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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Trump Dark Money Group Dumping Tens of Millions on Racist, Transphobic Disinfo Ads: 'BradCast' 5/21/24
Guest: Victoria Cadostin; Also: Rudy arraigned in AZ; Trump defense rests in NY; More...
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
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...


By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2024 4:47pm PT  

Just after the first of the year, and despite being fully up to date with our shots, COVID finally found its way into BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters for the first time, after we'd successfully avoided it since the jump. Desi unknowingly picked it up in Texas, then brought it back to me about a week later.

Quick prescriptions for the anti-viral Paxlovid knocked it out for each of us almost immediately. In my case, over a single weekend. I didn't even miss a BradCast!

Then, about a week or so later, I got a rebound case of COVID, as is sometimes the case, even with Paxlovid. Desi didn't. That bout was far worse than the first, particularly since they won't prescribe the anti-viral drugs again in such a case. Largely had to suffer it out. Wasn't too bad. Like a mild cold, though it kept me from the show for a couple of days.

Now, a month later, guess what?...

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Catching up after conquering COVID (again!); Also: DeSantis drops out, 'kisses the ring'; SCOTUS sides with Biden on border (for now); Callers ring in for first time this year...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2024 6:12pm PT  

Okay. I'm back. COVID free! (Again!) Hopefully for good this time, as discussed --- along with many other things --- on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the news we begin to get caught up with today after my rebound sidelining last week...

  • My surprise COVID rebound last week and lessons learned in the bargain. If the news out of the federal courtroom in New York today in the second E. Jean Carroll defamation trial is to be believed, our disgraced former President may have his own new infection again soon.
  • After, just last week, condemning those Republicans who "kiss the ring" of Donald Trump in order to save themselves, Florida Governor and failed 2024 Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race on Sunday. And, yes, he kissed the ring in hopes of saving himself for 2028 by endorsing Donald Trump. DeSantis also used a fake quote from Winston Churchill when doing so, just so he could fail as spectacularly as possible on his way out the door.
  • New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary is Tuesday and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is the last GOPer left in the race other than the twice-impeached, four-time criminally indicted former President. If one believes the pre-primary polling, the race will be over by Wednesday. And the guy who was, literally, praising the idea of a "strongman running the country" during rallies in New Hampshire over the weekend, and telling supporters that U.S. Presidents must have complete immunity to commit any and all crimes, will be on a glide path toward becoming the 2024 Republican nominee for President of the United States.
  • While the DNC has not authorized a Democratic Primary in New Hampshire this year --- choosing instead to make South Carolina's February 3 contest the first official one for the Dems --- that hasn't stopped a write-in effort for Joe Biden in New Hampshire UNsanctioned Democratic Primary, in which Biden does not appear on the ballot. It has also resulted in what appears to be the first (known) dirty trick of 2024. NH voters began receiving robocalls over the weekend from "Joe Biden" instructing them not to vote at all on Tuesday. The incident is being investigated by law enforcement, but may give us an idea of what the abuse of Artificial Intelligence may have in store for us in this unprecedented 2024 election season.
  • On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court --- in a 5 to 4 ruling --- sided with the Biden Administration's Border Patrol and said that they may, in fact, remove razor-wire placed on the Rio Grande by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, after Abbott's actions have already resulted in the death of a mother and her two young children drowning in the river. But four Justices (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) apparently have no use anymore for the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause which gives deference to federal law over state law.
  • Finally, after weeks away from our flagship station (KPFK in L.A.) over the holidays and then during our multiple brushes with COVID, we were finally live in studio again and able to open the phone lines today to listeners on anything they wanted to discuss. Even if one of them felt like they had to lie to get on the air to say it.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Our COVID rebound and more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2024 4:40pm PT  

Lucky me. I now have a rebound case of COVID. But with the first votes cast in the critical 2024 Presidential race in frozen Iowa on Monday night, I mustered as well as I could to bring you a fresh BradCast today. (No promises for tomorrow, however!) [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

With that in mind, I need to keep this short and get back to bed. Among our stories covered today...

  • Iowa's far-right GOP caucus-goers have a habit of backing losers. On Monday, a bare majority of them (51%) voted for Donald Trump in far below zero temps. Almost half of IA's GOP caucus-goers voted against him. But that was still more than enough to defeat the disgraced former President's splintered and woeful challengers. After burning about $150 million in his all or nothing quest to win Iowa, Ron DeSantis lost it. He came out with just 21.2% of the vote, narrowly edging out third-placer Nikki Haley, who still has a not-impossible-chance of defeating or, at least, challenging Trump in next week's first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary. She finished just behind DeSantis with 19.1% on Monday night in IA. Both challengers have vowed to move on to NH. Vivek Ramaswamy, however, who finished in a distance fourth in IA, quickly bowed out and endorsed Trump. That's about all you need to know about Monday night when it comes to the horse race. Beneath that, however, there is much more, underscoring this unprecedented moment for the nation and the need for an overwhelming majority of voters to step up and save American Democracy this year.
  • Meanwhile, down in Texas in recent days, 2028 Presidential hopeful, far-right Republican Governor Greg Abbott appears hoping to touch off a new civil war between his state's military and the federal government. In a multi-prong effort to goose his political fortunes by ensuring that immigration concerns will not be dealt with until a Republican President is in the White House (to get credit for it), and to further fuel his party's latest grift that, without a return to power for the GOP, a new "civil war" is looming, Abbott has deployed the Texas Military Dept. to the nation's Southern border. In doing so --- despite migration numbers recently plummeting thanks to high-level talks between the U.S. and Mexico --- Abbott has erected razor wire on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande and new steel fencing and gates to physically lock out U.S. Border Patrol from protecting miles of our national border. He has done so without permission of either the feds or local city governments. As the Biden Administration challenges Abbott's extra-Constitutional tin-pot authoritarianism at SCOTUS, a mother and her two young children died while attempting to cross the river over the weekend. TX troopers reportedly blocked federal officials from responding to a distress call from the Mexican government. As discussed, Republicans don't fear a new civil war. They want one. Or pretend to. And they certainly don't want to actually solve any issues at the border, else they'd have nothing to run on this November.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with new numbers from 2023's record heat and climate disasters; as Republican climate crisis denial continues on the campaign trail on behalf of fossil fuel industry funders (with increasingly deadly results); and as the Biden Administration moves ahead with rules to force polluting oil and gas companies to finally pay their fair share in return...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2024 11:54am PT  

2024 is barely underway, but, man, is it kicking my ass already...

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Guest: Voting system expert Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Also: Our COVID chronicles continue; Biden charges Trump an 'insurrectionist', tried to 'steal' 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2024 6:05pm PT  

We're still fighting COVID, but we think we're almost over the hump on today's BradCast, just as a long awaited voting system trial in a critical swing-state is finally set to begin. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Friday, just as Desi had days earlier, I too tested positive for COVID. After avoiding it for four years, we both finally got hit. But, thanks to keeping up with our boosters, free rapid home tests and the miracle anti-viral drug Paxlovid, both she and I are almost back to normal this week. She is now testing negative and I am, very faintly, still positive, but suspect I'll be fully clear by tomorrow. Most of our symptoms are gone and, most importantly --- because we were both positive --- we're able to be in the same room again! So, I think we're finally back to our usual schedule after an unexpectedly long holiday break and a bumpy start to what is likely to be a very bumpy new year.

As it turns out, we're not the only ones swept up among the largest spate of cases in the U.S. since the initial Omicron wave back in late 2021. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still on the rise. If you haven't already, please get your COVID and flu shots this year, as that is also seeing a big bump right now. And, if you want to get over COVID quickly, ask your doctor for Paxlovid as soon as you test positive, because it must be taken right away. It has certainly worked wonders, so far, for us.

With that medical sidebar out of the way, for now, we're back to the grind of the 2024 elections and the former President's threat to American democracy itself on today's program. Last week, Donald Trump failed to sign a pledge against advocating for the overthrow of the government in his Illinois candidacy paperwork, despite signing the optional pledge when he ran in both 2016 and 2020.

And, on Friday, President Biden, in his campaign launch in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, called out Trump, by name (44 times), including as an "insurrectionist". During his remarks, marking the third anniversary of Trump's deadly January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol attack, Biden also finally took our advice in calling out Trump in plain language for what he tried to do in 2020: "In trying to rewrite the facts of January 6th, Trump is trying to steal history the same way he tried to steal the election."

Thank you, Mr. President.

As to helping to prevent another attempted election theft in 2024, the long-awaited federal trial finally begins in Georgia this week in Curling v. Raffensperger, the 2017 lawsuit led by our friend Marilyn Marks of the Coalition for Good Governance. The suit seeks to the block the use of Georgia's insecure, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion and see them replaced with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots in the battleground state.

In 2019, the federal judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg, blocked the further use of the state's old touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold, finding them to have unconstitutional security infirmities. Unfortunately, against the advice of cybersecurity and voting system experts, GA's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger then moved the entire state to touchscreens made by a different manufacturer with many of the same problems featured in the old systems.

This is also the case which uncovered, during the discovery phase in 2022, the now-notorious Coffee County, GA voting system software breach by Team Trump. That unprecedented theft and distribution of sensitive voting system software resulted in the indictment [PDF] of Trump attorney and breach organizer Sidney Powell as part of Fulton County, GA District Attorney Fani Willis' criminal conspiracy charges against the disgraced former President and 18 co-conspirators.

As Washington Post detailed in its own lengthy preview on Sunday, the trial, set to begin this week, has already resulted in MAGA election deniers and conspiracists like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell pretending to be vindicated by one of the judge's earlier rulings finding that the Curling plaintiffs, unlike Lindell, are not "conspiracy theorists of any variety" and that, as Judge Totenberg found, they have the support of "some of the nation's leading cybersecurity experts and computer scientists."

Those scientists and experts have documented how the touchscreen systems used across the entirety of Georgia (and in jurisdictions in more than a dozen states) are wildly "vulnerable" to hacking and system failure, even as no evidence has been found that the 2020 or 2022 elections were actually hacked. As Judge Totenberg noted in a 2020 ruling, the plaintiffs "convincingly present evidence that this is not a question of 'might this actually ever happen?' - but 'when it will happen,' especially if further protective measures are not taken."

We're joined today by SUSAN GREENHALGH, Senior Advisor on Election Security at Free Speech for People. She has worked very closely on this case with the plaintiffs from Coalition for Good Governance and has joined us on the program many times to discuss it since it was initially filed seven years ago.

Among the details discussed in today's "curtain raiser" before trial: How Democrats have become frightened of challenging unverifiable voting systems in the wake of the MAGA election denial movement. The gob-smacking ruling on Friday from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that Raffensperger does not have to testify as a witness, despite the lower court judge ordering him to do so, and Raffensberger's insistence [PDF] in his own recent book, amusingly titled Integrity Counts, that "the ultimate fact-check in the United States...occurs in courts of law, where witnesses swear to tell the truth or risk imprisonment and where lawyers must also tell the truth or risk disbarment. If you want to know the truth, watch what happens in court."

Sadly, we won't be able to watch Raffensperger in court. He fought tooth and nail up to the appellate level to avoid 75 minutes of testimony as a witness in the Curling case.

Also, as Greenhalgh explains today, Raffensperger has now ordered the election security reviewer at the Sec. of State Office's "not to provide any reports in writing any longer, to only give them orally." She describes the order as "really strange," begging the question, yet again, as to why the rightwing 11th Circuit would allow Raffensperger to avoid testifying.

"There are a lot of questions that Raffensperger should be answering," she argues, while noting that despite the absence of the guy who, in defiance of experts, ordered the use of these machines in the first place --- and then failed to investigate the 2021 MAGA breach and distribution of statewide voting system software in Coffee County for more than a year --- there is still plenty of evidence for plaintiffs to make their case against these godforsaken, unreliable, unnecessary voting computers in advance of the 2024 general election.

"There are a lot of questions that really should have been answered by Raffensperger," Greenhalgh laments, before adding : "But they still have overwhelming evidence."

The trial is scheduled to begin in federal court in Atlanta on Tuesday...

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We're back! (Sort of.) With former Dep. Asst. AG Lisa Graves of True North Research and attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2024 6:21pm PT  

We're still wrestling and/or dodging COVID on today's BradCast --- and not sure we can pull it off again until everyone tests negative (see this for more details.) But we really wanted to get back on the air for the first time this year after a longer-than-planned holiday break! And so we did. (No promises as to our next air date, however! Working on it. Not easy.) [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Our guests today are former U.S. Deputy Asst. Attorney General LISA GRAVES, now of True North Research, and retired attorney KEITH BARBER ('KeithDB' at Daily Kos), who, like Desi, is also fighting a post-holiday bout with COVID.

After new news today on Donald J. Trump's never-ending corruption, we pick up in 2024 following the several cliff-hangers of 2023. We literally left off at the end of our final show last year, when, just minutes before signing off, the Colorado Supreme Court released its 200-page Opinion [PDF] that the disgraced former President and presumptive GOP front-runner was in violation of Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, barring insurrectionists from public office. Thus, the SCOCO ordered that he may not appear on the Colorado ballot as a candidate in 2024.

Since then (among a thousand other things), the Maine Sec. of State has similarly barred Trump from the ballot in her state. He has appealed that ruling to the state's Superior Court. and both the Colorado Republican Party and Trump himself have now appealed CO's ruling directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

That, of course, is just one of the many critical cases on which American democracy may hang, as pending either now or soon before the corrupted and disgraced Republican majority at SCOTUS. They will also likely soon be wrestling with Trump's claim --- in Jack Smith's federal case against him related to his attempts to steal the 2020 election --- that Presidents have "absolute immunity" from charges for any crime they commit while serving in office.

Moreover, SCOTUS has already decided to hear a challenge to the charge of Obstruction of an Official Proceeding --- as successfully brought against hundreds of January 6 defendants --- on the basis that the law was originally intended only for white collar financial crimes. In addition to hundreds of J6 defendants charged with and/or convicted of that crime, two of Trump's four counts in his federal indictment for 2020 election interference are based on that same statute.

So, what does all of this mean for Trump and the High Court --- and the American voters! --- as we enter the 2024 election year? Will his corrupt SCOTUS friends (and appointees) use any of those three cases to let Trump off the accountability hook? Will the Court's so-called "conservatives", who have claimed for years to believe in a strict textualist and originalist interpretations of the Constitution, conjure up some excuse to ignore the simple text of the 14th Amendment and the original intent of its post-Civil War framers? Will they allow Trump's March 4 trial date in the Jan. 6 case to slip beyond the election as they determine whether Presidents are allowed to violate any law they wish? Or will they choose instead to "settle all family business" by doing the right thing in the above-noted matters and, thus, end their own Trump-fueled nightmares along with the nation's?

"The same people that went to the courts scores of times trying to keep Obama off the ballot, under the absurd birther argument, are now trying to say the courts can't decide" on the Insurrection Disqualification Clause, observes Barber, a former Republican, today. "They let the courts decide before, and no one argued then that the courts couldn't."

Warns Graves about Trump's argument in favor of Presidential Immunity, it "is literally a recipe for tyranny," as it would allow any President (even the current one, apparently) to commit any crime at any time without possibility of ever facing charges.

Tune in for a bunch of smart thoughts and helpful insights on all of the above today as we head into what Graves aptly describes as a "land of uncertainty" as 2024 unfolds (unravels?) before our very eyes.

Also, while she was unable to join us for today's full show due to her COVID diagnosis, Desi Doyen joins us nonetheless for our first Green News Report of the year today, as we try to begin catching up with a whole bunch of stuff we missed over our longer-than-expected holiday break...which --- depending on how a whole bunch of antigen tests go for both of us in the days ahead --- may or may not continue, whether we like it or not...

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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Guess what we got for Christmas?
By Brad Friedman on 1/2/2024 3:26pm PT  

Welp...looks like our plans to get back on air after the holidays will be necessarily delayed.

After four years of carefully and successfully avoiding it, COVID has found its way into The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters. Looks like Desi brought back more than just Christmas gifts from Texas. She tested positive today.

Her symptoms are largely mild and cold-like (sniffles, some coughs, raspy voice etc.) --- thankfully, we are both well-vaxxed and boosted! --- though she does have some fever today. Otherwise, she seems to be doing okay for the moment. So far, I'm fine. We'll see how long that continues to be the case.

In the meantime...our long-awaited post-holiday return to The BradCast and Green News Report is currently on hold as long (or as short) as necessary, or until we figure out how to safely do a show under these conditions.

Thanks for your understanding... Sorry about that. And, Happy Frickin' New Year. 2024 going great so far!

P.S. COVID is on the rise again. If you haven't gotten a shot in the past 3 or 4 months, now is a perfect time to do so!

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Acapulco struggles after Otis; Crisis deepens in Gaza; Also: UAW wins strike against automakers; Callers ring in on Israel-Hamas conflict...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2023 6:28pm PT  

It was another grim weekend of news. Though there was a bright spot or two. On today's BradCast, we talk about as much of it as we have time for. Including with callers. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our coverage today...

  • We begin on a personal note of sorts. I received both my COVID and Flu shots over the weekend. So, as usual, I was pretty laid out for the 24 hours following. That said, I feel great today, happy to feel somewhat protected heading into the holiday season, and ask you to consider doing the same if you haven't already. I would also ask you, once again, not to fall for the deadly lies and disinformation that persists around the very safe and wildly effective COVID vaccines which continue to save billions of lives worldwide, despite the dupes and cretins who would use false "evidence" to hoax you to the contrary. Your life and those of your family are worth protecting. Please do. We're gonna need all hands on deck during next year's critical Presidential election. You will need to be alive to vote. Get your newly formulated COVID shots, now covering additional strains of the deadly virus, ASAP!
  • Next up, the death toll from last week's stunning Category 5 Hurricane Otis in Acapulco continues to rise. At least 45 are now confirmed dead as of airtime today, with several dozen still missing. All of that after the resort city of more than a million had little or no time to prepare for a storm of this magnitude which spun up last week from Tropical Storm to deadly Cat 5 in less than 12 hours, thanks to the rapid intensification of such storms in our climate changed era.
  • Speaking of disinformation, there is a lot of it out there right now, circulating on social media in particular, regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict. And its coming, frankly, from all sides of the conflict. We run through a few of some of the most viral lies that have been moving quickly across Elon Musk's Twitter/X and TikTok. A falsely misrepresented video purporting to show U.S. Marines arriving at an airport in Israel (it's actually a Defense Dept. video from 2022, showing U.S. troops arriving for NATO drills in Romania); Videos of Russian and North Korean dictators Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un with false English captions, and much more. Moral: Be careful what you "like" and share on social media. If something is too amazing to believe, there's probably a reason for that. Check with the many various fact-check sites and services out there before making things worse by spreading such disinformation. The real news is bad enough.
  • Speaking of just some of that horrible real news, both the death toll and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is worsening by the hour, though Sunday saw nearly three dozen truckloads of desperately needed food, water and medicine make its way into southern Gaza. It's not nearly enough, but it's something. That, after a weekend of communications --- both phone and Internet --- being cut off across the entire enclave during Israel's most intense bombing to date as it began to move ground troops into Gaza. The Biden Administration reportedly pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right government to restore communications in Gaza, has been urging them to allow more humanitarian aid in, and to be "surgical" in its response to the horrific Hamas attacks of October 7. They are having some success. But, from virtually all legitimate reporting, not nearly enough. More than 1.4 million Gazans have fled their homes, and the death toll of Palestinians, as reported by the Hamas-run health ministry, is now said to be more than 8,000. Many of the dead are women and children. Roughly 250,000 Israelis have also been evacuated from homes along both the border of Gaza and the northern border with Lebanon amid persistent rocket attacks following Hamas' attack on Southern Israel earlier in the month that left some 1,400 dead.
  • In brighter news back home, the United Auto Workers union, over the weekend, sealed deals with both Stellantis and General Motors akin to the one struck days earlier with Ford, to end their six-week walkout. The union was able to achieve substantial pay raises for long-time, new and previously temporary workers, along with other long-sought benefits. UAW President Shawn Fain, over the weekend, called the development "a turning point in the class war that has been raging in this country for the past 40 years." At the White House on Monday, President Biden lauded the "historic" deals, "due to the commitment and solidarity of the UAW workers who exercised their right to collectively bargain. They won a record contract with over a 30% increase in wages, greater retirement security and more paid leave." The union also won victories toward hiring thousands of new workers and unionizing newer Electric Vehicle shops.

Then, we open the phones to our live Southern California listeners here at KPFK in Los Angeles, and, you'll be shocked to hear, they all wanted to discuss Israel-Hamas today. Again. So we do. I'll look forward to your thoughts on those conversations...

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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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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Shutdown averted; CA's new Senator; Nobel prize for COVID vaccine masterminds; Trump in deeper trouble by the day...
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2023 7:08pm PT  

Longtime listeners of The BradCast likely knew about the big news last Friday better than almost anyone in the nation. Certainly better than those in the corporate media. We'd been reporting on it for years now, so our listeners likely knew the name "Scott Hall" before pretty much everyone else in the country. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.

On Friday, Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall was the first among Donald Trump's 18 co-defendants to plead guilty in the Fulton County, Georgia racketeering indictment, detailing Trump's broad conspiracy to steal the state's 2020 Presidential election in the state. Hall was indicted in the RICO scheme [PDF] on five felony charges related to his participation in the January 7, 2021 breach of Georgia's voting system software in rural, Republican-leaning Coffee County. The plot included Trump supporters unlawfully gaining access to the state's proprietary voting system software at the County's elections office, making copies of it and illegally distributing it via the Internet.

The crime first came to light after Hall called longtime Election Integrity champion and frequent BradCast guest MARILYN MARKS, founder of the nonpartisan Coalition for Good Governance, and essentially confessed to the entire scheme. Marks recorded the phone call "confession" and we were the first in the nation to broadcast audio from that phone call last year in May. Marks' group has been leading a long-running lawsuit against GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, seeking to replace the Peach State's wildly vulnerable and unverifiable touchscreen voting systems with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots before next year's Presidential election. Her quick thinking to record Hall's phone call resulted in at least five of the indictments in District Attorney Fani Willis' case against Trump and friends.

"It was one of the more intelligent things I've done, which are not many!," quips Marks today. "But I'm glad I recorded that." She joins us today for the first time since Hall was the first to cop a plea in the case last week to avoid jail time in exchange for testifying against his fellow defendants. He received 12 months of probation and a $5,000 fine.

Marks explains that Hall will have a lot to share with Willis' team. "On mainstream media over the weekend, I heard many commentators saying, 'Well, he's kind of a small player.' Oh no no no --- he is not a 'small player'," she insists. "He knows the ladder, up and down. He was smart to get that deal he did. He got in early. And now Fani Willis has his truthful testimony about a whole range of characters and facts."

Among the many points we discuss with Marks today...

  • What Hall knows about the Coffee County breach, its organization by co-defendant and Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and the genesis of the multi-state plot beginning in Trump's Oval Office in December of 2020.
  • Why MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell flew into tiny Coffee County in his private plane for a few hours in the middle of the night as the County was preparing to fire its Election Director, co-defendant Misty Hampton, in the wake of the breach.
  • Why did all of Hampton's emails from her years as the County's Elections Supervisor supposedly disappear after she was fired? (Though, on today's show, we found one of them! Read on!)
  • Who else was involved in the breach but wasn't indicted by Willis (for example, Lindell and head of the now-defunct "Cyber Ninjas" outfit, Doug Logan) and why?
  • Why has GA SoS Raffensperger been covering up the breach since it happened in early 2021, and why is he still refusing to take any action in response to it? For example, why is his office refusing to install new security patches created by Dominion Voting Systems for the touchscreen voting systems until after the 2024 Presidential election?
  • Why is the state's voting system software breach in Coffee County important to the Coalition's lawsuit against Raffensperger, which seeks to move to hand-counted paper ballots? (The trial in that years-long case, by the way, is finally set to begin in federal court in January.)

"There is nothing to suggest that [Raffensperger] is remotely interested in learning what happened," Marks argues today. "He has still not started an investigation of the implications of this breach --- who was involved, how the administrative rules fell apart --- and has not done any kind of work on the security implications of it. It is absolutely shameful."

That's just the tip of the iceberg today which also includes another 'BradCast' first: We share the long sought after invitation letter allegedly sent by Hampton to the MAGA breachers on December 31, 2020, giving them the greenlight to come to the Coffee County Board of Elections office. "Y'all are welcome in our office any time," writes Hampton in the brief letter that Powell had claimed would somehow exonerate her, and in which Hampton goes out of her way to mention being in accordance with "Georgia Law" at least three different times, for some reason, in a single paragraph letter.

Tune in for all of that and much more today, including several news headlines on the federal government shutdown averted over the weekend, thanks to Democrats, and the price GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy may now pay for that; California Gov. Gavin Newsom's selection of political consultant, labor leader and Emily's List President Laphonza Butler to complete the term of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died late last week; Today's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to two researchers who invested decades into developing the technology that would eventually become used to develop the COVID vaccines in record time in 2020; And several pieces of news from several different ongoing cases against Trump and his fellow co-conspirators, including his surprise appearance at the first day of New York state's $250 million civil fraud suit against him in Manhattan.

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Former Prez reportedly fears prison, faces ballot disqualification in MN; Current Prez, echoing FDR, establishes American Climate Corp; Also: Solar popularity soaring with concerns of climate catastrophe...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2023 6:10pm PT  

We begin with some bright news on today's BradCast, before following with some new news and some myth-busting about a few feelings we've been sharing of late. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • Popularity of solar and other renewable energy sources is reportedly soaring across the globe, according to a huge new survey, as support for fossil fuels plummets amid our quickly worsening climate crisis.
  • The persistence of progressive protesters and environmental advocates demanding a "Green New Deal" continues to pay off as President Biden unveils an Executive Order for creation of the American Climate Corps, echoing FDR's legendary Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
  • Despite public displays of confidence and false bravado, privately Donald Trump is reportedly terrified of the possibility of going to prison. He should be. For one, there would be nobody to dye his hair, blow-dry his comb-over or apply his orange bronzer make-up which, according to a new book by former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson, is likely the reason that rightwing supporters of Trump had to also be against wearing life-saving masks during the worst of the COVID crisis, leaving hundreds of thousands of them dead in support of Trump's malignantly narcissistic vanity.
  • The Minnesota Supreme Court has set a briefing and argument schedule [PDF] this week on a lawsuit brought by its former Sec. of State and the Constitutional law experts at Free Speech for People, seeking Trump's disqualification from the state's primary and general election ballots under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause." This matter is likely to move quickly, since names on the ballot must be settled by January 2 to be printed and mailed out in time for the state's March 5, Super Tuesday primary. The High Court has set oral argument for November 2.
  • As we've been reporting quite a bit on the possibility of Trump's 14.3 disqualification under the "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" in recent weeks (and years!), we take some time today to respond to a number of listener emails on the topic, and respond to several "myths" about the Constitutional clause --- (yes, it applies to Presidents; no, it doesn't require a conviction on insurrection before it can be applied) --- with some help from a helpful Myths and Realities about 14.3 [PDF] document, courtesy of the Constitutional law scholars and experts at the non-profit, non-partisan Free Speech for People.
  • Finally, as Desi Doyen reports in our latest Green News Report, the nations of the world are grappling with the climate crisis this week at the U.N. General Assembly; The U.K.'s Conservative Party Prime Minister is backing off policies to reduce carbon emissions; Desperate Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis went to an oil field to obnoxiously declare his vows to make things much much worse; While the Biden White House announced another historic initiative to help save the planet...

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Also: Election Day in KY, PA, FL; 'No Labels' scamming voters in ME?; DeSantis banning Holocaust history textbooks in FL...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2023 6:45pm PT  

Apologies in advance if you need to rinse off today's BradCast with a hot shower. We did our best to keep it family friendly. It wasn't always easy. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • It's Election Day in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and parts of Florida for some key state, municipal and special elections. We run down several of the key races and will have noteworthy results, as available, on tomorrow's program.
  • The political group calling itself "No Labels" is reportedly working to become an official political party in all 50 states in hopes of placing a Presidential candidate on the ballot in 2024. The group, founded in 2010, claims to be a non-partisan "centrist" coalition of both Democrats and Republicans, though their efforts to date seemed designed mostly to harm Democrats. See, for example, their lobbying of Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in opposition of reforming the Senate filibuster in 2021. Also, internal documents have revealed their funders include far-right dark money billionaires such as David Kochand Peter Theil, according to Daily Beast, and Clarence Thomas benefactor Harlan Crow, according to New Republic. Now, the Secretary of State in Maine is charging the group has been scamming voters into signing a "petition" that is actually a change of party form. Just 5,000 voters need to become members in the state for the party to be allowed on the ballot. Apparently 6,000 have now signed up and the state has some questions about it.
  • Really, we did our best to keep this report no more graphic than PG-13, but it has to be told because there are some very serious crimes sort of hidden in the new 70-page lawsuit [PDF] filed against Rudy Giuliani by a former employee who accuses him of some pretty horrific "sexual assault, battery, gender discrimination and harassment, fostering a hostile work environment, retaliation, breach of contract, and violations of state labor laws."

    The hostile work environment allegedly included "misogynistic, racist, and antisemitic communications, constant sexual attacks, threats when she brought up the salary she was owed, and threats when she finally found the courage to confront him with her fears and the possibility of legal action."

    But of potential criminal note in the suit filed by Noelle Dunphy against Giuliani in New York on Monday, is not only the off-the-books payments (she says he gave her just $12,000 of the $1 million he'd promised), but that the former NYC mayor, federal prosecutor and Trump attorney was, according to the lawsuit, allegedly "selling pardons for $2 million, which he and President Trump would split." (!!!)

    Moreover, Dunphy claims to have audio recordings of Giuliani, including "some in which she says he can be heard making sexual comments, demanding sex and making sexist, racist, and antisemitic remarks." Does she have any in which Rudy is discussing selling Presidential pardons and splitting the proceeds with Trump? I suspect prosecutors may want to find that out in the not-too-distant future.

  • Speaking of antisemitism, on Monday, Florida Governor and desperate Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis signed yet another bill forcing his far-right ideology onto others with yet another ban on freedoms. This one bars public colleges and universities from investing in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. DeSantis has previously enacted state-imposed bans on various forms of free speech and books that his far-right Big Government state lackeys find objectionable. That has already resulted in bans on books said to cite issues of race, gender and sexuality, including math books (somehow) and social study texts. But now the Jewish Telegraphic Agency is reporting that the State is also banning educational textbooks on the Holocaust and/or forcing publishers to modify them in order to receive official State approval for use in Florida K-12 schools and public universities. “This is what modern day fascism looks like," charges human rights lawyer Qasim Rashid. "Remember, the main reason extremists would want to ban teaching about a past atrocity is to make it easier to enable that atrocity in the future."
  • We do have at least one story today that isn't creepy and horrible today, ironically enough. The still-Rightwing-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court actually issued a ruling that isn't insane, overturning a lower state court's insane, seemingly Fox "News"-inspired order that hospitals must use Ivermectin horse-medicine to treat COVID-19 when a patient insists. The ruling overturns that madness comes in advance of liberals taking over the state high court majority beginning in August, following the election of a new liberal justice in the Badger State earlier this year.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on a devastating cyclone in Myanmar; the enormous cost of plugging abandoned oil and gas well in the Gulf of Mexico; and the Biden EPA's proposal of landmark new to curb climate warming emissions from the nation's power plants...

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Guest: American Prospect's David Dayen on that, CFPB, drug pricing, new Labor Dept. chief; Also: Mayor Lightfoot loses Chicago re-election effort...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2023 5:32pm PT  

We've just about arrived at the point where the corrupt, stolen and packed rightwing U.S. Supreme Court almost isn't even trying to hide their corruption anymore. And, yes, as discussed today on The BradCast, that includes the Chief Justice. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, Lori Lightfoot, the first black female and openly gay Mayor of Chicago was reportedly knocked out of contention in her reelection bid on Tuesday. It is the first time in 40 years that an incumbent Mayor was unseated. (The last one was the city's first female Mayor.) Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson will go on to compete in the run-off set for April 4. Vallas is a "tough on crime" candidate vowing to add hundreds of police to the streets of the nation's third-largest city. He is supported by the police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, whose leader defended January 6 insurrectionists and equated Lightfoot's vaccine mandate for city workers to the Holocaust. Johnson, an African-American supported by the teachers union and progressive organizations, has called for more money to be spent not on police, but for mental health care, education, jobs and affordable housing.

Next, we're joined by DAVID DAYEN, progressive financial journalist, author and Executive Editor of The American Prospect to discuss Tuesday's oral arguments at SCOTUS on two different challenges --- both largely absurd --- to President Biden's student loan forgiveness program. But for being blocked by Republican-appointed lower court federal judges, the plan would forgive up to $20,000 for federal student loan borrowers making less than $125,000/year under the authority of the HEROES Act. The 2003 law, adopted by Congress and signed by the President in the wake of 9/11, grants authority to the Education Secretary to "waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision" regarding student loan programs in the event of a national emergency.

Despite the legal authority granted by the clear language of the text, Republican lower court judges have blocked the program to date, and the corrupt rightwing Justices at SCOTUS seemed to be working hard to do the same during the 3-and-a-half hour hearing at the high court on Tuesday, according to Dayen. The Biden Administration, as he explains, has invoked the very same legal authority from the HEROES Act to "waive" student loan payments as the Trump Administration used to pause them during the pandemic. Of course, neither Trump's authority to do so, nor its authority to issue hundreds of billions of dollars in forgivable PPP loans to small businesses during the crisis, was challenged in court --- or saw its "fairness" questioned --- by Republican litigants. Low income student loan borrowers, however, are apparently a different matter.

There are two different sets of GOP plaintiffs challenging Biden's plan. One (Biden v. Nebraska) is a group of six Republican-controlled states (Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas and South Carolina) and the other (Dept. of Education v. Brown) is two individuals who failed to qualify for student loan forgiveness. It seems that neither group of plaintiffs should have legal standing to sue at all in these cases, as neither seems to be able to demonstrate any real harm or injury. If these cases are to be tossed, it will likely be on those grounds. But, the Court's rightwingers sure did seem to want to block this program during Tuesday's hearing, citing the absurd and wholly-made-up, found-nowhere-in-the-Constitution "Major Questions Doctrine" as just one way to do so.

Dayen details the entire fiasco for us today. The Court will issue its opinion no later than June or July as hundreds of billions in financial relief for those need it most hangs in the balance.

Also discussed with Dayen today: The high court has decided to hear a case on whether the funding mechanism for the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) --- the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren during the Obama Administration following the 2008 financial crisis as the only federal watchdog agency focused mainly on consumers --- is unconstitutional. "If you believe it is," quips Dayen, "then you believe that not only numerous other agencies in the federal government have unconstitutional funding structures, but things like Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional." A similar funding mechanism has been used for decades, without challenge, by the FDIC, the FDA, the Federal Reserve and many others.

Dayen describes the ruling that the CFPB's entire funding mechanism is unconstitutional as coming from the "deeply radical" 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He seems to be hoping that SCOTUS has decided to hear this case next term (which begins in October) in order to reverse or, at least clarify, the lower court's ruling. We'll see if he's right about that.

Finally, we discuss drug-maker Eli Lilly's announcement today that the company plans to lower the cost for insulin, after President Biden and the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act, adopted last year, capped expenses for the drug at $35/month for federally insured patients, such as those on Medicare. Also, we discuss today's announcement of the nomination of Julie Su as Biden's new Labor Secretary to replace the departing Marty Walsh. As Dayen reports, the clever appointment of Su, a California progressive, will place her in charge of the Department whether her nomination is blocked in the Senate or not...

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GOP-majority House adjourns after failing to elect Speaker; Also: AZ's A.G. recount ends, Dems take statewide office in previously 'red' state...
By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2023 5:46pm PT  

Well, we're back on today's BradCast --- like it or not --- after our holiday break, with a head cold (but not COVID) and a doozy of a day in Washington D.C.! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

For the first time in 100 years, the party in charge of the U.S. House --- which would theoretically now be the Republicans --- adjourned on the first day of the new, 118th Congress without electing a House Speaker.

After three ballots in which he failed to win the 218 votes needed, Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California actually lost one of his votes on the third ballot to Republican Jim Jordan. The Ohio right-winger received 20 votes in the third round of voting, even after he had actually been the one to nominate McCarthy on the second round. And even after McCarthy had desperately attempted to broker deals for votes up until this afternoon.

On all three ballots, Democrats remained unified behind their new leader, Hakeem Jeffries of New York. He received 212 votes to McCarthy's 203 in the first and second round. McCarthy won only 202 on the last ballot before Republicans decided to adjourn for the day and regroup before trying again tomorrow. While Jeffries won more votes than anyone else on all three ballots, a majority of members present and voting is required to win the Speakership. That number today --- and presumably tomorrow --- is 218.

Without a Speaker, no business in the House can proceed. Given the silly business planned by the GOP majority in the House, that's no great loss. Back in December of 1855 it took until February of 1856 for a speaker to be chosen. But since the Civil War, there has only been one time until today --- way back in 1923 --- that the majority party was unable to elect a Speaker without multiple ballots. It remains to be seen how long it will now take Republicans to select a Speaker this time, as at least 20 GOP "rebels", led by Florida's Rep. Matt Gaetz, appear to be "Never Kevins" for the time being, with no particular Plan B in sight.

House Dems, of course, are eating it all up, as they should. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Also today, we catch up with a few items we missed while away over the holidays. Specifically, some of the remaining statewide contests in Arizona, one of which was still somewhat up-in-the-air before we left in the formerly "red" state.

Over the holidays, the GOP's gubernatorial candidate and Donald Trump "Mini-me", Kari Lake, saw her election challenge dismissed by a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge after she was certified to have lost by some 12,000 votes out of more than 2.5 million cast. Her victorious opponent, Democrat Katie Hobbs, was sworn in as the state's new Governor on New Years Day after receiving a generous hand-written note of welcome from her not-insane Republican predecessor, Gov. Doug Ducey.

But the incredibly tight Attorney General's race in the Grand Canyon State was still facing an automatic recount through the holidays after Democrat Kristin Mayes was certified as having defeated 2020 election denier Abe Hamadeh by just 511 votes.

At year's end, the state's mostly machine-recount wrapped up, with Mayes remaining victorious over the Republican by 280 votes. That's actually a fairly sizeable vote shift for a machine-recount, with most of the changes being attributed to "human error" in the original count in Republican-heavy Pinal County.

Hamadeh, like Lake, vows to continue to challenge the results. Nonetheless, Democrats in the state were sworn in to office for Governor, Sec. of State and Attorney General on January 1. Arizona's Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Kelly was sworn in for his first full six-year term today in D.C. after also winning election in the state in November, as the fall-out and disarray from the Trump Era for Republicans continues from D.C. to Phoenix and beyond.

Happy New Year!

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Guest: Media activist (and Musk's former corporate PR trainer!) 'Spocko'; Also: Oregon Guv commutes all state death sentences; Schumer says ECA reform to be included in lame duck spending bill...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2022 6:36pm PT  

So, I've sorta been trying to avoid coverage on The BradCast of the idiocy underway at Twitter following Elon Musk's takeover of the social network for a ridiculous $44 billion six weeks ago. But today, as things are quickly turning much darker and dangerous, we're jumping down the rabbit hole. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, however, two much more encouraging stories from elsewhere. In Oregon, outgoing Democratic Governor Kate Brown, who will be replaced by Democratic Gov.-elect Tina Kotek in January, has commuted the death sentences of every prisoner in the state on death row! There are 17 of them in all. They will now face life without the possibility of parole instead of being murdered by the government. Brown has also ordered the dismantling of the state's execution chamber in hopes of ending the practice for good there, describing the gruesome punishment (correctly) as "both dysfunctional and immoral."

In other encouraging news before decks are shuffled in January following this year's midterm elections, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has announced that the long-overdue Electoral Count Act reform measure (which we discussed on this program in detail back in February), as negotiated over the summer by a bipartisan group of Senators, will be included in the omnibus spending bill that lawmakers are scrambling to adopt this week before the deadline for a government shutdown.

The ECA reform measure, a version of which already passed in the House, would clarify the poorly-written 1887 law regarding procedures for certifying Electoral College votes following Presidential elections. In addition to making clear that a Vice President does not have the power to unilaterally toss out Electoral votes during the joint session of Congress to confirm Electoral College results, the bill would also raise the requirements for lawmakers to challenge slates of Electors and make it more difficult for a state Legislature to simply select different Electors than those chosen by state voters. All of that in response to Donald Trump's various attempts to exploit the original ECA on January 6th, 2021 to steal the 2020 Presidential election.

Hopefully there are enough Republican votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate, and House Democrats will find the Senate version acceptable during this lame duck period. Otherwise, it'll be next to impossible to adopt ECA reform in advance of the 2024 Presidential election after the GOP takes over the House majority in January.

Then, it's down the Elon Musk Twitter Rabbit Hole, but with an eye toward potential solutions to the increasingly dark chaos he's unleashed since taking over the once-popular social network. While we've largely been trying to ignore the idiocy and hard-right political turn by Musk in his six weeks since taking over Twitter, what has largely been dumb has now arguably turned dangerous.

Over the past week or so, Musk has given a few journalists selective access to internal communications of former Twitter executives, resulting in online stories he refers to as "The Twitter Files". Rightwingers have pretended the published threads somehow confirm some sort of political bias against Donald Trump and fellow political travelers. Trump is pretending they prove that the 2020 election was stolen. They don't. In fact, they largely show Twitter execs wrestling in good faith with difficult internal decisions.

At the same time, Musk has restored previously suspended accounts to many on the far-right, including white supremacists, neo-Nazis, QAnon conspiracists, COVID deniers and 2020 election fraudsters.

More disturbing, however, are Musk's own recent tweets. They've grown darker and increasingly menacing, with attacks on transgender people, the revival of long-debunked COVID conspiracies and false accusations of pedophilia against named Twitter employees. One former top executive was reportedly forced to flee his home this week in response to growing threats. On the same day, Musk suddenly dissolved the company's volunteer Trust and Safety Council, an advisory group which AP describes as "around 100 independent civil, human rights and other organizations that the company formed in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm and other problems on the platform."

That's just a taste of how all of this is quickly devolving. We're joined today by longtime media activist and pseudonymous progressive blogger 'SPOCKO', who has some thoughts on how people can push back against all of this. As it turns out, Spocko, who has worked to organize campaigns against a number of Rightwing media outlets and personalities over the past two decades, actually worked directly with Musk before he became unspeakably wealthy with the creation of PayPal.

At the time, Spocko was helping to train high-tech execs on how to speak to media, customers and investors. He shares his thoughts today on what he learned about Musk even back in the 1990s, when he was called in because Musk wouldn't listen to the female communications experts initially hired to help him.

Now, Spocko explains, "the thing we are talking about with Musk is what do you do when somebody has so much money and so much power, and then he gets rid of the checks and balances?" That becomes dangerous, especially for someone like Musk who he describes as a liar who "makes promises that he doesn't keep."

We discuss a number of campaigns --- both potential and underway --- to hold Musk to account for his increasingly threatening behavior, including the use of "free speech" tools that the billionaire claims to believe in (despite evidence showing he actually doesn't) to target advertisers that Twitter relies on to survive as well as companies like Apple, whose app store is critical to that survival, and the potential filing of civil lawsuits to hold Musk to account for defamation. There are also international efforts underway in places like Europe where the EU has informed social media networks that, by law, they must have measures in place to reduce potential harm or face being cut off entirely.

There is lots to dig into on today's program, whether we're happy to dig into it or not...

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