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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, April 17, 2021
Taking the 'DUH' Out of Floriduh: 'BradCast' 4/16/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with Rep. Ted Deutch and journalist Ryan Grim...
Corporations Pretend to
Stand Up for Democracy:
'BradCast' 4/15/21
Guest: Pulitzer Prize-winning biz journalist Michael Hiltzik; Also: New U.S. sanctions on Russia reveal previously unknown detail on alleged 2016 election interference...
'Green News Report' 4/15/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
US threat assessments finds climate change a clear, present danger; Japan to dump radio-active water in ocean; Biden undoing Trump damage; PLUS: France to ban short flights...
Previous GNRs: 4/13/21 - 4/8/21 - Archives...
Biden's Infrastructure Plan Begins End of Govt Socialism for Fossil Fuel Industry: 'BradCast' 4/14/21
Guest: David Roberts of Volts; Also: DHS knew Capitol was 'target'; Biden to end 'forever war'...
'Both Sides'? Really, Liz?: 'BradCast' 4/13
New data shows stunning rise in RW domestic terror; Also: US 'out' of Afghanistan by 9/11/21; J&J vaccine 'paused'; Cop, police chief resign in MN; Appalling video shows VA cops pepper-spraying black service member in car...
'Green News Report' 4/13/21
Western drought worsens before fire season, water cuts; CA's fire prevention plan; EV battery company settlement; PLUS: NOAA predicts bad 2021 hurricane season...
The SCOTUS-Approved, FCC Ownership Rule Catch-22: 'BradCast' 4/12/21
Guest: Sue Wilson of the Media Action Center; Also: More news from vaccination nation; More corporate pushback against vote suppression...
SCOTUS Approves FCC Rule to Allow Further Consolidation of Local Media Outlets
The FCC, under Trump, created a Catch-22 on new rule, requiring private research to counter hidden public data...
Sunday 'Avoid the Politicks' Toons
PDiddie's Springtime reminder to avoid 'blood-sucking insects' in his latest collection of the week's best toons...
GOP 'Legislative' Agenda Now Carried Out by Activist SCOTUS: 'BradCast' 4/9/21
Guest: Court expert Ian Millhiser; Also: Amazon union vote loses in AL; Biden's new SCOTUS reform Comm.; Hating on Cruz and Graham...
'Green News Report' 4/8/21
Biden on dumb GOP infrastructure attacks; Abandoned oil, gas wells loom; Treasury to help private sector decarbon-ize economy; PLUS: GM's all in on EV future...
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...


Guest: Dr. Trita Parsi of the Quincy Inst. for Responsible Statecraft; Also: 10 more Dem Reps join insurrection lawsuit against Trump; Update on Amazon unionization vote in Alabama...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2021 6:43pm PT  

The long, necessary and arduous 'Clean up on Aisle 45' isn't only a domestic challenge. The disgraced former President also left a disastrous mess behind in hard won foreign alliances and unilaterally broken international agreements. On today's BradCast, we dive back into the landmark, 7-party nuclear accord with Iran which Donald Trump not only violated and broke, but specifically sabotaged thereafter in order to make it more difficult, if not impossible, for future American Presidents to restore. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But before we dive into that foreign mess today, the domestic disaster Trump unleashed on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol continues to reverberate. On Wednesday, 10 more members of Congress joined the federal civil suit filed against the former President in February by Mississippi's Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson. The suit charges Trump violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 by inciting his supporters to block Congress from carrying out its Constitutional duty of counting and ratifying the Electoral College vote from the 2020 Presidential election.

The newly amended complaint, filed by the NAACP, also names Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, the white supremacist group The Proud Boys (and several newly formed entities created after the legal dissolution of that extremist organization), as well as the Oath Keepers as defendants. It details the trauma suffered by the Congressional members during the deadly attack and in the days that followed.

In February, a 57-43 majority of the U.S. Senate, including 7 Republicans, found Trump guilty of "Incitement of Insurrection" during his historic second impeachment trial. The plaintiffs in the amended Thompson complaint seek both compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief, with the dollar amount to be determined by jurors at a D.C. federal court trial.

Coincidentally today, the New York Times obtained an excerpt from a new book by former Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner who correctly writes that his party has been taken over by "whack jobs" and cites Trump as having "incited that bloody insurrection," charging him with "stoking the flames of conspiracy that turned into violence in the seat of our democracy."

Next, we turn to one of Trump's (many) foreign disasters, as talks began this week in Vienna, through intermediaries for the U.S. and Iran, in hopes of finding a way toward restoration of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between the two countries. The pact was struck after years of delicate negotiation by the Obama Administration along with China, France, Russia, the UK and Germany. As you'll recall, Trump unilaterally violated the otherwise successful deal that curbed Iran's nuclear program and removed stockpiles of uranium from the country in exchange for the lifting of certain sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Even though the Trump Administration confirmed Iran's compliance with the terms of the deal, the 45th President nonetheless violated it by by pulling the U.S. out and re-imposing punishing sanctions. According to our guest today, however, that's not all he did. Trump also imposed additional punishing sanctions and did so in a way that would cripple the ability for any future President to lift them and return to the agreement.

We're joined today by DR. TRITA PARSI, Middle East foreign policy expert and Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Parsi, who also co-founded the National Iranian American Council, the largest Iranian-American grassroots organization in the U.S., worked as an advisor to the Obama White House during the complicated negotiations for the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (or JCPOA). He documents those efforts in his book, Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy.

Today, Parsi details Trump's sabotage of the JCPOA, and the clever trick employed by the Administration to make it far more difficult to lift the "sanctions wall" they imposed. While his Administration was a failure at just about everything else, Parsi quips, "I don't think anyone actually has accused them of being bad at destruction. At destruction they actually excelled quite well, and in almost an unprecedented and unparalleled way."

During the conversation, he goes on to explains the clear --- if difficult --- road back toward restoration of the accord; discusses the week's encouraging news out of Vienna; outlines the urgency of the talks just two months before new elections are held in Iran; and offers insight on the price the U.S. may now have to pay in order to win back the trust of the Iranians after the U.S. violated the hard-won terms of the agreement.

"To put it into context," Parsi tells me, "the Iranians just signed a 25-year agreement with the Chinese. The Iranians probably do not care at all who comes in and replaces [Chinese President] Xi, they don't care who is the head of the Communist Party, because they have confidence that the Chinese are going to keep their word. Whereas on our end, unfortunately, we couldn't keep an agreement for two years, even one that we were the lead negotiator of."

In some related-ish news which broke during our conversation with Parsi, the Biden Administration announced plans to restore some $325 million in U.S. humanitarian assistance to Palestinians which had been terminated by the Trump Administration.

Finally, we close today with an update on the landmark unionization vote at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, at what would be the first such facility in the U.S. for the retail giant where workers win collective bargaining rights. Voting in the mail-in election ended about a week and a half ago. So what's the delay in learning the results? I explain the complicated process the federal National Labor Relations Board must carry out in tallying the secret ballots from the company's 5,800 warehouse workers in Bessemer. Long story short: We may be hearing news of the results fairly soon...

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Guest: Election integrity advocate, journalist Jennifer Cohn on newly discovered ES&S, EAC failures; Also: Biden endorses filibuster reform...
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2021 7:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: While Team Trump spent months pretending the Dominion Voting Systems company stole votes from Trump and flipped them to Biden with their computerized voting and tabulation systems, there is exactly zero independently verifiable evidence to support that baseless conclusion. At the same time, however, recently unearthed documents from the state of Texas and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), reveal a gaping security hole in new systems made by the largest voting system company in the nation, Election Systems and Software, Inc. (better known as ES&S), which has systems deployed in dozens of states. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

But, first up today, some annoying (if long overdue) news that Donald Trump finally made it clear(ish), during a Tuesday interview on Fox "News", that he recommends his own supporters should, indeed, get vaccinated against COVID. He cites the "great" and "safe" vaccines that are now available, describing them as "something that works" to prevent the deadly disease. We hope his supporters listen, since they are currently the most disinclined to want to get vaccinated.

Next, some long overdue encouraging news on the Senate legislative filibuster. In a Tuesday interview with ABC News, President Biden --- a longtime Senate institutionalist previously opposed to filibuster reform --- said he now favors it being overhauled. He says he supports a modification to bring back the "talking filibuster", where obstructionists are forced to hold the floor and keep speaking until they can't anymore. That would place the onus on the minority hoping to block legislation, rather than forcing Democrats, in this case, to try and find 60 votes to pass anything at all. Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had no problem unilaterally killing the filibuster entirely to steal and pack Trump nominees onto the U.S. Supreme Court, now vows to grind the Senate to a halt if Dems dare change the legislative filibuster. But, of course, McConnell has already done that with his unprecedented use of the legislative filibuster to block everything! We discuss.

Then, on to our main story today. Shortly after the November election last year, Donald Trump and his gaggle of dopey friends and clueless, corrupt attorneys hatched an evidence-free conspiracy theory that Canadian-based Dominion Voting Systems had participated in an elaborate plot to secretly flip votes and steal the election for Biden. (The theory was based in part on my accurate, deep-dive exclusive investigative reporting from 2010, regarding some voting system vendors --- though not Dominion --- who then had ties to Venezuela and its then living President, Hugo Chavez. Team Trump bastardized that reporting to pretend it had something to do with their dumb theory that Dominion stole the 2020 election from Trump.) Dominion has since sued Team Trumpers Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for defamation, slapping them with suits for $1.3 billion each. Last week, news out of Stark County, Ohio and out of Louisiana proved that Dominion is, in fact, being financially harmed by the fraudulent "fraud" plot used to try and discredit them.

But the nation's largest voting machine company, ES&S --- with a years-long, thuggish reputation according to elections insiders, along with a long history of failed elections on their crappy, computerized voting and tabulation systems --- largely escaped scrutiny by Republicans after last November's election. But they shouldn't have, given the disturbing, well-supported, deep-dive exclusive that election integrity advocate and Twitter phenom JENNIFER COHN broke last week at Who, What, Why. She joins us today to explain both her well-sourced report and its far-reaching ramifications.

As it turns out, she reports, there is a flaw in ES&S' installation process that prevents "hash-verification" when software is installed or patched onto their ExpressVote touchscreen voting systems. What that means, in layman's terms, is that its impossible to know if the software installed onto the systems actually matches the certified version of the software that was tested by federal testing authorities under the purview of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission.

This gaping hole --- discovered by the state of Texas in advance of last November's election --- means that untested, modified software, perhaps containing malware, could potentially have been installed onto ES&S' systems in more than a dozen states last year. Even more maddening is that ES&S was well aware of this flaw, but told elections officials (if they happened to notice the failed hash test) that it was nothing to worry about, nothing to see here, everything is fine --- just trust us.

"The strong implication from the documents which were produced is that [ES&S was] telling them that a mismatch should just be treated as a match," Cohn tells me. "That blanket instruction really concerned the Texas examiners when they found out this was happening."

More maddening still, as Cohn reports, is that ES&S forces jurisdictions to allow their own employees or contractors to do these installations, rather than allowing jurisdictions to do so themselves, which might allow local or state officials to do their own hash-verification (or "acceptance testing", as it is known by some in the industry). Some jurisdictions that refuse to allow ES&S to do the installation will have their warrantees void by the company. As one former voting system employee tweeted in response to all of this, it is "like buying a new home and before the closing the seller says, 'You don't need a final walk-through. Just trust me."

"Normally, the customer is supposed to do it. The whole point of it is to make sure that the vendor is being honest and they're not giving malicious vote-flipping software. So to have the vendor do the hash testing themselves defeats the whole point," Cohn explains. "One of the examiners called it 'the fox guarding the henhouse', and said it was ES&S self-certifying their systems. Even the attorneys for the Texas Secretary of state were appalled."

Cohn's reporting at Who, What, Why is based on a passel of documents obtained via public records requests that reveal, for example, a troubled Texas election examiner complaining via email to their Secretary of State's attorney that this security flaw is "a gift wrapped opportunity to an insider threat," before going on to add: "It’s similar to a bank robber knowing that the camera covering teller #3 is broken."

In addition to Texas, ES&S systems used last year in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Washington, DC, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington state, Wisconsin and Wyoming may all have been similarly vulnerable to running modified, vulnerable and uncertified software during the election, as Cohn details in her report, explaining today that it could be as many as 35 states.

And, as if all of that is not yet maddening enough, she also reports on the disturbing reaction from the EAC to this gaping security hole. The federal agency which is supposed to oversee voting system certification, apparently knew about this issue prior to the election, but failed to inform the public and quietly helped patch it all over for ES&S before, essentially, lying about it all once Cohn started asking questions in February. The EAC, as we have reported at The BRAD BLOG for years, has a long and troubling history of protecting private voting system vendors rather than the voters they are supposed to be watching out for.

When the EAC learned about it, Cohn says, they were "in kind of a panic, I think, because if it had leaked out, they couldn't honestly say they knew what had been installed in those states was what it was supposed to be."

So, is any of this related to why Team Trump focused their phony, evidence-free complaints almost exclusively on Dominion, while ignoring well-documented problems with ES&S almost entirely? We discuss that and much more with Cohn on today's --- yes --- maddening BradCast, where she also notes that, despite Texas officials being as troubled as they were by all of this, "I don't think that anybody ever said, 'Why don't we use pens? They don't require hash testing.'"...

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Working class, poor waited decades for Dems' progressive, equitable, paradigm-shifting $1.9T COVID rescue, relief and stimulus package
Also: Rememberinig 1 year since the world locked down, 10 years since Japan's triple disaster; And Trump is in big trouble in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2021 6:34pm PT  

If nothing else, the thing to remember from today's BradCast is that not one single Republican in either the House or Senate voted for Joe Biden and the Democrats' remarkably robust, progressive and equitably written American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion COVID rescue and relief package that history may someday regard as the long-overdue end of the four-decade old Reagan Era.

The President signed the sweeping bill on Thursday, which our friend David Dayen at The American Prospect described today as "maybe the largest pure economic uplift bill in U.S. history." GOPers may come to rue the day they didn't vote for it. Especially in 2022 when some of the key provisions --- like lowered health care premiums and monthly checks amounting to up to $3,600 per child, per year --- will expire unless those provisions are made permanent.

We discuss today a number of the less reported pieces built into the ARP, most of which --- unlike previous stimulus and rescue plans over the past several decades --- are crafted to benefit the poor and working class, and actually help lift many of them out of poverty. That is, by contrast, with the Trump/Republican 2017 tax cuts which also cost about $2 trillion, but overwhelmingly benefited corporations and the already wealthy.

All Republicans in both house of Congress voted against a nearly $2 trillion measure meant to largely help the middle class and the poor. Yet all Republicans in both houses of Congress voted in favor of the nearly $2 trillion measure to help the rich and corporations, which were already enjoying record profits at the time. Got it? Please keep that in mind --- and share it with your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers, in case they are lied to about all of this --- when 2022 rolls around.

This bill marks a fundamental progressive change in the way our federal government has been doing business for the past four decades since the so-called Reagan Revolution. And it comes not a moment too soon, as we discuss today.

Today also marks the one year anniversary since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus to be an official pandemic, when I stated on the program (to the surprise of, at least, Desi Doyen) that America was "shutting down". We share a clip of that somewhat breathtaking historical moment today.

More than 2.5 million have since died around the world, but the U.S., under Donald Trump's horrifically failed leadership, saw more deaths than any other country, with more than half a million lost here and still counting. That, even as we represent only about 5 percent of the world's population.

It is also the 10th anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck Japan in 2011. We remember that still-ongoing disaster as well today, and the nearly 16,000 lives that were lost that fateful day.

In somewhat brighter news...As Republican state lawmakers around the country are moving hundreds of bills in more than 40 states to try and disenfranchise voters in a way not seen since the end of Reconstruction, according to a new analysis by Washington Post, it may be Donald Trump's attempted election fraud that could be the biggest news in coming weeks. It appears he may be in even more trouble than it previously appeared in the state of in Georgia!

A new recording of his phone call to the top Georgia state election investigator, made during a post-election audit in Cobb County prior to Christmas last year, was released Wednesday night by the Wall Street Journal. We share the full, gob-smacking conversation, in which our then President is heard buttering up the investigator and telling her, among other things, that "when the right answer comes out, you'll be praised."

The newly released 6-minute recording with the Georgia Secretary of State's chief investigator Frances Watson, can't really be heard in any other way than Trump hoping to encourage her into finding "fraud" where none existed. The recording is now undoubtedly part of the growing body of evidence being examined by Fulton County, Georgia's District Attorney, Fani Willis. The Democratic prosecutor is investigating "the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election's administration" after the 2020 Presidential election in the Peach State.

Willis has reportedly hired a racketeering and conspiracy expert for her grand jury probe, which could ultimately rope in Trump, his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and even Sen. Lindsey Graham, who are all known to have tried to encourage state officials to change the results of Georgia's 2020 Presidential election after Trump lost. That alone is a state felony punishable by a year in jail. With added charges for racketeering and conspiracy, those convicted under those state felony statutes could face 20 years in jail!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more on the 10-year anniversary of the still-ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daichii nuclear plant and several much brighter and more hopeful pieces of news...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Chuck Collins of Institute for Policy Studies' Inequality.org; Also: 2021 flu season proves masks work; Swalwell latest to sue Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2021 7:00pm PT  

Prepare to be outraged by some gobsmacking and maddening numbers from today's guest on The BradCast. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

But first, speaking of startling numbers, statistics from this year's flu season prove that masks and social distancing do indeed help to prevent viral transmission and death. That, of course, is bad news for residents of Texas and Mississippi, where their idiot Governors this week lifted statewide mask mandates and all restrictions on businesses, even as COVID infection rates are on the rise in both states. Both are among the top 10 worst states in the nation in that regard in recent weeks. Mississippi leads the nation, with Texas not far behind. And that was before they ended statewide mandates this week in contradiction of strong advice from health experts.

In Washington, Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA), one of the House Impeachment Managers during Donald Trump's second Impeachment Trial, filed suit against the disgraced former President, his son Don Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) for their roles in inciting the January 6th U.S. Capitol insurrection. Swalwell's civil complaint follows on a similar one filed last month by Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson and the NAACP.

At the same time today, the U.S. Senate continued debate over the American Rescue Plan, President Biden's $1. 9 trillion emergency COVID relief and stimulus package after Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin forced an all-night reading of the 628-page measure that was passed by the House late last week. In addition to funds to speed distribution of vaccines, the bill includes $1,400 payments to Americans making less than $75,000, an extension of federal unemployment benefits, hundreds of millions to reopen schools safely, and to supplement lost revenue to hard-hit, cash-strapped states and cities.

As tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and are both struggling to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table, the relief can't come soon enough, despite zero votes of support from Republicans in either the House or Senate, so far, for the otherwise wildly popular bill. Johnson described it as a "boondoggle" full of unnecessary spending that would blow out the national deficit, even as it will cost the same amount of money that he and all the other Republicans voted in favor of when they passed Donald Trump's 2017 tax cuts for mostly wealthy Americans and corporations.

But while Senators --- even on the Democratic side --- squabble over whether unemployment payments should be $400 a week and last through August, or $300 a week and last until September, America's 664 billionaires could cover almost the entire cost of the measure from only the money they've made during the last 11 months of the pandemic.

We spoke last Summer with CHUCK COLLINS, Director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he co-edits Inequality.org, about his "Billionaire Bonanza 2020" report. Today, he joins us again with a maddening update to that report, finding that, as more than half a million Americans died, 73 million lost work, nearly 100,000 business permanently closed, 29 million adults reported their household did not have enough food over the past week and 11 million children didn't eat enough because their household couldn't afford to fully feed them, the 664 billionaires in the U.S. actually gained $1.3 trillion in added wealth since the beginning of the pandemic!

The profits of that handful of mostly white, male billionaires could cover more than two-thirds of the entire $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and, "At $4.2 trillion," Collins' updated report reveals, "the total wealth of America's 664 billionaires is also more than two-thirds higher than the $2.4 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, 165 million Americans."

Those are just some of the startling numbers from his latest report, highlighting the obscene inequality in the U.S., made even worse by the nearly year-long coronavirus pandemic. Shamefully, all of the numbers are still worse for women and people of color. "The inequalities of income and wealth and the racial wealth divide were the pre-existing conditions as we went into the pandemic," he explains. Collins tell me that "the number of people who have no financial reserves --- zero, or negative financial wealth" is "14% of white households...but double that, 28% of Black households, 26% of Latino households...[and] that was before the pandemic."

"That's why 660 billionaires can have almost twice as much as the bottom half of US households --- because the bottom half doesn't have much!," he reports. So, what to do about it? Will the American Rescue Plan help? How about Sen. Elizabeth Warren's recently refiled "Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act" that would tax two cents of every dollar of wealth above $50 million, generating at least $3 trillion in revenue over ten years in the bargain.

Warren cites Collins' new study in making the case for her new wealth tax proposal. Her proposal is wildly popular among voters of all political stripes, as she pitched a similar version during her Presidential run last year. The fact that it isn't already the law, Collins argues, "is simply a reflection of the power of wealthy interests to block change in our political system. It's not that they're changing the political system --- they're able to stop and thwart and block change. And that's unfortunately what we're up against."

"That's the debate we're watching right now in the Senate," he adds, "where half the members in the Senate, they don't have a program to help America get through these hard times. They just want to block the one that would actually make a difference. Unfortunately, the Republicans have been the 'Party of No' because they don't want government to succeed in making a difference in people's lives, because that would undermine their whole program."

Yes, we've got a lot to discuss today with Collins, whose newest book out this month, The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Spend Millions to Hide Trillions, details "the shadowy Wealth Defense Industry," which he explains today as well. Sen. Bernie Sanders writes that "Chuck's book reveals a blueprint for reversing this obscene inequality so we can take back our democracy and ensure that our government works for everybody --- not just the billionaire class and wealthy campaign contributors"...

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, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: NatSec expert Elizabeth Goitein of Brennan Center; Also: U.S. economy twice as good under Dem Presidents than Repubs for the past 90 years; MyPillow guy may not be sleeping well these days...
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2021 7:06pm PT  

Now that Trump is safely out of office, as my guest on today's BradCast argues, Congress needs to "get back in the game" to reform the National Emergencies Act now, so it cannot be so easily abused by yet another President. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But, first up today, we pick up on a study we cited on yesterday's show finding that, in 16 developed countries examined over the past 50 years --- from the U.S. to Australia --- tax cuts have had no effect whatsoever on either jobs or Gross Domestic Product. The only thing they have done, however, is make the rich richer and increase economic inequality in countries that institute them.

In that vein, a new piece from the New York Times David Leonhardt reports on economic data finding that the U.S. economy has done better by every measure --- from jobs to GDP to incomes and even stock prices --- under Democratic Presidents than Republicans for the past 90 years. Going all the way back to FDR, the economy has grown at an average annual rate of 4.6 percent under Democrats and just 2.4 percent under Republicans. That means, as Leonhardt notes, that "The average income of Americans would be more than double its current level if the economy had somehow grown at the Democratic rate for all of the past nine decades." But why is that? We discuss. (HINT: It has to do with Dems heeding economic and historic lessons, such as using government resources to invest in flagging economies during recessions, versus the GOP's only apparent economic strategy for both good times and bad --- tax cuts!)

But, with Joe Biden now safely in office and Democrats finally in control of both Houses of Congress, things are, surprisingly enough, working out very well for a change...for now...after just two weeks. Years of Post Traumatic Democrat Syndrome, however, has left us waiting for that to change for the worse at any moment. Nonetheless, before that happens, what other lessons can be learned from the previous, disastrous Administration?

We're joined today by ELIZABETH GOITEIN, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice. Back in 2018, with a report at the Brennan Center and a disturbing landmark article for The Atlantic on "The Alarming Scope of the President's Emergency Powers", Goitein scared the hell out of a lot of us, when she warned of the dangers of the National Emergencies Act and the extraordinary powers it affords to the White House. The Act --- ironically enough, enacted by Congress, in theory, to rein in Presidential emergency powers --- "unlocks powers contained in more than 100 different provisions of law," as she recently discusses again at Politico.  However, "Since the law’s enactment in 1976, presidents have declared 69 national emergencies; 39 remain in effect today," she explains.

One of those "emergencies," a phony one, was Trump's declaration at the border with Mexico, used to steal money appropriated to the U.S. Military in order to build his wall, after Congress expressly voted against it. Another one might have been a national emergency declaration that we now know --- thanks to some stunning reporting by Axios yesterday --- that Team Trump loons Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Flynn were encouraging him to declare during an absolutely bonkers (and frightening!) White House meeting in December. They were hoping he'd invoke the act in order to impound Dominion Voting Systems machines and somehow use them to steal the election from Biden.

Goitein argues that after the last four years offered a very clear demonstration of how Presidents can abuse these emergencies powers, now is the time to reform the "under a president who seems more inclined to rescind bogus emergency declarations than issue them." On today's show, she explains how that can responsibly be done by Congress.

"I think there is an understanding that this administration is our chance --- and it's a chance that we must seize - to shore up the guardrails on our democracy. Emergency Powers has been part of that conversation, and I hope and trust that it will continue to be," she tells me. "Many of those laws absolutely need to be revisited and reformed to be made more narrow. There's absolutely no reason why, in a national emergency, the President should be able to take over radio stations. And the fact that by merely declaring a threat of war, the President could potentially even take over the Internet in this country is horrifying."

At the same time, however, new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is now calling on President Biden to invoke an emergency declaration to take action on our worsening climate crisis, which, as Schumer argues, would allow him to do "many, many things under the emergency powers of the President...that he could do without legislation," in order to get around Republican denialism and intransigence in Congress. Is that a good idea? Is it justifiable? Is it even possible under the National Emergencies Act, reformed or otherwise? Goitein recently responded to some of those questions at WaPo. We discuss them with her today, along with her revelations about some of her worst fears that Trump might have carried out under the existing powers.

Finally, it seems that the loony wingnut MyPillow CEO, Mike Lindell, is having trouble selling both pillows right now and his evidence-free claims that Dominion voting machines were used to steal the election from Trump. We share an hilarious clip of Lindell trying --- and failing miserably --- to make his case, even on the far-right NewsmaxTV, after the voting machine company has issued very serious legal warnings to both Newsmax and Lindell that they intend to sue for defamation if they continue to libel the company. After $1.3 billion lawsuits filed against both Powell [PDF] and Giuliani [PDF], Newsmax appears to be taking that threat very seriously. Lindell? Not so much!...

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Former Prez issues pardons for corrupt allies at exit; New Prez calls to 'defend truth, defeat lies,' and declares 'we must end this uncivil war'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2021 6:07pm PT  

Looks like we made it! Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was sworn in as the nation's 46th President on Wednesday. Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first female, black and South Asian Vice President. And the nation's worst President and greatest sore-loser ever became a former President at the same time, fleeing D.C. like the coward he is just after dawn. All of which we cover in today's BradCast Inauguration Special. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

On his way out the door, Donald Trump unleashed a load of pardons and commutations for his corrupt allies and wealthy friends, abusing the Presidential pardon power in an unprecedented, but hardly surprising, way. We detail just some of the 144 grants of clemency he issued just after midnight, including for Steven Bannon, his former campaign manager and fired White House senior political strategist (who was indicted for defrauding millions of dollars from Trump supporters for a project to build a wall on the U.S. southern border); Elliot Broidy, former RNC fundraiser and Trump Inaugural Treasurer who pleaded guilty to selling his services to lobby Trump on behalf of a foreign billionaire; Paul Erickson, GOP operative and boyfriend of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina; a last second pardon for Albert Pirro, the real-estate developer, GOP fundraiser and convicted felon husband of Fox "News" host and Trump suck-up Jeanine Pirro; and more than 100 others like them. The raft of 11th hour pardons led one good government advocate to wryly charge that "Amazingly, in his final 24 hours in office, Donald Trump found one more way to fail to live up to the ethical standard of Richard Nixon."

Much to our surprise, however, Trump did not pardon his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, any of his children or himself! We would have bet good money he'd have pardoned some or all of them. (Especially himself!) But he apparently didn't.

As if his list of pardoned fraudsters, liars and other assorted and unrepentant criminals wasn't wasn't slimy and sleazy and swampy enough for ya, Trump also issued one last. middle of the night Executive Order to rescind his own 2017 EO that barred Executive Branch officials from lobbying their own agency for five years after leaving office, in addition to a lifetime ban on lobbying for any foreign government. In reversing his much vaunted ethics rule from his first year in office, he made clear yet again that he was only ever pretending for his base of dupes and suckers that he wanted to "drain the swamp" in D.C.

In much less sleazy news, on Day One of the Biden Administration, the new President signed an unprecedented raft of Executive Orders at the White House after his Inauguration, meant to begin to undo some of the most egregious excesses and corruption of the previous Administration. The orders focus generally on four concurrent crises Biden has vowed to immediately begin tackling, including COVID-19, the economy, racial injustice and climate change. Among the EOs planned to be signed on Wednesday, according to AXIOS:

  • Moving to rejoin Paris Climate Agreement
  • Asking the Department of Education to extend student loan relief
  • An executive order to rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit
  • Rejoining the World Health Organization
  • Asking the CDC to "immediately" extend eviction restrictions
  • Reversing Trump's travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries
  • Temporarily halting oil and gas leasing in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • An initiative on advancing racial equity in federal policymaking
  • Overturning Trump order excluding undocumented immigrants from census count
  • But after Trump mercifully fled town early on Wednesday, a remarkably moving and socially distanced Inauguration Ceremony was held at the U.S. Capitol, under extraordinary security precautions following the massive MAGA Mob of violent, rioting insurrectionists who attempted, to little avail, to block Biden's decisive 2020 victory from being formally affirmed by Congress just two weeks ago today.

    We share some key moments from today's ceremony, including Biden's full, crisp, and tremendously on-point Inaugural Address. The new President, among other things, declared that "Democracy has prevailed" and vowed to be a "President for all Americans" while calling for "unity". He pointedly noted: "We must end this uncivil war" and went on to observe that "Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and defeat the lies."

    Finally, we close with a few thoughts on this wonderful, historic and long overdue day from both Desi and myself, at the end of four (actually five) hellishly long, painful, destructive, difficult and deadly years as the "American Carnage" of the Trump Era hopefully begins to fade as a new day begins...

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    Guest: Progressive columnist, broadcaster Richard 'RJ' Eskow on Trump's bitter end, Biden's difficult new beginning, America's challenges ahead...
    By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2021 6:17pm PT  

    It's our final BradCast with Donald Trump still serving as President of the United States! Though it's likely to take a while before the stink fully dissipates. [Audio link to the show follows below the summary.]

    The soon-to-be-former President is said to have been in a foul mood all weekend (SAD!) as he prepares, reportedly, to announce as many as 100 or more last minute Presidential Pardons. Reporting today suggests he will not issue pardons for either his family or himself (or even for the under-indictment Steve Bannon or the reportedly under-federal investigation Rudy Giuliani). Color us dubious about that, however.

    The failed President's mood was undoubtedly not brightened by Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, who --- while convening the Senate for what is likely his last full day as Majority Leader --- declared that Trump "provoked" the violent attack and riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. That may not be a good sign for the disgraced man who will face an Impeachment Trial in that same Senate in coming days, as the first ever twice-Impeached President.

    The fact that few wish to show up to send Trump off from Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday morning, or that tons of A-List stars are showing up for Joe Biden's inauguration, probably hasn't made Trump any less bitter. So at least America can be happy about that. Trump did release a video today in which he bid "farewell" to the nation (promises, promises), and --- without mentioning Joe Biden's name --- said out loud that there would be a "new administration" as of Wednesday.

    That may still come as a shock to many of those gullible supporters of his to whom he's spent the last several months lying about that fact. But since he's been banned from Twitter, according to new research, misinformation about the election has plummeted on social media sites, along with hate speech and calls for violence. Go figure.

    Still, as Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris held a moving memorial service for the more than 400,000 Americans killed by COVID-19 thanks to Trump's delinquent response, the streets of D.C. are otherwise locked down tight today in advance of Wednesday's inauguration.

    We're joined from D.C. today by progressive columnist and broadcaster RICHARD 'RJ' ESKOW of The Zero Hour to discuss a whole bunch of related stuff. Our conversation ranges from the on-edge mood in the nation's capitol on the eve of an unprecedented Inauguration Day lockdown to Eskow's concerns about Big Tech's muzzling of political viewpoints (even Trump's) to questions of accountability for the outgoing President and to what the former health insurance executive and senior writer for Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign thinks of Biden's cabinet selections and stated agenda to date.

    Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our last Green News Report of the Trump Presidency, with some good news on Biden's economic recovery plan and his intention to reverse a host of environmental rollbacks by the previous Administration; some good news on the zombie Keystone XL pipeline, and; some very good news from the courts, late today, regarding the Trump EPA's failed attempt to allow coal-fired power plants to continue to pollute and contribute to deadly global warming.

    Yes, it's the end of an error...with a lot of cleaning up to do in the days, weeks, months and, sadly, years ahead. But at least we will soon have all of that to look forward to, with the nation's worst ever President, hopefully, becoming nothing more than a terrible terrible memory...

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    Guest: Philadelphia Inquirer's Will Bunch on the D.C. mayhem, the Dem Senate victories and the MAGA legislative mob's extraordinary insurrection on Tuesday in the PENNSYLVANIA state Senate...
    By Brad Friedman on 1/6/2021 7:35pm PT  

    As "today" is still ongoing, we'll need to keep the summary of today's BradCast --- and the extraordinary events we find ourselves covering on the fly --- a bit more terse than usual. [Audio link to today's full show follows below.]

    Our first draft of history today includes the news that both Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff have reportedly won their U.S. Senate runoff contests in Georgia against incumbent Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively. With those two stunning, if narrow, victories, Democrats will soon enjoy partisan control of the U.S. Senate under the new Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, instead of soon-to-be-former Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Warnock will be the first African-American Senator and Ossoff the first Jewish Senator to represent the Peach State. Ossoff, at 33 years old, will also be the chamber's youngest member.

    While that momentous news alone would normally be our top and perhaps only story for the day, it barely makes the top three. As you know by now, after weeks of false, evidence-free claims by the President of the United States that the election was stolen from him, and after an hour of his endlessly repeated, ginned-up rhetoric on same at a so-called "SAVE AMERICA" rally in D.C. this morning --- and after Donald Trump's buffoon, criminal attorney Rudy Giuliani called for "trial by combat" in his own remarks --- the MAGA Mob he summoned to D.C. stormed the U.S. Capitol building.

    The rioting came during a joint session of Congress, amid GOP challenges to the formal, usually ceremonial Electoral College affirmation of Joe Biden's decisive November victory. Both chambers of Congress were evacuated as Trump-supporting rioters broke windows and doors to enter the building. Both the House and Senate chambers, as well as lawmaker offices, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were violently breached by the anti-American marauders. Vice President Pence, who had been presiding over the Joint Session, was ushered, with several other key lawmakers, to a secure location through underground tunnels beneath the Capitol building. One of the insurrectionists is said to have been shot and killed. Questions remain, lots of them, as to why there was not a larger police presence around the Capitol before this perfectly predictable attempted coup.

    But, while we offer a first draft of history on all of the above today, the attempt to overthrow the American government, abetted by the President himself, was hardly the only sign of the long and steady degradation of our Constitutional representative republic by members of the Republican Party. On Tuesday, GOP members of the Pennsylvania Senate refused to seat a duly elected veteran Democratic state Senator on the first day of their new session and used their gerrymandered majority to muscle Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman out of his state Constitutional role as President of the state Senate. We share some of the remarkable audio from that Tuesday coup in the Keystone State, in what I'm calling "The Wisconsinization of Pennsylvania."

    Joining us to explain what happened during those extraordinary events in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, the even more extraordinary events that we saw in D.C. on Wednesday --- and both where it all comes from and what it all means going forward --- is the great WILL BUNCH, longtime national columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.

    Finally, as the President of the United States with no more than two weeks left in office only made matters worse with his Twitter statements throughout the riots that he fostered today, we turn for sanity to the President-elect instead. We close today's program with Biden's calming words to a nation in crisis, while the current disgraced President returns to his bunker amid the American Carnage he has wrought...

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    Deception, repeatedly rejected meritless claims and two 'beyond the pale' 11th-hour lawsuits justify legal discipline, perhaps even disbarment...
    UPDATE, 1/1/21: Ohio State Law Professor describes latest assault on election as 'breathtaking and preposterous'; UPDATE, 1/2/21: Court dismisses Gohmert 'legal' challenge; UPDATE, 1/3/21: 5th Circuit panel denies Gohmert motion for an expedited appeal; UPDATE, 1/4/21: DC District Court denies motion for a preliminary injunction; contemplates imposing sanctions...
    By Ernest A. Canning on 12/31/2020 10:35am PT  

    As recently reported by John Kruzel of The Hill, the attorneys taking part in Donald Trump's dishonest effort to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 Presidential election "face mounting ethics complaints" that could result in sanctions ranging from fines to censure, suspension or even disbarment.

    Michigan's Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel recently explained why she is seeking to have Team Trump attorney Sidney Powell and others subjected to discipline, including disbarment, for professional misconduct in conjunction with continuing frivolous legal efforts to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 Presidential Election...

    Every lawyer, in order to become a licensed professional, takes an oath of office in which they swear to uphold the Constitution. Instead, she [Powell] has done nothing but undermine it. There are so many Rules of Professional Conduct. You can't bring frivolous lawsuits that are not based on fact or the law. You can't have fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, things that are prejudicial to justice. You can't knowingly bring evidence that is false, or make misleading claims. She's broken each and every one of these in all of her cases. Just in the Michigan cases alone, she's breached each and every one of these codes of conduct.

    Nessel's observations are certainly consistent with Rules 3.1 and 3.3 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct [PDF] which prevent the pursuit of frivolous claims and forbids attorneys from knowingly making false statements of fact or law to any tribunal. "An action is frivolous," Rule 3.1 explains, "if the lawyer is unable to make a good-faith argument on the merits of the action taken, or to support the action taken by a good-faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law."

    MI's rules are in line with the American Bar Association's Rules of Professional Conduct as well.

    Nessel is by no means alone in her critique of the dubious legal tactics being taken by a number of attoneys allied with Trump. In Delaware, a state judge, on his own motion, issued an order "to Show Cause why the permission to practice" pro hac vice (in a specific case), previously extended to out-of-state Georgia Attorney L. Lin Wood, Jr., should be "revoked". The court believes Wood may have "engaged in conduct in other jurisdictions, which, had it occurred [in a Delaware case], would violate the Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct."

    There's a growing body of evidence that multiple attorneys have knowingly pursued frivolous claims that in hopes of undergirding Trump's dangerous and baseless conspiracy theories that the election was somehow stolen from him. They've piled up 59 losses in state and federal courts, many entailing outright dismissals by judges who described the pleadings as "without merit". Yet, that didn't stop right-wing groups of attorneys from recently filing 11th hour federal complaints that are not merely meritless but beyond the pale. So much so, that the D.C. and state bar associations might consider imposing the ultimate tool of attorney discipline --- disbarment...

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    Guest: The American Prospect's David Dayen; Also: Election chaos at White House; Barr nixes Special Counsel probe of 2020 'fraud'; Fox 'News', running scared, debunks self after legal threat from election vendor...
    By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2020 7:37pm PT  

    On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's days in the White House are ending, but his response to that reality (and the reality of the most devastating hack of the U.S. government ever) is becoming more manic and desperate by the day. But at least, after nine months, Republicans have seen fit to allow some much-needed, long-overdue financial relief for sick, dying and desperate Americans as both Trump and the GOP's failed response to the pandemic has killed more than 316,000 Americans and may finally be catching up to them politically.

    There was reportedly shouting and chaos --- even more than usual --- at the White House over the weekend, as Trump and his clown car friends and attorneys met to propose last gasp efforts to somehow steal and/or undermine the 2020 election. Trump's disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn --- recently pardoned by Trump for lying to the FBI --- is said to have called on the President to declare martial law to allow the military to re-run the Presidential election in swing-states that Trump lost; Team Trump attorney and professional conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell sought to be appointed as a Special Counsel to investigate 2020 "fraud"; and Team Trump's other corrupt, nut-ball attorney, Rudy Giuliani, reportedly wanted DHS to impound voting machines from battleground states for some reason. Trump's very Trumpy White House staff reportedly pushed back on all of those ideas, incredibly enough, and his outgoing Attorney General, Bill Barr, whose last day at DoJ is Wednesday, said in his final presser as AG on Monday that he saw no reason to appoint a special counsel and no legal grounds for the federal government to seize voting machines.

    As that played out, over in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who had refused to even negotiate with Democrats on a new COVID relief bill for the past nine months following the passage of the initial $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March, finally relented to allow another round of relief --- albeit much smaller --- to be adopted by Congress. That, following more than 16 million infections, hundreds of thousands of deaths and an economy in tatters. The $900 billion package he finally agreed to includes one time $600 payments for many Americans and extends unemployment insurance which runs out entirely by the end of the year, as tens of millions of Americans are now out of work due to the Administration's wildly mishandled pandemic. The package also includes nutrition assistance for the hungry, another round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses, money for hospitals and vaccine distribution, and even rent assistance, for the first time, among other things.

    It's not nearly enough, says our guest today. But it's something, and it includes "nothing objectionable," at least for the most part. We're joined today by The American Prospect's Executive Editor, investigative financial journalist and author DAVID DAYEN, for details on the measure which he has been covering in-depth for months in his daily, indispensable "UNSANITIZED" report. Dayen explains what's in the bill and what is not, and why that is, along with why it is that McConnell even allowed the measure to come up for a vote at all after months of refusing to do so.

    He argues that It's all about the January 5th U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia, which will determine control of Congress' upper chamber for the next two years. "Mitch McConnell's Senate majority was on the line if he didn't get something done," says Dayen. "If McConnell manages to win at least one of those races in Georgia, he's going to be in control again. Joe Biden will be President, and every dollar that Mitch McConnell agrees to put into the economy is a dollar that helps Joe Biden."

    "The question of how 'Not Enough' this bill is entirely is predicated on how fast we can vaccinate people," Dayen explains. "If we can vaccinate everyone by April, then we're probably going to get a rickety but sufficient bridge." But, he adds, if Biden's incoming Surgeon General is right when he noted over the weekend that "we won't get widespread availability of the vaccine until early Fall, then we're in big, big trouble. Because there's no more must-pass bills. The government is now funded through September of next year." That, Dayen notes, means that there is little if any leverage for Democrats to force Republicans to act on behalf of the American people.

    "Democrats had to take out grants for state and local government relief," to get this bill passed, he tells me. "So when we get into next year, cities and states that have had these tremendous budget shortfalls, they are the ones who have to figure out how to fill that shortfall when they have no help from the federal government coming. It's likely going to result in cuts to public safety, teachers, firefighters, and public employees and not filling your potholes --- all sort of things at the local level that are going to have to be foregone because there is no money available. Mitch McConnell knows this, [and] that it could have the effect of offsetting any kind of recovery efforts at the federal level. We saw that in 2009. That stunted the overall recovery of the economy, and we're walking into it again." And with McConnell's eyes on 2022, he's likely just fine with that.

    All of this underscores the importance of those two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia in January, and that Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff ought to be reminding voters every day that if they want any real relief from the federal government for the economic disasters that are almost certain to worsen due to all of this, they must elect both of them to give Senate control to the Democrats under a Biden Administration.

    Finally, we've been reporting over the past week on two voting machines companies who have been threatening defamation lawsuits against Rightwing media outlets and the Team Trump attorneys who have been offering false claims that the companies were somehow involved in stealing the election for Joe Biden by flipping votes cast for Donald Trump. Last week, Smartmatic, which has no voting systems in any of the swing-states where Trump is trying to reverse his losses to Biden, threatened rightwing propaganda channels Fox "News", Newsmax and One American News Network (OANN) with defamation suits. They were sent a letter to instruct them that they would be sued if they did not retract false claims about the company, including allegations (apparently bastardized from our original, accurate investigative reporting from 10 years ago) that Smartmatic was somehow working with Venezuela's dead President Hugo Chavez and George Soros, along with the company's competitor Dominion Voting Systems in an international conspiracy to steal the election for Biden.

    A day or two after Smartmatic's letter, Dominion sent a similar defamation threat letter to Team Trump attorney Powell seeking a retraction for her outlandish, evidence-free claims about the company.

    On Friday then, in a bizarre segment on Fox' Lou Dobbs Tonight' --- which looked and sounded a lot like a deposition led by a disembodied off-camera voice --- Eddie Perez of the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) institute (he most recently appeared on The BradCast just a few weeks ago) answered a whole bunch of questions basically disabusing the evidence-free claims about Smartmatic that have been forwarded for weeks on Dobbs' show and many others. Reportedly Jeanine Pirro's and Maria Bartiromo's Fox shows ran the exact same segment with Perez, using almost identical introductions. The segments then led straight to commercial without comment from the hosts.

    Fox is clearly terrified, and should be. As the New York Times' Ben Smith reported over the weekend, Smartmatic has retained attorney "J. Erik Connolly, who not coincidentally won the largest settlement in the history of American media defamation in 2017, for at least $177 million."

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    Another weekend of sore-loserism, lost court battles, phony fraud claims, unlawful election interference by the President of the United States; Also: Trump Admin ignores own EPA scientists to assure more U.S. deaths...
    By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2020 7:37pm PT  

    If you think the monster is actually, truly dead now, it's only because you still need to watch more horror movies. You'll have to listen to today's show for most of the juiciest details, but among the stories covered today on today's very busy BradCast [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

    • Not satisfied with helping to assure the deaths of nearly 300,000 Americans during the COVID crisis so far, the swamp-filled Trump Administration ignores their own EPA scientists to join the polluters of the fossil fuel and chemical industries to block a rule that would require a slight decrease in particulate soot that would save more than 10,000 American lives a year. Because of course they do;
    • Loyal Trump henchman and Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly considering quitting before he's fired by Trump for having the temerity to admit there is no known evidence that would turn the loser Trump into a winner in the 2020 election;
    • More than 1,500 lawyers --- some of them former former federal judges, prosecutors and law professors --- call for bar associations to investigate the "historic abuse of the legal system" by Team Trump attorneys, like the COVID-stricken Rudy Giuliani and the execrable Joe diGenova (who called for a former federal official to be "shot" because he believed the 2020 election was secure) to be held accountability for their behavior. The letter cites false claims of "massive fraud" by Trump's attorneys, even as those same attorneys concede in court case after court case --- they and their allies have lost about 50 cases at this point --- that they have no actual evidence of fraud;
    • After losing at least five different cases in five different swing-states on Friday alone, Trump continues his record as a loser on Monday, with an Obama-appointed federal judge in Michigan tossing one case, and a George W. Bush appointed-judge in Georgia tossing the other. Both rulings were brutal dismissals;
    • The President's false claims of a stolen election continue to have very serious consequences, as an armed MAGA Mob on Saturday night descended on the personal home of Michigan's Secretary of State to terrorize her and her children as they were preparing for Christmas;
    • Also down in Georgia today, the state's Trump-supporting Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger --- who, along with the state's Trump-supporting Gov. Brian Kemp, has been mercilessly attacked by Trump --- re-certified the state's Presidential election finding Biden won it by about 12,000 votes. The new certification comes after the election night machine count, a statewide hand count, and a third statewide count by machines as requested by the Trump Campaign. He lost every single time by about the same numbers in all three tallies;
    • On Saturday morning, the President of the United States violated the law in a call to the Republican Governor of Georgia to try and convince him to take action to toss out the election results and direct the state legislature to declare the loser Trump to be the winner. To Kemp's credit (a phrase I thought I'd never type), he refused to do what Trump demanded. To Trump's wrap-sheet, he has added yet another violation of law in trying to interference with an election. 45 days until legal accountability for Trump's many crimes should begin;
    • On Saturday night, Trump went down to Georgia --- where he's in a bind, cause he's way behind --- to hold a rally for the two incumbent Republican Senators facing a tough challenge in their U.S. Senate runoffs on January 5th, where controls of the U.S. Senate is at stake. Trump spent most of the nearly two-hour long rally whining about losing the election as he repeated phony, long-ago debunked claims to continue hoaxing the MAGA Mob into believing it was stolen from him and that they are all "victims". The two U.S. Senators spoke for about 30 seconds each;
    • Finally, despite Trump's unsullied record of embarrassingly losing case after case, trying to overturn the will of the voters in both state and federal courts around the country --- in cases overseen by Republican and Democratic judges alike, including several that he himself appointed --- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito took an action over the weekend that has a few Court watchers justifiably unsettled. As we reported on last Friday's BradCast, Alito agreed to consider an appeal to a case filed by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), seeking to toss out Pennsylvania's results and award the state's electors to Trump. The matter was correctly dismissed by lower courts, but Alito has agreed to consider it and, late last week, scheduled this Wednesday, Dec. 9, as the deadline for defendants to file their rebuttal. That was key, because Wednesday is the day after the so-called "Safe Harbor" date under federal law, when all state Electoral College contests are supposed to be settled, at least at the state level, on Tuesday, Dec. 8. Last week, election law experts saw Alito's late date for defendants to reply as a message that he would not be taking any actions that might change the electoral count. But on Sunday morning, Alito changed that deadline to the morning of Tuesday, "Safe Harbor" day. What does that mean? And should we be worried that the monster isn't really, truly dead just yet? We discuss...

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    Also: U.S. COVID infection, hospitalization, death numbers surge to heartbreaking records, wasn't a 'hoax' after all...
    By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2020 7:49pm PT  

    On today's BradCast: The Donald Trump Crazy Train keeps chugging along. And its getting crazier, and seemingly farther off the tracks with each passing hour as the outgoing President's days in the White House continue to diminish and his likelihood of facing criminal accountability grows nearer and nearer. One of the biggest remaining questions is how many of his supporters are still to get run over by that train.

    Among the many stories we cover today...

    • Before we dive deep into The Crazy, some very grim milestones in the COVID crisis which, turns out, wasn't a hoax at all, as both Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz "guaranteed" us before the election. On Wednesday, there were more than 200,000 new cases, more than 100,000 hospitalizations and more than 2,777 deaths confirmed from COVID. All of them single day records, as the pandemic will continue to get far worse in coming months before it begins to get better. All thanks, in no small part, to idiots like Trump, Cruz and whole bunch of other Republicans who sadistically sacrificed their constituents' lives in dashed hopes of seeing Trump re-elected;
    • Following Attorney General Bill Barr's comments to AP earlier this week that, "to date," the Dept. of Justice has "not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election," Trump, as expected, reportedly blew a gasket. It resulted in a two and half hour meeting for Barr at the White House and Trump said to be considering whether he will now fire his second AG, despite his years of covering up and lying for the President and his unprecedented directive to dozens of Asst. U.S. Attorneys to investigate bogus claims of "massive fraud" before and after the election;
    • On Thursday, the rightwing Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the Trump Campaign's latest attempt to toss out hundreds of thousands of votes in a state that Trump lost. Of note, as has been the case in every suit they've filed (by way of contrast to what they say publicly to the chumps and suckers who believe in them), Team Trump offered zero evidence of fraud in their complaint. Rather, they complained about absentee ballot procedures that have been in place since before the 2016 election, when Trump is said to have won the state, as well as during this year's primaries. Apparently they forgot to claim that WI's absentee voting laws were illegal in those past elections. The suit was rejected today, however, because the court ruled it needs to be filed in a lower state court first before it can be heard by the state Supremes. The Campaign also filed another federal case in the state on Wednesday. It does not argue their was fraud in this year's election either;
    • It's become so embarrassing that even top Trump sycophant Sen. Lindsey Graham is taking to Fox "News" to tell the Trump legal team that they need to provide proof of their fraud claims in court. "Doing a video is not proof," he said, shortly after Trump released a 46-minute video on Wednesday, falsely claiming (without evidence, naturally) that he actually won virtually every state in the union this year;
    • Lack of evidence of fraud, however, has not stopped the Rudy Giuliani Traveling Dog 'n' Pony Show. After making presentations to GOP state legislators in "hearings" held in rented hotel banquet rooms in Pennsylvania and Arizona this week, the Republicans of the gerrymandered Michigan state legislature opened an actual hearing room in the state capital to the Rudy Show. It did not go well. We share the testimony from Melissa Carone, of one of the "witnesses" that Rudy hauled up to the stand. It's something to behold;
    • Meanwhile, down in Georgia on Wednesday, a huge "Stop the Steal" rally at the Peach State capital, headed up by self-disgracing attorneys and Trump Crazy Train Conductors Sidney Powell and Lin Wood (who may actually be mentally ill), likely drove the what's left of the actual GOP crazy. Wood attacked the very Trumpy Republican Governor Brian Kemp, resulting in "Lock him up!" chants from the QAnon brain-poisoned crowd, before instructing the misinformed throngs that they should absolutely not vote for incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler or David Perdue in the upcoming January 5th runoff elections that will determine partisan control of the U.S. Senate;
    • Finally, we close with some helpful words, believe it or not, from far-right, not insane Trump supporter Erick Erickson. In a Twitter thread this week, the former Editor-in-Chief of the rightwing RedState blog, finally seems to have had enough of the madness of GOP conspiracy theorists who now believe that Trump's own DOJ, FBI, CIA, Attorney General, and the Republican Governors of states like Georgia and Arizona, not to mention others, have all teamed up to steal the election for Joe Biden. "Maybe…and I know this might just blow your mind…but maybe what if you've been lied to the whole time. There is no conspiracy. There is no theft of the election," Erickson unloads, suggesting that "maybe, just maybe" the problem is Trump and supporters who can't understand that "ultimately it is really you who are the problem because you so willingly got played and even now want to be played because now you're emotionally invested in a cause and a candidate and to admit you were played and he lost and there was no deep state conspiracy or theft of the election would actually make you look bad. So it's better to double down on the lies and bullshit and blame everyone else."

    Sounds about right. Thanks, Erick. You can stop blocking me on Twitter now.

    Buckle up and/or pop a bucket of popcorn or two for today's BradCast...

    CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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    L.A. County faces down new COVID spike; AZ, WI certify Biden victory; Team Trump cases shredded by federal and state courts in PA; Callers ring in on Trump's SCOTUS 'Trump Card'...
    By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2020 7:36pm PT  

    On today's BradCast we try to catch you up with at least five days of important news from over the long holiday weekend. That's damned near impossible in the Trump Era, unfortunately. But we did get about half way there, with the most important parts of Trump's continuing attempt to steal the 2020 election (yes, that's still ongoing!) before turning to some excellent listener calls...

    Among the stories we did catch up on, and were able to offer some important context for...

    • If someone could wrap Joe Biden in bubble wrap and place him in an hermetically sealed room for the next 50 days, it would be greatly appreciated.
    • Los Angeles County has now implemented among the most severe COVID-19 restrictions in the nation amid a recent spike in cases and hospitalizations that threatens to soon overwhelm our health care system here. That said, California and L.A. have among the lowest per capita rates of infections, hospitalizations and death in the nation, but the rates have doubled in recent weeks. So, if we need to take these emergency measures, we only hope that places where it's really bad --- for example, in the Midwest and Texas --- take action now to save lives. Election Day is past and so its no longer necessary for GOP leaders in those states to pretend everything about the coronavirus is a hoax in order to try and re-elect Donald Trump;
    • Arizona certifies its election results, confirming that Biden officially defeated Trump by more than 10,000 votes, in a state that hasn't gone "blue" in decades. The certification also clears the way for Democratic Senator-elect Mark Kelly to be seated in the U.S. Senate this week, following his defeat of Republican incumbent Sen. Martha McSally in what was a Special Election for the Senate on November 3rd. McSally has now lost two Senate seats to Democrats in a row. And the loony state GOP Chairwoman and failed Congressional candidate Kelli Ward is continuing to challenge the 2020 results --- even as the state's very Trumpy Republican Governor and Attorney General stand by them;
    • Wisconsin certifies its elections results, confirming that Biden officially defeated Trump by just over 20,000 votes in a state that Trump is said to have defeated Hillary Clinton by a similar margin in 2016. The certification follows a partial "recount" in the state, paid for by the Trump Campaign at a cost of $3 million. The second count in Milwaukee and Dane Counties, where Trump sought to the re-tally, ended up netting an additional 87 votes overall for Biden. (Another artful deal by the world's greatest businessman);
    • Over the weekend Trump lost resoundingly in two different cases, one in federal court and one in state court, in Pennsylvania. One loss came from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where three Republican-appointed federal judges upbraided the Trump Campaign's case, with the Trump-appointed Judge writing the scathing opinion to include: "Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here. ... Voters, not lawyers, choose the President. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections." The state case did not go any better for Team Trump, with a unanimous verdict by the state Supreme Court finding that the GOP legislators' attempt to toss out the election based on claims that the state's new absentee ballot law violates Pennsylvania's Constitution was filed much too late. The same law was in effect during the state primary earlier this year, and the legislators had no complaint about it. NEITHER OF THE TWO CASES, NOR ANY OF THE OTHER FAILED CASES FROM TEAM TRUMP ALLEGED FRAUD. Claims about "massive fraud" are only made by Trump and Giuliani and friends on Twitter and Fox "News". Courts require actual evidence and apparently, Trump has none to offer;
    • We then open phones to callers with some questions about all of this stuff, including the one Trump Card that the President still hopes to play at the GOP's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court. There, Trump hopes for an opinion that only state legislatures may make any laws or rules or regulations concerning the "times, places and manner of holding elections", as referenced in the U.S. Constitution. With such an opinion from a majority of Justices, if they can get it, Team Trump believes they can toss out election results this year, and have GOP state legislatures award electors to Trump instead of Biden, the popular winner. It's a radical, extremist (and arguably ridiculous) "originalist" interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, but Kavanaugh and Gorsuch have already indicated they buy it, Alito and Thomas are likely to go along with it, and the matter would potentially be left to Trump's most recent appoint, Amy Coney Barrett, to decide.

    Many are turning away to other matters now that they believe the monster has been vanquished once and for all. We've seen enough monster movies to know that it's a terrible idea to walk away after you think the monster is dead, even while they are lying there with an axe in their apparently lifeless hand...

    CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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    MI certifies Biden win; Conservative judge tosses Team Trump's PA suit; GSA begins transition, Trump's vows to 'prevail'; 'Dominion/Venezuela' conspiracy lawyer tossed under bus after attacking GA Repubs...
    By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2020 7:41pm PT  

    It's been a weekend and more of The Crazy since we last spoke. On today's BradCast we get you all up to date on the last several days of The Crazy as Donald Trump's attempted coup to steal back the Presidency continues to fall apart with each passing hour, and as the Republican Party decides to distance themselves from Trump's loony conspiracy attorney Sidney Powell while she turns the MAGA crowd against her own party before the critical January U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia to determine control of the upper chamber of Congress. [Audio link to full show follows summary.]

    The biggest news today broke mid-show, as Trump finally relented in allowing the General Services Administration to officially begin the transition to a Joe Biden Administration, even as he vowed he would "prevail" in his fight to overturn the will of the American voters and says his "case STRONGLY continues."

    Well, about that case. It may be continuing, but it has never been anywhere close to strong. Among the related stories covered on today's show that prove it, before we turn to the phone for listener calls on all of this...

    • First, a follow-up to Friday's show in which we debunked the insane case that Powell, Giuliani and now all of MAGA are making regarding an international conspiracy --- somehow led by the Dominion Voting System company, along with the late Hugo Chavez in Venezuela --- to steal the election for Biden. The conspiracy originates with the bastardization of an exclusive investigative report I published at The BRAD BLOG in 2010. Powell et al aren't even close in their twisted version of the story that now includes all sorts of false charges about voting machine companies and more. The bottom line, as we noted on Friday, but which warrants underscoring again today, because I've been trying to make the case for so long and now we're seeing what I warned about finally come to pass...
    1. Simply because a computerized voting and tabulation system is vulnerable to fraud and manipulation does not mean that any particular election run on it has been defrauded or manipulated, and;
    2. Even if an election is 100% secure and accurate, if it can't be known by the public to have been 100% secure and accurate, it is every bit as much of a threat to confidence in our democratic system as it would be if the election had actually been stolen on such a system.
    • Other than that...Catching us all up from Friday....Trump loses another lawsuit in Nevada as a state judge rejects an attempt to block certification of Biden's victory, by more than 33,000 votes, in the state.
    • Trump loses in Arizona as a state judge rejects a move for yet another audit of votes in Maricopa County (Phoenix), and the County's Board of Supervisors (4 Rs, 1 D) unanimously voted on Friday to certify Biden's victory in the state's largest county. Also, the final "SharpieGate" lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice in the state where Biden appears to have won by more than 10,000 votes.
    • In Wisconsin, Team Trump is said to be obstructing the ongoing recounts requested by Trump in the two counties with the largest minority vote, Milwaukee and Dane, after apparently losing the state to Biden by more than 20,000 votes.
    • Trump lost bigly in Michigan on Monday, where the state Board of Canvassers voted unanimously (with one abstention) to certify Biden's victory by nearly 160,000 votes. That, after Trump's attempt to twist the arms of the GOP leadership of the state's gerrymandered House and Senate on Friday appears to have gone nowhere. (But we'll soon find out for sure.)
    • In Pennsylvania, Trump lost his attempt to toss out nearly seven million ballots and was excoriated by a conservative federal judge on Saturday for attempting to do so in the nation's sixth largest state where Biden appears to have prevailed by more than 80,000 votes. The brutal court loss led Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey to become just the second GOP Senator to concede (where Trump won't) by declaring [PDF] that "Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race" in the state. Trump's team of pathetic lawyers have since filed an emergency appeal to the 3rd Circuit, but failed to deliver their motion before the Court's deadline for doing so. This is the (likely doomed) case Trump hopes may reach SCOTUS where he believes he can win after packing the stolen GOP majority on the Court in his favor. He'd have to win a verdict there that somehow allowed legislatures in at least three states to reverse the will of their voters to appoint Trump electors instead of Biden's by December 8th.
    • Down in Georgia, where Trump lost by about 13,000 votes following a statewide hand "audit" of all ballots last week, the Trumpy Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger and even Trumpier Republican Governor Brian Kemp both certified Biden's victory on Friday. Over the weekend, MAGA "Stop the Steal" rallies in the state included verbal attacks on both Kemp and Raffensperger, along with vows to destroy the GOP and promises to boycott the critical January U.S. Senate runoffs in the state. We wish them nothing but luck in their endeavor! That came as Powell was taking to far-far right wingnut Newsmax TV over the weekend to allege that Raffensperger and Kemp were paid off by Dominion to steal the election for the Democrats' Presidential candidate. She offered no evidence for her claims. After years of critically reporting on both Kemp and Raffensperger --- including his ill-advised decision to spend $100+ million on Dominion's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems this year --- we are unaware of any such evidence to support her claims. But we wish her nothing but luck in her endeavor to prove it! For now, the thanks she received was being tossed under the bus by Trump late on Sunday night.
    • There was a whole lot more along the way today, but you'll have tune it for it all, along with some great calls we responded to near the end of the show today, as The Crazy continues to continue...

    CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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    Conservative Judge shreds Campaign plea 'to disenfranchise almost 7 million voters' without supporting evidence of 'speculative accusations'...
    UPDATE 11/23: 3rd Circuit Orders Expedited Briefing on Trump's limited appeal; UPDATE 11/27: 3rd Circuit unanimously rejects Trump's appeal...
    By Ernest A. Canning on 11/22/2020 9:09pm PT  

    Late Saturday, by way of an Order and Opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew W. Brann dismissed President Donald J. Trump's unprecedented "legal" effort to prevent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from certifying the results of an election in which his opponent, Joseph R. Biden, defeated him by more than 80,000 votes, according to the soon to be certified, unofficial results. Judge Brann also dismissed Trump's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) as moot.

    The reasons for bringing what the judge clearly found to be a frivolous and absurd legal challenge to a swift conclusion were summed up by the Court in the "Introduction" to his 36-page eviscerating opinion...

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




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