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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, February 24, 2024
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' 2/21/24
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' 2/20/24
Guest: WI's John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
'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...


How the U.S. has fallen prey to a decade-long Russian intel op; Also: Lindell owes $5 million for 2020 'election data' challenge; Media ignore good Biden polling amid ill-considered bids to replace him...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2024 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As of this week, if it wasn't clear before (and, obviously, for many, it was not) it is now clearer than ever that the U.S., its corporate media, the Republican Party, its front-runner for the 2024 Presidential nomination (and, sadly, even too many on the "left"), have all fallen prey --- knowingly or unknowingly (it doesn't really matter) --- to a wildly successful, decade-long Russian intel op. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

From the Hillary emails in 2016 to the Hunter Biden laptop in 2020 to the Biden Burisma "bribery" allegations that fell apart so spectacularly this week with the arrest of the man who House GOPers cited as the lynch-pin for their entire Revenge Impeachment case against President Biden, it turns out it was all part of a wildly successful foreign campaign to divide and threaten American political system.

Turns out, that guy with the false Burisma claims about the Bidens apparently got it all from Russian intel operatives who have, for the past ten years, been pushing all of these phony narratives straight out from the Kremlin through various useful idiots, onto the set of Fox "News" and the rest of the rightwing media, into the mouth of the disgraced former President, and straight through to the hearing rooms of the U.S. Congress where it was shared --- either knowing or unknowingly (it doesn't really matter) --- by GOP dupes.

It's quite an extraordinary success story, in truth. For Vladimir Putin. And a shameful failure of our corporate mainstream media to even notice much of it happening in real time. They also played the role of useful idiots when it counted the most over much of the past decade and right on up until today.

Josh Marshall described it as "A Bigger Story Than You Can Possibly Imagine" this week, and I believe he is correct. Much more on all of that --- and Putin's deadly rise --- on today's program.

ALSO TODAY...

  • MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is not only an election denier and grifter. He also won't pay off a bet. In 2021, Lindell claimed to have obtained "irrefutable" evidence that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump by China over the Internet. His evidence was Internet data packets that he claims to have obtained from a "whistleblower". He offered $5 million to anyone who could prove the data wasn't from the election. A two-time Trump voter did so in 2022. The data, he proved, was nothing but junk. But Mike wouldn't pay up the $5 million he offered via his "Prove Mike Wrong" challenge. A private arbitration panel agreed the man was owed the money. Cheap chiseler Mike still wouldn't pay. This week, a federal judge ordered him to do so.
  • Corporate media spend a lot of time focusing on Joe Biden's bad polling numbers against Donald Trump. This week, a new survey by Quinnipiac University, a major pollster, found Biden beating Trump among registered voters nationally by 4 points. So Politico covered the new survey with this headline: "Poll: Nearly 70 percent of voters say Biden is too old to serve again".
  • Is it any wonder so many on the left are still under the misguided impression that someone, anyone, who knows who?, but certainly someone, should replace Joe Biden on the 2024 ballot! Because that unidentified someone would certainly have a better chance of defeating Donald Trump this year! Well, even if there was evidence of Biden not running this year (there isn't), recent polling doesn't even back up the assertion that other Dems would do better against Trump than Biden would. But, hey, if you've got a realistic scenario to replace Joe Biden that won't result in a second Trump Presidency, please feel free to email me! I'd love to hear it and maybe even share it with listeners!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as SCOTUS seems set to gut yet another landmark environmental protection; A bizarre winter heat wave slams Japan; and the Biden Administration continues moving forward with its historic effort to replace all of the nation's toxic lead water pipes...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Investigative journalist Josh Kovensky of Talking Points Memo; Also: Another huge Special Election night for Dems in NY, PA; WI inches closer to fair legislative maps; MI 'fake elector' says GOP lied to him...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2024 6:24pm PT  

A tranche of newly unearthed documents offer a clearer understanding of Team Trump's failed attempt to steal the 2020 election on today's BradCast, in which we also cover yet another better-than-expected Special Election Day for Democrats on Tuesday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First, some of the breaking headlines on today's horrific mass shooting at the end of the victory rally for Superbowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs. Not much is known as of airtime, beyond one dead, more than 15 injured and two (now three) said to be in custody, according to Missouri state officials.

Then, the House GOP, on behalf of the disgraced, twice-impeached former President was finally successful on Tuesday in passing Articles of Revenge Impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The do-over vote follows their embarrassingly botched effort at same last week. This week, they were able to pass the Articles by one single vote, 214-213, against three Republican defectors and a unified Democratic caucus for "charges" that are not even close to the "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" mandated by the Constitution. Both Articles are expected to die, one way or another, over in the Senate, where even Republicans have shown little interest in the charade.

GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson had to get those Articles passed yesterday, however, given what New York voters did on Tuesday, when the seat in the state's 3rd Congressional District, formerly held by disgraced, expelled and indicted con-artist, Rep. George Santos, was flipped from "red" to "blue" by former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi. He easily defeated Republican Mazi Pilip by almost 8 points in Tuesday's hotly-contested Special Election, according to the latest reported numbers. That was almost twice the margin predicted by even the most optimistic pre-election polls. The Dem victory in New York (and another in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night --- by 36 points!), again underscores the dearth of issues that Donald Trump's dysfunctional Republican Party has to run on or offer voters this year. Had House Repubs waited just one more day to vote on Articles of Impeachment, they would have lost again.

More apparent good news for voters and Democrats this week in Wisconsin, as the Republicans who control the wildly gerrymandered state Senate and Assembly have passed legislation to adopt new legislative district maps in advance of the 2024 elections, as ordered by the state's Supreme Court. The new maps are ones created by Democratic Governor Tony Evers. And though they don't promise a Dem majority for this year's elections, they do appear to be much fairer for voters. For more than a decade the GOP's gerrymandered maps resulted in nearly twice as many Rs as Ds in the state legislature in the otherwise very closely divided state. State Republicans approved Evers maps because they fear if the High Court selects a map it will be even worse for them. Evers has suggested he plans to sign the legislation.

Meanwhile, as Democrats continue to out-perform in 2024 elections, Republicans are busy in court defending their criminal efforts to steal 2020. A fake elector in Michigan on Wednesday testified that he was lied to by party officials that state legislators could select the phony Trump slate of electors over those for Biden, who state voters actually chose. This particular fake elector has decided to cooperate with prosecutors while 15 others are now facing serious jail time for their alleged conspiracy to forge phony Elector certificates.

And this week, we've got new news from the man who invented the fake electors scheme in the first place. A massive trove of emails, text messages and other documents have been turned over to Michigan prosecutors by former Team Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro and obtained by our guest today, investigative journalist JOSH KOVENSKY of Talking Points Memo. He has been detailing the documents in a new multi-part series this week at TPM which explores the attempted coup, hoped-for chaos, and the plan to pressure friendly members of SCOTUS.

Chesebro first dreamt up the fake elector plot for his own home state of Wisconsin in 2020, before he was asked by Team Trump attorneys, such as the disgraced John Eastman and Boris Ephstyn, to apply the same scam for phony electors in about seven swing-states following Trump's loss in November. They would be instrumental to the Trump team's failed legal efforts to steal the election.

The Chesebro documents shed new light on the failed "legal coup" which, as Kovensky reports, was not meant to be a one-day insurrection on January 6th, 2021, but to result in enough legislative chaos and trumped-up "questions" about the veracity of certified election results to force the U.S. Supreme Court to eventually settle the election themselves, ala Bush v. Gore twenty years earlier.

"What they really wanted was a stalemate in Congress" on January 6th, Kovensky explains. "And in that time, they would have used that stalemate to draw the country's attention to Congress, and then use that attention to put forth the campaign's completely nonsensical theories of voter fraud. That was the idea."

"If you talk to people who were around this, they'll say, 'Yeah, the invasion of the Capitol on January 6th destroyed that plan. Because it did draw attention to Congress, but there were no members of Congress there to make the case that there was voter fraud in the election," he tells me.

"The way the legal coup was meant to proceed was by halting the count," as detailed in the new docs obtained and reported out by Kovensky. "That's the key similarity between what the rioters on Jan. 6 ended up achieving by violent means and what the lawyers were trying to achieve just by procedural means. Which was that the count would have been stopped, [but] it would have been stopped indefinitely until potentially the Supreme Court stepped in to act and appoint Trump the winner."

So how did Chesebro --- who, until now, has not appeared, at least, to be a hard-right partisan ideologue along the lines of Eastman and Ephsteyn --- find his way into the vortex of Team Trump and the "legal coup" they were hoping to pull off? What is he hoping to accomplish by turning over these documents to prosecutors in MI and elsewhere since pleading guilty to one felony charge with no jail time in Georgia last year in exchange for testifying against his fellow conspirators? Will Trump be able to use Chesebro's documents and testimony to help himself in his own trials regarding his attempt to steal the 2020 election?

All of those questions and many more asked and answered about "The Cheese" and his documents on today's BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: GOP House mulligan on Mayorkas impeachment; Senate passes Ukraine aid bill; Media's epic failure in coverage of Special Counsel Hur's obnoxious vindication of Biden in classified docs probe...
By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2024 6:03pm PT  

Once again today, we try to stuff a 10-pound show into a 5-pound BradCast. Wish us luck! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our many stories for your listening pleasure, amusement and outrage today...

  • Jon Stewart is back on The Daily Show! At least on Monday nights. At least for this year. And, boy howdy, was he missed. Other than looking about 20 years older, he literally hasn't missed a step over the 9 years since he's been away from the show, both comically and, more importantly, politically. His first night back included an epic opening monologue that framed the various concerns among Democrats about Joe Biden's age in a way that nobody else has or could. Hopefully, it helps to kick off the serious conversation that Democrats need to start having amongst themselves to begin coming to terms with the fact that one of the most effective and, yes, oldest Presidents of our lifetimes (or ever) will be running for re-election this November. We've got lots to say here. But, much more importantly, so did Stewart last night.
  • Battling a massive Nor'easter and racing the clock against whatever may happen in the Special Election for U.S. House in New York's 3rd Congressional District tonight, in the contest to fill the expelled Rep. George Santos' seat, House Republicans take a do-over on Tuesday after their embarrassing failed effort last week to Revenge Impeach the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. The first impeachment ever of a sitting cabinet members is not for any actual "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" as required by the Constitution, but for...something something ...border policy...something something. (And because they haven't been able to figure out yet how to Revenge Impeach Joe Biden.)
  • After insisting that any new aid package for Ukraine must include a massive new package for the U.S. Border Security. And then after striking a bipartisan deal with Democrats for that Border Security bill they insisted on. And then after insisting that any new aid for Ukraine not include a massive new package for the U.S. Border because Donald Trump told them to kill the Border provisions, because he needed an issue to run on in November....Senate Republicans (some of them anyway) joined Democrats after an all-night filibuster to pass a foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. House Speaker Mike Johnson, however, has already said he'll do everything he can to keep this National Security measure from ever being allowed up for a vote on the House floor. Because Donald Trump told him to.
  • In the greatest tradition of Banana Republic strongmen, Donald Trump is reportedly planning to install his own daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-Chair of the Republican National Committee and the Chair of his own Campaign as the RNC's Chief Operations Officer. The GOP takeover by a twice-impeached, four-time criminally indicted, one-term failed President is now all but officially complete.
  • And then we finally get to the Hur Report today and the corporate mainstream media's epically failed coverage of it's release by Special Prosecutor Robert Hur, who was appointed by Trump to the DoJ. Last week, the Dept. unsealed the full, unredacted, nearly 400-page report [PDF]. Hur was tapped by Attorney General Merrick Garland to probe the small number of classified documents that Joe Biden's attorneys discovered at one of his old office spaces and in his home.

    The headline for the report's release should have been "Special Prosecutor Fails to Find Evidence of Crimes in Biden Classified Docs Probe", at least if one bothers to read what Hur actually detailed in the bulk of his report.

    That, as Hur himself points out, by way of contrast to the many reasons that 40 criminal felony counts were brought against Trump under the Espionage Act after he stole tens of thousands of pages of highly classified documents upon leaving office and then refused to return them to the Government.

    "Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite," writes Hur on page 11. "According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it. In contrast, Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview. and in other ways cooperated with the investigation."

    The report went on for hundreds of pages, laying out exculpatory evidence after exculpatory evidence, as former DoJ prosecutors Andrew Weissman and Ryan Goodman detail. That, even as Hur rifled through Biden's personal diaries searching for evidence of a crime, as brilliantly highlighted by national security journalist Marcy Wheeler.

    But the screaming HEADLINE NEWS!!! that our corporate media took away from all of it in dozens and dozens of stories was that the Trump-appointed Hur included remarks in the report having nothing to do with whether Biden should be charged with a crime or not, but that Hur, not a medical professional, describes as the President having a "poor memory" and "diminished faculties".

    And you wonder why our country is going to hell in a handbasket?

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with coverage of a new type of Super Bowl EV ad; The big investment into the Trump campaign by Big Oil and Gas this year; and a jury award of $1 million to Pulitzer Prize-winning climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann in his defamation case against two far-right climate science liars and harassers...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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GOP chaos, faceplants and dysfunction in House, Senate, everywhere else; Also: Haley loses to 'none' in NV; O'Keefe forced to admit to fake 2020 'fraud' story; Listener mail on hand-marked ballots and Taylor Swift...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2024 6:31pm PT  

I'd say Tuesday was a high (or low?) watermark for GOP failure, but on The BradCast, we think it wise to never under (or over?) estimate them. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • Nikki Haley lost the one-person Republican Presidential Primary in Nevada by more than 30 points. (To be fair, it's not entirely her fault. Donald Trump rigged it. And he's setting up Republicans in the state for failure this November regarding the state's voting systems.) Joe Biden reportedly won his mostly one-person Democratic Primary in the state on Tuesday with nearly 90% of the vote.
  • With three different swing-state GOP state Chairs (in Florida, Arizona and Michigan) ousted in recent weeks in scandals related to allegations of rape, bribery, or financial impropriety (and Nevada's GOP Chair heading to criminal trial in a few weeks for forgery as a fake 2020 elector), Trump's once-favored Chair of the RNC, Ronna Romney McDaniel, is being pushed out in the middle of a Presidential election year. Why? Trump's MAGA faithful are trying to find someone, anyone ... anyone but him ... to blame for their repeated, post-2016 election humiliations. Why not Ronna?
  • But the humiliation continued on Tuesday, as newly tapped and freshly failed GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson engineered what Wall Street Journal described as "an embarrassment for the party", Punchbowl called "one of the most embarrassing days in recent House GOP history" (which is saying quite a lot!), and WaPo raved: "a stunning rebuke" for a months-long impeachment probe by Republicans hoping to identify "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" by Dept. of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Turns out, they couldn't even convince their full caucus that he'd committed any, and one heroic Dem showed up from his hospital bed amidst chaos on the House Floor to deliver Johnson and Marjorie Taylor Green's phony impeachment scheme an embarrassing final blow. At least for Tuesday night, in the first impeachment vote ever against a sitting member of the Executive Branch.
  • Actually, it wasn't the final blow on Tuesday night for House Republicans. Johnson held a subsequent vote for aid to Israel. It also went down in humiliating flames.
  • All of that comes on the heels of Congressional GOP insistence that they would block any aid package for Ukraine --- now facing a very real existential crisis and invasion from a hostile neighbor --- unless the bill included a massive amount of money for the U.S. southern border, where Trump and Republicans pretend there is an ongoing "existential crisis" and "invasion". So, Dems gave in and agreed with Senate Republicans to add a very hard-right border deal to the aid package --- only to see Trump throw a fit at a possible real solution for the only real(ish) election year issue he seems to have left. So now House Republicans are vowing they will only consider an aid bill for Ukraine (and Israel and Taiwan) if it doesn't include money for the U.S. southern border. Seriously. It's as insane and stupid and dysfunctional and embarrassing as it sounds. And, it might even be hilarious, but for the fact that democracy remains on the brink in Europe, as the near-entirety of the Republican Party now cowers to the personal whims of their four-time indicted cult leader.
  • Popular Republican criminal, pretend fake "pimp", and definitely fake "journalist" James O'Keefe quietly issued a tweet on Monday night, admitting that his reporting on 2020 election fraud in Pennsylvania was "wrong" and that he is "aware of no evidence or other allegation that election fraud occurred in the Erie [Pennsylvania] Post Office during the 2020 Presidential Election.” It took him four years and a begrudging lawsuit settlement to "correct" his false story about supposed massive mail ballot fraud by the USPS. Trump continues to fraudulently pimp that nonsense to this day. All of this on the heels of O'Keefe being pushed out of his own fake news organization, called Project Veritas, last year amid allegations of financial malfeasance and abuse of employees. Or, as his partner in the 2010 fake ACORN "pimp" hoax videos described it when quitting the group herself in December: "an unsalvageable mess --- one wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and financial improprieties."
  • Finally today, some listener mail with an important coda to our mind-blowing interview on Tuesday with Susan Greenhalgh, election integrity advocate and consultant on the just-completed civil suit trial by Marilyn Marks and the Coalition of Good Governance against the State of Georgia and its Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. The suit seeks to move the state from easily-hackable, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots; And, some email on Taylor Swift and the Superbowl, which I thought we decided we wouldn't be discussing this week on The BradCast?!!...

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: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Dow tops record high; Chutkan pauses Trump case; Hunter Biden pushes back at U.S. Capitol; House GOP votes to open revenge Impeachment inquiry...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2023 6:32pm PT  

We couldn't keep up with everything as it kept breaking all day and throughout today's BradCast. But we tried. Even while welcoming back one of our favorite guests. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We're happy to joined once again today by Slate's top shelf legal journalist, the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, who is now back from his recent parental leave. (That, thanks, in no small part, to an excellent contract by his union, the Writers Guild of America!) And, while we had previously planned to talk with Mark today about far-right Trump appointees to the lower federal courts undermining voting rights and even the Supreme Court itself, the news just kept coming today out of SCOTUS. Thankfully, Stern was here to hold our hand through it all.

After indicating earlier this week they were prepared to move quickly in response to Special Counsel Jack Smith's request for an expedited hearing on Donald Trump's ridiculous appeal regarding Presidential Immunity, the Supremes announced on Wednesday they would be taking up a challenge to the federal law used to charge hundreds of January 6 insurrectionists, including Trump himself. Two of the four charges he is facing in his federal election interference case are related to unlawful obstruction of an official proceeding. But a lower federal court Trump judge, Carl Nichols, has decided those obstruction charges --- adopted by Congress as part of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, focused mostly on white-collar crime --- are inappropriate for use against J6 rioters.

What will that mean for the pending charges against Trump and his trial currently scheduled for March 4 next year? Stern describes it today as "a troubling development", if only because "there wasn't a significant dispute over the interpretation of this particular statute" which has been used to convict hundreds of J6 attackers. While he explains that it is not necessarily fatal to either Smith's indictment against Trump in D.C. or the ability for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to complete the trial before next year's election, Stern regards it as "an ominous sign for those of us who wanted Chutkan to be able to move forward on her own timeline."

Nonetheless, it is, once again, another example of a lower court Trump judge "try[ing] to wield their power in aggressive and truly unprecedented ways." That similar effort to go "beyond the judicial power to essentially act as a free-floating veto over any Democratic policy, and trying to smuggle in Republican policies under the guise of judicial review," as Stern characterizes it, was similarly on view today as the High Court also announced plans to hear a challenge to the use of the widely prescribed abortion drug Mifipristone. That, after abortion opponents filed their case specifically so that it would be taken up earlier this year by Trump-appointed anti-choice activist Matthew Kacsmaryk, the only U.S. District Court Judge in the Northern District of Texas.

But where the "dead hand of the Trump Administration," as a recent article by Stern describes it, may be most troubling is in a series of recent rulings by Trump judges focused on undermining the Voting Rights Act, which is facing a tenuous moment at the stolen, packed and corrupted GOP-majority Supreme Court. Stern details three different recent cases --- one of them "almost too painfully stupid to explain" --- where jurists appointed by Trump in the lower courts are targeting and/or undermining the landmark civil rights law, even in violation of both long-standing SCOTUS precedent and very recent opinions by the High Court.

But, the news just kept on breaking today. Chutkan declared that Trump's Jan. 6 case would have to largely be "paused" until Trump's ridiculous immunity appeal is resolved, further imperiling next year's scheduled March 4 trial date.

The Dow hit a record high on Wall Street, as investors became jubilant at news from the Federal Reserve that it is likely to finally begin lowering interest rates next year --- even more aggressively than previously expected.

The 200 nations meeting in Dubai for the U.N.'s COP28 finally came to an agreement on their final statement after this year's climate conference. They deigned to mention the phrase "fossil fuels" for the first time ever. But more on that (hopefully!) tomorrow.

And the GOP-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, in a strict party-line vote, adopted a resolution to officially open an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden for...well...something or other. It remains unclear.

In truth, it's a revenge impeachment inquiry meant to placate the disgraced, twice-impeached former President, and to distract from the many failures of a corrupted, dysfunctional GOP-run House in advance of next year's elections. The vote was held on the same day that Republicans again refused to accept Hunter Biden's offer to testify in a public hearing. He had a few words about that for assembled media on the U.S. Capitol steps earlier today...

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Also: McHenry quits; Tuberville folds; DeSantis Never Back Down staffers back down; GOP officials indicted for 2022 election interference in AZ; GOP official's wife convicted on 52 counts of 2020 election fraud in IA...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2023 6:12pm PT  

It's impeachment madness on today's BradCast! Also, a whole bunch of Republicans are otherwise quitting, backing down or facing jail time. In other words, Tuesday. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), a U.S. Senator and grown man who goes by the name Tommy, finally backed down from his pointless, one-man, months-long blockade of promotions for more than 400 U.S. military officials. He had been protesting a Pentagon abortion policy that none of the officers in question had anything to do with. The Senate quickly promoted all of them by simple voice vote shortly thereafter.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announces he has "no choice" but to hold a floor vote for a (revenge) Impeachment inquiry of President Biden next week. The announcement follows the latest bombshell disclosure by Oversight Committee Chair and supergenius Rep. James Comer (R-KY) that Republican investigators have discovered secret monthly payments made by China to Joe Biden and laundered through his son, Hunter! Err...Three monthly payments of about a $1,400 each from Hunter Biden to his dad in 2018 to repay him for the purchase of a used truck the then former Vice President helped him buy. (Yes, the same bombshell loan repayment reported almost two years ago by the New York Post.)
  • The bow-tied, far-right, but not-insane-enough-for-today's-House-Republicans Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has had enough. He joined a growing number of colleagues announcing they will be quitting at the end of this term.
  • An important CORRECTION following my mention yesterday of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum dropping out of the GOP 2024 Presidential race, and the RNC announces the four candidates who have qualified to appear at Wednesday's night's "Presidential Primary Debate" in Alabama. (Neither Burgum nor Trump will be there. DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy and Christie will, for some reason.)
  • The three top officials for Ron DeSantis' "Never Back Down" super PAC have backed down. They quite over the weekend, joining a growing number of other Never Back Downers who have exited the Florida Governor's losing 2024 campaign in recent days.
  • Two Republican Cochise County officials, Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby, have been indicted on state charges in Arizona for conspiracy and interference of an election officer after refusing to certify the county's 2022 election results because...well, tune in.
  • Kim Taylor, the wife of Republican Woodbury County, Iowa Supervisor and failed GOP Congressional candidate has been convicted on 52 counts of election fraud-related charges for falsifying voter registrations and casting dozens of fraudulent votes in the names of others in the 2020 election. Her husband, Jeremy Taylor, named as a co-conspirator, has yet to be indicted for some reason.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report (and our only one this week, due to our coverage of this week's dumb GOP "Presidential Primary Debate") with a bit of surprisingly good news out of the U.N.'s COP28 climate conference this week in Dubai, and more good news on the Biden EPA's new rule that will eliminate all 9 million toxic lead water pipes across the entire nation...

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Huge ES&S touchscreen fail in PA county; Missing VBM ballots at OSU; Also: WI GOP advances impeachment against state Election Director; Meadows sued by own book publisher for lying about 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2023 5:55pm PT  

Today was Election Day in a bunch of states across the U.S. Important contests and ballot measures were before voters in this off-year election, including in Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Mississippi, parts of California and elsewhere. And, as covered on today's BradCast, things did not go well for voters in parts of at least two of those states on Tuesday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • As we reported at The BRAD BLOG earlier today in some detail, new, unverifiable touchscreen voting machines made by ES&S were reportedly flipping votes in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. This wasn't the type of "flipping" that we've seen many times in the past, where the screens on the voting system are not calibrated correctly and when one tries to select a candidate, a different one gets highlighted instead. This was quite different.

    At a number of precincts across Northampton, a largely suburban enclave outside of Philly, when voters selected either "Yes" or "No" in a statewide retention election for each of two judges (one D and one R), everything presumably worked as expected. But if voters chose "Yes" for one of the judges and "No" for the other, their votes would get reversed to the opposite selections. Making matters worse, the computer printout of those votes would be reversed, while the screen itself would show the voters' actual selections.

    Back in 2019, as we reported at the time, just after the ES&S ExpressVote XL systems --- wildly expensive computerized electronic pencils --- were first purchased for use in Northampton, there were a number of candidates who learned after the election they had received ZERO votes on them. That, of course, was not true, and the paper printouts from the systems were eventually used to discern what were believed to be the correct results of the elections. But, of course, there is no way of knowing if the printed paper records were actually accurate, whether voters bothered to verify them, or if they did so correctly even if they tried to. That's just a few of the problems with every touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) used across the country. (For example, every voter at every polling place in the entire state of Georgia is still forced to use similarly unverifiable BMD systems made by Dominion Voting Systems.)

    Shamefully, after the 2019 disaster, PA's Northampton County didn't dump the machines then and there and move to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots instead. Today, those same systems melted down for voters again. And, perhaps even more shamefully, the County officials who approved them for use in the first place were blaming everybody but themselves for it, including election officials and ES&S. Perhaps most shameful of all, one of the candidates who, in 2019, was reported to have received "zero" votes in his election at the time for Northampton County Judge, but later found that he had actually won the election, presided over what to do about today's mess. After the problems came to light, he was the Northampton County Judge who, rather than ordering a move to hand-marked provisional paper ballots, instructed election officials to continue using the machines despite the fact that they were reversing votes.

    One local outlet reporting on the mess described today's "solution" to the problem this way: "In cases where the error would pop up for the retention question, the county would flip the results during the post-election canvass." (!!!)

    As noted, this is just a mess. Much more on all of this on today's show. And, I suspect, we'll be covering it more in the days ahead. Let's hope there are no close elections either statewide or in Northampton when PA results are tabulated tonight.

  • Also today, it is being reported that, according to several nonpartisan voting rights groups, "an extraordinarily high number" of voters in the zip code of Ohio State University never received their requested absentee ballots by mail. The state held a critical election for a Constitutional measure today to protect abortion rights, as Republicans in the state, including its Sec. of State Frank LaRose, have pulled out all the stops to block the Amendment from passage (including recently purging 26,000 voters quietly from the rolls after the election had already begun.) There is also a proposal to approve recreational marijuana on Tuesday's ballot. Once again, the results, whatever they may be, better not be close, or there will be some hell to pay in the Buckeye State, I suspect.
  • In Wisconsin, Republicans appear to be working hard to ensure chaos for next year's critical Presidential election in the Badger State. State Assembly speaker Robin Vos, last week, advanced 15 articles of impeachment against the state's top election official, as part of their years long effort to blame someone --- anyone! --- for Donald Trump's 2020 loss in the battleground state.
  • And, speaking of 2020, Mark Meadows, Trump's former Chief of Staff and current co-defendant in the conspiracy case against them and 17 others for attempting to steal the Presidential election in Georgia, is being sued by his own book publisher. The publisher, All Seasons Press, claims that Meadows' reported cooperation in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal indictment against Trump for his attempt to steal the 2020 election, contradicts Meadows claims in his book that the election was "rigged" and "stolen". ASP is now suing Meadows for millions. And it's hilarious.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Australia braces for another record bushfire season amid an El Nino; October 2023 is officially declared the hottest October ever recorded on the planet; Michigan enacts sweeping climate and environmental legislation; and President Biden unveils the nation's largest investment in rail travel in 50 years...

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Also: Latest on Israel-Hamas; Biden's curiously repeated comments about 'rules of war'; WI Repubs' impeachment threat now all but dead...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2023 6:35pm PT  

It was a lot of show on today's BradCast. But at least one of my seemingly ridiculous-at-the-time theories from way back at the beginning of this year has now been vindicated. Buckle up. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • The latest on the Israel-Hamas war, including rising death tolls, the retaliatory destruction of entire neighborhoods in Gaza, the potential for spread to other countries and more. We also observe some curiously repeated comments by President Biden in recent days. Whenever he cites his conversations with Israel's controversial, criminally-indicted, far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden takes pains to mention "rules of war" for some reason. (See his remarks on Tuesday and Wednesday.)
  • In related news, it looks like it may take a while --- if ever --- for Republicans in the U.S. House to elect a new Speaker. (Since we got off air, the winner of yesterday's caucus vote, Steve Scalise, says he is dropping out of contention.) In the meantime, that means almost all business in Congress is ground to a halt. But, given the rising tenor of Republicans seemingly hoping to rope us into a war with Iran in the wake of the horrific Hamas attack on Israel, and the way both Republicans and Democrats tragically over-reacted following 9/11, perhaps there is an upside to a cooling off period in Congress right about now?
  • In other news, the GOP push to impeach a newly-seated Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice may now be all but dead. The election of Justice Janet Protasiewicz gave liberals a 4 to 3 majority on the state's High Court for the first time in 15 years. And now a challenge to the Republicans' rigged Assembly and Senate districts is before the Justices. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has threatened to impeach Protasiewicz if she didn't recuse herself from the case (for no good reason). On Friday, she announced she wouldn't. But now not one but two former rightwing WI Supreme Court Justices have weighed in --- hilariously, at Vos' request --- to say impeachment is both uncalled for and a violation of the Badger State constitution.
  • Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (NJ) and his wife have been slapped with yet another criminal felony charge. This time for unlawfully conspiring to act as an agent of Egypt, even while serving as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The pair were previously charged for accepting bribes of cash, gold bars and a luxury car. More than 30 of Menendez' Democratic colleagues in the Senate have called for him to resign. He has, so far, refused.
  • Everyone's favorite, wildly corrupt Republican Congressman, grifter and pathological liar, Rep. George Santos (NY), was charged with an additional 10 federal felony charges this week for identify theft and credit card fraud after allegedly using donor's cards to steal tens of thousands of dollars from them. He previously faced 13 counts for, among other things, lying on financial disclosure forms about being a millionaire and receiving unemployment funds when he was actually employed.

    But it was last week's guilty plea by his former campaign treasurer that has now seemingly vindicated what I had described last January as my "ridiculous, couldn't-possibly-be-true George Santos theory" that I seemed to be the only one raising at the time. This was when Santos' life of lies had recently come to light following his 2022 election to Congress, and after he had amended some FEC paperwork from his campaign to claim that he had made a personal loan to it of some $500,000.

    There were plenty of reasons to doubt that claim --- when he lost his 2020 campaign his disclosures revealed that he made less than $50,000/year --- but most assumed the donation was real, at least, even if probably came from someone else. But who?

    My question was different. On several occasions, including with a campaign finance expert we had on the show in January, I kept wondering if the donation itself to Santos' campaign actually existed, if the FEC or anyone else had ever bothered to check his bank account to see if that money actually came in when he claimed it did, or whether the whole thing was just on paper.

    While it seemed crazy to some at the time (even to me!), guess what his Campaign Treasurer revealed when she pleaded guilty to a fraud conspiracy charge last week?...

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with some grim news for humanity (as usual); suspected sabotage of a natural gas pipeline off the coast of Finland; and the quiet launch of the European Union's first-in-the-world carbon border tax...

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Also: WI Supremes to hear gerrymander challenge; Another GOP sports celeb to run for U.S. Senate; RFK, Jr. to run for Prez as independent...
By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2023 6:33pm PT  

We begin again on today's BradCast with the latest developments in what AP is now calling the latest Israel-Palestinian war, before catching up with a number of political and climate related issues here at home. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

ISRAEL v. HAMAS:

  • On Monday, the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., and the U.S. issued an unusual joint statement condemning the "terrorist actions of Hamas" over the weekend, declaring "steadfast and united support to the State of Israel" and recognizing "the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people".
  • Today, an at-times visibly angry President Biden expressed similar sentiments, decried the weekend’s "atrocity on a appalling scale"; warned against adversaries both at home and abroad who might be tempted to take advantage of the situation for political violence; vowed to help secure the release of American hostages around the world; declared this "a moment for the United States to come together, to grieve with those who are mourning"; promised to uphold the "laws of war", and reiterated that the U.S. "stands with Israel" while condemning the "indiscriminate evil" of the weekend’s attack. He also confirmed that 14 Americans are now confirmed to have been killed as a result of Saturday's surprise assault by Hamas.
  • Beyond that, we cover the latest, including escalating death tolls, with at least 1,000 dead in Israel, and at least 800 dead in Gaza, as Israel continues its fourth day of pounding neighborhood after neighborhood in the Gaza Strip with air strikes. More than 200,000 Palestinians have reportedly fled their homes for U.N. shelters, as deliveries of food, fuel, water, electricity, medicine and other supplies to Gaza have been cut off by Israel, as hospitals are said to be running out of supplies, surgical equipment and antibiotics.
  • Back home in Congress, the U.S. House remains crippled thanks to Republicans having removed their own House Speaker last week. Given our recent history and the current situation in the Middle East, that might not actually be a terrible thing.

2004 MISCELLANY:

  • On Friday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, after a 4 to 3 vote, scheduled a hearing next week on a voter petition to draw fair legislative maps for the state Senate and Assembly, for the first time in more than a decade. Justice Janet Protasiewicz, whose recent election gave liberals a majority on the High Court for the first time in 15 years, has decided to not recuse herself from the case, even as GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos' threat to impeach her if she did so has shown no sign of materializing yet.
  • Out here in California, 74-year old former L.A. Dodgers All-Star Steve Garvey announced today that he will be running as a Republican next year to fill the seat held by Dianne Feinstein, who recently passed away. He will be vying for one of the two spots up for grabs in next year's March Primary, in hopes of going on to compete in the November general election. He will have to face off with at least three Democratic all-stars hoping to become the state's new Senator, including Congressmembers Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff --- and potentially against Laphonza Butler should she decide to run, after having been tapped by Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill the rest of Feinstein's term.
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., with much support from Republicans, announced on Monday that he plans to drop out of his Democratic primary bid and run for President as an independent next year. In theory, he will join Cornel West who plans to do the same after leaving the Green Party, and a potential candidate put up for 2024 by the right-leaning "centrist" group calling itself No Labels.

LATE-BREAKING AND FINALLY:

  • Republican Rep. George Santos (NY), already facing 13 federal campaign finance-related charges, now faces an additional 10 related to identify theft for stealing donor credit cards to make unauthorized charges.
  • Hurricane Lidia spun up quickly before airtime to become a major Category 3 storm as it headed toward landfall on Mexico's Pacific coast near Puerto Vallarta. (Since we've gotten off air, Lidia has spun up even more, making landfall as a Cat 4 with 140 mph winds!) It is the second tropical storm to slam the Pacific coast in two days, following landfall by Max on Monday.
  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with good news for both striking auto workers and Electric Vehicles, and bad news for India, the children of the world, and your olive oil...

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Hard right moves to vacate, Dems stay united, next steps unclear; Also: Trump gag order in NY; John Kelly confirms Trump attacks on military, vets; Milley slams former Prez as 'wannabe dictator'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2023 6:16pm PT  

Breaking just before air on today's BradCast: Yup. More GOP chaos in Congress. But I'm sure, by week's end, it'll all be the Democrats' fault somehow. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

In the wake of House Dems helping to keep the federal government from a shutdown over the weekend by voting in support of then House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's last-minute, 45-day Continuing Resolution to keep the government open until the GOP's warring factions can pass a budget, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz filed a Motion to Vacate against the Speaker of the House on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, just before airtime, McCarthy was ousted in a dramatic 216 - 210 floor vote.

Gaetz and 7 other far-right Republicans joined all Democrats in voting to vacate the Office of Speaker of the House. It was a first in U.S. history.

Of course, we all saw it coming when McCarthy agreed to a deal with the farthest rightwing members of his own caucus in January to allow a single member to file a Motion to Vacate. It was one of many concessions by McCarthy in exchange for allowing him to become Speaker last on the 15th ballot. Moreover, he did himself few favors with the opposition party by breaking many promises with Biden and the Democrats regarding the shutdown, an absurd, evidence-free Impeachment Inquiry and more.

What happens next? That is completely unclear as of this hour, and as we scrambled to cover the historic news while still salvaging at least part of our previously planned program.

As the Republican Party falls apart in Congress, so does the life of the Republican front-runner for the 2024 Presidential nomination. Among our other stories, breaking or otherwise, today...

  • The judge in New York overseeing the state's $250 million civil fraud trial against Donald Trump, his company and two of his sons issued a gag order against the former President on Tuesday, after he targeted the judge's law clerk this afternoon in a social media posting and in an email blast to supporters.
  • Picking up on our continuing coverage of the racketeering case against Trump and 18 co-defendants in Georgia, related to their broad, failed conspiracy to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State, there was bad news in court on Friday for at least four of the co-defendants. We explain.
  • Retired U.S. Marine Corps General, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Trump's second and longest-serving Chief of Staff, John Kelly, finally went on record today to confirm his direct knowledge of a number of Trump's long-reported attacks against military members and veterans, including by describing them as "suckers" and "losers".
  • Kelly's devastating, if long-overdue, on-the-record remarks came in the wake of Trump's recent attack against General Mark Milley, Trump's Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who the former President recently charged with committing "treason", a crime punishable by execution. For his part, Milley, whose four-year term expired last week, offered thinly-veiled, if striking and piqued remarks during his Farewell Address late last week. Without mentioning Trump by name, while describing the uniqueness of the American military's mission to protect the nation and our democracy by taking an oath to protect the Constitution, Milley railed: "We don't take an oath to a country. We don't take an oath to a tribe. We don't take an oath to a religion. We don't take an oath to a king or a queen or to a tyrant or a dictator, and we don't take an oath to a wannabe dictator!" While those comments have received a fair amount of attention by the media, Milley had much more to say along those lines. We share a bit more of his remarks that are worth hearing today.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, after New York saw its third 100-year flood in the past two years over the weekend; extreme heatwaves shattered September records; climate change is straining the home insurance bubble; and Norway's effort to move to 100% electric vehicles is all but complete...

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Guest: Dan Froomkin of Press Watch; Also: Dems win, outperform in PA, NH special elections; PA Guv begins automatic voter registration...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2023 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Given the disastrous chaos of The Former Guy's previous term in office and the 91 criminal felony charges he is now facing in four different jurisdictions, it seems impossible to fathom that he'd be, essentially, tied in 2024 polling against one of the most effective President's in U.S. history. There's a number of reasons for that. Few of them are the ones the disinformed MAGA knuckleheads have been hoaxed into buying into. But one of the big reasons, according to our guest today, is years of unrelenting failure by the U.S. media. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up today, however, some encouraging news out of special elections held on Tuesday for state legislatures in two critical swing-states, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. In both cases the Democratic candidate won. In NH, Hal Rafter flipped a seat in the state House previously held by a Republican, putting Dems just one seat shy of evenly splitting control with the GOP in a state where Republicans have held a governing trifecta for several years.

In PA, Democrat Lindsay Powell easily won a safely "blue" seat in Pittsburgh. But, in both cases, Democrats continued to massively outperformed their 2020 numbers in the very same districts, continuing the party's winning streak during special elections since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

The outlook may be brighter still for democracy fans in Pennsylvania next year, as newly elected Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro announced, on Tuesday, a program to begin automatic voter registration at the Dept of Transportation offices this week whenever residents show up for a new or renewed drivers license or ID. The battleground state has an estimated 1.6 million eligible but unregistered voters and Shapiro's pro-democracy program, supported by his own, hand-picked Republican Sec. of State, is long overdue in the Keystone State. Anti-democracy, pro-authoritarian Republicans in the state legislature, of course, are furious about it. They believe the more they can restrict access to the polls, the better they will perform.

Increased participation is always a healthy thing for democracy. But, ironically enough, American journalists are likely to be very careful about reporting that fact for fear of being tagged as appearing "partisan". That, even though automatic voter registration is equally applied to potential voters of any (or no) political party. But, as increased turnout is perceived as good for Democrats, many journalists are cowed into pulling punches when covering such issues.

Of course, it's that sort of failure by U.S. corporate media that results in absurdly "tied" pre-election polling for the 2024 Presidential election, and in other polls like the one we covered on yesterday's program finding Americans split 50/50 on whether the evidence-free Republican impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden is based on legitimate evidence or is politically motivated.

We're joined today by longtime journalist and media critic DAN FROOMKIN, who wrote the popular online "White House Watch" column for years at Washington Post before moving to Huff Post and then The Intercept before establishing his nonprofit Press Watch newsletter.

Last last month, Froomkin penned an important piece headlined "A desperate appeal to newsroom leaders on the eve of a chaos election". He explained that he was hoping to reach newsroom execs in advance of "another potentially cataclysmic election in 2024 --- arguably the most perilous in American history." Despite the previously unimaginable events of the last nearly ten years, wrote Froomkin, corporate media outlets "continue to engage in the same business-as-usual that got us here in the first place."

In hopes of reaching some of those newsroom leaders before it's too late, Froomkin spoke with several dozen journalists, media critics, academics and historians on what America's newsrooms can and should change in their approach to political coverage in advance of next year's critical elections.

We discuss a number of those expert responses today on everything from the necessity of picking "the right frame" in reporting on democracy rather than the "horse-race"; on "not the odds but the stakes" in next year's race; the need for journalists, not politicians, to "set the agenda" during interviews; the "importance of context" in reporting on the contest in a way that informs the public beyond a simple "left versus right" lens; "what not to do" and how the press needs to stand up for itself, and for journalism as a whole, against attacks from the increasingly authoritarian right.

None of this, in fact, is a partisan matter. Though the Republican Party, over the years --- even before the rise of Donald Trump --- has successfully cowed American news outlets into behaving as if it is, and subsequently pulling punches to the ultimate benefit of the GOP, even as democracy itself has become increasingly endangered by media dysfunction and disinformation.

Today, Froomkin cites Trump's victory in 2016 as the moment when the corporate media should have realized how dangerous their failures had become. But, he argues, "they didn't really change. Fundamentally, they're still adopting rightwing frames, they're still not rebutting misinformation with the enthusiasm that they should. They're still doing the horse-race journalism which allows them to be gamed by politicians, especially on the right."

"The press has a blind eye towards Biden's successes and is focused instead on whatever the Republicans are talking about, which is impeachment and Hunter Biden these days," he tells me, even as the GOP can't even agree amongst itself on a spending package to keep the entire federal government open and operating past next week. "There's massive dysfunction on the right, and unfortunately the media feels like when it reports that, it's being biased, it's being liberal. And if, God forbid, it should write anything nice about Biden, then it would definitely be accused of being liberal."

Please tune in for our conversation today and --- as importantly --- I hope some in the media (especially in the executive suites) do as well. By the way, Froomkin has a great idea for the misbegotten CNN and how they could, if they were smart under their new CEO, "become the anti-Fox/pro-truth network".

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Biden, Zelenskyy fight for democracy at U.N.; House GOP in 'civil war' as government shutdown looms, impeachment scam moves forward...
By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2023 6:53pm PT  

Thanks to the billionaire-funded rightwing media machine (and much of the corporate media that is a part of it), it remains all too easy to muddy enough waters to fool a huge chunk of the American people these days with evil, lies and bad faith. All we can do is hold on for dear life on The BradCast each day and hope that pushing back with facts and truth ultimately wins out over evil, bad faith and lies. [Audio link to full program follows below this summary.]

On today's program...

  • President Biden made an impassioned case to world leaders for continuing support for Ukraine's existential battle against Russia's evil and lies --- and in defense of democracy --- at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. He also called for uniting the world against our ever-worsening climate crisis.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also addressed the same body to make his own impassioned case that his nation's battle against the barbaric, 19-month invasion by autocratic neighboring Russia is, in fact, a warning for other democracies around the world.
  • Here at home, U.S. House Republicans --- who have become alarmingly pro-Putin, pro-Russia and pro-autocracy --- are now eating themselves alive. It seems increasingly unlikely that they can even come to an agreement among their own warring factions to adopt a measure to simply keep the government open and funded after the federal fiscal year ends next week. It is unclear that many of them even want to. As Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries aptly observed over the weekend, the House GOP is now "in the middle of a civil war."
  • So, what is Speaker Kevin McCarthy's plan to get out of this mess by October 1, when his extremist GOP caucus threatens to shut down the government without, at the very least, adopting a Continuing Resolution to stay open for another 30 days so Republicans can negotiate with themselves? Impeachment of Joe Biden, of course! (Spoiler alert: There is still no evidence of either high crimes or misdemeanors, but that may not matter. As we discuss, this is the very same playbook that did in Hillary Clinton with "but her emails!" and, back in 2004, John Kerry with that swiftboat nonsense. Apparently, the American people are very easy to fool. Do Democrats have a plan in response?)
  • Finally, speaking of being fooled again, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as California pushes back, in court, against Big Oil's decades of deadly climate lies. As Gov. Gavin Newsom explained when announcing the state's lawsuit against five of the largest fossil fuel companies: "These guys have been playing us for fools. They've been playing all of us for fools."

Don't get fooled again.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Unspeakable Libya death toll; Record global heat; Hunter Biden charged; Hurricane Lee; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2023 7:03pm PT  

It's still kind of hilarious that the Republican Speaker of the House this week, in announcing an impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden for...(fill in actual crime here when available)...described the Democratic President as "the picture of a culture of corruption". It's particularly amusing given the bulk of today's news on The BradCast. [Audio link to full show follow below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The unspeakable death toll from flooding in Libya is now expected to be in the tens of thousands as bodies line the streets in the eastern coastal town of Derna, where 16 inches of rain fell in one day over the weekend resulting in the collapse of two dams. Given some of the horrifying new numbers from Berkeley Earth this week, however, suggesting that the planet has a good chance of exceeding the 1.5 degree Celsius increase of warming since pre-industrial times which the Paris Climate Agreement seeks to avoid, we could be in for many more such horrific disasters in the years ahead.
  • Following a nearly 5-year probe by a Trump appointed U.S. Attorney and a recently failed plea agreement, Hunter Biden was charged today with 3 felony counts related to using illegal narcotics while buying a gun. These are crimes which almost nobody is ever charged with, especially when they have never fired or even loaded the gun, which Hunter reportedly had for only 11 days. But that must be a part of the "special preferential treatment" the President's son has received, if you hear Republicans tell it. Try not to laugh.
  • The state judge overseeing the sprawling, 41-count racketeering conspiracy indictment [PDF] against the former President of the United States, Donald Trump and his 18 co-conspirators for their attempts to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, has determined that all 19 defendants will not be tried in a single group beginning in October, as Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis had sought. So far, former Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell will stand trial next month, but a trial date for all of the others will be set later, likely for some time next year --- if a slot when Trump isn't standing trial on felony charges in three other jurisdictions can be found.
  • The civil trial Trump faces --- along with his two eldest sons, his company and two top executives --- via New York state Attorney General Letitia James, for falsely and unlawfully inflating his company's net worth by billions of dollars in order to fraudulently receive bank loans and other benefits, begins on October 2. Just mentioning that since it seems few others are doing so these days for some reason.
  • The Fox Corporation was sued yet again this week, related to the knowing lies Fox "News" told about the 2020 election being "rigged". The latest suit comes courtesy of New York City's huge pension funds. They charge neglect of corporate duty to protect shareholders by opening themselves up to defamation suits like the one from Dominion Voting Systems. That one cost the pretend news outlet $787.5 million to settle earlier this year. The state of Oregon, on behalf of their public employee retirement fund, has joined the suit. All of which begs the question as to why anybody's money is actually invested in a company known, for years. to be as corrupt as Fox. I might suggest that those whose retirement funds are being handled by NYC and Oregon (and elsewhere) demand the funds pull their money from similarly irresponsible and corrupt corporations --- such as the major fossil fuel companies --- before they too face the huge financial liabilities that await them.
  • Are Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his fellow corrupt Republicans in the state's obscenely gerrymandered Legislature blinking in their recent threats to impeach newly-seated state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz before she has even heard a case? The High Court's new liberal majority will soon be hearing two citizen petitions challenging the GOP's corrupt state district maps, which have ensured Republican majorities in both the Assembly and Senate for most of the past decade. But this week, just after state Dems announced a $4 million ad buy to let voters in the Badger State known what Republicans are up to in advance of 2024, Vos floated a new legislative "deal" to create new maps. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers immediately rejected the proposal as "bogus". We explain.
  • Remember that Kentucky County Clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples back in 2015? Kim Davis will now have to pay one of those couples $100,000 for having refused to do so, according to a decision this week by a federal jury.
  • Ken Paxton, the unspeakably corrupt Texas state Attorney General and close Trump ally who is facing trial in the Republican-dominated state Senate on 20 articles of impeachment brought by the state's Republican-dominated House this week, may have dodged at least one bullet. A last-minute deal was struck between the opposing attorneys to skip testimony from Paxton's mistress on Wednesday. She's the one who was given a job by a Paxton donor to make it easier for them to continue their secret affair. The impeachment trial of the state's top law enforcement officer continues in the Senate, which will soon decide if the Republican should be removed from office based on charges of bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of power. Paxton's wife is a state Senator and has been present all week at the trial. She will, however, be barred from voting on his fate.
  • Washington Post reports today that Florida's corrupt Republican Governor Ron DeSantis enjoyed a whole bunch of unreported and undisclosed private plane flights, luxury resort accommodations and meals with wealthy donors after being first elected in 2018. With his Presidential aspirations now failing, he must be angling for a Supreme Court nomination.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest 'Green News Report' with more on the horrific news out of Libya; the record costs of U.S. weather-related disasters so far this year; more bad news for Texas water drinkers; and a bit of encouraging news courtesy of Biden and the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act. Oh, we're also still keeping an eye on the powerful, slow-moving Hurricane Lee, a monster storm in the Atlantic which is currently brushing by Bermuda and threatening New England, Canada and Newfoundland over the next several days...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: David Roberts, climate and energy journalist; Also: Senate Repubs don't think much of McCarthy's Impeachment Inquiry either...
By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2023 6:59pm PT  

The landmark federal climate bill called the Inflation Reduction Act, adopted last year without a single Republican vote when Democrats held majorities in both chambers of Congress, has a long way to go before we can determine its full success or failure.

On the other hand, as discussed on today's BradCast, if it is going well, but few Americans know it's going well --- as corporate broadcast media spend nearly 24 hours a day on various crises both manufactured and real (ironically, many caused by climate change!) --- can it or will it make a difference in next year's elections? [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, FIRST UP today, one (or more) of those manufactured crises. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's desperate attempt on Tuesday to win over his own far-right caucus in the House by unilaterally declaring an impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden doesn't seem to be going over very well. He had to break his own vow, made just 11 days ago, to do it only after a full vote of the House. It doesn't seem to be winning over enough colleagues to help him avoid a federal Government shutdown at the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1. And even fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate apparently see no evidence of High Crimes or Misdemeanors by the President to warrant impeachment.

On the other hand, he hasn't been pushed out of Speaker job by his own party this week...yet. So there's that!

NEXT: Biden and the Democrats' landmark Inflation Reduction Act --- featuring the largest single investment in history in climate change mitigation and clean energy manufacturing and jobs --- is now one year old. It has already begun to "turbocharging" a massive investment in new manufacturing plants and jobs in the U.S. to help reduce fossil fuel carbon emissions causing our climate crisis. It will soon be funding billions of dollars in home improvement projects to allow low and middle-income homeowners to electrify, solarize, upgrade and simply increase energy efficiency to save money. (NOTE: Not currently applicable in states like Florida, Kentucky, Iowa or South Dakota, apparently, which have failed to join the federal program to help their own residents save money and improve their home values while fighting climate change.)

Our guest today to discuss all of this is the great DAVID ROBERTS, longtime climate, energy and politics journalist and podcaster at Volts.WTF. We last spoke to him a year ago, just after passage of the critical legislation.

He explains today that it is still "too early to tell" whether the legislation is a success or not given all of its many practical objectives, which include vastly lowering emissions, creating millions of good paying jobs, sparking a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. to bring supply chains home for renewable energy technology and overtaking China's dominance in the sector.

"Because the IRA's goals are so vast," Roberts explains, "it will only be over the course of five to ten years that we really have any understanding of whether it pulled it off. It's trying to do enormous things."

"What we definitely can say," however, is "that one of the goals --- which was to spur private investment into these products and supply chains in the U.S. --- is absolutely working. Last I looked, it's like $270 billion-worth of private investment flooding into the U.S."

But the yardstick for success here may be even longer than you think, according to Roberts. He tells me there is yet another goal for the legislation that is "not as public, but, if you talk to some Biden people behind the scenes, they will tell you that this apocalyptic terror you have about the future of democracy is not crazy."

"We are in a perilous, perilous moment. And part of the thinking behind IRA was that it is these parts of the country that were hollowed out by globalization, hollowed out by decades of reflexive 'free trade' dogma --- it's these parts of the county that have experienced this reactionary backlash that we've all been living through over the past little while. And if that goes on, U.S. democracy is in serious, existential trouble. People are freaked out about that all the way to the top. So, part of the goal of IRA was to channel investment into those areas. And that is happening."

Roberts says that much of the new investment "is coming into Southern and Midwestern states," including by companies like First Solar, which is "investing $1.2 billion into a facility in Louisiana. That is the single largest private investment in that state's history." Similar projects are happening in states like Georgia, West Virginia and elsewhere.

So, all we need to assess success of this enormous new law is whether it helps solves both of the nation's most existential crises: Democracy and Climate Change.

"Spurring investment, yes, it is succeeding. Is it succeeding in muting that reactionary backlash? Is it succeeding in muting these horrendous politics we've dealt with? Is it succeeding in turning a few swing voters in those swing states to help Joe Biden get back into office? That we don't know yet. And part of the problem is that our media ecosystem is broken and dysfunctional, and people just don't know about [the law]."

How to solve that? Well, as you can tell, we've got much to discuss today with Roberts along those lines as well, as he characterizes that part of issue as "the six million question" given "how broken the media is, and how difficult it is to get it to focus on these things."

He's got a few ideas, however, some involve "a huge role for NGOs, for the green movement" and even for you, as the climate, economic and political effects of the IRA one year on are still "TBD"...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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