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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, October 25, 2021
Sunday Spooky Toons
Be very afraid. Just in time for the holiday...It's PDiddie's latest collection of the week's scariest editorial toons...
Anita Hill Still Changing the World, 30 Years Later: 'BradCast' 10/22/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with author, lawyer, Brandeis University professor Anita Hill...
The Good with the Bad: 'BradCast' 10/21/21
House holds Bannon in contempt; TX Lt. Gov. pays out for GOP voter fraud; CA GOP's recall boondoggle; Vets dump Sinema; Manchin could dump Dems; TX steals minority House seats; IL boosts Dems (a little)...
'Green News Report' 10/21/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
We're making too much fossil fuel; Climate change imperils millions, study finds; CA expands drought emergency; PLUS: Cutting emissions is hard, but will lower energy bills...
Previous GNRs: 10/19/21 - 10/14/21 - Archives...
'A One-Way Ratchet': Biden's SCOTUS Comm. Does GOP's Bidding: 'BradCast' 10/20/21
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: 'Contempt' for Bannon; Manchin, Sanders in talks; GOP Senate blocks voting rights again...
'Despair is Not an Option' After Manchin Tanks Biden's Central Climate Plan: 'BradCast' 10/19/21
Guest: UCSB's Dr. Leah Stokes; Also: 'Mass homicide' allegations for Brazil's Bolsonaro...
'Green News Report' 10/19/21
Manchin blows up Biden's climate agenda; EPA to crack down on PFAS; Million of polluting, abandoned U.S. wells; PLUS: McDonald's finally going beyond meat...
Listeners on Whether Ds Should Gerry-mander 'Blue' States: 'BradCast' 10/18/21
Also: How the unvaxxed helped kill Colin Powell; How Manchin is killing Biden's climate change plan...
Sunday 'Democracy's Boundaries' Toons
PDiddie draws a few lines in his latest collection of the week's best toons...
Why Dems Should Gerrymander 'Blue' States (& Why They Shouldn't): 'BradCast' 10/15
Guest: FairVote's Dave Daley; Also: Freedom to Vote in the Senate; GOP physics in VA...
'Green News Report' 10/14/21
Supply chain disruptions spike energy prices; Russia says they didn't do it!; CA bans gas-powered leaf blowers; PLUS: Biden Admin goes big on offshore wind...
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: UC-Berkeley's Philip Stark; Also: Deadly edicts by FL, TX Guvs and Recall candidate circus in CA underscore importance of defeating GOP attempt to unseat Newsom amid pandemic, climate crisis...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2021 6:56pm PT  

California Republicans know they can't win normal statewide elections. Hence, the attempted Recall election of progressive Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom amid several crises that the GOP candidates hoping to replace him will make considerably worse. But now, voting system and cybersecurity experts tell The BradCast there is reason to be very concerned about the voting and tabulation systems used in some 60 percent of the state, following the recent theft and release on the Internet of Election Management System software, allegedly by a far-right County Clerk in Colorado during the MyPillow CEO's so-called "Cyber Symposium" last week in South Dakota. One of those experts joins us to explain the concerns, and what can be done about it, today. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

But, first up, the circus of some 46 candidates on the ballot hoping to become Governor of the nation's most populous state, if Newsom is removed by the first question on the Recall ballot, serves as a reminder that this special election, while seemingly ridiculous, is also potentially deadly for residents of the Golden State. Nonetheless, recent polling suggests that it is currently a dead heat as to whether Newsom will be removed and then replaced by someone likely to get little more than 20% of the vote on the ballot's second question about who should take his place.

In the middle of a debate between several GOP "front-runners" on Tuesday in Sacramento, one of the candidates, multi-millionaire John Cox (the guy who actually campaigns with a grizzly bear), got served in a Court process as he was introducing himself, as "ordered" by a San Diego Superior Court Judge finding that he owes about $100,000 to a contractor the Republican businessman failed to pay during his failed run against Newsom in 2018.

While neither of the top Republican or Democratic candidates on question two of the ballot were at the debate (Trump-loving, climate change denying, woman-hating Rightwing radio talk-show host Larry Elder and Democratic real-estate millionaire Kevin Paffrath), both of them oppose Newsom's mask and vaccination mandates. The BRAD BLOG's Ernie Canning, in a "Progressive's Guide to the California Recall" published today, explains why CA voters must vote "NO" on the Recall's first question, before he goes on to explain who he believes progressives should support on question two.

Sky-rocketing rates of infections, hospitalizations and deaths under GOP Governors like Florida's Ron DeSantis and Texas' Greg Abbott (who tested positive himself on Tuesday), should serve as another reminder of the importance of both elections and having Governors who do not place political ambition over science. Despite pleas to the contrary from health officials, both DeSantis and Abbott have issued edicts blocking local governments and school districts from instituting mask mandates, even as hospitals in both states are reaching or exceeding capacity, and children under 12 (unlike Abbott and DeSantis) are ineligible to become vaccinated. (Fortunately, President Biden reiterated today that the federal government will cover the salaries of school officials who chose to protect children, even if their paychecks are cut by the TX and FL Governors. And one school district in TX has come up with a very clever way of trying to get around Abbott's ban on mask mandates.)

Meanwhile, thanks to Newsom's various statewide mask and vaccine mandates here in California, infection, and death rates are all now coming back down once again.

Of course, facts such as these mean little to those pushing for the removal of Newsom, and many on the right have demonstrated of late that there is little they won't do in order to "win" an election. Thus, the theft and release of important voting system software by a far-right County Clerk in Mesa County, Colorado last week during Mike Lindell's "cyber symposium" (at which he didn't release the promised "absolute proof" that China stole the 2020 election from Trump), has a number of actual cybersecurity and voting system experts very concerned today.

We've been covering this story in detail over the past week, as both the national media and California media haven't covered it at all. But they should. Colorado media finally jumped in, a bit, this week after their Sec. of State on Monday announced that Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters --- who appeared on stage several times at Lindell's forum last week --- was behind the theft and copying of two hard drives at the Mesa County Election Division containing Dominion Voting's Election Management System (EMS) software.

Democratic CO Sec. of State Jenna Griswold's office, in a news release Monday night, explained how Peters pulled off the heist with two accomplices in the middle of the night back in May, before the software was released into the wild during last week's symposium. Since then, we have reported on this show about the concerns expressed by voting system and cybersecurity experts like Harri Hursti, who warns that the release of the critical software "lowers the barrier for attack planning and therefore increases the likelihood of future attacks." That, just after another top expert in the field, University of Michigan's J. Alex Halderman, filed a 50,000 word report in a long-running federal lawsuit in Georgia, which seeks to ban Dominion's unverifiable touchscreen voting systems. The report, which he says [PDF] details disturbing, newly discovered vulnerabilities in those systems, which reportedly could allow votes to be changed without detection, has now been sealed by the federal judge due to its sensitivity --- even from the plaintiffs and defendants in the case!

Dominion's vulnerable touchscreens are used in several large jurisdictions in California, even as the recall is now ongoing, including San Diego County, San Francisco and Riverside County. Their EMS software --- released to the Internet and downloaded by thousands just last week --- is used to tabulate votes, both hand-marked paper ballots and touchscreen votes, in every county where Dominion's systems are used. The software is used broadly in enough counties here that it could easily effect the computer-tallied results of the Recall election.

Another top expert who is worried about all of this joins us on today's program to explain why, and what can now be done about this serious security breach. University of California-Berkeley Professor PHILIP STARK is an expert witness in the Georgia case, the inventor of the post-election Risk-Limiting Audit protocol, and currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

He joined Hursti this week in telling me that they were both dubious about vague claims from the CO Sec. of State's office that the U.S. Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was not particularly concerned about the leak of the Dominion software.

"It is a serious risk," Stark makes clear today. "The best metaphor I've been able to come up with is, if I were trying to break into a bank, how helpful would it be to have blueprints of the bank and the bank vault? How helpful would it be for me to have an actual exact copy of the bank, completely at my disposal, to try different ways of breaking in and so forth? Not even a scale model, but literally the exact same thing, just in a different place. That's what having a copy of these disks amounts to."

"To the extent that these systems were not that secure in the first place, this doesn't make the systems more vulnerable. But it gives a would-be evil-doer lots of help and information to plan an attack, figure out what's going to work, which then can be conducted later by someone with less technical skill," Stark warns.

He explains that "these Election Management Systems are used, among other things, to configure the ballot marking devices" as well as "results from the precinct-based scanners" and the high-speed centralized scanners used to tabulate Vote-by-Mail ballots. "The release of the EMS code gives someone a blueprint for how to write malware to infect the ballot marking devices, etc., when they're configured using these systems."

We go on to discuss what can and should now be done by California in regards the ongoing Recall election (as well as other jurisdictions, with elections coming up in November, where Dominion systems are used in more than a dozen states) to ensure that results are accurately tabulated and reported, and can be known by the public, after the election, as such. His recommendations include the use of both hand-marked paper ballots and a far more robust post-election audit process than is currently mandated by CA state law.

Moreover, he cites a critical lesson that should be learned from Tina Peters, the Republican County Clerk in Mesa, CO who is alleged to have brought accomplices into the Elections Division in the middle of the night on May 23rd, and turned off the security cameras in order to steal the software and copy it for release into the wild. (She is now under criminal investigation and has been relieved of her duties by CO's Secretary Griswold.) "This is a very clear reminder that insider threats are real," observes Stark. "This is a wake-up call. It is very difficult to mitigate insider threats."

We are still waiting for a response from the CO Sec. of State's office, as to who they spoke with at CISA and what exactly that person said, given that the cybersecurity folks I've spoken with are quite dubious that the nation's top cybersecurity watchdog actually downplayed this voting system breach. Or, if they did, that they fully understood it. Meanwhile, CA's Sec. of State, to my knowledge, has said nothing about any of this publicly. But that may be because neither state nor national media --- other than us --- have bothered to connect the dots between California and these very serious concerns...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Warnings of global warming in 1912; Warning of war in Afghanistan in 2001; Also: CO SoS confirms hard drives with Dominion software stolen, copied from Mesa County Clerk's office...by the Mesa County Clerk...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2021 7:01pm PT  

Ya never know what you may unearth when you peek into the Memory Hole, including a bunch of stuff that should never have been hidden away there in the first place. Also, on today's BradCast, a few noteworthy updates on the Dominion Voting System software stolen from a Colorado County Clerk's office and released into the wilds via the Internet at last week's fraudulent "fraud" forum put on by MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell, and how that serious security breach might effect the ongoing California Recall election. [Audio link to full show is posted at bottom of this summary.]

So, a lot of stuff covered on today's show, including...

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has tested positive for COVID. That, after barring local governments and school districts in the Lone Star State from imposing mask mandates, even for children under 12 who, unlike Abbott, are not lucky enough to be able to get vaccinated.
  • A news clipping from a 1912 New Zealand newspaper, which recently went viral 109 years later, warns about the burning of coal adding "tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere". The clipping, confirmed as genuine by both USA Today and Newsweek, warns that "This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature." The scientifically prescient story goes on to accurately note that "the effect may be considerable in a few centuries." If only we'd listened in 1912.
  • Similarly, if only we listened to the courageous Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) back in 2001, when she was the only member of Congress, Republican or Democratic in either the U.S. House or Senate, to vote against going to war in Afghanistan from the 9/11 attacks. As the Afghanistan conflict unwinds today, amid both chaos and uncertainty, we take a listen to the sage words from Lee on the floor of the House, just three days after the U.S. was attacked 20 years ago next month.
  • As the Taliban returns itself to power in Afghanistan, following 20 years of U.S. occupation and our failed attempt to prop up a democratic, Western-style government, the far-right radical Islamic group which shielded al-Qaeda after 9/11 claims to have become much more moderate in the interim. A Taliban spokesman today told media in Kabul they will respect the rights of women and girls to work and go to school, and will not seek retribution against those who supported the U.S. and its allies or the failed government we tried to create there. But, as we discuss, there is very little reason to trust their new P.R. blitz.
  • We also discuss the hand-wringing D.C. punditry which seems to be falling over itself to declare Joe Biden's Presidency a disaster, after the chaos at the Kabul airport yesterday, following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. As Nicole Wallace (yes, we note the irony of her old job as George W. Bush's Comms Director during both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars) noted on MSNBC yesterday, "95% of the American people will agree with everything" Joe Biden said in his remarks on Afghanistan at the White House on Monday, while "95% of the press covering this White House will disagree." She goes on to highlight, as does TPM's Josh Marshall today, how out of sync with the public the D.C. media class is on this point, even after the events of the past few days, as Biden stands by his decision to pull America out of its longest war once and for all.
  • Then, some important new news in the story that, until yesterday, only The BradCast and The BRAD BLOG, by and large, had been reporting on at all. Namely, the theft and copying of hard drives containing Dominion Voting's Election Management System (EMS) software, as now allegedly stolen from the office of Mesa County, Colorado County Clerk Tina Peters. The Dominion EMS is the central control system for creating and counting ballots in jurisdictions which use the company's voting and tabulation systems, including nearly 60% of California counties, where we have an ongoing Gubernatorial Recall election right now, which could be adversely effected by what top cybersecurity and voting system experts have described to me as a very serious security breach.

    After nearly a week of reporting on this story, almost exclusively, following the release of the software during MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's failed MAGA "Cyber Symposium" in South Dakota last week, where Tina Peters appeared on stage several times, others are now jumping in. That, as CO's Democratic Sec. of State Jenna Griswold finally issued a news release Monday on the apparent theft. Griswold's office cites Peters and two others as having snuck into the Mesa County Election Division office late at night in May to make image copies of two hard drives containing the software. A criminal investigation by the state's Republican Attorney General is now reportedly under way, but Griswold states that Peters has now been removed from her elected post as Clerk, and will be replaced by appointment of the Secretary, after security cameras were also reportedly turned off in the office to hide the alleged crime. The voting and tabulation hardware and software in Mesa will also now all need to be replaced at considerable cost to taxpayers.

    The news release from the SoS office also references a vaguely worded assessment of some sort on this matter, said to be from the U.S. Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of the Department of Homeland Security. The release claims that "CISA has confirmed that it does not view this breach as a significant heightening of the election risk landscape at this point."

    But an election official in Colorado and, perhaps more notably, several of the nation's top cybersecurity and voting system experts, including the legendary Harri Hursti and UC Berkley's Philip Stark, have told me they are dubious about the CO SoS' statement on this point and the apparent dismissal of concern by CISA. Hursti notes the lack of named attribution for the DHS/CISA assessment, lack of a direct quote from any official at CISA, and no similar or supporting statement released directly by CISA itself. Moreover, as one CO election official told me, the phrase "at this point" in the reference attributed to CISA is likely doing quite a bit of heavy lifting there.

    We've sought additional comment, clarification and/or attribution for the curious CISA assessment from Griswold's office. We've yet to receive a response. We expect to cover this issue in more detail on our next BradCast, including said response, if received by then. Despite the downplaying of concerns from "CISA" and the CO SoS, we have reason to remain concerned about this breach, amid CA's ongoing Recall election.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as a tropical storm compounds Haiti's deadly weekend earthquake disaster; July shatters all-time heat records on Planet Earth; and the federal government declares a water shortage on the Colorado River for the very first time, resulting in serious implications for water supplies to both Arizona and Nevada amid the ongoing mega-drought in Western states...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Huge, hard-fought win for the environment on KeystoneXL; Another fight builds in MN over another tar sands pipeline; Mr. Biden goes to Europe (not a moment too soon); TX's corrupt A.G. faces still more legal trouble...
By Brad Friedman on 6/10/2021 6:45pm PT  

Today's BradCast is dedicated to the protester Davids who defeated a fossil fuel Goliath after a 13-year fight to help save us all. Thank you, protesters! And please keep going! Humanity needs you! [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

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

  • It was a huge, hard-fought, well-deserved win for the unprecedented coalition of environmentalists, tribes, scientists, farmers, ranchers, and even a few journalists, behind the defeat of TC Energy's enormous, dangerous KeystoneXL Pipeline. For 13 years, the company, formerly known as TransCanada, had fought to build a 1,200 mile pipeline to send 830,000 barrels each day of toxic, sticky tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas for export overseas. For 13 years, protesters stood up against the project, which threatened rivers, streams, native lands, farms, drinking water aquifers and the climate itself. One of the nation's greatest climate scientists James Hansen warned in 2012 that if the Alberta tar sands are full developed, via projects like KXL, it would be "game over for the climate". After President Obama canceled the pipeline's permit due to the damage it would cause for the environment via climate change, it looked to be game over for KXL itself. But then Donald Trump got elected and reversed Obama. When Joe Biden took office, he cancelled the permit once again as one of his very first actions, and has refused to back off, despite pleas from both Canada and the company. On Wednesday, TC Energy finally gave up the game. The KeystoneXL Pipeline is now really, truly dead. We all owe the coalition of protesters and activists a huge thanks. But the fight now continues elsewhere...
  • In Minnesota this week, a similar coalition of activists stood up demonstrations against another Canadian company named Enbridge Energy, which is replacing a 1960's era pipeline called Line 3, said to be deteriorating and unable to operate at full capacity, with a steel reinforced pipe the same size as KXL's. Also like KXL, the upgraded Line 3 would also pump more than 800,000 barrels a day across thousands of rivers, streams and native lands from the Alberta tar sands to Wisconsin. So the protesters are back at it. Hundreds were arrested during protests this week, even as a helicopter from the federal Border Patrol (unlawfully?) buzzed over them from about 20 feet, kicking up dust and debris on more than 1,000 peaceful demonstrators. They are calling for President Biden to take similar action on Line 3 that both he and Obama took in lifting permits for KXL. The Administration has yet to take a position on Line 3, but protesters are back at it, with some blocking off the entrance to a construction site this week, by parking --- and spending the night chained to --- a boat named "Good Trouble" that they parked in front of one of the Enbridge construction sites. We cover that critical new battle today.
  • These actions to save the environment are for good reason, as we are currently seeing very clearly in the Southwest, which is facing another record "megadrought" right now. Lake Mead --- the nation's largest reservoir, which provides water for agriculture and human consumption to seven states --- is at its lowest level since it was built in the 1930s. Water cutbacks are already in place and likely to become much more severe by August if the lake's level, which sits on the border of Nevada and Arizona continues to drop. More than 86% of AZ is already under "extreme" or "exceptional" drought. Power supplies in the region are also likely to be affected, as Mead supplies water to Hoover Dam, which has already cut back electricity generation due to the low water levels. In California, reservoirs are now at 50% of normal capacity, with mountain snow-pack already gone two months earlier than normal, vegetation moisture at record lows, Summer just beginning and fire season set to begin as early as this month. All of this, thanks in no small part to man-made climate change due to the burning of fossil fuels like the ones that won't being flowing through the KeystoneXL and --- if environmentalists win more battles --- through massive pipelines like Line 3 or Dakota Access. This fight matters. Not only for the future, but for the immediate present, as those of us out West can attest right now.
  • Meanwhile, overseas, President Biden is kicking off his first trip as President, meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson today, after speaking to U.S. troops about the importance of reinforcing democracy over rising autocracy upon his arrival in Europe yesterday. Johnson warmly welcomed Biden as the two leaders today reaffirmed their nations' "special relationship" by renewing the World War II era Atlantic Charter signed by FDR and Winston Churchill.
  • BoJo wasn't the only one to welcome America's new President. A new survey out today from Pew Research Center underscores the support by the publics of 16 economically developed nations who couldn't be happier to see Biden in place rather than Trump, after trust in the U.S. overseas fell to historic lows under the previous President. We cover some of the striking numbers from Pew today, including, for example, the 75% of respondents who express confidence in Biden to "do the right thing regarding world affairs", versus the paltry 17% in the same countries who thought as much about Trump. Overall favorability for the U.S. skyrocketed 23 points since last year, but other numbers from the survey suggest the U.S. still has a long way to go to in restoring their leadership role after damage done to the nation and the world during Trump's failed tenure.
  • Texas' corrupt Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing still more trouble. Sad! The state's top law enforcement official is already facing multiple indictments on felony securities fraud in Texas, even as the FBI is now investigating him for abuse of power, following a complaint to the feds by eight of his own top staffers. Now, as AP reports in an exclusive today, Paxton is also in trouble with the Texas Bar Association, which is investigating a complaint brought after the frivolous lawsuit he filed at the U.S. Supreme Court last year to overturn the Presidential election results in four states won by Biden. That case --- which the state's own solicitor general refused to represent at SCOTUS --- was thrown out by the high court. Now Paxton faces potential disbarment in the Lone Star State, even as he faces a primary challenge from George P. Bush (Jeb's kid) before next year's election.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen has more on both the KeystoneXL victory and Line 3 protests in our latest Green News Report, with still more news on the G7's feeble efforts to support renewable energy last year and the collapse --- and restart --- of Biden's negotiations with Congressional Republicans on his massive and long-overdue infrastructure proposal...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)




Guest: NRA expert and author Igor Volsky of Guns Down America; Also: Minors held in Border Patrol custody plummet 90%, media downplays; Trump kids still grifting tax-payer money from Secret Service detail...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2021 6:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the end sure seems nigh for the indescribably corrupt, terrorist-supporting National Rifle Association, after some big news out of a federal courtroom in Texas this week. If it's too soon to discuss the news, I hope they'll understand that we're sending them our thoughts and prayers. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of summary.]

But first up, some more good news today, even if you'd be forgiven if you hadn't noticed, given the lack of media coverage. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, announced this week that the Biden Administration has "drastically reduced" the number of unaccompanied minors being held in Customs and Border Patrol facilities by nearly 90% over the past month. From almost 6,000 at the end of March --- when much of the non-wingnut corporate media had taken their cues from the wingnut media to declare a "Biden Border Crisis!" --- to fewer than 600 children held in CBP cages as of Tuesday. After covering the "crisis" in breathless headline after breathless headline at Washington Post over the past month, the paper noted the good news in an 8 paragraph squib that is almost impossible to find amid a long blog page of Tuesday news items, and comes days after both CNN and NYTimes and others (though probably not Fox "News") had already noted the development.

Then, some more news that --- given everything else going on --- has flown a bit under the radar. Amid the NRA's ongoing bankruptcy trial in federal court in Texas, a U.S. Dept. of Justice official from the U.S. Trustees office --- which enforces federal bankruptcy law --- has told the judge she opposes the gun group's petition for Chapter 11 protection. The unusual declaration may all but quash the NRA's hopes of going into bankruptcy in a corrupt scheme to avoid legal accountability in New York. State Attorney General Letitia James sued the NRA last August to dissolve the state's 150-year old "charitable" organization, due to wildly corrupt violations of the state's charter for non-profits. The NRA had hoped to receive bankruptcy protection from the federal government in order to duck the suit by closing shop in NY and reestablishing themselves in Texas, which apparently welcomes cartoonishly corrupt "non-profits" with open arms. (With a state Attorney General who is currently under indictment himself for state felony securities fraud and facing a broadening FBI criminal probe for corruption of his office, that should come as little surprise.)

The latest NRA news, of course, was a stunner to the group as it was revealed in court near the end of their trial this week. It also comes on the heels of another series of mass shootings in recent months. But good luck finding any news in recent years that doesn't. It does underscore, however, the absurd scam that the NRA's Wayne LaPierre has been pulling off against his own duped members for decades now (with millions of dollars in expensive vacations, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on fancy suits, sweetheart contracts for himself and his friends, all on the NRA's dime) and the far worse con that they've been pulling off on the American people in their corrupt, willful misinterpretation and lies about the 2nd Amendment.

The late, conservative U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger knew about it. He said during an interview in 1991, the 2nd Amendment had been "the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud on the American public by special interest groups that I have seen in my lifetime." The current Chief Justice, however, may be willing to play along with that fraud in an upcoming NRA challenge, just accepted by the Court last week, that may upend more than 100 years of state gun laws barring weapons carried outside of the house without a permit.

We're joined today to discuss all of that --- and how, and if, Joe Biden and the Democrats can possibly take action on gun safety legislation in this environment --- by IGOR VOLSKY, author of Guns Down: How To Defeat The NRA And Build A Safer Future With Fewer Guns. He is founder of Guns Down America, and details today the astonishing news emerging from the NRA's attempt to escape accountability in NY, while suggesting that this may really be the end for the NRA gun lobby as we know it.

He accused me "understat[ing] the kind of revelations we've heard from the bankruptcy trial, in which Wayne LaPierre, NRA board members and many other top NRA officials admitted to many of the just jaw-dropping allegations that were made against it by the NY Attorney General. Just to underscore, one the admissions that really stunned the courtroom was the current NRA president admitting that she shred and burnt documents because she feared they could be used against the organization."

"The great fear, according to insiders, that at least Wayne LaPierre has, is that the next wave of charges are going to be criminal and that he's going to find himself in an orange jumpsuit," Volsky reports.

"They also took a very unusual approach for an organization that claims they can no longer pay their bills," he says. "They publicly said they're as strong as they've ever been, they're still the nation's premiere gun rights organization, but that they were simply using this maneuver in order to get outside of the New York Attorney General's jurisdiction and move to Texas, where the laws are much weaker. That's not how one uses bankruptcy. That's not the way bankruptcy law works." It's also very likely another violation of the law.

So, what do its members think of all of this? And who will replace the NRA if they really are shut down for good? Those are among the separate questions we discuss as well, along with much more related to this topic.

Finally, speaking of rightwing grifters, good government group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) has obtained records from the Secret Service, suggesting that, while Donald Trump may no longer be in office, he is continuing to steal a whole lot of tax-payer money for himself and his company. While the children of most Presidents no longer receive Secret Service protection after a new President is sworn in, before leaving office, Trump signed off on protection for his kids and three top appointees for and additional six months. Those kids do a LOT of travel and spend a LOT of time at Trump-owned properties --- in Bedminster, NJ, Palm Beach, FL, and Briarcliff, NY, to name a few --- and when they do, guess who receives tens of thousands of dollars from the Secret Service for accommodations?

Yup. The Trump grift never ends...

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Guest: Climate and energy journalist David Roberts of Volts; Also: MN cop charged in shooting; FBI, DHS knew Capitol was the 'target' on Jan. 6; Biden declares 'It's time to end the forever war'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2021 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Joe Biden is on a "go big" roll that has stunned even many long time progressives. Another one of them joins us on today's show to sing the praises (mostly) of his $2.25 trillion infrastructure, jobs and climate proposal known as the American Jobs Plan. It will be paid for --- at least in very small part --- by ending long time direct subsidies (yes, government socialism) to the Fossil Fuel Industry. But, even on that, the industry is getting a break that they shouldn't. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up today, however, some noteworthy news headlines...

  • The white Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police officer who resigned yesterday after shooting black motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after days of protest and unrest. The city's Police Chief, who also resigned on Tuesday, has said that the 26-year veteran officer, Kim Potter, meant to taze the 20-year old Wright, but shot him instead.
  • A scathing new Inspector General's report finds that U.S. Capitol Police were instructed by leadership not to use their best crowd-control weapons on January 6th, despite clear intelligence from the FBI and Dept. of Homeland Security warning that "Congress itself is the target" for protests by Donald Trump supporters who were scammed by his false claims that the Presidential election was stolen. In the days before the assault, pro-Trump social media sites included explicit details regarding plans by MAGA Mob extremists to target both the Capitol and members of Congress, including maps of underground tunnels at the Capitol building and threats calling for "violence" and "war". While DHS and the FBI were aware of these threats --- and, therefore, so was Trump --- for reasons that still remain unclear, the Capitol Police were left wildly unprepared for the deadly siege.
  • And, in perhaps the most critical news of the day, President Biden announced, in no uncertain terms, his plans to remove all U.S. troops (other than those needed to protect diplomats) from Afghanistan no later than September 11th of this year, the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. He explained his reasoning and responded to critics of the move in remarks at the White House today, declaring that "It's time to end the forever war." We share extended excerpts from his address.

Then, we're joined by the great energy and climate journalist DAVID ROBERTS --- formerly of Vox, now publishing his own must-read newsletter called "Volts" --- for insight into Biden's plans to pay for what Roberts characterizes as a remarkably progressive infrastructure, jobs and climate proposal.

Introduced two weeks ago, the American Jobs Plan is to be paid for largely by an increase on the corporate tax rate. But, as Roberts detailed in a recent Volts article, it will also include a repeal of some of the permanent subsidies to the Fossil Fuel industry which they have enjoyed for decades, as written into the tax code. While many progressives are pleased about that, including Roberts, the fact is that those direct subsidies to the industry, as he points out, amount to a very small fraction of the cost of Biden's ambitious plan. Indeed, at some $35 billion for the entire industry, spread out over ten years, it also amounts to a very small amount of the true cost of the "indirectsubsidies" or "externalities" which the public pays for to boost profits for the polluting industry.

The direct subsidies, says Roberts, are "a drop in the bucket" compared to "the total amount of money that would be raised if you went after the indirect subsidies" with a carbon tax that accounts for the true cost of the industry's "products that produce a lot of social harm.  Harm in terms of air pollution that they generate, which then produces health costs, and people miss work. There's the climate damages that they do when they're burned. There's land pollution. There's abandoned oil and gas wells at the end of their life. Those cost a lot of money" to clean up, which the companies rarely, if ever, do.

"The oil and gas industry itself doesn't pay any of those costs. So when your product imposes all these costs and you don't pay them, the public steps in and pays them. Like the kids with asthma who are paying, rather than the fossil fuel companies." Roberts suggests "those externalities, as they're called, have always been the premise for a carbon tax, why we would want to put a tax on carbon so that you can recoup all these damages that the oil and gas industry are not paying for."

Still, setting aside how the package is to be paid for, Roberts concedes that he is "pleasantly surprised" about the "super-big and ambitious" package which includes, as he also details, a whole bunch of cool stuff that has received little coverage, since there is actually so much packed into the sweeping, long-overdue proposal.

How to get it passed, however --- and, specifically approved by "our emperor and benefactor Joe Manchin, long may He reign" --- is another matter, which we discuss in detail today as well.

"Where we are is so ludicrously far away from where we need to be, that it becomes difficult to judge anything in the middle," Roberts argues. "Is this a good big step or is it a grossly inadequate step? Yes. It's both. Everything we're going to do on climate change for the next decades will fit that description. It's going to be big and not big enough."

We then close today with a quick thought or two on a new statement from hundreds of companies and corporate executives in opposition to the GOP attempts to restrict voting rights around the country. We hope to have more time to discuss the matter on tomorrow's BradCast...

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New analysis finds stunning rise in RW domestic terror; Also: US 'out' of Afghanistan by 9/11/21; J&J vaccine 'paused'; Cop, police chief resign in MN; Appalling video of cops pepper-spraying black service member...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2021 6:41pm PT  

Hopefully today's BradCast, if nothing else, serves as a friendly reminder that Liz Cheney --- whether or not she met the incredibly low Republican bar by voting to impeach Donald Trump after the January 6th MAGA Mob insurrection at the U.S. Capitol --- is still not your friend, much less some sort of hero. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of summary below.]

Among the many news items and important insights and context covered on today's program...

  • The Biden Administration will finally withdraw the last of our 2,500 U.S. troops still deployed to Afghanistan by September 11th of this year, 20 years after the 9/11 attacks which resulted in our seemingly endless war there and elsewhere. For some reason we remain dubious about that exit date...even if we are hopeful.
  • The FDA and CDC are recommending a "pause" on the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID vaccine after finding it led to rare blood clots in six women out of more than 3.8 doses administered in the U.S. For the record, the coronavirus, as of today, has killed more than 562,000 Americans to date, which is more deaths over the past year than 188 September 11th attacks.
  • After two nights of protests and unrest in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota --- a suburb outside of Minneapolis, where white, former cop Dereck Chauvin is currently on trial for the murder of George Floyd --- the city's Police Chief and 26-year officer Kim Potter resigned Tuesday following her Sunday killing of Daunte Wright. Potter says she accidentally shot the 20-year old black man while attempting to taze him after he was pulled over for expired tags on his vehicle. The incident was capture by Potter's body cam video released on Monday, the day after the shooting.
  • As disturbing as the video of Wright's killing was, another confrontation captured via body cam between cops and a black Hispanic man --- this one, a uniformed Army lieutenant named Caron Nazario --- is arguably even more disturbing for reasons we discuss on today's show. The incident, which included the berating and point-blank pepper-spraying at gun-point of an incredibly compliant and polite unarmed Nazario, occurred last December. The video tape, however, was only released publicly on Monday as part of Nazario's lawsuit against the abusive Windsor, Virginia police officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker who pulled him over on a dark highway for a missing permanent license plate on his new car. (Temporary tags were in the window and clearly visible in the video tape.) Gutierrez has now resigned and Virginia's Attorney General has opened a civil rights investigation into the incident, one of undoubtedly thousands of similar ones not caught on viral video tape each year in America.
  • Wyoming's Republican Rep. Liz Cheney has been attacked by many in her party and lauded by some on the non-right for living up to the absolutely lowest expectations for a Republican these days after having voted in favor of the second impeachment of Trump in January, for his incitement of the U.S. Capitol attack. But, as we've noted on several occasions since then, nobody should mistake her for anything other than her diabolically rightwing father's daughter. That was made clear on Monday during an appearance with Georgetown’s Institute of Politics and Public Service when she appeared to condemn the radical extremism rampant in her own party while simultaneously "both sidesing" the matter with references to extremist in "both parties". Sorry, Liz. This isn't even close to a "both sides" issue. But, if there are still any question about that...
  • ...Disturbing new data released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), reaching back 25 years and analyzed by the Washington Post on Monday, finds "Domestic terrorism incidents have soared to new highs in the United States, driven chiefly by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremists on the far right." And the numbers of both incidents and fatalities in recent years aren't even close to those attributed to "far left" attacks. We comb through the Post's analysis of the troubling data, while noting its alarming similarity to the warnings included in a 2009 DHS report on far-right domestic extremism that was ultimately retracted by the Obama Administration after Republicans pretended to be outraged about it (after saying nothing about a similar report regarding left-wing extremism released just prior.) Coincidentally we notice that WaPo's original headline for their analysis on Monday was "Domestic terrorism data shows right-wing violence on the rise." That was apparently quickly changed online yesterday to the more GOP-friendly "The rise of domestic extremism in America." We're sure Liz Cheney is delighted about that.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, chocked full of troubling climate change news, as usual, but featuring at least one story that leaves us moderately more hopeful today...at least when it comes to the ability for warring battery makers to come together for the good of our not-a-moment-too-soon electric car future...

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Guest: Migration Policy Institute's Sarah Pierce; Also: More 'Clean up on Aisle 45' news on the FBI, Kavanaugh and the Vindman family...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2021 6:28pm PT  

We've got quite a bit of 'Clean up on Aisle 45' news on today's BradCast, particularly at the U.S. southern border. [Audio link to today's full show is posted below this summary.]

But first, a few noteworthy 'Clean up" news items. Rhode Island's Democratic Sen. Sheldon has written a letter to Joe Biden's newly confirmed Attorney General Merrick Garland, requesting an investigation into what he describes as the "fake" investigation the FBI apparently made into sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh before his confirmation to a lifetime appointment as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. That confirmation, by the way, happened only thanks to Senate Republicans willingness to do away with the filibuster on Supreme Court Justices. Of course, it wasn't only sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh that deserved a real probe by the FBI. There is still the matter of what happened to the $60,000 to $200,000 worth of credit card debt that Kavanaugh carried the year before his nomination, which magically disappeared by the time he was tapped by Trump to help pack the stolen Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Also today, Army Lt. Col Yevgeny Vindman --- twin brother of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against Donald Trump during his first impeachment --- will now be promoted to Colonel under the Biden Administration. That, despite a revenge campaign leveled against the Vindman family by the former disgraced President, which resulted in some negative job reviews for Yevgeny during his time as deputy legal advisor on Trump's National Security Council. Shortly after the impeachment, Trump fired both men from their NSC posts and Yevgeny filed a whistleblower complaint over the retaliation with the Pentagon's Inspector General. The IG's report has not yet been released.

Then, for the biggest 'Clean up on Aisle 45 ' news of the day, we move down to the U.S. Southern Border, where Republicans have been taking a cue from the former disgraced President to claim a massive "Biden border crisis!" is current under way, not two months into the new President's tenure. Sadly, corporate media have taken that cue as well. As they do.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) traveled to the border this week and, among other apparent lies, claimed that terrorists from Yemen, Iran and Turkey were "rushing" the border "all at once." While that is almost certainly untrue, there has been an increase over the past two months in unaccompanied children, seeking asylum at the border, after making the arduous journey from beleaguered Central American "Northern Triangle" countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Thanks to the influx of unaccompanied kids, a hollowed out asylum system left behind by the previous administration, along with pandemic social distancing requirements, Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities meant to house children before they are handed over to the Dept. of Health and Human Services to find sponsored shelters are running out of space. The influx is also leading to many being held in the CBP facilities beyond the 72-hour legal limit, even as the Biden Administration has, for the time being, left many of Trump's policies in place, expelling families and single adults fleeing from gang violence, climate change and poverty in their troubled nations.

So, what is actually going on at the border right now? Is it really a crisis? And how much is the Biden Administration, not even two full months on the job, to blame? We're joined today by SARAH PIERCE, immigration attorney and Policy Analyst for the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute to help us separate fact from breathless, GOP/media-inflated fiction.

"I think there is a significant challenge at the southern border," she explains. "I don't think we can call it a crisis yet. But we could certainly be moving in the direction of a crisis.  We had a really fast acceleration in the number of unaccompanied child migrants arriving at the southern border between January and February. But we still haven't reached record numbers of children arriving at the southern border. We saw records during 2019 and 2014 that we haven't yet broken."

"But our facilities are limited because of the pandemic," she continues, "and so that is making what would already be a challenge even more difficult as the administration scrambles to bring beds back online, and move children out of Border Patrol custody as quickly as they possibly can."

Pierce explains how bad the situation currently is; whether she believes the Biden Administration is taking the appropriate measures to handle it; whether GOP claims about terrorists rushing the border or becoming "super-spreader caravans" are in any way true; and whether the situation can be handled at all without Congressional action (which seems a long shot while the filibuster remains in place, with Republicans seeking distraction from their failure to vote for the COVID relief bill and relying on alarmist rhetoric about the border to try and hold on to their base).

The Biden Administration "inherited a really, really big challenge and a system that was just gutted by the prior administration. So, whether or not they'll be able to do this all, while also dealing with what could very well be a crisis in the near future at the southern border, is a really big question."

She also offers, among other direct answers, a response to my question about the oft-repeated spurious claim that Trump's infamous family separation policy that resulted in those horrific "kids in cages" photographs was was actually begun by the Obama Administration. The answer will probably not shock you.

Next, it's our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen (and, yes, more 'Clean up on Aisle 45' news there as well). And, finally, I close with a plea for Congress to do the right thing, once and for all, when it comes to...daylight saving time...

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Guest: Impeachment expert Ron Fein of Free Speech for People; Also: DHS warns of domestic terror threat in wake of Trump's 'voter fraud' lies...
By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2021 7:16pm PT  
NOW CELEBRATING THE BRAD BLOG'S 17th ANNIVERSARY!
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And here I thought dealing with one President in a single hour on The BradCast was tough. Now we've got the previous one on trial after his second impeachment and a new one unveiling an ambitious new agenda to begin cleaning up the other guy's horrific mess, particularly on climate today...and not a moment too soon! [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

First up today, the Department of Homeland Security issues a new warning about ongoing threats of violence by domestic, home-grown terrorists in the U.S., many of whom have been radicalized by Donald Trump's many lies about the 2020 election having been stolen.

Then, It's been only three weeks since Trump encouraged his MAGA Mob to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and "fight like hell" to prevent the formal counting of Electoral College votes by the U.S. Congress. The attempted insurrectionists violently broke into the U.S. Capitol, called for the hanging of the Vice President, succeeded in shutting down the tally for several hours and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives into secured locations. Five people were killed, including a Capitol Police officer, in the ensuing violence. One week later, then President Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a second time, this time for "Incitement of Insurrection", though the Senate's then Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to convene a trial. One week after that, Joe Biden was successfully sworn in as President. And today, just three weeks to the day since the Trump-incited mob's murderous attack on the Capitol, with Democrats now officially in the Senate majority, Trump's second Impeachment Trial has officially begun.

While the arguments in the trial will not be presented in full for another two weeks, Republican Senator and pretend Constitutionalist Rand Paul forced a vote on Tuesday, just after Senators were sworn in as "impartial jurors", to try and dismiss the entire matter by falsely claiming that an Impeachment trial after a President is out of office is "unconstitutional". (Though he repeatedly argued that "private citizens" cannot be impeached and that "If the accused is no longer President - where is the constitutional power to impeach him?")

Joining us today to answer to the clearly false and almost-certainly disingenuous argument proffered by Paul --- and, incredibly, supported by 45 of the Senate's 50 Republicans who voted in favor of his resolution on Tuesday --  is Constitutional law expert RON FEIN of the non-partisan government accountability group Free Speech for People. Fein, with John Bonifaz and Ben Clements, authored the 2018 book, The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump

"The obvious flaw," in Paul's argument, Fein explains, is that Trump WAS impeached while he was President, and then McConnell stalled the process of the Senate trial by refusing to allow it to be held until Trump was already out of office." But on the broader issue, as he tells us, impeachment trials may absolutely be held after an official is out of office. "Congress has done it before and explicitly considered that exact question."

"If their argument was allowed to go forth, then what it would say is that any President can do whatever they want in the last couple of weeks of their term, because by the time they would get impeached, and by the time the Senate could convene for a trial, they'd be out of office already," he persuasively argues. "Disqualification from future office is an important remedy and penalty for impeachment. It is important to have that hanging over the head of a President even in their last couple of weeks in office."

We also discuss whether the votes of 45 GOP Senators --- including McConnell, who just last week conceded that Trump "provoked" the riot at the Capitol --- to dismiss the trial, signals that it will be impossible to win over the 17 Republicans needed to win the two-thirds vote necessary for a conviction; whether a vote can be held to prevent Trump from holding future office even without conviction; whether a second failure to win a conviction in a second impeachment would redound to Trump's benefit; and whether a resolution to censure the disgraced former President would serve as any kind of deterrent for similar behavior in the future (by Trump or other future Presidents), in the event that he is not convicted once again.

Fein also rings in with his thoughts in response to the GOP's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court which, on Monday, dismissed two cases regarding Trump's alleged violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause as "moot" since he is no longer in office and why it took so long for the cases to even reach the high court. We also discuss whether Fein believes that Trump actually did pardon himself, but is keeping that pardon a secret, somehow, until he's actually charged with a federal crime.

Finally, in far less maddening news, it was "Climate Day" in Joe Biden's new White House on Wednesday! And the new President unveiled an historically ambitious climate agenda that will, among many other things, if successful, result in carbon emissions-free power, nationally, by 2035. Declaring that "we can't wait any longer" to address our worsening climate crisis, Biden detailed his new Executive Orders and Directives to "supercharge" the United States' efforts to combat global warming by pausing new oil and gas leases on federal lands, ending fossil fuel industry subsidies, and creating millions of new jobs in the electric car market and renewable energy industry, and by capping and closing old, unused mines and wells across the nation. His new Climate Envoy, former Sec. of State John Kerry and new White House National Climate Advisor, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, also responded to media questions (naturally framed by rightwing talking points) during a White House briefing. We share some of their remarks, and the entirety of Biden's historic announcement during today's very busy BradCast...

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Also: Another Schadenfreude Update as Trump's empire crumbles...
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2021 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's Big Lie(s) continue to pose a terror threat, even as his world is crumbling. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]

On Wednesday, during the debate in the U.S. House over Donald Trump's second impeachment, a number of GOPers argued that the bipartisan call for accountability in response to the President of the United States inciting a terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol last week would only serve to make matters worse. A number of Trump's defenders charged that if the Congress that was attacked by his MAGA Mob attempted to hold him to account it would be too "divisive" and anger his supporters at a time that the nation needed "unity" and "healing".

At the very same time, according to Greg Sargent at Washington Post today, a number of U.S. intelligence agencies, including DHS and DoJ, issued a memo warning that Trump's Big Lie about a "stolen election" was serving as the driving force for "Domestic Violence Extremists" (DVEs) who pose a serious threat of further violence in coming days.

Nonetheless, few of those Republicans in the House pretending to be concerned about dividing the nation further were willing to say the one thing that might actually "lower the temperature": That Joe Biden won the election fair and square according to all available evidence and that Donald Trump lost it in the same fashion.

Phony GOP concerns about "divisiveness" not withstanding, their refusal to do the right thing by debunking Trump's ridiculous claims that the election was stolen, rather than play along with them, has resulted in news that the National Mall in D.C. will now reportedly be closed entirely for the first time during a Presidential Inauguration due to the threat of domestic terrorism.

Trump's Big Lie about the election is not the only one. Some of the House Republicans on Wednesday were attempting to rewrite reality by claiming that Trump, at his MAGA Mob rally before the insurrection at the Capitol, did little more than "urged attendees to, quote, unquote, peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. There was no mention of violence, let alone calls to action." That was the claim made by Pennsylvania's lying Rep. Guy Reschenthaler. Reality --- and actual evidence --- prove otherwise, as we do as well on today's program. Given that Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate on this very matter awaits, it seems wise to get a jump on this newest Big Lie.

But, as dark as this moment may be for the safety of Americans and future of American democracy, there is still plenty of Trump Schadenfreude News to be enjoyed today. Including the fact that Trump is reportedly "isolated and angry at aides for failing to defend him" during his second impeachment; his approval ratings have plummeted 11 points since December; and New York City is joining a growing list of those cutting ties to the disgraced Trump. As his Trump Organization empire begins to crumble, he is already losing millions of dollars worth of business from those who regard his brand as too toxic to get anywhere near at this point. And things are likely to get much much worse for him in the days ahead.

All of that and much more, with gusto, on today's program, before we close with some accountability news when Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report...

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Callers ring in on demands for accountability following last week's deadly, Trump-incited riot at the U.S. Capitol. But timing looms large before Inauguration Day, and as the MAGA Mob gears up for more violence...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2021 7:40pm PT  

We open up the phone lines on today's BradCast for the first time since Donald Trump's deadly attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol last week, to get feedback from callers on whether it makes sense to impeach him again with just about a week and a half left in his term. (For the record, my own opinion is "YES!," and I explain why throughout the course of today's show.) [Audio link to full show is below the summary.]

We start with some of the latest breaking news...

  • Trump's illegally appointed Acting Homeland Security Chief Chad Wolf announced, just before air time, that he is stepping down after being critical of Trump following last week's insurrection that killed at least five people, including a Capitol Police officer. Wolf called the riot "tragic and sickening".
  • The FBI has reportedly notified all 50 states of the possibility of armed attacks on state houses, as Trump's MAGA Mob are continuing to tell each other that Trump will be inaugurated on January 20th (he won't be) and that we should all prepare for a national emergency in which Trump invokes the Insurrection Act and begins "high profile arrests" between now and Inauguration Day. All of that, his minions have convinced themselves, come amid what they describe to each other as "a battle for our republic against elites that are attempting the very coup that they are accusing Trump of doing."
  • Over the weekend, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed House Dems that if Trump refused to resign, she would hold a vote on a resolution calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power. If that doesn't work (it doesn't appear that it will), a vote on a second Impeachment could be held in the House as early as Wednesday. We share the Article [PDF], formally filed in the House today by Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ted Lieu (D-CA), David Cicilline's (D-RI), and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) for "Incitement of Insurrection", on today's program.
  • Over the weekend, both Democrats (like AOC) and Republicans like Sen. Pat Toomey (PA), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Ben Sasse (NE) and Trump ally and former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie all suggested they might support impeachment and removal of the President. As Christie noted, "If inciting to insurrection" isn't an impeachable offense then "I don't really know what is."
  • Nonetheless, a number of Republicans are suggesting that if either the 25th or impeachment are invoked, it would lead to further violence. As Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) pathetically tweeted on Saturday, "Those calling for impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment in response to President Trump's rhetoric this week are themselves engaging in intemperate and inflammatory language and calling for action that is equally irresponsible and could well incite further violence." --- In other words, if you hold anybody accountable for inciting violence, you are inciting the same people to more violence. So, best to do absolutely nothing, apparently. Very patriotic and courageous, Congressman.
  • On Sunday night, the PGA pulled their planned 2022 Championship from Trump's Bedminster, NJ golf resort, adding to the schadenfreude already most likely being enjoyed by anti-Trumpers since Twitter permanently banned him from the social media platform late on Friday.

As to the timing of how to pull off an impeachment with just days left in Trump's Presidency, it's important to understand --- as we discussed with former federal prosecutor Ben Clements on last Friday's show --- that an official doesn't even have to still be in office to be impeached. There is historical precedent for that. Clements, and others, argue it's important to impeach Trump if only to convict him at trial so that he cannot run for public office ever again.

It should also be noted that the House may vote to impeach this week or next, but wait until after Biden is sworn into office before sending the Articles to the Senate for a trial. That's what some Dems are now calling for. Rep. James Clyburn wants to wait until Biden's first 100 days are over. Others suggest waiting just long enough to allow Biden's cabinet to be sworn in, since all Senate business must stop when a Senate impeachment trial begins. With Chuck Schumer as Majority Leader, after Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are sworn in, a real trial could be held in the Senate, with dozens and dozens of witnesses, unlike the show trial McConnell held to quash the charges Trump was previously impeached for last year.

So, lots to chew over on today's program, and lots of callers ringing in with thoughts on all of the above...

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Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attny Randall D. Eliason of GWU Law School...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2020 8:08pm PT  

The madness continues on today's BradCast. But, midway through the show, SCOTUS put the unanimous brakes on the MAGA Mob's latest greatest hope to overturn the 2020 election, while top Republicans increase their eliminationist rhetoric to foment violence and Trump prepares to hand out pardons like Christmas candy.

A new survey out this week from Gallup finds a huge drop in the self-identified mental health of Americans. Not surprising. Perhaps also not surprising is that, among demographic groups which saw double-digit drops from their previous self-ratings of "excellent" mental health, Republicans and independents were near the top, while Democrats were among those groups identified with the smallest change in their own mental health ratings from previous surveys.

Not sure what that may mean exactly, but somehow it seems relevant today as the Republican Party appears to be mentally crumbling before our eyes as it begins to sink in for them that they've been lied to about Trump having "won" the 2020 election. Or even that they would somehow be able to come up with evidence --- any evidence --- that proves in court that Joe Biden and the Democrats and dead Hugo Chavez somehow stole it from Trump.

Last week, Trump Campaign lawyer and former U.S. Attorney, Joe diGenova, called for a former top DHS official, Chris Krebs, to be "taken out at dawn and shot" because he dared believe the 2020 election was "the most secure in American history." DiGenova and the Trump Campaign and Newsmax TV, the wingnut outlet which aired the Team Trump call to execute a former government official, all now face a serious lawsuit from Krebs.

Over at the old school wingnut outlet, Fox "News", formerly sane business anchor turned racist wingnut drama queen Lou Dobbs broke into a frothy rage while interviewing top White House advisor Stephen Miller because Trump and his party, as Dobbs sees it, aren't fighting hard enough to overthrow the election while "the Republican Party...is watching its blood drain into the streets because they're gutless."

And out in Arizona, where the very Trumpy Republican Governor Doug Ducey has been forced to repel entreaties by the President of the United State to stage a coup and declare the loser President to be the "winner" of the state's electoral votes, the state GOP, chaired by a loon named Kelli Ward, is asking Twitter followers to give their lives (literally) for Donald Trump. The AZ GOP even went so far as to follow up that request with a second tweet that includes a clip of "Rambo" holding an arrow to someone's head, while uttering: "This is what we do, who we are. Live for nothing, or die for something." That, in a state where a gun massacre was carried out in 2011 at a Democratic event that killed six and almost fatally wounded then Rep. Gabby Giffords whose husband, Mark Kelly, just unseated the state's Republican U.S. Senator on November 3rd.

All of that madness came before the U.S. Supreme Court today unanimously rejected the only case to come before the Court to challenge the 2020 Presidential election results. (The Trump Campaign has promised to go to SCOTUS themselves, but hasn't.) The rejected case was filed by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and several Pennsylvania state lawmakers challenging the new absentee ballot law that they passed (and voted for) last year as a violation of the state Constitution. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court already strongly rejected the challenge, and this afternoon, mid-show, SCOTUS refused to hear the attempted federal appeal.

But, if some 50 (and counting) failed, evidence-free court cases from Team Trump haven't yet done the trick, and they are unable to spark the violent new civil war they are clearly hoping for, Donald Trump is still busy preparing to give away pardons "like Christmas gifts" to his aides, friends, family and even himself while he still has the chance. As of today, such a pardon appears to have helped the admitted felon and former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn off the hook after he twice pleaded to lying to the FBI (while also admitting that he was an undeclared paid agent of Turkey.) So, in lieu of a violent upheaval --- or maybe along with it --- why not issue Presidential Pardons to all of your corrupt friends, family and business associates on the way out the door? Even before they've been charged with any crime? That appears to be coming very soon at this point.

To discuss the awesome, virtually unchallengeable Constitutional power of the Presidential Pardon, we are joined today again by former Asst. U.S. Attorney RANDALL D. ELIASON of George Washington University Law School. Several weeks ago, Eliason wrote an excellent primer on the scope and recent history (and abuse) of the Pardon power and the PardonPalooza that both he (and I) expect to see in the coming days.

Eliason challenges some of the common wisdom concerning Presidential Pardons (for example, whether it's true that someone who is pardoned loses their 5th Amendment right to refuse to testify about the criminal matter to Congress and law enforcement officials and whether or not a Pardon is actually an acknowledgement of "guilt"); whether Pardons may be legally challenged as corrupt or unlawfully self-dealing and, if so, how exactly; whether a President is Constitutionally allowed to pardon himself; and whether this one is likely to do so (answer in short: of course he is!)

As the news that U.S. Circuit Court Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the Michael Flynn case as "moot" just before airtime today, and the news that SCOTUS unanimously declined to take up the challenge to Pennsylvania's electors came during our discussion, we also get Eliason's reaction to both of those breaking matters.

Yes, it's another chocked-full-o-information BradCast, appropriately seasoned, we hope, with just enough snark along the way to help keep you both informed and sane! Good luck!...

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Guest: Redistricting expert Dan Vicuña; Also: Why Krebs is almost right, but wrong, as Trump attorney says former CISA chief should be 'shot'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2020 8:05pm PT  

Attorney General Bill Barr may now be in big trouble with Donald Trump at the DoJ. One of Trump's personal attorneys may be in big trouble with the D.C. Bar. And Trump's attempt to game the Census and Apportionment of Congressional seats for the next 10 years may be in big trouble at his stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court. All of that big trouble and more on today's BradCast! [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

First up, Attorney General Barr has undoubtedly infuriated his boss today by admitting to The Associated Press that "to date," the Justice Dept. has "not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election."

Uh, oh. The last senior Administration official who said something similar --- Chris Krebs, Trump's Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the new DHS agency that oversees elections infrastructure --- was fired just days later after his federal agency and others (along with several voting machine vendors, so take it with a grain of salt) announced that the 2020 election was "the most secure in American history."

Speaking of Krebs, he was interviewed by CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday, where he stood by that assessment and chalked the success of the 2020 election up to "paper ballots."

"Paper ballots give you the ability to audit," he told CBS' Scott Pelley, "to go back and check the tape and make sure you got the count right. That's really one of the keys to success for a secure 2020 election. That gives you the ability to prove that there was no malicious algorithm or hacked software that adjusted the tally of the vote."

Well, he was so close. "Paper ballots" don't protect elections, HAND-MARKED paper ballots protect elections. And there is a big difference. Krebs goes on to cite, for example, Georgia's terrible new Dominion Voting Systems touchscreen computers that voters are forced to vote on at the polls, and the subsequent statewide hand-count of ballots to make his case. But Georgia's systems, as we've long reported in great detail, print out computer-marked paper ballot summaries which can never be known after an election to reflect the intent of any voter. As we explain yet again today, studies show that the vast majority of voters do not check their computer-printed summary, and that 93%(!) of them do not notice if the computer has changed one of their votes. We offer much more detail --- yet again --- on today's show.

But Krebs, a lifelong Republican who has been bravely outspoken in attempting to debunk false claims about fraud both before and after the election, is certainly a hero for his efforts. The fact that Joe diGenova, one of Donald Trump's personal lawyers, took to the air on Monday to call for Krebs to be murdered --- literally --- is a chilling sign of our times and should result in disbarment for Trump's latest Fox "News" TV attorney for hire. "Anybody who thinks this election went well like that idiot Krebs," diGenova said on a wingnut radio program yesterday, "that guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn and shot."

Krebs suggested to NBC News today that he is likely to take legal action. But you know who else "thinks this election went well," apparently? Bill Barr! We'll see if diGenova calls for him to be executed now as well, or which of the two Trump lackeys will be fired by Trump first.

Next up, we're joined by DAN VICUÑA, National Redistricting Manager at Common Cause, one of the good-government immigration advocacy groups that sued the Trump Administration after a Presidential Memorandum from Trump last year directed U.S. Census apportionment data to leave out "illegal aliens" despite the Constitution's mandate to include the "whole number of persons in each State" for purposes of determining how many U.S. Congressmembers each state shall have for ten years following each decennial Census.

Four different lower courts largely agreed with the plaintiffs challenging Trump's decree --- which would increase political power for rural, white, Republican-leaning districts and take it away from more urban, Democratic-leaning, minority heavy jurisdictions --- finding it to be illegal and/or unconstitutional. On Monday, Trump's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in the matter, and Vicuña reports today on how things went. In short, it appears to have not gone well for the Administration, even with three Trump-appointed Justices now packed onto the bench.

Vicuña, notes that "citizenship status has never been used as a determining factor in whether a person will be counted." He also explains the dangers of Trump's unprecedented decree and how his attempt to bastardize the "plain language" of the U.S. Constitution and "two centuries of precedent" to instead use only "voter-eligible" citizens in counts to determine apportionment in the U.S. House, endangers not only the immigrant population, but everyone else in America, even in so-called "red" states.

"The Administration's lawyers are dancing a strange dance," he tells me while describing Monday's hearing. "The President's memo very clearly states what the President wants, which is to exclude every undocumented person living in the United States --- undocumented people who contribute billions to the economy, who pay taxes on things that they may never see [like] Social Security. The President's attorneys are going into court and saying, 'Well, we're only going to do this within the strictures of what's allowable by law, so for that reason, you shouldn't even rule on this case now. There's no need to address the plaintiffs' challenge, because we don't exactly know how we're going to implement the President's goals' --- even though the President states them clearly --- 'so you should punt.'"

Whether the Court will go along with the Administration on this, and how the incoming Biden Administration may make all of this moot anyway, is all discussed on today's program.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with our latest Green News Report, in which the Trump Administration actually does something that is not only NOT horrible, but very very good for folks in Alaska who have been challenging the creation of the controversial Pebble Mine for more than a decade. Other than that, however, the final days of Trump's environmental smash and grab continue apace...

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Debunking wingnut 'voter fraud' nonsense while welcoming them to the fight against private voting vendors and inviting them to join our call for hand-marked paper ballots in GA's upcoming U.S. Senate runoffs...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2020 7:44pm PT  

Well, it took long enough --- much longer than media usually wait --- but by Saturday morning, they finally recognized the obvious by calling Pennsylvania, and thus the Presidential election, for Joe Biden. The Right --- from the religious wacko Right to the non-religious wacko Right --- are in the midst of some pretty serious denial about it all, as we share at the top of today's BradCast, along with a few quick headlines, some serious debunkery, an invitation to Republicans to join the election integrity movement, and a bunch of gleeful calls from listeners. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

Among the quick headlines today: yet another rally on Wall Street in the wake of Biden's election; good news about a possible COVID vaccine (which Trump had nothing to do with!); Trump fires his Defense Secretary; more top Trump Administration officials test positive for the virus; and Biden's reported plans to issue a quick series of Executive Orders after being sworn in on January 20th to reverse some of the most egregious offenses of the Trump Era.

Then, we pick up today, somewhat, where we left off last week, debunking a number of the many absurd, evidence-free allegations of "voter fraud" being propagated by the deniers and conspiracy theorists on the Right --- from "SharpieGate" to false claims of "dead people" voting in Michigan to false claims (debunked by Fox "News"!) that Republicans were prevented from watching ballot tabulation --- as well as a look at one of the few legitimate concerns that have come to light since last Tuesday's Election Night. Namely, a concern about misreported vote tallies in Antrim County, Michigan, a small, heavily GOP-leaning area in the northern part of the state. According to the Democratic Sec. of State, the problem was due to a failure by Republican county officials to install a late update to their Election Management System software which is used to upload county results to the state at the end of the night. The problem resulted in Joe Biden momentarily appearing to have defeated Donald Trump by a landslide in the County. The error was quickly discovered, corrected and the posted results were properly reversed to reflect Trump's victory there.

But the incident (as well as the apparent losses of both MI and Georgia for the Republicans) has helped fuel a push from the Right toward demonizing Canadian-based Dominion Voting System --- the private voting system vendor in Antrim and other MI counties. While the Trumpers are falsely attacking the company as a tool of Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton (even though Republican lobbyists work for the firm which has donated to Republicans), we're happy to join the critique in as much as no private company should have so much control over what are supposed to be our public elections. A call for an independent investigation and a hand-count of the county's paper ballots would be perfectly appropriate there.

Dominion is also the company which runs Georgia's elections, with a new $100+ million contract to supply 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems for in-person voting at the polls across the entire state and scanners for the state's hand-marked paper absentee ballots --- scanners which were found to have skipped counting many votes during the state's June primary.

While Biden appears to have won the state of Georgia by some 12,000 votes as of airtime (and, in Michigan, by about 150,000 votes), I invited Republicans via Twitter over the weekend (in a short threat that has gone mildly viral) to get rid of Dominion's influence over elections all together by joining me in demanding hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand-counted, for the state's critical upcoming U.S. Senate runoff elections. Those two runoff elections will determine which party controls the upper chamber of Congress for first two years of the Biden presidency.

If the GOPers --- including folks like Eric Trump --- are serious about their concerns that "software from hell!" as Eric called it, made by Dominion somehow stole the election for Biden, they will join those of us in the fight for real Election Integrity in that call. So far, they haven't. But we can still hope.

Finally today, we open the phones for listeners to ring in following this weekend's huge news --- to gloat, to express their joy, their concerns, and much more --- as we begin to see a glimmer of light at the end of our long, if still-ongoing, national nightmare...

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on Kavanaugh's terrifying, error-riddled opinion in the case that blocks WI from counting thousands of timely cast mail-in ballots; Also: Trump's very VERY bad day...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2020 7:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was a very very bad day for Donald J. Trump and for his odds of winning re-election. At least on paper. Don't get too excited just yet. (But please do vote, ASAP, if you have not done so already! And if you're voting by mail-in ballot, do not mail it in! Deliver it in person, at this point!) [Audio link to full show is posted beneath summary.]

Among the very bad news for our failed President on Wednesday...

  • 'Anonymous' was revealed to have been the Chief of Staff of his own Dept. of Homeland Security, who has now endorsed Joe Biden;
  • The stock market --- the only thing that Trump has left to crow about --- plummeted on concerns about the startling third-peak surge in the U.S. COVID pandemic, thanks to Trump's bungled response, with the Dow falling more than 950 points;
  • Hackers defaced the Trump Campaign website;
  • The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released an embarrassing document detailing the Trump Administration's "accomplishments", leading off with "Ending the COVID-19 pandemic"! If you have any doubts about that, they quote noticed science and technologist Ivanka Trump as supporting evidence;
  • 20 former Republican U.S. Attorneys, serving in Presidential administrations from Eisenhower to George W. Bush came out with their "strongest endorsement" for...Joe Biden. (So much for Trump as the self-proclaimed "law and order President");
  • Hundreds of Trump supporters were left stranded by the Trump Campaign in frigid temps on an airstrip in Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday night, after Trump's latest super-spreader rally. Seven supporters were hospitalized "with a variety of medical conditions" as they waited in the dark until after midnight for buses to arrive to drive them back three miles to their cars;
  • And, all the while, the polling both nationally and in battleground states continues to appear bleak for Trump, including one (frankly, hard-to-believe) new poll from ABC News/Washington Post finding Biden up by 17 points in Wisconsin.

As noted, it was a very bad day for Donald Trump's reelection effort. At least in theory. But he still has a few Trump Cards that he believes --- with good reason --- he may be able to play at his stolen and corrupt U.S. Supreme Court. That effort will involve preventing timely cast ballots from being tabulated at all following Election Day.

If the concurrence filed in a Wisconsin case on Monday night by former GOP operative turned GOP activist Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, however, is any indication of how this scheme will work, you should plan to either laugh or cry yourself to death in the coming days.

We're joined today once again by Slate's brilliant legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN to explain which of those two options is more likely at this point. Or, as he says today, "be the 'Angel of Doom' on your show, here to deliver some bad news from the heavens and generally terrify you about what's coming from our Supreme Court in the coming weeks and months."

On Monday night, the Supremes issued an order that blocked a lower federal court's ruling allowing the counting of mail-in ballots postmarked in the Badger State by Election Day that arrive up to six days after November 3rd. The opinion was a party-line 5 to 3 vote, with Kavanaugh issuing an extraordinary 18-page concurrence [PDF] with his majority vote to nullify potentially hundreds of thousands of legitimate ballots. The concurrence, however, was full of demonstrable, laughable, egregious errors of fact, including the claim that states like to declare winners on Election Night (zero of them actually do, as Stern correctly notes) and that counting ballots after Election Day might "potentially flip the results of an election."

Since elections are never certified by states on Election Night --- only the media declare "winners", in that sense --- official state results cannot be "flipped" with the counting of ballots after Election Day. It takes anywhere from days to weeks to tally ballots and certify winners even when we're not in the middle of an horrific pandemic that has resulted in an all-time record use of vote-by-mail options across the country.

That said, as insane as Kavanaugh's opinion was, both he and Trump's first stolen Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, offered a "totally deranged attempt", as Stern described it, to hew to a rejected opinion from the Bush v. Gore case in 2000 that handed the Presidency to George W. Bush. Though it came from a minority of Justices at the time --- in an opinion that specifically said it could never be used as a precedent in any other case --- it does now seem to be one of the Trump Cards that could be played to try and steal this year's election.

As Stern explains today, the portion of Bush v. Gore cited by Kavanaugh (inaccurately claiming it was from a unanimous majority opinion when it was neither unanimous nor in the majority!) was so radical at the time that even Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy refused to concur with it. Nonetheless, incredibly enough, there are now three Republican Party attorneys who worked on that Florida case in 2000 on behalf of Bush --- John Roberts, Kavanaugh and now Amy Coney Barrett --- actually sitting on the Court as Justices. That means anything could now happen, depending on how things work out as of next Tuesday night. So buckle up, as Stern details why all of this could come into play week and in the future, "because if this comes down to a few thousand or a few hundred ballots --- hoo boy --- it's going to make Bush v. Gore look like a warmup act for what's coming next."

We also get some reaction from Stern on Biden's recently stated position to call for a bi-partisan panel of Constitutional scholars to make recommendations for Court reform and/or expansion (presuming Biden wins and Dems take back the Senate), and a federal court's rejection this week of the DoJ's absurd attempt to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against Trump, filed in NY state court by columnist E. Jean Carroll who alleges he raped her in the 1990's.

Finally, we use a few minutes to name the "winner" of our recent bumper music trivia "contest" from Monday, when our guest was Ion Sancho (the legendary former Florida election official who oversaw the aborted 2000 "recount") and then, just in case you needed any more inspiration today to help ensure a landslide next week, we close with a parody song performed by Lauren Myers with lyrics written by our friend and regular guest-host Nicole Sandler!

Oh, and P.S., if you want to share that absolutely bone chilling Lincoln Project ad we opened today's show with, it's right here.

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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Computer check-in system causing long Early Voting lines in GA; FBI warns of 'unauthorized access to elections support systems'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2020 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's full speed ahead for Senate Republicans' desperate attempt to further pack the U.S. Supreme Court while they still have the chance. And it's anything but feel speed for voters forced to wait in hours-long Early Voting lines in Georgia. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The Peach State could very well turn "blue" this year, according to Nate Silver at Five Thirty Eight, in both the Presidential election and not one, but two U.S. Senate races there this year. But voters will have to work like hell to make that happen. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports today that the state's new voting check-in computers --- needed to operate the state's new unverifiable touchscreen voting machines --- appear to be the main cause of intolerably long lines for voters since Early Voting began on Monday. Some voters have reportedly left without voting, others waited as long as 12 hours to cast their votes. Now that AJC has identified the check-in computers to be a main bottleneck, Georgia's terrible Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger --- who previously attributed the hours-long lines to "voter enthusiasm" --- has apparently told the private software vendor responsible for those check-in computers at Voting Centers to increase network bandwidth to speed up the process. Early reports in Atlanta suggest the expanded bandwidth may be helping to speed things up, but we'll see.

In the meantime, as voters in Georgia must now navigate at least 4 different computer systems (programmed by private companies) to cast their one vote, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of the Dept. of Homeland Security, are warning they are aware of "some instances" in which malicious actors (most likely foreign, they suggest) have obtained "unauthorized access to elections support systems." They quickly note, however, they have "no evidence to date that integrity of elections data has been compromised." Feel better?

Our guest today, Slate's great legal reporter, MARK JOSEPH STERN, is definitely not feeling better after a week of hearings in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, meant to further pack the Republicans' already-stolen Supreme Court with Amy Coney Barrett before Election Day. The hearings revealed little or nothing about Donald Trump's third far-right nominee to the highest court in the land, Stern reports. "It was a terrible week. It was one of the worst on record," he tells me, describing the proceedings as a "deranged power grab" and the nominee as establishing a new low for such hearings.

"Amy Coney Barrett has established a new rule for Supreme Court confirmations, which is that the nominee doesn't just have to be kind of evasive or squirrelly. The nominee can literally say nothing of substance and simply announce a rule at the outset that she won't say anything of substance, and then just swat down questions that try to get her to say anything meaningful."

Barrett refused to (or couldn't?) answer even simple, non-political questions and matters of basic federal law, such as whether it is illegal to intimidate voters at the polls. (It is.) "I don't understand why we all had to go through this entire experience. It was a psychic wound, it was demeaning to all of us. She won't even say whether this federal law exists, whether it is real," Stern observes. "Will she acknowledge that gravity exists?"

Among the many related points we discuss today...

  • While Barrett allies herself with the great myth of the late Justice Antonin Scalia's so-called "Constitutional originalism," is she in fact "a legal lightweight"?;
  • Do Republicans even care about her "remarkable paucity of experience"? (Stern charges: "I don't think that she's necessarily being picked on the merits of her own scholarship.");
  • If SCOTUS nominees are now going to refuse to answer any question on virtually anything, have these hearings and the Advise and Consent clause itself become little more than a meaningless joke at this point?;
  • Is Barrett's bizarre assertion that Roe v. Wade is not a "super-precedent" --- apparently meaning a ruling that cannot be overturned --- actually a real legal concept in any way, shape or form?;
  • What, if anything, was the impact of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's stunning thirty-minute detailing on Tuesday (video here, transcript here) of the decades-long, $250 million, rightwing dark-money court-packing conspiracy? And did it help Americans appreciate the insidious scam that wealthy rightwingers have been running with the GOP for years now to capture our entire federal judicial system? ("Amy Coney Barrett didn't just magically appear in that seat. She didn't just find herself nominated to the Supreme Court. She has been elevated, propped up, by this massive dark money machine," Stern notes.);
  • Did Democrats do all that they could to highlight the outrage of how Republicans are undermining the very legitimacy of our federal courts, even as Dems have little or no way to stop it right now?;
  • Will Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have the courage to do the right thing for justice and the American people by expanding the Supreme Court to save cherished American rights and the court system itself IF they are able to win the White House and Senate majority this November?;
  • And, why the hell was ranking Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) hugging the Judiciary Committee Chair, Sen. Lindsey Graham (maskless!), at the end of today's final day of hearings?

All of those questions asked and mostly answered on today's lively --- if maddening --- program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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