves newly drawn after the ones created by state Republicans following the 2010 Census were found to have been racially gerrymandered in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The existing state legislative maps resulted in a 65 - 55 seat majority for the GOP in the state House, even after 2018's "Blue Wave" election when Democrats received 51% of the votes statewide to the GOP's 49%. The state Senate is similarly gerrymandered in favor of Republicans, as is NC's U.S. House map in the closely divided state where Democrats have held just 3 seats in the state's 13-seat Congressional delegation over the past decade.

    We're joined today once again by NC election expert and campaign consultant DR. WILLIAM BUSA of EQV Analytics, who is perhaps better known as "DocDawg" at Daily Kos. Busa breaks down what Tuesday's 357-page ruling [PDF] means for NC voters, describing "a court that clearly has had it up to here with the GOP's ten years of obstruction of justice in this matter."

    He believes the new maps will help "level the playing field" and possibility result in long-overdue Democratic majorities in one or even both chambers of the state legislature next year, though he details a potential GOP scheme to undermine the court's ruling that might explain the decision by Republicans to not appeal Tuesday's landmark order. "We won the vote" last year, he notes, "we just didn't win the map. If we win the map, we can win the vote again, and we'll have the whole shooting match."

    All of this is happening as two U.S. House Special Elections are currently underway in the state, with Election Day set for Tuesday (September 10) as the slow-moving Hurricane Dorian is creeping toward the state. One of the House elections will fill the seat vacated by the late Republican Rep. Walter Jones in NC's 3rd Congressional district which runs the entirety of the state's now-imperiled coastline. The other election, in NC's 9th district, is the long-awaited do-over election following the GOP Absentee Ballot Fraud Scandal last November which resulted in the State Board of Elections refusing to certify an extremely narrow reported "win" by the Republican candidate.

    What effect will the impending storm and all of these various controversies have on Tuesday's election --- if it is not postponed due to Dorian? Busa explains it all for us on today's action-packed program!

  • And finally, speaking of bad maps, we close today with the story of the somewhat mind-boggling and continuing attempts by Donald Trump to justify his false --- and potential unlawful --- repeated claims that Dorian was threatening the state of Alabama. It wasn't and isn't. But that hasn't stopped Trump from both lying about it repeatedly and today, incredibly, producing a clearly doctored map in the White House in hopes of supporting his obviously false claims...

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Guest: Veteran Weather Channel meteorologist Guy Walton...
By Brad Friedman on 9/3/2019 6:34pm PT  

There were a number of bullets dodged in the past few days, literal and otherwise, and some that, tragically, were not. We cover them on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Most of Florida appears to have dodged a bullet --- though Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina aren't in the clear yet --- after the deadly and incredibly slow-moving Hurricane Dorian, once a Category 5, heads to the north, grazing the coast of the Sunshine State after catastrophically devastating several large islands in The Bahamas. We're joined today by Atlanta-based, 30-year Weather Channel meteorologist GUY WALTON, who now tracks extreme weather and our worsening climate crisis at his website, GuyOnClimate.com. He offers insight into what has made Dorian such an unusual, deadly, and wildly unpredictable storm.

"Steering currents are being affected by climate change and, as more warmth gets put into the atmosphere, the weaker those steering currents are going to be," Walton, who has written a children's book on the climate crisis, tells me in explaining the "$250 billion question" about "where the storm is going to be going." He says the weakened steering currents are what allow storms like Harvey in Houston two years ago and now Dorian to basically stand in place. "Dorian stalled over the Bahamas, and in this case, that was extremely bad for The Bahamas but good for Florida. It's very unusual to have a system just stall like that."

"We're getting more Category 4s and 5s forming in the Atlantic basin, and they're forming quite rapidly. Dorian formed near Puerto Rico and it did give them some tropical storm force winds, but it was only a Cat 1 at the time, and it really didn't take it more than about 24 hours to become a Cat 5," he observes, citing the increased effect of climate change on these storms. "We've had four out of the last five years seeing Cat 5s. We've had Dorian, Michael, Maria, Irma, and Matthew. And two of the storms --- Michael and Maria --- hit the United States as 5s."

A number of Texas residents were much less lucky than Floridians over the Labor Day holiday weekend, as actual bullets were flying yet again in the Lone Star state in yet another mass shooting by another young American white man. This one in the West Texas towns of Odessa and Midland resulted in 7 killed, more than 20 injured, a cowardly, sputtering President of the United States who clearly hasn't a clue what to do about it, and a cowardly Texas Governor who, after recently loosening gun restrictions in Texas to allow weapons of mass destruction in public schools and churches, suggests he might finally be willing to take action that might actually help protect Texans for a change by curbing the scourge of gun massacres in the state since he's taken office. We wouldn't hold our breath for that action, however. Texas Governor Greg Abbot, like Donald Trump, is a Republican who lives in fear of the terrorist-enabling NRA and places his own political career over the actual lives of the people he is sworn to protect and serve.

Democratic voters in the 2020 caucus states of Iowa and Nevada, meanwhile, may have dodged figurative bullets thanks to a few experts who managed to hack a recent closed telephone conference call by the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee as they were considering approval of plans by those two states to add unsecure remote telephone voting options to next February's caucuses there. The new plans were being prepared in answer to the DNC's mandate enacted after the contentious 2016 primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in hopes of encouraging states to hold more inclusive primary elections rather than caucuses. If state parties chose to hold caucuses, however, the DNC is requiring them to add some form of remote voting option for those unable to attend hours-long, in-person caucuses. The remote voting plans in Iowa and Nevada, however, now appear all but dead, at least for 2020.

And, as we were just finishing up today's show, some more good news for Democrats --- and for all voters who believe in fair elections --- as North Carolina's State Superior Court issued a 357-page [PDF] ruling finding the state's GOP-gerrymandered legislative districts are unconstitutional and ordering new maps to be drawn before the 2020 elections in the closely divided battleground state. (Much more on that last story, undoubtedly, on tomorrow's BradCast!)

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

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