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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, May 27, 2024
Sunday 'Red Flag' Toons
THIS WEEK: The Alito Stomp ... Brave, Sir Donald ... Darling Nikki ... Uncle Sam's Toast ... And more warnings blowing in the wind of our latest collection of the week's best toons...
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
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change worsened extreme heat in Asia; Media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
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...


Caselaw demands judges avoid mere 'appearance' of impropriety...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/19/2023 1:02pm PT  

Constitutional legal scholar Laurence Tribe is charging that federal statute mandates that Donald Trump-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon recuse herself from presiding over United States v. Donald J. Trump.

28 U.S. Code §455(a) provides that...

Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned. (Emphasis added)

The criminal case against the former President is a 37-count indictment related to his alleged unlawful retention of national defense documents, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Tribe argued that Judge Cannon, in the earlier civil case filed by the former President last year, had not merely been overturned by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal but also rebuked for what amounted to a lawless effort to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Her unwarranted intervention was such that, in Tribe's view, "no person could say" that the 455(a) standard mandating recusal "had not been met."

The Harvard law professor is but one of many legal experts calling for Cannon's recusal, as caselaw would appear to support their arguments...

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

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Also: More disturbingly good news from SCOTUS and the lower courts!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2023 6:20pm PT  

Seriously worried about what's going on at SCOTUS. Yet another good decision today. Are they okay? And what does all of this good news mean for their opinions yet to come before term's end at the end of this month? We worry about that and more on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Nonetheless, most of our stories today are, happily, not horrible. Among the many covered today...

  • An obnoxious Fox "News" chyron describing President Joe Biden as a "wannabe dictator" on the day of Donald Trump's federal arraignment on 37 criminal felony counts (and their ham-fisted crocodilian "cover up" thereafter) offers a telling illustration of how the Trump Mind Virus has been implanted into the poisoned brains of his cult followers.
  • The faintest of cracks may be emerging in the otherwise seemingly solid GOP support for their disgraced, criminal defendant former President, including an unmistakable plunge of some 15 points for Trump in Ipsos/Reuters polling among Republicans from April to June.
  • The attorney for 2016 Russian election interference whistleblower Reality Winner, however, has a few thoughts on our actual two-tiered justice system.
  • After stunningly good decisions last week protecting both the Voting Rights Act and Medicaid, the otherwise-corrupted U.S. Supreme Court did it again today, with a 7 to 2 ruling upholding the Indian Child Welfare Act, with Amy Coney Barrett(!) writing the opinion that rejects "all of petitioners' challenges to the statute". Still to come by the end of the month, however: SCOTUS rulings on Affirmative Action in college admissions; the Independent State Legislature theory decision that could wreak utter havoc in the 2024 Presidential election; and whether they will deign to allow Biden to waive up to $20,000 for each federal student loan borrower.
  • We've also had some very good news from the lower federal courts as well in recent weeks, including a U.S. District Court judge rejecting Tennessee's Republican Gov. Bill Lee's attempt to stifle free speech by unconstitutionally banning drag shows, and a temporary injunction on portions of Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' unspeakably cruel law that places his state's Big Government between doctors and medically necessary treatments for trans children. That, in a state where DeSantis laughably ran for reelection last year with the slogan "Freedom Lives" in Florida.
  • Of course, as we've learned since 2016, for GOP American Idiots infected with the Trump Mind Virus, "The Cruelty is the Point". They seem to think it will somehow help them gain or hold power. Illinois' Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, however, in his Commencement Address at Northwestern University this week, has some helpful advice on how to spot an idiot. (Hint: Their cruelty is a dead giveaway.)
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with troubling news for the Summer on both sides of the Canadian border and in Texas. But, there is also a very encouraging landmark trial playing out right now in a Montana courtroom...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2023 5:41pm PT  

Not only was it another historic Arraignment Day on today's BradCast, but it was also an opportunity to wish a very happy 77th birthday to our disgraced former President, who was celebrated with the circus-like atmosphere of a smattering of supporters, protesters and observers outside of the federal courthouse in Miami today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Donald J. Trump's attorney pleaded "Not Guilty" on his client's behalf Tuesday, during his historic arraignment in the Southern District of Florida on 37 federal felonies related to his theft of hundreds of highly classified documents and repeated attempts at obstructing the government from taking them back. Those attempts included, according to the indictment [PDF] filed last week by Special Counsel Jack Smith, efforts to have his attorney Evan Corcoran commit a list of crimes on his behalf.

Former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut, detailing the seriousness of these charges yesterday, explained how highly the documents in question were classified and the "bone-chilling" concerns about specific foreign nationals who visited Mar-a-Lago under false identities as Trump stored dozens of boxes of stolen documents haphazardly in a ballroom, a bathroom, a storage room and other unsecured locations at his resort property. "There's never been anything remotely like it," Aftergut contended, adding that Trump's legal peril is "extreme" and "that prosecutors' obligation, should there be convictions, would be to ask for the maximum term of imprisonment available." That would amount to decades in prison for the Birthday Boy.

We're joined today for special coverage analysis by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning columnist at Salon and Hullabaloo, and KEITH BARBER, a former Republican attorney who now writes for Daily Kos and Medium.

Among the many points discussed in our very lively conversation today...

  • Whether Democrats previously critical of Attorney General Merrick Garland may now have changed their tune.
  • The breathtaking nature of this "slam dunk" indictment and these charges.
  • Whether Trump's problems finding lawyers to represent him will help or hurt in this case.
  • What a lawyer would normally do when a client asks them to violate the law, as Trump allegedly did with his attorney --- and, now, likely star witness --- Corcoran.
  • What should we make of the horrible Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon currently presiding over this case?
  • Are we any closer to knowing why Trump refused to return the documents, despite repeated polite requests from the National Archives for over a year and a subpoena from the Dept. of Justice?
  • What legal strategy should an attorney recommend at this point for Trump --- for example, to seek a plea deal to avoid jail time --- and would Trump even consider such deal?

We also spend some time debunking (yet again) the absurd claims still being made by duped Republicans that Trump is somehow the persecuted victim of unequal justice and that "Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton did the exact same thing, but were never charged for it!" Over the weekend, dopey, dishonest Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) even ridiculously claimed on Fox "News" that Trump "decided not to pursue any kind of prosecution of Hillary Clinton" and that "Joe Biden could have made the exact same decision, but he didn't. He allowed a SWAT raid on the very secure residence of President Trump."

Every point made by the lying Senator is simply false. Biden had nothing to do with the FBI search warrant approved by a federal judge after finding probable cause that Trump was committing several serous crimes, including those he's now been charged with under the Espionage Act, at his South Florida resort.

As to the handful of classified documents found at an old office of Biden's and at his Delaware home, Barber explains: "Of course they say, 'They should be treated the same!' So I say, fine, let's treat them the same. Donald Trump was not charged for anything related to any of the documents that he voluntarily returned. So, if you're going to treat them similarly, then Biden [who immediately returned all documents inappropriately found in his possession] should not be charged for any documents that he voluntarily returned. It's simple. And that is what's going to happen."

For her part, Parton dismantles Johnson's stupidly false claims about Trump having "declined" to prosecute Clinton. "There were five investigations into the Clinton email server," she explains, after writing about this very point on Monday. "There was the original FBI investigation. There was a DOJ Inspector General's investigation. There were two State Department investigations. And Bill Barr himself...named a US Attorney in Utah to also look into all that stuff. They all concluded the same thing: Hillary Clinton didn't break any laws with this."

"The facts of the case don't match at all on the Clinton thing," says Parton. "All of this is nonsense, it's what-aboutism. It is, of course, what they would do. And there are a million cases of poor schmucks that worked in the government that did much less than anything that Trump did, much lesser kinds of offenses, that actually went to jail."

All of that and much more in today's special coverage!

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, because even as Trump now faces a total of 71 criminal felony charges in both New York and at the federal level (with more to come soon), our worsening climate crisis is undeterred and making life much much worse (and deadly) for everyone on the planet...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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37 federal felony counts for Trump; Calls for violence by top GOP officials, supporters; And callers ring in on all of it today, including many who are still duped by the world's greatest-ever criminal conman...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2023 5:52pm PT  

Thanks, kudos and apologies to our friend Tom Sullivan of Hullabaloo for the headline of today's BradCast (even if he smartly picked it up from someone else). [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We've had a weekend of experts and pundits on the TV opining on Donald J. Trump's Friday federal indictment [PDF] on 37 criminal felony counts related to Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation of Trump's theft of documents from the White House and multiple attempts to conceal his crimes. So it was very good to hear from a lot of listeners on the matter on today's program!

That, as experts warn that comments from Republican elected officials and wannabe elected officials could result in acts of lone wolf violence, if not an organized January 6th-style attack. Just some of those folks would include GOP Trump supporters like Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who described the attempt at accountability for Trump's criminal violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice a "war phase" requiring an "eye for an eye". And wannabe elected officials, like Arizona's losing Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake warning "Merrick Garland and Jack Smith and Joe Biden" that she and 75 million Americans who support Trump "are card-carrying members of the N.R.A." at the Georgia state GOP convention over the weekend.

Even Trump's own, wildly corrupt Attorney General Bill Barr scraped up the decency to tell Fox "News" on Sunday that the evidence in the indictment by 23 random citizens in South Florida last week demonstrates Trump is likely "toast" for having stolen highly classified state secrets belonging to the American people, not to the former President. One would think the photos in the charging documents alone, of dozens of document boxes fill with sensitive materials, stored haphazardly at Mar-a-Lago in a public ballroom, a bathroom, a storage space, his office and bedroom, would turn even the most braindead 2016 MAGA "Lock Her Up!" supporter against their cult leader.

But, alas, there remain plenty of disinformed folks out there who still actually believe Trump's preposterous claims belied by his own well-documented actions recorded on tape and by his own attorneys who documented his attempts to use them to commit crimes such as hiding the documents on his behalf and lying to federal officials about them.

And, yes, some of those still-duped folks (who admit they didn't bother to read the indictment) called us on today's show to try and make the case for Trump. A lively call-in segment ensued. Hope you'll enjoy it!

The disgraced former President will be arraigned on Tuesday in Miami at 3p ET, after which he will officially be facing a gob-smacking total of 71 criminal felony counts at both the federal level and in New York state. But there are still more felony charges to come before America's Summer of Accountability concludes...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Jack Smith appears! Trump indictment as soon as 'this week'?...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2023 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The whole scam seems to be collapsing in on them. Sad! [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

  • Trump troubles: Last week, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer was sentenced to three years in federal prison for unlawfully keeping classified documents related to national defense in his home. If he got three years for what he reportedly did, life should be getting very very difficult for what Donald Trump did when he stole thousands of pages of documents, many of them highly classified, upon leaving office, stored them at his home, and obstructed attempts by the federal government to retrieve them. A former federal prosecutor believes an indictment in Special Counsel Jack Smith's stolen document case against the former President could come as early as "this week". Given the Trump attorneys meeting at DoJ on Monday, and the apparent panic exhibited by Trump at his dumb social media site thereafter, that prosecutor could be correct.
  • More trouble for more GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters: Last week, longtime GOP fraudster and fake journalist James O'Keefe was sued by his own fake news organization for abusive behavior and allegedly ripping off the company, including, for example, for $150,000 in luxury car services. This week, Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips, the "voter fraud" fraudsters behind the discredited 2,000 Mules film and who run the phony, rightwing True the Vote nonprofit, were called out in a complaint to the IRS for allegedly violating state and federal laws in using the nonprofit to enrich themselves with unlawful loans, unreported lucrative contracts and other apparent self-dealing.
  • Kurt Cut the Wires: Since 2020, we've been reporting on Republican election officials unlawfully breaching, copying, and distributing computerized voting system software in states such as Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and, in most detail (where there is more coming soon, methinks), Coffee County, Georgia. Those incidents appear to have been part of a multi-state conspiracy overseen by disgraced Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and hatched in the Oval Office with Donald Trump and others on December 18, 2020, according to testimony given to the House January 6 Committee. But, in what appears to be a separate (if somewhat related) incident this week, a nonprofit group in Missouri is calling out the Director and Deputy Director of Elections in the very right-leaning town of St. Charles for breaking the seals on voting machines and cutting wires inside them to prevent what they believe is the ability for the systems to connect to the Internet. Tampering with voting systems is a violation of several state laws. And these yutzes, Director Kurt Bahr and Deputy Director Mark Parkinson, appear to admit to the whole thing. On video tape. Viewable at KurtCutTheWires.com.
  • Unequal justice: Last year, just before the primary elections in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis called a televised press conference in the Democratic stronghold of Broward County to announce the arrests of 20 former felons for voter fraud just days before the state's 2022 primary elections. The stunned and mostly people of color --- who were allowed to register and vote by the state --- were rounded up on video tape for what DeSantis declared to be unlawful voting as former felons convicted on charges related to murder or sex crimes. But, as the Orlando Sentinel reports this week, a State Attorney in a Republican stronghold, just months earlier, "declined to prosecute six voter fraud cases that involved circumstances strikingly similar to the cases later brought against 20 ex-felons by Gov. Ron DeSantis' election police unit and statewide prosecutors." Those cases were dismissed because, as the prosecutor determined, their fraud was "not willful"...just like the 20 who DeSantis had rounded up and arrested in Broward just days before last year's elections. Despite DeSantis' promise at his presser last year that there would be more arrests, there have only been four. The six from Republican Lake County are not among them.
  • GNR returns!: Desi Doyen is back with our first Green News Report since returning from a much-needed break last week. Somehow, she manages to get us all caught up with everything we missed and in just 6 minutes!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Proof that McCarthy and party couldn't care less about the debt or deficit; Also: Trump criminal woes worsen by the day; TX joins GA in new laws to undermine elections in Democratic strongholds...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2023 6:40pm PT  

With their policy positions wildly unpopular among Americans, is it any wonder that Republicans are now doing little more than lying about their beliefs, crashing the economy, using the government to funnel money to wealthy campaign donors, and otherwise adopting laws, where ever they still can, to prevent non-Republicans from winning elections? And those are their non-violent strategies, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories today...

  • A 19-year old from Missouri, apparently with a Nazi flag in his rented truck, is charged with "threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president or member of their family; assault with a dangerous weapon; reckless driving; destruction of federal property; and trespassing," after attempting to ram the truck into Lafayette Square across the street from the White House on Monday night. MAGA Republicans online seem to think the Nazi flag was an FBI setup to make them look bad. They may not have thought through that argument very well.
  • TAP's Ryan Cooper details the evidence that makes it plain as day that Congressional Republicans couldn't care less about the national debt or budget deficits in their pretend case against raising the statutory (and, almost certainly unconstitutional) Debt Ceiling law. If they actually cared about the debt or deficits, they wouldn't oppose raising revenue, among other things. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's fight, on behalf of his party, is not about debt. It is about using terrorism to crash the economy in hopes of hurting Democrats before the next election. They've been pulling this trick for years now. Perhaps Democrats should stop falling for it?
  • According to separate reports from WaPo and NYT last night, Special Counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed information from the Trump Organization on its business dealings with China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman since 2017, as part of his probe of the documents, many of them highly classified, that Donald Trump stole from the White House upon leaving office. Now why would Smith want to do that?
  • Trump appeared remotely in New York court today to be instructed by the judge overseeing his 34 felony count indictment in the Stormy Daniels hush-money case, that he may not share certain evidence from prosecutors over social media. He may not even view some of it without his lawyers present. A date was also set for the beginning of his trial, on March 25, 2024, smack-dab in the middle of next year's Presidential primary season. Should be fun.
  • In a somewhat more immediate Trump Criminal Accountability Calendar Item, Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis has now informed Fulton's Chief Judge that, other than leadership and "armed investigators", the bulk of her staff will be working remotely from July 31 though August 18. That syncs up with dates that Willis previously suggested indictments were likely to be brought in her office's investigation "into possible criminal interference in the administration of Georgia’s 2020 general election". She requested that "judges not schedule trials and in person hearings during the weeks beginning Monday, August 7 and Monday, August 14." So, yeah...mark your calendars. It may get hotter than usual in Atlanta this summer.
  • We would have covered the above story sooner, but it came out as I was being deposed last week in a lawsuit [PDF] filed by the Coalition for Good Governance against Georgia's SB202 voter suppression law. I am a named plaintiff in the case, representing media, regarding provisions of this terrible bill that unconstitutionally chill and/or otherwise dangerously prevent press freedoms and public oversight of elections in the Peach State. While my three-hour depo last week went very well, I believe, I'll hold more specific thoughts for later, as other plaintiffs in the case are still going through their own depositions. But, another provision being challenged by CGG in this terrible bill --- best known for blocking the distribution of food or water to voters waiting in line to vote --- is a scheme that allows the State to replace entire, elected, local Boards of Elections with a single appointee of the Secretary of State's choosing. That wildly undemocratic provision, supported by GA's Republican Sec. of State, Brad Raffensperger, is now being echoed in...
  • ...Texas! Lawmakers in the Lone Star State on Tuesday were voting on two bills that will allow local election officials to be replaced by someone chosen by the Republican Governor's hand-picked Secretary of State, and otherwise make it easier to interfere with local elections. However, these provisions only apply to Counties in Texas with more than 3.5 million voters. As it turns out, the only such county in the state that meets that requirement is Houston's Harris County, a now reliably "blue" part of a "red" state turning more "purple" by the year. If ya can't beat 'em...commandeer their elections and right to vote.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for news on a massive cyclone now aiming directly for the U.S. territory of Guam after spinning up from almost nothing overnight to a catastrophic category 4 Super Typhoon today. That, followed by our latest Green News Report, with important news in the war over water in the drought-stricken U.S. west, and some great news about sweeping, landmark environmental and climate legislation being adopted by Minnesota, now that Dems have taken control of both chambers of the state legislature and its governor's mansion...

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: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: OH GOP lawmakers adopt ballot measure to undermine democracy in August special election...
By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2023 6:12pm PT  

Democracy is not having an easy time of it of late, as both of our main stories on the always pro-democracy BradCast seem to underscore today. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP, after months of wrangling, Ohio's gerrymandered Republican state House on Wednesday decided to put majority rule up for a vote this summer. Specifically, they voted to hold a special election for a state constitutional amendment asking voters if all future amendments placed on the ballot must reach 60% for passage. The GOP amendment in August will require only 50% to be adopted, as has been the case for all such measures in the Buckeye State since 1912.

The August special election will come just in time to preempt a the state's November general election, which is likely to feature a citizen-led ballot amendment to protect abortion in Ohio as a constitutional right. That, of course, is why Republicans are hoping to undermine that measure with their own small turnout election in late Summer. They hypocritically characterized the controversial initiative as a "constitutional protection act", meant to keep "out-of-state special interests" away from Ohio's foundational documents. But the measure's top backer was a PAC named "Save Our Constitution", funded with $1.1 million from one single out-of-state billionaire GOP megadonor.

Every single former state Governor opposed the measure, along with five former Republican and Democratic state Attorneys General and the Ohio Libertarian Party. But it was supported by the state's hypocritical Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and Sec. of State Frank LaRose, both of whom eagerly supported an election reform package adopted just four months ago in January, which did away with August Special Elections after finding them to be low-turnout and expensive. Then these "conservatives" supported this new special election anyway, at a price tag of $20 million to state taxpayers, in exchange for which they will get to vote on taking away their own democratic power.

Similar efforts to undermine abortion rights, however, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court last year, have failed miserably in both right- and left-leaning states. But those measures won with anywhere from 50 to 60% of the vote. Recent AP polling finds support for reproductive freedoms in Ohio to be at 59%. Thus, the GOP's attempt to undermine majority rule this Summer by requiring 60% for passage of future ballot measures...other than their own.

NEXT: CNN called it a "town hall". In truth, it was a 70-minute Donald Trump infomercial filled with a non-stop litany of his twisted lies from beginning to end. The number of lies he told is entirely too long to detail here, on everything from the 2020 election, to January 6, to his stolen classified documents, to this week's federal court verdict finding him liable for sexual abuse and defamation, to pretty much anything else that you or CNN moderator Kaitlin Collins or the Trump-supporting crowd in attendance at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, New Hampshire could come up with.

He also made clear that he would pardon the January 6th insurrectionists and seditionists, and that he supports the imperialist invasion of authoritarian Vladimir Putin's Russia over defending democracy and humanity in Ukraine.

But, while Wednesday night's shameful spectacle clearly embarrassed even the many CNN commentators serving as post-game analysts, did the live town hall ultimately help or hurt Trump overall?

We're joined today by our old friend HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo to discuss exactly that and much more related to what is arguably one of the lowest moments in CNN history.

(I'd love your thoughts on that question as well, and may share them on air in the days ahead. Please leave any such thoughts below in comments or email me, if you prefer.)

"It was a clown show," says Parton who did not realize it would include an audience stacked with GOPers, as it was presented as a Republican town hall before next year's New Hampshire primary. "That gave him the ability to go on national TV and essentially hold a rally. A rally in which he had a foil there in Kaitlan Collins, who, I think she did about as good as you could do. I don't have a lot of complaints with her, she was thrown into a situation that was unwinnable."

She discusses why CNN is taking this attempted turn to the right, in order to curry favor with Trump voters at the behest of their new, rightwing owner who sees Fox "News" as fair and balanced. "CNN is in a ratings spiral, doing a lot of retooling. It seems obvious to me that CNN thought they could maybe cop some of those people if they put on the right show. That's what they did. It was horrifying."

While I discuss several points in which Trump did himself no favor with prosecutors preparing indictments against him, Parton cites some of the actually "dangerous" fallout likely to come from Wednesday night. "[Trump] said some things that were literally dangerous. For example, his stuff about Ukraine. I'm sure Vladimir Putin heard him clearly when he said, 'Within 24 hours [after taking office], I will do it'. We know exactly what he meant. Immediately upon becoming President, he would withdraw support and force Ukraine to surrender. That means the war that he was going on and on about, 'People are dying, they're dying'. They're going to be dying at least until November 2024 now, for sure, because he said that. There's no way that Russia will do anything until they know whether or not he's going to be President again. And that is disgusting."

FINALLY, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report with news on Houston's latest toxic oil refinery fire; new, money-saving efficiency standards for dishwashers; troubling news from Greenland's ice sheet; and some hopeful news for PFAS "forever" chemicals out of tragedy in Minnesota...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance on that and new fake electors news; Also: Santos charged with 13 federal felonies...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2023 6:27pm PT  

It's been quite the GOP crime wave this week on The BradCast. But today, in addition to that we've got some disturbing --- if not entirely unrelated --- kinda mind-blowing exclusive news out of a federal courtroom in the great state of Georgia. [Audio link to full show follows at the bottom of this summary.]

After quickly covering today's news on the 13-count federal indictment [PDF] filed in New York against Rep. George Santos (R-NY) for charges including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress, it's back to Georgia.

We have, for years now, been covering the long-running federal lawsuit challenging the use of the state's expensive, unverifiable, and --- according to one of the nation's top experts --- wildly vulnerable and insecure touchscreen voting systems.

The touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) systems made by Dominion Voting, currently in use in Georgia, were selected for use in 2020 by Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. He did so against the strong recommendations of cybersecurity and voting system experts following a ruling by a federal judge, in 2019, barring the further use of the state's previous touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg found the previous systems to be unverifiable, insecure and, thus, unconstitutional. Unfortunately, instead of moving to a hand-marked paper ballot system at the time, as strongly recommended by experts, Raffensperger chose new touchscreen systems that had many of the same problems as the old ones.

The plaintiffs in the original federal case, Curling v. Raffensperger, quickly moved to bar the Dominion systems from being forced on every voter at every polling place in the state, as Raffensperger demanded. That suit continues. As part of it, Dr. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, an expert for the plaintiffs, was allowed to examine the Dominion touchscreen systems and found vulnerabilities so serious that Judge Totenberg sealed his complete findings, even from the plaintiffs! The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), however, was allowed to review Halderman's sealed report and made a list of critical software and physical security recommendations for the continued use of those systems in the battleground state.

Now, according to the transcript [PDF] from a hearing in Judge Totenberg's court last week in the Curling case, an attorney for the Sec. of State's office explained that while Dominion has completed CISA's recommended upgrades to the software and has had them certified for use by the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) in late March, the state will not be installing those software upgrades until after the 2024 Presidential election.

As explained to the judge by the State's attorney Bryan Tyson, after spending hours "with the technical staff in the Secretary's office" and "hearing from folks with Dominion", it was determined that upgrades to the state's 35,000 touchscreen voting machines would be delayed until 2025.

"No jurisdiction has yet installed that upgrade...It has not been used in any election yet," Tyson told Judge Totenberg. "The upgrade process is a very intensive multistep process that involves multiple pieces of media, multiple components, and it involves touching every piece of the election system."

He explained that "every ballot-marking device has to have three different pieces of media installed on it to complete the upgrade. Every precinct scanner has to be upgraded. Every central count scanner has to be upgraded. And every election management server also has to either be replaced or upgraded. So, the implementation process for doing that is very involved."

According to our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance, one of the plaintiffs in the Curling case, plaintiffs were stunned by the news. "You could hear gasps in the courtroom," she tells us today. "2025?! Immediately everyone thought, 'Presidential election, Georgia swing state.' We will have no way of knowing who won. And let's don't forget how much of a tinderbox Georgia was after the 2020 election. I believe it was a key part of the tinderbox that led to the insurrection. We're asking for it again."

There is, obviously, a lot to discuss on this matter with Marks today, including the most obvious point that, had Raffensperger listened to the experts and gone with hand-marked paper ballots, upgrading just one scanner per precinct for security reasons would have been a hell of a lot easier, faster, and cheaper, than upgrading every single voting machine --- 35,000 of them --- across the state.

"And we're not even beginning to talk about all of the warranty costs, maintenance costs, and printer costs and all that this system involves, when we're talking about just being a substitute for a ball-point pen," laments Marks. In addition to the time the State claims it will now take, she estimates the cost for upgrading the otherwise brand-new, $150 million system just purchased for first-time use in 2020 is likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars. "I don't think that $50 million and upwards is going to surprise anyone."

So, there is much more to discuss about all of this with Marks. Please tune in for the full conversation. But there was one more stunning bit of related breaking news from Marks today...

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

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ALSO: JURY FINDS TRUMP LIABLE FOR SEXUAL ABUSE, DEFAMATION, AWARDS E. JEAN CARROLL $5 MILLION...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2023 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's official. Our former President has now been found liable by a federal jury for sexual assault. And, it's not a matter of partisanship, but a matter of facts and evidence. The Republican Party has now clearly become a Party of Terrorism in these United States. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories backing up those assertions on today's program...

  • A federal jury in New York on Tuesday, after no more than three hours of deliberation, found Donald J. Trump to liable for sexual abuse and defamation against magazine writer E. Jean Carroll after what she described as a rape in a New York department store in the 1990s. The jury in the civil case ordered Trump to pay some $5 million in damages to Carroll, even as he continued to lie about her both before and after the jury's unanimous decision.
  • Nations around the world are now warning their citizens to take precautions when traveling to the U.S. due to all the terrorism, specifically the gun-violence by domestic-terrorists which the Republican Party refuses to do anything about. Instead, like Texas Governor Greg Abbott --- who has presided over an untold number of mass murders carried out with AR-15 and similar weapons in his state during his three terms as Governor --- they are pretending (again) that the real issue isn't the easy availability of weapons of war, but "mental health". And yet, at the same time, Republicans like Abbott have slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from, you guessed it, mental health care, even while working hard to both take health care away from folks who need it entirely and make it easier for those with and without mental health issues to buy still more high-powered, military-style weapons.
  • We now know the identities of the 8 killed in the weekend mass murder at the Allen, Texas outlet mall, allegedly carried out by a neo-Nazi who echoed many ideas expressed by Republicans in his social media postings. One Korean American six-year old became an orphan during the weekend rampage as his mother, father and younger brother were all killed in the shooting. Two sisters in grade school were also murdered at the same time, along with a mall security guard and several others.
  • Over the same weekend, a 14-year old girl, miraculously, wasn't killed in Louisiana, even though she was shot in the head by a man who saw shadows outside of his house and started shooting at them. The shadows were of neighborhood children playing hide and seek. But, at least the 58-year old man bravely "stood his ground" against the "threat". Yet another victory for the Republican Party of Terror.
  • All of that as the Dept. of Justice Sentencing Memo we discussed on yesterday's program, "throwing the book" at the rightwing, Trump-supporting militia group Oath Keepers for their seditious conspiracy on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol, included a request for increased penalties for "terrorism" in the addition to the charges for which the conspirators were previously found guilty.
  • If being the Party of Terror by Murder and Terror by Insurrection wasn't enough for today's Republicans, they are now working on adding the Party of Economic Terror to their list of accomplishments. With the "X-Date" now looming for when the U.S. Government runs out of borrowing authority to pay its bills --- including payments for decades of stuff mandated by Congress and Presidents of both parties --- the U.S. is facing the real possibility of default for the first time in its history. That's because House Republicans are, so far, refusing to simply vote to raise or ignore the dumb debt ceiling law unless the White House agrees to cut billions of dollars in spending on food assistance, health care (including for veterans) and much more. If the U.S. defaults on its debts and its ability to pay interest on loans, social security checks and salaries to the military (and much, much more), we could see a financial calamity in world markets and economies as early as June 1, according to the Treasury Department.

    If Republicans shoot the proverbial hostage this time around, the Biden Administration is reportedly considering invoking Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, the text of which states clearly, in pertinent part: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred ...shall not be questioned."

    Under this theory, the Treasury Department would simply continue to borrow, as needed, in order to pay bills already incurred, even if Republicans refuse to lift the Debt Limit. Remember, the Executive Branch is required, by law, to pay bills that Congress already mandated be paid. If the Government runs out of money and can't pay its bills, it would be in violation of myriad laws. On the other hand, if Treasury borrows money to pay our bills without the Debt Ceiling limit being raised by Congress, it would also be violating the law, albeit only that one, dumb one and, arguably, the U.S. Constitution. Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe explains all of this in a weekend op-ed at the New York Times in which he details his reasons for having changed his mind about the debt limit.

  • But, as Simon Rosenberg observed over the weekend, "If there was a terror org operating inside the US, how would it look any different then what we're seeing," from today's Republican Party? Good question, Simon. If al-Qaeda or ISIS had helped people obtain weapons to kill thousands of Americans, attempted to overthrow the U.S. Government in an insurrection and threatened to crash the U.S. and world economies, I suspect we'd have been in an actual shooting war with them long ago...

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Guest: Dr. Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote'; Also: Two rightwing mass murders in TX over the weekend; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2023 6:14pm PT  

It was another deadly weekend in the violent state of Texas, thanks, in no small part to the Republican Party of Mass Murder. But on today's BradCast our focus is mostly on accountability for the rightwing Seditious Conspirators who attempted to overthrow the U.S. Government on behalf of lies told by then-President, Donald Trump. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Last Thursday, leaders of the far-right, racist, Trump-supporting Proud Boys gang were found guilty of seditious conspiracy and many other felonies for their part in attempting to carry out Trump's sore-loser insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The verdict mirrored those from previous trials of both Proud Boys gangsters and far-right Oath Keepers militiamen.

On Friday, the Dept. of Justice "threw the book" at the seditious Oath Keepers in a 183-page [PDF] sentencing recommendation filed with the court for organization leader Stewart Rhodes and the others found guilty along with him earlier this year. DoJ recommended a 25-year sentence for Rhodes and slightly fewer years for eight others.

We're joined today by DR. ALLISON GILL, known to many as "A.G." and host of the Mueller, She Wrote podcast and Twitter handle, which covers the daily travails on the road to accountability for our disgraced former President.

Gill, who plowed through the full Sentencing Memo from DoJ over the weekend, breaks down its key elements, including similar sentencing recommendations to those brought for "treason"; additional penalties sought for an "upward departure" due to "terrorism"; and prosecutors asking the judge for consecutive sentences for each of the convictions, rather than concurrent sentences allowing the convicted to serve multiple years-long sentences at the same time.

"All three of things that I was looking for them to do, to 'throw the book' at these seditious conspirators, all of them were done," Gill told me. "So, I am not sure they could have gone any harder than they did."

Most importantly, we discuss why all of this news about the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers convictions is likely very bad news for Trump, who may soon find himself indicted by Special Counsel Jack Smith on charges that the DoJ has now road tested to excellent results in these other sedition and conspiracy trials.

Also, we get Gill's thoughts on the New York Time's curious (understated bombshell?) reference to records recently sought by Smith in his probe of the sensitive documents stolen by Trump from the White House upon leaving office. In the middle of a Times story last week on the "confidential cooperation of a person who has worked for [Trump] at Mar-a-Lago" and the report of large gaps in the security surveillance footage turned over to prosecutors, there was reference to the Trump Organization's dealing with the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf venture, which is holding tournaments at Trump's golf resorts. For some unexplained reason, the Times reports, there have been "previously unreported subpoenas to the Trump Organization" regarding business with Saudi Arabia. Now what does that have to do with the stolen documents case? Curiously, the Times doesn't elaborate, but we discuss the possibilities.

Then, after some news on the apparent white supremacist who shot and killed 8 and critically injured three others at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas on Saturday and on the man who killed another 8 and injured about a dozen others with his SUV outside of an immigrant shelter in Brownsville, Texas on Sunday, we open the phone to callers mostly regarding the DoJ efforts to finally bring the criminal Trump to heal. Though some duped listeners, you may be bemused to learn, just can't understand why we need to prosecute Trump instead of....Joe Biden?!

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Also: 'Blue Wave' in NE; OH, MO Repubs gaming ballot initiatives; DeSantis suppressing more FL voters; Proud Boys guilty; Trump's NYT suit tossed; More gob-smacking Clarence Thomas corruption...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2023 6:53pm PT  

There was far too much news to fit into one BradCast today. We tried to do it anyway. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our many stories...

  • It was difficult to notice this week, but there was yet another very good election day on Tuesday for non-Rightwingers, including more bad news for MAGA World in several local contests around the country. In Lincoln, Nebraska, incumbent Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, supported by Democrats, defeated a well-funded opponent supported by the state's billionaire Republican U.S. Senator (and former Governor) Pete Ricketts and fellow billionaire publisher Thomas Peed. Gaylor Baird won by nearly 10 points. Apparently, ads describing Lincoln, the state capital, as a dystopian hellhole did not go over well with voters...in Lincoln.
  • A MAGA election conspiracist and local elections clerk named Stephanie Scott (pictured above), was tossed out of her job in a rare recall election on Tuesday in Adams Township, Michigan in Hillsdale County, one of the state's most Republican-leaning areas. Scott is under state criminal investigation after refusing to turn over her town's computer vote tabulator in 2021, which she believed held evidence of fraud revealing Democrats had stolen the state's Presidential election in 2020. That, in a town that Trump/Pence won with 75% of the vote that year. (If the story sounds familiar, see Tina Peters, former Mesa County, Colorado Clerk, who has since been tossed out of her job and indicted on 10 counts.) This appears to be part of the multi-state MAGA conspiracy to breach voting systems, hatched at the Trump White House in December 2020, as we detailed again last week. Scott was defeated by a 2 to 1 margin on Tuesday by an independent challenger running on the slogan "Make Adams Township Boring Again".
  • But, if ya can't beat 'em, suppress their vote! That seems to be the Republican plan for "winning" elections from here on out, apparently. After losing statewide ballot initiatives that would have restricted abortion rights last year, including in so-called "red" states like Kansas and Kentucky, the GOP is now hoping to game the ballot initiative process itself in several states. The most immediate and noteworthy is Ohio, where supporters of reproductive freedom hope to place an initiative on the ballot in November to establish a state Constitutional right to abortion. But Republicans, who just four months ago adopted a statute ending costly August elections, are now moving to place an amendment on the ballot in a $20 million Special Election in August that would raise the requirement for adoption of Constitutional Amendments from a simple majority vote to a required 60% for passage. (Ironically, the GOP lawmakers own Amendment, if voted on in August, would only require 50% to be adopted.) Other gerrymandered GOP states are now attempted to do the same thing, including Missouri, where Republican lawmakers there are doing something arguably even more insidious in their own attempt to fool voters into supporting their anti-democracy measure.
  • And then there's Florida, where democracy goes to die. The state legislature has just passed a one of their final gifts to beleaguered Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis: a 96-page law that will, among other things, severely restrict voter registration by nonpartisan third-party organizations. As recent research finds, Black and Latino voters are more than five times more likely to be registered by third-party groups than White voters. DeSantis is expected to sign the legislation soon as one of his last official acts before declaring his 2024 candidacy. It will be the third year in a row that Sunshine State Republicans have adopted new voting restrictions.
  • A D.C. jury on Thursday convicted four members of the far-right, racist militia group, Proud Boys, of seditious conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, conspiring to impede Congress from performing its duties, obstructing law enforcement and other federal crimes related to their participation in Donald Trump's Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The charges for conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding both carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison. Their former leader, like Donald Trump, was not even at the Capitol during the riot, but was among those found guilty. All of that good news is likely very bad news for the former President and the specific federal charges likely to soon be brought against him.
  • In still more bad news for Trump today, his lawsuit against the New York Times and several of their reporters, charging an "insidious plot" to obtain his tax records resulting in Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting by the paper, was tossed out by a New York judge on Wednesday. Moreover, the judge --- finding Trump's claims "fail as a matter of constitutional law" and that the paper's newsgathering efforts were "the very core of protected First Amendment activity" --- ordered Trump to pay all of the attorneys fees, legal expenses and other associated costs for the Times and their reporters.
  • ProPublica strikes again. First they revealed that GOP megadonor Harlan Crow showered U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for decades with hundreds of thousands of dollars in luxury vacations which he unlawfully failed to disclose. Then they reported that Crow had actually purchased Thomas' mother's house from him, made nearly $40,000 worth of improvements to it, and has allowed the corrupt Justices mom in it, rent-free, ever since. None of that was ever disclosed by Thomas either, in violation of the law. And now, on Wednesday, they did it again. Their latest bombshell scoop documents how Crow's company paid for years of tuition to private schools for Thomas' grandnephew who the nation's longest serving Justice says he raised "as a son" since taking legal custody at the age of 6. The tuition for the boy, now in his 30s, amounted to approximately $100,000. Congressional Republicans continue to applaud the unspeakably corrupt Thomas.
  • Finally, as you haven't had enough already today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report to detail the unprecedented heat wave in Spain, as Italy's rivers dry up; the EU's passage of "the biggest climate protection law of all time"; and New York's adoption of a landmark law banning natural gas hookups in new building construction...

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Guest: NatSec and accountability journalist Marcy Wheeler...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2023 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast we catch up on where each of the major, still-unindicted criminal investigations of Donald Trump currently stand with the one person who may pay closer attention to the details of the cases than even the prosecutors working on them! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Over the weekend, longtime national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel wrote three articles, summarizing the latest status in each of the three ongoing criminal probes of the already-criminally-indicted-in-New-York former President, and what the final issues are that prosecutors must nail down before indictments can be brought.

Those cases include Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal investigations of Trump's January 6 related conspiracies and the documents he stole from the White House, as well as Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' broad probe into Trump's failed attempt to strong-arm state officials into stealing the 2020 election from Joe Biden.

Among the many points discussed with Wheeler, who joins us today from Paris...

On Jan 6 and related matters:

  • Why determining the legal definition of "corrupt purpose" in the D.C. federal court circuit, in regards to Trump's attempt to obstruct the Electoral College vote certification, is so important to Smith's case.
  • Why pending cases against Jan. 6 insurrectionists remain key to that definition.
  • Why the fake electors schemes in several states and Trump's fraudulent fundraising on his lies about election fraud is also critical to Smith's case.
  • Evidence that Trump's own attorneys knew in advance that their fake electors scheme was unlawful.
  • Why nailing down testimony from cooperating witnesses is so important and whether former VP Mike Pence --- who testified before Smith's federal grand jury last week about Trump's attempt to have him assassinated --- can be made into a sympathetic witness on the stand.
  • Will we see a broad set of indictments against Trump regarding Jan. 6 or just one or two focused, easily provable charges?
  • Is Smith investigating the multi-state conspiracy to breach voting system software in states like Georgia, Michigan, Colorado and elsewhere as part of his probe?

On the Stolen Documents:

  • What's the hold-up in bringing charges on what has always seemed like the simplest of the many ongoing cases?
  • Why it's helpful that Smith is overseeing both this case and the Jan 6 probe, given that several witnesses are key to each of the cases.
  • What the specific criminal charges may ultimately be, and the important related decision on whether they will be brought in Florida or in D.C.

On the GA Conspiracy:

  • What's the hold-up for D.A. Willis in bringing charges in the Georgia-related crimes?
  • Why Trump is likely to try and move any GA charges to the federal level (and into Smith's lap).
  • How and why a number of co-conspirators may have suddenly decided to cooperate with Willis after all in recent days.
  • How there may be an additional 24(!) previously-unknown witnesses to Trump's infamous Jan 2, 2021 phone call to the GA Sec. of State attempting to strong-arm him to "find" 11,000 votes to steal the state's election from Biden.

That's just a sample, of course. Wheeler joins us for the full hour. Dig in...

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Also: Abortion bans blocked by GOPers in two 'red' states; Trump Camp also paid a second research firm to find zero fraud in the 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2023 6:27pm PT  

Time is running out on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many clock-ticking stories covered today...

  • The contract for film and television writers ran out as of midnight last night. Today, 11,500 union members in the Writers Guild of America went on strike. The late-night comedy shows have already been shut down and, sadly, Americans are likely to be less well-informed because of it. We explain.
  • The deadline for how long Republicans can hold the nation and world economy hostage to ill-considered, self-destructive extremist idiocy --- before blowing everything up and creating a first-ever default of the U.S. Government in the process --- got much closer as of Monday. The new earliest date for when the U.S. Government may run out of authority to borrow the funds needed to pay for stuff that Republicans and Democrats alike long ago committed to paying for is now June 1, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

    Yet, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his band of reckless Republicans in Congress continue to exploit our dumb debt limit law to try and extort huge cuts to food and health care to millions of Americans (including veterans) along with a rollback of critical climate crisis initiatives in exchange for not destroying the nation's economy.

    President Biden is right not to negotiate with terrorists on this matter. The way the media covers this mess, however, will make a big difference in whether or not Biden's able to continue to do the right thing. In the meantime, we sure do hope he has a plan to handle the worst-case scenario that today's gerrymandered, death-wish GOPers may actually be dumb enough to cause for the first time in U.S. history.

  • Not all Republicans have a death wish, apparently. On the same day last week, in two different "red" states, South Carolina and Nebraska, a handful of Republican state lawmakers voted to protect abortion rights. For now. It took the only two female Republican state Senators in South Carolina and one 80-year old Republican in Nebraska to block complete bans on reproductive freedoms. We'll see how long that lasts and/or if any other GOPers can figure out why they keep losing elections that they should have won after the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
  • Back in February we covered the news from Washington Post's Josh Dawsey that the Donald Trump's Campaign paid $600,000 to a research firm to investigate every single potential claim of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. They found absolutely nothing and told Trump as much in December of that year. Nonetheless, on January 6, 2021, Trump went out and lied yet again to his supporters about fraud in the election, even though he was told all such claims were baseless. And now, Dawsey reports, a second firm was paid $750,000 by the Trump Campaign at the same time to also find no evidence of fraud. That firm told him as well, in advance of January 6. Special Counsel Jack Smith has now reportedly subpoenaed records and testimony from both firms, as he probes the Trump Campaign fraudulently raising more than $250 million from their own supporters based on fraudulent claims we now know Trump absolutely knew to be fraudulent at the time he made the fraudulent claims.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with non-fraudulent news on the impact of climate change on East Africa's deadly drought; the corrupted SCOTUS plans to undermine climate regulations next term; SpaceX grounded in Texas; and some better news for the climate out of the great state of California...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former Dep. Asst. AG, Chief Counsel for U.S. Senate, Dep. Chief of Article III Judges Div. for U.S. court system, Lisa Graves of True North Research; Also: Biden officially announces 2024 run...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2023 6:56pm PT  

If there is anyone more uniquely qualified than to discuss to discuss several issues of note on today's BradCast, I don't know who it could possibly be.

But FIRST UP, President Biden released a video today titled "Freedom", officially declaring his intention to run for a second term in 2024. The announcement comes four years to the day after releasing his video declaring his successful 2020 run. He faces long-shot Democratic primary challenges, so far, from vaccine opponent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and self-help author/spiritual guru Marianne Williamson, who also ran in 2020 but dropped out before primary voting began.

We share Biden's video today and discuss the challenges he will be facing, which mostly include his age and health, according to many Democratic and other voters who say they'd prefer someone younger. Recent polling, however, shows that most of those voters will likely support Biden if he becomes the party's nominee.

The RNC and their most likely (for now) 2024 GOP nominee, Donald Trump, responded somewhat predictably with apocalyptic statements and AI video renderings of a dystopian nation wracked by disaster under a second Biden term, ironically describing Biden, ironically enough. as "out-of-touch". The disgraced former President, as recent polling reveals, will likely be the easiest nominee for Biden to defeat.

NEXT UP, since it's a day that ends in "y", we have yet another revelation of corruption by Clarence Thomas, almost certainly the most corrupt Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history. Bloomberg News and CNN report today that, despite previous claims to the contrary by both men, Thomas did, in fact, sit on a case at the high court in which Harlan Crow --- billionaire GOP megadonor and longtime giver of lavish worldwide travel and luxury vacations that went unlawfully undisclosed for decades by Thomas --- had business before SCOTUS in the 2000's. Thomas failed to recuse himself from the case involving the company of his "personal friend".

We're joined today to discuss the seemingly endless decades of both unethical and unlawful corruption by Thomas (and his corrupt, far-right activist wife Ginni), by LISA GRAVES. She previously served as Deputy Asst. Attorney General at the U.S. Justice Department, Chief Counsel for nominations in the US Senate, and as a Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division for the U.S. court system. Graves is now a muckraking political researcher and founder of Truth North Research. She has been exposing massive corruption of our electoral system by folks like Thomas, Crow, the Koch Brothers, wealthy rightwing federal court operative Leonard Leo and many others for years.

That means we've got a lot to discuss with Graves today, including Thomas' long history of corruption and failure to disclose stuff like his wife's annual salary for about twenty years from the rightwing Heritage Foundation back in 2011, and the undisclosed sponsorship of Leo and the group Citizens United that helped him win his controversial nomination to SCOTUS back in 1991. (That was well before Thomas failed to recuse himself from the infamous 2010 Citizens United case.)

"This new revelation is really important because it does show that there were cases, at least one case [at the Supreme Court] that directly affected Harlan Crow's company," Graves explains today. "But I think that's just the tip of the iceberg. Because the reality is that you have a number of instances that have been documented by the press where Clarence Thomas has failed to disclose to the American people his financial ties to Harlan Crow, who also has ties to Leonard Leo, who has been the architect of moving the Court to the far right. Including the fact that Leo cut his teeth trying to get Clarence Thomas confirmed in the first place. So these are deep and long relationships."

It's not only Thomas on the High Court who has recently been revealed as playing fast and loose with ethics rules and laws. Today, Politico reports that Justice Neil Gorsuch sold a nearly 3,000-square foot log home and a 40-acre tract of land in Colorado for nearly $2 million to the top executive of one of the nation's largest law firms just days after being nominated by Trump to SCOTUS in 2017. While Gorsuch disclosed the property sale, he failed to identify the purchaser on his disclosure forms, leaving that box blank. Since then, the firm has been involved in at least 22 cases before the Court.

And it's not only corrupt Republican appointees to the High Court. CNN recently unearthed interviews by a Christian talk radio outlet with far-right U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, the corrupt judge who banned the popular abortion pill, mifepristone, earlier this month. During the interviews he describes his opinion that being gay is "a lifestyle" and criticizes both "no-fault divorce" and "permissive policies on contraception." He failed to disclose those interviews during his 2017 confirmation process.

Perhaps more disturbingly, Washington Post recently reported what would appear to be out and out fraud by the controversial judge. He not only failed to disclose a law review article he authored, in which he criticized President Obama's protections of transgender people and those seeking abortions, but, after being nominated by Trump, he instructed the journal to remove his name as author and substitute the names of two junior colleagues at his activist law firm who appear to have had nothing to do with the article.

Graves charges Kacsmaryk should be held to account by the DoJ for possible prosecution under Section 1001 of Title 18 of the US Code, which deals with giving materially false statements to Congress. "You have someone who affirmatively, deceptively, actively, willfully hid from the Senate that he wrote this article. He did so purposely. He did so knowing he was about to be nominated for this position. He affirmatively deceived Congress," she tells me.

"Kacsmaryk deceived Congress in his quest to become a judge, and then he had no restraint on his efforts to impose those various same types of personal anti-abortion views in a case where he has now injected himself in overturning nearly a quarter century of law in defiance of long-standing Supreme Court precedence."

Given the massive corruption of both the federal bench and Republicans in Congress, what, if anything can be done about any of it? We discuss what can and should be done by Congress, by the U.S. Judicial Conference which oversees operations of the federal courts, and by the U.S. Department of Justice, all of whom Graves has worked with in various capacities over the years...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Election expert Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People, with cameos by election integrity champions Jeanne Dufort and Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2023 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Maybe now Jack Smith will start investigating the multi-state criminal plot by MAGA conspiracists to breach voting system software? Now that we know the unlawful scheme actually began in Donald Trump's Oval Office, as overseen by Trump himself, back in December of 2020? [Audio link to full show follows below.]

We have been reporting on the unlawful, criminal breaches of sensitive voting and tabulation system software by MAGA rightwingers following the 2020 election for nearly two years at this point. Most notably, we've focused most closely on the incident that occurred in the rural, right-leaning Coffee County, Georgia, where local GOP Board of Election members, County Commissioners and Republican Party officials allowed outsiders organized and funded by Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, to come in to the elections office to make illicit copies of the County's sensitive, proprietary election management software made by Dominion Voting Systems. The software in rural Coffee County also happens to be the exact same software that is used across the entire battleground state, thanks to the insistence of Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger.

We first learned about the Coffee County breach last year, thanks to Marilyn Marks, founder of Coalition for Good Governance, which has a long-running federal lawsuit against the state, seeking to the ban the use of Raffensperger's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion. She received a bizarre phone call --- which we previously aired on this program --- from an Atlanta-area businessman named Scott Hall, essentially confessing to the unlawful breach in Coffee County on January 7, 2021. He thought Marks was a fellow MAGA traveler. She wasn't. She is a non-partisan election integrity advocate. A real one.

Since that breach, which included the participation of folks like Doug Logan of Cyber Ninjas (the clowns who ran that phony audit of the 2020 Presidential election in Phoenix, Arizona in 2021), was revealed, thanks to Marks' ongoing civil lawsuit, Sec. Raffensperger seems to have been working very hard to cover the entire thing up and, according to our guest today, DoJ Special Counsel Jack Smith does not appear to be investigating.

Hopefully, that may have changed as of Friday, when two major media outlets ran scoops based on a new letter [PDF] sent by our guest today, SUSAN GREENHALGH of Free Speech for People, to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Special Counsel Jack Smith and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

First, CNN reported Friday morning that text messages obtained via Marks' lawsuit revealed two of the software breaching Trump operatives discussed whether to somehow use information gleaned from their unlawful actions to try and prevent the certification of Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff's January 5th, 2021 U.S. Senate runoff victory over Republican David Purdue, or whether they should "hold it for a bigger moment."

Then, later on Friday, the New York Times ran a report detailing Greenhalgh's discovery that the plot to breach voting system software in several states --- which we already knew had been organized and funded by Powell --- was actually hatched during the infamous "crazy" meeting in the Oval Office on December 18, 2020. That, based on testimony to the House January 6 Committee that Greenhalgh documented from several Trump aides who were in the room where it happened that night. Attendees at the meeting included Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO (and plot funder) Patrick Byrne, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and others. It went on for hours and was presided over by Donald Trump himself.

So, maybe Smith or Garland or Wray will be interested in investigating the multi-state conspiracy plot now?!

Greenhalgh explains that cybersecurity experts are concerned that the stolen software "can be used in disinformation campaigns, which we are already seeing happen. It could be used to fabricate evidence." She notes that "in 2020 when all those [Trump] lawsuits failed, it was because there wasn't any real or credible evidence. But software is mutable. You can play around with it. Could this be used to try and fabricate some false evidence to say, 'Look, this is what we found on some voting machines and look they stole the election?'"

"Most ominously," she warns, the software could be used to "to develop and tailor malware that could be deployed to actually start stealing votes, in the very way that we had people arguing was done in the 2020 election --- but now it's coming from the very same people that actually made those outrageous and baseless claims. Now [they] have the ammunition and basically the keys to the vault that could enable them to do much more nefarious things like actually hack an election."

So, why hasn't this been investigated by the Feds before now, as a response sent by the FBI to Greenhalgh in January [PDF] indicates, claiming the Bureau can only investigate after "a formal request for assistance" by "local authorities"? Why does GA Sec. of State Raffensperger, wrongly viewed as a hero for not stealing the 2020 election for Trump, seem to be working so very hard to cover up what happened in Coffee County? Why have corporate media been so reticent to dig into the story? Why have Greenhalgh and Marks had to do the bulk of the heavy lifting to even get us to this point? Why haven't members of Congress jumped in to demand a proper probe at the federal level? And will a proper federal probe finally happen now that the matter has found its way smack dab into Smith's purview by landing, via the New York Times, in Trump's Oval Office? (All thanks, of course, to the indefatigable work of Susan, Marilyn and their nonprofit organizations!)

"There's a lot more to this story to report," Greenhalgh insists. "As you know, it's still just the tip of the iceberg and there's a lot more information underneath that can still be reported. Greenhalgh's February follow-up letter to the FBI's response [PDF], for example, notes that, contrary to the assertion from R. Joseph Rothrock, Chief of the FBI's Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, the Georgia State Elections Board says that it has, in fact, "requested assistance from the FBI." That, according to a public statement from its Chair in September of 2022

Tune in for answers to all of the above questions and many others on today's BradCast, which also includes some cameo call-ins from both Marks (who suggests listeners contact their U.S. Senators to ask them to demand a DoJ probe) and GA election integrity advocate Jeanne Dufort!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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