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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, May 17, 2024
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, a 'Smoking Gun', and 'The Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canada's fire season erupts, as smoke chokes U.S. Upper Midwest; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Previous GNRs: 5/9/24 - 5/7/24 - Archives...
Recount in Tied U.S. House Primary Highlights Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
Facing Down the Threat to American Democracy: 'BradCast' 5/9/24
A veteran reporter speaks out; DHS marshals defenses; Lara lies about ballots; Johnson lies about 'illegals' voting; Also: MTG's spectacular fail; Stormy wins the day; Biden cuts off Israel...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Tornado outbreaks across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
Previous GNRs: 5/7/24 - 5/2/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup:
Stormy Takes the Stand: 'BradCast' 5/8/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: 'Warning signs' from IN primary results; Blankenship's run in WV...
New Cybersecurity Breach in Coffee County, GA: 'BradCast' 5/7/24
Guest: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks; Also: Stormy takes the stand in NY; GA's Republican former Lt. Gov. endorses Biden...
'Green News Report' 5/7/24
Relentless rain, flooding in Houston and Brazil; April 2024 was hottest on record; PLUS: Biden unveils billions for rural clean energy, replacing toxic lead water pipes...
2024 Electoral -- and Climate -- Omens: 'BradCast' 5/6/24
From Britain to Panama to Brazil to Houston; Also: Latest in Israel's war on Gaza and in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Self Reflecting' Toons
THIS WEEK: Champions of 'free speech' ... 'Captain Fascism' ... Kristi 'Dog Gone' Noem... and more, in our latest collection of the week's best political toons...
'Green News Report' 5/2/24
Extreme heat, storms grip Asia; Big brands and Big Plastic; Plastic pollution treaty talks end; PLUS: Congress finds Big Oil still trying to deceive the public...
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...


NY judge finds Trump in criminal contempt; A 'key' prediction for 2024; UAW wins again; Indicted AZ state Senator rewarded by RNC; Good news for trans people in WV, NC; Biden goes to pot...not a moment too soon...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2024 6:56pm PT  

We've got quite a few good news items amidst all the madness on today's BradCast. You may enjoy a few hits of dopamine along the way. Your welcome. Please listen responsibly. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • Just to help kick things off...American University distinguished professor Allan Licthman has a "13 keys to the White House" method for predicting who will win any Presidential election. His method has accurately called the winners in 9 of the past 10 elections. (In fact, he was arguably right in 10 out of 10!) We discuss his method and, though he's not yet made his "official" prediction this year, who he believes currently has the upper hand in 2024.
  • Donald Trump was found in criminal contempt of court in his New York trial related to his 2016 election interference via hush-money felony charges. Justice Juan Merchan found [PDF] Trump violated his gag order barring attacks on jurors and witnesses via social media and elsewhere in nine different instances. The judge made clear that incarceration is pretty much the only option left by state law if Trump commits new violations. Veteran federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner suggests today's ruling may make things "significantly worse" for the disgraced former President, as the bail conditions in all four of his criminal indictments in four different jurisdictions bar him from committing new crimes. We also get you quickly up to speed on some of the Prosecution's new witnesses on the stand in the actual trial on Tuesday.
  • United Auto Workers' chief Shawn Fain is on a roll. Just over a week ago workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga voted by a 3 to 1 margin to unionize on the heels of the UAW's huge victories last year in their strike against Detroit's Big Three automakers. The victory by workers at the Tennessee plant was the first of its kind in the South. And then, late last week, the union struck a last minute deal for a new contract with Daimler Truck in North Carolina, bringing big pay raises and major benefit increases to workers at four of the company's plants in the state.
  • As we reported previously, 18 Trump allies in Arizona last week were criminally indicted on nine charges each of conspiracy, fraud and forgery related to their failed attempt to steal the 2020 election for Trump in the state via a Fake Electors plot. Over the weekend, state Sen. Jake Hoffman, one of two sitting state Senators indicted as a Fake Elector, was chosen, just days later, by the Republican National Committee to be an official National Committeeman in the 2024 election. Apparently criminal indictments for election fraud are now being rewarded by today's GOP.
  • The full 4th U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that West Virginia and North Carolina's decision to refuse health care for transgender people under government-sponsored insurance is discriminatory and a violation of federal law. NC blocked gender-affirming care for state employees and WV Medicaid blocked coverage for gender-affirming surgery. The plaintiffs won in an 8 to 6 ruling at the appeals court, though the thoroughly corrupted and illegitimate U.S. Supreme Court Republican majority will almost certainly have the final say in the matter.
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will finally remove marijuana as a Schedule III narcotic, according to a report by AP today. It will no longer be treated similar to heroin and cocaine, as the Biden Administration plans to finally reclassify the popular plant as Schedule I after 50 years, now that some 38 states have already legalized cannabis for medicinal and/or recreational use. President Biden previously pardoned thousands of Americans charged with simple possession under federal law and urged states to do the same. Democrats in Congress, in the meantime, are pushing the DEA and Attorney General to drop it from the list of controlled-substances entirely to treat it more like alcohol.
  • The news above is one of a spate of newly or soon-to-be finalized regulations from a bunch of Biden Administration Executive Agencies. You may (or may not) have heard news of late about a cascade of new rules issued by the Administration on everything from Student Loan forgiveness to dozens of new environmental and climate-related regulations. There is a reason they are all happening right about now, and it has to do with the Congressional Review Act, which we explain in detail on today's program.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our 1,400th Green News Report! And yes, along with troubling news for Africa and the U.S. Gulf Coast, she's got some historic news of landmark new regulations from the EPA to curb pollution from U.S. power plants. And, yes, that too should be in time to beat GOP abuse of the Congressional Review Act as cited above...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Labor journalist Steven Greenhouse; Also: House finally passes aid package for Ukraine; Prosecutors accuse Trump of 'election fraud' in NY criminal trial opening statement...
By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2024 6:05pm PT  

Nothing but huge news --- all of several different sorts --- on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP: After months of stalling to the benefit of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and our wannabe dictator former President, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, to his credit, bucked the majority of his own caucus and reversed course last week on Ukraine. The full reason for his sudden about-face remains unclear --- and a majority of his own party still voted against aid to our besieged democratic allies in Europe --- but whatever the reason, it is very good news for both Ukraine and global democracy. The full Democratic caucus in the House backed Johnson's plan to adopt some $95 billion in military, humanitarian and economy aid to Ukraine, Israel (including more than $9 billion in assistance to residents of Gaza), Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies. Far-right House Republicans derided the legislation as "America Last" aid to foreign wars and have been threatening to invoke another motion to vacate the Speaker's chair. So far, however, they've failed to pull the trigger.

NEXT UP: The first criminal trial of a former (and perhaps future) U.S. President got underway for reals on Monday in New York, with opening statements presented by both sides in what Prosecutors are characterizing as a 2016 "election fraud" via hush-money case against Donald J. Trump. We step through the opening presentations of each side's case today. NY prosecutors detailed how they intend to demonstrate that Trump, in a panic following the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, where he boasted about assaulting women, took measures just before the 2016 election to pay off women he was alleged to have had affairs with, including Playboy Model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The schemes to silence the women, according to state prosecutor Matthew Colangelo, were carried out via an elaborate conspiracy between Trump, his then attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, and then publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker. The plot involved 34 allegedly falsified business transactions --- including checks signed by Trump while serving in the White House --- disguised as legal retainers to Cohen, rather than reimbursement money for hush-money payments. The Trump Organization couldn’t cut a check to Cohen with the memo "reimbursement for porn star payoff," so "they agreed to cook the books," said Colangelo, to make the payments appear to be for legal services.

The Enquirer produced what prosecutors described as "checkbook journalism" on Trump's behalf to "catch and kill" McDougal's story of a nearly year-long affair with Trump while his wife Melania was pregnant in 2006. And Cohen paid Daniels directly in exchange for signing a $130,000 non-disclosure agreement that prevented her from revealing her 2006 tryst with Trump while Melania was nursing their infant son. "He covered up that criminal conspiracy by lying in his New York business records over and over and over again," Colangelo told the jury, detailing what he characterized as "election fraud, pure and simple."

In Trump's defense, his attorney Todd Blanche made the case that none of the actions described by prosecutors are crimes. "I have a spoiler alert," he told the jury, "there’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. It’s called democracy."

Prosecutors called Pecker as their first witness on Monday, but the court session was cut short on due to a dental emergency for one of the jurors and a planned early finish to the day due to the Jewish Passover holiday. Pecker is set to return to the stand for the prosecution on Tuesday.

FINALLY: The story that (understandably, given the above) is not getting nearly the attention it deserves today. On Friday, by an overwhelming 3 to 1 margin, workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee voted to unionize by joining the United Auto Workers. The landmark vote came after a full-court press against it the day before the unionization election was to begin last Wednesday, via an unprecedented joint statement by six Republican southern state Governors. TN's Gov. Bill Lee and the Governors of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas warned in the statement against workers voting to join the union, charging that it would result in jobs leaving the state.

Nonetheless, VW's workers overwhelmingly approved the historic resolution, in what UAW leader Shawn Fain described on Sunday to our guest today, veteran labor journalist and author STEVEN GREENHOUSE of The Guardian, as "the first domino to fall" in what Greenhouse describes as the UAW's "ambitious $40m campaign targeting 13 automakers, including VW, Mercedes, Tesla, BMW, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai, with a total of 35 non-union plants across the US."

"It's a very big deal," Greenhouse tells me today. "It's a big deal because unions have had a very hard time organizing the South. Indeed, unions and union leaders are often told 'it's impossible to win the South, don't even bother.' Factory-workers are so worried that if they vote to unionize, the plant will close and move overseas. So this victory really bursts the citadel, breaks down the tradition of all these losses in the South. This finally shows you can win."

In fact, two previous efforts to unionize the same VW plant failed some 10 and 15 years ago. But now, post-pandemic and, most notably, with the rise and inspiration of the UAW's new, charismatic leader Fain, there is renewed action and optimism. "This gives a lot of momentum, a lot of energy and inspiration to autoworkers, and I think to the larger labor movement," says Greenhouse, the author of several books on the subject including his latest, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present and Future of American Labor.

We discuss, among other things today: why this effort at VW succeeded where previous votes failed; how unprecedented the statement was from those six southern Governors (In Greenhouse's interview with Fain on Sunday, the labor leader called them "liars" and "puppets for corporate America" that "don't give a damn about working-class people...even though workers are the ones who elect them."); how the unionization in the auto industry may inspire similar efforts by workers in other industries for the first time in man years; whether the UAW will actually be able to unionize Tesla, as led by the very anti-union Elon Musk, as well as the other non-union plants being targeted by the UAW around the country, following their wildly successful strike against Detroit's Big Three automakers last year.

One of those targeted non-union plants belongs to Mercedes-Benz in Vance, Alabama where workers are scheduled to hold a unionization vote next month. If both VW and Mercedes are unionized, as Greenhouse reported a Georgetown labor historian observing last week, it would "be nothing less than an earthquake [and] the biggest breakthrough in private-sector organizing in decades."

As noted, some pretty huge news on today's program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: 12 jurors now seated in Trump's NY criminal trial; NV Supreme Court approves ballot measure to protect 'reproductive freedoms'; OH Republicans still refusing to put Biden on the 2024 ballot...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2024 6:49pm PT  

You may be happy to know we don't begin today's BradCast with news about the disgraced former President. But you may be less happy about what we do lead with, especially if you own a home or a car or live on Planet Earth. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our many stories today...

  • Recently, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell confirmed that, thanks in no small part to our quickly worsening climate, insurance rates for cars and homes continue to skyrocket. Yes, manmade climate change is a key factor in slowing the decrease of inflation (which, of course, is just one reason Republicans would rather do nothing about it). As the frequency and intensity of weather-related disasters quickens (just ask the folks in New Orleans who were swamped with some 8 inches of rain in a matter of hours last week), the cost of insurance is spiking, becoming unaffordable for many and even unattainable in a number of coastal states. You may soon discover that your home is worth a lot less than you think, thanks to the climate crisis. We step through some of those grim details today, the trillions of dollars it is ALREADY costing Americans, and the even grimmer news about what is still to come unless and until we can end the burning of fossil fuels that is only beginning to wreak so much havoc across the entire globe.
  • We started reporting on this story last week, when it didn't seem like it could really be a story. Well, it's beginning, at least, to look more like it really could be a real story. Ohio's Republican Attorney General has now joined the state's Republican Sec. of State to say they will not allow Joe Biden on the state's ballot this November unless the Democratic Party certifies his candidacy before the state's statutory deadline of August 7. The Democratic National Convention, which is set to officially nominate the President, doesn't happen until August 19. When a similar situation occurred in 2020 --- which might have kept Donald Trump off the ballot --- the GOP state legislature simply changed the statutory deadline for that year. But now, because it's only Democrats whose convention isn't scheduled to take place until after OH's 90-day deadline before the November 5th election, Buckeye State Republicans seem to be suggesting they may actually not put Biden on the ballot...as impossible as that seems to believe. Let the lawsuits begin...
  • The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling that had blocked a broad, Constitutional "Reproductive Freedom" measure to protect prenatal care, abortion, vasectomies and infertility care from appearing on this November's ballot in the critical battle ground state. Supporters of the measure are celebrating today, but are also said to be gathering signatures for a second measure that will focus only on abortion rights for this year's ballot.
  • After two of seven previously-seated jurors were dismissed on Thursday morning in Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York, seven more were seated before the day was done. Barring any other dismissals, that fills out the 12 jurors that will be needed to begin the case proper, once six alternate jurors are chosen. The judge admonished the press for reporting enough details about jurors that one who asked to be removed this morning said that friends had been able to identify her from media reports. Also, after prosecutors earlier this week sought sanctions against Trump for three violations of his gag order, they cited another seven incidents since then. That issue will be heard next week. Opening Statements in the trial could begin as early as Monday if the case continues to move briskly forward.
  • Very exciting news is underway in the South this week, specifically in Tennessee, where workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga are now voting to unionize and join the United Auto Workers. Workers at the plant seem confident that the election will be successful. But that's just the first of 13 non-union automakers who are being targeted for unionization by the UAW since labor unions huge victories last year in strikes against GM, Ford and Stellantis (which now owns Jeep and Chrysler). Another election is likely to happen soon at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, with 36 non-union plants targeted in all. If workers are successful in unionizing at both VW and Mercedes in the two southern states, according to one labor historian, it "would be nothing less than an earthquake" for the labor movement and its "biggest breakthrough in private-sector organizing in decades." It apparently has anti-labor Republicans worried. In a joint statement described by one expert as "unprecedented and shocking", six southern state governors, all Republican --- from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas --- issued a joint statement on the day before voting began at VW, charging that "unionization would put our states' jobs in jeopardy." Kentucky's Democratic Governor, Andy Beshear, by contrast, announced last week that he was "proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder" with the UAW.
  • Finally, in case we didn't frighten you enough with our opening coverage of the catastrophic, climate change-fueled weather driving insurance rates through the roof, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with much more to frighten you about. But she also has good news for workers as well, and bad news for the fossil fuel industry tools at Fox "News"...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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UAW endorses Biden as GDP, other indicators 'stun' experts; Also: Navarro sentenced to prison; Proud Boy gets 6 years; A THIRD swing-state GOP Chair has now been ousted amid outrageous scandal...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2024 6:27pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Some very good news about Democrats. Specifically, for the President and the post-pandemic economic recovery. And a bunch of good news about Republicans. At least for those who enjoy watching the fish rot from the head down.

As detailed on today's program...

  • Yet more excellent economic numbers were released on Thursday by the Commerce Department, easily beating professional expectations on GDP growth, leading one of those experts to describe the newly released 2023 fourth-quarter numbers as "stunning and spectacular." They are, in fact, just one of the economic indicators that are now better even than the pre-pandemic years, as GDP continues to rise, unemployment remains very low, wages are growing faster than inflation, which is now down below targets set by the Federal Reserve, and the recession that experts predicted for last year is still nowhere in sight. They are the kind of numbers that the former President would have declared as "the greatest economy in U.S. history" and about which TIME Magazine would have put his face on the cover with the headline: "The Man Who Saved the American Economy!" Will any of that happen now that Joe Biden --- who received a rousing endorsement for his 2024 campaign from the half-a-million-strong United Autoworkers Union yesterday --- is the President, rather than Trump? Will anybody in America even hear about these "stunning" numbers and "spectacular" economic growth?
  • As to the good news about Republicans, we start with Trump's former Trade Advisor, Peter Navarro. Today he was sentenced by a federal judge in D.C. to four months in prison for two counts of Contempt of Congress after refusing to respond to two 2022 subpoenas from the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee that had been investigating the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Poor Peter. Perhaps he'll be cell mates with Steve Bannon who received a similar sentence in 2022 for the same crimes.
  • A wildly obnoxious member of the far-right extremist Proud Boys group attacked the D.C. Circuit Court's Chief Judge during sentencing on Wednesday as a "clown" and a "fraud". He received 6 years in prison in return for his part in the deadly January 6 insurrection and for attempting to organize a subsequent attack on the government in Portland, Oregon described as "January 6 2.0".
  • But, as the fish rots from the head down, it's rotting GOP state parties outside of Washington as well. There is an ongoing, vicious --- and, at times, even violent --- legal dispute --- between the now-ousted Michigan GOP Chair, election denier and failed 2022 Sec. of State nominee Kristina Karamo, and the bulk of the state party that ousted her --- over who now actually controls the state party apparatus in the critical battleground state. In Florida, the recently ousted state party Chair Christian Ziegler -- hand-picked by Ron DeSantis --- is being investigated by state law enforcement on charges of "video voyeurism", after being accused of rape by a woman with whom he and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, the hypocritical anti-LGBTQ co-founder of "Moms for Liberty", had thrupled with --- and secretly videotaped during sex.

    And this week, on Wednesday, Jeff DeWit, Chair of Arizona's Republican Party, abruptly resigned after audio tapes were released by election denier and failed Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in which he appears to be begging her to accept a bribe for not running for the U.S. Senate in the state this year.

    So, that's three GOP state Chairs (the "Party of Law and Order") in three critical swing-states, all being hilariously ousted after allegations of incompetency, sexual battery or bribery within a matter of weeks, in the middle of, arguably, the most important Presidential election year in American history. Keep up the great work, state Republicans!

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as astonishing climate change-fueled extreme weather continues to batter the infrastructure across U.S. cities; ExxonMobil sues its own shareholders so they can try to keep polluting as long as possible; and the U.S. Postal Service finally begins rolling out its new fleet of clean electric delivery vehicles, thanks to demands from climate advocates and funding from Joe Biden and the Democrats...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Guest: Former Delegate Mark Levine on VA Assembly, Youngkin's future up for grabs; Also: OH GOP lying about abortion rights ballot initiative...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2023 6:17pm PT  

With everything else going on both here in the U.S. and around the world you can be forgiven for losing track of the fact that next Tuesday is an important off-year Election Day in a number of states, including Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia and elsewhere. On today's BradCast, we try to get you caught up on a number of key contests and the stakes for what will be seen next week --- correctly or not --- as bellwether elections in advance of next year's critical 2024 Presidential contest. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

There are some interesting Gubernatorial races next week. In "deep red" Kentucky, the state's popular Democratic Governor Andy Beshear will be running for a second term. And in even "deeper red" Mississippi, dysfunctional infighting among state Republicans could translate into what would be a surprise, long-shot victory for Democratic candidate Brandon Presley. But, as our guest suggests today, elections tend to be won by the voters who show up.

In Ohio, as you may recall, back in August, Republicans attempted to use a last minute, single-issue Special Election to adopt a ballot initiative that would mandate all future amendments to the state Constitution require a 60% majority for passage, instead of a simple majority, as has been the case for over a hundred years in the Buckeye State. That measure, Issue 1, failed. It wasn't even close. Voters understood that it was clearly a scheme meant to derail a popular state Constitutional initiative to protect abortion rights scheduled for the November 7 ballot in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme court last year and state GOP lawmakers adoption of a 6-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Ohio's popular Republican Governor, Mike DeWine, has been lying to voters about next week's ballot initiative to protect reproductive freedoms by calling Issue 1 (yes, confusingly, it has the same name as the GOP's failed measure in August!) "too extreme" for Ohio. Of course, there is nothing extreme about it. Which is why state Republicans are lying to voters and even succeeded in convincing the state's GOP-leaning Supreme Court to allow them to use a "summary" of the measure on the ballot, rather than the actual text of the initiative (which was shorter!), to replace the word "fetus" with "unborn child". Hopefully Buckeye Staters don't fall for that scam either.

In Virginia, every seat in the General Assembly is up for grabs this year, as Democrats need to flip just a handful of seats to retake the majority in the state's House of Delegates and Republicans need to flip just two seats to take back the state Senate. At the same time, all new legislative maps this year have completely shaken up the Commonwealth, with the political future of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin apparently hanging in the balance. Whatever happens next week could well decide whether the termed-out Governor jumps into the 2024 GOP Presidential contest and/or adopts a 15-week abortion ban, which has been prevented to date by Democrats in the Assembly.

Those stakes may also help explain why Youngkin has worked so hard during his two years in office to prevent new voters from registering and to suppress the votes of certain types of voters.

We're joined today by VA's longtime progressive radio host and three-term Democratic former state Delegate MARK LEVINE to discuss what next week's elections mean for VA, for the nation, and for Youngkin's political future.

"I've long argued that Virginia is an 'indigo' state, which means it's mostly purple with a tinge of blue. I think, on average, we're going to very very closely vote Democratic," he tells me today regarding next week's contests. "Unfortunately --- or fortunately, depending on the year --- Virginia really is a very good bellwether for the United States. The same year we lost our House [of Delegates] in 2021, barely, the Republicans gained the [U.S.] House of Representatives, barely. Virginia really is an excellent bellwether. I would argue the nation is an indigo nation --- purple but ever-so-slightly blue --- and that's where we are. It really could go either way."

Levine explains that VA voter turnout in Presidential years is usually about 75% in the Commonwealth. In mid-term elections and off-year elections with a Governor's race, it's about 45%. Next week's race, he says, "is called the 'off-off elections'" when usually "only about 23% of Virginians show up. So what that means is whoever is angrier, that's who shows up. Are the MAGA Republicans angrier? Or are progressive Democrats angrier? I don't know. I would think abortion is very motivating. It will be a real test, because that's mostly what Democrats are running on."

"We had an election in 2017 that was a tie vote. They flipped a coin, and that's why we didn't control the legislature in 2017," he says. "The point is, one vote really can make a difference, particularly in these local races that decide the legislature. So I just want to urge anyone in Virginia, or anyone who knows someone who you think may still live in Virginia, please call them, remind them to vote. We've made it really easy. We have early voting now. You can go vote today, tomorrow, next day. The polls are open. They're close to your house. Get out and vote!"

Will the Democrats' focus on protecting reproductive freedoms in an ostensibly "blue" state, currently headed up by a Republican, work as well as it has over the past year in so many "red" states? Will the re-shuffling of legislative maps hurt or help Democrats? And will the results next week really help determine whether Youngkin decides to jump into the 2024 GOP Presidential contest? Levine has a lot of thoughts on all of those topics and many others, in our VERY lively discussion today!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a suspiciously larger-than-usual amount of not-terrible-news, including even some good environmental news out of the, yes, so-called "deep red" state of Kentucky...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/31/2023 10:03am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Striking UAW workers reach historic deal with Big 3 automakers, including on EVs!; Staggering loss and damage from Hurricane Otis in Acapulco; PLUS: America now has a new EV battery recycling industry... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Unchecked climate change will bring storms beyond imagination; Florida is booming and burning more trash. Residents say it’s making them sick; U.N. farming unit FAO stifled, censored methane research; How the I.R.A. is playing in 7 swing states; Tesla's Cybertruck will test America's great partisan divide... PLUS: solar could become a model for sectoral bargaining... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Acapulco struggles after Otis; Crisis deepens in Gaza; Also: UAW wins strike against automakers; Callers ring in on Israel-Hamas conflict...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2023 6:28pm PT  

It was another grim weekend of news. Though there was a bright spot or two. On today's BradCast, we talk about as much of it as we have time for. Including with callers. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our coverage today...

  • We begin on a personal note of sorts. I received both my COVID and Flu shots over the weekend. So, as usual, I was pretty laid out for the 24 hours following. That said, I feel great today, happy to feel somewhat protected heading into the holiday season, and ask you to consider doing the same if you haven't already. I would also ask you, once again, not to fall for the deadly lies and disinformation that persists around the very safe and wildly effective COVID vaccines which continue to save billions of lives worldwide, despite the dupes and cretins who would use false "evidence" to hoax you to the contrary. Your life and those of your family are worth protecting. Please do. We're gonna need all hands on deck during next year's critical Presidential election. You will need to be alive to vote. Get your newly formulated COVID shots, now covering additional strains of the deadly virus, ASAP!
  • Next up, the death toll from last week's stunning Category 5 Hurricane Otis in Acapulco continues to rise. At least 45 are now confirmed dead as of airtime today, with several dozen still missing. All of that after the resort city of more than a million had little or no time to prepare for a storm of this magnitude which spun up last week from Tropical Storm to deadly Cat 5 in less than 12 hours, thanks to the rapid intensification of such storms in our climate changed era.
  • Speaking of disinformation, there is a lot of it out there right now, circulating on social media in particular, regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict. And its coming, frankly, from all sides of the conflict. We run through a few of some of the most viral lies that have been moving quickly across Elon Musk's Twitter/X and TikTok. A falsely misrepresented video purporting to show U.S. Marines arriving at an airport in Israel (it's actually a Defense Dept. video from 2022, showing U.S. troops arriving for NATO drills in Romania); Videos of Russian and North Korean dictators Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un with false English captions, and much more. Moral: Be careful what you "like" and share on social media. If something is too amazing to believe, there's probably a reason for that. Check with the many various fact-check sites and services out there before making things worse by spreading such disinformation. The real news is bad enough.
  • Speaking of just some of that horrible real news, both the death toll and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is worsening by the hour, though Sunday saw nearly three dozen truckloads of desperately needed food, water and medicine make its way into southern Gaza. It's not nearly enough, but it's something. That, after a weekend of communications --- both phone and Internet --- being cut off across the entire enclave during Israel's most intense bombing to date as it began to move ground troops into Gaza. The Biden Administration reportedly pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right government to restore communications in Gaza, has been urging them to allow more humanitarian aid in, and to be "surgical" in its response to the horrific Hamas attacks of October 7. They are having some success. But, from virtually all legitimate reporting, not nearly enough. More than 1.4 million Gazans have fled their homes, and the death toll of Palestinians, as reported by the Hamas-run health ministry, is now said to be more than 8,000. Many of the dead are women and children. Roughly 250,000 Israelis have also been evacuated from homes along both the border of Gaza and the northern border with Lebanon amid persistent rocket attacks following Hamas' attack on Southern Israel earlier in the month that left some 1,400 dead.
  • In brighter news back home, the United Auto Workers union, over the weekend, sealed deals with both Stellantis and General Motors akin to the one struck days earlier with Ford, to end their six-week walkout. The union was able to achieve substantial pay raises for long-time, new and previously temporary workers, along with other long-sought benefits. UAW President Shawn Fain, over the weekend, called the development "a turning point in the class war that has been raging in this country for the past 40 years." At the White House on Monday, President Biden lauded the "historic" deals, "due to the commitment and solidarity of the UAW workers who exercised their right to collectively bargain. They won a record contract with over a 30% increase in wages, greater retirement security and more paid leave." The union also won victories toward hiring thousands of new workers and unionizing newer Electric Vehicle shops.

Then, we open the phones to our live Southern California listeners here at KPFK in Los Angeles, and, you'll be shocked to hear, they all wanted to discuss Israel-Hamas today. Again. So we do. I'll look forward to your thoughts on those conversations...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Grim news in Maine, Acapulco and the U.S. House, followed by much better news in Colorado, Georgia, and for union workers of the UAW...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2023 6:54pm PT  

I promise, things get brighter after the first segment of today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our stories, first grim, and then much less so, today...

  • We begin with the horrible news out of Lewiston, Maine, following Wednesday night's mass shootings that have, so far, resulted in 18 dead and another 13 wounded, with several still in critical condition. The state was largely shut down as of airtime, with a broad, statewide manhunt underway for the suspect who is alleged to have had serious mental health issues...but was still able to obtain a deadly, high-powered, military-style assault rifle for his rampage somehow, because...freedom!
  • Similarly grim news out of Acapulco, where a climate change-fueled Hurricane Otis experienced explosive intensification off the Pacific Coast this week, as it spun up from Tropical Storm to a catastrophic Category 5 in just twelve hours time. As of airtime, 27 were confirmed dead in Mexico, with searches underway for more missing as authorities struggle to clear major roads of knee-deep mud and restore power to the battered resort city and nearby villages.
  • All of that, amid what is likely to be the hottest year ever recorded, as Republicans in the U.S. House just elected a long-time climate science denier from the oil and gas state of Louisiana to be House Speaker. Rep. Mike Johnson received more money last year from the fossil fuel industry than any other. Since 2018, the far-right religious zealot has received some $240,000 from the industry. Some of it, as it turns out, came --- unlawfully --- from Russian oligarchs, according to FEC investigators last year.
  • IN BRIGHTER NEWS...A federal judge in Georgia has ordered the state's legislature to reconvene to redraw its Congressional and state legislative maps before 2024, after being found in violation of the Voting Rights Act. The state must now add new Black-majority voting districts to all three of its maps. The judge's 516-page(!) ruling [PDF] issued today, finds the Republican-controlled legislature drew new maps following the 2020 Census which completely ignored the fact that ALL of the state's population growth since 2010 has been among the non-white population. U.S. District Judge Steven Jones has ordered one new Black-majority Congressional district, two new districts in the state Senate, and five for the state House by December 8, or he would have the maps drawn himself.
  • More good news for U.S. Constitution lovers, this time in Colorado, where a state judge ruled on Wednesday that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause", is self-executing. In other words, public officials who have "engaged in insurrection" are simply disqualified from running for public office, even without a federal law detailing precise enforcement of the provision. Donald Trump, whose qualifications for the 2024 Presidential ballot have been challenged in a state lawsuit, argued to the contrary. But he lost. Next week, a hearing will be held to determine if the former President "engaged in insurrection", as per the Constitutional Amendment. Similar challenges to Trump's eligibility for office are also pending in Michigan and Minnesota.
  • And good news for striking autoworkers, as the United Auto Workers union announced on Wednesday night that they reached a tentative agreement with Ford. The new four-year contract, if approved by workers, will boost base pay by at least 25%, increase starting hourly wages to $28/hour and includes a myriad of other benefits sought by the labor union. It is hoped that the agreement will also pressure management for a similar contract at the other two "Big Three" automakers, G.M. and Stellantis, where the UAW also began its walk-outs about six weeks ago. Chalk up yet another in a series of very big wins for organized labor over the past year!
  • Finally, both good news and bad, as usual, with Desi Doyen in our latest Green News Report. She has more on Hurricane Otis; more on our new climate denying U.S. House Speaker; More on Big Oil doubling down before the bottom falls out for the industry; and an encouraging projection from a normally very conservative international body for the beginning of the end of fossil fuels...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Dr. Marick Masters of Wayne State University; Also: Twitter/X allowing flood of misinfo, disinfo, propaganda amid Israel-Hamas war...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2023 6:21pm PT  

On the heels of last weekend's Hamas attack on Israel and Israel's subsequent retaliation against Gaza, there has been a flood of disinformation about the conflict allowed to circulate on social media. Also on today's BradCast, we take some time to focus on a major victory back home in the ongoing strike by auto workers against Detroit's Big Three. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

FIRST UP, a quick word or two on the landfall of Hurricane Lidia last night on the Pacific Coast of Mexico near the resort of Puerta Vallarta. When we got off air yesterday, the storm had quickly spun up to a Category 3 before ultimately making landfall as a Category 4, with windspeeds topping 140 mph. Happily, it hit in a sparsely populated area, so damage and loss of life, so far, has reportedly been minimal. But the rapid intensification of the storm, and its gaining of strength as it got closer to land is both remarkable and something we have seen much more of in recent years as our climate crisis worsens. Also, the fact that Lidia made landfall on the Pacific Coast of Mexico just one day after another storm, Max, did as well, should similarly be ringing alarm bells.

NEXT, the relentless military response by Israel against Gaza continues in the wake of the unspeakably horrific attack by Hamas on Israel over the weekend. So does a flood of misinformation, disinformation and propaganda on social media sites. Elon Musk's Twitter/X site is particularly horrible in this regard, following his firing of most of the company's content moderation team and its replacement by community volunteers who are, according to an NBC report today, largely being ignored by the company as false and inflammatory content runs wild. AP is helpful today in offering independently verifiable facts to correct the record on a number of viral social media videos and photos purposely doctored to mislead. One, for example, showed a manipulated "order" from President Biden, claiming to send $8 billion in aid to Israel. Another purports to show videos of Russian President Vladimir Putin warning the U.S. to "stay away" from the Israel-Hamas conflict. Both assertions were completely false, but were allowed to remain on Twitter for hours without correction to be seen by millions of users.

THEN, in some brighter news, the United Auto Workers union struck a stunning deal late last week with GM that will allow workers who build batteries for electric vehicles to join the union's master agreement with the company. That, after many thought that an agreement to unionize workers at EV plants would be impossible.

Our guest today is DR. MARICK MASTERS, Professor of Business and Political Science at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he also served as Director of the Labor@Wayne program. He joins us to discuss the big news for workers at battery plants and other successes, so far, by the UAW and its President Shawn Fain during the ongoing, unprecedented strike against all three major U.S. automakers.

Late last week, Masters published an article at The Conversation on "Why the UAW union's tough bargaining strategy is working". He joins us today to discuss the new tactics and strategies employed by union leaders in the growing work stoppage and how it might both lead to success and ultimately be adopted by other union organizers.

On the landmark agreement with GM to include workers making parts for battery electric vehicles in the master union contract, Masters describes the deal as "a monumental achievement on the part of the UAW," adding: "I don't think that anyone, including myself, thought that this was doable. I didn't think that was something that the companies would concede, but GM did."

He cautions, however, that "it remains to be seen whether the two other companies [Ford and Stellantis] will accede to this demand of the union. But I don't think the UAW would sign a tentative agreement with them if they didn't."

Masters breaks down the UAW's so-far successful three-part strategy in the ongoing strike; explains why labor leader Fain is receiving so much support from the public both for his "audacious" demands and style of negotiations; and discusses whether the strategies employed by the auto workers might be applied elsewhere, at both non-union companies like Elon Musk's Tesla and in other industries where workers are finally standing up to management and demanding better pay, benefits and working conditions...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Biden joins picket line in MI; SCOTUS rejects AL gerrymander (again); Cassidy Hutchinson warns against former Prez; MUCH more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2023 6:42pm PT  

Some breaking news just before airtime helped, once again, threw off our best laid plans for today's BradCast. But, given this particularly huge breaking news, we're just fine with that. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

The New York Judge in state Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, his eldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric, and two top company executives, ruled [PDF] that they all committed years of "persistent and repeated fraud" to the tune of billions of dollars by inflating the value of company assets when applying for bank loans. They also decreased the value of the same properties to receive favorable terms on both insurance and taxes, according to the ruling.

Judge Arthur Engoron found in favor of the state's key contention during the summary judgment phase of the landmark case on Tuesday, before the non-jury trial is slated to begin next Monday. Trump's attorneys had also sought summary judgement, hoping to see the case thrown out entirely. Instead, the key issue has already been decided against them and Engoron, in a brutal ruling, has stripped the former President, his company, his sons and execs, of control over several of his main New York properties. The Trump Organization and its various LLCs were placed into receivership to be controlled by court-appointed officers!

In the massive fraud suit, James seeks to permanently revoke the Trump family's license to do business at all in New York state. The trial, set to begin next week, will now determine the other issues at stake and the full breadth of penalties. Of course, Trump will appeal everything. But, make no mistake, this is a huge verdict against the failed former President and current 2024 GOP frontrunner who, as validated by Judge Engoron today, has built his business empire on decades of fraud and lies.

Among the many other important stories also covered on today's program...

  • Cassidy Hutchinson, star witness at last year's House January 6 Committee hearings and the former top aide to Trump's final Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, warns that Trump "almost destroyed democracy in one day and he wants to run for President do it again."
  • This week's second GOP Presidential Primary debate, at the Reagan Library here in Southern California, will feature the same candidates as last month's debate in Milwaukee, other than former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who apparently did not meet the RNC's criteria. Trump was also not invited for refusing to sign the party's loyalty pledge, but he had already announced he wouldn't participate in any of their debates.
  • Labor economist Kathryn Anne Edwards offered a must-listen response to Louisiana's loopy U.S. Senator John Kennedy during a Senate subcommittee hearing last week on post-pandemic child care concerns. While Kennedy suggested he really really wanted to help, he had no idea where, oh, where the federal government could possibly find the money to do so. Edwards' straightforward, well-supported answer: Raise taxes on the wealthy that you've been lowering for the past two decades if you really care about children in need.
  • In a related matter on Tuesday, Joe Biden became the first sitting U.S. President, incredibly enough, to join a picket line with striking workers. In this case, he called on striking United Auto Workers members in Detroit to "stick with it," as he rallied workers with UAW President Shawn Fain. On Wednesday, the former President is set to speak at a non-union facility in a "red" county outside of Detroit.
  • California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law today that doubles the tax on sales of guns and ammunition in the state to help pay for increased school safety measures. While the federal government already charges a 10% tax on guns and ammo, California doubled it with one of their own, becoming the first in the nation to do so.
  • Bona fide good news today from our corrupted, packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court. They rejected Alabama's attempt --- once again --- to violate the Voting Rights Act with a racially gerrymandered U.S. House map. Last June, in a surprising 5 to 4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining the Court's three liberals, SCOTUS ordered the state to create a second majority black U.S. House District. Just 1 of 7 districts is currently a majority minority district despite African Americans comprising more than a quarter of the state's population. But Alabama Republicans, blatantly defying the U.S. Supreme Court, redrew their districts without including a second black majority district as mandated. A federal court panel then ordered a Special Master to draw up a new map instead. Alabama tried to stay that decision at SCOTUS, which unanimously rejected the state today in a one sentence ruling. That is good news for voters and bad news for several other GOP-controlled states trying the same gambit to cheat their way to a Republican majority in the House again next year.
  • Speaking of the Republicans' narrow majority in the U.S. House, it appears next to impossible at this hour to believe they will be able to agree amongst themselves on a spending bill to keep the federal government open as of Saturday. At least not without either Democrats saving them and/or House Speaker Kevin McCarthy losing his job as Speaker.
  • New Jersey's Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, federally indicted for a second time late last week on charges of bribery and corruption, maintains his innocence. But the flood of fellow Democratic U.S. Senators calling for his resignation seems all but unstoppable now, with at least six of them --- including fellow NJ Senator Corey Booker --- calling for Menendez to step down. The charges, by the way, would seem to dramatically undercut Trump/GOP claims that the DoJ has been "weaponized" by Democrats against them.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as New Orleans declares a drinking water emergency; Fracking is "devouring American's groundwater" amid persistent drought in a number of states; and FEMA girds to suspend critical recovery operations in several states if Republicans shut down the federal government as of this Saturday...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope you'll tune in!...

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Guest: UC-Santa Barbara labor historian and author, Nelson Lichtenstein...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2023 6:37pm PT  

The organized labor movement, for the first time in my adult-ish/politically-aware life, is actually on the rise in recent post-pandemic years. Or so it seems. We've got a longtime labor historian on today's BradCast who seems to confirm that point.

First, very quickly at the top of today's show, a few news headlines...

  • Texas' cartoonishly corrupt Republican state Attorney General, Ken Paxton, was acquitted over the weekend by the GOP-dominated state Senate which held a trial on 16 articles of impeachment sent to them by the GOP-dominated state House. Hopefully, a criminal reckoning still lies ahead for the degenerate Paxton.
  • Five Americans detained for years by Iran were released today as part of deal in which President Biden agreed to unlock some $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil assets. Their families are overjoyed. Republicans are pretending to be furious.
  • Wisconsin Republican election deniers in the state Senate, late last week, attempted to oust the Republican-appointed director of state elections just a few months before ballots must be formalized for next year's Presidential primary election in the critical battleground state. The dispute will likely make its way to the new liberal majority on the state's high court.
  • U.S. House Republicans are still battling amongst themselves to even come up with an agreement for a short-term extension to keep the Government open after the end of this month.
  • And, of course, the fallout continues from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's seemingly failed attempt to assuage the far-far right of his Congressional caucus by announcing, last week, an evidence-free impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden.

After dispatching with that news quickly, we spent the bulk of today's show focusing on what my guest describes as a very "exciting" moment for the U.S. labor movement, the first such moment, really, in decades.

On Friday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) called a strike, for the first time in history, at all three major automakers --- GM, Ford and Stellantis (the company formed by the recent merger of Fiat Chrysler with a French automaker) --- at the same time. Workers are demanding major increases in pay to match record profits of the Big Three auto makers, their soaring compensation packages for CEOs and to keep up with inflation.

The union seeks pay raises for workers of upwards of 40% to match what they claim the CEOs have enjoyed since the last contract negotiations in 2019. The CEOs either deny they've received that much of an increase in pay, believe they deserve it more than the workers do, and/or that their companies would go broke if those actually responsible for their record profits were similarly compensated. That, as the companies are transitioning to Electric Vehicle technology and new plants to make batteries for them, even as inflation has outpaced pay increases in recent years. Until the 2008 financial crisis, the workers contracts included cost-of-living increases.

All of this comes at a time when film and television writers and actors are also on strike, similarly seeking long-overdue raises and improved benefits packages, and as younger employees at fast food restaurants and huge companies like Amazon are also unionizing and striking to improve their working conditions following the worst of the pandemic years.

We're joined today by longtime labor historian and progressive author NELSON LICHTENSTEIN, Distinguished Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy. He is also the author of at least 16 books, including his latest, with Judith Stein, A Fabulous Failure: The Clinton Presidency and the Transformation of American Capitalism.

While Lichtenstein confirms that this is indeed an "exciting" time for the modern American labor movement for the first time in decades, and one of many similar "waves" that labor has seen over the past century, it is still "a pale reflection of what used to happen on a routine basis, up through the end of about the 1970s. There were ten times more strikes each year, twenty times, from the late 1930s on through the late '70s."

Still, he tells me, "there's a certain excitement here, because the unions have been in the doldrums [and] management has been in the driver's seat." in recent years, "and there is clearly a sense of militancy and excitement, and also new workers" participating in the movement.

We discuss, among many other things today with the very colorful professor...

  • The specific demands of the auto workers, the soaring profits of the companies and the compensation for the Big Three CEOs --- along with their various lies about whether meeting worker demands would put the companies "out of business," as Ford CEO Jim Farley claimed last week.
  • How President Biden is supporting the workers, responding to this critical moment and what what it will --- or could --- mean for his reelection chances next year, after years of aggrieved workers in the midwest turned against a Democratic Party which failed to have their back in recent decades. ("Biden wants to reindustrialize the Midwest and the mid-South," says Lichtenstein today. "This is where Trumpism has gained purchase. He thinks, I think correctly, at least in the long run, that if you have a more vibrant economy for ordinary workers, they won't be looking for rightwing authoritarian solutions.")
  • How Presidents --- from Reagan to Clinton to Obama to Trump to Biden --- have an effect on the rise, or fall, of labor movements.
  • Why support for unions is now at or above historic highs in the U.S. and how such moments in history have worked out in the past. For example, do workers end up winning these fights along with these surges in organized labor? Or do they shrink in response to public opprobrium if strikes continue over long periods. ("Traditionally, long strikes are losing strikes" he tells me. "But there are sometimes exceptions to the rule. I think in this case there's public support out there, a thirst for successful union negotiations, strikes, etc.," and, he adds, "winning begets winning.")

All of that and much more in a fascinating conversation with Lichtenstein on today's BradCast!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Political scientist, international relations Prof. Nicholas Grossman of Univ. of IL; Also: EU to embargo Russian oil; USPS sued to block new gas-guzzling truck contract; More bad news for Trump in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2022 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Putin's war in Ukraine continues, as do fears that it could expand into a nuclear World War III. That has led some on the anti-war Left to demand the U.S. and EU spend more energy pushing for a diplomatic solution rather than sending more deadly arms to Ukraine to help it defend itself. But that, according to our guest today, is a false choice. [Audio link to full show is posted after this summary below.]

First up, after recently cutting off the purchase of coal from Russia, the European Union is reportedly now prepared to embargo oil purchases as well. That's good news for Ukraine, very bad news for Russia, but also potentially bad news for American consumers as the global price of oil is likely to further spike as Big Oil CEOs in the U.S. continue to rake in record profits rather than increase production or lower gas prices at the pump. We discuss.

In not entirely unrelated news, as EarthJustice senior attorney Adrian Martinez vowed on this program back in February, his organization along with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the United Auto Workers (UAW), 16 states and the District of Columbia are now now suing the U.S. Postal Service to block its purchase of nearly 150,000 new gas-guzzling mail delivery trucks. The $11.3 billion contract, carried out by corrupt Donald Trump's corrupt Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, is unlawful on several bases, they argue. Most notably, the USPS failed to do an environmental impact study, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, until after inking their deal with Wisconsin defense contractor, Oshkosh Defense, to build the trucks.

The new gas-powered vehicles are designed to get just 8.6 mpg, barely more than the 30-year old trucks they're replacing and, to make matters worse, will be built in a new non-union facility in South Carolina, rather than the company's union shop in Wisconsin. “Once this purchase goes through, we’ll be stuck with more than 100,000 new gas-guzzling vehicles on neighborhood streets for the next 30 years," California's Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.

The states and the environmental groups --- with the support of the EPA and White House --- are hoping to move the USPS to deploy an all-electric fleet instead. Transportation is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and the postal fleet's 217,000 trucks is the largest share of the government's nonmilitary vehicles. Federal regulators estimate the new trucks will emit roughly the same amount of Earth-warming carbon dioxide each year as 4.3 million passenger vehicles.

Next, as Russia regroups in the east and south of Ukraine to prepare their next offensive, we're joined today by NICHOLAS GROSSMAN, international relations professor and political scientist at the University of Illinois. He's also Senior Editor at Arc Digital and author of Drones and Terrorism: Asymmetric Warfare and the Threat to Global Security.

This week, Grossman wrote a piece at The Daily Beast, responding to recent commentary from liberal academic icon and anti-war advocate Noam Chomsky, who is critical of the U.S. and NATO for continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons of war, rather than demand negotiations toward peace. As Chomsky argued, while sympathetic with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's position, increased arming of the beseiged nation fails to "pay attention to the reality of the world," which, without conceding to Russian demands via negotiations, will result in "the destruction of Ukraine and nuclear war."

But Grossman argues that's a false choice and that arming Ukraine is, in fact, at least right now, the best path to peace. "Even just framing it as diplomacy or war is a mistake," Grossman responds today, "in that war and diplomacy are not alternatives that go together. Just about every war ends with some sort of negotiated solution. Ukraine was willing to meet with Russia and did offer some concessions and those weren't enough. But, also, the actions on the ground are in effect a negotiation."

"The way that a lot of political science treats war is to think of it as a bargaining process. You have these two sides, Russia and Ukraine. Russia wants something and Ukraine really doesn't want to give it. And Russia's willing to kill to try to get it, and Ukraine is willing to kill to try to not give it. As long as that's the case, then the two of them don't actually know what they can force the other to accept. And so the war itself, the actual fighting, is to some extent a negotiating process. It is the fighting on the ground that is pushing both sides to figure out what exactly they can force the other one to accept."

"There will be peace," Grossman insists, "but the peace is going to look like many possible different things. One option is a peace where Ukraine is independent. Another option is where Ukraine is subjugated by Russia. Both of those are technically peace. But the Chomsky argument seems to be pushing more for the peace with Ukraine bowing down before Russia. And the problem with that is the Ukrainians don't want to, and there's nothing American can do to make them do it. So the action of 'Hey, we could have this option of getting them to sit down and then work it out and there would be peace, but instead we're not doing that, we're just causing war', just misunderstands that."

"As long as Russia and Ukraine want to fight, they're going to fight, and the United States can't stop that. So our choice is leave the Ukrainians on their own, or help them as they try to fight for independence."

There is, of course, much more to discuss with Grossman, including Chomsky's concerns (and many others'!) that this all leads to the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, as well as his thoughts on those who claim to be anti-war while blaming the U.S. for Russia's aggression. Please tune in for our very insightful and informative discussion today.

Finally, we close with some brighter news. A judge in New York has refused to end the $10,000/day fines levied against Donald Trump earlier this week, after the disgraced former President was found in contempt for failing to adequately respond to document subpoenas from New York state Attorney General Letitia James. Her civil probe into alleged "fraudulent" financial statements by Trump --- inflating or deflating his net worth as part of an alleged years-long bank, tax and insurance fraud scheme by Trump, his company and perhaps his children Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric --- is continuing toward a potential lawsuit. The Manhattan District Attorney is supposedly reviewing similar matters in consideration of criminal charges. Today, Judge Arthur Engoron denied Trump's motion to purge the contempt ruling (and the daily fines that go with it) after Trump submitted a one-page affidavit claiming he did not have any of the documents sought by James. He failed to explain who did or what he did to search for them.

"Mr. Trump's two-paragraph affidavit adds no useful information to the mix," said James before Engoron's decision today. "Mr. Trump merely states off the top of his head, with no hint that he conducted any type of search, that he has no documents in response to the December 2021 subpoena in his 'personal possession.'"

"It is simply not plausible that Mr. Trump authored only three documents dealing with the value of his assets and his wealth," the state AG wrote. The fines will continue to mount for now, as James' office makes their final determination as to whether or not to formally charge the former President in the coming weeks...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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