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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, November 29, 2022
We're Back! But Election and Accountability Season Never Left: 'BradCast' 11/28/22
Pillow Guy is running!; Special Counsel wasting no time; Trumpers failed in AK too; Lake still pretending in AZ; Callers have a few thoughts...
Sunday 'Once More Unto the Breach' Toons
And here we go again...into PDiddie's latest post-Turkey toon collection...
Turkey Toons
Gobble gobble! Our thanks to the one and only Pdiddie for a special holiday collection of toons to help you burn off a few calories!...
Debating the Merits of Garland's New Special Counsel: 'BradCast' 11/21/22
Guests: Former DoJ prosecutor Randall D. Eliason of GWU, Const'l law expert John Bonifaz of FSFP; Also: Does the Constitution disqualify insurrectionist Trump from 2024?...
Sunday 'Ready or Not' Toons
PDiddie's latest collection of the past week's most gut-busting political toons...
Now Back to the Quest for Trump Accountability, Still in Progress: 'BradCast' 11/17/22
Guest: Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote'; Also: Pelosi leaves Dem leadership; GOP secures House majority; Bass wins L.A. Mayor...
'Green News Report' 11/17/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
Crunch time for COP27 climate agreement; NASA says sea levels to rise a foot by 2050; Trump's 2024 announcement climate lies; PLUS: Climate disinfo surging again...
Recent GNRs: 11/15/22 - 11/10/22 - Archives...
2022 GOP Political Fallout, Blame, Circus Begins: 'BradCast' 11/16/22
Guest: Heather Digby Parton; Trump's running again; House, Senate GOP leadership chaos; MS moves to hand-marked paper ballots...
'Green News Report' 11/15/22
Biden pledges leadership, funding at U.N. climate summit; U.S. and China resume climate talks; Costly Nicole; PLUS: Dems Sen. majority to hold line on climate policy...
Sunday 'Red Wave' Toons
Surf the wave! It's Pdiddie's first post-midterms collection of the week's best political toons!...
The Guy Whose Data Analysis Was Right on the Election on Why Media Got It So Wrong (Again): 'BradCast' 11/11/22
Guest: TargetSmart's Tom Bonier; 'Red wave' buffoonery; Latest results from AZ, NV...
It's the Gerrymandering (and Corrupted Courts), Stupid: 'BradCast' 11/10/22
Guest: Redistricting expert, author David Daley; Also: How Fox 'News' dupes followers via smartphone; Latest Sen, House, Guv results...
'Green News Report' 11/10/22
Failed 'red wave' is good news for the climate; New reports warn of skyrocketing methane levels; PLUS: Mixed results for state environmental ballot propositions...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(If they are able to vote at all this year?) Also: Voter reg spikes among IDAHO women after 'Roe' overturned; Biden goes to pot before midterms...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2022 6:17pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Elections are not only about the future, they're also about accountability for failed leadership. There is a lot of that in Florida today, even if it's difficult to notice above the death, destruction and devastation following Hurricane Ian. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Current estimates for the cost of damage in Florida following Hurricane Ian range anywhere from $40 to $60 billion. And, yet, the state's two Republican U.S. Senators both voted against a bipartisan infrastructure bill last year which included some $50 billion to help states harden and upgrade infrastructure to better withstand events exactly like Ian.

Marco Rubio called the measure "wasteful". Rick Scott described it as "reckless spending". Each has received nearly a quarter of a million dollars from the oil and gas industry since 2017. Moreover, both Rubio and then Representative, now Governor, Ron DeSantis voted against disaster funding in 2013 following Hurricane Sandy, even though both are now seeking similar federal funding for Florida.

Hurricane Ian was made far worse than it otherwise might have been thanks to climate change caused by the burning of oil and gas that the state's GOP leaders have long promoted despite decades of warnings from scientists. Just weeks ago, DeSantis issued an order blocking his state's pension fund --- which invests billions held on behalf of teachers, firefighters and other state workers --- from even considering the climate risks posed to companies when investing in them. He described such considerations as "political".

Of course, the state's U.S. House contingent is also filled with GOP climate deniers who have long lied to their constituents about the dangers of our worsening climate crisis in of the state's most affected by it. Every single Florida Republican in both the House and Senate voted against the Democrats' recently adopted bill that invests $369 billion over the next ten years to wean the nation off fossil fuels and the greenhouse gas emissions that made the state's recent disaster so much worse --- and makes high-tide flooding in South Florida now a regular occurrence, even on sunny days.

Will any of Florida's corrupt GOP leaders ever be held accountable by voters for their deadly, failed leadership on these issues? That is, if voters are even able to vote this year amid the rubble left behind by Ian?

Rubio is facing a reelection challenge in November by Democratic Rep. Val Demings. The state's former Governor, Charlie Crist (then a Republican, now a Democrat) is challenging DeSantis. While the Dems trail in both contests according to pre-election polling, both are within reach --- at least if voters are informed enough to know who is on their side, and who has been playing them as suckers for years, as we discuss in detail today.

Also today...

  • The bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating Donald Trump's January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and his multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election has now rescheduled their next (maybe last?) public hearing for Thursday, October 13, following a previous cancellation two weeks ago due to Hurricane Ian.
  • More evidence of why you should ignore the polls and predictions in these UNconventional times before this year's critical midterm elections: voter registration for women --- especially younger Democratic women --- has spiked even in the ruby "red" state of Idaho following the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of 'Roe v. Wade', according to new data.
  • President Biden announced, on Thursday, the pardons for thousands of Americans convicted for "simple possession" of marijuana under federal law over the years. He called on Governors to do the same for those charged under state laws and has asked both his Health and Human Services Secretary and the U.S. Attorney General to finally consider rescheduling cannabis from its current Schedule I status, which classifies pot --- which is now sold legally in dozens of states --- on the same level as LSD and heroin, and even more dangerous than fentanyl and methamphetamine.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with news on Biden's visit to Florida after Ian; Saudi Arabia and Russia's plan to raise oil prices; the climate stakes of Brazil's upcoming Presidential runoff election; and great news from the great state of New York regarding electric vehicles...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Dan Vicuña of Common Cause; Also: Walker revelations prove GOP doesn't care about abortion or think it's 'murder'; Another court loss for Trump in stolen docs case...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2022 6:32pm PT  

What's left of the Voting Rights Act is in danger yet again, thanks to the Republicans' stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court majority. But this time, as we report on today's BradCast, the VRA has a new champion on the Court who seems to know how to speak in terms that even corrupt GOP Justices may have a difficult time ignoring. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up today, however, the continuing fallout from Monday's Daily Beast exclusive revealing that Georgia's Republican U.S. Senate nominee and accomplished liar, Hershel Walker, urged a girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009 and paid for the procedure himself. That, despite Walker's staunchly "pro-life" claims and campaign opposition to any and all abortions without exception, even in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother.

The blockbuster story has rocked GOP hopes of flipping the Peach State Senate seat currently occupied by Democratic Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock from "blue" to "red" in November and, if true (Walker "flat out" denies the allegations) reveals the former football pro to be an extraordinary hypocrite. More staggering than that, however, is the hypocrisy currently on display by Republican leaders who are standing behind Walker despite the well-documented reporting, revealing that they never actually gave a damn about abortion in the first place. As MSNBC's Chris Hayes correctly observed on Twitter: "I just want to be clear that in the moral cosmology of Herschel Walker and Republicans the accusation is that he paid to have his child murdered."

No worries! According to new reporting, Republicans knew about the allegations long ago and just hoped they wouldn't come to light before November. But now that it has, as we detail today, longtime GOP leaders, pundits and media influencers --- who have long claimed to be "family values" "conservatives" who believe abortion is "murder" --- have come up with all sorts of ways to justify their continued support of Walker because they believe they need him to win back a Senate majority next month.

Next: As detailed on yesterday's program, Ketanji Brown Jackson, the U.S. Supreme Court's newest Justice, made a splash during the Court's first day of oral argument in the new term on Monday, in her response to a rightwing challenge to the EPA's authority to regulate water under the Clean Water Act. On Tuesday, KBJ was spectacular once again during a rightwing challenge to provisions barring racial discrimination in voting under the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.

KBJ may have out-foxed fellow SCOTUS colleagues in her defense of the VRA, using an "originalist" defense for consideration of race in voting laws. We share the heart of her brilliant argument today, in detailing the Alabama case before the Court. Merrill v. Milligan challenges a unanimous appeals court ruling that the state's Republican legislature violated the Constitution and Section 2 of the VRA by creating just one Congressional District out of seven in the state, in which black voters would be able to select a candidate of their choosing following 2020 Census redistricting. That, despite the fact that more than a quarter of the state's population is black.

The Court of Appeals ordered AL to create a second majority-minority Congressional District in time for the 2022 elections. Instead, state Republicans challenged the ruling at SCOTUS, which, in February, put the lower court's ruling on hold until they could hear the case. (They also blocked a similar ruling in Louisiana, where state lawmakers were also ordered to create a second majority black Congressional District.)

In February, after the dubious SCOTUS ruling that would essentially steal a Congressional seat in AL (and in LA) for Republicans in the 2022 elections, we were joined to discuss it by DAN VICUÑA, longtime National Redistricting Manager at Common Cause. He joins us again today to discuss Tuesday's hearing at SCOTUS; KBJ's ingenious defense of "race conscious" Congressional map-making in response to AL's claim that redistricting should be "race neutral" despite mandates of the VRA and the Civil War's reconstructionist Constitutional Amendments that it is meant to enforce; and what the various potential rulings by the Court's corrupt, far-right super-majority may mean for the future of what is left of the VRA.

"What Alabama is seeking is a fairly radical change to the law and current Supreme Court jurisprudence," Vicuña explains. "It's essentially asking the court to allow a 'race-neutral' drawing of districts. And, as long as you are 'race neutral', it doesn't really matter if a community of color [is] allowed to elect their candidate of choice. They're basically saying the black community in Alabama could have no districts in which they elect their candidate of choice unless it was drawn in a so-called 'race neutral' way. It's a huge change, and I think Justice Jackson was rightfully pushing back in a forceful manner on what would be a significant change and blow to voting rights."

In her argument during Tuesday's hearing, Jackson went back to what the original framers of the Reconstruction-era 14th and 15th Amendments argued at the time of their adoption. And it appears to be the opposite of what AL is now arguing in court. In recent years, Republicans have claimed to support a so-called "originalist" legal theory when determining the Constitutionality of various laws. But now that KBJ has handed them such a theory for defending the VRA, it will be interesting to see if she helps to peel off enough rightwing Justices to stave off this latest attack on the nation's critical voter protection law.

Finally today, there was another procedural win handed down to the Dept. of Justice from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the criminal investigation of Donald Trump's theft of thousands of documents retrieved by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago in August...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Walker, Georgia Hypocrite...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2022 6:30pm PT  

It's another 10-pound show in another 5-pound BradCast today. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the many stories covered...

  • A state police detective in Michigan, according to email obtained by Reuters, recommends criminal charges be brought against Stephanie Scott, a Republican Michigan township clerk, for yet another breach of yet another voting tabulator and for allegedly giving a database of confidential voter data to a fellow 2020 election conspiracist. The media outlet reports there have been at least 18 similar breaches or attempted breaches of voting systems across the country by sore loser election deniers, including 12 in MI alone. Separately, a state Special Prosecutor is currently investigating nine people "for an alleged conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to voting equipment in a case that involves alleged breaches across the state." One of those under investigation is the GOP's Attorney General nominee Matt DePerno.
  • Speaking of 2020 election conspiracists, pillow salesman Mike Lindell's petition to the U.S. Supreme Court was rejected on Monday. He was seeking to challenge one of two defamation suits filed against him by a voting machine company, in this case, Dominion, which he baselessly accused of helping to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump. Lindell had been hoping to change long-standing federal law regarding defamation suits brought by public figures. SCOTUS rejected him. So the previous ruling in the matter, by a Trump-appointed federal District Court judge in D.C., means that Dominion's $1.3 defamation suit against Lindell may now move forward to discovery and trial. (Along with several other defamation lawsuits against a bunch of Lindell's fellow GOP election fraudsters and rightwing media outlets.)
  • Speaking of SCOTUS, Monday was the first day of their new term. It included oral argument in a case challenging the EPA's authority to regulate the waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act. It was also the first oral argument to feature the Court's newest member, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. By all reports and audio evidence, she kicked ass. We detail the case and explain KBJ's awesome first day performance.
  • Speaking of asses, Donald Trump filed an emergency request to SCOTUS on Tuesday, seeking their intervention in his dispute over hundreds of pages of stolen documents marked as classified that were retrieved by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago as part of the DoJ's criminal probe into the former President's apparent violations of the Espionage Act and other federal statutes. Trump's filing comes just days after a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (featuring two Trump appointees), dismembered a lower court ruling by another Trump judge who is corruptly attempting to stall the investigation with her appointment of a Special Master to review the documents in question.
  • Next up, the pathetic story that broke over the last 24 hours regarding Republican U.S. Senate nominee, former football hero and seemingly mentally unstable liar, Herschel Walker. He is running to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia next month. On Monday night, The Daily Beast's Roger Sollenberger reported that Walker --- who is running, in no small part, on claims to oppose abortion in every instance, without exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother (which he called "excuses") --- paid for a girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009. Sollenberger appears to, literally, have the receipts to prove it. But, even as Walker was flatly denying the charges on Fox "News" on Monday night and vowing to sue The Daily Beast for defamation, one of his adult children lit up a Twitter storm with an astonishing rant, characterizing his father as a liar and hypocrite and anything but a "family man." Christian Walker charged, among many other things, that his father committed "atrocities" against his mom. She charged years ago, on CNN, that Walker held a gun to her head "and said he was gonna blow my brains out." Incredibly enough, prior to the hectic revelations of the last 24 hours, and despite a long list of proven lies told by Walker, the GOP nominee was virtually tied in pre-election polling with Warnock in GA, for reasons that, as we discuss, are difficult to even fathom.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with updates on Hurricane Ian's catastrophic damage and death toll in Florida; Biden's visit to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Fiona; and the SCOTUS case heard on Monday challenging the EPA's power to enforce the Clean Water Act...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Craig Holman of Public Citizen; Also: Ian's death toll cracks 100; Biden in Puerto Rico after Fiona; Putin's failures; Brazil's election lessons for upcoming U.S. midterms...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2022 6:29pm PT  

With unspeakable devastation from Florida to Ukraine, the stakes couldn't be higher for our upcoming midterm elections. We cover all of that on today's BradCast, even while tending to some long overdue accountability and grotesque conflicts of interest in Congress. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The horrifying death toll from last week's climate change-fueled Hurricane Ian continues to rise. More than 100 were confirmed dead in Florida alone as of airtime. That number is likely to keep growing, along with the growing questions about why state officials did not call for evacuations before they finally did. Put those questions into the same file that may explain the state's years of climate crisis denial and its now collapsing insurance industry.

At the same time, corrupt authoritarian regimes elsewhere are similarly ill-serving their citizens. We get caught up a bit today on Russia's sham referendums and unlawful annexation of four regions in eastern Ukraine last week. That, as Russia's military offensive continues to collapse and lose ground to Ukrainians defending their sovereign homeland; as Vladimir Putin faces growing unrest after announcing the forced draft of hundreds of thousands of Russians; and as he continues to threaten the use of nuclear weapons as his political and military fortunes devolve.

Then, we move to Brazil, where far-right President Jair Bolsonaro lost in the first round of voting on Sunday to the nation's former leftist President known to the people simply as "Lula". While Lula defeated Bolsonaro over the weekend, neither candidate received the votes necessary to avoid a run-off later this month. Lula's victory was much narrower than expected based on pre-election polling showing that he was likely to defeat Bolsonaro by about 14 points. He won by just less than 6 points in what should serve as another object lesson for U.S. voters before our own critical midterm elections in just 35 days.

Next, we're joined by longtime government affairs and ethics lobbyist CRAIG HOLMAN of Public Citizen to discuss the Combatting Financial Conflicts of Interest Act that he had hoped to see passed in the House before next month's midterms. Holman helped shepherd passage of 2012's STOCK Act. It was hoped that the decade old measure --- requiring immediate disclosure of stock trades by members of Congress and ending their exemption from insider trading laws --- would shame members into avoid conflicts of interest when trading stocks in companies which they also oversaw in Congressional committees.

As Holman details today, the STOCK Act failed in that regard for several reasons. As a New York Times analysis found last month, at least 97 members of the House and Senate, of both parties, continue to hold stocks in companies that they oversee on Congressional committees. But it is hoped that the new measure will end that as well. It would bar members and their direct family (spouses and children) from buying and selling stocks at all, and require them to divest their portfolio entirely or place such assets into blind trusts.

"Prior to the STOCK Act in 2012," Holman explains, "insider trading was illegal for you and I and Martha Stewart, but it was perfectly legal for members of Congress. And they were making use of it. There was one economist who came out with a study that showed members of Congress enjoy a 12% higher rate of return than the rest of us on the stock market. Which means either they're geniuses at trading in the stock market, or they know something that we don't know. Quite obviously, it's the latter."

While the STOCK Act did reduce members' trading in stocks by about two-thirds, he says, the other third "are still out there trading. They are sitting on the same committees and in their same official capacities overlooking the same businesses that they're buying and selling stocks in."

The new bill, however, would finally end those bipartisan conflicts of interest, and/or the appearance of same, once and for all. But, Holman also explains how the bill he had hoped to see passed by both chambers before this year's midterms was derailed last week He tells us whodunnit and how he hopes to see the measure adopted nonetheless in the lame duck session after the elections. Here's hoping!

Does Holman have any concerns that this new law would prevent qualified folks from running for Congress in the first place? "Not on my end," he responds. "That is one argument that you always run into. But, quite frankly, if you've got a huge financial conflict of interest with your official duties of serving in Congress, I don't want you here. If you're not going to get rid of that conflict of interest, you pose more of a threat to the integrity of our legislative process, no matter how competent you are."

Finally, President Biden visited Puerto Rico on Monday in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Fiona (the storm that took out power across the island, yet again, just two weeks before Ian's devastation in Florida). He didn't throw paper towels at residents, as the former guy did following Hurricane Maria, though he did vow to help get their infrastructure back up and hardened to withstand many more of these storms that will be coming their way as the climate crisis worsens. We share some of Biden's remarks today...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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: Thomas Frank of E&E News; Also: DeSantis suddenly supports federal disaster aid; Big Oil exposed (again) as liars...
By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2022 5:55pm PT  

Even before Hurricane Ian devastated the state, Florida's insurance industry was collapsing. As discussed on today's BradCast, decades of climate denialism by the Republicans who run the state hasn't helped. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to have a very different perspective on federal hurricane disaster aid than he did while a freshman in Congress in 2013, when he was an adamant "no" vote on sending federal aid dollars to New York and New Jersey after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. He also seems to have a different opinion of President Biden than he did just a week or so ago, when the ambitious GOP Presidential hopeful was threatening to use state taxpayer dollars to fly undocumented immigrants to Biden's home in Delaware. Suddenly, the DeSantis swagger is gone. At least for now, as the Sunshine State Guv has little choice after Ian but to crawl hat in hand to the same federal government he has pretended to abhor for political benefit.

But that's not DeSantis' only problem. As our guest today, THOMAS FRANK, longtime climate change impact journalist at E&E News, explains, the insurance industry in Florida has been in big trouble for some time. Major insurers left the state after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and six of the regional mom and pop outfits who took their place have gone insolvent over the past year alone.

"There's not the kind of robust, private sector [in the insurance industry] you have really everywhere else in the country," Frank tells me today. "What happened the last few days is going to make a bad situation --- pick your adjective --- horrendous. The truth is nobody knows exactly how bad it's going to be, because that's going to take weeks, months to figure out as people try to start filing claims and so forth. But I don't anyone thinks it's going to be anything but bad."

Frank has been reporting on --- and warning about --- the state's failing insurance industry long before Ian may have finished it off. Premiums for homeowners insurance cost about 3 times more than the national average and, at the same time, Florida's Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-backed insurer of last resort, has been under-pricing homeowner policies for years, he says. They are unlikely to have enough money to pay out the claims that will soon come flooding in.

Moreover, homeowner policies don't cover flood insurance. That's left to a federal government program and most Floridians who have flood coverage live on the coast, even as hundreds of thousands of homeowners who have been flooded out this week live nowhere near it. They are unlikely to be insured for flooding at all.

As Frank writes today at E&E, "Hurricane Ian is expect to financially ruin countless people" in the state, including both homeowners and insurers. As he wrote yesterday at Politico, "Profit drove a 30-year boom" in the state, particularly near the coast, where the population has doubled or tripled amid a building boom in recent years, despite warnings from climate experts about sea rise and the intensification of hurricanes. "Ian smashed" that boom "in a day," writes Frank.

This, in a state controlled by climate change denialist politicians who have gone so far as to ban the use of the phrase "climate change" in state reports, and where DeSantis, as recently as last month, began an effort to bar the state's pension fund from even considering environmental factors when investing billions of dollars belonging to teachers, firefighters and other state workers.

Please tune in for today's enlightening conversation.

Finally today, Democrats in the House Oversight Committee recently obtained and released a trove of internal documents from fossil fuel industry insiders from ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP. The communications reveal that Big Oil execs, staffers and lobbyists admit to "gaslighting" the public regarding their public claims to be fighting against the climate crisis. (Who could have guessed it?!) For example, while Shell has publicly claimed they are working toward "net-zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a missive to employees in 2020 instructs them to never "imply, suggest, or leave it open for possible misinterpretation that (net zero) is a Shell goal or target," adding that the company has "no immediate plans to move to a net-zero emissions portfolio" over the next 10 to 20 years.

Republicans on the House Committee are furious that their friends and campaign donors have been exposed (again) as liars. And the companies argue the Committee's selective release of documents doesn't offer a full picture of their very very concerned stance on the climate crisis. So, as a public service, we close today with a new ad from Chevron that may help clear the air a bit. You're welcome!

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Guest: Nicole Sandler from Florida; Also: Election tampering charges for Michigan pollworker; Bad days in court for Powell, Dobbs and Fox 'News'; Trump's corrupt Mar-a-Lago judge strikes again...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2022 5:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we try to keep up with the damage caused both by Hurricane Ian and by the former President's team of fraudsters. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

We begin with a quick update on the still-unfolding devastation of Ian in Florida. After having crossed back into the Atlantic, the storm has gained strength and hurricane status again. It is now aiming for another landfall, this time in South Carolina on Friday. After that, we check in with an old friend who rode the storm out this week in the Sunshine State.

We're joined today from southeast Florida by NICOLE SANDLER of The Nicole Sandler Show --- and, too-occasionally, of The BradCast, where she is kind enough to serve as our guest host from time to time. Nicole tells us she "got really lucky" this time, as she lives in one of the few areas of Florida which wasn't pummeled by a direct hit from Ian, though she reports it still got very wet and windy even where she is.

Naturally, in addition to the weather, we discussed the politics --- including the climate change politics (or, more aptly, the climate change denialist politics) --- of Florida Republicans like Gov. Ron DeSantis, who famously voted against federal aid for Superstorm Sandy when he first arrived as a freshman Congressman in 2013 "before Donald Trump plucked him from the back-bench of Congress where he wallowed in obscurity." What impact will Ian have on DeSantis' re-election hopes against his Democratic challenger this year, former Gov. Charlie Crist? It's too early to say, she notes, but "at least he's not bad-mouthing the President as he takes the money that President Biden has been so freely offering."

And what of Rep. Val Demings' challenge for Florida's U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Marco Rubio? There is, of course, much to discuss with our old friend today, including the seven Republican U.S. House Members and one U.S. Senator from Florida who have, collectively, accepted more than a million dollars from fossil fuel industry donors, as they try to block the Securities and Exchange Commission from requiring public companies to reveal the financial risks that our climate crisis now poses to their businesses. DeSantis himself, whose own re-election campaign has taken more than $800,000 from the industry, has even gone so far, according to The Lever today, to "spearhead an initiative to bar his state from considering environmental factors such as climate risks in its investment of billions of dollars of retirement savings of teachers, firefighters, and other government workers."

Will this week's climate change-intensified storm change those politics in any way?

Then, from keeping up with Ian, we try to keep up with the attempts at legal accountability for Donald Trump's merry band of GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters. Among our related stories on that today...

  • The election worker in Michigan who was charged this week with tampering with voting equipment after he was seen inserting a USB drive into an electronic pollbook system at the polls during the state's August primary.
  • Disgraced trump attorney Sidney Powell saw her counter-suit against Dominion Voting Systems tossed by a Trump-appointed federal judge on Wednesday. Dominion is suing Powell in a $1.3 billion defamation suit. The company's complaint is moving forward. Powell's counter-complaint, as of Wednesday, is not.
  • And, a federal judge (in this case, one appointed by Ronald Reagan), ruled that a defamation lawsuit against Fox "News" and its former host Lou Dobbs may move forward to the discovery phase. This week, the judge rejected a motion by Fox and Dobbs to toss the case filed against them by a Venezuelan businessman who Dobbs had accused of executing an "electoral 9/11" in 2020, falsely charging the man was somehow linked to Hezbollah and somehow rigged voting systems from both Smartmatic and Dominion to steal the election from Trump.

Next, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more on the widespread damage and records smashed by the climate change-fueled Hurricane Ian; a legislative crash and burn for Sen. Joe Manchin this week; a new criminal probe for CA's largest and most corrupt power utility; and the mysterious breaches of the Russian natural gas pipelines to Germany.

Finally, as if that's all not enough, some breaking news at the end of today's show. The wildly corrupt Trump-appointed judge overseeing the former President's attempt to quash the DoJ's criminal probe investigating thousands of documents he stole from the White House and stored at Mar-a-Lago, issued another insane ruling in Trump's favor. This time, she overruled the Special Master --- the chosen by Trump and appointed by her --- who had ordered Trump's attorneys to offer evidence to back up Trump's claims that documents were planted by the FBI and/or declassified by Trump before he took them from the White House. Judge Aileen Cannon also pushed back the deadline for Special Master Raymond Dearie to complete his work until mid-December, despite Dearie's plan to complete his review of the documents in question by mid-October...

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Guest: Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: Ian storms ashore, blows away records in FL; Trump's expensive new attorney reportedly 'sidelined'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2022 5:41pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Our cruel climate crisis Summer continues, as we head toward a more hopeful Fall...maybe... [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, Hurricane Ian crashed ashore on the southwestern coast of Florida shortly before air time on Wednesday, as a Category 4 storm. It had intensified in record time, falling just shy of a Cat 5, after knocking out power overnight to the entire island of Cuba and its more than 11 million residents. As we went to air, more than a million Florida residents were already without power.

Given Ian's landfall near Fort Myers, it is hoped that a "worst case scenario", had there been a direct hit on Tampa, may have been averted. But that's small comfort right now. It is feared Ian may result in catastrophic damage. Not just from its wind speeds, but from a record storm surge as high as 18 feet and rainfall that the National Hurricane Center warns could be as high as 24 inches in some locations over the next day or two. The storm is now set to crawl up Florida in a north-easterly direction. On its current track, Ian will emerge as a Tropical Storm in the Atlantic after crossing the state and potentially make a second landfall in Georgia and/or the Carolinas toward week's end. Desi Doyen joins us for the latest available details and the potentially devastating climate change-related impacts for the Sunshine State.

Next, new polling finds that while Democrats are still favored to lose their current slim majority in the U.S. House this November, their margin of loss continues to decrease with each passing month. The latest midterm elections forecast from CBS/YouGov suggests Dems would fall short of a House majority by just 6 seats if the elections were held today. But, that's half the size of the margin predicted by the same polling outfit in July.

The U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision to overturn Roe v. Wade's well-established privacy and reproductive rights is, of course, still seen as the primer mover in this and other recent polling. That ruling has also been cited as the reason that Democrats have either won or increased their percentage versus Joe Biden's 2020 numbers in every single special election for the U.S. House since Dobbs. All of that in contrast to so-called Conventional Wisdom earlier this year that Dems were set to face a shellacking in the midterms.

Beyond snap-shot best-guesses from pre-election polling, however, we now have some hard election data to help us better understand the post-Dobbs electorate, as our guest today, TOM BONIER of TargetSmart, a Democratic data analysis firm, joins us to detail today.

Last month, Bonier was here to discuss what he had found at the time to be "jaw dropping" spike in new voter registration numbers following the High Court's controversial late-June ruling on abortion rights. He cited was he described as an unprecedented gender gap favoring new voter registration for woman in dozens of state after Roe was overturned. Moreover, as Bonier reported at the time, the increase in newly registered voters was not only for women, but for young, Democratic women. Nowhere was the spike more striking than in the Republican-leaning state of Kansas. There, in August, voters thoroughly rejected a state Constitutional referendum --- by landslide numbers of 59% to 41% --- which would have allowed GOP lawmakers to institute restrictions on reproductive freedoms and even an outright ban on abortions in the state.

Today, we're joined again by Bonier with new, similarly striking data based on how voters actually voted in that KS referendum, where, he notes, women accounted for 56% of all ballots cast. "Usually women account for maybe 51, maybe 52% of ballots cast in these elections," he tells us today. "Women accounted for 56%! That's a huge difference. That just doesn't happen in elections. I haven't found an election in Kansas where women have accounted for this high of a share of the vote."

Based on the KS data, he estimates that as much as 20% of Republicans there turned out to vote against the measure. "It wasn't that men stayed home. It's just that women surged in turnout so far above and beyond what we've seen in prior elections, that they accounted for such a large share of the votes cast."

His research suggests "we've been underestimating the extent to which this issue has engaged women in this election. Especially younger women." Moreover, he does not believe that this surge is being accounted for in models currently used by most of the major polling outfits.

"One of the biggest difficulties for a pollster is figuring out who is going to vote. Because if you don't have an accurate prediction of turnout, then you can't have an accurate poll," says Bonier. "But, when you have what we call an outlier election like in Kansas, where you just don't have a precedent for it, you're not going to find many pollsters who will do what they feel is going out on a limb by predicting turnout that defies past precedent."

He cites, by way of just one example, a recent poll out of Georgia where just 49% of respondents included in the poll were women, even though "in Georgia, on average, women account for 55% of votes cast. Women account for a larger share of the electorate in Georgia than any other state." Why would this pollster be so off the mark? And what does all of this mean for so much of the polling that many are following closely in advance of midterms just six weeks away? Tune in for his answers. We cover a lot of ground.

Bonier cautions, however: "All the different factors that were in place that would have led to a Republican 'red wave' election --- them being the party out of power, the gerrymandering, the voter suppression, the historical precedent for midterm elections --- none of that has gone away." He emphasizes that we are likely to see "two waves side-by-side." The question is how big each "wave" will ultimately be. Either way, he predicts, one or the other is likely to win by very narrow margins.

"I certainly hope no one is seeing this data and thinking that it means Democrats have it wrapped up and can sit this one out, because that is certainly not the case," Bonier warns.

Finally, as you may recall, last month Donald Trump was reportedly having trouble finding any legitimate attorneys willing to represent him in the DoJ's criminal investigation into the thousands of documents he stole from the White House. He finally found who reportedly cost him $3 million to be paid up front. But now, according to CNN anyway, that attorney, Chris Kise, has already been "sidelined" by the disgraced former President. Who could have predicted it?...

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Poll workers needed!; Ian threatens FL; Scofflaw TX A.G. flees process server; Congress nears Electoral Count Act update; Listener mail...
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2022 5:48pm PT  

We've got a grab bag of items on today's BradCast, as the critical midterm elections loom and a potentially catastrophic storm threatens the Sunshine State. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the potpourri of news on today's program...

  • Some listener mail in response to yesterday's lively call-in show focused on expansion of the Supreme Court and the necessity of electing Democrats this November in hopes of saving American democracy.
  • NASA scientists successfully fired a vending machine sized projectile last November toward a 560-foot wide moonlet orbiting around an asteroid traveling at thousands of miles per hour nearly 7 million miles away. They hit it on their first try. But, other than that, when it comes to things like our climate crisis and fighting infectious diseases here on Earth, scientists don't anything about anything and should be completely ignored, right?
  • Texas' top law enforcement official, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, was indicted for securities fraud felonies seven years ago. He has been dodging a trial for those crimes ever since. In the meantime, he's facing a whistleblower lawsuit from former top deputies charging he abused his office and a criminal probe by the FBI regarding similar allegations. On Monday, his state Senator wife Angela (the one he was cheating on with a girlfriend who was given a job by one of his wealthy donors), served as a getaway driver for Paxton after he ran out of the house and fled by to dodge a process server attempting to serve the state's top attorney with two subpoenas. Cause that's what "the rule of law" looks like in the Lone Star State. Paxton will face Democratic A.G. nominee Rochelle Garza during his reelection contest this November.
  • False claims of fraud in the 2020 election and threats against poll workers by Donald Trump and his flying MAGA monkey are resulting in a surprising number of folks signing up to be poll workers on both the Left and the Right. That's actually a very good thing! But many more poll workers are still needed to help protect democracy this year! Please contact your local elections office to consider becoming one!
  • And, speaking of protecting democracy, last week, the House passed a bipartisan bill to update the Electoral Count Act of 1887. That is the arcane and confusingly written law that Trump and the MAGA monkeys tried to exploit in hopes of stealing the 2020 Presidential election on January 6, 2021. A similar bipartisan bill to the one passed by the House with little GOP support is now quickly moving through the U.S. Senate. And today, republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell came out in support of it. That means the measure is likely to get the 10 Republican votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the undemocratic upper chamber. This much-needed reform to help prevent just one of the ways that Republicans could steal the 2024 Presidential election may see passage in the full Senate before the end of this year.

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Also: Disinformationists; Fascism rising; Hurricane Ian threatens disaster in FL; Callers ring in to fight about Dems before critical midterms...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2022 5:59pm PT  

It was another lively call-in show today on The BradCast, even with one caller accusing me of "professional, managerial class gate-keeping for the Democrats." (Okay. But, if so, where do I pick up my managerial class paycheck?!) [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to the listener calls, however, some important news items today...

  • Good news: Italy has just elected its first female Prime Minister! Bad news: She represents a far-right authoritarian party with its roots in Italian World War II neo-fascism.
  • Last week began with three enormous climate change-fueled storms simultaneously slamming Puerto Rico (which is still largely without power or clean water), Alaska and Japan. This week begins similarly, with three huge storms. One (the same one that hit Puerto Rico) slamming eastern Canada and another super-typhoon that spun up from tropical storm to Cat 5 in 24 hours before ravaging The Philippines. The third storm, Hurricane Ian, is now building strength as it edges Cuba as a Cat 2. It's expected to make potentially catastrophic landfall somewhere in Florida in the next day or two, potentially as a Cat 4. Exact landfall location is still unknown, but Desi Doyen joins us to explain how insanely dangerous Ian could turn out to be, particularly for the city of Tampa Bay.
  • Then, new polling from the Marquette University Law School, considered the "gold standard" for polling on the U.S. Supreme Court, finds, for the first time, that a majority of Americans are either "strongly" or "somewhat" in favor of expanding the the number of Justices on the Court. As you'll recall, the Republican majority Senate during the Trump Administration, packed and stole the Court majority, first by holding a vacant seat open for a full year (effectively, changing the number of seats from 9 to 8 in 2016); then by a blowing up the Senate filibuster rule requiring 60 votes to seat Justices for lifetime positions on the bench. They did that for three controversial far-right Justices who have since helped the corrupted Republican majority on the Court turn the Constitution and nation upside down by ignoring precedent, making up new "doctrines" from thin air, and overturning critical Constitutional rights established by half-century old SCOTUS opinions like Roe v. Wade.

    For many of the reasons discussed on today's show, expansion of the Court is --- at least in my opinion --- the number one reason for voting for Democrats in this November's critical midterm elections. Everything else --- codifying Roe's protection of reproductive rights into federal law, protecting democracy and the planet itself --- are all ultimately subordinate to the High Court. As corrupted as it currently is, expanding the Court to rebalance it is a must...even if many Democrats in Congress and the White House don't yet seem to understand that. Happily, a majority of Americans, across virtually every demographic sector, now agree.

  • Then, we open up the phones to callers on all of the above and more. With, as usual, a bunch of folks calling in to disagree with me, and at least one who correctly identifies the "Big Lie of the Left," that "both parties" are equally bad. They aren't. Not by a demonstrable long shot, as we discuss. Which, apparently, is proof enough that I'm a "professional, managerial class gate-keep[er] for the Democrats!" Who knew? But check please!)

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GOP election conspiracists have bad lawyers; Also: Garland's moving (and telling) remarks at swearing-in ceremony for new American citizens...
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2022 7:04pm PT  

If you're dumb enough to fall for the disgraced former President's evidence-free claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, you probably deserve whatever nightmares are coming for you. We cover at least three of those dumb dupes on today's BradCast. [Audio link to today's full show follows below this summary.]

  • It's been a really really bad week for failed President and 2020 election conspiracist Donald Trump. His hand-picked Special Master in the Mar-a-Lago stolen documents case has been doing him no favors. And, yesterday, Trump and his kids and his company were slammed with a massive $250 million fraud lawsuit by the state of New York which may end his ability to do business in the state ever again. And, just a few hours later, a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, including two Trump-appointed judges, unanimously sided with the Dept. of Justice in a no-uncertain-terms rebuke of Trump's claim's that the classified documents he stole from the White House somehow belong to him, and to the dumb and/or corrupt U.S. District Court Judge who facilitated his ridiculous legal challenge. And no, despite what The Former Guy tried to tell Sean Hannity last night, a President can't simply declassify documents with his mind. But, even if he could, as the 11th Circuit Court helpfully pointed out in their scathing ruling [PDF], the classified status of the stolen documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago is little more than a "red herring".
  • It's also been a really really bad week for pillow salesman and 2020 election conspiracist Mike Lindell. On Monday, a federal court in Minnesota denied Lindell and his company's motions to dismiss the massive defamation suit filed against them by Smartmatic, a voting system vendor. The next day, Lindell tried to get himself a similar deal to the one that Trump got in that destined-to-fail Mar-a-Lago lawsuit by filing a lawsuit against the Dept. of Justice, seeking to get his cell phone back. FBI official seized Lindell's phone last week while he was at a fast-food restaurant drive-thru, based on a probable cause search warrant. Lindell's own destined-to-fail lawsuit filing included a copy of the FBI's search warrant, revealing that the bedding magnate is being investigated for identity theft and intentional damage to a protected computer related to the breach of Dominion voting system software in Mesa County, Colorado by its indicted County Clerk, Tina Peters. Lots to explain here. We give you the full story.
  • As to 2020 election conspiracist and far-right Republican activist Ginni Thomas, wife of far-right Republican activist Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, her bad weeks may just be beginning. Hopefully. Four months ago, it was revealed that that she actively lobbied Trump's then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a corrupt Trump lawyer named John Eastman, and several state lawmakers in battleground states to help steal the 2020 election for Trump. On Wednesday, Ginni's attorney announced that she has finally agreed to give testimony to the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's multiple failed attempts to steal the election. It is unclear when Thomas' will be interviewed, though the agreement comes months after she had originally claimed to be eager to "clear up misconceptions" about her role in trying to help steal the 2020 election. In related news, the J6 Committee is currently scheduled to hold what may be their last public hearing next week, before releasing their final report at year's end.
  • In news that is far less stupid, though also related to much of the above, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland offered incredibly moving remarks (video, transcript) at Ellis Island in New York last week at the swearing in ceremony for 200 new American citizens. The A.G. had a difficult time holding himself together as he recounted his family's history of coming to America while attempting to escape the Holocaust. But it was his telling remarks on "the rule of law" and "the promise of equal justice under law" that may offer clues about what is likely to happen in the days ahead, at a moment when he is almost certainly deciding whether or not to indict a former President of the United States for the first time in history.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Climate Week unfolds in New York during the United Nations General Assembly. She has coverage of the UN Sec. General's call for the fossil fuel industry to pay up for its unspeakable damage across the globe; the continuing toll of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico; and some good news on the first climate change treaty in decades to actually be adopted by the U.S. Senate.

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Guest: Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel on that and several of the ongoing criminal cases elsewhere against the disgraced former President...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2022 5:31pm PT  

The first of many hammers to come on Donald Trump's years of lying, grifting and defrauding the American people and the world came down today in New York, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

According to New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday, the former President falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars over many years in wildly fraudulent financial statements that allowed him to unlawfully obtain bank loans as well as tax and insurance benefits he had not earned.

"Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to 'The Art of the Deal.' It's the art of the steal," alleged James near the end of her announcement this afternoon, detailing "astounding" financial falsehoods which Trump employed over decades. "There cannot be different rules for different people in this country or in this state, and former Presidents are no different. And so, today, we're making good on that promise, on our commitment, because no one --- no one --- is above the law," she said.

After a three-year probe, James filed a 222-page lawsuit [PDF] in New York state court against Trump and the Trump Organization, as well as his three oldest children, Eric, Don Jr. and Ivanka. The company's longtime Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg and its Controller Jeffrey McConney were also named as defendants.

The A.G. detailed dozens of flagrant incidents of "staggering" fraud in her civil suit. It seeks to "permanently bar Mr. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation or similar business entity registered and/or licensed in New York state" and "bar Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization from entering into any New York real estate acquisitions for five years." The suit also seeks to disgorge some $250 million, the estimated "financial benefits obtained through the persistent fraudulent practices."

Moreover, James said that many of the violations of law detailed in her case are not only civil, but also criminal She has now referred those charges to both state and federal authorities at the Manhattan District Attorney's office, the IRS, and the U.S. Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York.

Among the many fraudulent practices employed by Trump to inflate his self-worth, as detailed by James at her presser today, was his claim that his 11,000 square foot penthouse apartment at Trump Tower was actually 30,000 square feet. By falsely more than tripling the size of the apartment, he was able to value it at $327 million, far more, according to James, than any apartment has ever sold for in New York City. It was an overstatement, as Weisselberg conceded during his deposition, of "give or take" $200 million.

As James' office noted in their announcement of the suit today, Trump also lied about dozens of other properties, including Mar-a-Lago, which he valued in financial statements "as high as $739 million" when, in fact it "should have been valued at closer to $75 million."

But there is more. Much. All of which allowed the disgraced former President and TV star to inflate his net worth by billions of dollars in recent decades. We share the bulk of James' statement on today's show, in case you missed it. It was, at times, breathtaking.

We're joined today by accountability and national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel to discuss Jame's long-awaited civil suit in the Empire State and several of the many other ongoing criminal investigations bearing down on Trump elsewhere.

"It's important for people to remember that with this [case in New York], as with all of Trump's legal exposure, this stuff takes time," Wheeler cautions, explaining that Trump is going to do everything possible to stall the A.G.'s lawsuit, as he does with everything else. "So, it's not like tomorrow he's going to be put in cuffs by the IRS. This is his empire, and he is going to fight for his empire, he's going to fight for his brand."

Until James announced her lawsuit today, we had originally planned to discuss, with Wheeler, the DoJ's case against Trump at Mar-a-Lago, as a federal judge appointed by Trump has been running absurd and corrupt interference for him following the FBI's search at his Florida club, finding that he stole more than a thousand pages of highly classified national security documents upon leaving office.

"He probably still has classified documents lying around his properties," Wheeler argues, charging "the thing about Trump is he's never going to stop cheating." At least until someone stops him.

Right now, in addition to James' civil action on Wednesday, there are at least three other major criminal probes that Trump is being forced to contend with. Today was likely only the first shoe to drop in that regard. Stay tuned...

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Also: Beer shortage?!; More on DeSantis' migrant scam; Electoral Count Act reform news; Good (and bad) news for disabled voters...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2022 6:38pm PT  

Today's BradCast starts off with a show-stopper! Everything else thereafter, well, you'll decide for yourself. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

On today's program...

  • Since it's, apparently, National Voter Registration Day today (yes, that's a thing), we thought we'd celebrate by starting off with a fantastic new lyric rewrite video from the cast of Broadway's Hamilton. They've updated a song from the show called "The Election of 1800" to a new version called "The Election of 2022" to raise awareness of the importance of voting this year. Their effort is in partnership with Michelle Obama's When We All Vote and Vote Riders. But for help in registering to vote, checking to make sure your registration still exists (and is at the address where you actually live), and for information on the type of ID required to vote where you live, I recommend either the DNC's IWillVote.com app or the federal government's Vote.gov. Both sites allow you to check your registration or register to vote without having to give information to a third party. And, since merely voting is no longer enough, we are officially enlisting you to spread the word to others on all of this! Ask your friends, co-workers, neighbors etc., if they are registered to vote; help them do so, if not; make sure they get to the polls to vote by November 8 this year, etc. etc. Yes, it's that important this year!
  • There is a weird beer shortage looming! Why? Lack of carbon dioxide due to contamination at an extinct volcano in Mississippi. Yes, I realize that sounds bizarre --- especially given the deadly over-abundance of CO2 in our atmosphere, causing our deadly climate crisis --- but, well...tune in for the full bizarre explanation.
  • On yesterday's program, we detailed some of the apparent federal criminal statutes, such as kidnapping, that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to have violated when he shipped 48 Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio, Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts on behalf of the state of Florida. We noted that requests had been made to the MA Attorney General U.S. Attorney's office in the state to investigate whether laws were violated. But shortly after airtime yesterday, news broke that Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas Sheriff's office has opened a criminal investigation into the matter. Good news!
  • As to what actually happened --- versus what DeSantis is claiming --- TPM's Josh Marshall has been trying to do some digging, after first noting that the initial story "Doesn't Add Up". Why did DeSantis hunt down migrants in Texas seeking asylum to entice (with false promises) to go to Massachusetts? Are there no migrants in Florida that could have been similarly abused, since the Florida state legislature has set allocated some $12 million to use to transport migrants out of the state (as opposed to out of the state of Texas)?! Who is this mysterious "Perla" character who has been identified as having recruited the migrants and organized luxury corporate jets to fly theme to MA? And, though the Florida Governor and Presidential hopeful is refusing to offer specifics, what clues can be gleaned about all of this from some of the statements that he has made, referencing a "contractor" or "vendor" who seems to have been hired for all of this, rather than government workers. In other words, what the hell is really going on here?
  • Then, in some election law related news today, the House January 6 Select Committee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) and committee member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) detailed proposed reforms to the Electoral Count Act, over the weekend. The Committee, they explain, hopes to make it more difficult in the future to steal elections via the Electoral College, as Donald Trump attempted to do on January 6, 2021. The new measure, officially introduced by the Committee in the House on Monday, is called the Presidential Election Reform Act. It would clarify the role of the Vice President on January 6 as purely ministerial; increase the number of Representative and Senators required to challenge any state's Electoral College votes; offer legal options to Presidential candidates in the event that a state fails to certify its Electoral Votes (as a number of GOP candidates for Governor and Sec. of State this year have said they would have done in 2020, had they been in office at the time); and prevents state legislatures from changing the rules for determining election results after the election has already started. The House measure is similar to one recently introduced by a bipartisan group in the Senate, and would need to be reconciled with that version if both versions are successfully brought to a vote in each chamber.
  • Some good news --- and some troubling news --- for disabled voters. New voting restrictions adopted by Republicans in several different states have made it literally impossible for some disabled voters to vote at all without breaking the law. For example, a Wisconsin law had mandated that nobody other than the voter him or herself could place an absentee ballot in a mailbox. That means that those without use of their arms --- such as voters suffering from advanced multiple sclerosis or who may have been injured --- might not be able to vote absentee at all. A recent federal court victory in WI will at least allow disabled voters in that state to receive assistance when casting their ballot. But several other states, such as Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri, still have measures in place that could make it impossible --- and/or illegal --- for some disabled voters to vote at all in 2022 and beyond.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as three major storms made simultaneous, catastrophic landfall in Puerto Rico, Alaska and Japan over the weekend; a new report finds climate change made Pakistan's recent catastrophic flooding much much worse; better news in Australia where the nation, until recently controlled by climate change deniers, is finally moving to reduce carbon emissions; and, in Louisiana, a court has blocked the construction of a massive, toxic plastics plant in area of the state known as "Cancer Alley"...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Media still pulling punches on GOP authoritarianism; Queen Elizabeth finally buried, so will CNN finally cover the weekend's THREE hurricane landfalls?!; Plus, callers!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2022 5:49pm PT  

Well, that was a lively BradCast today. Especially the caller segment! Please tune in! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among the stories covered on today's program...

  • Despite a bizarre, very much Nazi-like rally in Ohio held by our former President over the weekend, mainstream corporate media are still pulling their punches in calling out the Republican Party for having gone full bore authoritarian at this point under their far-right MAGA cult leader Donald Trump. Democracy itself is now very much at stake in this nation, and we really need a professional media corps which isn't afraid to start acting like it, calling it out, and reporting it to the American people.
  • While the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth in Great Britain has received virtual wall-to-wall coverage from outlets such as CNN since her death 11 days ago, three major climate change-fueled hurricanes made landfall over the weekend. Puerto Rico had its power knocked out island-wide by Hurricane Fiona (almost 5 years to the day since Hurricane Maria did the same), with as much as 30 inches of rain falling catastrophically in some areas. In Alaska, remnants of Typhoon Merbok resulted in the state's most intense storm in 50 years, leading to widespread flooding across a thousand miles of coastline. And, in Japan, over the same weekend, Supertyphoon Nanmadol resulted in widespread flooding and power outages, while clocking in as the fourth most intense typhoon to make landfall in the nation's history. As Desi Doyen reports today, all of those storms were super-charged by our warming climate and all seemingly quite newsworthy. Then again, Queen Elizabeth died 11 days ago, so...ya know.
  • As you have heard by now, Ron DeSantis, Florida's ambitious Republican Governor, has taken credit for coercing 48 migrants from Venezuela, who were lawfully seeking asylum in San Antonio, Texas, onto to two chartered private jets to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Neither the people of Martha's Vineyard, nor even the state's Republican Governor, were notified in advance before the migrants were left stranded. While DeSantis claims the migrants boarded the planes "voluntarily", a brochure, obtained by Popular Information today, citing "Massachusetts Refugee Benefits," appears to have falsely informed the migrants that they would be eligible for "8 months cash assistance," "assistance with housing," "food," "clothing," "transportation to job interviews," "job training," "job placement," "registering children for school," "assistance applying for Social Security cards," and more in MA. That brochure, according to attorneys for 30 of the 48 migrants, is now evidence of a crime --- specifically, as former life-long Republican attorney Keith Barber describes, the federal crime of kidnapping (18 U.S.C. § 1201).
  • So, what will or should be done about DeSantis' apparent political stunt that actually appears to have been a pretty straightforward federal crime? Will he be held accountable by MA's Democratic Attorney General or by the U.S. Dept. of Justice? Callers ring in with their thoughts (several of whom, by the way, support DeSantis' crime!), on today's very lively program!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Ernest A. Canning on that and CA's big step toward socialized medications; Also: Trump's election theft effort on GA prosecutor's mind; GOP Senate nom no longer an election denier (now that he won the nomination); Patagonia gives away the company to save the planet...
By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2022 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The story of why Americans are still paying the health care price (in both blood and treasure) in 2022 for "free market champion" Ronald Reagan's 1987 Executive Order that gave away the tax-payer store to Big Pharma. Plus, a bunch of other somewhat happier stories. [Audio link to full story is posted below this summary.]

First up today, an update in the still-broadening criminal conspiracy probe by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis into Donald Trump's many faceted and failed efforts to steal the 2020 Presidential election in Georgia. With 17 known "targets" in the probe so far, including Rudy Giuliani and 16 fake Trump electors, the prosecutor tells Washington Post in an exclusive interview that there will be more "targets" announced soon and that she believes some are likely "facing prison sentences." She has yet to decide if the former President will be among them, though, with dozens of witnesses who have already been subpoenaed and testified to her Special Grand Jury in Atlanta, Willis says the Grand Jury should wrap up by year's end. A decision whether to call Trump in to testify --- or declare him a target --- is likely "to be made late this fall," she says.

Next, now that far-right retired Brigadier General and dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorist Don Bolduc won the GOP nomination in New Hampshire this week to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan this November, he's...um...re-evaluating some of his previous positions. During a primary debate with fellow GOP candidates before the primary, he proudly denied Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election. "I signed a letter with 120 other Generals and Admirals saying that Trump won the election and, dammit, I stand by my words!," Bolduc bravely declared to cheers from Party faithful. When asked about his position this week on Fox "News," however, after winning the GOP nomination, Bolduc hemmed and hawed his newly discovered belief after "a lot of research on this", finding the 2020 "election was not stolen" and that "President Biden is the legitimate President of this country." Granite Staters will undoubtedly fall for his pretend new "moderate" line, right?

Then, newly reformulated COVID vaccine booster shots from both Pfizer and Moderna, designed to combat both the classic coronavirus and several newer Omicron variants, are now available to the general public in the U.S. The White House and CDC are recommending Americans get the new shot by Halloween to lessen the chance of infection --- or killing your grandmother --- over Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays when a new surge is expected. (They also recommend getting a flu shot at the same time.)

But why are new COVID vaccines even necessary more than two years into the pandemic? One reason is thanks to the fact that, despite tens of billions of tax-payer dollars given by the federal government to private companies for the development of the life-saving vaccines, the private pharmaceutical giants who make them refuse to give up their patent and intellectual property rights to make the vaccines available to the world. That means new variants continue to emerge, leading to more infections and the need for updated vaccines and, yes, more profit for Big Pharma. It's a pretty nice deal...for them.

So, how did we get here? We're joined today by ERNEST A. CANNING, longtime legal analyst at The BRAD BLOG, who recently took a deep dive into a 1987 Executive Order by Ronald Reagan that gifted patents and profits that go with them to huge, for-profit pharmaceutical companies that used tax-payer dollars to develop their inventions. That, from the Republican idol who, ironically, once declared: "We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down."

The pharmaceutical industry may disagree, even if they won't say so out-loud. "No matter how big a company and how much money was poured in by federal government for research and development, the patent would belong to the giant company," Canning explains. "We've been paying, just in general research, about $28 billion in pharmaceutical R&D every year." Given the "value of those patents," he notes, "we're talking trillions of dollars in a gift, not just tens of billions."

He also explains how all of this came about (beginning with Jimmy Carter) and why its now so difficult for Joe Biden to merely repeal Reagan's Executive Order in regard to the COVID vaccines.

But Canning also offers some brighter news related to patent abuse by Big Pharma, which he also recently wrote about at The BRAD BLOG. In a landmark initiative, the state of California is now fighting back. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced the state will begin manufacturing insulin and will make the hundred-year old drug available for just slightly more than it costs to produce. Canning explains why that has become necessary as Big Pharma takes advantage of loopholes in Intellectual Property laws to bilk diabetics with outrageous prices for the inexpensive, life-saving medicine.

Finally, a private company that is --- shockingly enough --- apparently doing the right thing for the country and the world. (What?!) The family that owns outdoor gear brand Patagonia, headed up by its 83-year old founder, announced this week that they will be "making Earth our only shareholder". While the company will remain a for-profit entity, currently valued at around $3 billion, it will now begin giving away all profits --- about $100 million a year --- to two newly created entities, a trust and a non-profit, both devoted to combating our climate crisis.

(Any chance we can coax Patagonia into the pharmaceutical business while we're at it?!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Biden approval spikes, gets good econ data, helps avert rail strike; Trump fails to settle NY fraud suit; Feds subpoena Lindell in CO election fraud case; Special prosecutor to probe GOP A.G. nom in MI election fraud case; Feds charge GOP Election Commish with absentee fraud in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2022 5:41pm PT  

Apologies in advance for all of the encouraging news on today's BradCast! I'm sure things will be terrible and outrageous tomorrow. [Audio link to full show is below this summary.]

Among the many stories covered today, however...

  • Joe Biden's approval rating spikes nearly 10 points in new AP/NORC polling.
  • Retail sales grew yet again in August as unemployment falls yet again, finds new federal data.
  • Biden Administration hashes out last minute deal between rail workers and companies to avert crippling rail strike.
  • New York A.G. Letitia James reportedly rejects Trump's attempt to settle a fraud lawsuit against him, his company and maybe one of his kids (that she has yet to file.)
  • Pillow magnate and election denier Mike Lindell's phone is confiscated by FBI in federal grand jury probe of unlawful Colorado voting system breach.
  • Special Prosecutor is named to investigate Republican state Attorney General nominee Matt DePerno (and several other top GOPers) involvement in unlawful Michigan voting system breach.
  • Instead of committing election fraud crimes after the 2020 election, under the guise of looking for them, Republicans might have looked a bit closer to home. Rensselear County, New York's Republican Election Commissioner is the latest GOP official to be arrested and charged for absentee ballot voting fraud in a sweeping federal probe.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, including a new U.N. warning that we are entering "uncharged climate territory"; Summer 2022 clocks in as the hottest ever recorded; Transitioning quickly to clean energy could save the world $12 trillion; and President Biden touts his historic climate bill and our new national EV charging network...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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