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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, October 20, 2017
Trump's Schizophrenia, Congress' Fresh 'Health Care Hell': 'BradCast' 10/19/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Also: Trump meets with P.R. Guv, gives himself a '10' on Maria response!...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska's ANWR on chopping block, again; Toxic ash from CA wildfires; US Virgin Islands w/o power, clean water; PLUS: Shell opens e-car charging network at gas stations -- in Britain...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/17 - 10/10/17 - Archives...
DHS Misled on 2016 'Russian Hacks' (Will They Get It Right in 2018?): 'BradCast' 10/18/17
Guest: Orange Cnty, CA Registrar Neal Kelley on new DHS 'Election Infrastructure' Council...
Impeachable Offenses: Trump's 'ObamaCare' Lie: 'BradCast' 10/17/17
Also, Guest: Pastor Michael McBride on the 'Cost for Peace vs. Death' and programs that cut gun violence where it's needed most...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricane batters Ireland; Deadliest wildfire week in CA history; Puerto Ricans drinking water from toxic Superfund sites; Coal plants closed in TX; PLUS: Oil rig explodes in LA...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/17 - 10/10/17 - Archives...
Something's Happening Here (Maybe): 'BradCast' 10/16/17
Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice', so-called 'Values Voters'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
Sunday 'Just Undo It' Toons
'PDiddie' rounds up yet another week in American politics where words frequently fail, but the political cartoonists do not...
'Chaos':
'BradCast' 10/13/2017
In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
'Green News Report' 10/12/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic, deadly firestorms grow in CA; Water-borne diseases in Puerto Rico; PLUS: Trump EPA makes way for controversial mine in world's most valuable fishery...
Previous GNRs: 10/10/17 - 10/5/17 - Archives...
North Korea, Iran and Trump's Determined 'Path to WWIII': 'BradCast' 10/10/17
Guest: Dr. Trita Parsi of the National Iranian-American Council on Trump's dangerous, and foolish, scheme to break the Iran nuclear deal...
'Green News Report' 10/10/17
Deadly wildfires explode in CA; 2017 shattering disaster records -- and not over yet; PLUS: Trump EPA moves to kill Obama 'Clean Power Plan' to curb global warming...
Underestimating 'Trump's Dangerously Coherent Agenda': 'BradCast' 10/9/17
Guest: Author, journalist John Nichols; Also: Massive wildfires explode across CA; Trump EPA announces reversal of Obama 'Clean Power Plan'...
Sunday 'Now is Not the Time' Toons
GOP says 'not time' to discuss gun safety or climate or anything else they don't want to talk about. Cartoonists in PDiddie's latest toon collection beg to differ...
'Calm Before the Storm'?!:
'BradCast' 10/6/17
Trump's chilling remark; More deadly coal, chemical shills for EPA; Trump's 'reverse Midas touch'; Plus: Time to abolish the 2nd Amendment?...
Trump's Cabinet of 'Trickle-Down Corruption': 'BradCast' 10/5/17
Guest: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center; Also: GOP Rep. resigns in sex/abortion scandal, NRA gives (some) cover to GOP...
'Green News Report' 10/5/17
Trump visits PR, downplays disaster; US gives fossil fuel ind. $20B/year subsidies; Scotland bans fracking; PLUS: Climate change costing US 100s of billions per year...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Author, journalist Zachary Roth of The Daily Democracy | Also: Juan Cole responds to listeners on Afghanistan; Trump Admin reviews on Nat'l Monuments and the power grid; Hurricane Harvey aims at Texas...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2017 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we pick up with the news that broke at the end of yesterday's show, as a federal court in Texas had --- yet again (for at least the 6th or 8th time, nobody can even keep it straight anymore!) --- found the state's Photo ID voting restriction to be discriminatory, and intentionally so, against racial minorities. [Audio link to show follow below.]

We're joined by journalist and author ZACHARY ROTH, formerly of MSNBC, now of The Daily Democracy, to discuss what he describes as "the Rasputin of voting laws. It just refuses to die."

But, while it may or may not finally be dead forever, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos has "permanently" struck down both the strict Photo ID law passed by Texas Republicans in 2011 (SB 14) and the amendment to it (SB 5) passed just this year in response to her previous rulings finding that the GOP law was written to intentionally and disproportionately disenfranchise racial minorities.

Roth finds that both of Gonzalez Ramos' rulings, on SB 14 previously and on SB 5 now, are "incredibly careful, well-reasoned and cogent. What she found in Wednesday's ruling is that the new, modified voter ID law that Texas passed this year does not do nearly enough to fix the problems of the original law that led to it being blocked." He says that she found, in fact, some elements of the new amendment make it "even more racially discriminatory" and include harsh new penalties that "appear to be efforts at voter intimidation" which, he describes as a "remarkably strong statement from a judge about a state's intentions."

The biggest questions now are: a) Will the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the most conservative in the land, overturn the lower court (they didn't last time)?; b) Will the stolen Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court do so?; c) Will SCOTUS finally block all such discriminatory Photo ID laws nationally?, and; d) Perhaps the biggest question: Will Texas finally be bailed back in to the Voting Rights Act's provision requiring federal pre-clearance for all new voting laws in jurisdictions with a long history of racial discrimination? (Texas was covered under that requirement until SCOTUS struck down the VRA's list of such jurisdictions in 2013. Meanwhile, courts have now blocked three different discriminatory voting laws there in just the last eight days!)

We discuss all of that and more with Roth today, including why the GOP has been working so hard, for so many years, to enact this law; the lack of any evidence that it is actually meant to prevent fraud; the Trump DoJ's reversed position on this case; several other recent cases regarding redistricting in TX in which state Republicans were also found to have intentionally discriminated against minorities; and Roth's 2016 book, The Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy.

Then, we received a number of interesting responses this week to my recent discussion with Middle East expert Juan Cole regarding Trump's flip-flop decision to remain in Afghanistan. We share some of those responses --- regarding oil pipelines and opium production --- along with Cole's e-mailed responses to them.

And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' and a number green-related stories that have broken since, including on Ryan Zinke's Interior Department review of whether or not to shut down a number of National Monuments, Rick Perry's Energy Department review of whether renewable energy threatens the nation's power grid, and Hurricane Harvey which is now set to barrel into the Texas Gulf coast and linger for days, with a huge amount of rainfall along with it...

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: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern, reporting from the U.S. District Court hearing, says DoJ and state of Texas have 'really bungled this one'
Also: Mike Pence used a private email server for sensitive state business --- and got hacked. Lock him up!...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2017 6:22pm PT  

The hypocrisy gets thicker by the moment. On today's BradCast, Vice President Mike Pence used private email for state business while serving as Indiana's Governor. And, down in Texas, the U.S. Department of Justice, after switching sides in a long running voting rights case, bombs out, according to our guest who was in the courtroom for a remarkable hearing this week. [Audio link to show posted at end of this article.]

Yes, VP Pence has been discovered to have used a private email server for state business as Governor of Indiana, even while running for Vice President and mercilessly criticizing Hillary Clinton for having done the same while Secretary of State. Unlike Clinton's email account, Pence's was actually hacked. That news follows a similar report that Trump's EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, also used a private email server for state business while serving as Oklahoma's Attorney General --- and lied to Congress about it.

Then, we're joined by Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern with his amazing report out of Texas, where he was in a federal courtroom this past week, to witness the latest hearing in the long-running case against the state's racially discriminatory Photo ID voting law. The hearing, he explains, was remarkable on a number of fronts. Not the least of which is the fact that, after years of successfully challenging the state Republicans' racist law side-by-side with private litigants, the U.S. Dept. of Justice, now under the control of Donald Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has switched sides in the case to join with Texas!

The result, as Stern details, was encouraging, gob-smacking and, at times, hilarious. After the state's law, denying access to the polls for those without very specific types of state-issued IDs, has been found racially discriminatory in court after court for years (including by the most conservative U.S. Appeals Court in the land), the only real question now before the U.S. District Court Judge is whether or not Texas enacted their voting restriction with a discriminatory intent. If the law is found (again) to have been purposely designed to discriminate against racial minorities, the state could find themselves back under the Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance regime, requiring federal approval for any new laws related to elections.

The DoJ, now standing with Texas in their call for the case to be dismissed, offered an argument that the Judge didn't appear to be buying, Stern reports --- largely because the argument seemed to make no sense at all. Their argument, in short, is that the state legislature is working on a new version of the same law. Therefore, their intent while creating the previous version should no longer matter nor be held against them as a violation of the law or Constitution. At the same time, the state attempted to offer evidence that they failed to offer during the original trial, which turned out not to be actual evidence at all. Suffice to say, amidst a mountain of real evidence against them, the DoJ and Texas arguments "crashed and burned," says Stern, adding that "t was almost painful to watch!"

This case, "goes way beyond Texas," he notes, citing some of the responses from a plaintiff attorney for the NAACP after the hearing, and a Democrat that the state's attorney inexplicably tried to blame for the law. "This is sort of testing the waters for many other states, even possibly for a national voter ID bill governing all federal elections. This is just the start. So we're really at the threshold of this battle, even though it feels like we've been waging it forever."

There is a lot more in today's interview. Please tune in for it. Trust me. It's a very nice way to end this week.

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!... ---




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!... ---




ALSO: 'Liars and Lucifer and Jail', Oh My! - RNC Day 2 coverage w/ Jimmy Dore in Cleveland, and why he believes Trump is no worse than Clinton...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2016 6:22pm PT  

BIG BREAKING NEWS just before going to air for today's BradCast! [Link to complete audio below.] The full, very conservative U.S. 5th Circuit Court of appeals has just issued a very surprising and very encouraging ruling finding that the Texas GOP's long-contested Photo ID voting restrictions are, in fact, a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act!

Moreover, a federal court in Wisconsin issues an order allowing those without GOP-approved Photo IDs to be allowed to vote anyway. And, Day 2 of this year's insane Republican National Convention results in the official nomination of Donald J. Trump for President of the United States.

First up, the very encouraging breaking news out of Texas, where the most conservative appellate court in America has just undercut one of the nation's most draconian Republican Photo ID voting restrictions. Conservatives had been hoping --- despite the lack of voter fraud that could possibly even be deterred by the law --- that the full 5th Circuit would overturn the rulings of court after court after court all finding the GOP law has both a racially discriminatory intent and effect. But it looks like it was not to be. The 5h Circuit's 203-page ruling [PDF] today finds the law in violation of the Voting Rights Act and remands the case back down to the lower court (where it had already been found both unconstitutional and in violation of the VRA), in order to find a remedy that may allow for something like an affidavit to be signed by voters who do not have the strict type of ID now required by Republicans to cast a vote at poling places under the controversial law.

Some 600,000 already legally registered Texans had faced potential disenfranchisement during this fall's Presidential election. That is now looking much less likely, even as the remedy still needs to be fashioned and the case could still go to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, even a tie there would revert the case back to today's very positive ruling by the 5th Circuit. In related news, a federal court struck a "critical blow" to the Wisconsin GOP's version of the same law. The court there has ordered that state to implement a program to allow voters without the newly-requisite Photo ID to vote anyway, by signing an affidavit.

A lot of legal votes may have just been saved today in those two states, as well as in others where similar laws are being challenged by voting rights advocates and/or considered for passage by other Republican-controlled legislatures.

Then, it's on to our somewhat-truncated (due to the above) coverage of Day 2 of the RNC in Cleveland, where the GOP officially nominated Trump as their standard bearer on Tuesday. Comedian Jimmy Dore of Pacifica Radio's Jimmy Dore Show and The Young Turks joins us from Cleveland with a report on his bizarre (if not totally surprising) conversations with Republican delegates at the convention. He then goes on to offer his own impassioned case as to why he, a longtime Bernie Sanders supporter, will not support Hillary Clinton this year, and believes that a Trump Presidency would ultimately be no worse, and perhaps even better for the country, than a Clinton Presidency.

Suffice to say, I disagree with my friend Jimmy on a number of points, despite his well-argued case, in our very lively and spirited conversation today. All of that and much much more in another fast-paced edition of The BradCast! Enjoy!

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

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Plus: NC suppression law back in court; TX spending millions on unlawful Photo ID law; NY voter purge data; Climate change death toll rising...
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2016 6:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the bombshell passage of Britain's EU 'Brexit' Referendum is shaking both world markets and politics. Is the rise of nationalism and anti-immigration sentiment in the UK a disturbing omen for the U.S. Presidential election this fall? [Audio link to complete show is below.]

Donald Trump certainly hopes so, as he's changed his position on European unity from just three years ago, when he was for it, to today, when he's apparently against it, now that he's running for President. On today's show we discuss a number of things that Americans can and should learn from both the dishonest politics of the Brexit vote and the way the election itself was carried out (on publicly hand-counted, hand-marked paper ballots.)

Meanwhile, back here across the pond, the fight to count votes from the June 7th primary in California continues, and the fight to keep (certain) voters from voting at all continues as well in a federal courtroom in North Carolina (No, Washington Post, Photo ID is not required to board an airplane and you should let your readers know as much), and in the great state of Texas, where so-called 'conservatives' have spent millions of taxpayer dollars attempting to defend their illegal, discriminatory and unconstitutional Photo ID voting restriction year after year in case after case. (Texit, anyone?)

Finally, we look at details from the unlawful purge of voters in Brooklyn, which came to light after the NY state primary in April. Were Sanders voters purged at a higher rate than Clinton voters, as Sanders supporters have been charging? We look at some of the actual evidence now in, which suggests otherwise (and as we've previously argued.) Plus: Death toll rising along with flood waters in West Virginia and in China; And Bluegrass fans lose a legend...

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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Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2016 5:29pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, new polls reveal Bernie Sanders far outpacing Hillary Clinton in head-to-head match-ups against all potential Republican challengers and public sector unions take a beating in the U.S. Supreme Court.

First up today, new pre-election polls from NBC/WSJ and PPP in both Iowa and New Hampshire echo recent national polling suggesting that, contrary to so-called "conventional wisdom", Sanders is more electable against the leading Republican opponents than Clinton is.

Then, constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser joins us to report on today's "brutal" oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case which threatens to gut public sector union funding.

Millhiser, author of the new book, Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, was at the Court for today's hearing, and the news is not encouraging. As he explains, the case challenges the federal government's allowance of "agency fees" charged to non-union members in public sector union shops to help defray the costs of union negotiations. That fee makes sense, since non-union workers must receive the same wages and benefits at such shops as their union colleagues. Non-union workers benefit from those negotiations, he says, since "workers in unionized shops on average receive about 12% more pay than workers in non-unionized shops."

"As a general rule," Millhiser wrote after today's oral argument, "the First Amendment does not permit the government to compel someone to say something they disagree with, and the plaintiffs claim that requiring non-union members to subsidize collective bargaining by a union that they may not agree with essentially rises to the level of compelled speech."

He tells me today that striking down the right to charge these agency fees "creates what's called a 'free rider' problem. If I get something, whether I pay for it or not, a lot of people are going to say 'Well, why would I pay for this when I get it for free?'" That, in turn, threatens the viability of such unions entirely.

Millhiser goes on to say: "It was pretty clear today that there were five votes that are ready to strike down these agency fee agreements --- and that's going to be not great for the future of many public sector unions."

We also discuss how an adverse decision for the public unions here may also potentially be used by the Right to go after private unions as well. "What we've seen from conservative movement attorneys over the last seven or eight years is an extraordinary entrepreneurship. They've been really, really clever in coming up with creative news ways to try to convince courts to implement their policy preferences," he says.

Citing both that point and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's new call for nine, incredibly radical (and regressive) amendments to the U.S. Constitution (which Millhiser describes as the new Republican governor's "plan to repeal the 20th century"), I ask why it is that Democrats and progressives don't show similar "entrepreneurship" in pushing forward their own agenda.

In response, Millhiser defends Dems and progressives by noting a peculiarity about this particular moment in history: "I think conservatives right now increasingly believe that the last 80 years of American history are illegitimate. They believe that our society has started to go off the rails and we have to fundamentally rethink what our government does. Democrats are now in the unfamiliar position of being the nation's conservative party. I don't mean in the sense that they are now to the right of the Republicans. I mean 'conservative' in the sense that Democrats are conservative in the sense that it wants to preserve the gains that we already have."

The result is that Dems are put on the defensive, instead of pushing new, progressive programs forward, as I argue in return, leaving voters less than clear about what it is Democrats hope to do when and if they are elected to office.

Finally, we offer a short goodbye to David Bowie and receive late breaking word from the the U.S. Supreme Court concerning imprisoned former Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL)'s final appeal for a new trial...Neither of those news items are encouraging either, unfortunately.

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: Attorney Ernest A. Canning; Financial journalist David Dayen...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2015 5:45pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Guest: Adam Briggle of FrackFreeDenton.com...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2015 4:53pm PT  

Remember that 2009 Dept. of Homeland Security report about Rightwing Domestic Extremism that Republicans forced the Obama Administration to retract?

We do --- once again --- on today's BradCast, particularly in the bloody wake of this week's domestic terrorist attack at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church. For some reason, Rightwingers don't want to remember that report, much less describe this week's attack at "terrorism". Wonder why. And so does Jon Stewart.

Then, speaking of extremist Republicans, the state of Texas has overruled a voter-approved ban on fracking in the city of Denton and declared such local control illegal. TX Gov. Greg Abbott actually says, with a straight face, that, in fighting for fossil fuel industry profits over people, he's protecting private property rights from the "heavy hand of local regulation." (Yes, he actually said that.)

Adam Briggle of FrackFreeDenton.com joins us to discuss how Denton hopes to fight the GOP's Big Government attack on democracy, local control and private property rights across the state --- ya know, all that stuff Republicans like to pretend they believe in.

"The industry went to the legislators that they have bought and paid for, and they wrote a new law for them to change the rules," Briggle tells me. "They just bought a new law that changed the standards by which you evaluate the constitutionality of local ordinances."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, on the Pope's climate encyclical and Donald Trump's global warming denialism...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/4/2015 12:18pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Republican Rick Perry and Democrat Lincoln Chafee enter the 2016 race; Maryland bans fracking; Texas and Oklahoma ban fracking bans; PLUS: Big Oil CEOs call for a price on carbon (but there's a catch)... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): EPA study: No evidence fracking has caused “widespread” impacts on drinking water; California Oil Spill Pipeline Had Been Left To Rust Paper-Thin; How to Thrive in the Age of Megadrought?; How Europe’s Climate Policies Led To More U.S. Trees Being Cut Down; 49 States Making Plans for EPA Carbon Rule—Even the Ones That Hate It; Minnesota Tribes Press Concerns Over Pipeline Plan, Wild Rice; Killing the Colorado River: Las Vegas' 'water witch' policy-maker promotes unlimited growth amid drought... PLUS: Adapting to climate change is going to be a lot messier than we think... and much, MUCH more! ...

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with Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen
By Desi Doyen on 5/28/2015 10:57am PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Deadly, record deluges in Texas and Oklahoma; Deadly, record heat in India; Heat-driven wildfires in Canada shut down tar sands oil production; Farmers make concession in California drought; PLUS: President Obama moves to limit pollution in the nation's drinking water, Republicans are against it ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Oil Sands Bigwig Declares “Climate Change is Real”; EPA plans temporary pesticide restrictions to protect bees; Did Texas Illegally Relax Rules on Coal Plants?; Oil co. wants to expand California drilling - critics point to new oil spill; Scientists Make Novel Attempt to Save Giant Turtle Species... PLUS: How to Green the U.S. Government... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2015 12:22pm PT  

The polling place Photo ID voting restriction enacted by Republicans in Texas has been repeatedly found in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Most recently, late last year, a federal judge found, after a full trial on the merits of the law, that the restrictive statute "creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose." U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos went on to note in her 147-page ruling [PDF] that the law also "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

Based on evidence from the state examined at trial, the law could serve to disenfranchise as many as 600,000 already legally registered voters in the state, not to mention more than a million eligible voters in Texas over all.

Naturally, Texas Republicans who currently run the state are appealing that ruling. Not because they have been able to demonstrate any actual "voter fraud" that might have been deterred by their restrictions, but because, with rapidly changing voter demographics in the Lone Star State, keeping legal voters (specifically, those that tend to lean towards Democrats) from being able to cast their otherwise legal vote has become a top priority for the GOP if they hope to keep their stranglehold on political power there in coming decades.

With all of that in mind --- including the existing law having been found in violation of both federal law and the U.S. Constitution --- state Republicans are hoping to make the law even more restrictive, and last week in the state House, the GOP passed another law to make it even more difficult for certain people to vote...

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




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