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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, November 27, 2022
Turkey Toons
Gobble gobble! Our thanks to the one and only Pdidddie for a special holiday collection of toons to help you burn off a few calories!...
Debating the Merits of Garland's New Special Counsel: 'BradCast' 11/21/22
Guests: Former DoJ prosecutor Randall D. Eliason of GWU, Const'l law expert John Bonifaz of FSFP; Also: Does the Constitution disqualify insurrectionist Trump from 2024?...
Sunday 'Ready or Not' Toons
PDiddie's latest collection of the past week's most gut-busting political toons...
Now Back to the Quest for Trump Accountability, Still in Progress: 'BradCast' 11/17/22
Guest: Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote'; Also: Pelosi leaves Dem leadership; GOP secures House majority; Bass wins L.A. Mayor...
'Green News Report' 11/17/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
Crunch time for COP27 climate agreement; NASA says sea levels to rise a foot by 2050; Trump's 2024 announcement climate lies; PLUS: Climate disinfo surging again...
Recent GNRs: 11/15/22 - 11/10/22 - Archives...
2022 GOP Political Fallout, Blame, Circus Begins: 'BradCast' 11/16/22
Guest: Heather Digby Parton; Trump's running again; House, Senate GOP leadership chaos; MS moves to hand-marked paper ballots...
'Green News Report' 11/15/22
Biden pledges leadership, funding at U.N. climate summit; U.S. and China resume climate talks; Costly Nicole; PLUS: Dems Sen. majority to hold line on climate policy...
Sunday 'Red Wave' Toons
Surf the wave! It's Pdiddie's first post-midterms collection of the week's best political toons!...
The Guy Whose Data Analysis Was Right on the Election on Why Media Got It So Wrong (Again): 'BradCast' 11/11/22
Guest: TargetSmart's Tom Bonier; 'Red wave' buffoonery; Latest results from AZ, NV...
It's the Gerrymandering (and Corrupted Courts), Stupid: 'BradCast' 11/10/22
Guest: Redistricting expert, author David Daley; Also: How Fox 'News' dupes followers via smartphone; Latest Sen, House, Guv results...
'Green News Report' 11/10/22
Failed 'red wave' is good news for the climate; New reports warn of skyrocketing methane levels; PLUS: Mixed results for state environmental ballot propositions...
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: Alissa Jean Schafer of Energy and Policy Inst.; Also: OAN deathwatch; Trump's CNN 'Big Lie' threat; Stewart slams GOP Senators...
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2022 6:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast: When you're a monopoly power company --- especially in Florida --- they let you do it, I guess. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Before we get to the massive scandal(s) unspooling this week in Florida, a few other notes about corrupt media and corrupt power brokers. Donald Trump's favorite "Big Lie" fake news network, One American News (OAN), looks to be on the brink of going out of business, after Verizon joined AT&T to stop carrying their programming this weekend. Sad! At the same time, Trump is threatening to sue actual news network, CNN, because they repeatedly reported on his "Big Lie" attempts to steal the 2020 election. Good luck with that.

Then, it's on to the mind-blowing story out of the Sunshine State this week, where a leak of thousands of documents from a consulting firm in Alabama, has revealed all sorts of corruption by Florida Power & Light (FPL), the state's monopoly public utility company. The Florida papers are having a field day as they comb through the documents, publishing damning exposé after damning exposé on the dirt they are finding, which goes all the way up to FLP President and CEO, Eric Silagy, who, according to our guest today, incredibly enough, still has his job!

The documents were released amid a power battle over Montgomery, AL-based Matrix, LLC, a "powerful but little-known political consulting firm that has operated behind the scenes in at least eight states," according to the Guardian. They reveal a boatload of corruption by FPL, its CEO and many of its executive, including running "ghost candidates" in elections, mounting disinformation campaigns to maintain their monopoly (for example, to oppose residential solar power in the Sunshine State!) and secretly taking over pretty much full control of an "independent", right-leaning "news" site in Tallahassee called The Capitolist.

The website (which is still online, also incredibly enough) has been influential for years among Florida lawmakers. Its editor and founder is a guy by the name of Brian Burgess, the former Communications Director for FL's former Governor, now U.S. Senator Rick Scott. According to a deep dive from the Miami Herald, Burgess was being paid some $12,000 a month by FPL --- via a web of third parties cut-outs, including the consulting firm Matrix --- to publish its propaganda, push its preferred (sometimes fake) candidates, and ruthlessly attack its opponents, including both elected officials and reporters who dared publish stories the power company didn't like.

For insight into this (these) still unfolding scandal (scandals), we're joined today by ALISSA JEAN SCHAFER, the FL-based Research and Communications Manager for the Energy and Policy Institute, a non-profit "watchdog organization working to expose attacks on renewable energy and counter misinformation by fossil fuel and utility interests". Her organization certainly has its work cut out for it with this gobsmacking "web of scandal," as Schafer describes it.

"If you are a Floridian," she notes, "you have no choice who your power company is. We are in a monopoly market. So if you have Florida Power & Light, you're stuck with them. You're paying that bill every month. If you're seeing these headlines, I don't know understand how you can NOT be furious."

"It's kind of a crazy state. People like to make fun of us," concedes Schafer. "But at the end of the day, there are a lot of folks that are being impacted by this nonsense. We have elections coming up, and how are people supposed to know that their votes aren't being manipulated by these fake candidates that are being propped up by dark money. It's a very real concern."

Among those fake candidates, as the Herald reports, was one who was "running" against state Senator José Javier Rodríguez, who proposed legislation to allow landlords to sell cheap rooftop solar power directly to tenants. "I want you to make his life a living hell … seriously,” wrote FPL’s CEO Silagy in a 2019 email to two of his vice-presidents. They then ran a third-party candidate with the same last name as Rodriguez, who split the vote. The state Senator was pushed out of his job by just 32 votes. FPL's "ghost candidate" later admitted he had been bribed to put his name on the ballot.

There is a lot to discuss today with Schafer on all of this, including how FPL is claiming they broke no laws; their ridiculous claim that rate-payer money wasn't actually used to hoax rate-payers through these schemes; and how The Capitolist's editor Burgess is able to claim with a straight face that he has "never pitched nor solicited feedback from FPL executives on any story or business venture" and has "never received a story pitch from any FPL executive." (Of course not. That's what Matrix was for! And they were in near daily communications with FPL execs, according to the leaked documents.)

"If we take a step back and look at our investor-owned utilities across the country, whether they are working with Matrix or not, this is a playbook that we do see time and time again," Schafer explains. "You have a consulting firm as the middle-man to do some of the dirty work, because utilities don't want their name on it. They want to be able to say, 'I never spoke to XYZ.' They can say that because they spoke to the consultant who then spoke to XYZ. You have similar trends of setting up shell companies to pass money through, so that it looks like the utility is just being a utility and not actually a political operative."

Finally today, Mitch McConnell is apparently furious at being out-foxed by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on this week's surprise agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin for a major tax, healthcare and climate deal called the Inflation Reduction Act. McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans decided to take it out on sick combat veterans who were exposed to deadly chemicals and toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan by voting against healthcare protections for them. Former Daily Show host and actual supporter of America's veterans, Jon Stewart, had a word or two for those Republican Senators at the Capitol on Thursday morning, including: "If this is America First, then America is fucked."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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And why SCOTUS has given us no choice but to elect Democrats in 2022 to save democracy itself in 2024...
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2022 5:55pm PT  

We had a bunch of excellent callers on today's BradCast. It sounds like many of them heard my warning today. Hopefully you will too. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, first up, on our first show after taking several much-need days off last week, we catch up with just a few of the most noteworthy items from what turned out to be another very busy news week. Among those items...

  • the Independence Day mass shooting in IL;
  • the popular and political uprisings resulting in agreements by both British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as well as Sri Lanka's Prime Minister and President to resign;
  • the horrific assassination of Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (in a nation where just one person, out of population of 125 million, was killed by a gun in 2021);
  • the excellent jobs and unemployment numbers released by the Labor Department last Friday (and, as usual, ignored by the bulk of the corporate media due to everything else);
  • the good news that Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham and 5 others who served as attorneys for Donald Trump in 2020 have now been subpoenaed to testify by the Special Grand Jury in Atlanta, convened by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, in her criminal investigation of the disgraced former President's attempt to steal Georgia's election in 2020.
  • All of that in advance of another public hearing to be held on Tuesday by the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection and Trump's multiple failed attempts to steal the election from Joe Biden and the American voters.

Then, its back to the issue that I haven't been able to get out of my head since we previously WARNED about it on our last show before taking a break. Specifically, the corrupt, extremist, illegitimate U.S. Supreme Court's announcement that they intend to hear Moore v. Harper next term, in a case that will give the stolen and packed far-right Court majority the opportunity to undermine American electoral democracy as we know it. That is not an overstatement.

If you thought what the Supremes did at the end of this past term --- ignoring the text of the Second Amendment in order to block states' rights to well-regulate firearms; stripping away previously protected Constitutional privacy rights and reproductive freedoms to overturn Roe v. Wade; all but ending Constitutionally-required Miranda Rights for those detained by law enforcement; further eroding what's left of our Constitutional separation between Church and State; and gutting the ability of the EPA to regulate carbon emissions driving our deadly climate crisis, as mandated by Congress --- well, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

As explained, SCOTUS is now set to undermine any and all elections laws for federal elections enacted by state Boards of Elections, Secretaries of States, Governors, state constitutions, state Supreme Courts or even ballot initiatives adopted by voters themselves. The corrupt Republican Court is likely to do this by declaring that Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution mandates that state legislatures --- and only state legislatures --- may determine laws regarding the "manner" of federal elections. Specifically of note in 2024, the way each state appoints Electoral College votes, as the Constitution says, "in such Manner as the Legislature therefore may direct".

In other words, in 2020, while most swing-states had rules, laws and state Constitutional mandates in place declaring that voters shall determine who will win the state's Electoral votes, an opinion by the Court, likely to come as early as 2023 in Moore v. Harper, will free up the gerrymandered GOP-controlled state legislatures in our nation's half a dozen or so swing-states to name anybody they like as the winner of their Electoral College votes, no matter what the Governor, state Courts or, crucially, the voters of those states have to say about it.

It's called the "Independent State Legislature" theory (or doctrine, as the GOP autocrats supporting it describe it.) As we noted in our last show on this, this is not a drill. This is very real, and now even very likely to happen.

While we were away, our friend and colleague Thom Hartmann posted a chilling Twitter thread on the ISL theory/doctrine, detailing just one potential scenario --- which includes thousands of dead bodies in the streets --- which he describes as not "just plausible" but now "probable".

We agree. Thus, we explain the importance of electing Democratic majorities in 2022 in both the U.S. House and Senate as our only hope of defeating this "probable" scenario. If 52 Democrats can be elected in the Senate and the Party is able to hold the House (both tall lifts), then the possibility of filibuster reform in the upper chamber and the expansion of the Supreme Court in order to unpack and uncorrupt it becomes a reality.

As discussed on today's show, the luxury of pretending that "both parties are equally bad" is over, as I see it. And not because I give a damn about protecting Democrats, but because I believe we must protect --- indeed, SAVE --- democracy itself at this point.

Anyway, please tune in for a very lively, if occasionally chilling hour, along with some really great calls from listeners on all of this in the second half...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Just another day on Democracy Watch...cuz someone's gotta...
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2022 6:13pm PT  

It's 'Super Duper Tuesday' Midterm Election Day today in Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and California. The good news on today's BradCast? So far, no noteworthy reports, as of airtime, of voting system disasters that we've heard about or been able to find. But the night is young. Results from today's elections, such that we have them, on tomorrow's show. But, don't worry, we've got tons of elections and democracy related news for you nonetheless. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • As Philadelphia Inquirer's Will Bunch described it in his email newsletter today, "the multi-millionaire celebrity doctor from New Jersey officially defeated the multi-millionaire hedge fund CEO from Connecticut to become the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania." He's mostly correct. The Connecticut hedge fund millionaire, Dave McCormick, did concede late last week to the New Jersey millionaire TV doctor, Mehment Oz amid Pennsylvania's recount in the very close May 17 race to become the GOP nominee for the Keystone State's U.S. Senate contest to replace retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey. But a concession doesn't actually mean anything. Oz will not become the "official" nominee until the recount is finalized over the next day or so. Then, the Trump-endorsed celebrity TV doctor, who is not a resident of Pennsylvania, but is a Turkish citizen, will become the GOP's "America First" nominee to run against PA's Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman this November. Presuming Fetterman's health holds out. Dems see the seat as among the most flippable this fall...assuming Fetterman's health etc...
  • In other very close primary news, two Democratic recounts in U.S. House primaries now await in Texas. In the state's 28th Congressional District, rightwing, pro-gun, anti-choice Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar ended the canvass period up by just 281 votes (out of about 45,000 cast) over progressive favorite Jessica Cisneros after their May 24 runoff election. Today, Cisneros officially requested a recount --- and must pay for it, unless she ends up winning it --- despite some obnoxious comments from Cuellar who, himself, ended up winning a 2004 primary recount against his Democratic opponent when he first went to Congress. Back then, he had lost by 145 votes after the canvass, but ended up winning the race by 58 votes after a recount. So, you'd think he'd be a bit less obnoxious in this case...but you'd be wrong. Whoever wins the recount will probably take the House seat in the "blue"-leaning district.
  • In another Democratic primary race for U.S. House in Texas, there was an even closer race, with progressive Michelle Vallejo topping the more conservative Ruben Ramirez by just 30 votes (out of about 12,000 cast) in the state's 15th Congressional District. Ramirez says he too will seek a recount. Whether either of these races will be recounted by hand in the state is unclear. But if the candidates want to know who really won or lost, they will fight for a count by hand, rather than by the same computers that tallied the results in the first place. The winner of the race will face off with Republican Monica De La Cruz in November, in what is expected to be one of the most competitive House races in the state after this year's round of gerrymandering.
  • And speaking of gerrymandering...last month, a state court in Florida found Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' new U.S. House map to be in violation of the state Constitution after voters, in 2010, added an Amendment that outlaws partisan maps and specifically those that diminish the ability of minority voters to elect their chosen candidate. The DeSantis map was enacted after he vetoed the GOP legislature's already-gerrymandered map and made it even worse by removing a district currently represented by Democratic African-American Rep. Al Lawson. Last month, the state court ordered a new, fairer map, but a state appeals court blocked that order. The appellate decision was quickly appealed by voting rights groups. But late last week the state's GOP state Supreme Court allowed the appeals court's stay to remain in place. That means that DeSantis' extremely gerrymander U.S. House map --- found to have been in violation of the state Constitution --- will almost certainly be used anyway this year. The unconstitutional map allows a GOP advantage in 20 of the state's 28 districts, despite DeSantis having barely won his own election in 2018 in the closely divided state by less than one-half of a percentage point.
  • In somewhat brighter gerrymandering news (at least until the ruling is overturned by the very rightwing 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals), a federal judge in Louisiana on Monday found the state GOP's U.S. House map in violation of the Voting Rights Act. The map --- originally vetoed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, but overridden by the GOP state legislature --- includes just one black majority Congressional District, out of six, even though the state's population is almost one-third black. LA's Republican Sec. of State has vowed to appeal the court ruling which bars the use of the gerrymandered map. But, given the corrupt 5th Circuit Appeals Court and the GOP's corrupt, stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court above them, it's a safe bet the state's unconstitutional map will be allowed for the critical 2022 midterms anyway. It'd be nice if we're wrong about that. But don't bet on it.
  • Next, we've been covering, in great detail in recent months, the many schemes by Republican election insiders across the country, in the wake of the 2020 election, to breach proprietary computerized voting systems, make copies of the sensitive software, and even release it to the public in some cases. (See the Mesa County, Colorado County Clerk Tina Peters, who is now facing criminal charges for what she did, or the GOP Board of Elections in Coffee County, Georgia, for just two examples.) While Reuters reports that there have been at least 17 such incidents nationwide, their new exclusive finds that 11 of them took place in Michigan. Based on public records requests, the new outlet found discovered that there has been "a flurry of efforts by state authorities to secure voting machines, poll books, data-storage devices and phone records as evidence in a probe launched in mid-February." Luckily, the state has a Democratic Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State, the latter of whom tells Reuters that law enforcement officials are now probing whether the broad election system breaches by GOP "fraud" dead-enders are coordinated. This in a state where even the GOP state legislature issued a report finding no evidence of widespread fraud and called for the prosecution of those who fraudulently claimed that there was. "If there is coordination," Sec. of State Jocelyn Benson told Reuters, "whether it's among those in our state or reaching up to a national level, we can determine that and then we can seek accountability for all involved." I expect we'll be hearing more about this effort in the days, weeks and months ahead.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as she gets us caught up on a whole bunch of stuff that happened while we were out last week. Happily, not all of it --- just some of it --- is terrible news...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/7/2022 10:51am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: While we were out --- Hurricane season kicks off on both coasts with Alex and Agatha; CO2 levels in the atmosphere hit highest level in human history; PLUS: Biden makes big moves on solar tariffs and clean energy under the Defense Production Act... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 13 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Cambridge engineers develop zero carbon cement; Biden delivers a 'break glass' moment for clean energy; Judge greenlights more NEPA reviews on Western oil leases; Undoing Trump, EPA to empower states and tribes to oppose pipelines; Meet the group lobbying against climate regulations — using your utility bill; Ship pollution rising as world waits for leaders to act; Ukraine migration maps 'what's possible' for the climate displaced; Avian flu takes growing toll on wildlife; Glyphosate weedkiller damages wild bee colonies; PLUS: Ninth Circuit orders fracking moratorium off California coast... and much, MUCH more! ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/17/2022 11:12am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: New national analysis warns wildfire risk to double across the U.S. over next 30 years; Extreme drought and Russia's war in Ukraine risk triggering global wheat shortage; California briefly hits milestone of 100% renewable electricity!; PLUS: Texas electric grid struggles amid extremely early extreme heat... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 13 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US CELEBRATE WITH A DONATION!

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

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): John Oliver explains America’s electric utilities; Creaky US power grid is critical factor limiting renewables, and anything else; Buffalo suspect may be latest mass shooter claiming to be motivated by 'eco-fascism'; Menaced by flames, nuclear lab peers into future of wildfire; 6 months in, Biden’s infrastructure plan has 4,300 projects; The 'Carbon Bombs' set to trigger catastrophic climate breakdown; Study says warming played a role in deadly South African floods; GOP lawsuit targets CA's Clean Air Act Waiver... PLUS: Climate change is hurting insurers, report finds... and much, MUCH more! ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




J6 Comm subpoenas McCarthy, four other Reps; Fed grand jury probes Trump handling of classified docs; Eastman advised how to steal PA's 2020 election; House finds meatpackers colluded with Trump Admin for deadly COVID Exec Order; DeSantis' FL gerrymander nixed by judge...
By Brad Friedman on 5/12/2022 6:55pm PT  

It's another one of those BradCasts where our disgraced former President casts a very long shadow. We've got way too much breaking news, as one accountability story after another broke today. Theoretically, that's a good thing. But you may need to take notes. We've got a lot to cover. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered today...

  • First up, after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently overruled his own far-right state legislature's already-gerrymandered new U.S. House map in favor of his own even more extreme gerrymander, a state judge that HE appointed has shut that whole thing down. For now. On Wednesday, Judge J. Layne Smith determined DeSantis' map --- which could give Republicans a 20 to 8 advantage in the their U.S. House delegation --- violates the state Constitution's 2010 Fair Districts Amendment "because it diminishes African Americans' ability to elect the representatives of their choice." Of course, that was the whole point when DeSantis --- who won his race for Governor in 2018 by less than one percentage point --- nixed two black majority districts in the state (one of which was created by the state Supreme Court the last time the map was challenged.) DeSantis believes his own state Constitution violates the U.S. Constitution. (So much for the states' rights he used to pretend to believe in.) So, Florida will now be paying for an appeal to fight for the voter disenfranchisement.
  • The House January 6 Committee on Thursday subpoenaed House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama. The Committee says they each "participated in meetings at the White House" and/or "had direct conversations with President Trump leading up to and during the attack on the Capitol." All five were previously invited to voluntary speak to the Committee. They didn't. Now they are receiving what appear to be unprecedented Congressional subpoenas to members of Congress from the bipartisan panel probing Trump's 2021 insurrection and his attempt to steal the 2020 election.
  • The New York Times is reporting today that federal prosecutors have opened a grand jury probe into whether laws were violated when Trump absconded with 15 boxes full of items and documents --- including some marked as classified national security documents --- when he left the White House for Mar-a-Lago. The items belong to to the American people under the Presidential Records Act, but the larger question is about his treatment of boxes and boxes of classified documents. (Recall he used to pretend to care about such things. In 2016, when running against Hillary Clinton, he called for her to be "locked up" because she lawfully used a private email server and received or forwarded several documents with classified material in them.) A grand jury convened by DoJ would suggest this matter has advanced very quickly.
  • Speaking of grand juries, just a friendly reminder that Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney Fanni Willis convened her Special Grand Jury last week on Monday, May 2. She's investigating Trump's conspiracy to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, following his infamous and threatening call to the state's Sec. of State, instructing him to "find" just enough votes to name Trump the winner there. The probe could bring charges any day now (not that we have any insider knowledge) of a criminal conspiracy that includes Trump, his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and even North Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, all of whom participated in strong-arming the Sec. of State and other officials to steal the election for Trump who lost the state by about 10,000 votes.
  • Emails unearthed by the Denver Post and reported by Politico this week from Trump's MAGA attorney John Eastman (who spoke at Trump's rally on January 6 and wrote the memos calling for VP Mike Pence to ignore the Electoral College votes to steal the election for Trump), reveal that he also advised a Pennsylvania state legislator how to steal the election for Trump in the state by tossing out legal votes and using absurd pretend math to declare Joe Biden lost, even though he won there by about 85,000 votes. Eastman told PA state Rep. Paul Diamond how Republicans in the legislature could change the results to "provide cover" for choosing Trump electors instead of the ones for Biden who the voters actually elected.
  • Trump's corruption was also deadly for hundreds of thousands when it came to the COVID pandemic. As President Biden marked the passing of one million Americans due to coronavirus at the White House on Thursday, a new report from a House Select Subcommittee finds the nation's meat packing industry hyped "baseless" concerns about shortages and colluded with top Trump Admin officials --- including Meadows, Pence Chief of Staff Marc Short and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue --- to invoked an Executive Order. The order, which the industry drafted, invoked the Defense Production Act to bar state officials from shutting down meatpacking plants during the first year of the pandemic. At least 269 industry workers died, 59,000 were infected, and an estimated 334,000 infections nationwide were tied to meatpacking plants where workers were forced to work in dangerous, close conditions. The industry got their Executive Order from Trump, barring plant shutdowns under the lie that the nation's food supply was at risk. As the Committee's report finds, in fact, the five major companies which comprise the industry in the U.S. saw record profits during the pandemic, and saw pork exports at a three-year high during the first three quarters of 2020 when they sent more than 300% more pork to China than in normal years. There ought to be a lot of criminal charges --- including for homicide --- brought here. We'll see if anyone pays a price for it.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Australia's Great Barrier Reef is hit with yet another climate change-induced mass bleaching event; a new study finds climate change is a key concern regarding the emergence of new viruses and pandemics; new severe drought restrictions are enacted in Arizona and California...but last year, at least, was a very good one for renewable energy across the globe...

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Guest: Redistricting expert, author David Daley; Also: Did you hear Republicans tried to 'unwind' the 2020 Presidential election?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2022 6:43pm PT  

As midterm primary elections begin in earnest next month, today on The BradCast, we catch up with the latest successful attempts by GOP states to undermine their constituents' wishes through new, partisan gerrymanders following the 2020 Census and the Courts which are helping them do so. In the meantime, a Democratic-leaning court in New York today did the opposite, blocking a Dems from gerrymandering in the Empire State. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we're joined by our guest to discuss all of that and more today, just a quick kudos to Rebecca Beitsch at The Hill for coming up with a new euphemism --- or, at least, one we haven't seen used yet by the rest of the corporate media --- to report on new evidence documenting the failed Trump/GOP attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election. It's getting more difficult by the day to do so without using the correct word, "steal", when doing so. Sure, anyone can describe the GOP's attempt to "undermine" or "overturn" or "question the results". But that gets stale after a while. So, congrats to Beitsch for reporting on their attempt to "UNWIND the 2020 election", just to freshen things up! <insert eyeroll emoji here>

Then, we're joined today by redistricting expert and author DAVID DALEY, Senior Fellow at FairVote, to get caught up on a whole bunch of recent court rulings (and outrages) from over the past week or three when it comes to the last minute efforts --- largely by Republican-controlled states --- to game the 2022 midterms (and elections for the next ten years), with outrageously partisan gerrymandering of U.S. House maps.

Daley walks us through a number of such cases, including in several states where, over the past decade, large majorities of voters have adopted ballot initiatives to prevent the very gerrymandering that Republicans appear to be getting away with, nonetheless, in their newly redistricted maps.

In Ohio, the GOP-majority Redistricting Commission has had its new maps rejected four different times in recent weeks by the state's Supreme Court, with the help of its Republican Chief Justice. Despite being ordered by the court to follow the state's Constitution --- which now requires districts that generally reflect the partisan balance of the closely divided, if GOP-leaning state --- Republican Commissioners (which include state Gov. Mike DeWine, whose son sits on the state Supreme Court but refuses to recuse) aren't even trying anymore. With primaries scheduled for next month in the Buckeye State, the Commission is "just not meeting" anymore at all, says Daley. "They're trying to run out the clock so the federal court imposes one of the unconstitutional maps that has already been rejected by Ohio's state Supreme Court."

The state's previous gerrymandered map gave the GOP a 12 to 4 advantage in U.S. House districts. The new ones, repeatedly rejected by the state court, would give them a 13 to 2 advantage, despite the roughly 53-45% partisan split in the 2020 Presidential election and a 2015 mandate from more than 70% of voters rewriting the state Constitution to ensure new maps reflect the statewide partisan makeup.

In Florida, where voters also voted for redistricting reform, things are even more obnoxious and anti-democratic. The GOP-controlled legislature produced a map giving Republicans a 16 to 12 advantage, but it was rejected by Governor and Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis for his own hand-drawn map that is likely to result in 20 Republican House seats and just 8 Democratic ones. State Republicans "already produced a pretty good Republican gerrymander," Daley explains, "and DeSantis said, 'Wait a second, I can do even better than that.'" With the state's high court packed with his own appointees, Daley warns, "that is not a Supreme Court that we should look to for any sort of help when it comes to fair maps."

Back in 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that federal courts may play no role in preventing partisan redistricting, leaving the matter the chaos of each individual state court to decide. But on the matter of racial gerrymandering, SCOTUS is still happy to tell states what they can and can't do, even when the High Court's own rulings disagree with each other.

Daley explains how SCOTUS jumped in, back in February, months before the primaries, to block a new black-majority district ordered in Alabama by a lower federal court under the Voting Rights Act because. The Supremes, on the stolen and packed Court, determined it was just too soon before the primary election to draw up a new map. But late last month, after the Wisconsin Supreme Court approved a new state legislative map drawn by the state's Democratic Governor, SCOTUS ordered the state to rewrite the map, just weeks before the primaries, to remove a new black legislative district created in Milwaukee.

"The US Supreme Court has been eager this cycle to help Republicans and to put their foot on the scale against Democrats," Daley charges, describing their rulings as "Heads I win, tails you lose. They're not even pretending anymore."

And then we get to New York, where it was Democrats' turn to face the music for gerrymandering the state's U.S. House map to add three new likely Democratic U.S. House seats. Today, mid-show, NY's high court blocked the map (appropriately, as Daley sees it), ordering a court-appointed Special Master to draw up new maps in time for this year's primary (which the court also postponed until August to allow time to create the new maps.)

Last week, Daley, a longtime proponent of fair maps in all fifty states, wrote at CNN about what he saw as the "indefensible" map drawn up by NY Dems, describing it as "among the most obscene partisan gerrymanders nationwide." NY courts clearly agreed, but even Daley's own opinion article seemed to make the case for what Democrats tried --- but failed --- to do.

"If blue state courts roll back Democratic gerrymanders, but red state judges rule as partisan ideologues, a pro-GOP bias will be baked into the national map for another decade," he wrote. "A maximally gerrymandered national congressional map is...bad in nearly every way except, perhaps, compared with the previous decade's map, rigged so Republicans held control in 2012 even when they won 1.4 million fewer votes."

As regular listeners and readers know, over the past year I've (regrettably) changed my position on partisan gerrymandering, given the gaming of the system by Republicans which has succeeded in endangering America's small-'d' democratic project entirely. Short of federal legislation to ban partisan redistricting everywhere (an effort by Dems that was blocked by all Senate Republicans last year), I've been calling on states controlled by Democrats to gerrymander wherever possible. I hate that position. It's bad for many voters in the states but, ultimately, important for something resembling democracy on the national level at a time when democracy is facing a serious challenge from the forces of authoritarianism.

But Daley disagrees with. At least in as much as he has argued that such an effort could never be successful. "A national map that has been rigged for one side to win is extraordinarily dangerous, especially when one party has completely broken faith with democracy," he tells me as we debate this point again today. "Gerrymandering the hell out of Illinois and New York doesn't save democracy. It doesn't give Democrats that much of a leg up on fixing this. It is a band-aid, when what you need is a tourniquet. It's not sufficient. By all means, go ahead and put a band-aid on, but don't think it's going to stop the bleeding."

"I'm calling for a national standard that fixes the problem in New York as well as in Texas," he argues (as do I). "Because there are not enough New Yorks to balance out the Texases and Floridas. Democrats can gerrymander the hell out of these states if they want, but it's not going to help them. What they need to do is fix the overall structural problem, or it's only going to get worse."

Prepare for it to get worse...

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Don't be afraid to keep your mask on! Also: Twitter bans climate change denialist ads. Will 'free speech absolutist' Musk keep the ban in place?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2022 6:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: When the hot debates die down, the liars, of late, having been trying to claim (false) victory. Let's not let them, shall we? [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

We're seeing a lot of that in recent days when it comes to, for example, Russia's help for Donald Trump election in 2016 (yes, it actually happened, despite the disinformed denialists now opportunistically claiming otherwise) and, as we focus on today's program, on those pretending that the CDC and other public health officials had it all wrong about COVID. They didn't. And just because we're all really sick and tired of the continuing pandemic and discussion of COVID in the news has largely been overtaken by other pressing matters, the deadly virus is still killing hundreds of Americans each day. That, after nearly 1,000,000 Americans were killed over the past two and half years. Please don't let the anti-mask and anti-vaccine bullies mislead or cow you.

We never enjoy being the bearer of bad news (it just seems to be our lot in life of late), but a new COVID sub-variant of Omicron, known as BA.2.12.1, is apparently the most transmissible yet, and it is quickly rising across the nation (and world). Some facts you may want to know about that today, why you should get your shots if you haven't already, and why you shouldn't bow to pressure from anyone to not wear a mask indoors if you damned well feel like it.

Also, the Vice President tested positive today. Thankfully, because she is double-vaccinated and boosted, she is, so far at least, said to be asymptomatic. Many others are not quite as lucky, particularly the unvaccinated, many children, and, in particular, those who live in states run by Republicans like Florida Governor and Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis. He is still turning up the heat on his lies that critics of his failed COVID policies --- the state banned mask mandates and forced schools to remain open when they shouldn't have --- were wrong, and that he was right.

Well, if death rates in states like Florida and Georgia last year, which were two to three times those in blue states per capita, are considered to be "right", then I guess I'm glad I don't live in such states. But I'd still like to help those who do. Yes, as Axios reported late last month, based on then-new CDC numbers, "America's political divisions are now on display in mortality rates."

Sadly, Florida, with its more than 73,000 COVID deaths, is a perfect example. As Axios Tampa Bay reported, "Death rates in Florida and Georgia (more than 200 deaths per 100,000) were much higher than in states with largely vaccinated populations such as New York (112 per 100,000), New Jersey (73 deaths per 100,000), and Massachusetts (50 per 100,000)." And, based on data comparing deaths that would normally be expected, "Between August and December 2021, Florida experienced more than triple the number of excess deaths (29,252) as New York (8,786), despite both states having similar population counts."

That didn't stop DeSantis, during his State of the State address earlier this year, from lying to his constituents: "We would not allow fear or politics to harm our kids. We were right and they wrong and millions of families in Florida are better for it." Sure. Unless you count the tens of thousands of Florida families mourning the unnecessary loss of their loved ones thanks to DeSantis' deadly lies and horrific COVID policies.

In other news of note late last week, on Earth Day, Twitter announced a long overdue policy banning advertisements purchased to push climate change denialism. We'll see if they actually carry it out. But, perhaps more of note, since Elon Musk's $44 billion purchase of the social media company was announced on Monday, it will be interesting to see if the self-proclaimed "free speech absolutest" and CEO of Tesla, the company almost single-handedly responsible for kicking off the planet's electric vehicle revolution, will keep the ban in place as he takes the company private to use as his own personal plaything. (P.S. The entire story of Musk's purchase of Twitter serves as still more evidence that taxes are way way too low for rich people and corporations!)

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for a chocked-full-o'-news Green News Report, as we try to get you all caught up with all of the climate related stuff of note that you missed while we dared take a much-needed Spring Break last week...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/26/2022 10:51am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: While we were out --- Dangerously early extreme wildfires erupt in Western U.S.; Accountability for investor-owned utilities caught behaving badly; PLUS: Biden Administration protects old-growth forests and restores a bedrock environmental law, but resumes some oil and gas leasing on public lands... All that and MUCH more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 13 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US CELEBRATE WITH A DONATION!

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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): Weary of many disasters? UN says worse to come; European Wind-Energy Sector Hit in Wave of Hacks; California Briefly Runs on 97 percent Renewable Energy; LA County bans throwaway dishes and cutlery; World’s Largest Batteries are Tried and True Tech; The difference you make when you eat less meat... PLUS: Geothermal: Clean energy is buried at the bottom of abandoned oil wells... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest host Nicole Sandler w/ Tulane Law's Amy Gajda and Tanya in Kyiv...
By Nicole Sandler on 4/15/2022 2:23pm PT  

It's your friendly, reliable guest host NICOLE SANDLER in for Brad and Desi today on The BradCast, as they begin a much-needed Spring Break. We've got some news of the day as usual, along with two timely guests for your listening pleasure. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First, however, a few quick news items of the day. Among them: Ukraine's sinking of the Moskva, Russia's flagship in its Black Sea war fleet; and new anti-abortion laws being quickly enacted by GOP states in anticipation of this summer's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that may well end or, at least, severely restrict 1973's landmark Roe v. Wade precedent and its right to privacy for women seeking reproductive care.

Next, my conversation this week with my friend TANYA in Ukraine. I met her six weeks ago as Putin's war began, when I cold called the Friends Forever Hostel in Kyiv. We've been communicating ever since via text message. And, this week, we connected for the first time via video with Zoom. I'll share some of that conversation on today's program.

Finally, my discussion with AMY GAJDA, former journalist turned Tulane University Professor of Law and an expert on privacy and the media. We discuss her new book Seek and Hide: The Tangled History of the Right to Privacy on what is clearly an important topic these days.

Enjoy!...

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Also: More record job growth under Biden; More lousy media coverage of it; Huge majorities want climate change action, clean energy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2022 7:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Guilty pleas for voter fraud in a Trump stronghold in Florida. The Colorado state GOP endorses a federally-indicted election tamperer for Sec. of State. Trump's Chief of Staff is removed from the voter rolls amid a state probe into his own apparent voter fraud after he tried to steal the 2020 Presidential election. And yet the fraudulent GOP 'voter fraud' industry continues raking in the cash and making it harder for certain people to vote by pretending that Democrats are committing massive voter fraud. Quite a racket. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

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

  • Perhaps you haven't heard, but new weekly jobless claims haven't been this low since 1968, with companies increasing wages to hang on to their employees. Sounds terrible. No wonder Biden's approval ratings are so low. (Of course, in addition to downplaying such stories or not covering them at all, some in the corporate media have turned this great news for American workers into terrible news for businesses, focusing on "labor shortage" and "high costs" of maintaining workers.)
  • New polling from Gallup finds Americans overwhelmingly support Biden's proposals to tackle climate change and move the nation to clean renewable energy. Huge --- and I mean huge-- majorities support stuff like tax credits for Americans to install solar power at home; incentives for businesses to move to renewable energy; increasing mileage standards on cars and trucks; major investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Most of those wildly popular ideas (all mercifully attacked by the America haters at Fox "News") were in the Biden/Democrat Build Back Better bill, which every Senate Republican plus the corrupt Joe Manchin helped to kill last year.
  • Then there's the never-ending GOP "voter fraud" industrial complex which is having another terrific year! Brain-poisoned suckers, terrified about non-existent massive voter fraud by Democrats, continue to send their money and votes to the scammers who are actually committing the fraud while making it harder for certain Americans to vote at all.

    In Florida, a bunch of old, white Republican retirees in The Villages have been indicted for and/or pleaded guilty this week to double voting in the Trump stronghold. Because they're white and Republican, they're getting off with slaps on the wrist. (Contrast that with folks like Crystal Mason, a black woman from Texas who didn't know she wasn't allowed to vote after being released from jail before casting a provisional ballot at the direction of a poll worker. Her vote was never counted --- unlike the double voters in FL --- but she's been sentenced to five years in prison. The Trump/DeSantis voters who pleaded guilty for voting in two different states in 2020, are getting off with no jail time at all.)

    In Colorado, the state Republican Party held its big confab over the weekend. They endorsed a candidate for U.S. Senate who told them this week that Trump won in 2020, while comparing the election to what "we felt after 9/11". But the CO GOPers really went all in for Tina Peters, the Clerk of Mesa County who snuck into a secure storage area in the middle of the night last year along with accomplices with fake IDs, turned off the security cameras and made unlawful copies of sensitive voting system software before releasing it to the public over the Internet. She's now been charged with a 10-count federal indictment for her election tampering. But the CO Republican delegates over the weekend rewarded her with an overwhelming majority endorsement to become the state's chief election official in her bid to become CO's next Secretary of State. Don't worry. If Peters wins, the state Republicans' choice for Governor told the crowd this weekend that he'd pardon her. (Cuz, Rule of Law, Law and Order and all that. Also: unclear if he knows Governors can't pardon federal felons.)

    And, just to top off the madcap fraudulent fun, Mark Meadows --- Donald Trump's Chief of Staff who tried to help him steal the 2020 Presidential election --- has now been removed from the voting rolls in North Carolina, where the former Congressman and "election integrity" warrior appears to have been unlawfully registered. In a mobile home where he never spent a night and may have never even visited. Even as he was registered to vote --- and voting --- in Virginia. (Add him to a long list of high-profile GOP voter fraud fraudsters we've covered over the years, including Ann Coulter, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and MANY more!)

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with news of climate change-fueled, catastrophic rains and deadly flooding which killed hundreds in South Africa this week; new science finding that our climate crisis is supercharging hurricane rainfall; and some brighter news on wind energy which hit a remarkable new milestone last week! (Don't tell Trump! He's still pretending that windmills cause cancer!)

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Guest: Eric Kramer of Arizonans for Fair Elections; Also: Good news on the economy, unions, COVID and cannabis!; Plus: Annoy a Nazi!...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2022 6:54pm PT  

Yes, on today's BradCast, we discuss a new, maddening --- and likely unconstitutional --- voter suppression law signed this week by Arizona's Republican Governor. But, as our guest notes, "Don't worry, we've got this!" We'll see. He's got a plan in response that voters in other swing-states may wish to look at as well. Other than that though, today's show ends your week with nothin' but good news! (Mostly.) [Audio link to full toe-tappin' show is posted below this summary.]

First up, good news on COVID! According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services, hospitalizations are now at their lowest rate since the U.S. began keeping records at the beginning of the pandemic two years ago. Of course, last time hospitalizations where near this low we got slammed by Delta and then Omicron shortly thereafter. So, hey, now's a great time to get a vaccine shot or a booster if you haven't in the past 4 months or so!

Then, more good news on the economy! 431,000 new jobs were added in March, as Americans continue to shake off the pandemic, even amid war in Europe and inflation. Since Joe Biden took office, the economy has added a record 7.9 million jobs. Unemployment is the lowest it's been since before the pandemic and barely higher than the nation has seen in a half-century, as the President did some justifiable crowing about those numbers today. Things would be even better had Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin allowed his Build Back Better bill to pass, given that many more women are needed to fill millions of open jobs, but can't afford the child care (that BBB would have paid for) in order to take them.

But there's still more good news today, for workers and labor unions! Amazon employees in deep red Republican Staten Island, New York voted "yes" to unionize in an historic labor win at the only fulfillment center in New York City! It's the first Amazon facility in the U.S. to do so, but it likely means many others will join them. Another unionization vote at Amazon's fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama remains too close to call for the moment. It's the second such vote held at that plant after the National Labor Relations Board found that Amazon had cheated in the first vote and ordered a re-do.

Speaking of cheating in elections: Republicans. Though it may make your head (and mine) explode, mid-term primaries are beginning to kick off all over the country. The first one, last month in Texas, resulted in tens of thousands of disenfranchised absentee voters whose ballots were rejected thanks to the state GOP's new voter suppression law there.

We had slightly better news this week in Florida. There, a federal judge struck down several provisions of the new voter suppression law adopted last year by the GOP-dominated state legislature and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis (who barely won his initial election back in 2018). U.S. District Judge Mark Walker found that the law unlawfully targeted black voters in violation of both the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. Most notably, he ordered the state back under the VRA's preclearance regime for the next decade, mandating approval in advance from the federal government for any new election-related laws that may effect minority voters.

Republicans in Arizona, however, have been running a bit behind in their voter suppression. But, on Wednesday this week, the state's Governor Doug Ducey, also facing re-election this year, signed HB 2492 [PDF], even though legislative attorneys in both the state House and Senate found the measure to be likely unconstitutional. In short, it requires state voters to prove they are citizens before they may vote for candidates in state and local elections. But it goes farther than previous such laws in the state. This one could disenfranchise anywhere from 31,000 to nearly 200,000 voters in a state where Democrats won the Presidential election in 2020 by just over 10,000 votes. It would prevent voters who fail to prove their citizenship (or can afford to do so) from voting for either state officials or President. They may still be able to vote for members of Congress, but not during either early voting or via absentee ballot.

We're joined today by ERIC KRAMER, former Chair of the Navajo County Democrats, now Director of the Arizona Deserves Better non-profit coalition to discuss HB 2492 and, more importantly, what he and other voting rights advocates in the state are currently doing to both overturn such measures and prevent even worse ones from being adopted at any time in the future with their new Arizonans for Fair Elections ballot initiative.

We first learned of the effort via DailyKos, where Kramer writes as "EricAZ". Two articles of his there caught our eye in particular. The first, in early March, was headlined "Arizona Right-Wing Goes Batshit Crazy in Attack on Voters (Don’t Worry, We’ve Got This)". The second, a few weeks later, is titled, "The Joy of Soon Beating the U.S. Supreme Court on Several Voting Rights Issues".

Kramer explains how the AZ Fair Elections initiative, targeted for inclusion on the ballot this November, would work to prevent the kind of voter suppression we have been seeing from the increasingly extremist Republican radicals who now control the AZ state legislature. It would roll back laws like HB 2492 and prevent similarly disenfranchising laws from being adopted in an election year. It would also repeal a number of other laws recently adopted by state Republicans which target minority voters (Native Americans in particular), while instituting proactive measures to increase voter turnout, rather than block it, as the GOP is now working so hard to do there and elsewhere.

"In addition to these places where we're kind of playing defense against what they've done to voters in the past, there are some where we are playing offense," Kramer explains in detailing the voter referendum. "We have automatic voter registration. We have Election Day registration. We expand the periods for early voting. And we do quite a lot to help Native American voters and especially disabled voters --- we give more opportunities to vote. So it is a very good initiative."

Can his group, which is currently in the signature gathering process, get the measure onto the ballot in November? And, if so, can they get it passed? "We are going to get it done," he tells me confidently. "We need 243,000 signatures [by July 7] to get on the ballot. We're currently collecting at more than twice the rate we need. Fundraising has gone well. People from all over the country are supporting this. We will get it done."

You can get more information on the initiative --- in case you'd like to support it or consider something similar in your own state --- at the website for the Arizonans for Fair Elections initiative (azfe.org).

Finally, we close with even more good news and a song!

Our final good news for the day is about cannabis. U.S. House Democrats, with almost zero help from Republicans, adopted a measure today to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, though it will still have to overcome a likely GOP filibuster in the Senate. That, despite the American public's overwhelming support not just for decriminalizing cannabis, but for fully legalizing it once and for all. Not sure why the GOP would be dumb enough to take a pass on shooting the measure down again, as they did back in 2020 when they held the majority in the upper chamber, but explaining Republican stupidity is not my strong suit.

But to keep you happy and singing well into the weekend, we close with a new ditty from Canadian comedian and "The Internet's Favourite Dad* (*unproven)", according to his Twitter profile, Stewart Reynolds, who sings that "it's nice to be disliked!"...So "annoy a Nazi" today!...

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The President takes on Big Oil, 'Putin's price hike' at the pump; DeSantis' new voting law struck down, found unconstitutional, racially motivated...
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2022 6:53pm PT  

We cover two big stories in depth on today's BradCast. One out of the White House which effects the world. The other out of Florida, which effects the rest of the nation...or, at least, it should. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

President Biden, on Thursday, announced that he is releasing one million barrels of oil, per day, for the next 180 days, from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve in hopes of lowering gas prices for Americans in response to what he described as the "Putin Price Hike".

In addition to the unprecedented release from the Reserve, Biden called out Big Oil companies for keeping prices high (previously known as war profiteering) as they see record profits and pad the pockets of investors and executives, even as Putin's war inflates prices on global energy markets. He also called on Congress to pass a "Use it or Lose it" law that would charge a fee to oil and gas producers who are sitting on as many as 9,000 unused drilling permits on more than a million acres of land, as prices rise for Americans at the pump.

At the same time, Biden announced his plan to invoke the Defense Production Act to encourage American production of minerals that are needed for electric vehicle battery production.

We share the President's remarks today at the White House and Desi Doyen helps us unpack what it all means --- for gas prices and for our climate crisis.

Next, the big news out of Florida. A federal judge on Thursday struck down parts of a new state law that makes voting much harder for many in the Sunshine State, finding it unconstitutional and racially motivated. Moreover, he invoked a key provision of the Voting Rights Act to prevent more such measures for the next ten years.

FL's Senate Bill 90 was adopted by the state's Republican legislature last year in the wake of Donald Trump's evidence free claims about fraud in the 2020 election. That, despite Florida's claims that the election was well run and free of fraud or other problems. The new law limits the use of drop boxes; adds more ID requirements for those requesting absentee ballots; restricts who may collect and drop off ballots; further restricts third-party voter registration; and makes it a crime to give voters food or water to voters as they wait in line to cast their ballot, among other restrictions challenged by the League of Women Voters of Florida and other voting rights advocates.

In his 288-page order [PDF], U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker slammed parts of the measure as racially motivated and little more than a law enacted "to improve the Republican Party's electoral prospects." His ruling quotes Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. throughout, while asserting that plaintiffs "allege that SB 90 runs roughshod over the right to vote, unnecessarily making voting harder for all eligible Floridians, unduly burdening disabled voters, and intentionally targeting minority voters --- all to improve the electoral prospects of the party in power...Having reviewed all the evidence, this Court finds that, for the most part, Plaintiffs are right."

But the most noteworthy element of this story is that Judge Walker also invoked a little used provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act to "bail-in" the state of Florida to the VRA's preclearance requirement for the next 10 years. That provision, used against repeat violators of the VRA, will force the state to obtain approval from the U.S. Dept. of Justice or a three-judge federal panel before new voting laws that may have a racially disparate effect on voters can be implemented.

As UC-Irvine election law expert Rick Hasen described the ruling as "quite a blockbuster" and a "a huge deal." He told the New York Times, "This is an opinion that full throatedly reads the Voting Rights Act in the expansive way that Congress intended it to be read, and essentially dares the higher courts to overrule it." He also believes that "conservative 11th Circuit or the Supreme Court" is likely to do so, even though "the district court's analysis is probably right."

Florida Republicans are furious. Gov. Ron DeSantis calls the ruling "performative partisanship". The State's Republican Senate President calls it "highly unprofessional, inaccurate, and unbecoming of an officer of the court." That, as the League of Women Voters celebrated the ruling against "an anti-voter measure that raised barriers to voting with specific impacts on elderly voters, voters with disabilities, students, and communities of color."

"State legislatures everywhere should recognize that anti-voter laws like SB 90 violate the fundamental rights of their constituents," said the LWV's Chief Counsel, adding: "We call on legislatures around the country to stop making laws that impede the rights of the people they are elected to protect and serve."

Naturally, Florida Republicans say they intend to appeal, and many think that our right-leaning federal appeals courts and/or our corrupt U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Judge Walker's landmark ruling. For now, however, it's a critical one that should be echoed against many of the intentionally discriminatory laws that have been adopted by GOP-controlled states over the past year.

We explain what it all means and why it matters on today's program.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us again for our latest Green News Report, recorded today before Biden's big White House announcement (though we anticipated it). We also detail Europe prepares for energy shortages, Poland's decision to ban Russian energy imports and much more, including a major milestone for solar power!...

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Guest: 30-year Florida elections Supervisor Ion Sancho; Also: More signs of new COVID variant rising; Russia's war crimes against Ukraine continue; Fox 'News' journalists killed while reporting on war...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2022 7:11pm PT  

As difficult as it has historically been to recruit competent, non-partisan election officials and pollworkers, a new survey suggests its about to become much worse. As we discuss in detail on today's BradCast, that is thanks, in no small part, to persistent threats by Trump's MAGA Mob against local election officials in the wake of his Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. It's made even worse by state GOP officials translating that lie into new laws that further undermine America's democratic experiment. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But FIRST UP today, a quick follow up underscoring our reporting on yesterday's program, warning about the rise of a new COVID variant (known as BA2, or "stealth Omicron" or "Deltacron") that many seem to be wanting to imagine away. Also several quick updates on the latest news from Russia's relentless bombing and war crimes against Ukraine, as peace talks inch forward, and as at least two Fox "News" journalist are confirmed to have been killed outside of Kyiv.

THEN, on to our main story today. In recent months, Reuters has been unfolding a series of excellent investigative reports on the various, horrific threats issued against election officials by those who bought into Trump's evidence-free claims that the 2020 election was stolen. But GOP state lawmakers have been ignoring those menacing threats and using the Big Lie to create actual legislation allowing them to purge dedicated, non-partisan election officials --- including Republicans seen as not Republican enough --- from their roles and replacing them with partisan operatives.

Brennan Center's recent survey of local election administrators finds that, more than a year after the Trump-incited attack on the U.S. Capitol, one in six officials say they "have experienced threats because of their job." More than half of respondents are "concerned about the safety of their colleagues"; 30 percent "know of one or more election workers who have left at least in part because of fear for their safety, increased threats, or intimidation"; and, perhaps most troubling, 20 percent of them now plan to leave their jobs before the 2024 election, with many "citing political leaders’ attacks on a system they know is fair and honest as one of their top reasons for leaving."

Meanwhile, many officials who would like to continue in their jobs are being pushed out thanks to new laws allowing partisan County Commissions in Georgia, for example, to replace longtime Board of Elections officials like Georgia's civil rights icon Helen Butler (who we interviewed about this late last year) in Morgan County, and 27-year Floyd County Board of Elections veteran Vanessa Waddell, who, with the entire Board in the deeply Republican County, was removed from her post, as documented by WaPo yesterday. That, even after she successfully oversaw last year's U.S. Senate runoff elections in the state amid persistent death threats that resulted in some officials in her office deciding they needed to come to work with pepper spray and stun guns to stay safe.

Leon County, Florida's now-retired 30-year veteran Supervisor of Elections, ION SANCHO, is furious about all of this. He joins us today to discuss these growing threats to our teetering American democracy. Sancho, who retired in 2016, is one of our nation's great election officials. He was so well-regarded by his peers, of all political persuasions, that he was tapped to oversee the wildly contentious and eventually-aborted 2000 Presidential recount in Florida. He was also a central figure in HBO's landmark, 2006 Emmy-nominated documentary, Hacking Democracy, detailing the first public hack of a computerized voting tabulator.

What is going on today, he explains, makes him both angry and deeply concerned about American democracy. "Election officials all over the country, irrespective of partisan affiliation, have been tragically attacked because of our ex-President's lie. The most horrible lie about our elections, frankly, in my lifetime," he tells me, adding that it makes his "head explode".

"It's not being dealt with at all. That's why election officials are subject to the most vile attacks, because the supporters --- the cultists, if you want to call them that --- believe that election was stolen, and this is such a bald-faced lie. It's a tragic lie. It's a stupid lie. And it demonstrates the ignorance of the American citizenry about our elections."

Sancho argues that "we are in the process of destroying a model of non-partisan election administration that has taken decades to build."

"Most election officials are administrators, not activists, not individuals who are used to dealing with the political process, except as standing away from it and facilitating elections. We take oaths to be non-partisan," he continues. "One of the proudest moments of my life was the creation of helping write the standards of codes and conduct for the Elections Center, to apply to all national election officials, putting loyalty to the principles of fair and honest elections over anything else."

Of course, over The BRAD BLOG's nearly 20 years of reporting on elections and voting processes and vulnerable computerized voting and tabulation systems --- much of which Sancho has followed closely over those years --- we've had our own fair share of criticism for some election officials (not to mention almost every voting system vendor). Some of that has resulted in occasional criticism that we are "attacking" election officials or pollworkers ourselves. So, how is our attempt to hold feet to the fire any different from what Sancho sees coming from the American MAGA Right?

"The difference is that you are focusing on specific issues of provable fact," Sancho responds. "That's different than the kind of criticism that we have right now. Your criticism doesn't threaten the democratic experiment. And where we find ourselves now is that the great American experiment, our democracy, is being threatened. It's being destroyed by individuals who would rather believe a narcissistic liar than understand the truth."

Sancho has MUCH more to say on all of this, including thoughts on new legislation heading to Florida's Republican Governor and Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis that would give him what Sancho describes as "the Governor's private police force on elections."

"That's part of the intimidation," he argues. "Now we're seeing a secret police in the state of Florida for elections. Florida is, unfortunately, one of the leaders of this effort nationally to change non-partisan fair elections into something else."

Sancho concedes "it's hard for me to see how we get around this," though he does offer at least some ideas for solutions to find our way out of this nightmare, including laws to specifically prevent threats against election administrators. "It should be illegal to threaten an election official for the purposes of intimidating them from doing their job and counting the votes. That should be illegal, and it is not."

"We've got to turn this around," Sancho insists. "ALL legal citizens should have the right to vote accessibly, and have that vote counted as they intended, and then we should audit the elections to confirm the validity of that election. That's as simple as it can be, and yet we're very far away from that, as you know."

"What were supposed to be laboratories of democracy," he charges, are now "50 citadels of repression." As suggested, we think Sancho is an American hero. He's on fire today and, as ever, worth tuning in to hear in full.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report today, with bad news for climate changed Australia and our global fossil fuel dependence, highlighted yet again by Russia's war on Ukraine. She also has a bit of good news for breathers, however, as President Biden's EPA announces critical new regulations on smog and vehicle emissions that will save thousands of American lives...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Cold soup, dumb members of Congress; GOP flipping Dem voter registrations to Repub in FL; Media and Merrick Garland ill-serving the American people and the rule of law...
By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2022 6:56pm PT  

A helpful reminder or two on today's BradCast. Those haunting, thundering, Third Reich-style Trump campaign rally chants of "LOCK HER UP!" back i 2016 were in response to his claims that Hillary Clinton had criminally mishandled classified information in her emails while serving as Secretary of State. Despite months of very public investigation by the Dept. of Justice at the time --- in violation of their own guidelines --- she was never charged with anything or found to have violated the law. But that's what the MAGA Mob was bellowing about way back then, just in case you may have forgotten. That's just part of, but at the heart of, what I've got a bit of a rant about on today's program. [Audio link to the full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get there, an item or two to laugh whole-heartedly about. Consider it a cold appetizer. Super-genius Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene believes Nancy Pelosi is unleashing her "gazpacho police" on Republican members of Congress. Which, as the laughter dies down, we're reminded of the time super-genius Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert accused then Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013 of "casting aspersions on [his] asparagus."

With all of the Republican food-related malapropisms aside, it's back to still more stark examples of how Republicans and Democrats are treated differently by both the corporate media and law enforcement. One swell new example comes out of Florida this week, where it appears that the state Republican Party is sending operatives door-to-door to low-income buildings and targeting senior citizens in Miami-Dade County to sign applications for new voter IDs. Even when the elderly citizens don't bite, apparently, thousands of them may be receiving new voter IDs in the mail with their party affiliation changed from Democratic (or independent) to Republican.

Haven't heard about that story? You would have --- in spades --- had the party affiliations in the story been reversed. It would have been covered virtually wall-to-wall by national media by now, and Republicans would have been demanding prosecutions and legislation in Congress to prevent this kind of outrage from happening again. But, it was Republicans doing the criming with Dems affected by it, so...ya know...

That disparity also permeates the corporate media coverage of just the latest collection of boxes of evidence of criminal felonies committed by our former President. And, by way of help for many in the corporate media, Merriam-Webster offers these two top definitions for the word "steal": "1 - to take (something that does not belong to you) in a way that is wrong or illegal. 2 - to take (something that you are not supposed to have) without asking for permission."

The word "steal" should be particularly useful this week, in their coverage of the growing mountain of evidence that demonstrates, in no uncertain terms, that Trump tried, but failed, to STEAL the 2020 Presidential election. Over and over again.

And, as we've been learning this week, he also STOLE boxes and boxes of documents --- some reportedly "clearly marked" as "classified" and "top secret" --- when he left the White House more than a year ago. The theft is in clear violation of the Watergate-era Presidential Records Act barring the destruction, alteration or theft of such documents. Incredibly, the National Archives is said to have been negotiating for "several months" to get the stolen documents and other items back, and even now, the Archives doesn't know whether they've received everything that Trump stole when he was booted from office.

Of course, we knew he repeatedly broke the Presidential Records Act long ago. But as more reporting this week confirmed, Trump frequently destroyed Presidential records by tearing them up, despite having been "counseled by at least two chiefs of staff and the White House counsel to follow the law on preserving documents."

Today's newest report along those lines is that he may even have flushed unknown numbers of "printed pages" down the toilet at the White House, offering a new light on his attempt to order the EPA to change their water regulations in late 2019 because, as he bizarrely asserted at the time: "People are flushing toilets ten times, fifteen times, instead of once." Really? Are they? Or was he?

I''ve got a quite a bit to say about all of this today, impossible to adequately detail in this summary. Suffice to say, as the media twist themselves into pretzels to both report on Trump's crimes and downplay each and every one of them in the very next sentence, the stark difference in how they cover Republicans versus Democrats has never been clearer or more appalling.

Even more appalling, the difference in the way the Dept. of Justice appears to treat Republicans versus Democrats, especially high profile ones. Especially at this precarious moment in American history.

Note to Merrick Garland. Take your pick. There are mountains of evidence that everyone in the country already knows about. But, if a blatant attempt to steal a Presidential election from the American people is just too complicated or large or somehow too political for you to prosecute, the Presidential Records Act is simple. And you've got tons of evidence for that now as well, which everybody also now knows about. Either way, Mr. Garland, it's time to lock him up.

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