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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, February 20, 2024
'Green News Report' 2/20/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record ocean heat decimating FL's coral reefs; Plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam; PLUS: Nearly half of world's migratory species in decline, U.N. study finds...
Previous GNRs: 2/15/24 - 2/13/24 - Archives...
After Navalny:
'BradCast' 2/19/24
Also: Massive election fraud alleged in Pakistan; Final death blow for GOP fraudsters' phony election fraud film, '2000 Mules'
Sunday 'Partying With Putin' Toons
Can someone let Tucker know that Vlad got another one? It's our latest collection of the week's best toons...
In Memoriam: Alexei Navalny (1976-2024)
So, remind me again how wonderful Vladimir Putin is...
Guns Again, Trump as Ever, Media Failure and the Way Forward: 'BradCast' 2/15/24
Also: Special Counsel probing Hunter Biden indicts informant who lied about 'bribes' to the Bidens from a Ukrainian energy company...
'Green News Report' 2/15/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Mysterious oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago; Big changes as Greenland gets greener; Wildfires reversing hard-won gains against air pollution; PLUS: Climate change comes for chocolate...
Previous GNRs: 2/13/24 - 2/8/24 - Archives...
New Chesebro Docs Detail Trump's Failed 2020 'Legal Coup': 'BradCast' 2/14/24
Guest: TPM's Josh Kovensky; Also: Another huge night for Dems in NY, PA; WI gets closer to fair maps; MI 'fake elector' says GOP lied...
Stewart Return to 'Daily Show' Not a Moment Too Soon!: 'BradCast' 2/13/24
Also: GOP takes mulligan on Mayorkas impeachment; Sen. passes Ukraine bill; Media's epic fail on Hur's obnoxious vindication of Biden in classified docs probe...
'Green News Report' 2/13/24
Culture shift from fossil fuels in Super Bowl EV ads; Big Oil/Gas spending big on Trump; PLUS: Climate scientist wins $1 million defamation suit against rightwing deniers...
Russia, If You're Listening, Trump Says 'Do Whatever the Hell You Want' to NATO Allies: 'BradCast' 2/12/24
Also: Last week's GOP Caucuses in NV, V.I.; Special Election in NY-3; Callers ring in...
Super Sunday 'Borderline Insanity' Toons
Just a few too many tokes over the line in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
Biden Should Federalize TX National Guard Amid State's Defiance of SCOTUS Order
POTUS must address, expose 'moral crisis' of GOP hypocrisy, cruelty, dehumanizing anti-immigrant propaganda...
'Green News Report' 2/8/24
EPA cracks down on deadly soot pollution; January was hottest ever recorded on Planet Earth; PLUS: Hurricanes are getting so intense, scientists propose a 'Category 6'...
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...


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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Warning from a top conservative federal judge; Far-right electoral victories in Argentina, Netherlands; Trump threatens use of Insurrection Act; Biden invokes DPA to save climate...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2023 6:20pm PT  

The warning signs continue to blink bright red after the holiday on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among those warnings...

  • Well-respected, very conservative former federal Judge Michael Luttig warns: "If American democracy was on a knife's edge on January 6, 2021, today it is teetering on that knife's edge [and] in greater peril today than it's ever been in American history." He argues that a second term for the former President would be "catastrophic".
  • TPM's David Kurtz: "The Rule Of Law Is The Only Thing That Matters In 2024"
  • The warning signs are coming from abroad as well, with the "impossible" electoral victory a week ago Sunday of far-right "libertarian" Javier Milei as Argentina's new President and the "massive shock win" and "stunning lurch to the far right" for The Netherlands with last Wednesday's victory for Geert Wilders' extreme right party in Dutch parliamentary elections. Both are wild-haired versions of our own former President, who gleefully celebrated their electoral victories. Both are extreme anti-immigrant, anti-government populists --- to put it very nicely.
  • Here at home, Donald Trump remains the GOP front-runner for the 2024 nomination (though Nikki Haley received a major boost today from the billionaires of the Koch Network), and continues to ratchet up his own far-right authoritarian threats, including with his promised domestic deployment of the U.S. Military under the Insurrection Act should voters of this nation prove foolish and self-defeating enough to allow him a second term next year.
  • Meanwhile, our current President, continues to use his powers for good instead of evil, including a new Biden Administration invocation of the Defense Production Act to boost domestic manufacturing of clean, efficient residential and business heat pump technology to replace dirty fossil fuel-burning furnaces and low-efficiency AC systems. The $169 million program, according to the Department of Energy, "will help families and businesses save money with efficient heating and cooling technology...create thousands of high-quality, good-paying manufacturing jobs and strengthen America's energy supply chain, while creating healthier indoor spaces through home-grown clean energy technologies." It is all part of a program to encourage more efficient appliances that "will save Americans $570 billion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.4 billion metric tons over the next 30 years." So, little wonder Fox "News" is furious about it.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as world leaders descend upon Dubai for the latest annual United Nations climate conference (COP28) on the heels of a number of startling new reports warning that the globe will soon blow past targets set at previous conferences. This one is being hosted by the petro-state of the United Arab Emirates. What could possibly go wrong?

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Election security expert Susan Greenhalgh, who helped expose the plot; Also: Still no speaker in wholly dysfunctional GOP House...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2023 6:36pm PT  

That's two. And this is a big one, as discussed on today's BradCast with someone who helped make it happen. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Former Trump attorney Sidney Powell pleaded guilty in Fulton County, Georgia today. She was the second of 19 co-defendants to do so in District Attorney Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering indictment [PDF] against Donald Trump and his alleged co-conspirators who tried, but failed, to steal the 2020 Presidential election in the Peach State.

Powell is, perhaps, most notorious for her so-called "Kraken" lawsuits filed after 2020, which she promised would expose evidence of massive Democratic fraud in several states. Her suits includes no such evidence and were all quickly dismissed. Her claims, for example, that dead Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was somehow involved in stealing the election with voting machines --- in which Powell bastardized and misused some of my own accurate exclusive reporting on Dominion Voting Systems circa 2010 --- all turned out to be false.

But, as our guest today helped reveal earlier this year, Powell also organized and paid for a scheme to breach proprietary statewide voting system software in Coffee County, unlawfully make copies of it and distribute it across the Internet to sources still unknown. She was indicted by Willis on 7 felony counts related to that plot and, today, pleaded guilty to 6 misdemeanor charges that would keep her out of jail and on probation for 6 years, with the requirement that she cooperate fully with prosecutors and testify truthfully against her 17 remaining co-defendants still facing felony charges. Scott Hall, an Atlanta bail bondsman who initially confessed to the plot in Coffee County during a recorded phone call to frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks, as first aired on this program, pleaded guilty earlier this month and is also cooperating with prosecutors as part of his plea deal.

We're joined today for both a bit of a victory lap and a very serious warning by SUSAN GREENHALGH, longtime election integrity expert and Senior Advisor on Election Security at the non-partisan Free Speech for People. With Marks, whose Coalition for Good Governance has a long-running lawsuit against GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, seeking to replace the state's touchscreen voting machines with hand-marked paper ballots, Greenhalgh helped reveal that the plot to breach the voting systems in GA was actually part of a broader, multi-state conspiracy hatched during an infamous December 18, 2020 meeting with Trump in the Oval Office. In addition to Powell, co-defendant Rudy Giuliani, disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and others on Team MAGA were there that night, hoping that Trump would issue an Executive Order for the military to seize the nation's voting machines. Instead, they settled on the Coffee County scheme and others like it in several other states.

"We know that [Powell's] been involved in voting system software breaches in other states, like in Michigan," Greenhalgh explains today. "But Sidney hasn't been charged there. It's important to keep in mind that this was a networked, coordinated, multi-pronged plan to get access to voting systems in multiple states that she was a part of, and she really shouldn't escape responsibility for her role in those alleged criminal activities in other states."

Greenhalgh recently co-wrote a piece at Slate, calling on the U.S. Justice Department to launch a probe into the multi-state scheme which, she explains today, still poses a very serious threat to the 2024 elections. "Suppose there was a plutonium laboratory that had a robbery, and your local police prosecuted the thieves and the people that let them in. You wouldn't expect them to stop there. You'd expect the feds to go out and find out who got the plutonium and what was the plan to do with it. That's the kind of investigation that we need right now."

For today, at least, the guilty plea by Powell was good news. Marks called it "eminently important...for raising public awareness of the seriousness of the offense that puts Georgia’s 2024 elections at risk because Powell’s team released Georgia’s software into the wild."

As we've discussed with Marks on the program many times, however, Raffensperger has taken no action and has arguably helped cover up the Coffee County breach from the jump. "While Georgia’s Secretary of State has turned a blind eye and declined to either investigate or mitigate this massive security failure," Marks said in a statement today, "at least DA Willis is holding some of the ring leaders accountable in ways that will certainly expose other actors’ wrongdoing in this unlawful attempt to subvert the 2020 election."

For her part, Greenhalgh says today that, though she "was surprised at how lenient the deal is", she is hoping that Powell's guilty plea is "really going to bring the goods" on the multi-state plot and, of course, the involvement of higher-ups in the food chain like Trump and Giuliani.

Greenhalgh encourages listeners to contact their members of Congress to insist they take action on the ongoing threats posed to our voting systems by the breaches in Coffee County and elsewhere before 2024.

Given the mind-blowing and ongoing dysfunction in the GOP-run U.S. House right now, however, amid the Republican Party's continuing inability to choose a Speaker --- as we also discuss on today's show --- it's unlikely that there will be any kind of hearings or anything else there for quite some time.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with bad news for snow crab fans; a decades-long scheme by the natural gas industry to cover-up health concerns about gas stoves; and some potentially encouraging news regarding both solar energy and U.S. climate goals...

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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Hard right moves to vacate, Dems stay united, next steps unclear; Also: Trump gag order in NY; John Kelly confirms Trump attacks on military, vets; Milley slams former Prez as 'wannabe dictator'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2023 6:16pm PT  

Breaking just before air on today's BradCast: Yup. More GOP chaos in Congress. But I'm sure, by week's end, it'll all be the Democrats' fault somehow. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

In the wake of House Dems helping to keep the federal government from a shutdown over the weekend by voting in support of then House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's last-minute, 45-day Continuing Resolution to keep the government open until the GOP's warring factions can pass a budget, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz filed a Motion to Vacate against the Speaker of the House on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, just before airtime, McCarthy was ousted in a dramatic 216 - 210 floor vote.

Gaetz and 7 other far-right Republicans joined all Democrats in voting to vacate the Office of Speaker of the House. It was a first in U.S. history.

Of course, we all saw it coming when McCarthy agreed to a deal with the farthest rightwing members of his own caucus in January to allow a single member to file a Motion to Vacate. It was one of many concessions by McCarthy in exchange for allowing him to become Speaker last on the 15th ballot. Moreover, he did himself few favors with the opposition party by breaking many promises with Biden and the Democrats regarding the shutdown, an absurd, evidence-free Impeachment Inquiry and more.

What happens next? That is completely unclear as of this hour, and as we scrambled to cover the historic news while still salvaging at least part of our previously planned program.

As the Republican Party falls apart in Congress, so does the life of the Republican front-runner for the 2024 Presidential nomination. Among our other stories, breaking or otherwise, today...

  • The judge in New York overseeing the state's $250 million civil fraud trial against Donald Trump, his company and two of his sons issued a gag order against the former President on Tuesday, after he targeted the judge's law clerk this afternoon in a social media posting and in an email blast to supporters.
  • Picking up on our continuing coverage of the racketeering case against Trump and 18 co-defendants in Georgia, related to their broad, failed conspiracy to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State, there was bad news in court on Friday for at least four of the co-defendants. We explain.
  • Retired U.S. Marine Corps General, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Trump's second and longest-serving Chief of Staff, John Kelly, finally went on record today to confirm his direct knowledge of a number of Trump's long-reported attacks against military members and veterans, including by describing them as "suckers" and "losers".
  • Kelly's devastating, if long-overdue, on-the-record remarks came in the wake of Trump's recent attack against General Mark Milley, Trump's Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who the former President recently charged with committing "treason", a crime punishable by execution. For his part, Milley, whose four-year term expired last week, offered thinly-veiled, if striking and piqued remarks during his Farewell Address late last week. Without mentioning Trump by name, while describing the uniqueness of the American military's mission to protect the nation and our democracy by taking an oath to protect the Constitution, Milley railed: "We don't take an oath to a country. We don't take an oath to a tribe. We don't take an oath to a religion. We don't take an oath to a king or a queen or to a tyrant or a dictator, and we don't take an oath to a wannabe dictator!" While those comments have received a fair amount of attention by the media, Milley had much more to say along those lines. We share a bit more of his remarks that are worth hearing today.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, after New York saw its third 100-year flood in the past two years over the weekend; extreme heatwaves shattered September records; climate change is straining the home insurance bubble; and Norway's effort to move to 100% electric vehicles is all but complete...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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The two Justins win back their seats in TN; Huge turnout in response to OH's Issue 1 scam; Deadline for military PACT Act benefits; Also: Callers want to talk about our thrice-indicted former President...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2023 6:32pm PT  

It may be the dead of Summer, not exactly when most Americans are thinking about elections. But they were thinking about them last week in Tennessee and Ohio. No matter what these days, Americans are still thinking about Donald Trump. We cover all of that and more on today's busy BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among the stuff covered on today's program...

  • Another victory for Americans and our current President. Months earlier than expected and ordered by Congress, Joe Biden signed a landmark Presidential order just over a week ago that officially updates the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for the first time in decades. The update changes the way the military handles sexual assault cases and other violent crimes, many of which, advocates of the new system have argued for some twenty years, were swept under the rug in the military chain of command.
  • In somewhat related-ish news, the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act [or PACT] Act has an important deadline this week that former Daily Show host Jon Stewart wants you to know about. The PACT Act greatly expanded medical benefits for veterans harmed by toxic burnpits, agent orange and other toxins while in service to the country. The landmark measure was signed by President Biden in 2022 --- also after years of advocacy by proponents --- and, while eligible vets can sign up anytime, those who either sign up or offer their intent to sign up by Wednesday, August 9, will be able to get full benefits going back to August of 2022. So make sure you let anyone you served and may have been sicked while on duty know about it! Learn more and sign up at VA.gov/PACT.
  • Remember the Two Justins --- Tennessee State Rep. Justin Pearson of Memphis and Justin Jones of Nashville --- the two young, black, progressive Democratic lawmakers [pictured above] who were expelled by Republicans from the TN State House for supporting children and teachers protesting for new gun safety legislation following the mass school shooting in Nashville in March? Both Justins just won back their seats in the state House of Representatives during special elections held last Thursday. They were expelled by the racist white Republican House super-majority last April when an older white woman --- Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville --- was spared from expulsion by the same lawmakers, despite participating in the same protest on the House floor with the two Justins. Jones reportedly won his race with a whopping 78% of the vote. Pearson won his election to his old seat with 94% of the vote. Well done, Tennessee voters!
  • Meanwhile, in Ohio, far-right Republicans in that state's gerrymandered state legislature and their dark money supporters have been lying to voters for weeks now about Issue 1, which will be decided tomorrow (Tuesday, August 8th) at polls across the Buckeye State. The statewide ballot measure would make it harder for citizens to adopt citizen led initiatives to amend the Constitution by, among other things, requiring 60% for passage. Just a few months ago, in May, just weeks after adopting legislation to outlaw August special elections, GOP lawmakers voted to hold a special election for this ballot measure (which would only need a simple 50% majority for passage, just like all other ballot measures in state history) in hopes of pre-empting a citizen-led Constitutional ballot measure scheduled for this November that would enshrine reproductive freedoms into the state Constitution. Rightwingers have reportedly been blanketing the airwaves with false claims about Issue 1, telling voters that a "yes" vote will prevent your daughter from receiving a sex change operation without your approval. (Seriously.) But, again, democracy rising? Early voting turnout is through the roof, surpassing even last year's 2022 mid-term primaries. But we'll see how it turns out. A number of counties are reporting poll closures and precinct changes just days before tomorrow's Election Day.
  • Finally, after awarding our kudos to the latest member of the corporate media to be brought to our attention correctly describing Donald Trump's multiple failed attempts to "STEAL" the 2020 election, we open up the phone to callers. Many of whom want to talk about Donald Trump, his latest four-count federal indictment [PDF] last week, and how the hell the guy is even allowed to run for President after inciting an insurrection (he shouldn't be), much less serving as the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination. I still believe it's possible that he will not ultimately be the GOP nominee next year, for a number of reasons I suspect we'll be discussing in the days ahead. For today, however, it was great to talk to a number of very good callers about all of the above!

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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Also: Hunter Biden's plea deal; A plague of locusts; Daniel Ellsberg RIP...
By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2023 6:40pm PT  

Somehow, all of the disparate stories on today's BradCast seem to come together in the end. Whether they make sense or not, we'll leave to you. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • We start with End Times. A plague of locusts --- of a sort --- across six counties in Nevada. And, yes, the infestation is thanks in no small part to climate change.
  • It appears to be the end of the DoJ's 5-year criminal probe of Hunter Biden by a Donald Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney who President Biden allowed, upon taking office, to remain in his job to finish the probe. The younger Biden has agreed to a deal to plead guilty to two tax-related misdemeanors and will be allowed to avoid jail on an even less-often prosecuted gun-related charge which likely would never have been raised at all but for the fact that he is Joe Biden's son and Trump weaponized his Dept. of Justice against his political rivals.
  • The federal judge currently overseeing Trump's stolen documents indictment in Florida. U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, has set an August 14 start date for the trial. Nobody, however, believes it will begin anywhere close to that date.
  • Over the weekend, Trump continued to make his defense more difficult and ridiculous in the 37-count federal felony indictment he faces for charges under Section 793(e) of the Espionage Act related to retention of national defense information. He originally (wrongly) claimed that the Presidential Records Act allowed him to take anything he wanted from the White House upon leaving office and it would become his personal property. The Act does the opposite. Nonetheless, Trump blew that defense over the weekend, offering a different explanation for why he refused to respond to a DoJ subpoena requiring he return all documents during a very good interview by Bret Baier of Fox "News". The remarks will almost certainly be used against him at trial --- if one ever happens --- by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
  • Another one of Trump's repeated lies (also attempted again during his interview with Baier) is that he declassified all of the highly classified documents he stole before leaving office. While there is no evidence in support of that lie, there is at least one document --- Document #19 in the indictment --- which can't be declassified solely by the Executive, as it pertains to U.S. nuclear weapons. According to the federal Atomic Energy Act, that highly classified record may only be declassified via a lengthy process that includes sign-off from the top officials at both the Dept. of Defense and Energy.
  • Another recent defense of Trump's, this one hauled out the night after his arraignment last week, is that "the Espionage Act has been used to go after traitors and spies. It has nothing to do with a former President legally keeping his own documents." In fact, while the Espionage Act of 1917 does have provisions that "go after traitors and spies", it also has a provision that goes after anyone who "willfully retains" national defense information "and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it." In fact, there are tons of folks in prison right now who you have never heard of, serving years after pleading guilty to a single count of what Trump has now been charged with in 31 counts. Many of those Americans, who neither spied nor transmitted the documents, were charged, convicted and sentenced between the time Trump became President in 2017 through today.
  • And then there are those who are charged under the Espionage Act who should never have been. Reality Winner, for example, was an NSA contractor who stole a classified document detailing Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election and unlawfully shared it with media in 2017. (Trump shared documents with media as well, according to his federal indictment, though, unlike Winner, not for altruistic reasons.) She was sentenced to more than 5 years in prison under the Trump Administration's Dept. of Justice, even after pleading guilty. She was neither a traitor nor a spy and said she "acted out of love for what this country stands for," in response to Trump's lies that there had been no Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • Which brings us to some thoughts about a different American whistleblower and hero, DANIEL ELLSBERG (pictured above). While working at a defense contractor in the 1960s, Ellsberg photocopied and leaked the so-called "Pentagon Papers" report to the New York Times and Washington Post in 1971. The 7,000-page classified document detailed U.S. lies and atrocities surrounding the Vietnam War. Though never identified by the media he leaked to, Ellsberg turned himself in to federal authorities despite facing more than 100 years in prison under the Espionage Act. The case was eventually dismissed due to government misconduct after the discovery of Nixon's dirty tricksters, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, overseeing the break-in of Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office seeking incriminating medical records.

    For the next five decades, Ellsberg would go on to become an inspirational anti-war and anti-nuclear advocate, as well as a supporter of whistleblowers like Reality Winner, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. He was also a longtime friend of both this show and The BRAD BLOG.

    Dan Ellsberg died last Friday at the age of 92 after a struggle with inoperable pancreatic cancer. He remains a hero and inspiration to many of us.

    His final appearance on this program was as a guest on our first show after The BradCast moved from a weekly to a daily program back in April of 2015. We share some of our conversation with Ellsberg from that day's show --- regarding the Obama Administration's aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers and a bit more --- on today's program.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as early extreme summer weather slams much of the south while renewable energy saves the day in parts of Texas and reaches an encouraging new milestone across the rest of the nation...

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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...

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It's not just folks on the Right who are being disinformed about the battle of democracy v. autocracy in Ukraine...
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2023 6:11pm PT  

Sadly, it's not only folks on the Right who are all too easily played by disinformation, particularly after years of Russian propaganda that has been all too credulously repeated by some media outlets on the far-Left. That may become clear on today's lively, largely caller-based BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of Russia's horrific, imperialistic invasion of its sovereign neighbor, Ukraine. Some on the Right have begun to call for an end to U.S. financial and military support for Ukraine's self-defense, despite the ominous, all-too-familiar echoes of a new battle for democracy v. autocracy in Europe. At the same time, many in what used to be known as the anti-war movement on the Left have similarly fallen for Kremlin propaganda, thanks to a years-long effort by Moscow to sow disinformation through state-funded media programming and other methods.

One of the most effective arguments fostered by Putin and friends is that if the U.S. and Europe continue to support Ukraine amid Russia's invasion, it could devolve into a nuclear World War III. We discussed that matter specifically last week on The BradCast, with longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst, Stephen Schwartz, former Executive Editor and Publisher of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (proprietors of the notorious "Doomsday Clock" and opponents of nuclear weapons.) Schwartz noted --- as we share in a brief clip today from last week's program --- that, even amid the dangers of the Cold War, there was never a time when the U.S. turned a blind eye to an adversary, simply because they were armed with nukes.

As he told me last week...

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ: We have this bizarre and completely novel situation now in the nuclear age where you have one state fighting an illegal war --- and a very destructive war --- against another state, and then threatening other states implicitly and explicitly with its nuclear arsenal, if they intervene beyond a certain level.

So, the way I see it --- and I'm no big fan of war, at all --- is that if we listen to Putin and say, 'Okay, you're right. We can't risk nuclear war, so we're gonna stand back and let you carve up Ukraine however you want. And, hey, if you want to take Belarus and Moldova, who are we to stop you?' I think that would be a terrible terrible precedent for the rest of the world. Not only with regard to what Russia might do in the future, but other countries that have nuclear weapons or might want them and have leaders that have authoritarian ambitions for power and territorial gain who might say, 'Hey there's something to this nuclear threat-making! We should do that.'
...
Even during the Cold War, when we and the Soviet Union back then had many thousands more nuclear weapons than they do now --- certainly there were problems like the Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest we ever came to nuclear war, and other incidents --- but we did not sit back and say, 'Okay, you've got nuclear weapons, we are not going to get involved with you in any way, shape or form.' We didn't say, "Okay, we can't do anything because you might annihilate us.'

We need to show that nuclear weapons are fundamentally useless, not just for prosecuting war, but also for blackmail. Because otherwise the future world that we're gonna live in, brought to you by nuclear coercion, is gonna be far worse than anything we dealt with during the Cold War.

Schwartz' argument is a compelling one, of course, from someone who has watched the U.S. and Russia closely for decades now. But it is one that, apparently, fails to convince many of our listeners who have been steeped, for too many years, in anti-American (versus anti-war) Russian propaganda.

That becomes clear once again as we open the phones up to callers here at KPFK in our live Southern California listening area, particularly to those who may disagree with my belief that we need to continue supporting the battle for democracy in Europe, before the rise of Russian autocracy moves even farther beyond it's own borders. (Just last week, as discussed today as well, documents purportedly from the Kremlin were leaked, detailing Moscow's plan to take full control over neighboring Belarus within this decade.)

My opposition to war has not changed for decades. I stand in stark opposition to wars of aggression by imperialistic countries against sovereign nations. I opposed the U.S. war on Iraq for that reason, and I oppose Russia's war on Ukraine for the same reason.

But, in opening up the phone lines today, specifically, to folks who disagree with me...well, you'll decide who has this argument right, me or them. It leads to a number of very lively conversations/debates. As usual, I welcome your thoughts in response to today's show in the comments below or via email...

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Also: Over-inflating 'balloon' threats?; GA judge orders partial release of Special Grand Jury report on Trump election-theft conspiracy probe...
By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2023 6:23pm PT  

As noted at the top of today's BradCast, I thought when the Trump Era ended, there wouldn't be quite as much of a fire-hose of news coming in over weekends. Silly me. Perhaps my mistake was in somehow thinking the Trump Era had ended. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

In any event, among the many stories covered on today's show before we opened up our lines to listener calls on all of them...

  • Hey, that was some Super Bowl, eh?
  • Over the weekend a total of three "unidentified aerial objects" were shot down by the U.S. military over North America by President Biden. One off the frozen coast of Alaska, one over Canada (shot down at their urging), and another in Michigan over Lake Huron. None of the objects, according to U.S. officials, were similar to the much larger spy balloon from China recently shot down off the coast of South Carolina. So, what were they exactly? And should anybody really be concerned about it? We discuss.
  • In far more important news, there was also another flurry of activity over the weekend regarding the discovery of mishandled classified documents. It began on Friday, when a consensual FBI search of former Vice President Mike Pence's home in Indiana turned up another classified document. But that story only served to district from the hugely important news that not only were more classified and stolen documents found in Donald Trump's possession (where well over 300 such documents, including thousands of pages marked classified, have been found to date), but in this case, at least one classified document was discovered to have been digitized onto a notebook computer and a thumb drive. Even more disturbing: the notebook on which the document was found wasn't even at Mar-a-Lago. It was, reportedly, in the possession of a still-unnamed aide working for Trump's main fundraising arm, the Save America PAC. If the documents stolen by the disgraced former President were electronically scanned, as appears to be the case, and copied to thumb drives and computers, that opens up a whole new potentially very troubling ball of wax in Special Counsel Jack Smith's ongoing criminal investigation into the documents recovered at Mar-a-Lago. It was also reported, as part of the weekend news flurry on this, that Trump received yet another subpoena for those newly discovered documents last month and that two more of his attorneys testified in January before Smith's federal grand jury.
  • On Monday, a judge in Atlanta announced that parts of a recently written Special Grand Jury report --- including what he described as "a roster of who should (or should not) be indicted, and for what, in relation to the conduct (and aftermath) of the 2020 general election in Georgia" --- will be released to the public this week. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said in his 8-page order [PDF] today that the introduction and conclusion of the report, as well as one section on witnesses believed to have lied to the Special Grand Jury, will be released on Thursday. None of the sections to be released this week, according to McBurney, include names of those who could soon be indicted. The report was created by the Special Grand Jury convened by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. She had sought their advice on whether to bring charges against the former President and other co-conspirators in his attempt to strong-arm Georgia officials into stealing the 2020 Presidential election. At a hearing three weeks ago, she explained that her office opposed the release of the report at this time out of concern for fairness to those who may soon be indicted. She said at the time that charging decisions were "imminent". Presumably, they still are.
  • Finally, some of very good and/or interesting callers ring in today on all of the above and more!

Please tune in for today's lively and, hopefully, both entertaining and informative program!...

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Also: Turkey, Syria earthquake; Campaign finance limits raised; Koch Net to oppose Trump in 2024 primary; WI 2020 Trump campaign worked to 'fan flame' of fake fraud; Callers ring in before Tuesday's SOTU...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2023 5:55pm PT  

Breaking news today and a weekend full of otherwise dumb news resulted in a bit of a hodge-podge on today's BradCast. I hope you'll enjoy it anyway! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

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

  • Rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of Sunday's horrific, pre-dawn, 7.8 magnitude earthquake --- and several huge aftershocks --- in Southern Turkey and Northern Syria. As we went to air, the death toll from both countries was more than 3,400. That tragic number is likely to continue to rise.
  • American Republicans are, no doubt, breathing easier today following the great Chinese Spy Balloon Crisis that gripped them with fear and threatened their very lives and those of their families for several days since last week. On Saturday, the U.S. military shot down the high altitude balloon off the coast of South Carolina and have been collecting its remnants for study. Thankfully, nobody was hurt throughout this days long national nightmare, and the Dept. of Defense suggests the U.S. gained more from the exercise, on balance, than China did. The DoD claims our borders were similarly breached by Chinese spy balloons three times during the Trump Administration. Despite fevered demands from some on the Right, neither President Biden nor Vice President Harris resigned in shame amid "the catastrophic Chinese Spy Balloon spectacle [that] clearly threatened American families" from coast to coast.
  • Great news for the wealthy! Thanks to campaign finance legislation adopted during the George W. Bush era in 2002, and huge inflation numbers in 2022, the amount of money that can now be donated to a single candidate for a single election has been increased from $2,900 to $3,300. The amount that can be given to national party committees, according to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) has increased from $36,500 to $41,300 per year. And the amount allowed for payoffs to special national party committees, such as for national party conventions, has spiked from $109,500 to $123,900. Of course, those limits also apply to poor and working-class people instead. So, it's all totally fair and just some good ol' American "free speech" at work!
  • After declining to support Donald Trump's two Presidential runs in 2016 and 2020, the Koch Network is getting back in the game, vowing to oppose Trump this year by declaring their support for one non-Trump Republican by summer's end. We'll see if they have any better luck this year than their similar losing strategy back in 2016.
  • Despite conceding that Trump lost the 2020 election in Wisconsin, according to an audio recording obtained by AP, his campaign team in the Badger State vowed to help "fan the flame" of phony fraud as early as two days after Biden's win there.
  • Love him (or his policies) or hate him (or his policies), Joe Biden has accomplished more in the first two years of his Presidency than perhaps any other American President in history going back to at least FDR. Nonetheless, just one day before his second official State of the Union address on Tuesday, new polling out today from Washington Post and ABC News finds that 62% of Americans believe Biden has accomplished "not very much" or "little or nothing" in the first two years of his term. That may be an extraordinary failure by Democrats and the White House to get the word out about their own accomplishments. But the greatest indictment here should be for the corporate mainstream media whose only actual (Constitutionally-protected) job is to inform the public and educate the American electorate! Clearly, they have failed. Again. We discuss.
  • Finally, callers ring in today mostly on the topic of Biden's accomplishments or --- as several incorrectly see it --- lack thereof...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Special coverage with Salon's Heather Digby Parton; U.S. Army vet, attorney, former Republican, Keith Barber...
By Brad Friedman on 6/10/2022 5:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we kick off our special coverage of the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee's public hearings on Donald Trump's unprecedented attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election via not only the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection he incited, but via a well-coordinated (by Trump standards) 7-point scheme. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

During Thursday night's gripping and, at times, emotional first prime time hearing, the Committee began to lay out their case, placing the disgraced former President firmly at the center of "an attempted coup". It was a plot to prevent the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation's history. The panel detailed what we will learn over a series of at least five more hearings over the next two weeks.

Last night, they employed disturbing, never before seen footage of the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, and snippets of stunning video-taped testimony from a number of Trump's top officials and his own family members.

The pieces of evidence laid out on Thursday already make clear that Trump was told time and again, for weeks before the assault, that there was no evidence to support his claim that he lost the election due to fraud. His own Attorney General Bill Barr told him on several occasions that the claim was "bullshit." His own daughter, Ivanka Trump agreed with Barr. Both were seen testifying to that end on video last night.

Meanwhile, after Trump incited his supporters --- including extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers --- to attack the Capitol and threaten the life of Vice President Mike Pence, Trump did nothing to stop them for hours. His top general, Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified that Pence contacted the military several times on January 6 to put down the insurrection, while the former President took no action at all. His Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, however, did contact Milley in an attempt to "kill the narrative that the Vice President was making all the decisions" and to "establish the narrative that the President is still in charge."

The damning evidence was presented before two live witnesses took the stand. One was documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who was embedded with the Proud Boys on the night before the insurrection and the day of, capturing both their chilling assault on January 6 and a secret meeting between the heads of both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers on the night before. U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, reportedly the first of more than 100 law enforcement officials to be critically injured that day, testified how she had been knocked unconscious by the Trump supporters, before awaking to continue the fight among "carnage" and "chaos" while slipping on the blood of her fellow law enforcement officers and being attacked with pepper spray from the violent mob.

There was much more presented by Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), suggesting several of Trump's top allies in Congress sought pardons after January 6, and that, as his supporters were chanting "Hang Mike Pence!", Trump was following along via television in the Oval Office; became irate at aides urging him to take action to quell the violence; and even declared, "maybe our supporters have the right idea, Mike Pence deserves it."

We're joined today for analysis by Salon's award-winning opinion journalist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON and former U.S. Army Captain and now-retired attorney KEITH BARBER (who was also a lifelong Republican, until Trump.) He had long been a contributor at Daily Kos on legal and constitutional matters, and now writes at Medium.

Among the many questions discussed today...

  • What did they learn Thursday night that they hadn't known previously?
  • Who are these hearings meant to reach?
  • Why was Fox "News" the only major broadcast or cable news network too terrified to allow their viewers to watch the proceedings?
  • Why is the Committee so focused on the violent, seditious conspiracy carried out by the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, and is there evidence they conspired directly with the Trump Administration?
  • What are the seven points in Trump's failed plot to steal the election that the Committee will detail in the days ahead?
  • How do the claims by Trump supporters that they support law enforcement square with the MAGA mob's brutal assault of Capitol Police?
  • What do both of our guests hope to see from the hearings in the days ahead?
  • And will the hearings continue to grab the attention of the American people?

Both Parton and Barber offer insight and analysis for us today on all of the above and much more!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern on KBJ, the EPA, dark money in the federal judiciary and much more; Also: Latest good-ish news and bleak news out of Ukraine...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2022 6:34pm PT  

We continue the impossible balancing act on today's BradCast between coverage of the chilling news out of Ukraine and the somewhat less grim --- but still (mostly) grim --- news out of the federal judiciary in our own teetering democracy. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST, in our quick round-up of the latest developments in Russia's horrific assault against Ukraine:

  • Some good-ish news as the second round of peace talks results in a "possible temporary ceasefire" to establish humanitarian corridors in some areas of Ukraine to allow safe evacuation out of the country and for food and medical supplies to be brought in.
  • The UN says 1 million refugees have already fled Ukraine over the past week, a record for number to leave any nation that quickly this century. But, they warn, the number of displaced residents could rise to more than 4 million, and potentially as high as 10 million as the unspeakable violence continues.
  • More good-ish news in that the Pentagon has reportedly established a direct line of communication with the Russian defense ministry. The so-called "de-confliction line" has been established "for the purpose of preventing miscalculation, military incidents, and escalation," as AP is reporting.
  • The International Criminal Court is said to have opened an investigation into Russian war crimes and atrocities.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron, after a "not-so-friendly" call with Vladimir Putin, reports "the worst is yet to come" in the conflict.
  • According to its Mayor, Russian troops have finally taken control of a major city in Ukraine, the city of Kherson on the Black Sea near Crimea. Russian troops are said to be "laying siege" to the key nearby Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pleading for more international assistance and calling on NATO to establish a no-fly zone over the country. That, however, would directly pull both U.S. and NATO into direct military conflict with Russia, sparking WWIII in the bargain.
  • And, in the U.S. House on Wednesday, a bipartisan, non-binding resolution "Supporting the people of Ukraine" and its sovereign territory, condemning Russia, was approved by an overwhelming 426 to 3 vote. The three members voting against were all Republicans: Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Matt Rosendale of Montana. The explanations from all three are appalling.

NEXT, it's back to U.S. news focused on the federal judiciary, with the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist at Slate, who, on the day that Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court back in January, told us that his "likely" successor would be Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Last week, she was nominated by President Biden to the High Court.

Among the many court-related matters discussed with Stern today (including several of them in a lightning round, as we tried to catch up with a boatload of news that has otherwise been overshadowed by the war in Eastern Europe)...

  • His thoughts on Judge Jackson, why he predicted back in January that she'd be nominated, what difference she can make on the GOP's stolen and packed Court, and what, if any, roadblocks may stand in the way of her confirmation as the first black woman to sit as a Justice.
  • This week's SCOTUS hearing on West Virginia v. EPA, a challenge by "red" states and the fossil fuel industry to President Obama's Clean Power Plan (which never went into effect) and Trump's subsequent program that replaced it (which was rolled back by the Court and also never went into effect). So why did the GOP's stolen and packed SCOTUS shock Court watchers by deciding to hear this case at all, since nobody has actually been harmed in any way? We discuss. But it's about not only gutting the EPA's statutory ability in the near future to regulate greenhouse gas emissions causing our deadly climate crisis, but also about undermining regulatory actions by all Executive Branch agencies (at least when a Democrat is in control of them.)
  • While the role of dark money in campaigns and elections is fairly well understood, how dark money affects appointments to the federal judiciary and the cases they hear is much less appreciated. Stern explains some of the many ways this has poisoned the U.S. judicial system.
  • Last week, SCOTUS turned away a challenge to Maine's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, filed by plaintiffs seeking a religious exemption. Why has the Court been allowing some state and local mandates to proceed, even without religious exemptions, while blocking others imposed by the Biden Administration? Stern explains.
  • Remember that 2018 decision by SCOTUS regarding a baker who didn't want to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple in Colorado? His bigotry was allowed, but for largely technical reasons. Now the Court has decided to hear yet another challenge to Colorado's anti-discrimination law from a woman who is considering expanding her web design business to create wedding sites. But, if she does, she doesn't want to create them for same sex weddings, in violation of CO's law. Stern explains that idiocy as well.
  • And, finally, in perhaps the most insane court story we discuss today, this one out of the far-right 5th federal Circuit. The lede from Stern's coverage at Salon this week should give you a taste of just how insane it actually is: "On Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stunning decision transferring control over the Navy’s special operations forces from the commander in chief to a single federal judge in Texas. The 5th Circuit’s decision marks an astonishing infringement of President Joe Biden’s constitutional authority over the nation’s armed forces, directing him to follow the instructions of an unelected judge—rather than his own admirals—in deploying [Navy] SEALs. High-ranking military personnel have testified under oath that this power grab constitutes a direct threat to the Navy’s operational abilities. As Russia invades Ukraine and declares a nuclear alert, Donald Trump’s judges are actively threatening America’s national security."

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for an only slightly less insane Green News Report: On Biden's SOTU, on Russia's oil and gas industry getting pummeled because of its attack on Ukraine; and some VERY encouraging news about wind energy...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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US v. ISIS; Omicron falling, deaths rising; Good swing-state redistricting news; Biden EPA applying brakes on DeJoy's insane, corrupt USPS gas-powered delivery truck boondoggle...
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2022 6:30pm PT  

Like the Energizer Bunny, the stories on today's BradCast are still going and going and going... [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among them...

The Never-Ending "Global War on Terror": An overnight, on-the-ground U.S. special forces led raid on a house in northwestern Syria is said to have taken out the latest leader of ISIS, along with more than a dozen others, including six children. We share what we know via sources from Al Jazeera to New York Times to President Biden.

The Never-Ending Coronavirus: As quickly as it spiked, Omicron is now falling in almost every state in the nation. But COVID deaths are still on the rise (averaging about 2,600 per day) and hospitals are still up against it. Almost all entirely thanks to the unvaccinated who are now 60 times more likely to die from the disease than those who have received their shots.

The Never-Ending Assault on Democracy: Following the good redistricting news yesterday out of New York state, more good news today from the critical swing-state of Pennsylvania, where the state Supreme Court has jumped into the redistricting fight between the Keystone State's Democratic Governor and its (gerrymandered) Republican state legislature. The 5-2 Dem majority state Supremes have determined they will have the last word on new maps soon and that's likely good news for American democracy.

The Never-Ending Madness of DeJoy's USPS: It's insanity really. It's also wildly corrupt. Donald Trump's still-in-his-position-for-some-reason Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is overseeing a massive Postal Service contract to purchase 165,000 new mail delivery trucks to replace its aging, 30-year old fleet, which averaged 10 miles per gallon. Instead of moving to all-electric vehicles, the $11.3 billion purchase with a Wisconsin-based defense contractor (for some reason) will consist of 90% gasoline-powered trucks for use over the next several decades, despite boasts from DeJoy's PR team that the trucks are more fuel-efficient than the old fleet, with an increase of 0.4 MPG! The Biden EPA is hoping to put the brakes on the independent federal agency. They've found the service's environmental analysis to be wildly flawed and is directing them to start over before replacing a full one-third of the federal fleet with more climate destroying vehicles that will emit the equivalent of 4.3 million gas-powered passenger vehicles over their expected lifespan. The details in WaPo's exclusive on this catastrophic boondoggle illustrate nothing less than mind-bending madness amid our worsening climate emergency.

The Never-Ending Climate Crisis: Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with bad news on gas stoves and on a massive chemical fire in NC; but good news on the U.S. Interior Department distributing billions of job-creating dollars to states to clean up millions of leaking, toxic, abandoned oil and gas wells across the country, as part of Biden's recently signed infrastructure law...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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