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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 14, 2024
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 of MediaWise; Also: Trump CFO goes back to jail; GOP chaos, panic in AZ after 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
  w/ Brad & Desi
Big hurricane season coming; Colorado River water used mostly for cattle; Good news for CA mountain snowpack, for now; PLUS: Disney's Tomorrowland says goodbye to Yesterdayville...
Previous GNRs: 4/4/24 - 4/2/24 - Archives...
'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' 4/4/24
No Labels out; Soft sentence for GOP vote fraudster; WI reconsiders drop-boxes; NE nixes Electoral College change; Biden v. Israel; Sanders and Biden tout drug price success...
WI Supremes May Restore Drop-Box Voting
High Court approves expedited hearing in advance of 2024 election...
'Green News Report' 4/4/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
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...
Previous GNRs: 4/2/24 - 3/21/24 - Archives...
WI Voters Approve Ballot Measures That Could Cripple Its Elections: 'BradCast' 4/3/24
Guest: Alex Burness; Also: OK voters remove neo-Nazi from office; Prez Primary results from RI, CT, NY, WI...
Politico's Josh Gerstein Owes a Retraction
Misleading tweet suggests Hillary Clinton was invited to 'join' the Federalist Society in 1997. Archival documents show no such thing...
More GOP Election Fraud; Overdue Justice for Crystal Mason: 'BradCast' 4/2/24
Also: AZ Repubs move to end early, mail-in voting; Trump files $175M bond in NY, gag order expanded; FL approves abortion ban and abortion rights ballot measure...
'Green News Report' 4/2/24
Biden vows Key Bridge money, Repubs: 'Maybe'; Storms collapse part of CA's iconic Highway 1; PLUS: Admin clamps down on methane leaks, truck pollution, more...
Last Week Today with OG Bloggers:
'BradCast' 4/1/24
Guests: 'Driftglass' and Frances Langum of 'The Pro Left' podcast on (almost) everything we missed last week, and why it still matters this week...
Sunday 'He Is Ris' Toons
FEATURING: Jesus Christ! State Border Brownshirts! SCOTUS To-Do List! More! Check out our holy roller collection of the week's best Holy Week toons!...
BRAD BLOG Spring Breaking
And not a moment too soon...
Sunday 'Roll Out the Barrel' Toons
FEATURING: Rich Con, Poor Con!...Sex-Havers!...March Madness!...More! Have a barrel of fun with our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
It's Up to You, New York:
'BradCast' 3/21/24
Trump facing civil, criminal reckoning in NY; Also: Biden forgives $6B more in student loans; U.S. seeks 'ceasefire' in Gaza; Scientists baffled by global heat spike...
'Green News Report' 3/21/24
Biden EPA issues biggest climate regs in U.S. history; Rio hits 144°F heat index!; Exxon CEO blames YOU for climate change; PLUS: U.N. issues 'red alert'!...
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...


Also: Haley notches small victory in Dixville, NH; 2020 mistallies in VA benefited Trump; Deadly, climate-fueled storms slam nation...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2024 4:12pm PT  

As noted on today's BradCast, CBS News' legendary radio and TV broadcaster Charles Osgood has passed away at age 91. Other than that, we've got some arguably much brighter news throughout the bulk of today's program. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered today...

  • Last night, just after midnight, Nikki Haley won every single vote cast in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the first town in the state to vote in the state's first-in-the-nation Primary on Tuesday. They had a 100% turnout. Haley won all 6 votes. Donald Trump won 0. We discuss why that matters (and doesn't). Voters across the entire state are voting today on hand-marked paper ballots. In Dixville Notch --- and about 40% of towns in the state --- ballots are publicly hand-counted by human beings after polls close. The rest of the towns, the larger ones in general, are tallied by 15 or 20-year old computerized optical scanners. Though, due to a write-in campaign for Joe Biden in the state, where there is no officially sanctioned Democratic primary, most of those towns will be hand-counting a lot of ballots as well. We'll have full reported results out of NH --- and why they matter (or don't) --- on tomorrow's show, of course.
  • For years, Republicans have been citing evidence of miscounted votes in Prince William County, Virginia as evidence of massive fraud in the 2020 Presidential race. The state's Republican A.G., after taking office in 2022, even filed criminal charges against the County's Registrar. Recently, however, the charges were unceremoniously dropped. And now we learn that, due to largely understandable tabulation errors, Joe Biden should have received 1,648 more votes than he was credited for, and that Donald Trump was given 2,327 votes that he shouldn't have, in a county that Biden won by more than 60,000 votes --- in a state where the Democrat won the Presidential race by some 450,000 votes. Races for U.S. Senate and U.S. House were also affected by the counting errors, though none of errors would reportedly have changed the results of any contest. We explain the whole mess.
  • We've got quite a bit of good news for you today when it comes to redistricting and rolling back GOP racial and partisan gerrymanders! In North Dakota, a federal judge has ordered new state legislative map after Republicans, following the 2020 Census, cracked two Native American reservations into different districts in order to flip both state House and Senate seats from D to R. It worked in 2022. But now, the judge has ordered not only new maps, but also new elections this fall in the districts found to have been in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Louisiana's new Republican Governor approved a new U.S. House map for the state this week, after the GOP state legislature finally adopted it last week, following a federal court order to draw an additional majority-Black voting district in the state. The Republican-controlled legislature previously had just 1 such district out of its 6 Congressional seats, despite African-Americans accounting for nearly a third of the statewide population. GOP lawmakers only agreed to do so after many appeals, and after realizing that if they didn't draw up their own maps, the court would do it for them. The new map will likely result in an additional Democratic member of Congress from the Bayou State next year.
  • And, in Wisconsin last week, voters filed a motion with the state's newly liberal-leaning Supreme Court seeking a new U.S. House map in time for the 2024 elections. Last month, the state's high court agreed with petitioners that the state GOP's state legislative maps for the Assembly and Senate, in place for more than a decade, were unlawful gerrymanders in violation of state Constitutional requirements. The new motion filed last week asks the same Supreme Court to order a new U.S. House map as well, on the same basis that the Justices determined the state legislative districts were unconstitutional. Petitioners argue that the unconstitutional and politically gerrymandered map resulted in Republicans winning 75% of the state’s Congressional seats despite winning just 50% of the statewide vote in the 2022 election. That year, the closely divided, if Dem-leaning Presidential battleground state also re-elected its Democratic Governor in the same statewide election.
  • Finally today, San Diego was deluged on Monday with a year's worth of rain in a matter of three hours, overwhelming infrastructure in the usually mild Southern California city. But, as discussed in our latest Green News Report today with Desi Doyen, it was just one of dozens of cities across the U.S. in recent weeks where infrastructure has been hammered by climate change-fueled extreme Winter weather. Nearly 100 have been killed in the recent storms in a number of states as of airtime. That, as Big Oil gears up a multi-million ad blitz to hoax Americans into supporting fossil fuel friendly candidates in 2024, as the unstoppable transition to clean, renewable energy is finally underway...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Results from OH, KY, MS, PA, VA, elsewhere; Guest: 'Handbook for a Post-Roe America' author Robin Marty of the West Alabama Women's Center...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2023 5:52pm PT  

It was a very good night for democracy and reproductive freedom in these United States on Tuesday, as Democrats, in almost every state holding off-year elections yesterday, continued their post-2016, Trump-era winning streak at the polls. We cover both the reported results from Tuesday and what they mean moving forward on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • First, the results, including major wins for abortion rights and the legalization of marijuana in the "red" state of Ohio, where Donald Trump won by 8 points in the 2020 election, and where the GOP pulled out all the stops to block the right to reproductive freedoms from being written into the Buckeye State constitution. Unverified results today show both ballot measure were adopted by voters on Tuesday by nearly 14 point margins.
  • In Virginia, Dems held onto their majority in the state Senate and won back a majority in the House of Delegates. Thus, crushing the hopes --- and, perhaps political future --- of Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin while also blocking his hopes of instituting restrictions on abortion in the southern state.
  • There was also a blue moon over the "deep red" state of Kentucky on Tuesday, where Trump won in 2020 by 26 points, and where the state's Democratic Governor Andy Beshear out-performed polling to defeat KY's Trump-endorsed A.G. to win a second term. Beshear vowed during the campaign to continue his fight against the state's total ban on abortion and he won on Tuesday by about five points. Statewide Democrats on the ballot below him, who did not run on abortion rights, all lost. Nonetheless, Beshear's victory may be a good omen for Democrats for another reason. The winning party in KY's off-year Gubernatorial elections has gone on to win the White House in every election this century. That's the past six in a row.
  • The news was not as good for Dems in Mississippi, where long-shot challenger Brendan Presley actually under-performed polling in his challenge to the incumbent, scandal-plagued Republican Governor Tate Reeves. Presley and Reeves both opposed abortion rights. (Paying attention, Democrats?) Of course, the disastrously run election in the state's 83% Black capital city of Jackson --- ballots ran out in many locations, lines were hours long, the state's online polling locator had incorrect instructions for more than 90 polling places --- didn't help.
  • But, in Pennsylvania, voters elected a new, pro-abortion Justice to their Supreme Court, and Philadelphia elected its first female Mayor (who also happens to be black).
  • Voters in Rhode Island, in the only U.S. House Special Election of the night, elected Gabe Amo as their first elected Black Representative for Congress, as Dems continue their streak of out-performing in Special Elections.
  • And voters up in Harlem elected Yusef Salaam, a member of the exonerated "Central Park Five", to the New York City Council. Salaam had been one of five young Black and Hispanic boys arrested and forced to confess to the brutal 1989 rape and beating of a white jogger in Central Park. He was jailed at age 15 and imprisoned for almost seven years before DNA evidence exonerated all five of the young men. A then little known real estate developer named Donald Trump took out full page newspaper ads at the time, calling for the reinstatement of New York's death penalty in hopes of killing the boys. He has never retracted or apologized for his demands. He still insists the innocent boys should be executed, as he remains the Republican Party's front-runner for next year's Presidential election.

But the biggest story of the night were the huge wins for abortion rights pretty much everywhere, and the Democrats who support them. We're joined today to discuss what all of it means moving forward into 2024 by ROBIN MARTY, author of 2019's prescient New Handbook for a Post-Roe America and The End of Roe v. Wade: Inside the Right’s Plan to Destroy Legal Abortion.

Marty is also the Executive Director of the West Alabama Women's Center. She offers a lot of insight --- sometimes harrowing, sometimes witty --- into the political fight for reproductive freedoms in both the Deep South and the nation as a whole, as efforts are now reportedly moving forward to place abortion right on the ballot --- both for and against them --- in about a dozen states.

She's got a lot to share today, including her call for Democrats to run on a federal referendum to restore abortion rights nationwide. For today, however, she is enjoying yesterday's wins across the country.

"The most important thing to take away is the fact that voters are still pissed," she tells me. "This is exactly their way of showing just how angry they are. It is going to take all of us, as voters who believe in reproductive rights, to go out, vote and change government on every level. And that's what people did yesterday. They changed it in governors races, flipped statehouses, changed abortion language on the ballot. They went and took out school boards that had gone totally MAGA and had started trying to take away the ability for kids to be able to read age-appropriate sex ed books. So we, literally, are going at every level of the government, and that is going to change things back."

As to her sharp response to the every-few-months retreaded claims from political pundits that the fight for abortion rights may be losing its potency since Roe v. Wade was overturned by our corrupted Supreme Court last year, well...you'll want to tune in for Marty's sharp reply to that question...and much more...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former Delegate Mark Levine on VA Assembly, Youngkin's future up for grabs; Also: OH GOP lying about abortion rights ballot initiative...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2023 6:17pm PT  

With everything else going on both here in the U.S. and around the world you can be forgiven for losing track of the fact that next Tuesday is an important off-year Election Day in a number of states, including Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia and elsewhere. On today's BradCast, we try to get you caught up on a number of key contests and the stakes for what will be seen next week --- correctly or not --- as bellwether elections in advance of next year's critical 2024 Presidential contest. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

There are some interesting Gubernatorial races next week. In "deep red" Kentucky, the state's popular Democratic Governor Andy Beshear will be running for a second term. And in even "deeper red" Mississippi, dysfunctional infighting among state Republicans could translate into what would be a surprise, long-shot victory for Democratic candidate Brandon Presley. But, as our guest suggests today, elections tend to be won by the voters who show up.

In Ohio, as you may recall, back in August, Republicans attempted to use a last minute, single-issue Special Election to adopt a ballot initiative that would mandate all future amendments to the state Constitution require a 60% majority for passage, instead of a simple majority, as has been the case for over a hundred years in the Buckeye State. That measure, Issue 1, failed. It wasn't even close. Voters understood that it was clearly a scheme meant to derail a popular state Constitutional initiative to protect abortion rights scheduled for the November 7 ballot in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme court last year and state GOP lawmakers adoption of a 6-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Ohio's popular Republican Governor, Mike DeWine, has been lying to voters about next week's ballot initiative to protect reproductive freedoms by calling Issue 1 (yes, confusingly, it has the same name as the GOP's failed measure in August!) "too extreme" for Ohio. Of course, there is nothing extreme about it. Which is why state Republicans are lying to voters and even succeeded in convincing the state's GOP-leaning Supreme Court to allow them to use a "summary" of the measure on the ballot, rather than the actual text of the initiative (which was shorter!), to replace the word "fetus" with "unborn child". Hopefully Buckeye Staters don't fall for that scam either.

In Virginia, every seat in the General Assembly is up for grabs this year, as Democrats need to flip just a handful of seats to retake the majority in the state's House of Delegates and Republicans need to flip just two seats to take back the state Senate. At the same time, all new legislative maps this year have completely shaken up the Commonwealth, with the political future of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin apparently hanging in the balance. Whatever happens next week could well decide whether the termed-out Governor jumps into the 2024 GOP Presidential contest and/or adopts a 15-week abortion ban, which has been prevented to date by Democrats in the Assembly.

Those stakes may also help explain why Youngkin has worked so hard during his two years in office to prevent new voters from registering and to suppress the votes of certain types of voters.

We're joined today by VA's longtime progressive radio host and three-term Democratic former state Delegate MARK LEVINE to discuss what next week's elections mean for VA, for the nation, and for Youngkin's political future.

"I've long argued that Virginia is an 'indigo' state, which means it's mostly purple with a tinge of blue. I think, on average, we're going to very very closely vote Democratic," he tells me today regarding next week's contests. "Unfortunately --- or fortunately, depending on the year --- Virginia really is a very good bellwether for the United States. The same year we lost our House [of Delegates] in 2021, barely, the Republicans gained the [U.S.] House of Representatives, barely. Virginia really is an excellent bellwether. I would argue the nation is an indigo nation --- purple but ever-so-slightly blue --- and that's where we are. It really could go either way."

Levine explains that VA voter turnout in Presidential years is usually about 75% in the Commonwealth. In mid-term elections and off-year elections with a Governor's race, it's about 45%. Next week's race, he says, "is called the 'off-off elections'" when usually "only about 23% of Virginians show up. So what that means is whoever is angrier, that's who shows up. Are the MAGA Republicans angrier? Or are progressive Democrats angrier? I don't know. I would think abortion is very motivating. It will be a real test, because that's mostly what Democrats are running on."

"We had an election in 2017 that was a tie vote. They flipped a coin, and that's why we didn't control the legislature in 2017," he says. "The point is, one vote really can make a difference, particularly in these local races that decide the legislature. So I just want to urge anyone in Virginia, or anyone who knows someone who you think may still live in Virginia, please call them, remind them to vote. We've made it really easy. We have early voting now. You can go vote today, tomorrow, next day. The polls are open. They're close to your house. Get out and vote!"

Will the Democrats' focus on protecting reproductive freedoms in an ostensibly "blue" state, currently headed up by a Republican, work as well as it has over the past year in so many "red" states? Will the re-shuffling of legislative maps hurt or help Democrats? And will the results next week really help determine whether Youngkin decides to jump into the 2024 GOP Presidential contest? Levine has a lot of thoughts on all of those topics and many others, in our VERY lively discussion today!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a suspiciously larger-than-usual amount of not-terrible-news, including even some good environmental news out of the, yes, so-called "deep red" state of Kentucky...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Daily Kos' Keith Barber...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2023 6:26pm PT  

We've got more Special Coverage on today's BradCast of the fourth --- and, theoretically, last, but who knows? --- criminal indictment of our disgraced former President for the Summer season. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

On Monday's show this week, just hours in advance of the massive new criminal charges out of Georgia, we detailed the dangers to next year's elections of the illicit Coffee County, Georgia voting system software breach carried out by Trump supporters beginning on January 7, 2021 (and covered up in the many months that followed by Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger). The scheme --- which we helped break last year and have been covering ever since --- is now known to have been just one part of a multi-state conspiracy organized by Trump attorney Sidney Powell and hatched inside Trump's Oval Office in December of 2020. It remains a huge threat to the security of next year's Presidential elections across the entire state of Georgia and in more than a dozen states with jurisdictions using the same breached, proprietry hardware and software that was stolen from Coffee County.

On Tuesday's show, we detailed the sprawling 97-page RICO indictment [PDF] of Donald John Trump and 18 co-conspirators charged with 41 felony counts by a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia late on Monday. The charges are related to Trump's alleged (and failed) criminal enterprise to steal the 2020 Presidential election in the Peach State (and elsewhere) and comes out of the two-year probe by Fulton County, D.A. Fani Willis. We broke down all of the charges, detailed those who were indicted, along with a focus on the specific charges brought against Powell and the three others facing several counts related specifically to conspiracies to commit Computer Theft, Computer Trespass, Computer Invasion of Privacy ("with the intention of examining personal voter data") and Conspiracy to Commit Election Fraud as part of the Coffee County scheme.

The new indictment brings the number of criminal felony charges that our disgraced former President is now personally facing in four different jurisdictions at both the state and federal level to a gob-smacking 91!

And then on today's program, our hot indictment summer continues, with both legal and political analysis of the new indictment with two old friends. Former attorney KEITH BARBER of Daily Kos (who joined us last week for a splendid preview and explanation of what RICO charges are!) is with us again today, along with award-winning Salon columnist and Hullabaloo blogger HEATHER DIGBY PARTON.

Among the many topics discussed on today's program related to the latest Trump Indictment and what it means moving forward into next week's first-of-the-season GOP Presidential debate and next year's election...

  • General thoughts on and surprises from the new indictment.
  • Barber on "the power of RICO".
  • Parton on her article on whether former Trump Chief-of-Staff Mark Meadows may be cooperating in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal case on Trump's attempt to steal the 2020 election.
  • Barber on Meadow's motion to move his indictment from state to federal court.
  • How and why did Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) escape indictment from Willis, despite his participation in the criminal enterprise to steal the Peach State election for Trump?
  • The still wildly under-investigated matter of the scheme to replace Mike Pence as President of the Senate overseeing the Electoral College certification on January 6, 2021 with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). (Willis refers fleetingly to this scheme in her indictment, see p. 44; Barber wrote a bit about this as "Trump’s Plot To Kidnap The Vice President" back in April of 2022.)
  • Trump's post-indictment Tuesday morning claim that next Monday he will release an "Irrefutable REPORT" on "Presidential Election Fraud which took place in Georgia" in 2020 which he claims will be a "complete EXONERATION!" for him. (Giggle.)
  • How that "REPORT" is likely to be an unlawful continuation of the same criminal enterprise under RICO that he is already charged with.
  • What we should expect from next week's first-of-the-season 2024 GOP Presidential debate in Milwaukee and whether Trump will (or should) show up for it.
  • My continuing --- if, apparently, controversial --- Spidey Sense (not a prediction...just a sense, as explained today) that Trump will, ultimately, not end up being the GOP Presidential candidate on next year's ballot...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Jamie Corey of Documented; Also: RW culture war issues bombing at polls; Disney sues DeSantis; Nunes' suits tossed by Trump judge...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2023 6:33pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Their positions on actual issues are wildly unpopular. Their phony culture war issues are bombing. Is it any wonder the GOP's best chance may now simply be to prevent their opponents from being able to cast a vote at all?

On today's program...

MICKEY MOUSE GOVERNOR: The Walt Disney Co. sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis today in response to "a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials." That, after the company dared oppose the official state position in favor of banning free speech in schools.

COW GOES MOO: A Donald Trump-appointed federal judge has tossed out libel lawsuits filed by doofus Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) against an Esquire journalist and its publisher for reporting that the wingnut former Congressman turned Trump social media CEO's family farm "knowingly" employed hundreds of undocumented workers. The judge found the reporting to to be "substantially, objectively true." Almost all 10 of the similarly ill-considered suits Nunes filed against perceived opponents in 2019 have now been dismissed. Only two of them, against anonymous Twitter accounts named "Devin Nunes' Mom" and "Devin Nunes' Cow" remain.

BOARD SILLY: While progressives scored big in marquee contests during the April 4 elections --- liberals won a majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the first time in 15 years, and former teacher and union member Brandon Johnson became Chicago's mayor --- far-right MAGA school board candidates running on phony culture war issues "flamed out", according to Politico, in both Illinois and Wisconsin. They didn't do much better last November, even in "red" states like Missouri and Oklahoma. But GOP operatives apparently plan to keep choking the same chicken in elections later this year and in 2024, even as voters appear to prefer funding schools and keeping kids safe at them, over banning books, stifling free speech, and cancelling LGBTQ kids.

WOULDA WON BUT FOR THOSE MEDDLING (VOTING) KIDS!: Last week, longtime GOP attorney and vote suppressor Cleta Mitchell was caught in an audio recording obtained by Undercurrents' Lauren Windsor at a GOP donor event in Nashville, discussing plans to "combat" young voters by preventing them from voting on campuses in Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere. She even vowed that Republican lawmakers may be able to eliminate 45 days of early voting and same day voter registration if they played their cards right, and kept giving money to her insidiously named "Election Integrity Network". If Mitchell's name is familiar, it's because she was on that infamous January 2021 phone call with Donald Trump hoping to strong-arm the Georgia Sec. of State into "finding" 11,000 votes to steal the state's Presidential election from Joe Biden.

SEND IN THE CLOWNS: It's bad enough to push secret vote suppression schemes to GOP donors. It's reprehensible for top state Republican election officials to participate in such schemes. But that's exactly what happened at a so-called "Secretaries of State Conference" sponsored by the far-right Heritage Foundation and other anti-democracy groups in February. Documented, a nonprofit watchdog organization, obtained the agenda for the secret conference in which only Republican Secretaries of State were invited to participate.

It was led by longtime, notorious GOP "Voter Fraud" fraudsters and liars like Hans Von Spakovsky, J. Christian Adams, J. Kenneth Blackwell and perhaps most shamefully, current U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Donald Palmer (appointed to the bipartisan federal agency by Trump). They all schemed with top election officials from 13 GOP-controlled states --- including the chief election officials from Indiana, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia --- in a secret, off-the-record two-day confab.

We're joined today to discuss this appalling revelation by JAMIE COREY, a Senior Researcher at Documented who, with The Guardian's Ed Pilkington, exposed the entire pathetic affair, which, as Von Spakovsky insisted in an email she obtained, was "not a public event. It is a private, confidential meeting of the secretaries." --- Well, the Republican ones anyway, the ones who are supposed to run both state and federal elections in a non-partisan way.

"According to the event invitation we obtained, this is actually the sixth year in a row that they've held this event," says Corey. "And they have privately bragged --- Hans has --- to donors that they are excited that it's just for conservative Secretaries of State. No Democrats allowed."

"Voters should be concerned when you have election officials participating in a private, confidential meeting with former Trump associates, top voter suppression proponents, and groups who have been actively pushing false claims around elections," she explains. "As the agenda pointed out, there was a cocktail reception and dinner after the first day of substantive sessions wrapped up. So what you have there is top election officials, who are going to be overseeing the 2024 Presidential Election in their respective states, wining and dining with all these problematic people."

WHAT'S GOING ON?: Finally, after a few breaking news headlines, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report as the Biden EPA launches a landmark effort to curb power plant carbon pollution; as Earth hits grim new records; as President Biden opens an office of environmental justice in the White House; and as the U.S. Supreme Court does something right for a rare change. Are they okay?

SHOW NOTE!: We're off tomorrow for unavoidable reasons. As Tucker Carlson once said, see ya next week!...

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Guest: Alex Burness of Bolts Magazine; Also: More on need for media to call out pro-murder, anti-democracy Republicans; KY Repubs ban health care for trans kids; AR's GOP Guv further restricts absentee voting...
By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2023 5:30pm PT  

We'll just have to keep saying it on The BradCast: Republicans are pro-murder and anti-democracy. It's just that simple. And we've got too much more evidence of that today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, the fallout continues following Monday's school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, where three 9-year olds and three adults were killed by an AR-15 wielding shooter at a private Christian elementary school. The U.S. Congressman representing the district where The Covenant School is located is Republican Congressman Andy Ogles.

Last year, Ogles sent out Christmas cards featuring himself, his wife and his children in front of a Christmas tree, proudly posing with their AR-15 style assault rifles. Since the shooting in his district, he has apparently taken down his social media posting of the festive card. A reporter from Sky News confronted him this week to try and learn why he hadn't taken it down previously, after other similar massacres, and why he seems to favor guns and murder over the lives of children and their right to be safe at school.

Jon Stewart, earlier this month, also had a related conversation with a Republican state lawmaker in Oklahoma by the name of Nathan Dahm. The GOP state Senator has authored bills to loosen restrictions on firearms and apparently believes that drag shows that may be seen by children must be banned, because "the government does have a responsibility to protect" them. But, as Stewart points out, Dahm appears to have no similar concerns about protecting kids from being murdered with guns, which is now the leading cause of death for U.S. children and teens.

In a similar vein, Big Government Republicans in Kentucky's legislature today voted to override the veto of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, to enact a law that will ban health care for trans kids and mandate that doctors begin "detransitioning" children currently on puberty blockers and hormones, despite the alarming rate of suicide by such kids. The bill also bars all discussion of sexual orientation and gender identify in schools for students of any age, as the Nanny State Republican party continues to pretend they favor free speech.

Meanwhile, this is an election year in Virginia, where the entire state legislature comes up for reelection in odd-numbered years and where the commonwealth's 1902 constitutional provision created to prevent black people from voting remains in place. The measure in question allows VA's Governor to decide, on any criteria they may like, whether or not to re-enfranchise former felons.

Under processes enacted first by former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and then broadly expanded and automated by subsequent Democratic Governors Terry McCauliffe and Ralph Northam, the voting rights for hundreds of thousands of Virginians were restored. But, since taking office last year, VA's new, so-called "moderate" Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has re-enfranchised almost nobody. Moreover, his office has finally informed state lawmakers that he will be using a secret process to personally decide, on a case-by-case basis, who will and won't be allowed to vote.

We're joined today by voting rights, criminalization and justice reporter ALEX BURNESS, staff writer at the progressive Bolts Magazine. He has been reporting on Youngkin's appalling, anti-democracy policy, and how it is harming those who are simply hoping to return to civil society after imprisonment in Virginia.

"We still don't know what the criteria is going to be, but it is clarifying in the sense that the policy is 'I'm going to do whatever I want and, at least for the moment, I'm not going to tell you what that means,'" Burness tells me, adding that the commonwealth's constitution mandates the Governor "literally has the power to make up criteria, based on whether you own a dog or a cat, or anything."

Burness explains why Democrats in the state have yet to pass a constitutional amendment to change this absurd, Jim Crow relic, despite the heartbreaking stories from so many who have served their time and simply want to have their rights as citizens fully restored. "This is one of a million reasons why Virginia's upcoming elections matter. Particularly with what Youngkin has done now, there is some renewed passion by folks to settle this once and for all and not leave it up to the whims of the Governor," says Burness.

The pathetic vote suppression by Youngkin comes on the heels of Minnesota's Democratic Governor signing a law this month to re-enfranchise some 55,000 citizens of voting age who are no longer incarcerated, whether they are on parole or probation or not; New Mexico's Democratic Governor signing a similar law that will restore voting rights to about 11,000 New Mexicans; and a recently advanced measure by Democratic lawmakers in Oregon to allow voting even for those still in prison, akin to the rights afforded to the incarcerated in Maine, Vermont and Washington D.C.

Finally today, more voter suppression is enacted by Arkansas' new Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Yesterday, we detailed her newly signed law adopted by Republican state lawmakers that will make it much much harder for Democrats to place citizen initiatives on the statewide ballot. (Even though the statute appears to be a violation of the state constitution.) Today, the American Democracy Minute's Brian Beihl details three other new bills recently signed by Huckabee Sanders to make absentee voting much more difficult in the state...

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Guest: Nuclear weapons policy analyst Stephen Schwartz; Also: Dems outperform in NH, VA, KY special elections, set table to retake Supreme Court majority in WI...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2023 6:54pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It was a good day for democracy in the U.S. yesterday, in our continuing battle against the rise of autocracy here at home. The news overseas on that same score, however, thanks to Russia's criminal, autocratic leader, remains significantly dicier. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST UP TODAY: It was the first big Special Election night of 2023 in the U.S. on Tuesday. As we saw in advance of last year's 2022 midterms --- when Republicans ignored the evidence before their eyes to hoax themselves into believing a "red wave" was coming (which never did) --- Democrats are once again outperforming expectations in Special Elections around the nation.

We've got results, some of them quite stunning, out of marquee races yesterday in New Hampshire for state House, Virginia for the U.S. House, and in Kentucky for State Senate. In each, Democrats radically outperformed both expectations and history, often by 10 or more points.

But, the most critical race of the night may have been the primary election in Wisconsin, where a vacant swing-seat on the state Supreme Court may finally flip the majority to progressives in the upcoming April 4 general election after years of control by rightwingers. Tuesday's open primary featured two progressives and two so-called conservatives, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general. Progressive Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz easily bested the competition with some 46% of the vote. The two rightwingers, former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly and Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow, came in a tight second and third place, with 24% and 22% each, respectively, followed by progressive Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell with 7%.

That means Protasiewicz and Kelly, state Democrats' preferred competition, will square off on April 4. Kelly is a radical, rightwing extremist, election denier, marriage equality opponent, and paid RNC consultant who helped organize Donald Trump's fake 2020 electors scheme in the state. He also lost a previous Supreme Court race in the closely divided swing-state by a whopping 10 points in 2020. In a state where Dems now hold almost every statewide executive position, Republicans are forced to cling to majorities in the state legislature thanks to wildly gerrymandered districts. A progressive majority on the bench, therefore, is expected to be critical over the next few years regarding abortion rights, gun safety, gerrymandering and much more, including voting rights in advance of the 2024 Presidential election.

If voters turnout and vote in April as they did last night, Protasiewicz would defeat Kelly by about 7 points. Of course, its Wisconsin, so I'd be careful about counting chickens before counting ballots just over one month from now.

NEXT UP: Russian President Vladimir Putin's nuclear saber rattling continued on Tuesday during his state of the nation speech. The autocrat announced a unilateral suspension of participation in New START, the last remaining arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia.

There is a great deal to unpack in all of this, including what Obama-era New START was supposed to do; how the U.S., under Donald Trump, also pulled out unilaterally from a different pact (the Reagan/Gorbachev-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces or INF Treaty); what "suspension" of New START actually means; and how the announcement appears to be yet another desperate attempt by Putin to coerce his way into somehow winning a war of aggression that he appears to be losing in Ukraine, as Russia's unlawful invasion sees its one-year anniversary this week.

To help with all of that today, we're joined by longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ who formerly served as Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. They are the groups who control the notorious "Doomsday Clock". Schwartz, who tweets as @AtomicAnalyst, is also the author of Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940.

"There is no provision in the [New START] treaty for 'suspending' the treaty. You're either in it or not," explains Schwartz. "The suspension is, I guess, a wily way for Putin to get what he wants. Which is, I think, frankly, just an extension of what he's been doing over the last year. This is a nuclear threat by another name."

"It's an effort to frighten the public in the United States, NATO, and Ukraine, into letting let him basically blackmail those countries into letting him do whatever he wants with Ukraine. So he's got this bludgeon --- and it's really the only tool that he has right now --- and he's waving it around until his demands are satisfied."

It doesn't appear to be working. President Joe Biden spoke in Poland yesterday, following a surprise appearance with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday. "We’re seeing again today what the people of Poland and the people all across Europe saw for decades: Appetites of the autocrat cannot be appeased," declared Biden to cheers in Warsaw. "They must be opposed."

While taking Putin seriously, Schwartz also sees a larger principle at stake. "The way I see it, and I'm no big fan of war at all, is if we just listen to Putin and say 'You're right, we can't risk nuclear war so we're going to stand back and let you carve up Ukraine however you want. And, hey, if you want to take Belarus and Moldova, who are we to stop you?,' I think that would be a terrible precedent for the rest of the world. Not only with regard to what Russia might do in the future, but other countries that have nuclear weapons or might want them."

"The Biden Administration and NATO have been very careful. If you look at every time Putin has done one of these things, the United States doesn't dismiss it and doesn't panic. They walk down the middle and I think that is the right approach here. We need to show that nuclear weapons are fundamentally useless, not just for prosecuting a war, but also for blackmail."

"We need to isolate Putin in this regard," argues Schwartz. "Otherwise, the future world that we're going to live in, brought to you by nuclear coercion, is going to be far worse than anything we dealt with during the Cold War."

Among the many related matters Schwartz speaks to today: Russia's violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which Ukraine was guaranteed security and sovereignty after the fall of the Soviet Union in exchange for turning over all nuclear weapons to Russia; The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' recent move of the Doomsday Clock to "90 Seconds to Midnight," the closest it has ever been to proverbial "Midnight". Is the world really closer to "Doomsday" now than it was at the height of the Cold War? We discuss all of that and much more on today's very informative program...

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Dark money fossil fuel bribery and disenfranchising military voters in the Buckeye State; Also: GOP House continues dangerous debt limit game...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2023 6:13pm PT  

Is there any amount of blatant corruption that would result in Ohio voters finally turning against Republicans? As we discuss in detail on today's BradCast, state GOP lawmakers seem to really be testing that question at this point. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, first up, speaking of testing voters, the Treasury Department made it official today. The U.S. Government has now hit its current, statutory borrowing limit. We are now officially using "extraordinary measures" to continue paying our bills to avoid defaulting on our debts. But that can only go on for so long. At this point, according to Treasury's best guess, the U.S. will see its first-ever default "before early June" unless House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his Republicans in Congress cast a simple vote to raise the amount we are allowed to borrow so that we can pay for all the stuff that Congress and Presidents of both parties long ago agreed to pay for.

It's not hard. It's been done about 80 times since the 1960s, mostly without a problem. But now, with a Democrat in the White House and radicalized Republicans in control of the U.S. House, GOP hard-liners seem determined to play a dangerous game that could result in a national or even world-wide recession or depression. They are pretending to care about the national debt, after years of voting to increase spending while reducing revenue with huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Their performative actions now --- as they hold the nation hostage, demanding cuts to Social Security and Medicare --- will only make the national debt worse. Will voters remember, the next time they go to the voting booth, the damage the GOP seems hell-bent on causing?

We can only hope there will be some not totally insane, "moderate" Republicans left in Congress to join with Democrats to end this madness before its too late, because nobody knows how bad the damage will soon be if they don't. They are likely to run this up to the wire. Again. So, buckle up.

Meanwhile, there's Republican-controlled Ohio, with its totally not insane, supposedly "moderate" Republican Governor, Mike DeWine. He just signed legislation, passed by the GOP state legislature, redefining natural gas --- one of the worst causes of global warming --- as "green energy" under state law. Not insane or corrupt at all, right?

As it turns out, DeWine and state Republicans, once again, seem to be participants in another dark money corruption scandal courtesy of the fossil fuel industry. That, as the state's Republican former House Speaker, Larry Householder, begins his $60 million federal bribery trial next week. That, after Householder, former Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges, three others and a dark money political group controlled by Householder participated in "an elaborate scheme, secretly funded by FirstEnergy, to secure Householder's power, elect his allies, pass legislation containing a $1 billion bailout for two aging nuclear power plants, and then vex a ballot effort to overturn the bill with a dirty tricks campaign," according to prosecutors.

Householder shepherded the 2019 passage of the bill to bailout the nuke plants (and a coal-fired power plant) owned by FirstEnergy, a huge energy and fossil fuel conglomerate based in Akron. The bailout was to have been paid for with an additional fee on the utility bills of Buckeye State rate payers, according to the legislation that was signed be DeWine just hours after passage.

And now, it seems, DeWine has done it again. This time on behalf of the natural gas industry. But, why not? Last November, Ohio voters said they didn't mind all the corruption. DeWine easily won a second term in office and state GOP lawmakers increased their super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature.

But, just in case the voters get wise, DeWine recently signed a major overhaul of state election laws, implementing a series of new restrictions on voters. One of those restrictions, however, will make it more difficult for active-duty military members overseas to cast their votes without being disenfranchised. Oops. Military families are said to be furious. But do Republicans actually care about that either? Why would they?

Finally, Desi Doyen joins for our latest Green News Report with more details on DeWine's friendly payback to the natural gas industry; the European Union's new plan to try and compete with renewable energy incentives in the U.S. adopted last year by Democrats; and Germany's recent crack down on anti-coal protesters...

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Guest: Public Citizen's Government Affairs lobbyist Craig Holman; Also: VA's Youngkin kills new Ford EV battery plant, 2,500 new jobs; Kobach fined by FEC as he takes seat as top law enforcement official in KS...
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2023 5:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With so many referrals of Republican members of Congress to House ethics investigators of late, is it any wonder the GOP and Kevin McCarthy just voted to gut the critical Office of Congressional Ethics (or OCE) as part of their new rules package for taking over the majority in the 118th Congress? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

At the end of last year, the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the Trump-incited insurrection on January 6, 2021, recommended Congressional ethics investigations of then-Minority Leader, now-Speaker McCarthy (R-CA); Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) for their failure to respond to lawful Congressional subpoenas. More recently, there have been calls for an ethics investigation of New York's newly seated Republican Rep. and pathological liar, George Santos.

Naturally then, as their first order of business when approving the chambers Rules Package last week, which will now be used to govern for the next two years, Republicans moved to all but kill the only investigative ethics body in the House with actual teeth, the OCE.

We're joined today for insight on all of this by longtime Government Affairs lobbyist on ethics, lobbying and campaign finance rules for good government group Public Citizen, CRAIG HOLMAN. He helps us understand the difference between the House Ethics Committee and the totally separate and independent Office of Congressional Ethics, and explains how Republicans have just implemented a "one-two punch to shut down" the latter and any real ethics investigations along with it.

"The ethics process in Congress, in both the House and the Senate, has historically been run by members of Congress themselves," Holman explains. "So we've got this permanent committee called the House Ethics Committee that is run by members of Congress who are very, very reluctant to be critical of their fellow colleagues. They operate in secret. They will do their investigations, sometimes, but we never really know what they found or what they ended up recommending because they operate in secret. The House Ethics Committee is literally designed to sweep ethics matters under the rug, so that the public doesn't know what's going on."

On the other hand, "In 2008, as part of the huge ethics and lobby reform package that we passed in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, we created an outside, independent Office of Congressional Ethics," he continues, explaining why the OCE is so critical. To be on its eight-member Board, you can't be a lobbyist or Congressional member. You must be a bona fide outsider. "It's staffed by eight board members --- four Republicans, four Democrats --- and it's done a phenomenal job at opening up the whole ethics process."

"Even though OCE doesn't have any actual enforcement authority, it does an actual investigation and then publishes the results of that investigation. And when it becomes public record, that has compelled the House Ethics Committee to actually do something." Holman observes that, since OCE's creation, actual enforcement actions by the House Ethics Committee has literally quadrupled.

Now, however, new rules adopted last week by House Republicans will force almost every Democratic member of the OCE's Board to step down, any replacements for them must be approved by at least four existing Board Members (which would now be 3 Rs and 1 D). Critically, Dems will have just 30 days find and to appoint those new members, hire staff and have it all approved by the Board. That, he explains, will be virtually impossible. "After that 30-day window, there's no staff. There's no investigators. There's no one able to do the work of OCE. It will effectively shut down OCE."

"It's a very strategic one-two punch to close down the ethics process," Holman argues. So, what does all of this mean for ethics investigations under GOP House rule over the next two years? And is there any way to either reverse the newly adopted rules or re-interpret them somehow in the GOP-majority Rules Committee? We discuss. But Holman describes the outlook as "grim" at this point.

Also on today's show...

  • Virginia's Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has killed a new Ford Motor Co. project to build electric vehicle batteries in his state. The new plant would have brought at least 2,500 new jobs to a rural area of the commonwealth which has been under development for years in hopes of attracting new industry. But the plant was to have been a partnership with a Chinese company. Youngkin, who is believed likely to run for a Presidential nod in 2024, claims the company is a secret front for the "Chinese Communist Party" and poses a threat to the security of Virginians somehow. Meanwhile the new Ford employees will be hired in a different state, and the 3,500-acre megasite in VA remains vacant after 15 years and more than $200 million in public development funding. Desi Doyen suggests that the oil industry's efforts to put the brakes on the EV boom also plays a part in this fiasco.
  • Last week, Kansas' Democratic Governor Laura Kelly was sworn in for a second term in the usually "red" state. This time, however, she was joined by longtime immigration opponent, vote suppressor and GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach, who was sworn in as the state's new Attorney General. Kobach's long-sought political comeback --- after losing the Governor's contest to Kelly in 2018 and the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2020 --- comes along with a $30,000 fine from the Federal Election Commission for election law violations during his failed 2020 election when he received unlawful help from a fraudulent private border wall group called "We Build the Wall". After embarrassing the state of KS, Kobach served as Board Member and General Counsel for the group which is, itself, facing fraud charges at both the federal and state level in New York (along with Board Member Steve Bannon). Other than that, of course, and the federal court sanctions he received while serving as SoS --- including orders to attend law school classes at the time --- there's a new sheriff in town in the great state of Kansas. I'm sure it will go very well...

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Also: The corruption of Zinke in MT; The ridiculousness of Walker in GA; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2022 6:44pm PT  

Until (and unless) Democrats can pick up at least two seats in the U.S. Senate this November in order to reform the filibuster --- while retaining their majority in the U.S. House and control of the White House --- the fight for personal freedoms, such as reproductive rights and voting rights, is going to remain a grueling, state-by-state slog. That's where we are right now. But we can change that this November if we ALL turn out and fight like hell to cast our vote. In the meantime, on today's BradCast, we've got some good news in at least some of those state-by-state battles.

Among the many stories covered today...

  • New evidence of the unapologetic corruption of Donald Trump's disgraced former Interior Dept. Secretary Ryan Zinke, who, incredibly enough, is currently the front-runner to win a new U.S. House seat in Montana. Voters in Montana would be wise to reconsider that idea.
  • New evidence of the unspeakable ignorance of former NFL great Herschel Walker, who is now the embarrassing Trump-backed nominee for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, where he is running against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Despite lying about his past, and offering inane, barely comprehensible comments on the campaign trail, not to mention his latest ridiculous response to the Democrats' landmark new climate bill, investing $370 billion to take on our climate crisis, Walker remains very much in the running to unseat Warnock. Voters in Georgia would be wise to reconsider that idea.
  • Newly triggered abortion bans went into effect in three more states on Thursday, in Idaho, Tennessee and Texas. That brings the number of states where reproductive rights and personal freedoms are now completely banned or severely restricted to 14. Many of those states do not allow exceptions for rape, incest or even the life or health of the mother. As the President of the Center for Reproductive Rights told HuffPost, "Vast swaths of the nation, especially in the South and Midwest, are now abortion deserts that, for many, will be impossible to escape." There was a small bit of good news on this front on Wednesday in federal court, however, regarding Idaho's draconian restrictions, as challenged by the Biden Administration's Dept. of Justice. Voters in all of these states are going to need to show up in unprecedented numbers to make their voices heard in November.
  • There was also some good news on this front following this week's elections in New York and Florida, even beyond the political earthquake of Democratic candidate Pat Ryan's win in a special election for the U.S. House in a NY swing-district that would almost certainly have been won by the Republican candidate prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's corrupt GOP majority overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this summer. In FL, the sole Democrat in the state House to vote in favor of new restrictions on abortion and in favor of the Republicans' "Don't Say Gay" law was booted from his job on Tuesday. Also, a judge in FL's Hillsborough County, who made himself infamous earlier this year by denying an abortion to a 17-year old girl because he didn't think her grades were high enough, was also tossed out of his job. Good work, Florida voters! More like that on November 8, please!
  • And then there's the state-by-state fight for voting rights. Here, we've got several encouraging pieces of news from the court in recent days. Earlier this month, a federal court in Texas rejected a state voter suppression law that would leave those who do not live permanently in the state (for example, those who may attend school there) from being able to register to vote in either that state or their own home state! "The part-time and off-campus college students are undeniably disenfranchised because they are unable to register to vote both where they have moved and where they have moved from," the U.S. District Court Judge wrote when issuing his summary judgment [PDF] in favor of plaintiffs. "The court is likewise unable to discern where college students should register as the Temporary-Relocation Provision [of Senate Bill 1111] is written. And the possible repercussions are not just complete disenfranchisement, but also criminal liability. The Temporary-Relocation Provision does not overcome any degree of constitutional scrutiny," he found in tossing out the provision. Naturally, the state's criminally-indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton is appealing the matter to the rightwing 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Late last week, there was good news for voters in North Carolina, as the state's Supreme Court determined that two state Constitutional Amendments --- one to impose Photo ID restrictions on voters, the other to lower taxes --- were unlawfully adopted by a racially gerrymandered state legislature. Some 28 seats in the GOP-majority General Assembly were found by a federal court to have been unlawful racial gerrymanders. But, after that finding and before a new election to correct the gerrymanders, the state Assembly rushed a vote to put the Amendments onto the state ballot. Without the illegal gerrymanders, they likely wouldn't have had enough votes to do so. NC's high court last week ruled, as WRAL summarized, "lawmakers who won their seats through unconstitutional racial gerrymandering cannot then submit constitutional amendments that would permanently disadvantage the same groups discriminated against in the racial gerrymandering process." The state's Republican House Speaker vows to appeal to SCOTUS.
  • And, also late last week, a federal judge determined that Arkansas violated the Voting Rights Act by restricting the number of people who could receive assistance in voting --- such as help in translating an English language ballot --- by any one person. The state law said no single person could help more than six voters. The court found that to be arbitrary and in violation of federal law. "Arkansas has determined that voters should only get the assistor of their choice up to a point," the Judge wrote in his ruling, "but there is no evidence Congress contemplated this numerical restriction on the right.” A similar suit has been filed in Missouri, where state Republicans have limited the number of voters who may be helped by any one person to...one!
  • Finally, before we get to today's Green News Report with Desi Doyen --- in which compelling reason is offered to Virginia voters to vote out their GOP climate change denying Congressman Bob Good --- some breaking news out of California, where regulators have finalized a requirement that will allow only new, zero-emissions vehicles (for example, all-electric vehicles) to be sold in the Golden State as of 2035. Desi explains why that's very good news for both the state and the world. Then, she closes out today's program with our latest GNR, including disturbing news on the worst draught in Europe in at least 500 years; the surprising popularity of climate action among Americans; troubling news about fracking and children's health; and oil giant Saudi Arabia's plan to break into the emerging EV market...

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Guest: Dr. Leah Stokes, UC-Santa Barbara climate policy expert, on what Biden and YOU can do to defeat our climate crisis; Also: UK shatters all-time heat record; MD's gubernatorial primary...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2022 6:15pm PT  

It appears to be Climate Week on The BradCast. Who knew? Simultaneous record-smashing heat waves across the globe (as discussed in some detail on our previous show) from Asia to the U.S. to Europe (where more than a thousand have already died because of it) will apparently continue to continue all week and, likely beyond. Especially after recent actions by our corrupt Supreme Court and the corrupt Sen. Joe Manchin. But there is still plenty that President Biden and you can do about it. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

In Britain, unlike these United States, they have kept records of temperatures for hundreds of years. And never, until today, has the thermometer broken 40 degrees Celsius. Today it did. Smashing 2019's record of 38.7C (or 101.7 Fahrenheit) to hit a remarkable and sweltering 40.3C (or 104.5 Fahrenheit). As Desi helps to put that into perspective today, Britain is more northern in latitude than Calgary, Canada!

While many meteorologists thought, when they saw 40C predicted by computer models a few weeks ago, that it must have been in error, turns out it wasn't. The Chief Scientist at the U.K.'s Met Office today said this kind of temperature in Britain was "virtually impossible" before human-caused climate change.

Here in the U.S., temperatures in much of the country are also breaking records this week, with heat alerts in more than 20 states. All of that on the heels of the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court, last month, making up a pretend "doctrine" to declare that the EPA may not regulate carbon emissions, even though both the Clean Air Act and the Court's own previous ruling mandate that they must. And on the heels of West Virginia's corrupt "Democratic" Senator Joe Manchin, who makes millions --- both personally and to his campaign coffers --- from the fossil fuel industry.

So, what now? Following Manchin's latest Lucy with the football stunt late last week, President Joe Biden declared he would "use every power I have as President to continue to fulfill my pledge to deal with global warming." That pledge includes cuts to man-made greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming to bring carbon emissions down to 50% of what they were before 2005 by 2030 and to reach net-zero by 2050. But with 50 obstructionist Republicans and (at least) one obstructionist Democrat in the Senate, and a corrupt Supreme Court, what tools are available to Biden at this point?

Plenty, suggests our guest today, DR. LEAH STOKES, author, podcaster, and climate policy expert at U.C.-Santa Barbara. Before we get there today, she offers her thoughts on the corruption of both Manchin and the High Court.

Democrats, she explained, when discussing how far they were willing to go to get Manchin to "yes" on a climate deal, pretty much offered him everything he could have wanted through what amounted to 18 months of his bad faith "negotiations."

"It wasn't far-fetched that he would get to 'yes,' because they were willing to give him a lot of things that he wanted --- things that would have helped invest in jobs in West Virginia. For example, there's a program that helps create manufacturing jobs in coal communities. That was in this package. There was also money for things like carbon capture and sequestration, a technology that Manchin really wants to see happen, as well as hydrogen," explains Stokes. "The [Chuck] Schumer team gave him everything he wanted and he still couldn't get to 'yes' --- claiming that somehow it was inflation, when the reality is that economists have told us that the package would fight inflation."

But, of course, Manchin personally makes millions from his family's coal business. So, as Stokes observes, "It's really not that complicated" as to why he was never negotiating in good faith. "There's that Upton Sinclair quote, 'It's hard to get a man to understand something when his paycheck relies on him not understanding it.' Senator Manchin personally profits from the fossil fuel industry. He's making half a million dollars a year --- that's three times more than his Senate salary --- directly off of fossil fuels. So he is lining his pockets when it comes to the fossil fuel industry. He is in bed with the fossil fuel industry both for his personal profit and for his role as a Senator."

As to the Supreme Court, she notes that, even after their recent opinion, "trying to delay progress from the Biden Administration, just like Sen. Manchin," there are still options left for the President. She explains how "the EPA still retains a lot of authority" and that "the Biden Administration retains very important tools, and they need to start using them right now."

We discuss the potential Executive Actions that Biden can now take --- including the declaration of a National Climate Emergency, which may free up even more actions that he could take --- as well as how his Administration is also now free to block many of the programs that they had been holding out as fig leaves for Manchin (and his fossil fueled GOP pals) on hopes of making a deal, including something called the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia.

But could the Supreme Court subsequently block Biden's Executive Actions as well? We discuss that too. Ultimately, however, as Stokes wrote in her New York Times op-ed over the weekend, despite Manchin, despite SCOTUS, she ultimately remains bullish. "In the long run," she argued, "fossil fuels are just too expensive, dirty and dangerous."

Whether or not humanity will survive that long, remains a separate question, but Stokes cites actions that not only the President can take, but that Governors across the country are already taking, and actions that we can all take which she explains, make an important difference in this fight.

"We should not underestimate the power that we all have," she says, before detailing a long list of things that individuals should be looking at in "our own lives, looking at the fossil fuels that we use," from moving to electric cars and e-bikes, to induction stoves and heat pumps. Especially in states like California, where "a lot of us are going to need air conditioning who haven't had it in the past, and a heat pump is a clean, electric appliance that both heats and cools your home." She notes that CA's Gov. Gavin Newsom recently passed incentives in the budget "that will pay people $3,000 through their contractors to help them afford to put an electric heat pump into their home."

"The solution is not about sacrifice," argues Stokes. "We're talking about cleaner and better technology. It's not about sacrifice, it's really about better solutions. And that's why we're going to win."

Also today, a preview of the closely contested primary races being held today in Maryland, particularly the race for Governor, in one of the few states where Democrats believe they may have a chance of flipping the seat from Red to Blue.

And finally, as our accidental "Climate Week" continues, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with much more on all of the above...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Republicans move quickly to protect the families of SCOTUS Justices, but not yours...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2022 5:57pm PT  

For years, as I told my guest on today's BradCast, I've wondered if we were being too alarmist during his many appearances on the show. But now I'm starting to wonder if we haven't been alarmist enough. "I would say that you and I have been the exact right amount of alarmist," he tells me in response. "Time and time again, the Court has proved that it is going rogue, that it is lawless, that it is really corrupted by partisan politics." If the nation hasn't noticed by now, it is likely about to. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get to that cheery conversation, a couple of quick news items today, as voters in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina headed to polls on Tuesday for critical mid-term elections. (Also in Texas, where there is a special election to fill a vacated Democratic U.S. House seat.) Results of note on tomorrow's program.

Wednesday's scheduled hearing in the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and related Donald Trump crimes has been postponed until, presumably, next week. The Wednesday hearing had been set to focus on Trump's failed effort to decapitate the Dept. of Justice in order to install a low-level flunky with a scheme to help him steal the 2020 election by lying to state legislatures that the DoJ had found massive fraud in swing-states. Committee members claim the delayed hearing is only due to a need to give time to their over-worked understaffed video crew. Meanwhile, Thursday's scheduled hearing, focused on the pressure Trump placed on Vice President Pence to help steal the election for him on January 6, is still said to be on track.

In Congress today, the House passed a bill previously adopted by the U.S. Senate to extend security protections to family members of Supreme Court Justices. It's remarkable how quickly Republicans can act to pass laws to protect certain people that they give a damn about from gun violence. Every other family in America is on their own apparently. Best of luck.

And, speaking of SCOTUS, as their term comes to a close over the next two weeks, we catch up with the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist and Supreme Court expert at Slate.com, on a whole passel of recent and coming-soon opinions that are currently shaking and set to shake the American legal and judicial system to its core

The outlook, as suggested by my opening graf above, is not encouraging. "I don't know what to tell you except that madness is coming," warns Stern. Tune in for real facts and hard truths about what is coming. But, by way of preview of some of the cases and issues discussed today...

  • The tragic case of Terence Andrus, soon to be put to death, and what could represent the end of the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of competent legal representation, particularly in death penalty cases. Perhaps even more astounding, the Court's ruling on Monday directly contradicts their own ruling on the very same case in 2020 when, just two years ago, they sent the matter back down to the Texas State Court, which has since apparently decided that they needn't follow SCOTUS orders. And now, incredibly, with the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, SCOTUS agrees! "There can be no 'settled law' when SCOTUS lets rogue judges flout its own rulings and get away with it," Stern wrote in his coverage on Monday. Today he warns that with the Supreme Court failing to enforce its own precedents, "it really does send this message, a kind of wink and a nod, to lower courts that they can start defying these disfavored precedents, start nullifying these disfavored Constitutional rights, and get away with it. And that is a scary new phase."
  • The coming-soon overturning of Roe v. Wade. We haven't spoken to Stern since the unprecedented leak of a draft opinion by the GOP's corrupt, packed and stolen majority which is set to end 50 years of Constitutional freedoms and privacy rights established by the landmark 1973 opinion. He explains that the Court has since cracked down on all such leaks, but that even in a best-case scenario where the final opinion is somewhat softened, the ruling is certain to be "tragic". Moreover, he warns that overturning the privacy rights of Roe will "cast a lot of doubt on decisions protecting the right to privacy --- for gay people, for interracial couples, for people who use contraception --- and lower courts will seize upon that language and use it to start overturning those rights." That is just one reason why the Andrus ruling described above is so wildly dangerous.
  • Ending local government's right to protect residents from gun violence. The Court is set to issue its opinion on a challenge to New York's more-than-100-year old requirement that those seeking to carry concealed firearms apply for a special permit to do so. As soon as next week, despite the Second Amendment's mandate that the right to bear arms should be "well-regulated," the NY law is likely to be struck down by SCOTUS. "We should expect the Supreme Court to declare that there is a Second Amendment right, in every state in the country, to carry a concealed weapon in public spaces, even if you have no particularly good reason to want one. And that right cannot be infringed without a very strong interest from the government, which the Court will then explain does not really exist. And, in doing so, will unleash, I think, a wave of violence --- in states like California and New York that have pretty strict limits on concealed carry --- that will be attributable to the Supreme Court," Stern predicts. "But of course the Court will be in its own palace, surrounded by guards and fences, and the Justices will not have to face the lethal consequences of their own ruling."
  • West Virginia v. EPA The courts, long ago, placed a stay on President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which would have incentivized the transition from polluting coal-fired power plants to clean, renewable energy production. Then those regulations were replaced entirely by Trump's energy plan. And now, despite absolutely nobody required to follow the Obama EPA's regulations on this, the corrupted SCOTUS decided to take up WV's original challenge to the Obama plan. "This case is incredibly bizarre," Stern rails. "Because right now there is no rule --- I repeat, no rule --- no regulation, that is limiting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. None. And yet, the Supreme Court is deciding whether the Biden Administration can issue a rule limiting carbon emissions. You might be asking how could it possibly be that the Supreme Court will rule on a regulation that does not yet exist, that may in fact never exist? The answer is that the usual rules about actually taking a live controversy do not seem to apply when the conservative super-majority really wants to kneecap the Biden Administration's regulatory agenda. So, even though the Court has nothing to strike down, it will almost certainly issue a decision purporting to strike down a regulation that doesn't even exist."

As to what Stern has to say about some cases that the Court is likely to pick up for its next term, particularly on something called the Independent State Legislature doctrine --- which doesn't actually exist either, but may very well soon, and will "either limit or abolish the ability of anyone other than a state legislature to set the rules for federal elections" --- well, I don't have the heart to go into the details here. But tune in if you want to be informed about what is coming next...and just in time for the 2024 Presidential election.

Stern has been warning about the opinions set to drop shortly for a very long time on this program. I leave it to you if you want to know what he warns is coming next.

"I don't know what to tell you except that madness is coming, and all we can do is try to prepare for it as best we can," he tells me. "Because this is the direction that the conservative Justices are moving in. They have telegraphed it very clearly, and they are moving us there just on schedule."

I wish I could say we close out today's show by cheering you up with our latest Green News Report, but we pride ourselves in telling listeners the truth, no matter how grim...

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Guest: Omar Ocampo of Inequality.org: Also: NE, WV primary results and who cares what they mean for Trump?; Senate abortion vote; Federal court ruling on semi-automatic weapons sales to children in CA...
By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2022 6:35pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Sure, the supply chain was, and occasionally still is, a problem. So is Russia's war on Ukraine, obviously. But it's the greed of billionaires and the cowardice (or corruption) of public officials to do anything about that greed in this country that must be turned around in order to save the U.S. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, first, speaking of corruption...New numbers out today from the Labor Department suggest that inflation may have peaked before April. As the Times alerted today, "Inflation moderated slightly in April, though the 8.3% annual gain in U.S. consumer prices remained uncomfortably high." As AP trumpeted in its breaking news iPhone alert: "U.S. inflation slowed slightly last month, a tentative sign that prices may be peaking while still imposing a financial strain on American households." Reuters: "U.S. consumer price growth slowed sharply to 0.3% in April, suggesting that inflation may have peaked." They were all similar....Well, except for Fox "News": "Inflation higher than expected in April, holding near 40-year high."

And you wonder why Rightwingers are so angry? It's still the Fox "News", stupid.

And speaking of stupid...Midterm primaries were held in Nebraska and West Virginia on Tuesday. (Happily, unlike in Ohio last week, we saw no reports of voting problems or voting system breakdowns, so far.) As you may have noticed, pretty much every news report about Tuesday's results focused on what they mean for Donald Trump and his party and the candidates he endorsed. The incumbent U.S. House member that Trump endorsed in WV who ran for the GOP nomination against another incumbent U.S. House member who voted for Joe Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill won on Tuesday. Kingmaker Trump's power over the party is still strong! But the 8-time accused sexual harasser that Trump endorsed and stumped for in NE's GOP Gubernatorial primary lost. Trump's influence may be faltering!

As we discuss today, that framing by the corporate media --- reporting on these critical elections through the lens of Trump --- is wildly unhelpful and ill-serves the public at a time when democracy itself is on the line this November (and in 2024). It's not about Trump. He's already captured and broken the party. And that is true if he drops dead tomorrow and Ron DeSantis --- or anyone else --- takes his place. The damage is done. So, how can we fix it? Much more on that on today's show.

And speaking of failures all around... as the nation's death toll from COVID hits a staggering 1 million... The nation's corporations and rich people are doing just fine, thanks.

Big Oil continues to raise prices at the pump for consumers by pretending that its caused by post-pandemic supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine, even as they continue to rake in record profits (not revenue, but profits) in recent months. The profiteering --- under the guise of supply chain-induced "inflation" --- is also seen in other industries, of course, including the food industry, as well as the apparel business. In their latest reports on the industry profiteering, Accountable.us President Kyle Herrig appropriately derides "the industries most unapologetic about charging their customers more during a fragile economic recovery, apparently just because they can." And they can, because we let them develop monopolies and near-monopolies so there is little or no price competition left in the "free market".

And then there are the the nation's 727 billionaires whose growth in net worth over the two-plus years of the pandemic --- while you were struggling to stay employed, housed and fed --- is up $1.71 trillion from March 2020 to May 2022. That's a gain of more than the entire annual GDP of Canada for just those 727 U.S. billionaires. The biggest winner seems to have been Elon Musk, whose personal wealth was valued at just under $25 billion in March of 2020. Now, after two years of a pandemic economy, his wealth is said to be $255 billion as of the beginning of this month.

How did that happen? Why did that happen? What can and should be done about it? And does anyone in D.C. --- any one, from any party --- have the courage and ability to lead the nation to do anything about it?

All of those questions and more are answered today by our guest, OMAR OCAMPO of the Institute for Policy Studies' Program on Inequality and the Common Good, who asks today, "What about the rest of us? The median income, comparing 2020 to 2021, for your average U.S. worker has actually decreased by $2,000. And our median household wealth, comparing 2019 to 2001, has actually decreased. So yes, when you look at it by income or wealth percentile, it has been the top 10%, but especially the top 1%, that have seen impressive gains."

Ocampo helps explain how it happened, and what steps can and must be made to reverse this obscene continuing trend. Among the policy ideas discussed --- several of which have long been pushed by members of the progressive caucus in Congress --- a wealth tax on the assets of the richest Americans; partial student loan forgiveness; establishing a federal Commission on Profiteering, empowered with the ability to claw back some of what has been robbed from American consumers; strengthening organized labor and democracy itself.

And, yes, he explains, that will mean voting for more Democrats in Congress and at all levels of government. Hopefully good ones. Or this is going to continue to get much, much worse.

"The Republicans, from an ideological perspective, they are not interested in having some type of government intervention in order to solve societal problems," Ocampo charges. "They normally pivot towards philanthropy. But now is not the time to pivot to philanthropy, mainly because philanthropy does not scale, and it also denies public accountability for social problems or things that have to deal with the public good. So issues that affect the public should involve public input, and it should be carried out by democratic institutions."

"Economic inequality translates into political inequality. And the greater your material resources, the greater your access to participate in the state," he tells me. "This is very detrimental to democracy, because it makes the democratic institutions unresponsive to what the majority wants. The majority wants increased taxes on the wealthy, but it never seems to happen. That's probably because of their influence they have on both political parties."

"Elections matter, and to alleviate, especially in the short term, it would be best to elect Democrats. Because there is a section of the Democratic Party, specifically those that self-identify as progressives, who care about wealth inequality and know that it has distorting effects across our whole society."

Finally today, speaking of things getting much worse... Democrats held a show vote in the U.S. Senate to codify abortion rights (the Constitutional freedoms about to be taken away by the stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court) after the Women's Health Protect Act was already passed by Democrats in the House. As expected, all Republicans and Joe Manchin voted against it, so the measure failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to do almost anything in the undemocratic Senate.

And, also breaking during today's program, an insane, corrupted federal appeals court in California decided that the state's law restricting the purchase of semi-automatic firearms to those 21 or older is a violation of the Constitution's 2nd Amendment. So, yup, apparently 12-year olds in CA can now buy semi-automatic weapons! Have fun, kids!

Did I mention we need more democracy and fewer corrupted federal judges? Yeah, that also comes with voting. Please get busy. Thanks...

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Record U.S. corruption; Biden economy booming (don't tell the media!); Snowflake Youngkin's 'tip-line' pratfall; 'Maus' banned in TN before Holocaust Remembrance Day; Internet's dumbest man strikes again...
By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2022 7:17pm PT  

Today, The BradCast is more than just a grab bag of American corruption. It's also topped off with several heaping helpings of rising rightwing autocracy and fascism! Enjoy! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered today...

  • A new report ranking corruption among 180 countries ranks the U.S. as the 27th least corrupt in the world. In 2021, we fell to our worst score ever --- tied with Chile --- in Transparency International's index. For some reason or another, that's a fall from our previous (less corrupt) high in 2015. Whatever could have happened between then and now to make us more corrupt? The group suggests new efforts already under way by the Biden Administration to tackle corporate corruption could "significantly enhance" our ranking in future surveys. But, for now, they chalk up the nations new record low to, among other things, "persistent attacks against free and fair elections, culminating in a violent assault on the US Capitol, and an increasingly opaque campaign finance system."
  • You may or may not have heard the news --- it disappeared off of AP's front page as quickly as it was posted there today --- but the U.S. economy under Joe Biden in 2021 was absolutely booming. New Commerce Department numbers released Thursday finds that U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increased last year at the fastest pace since Ronald Reagan's Presidency. The economy expanded by 5.7% in 2021, the best calendar year growth since 1984. Based on 4th quarter numbers, however, GDP was growing at an even faster, 6.9% annualized pace. You sure wouldn't know it from corporate media coverage, however, focused as it is on things like inflation (due, in no small part, to the exploding consumer demand). All of this is akin to AP's recent ridiculous reporting on new jobs numbers, even amid decades-low unemployment numbers and rising wages. Their headline under Trump in February of 2018, for example: "U.S. Employers Added a Robust 200,000 Jobs in January". Compare that to their December 2021 headline under Biden: "U.S. Employers Added a Sluggish 210,000 Jobs in November." (Yes, you read those correctly.)
  • Corruption takes many forms and has many different effects on a nation, none of them good. Some of them, however, can be quite amusing, even when it comes from the clumsy rightwing spread of autocracy and facism, such as that playing out under the freshly sworn in Republican Governor in Virginia, Glenn Youngkin. He announced this week that he has created a tip-line for folks to report teachers who might teach anything objectionable. That might include, for example, anything that may have to do with systemic racism (in Virginia, of all places!) or that could be perceived as making (white) children uncomfortable (aware of) our nation's past (and present). But, "Whatever you do," one Virginia lawyer and former Democratic Congressional candidate hilariously cautioned this week in a viral Twitter thread, "don't make a mockery of this with fake tips" sent to the state's helpeducation@governor.virginia.gov email tip line! He even provided some examples of several fake racism tips that should absolutely not be sent to that address!
  • As amusing as that might be, the rising tide of Republican snowflakes seeking safe spaces is also taking darker turns. This week --- just before today's Holocaust Remembrance Day, as irony would have it --- the McMinn County, Tennessee School Board voted 10 to 0 to ban Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel MAUS: A Survivor's Tale from the school's 8th grade curriculum. The remarkable (beautiful, touching, terrifying, horrifying and even hilarious at times) story of Spiegelman's relationship with his parents, both Holocaust victims, relating their stories and his mother's horrible suicide with Jews drawn as mice and Nazis as cats, should be read by everyone. It's unclear if the County School Board is aware of the irony of banning books about Nazis who famously banned books, but the entire affair has left the author Spiegelman baffled and concerned about the rise of "autocracy and fascism" in the U.S., akin to what his parents eventually escaped in Europe. But it serves as another reminder of how important it is --- as discussed on yesterday's BradCast with Run For Something's Amanda Litman --- that more pro-democracy, anti-Nazi candidates need to run for local office everywhere! Including school boards!
  • And just one more for you today on the corruption of the media --- or at least, the fake, if wildly popular, disinformation propaganda site called Gateway Pundit. We usually try to ignore them and the clownish stuff they post. But they are behind about 90% of the phony wingnut "fraud" claims used by Trump and his gullible MAGA dupes to try and steal the 2020 election. This week, the website's super genius proprietor, Jim Hoft, posted a 100% phony story claiming that the Wisconsin state Assembly voted "unanimously" on Tuesday night to advance a resolution to decertify the Badger State's 10 electoral votes for Joe Biden from 2020. That, because they "were certified under fraudulent purposes." And because MAGA dupes are dupes, the story went viral, natch. As it turns out, one single state legislator in WI tried to introduce that resolution, with zero co-sponsors, was rejected, and it received zero votes in the Assembly. In fact, it wasn't allowed up for a vote at all. But don't tell the dopey propagandist/yutz Hoft, who still has the story posted on his site --- along with years of other phony, discredited, false stories --- two days after publishing it, even after USA Today's fact check thoroughly and verifiably showed it to be completely fake news. Sigh...
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for some actual and verifiable news in our latest Green News Report, with a new report on the costs of reaching net zero emissions; another finding air pollution to be much deadlier than previously known; the Biden Administration revoking controversial mining permits in Minnesota; and both McDonald's and KFC each offering a new, plant-based menu item which may, or may not, move you to want to eat it...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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