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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, May 24, 2024
Alito's an Insurrection Supporter. So, What Are Dems Gonna Do?: 'BradCast' 5/23/24
Also: SCOTUS allows SC racial gerrymander; OH still blocking Biden from ballot; Smartmatic says Newsmax destroyed evidence; Biden cancels still more student debt...
'Green News Report' 5/23/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Extreme weather unleashes disasters from Iowa to Mexico; DeSantis signs 'Don't Say Climate Change' law in FL; PLUS: Study finds microplastics in human testicles...
Previous GNRs: 5/16/24 - 5/14/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Costello Fails, Trump Bails, Defense Rests: 'BradCast' 5/22/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: Election results and problem reports from KY, OR, GA, CA and MD...
Trump Dark Money Group Dumping Tens of Millions on Racist, Transphobic Disinfo Ads: 'BradCast' 5/21/24
Guest: Victoria Cadostin; Also: Rudy arraigned in AZ; Trump defense rests in NY; More...
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2024 6:38pm PT  

It has been the most important week in the New York criminal trial of Donald J. Trump, as the last witness for the prosecution, Trump's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen took the stand. The court is off today, so we have time on today's BradCast to catch our breath for yet another Trump Trial "ketchup" show for you. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST, we've got a few noteworthy results from Tuesday's primary elections in Nebraska, Maryland and West Virginia, where, once again --- other than in WV --- Joe Biden outperformed Donald Trump among their respective party voters. Yes, the zombie campaign of Nikki Haley keeps on going. The former South Carolina Governor, who dropped out of the race months ago at this point, won 20% of the GOP vote in MD, while she and one other GOP candidate (that few have heard of) won about the same percentage among Republicans in Nebraska. In both states, Biden outpaced Trump among his own party's primary voters. FWIW.

On Wednesday, Biden threw down the gauntlet to challenge Trump to two early debates hosted by media outlets --- in a studio, without an audience --- rather than by the non-partisan Committee on Presidential Debates. The Biden-Harris Campaign explained their several reasons for pre-empting the CPD in a letter. They are mostly good ones. Among them, the fact that the group has failed to update its schedule for debates to hold them before tens of millions of Americans have already cast their ballots this year via early and absentee voting.

Trump quickly accepted the challenge, and within hours the pair had agreed to allow CNN host the first debate in Atlanta on June 27, and ABC to host the second on September 10.

THEN, it's on to today's coverage of noteworthy news from the 5th week of the first-ever criminal trial of a former American President. We're joined again today for insight and commentary by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning Salon columnist and Hullaballoo blogger, and former attorney and former Republican KEITH BARBER, who now blogs on legal matters as "KeithDB" at the progressive Daily Kos.

Among our many topics of discussion today...

  • Parton discusses the embarrassing parade of elected Republican deplorables now showing up at the courthouse in Manhattan --- mostly in red ties and navy suits --- to display their love for the boss, audition to become his Vice Presidential nominee, and/or say the things that the Court has barred Trump from saying via a gag order. Among the "toadies [who] came a-croaking," as Barber quips: Senators JD Vance (OH) and Tommy Tuberville (AL), Rep. Byron Donalds (FL), Gov. Doug Burgham (ND), Vivek Ramaswamy, and, perhaps most shamefully from the former "Rule of Law" party, House Speaker Mike Johnson (LA). "These people are playing to Donald Trump," explains Parton, along with the warning that many of them are "the Michael Cohens the future."
  • This week's critical testimony of Michael Cohen --- who Parton describes as a "diminished, humiliated man sitting on the witness stand having to admit, over and over again, that he was a liar, a fool, a dupe, he got sent to jail, all in service to Donald Trump" --- and the "smoking gun" bank statement featuring proof of Cohen's $130,000 hush-money payment to porn storm Stormy Daniels. That document, we have now learned, also features Cohen's own hand-writing and that of former (now jailed for perjury) Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. Their marginalia details how the falsified reimbursements to Cohen, fraudulently described in the Trump Org's books as "legal retainer" fees, would be made in $35,000 monthly payments by Trump during his first year in the White House. But, as importantly, Cohen testified that Trump personally approved the fraudulent reimbursement scheme during a meeting at Trump Tower with both Cohen and Weisselberg present after Trump's hush-money scheme helped him to win the 2016 election.
  • Barber describes what he saw as a surprisingly limp start to cross-examination of Cohen by Trump's lead attorney, Todd Blanche, on Tuesday and how, frankly, Team Trump doesn't seem to have much to work with after the Prosecution spent much of their direct examination "inoculating the jury" to Cohen's many years of lying on behalf of Trump before he came clean and pleaded guilty to many of the crimes Trump is now being held to account for. Trump's attorneys have presented no alternative theory in the case, says Barber. Which also means they are unlikely to offer much, if any, defense case at all after the Prosecution rests. On Tuesday, they informed the judge that Cohen will be their final witness. Team Trump, meanwhile, is still pretending that Trump might actually testify. (He won't.)

Cohen's cross-examination of continues and likely completes on Thursday, and then the court will be off on Friday to allow Trump to go to his son Baron's high-school graduation (if the disgraced former President actually bothers to show up for it.) But it's been a fascinating and critical week of testimony so far, including Cohen's explanation of how he spent years "knee-deep in the cult of Donald Trump".

"Cult of Donald Trump"? What "cult of Donald Trump"?...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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A veteran reporter speaks out; DHS marshals election defenses; Lara Trump lies about ballots; Johnson lies about 'illegals' voting; Also: MTG's spectacular fail; Stormy wins the day; Biden finally cuts off Israel...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2024 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Why we're taking sides for democracy in this year's election. And why every real journalist should. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program (and not necessarily in this order)...

  • Journalist John Harwood: "As a Veteran Reporter, I've Always Valued Neutrality. But Trump's Threat To Democracy Should be the Biggest Political Story of 2024"
  • USA Today: "Exclusive: Homeland Security ramping up 'with intensity' to respond to election threats"
  • The RNC, recently taken over by Donald Trump in full, is now little more than an election denialist/voter suppression operation (and, of course, a personal ATM for Trump). They recently fired their newly hired election law expert for not pretending enough that the 2020 election was stolen; New co-chair Lara Trump is taking to Fox "News" to spread disinformation about absentee ballots and ballot counting; House Speaker Mike Johnson is introducing a bill to make it illegal for non-U.S. citizens to vote in federal elections --- which is already illegal --- and claiming that, while there may be zero evidence, "we all know intuitively that a lot of illegals are voting".

Also, some news since we last spoke...

  • Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tried and then failed spectacularly (thanks to help from House Democrats) to remove the Republican House Speaker again.
  • Stormy Daniels completed her testimony in Trump's 2016 election interference case in New York. The cross-examination, according to many reports, did not go well for Team Trump.
  • Joe Biden finally cuts off offensive weapons to Israel for Benjamin Netanyahu's promised threat of a full ground invasion in southern Gaza.

And finally...

  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as tornadoes leave trails of destruction in the U.S.; Florida bans "climate change" as hurricane season begins; House Republicans open a new pretend battle in their "War on Woke Appliances"; and U.S. culture finally begins to reflect climate reality...

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: 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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Guests: 'Driftglass' and Frances Langum of 'The Pro Left' podcast on (almost) everything we missed last week, and why it matters this week...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2024 5:40pm PT  

It may be April Fools Day, but its no joke that we are back on today's BradCast after a half-planned, half-doctor-advised Spring Break week off! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we left, it seemed like last week might prove to be a slow news week, with Congress on vacation, no primary elections last Tuesday and Trump's New York felony hush-money trial postponed a few weeks until this month.

Boy were we wrong about that. Last week was anything but a slow news week, and we've got the headlines today to prove it! To add some actual context, depth and insight to those headlines --- and to hold my hand after I'd been trying to look away for the past week --- we're joined by two old friends, though only one who you may have heard on this program before.

Our friend known mostly as 'DRIFTGLASS' is back with us again today. He is co-host, along with his wife, of The Professional Left podcast recorded each week from "Flyover Country, Illinois." He is also, today, celebrating his 19th blogiversary at the Driftglass blog, so we're honored he agreed to spend it with us!

And, as if that's not swell enough, his Pro Left Pod co-hosting wife, FRANCES LANGUM, who is also a longtime Associate Editor over at the Crooks & Liars blog, joins us as well today for a romping, rollicking, breathless review of much that we missed last week and why most of it still matters this week!

Among the huge number of topics from last week covered on today's program...

  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)'s vow to call for removing House Speaker Mike Johnson for his daring to work with Democrats to keep the government from shutting down by passing a long-delayed 2024 spending bill just over a week ago.
  • The failed attempted conspiracy theories forwarded by Russia and its supporters following the horrific massacre by ISIS-K at a concert venue in Moscow a week ago Sunday.
  • Donald Trump's failure to cough up a $454 million bond during the appeal of his New York civil fraud case and the various lifelines thrown to him (for now) by the Appeals Court in NY.
  • Trump's scammy, just-in-time merger of his failing social media site with a public company that could result in billions of dollars --- including "straight-up bribery" as Driftglass describes it --- for the disgraced former President.
  • Trump's New York criminal trial on 34 felony charges related to hush-money payments to porn-star Stormy Daniels to help him win the 2016 Presidential election is now set to begin on April 15. And, as Fran believes, Trump "will do anything to make the evidence that's going to appear in this case not come to trial." Including, she argues, even if he must "spend two or three nights in jail, violating the gag orders, in order to make this case not happen."
  • What the Biden Administration's decision last week to abstain from a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza may mean for Israel and for some on the Left in the U.S. And why, if you don't like what Israel is doing, Fran advises: "Don't elect Bibi Netanyahu President of the United States --- which is what Trump is."
  • Why NBC News' ill-considered hiring and then firing of former RNC Chair and attempted election thief Ronna Romney McDaniel matters.
  • What Arizona's failed 2022 Republican Gubernatorial candidate and election liar turned 2024 Senate candidate Kari Lake's decision not to contest the claims in an election fraud defamation lawsuit filed against her by Maricopa County's Republican County Recorder (and chief election official) Stephen Richer means and how Lake is hoping to be saved --- somehow --- by a victorious Trump this year. (We wish her the best of luck with that.)
  • The remarkable, 25-point Special Election victory last week by Democrat Marilyn Lands in Alabama who focused her campaign on reproductive rights and subsequently flipped a state legislative seat from "red" to "blue" after losing her race for that same seat by 7 points in the 2022 general election. What will a post-Dobbs, post-IVF general election look like in supposedly "deep red" AL and elsewhere this November?
  • The desperate-for-quick-cash former President and huckster-in-chief is now selling bibles for $59.99 a piece. Though, to be fair, this version also includes the U.S. Constitution. Has Donald Trump ever read either of them? Says Driftglass today: "Good thing he did this to raise money to pay for the court costs of paying off a [porn star] that he was sleeping with while his wife was nursing their child. So the circle of absolute blasphemy is now complete."
  • Joe Lieberman died last week.
  • Independent 2024 Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., currently on the ballot in 8 states, thrilled dozens with his announcement of his running mate last week, the former wife of one of Google's founders, Nicole Shanahan. Or, as Driftglass describes her, "a big bag of money who is as crazy as he is".

That's just some of the firehose of news from both last week and this that we cover in today's very lively BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Investigative journalist Josh Kovensky of Talking Points Memo; Also: Another huge Special Election night for Dems in NY, PA; WI inches closer to fair legislative maps; MI 'fake elector' says GOP lied to him...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2024 6:24pm PT  

A tranche of newly unearthed documents offer a clearer understanding of Team Trump's failed attempt to steal the 2020 election on today's BradCast, in which we also cover yet another better-than-expected Special Election Day for Democrats on Tuesday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First, some of the breaking headlines on today's horrific mass shooting at the end of the victory rally for Superbowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs. Not much is known as of airtime, beyond one dead, more than 15 injured and two (now three) said to be in custody, according to Missouri state officials.

Then, the House GOP, on behalf of the disgraced, twice-impeached former President was finally successful on Tuesday in passing Articles of Revenge Impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The do-over vote follows their embarrassingly botched effort at same last week. This week, they were able to pass the Articles by one single vote, 214-213, against three Republican defectors and a unified Democratic caucus for "charges" that are not even close to the "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" mandated by the Constitution. Both Articles are expected to die, one way or another, over in the Senate, where even Republicans have shown little interest in the charade.

GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson had to get those Articles passed yesterday, however, given what New York voters did on Tuesday, when the seat in the state's 3rd Congressional District, formerly held by disgraced, expelled and indicted con-artist, Rep. George Santos, was flipped from "red" to "blue" by former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi. He easily defeated Republican Mazi Pilip by almost 8 points in Tuesday's hotly-contested Special Election, according to the latest reported numbers. That was almost twice the margin predicted by even the most optimistic pre-election polls. The Dem victory in New York (and another in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night --- by 36 points!), again underscores the dearth of issues that Donald Trump's dysfunctional Republican Party has to run on or offer voters this year. Had House Repubs waited just one more day to vote on Articles of Impeachment, they would have lost again.

More apparent good news for voters and Democrats this week in Wisconsin, as the Republicans who control the wildly gerrymandered state Senate and Assembly have passed legislation to adopt new legislative district maps in advance of the 2024 elections, as ordered by the state's Supreme Court. The new maps are ones created by Democratic Governor Tony Evers. And though they don't promise a Dem majority for this year's elections, they do appear to be much fairer for voters. For more than a decade the GOP's gerrymandered maps resulted in nearly twice as many Rs as Ds in the state legislature in the otherwise very closely divided state. State Republicans approved Evers maps because they fear if the High Court selects a map it will be even worse for them. Evers has suggested he plans to sign the legislation.

Meanwhile, as Democrats continue to out-perform in 2024 elections, Republicans are busy in court defending their criminal efforts to steal 2020. A fake elector in Michigan on Wednesday testified that he was lied to by party officials that state legislators could select the phony Trump slate of electors over those for Biden, who state voters actually chose. This particular fake elector has decided to cooperate with prosecutors while 15 others are now facing serious jail time for their alleged conspiracy to forge phony Elector certificates.

And this week, we've got new news from the man who invented the fake electors scheme in the first place. A massive trove of emails, text messages and other documents have been turned over to Michigan prosecutors by former Team Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro and obtained by our guest today, investigative journalist JOSH KOVENSKY of Talking Points Memo. He has been detailing the documents in a new multi-part series this week at TPM which explores the attempted coup, hoped-for chaos, and the plan to pressure friendly members of SCOTUS.

Chesebro first dreamt up the fake elector plot for his own home state of Wisconsin in 2020, before he was asked by Team Trump attorneys, such as the disgraced John Eastman and Boris Ephstyn, to apply the same scam for phony electors in about seven swing-states following Trump's loss in November. They would be instrumental to the Trump team's failed legal efforts to steal the election.

The Chesebro documents shed new light on the failed "legal coup" which, as Kovensky reports, was not meant to be a one-day insurrection on January 6th, 2021, but to result in enough legislative chaos and trumped-up "questions" about the veracity of certified election results to force the U.S. Supreme Court to eventually settle the election themselves, ala Bush v. Gore twenty years earlier.

"What they really wanted was a stalemate in Congress" on January 6th, Kovensky explains. "And in that time, they would have used that stalemate to draw the country's attention to Congress, and then use that attention to put forth the campaign's completely nonsensical theories of voter fraud. That was the idea."

"If you talk to people who were around this, they'll say, 'Yeah, the invasion of the Capitol on January 6th destroyed that plan. Because it did draw attention to Congress, but there were no members of Congress there to make the case that there was voter fraud in the election," he tells me.

"The way the legal coup was meant to proceed was by halting the count," as detailed in the new docs obtained and reported out by Kovensky. "That's the key similarity between what the rioters on Jan. 6 ended up achieving by violent means and what the lawyers were trying to achieve just by procedural means. Which was that the count would have been stopped, [but] it would have been stopped indefinitely until potentially the Supreme Court stepped in to act and appoint Trump the winner."

So how did Chesebro --- who, until now, has not appeared, at least, to be a hard-right partisan ideologue along the lines of Eastman and Ephsteyn --- find his way into the vortex of Team Trump and the "legal coup" they were hoping to pull off? What is he hoping to accomplish by turning over these documents to prosecutors in MI and elsewhere since pleading guilty to one felony charge with no jail time in Georgia last year in exchange for testifying against his fellow conspirators? Will Trump be able to use Chesebro's documents and testimony to help himself in his own trials regarding his attempt to steal the 2020 election?

All of those questions and many more asked and answered about "The Cheese" and his documents on today's BradCast...

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Also: GOP House mulligan on Mayorkas impeachment; Senate passes Ukraine aid bill; Media's epic failure in coverage of Special Counsel Hur's obnoxious vindication of Biden in classified docs probe...
By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2024 6:03pm PT  

Once again today, we try to stuff a 10-pound show into a 5-pound BradCast. Wish us luck! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our many stories for your listening pleasure, amusement and outrage today...

  • Jon Stewart is back on The Daily Show! At least on Monday nights. At least for this year. And, boy howdy, was he missed. Other than looking about 20 years older, he literally hasn't missed a step over the 9 years since he's been away from the show, both comically and, more importantly, politically. His first night back included an epic opening monologue that framed the various concerns among Democrats about Joe Biden's age in a way that nobody else has or could. Hopefully, it helps to kick off the serious conversation that Democrats need to start having amongst themselves to begin coming to terms with the fact that one of the most effective and, yes, oldest Presidents of our lifetimes (or ever) will be running for re-election this November. We've got lots to say here. But, much more importantly, so did Stewart last night.
  • Battling a massive Nor'easter and racing the clock against whatever may happen in the Special Election for U.S. House in New York's 3rd Congressional District tonight, in the contest to fill the expelled Rep. George Santos' seat, House Republicans take a do-over on Tuesday after their embarrassing failed effort last week to Revenge Impeach the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. The first impeachment ever of a sitting cabinet members is not for any actual "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" as required by the Constitution, but for...something something ...border policy...something something. (And because they haven't been able to figure out yet how to Revenge Impeach Joe Biden.)
  • After insisting that any new aid package for Ukraine must include a massive new package for the U.S. Border Security. And then after striking a bipartisan deal with Democrats for that Border Security bill they insisted on. And then after insisting that any new aid for Ukraine not include a massive new package for the U.S. Border because Donald Trump told them to kill the Border provisions, because he needed an issue to run on in November....Senate Republicans (some of them anyway) joined Democrats after an all-night filibuster to pass a foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. House Speaker Mike Johnson, however, has already said he'll do everything he can to keep this National Security measure from ever being allowed up for a vote on the House floor. Because Donald Trump told him to.
  • In the greatest tradition of Banana Republic strongmen, Donald Trump is reportedly planning to install his own daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-Chair of the Republican National Committee and the Chair of his own Campaign as the RNC's Chief Operations Officer. The GOP takeover by a twice-impeached, four-time criminally indicted, one-term failed President is now all but officially complete.
  • And then we finally get to the Hur Report today and the corporate mainstream media's epically failed coverage of it's release by Special Prosecutor Robert Hur, who was appointed by Trump to the DoJ. Last week, the Dept. unsealed the full, unredacted, nearly 400-page report [PDF]. Hur was tapped by Attorney General Merrick Garland to probe the small number of classified documents that Joe Biden's attorneys discovered at one of his old office spaces and in his home.

    The headline for the report's release should have been "Special Prosecutor Fails to Find Evidence of Crimes in Biden Classified Docs Probe", at least if one bothers to read what Hur actually detailed in the bulk of his report.

    That, as Hur himself points out, by way of contrast to the many reasons that 40 criminal felony counts were brought against Trump under the Espionage Act after he stole tens of thousands of pages of highly classified documents upon leaving office and then refused to return them to the Government.

    "Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite," writes Hur on page 11. "According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it. In contrast, Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview. and in other ways cooperated with the investigation."

    The report went on for hundreds of pages, laying out exculpatory evidence after exculpatory evidence, as former DoJ prosecutors Andrew Weissman and Ryan Goodman detail. That, even as Hur rifled through Biden's personal diaries searching for evidence of a crime, as brilliantly highlighted by national security journalist Marcy Wheeler.

    But the screaming HEADLINE NEWS!!! that our corporate media took away from all of it in dozens and dozens of stories was that the Trump-appointed Hur included remarks in the report having nothing to do with whether Biden should be charged with a crime or not, but that Hur, not a medical professional, describes as the President having a "poor memory" and "diminished faculties".

    And you wonder why our country is going to hell in a handbasket?

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with coverage of a new type of Super Bowl EV ad; The big investment into the Trump campaign by Big Oil and Gas this year; and a jury award of $1 million to Pulitzer Prize-winning climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann in his defamation case against two far-right climate science liars and harassers...

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GOP chaos, faceplants and dysfunction in House, Senate, everywhere else; Also: Haley loses to 'none' in NV; O'Keefe forced to admit to fake 2020 'fraud' story; Listener mail on hand-marked ballots and Taylor Swift...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2024 6:31pm PT  

I'd say Tuesday was a high (or low?) watermark for GOP failure, but on The BradCast, we think it wise to never under (or over?) estimate them. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • Nikki Haley lost the one-person Republican Presidential Primary in Nevada by more than 30 points. (To be fair, it's not entirely her fault. Donald Trump rigged it. And he's setting up Republicans in the state for failure this November regarding the state's voting systems.) Joe Biden reportedly won his mostly one-person Democratic Primary in the state on Tuesday with nearly 90% of the vote.
  • With three different swing-state GOP state Chairs (in Florida, Arizona and Michigan) ousted in recent weeks in scandals related to allegations of rape, bribery, or financial impropriety (and Nevada's GOP Chair heading to criminal trial in a few weeks for forgery as a fake 2020 elector), Trump's once-favored Chair of the RNC, Ronna Romney McDaniel, is being pushed out in the middle of a Presidential election year. Why? Trump's MAGA faithful are trying to find someone, anyone ... anyone but him ... to blame for their repeated, post-2016 election humiliations. Why not Ronna?
  • But the humiliation continued on Tuesday, as newly tapped and freshly failed GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson engineered what Wall Street Journal described as "an embarrassment for the party", Punchbowl called "one of the most embarrassing days in recent House GOP history" (which is saying quite a lot!), and WaPo raved: "a stunning rebuke" for a months-long impeachment probe by Republicans hoping to identify "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" by Dept. of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Turns out, they couldn't even convince their full caucus that he'd committed any, and one heroic Dem showed up from his hospital bed amidst chaos on the House Floor to deliver Johnson and Marjorie Taylor Green's phony impeachment scheme an embarrassing final blow. At least for Tuesday night, in the first impeachment vote ever against a sitting member of the Executive Branch.
  • Actually, it wasn't the final blow on Tuesday night for House Republicans. Johnson held a subsequent vote for aid to Israel. It also went down in humiliating flames.
  • All of that comes on the heels of Congressional GOP insistence that they would block any aid package for Ukraine --- now facing a very real existential crisis and invasion from a hostile neighbor --- unless the bill included a massive amount of money for the U.S. southern border, where Trump and Republicans pretend there is an ongoing "existential crisis" and "invasion". So, Dems gave in and agreed with Senate Republicans to add a very hard-right border deal to the aid package --- only to see Trump throw a fit at a possible real solution for the only real(ish) election year issue he seems to have left. So now House Republicans are vowing they will only consider an aid bill for Ukraine (and Israel and Taiwan) if it doesn't include money for the U.S. southern border. Seriously. It's as insane and stupid and dysfunctional and embarrassing as it sounds. And, it might even be hilarious, but for the fact that democracy remains on the brink in Europe, as the near-entirety of the Republican Party now cowers to the personal whims of their four-time indicted cult leader.
  • Popular Republican criminal, pretend fake "pimp", and definitely fake "journalist" James O'Keefe quietly issued a tweet on Monday night, admitting that his reporting on 2020 election fraud in Pennsylvania was "wrong" and that he is "aware of no evidence or other allegation that election fraud occurred in the Erie [Pennsylvania] Post Office during the 2020 Presidential Election.” It took him four years and a begrudging lawsuit settlement to "correct" his false story about supposed massive mail ballot fraud by the USPS. Trump continues to fraudulently pimp that nonsense to this day. All of this on the heels of O'Keefe being pushed out of his own fake news organization, called Project Veritas, last year amid allegations of financial malfeasance and abuse of employees. Or, as his partner in the 2010 fake ACORN "pimp" hoax videos described it when quitting the group herself in December: "an unsalvageable mess --- one wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and financial improprieties."
  • Finally today, some listener mail with an important coda to our mind-blowing interview on Tuesday with Susan Greenhalgh, election integrity advocate and consultant on the just-completed civil suit trial by Marilyn Marks and the Coalition of Good Governance against the State of Georgia and its Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. The suit seeks to move the state from easily-hackable, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots; And, some email on Taylor Swift and the Superbowl, which I thought we decided we wouldn't be discussing this week on The BradCast?!!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: McHenry quits; Tuberville folds; DeSantis Never Back Down staffers back down; GOP officials indicted for 2022 election interference in AZ; GOP official's wife convicted on 52 counts of 2020 election fraud in IA...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2023 6:12pm PT  

It's impeachment madness on today's BradCast! Also, a whole bunch of Republicans are otherwise quitting, backing down or facing jail time. In other words, Tuesday. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), a U.S. Senator and grown man who goes by the name Tommy, finally backed down from his pointless, one-man, months-long blockade of promotions for more than 400 U.S. military officials. He had been protesting a Pentagon abortion policy that none of the officers in question had anything to do with. The Senate quickly promoted all of them by simple voice vote shortly thereafter.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announces he has "no choice" but to hold a floor vote for a (revenge) Impeachment inquiry of President Biden next week. The announcement follows the latest bombshell disclosure by Oversight Committee Chair and supergenius Rep. James Comer (R-KY) that Republican investigators have discovered secret monthly payments made by China to Joe Biden and laundered through his son, Hunter! Err...Three monthly payments of about a $1,400 each from Hunter Biden to his dad in 2018 to repay him for the purchase of a used truck the then former Vice President helped him buy. (Yes, the same bombshell loan repayment reported almost two years ago by the New York Post.)
  • The bow-tied, far-right, but not-insane-enough-for-today's-House-Republicans Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has had enough. He joined a growing number of colleagues announcing they will be quitting at the end of this term.
  • An important CORRECTION following my mention yesterday of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum dropping out of the GOP 2024 Presidential race, and the RNC announces the four candidates who have qualified to appear at Wednesday's night's "Presidential Primary Debate" in Alabama. (Neither Burgum nor Trump will be there. DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy and Christie will, for some reason.)
  • The three top officials for Ron DeSantis' "Never Back Down" super PAC have backed down. They quite over the weekend, joining a growing number of other Never Back Downers who have exited the Florida Governor's losing 2024 campaign in recent days.
  • Two Republican Cochise County officials, Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby, have been indicted on state charges in Arizona for conspiracy and interference of an election officer after refusing to certify the county's 2022 election results because...well, tune in.
  • Kim Taylor, the wife of Republican Woodbury County, Iowa Supervisor and failed GOP Congressional candidate has been convicted on 52 counts of election fraud-related charges for falsifying voter registrations and casting dozens of fraudulent votes in the names of others in the 2020 election. Her husband, Jeremy Taylor, named as a co-conspirator, has yet to be indicted for some reason.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report (and our only one this week, due to our coverage of this week's dumb GOP "Presidential Primary Debate") with a bit of surprisingly good news out of the U.N.'s COP28 climate conference this week in Dubai, and more good news on the Biden EPA's new rule that will eliminate all 9 million toxic lead water pipes across the entire nation...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Sleepwalking towards climate disaster...
By Brad Friedman on 11/14/2023 6:56pm PT  

Today's BradCast picks up, by and large, where yesterday's show warning, left off. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories covered today...

  • First up, it looks like the U.S. House has passed a Continuing Resolution to temporarily fund the federal government through early next year in advance of this Friday's otherwise scheduled shutdown date. With the farthest right of the GOP House conference balking, of course, Democrats were once again needed to save the day to pass the measure, which now heads to the Senate for likely adoption. New Speaker Mike Johnson's move is the exact same thing that got then Speaker Kevin McCarthy tossed from his Speakership by the extremists in his own caucus. Johnson, however, is apparently being given a pass, for now.
  • Then, we return to my argument from yesterday regarding the failure by most of the corporate media to properly inform the electorate about the two currently most likely candidates to win next year's 2024 Presidential nominations. In the case of President Biden, media are failing to accurately and proportionately report on his remarkable successes. In Donald Trump's case, they are still not fully covering the very real threat his own promised policies for a second term present to the nation.

    But some are getting it, including former Republican Congressman turned morning show host Joe Scarborough and his guest yesterday, global politics Professor Brian Klass. After Scarborough cited Trump's recent Nazi-like rhetoric for what it is, Klass made clear, in no uncertain terms: "I study the breakdown of democracy, and I don't know how to say this more clearly: We are sleepwalking towards authoritarianism, and people are not waking up to this."

  • After receiving blow-back for Trump, at a Veterans Day rally over the weekend, describing his perceived domestic enemies as "vermin", just as Hitler and Mussolini did before him, Trump Campaign spokesman Steven Cheung attempted to reject the criticism from some corners over the remarks...by doubling down in a statement promising that Trump opponents' "entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House.” --- Not really helping, Steve.
  • Moreover, after a number of chilling recent news reports cited Trump's own vows, along with his campaign's and affiliated outside rightwing groups to create extremist plans for a second term in office --- including promises to prosecute, jail and even execute opponents and to construct major "camps" to hold millions of immigrants and homeless Americans --- his Campaign's co-managers, Susie Wilies and Chris LaCivita, issued a statement hoping to downplay detailed policy plans issued by anyone but the campaign as "purely speculative" and "merely suggestions". Unfortunately, many of those plans have been discussed with media by former top White House officials and Trump loyalists like Stephen Miller at the suggestion of the Campaign itself. And, as the New York Times observes, "the most incendiary rhetoric and proposals have come from Mr. Trump’s own mouth."
  • A judge in Michigan, just before airtime today, rejected a challenge to Trump's candidacy under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars those from public office who, after taking an oath to defend the Constitution, “engaged in insurrection” against it. Despite the repeated historical use of the Amendment over the last 150 years or so since it's adoption, the judge claims that Congress must act before it can be used to block a Presidential candidate from the ballot. (After tonight's show, with more details now out, it is clear that --- as with last week's ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court in a similar challenge --- the judge's ruling is only in response to Trump's placement on the primary ballot. Both courts have left open further challenges to Trump's viability in a general election. Also, as with last week's Minnesota decision, the petitioners have vowed to immediately appeal the decision to a higher court.)
  • Meanwhile, Trump's criminal defense team in the Georgia conspiracy case against him and 18 others for attempting to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State, appears to be the source of leaked videos of three former Trump attorneys (Ken Chesebro, Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis) and Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall. Each have pleaded guilty in the case and have agreed to cooperate with prosecutors against the other defendants. The selective videos, leaked to both ABC News and Washington Post, are of the four defendants being interviewed by Fulton County prosecutors just before they copped their pleas. They reveal a number of new details in the case, but appear designed to undermine their witness testimony, send a threatening message to other potential cooperators and witnesses, and otherwise highlight Trump's expected defense in the case. Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis is now seeking an emergency order from the judge to prevent any further leaks of discovery evidence. The judges in Trump's other criminal cases would be wise to take notice of what he appears to be doing in Georgia.
  • The U.S. Government released a massive, 2,200-page report today, its Fifth National Climate Assessment, finding that climate warming in the U.S. is now outpacing the global average and warning that every part of the country is being adversely affected by worsening heat waves, drought, wildfires, heavy downpours, and more. Minority communities are being disproportionately harmed. The cost of climate crisis damage to Americans is now averaging more than $150 billion each year, with last year clocking in at $178 billion. Along with the release of today's report, President Biden announced $6 billion in new investments --- paid for by the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act --- to "make communities across the country more resilient to climate changes...focused on key climate goals, including modernizing our aging electric grid to withstand extreme weather...Reducing flood risks to communities. Improving drought resilience. Support conservation for our national parks...And advancing environmental justice for disadvantaged communities, because they’re the ones always left behind."
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report --- for which the new National Climate Assessment came in too late today --- to report on last week's GOP Presidential Primary debate in Miami(!) which failed to even mention climate change; Australia's new treaty with the nation of Tuvalu as it disappears for good beneath the rising seas; and much more...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Is Brad actually dead?; Why has the U.S. 'paused' gun exports?; Does the new House Speaker have a bank account?; Also: Santos expulsion fails (for good reason); A five-dollar question for Nikki Haley...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2023 5:58pm PT  

Join us on today's BradCast, as we dig deep to explore several fascinating, mysterious stories, some of which may remain a riddle for all time. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the mysteries and other news stories we either solve, or do not, on today's program...

  • No matter what you may read on the Internet, I am not actually dead...At least to my knowledge.
  • Why did the U.S. Commerce Department quietly "pause" gun exports for the next 90 days almost a week ago? (The answer may be here.) And why haven't I heard about it until now?
  • Why does newly elected GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson appear to have no bank accounts or assets of any type? Is that even possible? And, if so, is it a good or bad thing?
  • Why did 31 House Democrats vote against expelling serial liar and federally indicted New York Republican Rep. George Santos on Wednesday? The answer may satisfy you.
  • Why does Desi Doyen's latest Green News Report always air at the end of The BradCast? Even when it contains good news about the Biden Administration's massive new environmental investment in rural America?

Those mysterious stories and other questions asked and occasionally answered on today's program! (But, seriously, I'm not dead!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Journalist Russ Baker; Also: House GOP scheme uses Israel to attack IRS; WI Guv sues Legislature for blocking government functions...
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2023 7:03pm PT  

I'm guessing my use of his name in the headline will get me even further downgraded on Twitter/X when posting today's BradCast there. So be it. It's just one more example of how bad it has become. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

That is not just hyperbole. Ask the guy in Berlin who is now suing Twitter to have his account reinstated on the social media site after data he compiled was used by the New York Times and CNN to detail how Twitter restored accounts of far-right extremists after Elon Musk purchased the company last year. More on Musk in a moment.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found [PDF] on Wednesday that Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson's proposal to "pay for" $14.3 billion in emergency aid to Israel amid its war with Hamas by "offsetting" the cost with cuts to the IRS budget would cost the U.S. tens of billions in revenue and increase the federal deficit. The plan, according to the CBO, would prevent the IRS from enforcing tax laws against the wealthy and corporations to the tune of $26.8 billion in lost revenue and would add $12.5 billion to the deficit over the next ten years. The White House describes proposal as a "non-starter" and has vowed to veto it if it should ever show up on his desk. It won't. In the meantime, a bipartisan plan for emergency aid to Israel, Ukraine and for the U.S. southern border continues to move forward in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The U.S. House is hardly the only dysfunctional Republican-run legislative body these days. On Tuesday, Wisconsin's Democratic Governor Tony Evers filed suit at the state's Supreme Court against the gerrymandered GOP state House and Senate, accusing them of failing to carry out basic government functions, like signing off on previously-legislated pay raises for some 35,000 University of Wisconsin employees; blocking new state agency rules for updating commercial building codes and ethics standards for licensed social workers, therapists and other professional counselors.

Compared to the ongoing disaster in the Middle East, however, perhaps those issues are small potatoes. The death toll in Gaza continues to quickly escalate in the wake of Israel's unrelenting response to Hamas' barbaric attack on October 7. But, as bad as it all is, it has been made unnecessarily worse thanks to a flood of disinformation on social media, most notably, on Elon Musk's rebranded Twitter/X.

We're joined today by longtime investigative journalist RUSS BAKER, now Editor-in-Chief of Who, What Why and publisher of the "Going Deep" newsletter where he recently described Elon Musk as "Chaos Agent #1". (Don't tell Trump. He might sue for the title!)

"Let's be realistic about what X, formerly known as Twitter, is," Baker argues today. "It is the world's largest public address system ... Essentially, what has happened here is that the P.A. system has been taken over by the school bully. Normally, the school would never allow such a thing. But that's all gone out the window" now that the bully --- one of the richest men in the world --- actually owns the whole school!

We've discussed just some of the disinformation that has been flooding out from Twitter of late, and the increasing danger of disinformation via social media with expert Lee McIntyre in recent weeks. But what, if anything, can --- or even should --- be done about it? There are a lot of tricky Constitutional issues here, at least in the U.S. The EU, on the other hand, has recently begun to crack down on Musk for failing to moderate the increasing tidal wave of disinformation since he purchased Twitter, and the tsunami which has followed in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.

Aren't our hands largely tied here because of the First Amendment? Says Baker: "I am a person who doesn't just automatically accept any such claims, including those who say we can't fix the Electoral College, we can't do anything about the Constitution. I think all of those things are up for discussion. I am not an expert, but I believe there are ways, if there is a will, that there are forms of regulatory relief, issues about monopoly practices, there are many, many things that could possibly be applied to him. I would like to see a discussion happening now about this."

And so we have such a discussion today. Or begin one. On the possibility of an outside council of news organizations and social media organizers, to develop best practices for social media and content moderation. On the necessity of independent media to counter disinformation both on social media and from governments. And what FDR and JFK had to say when it became clear that the "concentration of wealth and unbridled power, and our society's failure to address the threat that represents to the public interest" needed to be addressed in their times as well...

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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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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/26/2023 10:42am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Powerful Category 5 Hurricane Otis slams into Mexico and the history books; Demand for fossil fuels will peak by 2030, IEA projects; Big Oil doubles down, acquiring new fossil fuel reserves; PLUS: New Republican House Speaker Rep. Mike Johnson is a climate science denier (of course)... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Cyclone Tej causes dramatic flooding in Yemen; Debunking 21 misleading myths about EVs; Inside the campaign to put an oil boss in charge of the COP28 climate summit; Earth's vital signs worse that at any time in human history; Company works to replace fossil fuel heating with batteries; Fossil fuel firms spent millions on US lawmakers who sponsored anti-protest bills... PLUS: The trillion-dollar quest to make green steel... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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Guest: Pulitzer Prize-winning business columnist Michael Hiltzik; Also: Otis becomes Cat 5 hurricane in 12 hours before slamming Acapulco...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2023 6:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover, once again, the thoroughly corrupted "conservative" cabals in both the U.S. House and U.S. Supreme Court as they flex their ill-gotten powers.

But FIRST...on our Green News Report yesterday, we briefly referenced a storm named Otis in the Pacific as a "tropical storm" heading toward Mexico. It was set to be the fourth major storm in a month to slam its Pacific coast. We also happened to discuss a new study of recent hurricanes in the Atlantic, finding that warming waters due to climate change have increased the speed and strength, along with the rapid intensification, of such storms. That behavior, as it turns out, was on full display last night with Otis, which stunned meteorologists and public officials by spinning up from a tropical storm during yesterday's show to become a major Category 5 hurricane in less than 12 hours, before slamming into Acapulco.

With some one million residents and tourists in the resort city caught largely by surprise, we await news and hope for the best, as power and cell phone coverage has been down most of the day, and major roads are said to be unpassable in the region following the catastrophic storm. In addition to being the fourth major storm to slam the coast, it was also the most powerful ever. Acapulco has never seen higher than a Cat 1 hurricane --- until now.

NEXT...The dysfunctional U.S. House Republican majority was finally able to re-open Congress on Wednesday, after selecting a new House Speaker. It was their fourth try after moving to remove Kevin McCarthy more than three weeks ago. Last night the party nominated --- and crucially, today, actually elected on the House floor --- hard-right Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson as their new leader.

Johnson is being described today as the "architect" of the GOP's attempt to block the certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory in 2020. He is a close all of Donald Trump; an ardent religious opponent of abortion rights, supporting jail time and "hard labor" for those who carry them out; he supports government restrictions on medical care for trans people; and opposes further aid to Ukraine to help defend democracy against imperialistic fascism.

In other words, he shares the same positions as Ohio's Jim Jordan --- whose Speakership was blocked by so-called Republican "moderates" last week --- only more so. Apparently, despite their claims, it wasn't Jordan's positions that those "moderates" objected to. It was the fact that Americans knew about them. The little-known Johnson shares no such baggage. So they're fine with him.

FINALLY...The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear another case in December ginned up by the billionaire-funded, rightwing legal mill that looks for --- or creates out of whole cloth --- aggrieved victims of tyrannical government laws and regulations. From fake website designers worried they may someday have to create a site for a same-sex couple, to red state attorneys general falsely claiming that loan agencies are suffering from President Biden's attempted student loan debt relief program, there seems to be an endless supply of "victims" that the industry is able to come up with to parade before the far-right SCOTUS supermajority that the same rightwing billionaires continue to lavish with luxury gifts, travel, and even just cash money.

But Moore v. United States goes even farther. Its proponents hope for a ruling from their friends on the High Court majority which might knee-cap a future progressive wealth tax, akin to the ones long-proposed by Senators like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Warren's proposal, for example, would add a 2% tax --- two cents of every dollar --- to those with an accrued wealth of more than $50 million. Currently, unrealized gains in the value of real estate portfolios, stocks and bonds, fine art, etc., are not taxed, even at death, allowing for heirs of the richest 0.1% to inherit and continue generational, dynastic fortunes of billions of dollars.

The wealthy can then borrow against those accumulated assets without ever having to cash them in, which would otherwise trigger a capital gains tax (at an already very low rate.) "That is a scam and a scandal," my guest tells me today. Taxing just a portion of that wealth would result in "trillions of dollars of revenue for the U.S. Treasury that could be captured just by instituting a small percentage wealth tax on the richest families [with] more than $50 million in assets." That revenue could then be used for universal childcare, healthcare, education, and pretty much everything else that Republicans like to claim that America is just too broke to be able to afford.

So how will the Supreme Court be able to kill a still non-existent "wealth tax", when the Constitution and long-standing precedent prevents it from issuing advisory rulings on issues that aren't currently resulting in actual harm to any victims?

We're joined today by the L.A. Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning business columnist, investigative journalist and author MICHAEL HILTZIK to explain. He argues the case "stinks to high heaven," citing opponents of this case who charge that the GOP billionaire patrons of Justices Sam Alito and Clarence Thomas "have their fingerprints all over this case."

"The miasma of corruption really is laid all over this case," asserts Hiltzik. "I think it's one of the reasons that legal scholars who are watching this are very concerned that, once again, the Supreme Court's conservative majority is going to step out of its proper limited role, and essentially legislate" from the bench. "When the Supreme Court, or any federal court, actually rules on something that is not a real case or controversy, then almost by definition they are making new law, they are legislating. That is something under the Constitution that they are not supposed to do."

As Hiltzik notes, we are now seeing more and more of that from this corrupted Court. So, how can it possibly be stopped at this point? Hiltzik, who has written best-selling books about FDR's New Deal and the robber barons who originally corrupted the entire system, has some ideas on that today that as well...

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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