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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, February 20, 2024
'Green News Report' 2/20/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record ocean heat decimating FL's coral reefs; Plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam; PLUS: Nearly half of world's migratory species in decline, U.N. study finds...
Previous GNRs: 2/15/24 - 2/13/24 - Archives...
After Navalny:
'BradCast' 2/19/24
Also: Massive election fraud alleged in Pakistan; Final death blow for GOP fraudsters' phony election fraud film, '2000 Mules'
Sunday 'Partying With Putin' Toons
Can someone let Tucker know that Vlad got another one? It's our latest collection of the week's best toons...
In Memoriam: Alexei Navalny (1976-2024)
So, remind me again how wonderful Vladimir Putin is...
Guns Again, Trump as Ever, Media Failure and the Way Forward: 'BradCast' 2/15/24
Also: Special Counsel probing Hunter Biden indicts informant who lied about 'bribes' to the Bidens from a Ukrainian energy company...
'Green News Report' 2/15/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Mysterious oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago; Big changes as Greenland gets greener; Wildfires reversing hard-won gains against air pollution; PLUS: Climate change comes for chocolate...
Previous GNRs: 2/13/24 - 2/8/24 - Archives...
New Chesebro Docs Detail Trump's Failed 2020 'Legal Coup': 'BradCast' 2/14/24
Guest: TPM's Josh Kovensky; Also: Another huge night for Dems in NY, PA; WI gets closer to fair maps; MI 'fake elector' says GOP lied...
Stewart Return to 'Daily Show' Not a Moment Too Soon!: 'BradCast' 2/13/24
Also: GOP takes mulligan on Mayorkas impeachment; Sen. passes Ukraine bill; Media's epic fail on Hur's obnoxious vindication of Biden in classified docs probe...
'Green News Report' 2/13/24
Culture shift from fossil fuels in Super Bowl EV ads; Big Oil/Gas spending big on Trump; PLUS: Climate scientist wins $1 million defamation suit against rightwing deniers...
Russia, If You're Listening, Trump Says 'Do Whatever the Hell You Want' to NATO Allies: 'BradCast' 2/12/24
Also: Last week's GOP Caucuses in NV, V.I.; Special Election in NY-3; Callers ring in...
Super Sunday 'Borderline Insanity' Toons
Just a few too many tokes over the line in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
Biden Should Federalize TX National Guard Amid State's Defiance of SCOTUS Order
POTUS must address, expose 'moral crisis' of GOP hypocrisy, cruelty, dehumanizing anti-immigrant propaganda...
'Green News Report' 2/8/24
EPA cracks down on deadly soot pollution; January was hottest ever recorded on Planet Earth; PLUS: Hurricanes are getting so intense, scientists propose a 'Category 6'...
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...


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...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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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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: 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...

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Guest: Public Citizen's competition policy expert Matt Kent; Also: House GOP's dangerous debt default gambit may come sooner than expected...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2023 6:24pm PT  

If you can get through the troubling news at the top of today's BradCast, we've got far more encouraging news beyond it! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, the dangerous GOP scheme to use the need to raise the nation's borrowing limit to hold the nation's economy hostage, may come sooner than expected this year. The debt ceiling will have to be raised this year so that we can cover the cost of stuff that Congress and Presidents have already committed to paying for. But, if hardline Republicans who now control the House and its Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, carry out their threats, bumping into our current debt ceiling could place the nation on the brink of the first default of the federal government in U.S. history. Immediate market crashes and millions of layoffs could follow, along with a national and/or global recession and/or depression in the bargain.

According to AP today, the federal government could run out of money as early as this week or as late as March. After that, they will institute "extraordinary measures" to continue paying our bills as long as possible. But unless Congress adopts another increase in the debt ceiling (which is never a problem when a Republican is in the White House) a default could occur as soon as mid-summer. Given the promises made by McCarthy to the hardliners in his caucus last week, in order to win the Speakership on the 15th ballot, this could all get very dangerous very quickly. Especially given the way Republican extremists carry out "negotiations" in the modern age.

Beyond that, we've got some much better news today as we turn our eyes toward Executive Actions and those by Executive Branch agencies to move the nation forward while the GOP brings legislative progress to a screeching halt. On that front, while Joe Biden vowed to be the most labor friendly President in U.S. history (granted, a pretty low bar), his Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair, progressive Lina Khan, is working hard to help him keep the promise.

Last month, more than two dozen consumer advocacy groups and labor unions sent a letter to Khan and the other FTC Commissioners asking them to quickly begin the process to create a new rule that would ban the use of non-compete contracts by employers. "Employers’ use of non-compete clauses inflict real and substantial harms on the American worker and the overall U.S. economy without any legitimate justification," the groups argued. "By limiting worker’s mobility, non-competes drive down wages, reduce the formation of new businesses and keep workers stuck in unsafe or hostile workplaces. These one-sided contracts can also unfairly restrain competition in downstream markets by allowing dominant firms to hold on to specialized workers --- think of monopolistic hospitals and surgeons."

Last week, the FTC did precisely as asked, kicking off the rule-making process to ban such contract clauses in all 50 states! Today, we're joined by MATT KENT, competition policy advocate at Public Citizen, one of the letter's signatories, to discuss what his organization described last week as "thrilling" news.

"Non-compete clauses are built into employment contracts to require employees to not work against an employer," Kent tells me. "This was originally used as something for higher level senior executive types, to prevent them from going from boardroom to boardroom. Over the decades, employers realized this was a useful tactic in depressing workers' wages by taking away their leverage to move to another company."

He explains that such clauses are now common for everything from food-service workers to security guards. "In a lot of cases, folks would move to another job only to find out that their former employer was suing them for violating a non-compete, to make an example [of them], and put the fear into workers [and] cut down on their mobility. It's become a major problem."

The text of the FTC's newly proposed rule is "very encouraging," Kent says. "When you do this work, you're ready for disappointment. So we were expecting to see a proposal from the FTC with common carve-outs and exceptions." Instead, they got just about everything they asked for. Nonetheless, changes to the final rule "could still happen. That's the battle ahead of us now at the FTC. But we are very, very excited by the fact that, as proposed right now, the FTC does not include any carve-outs or special exceptions that Big Business could really exploit."

Because of that, he warns, "the business community is going to come hard for this one" both in the courts and during the public comment period which is now open. "The FTC needs to hear from the public," he implores. "More people than you think have a story about someone who has been stuck in a bad situation with a non-compete. People feel afraid to talk about them because they're worried about employer retribution," Kent notes. "But people have the ability to comment anonymously. People who have experiences with non-compete clauses in an employment contract affecting them or their family, now is the time to communicate that to the FTC as they make this rule, because public support is going to be really important."

Also in my conversation today with Kent: Why this rule-making process must be finished quickly to avoid the possibility of the regulation being overturned through the Congressional Review Act after the 2024 elections; excitement among the progressive and labor community about Khan's appointment as FTC Chair; the possibility of revitalizing long-moribund, anti-trade, anti-competition, anti-monopoly laws like the Sherman and Clayton Acts; and whether it's possible or not to find common ground with some members of the Republican right who claim to be troubled by overly-powerful corporate control of everything from Big Tech to Big Grocery...

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Cochise County ordered to certify results; Lake, Finchem attorneys sanctioned; Also: Warnock campaigner shot in GA; Boebert recount begins in CO; Dems avert rail strike, but about those paid sick days...
By Brad Friedman on 12/2/2022 6:37pm PT  

Nope. We're still not done with the 2022 Elections on The BradCast. And that's without even including next Tuesday's U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get to a number of election-related items today...

  • Some thoughts on the bill signed on Friday by President Biden to help avert a national rail strike and economic catastrophe along with it. I've seen a lot of misinformation out there from progressives over the past 24 hours or so about the political strategy employed by the White House and Congressional Dems. So I try to clear up a few points today, explain why what happened happened, and how the focus must now turn toward ensuring that Biden includes paid sick days for federally contracted rail workers in an Executive Order.

As to the continuing 2022 midterm elections...

  • A teenage election worker, campaigning for Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in Savannah, Georgia ahead of Tuesday's runoff against Herschel Walker (R), was shot while knocking on doors on Thursday. He was shot through a closed door and is being treated for what is described as "non-life threatening injuries". The Savannah Police Dept. has arrested the alleged shooter and claims that "At this point, there is no indication the shooting was politically motivated." Okay. Just shooting people randomly through front doors then?
  • Colorado Sec. of State Jena Griswold has officially ordered a mandatory recount in the 3rd U.S. House District race between incumbent far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) and challenger Adam Frisch (D) because the final margin was smaller than 0.5%. Boebert was certified to have won the race by just 550 votes out of more than 327,000 cast across the 27 counties that comprise the 3rd District which blankets almost all of western CO. This race, according to the nation's election forecasters, wasn't even supposed to have been close. Obviously, it was. Sadly, according to state law, all counties must now re-tally ballots in the recount by the same method used to count them originally. That means that all but one county in the state will tally their hand-marked paper ballots on the same optical-scan computers that tallied them the first time, either correctly or incorrectly. The only way to know for sure, of course, is to hand-count them. San Juan County will be the only one to do so, since that's how they originally tallied their voters' ballots.
  • An even closer race will soon be recounted statewide in Arizona, where Democrat Kris Mayes will be certified on Monday by the state as having defeated Trump-backed MAGA Republican Abe Hamadeh in the Attorney General's race by just 510 votes out of more than 2.5 million cast. That's a margin of just two one-hundredths of a percentage point! As in Colorado, Arizona, shamefully, recounts by computer as well.
  • A recount is only allowed in Arizona when the margin is less than 0.5%. But if the Republicans on the Cochise County Board of Supervisors had their way, there probably wouldn't be a recount at all in the razor-close AG's race, because Hamadeh would have lost by much more. Also, one U.S. House race would have flipped from a Republican victory to a Democratic victory, and the Dem, not the Republican would have been the winner in the state's school superintendent race. That's because the MAGA Republican dupes on the Cochise Board tried to avoid certifying their county's election results entirely, despite any evidence of fraud or miscount or anything else. Luckily for the County's 46,000 mostly-Republican voters, Democratic Sec. of State and soon-to-be Governor Katie Hobbs sued the county to force them to certify. On Thursday, a state judge ordered them to certify results immediately, preventing the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters (from all parties).
  • Cochise had a difficult time finding an attorney willing to represent them in the above-mentioned matter, after the County attorney refused, citing his original advise to the Board that refusing to certify was unlawful. Even the attorney for the buffoonish Cyber Ninjas turned them down! But attorneys thinking twice about taking lousy election cases is probably a good idea. At least a federal judge in Arizona thinks so, and is trying to make that point loud and clear. On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge John Tuchi sanctioned the attorneys representing failed Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and failed Sec. of State candidate Mark Finchem --- Trump-backed MAGA Republicans and election liars both --- for frivolous their frivolous complaints challenging the election systems in Maricopa (Phoenix) and Pima (Tucson) Counties. As Judge Tuchi made clear in his order for sanctions [PDF], it was meant to "penalize specific attorney conduct with the broader goal of deterring similarly baseless filings initiated by anyone, whether an attorney or not" and to "make clear that the Court will not condone litigants ... furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process."

And finally, today...

  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with good news for water drinkers in Mississippi; bad news for polluting oil and gas drillers in the U.S.; and disturbing news for everyone who lives near the rising seas on our coastlines...

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Guest: GA election integrity expert, observer Jeanne Dufort; Also: Dems unite behind new House leadership; Bills passed to help avert rail strike; Meadows ordered to testify in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2022 6:24pm PT  

As early voting records are smashed and lines are obscenely long once again in advance of Tuesday's U.S. Senate Runoff Election Day, today's BradCast offers a maddening reminder of why we've been covering Georgia elections, in such detail, for so many years. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Thanks to state Republicans who cut the time for runoff elections by more than half after the 2020 elections, voters across the GA are now forced to wait in hours-long lines to vote early this week in the contest between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Trump-backed former football player and unapologetic liar Herschel Walker. While early voting records are being broken, as we detailed yesterday, much of that is thanks to the GOP's SB202 voter suppression bill [PDF], adopted last year by the state legislature, supported by its Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger and signed by its Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

Where Peach State voters had as many as 17 early voting days in the November 8 elections, they now have no more than 7. And with the compressed time between the general and the runoff, few are able to request, receive and return absentee mail ballots in time. Instead, voters are now being forced to stand in line to vote at polling places on the state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen computer voting systems.

We're joined today to discuss that and much more by longtime election integrity champion JEANNE DUFORT of the Coalition for Good Governance. Dufort has served as Georgia election observer for many years, representing both the Democratic and Libertarian Parties at various times in the Peach State's rural, Republican-leaning Morgan County. She is also a named plaintiff (Full Disclosure: Along with me!) in the Coalition's lawsuit challenging several of the many disturbing provisions of SB202.

Dufort offers insight today from on the ground on how things went for voters on November 8, with most of SB202's voting restrictions in place; why it's now so difficult to vote there once again in the runoff; and why voters should be concerned about the ability to know if results reported next week by Raffensperger's insecure and unverifiable touchscreen systems --- forced on voters at every polling place, instead of verifiable hand-marked paper ballots! --- will actually reflect the intent of state voters.

"You can break all the daily [early voting] records that you want and still not have enough capacity for everybody who wants to vote," she explains. "All of the bottlenecks are at check-in. They haven't been able to figure out how to get enough check-in stations to get 17 days-worth of early voting, plus people who would prefer to vote by mail but don't think they can" into the short early voting period now allotted by SB202. "Compressing all that into these seven days is ten pounds in a five pound sack."

In addition to check-in bottlenecks, the computerized voting systems don't make any of it easier or faster, particularly in an election with one single race on most ballots across the state. "It would be faster if they handed them a ballot and just marked it. That would be faster than putting the card into the machine, bringing it up, tabbing through the things, do the check and waiting for the printer. It's just stupid. When you think about marking a ballot by a pen and then watch the process on a machine, it seems amazing that somebody would spend $3,000 on a machine to do what a $1 pen would do. But here we are."

As usual, there is much much more to discuss with Dufort about all of this today!

Also on today's program...

  • "Dems in array!" In a rare display of unity on the left, House Democrats voted unanimously on Wednesday for their new leadership beginning in January. New York's Rep. Hakeem Jeffries will be the first black American to head up a major political party in Congress, taking the reigns following Nancy Pelosi's historic tenure as she and the rest of the party's longtime leadership team step aside to allow a new, younger generation to take over. All of that by way of contrast with the chaos on the GOP side and whether Rep. Kevin McCarthy will be able to muster enough votes from his own caucus to become the new Republican House Speaker next year.
  • With Pelosi still serving as Speaker in the lame duck session of Congress, the House passed two bills today to try and help avert a rail strike that would cripple the nation's economy. With 4 of 12 rail unions opposing a new contract negotiated with the help of the White House in September --- granting a 24% pay raise to workers, but failing to allow for paid sick days --- a bipartisan bill would force the agreement to be adopted. A second bill passed by all Democrats and only three Republicans in the House on Wednesday would mandate seven paid sick days per year. Whether either measure can now be passed in the Senate, where approval by 10 Republicans would be needed to overcome a filibuster, remains to be seen.
  • And, in a unanimous three-paragraph ruling late Tuesday, the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered Trump's last Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, to testify before the Special Grand Jury in Atlanta convened by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to probe the Trump-lead conspiracy to strong-arm GA election officials into changing the 2020 results in his favor. Meadows argued he didn't have to testify due to executive privilege. SC's Supreme Court tersely responded in their order: "We have reviewed the arguments raised by [Meadows] and find them to be manifestly without merit." Ouch...

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Guest: The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson; Also: Rail worker strike looms; Noteworthy primary results from DE, RI, NH...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2022 6:32pm PT  

We've got a lot of news, both good and not as good, for labor on today's BradCast. Also, some results of some pretty crazy primary contests on Tuesday from the final three states to hold primary elections this year before November's critical midterms. [Audio link to full show is posted after this summary.]

First up, those primary results in Delaware, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. After a couple of races in DE and RI, we hit the most notable on the night, coming out of the Granite State, where Republican voters have elected another hard-right, conspiracy theorist and election denying loon as their nominee in a U.S. Senate race they might have been able to easily win this fall with a non-insane candidate. Instead, retired Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc --- who wants to abolish the FBI and the 17th Amendment (the direct election of U.S. Senators) and has described the state's popular, relatively moderate Republican Governor Chris Sununu as "a Chinese communist sympathizer” --- will now take on New Hampshire's incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in November.

Two hard-right Trumpers also won the GOP nominations for the NH's two U.S. House Seats, each currently held by Democrats. We take a bit of time today to focus on Karoline Leavitt, the apparent winner of the Republican nod in the NH's 1st Congressional District, where she will fake Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas after winning her upset victory against establishment-preferred Trumper Matt Mowers. The 25-year old Leavitt (who, mark my words, will be a new GOP star whether she wins or loses), previously worked in the Trump White House and has clearly taken on the hard-right mantle and obnoxious manner of her former boss. That resulted in an extraordinarily ugly primary battle between her and fellow Trump Administration colleague Mowers for the nomination and the title of who was the Trumpiest of them all. In both the Senate and House GOP primaries, the candidates preferred (and heavily invested in) by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy lost. Democrats are likely just fine with the results.

Then, railroad workers appear to be ready to go on strike as of 12:01am on Friday, over the horrific working conditions they have been required to endure for years. We detail some of those terrible conditions in advance of what could be a wildly disruptive and expensive work stoppage in advance of the midterm elections, with some 57,000 workers now set to strike barring a breakthrough.

Next, we're joined for some significantly more positive labor news today by The American Prospect's longtime Editor-at-Large, HAROLD MEYERSON to discuss what he describes as a "groundbreaking" new labor law in California to improve the wages and working conditions of some 550,000 fast-food workers in the state. The measure was signed last week, on Labor Day, by the state's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

In addition to setting a $22/hour minimum wage for the state's half-million fast-food workers (adjusted annually to keep up with the consumer price index), AB 257 also mandates the creation of a 10-person Council to oversee working conditions in the sector statewide. The Council, as Meyerson reported recently at The Prospect, would include "two representatives of franchise owners, two from the corporate chains, two fast-food workers, two fast-food 'advocates' (likely SEIU), and two who are the governor’s appointees to head labor-related state agencies."

"It's been really groundbreaking," Meyers explains today, "There's been nothing like it, really, in American history. It sets up what's called sectoral bargaining, in which representatives of workers in an entire industry sit down with representatives of management in the industry, and in this case, with a couple of state officials, as well. And they set standards for the industry...to craft wage and benefit and workplace safety and other standards for every worker in a chain fast-food outlet in California that has at least 100 outlets nationwide. So McDonalds, Jack in the Box, Starbucks, you name it."

That is a huge victory for labor groups like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and is likely to bring positive change for workers faster than otherwise unionizing hundreds of Taco Bell shops, one at a time.

Along with a helpful dose of American Labor history, Meyerson details how "sectoral bargaining is actually fairly common in Western Europe [where] it evolved on top of a much higher level of unionization of their workers than we have here in the United States." For now, however, as the SEIU has been fighting for a decade to unionize fast-food shops and establish a $15 minimum wage for their workers, the CA state effort is indeed both progressive and ground-breaking.

Of course, that means that an effort is already under way by the franchise industry and other wealthy business interests to shut the whole thing down. If the anti-worker forces in the state can collect enough signatures in the next several months, they can prevent the measure from going into full effect until voters decide on it via a 2024 ballot initiative. Otherwise, as Meyerson explains, "the law goes into effect. They can always then put an initiative on the ballot [in 2024 anyway], but at that point they would effectively be demanding a wage cut for half a million workers and their families."

All of this comes as a new Gallup survey found that, as of Labor Day, support for unions was at 71% among Americans, a nearly 60-year high. That, paradoxically, as just 6% of workers are currently in private unions. Yet, approval for labor unions hasn't been this high since 1965. Interestingly, when Gallup began their annual survey in 1936, amid the Great Depression, approval for labor unions was only one point higher, at 72%.

Lots to digest, I suspect, on today's BradCast. Buckle up...

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We're back! And we've got a LOT to catch up on...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2022 6:27pm PT  

Like it or not, we're back on today's BradCast after a much-needed week off! And, as it turns out, we've got plenty to talk about. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the huge number of stories covered on today's show, as we try to get caught up with both what we missed and what's still unraveling today...

  • It's hot here in Los Angeles. Really hot. A record heat wave (in both intensity and duration) now stretches from Southern California all the way up into Canada. And, no, it is not normal. (Or at least it didn't used to be.)
  • It's also not normal for Mississippi's capital city of Jackson to have no water for drinking, bathing, flushing or even fighting fires. But it was predictable. That's what happens when you lower taxes and defer maintenance on critical infrastructure for decades before a warming climate dumps tons of rain to knock your water systems offline entirely. Now the state's Republican Governor (who has been instrumental in deferring that maintenance), is discussing privatizing the water system. As of Sunday, in any event, water pressure is finally returning to residents after a full week without, and about a month of boil water notices prior to the outage.
  • Some good news following Labor Day: Public approval of labor unions, at 71% of the American people, is now the highest it has been since 1965, according to Gallup. That's a 7-point spike in their pre-Labor Day survey since the pandemic began and a more than 21-point jump since 2009. And, as we discuss, that's all good news for both union workers and non-union workers alike!
  • There is new evidence out of Coffee County, Georgia today --- including security camera surveillance video gathered via a federal lawsuit against Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger to block use of his unverifiable touchscreen voting systems --- revealing that rightwing MAGA Trump supporters lied about unlawfully breaching and making copies of the County's voting system software after the 2020 election. The long-running lawsuit was filed by Coalition for Good Governance founder Marilyn Marks, a regular guest on this program. She originally broke the Coffee County voting system software breach story on this show some months ago, along with detailing Raffensperger's clumsy, months-long efforts to cover-up of the entire boondoggle. More details on that story coming soon!
  • In the second-to-last primary day of the midterm election season, voters in Massachusetts are selecting party nominees for the contest to succeed the state's popular, outgoing Republican Governor in the otherwise liberal-leaning state. As in Maryland in July, the choice on the GOP side in MA is between a Trump-backed election denier and an otherwise normal-ish Republican candidate. In MD, the Trump-backed loon won, likely handing Governor's mansion to the Democrats this fall. Will the same thing happen in MA? Tune in tomorrow!
  • While we were out, Alaska's embarrassing former Republican Governor Sarah Palin, did not win the Special Election for the state's only U.S. House seat. After a Ranked Choice Voting election featuring two Republicans and one Democrat, the Democrat, Mary Peltola was elected to fill the seat occupied for nearly 50 years by the late Republican Rep. Don Young. She'll serve the rest of Young's term through the end of the year and becomes the first Alaska Native elected to Congress. The same three candidates, and one other, will square off in another RCV election in November for a full term beginning in January. Hopefully Palin will continue her losing streak.
  • Also, while we were out, the President of the United States found it necessary to offer a prime-time address to warn of the rising menace posed to democracy itself by Donald Trump and his supporters. Joe Biden was, of course, both correct and accurate in his remarks outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, highlighting the fact that democracy itself will be on the ballot this fall and the threat that demagogues from the right now pose to our nation. "What’s happening in our country today is not normal," he said, though corporate media outlets seemed to have a tremendously difficult time simply pointing out how Biden's assertions were demonstrably true. By way of just one example, after a Trump rally in Pennsylvania over the weekend, in which an invited speaker discussed support for January 6 insurrectionists, including her nephew, who is literally a Hitler fan, USA Today's Francesca Chambers actually said: "President Biden and former President Trump are having some difficulties when it comes to optical issues both could have avoided." (!!!)
  • Finally today, some thoughts on the Trump-appointed federal judge in Florida who, on Monday, issued an absurd ruling ordering a Special Master to review thousands of pages of highly classified and other stolen government documents obtained by the FBI during its federal court-ordered search of Donald Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago last month. The ruling by Judge Aileen Cannon --- to appoint a Special Master to examine the documents for both executive privilege (which hasn't been claimed by Trump, and can only be asserted by Biden) and for attorney-client privilege --- was ridiculous and absurd on several counts and yet still somewhat less of an outrage than many have characterized it to be over the past 24 hours. We explain why.

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Guest: Omar Ocampo of Inequality.org: Also: NE, WV primary results and who cares what they mean for Trump?; Senate abortion vote; Federal court ruling on semi-automatic weapons sales to children in CA...
By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2022 6:35pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Sure, the supply chain was, and occasionally still is, a problem. So is Russia's war on Ukraine, obviously. But it's the greed of billionaires and the cowardice (or corruption) of public officials to do anything about that greed in this country that must be turned around in order to save the U.S. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, first, speaking of corruption...New numbers out today from the Labor Department suggest that inflation may have peaked before April. As the Times alerted today, "Inflation moderated slightly in April, though the 8.3% annual gain in U.S. consumer prices remained uncomfortably high." As AP trumpeted in its breaking news iPhone alert: "U.S. inflation slowed slightly last month, a tentative sign that prices may be peaking while still imposing a financial strain on American households." Reuters: "U.S. consumer price growth slowed sharply to 0.3% in April, suggesting that inflation may have peaked." They were all similar....Well, except for Fox "News": "Inflation higher than expected in April, holding near 40-year high."

And you wonder why Rightwingers are so angry? It's still the Fox "News", stupid.

And speaking of stupid...Midterm primaries were held in Nebraska and West Virginia on Tuesday. (Happily, unlike in Ohio last week, we saw no reports of voting problems or voting system breakdowns, so far.) As you may have noticed, pretty much every news report about Tuesday's results focused on what they mean for Donald Trump and his party and the candidates he endorsed. The incumbent U.S. House member that Trump endorsed in WV who ran for the GOP nomination against another incumbent U.S. House member who voted for Joe Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill won on Tuesday. Kingmaker Trump's power over the party is still strong! But the 8-time accused sexual harasser that Trump endorsed and stumped for in NE's GOP Gubernatorial primary lost. Trump's influence may be faltering!

As we discuss today, that framing by the corporate media --- reporting on these critical elections through the lens of Trump --- is wildly unhelpful and ill-serves the public at a time when democracy itself is on the line this November (and in 2024). It's not about Trump. He's already captured and broken the party. And that is true if he drops dead tomorrow and Ron DeSantis --- or anyone else --- takes his place. The damage is done. So, how can we fix it? Much more on that on today's show.

And speaking of failures all around... as the nation's death toll from COVID hits a staggering 1 million... The nation's corporations and rich people are doing just fine, thanks.

Big Oil continues to raise prices at the pump for consumers by pretending that its caused by post-pandemic supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine, even as they continue to rake in record profits (not revenue, but profits) in recent months. The profiteering --- under the guise of supply chain-induced "inflation" --- is also seen in other industries, of course, including the food industry, as well as the apparel business. In their latest reports on the industry profiteering, Accountable.us President Kyle Herrig appropriately derides "the industries most unapologetic about charging their customers more during a fragile economic recovery, apparently just because they can." And they can, because we let them develop monopolies and near-monopolies so there is little or no price competition left in the "free market".

And then there are the the nation's 727 billionaires whose growth in net worth over the two-plus years of the pandemic --- while you were struggling to stay employed, housed and fed --- is up $1.71 trillion from March 2020 to May 2022. That's a gain of more than the entire annual GDP of Canada for just those 727 U.S. billionaires. The biggest winner seems to have been Elon Musk, whose personal wealth was valued at just under $25 billion in March of 2020. Now, after two years of a pandemic economy, his wealth is said to be $255 billion as of the beginning of this month.

How did that happen? Why did that happen? What can and should be done about it? And does anyone in D.C. --- any one, from any party --- have the courage and ability to lead the nation to do anything about it?

All of those questions and more are answered today by our guest, OMAR OCAMPO of the Institute for Policy Studies' Program on Inequality and the Common Good, who asks today, "What about the rest of us? The median income, comparing 2020 to 2021, for your average U.S. worker has actually decreased by $2,000. And our median household wealth, comparing 2019 to 2001, has actually decreased. So yes, when you look at it by income or wealth percentile, it has been the top 10%, but especially the top 1%, that have seen impressive gains."

Ocampo helps explain how it happened, and what steps can and must be made to reverse this obscene continuing trend. Among the policy ideas discussed --- several of which have long been pushed by members of the progressive caucus in Congress --- a wealth tax on the assets of the richest Americans; partial student loan forgiveness; establishing a federal Commission on Profiteering, empowered with the ability to claw back some of what has been robbed from American consumers; strengthening organized labor and democracy itself.

And, yes, he explains, that will mean voting for more Democrats in Congress and at all levels of government. Hopefully good ones. Or this is going to continue to get much, much worse.

"The Republicans, from an ideological perspective, they are not interested in having some type of government intervention in order to solve societal problems," Ocampo charges. "They normally pivot towards philanthropy. But now is not the time to pivot to philanthropy, mainly because philanthropy does not scale, and it also denies public accountability for social problems or things that have to deal with the public good. So issues that affect the public should involve public input, and it should be carried out by democratic institutions."

"Economic inequality translates into political inequality. And the greater your material resources, the greater your access to participate in the state," he tells me. "This is very detrimental to democracy, because it makes the democratic institutions unresponsive to what the majority wants. The majority wants increased taxes on the wealthy, but it never seems to happen. That's probably because of their influence they have on both political parties."

"Elections matter, and to alleviate, especially in the short term, it would be best to elect Democrats. Because there is a section of the Democratic Party, specifically those that self-identify as progressives, who care about wealth inequality and know that it has distorting effects across our whole society."

Finally today, speaking of things getting much worse... Democrats held a show vote in the U.S. Senate to codify abortion rights (the Constitutional freedoms about to be taken away by the stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court) after the Women's Health Protect Act was already passed by Democrats in the House. As expected, all Republicans and Joe Manchin voted against it, so the measure failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to do almost anything in the undemocratic Senate.

And, also breaking during today's program, an insane, corrupted federal appeals court in California decided that the state's law restricting the purchase of semi-automatic firearms to those 21 or older is a violation of the Constitution's 2nd Amendment. So, yup, apparently 12-year olds in CA can now buy semi-automatic weapons! Have fun, kids!

Did I mention we need more democracy and fewer corrupted federal judges? Yeah, that also comes with voting. Please get busy. Thanks...

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Guest: Jordan Zakarin of Progress Report and More Perfect Union; Also: The Obamas on SCOTUS scheme to gut Roe's Constitutional freedoms; Big Oil's record profits and wartime profiteering...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2022 6:43pm PT  

It's been another rough week in these United States and, in turn, on The BradCast. The War in Ukraine, the corrupted Supreme Court stealing freedoms from Americans, the stock market roller coaster, COVID deaths topping 1 million and beginning to rise again, along with the nation's expanding far-right authoritarian movement. But there has been at least one bright spot of late, which we're happy to spend some time covering today. [Audio link to full show is posted at the end of this summary.]

First, however, following Justice Samuel Alito's leaked draft majority opinion [PDF] that would end the Constitutional freedom for a woman's right to an abortion, subsequently mandating forced pregnancies, even due to rape and incest, in many states, the Obamas, Barack and Michelle, released an eloquent and important statement this week.

They focus on Roe v. Wade's recognition "that the freedom enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution requires all of us to enjoy a sphere of our lives that isn't subject to meddling from the state --- a sphere that includes personal decisions involving who we sleep with, who we marry, whether or not to use contraception, and whether or not to bear children." If Roe is overturned, they explain, all of those so-called "unenumerated" Constitutional rights, established by the courts through decades of precedent, will all now be vulnerable to dismantling by the GOP's packed and stolen SCOTUS. They would soon be left to Big Government whims of the far Right.

Their statement also urges that it is important not to "feel helpless" in light of all of this or feel "there's nothing any of us can do." They note, as we often do, that "elections have consequence" and, "in the end, if we want judges who will protect all, not just some, of our rights, then we've got to elect officials committed to doing the same."

NEXT, we turn to a bit of brighter news amid so much darkness, about American working men and women finally standing up for themselves to organize at companies both big and small. There has been awe inspiring activity across the country in recent weeks and months to establish labor unions for collective bargaining by workers at huge, anti-union companies like Amazon and Starbucks and others.

We're joined to discuss this hopeful surge in working class Americans --- from the Right and the Left --- standing up for their labor rights by JORDAN ZAKARIN, publisher of the Progress Report newsletter and contributor to More Perfect Union. His great newsletter (worth subscribing to!) focuses on all things progressive, including "fact-based advocacy, and the voices of people organizing on the ground." This week, as we discuss today, he rounded up many of the encouraging union activities happening around the country in a piece headlined "A May Day of Momentum."

Among the points discussed, how Amazon, "known as an unbelievably abusive employer" has spent millions to defeat union drives, deploying their "union-busting handbook". Nonetheless, there was a recent historic victory by the underdog crowd-funded Amazon Labor Union last month that established the company's first union facility in the U.S. in Staten Island, New York.

Then there's Starbucks, where more than 50 shops have become unionized in recent weeks. There are several thousand more to go. But, Zakarin reports today, "it's much easier for them to do small, tight knit units of people that stick together" with unionization elections at each shop, rather than entire regions at once, as Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz would prefer.

We discuss recent successes at Kellogg's in Michigan, where their VP of Labor Relations was caught on tape describing union negotiators as "terrorists", and at Delta, the only major non-unionized airline, where, until workers there began to organize for a union vote, flight attendants were only paid for time in the air, not for the hours spent boarding and deplaning passengers!

"We're constantly finding that conditions are even worse than we expect," at such companies, says Zakarin. But "people are starting to stand up and walk out" in protest of lousy wages and horrible working conditions at many of these companies. "The more that people start to organize, the more it galvanizes others," he explains. "It really is a spark that catches. It's been really inspiring to see."

Zakarin also offers his insight on hearings held today in the U.S. Senate's Budget Committee, chaired by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), focused on withholding federal contracts from non-union companies; why this surge in union activity is now occurring; and whether or not he agrees with some who say that Joe Biden is the most pro-union President since FDR.

FINALLY today, news that oil giant Shell enjoyed their most profitable quarter in history, bringing in more than $9 billion dollars in pure profit while their post-pandemic and war-time profiteering pays off for them at the pump. Shell --- like ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron (which is also fighting its union workers) and all of the other oil majors --- continues to raise prices on consumers while pretending that it's Russia's war in Ukraine that is forcing them to bilk customers with higher and higher prices.

And, oh yeah, we finish up today with a bit of listener mail...

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Guest: Political scientist, international relations Prof. Nicholas Grossman of Univ. of IL; Also: EU to embargo Russian oil; USPS sued to block new gas-guzzling truck contract; More bad news for Trump in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2022 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Putin's war in Ukraine continues, as do fears that it could expand into a nuclear World War III. That has led some on the anti-war Left to demand the U.S. and EU spend more energy pushing for a diplomatic solution rather than sending more deadly arms to Ukraine to help it defend itself. But that, according to our guest today, is a false choice. [Audio link to full show is posted after this summary below.]

First up, after recently cutting off the purchase of coal from Russia, the European Union is reportedly now prepared to embargo oil purchases as well. That's good news for Ukraine, very bad news for Russia, but also potentially bad news for American consumers as the global price of oil is likely to further spike as Big Oil CEOs in the U.S. continue to rake in record profits rather than increase production or lower gas prices at the pump. We discuss.

In not entirely unrelated news, as EarthJustice senior attorney Adrian Martinez vowed on this program back in February, his organization along with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the United Auto Workers (UAW), 16 states and the District of Columbia are now now suing the U.S. Postal Service to block its purchase of nearly 150,000 new gas-guzzling mail delivery trucks. The $11.3 billion contract, carried out by corrupt Donald Trump's corrupt Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, is unlawful on several bases, they argue. Most notably, the USPS failed to do an environmental impact study, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, until after inking their deal with Wisconsin defense contractor, Oshkosh Defense, to build the trucks.

The new gas-powered vehicles are designed to get just 8.6 mpg, barely more than the 30-year old trucks they're replacing and, to make matters worse, will be built in a new non-union facility in South Carolina, rather than the company's union shop in Wisconsin. “Once this purchase goes through, we’ll be stuck with more than 100,000 new gas-guzzling vehicles on neighborhood streets for the next 30 years," California's Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.

The states and the environmental groups --- with the support of the EPA and White House --- are hoping to move the USPS to deploy an all-electric fleet instead. Transportation is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and the postal fleet's 217,000 trucks is the largest share of the government's nonmilitary vehicles. Federal regulators estimate the new trucks will emit roughly the same amount of Earth-warming carbon dioxide each year as 4.3 million passenger vehicles.

Next, as Russia regroups in the east and south of Ukraine to prepare their next offensive, we're joined today by NICHOLAS GROSSMAN, international relations professor and political scientist at the University of Illinois. He's also Senior Editor at Arc Digital and author of Drones and Terrorism: Asymmetric Warfare and the Threat to Global Security.

This week, Grossman wrote a piece at The Daily Beast, responding to recent commentary from liberal academic icon and anti-war advocate Noam Chomsky, who is critical of the U.S. and NATO for continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons of war, rather than demand negotiations toward peace. As Chomsky argued, while sympathetic with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's position, increased arming of the beseiged nation fails to "pay attention to the reality of the world," which, without conceding to Russian demands via negotiations, will result in "the destruction of Ukraine and nuclear war."

But Grossman argues that's a false choice and that arming Ukraine is, in fact, at least right now, the best path to peace. "Even just framing it as diplomacy or war is a mistake," Grossman responds today, "in that war and diplomacy are not alternatives that go together. Just about every war ends with some sort of negotiated solution. Ukraine was willing to meet with Russia and did offer some concessions and those weren't enough. But, also, the actions on the ground are in effect a negotiation."

"The way that a lot of political science treats war is to think of it as a bargaining process. You have these two sides, Russia and Ukraine. Russia wants something and Ukraine really doesn't want to give it. And Russia's willing to kill to try to get it, and Ukraine is willing to kill to try to not give it. As long as that's the case, then the two of them don't actually know what they can force the other to accept. And so the war itself, the actual fighting, is to some extent a negotiating process. It is the fighting on the ground that is pushing both sides to figure out what exactly they can force the other one to accept."

"There will be peace," Grossman insists, "but the peace is going to look like many possible different things. One option is a peace where Ukraine is independent. Another option is where Ukraine is subjugated by Russia. Both of those are technically peace. But the Chomsky argument seems to be pushing more for the peace with Ukraine bowing down before Russia. And the problem with that is the Ukrainians don't want to, and there's nothing American can do to make them do it. So the action of 'Hey, we could have this option of getting them to sit down and then work it out and there would be peace, but instead we're not doing that, we're just causing war', just misunderstands that."

"As long as Russia and Ukraine want to fight, they're going to fight, and the United States can't stop that. So our choice is leave the Ukrainians on their own, or help them as they try to fight for independence."

There is, of course, much more to discuss with Grossman, including Chomsky's concerns (and many others'!) that this all leads to the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, as well as his thoughts on those who claim to be anti-war while blaming the U.S. for Russia's aggression. Please tune in for our very insightful and informative discussion today.

Finally, we close with some brighter news. A judge in New York has refused to end the $10,000/day fines levied against Donald Trump earlier this week, after the disgraced former President was found in contempt for failing to adequately respond to document subpoenas from New York state Attorney General Letitia James. Her civil probe into alleged "fraudulent" financial statements by Trump --- inflating or deflating his net worth as part of an alleged years-long bank, tax and insurance fraud scheme by Trump, his company and perhaps his children Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric --- is continuing toward a potential lawsuit. The Manhattan District Attorney is supposedly reviewing similar matters in consideration of criminal charges. Today, Judge Arthur Engoron denied Trump's motion to purge the contempt ruling (and the daily fines that go with it) after Trump submitted a one-page affidavit claiming he did not have any of the documents sought by James. He failed to explain who did or what he did to search for them.

"Mr. Trump's two-paragraph affidavit adds no useful information to the mix," said James before Engoron's decision today. "Mr. Trump merely states off the top of his head, with no hint that he conducted any type of search, that he has no documents in response to the December 2021 subpoena in his 'personal possession.'"

"It is simply not plausible that Mr. Trump authored only three documents dealing with the value of his assets and his wealth," the state AG wrote. The fines will continue to mount for now, as James' office makes their final determination as to whether or not to formally charge the former President in the coming weeks...

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