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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, December 7, 2023
Is a Trump Trial Verdict Still Possible Before Election Day 2024?: 'BradCast' 12/6/23
Guest: Former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason; Also: McCarthy quits; U.S. files war crimes charges; Trump's fake 2020 electors settle lawsuit in WI, are indicted in NV...
GOP Impeachment Follies: 'BradCast' 12/5/23
Also: McHenry quits; Tuberville folds; DeSantis Never Back Down staffers back down; GOP officials indicted for 2022 election interference in AZ; GOP official's wife convicted on 52 counts of 2020 election fraud in IA...
'Green News Report' 12/5/23
  w/ Brad & Desi
Big breakthrough at COP28 climate conference in Dubai; Fossil fuel industry works to block phase-out; PLUS: Biden EPA's new rule would force removal of all of U.S. lead water pipes...
Recent GNRs: 11/30/23 - 11/28/23 - Archives...
Last Month's Northampton, PA Touchscreen Voting Debacle a Dire Warning for 2024: 'BradCast' 12/4/23
Guest: Election expert Kevin Skoglund on why systems printed the opposite of voters' votes...
Sunday 'Democracy or Something' Toons
'Something' continues to gain a foothold in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
Biden Gets the Lead Out: 'BradCast' 11/30/23
And other examples of 'exactly what the government should be doing' -- EPA nixing all lead pipes; Int. funding firefighters, resilience; OPEC cuts supply; NY re-gags Trump; Biden's clean energy jobs, manufacturing boom...
'Green News Report' 11/30/23
  w/ Brad & Desi
'Unprecedented' heat in Brazil, South Africa; Commercial jet crosses Atlantic without fossil fuel; PLUS: Biden touts booming clean energy jobs, manufacturing in MAGA Repub's district...
Recent GNRs: 11/28/23 - 11/16/23 - Archives...
GBI Report on Team Trump's Coffee County Voting System Breach Continues Cover-Up: 'BradCast' 11/29/23
Guest: Lawfare's Anna Bower on inexplicable omissions in GA's 400-page criminal probe...
'Democracy on a Knife's Edge':
'BradCast' 11/28/2023
Warning from top conservative federal judge; Far-right victories in Argentina, Holland; Trump threatens use of Insurrection Act; Biden invokes DPA for climate, jobs...
'Green News Report' 11/28/23
UN: World far off track to avoid catastrophe; COP28 gets underway in oil-rich Dubai; PLUS: International Energy Agency warns fossil fuel industry faces a reckoning...
Fed Appeals Court Ruling Guts Last Critical Section of VRA: 'BradCast' 11/27/23
Guest: ACLU's Jonathan Topaz; Also: Israel-Hamas truce extended amid more hostage releases...
Sunday 'Emissions of the Rich and Famous' Toons
Ingenious rich people schemes (what could possibly go wrong?) in PDiddie's latest toons!...
Turkey Day Toons
A special holiday collection from PDiddie! Gobble gobble!...
Pausing Our Thanksgiving Pause for This Special 'Live' (Video!) Presentation...
Brad and Desi on The Nicole Sandler Show. Not suitable for children or adults of any age...
Sunday 'Thankful for Vermin' Toons
Weak strongmen trip their own traps in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
2024 to Kick Off with Long-Awaited, High Stakes Federal Voting System Trial in GA: 'BradCast' 11/16/23
Guest: Marilyn Marks of plaintiff Coalition for Good Governance; Also: More GA court news
'Green News Report' 11/16/23
Nat'l Climate Assessment: All regions of US affected; US, China agreement to displace fossil fuels, tackle climate; PLUS: Biden's new funding for climate resilience...
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...


Special Coverage with Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Pro Left Podcast's 'Driftglass'; Also: Willis requests Trump RICO trial begin this October!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2023 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's special coverage of the first GOP Presidential Primary debate of the 2024 campaign. It featured eight candidates, none of which were named Trump, But he was there anyway. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

The raucus two-hour debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was sponsored by Fox "News" and held before a rowdy audience of booing and cheering Republicans who, at times, resembled a pro wrestling crowd --- or a lynch mob --- more than supporters of an American political party.

The actual participants on the stage were (in order of polling popularity before the debate): Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; 38-year old entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (who, if you hadn't heard of him before last night, you probably have now); Former Vice President Mike Pence; Former South Carolina Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley; Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott; Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (who, if you hadn't heard of him before last night, you may still have no idea who he is today.)

We're joined today by some favorite BradCast special coverage guests to try and make sense of it all. (Which was no easy feat, frankly!) HEATHER DIGBY PARTON is a longtime, award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog; "DRIFTGLASS" is otherwise known as both @Mr_Electrico on the site formerly known as Twitter and occasional as just "Bill" back at home in "Flyover Country, Illinois" where he produces the weekly Professional Left Podcast.

Among the questions asked, answered and/or discussed today...

  • Who and what is Vivek Ramaswamy? And why was he both the target and obnoxious star of the evening?
  • What did all those red ties worn by everyone but Christie, Hutchinson and Haley actually mean?
  • What happened to Great White (Non-Trump) Hope DeSantis? Why was he largely ignored? And why was he screaming?
  • Holy crap! Was that a question about Climate Change on a Fox 'News' sponsored debate?!
  • Has Pence been underestimated after so many years in Trump's shadow?
  • Did Haley help or hurt herself in calling for a "new generation" of GOP leaders (while clearly being part of the old generation of GOP leaders)?
  • Wait, they all think Pence did the right thing on January 6, 2021, but almost all of them would support Trump next year even if convicted on felony crimes?
  • Have Christie and Pence figured out how to use the Constitution as a weapon against Trump?
  • Remember when even Republican debates included actual policy issues?
  • Who on that stage would be more likely than Trump to defeat Joe Biden next year?
  • If Trump is somehow removed from contention, who becomes the party's front-runner?
  • Was Trump right or wrong to stay out of the debate?

All of that and many more questions asked, answered, discussed or dodged on today's special edition of The BradCast, as Trump heads to a jail in Atlanta to be booked on his fourth criminal indictment of the year and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis asks the Court [PDF] to begin his racketeering trial just two months from now in October(!) and as the once Grand Ole Party continues its long, dangerous descent into madness.

POST-SHOW UPDATE: The judge quickly approved Willis' request for an October 23 trial, but only for Trump attorney Ken Chesebro (alleged architect of the fake electors scheme), who invoked Georgia's speedy trial law. The other defendants do not yet have a trial date. So The Cheese stands alone...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The BradCast and Green News Report are standing down until after the Labor Day Holiday! See you in September!...

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Also: Prighozan 'dead'; Milwaukee schools closed due to heat wave; All-male SC Supreme Court allows abortion ban; Randy Rainbow returns!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2023 6:27pm PT  

Today's BradCast might be best summarized by matching up the mugshots and court appearances this week (most of them just today!) of Republican attorneys who are being held accountable for felony crimes, most related to election fraud. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

From left to right of the rogues gallery pictured above...

  • Ohio attorney and Trump donor James Saunders was found guilty on Tuesday of two counts of election fraud for having voted twice, once in Ohio and once in Florida, in both the 2020 and 2022 general elections. The judge immediately sent him to jail after the verdict, even before his sentencing next week. Saunders apparently committed the same crimes in 2014 and 2016, but the statute of limitations had already run before Cuyahoga County prosecutors nabbed him.
  • Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's trial on 20 impeachment charges in the state Senate is scheduled to begin on September 5. The photo above (second from left) is his mugshot from 2015 when he was charged with state felony Securities Fraud which he has yet to be tried for. TX voters elected him twice since then, nonetheless. As to the charges for which he has now been impeached, Texas House impeachment managers this week released new details about Paxton's abuse of office as the state's top law enforcement official, which include abuse of office to help his friend and donor Nate Paul, his use of a fake Uber account, burner phones and secret personal emails accounts used, in part, to facilitate his secret visits with his mistress who Paul's firm hired in order to make it easier for Paxton to visit her in Austin. All of that, even as Paul was secretly paying to renovate Paxton's home in McKinney. Paxton, who led the failed U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit attempting to toss out every vote cast in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, in the 2020 Presidential election, is also under federal investigation for many of the crimes he has been impeached for in the Lone Star State where he is now serving his third term as A.G.
  • A whole passel of Donald Trump co-defendants --- many of them also Republican attorneys --- were in the news today, as many surrendered to felony charges in Fulton County, Georgia, after being charged in the state racketeering conspiracy indictment along with Trump for their efforts to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State. Seen in mugshots above (slots 3 through 6) are Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman (booked yesterday), Ken Chesebro, and Sidney Powell. Also surrendering today in Atlanta was Misty Hampton, the Republican Election Director of Coffee County, GA who invited Powell, and a bunch of other MAGA folks in to the Elections Office in the rural, Republican-leaning GA county to make unlawful copies of the state's sensitive voting system software. Also in related news today were Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Trump DoJ attorney Jeffrey Clark. Both are co-defendants in the RICO case, currently seeking to move their trials to federal court. Both had moved in federal court to postpone or cancel their surrenders in Fulton County. Both motions were rejected by the federal court today just before airtime after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis made clear that they had both been given more than enough time before this Friday's deadline to turn themselves in.

In other, occasionally related news on today's program...

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Russian mercenary Wagner military battalion and leader of a short-lived coup against his former close ally, Vladimir Putin, earlier this year, reportedly died along with 9 others in a private jet that crashed shortly after takeoff approximately 60 miles north of Moscow on Wednesday. The plane was video-taped falling out of the sky after something appears to have caused an explosion after the jet had reached cruising altitude.
  • Milwaukee Public Schools were closed today in Wisconsin due to a dangerous heat wave. The closure comes on the same day that eight GOP candidates --- none named Trump --- are to appear in Milwaukee this evening for the party's first Presidential Primary debate of the 2024 season. Pretty much all of these candidates, many of whom pretended to be furious about school closures due to COVID, are also climate crisis deniers. Nonetheless, they are unlikely to raise the issue of our climate emergency at tonight's debate, despite the school closures today due to climate change in the very city in which they will be debating tonight.
  • The newly all-male state Supreme Court in South Carolina reversed the Court's own ruling from earlier this year today, regarding the state Legislature's near total abortion ban, even though the majority opinion concedes the new law infringes "a woman’s right of privacy and bodily autonomy." The 5 men now serving as Justices --- following the lone female Justice's mandatory retirement earlier this year --- just don't care, apparently. Unlike the now-retired female Justice who wrote the majority opinion blocking the new law earlier this year, the dudes now sitting on the state's High Court believe those state Constitutional interests of women do not outweigh "the interest of the unborn child to live."

And finally...

  • Trump says he will go in for booking at the Fulton County jail on Thursday evening, during TV's prime-time, of course. As he is set to be arraigned for his fourth criminal indictment of the year (his second one for attempting to steal the 2020 election), musical satirist Randy Rainbow returns with an all new, hilarious tune to mark the occasion and close today's program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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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Also: Hurricane Hillary eyes Southern CA and/or AZ...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2023 7:11pm PT  

If you had "Hurricane in Southern California" on your Climate Crisis 2023 Bingo card, please come on up to accept your prize. Details on that on today's BradCast, along with a whole bunch of other stuff we've had to set aside of late, thanks to the now 91 criminal felony charges being faced by our corrupt and disgraced former President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories covered today that (largely) have nothing to do with felony indictments...

  • Hurricane Hilary spins up suddenly off the coast of Mexico and is now gaining strength amid an El Nino. The storm is said to be heading north to make what could be an "exceedingly rare" landfall over the next few days somewhere here in Southern California or along the Baja Peninsula before moving up and into Arizona --- if you believe scientists who are experts in this sort of thing.
  • The gerrymandered Republican state legislature in North Carolina on Wednesday overrode vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to enact new laws that are unspeakable cruel to, among others, transgender children. If you are unaware, we explain exactly why these types of laws --- now adopted by 22 GOP-controlled states (though being challenged in court in most of them) --- are so awful and cruel. That is, unless you are a Republican, like those who stole control of the NC legislature, who believe Big Government should intercede between doctors and patients and that so-called "parental rights" should also be overruled by Big Government autocratic fiat.
  • Speaking of autocracy, gerrymanders and Big Government Republicans now dictating to small, local government and voters...the morally and ethically broken GOP-controlled state legislature in Texas has recently passed a law to oust the chief election official in Harris County (Houston) --- and only in Harris County --- just months before upcoming municipal elections in the state's largest and most Democratic-leaning County. A state judge this week found the new law in violation of the Lone Star State's constitution. But, just hours later, the state put that ruling on hold by appealing it to the TX Supreme Court (all Republican). The November elections are now just weeks away and, unless something changes quickly, will apparently be run by the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector who has zero experience running elections and had nothing to do with the months-long planning for the one where early voting is set to begin next month.
  • In far more encouraging news about autocracy, gerrymandering and, in this case, democracy, we head to the great state of Wisconsin. On August 1, Justice Janet Protasiewicz became the state Supreme Court's newest member after being elected earlier this year. Her landslide (for Wisconsin) 11-point victory in April means that liberals now hold a majority on the state's High Court for the first time in about 15 years. On August 2, a group of petitioners filed with the state Supremes to not only force new, fair legislative maps for the state's House and Senate for the first time in more than a decade, but also for emergency elections next year for all members of the state Senate, many of whom will not otherwise face reelection until 2026 despite occupying seats that petitioners argue are held only thanks to the GOP's unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernie Canning wrote about this challenge to the state's illicit, entrenched legislative majorities this week and the potentially very good news it represents for Badger State voters. Just after airtime today, however, he updated his article with...well, some more good news but also...some troubling news about the gerrymandered GOP's new scheme to undermine democracy, the rule of law, the state constitution and state voters with impeachment proceedings against Protasiewicz in hopes of stealing back the Court to hold onto their entrenched, corrupt state legislative majorities. (See Ernie's UPDATE today on that story for more details.)
  • Then, a bit of listener mail in response to my apparently controversial suggestions of late that Donald Trump may very well not be on the general election ballot by November of next year.
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report with updates on the horrific fires on Maui and in Canada, but some very encouraging news about President Biden and the Democrats' landmark climate law, signed one year ago this week, which is already resulting in a clean energy manufacturing, construction and jobs boom in the U.S. --- and even overseas!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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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Guest: Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Also: Landmark court victory for kids challenging climate change in MT!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2023 6:11pm PT  

New indictments did not yet come in Georgia as of airtime on today's BradCast. But, as the nation awaits the former President's almost certain fourth criminal indictment in about as many months --- and this could be the broadest and most sweeping yet --- a somewhat related "exclusive" by CNN on Sunday seems to have made a lot of folks suddenly pay attention to a story we've been covering in great detail on this show and at The BRAD BLOG for the better part of the past year.

The Coffee County, Georgia voting system breach by Trump supporters is likely to play a role in the expected new indictments from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, even though there was largely nothing "exclusive" at all about CNN's weekend report. At least to those of us who have been paying attention and reporting on it ourselves for the past year. But, that's okay. If CNN's coverage makes people sit up and pay attention to this critical issue, we'll take it.

If it helps people --- including other media outlets --- notice that the multi-state conspiracy is still either being ignored or actively covered-up by the folks who SHOULD be investigating it --- from GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) and even the Dept. of Justice --- then, okay, bring on more such "exclusives".

CNN's Sunday report, deceptively headlined "Exclusive: Georgia prosecutors have messages showing Trump’s team is behind voting system breach," repackages material already reported long ago by outlets like Washington Post, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta's NBC affiliate 11-Alive and, yes, The BradCast and BRAD BLOG. Almost all of CNN's material comes thanks to information discovered in a long-running federal lawsuit challenging the use of Raffensperger's new, unverifiable and insecure touchscreen voting systems, as filed years ago by the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG). CNN didn't even have the decency to name the nonprofit group in their "exclusive", referring simply to material "originally unearthed as part of a long-running civil suit focused on election security in Georgia."

As to the content of the story well, see our program from April headlined: "The Multi-State MAGA Conspiracy to Breach Voting Systems Was Hatched in Trump's Oval Office: 'BradCast' 4/24/2023". That show, from four months ago, features most of what CNN describes in their weekend "exclusive".

On that program, we were joined by guest SUSAN GREENHALGH, a election integrity and transparency expert who now serves as Senior Advisor on Election Security at FreeSpeechForPeople.org. Greenhalgh had discovered admissions in sworn testimony given to the U.S. House January 6 Committee revealing that the plot to have MAGA activists unlawfully obtain and copy sensitive, proprietary voting and tabulation system hard drives in multiple states (Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania) was a scheme dreamt up during Trump's crazy December 18, 2020 meeting in the Oval Office with attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO and billionaire Patrick Byrne and others. Yes, the breaches in several states were not over-zealous local MAGA activists. It was a scheme hatched with the President of the Unites States himself.

Greenhalgh joins us again on today's program to continue connecting dots in the multi-state criminal scheme which remain uninvestigated or prosecuted to this day. (Pay attention, or wait to read them at CNN in about 6 months as "exclusive".)

Were it not for folks like Greenhalgh and CGG founder Marilyn Marks --- who had the wherewithal to hit the record button when one of the apparent MAGA breachers (Atlanta businessman Scott Hall) called her to essentially confess to the crimes in Coffee County --- we might not even know about it today. Lord knows Raffensperger and his friends in the Peach State have largely been covering it all up ever since the breach first occurred on January 7, 2021, the day after Trump's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

"Who knows if there were other counties that they went into in Georgia?," Greenhalgh observes. "There might have been similar breaches in other counties. Because we've lacked a real, robust investigation from the people that are paid to protect our citizens and our government from these types of illegal activities, they haven't uncovered it!"

Charges were recently brought against some of the participants in Michigan's several breaches --- at least five of whom are also known to have been involved in the Georgia breach --- and charges may soon be brought against some of them by Willis in Georgia in the coming hours. But, as Greenhalgh argues, the threat posed by theses breaches to next year's 2024 election --- and accountability for all of the people who allowed it to happen --- is crying out for a federal conspiracy probe of this organized crime that took place in multiple states following the 2020 election.

"There's no deterrence," Greenhalgh asserts. "What we saw happen in Coffee County --- if these people do not face any consequences, the message that is being presented is, 'It's okay. Go ahead and do this. If you can get a complicit election official, go in and do whatever you want to the voting machines and nothing is going to happen to you.' This crime happened on videotape. There's no question about it. If this was a corner store robbed by some kids, they'd be in prison by now."

There is a lot more of note in my conversation with Greenhalgh, and she offers much more in a well-sourced and linked "Background Briefing" document published late last week.

Finally today, some very good news out of Montana, where a landmark legal challenge by young plaintiffs, aged 5 to 22, challenging Republican state lawmakers for failing to follow the state constitution's mandate guaranteeing a "clean and healthful environment," was victorious! The court found that the Montana Environmental Policy Act, which weakened environment protections on behalf of the state's fossil fuel industry, is unconstitutional. The first-of-its-kind ruling by a judge in the U.S. may very well affect similar suits by youth plaintiffs as now filed in all 50 states and nations around the world...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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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Success would offer a fair shot at flipping state legislative seats, but leave Republicans' gerrymandered U.S. House delegation in place...
UPDATED: Court orders responsive brief; Gerrymandered legislature threatens impeachment...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/14/2023 9:35am PT  

Elections have consequences.

Recently, in "The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn", we described how the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court's corrupt, right-wing "radicals in robes" last year to overturn the Constitutional right to an abortion led directly to the election of pro-choice Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz "by 11 percentage points, a huge margin in a narrowly divided state," as The New York Times described it.

On Aug. 1, the new Justice was seated, thereby flipping the WI's Supreme Court from a 4-3 right-wing majority to a 4-3 liberal majority for the first time in more than 15 years.

The very next day, on Aug. 2, state voters filed a Petition [PDF] directly with the WI Supreme Court. In Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, petitioners seek to break the chains of the GOP's 12-year entrenched control in both Houses of the Badger State legislature --- control that was and is the product of what petitioners allege to be unlawful, extreme partisan gerrymandering.

Two days after that, a second Petition [PDF] (Wright v. Wisconsin Elections Commission) was also filed in the WI Supreme Court by a group of mathematicians and computer scientists. In addition to presenting essentially the same legal challenge, the Wright petitioners bolstered both cases with objective scientific evidence establishing that the 2011 and 2021 Wisconsin legislative maps are the product of unlawful gerrymandering.

Both petitions are based upon a scathing judicial dissent issued last year in Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission. In their dissenting opinion, the Court's three liberal Justices --- then in the minority --- opined that the WI Supreme Court's right-wing majority usurped the constitutional functions of the Badger State's other branches. In Johnson, the Court's then-majority overrode Democratic Governor Tony Evers' veto of the 2021 gerrymander after Badger State Republicans in the Legislature failed to muster sufficient votes to override the Governor's veto on their own. Both petitions and the dissent identify multiple provisions within the WI Constitution that were violated by extreme partisan gerrymandering.

The Clarke Petition not only seeks to replace the partisan gerrymandered map with a fair map in time for next year's legislative elections but also seeks an emergency writ that would schedule a 2024 special election for all Badger State senators, including those whose terms would not otherwise expire until 2027. This is based upon the argument that all state Senators "lack legal entitlement to their office" because their respective offices are the product of unconstitutionally configured districts.

The Petitions, however, do not seek to redress Wisconsin's partisan gerrymandered Congressional map which helped hand Republicans six of the Badger State's eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, in a state where almost all statewide seats are now held by Democrats and where Joe Biden won in 2020...

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




Guest: Robin Marty of the West Alabama Women's Center, author of 'The End of Roe v. Wade'; Also: Deadly, climate fueled wildfires in Maui, HI...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2023 6:33pm PT  

It was a great day for democracy in Ohio on Tuesday. And how often do we get to say that on The BradCast? [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But first, it's not a great day for our friends in Maui, Hawaii, where windswept wildfires have leveled homes and businesses and a historic town; killed at least six and injured dozens so far; and sent some residents fleeing into the ocean to avoid the flames. That, as wind gusts above 60 mph --- part of Hurricane Dora passing about 500 miles safely to the south --- kept firefighting helicopters out of the sky, while climate change-fueled dry conditions and non-native, non-drought tolerant plant species (brought there by humans) went up like torches. Sending our best wishes to our listeners at our affiliate station, KAKU 88.5FM, "The Voice of Maui"! Please drop us a line when you can to let us know how you're doing!

Moving on from that terrible news, to much better news out of Ohio last night, where democracy was literally on the ballot. The Buckeye State GOP's anti-democracy constitutional amendment, known as Issue 1 on Tuesday's special election ballot, went down to huge defeat by some 13 points --- 57% to 43% --- according to the latest unconfirmed tallies. The measure, which could have passed with a simple majority, would have changed the state constitution to require 60% voter approval for all future constitutional amendments. As it turns out, voters don't like voting their own democracy away.

As Ohio's Sec. of State Frank LaRose was eventually caught on tape admitting to supporters --- after claiming for months it had nothing to do with abortion --- the measure was "100% about abortion". It was meant to preempt a citizen-led ballot initiative set for this November that will codify reproductive freedoms into the constitution of the otherwise right-leaning and wildly gerrymandered state.

We spend some time today explaining what happened, why it happened, and just how extraordinarily corrupt and hypocritical the measure's lead proponent, LaRose, actually is, as he hopes to become the state's GOP nominee to square off with Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown next year. Good luck after Tuesday's $20 million, anti-democracy boondoggle, Frank!

But what happened in Ohio on Tuesday is reverberating throughout the nation today and will, almost certainly, continue to reverberate into next year's 2024 general election. It is also giving hope to a lot of otherwise "deep red" states, proving again that their citizenry can also successfully push back against GOP forces of hypocrisy, anti-democracy and pro-autocracy. Even in states like "deep red" Alabama.

We're joined today by ROBIN MARTY, Operations Director at the West Alabama Women's Center, and the prescient author of 2019's The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America and The End of Roe v. Wade: Inside the Right's Plan to Destroy Legal Abortion.

Marty, as you might guess, is elated about the great news out of Ohio. "Of course, I am very excited about it," she says, before adding: "I'm not surprised, though. This is yet another in a series of wins for abortion rights when it is put up to a statewide vote." Indeed, every time a measure even tangentially related to reproductive rights has appeared on a statewide ballot since the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, reproductive freedoms have ultimately won. That is true in both "red" and "blue" states alike.

But Marty also shares just some of the authoritarian horror still playing out in her own home state where abortion has now been banned entirely by state Republicans, and where her West Alabama Women's Center still offers much-needed healthcare for woman...but may no longer provide them with abortion services.

Most incredibly, as Marty tells details today, the medical professionals at her clinic are not even allowed, by law, to tell patients where they might go --- which states or clinics --- to receive lawful abortion care elsewhere. That, she says, could result in felony charges and up to 99 years in prison. In fact, she wasn't even certain she could tell me about that on air!

"The moment it became illegal in our state, not only did we have to stop every bit of abortion care that we were doing in the clinic," she explains, "our Attorney General made statements saying that, in his opinion, he believed that providing a person with information about how they could access abortion care somewhere else would, in fact, constitute a criminal conspiracy. And people could be arrested over that."

The center has just filed suit against the state A.G., hoping to win back their free speech rights. As the ACLU describes the case, the lawsuit was last month "in federal court to prevent Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and district attorneys throughout the state from prosecuting those who assist Alabamians seeking to travel across state lines to access abortion care where abortion is legal. Attorney General Marshall has explicitly threatened that health care providers could face felony charges for assisting Alabamians seeking to travel out of state to obtain abortion where it is legal."

The health care providers are fighting the law adopted by the very same hypocritical GOP lawmakers who pretended to be "outraged" about "Big Government coming between a patient and their doctor" during the passage of ObamaCare in 2010. And the very same ones who, today, are pretending to be "outraged" about Trump being prosecuted for "nothing more than exercising his Free Speech rights!" (that's not why he is being prosecuted) and pretending to be concerned that social media sites are "censoring" rightwing opinions.

Marty has a lot to say on all of these topics, so I hope you'll tune in for today's very lively conversation with her!...

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Guest: Attorney Keith Barber's primer on the crime of Racketeering; Also: Raskin on Trump trying to 'steal' the 2020 election; Election Day in OH...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2023 6:17pm PT  

For some reason, it seemed like a good moment on today's BradCast to bone up on exactly what "racketeering" or RICO charges are. I have a feeling it may come in handy in the days ahead. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, FIRST UP, it's Election Day in Ohio. One single statewide ballot issue, in the middle of August. That's because Republican lawmakers were hoping to undermine a ballot measure set for this November which, if successful, will codify protection for reproductive freedoms into the state Constitution.

For more than 100 years in the Buckeye State, Constitutional Amendments were adopted via the ballot with a simple majority vote. Today's measure, Issue 1, would raise the requirement needed for passage to a 60% super-majority. Of course, the GOP's Issue 1 on the ballot today would require just 50% + 1 for passage.

As we've been reporting, despite the state Republicans' attempt to sneak their anti-democracy Amendment past voters (after, earlier this year, adopting legislation to ban August Special Elections), early voting has been huge. Today's Election Day turnout was reportedly higher than expected as well. Happily, there were, so far, only a few reported problems at the polls. We'll see if that changes and we'll have reported results on this critical measure tomorrow.

THEN, over the weekend, Donald Trump's top attorney on his new indictment by Special Counsel Jack Smith for his many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election, was all over the news shows offering absurd defenses for his client's crimes. John Laura told Meet the Press, for example, that "a technical violation of the Constitution" isn't actually unlawful.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who happens to be a Constitutional law professor (as well as both the Lead Manager for the U.S. House during Trump's second impeachment for insurrection and a member of the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating it) strongly begged to differ. Critically, he noted in his response to Lauro's remarks, there are people serving years in jail in this country for falsifying one single vote, whereas Trump "tried to steal the entire election."

Thank you, Congressman!

NEXT, we continue to await what is almost certainly going to be Trump's fourth criminal indictment in about as many months. This one will come any day now, likely this week or next, courtesy of Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis in relation to Team Trump's failed attempts to steal the Peach State's election in 2020 from Joe Biden and the state's voters.

Her case, for reasons explained on today's program, could be expansive, including many charges and many conspirators acting in concert with Trump. Exactly who will be charged and what they will be charged with remains unknown.

Among the many questions about Willis' case: Will she invoke the state's "Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations" (or RICO) Act or just simple conspiracy charges? And, oh, by the way, what are the difference between the two, as RICO is best known for use against organized crime by the mafia, etc.?

Luckily, KEITH BARBER, former attorney, former Republican and current Daily Kos contributor on law and Constitutional matters, recently wrote about exactly that and joins us today for a helpful RICO primer and insights into Willis' likely imminent indictments.

Short version of the difference between "conspiracy" and "RICO", as Barber wrote last month: "Conspiracy requires an agreement between the co-conspirators to commit what are usually specific crimes. RICO does not require proving any such agreement. So long as the parties commit the required predicate offenses, as part of the same 'enterprise,' acting 'in furtherance of a common purpose,' RICO can be satisfied."

As Barber tells me today: "The mob boss doesn't necessarily plan anything with the guy who is running the protection racket He may not even know him. But they are both engaged in the same broad criminal enterprise. That's the distinction between RICO and conspiracy. You don't have to show the connections that are shown in the [Jack] Smith indictment of Trump between the co-conspirators. It's sufficient if they engage in a pattern of racketeering activity in furtherance of the same general objective."

If you'd like a more detailed explanation, tune in to today's show, when Barber also offers his thoughts on who is likely to be indicted. "All indications are, all the hints are, that it's going to be a whole lot of people, with a whole lot of charges. It's kind of mind-boggling how many people it could be."

Also discussed: last night's court ruling in columnist E. Jean Carroll's rape and defamation case against Trump and his counter-suit for defamation against Carroll. Short version: Trump's suit was tossed as the judge confirmed that, yes, Trump was found by a jury to have been a rapist according to common vernacular, and Carroll's second civil trial against him (she already won $5 million from him during the last one, now she's suing for at least $10 million) is scheduled to begin early next year and could be a very very short trial given everything that was already established as a fact in the first trial.

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the death toll rises under prolonged extreme heat in Arizona; climate change unleashes a brand new flooding problem in Alaska; President Biden moves to protect a million acres from uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, and extreme rains and deadly flooding continue to pummel parts of Europe...

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The two Justins win back their seats in TN; Huge turnout in response to OH's Issue 1 scam; Deadline for military PACT Act benefits; Also: Callers want to talk about our thrice-indicted former President...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2023 6:32pm PT  

It may be the dead of Summer, not exactly when most Americans are thinking about elections. But they were thinking about them last week in Tennessee and Ohio. No matter what these days, Americans are still thinking about Donald Trump. We cover all of that and more on today's busy BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

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

  • Another victory for Americans and our current President. Months earlier than expected and ordered by Congress, Joe Biden signed a landmark Presidential order just over a week ago that officially updates the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for the first time in decades. The update changes the way the military handles sexual assault cases and other violent crimes, many of which, advocates of the new system have argued for some twenty years, were swept under the rug in the military chain of command.
  • In somewhat related-ish news, the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act [or PACT] Act has an important deadline this week that former Daily Show host Jon Stewart wants you to know about. The PACT Act greatly expanded medical benefits for veterans harmed by toxic burnpits, agent orange and other toxins while in service to the country. The landmark measure was signed by President Biden in 2022 --- also after years of advocacy by proponents --- and, while eligible vets can sign up anytime, those who either sign up or offer their intent to sign up by Wednesday, August 9, will be able to get full benefits going back to August of 2022. So make sure you let anyone you served and may have been sicked while on duty know about it! Learn more and sign up at VA.gov/PACT.
  • Remember the Two Justins --- Tennessee State Rep. Justin Pearson of Memphis and Justin Jones of Nashville --- the two young, black, progressive Democratic lawmakers [pictured above] who were expelled by Republicans from the TN State House for supporting children and teachers protesting for new gun safety legislation following the mass school shooting in Nashville in March? Both Justins just won back their seats in the state House of Representatives during special elections held last Thursday. They were expelled by the racist white Republican House super-majority last April when an older white woman --- Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville --- was spared from expulsion by the same lawmakers, despite participating in the same protest on the House floor with the two Justins. Jones reportedly won his race with a whopping 78% of the vote. Pearson won his election to his old seat with 94% of the vote. Well done, Tennessee voters!
  • Meanwhile, in Ohio, far-right Republicans in that state's gerrymandered state legislature and their dark money supporters have been lying to voters for weeks now about Issue 1, which will be decided tomorrow (Tuesday, August 8th) at polls across the Buckeye State. The statewide ballot measure would make it harder for citizens to adopt citizen led initiatives to amend the Constitution by, among other things, requiring 60% for passage. Just a few months ago, in May, just weeks after adopting legislation to outlaw August special elections, GOP lawmakers voted to hold a special election for this ballot measure (which would only need a simple 50% majority for passage, just like all other ballot measures in state history) in hopes of pre-empting a citizen-led Constitutional ballot measure scheduled for this November that would enshrine reproductive freedoms into the state Constitution. Rightwingers have reportedly been blanketing the airwaves with false claims about Issue 1, telling voters that a "yes" vote will prevent your daughter from receiving a sex change operation without your approval. (Seriously.) But, again, democracy rising? Early voting turnout is through the roof, surpassing even last year's 2022 mid-term primaries. But we'll see how it turns out. A number of counties are reporting poll closures and precinct changes just days before tomorrow's Election Day.
  • Finally, after awarding our kudos to the latest member of the corporate media to be brought to our attention correctly describing Donald Trump's multiple failed attempts to "STEAL" the 2020 election, we open up the phone to callers. Many of whom want to talk about Donald Trump, his latest four-count federal indictment [PDF] last week, and how the hell the guy is even allowed to run for President after inciting an insurrection (he shouldn't be), much less serving as the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination. I still believe it's possible that he will not ultimately be the GOP nominee next year, for a number of reasons I suspect we'll be discussing in the days ahead. For today, however, it was great to talk to a number of very good callers about all of the above!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Democracy can reverse the damage wrought by corrupt, right-wing Supreme Court ideologues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/7/2023 9:49am PT  

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that."
-- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When our corrupted U.S. Supreme Court, in June, handed down their closing opinions for last year's term, it became clear that we are facing a dark judicial hour in this nation.

Dark for women whose reproductive liberty and very lives have been placed at risk; dark for those who are drowning in seemingly insurmountable student debt; dark for those in the LGBTQ+ community who are seeing their very existence and right to medical care being challenged; dark for young African-American students hoping to acquire a higher education so as to overcome our nation's legacy of systemic racism; dark for the families of the ever-growing number of victims of mass shootings.

Our judicial institutions, for the moment, are still holding when it comes to accountability for the scoundrel who served as our 45th President. But, for too many others, the High Court has wrought a darkness brought on by the corrosive influence of the billionaire class and the "dark money" that billionaires and corporations use to corrupt our political and legal institutions.

That darkness comes courtesy of the Supreme Court's infamous 2010 Citizens United decision. It is a darkness also facilitated by political chicanery resulting in a Republican Party, which lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight Presidential Elections, packing a "corrupt" supermajority of six right-wing ideologues onto the nine-member High Court.

Their dark, radical interpretations of the Rule of Law have done more than simply endanger democracy's survival. By inventing a Second Amendment right of an individual to bear arms unrelated to military service in a State's "well-regulated" militia, the Roberts Court has become "destructive" of the first of the "unalienable Rights" listed in our nation's Declaration of Independence --- the right to "Life"!

Early last month, for example, CBS published a jaw-dropping U.S. statistic, citing "26 mass shootings in the first five days of July."

Yet, it is the dark and oppressive nature of the immensely unpopular decisions handed down by six unelected "radicals in robes", that, ironically, may help to facilitate a new dawn. The bright side of their decisions can be found in an incensed electorate, whose approval of the Court, as presently constituted, has plunged to a dismal 29%.

Democracy, as the late British MP Tony Benn described it, is "more revolutionary than socialist ideas." It is the light that can drive out the darkness.

The very existence of public revulsion towards the dark turn by the Court in recent years, such as overturning abortion rights and much more, make a 2024 Blue Tsunami possible. If the source of the darkness lies in the decisions of a corrupt and radicalized Supreme Court, then Democrats must convey a clear and coherent message that a vote for their candidates will serve to restore the light...including with reform of the Court itself...

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Six co-conspirators cited, but still unnamed, in charges handed up by federal grand jury in Special Counsel Jack Smith's Jan. 6-related probe; Also: NJ Lt. Gov. Oliver dies suddenly; OH's critical Aug. 8 election...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2023 6:23pm PT  

Literally minutes before today's BradCast, news broke that the grand jury in D.C. hearing Special Counsel Jack Smith conspiracy case against Donald J. Trump regarding his many failed attempts to steal 2020 Presidential election had handed up a four-count federal indictment against Donald J. Trump. Seconds before airtime, Smith offered a brief statement on the new indictment. We cover both today...on the fly...

As Smith announced (we share his brief remarks in full), Trump was indicted on four federal felonies...

Count 1: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States [18 USC 371]
Count 2: Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding [18 USC 1512(k)]
Count 3: Obstruction of, and Attempt to Obstruct, an Official Proceeding [18 USC 1512(c)(2)]
Count 4: Conspiracy Against Rights [specifically, the right to vote and to have one's vote counted, 18 USC 241]

Six of Defendant Trump's alleged co-conspirators are briefly described in the 45-page indictment [PDF], though not named within it. The co-conspirators appear to be uncharged at this time. Most of their names were pretty simple to identify based on their description in the indictment (see pages 3 and 4). According to Washington Post, which names 5 of the 6 of them, it appears we got them pretty much correct as we read through the early portion of the charges on today's show. WaPo identifies them as...

Co-Conspirator 1: Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani
Co-Conspirator 2: Trump attorney John Eastman
Co-Conspirator 3: Trump attorney Sidney Powell
Co-Conspirator 4: DoJ Asst. Attorney General Jeffrey Clark
Co-Conspirator 5: Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro
Co-Conspirator 6: A still unidentified "political consultant" whose description matches several potential different Trump henchmen.

Looks like we were correct, at least, on Co-Conspirators 1 through 4. Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler agrees WaPo's ID of Chesebro as number 5 is "sound". He is described in the indictment as "an attorney who assisted in devising and attempting to implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding". We speculate on the show that Co-Conspirator 6 could be Trump's 2020 campaign Director of Election Day Operations Michael Roman, but that's just an on-the-fly guess.

The most central aspect of the charges, at least to my eyes, is that Donald Trump not only attempted to steal the election by lying about it, using dozens of fraudulent claims for months after the November election, but knew that he was lying about every aspect of it.

"The Defendant lost the 2020 presidential election," the indictment reads in its first paragraph...

Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false. But the Defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway --- to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.

He lost. He knew it, because he was told by his closest advisors and all the top state and federal officials with whom he conferred. And, yet, he fraudulently claimed otherwise in hopes of defrauding the American people and stealing a Presidential election. He is finally be charged for all of the above.

It's all spelled out, quite readably, in the indictment [PDF] which Smith, in his brief remarks, encouraged "everyone" to "read in full".

We will, no doubt, have more on all of this in the days ahead. In the remaining time on today's show, as salvaged somewhat from our previous planned program...

  • The sudden death of New Jersey's Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, the first statewide black official in the Garden State and a central character in my 2011 blockbuster exclusive on then Gov. Chris Christie's secret address to the Koch Brothers secret political gathering that year in Vale, CO.
  • The critical election next Tuesday, August 8, in Ohio, where corrupt, authoritarian Republicans have suddenly called a special election to try and adopt a constitutional amendment that would require 60% approval by voters for all future constitutional amendments placed on the ballot. This measure, however, would still need only 50% to be adopted. The scheme is meant to undermine a citizen's ballot initiative planned for this November that would write protections for reproductive freedoms into the Buckeye State constitution.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report with news on the hottest month ever recorded in human history (July 2023); President Biden's new federal heat protections for workers; Canada's first steps toward ending subsidies for the fossil fuel industry; and the landmark banning of natural gas hook-ups in new construction by a major state in Australia...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Actors on strike; Contraceptives for sale; GOP megadonors blown off; New U.S. House maps for NY; Free tuition at UNC; Biden's new student loan repayment plan; And much more...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2023 6:30pm PT  

We not only cover a whole bunch of news stories on today's BradCast, we also explain what they mean and why they matter. As always, we want you to not only know what happened, but understand why it did and what can be done about it, so you can pass that important information on to others. [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

Among the many stories both reported and explained on today's program...

  • Film and TV actors of SAG-AFTRA join the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in going on strike against producers in hopes of proper payment and residuals for streaming services and AI usage, among other appropriate demands.
  • We take another quick spin through my new favorite website --- FoxWeather.com --- where they report on all of the catastrophic effects of climate change now devastating much of the planet, but because Fox hates its duped readers and viewers so much, they never even once explain why all of these disasters are now happening. (Hint for Fox "News" dupes, if I'm lucky enough that you stopped by: It's the climate change, stupid, as caused by the burning of fossil fuels.)
  • The Biden FDA approves the first ever over-the-counter birth control pill. Happily, this should be bring the abortion rate way down. So, rightwingers will be delighted with this news, right?
  • Dumb GOP megadonors in Illinois lose their ill-considered fight to prevent the use of clean, electric leaf blowers on their 22-acre estate. But it's a win for their neighbors and for the rest of us. (And even for them, whether they too dumb to know it or not!)
  • A state court orders New York to redraw U.S. House maps before the 2024 elections. That alone could end up flipping the House back to Democratic control next year, after the GOP flipped four NY seats from "blue" to "red" last year, after the state court blocked an attempted Democratic gerrymander. It's complicated.
  • Great news for North Carolina residents! After Republicans on the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court recently blocked Affirmative Action for college admissions at the University of North Carolina (and everywhere else in the bargain), the school has announced it will be offering FREE tuition to many in-state students "as part of their continued effort to boost diversity".
  • Late last month, the corrupt rightwing SCOTUS majority used their recently invented-from-whole-cloth "Major Questions Doctrine" to block the Biden Administration from using the specific text of the federal HEROES Act to forgive up to $20,000 in student loans to borrowers. The President has announced a new plan to use a different law to accomplish even broader forgiveness, though it will take a bit more time than his initial plan. In the meantime, beginning next month, a newly restructured repayment plan for loans will allow millions to pay just $0 a month (you read that right) without seeing any interest added. Their entire loan may then be considered as paid in full after 10 years. We break down the key details of the new plan and how Republicans are already attempting to undermine it, because they hate people who aren't millionaires or billionaires.
  • Finally, it's our latest disturbing Green News Report with Desi Doyen here to drive you crazy as the summer of climate catastrophes continue. Among our coverage: another major insurer flees Florida; California works out a deal with manufacturers to phase out polluting big rigs; and the U.S. becomes the blackout capital of the world, thanks to the many failures of natural gas...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate on that and other 'Major Questions' from our radical, activist, corrupted U.S. Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2023 6:35pm PT  

It's been too long, but we're delighted to have one of our favorite guests back on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first, in a rare, one day only special session of the State Legislature called by Iowa's Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday, GOP lawmakers in the Hawkeye State hastily adopted a ban on almost all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before most know they are even pregnant.

Reynolds had the temerity to declare that "the voices of Iowans and their democratically elected representatives cannot be ignored any longer." That, despite recent state polling finding that 61% of voters in Iowa support legal abortion in all or most cases, with just 35% saying it should be banned.

Well, the "elected representatives" have now been heard --- Reynolds plans to sign the measure on Friday, when it will immediately take effect --- but the voices of Iowans certainly haven't. The new law was passed with only Republican votes. It allows limited exceptions after 6 weeks in some cases of rape, incest and certain medical emergencies. A lawsuit by proponents of reproductive freedom was filed today. We explain the details and the news that former Vice President and current 2024 GOP candidate for President, Mike Pence, is both calling for a similar ban at the federal level and believes abortion should be banned even when a pregnancy is not viable and doctors have determined a baby cannot survive outside of the womb. (None of the other 2024 GOP candidates has been willing to say they disagree with Pence.)

That cruelty, unfortunately, is now par for the course in the Republican Party, and is reflected in similar legislative bans on reproductive freedoms now in at least 17 states just one year after the corrupted, far-right U.S. Supreme Court activist majority overturned Roe v. Wade's 50 years of Constitutional reproductive freedoms.

Rulings made by SCOTUS this year, sadly, are no less radical, even as several of them issued at term's end last month have been cited by some in the media to suggest that Chief Justice John Roberts has somewhat "moderated" the most extreme positions of the Court. That would be inaccurate, but exactly what Roberts had hoped for.

We're joined today by the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist at Slate to discuss a number of those decisions, and what has now emerged as Roberts' neat trick to hoax the media into regarding him and some of the opinions issued by the Court this year as "moderate".

In short, as Stern details today, Roberts is essentially manipulating the Court's docket --- by determining which cases to hear and which ones not to --- in order to make SCOTUS' end-of-term opinions appear less extreme, overall, than they actually are.

"They have consistently taken up these cases that sort of seem designed to terrify liberals. Then, when the case comes down in a way that's not the end of the world, they get good headlines," he explains.

"The Court really shouldn't have been hearing a lot of these cases in the first place. So, by deciding them in a so-called 'liberal way', they create this image of balance and moderation that's not really deserved," he argues. "There's no better example of that than the Independent State Legislature case [Moore v. Harper]. There was absolutely no reason for the Supreme Court to intervene, and yet it reached down and grabbed that case. And, by deciding it in a somewhat moderate way --- although Roberts left the door open for mischief, as he so often does --- the Court got great headlines as being so moderate and thoughtful."

"That is a trick that the Chief Justice is very good at playing on the media. But it's not one I think we should fall for, given how obvious it is and how many decisions that he really cares about [that] end up coming out so far to the right over and over again."

"We pretend as though these cases emerged out of nowhere, when in reality, the Court is building a very careful story, using each individual case to try to show something about the Court that it thinks will appeal to the public." But that doesn't reveal the full story, Stern argues. "The 'liberal victories' simply leave the law as it was, without making any changes. Whereas the conservative victories radically overhaul the law in ways that were unimaginable just five or six years ago. That's also something that I think is very difficult to explain to people who don't watch the Court closely, but becomes blazingly obvious once you apply a little bit of scrutiny to how this Court operates."

And now, it's all making much more sense.

We saw that neat trick play out once again this year, as the stolen, packed and corrupted far-right majority, at terms end, ultimately reverted to form to overturn decades-old precedents regarding race-based Affirmative Action in college admissions (though not other Affirmative Actions, for example, legacy admissions and those for the kids of high ticket donors); the Court expanded newly discovered Constitutional "religious freedoms" to allow web page designers (and, actually, any other business) to discriminate against LGBTQ+ customers based on imaginary --- in fact, wholly fraudulent --- grievances; they picked up on last year's Judicial Activism by further restricting the EPA's ability to meet mandates of landmark laws passed by Congress, in this year's case, the Clean Water Act; and, they determined that while forgiving millions of dollar in loans to so-called small businesses and cutting taxes for billionaires was just fine, forgiving $10,000 to student loan borrowers during a national emergency --- in specific accordance with the original text of federal law --- was a bridge too far for a President of the United States...or, at least for the current President of the United States. (The Court showed no such "conservatism" when Donald Trump used the same exact law to "modify or waive" conditions for the same student loans.)

As bad as all of those decisions were, I had specific questions about one of them that sort of seems to give away the game for this far-right Court, with six Republican-appointed Justices now more than happy to legislate from the bench after years of their party pretending to be against that sort of thing.

As it turns out, the case I had questions about --- the one I saw as the most alarming and worst ruling of the term --- is one that Stern felt the same about. It's the one in which the Court relies on a made-up-out-of-whole-cloth, completely subjective test they now refer to as the "Major Questions Doctrine" whenever they don't have a legitimate reason to block an Executive Branch action, even when it's based on the specific text of a law they may not like.

"Justice Kagan has called this a 'get-out-of-text-free card,'" Stern tells me. "This is not a legitimate tool of statutory interpretation, because it means that the Court can set aside what the actual words of the law say, and just apply their own opinion, under this very thin guise of trying to uphold Congress' will." Last year they cited this pretend "doctrine" to say the EPA couldn't regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, despite the specific text of the law, because it was just too much of a "Major Question" that Congress had to speak to in more specific language somehow. This year, they used it to block President Biden from forgiving certain student loans amid the COVID pandemic, as specifically allowed by the HEROES Act.

"When you're dealing with the federal government, every policy is going to be major," Stern argues. "Every policy is going to affect as many as 300 million Americans. Every policy is going to have a fiscal impact of more than billions of dollars. So this is really just an excuse, in every single case, for the Court to ignore the law that Congress has passed, perversely while claiming to uphold Congress' wishes."

We discuss that and much more today, including which upcoming cases most concern him on the docket for the Court's next term. Should we freak out about them? Or are they also now just part of Robert's insidious manipulation to be sure to have a few cases on which the Court's rightwingers can appear to be far less radical than they actually are?...

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The fight against propaganda, denial, corruption and racism continues...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2023 6:37pm PT  

We wrap up our last BradCast before standing down next week with a bunch of disparate stuff, both good and bad, and even a song to help you whistle as you leave the theater before next week's holiday. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

WE DID START THE FIRE: And we're also responsible for the smoke from hundreds of them in Canada, now threatening the health of more than 100 million Americans. We're also responsible for the record, weeks-long deadly, triple-digit heat wave in Texas now spreading north and east and touching off deadly severe storms along with it. Of course, those who watch Fox "News" and the read their deceptive Fox Weather website will never know who's to blame for it all and who is endangering their lives and those of their great grand-kids. But keeping their viewers and readers dumb and disinformed is the whole purpose of the Fox fake news project. Sadly, we all pay the price.

'CEASEFIRE AND NEGOTIATE!': Happily, it seems the 24-hour mutiny in Russia last weekend --- wherein longtime Vladimir Putin-ally, Yevgeny Prigozhin, gave the game away by declaring that their imperialist invasion of Ukraine was built on lies and was never about either "demilitarizing" or "de-Nazifying" Ukraine --- has helped the scales fall from a bunch of Americans' eyes. New polling from Reuters/Ipsos since the Prigozhin's short-lived insurrection finds a nearly 20-point bump since last month in American support for Joe Biden's policy of helping Ukraine defend themselves. That includes majorities in both major parties as well as independents. That's very good news. And, while I'm unlikely to reach many of the duped rightwingers who have fallen hook, line and sinker for Putin (and Trump) propaganda about the conflict, I am hoping that I might still be able to help some of those on the supposed anti-war Left who have fallen for the same propaganda. I'm talking largely about the "ceasefire and negotiate!" crowd. A few words for them today in hopes of helping a least a few of them understand how they have also been played by the same, authoritarian sources as the rightwingers.

'THIS IS NOT A NORMAL COURT': President Biden was right about that today, at least. We knew after all of the surprisingly good rulings of late from our otherwise corrupted, stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court majority --- on issues of democracy and voting, in particular --- that it was almost certainly too good to last. As the high court's 2022 term comes to a close, they returned to their corrupted form on Thursday by overturning more than 40 years of precedent to bar Affirmative Action policies in college admissions for all private and public colleges and universities (while exempting military academies for some odd reason). Though it's not easy, we try to make sense of the Court's dizzying 237-page ruling [PDF], including multiple concurrences and dissents, as the far-right activists on the bench --- and those that put them there --- get to cross another long-term project off their list today.

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: And lungs, from the record shattering Canadian wildfires. At least if you live in any of a whole bunch of states in the mid-west or east this week. That, and more climate news, both good and bad, as Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report.

THEY DEFINITELY DIDN'T START THE FIRE: But they did, after 34 years, put all news words to it! And not a moment too soon, in my opinion! Yours may vary. Either way, we're happy to close out today's final show before taking off next week over the Independence Day holiday, with Fall Out Boy's brand-new version of a 1989 Billy Joel classic...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Attorney Keith Barber on newly released July 2021 audio tape of Trump showing classified military Iran attack plans to book authors...
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2023 6:13pm PT  

It's a good day on The BradCast. Let's enjoy it while it lasts. [Audio link to full program follows below this summary.]

After a full year of five-alarm warnings on this program about the the Moore v. Harper case at the U.S. Supreme Court, and the havoc its so-called Independent State Legislature theory would wreak on American elections and hundreds of years of American election law if approved by a Court majority, I'm very happy to say, the grave threat is over. For now.

By a 6 to 3 majority, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Kavanaugh and Barrett joining all three liberals on the Court, the fringe ISL theory was soundly rejected (PDF). That theory, pushed by Rightwingers --- especially by Trumpers after the 2020 election --- holds that the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause, allowing State Legislatures to determine "times, places and manner" of federal elections in their state, also give those Legislatures plenary power to make all laws pertaining to federal elections without the possibility of any sort of judicial review.

Had the Supreme Court majority gone the other way in this case, as many feared, State Legislatures would have had the only power to make such laws and rules. No Gubernatorial veto or state Supreme Court or state constitution --- or even state ballot initiative adopted by voters --- could have blocked them. They could have instituted partisan gerrymanders, even if their state's constitution barred them. They could have chosen which Presidential electors to send to the Electoral College, even if state voters had selected a different candidate. (It is under the ISL theory that Trump and his legal stooges like Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman tried to convince State Legislatures in Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, etc., that they had the power to choose Trump electors, even though voters in all of those states had voted for Biden.)

Voting rights advocates are breathing a huge sigh of relief today. Had the Court gone the other way, as many feared, more than 170 state constitutional provisions, over 650 state laws delegating authority to make election policies to state and local officials, and thousands of regulations down to the location of polling places could have been affected or simply overturned, according to Brennan Center for Justice.

Tuesday's news follows several other, surprisingly not insane rulings by the Court in recent weeks, where enough rightwingers peeled off to join the Court's Liberals to avoid worst case scenarios. As Slate's Mark Joseph Stern concludes in his article today on the Moore v. Harper decision, headlined "John Roberts Has Wrested Back Control of the Supreme Court": "So far this term, [Roberts] is once again in the driver’s seat—and the court is acting a lot more like a court than this time last year. It’s too early for grand conclusions. But it sure looks like a majority of the justices want us to know that they are backing away from the brink."

There are a few more major rulings to come --- on Affirmative Action in college admissions; on Biden's student loan forgiveness program; and on another dumb anti-LGBTQ "religious rights" case --- before this year's term wraps up at week's end. Decisions are likely to come on Thursday. But, even adverse rulings on those issues, as expected, are unlikely to have the democracy-rattling effect of what the case over the ISL theory would have wreaked, or had the Supremes gutted what is left of the Voting Rights Act (which was also feared but, also surprisingly, the Court did the right thing instead by following both precedent at the Constitution.) Perhaps a few members of SCOTUS' far-rightwing have learned a thing or two since their disastrous Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade this time last year.

On the other hand, having not learned a think since this time last year is our twice-criminally indicted former President. On Monday night, CNN released the actual audio recording of a meeting cited in Special Counsel Jack Smith's 37-count felony indictment [PDF] against Trump on charges related to violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice. It's a tape of the July 2021 meeting at his Bedminster, New Jersey resort, as described on pages 15 & 16 of the indictment, wherein Trump claims to be showing classified documents on military plans for an attack on Iran to a group of people writing a book.

Trump is heard in the audio telling his cackling audience that the documents he is showing them are "highly confidential," "done by the military [and] given to me," and that he no longer had the power to declassify them, now that he was out of office.

His recent explanation about the incident to Bret Baier of Fox "News", when asked about the description in the indictment prior to the release of the actual tape on Monday night, appears to be in pretty stark contradiction with what is heard on the audio tape. We play both recordings in full today so you can decide.

We're joined again today by former Republican attorney and U.S. Army Captain turned Daily Kos blogger KEITH BARBER to discuss the Trump tape; how it compares to its description in the Mar-a-Lago indictment; who might have leaked it and why; what the same behavior would have earned him as a member of the military; and what it is likely to mean for Trump's stolen documents case as it plays out in Florida under a wildly inexperienced and arguably corrupt Trump-appointed federal judge.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest 'Green News Report' with rough news on the climate changed-fueled extreme weather pounding much of the nation this week (especially Texas), but with some far better news for EV charging standards and the solar industry as it overtakes fossil fuels...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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