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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, May 19, 2024
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...


Corporate press quietly reset weeks of misreporting on Biden; Suggestions for NYT reporters; Stephanopoulos v. Mace; Also: Buck quits; Trump's RNC 'bloodbath'; WI's far-right Speaker facing MAGA Recall...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2024 6:49pm PT  

Corporate media failure and a small, if noteworthy, success (for a change) are just part of today's BradCast, which also includes a 'bloodbath', more House GOP dysfunction, a wingnut Recall, and plenty of rape victim shaming...by a rape victim. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

  • Colorado's far-right Republican Rep. Ken Buck, who announced he would not be running for reelection earlier this year due to party dysfunction, announces he is quitting Congress entirely next week instead, further narrowing the House GOP's razor-thin majority. Buck says he has another "job to do out there", claims that voters are unhappy with both Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and vows to find "the right organization to join" and "start working on the issue" of "hav[ing] better candidates up and down the ballot." Is he on his way toward joining the supposedly bi-partisan Presidential "Unity Ticket" promised by secretive, Republican-funded, third-party group No Labels?
  • Donald Trump's personal takeover of the Republican National Committee is now complete, with his inexperienced daughter-in-law as co-chair, his Campaign's information officer as RNC Chief of Staff, and a "bloodbath" of firing as many as 60 longtime officials on Monday, their first day of operational control. The fired will be replaced with Trump loyalists (or with nobody, so Trump can pocket more RNC cash?) If you are wondering what he will do to tens of thousands of federal agency workers on his dictatorial Day One if he's allowed to win the Presidency this year, what he is doing to the RNC right now should be considered Exhibit A. Don't say you weren't warned.
  • More eating their own, this time in Wisconsin. A Trump-endorsed MAGA group says they've submitted more than enough signatures to the state to schedule a Recall Election for the far-right, longtime Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for, apparently, not being Trumpy enough. Or, at least being unwilling to break the law to steal the 2020 election in the state for the disgraced former President. [UPDATE since air time: Looks like the effort is not going well so far.]
  • Mainstream corporate media outlets begin quietly resetting their dozens of misleading reports last month on Special Counsel Robert Hur's findings about Joe Biden's "faltering memory" after the release of the actual transcripts of recorded interviews with the President by Hur (a Trump-appointee at DoJ) reveal a pretty different story. The interviews were part of Hur's probe of classified documents found by Biden's attorneys in one of his old offices and elsewhere. Hur determined "no criminal charges are warranted," but slimed Biden in the bargain and media ran with it. Now, they are quickly revising the earlier misleading reports. NYT: Biden was "clearheaded". WaPo: Biden "doesn't come across as absent-minded as Hur made him out to be." WSJ: Biden was "not stumped on basic factual questions". That after each paper published dozens of stories each in the days following the release of Hur's report questioning Biden's mental faculties and fitness for office...just as Republicans had been hoping they would.
  • George Stephanopoulos deserves kudos for refusing to fold or be intimidated by the ridiculous and relentless attack from South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace who claimed that the ABC reporter, during his interview with her on Sunday, was attempting to "victim shame" her by asking her to justify her endorsement of Donald Trump after he was found liable for rape and repeatedly defaming the victim by two separate juries in New York. Mace bizarrely charged that, because she was a rape victim herself, Stephanopoulos' question was a "disgusting" attempt to "shame" her. In the bargain, she offered a mountain of victim shaming for Trump's rape victim, E. Jean Carroll and suggested that rape wasn't real because Trump's nearly $90 million liability for the rape and defamation came from civil trials instead of criminal ones.
  • Longtime media critic Dan Froomkin accuses the New York Times of "repeatedly abus[ing] the English language in its political reporting," and offers some really good suggestions for much-needed additions to their style guide. Smart suggestions from the former, longtime Washington Post, HuffPost and Intercept columnist include the proper use of words such as "baseless", "Congress", "conservative" and "moderate".
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with climate related news from Joe Biden's State of the Union Address; horrific global temp and ocean heat records from February; and more terrible news for Australia's Great Barrier Reef (and, in fact, coral reefs everywhere!)...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Reformed 'Ultra-MAGA' member Rich Logis on 'Leaving MAGA'; Also: Is this the week the tide finally begins to turn against Trump?...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2024 6:06pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Escaping MAGA and whether real accountability for the former President's many crimes and civil verdicts might finally begin to bend the curve against him from within his own party and from his own supporters. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Friday, a nine-member federal jury in New York ordered Donald Trump to pay an additional $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll, who an earlier 9-member jury determined last year that he had sexually assaulted and repeatedly defamed. The original verdict cost him $5 million, but wasn't enough to stop the repeated defamation of Carroll.

All of this comes on the cusp of a completely separate verdict in a state case in NY where the judge has already determined Trump committed massive fraud by falsely inflating his assets to receive more favorable rates on bank loans, insurance and taxes. The State A.G. has asked that the judge now find Trump and his companies and his top executives (including his two eldest sons) liable for at least $370 million. That ruling is likely to come any day now.

A hundred million here, a hundred million there, and, before ya know it, you're talking about real money. Even for a "billionaire" like Trump. But will any of it make a difference to Trump's most ardent supporters? How about the few Republicans left who are neither Never Trumpers nor hardcore MAGA? Will they finally take notice? Might these rulings begin to make a difference in GOP primary polling, as the disgraced former President continues to be the party's front-running nominee for the 2024 Presidential election?

For thoughts on all of that and much more, we're delighted to be joined again today by RICH LOGIS, a former hardcore MAGA member himself who voted for Trump in both 2016 and 2020, before eventually coming to terms with the fact that he had become captive to what is a far-right political cult. (Our first conversation with him, with more details on that, was in October last year.)

Logis now runs PerfectOurUnion.us, devoted to "healing political trauma" and "building diverse, pro-democracy alliances". Today, he offers his insight, as a reformed MAGA member and former Republican pundit, on whether any of the recent verdicts against Trump --- and/or those that are still to come in the four separate criminal felony cases he is facing this year --- might finally begin to turn the tide away from the GOP's cult leader.

We also discuss Logis' thoughts published recently at Salon, on why the MAGA crowd is so gullible to mythologization and race-baiting, and how even Nikki Haley is now tapping into the same bloodstream to capitalize on a party that has long been captured (well before Trump) by racist polarization and "White fright".

Logis is now creating a new organization specifically devoted to "Leaving MAGA" and we begin the important discussion of how to help those captured by MAGA find their way out, and what friends and family members may be able to do to begin helping their loved ones find their way home.

"As someone who was in MAGA for seven years," he tells me, "Most MAGA voters are good people, deep down. But, unfortunately, the relationship between most MAGA Americans and Donald Trump is a very toxic one. While I don't defend ignorance, MAGA Americans have been traumatized by Trump and the rightwing and the Republican Party. They just have a skill set at keeping MAGA Americans desperate and panicked."

But, he insists optimistically, "if someone got into MAGA, they can get out of it." His own catalyst came after coming to terms with the fact that his own Governor, Ron DeSantis, who he had previously supported, was willing to let people die by lying to them about COVID vaccines in 2021.

"If someone who is very pro-MAGA speaks to someone who is very anti-MAGA, I guarantee, if they speak long enough, they're going to find some issues that they have some common ground and agreement on." He cautions, however, that vilification doesn't work. If it did, "everybody would have left at this point."

"It's going to take time," Logis insists. But he believes "there are more out there who are in the nascent stages of remorse. Because ultimately the strength of the numbers in Leaving MAGA will be in how many we can encourage and empower to leave and tell their stories publicly."

Until his new organization is formally unveiled, he asks folks to contact him at his website. This conversation will continue, I hope. Because it must...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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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Guest-host Nicole Sandler with the late comedian's daughter Kelly Carlin; Also: DOJ cites 'cascading failures' in Uvalde, TX school shooting...
By Desi Doyen on 1/18/2024 5:46pm PT  

Nicole Sandler is back on today's BradCast with a special interview, and otherwise taking up guest hosting duties while Brad remains out with his COVID rebound. (He's doing better and hopes to be back soon!) [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The U.S. Dept. of Justice released a damning, 575-page report [PDF] detailing 'cascading failures' of law enforcement in responding to the 2022 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen children and 2 teachers were killed before law enforcement officers in Texas eventually shot the perpetrator. The report catalogues multiple points of failure by law enforcement officials, including a lack of leadership, training, coordination, communication, and poor decision-making that created confusion at the scene and delayed a confrontation with the gunman until a full 77 minutes after the first 911 call. The report also highlights the misinformation and poor handling of communications with victims' families in its aftermath. In a press conference regarding the DOJ's report on Thursday morning, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland charged: "The victims and survivors of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School deserved better...It is now widely understood by law enforcement agencies that in active shooter incidents, time is not on the side of law enforcement. Every second counts. And the priority of law enforcement must be to immediately enter the room and stop the shooter."
  • It was another potentially expensive day in court for the disgraced former President, in the second civil trial brought against him by writer E. Jean Carroll. Today, however, as his mother-in-law was buried, Donald Trump was absent. That followed admonishments by the federal judge on Wednesday for disrupting court proceedings. An earlier jury already established that Trump sexually assaulted Carroll in the 1990's and then defamed her following his Presidency, awarding her $5 million dollars. This new jury will determine how much more he has to pay for his defamatory comments about her while serving as President.
  • Next, Nicole speaks with author KELLY CARLIN (pictured above), the only child of the late, legendary comedian George Carlin, about a disturbing new, unauthorized, AI-generated, hour-long YouTube 'comedy special' which used Artificial Intelligence to generate a fake version of her father. The video uses his likeness and signature style to say and do things her dad never said and never did. Reviews of the hour-long "special" have been brutal. But Kelly, who has also condemned the bastardized version of her father's work, details how AI is not only hoovering up and stealing the works of artists, writers and performers without permission, but also poses dangers to average citizens, whose likenesses can similarly be misused and abused with little hope for recourse under current laws. As Carlin warns in her conversation with Nicole: "This is bigger than a famous comedian, or a dead actor, or a live actor. This is about humanity having their autonomy and agency protected legally in this country."
  • Finally, we close with our latest Green News Report, as the rightwing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court signals its readiness to gut federal agency authority to craft environmental regulations; a new breed of climate denialism is flooding social media; and how, while the rest of the globe is having its warmest January on record, frigid Arctic air in the U.S. is stranding drivers of both gas-powered and electric vehicles alike...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest host Nicole Sandler with messaging expert Anat Shenker-Osorio; Also: Trump trials continue; SCOTUS eyes another landmark precedent...
By Desi Doyen on 1/17/2024 5:28pm PT  

Brad is out today, trying to recover once and for all from his rebound case of COVID. So guest host Nicole Sandler joins me (producer Desi Doyen) to bring you a fresh, new BradCast to tickle your ears and brain cells. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories covered today...

  • The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday in two important cases: Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless v. Department of Commerce. On the surface, the two cases appear to be somewhat innocuous, focused on technical issues about the scope of federal fees and regulations. But, in reality, the cases are vehicles of the fossil fuel industry and rightwing legal groups to achieve their long-sought goal of dismantling federal regulatory and administrative authority by overturning the four-decade old, landmark precedent known as the "Chevron deference". It is, as Cornell Law School describes, "One of the most important principles in administrative law."

    Established in 1984's Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council, the ruling is a key underpinning of federal administrative law with broad applications to nearly every single aspect of American life. At its core, it holds that judges are not technical experts, so they should defer to federal agency expertise when determining Congressional intent on an ambiguous law or statute.

    According to legal analyst Ian Millhiser at Vox, Chevron "places strict limits on unelected federal judges’ ability to make policy decisions for the entire nation," establishing that it is "better for federal agencies, and not judges, to make these sorts of decisions". Millhiser concludes that overturning it would "shift policymaking authority from the executive branch to the judiciary," allowing unelected judges to effectively make policy and insert their own political or ideological preferences.

    In oral arguments at SCOTUS on Wednesday morning, four members of the rightwing supermajority on the packed and corrupted Court --- Justices Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh --- each signaled they were likely to overturn this landmark precedent.

  • Details from the contentious federal court hearing in New York on Wednesday in the second civil defamation trial brought by author and former columnist E. Jean Carroll against disgraced ex-President Donald Trump. The judge threatened to expel Trump from the courtroom after he repeatedly ignored warnings to remain quiet as Carroll testified that he shattered her reputation after she publicly accused him of sexual abuse. A previous state case in NY established that Trump did, in fact, sexually abuse Carroll at a department store in the 1990s. That jury awarded her $5 million for the defamatory comments he made about her after leaving office. He has continued his defamation since then. The jury in this federal case will only determine how much, if any, damages should be for the defamatory remarks he made about her while serving as President.
  • Finally, Nicole's speaks with author and communications expert ANAT SHENKER-OSORIO, founder of ASO Communications and host of the Words to Win By podcast. In an illuminating interview, Shenker-Osorio offers key insights and practical advice on winning political messaging, the ways in which the words that we use matter, and how to help ensure voters are engaged and informed that the critical 2024 election is now a choice between "freedom or fascism."

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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U.N. climate conference wraps in Dubai; Bad news for Trump in three courts; Heartbreaking testimony as Giuliani heads for world of hurt...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2023 6:54pm PT  

This week in Dubai, the U.N.'s Climate Secretary declared "the beginning of the end" of the fossil fuel era. Also this week, in a D.C. federal courtroom, Rudy Giuliani's attorney warned a jury that awarding a penalty of tens of millions of dollars against his client "would be the end of Mr. Giuliani". Both sound good to us on today's BradCast.

Among our many stories covered today...

  • The last minute, final agreement between 200 world nations at the COP28 U.N. climate conference hosted by the United Arab Emirates this week, calls for a "transition" away from fossil fuels. It wasn't the call for either a "phase out" or even "phase down" that many had sought. But it was a first. Including the first time in 28 years of such annual conferences that the words "fossil fuels" even appeared in the final unanimous joint statement issued by the parties. What does it all mean? It's both good and bad. We delve into some of the details with Desi Doyen today.
  • As the world was working toward moving beyond deadly fossil fuels, the disgraced, twice-impeached Donald Trump was campaigning in Iowa by lying to his supporters that gas now costs as much as $8/gallon, only cost $1.87 when he was President (during the pandemic in which nobody traveled and he helped nearly a million Americans die --- though he didn't mention any of that) and vowing to renege on the U.S. pledge at COP28 to give $3 billion to the joint "Green Climate Fund" to help poorer countries leapfrog fossil fuels and transition straight to clean, renewable energy. He even vowed that he would claw it back if he was elected next year.
  • As to Donald Trump's legal woes, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is now moving at "lightning speed" [PDF] to hear (and almost certainly reject) the twice-impeached former President's appeal on "absolute immunity" from the rule of law, in which he claims that he had the right to break any law he wanted while serving as President of the United States. On Wednesday, in a separate case related to defamation claims by writer E. Jean Carrol (who a court previously found Trump liable for sexually abusing), the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected [PDF] a similar immunity claim. In yet another courtroom in Manhattan this week, testimony ended in Trump's New York State fraud trial, in which he and his companies and his two eldest sons have already been found guilty. The only question is on the penalties they will face. They are likely to be substantial, to say the least. The judge's ruling will likely come early in the new year.
  • In a different D.C. courtroom, Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman testified on Wednesday in the defamation damages trial against one of Trump's sleazebag attorneys, Rudy Giuliani who, along with Trump, repeatedly lied about her and her daughter Shay Moss committing fraud while serving as election workers in Fulton County, Georgia in 2000 in the middle of a pandemic. Both Freeman and Moss were viciously targeted by Trump's supporters after the lies were told about them, and Freeman offered heartbreaking and harrowing testimony on Wednesday about the horrific threats she received from Trump's supporters and how their lives were turned upside-down in the bargain. Giuliani's attorney, Joseph Sibley, didn't even try to cross-examine Freeman. And, in his closing statement, reportedly agreed that the disgraced former NYC Mayor's behavior was appalling. His appeal to the jury was that Rudy is old, and they should try to remember that, decades ago following the 9/11 attacks, Giuliani wasn't as appalling. The jury may be more likely to remember last Monday, after the first day of trial this week, when Rudy repeated his pathetic false claims about the two women in front of cameras on the courthouse steps.

    Just like Trump on Monday in his NY fraud trial, after vowing to take the stand, Rudy didn't. Both cowards and liars.

    The U.S. District Court Judge overseeing the federal case has already determined Giuliani defamed the two women. The only question is how much Freeman and Moss will be awarded by a jury for their pain and suffering (they are seeking as much as $43 million) and for additional punitive damages. If it will "be the end of Mr. Giuliani," as his attorney warned, it won't come soon enough. But it's unlikely to be the end. He still faces criminal charges [PDF] in GA for attempting to steal the 2020 election there; billion dollar defamation lawsuits from Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems; and a grotesque sexual assault suit by his longtime personal assistant, among other legal woes.

  • A listener in Amsterdam writes in this week to correct us on a small, but important, error we offered this week regarding last month's shocking electoral victory in The Netherlands' parliament for the far-right political party of anti-immigrant extremist Geert Wilders.
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us again for our latest Green News Report with a wrap-up of COP28 in Dubai, and some very troubling news in the Arctic...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Bad news for Trump in second rape, defamation suit and on his Constitutional eligibility for the 2024 ballot...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2023 6:31pm PT  

It's been a few months since she's been on BradCast, but she returns today, for the first time since the sprawling RICO indictment against Donald Trump and 18 co-conspirators for attempting to steal Georgia's 2020 Presidential election. The indictment includes charges based on a phone call she received --- and was smart enough to have recorded --- from a Team Trumper who essentially confessed to the now-notorious breach of the state's voting system software in Coffee County. She deserves, and receives, a bit of a victory lap today, while breaking still more news about the breach which, she warns, has yet to be investigated by the state's Secretary of State or its Board of Elections in advance of 2024. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But first up today, a few somewhat related items...

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that E. Jean Carroll's upcoming civil trial against Trump will only be on damages --- how much he will have to pay the former magazine columnist who accused him of raping her in the 1990's and then lying about her years later. A civil trial that ended in May found Trump liable for sexual assault and defamatory remarks made about Carroll in 2022. Today, the judge found that the previous finding of assault and defamation already establish Trump's liability regarding defamatory comments he made about her in 2019, while serving as President and, therefore, the only question to be resolved in this separate suit is how much he will have to pay her. She is seeking not less than $10 million in this case and the judge has allowed her to add defamatory comments Trump made about Carroll on a CNN Townhall the day after he was found liable in the earlier case.

Picking up on our detailed coverage on yesterday's show of the various chief election officials around the country now grappling with whether Trump is even eligible for the 2024 ballot next year, based on his violation of the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" (14th Amendment, Section 3), the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's eligibility for the ballot in Colorado on Wednesday on behalf of six Republican and unaffiliated voters there. The matter is likely to move quickly all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, given that the state must settle its 2024 Primary ballot by January 5th!

A hearing was held on Wednesday in Fulton County, Georgia in Fanni Willis' RICO case [PDF] against Trump with co-defendant attorneys Ken Chesebro (alleged architect of the fake electors plot) and Sidney Powell (alleged organizer of the Coffee County voting system software breach) each seeking to be tried quickly and alone. The judge appears to have agreed on "quickly", setting a trial date for both beginning on October 23. But he he denied their motion to have their cases severed from each other. Still to be determined, however: the question of whether all 19 co-defendants must be tried at the same time, as Willis' team argues, given that guilt for any one defendant in the covert actions listed in the RICO charge (Count 1 of 41) means that all co-conspirators are guilty under state law. Prosecutors told the judge today that they expect the trial to take at least four months and will include more than 150 witnesses. (One of whom might be our guest on today's show!)

At the same time, a filing last week in the case by Powell claims she had nothing at all to do with the scheme to unlawfully breach, copy and distribute Georgia's state voting system software in the rural, Republican-leaning Coffee County. A report last week at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, however, which (literally) has the receipts, suggests otherwise.

But all of that --- including the receipts --- is only known publicly thanks to our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the small, critical non-profit, Coalition for Good Governance. As first aired on this program in May of last year, Marks received a phone call from an Atlanta bail bondsman named Scott Hall, who, essentially, confessed to the entire Coffee County scheme. That is how we even know that the breach happened at all, and why four people involved with it --- one of whom is Powell, another of whom is Hall --- were charged last month in the scheme that still endangers elections both across the entire state of Georgia, where the same systems will be used again next year, and in more than a dozen other states.

Marks explains today how Hall originally "confessed" to the breach after calling out of the blue to bully her into turning over documents from her long-running civil lawsuit which is challenging the use of GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's unverifiable, wildly insecure touchscreen voting systems. Hall claimed he had actually "hacked" into her group's legal documents.

"Instead of slamming the phone down, which was my first inclination, I instead decided to go into playing the sweet little old lady mode," Marks explains today, noting that she "kept him on the phone for about an hour" before he "just blurted out" the fact that he and other MAGA folks were allowed in to the Coffee County elections building to scan, image and copy everything. Two local officials, Coffee's then Election Supervisor Misty Hampton and the County's GOP chair Cathy Latham, have also been indicted in the same RICO conspiracy. (In addition to helping facilitate the software breach, Latham is also charged for her role as a fake elector in Georgia.)

Marks quipped that Hall has likely by now "realized that he, unlike Trump, had not made a 'perfect phone call."

In the meantime, Marks warns that, despite the indictments, the threat posed by the breach has still not been fully investigated by either federal or state officials. Two and a half years since the breach, which she believes Raffensperger learned of almost immediately afterward and has been covering up, "the Secretary and State Election Board have not even begun an investigation of Coffee County," Marks emphasized, telling me that "there are so many people that were involved in the Coffee County Breach that have not been held to any kind of accountability."

"What they did was just turn the criminal aspects of this over to Georgia Bureau of Investigation," she asserts. "But they are doing nothing at all. They have not even conducted one interview. They have not picked up the first piece of paper. They have not done anything to consider what are the impacts on the voting system? What are the impacts for future elections? How did this go wrong? What kind of better rules should have been in place? What kind of reporting structure should we have had? They have still not put in a single rule or requirement for reporting a security incident. If Coffee happened today, they would not have to report it."

That, Marks warns, remains a serious threat moving forward, especially since the software still remains in the wild and Raffensperger has refused to install Dominion touchscreen voting system security patches certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and strongly recommended by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the wake of the January 7th, 2021 breach in Coffee County until after the 2024 elections.

Marks' long-running lawsuit seeking to replace Raffensperger's Dominion touchscreens with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots is finally set to go on trial in January. "We are really looking forward to putting on all of this evidence," she tells me, after explaining why the Coffee County breach is so key to her case. "And, certainly we are hoping for a decision that will at least protect the November elections for 2024. After all, these breaches that happened in Coffee County --- they are still ongoing."

"Remember, all that software was posted on the Internet. Lots of people took it. Nothing has been done to mitigate it. So, if you think about it, every day that people have their hands on that software, sharing it with others, the breach continues."

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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...

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Guest: The American Prospect's David Dayen; Also, Breaking: AZ's Democratic Governor vetoes bipartisan election transparency bill...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2023 6:29pm PT  

At some point, the President is just gonna have to do the right thing and stop playing footsie with disingenuous, bad faith Republicans who are holding the nation's economy hostage over the unconstitutional debt limit law. Also, the Democratic Governor in Arizona has some splainin' to do on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

After a bit of breaking news at the top of the show (regarding a breakthrough agreement on water sharing between Western states on the drought-stricken Colorado River, and E. Jean Carroll suing Trump yet again for defaming her yet again), it's onto the dangerous negotiations still taking place, for some reason, between the White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over whether or not the U.S. will follow the law and pay its bills or go into default for the first time in the nation's history.

We're joined today by investigative financial journalist, author and Executive Editor of The American Prospect, DAVID DAYEN. He has been reporting on a lawsuit recently filed by the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) against President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, charging that they are already violating the law by "suspending investments into...employee retirement plans" as part of Yellen's so-called "extraordinary measures" to avoid hitting the arbitrary borrowing limit implemented by Congress. She has said that those measure will run out as early as June 1, before the U.S. won't be able to pay all of its bills without borrowing more money. "There is active and ongoing harm which will get worse if the ceiling is hit," the NAGE suit alleges.

At the same time, as listeners may know, we've been covering the text of Section 4 of the 14th Amendment which states in clear language: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts ... shall not be questioned." While Biden has made clear he is aware of the Constitutional option, he has said (not necessarily correctly) that invoking the 14th Amendment to follow the law by ordering the Treasury Department to continue borrowing to keep paying all of our bills would have to be litigated. That, he suggests, would take too much time to be adjudicated in court in order to avoid an upcoming debt default. Thus, he has been negotiating with McCarthy to find an agreement that McCarthy, as Dayen points out today, is unlikely to be able to even get his own caucus to agree to vote for.

With all of that in mind, and NAGE having filed for an emergency injunction in their lawsuit late last week, Biden and Yellen now have until June 6 to respond to the suit. Dayen points out, in both his X-DATE newsletter today and on our program, that Biden/Yellen merely need to respond to the suit by saying they agree with the plaintiffs suing them. The federal judge will then have no choice but to find in favor of NAGE, ruling that the President cannot pick and choose which bills will or won't be paid and that the 14th Amendment likely makes the Debt Ceiling law unconstitutional.

Problem solved! At least if Biden and the White House finally take this golden opportunity that has been handed to them. Sure, there are some nuances, as we discuss with Dayen, but, in general, Biden could use this to end the standoff in short order, before a global financial catastrophe --- which will only increase the U.S. deficit that Republicans in the House are only now pretending to give a damn about --- comes crashing down as early as next week.

"Here's your chance, Joe," says Dayen. "You have to write a response in this active litigation, and what you can say is 'I agree, and I am not going to contest this lawsuit.'" Once the judge receives that, Dayen explains, he'll have to say, "'Okay, I've got two sides in this lawsuit. One side says the debt ceiling is unconstitutional, and the other says it, too.' Presumably, the outcome, the ruling, would be that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional. Who would appeal it? There are two parties in this case, and neither are House Republicans."

ALSO TODAY: Last week on the show we spoke with Arizona's former Republican Secretary of State, now state Senator Ken Bennett, about a bipartisan bill passed out of the state's legislature last week to greatly improve election oversight, transparency and security by making digital ballot images of every ballot cast available for anyone to download and count for themselves in their own home if they wish. (A ballot image is a digital photo of each ballot that is taken as the ballot is scanned by the computer tabulators. It shows exactly how the voter voted at the time the ballot was cast and counted.)

The landmark measure, HB2560 --- which would make it much more difficult for the MAGA right to falsely claim elections are stolen --- was sponsored by Bennett in the AZ legislature and supported by the state's current Democratic Sec. of State Adrian Fontes as well. Thus, last week, when we spoke with Bennett, his hope was that the state's new Democratic Governor (and former Democratic Sec. of State) Katie Hobbs would sign the landmark transparency measure this week.

Instead, just before airtime, Hobbs vetoed the bill, falsely claiming it would "threaten anonymity" of voters and "open the door to the spread of additional election mis- and dis-information."

As Bennett explained last week on the show, he strongly disagrees. So does the nonpartisan election transparency group, AUDIT USA, headed up by longtime Democrat and ballot image proponent, John Brakey. They issued a statement responding to Hobbs' veto, calling it "a blow to efforts to reduce election conspiracies."

They charge the measure would "achieve just the opposite" of spreading "mis- and dis-information." In the statement, Brakey said that "By claiming the bill would compromise the privacy and anonymity of voters and lead to the increased spread of disinformation, the Governor has ignored the experience of multiple jurisdictions around the country that have been posting ballot images without the problems she claims would be caused."

The group is now hoping to win the one more vote in the state Senate and 9 more votes in the state House that will be needed to override Hobbs' veto. They will have about 21 days after they come back into session in mid-June. Stay tuned...

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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...

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ALSO: JURY FINDS TRUMP LIABLE FOR SEXUAL ABUSE, DEFAMATION, AWARDS E. JEAN CARROLL $5 MILLION...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2023 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's official. Our former President has now been found liable by a federal jury for sexual assault. And, it's not a matter of partisanship, but a matter of facts and evidence. The Republican Party has now clearly become a Party of Terrorism in these United States. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories backing up those assertions on today's program...

  • A federal jury in New York on Tuesday, after no more than three hours of deliberation, found Donald J. Trump to liable for sexual abuse and defamation against magazine writer E. Jean Carroll after what she described as a rape in a New York department store in the 1990s. The jury in the civil case ordered Trump to pay some $5 million in damages to Carroll, even as he continued to lie about her both before and after the jury's unanimous decision.
  • Nations around the world are now warning their citizens to take precautions when traveling to the U.S. due to all the terrorism, specifically the gun-violence by domestic-terrorists which the Republican Party refuses to do anything about. Instead, like Texas Governor Greg Abbott --- who has presided over an untold number of mass murders carried out with AR-15 and similar weapons in his state during his three terms as Governor --- they are pretending (again) that the real issue isn't the easy availability of weapons of war, but "mental health". And yet, at the same time, Republicans like Abbott have slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from, you guessed it, mental health care, even while working hard to both take health care away from folks who need it entirely and make it easier for those with and without mental health issues to buy still more high-powered, military-style weapons.
  • We now know the identities of the 8 killed in the weekend mass murder at the Allen, Texas outlet mall, allegedly carried out by a neo-Nazi who echoed many ideas expressed by Republicans in his social media postings. One Korean American six-year old became an orphan during the weekend rampage as his mother, father and younger brother were all killed in the shooting. Two sisters in grade school were also murdered at the same time, along with a mall security guard and several others.
  • Over the same weekend, a 14-year old girl, miraculously, wasn't killed in Louisiana, even though she was shot in the head by a man who saw shadows outside of his house and started shooting at them. The shadows were of neighborhood children playing hide and seek. But, at least the 58-year old man bravely "stood his ground" against the "threat". Yet another victory for the Republican Party of Terror.
  • All of that as the Dept. of Justice Sentencing Memo we discussed on yesterday's program, "throwing the book" at the rightwing, Trump-supporting militia group Oath Keepers for their seditious conspiracy on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol, included a request for increased penalties for "terrorism" in the addition to the charges for which the conspirators were previously found guilty.
  • If being the Party of Terror by Murder and Terror by Insurrection wasn't enough for today's Republicans, they are now working on adding the Party of Economic Terror to their list of accomplishments. With the "X-Date" now looming for when the U.S. Government runs out of borrowing authority to pay its bills --- including payments for decades of stuff mandated by Congress and Presidents of both parties --- the U.S. is facing the real possibility of default for the first time in its history. That's because House Republicans are, so far, refusing to simply vote to raise or ignore the dumb debt ceiling law unless the White House agrees to cut billions of dollars in spending on food assistance, health care (including for veterans) and much more. If the U.S. defaults on its debts and its ability to pay interest on loans, social security checks and salaries to the military (and much, much more), we could see a financial calamity in world markets and economies as early as June 1, according to the Treasury Department.

    If Republicans shoot the proverbial hostage this time around, the Biden Administration is reportedly considering invoking Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, the text of which states clearly, in pertinent part: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred ...shall not be questioned."

    Under this theory, the Treasury Department would simply continue to borrow, as needed, in order to pay bills already incurred, even if Republicans refuse to lift the Debt Limit. Remember, the Executive Branch is required, by law, to pay bills that Congress already mandated be paid. If the Government runs out of money and can't pay its bills, it would be in violation of myriad laws. On the other hand, if Treasury borrows money to pay our bills without the Debt Ceiling limit being raised by Congress, it would also be violating the law, albeit only that one, dumb one and, arguably, the U.S. Constitution. Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe explains all of this in a weekend op-ed at the New York Times in which he details his reasons for having changed his mind about the debt limit.

  • But, as Simon Rosenberg observed over the weekend, "If there was a terror org operating inside the US, how would it look any different then what we're seeing," from today's Republican Party? Good question, Simon. If al-Qaeda or ISIS had helped people obtain weapons to kill thousands of Americans, attempted to overthrow the U.S. Government in an insurrection and threatened to crash the U.S. and world economies, I suspect we'd have been in an actual shooting war with them long ago...

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Guest: Attorney Keith Barber; Also: Gob-smacking news in GA Trump probe, and on his rape and defamation trial to begin next week in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2023 5:31pm PT  

If you ever thought Dominion Voting Systems had an interest in saving or defending democracy, rather than saving and defending their bottom line, well, you haven't been paying close enough attention to The BradCast over the years. [Audio link to full shows follows this summary.]

Many on the left are disappointed today following Tuesday's news of a gargantuan settlement in the private election system vendor's $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox "News", which, the judge in the case previously ruled, had repeatedly and knowingly broadcast baseless lies about Dominion having stolen the 2020 election from sore loser Donald Trump.

Moments before the trial was to begin on Tuesday, Dominion agreed to take $757.5 million --- equal to about 20 years of gross revenue for the company, according to our guest today --- from Fox. That, in exchange for dropping the case. No on-air apology or public admission of guilt or wrong-doing appears to have been included in the settlement of what would have been a landmark Free Speech case.

In the bargain, none of the Republican propaganda outlet's stars or executives were dragged onto the witness stand and forced to admit to their purposeful deceptions of their own viewers, as Fox barely uttered a word about any of Tuesday's news to its own long-duped viewers. (While legitimate corporate media outlets went wall-to-wall with their coverage of the huge news on Tuesday, Fox barely mentioned it on air, while devoting no more than a pathetic 78 words to it on their website, in an item which, hilariously, didn't even mention the settlement amount or who was forced to pay whom!)

If you were hanging your hopes on Dominion doing the right thing in this matter, rather than simply grabbing as much money as they could, you may not have been paying close enough attention to our 20 years of reporting on corporate election vendors like Dominion, ES&S, Hart-Intercivic, Smartmatic and, until they went out of business, Sequoia, Diebold and Premier. None should have been allowed to partake in the corporate takeover our public elections in the U.S. And, after reporting on these companies for two decades, I can confidently say that none of them were ever in it to serve the best interests of the nation or democracy. All of them were and are in it only to serve shareholders with maximized profits.

But there are other reasons Dominion could not force Fox to publicly concede their purposefully deceptive coverage of the 2020 election, and one them has to do with the even larger, $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit regarding many of the same issues, that Fox is still facing from Smartmatic, a different election vendor. On Tuesday, after news of the settlement, the company issued its own statement reading: "Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign. Smartmatic will expose the rest."

Maybe. But...well...see above. And the last 20 years of reporting at BradBlog.com.

We're joined today by an attorney who was, coincidentally, himself responsible for hashing out a settlement in a $1.6 billion lawsuit. KEITH BARBER, is a longtime Daily Kos contributor known there as "KeithDB". Yesterday, three of his stories were at the top of the progressive blog site's "Recommended" list. We discuss the news from all three of those stories with him today.

One story is on the Fox/Dominion settlement and why he believes Dominion had no choice but to take the offer; another is on the new, gob-smacking court filing by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, in her criminal conspiracy probe of Trump's attempt to strong-arm state officials into stealing the 2020 election for him in Georgia (I've got some news to add to that story as well. Here is your hint about that.); and the third story is on next week's scheduled trial start in the rape and defamation lawsuit filed by columnist E. Jean Carroll against Trump in New York. Will she take a settlement too?...

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Guest: Author David Margolick; Also: Fox pays Dominion $787.5 million to make defamation suit go away...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2023 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Our former President is slimier and even more racist than you knew. And Fox "News" is at least as slimy and racist as you thought. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST UP, just before airtime, and just as attorneys in Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation suit were literally moments away from beginning opening arguments in a Delaware courtroom, the judge announced the case was over. Fox had agreed to settle with the private voting system vendor, essentially conceding that every claim made on their Republican propaganda outlet, claiming the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from Trump, was actually a lie.

We wade through today's news, even as it breaks this afternoon, in which Fox has apparently agreed to pay $787.5 million to make their problems --- at least in this case --- go away. Star witnesses previously expected to take the stand in the case starting this week had included Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch, and hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Maria Bartiromo. For now anyway, they're off the hook and won't have to testify about the lies they repeatedly told their listeners.

It was unclear as of airtime whether there was more to the settlement agreement. In other words, whether Fox would be forced to inform their brain-poisoned listeners about the lies they were told. But, Fox issued a statement conceding, "We acknowledge the court's rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false," and adding: "We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues."

Dominion's separate defamation suits against Trump's lawyers and liars Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell and others continue, as does the $2.7 billion defamation suit against Fox, as filed by Smartmatic, another voting system company about which Fox "News" repeatedly and knowingly lied.

Additional problems are expected for Fox in the days ahead, including a bevy of shareholder lawsuits and a campaign by the nation's largest progressive veterans group, Vote Vets, to demand U.S. military installations stop airing the Republican fake news network in common areas. "Nearly one-in-seven of those arrested in relation to the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol had military backgrounds," the group notes in their ad campaign, "showing the ill-effect of disinformation among military and veteran communities."

NEXT UP (after a quick note on the scheduled start next week of columnist E. Jean Carroll's rape and defamation suit against Trump in New York), have you noticed those weird comments that Donald Trump keeps making in regard to Special Counsel Jack Smith's name? He's been doing it since just after the prosecutor was tapped to oversee the criminal probes of Trump's January 6 insurrection and the documents he stole upon leaving the White House.

"Jack Smith (nice, soft name, isn’t it?)," Trump wrote on his social media site last November. "Speaking of LEAKS, Special 'Prosecutor' Jack Smith (What did his name used to be?) leaked massive amounts of information to The Washington ComPost," the disgraced former President lied at the same outlet the day before he was indicted on 34 criminal felony charges in New York earlier this month. That night, as he spoke to his supporters back at Mar-a-Lago, he did it again, referencing "this lunatic special prosecutor named Jack Smith," before adding: "I wonder what it was prior to a change?" He then paused for effect, as some of those present shared a knowing, sinister chuckle.

I read and saw all of that as it happened, but had no idea what the hell Trump was insinuating. Neither, apparently, did many in the mainstream media, according to our guest today, author DAVID MARGOLICK, who wrote about it last week at The Nation. He explains that it was part of a long-faded anti-Semitic trope. Notorious racist and Jew-hater Henry Ford deployed it about 100 years ago in his newspapers, and members of Sen. Joe McCarthy's infamous UnAmerican Activities Committee used it as well to tar Jewish entertainers as Communists.

"I thought that it needed to be explained," Margolick tells me today, as he explains it, "because if even someone like you didn't pick up on it, it just shows how ancient this trope is, how largely forgotten it is, and how deeply embedded it is in the psyche of Donald Trump. I think that subsequent generations need to know what was going on with him, and how hard-wired this is with him, that he can't help doing it, even if no one is going to pick up on it."

We discuss the long, grotesque history of the slur in the U.S., and how dangerous it remains, even as many Americans have no clue what it's all about. Some of his supporters certainly do. "The history of this thing should be called out. People should really know what's really going on with him," says Margolick, noting a line from his piece at The Nation, in which describes Trump as "a perfect time capsule of prejudice."

"It's really odious," argues Margolick, discussing what moved him to take a break from working on books about Sid Caesar and Jonas Salk. "It's disturbing that it's going on uncontradicted, and nobody is objecting to it."

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with news on the Administration's newly released list of Electric Vehicles that are now eligible for $7,500 rebates, thanks to Joe Biden and the Democrats' landmark Inflation Reduction Act. Also of note in today's report, Germany has finally shut down the last of its nuclear power plants. So, that's a good thing...right?

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Guest: Dr. Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote'; Also: Pelosi leaves Dem leadership; GOP secures House majority; Bass wins L.A. Mayor...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2022 6:10pm PT  

There are just too many crimes. Next time we'll need to plan a longer BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We're not yet beyond the 2022 elections. Votes are still being tallied and races still being called. Only last night, media outlets finally were able to project the GOP would win back a majority in the U.S. House next year, if barely, and that progressive Rep. Karen Bass would be the winner of the Los Angeles Mayoral race over billion real estate developer Rick Caruso. Of course, the fallout from the election will continue for a while. Today, two-time Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi --- love her or hate her, one of the most effective Speaker's in history --- announced that, while she plans to remain in Congress, she will not seek a leadership role next session. The first women to hold that job said during floor remarks today, that she is passing the torch to a new generation.

Most notably, however --- at least when it comes to accountability for the most corrupt man likely to ever hold public office in this nation, much less as President of the United States --- actual 2022 midterm voting continues as well, in the December 6th U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia.

That means the Dept. of Justice guidelines barring overt action in politically-related cases during the 60-day window prior to elections is likely still in effect. But even after the GA runoff on December 6th, as our friend Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel recently explained, "Merrick Garland hasn't done the specific thing you want because DoJ has been busy doing things they have to do first." In other words, before federal indictments can be brought against Donald Trump, as many (yours truly included) are eager to see, there remains a lot of legal work that must be done in order to ensure that any such indictments result in actual convictions.

Our guest today is DR. ALLISON GILL of the notorious "Mueller, She Wrote" Twitter account and podcast, which tracks the many (seemingly endless) criminal and civil cases and investigations under way against the disgraced former President about as closely as anyone in the country. She agrees that patience remains a virtue in these cases. Depending on the case, as she explains today, we are looking at a matter of weeks to a matter of months before indictments can be brought against Trump. Though she does believe they are coming and that his announcement this week that he is running again in 2024 provides no protection against prosecution in any of these cases.

As we begin to move beyond the midterms, today seemed a good day to touch base with Gill to help us try and reset where things are regarding to the many ongoing criminal and civil probes, indictments and lawsuits still bearing down on Trump. To be honest, we've lost track of some of them in recent weeks as we'd moved largely full time to 2022 election coverage.

Those pending cases include (but are not limited to):

  • The New York state criminal tax fraud trial currently underway against the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg, as brought by Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg;
  • Bragg's New York state criminal investigation into bank, tax and insurance fraud by Trump himself, as seemingly abandoned earlier this year, but which could be revived following the trial against his company;
  • The $250 million New York state civil lawsuit for bank, tax and insurance fraud against Trump, his company, and his three oldest kids, Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka, filed by NY A.G. Letitia James, which Gill sees as extraordinarily damaging to Trump;
  • The Georgia Special Grand Jury probe, as brought by Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis, of the Trump-led criminal conspiracy to convince state officials to steal the 2020 Presidential election on his behalf;
  • The Dept. of Justice's federal probe of thousands of pages of classified documents stolen from the White House by Trump upon leaving office, in apparent violation of the Espionage Act, Presidential Records Act and obstruction of justice;
  • The DoJ's federal probe of the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and his other many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election, including via a fake electors plot.

Add to those, Trump's failure to show up for his deposition this week in response to a lawful subpoena.from the the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. (Trump's former advisor Steve Bannon was recently sentenced to two months in prison for Contempt of Congress for failing to answer similar subpoenas from the Committee.)

"Don't forget," Gill adds today, "his Save America PAC is under federal criminal investigation. His Truth Social [companies] are under FINRA, FEC, and federal criminal investigation. He is facing a lot --- a lot --- of legal problems. We've got the E. Jean Carroll case, the Mary Trump case, the Hillary sanctions, the Michigan sanctions. He's in a lot of trouble from a lot of things. We're going to just have to see who drops the hammer first."

"If we just look at the Watergate timeline," she posits, regarding the sprawling January 6 investigation, "we won't see indictments until April 2023. And this is far more complex [than Watergate]. So it's going to be interesting to see how the timing plays out. Or whether maybe Garland says, 'Hey, Fani Willis, you take the fraudulent electors stuff, I'll take the documents stuff.'" That, she explains, would have the advantage of potentially convicting Trump under state law for which he can't be pardoned by a future President (or even by a Georgia Governor, since they are not granted state pardon power.)

Gill does believe --- in fact, she is "very, very certain" --- that Trump will be indicted in at least one of the federal cases we discuss today. Tune in to find out which one!

Finally today, Desi Doyen's got our latest Green News Report, as the COP27 U.N. climate conference in Egypt nears crunch time this weekend; Trump offers well-worn climate lies at his 2024 announcement; and some good energy related news to close out today's program...

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Guest: Angela Peoples of Election Defenders; Also: Bannon sentenced; Trump subpoenaed; Graham appeals to SCOTUS; And, still more evidence of looming Trump accountability...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2022 5:48pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: There is a great deal to be concerned about between now and November 8, when American holds its first nationwide elections since Donald Trump tried to steal the last one. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Since then, his unrelenting lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him (ironically enough) have resulted in, among other things, newly restrictive voting laws adopted by GOP-controlled states, a shortage of poll workers following death threats from disinformed rightwingers, and concerns of both intimidation and the potential of violence at polling places (and ballot drop-boxes.)

But the Election Defenders vow to be out in force, as they were in 2020, attempting to make sure everyone can vote freely and fairly.

"One of my biggest concerns is the impact the attempts at intimidation may play on the electorate," my guest today, the group's Campaign Director, ANGELA PEOPLES, tells me. "In some places, these threats of violence are very real, and we're preparing folks to be responsive to those." But, she adds, "a lot of this is just talk, and attempts to create an atmosphere of fear. So we are planning to counter that fear with joy, with enthusiasm, to make sure that people can cast their ballot with safety and dignity."

Election Defenders is a coalition formed in 2020 by The Frontline, a joint campaign of the Working Families Party, the Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, United We Dream and Rising Majority. They deployed some 2,000 volunteers trained in de-escalation techniques to polling places in all 50 states in 2020. This year, they hope to station about 1,250 in key battleground states including Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona.

"We are trained not only in de-escalation, but also in what we call Voter Care --- to support folks at the polls, making sure folks have information about what those new laws may be and how to make sure that, if they feel like they are denied their ability to vote, they have a chance to address that and to not be denied their ability to cast their ballot, whether it's provisional or otherwise, on Election Day," Peoples explains.

"We'll be making sure that things stay calm, stay joyful, stay energetic and are the type of experience that can keep people engaged all the way through to casting their ballot," she says. The group hopes to counter so many who have been lied into rage on the Right over the past two years. "A lot of their playbook is about intimidation [and] fear tactics. So we have really focused on the joy that we can bring to people and reminding folks that, as much as some may try to make voting seem like something that is privileged, or something only a few should be able to do, that everyone that has the right to vote in this country should be able to exercise that."

Critically, she adds, "we are reminding our volunteers that this Election Defense opportunity is something that we need to do from voting, to counting, all the way to certification."

And, yes, the group is still welcoming volunteers and helping to train them all over the country. If you'd like to join the effort, you can get more details and sign up for trainings here or text FRONTLINE to 20403.

Also today, the outer bands of the coming Trump Accountability Hurricane continue to blow in...

  • Steve Bannon was sentenced to 4 months in prison for Contempt of Congress after refusing to answer subpoenas for testimony and documents from the House January 6 Committee. He remains free for now pending appeal.
  • Donald Trump was sent his own subpoena by the same House Committee today, seeking documents from the disgraced former President by November 4 and under oath deposition testimony beginning on or about November 14. If he refuses, he could face similar charges to those Bannon has now been found guilty of and sentenced to prison for.
  • On Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham was ordered by a three-judge panel (two of whom are Trump appointees) at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to testify to the Special Grand Jury in Atlanta set up by Fulton County, Georgia Prosecutor Fani Willis. She is investigating an alleged criminal conspiracy led by Donald Trump to force state officials to falsify the 2020 election results. Today, Graham, who has lost every court battle to avoid testimony so far, asked SCOTUS to intervene. Even though the denies any wrongdoing, it appears he really really doesn't want to testify to that end under oath for some reason.
  • Also this week, Trump was forced to testify under oath in the defamation case against him by author E. Jean Carroll, who alleges he raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s and then lied about both her and it while serving as President. But, because he can't help himself, Trump really screwed himself over regarding the only quasi-legit defense he had left to try and duck Carroll's defamation complaint. SAD!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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