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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, August 11, 2022
'Green News Report' 8/11/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
South Korea latest victim of deadly flash floods; Repub state treasurers coordinate to block climate action by private companies; PLUS: Mexico emergency over drought protests...
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'If You're Innocent, Why Are You Taking the Fifth?' Great Question!: 'BradCast' 8/10/22
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What We Know (& Mostly Don't) About the FBI Search at Mar-a-Lago: 'BradCast' 8/9/22
Also: Late AZ, WA primary results; MI's GOP A.G. nominee facing criminal probe; Federal judges approve release of Trump taxes...
'Green News Report' 8/9/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: U.S. Senate Democrats pass landmark climate legislation, the first in U.S. history...
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Sunday 'Woke' Toons!
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  w/ Brad & Desi
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UNconventional Times: The Power of Abortion Rights (and Danger of Election Deniers) on the Ballot: 'BradCast' 8/3/22
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'Green News Report' 8/2/22
Death toll rises in catastrophic KY flooding; Extreme heat, fires sear U.S. West; Big Oil's big profits; PLUS: Manchin-Schumer compromise a game changer for climate?...
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'Green News Report' 7/28/22
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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
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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Special coverage with former DoJ fraud prosecutor Randall D. Eliason, Salon's Heather Digby Parton...
By Brad Friedman on 6/16/2022 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Special coverage of Day 3 of the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee hearings investigating the Trump-incited Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the disgraced former President's multiple attempts to steal the 2020 election from the American people. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before diving into details with our two guests today, I want to cite the must-read written statement [PDF] submitted by one of today's live witnesses, the very conservative, oft-cited and well-respected (if extremely slow-talking) former Judge J. Michael Luttig. Appointed by George H.W. Bush to the appellate court in 1991, Luttig was considered several times during his decades on the federal bench for the Supreme Court. He is often compared to Justice Antonin Scalia and virtually all of his law clerks eventually went on to clerk for Scalia or Clarence Thomas. He was one of several advisors who then Vice President Mike Pence turned to as he was being pressured hard by both Donald Trump and his corrupt attorney John Eastman to toss out legitimate electoral votes on January 6 in an effort to steal the election for Trump.

In short, Luttig is no lefty. He advised the Vice President that he had no legal or Constitutional authority to do anything but essentially read the Electoral College votes aloud during the joint session of Congressional to certify the final results of the 2020 election. Despite extraordinary pressure not to, Pence did the right thing and followed Luttig's advice.

But in Luttig's written statement to the Committee, as I note at the top of today's show, he describes the Republican Party's "war on democracy" and correctly characterizes what so many Democrats and most in the corporate media seem to have a problem saying outloud: "The former president's accountability under the law for the riot on the United States Capitol on January 6 is incidental to his responsibility and accountability for his attempt to steal the 2020 presidential election from the American People and thereby steal America's democracy from America herself."

Was that so hard? Go read his statement in full.

Among the many new items revealed during Thursday's hearing, at which Pence's top attorney Greg Jacob was also a live witness, along with a boatload of videotaped testimony and more disturbing, previously unseen footage from the day of the Insurrection...

  • All of Trump's top White House and Campaign attorneys knew the scheme to have Pence invalidate the election was unlawful and/or unconstitutional, describing it as "nuts", "crazy" and worse.
  • Trump knew as well, because they told him as much. Repeatedly.
  • Even John Eastman, credited with devising the scheme, is known to have conceded its illegality on several different occasions.
  • Eastman said he would have seen Al Gore or Kamala Harris using the same scheme to nullify an election as unlawful, but wanted Pence to do it anyway.
  • Eastman invoked the Fifth Amendment 100 times during his video-taped, subpoenaed testimony with the Committee.
  • After his scheme failed miserably, Eastman sought a pardon from Trump. (He didn't get one.)
  • Jan. 6 insurrectionists came within 40 feet of Pence after he had been removed from the House chamber.
  • One of the Proud Boys cooperating with the Feds has testified that the white nationalist extremist group would have killed Mike Pence or anyone they got their hands on, including Nancy Pelosi, if given a chance.

We've got a lot to cover once again today and are joined by George Washington University law professor, WaPo contributor and blogger RANDALL D. ELIASON, a former Asst. U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, where he served as Chief of the Public Corruption/Government Fraud section. And, as always during our J6 coverage, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo. Both offer important insight on today's hearing and the ones that preceded it, as the damning case against Donald Trump continues to come smartly together.

Among the issues discussed, the "outlandishly blatant partisan hackery" of Eastman, as Parton correctly characterizes it and the criminal liability Trump (and Eastman) now face, as Eliason details. In particular, given his background in criminal fraud as a federal prosecutor, Eliason notes that the scheme detailed in Monday's hearing regarding a fake "Official Election Defense Fund" that Trump used to raise $250 million from his duped supporters is classic criminal wire fraud that should spawn an entirely separate criminal investigation from the one now underway at DoJ. He also speaks to the bogus notion that Trump can't be charged because he truly believed that the election was fraudulent and that the Vice President had the authority to overthrow the election. Both of those points have been decimated by the Committee over the past two hearings.

We also hash out the "controversy" over whether the Committee should issue a formal criminal referral to the DoJ at the end of their proceedings; the absurd, and rather pathetic, whining defenses offered by both Trump and Fox "News" in response to the gripping revelations emerging from these hearings; and much more.

And, as if all of that is not enough, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report as the nation (and globe) swelters; Texas thanking its lucky stars right now for renewable energy; the U.N. begging the world to knock it off already with fossil fuels; and a potentially game-changing way to produce emissions-free concrete comes to light...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Special coverage with Salon's Heather Digby Parton on overwhelming evidence Trump knew there was no fraud, then raised $250 million for phony 'Official Election Defense Fund'; Also: Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2022 6:03pm PT  

On Day 2 of public hearings in the U.S. House, Donald Trump's greatest con continues to unravel. On today's BradCast, we get you all caught up on today's public hearings by the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the attempt by the former President to steal the 2020 election by defrauding the nation. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The witnesses who testified live today, as our guest HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo pointed out, were all Republicans. And they all made clear that Trump not only lost the 2020 election, but he lied over and again about fraud, even though he was told...over and again, by his closest campaign advisers, top government officials and even his own family, that he lost fair and square. He knew his claims were, as his own Attorney General Bill Barr described it, "bullshit". Nonetheless, he kept barraging his supporters via email for more and more money for his "Official Election Defense Fund". But, as the Committee's Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) pointed out: There was no "Official Election Defense Fund" and the $250 million in small dollar donations Trump raked in all went to him, not to legal challenges of the 2020 election.

Once again, a mix of live and videotaped witness testimony put the lie to Trump's Big Lie fraud claims and the false notion that he believed them to be true. He didn't. He knew better. He just didn't care. Live witnesses today who underscored those points: Chris Stirewalt, the former Fox "News" political director who made the correct Election Night call that Trump had lost Arizona; BJay Pak, Trump's own U.S. Attorney in Georgia who investigated all of the many claims by Trump supporters of fraud in Atlanta, finding none of them to be true. He was forced to resign thereafter; Trump's own 2020 Campaign Manager, Bill Stepien, was scheduled to testify, but his wife suddenly went into labor on Monday morning, so the Committee relied on his video taped testimony in which he explained that he repeatedly told Trump that his claims of fraud were bogus; Philadelphia's Republican City Commissioner Al Schmidt who debunked Rudy Giuliani's false testimony to the PA legislature that more than 8,000 "dead people" voted in the state in 2020. "Not only was there not evidence of 8,000 dead voters voting in Pennsylvania," Schmidt testified, "there wasn't evidence of 8."

The most damning testimony may have come from Trump's former Attorney General Bill Barr, who said on tape that he and the DoJ tracked down every claim made by Trump and his supporters and found none of them to be true. "Boy, if he really believes this stuff," Barr testified thinking, "he's become detached from reality." No matter how "crazy" he told Trump the allegations were, it made no difference. Barr debunked the notion that the Dominion Voting systems company stole the election for Joe Biden, and even went on to dismantle the easily-debunked 2000 Mules movie which pretends to document tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots cast unlawfully by thousands of people in swing-states. Barr's debunking of that film, which he laughs out loud about, was suspiciously similar to our own debunking on this program several weeks ago.

Even longtime, top GOP election attorney Ben Ginsberg --- who successfully lead the RNC's fight to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to steal the 2000 election for George W. Bush --- testified live on Monday that there was "no credible evidence of fraud produced by the Trump campaign or his supporters." He also made clear that dozens of lawsuits rejected by the courts (including by many Trump-appointed judges) did, in fact, examine the merits of the challenges and found no basis for them.

"I think what is important, and I was really glad to see, that they decided to take one of these hearings and really attack the Big Lie itself," Parton tells us today. "Because I don't think you can really prove the case about Trump's coup plot without attacking that as well. They went from the very beginning. Trump was undermining the election 18 months before the election took place."

Parton also praised the panel's highlighting of Trump's "'willful blindness,' in which he is shown to have been told by everyone that the election was not stolen. We're talking about his own campaign team, people in his family, the Dept. of Justice, various officials around the country. They all said the same thing. Ginsberg pointed out the courts also said the same thing. [Trump] refused to see it, and in fact continuously got more and more angry, apparently, continually ignored what they said, and went toward the people who told him what he wanted to hear."

"That's actually a legal concept, where someone does have an obligation --- they have a responsibility to at least have some recognition of the facts of a case. You're not allowed to go into a court and say, 'I didn't know,' when you've had dozens of people telling you something. So that's leads to maybe a potential criminal referral."

She also explained how she was "shocked" by the Big Lie fund-raising scam. "We all sort of knew this but it hadn't really been a focus until now," she observed. "But I think this is super-important, because this could go toward a real fraud investigation, a real case of wire fraud, where they defrauded millions of devoted followers with a Big Lie. And, in fact, a lot of the people who were involved in that fundraising, they also knew it was a Big Lie because they just testified to it. This is kind of a big deal."

Finally today, we open the phones to see how listeners are responding to what the House panel has been unpacking over the first two hearings, with at least another four still to come...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Nancy Wang of Voters Not Politicians; Also: MI GOP Guv candidate arrested for Jan. 6 crimes; NY GOP Councilwoman pleads guilty to voter fraud in 'widespread' federal probe...
By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2022 4:02pm PT  

As we were forced to ask several times on today's BradCast: What the hell is up with Republicans and election fraud in Michigan?! But it's not only in Michigan today, as it turns out. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

In upstate New York, in a Rensselaer County city named Troy on Wednesday, a Republican city councilwoman named Kim Ashe-McPherson pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the submission of three fraudulent absentee ballots in both her primary and general election last year. It's a somewhat remarkable and expansive story of apparently a whole bunch of Republican criming going on in Troy and Rensselaer County, with the Albany Times Union describing Ashe-McPherson as "the first person snared in a federal grand jury investigation examining widespread ballot-fraud allegations in Rensselaer County."

Another separate probe by State Police appears to be examining fraud in Troy's Mayoral race, while the GOP Mayor and a whole bunch of GOP County officials have been subpoenaed and/or had their phones seized by law enforcement in recent months. Ashe-McPherson's absentee ballot fraud was apparently carried out with the help of an unnamed insider official at the Rensselaer County Board of Elections. "Earlier this year," the paper notes, "Jason Schofield, the Republican commissioner for the county's Board of Elections, was subpoenaed in connection with the federal investigation." But there's a whole lot of other GOPers who also seem tied into this, and may end up in handcuffs in the days ahead.

Is it any wonder that Republicans accuse Democrats of voter fraud all the time, given that Republicans seem to be constantly committing it themselves?

But things are even more insane in the great state of Michigan. You'll recall that recently, 5 of 10 Republican Gubernatorial candidates vying for the GOP nod to take on Michigan's Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this November were disqualified from the ballot, after the state Bureau of Elections discovered they had submitted some 68,000 fraudulent petition signatures between them in an attempt to qualify for the ballot. Well, the trouble continues for at least one of the remaining candidates who did manage to qualify without cheating.

All of the GOP gubernatorial hopefuls in MI are 2020 election deniers (despite Joe Biden having defeated Donald Trump in the state by about 150,000 votes, as confirmed by a months long investigation by the GOP-controlled state Senate). But one of the most ardent of the deniers --- and a leading candidate now that the others have been disqualified --- 40-year old Ryan Kelley, was arrested and charged by federal officials on Thursday for his role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Kelley stands accused, according to the criminal complaint, of disruptive conduct, injuring public property and entering restricted space without permission. Documents filed in court allege he is seen on video that day waving crowds into the Capitol after police lines were defeated. He faces up to a year in prison and a fine as high as $100,000. Perhaps this will actually help his bid for the GOP nomination on August 2nd!

But that's not all we have to report out of MI today, particularly when it comes to GIO election fraud.

Last week, the organizer of a GOP petition effort to qualify a ballot initiative known as "Secure MI Vote", announced they missed the deadline to submit the number of signatures needed. Why did the effort behind this scheme to supposedly curb election fraud with severe new restrictions on voting fail? Election fraud, of course! The organizers discovered some 20,000 signatures they had gathered were fraudulent! (Hey, at least they checked them before turning them in, unlike those 5 GOP Gubernatorial candidates!)

The scheme, however, is even slimier than it sounds. Most of the provisions in the so-far-failed initiative had already been passed by the GOP state legislature, but vetoed by Democratic Gov. Whitmer. But, thanks to a loophole in MI state law, once a ballot initiative qualifies for the ballot, the Legislature is then welcome to pass it into law on a simple, veto-proof majority vote. That was the plan that seems to have failed here.

We're joined today to discuss the entire fine mess by NANCY WANG, Executive Director of the non-partisan, pro-democracy group Voters Not Politicians which, in 2018, enlisted volunteers (rather than corrupt paid contractors) to collect more than 400,000 signatures to place an initiative on MI's ballot for an Independent Redistricting Commission. The measure was successfully adopted by state voters.

"There are so many things wrong right now with the GOP and what they're trying to do with voting rights in Michigan," Wang explains. "What's really caught them is this mixture of incompetence and hypocrisy. They're selling themselves to the voters as the party that's going to 'protect' us from fraud. The only fraud they can demonstrate in our election is what they have inside their own camp. It's ironic, at the very least, that they have been the victim of their own fraud, when they've tried to victimize voters with all of these shenanigans."

Wang walks us through those "shenanigans" and various "loopholes" in state law that allow, for example, petition gathers to be paid by the signature and to lie to voters about the initiative they are asking them to sign on to. In this case, while the GOP group was clear that this measure would never actually be on the ballot, signature gatherers reportedly told prospective signers that the plan was simply to put these issues --- like instituting extreme Photo ID restrictions and restricting absentee voting --- before voters.

"This group is headed by the GOP, funded by the GOP, and they're using the citizens' petition process, lying to voters to sign this thing so that they can do an end-run around the voters," charges Wang. "They're never going to put these provisions on the ballot, they were very clear about that. They were just going to ride this loophole to the legislature to get these voter suppression measures passed." Not that that's what their signature gatherers told people on the ground, however.

"It's about dishonesty. It's about misleading voters. It's about trying to game the system of citizens' petitions. I don't think you could put anything in place that would stop people who don't have any limits whatsoever, any standards that they'll abide by, to further their agenda," Wang tells me.

Next, a story we ran out of time for on our previous BradCast, covering results and other fallout from Tuesday's midterm primaries in seven states. You may recall our coverage of a voting system disaster in Clackamas County, Oregon a couple of weeks ago, where a problem with smeared barcodes printed on vote-by-mail ballots resulted in them being rejected by the computer tabulators. The local County Clerk, in that case, ordered tens of thousands of those otherwise perfectly valid ballots to be duplicated by hand, one-by-one, so they could be run through the tabulators, rather than simply counting them in public by hand.

Well, guess what? It appears the very same thing happened in San Joaquin County, California this week, with 25 to 30% of the County's mail ballots being rejected by the computer scanners. And, once again, rather than hand-counting them, the County is duplicating each and every one of them by hand, this time with the help of about 13 employees from the printing company who screwed up in the first place.

I don't know about you, but I don't want my ballot "remade" behind closed doors by either a County election official OR some schmoe from a commercial printing outfit. But maybe that's just me. In any event, San Joaquin voters may have to wait a bit longer than usual this year for final results in their critical midterm primaries.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with great news for war profiteering Big Oil companies (if terrible news for the rest of us); lousy news about snow disappearing from the previously snow-covered Alps; but some better news regarding the Biden Administration's move to create a new marine sanctuary and end the use of single-use plastic in our national parks...

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Guest: Howie Klein of 'Down With Tyranny'; Also: Several important (and mostly good) updates on some stories we've recently covered closely...
By Brad Friedman on 5/27/2022 7:07pm PT  

It's another three-hour show packed into about 57 minutes on today's BradCast, as we catch up with a lot of primary election coverage that we previously postponed due to all the mass shootings, and a bunch of late updates on several critical stories we've been closely following of late. [Audio link to full show follows after this summary.]

First, before our always-lively guest today, those updates...

  • SB 1480, the Internet and Fax voting bill shamefully supported by Democrats in the California state legislature has now passed in the state Senate and heads to the Assembly. We recently discussed with longtime Internet voting expert Dr. David Jefferson why the bill is such an outrageously terrible idea. And we urge you once again to stop by Scrutineers.org/California to learn how (and why) you can help stop it before it becomes law and makes its way into the other 49 states!
  • In a more encouraging update to a story we've recently been covering in detail, a three-judge federal appeals court panel (including judges nominated by Biden, Obama and Trump) have overturned the ridiculous ruling by a Trump-appointed lower court judge who found that a federal Amnesty Act for many Confederates in 1872 somehow gave amnesty to January 6th insurrectionists running for office 150 years later. This was part of a challenge led by Free Speech for People (FSFP) to the ballot eligibility of North Carolina's first-term Rep. Madison Cawthorn, under the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause" (14th Amendment, Section 3). Though Cawthorn lost his recent primary race for reelection, the appeals court found the case was not moot, because Cawthorn's contest has not yet been officially certified. This is the second federal court to find that the clause may still be used to challenge insurrectionist running for office. FSFP called the ruling a "major victory", warning that other candidates, including Donald Trump, if he runs in 2024, will not be shielded "from the consequences of their actions" when seeking eligibility for the ballot during Constitutional challenges at the state level.
  • And, in another story of ballot disqualification at the state level that we covered in detail earlier this week, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Thursday officially disqualified 5 of 10 Republican candidates seeking the GOP Gubernatorial nomination there --- including the two leading candidates --- after finding that they collectively turned in some 68,000 fraudulent petition signatures in hopes of qualifying for this year's August 2nd primary ballot. All of the GOP candidates falsely claim that Donald Trump only lost the state of MI through massive election fraud by Democrats, before their campaigns apparently went out and committed actual massive election fraud in hopes of qualifying to run. Several of the rejected candidates vow to appeal the decisions and blame the state for their own failure to vet signatures and those they hired to collect them.
  • On Thursday, we detailed the story of the "Hiroshima of botched elections," as described by longtime Election Integrity advocate Sherry Healy, that has been playing out since the May 17 primary election for U.S. House in Clackamas County, Oregon. A disastrous ballot printing snafu --- and the way the disastrous Clackamas County Clerk handled it --- has prevented the finalization of several races, including one that was closely watched in Oregon's 5th Congressional district, pitting progressive Democratic challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner against very conservative Democratic incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader. On Friday, AP finally called the race for McLeod-Skinner as counting continues in that race. But, if it holds, it's seen a huge victory for grassroots progressives in unseating a sitting, rightwing House Dem (who had been supported by House leadership).
  • And finally, before getting to our guest today, on Thursday, a New York appeals court panel rejected a plea by Donald Trump, as well as Ivanka and Don Jr., to avoid sitting for a deposition in state Attorney General Letitia James' bank, insurance and tax fraud investigation of the former President and his company. On Friday, the news got even better. A federal appears court rejected the Trumps' attempt to nix the investigation entirely.

NEXT, we're joined by our old friend HOWIE KLEIN, the great progressive House candidate expert, longtime proprietor of the Down With Tyranny blog, and co-founder of BlueAmericaPAC, to discuss primary victories (and losses)for progressive Democrats in the 10 states that have held their primaries so far this year. Also, for a preview of Super Duper Tuesday midterm primaries coming up in seven states on June 7th, including here in California (where Howie has some tips for voters in both state and key Los Angeles races.)

Among the races and candidates Howie offers insight on today...

  • Pennsylvania's Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, now running as the state's Democratic U.S. Senate nominee;
  • The huge win for progressive Summer Lee in PA's 12th Congressional District;
  • Progressive Jamie McLeod-Skinner's apparent victory over incumbent Blue Dog Dem Rep. Kurt Schrader in Oregon's 5th Congressional District;
  • The victory of state Rep. Andrea Salinas over a candidate supported by a rightwing crypto-billionaire and Democratic House leadership in OR-6;
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn's loss in North Carolina's Republican 11th CD and what that means for Democrat Jasmine Beach-Ferrara hoping to win that seat in November;
  • The ongoing, incredibly close battle between rightwing, pro-NRA, anti-choice Dem Henry Cuellar against progressive challenger Jessica Sisneros in Texas' 28th CD;
  • Rep. Lucy McBath's victory over Blue Dog Dem Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux in a rare member-versus-member contest in Georgia's 7th CD;
  • And whether GA's far-right insurrectionist Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, victorious in her 14th District primary this past week, can possibly be unseated by Dem challenger Marcus Flowers.

That's just a taste. Tune in for much more from Howie on all of this, including his several tips for progressive Los Angeles voters on June 7th. (Here's one of them: Anyone but Rick Caruso, "L.A.'s Donald Trump," for Mayor.)

We're off next week, as Desi gets to go see her family for the first time since before the pandemic! Nicole Sandler fills in for us for a few days. And if all goes well, we'll be back before Super Duper Tuesday! See ya then!...

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Guest: Election Integrity activist Sherry Healy on Clackamas County, OR's primary election boondoggle; Also: Abbott slashed mental health care in TX before shooting; GOP blocks domestic terror bill in Senate; Trump loses another appeal in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2022 7:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More shameful GOP responses to America's continuing mass shooting epidemic; one step closer to some accountability for our corrupt former President; the Republican Party's shameful response to a very close primary election in Pennsylvania; and an unmitigated election disaster for voters continues to hold up a critical U.S. House race two weeks after Oregon's midterm primaries. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • This week in Uvalde, Texas, 19 fourth graders and two teachers were murdered after the shooter at Robb Elementary School had no problem purchasing two semi-automatic rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammo just days after his 18th birthday this month. The state's Republican Gov. Greg Abbott --- who is up for reelection this November --- declared after the massacre that the problem was mental illness and Texas must "do a better job with mental health." But last month, Abbott slashed $221 million from the department overseeing mental health programs in the state which, according to a new study, ranked 50th last year for access to mental health care. That, after Abbott signed bill after bill making it easier for Texans to buy, carry and kill as many people as possible, with high-powered, military-style weapons. (Did I mention that Abbott is up for reelection this November?)
  • It's not only Texas Republicans working hard to make it as easy as possible to kill fellow Americans. Just days after back-to-back-to-back mass shootings in America, Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a bill in the U.S. Senate meant to help to prevent domestic terrorism. The measure was already adopted by Democrats in the House. Not one single Republican Senator voted in favor. (Several of them will be on the ballot this November.)
  • In somewhat brighter news, a federal judge on Wednesday rejected a lawsuit by gun manufacturers, distributors and retailers which had attempted to block New York's new law allowing those in the firearms industry to be sued by the state, cities and individuals for endangering the public's safety and health. NY Attorney General Letitia James said the judge's ruling offers "a moment of light and hope" following the American carnage of the past two weeks. The trade group representing the domestic terrorism industry, The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), vowed to appeal.
  • In more good NY/Letitia James-related news, a four-judge state appeals court panel today upheld a lower court ruling that Donald Trump and his children Ivanka and Don Jr. must sit for a deposition in James' civil investigation examining the Trumps' "fraudulent" valuation of properties in bank, tax and insurance filings. The Trumps claimed their comments under oath could be used against them in a parallel criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney into many of the same issues. The court agreed. But noted that that's why the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination exists. If the Trumps want, they may invoke it during their depositions, in the same "disgraceful" way, according to Trump, that "only mobsters" use it. Some difficult choices await in the very near future for our disgraced former President.
  • In Pennsylvania, nearly two weeks ago, Trump-endorsed celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz and former hedge-fund CEO Dave McCormick battled to a virtual tie for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination. The winner will run against Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. As of today, Oz leads McCormick by fewer than 1,000 votes out of more than 1.3 million cast in the Keystone State's GOP primary. This week, McCormick sued in federal court to assure that all legal ballots are counted, including mail-in ballots that arrived on time but have a missing or incorrect date on the secrecy envelope. Another court recently ruled such ballots are valid and must be tallied. The RNC and Pennsylvania Republican Party, however, are intervening against McCormick to prevent those lawful, valid ballots from being tallied in the U.S. Senate primary and are attacking their own candidate, McCormick, for daring to enfranchise all Republican voters. On Wednesday, the state announced there will be an automatic statewide recount in the race, with about one-tenth of one percentage point currently separating the two leading candidates in the unofficial results. The official winner should be named by June 9.
  • Another midterm primary election held on the same day in Oregon, on May 17, has far worse problems. The closely watched U.S. House race in the state's 5th Congressional District between grassroots-supported Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner and conservative Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader caused much excitement on Election Night, when McLeod-Skinner appeared on her way to unseating the incumbent Congressman. Then, with about 68% of the vote in, pretty much all of the counting stopped and hasn't moved much, if at all, since then.

    What happened? We're joined today by one of Oregon's longtime Election Integrity activists SHERRY HEALY --- co-founder of the California Election Protection Network, and, more recently, the Chair of the Oregon Democratic Party's Election Integrity caucus --- to explain the disaster in Clackamas County, OR which has held up the tally.

    As she details, a printing problem on the barcodes (used to identify party and precinct) on tens of thousands of the County's vote-by-mail ballots means they cannot be run through the computerized tabulation system. But, rather than count those ballots publicly by hand, the County's longtime beleaguered County Clerk, Sherry Hall (pictured above), decided that those tens of thousands of otherwise valid ballots should be "remade" by hand --- duplicated by election officials --- on separate ballot sheets so they can then be running through the optical scanners for tabulation.

    "This county clerk has a long history of bungled elections," Healy explains. "But this is the Hiroshima of botched elections." Healy details how Hall failed to adequately test the ballots for this problem after receiving them from the printer before sending them out to voters. Moreover, the decision to remake tens of thousands of ballots, rather than simply count them by hand, "imperils" the entire election, she charges.

    Healy calls Hall's decision "absurd" and "insane," explaining that a simple hand-count "would take less time and be more efficient and accurate" than recreating "in excess of 66,000" ballots.

    Hall, a Trump supporter elected to the job back in the Tea Party days about a decade ago, has a long history of problems in her office. Way back in 2012 we reported on an election official in Clackamas who was indicted on six felonies and two misdemeanors after she was found to have secretly filled in unvoted races for Republican candidates on incoming mail-in ballots.

    When Hall announced that the printing error on the ballots made them unscannable, she claimed that it was new deadlines adopted by the state legislature for the receipt of incoming mail ballots that would hold up her county's tally, as opposed to her own failure to test ballots before sending them out. More recently, she denied that she gave permission for a Schrader campaign observer to enter the counting room an hour early, before observers from the McLeod-Skinner campaign had arrived. Then security camera footage was obtained through a public records request revealing she had lied about that.

    It's unknown when the tabulation in Clackamas will finally be complete. The 5th Congressional District primaries on both the Democratic and Republican side remain uncalled, with just over 70% tallied in each almost two weeks after Election Day. (More have come in since air time today.) For now, McLeod-Skinner remains almost 15 points ahead of Schrader. But that could change. In the meantime, there are a whole lot of lessons to be learned from this entire mess, as we discuss with Healy today. (And, yes, Hall is also up for reelection this November.)

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with some disturbing news about this year's hurricane season (it officially begins next week, buckle up). But she's also got some encouraging news about accountability for an upcoming climate fraud trial for ExxonMobil, and the Biden Administration's EPA putting what may be the final nail into the coffin on a longtime controversial proposed mining project in Alaska...

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Also: Cruz TX disbarment sought for 2020 steal efforts; GOP Sen. booed in WY; Young voters eager for 2022; Record majority for abortion rights...
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2022 7:19pm PT  

What's the difference between a white supremacist mass murderer in Buffalo, NY and a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate? Well, in terms of their racist rhetoric not a heck of a lot, it seems. That and many more reasons to both pay close attention and be skeptical of "conventional wisdom" regarding this November's critical midterm elections on today's BradCast, as American Democracy v. Violent Strongman Authoritarianism is most definitely on the ballot in every state this year. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories underscoring all of that on today's program...

  • A number of the attorneys who helped Donald Trump try to steal the 2020 election have had their law licenses suspended or are facing permanent disbarment. One attorney who has yet to be held accountable in any way, however, is Sen. Ted Cruz, who volunteered to represent Trump in two different bogus election challenges before the U.S. Supreme Court; knowingly spread false claims of fraud; and then voted against certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory even after Trump's deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. A bipartisan group is now hoping to change that. This week, they filed a complaint with the State Bar of Texas, seeking an investigation into possible disbarment for the sleazy Texas Senator/still-licensed attorney.
  • Speaking of sleazy still-licensed Texas attorneys, the state's chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Ken Paxton now says he has been sued by the Texas State Bar for misconduct. Paxton has already been charged with several securities fraud felonies; is being investigated by the FBI for abuse of power and bribery after a federal criminal complaint by eight of his top former deputies; and brought a laughable case to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to toss the 2020 election results in four states that were not Texas. It is for his help in trying to steal the election for Trump at SCOTUS that has resulted in the state Bar's lawsuit against him. Paxton is running for re-election anyway. On Tuesday he's in a runoff election with the state's Land Commissioner George P. Bush (the very Trumpy son of Jeb and nephew of the guy who made "one of the biggest Freudian slips of all time" at Southern Methodist University yesterday.) No sooner did Paxton get sued by the state bar then he turned around and opened an investigation into the Texas Bar Foundation for "facilitating mass influx of illegal aliens" --- ya know, the stuff that racist "great replacement" conspiracy theories are made of.
  • And speaking of the racist "great replacement" conspiracy theory, as repeatedly cited by the white supremacist domestic terrorist who murdered 10 and wounded 3 others in a Buffalo supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood last weekend, a whole bunch of Republicans running for the U.S. Senate this year have been using nearly identical rhetoric to that racist murderer for a very long time. The once-fringe, now mainstream rightwing theory claims that Democrats are hoping to replace white American voters with immigrants, Jews and people of color to control the electorate with one-party rule. Or something. And, in the wake of Trump's embrace of white nationalism as President, AP highlighted a bevvy of mainstream GOP Senate candidates this year --- either running for reelection or for the party's nomination --- whose rhetoric on immigration directly echoes the same baseless, racist fear-mongering. Their list includes Blake Masters in Arizona; A.G. Eric Schmitt and disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens in Missouri; GOP Senate nominee J.D. Vance in Ohio; and two-term U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. The full list of elected and hopeful GOP officials who also espouse rhetoric shared by rightwing domestic terrorists is obviously much, much longer.
  • And speaking of domestic terrorists, the U.S. House passed the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (again) on Wednesday. All Democrats voted for it. Every Republican, except for retiring Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, voted against it. Democrats vow to bring it up in the Senate next week. It may be a heavy lift over the undemocratic 60-vote filibuster threshold in the upper chamber. Too bad it wasn't called the Domestic Terrorism by Non-White People Prevention Act. It might have easily passed in both chambers, as most legislation related to terrorism that doesn't target white supremacists tends to.
  • And, speaking of extremism, on Thursday, the Oklahoma legislature passed a new law that, if signed by the Governor, would ban nearly all abortions starting at fertilization, which would make it the nation's strictest abortion law. It would also, in turn, make certain forms of birth control --- like IUDs, The Bill, Plan B, which don't necessarily prevent fertilization, but prevent implantation of a fertilized egg --- a form of "abortion" or, in Oklahoma, a homicide. More Republican-controlled states are likely to follow suit, despite the vast majority of Americans who support abortion rights. Please keep all of this in mind in November.
  • And, speaking of this November, polling last month from the Harvard Youth Poll suggests --- contrary to "conventional wisdom" --- that young voters are very eager to vote this year. The number who say they are "definitely" voting in the 2022 election is almost identical to the number who said same before the 2018 "blue wave" election. That could be good news for Democrats. Again, please ignore "conventional wisdom" in these decidedly unconventional times.
  • And, speaking of young people, even in deep "red" Wyoming, they don't dig attacks on LGBTQ+ people --- yes, even trans people --- as the state's U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis found out the embarrassing way during a commencement address she gave over the weekend at the University of Wyoming. It took a while, but now she "apologizes" if she offended anyone with her remarks that were broadly booed during the speech at the school once attended by Matthew Shepard, the young gay man who was brutally beaten and left to die on a fence nearly 25 years ago. He became one of the namesakes of the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
  • And, speaking of civil rights for all --- and of keeping Big Government and the GOP's stolen and packed Supreme Court out of our bedrooms and doctor's offices --- support for abortion rights has reached a record high in a new NBC News poll following the leak of SCOTUS' draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and its 50 years of protection for reproductive rights. The poll also finds support for same-sex marriage (perhaps next on the chopping block after Roe's Constitutionally established right to privacy is killed) at an all time high, while approval for the High Court is at an all time, 30-year low in this particular poll.

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/19/2022 11:11am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: U.N. warns four key climate change indicators broke new records in 2021; Cutting air pollution from fossil fuels would save 50,000 lives a year in the U.S.; New initiative invests $242 million for clean energy in ten developing countries; PLUS: National forests forced to close as wildfires rage... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 13 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US traffic deaths soar to highest total in 16 years; Australian Greens hope election focus on climate will bring their biggest ever representation; The small, local GA election with major climate significance; Air Pollution Can Mean More, or Fewer, Hurricanes; EV sales see exponential growth curves; Environmental groups oppose extending life of CA nuke plant; Carbon Dioxide pipelines are going dangerously unregulated... PLUS: Vast swath of US at risk of summer blackouts, regulators warn... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Also: Biden in Buffalo condemns 'poison' of white supremacy, those who 'spread the lie' of replacement theory 'for power, political gain and profit'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2022 6:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's primary election day in five states, with voting system problems reported in at least three counties in one of them, as the President traveled to upstate New York to condemn white supremacist "terrorism" and grieve with the community following Saturday's racist massacre at a neighborhood grocery story in a predominately black area of Buffalo. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST UP, a bit of seemingly encouraging breaking news just before airtime today from the New York Times. They report that the Dept. of Justice "has asked the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack for transcripts of interviews it is conducting behind closed doors, including some with associates of former President Donald J. Trump." The paper describes the news as "further evidence of the wide-ranging nature of the department’s criminal inquiry into the events leading up to the assault on the Capitol and the role played by Mr. Trump and his allies as they sought to" steal the 2020 election.

That sounds like encouraging news, even if the Times, for some absurd reason, describes the effort to steal the election as an attempt "to keep him in office after his defeat in the 2020 election." Normal humans would describe it simply as an attempt to steal an election. Our corporate media, and even most Democratic officials, for reasons I cannot explain, do not do so. In any event, sounds like good news no matter how stupidly the Times is reporting on it.

NEXT, it's midterm primary day in Kentucky, Oregon, Idaho, North Carolina (where insurrectionist Rep. Madison Cawthorn is running for his life) and Pennsylvania (where Dems see one of their best opportunities to flip a Republican-held U.S. Senate seat.) We'll have noteworthy results on tomorrow's program, but today we focus on three counties in PA, where voters were reporting problems simply trying to cast their vote.

In Berks county "widespread" problems were reported apparently with the County's new electronic pollbooks made by ES&S, just added to polling places countywide for the first time this year. Those new computers were added to the complicated mix of high-tech equipment already forced on voters in Berks, where residents are required to vote on 100% unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Device computers at the precinct. It was a full two and a half hours after polls opened before officials finally deployed backup paper pollbooks(!)to all locations in the county, so voters could finally vote. It's unclear whether the systems simply didn't work, or election officials didn't make sure to properly train poll workers to use them. Either way, voters couldn't vote for hours and some were undoubtedly disenfranchised entirely because emergency paper ballots were not supplied either, according to one state Rep. who said he was held up for hours (though he appears to have misreported the problem as one with voting machines, as opposed to the e-pollbooks.)

In Alleghany County (home of Pittsburgh), some precincts reportedly opened hours late, due to a mix of problems, including lack of keys to get into precincts or a lack of Election Judges in some case, thanks to COVID. At least they respect their voters enough there to allow them to vote on simple, verifiable hand-marked paper ballots (with simple paper pollbooks) ... once the polls finally opened, in any event.

In Luzerne, a Republican-leaning county with a history of voting system issues, it was reportedly the touchscreen voting machines made by Dominion that held up voters, though the Chair of the County's Board of Elections seemed happy to throw poll workers under the bus for what she described as "human error". That, instead of taking blame for forcing those over-worked, under-paid workers to use overly complicated computer systems with a lack of training, in order to eventually (maybe) allow voters to cast unverifiable ballots on touchscreen voting systems after they manage to sign in with e-pollbook computers made by ES&S.

THEN, we head to Buffalo for President Biden's remarks to victims of Saturday's mass shooting by an 18-year old white supremacist who killed 10 and wounded 3 with a Bushmaster assault rifle in a matter of minutes in a predominately African-American neighborhood. The massacre came just three days after a Trump-appointed federal appeals court judge issued a ruling overturning California's law banning semiautomatic weapons purchases for those under the age of 21, finding the law to be an unconstitutional violation of the 2nd Amendment.

In his Wednesday ruling, Judge Ryan Nelson cited "the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army" in "reaffirm[ing] that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms.” Never mind that young adults during the Revolutionary War used rifles that fired one shot at a time after being laboriously loaded through their muzzle --- as opposed to the semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle used to shoot more than a dozen, including an armed guard, in mere seconds on Saturday in Buffalo.

Biden said today that the nation must "reject the lie" of "replacement theory" spread the far-right, Fox "News" and GOP elected officials, while describing America's diversity as its strength. He derided the "hateful minority" who spread the lie "for power, political gain and for profit" --- as Fox' Tucker Carlson has done hundreds of times on his primetime show and as GOP House Leadership's Rep. Elise Stefanik of upstate NY has recently done in her campaign ads.

"Evil will not win," the President vowed in moving and powerful remarks which we share at length. "Hate will not prevail, and white supremacy will not have the last word," Biden said, charging that "hate and fear have been given too much oxygen by those who pretend to love America."

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for a few thoughts on all of the above, as well as our latest Green News Report. Among the matters she covers today: a new analysis finding wildfires are likely to double across the U.S. in the next several decades; while Russia has used energy as a weapon in its war on Ukraine, they are now threatening to cause a global food crisis as well; and while the state of California recently became powered by 100% renewable electricity for a short time, the state of Texas is, once again amid another heat wave, having trouble even keeping their lights on...

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Guests: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II; Kenia Alcocer of CA Poor People's Campaign; Also: The weekend's TWO mass shooting hate crimes; TWO Dems suffer strokes before Tuesday's primary elections...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2022 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, after another brutal weekend of brutal news, we're delighted to be joined by two guests with some ideas on where to find hope and how to restore the nation's moral center --- if we can still find one. (If we ever had one.) [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up today, we're delighted to be joined by Bishop WILLIAM J. BARBER, II of Repairers of the Breach and KENIA ALCOCER of the California Poor People's Campaign. Both were kind enough to join us just an hour or so before tonight's rally and march at L.A. City Hall, being lead by both groups. It is part of their "National Call for Moral Revival" in advance of next month's "Mass Poor People's & Low-Wage Workers' Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls," on June 18th.

Sadly, we begin with Barber's response to horrific hate crime near Buffalo, New York on Saturday, where an 18-year old white supremacist, geared up with semi-automatic weaponry and body armor shot and killed 10 and wounded three others at a neighborhood supermarket. Eleven of those shot were black, as the shooter drove some 200 miles to target members of the predominately black neighborhood in upstate NY. That shooting wasn't the only hate crime mass shooting over the weekend, unfortunately.

"The question is, who radicalized them? Where do they get radicalized from?," asks Barber. (We discuss that a bit later in the show as well, see below.) "The way public policy is framed, people saying 'If you give people health care it will destroy the country. If you give people a living wage it will undermine and take things from you.' That language, 't will take things and destroy people's lives,' gives people, too often, the license to do awful, hideous, evil and deadly things."

"We must challenge it," he says. "Which is one of the reasons we are calling people for the coming together of all of us on June 18th, for love, for justice for truth, forward progress in this country to address 5 interlocking injustices: systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, denial of healthcare and the war economy, and to challenge the false moral narrative of religious nationalism and white supremacy. We must do these things united, together, and no longer separately and in individual silos."

We also discussed, with both Barber and Alcocer, the reason and hopes for tonight's rally at City Hall and the major event scheduled for next month in D.C.; the plight of poor and low-income Americans even before COVID made everything worse; why the corporate media (and both major political parties) tend to ignore the poor of all colors; whether or not protests and marches still matter; and why voting still matters despite --- or, perhaps, especially --- given all of the above.

"Everything is so interconnected that we need to fight everything today and now," Alcocer explains. "And talk about the vote in a way that's inspiring, where people turn back and say 'I vote and nothing happens.' We're voting, but we're also making the work on the ground to make sure that those votes are not the ONLY things that we're doing. We're also organizing on the ground. We're creating our own survival projects. We're coming together and fighting back for our rights."

Barber, who founded the critical Moral Mondays movement of protests and marches in North Carolina beginning in 2013 says that, yes, protests still matter. "But it's not just the march itself. It's not one day, it's a declaration. You're not going to do just one march --- you have to be consistent." He cites four years of Moral Monday in NC as helping to highlight and push back against extremism by the state's elected officials. "We are saying there must be a moral reset, there must be consistency, there must be a willingness to engage in non-violent marches but also non-violent actions, and maybe even necessary civil disobedience when that time comes."

He discusses the under estimated voting power of poor people who now make up 32% of the national electorate as "the greatest sleeping giant in this country." Barber tells me "it's not about doing one thing, it's about consistency. June 18th is a declaration, not a day. It's a movement, not a moment."

"Nothing we have ever won in this country from a progressive standpoint ever happened just because of one march or one instant. You have to stay there, and stay there, and stay there, and keep on and keep on, and break through that way. It can't be a sprint, it has to be a marathon," he adds.

Also today, some news on tomorrow's midterm primaries in Kentucky, Oregon, Idaho and Pennsylvania, particularly the battle for the soon-to-be-open U.S. Senate seat in PA, where Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is retiring. On that, there were several pieces of major news this weekend. One is that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the leading Democratic candidate for the Senate nomination, suffered a stroke on Friday. He said over the weekend, however, that he is "feeling much better," that doctors told him he "didn't suffer any cognitive damage", and that he is on his way to "a full recovery". The 52-year old Fetterman vowed: "Our campaign isn't slowing down one bit, and we are still on track to win this primary on Tuesday, and flip this Senate seat in November."

Incredibly, Fetterman wasn't the only prominent Dem to suffer what was hopefully a minor stroke this weekend. Maryland's U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen said Sunday that he has been told by doctors that there will be no long-term effects or damage from a "minor stroke" he also suffered over the weekend.

On the GOP side of the PA contest for the U.S. Senate seat, regarded as one of the Democrats' best chances to flip a Republican seat, far-right QAnon-supporting, election-denying, insurrection-attending Kathy Barnette is said to be surging and now in a statistical dead-heat with the Trump-endorsed TV doctor, Dr. Mehmet Oz. So a Republican who his even Trumpier than the Trump-endorsed candidate could become the GOP nominee on Tuesday.

Finally, we spend some time on the weekend's two mass-shooting hate crimes. News broke late today here in Southern California that the suspect at the Sunday shooting at a Laguna Woods church was a 68-year old Chinese immigrant from Las Vegas who was believed to be targeting the Taiwanese immigrants meeting for Sunday services and lunch at the Geneva Presbyterian. That church has been hosting services for the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church for the past decade. One man was killed and others --- including an 86-year old woman and four men aged 66, 92, 82 and 75 --- were also wounded. But law enforcement officers says that "extraordinary heroism" by members of the congregation, who hog-tied the man with an extension chord after the pastor struck him with a chair while he was reloading one of two guns --- prevented much more carnage, with some 40 parishioners in the building at the time.

In the New York massacre, the killer was reportedly a white nationalist who had recently published a 180-page, hate-filled manifesto, frequenting citing the racist, far-right, so-called "Great Replacement" theory that, in the U.S., claims Democrats are trying to replace white American citizens with immigrants, Jews and people of color. It's the theory espoused by the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville back in 2017 who chanted "Jews will not replace us!" (Trump called them "very fine people") and by folks in Rightwing media like Tucker Carlson at Fox "News". A study by the New York Times discovered some 400 instances where Carlson has forwarded the theory.

"I know that the left and all the gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” Carlson said on his show last year, by way of just one example. "But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually, let’s just say it. That’s true."

Unfortunately, it's not just Carlson. It's also elected Republican officials like Rep. Elise Stefanik of upstate NY, the third-ranking member of GOP House Leadership, who last year ran an ad campaign on Facebook espousing the same hateful conspiracy theory, charging "radical Democrats" were planning to "grant amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants [to] overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington." Her hometown paper in Albany described the ads as "despicable"...

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J6 Comm subpoenas McCarthy, four other Reps; Fed grand jury probes Trump handling of classified docs; Eastman advised how to steal PA's 2020 election; House finds meatpackers colluded with Trump Admin for deadly COVID Exec Order; DeSantis' FL gerrymander nixed by judge...
By Brad Friedman on 5/12/2022 6:55pm PT  

It's another one of those BradCasts where our disgraced former President casts a very long shadow. We've got way too much breaking news, as one accountability story after another broke today. Theoretically, that's a good thing. But you may need to take notes. We've got a lot to cover. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered today...

  • First up, after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently overruled his own far-right state legislature's already-gerrymandered new U.S. House map in favor of his own even more extreme gerrymander, a state judge that HE appointed has shut that whole thing down. For now. On Wednesday, Judge J. Layne Smith determined DeSantis' map --- which could give Republicans a 20 to 8 advantage in the their U.S. House delegation --- violates the state Constitution's 2010 Fair Districts Amendment "because it diminishes African Americans' ability to elect the representatives of their choice." Of course, that was the whole point when DeSantis --- who won his race for Governor in 2018 by less than one percentage point --- nixed two black majority districts in the state (one of which was created by the state Supreme Court the last time the map was challenged.) DeSantis believes his own state Constitution violates the U.S. Constitution. (So much for the states' rights he used to pretend to believe in.) So, Florida will now be paying for an appeal to fight for the voter disenfranchisement.
  • The House January 6 Committee on Thursday subpoenaed House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama. The Committee says they each "participated in meetings at the White House" and/or "had direct conversations with President Trump leading up to and during the attack on the Capitol." All five were previously invited to voluntary speak to the Committee. They didn't. Now they are receiving what appear to be unprecedented Congressional subpoenas to members of Congress from the bipartisan panel probing Trump's 2021 insurrection and his attempt to steal the 2020 election.
  • The New York Times is reporting today that federal prosecutors have opened a grand jury probe into whether laws were violated when Trump absconded with 15 boxes full of items and documents --- including some marked as classified national security documents --- when he left the White House for Mar-a-Lago. The items belong to to the American people under the Presidential Records Act, but the larger question is about his treatment of boxes and boxes of classified documents. (Recall he used to pretend to care about such things. In 2016, when running against Hillary Clinton, he called for her to be "locked up" because she lawfully used a private email server and received or forwarded several documents with classified material in them.) A grand jury convened by DoJ would suggest this matter has advanced very quickly.
  • Speaking of grand juries, just a friendly reminder that Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney Fanni Willis convened her Special Grand Jury last week on Monday, May 2. She's investigating Trump's conspiracy to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, following his infamous and threatening call to the state's Sec. of State, instructing him to "find" just enough votes to name Trump the winner there. The probe could bring charges any day now (not that we have any insider knowledge) of a criminal conspiracy that includes Trump, his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and even North Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, all of whom participated in strong-arming the Sec. of State and other officials to steal the election for Trump who lost the state by about 10,000 votes.
  • Emails unearthed by the Denver Post and reported by Politico this week from Trump's MAGA attorney John Eastman (who spoke at Trump's rally on January 6 and wrote the memos calling for VP Mike Pence to ignore the Electoral College votes to steal the election for Trump), reveal that he also advised a Pennsylvania state legislator how to steal the election for Trump in the state by tossing out legal votes and using absurd pretend math to declare Joe Biden lost, even though he won there by about 85,000 votes. Eastman told PA state Rep. Paul Diamond how Republicans in the legislature could change the results to "provide cover" for choosing Trump electors instead of the ones for Biden who the voters actually elected.
  • Trump's corruption was also deadly for hundreds of thousands when it came to the COVID pandemic. As President Biden marked the passing of one million Americans due to coronavirus at the White House on Thursday, a new report from a House Select Subcommittee finds the nation's meat packing industry hyped "baseless" concerns about shortages and colluded with top Trump Admin officials --- including Meadows, Pence Chief of Staff Marc Short and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue --- to invoked an Executive Order. The order, which the industry drafted, invoked the Defense Production Act to bar state officials from shutting down meatpacking plants during the first year of the pandemic. At least 269 industry workers died, 59,000 were infected, and an estimated 334,000 infections nationwide were tied to meatpacking plants where workers were forced to work in dangerous, close conditions. The industry got their Executive Order from Trump, barring plant shutdowns under the lie that the nation's food supply was at risk. As the Committee's report finds, in fact, the five major companies which comprise the industry in the U.S. saw record profits during the pandemic, and saw pork exports at a three-year high during the first three quarters of 2020 when they sent more than 300% more pork to China than in normal years. There ought to be a lot of criminal charges --- including for homicide --- brought here. We'll see if anyone pays a price for it.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Australia's Great Barrier Reef is hit with yet another climate change-induced mass bleaching event; a new study finds climate change is a key concern regarding the emergence of new viruses and pandemics; new severe drought restrictions are enacted in Arizona and California...but last year, at least, was a very good one for renewable energy across the globe...

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Guest: Political scientist, international relations Prof. Nicholas Grossman of Univ. of IL; Also: EU to embargo Russian oil; USPS sued to block new gas-guzzling truck contract; More bad news for Trump in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2022 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Putin's war in Ukraine continues, as do fears that it could expand into a nuclear World War III. That has led some on the anti-war Left to demand the U.S. and EU spend more energy pushing for a diplomatic solution rather than sending more deadly arms to Ukraine to help it defend itself. But that, according to our guest today, is a false choice. [Audio link to full show is posted after this summary below.]

First up, after recently cutting off the purchase of coal from Russia, the European Union is reportedly now prepared to embargo oil purchases as well. That's good news for Ukraine, very bad news for Russia, but also potentially bad news for American consumers as the global price of oil is likely to further spike as Big Oil CEOs in the U.S. continue to rake in record profits rather than increase production or lower gas prices at the pump. We discuss.

In not entirely unrelated news, as EarthJustice senior attorney Adrian Martinez vowed on this program back in February, his organization along with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the United Auto Workers (UAW), 16 states and the District of Columbia are now now suing the U.S. Postal Service to block its purchase of nearly 150,000 new gas-guzzling mail delivery trucks. The $11.3 billion contract, carried out by corrupt Donald Trump's corrupt Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, is unlawful on several bases, they argue. Most notably, the USPS failed to do an environmental impact study, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, until after inking their deal with Wisconsin defense contractor, Oshkosh Defense, to build the trucks.

The new gas-powered vehicles are designed to get just 8.6 mpg, barely more than the 30-year old trucks they're replacing and, to make matters worse, will be built in a new non-union facility in South Carolina, rather than the company's union shop in Wisconsin. “Once this purchase goes through, we’ll be stuck with more than 100,000 new gas-guzzling vehicles on neighborhood streets for the next 30 years," California's Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.

The states and the environmental groups --- with the support of the EPA and White House --- are hoping to move the USPS to deploy an all-electric fleet instead. Transportation is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and the postal fleet's 217,000 trucks is the largest share of the government's nonmilitary vehicles. Federal regulators estimate the new trucks will emit roughly the same amount of Earth-warming carbon dioxide each year as 4.3 million passenger vehicles.

Next, as Russia regroups in the east and south of Ukraine to prepare their next offensive, we're joined today by NICHOLAS GROSSMAN, international relations professor and political scientist at the University of Illinois. He's also Senior Editor at Arc Digital and author of Drones and Terrorism: Asymmetric Warfare and the Threat to Global Security.

This week, Grossman wrote a piece at The Daily Beast, responding to recent commentary from liberal academic icon and anti-war advocate Noam Chomsky, who is critical of the U.S. and NATO for continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons of war, rather than demand negotiations toward peace. As Chomsky argued, while sympathetic with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's position, increased arming of the beseiged nation fails to "pay attention to the reality of the world," which, without conceding to Russian demands via negotiations, will result in "the destruction of Ukraine and nuclear war."

But Grossman argues that's a false choice and that arming Ukraine is, in fact, at least right now, the best path to peace. "Even just framing it as diplomacy or war is a mistake," Grossman responds today, "in that war and diplomacy are not alternatives that go together. Just about every war ends with some sort of negotiated solution. Ukraine was willing to meet with Russia and did offer some concessions and those weren't enough. But, also, the actions on the ground are in effect a negotiation."

"The way that a lot of political science treats war is to think of it as a bargaining process. You have these two sides, Russia and Ukraine. Russia wants something and Ukraine really doesn't want to give it. And Russia's willing to kill to try to get it, and Ukraine is willing to kill to try to not give it. As long as that's the case, then the two of them don't actually know what they can force the other to accept. And so the war itself, the actual fighting, is to some extent a negotiating process. It is the fighting on the ground that is pushing both sides to figure out what exactly they can force the other one to accept."

"There will be peace," Grossman insists, "but the peace is going to look like many possible different things. One option is a peace where Ukraine is independent. Another option is where Ukraine is subjugated by Russia. Both of those are technically peace. But the Chomsky argument seems to be pushing more for the peace with Ukraine bowing down before Russia. And the problem with that is the Ukrainians don't want to, and there's nothing American can do to make them do it. So the action of 'Hey, we could have this option of getting them to sit down and then work it out and there would be peace, but instead we're not doing that, we're just causing war', just misunderstands that."

"As long as Russia and Ukraine want to fight, they're going to fight, and the United States can't stop that. So our choice is leave the Ukrainians on their own, or help them as they try to fight for independence."

There is, of course, much more to discuss with Grossman, including Chomsky's concerns (and many others'!) that this all leads to the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, as well as his thoughts on those who claim to be anti-war while blaming the U.S. for Russia's aggression. Please tune in for our very insightful and informative discussion today.

Finally, we close with some brighter news. A judge in New York has refused to end the $10,000/day fines levied against Donald Trump earlier this week, after the disgraced former President was found in contempt for failing to adequately respond to document subpoenas from New York state Attorney General Letitia James. Her civil probe into alleged "fraudulent" financial statements by Trump --- inflating or deflating his net worth as part of an alleged years-long bank, tax and insurance fraud scheme by Trump, his company and perhaps his children Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric --- is continuing toward a potential lawsuit. The Manhattan District Attorney is supposedly reviewing similar matters in consideration of criminal charges. Today, Judge Arthur Engoron denied Trump's motion to purge the contempt ruling (and the daily fines that go with it) after Trump submitted a one-page affidavit claiming he did not have any of the documents sought by James. He failed to explain who did or what he did to search for them.

"Mr. Trump's two-paragraph affidavit adds no useful information to the mix," said James before Engoron's decision today. "Mr. Trump merely states off the top of his head, with no hint that he conducted any type of search, that he has no documents in response to the December 2021 subpoena in his 'personal possession.'"

"It is simply not plausible that Mr. Trump authored only three documents dealing with the value of his assets and his wealth," the state AG wrote. The fines will continue to mount for now, as James' office makes their final determination as to whether or not to formally charge the former President in the coming weeks...

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Guest: Redistricting expert, author David Daley; Also: Did you hear Republicans tried to 'unwind' the 2020 Presidential election?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2022 6:43pm PT  

As midterm primary elections begin in earnest next month, today on The BradCast, we catch up with the latest successful attempts by GOP states to undermine their constituents' wishes through new, partisan gerrymanders following the 2020 Census and the Courts which are helping them do so. In the meantime, a Democratic-leaning court in New York today did the opposite, blocking a Dems from gerrymandering in the Empire State. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we're joined by our guest to discuss all of that and more today, just a quick kudos to Rebecca Beitsch at The Hill for coming up with a new euphemism --- or, at least, one we haven't seen used yet by the rest of the corporate media --- to report on new evidence documenting the failed Trump/GOP attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election. It's getting more difficult by the day to do so without using the correct word, "steal", when doing so. Sure, anyone can describe the GOP's attempt to "undermine" or "overturn" or "question the results". But that gets stale after a while. So, congrats to Beitsch for reporting on their attempt to "UNWIND the 2020 election", just to freshen things up! <insert eyeroll emoji here>

Then, we're joined today by redistricting expert and author DAVID DALEY, Senior Fellow at FairVote, to get caught up on a whole bunch of recent court rulings (and outrages) from over the past week or three when it comes to the last minute efforts --- largely by Republican-controlled states --- to game the 2022 midterms (and elections for the next ten years), with outrageously partisan gerrymandering of U.S. House maps.

Daley walks us through a number of such cases, including in several states where, over the past decade, large majorities of voters have adopted ballot initiatives to prevent the very gerrymandering that Republicans appear to be getting away with, nonetheless, in their newly redistricted maps.

In Ohio, the GOP-majority Redistricting Commission has had its new maps rejected four different times in recent weeks by the state's Supreme Court, with the help of its Republican Chief Justice. Despite being ordered by the court to follow the state's Constitution --- which now requires districts that generally reflect the partisan balance of the closely divided, if GOP-leaning state --- Republican Commissioners (which include state Gov. Mike DeWine, whose son sits on the state Supreme Court but refuses to recuse) aren't even trying anymore. With primaries scheduled for next month in the Buckeye State, the Commission is "just not meeting" anymore at all, says Daley. "They're trying to run out the clock so the federal court imposes one of the unconstitutional maps that has already been rejected by Ohio's state Supreme Court."

The state's previous gerrymandered map gave the GOP a 12 to 4 advantage in U.S. House districts. The new ones, repeatedly rejected by the state court, would give them a 13 to 2 advantage, despite the roughly 53-45% partisan split in the 2020 Presidential election and a 2015 mandate from more than 70% of voters rewriting the state Constitution to ensure new maps reflect the statewide partisan makeup.

In Florida, where voters also voted for redistricting reform, things are even more obnoxious and anti-democratic. The GOP-controlled legislature produced a map giving Republicans a 16 to 12 advantage, but it was rejected by Governor and Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis for his own hand-drawn map that is likely to result in 20 Republican House seats and just 8 Democratic ones. State Republicans "already produced a pretty good Republican gerrymander," Daley explains, "and DeSantis said, 'Wait a second, I can do even better than that.'" With the state's high court packed with his own appointees, Daley warns, "that is not a Supreme Court that we should look to for any sort of help when it comes to fair maps."

Back in 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that federal courts may play no role in preventing partisan redistricting, leaving the matter the chaos of each individual state court to decide. But on the matter of racial gerrymandering, SCOTUS is still happy to tell states what they can and can't do, even when the High Court's own rulings disagree with each other.

Daley explains how SCOTUS jumped in, back in February, months before the primaries, to block a new black-majority district ordered in Alabama by a lower federal court under the Voting Rights Act because. The Supremes, on the stolen and packed Court, determined it was just too soon before the primary election to draw up a new map. But late last month, after the Wisconsin Supreme Court approved a new state legislative map drawn by the state's Democratic Governor, SCOTUS ordered the state to rewrite the map, just weeks before the primaries, to remove a new black legislative district created in Milwaukee.

"The US Supreme Court has been eager this cycle to help Republicans and to put their foot on the scale against Democrats," Daley charges, describing their rulings as "Heads I win, tails you lose. They're not even pretending anymore."

And then we get to New York, where it was Democrats' turn to face the music for gerrymandering the state's U.S. House map to add three new likely Democratic U.S. House seats. Today, mid-show, NY's high court blocked the map (appropriately, as Daley sees it), ordering a court-appointed Special Master to draw up new maps in time for this year's primary (which the court also postponed until August to allow time to create the new maps.)

Last week, Daley, a longtime proponent of fair maps in all fifty states, wrote at CNN about what he saw as the "indefensible" map drawn up by NY Dems, describing it as "among the most obscene partisan gerrymanders nationwide." NY courts clearly agreed, but even Daley's own opinion article seemed to make the case for what Democrats tried --- but failed --- to do.

"If blue state courts roll back Democratic gerrymanders, but red state judges rule as partisan ideologues, a pro-GOP bias will be baked into the national map for another decade," he wrote. "A maximally gerrymandered national congressional map is...bad in nearly every way except, perhaps, compared with the previous decade's map, rigged so Republicans held control in 2012 even when they won 1.4 million fewer votes."

As regular listeners and readers know, over the past year I've (regrettably) changed my position on partisan gerrymandering, given the gaming of the system by Republicans which has succeeded in endangering America's small-'d' democratic project entirely. Short of federal legislation to ban partisan redistricting everywhere (an effort by Dems that was blocked by all Senate Republicans last year), I've been calling on states controlled by Democrats to gerrymander wherever possible. I hate that position. It's bad for many voters in the states but, ultimately, important for something resembling democracy on the national level at a time when democracy is facing a serious challenge from the forces of authoritarianism.

But Daley disagrees with. At least in as much as he has argued that such an effort could never be successful. "A national map that has been rigged for one side to win is extraordinarily dangerous, especially when one party has completely broken faith with democracy," he tells me as we debate this point again today. "Gerrymandering the hell out of Illinois and New York doesn't save democracy. It doesn't give Democrats that much of a leg up on fixing this. It is a band-aid, when what you need is a tourniquet. It's not sufficient. By all means, go ahead and put a band-aid on, but don't think it's going to stop the bleeding."

"I'm calling for a national standard that fixes the problem in New York as well as in Texas," he argues (as do I). "Because there are not enough New Yorks to balance out the Texases and Floridas. Democrats can gerrymander the hell out of these states if they want, but it's not going to help them. What they need to do is fix the overall structural problem, or it's only going to get worse."

Prepare for it to get worse...

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Guest: John Bonifaz of Free Speech for People; Also: Macron's victory; Trump found in contempt in NY, fined $10k/day until subpoena answered...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2022 6:43pm PT  

Well, we're back after a much-needed break last week on The BradCast. (Thanks to Nicole Sandler for covering for us for a few days!) As it turns out, disappointingly, news didn't stop just because we were gone!

First up today, some very good news from over the weekend and from this afternoon...

According to Exit Polling (which tends to accurately report on Europe's various hand-marked, hand-counted balloting) on Sunday, center-right French President Emmanuel Macron defeated far-right extremist Marine Le Pen to win a second five-year term. The European Union and democracy-lovers everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief following the apparently failed third try by Le Pen --- a supporter of Trump, Putin and other far-right autocrats and an opponent of NATO, the EU and immigrants --- to win the Presidency. It was the first time in 20 years that a French President has won a second term. Macron did so by a comfortable 17 points, based on Sunday surveys. Le Pen's far-right coalition will now shift their efforts to Parliamentary elections coming up in June.

More good news today, this time out of New York, where the Judge overseeing state Attorney General Letitia James' civil probe of alleged bank, tax and insurance fraud by Donald Trump, his kids and the Trump Organization has found him in contempt. Trump is now being fined $10,000/day until he adequately answers the AG's subpoenas for documents. "Today, justice prevailed," James said in a statement following following the Judge's order. “For years, Donald Trump has tried to evade the law and stop our lawful investigation into him and his company’s financial dealings. Today’s ruling makes clear: No one is above the law." But, in potentially even better news, Asst. Attorney General Kevin Wallace is quoted by AP as saying "We plan to bring enforcement action in the near future". Translation: Trump is about to face serious civil litigation in NY that could ultimately break up and/or bankrupt his company, if successful.

At the same time, the Manhattan District Attorney's criminal investigation into many of the same matters, regarding Trump committing fraud over many years by lying on his annual financial statements, continues as well.

The quest for accountability in the wake of our failed former President's attempt to steal the 2020 also continues elsewhere. On Friday, Georgia's far-right Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene became the first sitting member of Congress to answer questions under oath about involvement in the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Her testimony in an Atlanta courtroom, following a ruling to allow it by a federal judge, came in response to a ballot eligibility challenge filed by several voters in her 14th Congressional District. They charge Greene is ineligible for office based on Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment. The so-called Insurrection Disqualification Clause bars from office those who, after previously taking an oath to defend the Constitution, subsequently "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same" or have "given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

Greene was just one of the members of Congress who was neck-deep in the attempts by Trump and his MAGA Mob to block the certification of Joe Biden's 2020 election victory. She even went so far, as video produced by the plaintiff revealed, as to threaten violence to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to the new President. On Friday, Greene sat for several hours of questioning from attorneys at Free Speech for People (FSFP) who are representing voter-clients in Georgia, as well as several other states where voters are challenging the eligibility of elected officials who "engaged in insurrection" or gave "aid or comfort" to those who did.

Today, we step through her prevaricating testimony from Friday, in which she attempted to lie about charging that Democratic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had committed treason ("punishable by death," Greene noted in the video she initially tried to pretend did not exist) and about expressing approval for a comment on her own Facebook page calling for a "bullet to the head" of the Speaker.

Much of Greene's testimony consisted of dozens of "I don't recall" and "I don't remember" responses to the plaintiff attorneys, even as her memory was suddenly razor sharp when it came to remembering tweets, comments and other social media posts and videos cited by her own defense attorneys. While Greene claimed she never called for violence, the clear record proves otherwise.

We're joined today by JOHN BONIFAZ, Co-founder and President of FSFP, the group working with voters bringing the challenges to Greene in GA, as well as Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina, Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs in Arizona, and against far-right AZ State Rep. Mark Finchem, the Trump-endorsed Republican candidate for Secretary of State.

Bonifaz offers his reaction to Friday's hearing and Greene's attempt to evade accountability for her role in the 2021 insurrection. He also offers updates on the appeals filed in federal court in North Carolina (where a Trump-appointed judge rejected FSFP's challenge to Cawthorn's candidacy on a rather remarkable basis, as discussed) and in AZ, where a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge on Friday dismissed FSFP's challenge to Gosar, Biggs and Finchem. In that case, as Bonifaz details, the judge rejected the Constitutional challenge not on the merits, but on the claim that private citizens have no right to sue under the 14th Amendment. Bonifaz, a longtime, well-respected Constitutional law expert, explains why he believes the AZ judge is wrong (for example, he observes, it would allow a 14-year old or Vladimir Putin to run for Congress!) and the basis for which his organization is appealing that ruling.

Meanwhile, back in Georgia, the state administrative law judge who oversaw Friday's testimony, Charles Beaudrot (a corporate tax attorney who was initially appointed by a Republican Governor), will soon give his recommendation to Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger as to whether Greene should be disqualified from the mid-term ballot. Raffensperger will then decide whether to accept Beaudrot's recommendation or not.

No matter how it all shakes out, Bonifaz tells me today, the federal court ruling which allowed the challenge to go forward in the state last week is a victory in and of itself.

"Independent of what happened in the hearing on Friday," Bonifaz says, "what's happened is the door has now been opened for somebody like Donald Trump --- or anyone else who took an oath of office and engaged in insurrection --- being held accountable in Georgia. That door is now open because the precedent is there for voters to be able to challenge them based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Assuming its upheld by the 11th Circuit (Greene's attorney, who also works for Trump, is appealing the U.S. District Court Judge's ruling) that means there will be a challenge, I think, to Donald Trump appearing on the Georgia ballot in 2024."

There's lots more in today's conversation with Bonifaz! Please tune in...

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Also: Brooklyn subway shooting; NY Lt. Gov. indicted; What you don't know about inflation; Biden taps ethanol to further lower gas prices...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2022 7:22pm PT  

We've got a very busy and eclectic BradCast for you today. For good or ill. You'll decide. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • Another mass shooting today, this time in a crowded subway train in Brooklyn. At least 10 were shot and 17 injured. Reportedly, however, even with 5 victims said to be in critical condition, authorities say none of the injuries are life-threatening. The gunman, wearing a gasmask and releasing smoke bombs to add to the nightmarish chaos, appears to have used a semi-automatic handgun with several large magazines and was only stopped, after at least 33 shots, when one of the cartridges is believed to have jammed. The suspect was still on the run as of airtime.
  • Also in New York, recently-minted Democratic Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin was arrested and indicted on several federal felony charges related to bribery, fraud and falsification of records on Tuesday, in an alleged scheme during his time as a state Senator involving campaign payoffs from a real estate developer (who was previously arrested, but is not Donald Trump). Among the records Benjamin is said to have falsified are the vetting documents used by Gov. Kathy Hochul when selecting him for the job of Lt. Gov. after she ascended from that job in the wake of the resignation of the previous Democratic Governor, the scandal-plagued Andrew Cuomo. Benjamin resigned late today. But getting him off the June primary ballot, where he was set to run for election against two other Democrats, is a different matter.
  • You may have heard today via screaming headlines that new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on finds inflation in March was at 8.5% over the past year. It is the highest rate since December of 1981 when that failed, one-term President Ronald Reagan was in the final month of his first year in office. There's probably a bunch of other stuff you haven't heard today beyond the screaming "Inflation hits 40-year high!" headlines from our corporate media. We help you understand some of that stuff.
  • President Joe Biden's recent action to release a million barrels of oil a day, for the next six months from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve immediately helped to lower gas prices at the pump. They've been falling pretty much every day since that unprecedented move, though they remain high thanks to Russia's war in Ukraine and the oil industry's continued profiteering. Today, in a bid to further lower gas prices, Biden announced a plan to waive the ban on summer use of E15 gasoline, which contains a 15% ethanol blend. Desi Doyen helps us make sense of that news and why it is both good and bad.
  • Last week, following a months-long investigation, Arizona's very MAGA, vote-suppressing Attorney General Mark Brnovich, finally released a report [PDF] on his probe of allegations of fraud in Maricopa County (Phoenix)'s 2020 Presidential election. That probe was requested by the very MAGA state Senate after the exceedingly MAGA Cyber Ninjas failed to find any evidence of fraud in their own months-long so-called "audit" in the state's largest county, where Joe Biden won by some 45,000 votes, delivering the state to a Democrat for the first time in decades.

    As it turns out, Brnovich failed to uncover any evidence of fraud or any other crimes, though he did pretend to find "serious vulnerabilities" in the County's elections procedures. But those "serious vulnerabilities", according to the Chair of the County's Republican Board of Supervisors, the County's Republican Controller (its chief election official, who won his position during the same 2020 election), the County's former Democratic Controller (who lost that year), and the state's Democratic Sec. of State are all calling out Brnovich for a BS report that fails to find any evidence of any problems in the election at all, even while using words that help Fox "News" and the losing former President and all his MAGA friends pretend that he did. (Brnovich is in a contested primary race for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination, after all.)

    We let you know what Brnovich actually found (and didn't), even if none of it prevented the MAGA state Senate President who helped kick off all this madness from from claiming the report finds "fraud" (it doesn't) or one of the most rightwing MAGA state Senators from taking to her Twitter account in response to the report to call it "flaccid" and to insist that "WE WANT ARRESTS NOW." --- For what exactly? That part remains unclear. It may take a few more months or years and more millions of dollars of tax-payer money spent by "conservatives" in the state to get to the bottom of it.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen brings our latest Green News Report with some troubling new news on methane and climate change, as well as microplastics now being found in human blood and lungs. But she's got some better news on new mileage standards from Biden's Dept. of Transportation and on the electrification of tens of thousands of government vehicles and school buses in Los Angeles and Boston...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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