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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Trumpwreck: The First Presidential Debate: 'BradCast' 9/27/16
Smart and, at times, hilarious coverage of the Trump/Clinton Hofstra debate, with journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
'The Most Audacious Political Heist of Our Time':
'BradCast' 9/26/2016
David Daley on 'RatF**ked' and how the GOP 'stole' the U.S. House for a decade as Dems 'fell asleep at the wheel'...
Sunday Toons of the First Debate Moment
The final stretch for the general election begins and so do the Presidential Debates, as documented in PDiddie's collection of the best political toons of the week...
Eyewitness to Shooting at Protest Questions Official Account: 'BradCast' 9/22/16
Guest: Linda Flynn of Charlotte Spirituality Center was 'feet away', believes police activity sparked violence at peaceful demonstration...
'Green News Report' 9/22/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
U.N. climate pact reaches crucial threshold; White House orders NatSec planning for climate change; Good/bad news in the Arctic; PLUS: Obama to world: Time to step up...
Previous GNRs: 9/20/16 - 9/15/16 - Archives...
Caller Debate Questions
for Trump and Clinton:
'BradCast' 9/21/16
Plus: Police shootings and protests in NC, OK; Earth smashes more heat records; Trump leads Clinton in new national poll...
Trump Charity Scam; Warren v. Wells CEO; TX Defies Court: 'BradCast' 9/20/16
A whole lotta liars, cheats and scam artists on today's show! (So what else is new?)...
'Green News Report' 9/20/16
AL pipeline spill; Court reprieve for Dakota Access; U.N. trying to 'Trump proof' climate pact; PLUS: Leonardo DiCaprio wants you to watch over the oceans...
Terror Attacks in NY, NJ, MN; Massive Pipeline Spill in AL: 'BradCast' 9/19/16
What we know (and don't) in both cases. Guest: Alabama Media Group's natural resources reporter Dennis Pillion...
Sunday Toons of the Slightly Queasy Moment
'Slightly'?! ... 'PDiddie' may need a moment to see if it passes...
Trump's (Latest) Trap; Voting Rights Rulings in KS and OH: 'BradCast' 9/16/16
Also: Nat'l polls tied; Trump leads in OH; Sanders warns against 3rd-party voting; Colbert cheers us up...
'Green News Report' 9/15/16
Dakota Access pipeline fails climate test; House Comm probes state AGs on Exxon; Lead paint maker bought WI immunity; PLUS: LA floods U.S. 3rd costliest disaster...
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...


By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2016 6:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, updates, racism, lies, voting rights and video tape. [Audio link posted below.]

We've got several updates on the situation in Charlotte, NC following the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott, including the release of an eyewitness video of the shooting said to be from his wife's cellphone. While the tape is heart-wrenching in and of itself, it also appears to show something that looks like a gun seemingly appearing from out of nowhere on the ground next to the victim's body. As noted on the show, I'm not sure what to make of this. It could somehow be a trick of light, shadows, editing, camera angle or...it might not be a gun at all. Others (NBC's Joy Reid, Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson) seemed to be wondering about it as well.

See it for yourself in both the New York Times version of the video as well as the NBC News version. (Enlarge the videos and watch the ground to the right of the body, just next to one of the cop's feet from appx 1:43 to 1:44 in the NBC version and appx 2:01 to 2:02 in the NYTimes version. The NBC version is a bit easier to see, since they have crop/zoomed-in the cellphone framing a bit.) Strange. No real comment. So, I'll just leave that here for now. (But, yes, police do get caught planting guns and falsifying police reports.)

Also today, more blatant and rather jaw-dropping racist statements from the (now former) Trump campaign chair in Mahoning County, OH, Republican U.S. Congressman Robert Pittenger (who represents Charlotte!) and, of course, from Trump himself.

Then, in advance of Monday's Presidential debate, a new non-partisan analysis finds the GOP nominee's proposed elimination of ObamaCare and replacement healthcare plan would result in 20 million Americans losing health coverage. We also review his repeated lie that he opposed the Obama/Clinton actions to intervene in Libya and take out Qaddafi (with audio from 2011 in which he declares the opposite in no uncertain terms.)

Next, troubling e-voting and hacking news and new court rulings and cases concerning voter suppression in the states of Ohio, Georgia and Texas. Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for an important Green News Report, as well as some disturbing, recently unearthed remarks from Libertarian Presidential nominee Gary Johnson concerning global warming...

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

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Guest: Campaign Legal Center's Brendan Fischer on smoking gun emails leaked from quashed state criminal probe of Wisconsin's Governor...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2016 6:46pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, startling revelations from the massive document dump of emails and other materials from the currently-quashed state criminal investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's 2012 recall election fundraising. [Audio link to show posted below.]

The Guardian's remarkable 1,300 page leak of documents from the so-called "John Doe investigation" of Walker's illegal collusion with "independent" third-party non-profit groups is, in many ways, jaw-dropping. As we discuss on today's show, in addition to that collusion, the leaked emails also reveal state GOP operatives preparing to declare massive Democratic voter fraud, without a shred of evidence in support, in order to try and win a very close 2011 election for state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. The rightwing Justice would ultimately ensure a Walker-friendly majority on the court to support the Governor's controversial union-busting law.

"Do we need to start messaging 'widespread reports of election fraud' so we are positively set up for the recount regardless of the final number? I obviously think we should," writes one of the GOP operatives in one of the emails as results from the tight race came in. "Talk radio needs to scream the Dems are trying to steal the race...We need to declare victory first so it appears that the results are being overturned if they go the wrong way." Sound familiar?

[You can see what came of that recount, which we covered extensively back in 2011, including exclusives revealing, among other irregularities, ballot bags ripped and discovered "wide open" with mismatched or missing serial numbers as well as ballots found completely unsecured and other similar messes and mistallies across the state. My 2011 interview with Prosser's challenger, then Asst. Attorney General Joanne Kloppenburg, after she was ultimately forced to concede, thanks in no small part to the dishonest scheming applied by the operatives cited above, is right here.]

Attorney Brendan Fischer, Associate Counsel at the Campaign Legal Center in D.C., joins us to help unpack the breathtaking smoking guns revealed by these newly-disclosed documents, after the state's probe of Walker was shut down by the very same elected Justices on the state Supreme Court whose elections were funded by the exact same corporate millionaire and billionaire donors and illegal mechanisms revealed by the quashed documents. Yes, it makes my head spin too.

"These documents show the breadth of the coordination scheme that Walker was engaged in," Fischer tells me. "It shows that what the Republican and Democratic prosecutors in Wisconsin were looking into with this investigation was really significant. It was a broad scheme to evade the state's corporate contribution limits and disclosure requirements. And that was very explicit. The purpose of Walker coordinating was to evade disclosure laws, to allow corporations and controversial donors to support Walkers' re-election without any sort of public disclosure or public accountability. That was not a bug in this coordination scheme, that was the purpose from the beginning. And the emails show that very clearly."

You really need to listen to today's show to get the full picture of what happened, and how this scheme has served as a template for GOP elections all over the country now (including the very same donors behind Donald Trump's campaign and, indeed, as we learn, including Trump himself who gave money to the "independent" Wisconsin Club for Growth on the very same day he met with Walker in NYC.) Fischer also describes, for example, the lead paint manufacturer who secretly donated $750,000 to the tax-exempt, non-profit "social welfare" group before state Republicans slipped in a provision to a budget bill that granted immunity to his company in the face of lawsuits from hundreds of children poisoned by the paint. "The public was unable to connect the dots between the secret three-quarters of a million dollar contributions to Wisconsin Club for Growth and the later policy decisions that Walker took" on behalf of the donor, explains Fischer.

"Bigger picture, this is one of those rare snapshots into how 'dark money' works," he says. "When you look at these documents, the two [Walker and WCfG] are interchangeable. This was not an instance where Walker's campaign had a few conversations here and there with Wisconsin Club for Growth Officials...Wisconsin Club for Growth was an arm of the Walker campaign."

Fischer also goes on to explain what we might expect as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a motion that could re-open the state's criminal probe later this month. Even if I say so myself, it's a must-listen BradCast today...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/12/2016 11:35am PT  

It's not for nothing that North Carolina Republicans are working so hard to keep certain people out of the voting booth this November.

North Carolina's Republican Governor Pat McCrory's chances for re-election took a direct hit after the U.S. Supreme Court recently denied his emergency request to stay a unanimous decision by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal. The 4th Circuit three-judge panel struck down a massive NC GOP voter suppression law that, the court found, had targeted Democratic-leaning African-American voters "with almost surgical precision."

McCrory now faces a reelection bid against a strong Democratic opponent who is not shy about calling the longtime Duke Energy CEO turned Governor to task for an environmental scandal (Ash-gate) that likely ranks second, in recent times, only to the poisoning of Flint, Michigan's drinking water.

McCrory's Ash-gate vulnerability was previously touched upon by Desi Doyen in a February 2015 Green News Report. After covering both a massive spill of 39 tons of toxic coal ash into North Carolina's Dan River in February 2014 and criminal charges leveled by federal prosecutors against Duke Energy for violations of the Clean Water Act in relation to the company's North Carolina projects dating back to 2010, Doyen quoted a report from WRAL-TV Raleigh (emphasis added):

The administration of Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican who worked at Duke for 29 years, then proposed what environmentalists derided as a "sweetheart deal" under which the Charlotte-based company worth more than $50 billion would have paid fines of just $99,111 to settle violations over toxic groundwater leeching from two of its plants. That agreement, which included no requirement that Duke immediately stop or clean up the pollution, was pulled amid intense criticism after the Dan River spill.

McCrory's Democratic opponent, Roy Cooper, has served as NC's elected Attorney General since 2001. He is not only well-positioned to appeal to those whose very right to participate in our democracy had been threatened by McCrory's failed, Jim Crow-like voter suppression scheme, but has also launched a powerful TV ad (video posted below) highlighting the latest revelations concerning whether the McCrory administration may have fraudulently concealed the dangers to public health posed by the presence of Duke Energy's toxic coal ash in their drinking water...

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




Latest on the Presidential race, attempted NC vote suppression, a controversial AZ election, and the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in ND...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2016 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm back after the holiday weekend, but you should tune in anyway! We're live today from the KPFK/Pacifica Radio studios in Los Angeles, as I try to catch up on stuff we missed over the long weekend, and breaking news today.

Among the stories we cover on today's program...

* Tightening Presidential polls [PDF] as pollsters change their methodology to move from "registered" to "likely" voters, as Donald Trump has taken a lead or is tied with Hillary Clinton in a couple of national polls and gaining in some swing states. Nonetheless, Clinton maintains her lead in the Electoral College and even remains competitive in a number of "red" states where she is receiving support from some surprising corners.

* North Carolina's vote suppressing Republican Governor Pat McCrory believes states should have "voting rights", as opposed to people/voters.

* We're reminded today, once again, that every vote counts (or, at least, should), as Helen Purcell, the controversial election chief in Maricopa County (Phoenix), appears to have won her Republican Primary by just over a hundred votes out of more than 300,000 cast, after trailing by just a few hundred votes following last week's state primary in Arizona. The exact percentage flip (she was reportedly losing the day after the election 49.93% to 50.07% against her challenger Aaron Flannery, before defeating him 50.07% to 49.93% as of today, according to Purcell's optical-scan computers reported on Purcell's website) reminds us once again of the need to publicly hand-count paper ballots on Election Night. Purcell, Maricopa's Republican County Recorder since 1988, was roundly criticized for reducing polling locations from more than 200 in 2012 down to 60 during the Presidential Primary in March. Flannery, her challenger last week, has said he cannot afford to mount a challenge to ask for a hand count, but will consider running again in 2020. If the current results hold, Purcell will face Democrat Adrian Fontes in November.

* Then, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest on the growing protests and emergency legal battles by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota against the desecration of sacred sites with the construction of the massive, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-approved (and EPA-opposed) Dakota Access Pipeline and the bad faith actions of its supporters.

Finally, we take listener calls on all of the above! Enjoy!...

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

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Guest: Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians | Plus: Breaking news on NC voting rights from SCOTUS and AZ, FL state primary results...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2016 5:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Primary season is still going (believe it or not), and we've got several important results from Arizona and Florida's contests on Tuesday. Also, important breaking news for the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Obama Administration gets sued to stop new leases to oil and gas companies on federal lands. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First today, Donald Trump goes to Mexico for a brief visit with the Mexican President. Our coverage is mercifully even briefer.

Then, the Scalia-free U.S. Supreme Court splits 4 to 4 in response to North Carolina's emergency attempt to stay a blistering ruling from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal in late July, where the state Republicans' massive voter suppression law was struck down after being found to have been enacted with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-American with almost surgical precision". The tie at SCOTUS means the lower court's ruling, nixing the law, will stand, even though four Justices (guess which ones) on the highest court in the land would have preferred to keep a law broadly seen as the nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era in place for this November's Presidential election!

Speaking of elections, we review the results of several key races from Tuesday's state primaries in Arizona and Florida, where the reelection battles of Sens. John McCain and Marco Rubio may determine the balance of the U.S. Senate this November. Also, the controversial Democratic FL Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz survives, as does controversial Republican Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, AZ. But the news for Helen Purcell, Maricopa's Republican County Recorder in Phoenix, who many blame for the disastrous Presidential Primary in the state earlier this year, may have reached the end of her 30-year career, with just a few hundred votes (out of more than 25,000 cast) now hanging in the balance.

Then, why is the Obama Administration, which has placed a moratorium on new federal land leases to coal companies, still selling millions of acres of leases to oil and gas companies? Jeremy Nichols, Director of the Climate and Energy Program at WildEarth Guardians, who, with Physicians for Social Responsibility, filed a suit last week seeking a moratorium from the Administration's Bureau of Land Management on such auctions, joins me to discuss the landmark federal lawsuit.

"What we're seeing here is a pattern and practice of the Administration continuing to hand over rights to our public lands to the oil and gas industry," Nichols explains. "By leasing these lands, they basically convert them to the ownership of the industry, and industry can hang on to these lands for as long as they want. It really is what we call an irreversible commitment of public resources here."

He goes on to tell me that while, in many respects, the Obama Administration has been a champion for the climate and the environment, on this issue, it seems, they appear to have "a very serious blind spot."

"We feel that it's high time for this administration to apply the same scrutiny to the oil and gas program that is has applied to coal-fired power plants, its coal mining program, and other aspects of our fossil fuel consumption," says Nichols. "We are in essence condoning the release of a lot more carbon into our atmosphere and, at this moment in time, pumping more carbon into the atmosphere is the last thing that this administration --- and we as the American public --- should be condoning."

At the same time, he says, the fossil fuel industry is actually suing the Obama Administration for not making more land available to them. "It's really a shocking filing on their end," Nichols argues. "They're basically saying that even though they've gotten everything they want on our public lands --- 10 million acres of our public lands since President Obama has taken office --- that it's not enough for them."

Finally today, a few follow-ups on a number of stories we've been covering over the past week, from Maine Gov. Paul LePage's mental and political breakdown to the reports of an official law enforcement investigation into more high-level GOP voter registration fraud in Florida, this time by Trump's top campaign chief. Oh, and Vladimir Putin has been arrested at a supermarket in Florida! No, really!

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

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning; Plus: Farewell to Gene Wilder...
By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2016 5:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As several polls tighten in advance of the Presidential election, the FBI issues a new warning to states about voting system intrusion and last minute battles continue in federal courts over voting rights access to the polls.

First up, a new report today from investigative journalist Michael Isikoff warns of recent intrusions, believe to be by foreign entities, into voter registration systems in both Illinois and Arizona. The report cites an "FBI Flash" warning [PDF] from its Cyber Division, recently issued to state election officials in hopes of warding off similar intrusions to electronic registration and voting systems in advance of the November election.

The latest news on the completely foreseeable vulnerabilities in our voting and registration systems underscores (yet again) what we've been warning about for so many years at both The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast. Unfortunately, as usual, reporting on this issue from mainstream corporate media comes too late to make much of a difference before the next election, after which the warnings are likely to be all but forgotten...until just before the next election.

Then, BradBlog.com's long-time legal analyst, attorney Ernest A. Canning joins us for an update on the roller coaster-like voting rights battles still waging in federal courts across the country, including the latest disturbing news on Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin and why something known as "The Purcell Principle" will, once again, play a key role in all of those legal fights this year.

Canning, who also wrote about the just the latest example of GOP "voter fraud" hypocrisy over the weekend, summarizes the latest dispositions in a number of key court fights against racially discriminatory Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin, Texas and North Carolina, and related legal battles over access to the polls in states such as Kansas, Arizona and the swing-state of Ohio. All of those cases are likely to have an impact on results up and down the ballot this year.

Finally, we say goodbye to the hilarious Gene Wilder today, a regular presence --- in both voice and spirit --- on The BradCast...

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!... ---




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 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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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!... ---




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