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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 25, 2024
Alito's an Insurrection Supporter. So, What Are Dems Gonna Do?: 'BradCast' 5/23/24
Also: SCOTUS allows SC racial gerrymander; OH still blocking Biden from ballot; Smartmatic says Newsmax destroyed evidence; Biden cancels still more student debt...
'Green News Report' 5/23/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Extreme weather unleashes disasters from Iowa to Mexico; DeSantis signs 'Don't Say Climate Change' law in FL; PLUS: Study finds microplastics in human testicles...
Previous GNRs: 5/16/24 - 5/14/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Costello Fails, Trump Bails, Defense Rests: 'BradCast' 5/22/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: Election results and problem reports from KY, OR, GA, CA and MD...
Trump Dark Money Group Dumping Tens of Millions on Racist, Transphobic Disinfo Ads: 'BradCast' 5/21/24
Guest: Victoria Cadostin; Also: Rudy arraigned in AZ; Trump defense rests in NY; More...
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  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
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Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Also: AZ Guv files bar complaint against former A.G. for 2020 fraud lies...
By Brad Friedman on 3/2/2023 6:31pm PT  

There's a reason we don't spend much time discussing the Right's phony "culture war" BS on The BradCast. Today, we talk about why. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

We go into much more detail on the program, but perhaps the biggest reason is likely that most of these so-called "culture wars" aren't any such thing. But talking about it, helps to make them appear to be such a thing. Whether it's outrage over BLM or CRT or, more lately, ESG, the GOP and FNC and all of their various corporate sponsors (mostly from the oil and gas industry), prefer spending time on ginned-up, phony nonsense to keep their readers, listeners and viewers angry, so they don't notice how the Republican Party has absolutely nothing but pain and thievery to offer them.

When the non-wingnut corporate media and Democrats jump in to respond to those ginned-up issues, sadly, the Right has succeeded in creating yet another "partisan" "culture war" out of whole cloth, in which they are able to claim there is a pitched partisan battle between "both sides". They've been mastering this scam for years, and the media and Dems have been falling for it for years as well.

One might think, for example, that the nation is bitterly divided in the "culture war" over abortion rights, one of the GOP's decades-old stand-bys. In fact, it's not much of a partisan or left/right or Republican/Democratic issue at all. The vast majority of Americans, across party lines, support reproductive freedom. And a recently released detailed survey from PRRI (of about 23,000 people in all 50 states!), demonstrates that there is not one single state in the union where a majority of the population supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Not one. Not even in the Deep South.

But maybe if you're furious enough about "ESG" you won't notice the Constitutional freedoms the GOP has just stolen from all of us. What's ESG? Well, the folks who watch Fox "News" almost certainly know what it is. It stands for "Environmental Social Governance." And, while the corporate concept has been around for about 20 years, Republicans, with the encouragement (and lots of money) from the fossil fuel industry, have only recently decided to become furious about it. Yup, they're hoping --- and the media are helping --- to turn it into yet another pretend "culture war".

Republican Presidential hopefuls like Florida's Ron DeSantis, Texas' Greg Abbott and former Vice President Mike Pence are all over those "woke" corporations who consider things like the health of the environment when making investments and other business decisions. As discussed today in some detail, Republicans have now decided that sort of thing must stop immediately! Failing to invest as much money as possible, including public funds, in the fossil fuel industry that is helping to wipe out humanity, will almost certainly result in grandma's retirement fund going bankrupt! Or something. And it now appears we're all gonna be dumb enough (again) to help these fake Fox "News" and fossil fuel industry outrages become a real thing.

Just this once --- hopefully, today only --- we're gonna talk about it so you understand exactly what's going on and how you're getting played...so hopefully we'll all stop falling for these scams over and over again.

Also today, a follow-up to a story we covered last week, when Kris Mayes, the new Democratic Attorney General of Arizona, released documents from her office that the previous Attorney General, Republican Mark Brnovich, appears to have forgotten to release before leaving office in January.

Among other things, the documentation reveals that Brnovich's office spent some 10,000 taxpayer-funded hours in 2021 investigating phony claims of election fraud in the state's 2020 Presidential election, assigning everyone in the office to the matter at one point. And though the probe was completed by March 2022, Brnovich never bothered to release the findings, that there was no evidence the election was stolen from Trump in Arizona, to the public. Instead of letting his state and the nation know, during his failed run for the state GOP nomination for U.S. Senate last year, Brnovich lied about the investigation. He told state lawmakers and the public that his office had found "serious vulnerabilities", even while he was ignoring his own staff's recommendations to come clean about the facts.

We covered those disturbing revelations from Mayes last week. And now, the state's new Democratic Governor, former Sec. of State Katie Hobbs, has filed a complaint against Brnovich with the state bar association. Hopefully, that complaint will result in sanctions or even disbarment for the state's corrupt, former top attorney, who was already under sanctions from the state bar association, as it turns out, when he misled the public last year about all of this.

Finally, it's Desi Doyen with our latest woke, ESG, Green News Report! Today, we focus on continuing drought conditions in California, despite the recent series of major storms and continuing, bizarre, climate change-fueled weather across much of the nation; Also, we cover the railroad industry's opposition to new regulations following outrage (phony or otherwise) over the recent toxic train derailment in Ohio...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

As he told me last week...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Nuclear weapons policy analyst Stephen Schwartz; Also: Dems outperform in NH, VA, KY special elections, set table to retake Supreme Court majority in WI...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2023 6:54pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It was a good day for democracy in the U.S. yesterday, in our continuing battle against the rise of autocracy here at home. The news overseas on that same score, however, thanks to Russia's criminal, autocratic leader, remains significantly dicier. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST UP TODAY: It was the first big Special Election night of 2023 in the U.S. on Tuesday. As we saw in advance of last year's 2022 midterms --- when Republicans ignored the evidence before their eyes to hoax themselves into believing a "red wave" was coming (which never did) --- Democrats are once again outperforming expectations in Special Elections around the nation.

We've got results, some of them quite stunning, out of marquee races yesterday in New Hampshire for state House, Virginia for the U.S. House, and in Kentucky for State Senate. In each, Democrats radically outperformed both expectations and history, often by 10 or more points.

But, the most critical race of the night may have been the primary election in Wisconsin, where a vacant swing-seat on the state Supreme Court may finally flip the majority to progressives in the upcoming April 4 general election after years of control by rightwingers. Tuesday's open primary featured two progressives and two so-called conservatives, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general. Progressive Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz easily bested the competition with some 46% of the vote. The two rightwingers, former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly and Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow, came in a tight second and third place, with 24% and 22% each, respectively, followed by progressive Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell with 7%.

That means Protasiewicz and Kelly, state Democrats' preferred competition, will square off on April 4. Kelly is a radical, rightwing extremist, election denier, marriage equality opponent, and paid RNC consultant who helped organize Donald Trump's fake 2020 electors scheme in the state. He also lost a previous Supreme Court race in the closely divided swing-state by a whopping 10 points in 2020. In a state where Dems now hold almost every statewide executive position, Republicans are forced to cling to majorities in the state legislature thanks to wildly gerrymandered districts. A progressive majority on the bench, therefore, is expected to be critical over the next few years regarding abortion rights, gun safety, gerrymandering and much more, including voting rights in advance of the 2024 Presidential election.

If voters turnout and vote in April as they did last night, Protasiewicz would defeat Kelly by about 7 points. Of course, its Wisconsin, so I'd be careful about counting chickens before counting ballots just over one month from now.

NEXT UP: Russian President Vladimir Putin's nuclear saber rattling continued on Tuesday during his state of the nation speech. The autocrat announced a unilateral suspension of participation in New START, the last remaining arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia.

There is a great deal to unpack in all of this, including what Obama-era New START was supposed to do; how the U.S., under Donald Trump, also pulled out unilaterally from a different pact (the Reagan/Gorbachev-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces or INF Treaty); what "suspension" of New START actually means; and how the announcement appears to be yet another desperate attempt by Putin to coerce his way into somehow winning a war of aggression that he appears to be losing in Ukraine, as Russia's unlawful invasion sees its one-year anniversary this week.

To help with all of that today, we're joined by longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ who formerly served as Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. They are the groups who control the notorious "Doomsday Clock". Schwartz, who tweets as @AtomicAnalyst, is also the author of Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940.

"There is no provision in the [New START] treaty for 'suspending' the treaty. You're either in it or not," explains Schwartz. "The suspension is, I guess, a wily way for Putin to get what he wants. Which is, I think, frankly, just an extension of what he's been doing over the last year. This is a nuclear threat by another name."

"It's an effort to frighten the public in the United States, NATO, and Ukraine, into letting let him basically blackmail those countries into letting him do whatever he wants with Ukraine. So he's got this bludgeon --- and it's really the only tool that he has right now --- and he's waving it around until his demands are satisfied."

It doesn't appear to be working. President Joe Biden spoke in Poland yesterday, following a surprise appearance with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday. "We’re seeing again today what the people of Poland and the people all across Europe saw for decades: Appetites of the autocrat cannot be appeased," declared Biden to cheers in Warsaw. "They must be opposed."

While taking Putin seriously, Schwartz also sees a larger principle at stake. "The way I see it, and I'm no big fan of war at all, is if we just listen to Putin and say 'You're right, we can't risk nuclear war so we're going to stand back and let you carve up Ukraine however you want. And, hey, if you want to take Belarus and Moldova, who are we to stop you?,' I think that would be a terrible precedent for the rest of the world. Not only with regard to what Russia might do in the future, but other countries that have nuclear weapons or might want them."

"The Biden Administration and NATO have been very careful. If you look at every time Putin has done one of these things, the United States doesn't dismiss it and doesn't panic. They walk down the middle and I think that is the right approach here. We need to show that nuclear weapons are fundamentally useless, not just for prosecuting a war, but also for blackmail."

"We need to isolate Putin in this regard," argues Schwartz. "Otherwise, the future world that we're going to live in, brought to you by nuclear coercion, is going to be far worse than anything we dealt with during the Cold War."

Among the many related matters Schwartz speaks to today: Russia's violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which Ukraine was guaranteed security and sovereignty after the fall of the Soviet Union in exchange for turning over all nuclear weapons to Russia; The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' recent move of the Doomsday Clock to "90 Seconds to Midnight," the closest it has ever been to proverbial "Midnight". Is the world really closer to "Doomsday" now than it was at the height of the Cold War? We discuss all of that and much more on today's very informative program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Jeffries blocks GOP attempt to kill Office of Congressional Ethics; PA special elections give Dems full control of state House; New Dem trifecta in MN protects abortion rights, mandates 100% clean power...
By Brad Friedman on 2/9/2023 6:05pm PT  

The long-awaited GOP-led House hearings are now getting under way in full. And, as we've previously predicted, they ain't going well...for the Republicans. Also on today's BradCast, a few critical (and good news) updates to several stories we've covered in the recent past, as well as some encouraging breaking news on the worsening woes of our failed former President. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered on today's show...

  • A few weeks back, longtime Congressional ethics expert Craig Holman of Public Citizen joined us to explain the House GOP's attempt, buried in their new rules package adopted at the beginning of the new session last month, to kill the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. That is the very effective body that runs real investigations into Congressional members' crimes and ethics lapses, by way of contrast with the House Ethics Committee which, as Holman told us at the time, is "literally designed to sweep ethics matters under the rug." The new House rules were cleverly crafted by Republicans to cripple the OCE --- along with any real probes of folks like George Santos or Kevin McCarthy and the several other GOP members who defied Congressional subpoenas last year. But, at the last second this week, House Dem Leader Hakeem Jeffries appears to have saved the day --- and the OCE --- with some very quick work to thwart the GOP scheme to kill this critical agency.
  • In another good news update today to yet another story we've been covering in recent weeks, the long and confusing battle over majority control of the Pennsylvania state House is now all but settled with the election of all three Democrats in three different Special Elections held on Tuesday to fill three vacancies in the chamber. That means that Dems will now have full control of the House in the Keystone State for the first time in over a decade. Critically, they will now be able to thwart the effort by the previously GOP-controlled legislature's plan to adopt a state Constitutional amendment that would declare there is no right to an abortion in the state.
  • And, in still more good news on reproductive freedoms and the importance of elections, last November, Democrats won a trifecta in the great state of Minnesota, as they gained majority control of both chambers in the state legislature and control of the Governor's mansion. They have now begun to move a huge number of long-overdue progressive priorities forward. Last week, they adopted a statute to protect reproductive freedoms in the state --- the first state to do so after last summer's SCOTUS reversal of Roe v. Wade --- and, this week, Gov. Tim Walz signed a measure that mandate MN's move to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040! (And there is much more to come. Elections matter!)
  • Next, it's on to the ridiculous hearing held on Wednesday in the newly GOP-controlled Oversight Committee in the U.S. House. The long-awaited hearing, featuring a panel of witnesses who formerly worked at Twitter, was meant to examine alleged federal government censorship on the social media site. Specifically, a two-day pause on the broad sharing of a questionable New York Post article in early October 2020 on a laptop purportedly abandoned by Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden. The hearing did not go well for the Republicans. As it turns out (and as we've told you previously), there is no actual evidence of the FBI or any other government agency, censoring the laptop story --- or any other --- at the social media network, even though Republicans are now pretending that the FBI (Trump's FBI, by the way!) somehow used Twitter to rig the 2020 election for Biden. If all of that sounds ridiculous, it's because it is. We share several clips today from the hearing, which failed to reveal evidence that Biden or the Democrats or the FBI or the "deep state" violated the First Amendment in somehow censoring --- or trying to censor --- Twitter. But, you know who did? Yup, Donald Trump and his White House, as revealed by Democrats and the former Twitter employees who testified at Wednesday's sort of hilariously failed hearing.
  • Also today, Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report with details on environmental elements of Biden's Tuesday State of the Union address; new evidence of more lies and war profiteering by BP; a foiled neo-Nazi attack on the power grid in Baltimore; and more on that great news about the clean energy mandate (as noted above) out of MN.
  • Finally, some breaking news as today's show wraps up: former Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly been subpoenaed by Jack Smith's federal Special Counsel probe of Donald Trump's attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election. That, according to ABC News, which broke the story first, suggests "a major escalation of Smith's probe"...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 2/9/2023 10:58am PT  


Follow @GreenNewsReport...

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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: President Biden touts climate action and infrastructure upgrades in State of the Union address; Surprise! BP weakens climate targets amid record profits; FBI disrupts neo-Nazi plot to attack Baltimore power grid; PLUS: Minnesota enacts ambitious law to go 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 14 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Embattled Adani embarks on coal fire sale to boost liquidity; Oil industry-backed effort puts new California oil well ban put on hold for voters to decide; Heat pumps are defying Maine’s winters and oil industry pushback; BP says demand for oil and gas will drop dramatically by 2050 in 'decisive shift';14 million Americans live near plants emitting cancer-causing gas; Communities on front lines of pesticide exposure fight for change; Drought may have doomed this ancient empire; Brazil pushes illegal miners out of indigenous Yanomami territory... PLUS: Drifting Toward Disaster: Breaking the Brazos

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Special Coverage of the President's ingenious, off-the-cuff GOP Rope-a-Dope and much more with guests Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo, and 'Driftglass' of the 'Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2023 4:52pm PT  

For the first time in a long time on today's BradCast, we're happy to feature a Special Coverage episode of something that isn't actually horrible. In fact, it's something that turned out to be an unexpected amount of fun to watch and cover, while including what was, as I described it on today's show, "the greatest Rope-a-Dope Moment in the all-time history of State of the Union addresses." [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

We've got full post-speech team coverage today of Joe Biden's second SOTU as President (actually his third address to a joint session of Congress), and it was a humdinger! Both the speech and today's coverage. In fact, as our panel appeared to agreed today, it was likely the most enjoyable SOTU any of us had ever witnessed!

We're joined today by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog (which just celebrated it's 20th anniversary!) and "DRIFTGLASS", otherwise known as @Mr_Electrico on Twitter and as simply Bill at home, where he produces The Professional Left Podcast each week with his wife Fran/"BlueGal". Like Digby and me, he too is a longtime, old-school progressive blogger!

Biden's lively remarks on Tuesday --- and his surprisingly brilliant off-the-cuff responses to jeers and obnoxiously inaccurate heckles from members of the new Republican House majority --- cannot be described as delivered by "Sleepy Joe". The 73-minute speech actually flew by, surprisingly enough.

During the address, he, justifiably, sang his Administration's praises for what has amounted to one of the most successful first two years of any Presidency going back to at least FDR. (That, as we discuss, is particularly surprising given the narrowest of majorities he had to work with for the past two years in Congress. And is true, whether or not you liked his many accomplishments, had hoped for still more, or preferred entirely different policies.)

Snap polling following Tuesday's SOTU revealed a whopping 72% of Americans who watched it reacted positively, with some of the most favorable reactions coming from those who, prior to the speech, disapproved of Biden or felt his policies would not move the country in the right direction. So will his remarks on Tuesday make any difference in his approval ratings moving forward?

We cover a lot of ground on today's Special Coverage episode, including thoughts on Biden's brilliant Rope-a-Dope / Jedi Mind Trick that resulted in Republicans yelling and screaming to insist they are absolutely not hoping to gut or cut or even sunset Social Security and Medicare(!); other details from the surprisingly populist and progressive speech; insight on why Biden's approval ratings have been so low over the past year (and who is to blame for that); analysis of the bizarre movement by some in the supposed "Anti-war Left" to oppose support for the fight for democracy in sovereign Ukraine and against the authoritarian invasion by its imperialist neighboring Russia; and of the weird, creepy, dark, up is down/down is up GOP response to Biden's SOTU by Donald Trump's former Press Secretary and "prolific liar" turned new Governor of Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Lots of insight --- and hilarity! --- ensues during today's 'BradCast' Special Coverage! Enjoy!...

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

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

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

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

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The President's son threatens legal action against rightwing media, seeks legal probe of 'stolen' emails; Also: Omar pushes back against GOP revenge vote; And, a 'BradCast' programming announcement!...
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2023 6:51pm PT  

Apparently, our week of GOP debunkery continues on today's BradCast. I have a feeling we may be at it for quite some time, as Republicans are just getting started with their crash and burn majority control of the U.S. House. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On yesterday's program, we shared a few clips from interviews this week with the new Republican Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky. He explained why he was dead set on his committee investigating the connection between classified documents found by Joe Biden's aides at his Delaware residence (and immediately returned to the federal government) and concerns about "influence peddling" by the President and his family. That, despite any actual evidence to support the allegations.

Comer also made clear he had no interest in his Committee investigating the former President, despite the hundreds of classified documents he'd stolen from the White House (and refused to return, with many still missing) and mountains of evidence of influence peddling by Donald Trump and many of his children, including son-in-law Jared Kushner who received $2 billion from the Saudis just after Trump left office.

There was one point Comer focused on, however, in an effort to buttress his case. "There's one email that's been identified that is suspicious, that we want to look into," he explained. "We want to make sure that this one email that was on Hunter Biden's laptop wasn't one of the classified documents" found at Biden's residence in DE.

This claim seems to stem from an allegation first published by a New York Post columnist, apparently. GOP Senators have also been citing the same claim of late. Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) recently argued on Fox Business that an email from 2014, said to have been found on what Republicans have long claimed to be an "abandoned" laptop from the President's son contained "a very detailed analysis of what's happening in Ukraine." Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) alleged on a podcast that information in the email "could easily have come from a classified briefing."

Washington Post's Glenn Kessler examined the allegation and the evidence today. He found that the facts stated in the 22-point email said to be from Hunter actually lined up with information that was not only on the public record at the time, but published by major news outlets just weeks before the date of the email. "Laptop email suggests Hunter Biden read newspapers, not classified documents," Kessler's headline reads today. He awarded "Three Pinocchios" to the claims from Johnson and Cruz, as echoed by Oversight Committee Chair Comer on Sunday.

At the same time, Hunter Biden, after years of staying quiet about all of this, appears to now be pushing back. His attorneys recently sent legal letters to Fox "News" and Tucker Carlson, for example, demanding they retract and apologize for what the letters characterize as defamatory statements. They've also sent letters seeking criminal investigations by both state and federal authorities into the dissemination of his personal data by folks like Rudy Giuliani in the run-up to the 2020 election, making clear that while some of the data discovered was his, he neither authorized its public release, nor dropped off an allegedly abandoned laptop at a repair shop, as the GOP story, initially spread by Giuliani, goes.

Much more on all of the above today. But if Republican members of Congress believe that House investigations into this sort of stuff is what voters want them to do, after months of campaigning on claims of out-of-control crime, record inflation, high gas prices, etc., they are likely very wrong. At least according to a new report on focus groups of independent voters in Wisconsin, Virginia and Texas.

Next up today, we share some of the remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House floor today before a vote by House Republicans to remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee based on comments they regard as anti-Israel four years ago. In truth, the move by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy --- who was finally able to scrounge up the minimum number of votes needed to remove her (all Dems voted in her favor) --- was clearly revenge for Democrats removing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green (GA) and Paul Gosar (AZ) from their committee assignments during the last Congress. That, after they each posted violent threats against Democrats. (For example, Green promoted a comment from a supporter calling for the assassination of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Gosar posted a video in which he is depicted as decapitating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden with a ninja sword.)

Then, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Big Oil profiteers announce all-time record profits after a year or two of inflating gas prices; and the Biden EPA announces some very good news for longtime opponents of what would have been a toxic mining project in a pristine part of Alaska.

Finally today, a programming announcement for The BradCast! We will be moving to a four-day-a-week, Monday through Thursday schedule (with rebroadcasts scheduled for Friday) for the foreseeable future. While there are no emergencies, as noted on the program, there are several reasons for this change. Catching up on some long overdue health issues (physical, emotional, mental) is just one of them. We're fine. But, after moving from a weekly to a daily schedule back in early 2015, in order to cover the 2016 elections, and then staying with that schedule thanks to the "surprise" ending of that election, and then continuing on through four years of Trump and a years-long pandemic...well, we've got a lot to catch up with here and hope you will both understand and forgive us for our need to take Fridays off for a while. Perhaps even permanently. (Feel free to leave any complaints in the comments section below, however!)

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Guest: Kevin Drum of Jabberwocking; Also: Prepare yourself for the GOP's crash and burn Congressional 'investigations'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2023 6:04pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: The so-called investigations of the Biden Administration by GOP-led Congressional committees are virtually guaranteed to crash and burn for Republicans in the months ahead. But whether they crash and burn the national and global economies in the meantime remains a very real question. It's one about which our guest today has a few very interesting suggestions for Democrats. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, however, we pick up a bit on yesterday's coverage helping to gird you for the circus of insanity now barreling toward all of us with the GOP's takeover of the U.S. House. Yesterday, we detailed NBC's Chuck Todd (of all people!) calling out the lies of Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan --- the new Chair of both the House Judiciary Committee and the GOP's newly formed Select Subcommittee on "The Weaponization of the Federal Government" --- regarding Jordan's false equivalency between the handful of classified documents discovered and promptly returned by President Biden's aides, and Donald Trump's more than a year-and-a-half long effort to retain hundreds of classified documents he stole from the White House and refused to return.

In a similar vein today, the new Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Kentucky Rep. James Comer, made a yutz of himself on CNN over the weekend, trying to explain why President Joe Biden and his family must be investigated for "influence peddling," despite the lack of evidence to support the charge. That while, he insisted, there is absolutely nothing to look into regarding the mountain of actual known evidence suggesting influence peddling by Donald Trump and his family.

For good measure, we also help Marjorie Taylor Greene embarrass herself today by simply playing some of her very serious questions to the U.S. Comptroller --- about Drag Queen Story Hour and an elementary school she claimed received $5.1 billion in "COVID Cash" to teach Critical Race Theory --- at a House hearing today.

As to real damage that Republicans are capable of causing, the Treasury Department is currently taking "extraordinary measures" to avoid defaulting on our national debt for the first time in U.S. history as House Republicans figure out how to best hold the nation's (and world's) economy hostage to demands of cuts to federal spending before they are willing to raise the statutory debt limit. Unless they do so very soon, giving authority to the U.S. Treasury to borrow the money needed to pay for stuff that Congress and Presidents of both parties long ago authorized and/or purchased, the global economy could come crashing down on everyone. The White House refuses to negotiate on whether our bills must be paid. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, on behalf of his far-right caucus, is holding out for...something...though he has yet to make clear precisely what they want.

We're joined today by KEVIN DRUM, longtime blogger formerly of Washington Monthly and Mother Jones, now back on the indie blogging beat at his site, Jabberwocking, for insight on this dangerous mess.

In addition to thoughts on how he sees all of this ultimately shaking out; whether Republicans will really pull the trigger on the hostage this time; how it played out the last time they tried the same gambit when they had control of Congress while a Democrat occupied the White House in 2011; and the history of why the U.S. stands nearly alone among developed democracies in even having such a dumb statutory limit on paying our bills, Drum recently wrote about a couple of ways that Dems may consider moving forward without a vote from Republicans at all.

One idea long discussed by many on the Internet is that the President has the authority to simply order the minting of a $1 trillion platinum coin. Drum explains that well-worn --- if never invoked --- theory, what makes it lawful, and if it would actually work to allow our bills to continue to be paid without Congress voting to raise the debt ceiling.

Another idea he prefers, however, involves calling the GOP's bluff by citing Section 4 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which plainly states "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law ... shall not be questioned" and telling Republicans to "pound sand." Just continue writing checks as usual and let Republicans go to court to get a ruling that the U.S. Government must immediately stop sending Social Security checks to grandma, stop issuing food stamps to hungry families, stop paying for medical care for the poor and elderly, stop all military spending, and stop all interest payments on U.S. treasury bonds, etc.

"If this goes to court for one reason or another, that's actually pretty useful," Drum argues. "It makes Republicans really take a stand. It makes it clear that Republicans are the ones who are trying to cut off food stamps or Social Security or whatever it is."

But, while Drum explains why he believes it's a "low-risk" option, it could still be a dangerous one nonetheless. A favorable decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in days of yore might have been a no-brainer. But, with an entirely corrupted, far-right extremist super-majority now at SCOTUS, it's anyone's guess as to whether they would vote to uphold the clear text of the Constitution or not.

There's a lot to discuss with Drum today! I hope you'll tune in!...

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Guest: Chris Melody Fields Figueredo of Ballot Initiative Strategy Center; Also: Trump sanctioned by federal judge, ordered to pay Hillary Clinton and others nearly $1 million...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2023 5:56pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Naturally. Now they're coming for citizen ballot initiatives too. They really do hate democracy, don't they?

But, first up today... As we await several criminal indictments hopefully headed the way of our failed, twice-impeached former President, an order released by a federal Judge in Florida last night was particularly satisfying.

It came in response to a motion for sanctions by Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and more than a dozen other defendants in a failed lawsuit filed by Donald Trump and his latest foolish attorney/sucker, Alina Habba, last year. In fact, the first version of Trump's suit was so deficient and devoid of facts or even actual charges, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks was kind enough to allow them to refile it before dismissing the second, longer, but no better version with prejudice.

On Thursday night, Judge Middlebrooks, in a blistering (and I mean blistering) 46-page order [PDF], explained why he was granting the defendants' request for sanctions. He began thusly: "This case should never have been brought. Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it. Intended for a political purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim. ... Thirty-one individuals and entities were needlessly harmed in order to dishonestly advance a political narrative. A continuing pattern of misuse of the courts by Mr. Trump and his lawyers undermines the rule of law, portrays judges as partisans, and diverts resources from those who have suffered actual legal harm."

And that's just the first two paragraphs! It gets even more brutally scathing from there, before concluding with an order for Trump and Habba to pay nearly $1 million to the defendants for the "completely frivolous bad faith" suit brought for "an improper purpose" amounting to "abusive litigation tactics." Perhaps most fun: the single biggest award of fees for a single defendant went to Clinton, who Trump must now pay almost $172,000!

Then, in more serious news today... Progressive citizen ballot initiatives did exceptionally well in 2022, on everything from abortion rights to the legalization of marijuana to the expansion of health care. Yes, even in so-called "red" states. As it turns out, progressive ideas seem to be wildly popular among voters of all stripes! And there is likely much more to come in 2023 and 2024, on abortion rights, minimum wage, gun safety, independent redistricting commissions and much more.

Therefore, in a number of states where Republicans have locked themselves into power with gerrymandered legislatures, they are moving toward making such statewide exercises in "direct democracy" more difficult to get onto the ballot in the first place, and hoping to make them harder to adopt by raising the threshold for passage, for example, from 50% to 60% where they can get away with it.

We're joined today by CHRIS MELODY FIELDS FIGUEREDO, Executive Director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center to discuss both progressive successes on statewide ballot measures around the country in 2022 and what the GOP is now doing to try and prevent those successes from happening again.

"That was a huge moment last year in a trend that I know is going to continue as we look at 2023 and '24, where we really see, in many states, that our elected officials are out of touch with the people," Figueredo tells me. "And in most states where they tried to limit the ability of the people to bring forth issues to their community through the ballot measure process, in most cases those were rejected in the states. So there's a lot of opportunity ahead of us."

But, she cautions, "We are seeing a direct backlash to what is happening across the country, of progressive issues winning when they're put before the voters. We're not seeing those changes, which the people say are urgent and important, through our representatives in government, whether it's at city council, whether it's at the state legislative level, and even in the federal government."

We've got a lot to discuss on all of this, including where the direct democracy ballot initiative process has seemingly been captured by corporate interests (in states like California) and about the dozens of states which still don't even allow citizens to place measures on the statewide ballot at all.

I'm also curious how much of the new blowback against such initiatives Figueredo attributes to the number of them in recent years that have instituted independent redistricting commissions in hopes of breaking gerrymandered strangleholds that the GOP still has on many state legislatures. "You have to connect the dots," Figueredo responds. "I think this is ultimately the question that is before us right now in our democracy. Is it of, for and by the people? And who ultimately has the power to make decisions for all of us? That's what's at stake right now."

"It's ultimately this question about power. You can connect the dots. And if we are looking at the ballot initiative process, or the initiatives in general, as a tool for power in our democracy, then yes, if you are an elected official who does not agree with people who may be your constituents and it doesn't fit your agenda, then your next step would be to undermine or weaken the will of the people."

There is much more in our conversation today, including what the U.S. Supreme Court may soon do to gut all such statewide initiatives regarding elections in their upcoming Moore v. Harper decision. Please tune in!...

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Guest: Public Citizen's Government Affairs lobbyist Craig Holman; Also: VA's Youngkin kills new Ford EV battery plant, 2,500 new jobs; Kobach fined by FEC as he takes seat as top law enforcement official in KS...
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2023 5:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With so many referrals of Republican members of Congress to House ethics investigators of late, is it any wonder the GOP and Kevin McCarthy just voted to gut the critical Office of Congressional Ethics (or OCE) as part of their new rules package for taking over the majority in the 118th Congress? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

At the end of last year, the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the Trump-incited insurrection on January 6, 2021, recommended Congressional ethics investigations of then-Minority Leader, now-Speaker McCarthy (R-CA); Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) for their failure to respond to lawful Congressional subpoenas. More recently, there have been calls for an ethics investigation of New York's newly seated Republican Rep. and pathological liar, George Santos.

Naturally then, as their first order of business when approving the chambers Rules Package last week, which will now be used to govern for the next two years, Republicans moved to all but kill the only investigative ethics body in the House with actual teeth, the OCE.

We're joined today for insight on all of this by longtime Government Affairs lobbyist on ethics, lobbying and campaign finance rules for good government group Public Citizen, CRAIG HOLMAN. He helps us understand the difference between the House Ethics Committee and the totally separate and independent Office of Congressional Ethics, and explains how Republicans have just implemented a "one-two punch to shut down" the latter and any real ethics investigations along with it.

"The ethics process in Congress, in both the House and the Senate, has historically been run by members of Congress themselves," Holman explains. "So we've got this permanent committee called the House Ethics Committee that is run by members of Congress who are very, very reluctant to be critical of their fellow colleagues. They operate in secret. They will do their investigations, sometimes, but we never really know what they found or what they ended up recommending because they operate in secret. The House Ethics Committee is literally designed to sweep ethics matters under the rug, so that the public doesn't know what's going on."

On the other hand, "In 2008, as part of the huge ethics and lobby reform package that we passed in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, we created an outside, independent Office of Congressional Ethics," he continues, explaining why the OCE is so critical. To be on its eight-member Board, you can't be a lobbyist or Congressional member. You must be a bona fide outsider. "It's staffed by eight board members --- four Republicans, four Democrats --- and it's done a phenomenal job at opening up the whole ethics process."

"Even though OCE doesn't have any actual enforcement authority, it does an actual investigation and then publishes the results of that investigation. And when it becomes public record, that has compelled the House Ethics Committee to actually do something." Holman observes that, since OCE's creation, actual enforcement actions by the House Ethics Committee has literally quadrupled.

Now, however, new rules adopted last week by House Republicans will force almost every Democratic member of the OCE's Board to step down, any replacements for them must be approved by at least four existing Board Members (which would now be 3 Rs and 1 D). Critically, Dems will have just 30 days find and to appoint those new members, hire staff and have it all approved by the Board. That, he explains, will be virtually impossible. "After that 30-day window, there's no staff. There's no investigators. There's no one able to do the work of OCE. It will effectively shut down OCE."

"It's a very strategic one-two punch to close down the ethics process," Holman argues. So, what does all of this mean for ethics investigations under GOP House rule over the next two years? And is there any way to either reverse the newly adopted rules or re-interpret them somehow in the GOP-majority Rules Committee? We discuss. But Holman describes the outlook as "grim" at this point.

Also on today's show...

  • Virginia's Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has killed a new Ford Motor Co. project to build electric vehicle batteries in his state. The new plant would have brought at least 2,500 new jobs to a rural area of the commonwealth which has been under development for years in hopes of attracting new industry. But the plant was to have been a partnership with a Chinese company. Youngkin, who is believed likely to run for a Presidential nod in 2024, claims the company is a secret front for the "Chinese Communist Party" and poses a threat to the security of Virginians somehow. Meanwhile the new Ford employees will be hired in a different state, and the 3,500-acre megasite in VA remains vacant after 15 years and more than $200 million in public development funding. Desi Doyen suggests that the oil industry's efforts to put the brakes on the EV boom also plays a part in this fiasco.
  • Last week, Kansas' Democratic Governor Laura Kelly was sworn in for a second term in the usually "red" state. This time, however, she was joined by longtime immigration opponent, vote suppressor and GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach, who was sworn in as the state's new Attorney General. Kobach's long-sought political comeback --- after losing the Governor's contest to Kelly in 2018 and the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2020 --- comes along with a $30,000 fine from the Federal Election Commission for election law violations during his failed 2020 election when he received unlawful help from a fraudulent private border wall group called "We Build the Wall". After embarrassing the state of KS, Kobach served as Board Member and General Counsel for the group which is, itself, facing fraud charges at both the federal and state level in New York (along with Board Member Steve Bannon). Other than that, of course, and the federal court sanctions he received while serving as SoS --- including orders to attend law school classes at the time --- there's a new sheriff in town in the great state of Kansas. I'm sure it will go very well...

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What did you THINK would happen?; Also: House GOP plans to crash economy over debt limit. We should believe them on that too...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2023 5:48pm PT  

Seriously, what did you think was eventually going to happen after years of Republicans being lied to that elections were being rigged against them? Lots to discuss on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The shooting spree for now --- we hope --- has come to an end in Bernalillo County (Albuquerque) New Mexico with the arrest of a Trump fan boy and failed Republican state House candidate who lost his election last November by nearly 50 points. With the help of four others, he's allegedly been shooting at the houses of local and state Democratic elected officials over the past month and a half. He was finally nabbed on Monday night. Luckily, no one was killed in the at least four houses he visited and targeted.

Today, we tell the story and detail how elections work in the state (after their disastrous use of touchscreens back in 2000, they now use hand-marked paper ballots tallied by computer tabulators with results confirmed, theoretically, by hand-counted, post-election audits); how the shooter should have been more of a concern much earlier (even before Republicans nominated this dude who only recently ended a 7-year prison sentence); and the fact that none of what happened over the past coupla months in the state's most populous Dem-leaning County should really have come as a surprise. After more than two years of Donald Trump lying about "rigged" elections --- and the state Republican party lying along with him --- it's almost more surprising that this hasn't happened sooner.

It was, as Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller observed at a news conference on Monday night after the arrest, "what we had all feared and what we had suspected --- that these shootings were indeed politically motivated." He correctly added: "They were dangerous attacks not only to these individuals … but, fundamentally, also to democracy. ... This was about a rightwing radical, an election denier ... And someone who did the worst imaginable thing you can do when you have a political disagreement, which is turn that to violence."

And, in another example today of why, when Republicans tell us what they are going to do, we should believe them: the GOP economic terrorists in the U.S. House, as Washington Post reported on Friday, are now making plans for crashing the nation's (and world's) economy by refusing to increase the U.S. debt limit this year.

Hopefully, there will be a large enough handful of not-insane Republicans in the House to work with Dems to raise it in order to pay for what the U.S. (Congress and Presidents of both parties) have already bought, so that we can avoid a first-ever default of U.S. Government debt payments. But, even the dangerous game that the hard-right, radical extremist Republicans are preparing for could send markets --- and the credit rating of the U.S. --- plummeting. As TPM's Josh Marshall smartly headlined a short item on some of these points over the weekend, paraphrasing an infamously ignored Presidential Daily Briefing from August of 2001: "House GOP Determined to Strike US".

Finally, with the seemingly endless storms in California finally ended, for now, we're back to the continuing water woes in the U.S. West. And it's not looking good for Arizona right now. Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on that and U.S. solar manufacturing seeing a massive boost, thanks to legislation passed by Dems and signed by President Biden last year (and opposed by all Congressional Republicans); and Exxon scientists from the 70s, sadly, are proven to have been exactly right in their warnings about climate change. Unfortunately, Exxon paid millions to make sure you never heard about those warnings...

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Also: Evacuations, flooding in CA; Brazil's MAGA-style coup; Prosecutors in GA, MI move closer to Trump/2020 accountability; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2023 6:13pm PT  

It's our first call-in show of the new year on today's BradCast, but we've got a lot of news to get to as well first. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • Thousands in California face mandatory evacuations due to flooding and possible mudslides, with emergency declarations by the state's Governor and President Biden for more than a dozen counties. Some 8 inches of rain drenched some areas over the past 12 hours. A line of repeated deluges are expected to slam the otherwise drought-stricken state over the next week or more.
  • Over the weekend, thousands stormed government buildings in Brazil in a January 6, MAGA-style insurrection in support of former President Jair Bolsonaro who recently lost his election to former Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (known simply as "Lula" by his countrymen). Bolsonaro has taken refuge near Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago in Florida, as nearly 1,500 of his supporters were rounded up and arrested after Sunday's attempted coup. Democratic leadership in the White House and Congress condemned the attempt to undermine the peaceful transfer of power in Brazil. Republican leadership had yet to say a word as of airtime today.
  • Speaking of Republican "leadership", GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy gave away the store to his farther right wing late on Friday to finally win the House Speakership after an embarrassing 15 rounds of voting. But at what cost? We discuss a number of his concessions, what they are likely to mean for McCarthy and his party, and for the rest of us going forward, with nation's debt ceiling and much more hanging in the balance. McCarthy's late night victory on Friday, January 6th 2023 (and into the early Saturday morning hours) came two years to the day after the Trump-incited insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It also came on the evening after Republicans failed to turn out for the second-year anniversary memorial, recognition event on the Capitol steps for 140 law enforcement officials who were injured or died during and after the Republican riot. During McCarthy's acceptance speech as Speaker, he also vowed to defund federal law enforcement. His GOP colleagues cheered in response.
  • As the 118th Congress finally got under way on Monday, Republicans are expected to use their very slim majority to investigate Joe Biden's family and the so-called "weaponization of the federal government" against Twitter and other social media outlets...ironically enough, from during the time that Trump controlled the FBI. As explained on today's show today briefly (and I suspect we'll have to offer more details in the weeks and months ahead), claims being made by the liars on the Right (and a few misled and/or confused folks on the Left, sadly) that "Twitter was paid to practice censorship by the government and ban people the government did not like," is evidence-free nonsense. But you'll be hearing a lot of those false claims, as based on the so-called "Twitter Files" they misleadingly cite as evidence. That, even though the files in question, at least to date, reveal nothing of the sort.
  • Relatedly, at least one of the far-right Freedom Caucus Members, its chair, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), hopes to sit on a new Congressional Committee to investigate the federal investigators probing Donald Trump's many crimes related to his attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election and his theft of classified White House documents. That, even though Perry has had his phone confiscated as evidence by the FBI and faces potential criminal charges for his role in the J6 insurrection. He sees no conflict of interest in sitting on that Congressional panel.
  • In Michigan on Friday, Attorney General Dana Nessel, tired of waiting for the Feds to act, has announced plans to reopen her own investigation into the fake electors plot in her state after referring the matter to the U.S. Dept. of Justice one year ago.
  • And in Georgia, the Special Grand Jury convened by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has now wrapped up its work. According to a state judge, they have delivered their report on who, if anyone, should be indicted in the broad conspiracy led by Donald Trump and many of his top supporters to strong-arm state officials into overturning the election he lost there in 2020. Special Grand Juries in the state may not issue not issue indictments. So Willis must now decide if she wishes to seek indictments from a regular grand jury, and the judge overseeing the matter must decide if the Special Grand Jury's report should be publicly released, as they have requested.
  • Finally, callers ring in on all of the above and more for the first time since the turn of the new year!...

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Guest: Philly Inquirer's Will Bunch; Also: Repubs fail to elect Speaker on 13th ballot; Biden awards cops who defended Capitol, election officials who defended democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 1/6/2023 6:24pm PT  

It's January 6 again, so our "weird annual tradition," as our guest describes it today, continues on The BradCast. Sadly, so does the GOP's continuing threat to American democracy, two years after the deadly assault at the U.S. Capitol. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, it is also Day 4 of the House Republicans' failures to select a Speaker. There were some breakthroughs for GOP leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday, however, after 13 unsuccessful ballots (for the first time in 134 years). His desperation to give away pretty much everything in exchange for winning the weakest Speakership in history earned him another 15 votes or so from his GOP opponents. And, with that, he was finally able to get more votes than Democratic House leader Hakeem Jeffries. Nonetheless, he was still shy of a majority as we went to air today. So, the "Never Kevins" are still winning the day and the 118th Congress is still unable to get underway.

As one Democratic member, elected last November for a third term, noted about his time, so far, in Congress: "1st term started with a GOP-led govt shutdown. 2nd term started with a deadly insurrection incited by the former Republican president. And my 3rd term has yet to begin due to @HouseGOP’s failure to elect a speaker. Notice a pattern?"

All of this on the second anniversary of the deadly, Donald Trump-incited insurrection at the U.S. Capitol back in 2021, as one of his last, desperate, failed attempts to steal the Presidency from the American people.

A memorial was held by House Democrats outside the Capitol today, in remembrance of those law enforcement officials who lost their lives while, and just after, defending it on January 6, 2021. We observed no Republicans at the ceremony.

At the White House, President Biden marked the occasion by awarding 14 individuals with the Presidential Citizens Medal. The awardees including three law enforcement officials who lost their lives and five who were critically injured that day. Also, a collection of bipartisan election officials, poll workers and others who defended the 2020 election at great personal threat, after being personally targeted by the former President of the United States and his supporters were honored as well. We share an excerpt from Biden's remarks today on the need to continue defending democracy and recognizing those who "stand watch" over it.

Finally, our "weird annual tradition" of visiting with the author and longtime Philadelphia Inquirer national columnist WILL BUNCH on January 6 continues today. He was with us on the program as the Capitol was under attack back in 2021, initially to talk about a different insurrection of sorts by Republicans at the state Senate in Pennsylvania.

Today was the third January 6 in a row he was able to be with us, and we focused today on the still-missing accountability for the ringleaders of the 1/6/21 attack, and on his latest column tying together that assault on democracy with this past week's GOP chaos and failure to select a Speaker in the U.S. House. They are all, it seems, of a piece, suggests Bunch, noting "the irony of this going on during the January 6 anniversary."

"No matter what sound minds want to get done, this band of obstructionists is in control," he argues. Citing them as "the spoiled children of Trumpism," Bunch says, "I would call them nihilists. They really believe in nothing other than their own air time, raising their own profile."

"Everybody in this [GOP House] leadership group voted to throw out people's votes in the 2020 election," Bunch, a resident of Pennsylvania, whose vote they tried to steal from him on January 6, 2021, notes. And it's not only those who tried to undermine democracy two years ago who have still failed to be held accountable. "The five freshmen who voted against McCarthy all ran as Trumpified election deniers."

"I mean, is it against the law to overthrow the government or not?," Bunch quips today, only somewhat rhetorically.

"The common thread is minority rule," he goes on to observe. "They believe they have some kind of divine right. It's really linked to these hierarchies of American life --- white supremacy, or white privilege, the patriarchy and other things. Running for office as the protectors of that. You're not going to do anything affirmatively to help people. You're just going to stop these people you see as destroyers of your way of life, your culture. It doesn't matter who gets the most votes, because the culture is more important than democracy. I think that motivates these people."

We discuss all of that and much more, as both Bunch and I share our frustration and hope that those who created all of these messes may finally face accountability some day soon...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Dems outmaneuver Repubs to elect state House Speakers in PA and OH; And, our first 'Green News Report' of the new year...
By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2023 5:56pm PT  

The last time multiple ballots were needed for any party to elect a House Speaker, a century ago in 1923, it took nine ballots to settle the matter. Today, before we got off the air from today's BradCast, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy had failed to secure a majority on the eleventh ballot. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Not all hope is lost. There's still the all-time record of 133 ballots over two months in 1855-1856 that today's Republican Party has yet to break. Give them time.

So, the 118th U.S. Congress has not yet been gavelled into existence. But that's not the only place where Republicans seem to be tripping over their own legislative [bleeps].

On today's program...

  • Up-to-the-minute coverage of the madness and idiocy of Day 3 in the Republican-led House; how the 20 far-right anti-McCarthyites are shooting themselves and their party in the foot; what McCarthy has already given away (pretty much everything) in his still-failed effort to win them over; how Trump may be the biggest loser of all here; the Democratic Party's continuing unified support for leader Hakeem Jeffries (the lead vote-getter, with 212 votes, on each and every ballot to date); why all of this is important and the dangers ahead; a reminder of what the nation is now missing without Dems in control of the chamber; and the question of whether Dems should help McCarthy win the Speakership in exchange for a promise to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a national and potentially global depression, as suggested by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA).
  • In Pennsylvania on Thursday, Democratic Gov.-Elect Josh Shapiro tapped former Philadelphia city commissioner and election official, Al Schmidt, a Republican, to serve as Sec. of the Commonwealth.
  • Also in the Keystone State this week, Democrats in the State House have out-maneuvered Republicans to seat a House Speaker. In a surprise victory last November, Dems won back the majority from the GOP for the first time in a decade, but only by one seat. Then, one Democratic member died and two others vacated their seats for higher office. Until special elections to fill those three seats can be scheduled, both parties were claiming the majority and the right to run the House, set the legislative agenda, and schedule the special elections, which will likely result in a clear majority for the Dems after they are finally held. But Dems were able to win over some Republican votes to elect one of their own as Speaker in a surprise victory this week.
  • In another surprise victory for Democrats, this time in the very Republican Ohio state House, Democrats out-maneuvered the GOP again by voting en masse with a group of Republicans to elect a more moderate Speaker than the one the GOP had chosen as their leader just last month. The power struggle comes in the wake of a still-unfolding racketeering scandal for the GOP as the state's former Republican House Speaker, Larry Householder, begins a federal trial this month with his co-defendant, the former Chair of the Ohio Republican Party, regarding $61 million in alleged bribes to pass legislation to help bail out energy giant, FirstEnergy.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our first Green News Report of the new year, with a ton of stuff we missed over our holiday break, and a bunch of stuff that has happened since our return, including the roll out of billions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades and new incentives for consumers to move to clean, renewable energy, as adopted when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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