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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Former MAGA 'Cultist' on the State of the Race for 'MAGA Americans': 'BradCast' 7/23/24
Guest: 'Leaving MAGA' Founder and Exec. Director Rich Logis; Also: Kamala takes Milwaukee in first rally; MUCH more...
'Green News Report' 7/23/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Biden withdraws from 2024 race with legacy of unprecedented climate action; Climate warrior Kamala Harris; PLUS: Repubs highlight lies over facts on climate and energy at RNC...
Previous GNRs: 7/18/24 - 7/16/24 - Archives...
Biden Out, Endorses
Harris, Dems in Array: 'BradCast' 7/22/24
Party unites behind Vice President, moves from turmoil to relief to inevitable uncertainty about risky path ahead; Listeners ring in...
BIDEN DROPS REELECTION BID
President announces intention in letter to American people, follows up with Tweet declaring endorsement of Vice President Kamala Harris...
Sunday 'You Are Here' Toons
THIS WEEK: Recovering nicely! Hillbilly heroin! Cooling rhetoric! Standing by!...And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons...
What J.D. Vance Forgot to Tell You (and Lied About) at the RNC: 'BradCast' 7/18/24
Also: More pressure from top Dems for Biden to reconsider candidacy; Judge nixes GOP vote suppression suit in NV; Biden calls for SCOTUS reform, national rent control...
'Green News Report' 7/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Toronto crippled by extreme storms, flooding; Heat related costs rising in U.S.; Extreme weather and aging dams; PLUS: Marathon Oil pays record fine under Clean Air Act...
Previous GNRs: 7/16/24 - 7/11/24 - Archives...
Holding on for Dear Life Amid the Political Whirlwind: 'BradCast' 7/17/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton and 'Driftglass' on politics after the shooting, Dems still fighting over Biden; Trump's chooses Vance, RNC's 'unity' convention...
Cannon's Corruption: 'BradCast' 7/16/24
Guest: Attorney Keith Barber; Also: Menendez 'guilty' on all counts...
'Green News Report' 7/16/24
Texas grid buckles under multiple disasters; Hurricane Beryl damages now estimated at $3 billion; PLUS: Climate crisis flip-flopper J.D. Vance gets GOP Veep nod...
Amid the Assassination Attempt Aftermath:
'BradCast' 7/15/24
Also: Trump stolen docs case dismissed; Vance named as GOP Veep nom; Callers ring in...
Sunday Monday 'Google Project 2025' Toons
After a brief pause following Saturday's assassination attempt of Donald Trump, we are back with our latest collection of last week's best political toons...
Meanwhile... : 'BradCast' 7/11/24
Biden's tenuous candidacy; Trump and Orban; Inflation, prices falling; Climate liar Inhofe dies; California's stunning solar revolution...
'Green News Report' 7/11/24
Beryl fallout continues: Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Repubs seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
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: Randall D. Eliason, former DOJ Chief of Fraud and Public Corruption Section; Also: On edge for landmark 'Chevron Deference' ruling; SCOTUS nixes EPA 'Good Neighbor' pollution rule, for now...
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2024 4:58pm PT  

It's our last BradCast before time off for travel over the holiday next week. Unlike years past, it looks like SCOTUS will be late in releasing all of their opinions for this term before its normal end this week, so we won't be here to comment immediately on some of the biggest decisions (or on tonight's Presidential Debate) until after our return. But we've got plenty to cover from the corrupted rightwing Court already this week, including with a guest today who suggests the analysis by many legal experts on yesterday's ruling striking down yet another part of federal public corruption law has been somewhat misleading. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the big SCOTUS decisions still to come, is a case regarding the "Chevron Doctrine" which, for decades, has given legal deference to federal agency experts over judges or corporate challengers, when it comes to the interpretation of federal laws through rules and regulations promulgated by those federal agencies. That could all be about to change, with enormous consequences first for the EPA, but also across the entirety of the federal government --- or, the so-called "Administrative State" as rightwingers have taken to deriding it. We explain the doctrine and some remarkable ironies behind the Court's upcoming ruling, whatever it may be, today.

But the corrupted, stolen and packed rightwing Supreme Court did manage to issue several rulings today. Among them....

  • The Court rejected a multi-billion dollar nationwide opioid settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family.
  • In a clear win for corporate interests, they gutted the SEC's ability to carry out in-house proceedings on civil fraud complaints, requiring federal jury trials instead in an opinion likely to have far-reaching effects on other regulatory agencies as well.
  • SCOTUS also kicked a Presidential election year hot potato down the road for another day by allowing Idaho hospitals, for now, to perform emergency abortions under federal law, even though the procedure is barred under state law.
  • And, as we also discuss with Desi, the High Court blocked, for now, to the EPA's "Good Neighbor" rule which limited air pollution from power plants and other facilities that pollute downwind states. While the regulation has already substantially lowered pollution --- and saved lives --- in the states where it is in place, the Court prevented the EPA from enforcing it until after lower court challenges by largely Republican-controlled states and several industries are completed.

NEXT... On yesterday's show we critically covered the Wednesday SCOTUS ruling in Snyder v. U.S. [PDF], an opinion which overturned the conviction and 21-month prison sentence of an Indiana Mayor who received a $13,000 check from a company just two weeks after his city had granted them a contract worth more than a million dollars. The Court's rightwingers determined that the federal statute in question only applies to out-and-out bribery cases, where a quid pro quo was agreed upon before a public action. After-the-fact "gratuities", the Court's six Republican-appointees ruled, are apparently just fine. Or, at least, not unlawful under their reading of the federal statute in question.

While many legal analysts and experts have derided the ruling since it was issued on Wednesday, our guest today, RANDALL D. ELIASON, former chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section at the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C., now a white-collar criminal law professor at George Washington University Law School, had a different take that he posted to Twitter yesterday: "I have no problem with the Snyder decision, that 18 USC §666 covers only bribes and not gratuities. I think that makes sense."

Really? Why? Today Eliason joins us to explain why the law --- which, as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson notes in her dissent with the Court's other liberals, "imposes federal criminal penalties on agents of those entities who 'corruptly' solicit, accept, or agree to accept payments 'intending to be influenced or rewarded'" --- can arguably be interpreted as applying onlyto before-the-fact bribes, as opposed to after-the-fact "gratuities", as they are described by the Court's majority.

"I'm not happy about the outcome," Eliason concedes today. "You're right that there's been a pattern of decisions over the last more than a decade narrowing public corruption laws, and I've been critical of a lot of them. And I've been on your program being critical of a number of them in the past."

"So I'm not happy about the outcome. But I don't think the majority is being unreasonable in this particular decision. Because what this decision is about is not whether the conduct of the Mayor is a good thing, or whether it should be prohibited. It's just about the language in this particular criminal statute that Congress drafted. And it's really a badly drafted statute. It's poorly written. It's confusing. And even though the lower court in this case had upheld his conviction, several other federal courts of appeals had said the same thing, that this law does not apply to gratuities, and agreed with Snyder."

He explains that there is "a real legal distinction between a bribery and a gratuity", and that other federal statutes prohibit them both. But in this case, §666 is less than perfectly clear. And, when there is a "tie" in legal interpretation, the tie is supposed to go to the defendant who, the Court noted, can still be held accountable for accepting a gratuity under state and local laws.

"You see a lot of headlines in the wake of this decision: 'Supreme Court says bribery is okay.' No, the whole point was it wasn't bribery. It was a gratuity, which is something far less serious. And the issue was does this particular statute cover this kind of gratuity? The answer is no. I think, based on the way that statute is written, it's a reasonable outcome."

While I'm not sure I fully agree --- and even he notes that Justice Jackson makes several good arguments in her dissent --- Eliason's expertise and insight into the laws in question shed welcome light on this otherwise seemingly corrupt ruling.

On a related note, we also discuss how all of this might apply to the arguable millions of dollars in "gratuities" that members of SCOTUS, like Clarence Thomas, have accepted over the years and whether that might play into the Court majority's opinion. And how Congress, had they not become completely dysfunctional in recent years, could easily clarify this issue through simple legislation.

On one other matter before we finish our conversation with Eliason today, he offers his thoughts on SCOTUS' upcoming Fischer decision regarding whether the statute used to charge hundreds of January 6 defendants --- including Donald Trump --- with "obstruction of an official proceeding" may be struck down by the Court. Eliason is "pessimistic" about what is likely to happen, though believes that even if the Court strikes it down for use against many of those charged for the J6 insurrection, that "there's a good chance that the charges against Trump would still survive."

FINALLY... Before we disappear for the next week, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest 'Green News Report', with more thoughts on the imperiled Chevron Deference Doctrine; Climate disaster upon climate disaster this week for a New Mexico town; and some very good news indeed for President Biden's job-creating climate law...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Update, 5/17/24: Paradox of police power covered by newly released Netflix film, 'Power'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/15/2024 10:05am PT  

The May 3 article that appeared in UCLA's campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin, was disturbing but not surprising. The LAPD stood idly by as a group of "tear gas" wielding, pro-Israel "counter-protesters" violently attacked a pro-Palestine protest encampment. The attack reportedly went on for nearly four hours before the LAPD moved in, not to stop counter-protester violence, but to breakup the encampment.

In a formal Statement, staff members of the UCLA History Department noted:

LAPD advanced on the student encampment, pushing and herding them, using the tactic of kettling. Forced closely together, the students made easy targets for police who shot them with stun grenades, chemical agents, and rubber bullets. Police beat them with batons and shot them with rubber bullets, striking one student in the face with a rubber bullet. At least twenty-five students had to be hospitalized. They then arrested approximately 200 students, staff, faculty, dragging visibly injured students away.

The history professors chastised both University of California administrators and the LAPD for their "disregard" for "students' safety and their right to express their views."

The professors weren't the only ones to express concern for law enforcement's failure to intercede as pro-Israel "counter protesters" violently attacked the encampment. California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, "called for investigations into [why the] pro-Israeli counter-protesters' attack...was allowed to rage for several hours with little to no police intervention."

Sadly, the story, as recounted by the Daily Bruin and the UCLA history professors, is on the continuum of well over a century of right-wing bias on the part of local, state and federal law enforcement against those who exercise First Amendment rights to engage in non-violent strikes or in peaceful, anti-war, environmental, and civil rights protests....

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

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: PA primary results; Biden signs Ukraine aid bill; SCOTUS revisits abortion rights; AZ House Dems repeal 1864 near-total abortion ban...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2024 6:48pm PT  

The court takes Wednesdays off in Donald Trump's New York criminal trial on 34 felony counts related to his use of hush-money paid to a porn star to help him cheat his way to winning the 2016 Presidential election. So, today is a good opportunity for us here on The BradCast to get caught up on our trial story so far with two guests who are following it closely. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, FIRST UP, it was Primary day in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, and though the nominations for both major party's Presidential candidates are long ago all but official, the turnout and results from the Keystone State's closed primaries on both sides are somewhat revealing. Tune in for details, but suffice to say, Joe Biden appears to have outperformed Trump in the narrowly divided battleground state yesterday, where Dem turnout outpaced Republicans and Nikki Haley, who quit the race weeks ago, racked up nearly 17% of the GOP Presidential vote. There were several U.S. House races of note and uncontested primaries for this year's critical U.S. Senate race in PA, where incumbent Democrat Bob Casey is taking on billionaire hedge-fund manager Dave McCormick (who has been less than forthright about his upbringing.)

President Biden signed a long-overdue $61 billion aid package for our democratic allies in Ukraine after overwhelming Senate passage on Tuesday night. That followed on the heels of Saturday's passage in the House by Democrats following an about-face by GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson. The package adopted by Congress and signed by the President today is for $95 billion in all, including funding to replenish Israel's missile defense systems following Iran's attack last week, billions of dollars in humanitarian aid in Gaza, and military aid to Taiwan. The bill also includes a ridiculous measure that may result in the popular social media app TikTok being banned in the U.S.

In reproductive rights (or lack thereof) news, the corrupted far-right majority on the U.S. Supreme Court appeared skeptical during heated Oral Argument on Wednesday over a Biden Administration mandate under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The 1986 statute requires hospitals that accept federal medicare funding to offer emergency, life-stabilizing care to all patients who arrive in the emergency room. After SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, the Administration reminded facilities that such care includes abortions when a patient is "in serious jeopardy" or any condition that might impair bodily functions or organs, no matter the state's own restrictions on reproductive care. Idaho disagreed and sued. The packed rightwing supermajority on the High Court was working hard today to side with Idaho.

There was somewhat brighter related news in Arizona on Wednesday when, after three weeks of trying, Democrats in the state's House were finally able to vote to repeal the state's 1864 territorial ban on nearly all abortions. Three Republicans joined all 29 Democrats to repeal the law. The measure still needs passage in the GOP-controlled state Senate, after which AZ's 15-week abortion ban would take the place of the 160-year old near-total ban.

And THEN, we're joined again today our friends award-winning columnist and blogger HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullaballoo and former attorney (and former Republican) KEITH BARBER of Daily Kos to get up to speed on this week's fits and starts in Donald J. Trump's New York criminal trial.

After last week's faster-than-expected jury selection, the trial began with Opening Statements on Monday in which prosecutors described Trump's criminal scheme to hide several sexual affairs just before the 2016 election as "election fraud, pure and simple". On Tuesday morning, during a contempt hearing on at least 10 instances in which Defendant Trump violated the court's gag order against attacking jurors and witness, the judge instructed Trump's attorney Todd Blanche that he was "losing all credibility with the court." Says Barber today: "In a list of phrases that could be the worst to come out of a judge's mouth in the first two days of a trial, that would be right at the top of the list."

On both days, shortened for the Passover holidays, David Pecker, former National Enquirer publisher and longtime friend of Trump, took the stand on behalf of the prosecution to discuss hush-money payoffs he'd arranged as part of an alleged conspiracy with Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen to publish damaging stories about Trump's political opponents and quash stories that might be damaging to him. As Pecker detailed, that included paying off a Trump Tower doorman to shut up about his claim that Trump fathered an out-of-wedlock child with a maid who also worked there, and to "catch and kill" the story of Playboy model Karen McDougal who says she carried on a nearly year-long affair with Trump while his wife Melania was pregnant.

Parton describes the first witness in this case as offering several ironies since Pecker "said that their little scheme back in 2015 and 2016 was all fake news. Literally fake news. They made up stories. They killed negative stories about Trump and pushed negative stories that were literally fake news about his rivals. It's like gaslighting to the thousandth power."

Pecker's is expected to continue his testimony on Thursday regarding the $130,000 hush-money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, which was repaid to Cohen by Trump via monthly installments during his first year in the White House. Those payments became the falsified business records at the center of this trial, as the Trump Organization logged them as legal retainer fees, rather than unreported reimbursements that ran afoul of campaign finance laws, according to prosecutors.

Both Parton and Barber find it curious that, while Trump has been relentless in his attacks on witnesses like his longtime attorney and fixer Cohen, he has not said a negative word about his friend Pecker since the former Enquirer chief signed a cooperation agreement with prosecutors in 2018. She believes there is much more that Pecker knows about Trump above and beyond the scandals he's already detailed in this case. Barber concurs: "There's reason to believe that David Pecker has more of Trump's bodies buried in various places."

Each offer many more thoughts and insights on all of the above, including much more that we've learned over just the first two days of this historic trial, the legal hurdles faced by prosecutors, and what we should expect in the days ahead...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Meteorologist, author Guy Walton; Also: Rudy admits he lied about GA election workers; Trump 'Wall' scammer gets 5 years in prison; Bundy found liable for $50M in defamation suit...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2023 6:58pm PT  

Hot enough for ya? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. More on that on today's BradCast, but we lead off with some slightly better news on accountability for a few Team Trump wingnuts. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Rudy Giuliani admitted in court documents filed on Tuesday night that he made "false" claims about Georgia poll workers Shaye Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman. The filing was part of their defamation suit against the disgraced Trump attorney and former NYC Mayor. They were the two women who risked their lives to valiantly help tally votes during the COVID pandemic in 2020 at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, only to be falsely targeted by Giuliani and Donald Trump (and then their minions) for mistallying ballots. Trump called Freeman a "vote hustler." Giuliani falsely charged the two African-American women were passing USB drives back and forth in the counting room "like vials of heroin or cocaine". (In fact, it was Freeman passing a ginger mint to her daughter.) Rudy's legal admission, however, appears to be an attempt at avoid turning over critical discovery documents, including emails from during the period when he and Trump were actually attempting to steal the 2020 election. We'll see if his ploy works. More to come in that suit, I suspect.

Another Trump grifter was sentenced to federal prison on Tuesday for stealing money from donors to the private, MAGA "We Build the Wall" project. Colorado "businessman" Timothy Shea was sentenced to five years and three months after two other men who also organized the scheme were previously sentenced to multiple years in prison. All three were charged along with Trump's former top advisor Steve Bannon, who was pardoned by Trump for this crime on his way out of office. Bannon, however, has since been charged for related crimes by New York state.

Then there is the dope Ammon Bundy. Remember him? (Look him up.) He's an old school wingnut who has now been found liable by a jury for more than $50 million as part of a defamation suit filed against him by a hospital in Idaho that he and fellow rightwingers falsely accused, according to the Idaho Statesman, of "working with the government to take children away from Christian families to be sexually abused and given to gay couples."

That, however, is the good news today. As to the rest of it, well...

The ocean water off the tip of Florida now appears to have hit an all-time record for seawater anywhere on Planet Earth since man has been here anyway. Literally hot tub-like temps of 101.1 and 100.2 Fahrenheit were recorded over the past two days. That, as a new study of ocean currents published by the journal Nature on Tuesday finds a key part of the Gulf Stream known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (or AMOC) could collapse entirely by mid-century or even as early as 2025 as waters continue to warm. The result would be catastrophic and, according to scientists, "affect every person on the planet."

We explain what that means --- and doesn't --- along with a bunch of newly shattered heat, wildfire and flooding records this summer by way of prelude to today's guest, meteorologist GUY WALTON, 30-year Weather Channel veteran, tracker of worldwide climate records, and author of the World of Thermo illustrated children's book series on our quickly worsening climate crisis.

"We are smashing more records than usual," Walton tells me today, "except for the United States. Globally there have been more" broken records than usual this Summer. He does stick his neck out to predict this one: "I have no doubt that July of 2023 will go down, when the figures get computed, as the warmest month in recorded history. Not just the warmest July, but the warmest month ever."

While Walton has been observing and reporting on these new records for years, he concedes there is one that he didn't expect, at least so soon. "That warm water temperature down near Miami of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Didn't think I'd live to see something like that."

Other landmarks, such as "the disappearance of Arctic sea ice," he explains, "was not predicted until about the year 2050. Now it's going to be more like 2030 [or] 2040." That is part of our discussion about how climate scientists tend to be quite conservative in their predictions, despite rightwing climate deniers who falsely claim they are just "liberal grifters" trying to make a buck on the extremely lucrative career (insert rolling eyes emoji here) of climate science.

Other topics of note discussed with Walton today: His attempt to "kill two proverbial birds with one stone" by his naming of major heat waves after oil companies. (We are currently suffering through Heat Wave Chevron); The extraordinary number of climate deniers who (incredibly) still exist at this point. ("I find that a large number of climate deniers actually failed their science classes when they were going to high school, because they can't read charts [or] very simple graphics."); And the dark turn taken in the third, recently published book in his World of Thermo climate change series for kids, this one titled World of Thermo: Grim Reaping.

Finally today, some listener comments in response to my conversation last week with E&E News climate impacts journalist Thomas Frank on the "canary in the coal mine" climate change-fueled home insurance crisis now roiling the state of Florida. As listener Wendy noted, what is happening there now has been predicted for years, as the insurance crisis threatens to become a home mortgage crisis, as also discussed with Frank. She notes that climate and investment researcher Spencer Glendon offered brief, yet remarkably prescient remarks on these points during a Sohn Institute conference back in 2019. We shared a few on-point minutes today from Glendon's 2019 remarks at that conference. His full 15 minutes, however, are well-worth listening to and can be viewed right here...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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Guest: Kassie Siegel of Center for Biological Diversity; Also: Ernie Canning on Friday's medical abortion ruling in TX, and a challenge to ID's outrageous restrictions on doctors' free speech...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2023 6:24pm PT  

We've got two guests on today's BradCast, both attorneys, with a bunch of information that you likely haven't heard elsewhere. [Audio link to full program follows below this summary.]

First up, we're joined by KASSIE SIEGEL, Director and Senior Counsel of the non-profit Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute, and Climate Director for the Center Action Fund, where she leads campaigns and litigation focused on reducing climate-warming greenhouse gases and other pollution.

Siegel joins us today to discuss the recent passage and signing of a landmark law in California, shepherded through the state legislature last month in a special session called by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. The new measure enacts first-of-its-kind provisions to finally cut the knees out from under Big Oil price gouging in the Golden State. Among other things, the law will create a state oversight board that will offer unprecedented transparency into the pricing processes of major oil companies and refineries in the state and, if necessary, impose penalties for exceeding reasonable profit margins. That, in a state where Big Oil has clocked record profits over the past year or so, even as they falsely claim their exorbitant price hikes for gasoline were due to global supply shortages.

The new law grants subpoena power to the state to, for the first time, open the books of Big Oil, an industry that has, literally, gotten away with murder for decades. Naturally, they fought tooth and nail to stop the law's passage, but state Dems overcame the pushback to adopt a measure that could become a model for other states as well as the federal government. The oversight and regulatory scheme may even pave the way for oversight and regulation of other industries like Health Care and Internet providers.

"One of the things that is so important about this new law is that it directly confronts the Big Oil playbook that we see them carrying out," Siegel explains. "Big Oil knows that its days are numbered and it is a declining industry. It is declining first here in California. But they have a plan to maximize their profits and maximize the damage they do on the way out the door. This new bill, the first of its kind in the country, is a really important part of pushing back on that, and protecting Californians from this destructive industry."

There is much more in my conversation with Siegel, including where the measure falls short and where California residents need to push Newsom to keep going farther still.

Next, we're joined by long-toiling BradBlog.com legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING on two different abortion-related lawsuits in the news this week. One is last Friday's outrageous ruling by Trump-appointed, far-right Christian activist U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk in North Texas, nullifying the FDA's 20-year old approval of mifepristone, a drug used in the majority of the nation's abortions.

As Canning warned in a really helpful explainer on all of this back in February, Kacsmaryk was threatening to issue a ruling likely to take the drug off the market in all fifty states, even though, as the Dept. of Justice has now argued in their emergency appeal seeking a stay (as filed this afternoon), the statute of limitations has long expired for a challenge to a drug approved as safe and effective during the Clinton Administration. As Canning wrote in February, and as the DoJ argues today, the challengers actually have no standing and no injury to bring the suit in the first place, as the physicians involved neither prescribe nor use the the drug themselves.

The other case discussed is one that Canning wrote about today, detailing the challenge brought by physicians and Planned Parenthood in Idaho, challenging the state's extreme, near-total abortion ban. The state statute includes no exceptions for the life of the mother or even cases of rape or incest, though it allows someone charged with having carried out an illegal abortion in the state to try and prove those exceptions in court. Otherwise, the law mandates 2 to 5 years in prison for someone convicted of providing an abortion, and the suspension of the medical license of a provider who assists in any way.

But the federal lawsuit Canning reports on today is to none of those point. The complaint is a challenge to the state Attorney General's recent legal analysis declaring that Idaho doctors may have their licenses to practice suspended for merely "assisting" in an abortion by simply informing a patient that they may obtain a legal abortion in a different state. The plaintiffs argue that the restriction violates the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment Free Speech clause, as well as the interstate commerce clause and the 14th Amendment's right to due process.

After decades as a litigator, does Canning still have confidence that the federal judicial system, corrupted by the far-right, will still be able to the right thing in these cases, respecting the precedent of long-established caselaw and the U.S. Constitution itself? Tune in to find out...

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Federal lawsuit reveals 21st-century 'Fugitive Slave Act' mentality, infringing free speech rights of physicians, patient's right to travel...
UPDATE 2/26/24: 9th Circuit issued preliminary injunction in favor of physician/patient rights...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/10/2023 9:35am PT  

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

The remarkable, temporarily-stayed nationwide ban issued last Friday by a far-right, Trump-appointed federal judge on the use of a drug approved by the FDA for medication abortions more than twenty-three years ago, is hardly the only jaw-dropping, radical right-wing assault on medical and reproductive freedoms over the past week. (See our now-updated, detailed coverage from February on that and related cases.)

Threatened with a suspension of their licenses to practice medicine in Idaho if they so much as inform their patients of the availability of lawful abortions in other States, a group of OB/GYNs has now filed a federal lawsuit [PDF] charging a new, near-total state abortion ban, as interpreted by its Republican Attorney General, Raúl Labrador, violates the U.S. Constitution.

The medical professionals, who do not perform in-state abortions, are joined by Planned Parenthood in their suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court.

The suit was triggered by the Gem State AG's recent letter/analysis [PDF] in which Labrador wrote that state law now "prohibits an Idaho medical provider from...referring a woman across state lines to access abortion services." He concluded that informing a patient about the availability of lawful abortions in other States amounts to "assisting" an abortion in violation of Idaho statute. That violation, the AG added, would trigger a suspension of a medical provider's license to practice medicine in the state.

Plaintiffs in Planned Parenthood v Labrador allege Labrador's interpretation of one of the most extreme anti-abortion laws in the nation runs afoul of several Constitutional rights, including their right to free speech. The suit also reveals how Idaho's new application of a "Fugitive Slave Act" mentality appears to violate other provisions of the U.S. Constitution, including the Commerce Clause and the 14th Amendment's Due Process clause...

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

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Guest: Daniel Wolf of America Counts; Also: GOP's sad abuse of Herschel Walker; And, Republicans For Democrats 2022!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2022 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast we've got an excellent idea for Democrats, Republicans and everyone else who has any concerns about accurately reported election results in this year's critical midterm elections. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, first up, a few thoughts on a Republican Party in dangerous decline and what at least some long-time GOPers are now doing to put country over party.

We start with the sad tale, frankly, of how the GOP is using and/or abusing Georgia's former football hero and clearly unstable U.S. Senate nominee Hershel Walker for grotesquely partisan political purposes, despite the costs to the man who had no business or qualifications being put up as a candidate for U.S. Senate in the first place. In a thoughtful Twitter thread this week, Illinois' Democratic Rep. Sean Casten worries that Walker is on "a trajectory that does not end well." He describes him as "just one in a long, tragic legacy of disposable black men" for the Republican Party. Even now, Casten notes, elected GOP officials who put him up for the job have no interest in his well-being if there is any hope he might defeat GA's incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and help the party win a majority in the upper chamber of Congress.

There are some Republicans, however, who are proving to be much better than that. We are happy to laud some of them today, including Rep. Liz Cheney and (gasp!) Bill Kristol. Both are among a growing group of longtime GOPers who are not just calling out their party for the threat they now pose to American democracy itself, but are putting their money where their mouth is by actively supporting and endorsing pro-democracy Democratic candidates for office in battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona --- and even in ruby-red states like Idaho.

"I don't know that I have ever voted for a Democrat, but if I lived in Arizona now, I absolutely would...for Governor and for Secretary of State," Cheney said last week at a McCain Institute event at Arizona State University. She supports the Democratic bids for Governor by Katie Hobbs and for Sec. of State by Adrian Fontes. "We cannot be in a position where we elect people who will not fundamentally uphold the sanctity of elections," Cheney explained, referring to GOP Gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and SoS hopeful Mark Finchem, both of whom falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. If elected, both would be in a position to block state certification of a legitimate Democratic Presidential victory in 2024.

Of course, despite the complete lack of evidence to suggest that the 2020 election was stolen by anybody in any state, the lack of transparency and public oversight of our brittle and vulnerable computerized voting and tabulation systems makes it easy for charlatans to dishonestly claim otherwise.

We have long advised that voters show up to their local polling place at closing time in order to take photos and videos of the cash register-style poll tapes that are printed out by voting machines and optical scanners. They are supposed to be printed and publicly posted there at the end of the night. Public documentation of those records can be very helpful when compared to results eventually reported for those precincts by towns, counties and states.

A new smart phone app called Actual Vote makes that process much easier for voters of all parties or no party at all, promises our guest today, DANIEL WOLF, CEO of AmericaCounts.us, a non-profit tech company that developed the free app.

Wolf has been observing elections since 1984, when he was sent to research election systems in Nicaragua. He explains today how he was struck after the controversial 2004 Presidential election in Ohio when poll tapes from dozens of Counties went missing well before the 22 months they are required to be preserved under federal law. Comparison of contemporaneously printed results at the precinct on those tapes with final results reported later can be helpful in ferreting out fraud (either foreign or domestic) or simple programming errors. As importantly, this sort of oversight, he argues, can also offer confidence to the public that results were tabulated and reported correctly as per voter intent.

"If people took a picture of the [poll] tape in the past, the question was, 'Who do I send it to?," he explains. But Actual Vote, in addition to assisting in the recording of poll tapes, allows the user to press a button to send those videos to a secure public server, where they are posted and where analysts can transcribe their numbers and compare them to final results in key jurisdictions.

"Anything that pops out, we then would go back to the election administrators and say, 'Look, we found a discrepancy. What about it?'," Wolf details. "Most of those discrepancies are going to be resolved. But those that aren't resolved can then be looked at more deeply. And if they cannot resolve that, then it gives the candidate or anybody else who is concerned about that particular race the ability to go into court and say 'I have documented evidence of discrepancies in the results reporting'."

Wolf notes that while "laws vary" from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction regarding the use of cameras at polling places, "once public information is posted in the public" after polls close, "you have a First Amendment right to take a picture of it."

His hope is that while Actual Vote could help surface fraud or simple error, broad use of the app may ultimately add confidence in election results for Republicans and Democrats alike, among whom he hopes to "ignite a war of mutual assured accountability."

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(If they are able to vote at all this year?) Also: Voter reg spikes among IDAHO women after 'Roe' overturned; Biden goes to pot before midterms...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2022 6:17pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Elections are not only about the future, they're also about accountability for failed leadership. There is a lot of that in Florida today, even if it's difficult to notice above the death, destruction and devastation following Hurricane Ian. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Current estimates for the cost of damage in Florida following Hurricane Ian range anywhere from $40 to $60 billion. And, yet, the state's two Republican U.S. Senators both voted against a bipartisan infrastructure bill last year which included some $50 billion to help states harden and upgrade infrastructure to better withstand events exactly like Ian.

Marco Rubio called the measure "wasteful". Rick Scott described it as "reckless spending". Each has received nearly a quarter of a million dollars from the oil and gas industry since 2017. Moreover, both Rubio and then Representative, now Governor, Ron DeSantis voted against disaster funding in 2013 following Hurricane Sandy, even though both are now seeking similar federal funding for Florida.

Hurricane Ian was made far worse than it otherwise might have been thanks to climate change caused by the burning of oil and gas that the state's GOP leaders have long promoted despite decades of warnings from scientists. Just weeks ago, DeSantis issued an order blocking his state's pension fund --- which invests billions held on behalf of teachers, firefighters and other state workers --- from even considering the climate risks posed to companies when investing in them. He described such considerations as "political".

Of course, the state's U.S. House contingent is also filled with GOP climate deniers who have long lied to their constituents about the dangers of our worsening climate crisis in of the state's most affected by it. Every single Florida Republican in both the House and Senate voted against the Democrats' recently adopted bill that invests $369 billion over the next ten years to wean the nation off fossil fuels and the greenhouse gas emissions that made the state's recent disaster so much worse --- and makes high-tide flooding in South Florida now a regular occurrence, even on sunny days.

Will any of Florida's corrupt GOP leaders ever be held accountable by voters for their deadly, failed leadership on these issues? That is, if voters are even able to vote this year amid the rubble left behind by Ian?

Rubio is facing a reelection challenge in November by Democratic Rep. Val Demings. The state's former Governor, Charlie Crist (then a Republican, now a Democrat) is challenging DeSantis. While the Dems trail in both contests according to pre-election polling, both are within reach --- at least if voters are informed enough to know who is on their side, and who has been playing them as suckers for years, as we discuss in detail today.

Also today...

  • The bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating Donald Trump's January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and his multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election has now rescheduled their next (maybe last?) public hearing for Thursday, October 13, following a previous cancellation two weeks ago due to Hurricane Ian.
  • More evidence of why you should ignore the polls and predictions in these UNconventional times before this year's critical midterm elections: voter registration for women --- especially younger Democratic women --- has spiked even in the ruby "red" state of Idaho following the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of 'Roe v. Wade', according to new data.
  • President Biden announced, on Thursday, the pardons for thousands of Americans convicted for "simple possession" of marijuana under federal law over the years. He called on Governors to do the same for those charged under state laws and has asked both his Health and Human Services Secretary and the U.S. Attorney General to finally consider rescheduling cannabis from its current Schedule I status, which classifies pot --- which is now sold legally in dozens of states --- on the same level as LSD and heroin, and even more dangerous than fentanyl and methamphetamine.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with news on Biden's visit to Florida after Ian; Saudi Arabia and Russia's plan to raise oil prices; the climate stakes of Brazil's upcoming Presidential runoff election; and great news from the great state of New York regarding electric vehicles...

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

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

Among the many stories covered today...

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

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'The system has been breached' says guest Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Primary results from NC, KY, OR, ID, PA...
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2022 6:30pm PT  

We've got an amazing --- and chilling --- story for you on today's BradCast, about what has turned into a wave of proprietary voting system software theft in several key swing-states since Trump pretended the election was stolen in 2020. But the most disturbing part is that many of these thefts having been carried out by or with the help of actual elected GOP election officials in several states! And there is one in particular, in Georgia, which has just come to light which we focus on today, because our quick-thinking guest actually recorded a damning phone call she received from someone who claims to have been a part of that scheme. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get there today, however, we've got a very (too) quick round-up of results from Tuesday's primary elections in North Carolina, Kentucky, Oregon, Idaho and Pennsylvania, and some news on several of them that you may not have heard elsewhere. Among the most noteworthy of those races...

  • The loss of North Carolina's insurrectionist U.S. House Rep. Madison Cawthorn in his GOP primary, and what will now happen to the federal court case regarding Free Speech for People's challenge to his eligibility to run at all under the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause." We've been covering that story closely in recent months and we've got comment today from the group's President on what may happen now in the federal case.
  • News on several apparent wins by progressive candidates for the U.S. House in PA and OR, including one that is set to result in the defeat of an incumbent establishment-backed Democratic Congressman and the other likely headed to a recount.
  • The good news for Democrats in the contest for PA Governor, as far-right Trump-endorsed insurrectionist wingnut state Sen. Doug Mastriano won the GOP nomination to run against state A.G. Josh Shapiro. Suffice to say for now, Republicans are not happy about their nominee.
  • And the critical race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pat Toomey, where progressive Lt. Gov. John Fetterman easily won the Democratic contest and the battle for the Republican nomination is likely headed to a recount between Trump-endorsed celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz and pretty-much-just-as-Trumpy former hedge-fund CEO Dave McCormack. Both are now waiting on late arriving mail-in ballots to be tallied in the exceedingly close race, even though Republicans in 2020 argued that late arriving mail-in ballots in the Keystone State were all illegal and should have been tossed out. Not anymore, apparently. (And we wonder how long it'll be before they notice yesterday's BradCast rounding up several Republican-leaning counties where voters were turned away for hours after polls opened, thanks to voting system failures.)

THEN, it's on to the remarkable story of GOP election insiders in critical swing-states such as Michigan, Colorado, Ohio and Georgia, who, following the 2020 election, conspired with a cabal of election denying Team Trumpers to breach secure facilities in elections offices. They made illegal image copies of hard drives from key voting system computers containing sensitive, proprietary software and voter databases in at least 8 counties across the country...for some reason.

Part of this story is newly revealed evidence about one such a case in Coffee County, Georgia, which includes a damning recorded phone call received by our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance. The caller admits to an elaborate scheme to copy and analyze hard drive data from the county that Trump is said to have won by about 40 points. He also told Marks that he hacked into her legislative filings in her long-running lawsuit against the state, which seeks to replace Georgia's unverifiable touchscreen voting systems with simple, verifiable hand-marked paper ballots.

You'll need to tune in for the full details on this story. It's broad and, at times, complicated. And, yes, we share some of the disturbing audio from that phone call to Marks from an Atlanta bail bondsman by the name of Scott Hall who brags about chartering a jet to Coffee County with a group that "scanned all the equipment, imaged all the hard drives and scanned every single ballot" with "the entire elections committee there" who, he claims on the call, said "we give you the permission. Go for it."

We pull together a bunch of threads from a bunch of investigative news sources (as well as some of our own reporting) on all of this, on the broad scheme carried out by some of Trump's top "Stop the Steal" compatriots and the almost inconceivable lack of apparent investigation --- or worse, cover-up --- by GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger regarding the still mysterious incident in Coffee County.

As noted, you'll need to tune in for the full details, but among the stories and recent detailed investigative reports referenced and/or cited in our coverage today...

  • Mesa County Court Judge Removes Peters as Designated Election Official for the 2022 Election (CO SoS)
  • Trump allies breach U.S. voting systems in search of 2020 fraud ‘evidence’ (Reuters)
  • PRESIDENTIAL FINDINGS TO PRESERVE COLLECT AND ANALYZE NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION REGARDING THE 2020 GENERAL ELECTION (Draft Executive Order)
  • Georgia county under scrutiny after claim of post-election breach (Washington Post)
  • Georgia’s Alleged Dominion Voting System Breach (Coalition for Good Governance)
  • Building the "Big Lie": Inside the Creation of Trump’s Stolen Election Myth (ProPublica)
  • The Plot to Overturn the Election (PBS' Frontline and ProPublica)

Among the questions discussed with Marks: What the hell is going on here? Is it a violation of state and/or federal law to make discreet imaged copies of this software? Why was Team Trump doing it in the first place? Is Sec. Raffensperger's office investigating what happened in Coffee County, GA or not (they are offering conflicting statements, including in Marks' legal case challenging the use of the state's Dominion touchscreens)? What kind of threat does all of this pose to elections around the county in 2022 and 2024 in Georgia (their midterm primaries are next week) and in the many other states which use the very same software --- now stolen by these people --- to run their elections?

"Certainly they were violating state and federal laws," Marks tells me. "The difficult part of this is It puts virtually all states that are using the Dominion system --- without doing thorough audits and [using] hand-marked paper ballots --- it puts all of these at risk."

"If what Scott Hall and other have said happened truly happened, then there are people who have unauthorized copies of software off the server and off of all of the components," she explains. "These people can now craft and test malware and how to exploit the vulnerabilities in an election."

Marks believes the initial effort was meant "to try to find evidence or perhaps even fabricate evidence," regarding the 2020 election. But it has since gone far beyond that.

Raffensperger, she says, is offering "nothing but stonewalling" and "is telling different things to different people." She notes there is "no record of opening an investigation" in Coffee. That, as the Secretary's second-in-command, Gabe Sterling, seemed to suggest in a recent court deposition that there WAS an investigation of the server in Coffee, that it was actually quietly seized by the state, but that he "can't remember" the findings from the inquiry.

"There are many mysteries to unfold here. We don't know who has been in the system and how far any malware may have spread if it were implanted." She warns the Secretary's office and state Elections Board "want to hide their heads in the sand despite" the mounds of recent investigative reporting (as linked above) on what is going on here.

"The system has been breached," Marks cautions chillingly, before explaining what must be done now to safeguard our elections --- including from insider election officials who have now put our entire democracy at very serious risk. Even hand-marked paper ballots, she notes, are still tabulated by these same computer systems.

"Remember, the remedy we are seeking [in our suit] is not simply hand-marked paper ballots but hand-marked paper ballots with very thorough audits. IF we get the audits, yeah, there can be hacking but any outcome-changing hack will be detected and can be corrected," Marks argues. "While you can't get rid of the risk, you can remedy that risk."

Again, much more detail on today's show. It's a doozy. Please tune in...

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Guest: Philly Inquirer's Will Bunch; Also: Idaho's Lt. Guv may be insane --- or maybe just a Republican...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2021 5:52pm PT  

Something not terrible actually happened in D.C. today! We celebrate at the top of today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

Faced with the likelihood of the U.S. defaulting on its debts in a matter of days for the first time in American history (and being blamed for the economic devastation that would go with it), or otherwise facing the possibility that Democrats would be forced to reform the filibuster to allow a carve out for raising the debt ceiling, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans blinked today. They have now agreed to call off their filibuster to allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling by themselves, if only for about two months. That's okay. It's a clear win for the Dems, whose unwillingness to back down to the GOP's economic terrorism and weaponization of the need to borrow money to pay for stuff that Congress (including Republicans!) have already bought, has paid off. It has also revealed McConnell's bluff. Something to keep in mind the next time this comes up again in December. We explain.

It also means that Congressional Dems can now focus on passage of their Build Back Better agenda, specifically, their transformative and long-overdue expansion of healthcare, education, child care and the first real attempt to take on climate change in their proposed $3.5 trillion bill that would spend $350 billion a year over the next ten years. That's not a lot of money, in truth, for the U.S. Government. The Treasury Department may take in $300 billion in tax revenue on any given single day. Not to mention, the entire bill, as proposed, is paid for with a small tax increase on corporations and the wealthy. But that hasn't prevented Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and his sidekick Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) from pretending that the implementation of wildly popular progressive programs --- which the Democratic President actually ran and won on --- will lead to an "entitlement society".

Amid the negotiations over the final price tag of the Build Back Better Act, Manchin has been demanding "means testing guardrails" on all new family and health related programs. What does that mean, exactly? If only Americans below a certain income are allowed, for example, to enjoy the two free years of pre-K and community college included in the Democratic proposal, why not impose such conditions on the rest of our public education system? "Once we’re means-testing pre-K," The Prospect's Harold Meyerson recently observed in response to Manchin's demands, "it’s hard to see why governments at all levels don’t means-test K itself, not to mention K-12."

The Philadelphia Inquirer's longtime national columnist WILL BUNCH describes "means testing" in his newsletter this week as "two dirty words for America's middle class" and "the two most insidious and abused words in American politics." He joins us today to explain why that is and what other, alternate, betters ways their may be to meet the seemingly intractable (and dumb) demands from Manchin and Sinema that the Democrats' fully-paid-for bill be scaled back from it's current price tag.

"When means testing is applied," Bunch explains, "the reality is, what you're really doing is reducing the size of the program, so you're reducing the amount of money that needs to be raised to pay for the programs, which means you're reducing the amount that taxes would be increased on these wealthy people and on these corporations, who happen to be Joe Manchin's patrons."

"What really happens is that people who are entitled to these programs don't get the benefits because of means testing," he argues, "because it creates all kinds of bureaucratic hoops. The more you make them jump through hoops, the more you heighten the feeling of stigma that some people feel about getting government aid, they just say 'forget it' and give up. So the utilization rate of these programs --- they find that usually a quarter of the people eligible for these programs don't take advantage of them for reasons like that."

But, he says, it's also simply about money. "Let's focus on what's really going on here. They're really trying to squeeze every dollar to not go to middle class and working class families. And all those dollars that they squeeze, they go into bigger tax cuts for billionaires and corporations," who, unlike middle-class tax-payers, do not face such means testing for benefits they enjoy. "It's like reverse means-testing! The more means you have, the more we're going to bend over backwards to cut your taxes!"

We discuss all of that and more --- including the Rolling Stones concert that Bunch went to this week in Pittsburgh. Yes, I'm jealous!

Finally, as crazy and dangerous as the Republican Party has become in recent years, a number of its elected officials are apparently set on pushing the envelope to new standards of insane behavior...even if it means taking on fellow elected Republican officials, as the Lt. Governor of Idaho has done this week --- once again --- while the state's Republican Governor was out of town on state business. Yes, the madness continues on today's BradCast. We do our best to keep up with it...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Larry Moore of The Audit Guys; Also: Pillow Guy Mike Lindell fails spectacularly again to prove 2020 election fraud, this time in Idaho!
UPDATE 6/6/23: Text messages confirm numbers were simply made up...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2021 5:55pm PT  

Wait. Even the so-called "audit" results from the Cyber Ninjas that appear to confirm Joe Biden's 2020 victory in Arizona over Donald Trump were phony?! Yup. "The Ninjas made up the numbers out of whole cloth," says our guest on today's BradCast, after examining and sharing the actual evidence in support of that claim. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first, the partisan, wingnut audit by the Ninjas in Maricopa County, AZ, is hardly the only epic fail by Trump MAGA Mob dead-enders who have been unable, in almost a year, to show any evidence of any substantive fraud or manipulation of the 2020 election results. The latest epic fail comes out of the deep red state of Idaho, where Trump was certified to have defeated Biden by more than 30 points. Nonetheless, loony tunes deep-pocketed pillow impresario and deep state Trump stooge, Mike Lindell, claims that those numbers were also wrong! He charges, in a new document titled "The Big Lie", that votes were flipped electronically in all 44 counties in the state, for some reason, to help Joe Biden (who, again, lost in Idaho by more than 30 points!)

Idaho's Republican Secretary of State, however, suspected that Lindell's claims may have been wrong, especially given that 7 counties in the state use no computers at all to tally their ballots. They hand count them! Nonetheless, his office went about doing full, transparent, video-taped hand-counts (and posted them on YouTube) in front of Democratic and Republican Party officials in two small Idaho counties, just to be safe. What did those recounts show? You guessed it, Biden's margin increased. He received the same number of votes in each counties' recount, but Trump lost about 9 votes in one county and picked up one single vote the another. Lindell, however, refuses to accept those publicly hand-recounted results by the Republican Sec. of State in Idaho, in his continuing drive to make himself the nation's number one laughing stock.

But Lindell has competition on that score from the Cyber Ninjas and its CEO Doug Logan in Arizona!

A week and a half ago, The BradCast was the first in the nation to detail to the findings in the long-awaited final report from the Ninjas' 5-month long secret "audit" of the 2020 Presidential election results in Maricopa County (Phoenix). Rather hilariously, the Ninjas reported that their hand-count of 2.1 million ballots cast in the County matched up almost perfectly with the original, certified, computer-tallied results from the county's Dominion Voting Systems tabulators. In fact, the Ninjas claimed to have found that Trump actually lost 261 votes in their hand-count, while Biden picked up 99 votes.

But never mind even those numbers! Because a group of actually experienced, bipartisan election auditors, who call themselves The Audit Guys, say the Ninjas' numbers are completely bunk. "An epic hoax" according to their own review of the Ninjas' "audit". Those results were "fiction," they told New York Times. "The reality is they just made up the numbers," they explained to Arizona Republic. In fact, The Audit Guys' own report charges that "the entire exercise in hand counting ballots on lazy Susans for two months, was a hoax." Moreover, they say, the GOP President of the AZ Senate who arranged the entire audit and selected the inexperienced, conspiracy theorist company, Cyber Ninjas, to carry it out, is now part of a "coverup" to try and hide the scam.

We're joined today by Audit Guy, LARRY MOORE, founder of the Clear Ballot Group, which audits elections around the country. Since retiring from the company, Moore has teamed up with prominent Pima County (Tucson), AZ Republican data analyst Benny White and Clear Ballot's retired Chief Technology Officers Tim Halvorsen to independently check the Ninjas efforts.

Moore explains today how they determined that the Ninjas numbers were "made up out of whole cloth". Specifically, when the state Senate released the Ninjas' three-volume report, they appear to have accidentally left a number of pages in it that detailed discrepancies in the hand-count of ballots carried out by the Ninjas versus a separate, independent machine count of ballots done by the Senate at the end of the process, to try and reconcile numbers that were reportedly way off. In fact, as Moore details, the data released by the Senate revealed that their machine count of ballots (not results, just the number of ballots) matched almost perfectly with the County's originally certified totals. But the Ninjas' hand-count of the number of ballots was off by a mile.

The Senate report revealed (apparently accidentally) that one pallet of ballot boxes actually contained 48,371 ballots in 40 boxes, according to the Senate's machine count. That number matches the County's originally tallied numbers. But the Ninjas hand-count of that same pallet of ballot boxes was off by 15,692 ballots! And, as Moore explains today, that was no more than 2.5% of the 2.1 million ballots cast in the County last year and theoretically hand-counted by the Ninjas on those colorful lazy Susan tables.

"In short," The Audit Guys' report notes, before they lay out their full findings and evidence, "with this enormous discrepancy, any discussion of vote counts --- including Biden's 99 vote gain and Trump's 261 vote loss --- is meaningless."

On today's show, Moore explains how his team was able to confirm the numbers they compared with the Senate's machine-count. Randy Pullen, one of the Senate's liaisons to the count, oversaw that late, independent machine count of the numbers of ballots. He now has "some 'splaining to do", Moore tells me. Extrapolating out the numbers from the single pallet of ballots that Pullen's report accidentally revealed, results in "about a 300,000 ballot discrepancy" if averaged with the rest of the 2.1 million ballots the Ninjas supposedly counted.

If that's true, why did the Ninjas' claim that not only their count matched the County's, in general, but that Biden's margin of victory actually increased a bit? Moore offers his explanation on today's program.

We also discuss the response, so far, from both Pullen and Sen. Fann to the Audit Guys' findings ("Crickets," says Moore) and how Fann herself now appears to be participating in a coverup to hide the real numbers and much more. A state court judge has ordered the Senate to release all records from the "audit" and communications with the Ninjas and other contractors as part of public records requests. Fann, however, has refused to release thousands of pages of documents, including the rest of Pullen's and the Ninjas' box-by-box, batch-by-batch reconciliation data. (Longtime progressive AZ election transparency advocate John Brakey, who was allowed inside much, if not all, of the "audit", also recently confirmed on this show that documents were being withheld, when he explained how many of his own communications with Fann were not included in an earlier tranche of documents released as part of the original court order.) There is a hearing scheduled before the judge this week to force the rest of the documents out of Fann.

We also take a few minutes to discuss the concerns that some, including Moore, have about all of these demands for post-election audits in the wake of Trump's evidence-free Big Lie that the election was stolen from him. I don't personally mind such audits, as long as they are done publicly, with the cooperation of election officials (unlike the offensive clown show carried out by the Ninjas in Maricopa). Moore has a different view, however. We discuss.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, much of which focuses on the weekend's massive oil pipeline rupture off the coast of Southern California, and on the big bucks that Big Oil is now spending to try and block Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda in Congress...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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UPDATE, 6/6/2023: Confirming our reporting from a year and a half ago, text messages finally obtained by the Arizona Republic, via court order, from Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan confirm that, as Moore explains in the show detailed above, Logan simply made up the numbers for this "audit" after being unable to add up or reconcile tabulation sheets created during the Ninjas' months-long "counting" spectacle at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Full details now here...

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Also: Debunking CA Recall 'fraud' claim; COVID crisis creating hospital death panels as the voluntarily unvaxxed killing themselves and others...
By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2021 6:10pm PT  

If there's one guy you really don't want vowing to dog you, it may be Rhode Island's Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, easily one of the most persistent Senators in the upper chamber. If you're Trump's FBI Director or, especially, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, that's probably not good news. But it's just one of the stories covered on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Here's a quick summary of many more of them...

  • No, the disappearance of 350,000 votes from CNN's California Recall Election Night live ticker is not proof that it was stolen. Especially when there is a perfectly plausible (and checkable) explanation for it.
  • After the well-publicized testimony of U.S. gymnasts in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, regarding the FBI's years-long failure to adequately investigate hundreds of allegations of sexual assault against now-convicted team physician Larry Nassar, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse had a few related questions for Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray about another similarly flubbed investigation --- perhaps more accurately described as a Trump Administration/FBI cover-up --- regarding serious allegations of sexual assault against a young girl by a now sitting Supreme Court Justice. After alleged sexual assaulter Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's second nominee to be packed onto the U.S. Supreme Court by Republicans, Whitehouse vowed to Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh's main accuser, that he would get to the bottom of the FBI's clearly whitewashed pre-confirmation "background check" probe of Kavanaugh. It's three years later and Whitehouse has not forgotten. As he explained while pressing Wray during Wednesday's hearing, he has been waiting all of that time for answers and documents from the FBI. He made clear to Wray that he will not stop until he gets them. As evidenced by his nearly ten years of weekly "Time to Wake Up" climate addresses on the floor of the U.S. Senate, the Rhode Island Senator does not back down easily.
  • The COVID pandemic continues to worsen in the U.S., with no end in sight. That, of course, thanks to the voluntarily unvaccinated. Hospitals across the entire state of Idaho are now rationing care under "critical care standards" that allow them to try and save the lives of those most likely to survive, while offering comfort and best wishes to those unlikely to make it. Similar "death panels" are now in place or "imminent" in other states with similarly low vaccination rates, mostly run by Trumpy, denialist, Republican Governors. While the vast majority of those paying the worst price are the unvaccinated, their selfishness comes at an unspeakable to cost to many who are vaccinated, as we detail today. Those include the Alabama man who died last week in Mississippi after his Trump Country Alabama hospital had to call 43 hospitals before finding one, 200 miles away, that could give him care; the Illinois woman with a comorbidity who died after becoming infected with a breakthrough COVID case after visiting a family friend in Mississippi whose husband had died in the state with one of the lowest vaccine uptake rates; the man in Hawaii who remains in excruciating pain today, because he can't get a non-emergency operation for kidney stones due to lack of oxygen supply for all but COVID patients on all of the islands. Yes, the voluntarily (and selfishly) unvaccinated continue to bring pain, harm, sadness and death to far more people than just themselves...which is already bad enough.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, featuring news on Nicholas, the latest storm to make landfall in our latest record hurricane season, exacerbating recovery in Louisiana, where folks are just beginning to recover from Hurricane Ida the week before last; Biden's continuing push for his landmark climate infrastructure plan; States now beginning to hold plastic producers to account for their pollution; and Vermont stepping up as the latest state to sue fossil fuel giants for decades of deadly lies about climate change...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Hospitals in GOP-leaning states begin rationing healthcare as Delta variant skyrockets, even among children (while DeSantis tries to kill them); Better news in Alaska; Good jobs numbers; DoJ sues Texas; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2021 6:36pm PT  

The news, as you may have noticed, continued to be somewhat grim. But we do manage to find a bit of encouraging news here and there on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary below.]

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

  • Good news in the long (very long!) battle to protect Alaska's nearly-pristine Bristol Bay and its native run, $2 billion a year salmon fishery industry from the ecological devastation of a huge, open pit gold and copper extraction operation known as Pebble Mine. Biden's EPA is invoking a section of the Clean Water Act to block the project. Hopefully it will stay blocked for good this time, but we'll see.
  • New jobs numbers from the Department of Labor are encouraging today, with unemployment rates now at a pandemic low and reaching pre-pandemic levels. That's cautiously good news, given the effect that the Delta variant is now beginning to have on the economy. But, because it's largely encouraging news which works against Republican hopes for a disastrous economy, you probably didn't hear too much about today's numbers. We also explain why this largely good, if under-reported, news also undercuts Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)'s argument for undercutting Joe Biden's proposed, landmark $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill.
  • More encouraging news (before we get to the less encouraging news today): It turns out we do have an Attorney General and he is capable of acting quickly and decisively...at least when he's pushed to do so. The Dept. of Justice today announced a federal lawsuit to enjoin the state of Texas' new law undercutting the Constitutional right for women to have an abortion, as per the previously-settled, nearly 50-year old precedent established by Roe v. Wade. Whether the DOJ's "relatively novel theories developed in reaction to a novel law" will be successful, given the GOP's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court, remains to be seen.
  • Remember back during the summer of 2009, when rightwingers were instructed by Fox "News" and the Republican Party to be outraged about "death panels" in President Obama's then-proposed Affordable Care Act that would lead to the rationing of health care and decisions by government bureaucrats about who should live or die? The argument was all nonsense at the time, as there were no such "death panels" in ObamaCare that would kill granny. But, guess what? States around the country are now beginning to ration healthcare and are deciding who gets to live or die. That is thanks to the very same Republicans who were told to be outraged about phony "death panels" in 2009, now being told to be outraged about life-saving vaccines and mask mandates. Thanks to those idiots, COVID infections, hospitalizations and death rates are skyrocketing, particularly in GOP-run states with low vaccination rates. And, because of it, and the lack of ability to handle the surge, the state of Idaho has announced new "crisis standards of care." That means they are now literally forced to ration health care, as they try to save those with the highest chances of survival, while wishing the best of luck and "comfort care" to everyone else. Kentucky and other states are now on the brink of doing the same, as hospitals continue to be overwhelmed in states with low vaccination rates.
  • COVID infection, hospitalization and death rates were, incredibly --- and completely unnecessarily --- 2 to 3.5 times higher this Labor Day, then they were over Labor Day last year, in 2020.  Moreover, infection, hospitalization and death rates are also skyrocketing among children right now, with kids now comprising more than a quarter of all new cases.
  • Despite the alarming rates of sickness among children, twisted GOP Governors in states like Texas and Florida are still fighting tooth and nail to block local school districts from determining what is best for their students and staff alike. Florida's largest school district, Miami-Dade, announced this week that 13 staffers have died since mid-August. All of them were unvaccinated. But, in brighter news, a state judge has --- for now --- blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis' appalling authoritarian attempt to ban mask mandates and punish school districts who defy him.
  • Amid all of this today, President Biden announced new federal directives to try and curb the deadly pandemic by mandating vaccination or regular testing for as many as 100 million workers nationally. In remarks sharply critical of those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated, Biden also announced that Executive Branch employees and contractors who do business with the federal government will now have to be vaccinated, with no option to test out of it.
  • Late today, Los Angeles School District, the second largest in the country, voted to implement a mandatory vaccination regime for those older than 12.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Biden pushes for infrastructure resiliency and "building back better" after the deadly devastation of Hurricane Ida, and much more...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Policing expert Alex S. Vitale on failed reforms and a new solution
Also: Messy primaries underway in a dozen states; Tough Guy Trump unleashes federal troops on peaceful demonstrators, a church, and foreign journos for a campaign photo-op...
By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2020 6:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast (with helicopters circling overhead here in Hollywood): Massive protests around the country continue today for an eighth day following last week's police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The street protests continue to swell, no doubt, in response to the frequently brutal response by law enforcement officials in many major cities around the country toward the mostly peaceful demonstrations. But protests in the streets aren't the only much-needed response to years of violence instigated by law enforcement. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First up today, one response will be --- or, certainly should be --- at the voting booth this year. To that end, eight states and Washington D.C. are holding their Presidential primaries today. Congressional primaries and municipal elections are being held in a number of other states as well, many of them previously postponed due to the coronavirus. But the deadly pandemic continues, leading Republican Gov. Mike Parsons of Missouri --- where absentee voting is severely restricted --- to tell voters recently that if they don't feel safe to vote due to the pandemic, they just shouldn't bother. That, instead of working to expand absentee voting in the Show-Me State to make it safer for voters to exercise their right to participate in their own democracy. As a GOP-dominated state, however, making it easier to vote in MO may be the last thing Parsons wants.

Nonetheless, expanded absentee voting is now occurring in a number of states --- red, blue and battleground --- where problems have already emerged, including in Pennsylvania and in Idaho, as discussed on today's show.

We're hopeful that election officials see today's "practice run" primaries as a flashing red warning light to get their acts together before November 3rd. That will not be made any easier by intransigent Republican lawmakers in D.C. who are still refusing to appropriate the billions of dollars that elections officials say they need to upgrade systems for this year's elections amid a pandemic, or to bail out the U.S. Postal Service --- hard hit by the COVID crisis --- so they are able to handle the unprecedented mail-in voting we will see in this fall's critical general election.

In related news, the President of the United States, after reportedly spending time over the weekend locked away in a White House bunker due to fears of protests in front of the Presidential mansion, decided to play tough guy on Monday by unleashing federal troops with tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and shields on peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park, on the priest and several seminarians at St. John's Episcopal Church across the street, and on foreign journalists covering the American Dystopian nightmare live on television. D.C.'s Episcopal Bishop, as well as the Australian Ambassador, both had a word or two to say about it after a crew from the country's Seven Network was ">punched by federal storm-troopers as the journalists were covering the violent effort to clear out the park so that Trump could pose for a campaign photo-op holding a bible in front of the historic church.

And, in more related news, while Trump's questionably Constitutional threat on Monday to dispatch the U.S. military to quell protests in states around the country --- beyond his own front door, in any event --- is likely as hollow as most of his other strongman threats, the very real and systemic problem of brutal, racist policing policies continues in this country. To that end, calls to "Defund the Police" have grown in recent days, as seen in protest signs, from various non-governmental organizations around the country and in various media outlets.

We're joined today by longtime policing expert ALEX S. VITALE, Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College and Coordinator of their Policing and Social Justice Project. Vitale, who penned an opinion piece for The Nation over the weekend headlined "The Only Solution Is to Defund the Police" explains how reforms instituted by the Obama Administration after outrage unleashed by the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner on Staten Island, NY six years ago have failed to bring much-needed institutional changes to police departments around the country. The Minneapolis Police Department, in fact, was once held up by some as a model of progressive change that, clearly, has not resulted in the hoped-for reform.

"Minneapolis was kind of a 'shining star' of this new approach to police reform," he tells me. "That comes out of the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice and a lot of academic think tanks. Their idea was if we can make the police more professional, less biased, more transparent, that this will help restore people's trust in policing. So they implement things like implicit bias training, mindfulness training, de-escalation training. They give police body cameras. They set up a lot of police-community encounter sessions. They try to identify a few problem officers, to give them supplemental training. These are the kinds of things that they hope will create a more modern, professional police force that hopefully will kill fewer unarmed black people."

None of that worked, however, he says. "The number of police killings has not been reduced over the last five or six years. The number of low-level misdemeanor arrests has not been reduced. The number of police in our schools has not been reduced. The war on drugs has not been reduced. So we haven't seen real changes in the impact of policing on those who are most heavily policed. And that's really the problem here."

Now, explains Vitale, author of the book The End of Policing, it is time to demilitarize and defund departments around the country after 40 years of expanded and intensified policing and the more recent failed reforms. "We have dozens of places across the country where people have organized campaigns to dial back police funding," he explains. "No one is out there saying tomorrow we can just flip a switch and there are no police. Most of these proposals are about rolling back increases in police spending over the last ten years."

He argues that many of the functions that cops are currently tasked with would be much better handled by social workers and community organizations, where funding should be shifted away from the police. He also details how this has been a long time bipartisan problem and that many of the "solutions" offered by politicians --- from tough guy "law and order" measures on the Right or more recent progressive initiatives to better train cops to handle sensitive racial situations and improve community policing efforts on the Left --- are more often "used by police leaders and political leaders to deflect and demobilize the protests against them."

Vitale explains how you can help join the movement, why its so important, and how it is literally the only chance we have left for change. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a long-overdue conversation in our country. "My hope is that, as the immediacy of the protests subside, that people connect with these real movements to do the kind of sustained political organizing on the ground that can help change the view about policing, and develop a kind of new majoritarian politics that is more humane, and less centered on punishment and vengeance," he says.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Trump's EPA proves they couldn't care less about "states' rights"; the U.N. is forced to delay a crucial climate summit due to the pandemic; there is more good news about the end of coal; and less good news about Zombie Fires! Yes, Zombie Fires!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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