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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, November 28, 2022
Sunday 'Once More Unto the Breach' Toons
And here we go again...into PDiddie's latest post-Turkey toon collection...
Turkey Toons
Gobble gobble! Our thanks to the one and only Pdidddie for a special holiday collection of toons to help you burn off a few calories!...
Debating the Merits of Garland's New Special Counsel: 'BradCast' 11/21/22
Guests: Former DoJ prosecutor Randall D. Eliason of GWU, Const'l law expert John Bonifaz of FSFP; Also: Does the Constitution disqualify insurrectionist Trump from 2024?...
Sunday 'Ready or Not' Toons
PDiddie's latest collection of the past week's most gut-busting political toons...
Now Back to the Quest for Trump Accountability, Still in Progress: 'BradCast' 11/17/22
Guest: Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote'; Also: Pelosi leaves Dem leadership; GOP secures House majority; Bass wins L.A. Mayor...
'Green News Report' 11/17/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
Crunch time for COP27 climate agreement; NASA says sea levels to rise a foot by 2050; Trump's 2024 announcement climate lies; PLUS: Climate disinfo surging again...
Recent GNRs: 11/15/22 - 11/10/22 - Archives...
2022 GOP Political Fallout, Blame, Circus Begins: 'BradCast' 11/16/22
Guest: Heather Digby Parton; Trump's running again; House, Senate GOP leadership chaos; MS moves to hand-marked paper ballots...
'Green News Report' 11/15/22
Biden pledges leadership, funding at U.N. climate summit; U.S. and China resume climate talks; Costly Nicole; PLUS: Dems Sen. majority to hold line on climate policy...
Sunday 'Red Wave' Toons
Surf the wave! It's Pdiddie's first post-midterms collection of the week's best political toons!...
The Guy Whose Data Analysis Was Right on the Election on Why Media Got It So Wrong (Again): 'BradCast' 11/11/22
Guest: TargetSmart's Tom Bonier; 'Red wave' buffoonery; Latest results from AZ, NV...
It's the Gerrymandering (and Corrupted Courts), Stupid: 'BradCast' 11/10/22
Guest: Redistricting expert, author David Daley; Also: How Fox 'News' dupes followers via smartphone; Latest Sen, House, Guv results...
'Green News Report' 11/10/22
Failed 'red wave' is good news for the climate; New reports warn of skyrocketing methane levels; PLUS: Mixed results for state environmental ballot propositions...
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...


Guest: George Beebe of the Quincy Inst. for Responsible Statecraft...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2022 5:58pm PT  

While voters were at the polls for primary elections in six states (Arizona, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri and Washington) on Tuesday, we take the moment to turn to foreign affairs for a hot minute on today's BradCast.

Happily, few problems were reported for voters at the polls in those six states --- at least that we could find so far today --- beyond another predictable failure of electronic poll books, this time across Mohave County, AZ, for about six hours when polls opened. More issues may reveal themselves before tomorrow, or thereafter, of course. Meanwhile, there are a whole bunch of far-right, Trump-backed, 2020 election deniers on the ballot today, with several running for critical offices such as Governor, Sec. of State and the U.S. Senate. All of which, if those candidates win on Tuesday and again this November, could cause very serious problems for democracy itself in 2024. We'll pick all of that up on tomorrow's show, with whatever noteworthy reported results may be available by then.

But today, we had the opportunity circle back to Russia's ongoing war with it's sovereign neighbor Ukraine, now entering it's sixth horrific month following Russia's invasion on February 24. If you follow most Western media, Ukraine's military is making valiant if deadly headway in pushing back at over-extended and exhausted Russian troops in the South, while Russia presses its offensive in the East.

If you follow Kremlin-controlled media, this is a war special military operation that can never be won by Ukraine, and continues to threaten expansion into a global conflict, including the use of nuclear weapons, as Russia takes great pains to note --- on an alarmingly regular basis.

But, it's not only Russian-controlled media suggesting the war is ultimately unwinnable for Ukraine. A number of foreign policy-centered Western media outlets and think-tanks have long argued similarly in a push for peace talks and a ceasefire in the now war-torn nation of Ukraine.

There was some good news this week, in that an agreement brokered by Turkey and the U.N. between the two warring nations last month has resulted in ships carrying Ukrainian grain finally able to leave port to deliver food around the world. Russian ships will also be allowed to do so through safe corridors established amid mined waters in the Black Sea. If the agreement holds, millions of tons of grain and other agricultural products will finally be able to flow from "the breadbasket of Europe" to help ease rising global food prices and the threat of hunger and political instability in developing nations.

The first ship to leave port on Monday was "loaded with two commodities in short supply: corn and hope," as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described it. Beyond that, there is not much to be hopeful about in the protracted conflict.

Writing at The National Interest over the weekend, veteran foreign policy experts and former U.S. National Security officials Steven Simon and Jonathon Stevenson made the case for diplomacy. They called on the U.S. to help encourage a negotiated settlement by making clear to Ukraine that "Neither side can fulfill its maximal war aims" and they must find opportunities for peace talks and, if possible, a cessation of hostilities, despite Vladimir Putin's apparent disinclination to negotiate.

"It is well and good for the United States and its NATO allies to keep arming Ukraine. But it is also time to encourage both sides to start exploring possibilities for a political solution before escalation puts diplomacy even farther from reach," the pair conclude. "And unless the United States and NATO condition military assistance on Ukraine’s constructive political engagement, they will lack the leverage to work effectively towards a stable objective."

But is such a demand appropriate or even possible under the current conditions in the war torn nation? Isn't it up to Ukraine --- which has lost so much in blood, treasure and sovereign territory --- not the U.S. or NATO, to decide when and if Ukraine is ready to negotiate an end to the war?

Those are just some of the difficult and nuanced questions we discuss with our guest today, GEORGE BEEBE, Director of Grand Strategy (yes, I know, an ominous sounding title!) at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, one of our go-to think-tanks for smart, no-nonsense foreign policy solutions.

Beebe's is the author of 2019's The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe. He served over two decades in the U.S. government as an intelligence analyst, diplomat, and policy advisor, including as director of the CIA’s Russia analysis and as an advisor on Russia to Vice President Dick Cheney. (Yes, we discuss both of those ominous matters --- his work with the CIA and for Cheney --- as well!)

Among the questions and issues Beebe speaks to today: His concern that there is no real exit plan for our current strategy, not unlike the lack of a U.S. plan when we launched the Iraq War in 2003; Is it true that there is no way for Ukraine to "win" this war? That the only way is via diplomacy?; Should it be up to the U.S. and NATO, who are supplying much-needed armaments to help Ukraine defend itself, to decide when Ukraine should negotiate towards a settlement? Or should that remain Ukraine's sole decision?; Does Russia even have an interest in negotiations?; What should we learn from their repeated reminders that a continuation of the war could lead to a potentially nuclear expansion?; And, since it's actually a somewhat related matter, what does Beebe make of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit on Tuesday to Taiwan, and what effect is that likely to have on the Russia/Ukraine conflict?

"This is a very complex issue," Beebe tells me on the matter of the United States' own culpability in the matter. "Most foreign policy issues don't have single factor origins. They're usually the result of a confluence of different forces. What's happened in Russia's invasion of Ukraine is that it is the culmination of a series of developments, missteps on the part of a lot of different players over time, that all contributed to the situation that we're facing today."

"That doesn't excuse the Russians and it doesn't excuse Putin from making the choice to invade Ukraine. I think he is fully responsible for that choice, regardless of what preceded it. It didn't have to happen," he argues. But "Russia certainly has what I regard as understandable security concerns...That doesn't mean that the invasion was justified [or] that the manner in which this operation was carried out was at all justifiable."

"But I also would not say that Putin simply woke up in February and said, 'Hey, I would like to invade Ukraine.' There was a lot that went into shaping that decision, and I think a lot of blame on both the Russian and the Western sides."

As you can tell, there is much to discuss and try to make sense of with the Director of Grand Strategy at the Quincy Institute today. I hope you'll tune in for it!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with more on the potentially "game changing" compromise bill hashed out by Senator Joe Manchin with Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer last week, to invest an historic $370 billion in incentives to help us move from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy in hopes of mitigating our worsening climate emergency; And, on the latest deadly costs of that ongoing emergency across the U.S., as Big Oil --- whose product, and decades of lies about it, are at the heart of the crisis --- declare their most profitable quarter in history...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Can Dems finally pass the critical Schumer/Manchin compromise bill to save the climate (and maybe themselves)?; Also: Biden's 'rebound'; KY's death toll; Tuesday's primaries; And callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2022 6:16pm PT  

In our opinion, on today's BradCast, the scaled back, surprise "Build Back Better" spending bill compromise (now renamed the "Inflation Reduction Act" to help win over West Virginia's rightwing Democratic Senator) comes not a moment too soon. And, even "scaled back", it's still chocked full of so much stuff that if each of its provisions were passed in separate bills over the past 18 months, we'd likely be discussing Joe Biden as having one of the most successful first two years of any President in history. That said, the bill has not yet been passed, and it could still be a very bumpy ride in the coming days to see it through to the President's signature. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get to that today --- and some callers on same --- a few other headlines covered on today's show...

  • Minutes before airtime, news broke that the U.S. killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan over the weekend in a successful drone strike, in which no civilians are said to have been killed. President Biden was to give remarks about what happened on Monday evening.
  • Speaking of Biden, he tested positive for COVID again over the weekend, in what White House officials are describing as a "rare rebound" case after finishing his 5-day course of the anti-viral drug called Paxlovid. Well, it can't be ALL that rare, because last week, when the White House announced Biden had tested negative and was cleared to leave isolation, we warned about the possibility of such a rebound, as many Paxlovid users have experienced same. The Pfizer drug has very good results at preventing serious cases and hospitalization, but many patients have experienced a second --- non-fatal --- COVID infection shortly after using it. That is, apparently, the case with Biden. His White House doctor says he has few if any symptoms and will likely be fine, despite needing to isolate again.
  • Deadly flash flooding continues in parts of Kentucky today, and warnings for more of the same have been issued for the next several days from Tennessee to Kentucky to West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina. 37 have so far been confirmed to have died from the horrific flooding in Eastern Kentucky. Governor Andy Beshear believes that toll will continue to rise, as hundreds are still unaccounted for in a number of Appalachian mountain towns after recent, and ongoing, deluges. That, as our climate emergency continues with record heat predicted again this week from the Dakotas to the East Coast.
  • On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls in six states: Ohio, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington state for primary elections. And there are a lot of 2020 election deniers (and worse) on the GOP ballots. We quickly preview just a few of those insane races today and will have noteworthy reported results, of course, on Wednesday's program.

Then, it's on to the so-called Inflation Reduction Act --- a scaled down version of the Build Back Better Act that Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema killed last year. If successfully adopted this time, it would increase federal revenue by some $750 billion over the next ten years, allowing for some $450 billion in spending on a bunch of several long-overdue programs. Most of them have been progressive priorities for years.

Only Democrats in the U.S. Senate will be needed to pass it under Senate reconciliation rules, but all 50 will have to be there (not out with COVID) and vote yes. Sinema has yet to comment on the measure, even as Manchin has been taking to media over the weekend to try and sell her on it.

If passed, the 725-page measure [PDF] will: Allow Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices; Cap out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs for seniors at $2,000 per year; Expand federal subsidies for premiums for individuals who purchase health insurance on the federal Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) exchanges; Set a minimum 15% tax for corporations who make more than $1 billion in profits per year; Increase policing of tax cheats; and, perhaps most critically, invest some $369 billion in climate and energy projects to cut deadly greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 through investments that hasten the nation's move from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.

What the bill won't do is raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year, as Biden has long promised. That, despite blatant lies from Republicans such as Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) who, when announcing he tested positive for COVID today, lied about the bill, declaring on Twitter that he will "continue to fight Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin's massive tax increase on working families." That is a lie. There is no "massive tax increase on working families" in the bill. Republicans hope you are dumb enough to be duped to the contrary.

In order to win over Manchin, whose family and campaign have long been propped up by fossil fuel interests, the bill does mandate oil and gas lease sales on federal lands be auctioned off in exchange for the approval of on- and off-shore wind and solar projects. Even there, however, oil and gas companies will be required to pay higher royalties on whatever they extract, and will be fined for failing to prevent methane leaks that exacerbate global warming. So, yeah. Art of the compromise. But, according to most climate experts we've read, heard from or spoken with, it's a compromise well worth taking..and comes not a moment too soon, as our climate emergency worsens by the day.

We've got much more on all of the above on today's show, and we open up the phone lines to callers to get some of their thoughts on the "Inflation Reduction Act" as the world melts down, and the 2022 primary general election is now less than 100 days away...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Alissa Jean Schafer of Energy and Policy Inst.; Also: OAN deathwatch; Trump's CNN 'Big Lie' threat; Stewart slams GOP Senators...
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2022 6:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast: When you're a monopoly power company --- especially in Florida --- they let you do it, I guess. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Before we get to the massive scandal(s) unspooling this week in Florida, a few other notes about corrupt media and corrupt power brokers. Donald Trump's favorite "Big Lie" fake news network, One American News (OAN), looks to be on the brink of going out of business, after Verizon joined AT&T to stop carrying their programming this weekend. Sad! At the same time, Trump is threatening to sue actual news network, CNN, because they repeatedly reported on his "Big Lie" attempts to steal the 2020 election. Good luck with that.

Then, it's on to the mind-blowing story out of the Sunshine State this week, where a leak of thousands of documents from a consulting firm in Alabama, has revealed all sorts of corruption by Florida Power & Light (FPL), the state's monopoly public utility company. The Florida papers are having a field day as they comb through the documents, publishing damning exposé after damning exposé on the dirt they are finding, which goes all the way up to FLP President and CEO, Eric Silagy, who, according to our guest today, incredibly enough, still has his job!

The documents were released amid a power battle over Montgomery, AL-based Matrix, LLC, a "powerful but little-known political consulting firm that has operated behind the scenes in at least eight states," according to the Guardian. They reveal a boatload of corruption by FPL, its CEO and many of its executive, including running "ghost candidates" in elections, mounting disinformation campaigns to maintain their monopoly (for example, to oppose residential solar power in the Sunshine State!) and secretly taking over pretty much full control of an "independent", right-leaning "news" site in Tallahassee called The Capitolist.

The website (which is still online, also incredibly enough) has been influential for years among Florida lawmakers. Its editor and founder is a guy by the name of Brian Burgess, the former Communications Director for FL's former Governor, now U.S. Senator Rick Scott. According to a deep dive from the Miami Herald, Burgess was being paid some $12,000 a month by FPL --- via a web of third parties cut-outs, including the consulting firm Matrix --- to publish its propaganda, push its preferred (sometimes fake) candidates, and ruthlessly attack its opponents, including both elected officials and reporters who dared publish stories the power company didn't like.

For insight into this (these) still unfolding scandal (scandals), we're joined today by ALISSA JEAN SCHAFER, the FL-based Research and Communications Manager for the Energy and Policy Institute, a non-profit "watchdog organization working to expose attacks on renewable energy and counter misinformation by fossil fuel and utility interests". Her organization certainly has its work cut out for it with this gobsmacking "web of scandal," as Schafer describes it.

"If you are a Floridian," she notes, "you have no choice who your power company is. We are in a monopoly market. So if you have Florida Power & Light, you're stuck with them. You're paying that bill every month. If you're seeing these headlines, I don't know understand how you can NOT be furious."

"It's kind of a crazy state. People like to make fun of us," concedes Schafer. "But at the end of the day, there are a lot of folks that are being impacted by this nonsense. We have elections coming up, and how are people supposed to know that their votes aren't being manipulated by these fake candidates that are being propped up by dark money. It's a very real concern."

Among those fake candidates, as the Herald reports, was one who was "running" against state Senator José Javier Rodríguez, who proposed legislation to allow landlords to sell cheap rooftop solar power directly to tenants. "I want you to make his life a living hell … seriously,” wrote FPL’s CEO Silagy in a 2019 email to two of his vice-presidents. They then ran a third-party candidate with the same last name as Rodriguez, who split the vote. The state Senator was pushed out of his job by just 32 votes. FPL's "ghost candidate" later admitted he had been bribed to put his name on the ballot.

There is a lot to discuss today with Schafer on all of this, including how FPL is claiming they broke no laws; their ridiculous claim that rate-payer money wasn't actually used to hoax rate-payers through these schemes; and how The Capitolist's editor Burgess is able to claim with a straight face that he has "never pitched nor solicited feedback from FPL executives on any story or business venture" and has "never received a story pitch from any FPL executive." (Of course not. That's what Matrix was for! And they were in near daily communications with FPL execs, according to the leaked documents.)

"If we take a step back and look at our investor-owned utilities across the country, whether they are working with Matrix or not, this is a playbook that we do see time and time again," Schafer explains. "You have a consulting firm as the middle-man to do some of the dirty work, because utilities don't want their name on it. They want to be able to say, 'I never spoke to XYZ.' They can say that because they spoke to the consultant who then spoke to XYZ. You have similar trends of setting up shell companies to pass money through, so that it looks like the utility is just being a utility and not actually a political operative."

Finally today, Mitch McConnell is apparently furious at being out-foxed by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on this week's surprise agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin for a major tax, healthcare and climate deal called the Inflation Reduction Act. McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans decided to take it out on sick combat veterans who were exposed to deadly chemicals and toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan by voting against healthcare protections for them. Former Daily Show host and actual supporter of America's veterans, Jon Stewart, had a word or two for those Republican Senators at the Capitol on Thursday morning, including: "If this is America First, then America is fucked."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Adrian Martinez of Earthjustice; Also: Biden's back from COVID...
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2022 6:20pm PT  

We've got some surprisingly good-ish news throughout today's BradCast. Given the grim days of late, we apologize in advance for any confusion. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Last night, not long after we got off air, there were two pieces of encouraging news on the possibility of seeing criminal accountability against our disgraced former President and his multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 election. One of those encouraging items was an interview with Attorney General Merrick Garland on NBC News, in which Garland reiterated, yet again, that the DoJ is working diligently "to bring to justice everybody who's criminally responsible for interfering with the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another."

The second, was an exclusive report from Washington Post confirming that "The Justice Department is investigating President Donald Trump’s actions as part of its criminal probe of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results." Many have been questioning for months whether that has been the case, even as a number of guests on this program have repeatedly made the case that Garland and the DoJ are, in fact, proceeding exactly as they would expect if such an investigation was under way. The Post story now seems to confirm that.

Moreover, their reporting also includes several enticing new details, such as the fact that DoJ has, as early as April, retrieved phone records from senior officials in Trump World, including his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows; that the probe is broad and is specifically asking federal grand jury witnesses about Trump's orders to attorneys and staffers and about his White House meetings in December of 2020 and January of 2021; and includes a number of subpoenas that appear to suggest a whole bunch of top Team Trumpers are actively being targeted by the probe in addition to Trump himself.

And today, CNN is reporting that Meadows' deputy, Cassidy Hutchinson --- who offered bombshell testimony recently to the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection and Trump's attempts to steal the 2020 election --- is now cooperating with federal prosecutors. Additionally, Trump's former Communications Director, Alyssa Farah Griffin, told the news outlet today that she was "aware of other White House officials who have been reached out to by DOJ and are planning to cooperate."

So, yeah, there's some good news for today. But that's not all we have for you.

Earlier this year, we reported in detail on the U.S. Postal Service's outrageous plan to purchase 165,000 much-needed new delivery trucks. But, under the direction of their corrupt Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, appointed during the Trump Administration, a phony economic and environmental study resulted in a deal with a defense contractor that would result in 90% of those vehicles being gas-guzzlers that got just over 8 miles per gallon, while only 10% of the purchase would be for clean, electric vehicles. That, despite our ever-worsening climate emergency and the USPS Inspector General determining that 95% of current routes could, in fact, be handled by EVs.

President Biden has vowed to shift the entire federal fleet to all-electric vehicles by 2035, when he has targeted cutting deadly greenhouse gas emissions by half (on the way to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050). When this corrupt deal came to light, it was opposed by the White House, 16 states and the District of Columbia, as well as a number of environmental groups who filed lawsuits against the quasi-independent government agency.

Well, good(ish) news! Last week, the Postal Service announced they would purchase four times as many EVs as originally planned, increasing the percentage in the new fleet from 10% to 40%.

"The good news is that public pressure is starting to work," our guest today, ADRIAN MARTINEZ, Senior Attorney at Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law group, tells us. His organization is one of several who filed suit against the Postal Service's original plan to purchase 150,000 gas-powered trucks that would produce roughly the same amount of global warming carbon dioxide as 4.3 million internal combustion passenger vehicles.

Martinez joined us back in February, when he explained the trucks would end up comprising about 30% of the federal government's huge automotive fleet and would burn through "a jaw-dropping 2 to 4 billion gallons of fuel" over their expected 20-year lifetime.

"We still have a lot more work to be done," he says today, responding to the positive news and citing "more than 100,000 emails to the Postal Service" his group helped facilitate. "It's litigation, it's the public correspondence with the Postal Service, and the public pressure working. We've still got a long way to go with them, but it shows you that the more you weigh in, the more you can make progress."

We discuss the scam that has resulted in contractor Oshkosh Defense procuring this contract despite never having manufactured any EVs, and the company's plan to build the USPS trucks at a new non-union facility in South Carolina, instead of their union shop in Wisconsin. We also discuss how it is even possible that DeJoy is still in his post and how new nominees to the USPS Board of Governors may be able to eventually remove him and change the equation on all of this.

"This is a fleet that should be 100% electric," Martinez argues. "We're now seeing shifts in this agency, and what I take is that we need to put even more pressure on the agency to get them where they need to be. This is so many vehicles, and so much oil that we can prevent from being burned, that the stakes are really high."

"Getting everyone to put pressure on this is important," he explains. "This is one of the largest, if not the largest vehicle procurement in history, so we can't get this wrong."

Finally today, in just a bit more good news, President Biden is no longer in isolation from his bout with COVID. After two negative tests, last night and this morning, he looked and sounded much better as he offered his first in-person public remarks in the Rose Garden before heading into the Oval Office for the first time in almost a week. In his remarks, some of which we share today, the 79-year old President credited vaccinations, boosters and anti-viral treatments --- which are now free for all Americans --- for his largely minor symptoms and quick recovery...

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Also: Climate chaos everywhere; Hand-marked paper ballots save the day in IL; PA's GOP Guv nominee at center of 2020 'fake' Electors plot; Biden slams disgraced, pro-insurrection, anti-cop Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2022 6:04pm PT  

Sending our love and best wishes to get better soon today to our regular BradCast guest host, Nicole Sandler, who cracked a couple of ribs over the weekend, so wasn't able to fill in for us on yesterday's show as previously planned. But, we're back today with --- you'll be shocked to learn --- lots of news to cover! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among today's many stories of note...

  • Our global climate emergency continues to worsen, as it's been hitting the U.S. --- in addition to Europe and Asia --- hard over the past week or two. In addition to record high temps in the Midwest, South and Northeast in recent days (some of which may be seeing some relief), after two weeks of record heat, more than 9 inches of rain fell on my old hometown of St. Louis, Missouri today, smashing a century-old record. Flash-flooding is predicted to occur in various places from Kansas to West Virginia, Virginia to Tennessee this week, and triple-digit temps will once again slam the usually-cool Pacific Northwest. It's a climate in chaos that will only get worse until (or IF) we do something to slow the burning of climate warming fossil fuels.
  • Just one state, North Carolina, is holding elections today, runoffs in a number of municipal contests. Next Tuesday will be very busy, however, with primary voting in Ohio, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington state. Over the weekend, AP called last week's 10-way Democratic gubernatorial primary in Maryland for Oprah-endorsed Wes Moore, the former CEO of an anti-poverty nonprofit. He would become the state's first black Governor if he defeats Trump-endorsed, insurrection-promoting, 2020 election-denying, right-winger Dan Cox. Last week, Cox defeated the centrist Republican candidate endorsed by the state's current, popular, two-term Republican Governor, Larry Hogan, to win the party's Gubernatorial nomination. This, like the Governor's race in Pennsylvania (more on that below), now becomes another very critical state for Democrats to win in 2022 in order to help stave off the threat of election theft in 2024 by a Republican who has said he would not have certified Joe Biden's victory in 2020, had he been Governor at the time, even though Biden won MD by more than 33 points.
  • Longtime listeners and readers know we always warn after Election Days that problems with voting and tabulation systems sometimes do not appear until days or weeks (or longer) after Election Day. We've got a doozy of an example of that today, on the heels of the June 28 primaries in Illinois where, in Winnebago County, all the referendums on the ballot that day falsely appeared to have been adopted by more than 90% of the vote. Luckily, in this case, hand-marked paper ballots used in the County and cast by some 20,000 voters, ended up saving the day, allowing votes to ultimately be counted correctly as cast, even after the computer tabulators didn't. We explain.
  • BREAKING THIS AFTERNOON: New York Times has obtained previously undisclosed emails between top Trump allies organizing what even they described as a "fake" electors plot in seven states after the 2020 election, in hopes of stealing it for their man. Members on the email chain acknowledged that the phony electoral votes "aren't legal under federal law", but they hoped to spring them on Dems and media anyway "so that members of Congress can fight about whether they should be counted on January 6th." The plotters included a bunch of GOP attorneys, state GOP party officials, Trump campaign staffers and activists and included Rudy Giuliani and Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. They all knew about it, and they all knew that it was unlawful. The plot also included Doug Mastriano, who, the Times reports, served as the point person for the fake elector scheme in Pennsylvania. Mastriano is now the pre-disgraced, far-right, Christian Nationalist Republican nominee for Governor in the Keystone State.
  • All of that, as both the criminal probe and the House Jan. 6 Committee's investigation of the deletion of Secret Service text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021 heats up and as President Biden, said to be quickly improving from his bout with COVID, offered remarks on video tape to a black law enforcement group in Florida on Monday, about Trump's refusal to stop the insurrection or even condemn the rioters he incited (as the J6 Committee went further in revealing over the weekend.) As Biden correctly told the cops in FL: "You can't be pro-insurrection and pro-cop. You can't be pro-insurrection and pro-democracy. You can't be pro-insurrection and pro-American."
  • Finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, with news on a huge new wildfire which has exploded near Yosemite; a new study finding concurrent heat waves are now six times more frequent thanks to climate change; and new details on a 2020 pipeline spill in Charlotte, North Carolina which now turns out to have been 30 times larger than previously known --- making it the largest inland spill in U.S. history...

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Special Coverage with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, Richard 'RJ' Eskow of 'The Zero Hour'; ALSO: BANNON FOUND GUILTY OF CONTEMPT...
By Brad Friedman on 7/22/2022 5:59pm PT  

On January 6, 2021, then President Donald Trump wound up his supporters, who he knew to be armed, with lies about a stolen election, which he knew to be false, at a rally near the White House. He then pointed them toward the U.S. Capitol with the instruction to "fight like hell". They did. People died. And during the more than three hours of violent attack, as five people would lay dead, hundreds of law enforcement officials injured, and Trump's MAGA mob coming within feet of fleeing lawmakers --- including the Vice President --- the Commander-in-Chief holed up in the dining room near the Oval Office in White House, ordered that no photographs be taken, watched the carnage on TV, and did nothing to stop any of it.

In fact, as the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the insurrection and Trump's many other failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election made clear on Thursday night's Day 8 --- and as we discuss on today's BradCast Special Coverage --- he wasn't bothered in the least by the carnage. It was all part of the plan. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The then-President was informed that the riot was under way at the Capitol just minutes after returning to the White House after his speech to rile up the insurrectionists. He spent the next several hours ignoring his sworn duty and oath of office to defend the nation and Constitution, while rejecting scores of entreaties from advisers, friends, top staffers and legal aides, refusing to take any action to quell his angry, dangerous, armed and disinformed mob. But he did, as the Committee laid out in minute-by-minute detail, call friendly U.S. Senators (some of them, such as MO's Josh Hawley, who were fleeing for their lives after firing up the mob themselves) in hopes of encouraging them to further his plan to steal the election from its rightful victor, Joe Biden, during the joint session of Congress to confirm the Electoral College vote.

"Trump didn't fail to act," Republican Committee member and Iraq and Afghanistan combat vet Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) charged, "he chose not to act." That, after turning his supporters "love of country into a weapon," as Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) asserted, adding: "Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office."

It was, according to the evidence presented, the greatest "dereliction of duty" ever committed by a sitting U.S. President. By far.

The hearing was incredibly information-dense. With compelling evidence and testimony --- both live and on video tape --- from dozens of former aides, military and national security officials, White House attorneys, staffers and family members, all detailing Trump's hours-long lack of action. No calls to the military or national security or law enforcement agencies. The violence was the plan all along. He did not want to stop it.

Even the next day, as seen in raw footage from the White House, the loser Trump could not declare that the election was over during a brief, scripted, video-taped address to the nation, in which his emotional instability and seething anger was, at times, laid bare for all to see. (Everyone but Fox "News" viewers anyway. Fox didn't show it to them, choosing to run Sean Hannity's show instead, making fun of Joe Biden for having COVID, even as the Committee was revealing Hannity's own texts to Trump's Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, begging him to get the President to take action to stop the attack on the Capitol.)

Perhaps the most chilling moment of the night was the video-taped testimony from an unidentified national security official, his or her voice disguised, detailing how members of VP Mike Pence's Secret Service detail were calling family members, as the mob attacked, to say goodbye, as the officials believed they may not live through the day.

We're joined today by two excellent guest panelists, both old friends and old school bloggers. One, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, has been with us for every one of the Committee's summer series of hearings. (They now promise more in September.) And the other is RICHARD "RJ" ESKOW, longtime columnist and host of The Zero Hour on radio and TV.

The conversation, as always with these two, was spirited and insightful. Eskow has some complaints about the Committee, Parton thinks they are doing a superb job. Both have smart thoughts about what we've learned from the hearings so far, including last night, what we still need to learn much more about in the weeks ahead, and what it all may mean going forward.

And, oh yeah, on Friday, just before airtime, a federal jury found Trump's former aide and campaign chair, Steve Bannon, guilty on both criminal counts of Contempt of Congress, for having ignored lawful subpoenas from the J6 Committee for testimony and documents regarding what he knew about Trump's insurrection. He now faces anywhere from 60 days to 2 years in prison, presuming he isn't able to squirm out on appeal between now and his sentencing in October. Parton explains why she thinks today's verdict may actually become a win for Bannon, who she describes as "MAGA Mandela." We'll see if she's right about that.

Lots to cover on today's lively Special Coverage. Please tune in!...

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GOP election denier wins MD Guv primary; Bipartisan Senators unveil electoral reform bills; Bolsonaro plays Trump card; GA D.A. cracks down on Giuliani, Graham, fake electors; House Dems play hardball; Biden unveils actions for climate crisis...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2022 6:57pm PT  

There were almost too many clear and present dangers to fit into today's BradCast. But we did our best. Buckle up. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among them...

  • Trump-endorsed 2020 election denier, Dan Cox, named as winner of Maryland's GOP gubernatorial primary. Democrats rejoice...but should they?
  • A bipartisan team of U.S. Senators, lead by Maine Republican Susan Collins and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, strike a deal to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to clarify, in theory, that Vice Presidents may not steal elections during joint sessions of Congress to confirm Electoral College votes. We are, let's say, skeptically optimistic.
  • Brazil's far-right autocratic President Jair Bolsonaro --- loved by Trump and Tucker Carlson of Fox 'News' alike --- goes full Trump in declaring that his re-election contest in about 75 days, in which he is predicted to lose by a landslide, will be marred by massive fraud requiring military intervention to sort out.
  • It's not looking good for Steve Bannon in his Contempt of Congress trial. It is looking much better, however, for those who believe in accountability and the rule of law.
  • It's also not looking good for a whole passel of conspirators who attempted to help Trump steal the 2020 Presidential election in Georgia, including Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham, whose attempts to quash their subpoenas have failed so far, and 16 GOP fake electors now designated by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as "targets" in the special grand jury probe.
  • GOPers in the House and Senate are squirming today, as House Democrats play some excellent hard ball (for a change) by calling votes on the Respect for Marriage Act, to give federal statutory protection to both same-sex and interracial marriage, and the Right to Contraception Act. Republicans are outraged --- OUTRAGED! --- that they're being forced to take a public stance on these issues during an election year, after SCOTUS recently made clear those previously Constitutionally-established rights may now be on their chopping block as well, following their corrupt overturning of Roe v. Wade.
  • Following the corrupt SCOTUS majority gutting the ability of the EPA to regulate carbon, and the corrupt Joe Manchin gutting Joe Biden and the Democrats' critical climate change agenda, the President announced plans for Executive Actions to take on the crisis which he describes (correctly) as a "clear and present danger"...

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Corrupt WV Dem still undermining Dems, nation, planet; Secret Service deleted Jan. 6 texts; Arrest warrant issued for indicted CO GOP election official; NY's GOP Guv nom submitted 13,000 fraudulent signatures...
By Brad Friedman on 7/15/2022 6:29pm PT  

I don't relish saying "I told ya so" on The BradCast. But, in today's lead story, unfortunately, I have to yet again. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • We've been telling you for months that West Virginia's corrupt Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin --- whose family makes millions from the coal industry and campaign rakes in millions from the fossil fuel industry --- never had any intention of allowing any environmental measures to pass that might actually help reduce the deadly emissions that are causing our climate crisis. Nonetheless, his fellow Democrats and corporate media, like Charlie Brown, seem to keep buying his BS claims that he really really wants to adopt environmental provisions and raise taxes on the wealthy to help pay for them. After months of more pretend negotiations, Lucy pulled the football away from Charlie Brown yet again on Thursday night.
  • Gas prices are finally falling. Will Joe Biden get credit for that, since he was inappropriately blamed for Big Oil's record profits from war profiteering and price gouging? (Which all Republicans in Congress refused to outlaw recently?)
  • Texas' privatized, unregulated electric grid is on the brink of collapse yet again, thanks to record heat (which is thanks to a fossil fuel industry-sponsored climate crisis that all Republicans and Democrat Joe Manchin refuse to do anything about.) Will Lone Star State voters this November finally figure out who is to blame for the outages --- and hundreds of deaths that continue to come with them --- during both extreme heat and cold in the state?
  • Oh, look! The Secret Service seem to have accidentally erased all of their text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, even after the Dept. of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General asked to see them. Luckily, not much happened over those days that the American people would very much like to know about.
  • Oh, look! A D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer has reportedly testified to the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection and Donald Trump's other attempts to steal the election that there was a physical altercation with Secret Service officials inside Trump's limo when he wanted to go to the Capitol instead of back to the White House that day. The alleged under-oath corroboration has so far received much less corporate media notice than the anonymous, still-unnamed person at the Service who claimed that Cassidy Hutchinson was lying during her explosive public testimony late last month about what she'd been told about the incident just after it happened. And the Secret Service officials who were supposed to come forward to dispute her story to the Committee have still failed to do so. (Sure would have been helpful if the Service hadn't erased their text messages from that day.)
  • Mesa County, Colorado's disgraced County Clerk (and recently failed GOP candidate for Secretary of State), Tina Peters, is in yet more legal trouble. The easily-duped MAGA election fraud conspiracy theorist --- now charged with 7 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to her orchestrating an illicit scheme to unlawfully copy and publicly distribute very sensitive voting system software last year --- had a warrant issued for her arrest by a Judge on Thursday after she left the state without court permission to speak at another evidence-free MAGA election fraud conspiracy conference in Vegas.
  • But the actual election fraud perpetrated by GOP officials running for office continues. Just a few short weeks after 5 of the 10 Republicans running for the Gubernatorial nomination in Michigan were struck from the ballot for turning in tens of thousands of fraudulent petition signatures, it's happened again. This time in New York. The GOP nominee for Governor, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin --- who voted against confirming Joe Biden's 2020 Electoral College victory and whose website features a "Team Zeldin Election Integrity Task Force" page, vowing to work "around the clock now and into November to ensure we have fair elections" --- apparently turned in nearly 13,000 fraudulent petition signatures, including 900 pages of photocopies of signatures, in hopes of appearing on the Independent Party ballot line this fall. The Libertarian Party challenged the fraudulent signatures and the state Board of Elections confirmed the fraud, denying Zeldin a third line on the November ballot.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, with a passel of climate related stories that are so grim, we can't even bring ourselves to tease them here. On the other hand, she does have one pretty good piece of news out of California...so there's that!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Turning classrooms into the O.K. Corral makes no one safer...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/15/2022 10:35am PT  

"We must face the truth," Andrew Hairston, Director of the Education Justice Project told the Advancement Project. "More militarized school environments do not address the root causes of mass violence." In fact, noted Jonathan Stith of the National Campaign for Police Free Schools, "Proposals that increase the presence of police, guns, and other militarized approaches to school safety only put gasoline on the fire."

The "truth" or "root cause" of mass shootings is precisely what Wayne LaPierre, the disgraced National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO/VP, sought to evade when, during his 2012 presser following the Sandy Hook Massacre, he ridiculously proclaimed that the "only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Anyone who suggests that safety is to be found in the mythical "good guy with a gun" has never served in combat.

In Vietnam, where I served (1968), we were far better equipped and armed than either the North Vietnamese Army or the Vietcong. We not only had ready access to our deadly M-16 Assault Rifles and other, even more powerful weapons, but also had the ability to call in artillery and airstrikes. Yet, that didn't prevent the deaths of 58,220 of my brothers-in-arms.

Proposals for armed school safety officers and arming teachers are but an extension of LaPierre's infamous and dangerous "more guns make us safer" canard.

Despite an increase in the number of school districts that deploy armed officers on campus, an academic study of mass shootings in the U.S. between 1980 and 2019, published last year by the Journal of the American Medical Association, failed to establish an "association between having an armed officer and deterrence of [school] violence."

Nevertheless, last month, over the opposition of educators, Ohio's Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law a bill that will allow teachers, with some training, to keep a handgun inside their classrooms --- a decision that amounts to a fool's errand....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Guest: National security journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net...
[UPDATED with link to full transcript of interview with Wheeler.]
By Brad Friedman on 7/14/2022 6:34pm PT  

The big time former federal prosecutors are only just now beginning to catch up to what our guest on today's BradCast has been saying all along: Merrick Garland's Department of Justice is, in fact, on the job and Donald Trump is, in fact, in their sights. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

At The Atlantic today, Ronald Reagan's former Deputy Solicitor General and George H.W. Bush's Deputy Attorney General, Donald Ayer, along with former Asst. Attorney General for the Civil Division at DoJ, Stuart M. Gerson, and former federal prosecutor and Chief Asst. City Attorney in San Francisco, Dennis Aftergut, declared that, after seven public hearings by the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection and Trump's multiple attempts to steal the election, "The evidence is now overwhelming that Donald Trump was the driving force behind a massive criminal conspiracy to interfere with the official January 6 congressional proceeding and to defraud the United States of a fair election outcome."

The three prosecutors, two of whom served in Republican Administrations, observe that "This was Trump's project all along" and there is now more than enough evidence to prosecute the disgraced former President. "The damage to America’s future that would be inflicted by giving him a pass far outweighs the risks of prosecuting him," they write, "And the tradition of not prosecuting a former president must yield to the manifest need to protect our constitutional form of government and to assure that the violent effort to overthrow it is never repeated."

At New York Times earlier this week, Andrew Weissman, a long time federal prosecutor of high profile criminal conspiracies and a senior prosecutor on the Special Counsel team that investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election, argues that Garland's "bottom up" investigation --- working the way up the food chain from the hundreds of dupes on the ground on January 6, through the rightwing extremist militia group participants like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, now facing seditious conspiracy charges, to those in Trump's inner-circle --- is too slow, difficult and ultimately too narrow. He calls instead for a "hub and spoke conspiracy" probe, now that it's clear Trump was at the "hub" of multiple criminal "spokes" in his attempts to steal the 2020 election. January 6 was just one such "spoke".

Our guest today, however, who has perhaps been following every single indictment, federal court filing, and shred of available evidence as close or closer than anyone on the planet, has long been arguing that Garland's DoJ has been doing all of the above, and for some time --- whether the big time former federal prosecutors have finally gotten around to noticing or not.

MARCY WHEELER, the prolific independent national security journalist from Emptywheel.net, is a long time friend who has been joining us on the show for many months now, often to counter the many critics of Garland. She has long argued the DoJ is, in fact, on the case, and has a number of criticisms of Weissman's much-cited critique of the Department's probe.

She argues DoJ has long been carrying out a very broad investigation of the sort that Weissman is now calling for. In addition to the hundreds of grunts on the ground and dozens of seditious conspirators from the militia groups already charged, the Department has also been deliberately collecting a wide swath of critical evidence from members of Trump's inner-circle --- from Rudy Giuliani to Roger Stone to Michael Flynn to Sidney Powell to John Eastman to Mark Meadows and beyond.

Today's conversation, as usual with Wheeler, is complex and far-reaching. We discuss where folks like Weissman have been missing the big picture, and we discuss what she has learned from the Select Committee's hearings and where they still have information to learn themselves.

But the bottom line is this: Wheeler believes "there is plenty of evidence to prove that Donald J. Trump conspired and, himself, did obstruct the vote certification on January 6th," but that the DoJ "will not charge it...until they get a couple of more things in place." Those things, namely, are "four people," one of whom, she notes, the Trump camp itself believes "is about to go to prison."

Tune in to find out who those people are, and when Wheeler believes charges for Trump are likely to come down --- from someone who has been far ahead of the curve on all of this for the past year and a half or so. (Oh, and yes, she tells us that Steve Bannon, whose trial on criminal Contempt of Congress charges begins next week, is indeed in trouble too. "Probably more trouble than he knows.")

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

Update 7/21/2022: Our friend "Spocko" was so impressed by Marcy's commentary in this episode that he created a full text transcript of my interview with her. He says he used AI to do it, so I can't vouch for the accuracy of it, but thought it might be helpful to some if I posted that link to it here for archival and posterity purposes.

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GOP TX Reps threaten law firm for out-of-state abortions; Facing contempt trial, leaked Bannon audio reveals Trump scheme to steal 2020; DoJ sues AZ for vote suppression; WI's GOP Supremes ban drop-box voting; GA GOP Senate nom's sad climate change remarks...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2022 6:24pm PT  

We've got a grab bag of news items on today's BradCast, though almost all of it ends up making the same case: 'Both sides' are decidedly not the same. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We kick off with some listener mail, critical of our recent show discussing why it's so deadly important to elect Democrats in 2022 in order to have any chance of saving American democracy itself --- and much more along with it --- before 2024. The listener argues that, in fact, democracy no longer exists in the U.S. following 2010's Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court. He argues that "both of the two major parties" are now so corrupted that "the chances of non-corporate funded candidates" being elected to national office are now "equivalent to nil". While that may come as a surprise to folks like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders, just to name a couple, there are many other reasons our correspondent couldn't be more wrong. We explain why.

The bulk of the news items in the rest of today's program underscore why that lazy "both sides are the same" notion (while founded in fragments of cynically misreported truths) is dangerously wrong. They also underscore how those on the Left who buy into that self-defeating nonsense are being played as assuredly as Donald Trump and his MAGA buddies have played their own gullible supporters.

Among those news stories covered today...

  • Elected Republicans members of the Texas state House, ironically calling themselves the "Texas Freedom Caucus," have sent a letter to a Dallas law firm threatening them with legal "consequences" including "felony criminal prosecution and disbarment" for reimbursing their own employees for out-of-state travel as needed to obtain an abortion, now that Texas Republicans have ended such rights and personal freedoms for residents of the Lone Star State.
  • A Donald Trump-appointed federal judge has laughed Steve Bannon's attempt to delay his pending federal trial out of the courtroom. The trial, on two counts of Contempt of Congress in response to the former Trump aide's unlawful refusal to respond to subpoenas from the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's many failed attempts to steal the 2020 election, is scheduled to begin next week and could result in up to two years in prison for Bannon.
  • At the same time, Mother Jones has obtained leaked audio of Bannon speaking to supporters of his Chinese billionaire pal/funder three days before the 2020 election, explaining that Trump planned to declare victory, whether he won the election or not, and pretend to be the victim of fraud. "He's gonna say they stole it...he's not going out easy...Trump is gonna do some crazy shit," Bannon promised (sound familiar?), as they all laughed about what would become the most dangerous assault on American democracy in our history.
  • DoJ has sued Arizona for violations of the National Voter Registration Act and Civil Rights Act, following the signing of a new voter suppression law earlier this year. Adopted by the state's GOP-dominated state legislature and signed by its Republican Governor, the new measure would block voters from voting in the 2024 election without first presenting documents proving their citizenship.
  • Wisconsin's GOP-dominated state Supreme Court finds absentee ballot drop-boxes are now illegal in the Badger State. Donald Trump declares the ruling to be proof that he actually won Wisconsin in 2020! (He didn't.) And a Republican state lawmaker running for Governor vows to reverse the state's election results in response.
  • In Georgia, a pathetic audio clip from the Republican Party's U.S. Senate nominee, Hershel Walker, discussing climate change --- ("Since we don't control the air, our good air decided to float over to China's bad air. So when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. Then...now we got we to clean that back up.") --- underscores, once again, the sad, cynical (and ill-considered) scheme by GOPers to push this seemingly mentally ill former football star as their candidate to run against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock this fall.
  • And finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, as wildfires once again threaten California's iconic Giant Sequoias; Utah's Great Salt Lake is drying up; and offshore wind power is booming...in China...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Special Coverage with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, David Faris of Roosevelt University...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2022 6:43pm PT  

It was Day 7 of public hearings for the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee probe of Donald Trump's January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and his multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential Election. We've got full Special Coverage once again on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

If you've been turning away over the past week or so, we've got a quick recap of "our story so far" at the top of today's show, summing up the key elements of the six previous public hearings by the Committee. In short, to sum up that summary, Donald Trump knew everything and was personally involved in everything. He knew there was no fraud of note in the 2020 election, as all of his top advisers and legal experts told him as much, but he continued to lie about it anyway. He knew that his efforts to reverse election results to steal the election from Joe Biden in various swing-states and at the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021 were unlawful and/or Constitutional. Again, we've been shown that all his top advisers told him as much. He relentlessly pushed for it anyway. And he knew that calling his supporters to D.C. on January 6 and directing them to march on the Capitol would result in violence led by armed extremist groups. He was advised against it, but he did it anyway.

Today's hearing picked up on Trump's "call to arms" to his supporters. It came in the middle of the night in his now-infamous "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!" tweet, issued just hours after an insane, "unhinged", hours-long December 18, 2020 White House meeting with his personal crackpot attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, his felonious former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne (for some reason) and a bunch of White House attorneys. The latter angrily tried to derail the MAGA coup plotters plans to have the President issue an Executive Order to seize the nation's voting machines and install Powell as a Special Counsel to investigate fraud and issue arrests. Even Trump loyalist and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone --- who finally testified to the Committee last Friday --- said he "vehemently opposed" the "terrible idea." That, after repeatedly asking for any evidence of fraud and being shown none at all.

That bonkers meeting, and its fallout --- resulting in the tweet that "electrified and galvanized" his supporters immediately thereafter --- was detailed in the first part of today's hearing, with mountains of evidence and video-taped testimony. The second part covered what happened next, as the extremist groups which supported Trump, including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers (the leaders of which have already been indicted for seditious conspiracy), descended on D.C., planning for the violence --- and much worse --- that eventually occurred.

The Committee shared video of Trump's media supporters, immediately after his "will be wild!" tweet, calling on their own followers to join them in D.C., including rightwing conspiracy radio host Alex Jones and others. One called for "storming right into the Capitol," noting "the rules of engagement: If you have enough people, you can push down any fence or wall." Another vowed "There are gonna be a million, geeked-up armed Americans" coming to occupy D.C. in response to Trump's call.

All of that, weeks before Trump eventually directed them to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6 in what, the Committee showed through several draft tweets and speeches, was absolutely not a spontaneous ad-lib made by Trump during his remarks on the Ellipse. The armed march on the Capitol was the plan all along.

On the night before the attack, according to White House call logs obtained and revealed by the Committee today, Trump's disgraced former aide Steve Bannon took to his "War Room" podcast just after a conversation with the then President to declare: "All hell is going to break lose tomorrow. It's all converging and now we're on the point of attack. It's not gonna happen how you think it's going to happen. It's gonna be quite extraordinarily different and all I can say is strap in."

One witness at the end of today's hearing were Jason Van Tatenhove, an independent journalist turned self-described Oath Keepers propagandist, who says he left the group 5 years ago after seeing them become more and more racist and violent. The other was Stephen Ayers, a January 6 rioter and Trump believer. He was not tied to any of the extremist groups. He was just a guy, "a family man" who answered Trump's call to come to D.C. and "fight like hell" to "save the country" as he believed Trump needed him to do. He was arrested and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct at the Capitol and now regrets every part of it, believes it was all a con, but has since lost his job and much more after having fallen for Trump's Big --- violent, deadly --- Lie.

Today's hearing came to a close with another Liz Cheney cliff-hanger. This time she revealed that Trump had attempted to contact one of the Committee's witnesses following their last hearing. "We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously," vowed the Committee's Republican Vice Chair, adding that the Justice Department had been notified about the apparent witness tampering by the disgraced former President.

Joining us to make sense of all of this today are, once again, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullaballoo, joined this time by DAVID FARIS, Associate Professor of Political Science at Roosevelt University and a contributor to both Newsweek and The Week.

"They've been setting up the various strands," Parton explains, describing today's hearing focused on Trump's directives to his violent supporters, as she cited Andrew Weissman's recent "'hub and spoke' conspiracy" op-ed at NYTimes. "There were a number of different spokes going out from the Oval Office, which included the 'voter fraud,' the fake electors, the DOJ, Mike Pence. This was one of the spokes, and it's a huge one, because it is the spoke that leads from the White House and the Oval Office to the insurrection on January 6th. That part of the whole coup plot, the conspiracy to keep Trump in office come what may, that was a huge one."

"Big picture, I think these hearings have a number of different purposes. One is to provide concrete evidence of a systematic and sustained effort to extra-constitutionally overturn the results of the 2020 election," Faris observes. "Stealing the election. That's a coup. We've learned a lot more during these hearings about the mechanics of the coup. The bottom line is that the people who were putting these plans into motion knew perfectly well that they were illegal."

He also notes that he believes these hearings are likely to spur the DoJ into action. "There are a lot of little Trump lieutenants running for office who are planning to do things like manipulate the vote in 2024, or use extra-constitutional procedures to install a Republican candidate for President into office," Faris tells us. "There are a lot of people who are contemplating committing crimes in another conspiracy against the United States, and if you do not show them there are consequences to the people who did it the first time, I don't see how those people can draw any other conclusion then that they'll get away with it. I wish that we were not in this position where we have to talk about indicting a former President. It's not great. But I don't think he can be allowed to skate without really jeopardizing our democracy."

Lots more on today's show, of course, from the hearing itself and via smart analysis from Parton and Faris as, yes, the walls continue to close in on Donald J. Trump...

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And why SCOTUS has given us no choice but to elect Democrats in 2022 to save democracy itself in 2024...
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2022 5:55pm PT  

We had a bunch of excellent callers on today's BradCast. It sounds like many of them heard my warning today. Hopefully you will too. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, first up, on our first show after taking several much-need days off last week, we catch up with just a few of the most noteworthy items from what turned out to be another very busy news week. Among those items...

  • the Independence Day mass shooting in IL;
  • the popular and political uprisings resulting in agreements by both British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as well as Sri Lanka's Prime Minister and President to resign;
  • the horrific assassination of Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (in a nation where just one person, out of population of 125 million, was killed by a gun in 2021);
  • the excellent jobs and unemployment numbers released by the Labor Department last Friday (and, as usual, ignored by the bulk of the corporate media due to everything else);
  • the good news that Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham and 5 others who served as attorneys for Donald Trump in 2020 have now been subpoenaed to testify by the Special Grand Jury in Atlanta, convened by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, in her criminal investigation of the disgraced former President's attempt to steal Georgia's election in 2020.
  • All of that in advance of another public hearing to be held on Tuesday by the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection and Trump's multiple failed attempts to steal the election from Joe Biden and the American voters.

Then, its back to the issue that I haven't been able to get out of my head since we previously WARNED about it on our last show before taking a break. Specifically, the corrupt, extremist, illegitimate U.S. Supreme Court's announcement that they intend to hear Moore v. Harper next term, in a case that will give the stolen and packed far-right Court majority the opportunity to undermine American electoral democracy as we know it. That is not an overstatement.

If you thought what the Supremes did at the end of this past term --- ignoring the text of the Second Amendment in order to block states' rights to well-regulate firearms; stripping away previously protected Constitutional privacy rights and reproductive freedoms to overturn Roe v. Wade; all but ending Constitutionally-required Miranda Rights for those detained by law enforcement; further eroding what's left of our Constitutional separation between Church and State; and gutting the ability of the EPA to regulate carbon emissions driving our deadly climate crisis, as mandated by Congress --- well, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

As explained, SCOTUS is now set to undermine any and all elections laws for federal elections enacted by state Boards of Elections, Secretaries of States, Governors, state constitutions, state Supreme Courts or even ballot initiatives adopted by voters themselves. The corrupt Republican Court is likely to do this by declaring that Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution mandates that state legislatures --- and only state legislatures --- may determine laws regarding the "manner" of federal elections. Specifically of note in 2024, the way each state appoints Electoral College votes, as the Constitution says, "in such Manner as the Legislature therefore may direct".

In other words, in 2020, while most swing-states had rules, laws and state Constitutional mandates in place declaring that voters shall determine who will win the state's Electoral votes, an opinion by the Court, likely to come as early as 2023 in Moore v. Harper, will free up the gerrymandered GOP-controlled state legislatures in our nation's half a dozen or so swing-states to name anybody they like as the winner of their Electoral College votes, no matter what the Governor, state Courts or, crucially, the voters of those states have to say about it.

It's called the "Independent State Legislature" theory (or doctrine, as the GOP autocrats supporting it describe it.) As we noted in our last show on this, this is not a drill. This is very real, and now even very likely to happen.

While we were away, our friend and colleague Thom Hartmann posted a chilling Twitter thread on the ISL theory/doctrine, detailing just one potential scenario --- which includes thousands of dead bodies in the streets --- which he describes as not "just plausible" but now "probable".

We agree. Thus, we explain the importance of electing Democratic majorities in 2022 in both the U.S. House and Senate as our only hope of defeating this "probable" scenario. If 52 Democrats can be elected in the Senate and the Party is able to hold the House (both tall lifts), then the possibility of filibuster reform in the upper chamber and the expansion of the Supreme Court in order to unpack and uncorrupt it becomes a reality.

As discussed on today's show, the luxury of pretending that "both parties are equally bad" is over, as I see it. And not because I give a damn about protecting Democrats, but because I believe we must protect --- indeed, SAVE --- democracy itself at this point.

Anyway, please tune in for a very lively, if occasionally chilling hour, along with some really great calls from listeners on all of this in the second half...

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Election law experts are freaking out over corrupt Court's plan to legalize stolen elections; Also: Ginni Thomas lied about J6 testimony; Defamation suit proceeds against Fox 'News'; Internet Voting scheme dead in CA...
By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2022 6:49pm PT  

We have a very serious warning for voters about elections and American democracy and the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court on today's BradCast. Please tune in and listen! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

To quickly summarize my half-hour or so long rant at the top of today show...On Thursday, as discussed on our previous show with legal expert Mark Joseph Stern, the corrupt, radical, illegitimate, not-conservative-in-the-least U.S. Supreme Court used a made-up, phony legal doctrine --- the "Major Questions" doctrine --- to justify gutting the Environmental Protection Agency's statutory mandate to protect the environment by regulating climate warming carbon emissions. The so-called doctrine, not found anywhere in the Constitution or historic case law, was made up for use by the Court's rightwing extremists. They are now about to do something very similar in order to gut federal elections and American democracy as we know it in advance of the 2024 Presidential election.

In their last order of business, before the end of this past year's term on Thursday, the Court announced that next term they would take up the North Carolina case of Moore v. Harper. The case involves a voter challenge to the state GOP's newly-drawn U.S. House maps. The NC state Supreme Court agreed the map was an unlawful gerrymander under the state constitution and drew up a fairer map. But North Carolina Republicans sued, charging that state Supreme Court was not allowed, according to the U.S. Constitution, to nix the GOP gerrymander due to the so-called "Independent State Legislature" theory. In short, it's a made up "doctrine" --- not unlike the "Major Questions" doctrine used to justify gutting the EPA --- that has been pushed for a number of years by fringe Republicans.

The ISL doctrine cites some lines from the U.S. Constitution to argue that state legislatures and only state legislatures --- not Boards of Elections or Secretaries of State or Governors or even state courts or Constitutions or popular ballot initiatives adopted by voters --- may dictate how federal elections are run. That is a job solely granted to state legislatures, according to this previously-fringe theory.

It was one of the failed arguments under which Donald Trump supporters tried to claim that emergency pandemic voting rules adopted by state officials (other than the state legislature) were unlawful in 2020. It was also one of the arguments pushed by rightwingers that state legislatures could have simply voted to name Trump electors in states where the voters actually chose Joe Biden's electors.

The "Independent State Legislature" doctrine has never been granted legitimacy by a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. But, earlier this year, four of the Court's six radical Republicans --- Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh --- called for the Court to examine the issue more closely. They now need just one more vote to recognize this controversial Constitutional claim as "legitimate", which is why so many in the election law world are freaking out today after SCOTUS announced yesterday that they will hear 'Moore v. Harper' next term.

Usually, quite staid UC Irvine law professor Rick Hasen's argues "It's hard to overstate the danger" of this case. Vox's Ian Millhiser describes the "grave threat to US democracy" it presents. You --- and elected Democrats(!) --- should be freaking out at this point as well. Or, at least, understanding what is about to happen to what is left of our representative "democracy" if this switch gets thrown by the newly emboldened and radicalized Court.

Given the many radical, not-conservative-in-least rulings over the past several weeks by the six far-right extremists on this stolen and packed Court --- overturning Roe v. Wade, blocking the ability for states to well-regulate firearms, eroding the separation of church and state, all but gutting Miranda rights, further gutting the Voting Rights Act, and torching the EPA's ability to regulate deadly carbon pollution --- we should all be very concerned about what this Court is likely to do regarding Moore in 2023...in advance of the 2024 Presidential election.

We put the case in full context on today's BradCast, and detail why its so important to elect enough Democrats this November --- love them or hate them --- to hold the majority in the House and add enough Democrats to the Senate to finally reform or end the filibuster in order to codify Roe and respond to many of the other matters mentioned above, as well as finally expand SCOTUS to re-legitimize the de-legitimized Trump/McConnell/Roberts Court before they unleash every manner of electoral chaos --- and outright "legalized" stolen elections --- in advance of 2024.

PLEASE. PAY. ATTENTION. TO. THIS. CASE!

Beyond that red flag warning at the top of today's show, and before standing down for a few much-needed days off next week, we also catch up on several other news items of note that we've had to put off over the past week or so due to Congressional hearings, primary elections, and wholly corrupt Supreme Court opinions. Among them...

  • After rightwing activist Ginni Thomas, wife of rightwing activist Justice Clarence Thomas, was revealed to have been deeply involved in Trump's effort to steal the 2020 election, she was invited to testify to the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection. She received much coverage when she announced she would be happy to do so, declaring, "I can’t wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them.” You'll be shocked to learn that Ginni was lying. This week, her attorney said she will not testify because there is "not...a sufficient basis" for the Committee to interview her under oath.
  • A judge in Delaware has found that Dominion Voting Systems has presented sufficient evidence to determine that Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan of Fox "News" may have acted with "actual malice" when causing their Republican propaganda station to broadcast false claims that the voting system vendor helped steal the election for Joe Biden. The judge ruled that the billion dollar defamation suit against Fox may now proceed toward trial.
  • Here in California, where we recently reported on the attempt by some Democrats in the state legislature to adopt an insane Internet Voting scheme, we've got some good news. After passage in the state Senate, the matter was killed in the state Assembly following critical work by grassroots voting system and cybersecurity experts in opposition and a letter from the Sec. of State opposing the measure as well. But CA Dems keep trying to this, year after year, so watch out for another attempt in future sessions.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the heels of SCOTUS gutting the EPA's ability to regulate carbon emissions amid our deadly climate crisis and much more...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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What can be gleaned from the first midterm primary and special election results after the fall of 'Roe v. Wade'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2022 6:14pm PT  

Please pardon the whiplash on today's BradCast, from our special coverage of the blockbuster J6 hearing in the U.S. House yesterday to coverage of election results in eight states today, and what they both may mean for November. But that's our world right now. [Audio link to full show is posted after this summary below.]

Critical midterm primary elections (and runoffs), and one Special Election for the U.S. House were held on Tuesday in Illinois, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah, New York, Mississippi, South Carolina and Nebraska.

We've learned of a few reported problems for voters at the poll yesterday in several of those states (IL, MS, UT, NY) which we cover first today. Thankfully, they were fairly limited --- at least so far --- and not terribly egregious.

Then it's on to our curated and wholly incomplete coverage of noteworthy races in a number of those states, some of which may be quite telling regarding November and the so-called "Conventional Wisdom" that Democrats are due for a drubbing. That's what history tells us, of course, about the party in power for midterm elections during the first term of an unpopular President. But, given these exceedingly unconventional times, it'd be a sucker's bet and political malpractice --- for Democrats and democracy itself --- to simply presume history will repeat itself this fall.

Among the many results of note covered today: losses for 2020 election deniers and alleged criminals (like Tina Peters, the indicted County Clerk in Mesa County who lost her GOP primary for Sec. of State bigly, even in her own home county) in CO; losses for corrupt climate change deniers and disgraced former Trump officials (like his scandal-plagued EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt who came in fifth in a GOP primary for the U.S. Senate) in OK; both wins and losses for loyalist Trumpers and anti-choice zealots in IL and CO (with Dems hoping they'd win their GOP nominations, because they'd be easier to defeat in November); a crushing, if satisfying loss for Rudy Giuliani's son in NY; victories and losses for progressive candidates in several states; And, perhaps most notably today, some telling results from the one D vs. R race on Tuesday, a U.S. House Special Election in NE.

As expected, the Democrat lost that special U.S. House race in NE in an exceedingly Republican district in which the GOP candidate won by 22 points in 2020. But on Tuesday, the Republican won by just over 5 points. More interestingly, in the one Democratic-leaning County in the District held by Republicans since 1964, support for the Democrat spiked from +1 in 2020 to +13 on Tuesday, in the first head-to-head election between the two parties since 'Roe v. Wade' was struck down by the radical rightwing U.S. Supreme Court on Friday. Hopefully, Democrats have taken notice.

There are many mitigating factors that could result in this year's midterms defying history and expert predictions. That doesn't mean they will, but they certainly could, particularly if Democrats figure out how to appropriately activate both their base and those who are furious about SCOTUS stripping away a Constitutionally-protected individual right for the first time in our nation's history.

Initial polling in the wake of Roe's demise find the SCOTUS opinion to be exceedingly unpopular with Democrats, of course, but also with independent voters and even a fairly large chunk of Republicans. We take a look at some of those very interesting tea leaves on today's program and what they could mean for November.

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, in advance of what is probably very bad news indeed for both the climate and the EPA coming from our corrupt Supreme Court tomorrow! But, for today, we've got news about what sparked New Mexico's largest-ever wildfire; Japan's electric grid facing stress under historic record heat; a new leftist climate hawk President for Colombia; and much more....

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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