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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, July 25, 2024
Kamala Rising:
'BradCast' 7/24/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, John Amato of Crooks & Liars...
Evidence Fails to Establish Attempted Trump Assass-ination Politically Motivated
Underscoring absurdity of Trump claim of 'taking a bullet for democracy'...
Former MAGA 'Cultist' on the State of the Race for 'MAGA Americans': 'BradCast' 7/23/24
Guest: 'Leaving MAGA' Founder and Exec. Director Rich Logis; Also: Kamala takes Milwaukee in first rally; MUCH more...
'Green News Report' 7/23/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Biden withdraws from 2024 race with legacy of unprecedented climate action; Climate warrior Kamala Harris; PLUS: Repubs highlight lies over facts on climate and energy at RNC...
Previous GNRs: 7/18/24 - 7/16/24 - Archives...
Biden Out, Endorses
Harris, Dems in Array: 'BradCast' 7/22/24
Party unites behind Vice President, moves from turmoil to relief to inevitable uncertainty about risky path ahead; Listeners ring in...
BIDEN DROPS REELECTION BID
President announces intention in letter to American people, follows up with Tweet declaring endorsement of Vice President Kamala Harris...
Sunday 'You Are Here' Toons
THIS WEEK: Recovering nicely! Hillbilly heroin! Cooling rhetoric! Standing by!...And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons...
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 politics after the shooting, Dems still fighting over Biden; Trump's chooses Vance, 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
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...
Amid the Assassination Attempt Aftermath:
'BradCast' 7/15/24
Also: Trump stolen docs case dismissed; Vance named as GOP Veep nom; Callers ring in...
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
Beryl fallout continues: Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Repubs seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
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'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
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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...

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Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

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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
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guest: Climate journalist, videographer Peter Sinclair; Also: Farmers rally for climate in D.C.; MI Democrats repeal GOP anti-union laws...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2023 4:23pm PT  

All of that clean, green, renewable energy needs to come from somewhere if we're gonna save humanity. Shamefully, many of those working to help produce it in rural America, including farmers and small town elected officials, have been paying an awful price for their heroic efforts, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up today, a few quick news items. Speaking of farmers and the climate, last week saw hundreds of climate activists and farmers rally in D.C. in hopes of increased support for climate provisions in this year's federal farm bill. Congress is working toward passage of their latest, half-a-billion dollar, five-year spending bill for farmers and nutrition support. The Biden Administration, the USDA and Congressional Democrats have made climate and net-zero farming a top priority, as agriculture currently contributes almost 10% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers are on the front lines of our quickly changing climate and hope to get more help. Republicans, on the other hand, want to cut funding from the bill despite the farmer's asking for more help thanks to our worsening climate crisis.

Also, some good news out of Michigan today, where the state Senate has followed the state House in passing a bill to repeal the state's so-called "Right-to-Work" (for less!) law, adopted when the GOP controlled the state legislature in 2012. Pending final approval in the House, the measure, seen as a major victory for organized labor, will then be signed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. All of that made possible by passage of a statewide ballot initiative that ended gerrymandering in Michigan, resulting in a legislative trifecta for Democrats as of last November, giving them control of both chambers of the state legislature and the Governor's mansion. And all of that is resulting in good news for the working class!

Then, speaking of farmers, the climate and Michigan, we're joined by PETER SINCLAIR, a longtime climate videographer, journalist, climate-denial debunker and Michigan native who has been documenting a disturbing --- and disturbingly under-reported --- attack on farmers and elected officials in rural communities in the American heartland.

Through a series of short videos based on interviews with folks in a number of small townships in rural Montcalm County, MI, (see here, here, and here, for example), Sinclair has been telling the story of a broad and well-coordinated misinformation and disinformation campaign, resulting in attacks, threats and boycotts against those who are daring to consider support for wind and solar projects on their own farmlands and in their small towns.

Sinclair, an award-winning climate communicator and producer of Yale Climate Connections' This is Not Cool series, and creator of his long-running Climate Denial Crock of the Week, details the chilling threats and harassment being faced by folks in these communities from clearly coordinated anti-renewable energy campaigns which have polluted local residents with a bombardment of lies about climate change and clean energy.

Today, we share a number of clips from his video series, as farmers and current and former public officials explain the harassment they have been facing; the tools used by the harassers (such as Facebook); how these campaigns mirror other, better-reported ones coming from the right in recent years, such as those town-hall meetings with angry opponents of "ObamaCare" more than a decade ago and similar scenes at school board hearings over COVID requirements, etc.

"This campaign is so well-oiled that it is kind of self-replicating," Sinclair explains. "People hear there's going to be a solar or wind project nearby, they've been primed by twenty, thirty years of Fox News, talk radio to be suspicious. They go on to social media [and] they find literally thousands of references to misinformation and disinformation that's being constantly circulated and recirculated out there. Then they replicate this template. It typically starts by forming a Facebook group, making it private, not allowing any dissension, and herding a whole lot of people into it and continually bombarding them with a stream of negative misinformation. Pretty soon you've got people that are terrified, angry, and aggrieved, and then it's just a matter of pointing them in the direction of the nearest local planning commission or township board."

He tells me: "We have evolved a generation of people who are attuned to this culture war mindset. Some of the earliest anti-wind energy memes that really stood out had a picture of wind turbines and it said, 'The production tax credit, Obamacare's worst tax.' This was ten, twelve years ago, but you're supposed to make a connection between Obamacare, which you're supposed to hate, and wind turbines, which then, I guess you're supposed to make a connection that it has something to do with Obama. Of course there's no connection whatsoever!," laughs Sinclair, "but that connection is continually made."

We also discuss the dirty fingerprints of the fossil fuel industry on these sleazy campaigns (though they are often obscured by "a lot of dark, untraceable money floating around for this kind of activity"); one of the men who seems to be "the big cheese" organizer behind many of them (a guy by the name of Kevon Martis from a climate denier outfit known as the Energy and Environment Legal Institute is cited over and over as a cult-like figure by many of the harassed locals in different townships); and what the public can do to help push back against this corrupt and dangerous madness.

"Mr. Martis follows me closely on social media," Sinclair quipped. "One of my favorite tweets is, 'Peter Sinclair doesn't just want to take your energy, he wants to take your guns!'"

Ridiculous attacks aside, all of this is going on in hundreds of counties in dozens of states across America's farm belt and, frankly, deserves much more light and attention than it has been receiving from both state and national media, as well as state and national politicians. We try to offer some of that long-overdue public attention today in our conversation with Sinclair...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: AZ Guv files bar complaint against former A.G. for 2020 fraud lies...
By Brad Friedman on 3/2/2023 6:31pm PT  

There's a reason we don't spend much time discussing the Right's phony "culture war" BS on The BradCast. Today, we talk about why. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

We go into much more detail on the program, but perhaps the biggest reason is likely that most of these so-called "culture wars" aren't any such thing. But talking about it, helps to make them appear to be such a thing. Whether it's outrage over BLM or CRT or, more lately, ESG, the GOP and FNC and all of their various corporate sponsors (mostly from the oil and gas industry), prefer spending time on ginned-up, phony nonsense to keep their readers, listeners and viewers angry, so they don't notice how the Republican Party has absolutely nothing but pain and thievery to offer them.

When the non-wingnut corporate media and Democrats jump in to respond to those ginned-up issues, sadly, the Right has succeeded in creating yet another "partisan" "culture war" out of whole cloth, in which they are able to claim there is a pitched partisan battle between "both sides". They've been mastering this scam for years, and the media and Dems have been falling for it for years as well.

One might think, for example, that the nation is bitterly divided in the "culture war" over abortion rights, one of the GOP's decades-old stand-bys. In fact, it's not much of a partisan or left/right or Republican/Democratic issue at all. The vast majority of Americans, across party lines, support reproductive freedom. And a recently released detailed survey from PRRI (of about 23,000 people in all 50 states!), demonstrates that there is not one single state in the union where a majority of the population supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Not one. Not even in the Deep South.

But maybe if you're furious enough about "ESG" you won't notice the Constitutional freedoms the GOP has just stolen from all of us. What's ESG? Well, the folks who watch Fox "News" almost certainly know what it is. It stands for "Environmental Social Governance." And, while the corporate concept has been around for about 20 years, Republicans, with the encouragement (and lots of money) from the fossil fuel industry, have only recently decided to become furious about it. Yup, they're hoping --- and the media are helping --- to turn it into yet another pretend "culture war".

Republican Presidential hopefuls like Florida's Ron DeSantis, Texas' Greg Abbott and former Vice President Mike Pence are all over those "woke" corporations who consider things like the health of the environment when making investments and other business decisions. As discussed today in some detail, Republicans have now decided that sort of thing must stop immediately! Failing to invest as much money as possible, including public funds, in the fossil fuel industry that is helping to wipe out humanity, will almost certainly result in grandma's retirement fund going bankrupt! Or something. And it now appears we're all gonna be dumb enough (again) to help these fake Fox "News" and fossil fuel industry outrages become a real thing.

Just this once --- hopefully, today only --- we're gonna talk about it so you understand exactly what's going on and how you're getting played...so hopefully we'll all stop falling for these scams over and over again.

Also today, a follow-up to a story we covered last week, when Kris Mayes, the new Democratic Attorney General of Arizona, released documents from her office that the previous Attorney General, Republican Mark Brnovich, appears to have forgotten to release before leaving office in January.

Among other things, the documentation reveals that Brnovich's office spent some 10,000 taxpayer-funded hours in 2021 investigating phony claims of election fraud in the state's 2020 Presidential election, assigning everyone in the office to the matter at one point. And though the probe was completed by March 2022, Brnovich never bothered to release the findings, that there was no evidence the election was stolen from Trump in Arizona, to the public. Instead of letting his state and the nation know, during his failed run for the state GOP nomination for U.S. Senate last year, Brnovich lied about the investigation. He told state lawmakers and the public that his office had found "serious vulnerabilities", even while he was ignoring his own staff's recommendations to come clean about the facts.

We covered those disturbing revelations from Mayes last week. And now, the state's new Democratic Governor, former Sec. of State Katie Hobbs, has filed a complaint against Brnovich with the state bar association. Hopefully, that complaint will result in sanctions or even disbarment for the state's corrupt, former top attorney, who was already under sanctions from the state bar association, as it turns out, when he misled the public last year about all of this.

Finally, it's Desi Doyen with our latest woke, ESG, Green News Report! Today, we focus on continuing drought conditions in California, despite the recent series of major storms and continuing, bizarre, climate change-fueled weather across much of the nation; Also, we cover the railroad industry's opposition to new regulations following outrage (phony or otherwise) over the recent toxic train derailment in Ohio...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Angelo Carusone of Media Matters; Also: GA Special Grand Jury forewoman hints at coming indictments; O'Keefe out at Project Veritas after 'bullying', 'financial malfeasance'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2023 6:37pm PT  

"Industrial-scale defamation is not free speech," our guest on today's BradCast insists, as very real accountability for many liars and scoundrels and fake news con-artists on the Right gets closer with each passing day. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST: The forewoman of the Special Grand Jury in Georgia which recently completed its work in Fulton County, suggests multiple people have been recommended to District Attorney Fani Willis for indictment. "It is not a short list," teases Emily Kohrs about who her panel suggested to Willis should be charged in the investigation of the attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election in the Peach State by Donald Trump and his top supporters. While Kohrs did not offer specific names, she did say, "you're not going to be shocked. It's not rocket science," before offering other somewhat cryptic --- if tantalizing --- hints.

NEXT: More accountability for right-wing liars. In this case, James O'Keefe, the Republican activist and scam-artist who initially made his name in 2010 by releasing deceptively edited videos which falsely suggested he dressed up as a 70s-era Blaxploitation pimp to walk into ACORN offices for advice on sex trafficking and how to avoid taxes. In fact, he never dressed as a pimp in those office, and never received any such advice. (See our full Special Coverage here.) Years --- and millions of dollars of dark-money later --- O'Keefe is now reportedly out at Project Veritas, his own ironically-named fake news and entrapment organization. Its Board of Directors detailed "financial malfeasance" by O'Keefe, and claims that he bullied staffers. Yes, the scammer who bilked Rightwingers out of millions, using hidden video "stings" to pretend to be a journalist uncovering "waste, fraud and corruption" on the Left, is seemingly undone by his own waste, fraud and corruption. Go figure.

THEN: We're joined by ANGELO CARUSONE, President and CEO of media watchdog Media Matters for America, to discuss Dominion Voting's $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox "News", after the network's executives, hosts and guests repeatedly offered massive lies to their audience about election fraud following the 2020 Presidential election.

Of course, like us, Carusone has been watching Fox lie on air for years now. So, is there something different this time around? Carusone explains why he believes the revelations from hundreds of insider texts, emails and depositions in Dominion's redacted 192-page brief [PDF], released last week in its motion for summary judgement against Fox, is seemingly very different from the lies that Fox has been caught telling in the past.

We discuss how "for so long the commercial media enabled Fox," allowing it to be regarded as an actual news organization, when it is not. Non-Rightwing corporate media outfits "actually enabled Fox News in a way, by treating them as anything other than the partisan political operation that we all know they are." Carusone argues that what is revealed in the Dominion brief "is so incontrovertible that even the enablers can't engage in the type of enabling --- or even just silence --- that they previously had for too long."

We discuss the "hypocrisy" of Fox' First Amendment defense and their claims that Dominion has "cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context," given that cherry-picking out of context quotes is actually the Fox 'News' business model!

We discuss what the hell happened to formerly respectable --- before joining Fox --- financial news reporters like Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs, who seemed to lead the coverage of phony 2020 fraud claims at the network by featuring Trump's loony attorneys like Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani as guests, despite the fact that they had offered less than zero evidence in support of outrageous claims that Dominion's voting systems flipped millions of votes to steal the election for Joe Biden from Trump.

And, perhaps most crucially, we discuss what may happen if Fox loses this one, and how a judgement of $1.6 billion may be the least of the company's problems. "It's not just going to end at the $1.6 billion," says Carusone, "because what ends up happening is that shareholders themselves then begin to sue for breach of fiduciary duty. Because it's very apparent that the Murdochs made misrepresentations about the nature of this litigation for quite some time." While losing the case means losing a lot of money, Carusone argues, "it will set them up for additional litigation that will compound the problem. They won't be able to sustain that from a financial perspective. It puts control of the company in jeopardy."

Additionally, he explains, it will weaken their position with cable companies, from whom Fox currently receive the bulk of its revenue, particularly as advertisers have fled their toxic air to the point where MyPillow guy, Mike Lindell, is now their single largest client. "It's sort of like a Jenga puzzle," Carusone tells me. "Pulling one block is not going to topple it down, but it's certainly going to make it a lot more vulnerable to toppling. And this one is a pretty key part of that piece --- just the tiniest little breeze will probably knock the rest of it over."

FINALLY: We're joined by Desi Doyen for our 14th ANNIVERSARY Green News Report! Yes, we are now officially in our 15th year of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting the global climate crisis dots over your public airwaves! All thanks, by the way, only to the support of listeners like you!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 2/16/2023 9:47am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Back-to-back extreme weather disasters trigger national state of emergency in New Zealand; New studies find global warming is melting Antarctica's ice; PLUS: Growing concerns about safety for residents in aftermath of Ohio chemical train derailment...Even on Fox 'News'?!... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 14 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): World Bank president, dogged by climate questions, steps down early; truck carrying hazardous nitric acid overturned on an Arizona highway, prompting evacuations of the area; Twice as much land in developing nations will be swamped by rising seas than previously projected, new research shows; Major US railroad merger could bring more tar sands to south-east Texas; Greens and tribes say proposed venting and flaring rule falls short; Tesla opens its EV charging network to the masses ... PLUS: Mono Lake tribe asserts water rights, urges halt of water diversions to Los Angeles... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: National security and accountability journalist Marcy Wheeler...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2023 6:00pm PT  

As we've advised many times on The BradCast, accountability takes a while. Particularly when you're talking about criminal accountability for a President of the United States for the first time ever. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

We're joined today, for the first time in several months, by perhaps the one person who may know nearly as much (and, in some cases, even more) about the many criminal cases against Donald Trump than the many prosecutors currently considering indictments against him for those crimes.

Longtime, independent national security and accountability journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel.net joins us for the full hour today. There is now just too much going on all at once in the various federal investigations being overseen by Special Counsel Jack Smith (not to mention the several criminal and civil probes underway in Georgia and New York), to fit into a single segment.

We dive into details with Wheeler on both the probe of Trump's hundreds of stolen, classified documents recovered by the FBI last year at Mar-a-Lago, and the ongoing investigation of the broad conspiracy surrounding the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol (and his many other attempts to steal the 2020 election.)

Among the many points and questions discussed with Wheeler on today's show...

ON SPECIAL COUNSEL JACK SMITH:

  • Where is he? Literally. And why are there no known new photos or videos of him Special Counseling?
  • And what, if anything, does his incredibly low profile tell us about the work that he is doing?

ON THE TRUMP STOLEN DOCUMENTS PROBE:

  • What does this week's news that Smith is hoping to pierce the attorney-client privilege by invoking the crime-fraud exception to force federal grand jury testimony from Trump attorneys like Evan Corcoran actually mean? And, is it true, as the New York Times reported on Tuesday, that Smith's motion to do so is "an aggressive new dimension to the inquiry"?
  • What exactly is the crime being investigated that Smith contends took place between Corcoran and Trump that would nullify the attorney-client privilege?
  • What do we need to know about this past weekend's startling news that Team Trump has now turned over still more classified documents and that some of them were reportedly scanned onto a laptop computer (and thumb drive) said to belong to a Trump aide at his main fundraising PAC?
  • Why weren't those documents found at Mar-a-Lago during the FBI's very thorough search last August?
  • Should we be concerned that more classified documents are out in the wild after being digitized and shared with others?
  • Where are the dozens of documents that were previously in the now-empty classified document folders recovered by the FBI last August? And, is Trump's claim that he kept empty classified document folders as trophy keepsakes even plausible?
  • Does the discovery and quick return of a handful of classified and other Presidential records found by aides at the offices and residences of Joe Biden and Mike Pence make any difference in a potential decision to charge Trump for having stolen thousands of documents and then lying about them to federal officials?

ON THE JANUARY 6 CONSPIRACY PROBE:

  • Mike Pence has now been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury investigating the January 6 attack. He says he will challenge the subpoena based on the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause that, he claims, prevents him --- as President of the Senate on January 6 --- from having to answer questions by the Executive Branch. That, after Pence previously refused to testify to the House J6 Committee on the basis of separation of powers and Executive privilege.
  • Many are describing Pence's defense "novel", but Wheeler (and I) recall when the previous Republican Vice President, Dick Cheney, hoping to also have it both ways, attempted to play the exact same hand to avoid testifying to both the Legislative and Executive branches during the George W. Bush era.
  • In any event, will Pence's ploy work? And, if so, will it prevent Smith from being able to bring indictments?
  • How do the recent guilty verdicts for Seditious Conspiracy, in the trials of a number of rightwing Oath Keepers militia members (and the ongoing trial of racist Proud Boys members), affect potential indictments of the former President?
  • Is it likely that the DoJ will simply take the "Al Capone tax evasion" route by charging Trump with a simpler crime, such as wire fraud, based on his fundraising scheme that raked in some $250 million after the 2020 election for an "official election defense fund" that didn't actually exist?
  • And, by the way, can a former President --- with a 24/7 Secret Service detail and all of that --- actually be sent to prison in the event he ever actually is indicted, convicted and sentenced?

As you can tell, just a few things to discuss with Wheeler today. And, as usual, she offers a ton of important, smart and keenly-informed insight!...

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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Special Coverage of the President's ingenious, off-the-cuff GOP Rope-a-Dope and much more with guests Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo, and 'Driftglass' of the 'Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2023 4:52pm PT  

For the first time in a long time on today's BradCast, we're happy to feature a Special Coverage episode of something that isn't actually horrible. In fact, it's something that turned out to be an unexpected amount of fun to watch and cover, while including what was, as I described it on today's show, "the greatest Rope-a-Dope Moment in the all-time history of State of the Union addresses." [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

We've got full post-speech team coverage today of Joe Biden's second SOTU as President (actually his third address to a joint session of Congress), and it was a humdinger! Both the speech and today's coverage. In fact, as our panel appeared to agreed today, it was likely the most enjoyable SOTU any of us had ever witnessed!

We're joined today by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog (which just celebrated it's 20th anniversary!) and "DRIFTGLASS", otherwise known as @Mr_Electrico on Twitter and as simply Bill at home, where he produces The Professional Left Podcast each week with his wife Fran/"BlueGal". Like Digby and me, he too is a longtime, old-school progressive blogger!

Biden's lively remarks on Tuesday --- and his surprisingly brilliant off-the-cuff responses to jeers and obnoxiously inaccurate heckles from members of the new Republican House majority --- cannot be described as delivered by "Sleepy Joe". The 73-minute speech actually flew by, surprisingly enough.

During the address, he, justifiably, sang his Administration's praises for what has amounted to one of the most successful first two years of any Presidency going back to at least FDR. (That, as we discuss, is particularly surprising given the narrowest of majorities he had to work with for the past two years in Congress. And is true, whether or not you liked his many accomplishments, had hoped for still more, or preferred entirely different policies.)

Snap polling following Tuesday's SOTU revealed a whopping 72% of Americans who watched it reacted positively, with some of the most favorable reactions coming from those who, prior to the speech, disapproved of Biden or felt his policies would not move the country in the right direction. So will his remarks on Tuesday make any difference in his approval ratings moving forward?

We cover a lot of ground on today's Special Coverage episode, including thoughts on Biden's brilliant Rope-a-Dope / Jedi Mind Trick that resulted in Republicans yelling and screaming to insist they are absolutely not hoping to gut or cut or even sunset Social Security and Medicare(!); other details from the surprisingly populist and progressive speech; insight on why Biden's approval ratings have been so low over the past year (and who is to blame for that); analysis of the bizarre movement by some in the supposed "Anti-war Left" to oppose support for the fight for democracy in sovereign Ukraine and against the authoritarian invasion by its imperialist neighboring Russia; and of the weird, creepy, dark, up is down/down is up GOP response to Biden's SOTU by Donald Trump's former Press Secretary and "prolific liar" turned new Governor of Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Lots of insight --- and hilarity! --- ensues during today's 'BradCast' Special Coverage! Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Turkey, Syria earthquake; Campaign finance limits raised; Koch Net to oppose Trump in 2024 primary; WI 2020 Trump campaign worked to 'fan flame' of fake fraud; Callers ring in before Tuesday's SOTU...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2023 5:55pm PT  

Breaking news today and a weekend full of otherwise dumb news resulted in a bit of a hodge-podge on today's BradCast. I hope you'll enjoy it anyway! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

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

  • Rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of Sunday's horrific, pre-dawn, 7.8 magnitude earthquake --- and several huge aftershocks --- in Southern Turkey and Northern Syria. As we went to air, the death toll from both countries was more than 3,400. That tragic number is likely to continue to rise.
  • American Republicans are, no doubt, breathing easier today following the great Chinese Spy Balloon Crisis that gripped them with fear and threatened their very lives and those of their families for several days since last week. On Saturday, the U.S. military shot down the high altitude balloon off the coast of South Carolina and have been collecting its remnants for study. Thankfully, nobody was hurt throughout this days long national nightmare, and the Dept. of Defense suggests the U.S. gained more from the exercise, on balance, than China did. The DoD claims our borders were similarly breached by Chinese spy balloons three times during the Trump Administration. Despite fevered demands from some on the Right, neither President Biden nor Vice President Harris resigned in shame amid "the catastrophic Chinese Spy Balloon spectacle [that] clearly threatened American families" from coast to coast.
  • Great news for the wealthy! Thanks to campaign finance legislation adopted during the George W. Bush era in 2002, and huge inflation numbers in 2022, the amount of money that can now be donated to a single candidate for a single election has been increased from $2,900 to $3,300. The amount that can be given to national party committees, according to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) has increased from $36,500 to $41,300 per year. And the amount allowed for payoffs to special national party committees, such as for national party conventions, has spiked from $109,500 to $123,900. Of course, those limits also apply to poor and working-class people instead. So, it's all totally fair and just some good ol' American "free speech" at work!
  • After declining to support Donald Trump's two Presidential runs in 2016 and 2020, the Koch Network is getting back in the game, vowing to oppose Trump this year by declaring their support for one non-Trump Republican by summer's end. We'll see if they have any better luck this year than their similar losing strategy back in 2016.
  • Despite conceding that Trump lost the 2020 election in Wisconsin, according to an audio recording obtained by AP, his campaign team in the Badger State vowed to help "fan the flame" of phony fraud as early as two days after Biden's win there.
  • Love him (or his policies) or hate him (or his policies), Joe Biden has accomplished more in the first two years of his Presidency than perhaps any other American President in history going back to at least FDR. Nonetheless, just one day before his second official State of the Union address on Tuesday, new polling out today from Washington Post and ABC News finds that 62% of Americans believe Biden has accomplished "not very much" or "little or nothing" in the first two years of his term. That may be an extraordinary failure by Democrats and the White House to get the word out about their own accomplishments. But the greatest indictment here should be for the corporate mainstream media whose only actual (Constitutionally-protected) job is to inform the public and educate the American electorate! Clearly, they have failed. Again. We discuss.
  • Finally, callers ring in today mostly on the topic of Biden's accomplishments or --- as several incorrectly see it --- lack thereof...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Latest spate of mass shootings; Pence found classified docs at IN home, returned them; Media still failing on Trump document theft story...
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2023 6:46pm PT  

Some tea leaf reading was necessary on today's BradCast, but it's our consensus that the news out of a hearing today at the Fulton County, Georgia Superior Court is encouraging. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

BUT FIRST TODAY, maddeningly, we've got to run through the litany of mass shooting over just the past 24 hours or so, following the horrific massacre over the weekend at a dance hall in Monterey Park, near Los Angeles. Since covering that shooting which resulted in 11 dead and 9 injured on yesterday's program, the massacres --- most apparently carried out with semi-automatic weapons and extended magazines that allow at least 30 rounds to be fired in seconds --- have continued. Two more in California. Another in Iowa. Another in Washington state. Republicans continue to send their thoughts and prayers. Democrats continue to try and actually do something about the epidemic.

AND SPEAKING OF EPIDEMICS, apparently the mishandling of classified documents by former Vice Presidents is a bit of an epidemic. Today, it was Mike Pence's turn to announce that his attorneys found "a small number of documents bearing classified markings" stored at his new palatial home in Indiana. While CNN's report compares the situation to Joe Biden's in paragraph 3, one must read all the way to paragraph 13 before the former President is mentioned.

You may remember him. He's the one who, literally, stole hundreds of classified documents comprising thousands of pages, on purpose, when he left the White House. He then repeatedly refused to return them to federal government officials (to whom he lied) for more than a year, despite the government begging him to return them and being forced to subpoena them, before finally taking them by force via a federal search warrant finding probable cause that multiple crimes were under way by the former President.

Once again, we've got to provide appropriate context to the story today since corporate media continues to fail to do so. In brief, the Pence and Biden cases are ones in which they discovered they had several documents they shouldn't have had in their possession, likely stored there by aides without their knowledge. After discovering them, the former Veeps then notified authorities and returned the documents. That, of course, is nothing like the felony crimes that Donald Trump pulled off and, apparently, continues to pull off even today, with dozens of classified documents still known to be missing.

Our friend Marcy Wheeler, investigative national security journalist, provided a handy chart today to help a few of our failed corporate media friends out when attempting to report on these apparently totally confusing matters...

NEXT, we move to the fascinating --- and encouraging, we think --- hearing at Fulton County Superior Court today. Two weeks ago, a Special Process Grand Jury convened by Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis completed its work and was dissolved. After eight months of investigation and some 75 interviews with subpoenaed witness, the panel completed a report and submitted it to Willis and Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney. While Special Process Grand Juries in GA, unlike regular Grand Juries, are not empaneled to issue indictments, they may recommend such indictments in their final report.

The panel has been investigating efforts by Trump and his supporters after the 2020 Presidential election to strong-arm state officials into stealing results on his behalf after he narrowly lost in the Peach State. The probe was kicked off by Willis shortly after the release of Trump's infamous, January 2, 2021 phone call to GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to "find" 11,870 votes "one more than we have" to steal the election for Trump and threatening the Secretary with legal action if he failed to do so.

In addition to that, the Special Grand Jury is believed to have been investigating calls made by other Trump allies to state officials; false allegations of election fraud proffered to state legislators; attempts to threaten and pressure poll workers into falsely confessing to fraud; the 16 Georgia Republicans who falsely claimed to be "duly elected and qualified" electors; the abrupt resignation of Trump's U.S. Attorney in Atlanta; and the unlawful breach and duplication of voting system software and data in rural Coffee County (as originally reported in detail on this program.)

Nobody other than Willis and McBurney (and the Special Grand Jurors) know what is in their report, but the panel requested that it be made public. Today's hearing in Atlanta was convened to determine if that would happen in full immediately, in part immediately, or not at all until sometime in the future. Willis and her office argued against immediate public disclosure of report, offering some tasty morsels as to why.

"We think, for future defendants to be treated fairly, it's not appropriate at this time to have this report released," Willis told the Judge. "At this time, in the interest of justice and the rights of, not the state, but others, we are asking that the report not be released because you, having seeing that report... [pause]...decisions are imminent."

What does that mean exactly? We discuss. Along with the counter arguments from an attorney representing media outlets such as the Atlanta Journal Constitution, New York Times and Wall Street Journal who argued today for the immediate public disclosure of the Special Grand Jury report. "We believe the report should be released now and in its entirety," argued the media intervenors' attorney, Tom Clyde. The question is difficult, given the rarity of Special Process Grand Juries in GA and the extraordinary circumstances of what they've been investigation. Judge McBurney is now considering his options. Willis is free to move ahead with indictments at any time, no matter what is ultimately decided about the report.

FINALLY TODAY, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, with news on California's recently disastrous string of punishing storms; a new report on whether off-shore wind power is killing whales off the U.S. northeast coast; the high cost of weather disasters in the U.S. in 2022; and some good news for manatees off the coast of Florida...

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Or, 'All the news that's fit to fight about over our public airwaves'...from the debit limit to the Biden and Trump docs to mass shootings to insurrection accountability and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2023 6:17pm PT  

There has been a boatload of news from late on Friday, over the weekend, right on up to airtime before today's BradCast. That seems to happen a lot these days. In any event, we tried to keep up or get caught up with a whole bunch of it today, and to take calls from a diverse range of listeners on almost all of it.

Among the topics and news items we discussed today (along with a number of callers who saw some of these things differently than me...at least when their calls began)...

  • The House GOP's dangerous plan to hold the nation's borrowing limit (and the nation's and world's economy along with it) hostage to their disingenuous demands to cut spending programs such as Social Security and Medicare. The White House is refusing to negotiate on the stupid, statutory debt limit, but should they?
  • The corporate media's ridiculous coverage of some more classified documents discovered at Joe Biden's home over the weekend, thanks to a 13-hour consensual search by the DoJ that uncovered a few more documents. Despite the entirely different nature of this case as compared to Donald Trump actually stealing classified documents, refusing to return them, even after subpoenaed, and lying to officials about them, corporate media outlets --- and elected Democrats who are too cowardly to challenge them --- are painting the two cases as somehow similar. Or, at least, claiming that Biden's case means charges cannot not be be brought against Trump for some reason. As explained, that is absurd.

    In fact, this is the "Goofus and Gallant" of document scandals, as fans of Highlights Magazine from the dentist office of your childhood may remember. Goofus (Trump) stole documents and, when caught, lied and refused to return them. Gallant (Biden) discovered he had documents he wasn't supposed to have, promptly notified authorities and returned them. As explained today, if anything, that stark difference should make it more, not less likely that Trump is charged. Or even that both are charged. But to suggest Trump can't be charged now --- as media and some Dems are doing --- is patently ridiculous. We discuss. Including with callers. One of whom tells us she also got in trouble regarding classified documents that were accidentally mishandled by someone who worked with her.

  • An 11th victim was pronounced dead shortly before airtime today in the mass shooting that took place at a dance hall Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, just east of L.A. over the weekend. One interesting caller tried to make the case that the problem with all of these mass shootings is not semi-automatic weapons with extended magazines that can kill dozens of people within second. The real problem is mental health issues in America, he argued. Our conversation was very interesting, I thought. You'll let me know if you agree.
  • Four more Oath Keepers were found guilty today of Seditious Conspiracy for their part in attacking the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection on January 6, 2021. The leader of that conspiracy, however --- the disgraced former President --- has yet to be charged.
  • The idiot infamously photographed putting his feet up on the desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the Jan. 6 insurrection was found guilty today on all 8 counts on which he was charged after just two hours of jury deliberation. He also brought a weapon into the office with him and stole an envelope. Apparently, the jury didn't buy his "I was just looking for the bathroom" defense.
  • A few thoughts on the nearly $1 million in sanctions slapped on Donald Trump and his attorney last week by a federal judge in response to a laughable dismissed-with-prejudice lawsuit filed by the former President against Hillary Clinton, James Comey and more than a dozen other FBI agents and elected officials. The largest single recipient of those sanctions will be Clinton, who Trump will have to give nearly $172,000 to. But Trump's litigation grift continues, as our own Ernie Canning wrote about here earlier this afternoon.
  • Another reminder today as to why elections and democracy matter. On Friday, the newly-elected Attorney General and newly-elected Governor in Arizona --- both Democrats for the first time in years --- finally put the state's death penalty on hold, following an horrifically "botched" execution that took more than two hours to complete in 2014. Hopefully, this will eventually result in a full moratorium on the barbaric practice in the state. None of this would have happened had Republicans been elected as Governor or Attorney General last November.
  • And, though I don't believe I raised the issue myself today, a caller rang in to explain why Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine is actually all the fault of the United States...or something. I disagreed and explained why. But, in fairness, as we got to the call very late in the hour, I had to end it much sooner than I would have liked. Hopefully we can pick it up again with more time the next time we're able to open up the phone lines! Always happy to have the conversation and appreciative of all of today's excellent callers!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Hand-count of 2020 Presidential race in PA county appears to confirm original tally; Also: Garland taps Special Counsel in Biden docs case; Trump continues to obstruct justice in his stolen documents case...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2023 6:12pm PT  

Today's BradCast --- from questions about classified Presidential documents to this week's hand-count of 2020 ballots in a swing-state county --- is ultimately about transparency and sunshine as the best disinfectants when it comes to politics and the necessity of public oversight for the health of American democracy. Even when it may seem annoying to some at first blush.

Much of the corporate media has been doing a fairly lousy job of allowing disingenuous rightwing opportunists to turn the recent reported discoveries of some classified documents said to have been found in old boxes at a Joe Biden office and one of residents into the very same thing that Donald Trump is facing potential felony charges for. In his case, any charges will most likely come in response to blatant disregard for the rule of law and the continuing-to-this-day obstruction of justice in his case of thousands of pages of stolen classified documents.

There is little comparison between the two matters, but the comparisons are being made anyway. Sometimes helpfully, sometimes lazily and destructively. In any event, Robert Hur, a former U.S. Attorney appointed by Donald Trump was designated on Thursday by Biden's Attorney General Merrick Garland to serve as Special Counsel in the matter of the Biden documents. That is a good thing, as it will ultimately serve to either expose crimes (unlikely, based on the currently known evidence, but always a good thing if there are any actual crimes) or end with a report from the Special Counsel finding no violations of the law by the President. A normal, non-Special Counsel probe by DoJ would end in either indictments or no comment, allowing false claims to be made forever.

I suspect many Dems will be annoyed by the appointment of a Special Counsel in the Biden case. But it is ultimately be better than the alternative. Transparency, sunshine and independent oversight are always good things.

In a similar vein, the second major story we focus on today involves a hand-count of hand-marked paper ballots from the 2020 Presidential election taking place this week in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. It's a county where Trump won by more than 40 points in both 2016 and 2020, but where many Republicans have been conned into believing there was some sort of fraud that decreased Trump's win from 44.2 points over Hillary Clinton in 2016 to "only" 41.4 points over Biden in 2020.

There is zero evidence of fraud or programming error or mistally of any kind, but local Republicans --- hoaxed by opportunistic national liars --- have collected thousands of signatures to demand a public hand count. The County's of Board of Supervisors ultimately agreed late last year to allow one.

Some of the few covering the count at all in the national media this week have been snarky, snide or dismissive (MSNBC's Alex Wagner, for example, and the very computer voting and tabulation friendly media outlet VoteBeat). But, as it turns out, the count appears to be going smoothly, is reportedly confirming the original results, and was largely completed in just three days rather than the three weeks VoteBeat had suggested it might take, as they offered readers false and misleading claims about hand-counting. (They believe computers are more reliable for that sort of thing, even though the only way to know if computers have tallied paper ballots accurately is to...hand count them.)

But whether there is legitimate cause to be concerned about the results of a Presidential election two years ago in a far-right leaning swing-state county, and while even a hand-count is unlikely to persuade the most brain-poisoned of Republicans, public oversight of vote counting is ultimately a very good thing for democracy. In fact, in all of my years on this beat, I am convinced it is the only thing that can keep it viable and continuing here in the U.S. As you may have noticed, for good reasons and bad, confidence in democracy and election results have taken quite a beating in this country in recent years. That is good for nobody other than the charlatans and autocrats. Public oversight of election results, on the other hand, particularly if they confirm the original counts, can only help to shore up confidence by the electorate. Democracy needs that to thrive and survive

Once again, sunshine, transparency and oversight to the rescue...whether some may be annoyed by it or not.

Finally, we finish out today with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, including some disturbing new climate data from NOAA and the latest dumb pretend freak-out by Fox "News"...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Data researcher Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: Hilarious Republican failure to select a House Speaker continues into Day 2...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2023 5:59pm PT  

As the ingenious GOP on GOP rebellion continues in the U.S. House today, we cover that and some clarifying new insights from the 2022 elections regarding the "red wave" that never came (as we long told you it wouldn't) on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Day 2 of the GOP Rebellion Without Any Actual Cause That I Know Of continued on Wednesday, with Republicans failing on Ballots 4, 5 and 6 to secure a majority of votes of those present and voting for any candidate for House Speaker. The Democratic nominee on every ballot, their new leader Hakeem Jeffries, continued to be the top vote-getter in every round, receiving a unified 212 votes on each ballot.

On the GOP side, their leader Kevin McCarthy received just 201 votes on each of Wednesday's three ballots, down one vote from the third vote yesterday and still well shy of the 218 votes needed for a majority. The new trick today from the Republican "rebels" was nominating African-American second-term back-bencher Byron Donalds of Florida to be Speaker even though (or, perhaps, because?) he pleaded guilty to felony bribery charges back in 2000 in a scheme to defraud a bank. A bit on-brand for today's GOP but otherwise perfect for the job!

There were a few tiny nuances and the slightest movement (away from McCarthy and toward the Gaetz/Boehbert-led rebel group of 20) in the afternoon's three rounds of voting. We'll see what, if anything, happens when they reconvene for an evening session at 8pm ET on Wednesday night. (They just reconvened. The GOP moved to adjourn until Thursday at noon, and won that chaotic vote by the barest of margins.)

But, hey, so far, for two days in a row, the GOP House has been unable to do any legislative damage to the country!

Next, it's on to our guest today, the great TOM BONIER, master Tweeter and CEO of the Democratic data research firm, TargetSmart. Bonier joined us on the program a number of times since late last summer, in the run-up to the 2022 elections and in the days that followed. He was one of very few publicly on record (along with Simon Rosenberg of New Democrat Network) who presented hard data that correctly countered the false "red wave" narrative promulgated in the months before last year's November midterms.

Over the weekend, the New York Times ran a 4,000-word analysis headlined "The 'Red Wave' Washout: How Skewed Polls Fed a False Election Narrative". It explores no small amount of what we'd been trying to tell you since early last spring. Namely, that Democrats were likely to do much better than both history and professional pundits were telling you, and that, as Bonier and Rosenberg detailed in the face of mockery by some last year, the polls late in the season were actually misleading voters.

Specifically, as the paper reports, beginning in September last year, a bevy of partisan Republican polls with dodgy methodology were released, almost all suggesting the GOP was on the verge of not only a "red wave" election but a "red tsunami". The partisan numbers, cited with great excitement by rightwing media outlets initially and then by non-rightwing media, seemed to conflict with polls from most legitimate, nonpartisan polling outfits. But the public release of a ton of partisan polling served to game the polling averages at highly-trafficked forecast sites like 538 and RealClearPolitics. More disturbingly, the skewed numbers resulted in Democratic campaigns changing strategies and spending in hopes of shoring up otherwise safe seats, while abandoning races --- such as U.S. Senate contests in Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina and a bunch of House districts around the country --- that were almost certainly otherwise winnable.

Why did this happen? Was it a concerted strategy by Republicans to game the public polling averages? And, if so, why did the supposed polling gatekeepers --- like Nate Silver at 538, who dismissed and mocked folks like Bonier and Rosenberg for relying on "hopium" in their accurate data analysis --- fail to protect against the partisan manipulation? Also, while the Times analysis suggests otherwise, did those false numbers actually serve to goose Dem turnout in some races last year?

In short, when I ask Bonier directly today if Republicans figured out last year how to game the polling averages, he responds, "Yes. Simply, yes. That's what happened. And it couldn't have happened without others playing along with it and empowering it."

"In the end, they were successful," he tells me. "Were they successful to the point where they were able to create a red wave? No. But they were successful to the point where Republicans won some races that I don't think they would have without this happening."

So, what to do about it moving forward? We dig into details on that and much more with Bonier today, and also get his insight into whatever the hell is going on in the Republicans' dumpster fire failure to select a House Speaker to begin the 118th U.S. Congress after two days (and counting) of trying...

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Guest: Voice of America's former WH House Bureau Chief, Steve Herman, live in studio; Also: New flu, COVID surge; Russia's latest offensive in Ukraine; Trump calls for 'termination' of U.S. Constitution...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2022 7:11pm PT  

Of course, just as COVID and other respiratory viruses are surging in L.A. (and California, and much of the rest of the country), we have our first in-studio guest on The BradCast since the pandemic. Oh, well. Wish us luck! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

We're joined today by the great STEVE HERMAN of Voice of America who spent some 26 years covering various regions in Asia and serving as VOA correspondent and Bureau Chief in India, Korea, Thailand. In 2016, he returned stateside to serve as VOA's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, for a brief stint, before becoming the eight decade-old, U.S. funded media outlet's White House Bureau Chief. After serving 4 totally easy-peasy years at the White House during the Trump Administration and several months during Biden's, Herman is now on the road as VOA's Chief National Correspondent covering the 2024 campaign. (I know, I know...we're not even done with 2022 around here!)

In a broad, in-studio conversation today --- including questions from listener callers --- we cover, among many other things...

  • Herman's initial visit to the Fukushima nuclear plant just after the 2011 meltdown disaster...without any sort of physical protection! (That was when he first appeared as a guest on our program.)
  • How VOA stands virtually alone as a state-funded news outlet given its special charter, a "firewall" enshrined by federal statute that prevents the government from meddling in its coverage. "The White House, or even the head of our parent agency, the U.S. Agency for Global Media, cannot tell me or my editors what we have to report or cannot report. They cannot be involved editorially," says Herman.
  • How and why that makes VOA different from state-funded propaganda outlets in Russia, China, Iran and elsewhere. "I like to say VOA is probably the only news organization in the world that is mandated by law to be fair and effective," Herman explains. "In that charter it says we must reflect the different views of what's going on in the United States."
  • "Facts are facts," he tells me, regarding so much mis- and disinformation by both the Right and Left. "What they are reporting at RT [Russia Today] and Sputnik is not factual, especially about the war in Ukraine. ... It's a situation that we see from Chinese state media and Iranian state media. And this goes back all the way to why VOA was created after the start of World War II, because you had Nazi Germany on the airwaves, uncontested to a great degree, spitting out anti-American and pro-Nazi propaganda. What VOA was set up to do was to tell the audiences, initially in German and also in Japanese, what's going on with the war, whether it's good or bad."
  • The efforts by the Trump Administration, while Herman served as VOA's WH Bureau Chief, to affect the agency's news coverage and attempts to pressure Herman himself. "When these things have happened over the decades in various administrations, it also demonstrates that VOA is not a propaganda service," he argues. "If it were a propaganda service, we would not be getting complaints from within the United States government on some of the stories we've been doing."
  • - Herman's thoughts on the insane response by Donald Trump over the weekend to Matt Taibbi's "Twitter Files" thread detailing internal discussion/debate among Twitter executives in the run-up to the 2020 election when deciding whether or not to suppress questionably sourced reporting on Hunter Biden's laptop.
  • All of that and much more, including praise for sushi in Los Angeles from a guy who worked for decades in Asia!

Also covered today, a few news headlines at the top of the show...

  • Flu, COVID and other respiratory illness is "off the charts" in California, Los Angeles County and elsewhere around the country.
  • Russia's latest missile assault on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, and the nearly 600 documented cases of apparent war crimes by the aggressor nation since Putin's invasion in February.
  • The apparent coordinated domestic terror attacks on electric substations in Moore County, North Carolina that has knocked out power and water to tens of thousands of residents.
  • Early voting is over and Election Day now awaits on Tuesday in Georgia's U.S. Senate runoff between Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Trump-backed sociopathic liar Hershel Walker.
  • The weekend's aforementioned insane (and largely pointless) Twitter thread by Matt Taibbi, how it has been misreported by MAGA Republicans including Donald Trump, who dishonestly represented the reporting in order to call for "termination" of the U.S. Constitution (seriously!) in its wake...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Progressive journalist, author, John Nichols of 'The Nation'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2022 5:30pm PT  

"Election Day" coverage continues today into its second week on BradCast, as more of the closest races are being called and as a clearer picture emerges as to what actually happened and why. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Shortly after airtime on Monday night, media outlets finally called the very close Arizona Governor's race for Democratic Sec. of State Katie Hobbs over former TV news anchor and failed Trump-wannabe Kari Lake. As we detail, Lake's apparent narrow loss was likely particularly satisfying for outgoing GOP Rep. Liz Cheney.

Hobbs' lead over Lake, with almost all votes tallied, is 0.7% as we go to air. That is above the 0.5% or less required for an automatic recount in AZ, where state law (shamefully) does not allow for candidates to request and pay for a recount on their own. That, of course, will allow Lake to continue to present evidence-free claims of "fraud" in her election, particularly given unexplained Election Day failures of some optical scanner at some polling places in Maricopa County. That shouldn't have prevented anybody from voting --- thankfully, Arizona votes on hand-marked paper ballots --- but it did mean that some ballots cast at the polls on Election Day had to be tabulated back at County headquarters later.

Presuming Hobbs' victory is certified as expected, that means the AZ's Governor's office turns from "red" to "blue" for the first time in 13 years. (It'll be the third state where that happened this year.) Add to that the state's two Democratic U.S. Senators and Democrat Adrian Fontes' victory over Trump-backed election liar Mark Finchem for Sec. of State, and Democrat Kris Mayes currently leading Republican Abe Hamadeh (if barely --- and easily within recount territory for now) in the race to replace the state's outgoing Republican Attorney General. All of that looks a lot like a new "blue" state, with every major statewide seat in AZ perhaps soon to be occupied by a Democrat in advance of 2024.

Yes, it was a stunning midterm election across the nation, as that "red wave" that Republicans and corporate media imagined and promised, never arrived.

"This is the best midterm election result for a newly-elected Democratic President in their first term since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1934," notes our guest today, progressive journalist and author JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, describing the results as "remarkable" and "against all sorts of historical patterns," while observing that this is the "third election cycle in a row where Donald Trump has been the dominant figure in the Republican Party and the Republican Party has lost. It's kind of a pattern."

So why did the results defy history? "I think the answer is that our politics have changed. We're not in the same world that we were in before," explains Nichols, who we have turned to many times over the years following Election Days to try and make sense of them. "Local media doesn't exist the way it used to, so elections are nationalized. We have seen the two parties go more to their corners --- the Democrats at least somewhat to the left, Republicans way to the right --- so we have to adjust our filter. And if we do, we understand that this election actually tells us a lot about where potential Democratic majorities and coalitions are in the future."

We dig deep into the remarkable results and how they may have been even better for the Democrats had the party not been so taken by their own fears that the media might have been right about the "red wave" which never came. Those poor predictions (which often contradicted the media's own available evidence to the contrary) also resulted in an overconfident GOP which, like the Democrats, ended up spending money in many of the wrong races. Nichols explains how Dem victories might have been even broader had they fought more aggressively and less defensively by funding, for example, more rural races where Democrats could have also won with more support from the Party.

He breaks down the likely reasons that the excellent Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes, in Nichols home state of Wisconsin, ended up losing to the insufferable Republican insurrection enthusiast Sen. Ron Johnson, and why other excellent candidates, if arguably less progressive ones, like Tim Ryan in Ohio and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina, ended up falling short.

In addition we also dig into how critical young voters --- lots of them! --- were to what ultimately happened this year. "Young people ought to be where you're putting a lot of your resources. As a party, Democrats need to be talking to young voters, bringing young people into leadership positions in the party. If you do, the rewards are immense," he avers. "Under 30 and especially under 25, the bias is 28% in favor of the Democrats. At the very end of the 2022 cycle, in states across the country, you had a lot of young voters lining up and casting votes. They don't turn out at the same percentage, at the same level, as older voters do. But if they turn out strong, it has a huge impact."

We also discuss how an institutionalist like Joe Biden has been clever enough as President to shift his policies toward the progressive left, in tune with those voters and the American electorate overall.

"Let's be very clear," Nichols argues today, "despite what games pundits try to play, Americans had a very clear choice. In 2022, they had a choice between an extreme rightwing Republican Party straying toward authoritarianism on many issues and a Democratic Party that was edging toward progressivism, and was attacked for that. And what did the American people decide to do? In a surprise to everyone, to the politicians and the pundits, they decided to go for the party that is edging towards progressivism."

Finally today, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, as Biden pledges leadership and funding at the U.N. climate conference in Egypt, and restarts climate negotiations with China...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: Fox 'News' 'red wave' buffoonery; Latest results on Sen, Guv, SoS and A.G. races from AZ, NV...
By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2022 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's no surprise that Fox 'News' deluded itself for months and even years about a "red wave" or "tsunami" coming for the 2022 midterm elections. It shouldn't be a surprise that the theoretically legitimate media got it wrong as well, given that they seem to make the same errors election after election. And yet, it's both surprising and disappointing, given that the data to counter their erroneous narrative was right there in front of their face the whole time...if they simply bothered to, or had the courage to, listen to it. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

"There was nothing magical about what I did," our guest today, TOM BONIER of the Democratic data research firm, TargetSmart, explains. "It was, as you say, seeing the numbers and reporting the numbers and, in the end, trying to stay away from predictions or projections, but to say, 'Look, this is what we're seeing'."

Bonier's well-documented Twitter threads on the data over the past many months spelled out what shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone. In the face of extremism from the right and, in particular, the Supreme Court, there was a backlash against Republicans which served to boost Democrats across the board.

Prior to today, Bonier joined us twice in recent months to discuss his analysis of data and what he was seeing and tweeting about to anyone who might have wanted to listen. In late August, after voters in deep red Kansas decisively rejected a ballot initiative that would have rewritten the state constitution to allow abortion to be banned, he joined us to explain what he saw as a "jaw-dropping" spike in new voter registrations for young, Democratic women following the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision in late June, overturning Roe v. Wade. Bonier saw similar spikes in new registrations all over the map, in "red" and "blue" states alike, but particularly where reproductive rights were most threatened.

In late September he joined us again after analyzing specific voter data from that failed Kansas referendum. Hard evidence of an incredible spike in women voters that, he told us at the time, "just doesn't happen in elections." He posited that any suggestion that Democrats would be swamped in November, as the so-called Conventional Wisdom offered by pundits would have it, was simply ignoring the available data. He argued the election would be very close and almost certainly not a "wave" for the GOP.

He was right. Even though, over the past month in the run-up to Election Day, the corporate media were, largely in lock step, warning that Dems were done for, soon to be swamped by a red wave or even tsunami! How much of that erroneous punditry "blunted" the final results, Bonier laments, citing races like Mandela Barnes' in Wisconsin, where the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate fell just shy of unseating incumbent Republican Ron Johnson by a single point.

"I like to think of myself as an optimist, but it was difficult over the last few weeks and months," he tells me. "In reality, what we do at TargetSmart is we listen to the data. That's all we were doing. Along the way I was looking at the voter registration data, looking at the early vote data, looking at it in the context of the polls and trying to draw some conclusions. But mostly providing context and questioning the hard-set assumptions that were really leading everyone."

We discuss, among other things, the "flood of Republican polling" in the last few weeks of the campaign and how it warped forecasts from poll aggregation sites like FiveThirtyEight, and how his fellow traveler, Simon Rosenberg, who also had it right, was "mocked" when he highlighted how forecasts were being swamped by those bad GOP polls.

By itself, the media failure "doesn't happen. It took some level of complicit behavior from those who should be guards against it," Bonier insists. "People are mocking Fox News at this point. We know it is a very biased Republican media platform. But the bottom line is most of cable and these other outlets had a level of certainty about this outcome in a very similar way. I have to say, as I spoke with reporters in the closing weeks, I would be telling them 'Look, this is going to be a close election. I don't see a Republican wave. I don't see that in the numbers.' And I was just short of mocked by reporters."

But, why? Is it a lack of courage to stray from the pack journalism and group think? Or, as media critic Dan Froomkin argued today, a symptom of systemic "rot" in the political media? Bonier offers his frank thoughts on that and much more as we dig deep in today's discussion. I strongly urge you to tune in for it in full.

Also today, in addition to our own mocking of Fox "News", we've got plenty left over to mock folks like HBO's Bill Maher and Spotify's Joe Rogan and CNN's Fareed Zakaria and NYTimes' Maggie Haberman who all got it wrong as well --- and misled the American electorate in the bargain --- for many of the reasons discussed on today's program. And, we've also got the latest reported results out of still uncalled critical races for U.S. Senate, Governor, Sec. of State and Attorney General in Arizona and Nevada...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Conventional wisdom and corporate media proven wrong. Again.; Also: Big midterm wins, losses, surprises as voters hold the line for democracy, Congressional majorities remain up in the air...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2022 6:17pm PT  

Republicans and corporate media appeared to be shocked on Tuesday night. But it looks like we had it right all along on BradCast regarding this year's midterm elections. And, once again, the corporate media didn't. But, good news for them! As usual, they'll pay no price for being wrong, no matter how many times they ill-serve the nation with their failures. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

There was no "red" wave. Conventional wisdom, as we've been advising since early Spring, was to be ignored before this year's midterms in these decidedly UNconventional times. If we could see that data --- sometimes via polling from some of the very same media outlets --- why couldn't the corporate media? Maybe its group think. Maybe its because whatever Republicans tell them they believe to be the truth, or simply report it as such.

In any event, while there was no "red" wave, it is still quite possible that Republicans win majorities in both the U.S. House and the Senate --- if just barely in each case. And while Dems, as we go to air today, have an apparent edge to hold on to their Senate majority, it'll almost certainly require another win in another U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia next month to nail it down. There even remains a long-shot chance that Dems can keep a majority in the House as well, and that, as we explained yesterday, it all may come down to the effect of unusually large downpours on Tuesday's Election Day in both Northern and Southern California.

Either way, for the moment, American democracy, while still on life support, has lived to see another day. For now. In similarly encouraging news, our previous President may even finally face some accountability from his own infuriated party. They were deprived of what should have been a huge and easy win on Tuesday, but for the rightwing loons that Donald Trump helped push into the Party and onto ballots across the nation. Many of them, if not all, lost bigly.

On today's program, we discuss all of the above and, based on what we know as of airtime, run through a ton of critical victories and losses --- including both inspiring surprise wins and several disappointments --- in dozens of states, at both the state and federal level.

As of yesterday's election, anyway, American voters (including many young ones, thankfully!) appear to have held the line for democracy. It is not dead yet. For that, I hope you'll take a minute or two to breathe a small sigh of relief. But not too many minutes. The good fight ain't over yet. Not by a long shot...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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