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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, February 28, 2021
Sunday 'Party Unity' Toons
Let's all come together for PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons...
SCOTUS Could Soon Kill the Voting Rights Act:
'BradCast' 2/26/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
Texans Pay Big Price for Enron-Like Deregulation
A Green New Deal didn't cause the Lone Star State's deadly power crisis, but it could help prevent the next one...
You Never Forget Your First: 'BradCast' 2/25/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with historian/author Alexis Coe...
'Green News Report' 2/25/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic Interior nom fends off GOP attacks; New USPS trucks won't be all-electric; TX deregulation cost users $28 billion; PLUS: TX refineries released tons of toxins during crisis...
Previous GNRs: 2/23/21 - 2/18/21 - Archives...
SCOTUS Puts Both Trump and Future Elections in Legal Peril: 'BradCast' 2/24/21
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Virginia is no longer for death penalty lovers...
Merrick Garland, Cyrus Vance and Trump Accountability: 'BradCast' 2/23/21
Guest: Marcy Wheeler; Also: SCOTUS ends 2020 GOP election challenges; GA Repubs' vote suppression bills...
'Green News Report' 2/23/21
TX power returns, water crisis continues; Repubs who lied about wind energy got big bucks from Big Oil; PLUS: U.S. officially rejoins Paris Climate Agreement...
Seeking Environmental Justice in the 'ALONE' Star State: 'BradCast' 2/22/21
Guest: Dr. Robert Bullard of Nat'l Black Environmental Justice Network; Also: COVID kills 500k; SCOTUS denies Trump; Dominion sues MyPillow guy for $1.3B...
Sunday 'Kick the Can' Toons...
Kick back with PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
Cruz Deserts Texas, NASA Returns to Mars: 'BradCast' 2/18/21
Guest: Margot Paez, formerly of 'BradCast' and NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab; Also: TX crisis spikes oil, gas prices...
'Green News Report' 2/18/21
Special Coverage: TX power grid devastated by deep freeze, death toll climbs, privatization to blame, RWers launch TX disinfo campaign to falsely blame wind power...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guest: NILC's Jess Hanson on what's next for DACA; Also: Another big win for Dems in MO, and GOP set to nominate Nazi for U.S. House in IL...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2018 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Several encouraging election-related news items for Democrats and others in the fact-based community, but still more troubling news for American immigrants and their families as DACA recipients are left out of a new Senate deal to keep the government open. [Audio link to show posted at end of article.]

We start with some of the good news for Democrats, as yet another special election on Tuesday has resulted in yet another state legislative seat flipped from "red" to "blue". This time it was a special election for the Missouri House in a district where Trump is said to have won by 28 points in 2016. The stunning victory continues a tidal wave of Republican seats picked up by Democrats since Donald Trump took office last year. There is less good news for Republicans, however, as a holocaust denier and actual member of the American Nazi party is now set to become the GOP's nominee for the U.S. House in Illinois' 3rd Congressional district this fall.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced a breakthrough agreement on Wednesday to keep the federal government funded and open in advance of Thursday night's shutdown deadline. The deal, if adopted by both chambers of Congress, would increase both military and domestic spending by some $300 billion, includes additional disaster relief to states rebuilding after last year's hurricanes, funds community health centers for several years, and increases the debt ceiling to avoid a government default, as lost revenue following the GOP's $1.5 trillion tax cut last year means federal borrowing must be increased sooner than previously expected.

The deal, however, does not include protections for "Dreamers", those who immigrated here with their parents years ago, who now face the possibility of mass deportation as early as March 5, after Trump reversed the Obama-era DACA program that had previously protected them. Some progressives and self-identified conservatives in the U.S. House oppose the Senate plan, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who took to the House floor today for a record 8-hour marathon speech to highlight the DACA issue and contributions made by hundreds of thousands of "Dreamers" who have lived here most of their lives.

Pelosi says she opposes the Senate bill and called on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to promise a vote on immigration issues, as McConnell has in the Senate. Freedom Caucus Republicans in the House also claim to be upset by the bill, thanks to its additional new government spending. So, it remains to be seen if today's breakthrough package will make it to the President's desk before the midnight Thursday deadline or not. Either way, it doesn't appear that a fix to DACA will be included, assuring more continued uncertainty for some 800,000 previously protected Dreamers who could soon face deportation.

We're joined today by JESSICA HANSON, attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, to discuss how a recent federal court ruling, temporarily blocking some of Trump's attempted DACA reversal, may effect his March 5 deadline for legislation to protect "Dreamers", as well as the rise of white nativism in the GOP, including Trump and his Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Hanson explains the "temporary reprieve" by a federal court ruling in California that has allowed "individuals who have had DACA previously to renew their DACA grant." But, she says, while NILC recommends such renewals, even where some may have already expired, she notes that those who never had DACA protection are still out in the cold, at the moment, as "the government took the unusual step of seeking to skip the 9th Circuit and instead appeal directly to the Supreme Court" in the ruling.

In response to recent remarks from Kelly, alleging that those not covered by DACA were "too lazy to get off their asses" and that he "doubts very much" Trump will extend the program beyond March 5, Hanson charges: "Those remarks reflect an ongoing, deep, white nativist sentiment with this administration that has shown itself over and over again."

We also discuss a number of other related issues, including Trump's lies about our legal immigration policies, such as the Diversity Lottery and Family Reunification programs that he is now trying to restrict and ties to a DACA deal ("The President has been completely misrepresenting these programs," explains Hanson, who describes it as yet another effort "to make America white again"), and concerns about millions of other American immigrants already being terrorized by detention, deportation and separation from their families, business and lives under Trump's radical anti-immigrant policies.

She joins NILC in decrying today's Senate deal, charging that "it is inexcusable that the Senate leadership has agreed to put immigrant issues aside" and explains that "the mainstream media could do a lot more to lift up these stories" about abuses by Trump's immigration enforcement agencies like ICE and CBP, "because a lot of people don't realize it's happening [and] have no idea that this is going on."

Finally, we finish up with a bit more encouraging election news for those still interested in facts and reality and science, as a record number of scientists are now lined up to run for office in 2018, on the state, local and federal level, in response to the Trump Administration and GOP's increasingly anti-science policies and positions...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Callers ring in on that and the weekend's massive Women's Marches; Also, PA's U.S. House maps struck down, natgas rig explodes in OK...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2018 6:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Trying to make sense of the Senate Democrats' decision on Monday to vote in favor of re-opening the federal government, following Friday's vote that resulted in a short shutdown over the weekend. Callers ring in on that today, the Women's March over the weekend, and a number of other late breaking news items. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Democrats in the U.S. Senate appear to have folded in their demand that Republicans protect 800,000 "Dreamers" in a short-term spending bill. In the bargain, they voted to re-open the federal Government on Monday, after a nearly identical bill was blocked from passage on Friday, resulting in a two-day shutdown of the federal government. The difference between Monday's vote and Friday's? A three week Continuing Resolution to fund the government, instead of a four week extension, and a promise (of sorts) from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on a measure to protect those 800,000 children of immigrants brought here years ago through no fault of their own, but who are now facing deportation beginning on March 5, following Donald Trump ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

On today's show we discuss the politics around all of this, whether Democrats were right to give in for now, despite polls suggesting the public by and large blamed Republicans for the standoff, the angry progressives and immigration advocates who are furious about it, and whether there's a chance in hell that Republicans will allow a real fix to DACA without being forced to do so through a full and extended government shutdown.

We take calls from listeners today on all of that, on the huge and absurdly under-covered Women's Marches held over the weekend in hundreds of cities, where anywhere from 1.3 to 2.1 million turned out --- not that you would know it from the lack of media coverage.

Also on today's show: A natural gas rig explodes in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania's Supreme Court orders the Republican-controlled state legislature to redraw gerrymandered U.S. House maps in time for the 2018 primaries which begin in weeks in the Keystone State. The PA ruling follows similar ones by courts in Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina, Florida and elsewhere, finding Republicans unconstitutionally discriminated against non-Republican voters in U.S. House and state legislative maps drawn after the 2010 census. Most of the rulings in those states, to date, have been delayed by the Republican's stolen U.S. Supreme Court, likely allowing the worst of the gerrymandering to continue into the crucial 2018 mid-term elections...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Plus: Our own 'Fake News' awards! And 2017 breaks heat records...
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2018 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Republicans have returned to form, via government by hostage taking. Vote our way or the kids get it it! [Audio link to show follows below.]

The chaos in Congress, as Republicans race to come up with a plan to avoid a Government shutdown this weekend, echoes what happened just last week as they they tried to pass a reauthorization and extension of the FISA Amendment Act in the U.S. House. Though GOP leadership and the White House had long lobbied for the reauthorization, Donald Trump unleashed chaos when he tweeted against his own bill. That legislation, which allows for warrantless surveillance of emails and phone calls by all Americans, ultimately passed after Paul Ryan called the President to explain it, and enough Democrats came on board to help them in the House. (It passed today, again with the help of Democrats in the Senate, and now heads to Trump's desk to be signed.)

On Thursday, as Congressional Republicans attempted to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government open --- after a long-term deal was plunged into chaos when Trump refused a deal that included immigrants from "shithole countries" --- Trump did it again. He tweeted against a GOP stopgap plan which includes reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The reauthorization, which both helps sick kids and saves the government billions of dollars, was included by Republicans in hopes of enticing Democrats to help them avoid a full government shutdown as of midnight Friday. Most Dems don't seem to be buying it --- despite Ryan, once again, calling the White House to get Trump back on board --- as they appear unwilling to help Republicans out of this jam without the inclusion of a fix to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Republicans refuse to include a fix to DACA, the Obama-era protection against deportation of some 800,000 children of immigrants, which Trump reversed, in their short-term measure. Dems say they won't support such a bill unless DACA is included. In other words, the children helped by both CHIP and DACA are now being held as hostages by the Republican Party. The measure squeaked by tonight in the U.S. House, but passage in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster, is far from certain.

Then, after Donald Trump's fake "Fake News" awards face plant on Wednesday night, we have a few real "Fake News" awards to offer, based on actual facts, as we reach the end of Trump's agonizingly long first year in office this weekend.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with bad news out of China, good news out of the Detroit Auto Show (and even from McDonald's), and some late breaking news from NOAA and NASA on the record heat of 2017, as man-made global warming continues apace in the new year...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Jeet Heer of New Republic...
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: An all too remarkable reminder that every vote --- every single vote --- matters. Or should, with control of the Virginia's House of Delegates and, potentially, healthcare for hundreds of thousands now at stake amid a remarkable "recount" in the state. Also, now that the massive GOP tax bill has been passed, are Democrats still relying too much on potential findings of the Special Counsel and the possibility of impeachment in 2018? [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

Just after our show yesterday, the Commonwealth of Virginia completed a partial-machine, partial-hand "recount" of one of last month's House of Delegates races that, by one single vote, appeared last night to hand the victory to the Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds. One single vote. If Democrats pick up that seat, it would, in turn, end decades of Republican-majority control of the House, with a 50/50 seat split among Ds and Rs. Before the November 7 election, Republicans held a 66-34 seat advantage.

It appeared, as of last night, to be a done deal, with the Dem having been declared the winner after the "recount" by one vote on the state's hand-marked paper ballots and the Republicans having conceded the race. (Virginia finally got rid of all of its 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems this after.) The bi-partisan election official judges signed off on Tuesday's new tally, handing the victory to Simonds over Republican David Yancey who had led by just 10 votes prior to the "recount".

But on Wednesday morning, a GOP election official judge had second thoughts about one ballot which, previously, the judges had unanimously determined to be an overvote --- with a selection in the bubbles for both the Democrat Simonds and for the incumbent Republican Yancey. The Simonds bubble, however, appears to have a slash through it. The rest of the selections on the ballot were for Republicans, though the choice for the Republican candidate for Governor also appears to have a cross through it, with no other candidate selected by the voter in that race. (The full ballot in question can be viewed here [JPG].)

So, after a two hour court hearing on Wednesday, it was decided by a three-judge panel that the race was/is a tie instead, with 11,608 votes for each candidate. That means control of the VA House --- and the increased possibility of health care coverage via Medicaid expansion for nearly half a million Virginians --- will be left up to a random draw to see who wins the seat.

There are, of course, still many questions about this story, which was still breaking as we went to air today. The "losing" candidate after the random draw will also be able to ask for a second "recount". We discuss all of those questions, the ballot, the "recount" methods used in the state, the state's published guidelines [PDF] for counting various types of questionably hand-marked paper ballots in VA, and much more related to this remarkable episode, including whether digitally scanned "Ballot Images" from Election Night may exist to determine whether the cross-out on the ballot in question was there originally or added somehow during the post-Election Night chain of custody. (The city of Newport News, where this election in the 94th District was held, does appear to have the type of computer-scanners that create digital ballot images, though I've yet to hear back from the Registrar if those systems were set to retain the images after scanning them.)

It should also be noted here that Democrats received some 53% of the vote, compared to just 43% for Republicans across the state when the entire House was up for grabs in November. Nonetheless, as things currently stand, Democrats may only achieve a 50/50 split in the House. That should offer an idea of how badly the Republicans have gerrymandered the state.

Also, a separate recount for a separate very close VA House of Delegates race is still pending, though Democrats there are suing for a completely new election, since at least 100 voters were given the wrong ballot in a race currently decided for the Republican incumbent --- before the "recount" --- by just 82 votes.

Then, we're joined today by JEET HEER, Senior Editor at New Republic to discuss the final passage of the GOP's massive tax cuts, largely for the wealthy, how Democrats are responding to them, and whether or not they are over-relying on the possibility of impeachment to take down President Trump as they head into the 2018 mid-term election year. Heer argued as much in a recent article discussing "the Democrats' dangerous obsession with impeachment". It's a highly debatable subject, about which I am of at least two minds, as discussed in detail with Heer on today's show.

Finally, we close with Bernie Sanders' late-night response to the passage of the $1.5 trillion tax bill in the middle of the night on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning in the U.S. Senate, and how the GOP is now planning to come for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in order to pay for it...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Election recount expert Chris Sautter of American Univ.
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2017 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was an all too rare moment of good news, of late, for Democrats and, indeed, the nation on Tuesday, after what appears to have been a stunning upset by Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's U.S. Senate Special Election. But Dems may not want to spend too much time celebrating. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Following Jones' apparent stunning victory on Tuesday, his highly controversial opponent has so far refused to concede or reportedly even speak to Jones. At the same time, despite Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's demand in 2010, when Democrats controlled the U.S. Senate, to wait to hold a vote on the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') until Republican Sen. Scott Brown could be seated after his special election in Massachusetts, the GOP appears to be barreling ahead with their plan to vote on their radical and wildly unpopular tax scheme in the coming days, before Jones can be seated. That, even after McConnell had held a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court open for almost a year, claiming that "the American people should have a voice" in who would be the next Supreme Court Justice during the 2016 Presidential election.

In the meantime, even after the voice of AL voters seems to have quite clearly said they want to be represented by a Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Moore suggested on Tuesday night that he may hold out for a "recount" of paper ballots processed by computer scanners across the state. AL's Sec. of State John Merrill told CNN Tuesday night that Moore has the right to do so, but election statutes in the state seem to say otherwise.

We're joined today by veteran recount expert, attorney, author and professor CHRIS SAUTTER of American University, to discuss all of this. Sautter, formerly an adviser to Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and many other Democrats, worked on the recount efforts by Al Gore in Florida in 2000 and Al Franken in Minnesota in 2008, among many other such efforts going back decades.

"I've been doing recounts now since the 1984 [U.S.] House recount in Indiana that was ultimately decided by 4 votes --- still the closest House race in modern times," Sautter tells me. "One thing I've observed is that in the heart of the narrowly-defeated candidate lies the belief that he actually won or at least the hope that a recount will somehow salvage a victory. It's another way of describing denial in an election that is close, heartbreakingly close, for the loser."

Sautter was also part of the team supporting the multi-partisan lawsuit recently filed in Alabama in hopes of forcing the state to retain digital "ballot images" created by their paper ballot computer scanners. Those images, many election integrity advocates argue, can be useful for public oversight of results, particularly in states like Alabama which make it virtually impossible for citizens to oversee tabulation of paper ballots, and which simply rescan them through the same computers a second time in the rare event of a "recount".

As we have been reporting, the transparency advocates who filed that lawsuit appeared to have won it on Monday afternoon, but by Monday evening, in a ruling that Sautter describes as "extraordinary" the night before the Election, the Sec. of State was successful in convincing the state Supreme Court to allow counties to destroy those "ballot images" altogether.

Sautter offers insight, among other things, as to Moore's chances of success in a potential "recount" (and of being allowed to have one at all under state law); on the bizarre circumstances under which the AL Supremes reversed the lower court's "ballot images" ruling at the last minute without input from the plaintiffs; and how he and other election integrity advocates hope to take their fight for transparency nationwide in 2018.

Finally, while Jones' apparent victory on Tuesday may have been good news for Democrats, Alabama, the nation as a whole (and even the Republican Party), we explain why what happened on Tuesday actually serves as a startling reminder of just how rigged against Democrats the electoral system is as they prepare to head into next year's crucial mid-term elections...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Election integrity advocate John Brakey; Also: Conyers resigns, Farenthold skates, RNC and Trump go all-in for Roy Moore...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If Donald Trump and fellow Republicans have their way, an accused child molester will become the next U.S. Senator from Alabama. But, in advance of next Tuesday's election, election integrity advocates are fighting to assure the possibility of oversight of the state's computerized election results. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But first up today, new wildfires exploded across parts of Southern California on Tuesday, in Ventura County and near Los Angeles, mirroring some of record fires that engulfed Northern California win country in October. Those fires killed more than 40 people and destroyed thousands of structures. While no deaths have yet been reported in the new blazes, tens of thousands of residents were forced to flee in the middle of the night and scores of houses have burned with thousands remaining threatened, as dry conditions and record winds are predicted to continue for several days.

Meanwhile, in Congress, allegations of sexual harassment continue to take a toll, as civil rights champion Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the longest serving member in the U.S. House, announced his resignation on Tuesday, following multiple allegations against him. On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) says he will repay the $84,000 Congress paid out to settle a 2014 sexual harassment claim against him. Unlike in Conyers' case, no members of Farenthold's own party caucus have publicly called on him to resign.

And, following Donald Trump's full-throated endorsement of Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore on Monday, the Republican National Committee has now restored funding and other resources for Moore, after previously pulling support in response to well-sourced allegations of sexual impropriety with a number of teenage girls, as young as 14, when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. Sitting GOP Senators --- like Utah's Orrin Hatch and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell --- have also walked back their initial condemnations of Moore, particularly as final passage of a massive Republican redistribution of wealth from the middle-class to the rich still relies on a thin partisan majority in the U.S. Senate. That, even as new evidence emerges to buttress the allegations against Moore.

Then, in advance of that December 12th U.S. Senate Special Election between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones next Tuesday in Alabama, election integrity advocates are eying concerns about the state's paper ballot computer tabulators.

I'm joined today by longtime election integrity champion JOHN BRAKEY of AUDIT-AZ to discuss his lawsuit and other efforts to force Alabama election officials to turn on digital "ballot imaging" functionality for all ballots on the state's computer ballot scanners, most of which offer the feature. Brakey explains how such images, in lieu of actual human examination of hand-marked paper ballots, can be helpful for public attempts at oversight of results following next week's race, particularly given the historic obstacles citizens have been met with in attempting to verify computer tabulated results.

(See, by way of just one example, my recent interview with Wisconsin's Karen McKim, whose public records request finally allowed, just weeks ago, a multi-partisan group of observers to examine paper ballots from the 2016 President election. That audit of several precincts in Racine County, paid for by the residents themselves, revealed up to 6% of perfectly valid Presidential votes went untallied, thanks to flawed optical scan systems used across the state on Election Night and, in much of the state, even during even during Green Party candidate Jill Stein's attempted "recount". Other wards which tallied by hand instead during that "recount" discovered as many as 30% of valid votes went untallied originally!)

Brakey explains that some 80% of Alabama counties now use newer digital scanners which would allow ballot images to be retained and shared with citizens to examine after the election, to help ensure an accurate count. But, he tells me, relaying his recent conversations with the state's Election Director, "the reality is that it doesn't work unless you turn that feature on." Right now, he says, it is only turned on for write-in votes only. Brakey charges, however, that automatically deleting images that are taken of every ballot as they are tallied by the digital systems, is a violation of federal law. "It's a federal election, and under federal law, you must save everything for 22 months," he says. He is heading to Alabama today and says he will file suit to force the state to retain all such images.

Why not just fight to view the actual paper ballots? Brakey explains: "You cannot get at the original ballots. They will not let you touch them. In order to get to them, you have to prove fraud first. And how are you going to prove fraud if you can't get to the ballots? That's the Catch-22. The ballot images are a tool to get us to the originals."

You can watch the colorful and inspirational Brakey in the film Fatally Flawed, documenting his years-long transpartisan fight in Tucson, Arizona, in hopes of examining the ballots from and verifying results of a controversial 2006 election. And you can donate to help Brakey's fight for Ballot Images in Alabama (and elsewhere) right here.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Trump's unprecedented (and Orwellian) roll back of protected national monument designations by former Presidents, and much more...

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Guest: Adam Levitin, Georgetown law prof and former CFPB adviser; Also: Kochs buy Time Inc.; GOP Senate must pass corporate tax cuts this week; Trump uses Native American slur at White House ceremony for Navajo...
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2017 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A rather extraordinary power battle, turf war, legal dispute is now being played out for control of the independent federal agency formed to protect consumers from fraud and deceptive practices by Wall Street banks and other large corporations following the 2008 global banking crisis and financial meltdown. [Audio link to show follows below.]

On Friday, Richard Cordray, the Obama-appointed Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) resigned to, likely, run for Governor of Ohio. As he did, he named his Chief of Staff Leandra English, as the new Deputy Directory, which means that, according to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that created the CFPB, English becomes Acting Director of the Bureau.

Nonetheless, hours later on Friday, Donald Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney, his own chief of the White House Office of Management and Budget --- and a long time foe of the CFPB, which he has described as a "sick, sad joke" --- as the new Acting Director of the important consumer agency. The White House claims the authority of a 1998 law, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, allows the President to make the appointment. A strict reading of the rule of law seems to suggest otherwise. But, today, we now have two different "Acting Directors" of the same federal agency.

We're joined on today's show by Georgetown University law professor and former CFPB advisor ADAM LEVITIN --- who warned about this potential showdown well before it came to pass --- to explain which law takes precedent, why Trump is so desperate to name Mulvaney as Acting Director rather than simply appoint a permanent chief at the CFPB, whether English's federal lawsuit filed on Sunday will prevail, and how the Trump/Mulvaney scheme represents several extraordinary conflicts of interest and a plan for a full regulatory capture of the (theoretically) independent executive agency.

Levitin describes this power battle as unprecedented in the U.S.. "The closest thing I can think of is Bush v. Gore," he tells me. "For two different people claiming a federal office, I can't think of any situation like this in modern times. This seems like it's something out of Game of Thrones, where there are multiple contenders for the same throne."

In other unprecedented Trump Era news today: A hugely profitable media outlet named Meredith Corporation purchased Time Inc. (including TIME magazine, and others) over the weekend, with the help of $650 million from the far-right Koch Brothers; The US Senate is making a desperate run this week for massive tax cuts for hugely profitable corporations (like Meredith and Koch Industries), at the expensive of low- and middle-class Americans who will end up with increased taxes and cuts to social services like health care; And, finally, Trump, during a solemn ceremony for native American Navajo code talkers, used an offensive racial slur in describing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as "Pocahontas". It didn't go over well...

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Callers ring in on the controversies plaguing AL's U.S. Senate nominee...
By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we were live today on our flagship station in Los Angeles, after the latest round of fund drives at KPFK/Pacific Radio, and had lots to discuss with callers in the wake of the Roy Moore mess and new developments and allegations. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Another accuser stepped forward on Monday, charging that Alabama's Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate Special Election, sexually assaulted her when she was a minor, while he was serving as District Attorney in the state. And, even prior to today's new allegations, the news for the GOP Senate was becoming increasingly grim by the hour following the Washington Post's explosive exposé of charges by four different women against Moore published late last week.

A new poll shows Moore's Democratic opponent, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, is now up over the controversial GOP candidate by 4 points, just weeks before the December 12th election, in the wake of the initial allegations that Moore sexually pursued four teenagers, one as young as 14 years old, in the late 70s and 80s.

Three Republican U.S. Senators rescinded their endorsements for Moore over the weekend and, on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on him to step aside --- without using the "if true" qualification he'd used previously --- saying that he now believed the women who had accused Moore. McConnel also added he is now seeking a write-in candidate willing to run, since it's too late to remove Moore from the ballot. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) head of the Senate Republicans' campaign committee, called on the Senate to expel the controversial far Rightwing "conservative" "Christian" if he wins. But some Republicans are now calling on Alabama's Governor and legislature to cancel the Special Election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions all together. (Good luck in federal court if they decide to take such an unprecedented move to cancel an election, because it looks like they may lose.)

And, of course, all of that was before yet another woman stepped forward on Monday to say that she was "attacked" by Moore as "a child". The new accuser says she feared Moore was going to rape her when she was 16 and she had to physically fight him off in his car, after she'd received a ride home from Moore, a regular patron at the restaurant where she worked as a waitress while he was a prosecutor in his 30s.

Meanwhile, Moore and his wife both claim the charges against him are all part of a "witch hunt" by media, the Republican establishment and the Democratic party and have said they plan to sue the Washington Post which reported the initial allegations last week.

We cover all of those late details, and then open the phone lines to callers today, to ring in on all of the above and much more!...

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Guest: John Nichols of The Nation; Also: More GOPers call it quits; Hearings on Presidential use of nukes; New bad news for Puerto Rico...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2017 5:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's kind of remarkable, but things continue to get even worse for Republicans this week. Worse even than the thumping they from Democrats at the polls on Tuesday. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

A bombshell investigative Washington Post report today details allegations of inappropriate sexual contact by Roy Moore, the controversial far-right, homophobic, anti-Muslim, religious zealot and twice removed AL Supreme Court Justice, who is also currently the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate Special Election in December. Moore is accused of inappropriate conduct with several teenage girls, one as young as 14, while serving as an Assistant District Attorney in his 30s. The charges have led to GOP Senators calling on him to immediately drop out of the race, even though the deadline for doing so before the December 12 election to fill the seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions appears to have passed.

Moore and his campaign vehemently deny the reporting as "fake news" by "the National Democrat Party" and Washington Post, though the now 53-year old woman at the center of the report has nothing to do with Democrats and voted for Republicans in the last three Presidential elections (including for Donald Trump). She, like the other women in the story, who do not know each other, reportedly had to be convinced to tell their stories to the paper.

We're joined today by The Nation's JOHN NICHOLS, progressive journalist and author of Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse, to discuss that stunning breaking news as well as the remarkable Democratic victories in Tuesday's elections up and down the ballot in VA, NJ and many other states. Nichols, a long time progressive champion, offers insight into the quickly escalating "chaos" for Congressional Republicans and the ongoing divides among progressives --- even in the wake of Tuesday's victories --- between grassroots activists and more establishment Democrats.

On the breaking Moore news, Nichols offers wryly: "Who would've thought, in what wild imagination might would you have possibly thought that a xenophobic, racist, lawless, just brutal character, by any measure, would turn out to be a bad guy? The story, if it is true --- and let us be fair, let's be more fair than Roy Moore would be --- if it is true, this is really scary, ugly, awful stuff." He adds: "I'm not sure that Roy Moore will stand down. Remember Roy Moore has made his career by not following the rules, not accepting political logic or reason, and also by absolutely denying that which appears in the media. He makes Trump look like a cautious, responsible believer in mainstream media."

As to electoral politics, Nichols agrees with my assertion "one hundred percent" that the Democratic Party establishment continue to underestimate their chances in "red" states and jurisdictions. He cites, for example, the lack of support previously given to Moore's Democratic opponent, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, "an exemplary candidate for this position, with some unique abilities to pull together the traditional Democratic coalition in Alabama" where, he argues, "you can build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, urban-rural coalition."

Nichols goes on to describe the "amazing day for the Democrats" on Tuesday, while noting that "a heck of a lot of it was dumb luck," given the mood of the country toward Donald Trump. He argues Dems might have done even better had they "put a candidate on the ballot in every district, and [found] ways to get resources and support to that candidate, because you have the potential, in a wave election, of winning in places you could never win." He cites a number of progressive and minority candidates, some "abandoned by Dems", who ending up winning nonetheless. "What we want to take away from Tuesday night is that where Democrats thought outside the box --- where they pushed harder, did more interesting things --- they won!"

In the bargain, he adds, for Republicans in Congress, the result is now utter "chaos" and he believes the current tax cut proposals by the GOP may never even get passed at all, at least not as current proposed.

Also today on today's show: As expected, still more top GOPers in the U.S. House announce they will not run again in 2018 following Tuesday's thumping; Outgoing Senator and Trump adversary Bob Corker (R-TN) announces long-overdue hearings in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (which he chairs) on Presidential authority to declare war and deploy nuclear weapons; And Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' on, among other things, U.S. isolation on the world stage regarding climate change and some late breaking newly bad news for Puerto Rico, nearly two months after Hurricane Maria made landfall to devastate the island...

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Guest: Congressional reporter Alice Ollstein of TPM; Also: Trump meets with Puerto Rico Guv, gives himself a '10' on Hurricane Maria response!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump declares the U.S. government response to the devastating Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico couldn't have been better, and a bi-partisan effort in the U.S. Senate gains support, but struggles to overcome the President's sabotage of ObamaCare and schizophrenic response to the measure. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, the President met with Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló at the White House on Thursday, and gave himself a "10 out of 10" rating for his federal government's response to the disaster and ongoing humanitarian crisis following Hurricanes Maria and Irma on the island of 3.5 U.S. citizens. During the sometimes uncomfortable 30-minute press avail, Trump sought approval for the response from an on-the-spot Rosselló.

The official death toll after Maria stands at 48, though independent analyses put the number of dead at more than 400. The power grid is still down across the vast majority of the island, and many are still struggling for fresh running water, though CNN offers some good news today regarding the many desperate citizens who had been drinking from wells at toxic Superfund sites.

Then, following Trump's announcement late last week that he was cutting off subsidy payments mandated by the Affordable Care Act (or 'ObamaCare') to help cover out-of-pocket health care expenses for low-income Americans, a bi-partisan agreement was struck in the U.S. Senate to pay those Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSR) subsidies. Trump originally lauded the deal announced between Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) on Tuesday. But he has since flip-flopped on support of the bill by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Health Committee in the 48 hours since. Trump's cut-off to those CSR payments has already resulted in health care premiums sky-rocketing around the country, including in states like Pennsylvania, where, its insurance commissioner announced Monday, rates are now set to soar some 30% for many in 2018.

We're joined by TPM's Congressional reporter ALICE OLLSTEIN from the Capitol today for the latest on what the Alexander-Murray measure, now co-sponsored by some 24 U.S. Senators from both parties, would actually do; how members are reacting to Trump's predictably unpredictable roller-coaster responses to it; how each party is attempting to sell the bill to its members; and whether GOP leadership will even allow the legislation to come to the floor for a vote, much less whether it can be passed by the Senate or the even more rabidly-opposed right-wing members of U.S. House.

Trump "has been all over the map on this," Ollstein explained, when I asked about the response on Capitol Hill to his ever-shifting statements. "Every time he opens his mouth, it's a new and confusing statement. No one has any idea, really, where he stands on this. So I think they're just trying to rally as many votes as they can, and worry about the President later."

"Keep in mind, this bill is coming kind of too late to make anything better for 2018," she says. "If they had gotten it done by mid-September, the insurers could have lowered their rates and prevented some of the big increases we're seeing. Now they blew past that deadline because they wanted to take one more whack at repeal, which failed. So now it's all about stabilizing the market, preventing additional chaos, and we won't really see the benefits of this until [the] end of 2018, beginning of 2019. That's right when the midterms are going to be. And so does the Republican leadership want their members to face re-election amid all of this healthcare chaos that they might get blamed for, as many polls indicate?"

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the newest GOP scheme to allow drilling in the pristine Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to export oil to China; updates on the deadly wildfires in CA and storm disasters in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands; and some very good news indeed regarding electric vehicles...at least in Europe.

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice', so-called 'Values Voters'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast,something's happening here. Or is it? [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On the climate front, something is definitely happening. As of air time, three were killed in Ireland --- yes, Ireland --- from what, over the weekend, had been a Category 3 hurricane named Ophelia. It is the farthest east and north that a major Atlantic hurricane has ever been recorded. We also explain why the storm turned the blue Irish sky into an eerie orange as it came ashore.

In California, at least 40 are dead with nearly 200 still missing as of airtime and some 5,700 houses and commercial structures completely incinerated after more than a week of record wildfires have ravaged Northern California's wine country and other areas. The blazes follow California's record drought, then wettest winter ever, followed by its warmest summer ever --- all symptoms of the global warming which helped fuel the conditions that thousands of fire officials are still battling across the state. Donald Trump made his first public remarks about the deadly CA fires today, over a week since they broke out, when pressed at a hastily convened White House press conference (with hostage Mitch McConnell at his side.)

In related news over the weekend, an oil rig platform blew up in Lake Pontchartrain north of New Orleans, injuring seven (three critically), with one worker still missing. And the US-armed and trained Iraqi army faced off against the US-armed and trained independent Kurdish army in battles over oil fields in Northern Iraq. The US arms industry is, no doubt, rejoicing in the wake of Trump's increasingly chaotic and incoherent foreign policy, even as Iraq's Prime Minister had just days earlier described a possible military confrontation with the Kurds as "fake news". (Sound familiar?)

Then we're joined by the one and only HEATHER 'DIGBY' PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo blog to discuss whether something is actually happening inside the White House and among Republicans in Congress as Trump's Fox "News"-fueled (read: largely fact-free) versions of both foreign and domestic policy have begun to catch up with him, and as his fury is reportedly increasing with his failure to enact any substantive legislative policies nearly nine months into his Presidency.

"This is like a cry for help that's coming from inside the White House," she tells me, citing numerous reports from dozens of sources, "that the man is losing it." But, she warns, if "cowardly" Democrats in Congress are waiting for their Republican counterparts to actually do something about it, they may be waiting a while. She descries the GOP as "the worst-of-all-possible-worlds cowardly. 'Sure, let's threaten nuclear war, let's have the entire world look down on us, let's have all soft power by the United States be completely destroyed because, you know, I might lose my seat and that's just too much.' I mean, these people are really, really cowardly."

Also over the weekend, Trump spoke at the far-right Family Research Council's so-called "Values Voter Summit" in D.C., where the "alt-right" has apparently merged with the "religious right". It was as insane as you might expect, but the question Parton speaks to is why Trump's so-called "religious right" base still buys the immoral nonsense and lies he keeps selling them.

"The idea that these Christians are seeing him as some godly creature who somehow has a biblical world view," she muses incredulously, "this is not what I had ever thought, growing up, was the standard Christian world view. They're not living in that world."

Finally, speaking of "fake news", Trump himself unleashed some remarkably fake news regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "ObamaCare"), by blatantly lying about it before a cabinet meeting today at the White House when he asserted to the gathered media: "Obamacare is finished. It's dead. It's gone. You shouldn't even mention it. It's gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare any more."

Despite Trump's unforgivable lie, the ACA is still very much federal law. Open Enrollment for 2018 begins at HealthCare.gov, where tens of millions have signed up for and received access to health care and federal subsidies to help cover its costs, on November 1...

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Guest: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center; Also: PA Congressman resigns in scandal, NRA gives (some) cover to GOP on gun safety regs...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More corruption by top Trump Administration (and other) officials than we can barely squeeze into a single show. And most of it largely revealed over just the past week or so! [Audio link to full show follows below.]

As we go to air, staunch anti-choice "conservative" Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) announces he will resign from the U.S. House following the revelation of text messages with his mistress in which he is said to have advised her to have an abortion. Murphy, the only clinical psychiatrist serving in Congress, is the author of the GOP's mental health care reform legislation passed last year, supposedly in response to a number of mass shootings. Mental health reform is still the GOP's only legislative answer to our gun epidemic and public health crisis in the U.S.

However, today the NRA gave permission to Republicans to "politicize" Sunday's massacre in Las Vegas by calling on the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to review its regulations regarding "bump stock" devices that can turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic weapons. The shooter in Vegas who shot nearly 600 people, killing 58 of them in a matter of minutes from his 32nd floor hotel room, reportedly used a number of those devices to carry out his bloodbath. It should be noted (as we do), that such a change in regulation would still not necessarily require the NRA-owned Republican members of Congress to vote on any new gun safety legislation.

Then, we're joined by BRENDAN FISCHER of the Campaign Legal Center to discuss a tidal wave of corruption issues recently revealed about top Trump Administration officials. Among those issues: Jared Kushner is fined again for filing late financial disclosure forms, after revising them dozens of times, while giving different numbers on his forms than his own wife, Ivanka Trump, did regarding joint assets. (She was also forced to amend her own forms several times); Kushner and Ivanka and half a dozen other top Admin officials used private email addresses (and lied to Congress about them) for public business in the White House. Lock them up!); The heads of the EPA (Pruitt), Interior (Zinke) and Treasury (Mnuchin) all have issues regarding tens of thousands of dollars of tax-payer funded travel on private and military chartered jets, after Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was finally forced to resign for spending nearly $1 million on same last week; and the Secret Service now claims they kept no visitor logs at Mar-a-Lago during Trump's many weekends there over the past eight months.

Fischer explains why all of those issues of "trickle down corruption" actually matter --- even in the Trump Era beset by otherwise distracting daily crises. He also discusses Republican U.S. Senate nominee and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's failure to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of both own income and liabilities on his U.S. Senate ethics filings and why the partisan gerrymandering case, Gill v. Whitford, as heard earlier this week at the U.S. Supreme Court (much more on this from yesterday's show), is so important to overcoming all of the nightmares discussed on today's show.

"It's really like drinking from a fire-hose when it come to trying to track some of these ethics violations," Fischer, Associate Counsel at CLC, tells me. "And this comes from the top. This comes from President Trump entirely disregarding ethics laws, rules and norms that past Presidents have followed voluntarily. This entire disregard for the laws that are on the books --- that are designed to guarantee that public officials are working for the public rather than private interests --- has permeated the entire administration and is now trickling its way down to down-ballot races, like this Senate race in Alabama."

Plus: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with updates on Puerto Rico's ongoing Hurricane Maria disaster, as well as the billions of tax-payer dollars spent due to global warming and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

And, finally today, a bit of breaking news on Trump's reported plans to try and "decertify" the 2015 anti-nuclear agreement with Iran, despite his own Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and Chairman of his Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon all recently agreeing that Iran is in compliance with the hard-won 7-nation treaty...

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Guest: David Daley of FairVote.org on 'Gill v. Whitford'; Plus: Updates on the disaster in Puerto Rico, gun massacre in Las Vegas...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2017 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the future of American democracy itself is once again in the hands of a now-stolen U.S. Supreme Court, in what democracy advocates describe as a case that is likely to help determine the partisan balance of Congress and state legislatures for decades.

But, first up today: Updates on Donald Trump's embarrassing Tuesday jaunt to hurricane-torn Puerto Rico, where the official death toll has now doubled from 16 to 34 and is expected to go much higher as 3.4 million U.S. citizens on the island still face desperate circumstances with food and water shortages and 95% of the island remains without power two weeks after Hurricane Maria (despite Trump's bizarre claims to the contrary.) Also, a few updates on what little more we now know about the massacre in Las Vegas on Sunday, the lack of a known motive for the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and the shamefully transparent attempts by both the White House and Congressional Republicans to avoid any legislative policy action in its wake.

Then we move on to what democracy advocates describe as one of the most important cases to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in years. Oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford were heard on Tuesday. That is the case where a three-judge federal court determined the state of Wisconsin had used severe (and secret) partisan gerrymandering to redraw district maps after the 2010 census. In so doing, despite receiving a minority of votes (48.6%) after the new maps were drawn, Republicans gained an extraordinary 60-to-39 majority in the State Assembly.

The GOP is now appealing that federal court ruling to SCOTUS, which has held racial gerrymandering to be unconstitutional in the past, but has never ruled on whether purely partisan gerrymandering, as in this case, violates the Constitutional rights of voters.

We're joined by the man who wrote the book on modern-day gerrymandering, DAVID DALEY, author of Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. Daley, formerly Editor-in-Chief at Salon, now Senior Fellow at at FairVote.org, spent the night on the sidewalk outside the Court on Monday, to get one of 50 seats at Tuesday's hearing.

He explains how high the stakes are in this case (which could result in court challenges to electoral maps in virtually every state in the union), the arguments presented by both sides in the matter, and how everyone --- attorneys and Justices alike, were focused on making their case to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will most likely determine the course of U.S. democracy for decades to come, thanks to the Republicans' stolen 5 to 4 majority on the Supreme Court itself.

"This case is everything," Daley tells me. "If this case is not decided on the side of democracy, on the side of competitive elections, there will be nothing to stop Republicans, who are likely to be holding the pens in all of these states in 2021 from doing the same thing, only with more sophisticated technology that's developed over the last decade, with better data analytic skills than they had in 2011, with stronger predictive algorithms to try to figure out where people are going to live and how they are going to vote for the next decade. It will be 2031 before Democrats get another shot at the maps if this case is decided the other way."

Daley sees the case now before the Supremes as "potentially bigger" than either 2010's Citizens United, which gutted campaign finance laws, or 2013's Shelby County, which gutted the Voting Rights Act. "This is the future of our democracy right here."

"Republicans reinvented the gerrymander in 2010 and 2011. This is not the same kind of gerrymander that you had 'back in the day.' This is different," he insists, as I press him on whether Democrats are carrying out the same type of partisan maps in states that they control. "This is space-age extreme gerrymandering on steroids. It has given Republicans huge advantages in all of these states that they control. Ohio, a very swing state, is represented by 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Michigan is 9-5, even though Democrats in 2012 got a quarter of a million more votes. These are 50-50 states and it has made our politics deeply uncompetitive. There's no swing in these swing districts. You have not had a single seat go from red to blue in any of those swing states. On these maps, no seats have gone from red to blue this entire decade."

Incredibly, the Republican Justices other than Kennedy seem to believe the matter should not be decided by the courts, but should be left to the same rigged legislatures which created this mess in the first place. "In Michigan, this last decade," he notes, "Democrats have gotten more total votes every time. Republicans have kept control. This is the case in state after state. They have enshrined this problem. We need the Court here to come in and fix democracy"...

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Guest: Legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Trouble in TrumpLand continues, but we're all paying the price for it --- and likely will for decades to come. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price is out. He’s just the latest top Administration official to be fired or to resign during the first eight chaotic months of this Administration. Price, who claimed to be a fiscal conservative during his years in the U.S. House, had come under fire for spending hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars on chartered private and military plane travel since taking office, even while working to take health care away from millions of Americans. Several other top Trump cabinet officials (EPA’s Pruitt, Treasury’s Mnuchin, Interior’s Zinke) are also now under the spotlight for similar travel issues, even though Price's corruption, while in the U.S. House, was an open secret completely ignored by the GOP Senate during his confirmation.

Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, the situation on the ground following Hurricane Maria continues to deteriorate, despite Trump and his Acting Director of the Dept. of Homeland Security declaring the recovery effort "a good news story", to date. The Mayor of San Juan urgently and desperately disagrees.

Then, speaking of U.S. Senate Republicans rubber-stamping Presidential nominees no matter how extremist, crazy or corrupt they may be, we're joined by Slate's legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN to discuss what he describes as the Trump Administration's attempt to lay the groundwork for overturning marriage equality. Yes, really.

While it seems impossible to imagine, Stern makes his case --- a disturbing one --- after we discuss whether a High School principal in Louisiana has the legal right, as threatened, to suspend student football players for taking a knee in peaceful protest during the national anthem.

The letter sent this week to students and parents by Parkway High School's Wayne Bates "made my jaw drop to the floor," Stern says, going on to detail well-established SCOTUS rulings on the First Amendment in schools. “You just can't do that. Students have a fundamental free speech right to take a knee during the anthem. And if this principal goes any farther with this crazy campaign, he's gonna get slapped with a lawsuit that is going to make his hair fall out.”

But, how interested are Trump’s judicial appointees in maintaining “settled” law? Stern warns that with some of Trump’s lifetime appointees still likely to still be serving on the federal bench as late as 2067, a long list of extreme Rightwingers now been confirmed by Senate Republicans, same-sex marriage rights are not nearly as secure as many of us may think.

“Republicans are completely ruthless in their endeavor to stack the court with wackadoodles,” he says. “And Democrats need to get their act together, or the world is going to be incredibly bleak in 2067 --- so bleak that Trump judges may be the least of our problems.”

Finally, Stern has a few choice thoughts on the unapologetic rightwing extremism of illegitimate Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, as the Court returns for its first full new term with a stolen Republican majority...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Trump dismisses Puerto Rico's humanitarian crisis after Maria, pushes U.S. closer to (nuclear?) war with North Korea, and more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2017 5:49pm PT  

On today's very busy, very newsy BradCast, we try, once again, to focus on the issues that actually matter. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the many stories covered on today's show:

  • It's National Voter Registration Day! Are you registered to vote? Are you sure about that? Are you really sure?;
  • Republicans in the U.S. Senate finally throw in the towel (again) on their latest scheme for killing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), which would have taken away health care from "millions" of Americans. But is this really the end? (Might we suggest Bernie Sanders' "Medicare-for-All" instead, Mr. President?);
  • The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria worsens. Rather than take action, Donald Trump tweets insults appearing to blame the 3.5 million American citizens who live there for their woes after the devastating Category 4 storm;
  • Trump continues to issue threats to North Korea, with one expert now putting the odds of a conventional war with the isolated Asian nation at 50% --- and of nuclear war at better than 1 out of 10!;
  • A new and very careful academic study finds thousands of eligible voters were prevented and/or deterred from voting in just two of Wisconsin's largest counties in the 2016 Presidential election, thanks to discriminatory Republican Photo ID voting restrictions in the state;
  • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with updates on Puerto Rico after Maria, toxic exposure and cleanup in Texas after Harvey, and how global warming has made all of those dangers much worse;

And, finally, The Daily Show's Trevor Noah perfectly sums up Trump's ginned-up "controversy" over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem in solemn, respectful protest of racial injustice, in just 22 seconds...and it even rhymes!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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