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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, July 12, 2024
Meanwhile... :
'BradCast' 7/11/24
Biden's tenuous candidacy; Trump and Orban; Inflation, prices falling; Climate liar Inhofe dies; California's stunning solar revolution...
'Green News Report' 7/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat as deadly Beryl fallout continues; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Republicans bravely seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
Previous GNRs: 7/9/24 - 6/25/24 - Archives...
Paging 'Johnny Unbeatable'! Dems in Disarray! (But Really This Time): 'BradCast' 7/10/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
SCOTUS Immunity Ruling 'As Bad as it Sounds', Arguably Worse: 'BradCast' 7/9/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner on that and the Court's massive 'power grab'; Also: Record-breaking Beryl; U.S. heat records smashed...
'Green News Report' 7/9/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Beryl breaks records, slams TX; 140 million Americans under heat advisories; Big SCOTUS gifts for polluters; PLUS: Biden unveils first-ever extreme heat protections for workers...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/24 - 6/27/24 - Archives...
So, What Now?:
'BradCast' 7/8/24
We're back! And our listeners have strong opinions about where the hell we are and how to move forward to save democracy after corrupt SCOTUS rulings and a disastrous Presidential Debate...
Overdue Debunking of MAGA Cult Xenophobia
CANNING: Throughout U.S. history, decent, hard-working immigrants (like me) have contributed to the economy and our nation's security: CANNING
Sunday 'Courting Disaster' Toons
THIS WEEK: Kings and Things! In our special SCOTUS-sized edition of the last impossible week's best political toons!...
Sunday 'Bad Medicine' Toons
THIS WEEK: Trump's hot pants ... Biden's cool reception ... SCOTUS gone wild ... and more in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
A Friendly Suggestion:
Harris-Newsom 2024
An orderly transition to save the nation...if Biden himself agrees...
Former Fed Prosecutor: SCOTUS Corruption Ruling Less Corrupt Than Appears: 'BradCast' 6/27/24
Guest: Randall D. Eliason; Also: 'Chevron Deference'; SCOTUS nixes EPA pollution rule...
'Green News Report' 6/27/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Disasterous flooding in China; Heatwave, crop failure in Inida; Fisaster upon disaster for NM town; On edge for SCOTUS decision; PLUS: Biden climate law creates 300,000 jobs!...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/24 - 6/20/24 - Archives...
Good News and Bad: At the Polls and From the Corrupted Court: 'BradCast' 6/26/24
NY, CO, UT, SC election results; SCOTUS on public corruption, social media; Long-overdue Biden pardons...
'Not Something Journalists Do': A NatSec Journo on Assange Hacking, Plea Deal: 'BradCast' 6/25/24
Guest: Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel; Also: VA Rep. vows to block apparent primary loss...
'Green News Report' 6/25/24
Extreme U.S. heat, flooding; FEMA warns of funding shortfall; Climate change spiking home insurance; PLUS: Global warming turbocharging heat, wildfires...
Fox 'News' Grooming Viewers for Another Insurrection: 'BradCast' 6/24/24
Guest: Matt Gertz of Media Matters; Also: Climate change is now wreaking brutal, deadly, expensive consequences...
Sunday 'Shark Jumping' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unsavable ... Untouchable ... Undebatable ... Undeniable... And more unavoidable mischief in our latest collection of the week's best political toons...
The Prophecy and Warning of the White Buffalo: 'BradCast' 6/20/24
Our global air pollution and climate crisis and what we can do about it; Also: Biden now leads in Fox 'News' polling; Trump Media stock tanking again; CNN debate set...
'Green News Report' 6/20/24
Extreme U.S. heat intensifies; First named storm of year; Evacuations in NM; Astonishing heat in India, Saudi Arabia; PLUS: U.S. schools grapple with extreme heat...
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...


Guest: Political writer Amanda Marcotte; Also: Dems outperform in OH U.S. House Special Election; Brad gets COVID again goddammit...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2024 6:17pm PT  

Today's BradCast summary may be necessarily (or mercifully, depending on how you look at it) brief. As noted here yesterday, I've got COVID again. Did a show today anyway. For good or ill. There's just too much going on and standing down yesterday only made me feel like we were falling even farther behind. Plus, big news today out of SCOTUS. So bear with my gravelly, congested voice as we catch up with a few of things on today's show. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Among those things..,.

  • Tuesday's down-ballot primary elections in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina didn't offer many surprises or problems, so far, for voters or tabulation. But the Special Election for the U.S. House in Ohio's otherwise deeply red 16th Congressional District was certainly of note. The Democratic candidate, Michael Kripchak, lost the race to Republican Michael Rulli, as expected. But, continuing a pattern we've seen quite a bit of on Election Days since 2020, the Democrat wildly over-performed expectations by some 20 points! It's another good reminder to take nothing for granted this year, with the November 5th General Election Day now less than 150 days away!
  • The packed and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court did (mostly) the right thing for a happy change today. In an opinion [PDF] written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Court unanimously shut down a ridiculous case brought by legal forum-shopping anti-abortion zealots in Texas seeking a nationwide ban on the use of Mifepristone, the most popular and safest method of abortion in the U.S. The challenge, based on false claims about the drug, was rejected 9 to 0 due to a lack of standing by the crackpot doctors who brought the case (with the help of a rightwing extremist legal mill, in a lower court jurisdiction where they were guaranteed to get a favorable finding from Trump-appointed anti-abortion activist judge, Mathew Kasmaryk.) Kavanaugh's ruling, however, left the door open for future challenges by other plaintiffs to the FDA's 20-year old approval of the drug. The executive agency has repeatedly found Mifepristone --- used in about two-thirds of abortion in the U.S. last year --- to be extraordinarily safe and effective.
  • Then, we're joined by AMANDA MARCOTTE, Senior Political Writer at Salon and author of Troll Nation: How the Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself. We discuss today's SCOTUS ruling and a related matter which she recently wrote about at Salon, which also highlights the corrupt anti-abortion Texas-to-SCOTUS legal activist pipeline. This case, like the Mifepristone case, is being brought, specifically, in Kasmaryk's North Texas federal court, where he is the only judge overseeing cases filed there. It involves two University of Austin professors, Daniel Bonevac and John Hatfield, who are plaintiffs in a suit challenging Nixon-era federal law that prevents them from mistreating people, women in particular, who don't behave to the professors' liking. They are claiming a violation of their Free Speech Rights in federal laws that prevent them from flunking female students who go out of state to obtain abortions or block them from firing teaching assistants who have had one or forces them to consider the hiring of employees who may be transgendered. It is all of a piece, as Marcotte explains, with the corrupt SCOTUS decision that overturned 50 years of legal precedent for the Constitutional right to abortion back in 2022, and the subsequent total abortion ban in the Lone Star State. As Marcotte identifies, this and a number of other cases, are being brought by the same far-right interests, including former Texas Solicitor General and Federalist Society activist Jonathan Mitchell and legal mill outfits packed with former (and future?) Trump staffers.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for a Brad-free edition of Green News Report! With a warning for upcoming extreme heat across much of the country; seemingly unceasing extreme rainfall in Florida; a new law adopted by the New York legislature to hold Big Oil accountable for climate damage; and hundreds of billions of dollars in health benefits now being realized thanks to President Biden's renewable energy boom...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/13/2024 10:41am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: In parts of the U.S., air conditioning can't keep up with extreme heat, and a big one is coming over the next week; Record rain triggers flash flooding from Sarasota to Spain to China; New York passes law requiring oil companies to pay for climate change damages; PLUS: Renewable energy in the U.S. has delivered $250 billion in health benefits... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Click here to listen or download MP3 (6 mins)...

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Amid record-breaking heat wave, researchers step up warnings about risks extreme temperatures pose to children; Dangerous heat wave tests Puerto Ricans’ ability to survive the latest power outages; Biofuel refineries are releasing toxic air pollutants in the US farm communities; Air in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’ likely more toxic than previously thought; How Biden beat the clock on big environmental regulations; The 'one simple trick' Paris used to reduce air pollution 40% ahead of Olympics... PLUS: Reported birth of rare white buffalo calf in Yellowstone park fulfills Lakota prophecy... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Also: SCOTUS allows racial gerrymander in SC; OH still blocking Biden from ballot; Smartmatic says Newsmax destroyed evidence; Biden cancels still more student debt...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2024 6:46pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Imagine if Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was found to have been flying a Joe Biden "Dark Brandon" flag at her house. Ya think Republicans in Congress might have anything to say about it? Might take any action in response to it? [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

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

  • Republicans in the Ohio state legislature are still blocking Joe Biden from this year's Presidential election ballot in the Buckeye State. Even Republican Governor Mike DeWine is now calling it "ridiculous" and "absurd" and has called a special legislative session for next week to fix the problem that GOP lawmakers have so far refused to. Think they'll finally do it?
  • The corrupt rightwing majority on the packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, allowed a racial gerrymander in South Carolina to remain in place for the 2024 election. All of the Court's liberal Justices dissented. The 6 to 3 majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who appeared more concerned that state lawmakers might be seen as having engaged in "offensive and demeaning" conduct, than he did about the tens of thousands of Black voters in the state whose votes have been shifted to other districts to make it easier for Republican Rep. Nancy Mace to hold on to a seat in the U.S. House. It's not a racial gerrymander, the Court's Republican majority claims, it's a partisan one. And, apparently, that's just fine. (Justice Clarence Thomas went out of his way in a concurring opinion to note that racial gerrymanders are just fine as well.) All of that, after a lower court panel of federal judges found that SC's racial gerrymander amounted to the "bleaching of African American voters."
  • And, speaking of Sam Alito....Now the whole world knows, if they didn't already, that the corrupt, far-right Republican Supreme Court Justice is both a personal supporter of the Trump-incited 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and a Christian Nationalist. At least based on the two different flags he has been flying over two of his houses, according to more excellent reporting by the New York Times on Wednesday. That, as we await two different major rulings from the High Court regarding accountability for Donald Trump in relation to the insurrection. Neither Alito nor Thomas, whose wife directly participated in the insurrection, have recused themselves from either case. So, what are Democrats in the U.S. Senate going to do about any of it? So far, it doesn't look like they're prepared to do much, at least beyond issuing an occasional "outraged" press release. As discussed in some detail today, that needs to change.
  • One of voting system vendor Smartmatic's several, huge, defamation lawsuits for lies told about the company "rigging" the 2020 election, is against the far-right political propaganda outlet known as Newsmax. Court documents made public this week reveal that Newsmax destroyed evidence --- text messages and emails --- that they were required to retain for the lawsuit.
  • This week, Joe Biden cancelled student loan debt for another 160,000 borrowers, bringing the total number receiving some form of forgiveness up to nearly five million. His Dept. of Education has now approved about $167 billion in loan forgiveness under a number of different programs, following the corrupt SCOTUS ruling that prevented the President's initial effort to forgive up to $20,000 for some 43 million borrowers. Still, $167 billion is nothing to sneeze at. And it's money that can now go instead into the economy instead to purchase homes, cars, etc., which helps everyone. Fox "News", of course --- which had no problem when Trump gave trillions of federal dollars to millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations via GOP tax cuts --- seems to have a different opinion about federal government relief for those who actually need it.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as deadly, climate changed-fueled extreme weather lashes folks from Mexico to Iowa; Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a "Don't Say Climate Change" law as the state broils in yet another heat wave; Oakland, California becomes the nation's first school district to move to 100% all-electric school buses; And microplastics are now found everywhere, even inside of us. You'll have a ball finding out where scientists have discovered them most recently. It's nuts!...

And with that great news, The BradCast (and Green News Report) will be standing down next week for a much-needed break over the Memorial Day holiday week. Will the disgraced former President be a convicted felon by the time we return? We'll find out! Either way, see ya on the other side! (And, of course, well before then for a few Sunday Toons at the very least!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/23/2024 10:44am PT  


Follow @GreenNewsReport...

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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Extreme weather unleashes disasters from Iowa to Mexico; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs 'Don't Say Climate Change' law; Oakland, CA first school district in U.S. to switch to all-electric school buses; PLUS: Study finds microplastics in human testicles... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Click here to listen or download MP3 (6 mins)...

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GNR's now celebrating 15 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): What to do when facing extended summer power outages; NOAA forecasts extraordinarily busy Atlantic hurricane season; Wildfire weather is increasing in California and much of the U.S., report finds; Alaskan rivers turning orange due to climate change, study finds; US says cyberattacks against water supplies are rising, and utilities need to do more to stop them; Chinese battery maker says mining no longer needed after 2042, as recycling takes over... PLUS: California can make climate polluters pay for the mess they have made of Earth... and much, MUCH more! ...

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A veteran reporter speaks out; DHS marshals election defenses; Lara Trump lies about ballots; Johnson lies about 'illegals' voting; Also: MTG's spectacular fail; Stormy wins the day; Biden finally cuts off Israel...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2024 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Why we're taking sides for democracy in this year's election. And why every real journalist should. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program (and not necessarily in this order)...

  • Journalist John Harwood: "As a Veteran Reporter, I've Always Valued Neutrality. But Trump's Threat To Democracy Should be the Biggest Political Story of 2024"
  • USA Today: "Exclusive: Homeland Security ramping up 'with intensity' to respond to election threats"
  • The RNC, recently taken over by Donald Trump in full, is now little more than an election denialist/voter suppression operation (and, of course, a personal ATM for Trump). They recently fired their newly hired election law expert for not pretending enough that the 2020 election was stolen; New co-chair Lara Trump is taking to Fox "News" to spread disinformation about absentee ballots and ballot counting; House Speaker Mike Johnson is introducing a bill to make it illegal for non-U.S. citizens to vote in federal elections --- which is already illegal --- and claiming that, while there may be zero evidence, "we all know intuitively that a lot of illegals are voting".

Also, some news since we last spoke...

  • Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tried and then failed spectacularly (thanks to help from House Democrats) to remove the Republican House Speaker again.
  • Stormy Daniels completed her testimony in Trump's 2016 election interference case in New York. The cross-examination, according to many reports, did not go well for Team Trump.
  • Joe Biden finally cuts off offensive weapons to Israel for Benjamin Netanyahu's promised threat of a full ground invasion in southern Gaza.

And finally...

  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as tornadoes leave trails of destruction in the U.S.; Florida bans "climate change" as hurricane season begins; House Republicans open a new pretend battle in their "War on Woke Appliances"; and U.S. culture finally begins to reflect climate reality...

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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Also: 12 jurors now seated in Trump's NY criminal trial; NV Supreme Court approves ballot measure to protect 'reproductive freedoms'; OH Republicans still refusing to put Biden on the 2024 ballot...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2024 6:49pm PT  

You may be happy to know we don't begin today's BradCast with news about the disgraced former President. But you may be less happy about what we do lead with, especially if you own a home or a car or live on Planet Earth. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our many stories today...

  • Recently, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell confirmed that, thanks in no small part to our quickly worsening climate, insurance rates for cars and homes continue to skyrocket. Yes, manmade climate change is a key factor in slowing the decrease of inflation (which, of course, is just one reason Republicans would rather do nothing about it). As the frequency and intensity of weather-related disasters quickens (just ask the folks in New Orleans who were swamped with some 8 inches of rain in a matter of hours last week), the cost of insurance is spiking, becoming unaffordable for many and even unattainable in a number of coastal states. You may soon discover that your home is worth a lot less than you think, thanks to the climate crisis. We step through some of those grim details today, the trillions of dollars it is ALREADY costing Americans, and the even grimmer news about what is still to come unless and until we can end the burning of fossil fuels that is only beginning to wreak so much havoc across the entire globe.
  • We started reporting on this story last week, when it didn't seem like it could really be a story. Well, it's beginning, at least, to look more like it really could be a real story. Ohio's Republican Attorney General has now joined the state's Republican Sec. of State to say they will not allow Joe Biden on the state's ballot this November unless the Democratic Party certifies his candidacy before the state's statutory deadline of August 7. The Democratic National Convention, which is set to officially nominate the President, doesn't happen until August 19. When a similar situation occurred in 2020 --- which might have kept Donald Trump off the ballot --- the GOP state legislature simply changed the statutory deadline for that year. But now, because it's only Democrats whose convention isn't scheduled to take place until after OH's 90-day deadline before the November 5th election, Buckeye State Republicans seem to be suggesting they may actually not put Biden on the ballot...as impossible as that seems to believe. Let the lawsuits begin...
  • The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling that had blocked a broad, Constitutional "Reproductive Freedom" measure to protect prenatal care, abortion, vasectomies and infertility care from appearing on this November's ballot in the critical battle ground state. Supporters of the measure are celebrating today, but are also said to be gathering signatures for a second measure that will focus only on abortion rights for this year's ballot.
  • After two of seven previously-seated jurors were dismissed on Thursday morning in Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York, seven more were seated before the day was done. Barring any other dismissals, that fills out the 12 jurors that will be needed to begin the case proper, once six alternate jurors are chosen. The judge admonished the press for reporting enough details about jurors that one who asked to be removed this morning said that friends had been able to identify her from media reports. Also, after prosecutors earlier this week sought sanctions against Trump for three violations of his gag order, they cited another seven incidents since then. That issue will be heard next week. Opening Statements in the trial could begin as early as Monday if the case continues to move briskly forward.
  • Very exciting news is underway in the South this week, specifically in Tennessee, where workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga are now voting to unionize and join the United Auto Workers. Workers at the plant seem confident that the election will be successful. But that's just the first of 13 non-union automakers who are being targeted for unionization by the UAW since labor unions huge victories last year in strikes against GM, Ford and Stellantis (which now owns Jeep and Chrysler). Another election is likely to happen soon at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, with 36 non-union plants targeted in all. If workers are successful in unionizing at both VW and Mercedes in the two southern states, according to one labor historian, it "would be nothing less than an earthquake" for the labor movement and its "biggest breakthrough in private-sector organizing in decades." It apparently has anti-labor Republicans worried. In a joint statement described by one expert as "unprecedented and shocking", six southern state governors, all Republican --- from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas --- issued a joint statement on the day before voting began at VW, charging that "unionization would put our states' jobs in jeopardy." Kentucky's Democratic Governor, Andy Beshear, by contrast, announced last week that he was "proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder" with the UAW.
  • Finally, in case we didn't frighten you enough with our opening coverage of the catastrophic, climate change-fueled weather driving insurance rates through the roof, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with much more to frighten you about. But she also has good news for workers as well, and bad news for the fossil fuel industry tools at Fox "News"...

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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Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity' rant; Seven jurors now seated in his NY criminal trial; House Repubs deliver impeachment articles to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2024 7:07pm PT  

Even Joe Biden is now making jokes about the plummeting value of the former President's latest scam, his attempt to turn his failing social media site into a Wall Street meme stock. As discussed on today's BradCast, it ain't working. At least for now. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The value of Trump Media & Technology Group, trading under Donald Trump's initials as DJT, has lost about two-thirds of its value since it debuted as a publicly traded stock at the beginning of the month. If it "drops any lower," Biden quipped at a rally in Pennsylvania today, Donald Trump "might do better under my tax plan than his."

When it first went public, DJT quickly shot up to nearly $80 per share. It has been nose-diving by double-digit percentages pretty much every day since. The stock closed on Tuesday at less than $23 a share. On Monday night, the Washington Post's Drew Harwell posted a piece that is nearly equal parts hilarious, for those who enjoy the schadenfreude of Trump losing billions of theoretical dollars in just a few weeks time, and heart-breaking, for those who feel for the hundreds of thousands of Trump fans who have lost, in some cases, their "whole nest egg" because they were brain-poisoned enough to buy into Trump's latest fraudulent scheme.

Harwell's report of the reaction to the plummeting value of the stock by Trump supporters themselves on Truth Social, the money-losing venture that is currently DJT's only actual business, is harrowing and amazing. (But just more evidence of the "deep state", if you believe some of the denialists who are still buying more shares every day now!) But it serves as yet another reminder that, as sick as Trump is, it is our nation itself, and its people, whose illness we must eventually figure out how to attend to.

Anyway, tune in to today's show for many more thoughts on the above, and a whole bunch of other news of the day, including...

  • Trump's recent Truth Social video rant on how Presidents simply can't do the job of Presidenting without absolute criminal immunity, the way the Founders wanted it. Then again, there is no evidence that the Founders wanting anything of the sort (quite the opposite, in fact); every President of the United States before (and since) Trump has been able to function just fine without it; and --- oh, yeah --- as Trump said in a separate rant just one day earlier, apparently "Crooked Joe Biden...can't put two-sentences together" but has been clever enough to mastermind all four of Trump's current criminal indictments in two different states and two separate federal jurisdictions, all without leaving a trace of evidence. "At what point are the actions of a sitting President...against his opponent for election interference considered illegal?," Trump asked. But, according to Trump just one day earlier, even if the President had anything to do with Trump's criminal indictments (he doesn't) it would still never be illegal!
  • The disgraced former President's criminal trial in New York, on 34 federal counts related to hush-money payments to a porn star to help him win the 2016 election, seems to be moving faster than expected. On Tuesday, seven jurors were selected on the second day of the trial. Just five more jurors and six alternates are needed before opening statements can begin, perhaps as early as the beginning of next week.
  • On Tuesday, House GOP lawmakers finally delivered their two articles of impeachment against Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the U.S. Senate, where the high-crime-and misdemeanor-free charges are expected to die either very quickly or somewhat less quickly, in an impeachment trial that, according to the rules, must begin immediately and continue until complete. Good thing there is nothing else Congress needs to be doing right now.
  • The far-right conspiracy outlet known as One American News (OAN) has reportedly struck a confidential settlement with voting system vendor Smartmatic, in the defamation lawsuit brought against the Trump-supporting TV channel for lies told about the company's voting systems following the 2020 election. Despite repeated false claims by OAN anchors and guests that Smartmatic software was used "in 30 states" to steal the election for Biden --- with zero evidence in support of those claims --- the company's voting systems are only used in one U.S. jurisdiction: here in Los Angeles County, where even brain-poisoned MAGA dupes aren't dumb enough to claim the election was stolen from Trump.

    For the role that we personally played in confusing Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and the OAN clowns regarding Smartmatic's role in U.S. elections, I can only say: "You're welcome!"

    The terms of the settlement are undisclosed, but it follows on last year's $787 million settlement between Fox "News" and Dominion Voting Systems over similarly false claims, as well as a settlement between OAN and a former Dominion executive. There are many other similar defamation suits still pending, however, by both Smartmatic and Dominion over lies told about them following 2020 by other well-known Trump conspiracists.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with several pieces of pretty cool news littered amidst a number of terrifying climate crisis omens...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/16/2024 10:35am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Record ocean heat is bleaching coral reefs around the world; Biden raises royalties to drill and mine on public lands, the first update in a century; Innovation in Indiana: wireless EV charging roads; PLUS: Bizarre fish behavior is a marine mystery in Florida... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): How to spot 5 of the fossil fuel industry's biggest disinformation tactics; Environmental groups protest DOT approval of huge oil export terminal off Texas coast; Biden administration increases industry responsibility for decommissioning drilling platforms; Courts cracking down on corporate 'greenwashing'; CA startup's innovative technology significantly reduces emissions from cement-making; Toxic grass is spreading in the US, threatening livestock... PLUS: World’s coal power capacity rises despite climate warnings... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Also: AZ Repubs move to end early and mail-in voting; Trump coughs up $175M bond in NY, sees gag order expanded; FL Supremes approve abortion ban, allow abortion rights ballot measure in November...
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2024 6:22pm PT  

As it is said, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." It continues to bend mostly in that direction on today's BradCast.

Among our many stories today...

  • Donald Trump finally coughed up a bond for $175 million --- of the $454 million plus interest that he still owes in full --- in his New York civil fraud case as his appeal continues.
  • The judge in Trump's New York criminal trial related to hush-money payments to a porn star to help him win the 2016 election, has expanded his gag-order [PDF] against the disgraced former President to cover family members of jurors, witnesses, prosecutors and the judge himself, whose daughter had been repeatedly (and fraudulently) attacked in recent days by the GOP's Presidential front-runner. His trial, on 34 felony counts, begins on April 15.
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis' packed state Supreme Court in Florida tossed out decades of state constitutional precedent to allow his Big Government 6-week abortion ban to take effect. At the same time, the court also narrowly allowed a Constitutional Amendment to protect reproductive rights on this year's general election ballot in the Sunshine State. It, like a measure to allow the sale of recreational marijuana that the Justices also approved for the ballot on Monday, will need to receive support from more than 60% of voters this year to take effect. Democrats are hopeful that the ballot measures could help them win back the former swing-state for the first time in years this November.
  • GOP state legislators in Arizona are on the verge of adopting a ballot measure for this November which would end most early voting and vote-by-mail in the state where more than 80% of voters currently take advantage of such conveniences as well as end the use of convenient Voting Centers in the state's two largest (and most Democratic-leaning) counties. Since the resolution will result in a ballot measure, if passed next by the state Senate, it can't be vetoed by the state's Democratic Governor. On the other hand, it'll be something for voters to think about as Dems are now just two swing-seats away from flipping each chamber of the state legislature from "red" to "blue".
  • Ever since Republicans decided to pretend the Presidential election was stolen from them with massive --- if evidence-free --- voter fraud in 2020, almost every case of such fraud that has been found has been carried out by Republicans. Today, we've got two more examples of GOP officials caught having committing such fraud. One is from a state Representative in Alabama who was forced to step down after lying about his residency (his seat was filled last week by a Democrat in a Special Election), and another was by a high-ranking state Republican Party official and rightwing talk show host in Georgia who was voted illegally 9 times. Both got off with largely slaps on the wrist.

    Whenever these stories have come to light in recent years, we've found ourselves comparing the velvet glove treatment of white, Republican voter fraud criminals to the years-long hell on Earth faced by Crystal Mason, the black Texas woman [pictured above] who was sentenced in 2018 to five years in prison for unknowingly casting an unlawful provisional ballot that was never even counted back in 2016. Last week, at long-last, Mason was acquitted of the charges she never should have never faced in the first place.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen is back with our latest Green News Report, as an iconic cliff-side coastal road collapses amid heavy climate-change fueled rains in California; Republicans protest federal funding to rebuild the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore; a new report finds our man-made climate crisis is taking a brutal toll on the economy; and the Biden Administration's EPA makes some major moves on methane leaks and truck pollution...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern on two ridiculous cases, increasing court dysfunction; Also: Primary, Special Election results from AZ, FL, IL, KS, OH, CA; And the Biden EPA's 'biggest climate move yet'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2024 6:36pm PT  

From top to bottom, the Federal Judiciary, as evidenced several times this week alone and discussed in detail on today's BradCast, seems to be coming undone. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, first up today, a quick review of Tuesday's Primary and Special Election results in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio and California. Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have already won enough delegates to clinch their respective party's nomination, but there are still a several interesting data points of notes to be gleaned from Tuesday's results.

Among them, Trump is consistently losing a far larger share of Republican votes than Biden is losing on the Democratic side. On Tuesday, for example, Biden's reported margin of victory in the states where he was on the ballot was anywhere from 74 to 88 points, while Trump's margin never cracked even 70 points, ranging from 59 to 67. In short, Biden seems to be far more popular among Democratic primary voters than Trump is among Republicans.

We've got other noteworthy tales of the tape today, along with Senate Primary results out of Ohio, where both Democrats and Donald Trump appear to be very happy that Trump-backed Bernie Moreno will be the GOP's nominee running against three-term progressive Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown in November. And, in California, Democrats are no doubt happy to see that nobody won more than 50% of the vote in the Special Election to fill the seat left vacant by ousted Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday. That means his seat in the closely divided U.S. House, which will almost certainly go to a Republican eventually, will remain empty until at least the Special Election runoff in May.

Also of note today, what the Washington Post is describing as the Biden Administration's "biggest climate move yet". Desi Doyen joins us to explain the EPA's new final rule that is set to increase the speed of the nation's transition to cleaner Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles; how rightwing media are already lying about the EPA's new rule; and how Republican states and the fossil fuel industry will soon be seeking out friendly judges in the federal judiciary to try and undermine the new rule and its billions of dollars in life-saving new vehicle emissions standards for the American people and the planet.

Then, speaking of friendly rightwing judges, two cases that came before the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court this week --- when, in fact, neither of them should have --- serve to highlight our increasingly brittle judicial system and how it is being gamed by the far-right.

We're joined today by Slate's great legal journalist, MARK JOSEPH STERN to discuss both cases and what they might tell us about a court system, and perhaps a U.S. Supreme Court, nearing a breaking point.

We originally invited Stern for today's show to discuss Monday's absurd case brought by Republican-run states falsely claiming the Biden Administration is somehow violating First Amendment free speech rights by forcing social media companies like Twitter and Facebook to take down posts they don't like regarding COVID, election fraud and more. Of course, the government is not doing that at all. Stern describes the case at Slate --- Murthy v. Missouri (originally Missouri v. Biden) --- as "brain-meltingly dumb", "asinine", and "what happens when a lawless judge and a terrible appeals court embrace the dopiest First Amendment claim you’ve ever heard out of pure spite toward a Democratic president."

The case should never have even made it out of the lowest District Court, but for a Trump-appointed judge who "completely butchered the record and, I think, willfully misrepresented a huge amount of communications between federal officials and social media companies," Stern tells me. "He would pluck individual little clauses from those emails, rearrange them to make it sound like coercion, and then use that to develop what is frankly a conspiracy theory that the federal government strong-armed these companies into silencing their users and censoring speech. It's just not true." (See this article for just some of the gobsmacking examples of ways in which U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty "butchered the record" by falsely representing the evidence record in his ruling.)

Making matters worse, the nation's most extreme appellate court, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, further butchered the record to accomplish what corrupt Supreme Court Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch laughably described when the case came up to SCOTUS as "extensive findings of fact" that "showed the existence of ‘a coordinated campaign’ of unprecedented ‘magnitude orchestrated by federal officials that jeopardized a fundamental aspect of American life.'"

Monday's Oral Argument at SCOTUS, however, pulled the rug out from under pretty much all of that, as the phony allegations met skepticism from even the bulk of the Court's rightwingers. But before we could get to that case today, as previously planned, we had to get through the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' other recent clown show (which the rightwingers on SCOTUS were happy to play along with last night): their attempt to allow Texas' new law that overturns a century of legal precedent and the U.S. Constitution itself to grant powers to state and local police that override federal immigration law, allowing them to arrest and deport suspected undocumented immigrants.

Stern unpacks the bizarre twists and turns the case has seen over the past 24 hours, and charges that the procedural nonsense from the 5th Circuit and subsequent acquiescence by SCOTUS simply "boggles the mind."

So, what might we learn from all of this --- and all that has come before it --- regarding corrupt Trump-appointed judges, a corrupt 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, a corrupt and increasingly volatile SCOTUS, and the rightwing judge shopping that exploits all of it? We discuss all of that and more with Stern who details "a kind of terrifying intramural war within the judiciary," as some of the courts are pushing back against an attempt by the U.S. Judicial Conference (headed up by Chief Justice Roberts) to rein in judge shopping, and, ultimately, how restoring confidence in the High Court itself may "all come down to what Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett want to do with the courts and want their legacy to be."

"Until they take a harder line here, it's going to remain just as broken as it looks," Stern asserts. "It's going to be even worse behind the scenes, based on what I'm hearing about how these judges' relationships are breaking down over this stuff --- and we're going to have different factions within the judiciary that are fighting for power, not unlike the Kremlin at the height of Soviet-era madness"...

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Also: TikTok foolishness; NY hush-money trial delay?; Navarro must go to jail; Trump owes $400k for failed 'Steele Dossier' lawsuit in UK...
By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2024 6:51pm PT  

Lots (and lots) of news on today's BradCast, from Israel to TikTok foolishness to lots (and lots) of Trump accountability news. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our lead stories today...

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, an ardent, longtime supporter of Israel, called on Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold new elections. New York's Schumer, a Jew who happens to come from NYC, which has the world's largest Jewish population, cited the far-right Prime Minister as an obstacle to peace who is turning Israel into the world's "pariah". In a 40-minute floor speech, the Senate's top Democrat charged that the unpopular Netanyahu, who is avoiding facing felony charges while remaining in office and avoiding a new election until his war against Hamas in Gaza is over (which it will never be, as long as these are the stakes), "has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel." This is a very big deal in a whole bunch of ways. We discuss some of them today.
  • There has been a bipartisan push this week to adopt a bill that would result in the banning of the TikTok app in the U.S. if the company which owns it does not divest from China. Donald Trump, who, as President, issued a failed Executive Order to ban the popular social media video app (it was blocked by the Courts for violating First Amendment free speech rights) has recently flip-flopped to support the app, after meeting with a billionaire hedge fund manager heavily invested in the company. But, despite the popularity of the bill which has now passed in the House, we discuss why it is a terrible idea. Social media regulations are long overdue. But the menace of China's (theoretical) ownership of TikTok is no worse than Elon Musk's actual ownership of Twitter/X. And, in case Democrats failed to notice today, Trump's former Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, announced that he is trying to bring together an investor group to purchase the company. Still think this is a good idea, Dems?
  • The UK's Guardian, in an excellent piece today, details the Trump business associates who prosecutors say paid Alexander Smirnov $600,000 in 2020, the year that Smirnov, now charged with lying to the FBI, fed them false claims that Joe Biden accepted bribes from the Ukrainian energy company named Burisma. Prosecutors have also charged that Smirnov met with Russian Intelligence officials before passing on the lie to the FBI, which House Republicans cited at the center of their doomed impeachment probe of the President. So, Smirnov passed on disinformation from Russian intelligence to the FBI and was paid by longtime business associates in the U.S., UK and Dubai of the then-President who was running for re-election that year. And, after losing the election, those lies were used to try and impeach the guy who defeated him. This movie keeps getting worse and worse.

In Trump accountability news today (there is lots of that as well)...

  • U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by Trump after he lost the election, but before he left the White House, rejected a Team Trump motion, for a happy change, in the case of the highly classified documents he stole when leaving the White House, and then hid from prosecutors seeking to get them back. Cannon turned down his attempt to dismiss the felony charges based on his claim that the Espionage Act he is charged under is too vague.
  • Meanwhile, the one criminal case that Trump is facing which had not yet been derailed by Trump's various delay tactics --- his New York state hush-money case --- may now be delayed following a tranche of thousands of documents from a previous federal investigation recently turned over to Manhattan prosecutors. We explain what happened here and why the NY D.A.'s office cites the defendants actions for this surprise revelation. Prosecutors have agreed to a 30-day delay before the start of the trial, which was previously scheduled to begin on March 25. The judge overseeing the case, however, Judge Juan Merchan, has yet to decide how much, if any, delay he will allow.
  • Trump's former White House trade advisor, and one of his top 2020 "voter fraud" fraudsters, Peter Navarro must report to federal prison in Miami next Tuesday, according to a federal appeals court panel today. Navarro was charged with criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to answer subpoenas from the House January 6 Committee. Like former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who has managed to remain free pending appeal, Navarro was sentenced to four months for his crimes.
  • And, in a bit of Trump accountability news that appears to have slipped through the cracks, last week, a judge in the UK ordered Trump to pay some $382,000 in attorneys fees to the lawyers of former British spy Christopher Steele and his private intelligence company. Trump had filed sued in the UK, charging that the "shocking and scandalous" allegations in the so-called Steele Dossier had harmed his reputation. (Please hold your laughter.) The British judge determined the claims were "bound to fail" and ordered Trump to cough up legal fees to cover the frivolous suit. In 2022, Trump lost a similar case he filed in Florida against Steele, Hillary Clinton and a number of top former FBI officials. That case was also tossed and he was ordered to pay nearly a million dollars for that fiasco. I guess he's still not tired of winning.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with cruel news out of Ron DeSantis' Florida; disturbing news about the fossil fuel industry's continuing methane leaks; terrifying news about GOP plans if Trump retakes the White House; and sad news for California salmon...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/14/2024 10:34am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Florida Republicans ban local efforts to protect outdoor workers from extreme heat exposure; Fossil fuel industry still not plugging climate-warming methane leaks; Republicans' Project 2025 would withdraw U.S. from Paris Climate Agreement again, and block re-entry; PLUS: California's snowpack is back, but too late to help struggling salmon... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): As heat becomes a national threat, who will be protected?; Arizona’s most populous county has confirmed 645 heat-associated deaths in metro Phoenix last year; Taps run dry in Johannesburg amid record heat wave; Methane emissions are triple government estimates, study finds; ‘Invisible’ water losses in California’s agricultural heartland now match volume of giant reservoir; 7 of the 10 hottest countries in the world are on 1 continent; MA town spent $600K on sand, one winter storm washed it away days later... PLUS: The oceans we knew are already gone... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Suddenly they care about gun violence?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/11/2024 10:35am PT  

The cynical "Say the Name Laken Riley" State of the Union stunt by MAGA Republicans underscores the hypocrisy of the longtime NRA-funded GOP.

Last Thursday, President Joe Biden entered the House Chamber and, moments before he delivered an elegant demolition of MAGA cult madness during an historic State of the Union Address, the 46th President of the United States was confronted by the QAnon conspiracy supporting wing-nut, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

In violation of House Rules, not to mention basic decorum, Greene wore a red MAGA cap, a white T-shirt reading "Say Her Name", and a red jacket on which she'd pinned a white button bearing the name "Laken Riley" and another bearing her photo. She handed Biden a "Laken Riley" button and, later, interrupted the President's SOTU Address --- screaming a demand that Biden "say her name"!

In response, Biden, who lost his first wife and daughter in a tragic car accident, not only said her name, while holding up the "Laken Riley" button, but expressed his condolences to Riley's parents.

The President's display of empathy towards the parents of the 22-year old nursing student, who was allegedly murdered last month by an undocumented Venezuelan immigrant, was appropriate. But the GOP's cynical effort to exploit the young lady's death in order to bolster Donald Trump's effort to create "hysteria" over an imaginary "immigrant crime wave" represents the height of hypocrisy...

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Guest: Rich Templin of Florida AFL-CIO; Also: NY A.G. may seize Trump building to cover fines; Biden forgives another $1.2B in student loans...
By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2024 6:54pm PT  

Don't forget to laugh out loud next time you hear a Republican pretending to oppose "Big Government regulations" or acting as if they give a damn about "forgotten working folks". Those are two of the biggest lies in the GOP toolbox, as discussed on today's BradCast, and actively demonstrated down in Emperor Ron DeSantis' Republic of Florida even as I write. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST... A few cheerier pieces of news to kick things off. The size of the fines against Donald Trump, his company and two of his sons in the New York fraud verdict against them is more staggering than you may realize following Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling [PDF] last Friday. Most outlets have cited the $355 million that Trump must cough up. But that doesn't include another $100 million or so already tacked on in interest to cover the fraudulent inflation of assets going back as far as 2019 or so. In truth, he now owes NY about $455 million, with some $87,000 in new interest accruing each day that he fails to pay up. But don't worry. He'll pay. NY A.G. Tish James said yesterday that she is prepared to seize his assets, including buildings, if he fails to do so.

While the corrupt former President's life is on the precipice of ruin, the not-corrupt current President, Joe Biden, was busy today forgiving another $1.2 billion in student loans for some 153,00 borrowers. That brings the total to nearly 4 million Americans who have seen some or all of their student debt wiped out by the Biden Administration, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Biden's original plan to forgive debt for 40 million borrowers. (That, even though the corrupt rightwing SCOTUS allowed Trump to change loan terms for borrowers under the very same law Biden tried to use.)

THEN... On yesterday's program with my guest John Nichols of The Nation, we discussed the possibility of rolling back the notorious anti-union law, known as ACT 10, in Wisconsin. The measure, which gutted most public sector unions (if not right-leaning police and firefighter unions) was muscled through to law more than a decade ago by the state's far-right then Gov. Scott Walker and his gerrymandered GOP toughs in the state legislature. Now that a newly liberal state Supreme Court has allowed Democratic Governor Tony Evers to implement fairer, non-gerrymandered legislative maps for the 2024 election, its conceivable Dems could finally return to power and restore collective bargaining rights to state workers next year.

Nichols cited neighboring Michigan as a role model for repealing Republican anti-union measures in a previously gerrymandered state, after its Democratic Governor and now Democratically-controlled state legislature rolled back that state's union-busting laws last week.

So, good news in the North this week...but really bad news down in Ron DeSantis' Florida, where a hastily-enacted 2023 law by the GOP legislature, passed in hopes of buttressing the Governor's ill-fated run for President, may now, literally, wipe out the very existence of hundreds of local public sector unions, with tens of thousands of workers, across the entire state.

Thousands of teachers, civil engineers, state and local clerical workers, mechanics, city park workers, those that answer 911 calls (but not police, firefighters or correctional officers, whose unions support DeSantis and are thus exempted from the law) are now seeing their unions decertified and dissolved by the state under Senate Bill 256, or are now on the brink of seeing that happening.

We're joined today by RICH TEMPLIN --- Legislative and Political Director of Florida AFL-CIO, the state's largest labor organization, representing more than 500 local unions --- to explain what is going on here, and what, if anything can be done about it.

None of this should be happening, he explains, because decades-old provisions in Florida's state Constitution protect the right to collective bargaining for public sector workers. But, "Constitutional Conservatism" is apparently for lefties and liberals now down in the Sunshine State, where Templin describes this attack on unions as "a sordid, complicated tale," that began "when Ron DeSantis decided to run for President."

"He was rewarding his biggest donors. Not only past donors but future donors he could count on for the campaign," Templin says, detailing how the wannabe President was "catering favor with national organizations that can provide national endorsements and national money. That's how we got sucked up into it. The extensive Koch Brothers network...He did this for them."

"When the bill was passed," Templin asserts, "there was no constituency group asking for it. There was no public sector employers asking for it. There were no public sector employees asking for it. It was 100% driven by billionaire out-of-state think tanks who the Governor was currying favor with for his Presidential run, and a legislature that was all too willing to turn their constituents over to his political ambitions."

At its heart, SB256 takes away the option for union members to voluntarily have their dues taken out of their paychecks each month. (Most unions anyway. Remember, police and firefighters unions are exempt from SB256.) Then the measure simply decertifies unions that do not have more than 60% dues-paying membership, even though Florida is a so-called "Right to Work" state where all workers must be allowed to "freeload" off of union contracts without being paying members of the union. They "took away the ability for members to conveniently pay their dues, and then they say, 'If there's not enough of you paying dues, you lose your union altogether.'"

While DeSantis didn't win the Koch Network endorsement or money --- or GOP Presidential nomination --- "he has really destroyed the state of Florida," in his failed attempt, according to Templin. "We are in shambles. It is going to take us a decade to dig out from what he's done."

SB256 is already a disaster, and not just because it was hurriedly pushed through the state legislature without regard to existing protections in the state constitution. But because nobody really knows how to implement it. How can unions be recertified after they've become decertified? What happens to existing union contracts?

Templin spoke to us today from the capital building in Tallahassee as a measure to try and fix some of SB256's most egregious disasters may come to the floor, and he is hoping to see amendments added to correct some of the law's most unworkable elements.

"This has been a time of great chaos," Templin laments. "There's a whole bunch of other bureaucratic hurdles that have been established to make it impossible for public sector unions to exist. They did this 'death by a thousand paper cuts' because the constitution doesn't allow them" to simply end collective bargaining for public sector workers as then Gov. Walker did in Wisconsin over a decade ago.

Templin has much more to say about all of this today, on the legal challenges to the measure, and how voters can help to turn things around in the state after years of rightwing autocracy, especially under DeSantis.

For some of the horrifying details on the ongoing effects of SB256 across the state, as it has fully taken effect as of the first of the year, be sure to check out investigative journalist Daniel Rivero's excellent and exhaustive recent article at South Florida's public radio outlet, WLRN.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: WI's John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2024 6:03pm PT  

Yesterday was a very good day for democracy in Wisconsin. On today's BradCast, we take a few minutes to celebrate. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We have been covering the GOP's autocratic takeover of the state following the 2010 elections for some 13 years at this point. After the 2010 Census, state Republicans implemented one of the most extreme gerrymanders in the nation at both the legislative (state Senate and Assembly) level as well as for their U.S. House districts.

The gerrymanders were so extreme that, despite Democrats winning 14 of the past 17 statewide elections in the Badger State, Republicans have maintained super-majority or near super-majority control of both chambers of the Legislature for more than a decade. Meanwhile, WI's 8-seat U.S. House delegation includes just 2 Democrats in the very closely divided Presidential battleground state.

With no fear of losing their legislative majorities, Republicans ran wild. They stripped labor unions of their right to collective bargaining, loosened gun safety laws, suppressed voters, etc. over the past decade. But, as of last year, everything finally began to change when voters finally won back a progressive majority on the state Supreme Court. The day after the liberals 4 to 3 majority was seated, voters filed a challenge to the Constitutionality of the state's legislative gerrymanders and they won. The Court ordered that new maps must be drawn up in time for the 2024 elections.

On Monday, after declaring, "Folks, it's a new day in Wisconsin, and today is a beautiful day for democracy," the state's Democratic Governor Tony Evers signed legislation adopted by the gerrymandered Assembly and House last week, approving new fairer legislative maps that Evers' office itself had drawn up for the state. Those maps will now take effect for this year's elections and democracy may, at long last, be at least partially restored to the Badger State.

We're joined today by our old friend, longtime Wisconsin native and progressive journalist and author, JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, to discuss all of this very good news --- not for Democrats, per se, but for voters and democracy itself.

"The Republicans tried everything" to prevent this from happening, he tells me. "They threatened to impeach one of the Supreme Court justices. They tried all sorts of stunts." But, on the verge of the high court handing down its own maps, which would arguably have been worse for Republicans, "the very wily Speaker of the State Assembly, Robin Vos, decided he had no options, so he passed the Governor's maps."

Those maps, notes Nichols, are "not a particularly good set of maps for Democrats. In fact, Democrats have a little hill to climb in order to win." He explains, however, that "if it's a good year for the Republicans, it's very likely the Republicans are going to control the legislature. If it's a good year for the Democrats, there's a decent chance that Democrats will control the legislature." That, of course, is how representative democracy is supposed to work, after all.

As Evers declared before signing the measure on Monday: "When I promised I wanted fair maps --- not maps that are better for one party or another, including my own --- I damn well meant it." He added, "Wisconsin is not a red state or a blue state --- we’re a purple state, and I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact."

Interestingly enough, Democrats in the Legislature voted against the Democratic Governor's maps...before celebrating their adoption. We discuss why. But, Nichols also notes this bottom line: "If the Democrats take both chambers of the legislature" this year with the Democratic Evers in the Governor's mansion, "they will be able to, in a matter of weeks, reverse" more than a decade of GOP power grabs and union stripping, not to mention the state's 1849 anti-abortion law and much more. "Every disappointment that Democrats have had over the last twelve, thirteen years could be undone," Nichols argues, and almost as quickly as Republicans implemented their regressive policies (even while they had to bulldoze the rule of law to do so.)

"Look to Michigan," advises Nichols. "Because Wisconsin is still in process. Wisconsin is still struggling to get there. Michigan got there. They got independent redistricting which drew fair maps after the 2018 election. In 2022 they had fair maps, finally, after a long process. They elected a Democratic state assembly [and] a Democratic state senate. On Tuesday, the laws officially went on the books eliminating their anti-labor 'right-to-work' law, expanding collective bargaining rights for teachers and graduate students, restoring all sorts of wage protections for construction workers. Michigan has now gone --- just a couple of years ago --- from being one of the more anti-labor states in the northern part of the country to having probably the best, or very close to the best, labor laws in the country. That's what you get when you don't give up. You get to actually transform it."

We also discuss who gets credit for this long-fought win in WI, from the state's indefatigable Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler who declared on Monday that "the long, dark night of ultra-partisan gerrymandering is over, and a new day for democracy now dawns in the Badger State," to the progressive grassroots activists who, says Nichols, deserve "the most credit."

And the lesson for other states to take from Wisconsin, as litigation continues in more than a dozen of them over both legislative and the U.S. House districts (including in WI, where that gerrymander could also soon be ended by the state Supreme Court): "Don't give up," urges Nichols, echoing the words, by the way, of the late Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

ALSO TODAY:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court rejects an appeal from Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and six others, of the $150,000 in legal sanctions they were forced by a judge to pay for abusing the court system in Detroit via Powell's sham, post-2020 "Kraken" lawsuit, challenging the results of MI's election that year.
  • A bedtime story to help you understand the propaganda now coming from Trump supporters claiming there were "no victims" in the New York civil lawsuit against Trump and his company and two eldest sons for inflating the value of their assets to the tune of more than $2 billion each year over the past 11, to receive better rates on bank loans and lower taxes. Last Friday, NY Superior Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled [PDF] Trump and his eldest sons must pay nearly $400 million in penalties for their decades-long fraud.
  • And finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, to bunk our high over all of today's good news (as usual!) with some chilling reports on Florida's disappearing coral reefs; the plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam, and nearly half of the world's migratory species now in decline thanks to climate change, according to a new U.N. report...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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