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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, February 25, 2024
Sunday 'Useful Idiot' Toons
Comrades! Please enjoy our latest weekly toon collection! Courtesy of highly trusted whistleblowers and military-grade informants!...
Our Russian Nesting Doll: 'BradCast' 2/22/2024
How the U.S. has fallen prey to a decade-long Russian intel op; Also: Lindell owes $5M for lost 2020 contest; Media ignore good Biden polling amid ill-considered bids to replace him...
'Green News Report' 2/22/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
EPA's 'Good Neighbor' pollution rule at SCOTUS; Bizarre heat in Japan; Near-universal global public support for climate action; PLUS: Biden Admin cleans up nation's drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 2/20/24 - 2/15/24 - Archives...
DeSantis' Anti-Labor Law Now Nixing Unions for 1000s of FL Workers: 'BradCast' 2/21
Guest: Rich Templin of FL's AFL-CIO; Also: NY A.G. may seize Trump building to cover fines; Biden forgives another $1.2B in student loans...
Wisconsin's Decade-Long Un-Democracy Finally Undone. (Almost.): 'BradCast' 2/20
Guest: WI's John Nichols; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
'Green News Report' 2/20/24
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...
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
Oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago; Greenland getting greener; Wildfires reversing hard-won gains against air pollution; PLUS: Climate change comes for chocolate...
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: Biden to join autoworker picket line in Detroit; Trump to meet NON-union workers in suburbs; Callers ring in with union myths, realities...
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2023 5:54pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope you'll tune in!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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: Labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein of UC Santa Barbara; Also: Federal Appeals Court hears Trump case for blocking release of Jan 6 docs; Meadows now said 'cooperating' with Jan 6 Committee...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2021 5:53pm PT  

The accountability train and unionization train are both chugging forward on today's BradCast. So, that's a good thing! And we've also got a news-packed catch-up episode of the Green News Report following our week off last week. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, after losing at the U.S. District Court level, Donald Trump had his day before a three-judge panel at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday. He is still attempting to block the release of his White House documents related to the attack on the U.S. Capitol which he incited on January 6th in his desperate, last ditch effort to steal the 2020 election. The former President is claiming "executive privilege" to block the release of hundreds of documents, even though he is no longer President or, as the lower court judge declared just weeks ago: "Presidents are not kings and plaintiff is not President". The current President, Joe Biden, has rejected Trump's plea to invoke executive privilege to block the release of the White House records subpoenaed by the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack. We detail today's hearing and the arguments made in court on both sides.

Next, in related news, Trump's former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, has also been subpoenaed for both documents and testimony by the House Select Committee. Like Steve Bannon before him, Meadows previously ignored those subpoenas, also claiming "executive privilege". But now that Bannon has been indicted on two federal counts of Contempt of Congress for having done so, Meadows appears to be having second thoughts. The Committee now says Meadows is cooperating and plans to sit for a deposition. The question remains as to how much he will actually share with the Committee, which still seems prepared to pull the "Contempt" trigger against him, if necessary.

Also coming up in related accountability news this week: A likely Contempt referral for low-level DoJ Trump lackey Jeffrey Clark, who the disgraced former President almost elevated to Attorney General just prior to January 6th attack, due to his willingness to lie to state legislatures that the DoJ had found fraud in the 2020 election. They didn't. Now, Clark has been refusing fully respond to the Committee's subpoenas and will hopefully pay a price for it in the coming days.

Meanwhile, in some good labor news on Monday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found in favor of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)'s complaint that retail giant Amazon unlawfully gamed a unionization vote at its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse earlier this year. The NLRB has now ordered a re-vote for workers this Spring, after they voted against unionization by a 2 to 1 margin following months of pressure, weekly mandatory meetings with anti-union consultants, and all other forms or propaganda from the company during the initial election.

We're joined to discuss the (seemingly) good news from the NLRB by longtime labor historian, author and Distinguished Professor at UC Santa Barbara, NELSON LICHTENSTEIN, who joined us earlier this year to discuss the initial, now nullified unionization vote in Bessemer.

The colorful Lichtenstein explains the history of similar revotes, how frequently they are ordered by the federal labor board and what the odds are of the union winning this time, given the nearly 100 percent turnover in workers at the e-commerce giant's Alabama fulfillment center since the initial vote last March. He also explains that while the NLRB found a number of violations by the company, most of the egregious stuff they did to intimidate workers --- including one-on-one pressure sessions, anti-union propaganda posted in restrooms, offers of $1,000 to quit --- is almost all actually legal under current federal law.

"Once Amazon realized that probably the election would be overturned, they once again began to hold these captive audience meetings," says Lichtenstein. "These are meetings that are called by the company as they lecture to the workers why a union is a bad thing. They're really closer to Maoist re-education camps or Stalinist coercion methods than anything else. That is happening as we speak. Plus, Amazon is also keeping tabs on who the union activists are."

"All this," he argues, "points out that we really need a completely fundamental and radical change in the labor law. And more than just the labor law --- in the whole ethos that surrounds the idea of workers having rights, a voice, and having a union."

As it turns out, there is a new labor law, the Protect the Right to Organize (or PRO) Act, currently pending in Congress. "It would make illegal these captive audience meetings, which are very, very intimidating and authoritarian. It would eliminate that. It would also increase the penalties --- the financial penalties --- on companies for violating the labor law," notes Lichtenstein, the author of some 16 books related to these issues. "Right now, how much does Amazon have to pay for its violation of the labor law, which is creating this new election? Zero. The penalties are utterly trivial."

But the odds for passage of the PRO Act at this time remain long, Lichtenstein concedes. That said, he also notes that both the recently signed bipartisan infrastructure bill and Joe Biden's still-pending Build Back Better social safety net and climate action proposal have quite a few measures that support union labor.

As the "Great Resignation" continues for workers who are finding opportunities with better pay and benefits elsewhere, while the nation tries to move on from the pandemic, Lichtenstein (who recently compared the situation to opportunities for former slaves during the Civil War reconstruction era in a Washington Post op-ed) does suggest a potential way forward for anti-union companies that now face threats of being broken up by Biden's aggressive appointees at federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission.

"What needs to happen is this," Lichtenstein advises, "you need to make management come to the conclusion that the lesser evil, the lesser problem in their business model, would be recognizing the union rather than facing the ire of either an aroused public or government action." He tells us that Amazon, Facebook and other Silicon Valley firms are facing a "re-invigoration of anti-trust law in the Biden Administration," which he describes as "actually very pro-labor."

Those companies, he notes, could use some friends, "and an essential ally is labor." Lichtenstein details how such alliances prevented the breakup of big chain stores under anti-trust laws in the 1930s and even at General Motors in the 1950s. "Companies like that said to the labor movement, 'Well, we'll recognize you, if you let us stay big.' And that happened!"

Finally today, Desi Doyen jams about 20 minutes (or more!) of environmental news into our latest 6-minute Green News Report in hopes of getting us at least partially caught up on so much that we missed after taking the last week off for the holiday...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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