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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, July 25, 2024
Kamala Rising:
'BradCast' 7/24/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, John Amato of Crooks & Liars...
Evidence Fails to Establish Attempted Trump Assass-ination Politically Motivated
Underscoring absurdity of Trump claim of 'taking a bullet for democracy'...
Former MAGA 'Cultist' on the State of the Race for 'MAGA Americans': 'BradCast' 7/23/24
Guest: 'Leaving MAGA' Founder and Exec. Director Rich Logis; Also: Kamala takes Milwaukee in first rally; MUCH more...
'Green News Report' 7/23/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Biden withdraws from 2024 race with legacy of unprecedented climate action; Climate warrior Kamala Harris; PLUS: Repubs highlight lies over facts on climate and energy at RNC...
Previous GNRs: 7/18/24 - 7/16/24 - Archives...
Biden Out, Endorses
Harris, Dems in Array: 'BradCast' 7/22/24
Party unites behind Vice President, moves from turmoil to relief to inevitable uncertainty about risky path ahead; Listeners ring in...
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President announces intention in letter to American people, follows up with Tweet declaring endorsement of Vice President Kamala Harris...
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THIS WEEK: Recovering nicely! Hillbilly heroin! Cooling rhetoric! Standing by!...And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons...
What J.D. Vance Forgot to Tell You (and Lied About) at the RNC: 'BradCast' 7/18/24
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'Green News Report' 7/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Toronto crippled by extreme storms, flooding; Heat related costs rising in U.S.; Extreme weather and aging dams; PLUS: Marathon Oil pays record fine under Clean Air Act...
Previous GNRs: 7/16/24 - 7/11/24 - Archives...
Holding on for Dear Life Amid the Political Whirlwind: 'BradCast' 7/17/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton and 'Driftglass' on politics after the shooting, Dems still fighting over Biden; Trump's chooses Vance, RNC's 'unity' convention...
Cannon's Corruption: 'BradCast' 7/16/24
Guest: Attorney Keith Barber; Also: Menendez 'guilty' on all counts...
'Green News Report' 7/16/24
Texas grid buckles under multiple disasters; Hurricane Beryl damages now estimated at $3 billion; PLUS: Climate crisis flip-flopper J.D. Vance gets GOP Veep nod...
Amid the Assassination Attempt Aftermath:
'BradCast' 7/15/24
Also: Trump stolen docs case dismissed; Vance named as GOP Veep nom; Callers ring in...
Sunday Monday 'Google Project 2025' Toons
After a brief pause following Saturday's assassination attempt of Donald Trump, we are back with our latest collection of last week's best political toons...
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
Beryl fallout continues: Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Repubs seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
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VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
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Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Big victory for striking auto workers demanding a just transition to electric vehicles; Glacial outburst flood in India kills dozens, damages significant infrastructure; Millions of children displaced every year due to extreme weather disasters; PLUS: Climate change is coming for your olive oil... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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With smart special guests Heather Digby Parton of Salon and 'Driftglass' of 'The Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2023 5:20pm PT  

Woah, Nelly! Today's BradCast may arguably be both the dumbest and most fun ever! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The subject material --- Wednesday night's ridiculous GOP 2024 "Presidential Primary Debate" (if it's even worth calling it that) at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library out here in Simi Valley, California --- is what makes it dumb.

It featured seven "candidates" --- former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, supposed businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum --- but not the much-indicted guy who Republicans apparently intend, for now, to actually nominate for the job next year.

Our excellent special coverage panelists --- award-winning blogger and columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and "DRIFTGLASS" of the Professional Left Podcast from "Flyover Country, Illinois" --- are what make it fun.

Hear Digby discuss the GOP's "Bizarro World alternet universe" and the "big orange elephant in the room"! Hear Driftglass explain the "Doomsday machine with no off switch" and "the smelly wet sock of the mainstream media"! Also, Doug Burgum!

To paraphrase Haley last night, hearing us today may help you "feel a little bit dumber." I'd tell you more, but that would ruin all the fun...and most of the dumbness! Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Author, historian, political scientist Norm Ornstein; Also: Gobsmacking details from NY state fraud ruling against Trump family; Late-night shows returning!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2023 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A couple of follow-ups and a deep dive into what almost certainly lies ahead beginning this weekend, including who is likely to be blamed for it, who may or may not still have a job when all is said and done, and what the cost is likely to be to the American people. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP: The news broke just before airtime on yesterday's program, but I've now had time to read Tuesday's full, breathtaking court ruling [PDF] which seemed impossible to believe as it broke yesterday. But, yes, Judge Arthur Engoron's summary judgement ruling in New York state's $250 million fraud case against Donald Trump and his company and his two eldest sons is as brutal, if not more so, than we initially reported it yesterday.

In addition to utterly obliterating the case presented by defendants --- as "pure sophistry", "not relevant", "patently false", "fatally flawed", "simply untrue", "completely irrelevant," and "frivolous", among other things, some of which we share today --- Engoron details several of the eye-popping fraudulent lies told in years of Statements of Financial Condition (SFCs) signed off on by Trump in applications for bank loans. Breathtakingly inflated overvaluations of his key properties, including by 2,300% at Mar-a-Lago alone, where Palm Beach County assessed the property to be valued anywhere from $18 to 27.6 million in the years from 2011 to 2021. During those same years, Trump's SFCs said the property was worth from $426 to $612 million!

In total, the fraudulent overvaluations documented by the suit, just in the years in question, total anywhere from $812 million to $2.2 billion. "Even in the world of high finance," writes the Judge in response to defendants attempts to marginalize the false statements, "this Court cannot endorse a proposition that finds a misstatement of at least $812 million dollars to be 'immaterial'."

Each of the Trump properties seem to be "owned" by Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) created by the Trump Organization to manage each of them. And, yes, the result of yesterday's ruling --- which we couldn't believe as it was breaking, but have now been able to confirm in the actual court order --- is that the Judge has ordered NY business certificates "controlled or beneficially owned by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Jeffrey McConney" to be "canceled". He has also ordered "independent receivers to manage the dissolution of the cancelled LLCs."

All of that on summary judgement before the non-jury trial, to be decided by the very same judge, begins on Monday. Youch. There is, of course, the possibility for appeals and such. But it is kinda remarkable how Tuesday's ruling has sort of been downplayed by many of the corporate media outlets. Perhaps they can't believe it either.

Before we get to our guest today on a completely different topic, more good news as the Writers Guild of America approved their new contract with major corporate producers on Tuesday after a nearly 150-day strike. That now clears the way for a bunch of late-night shows to finally return to the air beginning this weekend and by Monday. Some shows and most films will still be largely paused as the actors union remains on strike against the studios.

NEXT UP: A federal government shutdown is now all but certain to begin as of Saturday, thanks to far-right Republicans in the House who are unable to strike a deal amongst themselves for a short-term Continuing Resolution, much less a full budget package for the new fiscal year. Nonetheless, a new poll out this morning suggests that while 1 in 3 Americans blame Republicans, 2 out of 3 are blaming either Democrats or President Biden for the shutdown?!? Seriously?!? How can that be?!?

To help make some sense out of all of this and what is about to happen and what its historical antecedents may be, we're joined today for a great conversation by author, columnist, political scientist, and longtime Congressional historian NORM ORNSTEIN of the American Enterprise Institute. He blames the corporate media's terrible "both sides", "access journalism" coverage for the mistargeting of blame by Americans for a shutdown by Republicans.

"It's entirely on House Republicans, egged on by Donald Trump," he explains. "These people want a shutdown. Because this is not an ideology. It is a theology. The theology is that government is evil, government is bad, lose government, we get freedom, without regard to the realities in the real world and on the ground. They are very happy to have chaos out there."

Ornstein also charges that the GOP, claiming to seek government spending cuts, are "hypocrites" because shutdowns end up costing the government money while hurting actual Americans. "This is not a harm-free zone we're entering into," he warns. "Not only does it not save the government money. In some instances, because functions will be postponed, maintenance will not be done, ultimately it will cost more. They're hypocrites, at minimum. They're not really talking about savings for the government. They're talking about bringing the whole mechanism down because they hate government."

While Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is unable to wrangle his own caucus to even adopt a short term spending package to keep the government open as talks continue, he is also threatened with removal from his post as Speaker by the farthest right elements in the House. Ornstein offers some historical comparisons to this extraordinary moment, and argues that McCarthy "is in deep trouble."

"This movement towards using the threat of chaos, of shutdown, of default, as hostages" by Republicans in recent years, has "resulted in absolutely nothing happening. No concessions. Just the disruption." In recent years, he says, "we have been on a trajectory that is leading us further and further away from adults --- at least those that understand that no one is going to gain politically from a shutdown --- to a position now where we are basically being driven by the lunatic fringe."

He has, as ever, much more to help clarify on all of this today. All of it, as usual, well worth tuning in for...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Biden joins picket line in MI; SCOTUS rejects AL gerrymander (again); Cassidy Hutchinson warns against former Prez; MUCH more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2023 6:42pm PT  

Some breaking news just before airtime helped, once again, threw off our best laid plans for today's BradCast. But, given this particularly huge breaking news, we're just fine with that. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

The New York Judge in state Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, his eldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric, and two top company executives, ruled [PDF] that they all committed years of "persistent and repeated fraud" to the tune of billions of dollars by inflating the value of company assets when applying for bank loans. They also decreased the value of the same properties to receive favorable terms on both insurance and taxes, according to the ruling.

Judge Arthur Engoron found in favor of the state's key contention during the summary judgment phase of the landmark case on Tuesday, before the non-jury trial is slated to begin next Monday. Trump's attorneys had also sought summary judgement, hoping to see the case thrown out entirely. Instead, the key issue has already been decided against them and Engoron, in a brutal ruling, has stripped the former President, his company, his sons and execs, of control over several of his main New York properties. The Trump Organization and its various LLCs were placed into receivership to be controlled by court-appointed officers!

In the massive fraud suit, James seeks to permanently revoke the Trump family's license to do business at all in New York state. The trial, set to begin next week, will now determine the other issues at stake and the full breadth of penalties. Of course, Trump will appeal everything. But, make no mistake, this is a huge verdict against the failed former President and current 2024 GOP frontrunner who, as validated by Judge Engoron today, has built his business empire on decades of fraud and lies.

Among the many other important stories also covered on today's program...

  • Cassidy Hutchinson, star witness at last year's House January 6 Committee hearings and the former top aide to Trump's final Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, warns that Trump "almost destroyed democracy in one day and he wants to run for President do it again."
  • This week's second GOP Presidential Primary debate, at the Reagan Library here in Southern California, will feature the same candidates as last month's debate in Milwaukee, other than former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who apparently did not meet the RNC's criteria. Trump was also not invited for refusing to sign the party's loyalty pledge, but he had already announced he wouldn't participate in any of their debates.
  • Labor economist Kathryn Anne Edwards offered a must-listen response to Louisiana's loopy U.S. Senator John Kennedy during a Senate subcommittee hearing last week on post-pandemic child care concerns. While Kennedy suggested he really really wanted to help, he had no idea where, oh, where the federal government could possibly find the money to do so. Edwards' straightforward, well-supported answer: Raise taxes on the wealthy that you've been lowering for the past two decades if you really care about children in need.
  • In a related matter on Tuesday, Joe Biden became the first sitting U.S. President, incredibly enough, to join a picket line with striking workers. In this case, he called on striking United Auto Workers members in Detroit to "stick with it," as he rallied workers with UAW President Shawn Fain. On Wednesday, the former President is set to speak at a non-union facility in a "red" county outside of Detroit.
  • California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law today that doubles the tax on sales of guns and ammunition in the state to help pay for increased school safety measures. While the federal government already charges a 10% tax on guns and ammo, California doubled it with one of their own, becoming the first in the nation to do so.
  • Bona fide good news today from our corrupted, packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court. They rejected Alabama's attempt --- once again --- to violate the Voting Rights Act with a racially gerrymandered U.S. House map. Last June, in a surprising 5 to 4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining the Court's three liberals, SCOTUS ordered the state to create a second majority black U.S. House District. Just 1 of 7 districts is currently a majority minority district despite African Americans comprising more than a quarter of the state's population. But Alabama Republicans, blatantly defying the U.S. Supreme Court, redrew their districts without including a second black majority district as mandated. A federal court panel then ordered a Special Master to draw up a new map instead. Alabama tried to stay that decision at SCOTUS, which unanimously rejected the state today in a one sentence ruling. That is good news for voters and bad news for several other GOP-controlled states trying the same gambit to cheat their way to a Republican majority in the House again next year.
  • Speaking of the Republicans' narrow majority in the U.S. House, it appears next to impossible at this hour to believe they will be able to agree amongst themselves on a spending bill to keep the federal government open as of Saturday. At least not without either Democrats saving them and/or House Speaker Kevin McCarthy losing his job as Speaker.
  • New Jersey's Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, federally indicted for a second time late last week on charges of bribery and corruption, maintains his innocence. But the flood of fellow Democratic U.S. Senators calling for his resignation seems all but unstoppable now, with at least six of them --- including fellow NJ Senator Corey Booker --- calling for Menendez to step down. The charges, by the way, would seem to dramatically undercut Trump/GOP claims that the DoJ has been "weaponized" by Democrats against them.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as New Orleans declares a drinking water emergency; Fracking is "devouring American's groundwater" amid persistent drought in a number of states; and FEMA girds to suspend critical recovery operations in several states if Republicans shut down the federal government as of this Saturday...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Biden to join autoworker picket line in Detroit; Trump to meet NON-union workers in suburbs; Callers ring in with union myths, realities...
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2023 5:54pm PT  

It's a very exciting time for organized labor in these United States, as discussed on today's BradCast, after decades of corporate measures that have succeeded in vastly shrinking union membership and power across the country, along with the power of the American middle class itself. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Late on Sunday, out here in Hollywood, striking film and television scribes from the Writer's Guild of America (WGA), finally came to terms on a new contract with major studio executives to share some of the bounty of record profits the writers have helped those giant corporations make. The tentative deal is described by the writer's union negotiators as "exceptional," including "meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership."

Pending likely final approval by members this week, only some film and TV production will be able to begin rolling again --- for example, late-night and daytime shows without actors --- as the more than 100,000 actors of SAG-AFTRA still remain on strike, hoping to see similar financial benefits and protections for their members as achieved by the WGA after nearly 150 days on the picket lines.

In related news, President Biden will be meeting with striking union members from the United Autoworkers on the picket line this week in Detroit, in what is apparently (shamefully?) an historic first for an American President. That will happen on Tuesday, the day before Donald Trump is set to meet with non-union workers at a plant outside of Detroit, in a ruby red suburb this week. (Good luck noticing that part of the story as corporate media outlets seem to be working overtime to "both sides" the two very different appearances.)

At the same time, the Biden-Harris campaign has released a video featuring GOP Presidential candidates Nikki Haley and Tim Scott and a Fox "News" anchor singing Biden's support for union workers.

We've had a very busy news weekend beyond the good news for organized labor and collective bargaining. But I wanted to move that good labor news up to the top today, and take some calls from listeners on it. Some of those callers seemed to have some misconceptions about unions which other callers, happily, were able to rebut in what I believe was an obscenely reasonable conversation for talk radio. My apologies in advance.

We'll try to get to some of the other ongoing stories --- the indictment of Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (NJ); the House GOP's pathetic plan to shut the federal government down as of this weekend, and more --- in the days ahead. Today, however, seemed a good day to focus momentarily on some good news about organized labor, the struggling middle class, and a newly revitalized stand against major corporations, making records profits, fighting like hell to prevent their workers from sharing in the gains those very workers helped them achieve.

I hope you'll tune in!...

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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Guest: UC-Santa Barbara labor historian and author, Nelson Lichtenstein...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2023 6:37pm PT  

The organized labor movement, for the first time in my adult-ish/politically-aware life, is actually on the rise in recent post-pandemic years. Or so it seems. We've got a longtime labor historian on today's BradCast who seems to confirm that point.

First, very quickly at the top of today's show, a few news headlines...

  • Texas' cartoonishly corrupt Republican state Attorney General, Ken Paxton, was acquitted over the weekend by the GOP-dominated state Senate which held a trial on 16 articles of impeachment sent to them by the GOP-dominated state House. Hopefully, a criminal reckoning still lies ahead for the degenerate Paxton.
  • Five Americans detained for years by Iran were released today as part of deal in which President Biden agreed to unlock some $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil assets. Their families are overjoyed. Republicans are pretending to be furious.
  • Wisconsin Republican election deniers in the state Senate, late last week, attempted to oust the Republican-appointed director of state elections just a few months before ballots must be formalized for next year's Presidential primary election in the critical battleground state. The dispute will likely make its way to the new liberal majority on the state's high court.
  • U.S. House Republicans are still battling amongst themselves to even come up with an agreement for a short-term extension to keep the Government open after the end of this month.
  • And, of course, the fallout continues from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's seemingly failed attempt to assuage the far-far right of his Congressional caucus by announcing, last week, an evidence-free impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden.

After dispatching with that news quickly, we spent the bulk of today's show focusing on what my guest describes as a very "exciting" moment for the U.S. labor movement, the first such moment, really, in decades.

On Friday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) called a strike, for the first time in history, at all three major automakers --- GM, Ford and Stellantis (the company formed by the recent merger of Fiat Chrysler with a French automaker) --- at the same time. Workers are demanding major increases in pay to match record profits of the Big Three auto makers, their soaring compensation packages for CEOs and to keep up with inflation.

The union seeks pay raises for workers of upwards of 40% to match what they claim the CEOs have enjoyed since the last contract negotiations in 2019. The CEOs either deny they've received that much of an increase in pay, believe they deserve it more than the workers do, and/or that their companies would go broke if those actually responsible for their record profits were similarly compensated. That, as the companies are transitioning to Electric Vehicle technology and new plants to make batteries for them, even as inflation has outpaced pay increases in recent years. Until the 2008 financial crisis, the workers contracts included cost-of-living increases.

All of this comes at a time when film and television writers and actors are also on strike, similarly seeking long-overdue raises and improved benefits packages, and as younger employees at fast food restaurants and huge companies like Amazon are also unionizing and striking to improve their working conditions following the worst of the pandemic years.

We're joined today by longtime labor historian and progressive author NELSON LICHTENSTEIN, Distinguished Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy. He is also the author of at least 16 books, including his latest, with Judith Stein, A Fabulous Failure: The Clinton Presidency and the Transformation of American Capitalism.

While Lichtenstein confirms that this is indeed an "exciting" time for the modern American labor movement for the first time in decades, and one of many similar "waves" that labor has seen over the past century, it is still "a pale reflection of what used to happen on a routine basis, up through the end of about the 1970s. There were ten times more strikes each year, twenty times, from the late 1930s on through the late '70s."

Still, he tells me, "there's a certain excitement here, because the unions have been in the doldrums [and] management has been in the driver's seat." in recent years, "and there is clearly a sense of militancy and excitement, and also new workers" participating in the movement.

We discuss, among many other things today with the very colorful professor...

  • The specific demands of the auto workers, the soaring profits of the companies and the compensation for the Big Three CEOs --- along with their various lies about whether meeting worker demands would put the companies "out of business," as Ford CEO Jim Farley claimed last week.
  • How President Biden is supporting the workers, responding to this critical moment and what what it will --- or could --- mean for his reelection chances next year, after years of aggrieved workers in the midwest turned against a Democratic Party which failed to have their back in recent decades. ("Biden wants to reindustrialize the Midwest and the mid-South," says Lichtenstein today. "This is where Trumpism has gained purchase. He thinks, I think correctly, at least in the long run, that if you have a more vibrant economy for ordinary workers, they won't be looking for rightwing authoritarian solutions.")
  • How Presidents --- from Reagan to Clinton to Obama to Trump to Biden --- have an effect on the rise, or fall, of labor movements.
  • Why support for unions is now at or above historic highs in the U.S. and how such moments in history have worked out in the past. For example, do workers end up winning these fights along with these surges in organized labor? Or do they shrink in response to public opprobrium if strikes continue over long periods. ("Traditionally, long strikes are losing strikes" he tells me. "But there are sometimes exceptions to the rule. I think in this case there's public support out there, a thirst for successful union negotiations, strikes, etc.," and, he adds, "winning begets winning.")

All of that and much more in a fascinating conversation with Lichtenstein on today's BradCast!...

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

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

Among today's stories...

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Actors on strike; Contraceptives for sale; GOP megadonors blown off; New U.S. House maps for NY; Free tuition at UNC; Biden's new student loan repayment plan; And much more...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2023 6:30pm PT  

We not only cover a whole bunch of news stories on today's BradCast, we also explain what they mean and why they matter. As always, we want you to not only know what happened, but understand why it did and what can be done about it, so you can pass that important information on to others. [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

Among the many stories both reported and explained on today's program...

  • Film and TV actors of SAG-AFTRA join the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in going on strike against producers in hopes of proper payment and residuals for streaming services and AI usage, among other appropriate demands.
  • We take another quick spin through my new favorite website --- FoxWeather.com --- where they report on all of the catastrophic effects of climate change now devastating much of the planet, but because Fox hates its duped readers and viewers so much, they never even once explain why all of these disasters are now happening. (Hint for Fox "News" dupes, if I'm lucky enough that you stopped by: It's the climate change, stupid, as caused by the burning of fossil fuels.)
  • The Biden FDA approves the first ever over-the-counter birth control pill. Happily, this should be bring the abortion rate way down. So, rightwingers will be delighted with this news, right?
  • Dumb GOP megadonors in Illinois lose their ill-considered fight to prevent the use of clean, electric leaf blowers on their 22-acre estate. But it's a win for their neighbors and for the rest of us. (And even for them, whether they too dumb to know it or not!)
  • A state court orders New York to redraw U.S. House maps before the 2024 elections. That alone could end up flipping the House back to Democratic control next year, after the GOP flipped four NY seats from "blue" to "red" last year, after the state court blocked an attempted Democratic gerrymander. It's complicated.
  • Great news for North Carolina residents! After Republicans on the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court recently blocked Affirmative Action for college admissions at the University of North Carolina (and everywhere else in the bargain), the school has announced it will be offering FREE tuition to many in-state students "as part of their continued effort to boost diversity".
  • Late last month, the corrupt rightwing SCOTUS majority used their recently invented-from-whole-cloth "Major Questions Doctrine" to block the Biden Administration from using the specific text of the federal HEROES Act to forgive up to $20,000 in student loans to borrowers. The President has announced a new plan to use a different law to accomplish even broader forgiveness, though it will take a bit more time than his initial plan. In the meantime, beginning next month, a newly restructured repayment plan for loans will allow millions to pay just $0 a month (you read that right) without seeing any interest added. Their entire loan may then be considered as paid in full after 10 years. We break down the key details of the new plan and how Republicans are already attempting to undermine it, because they hate people who aren't millionaires or billionaires.
  • Finally, it's our latest disturbing Green News Report with Desi Doyen here to drive you crazy as the summer of climate catastrophes continue. Among our coverage: another major insurer flees Florida; California works out a deal with manufacturers to phase out polluting big rigs; and the U.S. becomes the blackout capital of the world, thanks to the many failures of natural gas...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Abortion bans blocked by GOPers in two 'red' states; Trump Camp also paid a second research firm to find zero fraud in the 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2023 6:27pm PT  

Time is running out on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many clock-ticking stories covered today...

  • The contract for film and television writers ran out as of midnight last night. Today, 11,500 union members in the Writers Guild of America went on strike. The late-night comedy shows have already been shut down and, sadly, Americans are likely to be less well-informed because of it. We explain.
  • The deadline for how long Republicans can hold the nation and world economy hostage to ill-considered, self-destructive extremist idiocy --- before blowing everything up and creating a first-ever default of the U.S. Government in the process --- got much closer as of Monday. The new earliest date for when the U.S. Government may run out of authority to borrow the funds needed to pay for stuff that Republicans and Democrats alike long ago committed to paying for is now June 1, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

    Yet, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his band of reckless Republicans in Congress continue to exploit our dumb debt limit law to try and extort huge cuts to food and health care to millions of Americans (including veterans) along with a rollback of critical climate crisis initiatives in exchange for not destroying the nation's economy.

    President Biden is right not to negotiate with terrorists on this matter. The way the media covers this mess, however, will make a big difference in whether or not Biden's able to continue to do the right thing. In the meantime, we sure do hope he has a plan to handle the worst-case scenario that today's gerrymandered, death-wish GOPers may actually be dumb enough to cause for the first time in U.S. history.

  • Not all Republicans have a death wish, apparently. On the same day last week, in two different "red" states, South Carolina and Nebraska, a handful of Republican state lawmakers voted to protect abortion rights. For now. It took the only two female Republican state Senators in South Carolina and one 80-year old Republican in Nebraska to block complete bans on reproductive freedoms. We'll see how long that lasts and/or if any other GOPers can figure out why they keep losing elections that they should have won after the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
  • Back in February we covered the news from Washington Post's Josh Dawsey that the Donald Trump's Campaign paid $600,000 to a research firm to investigate every single potential claim of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. They found absolutely nothing and told Trump as much in December of that year. Nonetheless, on January 6, 2021, Trump went out and lied yet again to his supporters about fraud in the election, even though he was told all such claims were baseless. And now, Dawsey reports, a second firm was paid $750,000 by the Trump Campaign at the same time to also find no evidence of fraud. That firm told him as well, in advance of January 6. Special Counsel Jack Smith has now reportedly subpoenaed records and testimony from both firms, as he probes the Trump Campaign fraudulently raising more than $250 million from their own supporters based on fraudulent claims we now know Trump absolutely knew to be fraudulent at the time he made the fraudulent claims.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with non-fraudulent news on the impact of climate change on East Africa's deadly drought; the corrupted SCOTUS plans to undermine climate regulations next term; SpaceX grounded in Texas; and some better news for the climate out of the great state of California...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Blue Alaska?; And labor unions rising...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2023 7:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's almost as if Republicans want to become a failed, extinct political party. But we're gonna have to overcome a lot of authoritarian desperation first, I'm afraid. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered toward that end on today's program...

  • The 25-year old shooter who killed five and injured eight others at the Old National Bank in Louisville, Kentucky on Monday legally purchased his high-powered AR-15 assault-style rifle just one week before the massacre. Among the injured was a local rookie police officer, now said to be in critical but stable condition after being shot in the head. He had finished training just 10 days earlier. Among the dead was a longtime personal friend of the state's Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. The man was also said to have been a close friend of Florida's Republican U.S. Senator Rick Scott. Had Scott and his party not worked so long and hard to block popular legislation that might have helped prevent the shooting --- such as restoration of the federal assault weapons ban that Republicans allowed to expire in 2004 --- his friend might still be alive. Well done, Rick! Monday's preventable tragedy was the 146th mass shooting of the year, according to the Gun Violence Archives.
  • Democratic Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones was reinstated to his old seat just one business day after state Republican lawmakers expelled the young black Nashville legislator for taking part in a peaceful protest at the state capital calling for gun safety legislation following the mass shooting that killed three children and three adults at a Christian elementary school two weeks ago in Nashville. As part of what may be one of the greatest GOP political blunders in recent memory, support for Jones, Rep. Justin Pearson (another expelled black legislator likely to be reseated this week as well), and the state Democratic Party have all sky-rocketed both in the state and nationally.
  • The unspeakably ill-considered politicking by TN Republicans wasn't their only embarrassing failure revealed on Monday. A three-judge state court panel also put the temporary kibosh on state GOP lawmakers attempt to cut the size of the Nashville Metropolitan Council from 40 members to 20 before this year's August elections. That would be the same Council that unanimously selected Jones, by a vote of 36 to 0 on Monday, to temporarily fill the seat left vacant when Jones was expelled by Republicans last week.
  • In response to all of this, Jones has begun calling for the resignation of Republican state House Speaker Cameron Sexton who, as reporters have discovered, does not even live in the District he is supposed to represent in the wildly gerrymandered (75 to 24) state House. He represents the city of Crossville, but he and his family live in Nashville. He could (but won't be) expelled for that violation of the state Constitution. But his ability to run for reelection next year may now be challenged in court.
  • The bad politics of the Republican Party --- who oppose reproductive freedoms, gun safety legislation, health care reform, labor unions and other wildly popular issues --- was similarly on display in several elections last week, most notably the takeover of a liberal majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the first time in 15 years. The candidate elected by 11 points to restore a progressive majority to the high court, in the normally closely divided Badger State, ran largely on the issue of protecting the right to abortion. But on the other side of the continent, in what was once deep "red" Alaska, 6 of the 7 seats on the 11-member Anchorage Assembly on the ballot last Tuesday were won by Democrats by larger than expected margins. Could Alaska be on its way toward turning "blue" in upcoming years? There are several early signs offering reason to believe the last "red" state on the West Coast could actually flip in the years ahead, especially as the unpopular GOP becomes even more desperate to hold onto power.
  • We've also got a bunch of encouraging labor news today, including several stories we had hoped to cover until being preempted by news of Donald Trump's New York indictment mid-show two weeks ago. Among those stories was the signing by Michigan's Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer of a landmark bill repealing the state's anti-union, anti-labor, so-called "Right to Work" law. It was the first time in 60 years that such a law has been overturned by a state. And it was all thanks to state voters who, in 2018, adopted a Constitutional ballot measure requiring an independent state redistricting commission. With that, the state's fairer maps resulted in a Democratic trifecta last November, with the party winning majorities in both chambers of the state legislature while Whitmer held the Governorship. It's amazing how well democracy works for working people when it isn't corrupted.
  • Also a couple of weeks ago, Chipotle was forced to agree to pay former employees some $240,000 in Maine as part of a settlement agreement after the company was found to have violated federal labor laws by illegally closing a store in Augusta, Maine after workers there filed a National Labor Relations Board petition to vote for unionization.
  • Over the weekend, the union representing some 30,000 Los Angeles school custodians, cafeteria works, bus drivers and other student services staff voted overwhelmingly to approve a new contract with the Los Angeles Unified School District following a year of negotiation and, finally, a three-day strike last month. The new contract for workers at the nation's second largest school district includes, among other things, a 30% pay raise for workers and fully paid health care benefits expanded to teacher's assistants and after-school program employees. The workers, represented by SEIU Local 99, were supported during the brief walkout by the L.A. United Teachers union.
  • A New York region hotel union has reached an agreement with hotel owners outside of New York City to raise wages by $7.50 an hour, said to be the largest increase in the union's 100-year history. 7,000 members of the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council will enjoy the new benefits, but so will workers at non-union hotels elsewhere in the country, where owners are beginning to realize they need to raise their own rates and benefits for workers as well, if they wish to keep them.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, to call both the balls and strikes of the latest noteworthy environmental news...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 'Let's Go, Brandon!', progressive Dem wins Chicago Mayoral race; Desperate state level Repubs grinding toward violence, all-out autocracy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2023 5:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The good news just seems to keep on coming. We'll take it while it lasts! Tuesday brought huge election victories for democracy and progressives in Chicago and Wisconsin! [Audio liNk to full show follows this summary.]

In Chicago, Democratic progressive teacher and union member Brandon Johnson defeated conservative, self-proclaimed "tough on crime" Democrat Paul Vallas to become the new Windy City Mayor in a stunning victory.

But the biggest election of the night, and perhaps of 2023, was the Wisconsin state Supreme Court victory of liberal Milwaukee Judge Janet Protasiewicz over far-right former state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, a Republican activist supported by anti-choice groups who advised his party in their failed attempt to overturn the state's 2020 election. Her victory creates a progressive majority on the high court for the first time in 15 years.

In a closely divided state where elections are traditionally very close, often within 1 or 2 points, Protasiewicz reportedly blew Kelly away by a whopping 11 points as of this afternoon's tally. It was Kelly's second defeat in running for the Supreme Court in as many years.

And it comes not a moment too soon. The Badger State's new, 4 to 3 progressive high court majority will likely face a host of critical issues for both the state and nation in the years ahead, including an 1849 abortion ban which Republicans are hoping to enforce; wildly gerrymandered state and Congressional district maps in one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation; voting rights issues; and hopes by Republicans of trying to steal the 2024 Presidential election.

We're delighted to be joined once again today to discuss all of this good news by Wisconsin's favorite son and progressive journalist, JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, and co-author, with Bernie Sanders, of the new book, It's Okay to be Angry About Capitalism.

Nichols says Tuesday's mayoral race in Chicago was "one of the most significant election results in the country for urban politics in quite awhile." He describes the previously little-known Johnson as having built a "multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational rainbow coalition" that propelled him to victory. "He beat the guy that everybody bet was going to be the next mayor of Chicago. Brandon Johnson will take office as a progressive who ran on taxing the rich, reforming the police, and investing money in public education, public health, and public services. A pretty remarkable win."

But the bulk of our time is spent discussing the extraordinary, long-awaited Supreme Court victory in Wisconsin, which, with some $45 million spent on both candidates, clocks in as the most expensive judicial race in U.S. history.

"It was a bitter race. It was an intense race," Nichols tells me in trying to explain Kelly's incredible election night remarks in which he attempted to eviscerate his opponent in one of the most incredible sore-loser "concession" speeches in modern memory. Kelly described the contest as "the most deeply deceitful, dishonorable, despicable campaigns I have ever seen run for the courts," going on to attack Protasiewicz as "a serial liar" who has "demeaned the judiciary."

"It's going to go down in history," Nichols says referring to Kelly's election night outburst. "I've seen bitter concessions. I've seen angry concessions. I have seen refusals to concede. I have never, up until now, seen a concession that literally made people cringe."

We've got a lot to discuss about the new majority on the state's high court; what it means for Wisconsin moving forward; whether Republicans, with a narrow state Senate Special Election victory last night will attempt to impeach Protasiewicz with their newly won, gerrymandered super-majority in the upper chamber; and why Nichols, as he reports at The Nation today, believes this was "the most important election of 2023...for any American who cares about democracy, fair elections, voting rights, and much more."

Despite the good news, however, Nichols reminds us that WI is still a closely divided state, capable of wild swings. "The bottom line is this: Don't take your eyes away from Wisconsin," he advises. "It is a battleground state. This is the state of Robert M. LaFollette, the greatest progressive ever to serve in the U.S. Senate, and of Joe McCarthy, the most reactionary person, I would argue, to serve in the U.S. Senate. Those realities still exist. And this Supreme Court race is a very encouraging result as part of a very encouraging pattern in Wisconsin. But when you take your eyes off the prize, when you aren't paying attention, patterns can shift back."

Finally today, with all of the encouraging news of late, a few reminders that all of this good news at the national level, where Republican policies are wildly unpopular, also means that Rightwingers are embracing violent responses and GOP-controlled states are upping their desperation in hopes of holding on to control by hook and by crook. In many such states, it's not creeping authoritarianism in play, it's actual authoritarianism.

In Tennessee, for example, state Republicans are hoping to expel three Democratic state House members who dared support peaceful protesters calling for gun safety measures following last week's school shooting in Nashville. In Texas, GOP state lawmakers have quietly introduced a bill to allow the Sec. of State to overturn election results in the state's most populous and Democratic-leaning County; and in Florida, authoritarian Gov. Ron DeSantis is deploying Big Government weaponization against those, like the Walt Disney Company, who disagree with his anti-freedom, anti-LGBTQ policies...

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The historic news breaks as we are on air; Also: Newly unredacted evidence from the Fox 'News' 'Brain Room' in Dominion's defamation suit; Disney hilariously out-foxes DeSantis...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2023 4:52pm PT  

On the other hand, Donald Trump's statement at his own social media website says he's been "INDICATED". But why quibble? The news caught us mid-BradCast today. We did our best to make sense of it all on the fly. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, we were covering the newly unredacted evidence from Dominion Voting System's $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the wildly corrupt Fox "News" outfit, regarding the Republican propaganda outlet's knowing lies and evidence-free claims that the voting machine company somehow helped to steal the 2020 Presidential election from Donald Trump. Dominion didn't, and Fox knew as much, according to their own "Brain Room", which they ignored. (Yes, they have a "Brain Room", apparently, at Fox. So, that must be where they keep them?) As bad for Fox as the previously released evidence was, this is the stuff they had redacted from that, for some reason, until a judge ordered it released on Wednesday. So, imagine how bad this stuff is? You don't have to. We discuss it on today's show before today's big breaking news.

Then, we were covering the hilarious case of Disney out-foxing (no pun intended) Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his attempt to weaponize the state government against them. That, because Disney dared speak out against his "Don't Say Gay" law which was written to allow the government to ban discussion of sexual orientation and general identity in ALL public school grades. (Not just K through 3.) So, how did Disney out-fox, DeSantis? It's pretty hilarious. So, tune in to find out.

Next, we were going to cover a whole bunch of important labor union news from this past week...BUT...news then broke of Trump's indictment by a criminal grand jury in New York.

Thus, we moved our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen from the end of the show to the middle, to buy some time to figure out the breaking news hubbub. Sadly, there's some pretty important news in today's GNR, including the fact that electricity generated renewables outpaced coal last year for the first time in the U.S. That big news will all almost certain be forgotten because...well...

TRUMP WAS INDICTED today. Reportedly, the charges are in relation to his secret hush-money payoff of porn star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election, in hopes of improving his chance of winning. But we don't know, because the indictment by a New York grand jury is still sealed until next week.

The charges, brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whatever they are, represent the first indictment of a U.S. President in history. Trump will reportedly surrender next week in NYC, according to his attorney Joe Tacopina. He will then be finger-printed, booked and perhaps hand-cuffed before his arraignment. We'll see if that all happens.

We share several related thoughts on all of this on today's program, on the fly, as based on the historic news as it broke in real time this afternoon...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Wisconsin author, journalist John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: Stunning overnight legal developments in Trump stolen documents case...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2023 5:41pm PT  

In what appears to be a momentary pause (of sorts) in the Indictment Watch this week for our disgraced former President, we take the opportunity on today's BradCast to make sure you're up to date with what our guest today describes as "the most important election of the year." [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Before we get to that guest today, even with the momentary break from the likely criminal indictment for Donald Trump in New York, there was quite the extraordinary flurry of activity overnight (literally) in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal grand jury investigation of the thousands of documents --- many highly classified --- that Trump stole from the White House upon leaving office.

Last week, D.C.'s Chief District Court judge Beryl Howell, in a sealed ruling, ordered Evan Corcoran, one of Trump's attorneys in the Mar-a-Lago stolen documents case, to give both documents (reportedly including transcripts of audio tapes!) and testimony to the grand jury. Corcoran had previously invoked attorney-client privilege to avoid testifying about his conversations with Trump. But Howell reportedly viewed evidence leading her to determine there was a prima facie case that Trump used Corcoran in the furtherance of yet another crime, thus piercing the attorney-client privilege with the fraud-crime exception to it.

Trump appealed Howell's Friday order to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal which, last night, issued an administrative stay while ordering Team Trump to submit their brief in the appeal by midnight last night! They further ordered the DoJ's response to it by 6 a.m. this morning! Longtime attorneys and prosecutors were stunned by the unheard of speed in the court's scheduling. Some suggested that may be a sign that federal judges are fed up with Trump's stalling tactics. Others suggest the emergency order signaled "an urgent issue of National Security" was at stake or even "potential espionage." Yikes! We discuss.

In any event, late this afternoon, the three-judge Appeals Court panel lifted the stay on Howell's ruling and ordered Corcoran to both turn over the documents in question and testify to the grand jury. Trump could still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it's believed he'll be no more successful there on this motion. Much more to come in this case.

Next, we're joined by longtime progressive journalist, author and Wisconsin native JOHN NICHOLS, National Affairs Correspondent at The Nation and Associate Editor at Madison WI's Capitol Times, to discuss this bizarre moment in Presidential accountability history and the extraordinarily heated, expensive and important WI state Supreme Court election now underway. Early voting began this week for the April 4 contest that may finally flip control of the state's high court to liberal jurists for the first time in 15 years.

Nichols explains why the supposedly non-partisan race --- between liberal Milwaukee County Circuit judge Janet Protasiewicz and far-right former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly --- is so critical to both Wisconsin and to the rest of the nation in advance of the 2024 Presidential election in the battleground state.

The Protasiewicz camp has accused Kelly, who was unseated from the high court in 2020 after being soundly defeated, of receiving $120,000 from the Republican Party to advise them on overturning that year's Presidential election results in the Badger State, via the failed "fake electors" scheme. Protasiewicz also describes Kelly, who is endorsed by several anti-abortion rights groups as a "radical" "extremist".

For his part, Kelly's campaign characterizes Protasiewicz as "soft on crime", "woke", and several other standard GOP smears that may not be quite as effective as Republicans think, according to Nichols.

That said, there are ton of issues likely to come before WI's high court in the coming months and years that will have a huge impact on both Badger State residents and the rest of the nation, including the validity of the state's 1849 abortion ban "that Republicans want to reanimate," as Nichols explains; the state's recent "anti-labor laws that [former Gov. Scott] Walker" enacted; "a chance to undo gerrymandering to make sure that voting rights are protected and elections are fair," not to mention rulings that could determine who ends up winning the 2024 Presidential election in the state, where, Nichols notes, "four of our last six Presidential elections in Wisconsin were decided by under 25,000 votes" out of more than 3 million votes cast.

"Bottom line is," Nichols tells me, "if you end up with a 4-3 liberal majority on this court that actually looks at cases in a fair and reasonable way," there are myriad rulings from the last 15 years of far-right state Supreme Court control that could finally be reversed.

Among other topics discussed with Nichols today: Whether, after well over a decade of covering WI Supreme Court elections, we will finally see it flip on April 4; a point of disagreement regarding whether judges should be forced to compete in elections at all, much less in so-called "non-partisan" ones like those in WI; and his new best seller, just published with co-author Bernie Sanders, titled It's Okay to be Angry About Capitalism.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Climate journalist, videographer Peter Sinclair; Also: Farmers rally for climate in D.C.; MI Democrats repeal GOP anti-union laws...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2023 4:23pm PT  

All of that clean, green, renewable energy needs to come from somewhere if we're gonna save humanity. Shamefully, many of those working to help produce it in rural America, including farmers and small town elected officials, have been paying an awful price for their heroic efforts, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up today, a few quick news items. Speaking of farmers and the climate, last week saw hundreds of climate activists and farmers rally in D.C. in hopes of increased support for climate provisions in this year's federal farm bill. Congress is working toward passage of their latest, half-a-billion dollar, five-year spending bill for farmers and nutrition support. The Biden Administration, the USDA and Congressional Democrats have made climate and net-zero farming a top priority, as agriculture currently contributes almost 10% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers are on the front lines of our quickly changing climate and hope to get more help. Republicans, on the other hand, want to cut funding from the bill despite the farmer's asking for more help thanks to our worsening climate crisis.

Also, some good news out of Michigan today, where the state Senate has followed the state House in passing a bill to repeal the state's so-called "Right-to-Work" (for less!) law, adopted when the GOP controlled the state legislature in 2012. Pending final approval in the House, the measure, seen as a major victory for organized labor, will then be signed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. All of that made possible by passage of a statewide ballot initiative that ended gerrymandering in Michigan, resulting in a legislative trifecta for Democrats as of last November, giving them control of both chambers of the state legislature and the Governor's mansion. And all of that is resulting in good news for the working class!

Then, speaking of farmers, the climate and Michigan, we're joined by PETER SINCLAIR, a longtime climate videographer, journalist, climate-denial debunker and Michigan native who has been documenting a disturbing --- and disturbingly under-reported --- attack on farmers and elected officials in rural communities in the American heartland.

Through a series of short videos based on interviews with folks in a number of small townships in rural Montcalm County, MI, (see here, here, and here, for example), Sinclair has been telling the story of a broad and well-coordinated misinformation and disinformation campaign, resulting in attacks, threats and boycotts against those who are daring to consider support for wind and solar projects on their own farmlands and in their small towns.

Sinclair, an award-winning climate communicator and producer of Yale Climate Connections' This is Not Cool series, and creator of his long-running Climate Denial Crock of the Week, details the chilling threats and harassment being faced by folks in these communities from clearly coordinated anti-renewable energy campaigns which have polluted local residents with a bombardment of lies about climate change and clean energy.

Today, we share a number of clips from his video series, as farmers and current and former public officials explain the harassment they have been facing; the tools used by the harassers (such as Facebook); how these campaigns mirror other, better-reported ones coming from the right in recent years, such as those town-hall meetings with angry opponents of "ObamaCare" more than a decade ago and similar scenes at school board hearings over COVID requirements, etc.

"This campaign is so well-oiled that it is kind of self-replicating," Sinclair explains. "People hear there's going to be a solar or wind project nearby, they've been primed by twenty, thirty years of Fox News, talk radio to be suspicious. They go on to social media [and] they find literally thousands of references to misinformation and disinformation that's being constantly circulated and recirculated out there. Then they replicate this template. It typically starts by forming a Facebook group, making it private, not allowing any dissension, and herding a whole lot of people into it and continually bombarding them with a stream of negative misinformation. Pretty soon you've got people that are terrified, angry, and aggrieved, and then it's just a matter of pointing them in the direction of the nearest local planning commission or township board."

He tells me: "We have evolved a generation of people who are attuned to this culture war mindset. Some of the earliest anti-wind energy memes that really stood out had a picture of wind turbines and it said, 'The production tax credit, Obamacare's worst tax.' This was ten, twelve years ago, but you're supposed to make a connection between Obamacare, which you're supposed to hate, and wind turbines, which then, I guess you're supposed to make a connection that it has something to do with Obama. Of course there's no connection whatsoever!," laughs Sinclair, "but that connection is continually made."

We also discuss the dirty fingerprints of the fossil fuel industry on these sleazy campaigns (though they are often obscured by "a lot of dark, untraceable money floating around for this kind of activity"); one of the men who seems to be "the big cheese" organizer behind many of them (a guy by the name of Kevon Martis from a climate denier outfit known as the Energy and Environment Legal Institute is cited over and over as a cult-like figure by many of the harassed locals in different townships); and what the public can do to help push back against this corrupt and dangerous madness.

"Mr. Martis follows me closely on social media," Sinclair quipped. "One of my favorite tweets is, 'Peter Sinclair doesn't just want to take your energy, he wants to take your guns!'"

Ridiculous attacks aside, all of this is going on in hundreds of counties in dozens of states across America's farm belt and, frankly, deserves much more light and attention than it has been receiving from both state and national media, as well as state and national politicians. We try to offer some of that long-overdue public attention today in our conversation with Sinclair...

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Guest: Dr. Nelson Lichtenstein, UCSB labor historian; Also: Landmark U.N. deal to protect world oceans; Fighting (again) for permanent DST...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2023 6:12pm PT  

As discussed on today's BradCast, support for labor unions in the U.S. is now near all-time highs. At the same time, the lawlessness by major companies willingly and repeatedly violating labor law is through the roof. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Last week, by way of just one example, a federal Administrative law judge found Starbucks had committed "egregious" violations of labor law in just one case that combined unfair labor practices charges at 21 union stores in the Buffalo, New York area alone. In fact, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has brought some 75 complaints against the coffee company accusing them of more than 1,000 illegal actions over just the past year or two.

Despite a newly aggressive, pro-labor, pro-union NLRB under President Biden and an explosion of unionization efforts over the past two years at hundreds of shops and facilities owned by firms like Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, REI and Chipotle, those companies have spent tens of millions on attorneys specializing in breaking unions, according to our guest today.

DR. NELSON LICHTENSTEIN, author and longtime professor of labor history at Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, joins us today to discuss both the successes and obstacles faced by the new union movement rising in the U.S. since he was here in 2021. While the companies mentioned have long attempted to project a friendly, progressive image to the public, they have been very aggressive in attempting, frequently unlawfully, to block unionization of stores and facilities around the country. Firing workers who support unions; shutting down shops where union votes have been requested and/or have succeeded; and, where union votes have succeeded, companies have simply refused to negotiate union contracts. That "is par for the course," Lichtenstein argues.

He cites "almost fifty years of specialized anti-labor law firms" now being employed by those companies. "And it works! Why change it?," he quips. "Despite the public relations hit that it has had for Starbucks and the other companies, the managers had their meetings, they've run the numbers, they've decided they'll take a small reduction in their growth and it's worth it."

"The tremendous push-back is really a tribute to the importance of unionism," says Lichtenstein. "The official line of these companies is '[unionization is] not going to change anything!'...While they are moving heaven and earth to stop the union."

Lichtenstein describes "the most aggressively pro-labor" NLRB in decades, noting "they don't have much money and they're putting together real indictments of these companies. The problem is that the NLRB doesn't really have any disciplinary tools at its command. The penalties for breaking the law are really minuscule." And, with those small penalties, these anti-union companies have simply decided that repeatedly and "egregiously" violating the law is merely the cost of doing business.

Republicans in the last Congress blocked passage of the federal Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act which would make many of these violations much more painful for company management. But, Lichtenstein explains, there are already laws on the books --- both anti-trust and RICO statutes --- that could be used by the federal government to bring anti-union companies to heal by making them feel real pain for violating the law.

We discuss all of that and much more today, including what Lichtenstein attributes to the recent rise in support for unions and unionization, and whether he is optimistic or pessimistic about the current state of labor and the new unionization movement.

Also today
, Desi Doyen joins us to explain some very big news from over the weekend on protecting the planet's oceans, after the U.N. sealed a landmark deal in overtime on Saturday, following a nearly 20-year effort for the framework of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. The breakthrough agreement, as she details, will help protect about 50% of the world's "high seas" which are currently outside national boundary waters or otherwise protected only by a patchwork of regional agreements.

And finally, with the clocks mercifully changing once again to Daylight Saving Time this coming weekend, it's time for our annual call to make it permanent. Once again this year, we are backed by a bipartisan effort in both the House and Senate to do just that...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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