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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, June 21, 2024
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
  w/ Brad & Desi
Extreme heat intensifies across U.S.; 'Alberto' first named storm of year; Evacuations in NM; Astonishing heat in India, Saudi Arabia; PLUS: U.S. schools grapple with extreme heat...
Previous GNRs: 6/18/24 - 6/13/24 - Archives...
CA Biz Group, WSJ 'Fabricate' Stats on New $20/Hr Fast Food Wage: 'BradCast' 6/19/24
Guest: LA Times' Pulitzer Prize biz reporter Michael Hiltzik; Also: NM wildfires; 'Alberto' in the Gulf; Surprise VA election results; LA mandates Ten Commandments in schools...
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
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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: 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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Also: Last week's GOP Caucuses in NV, V.I.; This week's U.S. House Special Election in NY-3; Callers ring in on Trump's threat to NATO allies...
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2024 6:25pm PT  

Some days these days on The BradCast, it's hard to believe we're covering what we are covering. I'd say that's the case on most days, these days. Today is, yet again, one of those days. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST, we try to bring you up to date following Donald Trump's rigged GOP Caucuses in Nevada last week. Given that he and some guy named Ryan Binkley were the only two on the ballot, Trump won with Saddam Hussein-like or Vladimir Putin-like numbers, taking 99.1% of the vote and all of the state's available RNC delegates in the bargain. Nikki Haley, having competed in the state-run Primary just two days earlier, was not allowed to participate in the state's GOP-run Caucuses.

The Virgin Islands also held a GOP Caucus on the same day. Trump won there as well, defeating Haley (who was allowed to be on that ballot) by about 74% to 26%. Only about 250 voters bothered to show up, so don't read too much into it.

On the Dem side of the aisle, Joe Biden's only noteworthy competitor on the Nevada Primary ballot last Tuesday (which he handily won), was self-help guru Marianne Williamson. She dropped out of her run for the Democratic nomination the next day.

Tomorrow, however, expect an actual contest in the 3rd Congressional District in New York, where voters on Republican-leaning Long Island will select a replacement member of the U.S. House for the recently expelled pathological liar and Republican con-artist, Rep. George Santos. The polls suggest a close race for the seat between conservative Democrat and former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi and his Republican opponent, the Ethiopian-born Israeli-American Mazi Pilip. The winning party will explain why the contest in the district should be seen as a bellwether for November's elections. The losing party will insist that it isn't.

THEN, it's back to the last few mad days since we last spoke, during which Trump (just before airtime today) filed his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, hoping that his friends and appointees on the High Court will agree, unlike anyone on the lower courts, that U.S. Presidents have complete immunity to commit any crime they like while in office; Robert Hur, a former Trump-appointed DoJ prosecutor tapped by A.G. Merrick Garland to be a Special Counsel, ended a year-long nearly 400-page investigation [PDF] by finding there were no crimes to charge President Biden with concerning his possession and return of some classified documents following his two terms as Vice President. But, Hur took pains to also note, Joe Biden is old; and, our disgraced former President attacked Haley, his final GOP opponent, because her husband, Maj. Michael Haley is in the Horn of Africa for a year-long active duty deployment with the South Carolina National Guard. (No word on the whereabouts of Trump's wife Melania. Though it's a safe bet that she, like the entirety of the Trump family going back generations, is not out serving her country as a member of the military.)

But it was Trump's remarks about NATO at that very same South Carolina rally over the weekend that have, appropriately, received the most coverage since then. (If nothing near the absurd coverage that the corporate media has given to Special Counsel Hur's inappropriate insinuations regarding Biden's mental fitness.)

Trump relayed a story at the rally in which he claims that, when he was President, he told the leader of a NATO nation that, if they hadn't "paid their bills" to NATO, and were attacked by Russia, the U.S. would NOT come to their defense. That, in defiance of the NATO Treaty's Article 5 agreement that states that if one member is attacked, “each and every other member of the Alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the Ally attacked".

NATO nations, however, don't "pay" to be in NATO. In 2014, President Obama led an agreement among the treaty's 30+ member nations to work toward each spending a minimum of 2% of their annual GDP on defense. That's the "bill" for which Trump (who has been sued thousands of times personally for not paying bills) claims that many of those countries are "delinquent".

Making matters worse --- unimaginable just a few short years ago, in fact --- Trump also claims to have told that NATO leader that while the U.S. would not come to their defense, he would also encourage Russia "to do whatever the hell they want" to such countries.

NATO's Secretary-General, as well as the governments of several NATO nations, including Germany and Poland, issued unusual and harsh rebukes on Sunday in response to Trump's astonishing --- once unthinkable --- remarks.

FINALLY today, we open up the phone lines to listeners to get their thoughts on all of the above and anything else they may wish to ring in on today. And so they do. And so we're delighted, as always, to hear from those listeners who may not agree with us. Those are always the best calls after all, right?...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Callers ring in with answers to that question; Also: Trump doubles down on racist strongman immigration plans; Defamed GA election workers awarded $148M in case against Rudy, before suing him again...
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2023 6:00pm PT  

We dumped a big planned portion of today's BradCast to open phone lines to listeners, in hopes of taking their end of year temperature before next year's Presidential election year begins in earnest. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Specifically, I wanted to hear from voters who claim to have supported Joe Biden in 2020, but are now planning to...do something else in 2024. Why would they want to do that with so much --- including American democracy itself --- on the line next year? They call in to explain. Lively conversations ensue.

Also today, before we took our right turn toward callers: Donald Trump is getting more and more dictator-y with each new rally and social media post of late. Over the weekend, in Nevada and New Hampshire, it was in regard to immigration (and his increasing love for fellow dictator, Vladimir Putin).

On Friday, a D.C federal jury awarded Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss $148 million dollars in their civil defamation lawsuit against the racist Rudy Giuliani, who lied about the women falsifying 2020 election results in Atlanta and turning their lives upside down ever since in the bargain. The judgment was $100 million more than they'd even asked for. And, on Monday, the pair filed yet another suit against Giuliani following new defamatory remarks he made outside the federal courthouse after the first day of his trial last week.

But ya know who was arguably the most terrified by the verdict in Rudy's case? One Donald J. Trump, who is both facing a huge multi-million dollar judgement in his own civil trial in New York State for years of fraud, even as he is facing a federal criminal trial, scheduled to begin in just over two months time, for crimes related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election. That trial will have a jury pulled from the very same D.C. federal jury pool that just awarded Freeman and Moss $100 million more than they even asked for.

Buckle up....

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/12/2023 10:29am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Deadly combination of intense heat and humidity could render parts of the world, including the U.S., 'unlivable' as the planet warms; Damage to an undersea natural gas pipeline off the coast of Finland looks like sabotage; PLUS: European Union launches world's first carbon border tax... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): ExxonMobil boosts fossil fuel commitment with Pioneer buyout; Argentina wildfires create apocalyptic scene of blazes at city's edge; Kew’s 'State of the World’s Plants and Fungi' report warns of extinctions; As climate risks mount, the insurance safety net is collapsing; Backyard sewage and parasitic disease: EPA opens civil rights probe in Alabama
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Also: Dem Congressional staffers attacked by bat-wielding man in VA; A weekend of democracy for Turkey and Thailand...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2023 6:17pm PT  

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Nuclear weapons policy analyst Stephen Schwartz; Also: Dems outperform in NH, VA, KY special elections, set table to retake Supreme Court majority in WI...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2023 6:54pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It was a good day for democracy in the U.S. yesterday, in our continuing battle against the rise of autocracy here at home. The news overseas on that same score, however, thanks to Russia's criminal, autocratic leader, remains significantly dicier. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST UP TODAY: It was the first big Special Election night of 2023 in the U.S. on Tuesday. As we saw in advance of last year's 2022 midterms --- when Republicans ignored the evidence before their eyes to hoax themselves into believing a "red wave" was coming (which never did) --- Democrats are once again outperforming expectations in Special Elections around the nation.

We've got results, some of them quite stunning, out of marquee races yesterday in New Hampshire for state House, Virginia for the U.S. House, and in Kentucky for State Senate. In each, Democrats radically outperformed both expectations and history, often by 10 or more points.

But, the most critical race of the night may have been the primary election in Wisconsin, where a vacant swing-seat on the state Supreme Court may finally flip the majority to progressives in the upcoming April 4 general election after years of control by rightwingers. Tuesday's open primary featured two progressives and two so-called conservatives, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general. Progressive Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz easily bested the competition with some 46% of the vote. The two rightwingers, former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly and Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow, came in a tight second and third place, with 24% and 22% each, respectively, followed by progressive Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell with 7%.

That means Protasiewicz and Kelly, state Democrats' preferred competition, will square off on April 4. Kelly is a radical, rightwing extremist, election denier, marriage equality opponent, and paid RNC consultant who helped organize Donald Trump's fake 2020 electors scheme in the state. He also lost a previous Supreme Court race in the closely divided swing-state by a whopping 10 points in 2020. In a state where Dems now hold almost every statewide executive position, Republicans are forced to cling to majorities in the state legislature thanks to wildly gerrymandered districts. A progressive majority on the bench, therefore, is expected to be critical over the next few years regarding abortion rights, gun safety, gerrymandering and much more, including voting rights in advance of the 2024 Presidential election.

If voters turnout and vote in April as they did last night, Protasiewicz would defeat Kelly by about 7 points. Of course, its Wisconsin, so I'd be careful about counting chickens before counting ballots just over one month from now.

NEXT UP: Russian President Vladimir Putin's nuclear saber rattling continued on Tuesday during his state of the nation speech. The autocrat announced a unilateral suspension of participation in New START, the last remaining arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia.

There is a great deal to unpack in all of this, including what Obama-era New START was supposed to do; how the U.S., under Donald Trump, also pulled out unilaterally from a different pact (the Reagan/Gorbachev-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces or INF Treaty); what "suspension" of New START actually means; and how the announcement appears to be yet another desperate attempt by Putin to coerce his way into somehow winning a war of aggression that he appears to be losing in Ukraine, as Russia's unlawful invasion sees its one-year anniversary this week.

To help with all of that today, we're joined by longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ who formerly served as Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. They are the groups who control the notorious "Doomsday Clock". Schwartz, who tweets as @AtomicAnalyst, is also the author of Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940.

"There is no provision in the [New START] treaty for 'suspending' the treaty. You're either in it or not," explains Schwartz. "The suspension is, I guess, a wily way for Putin to get what he wants. Which is, I think, frankly, just an extension of what he's been doing over the last year. This is a nuclear threat by another name."

"It's an effort to frighten the public in the United States, NATO, and Ukraine, into letting let him basically blackmail those countries into letting him do whatever he wants with Ukraine. So he's got this bludgeon --- and it's really the only tool that he has right now --- and he's waving it around until his demands are satisfied."

It doesn't appear to be working. President Joe Biden spoke in Poland yesterday, following a surprise appearance with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday. "We’re seeing again today what the people of Poland and the people all across Europe saw for decades: Appetites of the autocrat cannot be appeased," declared Biden to cheers in Warsaw. "They must be opposed."

While taking Putin seriously, Schwartz also sees a larger principle at stake. "The way I see it, and I'm no big fan of war at all, is if we just listen to Putin and say 'You're right, we can't risk nuclear war so we're going to stand back and let you carve up Ukraine however you want. And, hey, if you want to take Belarus and Moldova, who are we to stop you?,' I think that would be a terrible precedent for the rest of the world. Not only with regard to what Russia might do in the future, but other countries that have nuclear weapons or might want them."

"The Biden Administration and NATO have been very careful. If you look at every time Putin has done one of these things, the United States doesn't dismiss it and doesn't panic. They walk down the middle and I think that is the right approach here. We need to show that nuclear weapons are fundamentally useless, not just for prosecuting a war, but also for blackmail."

"We need to isolate Putin in this regard," argues Schwartz. "Otherwise, the future world that we're going to live in, brought to you by nuclear coercion, is going to be far worse than anything we dealt with during the Cold War."

Among the many related matters Schwartz speaks to today: Russia's violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which Ukraine was guaranteed security and sovereignty after the fall of the Soviet Union in exchange for turning over all nuclear weapons to Russia; The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' recent move of the Doomsday Clock to "90 Seconds to Midnight," the closest it has ever been to proverbial "Midnight". Is the world really closer to "Doomsday" now than it was at the height of the Cold War? We discuss all of that and much more on today's very informative program...

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Also: 'Doomsday Clock' ticked forward; Opposing war and supporting Ukraine; And, 'Russia, please!'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2023 6:44pm PT  

There's a reason I always warn, when reporting election results on The BradCast, that they have only been tallied by computers to date, and that errors in results often do not come to light until days, weeks or even months after elections...if ever. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST UP TODAY... Some thoughts on the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' 'Doomsday Clock' which was, this week, ticked forward from '100 Seconds until Midnight' to just '90 Seconds until Midnight.' The main reason for the move, the first since 2020, as explained by The Bulletin, whose esteemed scientists, diplomats and Nobel Laureates take such decisions quite seriously, is thanks to "Russia's war on Ukraine," its "thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons," and for "violating international protocols and risking widespread release of radioactive materials" in bringing "its war to the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor sites."

In response to the metaphorical clock --- first unveiled at the dawn of the Cold War in 1947 --- being moved closer than ever to a proverbial 'midnight', when humanity destroys itself, a Kremlin spokesperson said Wednesday that the move was "really alarming." (Really? You were "alarmed" by this, Russia? Really?!)

That, on the same day that the U.S. and nearly a dozen European countries finally agreed to send modern battle tanks to Ukraine so the sovereign former Soviet nation can better defend itself from the grotesque, ongoing, hostile invasion by it's empirical neighbor.

We take the opportunity today to explain why --- amid our years of (continuing) anti-war advocacy --- we, nonetheless, support Ukraine's right to defend itself against Russia's war crimes; agree with critical support being supplied by fellow democratic nations against an autocratic invader; and how we see many of those on the supposed Left in the U.S. that are echoing Kremlin propaganda by, among other things, demanding Ukraine declare a ceasefire and negotiate with their invaders, have been unhelpfully (and wildly) misled.

THEN... Yes, we likely drive regular listeners crazy when reporting results after elections and offering the caveat, over and over again, that reported results in the immediate aftermath are wholly unverified and only tallied by computers --- either correctly or incorrectly --- and that there is no way to know for certain either way unless and until results of hand-marked paper ballots are examined by actual human beings.

Last week, more than two months since the November midterm elections, we finally learned that a computer tabulator mistallied some of the results in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The error appears to have resulted in at least one loser being named as the winner in a School Board race in Ocean Township. After a probe into "an unrelated issue" caused the County's Board of Elections to notice potential problems in the tallies, an investigation reportedly found errors in six voting districts across four municipalities.

One candidate named as a loser after November 8 last year appears to have won his race by a single vote after results were correctly re-tallied. But a bunch of races had been mistallied originally thanks to results from at least one precinct being uploaded more than once to the Election Management System's central tabulator from a USB memory stick.

While there is no evidence of nefariousness in the matter, a spokesperson from the County's private election vendor, ES&S (the nation's largest), attempted to downplay what happened as "a human procedural error". But the fact that it is even possible to upload the same results more than once without a system warning is disturbing. Longtime election and voting system experts have expressed horror at the problem, if not surprise, given the woeful state of NJ's post-election audit protocols and the nature of proprietary computerized voting system software.

Since the problem has come to light, one state lawmaker has called for passage of a measure that would mandate Open Source software on all voting and tabulation systems in the Garden State, along with the use of paper ballots at polling places. I explain today why Open Source systems (while a fine idea if we must tally ballots with computers) is no panacea, and why the state Senator's call for "paper ballots" --- as opposed to HAND-MARKED paper ballots --- will likely ensure that 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems, still shamefully used across most of the state at the polls on Election Day, will continue to undermine confidence in NJ elections.

FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with a spate of troubling new studies on the deteriorating state of our climate, but also with a number of stories detailing some good news, of late, in response to it!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: George Beebe of the Quincy Inst. for Responsible Statecraft...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2022 5:58pm PT  

While voters were at the polls for primary elections in six states (Arizona, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri and Washington) on Tuesday, we take the moment to turn to foreign affairs for a hot minute on today's BradCast.

Happily, few problems were reported for voters at the polls in those six states --- at least that we could find so far today --- beyond another predictable failure of electronic poll books, this time across Mohave County, AZ, for about six hours when polls opened. More issues may reveal themselves before tomorrow, or thereafter, of course. Meanwhile, there are a whole bunch of far-right, Trump-backed, 2020 election deniers on the ballot today, with several running for critical offices such as Governor, Sec. of State and the U.S. Senate. All of which, if those candidates win on Tuesday and again this November, could cause very serious problems for democracy itself in 2024. We'll pick all of that up on tomorrow's show, with whatever noteworthy reported results may be available by then.

But today, we had the opportunity circle back to Russia's ongoing war with it's sovereign neighbor Ukraine, now entering it's sixth horrific month following Russia's invasion on February 24. If you follow most Western media, Ukraine's military is making valiant if deadly headway in pushing back at over-extended and exhausted Russian troops in the South, while Russia presses its offensive in the East.

If you follow Kremlin-controlled media, this is a war special military operation that can never be won by Ukraine, and continues to threaten expansion into a global conflict, including the use of nuclear weapons, as Russia takes great pains to note --- on an alarmingly regular basis.

But, it's not only Russian-controlled media suggesting the war is ultimately unwinnable for Ukraine. A number of foreign policy-centered Western media outlets and think-tanks have long argued similarly in a push for peace talks and a ceasefire in the now war-torn nation of Ukraine.

There was some good news this week, in that an agreement brokered by Turkey and the U.N. between the two warring nations last month has resulted in ships carrying Ukrainian grain finally able to leave port to deliver food around the world. Russian ships will also be allowed to do so through safe corridors established amid mined waters in the Black Sea. If the agreement holds, millions of tons of grain and other agricultural products will finally be able to flow from "the breadbasket of Europe" to help ease rising global food prices and the threat of hunger and political instability in developing nations.

The first ship to leave port on Monday was "loaded with two commodities in short supply: corn and hope," as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described it. Beyond that, there is not much to be hopeful about in the protracted conflict.

Writing at The National Interest over the weekend, veteran foreign policy experts and former U.S. National Security officials Steven Simon and Jonathon Stevenson made the case for diplomacy. They called on the U.S. to help encourage a negotiated settlement by making clear to Ukraine that "Neither side can fulfill its maximal war aims" and they must find opportunities for peace talks and, if possible, a cessation of hostilities, despite Vladimir Putin's apparent disinclination to negotiate.

"It is well and good for the United States and its NATO allies to keep arming Ukraine. But it is also time to encourage both sides to start exploring possibilities for a political solution before escalation puts diplomacy even farther from reach," the pair conclude. "And unless the United States and NATO condition military assistance on Ukraine’s constructive political engagement, they will lack the leverage to work effectively towards a stable objective."

But is such a demand appropriate or even possible under the current conditions in the war torn nation? Isn't it up to Ukraine --- which has lost so much in blood, treasure and sovereign territory --- not the U.S. or NATO, to decide when and if Ukraine is ready to negotiate an end to the war?

Those are just some of the difficult and nuanced questions we discuss with our guest today, GEORGE BEEBE, Director of Grand Strategy (yes, I know, an ominous sounding title!) at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, one of our go-to think-tanks for smart, no-nonsense foreign policy solutions.

Beebe's is the author of 2019's The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe. He served over two decades in the U.S. government as an intelligence analyst, diplomat, and policy advisor, including as director of the CIA’s Russia analysis and as an advisor on Russia to Vice President Dick Cheney. (Yes, we discuss both of those ominous matters --- his work with the CIA and for Cheney --- as well!)

Among the questions and issues Beebe speaks to today: His concern that there is no real exit plan for our current strategy, not unlike the lack of a U.S. plan when we launched the Iraq War in 2003; Is it true that there is no way for Ukraine to "win" this war? That the only way is via diplomacy?; Should it be up to the U.S. and NATO, who are supplying much-needed armaments to help Ukraine defend itself, to decide when Ukraine should negotiate towards a settlement? Or should that remain Ukraine's sole decision?; Does Russia even have an interest in negotiations?; What should we learn from their repeated reminders that a continuation of the war could lead to a potentially nuclear expansion?; And, since it's actually a somewhat related matter, what does Beebe make of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit on Tuesday to Taiwan, and what effect is that likely to have on the Russia/Ukraine conflict?

"This is a very complex issue," Beebe tells me on the matter of the United States' own culpability in the matter. "Most foreign policy issues don't have single factor origins. They're usually the result of a confluence of different forces. What's happened in Russia's invasion of Ukraine is that it is the culmination of a series of developments, missteps on the part of a lot of different players over time, that all contributed to the situation that we're facing today."

"That doesn't excuse the Russians and it doesn't excuse Putin from making the choice to invade Ukraine. I think he is fully responsible for that choice, regardless of what preceded it. It didn't have to happen," he argues. But "Russia certainly has what I regard as understandable security concerns...That doesn't mean that the invasion was justified [or] that the manner in which this operation was carried out was at all justifiable."

"But I also would not say that Putin simply woke up in February and said, 'Hey, I would like to invade Ukraine.' There was a lot that went into shaping that decision, and I think a lot of blame on both the Russian and the Western sides."

As you can tell, there is much to discuss and try to make sense of with the Director of Grand Strategy at the Quincy Institute today. I hope you'll tune in for it!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with more on the potentially "game changing" compromise bill hashed out by Senator Joe Manchin with Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer last week, to invest an historic $370 billion in incentives to help us move from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy in hopes of mitigating our worsening climate emergency; And, on the latest deadly costs of that ongoing emergency across the U.S., as Big Oil --- whose product, and decades of lies about it, are at the heart of the crisis --- declare their most profitable quarter in history...

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Longtime, very conservative federal judge warns GOP planning to steal 2024; Where the hell is Transnistria and why does it matter in Putin's war?; Biden asks Congress for $33 billion to help arm Ukraine...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2022 6:33pm PT  

When we've got to turn to our Green News Report on any given BradCast for some good news, it's probably a fairly grim BradCast, as is the case today. Still, it includes a lot of stuff that you need to know about. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, a very conservative, well-respected and longtime federal appellate court judge has issued a stark warning about what he describes as "The Republican blueprint to steal the 2024 election." Again, this is from a very conservative Republican-appointed federal judge who then VP Mike Pence turned to for advice before January 6th, 2021 to learn if it would be legal for him to unilaterally reject the 2020 Electoral College results as Team Trump advocated for under a rag-tag opportunistic combination of several arcane and century-old laws and untested Constitutional theories.

In his must-understand opinion piece at CNN, Judge J. Michael Luttig explains why Republicans are now "obsessed about making the 2024 race a referendum on the 'stolen' election of 2020, which even they know was not stolen." But, as Luttig warns, their "objective is not somehow to rescind the 2020 election, as they would have us believe. That's constitutionally impossible. Trump's and the Republicans' far more ambitious objective is to execute successfully in 2024 the very same plan they failed in executing in 2020 and to overturn the 2024 election if Trump or his anointed successor loses again in the next quadrennial contest."

"The last presidential election," he warns, "was a dry run for the next." He goes on to explain what the "independent state legislature" doctrine is and why you should become very aware of its meaning, sooner, rather than later, before its adopted as a legitimate thing by the GOP's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court (which Luttig was twice considered for, by the way, by George W. Bush.)

"Forewarned is to be forearmed," Luttig correctly argues. We try to help with both today.

Next, in a similar vein, we discuss what Russia --- now regrouping its forces in the south and east of Ukraine --- may be planning next. If you've heard of a place called "Transnistria" in recent days, and wondered where and what the hell it is, we help explain where that is and why it (may) matter to what happens next in Putin's horrific ongoing attack on its sovereign neighbor.

And, toward that end, at the White House today, President Biden offered remarks to explain his request for $33 billion from Congress to help further arm Ukraine to defend itself against Russia's onslaught and provide much-needed humanitarian aid at the same time. We share his remarks on that, and discuss why the aid is so vitally important right now, as peace talks appear all but stalled out and as Russian media and military are beginning to frame the conflict as an existential "holy war."

Finally, Desi Doyen leads our latest Green News Report, with more on Russia's (ill-considered) gambit to use fossil fuels as a weapon of blackmail against NATO nations; 'unprecedented' water restrictions in Southern California; record-breaking heat in South Asia; and, mercifully, some very good news on Ford's not-a-moment-too-soon unveiling of their new, all-electric, F-150 pickup truck...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/28/2022 10:49am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Russia cuts off natural gas to two NATO countries; 'Unprecedented' water restrictions on tap for Southern California; Record-breaking heat wave broils India and Pakistan; PLUS: Ford officially launches the all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): U.S. Identifies Possible Wind Power Areas Off Oregon, Atlantic Coasts; Biden Administration Allows Additional Natural Gas Exports; UN Report Says Humanity Has Altered 70 Percent of the Earth’s Land, Putting the Planet on a 'Crisis Footing'; Mystery fires at sensitive facilities compound Russia’s war challenge; How U.S. Gas Exports to Europe Could Lock in Future Emissions; 50bn tonnes of sand and gravel extracted each year, finds UN study... PLUS: Too many new coal-fired plants planned for 1.5C climate goal, report concludes' ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: Political scientist David Faris; Also: Finland, Sweden may join NATO in 'weeks'; Listeners on Trump corruption, Thomas impeachment...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2022 7:04pm PT  

We repeatedly advised, back in 2016, that voters should ignore the so-called Conventional Wisdom heard from so-called "experts" and TV pundits at the time who insisted, over and again, there was no way Donald Trump could ever become President. Today on The BradCast we've got many more such reasons why Americans should similarly ignore Conventional Wisdom in these times which have proven to be anything but conventional. [Audio link to full story is posted below this summary..]

First, a little over a month ago, the Conventional Wisdom was that Russia's powerful military would quickly take over Ukraine within days, that NATO would likely have trouble uniting in their response, and that the entire organization itself could be on precarious grounds. Not only did all of that Conventional Wisdom prove to be wrong, but on Wednesday, Finland and Sweden, which have remained neutral for decades (if not centuries, in Sweden's case) announced they are very seriously considering joining the Western military alliance, perhaps as soon as in the coming weeks, after witnessing what happened to Ukraine. Yes, contrary to Conventional Wisdom, NATO may end up stronger and even larger than it has been in years.

In other Conventional Wisdom worth ignoring today, we are being told that Democrats are going to take a shellacking in this November's elections and are likely to lose their majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate in the bargain. Conventional Wisdom has it that the party in power before the midterms, especially with an unpopular President in the White House, pays a big price in those election years. Of course, that may well prove to be the case. But, as noted, these are not conventional times. Moreover, this year's elections are far more than a contest between Democrats and Republicans. They are no less than a contest between Democracy and Authoritarianism.

We're joined today by Roosevelt University political scientist DAVID FARIS, author of It's Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics and The Kids Are All Left: How Young Voters Will Unite America.

He recently penned a column at The Week, where he is a regular contributor, headlined "Democrats could still win in November. No, really." Really? Yes, really. Faris joins us to discuss how he believes it's still possible that Democratic candidates and President Biden can still take action to, at the very least, hold on to the U.S. Senate this fall and why, as he notes in the conclusion of his article, "it is still possible to squint and see a winning environment for Democrats this November."

His recommendations include, among other things we discuss today, Biden's use of his executive power to exercise the Defense Production Act; to take on corporate price-gouging and monopolies; and to combat Big Oil profiteering. Next, he explains how Democrats must turn the Right's idiotic (if effective) culture war --- banning books, threatening teachers who discuss race and gender, making abortion illegal --- against them, by boldly and aggressively taking on "radical Republican authoritarianism". And, yes, Dems need to loudly describe it as such.

"The stakes of these midterm elections are extraordinarily high," Faris explains, "because the Republican Party is like a proto-authoritarian cult. And every time that they are up for power, it could be the last free election that we have, as we currently understand them. And as long as that iteration of the Republican Party is what it is, every single national election that we hold here in the United States will have extraordinarily high stakes, because the Republicans are telling us exactly what they plan to do with their power."

"What we have to do is go on the offensive on some of these things. We have to identify the pieces of these culture war items, the panic of the day, most of which is not popular at all. The public does not support silencing public school teachers. People like teachers. The public does not support NOT teaching about slavery. The public does not support book banning."

"What's happening in Republican states is a comprehensive assault on human liberty," he argues. "These laws where you have people informing on one another --- cut an ad with what they did in East Germany. They had the Stasi, had people turn on each other and turn each other in. That's what this stuff is. It's authoritarian attempts to insinuate the Republican Party's priorities into our private lives and into our relationships with our fellow citizens, all in the service of creating this authoritarian dystopia where women are deprived of their rights and LGBTQ people are put back into their place."

He goes on to note that Dems may get some help from the Supreme Court between now and November, as the GOP's stolen and packed SCOTUS majority appears ready to turn back the clock on reproductive rights. "It will be a dark day in the United States when I think the Supreme Court overturns 'Roe v. Wade' sometime this summer. And this is a terrible tragedy that will impact the lives of many millions of women. It's just the first step in a path to gender tyranny, gender apartheid. It's a dark vision that they have for this country. But it could scramble the whole political landscape in this country in ways that we simply cannot anticipate right now."

The alternative to Dems shaking of their malaise and going on the bold offensive is detailed in Faris' more recent piece at The Week, headlined "Countdown to the Democrats' doomsday." That one persuasively explains how, by 2024, Republicans could end up winning a majority trifecta in D.C., with control of the White House, House of Representatives and, yes, even a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate.

So, yeah. It's time to ignore the Conventional Wisdom and get busy to help save this country and democracy itself. The alternative should be too grim by now to even contemplate. (Or, it would be, if the progressive side of the aisle had a media machine even close to what now exists on the Right.)

Finally, some listener mail (we got a lot of it!) in response to Monday's show with The Nation's John Nichols, in which we discussed accountability for the Trump Crime Family and the need to impeach the corrupt far-right active Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas...

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Senate confirmation hearings begin for Ketanji Brown Jackson; Russia's ground war on Ukraine nears 'stalemate' as deadly air bombardment continues; Callers ring in on Biden's response to Russia's aggression...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2022 6:01pm PT  

We're becoming too used to it by now, but it was another jarring start to an already busy week on The BradCast today, as we lurch once again between domestic politics and the hope for peace to somehow emerge in Ukraine. Callers ring in today on both topics. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered on our program today...

  • 73-year old judicial activist and corrupt dark money champion Justice Clarence Thomas was hospitalized on Friday with an "infection" and "flu-like symptoms". The Supreme Court waited two days before announcing his hospitalization on Sunday night, claiming that his antibiotic treatment was working and that Thomas should be out of the hospital in a few days. They also report he plans to participate in this week's cases, even though he'll not be present for oral argument. But, since when did hearing the facts of a case ever have any sway on the opinions of the wildly corrupt Thomas? (Or his equally corrupt wife?)
  • After four hours of opening statements and opining by the 22 members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden's nominee to fill the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court being vacated by Justice Stephen Breyer this summer, offered her own brief opening remarks. Jackson, vowing to carry out her new role on SCOTUS with transparency and "without fear or favor", would be the first African-American woman on the Court, as well as the first one to have served as a public defender. Unlike Justice Thomas --- and the rest of the Republican appointees on the GOP's packed and stolen majority --- her nomination is, happily, not the culmination of years of dark money spent by activist political hustlers. We share Jackson's opening statement today, just in case you missed it.
  • Next, it's an update on the latest in Russia's horrific war on Ukraine, which is really devolving into two separate wars. One, a ground war which is grinding down to a stalemate for both sides, with Ukraine even winning back a bit of ground in recent days. The other, an aerial bombardment campaign which Russia is brutally winning with long-range missiles launched from within their own borders and an increasing number of criminal attacks by their air force on Ukraine's battered and besieged --- but still determined --- civilian population. There are also new concerns about radiation levels in the 1,000 square mile Exclusion Zone surrounding the cite of the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, some 60 miles from the Ukrainian capital. We discuss.
  • Then, new polling finds that Biden's actions in response to Ukraine --- rallying sanctions against Russia by the West, defensive armaments given to Ukraine, otherwise keeping U.S. military troops out of the fighting --- are wildly popular among huge majorities of Americans, both Democrats and Republicans alike. So, why are Biden's approval ratings still so low? So far, there is no indication of a rally-around-the-flag effect that would normally be expected during wars and disasters (and this is both). Why is that? We discuss and open up the phones to listeners on that topic and related matters today...

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Third round of Russia-Ukraine talks end; We open the phones to listeners to discuss possibilities for a peaceful solution and end to the aggression...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2022 6:03pm PT  

The war porn continues on too much of the corporate media. Too many pundits. Too many self-declared experts without actual expertise or who have ideological axes to grind. Too much politics, not enough talk about how to get to peace. Once again on today's BradCast, we're trying our best to get there. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

On last Friday's show, we spoke with longtime Russia-Ukraine expert and author Anatol Lieven of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft about his proposed roadmap, of sorts --- and the tough choices for all sides that comes with it --- for peace in Ukraine.

In short (and please read Lieven for a more complete description) it entails....

  • Ukraine declaring neutrality (not unlike Austria or Finland after WWII), and that they they will not join NATO or any other military bloc (including Russia's!), while "demilitarizing" offensively, but retaining defensive-only military capability.
  • Recognizing Crimea as part of the Russian Federation and allow some form of independence for the Russia-backed separatist regions in the Donbas in the eastern part of the nation. All three territories would then hold internationally observed referenda on who they would like to align with. (This would also likely include revisiting the Minsk II agreement that was brokered in 2015, leading to a a cease-fire in the Donbas region, even as Ukraine has been disinclined to move ahead with the negotiated terms of that agreement, thanks, in part, to opposition from ultra-nationalist factions in its country.)

Lieven's roadmap shares the broad contours --- if not every detail and critical nuance --- with the conditions for cease-fire the Kremlin reportedly putting forward before today's peace talks with Ukraine. That's good news. Or, at least we are choosing to see as such today.

The two parties had their third round of such talks on Monday, with hopes of first reaching an agreement on a temporary cease-fire to allow for humanitarian corridors so citizens can leave besieged cities and allow food and medicine to be brought in. Similiar hopes for cease-fires over the weekend were dashed after just a few hours. Both sides blame the other.

But, even as they struggle to create humanitarian corridors, Ukraine has reportedly agreed to Russia's condition of dropping hopes of joining NATO. But Russia, reportedly, is insisting that all conditions for a treaty be met before they end their lawless aggression. This could take a while --- even as both parties have good reason at this time to find their way to peace as quickly as possible.

We open the phones today to listeners to discuss peace, and whether Ukraine should take such a deal; whether Putin can be trusted to keep it (or whether his interests in reconstituting the Soviet Union or an even more expansive Greater Russian empire would see him continue his march of military aggression); and whether accepting such terms would be the equivalent of rewarding Putin's bad behavior (and war crimes.)

When Lieven opened his article last week on a potential path to peace in Ukraine, he used a quote from Robert Lovett, U.S. Defense Secretary for several years in the early 50s, declaring: "Forget the cheese --- let's get out of the trap." That argument has been cycling through my brain ever since. Today, we get to find out how listeners feel about it when we open the phones for an important conversation: one that was more about peace, for a happy change, than about war...

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Guest: Russia-Ukraine author, expert Anatol Leiven of the Quincy Inst. for Responsible Statecraft; Also: Huge new jobs numbers for February as Biden economic boom continues, despite media failure in reporting it...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2022 6:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We'll leave the drumbeat of military experts and 24-hour, round-the-clock war porn to the cable news nets, and focus instead today on a path to peace, with a longtime expert on the complicated relationship between Ukraine and Russia. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

FIRST UP, however, back here in the U.S., more astoundingly good new jobs numbers were reported by the Labor Department. Some 678,000 new jobs were created last month, and revisions to monthly numbers for December and January add another 100,000 to the already record numbers. Also, the unemployment rate fell even further to a rate of 3.8%, not seen since before the pandemic. Much of that, according to experts, is thanks to Biden and the Democrats American Rescue Plan, passed without any Republican support early last year.

But even while Biden's economy continues to boom with a record 6.6 million new jobs created over the past year --- the most for any single year since record-keeping on this began in the 1930s --- and the highest growth in GDP since the 1980s, Americans appear completely clueless about these facts. Former WaPo columnist, Dan Froomkin, now author of the Press Watch newsletter, explains today why he blames the media for their dismal failures in properly educating the electorate on the basic, cold, hard facts. "When the public thinks up is down," he argues, "it’s time to rethink coverage."

NEXT, regrettably if necessarily, it's back to Russia's horrific, unprovoked war on Ukraine, after a harrowing night during which the largest nuclear power plant in Europe came under attack by Putin's forces, setting part of it ablaze for a time and rattling a lot of nerves in the bargain, and not just in Ukraine.

We're joined today from Great Britain by ANATOL LIEVEN, a former war correspondent in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya and other former Soviet nations. Lieven has served as a professor in Qatar and at the War Studies Dept. at King's College London and has written a number of books about Ukraine and Russia and other Eastern European conflicts following the fall of the USSR. He is now a Senior Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft where, on Thursday, he penned a quite welcome article on "How to get to a place of peace for Ukraine".

Lieven shares his deep expertise not only on that roadmap, and the hard, but necessary choices it'll require from Ukraine, Russia, the U.S., the EU and NATO, but also much more on how we got to this horrific place; what Putin really wants both on a macro historic level and out of this current conflict; what could happen if peace is not achieved; how this war is being understood by both average Russians, amid heavy-handed media restrictions, and those close to Putin; and whether Putin should be taken seriously regarding his recent, repeated, barely veiled threats of unleashing his nuclear arsenal.

We cover quite a bit of ground in this conversation, all of which is well worth tuning in for. But, just to cover a few of the key points from Lieven today...

On whether Putin is really hoping to brush back NATO's eastward expansion following the end of the Cold War or whether his attack on Ukraine is an attempt to prevent the threat posed by a prosperous, Western-leaning, market-based democracy in a neighboring, former Soviet county, Lieven believes it's the former. He explains that while Putin has been previously willing to accept some NATO expansion, he draws the line at border countries like Georgia and Ukraine, as would the U.S. if, for example, Mexico entered a military alliance with China.

"I think the reason so many people in America, in the West, in NATO" are now claiming this is about preventing a blossoming democracy on Russia's western border "is, basically, to cover their own tracks. They were warned, repeatedly, that this was going to lead to war. They didn't want to listen. And now, they're saying that it wasn't about NATO expansion because they don't want to acknowledge they were warned that this would lead to crisis," Lieven argues. "That doesn't, of course, excuse Putin's invasion. We don't know what's going on in Putin's head, but we do know what the Russians have said repeatedly for almost thirty years."

On Putin's claim that the invasion was meant to end an ongoing "genocide" and to "demilitarize and denazify Ukraine," Lieven scoffs, describing some of the realities about the limited reach of the ultra-nationalist Azov Movement in Ukraine. "This is absolutely grotesque Russian propaganda, colossally exaggerated," he says, adding that the accusation about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish and lost family members to the Nazis during WWII "is unspeakably mendacious and grotesque. This is not Nazi-ism and this is not genocide. That is a lie on a truly monstrous scale by Putin."

As to his proposed plan for peace, and the difficult choices that will come with it for many in the West, as he detailed yesterday at the Quincy Institute, it largely comes down to an agreement where Ukraine declares neutrality (not unlike Austria did in the 1950s), which means they won't join NATO, but they also won't join an alliance with the eastern military bloc either; ceding Crimea and the eastern Donbass regions held by Russia-backed separatists before the war to the Russians (though internationally-observed referendums should be held by the citizens of each region and territory gained during the current crisis would be returned to Ukraine), and all of the Western sanctions on Russia, both before and during the war would be lifted. There is, of course, a bit more to it, but that seems to be the general contours.

I ask if Putin would accept such an agreement and whether it would be seen as rewarding him for his aggression. "If what you really care about is ending the war and saving the lives of Ukrainians, and eliminating the threat of nuclear annihilation, people need to say just what is wrong with an agreement along these lines," Lieven answers. "If this were offered and the Russians then refused it, and introduced new demands, like replacing the Ukrainian government, then we would know that Putin's ambitions went much further. And that, of course, would be totally illegitimate and a peace agreement would be impossible. But we don't know that until that has been offered."

"In international affairs, alas, you always have to mix some combination of respect for international law with respect for realities on the ground if you're not prepared to fight," he tells me. Or, as he quotes Robert A. Lovett, U.S. Defense Secretary from 1951 to 1953, at the beginning of his article laying out this roadmap: "Forget the cheese --- let's get out of the trap."

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Guest: Legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern on KBJ, the EPA, dark money in the federal judiciary and much more; Also: Latest good-ish news and bleak news out of Ukraine...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2022 6:34pm PT  

We continue the impossible balancing act on today's BradCast between coverage of the chilling news out of Ukraine and the somewhat less grim --- but still (mostly) grim --- news out of the federal judiciary in our own teetering democracy. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST, in our quick round-up of the latest developments in Russia's horrific assault against Ukraine:

  • Some good-ish news as the second round of peace talks results in a "possible temporary ceasefire" to establish humanitarian corridors in some areas of Ukraine to allow safe evacuation out of the country and for food and medical supplies to be brought in.
  • The UN says 1 million refugees have already fled Ukraine over the past week, a record for number to leave any nation that quickly this century. But, they warn, the number of displaced residents could rise to more than 4 million, and potentially as high as 10 million as the unspeakable violence continues.
  • More good-ish news in that the Pentagon has reportedly established a direct line of communication with the Russian defense ministry. The so-called "de-confliction line" has been established "for the purpose of preventing miscalculation, military incidents, and escalation," as AP is reporting.
  • The International Criminal Court is said to have opened an investigation into Russian war crimes and atrocities.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron, after a "not-so-friendly" call with Vladimir Putin, reports "the worst is yet to come" in the conflict.
  • According to its Mayor, Russian troops have finally taken control of a major city in Ukraine, the city of Kherson on the Black Sea near Crimea. Russian troops are said to be "laying siege" to the key nearby Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pleading for more international assistance and calling on NATO to establish a no-fly zone over the country. That, however, would directly pull both U.S. and NATO into direct military conflict with Russia, sparking WWIII in the bargain.
  • And, in the U.S. House on Wednesday, a bipartisan, non-binding resolution "Supporting the people of Ukraine" and its sovereign territory, condemning Russia, was approved by an overwhelming 426 to 3 vote. The three members voting against were all Republicans: Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Matt Rosendale of Montana. The explanations from all three are appalling.

NEXT, it's back to U.S. news focused on the federal judiciary, with the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist at Slate, who, on the day that Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court back in January, told us that his "likely" successor would be Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Last week, she was nominated by President Biden to the High Court.

Among the many court-related matters discussed with Stern today (including several of them in a lightning round, as we tried to catch up with a boatload of news that has otherwise been overshadowed by the war in Eastern Europe)...

  • His thoughts on Judge Jackson, why he predicted back in January that she'd be nominated, what difference she can make on the GOP's stolen and packed Court, and what, if any, roadblocks may stand in the way of her confirmation as the first black woman to sit as a Justice.
  • This week's SCOTUS hearing on West Virginia v. EPA, a challenge by "red" states and the fossil fuel industry to President Obama's Clean Power Plan (which never went into effect) and Trump's subsequent program that replaced it (which was rolled back by the Court and also never went into effect). So why did the GOP's stolen and packed SCOTUS shock Court watchers by deciding to hear this case at all, since nobody has actually been harmed in any way? We discuss. But it's about not only gutting the EPA's statutory ability in the near future to regulate greenhouse gas emissions causing our deadly climate crisis, but also about undermining regulatory actions by all Executive Branch agencies (at least when a Democrat is in control of them.)
  • While the role of dark money in campaigns and elections is fairly well understood, how dark money affects appointments to the federal judiciary and the cases they hear is much less appreciated. Stern explains some of the many ways this has poisoned the U.S. judicial system.
  • Last week, SCOTUS turned away a challenge to Maine's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, filed by plaintiffs seeking a religious exemption. Why has the Court been allowing some state and local mandates to proceed, even without religious exemptions, while blocking others imposed by the Biden Administration? Stern explains.
  • Remember that 2018 decision by SCOTUS regarding a baker who didn't want to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple in Colorado? His bigotry was allowed, but for largely technical reasons. Now the Court has decided to hear yet another challenge to Colorado's anti-discrimination law from a woman who is considering expanding her web design business to create wedding sites. But, if she does, she doesn't want to create them for same sex weddings, in violation of CO's law. Stern explains that idiocy as well.
  • And, finally, in perhaps the most insane court story we discuss today, this one out of the far-right 5th federal Circuit. The lede from Stern's coverage at Salon this week should give you a taste of just how insane it actually is: "On Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stunning decision transferring control over the Navy’s special operations forces from the commander in chief to a single federal judge in Texas. The 5th Circuit’s decision marks an astonishing infringement of President Joe Biden’s constitutional authority over the nation’s armed forces, directing him to follow the instructions of an unelected judge—rather than his own admirals—in deploying [Navy] SEALs. High-ranking military personnel have testified under oath that this power grab constitutes a direct threat to the Navy’s operational abilities. As Russia invades Ukraine and declares a nuclear alert, Donald Trump’s judges are actively threatening America’s national security."

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for an only slightly less insane Green News Report: On Biden's SOTU, on Russia's oil and gas industry getting pummeled because of its attack on Ukraine; and some VERY encouraging news about wind energy...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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