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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, April 26, 2018
'Green News Report' 4/26/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Pruitt overhauls EPA use of science; Macron criticizes Trump on climate in Congress; Americans prefer renewables; PLUS: Global warming transforming Great Barrier Reef...
Previous GNRs: 4/24/18 - 4/19/18 - Archives...
Dems' AZ Election Loss, NY Victories Suggest Big GOP Trouble: 'BradCast' 4/25/18
Also: Mulvaney's stunning admission and Mother Jones' Rebecca Leber on Pruitt's new 'secret science' scam at EPA...
Legal Lightning Round!:
GOP Gerrymandering, Trump Travel Ban, Kobach 'Fraud', More!: 'BradCast' 4/24/18
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: FCC appointee arrested, Trump VA nom in trouble...
'Green News Report' 4/24/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Despite denials, Pruitt lobbyist met w/ EPA; Bloomberg donates to cover for Trump's Paris pact failure; Court reinstates automaker fines; PLUS: Hockey Stick graph's 20th anniversary...
Previous GNRs: 4/19/18 - 4/17/18 - Archives...
White Privileged Election Fraud, Mass Shootings, More: 'BradCast' 4/23/18
White Waffle House mass shooter peacefully apprehended, White GOP Judge in TX gets slap on the wrist for election fraud, and other recent tales of gentle accountability...
Sunday 'Consensual Collusion' Toons
Documenting the not-so-strange bedfellows of the week and much more, in PDiddie's latest weekly Sunday toon collection...
Senate GOP Twists Law to Gut Decades-Old Regs (Forever): 'BradCast' 4/20/18
Guest: James Goodwin of CPR: Also: DNC files Trump/Russia suit; Wells Fargo fined $1B; Memos reveal Trump wants to jail journalists...
Senate Confirms Climate Science Denier as NASA Chief: 'BradCast' 4/19/18
...and many more otherworldly reminders of the importance of elections...
'Green News Report' 4/19/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Puerto Rico power knocked out again; Studies find Gulf Stream slowing down; New climate lawsuits for oil industry, Florida; PLUS: Earth Day 2018 focused on ending plastic pollution...
Previous GNRs: 4/17/18 - 4/12/18 - Archives...
'Dark Lord of Coal Country' Rising, GOP Panicking Before WV U.S. Senate Primary: 'BradCast' 4/18/18
Guest: Bob Kincaid; Also: McConnell says no, Mattis got Trumped, Kobach in contempt...
'Corrupt Intent': 'BradCast' 4/17/18
Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall Eliason on Trump, Cohen, Mueller, indicting a sitting Prez; Also: Tax cut support falls, GOPers keep heading for the exits...
'Green News Report' 4/17/18
Federal watchdogs say EPA violated law for Admin Scott Pruitt; Senate confirms coal industry lobbyist for deputy EPA chief; PLUS: Google and Apple go 100% renewable...
Trump's Unlawful, Evidence-Free 'Mission Accomplished': 'BradCast' 4/16/18
Congress acquiesces after second US attack on Syria; Hannity revealed as secret Cohen client; Callers ring in...
Sunday Toons: 'One Raid Begets Another'
It didn't take long after Donald Trump's friend, business associate and personal lawyer was raided by the FBI for Trump to unleashes the missiles, as the cartoonists observe in PDiddie's latest collection...
As Trump Goes Ugly, How Dems Can 'Fight Dirty' to Win for the Country: 'BradCast' 4/13/18
Guest: Author David Faris on radically reform-ing 'long-term barriers to progressive power'...
Mattis: U.S. Lacks 'Actual Evidence' of Syrian Chemical Attack: 'BradCast' 4/12/18
Also: Clueless Trump to rejoin TPP?; Sinclair's abuse of public airwaves; And, why local news matters...
'Green News Report' 4/12/18
Newly unearthed docs reveal Shell knew about warming since 1950s; Dems want Pruitt to resign; EPA docs under-mine his claims; PLUS: Obama EPA chief speaks out...
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: Journalist Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza on her suit against Trump: Also: Another bomb in TX; Another school shooting in MD; Another storm in the Northeast...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2018 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast: What happens when the President of the United States blocks you on Twitter? How about when the President blocks a journalist? Does that violate an American's First Amendment free speech rights or Constitutional protections granted to the press? Our guest today thinks so, and is one of seven plaintiffs now suing Donald J. Trump in federal court for having blocked them on the social media platform from viewing or replying to his tweets or participating in discussion about them on the site. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a few breaking news items, beginning with the fifth package bomb to explode in Texas this month, as an apparent "serial bomber" continues to terrorize the Austin community in what may be a deadly spree targeting minorities in the area. Today, Donald Trump and his White House finally made their very first comments on the bombings, that have, so far, killed two and seriously injured several others.

Then, there was another school shooting today, the 17th since the beginning of the year, this time at a high school in Maryland where, just last week, many of its students participated in a national walkout to demand reform of our nation's gun laws. The shooter in today's incident is now dead after a school resource officer fired on him (though it remains unclear if the 17-year old student shot himself and if one of the victims may have been shot by the officer.) The two student victims, a 16-year old female and 14-year old male remain in the hospital. The girl is reportedly in critical condition.

But, we also have some encouraging news on that front out of Florida, where a recent gun safety reform package was adopted by the state in the wake of the Parkland, FL massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The new measure allows, among other things, law enforcement officials with a court order to temporarily seize weaponry from those judged to be a threat to themselves or others. The first such court order was granted last week in Broward County, resulting in four firearms and 267 rounds of ammo being taken from a 56-year old man who, under a separate state law, was involuntarily institutionalized by police after what the judge described as a series of delusional episodes by the man. Naturally, right-wingers are both freaking out about it and not informing their audience about why those steps were actually taken.

Next: My guest today, REBECCA BUCKWALTER-POZA, judicial affairs editor at Daily Kos and a contributor to Democracy Journal, is one of seven plaintiffs now suing Donald J. Trump in federal court for having blocked them on Twitter from viewing or replying to his tweets or participating in discussion about them on the site. The attorney and journalist turned plaintiff joins us today to discuss her lawsuit and the recent hearing in federal court on the landmark case.

As Buckwalter-Poza, who is still blocked by Trump on the social media platform, explains: "It turns out the President really doesn't like it when you suggest that Russia was involved in the 2016 election. He tweeted something about having won the White House, and I all I did was quote that and say, 'To be fair, you didn't win it --- Russia won it for you.'" She says there were "no obscenities, no threats, absolutely nothing more than a reference to Russia's involvement in the election."

As part of its defense case, the U.S. Department of Justice (yes, we, the tax-payers, are footing the bill to defend Trump in this case!) has admitted that plaintiffs were blocked for no other reason than they were critical of the President. "They've conceded that it's 'viewpoint discrimination', which is the legal term for when you are, in this case, blocking someone from Twitter because you don't like what they're saying. There's no other justification. It's just the content. It's a criticism. That definitely violates my First Amendment rights," she argues.

Explaining how she sees those rights as being violated, Buckwalter-Poza tells me: "As a journalist, there's the immediate fact of not being able to follow Trump, not being able to engage other people, not being able to respond. To put it into First Amendment terms, though, I have a right to be part of this public forum, to engage other people, and to have my point of view be heard. And I have a right to try and catch the President's attention. Unfortunately, in this case I did, but his response was to block me instead of to respond."

I can attest to the difficulties in covering stories when the focus of the story blocks you on Twitter, as I reported last week regarding recent false comments about torture made by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who now apparently blocks me on Twitter for reasons unknown, and an incident at the end of last year which resulted in Alabama's Sec. of State John Merrill blocking me as well, after I politely corrected [PDF] his inaccurate statements about the state's computerized vote tabulation systems.

After a recent hearing with an apparently very well-informed federal judge, Buckwalter-Poza says the case could now result in a settlement. But that still remains to be seen.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the first day of spring, as extreme winter weather continues to pummel the nation, including with what could be a fifth back-to-back Nor'easter for the East Coast over the weekend (they are currently facing their fourth), and as the Trump Administration continues to make "climate change" disappear, even from FEMA's natural disaster recovery plans...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/20/2018 11:32am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Bizarre winter weather continues to pummel the U.S., even as winter officially ends; FBI charges Russian hackers attacked the U.S. power grid and critical infrastructure systems; As storms get stronger, building codes are getting weaker; FEMA's flood maps dramatically understate actual flood risk for 41 million American; PLUS: Trump's FEMA has deleted all mention of 'climate change' from its strategic plans... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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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): RIP Sudan, the Last Male Northern White Rhino; Six months after Maria, the hardest hit city in Puerto Rico is still being ignored; U.S. Interior Department offers oil leases near Utah's wilderness monuments; Solar power’s greatest challenge looks like a duck; 8 answers to judge's questions in cities vs. fossil fuels; U.S. Supreme Court allows Flint water contamination lawsuits; Norway’s electric car demand is outstripping supply; Water shortages will put 5 billion people at risk by 2050; Canada's outdoor ice rinks are melting... PLUS: US coal hasn’t set aside enough money to clean up its mines... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Trump chickens out; WI and AL block elections; More embarrassment for KS; Help for sharks; And a perfect gift for the First Family...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2018 6:13pm PT  

After yet another exhausting and harrowing week in Donald Trump's America, as the Doomsday Clock inches closer to midnight, we try to lighten things up a bit, at least comparatively, on today's BradCast --- even if it's not always easy. [Audio link to show follows below.]

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

  • A few words about Donald Trump's reported attempt to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller last June before chickening out, which the President describes today as "fake news";
  • Republicans are now, literally, trying to block democracy by preventing elections from happening at all. Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and the GOP-controlled Alabama state legislature provide just the two latest examples;
  • Kansas' failed Governor Sam Brownback has, apparently, failed up, with an appointment by the Trump Administration, confirmed this past week by the U.S. Senate, after Vice President Mike Pence was brought in to break the tie vote in Brownback's favor;
  • Speaking of failures in the state of Kansas, their Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a long-time GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and now candidate for Governor, enjoys still more shame and ignominy this week, as it was discovered that he exposed private information, including the last four digits of social security numbers for thousands of state officials and employees --- including his own! --- on an unprotected Internet page;
  • The Guggenheim Museum declines to loan a valuable Vincent van Gogh painting to Donald and Melania Trump for use in their White House residence, but offers a solid gold alternative that seems perfect for the first family;
  • And, speaking of the first family, Trump's recently reported hatred of sharks --- revealed by adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the wake of revelations of her alleged affair with Donald Trump and $130,000 hush-money payoff just before the 2016 election --- has resulted in an outpouring of donations to shark charities across the nation and the world! See? Donald Trump can do some good in this world after all!

Finally, speaking of donations, as we celebrate The BRAD BLOG's 14th Anniversary this week (thanks to those who have stopped by BradBlog.com/Donate), a plea to support ALL independent progressive media, including whatever station or outlet you may use to enjoy listening to The BradCast every day!...

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: Election law Prof. Joshua A. Douglas of Univ. of Kentucky...
By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2018 6:29pm PT  

We're back on today's BradCast after a brief New Year holiday break! But it wasn't entirely a break, as Alabama's Secretary of State John Merrill decided to launch a bizarre Twitter exchange with me over the holiday weekend. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The conversation included the state's chief election official repeatedly (and inaccurately) insisting that Alabama's paper ballot computer scanners do not "capture" scanned ballot images that can be retained by the system for review by the public after an election. He is wrong, as I politely noted during the conversation.

In fact, Merrill almost certainly knows he is wrong, since he actually went to the State Supreme Court to block an order by a lower court, issued the day before the December 12th U.S. Senate Special election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore, to instruct all county election officials to set their computer scanners to retain all captured ballot images! [We discussed that multi-partisan lawsuit with one of the organizers, John Brakey, before it was filed, and again with one of the plaintiff attorneys, Chris Sautter, after the order was blocked by the state Supreme Court, allowing counties to destroy their captured ballot images.]

Nonetheless, after I questioned Merrill about the inaccurate information he was offering to the public, he decided to block me on Twitter, rather than admit that he had misinformed the public. Here's a PDF that reconstructs as much of the conversation as I could, given that I'm now blocked by him, so can't easily see his Tweets. Moreover, he also deleted a number of his own Tweets after he blocked me, and he repeatedly broke the conversation thread throughout. So, that PDF reconstruction will have to suffice for now to give you an idea of what at least one Twitter user accurately described as a "bonkers" exchange!

It wasn't the first time Merrill would block journalists, election law experts, or even his own constituent voters on social media after someone dared to suggest that he was wrong about AL election procedures. We're joined today by JOSHUA A. DOUGLAS, professor of election and constitutional law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. He, too --- like me, and like UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen --- was blocked on Twitter by Alabama's Republican Sec. of State after asking a question, in November, about the state's election code.

"I said, it's not about lying, it's about asking questions of a public official running their elections, and the next thing I knew, I was blocked myself. So, kind of ironically, Merrill blocked me for questioning whether he should be allowed to block others on Twitter who were trying to interact with him about the election," Douglas explains. He wrote about the incident and why it matters at AL.com.

We discuss all of this bizarre behavior, and whether or not it's a violation of the Constitution when folks like Merrill and, yes, the President of the United States, block citizens from being able to read their social media comments. All of which makes what we do --- as journalists, legal professionals and, yes, voters --- more difficult and even Constitutionally problematic in a number of ways.

Also today: Despite Merrill's odd behavior before, during and after the election (Merrill supported Roy Moore), Doug Jones was sworn in to the U.S. Senate today after (apparently) defeating Moore to become the state's first Democratic U.S. Senator in some 25 years, narrowing the GOP majority to just 51 to 49. And, King of the Twitter Trolls, Donald Trump threatened nuclear war again with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and social media had a huge laugh at Trump's comments about having a "much bigger" nuclear button than Kim. But is any of it --- including the threat of war between two nuclear-armed nations --- really all that funny?...

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

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Guest: BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2017 5:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, one last battle over democracy before 2017 comes to a close, and an early look forward to the battles --- and, perhaps, "democracy's revenge" --- that lie ahead in 2018. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In his last minute bid to prevent final certification of the first Democrat to be elected to the U.S. Senate in more than two decades, Alabama's Republican candidate Roy Moore filed an 80-page lawsuit [PDF] late Wednesday night alleging massive "voter fraud" and other somewhat confusing irregularities are to blame for his December 12 Special Election loss to the Democratic candidate Doug Jones.

A state court judge quickly dismissed Moore's complaint on Thursday morning and Jones was certified shortly thereafter as having defeated him by nearly 22,000 votes out of some 1.3 million cast. Jones will fill the seat vacated by Alabama's former Republican Senator turned Donald Trump's U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions shortly after the new year.

We're joined today by long-time BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING who largely dismisses the allegations detailed in Moore's suit. Though, as we discuss, the GOP may have themselves to blame for making it difficult, if not impossible, for federal candidates in Alabama (and elsewhere) to ensure the accuracy of computer-reported vote tallies, even when they are based, as in AL, on hand-marked paper ballots scanned by computer systems but never verified for accuracy by human beings.

Moore's complaint, Canning adds, is also deficient when it comes to presenting any actual hard evidence of fraud by voters. The controversial Republican cites statistical analyses focusing on high turnout in a number of African-American districts said to contrast with Exit Poll data, and the affidavit of one poll worker who claims she saw more out-of-state IDs than usual used by voters even though that's perfectly lawful under the state's strict Photo ID voting restriction. Beyond that, no hard evidence is offered by the complaint to prove that any illegal votes were cast in the election, much less thousands of them.

Then, we discuss two of Canning's recent articles at The BRAD BLOG, both looking forward towards what he describes as the possibility of "democracy's revenge" in 2018. In one, he details why every single Republican U.S. House member from California could be in jeopardy of losing their seat in the "deep blue" state next year. In the other, he lays out what he describes as "Revolutionary Strategies to End GOP Rule in 2018" across the nation.

The CA attorney and 2016 Senior Adviser to Veterans for Bernie also discusses the need for "political maturity" among both progressive and establishment Democrats alike, in order to effectively take on the GOP following the 2016 election of Trump and his compliant Republicans in Congress who, he argues, have since revealed their true nature of legislating only for the benefit of the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class.

Desi Doyen then joins us for our final Green News Report of 2017, rounding up both the good and horrific news over the past year, including, despite Trump's best efforts, a number of very hopeful signs for the environment as we head into 2018. And, finally, we close with one last punch in the face at the intolerable and seemingly endless 2017, from comedian Lewis Black.

Angie Coiro guest-hosts for us on tomorrow's BradCast, and Desi and I will see you again after the New Year holiday! Until then, my thanks to those of you who have answered our call by stopping by BradBlog.com/Donate in support of our efforts to try and continue our work --- over your public airwaves --- as long as possible into the new year!

Peace!

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

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Guest Host Angie Coiro's exclusive interview with the former Vice President on elections, pollution, persuasion, activism, and hope...
By Angie Coiro on 12/22/2017 5:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I’m happy to sit in for Brad again with a holiday offering and a former Vice President of the United States. [Audio link posted below.]

As the latest blob of crap --- the new tax law --- floats out of Congress and the White House, how about a change of pace: a little hope? Not fairy-tale and pixie-dust hope, but realistic ideas for tackling former VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE tells me is the biggest challenge ever to face the human race: global warming, aka climate change.

The former Veep is also founder and chair of The Climate Reality Project. Eleven years after the original Inconvenient Truth film and book comes his latest, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. I spent an hour on stage with Gore for my own show, In Deep with Angie Coiro, talking about both the book and its companion documentary.

It seems the right note to strike here on The BradCast as well, when everything is pretty damned bleak. Gore is a walking lesson in how to realistically assess our situation, then push forward with what can be changed. As he says, change can take longer than you expect, then suddenly come faster (and better) than you hoped.

Special thanks to the Kepler's Literary Foundation in Menlo Park, California, who co-produced the original event, and to Brad for his enthusiasm in bringing you highlights of it on The BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

[Photo credit: Irene Searles/KLF]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Election integrity advocate Lulu Friesdat; Also: One deadly disaster after another, the 'Corker Kickback', calls for Franken to un-resign...
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2017 6:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Yet another mind-blowing adventure in attempted election oversight. This time regarding the complete destruction of all paper ballots in the middle of a Florida lawsuit, following an election between two Democrats, one of them a powerful member of Congress. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first: Deadly and costly disasters, natural and otherwise, top the news headlines on today's program. Among them: the catastrophic Amtrak train derailment on a brand-new line near Seattle, the second straight week for still-raging apocalyptic wildfires in Southern California, and the continuing disaster in Puerto Rico where, three months after Hurricane Maria came ashore, one-third of the island is still without power and the Governor has finally conceded that the official death toll of 64 may be off...by as much as 1,000!

All tolled, hundreds of billions will be needed to rebuild from those deadly disasters, and yet Republicans in Congress are still hoping to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut, largely for wealthy Americans, before Christmas. Their scheme took a troubling turn over the weekend, as a new provision was added to the legislation during reconciliation of the House- and Senate-passed versions late last week. The new provision, it was revealed by David Sirota at International Business Times, would give special tax breaks to owners of large real estate holding LLC's like President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and, most curiously, Sen. Bob Corker who, on Friday, mysteriously reversed his previous opposition to the bill after the new provision was tacked on, in what many are now calling the #CorkerKickBack.

Then, we're joined by journalist, documentarian and election integrity advocate LULU FRIESDAT to discuss the remarkable turn of events recently revealed in response to multiple public records requests she has made over the past year in hopes of reviewing hand-marked paper ballots from the Democratic primary election last year between Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her Bernie Sanders-endorsed challenger Tim Canova.

Just weeks after being forced to step down as chair of the DNC amidst the release of stolen emails from party officials, Wasserman-Schultz soundly defeated Canova in the first primary she'd faced in her six terms as a member of Congress. But, unexplained vote count numbers --- such as hundreds of more voted ballots than voters signed in to the poll books in the 23rd Congressional District race in Broward County, FL --- led to Friesdat's attempt to examine the paper ballots by hand, in hopes of determining if they were tallied correctly by the county's computer tabulators during the August 2016 Democratic primary. Eventually Canova himself filed a lawsuit against the county's Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, after Friesdat says she was continually denied access to the materials.

In November of this year, well over a year after Snipes certified the contest, both were finally invited to inspect the Broward County ballots only to learn upon arrival that all of them had actually been destroyed by the county in the middle of the lawsuit. Only digital images of what were purportedly the original ballots were available for examination, according to Snipes, in what appears to be, according to Politico's survey of election experts, a clear and stunning violation of federal election law requiring all such materials be retained for 22 months after an election.

Friesdat tells me that neither her nor Canova had any idea the ballots were destroyed before showing up to review them. "If you're looking at digital scans, and you don't have the original ballots to turn to, at that point you have no way of verifying that ballots haven't been switched out, that ballots haven't been added, that ballots haven't been taken away --- you don't have any verification that those are the original ballots."

Oddly enough, she explains, "in the very first public records request in November [of 2016], I requested all of the digital ballot scans for the election, and I was told that they didn't have them, that they didn't exist. And then it turned out that they did exist. So the county was duplicitous in regard to that information."

As to what's really going on here, Friesdat demures from speculation, but says, based only on what is already known on the public record, that "according to Politico, seven legal experts that they consulted all agreed that the ballots being destroyed was illegal."

It is of a piece, she observes, with the recent revelations in Racine County, WI, in November of this year, when multi-partisan election transparency advocates were finally allowed to review some of the computer-scanned paper ballots from the 2016 Presidential election. After months of similar public records request, they were allowed to view original paper ballots, only to find that, in the precincts they examined, anywhere from 2 to 6% of perfectly valid Presidential votes had been ignored by the computer tabulators entirely. That, in an election where Trump is said to have pulled off his shocking statewide victory by less than 1%.

"What's going on here is actually just a representative sample of the problems that we have with our elections, and which you have been reporting on for over a decade," Friesdat says. "We're heading into the 2018 primaries. We at least now have a growing understanding and awareness that, in many cases, our election results may or may not be accurate, and that the protocols we are using in order to get those results are not secure." She offers many other troubling observations on all of this during our conversation today.

Finally, four U.S. Senators --- two of whom had previously called for Sen. Al Franken to resign amidst allegations of inappropriate conduct --- are now, according to a new report today, said to be hoping that he might reconsider his previously-announced plans to resign "in the coming weeks", before the Senate Ethics Committee has even investigated the charges against him...

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By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2017 6:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a spoonful or two of sugar where we can find it, along with much too much bitter medicine. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's jam-packed 'BradCast'...

First up: The massively unpopular Republican tax scam lurches toward the finish line after the last of the pretend GOP hold-outs in the U.S. Senate now seem to be on board. They all know it's a scam, of course, one that will not, as they pretend, "pay for itself". And most predict the tax bill will gravely hurt the GOP's chances of holding on to the U.S. House in 2018. But they don't seem to care for some reason Moreover, they are openly admitting publicly that they are coming for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid almost as soon as the largest redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to corporations and the wealthy in the history of the nation is completed before Christmas.

Then: Earlier in the week, Trump's beleaguered Sec. of State Rex Tillerson had announced that the U.S. was ready to meet with the North Koreans for peace talks without preconditions. By week's end, however, that hopeful message of potential peace took a drastic u-turn, as Tillerson appears to have reversed course at the last minute during his remarks at the U.N. on Friday.

Meanwhile, even though they have, up until now, failed to enact any major legislation to date, Trump and the Republicans have been wildly successful at ramming lifetime appointments of radical right-wing jurists to the federal bench through the U.S. Senate. Some of those appointees have been ridiculously unqualified, though at least one Senate Republican is beginning to put the brakes on those nominees. We share part of the astonishing Senate Judiciary Committee colloquy this week between Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Mark Spencer Petersen, Trump's embarrassingly unqualified nominee for a lifetime post on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Finally, we get to at least a spoonful of sugar with a musical tribute to the apparently failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, plummeting approval ratings for the President, the Vice-President and the entire Republican Party, and the hilarious case of pretty much every member of the Trump family in D.C. successfully suppressing their own votes in last month's New York mayoral election.

All of that and much more in today's BradCast. Enjoy!

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Guest: Sue Wilson of Media Action Center; Also: More mega-mergers before GOP tax cuts; Trump noms to EPA, federal bench withdrawn...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2017 6:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Disturbing news for Americans and free speech before Christmas, but great news for huge corporations enjoying record profits already. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, yet another media mega-merger is announced as Disney says they will purchase much of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox in a $52 billion dollar deal, even as Trump and the Congressional GOP push to give them all huge tax breaks --- at the expense of the poor and middle class. Republicans are hoping for final passage of their tax bill before Christmas and before presumptive Sen.-elect Doug Jones (D-AL) can be seated and further reduce the GOP's slim U.S. Senate majority.

On the upside today, one of Trump's wildly inappropriate industry shills nominated to the EPA has reportedly withdrawn, as have two wholly unqualified nominees for lifetime judgeship appointments to the federal bench.

Then, as expected on Thursday, Trump's Republican-led Federal Communications Commission (FCC), voted 3 to 2 along party lines to kill "Net Neutrality" rules for Internet Service Providers like AT&T, Verizon, Charter and Comcast. That, despite a letter from 18 state Attorneys General who asked the Commission to delay the vote until after a legitimate public comment period. The previous one, they charge, was manipulated by as many as 2,000,000 comments that New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has found found to have been faked.

Nonetheless, right-wing FCC Commissioner and former Verizon attorney Ajit Pai did not delay the vote, and the Commission voted to kill the rules that had long prevented ISP's from blocking or slowing down certain websites or apps, or charging more for access to them. Longtime media reform activist SUE WILSON joins us today and describes the latest actions by the FCC as little more than a move toward the end of free speech on the Internet.

She argues that the move to kill Net Neutrality echoes the efforts to pass the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was also sold by proponents at the time as a boon for competition and innovation that would result in more free speech over our public airwaves. Instead, the public radio waves have become the nearly exclusive domain of corporate right-wing political speech and propaganda in the 20 years since the measure was signed by President Bill Clinton.

"They made a lot of promises, when they consolidated radio, that we would end up with a much more diverse speech for everybody," Wilson explains. "Anybody who listens to radio knows that it's almost impossible to find a show like The BradCast on the air because it is now dominated by pro-Republican, conservative --- no, 'alt-right' --- speech, to the exclusion of all others. They flat-out lied to us, and guess what? That's what they're doing today."

A similar future may soon be in store for the Internet, unless promised lawsuits or Congressional legislation is able to block or reverse today's shamefully under-reported and disturbing turn of events.

"The claim that the Federal Communications Commission Republicans are making is that we need to give more money to broadband services so that they can invest in rural areas," says Wilson. "However, if you look at the Securities and Exchange [Commission] documents, which these corporations have to fill out --- under penalty of prosecution if they lie --- the six CEOs of publicly-traded broadband companies are telling their investors that the FCC's current Net Neutrality rules have not in any way impacted their investment strategies. Again, we're looking at the Federal Communications Commission, as headed by Ajit Pai, just making things up out of whole cloth."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with an update on the record and still-growing Southern California wildfires, more bad news about the Arctic, some good news for Tesla, and a worldwide embarrassment for the United States...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Also, guest David M. Rothschild on a new study finding real, not fake, news was the problem in the 2016 Presidential election...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2017 4:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A last minute ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court, without plaintiffs even present, will allow the state to destroy electronic "ballot images" created by the state's digital computer ballot scanners in Tuesday's special election. Also, was it the fake news or the real news that tipped last year's Presidential election? [Audio link to show follows below.]

In Alabama, computer tabulators determine the intent of voters (either correctly or incorrectly), as cast on hand-marked paper ballots from Tuesday's highly contentious U.S. Senate Special Election between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. The state Supreme Court, in a late ruling on Monday, issued a stay [PDF] that effectively reversed a lower court order [PDF] on Monday. That order had required all digital scanners in the state to be set to retain all such images created by the system as ballots are scanned through it. The stay now means that only in the exceedingly rare event of a hand "recount" of paper ballots will the public be able to oversee elections results to determine if the computers got it right on Tuesday.

We've been covering this issue for some time. (My original interview last week with election integrity and transparency advocate John Brakey, who helped organize the AL lawsuit is here.) Yesterday, it looked like a win for Brakey and the multi-partisan plaintiffs who filed in court to demand the state's retention of all digital images for inspection by the public, as per federal law requiring all election materials be retained for 22 months. But late on Monday, Secretary of State John Merrill and Alabama's state Election Administrator Ed Packard argued their case [PDF] ex parte (in otherwords, alone, without the plaintiffs there or allowed to respond) and received a favorable ruling from Roy Moore's old colleagues on the court. (Moore was formerly a State Supreme Court Justice, until twice being removed for failing to follow federal court orders.)

I spoke with Brakey and attorney working on the case, Chris Sautter, earlier today, as well as other experts. I've got details on their comments, and from the court documents, on today's show. Essentially, the state argued that state election officials didn't have jurisdiction to order county election officials to turn on the software switch on the scanners to retain all ballot images, and that doing so at the last minute, as the Circuit Court ordered on Monday, would "cause confusion among elections officials and be disruptive to" the election on Tuesday. That, even though the Circuit Court judge found it wouldn't cost the state anything to do so and that failing to turn on the setting that retains the images would lead to irreparable harm to the plaintiffs. Sautter tells me the state did not make the case for last minute confusion during the lower court arguments.

I suspect we'll have much more on that and on other problems reported at the polls today, on tomorrow's BradCast, along with whatever results --- accurate or inaccurate (who knows?) --- that the computers may report by then.

Then, after a flurry of fake news over the weekend during the final run-up to Tuesday's U.S. Senate election in Alabama, we discuss an alarming new study analyzing the effect of both real and fake news during the run-up to last year's Presidential election. Was it so-called fake news and Russian Facebook ads that gave Donald Trump the edge to defeat Hillary Clinton last year? Or, was it a failure by the mainstream corporate media --- the "real news" --- to responsibly cover important issues that the electorate needed before casting their vote? DAVID M. ROTHSCHILD, co-author of the new study published by Columbia Journalism Review, joins us today to discuss their --- at times, remarkable --- findings.

I'd strongly urge you to read their full damning report --- particularly if you are of the mind that fake news and ads said to have come from Russia, turned this election --- because there are too many detailed and troubling findings in it for me to adequately summarize either here or during today's program.

But, to cite just one aspect of my conversation with Rothschild about the report's analysis of 150 front-page articles in the New York Times over the 69 days prior to last year's November election, he tells me: "150 stories. And of that, there were just 10 stories where they actually really touched on a specific policy initiative of either of the candidates, the ideal thing that you would want the 'paper of record' to be supplying to people. The vast majority of stories were miscellaneous campaign stories. Over 50% of them talked about the horse race. Very small percentages, 15% or less, actually talked anything about policy, with even smaller percentages actually talking about the policies themselves. It was all about the horse race, all about the scandals, not about the impact of the election itself on policy, which is ultimately why we have elections and ultimately defines the impact of these elections."

His study notes that in just six days right before the election, "The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election." That said, ironically enough, as Rothschild notes, even the MSM coverage of the purported scandals was terrible, misleading and inaccurate as well! They, and we, never seem to learn.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green New Report, as unprecedented winter wildfires continue to ravage Southern California and as the Trump Administration continues to ravage the environment...

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Terror attacks in NY, KS, NM; Pentagon to allow transgender enlistment, despite Trump's ban; SoCal fire update; A big election integrity court win and deep dive into the mad state of Alabama's U.S. Senate election as voters head to the polls...
By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we take a deep dive into the insane state of play in the final days before voters finally head to the polls in Alabama for the U.S. Senate special election between the Republican, twice-removed-from-the-bench judge Roy Moore and Democratic former US Attorney Doug Jones.

But first, a few quick news items today, including an update on the still-out-of-control Southern California wildfires; The mostly-failed terror bombing by an alleged ISIS sympathizer in the subway near Times Square today; news in the case of three white rightwing "militiamen" on trial for an alleged scheme to bomb a community of Muslim Somali refugees in Kansas. Their motion seeks to get more Trump-supporters from elsewhere in the state on their terror trial jury; New details on the school shooting (by another white guy) in New Mexico last week that took three lives, including that of the shooter. Despite FBI investigators interviewing the man last year after he is said to have left online comments seeking information on weapons to use in a mass shooting, he was able to legally purchase a semi-automatic pistol and high-capacity magazines last month anyway.

And then it's onto our deep dive into "deep red" Alabama and the state of the important Moore/Jones U.S. Senate election before Election Day on Tuesday. Among the issues covered on that front today:

  • Election Integrity advocates obtained a big win on Monday morning, when receiving an order [PDF] from a state court requiring state election officials retain digital ballot images created by computer scanners tabulating the paper ballots used across much of the state. (My interview last week with John Brakey, the election integrity advocate who organized the court action, explaining why its necessary, is here.)
    UPDATE 12/12/2017: After a private ex parte motion (meaning, the opposition was not present) later in the day, by the defendants, AL's Sec. of State and State Election Director, the Alabama Supreme Court stayed the earlier Circuit Court ruling and set a hearing on the matter for later this month. That, effectively, means that ballot images will not be preserved after all. More on this remarkable late ruling on today's BradCast...
  • Some last minute news on the anti-gay, anti-Muslim Moore, who has been accused by 9 different women of inappropriate sexual contact with them when they were teenagers (including one who was 14-years old at the time), on his belief that Constitutional Amendments which came after the ten in the Bill of Rights --- including those that ended slavery and gave voting rights to African-Americans and woman --- somehow violated the intentions of the nation's Founders;
  • New polling from Fox "News" claiming to find the Democrat Jones up by 10 points over Moore on the eve of the election, and another new poll from Emerson finding Moore up over Jones by 9 points;
  • How the entire race will come down to turnout, particularly in the African-American community, and whether they are allowed to vote and to have their votes counted as cast, given the state's Photo ID voting restrictions and other practices which Republican state lawmakers have been caught admitting to having designed specifically to suppress black and Latino voting;
  • AL's senior Senator Richard Shelby, a fellow Republican, announces he could not vote for Moore, based on the allegations against him;
  • And, finally, a remarkable focus group led by Republican pollster Frank Luntz for VICE News with so-called "conservative" Alabamians explaining why they plan to vote for Moore despite the allegations by nine different women against him...

Buckle up!...

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SoCal fires spread; Trump dumps science; Election Integrity suit before AL election; House GOP ignores states' rights on guns; Listener e-mail...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2017 6:17pm PT  

Among the stories covered on today's BradCast...with no small amount of gusto and an occasional comedic turn in an otherwise dark (and smokey) world...

  • Devastating wildfires spread down the Southern California coast toward San Diego, in a record wildfire season that has lasted all the way into winter, as predicted by scientists at least a decade ago. Alas, few heeded their warnings;
  • Clearly not heeding such warnings is Donald Trump who, according to a new AP analysis, is failing to appoint actual scientists to scores of Senate-confirmable, top scientific positions at multiple important federal agencies, from the EPA to the Energy Dept. to the White House itself;
  • The former Chair of the CO Republican Party turned rightwing radio host, Steve Curtis, had claimed before last year's election that "virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats." Well, he was proven wrong in court this week as he, himself, is found guilty of....you guessed it. (His failed excuse for it is equally astonishing.)
  • And, speaking of...on the eve of Tuesday's much-watched U.S. Senate special election in Alabama, multi-partisan Election Integrity advocates file suit to force the state to retain "ballot images" from the state's paper ballot digital-scanners. New York Daily News' Editorial Board joins them in that call...for very good reason. (My interview several days ago with the longtime election integrity champ, John Brakey, who helped organize the lawsuit and effort, is right here.)
  • After a spate of mass shootings, Congress finally moves some gun legislation forward, as Republicans in the U.S. House do the bidding of their terrorist-enabling NRA masters in passing a bill to expand the right to carry concealed deadly weapons into states whose laws prohibit it;

And, finally today, we end with some listener e-mail on a few of the topics we've covered on recent shows from guns to the Democratic Party to Trump/Russia...

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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...

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