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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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...


By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2024 12:05pm PT  

Just a quick note to mention that we are standing down this week for a much-needed Spring Break.

That comes not a moment too soon, as it turns out. Close listeners to BradCast and Green News Report last week may have noticed my failing voice, as my post-COVID fun continues, now featuring a first-time-ever case of laryngitis for me! Doctor's order for vocal rest comes at a fortuitous time, as we had hoped to take a break this week anyway.

Both programs will return after the Easter holiday weekend, voice and doctor's orders permitting. As noted on our final BradCast of last week, it's obviously going to be a slow news week this week anyway, right? That's already proving to be the case.

As ever, any thoughtful hits to the tip-jar to help fill the Prius tank are much appreciated, at least until our planned SPAC merger comes through. Should be any day now, given that The BRAD BLOG doesn't lose anywhere near as much as Trump's Truth Social loses every year.

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern on two ridiculous cases, increasing court dysfunction; Also: Primary, Special Election results from AZ, FL, IL, KS, OH, CA; And the Biden EPA's 'biggest climate move yet'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2024 6:36pm PT  

From top to bottom, the Federal Judiciary, as evidenced several times this week alone and discussed in detail on today's BradCast, seems to be coming undone. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, first up today, a quick review of Tuesday's Primary and Special Election results in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio and California. Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have already won enough delegates to clinch their respective party's nomination, but there are still a several interesting data points of notes to be gleaned from Tuesday's results.

Among them, Trump is consistently losing a far larger share of Republican votes than Biden is losing on the Democratic side. On Tuesday, for example, Biden's reported margin of victory in the states where he was on the ballot was anywhere from 74 to 88 points, while Trump's margin never cracked even 70 points, ranging from 59 to 67. In short, Biden seems to be far more popular among Democratic primary voters than Trump is among Republicans.

We've got other noteworthy tales of the tape today, along with Senate Primary results out of Ohio, where both Democrats and Donald Trump appear to be very happy that Trump-backed Bernie Moreno will be the GOP's nominee running against three-term progressive Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown in November. And, in California, Democrats are no doubt happy to see that nobody won more than 50% of the vote in the Special Election to fill the seat left vacant by ousted Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday. That means his seat in the closely divided U.S. House, which will almost certainly go to a Republican eventually, will remain empty until at least the Special Election runoff in May.

Also of note today, what the Washington Post is describing as the Biden Administration's "biggest climate move yet". Desi Doyen joins us to explain the EPA's new final rule that is set to increase the speed of the nation's transition to cleaner Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles; how rightwing media are already lying about the EPA's new rule; and how Republican states and the fossil fuel industry will soon be seeking out friendly judges in the federal judiciary to try and undermine the new rule and its billions of dollars in life-saving new vehicle emissions standards for the American people and the planet.

Then, speaking of friendly rightwing judges, two cases that came before the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court this week --- when, in fact, neither of them should have --- serve to highlight our increasingly brittle judicial system and how it is being gamed by the far-right.

We're joined today by Slate's great legal journalist, MARK JOSEPH STERN to discuss both cases and what they might tell us about a court system, and perhaps a U.S. Supreme Court, nearing a breaking point.

We originally invited Stern for today's show to discuss Monday's absurd case brought by Republican-run states falsely claiming the Biden Administration is somehow violating First Amendment free speech rights by forcing social media companies like Twitter and Facebook to take down posts they don't like regarding COVID, election fraud and more. Of course, the government is not doing that at all. Stern describes the case at Slate --- Murthy v. Missouri (originally Missouri v. Biden) --- as "brain-meltingly dumb", "asinine", and "what happens when a lawless judge and a terrible appeals court embrace the dopiest First Amendment claim you’ve ever heard out of pure spite toward a Democratic president."

The case should never have even made it out of the lowest District Court, but for a Trump-appointed judge who "completely butchered the record and, I think, willfully misrepresented a huge amount of communications between federal officials and social media companies," Stern tells me. "He would pluck individual little clauses from those emails, rearrange them to make it sound like coercion, and then use that to develop what is frankly a conspiracy theory that the federal government strong-armed these companies into silencing their users and censoring speech. It's just not true." (See this article for just some of the gobsmacking examples of ways in which U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty "butchered the record" by falsely representing the evidence record in his ruling.)

Making matters worse, the nation's most extreme appellate court, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, further butchered the record to accomplish what corrupt Supreme Court Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch laughably described when the case came up to SCOTUS as "extensive findings of fact" that "showed the existence of ‘a coordinated campaign’ of unprecedented ‘magnitude orchestrated by federal officials that jeopardized a fundamental aspect of American life.'"

Monday's Oral Argument at SCOTUS, however, pulled the rug out from under pretty much all of that, as the phony allegations met skepticism from even the bulk of the Court's rightwingers. But before we could get to that case today, as previously planned, we had to get through the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' other recent clown show (which the rightwingers on SCOTUS were happy to play along with last night): their attempt to allow Texas' new law that overturns a century of legal precedent and the U.S. Constitution itself to grant powers to state and local police that override federal immigration law, allowing them to arrest and deport suspected undocumented immigrants.

Stern unpacks the bizarre twists and turns the case has seen over the past 24 hours, and charges that the procedural nonsense from the 5th Circuit and subsequent acquiescence by SCOTUS simply "boggles the mind."

So, what might we learn from all of this --- and all that has come before it --- regarding corrupt Trump-appointed judges, a corrupt 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, a corrupt and increasingly volatile SCOTUS, and the rightwing judge shopping that exploits all of it? We discuss all of that and more with Stern who details "a kind of terrifying intramural war within the judiciary," as some of the courts are pushing back against an attempt by the U.S. Judicial Conference (headed up by Chief Justice Roberts) to rein in judge shopping, and, ultimately, how restoring confidence in the High Court itself may "all come down to what Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett want to do with the courts and want their legacy to be."

"Until they take a harder line here, it's going to remain just as broken as it looks," Stern asserts. "It's going to be even worse behind the scenes, based on what I'm hearing about how these judges' relationships are breaking down over this stuff --- and we're going to have different factions within the judiciary that are fighting for power, not unlike the Kremlin at the height of Soviet-era madness"...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Biden, Trump (mostly) sweep; Haley drops out; McConnell endorses; Protests haunt Dem victories in MN, CA; Few (though some noteworthy) Election Day voting system failures...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2024 7:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We distill a whole bunch of stuff --- results, problems, politics, concerns --- from Super Tuesday's primaries and caucuses in some 15 states and one U.S. territory. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Included in our coverage today...

  • Donald Trump won most, if not all, of the GOP nominating contests on Tuesday by largely anywhere from 60% to 80% over Nikki Haley who defeated Trump in Vermont. Nonetheless, she subsequently announced on Wednesday that she is suspending her campaign, without (yet) endorsing Trump, saying he must now earn her support and those of her backers.
  • Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell --- after pretending to be outraged by the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection which he described Trump as "morally responsible" for --- endorsed him for President on Wednesday. I've got a word or two about that today.
  • Joe Biden won the Democratic contests in all of the states which voted on Super Tuesday, most by well over 80%. (He only received 70% and 73% respectively in Minnesota and Oklahoma. More on that below.) Nonetheless, if you were watching CNN last night, you'd have heard how Trump "DOMINATED!" his primaries, while Biden just did "very well" on the Democratic side.
  • After the U.S. Supreme Court, last year, required Alabama to finally add a second U.S. House District where Black voters might elect a candidate of their choosing --- in a state where 27% of the population is Black but only 1 of 7 U.S. House seats are even held by a Democrat --- more than 6,500 voters in that newly redrawn district were misinformed by County officials about which Congressional District they were supposed to vote in on Tuesday. The Chair of Montgomery County's Board of Registrars blamed a computer "software glitch" for what several candidates worried may have led to mass disenfranchisement.
  • Meanwhile, in Utah, where Republicans decided to run their own statewide Caucuses this year, an untold number of voters end up going home without voting when the Party's computer systems crashed or were otherwise unusable at many Caucus sites. The Salt Lake Tribune describes the "chaos" that ensued.
  • In North Carolina, GOP voters elected their Holocaust-denying Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson as their nominee for Governor this year. Democrats, who selected state A.G. Josh Stein for the job on Tuesday are likely delighted about that. Also in NC, preacher and former Rep. Mark Harris appears to be heading back to the U.S. House after his 2018 campaign for the state's 8th Congressional District resulted in a do-over election after Harris hired a known election thief who illegally collected ballots and filled them in for Harris. That election was tossed by the state Election Board and a chastened Harris chose not to run again. But now he's back! And on Tuesday, he apparently won enough votes to avoid a run-off. So, he appears headed back to D.C. next year thanks to further GOP gerrymandering of his NC district since he last tried to steal the election there.
  • In Texas, Democrats elected Rep. Colin Allred to take on Senator Ted Cruz this fall. Though state Republicans drew the line, apparently, at nominating a convicted January 6th insurrectionist for the U.S. House in the state's 19th Congressional District, sticking with the current Republican incumbent instead.
  • Jason Palmer defeated Joe Biden on Tuesday to win the Democratic Caucus in American Samoa! Who is Jason Palmer? We discuss, while noting that the victory came in a 51 to 40 vote (Not percentage points! That's the actual vote tally!) on the U.S. territorial island some 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Apparently it pays to actually show up and campaign! Palmer was the only Democratic candidate who actually did so. Other than that, yeah, Biden actually "DOMINATED!" on the Dem side last night.
  • There was, however, a noteable vote for "Uncommitted" in Minnesota's Democratic Primary on Tuesday, with some 19% of voters casting a protest vote against the President, presumably as a statement in opposition to the Biden Administration policy regarding Israel's war in Gaza. The state has a sizeable Arab-American population. MN Democrats' bump for "Uncommitted" this year, as compared to the last time a Dem President ran for reelection in 2012, was substantial --- much more than a similar protest vote in Michigan last week --- even as all of the other states with similar "None of the Above" options on the ballot to date (Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Tennessee) all saw a decrease in such votes this year as compared to 2012.
  • Still, the protests from a small faction of the Left are unmistakable. Democrats dismiss those voters at their peril. Especially in critical battleground states like MI and MN. The protest was impossible to not notice at Rep. Adam Schiff's victory celebration last night in California. He will face Republican former MLB star Steve Garvey for the state's open U.S. Senate seat this November, after outpacing fellow progressive Congressmembers Katie Porter and Barbara Lee last night. But protesters chanted "Cease-fire Now!" and "Free Palestine!" throughout Schiff's entire victory speech on Tuesday, which the L.A.-based Dem handled gracefully. The Biden Administration does seem to be taking notice. Over the weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris gave remarks on Sunday calling for an "immediate cease-fire", "given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on that and this week's 'Insurrectionist Disqualification' hearing at SCOTUS; Also: Relentless rain continues drench SoCal; Trump's rigged NV GOP Primary/Caucuses...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2024 6:38pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Bad news from the DC Court of Appeals for the disgraced former President, though things could get much worse this week depending on how things go at SCOTUS on Thursday. [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The unrelenting downpour in Southern California continues for a third straight day, as Los Angeles alone reports more than 300 mudslides since the atmospheric river began pouring in on Sunday, resulting in continuing flash flooding and evacuations throughout the region. Thankfully, there have been no deaths or major catastrophes yet reported, though three were killed in Northern California where strong winds toppled trees as the storm blew ashore on Sunday. It's not yet over, but we're told the sun may finally reappear again in SoCal, at least for a time, on Wednesday.
  • Today was the last day to vote in Nevada's all vote-by-mail 2024 Presidential primaries, though few may have bothered. On the Democratic side, President Biden faces little or no competition. On the Republican side, Donald Trump helped rigged the state in his favor with the help of NV state party officials. He's not on the NV Primary ballot, since he objected to the all-mail process created by the state. He demanded caucuses instead. So Nikki Haley will be on the primary ballot, but Trump won't. While Haley won't be participating in the Thursday caucuses, but Trump will. Republican Delegates, however, will only be awarded to the winner of the rigged GOP Caucuses.
  • Welp, it took nearly a month, but a three-judge panel on the D.C. Court of Appeals finally released their long-awaited ruling on whether Presidents have immunity against any and all criminal charges for crimes they carry out while serving as President. That is what the four-time indicted former President is arguing. And, to the shock of pretty much nobody, the court ruled in a unanimous, very thorough 57-page decision [PDF] today, that, nope, a President may not avoid criminal consequences for, by way of an example Donald Trump's attorney defended in court last month, ordering Seal Team 6 to murder a political rival. While the ruling was not surprising, it was successful for Trump, at least in part, by delaying his previously scheduled March 4th federal trial on four felony counts [PDF] related to his many attempts to steal the 2020 election. The D.C. panel struck down every single argument made by Trump and ordered the case to be returned to the trial court unless the defendant appeals the ruling to SCOTUS by Monday. Of course he will. The only question for the moment is: will there be enough votes at the corrupted rightwing SCOTUS to bother even hearing this dumb case.
  • Then, we're joined by BRAD BLOG's longtime legal contributor ERNEST A. CANNING to discuss both today's Immunity ruling and the arguably far more consequential matter that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. The Supremes will hear oral argument for and against the case for disqualifying Donald J. Trump from the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause". The specific case, Trump v. Anderson, is named for the 91-year old Republican, Norma Anderson, who is one of six Republican and independent voters that sued under 14.3 in the state of Colorado to bar Trump from the state's Presidential ballot. They were successful. The CO Supreme Court barred Trump in a very well argued (and very conservative) ruling [PDF] late last year, pending a decision from SCOTUS. In the month since the Justices agreed to hear the case, as Canning writes this week, no fewer than 50 amici (friend of the court) briefs have been filed both for and against the Constitution's post-Civil War ban on insurrectionists serving in public office.

    Canning cites several key points offered in the various briefs from a host of scholars and experts, and we preview the questions likely to be up for debate during this Thursday's landmark hearing. The eventual opinion issued by SCOTUS could determine whether Trump is barred from the Presidential ballot in all 50 states. And what might happen then?

    Canning argues that if you follow conservative "textualist" and "originalist" doctrine, "what the intent was, what the actual language was" by the framers of the 14th Amendment, "there's no way you can come to a decision other than the fact that Donald Trump is disqualified within the meaning of the statute."

    That largely matches conventional wisdom suggesting the Constitutional case for banning Trump from office is pretty rock solid legally. Nonetheless, most of those media pundits and legal experts also tend to argue that the former President's friends and appointees on the High Court are likely to conjure up some sort of jiggery-pokery and pure applesauce to allow him to remain on the ballot this year anyway. "That could very well happen here," Canning tells me, before adding: "But I wouldn't bet the farm either direction."

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more on the climate change-related causes of California's historic downpour, Chile's deadly heat and wildfires, and Spain's persistent drought. She also reports on how Europe has avoided Vladimir Putin's energy blackmail, and how Republicans plan to turn back the clock on the Biden Administration's landmark climate achievements if they succeed in winning back the White House in November...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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And still counting...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2024 1:54pm PT  

I was exhausted after about four. It hasn't gotten any easier since. Nonetheless, incredibly enough, The BRAD BLOG has now officially turned 20 years old. And I'm still not sure who actually won the 2004 election...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2024 11:54am PT  

2024 is barely underway, but, man, is it kicking my ass already...

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Guess what we got for Christmas?
By Brad Friedman on 1/2/2024 3:26pm PT  

Welp...looks like our plans to get back on air after the holidays will be necessarily delayed.

After four years of carefully and successfully avoiding it, COVID has found its way into The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters. Looks like Desi brought back more than just Christmas gifts from Texas. She tested positive today.

Her symptoms are largely mild and cold-like (sniffles, some coughs, raspy voice etc.) --- thankfully, we are both well-vaxxed and boosted! --- though she does have some fever today. Otherwise, she seems to be doing okay for the moment. So far, I'm fine. We'll see how long that continues to be the case.

In the meantime...our long-awaited post-holiday return to The BradCast and Green News Report is currently on hold as long (or as short) as necessary, or until we figure out how to safely do a show under these conditions.

Thanks for your understanding... Sorry about that. And, Happy Frickin' New Year. 2024 going great so far!

P.S. COVID is on the rise again. If you haven't gotten a shot in the past 3 or 4 months, now is a perfect time to do so!

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Farewell and thanks to PDiddie, and wishes for a better 2024 to all...
By Brad Friedman on 12/31/2023 12:44pm PT  

With today's monster toon collection --- the not-a-moment-too-soon last of '23 --- we offer our immeasurable thanks and a bittersweet farewell to our long-toiling weekly toon hunter and connoisseur, Perry Dorrell, better known to most as simply 'PDiddie'...

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Top of mind thoughts at year's end...
By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2023 1:37pm PT  

It seems to me this could be the year that the corrupted, packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court could pull a Michael Corleone and "settle all family businesses". But in a good way.

If they wanted to, they could finally say "no" to Trump on the ridiculous notion of "Presidential Immunity". They'd have nothing to lose. They could say "yes" to his disqualification from public office under the text of Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, which its founders obviously wrote to bar someone like Trump, who clearly "engaged in insurrection" against the Constitutional order, from being allowed to ever serve in public office again.

As far to the right as the Court's Republican Justices are, they already have everything they now need. They have nothing to gain from continuing to entertain Trump. In fact, he has made their lives as much of a living hell as he has for the rest of us. They've already got a 6 to 3 majority. That will sadly but largely hold. Even if Thomas decides, for once in his life, to do the right thing (he won't; why start now?) and retire.

And while a Democratic President might be the one to replace Thomas in such an event, it is arguable that virtually any other Republican candidate for President in 2024 would have an easier path to defeating Biden than Trump would, if a SCOTUS majority followed an originalist interpretation of 14.3 and disqualified Trump from the ballot. Win win for the Court, if not necessarily for us. Of course, most Pundits and Experts --- particularly on the Left, always girding for defeat --- seem to think SCOTUS will conjure up, from whole cloth, transparently absurd "judicial reasoning" to allow Trump to run anyway. Certainly possible. Perhaps probable. Though I'm not as certain as those Pundits. I'm an optimist. Somehow. Even now. Even if his removal wouldn't bode electorally well for Democrats.

Allow his criminal trial in D.C. to proceed before the election, in regards his ridiculous Immunity claim. Allow state's rights to hold on Insurrection Disqualification. The Court could, if it wanted to, Settle all Family Business.

Sure. It would get ugly. But while the Republican Justices are corrupt, they aren't stupid. They known ugly is coming no matter. The only question is when and how cowardly they are. They know another day of MAGA Reckoning --- as January 6 --- remains. Do they prefer it Sooner or Later? Their call. They've talked themselves into doing The Right Thing once or twice in recent years. They can do it again. Their jobs, no matter, will still be secure for life, and made easier by the day. That is their 2024 dilemma.

2023 ends on too many cliff-hangers. 2024 will begin by reconciling a few. The horrific Trump Show will continue nonetheless. We collectively decided as much when we allowed it to begin in the first place in 2015/16. It's unlikely to end in 2024. But it could finally Jump the Shark towards its long-forestalled Series Finale. Perhaps it already has.

No matter, we live in this show together, come hell and highwater. Hold fast. It'll get choppier still. But it can get better. We can decide as much. Eventually.

With that news --- as bright as I can offer as the calendar turns --- Happy New Year to all! And, most especially, thanks to those of you who have made The BRAD BLOG and all of its various element parts possible for --- as of later in January --- 20 mind-blowing years.

-- BF

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Guest: ACLU voting rights attorney Jonathan Topaz; Also: Israel-Hamas truce extended for two more days amid more hostage releases...
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2023 6:05pm PT  

We're back live on today's BradCast after a much-needed holiday break. Thanks to those of you who helped us avoid disaster last week! Now the question is whether we'll be able to avoid disaster in next year's Presidential election where we will have "as stark a choice as the United States has ever faced."

A lot happened while we were off (as usual), but none as critical, as far as I'm concerned, as the mind-blowing ruling issued last week by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, upholding an insane lower U.S. District Court Judge's ruling in an Arkansas voting rights case.

The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP, challenges Arkansas' gerrymandered legislative maps which should --- if the rule of law and Constitution mean anything anymore --- include another five Black-majority voting districts before the 2024 elections.

However, last year, a Trump-appointed District Court Judge, while recognizing the merits of the case, found for the first time in U.S. history that individual voters and private organizations like the NAACP and ACLU have no "right to private action" to sue against violations of Section 2 of the landmark Voting Rights Act. The lower court judge found that only the U.S. Attorney General may sue to block racially discriminatory laws under Section 2. And, last week, incredibly enough, that ruling was upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals panel featuring two Trump judges and one George W. Bush appointed judge.

We're joined today by JONATHAN TOPAZ, Staff Attorney at the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, who worked on the case at both the district and appellate court level. He explains that the District Court ruling "was the first court in the history of the United States to determine that Section 2 lacked a private right of action, which means that private plaintiffs are unable to vindicate their rights under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. This, at the time, and is today, is an incredibly radical ruling. We appealed, because it had no basis in the text and structure of the Voting Rights Act, it had no basis in the precedent, and it certainly had no basis in the practice of decades and decades of private plaintiffs bringing suits to vindicate the incredibly important right to vote free of racial discrimination under the Voting Rights Act."

But, as Topaz goes on to explain, it got worse. Last week "a divided panel of the 8th Circuit voted to affirm the District Court's finding. So now these are the only two courts in the history of the United States that have ever made such a finding."

Indeed, the arguably even more "conservative" 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, recently found the opposite, that private plaintiffs do have the right to sue. So, the 8th Circuit Court is an outlier, with what Topaz describes as "a radical opinion on appeal to the voters of Arkansas and voters around the country."

What happens next? What will it mean if it is upheld by SCOTUS? What are the chances of that actually happening? How can it be that neither SCOTUS nor Congress nor dozens and dozens of courts have previously noticed this flaw in the VRA over the past six decades? And, if SCOTUS does find in favor of the 8th Circuit, what will that mean for the hundreds of Section 2 cases previously decided in favor of private plaintiffs? Tune in for answers to all of those questions and many more.

Also today, a bit of what suffices for "good news" out of the Middle East on Monday, as Israel and Hamas agreed to extend their four-day pause in hostilities for another two days to allow for the release of more hostages from Gaza and more Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.

That largely encouraging news, however, is somewhat tempered by events back here in the U.S. over the weekend, where three Palestinian students were shot at close range in otherwise peaceful Burlington, Vermont. The three young men, all 20 years old, were heading to dinner at one of the men's grandmother's house. A suspect was arrested on Sunday. We discuss.

Then, we open things up to listeners via phone and email in our closing few minutes...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2023 11:44am PT  

Despite a last minute setback or two, we are determined to take a much needed break to stand down and try to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with family this week.

We'll be back next week with both The BradCast and Green News Report and whatever fresh nightmares continue to roll in ahead of next year's critical elections.

I had planned to include a donation link here for those able to share a few dollars to help us keep our Prius moving this week. But now I'm gonna leave a bold link for same because literally, as we were preparing to hit the road, the radiator on our otherwise steadfast 2006 hybrid decided this was the perfect opportunity to crack and finally give up the ghost.

The cost of a full replacement and last-minute rental car to get us over the river and through the desert is now quite a bit more than we'd hoped to part with this week. But family first and all that. So, we would be particularly thankful for any support you may be able to afford this week.

Beyond that, of course, my thanks to all of you for sticking with us throughout what has been an incredibly tough --- and too often tragic --- year for just about everyone on the planet. We couldn't do what we try to do here every day without your support! For that, we remain eternally grateful.

Thank you and all of our best wishes for a safe and peaceful holiday...

-- Brad et al

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Results from OH, KY, MS, PA, VA, elsewhere; Guest: 'Handbook for a Post-Roe America' author Robin Marty of the West Alabama Women's Center...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2023 5:52pm PT  

It was a very good night for democracy and reproductive freedom in these United States on Tuesday, as Democrats, in almost every state holding off-year elections yesterday, continued their post-2016, Trump-era winning streak at the polls. We cover both the reported results from Tuesday and what they mean moving forward on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • First, the results, including major wins for abortion rights and the legalization of marijuana in the "red" state of Ohio, where Donald Trump won by 8 points in the 2020 election, and where the GOP pulled out all the stops to block the right to reproductive freedoms from being written into the Buckeye State constitution. Unverified results today show both ballot measure were adopted by voters on Tuesday by nearly 14 point margins.
  • In Virginia, Dems held onto their majority in the state Senate and won back a majority in the House of Delegates. Thus, crushing the hopes --- and, perhaps political future --- of Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin while also blocking his hopes of instituting restrictions on abortion in the southern state.
  • There was also a blue moon over the "deep red" state of Kentucky on Tuesday, where Trump won in 2020 by 26 points, and where the state's Democratic Governor Andy Beshear out-performed polling to defeat KY's Trump-endorsed A.G. to win a second term. Beshear vowed during the campaign to continue his fight against the state's total ban on abortion and he won on Tuesday by about five points. Statewide Democrats on the ballot below him, who did not run on abortion rights, all lost. Nonetheless, Beshear's victory may be a good omen for Democrats for another reason. The winning party in KY's off-year Gubernatorial elections has gone on to win the White House in every election this century. That's the past six in a row.
  • The news was not as good for Dems in Mississippi, where long-shot challenger Brendan Presley actually under-performed polling in his challenge to the incumbent, scandal-plagued Republican Governor Tate Reeves. Presley and Reeves both opposed abortion rights. (Paying attention, Democrats?) Of course, the disastrously run election in the state's 83% Black capital city of Jackson --- ballots ran out in many locations, lines were hours long, the state's online polling locator had incorrect instructions for more than 90 polling places --- didn't help.
  • But, in Pennsylvania, voters elected a new, pro-abortion Justice to their Supreme Court, and Philadelphia elected its first female Mayor (who also happens to be black).
  • Voters in Rhode Island, in the only U.S. House Special Election of the night, elected Gabe Amo as their first elected Black Representative for Congress, as Dems continue their streak of out-performing in Special Elections.
  • And voters up in Harlem elected Yusef Salaam, a member of the exonerated "Central Park Five", to the New York City Council. Salaam had been one of five young Black and Hispanic boys arrested and forced to confess to the brutal 1989 rape and beating of a white jogger in Central Park. He was jailed at age 15 and imprisoned for almost seven years before DNA evidence exonerated all five of the young men. A then little known real estate developer named Donald Trump took out full page newspaper ads at the time, calling for the reinstatement of New York's death penalty in hopes of killing the boys. He has never retracted or apologized for his demands. He still insists the innocent boys should be executed, as he remains the Republican Party's front-runner for next year's Presidential election.

But the biggest story of the night were the huge wins for abortion rights pretty much everywhere, and the Democrats who support them. We're joined today to discuss what all of it means moving forward into 2024 by ROBIN MARTY, author of 2019's prescient New Handbook for a Post-Roe America and The End of Roe v. Wade: Inside the Right’s Plan to Destroy Legal Abortion.

Marty is also the Executive Director of the West Alabama Women's Center. She offers a lot of insight --- sometimes harrowing, sometimes witty --- into the political fight for reproductive freedoms in both the Deep South and the nation as a whole, as efforts are now reportedly moving forward to place abortion right on the ballot --- both for and against them --- in about a dozen states.

She's got a lot to share today, including her call for Democrats to run on a federal referendum to restore abortion rights nationwide. For today, however, she is enjoying yesterday's wins across the country.

"The most important thing to take away is the fact that voters are still pissed," she tells me. "This is exactly their way of showing just how angry they are. It is going to take all of us, as voters who believe in reproductive rights, to go out, vote and change government on every level. And that's what people did yesterday. They changed it in governors races, flipped statehouses, changed abortion language on the ballot. They went and took out school boards that had gone totally MAGA and had started trying to take away the ability for kids to be able to read age-appropriate sex ed books. So we, literally, are going at every level of the government, and that is going to change things back."

As to her sharp response to the every-few-months retreaded claims from political pundits that the fight for abortion rights may be losing its potency since Roe v. Wade was overturned by our corrupted Supreme Court last year, well...you'll want to tune in for Marty's sharp reply to that question...and much more...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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In 2019, same machines recorded ZERO votes for some candidates
NOW UPDATED WITH MORE DETAILS...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2023 11:46am PT  

Unfortunately, this "programming error" being reported during today's off-year elections in Pennsylvania is hardly the first time that these terrible touchscreen voting systems made by ES&S and shamefully still used in Northampton County --- just outside of Philly --- have failed during a critical election day.

As reported this morning by the Lehigh Valley News...

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - A flaw in Northampton County's voting machines forced multiple polling places to turn to provisional ballots Tuesday morning.

A programming error with the county's ES&S ExpressVote XL machines is causing votes to flip when voters split their votes on [statewide] retention questions for Superior Court judges Jack Panella and Victor P. Stabile. Panella, of Palmer Township, is a Democrat while Stabile is a former chair of the Cumberland County Republican Committee.

If a voter cast a "Yes" vote for one of the incumbents, but a "No" vote for the other, the votes come out flipped, Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure said.

McClure characterized the error as relatively minor and stressed all votes will be counted. But he expressed his frustration that the mistake wasn't caught during pre-election testing.

"I'm livid at the election folks and ES&S," McClure said.

This is only "relatively minor" for those who continue to support using unverifiable, computerized touchscreen voting systems rather than simple, verifiable, hand-marked paper ballots, which appear to have saved the day here (hopefully), in any case...

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

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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: Dr. Daniel Swain of UCLA and Nat'l Center for Atmospheric Research; Also: 850 still missing on Maui; Trump cancels 'exoneration' news conference, chickens out of debate, negotiates surrender in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2023 6:06pm PT  

Welp, as discussed on today's BradCast we, personally, managed to dodge the worst of the weekend's Hurricane Hilary (downgraded to Post-Tropical Cyclone shortly after landfall) by dint of a complete coincidence. Thanks to many for the well-wishes. Tune in for more details on that today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But much of the U.S. Southwest was not as lucky over the past 24 to 48 hours, with parts of California seeing a year's worth of rain, in some cases, in just over a day. Our coverage begins with a focus on our hometown of Los Angeles, which saw the center of the storm pass over downtown at 7pm on Sunday. The desert areas, for example, Palm Springs, fared far worse. And now many in Nevada are facing the storm, which could continue to drop massive amounts of precip as far as southeastern Oregon and west-central Idaho.

Tropical storms are wildly unusual for the state of California. The last time one one made direct landfall in the Golden State was 1939, prior to the modern National Weather Service warning system and naming convention for tropical storms and hurricanes. All of which begs the question today: Was this storm --- which we tried to light a siren about on our final show last week, when few seemed to be noticing it --- a fluke? Or is it emblematic of our climate changed future?

We've got just the person to ask about that today. We are delighted to be joined by climate scientist DR. DANIEL SWAIN, of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA. He also serves as a Research Fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and at The Nature Conservancy of California.

"This is definitely a historical event that we saw unfold this past weekend in Southern California," he tells me. The worst of it, debris flows, flash flooding, was "mostly in the places that we thought they would be most likely. Largely, this played out pretty close to forecast. This is something that was pretty well predicted."

The question of whether Hilary was a fluke or our future is a complicated one, with a multilayered answer that Swain explains with a great deal of clarity. At least with as much as can be had given what he describes as a huge lack of research of the phenomenon of West Coast tropical storms. Most such storms that form in the Eastern Pacific head out to sea toward Hawaii. But not Hilary. Why did that happen this time exactly? And can we expect more of them?

"We're all living in the context of a changed climate," Swain says as we discuss the now 4 or 5 (depending on how you count them) storms brewing in the Atlantic --- "a conga line of potential hurricanes" --- during what could end up being a very busy peak of the storm season on that side of the country. "We've never had the combination of record warm oceans plus a very strong developing El Nino event in recorded history."

On whether scientists have been low-balling the effects of climate change for years, Swain concedes: "I think we did historically underestimate how much that [warming] was going to disrupt ecosystems, ecologies and human systems --- cities, populations all around the world."

"We are starting to see the limits of our adaptability already. And it's only going to get harder with additional warming," he asserts. "The fact that the water vapor-holding capacity of the atmosphere is exponential with warming, means that the next degree of warming is going to bring about bigger changes than the last degree."

Please tune in for a very enlightening conversation about all of this.

Then, we close today first with a grim update from Maui, where the County's Mayor has announced the official death toll from their recent wildfires (fueled in part by the gusting winds of a different Pacific cyclone) now stands at 114, with some 850 people still unaccounted for.

And finally, a mercifully short update on the various weekend travails of our disgraced, four-time indicted former President and GOP front-runner for their 2024 Presidential nomination. Donald Trump cancelled his promised Monday morning press conference when he vowed last week to present an "Irrefutable REPORT" on "Election Fraud" in Georgia in 2020, which would be "CONCLUSIVE" and offer "complete EXONERATION" following his criminal indictment on RICO charges [PDF] last week. Apparently, there is no such report. He also announced over the weekend that he was chickening out from participation in this week's GOP Presidential Primary debate in Milwaukee, and most others to follow. And, on Monday afternoon, his attorneys negotiated a $200,000 bond for his release after his surrender this week in Fulton County, GA, where he is accused of 13 criminal felony counts related to his attempted theft of the 2020 election in the Peach State...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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