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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...


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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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!... ---




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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While distasteful for many, Clinton may represent progressives best path forward, at least in swing states...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/8/2016 11:28am PT  

After agreeing to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Veterans for Bernie organization over the past year or so, I have refrained from writing articles about the Presidential primaries here at The BRAD BLOG, so as to avoid any potential conflicts of interest for the site. With that disclosure out of the way, those primaries now behind us, and the general election just months away, it seems an appropriate moment to ring in with some personal thoughts, which may or may not be shared by Brad and the site itself, on the dilemma now facing many long-time Bernie Sanders supporters, including myself.

The Sanders-led "political revolution" has arrived at a political crossroad.

Progressive supporters of Sanders cannot go back. The U.S. isn't Austria. There will be no do-over of the Democratic Presidential primaries.

The road to the extreme right (Donald Trump) is unthinkable. It entails the very real and ominous prospect of the very thing so many fought and died to prevent during World War II --- a fascist America. In turn, unabashed Sanders supporters, such as myself, are left with a limited number of options as we struggle with the difficult choice of how to move forward at the ballot box this November in the Presidential race.

Petulantly standing in place (not voting) is akin to the child who takes his football and goes home because the others wouldn't let him play quarterback. It is not a viable option. A boycott of the voting booth by progressives would serve only to reinforce the goal of GOP voter suppression. It would also betray a core tenet of the Sanders-led political revolution --- genuine (small "d") democratic accountability that can only be accomplished via participatory democracy. "I understand that many of my supporters are disappointed by the final results of the nominating process," Sanders wrote in a newly published Los Angeles Times op-ed over the weekend, drawing stark contrasts between both the two major political parties and their 2016 nominees, "but being despondent and inactive is not going to improve anything."

While some may mistake it as progressive, the Libertarian Party ticket, headed by Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, New Mexico's former Republican Governor, does not offer a progressive alternative. To the contrary, libertarianism amounts to an oblique path that is nearly as right-leaning as the now Trump-led GOP.

As I explained in 2010, in "Rand Paul exposes Libertarian Blind Spots", libertarian philosophy focuses exclusively on individual liberty vis-a-vis the government. Many of its proponents fail to appreciate the threat to individual liberty posed by "the tyranny of a corporate controlled economy." Indeed they equate corporate liberties with the liberties of individual human beings. It was that twisted reasoning that led to the Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision. Individual liberty without social responsibility, as many supporters of the Libertarian platform ultimately espouse, knowingly or otherwise, is destructive of community, an equitable economy and the environment. In 1980, David Koch, one of the infamous Koch brothers, became the Libertarian Party VP candidate. That selection alone speaks volumes about the party's core values.

With those options out of the way, we are left with either turning to the left --- where one can find a far more progressive platform than that offered by the Democrats, with the Green Party's nominee for President, Dr. Jill Stein --- or, moving directly forward with the now Sanders-endorsed Democratic Party Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton, a candidate who openly embraced an extraordinarily progressive Democratic Party Platform and many, but not all, of the core goals of the Sanders-led revolution during her DNC Acceptance Speech.

The path that thoughtful progressives choose should be guided by both their understanding of the scope of the Sanders-led political revolution and the wisdom behind Otto von Bismarck's astute observation that "politics is the art of the possible"...

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




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".




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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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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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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Huge victory for voting rights comes on heels of similarly encouraging decisions against GOP Photo ID voting restriction in TX, WI...
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2016 11:30am PT  

The 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals has struck down all of the very worst provisions of North Carolina's voter suppression law, which we originally described, after it was enacted in 2013, as "the nation most restrictive voter suppression law" and "the worst since the Jim Crow era". Others have described it as "the mother of all voter suppression laws."

In its 83-pages of decisions [PDF], the three-judge panel on the 4th Circuit finds that North Carolina acted with a racially discriminatory intent when enacting the law which included Photo ID voting restrictions, the reduction of early voting days, cancellation of the state's successful same-day registration option, the counting of provisional ballots cast out-of-precinct, and pre-registration of young voters who would be 18 years old by Election Day.

Those provisions, the 4th Circuit holds, "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

This is a huge and long-fought victory for voting rights, and it comes on the heels of similar wins within the past week as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the state of Texas' similarly draconian Photo ID restriction had a racially discriminatory effect, and as a federal court in Wisconsin ordered that state to allow voting provisions for those who do not own the few, narrow types of Photo ID now required to vote at the polling place under the new voting restriction adopted there.

All three laws --- in NC, TX, WI --- were enacted by Republican legislatures and put in place after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the federal Voting Rights Act in 2013...

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




Guest: The Nation's John Nichols from the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, on Sanders, his supporters, their movement and future...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2016 5:32pm PT  

Not to give away the ending, but by the close of today's BradCast, Hillary Clinton became the Democrats' nominee for President of the United States.

Before we got there, however, we were joined from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia by longtime progressive journalist and author John Nichols of The Nation and Madison, Wisconsin's Capital Times to discuss yesterday's early tumult with the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and what we should expect from her interim replacement Donna Brazile between now and Election Day.

The bulk of our conversation, however, centers on how some of the most die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters and convention delegates are feeling today, what it may take for Clinton to win their votes between now and November, and where Sanders' progressive movement may go thereafter. "Bottom line is," he cautions, "it's not what you hear at the convention, necessarily. It's about what comes after."

On an optimistic note, Nichols describes how he has been seeing many progressive Sanders supporters step up to run for office in recent days "all over this country. You won't know all their names, and neither will I, because a lot of them will be running for Drainage Commissioner. But that's how the Christian Coalition got its power, because they figured out there was a Religious Right way to be a Drainage Commissioner. And I can tell you something: there is absolutely a democratic socialist way to be a Drainage Commissioner."

As to the likelihood of a Trump Presidency, Nichols is very concerned. "He's talking to people who have had the hell beaten out of them by globalization, de-industrialization, automation. So it is not shocking at all that there are people feeling so pressured that they might consider an option that, by any reasonable measure, seems madness. We must accept that. The reality of politics. If we don't, we end up with a surprise like Reagan in '80. We tell ourselves something couldn't happen, and then it goes and happens."

But does the Democratic Party understand that? And is Nichols' own home state of Wisconsin really in play this year, as Republicans seem to suggest every year? His answers to all of those questions and many others on today's BradCast!

Also on today's program: Extended excerpts from the moving and inspiring Day 1 speeches of Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders and others, and a brilliant new way that one group concerned about climate change is hoping to entice new young voters to register...

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

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Guest: Longtime GOP campaign consultant and 2012 Presidential candidate Fred Karger from Cleveland...
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2016 5:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Once again, as we go to air today, breaking news, this time concerning Fox "News", where its founder, CEO and evil rightwing propaganda mastermind Roger Ailes is officially pushed out after 20 years, on the heels of sexual harassment allegations from at least two Fox stars, and as many as 20 women over all. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

Then, as the GOP continues to step on itself all week during its national nominating convention in Cleveland, second place 2016 GOP Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is booed off stage, during his primetime speaking slot, for failing to endorse Donald Trump. As it turns out, the Trump camp knew that Cruz wouldn't endorse days ago, but gave him the high-profile time slot at the convention anyway. All of which served to obscure the official acceptance speech of Vice Presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana. Idiocy or genius?

We discuss all of that and much more related on today's show with longtime Republican consultant and 2012 GOP Presidential candidate (the first openly gay one from either major party) Fred Karger, who tells me from Cleveland that he was one of the folks on the floor booing last night --- though not necessarily for the same reason as others. "Any chance I get to boo Ted Cruz, I will do it," he explains.

Karger, who says he's attending his 11th RNC, after having served as a senior campaign adviser to Presidents Ford and Reagan, discusses his broken party and what he believes broke it. He tells me he won't be supporting Trump this year --- (tune in to find out who he will support) --- but warns of the likelihood of a "Trump victory."

"He's a master promoter and look what he's done in 13 months," he says. "He's not only the nominee, but he's taken over the Republican Party. And he's neck-and-neck with Hillary." Yup. And, as Karger notes, the Republican delegates in Cleveland have actually warmed up to Trump over the past several days, despite the apparent chaos to those of us non-wingnuts watching from afar.

Finally, if you're not concerned enough yet, the Republican nominee has not only sown chaos at his own convention but, now, also amongst U.S. allies around the world, with remarkably cavalier comments to the New York Times about the future of NATO and other foreign policy issues under a Trump Presidency.

All of that and more (including more breaking news mid-show, as the NBA exercises it's free market rights to pull their 2017 all-star game from Charlotte, NC, in response to that state GOP's anti-LGBT law) on today's BradCast...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2016 5:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Day One of Donald Trump's Republican National Convention in Cleveland was insane. But it was all going well enough until it became apparent late on Monday night that portions of Melania Trump's headliner speech was plagiarized directly from Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic convention speech.

Incredibly, the man who made 'You're fired!' a catch phrase can't seem to muster up the ability to hold anyone in his own campaign accountable for it. As such, the oratorical fraud and, more importantly, how its being handled (and denied) by Team Trump, offers a stark warning to voters as to how a Trump Presidency might handle the actual serious issues and difficult decisions that need to be made.

Or, at least, it should.

Speaking of warnings, new national polling remains tight between Trump and Hillary Clinton, who continues losing ground in several of them. That, as several new cases and disturbing allegations of voter registration fraud by Republican election insiders in a number of states, along with some very troubling news from the U.S. Dept. of Justice concerning their plans to no longer send observers to polling places in certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination, should serve as yet another stark warning for American voters...

But will it?

All of that and Desi Doyen with today's Green News Report on the latest BradCast...

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

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'I'm here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2016 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Bernie Sanders finally endorses Hillary Clinton and President Obama offers yet another memorial speech following another mass shooting. All three Democrats call for America to rise above those hoping to divide the nation. [Audio link posted below.]

First up, during a joint rally by the two candidates in Portsmouth, NH on Tuesday, Sanders offered his long-anticipated concession and endorsement of Clinton to be the Democratic Party's nominee for President of the United States. The Vermont Senator explained that his full-throated endorsement for the former Sec. of State comes on the heels of progressive policy announcements by Clinton on health care and college education and after the completion of what both of them describe as "the most progressive party platform in history".

In Sanders' remarks he contrasted Clinton's positions with those of Donald Trump's, underscoring where he believes Clinton's positions are largely in line with his own on the expansion of health care, appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, combating climate change, fighting against income inequality and for a living wage, access to college without the burden of student debt, on immigration and on criminal justice reform and much more.

During her own remarks, Clinton effusively thanked and lauded Sanders for his endorsement and his campaign, spoke to the tragic events in Dallas last week and to the epidemic of both police violence and weapons of war on our streets. She detailed her own plans to combat income inequality, to offer tuition-free college for more than 80% of American families, while vowing to block trade details like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). She described plans to reform the tax code, prevent more tax cuts for the rich, as she argued Trump and the GOP are offering, to expand Social Security, to fight for paid family leave and equal pay for women, reform of our campaign finance system and to fight back against voter suppression with the institution of automatic universal voter registration and other electoral reforms, including the restoration of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Shortly thereafter, President Obama appeared in Dallas to memorialize the five slain Dallas Police officers and two African-American men killed by police in the days just prior in Baton Rouge and St. Paul. His moving remarks called on Americans to rise up against hatred, violence and bigotry in all forms.

On today's show, we offer extended excerpts from all three speeches, as each shared a common theme of unity and a call for Americans to rise above divisions to come together as a nation. Also today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the environmental and climate issues hammered out in the Democratic Party platform over the weekend, the results of which are being described by both the Sanders and Clinton camps as the greenest in history...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2016 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Climate change continues to ravage Americans and take lives in the east and west, surprisingly good news from the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.K. remains gripped with panic, confusion and uncertainty in the wake of last week's vote 'Brexit' vote to leave the European Union.

We start today with more on the historic deadly flooding and "mass destruction" in West Virginia 'coal country' and the out-of-control wildfires across bone-dry Southern California. Yes, it's everything we've been warning you about for so long on both The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast, even if just the latest example of the enormous (and growing) cost of climate change, as still both under-reported by the corporate media and over-shadowed by other new events across both the U.S. and world.

Then, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down several major decisions on its final day of the session. Surprisingly, a number of those decisions were very good news for progressives, even on an otherwise divided Court with its still-vacant 9th seat. The biggest decision concerned abortion rights in Texas, where the Court dealt a devastating blow to Republican laws meant to shut down women's health clinics under the guise of 'safety'. The Court saw through the Rightwing con, and the 5-3 decision could result in the overturning of similar "TRAP laws" enacted by Republicans in other states. In any event, the decision is a huge setback for rightwing anti-abortion activists and a big victory for those who believe in Constitutionally protected reproductive rights and freedoms. Can we take anything from this decision as to how SCOTUS might eventually rule in the Texas Photo ID voting restrictions case --- another GOP law meant to rob (certain) citizens of their rights for entirely specious reasons?

Also, the right of states to restrict the possession of guns by domestic abusers was upheld in a surprising bi-partisan 7 to 2 opinion, as was a new rule by the U.S. Dept. of Labor concerning overtime pay for home healthcare workers.

In an unusual unanimous decision by the Supremes, Virginia's former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell saw his bribery conviction vacated, despite having accepted some $165,000 in personal gifts and cash loans from a wealthy businessman hoping the Governor would help promote his products. Will that decision have any effect on Alabama's former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman, who is now serving his 6th year in federal prison for having done far less than McDonnell was found guilty of? That, even as the Republican federal judge who sentenced Siegelman has resigned from the bench after having been arrested for beating his wife and the Republican heads of all three branches of government in Alabama face removal of office via impeachment (Governor), ethics charges (Chief Justice of the AL Supreme Court) and multiple felony conviction (AL Speaker of the House) for various crimes, alleged and proven, in their home state.

Finally today, last week's 'Brexit' vote continues to wreak havoc as world financial markets continue to plunge (though not nearly as low as I incorrectly reported it on today's show, as based on an inaccurate number reported by my iPhone's stock app!); the British government is in complete disarray about how (or, perhaps, even, if) they will officially begin the formal procedure required to leave the EU; voters express 'bregret' over having voted to exit; questions arise about overseas voters failing to correctly receive ballot papers at all; and some call for a second ("do-over") referendum.

All of that and much more on yet another insanely busy BradCast today!

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

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Guest: Constitutional law expert and author Ian Millhiser...
By Brad Friedman on 6/23/2016 5:35pm PT  

We do our best on today's BradCast to keep up with an insane amount of breaking news that continues to pour in today, from the Democratic 'sit-in' protest in the U.S. House to two major rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court to the British vote to leave the European Union to extreme weather in China and back to the U.S. again for even more still-breaking news. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The Dems' unprecedented 'occupation' of the U.S. House to force a vote on gun legislation came to an end --- without the vote Democrats sought --- earlier today after more than 25 hours, as Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan largely gave up by simply declaring the chaotic House in adjournment until after the July 4th holiday. But will it start all over again when Congress reconvenes? And will Democrats come to regret their popular upheaval the next time they are in the majority?

Meanwhile, constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser, author of Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, joins us to explain the two major U.S. Supreme Court rulings handed down today, one is very bad news for the Obama Administration's immigration policy and, the other, a very surprising decision on affirmative action admissions policy at public university and colleges.

"The good news" on the immigration ruling, he says, "is that because this is an even split, it means that's there's no precedential value to this. It means that when a ninth justice is confirmed [to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Scalia], it can be re-litigated all over again. But the bad news is that until there's that ninth justice, the program is at the mercy of some lower courts that are very hostile to immigration." As to today's other ruling, Millhiser explains: "People have thought that affirmative action was on its deathbed for a really long time. It had a series of near-death experiences. This case has been kicking around for something like eight years, and they finally get around to deciding it, and surprise, they don't strike down the program. There was a lot of language in the opinion that I think is going to give a lot of heartburn to people who support affirmative action, but the punchline is affirmative action lives to see another day."

But wait! There's much more breaking news on today's program: Yet another oil pipeline ruptures in Southern California; 'Oil Bomb' trains set to begin running again in Oregon just three weeks after fiery derailment; 'Brexit' voting in Great Britain ends amidst flash flooding that could effect turnout, as the 'LEAVE' coalition predicts defeat; Extreme weather, including a rare tornado, kills 78 in China; Volkswagen agrees to pay more than $10 billion to customers amidst emissions cheating scandal; and Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with still more bad court news for the Obama Administration, this time on fracking rules, but some good news (at least for some of us) about the last remaining nuclear power plant in California.

Buckle up...

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

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