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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, July 9, 2020
The Truth About Fraudulent Claims About Absentee Fraud: 'BradCast' 7/8/20
Guest: OSET Institute's Eddie Perez; Also: Trump's COVID Death March continues; SCOTUS lets religious groups discriminate...
Faithless Judiciary: SCOTUS, Appeals Courts Block Voting Rights Amid Pandemic: 'BradCast' 7/7/20
Guest: Mark Joseph Stern on new Court opinions and their (now deadly) war on voting...
'Green News Report' 7/7/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Bad news for pipelines, good news for those who oppose them; Japan reels from more record storms; PLUS: House Dems unveil climate plan for net zero emissions by 2050...
Previous GNRs: 6/30/20 - 6/25/20 - Archives...
Trump's July 4th 'Declaration of War Against Fellow Americans': 'BradCast' 7/6/20
Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Non-U.S nations getting COVID under control; SCOTUS on robocalls, 'faithless electors'...
Sunday 'Statuesque' Toons
PDiddie's latest monumental collection of the week's political toons!...
Eric Swalwell on Impeachment Revisited: 'BradCast' 7/3/20
Guest host Nicole Sandler with the CA Congressman on his new book, 'Endgame', and a different look at the 4th of July...
Cult of Traitorous Trump: 'BradCast' 7/2/20
Guest host Nicole Sandler with Jeff Sharlet on the cult and former CIA officer Jack Rice on the bounties...
Supreme Hope, Broken Justice: 'BradCast' 7/1/20
Guest host Nicole Sandler w/ The Nation's justice correspondent Elie Mystal on SCOTUS, DOJ corruption...
'Green News Report' 6/30/20
U.S. fracking giant files for bankruptcy; BP issues warning; SCOTUS dismisses endangered species; PLUS: Flood risks to U.S. far higher than known...
Despite Recent Rulings, No, Roberts Isn't Now a Liberal Squish: 'BradCast' 6/29/20
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on the 'canny legal' maneuverings of the Chief Justice...
Barr DOJ's Abuse of Antitrust Laws
Ernest A. Canning on the OTHER Department whistleblower's astonishing testimony of gross misconduct by Trump's corrupt AG...
Sunday 'Electoral Distancing' Toons
It's another killer collection of political toons this week from PDiddie! (One of our favorites in many weeks, in fact!)
Do IN's SoS Emails 'Expose Vulnerability to Terror Attack'? A Judge Wants to Know: 'BradCast' 6/26/20
Guest: Ron Fein; Also: Trump 'emergency' nixed; TX, FL re-close; Trump, Pence lie...
'It Was Never Politics, It Was Always Science': 'BradCast' 6/25/20
COVID-19 surging in U.S. at record rates as hard evidence confirms that yes, Trump told his 'people' to 'slow the testing down, please'...
'Green News Report' 6/25/20
MN sues Exxon, Koch for climate fraud; DoJ whistle-blowers out Trump's corrupt probe of CA automaker deal; PLUS: Bayer to pay billions to settle Monsanto lawsuits...
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: Slate's SCOTUS reporter Mark Joseph Stern on the 'canny legal' maneuverings of the Chief Justice; Also: MS votes to dump Confederate flag; Trump Campaign removed social distancing stickers before Tulsa Death Rally; COVID-19 now ravaging all but two states...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2020 7:04pm PT  

As life in the U.S. continues to get grimmer, we find a few much-needed points of light during today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First up, the GOP-controlled Mississippi state legislature finally voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to remove the offensive Confederate flag symbol from their own state flag. Both the Governor and Lt. Governor support the move and the bill will be signed. Yes, the ongoing uprising against systemic racism in the U.S. continues to bring about long-overdue positive change! Also, there was (mostly) good news in a long-awaited abortion case at the U.S. Supreme Court today, but we'll get there in a second.

Before that, we've been arguing in recent days that Donald Trump should eventually be brought up on charges for what amounts to mass murder in his purposefully and criminally delinquent and negligent handling of the COVID crisis. More evidence of that affirmative endangerment of the public was reported over the weekend by the Washington Post, which obtained video evidence that the Trump Campaign, just hours before his June 20 campaign rally in Oklahoma, removed thousands of social distancing stickers placed on seats at Tulsa's BOK Center venue by its management. As the city's health director pleaded with the campaign to postpone the rally amid spiking infections rates, and local residents and business owners went all the way to the state's Supreme Court to try and block it, the Trump Campaign was purposely making it less safe for rally attendees. The infection rate in Tulsa has continued to spike since Trump's under-attended Death Rally (where he had falsely bragged in advance that there wouldn't be "an empty seat"), as infection rates now continue to rise in at least 36 states after the largest single day increase across the nation on Friday.

Florida, Texas and Arizona, with Republican Governors who were among the first to reopen, are now seeing among the largest growth in infections and hospitalizations in the country. That, despite Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' hubris-filled attacks on the media just weeks ago following an initial lack of new confirmed cases after reopening for Memorial Day and a now-embarrassing rant from Sean Hannity on Fox 'News' claiming that FL and NY "got it right", states like NY got it wrong (NY's infection rate was just 6% of Florida's on Friday) and that "the mob and the media....owe Gov. DeSantis a huge apology." Well, that didn't age well.

Then back to a bit more good(ish) news as the U.S. Supreme Court's Chief Justice John Roberts, for the third time in as many weeks, joined the Court's liberal wing on yet another major case --- well, mostly. It was enough, at least, to strike down an extremist anti-abortion measure in Louisiana, in any case. Had the attempt by state Republicans to insert Big Government in-between a woman and her doctor been upheld by the Court, it would have left the entire state of 4.6 million with just one single doctor legally allowed to perform the still-Constitutionally protected medical procedure.

We're joined today by one of our favorite SCOTUS corespondents, MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate, to explain today's 4 to 1 to 4 opinion which resulted in the end of the state law requiring abortion doctors to unnecessarily obtain difficult-to-receive hospital admitting privileges. While abortion rights activists are breathing a sign of relief today, Stern explains, they likely won't have long to enjoy it. The Court with a stolen Republican Majority still appears hell bent on rolling back Roe v. Wade, he says.

While Roberts, in his own concurring opinion [PDF], effectively joined the liberals again today in striking down the Louisiana law --- again, maddening the right-wingers in the bargain --- he "is a very canny legal strategist, who still quite obviously opposes the Constitutional right to an abortion," Stern warns. In fact, what Roberts opinion today did was "leave us with a state of abortion jurisprudence that sort of rewinds the clock back to maybe 1992. Whereas, for the past four years, at least in theory, we have had a more robust protection of Constitutional rights."

With Roberts' new opinion, Stern reports, abortion rights proponents have actually lost some ground, even while the second "admitting privileges" law to find its way to the Court in four years was again struck down --- just like the previous virtually identical one out of Texas in 2016 (which Roberts then voted to uphold.)

The Chief Justice also voted recently with the Court's Democratic appointees to ban LGBTQ employment discrimination and in striking down Trump's rollback of DACA protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrant children who were brought here by their parents. So, why has Roberts seemingly become a "liberal squish" on three important landmark cases this session? Stern argues that he hasn't at all. Another ruling today regarding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in which the Court's rightwing 5 to 4 majority dreamed up new (non-existent) Constitutional powers for the Presidency, and a SCOTUS decision over the weekend to block absentee voting for all voters --- not just those 65 and older --- in Texas, in the middle of a pandemic, and in clear violation of the 26th Amendment, is just more evidence that the Republicans' stolen SCOTUS majority is still anything but "liberal", even after these three recent surprise opinions on LGBTQ rights, DACA and abortion.

Stern also offers his thoughts on whether Roberts would be voting as he has been of late if Justice Anthony Kennedy was still on the Court as its swing vote, and whether all of this suggests that the Court should now be expanded in response to theft of what should have been an actual liberal majority by now...

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

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on that and WV GOP's state Supreme Court coup; Also: Massive voting system failures in AZ primary...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2018 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Details on the extraordinary court ruling out of North Carolina on Monday, and the judicial coup being staged in West Virginia. But first, voters went to the polls for Tuesday's primary elections in Arizona and Florida and in Oklahoma for primary runoff elections. It did not go well in Arizona. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Maricopa County (Phoenix)'s paper ballot optical-scan computer systems failed in at least 100 precincts, according to the County Recorder. Many polling places were closed entirely this morning, and it was nearly noon before the systems were said to finally be working in all precincts. It's still unclear what the precise failure was, but the new County Recorder Adrian Fontes (who won his election after the previous, long-time Recorder was booted out for shutting polling places during the 2016 Primaries), tied it to pre-election tests that failed on Monday, and then a lack of contractors from the voting machine company (Dominion Voting) on hand to properly set up the systems before polls were to open today. "The contractor responsible for the voting machines was supposed to provide more than 100 technicians to assist with issues, but only 70 were available," the Arizona Republic reports Fontes as telling them at a news conference this morning. If we learn more, of course, we'll share it on tomorrow's show along with noteworthy problems and results in all three states holding elections today.

Then, following up on a story that broke minutes before airtime on Monday, we're joined today by Slate's excellent legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN to detail the extraordinary ruling issued by a three judge federal court panel finding all of North Carolina's U.S. House districts --- for a second time --- to be partisan gerrymanders in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Remarkably, the judges are considering ordering new maps to be drawn up before this November's elections, after already having found last January that Republicans had unlawfully gerrymandered the state's U.S. House districts. That ruling, however, was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court which punted in June by ordering the lower court to review matters of standing. After having done so, the three-judge panel found the same Constitutional infirmities.

"The real villain here, in a sense --- aside from the Republicans, who obviously drew these incredibly gerrymandered maps --- is the Supreme Court and Justice Anthony Kennedy," says Stern. "A virtually identical ruling came down in January, at which point the US Supreme Court could have and should have acted on this question of partisan gerrymandering. Instead, the Supreme Court punted [and] sent this case back down for reconsideration. Now the [lower] court has reached the same conclusion it did in January."

The map in question was the one drawn up in 2016 after the state's previous GOP-drawn map, used in 2012 and 2014, was found to have been an unlawful racial gerrymander. So, Stern explains, the federal judges in North Carolina seem to have had enough and may now order new maps "on this incredibly compressed timetable where the election is looming" in just over 70 days, ballots need to go out to overseas voters 45 days in advance, and the state's primaries were already been held in May.

The unconstitutional maps have resulted in a wildly unbalanced 10 to 3 GOP majority in the state's Congressional delegations, despite North Carolina's status as a very divided swing state which narrowly elected Obama in 2008, Trump in 2016, and a Democrat to be its Governor in that same election. If the matter is appealed to SCOTUS by the state (as it almost certainly will be), the Supremes could deadlock 4 to 4, if Justice Kennedy's seat has yet to be filled, and the lower court ruling would stand. We could be in for a lot of chaos ahead (as if we need any more this year.)

Stern also explains the astonishing situation in West Virginia, where that state's Republican-majority House of Delegates recently impeached all four sitting members of the state's Supreme Court. (Its 5th member had already resigned after been charged with a felony crime.) The move, Stern reports, was timed in such a way to avoid allowing voters to replace the justices at the ballot box this year. That means the previously 3 to 2 Democratic-leaning court may soon become a 5 to 0 Republican court, and stay that way through 2020. Following impeachment trials of the justices in the state Senate, any vacancies will be filled by the appointments of Trump-loving Republican Gov. Jim Justice, a Democrat when he ran and won the Governor's race in 2016, but who flipped parties shortly thereafter.

"There are no good guys, per se, in this story," Stern notes. However, it serves as yet another example of Republicans blatantly hoping to pack the courts, and could prove to be another useful example that Democrats could cite in the future. If they ever re-take control of the U.S. House, Senate and White House, they'll be able to cite such moves when and if they decide to move to add seats to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to restore a majority that should have been theirs, until Senate Republicans stole a vacant seat in 2017 after holding it open for nearly a year following the early 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Speaking of that stolen U.S. Supreme Court, Stern also offers his thoughts on whether Senate Democrats will be able to block --- or even stall --- the seating of Donald Trump's second nominee to the Court. Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Senate Judiciary Confirmation hearings are currently scheduled to begin next week and, Stern argues, "he owes an explanation as to why he thinks it's perfectly valid and legitimate and acceptable to be nominated by a racist and openly corrupted President to the Supreme Court."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report on, among other things, the record rainfall in Hawaii following Hurricane Lane over the weekend, and the complicated climate legacy of the late Republican U.S. Senator and former GOP Presidential nominee, John McCain.

(And, on a related note, next week will be our 900th episode of the GNR! If you have not contributed lately to our efforts to continue connecting the climate change dots over your public airwaves for the past 10 years --- along with all else that we do --- please consider doing so now by stopping by BradBlog.com/Donate! Thanks! We rely only on you to keep going! But, don't do it for me! Do it for Desi! Pretty please?)

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

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Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ 'Gaius Publius' (Thomas Neuburger); Also: Keeping the arts alive in the era of Trump, w/ David Gans, Meredith Hagedorn, Ronit Widmann-Levy...
By Angie Coiro on 8/17/2018 6:12pm PT  

Today's BradCast is guest hosted by me, Angie Coiro, host of In Deep with Angie Coiro.

The Toddler-in-Chief gives us all more fodder than we can stand for a news review: telling Vietnam vets they can’t tell the difference between napalm and Agent Orange; doubling down on pulling security clearances, because anyone dared challenge his authority to do so (those puny blowhards in the military and from the CIA!); and blaming everyone but himself for the skyrocketing price tag of his vanity parade. He showed us! He'll go to Paris and look at their parade, and buy himself some new fighter jets.

Then it's 'GAIUS PUBLIUS' - or rather, THOMAS NEUBURGER, who’s now publishing his commentaries under his real name. You may know his prolific work at Down with Tyranny. He's asked some provocative questions about unions vs. liberals, and how the Democrats fit into that picture. Just as we were speaking, word came down about Trump threatening to pull Bruce Ohr's security clearance. He had some choice words about that, too.

Finally: how arts groups and independent performers are navigating the dual challenge of diminishing funding and politically divided audiences. DAVID GANS is an itinerant independent musician; MEREDITH HAGEDORN founded the small, eclectic Dragon Theatre in a Silicon Valley suburb; and RONIT WIDMANN-LEVY is Director of Arts and Culture at the Oshman Family JCC , a multiple-venue events space. They all face different hurdles keeping their art vibrant.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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




Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Constitutional rights he is likely to help overturn, and his background as a Federalist Society-trained party 'apparatchik'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/10/2018 5:41pm PT  

Democrats, abortion rights activists, environmentalists and civil libertarians, among others, are beginning to marshal their forces in opposition to Donald Trump's pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. But that fight will be an uphill battle with unapologetic Senate Republicans who blocked President Obama's pick for the court for nearly a year, now promising a vote before this November's midterms while they still enjoy the slimmest of majorities in the U.S. Senate.

On today's BradCast [audio file to show linked below], we look at the legal history and political background of Trump's nominee for the post, Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. We're joined for that conversation by Slate's great legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN, who has been covering all things SCOTUS for us of late.

Stern counters, among other things, Trump's assertion during his Monday night announcement that Kavanaugh is a "thought leader" and "brilliant jurist". He details how the 53-year old federal appeals court judge uses cookie-cutter legal phrases to describe his "judicial philosophy", as crafted for him by the right-wing Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. Those phrases --- "A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written." --- betray his years of dedication not to individual liberties or laws or the Constitution, but in service to the cause of GOP politics.

"He's doing what Neil Gorsuch did," Stern tells me, "which is to spew out these lines which sound good, if you're not very attuned to legal argot. But what they really mean is 'I'm going to do whatever the hell I want, and I'm going to ascribe this pretextual, orginalist, textualist gleam to it in order to make it seem like I'm maintaining my independence and not just doing favors for Republicans.'"

Stern cites, as evidence, a number of Kavanaugh's rulings on the DC Circuit Court, his service on the Ken Starr commission in the 1990s (which led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton), and his years as loyal White House legal counsel during the George W. Bush Administration. "He is a party man. Brett Kavanaugh is a Republican. He has been a Republican foot soldier in virtually every major Republican legal battle of modern times. He has served that role in his capacity as a judge on the DC Circuit to a 'T'."

We discuss Kavanaugh's road-map for overturning Roe v. Wade's nationwide Constitutional right to an abortion, as he laid out himself in his 2017 opinions attempting to block a lawful abortion sought by a 17-year old undocumented immigrant detained by the Trump Administration. But abortion is hardly the only hard-won right that will be, almost immediately, imperiled if Democrats are unable to block Kavanaugh's confirmation to what will become a very hard right-wing Court with his seating. Key environmental rulings are likely to be overturned, Stern argues, as well as those regarding voting rights, privacy rights, and many others.

Stern also explains why he remains very dubious, at best, that either Maine's Republican Senator Susan Collins or Alaska's Lisa Murkowski will break from their party to vote against Trump's nominee (Collins, he explains, is "not widely known for having a spine" and Murkowski, so far, has shown little sign of having one either) and why, if confirmed, Kavanaugh could decide to blow up years of precedent by refusing to recuse himself from SCOTUS appeals to cases that he has previously heard as a member of the DC Circuit Court.

There is one --- and, really, only one --- thin thread of potentially encouraging news regarding Kavanaugh's nomination. That can be found in his 2009 law review article on whether sitting Presidents may be indicted or face other criminal and civil legal actions. Kavanaugh's written comments on the matter, as we discuss, may, in fact, serve to argue the opposite of what a number of his opponents have been (mis)reporting regarding those remarks. In fact, Kavanaugh's argument suggests a sitting President can, in fact, be indicted under both current law and the U.S. Constitution, for civil and criminal matters alike.

Finally today, we're joined by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report and much more related to it, including the early response from environmentalists on Trump's SCOTUS pick, how the recent record-smashing heatwaves we've seen from coast to coast over the past week could become much worse very soon, and how this year's hurricane season has already turned deadly from the Atlantic to the Pacific...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Even if it means denying a Senate quorum and shutting it down entirely...
By Brad Friedman on 7/2/2018 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Incredibly enough, one newly nominated Democratic U.S. House candidate had to ask, out loud, on one of the weekend network news shows: "Are we fighting or not?" The question was in reference to whether Senate Democrats planned to do everything within their power to block a vote on Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. [Audio link to show follows below.]

That Democratic U.S. House nominee was progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who unseated the 4th most powerful Democrat in the House just last week in New York's Democratic Primary election by a landslide. She was appearing on NBC's Meet the Press. It's simply stunning that the Democratic Party's response to the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy has been so flat-footed that it's still unclear today, almost a week later, whether Democrats are prepared to fight, all out, against a second Trump nominee for the Court who will be the decisive vote in overturning and reversing decades of hard-won rights on virtually every front.

Today, Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called on Americans to pressure their Senators to block anybody nominated by Trump. The call, via a New York Times op-ed charging that "our rights hang in the balance", comes not a moment too soon and follows a lukewarm response from many Senate Dems (including Schumer) and a tepid commitment by (supposedly) pro-choice GOP Senator Susan Collins of Maine to vote against a Trump nominee who is "hostile" to settled law, such as Roe v. Wade.

It's still unclear whether all Democrats are onboard with blocking Trump's nominee, whether any Republicans will actually join them, and what Dems are willing to do in order to block such a vote entirely for a few months, until at least after this November's election where they could regain the majority. That, even after Senate Republicans blocked Obama's SCOTUS nominee for nearly a year before stealing a majority on the Court with Trump's nominee Neil Gorsuch.

We discuss the possibilities for Dems on today's show, along with what I describe as the necessity for Dems to walk out and deprive the Senate of a Constitutionally-required quorum and bring all business to a halt, if that what it takes to block Trump's nominee. That nominee, of course, would also immediately have a huge conflict of interest in ruling on a President who nominated him or her, even as he was the subject of a serious criminal investigation by a Special Counsel into an alleged conspiracy against the United States and unlawful obstruction of that investigation.

Remarkably, there are still many "Very Smart People" in the media and Democratic politics who seem to feel that the fight is already lost, and that Dems should somehow keep their powder dry until after the crucial midterm elections or else risk losing their chances of winning back one or both houses of Congress this November.

That is nonsense. This is the fight of all of our lives, at this point. Political calculations like that are both outrageous and counter-productive for Democrats for several of the reasons I detail today. If Democrats can't take a stand on this, they should get out of politics all together. They may or may not win the fight, but that's nowhere close to the point.

We open the phone lines today to all of that and more, as both elected Democrats --- and even many of those calling into the show today --- seem to have a very difficult time staying focused on what actually matters at this crucial moment in history and what is at stake for the country itself in the midst of our ongoing Trump/GOP-fueled National Emergency...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Common Cause Nat'l Redistricting Manager Dan Vicuna; Also: Scheme to add Medicaid work requirements in KY struck down, and Trump's trade wars are now costing real American jobs...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2018 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court, is all hope lost for overturning partisan (and racial) gerrymanders that have helped to keep Democrats and their voters from enjoying appropriate and Constitutional representation at both the state and federal level?

But, before that today: What appears to be good news from a U.S. District Court striking down the Trump Administration's approval of Kentucky's cruel new work requirement for Medicaid recipients as "arbitrary and capricious", may not end up being quite as good news as it sounds. We explain why.

Next: Trump's tariffs and trade wars are beginning to cost jobs in the U.S., and the first jobs losses are to Trump supporters in Missouri. The next victims could be those who work in the U.S. automobile industry. Of course, all of this could be stopped in its tracks but, apparently, the Republicans who control both houses of Congress have no interest in putting the brakes on this out of control and dangerous Presidency.

Then: The final two weeks of the U.S. Supreme Court's term have been disappointing ones for many, including opponents of both partisan and racial gerrymandering. Federal courts in multiple states had determined that Republican-controlled states (and one Democratic one) had unlawfully and unconstitutionally created U.S. House and state legislative maps that impermissibly prevented voters from being appropriately represented in Congress and state legislatures.

Over the past two weeks, however, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that had struck down several racial gerrymanders in Texas, and they also punted three different partisan gerrymandering cases, in Wisconsin, Maryland and North Carolina, back to the lower courts for rehearing. Perhaps the most disappointing such case was Common Cause v. Rucho in the closely divided swing-state of North Carolina, where a federal appeals court found a clear case of partisan gerrymandering and ordered the entire U.S. House map to be redrawn in time for the 2018 midterms.

In that case, the Republicans who drew the map admitted they did so in order to give the GOP a 10 to 3 partisan advantage in U.S. House seats, despite state voters narrowly supporting Obama in 2008, Trump in 2016, and with Democrats winning statewide elections for Governor and Attorney General that same year.

And all of those SCOTUS punts came just before Justice Anthony Kennedy, who gerrymandering opponents had hoped would finally be the swing vote to end the practice of partisan redistricting once and for all, announced his retirement instead.

We're joined today by Common Cause's National Redistricting Manager DAN VICUNA to explain the outcomes and current status of those cases in TX, WI, MD and NC, and how opponents of gerrymandering plan to move ahead now that Kennedy --- their greatest hope for ending the practice nationally, once and for all --- will no longer be on the Court when those cases ultimately return.

"Mind you," Vicuna points out, regarding the thumbs up, for now, that SCOTUS gave to NC to continue using their current partisan gerrymanders in 2018, "the reason why they redrew these maps in 2016, late in a Census redistricting cycle, is because their original map was struck down as an illegal racial gerrymander."

Finally, speaking of the extremist Republican legislature in NC, lawmakers there on Friday approved a statewide initiative for the 2018 ballot, on a partyline vote, that would, if supported voters, amend the state constitution to require Photo ID voting restrictions at the polling place. That, after a law they had passed to do the same thing was struck down in 2016 by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because it was found to have targeted African-American voters "with almost surgical precision"...

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P.S. Tables are turned on me, a bit, in a new podcast from the great Terrence McNally, long time progressive broadcaster and podcaster, in which he interviews me on all manner of things, from how The BRAD BLOG got started in the first place about 15 years ago, to what we need to do to climb out of the soup this country is now in as we barrel toward the 2018 mid-terms. McNally is a great interviewer, and the discussion, I think you'll find, is quite a lively and fun one --- particularly given the dark hours we're now in! It airs this weekend, but you can listen to it now right here...

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Good advice from smart people on this very dark moment in U.S. history; Also: More encouraging results from Tuesday's primaries...
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2018 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast we take a precious few minutes to duck out of the horrific breaking news cycle this week --- sort of --- for some words of wisdom and perspective from a number of very smart folks in response to the news that Justice Anthony Kennedy is resigning, and all of the fear, panic and depression that is going with it for many progressives. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the smart folks we turn to for sage thoughts today: longtime newsman Dan Rather, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis & Daily Kos' "Meteor Blades", blogger and activist Zawn Villines and journalist David Dayen. Each offer helpful, non-pollyannaish advice on keeping our current moment in the appropriate perspective. That, while the struggle for justice and to somehow save the U.S. Supreme Court from an onslaught of GOP/Trump hypocrisy, extremism, lies, cynicism, and far-right schemes to roll back decades of hard-fought civil, voting, human and reproductive rights, will demand persistence and steady, determined courage in the days ahead.

Nonetheless, both pessimism and despair are counterproductive to progress. So I hope today's program helps us all (including me!) to stay a bit more hopeful, optimistic and healthy, during these seemingly ever-darkening hours.

Also providing a bit of hope and inspiration today, some more news from Tuesday's primary elections, in which an extraordinary progressive 28-year old Latina from The Bronx unseated a 10-term Democratic member of the U.S. House Leadership establishment in New York's Democratic primary, despite being outspent 15 to 1; A record third LGBT person this year has now won a Democratic nomination for Governor, this time in Colorado; And Oklahoma voters unseated a host of Republicans in the state House and Senate who voted against recent tax increases to fund education following a two-week long teacher walk-out and years of slashed funding to pay for massive corporate tax cuts; And, as if that's not enough good news from supposedly "conservative" Oklahoma, voters also approved a citizen-sponsored statewide ballot initiative for medical marijuana, in defiance of GOP elected officials and a well-funded campaign against it. We join Steven Colbert's celebration on that today.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with more on Kennedy's climate legacy at SCOTUS, environmental concerns in the wake of his retirement, and a few other encouraging results from this past Tuesday's primaries in seven states...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/28/2018 11:40am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement is bad news for the climate; New wildfires hit California and five other states; Federal judge dismisses San Francisco's climate liability lawsuit; Natural gas industry leaking far more methane than previously estimated; PLUS: Bright spots in the primaries as progressive climate hawks win upset victories... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 2 city lawsuits against Big Oil dismissed, but that's not the end of it; Tropical forests suffered near-record tree losses in 2017; Huge stretch of Arctic Ocean is rapidly turning into the Atlantic Ocean; Federal court becoming impatient with EPA over Clean Power Plan; Coral reefs prevent $4.3 billion in flood damage annually; TX Supreme Court strikes down plastic bag bans; 11 states sue Trump Administration over climate super-pollutants used in cooling; Pruitt acts to surrender some EPA veto power over mining, development; Young will pick up climate change bill, advisers warn; Justices give Florida another chance to prevail in water war... PLUS: Kennedy is gone. Now vote... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: The Nation's John Nichols on all of that and the stolen SCOTUS' anti-union decision today and whether it's time for Dems to 'steal' it back...
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2018 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Political earthquakes. Several of them. All shaking up the political world just within the past 12 to 24 hours. As if we needed still more chaos. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We do our best to navigate through as many of those temblors --- one or two of them quite encouraging, the rest, not so much --- as possible, with the help of our guest today, JOHN NICHOLS, longtime progressive champion and Washington Correspondent for The Nation.

Among the several earthquakes covered today: Antonia Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year old Latina and political novice unseated Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley, the fourth most powerful Democrat in the U.S. House, by a huge margin (some 15 points) during Tuesday's midterm primaries in New York's 14th Congressional District. The defeat of a 10-term incumbent, previously thought to have been a potential future Speaker of the House, by a self-described Democratic socialist who raised and spent millions less than Crowley, has sent shockwaves through the Democratic establishment.

"When we vote, this is what happens," Ocasio-Cortez declared today after her stunning upset victory, following on the heels of her viral campaign video in which she declared the race "about people versus money. We've got people, they've got money." In the strongly Democratic district in Queens and The Bronx, she is almost certain to win this November.

In Maryland, meanwhile, another proudly progressive Bernie Sanders acolyte, former NAACP Chair Ben Jealous bested several other Dems to win the nomination to run on his bold populist agenda against popular GOP Gov. Larry Hogan this November.

Also on Tuesday night, a federal judge in San Diego --- a George W. Bush appointee --- issued a ruling requiring the Trump Administration to reunite families separated at the border within 30 days or less. (Within 14 days, if children younger than 5 are included.)

On Wednesday, however, things to several turns for the worst. First, the stolen 5 to 4 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, in yet another far-right ruling overturning decades of established law, struck down so-called agency fees that public sector unions had been allowed to charge non-union members in exchange for representing them in collective bargaining negotiations. Though federal law still requires that non-union members receive the same pay and benefits as union members, the Court's final ruling issued before Summer recess means public sector unions are likely to lose millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of members. The decision is seen as a huge blow to labor and a long-sought victory for Republicans. In her dissent to Justice Samuel Alito's majority opinion finding the 40-year old violated First Amendment free speech rights of non-union members, Justice Elena Kagan charged her GOP colleagues with "weaponizing the First Amendment" for political purposes. "At every stop," she charged in her opinion, read from the bench, "there are block-robed rulers overriding citizens' choices. The First Amendment was meant for better things."

But the day's largest earthquake, by far, came shortly thereafter, as 81-year old Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative Ronald Reagan appointee, who was often the swing-vote on issues such as abortion, gay rights and other progressive causes, announced he would be retiring at the end of July.

Nichols, author of The Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse, helps us navigate all of the above today, with analysis and insight on all of today's political earthquakes, as well as my argument that Senate Democrats must now follow the so-called "McConnell Rule" --- which Senate Republicans used to prevent a vote on Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to fill a vacant SCOTUS seat, for nearly a year in 2016 before it was ultimately filled by Trump's nominee Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

Not only must Dems insist on no voting on any Trump nominee to SCOTUS until after the November Election and the seating of the next Senate, just as McConnell and the Republicans did in 2016, but since Repubs unilaterally changed the Senate filibuster rule in order to force Gorsuch's confirmation through with a bare majority, Dems should consider walking out entirely --- for months, if necessary --- if the absence of a Senate quorum might prevent a vote on whoever Trump nominates to fill Kennedy's seat.

Yes, shut it all down, if necessary. As I argue today, the stakes are now that high. In order to prevent the further erosion of enumerable long-held American rights and values, Democrats now need to put it all on the line in advance of the 2018 midterm primary, which could flip the balance of the upper chamber to the Democrats. Nichols responds with his own thoughts in response to my assertion, and much more --- including on some of the otherwise very good news for progressives from Tuesday's primaries...

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

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Guest-host Angie Coiro with guests Ziva Branstetter, Cyrus Farivar, Ken Auletta, John Carreyrou...
By Angie Coiro on 6/22/2018 7:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Brad and Desi are off breathing deeply. I’m sitting in – Angie Coiro, host of the syndicated In Deep with Angie Coiro.

First up, I spend time with ZIVA BRANSTETTER, Senior Editor with Reveal. She and the Reveal investigative team broke a number of key stories involving the child detainees this week: the drugging of the kids, violence, sexual misconduct, and petty theft at the camps and facilities; who’s making money off the detentions; and what agencies are charged with cleaning up the mess. And yes, she confirms: this has been going on for a good many years. The blatant wholesale grabbing of toddlers from parents is an ugly Trump twist, but Barack Obama has a lot to answer for, too.

Then onto the latest SCOTUS decision. The 5-4 verdict supports privacy protections from government trying to follow personal movements through cell site data. CYRUS FARIVAR of Ars Technica and author of the new book Habeas Data breaks the decision down – including its historic footing, and its peculiarly arbitrary “six day” rule.

Advertising brings up its own privacy issues. Long-time media critic KEN AULETTA has a new book, Frenemies. He probes here into exactly how tense the battle has become between advertisers, their agencies, and individual consumers trying to keep bits of their lives to themselves.

Finally: exactly how crazy the battle for Silicon Valley primacy and the consumer dollar can get: JOHN CARREYROU talks about the Theranos scandal. If you think you’re already cynical enough about what companies will risk to get your dollar – well, maybe you’re wrong. His deservedly bestselling book is Bad Blood: Secrets and Lives in a Silicon Valley Startup.

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




Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Abuse reported at child immigrant detention centers; Trump's trade war dangers; More...
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2018 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we have not one, but two important and separate warnings for Donald Trump and the Republican Party, as pulled from the deep audio archives of 1988. Both of which --- on two separate topics from two separate people --- they seem to be completely ignoring, even as one of those warnings comes from their supposed idol Ronald Reagan. [Audio link to show posted below.]

First up today, the Trump-caused child immigration crisis continues to unfold with several disturbing new reports of unspeakable abuse at two separate federally-contracted facilities, based on filings in new federal court cases. One from Associated Press on beatings and more at a youth facility in Virginia and the other from the Center for Investigative Reporting on the forced injection of psychotropic drugs at a facility near Houston. That, as an Executive Order signed by the President on Wednesday, reversing part of his Administration's policy, fails to speak to family reunification for more than 2,300 children separated from their parents in recent weeks under Trump's "zero tolerance" border policy, and an Administration request to the Pentagon for space to house some 20,000 migrant children.

While all of those American nightmares have been unfolding over the past week, the effects of Trump's growing trade war have been quietly playing out in the background, as the Dow has dropped some 600 points over the past four days, with China and friendly allies like Canada, Mexico and the EU vowing massive and swift retaliation for ill-considered tariff's on foreign imports instituted by Trump. Among the hardest-hit victims of his new trade wars: farmers who were among some of biggest supporters of Trump's candidacy in 2016.

Perhaps that explains why, as share in an audio clip from 1988 today, Ronald Reagan warned: "We should beware of the demagogues who are ready to declare a trade war...all while cynically waving the American flag."

Next, we're joined by MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal reporter at Slate, and our "Supreme Correspondent" this month, as the U.S. Supreme Court slowly releases a bevy of decisions in advance of their planned Summer recess, on a number of major cases heard at the high court over the past term. Among the cases we discuss today:

  • On Thursday, SCOTUS released a 5 to 4 decision allowing states to impose sales taxes on all online purchases. The ruling found some very strange bedfellows in both its majority and minority opinions, but both Stern and I agree, the decision makes sense, and will be good for local retailers, jobs, the economy and state budgets where, particularly in "red" states, tax cuts in recent years have lead to the gutting of education, infrastructure and other important social services. The 1967 SCOTUS ruling struck down today, was "a totally capricious standard that the Court created itself," Stern argues. "This was the Court fixing a problem that it made."
  • Stern also details an exceedingly troubling --- if little reported --- case out of South Dakota, where a man was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death, according to jury members themselves, they feared, as a gay man, he might enjoy life in prison too much. Seriously. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this matter: the Court declined to hear the case at all. Even the liberal Justices failed to offer a written dissent to the Court's decision.
  • We also discuss the SCOTUS' regrettable punts this week on two partisan gerrymandering cases in Wisconsin and Maryland. (More on those cases earlier this week, with author David Daley on Monday's BradCast.)
  • And the seemingly unprecedented federal court smack down of Kris Kobach, notorious GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and Kansas Secretary of State. His "Proof of Citizenship" voter registration law was struck down by a George W. Bush-appointed federal judge, and he was slapped for his contemptible performance in the courtroom --- where he represented both himself and the state of KS --- with more humiliating sanctions that include an order to attend six hours of legal classes. Moreover, as Stern reports, Kobach appears to be in still more violation of court orders, as he has yet to remove the requirement for citizenship documentation for voter registration from the KS Sec. of State website, as the judge ordered him to do "immediately" in her ruling on Monday.

    "I think that there is a decent chance that we could see even more sanctions for Kobach after this," Stern tells me. "Kobach is such a clown that this judge is going to finally have to bring down the hammer and I think it's going to be a glorious sight." (More on that case, with Sophia Lakin, one of the ACLU trial attorneys on the case, from Tuesday's BradCast.)

  • Previewing the cases still to come before the end of the month, Sterns warns: "I think the Supreme Court is going to hobble public sector unions by preventing them from collecting dues from no-union members. I worry the Supreme Court is going to uphold the [Muslim] travel ban. I do think the Court may put real limits on the government's ability to collect information about where your cell phone has been from your provider. That's going to be a bright spot, I hope. But I also think the court's going to end up striking down California's disclosure requirements for crisis pregnancy centers. So, this is s not going to be a good term for progressives. I think everyone needs to just buckle in and focus on November."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on a number of important issues that the Trump Administration did quietly this week as the rest of the nation and media were consumed with the child immigration story, and the 30th anniversary of Dr. James Hansen's first dire warning to Congress --- also in 1988 --- about the then-looming menace of global warming due to the unprecedented release of greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide from the manmade burning of fossil fuels, into the atmosphere...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Author David Daley of FairVote; Plus callers!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/18/2018 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More disappointing (if not deadly) rulings on voting rights were released on Monday from the U.S. Supreme Court, and callers ring in on the growing outrage of the last few days, thanks to the parent/child separation of Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy at the border.

First up today, two long-awaited rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court on partisan gerrymandering were finally handed down on Monday. In both cases, as our guest today, FairVote's DAVID DALEY details, the Court decided to essentially punt the cases back down to lower courts.

Daley, author of RATF**KED: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy, which details the GOP scheme to implement extreme partisan redistricting following the 2010 census, explains that Wisconsin Republicans will be allowed to keep their wildly unfair state assembly districts for yet another election, and that, in Maryland, where Democrats admit to having gerrymandered a U.S. House district to their own advantage, that gerrymandered district will also stay in place, almost a full decade after being implemented. That, despite lower courts finding those districts to be unlawful and unconstitutional, and other pending cases --- such as the federal court which found all of the U.S. House districts in North Carolina to have been unlawfully gerrymandered by Republicans --- still on hold and awaiting a hearing at SCOTUS.

"That's what's so frustrating and sad about today," Daley tells me. "They had a buffet of statistical standards and evidence that all pointed in the same direction and that revealed exactly what had happened here, and, instead, they ducked." He explains the basis on which the Court punted in both cases and how "Republicans have essentially been able to run out the clock to steal, in some ways, the entire decade of power, especially in state legislatures around the country."

While the "silver lining" on this today is that the Court did not declare, as some had feared, that it was up to legislatures, not courts, to fix the problem that legislatures themselves created, Daley argues that this was a missed opportunity. The Court's swing-vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, has long suggested he'd be open to finding partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional once and for all. But, once again, in both of today's cases, he ducked. That means --- should the 81-year old Justice (or any of the others) leave the Court before another case comes up to offer a definitive ruling --- things could become much worse, for generations, if Trump is allowed to appoint a replacement.

Then, as even some Republicans (a precious few) begin to finally turn against the Trump Administration's grotesque and inhumane new policy which separates children from their parents after they are detained crossing the southern border with Mexico --- resulting in thousands of kids being locked away in detention centers in just the past few weeks --- how long can Trump continue to falsely blame the Democrats for his own Dept. of Justice's new "zero tolerance" policy?

Trump and his department chiefs continue to double down on his false claim, despite the growing outrage from Americans after disturbing stories, pictures, and sounds of abuse continue to be reported out of these detention centers around the country, with media finally gaining very limited access to them.

We open the phone lines today to callers on all of those issues, as the chilling rise of Trump's GOP-approved authoritarianism in the U.S. continues to stun the nation and the world...

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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern on 'having cake and eating it too'; Also: Probs for voters in CA and SD, as eight states hold primaries...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2018 6:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As voters head to the polls in eight states (CA, AL, IA, MS, MT, NJ, NM and SD) on Tuesday, we cover a few "sorta victories" elsewhere for now, including at the U.S. Supreme Court. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Reports of problems at the polls have already cropped up, however, in South Dakota, where electronic pollbooks failed in eight counties, and here in Los Angeles, where a "random issue with the print job" on paper rosters at polling places, according to the County Clerk, has led to some voters needing to cast provisional ballots.

As we await election results and likely reports of more problems elsewhere, a "sorta victory" for Twitter users who had sued the President after he blocked them on Twitter. Those seven plaintiffs were finally unblocked by Trump after a federal court found last month that he was violating their Constitutional First Amendment free speech rights. But, on the same day those seven were unblocked, the Dept. of Justice appealed the court's ruling anyway.

In Alabama, another "sorta victory" as the story of Sec. of State John Merrill blocking folks on Twitter for pointing out his errors as the state's top election official, has finally been picked up by the corporate media in the state. That, just hours before voters headed to the polls, with Merrill himself on the ballot. The coverage comes after we first reported on Merrill's behavior months ago (when he blocked me for being right about the state's computerized election tabulators), and again last week after he sent me a flurry of insane emails [PDF] in response to a simple query as to whether he planned to unblock followers now that a federal court has found his behavior to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The Montgomery Advertiser's weak coverage, however, largely serves to offer the Sec. of State a platform to call election experts and journalists "trolls" (for being correct and polite), while still refusing to unblock them.

In Arizona, a lawsuit against the state for keeping tens of thousands of registered voters off the rolls for failing to provide "proof of citizenship" before being allowed to vote has now been settled with a consent decree that will enfranchise many voters, even if it will still result in thousands being disallowed from voting in state and local contests. So, a "sorta victory" there as well.

And, at the U.S. Supreme Court this week, a "sorta victory" for both anti-gay bigots and civil rights advocates as the long-awaited ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. CO Civil Rights Commission, a case involving a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding reception is finally decided by a narrow 7 to 2 ruling in favor of the baker...sorta.

Slate legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN joins us to explain how Justice Anthony Kennedy, with his majority opinion. tries to "have his cake and eat it too," by largely kicking the can down the road for another day, while ostensibly siding with the baker against the state Commission on rather dubious religious freedom grounds.

The decision, however, also appears to strengthen the existing right of states to bar discrimination by similar businesses on the basis of sexual orientation. So much so, that, under the ruling, the two plaintiffs, according to their ACLU attorney, should be able to walk into Jack Phillip's Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, CO today and purchase a cake for their wedding anniversary, if they wished. If they are blocked, that would be in violation of the Constitution. Nonetheless, a definitive opinion from SCOTUS on the issue of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation will have to wait for another day.

"If the Supreme Court applied the same standard to the [Trump] travel ban case as they have applied to Masterpiece, the Court would have no trouble striking down the travel ban as a violation of First Amendment religious freedoms," Stern tells me, when I ask whether Kennedy's weak religious liberty argument here may apply more to some religions than others. "Unfortunately, I do not think the court is going to be consistent. I think, instead, the Court's going to wind up applying a much stricter standard when it's Christians' rights on the line, than when it's Muslims' rights on the line. And we're all going to be very disappointed in this kind of inconsistent religious liberty --- 'for me, but not for thee.'"

Stern offers smart insight on the Court's opinion(s) --- which were widely misreported elsewhere on Monday --- as well as another decision this week from the Court on the Trump Administration's failed attempt to punish the ACLU for supporting a teen immigrant who sought a lawful abortion after being detained at the border. That ruling, at least, was a complete victory, he explains, not just a "sorta" one.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with news on two deadly volcanoes in Guatemala and Hawaii, the Administration's new scheme to bail-out the coal industry, Canada's new scheme to nationalize a controversial pipeline, and more distressing fossil fuel and climate change news...

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Guest: FairVote's David Daley; Also: Maine's LePage calls federal judge 'imbecile'; Wisconsin's Walker finally agrees to court order on elections...
By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2018 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The GOP war on democracy and the judicial branch continue today, with a noteworthy lost battle in Wisconsin, an imbecilic turn of events in Maine, and a continuing hung jury in the U.S. Supreme Court. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First today, Austin's police chief finally describes the white evangelical American man who terrorized the city over the past month with a string of deadly package bombs as a "domestic terrorist". Yes, that actually qualifies as news these days.

Then, the nation's dumbest governor, Maine's Paul LePage (R), repeatedly berates a federal court judge as an "imbecile" for allowing a case brought by Maryland and Washington D.C. to move forward. The case charges that Donald Trump's continuing ownership of Trump International Hotel in D.C. is a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clause, barring gifts to the President from foreign or state governments. The "imbecile" judge in question that LePage decided to attack, found merely that plaintiffs have standing to proceed with their case.

In related GOPers-who-hate-the-rule-of-law news, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finally decided to follow state law today, by scheduling special elections to fill two vacant state legislative seats in Republican districts, which he is terrified could flip to Democrats. After three different state judges each demanded he declare a date for elections by today, Walker and the Republicans in the state legislature appear to have given up their attempted scheme to call a special session of the legislature to change the law in order to undermine the orders of the courts. Their hope had been to leave those seats vacant --- and the voters in their districts unrepresented --- for more than a year. After deciding to do the right thing and follow state law, Walker remained outraged about it today.

Next up, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in another partisan gerrymandering case this week. Last October, speaking of Wisconsin, they heard arguments in Gill v. Whitford, a landmark case where a federal court tossed out all of the state legislative districts after finding them to be unlawfully gerrymandered by state Republicans in violation of the U.S. Constitution. This week, the SCOTUS Justices heard arguments in another redistricting case, Benisek v. Lamone, which focuses on a single U.S. House district in Maryland, held for years by Republicans, before Democrats gerrymandered it in their favor.

We're joined again today by FairVote's DAVID DALEY, who was as the Court for oral arguments in both cases. The author of RATF**KED: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy, explains the differences and similarities in the two SCOTUS cases (along with other recent rulings by both state and federal courts finding Republicans used unlawful partisan gerrymanders in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, in order to assure legislative majorities even when receiving far fewer votes than Democrats.)

Daley also shares his assessment, based on this week's oral arguments, as to whether there will be five Justices willing to finally end the scourge of extreme partisan gerrymanders. If they don't (as a number of others suggest) Daley warns this problem may not be fixed for at least another generation, as the Court's swing-vote, 81-year old Justice Anthony Kennedy, is rumored to be contemplating retirement at the end of the term in June.

"They are searching for a standard to measure [partisan gerrymandering], that this Court can apply, but also that future Courts can apply," Daley tells me. "If the courts do not solve this now, it's not only the last opportunity for the next generation, but the gloves will be off in 2020 in a really aggressive way. No matter what they do, if it is not a finding against partisan gerrymandering, it will essentially take off any guardrails for legislators of either party when this process comes back around" after the next Census.

Then, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with, as usual, mostly disturbing news --- but also some very good news for a group of natural gas pipeline protesters in Massachusetts, including the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore! (And, for those who may have missed it, here's Angie Coiro's BradCast interview with Gore last December, in which, among many other things worth listening to, he proudly discusses his daughter Karenna's arrest in the protest.)

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

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Guest: Legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Fires worsen in and near L.A.; Franken may be forced, by Democrats, to resign...
By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Another day, still more chaos in these United States, threatening to all but drown out two major civil and privacy rights cases heard this week by the U.S. Supreme Court and covered in detail on today's show. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But first, Desi Doyen joins us for an update on the out-of-control wildfires in and around Los Angeles today, threatening tens of thousands of structures and many more residents, who have been forced to flee several large blazes fueled by dry conditions and record winds. Also in danger: Animals, priceless works of art and one of Rupert Murdoch's mansions.

Next, calls from fellow Democrats for Sen. Al Franken to resign blew up on Wednesday in the U.S. Senate, after another unnamed woman reportedly stepped forward to claim the Minnesota Senator tried to kiss her after a radio program back in 2006. Franken denies the claim and calls it "preposterous", but may be forced to resign anyway on Thursday, less than one week before Republicans in Alabama may elect Roy Moore, an accused child molester, to the same U.S. Senate. Desi has a few choice thoughts on the Franken matter as well.

Then, we're joined by Slate legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN, to discuss two important cases heard at the U.S. Supreme Court this week. Stern, who was at the Court during oral arguments for both, explains what is at stake in each, and how the Republicans' blatantly stolen seat occupied by Justice Neil Gorsuch will radically effect each case.

The first, Carpenter v. United States has to do with the U.S. Government's argument that law enforcement has the right to obtain anyone and everyone's cell phone location data, even without obtaining a warrant from a court first, in what appears to be a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution's 4th Amendment privacy rights for freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.

"The case almost sounds too crazy to be true," Stern tells me, detailing the Government's argument that "because customers voluntarily turn over the data to a third party --- their cellphone companies," which keeps records of which cell phone towers are used and by whom, customers "have no right to privacy with regards to that information."

The second, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is an even more insane "free speech" and "religious expression" case. It was brought by a virulently anti-gay baker in Colorado who claims his bakery shop has the First Amendment right to discriminate and refuse to sell a cake to two men celebrating their same-sex wedding. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the state courts disagreed with the baker, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who appealed to the U.S. Supremes. Surprisingly they took up the case after Phillips was also joined by Trump's U.S. Department of Justice over the summer.

Stern details the liberal Justices' skeptical (and even hilarious) questioning of whether Phillips' argument that he is an "artist" exercising creative free speech --- not blatant discrimination --- could also be extended to florists and hair stylists and make-up artists, among many others.

"This is an embarrassment," says Stern. "What happened here is a clear-cut case of discrimination." He also highlights one key irony underscoring the entire case: "The Supreme Court's conservative justices have really been lecturing gay people for years that they should stop turning to the courts to vindicate their rights and, instead, go through the democratic process to secure their equality under law. And here we have a case of gay people doing exactly that. Gay people in Colorado fought long and hard to change the law to protect their right to equal service in public accommodations. They succeeded. And now, those same Supreme Court conservatives who said you have to do this through democracy, are now poised to say, 'Actually you don't get to this,' and nullify the rights that they secured through the democratic process."

Depending on how Justice Kennedy decides in a likely 5 to 4 opinion one way or another --- on a case that would have been a cake walk for civil rights advocates before Republicans stole the Court majority --- what could very well result is legalization of mass discrimination of people of all races, religions and sexual orientations by any and all manner of businesses in the U.S. for decades to come...

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

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