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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Trump Dark Money Group Dumping Tens of Millions on Racist, Transphobic Disinfo Ads: 'BradCast' 5/21/24
Guest: Victoria Cadostin; Also: Rudy arraigned in AZ; Trump defense rests in NY; More...
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Rare brief submitted to SCOTUS by top state judges underscores how American democracy is, itself, on the ballot this November...
UPDATE 10/14/22: 2nd GOP petition seeks to overturn OH Supreme Court redistricting ruling based in 'Independent State Legislature' Theory...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/12/2022 11:05am PT  

A no-uncertain-terms brief [PDF] submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by all 50 state Supreme Court Chief Justices eviscerated the so-called "Independent State Legislature" (ISL) theory being pushed by far-right legal activists.

Their rare decision to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) SCOTUS brief reflects the unanimous recognition by all of the nation's State Chief Justices that the fringe ISL "legal" theory is so dangerous that, if it were to be embraced by a majority on our nation's highest federal court, it could hasten an end to our Constitutional democracy. And that is not hyperbole.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court, now dominated by six unelected "radicals in robes", granted review in Moore v. Harper, a case brought to SCOTUS by North Carolina's Republican-controlled State Legislature after their partisan gerrymandered Congressional redistricting plan was struck down by their state's Supreme Court on the grounds that it violated NC's Constitution.

Ironically, Tar Heel State Republicans owe their own control of the General Assembly to partisan gerrymandering. When Democratic Governor Roy Cooper was reelected in 2020, he defeated his Republican opponent 51.5% to 47% statewide, yet GOPers were able to retain control of 56% of NC Senate seats and 57.5% of the House thanks to extremely partisan state district maps.

In Moore the NC Republican petitioners to SCOTUS rely upon the same ISL theory advanced by disgraced former Chapman Univ. Law Professor John Eastman as part of Team Trump's effort to steal the 2020 Presidential election.

Their argument is that, absent a federal law to the contrary, a State legislature has a plenary right to engage in what NYU's Brennan Center for Justice describes as "deeply undemocratic" partisan gerrymandering of Congressional Districts. They contend that, when it comes to laws regarding federal elections, state legislatures may not be constrained by a state's constitution as interpreted by its state courts.

In their brief, the 50 State Chief Justices argue that the ISL, as advanced by NC Republicans, does violence to the meaning of the word "Legislature" as envisioned by the framers and as it appears in the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause (Article 1, Section 4), which provides that the "Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations."

Embrace of the ISL theory by a SCOTUS majority in Moore could similarly result in approval of Eastman's radical theory that state legislatures enjoy a Constitutional right to override the will of state voters to choose electors in the next Presidential election. It all underscores President Joe Biden's recent assessment that, come November, "democracy will be on the ballot"...

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

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Dem Senate candidates smack down GOP opponents in OH, WI debates; Also: SCOTUS undermines key election provision of Civil Rights Act; Is FBI underplaying threats to election security?...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2022 6:38pm PT  

As noted on today's BradCast, we generally cover the track conditions of our elections more than the actual horse races. We do so again today. But, as it turns out, Dems have put up some pretty good horses this year. We cover a couple of them today as well. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First, track conditions...

The corrupt, stolen and packed rightwing U.S. Supreme Court majority on Tuesday overturned an appeals court ruling which had found that both the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Pennsylvania law mandates that legitimately voted ballots may not be invalidated due to minor errors that are "immaterial" to determining voter qualification. In this case, the question was about absentee ballots where voters had forgotten to fill in the date on the ballot's outer envelope. The activists on SCOTUS, however, held today that such ballots may not be counted this November, despite the Civil Rights Act provision that previously ended the Jim Crow era's use of immaterial errors to invalidate perfectly legitimate votes.

Also, FBI officials say they have identified no credible threats to U.S. election systems this year, despite efforts by some foreign adversaries, including Russia, to sow doubt about fraud. But do these officials understand the actual threats now posed to our non-transparent, easily manipulated and error-prone computerized voting and tabulation systems? Do they appreciate the increased threat level thanks to recent breaches of election management systems by MAGA conspiracy theorists in several states following the former President's false claims of fraud?

While the Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray seems to falsely suggest there are similar domestic threats of violence from "both sides" following the 2020 election and the SCOTUS ruling on Roe v. Wade, the federal Elections Threat Task Force, launched last year by the Dept. of Justice, seems to finally be taking at least some action in response to the thousands of violent threats made by rightwingers against election officials and poll workers following the last Presidential election.

Next, horse races...

During a U.S. Senate debate in Ohio on Monday night, Democratic candidate Rep. Tim Ryan called out his Republican opponent, author J.D. Vance, for running a fake non-profit charity to support opioid addicts; defending January 6 insurrectionists; and for giving up his "dignity" to Trump who said about Vance at a recent rally in Youngstown: "All you do is kiss my ass to get my support," before Vance went on to pose for pictures with the disgraced former President. "Ohio needs an ass-kicker, not an ass-kisser," said Ryan in response.

In Wisconsin's U.S.. Senate race, Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes was similarly ass-kicking in his debate against incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Barnes called out the Badger State GOPer for supporting the January 6 insurrection while claiming to support police, despite the serious injuries to more than 140 law enforcement officials that day. Barnes also made clear he would vote to codify the rights of Roe v. Wade into federal law, and made a very impressive showing against Johnson.

Both races are currently neck and neck, and are among at least five Senate races this year (along with Pennsylvania, North Carolina and even Florida) where Dems have real shots at flipping currently GOP-held seats from "red" to "blue". That, by way of contrast with Republicans who are looking at just two states (Nevada and Georgia), where they stand any real chance, generally speaking, of flipping a Senate seat from "blue" to "red" this year --- at least if you have any confidence in this year's pre-election polling.

Finally...

Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, underscoring, yet again, the stakes of this year's critical midterms following the devastation of Hurricane Ian in Florida; consequences of our worsening climate crisis around the world; and the Governor of California's new effort to hold Big Oil accountable for price gouging...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Craig Holman of Public Citizen; Also: Ian's death toll cracks 100; Biden in Puerto Rico after Fiona; Putin's failures; Brazil's election lessons for upcoming U.S. midterms...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2022 6:29pm PT  

With unspeakable devastation from Florida to Ukraine, the stakes couldn't be higher for our upcoming midterm elections. We cover all of that on today's BradCast, even while tending to some long overdue accountability and grotesque conflicts of interest in Congress. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The horrifying death toll from last week's climate change-fueled Hurricane Ian continues to rise. More than 100 were confirmed dead in Florida alone as of airtime. That number is likely to keep growing, along with the growing questions about why state officials did not call for evacuations before they finally did. Put those questions into the same file that may explain the state's years of climate crisis denial and its now collapsing insurance industry.

At the same time, corrupt authoritarian regimes elsewhere are similarly ill-serving their citizens. We get caught up a bit today on Russia's sham referendums and unlawful annexation of four regions in eastern Ukraine last week. That, as Russia's military offensive continues to collapse and lose ground to Ukrainians defending their sovereign homeland; as Vladimir Putin faces growing unrest after announcing the forced draft of hundreds of thousands of Russians; and as he continues to threaten the use of nuclear weapons as his political and military fortunes devolve.

Then, we move to Brazil, where far-right President Jair Bolsonaro lost in the first round of voting on Sunday to the nation's former leftist President known to the people simply as "Lula". While Lula defeated Bolsonaro over the weekend, neither candidate received the votes necessary to avoid a run-off later this month. Lula's victory was much narrower than expected based on pre-election polling showing that he was likely to defeat Bolsonaro by about 14 points. He won by just less than 6 points in what should serve as another object lesson for U.S. voters before our own critical midterm elections in just 35 days.

Next, we're joined by longtime government affairs and ethics lobbyist CRAIG HOLMAN of Public Citizen to discuss the Combatting Financial Conflicts of Interest Act that he had hoped to see passed in the House before next month's midterms. Holman helped shepherd passage of 2012's STOCK Act. It was hoped that the decade old measure --- requiring immediate disclosure of stock trades by members of Congress and ending their exemption from insider trading laws --- would shame members into avoid conflicts of interest when trading stocks in companies which they also oversaw in Congressional committees.

As Holman details today, the STOCK Act failed in that regard for several reasons. As a New York Times analysis found last month, at least 97 members of the House and Senate, of both parties, continue to hold stocks in companies that they oversee on Congressional committees. But it is hoped that the new measure will end that as well. It would bar members and their direct family (spouses and children) from buying and selling stocks at all, and require them to divest their portfolio entirely or place such assets into blind trusts.

"Prior to the STOCK Act in 2012," Holman explains, "insider trading was illegal for you and I and Martha Stewart, but it was perfectly legal for members of Congress. And they were making use of it. There was one economist who came out with a study that showed members of Congress enjoy a 12% higher rate of return than the rest of us on the stock market. Which means either they're geniuses at trading in the stock market, or they know something that we don't know. Quite obviously, it's the latter."

While the STOCK Act did reduce members' trading in stocks by about two-thirds, he says, the other third "are still out there trading. They are sitting on the same committees and in their same official capacities overlooking the same businesses that they're buying and selling stocks in."

The new bill, however, would finally end those bipartisan conflicts of interest, and/or the appearance of same, once and for all. But, Holman also explains how the bill he had hoped to see passed by both chambers before this year's midterms was derailed last week He tells us whodunnit and how he hopes to see the measure adopted nonetheless in the lame duck session after the elections. Here's hoping!

Does Holman have any concerns that this new law would prevent qualified folks from running for Congress in the first place? "Not on my end," he responds. "That is one argument that you always run into. But, quite frankly, if you've got a huge financial conflict of interest with your official duties of serving in Congress, I don't want you here. If you're not going to get rid of that conflict of interest, you pose more of a threat to the integrity of our legislative process, no matter how competent you are."

Finally, President Biden visited Puerto Rico on Monday in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Fiona (the storm that took out power across the island, yet again, just two weeks before Ian's devastation in Florida). He didn't throw paper towels at residents, as the former guy did following Hurricane Maria, though he did vow to help get their infrastructure back up and hardened to withstand many more of these storms that will be coming their way as the climate crisis worsens. We share some of Biden's remarks today...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Thomas Frank of E&E News; Also: DeSantis suddenly supports federal disaster aid; Big Oil exposed (again) as liars...
By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2022 5:55pm PT  

Even before Hurricane Ian devastated the state, Florida's insurance industry was collapsing. As discussed on today's BradCast, decades of climate denialism by the Republicans who run the state hasn't helped. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to have a very different perspective on federal hurricane disaster aid than he did while a freshman in Congress in 2013, when he was an adamant "no" vote on sending federal aid dollars to New York and New Jersey after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. He also seems to have a different opinion of President Biden than he did just a week or so ago, when the ambitious GOP Presidential hopeful was threatening to use state taxpayer dollars to fly undocumented immigrants to Biden's home in Delaware. Suddenly, the DeSantis swagger is gone. At least for now, as the Sunshine State Guv has little choice after Ian but to crawl hat in hand to the same federal government he has pretended to abhor for political benefit.

But that's not DeSantis' only problem. As our guest today, THOMAS FRANK, longtime climate change impact journalist at E&E News, explains, the insurance industry in Florida has been in big trouble for some time. Major insurers left the state after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and six of the regional mom and pop outfits who took their place have gone insolvent over the past year alone.

"There's not the kind of robust, private sector [in the insurance industry] you have really everywhere else in the country," Frank tells me today. "What happened the last few days is going to make a bad situation --- pick your adjective --- horrendous. The truth is nobody knows exactly how bad it's going to be, because that's going to take weeks, months to figure out as people try to start filing claims and so forth. But I don't anyone thinks it's going to be anything but bad."

Frank has been reporting on --- and warning about --- the state's failing insurance industry long before Ian may have finished it off. Premiums for homeowners insurance cost about 3 times more than the national average and, at the same time, Florida's Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-backed insurer of last resort, has been under-pricing homeowner policies for years, he says. They are unlikely to have enough money to pay out the claims that will soon come flooding in.

Moreover, homeowner policies don't cover flood insurance. That's left to a federal government program and most Floridians who have flood coverage live on the coast, even as hundreds of thousands of homeowners who have been flooded out this week live nowhere near it. They are unlikely to be insured for flooding at all.

As Frank writes today at E&E, "Hurricane Ian is expect to financially ruin countless people" in the state, including both homeowners and insurers. As he wrote yesterday at Politico, "Profit drove a 30-year boom" in the state, particularly near the coast, where the population has doubled or tripled amid a building boom in recent years, despite warnings from climate experts about sea rise and the intensification of hurricanes. "Ian smashed" that boom "in a day," writes Frank.

This, in a state controlled by climate change denialist politicians who have gone so far as to ban the use of the phrase "climate change" in state reports, and where DeSantis, as recently as last month, began an effort to bar the state's pension fund from even considering environmental factors when investing billions of dollars belonging to teachers, firefighters and other state workers.

Please tune in for today's enlightening conversation.

Finally today, Democrats in the House Oversight Committee recently obtained and released a trove of internal documents from fossil fuel industry insiders from ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP. The communications reveal that Big Oil execs, staffers and lobbyists admit to "gaslighting" the public regarding their public claims to be fighting against the climate crisis. (Who could have guessed it?!) For example, while Shell has publicly claimed they are working toward "net-zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a missive to employees in 2020 instructs them to never "imply, suggest, or leave it open for possible misinterpretation that (net zero) is a Shell goal or target," adding that the company has "no immediate plans to move to a net-zero emissions portfolio" over the next 10 to 20 years.

Republicans on the House Committee are furious that their friends and campaign donors have been exposed (again) as liars. And the companies argue the Committee's selective release of documents doesn't offer a full picture of their very very concerned stance on the climate crisis. So, as a public service, we close today with a new ad from Chevron that may help clear the air a bit. You're welcome!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: Ian storms ashore, blows away records in FL; Trump's expensive new attorney reportedly 'sidelined'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2022 5:41pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Our cruel climate crisis Summer continues, as we head toward a more hopeful Fall...maybe... [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, Hurricane Ian crashed ashore on the southwestern coast of Florida shortly before air time on Wednesday, as a Category 4 storm. It had intensified in record time, falling just shy of a Cat 5, after knocking out power overnight to the entire island of Cuba and its more than 11 million residents. As we went to air, more than a million Florida residents were already without power.

Given Ian's landfall near Fort Myers, it is hoped that a "worst case scenario", had there been a direct hit on Tampa, may have been averted. But that's small comfort right now. It is feared Ian may result in catastrophic damage. Not just from its wind speeds, but from a record storm surge as high as 18 feet and rainfall that the National Hurricane Center warns could be as high as 24 inches in some locations over the next day or two. The storm is now set to crawl up Florida in a north-easterly direction. On its current track, Ian will emerge as a Tropical Storm in the Atlantic after crossing the state and potentially make a second landfall in Georgia and/or the Carolinas toward week's end. Desi Doyen joins us for the latest available details and the potentially devastating climate change-related impacts for the Sunshine State.

Next, new polling finds that while Democrats are still favored to lose their current slim majority in the U.S. House this November, their margin of loss continues to decrease with each passing month. The latest midterm elections forecast from CBS/YouGov suggests Dems would fall short of a House majority by just 6 seats if the elections were held today. But, that's half the size of the margin predicted by the same polling outfit in July.

The U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision to overturn Roe v. Wade's well-established privacy and reproductive rights is, of course, still seen as the primer mover in this and other recent polling. That ruling has also been cited as the reason that Democrats have either won or increased their percentage versus Joe Biden's 2020 numbers in every single special election for the U.S. House since Dobbs. All of that in contrast to so-called Conventional Wisdom earlier this year that Dems were set to face a shellacking in the midterms.

Beyond snap-shot best-guesses from pre-election polling, however, we now have some hard election data to help us better understand the post-Dobbs electorate, as our guest today, TOM BONIER of TargetSmart, a Democratic data analysis firm, joins us to detail today.

Last month, Bonier was here to discuss what he had found at the time to be "jaw dropping" spike in new voter registration numbers following the High Court's controversial late-June ruling on abortion rights. He cited was he described as an unprecedented gender gap favoring new voter registration for woman in dozens of state after Roe was overturned. Moreover, as Bonier reported at the time, the increase in newly registered voters was not only for women, but for young, Democratic women. Nowhere was the spike more striking than in the Republican-leaning state of Kansas. There, in August, voters thoroughly rejected a state Constitutional referendum --- by landslide numbers of 59% to 41% --- which would have allowed GOP lawmakers to institute restrictions on reproductive freedoms and even an outright ban on abortions in the state.

Today, we're joined again by Bonier with new, similarly striking data based on how voters actually voted in that KS referendum, where, he notes, women accounted for 56% of all ballots cast. "Usually women account for maybe 51, maybe 52% of ballots cast in these elections," he tells us today. "Women accounted for 56%! That's a huge difference. That just doesn't happen in elections. I haven't found an election in Kansas where women have accounted for this high of a share of the vote."

Based on the KS data, he estimates that as much as 20% of Republicans there turned out to vote against the measure. "It wasn't that men stayed home. It's just that women surged in turnout so far above and beyond what we've seen in prior elections, that they accounted for such a large share of the votes cast."

His research suggests "we've been underestimating the extent to which this issue has engaged women in this election. Especially younger women." Moreover, he does not believe that this surge is being accounted for in models currently used by most of the major polling outfits.

"One of the biggest difficulties for a pollster is figuring out who is going to vote. Because if you don't have an accurate prediction of turnout, then you can't have an accurate poll," says Bonier. "But, when you have what we call an outlier election like in Kansas, where you just don't have a precedent for it, you're not going to find many pollsters who will do what they feel is going out on a limb by predicting turnout that defies past precedent."

He cites, by way of just one example, a recent poll out of Georgia where just 49% of respondents included in the poll were women, even though "in Georgia, on average, women account for 55% of votes cast. Women account for a larger share of the electorate in Georgia than any other state." Why would this pollster be so off the mark? And what does all of this mean for so much of the polling that many are following closely in advance of midterms just six weeks away? Tune in for his answers. We cover a lot of ground.

Bonier cautions, however: "All the different factors that were in place that would have led to a Republican 'red wave' election --- them being the party out of power, the gerrymandering, the voter suppression, the historical precedent for midterm elections --- none of that has gone away." He emphasizes that we are likely to see "two waves side-by-side." The question is how big each "wave" will ultimately be. Either way, he predicts, one or the other is likely to win by very narrow margins.

"I certainly hope no one is seeing this data and thinking that it means Democrats have it wrapped up and can sit this one out, because that is certainly not the case," Bonier warns.

Finally, as you may recall, last month Donald Trump was reportedly having trouble finding any legitimate attorneys willing to represent him in the DoJ's criminal investigation into the thousands of documents he stole from the White House. He finally found who reportedly cost him $3 million to be paid up front. But now, according to CNN anyway, that attorney, Chris Kise, has already been "sidelined" by the disgraced former President. Who could have predicted it?...

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Poll workers needed!; Ian threatens FL; Scofflaw TX A.G. flees process server; Congress nears Electoral Count Act update; Listener mail...
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2022 5:48pm PT  

We've got a grab bag of items on today's BradCast, as the critical midterm elections loom and a potentially catastrophic storm threatens the Sunshine State. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the potpourri of news on today's program...

  • Some listener mail in response to yesterday's lively call-in show focused on expansion of the Supreme Court and the necessity of electing Democrats this November in hopes of saving American democracy.
  • NASA scientists successfully fired a vending machine sized projectile last November toward a 560-foot wide moonlet orbiting around an asteroid traveling at thousands of miles per hour nearly 7 million miles away. They hit it on their first try. But, other than that, when it comes to things like our climate crisis and fighting infectious diseases here on Earth, scientists don't anything about anything and should be completely ignored, right?
  • Texas' top law enforcement official, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, was indicted for securities fraud felonies seven years ago. He has been dodging a trial for those crimes ever since. In the meantime, he's facing a whistleblower lawsuit from former top deputies charging he abused his office and a criminal probe by the FBI regarding similar allegations. On Monday, his state Senator wife Angela (the one he was cheating on with a girlfriend who was given a job by one of his wealthy donors), served as a getaway driver for Paxton after he ran out of the house and fled by to dodge a process server attempting to serve the state's top attorney with two subpoenas. Cause that's what "the rule of law" looks like in the Lone Star State. Paxton will face Democratic A.G. nominee Rochelle Garza during his reelection contest this November.
  • False claims of fraud in the 2020 election and threats against poll workers by Donald Trump and his flying MAGA monkey are resulting in a surprising number of folks signing up to be poll workers on both the Left and the Right. That's actually a very good thing! But many more poll workers are still needed to help protect democracy this year! Please contact your local elections office to consider becoming one!
  • And, speaking of protecting democracy, last week, the House passed a bipartisan bill to update the Electoral Count Act of 1887. That is the arcane and confusingly written law that Trump and the MAGA monkeys tried to exploit in hopes of stealing the 2020 Presidential election on January 6, 2021. A similar bipartisan bill to the one passed by the House with little GOP support is now quickly moving through the U.S. Senate. And today, republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell came out in support of it. That means the measure is likely to get the 10 Republican votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the undemocratic upper chamber. This much-needed reform to help prevent just one of the ways that Republicans could steal the 2024 Presidential election may see passage in the full Senate before the end of this year.

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Also: Disinformationists; Fascism rising; Hurricane Ian threatens disaster in FL; Callers ring in to fight about Dems before critical midterms...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2022 5:59pm PT  

It was another lively call-in show today on The BradCast, even with one caller accusing me of "professional, managerial class gate-keeping for the Democrats." (Okay. But, if so, where do I pick up my managerial class paycheck?!) [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to the listener calls, however, some important news items today...

  • Good news: Italy has just elected its first female Prime Minister! Bad news: She represents a far-right authoritarian party with its roots in Italian World War II neo-fascism.
  • Last week began with three enormous climate change-fueled storms simultaneously slamming Puerto Rico (which is still largely without power or clean water), Alaska and Japan. This week begins similarly, with three huge storms. One (the same one that hit Puerto Rico) slamming eastern Canada and another super-typhoon that spun up from tropical storm to Cat 5 in 24 hours before ravaging The Philippines. The third storm, Hurricane Ian, is now building strength as it edges Cuba as a Cat 2. It's expected to make potentially catastrophic landfall somewhere in Florida in the next day or two, potentially as a Cat 4. Exact landfall location is still unknown, but Desi Doyen joins us to explain how insanely dangerous Ian could turn out to be, particularly for the city of Tampa Bay.
  • Then, new polling from the Marquette University Law School, considered the "gold standard" for polling on the U.S. Supreme Court, finds, for the first time, that a majority of Americans are either "strongly" or "somewhat" in favor of expanding the the number of Justices on the Court. As you'll recall, the Republican majority Senate during the Trump Administration, packed and stole the Court majority, first by holding a vacant seat open for a full year (effectively, changing the number of seats from 9 to 8 in 2016); then by a blowing up the Senate filibuster rule requiring 60 votes to seat Justices for lifetime positions on the bench. They did that for three controversial far-right Justices who have since helped the corrupted Republican majority on the Court turn the Constitution and nation upside down by ignoring precedent, making up new "doctrines" from thin air, and overturning critical Constitutional rights established by half-century old SCOTUS opinions like Roe v. Wade.

    For many of the reasons discussed on today's show, expansion of the Court is --- at least in my opinion --- the number one reason for voting for Democrats in this November's critical midterm elections. Everything else --- codifying Roe's protection of reproductive rights into federal law, protecting democracy and the planet itself --- are all ultimately subordinate to the High Court. As corrupted as it currently is, expanding the Court to rebalance it is a must...even if many Democrats in Congress and the White House don't yet seem to understand that. Happily, a majority of Americans, across virtually every demographic sector, now agree.

  • Then, we open up the phones to callers on all of the above and more. With, as usual, a bunch of folks calling in to disagree with me, and at least one who correctly identifies the "Big Lie of the Left," that "both parties" are equally bad. They aren't. Not by a demonstrable long shot, as we discuss. Which, apparently, is proof enough that I'm a "professional, managerial class gate-keep[er] for the Democrats!" Who knew? But check please!)

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Also: Beer shortage?!; More on DeSantis' migrant scam; Electoral Count Act reform news; Good (and bad) news for disabled voters...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2022 6:38pm PT  

Today's BradCast starts off with a show-stopper! Everything else thereafter, well, you'll decide for yourself. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

On today's program...

  • Since it's, apparently, National Voter Registration Day today (yes, that's a thing), we thought we'd celebrate by starting off with a fantastic new lyric rewrite video from the cast of Broadway's Hamilton. They've updated a song from the show called "The Election of 1800" to a new version called "The Election of 2022" to raise awareness of the importance of voting this year. Their effort is in partnership with Michelle Obama's When We All Vote and Vote Riders. But for help in registering to vote, checking to make sure your registration still exists (and is at the address where you actually live), and for information on the type of ID required to vote where you live, I recommend either the DNC's IWillVote.com app or the federal government's Vote.gov. Both sites allow you to check your registration or register to vote without having to give information to a third party. And, since merely voting is no longer enough, we are officially enlisting you to spread the word to others on all of this! Ask your friends, co-workers, neighbors etc., if they are registered to vote; help them do so, if not; make sure they get to the polls to vote by November 8 this year, etc. etc. Yes, it's that important this year!
  • There is a weird beer shortage looming! Why? Lack of carbon dioxide due to contamination at an extinct volcano in Mississippi. Yes, I realize that sounds bizarre --- especially given the deadly over-abundance of CO2 in our atmosphere, causing our deadly climate crisis --- but, well...tune in for the full bizarre explanation.
  • On yesterday's program, we detailed some of the apparent federal criminal statutes, such as kidnapping, that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to have violated when he shipped 48 Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio, Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts on behalf of the state of Florida. We noted that requests had been made to the MA Attorney General U.S. Attorney's office in the state to investigate whether laws were violated. But shortly after airtime yesterday, news broke that Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas Sheriff's office has opened a criminal investigation into the matter. Good news!
  • As to what actually happened --- versus what DeSantis is claiming --- TPM's Josh Marshall has been trying to do some digging, after first noting that the initial story "Doesn't Add Up". Why did DeSantis hunt down migrants in Texas seeking asylum to entice (with false promises) to go to Massachusetts? Are there no migrants in Florida that could have been similarly abused, since the Florida state legislature has set allocated some $12 million to use to transport migrants out of the state (as opposed to out of the state of Texas)?! Who is this mysterious "Perla" character who has been identified as having recruited the migrants and organized luxury corporate jets to fly theme to MA? And, though the Florida Governor and Presidential hopeful is refusing to offer specifics, what clues can be gleaned about all of this from some of the statements that he has made, referencing a "contractor" or "vendor" who seems to have been hired for all of this, rather than government workers. In other words, what the hell is really going on here?
  • Then, in some election law related news today, the House January 6 Select Committee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) and committee member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) detailed proposed reforms to the Electoral Count Act, over the weekend. The Committee, they explain, hopes to make it more difficult in the future to steal elections via the Electoral College, as Donald Trump attempted to do on January 6, 2021. The new measure, officially introduced by the Committee in the House on Monday, is called the Presidential Election Reform Act. It would clarify the role of the Vice President on January 6 as purely ministerial; increase the number of Representative and Senators required to challenge any state's Electoral College votes; offer legal options to Presidential candidates in the event that a state fails to certify its Electoral Votes (as a number of GOP candidates for Governor and Sec. of State this year have said they would have done in 2020, had they been in office at the time); and prevents state legislatures from changing the rules for determining election results after the election has already started. The House measure is similar to one recently introduced by a bipartisan group in the Senate, and would need to be reconciled with that version if both versions are successfully brought to a vote in each chamber.
  • Some good news --- and some troubling news --- for disabled voters. New voting restrictions adopted by Republicans in several different states have made it literally impossible for some disabled voters to vote at all without breaking the law. For example, a Wisconsin law had mandated that nobody other than the voter him or herself could place an absentee ballot in a mailbox. That means that those without use of their arms --- such as voters suffering from advanced multiple sclerosis or who may have been injured --- might not be able to vote absentee at all. A recent federal court victory in WI will at least allow disabled voters in that state to receive assistance when casting their ballot. But several other states, such as Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri, still have measures in place that could make it impossible --- and/or illegal --- for some disabled voters to vote at all in 2022 and beyond.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as three major storms made simultaneous, catastrophic landfall in Puerto Rico, Alaska and Japan over the weekend; a new report finds climate change made Pakistan's recent catastrophic flooding much much worse; better news in Australia where the nation, until recently controlled by climate change deniers, is finally moving to reduce carbon emissions; and, in Louisiana, a court has blocked the construction of a massive, toxic plastics plant in area of the state known as "Cancer Alley"...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 9/15/2022 10:34am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: New U.N. report warns the world is heading into 'uncharted climate territory'; Summer 2022 was the hottest ever recorded globally; Fast transition to clean energy will save the world $12 trillion, study projects; PLUS: President Biden touts historic climate bill and national EV charging network... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Judge tosses air permit for giant Formosa Plastics Complex; New documents from oil industry show internal deception; Potential rail worker strike caused by erratic scheduling; Where this ice sheets in Antarctica meet the ground, small changes could have big consequences; Global ‘Stilling’: Is climate change slowing down the wind?; Focusing on the climate actions that can make a real difference; Can solar panels be super-charged?; House Dem leadership scrambles permitting reform effort... PLUS: Billionaire No More: Patagonia founder gives away the company... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson; Also: Rail worker strike looms; Noteworthy primary results from DE, RI, NH...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2022 6:32pm PT  

We've got a lot of news, both good and not as good, for labor on today's BradCast. Also, some results of some pretty crazy primary contests on Tuesday from the final three states to hold primary elections this year before November's critical midterms. [Audio link to full show is posted after this summary.]

First up, those primary results in Delaware, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. After a couple of races in DE and RI, we hit the most notable on the night, coming out of the Granite State, where Republican voters have elected another hard-right, conspiracy theorist and election denying loon as their nominee in a U.S. Senate race they might have been able to easily win this fall with a non-insane candidate. Instead, retired Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc --- who wants to abolish the FBI and the 17th Amendment (the direct election of U.S. Senators) and has described the state's popular, relatively moderate Republican Governor Chris Sununu as "a Chinese communist sympathizer” --- will now take on New Hampshire's incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in November.

Two hard-right Trumpers also won the GOP nominations for the NH's two U.S. House Seats, each currently held by Democrats. We take a bit of time today to focus on Karoline Leavitt, the apparent winner of the Republican nod in the NH's 1st Congressional District, where she will fake Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas after winning her upset victory against establishment-preferred Trumper Matt Mowers. The 25-year old Leavitt (who, mark my words, will be a new GOP star whether she wins or loses), previously worked in the Trump White House and has clearly taken on the hard-right mantle and obnoxious manner of her former boss. That resulted in an extraordinarily ugly primary battle between her and fellow Trump Administration colleague Mowers for the nomination and the title of who was the Trumpiest of them all. In both the Senate and House GOP primaries, the candidates preferred (and heavily invested in) by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy lost. Democrats are likely just fine with the results.

Then, railroad workers appear to be ready to go on strike as of 12:01am on Friday, over the horrific working conditions they have been required to endure for years. We detail some of those terrible conditions in advance of what could be a wildly disruptive and expensive work stoppage in advance of the midterm elections, with some 57,000 workers now set to strike barring a breakthrough.

Next, we're joined for some significantly more positive labor news today by The American Prospect's longtime Editor-at-Large, HAROLD MEYERSON to discuss what he describes as a "groundbreaking" new labor law in California to improve the wages and working conditions of some 550,000 fast-food workers in the state. The measure was signed last week, on Labor Day, by the state's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

In addition to setting a $22/hour minimum wage for the state's half-million fast-food workers (adjusted annually to keep up with the consumer price index), AB 257 also mandates the creation of a 10-person Council to oversee working conditions in the sector statewide. The Council, as Meyerson reported recently at The Prospect, would include "two representatives of franchise owners, two from the corporate chains, two fast-food workers, two fast-food 'advocates' (likely SEIU), and two who are the governor’s appointees to head labor-related state agencies."

"It's been really groundbreaking," Meyers explains today, "There's been nothing like it, really, in American history. It sets up what's called sectoral bargaining, in which representatives of workers in an entire industry sit down with representatives of management in the industry, and in this case, with a couple of state officials, as well. And they set standards for the industry...to craft wage and benefit and workplace safety and other standards for every worker in a chain fast-food outlet in California that has at least 100 outlets nationwide. So McDonalds, Jack in the Box, Starbucks, you name it."

That is a huge victory for labor groups like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and is likely to bring positive change for workers faster than otherwise unionizing hundreds of Taco Bell shops, one at a time.

Along with a helpful dose of American Labor history, Meyerson details how "sectoral bargaining is actually fairly common in Western Europe [where] it evolved on top of a much higher level of unionization of their workers than we have here in the United States." For now, however, as the SEIU has been fighting for a decade to unionize fast-food shops and establish a $15 minimum wage for their workers, the CA state effort is indeed both progressive and ground-breaking.

Of course, that means that an effort is already under way by the franchise industry and other wealthy business interests to shut the whole thing down. If the anti-worker forces in the state can collect enough signatures in the next several months, they can prevent the measure from going into full effect until voters decide on it via a 2024 ballot initiative. Otherwise, as Meyerson explains, "the law goes into effect. They can always then put an initiative on the ballot [in 2024 anyway], but at that point they would effectively be demanding a wage cut for half a million workers and their families."

All of this comes as a new Gallup survey found that, as of Labor Day, support for unions was at 71% among Americans, a nearly 60-year high. That, paradoxically, as just 6% of workers are currently in private unions. Yet, approval for labor unions hasn't been this high since 1965. Interestingly, when Gallup began their annual survey in 1936, amid the Great Depression, approval for labor unions was only one point higher, at 72%.

Lots to digest, I suspect, on today's BradCast. Buckle up...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Record heat wave pounds West; New Bannon woes; Primary results from MA...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2022 5:32pm PT  

We were on this story very early. Happily, more and more of the corporate media are finally covering it. But they still do not seem to be fully grasping --- or, at least, reporting on --- what now appears to be Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger clearly covering up election related crimes carried out by Team Trump and the MAGA crowd. We've got new evidence to support that charge on today's BradCast, as Raffensperger runs against Democrat Bee Nguyen for re-election this fall, hoping to win the MAGA vote after previously refusing to help them steal the 2020 Presidential election. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first today, an update on the record heat wave still lashing much of the U.S. West for a second week. On Tuesday, amid record temps (the state's capital city topped out at 116 degrees!) electricity demand surged along with the possibility of blackouts in California. But, following a cell phone warning from public officials, state residents answered the call to reduce usage. Demand reportedly plunged in response. Blackouts averted. For now.

It may take a hurricane to end this seemingly endless heat wave (it's also of record duration) by week's end, even as "extremely critical" warnings of wildfire risks are issued in almost a dozen states from the U.S. Northwest to the upper Great Plains. Record temps and wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour could slam several states this week amid tinder-dry conditions that could spark uncontrollable new fires. Some 54 million people are currently under heat warnings and advisories as our climate emergency worsens in late summer.

Meanwhile...on the other side of the nation, Massachusetts' Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey will face Trump-backed, election denying, abortion opponent Geoff Diehl in this November's race for Governor, as moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has opted against seeking a third term in the otherwise very liberal state. That's one of several general election contests determined by voters during Tuesday's primaries in the commonwealth. Tune in for more noteworthy results ahead of next week's final primaries of the season in Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Then, yup, we're going back to Georgia...

Back in May, we broke the story of what appeared to be a very serious breach of voting system security in Georgia's rural, Republican-leaning Coffee County. The news was based on a recorded phone call from one of the participants in the breach, seemingly confessing to the crime or bragging about funding the scheme to make unlawful copies of Dominion Voting System's sensitive Election Management Software following the 2020 election. The call, from Atlanta businessman Scott Hall, was recorded by the plaintiff in a long-running lawsuit against GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, seeking to force the state to move from 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots.

That plaintiff was MARILYN MARKS, our guest once again today. She is a longtime election integrity champion and founder of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance. After sharing that recorded phone call in May, she also joined us in June, after claims by Raffensperger that his office had been investigating the security breach at the Coffee County Board of Elections. In fact, as Marks noted at the time, she had been able to find no evidence whatsoever of an official probe by the Secretary's office into what we have now learned was part of a multi-state coordinated effort shepherded by Trump attorney Sidney Powell to make copies of voting systems software in Georgia, Michigan, Colorado and Nevada.

In at least the first three of those states, we now have evidence of MAGA sympathizers unlawfully creating hard drive images of voting systems, which were later released in various, dangerous ways to the public. As Marks points out today, law enforcement officials and Democratic Secretaries of State in Michigan and Colorado are carrying out serious criminal probes into the matter. Tina Peters, a Republican County Clerk in Mesa, Colorado, for example, has already been indicted on 10 criminal counts related to illegal hard drive copies. In Georgia, however, Raffensperger's office has either lied about their investigation or otherwise covered-up the entire matter.

That cover-up has now become considerably more difficult for Raffensperger, thanks to security camera surveillance footage subpoenaed by Marks in her federal lawsuit. On Wednesday, Washington Post, CNN and AP all ran detailed investigative stories on the Team Trump characters seen on video tape entering the Coffee County Board of Elections office on January 7, 2021 (the day after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol), to scan and image hard drives and ballots. That, after several of those folks --- including the Chairs of both the Board of Elections and the County Republican Party --- appear to have lied about their involvement in the scheme during depositions in Marks' lawsuit.

Also discovered from that footage: Doug Logan, the CEO of the now-defunct Cyber Ninjas --- the outfit that ran the phony "audit" in Maricopa County, Arizona after the 2020 election, ultimately confirming that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the state --- is seen entering the Coffee County Board of Elections over several different days, for hours at a time, for reasons still unknown.

Raffensperger's office, of course, could have obtained that security camera footage themselves at any time over the past year and a half, if they were really investigating this very serious breach. (Marks explains on today's show why it's so serious in advance of both 2022 and 2024!) And, while AP recently reported that Ryan Germany, the general counsel for the Secretary of State's office, claimed the office had opened an investigation into the matter in March this year, Raffensperger's top deputy, Gabe Sterling, appeared on a "Restoring Confidence in American Elections" panel at the Carter Center in Atlanta in April and denied anything happened in Coffee at all!

"We have claims, even recently, there was people saying 'We went to Coffee County and we imaged everything,'" Sterling said. "There's no evidence of that. It didn't happen."

Well, thanks to the newly obtained surveillance footage, we know Sterling was wrong. It did happen. And, surely Sterling would have known that by April, given that his office claimed to have begun their investigation a month earlier. Was he lying? Or did Raffensperger's top lieutenant just not know? "We do know he was not telling the truth," Marks politely notes today.

As to whether Raffensperger is carrying out a cover-up, she tells us, "It certainly doesn't look like a sincere effort to have a diligent investigation." She compares the situation to what's going on in Michigan and Colorado. "The Attorneys General and the state election officials went after the perpetrators who did that," Marks explains. "There's a special prosecutor with nine targets [in Michigan,] five of them are involved in Georgia. But none of them have been interviewed in Georgia." She charges that in Georgia, Raffensperger "does not seem to want to know --- the Secretary and the State Election Board --- neither seem to be terribly interested."

Oh, and at least one more critical point today: Raffensperger's office has finally opened some sort of investigation. How do we know? Because they have issued at least one subpoena in the matter...to Marilyn Marks!

She explains that and much more in our conversation today as the Coffee County Cover-Up continues to be uncovered, thanks to her.

Finally today, a step or two closer to at least some real accountability for Team Trump. Last week, former Trump aide Steve Bannon's motion for a new trial, after being convicted of two counts of Contempt of Congress, for failing to respond to a lawful subpoena from the House J6 Committee, was rejected by the judge. His sentencing is now scheduled for October 21.

And, more bad news for Bannon. On Wednesday, several media outlets are reporting that he has been indicted on fraud charges in New York, related to stealing at least a million dollars from the "We Build the Wall" scheme, which raised $25 million to build a bit of barrier on the U.S./Mexico border. He was charged federally for the same crime before being pardoned for it by Trump. He will reportedly turned himself over to authorities in Manhattan on Thursday, as the indictment is unsealed...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton on Trump and his party's flagging fortunes, Biden and his party's stunning late-summer ascension...
By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2022 6:46pm PT  

As the summer season winds down on The BradCast, the contrast between the two major parties, their respective leaders and their prospective near-term fortunes could hardly be more stark, as illustrated by a very lively conversation on today's program. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

On Friday, all eyes were on the release of an unsealed, redacted version of the Dept. of Justice's 38-page affidavit [PDF] used to establish "probable cause" for their unprecedented search of Donald Trump's home, office and storage areas at Mar-a-Lago on August 8.

The bulk of the affidavit was redacted, due to what the DoJ has described as the need to protect "the safety and privacy of a significant number of civilian witnesses" and because "Disclosure of the government's affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations."

What wasn't redacted were a few more specifics on what had largely already been publicly known about the nearly full year effort by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to retrieve highly classified documents that Trump had stolen from the White House upon leaving office. That eventually led to NARA's criminal referral to the DoJ and the FBI search warrant seeking "All physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 2071, or 1519". (Those statutes refer to the Espionage Act, obstruction, and violations of the Presidential Records Act, among other crimes Trump may have violated, despite a full year and a half of various warnings and polite, quiet attempts by both NARA and DoJ to retrieve the stolen material.)

The new specifics revealed today include that when NARA eventually received the first set of documents --- prior to a grand jury subpoena, a personal visit from the DoJ's top counter-espionage official, and eventually the FBI search in early August --- "FBI agents conducted a preliminary review of the FIFTEEN BOXES provided to NARA and identified documents with classification markings in fourteen of the FIFTEEN BOXES. A preliminary triage of the documents with classification markings revealed the following approximate numbers: 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET." The unidentified agent who served as the affiant, noted: "Based on my training and experience, I know that documents classified at these levels typically contain NDI [national defense information.]"

Of course, that was all before Trump reportedly handed over another dozen or so boxes of sensitive records in June, following a subpoena and personal visit by DoJ officials, and then the eventual August search in which another 11 sets of highly classified documents were retrieved from "the STORAGE ROOM, FPOTUS's residential suite, Pine Hall, the '45 Office,' and other spaces within the PREMISES." The affiant notes: "I do not believe that any spaces within the PREMISES have been authorized for the storage of classified information at least since the end of FPOTUS 's Presidential Administration on January 20, 2021."

That news on Friday --- just the latest mind-blowing development in multiple concurrent criminal investigations of the former President of the United States --- followed (and, in many cases, over-shadowed) the extraordinary run of late summer successes by President Biden and the Democrats.

It also comes the day after Biden offered a 27-minute stem-winder of a rally speech for the DNC in Rockville, Maryland, leading many to wonder: "Hey, where has that guy been all this time?!" We share a wholly unsatisfactory 6 minutes or so today from his lengthy, barn-burner remarks, in which he detailed his accomplishments and unsparingly took on the "semi-fascism" of Republicans and the former President in no uncertain terms. ("Guess what? MAGA Republicans don’t have a clue about the power of women. ... Let me tell you something: They are about to find out.")

We're joined today to discuss all of this by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo. Earlier this summer, she served as our anchor panelist following all 8 of the hearings by the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's multiple attempts to steal the 2020 election. And yet, since her last appearance in July, it seems we've all learned about an entirely new and massive criminal scandal that Trump has completely brought upon himself!

"What in the world was he doing with these documents? What was the purpose of it?," she joins us and the rest of the world in still wondering. "Whatever he planned to do with this stuff, it's very, very dangerous stuff."

"Donald Trump apparently has now bought into his own hype that he is still the legitimate President, and he's basically like Napoleon in exile on Elba," quips Parton. "Somehow or other he convinced himself that that meant that he had the same protections he had as President, and that has given him this sense that they can't touch him because of his position."

But now, she observes, Trump is "just dancing as fast as he can." Parton explains why she believes that, of all the probes now closing in on him, the discovery of hundreds of pages of highly classified national security documents at Mar-a-Lago will be the worst for him. "And here's the reason: Nothing shows more chutzpah and gall than this man --- the man who led the 'Lock Her Up' chants for the last 5 years saying that Hillary Clinton needed to be put into jail for mishandling classified information --- the fact that this guy did what he did in light of that, it's almost to much to bear."

"On a political level," Parton adds, "I think this one hits him in a way --- it shouldn't be that way, it should be the coup --- but this one is simple, easy to understand, and it's so incredibly galling that he would have done this under the circumstances."

That, by way of contrast with our current, not-insane President and his party's, by any measure, historic achievements in recent weeks. "I don't know but it seems to me that Dark Brandon is rising here... [Digby explains that reference for those who may be unfamiliar with the latest social media meme by Biden fans] ...in light of all of the successes that he's had legislatively in the last few months, it's been a rather stunning success story, honestly. I'm not a big Joe Biden pat-on-the-back person, but I am really surprised that under very difficult circumstances, with a very, very narrow majority, dealing with divas like Sinema and Manchin, and having to come up against a very low approval rating and a rightwing that's gone completely nuts out-of-its-mind bonkers, this Administration has managed to pass a whole lot of really important, big legislation."

But, as she also writes about at Salon today, the Republicans' biggest problem is the backlash to their "very, very far right, radical anti-abortion zealotry" and the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade. That, she argues, has cost them dearly at the ballot box since the late June Dobbs decision. But, while Parton believes the GOP will pay a huge price for their anti-choice advocacy in "red" and "blue" states alike this November, she explains why it's also "going to haunt them for a long time to come."

All of that and much much more with Parton on today's program --- including thoughts on the GOP's attempted Jedi Mind Trick regarding Biden's landmark forgiveness of as much as $20,000 in student loan debt for tens of millions of low and middle-income Americans on Thursday!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

* * * NOTE: We will be standing down from The BradCast (and Green News Report) next week until after Labor Day for an attempt at some much-needed R&R before Congress reconvenes, more J6 hearings get under way, new indictments come down and midterm season begins in earnest. That means, of course, that there will most likely be huge, earth-shaking news occurring next week while we're gone. So, please buckle up and stay safe until our return!

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Guest: Data analyst Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: House Special election in NY a political 'earthquake' and other results from NY, FL, OK...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2022 6:01pm PT  

For some, it was a political "earthquake" on Tuesday. For us here at BradCast, it largely served to confirm what we've been arguing for many months now: Reports about a Democratic shellacking this fall are greatly exaggerated. And, the swing-district Democratic win in a New York U.S. House special election on Tuesday isn't the only new evidence today helping to support that case. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, we run through some of the noteworthy reported election results from yesterday's primaries and runoffs in Oklahoma, Florida and New York. Tune in for specific details and specific races. But while there was good news and bad for both Democrats and progressives on Tuesday, the biggest story of the night was clearly Democratic candidate Pat Ryan's defeat of Republican Marc Molinaro in what both parties have been regarding as a bellwether for this November, a special U.S. House election in NY's 19th Congressional District. The Hudson Valley district is a classic "swing-district" that tends to follow the mood of the nation. It barely went for Biden in 2020 and for Trump and Obama in the years prior. In a "red wave" year for Republicans --- as both the GOP and media have long been instructing us that this year's midterms would be --- Molinaro should have easily won on Tuesday. Instead, he lost by 2 points.

In another special election for the U.S. House yesterday, in the state 23rd District, the Republican candidate won in the very Trumpy district, but by just over 6 points. That, after the Republican who previously held the seat had won it by 17 points back in 2020. It was yet another contest in which Democrats gained over their 2020 numbers, rather than lost, as would be expected in a "red wave" year.

In fact, where Republicans earlier this year had been winning special elections for the House by anywhere from 10 to 20 points more than Trump had won the same districts just two years ago, everything changed on June 24, when the GOP's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court, in their Dobbs decision, overturned Roe v. Wade and its 50 years of Constitutionally-protected privacy rights and reproductive freedoms. Since that ruling, every single special House election --- four of them, from Nebraska to Minnesota to New York --- has seen results swing toward Democrats from their 2020 numbers in the same district.

Ryan's victory on Tuesday in NY-19 is being chalked up to his campaign focused on abortion rights, fueled by campaign signs reading "Choice is on the Ballot." Indeed, Ryan also tied choice to freedom and democracy, as noted in his victory tweet last night. "Choice was on the ballot. Freedom was on the ballot, and tonight choice and freedom won," said Ryan, adding: "We voted like our democracy was on the line because it is." In the bargain, he concluded, "We upended everything we thought we knew about politics and did it together."

The GOP candidate, meanwhile --- a fairly strong candidate, not one of the Trump-backed insane ones --- attempted to make the contest a referendum on President Biden, inflation, crime and against one-party rule in D.C., as Republicans have hoped to do elsewhere for this November's midterms. It didn't work.

We've been arguing for many months now on this show that voters should simply ignore "Conventional Wisdom" based on historical data for this year's elections, as these are decidedly UNconventional times. There are many things that make it so, but the overturning of Roe v. Wade is certainly a great big one.

Evidence of that is also showing up elsewhere, as our guest today, TOM BONIER, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic data firm, has been noticing and tweeting excitedly about over the past few weeks since Kansas voters decisively rejected a state Constitutional ballot initiative that would have allowed Republicans in the traditionally conservative state to ban abortion rights.

Since then, Bonier explains, in state after state that he has examined --- so-called "red" and "blue" ones and even critical battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina, among others --- the data for new voter registrations after the Dobbs ruling show numbers are spiking for women, particularly Democratic women and, specifically, those under 25.

"I'm not one that's prone to hyperbole," Bonier tells me, responding to a question about one of the stats he posted to Twitter, which he described as "jaw-dropping." He says that "when analyzing election data, you generally don't see variations from the norm, from past historical precedent, that are really that substantial." But, after being stunned by what happened in Kansas, he noticed there had been a huge spike in voter registrations in the state in its run-up.

"Of the voters who registered to vote in Kansas after the June 24th Dobbs decision, 70% were women," he found. "I've never seen anything approaching that degree of gender gap. It just doesn't happen."

"The reason you look at new registrants is because it's a great indicator of intensity. It's not that new registrants by themselves will swing the election, but it is a reliable indicator of which groups are really fired up about voting, and that's what's going to decide this election."

He discovered similarly "jaw-dropping" numbers for Pennsylvania after the Dobbs ruling. "It's not just that women are registering to vote. When you look at who those women are, they're overwhelmingly women and Democrats." New Dem registrations, he says, are outpacing Republicans 4 to 1. "Over half of them --- 54% of them --- are under the age of 25. So again, they're younger, they're more likely to be Democrats, overwhelmingly, young Democratic women being engaged."

In North Carolina, like Pennsylvania, where Democrats are eyeing another potential U.S. Senate pick-up that seemed impossible just several weeks ago, Bonier says he is seeing a similar trend. Before Dobbs, "Republicans had a one point advantage among new registrants. Since Dobbs that's shifted to a 5-point Democratic advantage...again, driven by younger women primarily, though not exclusively."

In Ohio, a similar story. In fact, Bonier says women are out-registering men in Idaho, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Arkansas and elsewhere.

Has he drilled down on these statewide numbers to see if they will have an affect on the heavily gerrymandered new maps that will favor Republicans in the U.S. House this year? So far, Bonier argues, they are "seeing the same pattern in these more potentially competitive Congressional districts."

Are the numbers large enough that, even with that gerrymandering, Democrats might actually be able to hold their majority in the House this November? "If you'd asked me this a few months ago, I never would have said this, but yes, Democrats have a chance. It's still an uphill battle --- especially because of the structural disadvantages --- but there's clearly a chance. We're not talking about the slimmest of margins, we're talking about a real opportunity. But for that to bear fruit for Democrats, it's going to take this trend continuing. It's going to take Dobbs being an inflection point, where we look back and we say, 'This election cycle, there was pre-Dobbs and there was post-Dobbs, and Dobbs is really what changed everything.'"

Bonier cautions that it "will still be difficult" and nothing is certain, especially since betwen this and so much else this year, there are simply no modern historical equivalents to compare it to. "So the best thing we can do is go out, work as hard as we can, and fight for every vote."

Have we been right to argue for so many months that voters should simply ignore the "conventional wisdom" --- from political professionals, including guys like Bonier --- in these UNconventional times? Tune in for his answer...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: ACLU's Ben Wizner; Also: Results from KS abortion amendment recount; Dems quietly outsmart GOP/SCOTUS on climate; More...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2022 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Based on the FBI's unsealed warrant for their recent court-approved search at Mar-a-Lago, we now know that our disgraced former President is being criminally investigated by the Dept. of Justice for violation of at least three federal statutes. One of them --- the one which has arguably received the most headlines --- is the Espionage Act. But that very broad federal statute has been wildly misused by the government over the years to target free political speech and, in modern days, both whistleblowers and journalists. Today, we speak with national security whistleblower Edward Snowden's lead ACLU attorney in hopes of better understanding the controversial law, what's wrong with it, how it needs to be amended, and if it is now properly being applied against Donald Trump. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, however, as primary elections are underway in New York, Florida and Oklahoma today (noteworthy results and problem reports for voters on our next 'BradCast'), we wanted to close a loop on a story we reported last week. Anti-abortion activists in Kansas had hoped for a statewide hand recount of the ballot measure for a state constitutional amendment that failed so thoroughly during their primary elections earlier this month. The measure, trounced by about 18 points, would have allowed state Republicans to ban abortion rights in Kansas. Activists vaguely claimed there was evidence of fraud and asked for a hand-count of 9 of the state's largest counties after failing to raise enough money to count the whole state. That hand-count was completed over the weekend and very few votes changed at all. The "Yes" campaign netted an additional 63 votes out of more than 556,000 tallied by hand in those counties.

We've got some thoughts on that hand count to share today, including a response to the Kansas Sec. of State who claims the hand-count "proves once and for all that there is no systemic election fraud in our state's election process" (it doesn't) and for Democrats who decry lawful, public hand-counts --- paid for by challengers, even if they are loony ones --- as undermining our election system. They don't. In fact, they add confidence to it. Tune in for more.

Next, on Monday night, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump stole at least 300 documents marked as classified, many of them said to be incredibly sensitive national security documents. (Contrast that with the total of 3 documents found to have been sent to Hillary Clinton via her private email address marked as classified, for which Trump and his supporters railed to "LOCK HER UP!" for so many years.) All told, it took a year and a half to get those stolen documents back, after a year of negotiation and pleading by the National Archives, a grand jury subpoena from the DoJ, a personal visit to Mar-a-Lago by its top counter-espionage official, and, ultimately, the FBI search earlier this month.

Throughout that time, the paper reports, "Trump went through the boxes himself in late 2021," before failing to turn them all in and, even now, it is unknown if all of the stolen documents have yet been returned. Whether marked as classified or not --- and whether Trump declassified them or not (he didn't) --- it was still illegal for Trump to have any of them in his possession.

The federal search warrant revealed that he is being investigated for, among other things, violation of the Espionage Act. Writing last week at Politico, the Knight First Amendment Institute's Jameel Jaffer, formerly of the ACLU, argued that the Act has been abused over the years in its application against whistleblowers and journalists, such as Chelsea Manning (who released classified documents revealing war crimes by the U.S. Military), Reality Winner (who released a classified document revealing Russia's 2016 breach of U.S. voter registration systems) and, more recently, WikiLeak's Julian Assange.

But, Jaffer writes, while the overly-broad law desperately needs to be amended or even scrapped entirely, its use against Trump appears to be perfectly appropriate.

We're joined today by BEN WIZNER of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. Wizner serves as the principal legal advisor for Edward Snowden, the national security whistleblower who, charged with Espionage Act crimes, is currently living in Russia to avoid prosecution.

Wizner explains the many problems with the more than 100-year old law as it was originally used --- before being somewhat amended decades later --- to prosecute thousands of Americans for legitimate political speech. "In fact, the abuses of the Espionage Act at the outset really had something to do with the formation of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920," he tells me. "It was used by Woodrow Wilson's administration to go after pacifists and anti-war activists, labor activists. Eugene Debs was prosecuted and imprisoned under the Espionage Act. So in its early years, it really is associated with all of the excesses of the first Red Scare and the crackdown on dissent, and immigrants and other radicals." (Debs ultimately ran for President from his prison cell, as Trump may now wish to take note.)

"In it's modern history, the core critique of the Espionage Act has been that it doesn't distinguish between selling the country's secrets to a foreign adversary for personal gain and sharing those same secrets with respected journalists in the public interest," Wizner explains. "In the Snowden case, you have somebody who shared information with news organizations. Those news organizations won the highest awards in journalism, a public interest Pulitzer Prize [based on documents from Snowden.]

But the most egregious part of the Espionage Act, as Wizner notes regarding Snowden's case and his exile abroad: "He's not able to argue, if he's brought to court under this law, that he was acting in the public interest, [and] that in fact the law [was] changed as a result of his actions. All of that would be irrelevant and inadmissible under an Espionage Act prosecution."

In other words, Snowden would be disallowed from even offering a defense for what he did. "The first person ever prosecuted under the Espionage Act for leaks to the press in the public interest, rather than trying to provide secrets to a foreign entity was, of course, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, in 1971," Wizner reminds us. (We discussed Snowden's case with Ellsberg on the show back in 2013. Audio and transcript here.)

There is much more to discuss about this bad law and the need to amend it, as several lawmakers from both major parties have long been trying to do. Tune in for that.

As to whether Wizner agrees with his former ACLU colleague, Jaffer, regarding the Espionage Act's correct application against Trump? While he argues "there's no good justification for what Trump did here," Wizner says he is keeping powder dry" regarding Trump's alleged Espionage Act violations. "I am very open to the possibility that when we find out why they cited that statute, I will be a full-throated advocate of what they did in this case. I'm just saying I don't have the information yet to be that full-throated advocate...It matters what those documents were. The fact that they were marked classified is a key fact. I still want to know what was in them."

"I believe Jameel Jaffer is correct that the concerns that the ACLU and other have raised about the Espionage Act are not implicated here," Wizner tells me. "We've been saying you shouldn't equate two different categories --- spies and whistleblowers. What we have here is a third category."

Finally, after some breaking news on President Biden reportedly deciding to forgive up to $10,000 in student loans for some federal borrowers, and Desi Doyen's explanation of how Democrats may have quietly and ingeniously outsmarted both Republicans and their stolen U.S. Supreme Court majority by declaring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses to be "pollutants" in their recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, she joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the summer of extreme extreme weather continues...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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New poll finds democracy now top issue for voters; Also: Latest Trump accountability news; Midterm election news; Callers ring in on why they're voting this November...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2022 6:24pm PT  

Longtime listeners of The BradCast know that we see democracy as pretty much the number one issue that makes pretty much everything else possible. Even the climate crisis comes second for that reason. Congressional Democrats, on the other hand, have yet to make the threat that democracy itself now faces in America, thanks to Donald Trump and his GOP, much of a campaign issue. That's both curious and troubling, particularly following a new poll out today finding that democracy is "the most important issue facing the country for a plurality of registered voters." [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's show --- followed by some great callers in the second half today...

  • On Sunday, a federal appeals court gave Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) a short reprieve from his scheduled testimony before the special grand jury in Georgia investigating the Trump-led criminal conspiracy to try and steal Georgia's 2020 election. Graham, who reportedly called the GA Sec. of State to see if it might be possible to toss thousands of lawfully cast votes, claims he was just doing his job as a Senator...from South Carolina...and has absolute immunity under the Constitution's "speech and debate" clause. His reprieve [PDF] from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' probe is unlikely to last for long.
  • A different federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the Justice Department must release a memo written by its Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) during the Trump Administration, regarding then-Attorney General Bill Barr's decision to not charge the former President for some ten instances of obstruction of Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. The DoJ claimed the memo, sought by a good government watchdog group under FOIA laws, was exempt from disclosure because it was part of the deliberative process in deciding whether or not to charge Trump. In fact, as a lower court previously determined, the memo was written after the DoJ had already determined they would not charge Trump.
  • Then, we move from the 2016 and 2020 elections back to the current one, now just 78 days away, when political pundits had long been telling us that Democrats would take a shellacking in Congress this November. But, as we've long noted, that Conventional Wisdom is by no means a certainty during these decidedly UNconventional times. Among the latest examples from 2022's UNconventional Times files, emotional remarks last week from a Republican South Carolina lawmaker who regrets his vote --- just weeks after casting it --- to restrict abortion in the state. He relates a disturbing story of a pregnant 19-year old woman whose water broke at 15 weeks, making the pregnancy unviable. But thanks to the state's new "fetal heartbeat" law, attorneys advised her doctors they could not extract the fetus until its heart stopped beating...two weeks later. She could have lost her uterus or even died during the interim. We share some of the state Rep's emotional response and his reasons for refusing to vote in favor of an even more draconian restriction on reproductive freedom now moving through the SC state legislature.
  • Still more today from the UNconventional Times file: Signs that inflation appears to be coming down on tons of products whose prices had surged last year. And signs, along with it, that pandemic supply chain snarls appear to finally be easing up as well.
  • Of course, all of that good news for American consumers is bad news for Republicans who have been hoping for a terrible economy to help them win back majorities in Congress this November. A new forecast from Fox "News" out today, however, finds that to be less and less likely as polling and other conditions continue to trend back in favor of Democrats. It's still an uphill climb for them in the gerrymandered House, but the GOP is clearly getting nervous. We discuss.
  • At the same time, in a lengthy deep-dive, Politico Magazine reported over the weekend that a number of old school Dems from the Carter Administration are concerned that Congressional Democrats are not making enough of a campaign issue out of the threat that Republicans now pose to American democracy itself. That, following Trump's January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection and the boatload of bat-crap insane, Trump-endorsed 2020 election deniers who have been nominated for key positions to help decide the 2024 election in swing-states and non-swing-states alike this year. While Congressional Dems offer a reasonable argument for why they have been sticking with other issues this year --- "from energy and the environment to education, roads and infrastructure, abortion, health care, Trump and guns" --- rather than the threat posed by Republicans to democracy itself....
  • So, what do our listeners care most about this November? What issues are leading them to vote (or not vote)? We open the phones to find out and get some very good callers in response including a fun one from a confused Republican...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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