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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, July 20, 2024
What J.D. Vance Forgot to Tell You (and Lied About) at the RNC: 'BradCast' 7/18/24
Also: More pressure from top Dems for Biden to reconsider candidacy; Judge nixes GOP vote suppression suit in NV; Biden calls for SCOTUS reform, national rent control...
'Green News Report' 7/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Toronto crippled by extreme storms, flooding; Heat related costs rising in U.S.; Extreme weather and aging dams; PLUS: Marathon Oil pays record fine under Clean Air Act...
Previous GNRs: 7/16/24 - 7/11/24 - Archives...
Holding on for Dear Life Amid the Political Whirlwind: 'BradCast' 7/17/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton and 'Driftglass' on Presidential politics after the shooting; Dems still fighting over Biden; Trump's weird choice of Vance for VP; the RNC's 'unity' convention...
Cannon's Corruption: 'BradCast' 7/16/24
Guest: Attorney Keith Barber; Also: Menendez 'guilty' on all counts...
'Green News Report' 7/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Texas grid buckles under multiple disasters; Hurricane Beryl damages now estimated at $3 billion; PLUS: Climate crisis flip-flopper J.D. Vance gets GOP Veep nod...
Previous GNRs: 7/11/24 - 7/9/24 - Archives...
Amid the Assassination Attempt Aftermath:
'BradCast' 7/15/24
Also: Trump Stolen Docs Case Dismissed; OH's J.D. Vance named as GOP Veep nom; Callers ring in on all of the nightmares...
Sunday Monday 'Google Project 2025' Toons
After a brief pause following Saturday's assassination attempt of Donald Trump, we are back with our latest collection of last week's best political toons...
Meanwhile... :
'BradCast' 7/11/24
Biden's tenuous candidacy; Trump and Orban; Inflation, prices falling; Climate liar Inhofe dies; California's stunning solar revolution...
'Green News Report' 7/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat as deadly Beryl fallout continues; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Republicans bravely seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
Previous GNRs: 7/9/24 - 6/25/24 - Archives...
Paging 'Johnny Unbeatable'! Dems (Actually!) in Disarray!: 'BradCast' 7/10/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
SCOTUS Immunity Ruling 'As Bad as it Sounds', And Worse: 'BradCast' 7/9/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner on that and the Court's massive 'power grab'; Also: Record-breaking Beryl; U.S. heat records smashed...
'Green News Report' 7/9/24
Beryl breaks records, slams TX; 140m in U.S. under heat advisories; Big SCOTUS gifts for polluters; PLUS: Biden unveils first-ever extreme heat protections for workers...
So, What Now?: 'BradCast' 7/8/24
Listeners have strong opinions about where we are and how to move forward to save democracy after corrupt SCOTUS rulings and disastrous Presidential Debate...
Debunking MAGA Cult Xenophobia
CANNING: Throughout U.S. history, decent, hard-working immigrants (like me) have contributed to the economy and our nation's security: CANNING
Sunday 'Courting Disaster' Toons
THIS WEEK: Kings and Things! In our special SCOTUS-sized edition of the last impossible week's best political toons!...
Sunday 'Bad Medicine' Toons
THIS WEEK: Trump's hot pants ... Biden's cool reception ... SCOTUS gone wild ... and more in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
'Green News Report' 6/27/24
China flooding; Heatwave, crop failure in India; Disaster upon disaster in NM; On edge for SCOTUS decision; PLUS: Biden climate law creates 300,000 jobs!...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Update, 5/17/24: Paradox of police power covered by newly released Netflix film, 'Power'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/15/2024 10:05am PT  

The May 3 article that appeared in UCLA's campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin, was disturbing but not surprising. The LAPD stood idly by as a group of "tear gas" wielding, pro-Israel "counter-protesters" violently attacked a pro-Palestine protest encampment. The attack reportedly went on for nearly four hours before the LAPD moved in, not to stop counter-protester violence, but to breakup the encampment.

In a formal Statement, staff members of the UCLA History Department noted:

LAPD advanced on the student encampment, pushing and herding them, using the tactic of kettling. Forced closely together, the students made easy targets for police who shot them with stun grenades, chemical agents, and rubber bullets. Police beat them with batons and shot them with rubber bullets, striking one student in the face with a rubber bullet. At least twenty-five students had to be hospitalized. They then arrested approximately 200 students, staff, faculty, dragging visibly injured students away.

The history professors chastised both University of California administrators and the LAPD for their "disregard" for "students' safety and their right to express their views."

The professors weren't the only ones to express concern for law enforcement's failure to intercede as pro-Israel "counter protesters" violently attacked the encampment. California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, "called for investigations into [why the] pro-Israeli counter-protesters' attack...was allowed to rage for several hours with little to no police intervention."

Sadly, the story, as recounted by the Daily Bruin and the UCLA history professors, is on the continuum of well over a century of right-wing bias on the part of local, state and federal law enforcement against those who exercise First Amendment rights to engage in non-violent strikes or in peaceful, anti-war, environmental, and civil rights protests....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Also: Special Counsel probing Hunter Biden indicts informant who lied about 'bribes' from Ukrainian energy company to Joe and Hunter Biden...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2024 6:30pm PT  

We covered so much territory on today's BradCast that I'm having trouble writing about all of the seemingly disparate pieces in a cogent narrative here. So I won't try. I'll give you the pieces, and hopefully you will listen to the show to see how it all ties together (or doesn't). [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

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

  • Wednesday's mass shooting at the Kansas City Chief's Super Bowl victory rally; Wednesday's mass shooting at an Atlanta high school; President Biden's official response.
  • Special Counsel Jack Smith's speedy filing [PDF] at SCOTUS in response to Donald Trump's continuing attempt to further delay his federal trial related to his attempts to steal the 2020 election with his absurd claim that Presidents enjoy "absolute immunity" for any and all crimes committed while serving in office.
  • New York State Judge Juan Merchan on Thursday confirmed Trump's trial will begin on March 25 on 34 criminal felony charges related to hush-money payments made to a porn star to help him win the 2016 election. The judge rejected Team Trump's argument that sitting for a trial related to cheating to win the 2016 election will hamper his efforts to win the 2024 election. The trial is expected to last for six weeks.
  • A salacious sidebar to the 13 criminal felony counts Trump is facing in Georgia for his failed conspiracy to steal the state's 2020 election played out in a Fulton County courtroom on Thursday. A defiant District Attorney Fani Willis responded on the witness stand to charges from one of Trump's 18 alleged co-conspirators that the D.A.'s romantic relationship with one of the prosecutors on the case was either inappropriate or somehow a conflict of interest effecting the charges brought against Trump and his co-defendants. Willis was defiant in her response to questions and her testimony will continue on Friday.
  • BREAKING DURING SHOW!: A former FBI informant named Alexander Smirnov was arrested and charged with lying to government officials in the summer of 2020 about Joe Biden and his son Hunter receiving millions of dollars in bribes from Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. Those lies have been a central part of Trump and Rudy Giuliani and House Republicans' phony, years-long attempts to smear the Biden family and impeach President Biden. Today's felony charges were filed by Trump-appointed Special Counsel David Weiss, who was tapped by Trump A.G. Bill Barr five years ago to try and find dirt on the Bidens. He found it instead on those spreading the dirt.
  • A few thoughts on how corporate mainstream media headlines, social media posts and mobile phone alerts can dangerously distort news.
  • A few thoughts on how Phoenix, Arizona media outlets 3TV and CBS 5 are seemingly doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry while pretending to be consumer advocates. We details some of their dishonest and misleading coverage of the cost of battery replacements for hybrid Electric Vehicles. Sadly (and shamefully), they are not the only media outlets undermining humankind by doing the bidding of Big Oil in misreporting on EVs in America.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with sad news on a mysterious and massive oil spill on the pristine beaches of Trinidad and Tobago; big changes happening in Greenland as it continues to get warmer and greener; and how climate change is now coming for your chocolate...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Investigative journalist Josh Kovensky of Talking Points Memo; Also: Another huge Special Election night for Dems in NY, PA; WI inches closer to fair legislative maps; MI 'fake elector' says GOP lied to him...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2024 6:24pm PT  

A tranche of newly unearthed documents offer a clearer understanding of Team Trump's failed attempt to steal the 2020 election on today's BradCast, in which we also cover yet another better-than-expected Special Election Day for Democrats on Tuesday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First, some of the breaking headlines on today's horrific mass shooting at the end of the victory rally for Superbowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs. Not much is known as of airtime, beyond one dead, more than 15 injured and two (now three) said to be in custody, according to Missouri state officials.

Then, the House GOP, on behalf of the disgraced, twice-impeached former President was finally successful on Tuesday in passing Articles of Revenge Impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The do-over vote follows their embarrassingly botched effort at same last week. This week, they were able to pass the Articles by one single vote, 214-213, against three Republican defectors and a unified Democratic caucus for "charges" that are not even close to the "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" mandated by the Constitution. Both Articles are expected to die, one way or another, over in the Senate, where even Republicans have shown little interest in the charade.

GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson had to get those Articles passed yesterday, however, given what New York voters did on Tuesday, when the seat in the state's 3rd Congressional District, formerly held by disgraced, expelled and indicted con-artist, Rep. George Santos, was flipped from "red" to "blue" by former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi. He easily defeated Republican Mazi Pilip by almost 8 points in Tuesday's hotly-contested Special Election, according to the latest reported numbers. That was almost twice the margin predicted by even the most optimistic pre-election polls. The Dem victory in New York (and another in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night --- by 36 points!), again underscores the dearth of issues that Donald Trump's dysfunctional Republican Party has to run on or offer voters this year. Had House Repubs waited just one more day to vote on Articles of Impeachment, they would have lost again.

More apparent good news for voters and Democrats this week in Wisconsin, as the Republicans who control the wildly gerrymandered state Senate and Assembly have passed legislation to adopt new legislative district maps in advance of the 2024 elections, as ordered by the state's Supreme Court. The new maps are ones created by Democratic Governor Tony Evers. And though they don't promise a Dem majority for this year's elections, they do appear to be much fairer for voters. For more than a decade the GOP's gerrymandered maps resulted in nearly twice as many Rs as Ds in the state legislature in the otherwise very closely divided state. State Republicans approved Evers maps because they fear if the High Court selects a map it will be even worse for them. Evers has suggested he plans to sign the legislation.

Meanwhile, as Democrats continue to out-perform in 2024 elections, Republicans are busy in court defending their criminal efforts to steal 2020. A fake elector in Michigan on Wednesday testified that he was lied to by party officials that state legislators could select the phony Trump slate of electors over those for Biden, who state voters actually chose. This particular fake elector has decided to cooperate with prosecutors while 15 others are now facing serious jail time for their alleged conspiracy to forge phony Elector certificates.

And this week, we've got new news from the man who invented the fake electors scheme in the first place. A massive trove of emails, text messages and other documents have been turned over to Michigan prosecutors by former Team Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro and obtained by our guest today, investigative journalist JOSH KOVENSKY of Talking Points Memo. He has been detailing the documents in a new multi-part series this week at TPM which explores the attempted coup, hoped-for chaos, and the plan to pressure friendly members of SCOTUS.

Chesebro first dreamt up the fake elector plot for his own home state of Wisconsin in 2020, before he was asked by Team Trump attorneys, such as the disgraced John Eastman and Boris Ephstyn, to apply the same scam for phony electors in about seven swing-states following Trump's loss in November. They would be instrumental to the Trump team's failed legal efforts to steal the election.

The Chesebro documents shed new light on the failed "legal coup" which, as Kovensky reports, was not meant to be a one-day insurrection on January 6th, 2021, but to result in enough legislative chaos and trumped-up "questions" about the veracity of certified election results to force the U.S. Supreme Court to eventually settle the election themselves, ala Bush v. Gore twenty years earlier.

"What they really wanted was a stalemate in Congress" on January 6th, Kovensky explains. "And in that time, they would have used that stalemate to draw the country's attention to Congress, and then use that attention to put forth the campaign's completely nonsensical theories of voter fraud. That was the idea."

"If you talk to people who were around this, they'll say, 'Yeah, the invasion of the Capitol on January 6th destroyed that plan. Because it did draw attention to Congress, but there were no members of Congress there to make the case that there was voter fraud in the election," he tells me.

"The way the legal coup was meant to proceed was by halting the count," as detailed in the new docs obtained and reported out by Kovensky. "That's the key similarity between what the rioters on Jan. 6 ended up achieving by violent means and what the lawyers were trying to achieve just by procedural means. Which was that the count would have been stopped, [but] it would have been stopped indefinitely until potentially the Supreme Court stepped in to act and appoint Trump the winner."

So how did Chesebro --- who, until now, has not appeared, at least, to be a hard-right partisan ideologue along the lines of Eastman and Ephsteyn --- find his way into the vortex of Team Trump and the "legal coup" they were hoping to pull off? What is he hoping to accomplish by turning over these documents to prosecutors in MI and elsewhere since pleading guilty to one felony charge with no jail time in Georgia last year in exchange for testifying against his fellow conspirators? Will Trump be able to use Chesebro's documents and testimony to help himself in his own trials regarding his attempt to steal the 2020 election?

All of those questions and many more asked and answered about "The Cheese" and his documents on today's BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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GOP chaos, faceplants and dysfunction in House, Senate, everywhere else; Also: Haley loses to 'none' in NV; O'Keefe forced to admit to fake 2020 'fraud' story; Listener mail on hand-marked ballots and Taylor Swift...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2024 6:31pm PT  

I'd say Tuesday was a high (or low?) watermark for GOP failure, but on The BradCast, we think it wise to never under (or over?) estimate them. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • Nikki Haley lost the one-person Republican Presidential Primary in Nevada by more than 30 points. (To be fair, it's not entirely her fault. Donald Trump rigged it. And he's setting up Republicans in the state for failure this November regarding the state's voting systems.) Joe Biden reportedly won his mostly one-person Democratic Primary in the state on Tuesday with nearly 90% of the vote.
  • With three different swing-state GOP state Chairs (in Florida, Arizona and Michigan) ousted in recent weeks in scandals related to allegations of rape, bribery, or financial impropriety (and Nevada's GOP Chair heading to criminal trial in a few weeks for forgery as a fake 2020 elector), Trump's once-favored Chair of the RNC, Ronna Romney McDaniel, is being pushed out in the middle of a Presidential election year. Why? Trump's MAGA faithful are trying to find someone, anyone ... anyone but him ... to blame for their repeated, post-2016 election humiliations. Why not Ronna?
  • But the humiliation continued on Tuesday, as newly tapped and freshly failed GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson engineered what Wall Street Journal described as "an embarrassment for the party", Punchbowl called "one of the most embarrassing days in recent House GOP history" (which is saying quite a lot!), and WaPo raved: "a stunning rebuke" for a months-long impeachment probe by Republicans hoping to identify "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" by Dept. of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Turns out, they couldn't even convince their full caucus that he'd committed any, and one heroic Dem showed up from his hospital bed amidst chaos on the House Floor to deliver Johnson and Marjorie Taylor Green's phony impeachment scheme an embarrassing final blow. At least for Tuesday night, in the first impeachment vote ever against a sitting member of the Executive Branch.
  • Actually, it wasn't the final blow on Tuesday night for House Republicans. Johnson held a subsequent vote for aid to Israel. It also went down in humiliating flames.
  • All of that comes on the heels of Congressional GOP insistence that they would block any aid package for Ukraine --- now facing a very real existential crisis and invasion from a hostile neighbor --- unless the bill included a massive amount of money for the U.S. southern border, where Trump and Republicans pretend there is an ongoing "existential crisis" and "invasion". So, Dems gave in and agreed with Senate Republicans to add a very hard-right border deal to the aid package --- only to see Trump throw a fit at a possible real solution for the only real(ish) election year issue he seems to have left. So now House Republicans are vowing they will only consider an aid bill for Ukraine (and Israel and Taiwan) if it doesn't include money for the U.S. southern border. Seriously. It's as insane and stupid and dysfunctional and embarrassing as it sounds. And, it might even be hilarious, but for the fact that democracy remains on the brink in Europe, as the near-entirety of the Republican Party now cowers to the personal whims of their four-time indicted cult leader.
  • Popular Republican criminal, pretend fake "pimp", and definitely fake "journalist" James O'Keefe quietly issued a tweet on Monday night, admitting that his reporting on 2020 election fraud in Pennsylvania was "wrong" and that he is "aware of no evidence or other allegation that election fraud occurred in the Erie [Pennsylvania] Post Office during the 2020 Presidential Election.” It took him four years and a begrudging lawsuit settlement to "correct" his false story about supposed massive mail ballot fraud by the USPS. Trump continues to fraudulently pimp that nonsense to this day. All of this on the heels of O'Keefe being pushed out of his own fake news organization, called Project Veritas, last year amid allegations of financial malfeasance and abuse of employees. Or, as his partner in the 2010 fake ACORN "pimp" hoax videos described it when quitting the group herself in December: "an unsalvageable mess --- one wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and financial improprieties."
  • Finally today, some listener mail with an important coda to our mind-blowing interview on Tuesday with Susan Greenhalgh, election integrity advocate and consultant on the just-completed civil suit trial by Marilyn Marks and the Coalition of Good Governance against the State of Georgia and its Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. The suit seeks to move the state from easily-hackable, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots; And, some email on Taylor Swift and the Superbowl, which I thought we decided we wouldn't be discussing this week on The BradCast?!!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Gov. Don Siegelman on GOP lawmakers ignoring Court order on racial gerrymander; Also: More on Democracy v. Autocracy and GOP efforts in MO, OH to undermine voters, abortion rights ballot measures...
By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2023 6:42pm PT  

With two major stories in the last several days regarding Alabama and the U.S. Supreme Court, it seemed like another good opportunity to bring their former Governor onto The BradCast to discuss both matters. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, a bit more from where we left off last week in my rant about the 2024 election coming down to the ongoing existential battle between democracy and autocracy as, sadly, represented largely now by the two major political parties. Democrats largely represent the pro-democracy forces, while the Republican party now, by and large, firmly on the side of the autocrats from Donald Trump on down to the state and local level.

Just one example this week comes out of my old home state of Missouri, where the state Supreme Court unanimously ordered its state Attorney General Andrew Bailey last week to approve the certification for a Constitutional ballot measure that would enshrine the right to make personal decisions about abortion, birth control, childbirth and other issues related to pregnancy directly into the state constitution. That, in a state with one of the most draconian bans on reproductive rights in the nation.

Bailey had been holding up the measure for 135 days for a process that usually takes his office just over 50 days. He had been claiming that the State Auditors assessments that the measure might cost the state about $50,000 a year was "drastically" wrong, and that it would actually cost the Show-Me State some $12 billion instead! Either way, the state Supremes held that the A.G.'s office has no statutory right to hold up signature gathering for a ballot initiative based on his own personal disagreement with a State Auditor's cost assessment.

The MO A.G. is hardly the only GOP state official of late to simply defy the law, the courts and the Constitution. Republican lawmakers in Ohio recently engineered a special election for August 8 --- in defiance of their own law passed just months ago that largely bans August elections --- in order to feature a Constitutional measure to raise the approval percentage needed to enact a ballot initiative from 50% to 60%. That, just in time to interfere with an abortion rights ballot measure in November. The state GOP's measure on the ballot next month to make future initiatives more difficult for voters to adopt, of course, will require only 50% for passage.

Ohio's Republican lawmakers also spent the last year simply ignoring orders from the state's Supreme Court to redraw partisan gerrymandered U.S. House districts. And, last week, the GOP legislature in Alabama simply chose to defy the U.S. Supreme Court which, in June, ordered the state to redraw their House maps to include two Black-majority voting districts. Currently, the state has just one such district out of seven U.S. House seats, despite Black voters comprising more than a quarter of the state's voting age population.

While shamefully approving a new map drawn in a special session last week with just one Black majority district again --- it was signed by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey just hours later --- the state had no problem following a separate SCOTUS ruling last week that allowed them to kill a prisoner, even though three prior attempted executions were a disaster in the state. Two were called off indefinitely as officials couldn't figure out how to find a vein to insert an IV, and the other one took three hours to complete. The three liberals Justices dissented from the Court's six, corrupted, blood-thirsty rightwingers.

We're joined once again today by Alabama's former Gov. DON SIEGELMAN, the last Democrat to serve in that role, after being the only one in state history to serve in all four statewide positions, SoS, A.G., Lt. Gov. and Gov.

Early last month, Siegelman joined us to discuss an op-ed he'd written for WaPo with Alabama's former Republican Gov. Robert Bentley on the death penalty, with the two men conceding that they had come to regret presiding over the barbaric punishment, largely thanks to so many instances of prosecutorial misconduct --- particularly in cases where Black men are convicted and executed.

We picked up on some similar themes today in the wake of last week's SCOTUS ruling and the state killing of James Barber. "It's tragic," Siegelman tells me today. "But the worst part is that we have 167 on Alabama's death row. 115 of those people are sentenced to death growing out of an 1870 Jim Crow law that took Alabama from a state that required a unanimous jury to execute people to one now that allows someone to be sentenced to death on a jury recommendation that is non-unanimous. To my knowledge, Alabama is the only state in the country that is continuing this practice."

"We also have the distinction of having 31 people on Alabama's death row who were not sentenced to death by a jury, but sentenced to death by a judge who overrode the jury," he explains. "The jury recommended life in prison without parole, and the judge said, 'No, I think I'm going to go ahead and kill you anyway.'"

Siegelman also emphasizes that, "If we want to end wrongful prosecutions, if we want to end mass incarcerations, if we want to end the abuse of power by police, prosecutors --- and, I would say, by Presidents --- we've got to repeal the immunity that's been given to prosecutors," when they purposely mishandle a case.

As to Alabama Republicans stunning defiance of last month's Supreme Court order to add a second Black majority U.S. House district in the state under the Voting Rights Act, Siegelman argues: "I would hope the federal court would take action if their order is disobeyed. Including sending U.S. Marshals to pick up the state Attorney General and put him jail for a little while until he comes to his senses."

That's no small assertion from a former state Attorney General himself. Siegelman's got a lot more to say about the matter today, but hopefully that comment will entice you to tune in for our full conversation...

NOTE: We have covered Gov. Siegelman's personal story many times over the past two decades, before, during and after his time as a political prisoner as he was targeted for prosecution by a corrupt Republican cabal, including Karl Rove, state officials, and a federal judge who was eventually forced to resign after being arrested for beating his wife. Alabama's Governor from 1999 to 2003 and the only Democrat to serve in every statewide office, Siegelman tells his story in full in his 2020 book, STEALING OUR DEMOCRACY: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Jack Smith appears! Trump indictment as soon as 'this week'?...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2023 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The whole scam seems to be collapsing in on them. Sad! [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

  • Trump troubles: Last week, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer was sentenced to three years in federal prison for unlawfully keeping classified documents related to national defense in his home. If he got three years for what he reportedly did, life should be getting very very difficult for what Donald Trump did when he stole thousands of pages of documents, many of them highly classified, upon leaving office, stored them at his home, and obstructed attempts by the federal government to retrieve them. A former federal prosecutor believes an indictment in Special Counsel Jack Smith's stolen document case against the former President could come as early as "this week". Given the Trump attorneys meeting at DoJ on Monday, and the apparent panic exhibited by Trump at his dumb social media site thereafter, that prosecutor could be correct.
  • More trouble for more GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters: Last week, longtime GOP fraudster and fake journalist James O'Keefe was sued by his own fake news organization for abusive behavior and allegedly ripping off the company, including, for example, for $150,000 in luxury car services. This week, Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips, the "voter fraud" fraudsters behind the discredited 2,000 Mules film and who run the phony, rightwing True the Vote nonprofit, were called out in a complaint to the IRS for allegedly violating state and federal laws in using the nonprofit to enrich themselves with unlawful loans, unreported lucrative contracts and other apparent self-dealing.
  • Kurt Cut the Wires: Since 2020, we've been reporting on Republican election officials unlawfully breaching, copying, and distributing computerized voting system software in states such as Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and, in most detail (where there is more coming soon, methinks), Coffee County, Georgia. Those incidents appear to have been part of a multi-state conspiracy overseen by disgraced Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and hatched in the Oval Office with Donald Trump and others on December 18, 2020, according to testimony given to the House January 6 Committee. But, in what appears to be a separate (if somewhat related) incident this week, a nonprofit group in Missouri is calling out the Director and Deputy Director of Elections in the very right-leaning town of St. Charles for breaking the seals on voting machines and cutting wires inside them to prevent what they believe is the ability for the systems to connect to the Internet. Tampering with voting systems is a violation of several state laws. And these yutzes, Director Kurt Bahr and Deputy Director Mark Parkinson, appear to admit to the whole thing. On video tape. Viewable at KurtCutTheWires.com.
  • Unequal justice: Last year, just before the primary elections in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis called a televised press conference in the Democratic stronghold of Broward County to announce the arrests of 20 former felons for voter fraud just days before the state's 2022 primary elections. The stunned and mostly people of color --- who were allowed to register and vote by the state --- were rounded up on video tape for what DeSantis declared to be unlawful voting as former felons convicted on charges related to murder or sex crimes. But, as the Orlando Sentinel reports this week, a State Attorney in a Republican stronghold, just months earlier, "declined to prosecute six voter fraud cases that involved circumstances strikingly similar to the cases later brought against 20 ex-felons by Gov. Ron DeSantis' election police unit and statewide prosecutors." Those cases were dismissed because, as the prosecutor determined, their fraud was "not willful"...just like the 20 who DeSantis had rounded up and arrested in Broward just days before last year's elections. Despite DeSantis' promise at his presser last year that there would be more arrests, there have only been four. The six from Republican Lake County are not among them.
  • GNR returns!: Desi Doyen is back with our first Green News Report since returning from a much-needed break last week. Somehow, she manages to get us all caught up with everything we missed and in just 6 minutes!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Proof that McCarthy and party couldn't care less about the debt or deficit; Also: Trump criminal woes worsen by the day; TX joins GA in new laws to undermine elections in Democratic strongholds...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2023 6:40pm PT  

With their policy positions wildly unpopular among Americans, is it any wonder that Republicans are now doing little more than lying about their beliefs, crashing the economy, using the government to funnel money to wealthy campaign donors, and otherwise adopting laws, where ever they still can, to prevent non-Republicans from winning elections? And those are their non-violent strategies, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories today...

  • A 19-year old from Missouri, apparently with a Nazi flag in his rented truck, is charged with "threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president or member of their family; assault with a dangerous weapon; reckless driving; destruction of federal property; and trespassing," after attempting to ram the truck into Lafayette Square across the street from the White House on Monday night. MAGA Republicans online seem to think the Nazi flag was an FBI setup to make them look bad. They may not have thought through that argument very well.
  • TAP's Ryan Cooper details the evidence that makes it plain as day that Congressional Republicans couldn't care less about the national debt or budget deficits in their pretend case against raising the statutory (and, almost certainly unconstitutional) Debt Ceiling law. If they actually cared about the debt or deficits, they wouldn't oppose raising revenue, among other things. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's fight, on behalf of his party, is not about debt. It is about using terrorism to crash the economy in hopes of hurting Democrats before the next election. They've been pulling this trick for years now. Perhaps Democrats should stop falling for it?
  • According to separate reports from WaPo and NYT last night, Special Counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed information from the Trump Organization on its business dealings with China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman since 2017, as part of his probe of the documents, many of them highly classified, that Donald Trump stole from the White House upon leaving office. Now why would Smith want to do that?
  • Trump appeared remotely in New York court today to be instructed by the judge overseeing his 34 felony count indictment in the Stormy Daniels hush-money case, that he may not share certain evidence from prosecutors over social media. He may not even view some of it without his lawyers present. A date was also set for the beginning of his trial, on March 25, 2024, smack-dab in the middle of next year's Presidential primary season. Should be fun.
  • In a somewhat more immediate Trump Criminal Accountability Calendar Item, Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis has now informed Fulton's Chief Judge that, other than leadership and "armed investigators", the bulk of her staff will be working remotely from July 31 though August 18. That syncs up with dates that Willis previously suggested indictments were likely to be brought in her office's investigation "into possible criminal interference in the administration of Georgia’s 2020 general election". She requested that "judges not schedule trials and in person hearings during the weeks beginning Monday, August 7 and Monday, August 14." So, yeah...mark your calendars. It may get hotter than usual in Atlanta this summer.
  • We would have covered the above story sooner, but it came out as I was being deposed last week in a lawsuit [PDF] filed by the Coalition for Good Governance against Georgia's SB202 voter suppression law. I am a named plaintiff in the case, representing media, regarding provisions of this terrible bill that unconstitutionally chill and/or otherwise dangerously prevent press freedoms and public oversight of elections in the Peach State. While my three-hour depo last week went very well, I believe, I'll hold more specific thoughts for later, as other plaintiffs in the case are still going through their own depositions. But, another provision being challenged by CGG in this terrible bill --- best known for blocking the distribution of food or water to voters waiting in line to vote --- is a scheme that allows the State to replace entire, elected, local Boards of Elections with a single appointee of the Secretary of State's choosing. That wildly undemocratic provision, supported by GA's Republican Sec. of State, Brad Raffensperger, is now being echoed in...
  • ...Texas! Lawmakers in the Lone Star State on Tuesday were voting on two bills that will allow local election officials to be replaced by someone chosen by the Republican Governor's hand-picked Secretary of State, and otherwise make it easier to interfere with local elections. However, these provisions only apply to Counties in Texas with more than 3.5 million voters. As it turns out, the only such county in the state that meets that requirement is Houston's Harris County, a now reliably "blue" part of a "red" state turning more "purple" by the year. If ya can't beat 'em...commandeer their elections and right to vote.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for news on a massive cyclone now aiming directly for the U.S. territory of Guam after spinning up from almost nothing overnight to a catastrophic category 4 Super Typhoon today. That, followed by our latest Green News Report, with important news in the war over water in the drought-stricken U.S. west, and some great news about sweeping, landmark environmental and climate legislation being adopted by Minnesota, now that Dems have taken control of both chambers of the state legislature and its governor's mansion...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: 'Blue Wave' in NE; OH, MO Repubs gaming ballot initiatives; DeSantis suppressing more FL voters; Proud Boys guilty; Trump's NYT suit tossed; More gob-smacking Clarence Thomas corruption...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2023 6:53pm PT  

There was far too much news to fit into one BradCast today. We tried to do it anyway. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our many stories...

  • It was difficult to notice this week, but there was yet another very good election day on Tuesday for non-Rightwingers, including more bad news for MAGA World in several local contests around the country. In Lincoln, Nebraska, incumbent Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, supported by Democrats, defeated a well-funded opponent supported by the state's billionaire Republican U.S. Senator (and former Governor) Pete Ricketts and fellow billionaire publisher Thomas Peed. Gaylor Baird won by nearly 10 points. Apparently, ads describing Lincoln, the state capital, as a dystopian hellhole did not go over well with voters...in Lincoln.
  • A MAGA election conspiracist and local elections clerk named Stephanie Scott (pictured above), was tossed out of her job in a rare recall election on Tuesday in Adams Township, Michigan in Hillsdale County, one of the state's most Republican-leaning areas. Scott is under state criminal investigation after refusing to turn over her town's computer vote tabulator in 2021, which she believed held evidence of fraud revealing Democrats had stolen the state's Presidential election in 2020. That, in a town that Trump/Pence won with 75% of the vote that year. (If the story sounds familiar, see Tina Peters, former Mesa County, Colorado Clerk, who has since been tossed out of her job and indicted on 10 counts.) This appears to be part of the multi-state MAGA conspiracy to breach voting systems, hatched at the Trump White House in December 2020, as we detailed again last week. Scott was defeated by a 2 to 1 margin on Tuesday by an independent challenger running on the slogan "Make Adams Township Boring Again".
  • But, if ya can't beat 'em, suppress their vote! That seems to be the Republican plan for "winning" elections from here on out, apparently. After losing statewide ballot initiatives that would have restricted abortion rights last year, including in so-called "red" states like Kansas and Kentucky, the GOP is now hoping to game the ballot initiative process itself in several states. The most immediate and noteworthy is Ohio, where supporters of reproductive freedom hope to place an initiative on the ballot in November to establish a state Constitutional right to abortion. But Republicans, who just four months ago adopted a statute ending costly August elections, are now moving to place an amendment on the ballot in a $20 million Special Election in August that would raise the requirement for adoption of Constitutional Amendments from a simple majority vote to a required 60% for passage. (Ironically, the GOP lawmakers own Amendment, if voted on in August, would only require 50% to be adopted.) Other gerrymandered GOP states are now attempted to do the same thing, including Missouri, where Republican lawmakers there are doing something arguably even more insidious in their own attempt to fool voters into supporting their anti-democracy measure.
  • And then there's Florida, where democracy goes to die. The state legislature has just passed a one of their final gifts to beleaguered Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis: a 96-page law that will, among other things, severely restrict voter registration by nonpartisan third-party organizations. As recent research finds, Black and Latino voters are more than five times more likely to be registered by third-party groups than White voters. DeSantis is expected to sign the legislation soon as one of his last official acts before declaring his 2024 candidacy. It will be the third year in a row that Sunshine State Republicans have adopted new voting restrictions.
  • A D.C. jury on Thursday convicted four members of the far-right, racist militia group, Proud Boys, of seditious conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, conspiring to impede Congress from performing its duties, obstructing law enforcement and other federal crimes related to their participation in Donald Trump's Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The charges for conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding both carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison. Their former leader, like Donald Trump, was not even at the Capitol during the riot, but was among those found guilty. All of that good news is likely very bad news for the former President and the specific federal charges likely to soon be brought against him.
  • In still more bad news for Trump today, his lawsuit against the New York Times and several of their reporters, charging an "insidious plot" to obtain his tax records resulting in Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting by the paper, was tossed out by a New York judge on Wednesday. Moreover, the judge --- finding Trump's claims "fail as a matter of constitutional law" and that the paper's newsgathering efforts were "the very core of protected First Amendment activity" --- ordered Trump to pay all of the attorneys fees, legal expenses and other associated costs for the Times and their reporters.
  • ProPublica strikes again. First they revealed that GOP megadonor Harlan Crow showered U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for decades with hundreds of thousands of dollars in luxury vacations which he unlawfully failed to disclose. Then they reported that Crow had actually purchased Thomas' mother's house from him, made nearly $40,000 worth of improvements to it, and has allowed the corrupt Justices mom in it, rent-free, ever since. None of that was ever disclosed by Thomas either, in violation of the law. And now, on Wednesday, they did it again. Their latest bombshell scoop documents how Crow's company paid for years of tuition to private schools for Thomas' grandnephew who the nation's longest serving Justice says he raised "as a son" since taking legal custody at the age of 6. The tuition for the boy, now in his 30s, amounted to approximately $100,000. Congressional Republicans continue to applaud the unspeakably corrupt Thomas.
  • Finally, as you haven't had enough already today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report to detail the unprecedented heat wave in Spain, as Italy's rivers dry up; the EU's passage of "the biggest climate protection law of all time"; and New York's adoption of a landmark law banning natural gas hookups in new building construction...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/6/2023 9:27am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Oil prices spike after OPEC+ announces surprise production cuts; Good news and bad news with CA's record snowpack; More deadly tornadoes strike Midwest; PLUS: Biden Admin boosts clean energy in Coal Country, clean manufacturing, and cracks down on toxic mercury and lead water pipes... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 'Scary' new data on the last ice age raises concerns about future sea levels; Walmart will add thousands of EV charging stations to stores by 2030; Biden Interior announces $585 million for water infrastructure projects; Montana repeals state energy policy as climate trial nears; Study: Even a small increase in pollution raises risk for dementia; Melting Antarctic ice may strangle vital ocean currents; Bangladesh needs $1.7 billion a year for green energy transition; China slowly squeezing global carmakers out of its massive markets; N.Y. governor walks back push to 'weaken' climate law after uproar... PLUS: A push to turn farm waste into fuel... and much, MUCH more! ...

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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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Guest: Chris Melody Fields Figueredo of Ballot Initiative Strategy Center; Also: Trump sanctioned by federal judge, ordered to pay Hillary Clinton and others nearly $1 million...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2023 5:56pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Naturally. Now they're coming for citizen ballot initiatives too. They really do hate democracy, don't they?

But, first up today... As we await several criminal indictments hopefully headed the way of our failed, twice-impeached former President, an order released by a federal Judge in Florida last night was particularly satisfying.

It came in response to a motion for sanctions by Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and more than a dozen other defendants in a failed lawsuit filed by Donald Trump and his latest foolish attorney/sucker, Alina Habba, last year. In fact, the first version of Trump's suit was so deficient and devoid of facts or even actual charges, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks was kind enough to allow them to refile it before dismissing the second, longer, but no better version with prejudice.

On Thursday night, Judge Middlebrooks, in a blistering (and I mean blistering) 46-page order [PDF], explained why he was granting the defendants' request for sanctions. He began thusly: "This case should never have been brought. Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it. Intended for a political purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim. ... Thirty-one individuals and entities were needlessly harmed in order to dishonestly advance a political narrative. A continuing pattern of misuse of the courts by Mr. Trump and his lawyers undermines the rule of law, portrays judges as partisans, and diverts resources from those who have suffered actual legal harm."

And that's just the first two paragraphs! It gets even more brutally scathing from there, before concluding with an order for Trump and Habba to pay nearly $1 million to the defendants for the "completely frivolous bad faith" suit brought for "an improper purpose" amounting to "abusive litigation tactics." Perhaps most fun: the single biggest award of fees for a single defendant went to Clinton, who Trump must now pay almost $172,000!

Then, in more serious news today... Progressive citizen ballot initiatives did exceptionally well in 2022, on everything from abortion rights to the legalization of marijuana to the expansion of health care. Yes, even in so-called "red" states. As it turns out, progressive ideas seem to be wildly popular among voters of all stripes! And there is likely much more to come in 2023 and 2024, on abortion rights, minimum wage, gun safety, independent redistricting commissions and much more.

Therefore, in a number of states where Republicans have locked themselves into power with gerrymandered legislatures, they are moving toward making such statewide exercises in "direct democracy" more difficult to get onto the ballot in the first place, and hoping to make them harder to adopt by raising the threshold for passage, for example, from 50% to 60% where they can get away with it.

We're joined today by CHRIS MELODY FIELDS FIGUEREDO, Executive Director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center to discuss both progressive successes on statewide ballot measures around the country in 2022 and what the GOP is now doing to try and prevent those successes from happening again.

"That was a huge moment last year in a trend that I know is going to continue as we look at 2023 and '24, where we really see, in many states, that our elected officials are out of touch with the people," Figueredo tells me. "And in most states where they tried to limit the ability of the people to bring forth issues to their community through the ballot measure process, in most cases those were rejected in the states. So there's a lot of opportunity ahead of us."

But, she cautions, "We are seeing a direct backlash to what is happening across the country, of progressive issues winning when they're put before the voters. We're not seeing those changes, which the people say are urgent and important, through our representatives in government, whether it's at city council, whether it's at the state legislative level, and even in the federal government."

We've got a lot to discuss on all of this, including where the direct democracy ballot initiative process has seemingly been captured by corporate interests (in states like California) and about the dozens of states which still don't even allow citizens to place measures on the statewide ballot at all.

I'm also curious how much of the new blowback against such initiatives Figueredo attributes to the number of them in recent years that have instituted independent redistricting commissions in hopes of breaking gerrymandered strangleholds that the GOP still has on many state legislatures. "You have to connect the dots," Figueredo responds. "I think this is ultimately the question that is before us right now in our democracy. Is it of, for and by the people? And who ultimately has the power to make decisions for all of us? That's what's at stake right now."

"It's ultimately this question about power. You can connect the dots. And if we are looking at the ballot initiative process, or the initiatives in general, as a tool for power in our democracy, then yes, if you are an elected official who does not agree with people who may be your constituents and it doesn't fit your agenda, then your next step would be to undermine or weaken the will of the people."

There is much more in our conversation today, including what the U.S. Supreme Court may soon do to gut all such statewide initiatives regarding elections in their upcoming Moore v. Harper decision. Please tune in!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Beer shortage?!; More on DeSantis' migrant scam; Electoral Count Act reform news; Good (and bad) news for disabled voters...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2022 6:38pm PT  

Today's BradCast starts off with a show-stopper! Everything else thereafter, well, you'll decide for yourself. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

On today's program...

  • Since it's, apparently, National Voter Registration Day today (yes, that's a thing), we thought we'd celebrate by starting off with a fantastic new lyric rewrite video from the cast of Broadway's Hamilton. They've updated a song from the show called "The Election of 1800" to a new version called "The Election of 2022" to raise awareness of the importance of voting this year. Their effort is in partnership with Michelle Obama's When We All Vote and Vote Riders. But for help in registering to vote, checking to make sure your registration still exists (and is at the address where you actually live), and for information on the type of ID required to vote where you live, I recommend either the DNC's IWillVote.com app or the federal government's Vote.gov. Both sites allow you to check your registration or register to vote without having to give information to a third party. And, since merely voting is no longer enough, we are officially enlisting you to spread the word to others on all of this! Ask your friends, co-workers, neighbors etc., if they are registered to vote; help them do so, if not; make sure they get to the polls to vote by November 8 this year, etc. etc. Yes, it's that important this year!
  • There is a weird beer shortage looming! Why? Lack of carbon dioxide due to contamination at an extinct volcano in Mississippi. Yes, I realize that sounds bizarre --- especially given the deadly over-abundance of CO2 in our atmosphere, causing our deadly climate crisis --- but, well...tune in for the full bizarre explanation.
  • On yesterday's program, we detailed some of the apparent federal criminal statutes, such as kidnapping, that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to have violated when he shipped 48 Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio, Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts on behalf of the state of Florida. We noted that requests had been made to the MA Attorney General U.S. Attorney's office in the state to investigate whether laws were violated. But shortly after airtime yesterday, news broke that Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas Sheriff's office has opened a criminal investigation into the matter. Good news!
  • As to what actually happened --- versus what DeSantis is claiming --- TPM's Josh Marshall has been trying to do some digging, after first noting that the initial story "Doesn't Add Up". Why did DeSantis hunt down migrants in Texas seeking asylum to entice (with false promises) to go to Massachusetts? Are there no migrants in Florida that could have been similarly abused, since the Florida state legislature has set allocated some $12 million to use to transport migrants out of the state (as opposed to out of the state of Texas)?! Who is this mysterious "Perla" character who has been identified as having recruited the migrants and organized luxury corporate jets to fly theme to MA? And, though the Florida Governor and Presidential hopeful is refusing to offer specifics, what clues can be gleaned about all of this from some of the statements that he has made, referencing a "contractor" or "vendor" who seems to have been hired for all of this, rather than government workers. In other words, what the hell is really going on here?
  • Then, in some election law related news today, the House January 6 Select Committee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) and committee member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) detailed proposed reforms to the Electoral Count Act, over the weekend. The Committee, they explain, hopes to make it more difficult in the future to steal elections via the Electoral College, as Donald Trump attempted to do on January 6, 2021. The new measure, officially introduced by the Committee in the House on Monday, is called the Presidential Election Reform Act. It would clarify the role of the Vice President on January 6 as purely ministerial; increase the number of Representative and Senators required to challenge any state's Electoral College votes; offer legal options to Presidential candidates in the event that a state fails to certify its Electoral Votes (as a number of GOP candidates for Governor and Sec. of State this year have said they would have done in 2020, had they been in office at the time); and prevents state legislatures from changing the rules for determining election results after the election has already started. The House measure is similar to one recently introduced by a bipartisan group in the Senate, and would need to be reconciled with that version if both versions are successfully brought to a vote in each chamber.
  • Some good news --- and some troubling news --- for disabled voters. New voting restrictions adopted by Republicans in several different states have made it literally impossible for some disabled voters to vote at all without breaking the law. For example, a Wisconsin law had mandated that nobody other than the voter him or herself could place an absentee ballot in a mailbox. That means that those without use of their arms --- such as voters suffering from advanced multiple sclerosis or who may have been injured --- might not be able to vote absentee at all. A recent federal court victory in WI will at least allow disabled voters in that state to receive assistance when casting their ballot. But several other states, such as Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri, still have measures in place that could make it impossible --- and/or illegal --- for some disabled voters to vote at all in 2022 and beyond.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as three major storms made simultaneous, catastrophic landfall in Puerto Rico, Alaska and Japan over the weekend; a new report finds climate change made Pakistan's recent catastrophic flooding much much worse; better news in Australia where the nation, until recently controlled by climate change deniers, is finally moving to reduce carbon emissions; and, in Louisiana, a court has blocked the construction of a massive, toxic plastics plant in area of the state known as "Cancer Alley"...

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Also: The corruption of Zinke in MT; The ridiculousness of Walker in GA; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2022 6:44pm PT  

Until (and unless) Democrats can pick up at least two seats in the U.S. Senate this November in order to reform the filibuster --- while retaining their majority in the U.S. House and control of the White House --- the fight for personal freedoms, such as reproductive rights and voting rights, is going to remain a grueling, state-by-state slog. That's where we are right now. But we can change that this November if we ALL turn out and fight like hell to cast our vote. In the meantime, on today's BradCast, we've got some good news in at least some of those state-by-state battles.

Among the many stories covered today...

  • New evidence of the unapologetic corruption of Donald Trump's disgraced former Interior Dept. Secretary Ryan Zinke, who, incredibly enough, is currently the front-runner to win a new U.S. House seat in Montana. Voters in Montana would be wise to reconsider that idea.
  • New evidence of the unspeakable ignorance of former NFL great Herschel Walker, who is now the embarrassing Trump-backed nominee for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, where he is running against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Despite lying about his past, and offering inane, barely comprehensible comments on the campaign trail, not to mention his latest ridiculous response to the Democrats' landmark new climate bill, investing $370 billion to take on our climate crisis, Walker remains very much in the running to unseat Warnock. Voters in Georgia would be wise to reconsider that idea.
  • Newly triggered abortion bans went into effect in three more states on Thursday, in Idaho, Tennessee and Texas. That brings the number of states where reproductive rights and personal freedoms are now completely banned or severely restricted to 14. Many of those states do not allow exceptions for rape, incest or even the life or health of the mother. As the President of the Center for Reproductive Rights told HuffPost, "Vast swaths of the nation, especially in the South and Midwest, are now abortion deserts that, for many, will be impossible to escape." There was a small bit of good news on this front on Wednesday in federal court, however, regarding Idaho's draconian restrictions, as challenged by the Biden Administration's Dept. of Justice. Voters in all of these states are going to need to show up in unprecedented numbers to make their voices heard in November.
  • There was also some good news on this front following this week's elections in New York and Florida, even beyond the political earthquake of Democratic candidate Pat Ryan's win in a special election for the U.S. House in a NY swing-district that would almost certainly have been won by the Republican candidate prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's corrupt GOP majority overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this summer. In FL, the sole Democrat in the state House to vote in favor of new restrictions on abortion and in favor of the Republicans' "Don't Say Gay" law was booted from his job on Tuesday. Also, a judge in FL's Hillsborough County, who made himself infamous earlier this year by denying an abortion to a 17-year old girl because he didn't think her grades were high enough, was also tossed out of his job. Good work, Florida voters! More like that on November 8, please!
  • And then there's the state-by-state fight for voting rights. Here, we've got several encouraging pieces of news from the court in recent days. Earlier this month, a federal court in Texas rejected a state voter suppression law that would leave those who do not live permanently in the state (for example, those who may attend school there) from being able to register to vote in either that state or their own home state! "The part-time and off-campus college students are undeniably disenfranchised because they are unable to register to vote both where they have moved and where they have moved from," the U.S. District Court Judge wrote when issuing his summary judgment [PDF] in favor of plaintiffs. "The court is likewise unable to discern where college students should register as the Temporary-Relocation Provision [of Senate Bill 1111] is written. And the possible repercussions are not just complete disenfranchisement, but also criminal liability. The Temporary-Relocation Provision does not overcome any degree of constitutional scrutiny," he found in tossing out the provision. Naturally, the state's criminally-indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton is appealing the matter to the rightwing 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Late last week, there was good news for voters in North Carolina, as the state's Supreme Court determined that two state Constitutional Amendments --- one to impose Photo ID restrictions on voters, the other to lower taxes --- were unlawfully adopted by a racially gerrymandered state legislature. Some 28 seats in the GOP-majority General Assembly were found by a federal court to have been unlawful racial gerrymanders. But, after that finding and before a new election to correct the gerrymanders, the state Assembly rushed a vote to put the Amendments onto the state ballot. Without the illegal gerrymanders, they likely wouldn't have had enough votes to do so. NC's high court last week ruled, as WRAL summarized, "lawmakers who won their seats through unconstitutional racial gerrymandering cannot then submit constitutional amendments that would permanently disadvantage the same groups discriminated against in the racial gerrymandering process." The state's Republican House Speaker vows to appeal to SCOTUS.
  • And, also late last week, a federal judge determined that Arkansas violated the Voting Rights Act by restricting the number of people who could receive assistance in voting --- such as help in translating an English language ballot --- by any one person. The state law said no single person could help more than six voters. The court found that to be arbitrary and in violation of federal law. "Arkansas has determined that voters should only get the assistor of their choice up to a point," the Judge wrote in his ruling, "but there is no evidence Congress contemplated this numerical restriction on the right.” A similar suit has been filed in Missouri, where state Republicans have limited the number of voters who may be helped by any one person to...one!
  • Finally, before we get to today's Green News Report with Desi Doyen --- in which compelling reason is offered to Virginia voters to vote out their GOP climate change denying Congressman Bob Good --- some breaking news out of California, where regulators have finalized a requirement that will allow only new, zero-emissions vehicles (for example, all-electric vehicles) to be sold in the Golden State as of 2035. Desi explains why that's very good news for both the state and the world. Then, she closes out today's program with our latest GNR, including disturbing news on the worst draught in Europe in at least 500 years; the surprising popularity of climate action among Americans; troubling news about fracking and children's health; and oil giant Saudi Arabia's plan to break into the emerging EV market...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Critical lessons (and warnings) from primary results in AZ, KS, MI, MO, WA, OH; Also: IN Rep. Walorski killed in crash; A farewell to Vin Scully...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2022 6:07pm PT  

Look at the faces in that photo. Those are the faces of people grappling to understand a profound truth that they simply had no idea about prior to Tuesday night. Those faces should serve as inspiration for every Democrat and/or progressive on the ballot in every race in all 50 states between today and November 8. And as a warning for every Republican.

On today's BradCast, selective, noteworthy, curated results --- or what is known about them, unofficial, incomplete or otherwise --- from Tuesday's primary elections in six states, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington and Ohio. (And several problems for voters in Pinal County, AZ.) [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Of course, the biggest news from Tuesday, hands down, was the stunning landslide rejection of a state constitutional amendment in Kansas that would have allowed the state's Republicans to restrict and/or ban abortion rights. (That's what the folks in that photo were just learning about.) It was the first statewide vote on the matter anywhere in the nation since the newly extremist, far-right, radical, activist, corrupt, Republican U.S. Supreme Court majority overturned 50-years of Constitutionally protected rights and freedoms by striking down 1973's Roe v. Wade decision.

Even in the theoretically "conservative" state of KS, voters soundly rejected that proposed Amendment with their "NO" votes by a stunning 18 points over "YES" as of airtime. The "NO" vote did well in large and small, rural and urban, Democratic and Republican counties alike. Turnout, thanks to this measure --- in a midterm primary where Republicans assumed few would notice --- was enormous and at levels normally seen in Presidential primaries or even mid-term general elections in the recent past.

The question now is whether Democrats will finally have the confidence and courage to run on this issue, following the overturning of Roe in June, in every state in the country and for virtually every office on the ballot from Governor to Attorney General to District Attorney to County Sheriff to state Judge to state Supreme Court Justice. And, whether Democrats will be able to capitalize on Josh Marshall's "Roe and Reform" campaign that he's been pushing hard at Talking Points Memo, calling for a very specific promise to voters from Democrats on the federal level: Let us hold our House majority and give us two more seats in the Senate and we vow, come January 2023, to reform the Senate filibuster to codify the protections of Roe into federal law, guaranteeing privacy rights and reproductive freedom in all 50 states.

Nothing short of that very specific "You give us that, we'll give you this" promise will do, as Josh has smartly been explaining for weeks now. We have long argued ourselves that candidates must give voters something very clear and specific to vote for. When they do, as proven on Tuesday in Kansas --- where the stakes were crystal clear, and voters knew exactly what they would get from their one single vote --- they will respond in large numbers.

Of course, all of this also further underscores the argument I've been making for months that Democrats and progressives must ignore the "conventional wisdom" from so-called political professionals about the historical odds of impending doom this November. These are decidedly UNconventional times, proven once again in KS yesterday.

Beyond that very encouraging news on Tuesday, there was still more good news in both the Secretary of State and Attorney General races in KS; Somewhat disappointing news in the MO race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt; Potentially concerning news out of MI's Republican gubernatorial contest, where a well funded, Trump-backed loon will run against the state's popular Democratic Governor; And wildly troubling news out of AZ on the Republican side in the contests for the Gubernatorial and Sec. of State nominations, in what could turn out to be two of the most critical races in the nation this November.

All of that and many other races covered and explained, with context, on today's busy show.

Finally, we close with some tragic news on the death this afternoon of Indiana's 58-year old Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and two of her young staffers in an automobile accident. And, some pleasant thoughts following the passing on Tuesday night of Hall of Fame broadcasting legend Vin Scully at age 94. He served as the inimitable and nationally recognized voice of Dodger baseball --- in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles --- for 67 incomparable years...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Can Dems finally pass the critical Schumer/Manchin compromise bill to save the climate (and maybe themselves)?; Also: Biden's 'rebound'; KY's death toll; Tuesday's primaries; And callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2022 6:16pm PT  

In our opinion, on today's BradCast, the scaled back, surprise "Build Back Better" spending bill compromise (now renamed the "Inflation Reduction Act" to help win over West Virginia's rightwing Democratic Senator) comes not a moment too soon. And, even "scaled back", it's still chocked full of so much stuff that if each of its provisions were passed in separate bills over the past 18 months, we'd likely be discussing Joe Biden as having one of the most successful first two years of any President in history. That said, the bill has not yet been passed, and it could still be a very bumpy ride in the coming days to see it through to the President's signature. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get to that today --- and some callers on same --- a few other headlines covered on today's show...

  • Minutes before airtime, news broke that the U.S. killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan over the weekend in a successful drone strike, in which no civilians are said to have been killed. President Biden was to give remarks about what happened on Monday evening.
  • Speaking of Biden, he tested positive for COVID again over the weekend, in what White House officials are describing as a "rare rebound" case after finishing his 5-day course of the anti-viral drug called Paxlovid. Well, it can't be ALL that rare, because last week, when the White House announced Biden had tested negative and was cleared to leave isolation, we warned about the possibility of such a rebound, as many Paxlovid users have experienced same. The Pfizer drug has very good results at preventing serious cases and hospitalization, but many patients have experienced a second --- non-fatal --- COVID infection shortly after using it. That is, apparently, the case with Biden. His White House doctor says he has few if any symptoms and will likely be fine, despite needing to isolate again.
  • Deadly flash flooding continues in parts of Kentucky today, and warnings for more of the same have been issued for the next several days from Tennessee to Kentucky to West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina. 37 have so far been confirmed to have died from the horrific flooding in Eastern Kentucky. Governor Andy Beshear believes that toll will continue to rise, as hundreds are still unaccounted for in a number of Appalachian mountain towns after recent, and ongoing, deluges. That, as our climate emergency continues with record heat predicted again this week from the Dakotas to the East Coast.
  • On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls in six states: Ohio, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington state for primary elections. And there are a lot of 2020 election deniers (and worse) on the GOP ballots. We quickly preview just a few of those insane races today and will have noteworthy reported results, of course, on Wednesday's program.

Then, it's on to the so-called Inflation Reduction Act --- a scaled down version of the Build Back Better Act that Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema killed last year. If successfully adopted this time, it would increase federal revenue by some $750 billion over the next ten years, allowing for some $450 billion in spending on a bunch of several long-overdue programs. Most of them have been progressive priorities for years.

Only Democrats in the U.S. Senate will be needed to pass it under Senate reconciliation rules, but all 50 will have to be there (not out with COVID) and vote yes. Sinema has yet to comment on the measure, even as Manchin has been taking to media over the weekend to try and sell her on it.

If passed, the 725-page measure [PDF] will: Allow Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices; Cap out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs for seniors at $2,000 per year; Expand federal subsidies for premiums for individuals who purchase health insurance on the federal Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) exchanges; Set a minimum 15% tax for corporations who make more than $1 billion in profits per year; Increase policing of tax cheats; and, perhaps most critically, invest some $369 billion in climate and energy projects to cut deadly greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 through investments that hasten the nation's move from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.

What the bill won't do is raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year, as Biden has long promised. That, despite blatant lies from Republicans such as Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) who, when announcing he tested positive for COVID today, lied about the bill, declaring on Twitter that he will "continue to fight Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin's massive tax increase on working families." That is a lie. There is no "massive tax increase on working families" in the bill. Republicans hope you are dumb enough to be duped to the contrary.

In order to win over Manchin, whose family and campaign have long been propped up by fossil fuel interests, the bill does mandate oil and gas lease sales on federal lands be auctioned off in exchange for the approval of on- and off-shore wind and solar projects. Even there, however, oil and gas companies will be required to pay higher royalties on whatever they extract, and will be fined for failing to prevent methane leaks that exacerbate global warming. So, yeah. Art of the compromise. But, according to most climate experts we've read, heard from or spoken with, it's a compromise well worth taking..and comes not a moment too soon, as our climate emergency worsens by the day.

We've got much more on all of the above on today's show, and we open up the phone lines to callers to get some of their thoughts on the "Inflation Reduction Act" as the world melts down, and the 2022 primary general election is now less than 100 days away...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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