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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, July 12, 2024
Meanwhile... :
'BradCast' 7/11/24
Biden's tenuous candidacy; Trump and Orban; Inflation, prices falling; Climate liar Inhofe dies; California's stunning solar revolution...
'Green News Report' 7/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat as deadly Beryl fallout continues; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Republicans bravely seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
Previous GNRs: 7/9/24 - 6/25/24 - Archives...
Paging 'Johnny Unbeatable'! Dems in Disarray! (But Really This Time): 'BradCast' 7/10/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
SCOTUS Immunity Ruling 'As Bad as it Sounds', Arguably Worse: 'BradCast' 7/9/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner on that and the Court's massive 'power grab'; Also: Record-breaking Beryl; U.S. heat records smashed...
'Green News Report' 7/9/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Beryl breaks records, slams TX; 140 million Americans under heat advisories; Big SCOTUS gifts for polluters; PLUS: Biden unveils first-ever extreme heat protections for workers...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/24 - 6/27/24 - Archives...
So, What Now?:
'BradCast' 7/8/24
We're back! And our listeners have strong opinions about where the hell we are and how to move forward to save democracy after corrupt SCOTUS rulings and a disastrous Presidential Debate...
Overdue Debunking of MAGA Cult Xenophobia
CANNING: Throughout U.S. history, decent, hard-working immigrants (like me) have contributed to the economy and our nation's security: CANNING
Sunday 'Courting Disaster' Toons
THIS WEEK: Kings and Things! In our special SCOTUS-sized edition of the last impossible week's best political toons!...
Sunday 'Bad Medicine' Toons
THIS WEEK: Trump's hot pants ... Biden's cool reception ... SCOTUS gone wild ... and more in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
A Friendly Suggestion:
Harris-Newsom 2024
An orderly transition to save the nation...if Biden himself agrees...
Former Fed Prosecutor: SCOTUS Corruption Ruling Less Corrupt Than Appears: 'BradCast' 6/27/24
Guest: Randall D. Eliason; Also: 'Chevron Deference'; SCOTUS nixes EPA pollution rule...
'Green News Report' 6/27/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Disasterous flooding in China; Heatwave, crop failure in Inida; Fisaster upon disaster for NM town; On edge for SCOTUS decision; PLUS: Biden climate law creates 300,000 jobs!...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/24 - 6/20/24 - Archives...
Good News and Bad: At the Polls and From the Corrupted Court: 'BradCast' 6/26/24
NY, CO, UT, SC election results; SCOTUS on public corruption, social media; Long-overdue Biden pardons...
'Not Something Journalists Do': A NatSec Journo on Assange Hacking, Plea Deal: 'BradCast' 6/25/24
Guest: Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel; Also: VA Rep. vows to block apparent primary loss...
'Green News Report' 6/25/24
Extreme U.S. heat, flooding; FEMA warns of funding shortfall; Climate change spiking home insurance; PLUS: Global warming turbocharging heat, wildfires...
Fox 'News' Grooming Viewers for Another Insurrection: 'BradCast' 6/24/24
Guest: Matt Gertz of Media Matters; Also: Climate change is now wreaking brutal, deadly, expensive consequences...
Sunday 'Shark Jumping' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unsavable ... Untouchable ... Undebatable ... Undeniable... And more unavoidable mischief in our latest collection of the week's best political toons...
The Prophecy and Warning of the White Buffalo: 'BradCast' 6/20/24
Our global air pollution and climate crisis and what we can do about it; Also: Biden now leads in Fox 'News' polling; Trump Media stock tanking again; CNN debate set...
'Green News Report' 6/20/24
Extreme U.S. heat intensifies; First named storm of year; Evacuations in NM; Astonishing heat in India, Saudi Arabia; PLUS: U.S. schools grapple with extreme heat...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

On today's program...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

Among our stories today...

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among that stuff...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Kassie Siegel of Center for Biological Diversity; Also: Ernie Canning on Friday's medical abortion ruling in TX, and a challenge to ID's outrageous restrictions on doctors' free speech...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2023 6:24pm PT  

We've got two guests on today's BradCast, both attorneys, with a bunch of information that you likely haven't heard elsewhere. [Audio link to full program follows below this summary.]

First up, we're joined by KASSIE SIEGEL, Director and Senior Counsel of the non-profit Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute, and Climate Director for the Center Action Fund, where she leads campaigns and litigation focused on reducing climate-warming greenhouse gases and other pollution.

Siegel joins us today to discuss the recent passage and signing of a landmark law in California, shepherded through the state legislature last month in a special session called by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. The new measure enacts first-of-its-kind provisions to finally cut the knees out from under Big Oil price gouging in the Golden State. Among other things, the law will create a state oversight board that will offer unprecedented transparency into the pricing processes of major oil companies and refineries in the state and, if necessary, impose penalties for exceeding reasonable profit margins. That, in a state where Big Oil has clocked record profits over the past year or so, even as they falsely claim their exorbitant price hikes for gasoline were due to global supply shortages.

The new law grants subpoena power to the state to, for the first time, open the books of Big Oil, an industry that has, literally, gotten away with murder for decades. Naturally, they fought tooth and nail to stop the law's passage, but state Dems overcame the pushback to adopt a measure that could become a model for other states as well as the federal government. The oversight and regulatory scheme may even pave the way for oversight and regulation of other industries like Health Care and Internet providers.

"One of the things that is so important about this new law is that it directly confronts the Big Oil playbook that we see them carrying out," Siegel explains. "Big Oil knows that its days are numbered and it is a declining industry. It is declining first here in California. But they have a plan to maximize their profits and maximize the damage they do on the way out the door. This new bill, the first of its kind in the country, is a really important part of pushing back on that, and protecting Californians from this destructive industry."

There is much more in my conversation with Siegel, including where the measure falls short and where California residents need to push Newsom to keep going farther still.

Next, we're joined by long-toiling BradBlog.com legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING on two different abortion-related lawsuits in the news this week. One is last Friday's outrageous ruling by Trump-appointed, far-right Christian activist U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk in North Texas, nullifying the FDA's 20-year old approval of mifepristone, a drug used in the majority of the nation's abortions.

As Canning warned in a really helpful explainer on all of this back in February, Kacsmaryk was threatening to issue a ruling likely to take the drug off the market in all fifty states, even though, as the Dept. of Justice has now argued in their emergency appeal seeking a stay (as filed this afternoon), the statute of limitations has long expired for a challenge to a drug approved as safe and effective during the Clinton Administration. As Canning wrote in February, and as the DoJ argues today, the challengers actually have no standing and no injury to bring the suit in the first place, as the physicians involved neither prescribe nor use the the drug themselves.

The other case discussed is one that Canning wrote about today, detailing the challenge brought by physicians and Planned Parenthood in Idaho, challenging the state's extreme, near-total abortion ban. The state statute includes no exceptions for the life of the mother or even cases of rape or incest, though it allows someone charged with having carried out an illegal abortion in the state to try and prove those exceptions in court. Otherwise, the law mandates 2 to 5 years in prison for someone convicted of providing an abortion, and the suspension of the medical license of a provider who assists in any way.

But the federal lawsuit Canning reports on today is to none of those point. The complaint is a challenge to the state Attorney General's recent legal analysis declaring that Idaho doctors may have their licenses to practice suspended for merely "assisting" in an abortion by simply informing a patient that they may obtain a legal abortion in a different state. The plaintiffs argue that the restriction violates the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment Free Speech clause, as well as the interstate commerce clause and the 14th Amendment's right to due process.

After decades as a litigator, does Canning still have confidence that the federal judicial system, corrupted by the far-right, will still be able to the right thing in these cases, respecting the precedent of long-established caselaw and the U.S. Constitution itself? Tune in to find out...

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Federal lawsuit reveals 21st-century 'Fugitive Slave Act' mentality, infringing free speech rights of physicians, patient's right to travel...
UPDATE 2/26/24: 9th Circuit issued preliminary injunction in favor of physician/patient rights...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/10/2023 9:35am PT  

"Abortion is an essential component of women's health care" --- American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology

The remarkable, temporarily-stayed nationwide ban issued last Friday by a far-right, Trump-appointed federal judge on the use of a drug approved by the FDA for medication abortions more than twenty-three years ago, is hardly the only jaw-dropping, radical right-wing assault on medical and reproductive freedoms over the past week. (See our now-updated, detailed coverage from February on that and related cases.)

Threatened with a suspension of their licenses to practice medicine in Idaho if they so much as inform their patients of the availability of lawful abortions in other States, a group of OB/GYNs has now filed a federal lawsuit [PDF] charging a new, near-total state abortion ban, as interpreted by its Republican Attorney General, Raúl Labrador, violates the U.S. Constitution.

The medical professionals, who do not perform in-state abortions, are joined by Planned Parenthood in their suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court.

The suit was triggered by the Gem State AG's recent letter/analysis [PDF] in which Labrador wrote that state law now "prohibits an Idaho medical provider from...referring a woman across state lines to access abortion services." He concluded that informing a patient about the availability of lawful abortions in other States amounts to "assisting" an abortion in violation of Idaho statute. That violation, the AG added, would trigger a suspension of a medical provider's license to practice medicine in the state.

Plaintiffs in Planned Parenthood v Labrador allege Labrador's interpretation of one of the most extreme anti-abortion laws in the nation runs afoul of several Constitutional rights, including their right to free speech. The suit also reveals how Idaho's new application of a "Fugitive Slave Act" mentality appears to violate other provisions of the U.S. Constitution, including the Commerce Clause and the 14th Amendment's Due Process clause...

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Guest: John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 'Let's Go, Brandon!', progressive Dem wins Chicago Mayoral race; Desperate state level Repubs grinding toward violence, all-out autocracy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2023 5:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The good news just seems to keep on coming. We'll take it while it lasts! Tuesday brought huge election victories for democracy and progressives in Chicago and Wisconsin! [Audio liNk to full show follows this summary.]

In Chicago, Democratic progressive teacher and union member Brandon Johnson defeated conservative, self-proclaimed "tough on crime" Democrat Paul Vallas to become the new Windy City Mayor in a stunning victory.

But the biggest election of the night, and perhaps of 2023, was the Wisconsin state Supreme Court victory of liberal Milwaukee Judge Janet Protasiewicz over far-right former state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, a Republican activist supported by anti-choice groups who advised his party in their failed attempt to overturn the state's 2020 election. Her victory creates a progressive majority on the high court for the first time in 15 years.

In a closely divided state where elections are traditionally very close, often within 1 or 2 points, Protasiewicz reportedly blew Kelly away by a whopping 11 points as of this afternoon's tally. It was Kelly's second defeat in running for the Supreme Court in as many years.

And it comes not a moment too soon. The Badger State's new, 4 to 3 progressive high court majority will likely face a host of critical issues for both the state and nation in the years ahead, including an 1849 abortion ban which Republicans are hoping to enforce; wildly gerrymandered state and Congressional district maps in one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation; voting rights issues; and hopes by Republicans of trying to steal the 2024 Presidential election.

We're delighted to be joined once again today to discuss all of this good news by Wisconsin's favorite son and progressive journalist, JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, and co-author, with Bernie Sanders, of the new book, It's Okay to be Angry About Capitalism.

Nichols says Tuesday's mayoral race in Chicago was "one of the most significant election results in the country for urban politics in quite awhile." He describes the previously little-known Johnson as having built a "multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational rainbow coalition" that propelled him to victory. "He beat the guy that everybody bet was going to be the next mayor of Chicago. Brandon Johnson will take office as a progressive who ran on taxing the rich, reforming the police, and investing money in public education, public health, and public services. A pretty remarkable win."

But the bulk of our time is spent discussing the extraordinary, long-awaited Supreme Court victory in Wisconsin, which, with some $45 million spent on both candidates, clocks in as the most expensive judicial race in U.S. history.

"It was a bitter race. It was an intense race," Nichols tells me in trying to explain Kelly's incredible election night remarks in which he attempted to eviscerate his opponent in one of the most incredible sore-loser "concession" speeches in modern memory. Kelly described the contest as "the most deeply deceitful, dishonorable, despicable campaigns I have ever seen run for the courts," going on to attack Protasiewicz as "a serial liar" who has "demeaned the judiciary."

"It's going to go down in history," Nichols says referring to Kelly's election night outburst. "I've seen bitter concessions. I've seen angry concessions. I have seen refusals to concede. I have never, up until now, seen a concession that literally made people cringe."

We've got a lot to discuss about the new majority on the state's high court; what it means for Wisconsin moving forward; whether Republicans, with a narrow state Senate Special Election victory last night will attempt to impeach Protasiewicz with their newly won, gerrymandered super-majority in the upper chamber; and why Nichols, as he reports at The Nation today, believes this was "the most important election of 2023...for any American who cares about democracy, fair elections, voting rights, and much more."

Despite the good news, however, Nichols reminds us that WI is still a closely divided state, capable of wild swings. "The bottom line is this: Don't take your eyes away from Wisconsin," he advises. "It is a battleground state. This is the state of Robert M. LaFollette, the greatest progressive ever to serve in the U.S. Senate, and of Joe McCarthy, the most reactionary person, I would argue, to serve in the U.S. Senate. Those realities still exist. And this Supreme Court race is a very encouraging result as part of a very encouraging pattern in Wisconsin. But when you take your eyes off the prize, when you aren't paying attention, patterns can shift back."

Finally today, with all of the encouraging news of late, a few reminders that all of this good news at the national level, where Republican policies are wildly unpopular, also means that Rightwingers are embracing violent responses and GOP-controlled states are upping their desperation in hopes of holding on to control by hook and by crook. In many such states, it's not creeping authoritarianism in play, it's actual authoritarianism.

In Tennessee, for example, state Republicans are hoping to expel three Democratic state House members who dared support peaceful protesters calling for gun safety measures following last week's school shooting in Nashville. In Texas, GOP state lawmakers have quietly introduced a bill to allow the Sec. of State to overturn election results in the state's most populous and Democratic-leaning County; and in Florida, authoritarian Gov. Ron DeSantis is deploying Big Government weaponization against those, like the Walt Disney Company, who disagree with his anti-freedom, anti-LGBTQ policies...

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Guest: Alex Burness of Bolts Magazine; Also: More on need for media to call out pro-murder, anti-democracy Republicans; KY Repubs ban health care for trans kids; AR's GOP Guv further restricts absentee voting...
By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2023 5:30pm PT  

We'll just have to keep saying it on The BradCast: Republicans are pro-murder and anti-democracy. It's just that simple. And we've got too much more evidence of that today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, the fallout continues following Monday's school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, where three 9-year olds and three adults were killed by an AR-15 wielding shooter at a private Christian elementary school. The U.S. Congressman representing the district where The Covenant School is located is Republican Congressman Andy Ogles.

Last year, Ogles sent out Christmas cards featuring himself, his wife and his children in front of a Christmas tree, proudly posing with their AR-15 style assault rifles. Since the shooting in his district, he has apparently taken down his social media posting of the festive card. A reporter from Sky News confronted him this week to try and learn why he hadn't taken it down previously, after other similar massacres, and why he seems to favor guns and murder over the lives of children and their right to be safe at school.

Jon Stewart, earlier this month, also had a related conversation with a Republican state lawmaker in Oklahoma by the name of Nathan Dahm. The GOP state Senator has authored bills to loosen restrictions on firearms and apparently believes that drag shows that may be seen by children must be banned, because "the government does have a responsibility to protect" them. But, as Stewart points out, Dahm appears to have no similar concerns about protecting kids from being murdered with guns, which is now the leading cause of death for U.S. children and teens.

In a similar vein, Big Government Republicans in Kentucky's legislature today voted to override the veto of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, to enact a law that will ban health care for trans kids and mandate that doctors begin "detransitioning" children currently on puberty blockers and hormones, despite the alarming rate of suicide by such kids. The bill also bars all discussion of sexual orientation and gender identify in schools for students of any age, as the Nanny State Republican party continues to pretend they favor free speech.

Meanwhile, this is an election year in Virginia, where the entire state legislature comes up for reelection in odd-numbered years and where the commonwealth's 1902 constitutional provision created to prevent black people from voting remains in place. The measure in question allows VA's Governor to decide, on any criteria they may like, whether or not to re-enfranchise former felons.

Under processes enacted first by former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and then broadly expanded and automated by subsequent Democratic Governors Terry McCauliffe and Ralph Northam, the voting rights for hundreds of thousands of Virginians were restored. But, since taking office last year, VA's new, so-called "moderate" Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has re-enfranchised almost nobody. Moreover, his office has finally informed state lawmakers that he will be using a secret process to personally decide, on a case-by-case basis, who will and won't be allowed to vote.

We're joined today by voting rights, criminalization and justice reporter ALEX BURNESS, staff writer at the progressive Bolts Magazine. He has been reporting on Youngkin's appalling, anti-democracy policy, and how it is harming those who are simply hoping to return to civil society after imprisonment in Virginia.

"We still don't know what the criteria is going to be, but it is clarifying in the sense that the policy is 'I'm going to do whatever I want and, at least for the moment, I'm not going to tell you what that means,'" Burness tells me, adding that the commonwealth's constitution mandates the Governor "literally has the power to make up criteria, based on whether you own a dog or a cat, or anything."

Burness explains why Democrats in the state have yet to pass a constitutional amendment to change this absurd, Jim Crow relic, despite the heartbreaking stories from so many who have served their time and simply want to have their rights as citizens fully restored. "This is one of a million reasons why Virginia's upcoming elections matter. Particularly with what Youngkin has done now, there is some renewed passion by folks to settle this once and for all and not leave it up to the whims of the Governor," says Burness.

The pathetic vote suppression by Youngkin comes on the heels of Minnesota's Democratic Governor signing a law this month to re-enfranchise some 55,000 citizens of voting age who are no longer incarcerated, whether they are on parole or probation or not; New Mexico's Democratic Governor signing a similar law that will restore voting rights to about 11,000 New Mexicans; and a recently advanced measure by Democratic lawmakers in Oregon to allow voting even for those still in prison, akin to the rights afforded to the incarcerated in Maine, Vermont and Washington D.C.

Finally today, more voter suppression is enacted by Arkansas' new Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Yesterday, we detailed her newly signed law adopted by Republican state lawmakers that will make it much much harder for Democrats to place citizen initiatives on the statewide ballot. (Even though the statute appears to be a violation of the state constitution.) Today, the American Democracy Minute's Brian Beihl details three other new bills recently signed by Huckabee Sanders to make absentee voting much more difficult in the state...

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Guest: Wisconsin author, journalist John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: Stunning overnight legal developments in Trump stolen documents case...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2023 5:41pm PT  

In what appears to be a momentary pause (of sorts) in the Indictment Watch this week for our disgraced former President, we take the opportunity on today's BradCast to make sure you're up to date with what our guest today describes as "the most important election of the year." [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Before we get to that guest today, even with the momentary break from the likely criminal indictment for Donald Trump in New York, there was quite the extraordinary flurry of activity overnight (literally) in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal grand jury investigation of the thousands of documents --- many highly classified --- that Trump stole from the White House upon leaving office.

Last week, D.C.'s Chief District Court judge Beryl Howell, in a sealed ruling, ordered Evan Corcoran, one of Trump's attorneys in the Mar-a-Lago stolen documents case, to give both documents (reportedly including transcripts of audio tapes!) and testimony to the grand jury. Corcoran had previously invoked attorney-client privilege to avoid testifying about his conversations with Trump. But Howell reportedly viewed evidence leading her to determine there was a prima facie case that Trump used Corcoran in the furtherance of yet another crime, thus piercing the attorney-client privilege with the fraud-crime exception to it.

Trump appealed Howell's Friday order to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal which, last night, issued an administrative stay while ordering Team Trump to submit their brief in the appeal by midnight last night! They further ordered the DoJ's response to it by 6 a.m. this morning! Longtime attorneys and prosecutors were stunned by the unheard of speed in the court's scheduling. Some suggested that may be a sign that federal judges are fed up with Trump's stalling tactics. Others suggest the emergency order signaled "an urgent issue of National Security" was at stake or even "potential espionage." Yikes! We discuss.

In any event, late this afternoon, the three-judge Appeals Court panel lifted the stay on Howell's ruling and ordered Corcoran to both turn over the documents in question and testify to the grand jury. Trump could still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it's believed he'll be no more successful there on this motion. Much more to come in this case.

Next, we're joined by longtime progressive journalist, author and Wisconsin native JOHN NICHOLS, National Affairs Correspondent at The Nation and Associate Editor at Madison WI's Capitol Times, to discuss this bizarre moment in Presidential accountability history and the extraordinarily heated, expensive and important WI state Supreme Court election now underway. Early voting began this week for the April 4 contest that may finally flip control of the state's high court to liberal jurists for the first time in 15 years.

Nichols explains why the supposedly non-partisan race --- between liberal Milwaukee County Circuit judge Janet Protasiewicz and far-right former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly --- is so critical to both Wisconsin and to the rest of the nation in advance of the 2024 Presidential election in the battleground state.

The Protasiewicz camp has accused Kelly, who was unseated from the high court in 2020 after being soundly defeated, of receiving $120,000 from the Republican Party to advise them on overturning that year's Presidential election results in the Badger State, via the failed "fake electors" scheme. Protasiewicz also describes Kelly, who is endorsed by several anti-abortion rights groups as a "radical" "extremist".

For his part, Kelly's campaign characterizes Protasiewicz as "soft on crime", "woke", and several other standard GOP smears that may not be quite as effective as Republicans think, according to Nichols.

That said, there are ton of issues likely to come before WI's high court in the coming months and years that will have a huge impact on both Badger State residents and the rest of the nation, including the validity of the state's 1849 abortion ban "that Republicans want to reanimate," as Nichols explains; the state's recent "anti-labor laws that [former Gov. Scott] Walker" enacted; "a chance to undo gerrymandering to make sure that voting rights are protected and elections are fair," not to mention rulings that could determine who ends up winning the 2024 Presidential election in the state, where, Nichols notes, "four of our last six Presidential elections in Wisconsin were decided by under 25,000 votes" out of more than 3 million votes cast.

"Bottom line is," Nichols tells me, "if you end up with a 4-3 liberal majority on this court that actually looks at cases in a fair and reasonable way," there are myriad rulings from the last 15 years of far-right state Supreme Court control that could finally be reversed.

Among other topics discussed with Nichols today: Whether, after well over a decade of covering WI Supreme Court elections, we will finally see it flip on April 4; a point of disagreement regarding whether judges should be forced to compete in elections at all, much less in so-called "non-partisan" ones like those in WI; and his new best seller, just published with co-author Bernie Sanders, titled It's Okay to be Angry About Capitalism.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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The Right's hilarious Anti-'Woke' Chronicles continue; Anti-abortion Trump judge making chumps of SCOTUS majority; FL now where freedom goes to die; GA grand juror says Trump revelations 'gonna be massive'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2023 6:05pm PT  

Weird. It's almost as if Republicans say one thing but do the exact opposite or something. Especially when it comes to freedom, the First Amendment, personal responsibility, parental rights, Big Government regulations, activist judges legislating from the bench, and...well, tune in to today's BradCast for much more. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Among the stories helping to highlight all of that today...

  • Wingnut children's book author Bethany Mandel made herself famous this week. Not in a good way...but in an hilarious way, as the GOP's silly and desperate Anti-"Woke" Chronicles continue.
  • In their ongoing Anti-Freedom Crusade, Republicans have now figured out how to gerrymander the federal judiciary. Following a four-hour hearing this week in a federal courtroom in Texas, Trump-appointed, far-right, anti-abortion activist U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk appears on the precipice of legislating from the bench to nullify the FDA by banning the abortion drug mifepristone. The medication was approved by the FDA for use more than 20 years ago and has proven to be incredibly safe and effective ever since. It is used in more than half of the abortions in the U.S. But, as Ernie Canning detailed last month, Kacsmaryk shouldn't even be hearing this unprecedented challenge. It should be tossed out entirely for numerous legal reasons that he helps explain, including lack of legal standing and statute of limitations. Nonetheless, the lawsuit filed by foes of reproductive rights comes after Sam Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and the rest of the corrupted rightwing SCOTUS majority told us just last year, when overturning Roe v. Wade, that they were doing so in order to "return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives." Kacsmaryk may be many things, including "arguably the worst judge in the United States." But he is definitely not an elected representative of the people.
  • In news of still more rightwing hypocrisy and lies this week, it turns out that Florida is not "where woke goes to die," as Gov. Ron DeSantis likes to sputter. Actually, it's where freedom, the First Amendment and parental rights, among other things, go to die. This week, the state's Dept. of Business and Professional Regulation filed to revoke the Hyatt Regency Miami's liquor license. Their crime? The venue featured the popular Drag Queen Christmas show last year, allowing entrance by those under 18 if they were accompanied by an adult to see the show featuring stars from RuPaul's Drag Race program on VH-1 and MTV. Parents in Florida now have Big Government to co-parent with them, apparently, thanks to the Presidential ambitions of their hypocritical book banning, First Amendment hating Governor.
  • CNN reports exclusively today that "At least two dozen people --- from Mar-a-Lago resort staff to members of Donald Trump’s inner circle at the Florida estate --- have been subpoenaed to testify to a federal grand jury that’s investigating the former president’s handling of classified documents." That, as part of Special Counsel's Jack Smith's federal probe.
  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a much more explosive exclusive today, however, as based on their interview of five members of the Special Grand Jury in Fulton County, Georgia who, after eight months investigating Trump's conspiracy to steal the 2020 election in the state, unanimously recommended criminal charges for more than a dozen people to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. There's a whole bunch of fascinating details in AJC's detailed report. But the biggest bombshell likely comes at the very end, when one of the jurors tells the paper: "A lot’s gonna come out sooner or later...And it’s gonna be massive. It's gonna be massive." 👀
  • Finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, with some good news on "forever chemicals", some accountability for the Norfolk Southern rail company and, believe it or not, some very good news regarding renewable energy in Texas. What?! Yes, Texas!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Climate journalist, videographer Peter Sinclair; Also: Farmers rally for climate in D.C.; MI Democrats repeal GOP anti-union laws...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2023 4:23pm PT  

All of that clean, green, renewable energy needs to come from somewhere if we're gonna save humanity. Shamefully, many of those working to help produce it in rural America, including farmers and small town elected officials, have been paying an awful price for their heroic efforts, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up today, a few quick news items. Speaking of farmers and the climate, last week saw hundreds of climate activists and farmers rally in D.C. in hopes of increased support for climate provisions in this year's federal farm bill. Congress is working toward passage of their latest, half-a-billion dollar, five-year spending bill for farmers and nutrition support. The Biden Administration, the USDA and Congressional Democrats have made climate and net-zero farming a top priority, as agriculture currently contributes almost 10% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers are on the front lines of our quickly changing climate and hope to get more help. Republicans, on the other hand, want to cut funding from the bill despite the farmer's asking for more help thanks to our worsening climate crisis.

Also, some good news out of Michigan today, where the state Senate has followed the state House in passing a bill to repeal the state's so-called "Right-to-Work" (for less!) law, adopted when the GOP controlled the state legislature in 2012. Pending final approval in the House, the measure, seen as a major victory for organized labor, will then be signed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. All of that made possible by passage of a statewide ballot initiative that ended gerrymandering in Michigan, resulting in a legislative trifecta for Democrats as of last November, giving them control of both chambers of the state legislature and the Governor's mansion. And all of that is resulting in good news for the working class!

Then, speaking of farmers, the climate and Michigan, we're joined by PETER SINCLAIR, a longtime climate videographer, journalist, climate-denial debunker and Michigan native who has been documenting a disturbing --- and disturbingly under-reported --- attack on farmers and elected officials in rural communities in the American heartland.

Through a series of short videos based on interviews with folks in a number of small townships in rural Montcalm County, MI, (see here, here, and here, for example), Sinclair has been telling the story of a broad and well-coordinated misinformation and disinformation campaign, resulting in attacks, threats and boycotts against those who are daring to consider support for wind and solar projects on their own farmlands and in their small towns.

Sinclair, an award-winning climate communicator and producer of Yale Climate Connections' This is Not Cool series, and creator of his long-running Climate Denial Crock of the Week, details the chilling threats and harassment being faced by folks in these communities from clearly coordinated anti-renewable energy campaigns which have polluted local residents with a bombardment of lies about climate change and clean energy.

Today, we share a number of clips from his video series, as farmers and current and former public officials explain the harassment they have been facing; the tools used by the harassers (such as Facebook); how these campaigns mirror other, better-reported ones coming from the right in recent years, such as those town-hall meetings with angry opponents of "ObamaCare" more than a decade ago and similar scenes at school board hearings over COVID requirements, etc.

"This campaign is so well-oiled that it is kind of self-replicating," Sinclair explains. "People hear there's going to be a solar or wind project nearby, they've been primed by twenty, thirty years of Fox News, talk radio to be suspicious. They go on to social media [and] they find literally thousands of references to misinformation and disinformation that's being constantly circulated and recirculated out there. Then they replicate this template. It typically starts by forming a Facebook group, making it private, not allowing any dissension, and herding a whole lot of people into it and continually bombarding them with a stream of negative misinformation. Pretty soon you've got people that are terrified, angry, and aggrieved, and then it's just a matter of pointing them in the direction of the nearest local planning commission or township board."

He tells me: "We have evolved a generation of people who are attuned to this culture war mindset. Some of the earliest anti-wind energy memes that really stood out had a picture of wind turbines and it said, 'The production tax credit, Obamacare's worst tax.' This was ten, twelve years ago, but you're supposed to make a connection between Obamacare, which you're supposed to hate, and wind turbines, which then, I guess you're supposed to make a connection that it has something to do with Obama. Of course there's no connection whatsoever!," laughs Sinclair, "but that connection is continually made."

We also discuss the dirty fingerprints of the fossil fuel industry on these sleazy campaigns (though they are often obscured by "a lot of dark, untraceable money floating around for this kind of activity"); one of the men who seems to be "the big cheese" organizer behind many of them (a guy by the name of Kevon Martis from a climate denier outfit known as the Energy and Environment Legal Institute is cited over and over as a cult-like figure by many of the harassed locals in different townships); and what the public can do to help push back against this corrupt and dangerous madness.

"Mr. Martis follows me closely on social media," Sinclair quipped. "One of my favorite tweets is, 'Peter Sinclair doesn't just want to take your energy, he wants to take your guns!'"

Ridiculous attacks aside, all of this is going on in hundreds of counties in dozens of states across America's farm belt and, frankly, deserves much more light and attention than it has been receiving from both state and national media, as well as state and national politicians. We try to offer some of that long-overdue public attention today in our conversation with Sinclair...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: McConnell checks into rehab; DeSantis flip-flops on Ukraine; NM expands right to vote...
By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2023 5:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If lying to Americans about crime failed to result in a "red wave" for Republicans in 2022, perhaps lying to them about "woke" banks will do the trick in 2024! I'm sure it'll work. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the many stories and important context offered on today's program...

  • Moody's considers downgrading the U.S. banking sector in the wake of several bank failures in recent days, even while declaring that the industry's outlook remains strong.
  • Inflation has eased slightly over the past month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wall Street rejoices.
  • Elizabeth Warren, as usual, was right when she warned in 2018 that rolling back the Dodd-Frank Act (enacted to prevent bank failures after the 2008 banking crisis) to loosen regulations and oversight of banks like Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank would end in disaster. As she noted at the time, before Donald Trump signed the bill to loosen restrictions on financial institutions: "Washington is about to make it easier for the banks to run up risk, make it easier to put our constituents at risk, make it easier to put American families in danger, just so the C.E.O.s of these banks can get a new corporate jet and add another floor to their new corporate headquarters." As usual, we should have heeded her warning.
  • Today we explain exactly happened that resulted in the failure and subsequent federal takeover of SVB and Signature by the FDIC, in case it hasn't yet been made clear. And, while the unnecessary failures stem directly from loosening government oversight and restrictions on banks to gamble with depositer funds, as allowed by Congress and Trump in 2018, what didn't cause it, is "wokeness." That's the explanation from Fox "News" over the past few days for what happened.
  • The cause of the bank failures was also not ESG (Environmental Social Governance) or DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, as Fox itself boasts about on its own company's website) or CRT or LGBTQ or anything else that Fox and Ron DeSantis are lying about to Americans about.
  • But what does appear to be true, when it comes to the latest Fox/DeSantis boogeyman of "woke", is that Americans have no problem with being "informed, educated on, and aware of social injustice," the definition of "woke" according to most Americans in a new USA Today/Ipsos poll. The same survey also finds Americans overwhelmingly (75% to 21%) in opposition of book banning by state's such as DeSantis' Florida.
  • 81-year old Republican minority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has now been released from the hospital after suffering a concussion from a fall last week. But he has checked into inpatient rehab for some reason. We truly hope he will be okay, if only because he may now be the only thing still holding together Congressional GOP support for Ukraine in its war against imperialistic invading Russia.
  • As we learned on Monday night via Tucker Carlson on Fox, DeSantis is now against supporting Ukraine in what he now describes as a "territorial dispute" with Russia, the authoritarian-led nation that has invaded it. As it turns out, DeSantis, while a member of Congress, was strongly in favor of the U.S. supporting Ukraine with lethal aide against Putin. That was before he became a contender for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination and decided to be against it. The survival of democracy in Europe is, apparently, no longer important for either of the GOP's two 2024 front-runners. Donald Trump has said his "peace plan" is to allow Russia to "take over" parts of Ukraine.
  • But some good news for democracy out of New Mexico, where the state legislature finally passed a voting rights bill on Monday that will expand the franchise to all residents who are now out of prison; strengthen access to the ballot for Native Americans; make Election Day a state holiday; and significantly strengthen the state's automatic voter registration program.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report. Among our stories: The Biden Administration's approval of controversial new oil drilling projects in Alaska, even while banning future such operations in Alaska and the Arctic Sea at the same time; Mack Truck introduces another electrified model; and Tropical Storm Freddy smashes all-time records in the Indian Ocean...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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