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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Trump Dark Money Group Dumping Tens of Millions on Racist, Transphobic Disinfo Ads: 'BradCast' 5/21/24
Guest: Victoria Cadostin; Also: Rudy arraigned in AZ; Trump defense rests in NY; More...
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/18/2024 10:41am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Astonishing, historic deluge inundates Dubai; Climate impacts will cost global economy $38 trillion a year by 2049, new study calculates; New lightbulb efficiency standards will save consumers money; PLUS: Biden Administration cracks down on toxic silica dust to protect workers' lungs... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Texas hack may be first disruption of U.S. water system by Russia; Maui wildfires: Wind-swept smoke trapped residents and impeded evacuations, AG’s first report says; Climate change played a role in killing tens of thousands of people in 2023; 'Reprehensible': Fossil fuel industry infiltrates civil rights convention; Trump rails against wind energy in fundraising pitch to oil executives; Grow food, cut carbon. Rock weathering has promise... PLUS: America's 'Most Endangered Rivers' list: Sewage, toxic algae, construction... and much, MUCH more! ...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/1/2023 10:53am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: July 2023 is the hottest month in all of recorded history; President Biden enacts new heat protections for workers; Canada takes first steps to eliminate taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels; PLUS: An Australian state bans natural gas in new homes and buildings... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate anomalies are emerging around the globe; Turns out paving over everything makes heat waves worse; America’s first new nuclear reactor in years starts operations after massive cost overruns; Scorching summer heat curtailing operations at oil refineries; Republicans threaten to derail Biden NEPA permitting reform talks; Zero oil companies bid in BLM’s Nevada lease sale; Big Business lobbies against heat protections for workers as US boils; Fungal disease spreading fast in U.S - hotter climate could be to blame ... PLUS: Alaska’s newest gold rush: Seaweed... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Also: McConnell checks into rehab; DeSantis flip-flops on Ukraine; NM expands right to vote...
By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2023 5:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If lying to Americans about crime failed to result in a "red wave" for Republicans in 2022, perhaps lying to them about "woke" banks will do the trick in 2024! I'm sure it'll work. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the many stories and important context offered on today's program...

  • Moody's considers downgrading the U.S. banking sector in the wake of several bank failures in recent days, even while declaring that the industry's outlook remains strong.
  • Inflation has eased slightly over the past month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wall Street rejoices.
  • Elizabeth Warren, as usual, was right when she warned in 2018 that rolling back the Dodd-Frank Act (enacted to prevent bank failures after the 2008 banking crisis) to loosen regulations and oversight of banks like Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank would end in disaster. As she noted at the time, before Donald Trump signed the bill to loosen restrictions on financial institutions: "Washington is about to make it easier for the banks to run up risk, make it easier to put our constituents at risk, make it easier to put American families in danger, just so the C.E.O.s of these banks can get a new corporate jet and add another floor to their new corporate headquarters." As usual, we should have heeded her warning.
  • Today we explain exactly happened that resulted in the failure and subsequent federal takeover of SVB and Signature by the FDIC, in case it hasn't yet been made clear. And, while the unnecessary failures stem directly from loosening government oversight and restrictions on banks to gamble with depositer funds, as allowed by Congress and Trump in 2018, what didn't cause it, is "wokeness." That's the explanation from Fox "News" over the past few days for what happened.
  • The cause of the bank failures was also not ESG (Environmental Social Governance) or DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, as Fox itself boasts about on its own company's website) or CRT or LGBTQ or anything else that Fox and Ron DeSantis are lying about to Americans about.
  • But what does appear to be true, when it comes to the latest Fox/DeSantis boogeyman of "woke", is that Americans have no problem with being "informed, educated on, and aware of social injustice," the definition of "woke" according to most Americans in a new USA Today/Ipsos poll. The same survey also finds Americans overwhelmingly (75% to 21%) in opposition of book banning by state's such as DeSantis' Florida.
  • 81-year old Republican minority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has now been released from the hospital after suffering a concussion from a fall last week. But he has checked into inpatient rehab for some reason. We truly hope he will be okay, if only because he may now be the only thing still holding together Congressional GOP support for Ukraine in its war against imperialistic invading Russia.
  • As we learned on Monday night via Tucker Carlson on Fox, DeSantis is now against supporting Ukraine in what he now describes as a "territorial dispute" with Russia, the authoritarian-led nation that has invaded it. As it turns out, DeSantis, while a member of Congress, was strongly in favor of the U.S. supporting Ukraine with lethal aide against Putin. That was before he became a contender for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination and decided to be against it. The survival of democracy in Europe is, apparently, no longer important for either of the GOP's two 2024 front-runners. Donald Trump has said his "peace plan" is to allow Russia to "take over" parts of Ukraine.
  • But some good news for democracy out of New Mexico, where the state legislature finally passed a voting rights bill on Monday that will expand the franchise to all residents who are now out of prison; strengthen access to the ballot for Native Americans; make Election Day a state holiday; and significantly strengthen the state's automatic voter registration program.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report. Among our stories: The Biden Administration's approval of controversial new oil drilling projects in Alaska, even while banning future such operations in Alaska and the Arctic Sea at the same time; Mack Truck introduces another electrified model; and Tropical Storm Freddy smashes all-time records in the Indian Ocean...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Dr. Nelson Lichtenstein, UCSB labor historian; Also: Landmark U.N. deal to protect world oceans; Fighting (again) for permanent DST...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2023 6:12pm PT  

As discussed on today's BradCast, support for labor unions in the U.S. is now near all-time highs. At the same time, the lawlessness by major companies willingly and repeatedly violating labor law is through the roof. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Last week, by way of just one example, a federal Administrative law judge found Starbucks had committed "egregious" violations of labor law in just one case that combined unfair labor practices charges at 21 union stores in the Buffalo, New York area alone. In fact, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has brought some 75 complaints against the coffee company accusing them of more than 1,000 illegal actions over just the past year or two.

Despite a newly aggressive, pro-labor, pro-union NLRB under President Biden and an explosion of unionization efforts over the past two years at hundreds of shops and facilities owned by firms like Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, REI and Chipotle, those companies have spent tens of millions on attorneys specializing in breaking unions, according to our guest today.

DR. NELSON LICHTENSTEIN, author and longtime professor of labor history at Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, joins us today to discuss both the successes and obstacles faced by the new union movement rising in the U.S. since he was here in 2021. While the companies mentioned have long attempted to project a friendly, progressive image to the public, they have been very aggressive in attempting, frequently unlawfully, to block unionization of stores and facilities around the country. Firing workers who support unions; shutting down shops where union votes have been requested and/or have succeeded; and, where union votes have succeeded, companies have simply refused to negotiate union contracts. That "is par for the course," Lichtenstein argues.

He cites "almost fifty years of specialized anti-labor law firms" now being employed by those companies. "And it works! Why change it?," he quips. "Despite the public relations hit that it has had for Starbucks and the other companies, the managers had their meetings, they've run the numbers, they've decided they'll take a small reduction in their growth and it's worth it."

"The tremendous push-back is really a tribute to the importance of unionism," says Lichtenstein. "The official line of these companies is '[unionization is] not going to change anything!'...While they are moving heaven and earth to stop the union."

Lichtenstein describes "the most aggressively pro-labor" NLRB in decades, noting "they don't have much money and they're putting together real indictments of these companies. The problem is that the NLRB doesn't really have any disciplinary tools at its command. The penalties for breaking the law are really minuscule." And, with those small penalties, these anti-union companies have simply decided that repeatedly and "egregiously" violating the law is merely the cost of doing business.

Republicans in the last Congress blocked passage of the federal Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act which would make many of these violations much more painful for company management. But, Lichtenstein explains, there are already laws on the books --- both anti-trust and RICO statutes --- that could be used by the federal government to bring anti-union companies to heal by making them feel real pain for violating the law.

We discuss all of that and much more today, including what Lichtenstein attributes to the recent rise in support for unions and unionization, and whether he is optimistic or pessimistic about the current state of labor and the new unionization movement.

Also today
, Desi Doyen joins us to explain some very big news from over the weekend on protecting the planet's oceans, after the U.N. sealed a landmark deal in overtime on Saturday, following a nearly 20-year effort for the framework of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. The breakthrough agreement, as she details, will help protect about 50% of the world's "high seas" which are currently outside national boundary waters or otherwise protected only by a patchwork of regional agreements.

And finally, with the clocks mercifully changing once again to Daylight Saving Time this coming weekend, it's time for our annual call to make it permanent. Once again this year, we are backed by a bipartisan effort in both the House and Senate to do just that...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: AZ Guv files bar complaint against former A.G. for 2020 fraud lies...
By Brad Friedman on 3/2/2023 6:31pm PT  

There's a reason we don't spend much time discussing the Right's phony "culture war" BS on The BradCast. Today, we talk about why. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

We go into much more detail on the program, but perhaps the biggest reason is likely that most of these so-called "culture wars" aren't any such thing. But talking about it, helps to make them appear to be such a thing. Whether it's outrage over BLM or CRT or, more lately, ESG, the GOP and FNC and all of their various corporate sponsors (mostly from the oil and gas industry), prefer spending time on ginned-up, phony nonsense to keep their readers, listeners and viewers angry, so they don't notice how the Republican Party has absolutely nothing but pain and thievery to offer them.

When the non-wingnut corporate media and Democrats jump in to respond to those ginned-up issues, sadly, the Right has succeeded in creating yet another "partisan" "culture war" out of whole cloth, in which they are able to claim there is a pitched partisan battle between "both sides". They've been mastering this scam for years, and the media and Dems have been falling for it for years as well.

One might think, for example, that the nation is bitterly divided in the "culture war" over abortion rights, one of the GOP's decades-old stand-bys. In fact, it's not much of a partisan or left/right or Republican/Democratic issue at all. The vast majority of Americans, across party lines, support reproductive freedom. And a recently released detailed survey from PRRI (of about 23,000 people in all 50 states!), demonstrates that there is not one single state in the union where a majority of the population supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Not one. Not even in the Deep South.

But maybe if you're furious enough about "ESG" you won't notice the Constitutional freedoms the GOP has just stolen from all of us. What's ESG? Well, the folks who watch Fox "News" almost certainly know what it is. It stands for "Environmental Social Governance." And, while the corporate concept has been around for about 20 years, Republicans, with the encouragement (and lots of money) from the fossil fuel industry, have only recently decided to become furious about it. Yup, they're hoping --- and the media are helping --- to turn it into yet another pretend "culture war".

Republican Presidential hopefuls like Florida's Ron DeSantis, Texas' Greg Abbott and former Vice President Mike Pence are all over those "woke" corporations who consider things like the health of the environment when making investments and other business decisions. As discussed today in some detail, Republicans have now decided that sort of thing must stop immediately! Failing to invest as much money as possible, including public funds, in the fossil fuel industry that is helping to wipe out humanity, will almost certainly result in grandma's retirement fund going bankrupt! Or something. And it now appears we're all gonna be dumb enough (again) to help these fake Fox "News" and fossil fuel industry outrages become a real thing.

Just this once --- hopefully, today only --- we're gonna talk about it so you understand exactly what's going on and how you're getting played...so hopefully we'll all stop falling for these scams over and over again.

Also today, a follow-up to a story we covered last week, when Kris Mayes, the new Democratic Attorney General of Arizona, released documents from her office that the previous Attorney General, Republican Mark Brnovich, appears to have forgotten to release before leaving office in January.

Among other things, the documentation reveals that Brnovich's office spent some 10,000 taxpayer-funded hours in 2021 investigating phony claims of election fraud in the state's 2020 Presidential election, assigning everyone in the office to the matter at one point. And though the probe was completed by March 2022, Brnovich never bothered to release the findings, that there was no evidence the election was stolen from Trump in Arizona, to the public. Instead of letting his state and the nation know, during his failed run for the state GOP nomination for U.S. Senate last year, Brnovich lied about the investigation. He told state lawmakers and the public that his office had found "serious vulnerabilities", even while he was ignoring his own staff's recommendations to come clean about the facts.

We covered those disturbing revelations from Mayes last week. And now, the state's new Democratic Governor, former Sec. of State Katie Hobbs, has filed a complaint against Brnovich with the state bar association. Hopefully, that complaint will result in sanctions or even disbarment for the state's corrupt, former top attorney, who was already under sanctions from the state bar association, as it turns out, when he misled the public last year about all of this.

Finally, it's Desi Doyen with our latest woke, ESG, Green News Report! Today, we focus on continuing drought conditions in California, despite the recent series of major storms and continuing, bizarre, climate change-fueled weather across much of the nation; Also, we cover the railroad industry's opposition to new regulations following outrage (phony or otherwise) over the recent toxic train derailment in Ohio...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: American Prospect's David Dayen on that, CFPB, drug pricing, new Labor Dept. chief; Also: Mayor Lightfoot loses Chicago re-election effort...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2023 5:32pm PT  

We've just about arrived at the point where the corrupt, stolen and packed rightwing U.S. Supreme Court almost isn't even trying to hide their corruption anymore. And, yes, as discussed today on The BradCast, that includes the Chief Justice. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, Lori Lightfoot, the first black female and openly gay Mayor of Chicago was reportedly knocked out of contention in her reelection bid on Tuesday. It is the first time in 40 years that an incumbent Mayor was unseated. (The last one was the city's first female Mayor.) Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson will go on to compete in the run-off set for April 4. Vallas is a "tough on crime" candidate vowing to add hundreds of police to the streets of the nation's third-largest city. He is supported by the police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, whose leader defended January 6 insurrectionists and equated Lightfoot's vaccine mandate for city workers to the Holocaust. Johnson, an African-American supported by the teachers union and progressive organizations, has called for more money to be spent not on police, but for mental health care, education, jobs and affordable housing.

Next, we're joined by DAVID DAYEN, progressive financial journalist, author and Executive Editor of The American Prospect to discuss Tuesday's oral arguments at SCOTUS on two different challenges --- both largely absurd --- to President Biden's student loan forgiveness program. But for being blocked by Republican-appointed lower court federal judges, the plan would forgive up to $20,000 for federal student loan borrowers making less than $125,000/year under the authority of the HEROES Act. The 2003 law, adopted by Congress and signed by the President in the wake of 9/11, grants authority to the Education Secretary to "waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision" regarding student loan programs in the event of a national emergency.

Despite the legal authority granted by the clear language of the text, Republican lower court judges have blocked the program to date, and the corrupt rightwing Justices at SCOTUS seemed to be working hard to do the same during the 3-and-a-half hour hearing at the high court on Tuesday, according to Dayen. The Biden Administration, as he explains, has invoked the very same legal authority from the HEROES Act to "waive" student loan payments as the Trump Administration used to pause them during the pandemic. Of course, neither Trump's authority to do so, nor its authority to issue hundreds of billions of dollars in forgivable PPP loans to small businesses during the crisis, was challenged in court --- or saw its "fairness" questioned --- by Republican litigants. Low income student loan borrowers, however, are apparently a different matter.

There are two different sets of GOP plaintiffs challenging Biden's plan. One (Biden v. Nebraska) is a group of six Republican-controlled states (Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas and South Carolina) and the other (Dept. of Education v. Brown) is two individuals who failed to qualify for student loan forgiveness. It seems that neither group of plaintiffs should have legal standing to sue at all in these cases, as neither seems to be able to demonstrate any real harm or injury. If these cases are to be tossed, it will likely be on those grounds. But, the Court's rightwingers sure did seem to want to block this program during Tuesday's hearing, citing the absurd and wholly-made-up, found-nowhere-in-the-Constitution "Major Questions Doctrine" as just one way to do so.

Dayen details the entire fiasco for us today. The Court will issue its opinion no later than June or July as hundreds of billions in financial relief for those need it most hangs in the balance.

Also discussed with Dayen today: The high court has decided to hear a case on whether the funding mechanism for the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) --- the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren during the Obama Administration following the 2008 financial crisis as the only federal watchdog agency focused mainly on consumers --- is unconstitutional. "If you believe it is," quips Dayen, "then you believe that not only numerous other agencies in the federal government have unconstitutional funding structures, but things like Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional." A similar funding mechanism has been used for decades, without challenge, by the FDIC, the FDA, the Federal Reserve and many others.

Dayen describes the ruling that the CFPB's entire funding mechanism is unconstitutional as coming from the "deeply radical" 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He seems to be hoping that SCOTUS has decided to hear this case next term (which begins in October) in order to reverse or, at least clarify, the lower court's ruling. We'll see if he's right about that.

Finally, we discuss drug-maker Eli Lilly's announcement today that the company plans to lower the cost for insulin, after President Biden and the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act, adopted last year, capped expenses for the drug at $35/month for federally insured patients, such as those on Medicare. Also, we discuss today's announcement of the nomination of Julie Su as Biden's new Labor Secretary to replace the departing Marty Walsh. As Dayen reports, the clever appointment of Su, a California progressive, will place her in charge of the Department whether her nomination is blocked in the Senate or not...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Russia-Ukraine author, expert Anatol Leiven of the Quincy Inst. for Responsible Statecraft; Also: Huge new jobs numbers for February as Biden economic boom continues, despite media failure in reporting it...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2022 6:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We'll leave the drumbeat of military experts and 24-hour, round-the-clock war porn to the cable news nets, and focus instead today on a path to peace, with a longtime expert on the complicated relationship between Ukraine and Russia. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

FIRST UP, however, back here in the U.S., more astoundingly good new jobs numbers were reported by the Labor Department. Some 678,000 new jobs were created last month, and revisions to monthly numbers for December and January add another 100,000 to the already record numbers. Also, the unemployment rate fell even further to a rate of 3.8%, not seen since before the pandemic. Much of that, according to experts, is thanks to Biden and the Democrats American Rescue Plan, passed without any Republican support early last year.

But even while Biden's economy continues to boom with a record 6.6 million new jobs created over the past year --- the most for any single year since record-keeping on this began in the 1930s --- and the highest growth in GDP since the 1980s, Americans appear completely clueless about these facts. Former WaPo columnist, Dan Froomkin, now author of the Press Watch newsletter, explains today why he blames the media for their dismal failures in properly educating the electorate on the basic, cold, hard facts. "When the public thinks up is down," he argues, "it’s time to rethink coverage."

NEXT, regrettably if necessarily, it's back to Russia's horrific, unprovoked war on Ukraine, after a harrowing night during which the largest nuclear power plant in Europe came under attack by Putin's forces, setting part of it ablaze for a time and rattling a lot of nerves in the bargain, and not just in Ukraine.

We're joined today from Great Britain by ANATOL LIEVEN, a former war correspondent in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya and other former Soviet nations. Lieven has served as a professor in Qatar and at the War Studies Dept. at King's College London and has written a number of books about Ukraine and Russia and other Eastern European conflicts following the fall of the USSR. He is now a Senior Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft where, on Thursday, he penned a quite welcome article on "How to get to a place of peace for Ukraine".

Lieven shares his deep expertise not only on that roadmap, and the hard, but necessary choices it'll require from Ukraine, Russia, the U.S., the EU and NATO, but also much more on how we got to this horrific place; what Putin really wants both on a macro historic level and out of this current conflict; what could happen if peace is not achieved; how this war is being understood by both average Russians, amid heavy-handed media restrictions, and those close to Putin; and whether Putin should be taken seriously regarding his recent, repeated, barely veiled threats of unleashing his nuclear arsenal.

We cover quite a bit of ground in this conversation, all of which is well worth tuning in for. But, just to cover a few of the key points from Lieven today...

On whether Putin is really hoping to brush back NATO's eastward expansion following the end of the Cold War or whether his attack on Ukraine is an attempt to prevent the threat posed by a prosperous, Western-leaning, market-based democracy in a neighboring, former Soviet county, Lieven believes it's the former. He explains that while Putin has been previously willing to accept some NATO expansion, he draws the line at border countries like Georgia and Ukraine, as would the U.S. if, for example, Mexico entered a military alliance with China.

"I think the reason so many people in America, in the West, in NATO" are now claiming this is about preventing a blossoming democracy on Russia's western border "is, basically, to cover their own tracks. They were warned, repeatedly, that this was going to lead to war. They didn't want to listen. And now, they're saying that it wasn't about NATO expansion because they don't want to acknowledge they were warned that this would lead to crisis," Lieven argues. "That doesn't, of course, excuse Putin's invasion. We don't know what's going on in Putin's head, but we do know what the Russians have said repeatedly for almost thirty years."

On Putin's claim that the invasion was meant to end an ongoing "genocide" and to "demilitarize and denazify Ukraine," Lieven scoffs, describing some of the realities about the limited reach of the ultra-nationalist Azov Movement in Ukraine. "This is absolutely grotesque Russian propaganda, colossally exaggerated," he says, adding that the accusation about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish and lost family members to the Nazis during WWII "is unspeakably mendacious and grotesque. This is not Nazi-ism and this is not genocide. That is a lie on a truly monstrous scale by Putin."

As to his proposed plan for peace, and the difficult choices that will come with it for many in the West, as he detailed yesterday at the Quincy Institute, it largely comes down to an agreement where Ukraine declares neutrality (not unlike Austria did in the 1950s), which means they won't join NATO, but they also won't join an alliance with the eastern military bloc either; ceding Crimea and the eastern Donbass regions held by Russia-backed separatists before the war to the Russians (though internationally-observed referendums should be held by the citizens of each region and territory gained during the current crisis would be returned to Ukraine), and all of the Western sanctions on Russia, both before and during the war would be lifted. There is, of course, a bit more to it, but that seems to be the general contours.

I ask if Putin would accept such an agreement and whether it would be seen as rewarding him for his aggression. "If what you really care about is ending the war and saving the lives of Ukrainians, and eliminating the threat of nuclear annihilation, people need to say just what is wrong with an agreement along these lines," Lieven answers. "If this were offered and the Russians then refused it, and introduced new demands, like replacing the Ukrainian government, then we would know that Putin's ambitions went much further. And that, of course, would be totally illegitimate and a peace agreement would be impossible. But we don't know that until that has been offered."

"In international affairs, alas, you always have to mix some combination of respect for international law with respect for realities on the ground if you're not prepared to fight," he tells me. Or, as he quotes Robert A. Lovett, U.S. Defense Secretary from 1951 to 1953, at the beginning of his article laying out this roadmap: "Forget the cheese --- let's get out of the trap."

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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Jan 6. Comm seeks McCarthy interview; Fulton County, GA D.A. closing in on Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2022 6:39pm PT  

Well, we start today's BradCast with some encouraging news. At least until our guest arrives. [Audio link to full, must-listen show follows this summary.]

First up, the investigators are closing in. In Congress, the House Select Committee investigating Trump's January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol are now "requesting" an interview and documents from House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, centered on his communications with Donald Trump "before, during and after" the insurrection.

Meanwhile, down in Georgia, Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney Fanni Willis also appears to be closing in on Trump and his fellow conspirators regarding their attempt to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State. In an interview with AP published on Monday, Willis said her team is making "making solid progress, and she’s leaning toward asking for a special grand jury with subpoena power to aid the investigation." She also believes a decision will soon be made on whether to indict Trump and several others. (Meadows? Giuliani? Lindsey Graham?) “I believe in 2022 a decision will be made in that case,” she told AP. “I certainly think that in the first half of the year that decisions will be made.”

And on Tuesday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported "that attorneys for former President Donald Trump have now met in person with the Fulton County District Attorney's office in Georgia." The meeting reportedly took place last month, around the same time that Trump issued an unhinged, seemingly out-of-the-blue statement that few knew what to make of: "All the Democrats want to do is put people in jail. They are vicious, violent, and Radical Left thugs. They are destroying people's lives, which is the only thing they are good at...their DA's, AG's, and Dem Law Enforcement are out of control." Suddenly, his remarks makes a lot more sense.

Welp...That's about it for today's encouraging news, before we are then joined by the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist for Slate on what appears to be Steve Bannon's dream of the "deconstruction of the Administrative State" about to come true.

Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on challenges to two separate COVID-related Biden Administration mandates. One applies to businesses with more than 100 employees, requiring them all to either get vaccinated or take weekly tests for the virus. The other requires vaccination for all workers at health care facilities that accept money from either Medicaid or Medicare. Both rules were set to take effect as the Omicron surge has led to record pandemic hospitalization numbers. The first was issued by way of regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the second via the Health and Human Services Administration (HHS). Both are based on authorities granted to the Executive Branch agencies via statutes adopted by Congress. Though none of those statutes, passed years ago, include the word "COVID" in them. So now they are both being challenged by Republican state Attorneys General as unconstitutional over-reaches by the Administration.

Based on tea leaves read during Friday's oral arguments --- with two of the challenging attorneys infected with COVID and arguing remotely --- Stern believes it's possible the employer mandate could survive, but that the health care mandate is likely to be struck down.

But buckle up for today's conversation with Stern about all of this, because these cases are a much much larger than simply about the COVID mandates, even though they are likely to save hundreds of thousands of American lives unless struck down by the Court. These challenges squarely target the so-called "Administrative State" which, as you'll recall, Trump's disgraced Senior Political Adviser Bannon vowed in 2017 that they planned to "deconstruct". That may finally be about to happen, thanks to Trump's stolen and packed Supreme Court.

We dive too far into the legal and Constitutional and political weeds to adequately summarize here, but the argument comes down to who has the Constitutional right to "protect the general welfare" of the citizenry on matters of public health (and much more). Is it Congress, which has no expertise in these matters? Or the Executive Branch agencies created by Congress and filled with such experts? Ironically, the ultimate body who will make this decision is going to be the Judicial Branch, which, like the Legislative Branch also has no expertise in these issues.

All of the COVID mandate challenges are based on legal doctrines such as the "major question doctrine" and the "nondelegation doctrine" (both explained by Stern) which, unlike the General Welfare clause, do not actually appear anywhere in the Constitution at all.

"There is nothing (in the Constitution) that requires these principles, and certainly nothing that gives the federal judiciary the power to decide what the Executive Branch gets to do and not do under Congressional delegations," Stern explains. "All of this stuff has been made up. It was made up a long time ago, and used to block New Deal programs under FDR, then immediately abandoned and discarded for nearly a century. Only in the last few years has it been revived by so-called 'originalists' who are seeking to box in Democratic Presidents and prevent them from issuing any kind of policy."

"We are talking about a really recent revival," he continues. "Because as recently as the early 2000s, the Supreme Court unanimously disclaimed any real version of the non-delegation doctrine, and a majority opinion written by Antonin Scalia [of all people!] basically said 'We don't have any expertise, it's not our job to tell Congress what it can and cannot entrust the Executive to do'. We are only about two decades out from that, and the entire conservative legal movement has turned on a dime and decided that, in fact, the courts have this intense obligation to police the boundaries between these branches, even though there's nothing in the Constitution that permits it, much less requires it."

The Scalia majority opinion in question, which Stern "encourage[s] everyone to read" is 2001's Whitman vs. American Trucking. "It is a very clear explanation of why the federal courts have absolutely no business mucking around in this kind of cooperation and negotiation between Congress and the Executive Branch. Twenty-one years later, everyone has decided to ignore that opinion on the Right and pretend like it never happened."

So, what will it mean if the Court now decides that experts at Executive agencies mandated by Congress to exercise their expertise may not do so? The fallout could be enormous and terrifying and go well beyond COVID and these two cases. By way of one example, Stern notes, next month the Court is about to hear a case where "the Biden EPA wants to restrict carbon emissions at power plants. While federal law gives the EPA vast authority to regulate and restrict all kinds of toxic and harmful emissions from power plants, it doesn't explicitly say 'carbon'. It says the EPA needs to decide what counts, and we will defer to their expertise."

But, Stern notes later in our conversation, "this does not start or stop with carbon. This goes to every toxic chemical on the planet, which Congress simply does not have the time or expertise to list. So, anytime you're thinking about the amount of benzene, or methane, or whatever horrific chemical you want to talk about in the water supply, the air supply, that stuff is regulated by the EPA, not directly by Congress. And if this Supreme Court goes as far as I fear it will, we are going to have a lot more unnecessary deaths because of a horrific amount of pollution that the President is going to be told that he simply cannot curb."

And, yes, even that is only the tip of the melting iceberg. It also goes farther than the EPA, to dozens, if not hundreds of other federal agencies and regulations on labor rights and much more, as Stern details. "But that is what these Justices seem to want, and that is the road that we are already following down," he warns. "We live in a juristocracy, my friend, and we are only just beginning to see the downstream consequences of it."

As noted, buckle up for this one...

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Guest: The Nation's John Nichols on that and other progressive wins and losses this year; Also: In the spirit of the season, lauding not one, but TWO Republicans (and one of them is Trump!)...
By Brad Friedman on 12/23/2021 5:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we continue to catch up with a few of our favorite progressive journalists as the year grinds down. And, yes, there are still a few things to celebrate before Christmas. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

This week, unionized Kellogg's workers in four states --- Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Tennessee --- approved a new five-year contract after a long, 11-week strike. The corporate cereal behemoth had recently threatened to replace the strikers with new, permanent (scab) workers. But, according to members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) International Union, the loud support of lawmakers, including the President of the United States and members of his Administration, Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well as state and local officials in Michigan and elsewhere, buoyed their resolve to keep going. And it worked! The BCTGM President noted this week that the new contract includes wage increases, cost-of-living adjustments, expanded health and retirement benefits and "does not include any concessions."

The victory for 1,400 workers, at a company which touted its workers just last year, during the darkest days of the pandemic, as "essential workers helping to feed the nation," was one of several for unionized labor this year. Our guest today, author and longtime progressive journalist JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation and Madison, Wisconsin's Capitol Times, joins us to help explain why.

"What's happened again and again" this year at companies like Kellogg's, John Deere and elsewhere, Nichols explains, "is that initially, the company bargains in the old-fashioned way. 'We're going to be tough with you...We'll permanently replace you.' All the old tricks." But, in a labor market with very low unemployment, where it is now difficult to find skilled workers or those willing to work in difficult, often dangerous conditions for low pay and benefits, "it's not going to work in this situation. The end result is the companies blinked."

But we've got much more than just the rise of labor in 2021 to catch up on with Nichols today in a lively, wide-ranging conversation on that...

  • on how the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would help a broad swath of workers across the country;
  • on Joe Manchin and the (theoretical) death of Biden's Build Back Better Act and what the West Virginia Democratic Senator's betrayal to his own party and his own constituents may mean for the future of the filibuster and federal voting rights legislation;
  • on Nichols' fascinating new article for The Nation on the FBI's weird scrutiny of It's a Wonderful Life as a Communist tool back in the 1950s (they thought it made Mr. Potter --- and capitalism --- look bad);
  • and on his upcoming new book calling for accountability --- akin to that which came out of FDR's Pecora Commission following the Great Depression --- for Coronavirus Criminals and Pandemic Profiteers. "In every chapter in the book," Nichols explains, "I find individuals who died, and I track through the cabinet members, the judges, the CEOs, whoever, who could have taken actions that would have let that person live."

That's just a taste. Tune in for much more today with the great Mr. Nichols!

Then, yes, in the spirit of the holidays (and, perhaps, in hopes that it may save even one life), we laud two Republicans today for (barely) doing the right thing this week. One is Congressman Tom Rice of South Carolina, who now says he regrets voting against Joe Biden's certification in two states following the Trump-incited attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. ("There was a coward in that equation," Rice told Politico. "But it wasn’t Mike Pence.") And, perhaps most begrudgingly of all, we laud Trump himself for saying out loud during a wingnut interview this week: "The vaccine worked. But some people aren't taking it. The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don't take the vaccine. ... If you take the vaccine, you're protected. Look, the results of the vaccine are very good...People aren't dying when they take the vaccine."

Yes, the bar is admittedly very low at this point, but we've gotta start somewhere if we want to figure out how to repair this broken nation (and planet.)

Speaking of...the fine folks at ExxonMobil were apparently able to fit in one last disaster before year's end, with an explosion in the middle of the night at one of their refineries near Houston that injured four workers, three of whom were airlifted from the scene. The company downplayed the incident, as usual, describing it as "a fire occurred at our facility". The Houston County Sheriff's office described a "major industrial accident". We hope to learn more soon.

No room for that story today, however, in our final Green News Report of the year (we're standing down next week, Nicole Sandler will be filling in for us for most of it), as Desi Doyen joins us for a round-up of the disasters and successes in the environmental world in 2021, and much more...including one more victory for labor and union workers, as the Biden Administration mobilizes to rid the nation of millions of lead pipes...

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Guest: Univ. of KY election law professor Joshua A. Douglas; Also: Media fail again in reporting on latest, wildly misleading jobs numbers...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2021 7:13pm PT  

Should Democrats draw extreme partisan gerrymanders in states they control the way Republicans are doing in states where they have control over redistricting maps? On today's BradCast we have a very animated debate on the issue, along with a discussion of the few other ways that fans of democracy may still try and save the republic from the GOP's unabashed authoritarian lurch toward minority rule. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, first up today, a few quick thoughts on the corporate media, yet again, wildly misreporting national economic news amid the very robust --- and, in many ways, record --- recovery, while the country attempts to come out from under its pandemic-induced recession. On Friday, new numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) declared that America's unemployment rate continue to tumble to just 4.2% --- a remarkable, nearly half point decline since just last month to virtually where it was pre-pandemic. Nonetheless, morning headlines focused instead on lower than expected new jobs created in November, which sent the stock markets tumbling once again. That, even though, over the past year, the BLS has substantially upwardly revised previously reported monthly jobs numbers every single month except for one. They've done so with numbers that are nearly double or more than the initially reported monthly BLS statistics, amounting to nearly 1 million more jobs in 2021 than initially reported.

While its unclear why initial BLS numbers are now so far off the mark. Historically, they always revise. But, this year, post-pandemic survey numbers have been wildly off for some reason. The consequences both politically and economically have been huge. The fact that the corporate media can't seem to account for that by now in their panicked reports with each new "disappointing" set of numbers --- which will almost certainly be revised up very soon --- remains disturbing. That, as media continue to misreport on inflation and downplay positive economic news such as the lowest number of new weekly jobless claims since 1969 just last week; the nearly 1 million new jobs created this year alone; and the 1.1 million jobs filled since just last month's BLS report, to name a few points that have received much less notice from the media...for some reason. If the media can't adjust for the misleading initial BLS reports themselves, perhaps Biden's Labor Dept. Secretary should help them.

THEN, as we've been documenting, Republican-controlled states around the nation continue to implement new, extremely partisan redistricting maps for U.S. House and state legislators following the 2020 census. With computer-drawn precision, these new maps will ensure GOP gains in 2022 --- and a Republican majority in the U.S. House --- even if America votes exactly as they did in 2020, when Democratic House candidates received nearly 5 million more votes than GOP candidates.

Two years ago, the GOP's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court declared they would not intercede in fights over partisan gerrymanders. So, how can Democrats push back against this anti-democracy putsch by Republicans hoping to secure minority rule in the House for the next decade (adding to already existing minority rule in the Senate and electoral college, as baked into the Constitution, and on the Supreme Court, thanks to Republicans gaming the system there in recent years)?

We're joined today for a lively discussion on exactly that by JOSHUA A. DOUGLAS, author and election law professor at University of Kentucky's J. David Rosenberg College of Law. Last week, he proffered at least one solution in an op-ed at Politico calling for litigation in state courts all over the country, now that SCOTUS has washed their hands of the matter, while Democratic obstructionists in the Senate (Manchin and Sinema) block the party's ability to reform the filibuster in order to ban partisan gerrymandering nationwide in the Freedom to Vote Act.

"It was thought to be that the House of Representatives would be 'the people's house', the body that would represent a majority of the people and be a check on some of these other institutions that might give outsized weight to the smaller states, the rural states --- in the pre-Civil War era, the states that were trying to protect slavery," Douglas explains today. "But now, with sophisticated computers and algorithms where we can predict with such accuracy how people are going to vote, the House has become completely out of whack, such that Democrats need to win a lot more than 50 percent plus 1 in order to gain a majority in that chamber."

With federal courts no longer an option for the time being, Douglas notes that almost all states have constitutions that, unlike the U.S. Constitution, grant citizens an affirmative, fundamental right to vote. Those provisions, declaring that elections must be "free" or "free and equal" or "free and open", can and should be exploited to challenge the parties in power currently drawing maps that deprive residents of those rights, he argues. "My argument is that state courts should robustly use these phrases to protect democracy, and to throw out maps that are so skewed that the maps don't represent a fair democracy, a fair majoritarian rule, but instead keep the party in power to stay in power, to entrench them in power, just because of the way the lines are drawn."

Douglas observes that, while more challenges are beginning to be filed along those lines in state courts in recent days, he "was a little surprised" that, at least until recently, there had been very few such challenges brought in state courts, despite legal foothold offered by many of those state constitutions. "If we're looking for a solution to a situation that is untenable for democracy, at least here's one where we've seen some success," he tells me. "Just a couple of years ago, both the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the North Carolina Supreme Court relied on their state constitutions to strike down gerrymandering maps in those states. And other states' Supreme Courts have relied on their state constitutions for other democracy decisions, other issues involving the right to vote. So we have some precedent that is favorable to using these state constitutions robustly."

While I also support such challenges --- along with sharing Douglas' call for reforming the Senate filibuster to allow passage of federal legislation that would ban partisan gerrymanders in all 50 states --- I've also recently been forced to reluctantly change my position on partisan gerrymanders in states controlled by Democrats. I believe "blue" states should not unilaterally disarm. That, due to the threat to democracy itself now posed by the GOP gerrymandering scheme to "win" a House majority with a minority of votes in 2022 and then use that majority to steal the Presidential election in the House in 2024, as Douglas himself warns against in a separate op-ed this week at CNN.

Despite his assertion in his CNN piece that "we must treat the 2022 election as existential for the continued vitality of our democracy," noting that "American democracy barely survived 2020. The attacks on 2024 are already underway" and "Whether they succeed will depend on what we do right now," Douglas remains firmly opposed to tit-for-tat partisan gerrymandering by Democrats and explains why.

He and I have that out in a very lively debate to close out today's program...

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Hospitals in GOP-leaning states begin rationing healthcare as Delta variant skyrockets, even among children (while DeSantis tries to kill them); Better news in Alaska; Good jobs numbers; DoJ sues Texas; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2021 6:36pm PT  

The news, as you may have noticed, continued to be somewhat grim. But we do manage to find a bit of encouraging news here and there on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary below.]

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

  • Good news in the long (very long!) battle to protect Alaska's nearly-pristine Bristol Bay and its native run, $2 billion a year salmon fishery industry from the ecological devastation of a huge, open pit gold and copper extraction operation known as Pebble Mine. Biden's EPA is invoking a section of the Clean Water Act to block the project. Hopefully it will stay blocked for good this time, but we'll see.
  • New jobs numbers from the Department of Labor are encouraging today, with unemployment rates now at a pandemic low and reaching pre-pandemic levels. That's cautiously good news, given the effect that the Delta variant is now beginning to have on the economy. But, because it's largely encouraging news which works against Republican hopes for a disastrous economy, you probably didn't hear too much about today's numbers. We also explain why this largely good, if under-reported, news also undercuts Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)'s argument for undercutting Joe Biden's proposed, landmark $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill.
  • More encouraging news (before we get to the less encouraging news today): It turns out we do have an Attorney General and he is capable of acting quickly and decisively...at least when he's pushed to do so. The Dept. of Justice today announced a federal lawsuit to enjoin the state of Texas' new law undercutting the Constitutional right for women to have an abortion, as per the previously-settled, nearly 50-year old precedent established by Roe v. Wade. Whether the DOJ's "relatively novel theories developed in reaction to a novel law" will be successful, given the GOP's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court, remains to be seen.
  • Remember back during the summer of 2009, when rightwingers were instructed by Fox "News" and the Republican Party to be outraged about "death panels" in President Obama's then-proposed Affordable Care Act that would lead to the rationing of health care and decisions by government bureaucrats about who should live or die? The argument was all nonsense at the time, as there were no such "death panels" in ObamaCare that would kill granny. But, guess what? States around the country are now beginning to ration healthcare and are deciding who gets to live or die. That is thanks to the very same Republicans who were told to be outraged about phony "death panels" in 2009, now being told to be outraged about life-saving vaccines and mask mandates. Thanks to those idiots, COVID infections, hospitalizations and death rates are skyrocketing, particularly in GOP-run states with low vaccination rates. And, because of it, and the lack of ability to handle the surge, the state of Idaho has announced new "crisis standards of care." That means they are now literally forced to ration health care, as they try to save those with the highest chances of survival, while wishing the best of luck and "comfort care" to everyone else. Kentucky and other states are now on the brink of doing the same, as hospitals continue to be overwhelmed in states with low vaccination rates.
  • COVID infection, hospitalization and death rates were, incredibly --- and completely unnecessarily --- 2 to 3.5 times higher this Labor Day, then they were over Labor Day last year, in 2020.  Moreover, infection, hospitalization and death rates are also skyrocketing among children right now, with kids now comprising more than a quarter of all new cases.
  • Despite the alarming rates of sickness among children, twisted GOP Governors in states like Texas and Florida are still fighting tooth and nail to block local school districts from determining what is best for their students and staff alike. Florida's largest school district, Miami-Dade, announced this week that 13 staffers have died since mid-August. All of them were unvaccinated. But, in brighter news, a state judge has --- for now --- blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis' appalling authoritarian attempt to ban mask mandates and punish school districts who defy him.
  • Amid all of this today, President Biden announced new federal directives to try and curb the deadly pandemic by mandating vaccination or regular testing for as many as 100 million workers nationally. In remarks sharply critical of those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated, Biden also announced that Executive Branch employees and contractors who do business with the federal government will now have to be vaccinated, with no option to test out of it.
  • Late today, Los Angeles School District, the second largest in the country, voted to implement a mandatory vaccination regime for those older than 12.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Biden pushes for infrastructure resiliency and "building back better" after the deadly devastation of Hurricane Ida, and much more...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Biden launches 'wartime effort' to tackle vaccine, testing and economic disaster left behind by Trump; Also: QAnon conspiracy followers sad, racist Proud Boys mad. Both abandoning Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2021 7:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Now that the new Administration is actually inside the White House, the extent of the unspeakable mess left behind by the previous occupants are only just now beginning to come to light. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]

When it comes to the still-worsening COVID crisis --- just one of the several crises left for President Biden to clean up in the wake of the unprecedented failures of the Trump Administration --- apparently it's all much worse than feared. There was, reportedly, no coordinated effort in place at all to deal with national distribution of vaccines, nor to deal with the difficult task of safely reopening schools and businesses in hopes of reviving the still-worsening economic crisis that Trump and Congressional Republicans also left behind for the new Democratic Administration to clean up as well.

After yet another Democratic President is left to clean up yet another economic disaster following yet another Republican Administration, one might wonder why it is that Americans and many in the media continue to falsely suggest the GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility, when they are clearly the complete opposite. I've got a thought or two today on how that scam continues, year after year after year, despite actual facts to the contrary.

Among the many stories covered on today's program, as the "clean up on aisle 45" gets under way on the first full day of the new Biden Administration...

  • The new, weekly jobless claim numbers from the final week of Trump's Presidency are out today, and they are horrendous. Since the crisis began last March, for the 44th week in a row, they once again are hundreds of thousands of applications higher than the worst-ever week during the Great Recession. (Ya know...the last time a Dem Prez had to save the economy after a Republican Administration destroyed it.);
  • Perhaps you can take some comfort in the fact that at least Trump's own businesses are tanking as well, thanks to his fatally horrific decision to pretend the coronavirus was a hoax and to do nothing about it --- other than to make it far worse than it should have been;
  • Biden's first full day clean-up also included firing a number of wingnut Trumpers who had burrowed in at several Executive Branch agencies. One of them is the top lawyer at the National Labor Relations Board who is decidedly anti-labor!;
  • Meanwhile, in the nether-reaches of the Internet, there is much sadness, confusion and despondency. Adherents of the ridiculous QAnon conspiracy theory --- who believe that Democrats and "deep-staters" are secretly baby-eating, satanic, pedophiles (oh, like they're not!) and that Trump, as a super-genius, had a secret plan to round them all up, arrest them in mass and execute them at the Inauguration, before reclaiming his rightful second term --- are disappointed today for some odd reason and have reportedly "lost all hope". Turns out that, after none of that actually happened, as promised by "Q" for years, the QAnon dupes and stooges are only now beginning to realize they may have been played for suckers all along;
  • Also newly disappointed of late by their former hero, Donald Trump, is the rightwing racist street gang Proud Boys. Following Trump selling them out after the January 6th U.S. Capitol riots, many in the extremist hate-group seem to have decided the former President is a "shill", "extraordinarily weak" and "a total failure". (SAD!);
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more news on Biden's efforts to clean up and reverse scores of anti-environmental regulations and actions taken by the previous Administration, and on renewed hopes for the revival of real climate action by the U.S. Government...if a few questionable Dems in the Senate play along...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Trump is in for big legal trouble in NY too; Economy heading over a cliff as White House, Congressional Republicans dither...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2020 6:41pm PT  

Michelle Obama says that quarantine, racial strife and the "day in and day out" "hypocrisy" of the Trump Administration has left her wrestling with "low-grade depression". We know the feeling and suspect you do as well. But, as we noted almost four years ago here on the BradCast, we're all going through this nightmare together. We said we'd be here with you throughout, and we still are. And we will come through this together. [Audio link to show is posted below the following summary.]

All of our stories today are today's top story. And we couldn't even get to all of them. But we tried. Among those stories...

  • Ohio's Republican Governor Mike DeWine tested positive today for the coronavirus just minutes before he was to meet with the President. Lucky for him --- and the President --- that everyone who meets with Donald Trump must be tested first. If we were all only as lucky as the President; Trump was in Ohio today to sing the praises of the "economic prosperity" his Administration has brought to the nation (and attend a fund raiser for his reelection). [UPDATE POST-SHOW, 7:49p PT: A more sensitive test finds DeWine negative for COVID-19 after all!]

  • That "economic prosperity", according to the Labor Department today, includes another 1.2 million Americans who newly filed for unemployment last week. It was the 20th straight week with more than one million new jobless claims. Before the pandemic, the all time highest number of weekly jobless claims was 695,000. More than 31 million Americans are now out of work as they enjoy Trump's "economic prosperity" as the GDP fell a record annualized rate of nearly 33% in the second quarter. It took three years of the Great Depression before we even got close to an annualized negative 30%. During the Great Recession, we only ever topped out at about negative 8%. Other than that, how about all that "economic prosperity" thanks to Donald Trump?!;
  • As bad as things are, they are likely to get much MUCH worse, unless Republicans in Congress and at the White House get their act together and quickly. The $600/week expanded unemployment payments from an earlier COVID emergency relief bill for those 30 million or so unemployed Americans has now expired. The moratorium on evictions has also ended. But Republicans and the White House are still unable to put together a new relief package that can pass Congress. Democrats in the House already adopted a $3 trillion package to extend unemployment, the eviction moratorium, and give hundreds of billions to cash-strapped states, cities and hospitals, not to mention the U.S. Postal Service months ago. Tens of thousands of deaths later, however, we're still waiting on the GOP and the Administration to take action. How many will be homeless, starving or dead before they do?;
  • In some brighter news --- at least for those who weren't suckers enough to donate money to the con-artists at the terrorist-supporting National Rifle Association --- New York state's Attorney General Letitia James sued the NRA on Thursday, charging massive financial fraud by its leaders and seeking to dissolve the once-powerful, now wholly corrupt 150-year old organization. James' civil suit details a gobsmacking amount of corruption and unlawful self-dealing by the NRA's leader Wayne LaPierre (pictured above) and four other top officials. It alleges the "non-profit's" executives diverted tens of millions of dollars to themselves for lavish personal vacations and other personal expenses, no-show contracts for associates --- including family members and girlfriends --- and even secret contracts created for themselves. LaPierre is alleged to have hidden millions of dollars in personal income from the IRS in the bargain. James is seeking to shutdown the organization's charter as a non-profit organization established in New York, and to bar the executives for life from holding any major role in any charitable organization. Donald Trump said today that he thinks the matter is "a very terrible thing"...for the NRA, an ally of his, as opposed to the millions of Americans who have been ripped off by rightwing political group of grifters;
  • But James' announcement today may just be a preview of wait awaits Trump himself (along with his associates and family members) down the road. While James already shut down Trump's own so-called "charitable" organization for similar fraud and self dealing, and the President was forced to cough up $25 million dollars just after his 2016 election to settle fraud complaints against his "Trump University" scam, the worst may still be ahead him. The New York Times revealed on Wednesday night that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. successfully subpoenaed Deutsche Bank last year --- one of the only banks willing to loan him money --- for years of financial documents from the Trump Organization. Trump had sued both Deutsche Bank and his accounting firm Mazars USA to prevent them from turning over financial records in response to subpoenas from Congress, and sued Mazars to prevent them from giving similar tax-related statements to Vance --- successfully stalling the prosecutor, who now has clearance from SCOTUS to pursue that subpoena. But Trump apparently failed to prevent Deutsche Bank, which loaned him some $2 billion over the years, from responding to the subpoena from Vance. The documents now reportedly in the DA's possession are believed to reveal that Trump vastly and fraudulently over-inflated his personal assets (we know, doesn't sound like him at all, right?) Last week, Vance argued before a federal court that Trump's tax records were needed from Mazars as part of his investigation into public reports of "extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization." Given that we have now learned Vance already has many of Trump's financial documents from the German bank, it sounds like the District Attorney knows exactly what he expects to find in the rest of the documents he is seeking;
  • Finally today, after some quick and disturbing news from NOAA about this year's already-record Atlantic Hurricane season on what we are now likely to see over the next four months as it continues, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report. It, too, is chock full of quick and disturbing news....but also some very encouraging news here and there and wherever else we can find it...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: The Prospect's David Dayen; Also: PA Repubs kept COVID infection a secret from Dems; Absentee ballot applications for all in WI...
By Brad Friedman on 5/28/2020 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's concierge service from the Fed for Wall Street during the crisis, as American workers are left fighting for table scraps to stay alive. Again. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of summary.]

New weekly unemployment numbers out on Thursday from the U.S. Dept. of Labor suggest that while new jobless claims are beginning to slow, they are still coming in each week at all-time record numbers. Another 2.1 million Americans filed new claims last week, bringing the number of unemployed to Great Depression era levels of nearly 41 million Americans out of work. Another way to look at it is that a staggering one in four working Americans has filed for unemployment over the past 10 weeks since the COVID-19 crisis began in earnest in the U.S. Those official government numbers [PDF], however, are still lower than the real unemployment numbers, as millions are believed still stuck in line or having trouble getting through to still-overburdened state unemployment offices.

"A closer depiction of reality in the crisis," our guest DAVID DAYEN of The American Prospect, reports today, is a recent Census Bureau survey finding "that nearly half of all households have lost income" since the crisis struck in mid-March. At the very same time, however, as jobs are still disappearing and S&P 500 companies report an average 13% loss in profits during the first quarter of the year, the stock market has been soaring of late. Even with today's record jobless numbers, the market continued to rise (though it dropped a bit just before today's close) with the Dow up over 1,000 points in the past three days and the S&P 500 reporting record gains over the past month.

Another study cited by Dayen today comes from the Institute for Policy Studies, finding that "since March 18, as 100,000 died from COVID-19 and 40 million lost their jobs, billionaires in America have added $485 billion in wealth." Must be nice. So why is this happening? Why does the economy appear to be tanking everywhere except for on Wall Street?

Dayen, who, in his daily "Unsanitized" columns at The Prospect has been reporting for weeks on the "$4.5 trillion money cannon" unleashed by the Federal Reserve, with the approval of Congress in the CARES Act. He explains how that relief bill gave the go-ahead for the Fed to signal in late March, for the first time in history, that they will backstop corporate debt for huge companies. Without spending a dime, the signal the Fed gave on March 23rd is that investors didn't have to worry about about any risk associated with buying bonds from those companies. The Fed would back them up in the event the companies failed. So, as Dayen detailed this week, troubled firms like Carnival Cruise Lines, which is unable to make a penny now in the cruise line business, and Boeing, which was already in trouble before the coronavirus crisis began, are still raking in tens of millions (even billions) of dollars in the bargain. And, since the funding is coming from private equity firms and hedge funds (as guaranteed by the federal government), that "mothers milk", as Dayen describes it, is coming with no strings attached, unlike direct loans from the Government's CARES Act might have. That means, he says, that at least 49 major companies have brought in enormous sums of money during the crisis this way, even as they've laid off tens of thousands of workers at the very same time while using their windfall of cheap money to pay executive bonuses and purchase stock buybacks as working class American suffer in a way they haven't since the Great Depression.

"What idiot would send money to Carnival Cruise lines right now?," Dayen quips, before explaining how the Fed's announcement gave the go ahead to private equity firms to invest in the company anyway. "What they're saying is 'We're going to support the entire market'. ... They're essentially saying to investors, we will take care of you, we will do whatever it takes. The markets take that as a signal that they're going to be coddled, they're going to be protected, and that's all it takes."

This was all done with the approval of both parties in Congress, even as some Dems are now beginning to regret giving no-string attached approval to Donald Trump's Treasury Dept./Federal Reserve money cannon. "When you defer to the Fed as your main policy-making engine in the country, you're going to get disproportionate responses, because the Fed deals with banks and they deal with large corporations. And that's who is going to get the relief. Not the average person on the street."

"When ordinary people, 40 million strong, have to go on to the unemployment lines, they get limited, temporary relief that will probably go away very soon, and they struggle to obtain food and figure out how to maintain their shelter," Dayen explains. "The problem is not that large companies got a bailout from something that wasn't of their own making --- the coronavirus crisis --- the problem is that there's one system for elite investors and large corporations and one system for everybody else."

How long can this last? Dayen discusses that as well, as states and municipalities around the country are themselves facing massive revenue shortages and fiscal year budget deadlines by July 1 in many cases. Without Congress enacting another relief bill for those states and municipalities, critical local services will soon be slashed. Cops, firefighters, teachers, and even medical workers will be laid off amid the continuing global pandemic, gutting revenue to those states even further. Democrats in the House have already passed a $3 trillion bill to help out state and local governments. Republicans in the Senate, however, have said they are in no rush to take any further action for now.

We also discuss the unimaginable politicization of this pandemic, where even the idea that measures to keep Americans alive has now become a political hot potato just five months before the crucial November elections.

That unimaginable politicization is now on full display in Pennsylvania, where a Republican state lawmaker disclosed on Wednesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. While he had known for at least ten days, he told only his Republican colleagues in the House. Democrats were left in the dark, even as GOPers in the gerrymandered House demanded in-person committee hearings where Dems were unknowingly put in contact with colleagues who had been in contact with the infected Rep and didn't even bother to wear masks during hearings demanding the reopening of businesses in the state. One Democratic Representative from Philadelphia unleashed a tirade during a Facebook Live video Wednesday night (which we share on today's show), calling on the GOP Speaker of the House to resign and for the state Attorney General to consider prosecution of those members who endangered the others along with their families. All of which underscores, yet again, the importance of the upcoming election and the reckoning that should come with it.

To that end, we've got some good news out of the state of Wisconsin (for a change), where the bi-partisan state Election Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to send absentee ballot applications to all of the Badger State's 2.7 million registered voters before the November election. That, in hopes of avoiding the nightmarish consequences of the state's April 7th primary when GOP state lawmakers refused to agree to the Democratic Governor's attempt to postpone the election or extend absentee balloting to keep residents safe during the crisis. So, will Donald Trump threaten to cut off funding to WI as he did last week when Michigan announced their intention to also sent absentee ballot applications to all registered voters? Stay tuned.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report with troubling predictions from NOAA for hurricane season; the plague of locusts spreading from Africa to India; New York and New Jersey reject a proposal for a new fracked-gas pipeline; and a new $14 million ad campaign ties Trump's deadly coronavirus denial to his long-standing deadly denial of our climate crisis...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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