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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Interference Threats Loom Over November's Presidential Election: 'BradCast' 6/18/24
Also: Lake loses again in AZ; Trump loses again in NY; MD Guv pardons 175k; Biden goes on offensive against 'liar and fraud'...
'Green News Report' 6/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Heat, fires explode across U.S. (and Greece and Middle East); Calgary's water crisis; Wind and solar knock out nukes in France; Rail company ordered to pay tribe $400 million...
Previous GNRs: 6/13/24 - 6/11/24 - Archives...
Inside the White House Press Corps During COVID in the Age of Trump: 'BradCast' 6/17/24
Guest: Voice of America's Steve Herman on pulling back 'The White House Curtain'; Also: CA Wildfires explode; Israel war cabinet ends...
Sunday 'Show' Toons
THIS WEEK: Two-Tiered Justice ... False Flags ... The Retribution Machine ... and much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
The Corrupt Anti-Abortion TX-to-SCOTUS Legal Mill Pipeline: 'BradCast' 6/13/24
Guest: Salon's Amanda Marcotte; Also: Dems outperform in OH Special Election; Brad gets COVID again goddammit...
'Green News Report' 6/13/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Heat wave coming to much of U.S., cooling systems can't keep up; Record rain from Sarasota to Spain to China; NY passes law to charge Big Oil for climate damage...
Previous GNRs: 6/11/24 - 6/6/24 - Archives...
Life With COVID
What goes around comes around. Again...
Hunter Biden's Conviction; Donald Trump's Weaponized Ignorance: 'BradCast' 6/11/24
Also: Biden rising; Fall of Alex Jones' corrupt empire; Phony '2000 Mules' doc pulled; More GOP voter fraud...
'Green News Report' 6/11/24
Big win for far-right in EU, climate action in crosshairs; NY Guv halts NYC congestion pricing; PLUS: Biden mileage rules save consumers money, combat climate change...
After Trump Verdict, GOPers Suddenly Warm to Voting for Felons: 'BradCast' 6/10/24
Listeners call in with explanations; Also: U.N. Security Council approves Biden's Israel/Hamas ceasefire plan; Europe moves toward far-right in EU elections...
Sunday 'Antifa' Toons
THIS WEEK: 80 Years Later ... Fascism Returns ... How Laws Work ... Summer Forecast ... And much more to be proud terrified of in our latest weekly collection...
'Green News Report' 6/6/24
Hottest 12 months ever; US Heat deaths hit new record in 2023; World's largest solar farm now online -- in China; PLUS: U.N. Sec.-Gen's warning to the world...
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: Univ. of KY election law professor Joshua A. Douglas; Also: Bannon (mostly) ordered to prison; U.N. chief calls for a ban on fossil fuel ads, as planet reaches disturbing new climate warming milestone...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2024 6:16pm PT  

"The Supreme Court of the United States is anti-democracy and antivoter --- and has been for far longer than you might think." That sounds like something we might charge at The BRAD BLOG or on The BradCast. But, today, that allegation comes from our guest, an esteemed law professor in his brand new book. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST UP, however... A couple of news items of note today. Convicted felon Donald Trump's 2016 campaign manager and Senior White House Advisor Steve Bannon (also a longtime "anti-democracy and antivoter" activist) may finally be heading to jail as of July 1. That according to a ruling today by the Trump-appointed federal judge overseeing Bannon's two 2022 convictions for Contempt of Congress following his refusal to answer subpoenas from the bipartisan House January 6 Committee. He still has a couple of potential options for delay --- including his hope for a lifeline from the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court. But, otherwise, he is likely to soon be locked up for the next four months in the run-up to this year's election. Sad!

Also today, the EU's climate monitor announced this week that, as of May, the past 12 months have each been the hottest ever recorded on Planet Earth. That announcement came on the same day this week that the U.N. Secretary-General, António Guterres, offered a blistering speech deriding the fossil fuel industry as "the Godfathers of climate chaos" who "rake in record profits and feast off trillions in taxpayer-funded subsidies" after having set the planet on "the highway to climate hell". He is, of course, correct. But Guterres also called, for the first time, for a ban on all ads by fossil fuel companies, akin to the one against tobacco companies, given the billions that Big Oil has spent on decades of deadly lies "distorting the truth, deceiving the public and sowing doubt" about the harm they've caused. He also called for "news media and tech companies to stop taking fossil fuel advertising." Think they will? We discuss.

NEXT... We're joined by Constitutional election law professor JOSHUA A. DOUGLAS of the University of Kentucky's College of Law to discuss his brand new book, The Court v. The Voters: The Troubling Story of How the Supreme Court Has Undermined Voting Rights. That title almost speaks for itself. But, as you might imagine, it gives us a lot to discuss today.

In his book, Douglas highlights nine different landmark SCOTUS rulings --- some you almost certainly know of, but others that you may not --- going back about 50 years, which he says have "contributed to the rise of anti-democracy forces animating our elections" today, leading the nation on the path toward the attempted rightwing insurrection on January 6, 2021.

"Legitimacy requires buy-in from everyone," when it comes to election law, Douglas tells me today. "So the fact that I make this statement about the Supreme Court, as someone who has tried to be very non-partisan in my work, says a lot about how stark it has become with respect to the way in which the Court has crafted or thought about the Constitutional right to vote."

"It has been death by a thousand cuts," he explains. "A slow march. There's no one case or one concerted effort." But the result of the Court's persistent rulings has been to undermine voting rights and, ultimately, the Constitutional order by giving more and more power to the states, after years of previously requiring strict scrutiny when it comes to restrictive voting laws. Each new ruling, he says, has fed off previous ones, granting more and more power back to states to restrict voting rights, eroding federal protections in both law and the Constitution.

In some cases, Douglas argues, such as 2021's Brnovich v. DNC, the Court (in this case, Justice Samuel Alito writing the opinion for the majority) has taken to simply making up new tests for state election laws "literally from thin air" to support their antivoter rulings.

Ever since the decade following the Civil Rights era, "it's been a slow march towards dismantling some of the protections of the Voting Rights Act, as well as undermining the constitutional importance of the right to vote within the U.S. Constitution. When you look at any one case, you don't necessarily see it. It's when we look at these combined, to note the way in which the Court has placed a thumb on the scale of the [state] legislatures at the expense of voters."

The book is written not for legal scholars, Douglas promises, but for actual voters. Rather than offering simply legal analyses, it is chock full of stories about the individual people involved in each of the cases he highlights. Evidence to support his argument here may be found in the title of Chapter 8, "An 'Embarrassing Judicial Fart'", on 2000's Bush v. Gore ruling.

While The Courts v. The Voters argues "we can no longer count on the Supreme Court to protect an equal right to vote for all" and that "voters are left with nowhere to turn to vindicate their rights," Douglas also offers a prescription for overcoming what he regards as an assault on our Democratic Republic in both the book and on today's program.

FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more on what the European Union's chief climate monitor describes as the "shocking but not surprising" record heat over each of the last 12 months; the U.N. Secretary-General's well-supported screed against the deadly "Godfathers of climate chaos" in the fossil fuel industry; a record number of heat deaths in the U.S. last year; and the world's largest solar farm --- the size of New York City --- now finally online...in China.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: SCOTUS allows racial gerrymander in SC; OH still blocking Biden from ballot; Smartmatic says Newsmax destroyed evidence; Biden cancels still more student debt...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2024 6:46pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Imagine if Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was found to have been flying a Joe Biden "Dark Brandon" flag at her house. Ya think Republicans in Congress might have anything to say about it? Might take any action in response to it? [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

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

  • Republicans in the Ohio state legislature are still blocking Joe Biden from this year's Presidential election ballot in the Buckeye State. Even Republican Governor Mike DeWine is now calling it "ridiculous" and "absurd" and has called a special legislative session for next week to fix the problem that GOP lawmakers have so far refused to. Think they'll finally do it?
  • The corrupt rightwing majority on the packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, allowed a racial gerrymander in South Carolina to remain in place for the 2024 election. All of the Court's liberal Justices dissented. The 6 to 3 majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who appeared more concerned that state lawmakers might be seen as having engaged in "offensive and demeaning" conduct, than he did about the tens of thousands of Black voters in the state whose votes have been shifted to other districts to make it easier for Republican Rep. Nancy Mace to hold on to a seat in the U.S. House. It's not a racial gerrymander, the Court's Republican majority claims, it's a partisan one. And, apparently, that's just fine. (Justice Clarence Thomas went out of his way in a concurring opinion to note that racial gerrymanders are just fine as well.) All of that, after a lower court panel of federal judges found that SC's racial gerrymander amounted to the "bleaching of African American voters."
  • And, speaking of Sam Alito....Now the whole world knows, if they didn't already, that the corrupt, far-right Republican Supreme Court Justice is both a personal supporter of the Trump-incited 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and a Christian Nationalist. At least based on the two different flags he has been flying over two of his houses, according to more excellent reporting by the New York Times on Wednesday. That, as we await two different major rulings from the High Court regarding accountability for Donald Trump in relation to the insurrection. Neither Alito nor Thomas, whose wife directly participated in the insurrection, have recused themselves from either case. So, what are Democrats in the U.S. Senate going to do about any of it? So far, it doesn't look like they're prepared to do much, at least beyond issuing an occasional "outraged" press release. As discussed in some detail today, that needs to change.
  • One of voting system vendor Smartmatic's several, huge, defamation lawsuits for lies told about the company "rigging" the 2020 election, is against the far-right political propaganda outlet known as Newsmax. Court documents made public this week reveal that Newsmax destroyed evidence --- text messages and emails --- that they were required to retain for the lawsuit.
  • This week, Joe Biden cancelled student loan debt for another 160,000 borrowers, bringing the total number receiving some form of forgiveness up to nearly five million. His Dept. of Education has now approved about $167 billion in loan forgiveness under a number of different programs, following the corrupt SCOTUS ruling that prevented the President's initial effort to forgive up to $20,000 for some 43 million borrowers. Still, $167 billion is nothing to sneeze at. And it's money that can now go instead into the economy instead to purchase homes, cars, etc., which helps everyone. Fox "News", of course --- which had no problem when Trump gave trillions of federal dollars to millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations via GOP tax cuts --- seems to have a different opinion about federal government relief for those who actually need it.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as deadly, climate changed-fueled extreme weather lashes folks from Mexico to Iowa; Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a "Don't Say Climate Change" law as the state broils in yet another heat wave; Oakland, California becomes the nation's first school district to move to 100% all-electric school buses; And microplastics are now found everywhere, even inside of us. You'll have a ball finding out where scientists have discovered them most recently. It's nuts!...

And with that great news, The BradCast (and Green News Report) will be standing down next week for a much-needed break over the Memorial Day holiday week. Will the disgraced former President be a convicted felon by the time we return? We'll find out! Either way, see ya on the other side! (And, of course, well before then for a few Sunday Toons at the very least!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Campaign finance expert Craig Holman of Public Citizen; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2024 6:55pm PT  

It's received almost zero attention or notice, but the Republican appointees to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday tried to overturn a bedrock principle of American democracy: transparency of contributions and the identities of donors to political campaigns. The move caught us here at The BradCast by surprise, but we feel slightly better after hearing that our guest today, one of the nation's foremost experts on campaign finance, also just learned about this unprecedented effort. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST UP... Two unusual rulings from the packed, stolen and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court. Unusual for several reasons. One, because both oppose rightwing advocacy. Two, because a majority of rightwingers on the Court voted in favor of both of them. And three, because the Court's liberals voted in a bloc against one of them! We try to make sense of all of that for you today in each of the two rulings.

One came late on Wednesday, when the Court invoked the so-called Purcell Principle, which prevents changes to election rules, laws and district maps too close to an election, theoretically in order to avoid confusion by voters or election administrators. But this principle is opportunistically invoked by the rightwing Court when they feel like it --- even it means allowing, for example, the use of a U.S. House District map that has been found unconstitutional by the courts --- and ignored when they don't.

Their unsigned shadow-docket ruling [PDF] on Wednesday, however, invoked Purcell to allow a U.S. House District map that was newly approved by Louisiana's GOP-controlled legislature. It adds a second Black-majority voting district in the state after its previous map was found to be in violation of the Voting Rights Act following a years-long legal fight. But after the new map was approved by the state earlier this year, a group of self-described "non-Black voters" sued, claiming the new map was an unlawful racial gerrymander. A 3-judge panel on the 5th Circuit agreed and ordered a new new map. That is the order that was blocked on Wednesday by SCOTUS, allowing the second Black-majority district to stand as is, at least for 2024, even as the Court's liberal Justices, to the surprise of many, voted in against the rightwing majority. If you're confused as to why, tune in! We explain all!

The other unusual SCOTUS ruling came today, via a 7 to 2 majority opinion [PDF] written by Justice Clarence Thomas(!) and opposed only by fellow rightwing Justices Sam Alito and Neil Gorsuch. The majority opinion rejected an effort by the sleazy payday lending industry to kill the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The CFPB was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren during the Obama Administration, before she became a U.S. Senator. It was created on the heels of the subprime mortgage crisis that led to the Great Recession. To avoid industry influence on funding of the federal government's only consumer-oriented agency, it was housed inside of the Federal Reserve and allowed to draw up to $600 million per year for its budget, rather than go through the Congressional appropriations process each year. The payday lender group filed suit to argue the CFPB's funding mechanism ran afoul of the Constitution's Appropriations Clause and, therefore, all of the CFPB's actions since its 2010 founding, including billions of dollars in fines leveed against their industry, must all be rolled back and the agency dissolved.

Thomas, the Court's liberals, and three more of its Republican appointees flatly rejected the lender's case. They held that, though its funding mechanism is somewhat outside the norm, Congress may still change the way it is funded at any time. Also, as the majority opinion notes, there have been other agencies, such as the Customs Service and USPS, which have had similar, non-annual standing appropriations since the founding of the country.

NEXT... On Thursday, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) held an historic vote on a new rule to allow campaign donors to remain anonymous if they claimed that allowing their identities to become public would lead to harassment. The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) already allows some very rare exceptions for members of groups who are shown to have been historically harassed by the U.S. Government itself. Beyond that, however, allowing for campaign donors to remain anonymous challenges the very basis of our system of open, transparent, democratic elections.

We're joined today by CRAIG HOLMAN, longtime government affairs and ethics lobbyist at the non-profit watchdog Public Citizen. He is helping to lead the fight against this startling effort headed up by Trump-appointed FEC Commissioner Alan Dickerson.

The new rule "cuts into the very fabric of a functional democratic society," argues Public Citizen in its public comment against the rule. They note it would "vastly expand the donor [disclosure] exemption far beyond its original purpose, would undermine effective disclosure of the sources of political spending, deprive voters of critical election information, swamp the FEC under a wave of new paperwork, and runs contrary to the core mission of the agency." Other than that, it's great!

"What I really find astounding is that people of all partisan persuasions, Democrats and Republicans, have always believed in disclosure," Holman tells me today. "That's the one pillar of campaign finance law that no one has really come out against. The Republicans may come out against contribution limits, regulation of money in politics, but they always say to have transparency so we know where the money is coming from. This is the very first time that the FEC has encroached upon that principle."

The good(ish) news for now, is that he reports the Commission deadlocked, in a three-to-three vote along partisan lines today. That kills it for the moment. Though, in a second vote today, Holman says they agreed to ask the FEC's General Counsel to study the matter and report back in 75 days. That, he says, is likely to result in a second attempt by Dickerson later this year. Holman says he knows Dickerson to be a "hardcore deregulation" supporter. But "this is the first time the FEC has addressed the actual issue: 'Should we just get rid of disclosure altogether?'"

"Fortunately the FEC deadlocked," Holman says. But "that means three Republicans were saying 'Yes, let's get rid of disclosure!' That's frightening. We only defeated this resolution by a deadlock vote."

Holman has much more on "how absurd" Dickerson's proposal is, and the fact that "it caught us all by surprise." He also fills us in on a petition that he has filed for a new FEC rule that will be voted on next month regarding mandatory disclosure by campaigns when they use deepfake audio and video, created by Artificial Intelligence, to mislead voters.

FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as wildfires continue to explode in Canada; Broadcast media continues to ignore Donald Trump's billion-dollar quid pro quo proposal to Big Oil donors; and Joe Biden takes on China regarding the sale of electric vehicles and solar panels in the U.S...

[NOTE: The BradCast will be off at the beginning of next week due to a family funeral. We'll be back soon!]

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Dr. Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote', Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: Dems outperform again in NY; 4th Circuit nixes some PA ballots; Federal judges strike down LA's new Black majority House district...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2024 6:15pm PT  

The historic trial for Donald Trump's 2016 election interference indictment continues, but was on a break today in New York. That gives us an opportunity to get caught up with all the action since our previous mid-week "ketchup" episode in the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. President. We have much to discuss to that end on today's BradCast, but we first kick it off with some election and voting rights news. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • Democrats "massively outperformed" pre-election polling yet again on Tuesday, in a Special Election for the U.S. House in New York's 26th Congressional District. Timothy Kennedy was predicted to win the seat by 9 points. He won by 36!!!
  • The Trump-appointee heavy 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals voted to uphold a three-judge panel finding that mail-in ballots with missing or incorrect dates on their outer envelope in Pennsylvania must be tossed out, even though, as both sides agree, that date is used for exactly nothing. If a voter, for example, writes 2023 instead of 2024 on the ballot's outer sleeve this November, it cannot be counted, according to the Court. Democrats disproportionately vote by mail, as compared to Republicans, in the Keystone State. Voting Rights advocates are now deciding whether to take the matter to SCOTUS (good luck with that) or rehear the matter on a different basis at the trial court. Both options offer a perilous path before this year's election in the critical battleground state.
  • In an absolutely twisted ruling, a three-judge federal panel ruled on Tuesday struck down Louisiana's newly-drawn second majority-Black U.S. House district, declaring it to be "an impermissible racial gerrymander". The new House map was approved by the state's GOP-controlled legislature earlier this year after they'd lost their long fight in federal court against adding a second Black voting district in a state which has long had just one (out of six), despite Black voters comprising one-third of the state. The new map with the newly redrawn district was already used to select candidates in the state's primaries last month. As explained today, this is likely to become a real test of the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court's often opportunistically used, so-called "Purcell Principle".

NEXT, we're joined by longtime Trump-crime watchers DR. ALLISON GILL of the notorious Mueller, She Wrote and The Daily Beans Podcast, and attorney KEITH BARBER of Daily Kos. Among the topics we finally get caught up on today...

  • Why Trump is reportedly furious at his attorneys.
  • Trump's Tuesday conviction on criminal contempt of court charges for violating his gag order nine times, and what those charges may mean for the bail conditions in his three other criminal indictments.
  • How Trump is benefiting from --- and staying out of jail due to --- an obviously two-tiered justice system.
  • Drowsy Don's reported inability to stay awake during the trial, why it's happening and what jurors are likely to make of it.
  • What we've learned from recent witnesses including CSPAN's archivist; Stormy Daniels' and Karen McDougal's former attorney Keith Davidson (and why they both had the same attorney?!); and Gary Farro, the banker who set up the account that then Trump attorney Michael Cohen used to send $130,000 in hush-money to Daniels just before the 2016 election.
  • Why Trump's family, friends and supporters are largely failing to show up for him in NY at all.
  • And how convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein's recently overturned NY conviction may affect the case against our disgraced former President...

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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Guests: Former Dep. Asst. AG Lisa Graves, former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason; Also: Meadows, Giuliani, 16 others charged in 2020 AZ fake elector plot; CA now running regularly on 100% renewable energy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2024 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Honestly, I tried. But it was really hard to find any part of the case heard by the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday that wasn't just absolutely ridiculous. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

For nearly three hours this morning, the nine Justices themselves --- including a number of its rightwingers --- seemed to struggle to pretend that any of this made sense. In Trump v. United States [PDF], the disgraced four-time indictee is arguing that former Presidents of the United States have "absolute immunity" from any and all crimes they may have committed while serving in office, including murdering his political opponents or anything else you can think of.

As absurd as it sounds, Donald Trump has used this novel claim to, so far, successfully delay his federal trial on four criminal counts brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith related to Trump's many failed efforts to steal the 2020 Presidential election. SCOTUS has helped by delaying today's hearing for months and may help further depending on when they decide to release their opinion, and whether or not that opinion will lead to still more delays in the lower courts.

After losing this argument at the trial court last year and then unanimously at the D.C. Court of Appeals, Trump brought the case to SCOTUS, packed with three of his own appointees. They did him the favor of taking up his losing argument and putting off their Oral Argument on it until today, almost certainly delaying his trial for trying to steal the 2020 election until AFTER the 2024 election. [Transcript and audio of today's proceedings here.]

"This Court has never recognized absolute criminal immunity for any public official. Petitioner, however, claims that a former President has permanent criminal immunity for his official acts, unless he was impeached and convicted," argued Michael Dreeban, Counselor to Jack Smith, in his opening statement. "His novel theory would immunize former Presidents for criminal liability for bribery, treason, sedition, murder and, here, conspiring to use fraud to overturn the results of an election and perpetuate himself in power. Such Presidential immunity has no foundation in the Constitution."

In taking the case, the Court decided to hear the following question: "Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy Presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office."

But what "official acts" are they even talking about? Smith's indictment accuses Trump of things like organizing fake slates of electors; pressuring state officials and the DOJ and his Vice President to fraudulently change certified election results; and directing supporters to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 after telling them to "fight like hell or we won't have a country anymore." The Justices --- as well as our two guests today --- all seemed to have a very difficult time finding any "official acts" for which Trump is being accused.

We're joined today by two excellent guests. Former Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption unit at the U.S. Attorney's office in D.C., RANDALL D. ELIASON now teaches at George Washington University Law School, publishes the SidebarsBlog newsletter, and contributes to New York Times. Former Deputy Asst. Attorney General at DoJ, LISA GRAVES is now Executive Director of Truth North Research. They each know far more about all of this and the specifics of the Rule of Law than I do. But they too had trouble coming up with much of anything Trump has been charged with that has anything to do with "official acts" as President.

Its an "astonishing argument," says Graves. "What's at issue in this case is a set of conduct by this President to basically subvert our democracy through a variety of means. None of these are official acts. But even if somehow a President were engaged in an 'official act,' like appointing an ambassador, he couldn't take a bribe in the context of doing so. It just seems crazy that here we are with the U.S. Supreme Court basically delaying the prosecution of Donald Trump for a set of acts that are clearly outside the bounds of a Commander-in-Chief, whose job is to take care that the law is faithfully executed."

There was no conflict in the lower courts to resolve, but at least four members of the High Court decided they wanted to hear this silly argument nonetheless in which Trump and his attorney John Sauer have been arguing that, without immunity, Presidents would be unable to take bold, decisive action. It would "chill" their ability to do their job for the American people.

"The easiest response is that for nearly 250 years, that hasn't deterred Presidents from taking bold, decisive action," Eliason responds today. "Because they've also been willing to recognize that they need to act in compliance with federal criminal law, and they might be held accountable if they don't. On the one hand, he's saying there's a chilling effect on all these Presidents, even though it hasn't bothered any President in the past. On the other hand, he's saying 'But of course he could be prosecuted IF he's impeached and removed.' Well there's a chilling effect. So why doesn't that undercut his argument?"

We share audio clips from today's hearing, along with much more insight on all of it from Eliason and Graves, including why this case was accepted in the first place; the "Bizarro Superman world" in which we are having this argument and the "repugnant" idea of Clarence Thomas sitting on this case at all, as Graves observes; the argument by Sauer that unless statutes specifically say they are to apply to the President, like the federal bribery statute, they can't be held against him (Eliason, who headed up the DOJ's bribery prosecutions unit in D.C., notes the bribery statute actually "does not name the President, but nobody thinks that the President is immune for bribery"); and, of course, how and when they believe the Court will ultimately rule.

ALSO TODAY... On Wednesday, a grand jury in Arizona indicted Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his attorney Rudy Giuliani, his other attorney John Eastman and 15 others, including 11 Republican fake electors (including two sitting state Senators and the former head of the state GOP), for their efforts to try and steal the 2020 election for Trump in the state.

AND FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with grim-as-ever news, but also some really cool news from out here in California, where the state has been powered by 100% renewable energy --- largely solar --- for much or all of the day for a whole bunch of days in a row in recent weeks. So, there's that positive note to end today with, in any event!...

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Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: Scam GOP impeachment trial ends in one day; AZ Repubs spike repeal of 1864 abortion law (again); Voter turnout doubles in AL's new majority minority U.S. House District...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2024 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If only the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court cared as much about the exact words in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment (the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause") as they pretend to care about the word "otherwise" in a criminal statute used to hold hundreds of January 6 insurrectionists --- including the former President --- accountable for obstructing an official government proceeding. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, first up today, a few news items of note...

  • Yesterday, House Republicans formerly delivered two articles of revenge impeachment against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the U.S. Senate for a trial. Today the trial began and ended, as Democrats determined the articles contained no High Crimes and Misdemeanors as required by the Constitution.
  • Despite pleas from Donald Trump and GOP U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake for Arizona state lawmakers to repeal their draconian 1864 total abortion ban (which Lake long supported...until the all-GOP state Supreme Court revived the law last week), Republicans lawmakers in the state legislature blocked another attempt by Democrats to repeal the 160-year old territorial law.
  • In Tuesday's Democratic Primary runoff for Alabama's newly redrawn 2nd Congressional District, the popular progressive, Shomari Figures, easily won. The more important news, however, may be that Democratic voter turnout during the first round of voting last month on Super Tuesday doubled from two years earlier. That, after the state was finally ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to redraw their unconstitutionally, racially gerrymandered Congressional Map to include a second district where Black voters may have a chance of selecting a candidate of their choosing.

Next, we're joined by longtime legal journalist CHRIS GEIDNER of Law Dork News to discuss Tuesday's Oral Argument in Fischer v. U.S. at the U.S. Supreme Court. The case questions whether a January 6th insurrectionist was properly charged with a 2002 law that criminalizes obstruction of an official government proceeding.

Some 300 of about 1,400 of those charged for their participation in the Trump-incited attack on the U.S. Capitol --- including Trump himself --- have been charged and/or convicted by more than a dozen D.C. federal judges under this same statute. But one of those judges, a Trump appointee, rejected the use of the law. He was overturned by the D.C. Court of Appeals, but the plaintiff --- a police officer at the time --- took his case to SCOTUS, which heard it on Tuesday.

Geidner was at the Court this week during Oral Argument and joins us today to explain how the hearing went; why this challenge over the the meaning of the word "otherwise" in the statute even exists; the rightwing Justices' newly-discovered concerns about overcriminalization; whether he believes the Court will kill, narrow or allow the statute to stand as is; and how their ruling might affect both the cases for hundreds of insurrectionists and two of the four criminal charges that rely on the statute in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal indictment of the former President for his multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 election.

Geidner also offers a preview of next Thursday's looong-awaited hearing on Trump's ridiculous, rejected-by-every-lower-court, "Presidential Immunity" case, in which he asserts that all Presidents must have absolute immunity to commit any and all crimes they like while in office.

"The arguments advanced by Trump have no foundation in history, in practice, or in experience. And there is a very strong case for imagining that we will get a 9-0 decision in that case, even with this Court," Geidner argues, before noting: "The bottom line here is Trump will still have delayed [his federal 2020 election interference] case. It will be at least May before we get a ruling on this. So, in some ways, win lose or draw, he has won, if the goal here is to avoid the possibility of a conviction on these charges before the election is held in November."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump is promising political violence whether he wins or loses; Also: Navarro goes to prison; Scofflaw MI MAGA attorney arrested; SCOTUS allows TX to override federal law, Constitution; Biden's SOTU success...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2024 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, some much needed "context" for what will absolutely be the most important election in U.S. history this November. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Donald Trump is now running on the promise of political violence --- whether he wins or loses. He made that clear (again) during this past weekend's rallies, interviews and social media postings as he continues to up his violent rhetoric with each passing day, embraces strongman tropes and celebrates his supporters' deadly attempt to overthrow the Constitution and U.S. Government on his behalf on January 6, 2021.

The real context of Trump's weekend rally in Ohio, threatening a "bloodbath for the country" if he loses this November, should be clear by now to anyone who hasn't already drunk his Kool-Aid. If it isn't, we attempt to rectify that today. And it has little to nothing to do with cars from China as his Kool-Aid drunk cultists and apologists are attempting to argue. Historians like Timothy Snyder (author of On Tyranny and The Road to Unfreedom) and Jason Stanley (author of How Fascism Works) are shouting from the rooftops to make that clear. So are folks like conservative attorney George Conway and progressive journalist Josh Marshall.

In other largely related news today...

  • Former Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro, a key player in the disgraced former President's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, reported to a federal corrections facility in Miami today to begin a fourth month sentence, becoming the first Trump White House official to go to prison on charges related to Trump's failed attempt to steal the 2020 election from the American people.
  • Election denying Michigan MAGA attorney Stefanie Lambert, charged on four counts related to the unlawful breach of voting systems in the state, was arrested in D.C. on Monday after a hearing in a separate case in which she is defending billionaire election denier Patrick Byrne who is being sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems. Her arrest by U.S. Marshals was related to her failure to show up for a hearing in her own case back in MI, even as she improperly released discovery documents from the Dominion case to the public.
  • The corrupted U.S. Supreme Court allowed a Texas law to take effect today that overturns more than a century of federal immigration authority and the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution which has long held that federal law trumps state law. The TX statute, which allows state and local police to arrest people they suspect have violated federal immigration law, is similar to Arizona's 2012 "Papers Please" law that was blocked at the time by SCOTUS. But neither Court precedent nor the Constitution appear to mean much anymore to the current, far-right supermajority on the High Court.
  • There is a movement among Congressional Republicans to prevent Joe Biden from giving a State of the Union Address to Congress next year under the premise that his speech two weeks ago was "divisive" and "hyper-partisan". (And you know how much Republicans hate that sort of thing, especially at SOTU!) At the same time, Republicans are pretending that polls suggest Biden's SOTU was not "well received". Actual numbers from viewers of the speech before and after strongly suggest the contrary.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with the EPA finally banning all uses of toxic asbestos; extreme heat in Africa; the Biden Administration's investment of billions of dollars to rebuild under-privileged communities that were broken into pieces decades ago by highway construction; and the remarkable climate change deniers in a wealthy coastal community in Massachusetts who want millions of dollars from the state, in perpetuity, to save their beaches and property values, despite the ravages of global warming and rising seas.

All of that and a whole lot more on today's BradCast!...

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Guest: Ron Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech for People; Also: Sweden joins NATO; Biden to aid Gaza via sea port; 'No Labels' to choose 'Unity' ticket; TX utility admits culpability in state's record wildfires...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2024 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're honored to be joined by one of the Constitutional law experts who first brought the issue of the Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" to the attention of the nation...before our corrupted, activist U.S. Supreme Court, he explains, "invented" a way to nullify it to help protect our disgraced former President on Monday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Free Speech for People (FSFP) is the non-partisan government accountability group which first raised the issue of Donald Trump's clear violation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment way back during the summer of 2021. At the time, they sent letters to chief election officials in all 50 states warning them not to place Trump on the ballot should the disgraced former President chose to run again in 2024, as he was in violation of the Constitutional clause barring oath-breakers from public office after having "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the nation. After having incited the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, they explained to state officials, he was no longer eligible for office under the post-Civil War Amendment.

They were, of course, correct. Both chambers of Congress, in bipartisan votes, found that Trump had, in fact, incited the insurrection while attempting to prevent Joe Biden, the winner of the 2020 election from being certified by Congress. Late last year the Colorado Supreme Court agreed [PDF], and barred Trump from the state's ballot. He appealed the ruling to SCOTUS, which quickly heard the matter and issued its 13-page ruling [PDF] on Monday, pulling reasons out of thin air for why Colorado could not bar Trump from running in the state.

The Republican Supremes went even further by inventing a new mandate that will prevent insurrectionists from being barred from federal office under 14.3 unless Congress adopts a new law to execute the 150 year old Amendment. (Or, at least, to execute it's two-sentence Section 3. All of the other mandates of the 14th --- such as citizenship for those born or naturalized in the U.S., due process for all and equal protection under the law --- are all self-executing. A special law by Congress is, apparently, only necessary for Section 3, for some reason, according to the Supreme Court as of this week.)

We're joined today by FSFP's Legal Director, RON FEIN, who, with fellow FSFP Constitutional law experts John Bonifaz and Ben Clement, penned an op-ed on Wednesday, describing the Court's ruling as "an error of historic proportions and a sham."

The Court's ruling, he argues today, "had nothing to do with the text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, nor of the history, or the original public understanding of Section 3. Instead, the Justices --- and it's not just the six conservative Justices but also the three so-called liberals --- started from the endpoint of the result that they wanted to reach and then worked backwards to find a rationale."

"If they had wanted to say that Trump didn't engage in insurrection," he tells me, "I would have had a little bit more respect. It would have been very brazen and obviously ridiculous. But at least they would have been straightforwardly saying something that would have meant that he wasn't disqualified --- if they wanted to defy all evidence and say that he didn't engage in insurrection. But instead, they fabricated an exception that can be found nowhere in the Constitution, that basically lets Trump and others off without ever confronting the merits of what he did."

As anyone who has read Monday's ruling may have noticed, the Justices never dispute the Colorado Supreme Court's finding --- following a five-day trial --- that, yes, Trump is, in fact, an insurrectionist. In fact, the Court's three liberals, in response to the part of the majority's Opinion from which they dissent, refer to Trump as an "oathbreaking insurrectionist" on numerous occasions.

Fein describes how the SCOTUS ruling makes a mockery of their claim to require "uniformity" in elections. "This is something that they pull when they want to, but it has no real basis in reality," he notes, describing how our Presidential election system is actually set up to allow each state to determine their own way of running elections.

"We have state by state elections," he asserts, "both at the primary stage and in the general election. We have, for better or worse, an Electoral College system. That's the system under which Donald Trump became President under in 2016. It is not at all uncommon, both in the primaries and in the general election, for some candidates to be on some states' ballots and not others. In fact, we're going to see that in this election. We're going to see RFK Jr. will be on some states' ballots, but not all of them. Cornel West will probably be in the same situation. The Constitution says that states have the power to determine how they appoint electors."

Those facts make the Court's argument that removing Trump from the ballot would allow a single state to determine the result of the election a joke. Then again, the entire ruling is exactly that, if not a particularly amusing one.

Fein eviscerates the rest of their opinion as well today, while warning that there may now be further Constitutional bastardizations regarding Trump in the days and years ahead. As he, Bonifaz and Clement explain in the chilling conclusion of their op-ed: "If Trump wins, prepare for a third term. Sure, the Twenty-Second Amendment says that '[n]o person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.' But Trump has already claimed that he is entitled to a third term because 'they spied on my campaign.' When Trump’s lawyers make this argument, what credibility will the Supreme Court have as he runs roughshod over our constitutional democracy?"

ALSO TODAY...

  • Sweden formally joins NATO. (I guess Russia will have "no choice" but to attack them now too, amirite Putin fans?)
  • Joe Biden will announce plans to use the U.S. military to deploy food and humanitarian aid to Gaza by sea via a temporary port.
  • The group calling itself No Labels is reportedly planning to select a "Unity Ticket" for this year's Presidential election that nobody, other than No Labels and their secret funders, actually seem to want.
  • Texas utility company Xcel Energy admits their equipment sparked the largest wildfire in state history.
  • And Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the enormous climate stakes of this year's Presidential election and more...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/29/2024 5:03pm PT  

I should be in bed nursing my illness (whatever it is), rather than doing today's BradCast. But given the firehose of news, some of it huge, that broke after yesterday's guest-hosted show with Nicole and Desi (thank you, guys!) and today, I felt I had to come in for this one. Nasal congestion be damned. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Back in 2018, as Trump-nominated Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was lying his way through his Senate Confirmation hearings, he made what sure sounded like a threat at the time. "This confirmation process has become a national disgrace," he whined through angry tears. "And as we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around."

There has been a boatload of important news over the past 24 hours. But what may have been Kavanaugh's long-promised "comes around" moment may have finally occurred last night. The U.S. Supreme Court came up with at least 4 votes to hear Oral Argument of Donald Trump's ridiculous claim that Presidents enjoy "absolutely immunity" for any and all crimes they may commit while in office --- including ordering Seal Team Six to murder domestic political opponents, as Trump's lawyer's argued in this case at the lower D.C. Court of Appeals.

The federal appellate court, as well as the trial court below it, unanimously rejected the argument. But, rather than taking up the case three months ago, when Special Counsel Jack Smith asked them to, the corrupt SCOTUS waited more than two months before deciding, in a terse, one-page order [PDF], to "expedite" the matter by hearing it...seven weeks from now. The question will be: "Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office." --- Which "official acts" they may be referring to are uncited.

In the bargain, Trump's previously scheduled May 4th federal trial date for attempting to steal the 2020 election remains on on pause and may not now even begin before the 2024 election.

At the same time, in New York state court on Wednesday, an appellate judge, within hours after Trump's filing, rejected his attempt to offer a $100 million bond to prevent Attorney General Letitia James from beginning seizure of his assets in about 30 days for failure to post cash or a bond for the full $454 million penalty he faces for a decade of massive fraud via his corrupt real estate company. And Trump's criminal trial in the state, on 34 charges related to cheating to win the 2016 election with hush-money payments to a porn star, is set to begin at the end of next month.

Given my physical condition of late, we called in our good friends and very wise longtime fellow bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and 'DRIFTGLASS' of The Professional Left Podcast, to help make sense of these key, historic events. They each offer context and analysis of what appears --- to them at least --- to be one of the most corrupt actions ever taken by our corrupted, far-right, Trump-appointed supermajority on the High Court.

Driftglass argues the news from the Court on Wednesday is that "It's a corrupt court. And that corrupt court has rendered a corrupt decision," underscores his belief that Trump will never see a day in prison. Digby reminds us that true accountability was always going to come from only one place: the voters at the ballot box this November. "I'm sorry to have to tell you," she tells me, "but it's going to have to be a grinding out of a Presidential campaign and people are going to have to vote this guy out."

We've got a lot of ground to cover on today's program, with smart insights from both of them as usual, even if I don't have the energy to document much of it here for you today. So, please tune in.

There's one point, however, that I didn't get to on the show --- blame the cold medicine --- in response to the somewhat grim and arguably cynical (if accurate) assessments from Digby and Driftglass. That is, that even if Trump's federal trial for attempting to steal the 2020 election had moved forward, as scheduled, well before this November's election, I think the magic bullet moment that had been applied to that trial --- as if a guilty conviction would be an elixir that finally woke up the nation to how corrupt he truly was, leading supporters to abandon him --- was always, in my estimation, somewhat overblown.

When (not if) Trump is found guilty on any of the 91 criminal counts he is currently facing at both the state and federal level, his supporters will find a way to justify it and continue their support nonetheless. It'll be a evidence of a "corrupt system" or "Joe Biden's witch hunt" against Trump, etc.

I have never quite bought into the prodigious polling which suggests his 2024 support would crater once he was finally found guilty of a crime. His supporters know what he did. We all do. It's obvious. A criminal conviction is unlikely to change many opinions of him either way. This was and still will be --- as both Digby and Drifty point out --- about the VOTERS showing up and VOTING to save our democracy from the clutches of a fascistic, sociopathic, narcissist hell-bent on destroying it for revenge. Whatever happens between now and November 5, nobody else was ever gonna do it for us.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as winter heat in the center of this nation blew away records for February, topping out in the 80s and 90s in huge swaths of the region over the past week. That helped touch off what is now the largest wildfire in Texas history. In February! That, and much more on today's GNR.

Now I'm going back to bed. I'm sure the last 24 hours have been nothing more than a bad Nyquil-induced fever dream...

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Guests: Former Dep. Asst. AG Lisa Graves and attorney Keith Barber on today's oral argument on the 'Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2024 5:15pm PT  

We've been telling you for years on The BradCast that most rightwingers who claim to be "Constitutional Conservatives" --- such as the corrupted bunch now packed onto the Republican U.S. Supreme Court supermajority --- are nothing of the sort. Today's oral argument at SCOTUS, on whether Donald Trump must be disqualified from the 2024 ballot under the very clear text of the Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause", appear set to prove that point yet again. [Audio link to full program is posted below this summary.]

In December, the SCOTUS Appears Set to Ignore Text of Constitution's 'Insurrectionist' Clause: 'BradCast' 2/8/2024 found Trump had violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars from office public officials who, after taking an oath to support the Constitution, "have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same". The mandate applies, according to the actual text of the clause, to "any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State". The Colorado Supremes compiled an airtight, 200+ page ruling [PDF] that was both "textualist" (adhering to the simple text of the clause) and "originalist" (carefully hewing to the original intent of its post-Civil War framers) in order to appeal to the legal principles supposedly most important to the Republican majority at SCOTUS.

The CO court, finding that Trump had indeed "engaged in insurrection" and was thus barred from holding the office of President of the United States, disqualified him from the state's 2024 Presidential ballot. Trump appealed their ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard the case on Thursday. (Transcript, audio)

While we can't know for certain from questions asked at the hearing, the Justices appear set to simply ignore the clear meaning of the text of 14.3 in order to allow Trump to run for President this year. Arguments put forward today for doing so --- some of them preposterous and in direct conflict with the framer's intent, according to the Congressional Record at the time the 14th Amendment was adopted --- include that the President is not an officer of the United States; that 14.3 bars insurrectionists from holding office, but not from running for office; and that the clause, unlike every other section of the 14th Amendment, is not "self-executing". Rather, Congress must create legislation before it can be used against a federal official. (Never mind its history over the past 150 years or so.)

We're joined today to somehow make sense of all of this by former U.S. Deputy Asst. Attorney General LISA GRAVES, now of True North Research, and retired attorney KEITH BARBER, who writes on legal and Constitutional matters as 'KeithDB' at Daily Kos. They both joined us just after Trump filed his appeal to the High Court earlier this year and do so again today to discuss how it all appears to be working out for him.

A fair amount of time during Thursday's hearing was spent on the argument that Section 3 allows Congress, by a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber, to waive disqualification for insurrectionists. Thus, the argument goes, Trump can still run for President, even if he cannot "hold" the position if elected. That's because Congress could, ya never know, decide to grant him amnesty after he is elected and before he is sworn in to office.

Graves characterizes the argument as "absurd", describing it as "counter to the plain-language, commonsense argument on its face." It could also, as the attorney for the challengers (a group of Republican and independent voters), noted today, result in the same Congressional chaos on January 6, 2025 that we saw in 2021. If Trump were to win, but Congress fail to grant him an insurrectionist's waiver, he would be barred, according to 14.3, from actually being sworn in to office. SCOTUS seems to be begging for this scenario based on much of today's questioning.

Barber suggests it is likely "that challenges are raised in the electoral certification process" if Trump wins in November, "saying that Trump is not eligible for the office, and any Electoral College votes for him must not be counted for that reason."

"The meaning" of Section 3 of the 14th "could not be clearer in the intent of the drafters," argues Graves. "These supposed 'originalists,' these supposed 'strict constructionists' claim to be so devoted to it when striking down access to abortion, marriage equality, our ability to regulate corporations. But here, suddenly they're confused. It's not confusing if you look at the history and read it."

Indeed, the Justices --- including at least two of the Court's liberals --- appear set to come up with a reason or set of reasons that the Constitution doesn't say what it actually says. Why, for example, does Section 3 --- unlike the other sections of the landmark 14th Amendment, such as the requirement for Due Process under the law for all U.S. persons --- suddenly require a law to be written by Congress before it can be executed? (But only against Trump, apparently. It's been used without issue many times in the past.) "In this case, it's because the Supreme Court needed it to be," says Barber, a former lifelong Republican. "I don't have a better explanation than that."

"Are we living under the Constitution or not?," asks Graves. "It seems we are, only to the extent that this faction of the Court wants to impose it. And when it doesn't, it does not apply."

We discuss much more on all of this today's, including why Clarence Thomas (and, perhaps three other Justices on the Court) have not recused themselves from this case given their extraordinary conflicts of interest; whether there is a "grand bargain" in the works to strike down the CO Supreme Court's mandate while upholding the D.C. Court of Appeals' ruling this week on "Presidential Immunity"; and how the attorneys arguing on behalf of Colorado voters missed the opportunity to underscore that, as bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress have already voted, Donald Trump is an insurrectionist.

ALSO TODAY: Brighter news, believe it or not, in our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen! Yes, another one of them shows where the GNR actually offers more encouraging news than the rest of the program. Apologies in advance!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on that and this week's 'Insurrectionist Disqualification' hearing at SCOTUS; Also: Relentless rain continues drench SoCal; Trump's rigged NV GOP Primary/Caucuses...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2024 6:38pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Bad news from the DC Court of Appeals for the disgraced former President, though things could get much worse this week depending on how things go at SCOTUS on Thursday. [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The unrelenting downpour in Southern California continues for a third straight day, as Los Angeles alone reports more than 300 mudslides since the atmospheric river began pouring in on Sunday, resulting in continuing flash flooding and evacuations throughout the region. Thankfully, there have been no deaths or major catastrophes yet reported, though three were killed in Northern California where strong winds toppled trees as the storm blew ashore on Sunday. It's not yet over, but we're told the sun may finally reappear again in SoCal, at least for a time, on Wednesday.
  • Today was the last day to vote in Nevada's all vote-by-mail 2024 Presidential primaries, though few may have bothered. On the Democratic side, President Biden faces little or no competition. On the Republican side, Donald Trump helped rigged the state in his favor with the help of NV state party officials. He's not on the NV Primary ballot, since he objected to the all-mail process created by the state. He demanded caucuses instead. So Nikki Haley will be on the primary ballot, but Trump won't. While Haley won't be participating in the Thursday caucuses, but Trump will. Republican Delegates, however, will only be awarded to the winner of the rigged GOP Caucuses.
  • Welp, it took nearly a month, but a three-judge panel on the D.C. Court of Appeals finally released their long-awaited ruling on whether Presidents have immunity against any and all criminal charges for crimes they carry out while serving as President. That is what the four-time indicted former President is arguing. And, to the shock of pretty much nobody, the court ruled in a unanimous, very thorough 57-page decision [PDF] today, that, nope, a President may not avoid criminal consequences for, by way of an example Donald Trump's attorney defended in court last month, ordering Seal Team 6 to murder a political rival. While the ruling was not surprising, it was successful for Trump, at least in part, by delaying his previously scheduled March 4th federal trial on four felony counts [PDF] related to his many attempts to steal the 2020 election. The D.C. panel struck down every single argument made by Trump and ordered the case to be returned to the trial court unless the defendant appeals the ruling to SCOTUS by Monday. Of course he will. The only question for the moment is: will there be enough votes at the corrupted rightwing SCOTUS to bother even hearing this dumb case.
  • Then, we're joined by BRAD BLOG's longtime legal contributor ERNEST A. CANNING to discuss both today's Immunity ruling and the arguably far more consequential matter that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. The Supremes will hear oral argument for and against the case for disqualifying Donald J. Trump from the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause". The specific case, Trump v. Anderson, is named for the 91-year old Republican, Norma Anderson, who is one of six Republican and independent voters that sued under 14.3 in the state of Colorado to bar Trump from the state's Presidential ballot. They were successful. The CO Supreme Court barred Trump in a very well argued (and very conservative) ruling [PDF] late last year, pending a decision from SCOTUS. In the month since the Justices agreed to hear the case, as Canning writes this week, no fewer than 50 amici (friend of the court) briefs have been filed both for and against the Constitution's post-Civil War ban on insurrectionists serving in public office.

    Canning cites several key points offered in the various briefs from a host of scholars and experts, and we preview the questions likely to be up for debate during this Thursday's landmark hearing. The eventual opinion issued by SCOTUS could determine whether Trump is barred from the Presidential ballot in all 50 states. And what might happen then?

    Canning argues that if you follow conservative "textualist" and "originalist" doctrine, "what the intent was, what the actual language was" by the framers of the 14th Amendment, "there's no way you can come to a decision other than the fact that Donald Trump is disqualified within the meaning of the statute."

    That largely matches conventional wisdom suggesting the Constitutional case for banning Trump from office is pretty rock solid legally. Nonetheless, most of those media pundits and legal experts also tend to argue that the former President's friends and appointees on the High Court are likely to conjure up some sort of jiggery-pokery and pure applesauce to allow him to remain on the ballot this year anyway. "That could very well happen here," Canning tells me, before adding: "But I wouldn't bet the farm either direction."

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more on the climate change-related causes of California's historic downpour, Chile's deadly heat and wildfires, and Spain's persistent drought. She also reports on how Europe has avoided Vladimir Putin's energy blackmail, and how Republicans plan to turn back the clock on the Biden Administration's landmark climate achievements if they succeed in winning back the White House in November...

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Survival of democracy and rule of law also on docket, as potential for political chaos looms no matter how Court ultimately rules...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/5/2024 9:05am PT  

Only a month has passed since the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear, on an expedited basis, a legal challenge to the Colorado Supreme Court's determination that Donald J. Trump is disqualified from holding any state or federal office by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment.

Both the CO trial and state Supreme Court expressly found that Trump "engaged in" an "insurrection" on January 6, 2021. The CO Supremes ordered Trump's name removed from the Centennial State's Republican presidential primary ballot. However, the CO Supreme Court stayed their order pending the outcome of a final determination by SCOTUS.

A final SCOTUS decision will likely have profound electoral and constitutional impacts, irrespective of whether our nation's highest court upholds or overturns the CO Supreme Court's ruling...

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RNC rigging nomination for Trump; Also: Luttig's 'textualist' SCOTUS brief argues Trump 'disqualified himself'; More bad news for Bannon; Court nixes Musk's $56B pay package; Biden pauses new NatGas terminals...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2024 6:11pm PT  

Be sure to put on your mud boots for today's BradCast. You're gonna need 'em. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • American Presidential Primaries and Caucuses were always confusing for voters. This year, they are even more so. That, however, suits Donald Trump just fine in advance of next week's Nevada Primary (on Feb. 6) and Caucuses (on Feb. 8 ), which have been rigged by Team Trump to assure he cannot lose a single delegate to Nikki Haley, his last remaining challenger for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination.
  • The day after the New Hampshire Primary last week, Trump supported an RNC executive resolution to officially declare him to be party's "presumptive 2024 nominee for the office of President of the United States." That, after nominating contests in only two states (Iowa and NH) where he won just 32 of the 1,215 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Two days later (perhaps after receiving some sage legal advice) the desperate former President came out against the resolution, so the RNC promptly killed it. We what actually appears to have happened.
  • Well-respected and very conservative former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Michael Luttig filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief [PDF] with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, arguing that the Justices must adhere to the "textualist" approach that rightwingers on the High Court have claimed to follow in recent years, as they weigh whether Donald Trump is eligible for the 2024 ballot under the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause." Trump has "disqualified himself" for the office of President under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, Judge Luttig and others argue in the brief, after having "engaged in insurrection" on January 6, 2021, when he "sought to prevent the vesting of the authority and functions of the Presidency in the newly-elected President." That, the brief contends, may be even worse than when South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860 to "prevent the newly-elected President Lincoln from governing only in that State." The Justices must not construct an artificial "off-ramp" to avoid their Constitutional mandate, the brief asserts. The matter will be heard by SCOTUS on Thursday next week.
  • Disgraced former Trump White House advisor and campaign Chair turned podcaster and con-artist, Steve Bannon, may be in more trouble than you know. He has already been convicted and sentenced to four months in federal prison for Contempt of Congress for his refusal to answer subpoenas from the House Select Committee investigating January 6. While free on appeal, he has also been charged by New York state for massive fraud in the "We Build the Wall" campaign which siphoned millions from duped Trump supporters. And now his former attorney in that case is gunning for Bannon's bank accounts after he was found to owe the law firm nearly half a million dollars in unpaid legal fees. Bannon's latest attempt to block his banks from turning over documents to the firm claims that doing so "poses a significant risk of compromising Mr. Bannon’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination." Sad!
  • BREAKING DURING SHOW: A Delaware court judge has voided Tesla CEO Elon Musk's nearly $56 billion compensation package, ruling it was unlawfully dictated by Musk himself to a non-independent Board of Directors in sham negotiations. Also sad!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as President Biden puts a pause on approvals for new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export terminals; new reports find Canada tar sands are up to 6000% more toxic than previously known and that climate change made Brazil's Amazon rainforest draught 30 times more likely; and China, as it turns out, built more new solar power in 2023 alone than the U.S. has in its entire history...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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