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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, December 5, 2016
'Recount' 2016 or 'Recount' 2000? Team Trump Files to Stop WI, MI, PA Counts: 'BradCast' 12/2/16
As PA margin plummets, Stein asks: 'Why is Trump afraid of these recounts?'...
Hand, Machine 'Recounts' Begin in WI, Trump Blocks MI Count: 'BradCast' 12/1/16
Also: Brain-addled Trump voters buy his 'voter fraud' lie, even as he hires an actual voter fraud criminal as a top WH NatSec adviser...
'Green News Report' 12/1/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly drought-fueled fires in TN; Canada approves tar sands pipelines; 100M dead trees in CA drought; Toxic algae blooms in West again; PLUS: WA scientists turn CO2 to stone...
Previous GNRs: 11/29/16 - 11/22/16 - Archives...
Countdown to 'Recounts': Stein Files in MI, More Barriers in WI: 'BradCast' 11/30/16
Computer scientists and voting systems expert plead for hand-counts; Fees increased; Callers ring in with questions...
Impossible 'Recount' Laws in PA; New Barriers in WI: 'BradCast' 11/29/16
VotePA's Marybeth Kuznik on insane 'recount' laws and 100% unverifiable voting systems in PA; Also: What good are paper ballots if nobody can afford to actually count them?...
'Green News Report' 11/29/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Eviction notice for ND pipeline protesters; 3 oil refinery fires in 2 days; Drought emergency in Bolivia; Coral die-off in Great Barrier Reef; PLUS: Judge: Kids can sue over climate...
Previous GNRs: 11/22/16 - 11/17/16 - Archives...
Overseeing Results in WI, MI, PA Before 'Recounts' Begin: 'BradCast' 11/28/16
Guest: Author, election fraud investigator Richard Hayes Phillips on concerns about reported voter turnout in WI and much more...
Sunday Leftover Turkey Toons
The nation's political cartoonists are talking turkey (and more) in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons...
Stein 'Recount' Effort Raises Millions: 'BradCast' 11/25/16
Guest host Angie Coiro on why the Presidential recount/audit battle in WI, MI, PA matters well beyond 2016. She also speaks with guest Leland Faust and much more...
'Why Would Anyone Be Against Counting Votes?': 'BradCast' 11/23/16
An exclusive interview with the Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein on filing for 'recounts' and forensic audits in WI, MI, PA...
BREAKING: Stein to Seek Hand 'Recounts' in WI, MI, PA
Green Party candidate to ask for hand counts, forensic tabulator audits of voting systems in three states. Stein appears LIVE on The BradCast to discuss it...
Will the Presidential Election Be 'Recounted' in WI, PA, MI?: 'BradCast' 11/22/16
Should it be? Alternet's Steve Rosenfeld and Brad on anomalies and concerns that have experts calling for handcounts, forensic audits...
'Green News Report' 11/22/16
ND uses water cannons, tear gas on pipeline protesters; Canada to phase out coal by 2030; Record low sea ice, 'freakishly warm' Arctic; PLUS: Obama nixes oil leases...
Trump Cashing In as U.S. Media Still Checking Out: 'BradCast' 11/21/16
Guest: Media Matters' Eric Boehlert. Plus: Still trying to oversee election results; Police attack pipeline protesters in ND; Arctic is burning up...
Sunday Toons in the Aftermath Moment
'PDiddie' and the political cartoonists are struggling to make sense of it all in this week's collection of the week's best toons...
Stealing the Supreme Court(s): 'BradCast' 11/18/16
Guest: David Dayen on blocking the GOP SCOTUS theft. Also: Trump pays off his fraud victims, names more racist appointees, NC Repubs plot to steal state's high court...
Exit Polls 'Wrong' Again: 'BradCast' 11/17/16
Or were they? Election expert Jonathon Simon asks 'What would Trump do' if it happened to him not Clinton? Also: Fake AND real news outlets undermining democracy...
'Green News Report' 11/17/16
Sanders' new idea to block Dakota Access; McConnell: coal unlikely to return; Mercury contamination down; PLUS: Climate negotiators v. Trump...
Were Vote Tabulation Systems Rigged for Trump?: 'BradCast' 11/16/16
What we know, don't and why we don't. ALSO: NC GOP wants 'recount' after vote tabulators fail in Guv race...
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: Kathleen Unger of VoteRiders...
By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2016 6:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another Republican run state appears to be blatantly violating federal court requirements on voting rights, just over one month from Election Day. [Audio link to show posted below.]

While Donald Trump and his businesses have continuously violated state and federal law, even as he calls for 'Law and Order' on the campaign trail as detailed, yet again, on yesterday's program, Republican controlled states continue to violate federal court orders on voting rights. The latest appears to be Wisconsin who, as Ari Berman at The Nation reported, is systematically failing to supply voters with Photo IDs at Departments of Motor Vehicles as the state had promised the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in late August. That promise prevented the court from weakening or killing the GOP's Photo ID voting restriction which has been found, over and over (and over), to disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Joining us to discuss the news --- which has resulted today in a federal judge, on his own motion, ordering the state back in to court to explain themselves --- is Kathleen Unger, President of VotersRiders.org. Her non-profit, non-partisan organization, as Berman detailed, visited 10 DMVs around the Badger State and found only 3 of them prepared to provide Photo IDs to voters who need them to vote within the promised 6 days. Many of the others said the process would take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks at best, long after Election Day is over and after tens of thousands of voters will have lost their right to vote.

"These Voter ID laws are an unfunded mandate on citizens," Unger explains, for minorities as well as seniors, students, low income voters and others who must take time off work and travel to get the very narrow type of IDs now required to vote in states where these laws have been allowed by courts to stand.

She offers details on the disturbing revelations discovered by her group during visits to WI DMVs with otherwise eligible voters, and what --- if anything --- can now possibly be done to correct the situation less than 40 days out from Election Day and with early voting already under way. She also hopes to point folks towards VoteRiders' downloadable, wallet-sized Photo ID information cards detailing the laws in each state. Informed voters may be the only hope, as chaos in many such states on Election Day is, yet again, a very serious concern.

Wisconsin, as Unger and I discuss, is just the latest scofflaw "red" state to blatantly violate recent federal court requirements concerning voting rights, following on the heels of Texas, Kansas, Ohio and others.

Also today: Yet another major newspaper breaks with years of tradition by asking readers to vote against the Republican nominee; Trump unleashes a bizarre overnight Tweetstorm railing against (and lying about) his former Miss Universe, and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report recapping what little climate discussion there was at Monday's Presidential debate...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Plaintiffs seek emergency relief after state officials use deception, intimidation against voters. Should AG Ken Paxton be held in contempt?...
UPDATE: Court schedules Sept. 19 hearing on plaintiffs' emergency motions...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2016 11:15am PT  

Following a recent court-approved agreement entered between the state of Texas and challengers to its unlawful Photo ID voting restriction, the plaintiffs are now back in court after state Republicans, including the state's Attorney General, appear to be skirting the remedies they had previously agreed to.

Both the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the private plaintiffs in Veasey v. Abbott are now seeking emergency relief to prevent the state from utilizing a deceptive scheme that plaintiffs believe will serve to intimidate and disenfranchise voters despite the court-ordered remedies agreed to by all parties just weeks ago.

The remedies, which promised to restore voting rights to hundreds of thousands of Texans this November, were an encouraging sign for voting rights advocates. The outlook for the Presidential Election was suddenly much brighter for Lone Star State voters. At least until now.

Two separate motions, one filed by the DoJ and the other by the private Veasey plaintiffs, allege that Texas Republicans, including the state's Attorney General Ken Paxton, have resorted to deception and intimidation in what appears to be a bad faith effort to prevent or at least discourage those who lack state-approved photo IDs from casting a regular vote on November 8. Both motions seek emergency relief from the District Court, but stop short of what may be an appropriate request that the AG be ordered to show cause as to why he should not be held in contempt of court...

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Court cites State promise to make free IDs available without restriction, opponents remain dubious, concerned about disenfranchisement...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/29/2016 10:35am PT  

Despite being found a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act by multiple federal courts reviewing several challenges to Wisconsin's Republican-enacted Photo ID voting restriction, the law will stay in place this November, as per a new federal court ruling issued Friday. The court's reasoning is based on an assurance by the state that free Photo IDs will be made more readily available and easier to obtain than they have been in the past.

Late last week, by way of a unanimous decision [PDF], the full U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal denied competing appeals and cross appeals filed in the two cases challenging Wisconsin's restrictive voting law.

Earlier this month, the plaintiffs in these two cases, Frank v. Walker and One Wisconsin Institute v.Thompsen, sought emergency relief from the full 7th Circuit because it appeared, based on a decision by a conservative three-judge 7th Circuit panel, that nearly ten percent of Wisconsin's electorate was at risk of disenfranchisement via the Republican-enacted statute.

However, as the full court noted in its Friday decision, subsequent to the filing of those emergency petitions, the state of Wisconsin assured the court that it "has enacted a rule that requires the Division of Motor Vehicles ('DMV') to mail automatically a free photo ID to anyone who comes to DMV one time and initiates the free ID process." The court added:

Given the State's representation that "initiation" of the IDPP [Wisconsin's process for obtaining a free photo ID] means only that the voter must show up at a DMV with as much as he or she has, and that the State will not refuse to recognize the "initiation" of the process because a birth certificate, proof of citizenship, Social Security card, or other particular document is missing, we conclude that the urgency needed to justify an initial en banc hearing has not been shown. Our conclusion depends also on the State’s compliance with the district court’s second criterion, namely, that the State adequately inform the general public that those who enter the IDPP will promptly receive a credential for voting, unless it is plain that they are not qualified.

The ruling did not sit well with ACLU senior staff attorney Sean Young, who, pointing to Wisconsin's failed record over the past five years to "get IDs into the hands of voters who need them," said "there's no reason to believe that the state's latest eleventh-hour 'emergency' procedures will work any better than its past failed policies"...

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




UPDATE: SCOTUS denies Michigan's request to overturn stay blocking its elimination of 'straight ticket' voting...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/19/2016 10:05am PT  

This week, in yet another setback for GOP voter suppression efforts, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a District Court preliminary injunction that prevented Michigan Republicans from eliminating "straight-party" voting in the Great Lake State. It did so because it found that the plaintiffs in Michigan State Randolph Inst. v. Johnson would likely prevail in their contention that the MI GOP's elimination of straight-party voting violated both the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

"Straight-party voting," the appellate panel explained, "allows a voter to vote for all candidates of their desired political party by making a single mark designating the selection of that political party, rather than voting for each partisan candidate individually."

The court does not suggest that all states must make it available. In fact, many states have never made that form of voting available to their respective electorates. But, the court observed, "straight-party voting has...been available to Michigan citizens for an uninterrupted period of 125 years" --- from 1891 - 2016.

Straight-party voting in Michigan is so popular that voters twice rejected efforts to eliminate it via the referendum process --- first in 1964 and again in 2001. And while, overall, half of the MI electorate takes advantage of the straight-ticket option, this swift and efficient alternative to selecting individual candidates from a long-list of offices on a ballot has been disproportionately relied upon by African-Americans ("67% in 2012, and 73.5% in 2014"), the 6th Circuit panel observed.

However, with their own ability to retain power at stake in 2016 --- especially after the scandalous poisoning of Flint's drinking water --- Michigan Republicans were not inclined to permit either efficiency or popularity to stand in the way...

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2016 8:12am PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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