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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, August 25, 2016
'Green News Report' 8/25/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
. 300+ dead, 6 million displaced by India flooding; Obama pledges long term LA flood aid; Bad news for WA state wolves; PLUS: 100th birthday of the National Park Service...
Previous GNRs: 8/23/16 - 8/18/16 - Archives...
Clinton, Trump and Cracking the Two-Party Duopoly: 'BradCast' 8/24/16
Guest: Historian, columnist Matthew Rozsa; Plus: Unfolding deadly disasters in Italy, India and Louisiana...
NSA Hacking Tools in the Wild, Hackable Elections in the US: 'BradCast' 8/23/16
Guest: Princeton computer scientist, e-vote 'hacker' Andrew Appel; Also: Obama in LA and Trump's latest vote suppression dog-whistle...
'Green News Report' 8/23/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
. Media failure on LA flooding; Floods accelerate Zika virus; PLUS: A tale of two warming Arctics -- Native American tribe forced to move, luxury cruises just getting started...
Previous GNRs: 8/18/16 - 8/16/16 - Archives...
'What Do You Have to Lose?': 'BradCast' 8/22/16
Trump 'pivots', reaches out to African-American voters, forgets to tell the rest of his party...
Sunday Toons of the Makeover Moment
PDiddie's round up of his favorite toons from last week focuses on campaign shake-ups, shuffles, makeovers and other political reality avoidance techniques...
Three Daves: 'BradCast' 8/19/16
Guest host Angie Coiro w/ Dave Johnson of Campaign for America's Future, David Atkins of Washington Monthly, and Chain of Title author David Dayen...
6th Circ. Upholds 'Straight-Party' MI Voting
Republican AG vows appeal to optional voting method used in state for 125 straight years, disproportionately used at polls by African-American voters...
DoJ to 'End' Private For-Profit Federal Prison System: 'BradCast' 8/18/16
Guest: Carl Takei of ACLU's National Prison Project; Plus: GOP 'Civil War' v. Reality; Trump comes up short in NYC...
'Green News Report' 8/18/16
. Explosive CA fire forces evacs for 80,000; New rules for heavy trucks; Report: Ending oil subsidies won't raise gas prices; PLUS: First-ever U.S. offshore wind farm...
Send in the Clowns: 'BradCast' 8/17/16
Eric Boehlert on Trump's bizarre staff shake-up; Plus: NC GOP's desperate voter suppression Hail Mary, California burning, and 'Bye-Bye' to John McLaughlin...
NC Files with SCOTUS for Emergency Stay of Unlawful Vote Suppression Law
State Republicans display remarkable chutzpah in their last gasp argument to keep a 'racially discriminatory' statute in place for November...
'Rogue' DEA Punts Pot: 'BradCast' 8/16/16
Guest: Michael Collins of Drug Policy Alliance on 'rotten to core' DEA's marijuana announcement; Plus: 'Third-party' Presidential woes, disturbing climate news, more...
'Green News Report' 8/16/16
. Another historic, deadly rain event in LA; Another massive fire in CA; July 2016 Earth's hottest month ever recorded; PLUS: Green Party nom Jill Stein on climate...
Facts Behind Fraud: 'BradCast' 8/15/16
Debunking Trump on terror, 'voter fraud' in PA and climate change; Plus: Even Rightwing propagandists beginning to realize 'We've created this monster'...
Sunday Toons of Performance Art Moment
Trump fails to win the gold in this week's Presidential olympics. Plus, other pratfalls in PDiddie's latest collection of his favorite toons of the past week...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
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...


Trump 'pivots', reaches out to African-American voters, forgets to tell the rest of his party...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2016 5:40pm PT  

Donald Trump's newly celebrated 'pivot' to becoming a 'maturity' as a Presidential candidate, as declared by some Republicans and some in the corporate media, may be far less of a 'pivot' than he and his surrogates are pretending, especially in his new attempts to woo African-American voters.

On today's BradCast [audio link posted below.], we take a look at some of the claims of Trump's surrogates, and how they stack up against reality. (Hint: Taking out a newspaper ad calling for the death penalty for five African-American kids found completely innocent of a horrible crime doesn't seem a particularly smart way to woo the African-American vote.)

Similarly, if the GOP wants to reach out to minority voters, they have a very peculiar way of showing it, as Republican Party officials, operatives and Governors --- from CA to NC, from NJ to MI --- re-double their efforts to keep 'certain' voters from being able to cast a vote at all this November.

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

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Guest: Eric Boehlert of Media Matters on the latest 'rightwing media coup'; Plus: California burning and 'Bye-Bye' to John McLaughlin...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2016 5:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump turns to a Rightwing 'news' blogger with no experience in national elections to help him save his campaign, and North Carolina Republicans further reveal their desperation to keep Democrats away from the voting booth this November. [Audio link posted at bottom of article.]

But first, California continues to pay the huge, early costs of climate change as brand new wildfires explode in bone-dry Southern California, leading to evacuations of more than 80,000 residents today and the destruction of an untold number of structures, including at least one Route 66 landmark.

Then, Donald Trump responds to plummeting poll numbers with a staff shake-up that taps a Rightwing media huckster with no political experience, from far-right propaganda/conspiracy website Breitbart 'News', to head up his campaign. Eric Boehlert from Media Matters joins us to explain how the GOP establishment's demand that the Republican nominee begin running a more traditional campaign has been answered by Trump's decision to do the complete opposite, as illustrated by the new hires.

"This is someone who has no campaign experience," Boehlert, a longtime Breitbart watcher explains, describing Trump's new campaign chief Stephen Bannon. "The Trump campaign, which has been hit hard for being amateurish, for having no ground game, for having no advance teams, poor fund-raising, no surrogate operation --- they decided what they really need is someone at the top of the campaign who's never been on a campaign, let alone a presidential campaign."

"There's already this raging civil war within the conservative media. We've never seen anything like it," he says. "In terms of that civil war, people were already pointing to Breitbart as the problem. So, for Trump to now go to Breitbart to get a new campaign chief, for the rest of the conservative movement, it's just proof positive that everyone in the Trump campaign is just completely off the rails and have no idea what they're doing."

"There's going to be so many reckonings after November," Boehlert predicts. We'll see if he's right about that.

In the meantime, desperate North Carolina Republicans have now filed an emergency petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to help them keep the state's "racially discriminatory" voter suppression law in place through November, even as GOP officials around the state work to adopt new restrictions on voting in lieu of the sweeping election law recently struck down by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals for having "target[ed] African-Americans with nearly surgical precision".

At this point, for unpopular Republicans in NC --- and, similarly, around much of the rest of the country --- voter suppression may be one of just a very few ways they have left to save their bacon this November.

Finally today, we say "Bye-Bye!" to legendary broadcaster John McLaughlin, who changed the political media landscape (for both better and worse), following news of his death this week at age 89...

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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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2016 8:12am PT  

North Carolina has now filed a last gasp attempt with the U.S. Supreme Court to keep a racially discriminatory voter suppression law in place for the November general election. The state's Hail Mary --- or, perhaps, Hail Justice Roberts --- emergency petition is unlikely to succeed.

As we reported late last month, in a sweeping victory for voting rights on July 29, a unanimous panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal struck down North Carolina's massive voter suppression law --- described as the nation's worst since the Jim Crow era. In a stinging rebuke, the court found the statute's provisions were enacted by state Republicans with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

On August 4, that same 4th Circuit panel summarily denied NC's request for a stay of the injunction placed on the discriminatory law enacted by state Republicans in 2013 just after the U.S. Supreme Court had gutted the section of the federal Voting Rights Act that likely would have blocked most of the statute's provisions from ever being implemented in the first place.

In their rejected request for a stay at the 4th Circuit, NC relied primarily on the "Purcell principle" --- the Supreme Court's recently-adopted general notion that changes to election laws, for good or ill, should not be ordered too close to an election due to the risk of chaos and uncertainty the late changes might cause at the polls. NC's claim that there was insufficient time to implement the change mandated by the court's injunction was inconsistent with the assurance state officials provided during oral argument that they "would be able to comply with any order [the 4th Circuit panel] issued by late July." In citing that previous assurance, the 4th Circuit also noted: "the balance of equities heavily weighs against recalling the mandate or granting a stay. Voters disenfranchised by a law enacted with discriminatory intent suffer irreparable harm far greater than any potential harm to the State."

This past Monday, August 15 --- some seventeen (17) days after the 4th Circuit handed down its landmark decision striking down the state's law --- the state filed an Emergency Application to stay the injunction with the U.S. Supreme Court. In a pleading drafted by Paul Clement, who served as the U.S. Solicitor General during the Bush administration, the stay was requested on the basis of the (previously rejected) Purcell principle and because "the 4th Circuit's decision," according to Clement, "renders every [photo ID law in the nation] vulnerable to invalidation as purposefully discriminatory."

Emergency petitions from North Carolina are assigned to Chief Justice John Roberts. However, it is likely that Roberts will assign it to the full Court, where the votes of five (5) of the court's eight current Justices would be needed to grant the stay. As explained by U.C. Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen, it is "unlikely" that NC will convince five Justices to do so...

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




By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2016 5:59pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: While the corporate media continues to amplify Trump's BS, we do our best to counter it with actual, independently verifiable facts. Yes, it is possible. [Audio to full show linked below.]

Fact-checks on today's program include long-disproven and yet still-repeated nonsense from Trump's 'major speech on national security and terrorism' in Ohio on Monday --- (You knew it wasn't going to go well when it started with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani claiming that in the "eight years before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attacks in the United States".) --- and on Trump's wildly misleading claims about 'voter fraud' in Pennsylvania on Friday.

Trump's latest lie concerning voters voting multiple times "in certain areas" in Pennsylvania (they don't) and about the 59 precincts in Philadelphia where Romney received zero votes in 2012 (he did, as we reported at the time, finding it to be neither surprising nor "fraudulent") have all been debunked long ago. But, as he and other desperate Republicans repeat the same bullshit, as he keeps sinking in the polls, we're happy to revisit the facts once again so you can check 'em for yourself.

As to the GOP Presidential nominee's new scheme to combat that 'voter fraud' in PA with police officers and citizens observers, he may be calling for something that is a violation of a long-standing, federal court-approved, 1983 consent decree, signed by the Republican National Committee after a similar voter intimidation scheme was carried out by the GOP in minority areas of New Jersey. We explain.

Also on today's program: Very important news from over the weekend that has not received the coverage it deserves. From the two Muslim clerics gunned-down execution style in broad daylight in Trump's hometown of Queens, NY on Saturday, to the devastating and growing cost of climate change as 20,000 residents of Louisiana were rescued amid record rain and flooding ("close to two feet over a 48-hour period") and 4,000 were evacuated as hundreds of homes were destroyed (for the second year in a row) amid wildfires in just one small, rural county in bone-dry California.

Finally on today's BradCast: the Rightwing talk radio host who may have finally realized what he and his fellow propagandists have done. "There's got to be a reckoning on all this," he said this weekend. "We've created this monster."

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

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Action sought as partisan court panel rolls back remedy meant to restore voting rights to nearly 10% of WI electorate...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/12/2016 1:51pm PT  

The plaintiffs in One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen, one of several long-running court challenges to Wisconsin Republicans' strict Photo ID voting restriction, have filed an emergency petition with the full en banc U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal, asking that it overturn its previous photo ID decision in Frank v. Walker.

The still pending Frank case as well as the One Wisconsin challenge have, to say the least, undergone a circuitous recent history in a number of federal courts that oversee Badger State election law.

In April 2014, after a lengthy trial, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman struck down and permanently enjoined Wisconsin's photo ID law after finding it in violation of both the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

Republicans in control of the state naturally appealed that detailed and blistering ruling. The federal appeal was assigned to an all-Republican three-judge 7th Circuit panel, headed by Judge Frank H. Easterbrook. Easterbrook is a member of the radical right wing Robert Bork-founded, Koch Brothers-funded "Federalist Society". The ensuing decision to reinstate Wisconsin's photo ID law, despite Adelman's meticulous ruling in the lower court, was so extraordinarily partisan, factually deficient, riddled with errors and legally flawed that it prompted the ordinarily staid U.C. Irvine election law Prof. Rick Hasen to tweet: "I rarely just rant in my blog posts. But Judge Easterbrook caused me to blow a gasket."

Other members of the 7th Circuit were so troubled by Easterbrook's flawed opinion that they took the unusual move of granting a rehearing en banc on their own motion. Because of prior refusals by Congressional Republicans to fill a vacancy on the 7th Circuit with an Obama nominee, at that time of the court's motion there were only ten (10) jurists serving on the full 7th Circuit --- as opposed to the allotted eleven (11) judges. The ensuing 5-5 en banc ruling --- now referred to as Frank I --- left Easterbrook's horribly flawed ruling in place, effectively disenfranchising nearly 10% of Wisconsin's electorate who did not possess or have easy access to the very specific types of Photo ID now required by state Republicans to cast a vote. .

Last April, however, after a disastrous Presidential primary in Wisconsin, where, most visibly, student voters were forced into hours long lines on Election Day in hopes of obtaining a state approved photo ID that would allow them to vote under the GOP law, the Easterbrook panel handed down a decision that appeared designed to ameliorate the widespread disenfranchisement. The ruling --- now referred to as Frank II --- suggested that disenfranchised voters who lack the ability "to obtain a qualifying photo ID with reasonable effort" should be permitted to cast a regular ballot nonetheless.

On July 19, 2016, in what was thought to be compliant with the Frank II directive, the District Court issued a remedial injunction that mandated Wisconsin afford the right to cast a regular ballot to "those who cannot with reasonable effort obtain a qualifying ID", so long as they signed an affidavit to that effect at the polling place. Many, like The Nation's Ari Berman, celebrated, believing that the voting rights of Wisconsin's disenfranchised electorate had finally been restored.

That celebration, it now appears, proved both premature and an underestimate of the level partisan duplicity on the part of the three "radicals in robes" on the Easterbrook 7th Circuit panel...

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




Donald Trump, 'stochastic terrorism', (hopefully temporary) bad voting news in WI, 'robosquitoes', and listener calls on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2016 6:21pm PT  

"If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is."

On today's BradCast, a few words on why Donald Trump's remarks about 'Second Amendment people' is more disturbing than he or the RNC or the NRA or Fox 'News' or actual voter fraud criminal Ann Coulter would like you to think.

Also today, three Republican appointed federal judges restore Wisconsin's unlawful Photo ID voting restriction (for now), a federal court in Texas officially restores the right to vote this November to 600k legal, already-registered voters, and I take a whole bunch of listener calls on all of the above.

Plus, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with several stories that sound more like science fiction horror films than reality. Sadly, however, all of those stories --- including a plan to release genetically-modified mosquitoes to fight Zika in Florida --- are all too real...

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: Ernest A. Canning of 'Vets for Bernie' on tough November choices for hard-core Sanders supporters...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2016 5:23pm PT  

The primaries are over, the nominees are set, so what are the best options remaining for dyed-in-the-wool Bernie Sanders fans this November 8th?

On today's BradCast, attorney, veteran and longtime legal analyst at The BRAD BLOG, Ernest A. Canning, who serves as a senior advisor to VetsForBernie.org, joins us to discuss his new article, "Revolution at a Crossroad". [Audio link to show posted below.]

Canning walks through the pros and cons of the various possibilities (staying home, voting for the Libertarian or Green Party candidate, voting for Hillary Clinton, as Sanders suggests, or even, gasp, voting for Donald Trump) as now faced by hard-core Sanders supporters, before offering his recommendation for how best to vote in order to continue the Sanders-led "political revolution". (Ernie also responds to a number of reader comments from the lively debate in response to his article.)

"I think the critical issue, and I think the question that every thinking progressive has to ask themselves is: 'What is the most effective means for moving the goals of the democratic revolution forward?'," he explains while we work through the potential options and outcomes.

Also today, the fight to restore the Voting Rights Act continues. Voting rights advocates on the ground in North Carolina and elsewhere are working hard to assure access to the polls for all this year, on the heels of a number of recent, very encouraging state and federal court victories. And national leaders are, once again, pressing Republicans in Congress to simply allow hearings to discuss ways to try and fix the landmark 1965 legislation after it was gutted by a rightwing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

Finally, we wrap up today's show with a few thoughts from liberal author and intellectual Noam Chomsky, on the threat posed by Donald Trump to the globe and, indeed, life on earth...

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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By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2016 6:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the weekend marked 52 years since the signing of the Voting Rights Act, and Republicans in North Carolina still can't take "No Voter Suppression!" for an answer. At the same time, things appear to be going from bad to worse for Donald Trump. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Despite a U.S. appeals court finding in late July that their voter suppression law "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision" and despite previously telling the court they'd have no trouble responding to the ruling in time for this year's general election, and despite their previous appeal being denied, North Carolina and it's Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) vow to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Good luck with that.

Also today, Hillary Clinton's poll numbers continue to rise and Trump's continue to plummet, even in what have long been considered as "red" states. (She's now up by 7 points in Georgia?! Really?). In the meantime, long time GOPers --- from the national security industrial complex to college Republicans --- announce they are abandoning the Republican nominee, who they believe "would put at risk our country's national security and well-being" and serve as "a threat to the survival of the Republic". And the "Never Trumpers" have even come up with a new candidate, for some reason.

But are there reasons to question the reliability of those poll numbers and the sincerity of those Republicans? And is Trump an embarrassment to the GOP because he's an incompetent, uninformed, pathological menace, or because he's just saying out loud what most Republicans now believe? And while it's undeniable that Trump would pose a threat to the planet with his finger on the nuclear button, unfortunately, as we were reminded again over the weekend, he wouldn't even need nukes to help finish off humanity.

All of those stories and many more on today's BradCast!...

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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Gov. McCrory ignores previous promise, vows appeal to SCOTUS...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/6/2016 3:59pm PT  

As we reported late last month, in a sweeping victory for voting rights on July 29, a unanimous panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal struck down North Carolina's massive voter suppression law --- the nation's worst since the Jim Crow era. In a stinging rebuke, the court found the statute's provisions were enacted by state Republicans with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

Days later, on August 3, as anticipated, North Carolina filed a Motion with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal seeking a stay of the court's injunction that bars enforcement of its "omnibus" election law, pending a petition for a writ of certiorari (essentially, a request for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court). The principal basis for NC's request was based upon what is known as the "Purcell principle" --- the Supreme Court's recently-adopted general notion that changes in election laws, for good or ill, should not be ordered too close to an election due to the risk of chaos and uncertainty the late changes may cause at the polls.

The next day, on August 4, the same unanimous 4th Circuit panel summarily denied the NC's request for a stay, noting that, during oral arguments "the State assured us it would be able to comply with any order we issued by late July." Indeed, a stay, the 3-judge panel noted, would actually violate the Purcell principle because the "State has already notified its voters that it will not ask them to show ID [when voting at the polling place] and that early voting will begin on October 20."

"Finally," the 4th Circuit panel observed, "the balance of equities heavily weighs against recalling the mandate or granting a stay. Voters disenfranchised by a law enacted with discriminatory intent suffer irreparable harm far greater than any potential harm to the State."

On Friday, August 5, North Carolina’s Republican Governor Pat McCrory refused to take "no" for an answer, pretended his state never gave the court its assurances about timing, as cited by the 4th Circuit, and vowed to seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Changing our state's election laws close to the upcoming election, including common sense voter ID, will create confusion for voters and poll workers," McCrory explained in a statement. "The court should have stayed their ruling, which is legally flawed, factually wrong, and disparaging to our state. Therefore, by early next week, we will be asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the ruling of the Court of Appeals."

Prior to the 4th Circuit's denial of the stay request, U.C. Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen opined that NC's Supreme Court cert petition was likely to be denied because of "the changing composition of the Supreme Court" following the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. At that point, Hasen had rated "the chances of emergency relief only fair, because there is enough time to implement most of these changes before the election." (Emphasis added).

Given the rationale advanced by the 4th Circuit's denial order that included the state's own concession during oral arguments that it had time to comply with any order issued before the end of July, it is perhaps prudent to downgrade North Carolina's chances of obtaining a Supreme Court stay from "only fair" to "unlikely".




Politico feature on Princeton computer scientists who cracked U.S. e-voting and tabulation systems offers what could be very good news
Also: TX agrees to restore reasonable ID requirements; Wingnut climate dead-enders...
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2016 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, amidst a fresh flurry of mainstream media coverage of how simple it is to manipulate election results via electronic voting and tabulation systems, Politico Magazine offers a blockbuster cover story describing it as "child's play" and, as it turns out, also serving as a virtual "Best Of" from the past 15 years of The BRAD BLOG's coverage of e-voting failure and concerns. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

Ben Wofford's 8,500+ word feature today on how a group of computer scientists and cybersecurity experts coming out of Princeton University have, in recent years, been able to hack virtually every such system still in use across all 50 states in the U.S., details one story after another that we've either broken or covered in detail, and highlights the brilliant work of a bunch of the scientists and experts who I've interviewed on the blog or radio show or who have otherwise served as sources for much of my reporting over the years both at The BRAD BLOG and other publications.

(Just a very few of those greatest hit hacks from over the years: the Diebold Touch-Screen Virus Hack, the Sequoia Pac-Man Hack, the $26 Radio Shack Hack, the D.C. Internet Voting Hack.)

More importantly (as I detailed earlier today), Wofford's lengthy and well-researched report offers hints that even the computer scientists are finally beginning to concede that the most secure voting and counting system of all may be plain old, hand-marked paper ballots, publicly counted by hand at each precinct on election night before ballots are moved anywhere. (What I've long described as "Democracy's Gold Standard".)

As Shane Harris reports at The Daily Beast this week in his piece "How Hackers Could Destroy Election Day", there are many ways that electronic voting and tabulation threatens American democracy, including by someone merely claiming that the vote has been hacked, whether it really has been or not. "If you have a system that's been shown to have vulnerabilities, even if someone doesn't attack them, but creates the impression that they might have, in a closely contested elections you've got a problem," explains Johns Hopkins' computer scientist Avi Rubin, one of the first to detail the enormous vulnerabilities in computer tabulator source code (in systems made by Diebold, in that case.)

Also today: After the nation's most conservative federal appeals court recently found Texas Republicans violated the Voting Rights Act with their racially discriminatory Photo ID voting law, the state agrees to a court-ordered remedy that broadly expands ID types that may be used for voting, re-enfranchising at least 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately Dem-leaning Texas voters in the bargain.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with some accountability in Michigan, and to bat down several persistent wingnut climate changes myths (from Donald Trump and WI's Republican Sen. Ron Johnson among others) that just won't die, no matter how much independently verifiable science gets thrown at them...

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

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Terms allow those without photo ID to cast regular ballots, requires state to spend $2.5M on voter education...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/5/2016 10:29am PT  

This November, Texas voters previously disenfranchised by way of GOP state lawmaker's illicit voter suppression scheme will have the opportunity to deliver payback at the polls.

After a series of elections in which some 608,000 disproportionately African-American and Hispanic lawfully registered Texas voters saw their right to vote imperiled by newly draconian polling place photo ID restrictions, the parties to Veasey v. Abbott, the landmark challenge to Texas' strict polling place photo ID voting law, have agreed upon terms to allow all legal voters to cast their ballots. This week, following a series of crushing court defeats for Texas Republicans, the parties finally submitted a Joint Submission of Agreed Terms for the federal District Court's approval. The terms, a result of rulings by one of the most conservative appellate courts in the nation, contain a fourteen point list of remedial actions that should go a long way towards relieving the damage to democracy wrought by the Lone Star State GOP's illegal voter suppression scheme.

As U.C. Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen reminds us, this agreement does not necessarily amount to a total capitulation on the part of Texas Republicans. By entering this stipulation, the state waives its right to appeal the agreed upon remedy. But there's still time for them --- banking on a Donald Trump victory in November --- to launch a Hail Mary effort to have the Supreme Court review the very conservative 5th Circuit's decision, which upheld the U.S. District Court's finding that SB14, the voting restriction by state Republicans, opposed for nearly a decade by state Democrats and voting rights advocates alike, violates the provisions of Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965.

The agreed-upon remedies include a much broader and far more reasonable set of potential IDs that voters may use at the polling place when voting, along with the signing of a "reasonable impediment declaration" as to why they cannot obtain a photo ID. Voters who comply with these procedures are entitled to cast regular ballots --- as opposed to provisional ballots which are more easily not included in official tallies. Importantly, the reasons for signing such a declaration "shall not be questioned" by either poll workers or poll watchers, according to the terms of the agreement.

Specifically, the parties agreed on an order containing the following points [emphasis added]...

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




Guest: Indiana University cybersecurity law expert Scott Shackelford | Also: Why your right to vote matters, 52 years after 'Freedom Summer'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2016 6:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast, after great news on voting rights from a bunch of state and federal courts over the past week, and sudden concerns from the the Right, the Left and the corporate media about the possibility of stolen elections, the Dept. of Homeland Security is finally looking into taking action. [Audio link to today's program posted below.]

"We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process is critical infrastructure, like the financial sector, like the power grid," DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said this week. "There’s a vital national interest in our electoral process."

Years ago, I began reporting on the serious vulnerability of our election system to manipulation (and error) from both foreign and domestic sources. In 2006, for example, after helping supply computer security analysts at Princeton University with a Diebold touch-screen voting system for the first independent tests of such a machine, I reported both at The BRAD BLOG and at Salon that the analysts were able to hack into it, in about 60 seconds time, with a virus that would flip election results and pass itself from machine to machine with virtually no possibility of detection. That followed on an Exclusive series of 2005 reports from a Diebold insider who I called "DIEB-THROAT" at the time, describing how the company's lead programmers admitted that the security on their systems was terrible and that a branch of DHS had already warned, in 2004, about an "undocumented back door" in the systems.

In 2009, by way of just one more example, we reported here on remarks delivered to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) by CIA cybersecurity analyst Steven Stigall, describing how "wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to make bad things happen," before going on to note that the CIA became interested in electronic voting systems years earlier "after concluding that foreigners might try to hack U.S. election systems."

So, it is with some skepticism that I regard Johnson's remarks this week about finally taking action to identify our existing, vulnerable electoral system as "critical infrastructure". Is it too little, too late on the eve of another Presidential election? And is it even possible to protect the type of electronic vote casting and counting systems we currently use in our elections? And what does the designation as "critical infrastructure" actually mean any way?

I'm joined on today's program for some answers by Scott Shackelford, cybersecurity law and business expert from Indiana University and the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfter Center, to explain some of this, and to describe some of the ways in which the U.S. might expand existing international agreements to keep domestic elections from being tampered with by foreign powers. Shackelford, writes about the issue this week at the Christian Science Monitor in an op-ed titled "How to make democracy harder to hack."

"It definitely is too late at this point to wake up and get all 9,000 jurisdictions on board for November," he tells me today. "Maybe instead of focusing quite so much on driver's licenses [to prevent fraud] and making sure we have different IDs in some of these states, it would've been great to have put that focus a little bit more on cybersecurity. But that didn't happen."

For what it's worth, my answer, after more than a decade on this beat: No, it's not possible to protect the type of electronic systems we currently use without moving to what I describe as "Democracy's Gold Standard". But Shackelford offers several ways we can, at least, try to improve the situation and mitigate the current dangers, as well as some thoughts on why action has been so long in coming. "Elections do quite a bit to focus minds. It is unfortunate that we lose some of that focus in the aftermath of these elections," he says.

Also today, why the right to vote is so important, whether you like it or use it or not, and why, for me, at least, it's still about rights, not politics, some 52 years to the day after the bodies of civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney and Michael Henry Schwerner were found after being murdered in Mississippi for trying to help register African-Americans to vote in 1964.

And, finally, speaking of vulnerable, as deadly, climate-fueled extreme weather continues across the planet, Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, up for re-election this year against former Democratic U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, offers up some of the dumbest, most embarrassing, scientifically disproven and just out-and-out inaccurate arguments against taking action on climate change that he could possibly muster. All of that and more on today's BradCast...

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

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Guest: ACLU Voting Rights Project attorney Julie Ebenstein
Plus: Hillary's DNC bounce, Trump 'unfit', and very bad monkeys...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2016 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast I'm joined by litigator Julie Ebenstein, staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project, to discuss the remarkable string of encouraging voting rights victories in courts in some six different states over just the past few days.

The long-fought and long-sought wins in both federal and state courtrooms in North Carolina and Wisconsin (as Ernie Canning reported earlier today), as well as in Texas, Kansas, Michigan and North Dakota (as summarized by The Nation's Ari Berman) in the past two weeks, have severely undercut Republican voter suppression laws imposing Photo ID voting restrictions, cuts to early voting, restrictions on voter registration and much more. As Berman writes: "The Republican war on voting rights is backfiring."

Ebenstein, who has helped lead the legal battle against these discriminatory laws for years, shares my delight over the recent rulings, but is surprised only that they have come so quickly in succession of late. "Given how extreme and egregious some of the laws are," she tells me, "I'm not surprised the courts have found they violate the Constitution. I think a lot of these laws really have gone very far to put barriers in the way of voters and, in many instances, particularly in the way of black voters."

On the courts finally striking down or weakening GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in NC, TX, WI and ND under the Voting Rights Act and/or the Constitution, she explains: "There's a broader recognition that this is really disenfranchising people in a very practical, day-to-day sense. I think the other thing the laws have highlighted, is that they're just not justified. As the North Carolina [ruling] put it, the laws constitute a solution in search of a problem. There's no evidence of any sort of voter impersonation, which is what these laws purport to protect against. So you have laws that will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of potential voters. It's just shocking when you look at the harm these laws cause and the lack of justification that they were passed [with] in the first place."

But, she stresses, there remain a number of barriers and concerns about the November election and the various primaries leading up to it. "Even though we have a good decision, there's still going to be ongoing challenges. Things do stay in flux for quite some time," Ebenstein tells me, citing ongoing suppression tactics in a number of states, and adding, "I would encourage everybody to check right now whether you're registered, whether your registration is up to date, whether it has the accurate address on file, and [to] know what the rules are."

There's much more important information in our conversation that I can adequately even summarize here, so please give it a listen!

Also today: Hillary Clinton receives a bounce in both national and state polling (including in a number of very "red" states) following last week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and Donald Trump's subsequent attacks on the parents of a Muslim-American U.S. Army Captain who is said to have given his life protecting fellow troops in Iraq in 2004. President Obama has declared Trump "unfit" for office in the bargain, and a number of high-ranking, elected GOPers have denounced Trump for it in recent days, but almost none have unendorsed the Republican nominee, much less announced an intention to keep him out of office by voting for Clinton. All of that and election-hating monkeys gone wild on today's BradCast!

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

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Major wins for voting rights advocates in NC, WI, elsewhere could be reversed by the next appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court
UPDATES: U.S. District Court blocks implementation of ND Photo ID Law; NC Republicans Seeks Stay pending petition to Supreme Court
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/2/2016 11:11am PT  

The good news is that over the past week two federal courts struck down multiple provisions of GOP-enacted voter suppression laws in Wisconsin and North Carolina. The cautionary news is that the rejection of 21st century Jim Crow-style disenfranchisement at the polls, and, indeed, the fate of democracy itself, may well now hinge on the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

The prospect of a Donald Trump presidency does not merely, as suggested on a recent BradCast by The Nation's John Nichols, portend a descent into fascism and "madness." A Trump victory would permit Republican-appointed Supreme Court "radicals in robes" and their anti-democracy agenda to recapture the majority status they lost last February with the passing of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Consider the long term impact of a Trump-selected Supreme Court Justice. A quarter century has passed since the late Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA), during the 1991 Clarence Thomas Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearings, observed:

If we confirm a nominee who has not demonstrated a commitment to core constitutional values, we jeopardize our rights as individuals and the future of our nation. We cannot undo such a mistake at the next election or even in the next generation.

In the first voting rights case to see a ruling come down last Friday, North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory, the good news is that a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal struck down as unconstitutional a comprehensive GOP voter suppression scheme that the court determined had been deliberately designed to have a retrogressive impact on the right of African-Americans to participate in electoral democracy. The state Republican legislature's scheme, the court held, was specifically designed to "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

The bad news, however, is that over the past three years --- a period that included the 2014 midterm election and this year's primary elections --- this unconstitutional scheme was the law of the land in North Carolina only because a cabal of five Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices gutted a key provision (Section 5) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). That section required pre-clearance from either the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) or a three-judge U.S. District Court panel before election restrictions of the type enacted by NC could have implemented. In arriving at their decision, the 4th Circuit judges rejected as "clearly erroneous" the factual findings of a George W. Bush-appointed U.S. District Court Judge who had previously upheld this racially motivated scheme's constitutionality.

In the second case last week, One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen, the good news is that U.S. District Court Judge James D. Peterson, after a full trial on the merits, struck down as unconstitutional eight (8) specific aspects of eight (8) election laws that were enacted after the election of Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker and Republican majorities in both houses of its state legislature. The bad news is that a previous decision handed down by Republican appointed "radicals in robes" on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal --- a decision that became final after the Supreme Court declined to hear the case --- prevented Judge Peterson from reevaluating the constitutionality of a strict polling place photo ID law in WI even though his honor acknowledged that, in seeking to remedy the phantom menace of in-person voter fraud, Republicans had created "a cure worse than the disease."

The importance of the next Supreme Court Justice was underscored by Judge Peterson's suggestion that both the 7th Circuit and the Supreme Court should revisit the issue given that "the evidence in this case casts doubt on the notion that [photo] ID laws foster integrity and confidence" in the electoral process...

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




Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton...
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2016 5:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast, our lead story almost certainly would have been the historic acceptance speech of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination, but for the landmark ruling out today from a federal appeals court in North Carolina. [Audio link to show is below.]

As reported in more detail at The BRAD BLOG earlier today, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down North Carolina's massive voting restriction law --- the nation's worst since the Jim Crow era --- finding that it was enacted by state Republicans with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision." We cover the court's landmark ruling --- which has far-reaching consequences beyond North Carolina and beyond the 2016 election --- at the top of today's show. As I explain, according to legal experts, it seems almost certain now that today's ruling, following on similarly encouraging blows to GOP Photo ID restrictions in federal courts in both Texas and Wisconsin just last week, will succeed in permanently striking down NC's purposefully disenfranchising poling place Photo ID restriction, reduction to the early voting period, removal of same-day registration, and other disingenuous and unnecessary restrictions on the franchise.

In short, while there are still a very few narrow corridors for appeal or delay for the vote suppressors here, as explained on the show, this is a long coming and very good day for voting rights in America!

Then, we move on to Clinton's historic nomination as the first female nominee to be put forward by one of the two major American political parties. For perspective on that, both historical and political, we are joined once again by Salon's very wise Heather Digby Parton. She and our own Desi Doyen share the personal meaning of Clinton's nomination and acceptance speech and, yes, even the historical significance of Clinton's white pant suit. (Yes, there apparently is one!)

We also go on to discuss how and if the speech --- and the entire week in Philadelphia, for that matter --- met the DNC's goal for reaching out to the bulk of progressive Sanders supporters as well as disaffected Republicans. Parton seems bullish on both matters, and suggests that Clinton's speech, embracing "the most progressive Democratic platform in history" (as hashed out recently by both Clinton and Sanders proponents), represents a potential realignment for American politics.

"By embracing the platform in the way that she did," Parton argues, "having put the Democratic Party at the center of American politics, she has now said, 'That's the center. That progressive platform is where the center of America is. Going forward, that's the mainstream philosophy of America.' It could end up being important because this election may just finish off a realignment that's been in the making for a long time."

Please listen to the show for much more on all of that, as well as our conversation on where the Presidential race and both major political parties are heading from here...with just 100 days left until the 2016 election...on today's exciting thrill ride otherwise known as The BradCast!...

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

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