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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, December 4, 2023
Last Month's Northampton, PA Touchscreen Voting Debacle a Dire Warning for 2024: 'BradCast' 12/4/23
Guest: Election expert Kevin Skoglund on why systems printed the opposite of voters' votes...
Sunday 'Democracy or Something' Toons
'Something' continues to gain a foothold in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
Biden Gets the Lead Out: 'BradCast' 11/30/23
And other examples of 'exactly what the government should be doing' -- EPA nixing all lead pipes; Int. funding firefighters, resilience; OPEC cuts supply; NY re-gags Trump; Biden's clean energy jobs, manufacturing boom...
'Green News Report' 11/30/23
  w/ Brad & Desi
'Unprecedented' heat in Brazil, South Africa; Commercial jet crosses Atlantic without fossil fuel; PLUS: Biden touts booming clean energy jobs, manufacturing in MAGA Repub's district...
Recent GNRs: 11/28/23 - 11/16/23 - Archives...
GBI Report on Team Trump's Coffee County Voting System Breach Continues Cover-Up: 'BradCast' 11/29/23
Guest: Lawfare's Anna Bower on inexplicable omissions in GA's 400-page criminal probe...
'Democracy on a Knife's Edge':
'BradCast' 11/28/2023
Warning from top conservative federal judge; Far-right victories in Argentina, Holland; Trump threatens use of Insurrection Act; Biden invokes DPA for climate, jobs...
'Green News Report' 11/28/23
UN: World far off track to avoid catastrophe; COP28 gets underway in oil-rich Dubai; PLUS: International Energy Agency warns fossil fuel industry faces a reckoning...
Fed Appeals Court Ruling Guts Last Critical Section of VRA: 'BradCast' 11/27/23
Guest: ACLU's Jonathan Topaz; Also: Israel-Hamas truce extended amid more hostage releases...
Sunday 'Emissions of the Rich and Famous' Toons
Ingenious rich people schemes (what could possibly go wrong?) in PDiddie's latest toons!...
Turkey Day Toons
A special holiday collection from PDiddie! Gobble gobble!...
Pausing Our Thanksgiving Pause for This Special 'Live' (Video!) Presentation...
Brad and Desi on The Nicole Sandler Show. Not suitable for children or adults of any age...
Sunday 'Thankful for Vermin' Toons
Weak strongmen trip their own traps in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
2024 to Kick Off with Long-Awaited, High Stakes Federal Voting System Trial in GA: 'BradCast' 11/16/23
Guest: Marilyn Marks of plaintiff Coalition for Good Governance; Also: More GA court news
'Green News Report' 11/16/23
Nat'l Climate Assessment: All regions of US affected; US, China agreement to displace fossil fuels, tackle climate; PLUS: Biden's new funding for climate resilience...
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...

37 federal felony counts for Trump; Calls for violence by top GOP officials, supporters; And callers ring in on all of it today, including many who are still duped by the world's greatest-ever criminal conman...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2023 5:52pm PT  

Thanks, kudos and apologies to our friend Tom Sullivan of Hullabaloo for the headline of today's BradCast (even if he smartly picked it up from someone else). [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We've had a weekend of experts and pundits on the TV opining on Donald J. Trump's Friday federal indictment [PDF] on 37 criminal felony counts related to Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation of Trump's theft of documents from the White House and multiple attempts to conceal his crimes. So it was very good to hear from a lot of listeners on the matter on today's program!

That, as experts warn that comments from Republican elected officials and wannabe elected officials could result in acts of lone wolf violence, if not an organized January 6th-style attack. Just some of those folks would include GOP Trump supporters like Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who described the attempt at accountability for Trump's criminal violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice a "war phase" requiring an "eye for an eye". And wannabe elected officials, like Arizona's losing Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake warning "Merrick Garland and Jack Smith and Joe Biden" that she and 75 million Americans who support Trump "are card-carrying members of the N.R.A." at the Georgia state GOP convention over the weekend.

Even Trump's own, wildly corrupt Attorney General Bill Barr scraped up the decency to tell Fox "News" on Sunday that the evidence in the indictment by 23 random citizens in South Florida last week demonstrates Trump is likely "toast" for having stolen highly classified state secrets belonging to the American people, not to the former President. One would think the photos in the charging documents alone, of dozens of document boxes fill with sensitive materials, stored haphazardly at Mar-a-Lago in a public ballroom, a bathroom, a storage space, his office and bedroom, would turn even the most braindead 2016 MAGA "Lock Her Up!" supporter against their cult leader.

But, alas, there remain plenty of disinformed folks out there who still actually believe Trump's preposterous claims belied by his own well-documented actions recorded on tape and by his own attorneys who documented his attempts to use them to commit crimes such as hiding the documents on his behalf and lying to federal officials about them.

And, yes, some of those still-duped folks (who admit they didn't bother to read the indictment) called us on today's show to try and make the case for Trump. A lively call-in segment ensued. Hope you'll enjoy it!

The disgraced former President will be arraigned on Tuesday in Miami at 3p ET, after which he will officially be facing a gob-smacking total of 71 criminal felony counts at both the federal level and in New York state. But there are still more felony charges to come before America's Summer of Accountability concludes...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Author, redistricting expert David Daley of FairVote; Also: House Republicans mutiny against House Republicans...
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2023 6:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Yes, some actual, unqualified good and, frankly, surprisingly good news from our otherwise wildly corrupted U.S. Supreme Court on voting rights and racial gerrymandering! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Last year, following oral argument at the High Court in Allen v. Milligan, a Voting Rights Act challenge in Alabama, pretty much all Court watchers and voting rights advocates thought that Section 2 of the VRA was in big, big trouble. That, after the Supremes had already gutted Section 5 of the Act in the Shelby County case back in 2013 and have been nibbling away at the rest of the landmark 1965 law ever since.

But on Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh actually joined with the Court's three liberals in a 5 to 4 majority opinion [PDF], upholding a lower court ruling by a three-judge panel --- including two Trump appointees --- which had determined that Alabama must rewrite its redistricted Congressional maps after the 2020 Census to include a second majority Black U.S. House District.

Early last year SCOTUS had used the "shadow docket" to temporarily put the lower court's ruling on hold without a hearing, allowing the 2022 elections to move forward with just one out of AL's seven U.S. House Districts having a Black majority, despite African-Americans comprising some 27% of the state's population. That ruling --- along with tea leaves read from oral argument last year and Roberts' history of working to dismantle the VRA --- led many to believe the Court would permanently allow the state's racial gerrymander to remain in place, effectively overturning the ban on election laws and House maps created with a racially discriminatory intent.

Alabama's GOP gerrymander had been challenged as a violation of both the Constitution and Section 2 of the VRA, after the Supremes' previous gutting of Section 5 of the Act removed the mandate for jurisdictions to demonstrate in advance that new election laws did not discriminate on the basis of race. Challenges under the Act may still be filed under Section 2, but only after the discriminatory voting measure has been enacted.

The Court's actions last year also allowed similar racial gerrymanders in several other states, including Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and elsewhere, resulting in the GOP winning a razor-thin 5-seat majority in the U.S. House in November.

Thursday's stunning decision, according to experts, could net Democrats as many as four or more seats in the House in the 2024 elections, and is likely to affect ongoing legal challenges in as many as 10 states.

Our guest on today's program believes that, "Gerrymandering and redistricting was one of the big reasons why Republicans probably had about a net gain of between 12 and 15 seats [last year] when you look at the various partisan gerrymanders and the various racial gerrymanders that the Court allowed."

We're joined today to discuss all of this, the details of how it happened, and what it appears to mean going by forward by a stunned DAVID DALEY of FairVote, where he is an expert on gerrymandering and author of two different books on the topic.

"I don't even know what to say," Daley explains at the top of our conversation. "I'm so used to delivering the bad news, and all of a sudden I'm a doctor telling you you're going to live forever. This is an unusual role for me."

But, don't worry. Daley is still able to share a number of concerns about several other cases with opinions coming soon from SCOTUS, despite today's unreservedly good news for voters, voting rights, and the future of the not-dead-yet Voting Rights Act!

THEN, with today's excellent news that may well result in Democrats regaining the majority arguably stolen from them by unlawful GOP gerrymanders last November, the current GOP majority in the House is busy eating itself alive. The party's far-right flank has mounted a mutiny on the House floor this week, in rebellion against Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's debt ceiling deal last week with President Biden to avoid the first-ever default of the U.S. Government. And it's all quite hilarious.

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the worsening affects of our climate crisis are now choking Americans across much of the east coast and midwest with toxic smoke from hundreds of record, out-of-control, Canadian wildfires blanketing much of the nation. We also cover the Biden EPA's long-overdue upgrades of Jackson, Mississippi's water system and the ecological disaster in the wake of the destruction of a critical dam in Russian-occupied Ukraine.

[NOTE: Today's program was completed just prior to the breaking news late today of Donald Trump's reportedly 7-count federal criminal indictment in Special Counsel Jack Smith's probe in the disgraced former President's stolen documents case. We'll pick up on that historically good news, no doubt, next week!]

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former AL Gov. Don Siegelman; Also: A smoky climate crisis wake-up call; Biden EPA upgrades Jackson, MS water system; Clarence Thomas delays annual financial disclosure for some reason...
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2023 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Amidst all the madness, we take a moment to revisit a continuing stain on the nation and what can be done about it, with a longtime friend of this program. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST UP, however, a few news headlines...

  • The cost of our climate crisis strikes home for a huge swath of the nation, as smoke from hundreds of Canadian wildfires chokes American states from Minnesota to New York to the Ohio Valley to the Carolinas.
  • Joe Biden's EPA announces it is sending $115 million to Jackson, Mississippi to begin repairing the city's long deteriorating water system. It's the first of some $600 million Congress has allocated to support long-overdue water infrastructure upgrades in the state's capital city, where more than 80% of the population is Black and drinking water supplies have repeatedly failed in recent years.
  • The corrupt U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has asked for another 90 days before filing his annual financial disclosures, following months of brutal investigative reporting revealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of his undisclosed luxury vacations, real estate deals and more with billionaire GOP megadonor Harlan Crow.

THEN, we're joined by Alabama's former Democratic Governor DON SIEGELMAN, who recently penned an op-ed at Washington Post with the state's former Republican Governor Robert Bentley. As explained in their piece, both men have come to "regret" overseeing executions during their time as the state's chief executive after witnessing, first hand, "the flaws in our nation's justice system" during their own prosecutions.

Siegelman discusses one death penalty case in particular, the 2000 execution of Freddie Lee Wright, which he says he is now "personally haunted by", telling me today that Wright "should never have been charged with capital murder in the first place. He was exonerated by a jury, 11-1 voted to acquit him of this crime. Then the D.A. came back and struck Blacks from the jury and got a conviction."

There are many other such cases, and he details a few of them. In fact, while AL currently has 167 people on death row, both Bentley and Siegelman write that "at least" 146 of them should have their death sentences commuted. Siegelman tells me he believes all of them should be spared from the barbaric practice of state execution.

He and Bentley are calling for several reforms of the criminal justice system, particularly as it applies to the death penalty. Siegelman details reforms he seeks for the secret Grand Jury system and the outrage of "judicial overrides" that allowed judges to overrule juries to issue death sentences and the lack of unanimous verdicts required for sentencing a convicted criminal to death.

Siegelman also discusses the politics of the death penalty, including during the time that he held the power to block executions as Governor. We discuss that awesome and horrible power as it is wielded by government officials today, even after all that we now know about the racial injustices of a Jim Crow era system that disproportionately targets people of color and has been found to have been exercised against innocent people in the cases of at least 12% of those who have been put to death.

"Here we are in 2023, still using a method that was devised after the Civil War as a way of thwarting a Black juror. The white power structure at the time had a unanimous verdict. But they said, 'No, you know, with Blacks being able to be on a jury, we can't risk not being able to put somebody to death when we want to, so let's go with a non-unanimous jury.' So that's where this relic of the Jim Crow era came from. It was purely a racist process."

"It is just wrong, certainly morally wrong, for Alabama or for any other state. Now Florida has even lowered the bar," notes Siegelman, citing a bill recently signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. "Alabama has a 10-2 verdict. Florida has an 8-4 verdict, to make it even easier to put people to death by this relic of the 1870s."

"Until I was actually convicted of something that didn't exist except in the minds of the prosecutors, I thought that our system would somehow or another work itself out and be fair," he tells me. "But at the moment that I heard the word 'guilty' from the foreman of my jury, I said a prayer. It was instantaneous, more like a flash, asking God to forgive me because I remembered setting execution dates as Attorney General. And I remembered those that came before me while I was Governor asking that their sentences be commuted."

"But it wasn't even then that I realized how perverted our system of justice is. If in everything there is a purpose, or in every situation one should find a purpose, it was as if God was telling me, 'Okay, Governor, you see what's wrong. Now go fix it.'"

NOTE: We have covered Gov. Siegelman's personal story many times over the past two decades, before, during and after his time as a political prisoner as he was targeted for prosecution by a corrupt Republican cabal, including Karl Rove, state officials, and a federal judge who was eventually forced to resign after being arrested for beating his wife. Alabama's Governor from 1999 to 2003 and the only Democrat to serve in every statewide office, Siegelman tells his story in full in his 2020 book, STEALING OUR DEMOCRACY: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Jack Smith appears! Trump indictment as soon as 'this week'?...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2023 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The whole scam seems to be collapsing in on them. Sad! [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

  • Trump troubles: Last week, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer was sentenced to three years in federal prison for unlawfully keeping classified documents related to national defense in his home. If he got three years for what he reportedly did, life should be getting very very difficult for what Donald Trump did when he stole thousands of pages of documents, many of them highly classified, upon leaving office, stored them at his home, and obstructed attempts by the federal government to retrieve them. A former federal prosecutor believes an indictment in Special Counsel Jack Smith's stolen document case against the former President could come as early as "this week". Given the Trump attorneys meeting at DoJ on Monday, and the apparent panic exhibited by Trump at his dumb social media site thereafter, that prosecutor could be correct.
  • More trouble for more GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters: Last week, longtime GOP fraudster and fake journalist James O'Keefe was sued by his own fake news organization for abusive behavior and allegedly ripping off the company, including, for example, for $150,000 in luxury car services. This week, Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips, the "voter fraud" fraudsters behind the discredited 2,000 Mules film and who run the phony, rightwing True the Vote nonprofit, were called out in a complaint to the IRS for allegedly violating state and federal laws in using the nonprofit to enrich themselves with unlawful loans, unreported lucrative contracts and other apparent self-dealing.
  • Kurt Cut the Wires: Since 2020, we've been reporting on Republican election officials unlawfully breaching, copying, and distributing computerized voting system software in states such as Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and, in most detail (where there is more coming soon, methinks), Coffee County, Georgia. Those incidents appear to have been part of a multi-state conspiracy overseen by disgraced Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and hatched in the Oval Office with Donald Trump and others on December 18, 2020, according to testimony given to the House January 6 Committee. But, in what appears to be a separate (if somewhat related) incident this week, a nonprofit group in Missouri is calling out the Director and Deputy Director of Elections in the very right-leaning town of St. Charles for breaking the seals on voting machines and cutting wires inside them to prevent what they believe is the ability for the systems to connect to the Internet. Tampering with voting systems is a violation of several state laws. And these yutzes, Director Kurt Bahr and Deputy Director Mark Parkinson, appear to admit to the whole thing. On video tape. Viewable at KurtCutTheWires.com.
  • Unequal justice: Last year, just before the primary elections in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis called a televised press conference in the Democratic stronghold of Broward County to announce the arrests of 20 former felons for voter fraud just days before the state's 2022 primary elections. The stunned and mostly people of color --- who were allowed to register and vote by the state --- were rounded up on video tape for what DeSantis declared to be unlawful voting as former felons convicted on charges related to murder or sex crimes. But, as the Orlando Sentinel reports this week, a State Attorney in a Republican stronghold, just months earlier, "declined to prosecute six voter fraud cases that involved circumstances strikingly similar to the cases later brought against 20 ex-felons by Gov. Ron DeSantis' election police unit and statewide prosecutors." Those cases were dismissed because, as the prosecutor determined, their fraud was "not willful"...just like the 20 who DeSantis had rounded up and arrested in Broward just days before last year's elections. Despite DeSantis' promise at his presser last year that there would be more arrests, there have only been four. The six from Republican Lake County are not among them.
  • GNR returns!: Desi Doyen is back with our first Green News Report since returning from a much-needed break last week. Somehow, she manages to get us all caught up with everything we missed and in just 6 minutes!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: New 2024 Presidential candidates; Accountability arriving for corrupt TX A.G. Paxton, conman James O'Keefe; Callers ring in on the debt deal...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2023 5:54pm PT  

We're back! And with good news on today's BradCast...whether the media have been reporting it that way over the past week, as we've been on a break, or not. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP, some notable quick news headlines today --- and some from last week --- which we'll undoubtedly jump deeper into in the days and weeks ahead. Including...

  • Cartoonishly corrupt Republican Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, is impeached by the hard-right Texas legislature.
  • Cartoonishly corrupt Republican activist and pretend journalist James O'Keefe is sued by Project Veritas --- his own ironically named nonprofit --- for waste, fraud and abuse.
  • A bunch of new Republicans entered the fray for the 2024 Presidential nod (the unhung Mike Pence, the disgraced Chris Christie and some guy named Doug Burgum).
  • One Republican, popular New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, smartly announces he's not running.
  • And progressive activist and academic Cornel West announces he's running for President under a third-party banner.

THEN, its on to the one story that made me wish I wasn't on vacation last week (well, a little, anyway.) And that's the story of President Biden outfoxing the GOP to take three Republican-engineered fiscal cliffs off the table over the next two years, all for the price of less than one, in his ingenious debt ceiling deal with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy...who got hosed in the bargain.

As you may know, we were all in favor of Biden avoiding negotiations entirely, invoking the 14th Amendment to declare the dumb Debt Ceiling law unconstitutional, and ordering the Treasury Department to simply pay our bills without disruption to avoid a first-ever U.S. default. If anyone had a prob with that, they could sue him --- or try to --- in order to force the global economy meltdown that would have come with such a default.

But Biden, and his lead negotiator, Steve Richetti, came up with a much better idea. In the bargain, they took not one, not two, but three GOP fiscal cliffs off the table for the price of less than one budget negotiation this fall. And it all would have been much more difficult if Biden had taken the leverage of invoking the 14th off the table.

In short (much more detail on today's show), the President outfoxed Republicans. Bigly. And where they had demanded some 18% in cuts to government spending, they got a measly 0.2% over the next ten years. In the bargain, the Debt Ceiling is suspended until 2025 and spending will largely stay flat over the next two years on a few non-defense matters.

Make no mistake. There are some cuts in the deal that suck. But nothing more than Biden would have been forced to give away anyway in order to avoid a protracted Government shutdown with obstructionist Republicans when a new budget would be needed at the beginning of the next fiscal year this October.

As British columnist Will Hutton correctly opined on Sunday, while "It is easy to write off President Joe Biden as a senile, 80-year-old duffer," the deal was "massively weighted in his favour" and represented an "extraordinary victory".

It's a shame that so many in the U.S. media --- on the Right, Left and Other --- seem incapable of reporting it that way, in order to properly educate the American electorate about what actually just happened.

We try to balance the scales a bit on that score on today's program before opening the phones to callers in the second half of the show to hear why they believe we might be wrong about all of this. (SPOILER ALERT: We're not!)

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, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Also: Is Biden playing 3-D chess with Repubs on the Debt Ceiling?...
By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2023 6:55pm PT  

The only good day in court this week for rightwing extremist yutzes was at the U.S. Supreme Court today, unfortunately. Other than that, as detailed on today's BradCast, it's not going well for them. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories of note covered on today's program...

  • Last year, the corrupted, far-right, activist extremists on the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out precedent and ignored the text of federal law to gut the EPA's ability to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. Today, those same corrupted yutzes gutted the EPA's ability to regulate pollution of our wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Once again legislating from the bench, Justice Sam Alito was even opposed on this matter by Justice Brett Kavanaugh who accused the majority of rewriting federal law and undermining the original intent of Congress.
  • 58-year old Oath Keepers founder, one-time BradCast guest, convicted seditionist and rightwing extremist yutz who shot his own eye out back in 1993, Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison on Thursday for the terrorist attack he helped organize on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. It was the longest sentence to date for the Trump insurrectionists who failed in their attempt to overthrow the government in order to steal the 2020 Presidential election.
  • This week, Richard "Bigo" Barnett, the 63-year old rightwing extremist yutz who made himself infamous among the 1/6 insurrectionists by posing for photos with his feet up on a desk in the office of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (carrying a "stun device" and a 10-pound steel pole he brought with him from Arkansas), was sentenced to 4 and a half years in federal prison. Sad!
  • Former TV news anchor, Trump Mini-Me Wannabee election denier and rightwing extremist yutz Kari Lake lost yet again in Arizona court this week, in what was her last chance to prove that the 2022 election for Governor was somehow stolen from her by Republican officials in Maricopa County (Phoenix). She not only lost again, but lost hilariously and is now, along with her attorneys, facing potential sanctions for their "heinous and profoundly harmful" claims that the 2022 election was "rigged", according to County attorneys citing Lake's multiple false claims, both before and during the latest trial, about the election she lost to Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs by about 17,000 votes last year.
  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his merry band of rightwing extremist yutzes in the U.S. House continue to hold the global economy hostage with their demands for massive cuts to popular social safety net programs in exchange for voting to raise the dumb debt ceiling. We've spent many shows in recent weeks discussing their dangerous threats, and the several ways that President Biden could fairly easily avoid a catastrophic, first-ever default by the U.S. Government without acceding to their threats.

    So why hasn't he taken advantage of those options, such as his ability to invoke the section of the 14th Amendment which declares "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law...shall not be questioned"? What explains Biden's various inscrutable responses when asked by reporters of late about using the 14th? And why has the Administration been hedging in their response to a lawsuit from a union of government employees suing them to invoke the 14th?

    Well, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell offered a sort of grand unification theory this week that could explain all of that. Matching up his theory --- which posits that Biden and his lead negotiator, Steve Richetti, are up to some serious Dark Brandon 3-D chess --- with the various public reporting available to those of us outside of the negotiating room, would actually explain some of the inexplicable comments from Biden and, frankly, his willingness to negotiate on the debt ceiling with Republicans at all after months of the Administration saying they refused to do so.

    O'Donnell concedes his theory is little more than a well-educated guess, based on his personal knowledge of Biden and Richetti from his time as a U.S. Senate staffer some years ago. But, if he is right, and if Biden can pull all of this off, it would avoid not one, but two upcoming fiscal cliffs at the same time, both the Debt Ceiling and the budget negotiations later this year which Republicans would otherwise almost certainly use to shut down the government as they have in years past in advance of next year's elections. O'Donnell's theory could even include ending the ability for rightwing Congressional yutzes to use the Debt Ceiling law as a hostage taking device ever again in the future.

    I realize that's a lot of "ifs", but, yes, all of that is actually a possibility based on all of the reporting on the matter so far, including late updates today from both Reuters and New York Times. It's all explained in detail on today's show.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with grim news on global heating and the rightwing extremist yutzes both causing it and refusing to do anything about it...

* * * SHOW NOTE: We're taking a very much-needed break over Memorial Day week from both the The BradCast and Green News Report. So it may be quieter than usual around here over the next week. Please forgive us, and we'll see ya shortly thereafter!...

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Guest: Former federal prosecutor Randall D. Eliason; Also: How DeSantis robbed freedoms and weaponized Big Government 'cancel culture' in FL...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2023 6:47pm PT  

After more than twenty years of rolling back corruption and bribery statutes, is it any wonder, as our guest on today's BradCast observed in his latest op-ed, that the U.S. Supreme Court is now "blind to its own corruption"?

BUT FIRST, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is announcing his 2024 Presidential run today, and corporate media outlets are focusing on his horse race with the disgraced former President. We mark the day, however, by focusing on several of the latest victims of DeSantis' Big Government weaponization against people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. That, by a guy whose 2022 re-election slogan in Florida was, laughably, "Freedom Lives Here".

DeSantis deserves credit for leading the way for other, similarly gerrymandered and GOP-controlled states which have begun to adopt many of the same, hateful, Big Government "cancel culture" statutes that, in Florida, have resulted in banned books, muzzled teachers, lost rights, vile threats against those who support freedom and travel warnings issued for those visiting the Sunshine State.

Today, the effort is playing out in terroristic threats against Target employees; an investigation of a Florida grade school teacher for showing an animated Disney film to her class; and the removal of The Hill We Climb --- a poem by Amanda Gorman which she read at Joe Biden's 2021 inauguration --- from a grade school library. That's just a sampling of some of the latest victims of DeSantis' cruel agenda during his tenure as Governor.

As California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted in response to Target's removal of items from its Pride Month collection under threats from the MAGA right, "Wake up America. This doesn’t stop here. You’re black? You’re Asian? You’re Jewish? You’re a woman? You’re next."

THEN, it's back to the seemingly never-ending, decades-long corruption of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and some similar, recently revealed corruption by Justice Neil Gorsuch and even Chief Justice John Roberts who, by and large, refuses to do anything about any of it.

There's an explanation for that, argues RANDALL D. ELIASON, George Washington University Law School professor and former chief of the fraud and public corruption section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C.

"Over more than two decades, the Supreme Court has gutted laws aimed at fighting corruption and at limiting the ability of the powerful to enrich public officials in a position to advance their interests. As a result, today wealthy individuals and corporations may buy political access and influence with little fear of legal consequences, either for them or for the beneficiaries of their largess," Eliason argued in a New York Times op-ed over the weekend, adding: "No wonder Justice Thomas apparently thought his behavior was no big deal."

Today, Eliason tells me, "the Court itself has contributed to a legal environment over the last twenty years, where, at least as far as the Court is concerned, many of the things that are going on are not, in fact, corrupt, because they've taken this extremely narrow view of what corruption is." Essentially, he explains, cases such as Citizens United v. FEC; United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers; Skilling v. U.S.; and McDonnell v. U.S. have all greatly narrowed the definition of corruption to largely nothing less than a very specific quid pro quo bribe where a politician promises a very specific official act in exchange for payment.

That means, as some on the Court may now see it, long-term relationships where a GOP megadonor like Harlan Crow has sponsored hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed luxury travel for Thomas, or purchased his mother's house, improved it, and allowed her to live there rent-free to this day, or even paying private school tuition for Thomas' grand-nephew, is not seen as "corruption" if it wasn't in return for a specific thing. Even Thomas' wife Ginni can receive tens of thousands of dollars in payoffs by far-right activists, and it's not considered corruption.

"These long term relationships, where wealthy donors can shower a politician or a Supreme Court justice with huge gifts over years --- that's okay. At least it's not criminal, unless prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one particular gift was because of one particular thing they did," Eliason explains, detailing how the Court has cloistered itself into a world where all of this is somehow okay.

"The reality of corruption is usually much more subtle that that, and pervasive than that. It's a long-term 'You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' kind of arrangement. 'I'll give you these fancy trips and gifts and things over time, and then when things happen to come up that I'm interested in, you'll do the right thing for me, and we don't even have to talk about it. We don't have to have an explicit deal, it's just an understanding between us.' That's what real-world corruption is like. But for more than twenty years, the Court has issued a series of opinions that have largely put arrangements like that --- like the arrangement between Harlan Crow and Clarence Thomas --- out of the reach of the law."

We've got a lot to discuss on these matters with Eliason today, including his suggestions for how Congress could fix this clearly broken and corrupt system, even as the Chief Justice suggests (inaccurately) that doing so would somehow be a violation of the Constitution's Separation of Powers doctrine. Ironically enough, if Congress finally does manage to legislate ethics reform for the Court and someone did challenge it as unconstitutional, guess who would get to be the final arbiter? "I wonder how they are going to rule?," quips Eliason...

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Proof that McCarthy and party couldn't care less about the debt or deficit; Also: Trump criminal woes worsen by the day; TX joins GA in new laws to undermine elections in Democratic strongholds...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2023 6:40pm PT  

With their policy positions wildly unpopular among Americans, is it any wonder that Republicans are now doing little more than lying about their beliefs, crashing the economy, using the government to funnel money to wealthy campaign donors, and otherwise adopting laws, where ever they still can, to prevent non-Republicans from winning elections? And those are their non-violent strategies, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories today...

  • A 19-year old from Missouri, apparently with a Nazi flag in his rented truck, is charged with "threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president or member of their family; assault with a dangerous weapon; reckless driving; destruction of federal property; and trespassing," after attempting to ram the truck into Lafayette Square across the street from the White House on Monday night. MAGA Republicans online seem to think the Nazi flag was an FBI setup to make them look bad. They may not have thought through that argument very well.
  • TAP's Ryan Cooper details the evidence that makes it plain as day that Congressional Republicans couldn't care less about the national debt or budget deficits in their pretend case against raising the statutory (and, almost certainly unconstitutional) Debt Ceiling law. If they actually cared about the debt or deficits, they wouldn't oppose raising revenue, among other things. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's fight, on behalf of his party, is not about debt. It is about using terrorism to crash the economy in hopes of hurting Democrats before the next election. They've been pulling this trick for years now. Perhaps Democrats should stop falling for it?
  • According to separate reports from WaPo and NYT last night, Special Counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed information from the Trump Organization on its business dealings with China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman since 2017, as part of his probe of the documents, many of them highly classified, that Donald Trump stole from the White House upon leaving office. Now why would Smith want to do that?
  • Trump appeared remotely in New York court today to be instructed by the judge overseeing his 34 felony count indictment in the Stormy Daniels hush-money case, that he may not share certain evidence from prosecutors over social media. He may not even view some of it without his lawyers present. A date was also set for the beginning of his trial, on March 25, 2024, smack-dab in the middle of next year's Presidential primary season. Should be fun.
  • In a somewhat more immediate Trump Criminal Accountability Calendar Item, Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis has now informed Fulton's Chief Judge that, other than leadership and "armed investigators", the bulk of her staff will be working remotely from July 31 though August 18. That syncs up with dates that Willis previously suggested indictments were likely to be brought in her office's investigation "into possible criminal interference in the administration of Georgia’s 2020 general election". She requested that "judges not schedule trials and in person hearings during the weeks beginning Monday, August 7 and Monday, August 14." So, yeah...mark your calendars. It may get hotter than usual in Atlanta this summer.
  • We would have covered the above story sooner, but it came out as I was being deposed last week in a lawsuit [PDF] filed by the Coalition for Good Governance against Georgia's SB202 voter suppression law. I am a named plaintiff in the case, representing media, regarding provisions of this terrible bill that unconstitutionally chill and/or otherwise dangerously prevent press freedoms and public oversight of elections in the Peach State. While my three-hour depo last week went very well, I believe, I'll hold more specific thoughts for later, as other plaintiffs in the case are still going through their own depositions. But, another provision being challenged by CGG in this terrible bill --- best known for blocking the distribution of food or water to voters waiting in line to vote --- is a scheme that allows the State to replace entire, elected, local Boards of Elections with a single appointee of the Secretary of State's choosing. That wildly undemocratic provision, supported by GA's Republican Sec. of State, Brad Raffensperger, is now being echoed in...
  • ...Texas! Lawmakers in the Lone Star State on Tuesday were voting on two bills that will allow local election officials to be replaced by someone chosen by the Republican Governor's hand-picked Secretary of State, and otherwise make it easier to interfere with local elections. However, these provisions only apply to Counties in Texas with more than 3.5 million voters. As it turns out, the only such county in the state that meets that requirement is Houston's Harris County, a now reliably "blue" part of a "red" state turning more "purple" by the year. If ya can't beat 'em...commandeer their elections and right to vote.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for news on a massive cyclone now aiming directly for the U.S. territory of Guam after spinning up from almost nothing overnight to a catastrophic category 4 Super Typhoon today. That, followed by our latest Green News Report, with important news in the war over water in the drought-stricken U.S. west, and some great news about sweeping, landmark environmental and climate legislation being adopted by Minnesota, now that Dems have taken control of both chambers of the state legislature and its governor's mansion...

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Guest: The American Prospect's David Dayen; Also, Breaking: AZ's Democratic Governor vetoes bipartisan election transparency bill...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2023 6:29pm PT  

At some point, the President is just gonna have to do the right thing and stop playing footsie with disingenuous, bad faith Republicans who are holding the nation's economy hostage over the unconstitutional debt limit law. Also, the Democratic Governor in Arizona has some splainin' to do on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

After a bit of breaking news at the top of the show (regarding a breakthrough agreement on water sharing between Western states on the drought-stricken Colorado River, and E. Jean Carroll suing Trump yet again for defaming her yet again), it's onto the dangerous negotiations still taking place, for some reason, between the White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over whether or not the U.S. will follow the law and pay its bills or go into default for the first time in the nation's history.

We're joined today by investigative financial journalist, author and Executive Editor of The American Prospect, DAVID DAYEN. He has been reporting on a lawsuit recently filed by the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) against President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, charging that they are already violating the law by "suspending investments into...employee retirement plans" as part of Yellen's so-called "extraordinary measures" to avoid hitting the arbitrary borrowing limit implemented by Congress. She has said that those measure will run out as early as June 1, before the U.S. won't be able to pay all of its bills without borrowing more money. "There is active and ongoing harm which will get worse if the ceiling is hit," the NAGE suit alleges.

At the same time, as listeners may know, we've been covering the text of Section 4 of the 14th Amendment which states in clear language: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts ... shall not be questioned." While Biden has made clear he is aware of the Constitutional option, he has said (not necessarily correctly) that invoking the 14th Amendment to follow the law by ordering the Treasury Department to continue borrowing to keep paying all of our bills would have to be litigated. That, he suggests, would take too much time to be adjudicated in court in order to avoid an upcoming debt default. Thus, he has been negotiating with McCarthy to find an agreement that McCarthy, as Dayen points out today, is unlikely to be able to even get his own caucus to agree to vote for.

With all of that in mind, and NAGE having filed for an emergency injunction in their lawsuit late last week, Biden and Yellen now have until June 6 to respond to the suit. Dayen points out, in both his X-DATE newsletter today and on our program, that Biden/Yellen merely need to respond to the suit by saying they agree with the plaintiffs suing them. The federal judge will then have no choice but to find in favor of NAGE, ruling that the President cannot pick and choose which bills will or won't be paid and that the 14th Amendment likely makes the Debt Ceiling law unconstitutional.

Problem solved! At least if Biden and the White House finally take this golden opportunity that has been handed to them. Sure, there are some nuances, as we discuss with Dayen, but, in general, Biden could use this to end the standoff in short order, before a global financial catastrophe --- which will only increase the U.S. deficit that Republicans in the House are only now pretending to give a damn about --- comes crashing down as early as next week.

"Here's your chance, Joe," says Dayen. "You have to write a response in this active litigation, and what you can say is 'I agree, and I am not going to contest this lawsuit.'" Once the judge receives that, Dayen explains, he'll have to say, "'Okay, I've got two sides in this lawsuit. One side says the debt ceiling is unconstitutional, and the other says it, too.' Presumably, the outcome, the ruling, would be that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional. Who would appeal it? There are two parties in this case, and neither are House Republicans."

ALSO TODAY: Last week on the show we spoke with Arizona's former Republican Secretary of State, now state Senator Ken Bennett, about a bipartisan bill passed out of the state's legislature last week to greatly improve election oversight, transparency and security by making digital ballot images of every ballot cast available for anyone to download and count for themselves in their own home if they wish. (A ballot image is a digital photo of each ballot that is taken as the ballot is scanned by the computer tabulators. It shows exactly how the voter voted at the time the ballot was cast and counted.)

The landmark measure, HB2560 --- which would make it much more difficult for the MAGA right to falsely claim elections are stolen --- was sponsored by Bennett in the AZ legislature and supported by the state's current Democratic Sec. of State Adrian Fontes as well. Thus, last week, when we spoke with Bennett, his hope was that the state's new Democratic Governor (and former Democratic Sec. of State) Katie Hobbs would sign the landmark transparency measure this week.

Instead, just before airtime, Hobbs vetoed the bill, falsely claiming it would "threaten anonymity" of voters and "open the door to the spread of additional election mis- and dis-information."

As Bennett explained last week on the show, he strongly disagrees. So does the nonpartisan election transparency group, AUDIT USA, headed up by longtime Democrat and ballot image proponent, John Brakey. They issued a statement responding to Hobbs' veto, calling it "a blow to efforts to reduce election conspiracies."

They charge the measure would "achieve just the opposite" of spreading "mis- and dis-information." In the statement, Brakey said that "By claiming the bill would compromise the privacy and anonymity of voters and lead to the increased spread of disinformation, the Governor has ignored the experience of multiple jurisdictions around the country that have been posting ballot images without the problems she claims would be caused."

The group is now hoping to win the one more vote in the state Senate and 9 more votes in the state House that will be needed to override Hobbs' veto. They will have about 21 days after they come back into session in mid-June. Stay tuned...

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Guest: AZ GOP State Senator and former Sec. of State Ken Bennett...
UPDATED: Dem Governor Hobbs vetoes the bill...
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2023 7:11pm PT  

It will be a landmark moment for election transparency in Arizona, argues the man who has championed the bill for years, as discussed on today's BradCast. Along the way, the longtime, dyed-in-the-wool progressive and non-partisan election transparency advocate has brought key allies on board, including the state's former Republican Secretary of State and its current Democratic Secretary of State. The big question, now that the bill has passed out of the legislature: Will the state's Democratic Governor sign the bill into law? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

John Brakey, of the non-partisan election integrity group AUDIT USA in Tucson, has been a guest on this program many times over the years. He is, perhaps, most famous for revealing that the silly CyberNinjas carrying out a so-called audit of the 2020 Presidential election in Maricopa County (Phoenix) in 2021 were searching for bamboo fibers in ballots in hopes of proving China had somehow stolen the election from Donald Trump in the state. (They didn't. The "audit" would prove, in fact, that Joe Biden beat Trump by an even larger margin than originally reported.) After years of reaching out to lawmakers on all sides of the aisle, Brakey's bill to declare digital ballot images as public records available to all was finally adopted by both chambers of the very Republican Arizona state legislature this week.

Sadly, just three Democrats voted in favor of it in the Senate, even though the state party included a call for such a measure in their party platform years ago. But Brakey was finally able to win over enough support to see the bill sent to the Governor's desk this week, with the support of AZ's new Democratic Sec. of State Adrian Fontes and the state's former Republican Sec. of State, now a state Senator and our guest on today's show, KEN BENNETT [pictured above].

Bennett and Brakey worked closely together to oversee the 2020 audit in Maricopa as Bennett served as a liaison to the state Senate.

For those unaware, digital ballot images are created by most scanners that tabulate ballots across the country. They are, essentially, digital photos of the actual paper ballot cast by the voter when it is scanned. The tabulator then uses those images to tally the voter's selections. The newly adopted bill in AZ, HB2560, would make all of those images available to the public almost immediately after elections. If so, anyone would be able, if they wish, to download them, examine and count the ballots to their heart's content.

As Senator Bennett explains today, the bill also mandates the release of the Cast Vote Record (CVR), a spreadsheet version of every ballot cast and the votes on each ballot, allowing the public to match a digital ballot image to its corresponding row in the CVR to make sure the computer tabulators tallied it as cast by the voter.

In addition to the release of those two sets of records, HB2560 also mandates that a list of all registered voters is made available before the election (those are already public records), and a list of those who voted in the election, greatly increasing transparency and critical public oversight of elections.

"Most of the allegations of impropriety or fraud that I and John Brakey and others have had to deal with over the months and years have to do with three major categories," Bennett tells me today. "One: are there unauthorized voters being allowed to vote in the system?" He says that's what the two voter lists will be able to tell us. "Another general aspect of criticism of the elections --- when certain people lose --- is, 'There had to have been unauthorized ballots injected into the system in favor of someone else.' That's addressed by the fact that there should be one ballot image --- no more, no less --- for everyone who voted. If the ballot images can be shown to match the exact number of voters who voted, then that goes away immediately."

"The third general accusation about stolen or fraudulent elections is that there are either mistakes or intentional manipulation of the machines, or something to transfer votes from one person to another. That is addressed by the Cast Vote Record being comparable to each or every ballot image to make sure they were, in fact, added up correctly."

While hand-counting the original article (as opposed to a digital photo of it), may still, ultimately, be the Gold Standard for democracy, this scheme gets us darn close in many ways. And, arguably, it may be even better in some aspects, in that it allows each and every individual in the state to count the ballots for themself if they wish --- at no cost! Brakey hopes to see a similar regime in every state in the country.

Bennett explains why he believes most Dems in the state legislature opposed HB2560, even though Sec. Fontes spoke passionately in favor of the bill during a legislative hearing earlier this year and, as Bennett notes, "this concept was part of the Arizona State Democrat Party state platform in 2012, no less."

"This is not a Republican idea or a Democrat idea," Bennett contends. "This is an election integrity idea that is supported by Republicans, Democrats and Independents." He is disappointed more Dems did not come on board, but offers an explanation for that on today's show, suggesting it was for political reasons, "rather than the legitimacy of the bill itself."

In fact, Jenny Guzman, Program Director at Common Cause of Arizona, has been whipping against the bill in misleading op-eds and emails to members, derisively referring to it as "the Voter Privacy Violation Act" and falsely claiming it will reveal how voters voted. (We reached out to her for an explanation of her somewhat bizarre critique some time ago, but received no response. A very good rebuttal to her claims is posted here.) While Brakey, Bennett and Fontes worked in a bipartisan fashion to modify the bill to answer to any and all concerns, Guzman has continued to mislead the public about it. Bennett politely described "a couple of her critical claims" as "just not true."

"Voting is a sacred and secret process," argues Bennett. "Once we have disassociated the ballots from any particular voter, the counting of our ballots needs to be a very public process, and it needs to be verifiable by the public." He argues this system will help prevent false claims by election deniers like Kari Lake, 2022's failed GOP candidate for Governor. "When that visual proof is verifiable --- by candidates, by regular citizens, by the media, by universities, by election scrutineers like John Brakey's AUDIT USA group down in Tucson --- all of that can and will be verified."

So, will the state's Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs now sign the bill into law? That is unknown, though Bennett believes "we've got a good chance" given her familiarity with the systems and issues at hand as the state's previous Secretary of State before becoming Governor this year. We'll find out within days. Bennett urges voters, both in AZ and elsewhere, to contact the Governor and let her know your feelings about HB2560 to Engage@AZ.gov or via the Governor's website.

ALSO ON TODAY'S SHOW: While HB2560 is an excellent election bill adopted by a far-right leaning state legislature in AZ, I've got a few thoughts on a terrible election bill, Georgia's SB202 voter suppression bill, adopted by the far-right legislature in the Peach State. (I am serving as a named plaintiff representing media in a lawsuit filed against the bill by the Coalition for Good Governance). And Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report...

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UPDATE 5/22/23: Arizona's Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs has vetoed HB2560. Details now here...

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on how Biden can safely avoid default; Also: Suit against Giuliani details how Trump's scheme to steal 2020 was hatched by early 2019; Election results from FL, KY, PA...
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2023 6:06pm PT  

Is President Biden falling into a dangerous GOP trap by negotiating the debt ceiling? Our guest on today's BradCast argues that a potential disaster could and should easily be avoided entirely.

BUT FIRST, while we covered the grotesque lawsuit filed by Noelle Dunphy detailing sexual abuse by the repulsive, alleged sexual predator Rudy Giuliani on yesterday's show, I had the chance to read the full 70-page complaint [PDF] this morning. And I discovered one paragraph that I hadn't yet seen reported elsewhere and just want to make sure it gets out there.

Paragraph 124 on page 23 details how Trump and Giuliani, according to Dunphy, already had worked out plans by early 2019 to claim phony "voter fraud" and that the election was stolen, if the then-President turned out to be the loser in 2020.

"On February 7, 2019," the suit alleges, "Giuliani told Ms. Dunphy...about a plan that had been prepared for if Trump lost the 2020 election. Specifically, Giuliani told Ms. Dunphy that Trump's team would claim that there was 'voter fraud' and that Trump had actually won the election."

Just wanted to make sure that gets out there today.

NEXT UP, we cover the reported results of a number of key state and local elections held on Tuesday, with overall very good results for Democrats (again) and some embarrassment for Florida Governor and hapless GOP Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis. In an upset victory, voters in Jacksonville --- long the most populous city in the nation with a Republican Mayor --- chose Democrat Donna Deegan to take over. A Republican has served as Mayor there for all but 4 of the past 30 years. Now, it will be run by both a Dem and the city's first-ever female chief executive. That, after DeSantis endorsed her Republican opponent.

That wasn't the only embarrassment for Meatball Ron on Tuesday. In Kentucky, for some reason, he endorsed Trump's former U.N. ambassador at the last minute in the GOP primary for Governor. She came in third by more than 30 points. Trump's choice, Mitch McConnell protege and the state's first Black Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, will run against the popular incumbent Democratic Governor Andy Beshear this November. So, ol' Ron was 0 for 2 on the night, even if the candidate he endorsed in KY was a GOP megadonor that he hopes, I suspect, will want to return the favor by supporting a loser herself next year.

In Philadelphia, moderate Democrat Cherelle Parker emerged victorious from a group of five front-runners, defeating a more progressive Dem to win the primary. The win almost ensures Parker will become the City of Brotherly Love's 100th Mayor this fall, and the very first female, after 99 dudes in a row, to hold the position in the nation's 5th most populous city.

Dems also held on to the majority in Pennsylvania's state House, after narrowly taking it over, by one seat, for the first time in a dozen years in February. On Tuesday, the Democratic candidate won a seat in the state House recently vacated by a Dem accused of sexual harassment. In PA, the House sets the agenda for the entire state legislature, where Republicans still control the Senate.

And, Republicans may have dodged a bullet on Tuesday in the Keystone State when the only judge in the nation to rule in favor of blocking certification of the 2020 Presidential race lost the GOP primary to a not-insane Republican who will run against a Dem this fall for a recently vacated seat on the state's Supreme Court. No matter what happens in the general election, Democrats will retain a majority on the court in the critical battleground state.

FINALLY, an ever-optimistic President Biden on Wednesday announced that he will cut his planned overseas trip short to return to Washington on Sunday to finish what he believes is a possible deal to prevent the GOP from forcing the federal government into defaulting on our debts for the first time in history. We'll see if he's right about that. The Treasury Department warns that, without Congress raising the debt ceiling, we'll hit the dumb statutory debt limit as early as June 1, barring Treasury from borrowing more money to pay the bills for stuff that Congress and Presidents of both parties have already committed to paying for. Economic calamity would likely ensue in the U.S. and even across the globe if that happens.

But is it even necessary to play along with far-right Republicans hell-bent on holding the nation and world economy hostage to their pretend concerns about spending and debt? A number of Constitutional law experts, including Harvard's well-respected Laurence Tribe, argue that it is not. That the 14th Amendment makes clear: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts ... shall not be questioned."

We're joined today by BRAD BLOG's longtime legal analyst, ERNEST A. CANNING, who agrees with Tribe and his argument that, in fact, there is no one who actually has the legal standing to sue the Biden Administration if he simply instructs Treasury to keep paying the nation's bills, as required by law, whether Congress raises the debt ceiling or not. Canning recently wrote an article explaining how a simple Executive Order from the President would do the trick.

But wouldn't litigating over the matter --- even the act of determining if, say, the GOP House had standing to sue --- still end up crashing the markets? Canning explains why he believes that will not happen and why Biden's concerns about invoking the 14th Amendment are unwarranted.

We also discuss Canning's recent article on how Ronald Reagan's veto of a 1987 bill to codify the FCC's Fairness Doctrine into law, led directly to the January 6 insurrection and the extreme threat that U.S. democracy now faces...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Election Day in KY, PA, FL; 'No Labels' scamming voters in ME?; DeSantis banning Holocaust history textbooks in FL...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2023 6:45pm PT  

Apologies in advance if you need to rinse off today's BradCast with a hot shower. We did our best to keep it family friendly. It wasn't always easy. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • It's Election Day in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and parts of Florida for some key state, municipal and special elections. We run down several of the key races and will have noteworthy results, as available, on tomorrow's program.
  • The political group calling itself "No Labels" is reportedly working to become an official political party in all 50 states in hopes of placing a Presidential candidate on the ballot in 2024. The group, founded in 2010, claims to be a non-partisan "centrist" coalition of both Democrats and Republicans, though their efforts to date seemed designed mostly to harm Democrats. See, for example, their lobbying of Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in opposition of reforming the Senate filibuster in 2021. Also, internal documents have revealed their funders include far-right dark money billionaires such as David Kochand Peter Theil, according to Daily Beast, and Clarence Thomas benefactor Harlan Crow, according to New Republic. Now, the Secretary of State in Maine is charging the group has been scamming voters into signing a "petition" that is actually a change of party form. Just 5,000 voters need to become members in the state for the party to be allowed on the ballot. Apparently 6,000 have now signed up and the state has some questions about it.
  • Really, we did our best to keep this report no more graphic than PG-13, but it has to be told because there are some very serious crimes sort of hidden in the new 70-page lawsuit [PDF] filed against Rudy Giuliani by a former employee who accuses him of some pretty horrific "sexual assault, battery, gender discrimination and harassment, fostering a hostile work environment, retaliation, breach of contract, and violations of state labor laws."

    The hostile work environment allegedly included "misogynistic, racist, and antisemitic communications, constant sexual attacks, threats when she brought up the salary she was owed, and threats when she finally found the courage to confront him with her fears and the possibility of legal action."

    But of potential criminal note in the suit filed by Noelle Dunphy against Giuliani in New York on Monday, is not only the off-the-books payments (she says he gave her just $12,000 of the $1 million he'd promised), but that the former NYC mayor, federal prosecutor and Trump attorney was, according to the lawsuit, allegedly "selling pardons for $2 million, which he and President Trump would split." (!!!)

    Moreover, Dunphy claims to have audio recordings of Giuliani, including "some in which she says he can be heard making sexual comments, demanding sex and making sexist, racist, and antisemitic remarks." Does she have any in which Rudy is discussing selling Presidential pardons and splitting the proceeds with Trump? I suspect prosecutors may want to find that out in the not-too-distant future.

  • Speaking of antisemitism, on Monday, Florida Governor and desperate Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis signed yet another bill forcing his far-right ideology onto others with yet another ban on freedoms. This one bars public colleges and universities from investing in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. DeSantis has previously enacted state-imposed bans on various forms of free speech and books that his far-right Big Government state lackeys find objectionable. That has already resulted in bans on books said to cite issues of race, gender and sexuality, including math books (somehow) and social study texts. But now the Jewish Telegraphic Agency is reporting that the State is also banning educational textbooks on the Holocaust and/or forcing publishers to modify them in order to receive official State approval for use in Florida K-12 schools and public universities. “This is what modern day fascism looks like," charges human rights lawyer Qasim Rashid. "Remember, the main reason extremists would want to ban teaching about a past atrocity is to make it easier to enable that atrocity in the future."
  • We do have at least one story today that isn't creepy and horrible today, ironically enough. The still-Rightwing-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court actually issued a ruling that isn't insane, overturning a lower state court's insane, seemingly Fox "News"-inspired order that hospitals must use Ivermectin horse-medicine to treat COVID-19 when a patient insists. The ruling overturns that madness comes in advance of liberals taking over the state high court majority beginning in August, following the election of a new liberal justice in the Badger State earlier this year.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on a devastating cyclone in Myanmar; the enormous cost of plugging abandoned oil and gas well in the Gulf of Mexico; and the Biden EPA's proposal of landmark new to curb climate warming emissions from the nation's power plants...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Dem Congressional staffers attacked by bat-wielding man in VA; A weekend of democracy for Turkey and Thailand...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2023 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was a mixed bag for democracy overseas this weekend, where (as here in the U.S.) a democratic election does not necessarily guarantee the winner will be a small "d" democrat. Meanwhile, the version of democracy we have here at home ain't necessarily doing much better. Arguably worse, in fact. [Audio link to full show is posted at the end of this summary.]

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

  • A 49-year old man has been arrested after attacking two staffers of Virginia's Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly with a metal baseball bat on Monday at his district office in Fairfax. The motive for the attack was unknown as of airtime, but the incident is yet another in a sharp rise of threats and attacks against lawmakers and their families since Donald Trump's January 6, 2021 sore-loser insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
  • For the first time in his 20 years as Turkey's leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will now face a runoff election to retain power in two weeks. Over the weekend, the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan was able to notch just 49.5% of the large turnout vote, falling just short of the 50% needed to win outright against opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who received just shy of 45%. The next two weeks will see a fight for the remaining 5.7% of the vote won in the first round on Sunday by a third party candidate. Erdogan is believed likely to pull off another victory on May 28 --- despite startling inflation and his handling of an earthquake that resulted in more than 50,000 deaths --- after failing to win outright for the first time in his political career. Kilicdaroglu, however, vows he will win control of the key NATO ally, which has drifted toward the conservative right and Russia in recent years.
  • The news was slightly brighter in Thailand over the weekend, where two different opposition parties to the ruling military junta easily bested the competition. It was a "stunning" victory for the liberal Move Forward party who, with the help of young, first-time voters, easily defeated the populist, billionaire-controlled Pheu Thai party that had been favored to win going in to the weekend. Move Forward's agenda includes rolling back the military's political role and reforming laws that stifle dissent. The question now, however, is whether either Move Forward or Pheu Thai will be able to build a governing coalition in parliament and win the coveted Prime Minister's position. All parties, however, including those backed by the military, seemed to recognize the voice of the weekend's democratic vote. For now.
  • Back here in the U.S., the controversy over last week's appalling, 70-minute Donald Trump town hall, gifted to him by CNN, continues. In the second half of today's program we open the phones to listeners on whether CNN should have held the forum at all --- allowing the disgraced, twice-impeached, criminally indicted, sexual abuser former President of the United States to offer lie after lie after lie before a live audience of cheering supporters --- and, if not, how should the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination be covered? Also, while the performance was clearly a gift to Trump in his run for the GOP nod, will it actually help him in the long-run to win a general election next year? I am not so sure. In fact, I don't think it will help him at all and is as likely to hurt him in a number of ways. We take a lot of thoughts from a lot of callers on those points, several of whom disagree with my own take on the matter, though in several different and interesting ways...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: OH GOP lawmakers adopt ballot measure to undermine democracy in August special election...
By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2023 6:12pm PT  

Democracy is not having an easy time of it of late, as both of our main stories on the always pro-democracy BradCast seem to underscore today. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP, after months of wrangling, Ohio's gerrymandered Republican state House on Wednesday decided to put majority rule up for a vote this summer. Specifically, they voted to hold a special election for a state constitutional amendment asking voters if all future amendments placed on the ballot must reach 60% for passage. The GOP amendment in August will require only 50% to be adopted, as has been the case for all such measures in the Buckeye State since 1912.

The August special election will come just in time to preempt a the state's November general election, which is likely to feature a citizen-led ballot amendment to protect abortion in Ohio as a constitutional right. That, of course, is why Republicans are hoping to undermine that measure with their own small turnout election in late Summer. They hypocritically characterized the controversial initiative as a "constitutional protection act", meant to keep "out-of-state special interests" away from Ohio's foundational documents. But the measure's top backer was a PAC named "Save Our Constitution", funded with $1.1 million from one single out-of-state billionaire GOP megadonor.

Every single former state Governor opposed the measure, along with five former Republican and Democratic state Attorneys General and the Ohio Libertarian Party. But it was supported by the state's hypocritical Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and Sec. of State Frank LaRose, both of whom eagerly supported an election reform package adopted just four months ago in January, which did away with August Special Elections after finding them to be low-turnout and expensive. Then these "conservatives" supported this new special election anyway, at a price tag of $20 million to state taxpayers, in exchange for which they will get to vote on taking away their own democratic power.

Similar efforts to undermine abortion rights, however, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court last year, have failed miserably in both right- and left-leaning states. But those measures won with anywhere from 50 to 60% of the vote. Recent AP polling finds support for reproductive freedoms in Ohio to be at 59%. Thus, the GOP's attempt to undermine majority rule this Summer by requiring 60% for passage of future ballot measures...other than their own.

NEXT: CNN called it a "town hall". In truth, it was a 70-minute Donald Trump infomercial filled with a non-stop litany of his twisted lies from beginning to end. The number of lies he told is entirely too long to detail here, on everything from the 2020 election, to January 6, to his stolen classified documents, to this week's federal court verdict finding him liable for sexual abuse and defamation, to pretty much anything else that you or CNN moderator Kaitlin Collins or the Trump-supporting crowd in attendance at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, New Hampshire could come up with.

He also made clear that he would pardon the January 6th insurrectionists and seditionists, and that he supports the imperialist invasion of authoritarian Vladimir Putin's Russia over defending democracy and humanity in Ukraine.

But, while Wednesday night's shameful spectacle clearly embarrassed even the many CNN commentators serving as post-game analysts, did the live town hall ultimately help or hurt Trump overall?

We're joined today by our old friend HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo to discuss exactly that and much more related to what is arguably one of the lowest moments in CNN history.

(I'd love your thoughts on that question as well, and may share them on air in the days ahead. Please leave any such thoughts below in comments or email me, if you prefer.)

"It was a clown show," says Parton who did not realize it would include an audience stacked with GOPers, as it was presented as a Republican town hall before next year's New Hampshire primary. "That gave him the ability to go on national TV and essentially hold a rally. A rally in which he had a foil there in Kaitlan Collins, who, I think she did about as good as you could do. I don't have a lot of complaints with her, she was thrown into a situation that was unwinnable."

She discusses why CNN is taking this attempted turn to the right, in order to curry favor with Trump voters at the behest of their new, rightwing owner who sees Fox "News" as fair and balanced. "CNN is in a ratings spiral, doing a lot of retooling. It seems obvious to me that CNN thought they could maybe cop some of those people if they put on the right show. That's what they did. It was horrifying."

While I discuss several points in which Trump did himself no favor with prosecutors preparing indictments against him, Parton cites some of the actually "dangerous" fallout likely to come from Wednesday night. "[Trump] said some things that were literally dangerous. For example, his stuff about Ukraine. I'm sure Vladimir Putin heard him clearly when he said, 'Within 24 hours [after taking office], I will do it'. We know exactly what he meant. Immediately upon becoming President, he would withdraw support and force Ukraine to surrender. That means the war that he was going on and on about, 'People are dying, they're dying'. They're going to be dying at least until November 2024 now, for sure, because he said that. There's no way that Russia will do anything until they know whether or not he's going to be President again. And that is disgusting."

FINALLY, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report with news on Houston's latest toxic oil refinery fire; new, money-saving efficiency standards for dishwashers; troubling news from Greenland's ice sheet; and some hopeful news for PFAS "forever" chemicals out of tragedy in Minnesota...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance on that and new fake electors news; Also: Santos charged with 13 federal felonies...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2023 6:27pm PT  

It's been quite the GOP crime wave this week on The BradCast. But today, in addition to that we've got some disturbing --- if not entirely unrelated --- kinda mind-blowing exclusive news out of a federal courtroom in the great state of Georgia. [Audio link to full show follows at the bottom of this summary.]

After quickly covering today's news on the 13-count federal indictment [PDF] filed in New York against Rep. George Santos (R-NY) for charges including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress, it's back to Georgia.

We have, for years now, been covering the long-running federal lawsuit challenging the use of the state's expensive, unverifiable, and --- according to one of the nation's top experts --- wildly vulnerable and insecure touchscreen voting systems.

The touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) systems made by Dominion Voting, currently in use in Georgia, were selected for use in 2020 by Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. He did so against the strong recommendations of cybersecurity and voting system experts following a ruling by a federal judge, in 2019, barring the further use of the state's previous touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg found the previous systems to be unverifiable, insecure and, thus, unconstitutional. Unfortunately, instead of moving to a hand-marked paper ballot system at the time, as strongly recommended by experts, Raffensperger chose new touchscreen systems that had many of the same problems as the old ones.

The plaintiffs in the original federal case, Curling v. Raffensperger, quickly moved to bar the Dominion systems from being forced on every voter at every polling place in the state, as Raffensperger demanded. That suit continues. As part of it, Dr. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, an expert for the plaintiffs, was allowed to examine the Dominion touchscreen systems and found vulnerabilities so serious that Judge Totenberg sealed his complete findings, even from the plaintiffs! The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), however, was allowed to review Halderman's sealed report and made a list of critical software and physical security recommendations for the continued use of those systems in the battleground state.

Now, according to the transcript [PDF] from a hearing in Judge Totenberg's court last week in the Curling case, an attorney for the Sec. of State's office explained that while Dominion has completed CISA's recommended upgrades to the software and has had them certified for use by the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) in late March, the state will not be installing those software upgrades until after the 2024 Presidential election.

As explained to the judge by the State's attorney Bryan Tyson, after spending hours "with the technical staff in the Secretary's office" and "hearing from folks with Dominion", it was determined that upgrades to the state's 35,000 touchscreen voting machines would be delayed until 2025.

"No jurisdiction has yet installed that upgrade...It has not been used in any election yet," Tyson told Judge Totenberg. "The upgrade process is a very intensive multistep process that involves multiple pieces of media, multiple components, and it involves touching every piece of the election system."

He explained that "every ballot-marking device has to have three different pieces of media installed on it to complete the upgrade. Every precinct scanner has to be upgraded. Every central count scanner has to be upgraded. And every election management server also has to either be replaced or upgraded. So, the implementation process for doing that is very involved."

According to our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance, one of the plaintiffs in the Curling case, plaintiffs were stunned by the news. "You could hear gasps in the courtroom," she tells us today. "2025?! Immediately everyone thought, 'Presidential election, Georgia swing state.' We will have no way of knowing who won. And let's don't forget how much of a tinderbox Georgia was after the 2020 election. I believe it was a key part of the tinderbox that led to the insurrection. We're asking for it again."

There is, obviously, a lot to discuss on this matter with Marks today, including the most obvious point that, had Raffensperger listened to the experts and gone with hand-marked paper ballots, upgrading just one scanner per precinct for security reasons would have been a hell of a lot easier, faster, and cheaper, than upgrading every single voting machine --- 35,000 of them --- across the state.

"And we're not even beginning to talk about all of the warranty costs, maintenance costs, and printer costs and all that this system involves, when we're talking about just being a substitute for a ball-point pen," laments Marks. In addition to the time the State claims it will now take, she estimates the cost for upgrading the otherwise brand-new, $150 million system just purchased for first-time use in 2020 is likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars. "I don't think that $50 million and upwards is going to surprise anyone."

So, there is much more to discuss about all of this with Marks. Please tune in for the full conversation. But there was one more stunning bit of related breaking news from Marks today...

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




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