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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, October 24, 2021
Sunday Spooky Toons
Be very afraid. Just in time for the holiday...It's PDiddie's latest collection of the week's scariest editorial toons...
Anita Hill Still Changing the World, 30 Years Later: 'BradCast' 10/22/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with author, lawyer, Brandeis University professor Anita Hill...
The Good with the Bad: 'BradCast' 10/21/21
House holds Bannon in contempt; TX Lt. Gov. pays out for GOP voter fraud; CA GOP's recall boondoggle; Vets dump Sinema; Manchin could dump Dems; TX steals minority House seats; IL boosts Dems (a little)...
'Green News Report' 10/21/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
We're making too much fossil fuel; Climate change imperils millions, study finds; CA expands drought emergency; PLUS: Cutting emissions is hard, but will lower energy bills...
Previous GNRs: 10/19/21 - 10/14/21 - Archives...
'A One-Way Ratchet': Biden's SCOTUS Comm. Does GOP's Bidding: 'BradCast' 10/20/21
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: 'Contempt' for Bannon; Manchin, Sanders in talks; GOP Senate blocks voting rights again...
'Despair is Not an Option' After Manchin Tanks Biden's Central Climate Plan: 'BradCast' 10/19/21
Guest: UCSB's Dr. Leah Stokes; Also: 'Mass homicide' allegations for Brazil's Bolsonaro...
'Green News Report' 10/19/21
Manchin blows up Biden's climate agenda; EPA to crack down on PFAS; Million of polluting, abandoned U.S. wells; PLUS: McDonald's finally going beyond meat...
Listeners on Whether Ds Should Gerry-mander 'Blue' States: 'BradCast' 10/18/21
Also: How the unvaxxed helped kill Colin Powell; How Manchin is killing Biden's climate change plan...
Sunday 'Democracy's Boundaries' Toons
PDiddie draws a few lines in his latest collection of the week's best toons...
Why Dems Should Gerrymander 'Blue' States (& Why They Shouldn't): 'BradCast' 10/15
Guest: FairVote's Dave Daley; Also: Freedom to Vote in the Senate; GOP physics in VA...
'Green News Report' 10/14/21
Supply chain disruptions spike energy prices; Russia says they didn't do it!; CA bans gas-powered leaf blowers; PLUS: Biden Admin goes big on offshore wind...
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...


Guest: Chuck Collins of Institute for Policy Studies' Inequality.org; Also: 2021 flu season proves masks work; Swalwell latest to sue Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2021 7:00pm PT  

Prepare to be outraged by some gobsmacking and maddening numbers from today's guest on The BradCast. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

But first, speaking of startling numbers, statistics from this year's flu season prove that masks and social distancing do indeed help to prevent viral transmission and death. That, of course, is bad news for residents of Texas and Mississippi, where their idiot Governors this week lifted statewide mask mandates and all restrictions on businesses, even as COVID infection rates are on the rise in both states. Both are among the top 10 worst states in the nation in that regard in recent weeks. Mississippi leads the nation, with Texas not far behind. And that was before they ended statewide mandates this week in contradiction of strong advice from health experts.

In Washington, Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA), one of the House Impeachment Managers during Donald Trump's second Impeachment Trial, filed suit against the disgraced former President, his son Don Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) for their roles in inciting the January 6th U.S. Capitol insurrection. Swalwell's civil complaint follows on a similar one filed last month by Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson and the NAACP.

At the same time today, the U.S. Senate continued debate over the American Rescue Plan, President Biden's $1. 9 trillion emergency COVID relief and stimulus package after Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin forced an all-night reading of the 628-page measure that was passed by the House late last week. In addition to funds to speed distribution of vaccines, the bill includes $1,400 payments to Americans making less than $75,000, an extension of federal unemployment benefits, hundreds of millions to reopen schools safely, and to supplement lost revenue to hard-hit, cash-strapped states and cities.

As tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and are both struggling to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table, the relief can't come soon enough, despite zero votes of support from Republicans in either the House or Senate, so far, for the otherwise wildly popular bill. Johnson described it as a "boondoggle" full of unnecessary spending that would blow out the national deficit, even as it will cost the same amount of money that he and all the other Republicans voted in favor of when they passed Donald Trump's 2017 tax cuts for mostly wealthy Americans and corporations.

But while Senators --- even on the Democratic side --- squabble over whether unemployment payments should be $400 a week and last through August, or $300 a week and last until September, America's 664 billionaires could cover almost the entire cost of the measure from only the money they've made during the last 11 months of the pandemic.

We spoke last Summer with CHUCK COLLINS, Director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he co-edits Inequality.org, about his "Billionaire Bonanza 2020" report. Today, he joins us again with a maddening update to that report, finding that, as more than half a million Americans died, 73 million lost work, nearly 100,000 business permanently closed, 29 million adults reported their household did not have enough food over the past week and 11 million children didn't eat enough because their household couldn't afford to fully feed them, the 664 billionaires in the U.S. actually gained $1.3 trillion in added wealth since the beginning of the pandemic!

The profits of that handful of mostly white, male billionaires could cover more than two-thirds of the entire $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and, "At $4.2 trillion," Collins' updated report reveals, "the total wealth of America's 664 billionaires is also more than two-thirds higher than the $2.4 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, 165 million Americans."

Those are just some of the startling numbers from his latest report, highlighting the obscene inequality in the U.S., made even worse by the nearly year-long coronavirus pandemic. Shamefully, all of the numbers are still worse for women and people of color. "The inequalities of income and wealth and the racial wealth divide were the pre-existing conditions as we went into the pandemic," he explains. Collins tell me that "the number of people who have no financial reserves --- zero, or negative financial wealth" is "14% of white households...but double that, 28% of Black households, 26% of Latino households...[and] that was before the pandemic."

"That's why 660 billionaires can have almost twice as much as the bottom half of US households --- because the bottom half doesn't have much!," he reports. So, what to do about it? Will the American Rescue Plan help? How about Sen. Elizabeth Warren's recently refiled "Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act" that would tax two cents of every dollar of wealth above $50 million, generating at least $3 trillion in revenue over ten years in the bargain.

Warren cites Collins' new study in making the case for her new wealth tax proposal. Her proposal is wildly popular among voters of all political stripes, as she pitched a similar version during her Presidential run last year. The fact that it isn't already the law, Collins argues, "is simply a reflection of the power of wealthy interests to block change in our political system. It's not that they're changing the political system --- they're able to stop and thwart and block change. And that's unfortunately what we're up against."

"That's the debate we're watching right now in the Senate," he adds, "where half the members in the Senate, they don't have a program to help America get through these hard times. They just want to block the one that would actually make a difference. Unfortunately, the Republicans have been the 'Party of No' because they don't want government to succeed in making a difference in people's lives, because that would undermine their whole program."

Yes, we've got a lot to discuss today with Collins, whose newest book out this month, The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Spend Millions to Hide Trillions, details "the shadowy Wealth Defense Industry," which he explains today as well. Sen. Bernie Sanders writes that "Chuck's book reveals a blueprint for reversing this obscene inequality so we can take back our democracy and ensure that our government works for everybody --- not just the billionaire class and wealthy campaign contributors"...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Courts continue to save nation on COVID dangers, voting, more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2020 6:28pm PT  

I'll be brief in today's BradCast summary, because I've got to head back into Day 2 of the bizarre dystopian nightmare known as Donald Trump's Republican National Convention. We're watching it so you don't have to. You're welcome. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

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

  • Two nightmare storms slamming the Gulf Coast in the same week as the biggest and more dangerous of the two, Hurricane Laura, is gunning for the Louisiana/Texas border, likely as a Category 3;
  • A Florida judge puts the brakes on Gov. Ron DeSantis' demand that all public schools open five days a week for in-person classes by the end of this month. He says the state's plan "disregards safety" amid a still roiling --- if slightly easing (for now) --- pandemic in the Sunshine State;
  • Highlights (low lights?) from Day 1 of the RNC, in which every speaker sounded as if their remarks were either written by the same person, or simply ripped straight off of Fox "News". As ridiculous as the evening was --- featuring enough dangerous lies about Trump's mishandling of the COVID crisis that MSNBC had to break in with a doctor for some serious fact-checking; a couple of accused felons warned Democrats will "“abolish the suburbs altogether"; a seemingly stoned Don Jr. and his seemingly insane former Fox "News" host girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle --- we determined that ridicule was the best was to cover it. So we called in Stephen Colbert for some assistance.
  • Good news, for now, for voters in Pennsylvania. A Trump-appointed federal judge forced the Trump Campaign to make fools of themselves by demanding they present evidence of voter fraud via secure absentee ballot drop-boxes in Pennsylvania, where they are suing to prevent the use of the convenient devices during this year's general election. The plaintiffs were unable to to present any such evidence.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more on the twin storms pummeling the Gulf Coast and the raging fires in California (both amid a global pandemic making evacuating shelters very tricky for social distancing), the Trump Administration puts a pause on it's approval for the controversial Pebble Mine in Alaska after Don Jr. and Fox "News" decide maybe they're against it after all, and a quick review of last week's virtual Democratic National Convention where Joe Biden and many others promised action on climate change...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/25/2020 10:48am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Twin storms pummel the Gulf Coast and Northern California fires rage out of control during the coronavirus pandemic; Trump Administration abruptly pauses controversial Pebble Mine; PLUS: 2020 Democratic National Convention touts climate action... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US WITH A (MUCH-NEEDED) DONATION to celebrate 1000+ episodes of independent, listener-supported climate, energy and environmental news! Thank you!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Exxon Ends 92-Year Run on Dow Jones; Hedge Fund Collects $3 Billion in Bet on Wildfire Insurance Claims;
Dems’ Climate Plan Takes Aim At The Fossil Industry’s Political Power; Thousands Allowed To Bypass Environmental Rules In Pandemic; Climate Is Taking On a Growing Role for Voters, Research Suggests; Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering... PLUS: An Apocalyptic August in California... and much, MUCH more! ...

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The dark money conspiracy behind the anti-mask, pro-hydroxychloriquine movement; The conspiracy of white supremacist provocateurs behind BLM 'riots'; Also: COVID conspiracist Rep. Gohmert has COVID...
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2020 7:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast (after a quick correction, thanks to @RadioDoogie on The Twitters, about a point covered on yesterday's show): Conspiracy theorists are too often disregarded. Especially with so many actual conspiracies behind so many of the disasters we're now facing in the U.S. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

Sure, some should be disregarded. One example is rightwing wingnut Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, who seemed to think that the coronavirus was some sort of conspiracy spun up by Democrats or the Chinese (or someone) to take down Donald Trump and the Republicans. A missive from one of his aide's suggests he berated staff members who wore masks after he demanded they show up at his office each day in the middle of our worsening pandemic to "be an example to America on how to open up safely."

COVID isn't a conspiracy. And now Gohmert is infected with it. We wish him and, most importantly, his family and staff well. He's just one of far too many who could now be facing serious consequences because he either fell for the phony conspiracy claims or knew better but didn't care. Here's just another heartbreaking example of someone else who fell for the hoax that Gohmert was helping to spread that coronavirus was a hoax.

But, there is indeed a conspiracy behind the claims that COVID is a hoax. We saw that well-funded conspiracy playing out in real time this week, as the dark money-supported "Tea Party Patriots" spun off to another phony astroturf organization calling itself "America's Frontline Doctors". They're the ones who put on that Breitbart live-streamed show in D.C. this week --- with quack "doctors" declaring hydroxychloroquine is a "cure" for COVID and that you shouldn't wear a mask --- which both Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. (and millions of others) retweeted in tandem earlier this week. The pair of Stable Geniuses were temporarily suspended (Jr.) by the social media platform for sharing what Twitter and Facebook and YouTube describe as "false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19" or saw the retweets deleted entirely (Sr.) But, yes, there is a very real --- and well-funded --- conspiracy of desperate wingnuts hoping to save the 2020 election for Trump who are behind the deadly nonsense that has hoaxed so many and killed at least 150,000 Americans to date.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, police have now identified the infamous "Umbrella Man". Remember the white man clad from head to toe in black, with a gas-mask and umbrella, using a hammer to casually smash the windows at an AutoZone store to help kick off riots and looting after two days of otherwise peaceful protests following the police killing of George Floyd?

Turns out the man, now identified by the Minneapolis Police Department as Mitchell Wesley Carlson, is allegedly a member of the Hell's Angels-affiliated Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood, a white supremacist group who "wanted to sow discord and racial unrest by breaking out the windows and writing" "free shit for everyone zone" on the doors of the store, according to the MPD. (He has also been tied to the Aryan Cowboys harassment of a Muslim woman and her four-year old child in a neighboring city of Stillwater.)

The conspiracy to spark riots blamed on "leftist anarchists" worked, and was undoubtedly part of a larger effort identified by leaked memos from federal authorities tracking "white racially motivated violent extremists" who reportedly discussed inciting riots while posing as "members" of the loosely affiliated group of anti-fascists who call themselves Antifa. So, the "conspiracy theory" pushed by Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr and other Fox "News"-fueled Republicans that Black Lives Matter, Antifa and unidentified "leftist anarchists" are somehow behind riots and looting at mostly peaceful protests around the country has little evidence to support it. But the theory that a conspiracy of white supremacist provocateurs is hoping to spark a race war --- evidence of which is conveniently ignored by Trump, Barr and all the rest --- appears to be, so far, right on the money.

Finally today, at the end of another harrowing hour, it's the great Randy Rainbow to save us all with another much-needed --- and hilarious --- musical happy ending...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Media Matters' Zachary Pleat; Also: If MLB can't avoid COVID, how's your local school district going to?; Trump's pathetic Fauci envy...
By Brad Friedman on 7/28/2020 6:44pm PT  

We're getting our sea legs back n today's BradCast, after a few days off (thanks, Nicole Sandler for filling in for us!) Luckily it's been a slow few new days since we last spoke. Sigh... [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

Anyway, among the stories covered on today's program...

  • How pathetic is malignant narcissist, Donald Trump? So pathetic that he completely made up an invitation to throw out the first pitch at a Yankees game after the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was invited to toss the first pitch at the Washington Nationals' home opener last week;
  • Well, that didn't take long. Now 17 members of the Florida Marlins are said to be infected with the coronavirus, leading Major League Baseball to suspend the Marlins' season through at least this Sunday along with the cancellation of three games this week between the Yankees and Phillies. All of this comes just days after MLB opened for a truncated 60 game season. They didn't make it past Day 3 without an outbreak;
  • If MLB and its billions of dollars can't keep its player safe, how do you suppose your local school district is gonna fare next month if they are ordered to re-open for in-person classes? That is still the plan for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who is bravely risking the lives of his state's children and their teachers in hopes that somehow that will help Donald Trump get re-elected in 98 days. We wonder if he's noticed that the infection and hospitalization rate for KIDS in the hot-spot Sunshine State is now exploding, with more than 31,000 cases of COVID-19 for Floridians under the age of 18 as of late last week --- a 34% increase in cases and a 23% increase in hospitalizations since the week prior. More than 300 children in Florida are now hospitalized with the virus, with one-third of them between the ages of 14 and 17, and 67 cases of hospitalization for those younger than one year old. That, after Donald Trump told the nation last week at a White House coronavirus briefing that school age kids "don’t catch it easily; they don’t bring it home easily";
  • Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the nation's most corrupt Attorney General in history, Bill Barr, testified for the first time ever before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, as federal troops wreak chaos on American streets and after interceding in criminal cases on behalf of Trump's convicted felon friends, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone. Both were found guilty of lying to federal investigators during Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. It was a contentious hearing that seems to have accomplished little. Though it did include a moment when Barr, who pretended to be concerned about the rule of law, seemed to suggest it might be just fine for the President to solicit and/or accept foreign assistance in an election. For the record, that remains illegal --- at least for those who actually do care about the rule of law --- whether Barr actually enforces such things or not;
  • Then, the disinformation wars continue, as led by the President of the United States and his more-than-willing accomplices. One of which, naturally, is his eldest son and namesake Don Jr., who ended up in "Twitter Jail" today for retweeting a video by Breitbart "News" that Twitter, Facebook and YouTube consider to be "false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19."
  • But, of course, Trump Sr. has many such accomplices in the rightwing media. Unfortunately, that isn't limited only to wingnut propaganda cable channels like Fox "News" or Internet propaganda outlets like Breitbart. It also includes the second largest owner of local television stations in the nation. Late last week Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which is allowed to own nearly 200 local stations in more than 100 markets, was shamed into temporarily pulling an episode of American This Week, as hosted by disgraced and fired Fox "News" personality Eric Bolling. (While texting unsolicited photos of one's genitalia is apparently enough to get ya fired by Fox, Sinclair doesn't seem to mind it all!)

    The episode in question featured an interview with a dubious, self-proclaimed "expert in virology" who, among other thing, claims that wearing a mask causes COVID-19, that Dr. Fauci "manufactured" the virus and sent it to Wuhan, China for some reason, and that an eventual coronavirus vaccine will "kill millions". After light was spread on the false claims featured in the episode, Sinclair pulled it for retooling. Today, CNN reports, they will not be airing it at all anymore. The Media Matters Senior Researcher who first exposed the Sinclair conspiracy propaganda, ZACHARY PLEAT, joins us on today's show to explain what happened and why Sinclair's pro-Trump propaganda --- hidden in plain sight, often coming out of the mouths of your favorite trusted local news anchors --- is arguably more insidious than even Fox "News".

    Moreover, that rightwing propaganda is being spread over OUR PUBLIC AIRWAVES in dozens of mostly southern and midwestern states across the country, on stations owned by Sinclair with frequencies licensed (for free) to them by the federal government in exchange for serving "in the public interest". Hopefully the FCC, during the next Administration, will take a long hard look at Sinclair's licensing agreements next time they come up for renewal;

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with two surprise hurricanes in two different U.S. states over just one weekend; more environmental destruction by the Trump Administration on (hopefully) their way out the door; and the installation of the world's largest battery now set to power tens of thousands of homes with clean, renewable energy in Southern California...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton; Schiff's powerful plea; CA Sec. of State 'conditionally certifies' VSAP touchscreens, adds curious 'hand-marked paper ballot' provision, Beverly Hills sues over system's critical flaw...
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2020 6:17pm PT  

Our special coverage of Donald John's Trump Senate Impeachment trial continues on today's BradCast, but we interrupt that coverage briefly at the top of today's show with some breaking news out of California, on a story we've been covering closely. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]

After we revealed last week that Los Angeles County's new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen computer Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting systems were found by the Secretary of State's independent testers to have failed to meet more than 40 requirements of the California Voting System Standards, we called on Sec. of State Alex Padilla to deny certification of these horrific systems and to require a verifiable HAND-MARKED paper ballot system instead for all voters in the nation's largest voting jurisdiction. We called on listeners to send Public Comment to the SoS before the Public Comment period for certification ended this past Monday for L.A.'s new $300,00,000 touchscreen "Voting Solutions for All People" or VSAP system.

I sent my own comment and, in doing so, cited a comment from the brainchild behind L.A. County's new voting system, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan. As we noted in that comment, Logan promised me a year ago, in January of 2019 via email, that "The equipment/system components [for VSAP] are/will be … in compliance with California's voting systems standards that exceed the federal voluntary system standards."

That vow from the County's top election official now turns out to have been untrue. Today, incredibly, Sec. Padilla "conditionally" certified [PDF] the VSAP system for first-time countywide use in the March 3rd Super Tuesday primaries, despite all of its many flaws.

He did, however, include a very curious --- and, for now, confusing --- condition, stating that "Los Angeles County shall make available in each vote center a sufficient number of blank write-in paper ballots for any voter that requests to cast a hand-marked paper ballot"...

What that means exactly, and whether this now means that every voter will be able to vote in any party's primary with a verifiable hand-marked paper ballot simply by requesting one at one of the 1,000 new Voting Centers (which replace the 5,000 community precincts we've always used in L.A. in previous years) remains to be seen. I have queries out to both the Secretary and Registrar and will report back whatever I can learn when I do.

In related news, the City of Beverly Hills announced Thursday they will sue the County, due to the fact that the VSAP system, as we explained last week, only shows four candidates in each race, before a voter is required to hit a "MORE" button if they wish to see additional candidates in the same contest. That "MORE" button, however, is very close to the "NEXT" button on the touchscreen, and takes voters to the next race without ever showing them all candidates in the previous one.

Padilla's conditional certification calls for mitigation to this enormous design flaw, but not until five months from now when "a plan" must be presented to the SoS regarding redesigned "functionality and usability". That means this flaw --- and the others --will be there for the critical March 3rd primaries and potentially changed before the crucial Presidential election in November. Whether that design change will actually be independently tested to ensure it has not introduced other problems also remains to be seen. But Beverly Hills, which has an upcoming election for City Council with five candidates on the ballot (one who will be hidden on Page 2 of the touchscreen for this race) has now filed a legal complaint, announcing they "are deeply troubled that voters will be disenfranchised by the new VSAP system."

Then, it's back to the ongoing mess on the East Coast in Trump's Impeachment Trial. We share the powerful and impassioned closing remarks from Thursday night's session from Rep. Adam Schiff. The lead Democratic House Manager spoke directly to Republican Senators about the internal dilemma that many are almost certainly facing in realizing the necessity of removing Trump before he cheats again on the 2020 election as he did in 2016 and, as Democrats have proven beyond a shadow of doubt, that he attempted to do in his unlawful pressure scheme with Ukraine to force them to announce an investigation seeking dirt on Joe Biden and an evidence-free claim about the 2016 election. Sadly, despite the power of those remarks, nobody who watches Fox "News" saw them because, as Media Matters found, the pretend "news" outlet showed live coverage of the actual, historic Senate trial "during its evening programming (between 7 p.m and 11 p.m. EST) for a total of just 22 seconds."

We're joined today by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo to help us make sense of the past week of the trial as Democrats wrap up their opening (and perhaps closing) argument; what we can expect from the President's attorneys who begin their own presentation in response on Saturday; our best analysis of what comes next; and why Parton predicts "jury nullification" and believes "shamelessness is their superpower"...

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Guest: U. of KY Law Prof Joshua A. Douglas; Also: NY judge fines paper tiger Trump millions for fraudulent 'charitable' foundation, a few other breaking news items, and our 999th 'Green News Report'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2019 6:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a close look at the scheme that Kentucky's Republican Governor may now be trying to pull off in hopes of stealing last Tuesday's election from the apparent Democratic winner. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, paper tiger Donald Trump, after vowing he'd never settle the case by New York Attorney General against his fraudulent "charitable" organization called the Trump Foundation, agreed to settle today after all. A state judge fined the President of the United States $2 million after finding he misused the foundation, repeatedly and illegally, to further his own political and business interests. Trump admitted to the wrong doing detailed in the settlement.

Moreover, the remaining $1.7 million in the organization's bank account will be donated, along with the $2 million fine, to several different charities, including the United Negro College Fund and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Trump and his three children who sat on the Foundation's board will be restricted in their ability to sit on the boards of charitable organizations in the future. And while one might think that being forced by a court to pay up nearly $4 million after admitting to using a charitable foundation to rip people off would be grounds for impeachment, given the indescribably unending criminality of Donald Trump, it seems unlikely this matter will even come up in the U.S. House's ongoing impeachment proceedings against him.

To that end, House Dems have announced the schedule for the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry to kick off next Wednesday, featuring two of Trump's top State Department officials who will testify to his politically motivated extortion plot against Ukraine. One of those officials, Deputy Asst. Sec. of State George Kent, is said to have taken copious contemporaneous notes after becoming concerned that the White House's attempted quid pro quo was "injurious to the rule of law, both in Ukraine and the U.S," according to a transcript of Kent's recent closed-door Congressional deposition made public on Thursday.

But, of course, we are still covering the ongoing fall-out from Tuesday's off-year elections, in which Dems flipped the Virginia House and Senate "blue" for the first time in decades, and as brand-new touchscreen voting machines deployed in Pennsylvania and in Georgia failed disastrously on their initial trial run before 2020.

Today, we focus on the potentially disturbing developments in Kentucky, where the state's unpopular and very Trumpy Republican Gov. Matt Bevin is said to have lost by just over 5,000 votes (out of some 1.4 million cast) to Democratic challenger Andy Beshear on Tuesday. Since then, Bevin has refused to concede, citing "well-corroborated irregularities" including what he described on Wednesday as "'thousands of absentee ballots that were illegally counted," reports of voters being "incorrectly turned away" from the polls, and "a number of machines that didn't work properly." He has yet to offer actual details on those serious allegations, but has formally requested a "recanvass" of tallies. That, according to KY's Sec. of State, will be carried out next Thursday, in a state with a very recent history of serious election rigging --- at least by very powerful insiders.

However, while the Bluegrass State has rules to resolve contested elections with recounts, those statutes specifically do not apply to gubernatorial races, oddly enough. And that's where things get quite murky in the state. Contested gubernatorial races are settled by a vote of both Houses of the General Assembly. Both chambers in the state (which Trump won by some 30 points in 2016) are currently controlled by Republicans. The last time a gubernatorial contest occurred in the state --- in 1899 --- it ended with an assassination.

While a GOP scheme to steal the election from a Democrat this way seems ridiculously far-fetched at first glance, a number of normally quite conservative election law experts are taking the matter quite seriously, given Bevin's current playbook which, some of them suggest, mirrors that of his close pal Donald Trump and what he may do in 2020 if things don't go his way.

We're joined by one of the nation's top experts on all of this today, University of Kentucky College of Law's JOSHUA A. DOUGLAS, to explain what happened on Tuesday; why Bevin's scheme and potential help from GOPers in the state legislature could augur very darkly for our democratic system; what all of this means for Mitch McConnell (the other similarly unpopular statewide Republican who just happens to be on the 2020 ballot); and what --- if Bevin turns out to be the same paper tiger that Trump is --- we should expect from the new Democratic Gov. Beshear's administration in an otherwise still very "red" southern state.

"There is danger," Douglas tells me today. "but it's not about irregularities. It's about the Governor's rhetoric and his allegations of 'voter fraud' and problems without any evidence whatsoever. I think that's really dangerous for our democracy, because it can undermine the public's confidence in our electoral system. I have not seen any evidence whatsoever that there were any problems in the way that Tuesday's elections were run. In fact, it was a fairly quiet Election Day [and] I usually hear about things that might be concerning. The danger here is really Gov. Bevin's allegations without any evidence, and Republican leaders' failure to call him out on that point."

"It's very concerning for what could happen in 2020 if Trump does not win re-election, and he also refuses to concede defeat by peddling theories of 'voter fraud' without any evidence," says Douglas.

Tune in for much more!

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the 999th edition of our Green News Report! And it's at least as disturbing as the previous 998. Next week: GNR1000! And thanks to those of you who make our nearly 11 years of climate coverage possible with your much-needed donations at BradBlog.com/Donate!

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In nearly seven hours of long-awaited, halting responses from the former Special Counsel, the need for impeachment became clearer than ever...
By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2019 5:39pm PT  

As documented by today's BradCast special coverage, former FBI Director Robert Mueller finally offered his long-awaited testimony in the U.S. House during nearly 7 hours of hearings before both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The Republican former Special Counsel confirmed key details of his two-volume, 448-page report [PDF] on Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election, the Trump Campaign's coordination with that effort and, in most detail, multiple instances of both indictable and impeachable criminal corruption of justice laid out by the report. In frequently halting and often terse responses to members of the two House panels, Mueller, as promised, refused to stray from the "four corners" of his report, issued earlier this year following his two-year probe.

Nonetheless, as heard on today's program, his responses made clear that both Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr --- not to mention the bulk of the Republican Party and their rightwing media outlets --- have been completely misleading the American public with their claims that Mueller's report somehow "exonerated" the President. It did anything but.

"Did you actually totally exonerate the President?" Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler asked during his opening round of questions. "No," Mueller flatly replied, later adding that "the President was not exculpated for the acts that he alleged committed." When Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic Chair of the Intel Committee, asked, "Your investigation is not a witch hunt, is it?," Mueller dryly responded: "It is not a witch hunt."

In fact, as Mueller's testimony made clear to those who watched --- especially to those who didn't bother to read his actual report --- any other American who committed the crimes detailed in the Special Counsel's report would have been indicted on multiple felony counts, as more than 1,000 former federal prosecutors have now stated. But for the Dept. of Justice Office of Legal Counsel's (unsupportable) opinion that a sitting President cannot be indicted, Trump would most likely have been charged long ago for his repeated, unlawful attempts to quash the Special Counsel's investigation.

Moreover, near the close of today's long hearings, Mueller offered a chilling warning about what he describes as still-ongoing efforts by Russia and other foreign powers, "as we sit here", to interfere with and manipulate upcoming U.S. elections.

We hold most of the commentary and analysis on all of this for another day in order to bring you extended excerpts on today's program from the detailed questions and answers with members of Congress from both parties and in both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. If you weren't able to catch seven hours of hearings beginning at 8:30am ET on a work day, we'll get you fairly well caught up on the key through-line and the most noteworthy stuff in just under an hour. You're welcome!

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Bizarre day in the Conway household; Remarkable GOP excuses for ignoring Mueller; MI drops Flint water crisis indictments; Plus: A long-overdue musical tribute to the Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2019 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we've got quite a bit of hard news, though we have to start off with a brief personal note. [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

Among the stories covered today...

  • My much-beloved hometown hockey team, the St. Louis Blues, are now Stanley Cup Champions for the first time in the franchise's storied if oft-frustrating 52-year history! After going from last place in the NHL in January to win the Cup in Game 7 in Boston, it seems only fair I'm allowed a short, if long-overdue, victory lap on today's program --- along with a bumper music tribute to the team I grew up with throughout today's show. (And no, Blues fans, it's probably not the music you expect!);
  • In somewhat more substantive, if less pleasant, matters (kicked off by a Daily Kos BradCast commenter who deserves credit for an appropriate invocation of the word "paracosm" today), life in the Conway household must be getting more bizarre by the day. On Thursday, the Trump-appointed head of the federal government watchdog Office of Special Counsel (not to be confused with Robert Mueller's Special Counsel's Office) recommended that Kellyanne Conway, one of Donald Trump's top advisers and apologists, be fired for "repeated violations" of the Hatch Act. The federal law bars federal officials from using their official offices for political purposes, yet Kellyanne repeatedly used hers to bash Democrats running for office while promoting Donald Trump and other Republicans. Scoffing at the watchdog's recommendation, of course, the corrupt White House is all but certain to ignore the multiple violations of federal law by one of its top officials;
  • Meanwhile, at the other end of Chez Conway, Kellyanne's husband, longtime Republican attorney and activist George took to the pages of Washington Post to file a scorching op-ed with Barack Obama's former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, slamming Trump's latest legal appeal in the President's attempt to block Congressional subpoenas for financial documents from his accounting firm Mazars. Conway and Katyal deride the President's claims that Congress is Constitutionally barred from investigating criminal matters, and that only the Executive Branch may do so. "The idea that only the president can investigate the president is an argument for autocrats, not Americans," the pair write, arguing that Trump's legal argument seems to invite an official impeachment proceeding by Congress. "Every principle behind the rule of law requires the commencement of a process now to make this president a former one," they conclude, in what must make for some very chilly dinner conversation at the Conway household;
  • In not-at-all unrelated news, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, the only sitting Republican member of Congress to call for impeachment proceedings against Trump, continues to maintain is not planning a run for President on the Libertarian ticket, though he said he has not "ruled anything out". He also lobbed back a pretty impressive response to an attempted Twitter shot by Donald Trump, Jr. (Of course, given the information-starved Trump supporters, it may be one they don't even understand.) Earlier this week, Amash officially resigned from the hard-right "House Freedom Caucus" (formerly known as the "Tea Party Caucus") which he had co-founded, having split with the group whose members have now become amongst the most virulent defenders and apologists for Trump in Congress. He also voted yesterday with Democrats in the House Oversight Committee to hold Attorney General Bill Barr and Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross in contempt for defying a subpoena to turn over documents related to false Administration claims regarding the addition of a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census;
  • Of course, the reason Amash is currently the only sitting GOPer to call for Trump's impeachment is because he may be the only Republican in the House who actually bothered to read the Mueller Report, which details multiple instances of criminal obstruction by the President for Congress to consider for impeachment proceedings. This past week has brought some remarkably original excuses from GOP House members as to why they are willing to overlook and excuse multiple, well-documented federal crimes by the President, who Mueller found to have committed some of the very same unlawful actions for which articles of impeachment were brought against both Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. For example, Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot, who as a member of the Judiciary Committee in 1998 voted for impeachment against Clinton, now says Donald Trump never swore on a bible, so there's nothing to impeach him for. Georgia Rep. Rob Woodall fell all over himself with some remarkable, false and contradictory statements while trying to explain why he proudly refuses to even read Mueller's report at all! But while Republican members of Congress might be excused --- under the world's most generous interpretation possible --- for being clueless when it comes to the Rule of Law, no such generosity can possibly excuse the jaw-dropping response to the Mueller Report's findings from the state of Louisiana's chief law enforcement officer, Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry;
  • Finally today, stunning news out of Michigan, where the state's recently appointed Solicitor General, tapped earlier this year by newly-elected Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel, announced that state prosecutors were dropping all criminal charges against eight people indicted in the Flint lead poisoning water crisis and starting the probe over from scratch after an expansive new body of evidence was reviewed. Prosecutors say they may recharge some of the previously indicted individuals, but that new evidence reveals former Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette's three-year investigation failed to properly examine large swaths of material evidence, some of which is said to be tied to former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. We try to make some sense of that news as we close out today's show...and musical tribute to my favorite underdog hometown team...

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Guest-hosted by Nicole Sandler with Senate Judiciary Committee vet Lisa Graves and Tweeter 'GottaLaff'...
By Nicole Sandler on 5/17/2019 5:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm your guest host, Nicole Sandler of nicolesandler.com

I’m a bit freaked out about the lawlessness of the Trump administration and the seeming lack of action on the part of the Democrats to do something! The question of the day is: "To impeach or not to impeach?" The first person I thought of to help with this question was LISA GRAVES, former Chief Counsel for Nominations on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee under Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration. Twitter’s @GottaLaff also joins in to continue the conversation. Enjoy!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton on 'the greatest liar and conman of all time'; Also: Don Jr. subpoenaed by GOP-Senate Intel Committee...
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2019 6:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it seems to be the day when we are now officially tumbling over the Constitutional Crisis cliff.

The day began with Donald Trump's Dept. of Justice issuing a letter to the House Judiciary Committee informing them that the President was formally asserting Executive Privilege to block the release to Congress of the unredacted report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as well as all of its underlying evidence, such as witness testimony, grand jury information, etc.

That, as the Committee held its scheduled session to consider a vote on a resolution [PDF] finding Trump's Attorney General turned personal fixer William Barr in contempt. The vote recommending the full House consider citing Barr came after weeks of Chairman Jerrold Nadler's repeated attempts, to no avail, to find good faith accommodation with the DoJ to release the subpoenaed Special Counsel materials. Nadler's thanks came today when the DoJ notified the Committee that, due to Trump invoking Executive Privilege, they would not be allowed to see any additional material from the Special Counsel investigation of Donald Trump's obstruction of justice and his 2016 campaign's involvement with alleged election interference by Russia. In an amusing sidebar, the White House statement today on this charged: "Faced with Chairman Nadler's blatant abuse of power...the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege."

And, as all of that was going on, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at a Washington Post event, declared cryptically that Trump's "obstruction, obstruction, obstruction" means that he is "becoming self-impeachable," whatever that might mean.

We're joined to try and make sense of all of this today --- including last night's blockbuster New York Times exposé finding Trump's tax records from 1985 through 1994 reveal that the self-proclaimed "greatest businessman of all time" personally lost more than $1 billion over that decade --- by our friend and award-winning journalist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hulaballoo.

Among the many questions raised and (some of them) answered today with the great "Digby"...

  • Did the Times' report have anything to do with Trump's blanket use of Executive Privilege today to block a report that he had previously waived the privilege on? ("The bigger picture here," argues Parton, "is that it exposes Trump as the greatest liar and conman of all time.")
  • Is Trump's legally dubious (to say the least) strategy of attempting to block any and all Congressional access to documents and witnesses really meant only to run out the clock until election season begins in earnest?
  • Is there a group of non-elected Republicans who might finally step in to end this madness?
  • Will the Democrats' attempt to refer a contempt citation for Barr be any more successful than the Republicans' attempt to cite Obama Attorney General Eric Holder in 2012 when, as we discuss, they made the exact same arguments against Holder that Dems are making against Barr today?
  • Are the Dems moving too cautiously in their attempts to hold Trump and his Administration accountable?
  • Are we any closer to an actual impeachment inquiry of the President, given (as 1998's Lindsey Graham helpfully reminds us today), the very same obstruction of Congress by a President for which Articles of Impeachment were issued against both Richard Nixon and by Graham and the Republicans against Bill Clinton?
  • What the hell does Pelosi's "self-impeachable" remark actually mean?
  • And should we all be concerned about what Trump might do next when things get even worse for him and his Presidency --- as his Administration continues to beat drums of war against Venezuela, Iran and other nations?

And, as if all of that isn't enough to squeeze into one very fast moving hour, as we got off the air today we received the breaking news that the GOP-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee has now subpoenaed Donald Trump, Jr., regarding his previous Congressional testimony on the Trump Tower Moscow project...as the walls appear to be tumbling down...

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NOTE: I'm on the road tomorrow, so we'll be airing a BradCast Recounted for ya. Angie Coiro is in for us on Friday. And I'll be back, whether you or I like it or not, on Monday!

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New study finds rich guys lie the most; WaPo finds Trump lies constantly; CNN finds Mueller found Trump and associates lied like crazy; Legal experts find Team Trump learned nothing from 'Russia-gate'; Trump and Barr find out if they can obstruct Congress; And many other findings...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2019 6:47pm PT  

Why tell the truth and follow the rule of law when BS'ing and obstructing truth and justice (and Congress) now appear to be a far more successful way to get ahead in life...and in the Presidency of the United States? As Donald Trump recently reached a new milestone of having told more than 10,000 lies while in office, according to Washington Post's fact-checker database, these are among the related stories covered on today's BradCast. [Audio link is posted below]...

  • A fascinating new study finds that wealthy men are more likely than women and those of lesser means to simply make stuff up. That's right, lying appears to work for many, and is carried out far more frequently in North America than in other English speaking countries around the world. Or, as WaPo's headline summarizes the academic survey: "Rich guys are most likely to have no idea what they're talking about, study suggests". (Though, as you'll also learn, both Desi and Canada should be ashamed of themselves);
  • That may also help us understand today who our President is and why he and his supporters do what they do, as a new CNN analysis catalogs 77 different "lies and falsehoods" by Trump and his associates, documented in Robert Mueller's redacted Special Counsel report. The lies were told by Trump, his "campaign staff, administration officials and family, Republican backers and his associates" who all "made false assertions to the public, Congress, or authorities," according to the analysis. While a handful of those lies were prosecuted as crimes (for example, some of those told to the FBI by Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and to Congress by his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen), most went unprosecuted for varying reasons, including the fact that lying to the public and the press is not a crime, even when the White House does it, repeatedly, apparently. Among the many lies cataloged, a plurality of which were told by the President himself, many concerned his dealings with Russia and those of campaign staff and administration officials;
  • Speaking of which, in March, Trump's 2020 Campaign Manager Brad Parscale flew to Romania to deliver a paid speech to Romanian politicians and policy experts, raising questions among U.S. legal experts about conflicts of interest and whether Team Trump has learned anything after their extensive dealings with Russia during the 2016 campaign. They paid little price for that, however, so why worry about a Trump/Romania Special Counsel investigation now?;
  • Mid-show today we covered some breaking news regarding today's U.S. support for a military coup being called for by Valenzuela's opposition leader and self-declared "President" Juan Guaido, and claims by U.S. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo that the nation's actual President Nicolas Maduro was preparing to leave the country in response. At the last minute, however, according to Pompeo, Maduro was talked out of it by Russia. But, of course, our Sec. of State is a huge and very successful liar as well, so there's no particular reason to believe any of his assertions regarding the attempted U.S. overthrow of Venezuela today;
  • In other breaking news, a federal judge today determined that a lawsuit filed by some 200 Congressional Democrats against Donald Trump charging he is in violation of the Constitutional Emoluments clause may move ahead, allowing plaintiffs to gain access to information about Trump's private business dealings;
  • And, in related news, Trump's private attorneys on Monday night filed a lawsuit on behalf of him, his company and his children's behalf against Deutsche Bank and Capital One in hopes of forcing them to not respond to lawful subpoenas for Trump financial documents as issued by a number of Congressional committees. Normally we'd say "good luck with that", but for Trump's stolen Supreme Court majority who have proven themselves capable of doing anything on his behalf at this point;
  • The obstruction also continued today by Trump's Attorney General William Barr, who, the Justice Department has said, still plans to appear before the Republican-majority Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to give testimony regarding the Mueller Report, but that he is objecting to a planned appearance before the Democratically-run House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, where members may allow counsel from both the majority and minority to question Barr during the scheduled testimony. House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler asserts it's not up to Barr to determine who gets to question him or how the hearing is to be carried out, suggesting he may ultimately need to subpoena the A.G. to force his testimony. But if Barr defies that subpoena, as other Administration officials have been ordered by Trump in recent days, then what? Who would enforce a Contempt of Congress citation against the nation's top law enforcement official? And how would it even be done? Well, there is a House Sergeant-at-Arms and, reportedly, a jail in the basement of the Capitol Building. We discuss;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, on the back-to-back devastating cyclones in Mozambique, a delay to the Interior Department's plan to expand off-shore drilling, air pollution getting worse under Donald Trump, and voter support for a Green New Deal in Spain's recent elections...

Yes. All of that. In under one hour. Somehow. You're welcome...

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2019 6:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It looks like Trump Attorney General William Barr's willingness to beclown himself to the level of Donald Trump didn't help much in protecting the President against his own clearly criminal and impeachable behavior as detailed by even the redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report. And Democrats in both the House and even the Senate are finally beginning to use the "i"-word they should have invoked long ago. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Barr's willingness to offer Trumpian lies to the American people about what the report actually says and doesn't was swell until the American people were actually allowed to read it. Trump's repeated and now well-documented attempts at criminal obstruction of justice by trying to shutdown or otherwise derail the Special Counsel's probe is now detailed for all to see, as of Thursday public release of the redacted 448-page report [PDF].

They are also now able to read Mueller's clarion call, also detailed in the report, for Congress to take up the matter as per their Constitutional duty to serve as the only real check on a lawless President. House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has now subpoenaed the Dept. of Justice for the full, unredacted version of the report and its underlying evidence, and has called for both Barr and Mueller himself to testify to Congress in the coming weeks. At the same time, more House members are now calling for impeachment to get under way after, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) notes: "Mueller’s report is clear in pointing to Congress’ responsibility in investigating obstruction of justice by the President" and "squarely puts this on our doorstep."

"While I understand the political reality of the Senate + election considerations," she Tweeted, "upon reading this DoJ report, which explicitly names Congress in determining obstruction, I cannot see a reason for us to abdicate from our constitutionally mandated responsibility to investigate."

For his part, after falsely hailing the report as a "total and complete exoneration" before it was publicly released, Donald Trump (who probably, ya know, should have bothered to read it first) returned to angry form as of Friday morning, railing profanely and incoherently against the report, the respected federal prosecutors and Republican former FBI Director who wrote it after a meticulous two-year process, and against his own top level staffers who are revealed in the report as the best witnesses to Trump's various impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors.

We're joined today by award-winning opinion and analysis journalist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo for her insight into the report itself --- which she describes as a "roadmap for impeachment" --- and its fallout today as even several Presidential candidates are now joining the growing calls for impeachment proceedings to begin in the U.S. House.

Among the many topics of our lively discussion: Bill Barr's BS; Mueller's reasoning for choosing to not prosecute while passing the ball firmly to Congress to pick up instead; Why Don Jr. wasn't charged (but should have been); Whether the long-standing DoJ guidance prohibiting sitting Presidents from being indicted makes any sense, either legally, Constitutionally or politically; and whether Democrats in the House and Senate (not to mention Republicans there) will find the backbone to do the right thing and hold Trump accountable as per their Constitutional responsibilities, or whether they'll continue to pull punches as they have for so many years. That, as we also discuss, is precisely what has allowed dangerously criminal and unfit clowns like Donald Trump to ascend to the Presidency in the first place.

"If we care about the Constitution, and we care about the democracy, you can't just let this kind of stuff go." Parton argues. "Even if they can't get the Republicans [in the Senate] to convict, I think that they have to do it anyway. It's the right thing to do. They have to lay out the case."

"Most Americans are not going to read that report like I just did. They're just going to hear snippets of it. But if they do impeachment hearings, in which they establish this narrative out there for all Americans to see, and to hear it in their own words --- from Robert Mueller to Don McGahn, to Hope Hicks, to everyone of them --- and hear what they have to say, to describe what happened, I think that's important for the record. It's important for the voters to have that as they go to the voting booth, whether Trump is convicted or not."

In case you're wondering, the phone number to reach your member of Congress is 202-224-3121. I bet they'd like to hear from you...

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Guests: Zero Hour's Richard Eskow, Comm. to Investigate Russia's Jacki Schechner...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2019 6:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It should come as little surprise that Donald Trump's newly-appointed Attorney General William Bar has gone out of his way to obstruct justice in his attempt to misdirect from the repeated obstruction of justice painstakingly detailed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 448-page report [PDF]. Still, it's remarkable to see in action, as the nation did first thing this morning at his bizarre press conference before the report was even released. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, even in the redacted version, as Barr finally allowed the public to see it today, Trump's many attempts to shut down or obstruct the Special Counsel probe are more than clear. That, after Barr delayed the report's release to the public for nearly a month and offered an astonishing --- if dishonest and ham-fisted --- bit of sleight-of-hand at his morning presser an hour before anyone was allowed to see the two-volume report on Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election and the President's attempts to frustrate the FBI's investigation of it, as well as the Special Counsel's probe that began after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for the corrupt intent cited in the report.

We're joined for special coverage analysis today as we all slog through Mueller's findings, by journalists RICHARD ESKOW, columnist and host of the weekly The Zero Hour radio and TV program, and JACKI SCHECHNER, Editor-in-Chief of the Committee to Investigate Russia.

There is lots to try and make sense of as we finally get a first look at the culmination of Mueller's two-year effort, detailing various coordination --- knowing and otherwise --- with Russia's efforts to manipulate the 2016 campaign and the President of the United States' repeated attempts to, yes, obstruct the probe into his own obstruction of justice in the wake of firing Comey and the naming of Special Counsel Mueller.

"He is a total hack," Schechner says about Barr and his repeated references to "no collusion" (which Mueller never argues in his report), while he ignored the serious obstruction evidence detailed by Mueller. "This was not an impartial Attorney General who stood up for the rule of law, to work for the American public. This was a man who is operating in a spokesperson capacity for the President of the United States. It's an embarrassment to the office."

Eskow agreed. "It should have been clear to people, as soon as the timing of these relative events was announced, that we were going to get a pre-release spin rather than a serious talk from the nation's chief law enforcement officer," he argues. "It's classic misdirection."

On the substance of the actual report, there is much more to say. The report cites DoJ guidelines finding that sitting Presidents cannot be indicted, as to why the Special Counsel avoided making judgments about whether Trump obstructed justice. As Mueller notes, however, "if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment."

"The obstruction of justice case is extraordinarily compelling," says Eskow, who has been responsibly skeptical about many claims in the Trump/Russia saga over the past two years. "They say it's not the crime, it's the coverup. The big change for me to today was seeing, in one place, the unimpeachability, seemingly, of the evidence pointing to obstruction of justice. [It] suggests to me that Congress should act immediately to do something about it."

We go on to discuss what may happen next, as House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announces plans to subpoena the Department of Justice for the full, unredacted report and its underlying evidence, and as calls for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump should be ramping up, given the remarkable revelations of Trump's corruption detailed by Mueller.

As Trump himself reportedly said after learning that Mueller had been named as special counsel, according to the report: "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked."

Finally, if you need a break from all of this today, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, because the existential threat of our growing climate crisis always lightens things up!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Suzanne Almeida of Common Cause; Also: Lack of campaign finance charges against Don Jr., Manafort threaten 2020 elections...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2019 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Something seemingly very interesting may have occurred at Tuesday's oral arguments on two separate, if related, partisan redistricting cases at the U.S. Supreme Court. The results, believe it or not, could change the outcome from what many voting rights advocates had previously predicted following the resignation of Justice Anthony Kennedy and the subsequent seating of his far-right replacement Justice Brett Kavanaugh. [Audio link to complete show is posted at end of article.]

The scourge of state legislative and Congressional maps drawn for partisan advantage by the party in power after a decennial Census has crippled democracy and the voting power of citizens for decades in the U.S. But the GOP dramatically upped the stakes following the 2010 Census when they employed highly sophisticated computer mapping techniques to ensure themselves huge electoral advantages over the ensuing ten years by drawing extremely partisan maps that "packed" Democrats into a small number of districts or "cracked" them among several in order to dilute the voting power of non-Republicans.

It's a practice that Democrats have carried out as well, if not to the same extreme as Republicans who took over many statehouses in the 2010 "red wave" election. A new analysis from AP finds that 2018's "blue tsunami" election, for example, would have been much larger for Congressional Democrats, were it not for many extremely partisan GOP-drawn maps in a number of key states, including North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Alabama and Texas. The AP study finds "Republicans won about 16 more U.S. House seats" than they would have under fair maps. Similarly, "Republicans' structural advantage might have helped them hold on to as many as seven [state legislative] chambers that otherwise could have flipped to Democrats."

While the U.S. Supreme Court has long found gerrymanders on a racial basis to be unconstitutional, they've yet to affirm the many lower court rulings finding partisan gerrymanders to be similarly unconstitutional. Last term, when many believed SCOTUS was prepared to do so, the Court punted instead on several cases of extreme partisan maps in Wisconsin, North Carolina and elsewhere, before Justice Kennedy --- thought to have been the likely swing-vote in favor of ending the odious practice --- announced his retirement.

On Tuesday, one of those cases, Common Cause v. Rucho --- where a federal appeals court determined (twice!) that North Carolina's Congressional maps were unlawfully skewed for Republicans (they've held a 10 to 3 advantage in their Congressional delegation for the past decade, despite the state being almost evenly divided between Republican and Democratic voters) --- was heard again at SCOTUS. Another case, Benesik v. Lamone, in which a single Congressional district in Maryland was drawn by Democrats specifically to remove an incumbent Republican, was heard as well.

And while many voting rights advocates have not had high hopes for either case, given the even farther-right leaning majority on the court following Kennedy's retirement, there were some surprises during oral argument, particularly from Justice Kavanaugh whose decision in one or both of the cases could change history by delivering a major win for voting rights.

We're joined today to discuss these potentially encouraging developments with SUZANNE ALMEIDA, Redistricting and Representation Counsel for Common Cause, the lead plaintiff in the NC case. She was in the Court on Tuesday for both hearings and explains what seems to have happened, offers insight on what could now occur, decries why these cases are so important, and what may happen when SCOTUS finally delivers it's crucial opinion in June in advance of both the crucial 2020 elections and the subsequent redistricting of all 50 states that will follow the 2020 Census.

"The North Carolina case is a particularly egregious case, for a couple of reasons," Almeida tells me. "One is that we have an admission. On the floor of the General Assembly, Representative Lewis leaned into a microphone and said, 'This is a partisan gerrymander. I wanted to this map to be 10-3 because it couldn't be 11-2.' That's not the way that map-drawing should work, and that's not the way representation should work in America." She also discusses, for example, how one district line drawn by the GOP in North Carolina actually splits an historically African-American college in two, so that its voters are diluted into two separate Republican-leaning districts.

As to the matter concerning Kavanaugh, who was reportedly disturbed by his own district in Maryland, where he lives, being gerrymandered by Democrats to prevent Republican representation, Almeida confirms that he seemed to want to find a standard that could be used by courts to determine if districts were unlawfully gerrymandered on a partisan basis. She says she shares "the characterization that Justice Kavanaugh has a personal interest in the Maryland case ... And he was pushing back quite strongly against the advocate for the state."

Almeida also pushed back at the notion from Justices on the right that Courts should simply stay out of these matters, and leave them to voters and the legislators who drew the maps to keep themselves in power in the first place, she tells me: "This idea that the Court has that somehow this is self-correcting, or will fix itself through the magic of the political process, just doesn't work. And that's because gerrymandering is about power, and people in power staying in power. And when the people in power have that power to make the rules and draw the lines, that's what they're going to keep doing."

She adds that comments from Kavanaugh and even Chief Justice Roberts during the proceedings on Tuesday are "reason to be optimistic". But I'll wait until the opinions come out in June before popping any champagne bottles on what could be, according to Mark Joseph Stern at Slate the "most important voting rights victory of the century so far."

Also on today's program: Speaking of 2020, some curious questions about why nobody from Team Trump --- particularly Donald Trump Jr. or campaign chair Paul Manafort --- has yet been charged with campaign finance violations regarding "soliciting" and/or "accepting" a "thing of value" from a foreign government, as clearly occurred in relation to the now-infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a number of Russian nationals. Election law expert Rick Hasen argues that the lack of indictments brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in this matter does not bode well for the Dept. of Justice's plans to enforce election laws that bar "foreign governments from sharing information --- even information obtained from illegal hacking --- with campaigns, for the purposes of influencing the 2020 election...and beyond"...

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