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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, May 21, 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
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 'ProLeft Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2023 5:37pm PT  

The remaining 2024 GOP also-rans gathered for another embarrassing "Presidential Primary Debate" on Wednesday night in Miami, The front-runner rallied instead with thousands of supporters about 30 minutes north of the venue. For some reason, we cover all of it and more on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

So much for those "culture wars". Let's have some real ones! Just in case you fell for the GOP's Trump-fueled hoax that the party has somehow become anti-war or something, Wednesday night's forum, sponsored and very poorly moderated by NBC News and the far-right Salem Radio Network, dispelled that old myth pretty quickly. The five candidates still in the running other than Donald Trump, called for wars in pretty much every corner of the globe, from Israel to Iran to China to Mexico to our own southern border. (Though some pulled their punches when it came to actually defending democracy from imperialistic autocracy in Ukraine.)

For the record, the participants on Wednesday were FL Gov. Ron DeSantis, former SC Gov. and Trump's U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former NJ Gov. Chris Christie, SC U.S. Senator Tim Scott and Vivek Ramaswamy, who the NYT's David French aptly characterized as "a right-wing Twitter thread come to life."

As right-wing Twitter threads do, Ramaswamy worked hard to dominate the night with all sorts of obnoxious stuff and nonsense, no matter how off-topic, resulting in him being described as "scum" by the deceptively not-insane Haley. Though it was difficult to dispute his declaration that Republicans have "become a party of losers" following Democrats' abortion rights-fueled victories across the country in Tuesday's off-year elections --- and similar wins in 2018, 2020 and 2022.

We're joined once again for our (perhaps futile) attempt to make sense of it all in today's Special Coverage by award-winning Salon columnist and Hullabaloo blogger HEATHER DIGBY PARTON and "DRIFTGLASS" of the Professional Left Podcast from "Flyover Country, Illinois".

We discuss not only the return of full-throated, chest-thumping GOP war-mongering, in a debate that was arguably as much about the Republican Party as anything else, but a whole bunch of other stuff, including the GOP's "culture war" now in tatters, and NBC's Fox "News"-like failure to spend much time, if any, on the biggest elephant not in the room. (You know, the one that is seriously threatening the very survival of our Constitutional republic and even survival on the planet itself if he is returned to the Presidency next year.)

"It was a tough night for pundits," quips Driftglass today. "You gotta feel sorry for the people whose job it is to spin this as bad news for Joe Biden." But, he also observes: "Donald Trump wasn't there, but he was there. He was the specter hanging over everything. The specter hanging over all of us." NBC, he notes, had a responsibility to "expose how much the Republican Party itself has become a reflection of Donald Trump and MAGA. And they didn't do it at all. They didn't bring up guns. They didn't bring up democracy, the election lies. They didn't bring up any of the things that are really animating our politics."

We also spend some time today on Tuesday's pretty remarkable Democratic election victories amid the ongoing panic by too many Dems freaking out this week following recent polling showing Trump defeating Biden a year from now in five of six critical battleground states.

While Parton dismissed the usual "panic artists" making hay of polling a full year out from the election, she concedes, "it's going to be close" next year. She then adds, ominously: "It really is keeping me up at night thinking about these tens of millions of my fellow Americans who still like this guy, Donald Trump. We've got a bigger problem, I think, culturally. Something really, really toxic is going on in our body politic. I don't think it's going to go away when he does."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Author, researcher Lee McIntyre; Also: Latest on Israel-Hamas and GOP House debacle; 'New Yorker' confirms GA Sec. of State delayed criminal probe of Team Trump's Coffee County voting system breach...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2023 6:46pm PT  

More voices over "the information superhighway" was supposed to make it easier for the public to discern fact from fiction. As discuss on today's BradCast, it seems to have done the exact opposite. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Two hot wars in both Israel and Ukraine, a still-simmering pandemic, a worsening climate crisis, the takeover of Twitter by a disgruntled rightwing billionaire, and a "master propagandist" running again for President of the United States, have all combined into a "perfect storm" of disinformation, my guest today explains.

We're joined by Boston University research fellow and best-selling author LEE MCINTYRE, author of 2018's Post-Truth, 2021's How to Talk to a Science Denier, and the just-published On Disinformation: How to Fight for Truth and Protect Democracy.

He's here today to help us understand the difference between misinformation and disinformation; to discuss which is worse; and what, if anything, can be done about any of it. In short, as he explains, "Misinformation is an accident. Disinformation is a lie." For example, the New York Times' (and others') coverage of the deadly explosion at a hospital in Gaza City last week, which now appears to have been caused by an errant rocket fired by a Palestinian militant group, was misinformation when the Times reported it as having been caused by an Israeli airstrike in the immediate aftermath. The misleading reportage might have originated, however, as disinformation from Hamas sources, whose allegations the Times --- as they finally conceded today --- was not properly vetted before being used to drive traffic to its website.

McIntyre also focuses on the danger that social media sites like Twitter/X now pose to democracy and the world, particularly since its takeover by Elon Musk, his blowing up of the previously helpful blue-check "verified" system which helped users distinguish legitimate sources from fakes, and his removal of most of the company's trust, safety, and information moderation team.

He details how disinformation also serves the dual purpose of not just forwarding false information on any particular issue --- like the war in the Middle East or denial of the efficacy of COVID vaccines, our climate crisis, or democratic elections --- but also collapses trust in all verified information and news sources. "Through polarization and the raising of mistrust and distrust, one message that comes through with disinformation is, 'Maybe we can't even know the truth. How do we know? Is everybody biased?' Because in that situation, you might give up on the idea of truth. That paves the way for authoritarianism."

Among the other points we discuss with McIntyre today...

  • How disinformation is now flourishing under Musk on Twitter/X and at competing sites like Mark Zuckerberg's Threads.
  • How we are all victims of whatever algorithms people like Musk and Zuckerberg may wish to put in place to determine what information we see...and don't.
  • How to walk the difficult line between content moderation and censorship, whether its via mainstream press outlets or social networking sites.
  • How "master propagandist" Donald Trump has created a career and an industry out of disinformation which now threatens the veracity of the 2024 elections.
  • How repetition works for both spreading lies and reporting the truth.
  • How to fight back against our "perfect storm of more disinformation, less content moderation, and fewer safeguards."

"I wrote my book because I want people to understand there's a way to fight back against this," McIntyre tells me. "You don't just have to believe the first media accounts. There's a way to be critical, a way to be skeptical, but also a way to push back against social media, push back against cable news, and even the government, to try to make them better and more responsible in how they fight disinformation."

ALSO TODAY...

  • The latest on the Israel-Hamas war, including the release of two more hostages from Gaza on Monday and the Biden Administration's reported efforts to try and forestall Israel's planned ground invasion of Gaza to allow for the release of hostages and foreign nationals and the delivery of humanitarian aid.
  • The latest on the continuing embarrassment of the GOP U.S. House's failure to elect a Speaker and re-open Congress.
  • The latest in the Georgia RICO case against Trump and his alleged co-conspirators for trying to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State. Following guilty pleas last week by Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Ken Chesebro, the New Yorker's Charles Betha and Sue Halpern reported on the 400-page Georgia Bureau of Investigations' probe of Team Trump's Coffee County voting system breach. It appears to confirm our repeated reporting over the past year that GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger was instrumental in delaying, if not obstructing, the GBI's criminal investigation of the theft and distribution of Georgia's statewide voting system software [emphasis mine]...
    On January 7, 2021, the day after a right-wing mob stormed the Capitol building, several people paid a visit to the Coffee County elections office. A year and a half later, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation began formally looking into allegations that “computer trespass” had taken place that day. The delay seems to have been due to resistance from the Georgia secretary of state’s office, which, for months, denied that a breach had occurred.

    Whaddaya know?...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Admin urges Israel to allow aid in, foreign nationals out as death toll rises, situation grows dire; Also: 6-year old Palestinian boy killed by angry rightwinger in IL; Admin settles suit over Trump's child separation policy...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2023 5:57pm PT  

It was another necessarily grim BradCast today, as conditions worsen and the death toll rises in Gaza while Israel continues relentless airstrikes in the wake of Hamas' horrific attack over one week ago. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Hundreds of innocent civilians, including women and children, have been killed over the past week in the Gaza Strip in advance of Israel's likely ground invasion. Food, water, medical supplies and fuel remains cut off to the territory of 2.3 million, with supplies now running dangerously low. The U.S., along with the U.N. and human rights organizations are calling for humanitarian aid to be allowed in, and for innocent victims and foreign nations to be allowed out of the region. The death toll is now in the thousands and 30 Americans have been confirmed as killed.

Hopefully, as grim as it may be, today's program is an insightful one, with both accurate news and a number of spirited conversations with callers. You'll be the judge of the that.

Among just some of the stories we covered before opening our phone lines to listeners today...

  • Washington Post: "U.S. signals push to ease Gaza humanitarian crisis"
  • U.S. State Dept: Secretary Antony Blinken's Remarks to the Press in Cairo on Sunday
  • CBS' 60 Minutes: Interview with Joe Biden on Israel-Hamas conflict
  • Reuters: "Slain Palestinian boy mourned in Illinois after suspect appears in court"
  • NBC News: "Suspect in death of 6-year-old Palestinian American boy was obsessed with Israel-Hamas war, prosecutors say"
  • NYTimes letter from Fadi Abu Shammala: "What More Must the Children of Gaza Suffer?"
  • AP News: "Settlement over Trump family separations at the border seeks to limit future separations for 8 years"

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Media woefully misleads on Biden and the border wall; AL to finally add second Black-majority House district; September heat 'gobsmackingly bananas'; Prez warns democracy in peril in perfectly normal interview...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2023 6:40pm PT  

Good news, bad news, news about shamefully misreported news, and something that's as close to "normal" news as we are able to find these days. All on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

THE GOOD NEWS: After two years and countless shameful losses in federal courts --- including twice at the U.S. Supreme Court --- Republican Alabama lawmakers are finally forced to follow the Constitution and Rule of Law by adding a second U.S. House District where Black voters may be able to elect a representative of their own choosing for the first time in state history. (Similar fights continue, however, in other states, such as South Carolina, Texas, Florida...)

THE BAD NEWS: September heat records around the globe were literally off-the-charts. Or, as climate scientist Zeke Hausfather recently described it, "absolutely gobsmackingly bananas". Is last month's alarming spike, completely blowing away some 80 years of temperature anomalies, temporary or here to stay? We discuss.

THE SHAMEFULLY MISREPORTED NEWS: Yes, the Biden Administration will be building some 17 miles of new border wall in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. No, it's not because Biden has "hypocritically reversed" his position on physical barriers or now agrees with Donald Trump (as Fox "News", Trump and too many actual news outlets have also been misleading reporting today). Rather, it is because the Administration is required to do so under the 2019 appropriations bill passed by Congress during the Trump Administration. Yes, the Biden Administration believes they must follow the Rule of Law, whether they agree with it or not. Crazy. The number of media outlets rewriting their originally misleading stories today would be hilarious, had the initial versions of those stories not been so woefully irresponsible.

SOMETHING CLOSE TO 'NORMAL' NEWS: We'll call it "The Old Normal". A U.S. President who is running for re-election next year sits down for a one-on-one interview with an actual journalists and answers many questions. No threats are issued. Nobody is attacked. In fact, no huge news is broken. But the electorate becomes better informed so they can hopefully cast an educated vote next year. We share the bulk of that interview because few others will bother to do so. And, yes, the perfectly reasonable conversation touches on our ongoing threats to democracy in America and around the world, and what can be done about the menace of looming political violence by rightwing MAGA extremists and their authoritarian cult leader. Seems important.

OUR LATEST GREEN NEWS REPORT: Desi Doyen has more today on the September heat records freaking out climate scientists; Antarctica's missing sea ice; a very weird turn against climate policies by Britain's Prime Minister; and the refusal by Big Oil and Gas to spend even an infinitesimal amount of their massive profits to permanently stop deadly, climate warming methane leaks...

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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With smart special guests Heather Digby Parton of Salon and 'Driftglass' of 'The Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2023 5:20pm PT  

Woah, Nelly! Today's BradCast may arguably be both the dumbest and most fun ever! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The subject material --- Wednesday night's ridiculous GOP 2024 "Presidential Primary Debate" (if it's even worth calling it that) at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library out here in Simi Valley, California --- is what makes it dumb.

It featured seven "candidates" --- former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, supposed businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum --- but not the much-indicted guy who Republicans apparently intend, for now, to actually nominate for the job next year.

Our excellent special coverage panelists --- award-winning blogger and columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and "DRIFTGLASS" of the Professional Left Podcast from "Flyover Country, Illinois" --- are what make it fun.

Hear Digby discuss the GOP's "Bizarro World alternet universe" and the "big orange elephant in the room"! Hear Driftglass explain the "Doomsday machine with no off switch" and "the smelly wet sock of the mainstream media"! Also, Doug Burgum!

To paraphrase Haley last night, hearing us today may help you "feel a little bit dumber." I'd tell you more, but that would ruin all the fun...and most of the dumbness! Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Author, historian, political scientist Norm Ornstein; Also: Gobsmacking details from NY state fraud ruling against Trump family; Late-night shows returning!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2023 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A couple of follow-ups and a deep dive into what almost certainly lies ahead beginning this weekend, including who is likely to be blamed for it, who may or may not still have a job when all is said and done, and what the cost is likely to be to the American people. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP: The news broke just before airtime on yesterday's program, but I've now had time to read Tuesday's full, breathtaking court ruling [PDF] which seemed impossible to believe as it broke yesterday. But, yes, Judge Arthur Engoron's summary judgement ruling in New York state's $250 million fraud case against Donald Trump and his company and his two eldest sons is as brutal, if not more so, than we initially reported it yesterday.

In addition to utterly obliterating the case presented by defendants --- as "pure sophistry", "not relevant", "patently false", "fatally flawed", "simply untrue", "completely irrelevant," and "frivolous", among other things, some of which we share today --- Engoron details several of the eye-popping fraudulent lies told in years of Statements of Financial Condition (SFCs) signed off on by Trump in applications for bank loans. Breathtakingly inflated overvaluations of his key properties, including by 2,300% at Mar-a-Lago alone, where Palm Beach County assessed the property to be valued anywhere from $18 to 27.6 million in the years from 2011 to 2021. During those same years, Trump's SFCs said the property was worth from $426 to $612 million!

In total, the fraudulent overvaluations documented by the suit, just in the years in question, total anywhere from $812 million to $2.2 billion. "Even in the world of high finance," writes the Judge in response to defendants attempts to marginalize the false statements, "this Court cannot endorse a proposition that finds a misstatement of at least $812 million dollars to be 'immaterial'."

Each of the Trump properties seem to be "owned" by Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) created by the Trump Organization to manage each of them. And, yes, the result of yesterday's ruling --- which we couldn't believe as it was breaking, but have now been able to confirm in the actual court order --- is that the Judge has ordered NY business certificates "controlled or beneficially owned by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Jeffrey McConney" to be "canceled". He has also ordered "independent receivers to manage the dissolution of the cancelled LLCs."

All of that on summary judgement before the non-jury trial, to be decided by the very same judge, begins on Monday. Youch. There is, of course, the possibility for appeals and such. But it is kinda remarkable how Tuesday's ruling has sort of been downplayed by many of the corporate media outlets. Perhaps they can't believe it either.

Before we get to our guest today on a completely different topic, more good news as the Writers Guild of America approved their new contract with major corporate producers on Tuesday after a nearly 150-day strike. That now clears the way for a bunch of late-night shows to finally return to the air beginning this weekend and by Monday. Some shows and most films will still be largely paused as the actors union remains on strike against the studios.

NEXT UP: A federal government shutdown is now all but certain to begin as of Saturday, thanks to far-right Republicans in the House who are unable to strike a deal amongst themselves for a short-term Continuing Resolution, much less a full budget package for the new fiscal year. Nonetheless, a new poll out this morning suggests that while 1 in 3 Americans blame Republicans, 2 out of 3 are blaming either Democrats or President Biden for the shutdown?!? Seriously?!? How can that be?!?

To help make some sense out of all of this and what is about to happen and what its historical antecedents may be, we're joined today for a great conversation by author, columnist, political scientist, and longtime Congressional historian NORM ORNSTEIN of the American Enterprise Institute. He blames the corporate media's terrible "both sides", "access journalism" coverage for the mistargeting of blame by Americans for a shutdown by Republicans.

"It's entirely on House Republicans, egged on by Donald Trump," he explains. "These people want a shutdown. Because this is not an ideology. It is a theology. The theology is that government is evil, government is bad, lose government, we get freedom, without regard to the realities in the real world and on the ground. They are very happy to have chaos out there."

Ornstein also charges that the GOP, claiming to seek government spending cuts, are "hypocrites" because shutdowns end up costing the government money while hurting actual Americans. "This is not a harm-free zone we're entering into," he warns. "Not only does it not save the government money. In some instances, because functions will be postponed, maintenance will not be done, ultimately it will cost more. They're hypocrites, at minimum. They're not really talking about savings for the government. They're talking about bringing the whole mechanism down because they hate government."

While Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is unable to wrangle his own caucus to even adopt a short term spending package to keep the government open as talks continue, he is also threatened with removal from his post as Speaker by the farthest right elements in the House. Ornstein offers some historical comparisons to this extraordinary moment, and argues that McCarthy "is in deep trouble."

"This movement towards using the threat of chaos, of shutdown, of default, as hostages" by Republicans in recent years, has "resulted in absolutely nothing happening. No concessions. Just the disruption." In recent years, he says, "we have been on a trajectory that is leading us further and further away from adults --- at least those that understand that no one is going to gain politically from a shutdown --- to a position now where we are basically being driven by the lunatic fringe."

He has, as ever, much more to help clarify on all of this today. All of it, as usual, well worth tuning in for...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Biden to join autoworker picket line in Detroit; Trump to meet NON-union workers in suburbs; Callers ring in with union myths, realities...
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2023 5:54pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope you'll tune in!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Also: Landmark court victory for kids challenging climate change in MT!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2023 6:11pm PT  

New indictments did not yet come in Georgia as of airtime on today's BradCast. But, as the nation awaits the former President's almost certain fourth criminal indictment in about as many months --- and this could be the broadest and most sweeping yet --- a somewhat related "exclusive" by CNN on Sunday seems to have made a lot of folks suddenly pay attention to a story we've been covering in great detail on this show and at The BRAD BLOG for the better part of the past year.

The Coffee County, Georgia voting system breach by Trump supporters is likely to play a role in the expected new indictments from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, even though there was largely nothing "exclusive" at all about CNN's weekend report. At least to those of us who have been paying attention and reporting on it ourselves for the past year. But, that's okay. If CNN's coverage makes people sit up and pay attention to this critical issue, we'll take it.

If it helps people --- including other media outlets --- notice that the multi-state conspiracy is still either being ignored or actively covered-up by the folks who SHOULD be investigating it --- from GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) and even the Dept. of Justice --- then, okay, bring on more such "exclusives".

CNN's Sunday report, deceptively headlined "Exclusive: Georgia prosecutors have messages showing Trump’s team is behind voting system breach," repackages material already reported long ago by outlets like Washington Post, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta's NBC affiliate 11-Alive and, yes, The BradCast and BRAD BLOG. Almost all of CNN's material comes thanks to information discovered in a long-running federal lawsuit challenging the use of Raffensperger's new, unverifiable and insecure touchscreen voting systems, as filed years ago by the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG). CNN didn't even have the decency to name the nonprofit group in their "exclusive", referring simply to material "originally unearthed as part of a long-running civil suit focused on election security in Georgia."

As to the content of the story well, see our program from April headlined: "The Multi-State MAGA Conspiracy to Breach Voting Systems Was Hatched in Trump's Oval Office: 'BradCast' 4/24/2023". That show, from four months ago, features most of what CNN describes in their weekend "exclusive".

On that program, we were joined by guest SUSAN GREENHALGH, a election integrity and transparency expert who now serves as Senior Advisor on Election Security at FreeSpeechForPeople.org. Greenhalgh had discovered admissions in sworn testimony given to the U.S. House January 6 Committee revealing that the plot to have MAGA activists unlawfully obtain and copy sensitive, proprietary voting and tabulation system hard drives in multiple states (Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania) was a scheme dreamt up during Trump's crazy December 18, 2020 meeting in the Oval Office with attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO and billionaire Patrick Byrne and others. Yes, the breaches in several states were not over-zealous local MAGA activists. It was a scheme hatched with the President of the Unites States himself.

Greenhalgh joins us again on today's program to continue connecting dots in the multi-state criminal scheme which remain uninvestigated or prosecuted to this day. (Pay attention, or wait to read them at CNN in about 6 months as "exclusive".)

Were it not for folks like Greenhalgh and CGG founder Marilyn Marks --- who had the wherewithal to hit the record button when one of the apparent MAGA breachers (Atlanta businessman Scott Hall) called her to essentially confess to the crimes in Coffee County --- we might not even know about it today. Lord knows Raffensperger and his friends in the Peach State have largely been covering it all up ever since the breach first occurred on January 7, 2021, the day after Trump's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

"Who knows if there were other counties that they went into in Georgia?," Greenhalgh observes. "There might have been similar breaches in other counties. Because we've lacked a real, robust investigation from the people that are paid to protect our citizens and our government from these types of illegal activities, they haven't uncovered it!"

Charges were recently brought against some of the participants in Michigan's several breaches --- at least five of whom are also known to have been involved in the Georgia breach --- and charges may soon be brought against some of them by Willis in Georgia in the coming hours. But, as Greenhalgh argues, the threat posed by theses breaches to next year's 2024 election --- and accountability for all of the people who allowed it to happen --- is crying out for a federal conspiracy probe of this organized crime that took place in multiple states following the 2020 election.

"There's no deterrence," Greenhalgh asserts. "What we saw happen in Coffee County --- if these people do not face any consequences, the message that is being presented is, 'It's okay. Go ahead and do this. If you can get a complicit election official, go in and do whatever you want to the voting machines and nothing is going to happen to you.' This crime happened on videotape. There's no question about it. If this was a corner store robbed by some kids, they'd be in prison by now."

There is a lot more of note in my conversation with Greenhalgh, and she offers much more in a well-sourced and linked "Background Briefing" document published late last week.

Finally today, some very good news out of Montana, where a landmark legal challenge by young plaintiffs, aged 5 to 22, challenging Republican state lawmakers for failing to follow the state constitution's mandate guaranteeing a "clean and healthful environment," was victorious! The court found that the Montana Environmental Policy Act, which weakened environment protections on behalf of the state's fossil fuel industry, is unconstitutional. The first-of-its-kind ruling by a judge in the U.S. may very well affect similar suits by youth plaintiffs as now filed in all 50 states and nations around the world...

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Guests: Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Pro Left Podcast's 'Driftglass'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2023 6:06pm PT  

The quote in the headline for today's BradCast comes, according to one of our guests today, from former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who knows quite a bit about both Constitutional crimes and American history. Finally, Donald J. Trump is facing accountability for his worst (known) crime of all: Attempting to overthrow American democracy itself by stealing a Presidential election from the American people before our very eyes. Luckily, he was as bad at that as he is at everything else. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

"This is a momentous legal event. It's the most significant legal event of our lifetimes, one of the most significant legal events ever in the history of this country. It is up there with Marbury vs Madison, Brown vs Board of Education, Dred Scott as a defining case for the times," Katyal told MSNBC after the new indictment against the the disgraced former President was handed up in D.C. yesterday. "This indictment lays out a case that a guy who was President of the United States --- while he was President of the US --- leveraged his office, used his power to thwart the will of the people in the most solemn thing they do in our country, vote. This is the biggest constitutional crime in our history."

We're joined today discuss that crime and Trump's latest indictment (his third in four months, and his second at the federal level) for it by two favorite BradCast special coverage guests. HEATHER DIGBY PARTON is the award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog; and our old friend "DRIFTGLASS" is otherwise known as both @Mr_Electrico on Twitter and simply "Bill" at home in "Flyover Country, Illinois" where he has long and proudly produced The Professional Left Podcast.

Following the release of Special Counsel Jack Smith's new, very readable 45-page indictment [PDF] against Trump just minutes before airtime on Tuesday --- including four felony fraud, obstruction and conspiracy charges related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election before, during, and after the January 6, 2021 insurrection he incited at the U.S. Capitol --- we've had a bit of time to finally read the charges and evidence presented with them in full.

Also, we've had some time to learn about the judge assigned to the case, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan. And, boy howdy, is Trump not gonna like her. She was appointed by President Obama, has been particularly tough on January 6 insurrectionists, and famously (and correctly) wrote, in a 2021 ruling allowing the bipartisan House Jan. 6 Select Committee access to documents from the Trump White House that "Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President."

As noted, he's not gonna like her one bit. Oh, well. Perhaps it balances out the Trump-appointed federal judge/stooge overseeing his federal indictment on 40 felony charges related to his theft and retention of national security documents and his attempts to obstruct the government's investigation and attempts to retrieve them down in Florida.

Among the topics discussed with "Digby" and "Driftglass" on today's special coverage...

  • Why it took so long to bring this case, particularly as so much of it had already been revealed by the House Jan. 6 Committee last year.
  • What either struck or surprised them about the new indictment.
  • Who the still-unidentified "Co-Conspirator 6" might be.
  • Will history better remember Mike Pence's moment of courage on January 6 or his pathetic turnabout ever since?
  • Why this case feels so much different than the other two indictments filed against Trump.
  • Why it seems that nobody in the media is able to describe what Trump did as an attempt to STEAL a Presidential election. (Though MSNBC's Joy Reid and Parton --- both of whom have long followed me on Twitter --- get well-deserved kudos for doing so today!)
  • Whether, as folks on the Right like to claim, Tuesday's new indictment (and the others) actually help him in the 2024 election.
  • And, would they support or oppose a plea agreement in which the disgraced former President was allowed to plead guilty, get some home confinement, pay a huge fine and, most importantly, drop out of the 2024 race and vow to never run for public office again in exchange for escaping prison time (akin to Nixon VP Spiro Agnew's deal with federal prosecutors)?

Answers to all of those questions and many others on today's BradCast Special Coverage! Enjoy!...

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Also: Election theft related charges coming soon; Smith hasn't talked to Mo Brooks?!; MI 'indictment' for vote system breach; Biden's strong economy; Inflation Reduction Act success; Record heat continues...
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2023 6:27pm PT  

Note: The barest of headlines about the huge news regarding new, additional charges filed by Special Counsel Jack Smith in Donald Trump's stolen documents case began coming in just minutes before the end of today's BradCast. Up until then, however...we had plenty of other stuff to cover.

Among that stuff...

  • We have another new winner in the corporate media's never-ending effort to find new euphemisms to avoid accurately informing the American people about what Donald Trump did after the 2020 Presidential election. (For those still unclear, he used every tool he could muster to try and STEAL a Presidential election from the American people). Today's winner in the Euphemism Olympics is the New York Times, which ended a short piece on Trump attorneys meeting with Jack Smith's prosecutors on Thursday, in anticipation of indictments in D.C., with this ridiculous turn of phrase: "Mr. Trump also faces scrutiny from the district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., who is investigating his efforts to bend the results of the 2020 election in that state in his favor." --- To "bend the results"?! Really, New York Times?!
  • Yes, I admit to being obsessed with the above point, but for good reason. A few words today on why the media (and Democrats!) failure to accurately inform the American people about the simple fact that Trump tried to STEAL the last Presidential Election is so critical right now, especially in advance of next year's Presidential election.
  • While Jack Smith is clearly digging very deep in both of the federal Trump investigations he is overseeing --- the stolen documents case and the attempted theft of the 2020 election --- it's quite bizarre that, according to former, far-right Rep. Mo Brooks, the Special Counsel has, to date, failed to interview him! That, even though Brooks spoke before Trump at the January 6, 2021 pre-insurrection rally in D.C. where Brooks instructed the angry, duped crowd to "start taking down names and kicking ass". But it's all the more odd because of the four very specific things that Brooks claims Trump instructed him to do last year, seven months after Trump was out of office, including instructions to advocate "rescinding the election" and "physically removing Joe Biden from the White House". All of which, according to the now former Alabama Congressman and one-time Trump endorsee, "violate the U.S. Constitution and federal law."
  • Meanwhile, accountability continues in Michigan where, last week, state Attorney General Dana Nessel charged the state's 16 fake Trump electors with 8 felony counts each related to their attempt to help the former President steal the state's 2020 election. On Wednesday night, Stefanie Lambert, a Michigan attorney who was part of a group being investigated by a MI Special Prosecutor, claimed that she has "been indicted" for her role in breaching voting systems in several townships across the state. Nessel appointed the Special Prosecutor late last Summer to investigate the activities by a bunch of MAGA folks believed to have unlawfully stolen and breached vote tabulation systems after 2020. The group includes a former State Rep, a sitting County Sheriff, a few of the clowns from that Cyber Ninjas outfit, and the failed former Republican A.G. candidate Matt DePerno. After the Trump-endorsed DePerno was nominated by the state GOP to run for A.G. last year, Nessel referred the probe to a Special Prosecutor, so as to not be seen as prosecuting her own election opponent. We'll soon find out if Lambert (who is a real piece of work, apparently) and the others, including DePerno, have indeed been indicted by the Special Prosecutor's grand jury.
  • Even Fox "News" was agog today at the latest numbers on the U.S. economy under Joe Biden, as released by the Commerce Department on Thursday. The new numbers revealed, among other things, higher-than-expected growth in GDP in the second quarter and extraordinary resilience of Biden's economy which many had expected to be in recession by now. It isn't.
  • Joe Biden and the Democrats' landmark climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act, turns one year old next month and, according to experts, it is already "turbocharging clean energy technology" in the U.S. and producing massive investment in U.S. manufacturing and jobs for the first time in decades. No wonder the fossil fuel industry and Republicans worked so hard for so many years to prevent such investments --- and why Congressional Republicans are working so hard to try and repeal it.
  • With July now likely to have been the hottest single month that any human being has ever lived through on Planet Earth, the President, in remarks today at the White House, detailed efforts across his Administration to help folks survive the extreme heat now slamming about 170 million Americans across about 40% of the nation. His remarks offered yet another opportunity for Biden to sing the praises of the Inflation Reduction Act, which not one Republican in Congress supported when the landmark bill was adopted last year.
  • Finally (as today's big news about new charges against Trump in the documents case just began to break at show's end), Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with several items related to the extreme heat in both the U.S. and Europe --- and, some very good news about EV charging!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: First 2024 GOP debate takes shape; Majority says Trump should drop out; Fox, Repubs and Fossil Fuel industry turbo-charge EV attacks...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2023 6:04pm PT  

As the nation awaits new, almost-certainly coming indictments of the former President at both the federal and state level within the next few days and/or weeks, we were able to catch up on several related and unrelated items on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Among today's stories...

  • Congrats to AP for coming up with yet another novel way to not report directly on the fact that Donald Trump tried to STEAL the 2020 election! I'm fairly certain theirs is the first reference I've seen over the past two and half years of media trying to avoid the most accurate term for what he did by, in this case, reporting on his efforts to "unravel" his 2020 loss. Really, AP? Unravel?
  • Meanwhile, we've been reporting for well over a year now, in detail, on the dangerous, unlawful, MAGA-led breach of wildly vulnerable statewide voting systems in Coffee County, Georgia beginning the day after the January 6 insurrection in D.C. We've come at it from all angles over that year, and are still digging in to critical, uninvestigated elements of the story --- including the attempts to cover it all up by the County itself and GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. But I've been asked by a number of readers and listeners of late if I know whether or not Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis is probing that breach --- which could help unravel the 2024 election --- as part of her broad conspiracy investigation into Trump's various attempts to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State. The short answer is "sorta". The Guardian's Hugo Lowell has been reporting of late that "computer trespass", in reference to what Team Trump did in Coffee, is likely to be included among the charges for some named in Willis' "imminent" indictments. (See here today and a few more details four days ago from Lowell here. For more details beyond that, tune in to today's show!)
  • While the odds are getting longer by the day, there is still a chance that Trump will not ultimately be the GOP candidate for President in 2024. I explain why that could still be the case and, with that in mind, which of the many GOP also-rans appear likely to qualify for the first GOP Presidential debate next month in Milwaukee.
  • As to the "imminent" indictments expected from Special Counsel Jack Smith in relation to Trump's attempts to steal the 2020 election before, during and after January 6, 2021, new polling suggests a majority of Americans (if not Republican voters) believe that a third indictment would be a good enough reason for the disgraced former President to drop out of next year's race. Not that he will.
  • While our fossil-fueled climate continues to wreak havoc across the globe this Summer, it seems as if a switch has been flipped in recent days, with Fox "News" and the Republican Party suddenly launching a last-gasp, desperate attempt at preventing the quickly accelerating global transition to clean, Electric Vehicles. Now who could possibly be behind such an effort? We discuss and debunk the everything-old-is-new again attacks on EVs coming from the Fossil Fuel industry's tools on the right.
  • Finally, speaking of climate havoc, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report as the Summer of 2023 continues to break records for record-breaking heat, fire and flooding. Oh, and Fox "News" has found their newest dumb thing to pretend to freak about in the bargain: saving money with more efficient water heaters! Sigh...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 7/18/2023 10:41am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Summer of Extremes --- Heat and floods strike simultaneously across the Northern Hemisphere; Corporate media mostly ignores climate change in extreme weather disaster coverage; PLUS: Another major insurer ditches Florida in the middle of hurricane season... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): For those who live and work outside, there is little escape from deadly heat; Wildfires tear through towns in Greece as thousands flee seaside resorts; In Phoenix, heat becomes a brutal test of endurance; How big is the solar PV waste stream, really?; John Kerry hails China's 'incredible' job on renewables, warns on coal; Scientists concerned over impact of rising Florida water temps on corals; Fossil fuel workers are dying inhaling gases, despite U.S. warnings to Big Oil; 9th Circuit denies bid by greens and tribes to block Nevada lithium mine
... PLUS: A shipping rule backfires, diverting sulfur emissions from the air to the ocean... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate on that and other 'Major Questions' from our radical, activist, corrupted U.S. Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2023 6:35pm PT  

It's been too long, but we're delighted to have one of our favorite guests back on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first, in a rare, one day only special session of the State Legislature called by Iowa's Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday, GOP lawmakers in the Hawkeye State hastily adopted a ban on almost all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before most know they are even pregnant.

Reynolds had the temerity to declare that "the voices of Iowans and their democratically elected representatives cannot be ignored any longer." That, despite recent state polling finding that 61% of voters in Iowa support legal abortion in all or most cases, with just 35% saying it should be banned.

Well, the "elected representatives" have now been heard --- Reynolds plans to sign the measure on Friday, when it will immediately take effect --- but the voices of Iowans certainly haven't. The new law was passed with only Republican votes. It allows limited exceptions after 6 weeks in some cases of rape, incest and certain medical emergencies. A lawsuit by proponents of reproductive freedom was filed today. We explain the details and the news that former Vice President and current 2024 GOP candidate for President, Mike Pence, is both calling for a similar ban at the federal level and believes abortion should be banned even when a pregnancy is not viable and doctors have determined a baby cannot survive outside of the womb. (None of the other 2024 GOP candidates has been willing to say they disagree with Pence.)

That cruelty, unfortunately, is now par for the course in the Republican Party, and is reflected in similar legislative bans on reproductive freedoms now in at least 17 states just one year after the corrupted, far-right U.S. Supreme Court activist majority overturned Roe v. Wade's 50 years of Constitutional reproductive freedoms.

Rulings made by SCOTUS this year, sadly, are no less radical, even as several of them issued at term's end last month have been cited by some in the media to suggest that Chief Justice John Roberts has somewhat "moderated" the most extreme positions of the Court. That would be inaccurate, but exactly what Roberts had hoped for.

We're joined today by the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist at Slate to discuss a number of those decisions, and what has now emerged as Roberts' neat trick to hoax the media into regarding him and some of the opinions issued by the Court this year as "moderate".

In short, as Stern details today, Roberts is essentially manipulating the Court's docket --- by determining which cases to hear and which ones not to --- in order to make SCOTUS' end-of-term opinions appear less extreme, overall, than they actually are.

"They have consistently taken up these cases that sort of seem designed to terrify liberals. Then, when the case comes down in a way that's not the end of the world, they get good headlines," he explains.

"The Court really shouldn't have been hearing a lot of these cases in the first place. So, by deciding them in a so-called 'liberal way', they create this image of balance and moderation that's not really deserved," he argues. "There's no better example of that than the Independent State Legislature case [Moore v. Harper]. There was absolutely no reason for the Supreme Court to intervene, and yet it reached down and grabbed that case. And, by deciding it in a somewhat moderate way --- although Roberts left the door open for mischief, as he so often does --- the Court got great headlines as being so moderate and thoughtful."

"That is a trick that the Chief Justice is very good at playing on the media. But it's not one I think we should fall for, given how obvious it is and how many decisions that he really cares about [that] end up coming out so far to the right over and over again."

"We pretend as though these cases emerged out of nowhere, when in reality, the Court is building a very careful story, using each individual case to try to show something about the Court that it thinks will appeal to the public." But that doesn't reveal the full story, Stern argues. "The 'liberal victories' simply leave the law as it was, without making any changes. Whereas the conservative victories radically overhaul the law in ways that were unimaginable just five or six years ago. That's also something that I think is very difficult to explain to people who don't watch the Court closely, but becomes blazingly obvious once you apply a little bit of scrutiny to how this Court operates."

And now, it's all making much more sense.

We saw that neat trick play out once again this year, as the stolen, packed and corrupted far-right majority, at terms end, ultimately reverted to form to overturn decades-old precedents regarding race-based Affirmative Action in college admissions (though not other Affirmative Actions, for example, legacy admissions and those for the kids of high ticket donors); the Court expanded newly discovered Constitutional "religious freedoms" to allow web page designers (and, actually, any other business) to discriminate against LGBTQ+ customers based on imaginary --- in fact, wholly fraudulent --- grievances; they picked up on last year's Judicial Activism by further restricting the EPA's ability to meet mandates of landmark laws passed by Congress, in this year's case, the Clean Water Act; and, they determined that while forgiving millions of dollar in loans to so-called small businesses and cutting taxes for billionaires was just fine, forgiving $10,000 to student loan borrowers during a national emergency --- in specific accordance with the original text of federal law --- was a bridge too far for a President of the United States...or, at least for the current President of the United States. (The Court showed no such "conservatism" when Donald Trump used the same exact law to "modify or waive" conditions for the same student loans.)

As bad as all of those decisions were, I had specific questions about one of them that sort of seems to give away the game for this far-right Court, with six Republican-appointed Justices now more than happy to legislate from the bench after years of their party pretending to be against that sort of thing.

As it turns out, the case I had questions about --- the one I saw as the most alarming and worst ruling of the term --- is one that Stern felt the same about. It's the one in which the Court relies on a made-up-out-of-whole-cloth, completely subjective test they now refer to as the "Major Questions Doctrine" whenever they don't have a legitimate reason to block an Executive Branch action, even when it's based on the specific text of a law they may not like.

"Justice Kagan has called this a 'get-out-of-text-free card,'" Stern tells me. "This is not a legitimate tool of statutory interpretation, because it means that the Court can set aside what the actual words of the law say, and just apply their own opinion, under this very thin guise of trying to uphold Congress' will." Last year they cited this pretend "doctrine" to say the EPA couldn't regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, despite the specific text of the law, because it was just too much of a "Major Question" that Congress had to speak to in more specific language somehow. This year, they used it to block President Biden from forgiving certain student loans amid the COVID pandemic, as specifically allowed by the HEROES Act.

"When you're dealing with the federal government, every policy is going to be major," Stern argues. "Every policy is going to affect as many as 300 million Americans. Every policy is going to have a fiscal impact of more than billions of dollars. So this is really just an excuse, in every single case, for the Court to ignore the law that Congress has passed, perversely while claiming to uphold Congress' wishes."

We discuss that and much more today, including which upcoming cases most concern him on the docket for the Court's next term. Should we freak out about them? Or are they also now just part of Robert's insidious manipulation to be sure to have a few cases on which the Court's rightwingers can appear to be far less radical than they actually are?...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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