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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, August 14, 2020
Trump Admits to Crippling USPS In Hopes of Stealing the Election: 'BradCast' 8/13/20
President of the United States holds trillions of dollars in emergency relief hostage to prevent Dems from safely casting ballots in November...
'Green News Report' 8/13/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Biden taps enviro justice champ Harris for VP; Trump EPA rolls back methane rules for industry; Good news for nation's birds; PLUS: Another new fossil fuel spill, this time in PA...
Previous GNRs: 8/11/20 - 8/6/20 - Archives...
GOP Secretaries of State Crank Up Mail-in Vote Suppression in GA, KY, OH: 'BradCast' 8/12/20
Guest: Howie Klein on primaries in MN, GA, elsewhere; Also: Kamala debuts with Biden...
BIDEN PICKS HARRIS; Also: 'Lost' GA Vote Mystery Solved: 'BradCast' 8/11/20
Guests: Heather Digby Parton on Kamala; Jeanne Dufort on GA's scanner fail that missed 1000s of valid votes & how to fix it before Nov...
'Green News Report' 8/11/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
More deadly fossil fuel disasters in Baltimore, off island of Mauritius; Get ready for hyperactive hurricane season; Record July 2020 heat; PLUS: Canada's last intact ice shelf collapses...
Previous GNRs: 8/6/20 - 8/3/20 - Archives...
Failed PR Primary; 100k Infected Kids in 2 Weeks; Trump's Pretend 'Exec Orders': 'BradCast' 8/10/20
Also: 'Back to school' with listener calls, as it all goes from bad to worse...
Overcoming Trump's Vote-By-Mail Obstacles
How states, counties and YOU must help defend our 'last firewall'...
Sunday 'Is What' Toons
This week's toon collection from PDiddie is what it is...
'Mail is Being Slowed Down... Everywhere' Warns Postal Union Prez: 'BradCast' 8/7/20
Guest: APWU's Mark Dimondstein; Also: Progressive activist 'wins' TN's Dem U.S. Senate nom after being outspent 250 to 1...
National Ripoff Association: NY A.G. Sues NRA for Fraud, to Dissolve Org: 'BradCast' 8/6/20
Also: Trump in NY legal trouble too; Economy over a cliff as White House, Repubs dither...
'Green News Report' 8/6/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump signs major land bill; Fertilizer caused Beirut explosion; Electricity shutoff ban ending; Shell's offshore hybrid wind farm; PLUS: Northeast climate pact causes healthier kids...
Previous GNRs: 8/3/20 - 7/30/20 - Archives...
Progressive Victories (and Losses) in MO, MI, AZ, WA, KS Primaries: 'BradCast' 8/5/20
Guest: Howie Klein; Also: Disgraced Kobach and Watkins lose in KS; Disgraced Arpaio in running in AZ; GOP Guv restores IA voting rights to former felons...
Death and Destruction; Hope and Change: 'BradCast' 8/4/20
Isaias lands; Trump goes to 11; McSally and Graham in trouble; MUCH MORE...
'Green News Report' 8/4/20
Isaias hits NC amid a pandemic, makes history; Rising seas pushing storms further inland, study warns; PLUS: 15 states clear the air, move to all-electric trucks and buses...
'Election Cyber Surge' Launches Not a Moment Too Soon: 'BradCast' 8/3/20
Guest: Maya Worman of U. of Chicago Harris Cyber Policy Initiative says help is on the way!; Also: Trump facing big trouble in NY; Callers ring in on the VEEPStakes...
Sunday 'Delaying the Inevitable' Toons
Distract yourself with PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
FEC Complaint: Trump Camp Running $170M 'Laundering' Scheme: 'BradCast' 7/31/20
Guest: CLC's Brendan Fischer on yet another extraordinary Trump grift; Also: Stop cowering at his wannabe dictator tweets!...
Monopoly Money: 'BradCast' 7/30/20
Guest: David Dayen on the 'incredible' anti-trust hearing in the House and his new book 'Monopolized'; Also: Cain dies of COVID; Trump tries to distract from newly disastrous economic numbers; Rep. Lewis laid to rest...
'Green News Report' 7/30/20
Trump in TX to expand fossil fuel exports, lie about Biden; Very good news for clean, renewable energy in U.S.; PLUS: Ag officials alarmed by 'mystery seeds' in the mail...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Also: 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's 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...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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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...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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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, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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* If 'Greatness' means record unemployment and tens of thousands of unnecessarily dead Americans..
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2020 6:59pm PT  

Remember waaay back on Monday when we warned you to take the news from biotech company Moderna about their self-proclaimed early success in tests of a coronavirus vaccine with a huge grain of salt? The announcement that spiked their stock price some 50% in one single day and resulted in a 900 point rally for the Dow? Well, the market is still enjoying its irrational exuberance, but Moderna's stock price is largely back to where it was before Monday's "science by press release". Not to be a party pooper before the Memorial Day weekend, but that seems an apt analog, somehow, for much of what we cover/warn about on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is at bottom of summary.]

Donald Trump and his Republican henchmen in Congress are running into a problem. Pretending the coronavirus crisis away only goes so far. Sure, you can announce that you have "reopened" for business, but that doesn't mean anybody will show up. Even with all 50 states now relaxing various restrictions, demand remains low and, therefore, unemployment remains high and is still getting higher each week.

New numbers from the U.S. Dept. of Labor report that 2.4 million Americans filed new unemployment claims last week. It is the ninth week in a row of new claims higher than 2 million --- some weeks were larger than 6 million --- even though the all-time weekly record, prior to COVID-19, was less than one million. Even during the 2008 Great Recession, initial claims for unemployment insurance never topped one million. The good news is the number of new filers has been decreasing in recent weeks. The bad news is that almost all of those people, nearly 40 million of them, remain out of work. For now, however, they have been able to rely on expanded benefits enacted by Congress that offer an additional $600 a week through the end of July. The program was designed to, yes, keep people at home in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Those payments have, by and large, prevented the U.S. economy from tanking entirely. And now, Republicans in Congress are insisting that they will not extend those benefits, as they join Trump in trying to convince themselves and the nation that the crisis is over. It isn't. Not by a long shot. Ending that expansion of unemployment right now in hopes of forcing workers back to their jobs --- where they may well get sick and die, just as had been happening before the shutdowns --- in hopes of restarting the economy, is likely to kill the economy entirely, according to economists, anyway. But what do they know? We discuss.

In lieu of an actual plan --- versus a Jedi Mind Trick --- to prevent a new rise in infections and deaths, Trump and his GOP pals seem prepared to hide the statistics and otherwise distract us with things like a new, wholly (and statutorily) unqualified Director of National Intelligence! Gutting a long-standing arms control deal with Russia! And trying to blame Obama for all sorts of imaginary scandals in hopes of harming presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden.

It shouldn't work. But, given our gullible corporate media, who knows? Satirist Randy Rainbow, however, has a new musical take on it all for us today.

While Republicans on Fox "News" are instructing their "patriotic" American cult members to get out there and get back to work, their star anchors continue to do so from the safety of their own home studios, where Fox Corp has directed them to remain for at least another month. YOU are supposed to die for the economy and the President's reelection! Not THEM!

And the irrational exuberant premature reopenings could well make a huge difference in the ultimate COVID-19 death toll, if a new study about the timing of the initial lockdowns from Columbia University disease modelers tells us anything. They find that a heart-breaking 36,000 fewer Americans would have died if the country had implemented stay-at-home restrictions just one week earlier in March. Moreover, the researchers found, had shutdowns occurred on March 1 the vast majority (83%) of deaths would have been avoided. Each single day that Trump and Governors around the country ignored or refused too take the crisis seriously resulted in the unnecessary loss of thousands of American lives.Depending on how quickly and/or irresponsibly states now lift restrictions, many more thousands of lives could be lost. Given the way a number of GOP-run states are now attempting to hide or censor infection and death rates, the cost could ultimately become unspeakable.

Another new study from the University of Wisconsin and Ball State University offers a real life example of all of this. The analysis found that last month's primary election in Wisconsin --- when the state's rightwing Supreme Court blocked attempts by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to postpone the election or switch it to an all Vote-by-Mail election --- resulted in a "statistically and economically significant association between in-person voting and the spread of COVID-19 two to three weeks after the election." They found that WI counties "with higher levels of in-person voting per polling location led to increases in the weekly positive rate of COVID-19 tests. Furthermore, counties with higher absentee voting participation had lower rates of detecting COVID-19 two to three weeks after the election."

Yes, these decisions matter. Lives hang in the balance. No matter the Jedi Mind Trick Trump was hoping to pull off when he recently declared: "We're opening up; the states are opening up. It's a transition to greatness!" Perhaps "greatness" is now just another word for mass murder.

Finally today, a bit of email from a listener in the Badger State who now regards it as "Wississippi," and Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with ongoing climate disasters --- yes, our climate crisis continues even as the coronavirus has temporarily cleared the air a bit --- from the state of Michigan to the Bay of Bengal...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

P.S. By the way, we are ducking out early for some much needed Memorial Day weekend down time. Yes, my brain actually hurts each day these days. Hopefully a few days off will help. See ya on the other side! Stay safe and healthy until then!

* * *
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, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Slate's legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: U.S. economy plummeting at staggering rate; One Fox 'News' host pushes back (a bit)...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2020 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The number of lawsuits being filed by voters and voting rights advocates across the country is increasing with incredible speed as the coronavirus crisis continues and as we race toward the most critical Presidential election in the history of the nation on November 3rd. A new suit filed in federal court in Texas this week raises a very good and important challenge, arguing that the state (and 6 others with similarly restrictive state absentee voting laws) appears to be in strict violation of the U.S. Constitution. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But first, speaking of Texas, a new poll finds presumptive Democratic Party Presidential nominee Joe Biden now leading Donald Trump in the Lone Star state by 1 point. While that's within the poll's margin of error, that and other recent polls suggest Texas is most definitely in play this year for Democrats and underscores the importance of a number of lawsuits currently working through that state and other battlegrounds in hopes of ensuring that every legal voter who wishes to vote is able to do so (and without risking their lives in the bargain.)

Next, new weekly unemployment claim numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor today are bad. Really bad. All time record bad. Again. For the sixth week in a row. A staggering and unprecedented 30 million Americans have now filed new jobless claims over the past six weeks alone, with researchers finding that as many as 50% more have been unable to file a claim due to overloaded state agencies that are supposed to handle them. Moreover, according to figures released today from the Commerce Department, consumer spending plummeted 7.5% in March, the sharpest drop on record as the real Job Creators (that would be workers whose spending comprises 70% of the American economy!) have simply stopped spending as they were laid off or furloughed amid to the COVID-19 pandemic. That was in a month where only half of it was disrupted. April's numbers when available will likely be far worse.

And, with those numbers --- and still absolutely no plan to contain the virus at the federal level after all of these months and deaths --- Republicans are nonetheless attempting to fling open the doors to business, end stay-at-home requirements and social distancing measures across the country. But while the Republican propaganda hosts at Fox "News" tend to march in lock-step to encourage Americans (other than them) to stand up to restrictive measures meant to slow the spread of the virus, one host of Donald Trump's favorite morning show pushed back a bit today against her dangerously misinformed co-hosts.

Then, we're joined by Slate's ace legal reporter, MARK JOSEPH STERN, who has been focusing, of late, on the many voting rights battles now playing out across the country. He brings us up to date on a fascinating new federal lawsuit filed this week in Texas, charging that the state's law allowing no-excuse absentee voting for those aged 65 and older --- with severe restrictions on Vote-by-Mail balloting for anyone who is younger --- is in strict violation of the U.S. Constitution's 26th Amendment. Ratified in just 100 days in 1971, the Vietnam-era Amendment lowered the federal voting age from 21 while guaranteeing "The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged."

The suit argues that the TX absentee voting law, in fact, does abridge that right. Stern also explains that similar state laws restricting the right to vote by mail based on age in Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky do the exact same thing. The issue, which few have noticed following the ratification of the rarely-pondered 26th Amendment, is now more germane than ever given the deadly threat of the coronavirus to those required in such states to cast a ballot in-person at the polling place.

"Texas is one of seven states that grants special privileges to older voters," Stern says. "You are allowed to vote absentee if you qualify. But, to qualify, you have to either have a serious medical illness or be over the age of 65. If you are 64, you have no such luxury. You have to expose yourself to the coronavirus. If you are over a certain age, you get a privilege, and if you are under a certain age, you essentially get a burden. And that is exactly the kind of thing that the 26th Amendment was passed to try to abolish."

Though the Constitutional challenge is "a really cut-and-dry case" based on a very conservative, strict, textualist reading of the text of the "unambiguous" Amendment, defenders of the law in Texas (and elsewhere) may have a difficult time doing so without undermining their own defenses of the 2nd Amendment at the same time, as I discuss Stern.

But, while that federal complaint moves forward --- and faces anticipated procedural roadblocks to run out the clock from the very rightwing 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal in Texas (featuring what Stern describes as "some of the worst, most outwardly-partisan, hackish, nihilistic judges that this country has ever seen in its entire history sitting on that bench") and the stolen Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court --- voting rights champions have begun to open up another avenue in hopes of guaranteeing voting rights for all and saving the 2020 election: legal challenges in state courts based on the many state Constitutions which expressly guarantee "free and fair" elections.

If the stolen GOP majority on the U.S. Supreme Court is going to continue their open hostility toward voting rights that they've displayed since the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, challenges at the state Constitutional level could prove to be very fruitful, says Stern. "Voting rights advocates are marching into state courts and saying, 'Look, this election cannot be free and fair if people have to make the choice between risking their lives and exercising their Constitutional rights."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report with the usual number of disturbing developments, but also a surprise happy ending today courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court! Yes, that U.S. Supreme Court!...

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Staggering unemployment numbers; McConnell tells Pelosi to 'stand down' from new relief measure; WI set to hold deadly vote on Tuesday...
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2020 6:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Yes, it is as bad as we warned it would be. And it is getting even worse. And the way some state officials are now behaving, even upcoming elections may be unable to reverse much of this madness. [Audio link to full program is posted at end of summary.]

On Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department released gobsmacking statistics revealing that a record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the past week. That follows more than 3 million doing so the week before. Both weeks blow to smithereens the previous all-time record high for weekly jobless claims since such records have been kept. That numbers was of 695,000, as set in 1982. We are quickly blowing past the disastrous economic tailspin of the 2008 Great Recession and moving into Great Depression territory.

In response, House Dems are attempting to move to another relief bill, in the form of a $2 trillion infrastructure plan to follow up last week's $2.2 trillion stimulus/corporate bailout bill. But Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is, so far, rejecting Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's proposal to do so, while telling her to "stand down" as the GOP does nothing instead. That, as NBC News reports today that Americans may be waiting as long as five months for the paltry $1,200 check promised them by last week's emergency relief bill.

But, of course, Congressional Republicans aren't doing absolutely nothing. McConnell has vowed to continuing packing the federal courts with unqualified judges, even among this disaster. And several GOP members of the House and Senate are proposing a bill to punish those who disseminated false information about coronavirus or who profited from it --- so long as those people are from other countries. Luckily, Donald Trump's months of repeated and purposeful and deadly disinformation that he and his Administration fed to the American people about the pandemic is all cool! So, apparently, are any U.S. Senators who may have profited from early information about the virus by trading millions of dollars of stock based on insider information, including Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA). Presumably, they will not be held to account by the GOP's proposal to punish anyone who "financially benefits from acts intended to deliberately conceal or distort information about a public health emergency of international concern."

In the House, at the same time, Pelosi has announced the formation of a new bipartisan Select Committee to oversee the Trump Administration's response to the pandemic and its use of the $2 trillion allocated by last week's relief package. The committee, she says, will have subpoena power. So, if there are any questions the panel may have for members of the Administration dolling out that record amount of tax payer funds, we're certain that all of the President's men will undoubtedly respect any lawful Congressional subpoena they may receive.

Meanwhile, we continue to keep our eyes on how to help to begin to end many of these ongoing nightmares, somehow, via the ballot box. Toward that end, the Democratic National Committee announced they are postponing their national nominating convention, previously scheduled for Milwaukee, Wisconsin in July, back to August instead, in hopes that it will be possible to gather in person by that time (it likely will not be.) It would be held the week before Republicans plan to hold theirs in Charlotte, North Carolina, which Trump has vowed to hold with delegates gathered in person in the final week of August.

But, we're still in utter disbelief that Wisconsin is actually --- seriously --- going to hold their Presidential Primary, statewide Supreme Court election and municipal contests NEXT TUESDAY on April 7, despite, as we noted yesterday, the ongoing unprecedented health emergency, statewide stay-at-home order, and "a massive shortage of poll workers across the state, with more than 100 communities having no poll workers at all as of [this past Tuesday, and] an overall shortage of some 7,000 workers in 60% of the state's municipalities."

As we reported Wednesday, the only thing set to stop this madness with both the state's Democratic Governor and Republican heads of the state House and Senate also on board, is a federal lawsuit filed by voting rights advocates. Well, U.S. District Judge Mark M. Conley issued his ruling on Thursday, declining to postpone the election, while making clear that though he disagrees with the state's decision to move forward, he does not have the authority to postpone it due to a health emergency in which, he suggested correctly, residents could die. "That may be something that happens," he said during closing arguments, adding "that would be outside my jurisdiction. But it will be on the hands of the legislature and the governor."

Yes, it will. Judge Conley did, however, extend a few deadlines for absentee balloting, which has also reportedly already overwhelmed local elections officials who are having trouble keeping up with incoming ballots as well as sending out a record number of requested ballots. The Wisconsin Election Commission has already stated that it is very likely, barring a legislative change by the Republican-controlled legislature, that many votes will not be able to be counted at all in time for the state's statutory deadline. Republicans appear to be very happy about that. Conley suggested he may rule again, if voting rights are seen as imperiled on Election Day.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with the U.N. cancelling its critical upcoming climate conference due to the corona virus pandemic; a bankrupt U.S. coal company attempting to pass its obligations to retired miners over to tax payers instead; several states use the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to pass laws criminalizing pipeline protests; and Trump's Interior Dept. keeps national parks open despite worker illnesses and their pleas to close the parks in the name of public safety...

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Guest: Obama's former chief economist at DoL, Heidi Shierholz; Also: New Trump budget slashes domestic programs, calls for trillion dollar deficits, includes long-awaited, scam infrastructure plan...
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2018 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If there's anything the Trump Administration excels at, it's their reverse Robin Hood penchant of taking from the poor to give to the rich. But their new wage theft plan for workers in the restaurant industry may bring that penchant to new heights --- or depths, as the case may be. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up, and very much related, Trump's new $4.4 trillion budget proposal, released on Monday, calls for moving still more money from the poor to the rich --- on the heels of last year's unpaid-for $1.5 trillion tax scam --- with cuts to domestic programs, more obscene increases to our national war budget, and trillion dollar deficit spending as far as the eye can see. And all of that is separate from his Department of Labor's plan to steal tips off the tables of waiters and waitresses. Yes, literally!

We break down Trump's dead-on-arrival proposal for his 2019 budget, which doubles the deficit spending called for by his dead-on-arrival 2018 budget. The scheme, described Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as "morally bankrupt", also includes what he and corporate media (inaccurately) have been referring to as a $1.5 trillion Infrastructure Plan to rebuild the nation's roads, bridges, airports and much more. That scheme would actually invest just $200 billion in federal money, with the rest being paid for, in theory, by cash-strapped states and wealthy private corporations --- even as the $200 billion in proposed federal spending actually comes by way of cuts to the Dept. of Transportation and EPA. In other words, as we detail today, his $1.5 trillion infrastructure program, is really a $0 infrastructure program, in which we sell off our national assets to private companies. Other than that, it sounds great!

Then, speaking of Trump scams, we're joined by President Obama's former chief economist at the Department of Labor, HEIDI SHIERHOLZ, now Senior Economist and Director of Policy at the Economic Policy Institute, to discuss the Trump Dept. of Labor's new plan to steal tips earned by service professionals and give it to restaurant owners instead. No, really.

"There is long-standing practice by the DOL that interpreted tips as belonging to the workers who earned them. That was codified in a 2011 rule, that just said very clearly, 'Employers, you can't take tips, they belong to the workers who earned them." What this proposed rule does is it just rescinds those regulations --- it says employers can do whatever they want with worker's tips, as long as they pay workers minimum wage," Shierholz tells me. "This has been a dream of the National Restaurant Association, which is the big industry group for restaurants forever. [Trump's DoL] cared so much about giving a big gift to the National Restaurant Association, that they were willing to propose a rule that would literally shift billions of dollars from workers to employers."

And, as if that's not outrageous enough, as Bloomberg Law revealed earlier this month, it turns out the DoL, when asking for Public Comment on this new rule, withheld their own agency's analysis, finding the new scheme would transfer billions of dollars from wait staff to the restaurant owners themselves, who'd get to keep anything earned above the federal hourly minimum wage of $7.35 hour! Shierholz details how the Department is hoping to scam the public by not including their own analysis of the cost of this new rule, even as her own organization's analysis estimates that the new regulation, allowing owners to keep tip money, could transfer nearly $6 billion annually await from wait staff, and potentially as much as $13 billion each year.

"But this is the key: there are rules that they have to follow as a part of the rule-making process, and it includes, very clearly, that they have to do a very comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. They have to estimate the impacts of the rule on workers. We now know that they did do that. But it looked really bad, and so they tried to bury it."

Yup. Prepare yourself to pay up once again to defend still more lawsuits filed against this lawless Administration.

We also discuss how this rule, if finalized, will adversely affect women in particular, who stand to lose $4.6 billion of the $5.8 taken from tipped workers each year. "The fact they are forging ahead with this, despite knowing how bad it is for workers, really is primarily about their far greater interest in supporting corporate interests over those of workers. The fact that it's massively, disproportionately going to affect women may be sort of a bonus," Shierholz quips.

Finally, with the unthinkable possibility of peace between North and South Korea breaking out over the weekend during the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang --- despite the Trump Administration's determined hopes for a new, potentially nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula --- deadly new military skirmishes broke out between Israel, Iran and Syria over the weekend. So, just in case you're worried that all of Trump's new U.S. military spending would go for naught, don't worry! We'll always find new wars on which to spend it...while your kids can't pay for college, you can't afford medical care and the Trump Administration is stealing tips off the table.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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