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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 21, 2024
Sunday 'Popcorn Ready' Toons
THIS WEEK: Stormy outlook ... Abortion wrongs ... American values ... Earth Day ... And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
Bad Climate News for Home, Car Owners; Good Labor News for Workers in the South: 'BradCast' 4/18/24
Also: Jury seated in NY; NV okays abortion initiative; OH Repubs block Biden from ballot...
'Green News Report' 4/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deluge in Dubai; Climate impacts to cost trillions per year; New lightbulb efficiency standards; PLUS: Biden Admin cracks down on toxic silica dust to protect workers' lungs...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/24 - 4/11/24 - Archives...
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
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...


New RNC Chair suggests Ukraine a U.S. enemy; GA Lt. Guv facing fake elector probe; OH, AL may keep Biden off ballot; Fox 'News' hides AZ abortion ruling, then Hannity blames Dems; Liberal WI Justice to retire...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2024 6:49pm PT  

Desperate times, desperate measures and all that that entails on today's BradCast. Plus, we've got several pieces of long-overdue and wildly under-reported very good news as well. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • Yes, Donald Trump's newly hand-picked RNC Chair Michael Whatley really did argue this week that America's enemies include Ukraine and charged that the President's "feckless leadership" encourages them to "meddle with our elections here." He also mentioned China and Iran as U.S. adversaries, but failed to say a word about Russia.
  • Gun safety advocates --- which is to say, the vast majority of Americans --- have been hoping for years to see the so-called "gun show loophole" to avoid background checks closed. Today, after a lengthy rule-making process by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) following passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in 2022, President Biden and the Dept. of Justice announced they are finally doing it. "This is going to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons," said Biden in a statement today. His Attorney General, Merrick Garland, who signed off on the rule on Thursday, told reporters: "Under this regulation, it will not matter if guns are sold on the Internet, at a gun show or in a brick and mortar store. If you sell guns [you] must conduct background checks."
  • Last week it was Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, and now Alabama's is warning Democrats that he may not allow Joe Biden on the state's ballot this November because the Democratic National Convention falls several days after state ballot deadlines. Both Secretaries of State had previously opposed Trump's removal from the ballot in Colorado due to the state Supreme Court's finding that he violated the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause". And both OH and AL allowed Donald Trump on their state's ballots in 2020 despite the Republican National Convention being convened after each state's statutory deadlines that year. Are Republicans really that desperate?
  • In 2022, Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis was disqualified from criminally investigating Georgia's Lt. Governor Burt Jones, who aided Trump's attempt to steal the Peach State's 2020 election as a "fake elector". Willis was blocked because she had hosted a fund-raiser for a political rival of Jones. Now, two years later, a former Republican D.A. in the state, Pete Skandalakis, who was tasked with naming an alternate prosecutor to probe Jones --- and sued for taking so long to do it --- has finally named a replacement. Himself.
  • The rightwing propagandists at Fox "News" are definitely getting desperate following the all-Republican Arizona Supreme Court's ruling this week that reinstates an 1864 territorial law mandating a near-total ban on abortion in the state. On Tuesday, the day the ruling was handed down, not one of the rightwing propaganda outlet's evening prime-time stars even discussed it on their shows. That day, the topic was discussed for just 12 minutes across three different Fox programs earlier in the day, as compared to more than two-hours each of coverage on both CNN and MSNBC that same day and night. The next day, on Wednesday, Sean Hannity decided the 160-year old law should now be overturned and blamed the AZ Court's wildly unpopular decision --- and the predicament it offers to both women in the state and Republican candidates around the country --- on Arizona's Democratic Governor and Attorney General (who opposed the ruling.)
  • After the most expensive state Supreme Court race in U.S. history last year, resulting in liberals retaking a majority on Wisconsin's high court for the first time in 15 years, the longest serving member of its now-liberal majority, 73-year old Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, announced she will not run for another 10-year term next year as previously planned. Thursday's decision by the popular, longtime jurist offers a chance for rightwingers to retake control of the Court in the state's 2025 Spring election. They will have to defend seats on the Court in both 2026 and 2027 thereafter. So, if they don't win next year, they won't get another chance at winning back a majority until 2028. The stakes could hardly be higher.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more wildly under-reported good news on the Biden EPA's new rules to end deadly airborne pollution from chemical plants pollution and cancer-causing PFAS "forever chemicals" in our drinking water. It's about damn time. She's got still more good --- and not so good --- news in today's report as well...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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How the U.S. has fallen prey to a decade-long Russian intel op; Also: Lindell owes $5 million for 2020 'election data' challenge; Media ignore good Biden polling amid ill-considered bids to replace him...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2024 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As of this week, if it wasn't clear before (and, obviously, for many, it was not) it is now clearer than ever that the U.S., its corporate media, the Republican Party, its front-runner for the 2024 Presidential nomination (and, sadly, even too many on the "left"), have all fallen prey --- knowingly or unknowingly (it doesn't really matter) --- to a wildly successful, decade-long Russian intel op. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

From the Hillary emails in 2016 to the Hunter Biden laptop in 2020 to the Biden Burisma "bribery" allegations that fell apart so spectacularly this week with the arrest of the man who House GOPers cited as the lynch-pin for their entire Revenge Impeachment case against President Biden, it turns out it was all part of a wildly successful foreign campaign to divide and threaten American political system.

Turns out Alexander Smirnov, that guy with the false Burisma claims about the Bidens, apparently got it all from Russian intel operatives who have, for the past ten years, been pushing all of these phony narratives straight out from the Kremlin through various useful idiots, onto the set of Fox "News" and the rest of the rightwing media, into the mouth of the disgraced former President, and straight through to the hearing rooms of the U.S. Congress where it was shared --- either knowing or unknowingly (it doesn't really matter) --- by GOP dupes.

It's quite an extraordinary success story, in truth. For Vladimir Putin. And a shameful failure of our corporate mainstream media to even notice much of it happening in real time. They also played the role of useful idiots when it counted the most over much of the past decade and right on up until today.

Josh Marshall described it as "A Bigger Story Than You Can Possibly Imagine" this week, and I believe he is correct. Much more on all of that --- and Putin's deadly rise --- on today's program.

ALSO TODAY...

  • MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is not only an election denier and grifter. He also won't pay off a bet. In 2021, Lindell claimed to have obtained "irrefutable" evidence that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump by China over the Internet. His evidence was Internet data packets that he claims to have obtained from a "whistleblower". He offered $5 million to anyone who could prove the data wasn't from the election. A two-time Trump voter did so in 2022. The data, he proved, was nothing but junk. But Mike wouldn't pay up the $5 million he offered via his "Prove Mike Wrong" challenge. A private arbitration panel agreed the man was owed the money. Cheap chiseler Mike still wouldn't pay. This week, a federal judge ordered him to do so.
  • Corporate media spend a lot of time focusing on Joe Biden's bad polling numbers against Donald Trump. This week, a new survey by Quinnipiac University, a major pollster, found Biden beating Trump among registered voters nationally by 4 points. So Politico covered the new survey with this headline: "Poll: Nearly 70 percent of voters say Biden is too old to serve again".
  • Is it any wonder so many on the left are still under the misguided impression that someone, anyone, who knows who?, but certainly someone, should replace Joe Biden on the 2024 ballot! Because that unidentified someone would certainly have a better chance of defeating Donald Trump this year! Well, even if there was evidence of Biden not running this year (there isn't), recent polling doesn't even back up the assertion that other Dems would do better against Trump than Biden would. But, hey, if you've got a realistic scenario to replace Joe Biden that won't result in a second Trump Presidency, please feel free to email me! I'd love to hear it and maybe even share it with listeners!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as SCOTUS seems set to gut yet another landmark environmental protection; A bizarre winter heat wave slams Japan; and the Biden Administration continues moving forward with its historic effort to replace all of the nation's toxic lead water pipes...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 2/1/2024 11:07am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Saudi Arabia ditches plans to expand oil production; Millions of Americans at risk of dangerous chemical train derailments, new study finds; European Union to phase out polluting heavy duty diesel trucks by 2040; PLUS: Biden Dept. of Energy issues new efficiency rules for natural gas stoves... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): "Nobody and nowhere will be safe": Experts say we can't hide from climate change; Mexico City residents protest 'unprecedented' water shortages; Electrified transport investment soared globally in ’23, passing renewable energy; New York State first in nation to protect birds, insects from neonic pesticides; California counties sue Tesla over hazardous waste; Environmentalists hail Nevada Supreme Court ruling on water management and massive real estate development; U.S. will pay to add solar panels to hospitals, schools after disasters... PLUS: Plug-in hybrids vs. electric cars: We did the math on which is better for you... and much, MUCH more! ...

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'Support' from 'tens of millions' deceived by Trump/Fox 'News' propaganda doesn't justify support for an authoritarian scoundrel...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/27/2024 9:35am PT  

An extraordinarily absurd moment occurred during the past week's "Showdown for U.S. Senate Debate" between California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Republican former major league baseball player, Steve Garvey. The debate was conducted on KTTV Fox 11, the Southern California local affiliate of the Rupert Murdoch-controlled Fox Corp.

In an unsuccessful effort to persuade an evasive and reluctant Garvey to unreservedly state his intent to vote for Donald Trump this year, Fox 11 anchor, Elex Michaelson asked...

There are tens of millions of people that support Donald Trump. Polls show that California Republicans, he's supported by two thirds...There are a lot of people in this country that love Donald Trump and think he was a great President. What's your view?

The answer to that question may have been a difficult one for the former Dodger. After all, Trump is wildly unpopular among California voters who will vote in the March 5 open primary, even if very popular among the state's small --- and shrinking --- GOP electorate. Garvey hemmed and hawed to avoid answering. "Once a Dodger always a Dodger," quipped Porter at one point in the debate.

But, while the case could be made that Michaelson's question aided Democrats by cornering Garvey, the way he did so was absurd, even before Garvey's evasive response. The question itself recalled some graffiti I once saw on a bathroom wall while an undergrad at UCLA in 1971. It read: "Eat shit. Ten billion flies can't all be wrong."

A somewhat less crude analogy can be found in Germany. The fact that, in 1934, the vast majority of that nation's 66 million people adored a man named Adolf Hitler in no way provides a reason for any objective observer to support that genocidal tyrant.

It's especially troubling that KTTV's parent company is largely responsible for creating an alternative reality --- an Orwellian netherworld --- in which a large swath of the U.S. electorate now resides. The netherworld's residents include many of those "tens of millions of people," cited by Michaelson.

Deception, openly deployed not only by Trump and his Congressional Republican enablers, but also endorsed and amplified by Fox "News", provides the core reason why "tens of millions" of Americans, including two thirds of California Republicans, continue to irrationally support a Hitler-admiring demagogue, who called for "terminating" the U.S. Constitution...

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About that 2024 GOP Caucus 'landslide'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/19/2024 10:35am PT  

The headline from Fox "News" typified what passes for "coverage" in right-wing media: "Trump wins massive victory in Iowa". That contrasts sharply with The BradCast's headline: "Trump Underwhelms in Iowa".

One core factor in analyzing the significance of either a Caucus or Primary Election is voter enthusiasm, as reflected by turnout.

Even when the especially harsh winter conditions are taken into consideration, the turnout for Iowa's 2024 Republican Caucuses must be regarded as dismal. The number of votes cast, 110,298 --- down from nearly 187,000 in 2016 --- represents less than 5.3% of Iowa's 2,083,979 registered voters.

The 56,260 ballots cast for Donald Trump represented a meager 7.8% of Iowa's 718,901 registered Republicans.

The 51% Trump received in the 2024 Iowa Caucus is only 3 points greater than the 48% Lyndon B. Johnson, a then incumbent President, received in the 1968 New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary. LBJ's opponent, Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN), received 42%. Johnson's narrow "win" in NH was followed by his decision to drop out of the race.

And while the 21,085 votes that third place finisher Nikki Haley received was also minuscule, any objective observer should not ignore a poll revealing that 43% of Halley Republican voters said that, if Trump became the nominee, they would vote for President Joseph R. Biden in the general election.

So which is it --- "massive victory" or "underwhelming"?

* * *
Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, and Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). He previously served as a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. Canning has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing

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Warning from a top conservative federal judge; Far-right electoral victories in Argentina, Netherlands; Trump threatens use of Insurrection Act; Biden invokes DPA to save climate...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2023 6:20pm PT  

The warning signs continue to blink bright red after the holiday on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among those warnings...

  • Well-respected, very conservative former federal Judge Michael Luttig warns: "If American democracy was on a knife's edge on January 6, 2021, today it is teetering on that knife's edge [and] in greater peril today than it's ever been in American history." He argues that a second term for the former President would be "catastrophic".
  • TPM's David Kurtz: "The Rule Of Law Is The Only Thing That Matters In 2024"
  • The warning signs are coming from abroad as well, with the "impossible" electoral victory a week ago Sunday of far-right "libertarian" Javier Milei as Argentina's new President and the "massive shock win" and "stunning lurch to the far right" for The Netherlands with last Wednesday's victory for Geert Wilders' extreme right party in Dutch parliamentary elections. Both are wild-haired versions of our own former President, who gleefully celebrated their electoral victories. Both are extreme anti-immigrant, anti-government populists --- to put it very nicely.
  • Here at home, Donald Trump remains the GOP front-runner for the 2024 nomination (though Nikki Haley received a major boost today from the billionaires of the Koch Network), and continues to ratchet up his own far-right authoritarian threats, including with his promised domestic deployment of the U.S. Military under the Insurrection Act should voters of this nation prove foolish and self-defeating enough to allow him a second term next year.
  • Meanwhile, our current President, continues to use his powers for good instead of evil, including a new Biden Administration invocation of the Defense Production Act to boost domestic manufacturing of clean, efficient residential and business heat pump technology to replace dirty fossil fuel-burning furnaces and low-efficiency AC systems. The $169 million program, according to the Department of Energy, "will help families and businesses save money with efficient heating and cooling technology...create thousands of high-quality, good-paying manufacturing jobs and strengthen America's energy supply chain, while creating healthier indoor spaces through home-grown clean energy technologies." It is all part of a program to encourage more efficient appliances that "will save Americans $570 billion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.4 billion metric tons over the next 30 years." So, little wonder Fox "News" is furious about it.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as world leaders descend upon Dubai for the latest annual United Nations climate conference (COP28) on the heels of a number of startling new reports warning that the globe will soon blow past targets set at previous conferences. This one is being hosted by the petro-state of the United Arab Emirates. What could possibly go wrong?

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Rich Logis on his escape from years in the 'cult' of Trump; Also: Biden in Israel; House GOP fails again to elect Jordan as Speaker...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2023 7:05pm PT  

I hope you'll tune in for my fascinating, informative conversation on today's BradCast with a man who spent years as a self-identified "Ultra-MAGA" --- he voted in both 2016 and 2020 for Trump and had more than a dozen Trump hats and shirts to prove it. He is now working to rebuild his life after finally escaping the "cult" to become what he describes as a "born-again human being". [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, however, the latest news from the Israel-Hamas war and the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Gaza, including Biden's trip to Israel and his warning about mistakes made by the U.S. when reacting out of rage following 9/11. There is also encouraging news today that Israel and Egypt will allow some 20 truckloads of desperately needed humanitarian aid into Gaza, following the bombing of a hospital on Tuesday which Israel claims to be the work of a terrorist group allied with Hamas. Both dispute the evidence presented by Israel, who they blame for the tragedy that took hundreds of civilian lives.

Also, in his remarks from Tel Aviv, the President announced the U.S. will be sending some $100 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza, which presumably he will discuss more in a prime-time Oval Office address now set for Thursday night. It's unclear whether that money is already available to the White House or whether Congress will be needed to allocate it. If so, it may take a while...

The House GOP failed yet again on Wednesday to elect a new Speaker after deposing their previous one two weeks ago. In this week's second try, Ohio Republican Jim Jordan received even more GOP votes against him than he did on the first ballot on Tuesday. The House remains all but shut down now until Republicans can agree on a new Speaker or until Democrats decide to save them again. That is apparently becoming more of a possibility with each passing hour as the mess continues and as a government shutdown looms on November 17.

None of this comes as a surprise to those of us who have covered --- and have been warning about --- the Republican Party's long descent into madness and chaos over the years. It didn't begin with Trump by a long shot, but the manipulation by the narcissistic egomaniac and the rightwing media outlets which fostered it have left millions of otherwise well-meaning Americans in the MAGA lurch, as our guest today details.

RICH LOGIS was formerly a rightwing pundit and dyed-in-the-wool Trumper. He even wrote for the The Federalist Society. As he recently explained in Newsweek, he was a "four-time Donald Trump voter (twice in the primaries, and twice in the general elections)" and voted for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in both the primary and general election in 2018. "And I am here to tell you that I was wrong about all of it," he now concedes.

Today he joins us on the program to explain both how he was sucked into MAGA World before the 2016 election and what it finally took to shake him out of it in 2021, after years of damage that his obsession with Trump caused to both his family and friendships.

As a reformed "Ultra-MAGA," Logis tells me today that, as I was introducing my conversation with him, he was "thinking to myself, I cannot believe that I actually thought so much of that."

In short --- and none of this will do it justice, so please tune in to listen to our conversation --- his "skepticism of the two-party system" was the initial reason he was attracted to Trump. He notes that he says "none of this as a self defense," but being drawn in he allowed himself "to be influenced by many others, which is why that rabbit hole kept getting deeper and deeper for me as I stayed in MAGA."

He describes the "really toxic, perfect storm and amalgam of factors" that initially sucked him in. "It was a confluence of factors that all aligned themselves --- between Trump being brash, not giving a you-know-what, my dislike of the two-party system, those I was around who were influencing me --- and I came to conclude, and I know that it's going to really sound illogical, the more and more that I was around others who were in the MAGA world, in the rightwing world, the more I came to conclude that the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton needed to be stopped. Because, if they won the election, they would never lose another election ever again. And anyone who was not a Democrat was going to be rendered irrelevant in their own country. If someone really believes that, as I genuinely believed that, that person will support anyone or anything."

Logis, as you'll hear, is anything but an uneducated rube. So how could he fall victim to what he now describes as "a cult"? He tells me that "when I woke up in the morning, I thought about MAGA. I went through my day thinking about MAGA. I went to bed thinking about MAGA. God knows I probably dreamt about MAGA. And then I got up the next day and did it all over again. It was all-consuming for me. And the more I was involved in the MAGA world, the more I came to see, and believe and conclude, that I and we in MAGA were on the correct side of history, and everybody else was on the wrong side of history."

In 2021, however, as DeSantis took a right turn regarding COVID, something began to give way for Logis, as you will hear him detail, along with how he was finally able to crawl his way out of the rabbit hole.

"One of the strategies I enacted, which is so simple," he explains, "I began to diversify my information sources. I lowered the defense mechanism of the black-and-white world of MAGA, which was that everything in the national press is out to get us. I started to realize, and very painfully, that so many of the rightwing mythologies that I believed, were actually the exact opposite. The Democrats were not coming for our guns. They were not trying to replace white people. They were not trying to render anyone who was a Republican or a conservative irrelevant in their own nation."

There is much more, of course, as discussed. But Logis has, since becoming a "born-again human being," formed Perfect Our Union, "an organization dedicated to healing political traumatization" and "building diverse, pro-democracy alliances" and writes for many outlets, including progressive ones like Daily Kos, where he is known as "@Leaving MAGA".

He offers advice today on how to approach your own friends and family members who may be similarly brainwashed by the MAGA cult, and explains that while he is now a registered independent, he plans to vote for Democrats for the foreseeable future because "MAGA must be electorally defeated."

"The Republican Party is a party in name only. They are a MAGA Party. That is a party that must be electorally mercy-killed so we can then enable responsible Republicans to think about how they're going to come back and rebuild that Republican Party."

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Also: One step forward, two steps back in Gaza; No steps forward in GOP House Speaker debacle...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2023 6:43pm PT  

Global chaos continues today on The BradCast, in Gaza, in elections around the world, in the U.S. House and, of course, for our worsening climate crisis. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Our coverage today includes...

  • ISRAEL V. HAMAS: Some encouraging news last night, after an apparent diplomatic breakthrough on opening up the Gaza Strip to humanitarian aid seemed possible following days of shuttle diplomacy by U.S. Sec. of State Antony Blinken and some nine hours of marathon negotiations with Israel's P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu. The effort, reportedly at the direction of President Biden, resulted in the announcement that he would be visiting Tel Aviv on Wednesday --- a first for a U.S. President during war time --- for a meeting with Netanyahu, followed by meetings with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in Jordan. The last part of that encouraging news may have begun to disintegrate with the late Tuesday bombing of a hospital in Gaza, said to have killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children. Hamas blames Israel. Israel blames Hamas. The innocent people of Gaza pay the price.
  • DEMOCRACY V. AUTOCRACY: There were elections both in the U.S. and several nations around the world over the weekend. In three of the four cases --- Louisiana, Ecuador and New Zealand --- the news was not good for small "d" democrats (or capital "D" democrats in Louisiana), as voters chose rightwingers to displace progressives (or conservative Democrats in Louisiana). But don't forget about Poland! There the news was far better in a nation which has had a front-row seat to the existential battle against fascism, as it borders both democratic Ukraine and Vladimir Putin's authoritarian Russia. Polish voters, in record numbers, voted out the ruling far-right party in favor of opposition centrist and progressive parties led by former EU President Donald Tusk. Good news indeed in perhaps the weekend's most important election.
  • U.S. HOUSE CHAOS: After winning his party's nomination to become House Speaker last week, election denialist and far-right Ohio Republican Jim Jordan was unable to win the 217 vote majority from his own caucus in the first round of voting on the House floor on Tuesday after GOP hard-liners deposed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy two weeks ago, and then refused to support the winner of the private caucus election that nominated Steve Scalise last week. Republicans no longer recognize elections as valid, unless they win them. As TPM's Josh Marshall recently wrote, regarding the election denialism Republicans invented to try and steal elections from Democrats in 2020, "It’s like the virus had escaped the lab. It wasn’t just Freedom Caucus weirdos anymore. It's now treated as a given that caucus elections are purely advisory or essentially meaningless." Or, as TAP's David Dayen quipped last week, while asserting that the internecine House GOP chaos "could really go on indefinitely" and that the lack of a House Speaker actually matters to millions of Americans (including you this Thanksgiving), "In the Future, Everyone Will Be Speaker for 15 Minutes."
  • CLIMATE REALITY AND LIES: Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the Mississippi River hits records lows amid drought, along with rivers in the Brazilian Amazon Basin; Exxon Mobil makes a huge investment to expand its deadly fossil fuel production, even as climate change ravages bees, beer, coffee and chocolate; and years-long GOP lies about China taking no action on climate change are exposed as lies yet again...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Media woefully misleads on Biden and the border wall; AL to finally add second Black-majority House district; September heat 'gobsmackingly bananas'; Prez warns democracy in peril in perfectly normal interview...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2023 6:40pm PT  

Good news, bad news, news about shamefully misreported news, and something that's as close to "normal" news as we are able to find these days. All on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

THE GOOD NEWS: After two years and countless shameful losses in federal courts --- including twice at the U.S. Supreme Court --- Republican Alabama lawmakers are finally forced to follow the Constitution and Rule of Law by adding a second U.S. House District where Black voters may be able to elect a representative of their own choosing for the first time in state history. (Similar fights continue, however, in other states, such as South Carolina, Texas, Florida...)

THE BAD NEWS: September heat records around the globe were literally off-the-charts. Or, as climate scientist Zeke Hausfather recently described it, "absolutely gobsmackingly bananas". Is last month's alarming spike, completely blowing away some 80 years of temperature anomalies, temporary or here to stay? We discuss.

THE SHAMEFULLY MISREPORTED NEWS: Yes, the Biden Administration will be building some 17 miles of new border wall in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. No, it's not because Biden has "hypocritically reversed" his position on physical barriers or now agrees with Donald Trump (as Fox "News", Trump and too many actual news outlets have also been misleading reporting today). Rather, it is because the Administration is required to do so under the 2019 appropriations bill passed by Congress during the Trump Administration. Yes, the Biden Administration believes they must follow the Rule of Law, whether they agree with it or not. Crazy. The number of media outlets rewriting their originally misleading stories today would be hilarious, had the initial versions of those stories not been so woefully irresponsible.

SOMETHING CLOSE TO 'NORMAL' NEWS: We'll call it "The Old Normal". A U.S. President who is running for re-election next year sits down for a one-on-one interview with an actual journalists and answers many questions. No threats are issued. Nobody is attacked. In fact, no huge news is broken. But the electorate becomes better informed so they can hopefully cast an educated vote next year. We share the bulk of that interview because few others will bother to do so. And, yes, the perfectly reasonable conversation touches on our ongoing threats to democracy in America and around the world, and what can be done about the menace of looming political violence by rightwing MAGA extremists and their authoritarian cult leader. Seems important.

OUR LATEST GREEN NEWS REPORT: Desi Doyen has more today on the September heat records freaking out climate scientists; Antarctica's missing sea ice; a very weird turn against climate policies by Britain's Prime Minister; and the refusal by Big Oil and Gas to spend even an infinitesimal amount of their massive profits to permanently stop deadly, climate warming methane leaks...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With smart special guests Heather Digby Parton of Salon and 'Driftglass' of 'The Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2023 5:20pm PT  

Woah, Nelly! Today's BradCast may arguably be both the dumbest and most fun ever! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The subject material --- Wednesday night's ridiculous GOP 2024 "Presidential Primary Debate" (if it's even worth calling it that) at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library out here in Simi Valley, California --- is what makes it dumb.

It featured seven "candidates" --- former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, supposed businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum --- but not the much-indicted guy who Republicans apparently intend, for now, to actually nominate for the job next year.

Our excellent special coverage panelists --- award-winning blogger and columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and "DRIFTGLASS" of the Professional Left Podcast from "Flyover Country, Illinois" --- are what make it fun.

Hear Digby discuss the GOP's "Bizarro World alternet universe" and the "big orange elephant in the room"! Hear Driftglass explain the "Doomsday machine with no off switch" and "the smelly wet sock of the mainstream media"! Also, Doug Burgum!

To paraphrase Haley last night, hearing us today may help you "feel a little bit dumber." I'd tell you more, but that would ruin all the fun...and most of the dumbness! Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Dan Froomkin of Press Watch; Also: Dems win, outperform in PA, NH special elections; PA Guv begins automatic voter registration...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2023 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Given the disastrous chaos of The Former Guy's previous term in office and the 91 criminal felony charges he is now facing in four different jurisdictions, it seems impossible to fathom that he'd be, essentially, tied in 2024 polling against one of the most effective President's in U.S. history. There's a number of reasons for that. Few of them are the ones the disinformed MAGA knuckleheads have been hoaxed into buying into. But one of the big reasons, according to our guest today, is years of unrelenting failure by the U.S. media. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up today, however, some encouraging news out of special elections held on Tuesday for state legislatures in two critical swing-states, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. In both cases the Democratic candidate won. In NH, Hal Rafter flipped a seat in the state House previously held by a Republican, putting Dems just one seat shy of evenly splitting control with the GOP in a state where Republicans have held a governing trifecta for several years.

In PA, Democrat Lindsay Powell easily won a safely "blue" seat in Pittsburgh. But, in both cases, Democrats continued to massively outperformed their 2020 numbers in the very same districts, continuing the party's winning streak during special elections since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

The outlook may be brighter still for democracy fans in Pennsylvania next year, as newly elected Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro announced, on Tuesday, a program to begin automatic voter registration at the Dept of Transportation offices this week whenever residents show up for a new or renewed drivers license or ID. The battleground state has an estimated 1.6 million eligible but unregistered voters and Shapiro's pro-democracy program, supported by his own, hand-picked Republican Sec. of State, is long overdue in the Keystone State. Anti-democracy, pro-authoritarian Republicans in the state legislature, of course, are furious about it. They believe the more they can restrict access to the polls, the better they will perform.

Increased participation is always a healthy thing for democracy. But, ironically enough, American journalists are likely to be very careful about reporting that fact for fear of being tagged as appearing "partisan". That, even though automatic voter registration is equally applied to potential voters of any (or no) political party. But, as increased turnout is perceived as good for Democrats, many journalists are cowed into pulling punches when covering such issues.

Of course, it's that sort of failure by U.S. corporate media that results in absurdly "tied" pre-election polling for the 2024 Presidential election, and in other polls like the one we covered on yesterday's program finding Americans split 50/50 on whether the evidence-free Republican impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden is based on legitimate evidence or is politically motivated.

We're joined today by longtime journalist and media critic DAN FROOMKIN, who wrote the popular online "White House Watch" column for years at Washington Post before moving to Huff Post and then The Intercept before establishing his nonprofit Press Watch newsletter.

Last last month, Froomkin penned an important piece headlined "A desperate appeal to newsroom leaders on the eve of a chaos election". He explained that he was hoping to reach newsroom execs in advance of "another potentially cataclysmic election in 2024 --- arguably the most perilous in American history." Despite the previously unimaginable events of the last nearly ten years, wrote Froomkin, corporate media outlets "continue to engage in the same business-as-usual that got us here in the first place."

In hopes of reaching some of those newsroom leaders before it's too late, Froomkin spoke with several dozen journalists, media critics, academics and historians on what America's newsrooms can and should change in their approach to political coverage in advance of next year's critical elections.

We discuss a number of those expert responses today on everything from the necessity of picking "the right frame" in reporting on democracy rather than the "horse-race"; on "not the odds but the stakes" in next year's race; the need for journalists, not politicians, to "set the agenda" during interviews; the "importance of context" in reporting on the contest in a way that informs the public beyond a simple "left versus right" lens; "what not to do" and how the press needs to stand up for itself, and for journalism as a whole, against attacks from the increasingly authoritarian right.

None of this, in fact, is a partisan matter. Though the Republican Party, over the years --- even before the rise of Donald Trump --- has successfully cowed American news outlets into behaving as if it is, and subsequently pulling punches to the ultimate benefit of the GOP, even as democracy itself has become increasingly endangered by media dysfunction and disinformation.

Today, Froomkin cites Trump's victory in 2016 as the moment when the corporate media should have realized how dangerous their failures had become. But, he argues, "they didn't really change. Fundamentally, they're still adopting rightwing frames, they're still not rebutting misinformation with the enthusiasm that they should. They're still doing the horse-race journalism which allows them to be gamed by politicians, especially on the right."

"The press has a blind eye towards Biden's successes and is focused instead on whatever the Republicans are talking about, which is impeachment and Hunter Biden these days," he tells me, even as the GOP can't even agree amongst itself on a spending package to keep the entire federal government open and operating past next week. "There's massive dysfunction on the right, and unfortunately the media feels like when it reports that, it's being biased, it's being liberal. And if, God forbid, it should write anything nice about Biden, then it would definitely be accused of being liberal."

Please tune in for our conversation today and --- as importantly --- I hope some in the media (especially in the executive suites) do as well. By the way, Froomkin has a great idea for the misbegotten CNN and how they could, if they were smart under their new CEO, "become the anti-Fox/pro-truth network".

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Unspeakable Libya death toll; Record global heat; Hunter Biden charged; Hurricane Lee; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2023 7:03pm PT  

It's still kind of hilarious that the Republican Speaker of the House this week, in announcing an impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden for...(fill in actual crime here when available)...described the Democratic President as "the picture of a culture of corruption". It's particularly amusing given the bulk of today's news on The BradCast. [Audio link to full show follow below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The unspeakable death toll from flooding in Libya is now expected to be in the tens of thousands as bodies line the streets in the eastern coastal town of Derna, where 16 inches of rain fell in one day over the weekend resulting in the collapse of two dams. Given some of the horrifying new numbers from Berkeley Earth this week, however, suggesting that the planet has a good chance of exceeding the 1.5 degree Celsius increase of warming since pre-industrial times which the Paris Climate Agreement seeks to avoid, we could be in for many more such horrific disasters in the years ahead.
  • Following a nearly 5-year probe by a Trump appointed U.S. Attorney and a recently failed plea agreement, Hunter Biden was charged today with 3 felony counts related to using illegal narcotics while buying a gun. These are crimes which almost nobody is ever charged with, especially when they have never fired or even loaded the gun, which Hunter reportedly had for only 11 days. But that must be a part of the "special preferential treatment" the President's son has received, if you hear Republicans tell it. Try not to laugh.
  • The state judge overseeing the sprawling, 41-count racketeering conspiracy indictment [PDF] against the former President of the United States, Donald Trump and his 18 co-conspirators for their attempts to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, has determined that all 19 defendants will not be tried in a single group beginning in October, as Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis had sought. So far, former Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell will stand trial next month, but a trial date for all of the others will be set later, likely for some time next year --- if a slot when Trump isn't standing trial on felony charges in three other jurisdictions can be found.
  • The civil trial Trump faces --- along with his two eldest sons, his company and two top executives --- via New York state Attorney General Letitia James, for falsely and unlawfully inflating his company's net worth by billions of dollars in order to fraudulently receive bank loans and other benefits, begins on October 2. Just mentioning that since it seems few others are doing so these days for some reason.
  • The Fox Corporation was sued yet again this week, related to the knowing lies Fox "News" told about the 2020 election being "rigged". The latest suit comes courtesy of New York City's huge pension funds. They charge neglect of corporate duty to protect shareholders by opening themselves up to defamation suits like the one from Dominion Voting Systems. That one cost the pretend news outlet $787.5 million to settle earlier this year. The state of Oregon, on behalf of their public employee retirement fund, has joined the suit. All of which begs the question as to why anybody's money is actually invested in a company known, for years. to be as corrupt as Fox. I might suggest that those whose retirement funds are being handled by NYC and Oregon (and elsewhere) demand the funds pull their money from similarly irresponsible and corrupt corporations --- such as the major fossil fuel companies --- before they too face the huge financial liabilities that await them.
  • Are Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his fellow corrupt Republicans in the state's obscenely gerrymandered Legislature blinking in their recent threats to impeach newly-seated state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz before she has even heard a case? The High Court's new liberal majority will soon be hearing two citizen petitions challenging the GOP's corrupt state district maps, which have ensured Republican majorities in both the Assembly and Senate for most of the past decade. But this week, just after state Dems announced a $4 million ad buy to let voters in the Badger State known what Republicans are up to in advance of 2024, Vos floated a new legislative "deal" to create new maps. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers immediately rejected the proposal as "bogus". We explain.
  • Remember that Kentucky County Clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples back in 2015? Kim Davis will now have to pay one of those couples $100,000 for having refused to do so, according to a decision this week by a federal jury.
  • Ken Paxton, the unspeakably corrupt Texas state Attorney General and close Trump ally who is facing trial in the Republican-dominated state Senate on 20 articles of impeachment brought by the state's Republican-dominated House this week, may have dodged at least one bullet. A last-minute deal was struck between the opposing attorneys to skip testimony from Paxton's mistress on Wednesday. She's the one who was given a job by a Paxton donor to make it easier for them to continue their secret affair. The impeachment trial of the state's top law enforcement officer continues in the Senate, which will soon decide if the Republican should be removed from office based on charges of bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of power. Paxton's wife is a state Senator and has been present all week at the trial. She will, however, be barred from voting on his fate.
  • Washington Post reports today that Florida's corrupt Republican Governor Ron DeSantis enjoyed a whole bunch of unreported and undisclosed private plane flights, luxury resort accommodations and meals with wealthy donors after being first elected in 2018. With his Presidential aspirations now failing, he must be angling for a Supreme Court nomination.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest 'Green News Report' with more on the horrific news out of Libya; the record costs of U.S. weather-related disasters so far this year; more bad news for Texas water drinkers; and a bit of encouraging news courtesy of Biden and the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act. Oh, we're also still keeping an eye on the powerful, slow-moving Hurricane Lee, a monster storm in the Atlantic which is currently brushing by Bermuda and threatening New England, Canada and Newfoundland over the next several days...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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Guest: Maui radio veteran Shaggy Jenkins; Also: Record U.S. storm damage; Tim Scott's climate change lies; Listener mail and more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2023 6:34pm PT  

The death toll stood at 36 as we went to air on today's BradCast, with nearly 300 structures confirmed as destroyed. But officials have since bumped up the confirmed death toll to 53, with more than 1,000 homes and buildings destroyed in the town of Lahaina and surrounding areas on Hawaii's island of Maui. According to our guest today, who has been on the ground there since the blazes were first sparked on Tuesday, those numbers could still get far worse as he describes what has happened in his community as if "Hell opened its mouth."

You have likely heard, by now, that devastating wildfires were whipped up this week in Hawaii, amid near hurricane force wind gusts from the northern edge of Hurricane Dora, passing about 500 miles to the south. The high winds made it impossible for firefighting helicopters to snuff out the blazes in their early hours on Tuesday. Those fires then grew out of control amid dry and windy conditions over the next two days.

Officials are still battling to contain the fires as search and rescue efforts are ramping up, even as they attempt to find shelter for displaced residents and tourists in the once tropical paradise.

We're joined today by radio veteran SHAGGY JENKINS from Maui, where he formerly served as the longtime Program Director at our affiliate station there, KAKU 88.5FM. Jenkins now serves as Operations Manager for a group of Hawaii stations and has been putting in a ton of overnight on-air hours along with his regularly scheduled morning show, to try and help keep the community informed over our public airwaves during the ongoing emergency.

In addition to the firestorms that seemingly sprang up from nowhere and have leveled much of the historic, 1700s-era town of Lahaina --- once the Hawaiian kingdom's capitol city --- on the western side of Maui, Jenkins explains that fires are also raging somewhat to the east and on the Big Island as well.

"Although Lahaina made a lot of national headlines, parts of the neighborhoods upcountry, far away from Lahaina, have also had devastation. We've had complete neighborhoods and subdivisions wiped out for local families," he tells me, describing scenes that look more like bombed out cities of post-WWII Europe or in Ukraine today. "It's on a scale that we've never seen. It's just exhausting to look at, because it's still happening. I don't know how to describe Lahaina other than it's like Hell opened its mouth."

I hope you'll tune in for this must-listen conversation, particularly if you both want to know what appears to have happened and how you can help.

"It's all gone," laments Jenkins, as he becomes swept up in emotion describing the fate of Lahaina, "one of the most historic cities in the entire state."

"It's kind of hard to put into scale how much history, and how much of our old families that were born here and raised for generations, have lost everything. Some of the places that have been devastated --- they're the postcard images that you send everybody when you come to a vacation here. And they're all gone."

"The families that lived in those areas ... they're gone ... I'm sorry ... It's hard," he tells me as he chokes up, "...because we on the island, we're very close, as far as the local population. We know everybody."

Jenkins details how environmental conditions have changed in recent years as our climate crisis has taken a toll in drying out the once idyllic tropical paradise, and as "Big Ag" sugar operations up and left behind unrestored swaths of land.

"It is appreciably different" in recent years, he explains. "Part of the reason for that, not too long ago, we shut down the sugar industry here. The center body of the island is mostly ag land. And when the sugar industry left, a lot of that land went barren waiting for different owners. As all of these changes have happened, it's dried out the island. For the past five years, we have seen more and more brown than we usually do. Those conditions --- those dry, big, open-area fields --- were some of the reasons that the fires here spread so much. And since the sugar industry ended, we have had a step up in our wildfires."

One of the biggest ways we can help, Jenkins says, is to not come to Maui right now. While the island thrives on the tourism industry, now is not the time, as empty hotel rooms are being used to help house those who have lost everything. "We do not have the water, we do not have the power, we do not have the space," he asserts, noting that he is not "anti-tourist", but "every single resort that we have that has an empty room, we are trying to put in a local displaced family."

"The way that you can help us, the best way, is to stay away, and let us have the time to find and bury our dead, to fix our broken infrastructure. And, sadly, to start the very dangerous and long, arduous process of rebuilding one of the most historic cities in the state."

Jenkins does point those who would like to offer help to visit MauiFoodBank.org/Donate. As noted, I hope you will tune in for today's conversation with Shaggy.

Meanwhile, in other, very much related, news today...

  • Reinsurance giant Swiss Re Group released a report asserting that severe thunderstorms during the first half of this year in the U.S. have resulted in unprecedented levels of damage, including some $34 billion in insured losses. That number accounted for 70% of the $50 billion in global catastrophic damage from similar storms over the same period.
  • All of this, even as 2024 Republican (Vice-)Presidential hopeful and U.S. Senator Tim Scott of climate change-threatened South Carolina took to Fox "News" on Wednesday with faux outrage claiming that the idea that we are facing a "climate emergency is ridiculous"(!) Of far greater import, he asserted, is that "we have a border emergency that is an existential threat right now." Desi Doyen has a few choice words for the embarrassing Senator, who apparently hasn't noticed the actual existential threat of climate change, right now, which has, over the same 24-hour period during which Scott was blathering his dangerous, wingnut, fossil-fueled disinformation on Fox, taken the lives of at least 53 of Scott's fellow American citizens in Hawaii. That, just days after hundreds have died from prolonged extreme heat in places like Arizona.
  • More on all of this follows in Desi's latest Green News Report today, before we then close out the week with some listener mail on "autocracy v. fascism" and some anecdotal evidence that support for our disgraced, so-far thrice-indicted former President may finally be flagging among some his supporters...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Election theft related charges coming soon; Smith hasn't talked to Mo Brooks?!; MI 'indictment' for vote system breach; Biden's strong economy; Inflation Reduction Act success; Record heat continues...
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2023 6:27pm PT  

Note: The barest of headlines about the huge news regarding new, additional charges filed by Special Counsel Jack Smith in Donald Trump's stolen documents case began coming in just minutes before the end of today's BradCast. Up until then, however...we had plenty of other stuff to cover.

Among that stuff...

  • We have another new winner in the corporate media's never-ending effort to find new euphemisms to avoid accurately informing the American people about what Donald Trump did after the 2020 Presidential election. (For those still unclear, he used every tool he could muster to try and STEAL a Presidential election from the American people). Today's winner in the Euphemism Olympics is the New York Times, which ended a short piece on Trump attorneys meeting with Jack Smith's prosecutors on Thursday, in anticipation of indictments in D.C., with this ridiculous turn of phrase: "Mr. Trump also faces scrutiny from the district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., who is investigating his efforts to bend the results of the 2020 election in that state in his favor." --- To "bend the results"?! Really, New York Times?!
  • Yes, I admit to being obsessed with the above point, but for good reason. A few words today on why the media (and Democrats!) failure to accurately inform the American people about the simple fact that Trump tried to STEAL the last Presidential Election is so critical right now, especially in advance of next year's Presidential election.
  • While Jack Smith is clearly digging very deep in both of the federal Trump investigations he is overseeing --- the stolen documents case and the attempted theft of the 2020 election --- it's quite bizarre that, according to former, far-right Rep. Mo Brooks, the Special Counsel has, to date, failed to interview him! That, even though Brooks spoke before Trump at the January 6, 2021 pre-insurrection rally in D.C. where Brooks instructed the angry, duped crowd to "start taking down names and kicking ass". But it's all the more odd because of the four very specific things that Brooks claims Trump instructed him to do last year, seven months after Trump was out of office, including instructions to advocate "rescinding the election" and "physically removing Joe Biden from the White House". All of which, according to the now former Alabama Congressman and one-time Trump endorsee, "violate the U.S. Constitution and federal law."
  • Meanwhile, accountability continues in Michigan where, last week, state Attorney General Dana Nessel charged the state's 16 fake Trump electors with 8 felony counts each related to their attempt to help the former President steal the state's 2020 election. On Wednesday night, Stefanie Lambert, a Michigan attorney who was part of a group being investigated by a MI Special Prosecutor, claimed that she has "been indicted" for her role in breaching voting systems in several townships across the state. Nessel appointed the Special Prosecutor late last Summer to investigate the activities by a bunch of MAGA folks believed to have unlawfully stolen and breached vote tabulation systems after 2020. The group includes a former State Rep, a sitting County Sheriff, a few of the clowns from that Cyber Ninjas outfit, and the failed former Republican A.G. candidate Matt DePerno. After the Trump-endorsed DePerno was nominated by the state GOP to run for A.G. last year, Nessel referred the probe to a Special Prosecutor, so as to not be seen as prosecuting her own election opponent. We'll soon find out if Lambert (who is a real piece of work, apparently) and the others, including DePerno, have indeed been indicted by the Special Prosecutor's grand jury.
  • Even Fox "News" was agog today at the latest numbers on the U.S. economy under Joe Biden, as released by the Commerce Department on Thursday. The new numbers revealed, among other things, higher-than-expected growth in GDP in the second quarter and extraordinary resilience of Biden's economy which many had expected to be in recession by now. It isn't.
  • Joe Biden and the Democrats' landmark climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act, turns one year old next month and, according to experts, it is already "turbocharging clean energy technology" in the U.S. and producing massive investment in U.S. manufacturing and jobs for the first time in decades. No wonder the fossil fuel industry and Republicans worked so hard for so many years to prevent such investments --- and why Congressional Republicans are working so hard to try and repeal it.
  • With July now likely to have been the hottest single month that any human being has ever lived through on Planet Earth, the President, in remarks today at the White House, detailed efforts across his Administration to help folks survive the extreme heat now slamming about 170 million Americans across about 40% of the nation. His remarks offered yet another opportunity for Biden to sing the praises of the Inflation Reduction Act, which not one Republican in Congress supported when the landmark bill was adopted last year.
  • Finally (as today's big news about new charges against Trump in the documents case just began to break at show's end), Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with several items related to the extreme heat in both the U.S. and Europe --- and, some very good news about EV charging!...

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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