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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Amid the Assassination Attempt Aftermath:
'BradCast' 7/15/24
Also: Trump Stolen Docs Case Dismissed; OH's J.D. Vance named as GOP Veep nom; Callers ring in on all of the nightmares...
Sunday Monday 'Google Project 2025' Toons
After a brief pause following Saturday's assassination attempt of Donald Trump, we are back with our latest collection of last week's best political toons...
Meanwhile... :
'BradCast' 7/11/24
Biden's tenuous candidacy; Trump and Orban; Inflation, prices falling; Climate liar Inhofe dies; California's stunning solar revolution...
'Green News Report' 7/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat as deadly Beryl fallout continues; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Republicans bravely seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
Previous GNRs: 7/9/24 - 6/25/24 - Archives...
Paging 'Johnny Unbeatable'! Dems (Actually!) in Disarray!: 'BradCast' 7/10/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
SCOTUS Immunity Ruling 'As Bad as it Sounds', And Worse: 'BradCast' 7/9/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner on that and the Court's massive 'power grab'; Also: Record-breaking Beryl; U.S. heat records smashed...
'Green News Report' 7/9/24
Beryl breaks records, slams TX; 140m in U.S. under heat advisories; Big SCOTUS gifts for polluters; PLUS: Biden unveils first-ever extreme heat protections for workers...
So, What Now?: 'BradCast' 7/8/24
Listeners have strong opinions about where we are and how to move forward to save democracy after corrupt SCOTUS rulings and disastrous Presidential Debate...
Debunking MAGA Cult Xenophobia
CANNING: Throughout U.S. history, decent, hard-working immigrants (like me) have contributed to the economy and our nation's security: CANNING
Sunday 'Courting Disaster' Toons
THIS WEEK: Kings and Things! In our special SCOTUS-sized edition of the last impossible week's best political toons!...
Sunday 'Bad Medicine' Toons
THIS WEEK: Trump's hot pants ... Biden's cool reception ... SCOTUS gone wild ... and more in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
'Green News Report' 6/27/24
China flooding; Heatwave, crop failure in India; Disaster upon disaster in NM; On edge for SCOTUS decision; PLUS: Biden climate law creates 300,000 jobs!...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel; Also: VA's far-right Rep. Good vows to block certification of apparent narrow primary loss...
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2024 6:36pm PT  

Quite literally, as I signed off at the end of yesterday's show, a ton of alerts popped up on my iPhone with some pretty big and surprising news. News that turns out to be far more complex and/or nuanced than many seem to appreciate. So, that's where we pick things up on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST... As voters headed to the polls today in New York, Colorado, Utah and South Carolina for the last group of Congressional Primary Elections before next month's Republican National Convention, we're still keeping our eyes on a primary election from last week in Virginia.

Far-right Republican Rep. Bob Good, Chair of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, is currently just about 375 votes, out of more than 62,500 tallied, behind the even farther-right Republican state Sen. John McGuire in the GOP primary contest in VA's 16th Congressional District. With a margin that slim --- less than 1% --- whoever is certified next week as the winner of the currently "too close to call" race has every right to seek a recount. But Good --- who was opposed in the race by both Donald Trump and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy for various offenses against them --- is already on the offensive, charging that "this race cannot and must not be certified." He is claiming (without evidence, to date) "inappropriate activity" related to drop box voting in Lynchburg City, the largest in the district, that should prevent all votes in the city from being certified. That, even before a recount, apparently.

Good's own colleagues (all largely 2020 election deniers themselves!) appear to be laughing at him. Or worse. "No one is buying it," one House Republican told Axios. "What a loser," said another. "F**k Bob Good," said still another. But a Republican-turned-independent who lost to Good in 2020 may have best summed things up: "I don't find it surprising that an election between an election denier and an election denier would end with one of them denying the election was fair based on conspiracy theories."

In any event, we'll be watching and doing our best to ensure a fair, transparent recount, hopefully by hand and overseen by the public. We'll also be popping a fair amount of popcorn as it all plays out.

THEN... News broke last night that WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange had, at long last, struck a plea deal with the U.S. Dept. of Justice after years in a British maximum security prison fighting extradition to the U.S. and, before that, seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange was facing charges filed in 2019 by Donald Trump's DoJ related to the release, beginning in 2010, of a trove of stolen classified documents, many of which related to alleged war crimes carried out by the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan. But many of the documents were related to other things that were less than criminal or even newsworthy. And some, in fact, put a number of people in grave danger.

Moreover, as our guest --- a journalist who wrote a number of articles based on WikiLeaks documents herself --- details today, many of the documents were obtained via unlawful hacking that Assange himself appears to have participated in. Other documents published by WikiLeaks, such as a trove of emails from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's Campaign Chair, are believed to have been hacked by Russia and given to WikiLeaks for publication before the 2016 Presidential election with dubious or no news value whatsoever.

Still, Assange and his supporters have maintained that WikiLeaks is a journalism outfit and, as a journalist, he can't be held to account under U.S. law for simply publishing documents in the public's interest, even classified or stolen ones --- at least if he was not involved in the theft.

But there is far more to the story, as detailed on today's program by longtime, independent national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of EmptyWheel.net. As of airtime, the plea agreement detailing the single charge he agreed to plead guilty to --- reportedly related to the Espionage Act --- had not been released. But Wheeler attempts to clear up some of what she characterizes as propaganda that has long been circulated by Assange's supporters.

"His hacking into other countries started before he reached out to Chelsea Manning," the military intelligence analyst who turned over reams of documents to WikiLeaks, Wheeler tells me. Among the documents from Manning was the famous "Collateral Murder" video, revealing U.S. helicopter pilots gunning down 11 people in Iraq, including 2 Reuters journalists. Wheeler charges that Assange "tried to help Chelsea Manning break a password. Then the hacking conspiracy continued through 2016. In other words, the attempt to get other people to hack things. It was a larger hacking conspiracy that other people pled guilty to and went to jail for." All decidedly not the behavior of an actual journalist, she says.

She details the "very, very deliberate effort on the part of Wikileaks to hide the fact that the hacking conspiracy started before, and continued long after, the Chelsea Manning stuff," and notes, by way of another example, that, "in 2015, WikiLeaks helped Edward Snowden [a national security whistleblower] flee to Russia."

"That's not something journalists do," Wheeler asserts. "You might think it's honorable or heroic, but that's not something journalists ever do."

Of course, if the charge against Assange relates only to journalistic activity, but not hacking, then, Wheeler believes, it would be a serious threat to press freedoms, "this precedent of somebody being prosecuted for publishing something, especially if they've taken the hacking part away entirely."

Wheeler was "reasonably comfortable" if hacking was tied to the charges against Assange, "but once you take the hacking away, yeah, it is a terrible precedent we should all be worried about."

"Regardless of how much you hate Julian Assange, or regardless of whether you think what he did was newsworthy, just the precedent is a worrying precedent," she warns. "That may be what we're left with going forward."

UPDATE 6/26/2024: With the plea agreement [PDF] now released, Wheeler has a detailed article on the "Damaging Precedent of the Julian Assange Espionage Guilty Plea" that, as she explains, fails to focus "on the alleged hacking, which always distinguished Assange from journalists". She notes, "This plea could have been written in a way that limited the damage of the precedent. For reasons we have yet to discover (but which may have been dictated by Assange’s side, not DOJ’s), it was not.":

It's over. Both sides lost. Chelsea Manning especially lost, given the additional time she spent in jail resisting a subpoena for testimony that would never be used at trial.

The question remains how much damage this loss for both sides will do in the future.

FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with Climate Change Gone Wild as summer begins, with disastrous record flooding in the Upper Midwest compounding record heat and wildfires already over much of the country. And, with hurricane season heating up, FEMA warns of a shortfall in disaster funding if Congress doesn't act quickly...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Researcher Victoria Cadostin on 'Citizens for Sanity'; Also: Giuliani arraigned with fake electors in AZ; Defense rests in NY Trump trial; More...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2024 6:42pm PT  

We're back on today's BradCast after an unavoidable extended weekend due to a family funeral. We've got a lot to get caught up on today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to today's guest, a few quick headlines from over the weekend and through today...

  • Iran's President and Foreign Minister were killed over the weekend in a helicopter crash in foggy conditions in the northern part of the country.
  • The top prosecutor at the International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as three Hamas leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity in both Gaza and Israel.
  • A British court has granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the right to appeal his extradition to the U.S. on 17 espionage charges and one for computer misuse related to the publication of classified U.S. documents 15 years ago.
  • The New York Times revealed last week that rightwing Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito flew an upside down American flag --- a MAGA "stop the steal" symbol --- at his home for several days following the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Nonetheless, the corrupt Alito has failed to recuse himself from cases involving the 2020 election, including the Court's pending opinion on "Presidential Immunity" which has held up Trump's federal trial for months in his indictment on multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 election.
  • Rudy Giuliani and 11 others, including Kelli Ward, the former chair of the Arizona Republican Party, were arraigned on Tuesday in Phoenix for their roles in attempting to steal the state's 2020 election for Trump. Giuliani and the others face multiple counts each (nine in Rudy's case) related to conspiracy, forgery and fraud.
  • The Defense rested on Tuesday in Donald Trump's 2016 election interference trial in New York, where he is facing 34 felony charges related to the falsification of documents to hide a hush-money payment to a porn star just before that year's election day. The disgraced former President, who repeatedly vowed that he would testify in his own defense at the criminal trial, did not do so. As expected. Closing arguments are next week.
  • Voters headed to the polls on Tuesday for down-ballot primaries and special elections in Kentucky, Oregon, Georgia and California on Tuesday. We'll have any available noteworthy results and problems reports on tomorrow's BradCast.

Then we're joined by VICTORIA CADOSTIN, researcher and writer at the non-profit watchdog organization DOCUMENTED to explain who is behind the new Trump-aligned extremist group known as "Citizens for Sanity". In a weekend article at The Guardian, Cadostin and her colleague Brendan Fischer break down details from newly obtained filings by the dark money group revealing they spent more more than $90 million dollars in the final few months of 2022 alone on a flood of what have been described as "vile, racist and transphobic" ads designed to disinform, terrify, divide and incite the voting public.

"They were one of the biggest election spenders in the last election cycle," Cadostin explains. "What's really alarming about it is that our records show that Citizens For Sanity is housed at the Conservative Partnership Institute, which has been characterized as the 'nerve center' of the rightwing." She describes the group as the homebase for the Trump Administration in exile, as it's led by former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as well as one of his former attorneys (and election fraudsters) Cleta Mitchell. It also shares the same leadership with American First Legal, a rightwing extremist lawfare organization headed up by Trump's MAGA anti-immigrant henchman Stephen Miller.

"CPI represents the creation of MAGA political infrastructure," says Cadostin. "These are all folks who are in the MAGA world very deeply, and who have a lot of power in that world, who are pushing out this messaging and pushing out extremism."

The group spent tens of millions of dollars from unknown donors on ads that air heavily in battleground states and swing districts, and even during highly-viewed mainstream events such as the World Series.

The organization uses racist messaging against Blacks and Latino immigrants in its ads, even while it also targets those same communities with different ads in hopes of suppressing their voters. "It's really a targeted effort to stoke racial hostility and suppress the vote however they can for the base that they don't think will vote Republican or conservative," she says. "While at the same time pushing out messaging that will move a conservative base, a white American base, to show up at the polls. It is very sinister, the way they are twisting this, using this information to mobilize one particular base against another."

"These divisive ads and the spreading of misinformation in order to sway folks in swing districts have a real impact outside of just voting," argues Cadostin. "This kind of messaging supports the rise of anti-trans legislation and violence against trans folks, as well as the rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, legislation and violence. Powerful folks are throwing money around to manufacture racial and gendered hostility in the voting population. And it's also further evidence that attacks on equality and democracy are often coming from the exact same place."

What can be done about any of it, since, as disgusting as it all is, it's all largely been legalized by a string of rightwing SCOTUS decisions over the years? We discuss that as well on today's BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Trump and his henchmen facing more consequences by the day; Trump apologists in Congress hilariously face-planting...
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2023 6:42pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It's taken longer than it should have to get here, but Accountability Season for Trump World is finally beginning to fire on all pistons, even as his stooges in Congress, pretending to bring "accountability" for..."Biden crime family" something or other...continue to step on rakes. That part is hilarious. [Audio link to show follows this summary.]

First up today, the GOP House "whistleblower" face-plants...

  • Yesterday, we quickly detailed a supposed "IRS whistleblower" claim that Trump-appointed and Biden-retained U.S. Attorney David Weiss was somehow blocked by Biden's DoJ from bringing anything more than a couple of minor misdemeanor charges against Hunter Biden for under-paying two years of taxes. In a letter sent to Sen. Lindsey Graham, however, Weiss made clear that the GOP argument was completely false and that he was given full agency to investigate and prosecute anything he wanted.
  • Then, just after airtime last night, there was news about yet another supposed GOP "whistleblower" blowing up. This one has long been touted by House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer...at least until the guy, Gal Luft, suddenly went missing a few months ago. Still, Comer, claimed the dude was ready to spill the goods on a massive bribery scandal regarding the Bidens and illicit payoffs from China. Comer appeared on Newsmax just three days ago with a host describing Luft as "well connected in intelligence circles in Washington" and "not just some weird guy who popped up out of nowhere." Comer agreed that Luft was "very credible" and that people on MSNBC who said he looked like a fool would be sorry. Well, the guy is still on the lam, but on Monday, we learned why. The DoJ unsealed an 8-count indictment against Luft, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, related to working as an unregistered foreign agent for China; brokering illicit Chinese weapons and Iranian oil deals; and unlawfully trafficking arms to places like Libya, UAE and Kenya. Other than that, he's "very credible" and will soon be cracking open the Biden Crime Family case with House Republicans who don't look like "fools" at all.

In news today of actual accountability for real crimes...

  • Grand jurors are being convened in Atlanta today, where they will soon be voting on indictments in Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' broad criminal probe of the attempt to steal the 2020 Peach State election by Donald Trump and his henchmen, including Rudy Giuliani, fake electors, and likely many others. Let the accountability begin!
  • Accountability is already under way for a number of Trump's top 2020 legal henchmen. In recent days, a panel of the D.C. Bar found Rudy Giuliani should be disbarred in the District for bringing "frivolous" and "destructive" lawsuits after the 2020 election that falsely alleged fraud. The formerly respectable NYC Mayor turned disgraced Trump attorney has already had his license to practice law suspended in New York, but still has a few more chances to appeal his case in D.C., even after the panel determined that his misconduct was so disgraceful that it "sadly transcends all his past accomplishments."
  • L. Lin Wood, a formerly respected Georgia attorney turned Trump wingnut was allowed by the State Bar of Georgia last week to transfer to "Retired Status effective immediately," rather than face disciplinary charges from the state Bar for his part in attempting to steal the 2020 election for Trump with bogus lawsuits. The retirement is "unqualified, irrevocable, and permanent," and bans him from practicing law in Georgia or any other jurisdiction. But it allows the seemingly mentally unstable, formerly high-profile 70-year old attorney to retire to his $16 million South Carolina plantation without consequence.
  • John Eastman, the disgraced, far-right Trump attorney responsible for dreaming up the unlawful and unconstitutional scheme to have then Vice President Mike Pence block Joe Biden's Electoral College certification in Congress on January 6, 2021, is in an ongoing trial with the California Bar Association facing 11 disciplinary charges likely to result in the loss of his license to practice law in the Golden State.
  • Late last week, disgraced, deadbeat Trump advisor and former Campaign Chair Steve Bannon was ordered by a New York Judge to pay his own former attorneys nearly $500,000 after stiffing them for legal fees related to representation in his unsuccessful trial for Contempt of Congress after refusing to answer subpoenas from the House Jan. 6 Committee (he was sentenced to 4-months in prison, but is currently free pending appeal) and many other crimes and grifts.
  • MyPillow, the Minnesota-based company founded and run by 2020 election fraud conspiracist Mike Lindell, is reportedly auctioning off factory equipment and sub-leasing manufacturing space after, according to Lindell, losing $100 million in business following his continuing, evidence-free claims that the election was stolen from Trump. Now he's mad at "the box stores, the shopping networks, the shopping channels" because "all of them did cancel culture on us." We're all crying in our Bud Light beer for ya, Mike.

And finally...

  • While Accountability Season is finally beginning, Climate Season is, sadly, fully underway all across the globe and, as Desi Doyen details in our latest Green News Report, here at home with record temps broiling the U.S. Southwest and hurricane-like downpours drenching the U.S. Northeast. (Rainfall in Vermont over the past 24 hours has now reportedly outpaced 2011's Hurricane Irene.)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Hunter Biden's plea deal; A plague of locusts; Daniel Ellsberg RIP...
By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2023 6:40pm PT  

Somehow, all of the disparate stories on today's BradCast seem to come together in the end. Whether they make sense or not, we'll leave to you. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • We start with End Times. A plague of locusts --- of a sort --- across six counties in Nevada. And, yes, the infestation is thanks in no small part to climate change.
  • It appears to be the end of the DoJ's 5-year criminal probe of Hunter Biden by a Donald Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney who President Biden allowed, upon taking office, to remain in his job to finish the probe. The younger Biden has agreed to a deal to plead guilty to two tax-related misdemeanors and will be allowed to avoid jail on an even less-often prosecuted gun-related charge which likely would never have been raised at all but for the fact that he is Joe Biden's son and Trump weaponized his Dept. of Justice against his political rivals.
  • The federal judge currently overseeing Trump's stolen documents indictment in Florida. U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, has set an August 14 start date for the trial. Nobody, however, believes it will begin anywhere close to that date.
  • Over the weekend, Trump continued to make his defense more difficult and ridiculous in the 37-count federal felony indictment he faces for charges under Section 793(e) of the Espionage Act related to retention of national defense information. He originally (wrongly) claimed that the Presidential Records Act allowed him to take anything he wanted from the White House upon leaving office and it would become his personal property. The Act does the opposite. Nonetheless, Trump blew that defense over the weekend, offering a different explanation for why he refused to respond to a DoJ subpoena requiring he return all documents during a very good interview by Bret Baier of Fox "News". The remarks will almost certainly be used against him at trial --- if one ever happens --- by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
  • Another one of Trump's repeated lies (also attempted again during his interview with Baier) is that he declassified all of the highly classified documents he stole before leaving office. While there is no evidence in support of that lie, there is at least one document --- Document #19 in the indictment --- which can't be declassified solely by the Executive, as it pertains to U.S. nuclear weapons. According to the federal Atomic Energy Act, that highly classified record may only be declassified via a lengthy process that includes sign-off from the top officials at both the Dept. of Defense and Energy.
  • Another recent defense of Trump's, this one hauled out the night after his arraignment last week, is that "the Espionage Act has been used to go after traitors and spies. It has nothing to do with a former President legally keeping his own documents." In fact, while the Espionage Act of 1917 does have provisions that "go after traitors and spies", it also has a provision that goes after anyone who "willfully retains" national defense information "and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it." In fact, there are tons of folks in prison right now who you have never heard of, serving years after pleading guilty to a single count of what Trump has now been charged with in 31 counts. Many of those Americans, who neither spied nor transmitted the documents, were charged, convicted and sentenced between the time Trump became President in 2017 through today.
  • And then there are those who are charged under the Espionage Act who should never have been. Reality Winner, for example, was an NSA contractor who stole a classified document detailing Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election and unlawfully shared it with media in 2017. (Trump shared documents with media as well, according to his federal indictment, though, unlike Winner, not for altruistic reasons.) She was sentenced to more than 5 years in prison under the Trump Administration's Dept. of Justice, even after pleading guilty. She was neither a traitor nor a spy and said she "acted out of love for what this country stands for," in response to Trump's lies that there had been no Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • Which brings us to some thoughts about a different American whistleblower and hero, DANIEL ELLSBERG (pictured above). While working at a defense contractor in the 1960s, Ellsberg photocopied and leaked the so-called "Pentagon Papers" report to the New York Times and Washington Post in 1971. The 7,000-page classified document detailed U.S. lies and atrocities surrounding the Vietnam War. Though never identified by the media he leaked to, Ellsberg turned himself in to federal authorities despite facing more than 100 years in prison under the Espionage Act. The case was eventually dismissed due to government misconduct after the discovery of Nixon's dirty tricksters, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, overseeing the break-in of Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office seeking incriminating medical records.

    For the next five decades, Ellsberg would go on to become an inspirational anti-war and anti-nuclear advocate, as well as a supporter of whistleblowers like Reality Winner, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. He was also a longtime friend of both this show and The BRAD BLOG.

    Dan Ellsberg died last Friday at the age of 92 after a struggle with inoperable pancreatic cancer. He remains a hero and inspiration to many of us.

    His final appearance on this program was as a guest on our first show after The BradCast moved from a weekly to a daily program back in April of 2015. We share some of our conversation with Ellsberg from that day's show --- regarding the Obama Administration's aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers and a bit more --- on today's program.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as early extreme summer weather slams much of the south while renewable energy saves the day in parts of Texas and reaches an encouraging new milestone across the rest of the nation...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: More disturbingly good news from SCOTUS and the lower courts!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2023 6:20pm PT  

Seriously worried about what's going on at SCOTUS. Yet another good decision today. Are they okay? And what does all of this good news mean for their opinions yet to come before term's end at the end of this month? We worry about that and more on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Nonetheless, most of our stories today are, happily, not horrible. Among the many covered today...

  • An obnoxious Fox "News" chyron describing President Joe Biden as a "wannabe dictator" on the day of Donald Trump's federal arraignment on 37 criminal felony counts (and their ham-fisted crocodilian "cover up" thereafter) offers a telling illustration of how the Trump Mind Virus has been implanted into the poisoned brains of his cult followers.
  • The faintest of cracks may be emerging in the otherwise seemingly solid GOP support for their disgraced, criminal defendant former President, including an unmistakable plunge of some 15 points for Trump in Ipsos/Reuters polling among Republicans from April to June.
  • The attorney for 2016 Russian election interference whistleblower Reality Winner, however, has a few thoughts on our actual two-tiered justice system.
  • After stunningly good decisions last week protecting both the Voting Rights Act and Medicaid, the otherwise-corrupted U.S. Supreme Court did it again today, with a 7 to 2 ruling upholding the Indian Child Welfare Act, with Amy Coney Barrett(!) writing the opinion that rejects "all of petitioners' challenges to the statute". Still to come by the end of the month, however: SCOTUS rulings on Affirmative Action in college admissions; the Independent State Legislature theory decision that could wreak utter havoc in the 2024 Presidential election; and whether they will deign to allow Biden to waive up to $20,000 for each federal student loan borrower.
  • We've also had some very good news from the lower federal courts as well in recent weeks, including a U.S. District Court judge rejecting Tennessee's Republican Gov. Bill Lee's attempt to stifle free speech by unconstitutionally banning drag shows, and a temporary injunction on portions of Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' unspeakably cruel law that places his state's Big Government between doctors and medically necessary treatments for trans children. That, in a state where DeSantis laughably ran for reelection last year with the slogan "Freedom Lives" in Florida.
  • Of course, as we've learned since 2016, for GOP American Idiots infected with the Trump Mind Virus, "The Cruelty is the Point". They seem to think it will somehow help them gain or hold power. Illinois' Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, however, in his Commencement Address at Northwestern University this week, has some helpful advice on how to spot an idiot. (Hint: Their cruelty is a dead giveaway.)
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with troubling news for the Summer on both sides of the Canadian border and in Texas. But, there is also a very encouraging landmark trial playing out right now in a Montana courtroom...

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Pillow Guy is running!; Special Counsel wasting no time; Trumpers failed in AK too; Lake still pretending in AZ; Callers have a few thoughts...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2022 6:29pm PT  

We're back for today's BradCast after some much-needed down time last week over the holiday when we tried to look the other way for a few minutes. We've got a lot of catching up to do.

Among the stories we try to catch up with today...

  • The independent Special Counsel appears to be wasting no time. Even on a holiday. Prosecutor Jack Smith, recently tapped by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee two Trump-related criminal probes by the Dept. of Justice --- on the January 6th insurrection and the classified documents stolen by the former President upon leaving office --- jumped into the documents case on Thanksgiving Day. While we were eating turkey, Smith was filing a one paragraph argument with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals calling out Trump's attorneys for lying during a hearing earlier in the week. That hearing didn't go well for Team Trump, despite being heard by two Trump-appointed federal judges and one appointed by George W. Bush. Smith did not make things any better for them. We explain.
  • Two Trump-backed candidates in Alaska were each declared losers in the U.S. House [PDF] and U.S. Senate [PDF] races last week after weeks of counting in the state's Ranked Choice Voting midterm elections. Democrat Mary Peltola will fill the seat in the U.S. House previously held by the late Rep. Don Young, a Republican who occupied the state's only House seat for nearly 50 years. She defeated the failed former President's choice, the state's failed former Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, as well as two other candidates. And, moderate Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who voted to remove Trump from office during his second impeachment trial last year, was declared to have defeated Trump-endorsed GOP challenger Kelly Tshibaka. Dems will hold a narrow majority in the Senate next year no matter how the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Trump-endorsed Herschel Walker (R) works out next Tuesday. But, if yet another candidate supported by the disgraced former President crashes and burns next week too, the extra seat in the upper chamber could make a huge difference for Democrats.
  • Meanwhile, in Arizona, former TV news anchor and Trumpette, Kari Lake, is still pretending that she must have won the Governor's election. All of the available evidence suggests Democratic Sec. of State Katie Hobbs was the winner, albeit by less than one percent. The narrow margin, however, is just a bit higher than the trigger for a statewide recount. So, Lake is now suing the Republicans who run Maricopa County (Phoenix), on the basis that the County's print-on-demand ballot system prevented voters from voting. It didn't. Though some GOP voters reportedly chose not to cast their ballots after being told the precinct-based scanners couldn't read the hand-marked paper ballots printed at a number of the County's voting centers. Those ballots were placed into a locked box and scanned back at County HQ. On Monday, the County certified their results, and the usual parade of deplorables issued threats to the officials for doing so. The state is scheduled to certify results next week, which will be followed by a recount in the incredibly tight Attorney General contest. It is currently led by Democratic candidate Kris Mayes over Trump-endorsed Abe Hamadeh who trails by just 510 votes out of more than 2.5 million cast in the state's November midterms.
  • Meanwhile, the world's largest volcano, Mauna Loa, is erupting again in Hawaii...for the first time in nearly 40 years.
  • Finally, we open the phone lines today for a bit of a "reverse BradCast," where callers ring in with stuff they want me and/or the world to know about. Among the topics raised by callers: Israel, Julian Assange, accountability for Don Jr. and Eric, democracy beyond elections, and more...

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Guest: ACLU's Ben Wizner; Also: Results from KS abortion amendment recount; Dems quietly outsmart GOP/SCOTUS on climate; More...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2022 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Based on the FBI's unsealed warrant for their recent court-approved search at Mar-a-Lago, we now know that our disgraced former President is being criminally investigated by the Dept. of Justice for violation of at least three federal statutes. One of them --- the one which has arguably received the most headlines --- is the Espionage Act. But that very broad federal statute has been wildly misused by the government over the years to target free political speech and, in modern days, both whistleblowers and journalists. Today, we speak with national security whistleblower Edward Snowden's lead ACLU attorney in hopes of better understanding the controversial law, what's wrong with it, how it needs to be amended, and if it is now properly being applied against Donald Trump. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, however, as primary elections are underway in New York, Florida and Oklahoma today (noteworthy results and problem reports for voters on our next 'BradCast'), we wanted to close a loop on a story we reported last week. Anti-abortion activists in Kansas had hoped for a statewide hand recount of the ballot measure for a state constitutional amendment that failed so thoroughly during their primary elections earlier this month. The measure, trounced by about 18 points, would have allowed state Republicans to ban abortion rights in Kansas. Activists vaguely claimed there was evidence of fraud and asked for a hand-count of 9 of the state's largest counties after failing to raise enough money to count the whole state. That hand-count was completed over the weekend and very few votes changed at all. The "Yes" campaign netted an additional 63 votes out of more than 556,000 tallied by hand in those counties.

We've got some thoughts on that hand count to share today, including a response to the Kansas Sec. of State who claims the hand-count "proves once and for all that there is no systemic election fraud in our state's election process" (it doesn't) and for Democrats who decry lawful, public hand-counts --- paid for by challengers, even if they are loony ones --- as undermining our election system. They don't. In fact, they add confidence to it. Tune in for more.

Next, on Monday night, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump stole at least 300 documents marked as classified, many of them said to be incredibly sensitive national security documents. (Contrast that with the total of 3 documents found to have been sent to Hillary Clinton via her private email address marked as classified, for which Trump and his supporters railed to "LOCK HER UP!" for so many years.) All told, it took a year and a half to get those stolen documents back, after a year of negotiation and pleading by the National Archives, a grand jury subpoena from the DoJ, a personal visit to Mar-a-Lago by its top counter-espionage official, and, ultimately, the FBI search earlier this month.

Throughout that time, the paper reports, "Trump went through the boxes himself in late 2021," before failing to turn them all in and, even now, it is unknown if all of the stolen documents have yet been returned. Whether marked as classified or not --- and whether Trump declassified them or not (he didn't) --- it was still illegal for Trump to have any of them in his possession.

The federal search warrant revealed that he is being investigated for, among other things, violation of the Espionage Act. Writing last week at Politico, the Knight First Amendment Institute's Jameel Jaffer, formerly of the ACLU, argued that the Act has been abused over the years in its application against whistleblowers and journalists, such as Chelsea Manning (who released classified documents revealing war crimes by the U.S. Military), Reality Winner (who released a classified document revealing Russia's 2016 breach of U.S. voter registration systems) and, more recently, WikiLeak's Julian Assange.

But, Jaffer writes, while the overly-broad law desperately needs to be amended or even scrapped entirely, its use against Trump appears to be perfectly appropriate.

We're joined today by BEN WIZNER of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. Wizner serves as the principal legal advisor for Edward Snowden, the national security whistleblower who, charged with Espionage Act crimes, is currently living in Russia to avoid prosecution.

Wizner explains the many problems with the more than 100-year old law as it was originally used --- before being somewhat amended decades later --- to prosecute thousands of Americans for legitimate political speech. "In fact, the abuses of the Espionage Act at the outset really had something to do with the formation of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920," he tells me. "It was used by Woodrow Wilson's administration to go after pacifists and anti-war activists, labor activists. Eugene Debs was prosecuted and imprisoned under the Espionage Act. So in its early years, it really is associated with all of the excesses of the first Red Scare and the crackdown on dissent, and immigrants and other radicals." (Debs ultimately ran for President from his prison cell, as Trump may now wish to take note.)

"In it's modern history, the core critique of the Espionage Act has been that it doesn't distinguish between selling the country's secrets to a foreign adversary for personal gain and sharing those same secrets with respected journalists in the public interest," Wizner explains. "In the Snowden case, you have somebody who shared information with news organizations. Those news organizations won the highest awards in journalism, a public interest Pulitzer Prize [based on documents from Snowden.]

But the most egregious part of the Espionage Act, as Wizner notes regarding Snowden's case and his exile abroad: "He's not able to argue, if he's brought to court under this law, that he was acting in the public interest, [and] that in fact the law [was] changed as a result of his actions. All of that would be irrelevant and inadmissible under an Espionage Act prosecution."

In other words, Snowden would be disallowed from even offering a defense for what he did. "The first person ever prosecuted under the Espionage Act for leaks to the press in the public interest, rather than trying to provide secrets to a foreign entity was, of course, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, in 1971," Wizner reminds us. (We discussed Snowden's case with Ellsberg on the show back in 2013. Audio and transcript here.)

There is much more to discuss about this bad law and the need to amend it, as several lawmakers from both major parties have long been trying to do. Tune in for that.

As to whether Wizner agrees with his former ACLU colleague, Jaffer, regarding the Espionage Act's correct application against Trump? While he argues "there's no good justification for what Trump did here," Wizner says he is keeping powder dry" regarding Trump's alleged Espionage Act violations. "I am very open to the possibility that when we find out why they cited that statute, I will be a full-throated advocate of what they did in this case. I'm just saying I don't have the information yet to be that full-throated advocate...It matters what those documents were. The fact that they were marked classified is a key fact. I still want to know what was in them."

"I believe Jameel Jaffer is correct that the concerns that the ACLU and other have raised about the Espionage Act are not implicated here," Wizner tells me. "We've been saying you shouldn't equate two different categories --- spies and whistleblowers. What we have here is a third category."

Finally, after some breaking news on President Biden reportedly deciding to forgive up to $10,000 in student loans for some federal borrowers, and Desi Doyen's explanation of how Democrats may have quietly and ingeniously outsmarted both Republicans and their stolen U.S. Supreme Court majority by declaring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses to be "pollutants" in their recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, she joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the summer of extreme extreme weather continues...

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Guest: Imperial Beach, CA Mayor, surfer, environmentalist Serge Dedina; Also: Dems work to overcome Manchin's corruption; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2021 6:10pm PT  

ExxonMobil picked the wrong guy to try and intimidate. That much was clear as day during our interview with him on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

As the most powerful storm in history, with record breaking rain and winds, slams the West Coast, a nor'easter threatens the East Coast and powerful storms, including late season tornadoes, threaten the middle of the country and the Gulf Coast this week. Tens of millions of Americans are currently under threat of severe weather. In total, according to NBC, "more than 90 million people will experience dangerous weather in the form of high winds, flooding rainfall or severe thunderstorms through Wednesday."

Welcome to our climate change-fueled future, where record rains and mudslides are the "welcome" relief to seemingly endless drought and wildfires on the West Coast. And as other regions of the country, still recovering from summer hurricanes, are now staring the barrel of still more climate-related threats. Its going to get much worse from here, according to a new study published on Monday by the World Meteorological Organization. The report finds that greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for our quickly worsening climate crisis, hit a new record high last year and increased at a faster rate than the last decade's average, even amid temporary decreases during pandemic lockdowns.

That report, and several others warning that things are getting worse, not better, come as the nations of the world plan to meet beginning next week in Glasgow, Scotland for a critical, U.N. sponsored climate conference to figure out how to decrease emissions and stave off the worst of what is coming --- and what is already here.

But while some are trying to save the world, others are simply trying to save their own town by pushing back against the fossil fuel industry that caused this mess by lying, for decades, about the dangers of burning their products, while spending millions to lie about the reality of global warming.

On today's program we're joined by Imperial Beach, California MAYOR SERGE DEDINA, who has sued [PDF] ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and 30 other fossil fuel companies to demand they cover the costs of saving his small, poor Southern California coastal town from the ravages of rising sea levels. According to The Guardian, "Imperial Beach commissioned an analysis of its vulnerability to rising sea levels which concluded that nearly 700 homes and businesses were threatened at a cost of more than $100m. It said that flooding will hit about 40% of the city’s roads, including some that will be under water for long periods. Two elementary schools will have to be moved. The city’s beach, regarded as one of the best sites for surfing on the California coast, is being eroded by about a foot a year."

Dedina has since been attacked by Exxon's attorneys and accused of "collusion" with other towns, some of whom, like Santa Cruz, have also sued the oil giant for fraud. The attorneys even demanded documents from Dedina's cell phone and computers which, apparently, turned up little more than videos of his son surfing.

"I think they're throwing lots of things at the wall to see if they stick," Dedina tells me. "The only thing I have in common with Santa Cruz is that I like to surf, and they have good waves there."

His small majority minority town, bordering Tijuana, has an annual budget of $20 million. That's just $5 million more than the ExxonMobil CEO was personally paid by the company last year alone. Now Dedina wants Exxon and the others to pay up for their dangerous and fraudulent lies about the climate, which are now costing the small coastal town much more than they can possibly afford to save it.

"They're grasping at straws," says the Mayor, in response to the harassment from the oil companies. "They spent millions of dollars on lawyer fees to take on a city that has nothing. Literally nothing. We have nothing to give. We've given it all already. We're just trying to have a decent life for our residents, who have little as well. God, what a waste of money and time."

But Dedina, a lifelong resident, award-winning environmentalist as well as co-founder and Executive Director of WILDCOAST, a non-profit ocean conservation organization, says he has no interest in backing down.

"We're still going to hold them accountable," he explains today. "We're not going to be intimidated. They can't do anything to us that the ocean hasn't already done."

"You grow up in our city, you have nothing. You learn how to be a scrappy fighter and stand up for what you believe in. You fight for what our city needs.  That's why I'm mayor, and why I was elected mayor. We're going to keep fighting these companies. They took on the wrong guy," warns Dedina.

Next, we catch up with the weekend "sausage making", as President Biden and Congressional Democrats continue to try and find accommodation for corrupt, obstructionist Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), in hopes of passing the critical healthcare, education, child care, family leave and climate change legislation known as the Build Back Better Act. The weekend's accommodations including more scaling back of the bill and its wildly popular provisions, which are otherwise favored by largely the entire Democratic Congressional caucus and the White House. That, after Manchin already forced the removal last week of the measure's key provision meant to fight the ravages of climate change.

Still, as Desi Doyen reports today, there are enough provisions left --- at least as of now --- that, along with cooperation from states, individuals and private companies, it may still be feasible for the U.S. to meet President Biden's pledge to cut U.S. emissions by 50% overall by 2030, and to reach net zero emissions by 2050. But it ain't gonna be easy. And, even if successful, it may not be nearly enough.

Finally, callers ring in on all of the above, calling out who they blame for all of the various fine messes the nation, and the world, now find itself in.

Oh...and one more thing! As mentioned during the show, I'm going to appear for a Q&A tomorrow (Tuesday) after the 7pm ET/4p PT free virtual screening of the award-winning 2006 documentary Murder, Spies and Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story. The screening is part of a new weekly series by SmartElection.us (where you can register for the Zoom event) and, of course, the film is based on my exclusive reporting of the stunning --- and, at times, terrifying --- story of a computer software programmer who testified in 2004 that he was asked by a sitting Republican congressman to create vote rigging software for touchscreen voting systems. Hope you can stop by and say hello!

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Also: Netanyahu finally out in Israel; 'Imminent radiological threat' at Chinese nuke plant?; 2016 whistleblower leaves prison; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2021 6:07pm PT  

We try to hit a lot of news on today's BradCast after yet another very busy news weekend both at home and abroad. We don't get through our entire stack, but that's only thanks to some good calls from listeners along the way. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

Among the stories we cover on today's program...

  • 600,000 are now dead from COVID-19 in the U.S. as states --- including California on Tuesday --- begin opening up again for business at full capacity (and as infection rates start to tick up again nationally...we're hoping it's just some noise in the data for now...)
  • Israel's longtime, hard-right leader Benjamin Netanyu, recently indicted on corruption charges, is finally out as Prime Minister of Israel. On Sunday, the Israeli Knesset officially approved a new governing coalition with a former top Netanyahu aide, Naftali Bennett, as the Jewish state's new Prime Minister. He will lead a broad coalition of some eight left, right and center parties, including the first Arab party to sit in a governing coalition. The fragile new partnership aims to move beyond the exceedingly polarizing years of the former PM, even as Netanyahu --- in one of his Trumpiest tantrums to date --- demonized many of his former rightwing colleagues in the new coalition as an "evil and dangerous leftist government" and decried his personal legal troubles as the result of a witch hunt. (Sound familiar?)
  • A disturbing story broke over night by CNN, suggesting there may be an ongoing or "imminent radiological threat" at a new nuclear power plant in China. Details come largely via a French company that has partnered with the Chinese on the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province. Independent experts are watching the situation closely to determine how dangerous --- or, not-that-unusual --- the situation now is, as cracks seem to have formed in the main encasement of fuel rods at the plant. We'll continue to watch this one as well.
  • U.S. allies appeared just shy of giddy over the weekend and into today, as Joe Biden made his first appearance as President at the G7 summit in Cornwall, England and the NATO meetings that followed it. Biden and longtime allies in Europe hope the new President will restore a sense of normalcy to the proceedings and the post-WWII order, even as old disputes continue and many in Europe remain concerned (for good reason!) about the continuing fragile and divisive political situation in the U.S. that allowed the rise of Donald Trump's autocratic regimes in the first place.
  • Former National Security Agency whistleblower Reality Winner was released early from prison on Monday for good behavior. Winner had sent documents to media revealing Russia's attempted hacks of a voter registration software company in the U.S. during the 2016 election. The extent of those hacks is still publicly unknown but, arguably, wouldn't be known at all had it not been for Winner revealing the information to the media and public. As thanks, she was slapped with one of the longest prison sentences ever for such a leak to the media.
  • Then, callers ring in on a number of the various stories covered above, as well as some additional ones, including the news that Trump's DoJ secretly subpoenaed phone, email and text message records from Democratic lawmakers; Republicans continue to undermine American democracy in states across the nation; Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin continues to obstruct democratic reforms; and concerns persist about whether Biden's Attorney General Merrick Garland is up to the task of bringing accountability for so much of the unprecedented damage wrought by the Department during the Trump years...

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Guest: Journalist David Sirota; Also: DHS whistleblower and new report reveal U.S. Intelligence now fully corrupt, upside-down under Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2020 6:59pm PT  

We warned you weeks ago to "buckle up" for what was to come between then and Election Day. On today's BradCast, a mountain of reminders as to why we issued the warning, as we hope that everyone remains buckled up until the madness comes to a full and complete stop. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

We begin today with the news that rocked the nation on Wednesday and continues reverberating today. Excerpts of audio recordings from Bob Woodward's eighteen separate interviews with Donald Trump for his new book revealed (among many other things) that the President was fully aware of the dangers of the coronavirus crisis as early as the beginning of the year, even while he was misleading the public about it. During one recording on February 7th this year, Trump told the Washington Post's Watergate journalist that the virus was transmitted through the air, was "more deadly than your strenuous flues" and was "deadly stuff". By March 19th, he is heard on tape telling the best-selling author that the COVID-19 disease was also affecting "plenty of young people" and that he "wanted to play it down" because, according to the recordings, he didn't "want to create a panic".

At the exact same time that he was telling Woodward one thing, Trump was lying about the virus publicly as more than 190,000 Americans have now died in the months since he first made clear to Woodward that the disease was wildly contagious and lethal. In mid-March, when he explained his strategy of down-playing the virus, only 150 Americans had died. Still, Woodward sat on the information until this week.

No doubt you've seen the reactions by now from many Democrats, including Joe Biden and even from anti-Trump Republicans. But what of the responsibility that Woodward himself had to warn the public about what Trump knew but was refusing to acknowledge publicly --- and, in fact, was lying publicly about?

We're joined today by investigative journalist DAVID SIROTA, former speech-writer for Bernie Sanders' 2020 campaign and now founder of the "Too Much Information" (TMI) newsletter. On Wednesday, in his TMI column, Sirota charged (as we long have) that Trump's actions constitute "a horrific crime against humanity," but, he adds, "it was aided and abetted by the popular face of investigative journalism: Mr. All The President's Men himself."

"The President of the United States said something to the nation's most famous reporter, and the most famous reporter sat on that information for seven months while tens of thousands of people died," Sirota says today. "Donald Trump committed a crime against humanity and Bob Woodward drove the getaway car."

Sirota is not the only journalist, progressive or otherwise, who has been highly critical of Woodward over the past 24 hours. So has Esquire's Charlie Pierce. So has The American Prospect's David Dayen. So has even the Washington Post's own Margaret Sullivan. And so are we.

"As a journalist, your job is to get the news from elected officials and to, at minimum, report what they say, and certainly report discrepancies in what they are saying," Sirota argues. "Your job is not to suppress that information, to hold that information while tens of thousands of people die, and to hold it to juice your book sales later on at a more opportune time. That is what happened."

Woodward has attempted to defend himself in several interviews since WaPo released the stunning recordings (which also reveal much more than Trump's secret views and/or knowledge about COVID-19). Sirota responds to Woodward's limp defense and to Trump's use of Woodward as "a human shield" today, when the President tweeted that Woodward's failure to release the information earlier was evidence that Trump's remarks were not "bad or dangerous," otherwise Woodward would have "immediately report[ed] them in an effort to save lives."

Sirota describes the entire fiasco as a "collision of both the corrupt political system and a deeply corrupt media culture" and tells me: "I genuinely believe that this is the biggest scandal in modern journalism."

As journalists, he asserts, we have "a duty to warn". Ironically, as the Poynter Institute, a journalism think-tank and fact-checking organization, reports in its own story asking "Was it unethical for Bob Woodward to withhold Trump’s coronavirus interviews for months?", Woodward himself is very aware of that duty --- if, perhaps, not for himself. "Woodward will be on CBS’s '60 Minutes' Sunday," Poynter's Al Tompkins reports. "In an excerpt of that interview, Woodward told CBS’s Scott Pelley, 'The president of the United States has a duty to warn.'"

Next up --- if you're still buckled in --- a new report from Microsoft today finds that Russia's military intelligence agency, the G.R.U., the same group alleged to have hacked and leaked email from the Hillary Clinton Campaign in 2016, is back at work in 2020 and has become more adept at covering their tracks. Moreover, the findings of the report contradict the Trump Administration's claims about both Russia and China. And for good reason. The Administration has corrupted U.S. intelligence to report what Trump wants the public to believe, rather than actual facts.

The new report alleges that Russia is attempting to access material from both the Trump and Joe Biden campaigns, and that China --- which Trump and the White House National Security Advisor and the U.S. Attorney General all claimed to be a greater threat to the 2020 election than Russia --- is actually focused on hacking Biden, not Trump. The Administration has claimed, falsely apparently, that China prefers Biden over Trump. Today's report, however, suggests just the opposite.

Given the extraordinary whistleblower report released on Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee from one of Trump's senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security, none of this should be a surprise. The official, Brian Murphy, details in his complaint how he was instructed to change intelligence to remove references to Russian interference and add threats from China and Iran instead, because Russian interference in the U.S. election "made the president look bad," according to complaint.

Murphy's complaint also details how he and others were instructed to change intelligence assessments to match Trump's misleading claims and rhetoric regarding "antifa", to minimize the greater threat of White Supremacy groups, and to downplay anything about Russia all together. He says he was also instructed to change data to match the Administration's false narrative about terrorists coming across the U.S.-Mexico border, and about the dismal conditions in Central America that were undermining the Trump Administration's asylum policies. The result, Murphy charges, is intelligence assessments that "more closely resemble a policy document...than an intelligence document.”

As noted on today's show, this is decidedly not how intelligence gathering and analysis is supposed to work. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Murphy refused to make the changes mentioned, and he was eventually cut out from work on the national Homeland Threat Assessment and demoted from Deputy Under Secretary in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis to a position in the agency's Management Division.

Finally, as if all of this wasn't nightmarish enough, the delightful Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the man-made climate change-fueled wildfires now exploding up and down the West Coast, the media's failure to tie them to our climate crisis, and Trump's pre-election flip-flop on offshore oil drilling to try and win votes in the battleground state of Florida...

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Guests: FL-3's presumptive Democratic nominee Adam Christensen and Progressive blogger Howie Klein; Also: Some highlights from DNC Day 2...
By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2020 6:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A new effort by grassroots progressive activists to make sure all 27 U.S. House races and all 141 state House and Senate races on the ballot are competitive this year in the state of Florida is already yielding encouraging results. [Audio link to full show is posted at bottom of summary.]

But, first up today, a few thoughts and a quick review of some highlights from the second night of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention, including some mainstream media abetted confusion about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' role in the very cool 50-state-plus-several-territories Roll Call vote on Tuesday and more. Bottom line: to the surprise of nobody, Joe Biden is now officially the Party's Presidential nominee this year. At the same time, voters in Wyoming, Alaska and Florida took to the polls on Tuesday for statewide primary elections, which received much less coverage than they might otherwise have.

The good news, for a start: there have been few, if any, problem reports for voters at the polls in all three states as of today. That's particularly surprising for Florida, where there always seems to be one disaster or another. But, whether it's because so many ballots were already cast by mail in the Sunshine State in advance of Election Day or some other reason, it's always good news when voters aren't (to my knowledge) being disenfranchised due to chaos and failures at the polling place. As to the results, we focus today on several interesting races in Florida, the mother of all swing-states, which will once again play an out-sized role in the critical November elections.

One race was the Democratic primary contest won by former Republican software designer turned whistleblower Clint Curtis. Longtime BRAD BLOG readers will remember him well, as we broke his story in 2004 when he filed a sworn affidavit alleging that he was asked by a man named Tom Feeney --- Florida's then powerful state House Speaker (later U.S. House Rep and always close friend of the Bush Family) --- to create prototype software to flip an election on touchscreen voting systems without detection. With much less funding than his Democratic opponent, Curtis reportedly won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House in Florida's very Republican 6th Congressional District. He'll likely face an uphill climb this year to oust first-term incumbent Michael Waltz. But, if Curtis could defeat his Democratic opponent who outspent him by about 5 to 1, anything could happen this November.

To discuss some of the other races in the rest of the state, we're joined once again today by progressive "Down With Tyranny" blogger and co-founder of the progressive BlueAmericaPAC, HOWIE KLEIN who brought along a SPECIAL GUEST today!

Last week on this show, Klein discussed an effort by activists in Florida to make sure there would be no Republicans running for office at the state or federal level without Democratic competition on the ballot. As Klein emphasizes at his blog today, in response to ABC News which finally noticed the effort as of Election Day morning, it was not the state or national party which undertook this effort, but outside activists who watched some 21 state House and Senate races go uncontested all together by Democrats in 2016. That, Klein and his special guest argue today, means that in huge swaths of the state, Democrats (who, theoretically, outnumber Republicans in Florida) don't bother to turn out at all for elections at the state level. In a state which Donald Trump is said to have won in 2016 by just 130,000 votes out of millions of registered voters, the ill-considered strategy by the Florida State Democratic Party to sit out all together in many places, has arguably been a costly one. The GOP has dominated both the state legislature and Governor's mansion for years now.

On Tuesday, thanks to the activists, Democrats were on the Florida ballot from top to bottom, including 140 out of 141 state House and Senate contests. (One candidate, who his now suing, was disqualified due to a technicality in her filing paperwork.) Klein details just some of the several actually progressive candidates who will now be competitive on this November's ballot --- even in so-called "red" districts --- and perhaps provide additional reason for Democrats to show up and vote in some cases where they may not have.

One of those candidates who won an astonishingly tight three-way primary race for the Democratic U.S. House nomination in FL's 3rd Congressional District was Howie's special guest on today's program, 26-year old businessman and very impressive progressive candidate, ADAM CHRISTENSEN. The first time candidate, who'd be perhaps the youngest ever sworn in to the U.S. House if he's successful in November, is running to fill the seat being vacated by far-Right GOP Trumper, Rep. Ted Yoho (perhaps most famous for recently verbally assaulting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building.)

I must say I was exceedingly impressed with Christensen --- one of BlueAmericaPAC's endorsed progressive candidates in FL --- and his unflinching run for the seat in what has traditionally been a very "red" district. "If it was ever going to happen," he tells me today, "if this seat was ever going to flip, it was this year. So I jumped in, and a bunch of people realized we have a shot at this."

He has also taken a leadership role in the effort to run competitive candidates at the state level. "We were able to get House district candidates for every single district in the state of Florida to be able to run, so that we could actually go on a broad-based attack to be able to try to flip the Florida House. We partnered with four out of the five House candidates in our Congressional District to number one, try to turn out the vote, and number two, to try to make sure that we ran viable candidacies and we were able to cut the margins in some of the rural counties and actually win the rural counties." He cites that as one of the reasons he was "able to pull off an upset last night", with all three candidates in his race winning between 32.3 and 34.5% of the vote. Christensen came out on top by about 800 votes out of some 61,000 cast.

"There is a way that these districts can never be won, and that's if you don't run candidates in them," Klein argues. "If you don't run candidates, you don't win. And, also, if you don't run candidates the party starts to die. People don't even know what the Democratic Party means in some of these places. If you're running candidates, they're going to enthuse voters who will vote down ballot. These voters who come in are going to vote for Biden [and Biden voters will] vote for someone like Adam. That's why it pays, always, to have these candidates."

Christensen echoes Klein's thinking. "If you go on a full, broad-based attack and make them spend time, resources and energy in places that they don't want to, you are going to win. Politics is a game of attrition, and if you don't treat it that way, you will lose. If you do not run candidates everywhere, you will lose," he says.

I'd encourage you to click below to tune in for the full conversation with the candidate, as he explains how he is unflinchingly prepared to take his case --- for progressive platforms like the Green News Deal and Medicare for All --- to those who have, for years, called themselves Republicans because they (falsely) believe the party is "conservative". For example, as he explains, he supports "middle class tax cuts" because, as he details today and on his website's platform page, Americans are burdened with PRIVATE taxes such as insurance for health care and costs for universal childcare. Providing those services by public means would ultimately lower costs ("private taxes") on the middle class.

"What we do is speak in the language of Republicans, of independents. We use the terms 'middle class tax cuts', 'small business tax cuts'. What I mean by that is we are going to reduce the amount of taxes --- private taxes --- that everyone has to pay," says Christensen. "We are going to get rid of the insurance companies from the health industry --- which is a small business tax cut, because small businesses pay eight grand per employee, and 30% of that goes to an insurance company. That is a tax cut. Get rid of those, that is a tax cut. Use those terms."

Both Klein and Christensen argue that there are a lot of independent voters in the District who, along with Democrats, may go with Christensen and pull off an upset against Kat Cammack --- Yoho's Chief of Staff and the apparent winner of the 10-candidate free-for-all on Tuesday to win the GOP nomination for the 3rd District seat.

Christensen, who was raised as a Republican, also understands --- as I have long discussed --- the need to take the fight straight to them on the Right, to not flinch from the Fox "News" phony attack squad, but meet them where they live and explain, as he does in very astute detail today in response to my questions, how progressive policies are, yes, even good for Republicans!

So, can a true progressive win in a very so-called "conservative" Congressional district on his first try, without moderating his views --- but expound on them clearly to explain how they would help even so-called "conservatives --- during a general election contest? We may found out in just over 70 days. Klein points out that Rep. Katie Porter, in what had long been deep "red" Orange County, California, already proved it can be done. But I think Christensen's story, and his run --- staffed by volunteers who are all 23-years old or younger! --- should be an inspiring one for a lot of folks around the country considering the possibility of doing the exact same thing in the future, even in what are seen as so-called "red" areas of the country...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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The OTHER Department whistleblower's astonishing testimony of gross misconduct by Trump's corrupt U.S. Attorney General
UPDATE 7/2/20: Barr Impeachment Inquiry Resolution introduced...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/29/2020 11:05am PT  

Last Wednesday, the mainstream media paid scant attention to the damning testimony provided to the House Judiciary Committee by John W. Elias, a career attorney at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Elias revealed astonishing details on the corrupt manner in which Attorney General William Barr and the "political leadership" of the DOJ's Antitrust Division abused our antitrust laws; corruptly ordering career staff to open unwarranted but burdensome, politically-motivated antitrust investigations.

It's not that Elias' testimony was unimportant. His words were simply drowned out by the testimony provided by other witnesses about other Barr/DOJ misconduct, and by a separate, but related event. The combined effect of the other testimony provided to the the Judiciary panel and the separate news event was nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Still, Elias' previously unthinkable allegations were, in fact, no less so...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/25/2020 11:19am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Minnesota sues Exxon Mobil for lying to the public about climate change; Justice Department whistleblowers expose corrupt investigation into California deal with automakers; PLUS: Chemical giant Bayer to pay billions to settle Monsanto weedkiller lawsuits... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): District of Columbia sues four oil majors for misleading consumers on climate change; Trump insists on fireworks at Mt. Rushmore, increasing risk of wildfire and COVID spread; Black households pay more for energy than white households: analysis; Facebook 'fact check' policy creates loophole for climate denial groups; The danger of Amazon's $2 billion climate change venture capital fund; Court rejects logging plan for Tongass Nat'l Forest; 'Bomb trains': LNG shipments by rail approved in U.S.... PLUS: Video: A Bold Vision of DERP Down Under... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: Howie Klein of 'Down With Tyranny' on Tuesday results; Also: DoJ corruption spreads to Judiciary in Flynn case; DoJ whistleblowers in Congress; All eyes on 'last firewall' of November election...
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2020 6:36pm PT  

Given the disturbing news out of a D.C. Appeals Court today in the Michael Flynn case, we begin today's BradCast with a few words of warning about what is likely to come between now and November 3rd (and even beyond), and how we all must now collectively approach that day in order to save this Republic. This is not a test. This is the real thing. And, as our darkest hour gets darker still --- and it will --- we must stay focused on the only thing that offers hope right now, the only thing that matters: making very real changes at the White House and Congress this November.

After that serious-as-a-heart-attack public service announcement/warning, we break down just why the surprise ruling by two Republican appointees to the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. today --- in response to an unprecedented motion by Donald Trump's former National Security Advisor and confessed federal felon Michael Flynn --- is so damning, dangerous and unprecedented.

The three-judge panel's majority ruling [PDF], ordering Flynn's case to be dismissed --- as Trump demanded and as corrupt Attorney General Bill Barr facilitated in opposition to the career prosecutors who successfully obtained Flynn's guilty plea (twice, before two different judges) --- was written by Judge Neomi Rao, a former White House staffer who Trump recently appointed as a federal appeals court judge. The entire matter is about as corrupt as it can get, but it may not be over yet. The full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals may decide to rehear Flynn's unprecedented motion, given "the question of exceptional importance" raised by the matter, as allowed by law. The lower U.S. District Court was not even allowed to hold a hearing on the Dept. of Justice's Motion to Dismiss their own case before Flynn filed for a writ of mandamus to force U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan to approve the DoJ's motion before it was even heard.

As Judge Robert Wilkins, the lone Democratic-appointed judge on the three-judge appellate panel wrote in his dissent, his colleagues "grievously" overstepped their judicial powers with their order. If the surprising ruling holds, it will, as BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernie Canning wrote last week, mean that the court has become "complicit in the President's corruption of the rule of law," which is "tantamount to an abandonment of the Judiciary's constitutional function to act as a check against Executive Branch abuses of power."

At the same time as that stunning order was issued by the D.C. Court of Appeals panel, two DoJ whistleblowers were testifying about similar cases of corruption at the Department by senior political appointees working at the behest of Barr and Trump in the case of Roger Stone, another Trump crony found guilty of lying to federal officials (just as Flynn had admitted he did as well) in relation to the Robert Mueller Special Counsel probe into Russian inference in the 2016 election. We share some of today's disturbing testimony by Aaron Zelinsky, one of the career prosecutors who refused to sign off on the DoJ's attempt to reduce the sentencing recommendation for Stone, Trump's pal and longtime dirty-tricksters (found guilty here on all seven counts), despite what he described as "heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice," including senior political appointees who, he alleged, were "afraid of the President."

"It’s very important that we recognize what’s happening now," warned Donald Ayer, another witness at today's hearing and a former Deputy Attorney General under George W. Bush. "What’s happening now is much worse than what happened in Watergate --- much worse. It’s across-the-board. It’s a systematic effort to undo the checks that were put in place in Watergate and others that existed in the Constitution. And we need to do something about it."

The corruption of the Flynn and Stone prosecutions are now so far off the rails from what the U.S. Department of Justice is supposed to stand for that it is difficult to fully express how much dark trouble this now portends for our nation. Thus, we have one hope left --- our last firewall against full-blown authoritarianism in this country --- this year's critical general elections. To that end, there were primaries held on Tuesday in Kentucky, New York and Virginia along with a few other key races elsewhere. We're joined today by longtime progressive political blogger and Congressional campaign expert HOWIE KLEIN of Down With Tyranny to discuss a number of election results from Tuesday in New York and Kentucky which appear to suggest some very good news for progressives. We say "appear" because several of those elections are currently reported to be very close and, due to the coronavirus (which had its single biggest day of new infections in the U.S. on Wednesday), it will take some time for officials to tally the unprecedented number of absentee mail-in ballots cast. We run through several of the key races with Klein (he details many more here today) why they matter, and how a number of them they are likely to scare the hell out of the establishment on both the Left and Right.

"There were wins and losses," Klein tells me. "It wasn't like the progressives wiped out the [Democratic] conservatives. But thank goodness it didn't go the other way. So yes, it was a good night for progressive Democrats."

Also worth a quick mention today: The 24-year old Republican dude named Madison Cawthorn, who defeated the Trump-endorsed candidate in the GOP runoff to become the nominee to fill former Congressman turned White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' seat in North Carolina. And ALL of the electronic pollbooks in Virginia Beach, Virginia's 100 precincts failed on Tuesday...

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Government whistleblower slams Trump's disastrous response; Dems ditch proposed give-away to 'dark money' groups; WI Supremes endanger state again; Trump voters now more at risk of virus...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2020 6:22pm PT  

As ever (but especially on Fridays!), we try to find some good news where we can on The BradCast. It's been slim pickings of late, but we work with what we've got. We don't create the news. We just report it. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

We start off with what progressive journalist and former Bernie Sanders staffer David Sirota describes as "Some actual good news". It picks up on an issue we discussed with The American Prospect's David Dayen, who has also been reporting on the same issue, on yesterday's show. House Democrats have been putting together their proposal for the next round of coronavirus emergency funding. Their so-called Heroes Act bill amounts to about $3 trillion of spending in response to the crisis, including a curious expansion of the Paycheck Protection Act for small businesses. The expansion would allow for certain non-profit organizations who were not previously eligible to take advantage of the program.

Among the expanded groups are industry trade groups (lobbyists!) and dark money campaign organizations, which both Davids --- Dayen and Sirota --- strongly objected to. (As noted with Dayen yesterday, and again today, I'm not quite as vehemently against it, for reasons which I explain in a bit more detail on today's program.) In any event, as Sirota reported late on Thursday, it appears that House Democrats heard the complaints, thanks to the handful of independent progressive media outlets reporting on it, and quietly amended the measure to ensure that PPP recipients do "not make a contribution, expenditure, independent expenditure, or electioneering communication."

After that "good news" section of the program, we move on to the lesser good news. Though anytime whistleblowers are able to shine sunlight on corruption and failure that's actually pretty good news as well. On Thursday, longtime federal government career official Dr. Rick Bright --- formerly Deputy Asst. Secretary of Health and Human Services for Preparedness and Response, and Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) --- testified to a U.S. House Committee on the unspeakable failures of the Trump Administration in their early response to the virus, when it could have saved tens of thousands of lives, and even now, after more than 86,000 Americans have been killed.

Bright, who, until last month, had been leading the Government's effort to produce a coronavirus vaccine, was demoted after the Trump Administration became unhappy about him questioning the use of an unproven anti-viral drug (hydroxychloroquine) that Trump was pushing to treat COVID-19. Bright has now filed a whistleblower complaint to get his old job back, alleging he was moved out of his post for opposing "efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections."

Today, we share some key parts of his more than three-hour long testimony on Thursday, in which he warned that the U.S. lacks any plan at all to battle the virus or even a strategy to produce or distribute a vaccine once one is eventually developed. He blames the Administration for months of failure to obtain and distributing adequate personal protective equipment for medical workers and testing kits for all. He told lawmakers that a shortage of simple but critical supplies like syringes could become catastrophic and cautions that we could be looking at "the darkest winter in modern history" in 2020 if action is not taken very quickly by a dreadfully inept federal Administration.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump told Fox "News" on Thursday that a vaccine will be available by "the end of the year"! And that "we will give it to a lot of people very, very rapidly." So, who ya gonna believe?

Well, apparently, there are a lot of folks in Wisconsin who believe the President, because they were out in droves at bars this week --- crowded together without masks in tiny spaces --- in some parts of the Badger State within minutes after the state's rightwing Supreme Court struck down Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' "Safer at Home" order.

The timing was perfect, as a new study from a researcher at Brookings Institution this week finds that COVID-19 is now spreading at an alarming rate in less populated rural areas (including across Wisconsin) as the rate of infections is declining in the nation's urban centers which were initially hit hard. The study finds that earlier in the crisis, at the end of March, counties won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 amounted to the majority of "high prevalence" COVID-19 counties. As of mid-May, however, that has flipped. It is now people in suburban and rural counties that supported Trump who are more likely to be become infected at an alarming rate. That said, as of May 10, according to the study, some 72% of the nation's population was living in a "high prevalence" county, though only 23% of them were in urban areas.

So, good luck, Trump voters! Donald Trump has a special song for you today!

Finally today, we close with Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report which we ran out of time for yesterday, in which we find another "bright" side to the crisis, along with the usual amount of otherwise disastrously troubling environmental news...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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