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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, June 4, 2023
Sunday 'Wrecked' Toons
PDiddie takes out the trash in his latest collection of the week's best political toons...
Bad Days in Court for Rightwing Extremist Yutzes: 'BradCast' 5/25/23
Also: Is Biden playing 3-D chess with Repubs on the Debt Ceiling?...
'Green News Report' 5/25/23
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon slams Guam; Unlivable temps for billions by 2100; Fossil fuel industry owes world $23 trillion in reparations; PLUS: Oil industry shareholder meetings interrupted...
Recent GNRs: 5/23/23 - 5/18/23 - Archives...
How SCOTUS 'Legalized' Its Own Corruption:
'BradCast' 5/24/23
Guest: Former federal corruption prosecutor Randall D. Eliason; Also: How DeSantis robbed freedoms and weaponized Big Government 'cancel culture' in FL...
GOP Political Terrorism: 'BradCast' 5/23
Proof that McCarthy and GOP couldn't care less about debt or deficit; Also: Trump criminal woes worsen; TX joins GA in undermining elections in Dem strongholds...
'Green News Report' 5/23/23
Truce among states in Western water wars amid multi-decade drought; World's lakes shrinking; PLUS: MN Dems to enact landmark environment, climate legislation...
Biden's Ticket to Ending GOP Hostage Crisis Already Filed in Court: 'BradCast' 5/22/23
Guest: The Prospect's David Dayen; Also, BREAKING: AZ's Dem Governor vetoes bipartisan election transparency bill...
Sunday 'Responsible' Toons
As usual, PDiddie endeavors to set a good example for our children in his latest collection of the week's best political toons...
'Green News Report' 5/18/23
WMO warns Earth about to blow past 1.5 degree Celsius climate target; Torrential rain, deadly flooding in Italy, Somalia; PLUS: Buckle up for an unnaturally hot summer...
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...


Guest: Former federal prosecutor Randall D. Eliason; Also: How DeSantis robbed freedoms and weaponized Big Government 'cancel culture' in FL...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2023 6:47pm PT  

After more than twenty years of rolling back corruption and bribery statutes, is it any wonder, as our guest on today's BradCast observed in his latest op-ed, that the U.S. Supreme Court is now "blind to its own corruption"?

BUT FIRST, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is announcing his 2024 Presidential run today, and corporate media outlets are focusing on his horse race with the disgraced former President. We mark the day, however, by focusing on several of the latest victims of DeSantis' Big Government weaponization against people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. That, by a guy whose 2022 re-election slogan in Florida was, laughably, "Freedom Lives Here".

DeSantis deserves credit for leading the way for other, similarly gerrymandered and GOP-controlled states which have begun to adopt many of the same, hateful, Big Government "cancel culture" statutes that, in Florida, have resulted in banned books, muzzled teachers, lost rights, vile threats against those who support freedom and travel warnings issued for those visiting the Sunshine State.

Today, the effort is playing out in terroristic threats against Target employees; an investigation of a Florida grade school teacher for showing an animated Disney film to her class; and the removal of The Hill We Climb --- a poem by Amanda Gorman which she read at Joe Biden's 2021 inauguration --- from a grade school library. That's just a sampling of some of the latest victims of DeSantis' cruel agenda during his tenure as Governor.

As California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted in response to Target's removal of items from its Pride Month collection under threats from the MAGA right, "Wake up America. This doesn’t stop here. You’re black? You’re Asian? You’re Jewish? You’re a woman? You’re next."

THEN, it's back to the seemingly never-ending, decades-long corruption of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and some similar, recently revealed corruption by Justice Neil Gorsuch and even Chief Justice John Roberts who, by and large, refuses to do anything about any of it.

There's an explanation for that, argues RANDALL D. ELIASON, George Washington University Law School professor and former chief of the fraud and public corruption section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C.

"Over more than two decades, the Supreme Court has gutted laws aimed at fighting corruption and at limiting the ability of the powerful to enrich public officials in a position to advance their interests. As a result, today wealthy individuals and corporations may buy political access and influence with little fear of legal consequences, either for them or for the beneficiaries of their largess," Eliason argued in a New York Times op-ed over the weekend, adding: "No wonder Justice Thomas apparently thought his behavior was no big deal."

Today, Eliason tells me, "the Court itself has contributed to a legal environment over the last twenty years, where, at least as far as the Court is concerned, many of the things that are going on are not, in fact, corrupt, because they've taken this extremely narrow view of what corruption is." Essentially, he explains, cases such as Citizens United v. FEC; United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers; Skilling v. U.S.; and McDonnell v. U.S. have all greatly narrowed the definition of corruption to largely nothing less than a very specific quid pro quo bribe where a politician promises a very specific official act in exchange for payment.

That means, as some on the Court may now see it, long-term relationships where a GOP megadonor like Harlan Crow has sponsored hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed luxury travel for Thomas, or purchased his mother's house, improved it, and allowed her to live there rent-free to this day, or even paying private school tuition for Thomas' grand-nephew, is not seen as "corruption" if it wasn't in return for a specific thing. Even Thomas' wife Ginni can receive tens of thousands of dollars in payoffs by far-right activists, and it's not considered corruption.

"These long term relationships, where wealthy donors can shower a politician or a Supreme Court justice with huge gifts over years --- that's okay. At least it's not criminal, unless prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one particular gift was because of one particular thing they did," Eliason explains, detailing how the Court has cloistered itself into a world where all of this is somehow okay.

"The reality of corruption is usually much more subtle that that, and pervasive than that. It's a long-term 'You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' kind of arrangement. 'I'll give you these fancy trips and gifts and things over time, and then when things happen to come up that I'm interested in, you'll do the right thing for me, and we don't even have to talk about it. We don't have to have an explicit deal, it's just an understanding between us.' That's what real-world corruption is like. But for more than twenty years, the Court has issued a series of opinions that have largely put arrangements like that --- like the arrangement between Harlan Crow and Clarence Thomas --- out of the reach of the law."

We've got a lot to discuss on these matters with Eliason today, including his suggestions for how Congress could fix this clearly broken and corrupt system, even as the Chief Justice suggests (inaccurately) that doing so would somehow be a violation of the Constitution's Separation of Powers doctrine. Ironically enough, if Congress finally does manage to legislate ethics reform for the Court and someone did challenge it as unconstitutional, guess who would get to be the final arbiter? "I wonder how they are going to rule?," quips Eliason...

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: Election Day in KY, PA, FL; 'No Labels' scamming voters in ME?; DeSantis banning Holocaust history textbooks in FL...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2023 6:45pm PT  

Apologies in advance if you need to rinse off today's BradCast with a hot shower. We did our best to keep it family friendly. It wasn't always easy. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • It's Election Day in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and parts of Florida for some key state, municipal and special elections. We run down several of the key races and will have noteworthy results, as available, on tomorrow's program.
  • The political group calling itself "No Labels" is reportedly working to become an official political party in all 50 states in hopes of placing a Presidential candidate on the ballot in 2024. The group, founded in 2010, claims to be a non-partisan "centrist" coalition of both Democrats and Republicans, though their efforts to date seemed designed mostly to harm Democrats. See, for example, their lobbying of Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in opposition of reforming the Senate filibuster in 2021. Also, internal documents have revealed their funders include far-right dark money billionaires such as David Kochand Peter Theil, according to Daily Beast, and Clarence Thomas benefactor Harlan Crow, according to New Republic. Now, the Secretary of State in Maine is charging the group has been scamming voters into signing a "petition" that is actually a change of party form. Just 5,000 voters need to become members in the state for the party to be allowed on the ballot. Apparently 6,000 have now signed up and the state has some questions about it.
  • Really, we did our best to keep this report no more graphic than PG-13, but it has to be told because there are some very serious crimes sort of hidden in the new 70-page lawsuit [PDF] filed against Rudy Giuliani by a former employee who accuses him of some pretty horrific "sexual assault, battery, gender discrimination and harassment, fostering a hostile work environment, retaliation, breach of contract, and violations of state labor laws."

    The hostile work environment allegedly included "misogynistic, racist, and antisemitic communications, constant sexual attacks, threats when she brought up the salary she was owed, and threats when she finally found the courage to confront him with her fears and the possibility of legal action."

    But of potential criminal note in the suit filed by Noelle Dunphy against Giuliani in New York on Monday, is not only the off-the-books payments (she says he gave her just $12,000 of the $1 million he'd promised), but that the former NYC mayor, federal prosecutor and Trump attorney was, according to the lawsuit, allegedly "selling pardons for $2 million, which he and President Trump would split." (!!!)

    Moreover, Dunphy claims to have audio recordings of Giuliani, including "some in which she says he can be heard making sexual comments, demanding sex and making sexist, racist, and antisemitic remarks." Does she have any in which Rudy is discussing selling Presidential pardons and splitting the proceeds with Trump? I suspect prosecutors may want to find that out in the not-too-distant future.

  • Speaking of antisemitism, on Monday, Florida Governor and desperate Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis signed yet another bill forcing his far-right ideology onto others with yet another ban on freedoms. This one bars public colleges and universities from investing in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. DeSantis has previously enacted state-imposed bans on various forms of free speech and books that his far-right Big Government state lackeys find objectionable. That has already resulted in bans on books said to cite issues of race, gender and sexuality, including math books (somehow) and social study texts. But now the Jewish Telegraphic Agency is reporting that the State is also banning educational textbooks on the Holocaust and/or forcing publishers to modify them in order to receive official State approval for use in Florida K-12 schools and public universities. “This is what modern day fascism looks like," charges human rights lawyer Qasim Rashid. "Remember, the main reason extremists would want to ban teaching about a past atrocity is to make it easier to enable that atrocity in the future."
  • We do have at least one story today that isn't creepy and horrible today, ironically enough. The still-Rightwing-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court actually issued a ruling that isn't insane, overturning a lower state court's insane, seemingly Fox "News"-inspired order that hospitals must use Ivermectin horse-medicine to treat COVID-19 when a patient insists. The ruling overturns that madness comes in advance of liberals taking over the state high court majority beginning in August, following the election of a new liberal justice in the Badger State earlier this year.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on a devastating cyclone in Myanmar; the enormous cost of plugging abandoned oil and gas well in the Gulf of Mexico; and the Biden EPA's proposal of landmark new to curb climate warming emissions from the nation's power plants...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Dem Congressional staffers attacked by bat-wielding man in VA; A weekend of democracy for Turkey and Thailand...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2023 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was a mixed bag for democracy overseas this weekend, where (as here in the U.S.) a democratic election does not necessarily guarantee the winner will be a small "d" democrat. Meanwhile, the version of democracy we have here at home ain't necessarily doing much better. Arguably worse, in fact. [Audio link to full show is posted at the end of this summary.]

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

  • A 49-year old man has been arrested after attacking two staffers of Virginia's Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly with a metal baseball bat on Monday at his district office in Fairfax. The motive for the attack was unknown as of airtime, but the incident is yet another in a sharp rise of threats and attacks against lawmakers and their families since Donald Trump's January 6, 2021 sore-loser insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
  • For the first time in his 20 years as Turkey's leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will now face a runoff election to retain power in two weeks. Over the weekend, the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan was able to notch just 49.5% of the large turnout vote, falling just short of the 50% needed to win outright against opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who received just shy of 45%. The next two weeks will see a fight for the remaining 5.7% of the vote won in the first round on Sunday by a third party candidate. Erdogan is believed likely to pull off another victory on May 28 --- despite startling inflation and his handling of an earthquake that resulted in more than 50,000 deaths --- after failing to win outright for the first time in his political career. Kilicdaroglu, however, vows he will win control of the key NATO ally, which has drifted toward the conservative right and Russia in recent years.
  • The news was slightly brighter in Thailand over the weekend, where two different opposition parties to the ruling military junta easily bested the competition. It was a "stunning" victory for the liberal Move Forward party who, with the help of young, first-time voters, easily defeated the populist, billionaire-controlled Pheu Thai party that had been favored to win going in to the weekend. Move Forward's agenda includes rolling back the military's political role and reforming laws that stifle dissent. The question now, however, is whether either Move Forward or Pheu Thai will be able to build a governing coalition in parliament and win the coveted Prime Minister's position. All parties, however, including those backed by the military, seemed to recognize the voice of the weekend's democratic vote. For now.
  • Back here in the U.S., the controversy over last week's appalling, 70-minute Donald Trump town hall, gifted to him by CNN, continues. In the second half of today's program we open the phones to listeners on whether CNN should have held the forum at all --- allowing the disgraced, twice-impeached, criminally indicted, sexual abuser former President of the United States to offer lie after lie after lie before a live audience of cheering supporters --- and, if not, how should the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination be covered? Also, while the performance was clearly a gift to Trump in his run for the GOP nod, will it actually help him in the long-run to win a general election next year? I am not so sure. In fact, I don't think it will help him at all and is as likely to hurt him in a number of ways. We take a lot of thoughts from a lot of callers on those points, several of whom disagree with my own take on the matter, though in several different and interesting ways...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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And how the Fairness Doctrine, extended to cable, could have prevented Jan. 6 and the threat to democracy's survival...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/12/2023 10:05am PT  

A decision by President Ronald Reagan to veto [PDF] an Act of Congress that would have codified the FCC's Fairness Doctrine into law, rather than just FCC regulation, coupled with the failure of both the FCC and Congress to expand the Doctrine to apply not only to over-the-air broadcasting, but also to ubiquitous cable television networks like Fox "News", gave birth to today's mendacious right-wing media echo chamber.

The rationale offered by Reagan in his veto at the time, and by the Commissioners he appointed to the FCC when it repealed [PDF] the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, was that the Doctrine had a "chilling effect" on broadcasters' willingness to cover controversial topics. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, in Red Lion Broadcasting v. FCC (1969), brushed aside that same argument as speculative.

"It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited market-place of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail," JFK-appointee Justice Byron White wrote on behalf of the unanimous Supreme Court in the Red Lion opinion. "Speech concerning public affairs," he added, "is more than self-expression; it is the essence of self-government."

That observation aligns with the words of James Madison, who introduced the First Amendment at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance," Madison proffered; "and a People who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives."

Because the "goal" of the First Amendment is to produce "an informed public capable of conducting its own affairs," the Court, in Red Lion, ruled that it's the First Amendment "right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, that is paramount."

The Supreme Court has never recognized a First Amendment right of a broadcaster to lie to the public, let alone a broadcaster's right to erect a pervasive, yet entirely fictional alternative reality, like the one created when Fox "News" embraced and amplified the same "Big Lie" that led to the January 6 insurrection.

If the Doctrine had been retained and expanded to cable TV outlets, it might well have prevented the January 6 insurrection. An expanded Fairness Doctrine would also have the potential to fend off today's ominous threat to the very survival of democracy in these United States...

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




Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: OH GOP lawmakers adopt ballot measure to undermine democracy in August special election...
By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2023 6:12pm PT  

Democracy is not having an easy time of it of late, as both of our main stories on the always pro-democracy BradCast seem to underscore today. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP, after months of wrangling, Ohio's gerrymandered Republican state House on Wednesday decided to put majority rule up for a vote this summer. Specifically, they voted to hold a special election for a state constitutional amendment asking voters if all future amendments placed on the ballot must reach 60% for passage. The GOP amendment in August will require only 50% to be adopted, as has been the case for all such measures in the Buckeye State since 1912.

The August special election will come just in time to preempt a the state's November general election, which is likely to feature a citizen-led ballot amendment to protect abortion in Ohio as a constitutional right. That, of course, is why Republicans are hoping to undermine that measure with their own small turnout election in late Summer. They hypocritically characterized the controversial initiative as a "constitutional protection act", meant to keep "out-of-state special interests" away from Ohio's foundational documents. But the measure's top backer was a PAC named "Save Our Constitution", funded with $1.1 million from one single out-of-state billionaire GOP megadonor.

Every single former state Governor opposed the measure, along with five former Republican and Democratic state Attorneys General and the Ohio Libertarian Party. But it was supported by the state's hypocritical Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and Sec. of State Frank LaRose, both of whom eagerly supported an election reform package adopted just four months ago in January, which did away with August Special Elections after finding them to be low-turnout and expensive. Then these "conservatives" supported this new special election anyway, at a price tag of $20 million to state taxpayers, in exchange for which they will get to vote on taking away their own democratic power.

Similar efforts to undermine abortion rights, however, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court last year, have failed miserably in both right- and left-leaning states. But those measures won with anywhere from 50 to 60% of the vote. Recent AP polling finds support for reproductive freedoms in Ohio to be at 59%. Thus, the GOP's attempt to undermine majority rule this Summer by requiring 60% for passage of future ballot measures...other than their own.

NEXT: CNN called it a "town hall". In truth, it was a 70-minute Donald Trump infomercial filled with a non-stop litany of his twisted lies from beginning to end. The number of lies he told is entirely too long to detail here, on everything from the 2020 election, to January 6, to his stolen classified documents, to this week's federal court verdict finding him liable for sexual abuse and defamation, to pretty much anything else that you or CNN moderator Kaitlin Collins or the Trump-supporting crowd in attendance at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, New Hampshire could come up with.

He also made clear that he would pardon the January 6th insurrectionists and seditionists, and that he supports the imperialist invasion of authoritarian Vladimir Putin's Russia over defending democracy and humanity in Ukraine.

But, while Wednesday night's shameful spectacle clearly embarrassed even the many CNN commentators serving as post-game analysts, did the live town hall ultimately help or hurt Trump overall?

We're joined today by our old friend HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo to discuss exactly that and much more related to what is arguably one of the lowest moments in CNN history.

(I'd love your thoughts on that question as well, and may share them on air in the days ahead. Please leave any such thoughts below in comments or email me, if you prefer.)

"It was a clown show," says Parton who did not realize it would include an audience stacked with GOPers, as it was presented as a Republican town hall before next year's New Hampshire primary. "That gave him the ability to go on national TV and essentially hold a rally. A rally in which he had a foil there in Kaitlan Collins, who, I think she did about as good as you could do. I don't have a lot of complaints with her, she was thrown into a situation that was unwinnable."

She discusses why CNN is taking this attempted turn to the right, in order to curry favor with Trump voters at the behest of their new, rightwing owner who sees Fox "News" as fair and balanced. "CNN is in a ratings spiral, doing a lot of retooling. It seems obvious to me that CNN thought they could maybe cop some of those people if they put on the right show. That's what they did. It was horrifying."

While I discuss several points in which Trump did himself no favor with prosecutors preparing indictments against him, Parton cites some of the actually "dangerous" fallout likely to come from Wednesday night. "[Trump] said some things that were literally dangerous. For example, his stuff about Ukraine. I'm sure Vladimir Putin heard him clearly when he said, 'Within 24 hours [after taking office], I will do it'. We know exactly what he meant. Immediately upon becoming President, he would withdraw support and force Ukraine to surrender. That means the war that he was going on and on about, 'People are dying, they're dying'. They're going to be dying at least until November 2024 now, for sure, because he said that. There's no way that Russia will do anything until they know whether or not he's going to be President again. And that is disgusting."

FINALLY, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report with news on Houston's latest toxic oil refinery fire; new, money-saving efficiency standards for dishwashers; troubling news from Greenland's ice sheet; and some hopeful news for PFAS "forever" chemicals out of tragedy in Minnesota...

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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...

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Also: Abortion bans blocked by GOPers in two 'red' states; Trump Camp also paid a second research firm to find zero fraud in the 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2023 6:27pm PT  

Time is running out on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many clock-ticking stories covered today...

  • The contract for film and television writers ran out as of midnight last night. Today, 11,500 union members in the Writers Guild of America went on strike. The late-night comedy shows have already been shut down and, sadly, Americans are likely to be less well-informed because of it. We explain.
  • The deadline for how long Republicans can hold the nation and world economy hostage to ill-considered, self-destructive extremist idiocy --- before blowing everything up and creating a first-ever default of the U.S. Government in the process --- got much closer as of Monday. The new earliest date for when the U.S. Government may run out of authority to borrow the funds needed to pay for stuff that Republicans and Democrats alike long ago committed to paying for is now June 1, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

    Yet, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his band of reckless Republicans in Congress continue to exploit our dumb debt limit law to try and extort huge cuts to food and health care to millions of Americans (including veterans) along with a rollback of critical climate crisis initiatives in exchange for not destroying the nation's economy.

    President Biden is right not to negotiate with terrorists on this matter. The way the media covers this mess, however, will make a big difference in whether or not Biden's able to continue to do the right thing. In the meantime, we sure do hope he has a plan to handle the worst-case scenario that today's gerrymandered, death-wish GOPers may actually be dumb enough to cause for the first time in U.S. history.

  • Not all Republicans have a death wish, apparently. On the same day last week, in two different "red" states, South Carolina and Nebraska, a handful of Republican state lawmakers voted to protect abortion rights. For now. It took the only two female Republican state Senators in South Carolina and one 80-year old Republican in Nebraska to block complete bans on reproductive freedoms. We'll see how long that lasts and/or if any other GOPers can figure out why they keep losing elections that they should have won after the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
  • Back in February we covered the news from Washington Post's Josh Dawsey that the Donald Trump's Campaign paid $600,000 to a research firm to investigate every single potential claim of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. They found absolutely nothing and told Trump as much in December of that year. Nonetheless, on January 6, 2021, Trump went out and lied yet again to his supporters about fraud in the election, even though he was told all such claims were baseless. And now, Dawsey reports, a second firm was paid $750,000 by the Trump Campaign at the same time to also find no evidence of fraud. That firm told him as well, in advance of January 6. Special Counsel Jack Smith has now reportedly subpoenaed records and testimony from both firms, as he probes the Trump Campaign fraudulently raising more than $250 million from their own supporters based on fraudulent claims we now know Trump absolutely knew to be fraudulent at the time he made the fraudulent claims.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with non-fraudulent news on the impact of climate change on East Africa's deadly drought; the corrupted SCOTUS plans to undermine climate regulations next term; SpaceX grounded in Texas; and some better news for the climate out of the great state of California...

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Guest: Dan Vicuña, Nat'l Redistricting Manager at Common Cause...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2023 6:22pm PT  

It's another red alert day on The BradCast today, regarding the precedent crushing plans of our stolen, corrupted and packed Rightwing U.S. Supreme Court majority. They've got two different plans, in fact, for two different ways to overturn decades, if not centuries of critical precedent on federal elections and the power of federal agencies. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP, we begin in the state of North Carolina where, last year, a 4 to 3 Democratic majority on the state's Supreme Court found the GOP-majority state legislature had drawn up new legislative and Congressional district maps that constituted unlawful partisan gerrymanders under the state Constitution. The state court ordered fair maps to be drawn up, resulting in the election of a Congressional delegation in 2022 that had 7 Democrats and 7 Republicans in the very closely divided state.

State Republicans, however, challenged the high court's ruling by filing a case named Moore v. Harper with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that an obscure clause in the U.S. Constitution allows state legislatures and only state legislatures to create rules and laws for federal elections. Neither state courts nor constitutions can tell them otherwise, they are arguing.

It's a fringe concept known as the Independent State Legislature theory, which has never been blessed by a majority at SCOTUS. But Republicans are hoping the current, corrupted Republican Court will approve the theory, blocking Governors or Secretaries of State or state Supreme Courts or state constitutions or even voters from setting election laws. We have long warned of the dangers of this case for American elections as we know them. Under this theory, if SCOTUS grants its blessing as many fear [raises hand!], state legislatures could even choose Presidential electors no matter how the state's voters may vote. The U.S. Supreme Court heard Moore v. Harper last December, after we'd spent months setting off sirens to try and let you know about what could happen in that case in advance of next year's 2024 Presidential election.

Last November, however, NC voters elected two new Republicans for their state's high court, giving Republicans a 5 to 2 majority. And, last Friday, after rehearing the exact same gerrymandering case in which they had previously ordered new maps, the new Republican court majority reversed the same court's previous ruling, allowing partisan gerrymanders to return in advance of 2024. The likely result will be a House delegation with 10 Republicans and 4 Democrats. That, even though there had been no changes to the law, and no new facts were presented to the newly GOP-led state Supreme Court. (They also reversed a previous ruling that had restored voting rights to some 55,000 former felons, and a ruling that had blocked a photo ID voting restriction that violated the state's Constitution.)

What does this unprecedented reversal at the NC Supreme Court of a month's old ruling mean for the U.S. Supreme Court's pending ruling in Moore v. Harper? We're joined today to discuss exactly that by DAN VICUÑA, national redistricting manager at Common Cause, plaintiffs in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case challenging an earlier gerrymandered map in North Carolina following the 2010 U.S. Census.

"I think just the blatant hypocrisy, the clear partisanship, is laid so bare it's hard to see how a decision like this stands" in North Carolina, at least over time, argues Vicuña. But, as to what may happen in Moore v. Harper at SCOTUS, and whether the case will be found moot or the Court will go ahead and issue an opinion anyway, Vicuña would rather get a ruling now than in the next term, when a ruling would come in the middle of the 2024 Presidential election.

"We didn't want this case to be heard in the first place, because the Independent State Legislature theory is, quite frankly, ridiculous," he tells me. "It defies logic, defies legal precedent, defies the intent of the framers of the Constitution. But it was heard. We made our case. We think we won very clearly on the law and the facts, and the history. So getting clarity on the facts well in advance of the 2024 election makes a lot of sense. So we're okay with that, and hope it goes our way."

NEXT UP, more disturbing news today out of SCOTUS. The Court announced on Monday they will take up a case next term that challenges the so-called "Chevron Deference", a landmark ruling from a 1984 case (Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council) which established that experts at federal agencies should be given deference when creating rules and regulations meant to enforce federal laws in which Congress may have been ambiguous regarding certain details.

For example, as Desi Doyen joins us to explain today, the Clean Air Act may grant the EPA a mandate to regulate pollution, but it may not specifically mention which pollutants must be regulated, or how many parts per million constitute unlawful pollution. That's left to experts at the EPA to determine through the rule-making procedures. But Republicans wish to dismantle the ability of federal agencies to make any such rules, granting that authority instead to courts (without expertise) and the industry lobbyists who influence them.

Our corrupted, packed and stolen rightwing SCOTUS now appears ready to "dismantle the administrative state" (as Steve Bannon has long been promising) in a ruling next term that could affect the ability of agencies to create federal regulations regarding everything from the climate crisis to health care to immigration and beyond.

Finally, we finish up with some listener email and phone calls to round out another disturbing hour of The BradCast. Enjoy!...

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Guest: Jamie Corey of Documented; Also: RW culture war issues bombing at polls; Disney sues DeSantis; Nunes' suits tossed by Trump judge...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2023 6:33pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Their positions on actual issues are wildly unpopular. Their phony culture war issues are bombing. Is it any wonder the GOP's best chance may now simply be to prevent their opponents from being able to cast a vote at all?

On today's program...

MICKEY MOUSE GOVERNOR: The Walt Disney Co. sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis today in response to "a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials." That, after the company dared oppose the official state position in favor of banning free speech in schools.

COW GOES MOO: A Donald Trump-appointed federal judge has tossed out libel lawsuits filed by doofus Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) against an Esquire journalist and its publisher for reporting that the wingnut former Congressman turned Trump social media CEO's family farm "knowingly" employed hundreds of undocumented workers. The judge found the reporting to to be "substantially, objectively true." Almost all 10 of the similarly ill-considered suits Nunes filed against perceived opponents in 2019 have now been dismissed. Only two of them, against anonymous Twitter accounts named "Devin Nunes' Mom" and "Devin Nunes' Cow" remain.

BOARD SILLY: While progressives scored big in marquee contests during the April 4 elections --- liberals won a majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the first time in 15 years, and former teacher and union member Brandon Johnson became Chicago's mayor --- far-right MAGA school board candidates running on phony culture war issues "flamed out", according to Politico, in both Illinois and Wisconsin. They didn't do much better last November, even in "red" states like Missouri and Oklahoma. But GOP operatives apparently plan to keep choking the same chicken in elections later this year and in 2024, even as voters appear to prefer funding schools and keeping kids safe at them, over banning books, stifling free speech, and cancelling LGBTQ kids.

WOULDA WON BUT FOR THOSE MEDDLING (VOTING) KIDS!: Last week, longtime GOP attorney and vote suppressor Cleta Mitchell was caught in an audio recording obtained by Undercurrents' Lauren Windsor at a GOP donor event in Nashville, discussing plans to "combat" young voters by preventing them from voting on campuses in Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere. She even vowed that Republican lawmakers may be able to eliminate 45 days of early voting and same day voter registration if they played their cards right, and kept giving money to her insidiously named "Election Integrity Network". If Mitchell's name is familiar, it's because she was on that infamous January 2021 phone call with Donald Trump hoping to strong-arm the Georgia Sec. of State into "finding" 11,000 votes to steal the state's Presidential election from Joe Biden.

SEND IN THE CLOWNS: It's bad enough to push secret vote suppression schemes to GOP donors. It's reprehensible for top state Republican election officials to participate in such schemes. But that's exactly what happened at a so-called "Secretaries of State Conference" sponsored by the far-right Heritage Foundation and other anti-democracy groups in February. Documented, a nonprofit watchdog organization, obtained the agenda for the secret conference in which only Republican Secretaries of State were invited to participate.

It was led by longtime, notorious GOP "Voter Fraud" fraudsters and liars like Hans Von Spakovsky, J. Christian Adams, J. Kenneth Blackwell and perhaps most shamefully, current U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Donald Palmer (appointed to the bipartisan federal agency by Trump). They all schemed with top election officials from 13 GOP-controlled states --- including the chief election officials from Indiana, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia --- in a secret, off-the-record two-day confab.

We're joined today to discuss this appalling revelation by JAMIE COREY, a Senior Researcher at Documented who, with The Guardian's Ed Pilkington, exposed the entire pathetic affair, which, as Von Spakovsky insisted in an email she obtained, was "not a public event. It is a private, confidential meeting of the secretaries." --- Well, the Republican ones anyway, the ones who are supposed to run both state and federal elections in a non-partisan way.

"According to the event invitation we obtained, this is actually the sixth year in a row that they've held this event," says Corey. "And they have privately bragged --- Hans has --- to donors that they are excited that it's just for conservative Secretaries of State. No Democrats allowed."

"Voters should be concerned when you have election officials participating in a private, confidential meeting with former Trump associates, top voter suppression proponents, and groups who have been actively pushing false claims around elections," she explains. "As the agenda pointed out, there was a cocktail reception and dinner after the first day of substantive sessions wrapped up. So what you have there is top election officials, who are going to be overseeing the 2024 Presidential Election in their respective states, wining and dining with all these problematic people."

WHAT'S GOING ON?: Finally, after a few breaking news headlines, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report as the Biden EPA launches a landmark effort to curb power plant carbon pollution; as Earth hits grim new records; as President Biden opens an office of environmental justice in the White House; and as the U.S. Supreme Court does something right for a rare change. Are they okay?

SHOW NOTE!: We're off tomorrow for unavoidable reasons. As Tucker Carlson once said, see ya next week!...

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McCarthy's DOA plan to gut spending on the poor and make his own constituents sick in exchange for not crashing the U.S. economy; Also: Lindell loses a $5 million election fraud bet; Peters still facing jail time...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2023 6:40pm PT  

We've got lots of dupes and lots of dopes on today's BradCast. You'll have to figure out which is which. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has introduced a 320-page proposal [PDF] of cuts to the federal budget that he suggests Republicans must have in exchange for not blowing up the nation's economy for less than a year. The cuts being demanded in order for a vote to raise the nation's borrowing limit to pay for what we've already committed to spending and avoid a first-ever U.S. government default, include taking away food stamps from more than 4 million hungry Americans, and federal health insurance from more than 2 million poor and disabled people. He's also demanding another $130 billion dollars of cuts in social programs for Americans next year alone, though he doesn't say which programs. The White House believes it would most likely include deep cuts to "education, veterans medical care, cancer research, meals on wheels, food safety and law enforcement.” McCarthy's dead-on-arrival debt limit proposal --- if he's even able to get his own party to pass it in the House --- would also increase the deficit (which Republicans pretend to care about) by nearly $200 billion in cuts to IRS enforcement. But that will keep more money in the pockets of corporations and the wealthy, so there's that.
  • Perhaps most disturbingly of all, McCarthy is calling for cuts to much of the $400 billion in climate initiatives to clean the air and fight global warming over the next decade, as adopted by Democrats in last year's Inflation Reduction Act. If I was one of McCarthy's constituents in Bakersfield, California, I'd be particularly pissed off about that, given this year's "State of the Air" report from the American Lung Association, released on the same day as McCarthy's debt ceiling bill. If I lived in Bakersfield, I might wonder why my own Congressman wants to kill me? The new report finds McCarthy's home town at the very top of two of the Lung Association's lists...but not the good ones. Bakersfield is the #1 most polluted city in the nation, as ranked by both short-term and year-round particle pollution. On the other hand, it's only the third worst in the nation when it comes to ozone pollution. Why does Kevin McCarthy want to slash climate programs and further harm his own constituents?!
  • Some of these folks may be both dupes and dopes. Back in 2021, bedding impresario and 2020 election liar Mike Lindell promised to reveal iron-clad evidence that China helped steal the Presidential election from the former guy. Lindell declared he had data, from a whistleblower or something, proving that they had done so, somehow, via the Internet. He offered a $5 million challenge at a three-day "cyber symposium" in South Dakota that year to anyone who could "Prove Mike Wrong" by showing that the data packets he claimed revealed evidence of Chinese interference of the election didn't actually prove as much. Well, some guy, a Trump voter named Robert Zeidman, did exactly that, according to an arbitration panel who was called in after Lindell refused to pay up. The panel found that Zeidman proved the so-called "packet captures" included little more than jibberish and had nothing to do with the 2020 election. Now Lindell has 30 days to pay up, though he says he's going to court instead. It's all quite hilarious, in truth. But it may just be an appetizer for the $1.3 billion defamation suit [PDF] still pending against him by the Dominion Voting Systems company.
  • Of course, Lindell wasn't the only one to screw himself over at that "cyber symposium" in SD. That's where Colorado's former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters was speaking on stage when sensitive Dominion Voting System software from her own county was leaked to the public over the Internet. Peters was later charged by CO with 7 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to her alleged scheme to sneak into the secure voting system room in her county with accomplices late at night, as they turned off the security cameras to make unlawful copies of the election tabulation software. Her trial on those state charges comes later this year, but last month Peters was found guilty of obstructing a law enforcement investigation related to one of her accomplices. Last week she was sentenced to 4 months of home detention and 120 hours of community service. The penalties she is likely to face for breaching the County's voting system software is likely to be much much worse if she's found guilty.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more on Speaker McCarthy's attempt to gut landmark climate initiatives at the expense of humanity; record deadly heat in Asia; Trump-appointed judges gutting Berkley, CA's attempt to fight climate change; and a landmark approval for clean electricity transmission across several western states...

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Also: Democracy, accountability, corruption and hypocrisy news from Sudan to Russia to SCOTUS and beyond...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2023 6:12pm PT  

Just to be clear, while we're debating whether California's senior Democratic Senator should step down on today's BradCast, the longest-serving U.S. Supreme Court Justice should not only have stepped down long ago, he should have been removed by the force of impeachment long ago as well. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

It was a very busy and lively show today, covering a bunch of interesting and occasionally related news. Among today's story's...

  • Democracy seems to be out of reach yet again in the Middle Eastern/Sub-Saharan nation of Sudan, as deadly fighting broke out between two military factions in the country's capital and elsewhere over the weekend.
  • A well-known Kremlin opposition figure and critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin's horrific invasion of Ukraine was sentenced to 25-years of hard labor today for daring to speak out against the war last year. 41-year old Vladimir Kara-Murza is just the latest facing a long prison sentence for public opposition to Putin's barbaric, criminal assault on his sovereign neighbor.
  • Last week we explained why Fox "News", if they were smart, would do everything in their power to reach a settlement with Dominion Voting Systems before the trial in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by the voting machine vendor against the Republican propaganda outlet began in earnest this week. Jury selection in the trial, in which Dominion has Fox dead to rights for repeatedly, falsely and knowingly lying to viewers that Dominion somehow rigged the 2020 election for Joe Biden, was supposed to begin today. But Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis, without explanation, announced the trial would begin tomorrow instead, leading some to believe Fox may be trying to strike a last minute settlement.
  • On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a brief, administrative stay on the rulings by far-right, activist U.S. District Judge Mathew Kacsmaryk and the far-right U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that ban the FDA-approved use of mifepristone, the nation's top abortion medication, in all 50 states. The temporary stay will only remain in place until Wednesday, at which time the full SCOTUS will either keep it in place throughout the appeal to Kacsmaryk's unprecedented, activist ruling --- in which he is attempting to legislate from the bench and overrule the FDA's 23-year old approval of the safe and effective drug --- or they will allow a first-of-its-kind ban to go into effect while the appeal moves forward. Today, we cite a few of the 5th Circuit's huge errors in their recent ruling, as detailed by The BRAD BLOG's Ernie Canning.
  • And, speaking of our corrupted, rightwing federal judiciary, there was yet more jaw-dropping news over the weekend of the unspeakable corruption and seemingly endless lawlessness of Justice Clarence Thomas, the longest-serving current member of the U.S. Supreme Court. We quickly review the full story again today, from Clarence's unlawful failure to disclose his activist wife Ginni's salary from the Heritage Foundation for some 20 years, until called out for it in 2011; to Ginni's apparent "Judicial Insider Trading" on the infamous 2010 Citizens United ruling; to ProPublica's blockbuster exclusive two weeks ago detailing decades of Clarence's unlawfully undisclosed luxury travel courtesy of GOP megadonor Harlan Crow; to last week's second ProPublica jaw-dropper revealing that Crow purchased properties from Thomas, including his mother's house (which she still lives in, rent free!) and which also went unlawfully undisclosed in in his annual disclosure forms; and then this weekend's latest scoop from WaPo finding Clarence hasn't bothered for years to report income from a real estate firm owned by Ginni and her family.
  • Finally, speaking of both the rightwing federal judiciary and people who should arguably resign immediately, California's 89-year old senior Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein has missed about 60 of 80 floor votes in the U.S. Senate this year, as she is sidelined in San Francisco with shingles. There is currently no date for her return to the 51-49 upper chamber. But, even more importantly, her extended absence from the Senate Judiciary Committee has stalled the confirmation process for more than a dozen federal court judges nominated by President Biden. As calls for her resignation began last week, the fading trailblazer has asked to be removed, temporarily, from the powerful Judiciary Committee. Unfortunately, it's not quite as easy as that, as we explain today.

    In the bargain, a debate has surfaced among Congressional Democrats, some of whom are calling for her resignation after decades of service, others describing the push as misogynistic, others defending her during her convalescence, while still others appear to be supporting her at the moment, though their patience is clearly wearing thin.

    We cover all of that today before opening our phones to listeners --- her constituents in Southern California --- for their opinions on whether DiFi should stay or go. We had a lot of really smart and interesting callers today...even if their opinions were ultimately in sync. They believe its time for her to fly...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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U.S. Solicitor General, FDA, pharmaceutical executives warn of drug approval chaos if any portion of lower court order is allowed to take effect...
UPDATE 4/19/23: Alito extends stay to Friday, 4/21/23; UPDATE 4/21/23 SCOTUS grants full stay...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/17/2023 9:05am PT  

As the clock ticked down to the last day to act on Friday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued a temporary administrative stay.

His brief order granted approval, for now, of U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar's compelling 47-page Application [PDF] filed on behalf of the Federal Government, seeking an administrative stay on the entirety of the controversial effort by an activist Donald Trump-appointed judge in Texas who imposed a nationwide ban on the FDA-approved abortion pill, mifepristone.

The temporary administrative hold, keeping the status quo in place only through Wednesday, is meant to allow the full Court time to decide the broader request for a stay from both the Government and a manufacturer of the popular abortion medicine. The Solicitor General asked the Court to issue "a stay pending the consideration and disposition of [the FDA's] appeal to...the Fifth Circuit and, if the Court of Appeal affirms, pending the timely filing of a petition for a writ of certiorari and any further proceedings" before the Supreme Court.

In other words, please keep the status quo not only for the the FDA's science-based original approval issued in 2000 but also for the FDA's scientific decisions, made between 2016 and 2023, to better facilitate availability, distribution and safe use of mifepristone. The Solicitor General has asked for that status quo to remain in place until the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has actually heard full argument in the appeal of the ruling by Judge Mathew Kacsmaryk (the far-right U.S. District Court judge who hears every federal case filed in its Amarillo, TX branch) and then, if needed, throughout any additional appeals made to SCOTUS on the rulings of both lower courts.

While the matter of seeking a temporary stay, pending appeals, will now be decided by the same U.S. Supreme Court, whose right-wing majority, in Dobbs v. Jackson's Women's Health Org., overturned the Court's 50-year old landmark reproductive rights decision in Roe v. Wade last year, Prelogar parried the Court's anti-abortion bias by arguing that the stakes in this case are, by no means, confined to questions only about the approval and use of mifepristone...

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




Also: Ted Cruz still an idiot in TX; U.S. House GOP approval deep under water after first 100 days; Ungodly rainfall in South Florida...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2023 6:06pm PT  

If you thought you might have heard the end of Clarence Thomas' year's long crime spree as a lifelong Justice on the highest court in the land, think again. More stunning breaking news of his endless corruption on today's BradCast, along with a whole bunch of other newsworthy stuff.

Among that stuff...

  • Democratic state Rep. Justin Pearson was reseated at the Tennessee State House on Thursday, after the Shelby County Commission in Memphis unanimously elected him to be a temporary replacement for himself after he was expelled last week by the out-of-control, racist, gerrymandered GOP majority. Both he and Rep. Justin Jones (who was reseated on Monday after also being elected unanimously to do so by Nashville's Metropolitan Council) were expelled last week after joining a protest at the state Capitol demanding gun safety measures after 3 children and 3 adults were murdered in a mass shooting at a Christian elementary school in Nashville. The white female Democratic legislator who joined the two Justins in the protest was allowed to remain in her seat. We share some of Pearson's remarks after being selected in Memphis to fill his own seat, and after his return to the House today, where Republicans were debating a bill to censor free speech for college students in the state before they tossed out the rules to end all debate and voted for passage of the pro-Big Government, anti-free speech, racist measure.
  • Hey! Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has a great idea about how to prevent school shootings! Just arm them up with militarized security personnel! "You know, when you go to the bank, and you deposit money in the bank, there are armed police officers at the bank," he declared late last month when announcing his new federal bills to fund armed security guards at the nation's public and private schools. "Why on earth do we protect a stupid deposit more than our children?," he asked on Twitter. And, just days later, you'll never guess what happened at the Old National Bank in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • On the upside, all of this pro-murder, pro-Big Government, anti-free speech, anti-democracy GOP idiocy is being noticed by Americans, it seems. Our guest on yesterday's BradCast, Simon Rosenberg, one of the few who turned out to be right that last year's midterms would not result in a "red wave," draws our attention today to some noteworthy new polling. After their first 100 days, the new U.S. House GOP majority has an abysmal approval rating of negative 24 points overall, and are a jaw-dropping 48 points underwater among independent voters. Rosenberg observed that while he "could write a much longer analysis" of the new survey, "it isn't necessary. These numbers are truly terrible [for Republicans], and they are in serious trouble." We'll see if he turns out to be as right about 2024 as he was about 2022.
  • Speaking of jaw-dropping. Today's exclusive from ProPublica about even more previously unknown corruption of Clarence Thomas may be even more mind-blowing than their exclusive last week revealing that the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court Justice, "accepted luxury travel from [GOP megadonor Harlan] Crow virtually every year for decades, including private jet flights, international cruises on the businessman’s superyacht and regular stays at his private resort in the Adirondacks" while failing to report any of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in gift travel on his financial disclosure forms, as required by law, for all of those years.

    And now today, we learn that Crow directly paid Thomas actual cash money to purchase the Justice's mother's home and several other lots on the same street that were owned by Clarence. His 94-year old mother is still alive, and still appears to live in the house (rent-free?)that Crow purchased before investing some $36,000 in renovations! Because that's just what billionaire real estate tycoons and GOP megadonors do for their closest personal friends who happen to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

    All of that, of course, meshes precisely with Clarence's corruption that we reported on way back in 2011, detailing his unlawful failure to list his wife's $120,000 annual salary from the rightwing Heritage Foundation on his annual financial disclosure forms for some 20 years, and the sweet $500,000 in dark money that his wife Ginni's then-new, non-profit political advocacy group received from Crow back in 2009, just after the infamous Citizens United case was heard by her husband at SCOTUS, and just before Clarence and the other Republican Justices released their opinion in 2010, allowing unlimited dark money to political advocacy groups, like Ginni's, to remain undisclosed.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with news on a massive toxic plastics fire still burning out of control in Indiana; Western water war crunch time on the Colorado River; and the Biden EPA's new plans for turbocharging the EV revolution...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Blue Alaska?; And labor unions rising...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2023 7:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's almost as if Republicans want to become a failed, extinct political party. But we're gonna have to overcome a lot of authoritarian desperation first, I'm afraid. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered toward that end on today's program...

  • The 25-year old shooter who killed five and injured eight others at the Old National Bank in Louisville, Kentucky on Monday legally purchased his high-powered AR-15 assault-style rifle just one week before the massacre. Among the injured was a local rookie police officer, now said to be in critical but stable condition after being shot in the head. He had finished training just 10 days earlier. Among the dead was a longtime personal friend of the state's Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. The man was also said to have been a close friend of Florida's Republican U.S. Senator Rick Scott. Had Scott and his party not worked so long and hard to block popular legislation that might have helped prevent the shooting --- such as restoration of the federal assault weapons ban that Republicans allowed to expire in 2004 --- his friend might still be alive. Well done, Rick! Monday's preventable tragedy was the 146th mass shooting of the year, according to the Gun Violence Archives.
  • Democratic Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones was reinstated to his old seat just one business day after state Republican lawmakers expelled the young black Nashville legislator for taking part in a peaceful protest at the state capital calling for gun safety legislation following the mass shooting that killed three children and three adults at a Christian elementary school two weeks ago in Nashville. As part of what may be one of the greatest GOP political blunders in recent memory, support for Jones, Rep. Justin Pearson (another expelled black legislator likely to be reseated this week as well), and the state Democratic Party have all sky-rocketed both in the state and nationally.
  • The unspeakably ill-considered politicking by TN Republicans wasn't their only embarrassing failure revealed on Monday. A three-judge state court panel also put the temporary kibosh on state GOP lawmakers attempt to cut the size of the Nashville Metropolitan Council from 40 members to 20 before this year's August elections. That would be the same Council that unanimously selected Jones, by a vote of 36 to 0 on Monday, to temporarily fill the seat left vacant when Jones was expelled by Republicans last week.
  • In response to all of this, Jones has begun calling for the resignation of Republican state House Speaker Cameron Sexton who, as reporters have discovered, does not even live in the District he is supposed to represent in the wildly gerrymandered (75 to 24) state House. He represents the city of Crossville, but he and his family live in Nashville. He could (but won't be) expelled for that violation of the state Constitution. But his ability to run for reelection next year may now be challenged in court.
  • The bad politics of the Republican Party --- who oppose reproductive freedoms, gun safety legislation, health care reform, labor unions and other wildly popular issues --- was similarly on display in several elections last week, most notably the takeover of a liberal majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the first time in 15 years. The candidate elected by 11 points to restore a progressive majority to the high court, in the normally closely divided Badger State, ran largely on the issue of protecting the right to abortion. But on the other side of the continent, in what was once deep "red" Alaska, 6 of the 7 seats on the 11-member Anchorage Assembly on the ballot last Tuesday were won by Democrats by larger than expected margins. Could Alaska be on its way toward turning "blue" in upcoming years? There are several early signs offering reason to believe the last "red" state on the West Coast could actually flip in the years ahead, especially as the unpopular GOP becomes even more desperate to hold onto power.
  • We've also got a bunch of encouraging labor news today, including several stories we had hoped to cover until being preempted by news of Donald Trump's New York indictment mid-show two weeks ago. Among those stories was the signing by Michigan's Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer of a landmark bill repealing the state's anti-union, anti-labor, so-called "Right to Work" law. It was the first time in 60 years that such a law has been overturned by a state. And it was all thanks to state voters who, in 2018, adopted a Constitutional ballot measure requiring an independent state redistricting commission. With that, the state's fairer maps resulted in a Democratic trifecta last November, with the party winning majorities in both chambers of the state legislature while Whitmer held the Governorship. It's amazing how well democracy works for working people when it isn't corrupted.
  • Also a couple of weeks ago, Chipotle was forced to agree to pay former employees some $240,000 in Maine as part of a settlement agreement after the company was found to have violated federal labor laws by illegally closing a store in Augusta, Maine after workers there filed a National Labor Relations Board petition to vote for unionization.
  • Over the weekend, the union representing some 30,000 Los Angeles school custodians, cafeteria works, bus drivers and other student services staff voted overwhelmingly to approve a new contract with the Los Angeles Unified School District following a year of negotiation and, finally, a three-day strike last month. The new contract for workers at the nation's second largest school district includes, among other things, a 30% pay raise for workers and fully paid health care benefits expanded to teacher's assistants and after-school program employees. The workers, represented by SEIU Local 99, were supported during the brief walkout by the L.A. United Teachers union.
  • A New York region hotel union has reached an agreement with hotel owners outside of New York City to raise wages by $7.50 an hour, said to be the largest increase in the union's 100-year history. 7,000 members of the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council will enjoy the new benefits, but so will workers at non-union hotels elsewhere in the country, where owners are beginning to realize they need to raise their own rates and benefits for workers as well, if they wish to keep them.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, to call both the balls and strikes of the latest noteworthy environmental news...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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