On today's BradCast, as my producer Desi Doyen likes to say, we once again attempt "to squeeze a 10 pound show into a 1 pound bag." [Audio link to show follows below.]
First up, the latest on Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical storm but wreaking extraordinary havoc, storm surge, flooding, hundreds of rescues and now at least five deaths. The monster storm has largely stalled over the Carolinas to dump, according to one meteorologist, 10 trillion gallons of rainfall, or enough to fill more than 15 million Olympic-size swimming pools.
Also today, Donald Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort finally pleaded guilty in a deal to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller that requires him to cooperate on the Trump/Russia investigation and, as Marcy Wheeler describes, is "pardon proof".
Then, a brief followup on the reported widespread problems with voter registrations in New York during their state and local primaries on Thursday, the final primaries of the season before the crucial 2018 midterm elections in November. Those reported failures for some voters at polling places helped underscored at least one of the important outcomes from Thursday's contests.
We're joined by The Intercept and New Republic contributor DAVID DAYEN to discuss reported results out of New York, where progressive actress and activist Cynthia Nixon challenged two-term Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and progressive Fordham University law professor Zephyr Teachout vied for the Democratic nod to become the state's next Attorney General. Alas, those underdog progressive upstarts on the statewide ballot were unsuccessful, though, as Dayen reports, Teachout was undermined by a rightwing Democratic Congressman who, he tells me was likely "placed in there to depress Teachout's upstate numbers on behalf of Wall Street special interests."
Still, he says, both challenges managed to force Cuomo and his party to the left on a number of important matters already. That move to the left was more of a lurch, however, at the state Senate level, where 6 of 8 members of the so-called Independent Democratic Conference (or IDC, a group of corporate Democrats who had caucused with Republicans in the Senate, giving the GOP control of the otherwise Democratic-majority body) were turfed out by progressive challengers. That, Dayen argues, is likely to result in a huge difference in the legislation enacted by a state legislative body that has been blocked for years, with Cuomo's help, from adopting a number of long-overdue progressive reforms on everything from healthcare to fiscal matters to New York's antiquated election laws.
"There was this host of progressive legislation that was clogged in the state of New York because of Republican control of the state senate, which was facilitated by Democrats. It's confounding that this went on for so long!," he observes."Andrew Cuomo is a throwback to the New Democrats, the Clinton era. And he believes that if he was forced to sign progressive legislation, it would hurt his ultimate ambition, which is the presidency. He's still stuck in a 1990s mindset that you can't go any further left than, I guess, 'midnight basketball' laws in order to win the Presidency."
And, as primary season voting is finally now wrapped up, we discuss the various ways in which voters and broadly diverse candidacies have helped to redefine the Democratic Party over the past year. "The Democratic Party is one of the more diverse parties at this point in history that we've seen, certainly ever in America, maybe elsewhere. Representation absolutely matters. The people who are the workhorses of the Democratic Party --- women, people of color --- want to see themselves represented in the leadership that is going to carry the party forward."
Also, on this week's 10th anniversary of the 2008 global financial meltdown, Dayen, author of the widely acclaimed Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud, explains how even a decade later no real accountability has ever been brought to the elite who caused the crisis and how even Barack Obama's own Treasury Secretary was allowed to undermine him in a way that is not dissimilar to the actions discussed in the recent anonymous New York Times op-ed regarding a "resistance" inside the Trump Administration.
Dayen also discusses several other way in which the ramifications of the Wall Street bank bailouts still reverberate throughout the American body politic, by "set[ting] the table for demagogues. And that's what happened in 2016."
Finally today, some details from concerned scientists on the nuclear plants currently threatened by the massive flooding of Florence, specifically, the Duke Energy-owned Brunswick plant in North Carolina which houses two reactors almost identical to the GE-designed reactors which melted down after power-outages following the 2011 tsunami-caused flooding in Japan...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)