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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, June 15, 2024
The Corrupt Anti-Abortion TX-to-SCOTUS Legal Mill Pipeline: 'BradCast' 6/13/24
Guest: Salon's Amanda Marcotte; Also: Dems outperform in OH Special Election; Brad gets COVID again goddammit...
'Green News Report' 6/13/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Heat wave coming to much of U.S., cooling systems can't keep up; Record rain from Sarasota to Spain to China; NY passes law to charge Big Oil for climate damage...
Previous GNRs: 6/11/24 - 6/6/24 - Archives...
Life With COVID
What goes around comes around. Again...
Hunter Biden's Conviction and Donald Trump's Weaponized Ignorance: 'BradCast' 6/11/24
Also: Biden rising in polls; The fall of Alex Jones' corrupt empire; Producers pull phony '2000 Mules' doc; More GOP voter fraud...
'Green News Report' 6/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Big win for far-right in EU, climate action in crosshairs; NY Guv halts NYC congestion pricing; PLUS: Biden's new mileage rules save consumers money, combat climate change...
Previous GNRs: 6/6/24 - 6/4/24 - Archives...
After Trump Verdict, GOPers Suddenly Warm to Voting for Felons: 'BradCast' 6/10/24
Listeners call in with explanations; Also: U.N. Security Council approves Biden's Israel/Hamas ceasefire plan; Europe moves toward far-right in EU elections...
Sunday 'Antifa' Toons
THIS WEEK: 80 Years Later ... Fascism Returns ... How Laws Work ... Summer Forecast ... And much more to be proud terrified of in our latest weekly collection...
How SCOTUS Has Been Undermining American Democracy for 50 Years: 'BradCast' 6/6/24
Guest: Prof. Joshua Douglas; Also: Bannon's prison date; U.N. chief: Ban fossil fuel ads...
'Green News Report' 6/6/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
The hottest 12 months ever recorded; ; Heat deaths in U.S. hit a new record in 2023; World's largest solar farm now online -- in China; PLUS: The U.N. Sec.-Gen's message to the world...
Previous GNRs: 6/4/24 - 5/23/24 - Archives...
What Happens in Texas Does NOT Stay in Texas: 'BradCast' 6/5/24
Guest: Andrea Grimes warns of TX GOP's insane new party platform, as underplayed by mainstream media; Also: Election results from MT, NJ, NM, SD, IA, DC...
GOP's Absurd 'Weaponization of Justice' Hoax Continues: 'BradCast' 6/4/24
Also: Indicted Menendez to run as indie in NJ; 2020 Fake Elector plot indictments in WI; Biden will be on OH ballot after all, convicted felon Trump may not be on WA's...
'Green News Report' 6/4/24
Brutal India heat; Power outages double in U.S.; Mexico elects a climate scientist; PLUS: VT's new first-in-nation law requires Big Oil to pay up for climate damages...
GUILTY (x 34)!: NY Trump Trial Conviction Ketchup Show!: 'BradCast' 6/3/24
Guests: Salon's Heather Digby Parton, DKos' Keith Barber; Also: We're back! With more COVID! And Mexico elects first female (Jewish, climate scientist) Prez...
Sunday 'Guilty Pleasure' Toons
THIS WEEK: 34 for 45! A Special Presidential Felons Collector's Edition of the week's very best political toons!...
Sunday 'Red Flag' Toons
THIS WEEK: The Alito Stomp ... Brave, Sir Donald ... Darling Nikki ... Uncle Sam's Toast ... And more warnings in the wind of our latest weekly toons...
'Green News Report' 5/23/24
Extreme weather unleashes disasters from Iowa to Mexico; DeSantis signs 'Don't Say Climate Change' law in FL; PLUS: Study finds microplastics in human testicles...
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...
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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...


Reproductive freedoms and vote purges in VA, OH; Upset Gubernatorial races on deck in KY, MS?; Election denialism threatens vote counting in northern CA county; Also: Listener calls and other news of the day...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2023 6:26pm PT  

Tomorrow is a so-called "off-year" election in a number of states. But several of those elections may tell us quite a bit about the 2024 elections, and not necessarily in the way you may think, as reported on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among today's stories...

  • First up, some quickish news updates. Donald Trump took the stand on Monday in court in Manhattan for three and a half hours of contentious testimony in his losing battle to save his fraudulent company and his children's inheritance in New York State's $250 million fraud lawsuit against them for falsely inflating Trump Organization assets to the tune of $2.2 billion dollars each year from 2011 through 2021. He's already lost the case. Now the question is how much it will cost him (and his children.)
  • Next, a few quick updates on Israel's relentless war against the people of Gaza following the Hamas attack against Israel on October 7, which killed at least 1,300. Now, more than 10,000 have reportedly been killed in response in Gaza, including more than 4,000 children. Calls for a ceasefire are getting louder in the U.S. and around the world. The Biden Administration's calls and Sec. of State Antony Blinken's shuttle diplomacy in the region for a "humanitarian pause" to speed additional humanitarian aid into Gaza and allow the release of some 240 hostages, have yet to gain much traction from Israel's hard-right government.
  • Then, it's on to Tuesday's elections, first with a focus on two Gubernatorial contests in the Deep South, with one popular incumbent Democrat (Kentucky's Andy Beshear) seeking a second term, and another Democrat (Mississippi's Brandon Presley) vying for a long-shot victory now that his state, where 40% of the population is black, has finally done away with a Jim Crow law that has dampened African-American turnout for generations.
  • We discussed the critical fight for control of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates last week with former VA Delegate Mark Levine. But it was worth revisiting today for a reminder of how much is stake in the Commonwealth on Tuesday, including the right to abortion, which its Republican Governor, Glenn Youngkin, is vowing to restrict if he can hold the House and flip just two seats in the Senate on Tuesday. Every seat in the General Assembly is up for grabs this year, in what is likely to be seen as a bellwether ahead of the 2024 Presidential contest.

    But the biggest battle of the day is likely to be Ohio's Constitutional amendment to protect reproductive freedoms. Republicans are pulling out all the stops to lie, cheat and, yes, even steal it if they must, to block the popular ballot initiative in hopes of instituting a six-week ban on abortions in the Buckeye State with no exceptions for rape or incest. To that end, Republican Sec. of State and U.S. Senate nominee-wannabe Frank LaRose recently purged some 26,000 voters from the rolls. He did so after overseas and military voting had already begun (which would have been unlawful during a federal election) and without giving a heads up to voting rights groups as he has in the past. Those nonpartisan groups have frequently discovered and prevented thousands of errors in such purges. Last week's shocker, as discussed on Thursday's show, wherein I learned from an obituary on the Internet that I had died (even though, I assure you, I haven't) is a reminder of how easy it can be to wrongly remove "dead" voters from the roles who are, in fact, quite alive. At least when you do it as LaRose has done. But, of course, that's why he did it.

    And, in what may be a bit of a sleeper "bellwether" for next year's elections, one county in Northern California may be bracing for potential political violence, as rightwingers in Shasta County are insisting on hand-counting ballots after prematurely ending their contract with Dominion Voting Systems. But the elected registrar --- the only county-wide elected Dem in the County --- believes it wise to follow state law and tally with new Hart-Intercivic tabulators instead. Tune in for details. And keep your eyes on Shasta over the next few days, as we will.

  • Then we close by taking a few calls from listeners on some of the above today. Buckle up! Not as much for today's show or our callers, but for tomorrow's otherwise low-key, but critical elections around the country...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former Delegate Mark Levine on VA Assembly, Youngkin's future up for grabs; Also: OH GOP lying about abortion rights ballot initiative...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2023 6:17pm PT  

With everything else going on both here in the U.S. and around the world you can be forgiven for losing track of the fact that next Tuesday is an important off-year Election Day in a number of states, including Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia and elsewhere. On today's BradCast, we try to get you caught up on a number of key contests and the stakes for what will be seen next week --- correctly or not --- as bellwether elections in advance of next year's critical 2024 Presidential contest. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

There are some interesting Gubernatorial races next week. In "deep red" Kentucky, the state's popular Democratic Governor Andy Beshear will be running for a second term. And in even "deeper red" Mississippi, dysfunctional infighting among state Republicans could translate into what would be a surprise, long-shot victory for Democratic candidate Brandon Presley. But, as our guest suggests today, elections tend to be won by the voters who show up.

In Ohio, as you may recall, back in August, Republicans attempted to use a last minute, single-issue Special Election to adopt a ballot initiative that would mandate all future amendments to the state Constitution require a 60% majority for passage, instead of a simple majority, as has been the case for over a hundred years in the Buckeye State. That measure, Issue 1, failed. It wasn't even close. Voters understood that it was clearly a scheme meant to derail a popular state Constitutional initiative to protect abortion rights scheduled for the November 7 ballot in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme court last year and state GOP lawmakers adoption of a 6-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Ohio's popular Republican Governor, Mike DeWine, has been lying to voters about next week's ballot initiative to protect reproductive freedoms by calling Issue 1 (yes, confusingly, it has the same name as the GOP's failed measure in August!) "too extreme" for Ohio. Of course, there is nothing extreme about it. Which is why state Republicans are lying to voters and even succeeded in convincing the state's GOP-leaning Supreme Court to allow them to use a "summary" of the measure on the ballot, rather than the actual text of the initiative (which was shorter!), to replace the word "fetus" with "unborn child". Hopefully Buckeye Staters don't fall for that scam either.

In Virginia, every seat in the General Assembly is up for grabs this year, as Democrats need to flip just a handful of seats to retake the majority in the state's House of Delegates and Republicans need to flip just two seats to take back the state Senate. At the same time, all new legislative maps this year have completely shaken up the Commonwealth, with the political future of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin apparently hanging in the balance. Whatever happens next week could well decide whether the termed-out Governor jumps into the 2024 GOP Presidential contest and/or adopts a 15-week abortion ban, which has been prevented to date by Democrats in the Assembly.

Those stakes may also help explain why Youngkin has worked so hard during his two years in office to prevent new voters from registering and to suppress the votes of certain types of voters.

We're joined today by VA's longtime progressive radio host and three-term Democratic former state Delegate MARK LEVINE to discuss what next week's elections mean for VA, for the nation, and for Youngkin's political future.

"I've long argued that Virginia is an 'indigo' state, which means it's mostly purple with a tinge of blue. I think, on average, we're going to very very closely vote Democratic," he tells me today regarding next week's contests. "Unfortunately --- or fortunately, depending on the year --- Virginia really is a very good bellwether for the United States. The same year we lost our House [of Delegates] in 2021, barely, the Republicans gained the [U.S.] House of Representatives, barely. Virginia really is an excellent bellwether. I would argue the nation is an indigo nation --- purple but ever-so-slightly blue --- and that's where we are. It really could go either way."

Levine explains that VA voter turnout in Presidential years is usually about 75% in the Commonwealth. In mid-term elections and off-year elections with a Governor's race, it's about 45%. Next week's race, he says, "is called the 'off-off elections'" when usually "only about 23% of Virginians show up. So what that means is whoever is angrier, that's who shows up. Are the MAGA Republicans angrier? Or are progressive Democrats angrier? I don't know. I would think abortion is very motivating. It will be a real test, because that's mostly what Democrats are running on."

"We had an election in 2017 that was a tie vote. They flipped a coin, and that's why we didn't control the legislature in 2017," he says. "The point is, one vote really can make a difference, particularly in these local races that decide the legislature. So I just want to urge anyone in Virginia, or anyone who knows someone who you think may still live in Virginia, please call them, remind them to vote. We've made it really easy. We have early voting now. You can go vote today, tomorrow, next day. The polls are open. They're close to your house. Get out and vote!"

Will the Democrats' focus on protecting reproductive freedoms in an ostensibly "blue" state, currently headed up by a Republican, work as well as it has over the past year in so many "red" states? Will the re-shuffling of legislative maps hurt or help Democrats? And will the results next week really help determine whether Youngkin decides to jump into the 2024 GOP Presidential contest? Levine has a lot of thoughts on all of those topics and many others, in our VERY lively discussion today!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a suspiciously larger-than-usual amount of not-terrible-news, including even some good environmental news out of the, yes, so-called "deep red" state of Kentucky...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 9/26/2023 10:30am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: New Orleans declares emergency over saltwater intrusion in drinking water; Fracking operations are "devouring America's groundwater" amid persistent drought; PLUS: Republicans' government shutdown will suspend critical operations like FEMA disaster recovery... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Facing 'horrific' sea level rise, Tuvalu crafts climate survival plan; Thousands of federal firefighters face a looming pay cut. How much is up to Congress; Exxon weighs chemicals output boost as EVs threaten gasoline use; Follow the Money: Why is an Arab oil man running international climate conference?; Heat-related deaths in 2022 hit highest level on record in England... PLUS: Time to Evolve: Dad goes viral on replacing gas stove... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Navarro 'guilty'; Prigozhin's interference; DeSantis law v. Idalia recovery; Lee strengthens; OH GOP lawyer sentenced; AL GOP Rep. arrested; 'Crooked' Coffee County, GA; Solution to 'Rich Men from Richmond'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2023 6:39pm PT  

As the headline suggests, we've got a bunch of different odds and ends and follow-ups and codas to share with you on today's BradCast, along with, several new stories and even a musical ending to it all. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among today's stories...

  • Trump advisor Peter Navarro was found guilty by a jury in D.C. on Wednesday on two counts of Contempt of Congress for refusing to answer his House January 6 Committee subpoenas for testimony and documents. It's the second such conviction for a scofflaw Trump apparatchik. Last year, Steve Bannon was found guilty of the same crimes and sentenced to 4 months in prison. He remains out on appeal. Navarro is expected to appeal as well. We wish them both nothing but luck in their continuing efforts to evade the Rule of Law on behalf of the disgraced former President and continuing con-man.
  • Just a friendly reminder, because I haven't seen it covered much in the wake of the recent small plane death of former Vladimir Putin-ally turned short-lived Russian mutineer Yevgeny Prigozhin. I just wanted to make sure this factoid doesn't fall down the Memory Hole of History: On the day before last year's mid-term elections in the U.S., Prigozhin admitted, for the first time publicly, that Russia had, in fact, "interfered, are interfering and will interfere" in U.S. elections. Yes, in addition to heading up the brutal Wagner mercenary group in Ukraine and elsewhere, being known as "Putin's Chef" and eventually failed mutineer, he was also the guy who finally admitted to having interfered in U.S. elections. He was charged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in 2018, for having done so in 2016.
  • Following Hurricane Idalia's landfall in Northern Florida last week, it's become clear that a radical new anti-immigrant law signed by the state's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year will hamper rebuilding and recovery efforts in the Sunshine State. While damage from Idalia was intense, it made landfall on a sparsely populate part of the state. Next time, Florida may not be so "lucky". In not-unrelated news for the U.S. East Coast, the huge Hurricane Lee has now intensified to a Category 4 today as it nears the Caribbean.
  • A couple of weeks ago, we covered yet another case of voter fraud by a White Republican Trump donor after James Saunders, a 56-year old Ohio attorney, was convicted of unlawfully voting in both Florida and the Buckeye State in the 2020 and 2022 general elections. Last week, he received Ohio's maximum sentence of three years in prison. The judge sent him immediately to jail following his conviction without allowing him to remain free pending appeal.
  • In yet another new case of GOP election fraud last week, Alabama state Rep. David Cole was arrested and charged with voting in "multiple or unauthorized locations" after law enforcement officials determined the District 10 lawmaker actually resided in District 4 in violation of state law. He faces up to 10 years in prison for his crimes, though --- in a turnabout for GOPers these days --- Cole who was elected to public office last year, had the decency to resign following his arrest and says he plans to plead guilty.
  • We've been spent quite a bit of time over the past year and a half on both The BradCast and at The BRAD BLOG covering the alarming, unlawful breach, copying and distribution of Georgia's statewide voting system software by a bunch of MAGA folks on January 7th, 2021 in rural Coffee County. The scheme was allegedly organized by Trump attorney Sidney Powell after being hatched in the Oval Office in December of 2020. Powell and three others were finally charged by Atlanta-area D.A. Fani Willis for their parts in the plot, in Donald Trump's sprawling, 41-count RICO indictment [PDF]. We helped break some of the story last year and have been covering in detail it ever since, including yesterday with guest Marilyn Marks, the woman who first revealed the breach after learning about it via a bizarre phone call she received from one of the participants (who has also since been charged.)

    But there is another, less reported aspect to all of this, with no small amount of irony. Two of those charged for key roles in the plot, the County's then GOP Chair Cathy Latham and then Election Supervisor Misty Hampton, were also part of a voter suppression cabal in the heavily Republican County where about a quarter of the population is Black. In fact, for years, the pair had helped to bring false voter fraud charges against County Commissioner Olivia Coley Pearson, a Black Democrat, for her terrible habit of helping folks get to the polls when they need assistance. As CNN's Elle Reeve details in an excellent report this week from on the ground in Coffee County, there is good reason that some refer to it as "Crooked Coffee"...even before the massive Republican election fraud breach carried out by Hampton, Latham and many others.

  • Next up, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report following a record brutal summer across the globe. But she also has some good news, such as the Biden Administration's effort to reverse Trump's oil drilling up in the previously pristine Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
  • Finally, we close out Labor Day week with a new tune from musician and longtime labor advocate Billy Bragg, who says he was inspired by "the ghost of Woody Guthrie" to respond to a song named Rich Men North of Richmond by Virginia-based singer Oliver Anthony after it recently went viral in GOP circles. Bragg's new tune in response is called Rich Men Earning North of a Million and it has a very clear message and solution for Anthony "and people like you."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Election officials grapple with Trump's Constitutional ballot disqualification; Also: Proud Boy boss gets 22 years for 1/6; Courts order lawless AL, FL to restore Black-majority U.S. House Districts...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2023 6:24pm PT  

We're back! Both on today's BradCast and even in L.A., after fleeing the state last month to avoid weeks of construction on the roof of the apartment housing our home studio. To no one's surprise, the work is taking longer than we were told, so please pardon our efforts this week to work around it as best as possible after taking last week off to both avoid it and to enjoy the last days of Summer 2023 before the 2024 fight for Democracy (represented this year by Democrats) and Autocracy (represented by a lawless Republican party) begins in earnest.

Among our stories today...

  • Enrique Tarrio, former head of the far-right Proud Boys gang was sentenced to 22 year in federal prison on Tuesday following his conviction for Seditious Conspiracy for his role in the January 6th, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection. It's the longest sentence for any of the MAGA insurrectionists to date. Also, of note, Tarrio wasn't even in Washington D.C. that day. Point taken: One didn't need to be personally smashing windows and storming the Capitol to be held to serious account for what happened that day. Got it. Hopefully other jurors in other upcoming related cases will get it as well.
  • The federal Courts are still holding. Mostly. For now. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel found that Alabama Republicans blatantly defied an order from the U.S. Supreme Court to add another Black-majority district to their U.S. House map. The SCOTUS order to do so --- after finding the state violated both the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act with their racially gerrymandered districts --- came in Allen v. Milligan [PDF] in early June. Alabama didn't care. In an unprecedented move, they gave the finger to the Court and drew up a new map with the very same deficiencies featuring just one Black-majority district out of seven, in a state where some 27% of residents are Black. The federal court panel has now assigned a Special Master to draw U.S. House districts for the state, after a lawless Gov. Kay Ivey joined with lawless legislators in the gerrymandered statehouse to defy SCOTUS, the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution. Alabama is now appealing the ruling to the same U.S. Supreme Court Justices who rejected their arguments barely three months ago.
  • The story is similar in authoritarian Governor and Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis' lawless state of Florida this weekend. In this case, a state court judge on Saturday ordered the state legislature to draw a new U.S. House map restoring a Black-majority district in Northern Florida that DeSantis had personally ordered state lawmakers to break into pieces and divvy up its Black voters into White Republican districts. The weekend's court order would seem to be good news. However, the State will now appeal the ruling directly to its Supreme Court where DeSantis has hand-picked a majority of the Justices. As we have long been warning, the fight between Democracy and Autocracy (or Fascism, as one of our longtime listeners insists), continues into 2024.
  • Next, I finally catch up with a bunch of news on a growing story --- some of which we've been discussing over the past two years --- that I've otherwise been trying to get to for weeks, but for all of the various indictments, hurricanes, wildfires, debates, etc. continually sidetracking me. The news has to do with the continuing feeling I have that Donald Trump will ultimately not be on the ballot come next November. As noted, that's not a prediction or an inside scoop. It's simply a feeling for now, but one that I can't shake as an increasingly swelling body of evidence seems to support its possibility.

    Today, that evidence includes polling last month finding nearly two-thirds of Americans say they will either "definitely" (53%) or "probably" (11%) not support Trump in 2024. Might such numbers begin to grab the notice of Republican Primary voters? (So far, the answer is largely no. But we've got a long way to go --- and a lot of criminal trials --- before the GOP's nominating convention next July.) There are already a number of high profile Republicans calling on Trump to drop out of the race or noting that he very well may be Constitutionally disqualified entirely from the ballot.

    It is that part of this story today --- disqualification from the ballot via Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for his role in the January 6 Insurrection --- that we focus on today. Namely, the far-right, Federalist Society legal scholars who recently issued a 126-page law review paper [PDF] finding Trump to be Constitutionally ineligible for the ballot --- "cannot be president --- cannot run for president, cannot become president, cannot hold office" --- due to his roll in the January 6 insurrection.

    And now, there is a host of state Secretaries of State --- both Republican and Democratic --- around the country who are currently or soon to be grappling with the decision as to whether Trump is even eligible to be on their state ballots in 2024.

    Among those Secretary of State's discussed today, after they recently offered various opinions on the matter: New Hampshire's David Scanlan (R); Ohio's Frank LaRose (R); Arizona's Adrian Fontes (D), New Mexico's Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D); Maine's Shenna Bellows (D) and Michigan's Jocelyn Benson (D). (Benson gets credit for the first part of today's headline. REO Speedwagon gets credit for the alternate hed.)

    I welcome your feelings on this matter as well. Feel free to drop me an email or a note in comments and perhaps I'll share it on air in the days ahead.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen is back as well, of course, with our latest Green News Report, catching up with a bunch of stuff we missed while we were out, and as the Summer of Climate Disasters turns to...well, most likely the Autumn of Climate Disasters...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Prighozan 'dead'; Milwaukee schools closed due to heat wave; All-male SC Supreme Court allows abortion ban; Randy Rainbow returns!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2023 6:27pm PT  

Today's BradCast might be best summarized by matching up the mugshots and court appearances this week (most of them just today!) of Republican attorneys who are being held accountable for felony crimes, most related to election fraud. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

From left to right of the rogues gallery pictured above...

  • Ohio attorney and Trump donor James Saunders was found guilty on Tuesday of two counts of election fraud for having voted twice, once in Ohio and once in Florida, in both the 2020 and 2022 general elections. The judge immediately sent him to jail after the verdict, even before his sentencing next week. Saunders apparently committed the same crimes in 2014 and 2016, but the statute of limitations had already run before Cuyahoga County prosecutors nabbed him.
  • Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's trial on 20 impeachment charges in the state Senate is scheduled to begin on September 5. The photo above (second from left) is his mugshot from 2015 when he was charged with state felony Securities Fraud which he has yet to be tried for. TX voters elected him twice since then, nonetheless. As to the charges for which he has now been impeached, Texas House impeachment managers this week released new details about Paxton's abuse of office as the state's top law enforcement official, which include abuse of office to help his friend and donor Nate Paul, his use of a fake Uber account, burner phones and secret personal emails accounts used, in part, to facilitate his secret visits with his mistress who Paul's firm hired in order to make it easier for Paxton to visit her in Austin. All of that, even as Paul was secretly paying to renovate Paxton's home in McKinney. Paxton, who led the failed U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit attempting to toss out every vote cast in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, in the 2020 Presidential election, is also under federal investigation for many of the crimes he has been impeached for in the Lone Star State where he is now serving his third term as A.G.
  • A whole passel of Donald Trump co-defendants --- many of them also Republican attorneys --- were in the news today, as many surrendered to felony charges in Fulton County, Georgia, after being charged in the state racketeering conspiracy indictment along with Trump for their efforts to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State. Seen in mugshots above (slots 3 through 6) are Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman (booked yesterday), Ken Chesebro, and Sidney Powell. Also surrendering today in Atlanta was Misty Hampton, the Republican Election Director of Coffee County, GA who invited Powell, and a bunch of other MAGA folks in to the Elections Office in the rural, Republican-leaning GA county to make unlawful copies of the state's sensitive voting system software. Also in related news today were Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Trump DoJ attorney Jeffrey Clark. Both are co-defendants in the RICO case, currently seeking to move their trials to federal court. Both had moved in federal court to postpone or cancel their surrenders in Fulton County. Both motions were rejected by the federal court today just before airtime after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis made clear that they had both been given more than enough time before this Friday's deadline to turn themselves in.

In other, occasionally related news on today's program...

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Russian mercenary Wagner military battalion and leader of a short-lived coup against his former close ally, Vladimir Putin, earlier this year, reportedly died along with 9 others in a private jet that crashed shortly after takeoff approximately 60 miles north of Moscow on Wednesday. The plane was video-taped falling out of the sky after something appears to have caused an explosion after the jet had reached cruising altitude.
  • Milwaukee Public Schools were closed today in Wisconsin due to a dangerous heat wave. The closure comes on the same day that eight GOP candidates --- none named Trump --- are to appear in Milwaukee this evening for the party's first Presidential Primary debate of the 2024 season. Pretty much all of these candidates, many of whom pretended to be furious about school closures due to COVID, are also climate crisis deniers. Nonetheless, they are unlikely to raise the issue of our climate emergency at tonight's debate, despite the school closures today due to climate change in the very city in which they will be debating tonight.
  • The newly all-male state Supreme Court in South Carolina reversed the Court's own ruling from earlier this year today, regarding the state Legislature's near total abortion ban, even though the majority opinion concedes the new law infringes "a woman’s right of privacy and bodily autonomy." The 5 men now serving as Justices --- following the lone female Justice's mandatory retirement earlier this year --- just don't care, apparently. Unlike the now-retired female Justice who wrote the majority opinion blocking the new law earlier this year, the dudes now sitting on the state's High Court believe those state Constitutional interests of women do not outweigh "the interest of the unborn child to live."

And finally...

  • Trump says he will go in for booking at the Fulton County jail on Thursday evening, during TV's prime-time, of course. As he is set to be arraigned for his fourth criminal indictment of the year (his second one for attempting to steal the 2020 election), musical satirist Randy Rainbow returns with an all new, hilarious tune to mark the occasion and close today's program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Robin Marty of the West Alabama Women's Center, author of 'The End of Roe v. Wade'; Also: Deadly, climate fueled wildfires in Maui, HI...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2023 6:33pm PT  

It was a great day for democracy in Ohio on Tuesday. And how often do we get to say that on The BradCast? [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But first, it's not a great day for our friends in Maui, Hawaii, where windswept wildfires have leveled homes and businesses and a historic town; killed at least six and injured dozens so far; and sent some residents fleeing into the ocean to avoid the flames. That, as wind gusts above 60 mph --- part of Hurricane Dora passing about 500 miles safely to the south --- kept firefighting helicopters out of the sky, while climate change-fueled dry conditions and non-native, non-drought tolerant plant species (brought there by humans) went up like torches. Sending our best wishes to our listeners at our affiliate station, KAKU 88.5FM, "The Voice of Maui"! Please drop us a line when you can to let us know how you're doing!

Moving on from that terrible news, to much better news out of Ohio last night, where democracy was literally on the ballot. The Buckeye State GOP's anti-democracy constitutional amendment, known as Issue 1 on Tuesday's special election ballot, went down to huge defeat by some 13 points --- 57% to 43% --- according to the latest unconfirmed tallies. The measure, which could have passed with a simple majority, would have changed the state constitution to require 60% voter approval for all future constitutional amendments. As it turns out, voters don't like voting their own democracy away.

As Ohio's Sec. of State Frank LaRose was eventually caught on tape admitting to supporters --- after claiming for months it had nothing to do with abortion --- the measure was "100% about abortion". It was meant to preempt a citizen-led ballot initiative set for this November that will codify reproductive freedoms into the constitution of the otherwise right-leaning and wildly gerrymandered state.

We spend some time today explaining what happened, why it happened, and just how extraordinarily corrupt and hypocritical the measure's lead proponent, LaRose, actually is, as he hopes to become the state's GOP nominee to square off with Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown next year. Good luck after Tuesday's $20 million, anti-democracy boondoggle, Frank!

But what happened in Ohio on Tuesday is reverberating throughout the nation today and will, almost certainly, continue to reverberate into next year's 2024 general election. It is also giving hope to a lot of otherwise "deep red" states, proving again that their citizenry can also successfully push back against GOP forces of hypocrisy, anti-democracy and pro-autocracy. Even in states like "deep red" Alabama.

We're joined today by ROBIN MARTY, Operations Director at the West Alabama Women's Center, and the prescient author of 2019's The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America and The End of Roe v. Wade: Inside the Right's Plan to Destroy Legal Abortion.

Marty, as you might guess, is elated about the great news out of Ohio. "Of course, I am very excited about it," she says, before adding: "I'm not surprised, though. This is yet another in a series of wins for abortion rights when it is put up to a statewide vote." Indeed, every time a measure even tangentially related to reproductive rights has appeared on a statewide ballot since the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, reproductive freedoms have ultimately won. That is true in both "red" and "blue" states alike.

But Marty also shares just some of the authoritarian horror still playing out in her own home state where abortion has now been banned entirely by state Republicans, and where her West Alabama Women's Center still offers much-needed healthcare for woman...but may no longer provide them with abortion services.

Most incredibly, as Marty tells details today, the medical professionals at her clinic are not even allowed, by law, to tell patients where they might go --- which states or clinics --- to receive lawful abortion care elsewhere. That, she says, could result in felony charges and up to 99 years in prison. In fact, she wasn't even certain she could tell me about that on air!

"The moment it became illegal in our state, not only did we have to stop every bit of abortion care that we were doing in the clinic," she explains, "our Attorney General made statements saying that, in his opinion, he believed that providing a person with information about how they could access abortion care somewhere else would, in fact, constitute a criminal conspiracy. And people could be arrested over that."

The center has just filed suit against the state A.G., hoping to win back their free speech rights. As the ACLU describes the case, the lawsuit was last month "in federal court to prevent Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and district attorneys throughout the state from prosecuting those who assist Alabamians seeking to travel across state lines to access abortion care where abortion is legal. Attorney General Marshall has explicitly threatened that health care providers could face felony charges for assisting Alabamians seeking to travel out of state to obtain abortion where it is legal."

The health care providers are fighting the law adopted by the very same hypocritical GOP lawmakers who pretended to be "outraged" about "Big Government coming between a patient and their doctor" during the passage of ObamaCare in 2010. And the very same ones who, today, are pretending to be "outraged" about Trump being prosecuted for "nothing more than exercising his Free Speech rights!" (that's not why he is being prosecuted) and pretending to be concerned that social media sites are "censoring" rightwing opinions.

Marty has a lot to say on all of these topics, so I hope you'll tune in for today's very lively conversation with her!...

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Guest: Attorney Keith Barber's primer on the crime of Racketeering; Also: Raskin on Trump trying to 'steal' the 2020 election; Election Day in OH...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2023 6:17pm PT  

For some reason, it seemed like a good moment on today's BradCast to bone up on exactly what "racketeering" or RICO charges are. I have a feeling it may come in handy in the days ahead. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, FIRST UP, it's Election Day in Ohio. One single statewide ballot issue, in the middle of August. That's because Republican lawmakers were hoping to undermine a ballot measure set for this November which, if successful, will codify protection for reproductive freedoms into the state Constitution.

For more than 100 years in the Buckeye State, Constitutional Amendments were adopted via the ballot with a simple majority vote. Today's measure, Issue 1, would raise the requirement needed for passage to a 60% super-majority. Of course, the GOP's Issue 1 on the ballot today would require just 50% + 1 for passage.

As we've been reporting, despite the state Republicans' attempt to sneak their anti-democracy Amendment past voters (after, earlier this year, adopting legislation to ban August Special Elections), early voting has been huge. Today's Election Day turnout was reportedly higher than expected as well. Happily, there were, so far, only a few reported problems at the polls. We'll see if that changes and we'll have reported results on this critical measure tomorrow.

THEN, over the weekend, Donald Trump's top attorney on his new indictment by Special Counsel Jack Smith for his many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election, was all over the news shows offering absurd defenses for his client's crimes. John Laura told Meet the Press, for example, that "a technical violation of the Constitution" isn't actually unlawful.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who happens to be a Constitutional law professor (as well as both the Lead Manager for the U.S. House during Trump's second impeachment for insurrection and a member of the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating it) strongly begged to differ. Critically, he noted in his response to Lauro's remarks, there are people serving years in jail in this country for falsifying one single vote, whereas Trump "tried to steal the entire election."

Thank you, Congressman!

NEXT, we continue to await what is almost certainly going to be Trump's fourth criminal indictment in about as many months. This one will come any day now, likely this week or next, courtesy of Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis in relation to Team Trump's failed attempts to steal the Peach State's election in 2020 from Joe Biden and the state's voters.

Her case, for reasons explained on today's program, could be expansive, including many charges and many conspirators acting in concert with Trump. Exactly who will be charged and what they will be charged with remains unknown.

Among the many questions about Willis' case: Will she invoke the state's "Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations" (or RICO) Act or just simple conspiracy charges? And, oh, by the way, what are the difference between the two, as RICO is best known for use against organized crime by the mafia, etc.?

Luckily, KEITH BARBER, former attorney, former Republican and current Daily Kos contributor on law and Constitutional matters, recently wrote about exactly that and joins us today for a helpful RICO primer and insights into Willis' likely imminent indictments.

Short version of the difference between "conspiracy" and "RICO", as Barber wrote last month: "Conspiracy requires an agreement between the co-conspirators to commit what are usually specific crimes. RICO does not require proving any such agreement. So long as the parties commit the required predicate offenses, as part of the same 'enterprise,' acting 'in furtherance of a common purpose,' RICO can be satisfied."

As Barber tells me today: "The mob boss doesn't necessarily plan anything with the guy who is running the protection racket He may not even know him. But they are both engaged in the same broad criminal enterprise. That's the distinction between RICO and conspiracy. You don't have to show the connections that are shown in the [Jack] Smith indictment of Trump between the co-conspirators. It's sufficient if they engage in a pattern of racketeering activity in furtherance of the same general objective."

If you'd like a more detailed explanation, tune in to today's show, when Barber also offers his thoughts on who is likely to be indicted. "All indications are, all the hints are, that it's going to be a whole lot of people, with a whole lot of charges. It's kind of mind-boggling how many people it could be."

Also discussed: last night's court ruling in columnist E. Jean Carroll's rape and defamation case against Trump and his counter-suit for defamation against Carroll. Short version: Trump's suit was tossed as the judge confirmed that, yes, Trump was found by a jury to have been a rapist according to common vernacular, and Carroll's second civil trial against him (she already won $5 million from him during the last one, now she's suing for at least $10 million) is scheduled to begin early next year and could be a very very short trial given everything that was already established as a fact in the first trial.

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the death toll rises under prolonged extreme heat in Arizona; climate change unleashes a brand new flooding problem in Alaska; President Biden moves to protect a million acres from uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, and extreme rains and deadly flooding continue to pummel parts of Europe...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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The two Justins win back their seats in TN; Huge turnout in response to OH's Issue 1 scam; Deadline for military PACT Act benefits; Also: Callers want to talk about our thrice-indicted former President...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2023 6:32pm PT  

It may be the dead of Summer, not exactly when most Americans are thinking about elections. But they were thinking about them last week in Tennessee and Ohio. No matter what these days, Americans are still thinking about Donald Trump. We cover all of that and more on today's busy BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

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

  • Another victory for Americans and our current President. Months earlier than expected and ordered by Congress, Joe Biden signed a landmark Presidential order just over a week ago that officially updates the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for the first time in decades. The update changes the way the military handles sexual assault cases and other violent crimes, many of which, advocates of the new system have argued for some twenty years, were swept under the rug in the military chain of command.
  • In somewhat related-ish news, the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act [or PACT] Act has an important deadline this week that former Daily Show host Jon Stewart wants you to know about. The PACT Act greatly expanded medical benefits for veterans harmed by toxic burnpits, agent orange and other toxins while in service to the country. The landmark measure was signed by President Biden in 2022 --- also after years of advocacy by proponents --- and, while eligible vets can sign up anytime, those who either sign up or offer their intent to sign up by Wednesday, August 9, will be able to get full benefits going back to August of 2022. So make sure you let anyone you served and may have been sicked while on duty know about it! Learn more and sign up at VA.gov/PACT.
  • Remember the Two Justins --- Tennessee State Rep. Justin Pearson of Memphis and Justin Jones of Nashville --- the two young, black, progressive Democratic lawmakers [pictured above] who were expelled by Republicans from the TN State House for supporting children and teachers protesting for new gun safety legislation following the mass school shooting in Nashville in March? Both Justins just won back their seats in the state House of Representatives during special elections held last Thursday. They were expelled by the racist white Republican House super-majority last April when an older white woman --- Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville --- was spared from expulsion by the same lawmakers, despite participating in the same protest on the House floor with the two Justins. Jones reportedly won his race with a whopping 78% of the vote. Pearson won his election to his old seat with 94% of the vote. Well done, Tennessee voters!
  • Meanwhile, in Ohio, far-right Republicans in that state's gerrymandered state legislature and their dark money supporters have been lying to voters for weeks now about Issue 1, which will be decided tomorrow (Tuesday, August 8th) at polls across the Buckeye State. The statewide ballot measure would make it harder for citizens to adopt citizen led initiatives to amend the Constitution by, among other things, requiring 60% for passage. Just a few months ago, in May, just weeks after adopting legislation to outlaw August special elections, GOP lawmakers voted to hold a special election for this ballot measure (which would only need a simple 50% majority for passage, just like all other ballot measures in state history) in hopes of pre-empting a citizen-led Constitutional ballot measure scheduled for this November that would enshrine reproductive freedoms into the state Constitution. Rightwingers have reportedly been blanketing the airwaves with false claims about Issue 1, telling voters that a "yes" vote will prevent your daughter from receiving a sex change operation without your approval. (Seriously.) But, again, democracy rising? Early voting turnout is through the roof, surpassing even last year's 2022 mid-term primaries. But we'll see how it turns out. A number of counties are reporting poll closures and precinct changes just days before tomorrow's Election Day.
  • Finally, after awarding our kudos to the latest member of the corporate media to be brought to our attention correctly describing Donald Trump's multiple failed attempts to "STEAL" the 2020 election, we open up the phone to callers. Many of whom want to talk about Donald Trump, his latest four-count federal indictment [PDF] last week, and how the hell the guy is even allowed to run for President after inciting an insurrection (he shouldn't be), much less serving as the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination. I still believe it's possible that he will not ultimately be the GOP nominee next year, for a number of reasons I suspect we'll be discussing in the days ahead. For today, however, it was great to talk to a number of very good callers about all of the above!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Democracy can reverse the damage wrought by corrupt, right-wing Supreme Court ideologues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/7/2023 9:49am PT  

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that."
-- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When our corrupted U.S. Supreme Court, in June, handed down their closing opinions for last year's term, it became clear that we are facing a dark judicial hour in this nation.

Dark for women whose reproductive liberty and very lives have been placed at risk; dark for those who are drowning in seemingly insurmountable student debt; dark for those in the LGBTQ+ community who are seeing their very existence and right to medical care being challenged; dark for young African-American students hoping to acquire a higher education so as to overcome our nation's legacy of systemic racism; dark for the families of the ever-growing number of victims of mass shootings.

Our judicial institutions, for the moment, are still holding when it comes to accountability for the scoundrel who served as our 45th President. But, for too many others, the High Court has wrought a darkness brought on by the corrosive influence of the billionaire class and the "dark money" that billionaires and corporations use to corrupt our political and legal institutions.

That darkness comes courtesy of the Supreme Court's infamous 2010 Citizens United decision. It is a darkness also facilitated by political chicanery resulting in a Republican Party, which lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight Presidential Elections, packing a "corrupt" supermajority of six right-wing ideologues onto the nine-member High Court.

Their dark, radical interpretations of the Rule of Law have done more than simply endanger democracy's survival. By inventing a Second Amendment right of an individual to bear arms unrelated to military service in a State's "well-regulated" militia, the Roberts Court has become "destructive" of the first of the "unalienable Rights" listed in our nation's Declaration of Independence --- the right to "Life"!

Early last month, for example, CBS published a jaw-dropping U.S. statistic, citing "26 mass shootings in the first five days of July."

Yet, it is the dark and oppressive nature of the immensely unpopular decisions handed down by six unelected "radicals in robes", that, ironically, may help to facilitate a new dawn. The bright side of their decisions can be found in an incensed electorate, whose approval of the Court, as presently constituted, has plunged to a dismal 29%.

Democracy, as the late British MP Tony Benn described it, is "more revolutionary than socialist ideas." It is the light that can drive out the darkness.

The very existence of public revulsion towards the dark turn by the Court in recent years, such as overturning abortion rights and much more, make a 2024 Blue Tsunami possible. If the source of the darkness lies in the decisions of a corrupt and radicalized Supreme Court, then Democrats must convey a clear and coherent message that a vote for their candidates will serve to restore the light...including with reform of the Court itself...

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Six co-conspirators cited, but still unnamed, in charges handed up by federal grand jury in Special Counsel Jack Smith's Jan. 6-related probe; Also: NJ Lt. Gov. Oliver dies suddenly; OH's critical Aug. 8 election...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2023 6:23pm PT  

Literally minutes before today's BradCast, news broke that the grand jury in D.C. hearing Special Counsel Jack Smith conspiracy case against Donald J. Trump regarding his many failed attempts to steal 2020 Presidential election had handed up a four-count federal indictment against Donald J. Trump. Seconds before airtime, Smith offered a brief statement on the new indictment. We cover both today...on the fly...

As Smith announced (we share his brief remarks in full), Trump was indicted on four federal felonies...

Count 1: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States [18 USC 371]
Count 2: Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding [18 USC 1512(k)]
Count 3: Obstruction of, and Attempt to Obstruct, an Official Proceeding [18 USC 1512(c)(2)]
Count 4: Conspiracy Against Rights [specifically, the right to vote and to have one's vote counted, 18 USC 241]

Six of Defendant Trump's alleged co-conspirators are briefly described in the 45-page indictment [PDF], though not named within it. The co-conspirators appear to be uncharged at this time. Most of their names were pretty simple to identify based on their description in the indictment (see pages 3 and 4). According to Washington Post, which names 5 of the 6 of them, it appears we got them pretty much correct as we read through the early portion of the charges on today's show. WaPo identifies them as...

Co-Conspirator 1: Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani
Co-Conspirator 2: Trump attorney John Eastman
Co-Conspirator 3: Trump attorney Sidney Powell
Co-Conspirator 4: DoJ Asst. Attorney General Jeffrey Clark
Co-Conspirator 5: Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro
Co-Conspirator 6: A still unidentified "political consultant" whose description matches several potential different Trump henchmen.

Looks like we were correct, at least, on Co-Conspirators 1 through 4. Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler agrees WaPo's ID of Chesebro as number 5 is "sound". He is described in the indictment as "an attorney who assisted in devising and attempting to implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding". We speculate on the show that Co-Conspirator 6 could be Trump's 2020 campaign Director of Election Day Operations Michael Roman, but that's just an on-the-fly guess.

The most central aspect of the charges, at least to my eyes, is that Donald Trump not only attempted to steal the election by lying about it, using dozens of fraudulent claims for months after the November election, but knew that he was lying about every aspect of it.

"The Defendant lost the 2020 presidential election," the indictment reads in its first paragraph...

Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false. But the Defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway --- to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.

He lost. He knew it, because he was told by his closest advisors and all the top state and federal officials with whom he conferred. And, yet, he fraudulently claimed otherwise in hopes of defrauding the American people and stealing a Presidential election. He is finally be charged for all of the above.

It's all spelled out, quite readably, in the indictment [PDF] which Smith, in his brief remarks, encouraged "everyone" to "read in full".

We will, no doubt, have more on all of this in the days ahead. In the remaining time on today's show, as salvaged somewhat from our previous planned program...

  • The sudden death of New Jersey's Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, the first statewide black official in the Garden State and a central character in my 2011 blockbuster exclusive on then Gov. Chris Christie's secret address to the Koch Brothers secret political gathering that year in Vale, CO.
  • The critical election next Tuesday, August 8, in Ohio, where corrupt, authoritarian Republicans have suddenly called a special election to try and adopt a constitutional amendment that would require 60% approval by voters for all future constitutional amendments placed on the ballot. This measure, however, would still need only 50% to be adopted. The scheme is meant to undermine a citizen's ballot initiative planned for this November that would write protections for reproductive freedoms into the Buckeye State constitution.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report with news on the hottest month ever recorded in human history (July 2023); President Biden's new federal heat protections for workers; Canada's first steps toward ending subsidies for the fossil fuel industry; and the landmark banning of natural gas hook-ups in new construction by a major state in Australia...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Gov. Don Siegelman on GOP lawmakers ignoring Court order on racial gerrymander; Also: More on Democracy v. Autocracy and GOP efforts in MO, OH to undermine voters, abortion rights ballot measures...
By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2023 6:42pm PT  

With two major stories in the last several days regarding Alabama and the U.S. Supreme Court, it seemed like another good opportunity to bring their former Governor onto The BradCast to discuss both matters. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, a bit more from where we left off last week in my rant about the 2024 election coming down to the ongoing existential battle between democracy and autocracy as, sadly, represented largely now by the two major political parties. Democrats largely represent the pro-democracy forces, while the Republican party now, by and large, firmly on the side of the autocrats from Donald Trump on down to the state and local level.

Just one example this week comes out of my old home state of Missouri, where the state Supreme Court unanimously ordered its state Attorney General Andrew Bailey last week to approve the certification for a Constitutional ballot measure that would enshrine the right to make personal decisions about abortion, birth control, childbirth and other issues related to pregnancy directly into the state constitution. That, in a state with one of the most draconian bans on reproductive rights in the nation.

Bailey had been holding up the measure for 135 days for a process that usually takes his office just over 50 days. He had been claiming that the State Auditors assessments that the measure might cost the state about $50,000 a year was "drastically" wrong, and that it would actually cost the Show-Me State some $12 billion instead! Either way, the state Supremes held that the A.G.'s office has no statutory right to hold up signature gathering for a ballot initiative based on his own personal disagreement with a State Auditor's cost assessment.

The MO A.G. is hardly the only GOP state official of late to simply defy the law, the courts and the Constitution. Republican lawmakers in Ohio recently engineered a special election for August 8 --- in defiance of their own law passed just months ago that largely bans August elections --- in order to feature a Constitutional measure to raise the approval percentage needed to enact a ballot initiative from 50% to 60%. That, just in time to interfere with an abortion rights ballot measure in November. The state GOP's measure on the ballot next month to make future initiatives more difficult for voters to adopt, of course, will require only 50% for passage.

Ohio's Republican lawmakers also spent the last year simply ignoring orders from the state's Supreme Court to redraw partisan gerrymandered U.S. House districts. And, last week, the GOP legislature in Alabama simply chose to defy the U.S. Supreme Court which, in June, ordered the state to redraw their House maps to include two Black-majority voting districts. Currently, the state has just one such district out of seven U.S. House seats, despite Black voters comprising more than a quarter of the state's voting age population.

While shamefully approving a new map drawn in a special session last week with just one Black majority district again --- it was signed by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey just hours later --- the state had no problem following a separate SCOTUS ruling last week that allowed them to kill a prisoner, even though three prior attempted executions were a disaster in the state. Two were called off indefinitely as officials couldn't figure out how to find a vein to insert an IV, and the other one took three hours to complete. The three liberals Justices dissented from the Court's six, corrupted, blood-thirsty rightwingers.

We're joined once again today by Alabama's former Gov. DON SIEGELMAN, the last Democrat to serve in that role, after being the only one in state history to serve in all four statewide positions, SoS, A.G., Lt. Gov. and Gov.

Early last month, Siegelman joined us to discuss an op-ed he'd written for WaPo with Alabama's former Republican Gov. Robert Bentley on the death penalty, with the two men conceding that they had come to regret presiding over the barbaric punishment, largely thanks to so many instances of prosecutorial misconduct --- particularly in cases where Black men are convicted and executed.

We picked up on some similar themes today in the wake of last week's SCOTUS ruling and the state killing of James Barber. "It's tragic," Siegelman tells me today. "But the worst part is that we have 167 on Alabama's death row. 115 of those people are sentenced to death growing out of an 1870 Jim Crow law that took Alabama from a state that required a unanimous jury to execute people to one now that allows someone to be sentenced to death on a jury recommendation that is non-unanimous. To my knowledge, Alabama is the only state in the country that is continuing this practice."

"We also have the distinction of having 31 people on Alabama's death row who were not sentenced to death by a jury, but sentenced to death by a judge who overrode the jury," he explains. "The jury recommended life in prison without parole, and the judge said, 'No, I think I'm going to go ahead and kill you anyway.'"

Siegelman also emphasizes that, "If we want to end wrongful prosecutions, if we want to end mass incarcerations, if we want to end the abuse of power by police, prosecutors --- and, I would say, by Presidents --- we've got to repeal the immunity that's been given to prosecutors," when they purposely mishandle a case.

As to Alabama Republicans stunning defiance of last month's Supreme Court order to add a second Black majority U.S. House district in the state under the Voting Rights Act, Siegelman argues: "I would hope the federal court would take action if their order is disobeyed. Including sending U.S. Marshals to pick up the state Attorney General and put him jail for a little while until he comes to his senses."

That's no small assertion from a former state Attorney General himself. Siegelman's got a lot more to say about the matter today, but hopefully that comment will entice you to tune in for our full conversation...

NOTE: We have covered Gov. Siegelman's personal story many times over the past two decades, before, during and after his time as a political prisoner as he was targeted for prosecution by a corrupt Republican cabal, including Karl Rove, state officials, and a federal judge who was eventually forced to resign after being arrested for beating his wife. Alabama's Governor from 1999 to 2003 and the only Democrat to serve in every statewide office, Siegelman tells his story in full in his 2020 book, STEALING OUR DEMOCRACY: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Unrelenting climate change-fueled weather pummels nation...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2023 6:17pm PT  

Welp, it was another slow news weekend [insert eyes-rolling emoji here]. But we try to come up with something to cover on today's BradCast nonetheless. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Extreme weather and warnings of same walloping much of the nation today, as two weeks of historic triple digit temperatures in Texas spread to other states, resulting in major storms, deadly tornadoes, widespread power outages and cancelled flights from Arizona through the mid-west up into New England and down to the Carolinas and Florida. But if you hear about these seemingly ever-worsening nightmares from some major U.S. outlets --- like Fox "News" (and even ABC, etc.) --- you may hear absolutely nothing about the man-made climate change that is fueling our intensifying global crisis.
  • On Friday, Politico finally covered the story that we broke on this show six weeks ago about how Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger says he will not be installing urgently recommended security upgrades to its horribly vulnerable Dominion voting systems until after the 2024 Presidential election in the critical battleground state. We covered that news exclusively here in mid-May. Politico covered it here on Friday. And my tweet pointing both out was throttled by Twitter over the weekend so that it's nearly impossible to find without a direct link. That is here. (More, hopefully, on this issue tomorrow!)
  • Speaking of Georgia, a federal judge has ordered Rudy Giuliani to pay the legal fees for the two Atlanta election workers --- Shaye Moss and her elderly mother Ruby Freeman --- who are suing him for defamation after he (and Trump, and the rest of the MAGA crew) falsely accused them of committing fraud in the ballot tabulation room during the 2020 Presidential election.
  • Curiously enough, the far-right, wildly corrupted U.S. Supreme Court keeps making not terrible rulings at the end of this year's term. Today, a challenge to a ruling on a case out of Louisiana, where a federal court mandated an additional black majority U.S. House district, was rejected. The case will be sent back to a lower court. If the lower court rules as SCOTUS did a few weeks ago --- when they stunned the world by upholding the Voting Rights Act and requiring another black majority House district in Alabama --- today's decision could be very good news for those that care about voting rights, the Constitution, and equal representation for all.
  • Also today, SCOTUS allowed several lawsuits against Ohio State University to proceed, after it was discovered the school had, for years, protected a serial sexual abuser who served as a team doctor for years. This is probably not good news for OSU's former wrestling coach and serial denier Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
  • The lower courts are holding as well, for now. Last week, a federal judge permanently overturned Arkansas' unspeakably cruel ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender kids, and a federal judge in Florida temporarily blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis' anti-freedom crusade to ban minors from attending drag shows. Amusingly, one of the reasons the judge blocked the new law was because it was in conflict with DeSantis' so-called "Parents Bill of Rights" legislation adopted in 2021.
  • Finally today, before opening the phones to listeners, we discuss the bizarre story of whatever the hell happened over the weekend in Russia where, for about 24 hours or so, civil war nearly broke out. That, as Yevgeny Prigozhin, formerly a close ally of Vladimir Putin and commander of the mercenary Wagner Group (arguably Russia's best fighting force in Ukraine), declared Russia's justification for attacking Ukraine --- to demilitarize and de-Nazify the sovereign nation --- to be a lie. Wagner's march toward Moscow, however, ended as quickly as it began, with Putin theoretically granting Prigozhin safe harbor in Belarus, even if both his future and those of the troops in the Wagner brigade remain uncertain at this hour. We open the phones with what is left of today's show to discuss what the hell is going on and where both Russia and Putin's fortunes may be heading from here...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: OH GOP lawmakers adopt ballot measure to undermine democracy in August special election...
By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2023 6:12pm PT  

Democracy is not having an easy time of it of late, as both of our main stories on the always pro-democracy BradCast seem to underscore today. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP, after months of wrangling, Ohio's gerrymandered Republican state House on Wednesday decided to put majority rule up for a vote this summer. Specifically, they voted to hold a special election for a state constitutional amendment asking voters if all future amendments placed on the ballot must reach 60% for passage. The GOP amendment in August will require only 50% to be adopted, as has been the case for all such measures in the Buckeye State since 1912.

The August special election will come just in time to preempt a the state's November general election, which is likely to feature a citizen-led ballot amendment to protect abortion in Ohio as a constitutional right. That, of course, is why Republicans are hoping to undermine that measure with their own small turnout election in late Summer. They hypocritically characterized the controversial initiative as a "constitutional protection act", meant to keep "out-of-state special interests" away from Ohio's foundational documents. But the measure's top backer was a PAC named "Save Our Constitution", funded with $1.1 million from one single out-of-state billionaire GOP megadonor.

Every single former state Governor opposed the measure, along with five former Republican and Democratic state Attorneys General and the Ohio Libertarian Party. But it was supported by the state's hypocritical Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and Sec. of State Frank LaRose, both of whom eagerly supported an election reform package adopted just four months ago in January, which did away with August Special Elections after finding them to be low-turnout and expensive. Then these "conservatives" supported this new special election anyway, at a price tag of $20 million to state taxpayers, in exchange for which they will get to vote on taking away their own democratic power.

Similar efforts to undermine abortion rights, however, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court last year, have failed miserably in both right- and left-leaning states. But those measures won with anywhere from 50 to 60% of the vote. Recent AP polling finds support for reproductive freedoms in Ohio to be at 59%. Thus, the GOP's attempt to undermine majority rule this Summer by requiring 60% for passage of future ballot measures...other than their own.

NEXT: CNN called it a "town hall". In truth, it was a 70-minute Donald Trump infomercial filled with a non-stop litany of his twisted lies from beginning to end. The number of lies he told is entirely too long to detail here, on everything from the 2020 election, to January 6, to his stolen classified documents, to this week's federal court verdict finding him liable for sexual abuse and defamation, to pretty much anything else that you or CNN moderator Kaitlin Collins or the Trump-supporting crowd in attendance at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, New Hampshire could come up with.

He also made clear that he would pardon the January 6th insurrectionists and seditionists, and that he supports the imperialist invasion of authoritarian Vladimir Putin's Russia over defending democracy and humanity in Ukraine.

But, while Wednesday night's shameful spectacle clearly embarrassed even the many CNN commentators serving as post-game analysts, did the live town hall ultimately help or hurt Trump overall?

We're joined today by our old friend HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo to discuss exactly that and much more related to what is arguably one of the lowest moments in CNN history.

(I'd love your thoughts on that question as well, and may share them on air in the days ahead. Please leave any such thoughts below in comments or email me, if you prefer.)

"It was a clown show," says Parton who did not realize it would include an audience stacked with GOPers, as it was presented as a Republican town hall before next year's New Hampshire primary. "That gave him the ability to go on national TV and essentially hold a rally. A rally in which he had a foil there in Kaitlan Collins, who, I think she did about as good as you could do. I don't have a lot of complaints with her, she was thrown into a situation that was unwinnable."

She discusses why CNN is taking this attempted turn to the right, in order to curry favor with Trump voters at the behest of their new, rightwing owner who sees Fox "News" as fair and balanced. "CNN is in a ratings spiral, doing a lot of retooling. It seems obvious to me that CNN thought they could maybe cop some of those people if they put on the right show. That's what they did. It was horrifying."

While I discuss several points in which Trump did himself no favor with prosecutors preparing indictments against him, Parton cites some of the actually "dangerous" fallout likely to come from Wednesday night. "[Trump] said some things that were literally dangerous. For example, his stuff about Ukraine. I'm sure Vladimir Putin heard him clearly when he said, 'Within 24 hours [after taking office], I will do it'. We know exactly what he meant. Immediately upon becoming President, he would withdraw support and force Ukraine to surrender. That means the war that he was going on and on about, 'People are dying, they're dying'. They're going to be dying at least until November 2024 now, for sure, because he said that. There's no way that Russia will do anything until they know whether or not he's going to be President again. And that is disgusting."

FINALLY, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report with news on Houston's latest toxic oil refinery fire; new, money-saving efficiency standards for dishwashers; troubling news from Greenland's ice sheet; and some hopeful news for PFAS "forever" chemicals out of tragedy in Minnesota...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: 'Blue Wave' in NE; OH, MO Repubs gaming ballot initiatives; DeSantis suppressing more FL voters; Proud Boys guilty; Trump's NYT suit tossed; More gob-smacking Clarence Thomas corruption...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2023 6:53pm PT  

There was far too much news to fit into one BradCast today. We tried to do it anyway. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our many stories...

  • It was difficult to notice this week, but there was yet another very good election day on Tuesday for non-Rightwingers, including more bad news for MAGA World in several local contests around the country. In Lincoln, Nebraska, incumbent Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, supported by Democrats, defeated a well-funded opponent supported by the state's billionaire Republican U.S. Senator (and former Governor) Pete Ricketts and fellow billionaire publisher Thomas Peed. Gaylor Baird won by nearly 10 points. Apparently, ads describing Lincoln, the state capital, as a dystopian hellhole did not go over well with voters...in Lincoln.
  • A MAGA election conspiracist and local elections clerk named Stephanie Scott (pictured above), was tossed out of her job in a rare recall election on Tuesday in Adams Township, Michigan in Hillsdale County, one of the state's most Republican-leaning areas. Scott is under state criminal investigation after refusing to turn over her town's computer vote tabulator in 2021, which she believed held evidence of fraud revealing Democrats had stolen the state's Presidential election in 2020. That, in a town that Trump/Pence won with 75% of the vote that year. (If the story sounds familiar, see Tina Peters, former Mesa County, Colorado Clerk, who has since been tossed out of her job and indicted on 10 counts.) This appears to be part of the multi-state MAGA conspiracy to breach voting systems, hatched at the Trump White House in December 2020, as we detailed again last week. Scott was defeated by a 2 to 1 margin on Tuesday by an independent challenger running on the slogan "Make Adams Township Boring Again".
  • But, if ya can't beat 'em, suppress their vote! That seems to be the Republican plan for "winning" elections from here on out, apparently. After losing statewide ballot initiatives that would have restricted abortion rights last year, including in so-called "red" states like Kansas and Kentucky, the GOP is now hoping to game the ballot initiative process itself in several states. The most immediate and noteworthy is Ohio, where supporters of reproductive freedom hope to place an initiative on the ballot in November to establish a state Constitutional right to abortion. But Republicans, who just four months ago adopted a statute ending costly August elections, are now moving to place an amendment on the ballot in a $20 million Special Election in August that would raise the requirement for adoption of Constitutional Amendments from a simple majority vote to a required 60% for passage. (Ironically, the GOP lawmakers own Amendment, if voted on in August, would only require 50% to be adopted.) Other gerrymandered GOP states are now attempted to do the same thing, including Missouri, where Republican lawmakers there are doing something arguably even more insidious in their own attempt to fool voters into supporting their anti-democracy measure.
  • And then there's Florida, where democracy goes to die. The state legislature has just passed a one of their final gifts to beleaguered Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis: a 96-page law that will, among other things, severely restrict voter registration by nonpartisan third-party organizations. As recent research finds, Black and Latino voters are more than five times more likely to be registered by third-party groups than White voters. DeSantis is expected to sign the legislation soon as one of his last official acts before declaring his 2024 candidacy. It will be the third year in a row that Sunshine State Republicans have adopted new voting restrictions.
  • A D.C. jury on Thursday convicted four members of the far-right, racist militia group, Proud Boys, of seditious conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, conspiring to impede Congress from performing its duties, obstructing law enforcement and other federal crimes related to their participation in Donald Trump's Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The charges for conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding both carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison. Their former leader, like Donald Trump, was not even at the Capitol during the riot, but was among those found guilty. All of that good news is likely very bad news for the former President and the specific federal charges likely to soon be brought against him.
  • In still more bad news for Trump today, his lawsuit against the New York Times and several of their reporters, charging an "insidious plot" to obtain his tax records resulting in Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting by the paper, was tossed out by a New York judge on Wednesday. Moreover, the judge --- finding Trump's claims "fail as a matter of constitutional law" and that the paper's newsgathering efforts were "the very core of protected First Amendment activity" --- ordered Trump to pay all of the attorneys fees, legal expenses and other associated costs for the Times and their reporters.
  • ProPublica strikes again. First they revealed that GOP megadonor Harlan Crow showered U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for decades with hundreds of thousands of dollars in luxury vacations which he unlawfully failed to disclose. Then they reported that Crow had actually purchased Thomas' mother's house from him, made nearly $40,000 worth of improvements to it, and has allowed the corrupt Justices mom in it, rent-free, ever since. None of that was ever disclosed by Thomas either, in violation of the law. And now, on Wednesday, they did it again. Their latest bombshell scoop documents how Crow's company paid for years of tuition to private schools for Thomas' grandnephew who the nation's longest serving Justice says he raised "as a son" since taking legal custody at the age of 6. The tuition for the boy, now in his 30s, amounted to approximately $100,000. Congressional Republicans continue to applaud the unspeakably corrupt Thomas.
  • Finally, as you haven't had enough already today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report to detail the unprecedented heat wave in Spain, as Italy's rivers dry up; the EU's passage of "the biggest climate protection law of all time"; and New York's adoption of a landmark law banning natural gas hookups in new building construction...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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