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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, June 17, 2024
Sunday 'Show' Toons
THIS WEEK: Two-Tiered Justice ... False Flags ... The Retribution Machine ... and much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
The Corrupt Anti-Abortion TX-to-SCOTUS Legal Mill Pipeline: 'BradCast' 6/13/24
Guest: Salon's Amanda Marcotte; Also: Dems outperform in OH Special Election; Brad gets COVID again goddammit...
'Green News Report' 6/13/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Heat wave coming to much of U.S., cooling systems can't keep up; Record rain from Sarasota to Spain to China; NY passes law to charge Big Oil for climate damage...
Previous GNRs: 6/11/24 - 6/6/24 - Archives...
Life With COVID
What goes around comes around. Again...
Hunter Biden's Conviction; Donald Trump's Weaponized Ignorance: 'BradCast' 6/11/24
Also: Biden rising; Fall of Alex Jones' corrupt empire; Phony '2000 Mules' doc pulled; More GOP voter fraud...
'Green News Report' 6/11/24
Big win for far-right in EU, climate action in crosshairs; NY Guv halts NYC congestion pricing; PLUS: Biden mileage rules save consumers money, combat climate change...
After Trump Verdict, GOPers Suddenly Warm to Voting for Felons: 'BradCast' 6/10/24
Listeners call in with explanations; Also: U.N. Security Council approves Biden's Israel/Hamas ceasefire plan; Europe moves toward far-right in EU elections...
Sunday 'Antifa' Toons
THIS WEEK: 80 Years Later ... Fascism Returns ... How Laws Work ... Summer Forecast ... And much more to be proud terrified of in our latest weekly collection...
'Green News Report' 6/6/24
Hottest 12 months ever; US Heat deaths hit new record in 2023; World's largest solar farm now online -- in China; PLUS: U.N. Sec.-Gen's warning to the world...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Political writer Amanda Marcotte; Also: Dems outperform in OH U.S. House Special Election; Brad gets COVID again goddammit...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2024 6:17pm PT  

Today's BradCast summary may be necessarily (or mercifully, depending on how you look at it) brief. As noted here yesterday, I've got COVID again. Did a show today anyway. For good or ill. There's just too much going on and standing down yesterday only made me feel like we were falling even farther behind. Plus, big news today out of SCOTUS. So bear with my gravelly, congested voice as we catch up with a few of things on today's show. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Among those things..,.

  • Tuesday's down-ballot primary elections in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina didn't offer many surprises or problems, so far, for voters or tabulation. But the Special Election for the U.S. House in Ohio's otherwise deeply red 16th Congressional District was certainly of note. The Democratic candidate, Michael Kripchak, lost the race to Republican Michael Rulli, as expected. But, continuing a pattern we've seen quite a bit of on Election Days since 2020, the Democrat wildly over-performed expectations by some 20 points! It's another good reminder to take nothing for granted this year, with the November 5th General Election Day now less than 150 days away!
  • The packed and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court did (mostly) the right thing for a happy change today. In an opinion [PDF] written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Court unanimously shut down a ridiculous case brought by legal forum-shopping anti-abortion zealots in Texas seeking a nationwide ban on the use of Mifepristone, the most popular and safest method of abortion in the U.S. The challenge, based on false claims about the drug, was rejected 9 to 0 due to a lack of standing by the crackpot doctors who brought the case (with the help of a rightwing extremist legal mill, in a lower court jurisdiction where they were guaranteed to get a favorable finding from Trump-appointed anti-abortion activist judge, Mathew Kasmaryk.) Kavanaugh's ruling, however, left the door open for future challenges by other plaintiffs to the FDA's 20-year old approval of the drug. The executive agency has repeatedly found Mifepristone --- used in about two-thirds of abortion in the U.S. last year --- to be extraordinarily safe and effective.
  • Then, we're joined by AMANDA MARCOTTE, Senior Political Writer at Salon and author of Troll Nation: How the Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself. We discuss today's SCOTUS ruling and a related matter which she recently wrote about at Salon, which also highlights the corrupt anti-abortion Texas-to-SCOTUS legal activist pipeline. This case, like the Mifepristone case, is being brought, specifically, in Kasmaryk's North Texas federal court, where he is the only judge overseeing cases filed there. It involves two University of Austin professors, Daniel Bonevac and John Hatfield, who are plaintiffs in a suit challenging Nixon-era federal law that prevents them from mistreating people, women in particular, who don't behave to the professors' liking. They are claiming a violation of their Free Speech Rights in federal laws that prevent them from flunking female students who go out of state to obtain abortions or block them from firing teaching assistants who have had one or forces them to consider the hiring of employees who may be transgendered. It is all of a piece, as Marcotte explains, with the corrupt SCOTUS decision that overturned 50 years of legal precedent for the Constitutional right to abortion back in 2022, and the subsequent total abortion ban in the Lone Star State. As Marcotte identifies, this and a number of other cases, are being brought by the same far-right interests, including former Texas Solicitor General and Federalist Society activist Jonathan Mitchell and legal mill outfits packed with former (and future?) Trump staffers.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for a Brad-free edition of Green News Report! With a warning for upcoming extreme heat across much of the country; seemingly unceasing extreme rainfall in Florida; a new law adopted by the New York legislature to hold Big Oil accountable for climate damage; and hundreds of billions of dollars in health benefits now being realized thanks to President Biden's renewable energy boom...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Biden rising in polls; The fall of Alex Jones' corrupt empire; Producers pull phony '2000 Mules' doc; More GOP voter fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 6/11/2024 11:38am PT  

Yup. They'll believe anything. As discussed on today's BradCast, the MAGA dupes even have a new, insane explanation for why President Biden "allowed" his own, supposedly "weaponized"-against-Republicans DoJ to bring felony charges against his own son. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • The President's son, Hunter Biden, was found guilty by a federal jury in a Delaware courtroom on Tuesday, on charges that he had lied about his drug use on a federal background check form while purchasing a revolver in 2018, as he was overcoming his battle with drug addiction following the death of his brother. He never loaded the gun and owned it for just 11 days before his girlfriend thew it away. He was charged for something that nobody else has ever been charged with, unless they also committed an additional gun-related crime. Oddly enough, despite the "weaponization of the Justice Department" by Joe Biden to go after Trump and Republicans that we've heard so much about from Donald Trump and his MAGA minions, Hunter was found guilty on charges brought by a Trump-appointed federal prosecutor in a trial presided over by a Trump-appointed federal judge. President Biden said he "accepts" the jury verdict and does not plan to issue a pardon to his last living son.
  • That news comes on the heels of yesterday's program, in which we heard from Donald Trump supporting listeners about why they still support him, even after his conviction on 34 felony counts in New York related to a hush money payment to help him successfully rig the 2016 Presidential election. If you heard the show, you know that the reasons those callers still support Trump is that they have been wildly disinformed about all manner of facts, including their belief that Biden and/or his DoJ orchestrated the NY state prosecution. Even Trump's own former defense attorney in the case has called the evidence-free claim "ridiculous". But the dupes believe it nonetheless, along with a whole bunch of other Republicans who buy that nonsense and many more evidence-free claims regarding the 2020 election, the 2021 insurrection and more.
  • But, there is a bit of good news for Joe Biden and Democrats in recent polling following Trump's conviction in New York.
  • There is also good news for all of us, in that some of the biggest rightwing disinformers, other than Donald Trump, are finally facing some real accountability. Last week, it was reported that rightwing radio/podcast propagandist Alex Jones was liquidating his businesses, including his InfoWars program, to begin paying off his $1.5 billion defamation liability to families of Sandy Hook victims after years of lying about the tragic 2012 mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school as a "hoax."
  • And, at the end of May, the rightwing radio outfit Salem Media Group, apologized and retracted the hoax documentary called 2000 Mules, made by convicted rightwing election fraudster Dinesh D'Souza and the long-disgraced rightwing fraudster group called True the Vote. The film details a wholly debunked, wild conspiracy about Democrats scheming to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump through an insanely complex plot involving tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots deposited secretly into drop-boxes in battleground states. Salem pulled the film from distribution and apologies for it in response to a defamation suit filed by a man featured in the film via security camera footage and falsely described as committing election fraud. None of that, of course, will keep Trump and the MAGA dupes from continuing to cite the film as "evidence" of a stolen election --- even as it contains no actual, ya know, evidence of such any such scheme.
  • On the other hand, we have more actual voter fraud documented as having been committed by Republican voters. This time, its an 85-year old GOP voter who was found guilty last month of double voting at two different houses he owned in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire during the 2016 election.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with disturbing news on gains by far-right, anti-climate action political parties in the European Union's parliamentary elections over the weekend; dumb news on New York Governor Kathy Hochul's much-criticized halt to New York City congestion pricing; and good news on new vehicle mileage standards by the Biden Administration that will save consumers money and combat climate change...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Listeners call in with explanations; Also: U.N. Security Council approves Biden's Israel/Hamas ceasefire plan; EU moves toward far-right in parliamentary elections...
By Brad Friedman on 6/10/2024 6:10pm PT  

In the months leading up to the disgraced former President's recent felony convictions in New York, related to rigging the 2016 election in his favor, many Trump supporters told pollsters that they would reconsider their support for him if he was eventually convicted of a crime. As discussed on today's BradCast (and warned about on many programs prior), that was just another MAGA lie. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, first up today, some big news over the weekend and then again just about an hour before airtime today...

  • On Sunday, Israeli centrist Benny Gantz quit Israel's war Cabinet citing far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placing his own "political survival" above the country's security interests. Gantz, the popular former chief of the Israel Defense Forces, had joined Netanyahu in a unity coalition after Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel. But more recently he vowed to leave if Netanyahu continued to refuse to formulate a plan for postwar Gaza. On Sunday, Gantz made good on that promise though, ironically, his move now makes Netanyahu more beholden to his far-right coalition partners.
  • In related news, just before air today, the United Nations Security Council voted in favor of an Israel/Hamas peace proposal outlined and backed by President Biden. Russia abstained from the vote and the remaining 14 members of the Council all voted in favor of the resolution that seeks an immediate ceasefire, a return of all hostages and a permanent end to the eight-month war. Hamas welcomed the resolution. We will see if Netanyahu does the same. Don't hold your breath.
  • And, over the weekend, far-right political parties across Europe --- particularly in France, Germany and Italy --- made significant gains in EU parliamentary elections. While the center right is still expected to hold, the vote in favor of anti-migrant, anti-climate action factions has seriously shaken up the Eurozone and led to French President Emmanuel Macron dissolving the French government and calling for snap elections. The far-right's parliamentary gains, according to some analysts, are tied to a failure of progressive voters to simply show up to vote. You have been warned.
  • Finally, with convicted felon Donald Trump's sentencing in New York set for July 11, he was allowed to participate in a pre-sentencing probation interview remotely on Monday with his attorney present. (Both are privileges that no other convict enjoys) But, where many Republicans told pollsters before his conviction that they would rethink their support of the former President if he was found guilty of felonies, polling since the unanimous verdict finding him guilty of 34 counts of falsifying records as part of a hush-money scheme to rig the 2016 election, finds that many of those same Republicans are suddenly very much in favor of felonious criminals running for office. (See this and this and this and this, for more details.) Go figure. We take some calls today from listeners on that point, including several Trump supporters who try to explain why they are still supporting him even after his felony convictions. It was remarkably enlightening...at least for me...and will probably be absolutely maddening to you (as it also was for me)...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Guest: Andrea Grimes warns about the TX GOP's insane new party platform being underplayed by mainstream media; Also: Primary election results from MT, NJ, NM, SD, IA and DC...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2024 6:50pm PT  

Far-right Republicans in the Lone Star State are telling us about their extreme plans. Why are both state and national media downplaying them? We discuss on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST UP... The Presidential Primary season comes to a close this week, with Tuesday's contests in New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Iowa and D.C. (Though Democrats in Guam and the Virgin Islands still have a chance to ring in this weekend! And non-Presidential primaries will continue in many states in the week's ahead!) We've got some of your noteworthy results fron Tuesday today, such that there are any, including Presidential results reflecting small, if notable numbers of voters on each sides of the aisle who remain dissatisfied with both President Biden and convicted felon Donald Trump as their party's nominee.

THEN... This week, lawmakers in the very narrowly GOP-controlled chambers of Arizona's state legislature became the latest such body to try and pass new laws mimicking Texas' Senate Bill 4. That law, currently under federal challenge by the Biden Administration, grants unprecedented authority to state and local law enforcement officials to arrest people suspected of being in the country unlawfully and allows state judges to deport them. Those are roles traditionally played by federal, not state, officials. In Arizona, the Democratic Governor vetoed a similar effort earlier this year, so GOP lawmakers are now moving to place the measure on the state's already very long November ballot.

What happens in the increasingly radicalized state of Texas, unfortunately, does not stay in Texas, where Republicans hold solid majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, every single statewide office (since 1994), and every seat on the state Supreme Court. Those Republicans have only become more radical with each passing year, as evidenced by the state GOP's horrifying official party platform [PDF] adopted at their recent state party convention.

Just a few of the many planks, among others, call for doctors to be charged with homicide for carrying out an abortion; the Bible to be taught by chaplains in public schools; the deportation of noncitizens living lawfully in the country if they happen to participate in the wrong public protest; the withdraw of the U.S. from the United Nations and the organization's removal from U.S. soil.

Perhaps most disturbing (at least to me), the manifesto calls for a new law to mandate that statewide officials must win not only a majority in the state, but majorities in more than half of Texas' 254 counties in order to win office. That measure, if turned into law, would make it largely impossible for any Democrat to ever win statewide office again, given that the vast majority of the state's liberals are populated in a handful of large counties that are home to the state's major cities. Texas would become a one party state.

The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty this week described the TX GOP party platform as "hair-raising" and a sign that the state GOP has "gone off the deep end". But, at the same time, she marginalizes the document as "not a serious policy road map."

It is not only national media downplaying it. The Austin American Statesman describes the platform as little more "a wish list...than a road map that will be followed...by lawmakers in Austin or Washington". The otherwise excellent Texas Tribune similarly downplays the stated threats to democracy (and just about everything else) in their own coverage.

But our guest today, ANDREA GRIMES, an Austin-based journalist and activist who has been covering state GOP conventions since 2010, argued in an op-ed at MSNBC late last week that such views by major media outlets "aren’t merely outdated. They’re patently incorrect, contradicted by demonstrable evidence that the Texas GOP platform has been driving policy in Texas and beyond not just recently, but for several years."

She joins us to detail that case today, warning that while all of these planks may sound crazy, increasingly radicalized and extremist Republicans and their office holders in Texas "and beyond" are telling us exactly what they plan to do and have a record, going back years now, of enacting into law some of the state GOP party's most appalling measures. Once fringey ideas that began as little more than seemingly buffoonish platform planks dismissed by media outlets as sops to the party's most extremist elements have since become mainstream Republican party orthodoxy and enacted into law in Texas and many other states. The failure by mainstream media to notice and warn that "these people are not messing around" continues to ill-serve the nation.

Grimes details how the problem goes back to at least the "Tea Party" days and the "white racist reactionary political movement" that rose up in response to the nation's first Black President. But that has accelerated, she says, since 2016 "with the rise of Trump" and "a Republican Party that is living its best, most crazy life at this point, achieving win after win in terms of policy."

So why are these state GOP party platforms, much of which have become law in recent years, still being downplayed by editors at mainstream state and national media outlets, rather than being regarded as the warnings that they are?

"The phrase that continues to come into my head over and over is 'normalization bias'," Grimes tells me. "It's very difficult to come to grips with the true terrors of our political reality because they are outrageous. It is outrageous for Samuel Alito to be flying an upside-down American flag at his home. It is outrageous for Trump to foment an insurrection. It's outrageous for insurrectionists to storm the U.S. Capitol. These things are outrageous. And I think there's a sense among members of the mainstream media that, if they can strive to pursue the maintenance of objectivity and normalization, that things will somehow even out on their own, and they won't be asked to truly describe the world as it is. They won't be asked to go into this uncomfortable place of appearing biased, when in fact they would simply be describing reality."

"American journalism is so rooted in this conceit of objectivity. It is so beholden to this idea," she adds. We've got much more to discuss along these lines today, including whether there is any analogue to this phenomenon on the Democratic side (spoiler alert: nope, nothing even close) and what, if anything, can now be done by Americans to stem the tide of radicalism, particularly if media outlets continue to fail call it out for what it is. It's a great conversation, I think, that I hope you tune in for!

FINALLY... Just before the close of today's show, news breaks out of Georgia that the state Appeals Court has placed a pause on Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' sprawling conspiracy indictment against Trump and 18 co-conspirators for their alleged criminal scheme to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, as an appeal by the defendants to remove Willis from the case moves forward. Upshot for now: The case was highly unlikely, at this point, to get to trial before November. Now it absolutely won't.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Indicted Menendez applies for independent run in NJ; New 2020 Fake Elector plot indictments in WI; Biden will be on OH's ballot after all, convicted felon Trump may not be on WA's...
By Brad Friedman on 6/4/2024 6:34pm PT  

No matter how much Republicans repeatedly lie about "a justice system 'weaponized' by Joe Biden and the Democrats to go after Republicans", you should know by now how much of a lie that is. If you don't, I suspect Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ), Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX), both under federal indictment on corruption charges --- not to mention the President's son, Hunter Biden, on gun and tax charges --- should quickly rebut that nonsense to all but the brain-poisoned. Either way, today's BradCast has you covered. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • Primary elections were held on Tuesday in Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and the District of Columbia. We'll have any noteworthy results or problem reports on tomorrow's show. But you can read more about the programming failure I referred to regarding ES&S touchscreen systems in Wildwood Crest, NJ (a state with a history of similar and much worse failures on their touchscreen systems) right here.
  • Speaking of New Jersey, on Monday, the state's longtime Democratic --- and now very strongly indicted (again) --- U.S. Senator, Bob Menendez, filed to run for re-election as an independent while federal criminal trial on bribery and corruption charges continues. If he remains on the ballot this Fall (which allows him to use campaign cash to pay legal bills for him and his wife, who is also charged) it could complicate things somewhat for Democrats hoping to see his seat filled by Congressman Andy Kim.
  • The House GOP loons held one of their ridiculous "Weaponization of Justice" hearings today, featuring testimony by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland who pushed back at their nonsense, even as they threaten him with a Contempt of Congress citation.
  • Meanwhile, in Wisconsin today, three of Donald Trump's 2020 lieutenants who architected the failed Fake Electors plot in hopes of stealing the election from Joe Biden in swingstates, were indicted on forgery charges. The freshly indicted trio includes former Trump attorney Ken Chesebro, former WI state judge James Troupis, and GOP operative Michael Roman who served as Trump's Director of Election Day Operations. Both Chesebro and Roman have been charged in several other battleground states previously. This is Troupis' first walk of shame. Overall, some 52 people (so far), including Trump, are now facing criminal charges in five battleground states (Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and now Wisconsin) for their parts in the attempted scheme to steal the 2020 election. More charges may still be on the way in several of those states.
  • Ohio's Republican lawmakers have finally passed --- and its Governor has signed --- a legislative fix to the deadline issue that would have prevented President Biden from appearing on this November's Presidential ballot in the Buckeye State. It took months, and a special session called by the Governor, to get done what they easily had done in years past for Republican Presidential candidates. But, in doing so, they also included a provision to change the definition of the phrase "foreign national" to include permanent U.S. residents --- green card holders --- born in a different country. All of which, as explained on today's show, is an effort by the state GOP to undermine popular ballot initiatives, like the wildly popular one adopted by voters last year to protect reproductive rights. In any event, and since the measure signed by Gov. Mike DeWine over the weekend could be found unconstitutional, the Democratic National Committee has decided to hold a virtual, online roll call vote to officially nominate Biden in advance of the OH state deadline.
  • PLOT TWIST! A Washington state law, on the books since it was a Territory in 1865 (and updated several times since), bars convicted felons from running for office. That could now be very bad news for 34-time convicted felony Donald Trump.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen --- still recovering from her second bout of COVID over the past two weeks alone --- joins us for our latest Green News Report, as India swelters under deadly record temperatures; power outages, mostly related to extreme weather, have doubled in the U.S. over the past two decades; Mexico elects a climate scientists as President amid a record heat wave; and Vermont enacts a first-in-the-nation law to make Big Oil pay up for climate damages...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: We're back! With more COVID! And Mexico elects first female Prez...
By Brad Friedman on 6/3/2024 5:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: FINALLY! Accountability for a criminal U.S. President. And, no matter what you've heard, there's nothing "sad" about it at all. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

As noted at the top of show, after a week away for a holiday break, we had hoped to be at KPFK, our flagship station here in L.A., for today's show, to open the phones to listener calls on last week's big news. Alas, that will have to wait. Two (yes, two!) mostly mild, but otherwise kinda out-of-the-blue cases of COVID (both of them for Desi --- for now) over the past week, necessarily changed our plans at the last moment today. We explain all of that at the top of the show, along with the news out of Mexico where, on Sunday, Claudia Sheinbaum was elected as President. She will be the first female (and Jewish, and climate scientist!) elected President of the 200-year old nation.

With the popular leftist Sheinbaum's two opposing candidates conceding and congratulating her almost immediately after partial results of her landslide victory were announced, Mexico will enjoy a peaceful transfer of power later this year. Unfortunately, we can't predict the same here anymore. Not after our former President and current presumptive Republican nominee for 2024 tried to steal the 2020 election and, as confirmed by 12 citizen jurors last week in New York, successfully rigged the 2016 election by paying hush-money to a porn star.

As you may have heard, Donald J. Trump was convicted on 34 criminal felony counts late on Thursday following a six week trial and two days of jury deliberation. It was a first in American history and great news for those of us who actually believe in the Rule of Law and Accountability. (Ya know, as Republicans used to pretend to.) It was not a 'sad day for this country' as many on both the Right and, curiously, Left have described it. It is a day to celebrate. There is nothing sad about it. The verdict represents long overdue accountability for a criminal President. And not just long (and very) overdue for Trump himself, but long overdue for any American President, many of whom arguably should have faced similar consequences in years past. Perhaps now, current and future Presidents may think twice before breaking violating the law while in office or trying to win office.

While unable to be at the station to take calls from listeners today as hoped, we were able to call in two of our old friends --- award-winning columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullaballoo, and former attorney and lifelong Republican KEITH BARBER, who blogs on legal matters (as "KeithDB") at the progressive Daily Kos --- to join us for today's program. Both have been covering the trial closely, and both have been with us each week (for the most part) over the course of Trump's criminal trial in New York for our weekly "ketchup" shows, covering its goings on. And today, we've got a LOT to ketchup with!

Among the topics discussed related to the first-ever criminal felony conviction of a former (and perhaps future) U.S. President...

  • Parton and Barber's initial takes on last week's somewhat surprisingly swift and unanimous jury verdict.
  • The "sadness" (or lack thereof) of this historic moment.
  • The ridiculously muted response from elected Democrats.
  • The obscenely angry, disingenuous and lie-filled responses from brain-poisoned MAGA Republicans, elected and otherwise.
  • GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson's claim that his personal friends on the U.S. Supreme Court must now to step in to vacate this criminal conviction under state laws.
  • House Republicans call for Congressional subpoenas for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (who never ran on indicting Trump, as he and his supporters have been falsely claiming) and the daughter of presiding judge, Justice Juan Merchan (even as the case remains ongoing, before sentencing and months of appeals.)
  • And, finally, some thoughts on the trial underway as of today in Delaware against President Biden's son Hunter Biden on gun charges brought against him by a Trump-appointed Special Counsel, before a Trump-appointed federal judge, on a charge that has apparently never been brought against any other defendant in the nation without another charge related to something like felony misuse of the weapon along with it. (He owned the revolver in question for 11 days and reportedly never even loaded it before it was thrown away.) Not sure why Republicans are furiously opposing that trial. Go figure.

And, of course, much more...

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Also: SCOTUS allows racial gerrymander in SC; OH still blocking Biden from ballot; Smartmatic says Newsmax destroyed evidence; Biden cancels still more student debt...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2024 6:46pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Imagine if Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was found to have been flying a Joe Biden "Dark Brandon" flag at her house. Ya think Republicans in Congress might have anything to say about it? Might take any action in response to it? [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

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

  • Republicans in the Ohio state legislature are still blocking Joe Biden from this year's Presidential election ballot in the Buckeye State. Even Republican Governor Mike DeWine is now calling it "ridiculous" and "absurd" and has called a special legislative session for next week to fix the problem that GOP lawmakers have so far refused to. Think they'll finally do it?
  • The corrupt rightwing majority on the packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, allowed a racial gerrymander in South Carolina to remain in place for the 2024 election. All of the Court's liberal Justices dissented. The 6 to 3 majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who appeared more concerned that state lawmakers might be seen as having engaged in "offensive and demeaning" conduct, than he did about the tens of thousands of Black voters in the state whose votes have been shifted to other districts to make it easier for Republican Rep. Nancy Mace to hold on to a seat in the U.S. House. It's not a racial gerrymander, the Court's Republican majority claims, it's a partisan one. And, apparently, that's just fine. (Justice Clarence Thomas went out of his way in a concurring opinion to note that racial gerrymanders are just fine as well.) All of that, after a lower court panel of federal judges found that SC's racial gerrymander amounted to the "bleaching of African American voters."
  • And, speaking of Sam Alito....Now the whole world knows, if they didn't already, that the corrupt, far-right Republican Supreme Court Justice is both a personal supporter of the Trump-incited 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and a Christian Nationalist. At least based on the two different flags he has been flying over two of his houses, according to more excellent reporting by the New York Times on Wednesday. That, as we await two different major rulings from the High Court regarding accountability for Donald Trump in relation to the insurrection. Neither Alito nor Thomas, whose wife directly participated in the insurrection, have recused themselves from either case. So, what are Democrats in the U.S. Senate going to do about any of it? So far, it doesn't look like they're prepared to do much, at least beyond issuing an occasional "outraged" press release. As discussed in some detail today, that needs to change.
  • One of voting system vendor Smartmatic's several, huge, defamation lawsuits for lies told about the company "rigging" the 2020 election, is against the far-right political propaganda outlet known as Newsmax. Court documents made public this week reveal that Newsmax destroyed evidence --- text messages and emails --- that they were required to retain for the lawsuit.
  • This week, Joe Biden cancelled student loan debt for another 160,000 borrowers, bringing the total number receiving some form of forgiveness up to nearly five million. His Dept. of Education has now approved about $167 billion in loan forgiveness under a number of different programs, following the corrupt SCOTUS ruling that prevented the President's initial effort to forgive up to $20,000 for some 43 million borrowers. Still, $167 billion is nothing to sneeze at. And it's money that can now go instead into the economy instead to purchase homes, cars, etc., which helps everyone. Fox "News", of course --- which had no problem when Trump gave trillions of federal dollars to millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations via GOP tax cuts --- seems to have a different opinion about federal government relief for those who actually need it.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as deadly, climate changed-fueled extreme weather lashes folks from Mexico to Iowa; Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a "Don't Say Climate Change" law as the state broils in yet another heat wave; Oakland, California becomes the nation's first school district to move to 100% all-electric school buses; And microplastics are now found everywhere, even inside of us. You'll have a ball finding out where scientists have discovered them most recently. It's nuts!...

And with that great news, The BradCast (and Green News Report) will be standing down next week for a much-needed break over the Memorial Day holiday week. Will the disgraced former President be a convicted felon by the time we return? We'll find out! Either way, see ya on the other side! (And, of course, well before then for a few Sunday Toons at the very least!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2024 6:38pm PT  

It has been the most important week in the New York criminal trial of Donald J. Trump, as the last witness for the prosecution, Trump's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen took the stand. The court is off today, so we have time on today's BradCast to catch our breath for yet another Trump Trial "ketchup" show for you. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST, we've got a few noteworthy results from Tuesday's primary elections in Nebraska, Maryland and West Virginia, where, once again --- other than in WV --- Joe Biden outperformed Donald Trump among their respective party voters. Yes, the zombie campaign of Nikki Haley keeps on going. The former South Carolina Governor, who dropped out of the race months ago at this point, won 20% of the GOP vote in MD, while she and one other GOP candidate (that few have heard of) won about the same percentage among Republicans in Nebraska. In both states, Biden outpaced Trump among his own party's primary voters. FWIW.

On Wednesday, Biden threw down the gauntlet to challenge Trump to two early debates hosted by media outlets --- in a studio, without an audience --- rather than by the non-partisan Committee on Presidential Debates. The Biden-Harris Campaign explained their several reasons for pre-empting the CPD in a letter. They are mostly good ones. Among them, the fact that the group has failed to update its schedule for debates to hold them before tens of millions of Americans have already cast their ballots this year via early and absentee voting.

Trump quickly accepted the challenge, and within hours the pair had agreed to allow CNN host the first debate in Atlanta on June 27, and ABC to host the second on September 10.

THEN, it's on to today's coverage of noteworthy news from the 5th week of the first-ever criminal trial of a former American President. We're joined again today for insight and commentary by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning Salon columnist and Hullaballoo blogger, and former attorney and former Republican KEITH BARBER, who now blogs on legal matters as "KeithDB" at the progressive Daily Kos.

Among our many topics of discussion today...

  • Parton discusses the embarrassing parade of elected Republican deplorables now showing up at the courthouse in Manhattan --- mostly in red ties and navy suits --- to display their love for the boss, audition to become his Vice Presidential nominee, and/or say the things that the Court has barred Trump from saying via a gag order. Among the "toadies [who] came a-croaking," as Barber quips: Senators JD Vance (OH) and Tommy Tuberville (AL), Rep. Byron Donalds (FL), Gov. Doug Burgham (ND), Vivek Ramaswamy, and, perhaps most shamefully from the former "Rule of Law" party, House Speaker Mike Johnson (LA). "These people are playing to Donald Trump," explains Parton, along with the warning that many of them are "the Michael Cohens the future."
  • This week's critical testimony of Michael Cohen --- who Parton describes as a "diminished, humiliated man sitting on the witness stand having to admit, over and over again, that he was a liar, a fool, a dupe, he got sent to jail, all in service to Donald Trump" --- and the "smoking gun" bank statement featuring proof of Cohen's $130,000 hush-money payment to porn storm Stormy Daniels. That document, we have now learned, also features Cohen's own hand-writing and that of former (now jailed for perjury) Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. Their marginalia details how the falsified reimbursements to Cohen, fraudulently described in the Trump Org's books as "legal retainer" fees, would be made in $35,000 monthly payments by Trump during his first year in the White House. But, as importantly, Cohen testified that Trump personally approved the fraudulent reimbursement scheme during a meeting at Trump Tower with both Cohen and Weisselberg present after Trump's hush-money scheme helped him to win the 2016 election.
  • Barber describes what he saw as a surprisingly limp start to cross-examination of Cohen by Trump's lead attorney, Todd Blanche, on Tuesday and how, frankly, Team Trump doesn't seem to have much to work with after the Prosecution spent much of their direct examination "inoculating the jury" to Cohen's many years of lying on behalf of Trump before he came clean and pleaded guilty to many of the crimes Trump is now being held to account for. Trump's attorneys have presented no alternative theory in the case, says Barber. Which also means they are unlikely to offer much, if any, defense case at all after the Prosecution rests. On Tuesday, they informed the judge that Cohen will be their final witness. Team Trump, meanwhile, is still pretending that Trump might actually testify. (He won't.)

Cohen's cross-examination of continues and likely completes on Thursday, and then the court will be off on Friday to allow Trump to go to his son Baron's high-school graduation (if the disgraced former President actually bothers to show up for it.) But it's been a fascinating and critical week of testimony so far, including Cohen's explanation of how he spent years "knee-deep in the cult of Donald Trump".

"Cult of Donald Trump"? What "cult of Donald Trump"?...

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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'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/14/2024 6:34pm PT  

We're covering 2024 election news in at least four different states on today's BradCast --- track conditions, not horse race --- and only one of those stories is particularly good news as GOP dirty tricks and voter suppression seem to be getting an early start this year. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our main stories today...

  • Voters in Maryland, Nebraska and West Virginia headed to primary polls on Tuesday, with critical U.S. Senate and other races on the ballot. Noteworthy results and/or problem reports on tomorrow's program.
  • We first began reporting on this story early last month, when it seemed utterly ridiculous to even contemplate. It still does, frankly. Nonetheless, Ohio's wildly dysfunctional, partisan-gerrymandered Republican state legislature missed last week's deadline for a legislative fix to allow Joe Biden on the Buckeye State ballot this year. Ohio has a state law that requires Presidential candidates be officially certified by their party 90 days before the general election to be included on the state ballot. But the Dems' convention this year is just 74 days before the election. In past years --- for example, for Donald Trump in 2020 --- lawmakers simply changed the deadline to cure the problem as needed when conventions are held later in the Summer. This year, however, petulant state Republicans are demanding a pound of flesh from Democrats to make any such changes. And now, with last week's deadline past, its going to be even more difficult to do so. Tune in for the full --- and still ridiculous --- skinny.
  • Speaking of ridiculous, a rightwing activist in the state of Washington placed two Democratic candidates for Governor named Bob Ferguson on the ballot last Friday, just hours before the state's August 6th primary deadline. The state's longtime Democratic Attorney General, and front-runner to win the Governorship this year, is also named Bob Ferguson. And so the GOP's dirty tricks chaos for 2024 officially begins.
  • If they can't keep Democratic candidates off the ballot for no good reason, or add several candidates with the same name to the ballot to wreak confusion, Republicans still remember how to do it with good old fashioned voter suppression laws, like the newest one signed last week by Georgia's Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
  • Meanwhile, Democrats are still in court fighting back Republican voter suppression from years ago. On Monday, the newly liberal majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral argument to reverse a ridiculous ruling by the high court's previous rightwing majority that bans the use of secure absentee ballot drop-boxes. That, even as they've been used for years without incident or fraud in the Badger State (or anywhere else, for that matter.) The hearing was encouraging, as even the defendants --- the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission --- agree there is nothing in state law that actually bans their use. "The Commission fully agrees that drop boxes are permitted under Wisconsin statutes," said the Asst. AG representing them at the hearing. But it sure was amusing to hear Republicans argue in favor of stare decisis (respect for legal precedent and settled law) to keep the 2022 ruling in place from the rightwing partisan court just two years ago. Especially when one of the court's liberal justices at the hearing cited none other than U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito's majority opinion in Dobbs that overturned 50 years of Roe v. Wade legal precedent. Using Alito's precise language from the SCOTUS ruling, the WI Justice asked what Republican plaintiffs thought the court should do if they found the previous ruling to be "egregiously wrong".
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as wildfire season explodes in Canada; the world records a record-breaking rise in CO2 levels; and Michigan moves to sue Big Oil for ever-worsening climate damages...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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A veteran reporter speaks out; DHS marshals election defenses; Lara Trump lies about ballots; Johnson lies about 'illegals' voting; Also: MTG's spectacular fail; Stormy wins the day; Biden finally cuts off Israel...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2024 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Why we're taking sides for democracy in this year's election. And why every real journalist should. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program (and not necessarily in this order)...

  • Journalist John Harwood: "As a Veteran Reporter, I've Always Valued Neutrality. But Trump's Threat To Democracy Should be the Biggest Political Story of 2024"
  • USA Today: "Exclusive: Homeland Security ramping up 'with intensity' to respond to election threats"
  • The RNC, recently taken over by Donald Trump in full, is now little more than an election denialist/voter suppression operation (and, of course, a personal ATM for Trump). They recently fired their newly hired election law expert for not pretending enough that the 2020 election was stolen; New co-chair Lara Trump is taking to Fox "News" to spread disinformation about absentee ballots and ballot counting; House Speaker Mike Johnson is introducing a bill to make it illegal for non-U.S. citizens to vote in federal elections --- which is already illegal --- and claiming that, while there may be zero evidence, "we all know intuitively that a lot of illegals are voting".

Also, some news since we last spoke...

  • Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tried and then failed spectacularly (thanks to help from House Democrats) to remove the Republican House Speaker again.
  • Stormy Daniels completed her testimony in Trump's 2016 election interference case in New York. The cross-examination, according to many reports, did not go well for Team Trump.
  • Joe Biden finally cuts off offensive weapons to Israel for Benjamin Netanyahu's promised threat of a full ground invasion in southern Gaza.

And finally...

  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as tornadoes leave trails of destruction in the U.S.; Florida bans "climate change" as hurricane season begins; House Republicans open a new pretend battle in their "War on Woke Appliances"; and U.S. culture finally begins to reflect climate reality...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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2024 needs transformative solidarity to overcome corrupt, authoritarian forces unleashed with the help of past third-party campaigns...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/1/2024 9:35am PT  

At a moment when, as President Joe Biden has aptly warned, both "democracy" and "freedom" will be on the ballot in November, third-party myopia poses a clear and present danger to survival of constitutional democracy in these United States.

Metaphorically, the word "myopia" refers to "cognitive thinking and decision making that is narrow in scope or lacking in foresight or in concern for wider interests or for longer-term consequences." It is a metaphor that, in this current cycle, can be applied to the Presidential campaigns of Green Party candidate Jill Stein, People's Party candidate Cornell West, and the independent candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Third-party myopia lies in the near mathematical certainty that none of these three candidates can secure a single electoral vote, let alone the 270 needed to become the next POTUS. It also lies in the failure of progressive third-party candidates to recognize the potential for "blowback" --- for example, the creation of a supermajority of corrupt, democracy-subverting rightwing SCOTUS ideologues as an unintended consequence of past third-party Presidential campaigns. Myopia can also be found in the polemic canard that there's no ideological difference between the two major parties. That thinking is false on countless levels, but especially when it comes to the very core of our democracy: voting rights. On that score alone, the two major parties are polar opposites.

By their very nature, third-party campaigns are divisive --- a truly unfortunate circumstance at this pivotal moment in our nation's history. But if ever there was a time for We the People to unite in our resolve that, in the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln, "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth", it would be on Nov. 5, 2024. Only "transformative solidarity" can save our precious constitutional democracy.

Here's why...

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

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NY judge finds Trump in criminal contempt; A 'key' prediction for 2024; UAW wins again; Indicted AZ state Senator rewarded by RNC; Good news for trans people in WV, NC; Biden goes to pot...not a moment too soon...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2024 6:56pm PT  

We've got quite a few good news items amidst all the madness on today's BradCast. You may enjoy a few hits of dopamine along the way. Your welcome. Please listen responsibly. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • Just to help kick things off...American University distinguished professor Allan Licthman has a "13 keys to the White House" method for predicting who will win any Presidential election. His method has accurately called the winners in 9 of the past 10 elections. (In fact, he was arguably right in 10 out of 10!) We discuss his method and, though he's not yet made his "official" prediction this year, who he believes currently has the upper hand in 2024.
  • Donald Trump was found in criminal contempt of court in his New York trial related to his 2016 election interference via hush-money felony charges. Justice Juan Merchan found [PDF] Trump violated his gag order barring attacks on jurors and witnesses via social media and elsewhere in nine different instances. The judge made clear that incarceration is pretty much the only option left by state law if Trump commits new violations. Veteran federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner suggests today's ruling may make things "significantly worse" for the disgraced former President, as the bail conditions in all four of his criminal indictments in four different jurisdictions bar him from committing new crimes. We also get you quickly up to speed on some of the Prosecution's new witnesses on the stand in the actual trial on Tuesday.
  • United Auto Workers' chief Shawn Fain is on a roll. Just over a week ago workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga voted by a 3 to 1 margin to unionize on the heels of the UAW's huge victories last year in their strike against Detroit's Big Three automakers. The victory by workers at the Tennessee plant was the first of its kind in the South. And then, late last week, the union struck a last minute deal for a new contract with Daimler Truck in North Carolina, bringing big pay raises and major benefit increases to workers at four of the company's plants in the state.
  • As we reported previously, 18 Trump allies in Arizona last week were criminally indicted on nine charges each of conspiracy, fraud and forgery related to their failed attempt to steal the 2020 election for Trump in the state via a Fake Electors plot. Over the weekend, state Sen. Jake Hoffman, one of two sitting state Senators indicted as a Fake Elector, was chosen, just days later, by the Republican National Committee to be an official National Committeeman in the 2024 election. Apparently criminal indictments for election fraud are now being rewarded by today's GOP.
  • The full 4th U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that West Virginia and North Carolina's decision to refuse health care for transgender people under government-sponsored insurance is discriminatory and a violation of federal law. NC blocked gender-affirming care for state employees and WV Medicaid blocked coverage for gender-affirming surgery. The plaintiffs won in an 8 to 6 ruling at the appeals court, though the thoroughly corrupted and illegitimate U.S. Supreme Court Republican majority will almost certainly have the final say in the matter.
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will finally remove marijuana as a Schedule III narcotic, according to a report by AP today. It will no longer be treated similar to heroin and cocaine, as the Biden Administration plans to finally reclassify the popular plant as Schedule I after 50 years, now that some 38 states have already legalized cannabis for medicinal and/or recreational use. President Biden previously pardoned thousands of Americans charged with simple possession under federal law and urged states to do the same. Democrats in Congress, in the meantime, are pushing the DEA and Attorney General to drop it from the list of controlled-substances entirely to treat it more like alcohol.
  • The news above is one of a spate of newly or soon-to-be finalized regulations from a bunch of Biden Administration Executive Agencies. You may (or may not) have heard news of late about a cascade of new rules issued by the Administration on everything from Student Loan forgiveness to dozens of new environmental and climate-related regulations. There is a reason they are all happening right about now, and it has to do with the Congressional Review Act, which we explain in detail on today's program.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our 1,400th Green News Report! And yes, along with troubling news for Africa and the U.S. Gulf Coast, she's got some historic news of landmark new regulations from the EPA to curb pollution from U.S. power plants. And, yes, that too should be in time to beat GOP abuse of the Congressional Review Act as cited above...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Former Dep. Asst. AG Lisa Graves, former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason; Also: Meadows, Giuliani, 16 others charged in 2020 AZ fake elector plot; CA now running regularly on 100% renewable energy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2024 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Honestly, I tried. But it was really hard to find any part of the case heard by the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday that wasn't just absolutely ridiculous. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

For nearly three hours this morning, the nine Justices themselves --- including a number of its rightwingers --- seemed to struggle to pretend that any of this made sense. In Trump v. United States [PDF], the disgraced four-time indictee is arguing that former Presidents of the United States have "absolute immunity" from any and all crimes they may have committed while serving in office, including murdering his political opponents or anything else you can think of.

As absurd as it sounds, Donald Trump has used this novel claim to, so far, successfully delay his federal trial on four criminal counts brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith related to Trump's many failed efforts to steal the 2020 Presidential election. SCOTUS has helped by delaying today's hearing for months and may help further depending on when they decide to release their opinion, and whether or not that opinion will lead to still more delays in the lower courts.

After losing this argument at the trial court last year and then unanimously at the D.C. Court of Appeals, Trump brought the case to SCOTUS, packed with three of his own appointees. They did him the favor of taking up his losing argument and putting off their Oral Argument on it until today, almost certainly delaying his trial for trying to steal the 2020 election until AFTER the 2024 election. [Transcript and audio of today's proceedings here.]

"This Court has never recognized absolute criminal immunity for any public official. Petitioner, however, claims that a former President has permanent criminal immunity for his official acts, unless he was impeached and convicted," argued Michael Dreeban, Counselor to Jack Smith, in his opening statement. "His novel theory would immunize former Presidents for criminal liability for bribery, treason, sedition, murder and, here, conspiring to use fraud to overturn the results of an election and perpetuate himself in power. Such Presidential immunity has no foundation in the Constitution."

In taking the case, the Court decided to hear the following question: "Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy Presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office."

But what "official acts" are they even talking about? Smith's indictment accuses Trump of things like organizing fake slates of electors; pressuring state officials and the DOJ and his Vice President to fraudulently change certified election results; and directing supporters to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 after telling them to "fight like hell or we won't have a country anymore." The Justices --- as well as our two guests today --- all seemed to have a very difficult time finding any "official acts" for which Trump is being accused.

We're joined today by two excellent guests. Former Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption unit at the U.S. Attorney's office in D.C., RANDALL D. ELIASON now teaches at George Washington University Law School, publishes the SidebarsBlog newsletter, and contributes to New York Times. Former Deputy Asst. Attorney General at DoJ, LISA GRAVES is now Executive Director of Truth North Research. They each know far more about all of this and the specifics of the Rule of Law than I do. But they too had trouble coming up with much of anything Trump has been charged with that has anything to do with "official acts" as President.

Its an "astonishing argument," says Graves. "What's at issue in this case is a set of conduct by this President to basically subvert our democracy through a variety of means. None of these are official acts. But even if somehow a President were engaged in an 'official act,' like appointing an ambassador, he couldn't take a bribe in the context of doing so. It just seems crazy that here we are with the U.S. Supreme Court basically delaying the prosecution of Donald Trump for a set of acts that are clearly outside the bounds of a Commander-in-Chief, whose job is to take care that the law is faithfully executed."

There was no conflict in the lower courts to resolve, but at least four members of the High Court decided they wanted to hear this silly argument nonetheless in which Trump and his attorney John Sauer have been arguing that, without immunity, Presidents would be unable to take bold, decisive action. It would "chill" their ability to do their job for the American people.

"The easiest response is that for nearly 250 years, that hasn't deterred Presidents from taking bold, decisive action," Eliason responds today. "Because they've also been willing to recognize that they need to act in compliance with federal criminal law, and they might be held accountable if they don't. On the one hand, he's saying there's a chilling effect on all these Presidents, even though it hasn't bothered any President in the past. On the other hand, he's saying 'But of course he could be prosecuted IF he's impeached and removed.' Well there's a chilling effect. So why doesn't that undercut his argument?"

We share audio clips from today's hearing, along with much more insight on all of it from Eliason and Graves, including why this case was accepted in the first place; the "Bizarro Superman world" in which we are having this argument and the "repugnant" idea of Clarence Thomas sitting on this case at all, as Graves observes; the argument by Sauer that unless statutes specifically say they are to apply to the President, like the federal bribery statute, they can't be held against him (Eliason, who headed up the DOJ's bribery prosecutions unit in D.C., notes the bribery statute actually "does not name the President, but nobody thinks that the President is immune for bribery"); and, of course, how and when they believe the Court will ultimately rule.

ALSO TODAY... On Wednesday, a grand jury in Arizona indicted Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his attorney Rudy Giuliani, his other attorney John Eastman and 15 others, including 11 Republican fake electors (including two sitting state Senators and the former head of the state GOP), for their efforts to try and steal the 2020 election for Trump in the state.

AND FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with grim-as-ever news, but also some really cool news from out here in California, where the state has been powered by 100% renewable energy --- largely solar --- for much or all of the day for a whole bunch of days in a row in recent weeks. So, there's that positive note to end today with, in any event!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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By Desi Doyen on 4/25/2024 10:16am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: National Weather Service warns Summer 2024 will be hotter than usual; Power outages have surged in the U.S. along with extreme weather, study finds; Poll finds most Americans support climate action but few have heard about Biden's sweeping climate policies; PLUS: California hits renewable energy milestone... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: PA primary results; Biden signs Ukraine aid bill; SCOTUS revisits abortion rights; AZ House Dems repeal 1864 near-total abortion ban...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2024 6:48pm PT  

The court takes Wednesdays off in Donald Trump's New York criminal trial on 34 felony counts related to his use of hush-money paid to a porn star to help him cheat his way to winning the 2016 Presidential election. So, today is a good opportunity for us here on The BradCast to get caught up on our trial story so far with two guests who are following it closely. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, FIRST UP, it was Primary day in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, and though the nominations for both major party's Presidential candidates are long ago all but official, the turnout and results from the Keystone State's closed primaries on both sides are somewhat revealing. Tune in for details, but suffice to say, Joe Biden appears to have outperformed Trump in the narrowly divided battleground state yesterday, where Dem turnout outpaced Republicans and Nikki Haley, who quit the race weeks ago, racked up nearly 17% of the GOP Presidential vote. There were several U.S. House races of note and uncontested primaries for this year's critical U.S. Senate race in PA, where incumbent Democrat Bob Casey is taking on billionaire hedge-fund manager Dave McCormick (who has been less than forthright about his upbringing.)

President Biden signed a long-overdue $61 billion aid package for our democratic allies in Ukraine after overwhelming Senate passage on Tuesday night. That followed on the heels of Saturday's passage in the House by Democrats following an about-face by GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson. The package adopted by Congress and signed by the President today is for $95 billion in all, including funding to replenish Israel's missile defense systems following Iran's attack last week, billions of dollars in humanitarian aid in Gaza, and military aid to Taiwan. The bill also includes a ridiculous measure that may result in the popular social media app TikTok being banned in the U.S.

In reproductive rights (or lack thereof) news, the corrupted far-right majority on the U.S. Supreme Court appeared skeptical during heated Oral Argument on Wednesday over a Biden Administration mandate under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The 1986 statute requires hospitals that accept federal medicare funding to offer emergency, life-stabilizing care to all patients who arrive in the emergency room. After SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, the Administration reminded facilities that such care includes abortions when a patient is "in serious jeopardy" or any condition that might impair bodily functions or organs, no matter the state's own restrictions on reproductive care. Idaho disagreed and sued. The packed rightwing supermajority on the High Court was working hard today to side with Idaho.

There was somewhat brighter related news in Arizona on Wednesday when, after three weeks of trying, Democrats in the state's House were finally able to vote to repeal the state's 1864 territorial ban on nearly all abortions. Three Republicans joined all 29 Democrats to repeal the law. The measure still needs passage in the GOP-controlled state Senate, after which AZ's 15-week abortion ban would take the place of the 160-year old near-total ban.

And THEN, we're joined again today our friends award-winning columnist and blogger HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullaballoo and former attorney (and former Republican) KEITH BARBER of Daily Kos to get up to speed on this week's fits and starts in Donald J. Trump's New York criminal trial.

After last week's faster-than-expected jury selection, the trial began with Opening Statements on Monday in which prosecutors described Trump's criminal scheme to hide several sexual affairs just before the 2016 election as "election fraud, pure and simple". On Tuesday morning, during a contempt hearing on at least 10 instances in which Defendant Trump violated the court's gag order against attacking jurors and witness, the judge instructed Trump's attorney Todd Blanche that he was "losing all credibility with the court." Says Barber today: "In a list of phrases that could be the worst to come out of a judge's mouth in the first two days of a trial, that would be right at the top of the list."

On both days, shortened for the Passover holidays, David Pecker, former National Enquirer publisher and longtime friend of Trump, took the stand on behalf of the prosecution to discuss hush-money payoffs he'd arranged as part of an alleged conspiracy with Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen to publish damaging stories about Trump's political opponents and quash stories that might be damaging to him. As Pecker detailed, that included paying off a Trump Tower doorman to shut up about his claim that Trump fathered an out-of-wedlock child with a maid who also worked there, and to "catch and kill" the story of Playboy model Karen McDougal who says she carried on a nearly year-long affair with Trump while his wife Melania was pregnant.

Parton describes the first witness in this case as offering several ironies since Pecker "said that their little scheme back in 2015 and 2016 was all fake news. Literally fake news. They made up stories. They killed negative stories about Trump and pushed negative stories that were literally fake news about his rivals. It's like gaslighting to the thousandth power."

Pecker's is expected to continue his testimony on Thursday regarding the $130,000 hush-money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, which was repaid to Cohen by Trump via monthly installments during his first year in the White House. Those payments became the falsified business records at the center of this trial, as the Trump Organization logged them as legal retainer fees, rather than unreported reimbursements that ran afoul of campaign finance laws, according to prosecutors.

Both Parton and Barber find it curious that, while Trump has been relentless in his attacks on witnesses like his longtime attorney and fixer Cohen, he has not said a negative word about his friend Pecker since the former Enquirer chief signed a cooperation agreement with prosecutors in 2018. She believes there is much more that Pecker knows about Trump above and beyond the scandals he's already detailed in this case. Barber concurs: "There's reason to believe that David Pecker has more of Trump's bodies buried in various places."

Each offer many more thoughts and insights on all of the above, including much more that we've learned over just the first two days of this historic trial, the legal hurdles faced by prosecutors, and what we should expect in the days ahead...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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