w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
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It's NICOLE SANDLER, back in to guest host today's BradCast. [Audio link to show is posted below.]
Just when you think things can't get any weirder, Donald Trump announces that because the jobs report today was better than expected, that "George Floyd is having a great day". Floyd, of course, is the unarmed black man who was murdered by Minneapolis police last week when a cop held him down with his knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. I told you it was a strange day.
There was lots of news to cover, most of it bad. But we go through much of it on today's show.
On the second half of the show, I'm joined by JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation who has a very timely new book out, The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party: The Enduring Legacy of Henry Wallace’s Antifascist, Antiracist Politics.
Download MP3 or listen online below...
Last week, Florida's Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, announced that he would legally challenge a federal court decision that would, with the exception of those convicted for murder or sexual offenses, permit most former felons in the state to register to vote prior to the November 3rd Presidential Election. "It will go to the 11th Circuit," DeSantis said, adding in Trump-like language: "We will see what happens."
The good news is that, at least with respect to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeal, the chances that DeSantis will prevail can be rated at somewhere between slim and none. The bad news is that, even with the benefit of U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Hinkle's erudite 125-page decision in Jones v. DeSantis, the voting rights organization plaintiffs (League of Women Voters and the NAACP) may find it extraordinarily difficult to register those otherwise eligible former felons in time to cast a vote in the upcoming General Election due to the adverse impact of COVID-19.
But, as to the good news for the moment, a statute that may appear constitutional on its face can then be rendered unconstitutional by the manner in which it has been applied by a state agency. The background and the history of this case, as well as Judge Hinkle's "as applied" reasoning, help to explain why his decision will likely be upheld by the 11th Circuit...
The good news for today's BradCast is that, thanks to so much breaking news on yesterday's show, we've got at least one encouraging new piece of news on a story that we had to bump yesterday regarding Donald Trump's absentee voter fraud felony in the state of Florida. Between that and the false claims made by him and U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (in the pages of the New York Times, shamefully enough) charging that "antifa" is behind the violence seen at some of the mostly peaceful protests across the country over the past week and a half, we've got a lot of fact-checking to do on today's program. [Audio link to full show is at bottom of summary.]
First, Times staffers are livid that that the paper of record gave space to Cotton for an editorial on Wednesday calling for U.S. military troops to be deployed across the country against U.S. citizens under the Insurrection Act. The far-right Republican Senator charged in the piece that "cadres of left-wing radicals like antifa [are] infiltrating protest marches to exploit [George] Floyd's death for their own anarchic purposes." His remarks echo those of Trump, who, on Sunday, declared (falsely) that antifa will be designated as "a Terrorist Organization". In fact, antifa is not an organization. It's a movement of people who oppose fascism and authoritarianism and there is no such federal designation for domestic organizations, even if antifa was one. But the calls of Trump and Barr and Cotton echo what the Times itself described as "misinformation" just two days earlier in an article debunking that myth and several others related to the protest and being circulated widely (and falsely) on social media.
Moreover, the charge that antifa is behind the violence at protests is contradicted by intelligence reports this week from both the FBI and DHS, which find little evidence of antifa involvement, but seem to find plenty of evidence that rightwing white nationalist groups have organized to instigate chaos at otherwise peaceful demonstration around the nation. Continuing video tape evidence of police violently abusing peaceful protesters, including on Wednesday night after many of the demonstrations had otherwise calmed down, doesn't help either. But this week Twitter reported they'd shut down a European white nationalist group posting as "@ANTIFA_US" and tweeting out, for example, messages with a brown raised first emoji and declaring: "Tonight's the night, Comrades. Tonight we say 'F--- The City' and we move into the residential areas... the white hoods.... and we take what's ours."
While that account has been shut down, the white nationalists on the street have not all been. We still do not know the identity of the white man with full face gas mask (pictured above) and a black umbrella, who strolled down the sidewalk in front of the Minneapolis AutoZone last week with a hammer by his side, casually smashing each window of the store. Protesters tried to stop him and to identify him before he slipped away, leading Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to post the video of the man on Twitter, along with the remark: "This man doesn't look like any civil rights protester I have ever seen. Looks like a provocateur. Can anyone ID him?"
And yesterday, in Las Vegas, AP reported on terrorism charges filed against three Nevada men with ties to a rightwing extremist group. They were arrested on Saturday heading to a protest on the Strip after "filling gas cans at a parking lot and making Molotov cocktails in glass bottles," according to the criminal complaint obtained by AP. Two of the men, according to an informant, "discussed causing an incident to incite chaos and possibly a riot, in response to the death" of George Floyd. They are all said to be members of the anti-government "boogaloo" movement, advocating for a new civil war.
It seems its easier to find strawmen to blame for years of systemic racism rather than take responsibility for it. That seems to be what Trump, Barr, Cotton, Fox "News" and all the rest of those looking for someone else to blame for Floyd's death and the resulting outrage seem to be doing. It doesn't seem to be working. But that won't stop them from trying to play a whole bunch of folks just months before the next Presidential election.
Speaking of...as we reported several weeks ago, Donald Trump --- who has been making myriad false claims about absentee voter fraud for weeks now --- is, himself, a voter fraud criminal after illegally voting in Florida this year, by absentee ballot, despite having no lawful permanent residence in the state.
While he claimed late last year to have moved his permanent residence from New York to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, his original 1993 agreement with the city when he purchased the property and turned it from a single-family residence into a commercial club, required that nobody could actually live there. So, yes, that is voter fraud, and people in Florida have been charged and even jailed for much lesser infractions of the Sunshine State's elections code.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported another noteworthy point or two on this story, with yet another update to it today. On Wednesday, the paper reported that Trump, when he filed his Florida voter registration [PDF], listed the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. as his "legal residence". That means his legal residence is not in Florida and he is, therefore, not allowed to vote there. A month later it appears he tried again, this time specifying Mar-a-Lago's address as his "legal residence." It's unknown what happened in the 31 days between the first and second registration, but maybe Florida generously granted him a mulligan. Of course, that still doesn't make his declared residence at his commercial property in Palm Beach a legal domicile in the state.
Making his case even worse, on Monday, during his infamous phone call with the nation's Governors (in which he described peaceful protesters as "terrorists" and instructed the Governors to "dominate" them or he would send in U.S. troops to do so), he stated: "I live in Manhattan". Oops. That prompted Democratic election attorney Marc Elias to tweet: "Sounds like New York may have a good claim for taxes. And Florida for voter fraud."
And, on that point, the Post updated its story today with the news that a Florida resident has now filed a formal election fraud complaint against Trump, which is what we've been calling for weeks! Under Florida law, the state is now required to investigate the complaint. And because it's a violation of state, not federal, law there is nothing to my knowledge that should prevent the President from being charged with felony voter fraud there. He did it. He should be charged with fraud.
When we painstakingly detailed the voter fraud by former GOP superstar Ann Coulter more than a decade ago after she illegally lied about her address in Palm Beach on her registration application and then unlawfully voted at a precinct she was not entitled to vote in, the state slow-walked their investigation until the statute of limitations ran out. (She also got a helping hand from a former FBI boyfriend). We'll hope that Florida Law Enforcement doesn't try something similar here. Though it would be much harder to do in this instance, given that the crime happened just months ago in this case.
Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with coverage of a tropical storm barrelling towards the Gulf Coast; evidence that global warming is increasing extreme rainfall events in North America; a new study finding that building new wind and solar plants is now cheaper than using existing coal power plants; and the good news that the University of California is divesting it's $120 billion endowment from all fossil fuels...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Tropical Storm Cristobal takes aim at the U.S.; Study confirms global warming is increasing extreme rainfall events in North America; Building new wind and solar projects now cheaper than running existing coal plants, new study finds; House Dems propose major infrastructure bill with a focus on climate resilience; PLUS: University of California divests from all fossil fuels... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): "There is no climate justice without defunding the police"; Arctic fuel spill prompts Russia’s Putin to declare emergency and slam slow response; Judge rejects Bernhardt's Alaska Izembek refuge land swap; How to speed up the clean energy transition; Our infrastructure is being built for a climate that's already gone; U.S. court overturns EPA approval of Bayer's dicamba weedkiller; Epidemic of wipes and masks plague sewers, storm drains... PLUS: Renewables surpass coal in US energy generation for first time in 130 years... and much, MUCH more! ...
Sure, I admit today's BradCast is a bit breathless, but you try and keep up with all of this madness happening, breaking, changing and then changing again all at once while trying to make calm, cool, collected sense of it all for listeners in just under an hour! As usual, we do our best. Wish us luck. [Audio link to full breathless show is posted below the summary.]
Somewhere amid the mayhem of our latest program you will find coverage of...
Unofficial results from Tuesday are slower than usual in coming in, due to the expansion of absentee voting in most states to help keep Americans safe during the pandemic. Lines to vote in-person were also much longer than usual in many places, due to the consolidation of polling places, also thanks to the coronavirus. That resulted in many forced to wait in very long lines, sometimes for hours after curfews around the country. But there was some noteworthy news in the few results we do have.
Of course Joe Biden continues his march toward the required number of delegates to formally win the Democratic Presidential nomination. But, of more note on Tuesday...
We're joined today by progressive Congressional campaign expert and advocate HOWIE KLEIN of the "Down With Tyranny" blog and the BlueAmericaPAC to discuss all of the above and much more, including a number of other progressive wins (some a surprise) and losses (not as surprising) on Tuesday.
Klein also handicaps a few upcoming races and offers what he regards as some "exciting" contests next week in Georgia which, with West Virginia, will be holding their own primary elections on June 9th. If you can keep up with everything that happened on today's show, much less today overall, you win a prize. Other than that, color me breathless...again...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
After performing an independent autopsy at the request of the Floyd family's attorney, Ben Crump, Dr. Michael Baden, the world-renowned former NY forensic pathologist and Dr. Allecia Wilson, the Univ. of Michigan Medical School's Director of Autopsy and Forensic Services, released an initial report, which found, in pertinent part, that George Floyd's death could be classified a "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain" [emphasis added].
That finding, and additional observations, so sharply contrast with the initial findings of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner as to call into question the credibility of that public institution. The County Medical Examiner initially asserted that there were "no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation." In a final report, the County Medical Examiner classified Floyd's death as a "homicide" but listed the cause of death as "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual [sic.], restraint, and neck compression."
Subsequent to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's initial findings, set forth in the criminal complaint filed by the Hennepin County DA against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin --- the officer seen forcefully pressing his knee to Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes --- Governor Tim Walz, a member of the Democratic Farmer Labor Party, appointed the state's Attorney General, Keith Ellison, a former progressive Democratic Congressman, to take the lead role in Chauvin's prosecution.
Tuesday, while appearing on NBC's Today Show, Crump said he'd heard from prosecutors that they "expect to charge" the other officers who were present at the time of Floyd's death.
There are aspects of Baden and Wilson's findings that could support the filing of criminal charges against the two officers seen in a second video kneeling atop Floyd's back and lower torso while Chauvin had his knee pressed against Floyd's neck. However, a comment from Baden raises a doubt as to whether Ellison, as urged by Crump, could successfully prosecute Chauvin for first degree murder...
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!...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Trump EPA moves to block states' authority over pipelines; United Nations delays crucial climate summit for a year due to pandemic; Good news for breathers: 13 more coal plants to close in 2020; PLUS: Siberian heat wave brings 'zombie fires'... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): EU green recovery package sets a marker for the world; As a busy hurricane season looms, NOAA's credibility has taken a hit, new emails show; New study shows global warming intensifying extreme rainstorms over North America; Energy firms urged to mothball coal plants as cost of solar tumbles; New Trump public land rules will let Alaska hunters kill bear cubs in dens... PLUS: Can planting a trillion trees stop climate change? Scientists say it's a lot more complicated that that... and much, MUCH more! ...
On today's BradCast, we start with comments from the Administration's Defense Secretary on Friday: "While no one condones looting, on the other hand, one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression." Well, that was compassionate. Unfortunately, the Friday in question was on April 11, 2003 and the DefSec at the time was Donald Rumsfeld. He was speaking about the looting that took place in Baghdad after the U.S. invaded Iraq. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]
Back then, apparently, Republicans were able to find common ground with "looters" who, as Rummy lectured the media at the time, were in a transitional phase on their way to freedom. "Stuff happens," in such situations, he said, dismissing the "looting" of priceless artifacts as anything worth being concerned about. Today, the Trump Administration was discussing "dominating" American cities with overwhelming military force to quash largely peaceful demonstrations in support of George Floyd, the 46-year old African-American who was killed by Minneapolis police officers last week after having his neck crushed by an officer for almost nine minutes after allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill.
Since last week's horrific video-taped killing of Floyd, police have been attempting to "dominate" demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets, arrests and other forms of violence, including against more than 100 journalists attempting to do their First Amendment-protected jobs of reporting to the American people about what is going on. (Are they "enemies of the people" or something?)
Had America not been America, the dystopian police state of armed warriors "dominating" citizens amid ethnic unrest would have been reported very differently by the Western Media outlets, as Karen Attaiah, Global Opinions editor for the Washington Post, brilliantly illustrated in her must-read column on Friday. We cover all of that and just some of the police-instigated violence and death across the country --- in state after state --- as well as the damage instigated by provocateurs (white ones, who were anything but civil rights activists), as looting and some fires were played in endless loops during the cable and local TV news "Protest Porn" all weekend long.
After a fairly righteous rant on all of the above --- and some late-breaking news on new curfews tonight here in Los Angeles, national guard troops in its streets, and citizens being targeted by cops on their own front porches --- we open up the phone lines to hear from listeners about what they saw and how they see it.
As Rumsfeld proved in 2003, people see the same things very differently from each other, depending on how they are invested and how the information is presented to them by media. In other words, tune in. Today's show is not an easy one to summarize as the American Carnage amid the Trump Era continues to worsen, with no end in sight...
A Few Great Blogs
· Baghdad Burning
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· Washington Monthly
· Media Matters
· Nashua Advocate
· Oliver Willis
· RAW STORY
· Sanoma State's
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· Cagle's Index
· Chan Lowe
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· Jeff Danziger
· Joel Pett
· Mike Luckovich
· Non Sequitur
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