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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, July 21, 2018
Courts 'Pound' Admin Over Family Separation Before Deadline: 'BradCast' 7/20/18
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein; Also: ES&S dupes officials after lie about election system remote access; Deadly storms slams Midwest...
Top U.S. Election Vendor Lied About Remote Access System: 'BradCast' 7/19/18
With intel officials warning & WH spinning, new revelation of voting system vulnerability may help explain 2011 BRAD BLOG exclusive...
'Green News Report' 7/19/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
GAO: Less than half of U.S. schools test water for lead; Acting EPA chief guts toxic coal ash rules; Climate change coming for your Internet; PLUS: Marriott Int'l ditching plastic straws...
Previous GNRs: 7/17/18 - 7/12/18 - Archives...
Treasury Dept. Announces Dark Money Will Go Darker: 'BradCast' 7/18/2018
Guest: David Dayen: Also: CA Dems endorse Feinstein's opponent; Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez head to KS; FBI reveals Russian ownership of MD's election system...
Mueller's 2016 Russia Charges Foretell U.S. Indictments to Come: 'BradCast' 7/17/18
Guest: Former federal prosecutor Michael J. Stern; Also: Trump tries to walk back Helsinki remarks...
'Green News Report' 7/17/18
Toxic algae chokes water in FL, OH; Summer night temps rising; Record number of Americans now accept climate science; PLUS: Ireland set to divest from all fossil fuels...
Trump Backs Putin, Attacks U.S. Intel Comm, FBI, Dems in Helsinki: 'BradCast' 7/16/18
Remarkable responses from media, Dems, Repubs and callers in our 'WTF?!' coverage...
Sunday SuperCallousFragileRacist-SexistNaziPotus Toons
Everything he says and does is really quite atrocious...
New 2016 Russian Cyber-attack Indictments; New suit Against SC's Unverifiable Vote System: 'BradCast' 7/13/18
Guests: GOPer Frank Heindel, attny Larry Schwartzol; Hand-marked ballot bill in Senate...
'Green News Report' 7/12/18
Enviros oppose Trump SCOTUS pick; Admin coal bailout = more deaths; NC & NY harness poo power; PLUS: Shell CEO wants faster move to electric cars...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein; Also: ES&S misleads officials after lie about remote access of election systems; Deadly storms slams Midwest...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2018 6:09pm PT  

First up on today's BradCast, a follow-up to yesterday's important show on the wildly vulnerable remote access software installed with computerized election systems sold --- and lied about --- by the nation's top voting system vendor, Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), as well as by other U.S. vendors who have helped privatize our public election systems. [Audio link to show follows below.]

After Kim Zetter's report at VICE's Motherboard earlier in the week revealed the company had lied to her about their use of the dangerous software for her New York Times report earlier this year, ES&S apparently sent an extraordinarily misleading email to their "valued customers" (election officials in counties around the nation), hoping to minimize concerns over their ill-considered practices.

As they --- and the other corporate vendors who have taken over our public elections with poorly designed, oft-failed and easily-manipulated computer voting and tabulation systems --- have been doing for years, the letter misinforms their "customers" about the dangers of including remote access software on election management systems which program ballots for electronic voting machines and tabulate votes. We explain how the company --- and, sadly, most of the federal government --- continues to lie and mislead about the dangerous of such systems, all of which, despite claims to the contrary by many officials, are, in fact, vulnerable to both Internet hacking and insider manipulation.

Then, as a new federal court deadline looms in less than a week for the Trump Administration to reunite more than 2,500 children separated from their parents at the border, we're joined by Talking Points Memo reporter ALICE OLLSTEIN, who has been keeping up with a dizzying array of federal court motions, hearings and rulings in recent weeks.

The consequences of Trump's so-called "Zero Tolerance" policy at the border has somewhat fallen off the front pages over the past week of mind-bending Trump/Russia news, so Ollstein catches us up with much that we have missed, including one court loss after another for the Trump Administration and federal judges --- appointed by Democrats and Republicans alike --- quickly losing patience with them. Heartbreaking stories of thousands of separated families continue to come out, as the Administration, from all reports, appears nowhere close to meeting a July 26 deadline to reuinite thousands of children over 5 years of age with their parents.

"It's just a huge mess, and it has been for weeks," she tells me. "The administration has been saying things in court and in legal filings that are just blatantly untrue. They have made promises and not kept them. They've blown past the deadlines for the reunification. So these federal judges are losing their patience and stepping in."

Ollstein describes reports from legal groups and immigration advocates of kids still being snatched from their parents at the border and facing "deep, deep trauma" within government detention, while novel (and seemingly unlawful) new interpretations of asylum laws are challenged in court and Congressional Republicans refuse to take substantive action.

"This has been pushed off the front page by other crazy, breaking news in this crazy administration," she observes. "Obviously, people are still outraged, still upset about this and want to see a solution. But it seems Republicans are not feeling enough heat to take action."

Finally, with way too much heat in the Midwest, extreme weather turned deadly on Thursday, as 17 were killed when a sudden storm overtook an amphibious "duck boat" on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, and as a swarm of as many as 27(!) tornadoes seem to have appeared out of nowhere to devastate several towns in Iowa...

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

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With Trump's own intel agencies warning of election hacks and the White House contradicting them, disturbing new revelations of voting system vulnerabilities may help explain a 2011 BRAD BLOG exclusive report...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2018 6:43pm PT  

As noted at the top of today's BradCast, it's worth buckling up before listening. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We begin, gently enough, with the news of California's Supreme Court temporarily nixing a billionaire's statewide initiative from this November's ballot which, if adopted, would split the state into three. We explain why the Court removed the measure, for now, thanks to a challenge by an environmental group.

Then, with Donald Trump's own Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, warning this past week that "the system is blinking red" in a way that hasn't been seen since just before the 9/11 attacks, the multiple and ever-changing positions by the President of the United States in recent days, regarding whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election and is actively doing so in advance of the 2018 midterms, is all the more head-spinning. Coats was referencing warning signs being reported by U.S. intelligence agencies regarding ongoing attacks and intrusions on America's critical infrastructure --- including our wildly vulnerable electoral systems.

Moreover, new reporting on Trump being read into explicit source details weeks before he was inaugurated in early 2017 regarding Russia's alleged 2016 election intrusion measures, make his ongoing denials, ever-changing positions, and dizzying White House spin to explain them all following Monday's summit with Putin in Helsinki, all the more bewildering. Nonetheless, his own intelligence apparatus and appointees continue to contradict the President, even as the GOP-controlled Congress fails to take any substantive action to either place a check on Trump or even to help protect this November's crucial elections.

At the same time, after the FBI informed Maryland just days ago that its entire election system was being hosted on a private commercial server said to be owned by a Russian oligarch tied to Putin (as discussed in detail on yesterday's BradCast), we learn this week that the top U.S. election system vendor, ES&S, has been lying about remote access software and modems installed, for many years, on systems still used by a majority of U.S. voters.

The new revelations may help explain an exclusive special report published by The BRAD BLOG back in 2011, with an officially-commissioned independent analysis finding that, among other concerns, Venango County, Pennsylvania's ES&S election management system had been accessed by an unknown and unauthorized computer for "several hours" from a remote location. As we reported at the time, ES&S and the County's Board of Commissioners went to considerable lengths, after those revelations, to block a further, independent forensic analysis of the system.

And now, perhaps, we may know why. Kim Zetter reports this week at Vice's Motherboard that the company lied to her and New York Times' fact-checkers earlier this year in advance of her February article at the paper on the inclusion of modems and pcAnywhere remote access software included with the election management systems sold to customers from 2000 to 2006. After previously insisting the company had no "knowledge that our voting systems have ever been sold with remote-access software", ES&S reversed itself in a letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, she reports. But they have refused to respond to the Senator's subsequent follow-up queries or to appear at recent Senate hearings on U.S. election system vulnerabilities.

As Zetter details, pcAnywhere was found to include multiple and serious vulnerabilities over the years, which would have allowed unauthorized intruders to change election results with little chance of detection. Moreover, she explains, many questions remain about why ES&S lied, which jurisdictions around the nation may still feature the same, easily-exploitable flaws, and about electronic voting and tabulation systems manufactured by the nation's other top vendors, believed by expert to likely have included similar remote-access vulnerabilities.

All of that (and more, including our latest Green News Report), just over three months out from this November's midterm elections. Told you to buckle up...

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

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Guest: The Intercept's David Dayen: Also: CA Dems endorse Feinstein's opponent de León; Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez head to KS; FBI reveals Russian ownership of MD's public election system server...
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2018 6:41pm PT  

We start off on today's BradCast with how the FBI's startling new revelation that a Russian oligarch tied to Vladimir Putin essentially owns the state of Maryland's public election system, underscores yet again what we've been trying to explain for about 15 years here: Private corporations have no place in public elections! [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Only oversight by the public can possibly prevent our electoral system from being manipulated (or owned) by insiders (like election officials and/or private election vendors) or outsiders (like foreign nations and/or hackers). Amazingly, Maryland says they had no clue about the Russian ownership of the private server company which hosts the state's electoral systems --- including voter registration, election management (ballot programming and tabulation), election night results reporting and more. They were notified by the Feds just last Friday. (For a sense of how long we've been yelling about the threats related to the corporatization our public elections, see our August 2008 article by Ellen Theisen, linking to Voters Unite's then-new report on how private "Vendors are Undermining the Structure of U.S. Elections".)

Next, speaking of public oversight being stripped away from the public, author and financial journalist DAVID DAYEN joins us to discuss several topics. First, the US Treasury Department announced this week, incredibly enough, that it is doing away with the requirement for non-profit "social welfare organizations", such as the National Rifle Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity, to reveal the names of their donors to the IRS.

"You can sort of squint and say, well, any organization, whether it's the Chamber of Commerce or Planned Parenthood, on the left or on the right, can benefit from this," says Dayen. "But lets' be real. The practitioners of dark money are overwhelmingly on the right. That's why politicians on the right support burying this information, whereas politicians on the left generally support disclosure."

The new regulation, experts and journalists argue, will make "dark money" in our elections even darker. The three right-wing groups cited above were the top spenders on elections in 2016 and they are celebrating the new announcement by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin today, even as Treasury used what Dayen describes as a "Zombie Lie" (which just wont die) in their official announcement --- citing the long-debunked "IRS targeting scandal" --- as one of the reasons for the new policy, which has long been lobbied for by the Right.

The announcement comes just days after the federal indictment of a Russia national who had infiltrated the NRA along with another oligarch who had helped funnel millions of foreign dollars to the group. "Foreign spending within US elections remains illegal, whether the IRS collects this information or not. And it seems like they're giving themselves less of an opportunity to connect the dots and make sure they are properly enforcing federal election law." That, I argue, is a feature, not a bug.

Then, Dayen explains the remarkable turn of events over the weekend in Oakland, where the California Democratic Party's executive committee voted --- by a huge margin --- to endorse state Senator Kevin de León over four-term, 26-year incumbent U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein in her reelection bid this November. Dayen describes what happened and why.

Finally, Dayen details why progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders and NY U.S. House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are barnstorming the so-called "red" state of Kansas this weekend to stump for several progressive U.S. House candidates in advance of the state's August 7 primary. Early voting in the state is under way as of today.

Also, though we didn't have time to dive into the details, Dayen teases his recent "long read" over at HuffPost's Highline, which he worked on for about year, documenting the jaw-dropping story of what happened to a whistleblower who tried to sound the alarm on sexual harassment at international banking behemoth HSBC...

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: Former federal prosecutor Michael J. Stern; Also: Trump tries to walk back Helsinki remarks after a day of brutal criticism...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2018 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump tries to walk back Helsinki, and Robert Mueller has more shoes to drop, according to a former federal prosecutor's analysis of recent indictments. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The fallout from President Trump's stunning comments in Helsinki on Monday continued on Tuesday, in response to the President of the United States taking sides against his own intelligence agencies and in favor of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who stood beside him at a joint press conference following their one-on-one summit. After more than 24 hours of unrelenting backlash from media, Democrats, former intelligence officials --- and even a number of largely gentle public critiques from some Republicans --- Trump attempted to clean up his overseas comments.

Working from written remarks at the White House today, he now claims he "accepts" the U.S. Intelligence Community assessments of various alleged Russian cyber-attacks on the 2016 election, and that he simply misspoke --- just one word --- when claiming during Monday's joint presser with Putin that he saw "no reason why it would be Russia" behind the 2016 attacks. He meant to say "wouldn't", rather than "would", he now says. Trump is hoping to dig out from under his denial just days after Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed new felony charges against 11 Russian military intelligence officials said to have been working on behalf of Putin, according to the indictment, when they infiltrated DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign computers to steal emails, release them to the public before the election, plant malware on state and local election official computers and steal voter registration data in 2016.

Mueller's Friday indictment preceded yet another one announced on Monday by the Dept. of Justice, concerning the Sunday arrest of a Russian national who allegedly infiltrated the National Rifle Association along with a Putin-connected oligarch.

We're joined today by former federal prosecutor MICHAEL J. STERN who explains how Mueller's Friday indictment of Russian military operatives was filed and written in a way that suggests there are more such indictments to come, particularly of Americans. Stern describes, from a prosecutorial perspective, how and why investigators working on sprawling conspiracy cases tend to work their way up from lower-level aspects of the case, toward their main targets, while trying not to prematurely tip their hand or reveal evidence they hope to keep under wraps before the later indictments.

He details how Mueller's Friday charges of the Russian military officials (and a number of Russian social-media scam artists earlier this year), serve to buy time for the Special Counsel probe, while establishing an understanding among the public for the larger crimes being investigated --- before other "shoes" are ultimately dropped.

"He was essentially allowed to have his cake and eat it, too. He was able to set forth the indictment and charge the Russian members of the conspiracy. But, because they're not in the United States and the likelihood of them being extradited at all is slim, he's able to continue his investigation without the pressure of having to deal with those defendants making appearances in court, etc," Stern tells me. "It's my sense of things that there was a calculation, a strategy on his part in doing that."

"There's a process, I think, that Mueller is going through to get, not only members of Congress, but more importantly, the public, to understand that what has been alleged --- the Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election --- has actually occurred," he argues. "Mueller knows exactly where he is going, and that what he's doing is dropping bread crumbs until he gets to the loaf of bread, which, I believe, will include Americans."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as summer heat, exacerbated by global warming, continues to take its toll in several different ways that folks don't often consider. That, at the same time as many who have been longtime science deniers now seem to be coming around in several different interesting ways as well...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2018 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Our 'WTF?!' coverage of the remarkable joint press conference following President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. [Audio link follows below.]

It was not 72 hours following US Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictment on Friday of 12 top Russian Military Intelligence officers on 11 felony indictments related to hacking into and stealing DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign emails and releasing them to the world, in an alleged attempt to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election, when Trump tweeted: "Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!"

Hours later he held his one-on-one summit with Putin in Helsinki before going on to hold a remarkable press conference in which, essentially, the President of the United States took Russia's side in the matter on virtually every point. In the bargain, he also attacked the FBI, the DNC and other Americans, as he stood next to the Russian President, taking his side against his own intelligence agencies.

On one point, however, they differed. Trump asserted Putin had told him he was not involved in interference in the 2016 Presidential election and he didn't "see any reason why" he would have been. But, when asked directly by a reporter if he "direct[ed] any...officials" to help Trump, who he says he supported over Clinton, Putin admitted, "Yes, I did."

Nonetheless, Trump failed to demand an explanation for any of the exceedingly detailed allegations contained in Mueller's Friday indictments when directly asked by media, choosing instead to return to strange, and largely disproven assertions regarding Democrats, the DNC server, Hillary Clinton's emails, his claims of "no collusion" with Russia and his great electoral college victory (which he also lied about.) Neither did he condemn Russia or its President in any way. We have clips from several of those answers during today's presser and reaction to it --- much of it gobsmacked --- from media, Democrats, former top intelligence officials, and even a number of Republicans, including at least one Fox "News" host who, on air, just after the news conference, condemned Trump's behavior as "disgusting".

Then, we open up the phone lines to callers --- who have a number of diverse opinions --- on all of the above, even as most of the same U.S. electoral vulnerabilities said to have been exploited by Russia in 2016, remain equally as vulnerable just months before our crucial 2018 midterm elections...

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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Guests: SC GOP activist Frank Heindel and attorney Larry Schwartzol; Also: New Senate bill finally calls for HAND-MARKED paper ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2018 6:44pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: On the eve of Donald Trump's scheduled Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought eleven new felony charges against twelve Russian military intelligence officials on Friday. They were charged with various crimes related to cyber-interference in the 2016 Presidential election. And, a bi-partisan federal lawsuit is filed in South Carolina in hopes of finally terminating the state's easily-hacked, repeatedly-failed, 100% unverifiable voting system. [Audio link to show follows at end of article.]

The Russian military officials cited in today's indictment [PDF] relates to hacking into and stealing documents from the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, and releasing them to the public in hopes of manipulating the election. The charges also relate to attacks against state and county election officials and a voter registration company where email spearphishing schemes are said to have implanted malware onto the computer networks in question.

The new indictment does not allege any Americans knew of the hacking scheme detailed by Mueller, though it notes that Trump's public July 2016 call for Russia to find and release "missing" personal Hillary Clinton emails was followed by attacks, "for the first time", on an Internet domain used by her personal office.

While the filing details at least one state voter registration system where some 500,000 private records were accessed, it does not allege that voting results were manipulated (although the DHS admitted last year they never examined either ballots or voting systems.) During Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's announcement of the new charges, he also excoriated partisan and media speculation regarding the probe, as well as attacks (presumably by Congressional GOPers and Trump) on the FBI itself.

Meanwhile, much media coverage was given on Thursday to the insanely chaotic ten-hour long U.S. House hearing featuring testimony by Peter Strzok, the top FBI counter-intelligence specialist who initially led the investigation into Russian interference back in 2016. At the same time, a hearing in the U.S. Senate this week on safeguarding our election infrastructure received little or not coverage. Today, we try to correct that a bit, with some of the testimony offered by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), sponsor of a new election reform bill in the Senate --- the Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act --- which is the only one that would require a HAND-MARKED paper ballot for every voter in the U.S. His testimony calls out ES&S, the nation's largest computer voting system vendor, for failing to show up for the hearing or answer any of his basic cyber-security questions he's sent to the company over the past year.

Then, after more than a decade of failed elections on the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting systems used across the state of South Carolina --- including the still-remarkable and still-unexplained story of Alvin Greene, the completely unknown, unemployed man who somehow managed to win the state's 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate primary without campaigning at all, against a longtime, well-known state legislator and circuit court judge --- a lawsuit was filed this week in federal court to force the state to offer a secure system to voters.

The complaint [PDF] was filed on behalf of two plaintiffs. One, a former eight-term Democratic state legislator, the other a longtime Republican Freedom of Information Act champion and election critic in the Palmetto State. The Republican plaintiff, FRANK HEINDEL, and attorney LARRY SCHWARTZTOL, of the non-partisan, non-profit ProtectDemocracy.org, join me to explain the lawsuit, Heindel's years of work attempting to oversee state elections (and their accompanying disasters), and whether the new complaint might make any difference in the state before this year's crucial 2018 midterms.

"I've just always been skeptical of the 'black box' mentality where you go in and you just trust the machine, and there's no way to verify the results," Heindel explains. "I've just never really trusted that system. I've tried to push us towards a more paper-based way to vote, and it's taken many years here, but I'm starting to get a little optimistic that the worm has turned and we're going to make some progress."

"You need a system where the winner knows that he won, the loser knows that he lost, and everybody knows that their votes were cast and counted directly. We don't have that today," he tells me. The longtime businessman has spent the last decade or more filing some 47 FOIA requests attempting to personally investigate election results and related problems in the state. (We've been following Heindel's efforts for years. You can watch part of Dan Rather's 2010 report on Heindel, right here.)

The longtime litigator Schwartztol, for his part, explains: "What we're arguing for in the lawsuit is to replace that system with one that meets basic, common-sense principles. Secure in its basic architecture against cyber-attacks. The main way to do that, most people agree, is a pretty simple one. And that's building a system around paper ballots, that can be verified, that can be audited, that can be the subject of a recount if that's necessary."

"What we describe in the lawsuit is a voting system that contains unnecessary vulnerabilities and that is not sufficiently reliable to do the work," he adds. "The work of ensuring that votes are accurately recorded and counted."

He lauds the state's election commission chair, Marci Andino (one of the suits defendants), for stating her desire to move to a new system, but is critical of the claim that it would require $50 million to do so. A paper ballot system he says, citing a recent report from NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, would cost much less. He also tells me that one of the solutions they hope to pursue in the case, potentially before November, is the use of the state's absentee paper ballot system that could be used for all voters this year.

"You saw today where Rosenstein was saying that the Russians had sent phishing emails to various state and county folks," notes Heindel. "Our county election people, they're hard-working and they mean well, but I can get tricked on a phishing email. The idea that we have state and county election people that are trying to fend off sophisticated attacks from foreign adversaries, it's crucial that we get our arms around this thing, and get to paper sooner rather than later."

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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Also: Listeners respond to Dem plan to block Kavanaugh at SCOTUS...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2018 5:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast, let's join the President and pretend that he's been victorious once again! Or, let's discuss the reality of the havoc being wrought by both him and the party that supports him as they go even farther off the deep-end and hope to take everybody else with them. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered on today's broadcast, as we continue to counter the madness with actual, independently verifiable facts...

  • Trump wreaks absolute havoc at the NATO summit in Brussels, makes ridiculous demands that lead to an emergency meeting of our allies, and then declares he's fixed it all. He hasn't. But, let's pretend, as he claimed, that NATO is now a "fine-tuned machine". (Does that claim ring a bell?) We offer a fact-check on Trump's actual ridiculous claims and the realities behind them;
  • Back at home, Trump-fueled chaos similarly breaks out at a joint hearing of the U.S. House Oversight and Judiciary Committees during public testimony by longtime top FBI counter-intelligence official Peter Strzok, whose private text messages to his girlfriend, another FBI agent, have been cause for Trump, the GOP and rightwing media to pretend that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation was somehow part of a long "deep state" plot by the FBI to prevent Trump from being elected. Except he was elected. (Some plot!) And Mueller's probe has since resulted in dozens of indictments and guilty pleas from many top Trump campaign and White House officials. But we can keep pretending; In some remarkable audio from the insane hearing in the House today today, Strzok strikes back and helps reveal the Republican House witch-hunt against the Special Counsel for much of what it really is.
  • Speaking of reality, new data out from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and elsewhere reveals that not only have the Trump/GOP tax cuts from last December not resulted in increased pay for the "forgotten men and women" of the middle-class, as they'd promised, but workers are now actually making less than they did before the massive, deficit-blowing cuts which have resulted only in record profits for corporations and the already-wealthy;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with more on the existential threat Kavanaugh's seating poses to the environment, how a major oil company CEO is calling for a speed-up of the transition to electric vehicles, and how a world full of poo just might save itself...

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Guest: The Intercept's Ryan Grim on Senate Dem hopes of derailing Brett Kavanaugh; Also: The Administration's trade wars, new attacks on 'ObamaCare' keep undermining GOP voters...
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2018 6:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Donald Trump's trail of destruction continues to spread, as Senate Democrats fumble for a strategy to oppose his new U.S. Supreme Court nominee. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, the President of the United States attacked Germany in advance of today's NATO summit in Brussels, charging one of our top European allies is "totally controlled by" and "a captive of Russia". Setting diplomatic failures and ironies aside, even worse destruction continues to be waged on Americans back home.

Trump's Administration escalated his trade war with China this week, announcing plans for another $200 billion in tariffs (taxes on the American people) on imported products, after China's dollar-for-dollar retaliation against Trump's previous round of tariffs on $34 billion in imported goods. The damage from that war is already being felt on the U.S. economy, particularly on farmers in Midwestern states, where sales have been plummeting for weeks after China stopped purchasing U.S. soy beans and other agricultural goods in response. BMW, the leading auto-exporter in the U.S., has now announced that new tariffs against China are leading the company to raise prices on SUVs, and move some of their manufacturing in South Carolina (and the jobs that go with it) out of the country --- to China. Vice-President Mike Pence is being dispatched this week to Midwestern states to try and convince GOP donors to stick with the party, despite the damage being done to those voters and companies in "red" states who had supported Trump.

As that self-destruction plays out, the Administration continues its pointless and cruel attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), even though those hurt by several newly announced cuts and refusals to make billions in legally-required payments to insurance companies (paid for by other insurance companies, not by tax-payers) --- as announced over the long holiday weekend, so few would notice --- serve to hurt mostly those who don't receive their healthcare via Obama's 2010 law. The new cuts and blocked payments, according to industry experts, will end up costing both consumers and the federal government itself much more money in the bargain, as premiums will now likely skyrocket again in 2019 and subsidy payments by the Government under the Affordable Care Act will be forced to rise along with them.

Then, we're joined by The Intercept's D.C. Bureau Chief RYAN GRIM to discuss the less-than-inspiring effort, so far, by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to unify his Democratic caucus against Trump's second U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Schumer is encouraging Americans to call their Senators in opposition to Kavanaugh, and Ryan reports that he is warning colleagues they face a serious backlash from their base voters if they fail to put up a brutal fight against the nominee's confirmation.

Nonetheless, Ryan's sources also suggest that Schumer's leadership on this critical issue (and others) is lacking, to put it nicely. He tells me that Schumer has determined, based on polling and the Dems' failed effort to block Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first nominee last year, that the opposition effort must focus on policy issues relating to Kavanaugh's record and the direct threat he poses to a host of hard-won Constitutional rights and statutes at SCOTUS. That, instead of a fierce procedural fight in response to the GOP's theft of the Court majority when they refused, in 2016, to vote on --- or even meet with --- President Obama's nominee to the court, Merrick Garland, for an entire year.

"He saw a lot of polling that was quite conclusive that the argument about substance was going to be the one that won out over the one over process," says Ryan.

That said, we discuss a number of options that Democrats could still pursue to block the nomination against the Republicans very thin Senate majority, including attempts to deny quorums in the Senate Judiciary Committee during Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings and/or walking out of the Capitol to deny a Constitutionally-required quorum to prevent a floor vote entirely before the November midterms. Ryan tells me that both options have been and are still being considered by some Democrats, while going on to explain some of the considerable risks those options pose and why Schumer is said to be shying away from such hardball tactics.

"It is something that has risen to the level of leadership conversations, but as of now, it's Schumer's opinion that can't be done," he tells me, adding: "I don't think anybody knows what the best path forward is. It's definitely something that's being considered. And the more attention there is to that strategy and the more pressure there is, then the more energized Senate Democrats are. So it's worth talking about, at a minimum."

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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Constitutional rights he is likely to help overturn, and his background as a Federalist Society-trained party 'apparatchik'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/10/2018 5:41pm PT  

Democrats, abortion rights activists, environmentalists and civil libertarians, among others, are beginning to marshal their forces in opposition to Donald Trump's pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. But that fight will be an uphill battle with unapologetic Senate Republicans who blocked President Obama's pick for the court for nearly a year, now promising a vote before this November's midterms while they still enjoy the slimmest of majorities in the U.S. Senate.

On today's BradCast [audio file to show linked below], we look at the legal history and political background of Trump's nominee for the post, Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. We're joined for that conversation by Slate's great legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN, who has been covering all things SCOTUS for us of late.

Stern counters, among other things, Trump's assertion during his Monday night announcement that Kavanaugh is a "thought leader" and "brilliant jurist". He details how the 53-year old federal appeals court judge uses cookie-cutter legal phrases to describe his "judicial philosophy", as crafted for him by the right-wing Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. Those phrases --- "A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written." --- betray his years of dedication not to individual liberties or laws or the Constitution, but in service to the cause of GOP politics.

"He's doing what Neil Gorsuch did," Stern tells me, "which is to spew out these lines which sound good, if you're not very attuned to legal argot. But what they really mean is 'I'm going to do whatever the hell I want, and I'm going to ascribe this pretextual, orginalist, textualist gleam to it in order to make it seem like I'm maintaining my independence and not just doing favors for Republicans.'"

Stern cites, as evidence, a number of Kavanaugh's rulings on the DC Circuit Court, his service on the Ken Starr commission in the 1990s (which led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton), and his years as loyal White House legal counsel during the George W. Bush Administration. "He is a party man. Brett Kavanaugh is a Republican. He has been a Republican foot soldier in virtually every major Republican legal battle of modern times. He has served that role in his capacity as a judge on the DC Circuit to a 'T'."

We discuss Kavanaugh's road-map for overturning Roe v. Wade's nationwide Constitutional right to an abortion, as he laid out himself in his 2017 opinions attempting to block a lawful abortion sought by a 17-year old undocumented immigrant detained by the Trump Administration. But abortion is hardly the only hard-won right that will be, almost immediately, imperiled if Democrats are unable to block Kavanaugh's confirmation to what will become a very hard right-wing Court with his seating. Key environmental rulings are likely to be overturned, Stern argues, as well as those regarding voting rights, privacy rights, and many others.

Stern also explains why he remains very dubious, at best, that either Maine's Republican Senator Susan Collins or Alaska's Lisa Murkowski will break from their party to vote against Trump's nominee (Collins, he explains, is "not widely known for having a spine" and Murkowski, so far, has shown little sign of having one either) and why, if confirmed, Kavanaugh could decide to blow up years of precedent by refusing to recuse himself from SCOTUS appeals to cases that he has previously heard as a member of the DC Circuit Court.

There is one --- and, really, only one --- thin thread of potentially encouraging news regarding Kavanaugh's nomination. That can be found in his 2009 law review article on whether sitting Presidents may be indicted or face other criminal and civil legal actions. Kavanaugh's written comments on the matter, as we discuss, may, in fact, serve to argue the opposite of what a number of his opponents have been (mis)reporting regarding those remarks. In fact, Kavanaugh's argument suggests a sitting President can, in fact, be indicted under both current law and the U.S. Constitution, for civil and criminal matters alike.

Finally today, we're joined by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report and much more related to it, including the early response from environmentalists on Trump's SCOTUS pick, how the recent record-smashing heatwaves we've seen from coast to coast over the past week could become much worse very soon, and how this year's hurricane season has already turned deadly from the Atlantic to the Pacific...

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Also: Plastic straws, straw polls, final straws, some actual good voting news, RIP Ed Schultz, and a bunch of listener calls...
By Brad Friedman on 7/9/2018 5:57pm PT  

A whole lotta stuff happened over the long holiday weekend, much of which the Trump Administration hopes you don't notice at all. We try help you notice them on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But we start with some of the very few bits of good news we could find, as November's elections --- and our only hope --- loom large. First up: A petition drive in Michigan to place a host of election reforms on the ballot appears to have been successful. With 430,000 signatures submitted (far more than the 316,000 required), it looks like Michiganders will be able to vote for automatic voter registration, same-day registration, no-fault absentee voting and much more this Fall.

In Kansas, following a trial and federal court order, Kris Kobach, the state's embarrassing Sec. of State, has finally added some 25,000 voters to the rolls who had been denied access for lack of "Proof of Citizenship" documents. The court struck down the state law requiring the documentation as unconstitutional after Kobach monumentally failed in his defense of the law during the recent trial on behalf of voters who had challenged it. That hasn't stopped the GOP's top "voter fraud" fraudster, however, from claiming --- you guessed it --- fraud during a recent GOP straw poll in advance of the August primary in the state, where Kobach hopes to win the Republican nomination for Governor. (He lost the straw poll to Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer...by a lot.)

In other (largely) good news, Starbucks says they plan to do away with plastic straws to help save the planet (and comply with local governments who are banning them.)

Then, to the much less good news, as all-time heat records were shattered, by double-digits, here in Southern California over the holiday. Though the wildly corrupt fossil-fueled tool Scott Pruitt was finally forced to resign over the holiday weekend as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency (his resignation letter is amazingly creepy!), his second-in-command, Andrew Wheeler, an actual coal industry lobbyist, will now take over the EPA.

Also in recent days, two issues that Trump claims to have fixed (which he broke in the first place), have proven not to have been fixed at all. Despite Sec. of State Mike Pompeo describing recent "denuclearization" talks with North Korea as "productive", the North's Foreign Ministry characterized the U.S. attitude at negotiations as "gangster-like" and "cancerous" just after he left. That, after Donald Trump recently declared: "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea".

And, the chaos continues as the Administration is reportedly nowhere near being able to reunite some 3,000 children with their parents, as required by a federal court order and deadlines, after they were separated at the southern border by Trump's immigration goons. That, after identification documents for many of the children were reportedly lost or destroyed, and despite Trump signing an Executive Order two weeks ago which he said would solve the tragic separations that he caused in the first place.

Finally today --- along with a ton of phone calls from listeners on all of the above and much more throughout today's show --- a few words, and some personal remembrances, on the sad passing last week of progressive radio and television broadcaster, and workers' champion, Ed Schultz...

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On how I started blogging, the many still-unanswered questions about the 2016 election, how our voting systems are getting worse, not better, and what we all must do right now to protect the 2018 midterm elections...
By Brad Friedman on 7/3/2018 3:52pm PT  

Desi and I are ducking out for a short breather over the Independence Day holiday. But, before we go, I appeared recently on Free Forum, hosted by longtime broadcaster and great interviewer TERRENCE MCNALLY.

So, with McNally's kind permission on today's BradCast, we bring you that recent interview, originally recorded in studio on June 24, 2018 at KPFK, our flagship Pacifica Radio Network station in Los Angeles, in which the tables are turned a bit on me.

I respond to his questions about my background, the bizarre circumstances --- and, yes, election chicanery --- which helped lead me deep into the world of investigative blogging, broadcasting and muckraking some 15 years ago.

We also discuss detailed concerns about the reported (and still unverified) results of the earth-shaking 2016 Presidential election, how jurisdictions around the country are now moving to new computerized voting and tabulation systems in its wake (even as those systems, with computer-marked, barcoded ballots will only sever to make public oversight of results worse, not better) and what Americans can do right now to fight like hell to assure they are able to vote and have their votes counted as per intent in the crucial 2018 midterms.

Much thanks to Terrence for allowing us to re-purpose his program for today's BradCast! Please see and download his many years of insightful interviews with tons of fascinating and much smarter folks than I, and sign up for his weekly email announcement list, at his website, AWorldThatJustMightWork.com! You can also hear his show on weekends at ProgressiveVoices.com and TuneIn.

We'll be back with ya after the holiday weekend! Please stay safe and, somehow, cool, until our return!

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

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Even if it means denying a Senate quorum and shutting it down entirely...
By Brad Friedman on 7/2/2018 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Incredibly enough, one newly nominated Democratic U.S. House candidate had to ask, out loud, on one of the weekend network news shows: "Are we fighting or not?" The question was in reference to whether Senate Democrats planned to do everything within their power to block a vote on Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. [Audio link to show follows below.]

That Democratic U.S. House nominee was progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who unseated the 4th most powerful Democrat in the House just last week in New York's Democratic Primary election by a landslide. She was appearing on NBC's Meet the Press. It's simply stunning that the Democratic Party's response to the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy has been so flat-footed that it's still unclear today, almost a week later, whether Democrats are prepared to fight, all out, against a second Trump nominee for the Court who will be the decisive vote in overturning and reversing decades of hard-won rights on virtually every front.

Today, Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called on Americans to pressure their Senators to block anybody nominated by Trump. The call, via a New York Times op-ed charging that "our rights hang in the balance", comes not a moment too soon and follows a lukewarm response from many Senate Dems (including Schumer) and a tepid commitment by (supposedly) pro-choice GOP Senator Susan Collins of Maine to vote against a Trump nominee who is "hostile" to settled law, such as Roe v. Wade.

It's still unclear whether all Democrats are onboard with blocking Trump's nominee, whether any Republicans will actually join them, and what Dems are willing to do in order to block such a vote entirely for a few months, until at least after this November's election where they could regain the majority. That, even after Senate Republicans blocked Obama's SCOTUS nominee for nearly a year before stealing a majority on the Court with Trump's nominee Neil Gorsuch.

We discuss the possibilities for Dems on today's show, along with what I describe as the necessity for Dems to walk out and deprive the Senate of a Constitutionally-required quorum and bring all business to a halt, if that what it takes to block Trump's nominee. That nominee, of course, would also immediately have a huge conflict of interest in ruling on a President who nominated him or her, even as he was the subject of a serious criminal investigation by a Special Counsel into an alleged conspiracy against the United States and unlawful obstruction of that investigation.

Remarkably, there are still many "Very Smart People" in the media and Democratic politics who seem to feel that the fight is already lost, and that Dems should somehow keep their powder dry until after the crucial midterm elections or else risk losing their chances of winning back one or both houses of Congress this November.

That is nonsense. This is the fight of all of our lives, at this point. Political calculations like that are both outrageous and counter-productive for Democrats for several of the reasons I detail today. If Democrats can't take a stand on this, they should get out of politics all together. They may or may not win the fight, but that's nowhere close to the point.

We open the phone lines today to all of that and more, as both elected Democrats --- and even many of those calling into the show today --- seem to have a very difficult time staying focused on what actually matters at this crucial moment in history and what is at stake for the country itself in the midst of our ongoing Trump/GOP-fueled National Emergency...

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

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Guest: Common Cause Nat'l Redistricting Manager Dan Vicuna; Also: Scheme to add Medicaid work requirements in KY struck down, and Trump's trade wars are now costing real American jobs...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2018 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court, is all hope lost for overturning partisan (and racial) gerrymanders that have helped to keep Democrats and their voters from enjoying appropriate and Constitutional representation at both the state and federal level?

But, before that today: What appears to be good news from a U.S. District Court striking down the Trump Administration's approval of Kentucky's cruel new work requirement for Medicaid recipients as "arbitrary and capricious", may not end up being quite as good news as it sounds. We explain why.

Next: Trump's tariffs and trade wars are beginning to cost jobs in the U.S., and the first jobs losses are to Trump supporters in Missouri. The next victims could be those who work in the U.S. automobile industry. Of course, all of this could be stopped in its tracks but, apparently, the Republicans who control both houses of Congress have no interest in putting the brakes on this out of control and dangerous Presidency.

Then: The final two weeks of the U.S. Supreme Court's term have been disappointing ones for many, including opponents of both partisan and racial gerrymandering. Federal courts in multiple states had determined that Republican-controlled states (and one Democratic one) had unlawfully and unconstitutionally created U.S. House and state legislative maps that impermissibly prevented voters from being appropriately represented in Congress and state legislatures.

Over the past two weeks, however, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that had struck down several racial gerrymanders in Texas, and they also punted three different partisan gerrymandering cases, in Wisconsin, Maryland and North Carolina, back to the lower courts for rehearing. Perhaps the most disappointing such case was Common Cause v. Rucho in the closely divided swing-state of North Carolina, where a federal appeals court found a clear case of partisan gerrymandering and ordered the entire U.S. House map to be redrawn in time for the 2018 midterms.

In that case, the Republicans who drew the map admitted they did so in order to give the GOP a 10 to 3 partisan advantage in U.S. House seats, despite state voters narrowly supporting Obama in 2008, Trump in 2016, and with Democrats winning statewide elections for Governor and Attorney General that same year.

And all of those SCOTUS punts came just before Justice Anthony Kennedy, who gerrymandering opponents had hoped would finally be the swing vote to end the practice of partisan redistricting once and for all, announced his retirement instead.

We're joined today by Common Cause's National Redistricting Manager DAN VICUNA to explain the outcomes and current status of those cases in TX, WI, MD and NC, and how opponents of gerrymandering plan to move ahead now that Kennedy --- their greatest hope for ending the practice nationally, once and for all --- will no longer be on the Court when those cases ultimately return.

"Mind you," Vicuna points out, regarding the thumbs up, for now, that SCOTUS gave to NC to continue using their current partisan gerrymanders in 2018, "the reason why they redrew these maps in 2016, late in a Census redistricting cycle, is because their original map was struck down as an illegal racial gerrymander."

Finally, speaking of the extremist Republican legislature in NC, lawmakers there on Friday approved a statewide initiative for the 2018 ballot, on a partyline vote, that would, if supported voters, amend the state constitution to require Photo ID voting restrictions at the polling place. That, after a law they had passed to do the same thing was struck down in 2016 by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because it was found to have targeted African-American voters "with almost surgical precision"...

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

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P.S. Tables are turned on me, a bit, in a new podcast from the great Terrence McNally, long time progressive broadcaster and podcaster, in which he interviews me on all manner of things, from how The BRAD BLOG got started in the first place about 15 years ago, to what we need to do to climb out of the soup this country is now in as we barrel toward the 2018 mid-terms. McNally is a great interviewer, and the discussion, I think you'll find, is quite a lively and fun one --- particularly given the dark hours we're now in! It airs this weekend, but you can listen to it now right here...

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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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Good advice from smart people on this very dark moment in U.S. history; Also: More encouraging results from Tuesday's primaries...
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2018 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast we take a precious few minutes to duck out of the horrific breaking news cycle this week --- sort of --- for some words of wisdom and perspective from a number of very smart folks in response to the news that Justice Anthony Kennedy is resigning, and all of the fear, panic and depression that is going with it for many progressives. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the smart folks we turn to for sage thoughts today: longtime newsman Dan Rather, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis & Daily Kos' "Meteor Blades", blogger and activist Zawn Villines and journalist David Dayen. Each offer helpful, non-pollyannaish advice on keeping our current moment in the appropriate perspective. That, while the struggle for justice and to somehow save the U.S. Supreme Court from an onslaught of GOP/Trump hypocrisy, extremism, lies, cynicism, and far-right schemes to roll back decades of hard-fought civil, voting, human and reproductive rights, will demand persistence and steady, determined courage in the days ahead.

Nonetheless, both pessimism and despair are counterproductive to progress. So I hope today's program helps us all (including me!) to stay a bit more hopeful, optimistic and healthy, during these seemingly ever-darkening hours.

Also providing a bit of hope and inspiration today, some more news from Tuesday's primary elections, in which an extraordinary progressive 28-year old Latina from The Bronx unseated a 10-term Democratic member of the U.S. House Leadership establishment in New York's Democratic primary, despite being outspent 15 to 1; A record third LGBT person this year has now won a Democratic nomination for Governor, this time in Colorado; And Oklahoma voters unseated a host of Republicans in the state House and Senate who voted against recent tax increases to fund education following a two-week long teacher walk-out and years of slashed funding to pay for massive corporate tax cuts; And, as if that's not enough good news from supposedly "conservative" Oklahoma, voters also approved a citizen-sponsored statewide ballot initiative for medical marijuana, in defiance of GOP elected officials and a well-funded campaign against it. We join Steven Colbert's celebration on that today.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with more on Kennedy's climate legacy at SCOTUS, environmental concerns in the wake of his retirement, and a few other encouraging results from this past Tuesday's primaries in seven states...

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

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Guest: The Nation's John Nichols on all of that and the stolen SCOTUS' anti-union decision today and whether it's time for Dems to 'steal' it back...
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2018 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Political earthquakes. Several of them. All shaking up the political world just within the past 12 to 24 hours. As if we needed still more chaos. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We do our best to navigate through as many of those temblors --- one or two of them quite encouraging, the rest, not so much --- as possible, with the help of our guest today, JOHN NICHOLS, longtime progressive champion and Washington Correspondent for The Nation.

Among the several earthquakes covered today: Antonia Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year old Latina and political novice unseated Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley, the fourth most powerful Democrat in the U.S. House, by a huge margin (some 15 points) during Tuesday's midterm primaries in New York's 14th Congressional District. The defeat of a 10-term incumbent, previously thought to have been a potential future Speaker of the House, by a self-described Democratic socialist who raised and spent millions less than Crowley, has sent shockwaves through the Democratic establishment.

"When we vote, this is what happens," Ocasio-Cortez declared today after her stunning upset victory, following on the heels of her viral campaign video in which she declared the race "about people versus money. We've got people, they've got money." In the strongly Democratic district in Queens and The Bronx, she is almost certain to win this November.

In Maryland, meanwhile, another proudly progressive Bernie Sanders acolyte, former NAACP Chair Ben Jealous bested several other Dems to win the nomination to run on his bold populist agenda against popular GOP Gov. Larry Hogan this November.

Also on Tuesday night, a federal judge in San Diego --- a George W. Bush appointee --- issued a ruling requiring the Trump Administration to reunite families separated at the border within 30 days or less. (Within 14 days, if children younger than 5 are included.)

On Wednesday, however, things to several turns for the worst. First, the stolen 5 to 4 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, in yet another far-right ruling overturning decades of established law, struck down so-called agency fees that public sector unions had been allowed to charge non-union members in exchange for representing them in collective bargaining negotiations. Though federal law still requires that non-union members receive the same pay and benefits as union members, the Court's final ruling issued before Summer recess means public sector unions are likely to lose millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of members. The decision is seen as a huge blow to labor and a long-sought victory for Republicans. In her dissent to Justice Samuel Alito's majority opinion finding the 40-year old violated First Amendment free speech rights of non-union members, Justice Elena Kagan charged her GOP colleagues with "weaponizing the First Amendment" for political purposes. "At every stop," she charged in her opinion, read from the bench, "there are block-robed rulers overriding citizens' choices. The First Amendment was meant for better things."

But the day's largest earthquake, by far, came shortly thereafter, as 81-year old Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative Ronald Reagan appointee, who was often the swing-vote on issues such as abortion, gay rights and other progressive causes, announced he would be retiring at the end of July.

Nichols, author of The Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse, helps us navigate all of the above today, with analysis and insight on all of today's political earthquakes, as well as my argument that Senate Democrats must now follow the so-called "McConnell Rule" --- which Senate Republicans used to prevent a vote on Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to fill a vacant SCOTUS seat, for nearly a year in 2016 before it was ultimately filled by Trump's nominee Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

Not only must Dems insist on no voting on any Trump nominee to SCOTUS until after the November Election and the seating of the next Senate, just as McConnell and the Republicans did in 2016, but since Repubs unilaterally changed the Senate filibuster rule in order to force Gorsuch's confirmation through with a bare majority, Dems should consider walking out entirely --- for months, if necessary --- if the absence of a Senate quorum might prevent a vote on whoever Trump nominates to fill Kennedy's seat.

Yes, shut it all down, if necessary. As I argue today, the stakes are now that high. In order to prevent the further erosion of enumerable long-held American rights and values, Democrats now need to put it all on the line in advance of the 2018 midterm primary, which could flip the balance of the upper chamber to the Democrats. Nichols responds with his own thoughts in response to my assertion, and much more --- including on some of the otherwise very good news for progressives from Tuesday's primaries...

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

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