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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, September 30, 2016
Trump's Law, Order, Denial: 'BradCast' 9/29/16
Several new and long overdue reports on the GOP nominee's unlawful business practices and a fact-check on his global warming denialism. Oh, and a song!...
'Green News Report' 9/29/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Clinton promotes clean energy, Trump denies his own denial in the first Presidential debate; PLUS: Big Coal tries to kill Obama's landmark emissions standards in federal court...
Previous GNRs: 9/22/16 - 9/20/16 - Archives...
Fallout from the 'Trumpwreck' Debate: 'BradCast' 9/28/16
The public reaction to the first Trump/Clinton Presidential debate --- from polls, betting markets, newspapers and listener callers (lots of them!)...
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' 9/26/16
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...


GUEST: Author and Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2015 6:13pm PT  

What a week. On today's BradCast (audio link below), Republican legislators and Presidential candidates continue their demonization of Muslims and refugees from war-torn Syria and we pause from their madness to shed some light on a disturbing new scheme to block Democratic policymaking altogether.

First, with an unabashed rejection of facts (and reality and history), Republicans from the state level to the Presidential candidate level put forward stunning new rejections of the nation's values. From the high-ranking GOP lawmaker in Tennessee who wants to use the National Guard to round-up and deport Syrian refugees in his state, to Donald Trump's disturbingly Nazi-like call to force all Muslims to register as such with the federal government, we reach new, shameful lows following the Paris attacks one week ago today.

Also of note: CNN's remarkable double standard in suspending a reporter for expressing sympathy for refugees. (Here's that Don Lemon/CC item I mentioned from The BRAD BLOG in 2010.); And a precious few rays of light from one GOP Congressman (at least for one courageous moment) and then from Stephen Colbert.

Finally, even as that shameful "debate" bottoms out, rightwing schemes to further cripple the ability for Democrats to govern at all on the federal level continue. Ian Millhiser, journalist, Constitutional law expert and author of the new book, Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, joins us to discuss his disturbing observations from this year's annual gathering of the Federalist Society.

As reported in his recent article, "The Little-Noticed Conservative Plan To Permanently Lock Democrats Out Of Policymaking", Millhiser explains the rightwing group's broad new efforts to attack rule-making by federal agencies. He tells me how the group is now trying to "permanently hobble not just the federal rule-making process but the federal law-making process" itself.

"What groups like the Federalist Society are pushing," he charges, "is ways to change the fact that elections matter. To make it so that they can permanently put into place structures --- whether it's declaring something unconstitutional, whether it's changing the balance of power between the various branches of government --- they're looking to permanently put in place structures to make sure that only conservative policies can go into effect."

"The basic idea is to shut down the agency's power to regulate," Millhiser tells me. "Between gerrymandering and so many other factors, it's so difficult for Democrats to take the House [even when they win a majority of votes]. If they [the Federalist Society] can prevent [federal] agencies from regulating, then that means that, well, Democrats might be able to take the Presidency but they won't be able to do anything with it when they have it. It effectively shuts the Democrats out of the policy-making process even when they win the Presidential election."

That idea, he explains, absolutely dominated the group's recent gathering and it's one they hope to implement "by any means necessary", whether in Congress or, more disturbingly, through judicial activism on the federal bench.

While four Supreme Court Justices (Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and Alito) are already dedicated Federalist Society members, "the big scary," he reminds us, "is that there are four Supreme Court justices who are likely to retire in the next 5 or 6 years. So if the next President gets to replace four Justices, there's going to be a massive shift in the law. If that next President appoints four very conservative Justices in the vein of Justice Samuel Alito, then whatever agenda the Federalist Society wants to be able to enact in this phase, they're just going to enact it in the Court."

Please take note. And please listen to the full, disturbing conversation 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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GUEST: Scott Greytak of Justice at Stake...
ALSO: E-Pollbooks failing on Election Day; Keystone XL finally dead (for now)...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2015 6:02pm PT  

It's Election Day on The BradCast, so, naturally, that means voter disenfranchisement throughout the country. Early reports today find e-pollbook systems failing at polling places in a number of states, which means voters are being turned away. (And, for some reason in Ohio(!) folks who were registered are finding they no longer are...for some reason.)

But, with more Election Day problems sure to come to light soon, we turn for the moment to the obscenity that has become judicial elections in the U.S. --- on a day that finds a record $15.8 million has been spent on today's Supreme Court election alone in Pennsylvania.

Scott Greytak of JusticeAtStake.org joins us to discuss his new report --- Bankrolling the Bench: The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2013-2014 (with Brennan Center for Justice and the National Institute on Money in State Politics) --- on the record amount of cash now being spent, "legally", to buy judges and state Supreme Court Justices via elections around the country. Millions of dollars now flow in to these contests from outside interests and political parties as well as lawyers and lobbyists.

"This is something that's, unfortunately, unique to America," Greytak explains. "It's really the United States and one other country in the world that decides to elect their judges." What began as "a populist impulse" about 100 years ago, "when folks were trying to break up big machine politics, trying to attack corruption," has now become a nightmare in the post-Citizens United age.

Judicial elections "which typically used to be pretty low-key affairs" are now being "targeted by politicians, legislators, or special interest groups that are hoping to shape the bench [or] targeted as sort of a referenda on big decisions that the court has heard or, more often, just opportunities for partisan groups to try and make political plays with these courts."

"It's deeply concerning," Greytak tells me. "Our data from this cycle found that about a third of all contributions to state Supreme Court judicial candidates came from lawyers and lobbyists. Another third came from business interests which, of course, are going to have cases that come in front of these courts, or have interests that come in front of these courts."

"When judges have to run for office, the folks who are closest to the courts, who know what's at stake, are often the lawyers and lobbyists who operate in them," he says. "So they turn and rely on the lawyers and lobbyists as a funding system. It becomes a reproducing cycle of conflicts of interests and this is what judicial elections has left us with."

With mostly Republican, but also Democratic groups spending millions in these races and using them as political bludgeons, jurists become vulnerable to offering rulings based on partisan interests rather than the rule of law. As discussed on today's program, what is happening in the state of Wisconsin right now has become a fantastic example of how judicial elections have become disastrous for those of us who believe in good government.

Finally today, big news in our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen, as a hurricane heads to Yemen (of all places) and the Keystone XL pipeline is finally dead...for now anyway...thanks in no small part to unrelenting citizen activists and organizers who stood up to the most powerful corporate interests in the history of civilization!...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: Author and Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser
ALSO: GOP in disarray, Dems in denial; Murdered elephants; Colbert v. vegetarians...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2015 3:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast...the Republican Party may appear to be falling apart on one level --- because it is (and we cover quite a bit of their various disasters in advance of tonight's Republican Presidential debate in Boulder, CO today) --- but on another level, the GOP still controls not just both chambers of the U.S. Congress, but also the vast majority of statehouses and Governor's mansions across the country.

So, while the Democrats' Presidential prospects may be encouraging for them, are they actually in denial about their real problems? And/or is there another way out of their current morass?

Ian Millhiser, journalist, Constitutional law expert and author of the new book, Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, joins us to discuss what may be the Democrats' best way out of the mess: The U.S. Supreme Court and as many as four vacancies that may occur on the bench during the next Presidency. "The Future Of The Democratic Party," he wrote recently, "Will Be Decided By The Supreme Court."

"A big reason why Democrats are so far underwater when it comes to state legislative races, when it comes to House races, is because of the Supreme Court," Millhiser tells me on today's show. "The Supreme Court has ordered the lower federal courts not to even look at partisan gerrymandering cases. They're not allowed to even consider them under existing Supreme Court doctrine."

Millhiser goes on to explain how the Court's recent rulings on voting rights have also made things far more difficult for Democrats. SCOTUS, he argues, "isn't enforcing the Constitution and at other times its mangling the Constitution."

"The situation Democrats find themselves in is due to a number of problems layered on top of each other, many of which are at the fault of the Supreme Court. Many of these problems could be solved if we had a Supreme Court that was prepared to give us fairer elections," he notes. With as many as four --- four --- seats potentially becoming vacant on the Court during the next Presidency, the party that controls the White House as of 2017 will have an enormous opportunity to affect what happens in this country for generations.

While both major parties often use the potential for Supreme Court vacancies to underscore the importance of controlling the White House, Millhiser explains the reasons --- and there are many --- why the 2016 election really is different from recent elections where that argument has been offered. "If the Supreme Court gets even more conservative," he warns, "then you're looking at an apocalypse for the Democratic Party."

Also today: Elephants murdered in Zimbabwe; GMO labeling hypocrisy; Colbert takes on vegetarians after bad news about smoke meats; And much more...

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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State Rep's admission of plot to oust African-American U.S. Congresswoman comes on eve of landmark Supreme Court hearing...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/9/2015 9:05am PT  

It is rather remarkable what one can learn when the presumed private remarks uttered by Republicans and their oligarchic benefactors are captured on secretly recorded audio and videotapes.

Four years ago, Brad Friedman revealed the secretly recorded audiotapes from a Koch Brothers Summer Seminar that captured Charles Koch's "mother of all wars" remark and David Koch's introduction in which he described keynote speaker, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) as his "kind of guy." This was followed by a bombshell in the form of a secretly recorded video that captured Mitt Romney's "46%" remark that the GOP Presidential nominee erroneously believed would be heard only by a group of well-heeled donors.

Now comes a new, secretly recorded audiotape, published by Politico and, subsequently included as part of an in-depth analysis provided by News One. The audio captures Florida Republican state Rep. Janet Adkins at a meeting with the North Florida GOP, plotting to dilute minority representation at the polls by deliberately redrawing Florida's 5th Congressional District so as to include some 18 prisons, disproportionately populated by African-Americans who are ineligible to vote.

Adkins, who is white, described the scheme as the "perfect storm." She explained that if the district was redrawn in this way it would enable Florida Republicans to oust the 12-term, African-American incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown. "You draw [the district] in such a fashion so perhaps, a majority, or maybe not a majority, but a number of them will live in the prisons, thereby not being able to vote," Adkins is heard explaining on the recording, after making sure that all the reporters had left the room. (When interviewed by News One, Brown noted that, in addition to the prison populations, there are approximately 6,000 felons living in the newly proposed district whose voting rights have not been restored by the state.)

The secretly recorded audio arrives at a very propitious moment...

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




By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2015 5:49pm PT  

News is breaking like crazy today. We do our best to cover it all on today's BradCast, along with yet another new chapter in the long and shameful history of voter suppression by Republicans in the state of Florida.

Among the stories covered on today's thrilling, action-packed adventure!...

• The sudden resignation of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner; the gleeful reaction to it from Republicans; who might replace him, and who the hell would want to?

• China and the U.S. come to an 'understanding' on cyberhacks...at least some of them...as President Obama meets with President Xi Jinping in Washington D.C.

• Pope-mania continues, as Francis wows 'em at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City today.

• And we take a trip back down to Florida, where new audio recordings, revealing evidence of a blatant vote suppression scheme in the Sunshine State, remind us (yet again) why it is so outrageous that the Rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the federal Voting Rights Act...

All of that, plus China announces a nationwide cap-and-trade program to curb carbon emissions; AP has a new way to describe climate change deniers, and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report...

Download MP3 or listen to the 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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More than 600,000 lawfully registered voters will be disenfranchised during 2015-2016 elections unless the 5th Circuit Court promptly acts...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2015 1:43pm PT  

Early last month, a three-judge, U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal panel affirmed the lower District Court's finding that Texas' draconian polling place Photo ID restriction (SB14), which threatens to disenfranchise 608,470 legally registered voters (and many others not already registered), violates federal law.

That ruling marked the third occasion in which a federal court has expressly found that the TX Republicans' strict ID law disparately impacted minorities and the poor. "Hispanic registered voters and Black registered voters," the 5th Circuit appellate panel observed in their recent ruling, "were respectively 195% and 305% more likely than their Anglo peers to lack [the requisite Photo] ID" now required to cast a vote at the polls under SB 14.

While the ruling ostensibly struck down SB14, finding it in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), as we have previously explained, those 600k+ lawfully registered voters remain at risk of disenfranchisement during this Fall's 2015 elections and the 2016 Presidential cycle because the appellate panel failed to lift an "emergency" stay of the District Court's original permanent injunction intended to prevent enforcement of an unlawful Photo ID statute.

The failure of the appellate court to lift the stay on the lower court's no-uncertain-terms ruling may not have been problematic if, as contemplated by the 5th Circuit decision's mandate, the case were to be promptly returned to the District Court, which it directed to re-examine a separate issue --- whether the TX Legislature had a "discriminatory purpose" when it enacted SB14. That prompt remand would have permitted the District Court to fashion an interim remedy. Indeed, in its decision, the appellate panel suggested that the District Court issue an order directing TX to accept valid voter registration cards, in lieu of a very narrow handful of state-approved Photo ID, for all voting-related purposes. The 5th Circuit panel also, perhaps somewhat naively, called upon TX to cooperate in the prompt fashioning of that remedy.

Oh, that silly 5th Circuit panel...

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




Guest Joe Dunman, attorney for the couples challenging Clerk Kim Davis: 'Imagine a Muslim clerk denying licenses to Christian couples'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/1/2015 6:02pm PT  

Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis continues to defy federal court orders to issue marriage licenses to two gay and two straight couples. Their attorney, Joe Dunman, joins us on today's BradCast for a fascinating discussion of the case, how we got here, and where it all goes from here.

"To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience," the elected County Clerk said in a statement today following the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal yesterday to hear Davis' application for an "asylum of conscience" and her own refusal, once again today, to issue licenses.

"It is a Heaven or Hell decision," she adds. Guess which one she's choosing?

Dunman, who also represented the Kentucky couples in SCOTUS' landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case that declared marriage equality a fundamental right in all 50 states, tells me that Davis is not required to actually perform any marriages. "She's not obligated to solemnize a marriage at all. The only thing she has to do is stamp her name on the documents that are filed with the state."

"In her arguments so far, she claims that [by] putting her name on it, she is 'authorizing and blessing' those marriages." But the U.S. District Court Judge (as well as the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and now the U.S. Supreme Court) "disagreed, and said 'look, you're just certifying that they meet the legal standards, that they're eligible for marriage licenses --- that's all you're doing. You're not blessing anything. For that reason she doesn't have a religious objection. Not to mention that there's no case law to support the idea that public officials have religious rights that trump the civil rights of other people."

"Extending her logic outward, there's really no end to what a public official could do. All they'd have to claim that they sincerely believe something, and they just do it," Dunman explains. "I want people to imagine a Muslim clerk in Kentucky denying licenses to Christian couples as they walk in the door, and whether or not people would be standing up for 'religious freedom.'"

The attorney also notes that Kentucky's Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Matt Bevin, "has come out strongly in her support" for Davis, who is actually a Democrat, "going so far as to say 'Clerks Lives Matter' during a rally in her favor."

Also on today's BradCast: Reverberations following yesterday's interview with Beth Clarkson, the Kansas statistician who believes she's found evidence of "voting machine manipulation", but is being blocked by KS Sec. of State Kris Kobach from examining the e-voting system's paper audit logs from the 2014 election.

Plus: A crazy case of "voter suppression" --- of a very bizarre sort --- in Columbia, Missouri; Alabama's plans to shut down 45 of its 49 driver's license offices (despite the state's strict Photo ID voting restriction law); and Obama makes an impassioned plea for action on climate change up in the Arctic...

Download MP3 or listen to the 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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Guests: Attorney Ernest A. Canning; Financial journalist David Dayen...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2015 5:45pm PT  

First up on today's BradCast, financial journalist David Dayen joins us to explain why the Dow Jones Industrial average plummeted 1000 points over the past two trading days, whether or not you should be worried about it, and how the U.S. is missing a golden opportunity in the bargain.

Then, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest A. Canning joins us to explain why --- even after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently found Texas Republicans' polling place Photo ID voting restriction to be discriminatory and illegal (just as the lower U.S. District Court did last year and just as the federal government did well before that) --- the GOP's voting restriction is, increcibly, still in effect anyway and may serve to disenfranchise some 600,000 lawfully registered (largely Democratic-leaning) voters during the 2016 Presidential election.

Canning wrote about the disturbing situation in detail last week in an article at The BRAD BLOG and explains the mess in brief on today's show: "It seems nonsensical to say a law has been struck down but it is still in force. But that's basically where we stand right now."

"This law has a discriminatory impact --- it disparately impacts minorities and the poor," he says, citing the Appeals Court's latest decision. "You now have this identical finding three successive times in court dating back to 2012, and here we are in 2015 and we're having to worry about whether that discrimination is going to occur again in 2016."

Also on today's BradCast: Texas health care situation is still among the worst in the nation; Trump wows 'em in Alabama; California is NOT in chaos (no matter what disinformed Republicans may tell you); And fall-out from my rant last week about the excellent new British government findings on the safety and efficacy of e-cigs; and more!...

Download MP3 or listen 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 its recent decision upheld a lower court finding that the state's Photo ID law was discriminatory, more than 600,000 lawfully registered voters could be disenfranchised in 2016 anyway...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/21/2015 6:35am PT  

The recent decision by a unanimous three judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in Veasey v. Abbott was greeted as "very good news." After all, it marked the first occasion in which a federal appellate court made an express finding that a state-enacted polling place Photo ID law violated the provisions of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

The appellate panel affirmed the lower U.S. District Court's finding late last year that a Texas polling place Photo ID law (SB 14), which threatened to disenfranchise 608,470 already legally registered voters (and many others not already registered), disparately impacted minorities and the poor. "Hispanic registered voters and Black registered voters," the 5th Circuit appellate panel observed in their recent ruling, "were respectively 195% and 305% more likely than their Anglo peers to lack [the requisite Photo] ID" now required to cast a vote at the polls under the Texas law.

This was the same conservative appellate panel whose "emergency" stay of the lower court's injunction on SB 14 last year, in all likelihood, helped to facilitate the illegal disenfranchisement of as many as 600,000 lawfully registered voters during the 2014 mid-term election. That "emergency" stay was subsequently affirmed by a sharply divided Supreme Court, whose right-wing majority elevated the risk of confusion that could arise by an eleventh-hour, court-ordered change in election laws above the risk that hundreds of thousands of lawfully registered voters could be illegally disenfranchised by reason of the Texas Photo ID law. Both the 5th Circuit and the SCOTUS majority handed down that ruling, although, at that point, neither court was in a position to contest the District Court's finding that SB-14 not only violated Section 2 of the VRA but that the Photo ID statute had been enacted for a discriminatory purpose.

The SCOTUS decision last year, as The BRAD BLOG observed at the time, belied the contention made by the Supreme Court majority in Shelby County v. Holder, the 2013 case that gutted the VRA, that their destruction of Section 5 pre-clearance requirements for new election laws in states with a history of discrimination, "in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in [Section] 2." In truth, per last year's decision, racial discrimination in voting will be allowed in those cases where a court order upholding that "ban" is issued too close to an election.

This case provided a classic example of the damage wrought by the gutting of Section 5. Prior to Shelby County, Section 5 mandated that Texas prove that its Photo ID statute woulds not have a disparate impact on minority voting rights before the Photo ID law could take effect. In 2012 a unanimous three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal refused to grant Section 5 pre-clearance to Texas' SB 14 precisely because of its disparate adverse impact upon minorities and the poor. Absent the Supreme Court's troubling decision in Shelby County neither the current, ongoing costly litigation on SB 14, nor the mass 2014 disenfranchisement would have ensued.

The new 5th Circuit panel's decision affirms that SB 14 has the effect of discriminating against racial minorities and the poor. Yet it failed to lift a stay that it imposed on a supposed "emergency" basis. Instead, it vacated the District Court's "discriminatory purpose" finding and remanded the case back to that court for further adjudication....

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'They approached the phone companies before 9/11,' he says, citing new Edward Snowden disclosures that 'vindicate' his 2006 revelations...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2015 5:29pm PT  

Today on The BradCast...First, I need to pick up with a few more points from yesterday's show, concerning how the Republican Party is, frankly, no longer a legitimate political party, how they have absolutely no governing philosophy, how they will say whatever they need to say in order to support whatever they feel like "believing in" at any particular time and, basically, how they are simply making this shit up as they go at this point. I offer a few more examples of that today concerning Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Donald Trump and a couple of others.

Then, it's on to our main interview with AT&T/NSA whistleblower Mark Klein, the now-retired 22-year AT&T employee who, in 2006, infamously exposed that the company had a secret room in its San Francisco facility --- Room 641A --- where the NSA had been allowed to install a splitter to trap and record all Internet traffic coming and going over AT&T's backbone lines.

Over the weekend, the New York Times and Pro and ProPublica revealed newly disclosed documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden concerning AT&T's long and happy --- and illegal --- relationship with the NSA. The documents, in many ways, he believes, vindicate precisely what he had blown the whistle on in 2006.

I discuss the newly released documents with Klein on today's show, what they reveal about AT&T and NSA, how he came about discovering the secret NSA room at AT&T, and his experience since then as a whistleblower.

Among other things, he tells me he doesn't buy "the government's cover story that 9/11 changed everything," pointing to the new Snowden docs which cite AT&T's cooperation with the NSA going back as far as 1985. The friendly relationship between AT&T and the NSA goes back decades and underscores his contention that "AT&T gives NSA what it wants."

On the billions (perhaps trillions?) of land lines, cell phone lines and Internet traffic intercepted by the government illegally, he says that "there was no warrant that could cover this. Warrants are supposed to be specific, covering individual people, papers and whatnot - they were sweeping up everything."

On George W. Bush's claims that "we're just listening to a few phone calls from no-good people who are calling the Middle East," he says: "That was a complete lie and a diversion from the fact that they were collecting billions and billions of communications every day on the Internet."

On the recently passed legislation, the USA Freedom Act, which was supposed to have curbed many of the greatest warrantless wiretapping abuses under the USA Patriot Act, Klein says: "That law does not address Internet surveillance at all, it does not touch the secret rooms that are still in place doing what I already described. That law did not address that at all. So the Freedom Act is a fraud, in my opinion."

Klein also harshly criticizes then-Senator Obama for voting in 2008 to grant AT&T and other telecoms retroactive immunity on the heels of his 2006 disclosures. Obama "knew what he was doing," he argues. "He was running against Hillary for the nomination in 2008, so he postured to the left and said explicitly he would oppose any bill with immunity in it. He tried to gather his liberal supporters by making that promise. As soon as he won the nomination and beat Hillary, he quickly switched sides, and came out for immunity. It was a cynical move on his part, not some light-minded stupidity."

We covered much more during our discussion, so please give the full interview a listen!

Finally, speaking of Obama and Hillary, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as the Obama Administration gives final approval for Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic, even as Obama announces a visit to the Arctic to decry global warming and as Hillary comes out against drilling in the Arctic. Try and square all of those (Arctic) circles if you can!

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Guests: Sam Walker of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, AL; Former DoJ attny Katherine Culliton-González of Advancement Project...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2015 2:33pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, special coverage in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 --- the crowning jewel legislation of the civil rights movement, written with the blood and tears of thousands, and now under fire today as it has never been since its passage helped lift the nation out from under the shackles of the Jim Crow era.

Sam Walker historian at Selma, Alabama's National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, joins us to discuss the Act's history and legacy --- from the circumstances of the courageous Bloody Sunday march from Selma to Montgomery that finally resulted in the passage of the VRA, to the release of the movie Selma last year.

Among other things, he reminds us of the difficulty African-Americans faced in simply trying to register to vote in the deep south prior to the VRA. "Two days a month --- the first Monday and the third Monday --- were the only two days you could go and attempt to register," he told me. "Those were the days when they would see people coming and they would lock the door when they tried to come inside....You still couldn't register because you couldn't get inside the building to sign up."

Walker, who we haven't had on the show since the 40th anniversary of the VRA back in 2005, shares stories that need to be heard, even today. One, for example, about his meeting, years later, with one of the state troopers who took part in the beatings on Bloody Sunday. Another, about the importance of cameras and national media on that infamous day in Selma.

"The people in the media had their cameras set up when the attack happened, so when people were being beaten and tear-gassed, all those scenes were captured by the TV cameras and by the news media on camera. And that started a new momentum to try to get the right to vote for all our citizens." Sound familiar?

Then, former DoJ Civil Rights Voting Section attorney Katherine Culliton-González of the Advancement Project, joins us to discuss the ongoing legal battles in the fight for voting rights across the country in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court gutting the VRA's landmark Section 5 provision in 2013 --- and the battle to restore it.

"All we have to do is look around us and unless they're living in a bubble, they can see that's there's been a renaissance in discrimination in voting since they took away that protection," she explains. From Congress to Texas to North Carolina to Wisconsin and beyond, the fight continues 50 years later.

"There are many, many voting changes across the country, and particularly in the South, at the local level that do all kinds of maneuvers of politicians trying to manipulate the vote. Moving poling places away from people of color - that happens a lot in the Native American community, the African-American community. We've seen laws requiring documentary proof of citizenship that have a strong disparate impact on the Latino community and the African-American community. For example, if you're a naturalized citizen and you don't have those papers, it's going to cost you at least $600 to get what's needed" to vote, she says. "All of this would have been subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act."

Culliton-González reminds us, as the NC NAACP civil rights leader Reverend William Barber says, "this is our Selma".

Finally, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), beaten by state troopers on Bloody Sunday as he courageously and stoically helped lead the march across the Edmund Pettus bridge as a 25-year old, discusses the importance of LBJ signing the Act in 1965. It's one of many historical sounds and songs that help us mark this historic day.

I hope you enjoy today's very special program!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/6/2015 11:41am PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Polluters and their allies line up to attack Obama's new landmark emissions rule; Majority of Americans support cutting emissions and fighting global warming; U.S. finally getting its first offshore wind farm; PLUS: Republicans get a new 2016 contender --- try to guess his position on climate change. Go ahead, guess... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The Point of no return: climate change nightmares already here; G20 countries pay over $1,000 per citizen in fossil fuel subsidies, says IMF; US Forest Service running out of money to fight wildfires; US Raises Concerns About Pipeline Through Forests; Strawberries Are in Big Trouble. Scientists Race To Find Solution; Big-Ag-Fueled Algae Bloom Won't Leave Toledo's Water Supply Alone... PLUS: VIDEO: The Secrets of "The Climate Paradox"... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guests: Peace activist David Swanson; Const. law expert Ian Millhiser
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2015 5:27pm PT  

It was a much bigger show today than we had expected when we started it!

First up on today's BradCast, author, peace activist David Swanson joins us to discuss Obama's speech today at American University on the Iran Nuclear Agreement. While Swanson is (somewhat uncharacteristically) optimistic and encouraged by the deal, he has concerns about how Obama and other Dems are misleading Americans in order to sell it. "I love that, for once, President Obama wants peace. I love that, for once, he's using diplomacy rather than war. I wish he would use that in eight other places on earth," Swanson tells me. "But at the same time he's pushing the propaganda of his opponents."

Then, Swanson asks, "Why Won't Bernie Talk About War?" A new petition from RootsAction.org asks Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to start speaking up against U.S. militarism which, as Swanson argues, the U.S. Senator from Vermont has, up until now, been very reluctant to do for some reason.

Then, as we went to break, huge news came in from the very conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal striking down the Texas GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction law. The opinion confirms most of a lower court judge's previously ruling finding the restriction to be in strict violation of the Voting Rights Act as well as the U.S. Constitution. Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser joins us to explain the very encouraging opinion from the court --- which comes, incidentally, just one day before the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 --- and what happens next.

"The court got that voter ID laws do not really serve the purpose that their supporters say they're supposed to serve," Millhiser explains. "The court got that this was an attempt to dress up something that looks like a legitimate voter regulation in order to really do something else, which was to prevent groups like racial minorities and low-income voters who tend to prefer Democrats over Republicans from casting a ballot."

But, he also warns, "this wasn't a total victory for the good guys." Listen to the show for all the details.

Finally, in the few minutes we have left, we squeeze in some Presidential politics in advance of tomorrow night's first GOP Presidential debate, as sponsored --- and rigged by --- Fox "News". And, yes, that Republican debate will take place, ironically enough, on the 50th Anniversary of the landmark federal Voting Rights Act which Republicans used to support...until they decided they couldn't win elections anymore if all those "people" (read: qualified American voters who tend to vote Democratic) were allowed to vote.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2015 1:56pm PT  

Very good news, just breaking today from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas!...

One day before the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, one of the most conservative federal appeals courts in the country wielded that law to strike down a Texas voter suppression law. A unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in an opinion written by a George W. Bush appointee, held that Texas’s voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act and must, at the very least, be significantly weakened. Though the court did not accept every argument raised against the state’s voter ID law, and its opinion does not go nearly as far as a trial judge’s decision which also struck down this law, it is a significant blow to the state’s efforts to make voting more difficult.

Voter ID laws are a common obstacle raised, mostly by right-leaning lawmakers, in front of citizens seeking to exercise their right to vote. Though stringent voter ID laws, which require voters to show a photo ID before they can cast a ballot, are often justified as a shield against voter fraud, the kind of fraud these laws target barely exists. A Wisconsin study, for example, found just seven cases of fraud out of 3 million votes cast during the 2004 election — and none of these seven cases were the kind of in-person voter fraud that is prevented by a voter ID law. Similarly an investigation by former Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) found exactly zero cases of in-person voter fraud over the course of several elections.

What voter ID laws do accomplish, however, is they disproportionately disenfranchise groups that tend to prefer Democratic candidates over Republicans. As Judge Catharina Haynes explained in her opinion on behalf of the Fifth Circuit, one analysis determined that “Hispanic registered voters and Black registered voters were respectively 195% and 305% more likely than their Anglo peers to lack” a voter ID in the state of Texas. Indeed, even Texas’s own numbers confirmed that voter ID laws disproportionately impact racial minorities. Their own expert “found that 4% of eligible White voters lacked SB 14 ID, compared to 5.3% of eligible Black voters and 6.9% of eligible Hispanic voters.”

See Ian Millhiser over at Think Progress for more, as well as Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog for additional analysis. The court's opinion is here. [PDF]

We'll have more on this in The BradCast later today (and an explanation of some of the nuance here that, while it's a huge victory for voting rights advocates, the plaintiffs in the case have not yet won everything they had hoped for --- specifically, they wanted Texas to be required to pre-clear new voting laws with the federal courts from now on, as the state had to previously, before the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013.) On that issue, it appears the matter will be sent back down to the lower court, to establish whether their is strong enough evidence to prove the law was enacted with discriminatory intent, or whether it just had that effect. If the latter, striking down this version of the law will be enough. If the former, TX would have to get federal approval for such laws in the future --- and that would be a very big (and good!) deal.

But, for the moment, this is very good news for those of us who believe in the Right to Vote. And, by way of reminder, this is what we had noted late last year when the judge in the lower U.S. Circuit court in Texas absolutely eviscerated the law passed by state Republicans after a full trial...

In a 147-page ruling [PDF] released Thursday evening, "after hearing and carefully considering all the evidence" presented in the trial which ended on September 22nd, a U.S. District Court in Texas has found that the state's polling place Photo ID law, SB 14, is discriminatory and violates the U.S. Constitution in at least four different ways.

"The Court holds that SB 14 creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose," U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos writes in her ruling. "The Court further holds that SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."




Guest: Author/journalist Ari Berman of The Nation...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2015 4:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we start where we left off on yesterday's show, regarding Thursday's amazingly corrupt and disturbing ruling in favor of Scott Walker and his cronies --- by the amazingly corrupt Wisconsin Supreme Court --- and how, if Republicans have their way, that ruling may soon enough become the law of the land for the entire nation.

As our producer Desi Doyen noted on today's show: "This is your early warning system." Ignore at your peril. Then it was on to a couple of quick items and updates, including dumb Confederate flag wavers in Oklahoma and Maine's even dumber Governor Paul LePage.

From there, we head to North Carolina, where "the most extreme anti-voter bill passed by any state since the Jim Crow Era", as we initially described it when it was passed by state Republicans back in 2013, is finally now facing trial against the NAACP, the ACLU, the DoJ and other democracy and voting rights advocates.

We are joined by The Nation's author/journalist Ari Berman, who was in the federal courtroom in Winston-Salem, NC this week as the trial finally got under way. The results of this trial are likely to head all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, one way or another, and may well determine the future of voting rights in this country. The new voting restrictions were passed in 2013, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court demolished the provision of the Voting Rights Act that otherwise, says Berman, would have kept this law --- which is "already disenfranchising voters" --- from even taking effect.

"That's such a clear case study to me that the Supreme Court was wrong when it said that the special protections of the Voting Rights act weren't needed." Berman goes on to explain why he believes NC, a state which had made astounding progress in voting rights over the previous decade, has now become the new Selma, Alabama, where the bloody fight for voting rights led directly to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965.

"In North Carolina, they had seemingly everything," Berman tells me. "They had all these voting reforms --- early voting, same day registration, pre-registration for 16 &17 year olds. And it was all taken away or reduced" when the GOP took over both the state legislature and Governor's mansion for the first time since Reconstruction in 2013.

"What Selma in the 1960s and what North Carolina in the 2013-2015 era shows is how far these conservative white Southerners will go to protect political power. There aren't billy clubs. There aren't literacy tests. But they're saying this is how black turnout increased --- North Carolina went from 48th in voter turnout in the late 80s, to 11th in voter turnout in 2012 --- Republicans there basically said we're gonna tamp this turnout down."

And now it's left to the courts to find out if those rights, once granted, can be taken away by political whim --- and if NC, and other states with a history of racial discrimination in elections, will be forced once again to face preclearance from the federal government before they can enforce any new voting restrictions.

Berman has a lot of insight on all of this. His new book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, will be published next month to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of passage of the VRA. As I note during the show, the book is an exhaustively researched and heart-wrenching documentation of the uniquely American and harrowing tale of the fight to vote in this country --- and the outrageously long and continuing effort to block it. That fight continues, sadly, to this day. Go buy his book!

Finally, Desi joins us again for some listener email and then a stunningly upbeat Green News Report for a change!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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