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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, July 19, 2024
What J.D. Vance Forgot to Tell You (and Lied About) at the RNC: 'BradCast' 7/18/24
Also: More pressure from top Dems for Biden to reconsider candidacy; Judge nixes GOP vote suppression suit in NV; Biden calls for SCOTUS reform, national rent control...
'Green News Report' 7/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Toronto crippled by extreme storms, flooding; Heat related costs rising in U.S.; Extreme weather and aging dams; PLUS: Marathon Oil pays record fine under Clean Air Act...
Previous GNRs: 7/16/24 - 7/11/24 - Archives...
Holding on for Dear Life Amid the Political Whirlwind: 'BradCast' 7/17/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton and 'Driftglass' on Presidential politics after the shooting; Dems still fighting over Biden; Trump's weird choice of Vance for VP; the RNC's 'unity' convention...
Cannon's Corruption: 'BradCast' 7/16/24
Guest: Attorney Keith Barber; Also: Menendez 'guilty' on all counts...
'Green News Report' 7/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Texas grid buckles under multiple disasters; Hurricane Beryl damages now estimated at $3 billion; PLUS: Climate crisis flip-flopper J.D. Vance gets GOP Veep nod...
Previous GNRs: 7/11/24 - 7/9/24 - Archives...
Amid the Assassination Attempt Aftermath:
'BradCast' 7/15/24
Also: Trump Stolen Docs Case Dismissed; OH's J.D. Vance named as GOP Veep nom; Callers ring in on all of the nightmares...
Sunday Monday 'Google Project 2025' Toons
After a brief pause following Saturday's assassination attempt of Donald Trump, we are back with our latest collection of last week's best political toons...
Meanwhile... :
'BradCast' 7/11/24
Biden's tenuous candidacy; Trump and Orban; Inflation, prices falling; Climate liar Inhofe dies; California's stunning solar revolution...
'Green News Report' 7/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat as deadly Beryl fallout continues; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Republicans bravely seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
Previous GNRs: 7/9/24 - 6/25/24 - Archives...
Paging 'Johnny Unbeatable'! Dems (Actually!) in Disarray!: 'BradCast' 7/10/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
SCOTUS Immunity Ruling 'As Bad as it Sounds', And Worse: 'BradCast' 7/9/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner on that and the Court's massive 'power grab'; Also: Record-breaking Beryl; U.S. heat records smashed...
'Green News Report' 7/9/24
Beryl breaks records, slams TX; 140m in U.S. under heat advisories; Big SCOTUS gifts for polluters; PLUS: Biden unveils first-ever extreme heat protections for workers...
So, What Now?: 'BradCast' 7/8/24
Listeners have strong opinions about where we are and how to move forward to save democracy after corrupt SCOTUS rulings and disastrous Presidential Debate...
Debunking MAGA Cult Xenophobia
CANNING: Throughout U.S. history, decent, hard-working immigrants (like me) have contributed to the economy and our nation's security: CANNING
Sunday 'Courting Disaster' Toons
THIS WEEK: Kings and Things! In our special SCOTUS-sized edition of the last impossible week's best political toons!...
Sunday 'Bad Medicine' Toons
THIS WEEK: Trump's hot pants ... Biden's cool reception ... SCOTUS gone wild ... and more in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
'Green News Report' 6/27/24
China flooding; Heatwave, crop failure in India; Disaster upon disaster in NM; On edge for SCOTUS decision; PLUS: Biden climate law creates 300,000 jobs!...
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...


Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast' on Presidential politics after the shooting; Dems still fighting over Biden; Trump's weird choice of Vance for VP; the RNC's 'unity' convention...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2024 5:35pm PT  

Welp, we've just been through about three political weeks in this country unlike any other, at least in my lifetime, as briefly summarized at the top of today's BradCast. And, before I'm even able to get today's show posted, that summary is already out of date, with the breaking news just after airtime that President Biden has COVID again. Good lord. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Other than that, to help me "hold on for dear life" amid the political whirlwind, I brought back our friends and fellow old school bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and 'DRIFTGLASS' of The Pro Left Podcast to try and help us make sense of everything that continues to unspool this week. Among those things...

  • The weekend's assassination attempt of Donald Trump by a registered Republican and how all of that has (or hasn't) affected the current state of the Presidential race.
  • The temporarily-undergrounded and now-reemerging battle among elected Democrats as to whether Joe Biden should or shouldn't be replaced on the Presidential ticket.
  • The "sign of weakness" in naming of Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance as the GOP's Vice-Presidential pick and what Trump hopes to gain from selecting a former critic-turned-toady who opposes support for our democratic allies in Ukraine and seeks a nationwide abortion ban (even in cases of rape or incest) as his running mate.
  • Other noteworthy observations from the Republican Party's "unity" convention, including the curious and controversial anti-corporate elite/pro-union speech delivered at the RNC by Teamsters President Sean O'Brien, why Republicans refuse to learn how to pronounce Kamala Harris' first name after more than 3 years in office, and the media's terrible job in covering the entire affair. (Especially MSNBC in this case!)

All of that and too much more on today's BradCast! Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/10/2024 5:26pm PT  

Well, this is all going well. Though, somehow, today's BradCast made me feel moderately better about it all for the moment. (See?! He's a moderate!) Anyway, I'm hoping you'll feel somehow marginally better as well after listening to today's program. [Audio link to full show follows this brief summary.]

We begin with a few noteworthy news items for helpful, or at least interesting, context...

  • A new survey from a Democratic pollster finds that while Donald Trump is currently beating Joe Biden nationally by one point in head-to-head polling, Kamala Harris is actually ahead of Trump by a point in the same poll. A different Dem, who nobody is talking about (for good reason?) also leads Trump in the same survey.
  • Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she stands behind the President, though offered a less than full-throated endorsement for his continuing candidacy on a cable new interview this morning, though she absolutely did not say that Biden should either "Reconsider Decision to Stay in the Race" or "consider dropping out" as New York Times falsely reported before correcting their headline, without explanation, after being called out (and after more than 200 articles focused on Biden's performance in the two weeks since the debate.)

And then we're joined for some much-needed common sense --- and a few similarly much-needed belly laughs (between tears) --- by two of our favorite roundtable guests: HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and 'DRIFTGLASS' of The Professional Left Podcast.

You'll never guess what we're discussing today! But we've got a lot of it to talk about, and both Digby and Drifty are on their game.

"I will fight like hell for whoever is the top of the Democratic ticket come November," Driftglass (occasionally known as Bill) tells us. "The threat from Donald Trump outweighs every other consideration. Thus far, for the last three and a half years, [Biden] has governed the country remarkably well, steered through many crises, and done right by me. I think it's time we buckle down and say, 'Look, whoever the Democratic nominee is, is better than Trump.' Period. Full stop."

For her part, Digby concurs with the sentiment, but notes that, although there is no indication yet he plans to do so --- even with support on Capitol Hill for him to continue being lukewarm at best --- if Biden does decide to drop out: "I think that I would really, really like him to do it on the night that Donald Trump is going to accept the nomination for his party, and just stab him as hard in the back on his way out as he can, because you know that Donald Trump would do the same to him."

Now we're talking. And there is much more both insight and snark where that came from today, including discussion of...

  • Wildly unhelpful and misleading corporate media coverage.
  • What we should learn from the election in France on Sunday.
  • Whether he can serve four more years or not, can Biden still actually win in November?
  • Would Harris have a better shot?
  • The disconnect between elected officials, media "experts" and actual Democratic voters on the ground.
  • If Biden were to step down, is there time and process for a reasonably non-chaotic way to transition to a new candidate?
  • Would Digby and Driftglass vote for George W. Bush or even Dick Cheney if one them became the Democratic candidate to take on Donald Trump?
  • And who is this "Johnny Unbeatable" guy? And where should Democrats find him?

All of that and much more on today's unbeatable BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Matt Gertz of Media Matters; Also: Summer is just days old, but climate change is wreaking brutal, deadly, expensive consequences...
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2024 5:49pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Either Trump wins or the nation gets it, apparently. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

For months now, the Republican propaganda outlet known as Fox "News" has been leading the rest of the rightwing echosphere in misleading the public about this year's election. To listen to their 24/7 lockstep message, it is a metaphysical impossibility that Donald Trump could lose this November. If he does, it can only be because Democrats have stolen the election "again", as "they did in 2020."

While its hosts almost certainly know better, they have been characterizing Joe Biden as so old and feeble --- and Trump so wildly popular --- that there can only be one legitimate outcome this year: a Trump victory. A Trump landslide, in fact. Anything short of that is, as Fox is dangerously grooming its brain-poisoned viewers to believe, due to massive fraud carried out by Democrats.

We're joined today by MATT GERTZ, longtime Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America, to discuss his research --- detailed in an op-ed last week --- on how "Fox News is helping Trump plan another Jan. 6-style assault on democracy."

"If you look at the last two presidential elections --- in 2016 Donald Trump won, in 2020 Donald Trump lost --- the one thing that they have in common is that in both cases, Donald Trump claimed to have been the victim of massive election fraud," Gertz tells me today. "He always does this. It is the most predictable thing in politics, that Donald Trump will claim he is the victim of election fraud with no evidence to that effect." But now, of course, Fox "News" is joining in on the scam and the "guard rails" that were in place in 2020 in the Republican Party are all now all but gone, warns Gertz.

"What Fox News, and the rightwing media more broadly, has been doing over the past several years, is prime their audiences to assume that any election that doesn't end with a massive Trump victory is the result of illegitimate votes being cast, that it is a rigged election against Donald Trump and they should respond with all possible action to prevent Joe Biden from being allowed to remain in office if he wins."

"What's different now is that they know what the result can be," charges Gertz. "They know that all of these claims about election fraud incite their viewers, that it leads them to even march upon the Capitol to try to prevent the peaceful transition of power. And they're doing it anyway."

I have been wondering aloud of late which outcome concerns me the most, a Trump victory or a Trump loss. It might be a toss-up right about now...

THEN... We've been covering the oppressive heat dome across much of the nation --- and elsewhere in the world --- for some time now. Last week, we added wildfires in several states to the mix, along with the first named storm of hurricane season spinning quickly up before slamming Mexico and the southern coast of Texas. Now we can add massive flooding to the mix, as several states in the Upper Midwest --- where South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota meet --- inundated over the weekend with as much as eight times their typical rain fall for this part of the year. In one town, the flood gauge was submerged!

Many of those states are run by Republican Governors who are also climate change denialists, reminding us, yet again, that the stakes this November could not be higher, as Trump has vowed to rollback all of the landmark climate achievements of the current President.

In related news, as temperature records are being shattered around the globe, at least 1,300 pilgrims at the annual Hajj in the Saudi Arabia's city of Mecca died from heat stroke as temperatures climbed above 124 degrees Fahrenheit. And, oddly enough, back here in California, on the central and northern coast, unseasonably cold ocean temps --- due to a bizarre weather pattern from Oregon --- have led officials to issue warnings to beach goers to stay out of the water for any length of time to avoid hypothermia, even as temperatures inland climbed over 100 degrees this weekend. More madness and chaos in our climate changed world...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Pulitzer Prize biz reporter, Michael Hiltzik; Also: NM fires; 'Alberto' in the Gulf; VA results; LA mandates Ten Commandments in schools...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2024 6:24pm PT  

Today on The BradCast we try and nip another completely false, outrageous rightwing Zombie Lie in the bud before it eats too many brains and becomes canon in the Wingnut Multiverse. Wish us luck. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

But first, a few news items today...

  • Extreme, climate change-fueled weather is now pretty much just exploding everywhere. Today, the two latest chapters: a pair of deadly wildfires in New Mexico and "A" is for "Alberto", the first named storm of what is expected to be an exceptionally busy and intense hurricane season given the unprecedented record warmth of ocean waters. This particular storm, in the Gulf, appears to be heading toward Mexico, though its already grazing parts of Texas with a ton of water.
  • Tuesday's Congressional Primary elections in Virginia, Oklahoma and Georgia appear to have gone off smoothly enough for now, with the biggest story coming out of Virginia in the Republican primary for the 5th U.S. House District. Far-right Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Bob Good was thought to be all but done for, as he was targeted by both Donald Trump (because Good dared to support DeSantis in the Presidential Primary) and former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (because Good was one of eight Republicans who voted him out of the job earlier this year.) An even farther Right, well-funded state Senator by the name of John McGuire was set to easily unseat Good, and still might. But, as of airtime, there are just 321 votes between them out of more than 62,000 tallied to date. Counting of late mail-in will resume tomorrow between the two election deniers following a break for today's Juneteenth federal holiday.
  • And, down in Louisiana today, far-right lawmakers and the state's new far-right Governor Jeff Landry have decided they don't care much for the U.S. Constitution's establishment clause, and have decided to mandate that the Ten Commandments must be posted in every public elementary, middle school, high school and college classroom in the state. That'll show those U.S. Constitution loving heathens! The effort is obviously an attempt to bring the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes that its corrupted rightwing majority will overturn decades of precedent respecting the separation of church and state. And I bet they will.

THEN... Last September, California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new state law to increase the minimum wage for fast food workers at national companies with more than 60 stores from $16/hour to $20/hour. Before it even took effect on April 1 this year, Rupert Murdoch's rightwing media outlets (Wall Street Journal, NY Post, Fox "News") were working overtime in cahoots with an outfit calling itself the California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) to claim that thousands of fast food jobs had already been cut after Newsom signed the bill into law.

A UCLA Economics Professor by the name of Lee Ohanian either went along with it or fell for it, detailing the supposed massive job loss in an article at the right-leaning policy think-tank called the Hoover Institution, part of Stanford University, citing WSJ's misleading employment statistics. It all offered a nice academic patina to the (false) claim that nearly 10,000 fast food workers had been laid off between last September and January, thanks to Newsom and California's Marxist policies.

CABIA then happily cited the "Hoover Institution" in a full-page advertisement in USA Today earlier this month, a mock obituary declaring "In Memoriam: Victims of Newsom's Minimum Wage". The ad cites Hoover for its claim that "nearly 10,000 fast-food jobs" were lost "after $20 minimum wage signed last fall." The ad details all the hard times for poor McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Subway, Rubio's California Grill, and about half a dozen others. All victims of California's impossible idea that people who work should receive a living wage in exchange.

Turns out, as our guest today, Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist and author MICHAEL HILTZIK reports at the L.A. Times, the claim, the statistics used and the entire argument put forth by WSJ, NY Post, Fox "News", CABIA and Hoover is all "baloney, sliced thick." And Hiltzik has the receipts from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Federal Reserve to prove it.

In fact, Hiltzik details, as it turns out, fast food employment actually went up from last September to this past January --- when using seasonally adjusted figures --- and even continued to go up after the law took effect on April 1, with employment in the sector outpacing April of 2023 (apples to apples!) by nearly 7,000 jobs.

"What we're dealing with here is the misuse of employment figures by essentially using non-seasonally adjusted figures, rather than what CABIA and the Wall Street Journal should be using, which is seasonally-adjusted," Hiltzik tells me, describing the scam. "When you have an industry in which employment fluctuates during the year for seasonal reasons, you have to use seasonally-adjusted figures. That's the case with fast food restaurants. Everyone in the restaurant industry knows this. Employment in restaurants peaks in September, year after year after year. You have to compare each month to the same month in other years, and that's why the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that, in fact, employment in the sector in California went up compared to the same earlier period."

"Any economist knows that you absolutely must use seasonally-adjusted figures. The Wall Street Journal didn't seem to know this, even though they're supposed to be experts in finance and the economy," he scoffs.

Hiltzik describes the Murdoch/CABIA/Hoover sleight-of-hand as "fabricated" and "false", and we discuss why it's happening --- an has been nationalized --- in the first place. He also debunks the lie that Rubio's Grill has had to close 48 stores across the state thanks to CA's new leftist law. (Spoiler: It was private equity, not the $20 min. wage, that dunnit.)

For the record, though Ohanian, the UCLA professor who laundered the Journal's purposely misleading numbers at the Hoover Institution, admitted to Hiltzik that he got it wrong, his April 24, 2024 article is still posted there without correction or retraction...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Lake loses again in AZ; Trump loses again in NY; MD Guv pardons 175k for pot; Biden goes on offensive against 'liar and fraud' opponent...
By Brad Friedman on 6/18/2024 6:24pm PT  

There are just 140 days until the November 5 General Elections. Threats against them by adversaries both foreign and domestic are simmering and/or growing. We discuss some of them --- and much more --- on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • Kari Lake loses yet again. This time, it's the Arizona state Court of Appeals which has, again, rejected her claims that the 2022 gubernatorial election was stolen from her when she lost it by some 17,000 votes to Democrat Katie Hobbs.
  • Unexplained mass texts, warning of voter intimidation, falsely suggesting they were sent by the Spartanburg County Elections Office during South Carolina's down-ballot primaries last week, should serve as a warning for this November's elections.
  • U.S. officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are reportedly sending their own warnings, privately, to candidates in the U.S. who, they say, are being targeted with disinformation campaigns by foreign adversaries, including Russia, China and Iran.
  • And, in what should serve as yet another warning before November, a pro-Kremlin hacker group, said to be closely allied with Russia's intelligence services, reportedly took down the websites of a number of political parties and other institutions on the first day of voting in Europe's recent parliamentary elections.
  • New York's highest court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Donald Trump to lift the gag order barring him from attacking witnesses, jurors and the family members of prosecutors or the judge in the hush money/election interference case in which the disgraced former President was recently found guilty of 34 criminal felonies.
  • And, speaking of, the Biden-Harris Campaign is finally using Trump's shameful court losses --- for both felony crimes and civil liabilities --- against him, in an aggressive television ad and mass emails to supporters taking him to task as a "convicted felon" as well as "a liar and a fraud". Of course, even now, Team Biden will have to overcome ridiculous reporting on the effort by the New York Times, whose headline yesterday (until it was changed) read "Biden Campaign Ad Paints Trump as a Felon". Um...."paints" him as a felon?! He is a felon!
  • After telling us for months that President Biden is so mentally debilitated that "he can't string two sentences together," Donald Trump supporters like Sean Hannity at Fox "News" are now working overtime to try and lower expectations for him in advance of next week's first Presidential debate.
  • Maryland's Democratic Governor Wes Moore on Monday pardoned about 175,000 convictions related to marijuana and paraphernalia possession over the years. The long-overdue pardons, following the state's full legalization of marijuana last year, will help tens of thousands of Black and Brown people who were disproportionately charged and convicted over the many decades of our failed, frequently racist "war on drugs". Moore's action follows President Biden's 2022 mass pardon of thousands charged under federal marijuana law and his request to state Governors to take similar action given that most cannabis related crimes were brought under state law.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with news on hundreds of millions in the U.S. now (or soon) facing record heat from the Midwest to the East Coast and an early wildfire season out West; Similarly oppressive heat has been bearing down from Greece to the Middle East; Calgary is facing a serious water crisis in Canada; France's nukes are being shut down by cheaper renewable energy sources like wind and solar; And a major rail company must cough up some $400 million for unlawful trespass against a native American tribe...

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: Andrea Grimes warns about the TX GOP's insane new party platform being underplayed by mainstream media; Also: Primary election results from MT, NJ, NM, SD, IA and DC...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2024 6:50pm PT  

Far-right Republicans in the Lone Star State are telling us about their extreme plans. Why are both state and national media downplaying them? We discuss on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST UP... The Presidential Primary season comes to a close this week, with Tuesday's contests in New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Iowa and D.C. (Though Democrats in Guam and the Virgin Islands still have a chance to ring in this weekend! And non-Presidential primaries will continue in many states in the week's ahead!) We've got some of your noteworthy results fron Tuesday today, such that there are any, including Presidential results reflecting small, if notable numbers of voters on each sides of the aisle who remain dissatisfied with both President Biden and convicted felon Donald Trump as their party's nominee.

THEN... This week, lawmakers in the very narrowly GOP-controlled chambers of Arizona's state legislature became the latest such body to try and pass new laws mimicking Texas' Senate Bill 4. That law, currently under federal challenge by the Biden Administration, grants unprecedented authority to state and local law enforcement officials to arrest people suspected of being in the country unlawfully and allows state judges to deport them. Those are roles traditionally played by federal, not state, officials. In Arizona, the Democratic Governor vetoed a similar effort earlier this year, so GOP lawmakers are now moving to place the measure on the state's already very long November ballot.

What happens in the increasingly radicalized state of Texas, unfortunately, does not stay in Texas, where Republicans hold solid majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, every single statewide office (since 1994), and every seat on the state Supreme Court. Those Republicans have only become more radical with each passing year, as evidenced by the state GOP's horrifying official party platform [PDF] adopted at their recent state party convention.

Just a few of the many planks, among others, call for doctors to be charged with homicide for carrying out an abortion; the Bible to be taught by chaplains in public schools; the deportation of noncitizens living lawfully in the country if they happen to participate in the wrong public protest; the withdraw of the U.S. from the United Nations and the organization's removal from U.S. soil.

Perhaps most disturbing (at least to me), the manifesto calls for a new law to mandate that statewide officials must win not only a majority in the state, but majorities in more than half of Texas' 254 counties in order to win office. That measure, if turned into law, would make it largely impossible for any Democrat to ever win statewide office again, given that the vast majority of the state's liberals are populated in a handful of large counties that are home to the state's major cities. Texas would become a one party state.

The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty this week described the TX GOP party platform as "hair-raising" and a sign that the state GOP has "gone off the deep end". But, at the same time, she marginalizes the document as "not a serious policy road map."

It is not only national media downplaying it. The Austin American Statesman describes the platform as little more "a wish list...than a road map that will be followed...by lawmakers in Austin or Washington". The otherwise excellent Texas Tribune similarly downplays the stated threats to democracy (and just about everything else) in their own coverage.

But our guest today, ANDREA GRIMES, an Austin-based journalist and activist who has been covering state GOP conventions since 2010, argued in an op-ed at MSNBC late last week that such views by major media outlets "aren’t merely outdated. They’re patently incorrect, contradicted by demonstrable evidence that the Texas GOP platform has been driving policy in Texas and beyond not just recently, but for several years."

She joins us to detail that case today, warning that while all of these planks may sound crazy, increasingly radicalized and extremist Republicans and their office holders in Texas "and beyond" are telling us exactly what they plan to do and have a record, going back years now, of enacting into law some of the state GOP party's most appalling measures. Once fringey ideas that began as little more than seemingly buffoonish platform planks dismissed by media outlets as sops to the party's most extremist elements have since become mainstream Republican party orthodoxy and enacted into law in Texas and many other states. The failure by mainstream media to notice and warn that "these people are not messing around" continues to ill-serve the nation.

Grimes details how the problem goes back to at least the "Tea Party" days and the "white racist reactionary political movement" that rose up in response to the nation's first Black President. But that has accelerated, she says, since 2016 "with the rise of Trump" and "a Republican Party that is living its best, most crazy life at this point, achieving win after win in terms of policy."

So why are these state GOP party platforms, much of which have become law in recent years, still being downplayed by editors at mainstream state and national media outlets, rather than being regarded as the warnings that they are?

"The phrase that continues to come into my head over and over is 'normalization bias'," Grimes tells me. "It's very difficult to come to grips with the true terrors of our political reality because they are outrageous. It is outrageous for Samuel Alito to be flying an upside-down American flag at his home. It is outrageous for Trump to foment an insurrection. It's outrageous for insurrectionists to storm the U.S. Capitol. These things are outrageous. And I think there's a sense among members of the mainstream media that, if they can strive to pursue the maintenance of objectivity and normalization, that things will somehow even out on their own, and they won't be asked to truly describe the world as it is. They won't be asked to go into this uncomfortable place of appearing biased, when in fact they would simply be describing reality."

"American journalism is so rooted in this conceit of objectivity. It is so beholden to this idea," she adds. We've got much more to discuss along these lines today, including whether there is any analogue to this phenomenon on the Democratic side (spoiler alert: nope, nothing even close) and what, if anything, can now be done by Americans to stem the tide of radicalism, particularly if media outlets continue to fail call it out for what it is. It's a great conversation, I think, that I hope you tune in for!

FINALLY... Just before the close of today's show, news breaks out of Georgia that the state Appeals Court has placed a pause on Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' sprawling conspiracy indictment against Trump and 18 co-conspirators for their alleged criminal scheme to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, as an appeal by the defendants to remove Willis from the case moves forward. Upshot for now: The case was highly unlikely, at this point, to get to trial before November. Now it absolutely won't.

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: Election results and problem reports from KY, OR, GA, CA and MD...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2024 6:19pm PT  

How many times did the disgraced, twice-impeached, four-time criminally indicted former President tell us he would "absolutely" be taking the oath to testify in his own defense at his 2016 election interference trial in New York? More times than we can count. Each time was a lie, as discussed among other matters on today's BradCast, as closing arguments are set to begin next week, before jury deliberations in the first-ever criminal trial of a U.S. President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to today's "ketchup" konversation on Trump's first criminal trial, we touch on a few noteworthy results out of primary and special elections in Georgia, Kentucky, Oregon and California on Tuesday, along with problem reports for voters and tabulation out of Georgia, Kentucky and, from last week's primaries, in both Baltimore and Prince George's County, Maryland.

Then, we're joined once again by award-winning columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, of Salon and Hullaballoo, and former attorney and lifelong Republican KEITH BARBER, who now regularly blogs on legal matters as "KeithDB" at the progressive Daily Kos.

On Tuesday, the Defense rested in Donald J. Trump's criminal trial in New York on 34 felony counts related to a hush-money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels in the weeks before the 2016 election, in a successful effort to help him cheat to win it. The trial has focused on the subsequent, allegedly falsified reimbursements made by Trump during his first year in the White House to his then lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen to cover it all up.

Last week, Cohen finished his testimony as the final witness for the Prosecution. This week, Robert Costello, a cartoonishly thuggish lawyer buddy of both Trump and Rudy Giuliani, took the stand as one of just two witnesses called by the Defense. After a turn last week before the GOP's U.S. House "Weaponization of Justice" Committee, Costello would be the final witness for the Defense, in what turned out to be a wildly failed effort to try and discredit Cohen.

We catch up on all of that today, as we discuss, among other things...

  • Justice Juan Merchan's upbraiding of Costello during his obnoxious testimony as the Defense's star witness, turning what might have been a mild win for Trump following cross-examination last week of Cohen, into what both Parton and Barber characterize as a disaster for the Defense. According to Parton, "It was really stupid of them to call him, knowing that the prosecution already knew what he had to say...He was bombastic, he was rude. ... Costello looked like a hired gun."
  • To the surprise of absolutely no one, Trump failed to take the witness stand in his own defense after all, following months of promising to do so. It may have been the only smart thing he has done to help his case during the entire trial. As Parton notes, "Trump saw him as a good stand-in for himself," as he was almost certainly testifying at the instance of Trump and against advice of counsel. It went at least as poorly for Costello as it would have gone for the former President turned current Defendant, had he taken the stand.
  • Barber details what he sees as "the missing link" in the Prosecution's case and "the biggest weakness" in the Defense's cases; how the jury is likely to view Trump's lack of testifying in his own defense ("The jury will be strongly admonished by the judge to not consider Donald Trump's failure to testify"); and what exactly they will be charged with deciding when they are finally instructed by the judge --- likely beginning next week --- to begin deliberations.
  • Parton discusses her biggest concerns about the case, and how the mainstream corporate media has failed, yet again, in its responsibility of accurately reporting on the threat to the nation represented by Trump. Barber casts more blame on his old party, the Republicans.
  • And, in a related matter today, we turn to the federal criminal indictment against Trump down in Florida for stealing highly classified national security documents and refusing to return them to the Government. On Wednesday, earlier court documents related to the eventual search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago, were unsealed, leading Trump to lie about the FBI being "locked and loaded" in an attempt to "assassinate" him during the search...when Trump was in an entirely different state.

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Guest: Campaign finance expert Craig Holman of Public Citizen; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2024 6:55pm PT  

It's received almost zero attention or notice, but the Republican appointees to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday tried to overturn a bedrock principle of American democracy: transparency of contributions and the identities of donors to political campaigns. The move caught us here at The BradCast by surprise, but we feel slightly better after hearing that our guest today, one of the nation's foremost experts on campaign finance, also just learned about this unprecedented effort. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST UP... Two unusual rulings from the packed, stolen and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court. Unusual for several reasons. One, because both oppose rightwing advocacy. Two, because a majority of rightwingers on the Court voted in favor of both of them. And three, because the Court's liberals voted in a bloc against one of them! We try to make sense of all of that for you today in each of the two rulings.

One came late on Wednesday, when the Court invoked the so-called Purcell Principle, which prevents changes to election rules, laws and district maps too close to an election, theoretically in order to avoid confusion by voters or election administrators. But this principle is opportunistically invoked by the rightwing Court when they feel like it --- even it means allowing, for example, the use of a U.S. House District map that has been found unconstitutional by the courts --- and ignored when they don't.

Their unsigned shadow-docket ruling [PDF] on Wednesday, however, invoked Purcell to allow a U.S. House District map that was newly approved by Louisiana's GOP-controlled legislature. It adds a second Black-majority voting district in the state after its previous map was found to be in violation of the Voting Rights Act following a years-long legal fight. But after the new map was approved by the state earlier this year, a group of self-described "non-Black voters" sued, claiming the new map was an unlawful racial gerrymander. A 3-judge panel on the 5th Circuit agreed and ordered a new new map. That is the order that was blocked on Wednesday by SCOTUS, allowing the second Black-majority district to stand as is, at least for 2024, even as the Court's liberal Justices, to the surprise of many, voted in against the rightwing majority. If you're confused as to why, tune in! We explain all!

The other unusual SCOTUS ruling came today, via a 7 to 2 majority opinion [PDF] written by Justice Clarence Thomas(!) and opposed only by fellow rightwing Justices Sam Alito and Neil Gorsuch. The majority opinion rejected an effort by the sleazy payday lending industry to kill the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The CFPB was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren during the Obama Administration, before she became a U.S. Senator. It was created on the heels of the subprime mortgage crisis that led to the Great Recession. To avoid industry influence on funding of the federal government's only consumer-oriented agency, it was housed inside of the Federal Reserve and allowed to draw up to $600 million per year for its budget, rather than go through the Congressional appropriations process each year. The payday lender group filed suit to argue the CFPB's funding mechanism ran afoul of the Constitution's Appropriations Clause and, therefore, all of the CFPB's actions since its 2010 founding, including billions of dollars in fines leveed against their industry, must all be rolled back and the agency dissolved.

Thomas, the Court's liberals, and three more of its Republican appointees flatly rejected the lender's case. They held that, though its funding mechanism is somewhat outside the norm, Congress may still change the way it is funded at any time. Also, as the majority opinion notes, there have been other agencies, such as the Customs Service and USPS, which have had similar, non-annual standing appropriations since the founding of the country.

NEXT... On Thursday, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) held an historic vote on a new rule to allow campaign donors to remain anonymous if they claimed that allowing their identities to become public would lead to harassment. The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) already allows some very rare exceptions for members of groups who are shown to have been historically harassed by the U.S. Government itself. Beyond that, however, allowing for campaign donors to remain anonymous challenges the very basis of our system of open, transparent, democratic elections.

We're joined today by CRAIG HOLMAN, longtime government affairs and ethics lobbyist at the non-profit watchdog Public Citizen. He is helping to lead the fight against this startling effort headed up by Trump-appointed FEC Commissioner Alan Dickerson.

The new rule "cuts into the very fabric of a functional democratic society," argues Public Citizen in its public comment against the rule. They note it would "vastly expand the donor [disclosure] exemption far beyond its original purpose, would undermine effective disclosure of the sources of political spending, deprive voters of critical election information, swamp the FEC under a wave of new paperwork, and runs contrary to the core mission of the agency." Other than that, it's great!

"What I really find astounding is that people of all partisan persuasions, Democrats and Republicans, have always believed in disclosure," Holman tells me today. "That's the one pillar of campaign finance law that no one has really come out against. The Republicans may come out against contribution limits, regulation of money in politics, but they always say to have transparency so we know where the money is coming from. This is the very first time that the FEC has encroached upon that principle."

The good(ish) news for now, is that he reports the Commission deadlocked, in a three-to-three vote along partisan lines today. That kills it for the moment. Though, in a second vote today, Holman says they agreed to ask the FEC's General Counsel to study the matter and report back in 75 days. That, he says, is likely to result in a second attempt by Dickerson later this year. Holman says he knows Dickerson to be a "hardcore deregulation" supporter. But "this is the first time the FEC has addressed the actual issue: 'Should we just get rid of disclosure altogether?'"

"Fortunately the FEC deadlocked," Holman says. But "that means three Republicans were saying 'Yes, let's get rid of disclosure!' That's frightening. We only defeated this resolution by a deadlock vote."

Holman has much more on "how absurd" Dickerson's proposal is, and the fact that "it caught us all by surprise." He also fills us in on a petition that he has filed for a new FEC rule that will be voted on next month regarding mandatory disclosure by campaigns when they use deepfake audio and video, created by Artificial Intelligence, to mislead voters.

FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as wildfires continue to explode in Canada; Broadcast media continues to ignore Donald Trump's billion-dollar quid pro quo proposal to Big Oil donors; and Joe Biden takes on China regarding the sale of electric vehicles and solar panels in the U.S...

[NOTE: The BradCast will be off at the beginning of next week due to a family funeral. We'll be back soon!]

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/16/2024 10:35am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Canada wildfires expand, threaten oil industry town of Fort McMurray, again; Climate change made extreme heat in Asia significantly worse; PLUS: Broadcast media ignored Donald Trump's blatant, billion-dollar quid pro quo offer to Big Oil... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): DeSantis signs law deleting climate change from Florida policy; A Trump win puts $1 Trillion in US energy investments at risk; How Alabama turned to restrictive deed covenants to ward off flooding claims from black residents; Oakland is now first in the US to have a 100% electric school bus fleet - and it's V2G; Impunity and pollution abound in DRC mining of critical minerals; Persistent Brazil floods raise specter of climate migration... PLUS: Don't fall for 'climate-friendly' beef... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: 'Warning signs' from IN primary results; Blankenship's run in WV...
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2024 5:23pm PT  

Once again, on today's BradCast, we've got a mid-week "ketchup" for you, with everything you need to know about the disgraced former President's still-ongoing, first criminal trial. And it's been a very big week in that regard. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, first up today, interesting results out of Indiana on Tuesday, where the "zombie campaign" of Nikki Haley, who quit the race two months ago, still racked up nearly 22% of the vote in the Republican Presidential Primary against Donald Trump. (Joe Biden ran uncontested on the Democratic side.)

Next week's primaries will be in Nebraska, Maryland and West Virginia, where former coal baron and federally convicted criminal Don Blankenship --- a hard-right loon --- has decided to run in the Democratic primary to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by rightwing Democrat Joe Manchin. Blankenship lost as the Republican nominee against Manchin in 2018. This year, as a "Democrat", he'll be running next week in WV against staunch pro-union candidate Glenn Elliot and Marine Corp vet and grassroots organizer Zach Shrewsbury. The winner will likely be taking on current Governor and coal baron billionaire Jim Justice who ran for Governor as a Democrat in 2016 before flipping to Republican in 2017 just after he was elected.

Then, it's on to today's coverage of the past week's criminal Trump Trial in New York, where the former (and future?) President faces 34 felony charges related to hush-money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels to help him win the 2016 Presidential election. Daniels was called by the Prosecution for testimony on Tuesday and, as you likely know by now, it was a bit of a blockbuster.

We're joined today by our old friends HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning columnist at Salon and longtime blogger at Hullaballoo, and former attorney and former Republican KEITH BARBER, who now blogs on legal and Constitutional matters as "KeithDB" at the progressive Daily Kos website.

Among the topics of today's conversation...

  • Daniels' disturbing testimony about her disturbing, apparently "quasi-non-consensual" (as Barber describes it) sexual encounter with Trump during a celebrity golf event in Lake Tahoe and why specific details of that counter either are or are not important to the Prosecution's case. (Barber: "If Trump invites you to a dinner date, don't expect dinner.")
  • Why Trump's attorneys sought a mistrial on Tuesday, but were rejected by the trial judge.
  • How Team Trump's various over-ruled objections are likely working against them.
  • How the Defense is doing in its attempt, so far, to cross-examine Daniels. (Barber: Trump's team was "too ham-fisted" and "outsmarted by the adult industry star.") The cross continues on Thursday.
  • Why last week's testimony by former, longtime Trump aid Hope Hicks was so important to the State's case, and why she broke down in tears as the cross-examination began. (Parton: "A devastating blow to his defense.")
  • Why Monday's testimony from the Trump Organization's former Controller and its current chief of Accounts Payable was so important to the Prosecution's case.
  • How all of this is being reported (or not) by mainstream media and rightwing media (Parton: "Fox is not covering it. Neither is Newsmax or OAN.") and heard by voters in both cases.
  • Whether the lack, so far, of testimony describing Trump himself as ordering the falsification of business records is going to be a problem for the Prosecution, and whether upcoming testimony by Michael Cohen can fix that.
  • Whether Trump will be held in criminal contempt by the judge for the eleventh time and if he'll actually be given jail time for his next violation of the court's gag-order. (Parton: "Trump doesn't want to go to jail. They don't have hair and makeup people in there." Barber: "He doesn't want to go to jail, no matter how much he'll tell his stupid MAGA followers that he does.")

All of that and much more on today's lively Trump Trial Ketchup show!...

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Guests: Former Dep. Asst. AG Lisa Graves, former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason; Also: Meadows, Giuliani, 16 others charged in 2020 AZ fake elector plot; CA now running regularly on 100% renewable energy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2024 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Honestly, I tried. But it was really hard to find any part of the case heard by the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday that wasn't just absolutely ridiculous. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

For nearly three hours this morning, the nine Justices themselves --- including a number of its rightwingers --- seemed to struggle to pretend that any of this made sense. In Trump v. United States [PDF], the disgraced four-time indictee is arguing that former Presidents of the United States have "absolute immunity" from any and all crimes they may have committed while serving in office, including murdering his political opponents or anything else you can think of.

As absurd as it sounds, Donald Trump has used this novel claim to, so far, successfully delay his federal trial on four criminal counts brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith related to Trump's many failed efforts to steal the 2020 Presidential election. SCOTUS has helped by delaying today's hearing for months and may help further depending on when they decide to release their opinion, and whether or not that opinion will lead to still more delays in the lower courts.

After losing this argument at the trial court last year and then unanimously at the D.C. Court of Appeals, Trump brought the case to SCOTUS, packed with three of his own appointees. They did him the favor of taking up his losing argument and putting off their Oral Argument on it until today, almost certainly delaying his trial for trying to steal the 2020 election until AFTER the 2024 election. [Transcript and audio of today's proceedings here.]

"This Court has never recognized absolute criminal immunity for any public official. Petitioner, however, claims that a former President has permanent criminal immunity for his official acts, unless he was impeached and convicted," argued Michael Dreeban, Counselor to Jack Smith, in his opening statement. "His novel theory would immunize former Presidents for criminal liability for bribery, treason, sedition, murder and, here, conspiring to use fraud to overturn the results of an election and perpetuate himself in power. Such Presidential immunity has no foundation in the Constitution."

In taking the case, the Court decided to hear the following question: "Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy Presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office."

But what "official acts" are they even talking about? Smith's indictment accuses Trump of things like organizing fake slates of electors; pressuring state officials and the DOJ and his Vice President to fraudulently change certified election results; and directing supporters to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 after telling them to "fight like hell or we won't have a country anymore." The Justices --- as well as our two guests today --- all seemed to have a very difficult time finding any "official acts" for which Trump is being accused.

We're joined today by two excellent guests. Former Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption unit at the U.S. Attorney's office in D.C., RANDALL D. ELIASON now teaches at George Washington University Law School, publishes the SidebarsBlog newsletter, and contributes to New York Times. Former Deputy Asst. Attorney General at DoJ, LISA GRAVES is now Executive Director of Truth North Research. They each know far more about all of this and the specifics of the Rule of Law than I do. But they too had trouble coming up with much of anything Trump has been charged with that has anything to do with "official acts" as President.

Its an "astonishing argument," says Graves. "What's at issue in this case is a set of conduct by this President to basically subvert our democracy through a variety of means. None of these are official acts. But even if somehow a President were engaged in an 'official act,' like appointing an ambassador, he couldn't take a bribe in the context of doing so. It just seems crazy that here we are with the U.S. Supreme Court basically delaying the prosecution of Donald Trump for a set of acts that are clearly outside the bounds of a Commander-in-Chief, whose job is to take care that the law is faithfully executed."

There was no conflict in the lower courts to resolve, but at least four members of the High Court decided they wanted to hear this silly argument nonetheless in which Trump and his attorney John Sauer have been arguing that, without immunity, Presidents would be unable to take bold, decisive action. It would "chill" their ability to do their job for the American people.

"The easiest response is that for nearly 250 years, that hasn't deterred Presidents from taking bold, decisive action," Eliason responds today. "Because they've also been willing to recognize that they need to act in compliance with federal criminal law, and they might be held accountable if they don't. On the one hand, he's saying there's a chilling effect on all these Presidents, even though it hasn't bothered any President in the past. On the other hand, he's saying 'But of course he could be prosecuted IF he's impeached and removed.' Well there's a chilling effect. So why doesn't that undercut his argument?"

We share audio clips from today's hearing, along with much more insight on all of it from Eliason and Graves, including why this case was accepted in the first place; the "Bizarro Superman world" in which we are having this argument and the "repugnant" idea of Clarence Thomas sitting on this case at all, as Graves observes; the argument by Sauer that unless statutes specifically say they are to apply to the President, like the federal bribery statute, they can't be held against him (Eliason, who headed up the DOJ's bribery prosecutions unit in D.C., notes the bribery statute actually "does not name the President, but nobody thinks that the President is immune for bribery"); and, of course, how and when they believe the Court will ultimately rule.

ALSO TODAY... On Wednesday, a grand jury in Arizona indicted Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his attorney Rudy Giuliani, his other attorney John Eastman and 15 others, including 11 Republican fake electors (including two sitting state Senators and the former head of the state GOP), for their efforts to try and steal the 2020 election for Trump in the state.

AND FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with grim-as-ever news, but also some really cool news from out here in California, where the state has been powered by 100% renewable energy --- largely solar --- for much or all of the day for a whole bunch of days in a row in recent weeks. So, there's that positive note to end today with, in any event!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Investigative journalist Helen Santoro; Also: Could OH block Biden from 2024 ballot?; Big media help Trump lie about his abortion position; Biden unveils new student loan debt relief for 30 million Americans...
By Brad Friedman on 4/8/2024 6:19pm PT  

The warnings came from safety experts, insurance companies and environmentalists. Years ago. So, of course, they were all ignored by both the then Republican Governor and big business, including Big Oil, who all got their way over safety concerns and the public interest, as discussed on today's BradCast. [Audio link posted below this summary.]

But first up, some other news of note...

  • Ohio's Republican Secretary of State informed Democrats on Friday that they must change the date of their party's national convention this summer or Joe Biden will not qualify to be on the state's 2024 ballot under state law. Or, of course, the state's GOP legislature could simply change the law, as they did in 2020 when the Republican National Convention was scheduled too late for Donald Trump to qualify for that year's ballot. But the state legislature will have to do so by May 9. Mark your calendars.
  • On Monday in Wisconsin, President Biden unveiled yet another plan, this a very big one, to relieve hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan debt, this time for 30 million Americans after the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court, last year, blocked his original plan to do so for 40 million borrowers.
  • Also on Monday, Donald Trump released a rambling video on his social media cite purporting to be his new position on abortion rights. He takes credit for his SCOTUS majority overturning Roe v. Wade, but says nothing about whether he would sign a national abortion ban; have his FDA block the use of abortion medication; or allow his DoJ to block abortions entirely if he is re-elected this November. So, how did pretty much every single corporate mainstream media outlet headline the "news"? By falsely claiming that "Trump Says Abortion Law Should be Left to the States". But, of course, he didn't. And you wonder how it can be that so many Americans are so misinformed about the threat to the nation and world posed by Donald Trump? There's your answer.

Then, we're joined by investigative journalist HELEN SANTORO of The Lever, who has been digging deep into the Francis Scott Key Bridge disaster ever since its deadly collapse two weeks ago, after being struck by a massive, 980-foot mega-container-ship in the Port of Baltimore.

We discuss two of her recent articles on the tragedy today, both of which underscore how corporate greed and industry lobbyists have been allowed to run roughshod over common sense, public safety, and corporate responsibility.

The first story, filed shortly after the tragedy which killed six bridge workers and has shut down all traffic in or out of one of the East Coast's largest shipping ports ever since, focuses on Maryland's Republican former Governor --- now U.S. Senate Candidate --- Larry Hogan, who ignored multiple, repeated warnings, year after year, in his continuing efforts to bring ever larger vessels into the Port. In doing so, he discounted safety warnings from an insurance giant and an international transit group, while accepting millions in federal funding from the Trump Administration to expand the port and push for still-larger cargo ships. Environmental groups also sounded the alarm about Hogan's efforts, as did a top state engineer as long ago as 1980, when he warned that the Key Bridge could not withstand such a crash, even by smaller vessels, without falling down.

"It seems very clear that [Hogan] really prioritized private interests again and again, wanting Maryland to be this point of business," Santoro explains. "And, it seems like, with prioritizing these private interests, the safety of the bridge was clearly not considered."

The second of Santoro's investigative articles that we discuss today focuses on the 173-year old federal Limitation of Liability Act which caps the amount that shipping companies may be held liable for in such disasters. It earned the nickname "The Titanic Law" back in 1912, when White Star Line, the British-owner of the doomed ship, invoked the Act to pay no more than $430 for each of the more than 1,500 passengers who were lost in that fatal tragedy.

The Act has seen some small reforms over the years, but most attempts in recent years to finally modernize the 1851 law have been stymied by Congressional Republicans at the behest of lobbyists from Big Oil and other industries in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that same year.

"It was pretty crazy going back and seeing that people have been complaining about this law since the Titanic crashed in 1912," Santoro tells me. "And yet the reforms have been, I would argue, pretty minimal, in terms of upping the amount that a company has to pay."

"Big Oil has really latched on to the Limitation of Liability Act to get themselves out of paying a lot of money for the Deepwater Horizon fiasco and other issues," she says. "There's a lot of industry funding and interest that is big on keeping damage control and the amount they're paying out for damages as low as possible."

Will Maryland's popular former Governor Hogan face accountability in his Senate race to fill the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin this fall for dismissing years of warnings about the very tragedy that has now befallen his state (and the national economy along with it)? Will Congress finally update the antiquated Titanic Law when they return this week, so that major corporations --- which, unlike in the 1850s, are well insured to cover the costs of such disasters --- can be held to real account for the damage they cause in the name of greater and greater profit? Those are just some of the many questions we discuss with Santoro on today's program...

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Corporate press quietly reset weeks of misreporting on Biden; Suggestions for NYT reporters; Stephanopoulos v. Mace; Also: Buck quits; Trump's RNC 'bloodbath'; WI's far-right Speaker facing MAGA Recall...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2024 6:49pm PT  

Corporate media failure and a small, if noteworthy, success (for a change) are just part of today's BradCast, which also includes a 'bloodbath', more House GOP dysfunction, a wingnut Recall, and plenty of rape victim shaming...by a rape victim. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

  • Colorado's far-right Republican Rep. Ken Buck, who announced he would not be running for reelection earlier this year due to party dysfunction, announces he is quitting Congress entirely next week instead, further narrowing the House GOP's razor-thin majority. Buck says he has another "job to do out there", claims that voters are unhappy with both Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and vows to find "the right organization to join" and "start working on the issue" of "hav[ing] better candidates up and down the ballot." Is he on his way toward joining the supposedly bi-partisan Presidential "Unity Ticket" promised by secretive, Republican-funded, third-party group No Labels?
  • Donald Trump's personal takeover of the Republican National Committee is now complete, with his inexperienced daughter-in-law as co-chair, his Campaign's information officer as RNC Chief of Staff, and a "bloodbath" of firing as many as 60 longtime officials on Monday, their first day of operational control. The fired will be replaced with Trump loyalists (or with nobody, so Trump can pocket more RNC cash?) If you are wondering what he will do to tens of thousands of federal agency workers on his dictatorial Day One if he's allowed to win the Presidency this year, what he is doing to the RNC right now should be considered Exhibit A. Don't say you weren't warned.
  • More eating their own, this time in Wisconsin. A Trump-endorsed MAGA group says they've submitted more than enough signatures to the state to schedule a Recall Election for the far-right, longtime Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for, apparently, not being Trumpy enough. Or, at least being unwilling to break the law to steal the 2020 election in the state for the disgraced former President. [UPDATE since air time: Looks like the effort is not going well so far.]
  • Mainstream corporate media outlets begin quietly resetting their dozens of misleading reports last month on Special Counsel Robert Hur's findings about Joe Biden's "faltering memory" after the release of the actual transcripts of recorded interviews with the President by Hur (a Trump-appointee at DoJ) reveal a pretty different story. The interviews were part of Hur's probe of classified documents found by Biden's attorneys in one of his old offices and elsewhere. Hur determined "no criminal charges are warranted," but slimed Biden in the bargain and media ran with it. Now, they are quickly revising the earlier misleading reports. NYT: Biden was "clearheaded". WaPo: Biden "doesn't come across as absent-minded as Hur made him out to be." WSJ: Biden was "not stumped on basic factual questions". That after each paper published dozens of stories each in the days following the release of Hur's report questioning Biden's mental faculties and fitness for office...just as Republicans had been hoping they would.
  • George Stephanopoulos deserves kudos for refusing to fold or be intimidated by the ridiculous and relentless attack from South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace who claimed that the ABC reporter, during his interview with her on Sunday, was attempting to "victim shame" her by asking her to justify her endorsement of Donald Trump after he was found liable for rape and repeatedly defaming the victim by two separate juries in New York. Mace bizarrely charged that, because she was a rape victim herself, Stephanopoulos' question was a "disgusting" attempt to "shame" her. In the bargain, she offered a mountain of victim shaming for Trump's rape victim, E. Jean Carroll and suggested that rape wasn't real because Trump's nearly $90 million liability for the rape and defamation came from civil trials instead of criminal ones.
  • Longtime media critic Dan Froomkin accuses the New York Times of "repeatedly abus[ing] the English language in its political reporting," and offers some really good suggestions for much-needed additions to their style guide. Smart suggestions from the former, longtime Washington Post, HuffPost and Intercept columnist include the proper use of words such as "baseless", "Congress", "conservative" and "moderate".
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with climate related news from Joe Biden's State of the Union Address; horrific global temp and ocean heat records from February; and more terrible news for Australia's Great Barrier Reef (and, in fact, coral reefs everywhere!)...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest host Nicole Sandler with Raw Story reporter Jordan Green; Also: MI Primary results; McConnell to resign from Leadership role in November...
By Desi Doyen on 2/28/2024 6:00pm PT  

Brad is still under the (non-COVID) weather today, so guest host Nicole Sandler joins us to take the captain's chair for today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST: We start with some of today's breaking news (and there was a lot of it that came after airtime today, which we'll try to get to tomorrow), beginning in Congress, with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing plans to retire from Senate leadership (although not from the Senate itself) after this November's election. Also, the question of whether the House GOP majority will be able to agree on a government funding package to avoid another Republican government shutdown by Midnight on Friday.

Also today, what to make of the reported results of Tuesday's Primary elections in Michigan, where both Joe Biden and Donald Trump easily won each of their respective party's contests, but where the New York Times and other corporate outlets found a strange way to spin the results. (As Brad pointed out on Twitter last night, Biden faced "significant challenge" in winning over 81% of the vote, while Trump "coasted to victory" with just over 68% on the GOP side against Nikki Haley's 27%, according to the Times' headlines.)

Biden did face just over 13% of Democratic voters who selected "Uncommitted" on Tuesday to register a protest vote against the Administration's policies in Israel amid its brutal invasion of Gaza. We try to offer a bit of context, however, amid the corporate media's too often misleading and/or context-free coverage.

THEN: Nicole speaks with investigative reporter JORDAN GREEN of Raw Story, who has spent months investigating a group of neo-Nazi teenagers who are working to recruit and indoctrinate even younger white kids online. Green reports on the neo-Nazi hate groups who are using the Internet to draw in teenage boys, "grooming children for a race war"; how their parents are reacting; and how these extremist groups have now turned to targeting Green, attempting to menace and intimidate him into halting his reporting.

He reports on being doxxed and seeing protests outside his own home, as the groups use similar fear and intimidation tactics against him that they also use to terrorize blacks, Jews, LGBTQ+ people and others.

Green discusses his investigation of the teen neo-Nazi recruitment group, his fight to protect his family and himself, and his resolve to continue: "That's not going to deter me from reporting," he tells Nicole. "This is the bedrock principle of democracy, to report without fear or favor. So I will continue to do that....They are certainly using the same tactics against journalists that they use against other groups that they dislike."

FINALLY: We finish up today with our latest Green News Report (featuring an ailing Brad!) which happens to be our 15th Anniversary episode! As a new study reveals that extreme weather disasters displaced 2.5 million Americans from their homes in 2023; Texas home prices have plunged in areas affected by a new state flood risk disclosure law; Chicago's lawsuit against Big Oil over climate damages. All of that as we celebrate 15 years of environmental news, politics, analysis and snarky comment over your public airwaves! (Thanks to YOU!)...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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 Alexander Smirnov, 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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