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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, April 18, 2024
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Previous GNRs: 4/11/24 - 4/9/24 - Archives...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 4/9/24 - 4/4/24 - Archives...
'Pink Slime': Fake 'Local News' Sites Proliferating in Advance of Election: 'BradCast' 4/10/24
Guest: Alex Mahadevan; Also: Trump CFO back to jail; GOP chaos, panic after AZ's 1864 abortion ban restored...
Dirty Tricks and the Dirtiest Candidate Of All Time: 'BradCast' 4/9/24
A CA three-way!; Polls shift toward Biden; RW scam artists pay the price; Trump rejected again in NY criminal case, facing trouble for phony $175M bond in NY civil case...
'Green News Report' 4/9/24
Big hurricane season coming; Colorado River used mostly for cattle; Good news for CA snowpack, for now; PLUS: Disney's Tomorrowland says goodbye to Yesterdayville...
'Titanic Law' Reform Just Tip of Iceberg in Quest for Key Bridge Accountability: 'BradCast' 4/8/24
Guest: Helen Santoro; Also: Media echo Trump abortion lies; Biden's new debt relief for 30M...
Sunday 'Dark Days Indeed' Toons
FEATURING: The Eclipse! Disinformation! 'Victimless' Crimes! And much more in our latest collection of the week's darkest toons...
Trump's Very Bad Day in Court(s), Other Good (& Less Good) News: 'BradCast' 4/4
No Labels out; Soft sentence for vote fraudster; WI reconsiders drop-boxes; NE nixes Elctrl College change; Biden v. Israel; Sanders, Biden tout drug price success...
'Green News Report' 4/4/24
Hunger crisis amid drought in Africa; Biden invests billions to decarbonize manufacturing; Melting ice is bending time; America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm...
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...

With smart special guests Heather Digby Parton of Salon and 'Driftglass' of 'The Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2023 5:20pm PT  

Woah, Nelly! Today's BradCast may arguably be both the dumbest and most fun ever! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The subject material --- Wednesday night's ridiculous GOP 2024 "Presidential Primary Debate" (if it's even worth calling it that) at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library out here in Simi Valley, California --- is what makes it dumb.

It featured seven "candidates" --- former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, supposed businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum --- but not the much-indicted guy who Republicans apparently intend, for now, to actually nominate for the job next year.

Our excellent special coverage panelists --- award-winning blogger and columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and "DRIFTGLASS" of the Professional Left Podcast from "Flyover Country, Illinois" --- are what make it fun.

Hear Digby discuss the GOP's "Bizarro World alternet universe" and the "big orange elephant in the room"! Hear Driftglass explain the "Doomsday machine with no off switch" and "the smelly wet sock of the mainstream media"! Also, Doug Burgum!

To paraphrase Haley last night, hearing us today may help you "feel a little bit dumber." I'd tell you more, but that would ruin all the fun...and most of the dumbness! Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Author, historian, political scientist Norm Ornstein; Also: Gobsmacking details from NY state fraud ruling against Trump family; Late-night shows returning!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2023 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A couple of follow-ups and a deep dive into what almost certainly lies ahead beginning this weekend, including who is likely to be blamed for it, who may or may not still have a job when all is said and done, and what the cost is likely to be to the American people. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP: The news broke just before airtime on yesterday's program, but I've now had time to read Tuesday's full, breathtaking court ruling [PDF] which seemed impossible to believe as it broke yesterday. But, yes, Judge Arthur Engoron's summary judgement ruling in New York state's $250 million fraud case against Donald Trump and his company and his two eldest sons is as brutal, if not more so, than we initially reported it yesterday.

In addition to utterly obliterating the case presented by defendants --- as "pure sophistry", "not relevant", "patently false", "fatally flawed", "simply untrue", "completely irrelevant," and "frivolous", among other things, some of which we share today --- Engoron details several of the eye-popping fraudulent lies told in years of Statements of Financial Condition (SFCs) signed off on by Trump in applications for bank loans. Breathtakingly inflated overvaluations of his key properties, including by 2,300% at Mar-a-Lago alone, where Palm Beach County assessed the property to be valued anywhere from $18 to 27.6 million in the years from 2011 to 2021. During those same years, Trump's SFCs said the property was worth from $426 to $612 million!

In total, the fraudulent overvaluations documented by the suit, just in the years in question, total anywhere from $812 million to $2.2 billion. "Even in the world of high finance," writes the Judge in response to defendants attempts to marginalize the false statements, "this Court cannot endorse a proposition that finds a misstatement of at least $812 million dollars to be 'immaterial'."

Each of the Trump properties seem to be "owned" by Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) created by the Trump Organization to manage each of them. And, yes, the result of yesterday's ruling --- which we couldn't believe as it was breaking, but have now been able to confirm in the actual court order --- is that the Judge has ordered NY business certificates "controlled or beneficially owned by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Jeffrey McConney" to be "canceled". He has also ordered "independent receivers to manage the dissolution of the cancelled LLCs."

All of that on summary judgement before the non-jury trial, to be decided by the very same judge, begins on Monday. Youch. There is, of course, the possibility for appeals and such. But it is kinda remarkable how Tuesday's ruling has sort of been downplayed by many of the corporate media outlets. Perhaps they can't believe it either.

Before we get to our guest today on a completely different topic, more good news as the Writers Guild of America approved their new contract with major corporate producers on Tuesday after a nearly 150-day strike. That now clears the way for a bunch of late-night shows to finally return to the air beginning this weekend and by Monday. Some shows and most films will still be largely paused as the actors union remains on strike against the studios.

NEXT UP: A federal government shutdown is now all but certain to begin as of Saturday, thanks to far-right Republicans in the House who are unable to strike a deal amongst themselves for a short-term Continuing Resolution, much less a full budget package for the new fiscal year. Nonetheless, a new poll out this morning suggests that while 1 in 3 Americans blame Republicans, 2 out of 3 are blaming either Democrats or President Biden for the shutdown?!? Seriously?!? How can that be?!?

To help make some sense out of all of this and what is about to happen and what its historical antecedents may be, we're joined today for a great conversation by author, columnist, political scientist, and longtime Congressional historian NORM ORNSTEIN of the American Enterprise Institute. He blames the corporate media's terrible "both sides", "access journalism" coverage for the mistargeting of blame by Americans for a shutdown by Republicans.

"It's entirely on House Republicans, egged on by Donald Trump," he explains. "These people want a shutdown. Because this is not an ideology. It is a theology. The theology is that government is evil, government is bad, lose government, we get freedom, without regard to the realities in the real world and on the ground. They are very happy to have chaos out there."

Ornstein also charges that the GOP, claiming to seek government spending cuts, are "hypocrites" because shutdowns end up costing the government money while hurting actual Americans. "This is not a harm-free zone we're entering into," he warns. "Not only does it not save the government money. In some instances, because functions will be postponed, maintenance will not be done, ultimately it will cost more. They're hypocrites, at minimum. They're not really talking about savings for the government. They're talking about bringing the whole mechanism down because they hate government."

While Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is unable to wrangle his own caucus to even adopt a short term spending package to keep the government open as talks continue, he is also threatened with removal from his post as Speaker by the farthest right elements in the House. Ornstein offers some historical comparisons to this extraordinary moment, and argues that McCarthy "is in deep trouble."

"This movement towards using the threat of chaos, of shutdown, of default, as hostages" by Republicans in recent years, has "resulted in absolutely nothing happening. No concessions. Just the disruption." In recent years, he says, "we have been on a trajectory that is leading us further and further away from adults --- at least those that understand that no one is going to gain politically from a shutdown --- to a position now where we are basically being driven by the lunatic fringe."

He has, as ever, much more to help clarify on all of this today. All of it, as usual, well worth tuning in for...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Biden joins picket line in MI; SCOTUS rejects AL gerrymander (again); Cassidy Hutchinson warns against former Prez; MUCH more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2023 6:42pm PT  

Some breaking news just before airtime helped, once again, threw off our best laid plans for today's BradCast. But, given this particularly huge breaking news, we're just fine with that. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

The New York Judge in state Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, his eldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric, and two top company executives, ruled [PDF] that they all committed years of "persistent and repeated fraud" to the tune of billions of dollars by inflating the value of company assets when applying for bank loans. They also decreased the value of the same properties to receive favorable terms on both insurance and taxes, according to the ruling.

Judge Arthur Engoron found in favor of the state's key contention during the summary judgment phase of the landmark case on Tuesday, before the non-jury trial is slated to begin next Monday. Trump's attorneys had also sought summary judgement, hoping to see the case thrown out entirely. Instead, the key issue has already been decided against them and Engoron, in a brutal ruling, has stripped the former President, his company, his sons and execs, of control over several of his main New York properties. The Trump Organization and its various LLCs were placed into receivership to be controlled by court-appointed officers!

In the massive fraud suit, James seeks to permanently revoke the Trump family's license to do business at all in New York state. The trial, set to begin next week, will now determine the other issues at stake and the full breadth of penalties. Of course, Trump will appeal everything. But, make no mistake, this is a huge verdict against the failed former President and current 2024 GOP frontrunner who, as validated by Judge Engoron today, has built his business empire on decades of fraud and lies.

Among the many other important stories also covered on today's program...

  • Cassidy Hutchinson, star witness at last year's House January 6 Committee hearings and the former top aide to Trump's final Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, warns that Trump "almost destroyed democracy in one day and he wants to run for President do it again."
  • This week's second GOP Presidential Primary debate, at the Reagan Library here in Southern California, will feature the same candidates as last month's debate in Milwaukee, other than former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who apparently did not meet the RNC's criteria. Trump was also not invited for refusing to sign the party's loyalty pledge, but he had already announced he wouldn't participate in any of their debates.
  • Labor economist Kathryn Anne Edwards offered a must-listen response to Louisiana's loopy U.S. Senator John Kennedy during a Senate subcommittee hearing last week on post-pandemic child care concerns. While Kennedy suggested he really really wanted to help, he had no idea where, oh, where the federal government could possibly find the money to do so. Edwards' straightforward, well-supported answer: Raise taxes on the wealthy that you've been lowering for the past two decades if you really care about children in need.
  • In a related matter on Tuesday, Joe Biden became the first sitting U.S. President, incredibly enough, to join a picket line with striking workers. In this case, he called on striking United Auto Workers members in Detroit to "stick with it," as he rallied workers with UAW President Shawn Fain. On Wednesday, the former President is set to speak at a non-union facility in a "red" county outside of Detroit.
  • California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law today that doubles the tax on sales of guns and ammunition in the state to help pay for increased school safety measures. While the federal government already charges a 10% tax on guns and ammo, California doubled it with one of their own, becoming the first in the nation to do so.
  • Bona fide good news today from our corrupted, packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court. They rejected Alabama's attempt --- once again --- to violate the Voting Rights Act with a racially gerrymandered U.S. House map. Last June, in a surprising 5 to 4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining the Court's three liberals, SCOTUS ordered the state to create a second majority black U.S. House District. Just 1 of 7 districts is currently a majority minority district despite African Americans comprising more than a quarter of the state's population. But Alabama Republicans, blatantly defying the U.S. Supreme Court, redrew their districts without including a second black majority district as mandated. A federal court panel then ordered a Special Master to draw up a new map instead. Alabama tried to stay that decision at SCOTUS, which unanimously rejected the state today in a one sentence ruling. That is good news for voters and bad news for several other GOP-controlled states trying the same gambit to cheat their way to a Republican majority in the House again next year.
  • Speaking of the Republicans' narrow majority in the U.S. House, it appears next to impossible at this hour to believe they will be able to agree amongst themselves on a spending bill to keep the federal government open as of Saturday. At least not without either Democrats saving them and/or House Speaker Kevin McCarthy losing his job as Speaker.
  • New Jersey's Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, federally indicted for a second time late last week on charges of bribery and corruption, maintains his innocence. But the flood of fellow Democratic U.S. Senators calling for his resignation seems all but unstoppable now, with at least six of them --- including fellow NJ Senator Corey Booker --- calling for Menendez to step down. The charges, by the way, would seem to dramatically undercut Trump/GOP claims that the DoJ has been "weaponized" by Democrats against them.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as New Orleans declares a drinking water emergency; Fracking is "devouring American's groundwater" amid persistent drought in a number of states; and FEMA girds to suspend critical recovery operations in several states if Republicans shut down the federal government as of this Saturday...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Biden to join autoworker picket line in Detroit; Trump to meet NON-union workers in suburbs; Callers ring in with union myths, realities...
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2023 5:54pm PT  

It's a very exciting time for organized labor in these United States, as discussed on today's BradCast, after decades of corporate measures that have succeeded in vastly shrinking union membership and power across the country, along with the power of the American middle class itself. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Late on Sunday, out here in Hollywood, striking film and television scribes from the Writer's Guild of America (WGA), finally came to terms on a new contract with major studio executives to share some of the bounty of record profits the writers have helped those giant corporations make. The tentative deal is described by the writer's union negotiators as "exceptional," including "meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership."

Pending likely final approval by members this week, only some film and TV production will be able to begin rolling again --- for example, late-night and daytime shows without actors --- as the more than 100,000 actors of SAG-AFTRA still remain on strike, hoping to see similar financial benefits and protections for their members as achieved by the WGA after nearly 150 days on the picket lines.

In related news, President Biden will be meeting with striking union members from the United Autoworkers on the picket line this week in Detroit, in what is apparently (shamefully?) an historic first for an American President. That will happen on Tuesday, the day before Donald Trump is set to meet with non-union workers at a plant outside of Detroit, in a ruby red suburb this week. (Good luck noticing that part of the story as corporate media outlets seem to be working overtime to "both sides" the two very different appearances.)

At the same time, the Biden-Harris campaign has released a video featuring GOP Presidential candidates Nikki Haley and Tim Scott and a Fox "News" anchor singing Biden's support for union workers.

We've had a very busy news weekend beyond the good news for organized labor and collective bargaining. But I wanted to move that good labor news up to the top today, and take some calls from listeners on it. Some of those callers seemed to have some misconceptions about unions which other callers, happily, were able to rebut in what I believe was an obscenely reasonable conversation for talk radio. My apologies in advance.

We'll try to get to some of the other ongoing stories --- the indictment of Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (NJ); the House GOP's pathetic plan to shut the federal government down as of this weekend, and more --- in the days ahead. Today, however, seemed a good day to focus momentarily on some good news about organized labor, the struggling middle class, and a newly revitalized stand against major corporations, making records profits, fighting like hell to prevent their workers from sharing in the gains those very workers helped them achieve.

I hope you'll tune in!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Former Prez reportedly fears prison, faces ballot disqualification in MN; Current Prez, echoing FDR, establishes American Climate Corp; Also: Solar popularity soaring with concerns of climate catastrophe...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2023 6:10pm PT  

We begin with some bright news on today's BradCast, before following with some new news and some myth-busting about a few feelings we've been sharing of late. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • Popularity of solar and other renewable energy sources is reportedly soaring across the globe, according to a huge new survey, as support for fossil fuels plummets amid our quickly worsening climate crisis.
  • The persistence of progressive protesters and environmental advocates demanding a "Green New Deal" continues to pay off as President Biden unveils an Executive Order for creation of the American Climate Corps, echoing FDR's legendary Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
  • Despite public displays of confidence and false bravado, privately Donald Trump is reportedly terrified of the possibility of going to prison. He should be. For one, there would be nobody to dye his hair, blow-dry his comb-over or apply his orange bronzer make-up which, according to a new book by former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson, is likely the reason that rightwing supporters of Trump had to also be against wearing life-saving masks during the worst of the COVID crisis, leaving hundreds of thousands of them dead in support of Trump's malignantly narcissistic vanity.
  • The Minnesota Supreme Court has set a briefing and argument schedule [PDF] this week on a lawsuit brought by its former Sec. of State and the Constitutional law experts at Free Speech for People, seeking Trump's disqualification from the state's primary and general election ballots under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause." This matter is likely to move quickly, since names on the ballot must be settled by January 2 to be printed and mailed out in time for the state's March 5, Super Tuesday primary. The High Court has set oral argument for November 2.
  • As we've been reporting quite a bit on the possibility of Trump's 14.3 disqualification under the "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" in recent weeks (and years!), we take some time today to respond to a number of listener emails on the topic, and respond to several "myths" about the Constitutional clause --- (yes, it applies to Presidents; no, it doesn't require a conviction on insurrection before it can be applied) --- with some help from a helpful Myths and Realities about 14.3 [PDF] document, courtesy of the Constitutional law scholars and experts at the non-profit, non-partisan Free Speech for People.
  • Finally, as Desi Doyen reports in our latest Green News Report, the nations of the world are grappling with the climate crisis this week at the U.N. General Assembly; The U.K.'s Conservative Party Prime Minister is backing off policies to reduce carbon emissions; Desperate Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis went to an oil field to obnoxiously declare his vows to make things much much worse; While the Biden White House announced another historic initiative to help save the planet...

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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Guest: Dan Froomkin of Press Watch; Also: Dems win, outperform in PA, NH special elections; PA Guv begins automatic voter registration...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2023 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Given the disastrous chaos of The Former Guy's previous term in office and the 91 criminal felony charges he is now facing in four different jurisdictions, it seems impossible to fathom that he'd be, essentially, tied in 2024 polling against one of the most effective President's in U.S. history. There's a number of reasons for that. Few of them are the ones the disinformed MAGA knuckleheads have been hoaxed into buying into. But one of the big reasons, according to our guest today, is years of unrelenting failure by the U.S. media. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up today, however, some encouraging news out of special elections held on Tuesday for state legislatures in two critical swing-states, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. In both cases the Democratic candidate won. In NH, Hal Rafter flipped a seat in the state House previously held by a Republican, putting Dems just one seat shy of evenly splitting control with the GOP in a state where Republicans have held a governing trifecta for several years.

In PA, Democrat Lindsay Powell easily won a safely "blue" seat in Pittsburgh. But, in both cases, Democrats continued to massively outperformed their 2020 numbers in the very same districts, continuing the party's winning streak during special elections since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

The outlook may be brighter still for democracy fans in Pennsylvania next year, as newly elected Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro announced, on Tuesday, a program to begin automatic voter registration at the Dept of Transportation offices this week whenever residents show up for a new or renewed drivers license or ID. The battleground state has an estimated 1.6 million eligible but unregistered voters and Shapiro's pro-democracy program, supported by his own, hand-picked Republican Sec. of State, is long overdue in the Keystone State. Anti-democracy, pro-authoritarian Republicans in the state legislature, of course, are furious about it. They believe the more they can restrict access to the polls, the better they will perform.

Increased participation is always a healthy thing for democracy. But, ironically enough, American journalists are likely to be very careful about reporting that fact for fear of being tagged as appearing "partisan". That, even though automatic voter registration is equally applied to potential voters of any (or no) political party. But, as increased turnout is perceived as good for Democrats, many journalists are cowed into pulling punches when covering such issues.

Of course, it's that sort of failure by U.S. corporate media that results in absurdly "tied" pre-election polling for the 2024 Presidential election, and in other polls like the one we covered on yesterday's program finding Americans split 50/50 on whether the evidence-free Republican impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden is based on legitimate evidence or is politically motivated.

We're joined today by longtime journalist and media critic DAN FROOMKIN, who wrote the popular online "White House Watch" column for years at Washington Post before moving to Huff Post and then The Intercept before establishing his nonprofit Press Watch newsletter.

Last last month, Froomkin penned an important piece headlined "A desperate appeal to newsroom leaders on the eve of a chaos election". He explained that he was hoping to reach newsroom execs in advance of "another potentially cataclysmic election in 2024 --- arguably the most perilous in American history." Despite the previously unimaginable events of the last nearly ten years, wrote Froomkin, corporate media outlets "continue to engage in the same business-as-usual that got us here in the first place."

In hopes of reaching some of those newsroom leaders before it's too late, Froomkin spoke with several dozen journalists, media critics, academics and historians on what America's newsrooms can and should change in their approach to political coverage in advance of next year's critical elections.

We discuss a number of those expert responses today on everything from the necessity of picking "the right frame" in reporting on democracy rather than the "horse-race"; on "not the odds but the stakes" in next year's race; the need for journalists, not politicians, to "set the agenda" during interviews; the "importance of context" in reporting on the contest in a way that informs the public beyond a simple "left versus right" lens; "what not to do" and how the press needs to stand up for itself, and for journalism as a whole, against attacks from the increasingly authoritarian right.

None of this, in fact, is a partisan matter. Though the Republican Party, over the years --- even before the rise of Donald Trump --- has successfully cowed American news outlets into behaving as if it is, and subsequently pulling punches to the ultimate benefit of the GOP, even as democracy itself has become increasingly endangered by media dysfunction and disinformation.

Today, Froomkin cites Trump's victory in 2016 as the moment when the corporate media should have realized how dangerous their failures had become. But, he argues, "they didn't really change. Fundamentally, they're still adopting rightwing frames, they're still not rebutting misinformation with the enthusiasm that they should. They're still doing the horse-race journalism which allows them to be gamed by politicians, especially on the right."

"The press has a blind eye towards Biden's successes and is focused instead on whatever the Republicans are talking about, which is impeachment and Hunter Biden these days," he tells me, even as the GOP can't even agree amongst itself on a spending package to keep the entire federal government open and operating past next week. "There's massive dysfunction on the right, and unfortunately the media feels like when it reports that, it's being biased, it's being liberal. And if, God forbid, it should write anything nice about Biden, then it would definitely be accused of being liberal."

Please tune in for our conversation today and --- as importantly --- I hope some in the media (especially in the executive suites) do as well. By the way, Froomkin has a great idea for the misbegotten CNN and how they could, if they were smart under their new CEO, "become the anti-Fox/pro-truth network".

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Biden, Zelenskyy fight for democracy at U.N.; House GOP in 'civil war' as government shutdown looms, impeachment scam moves forward...
By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2023 6:53pm PT  

Thanks to the billionaire-funded rightwing media machine (and much of the corporate media that is a part of it), it remains all too easy to muddy enough waters to fool a huge chunk of the American people these days with evil, lies and bad faith. All we can do is hold on for dear life on The BradCast each day and hope that pushing back with facts and truth ultimately wins out over evil, bad faith and lies. [Audio link to full program follows below this summary.]

On today's program...

  • President Biden made an impassioned case to world leaders for continuing support for Ukraine's existential battle against Russia's evil and lies --- and in defense of democracy --- at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. He also called for uniting the world against our ever-worsening climate crisis.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also addressed the same body to make his own impassioned case that his nation's battle against the barbaric, 19-month invasion by autocratic neighboring Russia is, in fact, a warning for other democracies around the world.
  • Here at home, U.S. House Republicans --- who have become alarmingly pro-Putin, pro-Russia and pro-autocracy --- are now eating themselves alive. It seems increasingly unlikely that they can even come to an agreement among their own warring factions to adopt a measure to simply keep the government open and funded after the federal fiscal year ends next week. It is unclear that many of them even want to. As Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries aptly observed over the weekend, the House GOP is now "in the middle of a civil war."
  • So, what is Speaker Kevin McCarthy's plan to get out of this mess by October 1, when his extremist GOP caucus threatens to shut down the government without, at the very least, adopting a Continuing Resolution to stay open for another 30 days so Republicans can negotiate with themselves? Impeachment of Joe Biden, of course! (Spoiler alert: There is still no evidence of either high crimes or misdemeanors, but that may not matter. As we discuss, this is the very same playbook that did in Hillary Clinton with "but her emails!" and, back in 2004, John Kerry with that swiftboat nonsense. Apparently, the American people are very easy to fool. Do Democrats have a plan in response?)
  • Finally, speaking of being fooled again, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as California pushes back, in court, against Big Oil's decades of deadly climate lies. As Gov. Gavin Newsom explained when announcing the state's lawsuit against five of the largest fossil fuel companies: "These guys have been playing us for fools. They've been playing all of us for fools."

Don't get fooled again.

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Guest: UC-Santa Barbara labor historian and author, Nelson Lichtenstein...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2023 6:37pm PT  

The organized labor movement, for the first time in my adult-ish/politically-aware life, is actually on the rise in recent post-pandemic years. Or so it seems. We've got a longtime labor historian on today's BradCast who seems to confirm that point.

First, very quickly at the top of today's show, a few news headlines...

  • Texas' cartoonishly corrupt Republican state Attorney General, Ken Paxton, was acquitted over the weekend by the GOP-dominated state Senate which held a trial on 16 articles of impeachment sent to them by the GOP-dominated state House. Hopefully, a criminal reckoning still lies ahead for the degenerate Paxton.
  • Five Americans detained for years by Iran were released today as part of deal in which President Biden agreed to unlock some $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil assets. Their families are overjoyed. Republicans are pretending to be furious.
  • Wisconsin Republican election deniers in the state Senate, late last week, attempted to oust the Republican-appointed director of state elections just a few months before ballots must be formalized for next year's Presidential primary election in the critical battleground state. The dispute will likely make its way to the new liberal majority on the state's high court.
  • U.S. House Republicans are still battling amongst themselves to even come up with an agreement for a short-term extension to keep the Government open after the end of this month.
  • And, of course, the fallout continues from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's seemingly failed attempt to assuage the far-far right of his Congressional caucus by announcing, last week, an evidence-free impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden.

After dispatching with that news quickly, we spent the bulk of today's show focusing on what my guest describes as a very "exciting" moment for the U.S. labor movement, the first such moment, really, in decades.

On Friday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) called a strike, for the first time in history, at all three major automakers --- GM, Ford and Stellantis (the company formed by the recent merger of Fiat Chrysler with a French automaker) --- at the same time. Workers are demanding major increases in pay to match record profits of the Big Three auto makers, their soaring compensation packages for CEOs and to keep up with inflation.

The union seeks pay raises for workers of upwards of 40% to match what they claim the CEOs have enjoyed since the last contract negotiations in 2019. The CEOs either deny they've received that much of an increase in pay, believe they deserve it more than the workers do, and/or that their companies would go broke if those actually responsible for their record profits were similarly compensated. That, as the companies are transitioning to Electric Vehicle technology and new plants to make batteries for them, even as inflation has outpaced pay increases in recent years. Until the 2008 financial crisis, the workers contracts included cost-of-living increases.

All of this comes at a time when film and television writers and actors are also on strike, similarly seeking long-overdue raises and improved benefits packages, and as younger employees at fast food restaurants and huge companies like Amazon are also unionizing and striking to improve their working conditions following the worst of the pandemic years.

We're joined today by longtime labor historian and progressive author NELSON LICHTENSTEIN, Distinguished Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy. He is also the author of at least 16 books, including his latest, with Judith Stein, A Fabulous Failure: The Clinton Presidency and the Transformation of American Capitalism.

While Lichtenstein confirms that this is indeed an "exciting" time for the modern American labor movement for the first time in decades, and one of many similar "waves" that labor has seen over the past century, it is still "a pale reflection of what used to happen on a routine basis, up through the end of about the 1970s. There were ten times more strikes each year, twenty times, from the late 1930s on through the late '70s."

Still, he tells me, "there's a certain excitement here, because the unions have been in the doldrums [and] management has been in the driver's seat." in recent years, "and there is clearly a sense of militancy and excitement, and also new workers" participating in the movement.

We discuss, among many other things today with the very colorful professor...

  • The specific demands of the auto workers, the soaring profits of the companies and the compensation for the Big Three CEOs --- along with their various lies about whether meeting worker demands would put the companies "out of business," as Ford CEO Jim Farley claimed last week.
  • How President Biden is supporting the workers, responding to this critical moment and what what it will --- or could --- mean for his reelection chances next year, after years of aggrieved workers in the midwest turned against a Democratic Party which failed to have their back in recent decades. ("Biden wants to reindustrialize the Midwest and the mid-South," says Lichtenstein today. "This is where Trumpism has gained purchase. He thinks, I think correctly, at least in the long run, that if you have a more vibrant economy for ordinary workers, they won't be looking for rightwing authoritarian solutions.")
  • How Presidents --- from Reagan to Clinton to Obama to Trump to Biden --- have an effect on the rise, or fall, of labor movements.
  • Why support for unions is now at or above historic highs in the U.S. and how such moments in history have worked out in the past. For example, do workers end up winning these fights along with these surges in organized labor? Or do they shrink in response to public opprobrium if strikes continue over long periods. ("Traditionally, long strikes are losing strikes" he tells me. "But there are sometimes exceptions to the rule. I think in this case there's public support out there, a thirst for successful union negotiations, strikes, etc.," and, he adds, "winning begets winning.")

All of that and much more in a fascinating conversation with Lichtenstein on today's BradCast!...

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Also: Unspeakable Libya death toll; Record global heat; Hunter Biden charged; Hurricane Lee; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2023 7:03pm PT  

It's still kind of hilarious that the Republican Speaker of the House this week, in announcing an impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden for...(fill in actual crime here when available)...described the Democratic President as "the picture of a culture of corruption". It's particularly amusing given the bulk of today's news on The BradCast. [Audio link to full show follow below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The unspeakable death toll from flooding in Libya is now expected to be in the tens of thousands as bodies line the streets in the eastern coastal town of Derna, where 16 inches of rain fell in one day over the weekend resulting in the collapse of two dams. Given some of the horrifying new numbers from Berkeley Earth this week, however, suggesting that the planet has a good chance of exceeding the 1.5 degree Celsius increase of warming since pre-industrial times which the Paris Climate Agreement seeks to avoid, we could be in for many more such horrific disasters in the years ahead.
  • Following a nearly 5-year probe by a Trump appointed U.S. Attorney and a recently failed plea agreement, Hunter Biden was charged today with 3 felony counts related to using illegal narcotics while buying a gun. These are crimes which almost nobody is ever charged with, especially when they have never fired or even loaded the gun, which Hunter reportedly had for only 11 days. But that must be a part of the "special preferential treatment" the President's son has received, if you hear Republicans tell it. Try not to laugh.
  • The state judge overseeing the sprawling, 41-count racketeering conspiracy indictment [PDF] against the former President of the United States, Donald Trump and his 18 co-conspirators for their attempts to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, has determined that all 19 defendants will not be tried in a single group beginning in October, as Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis had sought. So far, former Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell will stand trial next month, but a trial date for all of the others will be set later, likely for some time next year --- if a slot when Trump isn't standing trial on felony charges in three other jurisdictions can be found.
  • The civil trial Trump faces --- along with his two eldest sons, his company and two top executives --- via New York state Attorney General Letitia James, for falsely and unlawfully inflating his company's net worth by billions of dollars in order to fraudulently receive bank loans and other benefits, begins on October 2. Just mentioning that since it seems few others are doing so these days for some reason.
  • The Fox Corporation was sued yet again this week, related to the knowing lies Fox "News" told about the 2020 election being "rigged". The latest suit comes courtesy of New York City's huge pension funds. They charge neglect of corporate duty to protect shareholders by opening themselves up to defamation suits like the one from Dominion Voting Systems. That one cost the pretend news outlet $787.5 million to settle earlier this year. The state of Oregon, on behalf of their public employee retirement fund, has joined the suit. All of which begs the question as to why anybody's money is actually invested in a company known, for years. to be as corrupt as Fox. I might suggest that those whose retirement funds are being handled by NYC and Oregon (and elsewhere) demand the funds pull their money from similarly irresponsible and corrupt corporations --- such as the major fossil fuel companies --- before they too face the huge financial liabilities that await them.
  • Are Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his fellow corrupt Republicans in the state's obscenely gerrymandered Legislature blinking in their recent threats to impeach newly-seated state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz before she has even heard a case? The High Court's new liberal majority will soon be hearing two citizen petitions challenging the GOP's corrupt state district maps, which have ensured Republican majorities in both the Assembly and Senate for most of the past decade. But this week, just after state Dems announced a $4 million ad buy to let voters in the Badger State known what Republicans are up to in advance of 2024, Vos floated a new legislative "deal" to create new maps. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers immediately rejected the proposal as "bogus". We explain.
  • Remember that Kentucky County Clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples back in 2015? Kim Davis will now have to pay one of those couples $100,000 for having refused to do so, according to a decision this week by a federal jury.
  • Ken Paxton, the unspeakably corrupt Texas state Attorney General and close Trump ally who is facing trial in the Republican-dominated state Senate on 20 articles of impeachment brought by the state's Republican-dominated House this week, may have dodged at least one bullet. A last-minute deal was struck between the opposing attorneys to skip testimony from Paxton's mistress on Wednesday. She's the one who was given a job by a Paxton donor to make it easier for them to continue their secret affair. The impeachment trial of the state's top law enforcement officer continues in the Senate, which will soon decide if the Republican should be removed from office based on charges of bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of power. Paxton's wife is a state Senator and has been present all week at the trial. She will, however, be barred from voting on his fate.
  • Washington Post reports today that Florida's corrupt Republican Governor Ron DeSantis enjoyed a whole bunch of unreported and undisclosed private plane flights, luxury resort accommodations and meals with wealthy donors after being first elected in 2018. With his Presidential aspirations now failing, he must be angling for a Supreme Court nomination.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest 'Green News Report' with more on the horrific news out of Libya; the record costs of U.S. weather-related disasters so far this year; more bad news for Texas water drinkers; and a bit of encouraging news courtesy of Biden and the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act. Oh, we're also still keeping an eye on the powerful, slow-moving Hurricane Lee, a monster storm in the Atlantic which is currently brushing by Bermuda and threatening New England, Canada and Newfoundland over the next several days...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: David Roberts, climate and energy journalist; Also: Senate Repubs don't think much of McCarthy's Impeachment Inquiry either...
By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2023 6:59pm PT  

The landmark federal climate bill called the Inflation Reduction Act, adopted last year without a single Republican vote when Democrats held majorities in both chambers of Congress, has a long way to go before we can determine its full success or failure.

On the other hand, as discussed on today's BradCast, if it is going well, but few Americans know it's going well --- as corporate broadcast media spend nearly 24 hours a day on various crises both manufactured and real (ironically, many caused by climate change!) --- can it or will it make a difference in next year's elections? [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, FIRST UP today, one (or more) of those manufactured crises. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's desperate attempt on Tuesday to win over his own far-right caucus in the House by unilaterally declaring an impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden doesn't seem to be going over very well. He had to break his own vow, made just 11 days ago, to do it only after a full vote of the House. It doesn't seem to be winning over enough colleagues to help him avoid a federal Government shutdown at the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1. And even fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate apparently see no evidence of High Crimes or Misdemeanors by the President to warrant impeachment.

On the other hand, he hasn't been pushed out of Speaker job by his own party this week...yet. So there's that!

NEXT: Biden and the Democrats' landmark Inflation Reduction Act --- featuring the largest single investment in history in climate change mitigation and clean energy manufacturing and jobs --- is now one year old. It has already begun to "turbocharging" a massive investment in new manufacturing plants and jobs in the U.S. to help reduce fossil fuel carbon emissions causing our climate crisis. It will soon be funding billions of dollars in home improvement projects to allow low and middle-income homeowners to electrify, solarize, upgrade and simply increase energy efficiency to save money. (NOTE: Not currently applicable in states like Florida, Kentucky, Iowa or South Dakota, apparently, which have failed to join the federal program to help their own residents save money and improve their home values while fighting climate change.)

Our guest today to discuss all of this is the great DAVID ROBERTS, longtime climate, energy and politics journalist and podcaster at Volts.WTF. We last spoke to him a year ago, just after passage of the critical legislation.

He explains today that it is still "too early to tell" whether the legislation is a success or not given all of its many practical objectives, which include vastly lowering emissions, creating millions of good paying jobs, sparking a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. to bring supply chains home for renewable energy technology and overtaking China's dominance in the sector.

"Because the IRA's goals are so vast," Roberts explains, "it will only be over the course of five to ten years that we really have any understanding of whether it pulled it off. It's trying to do enormous things."

"What we definitely can say," however, is "that one of the goals --- which was to spur private investment into these products and supply chains in the U.S. --- is absolutely working. Last I looked, it's like $270 billion-worth of private investment flooding into the U.S."

But the yardstick for success here may be even longer than you think, according to Roberts. He tells me there is yet another goal for the legislation that is "not as public, but, if you talk to some Biden people behind the scenes, they will tell you that this apocalyptic terror you have about the future of democracy is not crazy."

"We are in a perilous, perilous moment. And part of the thinking behind IRA was that it is these parts of the country that were hollowed out by globalization, hollowed out by decades of reflexive 'free trade' dogma --- it's these parts of the county that have experienced this reactionary backlash that we've all been living through over the past little while. And if that goes on, U.S. democracy is in serious, existential trouble. People are freaked out about that all the way to the top. So, part of the goal of IRA was to channel investment into those areas. And that is happening."

Roberts says that much of the new investment "is coming into Southern and Midwestern states," including by companies like First Solar, which is "investing $1.2 billion into a facility in Louisiana. That is the single largest private investment in that state's history." Similar projects are happening in states like Georgia, West Virginia and elsewhere.

So, all we need to assess success of this enormous new law is whether it helps solves both of the nation's most existential crises: Democracy and Climate Change.

"Spurring investment, yes, it is succeeding. Is it succeeding in muting that reactionary backlash? Is it succeeding in muting these horrendous politics we've dealt with? Is it succeeding in turning a few swing voters in those swing states to help Joe Biden get back into office? That we don't know yet. And part of the problem is that our media ecosystem is broken and dysfunctional, and people just don't know about [the law]."

How to solve that? Well, as you can tell, we've got much to discuss today with Roberts along those lines as well, as he characterizes that part of issue as "the six million question" given "how broken the media is, and how difficult it is to get it to focus on these things."

He's got a few ideas, however, some involve "a huge role for NGOs, for the green movement" and even for you, as the climate, economic and political effects of the IRA one year on are still "TBD"...

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Guest: John Nichols on the WI GOP's state Supreme Court impeachment threat to save their gerrymandered majorities; Also: McCarthy announces House GOP's evidence-free impeachment inquiry of President Biden...
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2023 6:48pm PT  

Republicans have railed against the use of impeachment in recent years, describing it as little more than "election interference" --- at least when it was their obscenely corrupt, four-time indicted former President being twice impeached. Well, the party seems to have had a change of heart, as discussed on today's BradCast, as they are now threatening impeachments in both D.C. and Wisconsin. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST UP: Just 11 days ago, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told a rightwing news outlet that, unlike those corrupt Democrats under Nancy Pelosi during the Trump era, Republicans wouldn't open an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden without a full vote of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“To open an impeachment inquiry is a serious matter, and House Republicans would not take it lightly or use it for political purposes," McCarthy vowed in his statement just 11 days ago. "The American people deserve to be heard on this matter through their elected representatives. That’s why, if we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person."

On Tuesday, one person, Kevin McCarthy, declared he was opening an Impeachment Inquiry in the People's House into Joe Biden's "culture of corruption". That, of course, is a nice way of describing an impeachment inquiry of the sitting President that has no actual evidence of either high crimes or misdemeanors. The unilaterally announced inquiry (he took no questions from media afterward) comes on the heels of three ongoing, GOP-led U.S. House probes into the business dealings of the President's son, Hunter Biden, which includes a five-year long (and continuing) criminal probe by a Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney.

Despite all of that, there remains no independently verifiable evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, or even evidence that he had anything to do with his son's business affairs. There is a mountain of evidence, however, that the far-right Freedom Caucus in the House has fully captured the Speaker, who they allowed to take the gavel this year, after 15 rounds of voting, in exchange for a host of concessions. One is that any single member of the House may call a vote at any time to remove McCarthy as Speaker.

With the federal fiscal year ending on September 30, the far-right GOP House mob is now threatening to shut down the Government without passing spending bills that McCarthy agreed to with Biden earlier this year (as part of a deal to avoid GOP threats, at the time, to allow the federal government to default on its bills for the first time in history.) McCarthy's announcement today appears to be an effort to win back his radicalized caucus at least long enough to adopt a 30-day Continuing Resolution to keep the government open before the end of the month and/or prevent himself from being ousted as Speaker. We wish him luck on all of the above.

NEXT: The U.S. House is not the only place where Republicans are desperately embracing impeachment in hopes of salvaging their political fortunes. Wisconsin's state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has been threatening to impeach state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz unless she recuses from two challenges to the state's wildly gerrymandered state legislative maps.

She was elected by an 11-point landslide in the previously closely-divided battleground state earlier this year, giving liberals a 4 to 3 majority on the High Court for the first time in 15 years. She was seated August 1 and, the very next day, petitions were filed with the Court seeking to replace the GOP's rigged maps with fair ones.

Vos is demanding that Protasiewicz recuse from the cases based on the fact that, while running for the job, she referred to the state's rigged maps as "rigged". Which, of course, they are. So much so that --- despite a majority on the Supreme Court and the top statewide elected offices being filled by Democrats, including two-term Governor Tony Evers --- Republicans still have more than enough votes, most likely, to impeach Protasiewicz in the Assembly and a two-thirds majority in the Senate, as needed to remove her from office before she's even heard a single case.

As one of the petitions [PDF] now before the Court argues: "Since 2012, even when Democrats have won as much as 53% of the vote, they have held no more than 39 of the 99 Assembly seats. In the same period, when Republicans have won as little as 44.8% of the statewide vote, they have held no fewer than 66 of the 99 seats and saw victories that yielded them 22 of 33 senate seats."

Native Wisconsinite, longtime progressive author and journalist JOHN NICHOLS joins us today to help make sense of and offer context to what he characterizes as the Wisconsin GOP's "unprecedented" use of the impeachment power in the Badger State --- or any other.

He describes the "high stakes political war" as "a game of chicken," with Republicans "upping their threat" to remove Protasiewicz, "not because it's legitimate, but because these folks might well do something crazy."

"I don't think you can say it's a foregone conclusion that they will impeach," he cautions. "I would say we've moved to the point where it's likely. They have realized, once the lawsuits were filed, that if the Court moves forward on these, they are going to be upended politically. Basically, this is self-preservation at this point. If you know anything about politics, self-preservation is a stronger motivation than partisanship or ideology. That's what tips the balance toward the likelihood of impeachment."

"The best way to understand the Republican Party of Wisconsin is that this is a political party that's in crisis," Nichols tells me. "Their crisis is that the state, which really was pretty evenly divided [is now leaning Democratic.] If that's the case, then for the Republicans, the only way they survive politically is to either change, become a much more moderate party --- they're unlikely to do that --- or game the process."

And, while one single Republican in the state Senate could prevent Protasiewicz' removal, the WI Constitution, as Nichols explains, has a provision "that's really become the heart of the whole matter. The clause says that if you are impeached by the state Assembly, you cannot rule on cases that come before the court. This is the key to it. We've always known there aren't the votes in the state Senate. But because of that clause, they don't have to send it to the Senate. They can just impeach her, and then leave her in limbo for a year and a half, at least until the legislative session ends. Which would eliminate any action as regards the 2024 maps, potentially the 2026 maps."

Could she simply resign and be reappointed by Evers until the next election? Yes, says Nichols, but there is a rub. Tune in for it.

All of this, however, may come at a great cost to Republicans, he explains, as voters respond to this radical tactic as Constitutional abortion rights, union rights and voting rights are all expected to come before the liberal Court that voters elected this year.

How does this "game of chicken" end? Nichols, who told me a month ago, when Vos' threat first emerged, that we were likely "in for a wild ride," now promises a "roller coaster" in his home state in the coming weeks, as state Dems are now spending at least $4 million to let Wisconsin voters know what Republicans are up to in advance of 2024. If the GOP pulls this trigger, Nichols believes, they could be in for serious trouble when voters return to the polls next year.

FINALLY: Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as horrific flooding moves from Greece to Libya where it has taken thousands of lives over the past several days; Africa holds its first-ever climate summit and calls for a global fossil fuel carbon tax; and climate protesters interrupt the U.S. Open...

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Callers ring in on the politics of the 'Insurrection Disqualification Clause'; Also: Horrific disasters in Morocco, Libya; Somewhat brighter news for Maui; Lee continues to strengthen, menace the U.S. East Coast...
By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2023 6:15pm PT  

Thanks to recent travel, holidays, studio construction, Presidential indictments and arraignments, hurricanes, wildfires and more, we've been unable to open our phones to listeners on The BradCast for several weeks. Today, we try to begin making up for failing! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, Planet Earth is angry. The frantic search for survivors continues today in Morocco, where a 6.8 magnitude quake on Friday was already confirmed to have killed more than 2,700 as of airtime. In eastern Libya, 2,000 are feared dead today in massive, climate change-enhanced flooding over the weekend. In what suffices for slightly less grim news over the same weekend, Hawaii's Governor reported that the number of missing following last month's climate change-enhanced wildfires on Maui has now dropped to 66, as the horrific confirmed death toll holds steady, for now, at 115. And, Desi Doyen joins us as we continue to keep our eyes on the massive, climate change-enhanced Hurricane Lee in the Atlantic, as it continues to gain strength as it moves northward through exceedingly warm waters toward Bermuda and threatens the northern East Coast of the U.S. and Canada.

Next, we've been talking for some time (about two years now, if memory serves, but who's counting?) about the fact that the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" bars Donald Trump from office and, therefore, next year's 2024 ballot. Over the last several weeks, the corporate media has finally decided to take notice, largely after two Constitutional law scholars from the right-wing Federalist Society issued a 126-page law review paper [PDF] concluding that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies the former President from running again, due to his having "engaged in insurrection" on January 6, 2021.

Secretaries of State and other chief election officials across the country are now grappling with whether Trump can Constitutionally qualify for the 2024 GOP Primary ballot and some Democratic U.S. Senators are finally speaking up about the matter --- even if several of them believe the matter should be left up to voters next year, as opposed to the Constitution and the Courts.

It is our position that an originalist, textualist reading of the Constitution's Civil War-era 14th Amendment is clear. Trump is, in fact, now barred from running for or serving in office. That may be a good or a bad thing for Democrats. But the decision will ultimately be made by the Courts. In this case, almost certainly, by the stolen, packed and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court whose rightwing majority is, no doubt, already twisting itself into a pretzel trying to figure out how to declare the Constitution to be unconstitutional.

But the political question is a very different one. Sure, Trump is disqualified based on a fair, simple or even scholarly reading of the Constitution. But is that a trigger that should be pulled? For that matter, will it lead to actual triggers being pulled in response?

We open up the phones today to listeners on those very questions and, I'm happy to say, they did not disappoint...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Navarro 'guilty'; Prigozhin's interference; DeSantis law v. Idalia recovery; Lee strengthens; OH GOP lawyer sentenced; AL GOP Rep. arrested; 'Crooked' Coffee County, GA; Solution to 'Rich Men from Richmond'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2023 6:39pm PT  

As the headline suggests, we've got a bunch of different odds and ends and follow-ups and codas to share with you on today's BradCast, along with, several new stories and even a musical ending to it all. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among today's stories...

  • Trump advisor Peter Navarro was found guilty by a jury in D.C. on Wednesday on two counts of Contempt of Congress for refusing to answer his House January 6 Committee subpoenas for testimony and documents. It's the second such conviction for a scofflaw Trump apparatchik. Last year, Steve Bannon was found guilty of the same crimes and sentenced to 4 months in prison. He remains out on appeal. Navarro is expected to appeal as well. We wish them both nothing but luck in their continuing efforts to evade the Rule of Law on behalf of the disgraced former President and continuing con-man.
  • Just a friendly reminder, because I haven't seen it covered much in the wake of the recent small plane death of former Vladimir Putin-ally turned short-lived Russian mutineer Yevgeny Prigozhin. I just wanted to make sure this factoid doesn't fall down the Memory Hole of History: On the day before last year's mid-term elections in the U.S., Prigozhin admitted, for the first time publicly, that Russia had, in fact, "interfered, are interfering and will interfere" in U.S. elections. Yes, in addition to heading up the brutal Wagner mercenary group in Ukraine and elsewhere, being known as "Putin's Chef" and eventually failed mutineer, he was also the guy who finally admitted to having interfered in U.S. elections. He was charged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in 2018, for having done so in 2016.
  • Following Hurricane Idalia's landfall in Northern Florida last week, it's become clear that a radical new anti-immigrant law signed by the state's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year will hamper rebuilding and recovery efforts in the Sunshine State. While damage from Idalia was intense, it made landfall on a sparsely populate part of the state. Next time, Florida may not be so "lucky". In not-unrelated news for the U.S. East Coast, the huge Hurricane Lee has now intensified to a Category 4 today as it nears the Caribbean.
  • A couple of weeks ago, we covered yet another case of voter fraud by a White Republican Trump donor after James Saunders, a 56-year old Ohio attorney, was convicted of unlawfully voting in both Florida and the Buckeye State in the 2020 and 2022 general elections. Last week, he received Ohio's maximum sentence of three years in prison. The judge sent him immediately to jail following his conviction without allowing him to remain free pending appeal.
  • In yet another new case of GOP election fraud last week, Alabama state Rep. David Cole was arrested and charged with voting in "multiple or unauthorized locations" after law enforcement officials determined the District 10 lawmaker actually resided in District 4 in violation of state law. He faces up to 10 years in prison for his crimes, though --- in a turnabout for GOPers these days --- Cole who was elected to public office last year, had the decency to resign following his arrest and says he plans to plead guilty.
  • We've been spent quite a bit of time over the past year and a half on both The BradCast and at The BRAD BLOG covering the alarming, unlawful breach, copying and distribution of Georgia's statewide voting system software by a bunch of MAGA folks on January 7th, 2021 in rural Coffee County. The scheme was allegedly organized by Trump attorney Sidney Powell after being hatched in the Oval Office in December of 2020. Powell and three others were finally charged by Atlanta-area D.A. Fani Willis for their parts in the plot, in Donald Trump's sprawling, 41-count RICO indictment [PDF]. We helped break some of the story last year and have been covering in detail it ever since, including yesterday with guest Marilyn Marks, the woman who first revealed the breach after learning about it via a bizarre phone call she received from one of the participants (who has also since been charged.)

    But there is another, less reported aspect to all of this, with no small amount of irony. Two of those charged for key roles in the plot, the County's then GOP Chair Cathy Latham and then Election Supervisor Misty Hampton, were also part of a voter suppression cabal in the heavily Republican County where about a quarter of the population is Black. In fact, for years, the pair had helped to bring false voter fraud charges against County Commissioner Olivia Coley Pearson, a Black Democrat, for her terrible habit of helping folks get to the polls when they need assistance. As CNN's Elle Reeve details in an excellent report this week from on the ground in Coffee County, there is good reason that some refer to it as "Crooked Coffee"...even before the massive Republican election fraud breach carried out by Hampton, Latham and many others.

  • Next up, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report following a record brutal summer across the globe. But she also has some good news, such as the Biden Administration's effort to reverse Trump's oil drilling up in the previously pristine Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
  • Finally, we close out Labor Day week with a new tune from musician and longtime labor advocate Billy Bragg, who says he was inspired by "the ghost of Woody Guthrie" to respond to a song named Rich Men North of Richmond by Virginia-based singer Oliver Anthony after it recently went viral in GOP circles. Bragg's new tune in response is called Rich Men Earning North of a Million and it has a very clear message and solution for Anthony "and people like you."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Bad news for Trump in second rape, defamation suit and on his Constitutional eligibility for the 2024 ballot...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2023 6:31pm PT  

It's been a few months since she's been on BradCast, but she returns today, for the first time since the sprawling RICO indictment against Donald Trump and 18 co-conspirators for attempting to steal Georgia's 2020 Presidential election. The indictment includes charges based on a phone call she received --- and was smart enough to have recorded --- from a Team Trumper who essentially confessed to the now-notorious breach of the state's voting system software in Coffee County. She deserves, and receives, a bit of a victory lap today, while breaking still more news about the breach which, she warns, has yet to be investigated by the state's Secretary of State or its Board of Elections in advance of 2024. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But first up today, a few somewhat related items...

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that E. Jean Carroll's upcoming civil trial against Trump will only be on damages --- how much he will have to pay the former magazine columnist who accused him of raping her in the 1990's and then lying about her years later. A civil trial that ended in May found Trump liable for sexual assault and defamatory remarks made about Carroll in 2022. Today, the judge found that the previous finding of assault and defamation already establish Trump's liability regarding defamatory comments he made about her in 2019, while serving as President and, therefore, the only question to be resolved in this separate suit is how much he will have to pay her. She is seeking not less than $10 million in this case and the judge has allowed her to add defamatory comments Trump made about Carroll on a CNN Townhall the day after he was found liable in the earlier case.

Picking up on our detailed coverage on yesterday's show of the various chief election officials around the country now grappling with whether Trump is even eligible for the 2024 ballot next year, based on his violation of the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" (14th Amendment, Section 3), the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's eligibility for the ballot in Colorado on Wednesday on behalf of six Republican and unaffiliated voters there. The matter is likely to move quickly all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, given that the state must settle its 2024 Primary ballot by January 5th!

A hearing was held on Wednesday in Fulton County, Georgia in Fanni Willis' RICO case [PDF] against Trump with co-defendant attorneys Ken Chesebro (alleged architect of the fake electors plot) and Sidney Powell (alleged organizer of the Coffee County voting system software breach) each seeking to be tried quickly and alone. The judge appears to have agreed on "quickly", setting a trial date for both beginning on October 23. But he he denied their motion to have their cases severed from each other. Still to be determined, however: the question of whether all 19 co-defendants must be tried at the same time, as Willis' team argues, given that guilt for any one defendant in the covert actions listed in the RICO charge (Count 1 of 41) means that all co-conspirators are guilty under state law. Prosecutors told the judge today that they expect the trial to take at least four months and will include more than 150 witnesses. (One of whom might be our guest on today's show!)

At the same time, a filing last week in the case by Powell claims she had nothing at all to do with the scheme to unlawfully breach, copy and distribute Georgia's state voting system software in the rural, Republican-leaning Coffee County. A report last week at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, however, which (literally) has the receipts, suggests otherwise.

But all of that --- including the receipts --- is only known publicly thanks to our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the small, critical non-profit, Coalition for Good Governance. As first aired on this program in May of last year, Marks received a phone call from an Atlanta bail bondsman named Scott Hall, who, essentially, confessed to the entire Coffee County scheme. That is how we even know that the breach happened at all, and why four people involved with it --- one of whom is Powell, another of whom is Hall --- were charged last month in the scheme that still endangers elections both across the entire state of Georgia, where the same systems will be used again next year, and in more than a dozen other states.

Marks explains today how Hall originally "confessed" to the breach after calling out of the blue to bully her into turning over documents from her long-running civil lawsuit which is challenging the use of GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's unverifiable, wildly insecure touchscreen voting systems. Hall claimed he had actually "hacked" into her group's legal documents.

"Instead of slamming the phone down, which was my first inclination, I instead decided to go into playing the sweet little old lady mode," Marks explains today, noting that she "kept him on the phone for about an hour" before he "just blurted out" the fact that he and other MAGA folks were allowed in to the Coffee County elections building to scan, image and copy everything. Two local officials, Coffee's then Election Supervisor Misty Hampton and the County's GOP chair Cathy Latham, have also been indicted in the same RICO conspiracy. (In addition to helping facilitate the software breach, Latham is also charged for her role as a fake elector in Georgia.)

Marks quipped that Hall has likely by now "realized that he, unlike Trump, had not made a 'perfect phone call."

In the meantime, Marks warns that, despite the indictments, the threat posed by the breach has still not been fully investigated by either federal or state officials. Two and a half years since the breach, which she believes Raffensperger learned of almost immediately afterward and has been covering up, "the Secretary and State Election Board have not even begun an investigation of Coffee County," Marks emphasized, telling me that "there are so many people that were involved in the Coffee County Breach that have not been held to any kind of accountability."

"What they did was just turn the criminal aspects of this over to Georgia Bureau of Investigation," she asserts. "But they are doing nothing at all. They have not even conducted one interview. They have not picked up the first piece of paper. They have not done anything to consider what are the impacts on the voting system? What are the impacts for future elections? How did this go wrong? What kind of better rules should have been in place? What kind of reporting structure should we have had? They have still not put in a single rule or requirement for reporting a security incident. If Coffee happened today, they would not have to report it."

That, Marks warns, remains a serious threat moving forward, especially since the software still remains in the wild and Raffensperger has refused to install Dominion touchscreen voting system security patches certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and strongly recommended by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the wake of the January 7th, 2021 breach in Coffee County until after the 2024 elections.

Marks' long-running lawsuit seeking to replace Raffensperger's Dominion touchscreens with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots is finally set to go on trial in January. "We are really looking forward to putting on all of this evidence," she tells me, after explaining why the Coffee County breach is so key to her case. "And, certainly we are hoping for a decision that will at least protect the November elections for 2024. After all, these breaches that happened in Coffee County --- they are still ongoing."

"Remember, all that software was posted on the Internet. Lots of people took it. Nothing has been done to mitigate it. So, if you think about it, every day that people have their hands on that software, sharing it with others, the breach continues."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Election officials grapple with Trump's Constitutional ballot disqualification; Also: Proud Boy boss gets 22 years for 1/6; Courts order lawless AL, FL to restore Black-majority U.S. House Districts...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2023 6:24pm PT  

We're back! Both on today's BradCast and even in L.A., after fleeing the state last month to avoid weeks of construction on the roof of the apartment housing our home studio. To no one's surprise, the work is taking longer than we were told, so please pardon our efforts this week to work around it as best as possible after taking last week off to both avoid it and to enjoy the last days of Summer 2023 before the 2024 fight for Democracy (represented this year by Democrats) and Autocracy (represented by a lawless Republican party) begins in earnest.

Among our stories today...

  • Enrique Tarrio, former head of the far-right Proud Boys gang was sentenced to 22 year in federal prison on Tuesday following his conviction for Seditious Conspiracy for his role in the January 6th, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection. It's the longest sentence for any of the MAGA insurrectionists to date. Also, of note, Tarrio wasn't even in Washington D.C. that day. Point taken: One didn't need to be personally smashing windows and storming the Capitol to be held to serious account for what happened that day. Got it. Hopefully other jurors in other upcoming related cases will get it as well.
  • The federal Courts are still holding. Mostly. For now. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel found that Alabama Republicans blatantly defied an order from the U.S. Supreme Court to add another Black-majority district to their U.S. House map. The SCOTUS order to do so --- after finding the state violated both the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act with their racially gerrymandered districts --- came in Allen v. Milligan [PDF] in early June. Alabama didn't care. In an unprecedented move, they gave the finger to the Court and drew up a new map with the very same deficiencies featuring just one Black-majority district out of seven, in a state where some 27% of residents are Black. The federal court panel has now assigned a Special Master to draw U.S. House districts for the state, after a lawless Gov. Kay Ivey joined with lawless legislators in the gerrymandered statehouse to defy SCOTUS, the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution. Alabama is now appealing the ruling to the same U.S. Supreme Court Justices who rejected their arguments barely three months ago.
  • The story is similar in authoritarian Governor and Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis' lawless state of Florida this weekend. In this case, a state court judge on Saturday ordered the state legislature to draw a new U.S. House map restoring a Black-majority district in Northern Florida that DeSantis had personally ordered state lawmakers to break into pieces and divvy up its Black voters into White Republican districts. The weekend's court order would seem to be good news. However, the State will now appeal the ruling directly to its Supreme Court where DeSantis has hand-picked a majority of the Justices. As we have long been warning, the fight between Democracy and Autocracy (or Fascism, as one of our longtime listeners insists), continues into 2024.
  • Next, I finally catch up with a bunch of news on a growing story --- some of which we've been discussing over the past two years --- that I've otherwise been trying to get to for weeks, but for all of the various indictments, hurricanes, wildfires, debates, etc. continually sidetracking me. The news has to do with the continuing feeling I have that Donald Trump will ultimately not be on the ballot come next November. As noted, that's not a prediction or an inside scoop. It's simply a feeling for now, but one that I can't shake as an increasingly swelling body of evidence seems to support its possibility.

    Today, that evidence includes polling last month finding nearly two-thirds of Americans say they will either "definitely" (53%) or "probably" (11%) not support Trump in 2024. Might such numbers begin to grab the notice of Republican Primary voters? (So far, the answer is largely no. But we've got a long way to go --- and a lot of criminal trials --- before the GOP's nominating convention next July.) There are already a number of high profile Republicans calling on Trump to drop out of the race or noting that he very well may be Constitutionally disqualified entirely from the ballot.

    It is that part of this story today --- disqualification from the ballot via Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for his role in the January 6 Insurrection --- that we focus on today. Namely, the far-right, Federalist Society legal scholars who recently issued a 126-page law review paper [PDF] finding Trump to be Constitutionally ineligible for the ballot --- "cannot be president --- cannot run for president, cannot become president, cannot hold office" --- due to his roll in the January 6 insurrection.

    And now, there is a host of state Secretaries of State --- both Republican and Democratic --- around the country who are currently or soon to be grappling with the decision as to whether Trump is even eligible to be on their state ballots in 2024.

    Among those Secretary of State's discussed today, after they recently offered various opinions on the matter: New Hampshire's David Scanlan (R); Ohio's Frank LaRose (R); Arizona's Adrian Fontes (D), New Mexico's Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D); Maine's Shenna Bellows (D) and Michigan's Jocelyn Benson (D). (Benson gets credit for the first part of today's headline. REO Speedwagon gets credit for the alternate hed.)

    I welcome your feelings on this matter as well. Feel free to drop me an email or a note in comments and perhaps I'll share it on air in the days ahead.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen is back as well, of course, with our latest Green News Report, catching up with a bunch of stuff we missed while we were out, and as the Summer of Climate Disasters turns to...well, most likely the Autumn of Climate Disasters...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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