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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, June 16, 2024
Sunday 'Show' Toons
THIS WEEK: Two-Tiered Justice ... False Flags ... The Retribution Machine ... and much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
The Corrupt Anti-Abortion TX-to-SCOTUS Legal Mill Pipeline: 'BradCast' 6/13/24
Guest: Salon's Amanda Marcotte; Also: Dems outperform in OH Special Election; Brad gets COVID again goddammit...
'Green News Report' 6/13/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Heat wave coming to much of U.S., cooling systems can't keep up; Record rain from Sarasota to Spain to China; NY passes law to charge Big Oil for climate damage...
Previous GNRs: 6/11/24 - 6/6/24 - Archives...
Life With COVID
What goes around comes around. Again...
Hunter Biden's Conviction; Donald Trump's Weaponized Ignorance: 'BradCast' 6/11/24
Also: Biden rising; Fall of Alex Jones' corrupt empire; Phony '2000 Mules' doc pulled; More GOP voter fraud...
'Green News Report' 6/11/24
Big win for far-right in EU, climate action in crosshairs; NY Guv halts NYC congestion pricing; PLUS: Biden mileage rules save consumers money, combat climate change...
After Trump Verdict, GOPers Suddenly Warm to Voting for Felons: 'BradCast' 6/10/24
Listeners call in with explanations; Also: U.N. Security Council approves Biden's Israel/Hamas ceasefire plan; Europe moves toward far-right in EU elections...
Sunday 'Antifa' Toons
THIS WEEK: 80 Years Later ... Fascism Returns ... How Laws Work ... Summer Forecast ... And much more to be proud terrified of in our latest weekly collection...
'Green News Report' 6/6/24
Hottest 12 months ever; US Heat deaths hit new record in 2023; World's largest solar farm now online -- in China; PLUS: U.N. Sec.-Gen's warning to the world...
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...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

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...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

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...

Guests: 'Driftglass' and Frances Langum of 'The Pro Left' podcast on (almost) everything we missed last week, and why it matters this week...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2024 5:40pm PT  

It may be April Fools Day, but its no joke that we are back on today's BradCast after a half-planned, half-doctor-advised Spring Break week off! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we left, it seemed like last week might prove to be a slow news week, with Congress on vacation, no primary elections last Tuesday and Trump's New York felony hush-money trial postponed a few weeks until this month.

Boy were we wrong about that. Last week was anything but a slow news week, and we've got the headlines today to prove it! To add some actual context, depth and insight to those headlines --- and to hold my hand after I'd been trying to look away for the past week --- we're joined by two old friends, though only one who you may have heard on this program before.

Our friend known mostly as 'DRIFTGLASS' is back with us again today. He is co-host, along with his wife, of The Professional Left podcast recorded each week from "Flyover Country, Illinois." He is also, today, celebrating his 19th blogiversary at the Driftglass blog, so we're honored he agreed to spend it with us!

And, as if that's not swell enough, his Pro Left Pod co-hosting wife, FRANCES LANGUM, who is also a longtime Associate Editor over at the Crooks & Liars blog, joins us as well today for a romping, rollicking, breathless review of much that we missed last week and why most of it still matters this week!

Among the huge number of topics from last week covered on today's program...

  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)'s vow to call for removing House Speaker Mike Johnson for his daring to work with Democrats to keep the government from shutting down by passing a long-delayed 2024 spending bill just over a week ago.
  • The failed attempted conspiracy theories forwarded by Russia and its supporters following the horrific massacre by ISIS-K at a concert venue in Moscow a week ago Sunday.
  • Donald Trump's failure to cough up a $454 million bond during the appeal of his New York civil fraud case and the various lifelines thrown to him (for now) by the Appeals Court in NY.
  • Trump's scammy, just-in-time merger of his failing social media site with a public company that could result in billions of dollars --- including "straight-up bribery" as Driftglass describes it --- for the disgraced former President.
  • Trump's New York criminal trial on 34 felony charges related to hush-money payments to porn-star Stormy Daniels to help him win the 2016 Presidential election is now set to begin on April 15. And, as Fran believes, Trump "will do anything to make the evidence that's going to appear in this case not come to trial." Including, she argues, even if he must "spend two or three nights in jail, violating the gag orders, in order to make this case not happen."
  • What the Biden Administration's decision last week to abstain from a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza may mean for Israel and for some on the Left in the U.S. And why, if you don't like what Israel is doing, Fran advises: "Don't elect Bibi Netanyahu President of the United States --- which is what Trump is."
  • Why NBC News' ill-considered hiring and then firing of former RNC Chair and attempted election thief Ronna Romney McDaniel matters.
  • What Arizona's failed 2022 Republican Gubernatorial candidate and election liar turned 2024 Senate candidate Kari Lake's decision not to contest the claims in an election fraud defamation lawsuit filed against her by Maricopa County's Republican County Recorder (and chief election official) Stephen Richer means and how Lake is hoping to be saved --- somehow --- by a victorious Trump this year. (We wish her the best of luck with that.)
  • The remarkable, 25-point Special Election victory last week by Democrat Marilyn Lands in Alabama who focused her campaign on reproductive rights and subsequently flipped a state legislative seat from "red" to "blue" after losing her race for that same seat by 7 points in the 2022 general election. What will a post-Dobbs, post-IVF general election look like in supposedly "deep red" AL and elsewhere this November?
  • The desperate-for-quick-cash former President and huckster-in-chief is now selling bibles for $59.99 a piece. Though, to be fair, this version also includes the U.S. Constitution. Has Donald Trump ever read either of them? Says Driftglass today: "Good thing he did this to raise money to pay for the court costs of paying off a [porn star] that he was sleeping with while his wife was nursing their child. So the circle of absolute blasphemy is now complete."
  • Joe Lieberman died last week.
  • Independent 2024 Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., currently on the ballot in 8 states, thrilled dozens with his announcement of his running mate last week, the former wife of one of Google's founders, Nicole Shanahan. Or, as Driftglass describes her, "a big bag of money who is as crazy as he is".

That's just some of the firehose of news from both last week and this that we cover in today's very lively BradCast...


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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern on two ridiculous cases, increasing court dysfunction; Also: Primary, Special Election results from AZ, FL, IL, KS, OH, CA; And the Biden EPA's 'biggest climate move yet'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2024 6:36pm PT  

From top to bottom, the Federal Judiciary, as evidenced several times this week alone and discussed in detail on today's BradCast, seems to be coming undone. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, first up today, a quick review of Tuesday's Primary and Special Election results in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio and California. Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have already won enough delegates to clinch their respective party's nomination, but there are still a several interesting data points of notes to be gleaned from Tuesday's results.

Among them, Trump is consistently losing a far larger share of Republican votes than Biden is losing on the Democratic side. On Tuesday, for example, Biden's reported margin of victory in the states where he was on the ballot was anywhere from 74 to 88 points, while Trump's margin never cracked even 70 points, ranging from 59 to 67. In short, Biden seems to be far more popular among Democratic primary voters than Trump is among Republicans.

We've got other noteworthy tales of the tape today, along with Senate Primary results out of Ohio, where both Democrats and Donald Trump appear to be very happy that Trump-backed Bernie Moreno will be the GOP's nominee running against three-term progressive Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown in November. And, in California, Democrats are no doubt happy to see that nobody won more than 50% of the vote in the Special Election to fill the seat left vacant by ousted Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday. That means his seat in the closely divided U.S. House, which will almost certainly go to a Republican eventually, will remain empty until at least the Special Election runoff in May.

Also of note today, what the Washington Post is describing as the Biden Administration's "biggest climate move yet". Desi Doyen joins us to explain the EPA's new final rule that is set to increase the speed of the nation's transition to cleaner Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles; how rightwing media are already lying about the EPA's new rule; and how Republican states and the fossil fuel industry will soon be seeking out friendly judges in the federal judiciary to try and undermine the new rule and its billions of dollars in life-saving new vehicle emissions standards for the American people and the planet.

Then, speaking of friendly rightwing judges, two cases that came before the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court this week --- when, in fact, neither of them should have --- serve to highlight our increasingly brittle judicial system and how it is being gamed by the far-right.

We're joined today by Slate's great legal journalist, MARK JOSEPH STERN to discuss both cases and what they might tell us about a court system, and perhaps a U.S. Supreme Court, nearing a breaking point.

We originally invited Stern for today's show to discuss Monday's absurd case brought by Republican-run states falsely claiming the Biden Administration is somehow violating First Amendment free speech rights by forcing social media companies like Twitter and Facebook to take down posts they don't like regarding COVID, election fraud and more. Of course, the government is not doing that at all. Stern describes the case at Slate --- Murthy v. Missouri (originally Missouri v. Biden) --- as "brain-meltingly dumb", "asinine", and "what happens when a lawless judge and a terrible appeals court embrace the dopiest First Amendment claim you’ve ever heard out of pure spite toward a Democratic president."

The case should never have even made it out of the lowest District Court, but for a Trump-appointed judge who "completely butchered the record and, I think, willfully misrepresented a huge amount of communications between federal officials and social media companies," Stern tells me. "He would pluck individual little clauses from those emails, rearrange them to make it sound like coercion, and then use that to develop what is frankly a conspiracy theory that the federal government strong-armed these companies into silencing their users and censoring speech. It's just not true." (See this article for just some of the gobsmacking examples of ways in which U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty "butchered the record" by falsely representing the evidence record in his ruling.)

Making matters worse, the nation's most extreme appellate court, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, further butchered the record to accomplish what corrupt Supreme Court Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch laughably described when the case came up to SCOTUS as "extensive findings of fact" that "showed the existence of ‘a coordinated campaign’ of unprecedented ‘magnitude orchestrated by federal officials that jeopardized a fundamental aspect of American life.'"

Monday's Oral Argument at SCOTUS, however, pulled the rug out from under pretty much all of that, as the phony allegations met skepticism from even the bulk of the Court's rightwingers. But before we could get to that case today, as previously planned, we had to get through the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' other recent clown show (which the rightwingers on SCOTUS were happy to play along with last night): their attempt to allow Texas' new law that overturns a century of legal precedent and the U.S. Constitution itself to grant powers to state and local police that override federal immigration law, allowing them to arrest and deport suspected undocumented immigrants.

Stern unpacks the bizarre twists and turns the case has seen over the past 24 hours, and charges that the procedural nonsense from the 5th Circuit and subsequent acquiescence by SCOTUS simply "boggles the mind."

So, what might we learn from all of this --- and all that has come before it --- regarding corrupt Trump-appointed judges, a corrupt 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, a corrupt and increasingly volatile SCOTUS, and the rightwing judge shopping that exploits all of it? We discuss all of that and more with Stern who details "a kind of terrifying intramural war within the judiciary," as some of the courts are pushing back against an attempt by the U.S. Judicial Conference (headed up by Chief Justice Roberts) to rein in judge shopping, and, ultimately, how restoring confidence in the High Court itself may "all come down to what Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett want to do with the courts and want their legacy to be."

"Until they take a harder line here, it's going to remain just as broken as it looks," Stern asserts. "It's going to be even worse behind the scenes, based on what I'm hearing about how these judges' relationships are breaking down over this stuff --- and we're going to have different factions within the judiciary that are fighting for power, not unlike the Kremlin at the height of Soviet-era madness"...


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Guest: Labor journalist, author Steven Greenhouse; Also: Putin steals another election; Trump tries to avoid coughing up $450M in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2024 6:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Given all of the ongoing madness, this story has not yet broken through all of the noise. But there is a concerted effort by several large corporations underway right now to undermine nearly 100 years of labor law in these United States. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

After some news headlines from today and the past several, we're joined by longtime, award-winning labor journalist STEVEN GREENHOUSE, formerly of the New York Times, now at The Guardian, and author of the new book, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present and Future of American Labor.

At The Guardian last week, Greenhouse reported on the disturbing effort now under way by a number of major corporations, including Amazon, Starbucks, Trader Joe's and Elon Musk's SpaceX, to have the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) --- established as part of the 89-yeard old National Labor Relations Act --- declared unconstitutional by the federal courts.

The NLRB is critical to the survival of workers' rights and the unionization of workplaces. "The NLRB functions, essentially, as a referee, as an umpire, when workers seek to unionize. It tries to get workers, unions and companies to follow certain rules," Greenhouse explains today. "It's illegal, for instance, for companies to fire workers for supporting a union. Starbucks is accused of this. Companies fire the leaders of unionization efforts to decapitate, to kill the effort. The NLRB comes in as the empire and blows the whistle, saying, 'You can't do that. You can't fire people for supporting a union.'"

That said, the Board and its team of Administrative Judges who make determinations about violations of labor law, don't have the power to do much more than make findings. "It doesn't have the power to fine companies one penny for firing ten or twenty or thirty workers for supporting a union." Thus, companies like Starbucks have been in violation of the law more than a hundreds times over the past year, but clearly see the largely non-existent "penalties" for doing so, worth the crime.

The NLRB tends to side with management when Republicans are in the White House and control the Board, and with labor when a Democrat occupies the Oval Office. Greenhouse explains that Democrats have made efforts over the years to give more muscle to the NLRB, but have been blocked, for decades, by Republicans.

Still, as weak as the NLRB is, it plays a vital role in American labor law and workers right to collectively bargain for better pay and working conditions. "Corporations have long gloated at how weak the NRLB is. But what's really different now is that corporations, instead of just shrugging when they're slapped on the wrist, they're really taking a bazooka and going to court trying to have the NLRB declared unconstitutional," Greenhouse tells me.

Even though the NLRB has "been found constitutional time and again" over the past century, now that the federal court system --- including the Supreme Court --- has been so thoroughly captured by rightwing judges, these companies appear to be trying to gut the entire apparatus. And they may get away with it. Unions "fear that the Supreme Court and many judges have moved so far to the right that they are ready to blow up the system of federal agencies that generally has worked very well, over the past 90 years, protecting workers, protecting consumers, protecting investors."

But, Greenhouse warns, these companies "should be careful what they wish for." Finding the NLRB or the Act itself unconstitutional could return labor law to "the law of the jungle", as one labor expert cited in Greenhouse's report suggests. It could also work out much worse for the companies themselves than they may be realizing.

Tune in today for much more on all of the above.

Then, we dive into a bit more detail on some of the news of note since last week, including dictator Vladimir Putin's illegitimate reelection over the weekend to a third term --- and third decade --- of rule in Russia, and Donald Trump's claim that he is unable to come up with a bond to cover the $464 million fine he, his company, and his top execs (including his two eldest sons) now owe in New York after being found liable for years of massive bank, tax and insurance fraud...


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Also: TikTok foolishness; NY hush-money trial delay?; Navarro must go to jail; Trump owes $400k for failed 'Steele Dossier' lawsuit in UK...
By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2024 6:51pm PT  

Lots (and lots) of news on today's BradCast, from Israel to TikTok foolishness to lots (and lots) of Trump accountability news. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our lead stories today...

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, an ardent, longtime supporter of Israel, called on Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold new elections. New York's Schumer, a Jew who happens to come from NYC, which has the world's largest Jewish population, cited the far-right Prime Minister as an obstacle to peace who is turning Israel into the world's "pariah". In a 40-minute floor speech, the Senate's top Democrat charged that the unpopular Netanyahu, who is avoiding facing felony charges while remaining in office and avoiding a new election until his war against Hamas in Gaza is over (which it will never be, as long as these are the stakes), "has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel." This is a very big deal in a whole bunch of ways. We discuss some of them today.
  • There has been a bipartisan push this week to adopt a bill that would result in the banning of the TikTok app in the U.S. if the company which owns it does not divest from China. Donald Trump, who, as President, issued a failed Executive Order to ban the popular social media video app (it was blocked by the Courts for violating First Amendment free speech rights) has recently flip-flopped to support the app, after meeting with a billionaire hedge fund manager heavily invested in the company. But, despite the popularity of the bill which has now passed in the House, we discuss why it is a terrible idea. Social media regulations are long overdue. But the menace of China's (theoretical) ownership of TikTok is no worse than Elon Musk's actual ownership of Twitter/X. And, in case Democrats failed to notice today, Trump's former Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, announced that he is trying to bring together an investor group to purchase the company. Still think this is a good idea, Dems?
  • The UK's Guardian, in an excellent piece today, details the Trump business associates who prosecutors say paid Alexander Smirnov $600,000 in 2020, the year that Smirnov, now charged with lying to the FBI, fed them false claims that Joe Biden accepted bribes from the Ukrainian energy company named Burisma. Prosecutors have also charged that Smirnov met with Russian Intelligence officials before passing on the lie to the FBI, which House Republicans cited at the center of their doomed impeachment probe of the President. So, Smirnov passed on disinformation from Russian intelligence to the FBI and was paid by longtime business associates in the U.S., UK and Dubai of the then-President who was running for re-election that year. And, after losing the election, those lies were used to try and impeach the guy who defeated him. This movie keeps getting worse and worse.

In Trump accountability news today (there is lots of that as well)...

  • U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by Trump after he lost the election, but before he left the White House, rejected a Team Trump motion, for a happy change, in the case of the highly classified documents he stole when leaving the White House, and then hid from prosecutors seeking to get them back. Cannon turned down his attempt to dismiss the felony charges based on his claim that the Espionage Act he is charged under is too vague.
  • Meanwhile, the one criminal case that Trump is facing which had not yet been derailed by Trump's various delay tactics --- his New York state hush-money case --- may now be delayed following a tranche of thousands of documents from a previous federal investigation recently turned over to Manhattan prosecutors. We explain what happened here and why the NY D.A.'s office cites the defendants actions for this surprise revelation. Prosecutors have agreed to a 30-day delay before the start of the trial, which was previously scheduled to begin on March 25. The judge overseeing the case, however, Judge Juan Merchan, has yet to decide how much, if any, delay he will allow.
  • Trump's former White House trade advisor, and one of his top 2020 "voter fraud" fraudsters, Peter Navarro must report to federal prison in Miami next Tuesday, according to a federal appeals court panel today. Navarro was charged with criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to answer subpoenas from the House January 6 Committee. Like former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who has managed to remain free pending appeal, Navarro was sentenced to four months for his crimes.
  • And, in a bit of Trump accountability news that appears to have slipped through the cracks, last week, a judge in the UK ordered Trump to pay some $382,000 in attorneys fees to the lawyers of former British spy Christopher Steele and his private intelligence company. Trump had filed sued in the UK, charging that the "shocking and scandalous" allegations in the so-called Steele Dossier had harmed his reputation. (Please hold your laughter.) The British judge determined the claims were "bound to fail" and ordered Trump to cough up legal fees to cover the frivolous suit. In 2022, Trump lost a similar case he filed in Florida against Steele, Hillary Clinton and a number of top former FBI officials. That case was also tossed and he was ordered to pay nearly a million dollars for that fiasco. I guess he's still not tired of winning.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with cruel news out of Ron DeSantis' Florida; disturbing news about the fossil fuel industry's continuing methane leaks; terrifying news about GOP plans if Trump retakes the White House; and sad news for California salmon...


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

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Suddenly they care about gun violence?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/11/2024 10:35am PT  

The cynical "Say the Name Laken Riley" State of the Union stunt by MAGA Republicans underscores the hypocrisy of the longtime NRA-funded GOP.

Last Thursday, President Joe Biden entered the House Chamber and, moments before he delivered an elegant demolition of MAGA cult madness during an historic State of the Union Address, the 46th President of the United States was confronted by the QAnon conspiracy supporting wing-nut, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

In violation of House Rules, not to mention basic decorum, Greene wore a red MAGA cap, a white T-shirt reading "Say Her Name", and a red jacket on which she'd pinned a white button bearing the name "Laken Riley" and another bearing her photo. She handed Biden a "Laken Riley" button and, later, interrupted the President's SOTU Address --- screaming a demand that Biden "say her name"!

In response, Biden, who lost his first wife and daughter in a tragic car accident, not only said her name, while holding up the "Laken Riley" button, but expressed his condolences to Riley's parents.

The President's display of empathy towards the parents of the 22-year old nursing student, who was allegedly murdered last month by an undocumented Venezuelan immigrant, was appropriate. But the GOP's cynical effort to exploit the young lady's death in order to bolster Donald Trump's effort to create "hysteria" over an imaginary "immigrant crime wave" represents the height of hypocrisy...

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'No one is entitled to sell the Government drugs at prices the Government won't agree to pay,' federal judge rules...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/6/2024 10:35am PT  

In the second loss for Big Pharma in less than a month, the Trump-appointed Chief Judge of the Delaware U.S. District Court rejected a Constitutional challenge to a law adopted by Democrats in Congress and signed by President Joe Biden which allows for the negotiation of drug prices for Medicare.

Last week, in a 45-page Memorandum Opinion issued in AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals v. Becerra, Chief Judge Colm F. Connolly summarily rejected the drug manufacturer's assertion that provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), authorizing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to negotiate prescription drug prices, violates the pharmaceutical industry's 5th Amendment rights.

The 5th Amendment provides that no person shall "deprived without due process of law." A person (in this instance, a corporation) cannot be unlawfully deprived of a property right that does not exist.

The IRA, which President Biden signed into law on Aug. 16, 2022 --- an Act that every House Republican opposed --- reversed a provision of the Medicare Part D law, enacted in 2003 during the George W. Bush administration, which statutorily prevented CMS from negotiating prescription drug prices.

According to a press release issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the government's ability to negotiate pricing is essential given that "the United States pays three times more for prescription drug prices than any other developed nation." The conservative federal judge in Delaware ruled that the 5th Amendment due process clause doesn't create a pharmaceutical property right to force the federal government to agree to pay those higher prices...

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Guests: Former Deputy Asst. A.G. Lisa Graves; Legal journalist Chris Geidner; Also: Haley wins a primary; And a Super Tuesday preview...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2024 6:38pm PT  

In case I haven't mentioned it lately on The BradCast, the U.S. Supreme Court is wildly corrupt. They proved that again on Monday in their ruling on whether Donald Trump, who they don't dispute in their ruling is an insurrectionist, should be disqualified from the 2024 election for having "engaged in insurrection", as barred by the simple text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We knew this ruling from the corrupt Court was coming, based on their questions at Oral Argument last month. We also knew that the packed, stolen and rightwing SCOTUS majority was corrupt. But their hypocrisy was what shined through most in today's relatively brief 13-page ruling [PDF] and the additional dissenting opinions that followed it. The one by the Democratic appointees was fairly seething.

After years of pretending to be "conservative Constitutionalists"; pretending to be "textualists" who are focused only on the simple meaning of what the words in the founding document say; who pretend to be "originalists", concerned only with what the framers were trying to accomplish at the time they adopted the Constitutional amendment in question, the Court, once again, gave away the ghost. They don't care about any of that. They are an activist rightwing Court finding stuff in the Constitution that doesn't exist to arrive at the political result they wanted in the first place.

On Monday --- in their 9 to 0 opinion (which, the dissenters made clear, was actually a 5 to 4 ruling, but for Democrats on the Court trying to go along to get along in an election year) --- the High Court reversed the Colorado Supreme Court's 213-page ruling [PDF] in December barring Trump from this year's ballot for having violated the Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause". So much for states rights as well, apparently.

But, not only did the SCOTUS majority twist itself into pretzels to come up with "logic" for doing so, they further perverted Section 3 of the 14th Amendment beyond recognition in order to do so. In the bargain, they have killed 14.3 to the point that it can likely never be used to bar insurrectionists from public office --- at least at the federal level. (That's another distinction they made up from whole cloth that appears nowhere in the actual Constitution.)

Congress, the Court decided, must pass a law before the 150 year old 14.3 may be used. It is not self-executing, they ruled, unlike all of the other sections of the 14th Amendment and the other Amendments adopted with it following the Civil War that prohibit slavery, guarantee due process and equal justice under the law for all. But only the two-sentence Section 3, apparently, is not self-executing. At least at the federal level. It can still, apparently, be used by states to bar state and local officials from public office for insurrection for some reason. That, even though Section 3 itself requires a two-thirds super-majority in Congress for the disqualification to be lifted for any insurrectionist to serve in office.

We're joined today by two experts on this matter, former Asst. Deputy Attorney General at the DOJ, LISA GRAVES of True North Research, and "recovering lawyer" and longtime legal journalist CHRIS GEIDNER of Law Dork to try and make sense of what the corrupt, hypocritical Justices did.

Geidner details how the dissenters in this case, the Court's three Democratic Justices, Sotomayor, Kagan and Jackson --- but also, in part, even Justice Amy Coney Barrett --- "explained how the majority had basically cut off the use of Section 3 going forward."

And they did so, according to Graves, in the most cowardly way, with a per curiam decision that speaks for the whole court, without saying who actually wrote it. "Like Bush v. Gore," they didn't sign their names to, she observed, noting that "issuing a per curiam opinion is an act of cowardice by these rightwing justices."

Geidner adds: "It truly is just an example, like 'Bush v. Gore', of 'Let's work backwards from the principle that we want, and we're going to shoehorn in some principle of law that clearly can't make sense in light of the interpretation of these amendments over the past 150 years.'"

"The Colorado Supreme Court's decision was so well-reasoned," Graves argues about the ruling overturned by SCOTUS today. "It sought to vindicate the plain language of the 14th Amendment. But here you had the Supreme Court not wanting to allow Colorado to make that independent determination based on the plain language. It really shows how outrageous this anonymous Republican-appointee decision --- how outrageous and wrong --- that decision is." She also notes, given what was actually a 5 to 4 ruling, how outrageous it is that Justice Clarence Thomas --- whose wife actually participated in the insurrection --- didn't bother to recuse himself.

Last Summer, Geidner tells us, when he wrote about this case, he says he argued, "It's pretty clear that Trump is barred from being President again. Will it matter?" He adds: "That was the right question to ask, and we got our answer today."

As usual, there is much more covered in today's program on all of this, so please tune in for the full show.

Also today, a wrap-up of of the weekend's GOP nominating contests in which Nikki Haley finally notched her first primary victory after Trump actually threatened the voters participating in it. And we close with a preview of tomorrow's 15-state Super Tuesday primaries in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and American Samoa. If you live in one of those states and have yet to vote, NOW is the time!...


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Guest: Rich Templin of Florida AFL-CIO; Also: NY A.G. may seize Trump building to cover fines; Biden forgives another $1.2B in student loans...
By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2024 6:54pm PT  

Don't forget to laugh out loud next time you hear a Republican pretending to oppose "Big Government regulations" or acting as if they give a damn about "forgotten working folks". Those are two of the biggest lies in the GOP toolbox, as discussed on today's BradCast, and actively demonstrated down in Emperor Ron DeSantis' Republic of Florida even as I write. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST... A few cheerier pieces of news to kick things off. The size of the fines against Donald Trump, his company and two of his sons in the New York fraud verdict against them is more staggering than you may realize following Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling [PDF] last Friday. Most outlets have cited the $355 million that Trump must cough up. But that doesn't include another $100 million or so already tacked on in interest to cover the fraudulent inflation of assets going back as far as 2019 or so. In truth, he now owes NY about $455 million, with some $87,000 in new interest accruing each day that he fails to pay up. But don't worry. He'll pay. NY A.G. Tish James said yesterday that she is prepared to seize his assets, including buildings, if he fails to do so.

While the corrupt former President's life is on the precipice of ruin, the not-corrupt current President, Joe Biden, was busy today forgiving another $1.2 billion in student loans for some 153,00 borrowers. That brings the total to nearly 4 million Americans who have seen some or all of their student debt wiped out by the Biden Administration, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Biden's original plan to forgive debt for 40 million borrowers. (That, even though the corrupt rightwing SCOTUS allowed Trump to change loan terms for borrowers under the very same law Biden tried to use.)

THEN... On yesterday's program with my guest John Nichols of The Nation, we discussed the possibility of rolling back the notorious anti-union law, known as ACT 10, in Wisconsin. The measure, which gutted most public sector unions (if not right-leaning police and firefighter unions) was muscled through to law more than a decade ago by the state's far-right then Gov. Scott Walker and his gerrymandered GOP toughs in the state legislature. Now that a newly liberal state Supreme Court has allowed Democratic Governor Tony Evers to implement fairer, non-gerrymandered legislative maps for the 2024 election, its conceivable Dems could finally return to power and restore collective bargaining rights to state workers next year.

Nichols cited neighboring Michigan as a role model for repealing Republican anti-union measures in a previously gerrymandered state, after its Democratic Governor and now Democratically-controlled state legislature rolled back that state's union-busting laws last week.

So, good news in the North this week...but really bad news down in Ron DeSantis' Florida, where a hastily-enacted 2023 law by the GOP legislature, passed in hopes of buttressing the Governor's ill-fated run for President, may now, literally, wipe out the very existence of hundreds of local public sector unions, with tens of thousands of workers, across the entire state.

Thousands of teachers, civil engineers, state and local clerical workers, mechanics, city park workers, those that answer 911 calls (but not police, firefighters or correctional officers, whose unions support DeSantis and are thus exempted from the law) are now seeing their unions decertified and dissolved by the state under Senate Bill 256, or are now on the brink of seeing that happening.

We're joined today by RICH TEMPLIN --- Legislative and Political Director of Florida AFL-CIO, the state's largest labor organization, representing more than 500 local unions --- to explain what is going on here, and what, if anything can be done about it.

None of this should be happening, he explains, because decades-old provisions in Florida's state Constitution protect the right to collective bargaining for public sector workers. But, "Constitutional Conservatism" is apparently for lefties and liberals now down in the Sunshine State, where Templin describes this attack on unions as "a sordid, complicated tale," that began "when Ron DeSantis decided to run for President."

"He was rewarding his biggest donors. Not only past donors but future donors he could count on for the campaign," Templin says, detailing how the wannabe President was "catering favor with national organizations that can provide national endorsements and national money. That's how we got sucked up into it. The extensive Koch Brothers network...He did this for them."

"When the bill was passed," Templin asserts, "there was no constituency group asking for it. There was no public sector employers asking for it. There were no public sector employees asking for it. It was 100% driven by billionaire out-of-state think tanks who the Governor was currying favor with for his Presidential run, and a legislature that was all too willing to turn their constituents over to his political ambitions."

At its heart, SB256 takes away the option for union members to voluntarily have their dues taken out of their paychecks each month. (Most unions anyway. Remember, police and firefighters unions are exempt from SB256.) Then the measure simply decertifies unions that do not have more than 60% dues-paying membership, even though Florida is a so-called "Right to Work" state where all workers must be allowed to "freeload" off of union contracts without being paying members of the union. They "took away the ability for members to conveniently pay their dues, and then they say, 'If there's not enough of you paying dues, you lose your union altogether.'"

While DeSantis didn't win the Koch Network endorsement or money --- or GOP Presidential nomination --- "he has really destroyed the state of Florida," in his failed attempt, according to Templin. "We are in shambles. It is going to take us a decade to dig out from what he's done."

SB256 is already a disaster, and not just because it was hurriedly pushed through the state legislature without regard to existing protections in the state constitution. But because nobody really knows how to implement it. How can unions be recertified after they've become decertified? What happens to existing union contracts?

Templin spoke to us today from the capital building in Tallahassee as a measure to try and fix some of SB256's most egregious disasters may come to the floor, and he is hoping to see amendments added to correct some of the law's most unworkable elements.

"This has been a time of great chaos," Templin laments. "There's a whole bunch of other bureaucratic hurdles that have been established to make it impossible for public sector unions to exist. They did this 'death by a thousand paper cuts' because the constitution doesn't allow them" to simply end collective bargaining for public sector workers as then Gov. Walker did in Wisconsin over a decade ago.

Templin has much more to say about all of this today, on the legal challenges to the measure, and how voters can help to turn things around in the state after years of rightwing autocracy, especially under DeSantis.

For some of the horrifying details on the ongoing effects of SB256 across the state, as it has fully taken effect as of the first of the year, be sure to check out investigative journalist Daniel Rivero's excellent and exhaustive recent article at South Florida's public radio outlet, WLRN.


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Guest: WI's John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2024 6:03pm PT  

Yesterday was a very good day for democracy in Wisconsin. On today's BradCast, we take a few minutes to celebrate. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We have been covering the GOP's autocratic takeover of the state following the 2010 elections for some 13 years at this point. After the 2010 Census, state Republicans implemented one of the most extreme gerrymanders in the nation at both the legislative (state Senate and Assembly) level as well as for their U.S. House districts.

The gerrymanders were so extreme that, despite Democrats winning 14 of the past 17 statewide elections in the Badger State, Republicans have maintained super-majority or near super-majority control of both chambers of the Legislature for more than a decade. Meanwhile, WI's 8-seat U.S. House delegation includes just 2 Democrats in the very closely divided Presidential battleground state.

With no fear of losing their legislative majorities, Republicans ran wild. They stripped labor unions of their right to collective bargaining, loosened gun safety laws, suppressed voters, etc. over the past decade. But, as of last year, everything finally began to change when voters finally won back a progressive majority on the state Supreme Court. The day after the liberals 4 to 3 majority was seated, voters filed a challenge to the Constitutionality of the state's legislative gerrymanders and they won. The Court ordered that new maps must be drawn up in time for the 2024 elections.

On Monday, after declaring, "Folks, it's a new day in Wisconsin, and today is a beautiful day for democracy," the state's Democratic Governor Tony Evers signed legislation adopted by the gerrymandered Assembly and House last week, approving new fairer legislative maps that Evers' office itself had drawn up for the state. Those maps will now take effect for this year's elections and democracy may, at long last, be at least partially restored to the Badger State.

We're joined today by our old friend, longtime Wisconsin native and progressive journalist and author, JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, to discuss all of this very good news --- not for Democrats, per se, but for voters and democracy itself.

"The Republicans tried everything" to prevent this from happening, he tells me. "They threatened to impeach one of the Supreme Court justices. They tried all sorts of stunts." But, on the verge of the high court handing down its own maps, which would arguably have been worse for Republicans, "the very wily Speaker of the State Assembly, Robin Vos, decided he had no options, so he passed the Governor's maps."

Those maps, notes Nichols, are "not a particularly good set of maps for Democrats. In fact, Democrats have a little hill to climb in order to win." He explains, however, that "if it's a good year for the Republicans, it's very likely the Republicans are going to control the legislature. If it's a good year for the Democrats, there's a decent chance that Democrats will control the legislature." That, of course, is how representative democracy is supposed to work, after all.

As Evers declared before signing the measure on Monday: "When I promised I wanted fair maps --- not maps that are better for one party or another, including my own --- I damn well meant it." He added, "Wisconsin is not a red state or a blue state --- we’re a purple state, and I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact."

Interestingly enough, Democrats in the Legislature voted against the Democratic Governor's maps...before celebrating their adoption. We discuss why. But, Nichols also notes this bottom line: "If the Democrats take both chambers of the legislature" this year with the Democratic Evers in the Governor's mansion, "they will be able to, in a matter of weeks, reverse" more than a decade of GOP power grabs and union stripping, not to mention the state's 1849 anti-abortion law and much more. "Every disappointment that Democrats have had over the last twelve, thirteen years could be undone," Nichols argues, and almost as quickly as Republicans implemented their regressive policies (even while they had to bulldoze the rule of law to do so.)

"Look to Michigan," advises Nichols. "Because Wisconsin is still in process. Wisconsin is still struggling to get there. Michigan got there. They got independent redistricting which drew fair maps after the 2018 election. In 2022 they had fair maps, finally, after a long process. They elected a Democratic state assembly [and] a Democratic state senate. On Tuesday, the laws officially went on the books eliminating their anti-labor 'right-to-work' law, expanding collective bargaining rights for teachers and graduate students, restoring all sorts of wage protections for construction workers. Michigan has now gone --- just a couple of years ago --- from being one of the more anti-labor states in the northern part of the country to having probably the best, or very close to the best, labor laws in the country. That's what you get when you don't give up. You get to actually transform it."

We also discuss who gets credit for this long-fought win in WI, from the state's indefatigable Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler who declared on Monday that "the long, dark night of ultra-partisan gerrymandering is over, and a new day for democracy now dawns in the Badger State," to the progressive grassroots activists who, says Nichols, deserve "the most credit."

And the lesson for other states to take from Wisconsin, as litigation continues in more than a dozen of them over both legislative and the U.S. House districts (including in WI, where that gerrymander could also soon be ended by the state Supreme Court): "Don't give up," urges Nichols, echoing the words, by the way, of the late Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.


  • The U.S. Supreme Court rejects an appeal from Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and six others, of the $150,000 in legal sanctions they were forced by a judge to pay for abusing the court system in Detroit via Powell's sham, post-2020 "Kraken" lawsuit, challenging the results of MI's election that year.
  • A bedtime story to help you understand the propaganda now coming from Trump supporters claiming there were "no victims" in the New York civil lawsuit against Trump and his company and two eldest sons for inflating the value of their assets to the tune of more than $2 billion each year over the past 11, to receive better rates on bank loans and lower taxes. Last Friday, NY Superior Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled [PDF] Trump and his eldest sons must pay nearly $400 million in penalties for their decades-long fraud.
  • And finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, to bunk our high over all of today's good news (as usual!) with some chilling reports on Florida's disappearing coral reefs; the plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam, and nearly half of the world's migratory species now in decline thanks to climate change, according to a new U.N. report...


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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'ProLeft Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2024 5:13pm PT  

And then there were two. Well, actually three. (Well, probably still just one.) It's another episode of Special Coverage on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Former SC Gov. Nikki Haley squared off with FL Gov. Ron DeSantis in Des Moines, Iowa on CNN Wednesday night for the 5th, so-called "GOP Presidential Debate," just hours after former NJ Gov. Chris Christie decided to drop out and as the disgraced former President and presumptive Republican front-runner did a live town hall on Fox "News" just up the road. All just days before voters trudge out into -6 degree ("Feels Like" -25 degree) temps on Monday night for the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses.

Topline: Haley and DeSantis repeatedly called each other liars (she even created a website for his); DeSantis largely dominated Haley (while calling in some sexist tropes for good measure); and nobody laid much of a glove on GOP polling leader and four-time indictee, Donald Trump --- as usual.

Of course, there was much more than just that going on. Which is why we're joined today for smart insights on all of it by our 2024 post-debate analytical champeens and long-time OG bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo and 'DRIFTGLASS' of the weekly Professional Left Podcast and its companion show, No Fair Remembering Stuff.

"This is not a debate," explains the sage Driftglass. "This is a televised entertainment for a very specific audience." On the other hand, argues the insightful Digby, "this is the most irrelevant political spectacle I have ever observed."

And yet, we still had more to talk about than we could fit into an hour! About what all of it means (if anything) for the GOP, for Americans, for Democrats, for Joe Biden and --- most importantly --- for American democracy. Enjoy!...


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Guest: Dan Froomkin of Press Watch; Also: A whole bunch of long-overdue accountability news for a whole bunch of rightwingers!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2024 5:03pm PT  

No matter what happens in this year's election, the year will be like none other in the U.S. Are the mainstream media --- which arguably helped lead us to our current mess at the edge of a potential collapse of American democracy --- able to meet the challenge? To serve a nation that badly news an unapologetic press able to call out the corrupted without "both sidesing" every issue? That's where we begin on today's BradCast, before covering a whole bunch of accountability for rightwingers and rightwing organizations in recent days and weeks. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

It seems impossible to believe that the U.S. mainstream media will be able to meet this moment. And yet, there are signs, suggests our guest today, longtime journalist and media critic DAN FROOMKIN of Press Watch, formerly of Washington Post, Huff Post, The Intercept and Harvard's journalism watchdog, the Neiman Foundation.

In a column late last year, Froomkin detailed the "intense internal pressure to defend democracy" that newsrooms will be facing in 2024. The greatest pressure, he reports, is likely to come not from outside those newsrooms, but from inside, where "traditional bosses are still in control," holding fast to "both sides" journalism, but where they are finally being challenged by what he describes as a "silent journalistic majority", an often younger and/or more diverse group of reporters "whose sense of self is defined by more than just not taking sides. It’s defined by informing the public of the truth."

With the stakes now higher than ever, he observes, there are signs, at least, that some in the traditional, unhelpful mainstream are begin to change in order to meet the moment. It's a tall order --- especially after so many decades of failure --- but there are some positive signs that even the traditionalists are beginning to understand the threat posed to American democracy itself by a Republican party which has now all but fallen to the fascistic, autocratic demands of its cult leader.

"The good news --- and it is unusual for me to focus on the good news in the media --- is that I think we're seeing two steps forward, one step back, in that I do see some braver, more honest, more upfront journalism happening on occasion at the major institutions," Froomkin tells me, before adding, "And then every so often, they'll backslide terribly."

He argues that many are "getting really impatient with this 'both-side'-ism, this 'a pox on both your houses' stuff."

"If you talk to any journalist who is not personally invested in the old way of doing things, you'll find that they actually agree with this critique. It is not a radical critique anymore. It is very much a 'How do we do journalism in this day and age?' question. And I think the answer is increasingly becoming that we need to call it out the way we see it. And that we need to stand up for democracy and for a free press, and for core journalistic values. It doesn't mean telling people to go vote Democratic, it doesn't mean being easy on the Democrats. But it does mean pointing out what this danger is right now."

"If Trump takes power, he's going to go after the media. And he will criminalize journalism in a lot of ways, and the free press will be under a lot of pressure. I don't think any journalist can sit there and say, 'I'll be fine if Trump wins.' They should all be terrified," Froomkin asserts, adding: "An increasing number are. You're seeing some of that, for instance, in this story on political violence. That was one of the big issues swept under the rug until recently."

As Froomkin explains, the jury is very much still out. But what he once saw as a "generational project" now needs to happen much quicker. "The stakes feel so high right at this moment --- for obvious reasons --- that I think there’s pretty good chance of change before November," he wrote last month. We'll see if he's right about that.

In the meantime, there has been some encouraging news elsewhere, at least from the court system in recent weeks, resulting in a rush of long-overdue accountability for people and organizations of the corrupted right.

  • Last week, New York Attorney General Tish James' office filed motions seeking $370 million from Donald Trump, his company, and its top executives for years of massive bank, tax and insurance fraud. She is also seeking a lifetime ban from the NY real estate market for Trump, and a five-year ban for his eldest sons. The whole crew has already been found liable by the state judge overseeing the case. The only question now is what the penalties will ultimately be. Closing arguments are this week and Trump will not be allowed to make part of them himself, after failing to agree he would do so without attacking prosecutors, the judge or his staff, or turn the remarks into a political statement.
  • Also last week, Wayne LaPierre, the wildly corrupt 30-year leader of the terrorist-supporting National Rifle Association, finally resigned on the eve of his corruption trial --- also thanks to Tish James in New York --- which began this week. LaPierre and other top NRA officials allegedly bilked millions of dollars from the non-profit organization to fund their own lavish lifestyles. James hopes to force LaPierre and the others to pay it all back and permanently bar them from serving on the board of any NY charity. Thoughts and prayers.
  • Longtime Republican grifter James O'Keefe's sleazy, fake "journalism" organization called Project Veritas, finally seems to be all but permanently dead. That, after O'Keefe was found to have overseen years of "financial malfeasance" according to its Board and newly seated CEO, Hannah Giles, who resigned last month citing "an unsalvageable mess" at the organization, "one wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and past financial improprieties." Giles originally played the "prostitute" in heavily edited videos published years ago by Andrew Breitbart targeting the community organizing and voter registration group ACORN. O'Keefe --- as we spent quite a bit of time some years ago detailing to mainstream media outlets who had also fallen for the hoax --- pretended to have dressed up as a "pimp" in those fraudulent videos. Though scams, they still resulted in rightwing millionaire, billionaire and just plain old dupes donating tens of millions of dollars to O'Keefe's organization over the years in support of their phony, frequently unlawful, partisan schemes targeting groups and individuals on the left. The organization and O'Keefe himself are reportedly under criminal and/or civil investigation for a number of those schemes.
  • Remember Kim Davis? The sleazy, far-right Kentucky county clerk who, in 2015, refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling? Last week, a federal judge found her liable for $260,000 in legal fees and expenses incurred by one of the couples who she unlawfully refused to license. In 2022, a federal jury said she had to pay the couple $100,000 in damages. The rightwing legal organization representing Davis for free, Liberty Counsel, says they will appeal the original verdict, the order for attorneys fees, and Obergefell itself at the U.S. Supreme Court.

FINALLY, as today's show ended, it looks like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has decided to suspend his 2024 GOP Presidential campaign (much as we called for him to do --- if he was truly serious about keeping Trump out of the White House --- on yesterday's program.) The announcement comes just hours before a debate tonight between Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis in advance of Monday's Iowa Caucuses. Presumptive frontrunner Donald Trump won't be at this debate either, but we will have Special Coverage, nonetheless, for some reason, on tomorrow's BradCast...


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Trump likely to appear on CO GOP's 2024 primary ballots nonetheless...
UPDATE, 1/3/24: Trump contests 'engaged' in 'insurrection' finding in separate SCOTUS; UPDATE, 1/5/24 SCOTUS grants cert; sets oral argument for Feb. 8...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/30/2023 1:23pm PT  

Apparently, the Colorado Republican Party does not dispute that Donald J. Trump "engaged in" an insurrection on January 6, 2021.

That's interesting. Perhaps astounding. Or perhaps they just don't want the U.S. Supreme Court to officially agree as much.

In asking SCOTUS to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court decision, in Anderson v. Griswold --- which directed the CO Secretary of State not to place the name, Donald J. Trump, on the Colorado Republican Presidential Primary Ballot --- the CO GOP, in its Petition for Writ of Certiorari, failed to contest the factual findings, initially made by a trial court and later upheld by the CO Supremes, that what took place on January 6, 2021 was an "insurrection" and that former President Donald J. Trump "engaged" in that insurrection.

(Those currently uncontested findings also provided the basis for the administrative law ruling [PDF] issued by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on Thursday, determining that the name Donald J. Trump may not appear on Maine's Republican Presidential Primary ballot.)

Instead, the CO GOP confined its legal arguments to (1) whether a "President falls within the list of officials subject to disqualification under §3 of the 14th Amendment", (2) whether §3 is "self-executing", and (3) whether a court-ordered disqualification violates the Party's First Amendment right of association.

As observed by Harvard's constitutional scholar, Lawrence Tribe, the claim that a President is not an "officer" subject to §3 disqualification is "as baseless textually as it is off base intuitively."

The 1st Amendment right of association argument is also remarkably weak.

The U.S. Constitution mandates anyone running for President must be at least 35-years old at the time they enter office. If a refusal to place the name of a 25-year old on a Presidential primary ballot doesn't violate 1st Amendment associational rights, then surely the refusal to place the name of someone disqualified by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment doesn't violate the 1st Amendment either.

Nonetheless, despite weak arguments, absent a swift SCOTUS denial of cert, it's likely the name Donald J. Trump will appear on the CO Republican Primary ballot...

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

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Threat of nationwide ban is over, likelihood of newly imposed restrictions on expanded, FDA-approved availability dimmed...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/21/2023 12:35pm PT  

Believe it or not, we have good news at year's end from our otherwise radicalized and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court regarding abortion rights.

SCOTUS' recent decision [PDF], in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. Food & Drug Adm., to hear the abortion pill case in response to the Petition [PDF] filed by the Biden Administration's U.S. Solicitor General and to grant the Petition [PDF] filed by manufacturer Danco Laboratories --- together with its denial of AHM's Cross Petition [PDF] --- is an encouraging development for reproductive liberty.

The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (AHM) is a group of right-wing Christian physicians who sought, and initially obtained, a nationwide ban on the prescription, sale, distribution and use of mifepristone --- a medication first approved by the FDA in 2000 as part of a two-drug regimen to terminate early-stage, intrauterine pregnancies.

According to the FDA's January 2023 Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies [REMS] determination for the drug, mifepristone enables a woman "to end an intrauterine pregnancy through ten weeks gestation," during which it is found to be both 98% effective and safer than Tylenol.

On April 7, 2023, however, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointed, Texas-based U.S. District Court Judge, issued a preliminary injunction that imposed a nationwide ban on mifepristone. Before being tapped by Trump, Kacsmaryk was an anti-choice activist and is regarded by many as a right-wing religious zealot. His ruling was in direct conflict with a separate decision issued on the same day by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice in Washington State. Rice ordered the FDA to keep mifepristone on the shelves of 14 States and the District of Columbia.

Although the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to stay Kacsmaryk's nationwide ban, the U.S. Supreme court, in late April, by way of a 7 - 2 Decision [PDF] (with Justices Alito and Thomas dissenting), granted a stay of both the 5th Circuit and Judge Kacsmaryk's temporary, nationwide ban on mifepristone. By the express terms of the April 21 SCOTUS decision, the stay would remain in effect until the end of the appellate process.

Because the Supreme Court has now granted both the government's and mifepristone manufacturer Danco's petitions for certiorari, at a minimum, that stay will remain in effect until the Supreme Court issues its final ruling.

Kacsmaryk's original total ban rested upon what, even then, seemed like a tenuous AHM effort to evade a six-year statute of limitations with respect to the FDA's initial approval of mifepristone that was issued while Bill Clinton was still in office. The Supreme Court's denial of the AHM cross-petition, which contested the 5th Circuit's ruling [PDF] --- that the effort to contest the 2000 approval is barred by the statute of limitations --- is now final.

Thus, the judicial threat of a nationwide ban on mifepristone no longer exists!

One of the two remaining issues, however, entails whether the 5th Circuit erred in finding that the FDA acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in its subsequent REMS determinations, years after the 2000 approval. (Those subsequent REMS determinations, based upon extensive medical studies and worldwide practical use, made it easier for patients to obtain access to mifepristone). But before the Supremes can even reach that issue, they face the threshold question as to whether AHM physicians who do not even use or prescribe mifepristone have Article III standing to file their legal challenge to the FDA-approved abortion pill in the first place...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Dow tops record high; Chutkan pauses Trump case; Hunter Biden pushes back at U.S. Capitol; House GOP votes to open revenge Impeachment inquiry...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2023 6:32pm PT  

We couldn't keep up with everything as it kept breaking all day and throughout today's BradCast. But we tried. Even while welcoming back one of our favorite guests. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We're happy to joined once again today by Slate's top shelf legal journalist, the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, who is now back from his recent parental leave. (That, thanks, in no small part, to an excellent contract by his union, the Writers Guild of America!) And, while we had previously planned to talk with Mark today about far-right Trump appointees to the lower federal courts undermining voting rights and even the Supreme Court itself, the news just kept coming today out of SCOTUS. Thankfully, Stern was here to hold our hand through it all.

After indicating earlier this week they were prepared to move quickly in response to Special Counsel Jack Smith's request for an expedited hearing on Donald Trump's ridiculous appeal regarding Presidential Immunity, the Supremes announced on Wednesday they would be taking up a challenge to the federal law used to charge hundreds of January 6 insurrectionists, including Trump himself. Two of the four charges he is facing in his federal election interference case are related to unlawful obstruction of an official proceeding. But a lower federal court Trump judge, Carl Nichols, has decided those obstruction charges --- adopted by Congress as part of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, focused mostly on white-collar crime --- are inappropriate for use against J6 rioters.

What will that mean for the pending charges against Trump and his trial currently scheduled for March 4 next year? Stern describes it today as "a troubling development", if only because "there wasn't a significant dispute over the interpretation of this particular statute" which has been used to convict hundreds of J6 attackers. While he explains that it is not necessarily fatal to either Smith's indictment against Trump in D.C. or the ability for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to complete the trial before next year's election, Stern regards it as "an ominous sign for those of us who wanted Chutkan to be able to move forward on her own timeline."

Nonetheless, it is, once again, another example of a lower court Trump judge "try[ing] to wield their power in aggressive and truly unprecedented ways." That similar effort to go "beyond the judicial power to essentially act as a free-floating veto over any Democratic policy, and trying to smuggle in Republican policies under the guise of judicial review," as Stern characterizes it, was similarly on view today as the High Court also announced plans to hear a challenge to the use of the widely prescribed abortion drug Mifipristone. That, after abortion opponents filed their case specifically so that it would be taken up earlier this year by Trump-appointed anti-choice activist Matthew Kacsmaryk, the only U.S. District Court Judge in the Northern District of Texas.

But where the "dead hand of the Trump Administration," as a recent article by Stern describes it, may be most troubling is in a series of recent rulings by Trump judges focused on undermining the Voting Rights Act, which is facing a tenuous moment at the stolen, packed and corrupted GOP-majority Supreme Court. Stern details three different recent cases --- one of them "almost too painfully stupid to explain" --- where jurists appointed by Trump in the lower courts are targeting and/or undermining the landmark civil rights law, even in violation of both long-standing SCOTUS precedent and very recent opinions by the High Court.

But, the news just kept on breaking today. Chutkan declared that Trump's Jan. 6 case would have to largely be "paused" until Trump's ridiculous immunity appeal is resolved, further imperiling next year's scheduled March 4 trial date.

The Dow hit a record high on Wall Street, as investors became jubilant at news from the Federal Reserve that it is likely to finally begin lowering interest rates next year --- even more aggressively than previously expected.

The 200 nations meeting in Dubai for the U.N.'s COP28 finally came to an agreement on their final statement after this year's climate conference. They deigned to mention the phrase "fossil fuels" for the first time ever. But more on that (hopefully!) tomorrow.

And the GOP-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, in a strict party-line vote, adopted a resolution to officially open an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden for...well...something or other. It remains unclear.

In truth, it's a revenge impeachment inquiry meant to placate the disgraced, twice-impeached former President, and to distract from the many failures of a corrupted, dysfunctional GOP-run House in advance of next year's elections. The vote was held on the same day that Republicans again refused to accept Hunter Biden's offer to testify in a public hearing. He had a few words about that for assembled media on the U.S. Capitol steps earlier today...


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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'ProLeft Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2023 5:27pm PT  

It was debate number four for all of the eligible GOP 2024 primary candidates who decided to show up. And, for reasons best left to one of our guests to explain on today's BradCast, we once again offer Special Coverage of yet another LOL bat-crap insane evening! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

This one was broadcast from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was sponsored by new media outlet NewsNation and moderated (for the first time?) by three women. The GOP's Race for Second Place on Wednesday night featured just four candidate who qualified: former UN Ambassador and former SC Gov. Nikki Haley; FL Gov. Ron DeSantis; former NJ Gov. Chris Christie and scammy business dude and unspeakably annoying conspiracy theory bro Vivek Ramaswamy. Presumed front-runner Donald Trump didn't bother to show up again. Though, after winning the three previous debates by not being there, he may have actually lost a few points this time around, for reasons discussed on today's program.

We're joined once again today by our tireless 2024 post-debate panelists and long-time OG bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo and 'DRIFTGLASS' of the weekly Professional Left Podcast and its companion show, No Fair Remembering Stuff.

It was a lively, if insane affair, as expected from today's broken Republican Party, with the candidates viciously attacking each other throughout the night as "obnoxious blowhard", "corrupt", "toxic", "fascist" and "liar". But who are we to disagree with the GOP's own carefully curated collection of 2024 candidates for President of the United States?

Aside from the smaller group of participants, the biggest change was that Christie decided to finally weigh in both as the adult in the room with actual old-school Republican "conservative" values, and to finally take on Trump head on as he'd long promised. As we discuss, the room did not boo him as vigorously this time out, and may (may!) have actually listened to a word or two he had to say about Trump. While Christie scored a number of direct hits on the four-time criminally indicted former President, his best moments --- other than beating the hell out of DeSantis and Ramaswamy --- came in calling out Trump as "unfit for office", before noting in closing that Trump is likely to be disqualified from even voting for himself next year.

"I want you all to kinda picture in your mind its Election Day. You all will be heading to the polls to vote, and that's something that Donald Trump will not be able to do. Because he will be convicted of felonies before then and his right to vote will be taken away," explained Christie, followed by a bit of half-hearted booing from the assembled crowd at the University of Alabama. "You can boo about it all you like and continue to deny reality," he continued. "But if we deny reality as a party, we're gonna have four more years of Joe Biden." He went on to add for his fellow candidates: "If you're too timid to take on Trump, believe me, others will see that timidity: Xi, Putin and the Ayatollah, the border-crossers on the southern border and the criminals on our streets."

The full frontal --- and accurate --- attack may or may not work. But it was the message that the crowd eventually seemed to be listening to and that Christie had long promised to deliver, but hadn't until last night. It was also the argument that every other major candidate in the party has, so far, been too "timid" to make. In fact, the lawless, autocratic threat posed by Donald Trump to his own party, our nation, and this world is really the only issue that matters in 2024.

We discuss all of that and much more today, including...

  • Why we're devoting an hour to this madness at all.
  • The reasons for the lack of a single question about abortion.
  • Why the sponsors of this debate thought it appropriate to feature two video questions for the candidates from the far-right Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton, identified as one of Trump's many unindicted co-conspirators in his Georgia election theft indictment and likely in his federal indictment for same.
  • Why the party that used to pretend to oppose Big Government clearly doesn't anymore (and never actually did.)
  • How Haley and DeSantis claim to support "freedom", while each opposing freedom of speech on the Internet (and elsewhere.)
  • Who would actually be the best GOP candidate to defeat Joe Biden and who would actually be the easiest for Joe Biden to defeat.

Please enjoy our...for some reason...BradCast Special Coverage!...


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