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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Trump Dark Money Group Dumping Tens of Millions on Racist, Transphobic Disinfo Ads: 'BradCast' 5/21/24
Guest: Victoria Cadostin; Also: Rudy arraigned in AZ; Trump defense rests in NY; More...
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
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
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RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
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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
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


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...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2024 6:03pm PT  

Yesterday was a very good day for democracy in Wisconsin. On today's BradCast, we take a few minutes to celebrate. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We have been covering the GOP's autocratic takeover of the state following the 2010 elections for some 13 years at this point. After the 2010 Census, state Republicans implemented one of the most extreme gerrymanders in the nation at both the legislative (state Senate and Assembly) level as well as for their U.S. House districts.

The gerrymanders were so extreme that, despite Democrats winning 14 of the past 17 statewide elections in the Badger State, Republicans have maintained super-majority or near super-majority control of both chambers of the Legislature for more than a decade. Meanwhile, WI's 8-seat U.S. House delegation includes just 2 Democrats in the very closely divided Presidential battleground state.

With no fear of losing their legislative majorities, Republicans ran wild. They stripped labor unions of their right to collective bargaining, loosened gun safety laws, suppressed voters, etc. over the past decade. But, as of last year, everything finally began to change when voters finally won back a progressive majority on the state Supreme Court. The day after the liberals 4 to 3 majority was seated, voters filed a challenge to the Constitutionality of the state's legislative gerrymanders and they won. The Court ordered that new maps must be drawn up in time for the 2024 elections.

On Monday, after declaring, "Folks, it's a new day in Wisconsin, and today is a beautiful day for democracy," the state's Democratic Governor Tony Evers signed legislation adopted by the gerrymandered Assembly and House last week, approving new fairer legislative maps that Evers' office itself had drawn up for the state. Those maps will now take effect for this year's elections and democracy may, at long last, be at least partially restored to the Badger State.

We're joined today by our old friend, longtime Wisconsin native and progressive journalist and author, JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, to discuss all of this very good news --- not for Democrats, per se, but for voters and democracy itself.

"The Republicans tried everything" to prevent this from happening, he tells me. "They threatened to impeach one of the Supreme Court justices. They tried all sorts of stunts." But, on the verge of the high court handing down its own maps, which would arguably have been worse for Republicans, "the very wily Speaker of the State Assembly, Robin Vos, decided he had no options, so he passed the Governor's maps."

Those maps, notes Nichols, are "not a particularly good set of maps for Democrats. In fact, Democrats have a little hill to climb in order to win." He explains, however, that "if it's a good year for the Republicans, it's very likely the Republicans are going to control the legislature. If it's a good year for the Democrats, there's a decent chance that Democrats will control the legislature." That, of course, is how representative democracy is supposed to work, after all.

As Evers declared before signing the measure on Monday: "When I promised I wanted fair maps --- not maps that are better for one party or another, including my own --- I damn well meant it." He added, "Wisconsin is not a red state or a blue state --- we’re a purple state, and I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact."

Interestingly enough, Democrats in the Legislature voted against the Democratic Governor's maps...before celebrating their adoption. We discuss why. But, Nichols also notes this bottom line: "If the Democrats take both chambers of the legislature" this year with the Democratic Evers in the Governor's mansion, "they will be able to, in a matter of weeks, reverse" more than a decade of GOP power grabs and union stripping, not to mention the state's 1849 anti-abortion law and much more. "Every disappointment that Democrats have had over the last twelve, thirteen years could be undone," Nichols argues, and almost as quickly as Republicans implemented their regressive policies (even while they had to bulldoze the rule of law to do so.)

"Look to Michigan," advises Nichols. "Because Wisconsin is still in process. Wisconsin is still struggling to get there. Michigan got there. They got independent redistricting which drew fair maps after the 2018 election. In 2022 they had fair maps, finally, after a long process. They elected a Democratic state assembly [and] a Democratic state senate. On Tuesday, the laws officially went on the books eliminating their anti-labor 'right-to-work' law, expanding collective bargaining rights for teachers and graduate students, restoring all sorts of wage protections for construction workers. Michigan has now gone --- just a couple of years ago --- from being one of the more anti-labor states in the northern part of the country to having probably the best, or very close to the best, labor laws in the country. That's what you get when you don't give up. You get to actually transform it."

We also discuss who gets credit for this long-fought win in WI, from the state's indefatigable Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler who declared on Monday that "the long, dark night of ultra-partisan gerrymandering is over, and a new day for democracy now dawns in the Badger State," to the progressive grassroots activists who, says Nichols, deserve "the most credit."

And the lesson for other states to take from Wisconsin, as litigation continues in more than a dozen of them over both legislative and the U.S. House districts (including in WI, where that gerrymander could also soon be ended by the state Supreme Court): "Don't give up," urges Nichols, echoing the words, by the way, of the late Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

ALSO TODAY:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court rejects an appeal from Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and six others, of the $150,000 in legal sanctions they were forced by a judge to pay for abusing the court system in Detroit via Powell's sham, post-2020 "Kraken" lawsuit, challenging the results of MI's election that year.
  • A bedtime story to help you understand the propaganda now coming from Trump supporters claiming there were "no victims" in the New York civil lawsuit against Trump and his company and two eldest sons for inflating the value of their assets to the tune of more than $2 billion each year over the past 11, to receive better rates on bank loans and lower taxes. Last Friday, NY Superior Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled [PDF] Trump and his eldest sons must pay nearly $400 million in penalties for their decades-long fraud.
  • And finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, to bunk our high over all of today's good news (as usual!) with some chilling reports on Florida's disappearing coral reefs; the plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam, and nearly half of the world's migratory species now in decline thanks to climate change, according to a new U.N. report...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Next election may end GOP entrenchment in WI Assembly, though GOP entrenchment in Senate unlikely to be fully eradicated before 2026...
UPDATE 1/15/24: Court denies GOP motion to reconsider. UPDATE 2/19/29: Gov. Evers approves new map, likely ending litigation...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/27/2023 11:09am PT  

2024 begins with long-overdue good news for the voters of Wisconsin.

Three days before Christmas, by way of a 4-3 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the most recent of two GOP drawn state legislative maps. The two maps were the product of partisan gerrymandering that was so extreme that it permitted the Republican Party to maintain supermajority (2/3) or near supermajority control of both chambers of the Badger State Legislature over the past 12 years --- even when Democrats received as much as 53% of the statewide vote.

The detailed procedures for drawing up new maps in time for the state's 2024 primary elections are set forth in the Court's Post Decision Order, maximizing, at long last, the prospect of a state Legislature whose members will be politically accountable to the will of a majority of the Wisconsin electorate.

If timely developed and approved, the new 2024 maps will permit a majority of WI voters to put an end to a decade-long GOP gerrymandered entrenchment in the state Assembly, though a majority of voters will not be empowered to fully eradicate GOP entrenchment in the WI Senate until 2026. Because it would have been tantamount to overturning the results of the 2022 election, the Court denied the petitioners' request that it compel those Senators, whose terms would not otherwise expire until 2027, to run for reelection in 2024...

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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...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Newly liberal state Supreme Court majority decides to hear challenge to the Badger State's wildly gerrymandered legislative maps in time for 2024 elections, even as unprecedented impeachment threat looms...
UPDATE, 10/12/23: Governor Evers files motion to intervene...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/10/2023 12:32pm PT  

It's game on, Wisconsin!

Last Friday, eight days after it declined to hear an emergency request to block the Wisconsin Assembly from initiating impeachment proceedings against recently seated Justice Janet Protasiewicz, the state's Supreme Court partially granted a request to determine whether The Badger State's existing legislative maps violate the state Constitution.

The Court's 4-3 Decision [PDF] to review the constitutionality of arguably the most politically gerrymandered maps in the nation comes on the heels of liberals recently assuming a majority on the bench for the first time in more than 15 years.

In their initial filing [PDF] seeking new, fairer maps, the petitioners in Clarke vs. Wisconsin Elections Commission argued (1) the Wisconsin Supreme Court should grant the petition because it is the only entity that can resolve the issue; (2) that extreme partisan gerrymanders violate the Wisconsin Constitution; (3) that the current legislative districts, both in the state Senate and Assembly, are unconstitutionally noncontiguous, and (4) that the current maps violate separation of powers.

The High Court's narrow majority determined that it will only hear issues (3) and (4). It directed the parties to file briefs by Oct. 16 that will address four specified questions, including the standards the Court should apply in adopting a remedy if it finds the existing maps to be unconstitutional and "the legislature and governor fail to adopt maps that comply with the Wisconsin constitution."

That wasn't the only critical decision issued on Friday regarding what is likely to be a landmark ruling by the High Court...

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Petitioners argue GOP plan to remove recently seated Justice violates state Constitutional limitation to 'crimes' or 'corrupt conduct in office'...
UPDATE 10/3/23: Wisconsin Supremes declined to hear the case...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/18/2023 9:35am PT  

Last week at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a pair of voters filed an Emergency Petition [PDF] seeking to block a GOP scheme to impeach a newly seated Justice on the High Court.

The filing includes an ex parte request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent Republicans in Wisconsin's gerrymandered state Assembly from carrying out their recent threats to impeach Justice Janet Protasiewicz. Petitioners charge that an impeachment brought by the state legislature at this point would be in violation of The Badger State Constitution.

Shortly after Protasiewicz was sworn-in last month --- giving liberals a majority on the WI Supreme Court for the first time in more than 15-years --- voters and a group of mathematicians and computer scientists filed two petitions, Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission and Wright v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, in the state's High Court. The petitions allege Wisconsin's wildly gerrymandered legislative maps violate multiple provisions of the state Constitution. The Clarke and Wright petitioners seek the creation of a fair map prior to the 2024 election.

The new emergency petition, Hanson-Hysel v. Wisconsin State Assembly, was filed last week on behalf of the 1,021,370 Badger State electors whose votes handed Protasiewicz an 11-point victory over her right-wing opponent, Dan Kelly, last April.

The Hanson-Hysel petition advances several core contentions. Most notably: Article 7, Section 1 of the state's Constitution mandates the WI Assembly may initiate impeachment against a judge or justice only in response to "corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes and misdemeanors."

In the 175 years since Wisconsin adopted its founding document, just one member of the Badger State judiciary, Circuit Judge Levi Hubbel, was impeached, in 1853 in relation to bribery accusations. He was acquitted of the charges.

Protasiewicz, on the other hand, has not been accused of either a crime or corrupt conduct in office. She has yet to even hear a case. But her presence on the Badger State's high court has arguably become an existential threat to the survival of the Republicans' more than a decade of unfairly gerrymandered majorities in both chambers of the state legislature...

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Guest: John Nichols on the WI GOP's state Supreme Court impeachment threat to save their gerrymandered majorities; Also: McCarthy announces House GOP's evidence-free impeachment inquiry of President Biden...
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2023 6:48pm PT  

Republicans have railed against the use of impeachment in recent years, describing it as little more than "election interference" --- at least when it was their obscenely corrupt, four-time indicted former President being twice impeached. Well, the party seems to have had a change of heart, as discussed on today's BradCast, as they are now threatening impeachments in both D.C. and Wisconsin. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST UP: Just 11 days ago, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told a rightwing news outlet that, unlike those corrupt Democrats under Nancy Pelosi during the Trump era, Republicans wouldn't open an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden without a full vote of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“To open an impeachment inquiry is a serious matter, and House Republicans would not take it lightly or use it for political purposes," McCarthy vowed in his statement just 11 days ago. "The American people deserve to be heard on this matter through their elected representatives. That’s why, if we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person."

On Tuesday, one person, Kevin McCarthy, declared he was opening an Impeachment Inquiry in the People's House into Joe Biden's "culture of corruption". That, of course, is a nice way of describing an impeachment inquiry of the sitting President that has no actual evidence of either high crimes or misdemeanors. The unilaterally announced inquiry (he took no questions from media afterward) comes on the heels of three ongoing, GOP-led U.S. House probes into the business dealings of the President's son, Hunter Biden, which includes a five-year long (and continuing) criminal probe by a Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney.

Despite all of that, there remains no independently verifiable evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, or even evidence that he had anything to do with his son's business affairs. There is a mountain of evidence, however, that the far-right Freedom Caucus in the House has fully captured the Speaker, who they allowed to take the gavel this year, after 15 rounds of voting, in exchange for a host of concessions. One is that any single member of the House may call a vote at any time to remove McCarthy as Speaker.

With the federal fiscal year ending on September 30, the far-right GOP House mob is now threatening to shut down the Government without passing spending bills that McCarthy agreed to with Biden earlier this year (as part of a deal to avoid GOP threats, at the time, to allow the federal government to default on its bills for the first time in history.) McCarthy's announcement today appears to be an effort to win back his radicalized caucus at least long enough to adopt a 30-day Continuing Resolution to keep the government open before the end of the month and/or prevent himself from being ousted as Speaker. We wish him luck on all of the above.

NEXT: The U.S. House is not the only place where Republicans are desperately embracing impeachment in hopes of salvaging their political fortunes. Wisconsin's state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has been threatening to impeach state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz unless she recuses from two challenges to the state's wildly gerrymandered state legislative maps.

She was elected by an 11-point landslide in the previously closely-divided battleground state earlier this year, giving liberals a 4 to 3 majority on the High Court for the first time in 15 years. She was seated August 1 and, the very next day, petitions were filed with the Court seeking to replace the GOP's rigged maps with fair ones.

Vos is demanding that Protasiewicz recuse from the cases based on the fact that, while running for the job, she referred to the state's rigged maps as "rigged". Which, of course, they are. So much so that --- despite a majority on the Supreme Court and the top statewide elected offices being filled by Democrats, including two-term Governor Tony Evers --- Republicans still have more than enough votes, most likely, to impeach Protasiewicz in the Assembly and a two-thirds majority in the Senate, as needed to remove her from office before she's even heard a single case.

As one of the petitions [PDF] now before the Court argues: "Since 2012, even when Democrats have won as much as 53% of the vote, they have held no more than 39 of the 99 Assembly seats. In the same period, when Republicans have won as little as 44.8% of the statewide vote, they have held no fewer than 66 of the 99 seats and saw victories that yielded them 22 of 33 senate seats."

Native Wisconsinite, longtime progressive author and journalist JOHN NICHOLS joins us today to help make sense of and offer context to what he characterizes as the Wisconsin GOP's "unprecedented" use of the impeachment power in the Badger State --- or any other.

He describes the "high stakes political war" as "a game of chicken," with Republicans "upping their threat" to remove Protasiewicz, "not because it's legitimate, but because these folks might well do something crazy."

"I don't think you can say it's a foregone conclusion that they will impeach," he cautions. "I would say we've moved to the point where it's likely. They have realized, once the lawsuits were filed, that if the Court moves forward on these, they are going to be upended politically. Basically, this is self-preservation at this point. If you know anything about politics, self-preservation is a stronger motivation than partisanship or ideology. That's what tips the balance toward the likelihood of impeachment."

"The best way to understand the Republican Party of Wisconsin is that this is a political party that's in crisis," Nichols tells me. "Their crisis is that the state, which really was pretty evenly divided [is now leaning Democratic.] If that's the case, then for the Republicans, the only way they survive politically is to either change, become a much more moderate party --- they're unlikely to do that --- or game the process."

And, while one single Republican in the state Senate could prevent Protasiewicz' removal, the WI Constitution, as Nichols explains, has a provision "that's really become the heart of the whole matter. The clause says that if you are impeached by the state Assembly, you cannot rule on cases that come before the court. This is the key to it. We've always known there aren't the votes in the state Senate. But because of that clause, they don't have to send it to the Senate. They can just impeach her, and then leave her in limbo for a year and a half, at least until the legislative session ends. Which would eliminate any action as regards the 2024 maps, potentially the 2026 maps."

Could she simply resign and be reappointed by Evers until the next election? Yes, says Nichols, but there is a rub. Tune in for it.

All of this, however, may come at a great cost to Republicans, he explains, as voters respond to this radical tactic as Constitutional abortion rights, union rights and voting rights are all expected to come before the liberal Court that voters elected this year.

How does this "game of chicken" end? Nichols, who told me a month ago, when Vos' threat first emerged, that we were likely "in for a wild ride," now promises a "roller coaster" in his home state in the coming weeks, as state Dems are now spending at least $4 million to let Wisconsin voters know what Republicans are up to in advance of 2024. If the GOP pulls this trigger, Nichols believes, they could be in for serious trouble when voters return to the polls next year.

FINALLY: Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as horrific flooding moves from Greece to Libya where it has taken thousands of lives over the past several days; Africa holds its first-ever climate summit and calls for a global fossil fuel carbon tax; and climate protesters interrupt the U.S. Open...

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Guest: BRAD BLOG legal contributor Ernest A. Canning; Also: Trump co-defendants begin surrenders on 2020 election theft RICO charges in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2023 6:31pm PT  

There is no small amount of irony throughout today's BradCast, as Republican lawmakers threaten to impeach a newly elected state Supreme Court Justice just days after she was sworn in. Do they think we don't remember how they pretended to be outraged(!) in 2020 and 2021, charging Democrats were offending voters with attempted "election nullification" by twice impeaching the former President at the end of his four-year term?

Before we get to that mess in Wisconsin today, speaking of The Former Guy, two of his co-defendants in his fourth criminal indictment of the year (the RICO case in Georgia for his attempted to steal the 2020 election there) surrendered at a Fulton County jail on Tuesday. John Eastman and Scott Hall both turned themselves in after arranging to be released on bond after booking.

Eastman is the far-right Trump attorney and architect of the unlawful/unconstitutional failed scheme to have then Vice President Mike Pence toss out legitimate Electoral College votes on January 6th, 2021. Hall, little known to most of the nation but well known by now to longtime BradCast listeners, is the Atlanta bail bondsman (well, that'll come in handy!) who confessed to frequent guest on this program, Marilyn Marks of the Coalition for Good Governance, that he helped run the unlawful MAGA breach of Georgia's sensitive voting system hardware and software in Coffee County, GA on January 7th, 2021.

Marks had the wherewithal to record Hall's phone call to her. We aired it for the first time on this program last year and have been closely covering the Coffee County breach ever since (even as GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger appears to still be covering it up.) That scheme, part of a multi-state conspiracy, was allegedly hatched in Trump's Oval Office in December of 2020, and paid for by another co-defendant, Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and plays a key role in the 41-count grand jury RICO indictment [PDF] secured last week by Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis. More surrenders, including Trump's own, are to come this week before the Friday deadline, after which Willis has vowed to seek arrest warrants.

As that plays out in the Peach State, desperate Republican lawmakers in the Badger State may be seeing the writing on the wall. Their 15 years of autocratic, partisan gerrymandered majority rule of both chambers of the Wisconsin state Legislature may finally be coming to an end following the statewide landslide election victory last April of Janet Protasiewicz to the state Supreme Court.

On August 1, Justice Protasiewicz was finally sworn in (as pictured above), giving liberals on the High Court a 4 to 3 majority for the first time in some 15 years. The next day, August 2, the first of two petitions was filed with the Court seeking a ruling that the GOP's extreme partisan gerrymandered Legislative maps for both the state Assembly and Senate are unlawful violations of the state's Constitution. Plaintiffs seek not only new, fair maps in advance of the 2024 elections, but they are also asking the Court to order an emergency special election for all seats in the Senate next year. According to plaintiffs, current office holders "lack legal entitlement" to hold those seats due to the unlawful maps in place since 2011, as first approved by the state's hard-right radical then-Governor Scott Walker.

Republicans are both furious and terrified about the two new lawsuits filed by voters, leading current, far-right Assembly Speaker and autocracy fan, Robin Vos (arguably one of the biggest benefactors of the states "rigged" maps), to float the idea of impeaching Protasiewicz if she fails to recuse herself from both cases. Vos argues that, during her campaign earlier this year, Protasiewicz "prejudged" the cases by describing the obviously unfair maps as both unfair and rigged.

There are a whole bunch of problems with Vos' argument, one that was laughably shared in a recent "intemperate dissent" penned in response to these cases by Walker-appointed Justice Rebecca Bradley.

Longtime BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING has been closely following and writing about the matter. He joins us today to detail the allegations against Protasiewicz, the hypocrisy of Bradley, and the constitutional crisis that could occur in the Badger State if Vos moves ahead with impeachment and removal by the state's Republican gerrymandered Assembly and Senate.

"For the Republicans to hold on to a 2/3rds majority in the Senate, even when they received as little as 45% of the vote, tells you what they've done. This is a deeply anti-democratic project," Canning explains. "If they're willing to impeach simply to hold on to power, that in itself is a direct assault on democracy. Particularly when you consider the argument that they really don't have a legal basis for the seats they are holding right now."

We also share a comment today on this entire fine mess from friend of the show, national affairs correspondent at The Nation and WI favorite son, John Nichols.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as hurricane season suddenly kicks into full gear in the U.S., wildfire season continues unabated across Canada, and extreme drought partially shuts down operations at the Panama Canal. Also, before we close today, some grim news out of this year's climate change-fueled wildfires in Greece, and a quick update on Wednesday night's upcoming "Trump-free" 2024 Republican Presidential debate in Milwaukee...

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GOPers in gerrymandered state legislative seats float possibility of removing newly elected Justice over state gerrymandering case...
UPDATE 08/23/23: Elections Commission files neutral response; WI Legislature moves to intervene; named GOP Senators oppose, named Dems respond in support; UPDATE 08/26/23 briefing scheduled on GOP recusal motion...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/21/2023 9:19am PT  

If acted upon, a recent threat by Wisconsin's Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to impeach newly seated state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz could give rise to a Badger State constitutional crisis --- albeit, a crisis that can be somewhat ameliorated by the ability of Wisconsin's Democratic Governor Tony Evers to appoint her replacement.

The political gamesmanship that could play out in the weeks ahead, thanks to sore loser Republicans in the state's gerrymandered Legislature, may rival or even surpass some of the worst partisan excesses of the fading Scott Walker era.

As detailed last week, Wisconsin voters, mathematicians and computer scientists filed a pair of petitions (Clarke v. Wisconsin Election Commission and Wright v. Wisconsin Election Commission) directly with the Wisconsin Supreme Court earlier this month.

Petitioners seek to break the chains of the GOP's 12-year entrenched and politically-engineered control of both chambers of the Badger State legislature --- control that was and is the product of what petitioners allege to be unlawful extreme partisan gerrymandering.

The petitions, consistent with a dissent issued by three of the Court's liberal justices last year in Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, allege that the Badger State's existing Legislative maps violate voter rights as guaranteed by multiple provisions of the Wisconsin Constitution.

The voters' petition in Clarke not only seeks the creation of fair state Senate and Assembly maps in time for next year's election, but also seeks the issuance of an emergency writ that would schedule a Special Election for those WI Senators whose terms would not otherwise expire until 2027. The voter petitioners argue that all currently serving state Senators "lack legal entitlement" to their respective offices because they were procured via unconstitutionally configured districts.

Vos, who owes his position as Speaker to those partisan gerrymandered maps, claims Protasiewicz "prejudged" the outcome of the new cases during her campaign for the seat earlier this year. He threatened to impeach her if she dared take part in the pending challenges. That "prejudgment" accusation, however, would be far more apt when applied to right-wing WI Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley when, last year, she joined with the right wing majority, in Johnson --- a decision, which, per the dissent, violated Wisconsin's constitutionally-mandated separation of powers by overriding a governor's veto in order to saddle the electorate with the Republican-drawn, partisan gerrymandered Legislative map.

Bradley authored an intemperate dissent in the new cases...

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Also: Hurricane Hillary eyes Southern CA and/or AZ...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2023 7:11pm PT  

If you had "Hurricane in Southern California" on your Climate Crisis 2023 Bingo card, please come on up to accept your prize. Details on that on today's BradCast, along with a whole bunch of other stuff we've had to set aside of late, thanks to the now 91 criminal felony charges being faced by our corrupt and disgraced former President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories covered today that (largely) have nothing to do with felony indictments...

  • Hurricane Hilary spins up suddenly off the coast of Mexico and is now gaining strength amid an El Nino. The storm is said to be heading north to make what could be an "exceedingly rare" landfall over the next few days somewhere here in Southern California or along the Baja Peninsula before moving up and into Arizona --- if you believe scientists who are experts in this sort of thing.
  • The gerrymandered Republican state legislature in North Carolina on Wednesday overrode vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to enact new laws that are unspeakable cruel to, among others, transgender children. If you are unaware, we explain exactly why these types of laws --- now adopted by 22 GOP-controlled states (though being challenged in court in most of them) --- are so awful and cruel. That is, unless you are a Republican, like those who stole control of the NC legislature, who believe Big Government should intercede between doctors and patients and that so-called "parental rights" should also be overruled by Big Government autocratic fiat.
  • Speaking of autocracy, gerrymanders and Big Government Republicans now dictating to small, local government and voters...the morally and ethically broken GOP-controlled state legislature in Texas has recently passed a law to oust the chief election official in Harris County (Houston) --- and only in Harris County --- just months before upcoming municipal elections in the state's largest and most Democratic-leaning County. A state judge this week found the new law in violation of the Lone Star State's constitution. But, just hours later, the state put that ruling on hold by appealing it to the TX Supreme Court (all Republican). The November elections are now just weeks away and, unless something changes quickly, will apparently be run by the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector who has zero experience running elections and had nothing to do with the months-long planning for the one where early voting is set to begin next month.
  • In far more encouraging news about autocracy, gerrymandering and, in this case, democracy, we head to the great state of Wisconsin. On August 1, Justice Janet Protasiewicz became the state Supreme Court's newest member after being elected earlier this year. Her landslide (for Wisconsin) 11-point victory in April means that liberals now hold a majority on the state's High Court for the first time in about 15 years. On August 2, a group of petitioners filed with the state Supremes to not only force new, fair legislative maps for the state's House and Senate for the first time in more than a decade, but also for emergency elections next year for all members of the state Senate, many of whom will not otherwise face reelection until 2026 despite occupying seats that petitioners argue are held only thanks to the GOP's unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernie Canning wrote about this challenge to the state's illicit, entrenched legislative majorities this week and the potentially very good news it represents for Badger State voters. Just after airtime today, however, he updated his article with...well, some more good news but also...some troubling news about the gerrymandered GOP's new scheme to undermine democracy, the rule of law, the state constitution and state voters with impeachment proceedings against Protasiewicz in hopes of stealing back the Court to hold onto their entrenched, corrupt state legislative majorities. (See Ernie's UPDATE today on that story for more details.)
  • Then, a bit of listener mail in response to my apparently controversial suggestions of late that Donald Trump may very well not be on the general election ballot by November of next year.
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report with updates on the horrific fires on Maui and in Canada, but some very encouraging news about President Biden and the Democrats' landmark climate law, signed one year ago this week, which is already resulting in a clean energy manufacturing, construction and jobs boom in the U.S. --- and even overseas!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Success would offer a fair shot at flipping state legislative seats, but leave Republicans' gerrymandered U.S. House delegation in place...
UPDATED: Court orders responsive brief; Gerrymandered legislature threatens impeachment...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/14/2023 9:35am PT  

Elections have consequences.

Recently, in "The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn", we described how the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court's corrupt, right-wing "radicals in robes" last year to overturn the Constitutional right to an abortion led directly to the election of pro-choice Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz "by 11 percentage points, a huge margin in a narrowly divided state," as The New York Times described it.

On Aug. 1, the new Justice was seated, thereby flipping the WI's Supreme Court from a 4-3 right-wing majority to a 4-3 liberal majority for the first time in more than 15 years.

The very next day, on Aug. 2, state voters filed a Petition [PDF] directly with the WI Supreme Court. In Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, petitioners seek to break the chains of the GOP's 12-year entrenched control in both Houses of the Badger State legislature --- control that was and is the product of what petitioners allege to be unlawful, extreme partisan gerrymandering.

Two days after that, a second Petition [PDF] (Wright v. Wisconsin Elections Commission) was also filed in the WI Supreme Court by a group of mathematicians and computer scientists. In addition to presenting essentially the same legal challenge, the Wright petitioners bolstered both cases with objective scientific evidence establishing that the 2011 and 2021 Wisconsin legislative maps are the product of unlawful gerrymandering.

Both petitions are based upon a scathing judicial dissent issued last year in Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission. In their dissenting opinion, the Court's three liberal Justices --- then in the minority --- opined that the WI Supreme Court's right-wing majority usurped the constitutional functions of the Badger State's other branches. In Johnson, the Court's then-majority overrode Democratic Governor Tony Evers' veto of the 2021 gerrymander after Badger State Republicans in the Legislature failed to muster sufficient votes to override the Governor's veto on their own. Both petitions and the dissent identify multiple provisions within the WI Constitution that were violated by extreme partisan gerrymandering.

The Clarke Petition not only seeks to replace the partisan gerrymandered map with a fair map in time for next year's legislative elections but also seeks an emergency writ that would schedule a 2024 special election for all Badger State senators, including those whose terms would not otherwise expire until 2027. This is based upon the argument that all state Senators "lack legal entitlement to their office" because their respective offices are the product of unconstitutionally configured districts.

The Petitions, however, do not seek to redress Wisconsin's partisan gerrymandered Congressional map which helped hand Republicans six of the Badger State's eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, in a state where almost all statewide seats are now held by Democrats and where Joe Biden won in 2020...

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Former Prez pleads 'not guilty' in election theft conspiracy; Also: U.S. credit rating cut thanks to 'fiscal conservatives'; WI GOP threaten 2024 election administration; MI GOP A.G. nominee charged with vote machine tampering; Willis threatened, but 'ready to go' in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2023 7:22pm PT  

Ten years ago, a BradCast like today's would have been unimaginable. Today, it's just our latest BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered (some of which we've been trying to get to all week but for all the breaking news that kept bumping them!)...

  • The former President of the United States pleaded "not guilty" to felony crimes in his third arraignment in four months. This one at the federal courthouse in D.C., on four alleged charges [PDF] brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith related to Donald J. Trump's failed conspiracies to steal the 2020 Presidential election before, during and after his January 6, 2021 insurrection. Defendant Trump was reportedly warned by the magistrate judge overseeing his arraignment about committing more crimes, tampering with jurors or communicating with co-conspirators while he was freed pending trial.
  • Congressional Republicans still pretend they are "fiscal conservatives". Shamefully, the media still allows them to do so. But their brand of "fiscal conservatism" is, once again, costing the Government and American people untold billions. This week, the Fitch Rating service downgraded the U.S. credit rating from top tier AAA to AA+, citing principally the GOP's recent brinkmanship threatening to allow the U.S. government to default on its debts for the first time in history, and even due to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The newly lowered credit rating led the stock market to dive in response, is already increasing the cost of government borrowing and mortgage rates for homeowners.
  • On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court in Wisconsin officially flipped to a liberal majority for the first time in about 15 years after the election of Milwaukee Judge Janet Protasiewicz to the high court back in early April. The new era in the critical Presidential battleground state comes not a moment too soon, as Republicans in the gerrymandered state Senate are attempting to oust Elections Administrator Meagan Wolfe from the state's Election Commission after unanimously appointing her four years ago. When Trump lost the state in 2020, state Republicans decided the experienced administrator who has successfully overseen thousands of state election jurisdictions and is well-respected by clerks and experts of all parties, had cheated --- or didn't cheat enough --- or something. And now, amusingly, Democrats on the Election Commission are citing a ridiculous, 4 to 3 opinion by the state Supremes from last year, when the court had a rightwing majority, which allowed agency heads to remain in place after their term had ended. (The ruling was meant to support a sleazy GOP scheme to prevent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers from being able to appoint his own nominees to state agencies.) The 2024 election in the critical battleground state now hangs in the balance and may --- or may not --- as Bolt's Cameron Joseph reports, lead the Court's liberals to change their position on the issue when this matter, almost certainly, makes it's way to the newly liberal high court.
  • Michigan's failed 2022 Republican candidate for Attorney General, Matt DePerno, was indicted this week along with a former GOP State Rep. on state charges related to accessing and tampering with voting systems. The Trump-endorsed Matt DePerno was a 2020 election denier already under investigation for the alleged crimes when he was nominated by his party to become the state's top law enforcement official last year. State Attorney General Dana Nessell then referred the probe to a Special Prosecutor who brought charges this week against DePerno, former State Rep. Daire Rendon and, as we've learned since getting off air, GOP attorney and Trump ally Stefanie Lambert. The Special Prosecutor, D.J. Hilson, suggests more charges are likely coming as part of a scheme by the MAGA Republicans to take voting system tabulators from several counties in order to "test" them for...something or other. Lambert and four others targeted by the probe, also participated in the breach of sensitive voting system hardware and software in Coffee County, Georgia, a story which we broke on this show last year and have been covering in detail ever since.
  • Speaking of Georgia, election deniers, voting system breaches and GOP attempts to steal the 2020 election, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, over the weekend, said she is "ready to go". She made the remarks to a local news outlet, suggesting she will be bringing indictments in her broad conspiracy probe of Team Trump's failed attempt to steal the Peach State's 2020 election "before September the first of 2023". Willis recently warned County officials to "stay alert" and keep staffers "safe" as barricades have now been erected around the County Courthouse in anticipation of new indictments. In her warning to County Commissioners, she shared a sample of the appalling, racist threats her office has received recently. All signs suggest that Trump --- and perhaps many others --- are about to be indicted in her probe. It would be Trump's fourth such criminal indictment in the past four months. We told you long ago accountability would be coming. Now, it finally is. Bigly!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with a climate in crisis that couldn't care less about politics. A new study finds that man-made climate change is getting very costly for small businesses; record high temps are, ironically, forcing the shut down of oil refineries and raising gas prices in the bargain (neat trick, eh?); and, speaking of Georgia, the state has finally opened the nation's first new nuclear plant in decades. It is already costing state ratepayers a lot more money...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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