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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, July 22, 2024
Another Birthday for Brad
(It seems like they happen almost every year!...)
BIDEN DROPS REELECTION BID
President announces intention in letter to American people, follows up with Tweet declaring endorsement of Vice President Kamala Harris...
Sunday 'You Are Here' Toons
THIS WEEK: Recovering nicely! Hillbilly heroin! Cooling rhetoric! Standing by!...And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons...
What J.D. Vance Forgot to Tell You (and Lied About) at the RNC: 'BradCast' 7/18/24
Also: More pressure from top Dems for Biden to reconsider candidacy; Judge nixes GOP vote suppression suit in NV; Biden calls for SCOTUS reform, national rent control...
'Green News Report' 7/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Toronto crippled by extreme storms, flooding; Heat related costs rising in U.S.; Extreme weather and aging dams; PLUS: Marathon Oil pays record fine under Clean Air Act...
Previous GNRs: 7/16/24 - 7/11/24 - Archives...
Holding on for Dear Life Amid the Political Whirlwind: 'BradCast' 7/17/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton and 'Driftglass' on politics after the shooting, Dems still fighting over Biden; Trump's chooses Vance, RNC's 'unity' convention...
Cannon's Corruption: 'BradCast' 7/16/24
Guest: Attorney Keith Barber; Also: Menendez 'guilty' on all counts...
'Green News Report' 7/16/24
Texas grid buckles under multiple disasters; Hurricane Beryl damages now estimated at $3 billion; PLUS: Climate crisis flip-flopper J.D. Vance gets GOP Veep nod...
Amid the Assassination Attempt Aftermath:
'BradCast' 7/15/24
Also: Trump stolen docs case dismissed; Vance named as GOP Veep nom; Callers ring in...
Sunday Monday 'Google Project 2025' Toons
After a brief pause following Saturday's assassination attempt of Donald Trump, we are back with our latest collection of last week's best political toons...
Meanwhile... : 'BradCast' 7/11/24
Biden's tenuous candidacy; Trump and Orban; Inflation, prices falling; Climate liar Inhofe dies; California's stunning solar revolution...
'Green News Report' 7/11/24
Beryl fallout continues: Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Repubs seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
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...


2024 needs transformative solidarity to overcome corrupt, authoritarian forces unleashed with the help of past third-party campaigns...
UPDATE 7/17/24: RFK Jr tells Trump he'll win; asks for job in his administration..
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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So what do we do now? Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2024 5:47pm PT  

Today we had our first live BradCast out of KPFK's new (if temporary) broadcast facility, where everything is not yet quite in place. Nonetheless, I think we survived it in good order, including some good callers! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On our last show last week, with two top-notch federal law experts, we went to air just after the U.S. Supreme Court completed hearing the absurd Oral Argument on whether Presidents have "absolute immunity" for any and all crimes they commit while in office. They don't. It's nowhere to be found in the Constitution or anywhere else. But Donald Trump has made that argument in order to delay his federal criminal trial on charges related to having attempted to steal the 2020 Presidential election. The lower courts denied his argument, and yet the corrupted SCOTUS decided to hear it anyway and took their sweet time in doing so.

We spent a fair amount of time on that previous show discussing the ridiculous question that the Supremes claim to be examining --- whether a President is immune "from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office" --- and how the Justices on the Court questioned the counselor representing Special Counsel Jack Smith and the attorney representing Trump in the disgraced former President's delayed 2020 election interference case.

The decision to hear the case, of course, has prevented that federal trial --- originally scheduled for March --- from moving forward at all. The Court took enough time even scheduling Oral Argument to likely prevent the case on four felony charges from going to trial, much less completing, before America is asked to vote on whether to give the President who tried to steal the 2020 election another term of office in the 2024 election.

But we didn't spend as much time in our coverage last week on just how transparently corrupt this entire exercise was and is, with at least five of the rightwing Justices appearing more concerned about the potential rogue prosecution of a President than about the ability for the American people to bring criminal accountability against an actual rogue President.

The upside --- if there can be one --- is that it seems the scales have fallen from the eyes of most serious Court watchers who had long fooled themselves into believe that, when the rubber meets the road, even the rightwing Justices (three of them appointed by Trump himself) would do the right thing for the nation instead of their party. Thursday's absurd hearing seems to have made it clear to just about every serious person that the Roberts court is now doing little more than running interference for Republican policies in general and the former Republican President in particular. In a word: it is corrupt.

Our long-held position that the stolen and packed rightwing supermajority on the U.S. Supreme Court has been completely corrupted is no longer a particularly radical, or even minority view among serious people. Recognizing that is a first step toward figuring out what to do about it and how, if possible, to overcome it.

We were also able to take some calls from listeners today --- (surprisingly, we were able to do so at the new KPFK location, where the phone system is largely only half in place ) --- regarding what, if anything, can or should be done about any of this as the nation stumbles its way toward November, potential autocracy under a rogue, criminal President and his Court, and whatever dystopian American future may accompany it...

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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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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Trump NY criminal trial update; Also: SCOTUS nixes Lake's 2022 fraud claims; WI U.S. Senate candidate 'doesn't oppose' elderly voters; Trump/RNC's 'election integrity' plan; AZ GOP Rep's apparent 'petition fraud'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2024 7:13pm PT  

During opening statements in the disgraced former President's ongoing criminal trial, prosecutors argued the scheme surrounding his hush-money payments to a porn star just before the 2016 election amounted to "election fraud, pure and simple." Similar fraud since then, by Trump and now much of his Republican party, pervades many of our stories on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • It's Primary Day in Pennsylvania. We'll have noteworthy results and/or problem reports on tomorrow's program. (Recent elections in PA have revealed serious problems with the touchscreen voting systems still shamefully used in a number of jurisdictions.) But the election in the Keystone State today --- as some voters are reportedly struggling with newly implemented Photo ID requirements --- also provides a reminder as to why it's a good idea to vote in primaries, even when races at the top of the ticket may already be foregone conclusions.
  • Donald Trump's election-fraud-via-hush-money criminal trial in New York continued on Tuesday. We offer a a few quick updates. One point we missed Monday's opening statements, included the fact that prosecutors say they have hand-written documentation from longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg as to why Michael Cohen was paid $420k as reimbursement for his $130k payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Today, the day began with a contempt hearing over at least ten instances in which prosecutors allege that Trump has violated the court's gag order on attacking jurors and witnesses. The judge has yet to issue his ruling, but the hearing culminated with Trump's attorney Todd Blanche being upbraided by a frustrated Justice Juan Merchan, who told him, "You are losing all credibility with the court." For that, it appears, Trump's campaign and associated groups have been paying about $145,000 in donor money for legal fees each day since early 2023, according to newly released numbers. After the jury arrived, the trial's first witness continued his testimony. That would be former National Enquirer publisher, longtime Trump pal, and alleged "catch and kill"/hush-money co-conspirator David Pecker.
  • Arizona's 2022 Republican election losers, Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, both falsely claim their elections, for Governor and Sec. of State respectively, were stolen from them somehow, by the Republican officials who run elections in the state's largest County. They sued in 2022 and have lost in court after court ever since. On Monday, the corrupted rightwing U.S. Supreme Court also rejected their case. They are both running again in 2024, for U.S. Senate and state Senate respectively. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Speaking of 2024 Republican U.S. Senate candidates in battleground states, Wisconsin's Eric Hovde really, really wants you to know that he totally thinks "elderly should absolutely vote". Even after his previous comments about elderly voters in nursing homes that really kinda makes it seem otherwise.
  • The Trump Campaign and the RNC (now effectively one and the same) have announced their plans for an "Historic, 100,000 person strong Election Integrity operation"! We've got a few thoughts about what that really means. Though it probably doesn't help that a statement from Trump himself included in the announcement echoes almost precisely a statement long attributed to Josef Stalin that "it's not who votes that matters, but who counts the votes".
  • As to actual election fraud, as usual, the call is coming from inside the Republican house. This time, it's a guy named Austin Smith, an Arizona's Republican state Rep. and top leader of Turning Point Action --- a group which has long echoed Trump's false 2020 election fraud claims. Smith has apparently been caught submitting dozens of signatures, in his own hand-writing, for his own reelection campaign. While denying the charges, now being investigated by the AZ Attorney General, Rep. Smith has since resigned from Turning Point and called off his reelection campaign. But really, he insists, he didn't do it!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen is here for our latest Green News Report, including today: news on Europe's stunning rate of warming; new details on the plastic manufacturing industries contribution to man-made climate change; and another series of sweeping actions from the Biden Administration on Solar for All, the American Climate Corps and a whole bunch of brand new conservation initiatives that I can almost bet you haven't heard about until now...

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: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: Scam GOP impeachment trial ends in one day; AZ Repubs spike repeal of 1864 abortion law (again); Voter turnout doubles in AL's new majority minority U.S. House District...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2024 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If only the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court cared as much about the exact words in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment (the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause") as they pretend to care about the word "otherwise" in a criminal statute used to hold hundreds of January 6 insurrectionists --- including the former President --- accountable for obstructing an official government proceeding. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, first up today, a few news items of note...

  • Yesterday, House Republicans formerly delivered two articles of revenge impeachment against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the U.S. Senate for a trial. Today the trial began and ended, as Democrats determined the articles contained no High Crimes and Misdemeanors as required by the Constitution.
  • Despite pleas from Donald Trump and GOP U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake for Arizona state lawmakers to repeal their draconian 1864 total abortion ban (which Lake long supported...until the all-GOP state Supreme Court revived the law last week), Republicans lawmakers in the state legislature blocked another attempt by Democrats to repeal the 160-year old territorial law.
  • In Tuesday's Democratic Primary runoff for Alabama's newly redrawn 2nd Congressional District, the popular progressive, Shomari Figures, easily won. The more important news, however, may be that Democratic voter turnout during the first round of voting last month on Super Tuesday doubled from two years earlier. That, after the state was finally ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to redraw their unconstitutionally, racially gerrymandered Congressional Map to include a second district where Black voters may have a chance of selecting a candidate of their choosing.

Next, we're joined by longtime legal journalist CHRIS GEIDNER of Law Dork News to discuss Tuesday's Oral Argument in Fischer v. U.S. at the U.S. Supreme Court. The case questions whether a January 6th insurrectionist was properly charged with a 2002 law that criminalizes obstruction of an official government proceeding.

Some 300 of about 1,400 of those charged for their participation in the Trump-incited attack on the U.S. Capitol --- including Trump himself --- have been charged and/or convicted by more than a dozen D.C. federal judges under this same statute. But one of those judges, a Trump appointee, rejected the use of the law. He was overturned by the D.C. Court of Appeals, but the plaintiff --- a police officer at the time --- took his case to SCOTUS, which heard it on Tuesday.

Geidner was at the Court this week during Oral Argument and joins us today to explain how the hearing went; why this challenge over the the meaning of the word "otherwise" in the statute even exists; the rightwing Justices' newly-discovered concerns about overcriminalization; whether he believes the Court will kill, narrow or allow the statute to stand as is; and how their ruling might affect both the cases for hundreds of insurrectionists and two of the four criminal charges that rely on the statute in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal indictment of the former President for his multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 election.

Geidner also offers a preview of next Thursday's looong-awaited hearing on Trump's ridiculous, rejected-by-every-lower-court, "Presidential Immunity" case, in which he asserts that all Presidents must have absolute immunity to commit any and all crimes they like while in office.

"The arguments advanced by Trump have no foundation in history, in practice, or in experience. And there is a very strong case for imagining that we will get a 9-0 decision in that case, even with this Court," Geidner argues, before noting: "The bottom line here is Trump will still have delayed [his federal 2020 election interference] case. It will be at least May before we get a ruling on this. So, in some ways, win lose or draw, he has won, if the goal here is to avoid the possibility of a conviction on these charges before the election is held in November."

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Guest: Investigative journalist Helen Santoro; Also: Could OH block Biden from 2024 ballot?; Big media help Trump lie about his abortion position; Biden unveils new student loan debt relief for 30 million Americans...
By Brad Friedman on 4/8/2024 6:19pm PT  

The warnings came from safety experts, insurance companies and environmentalists. Years ago. So, of course, they were all ignored by both the then Republican Governor and big business, including Big Oil, who all got their way over safety concerns and the public interest, as discussed on today's BradCast. [Audio link posted below this summary.]

But first up, some other news of note...

  • Ohio's Republican Secretary of State informed Democrats on Friday that they must change the date of their party's national convention this summer or Joe Biden will not qualify to be on the state's 2024 ballot under state law. Or, of course, the state's GOP legislature could simply change the law, as they did in 2020 when the Republican National Convention was scheduled too late for Donald Trump to qualify for that year's ballot. But the state legislature will have to do so by May 9. Mark your calendars.
  • On Monday in Wisconsin, President Biden unveiled yet another plan, this a very big one, to relieve hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan debt, this time for 30 million Americans after the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court, last year, blocked his original plan to do so for 40 million borrowers.
  • Also on Monday, Donald Trump released a rambling video on his social media cite purporting to be his new position on abortion rights. He takes credit for his SCOTUS majority overturning Roe v. Wade, but says nothing about whether he would sign a national abortion ban; have his FDA block the use of abortion medication; or allow his DoJ to block abortions entirely if he is re-elected this November. So, how did pretty much every single corporate mainstream media outlet headline the "news"? By falsely claiming that "Trump Says Abortion Law Should be Left to the States". But, of course, he didn't. And you wonder how it can be that so many Americans are so misinformed about the threat to the nation and world posed by Donald Trump? There's your answer.

Then, we're joined by investigative journalist HELEN SANTORO of The Lever, who has been digging deep into the Francis Scott Key Bridge disaster ever since its deadly collapse two weeks ago, after being struck by a massive, 980-foot mega-container-ship in the Port of Baltimore.

We discuss two of her recent articles on the tragedy today, both of which underscore how corporate greed and industry lobbyists have been allowed to run roughshod over common sense, public safety, and corporate responsibility.

The first story, filed shortly after the tragedy which killed six bridge workers and has shut down all traffic in or out of one of the East Coast's largest shipping ports ever since, focuses on Maryland's Republican former Governor --- now U.S. Senate Candidate --- Larry Hogan, who ignored multiple, repeated warnings, year after year, in his continuing efforts to bring ever larger vessels into the Port. In doing so, he discounted safety warnings from an insurance giant and an international transit group, while accepting millions in federal funding from the Trump Administration to expand the port and push for still-larger cargo ships. Environmental groups also sounded the alarm about Hogan's efforts, as did a top state engineer as long ago as 1980, when he warned that the Key Bridge could not withstand such a crash, even by smaller vessels, without falling down.

"It seems very clear that [Hogan] really prioritized private interests again and again, wanting Maryland to be this point of business," Santoro explains. "And, it seems like, with prioritizing these private interests, the safety of the bridge was clearly not considered."

The second of Santoro's investigative articles that we discuss today focuses on the 173-year old federal Limitation of Liability Act which caps the amount that shipping companies may be held liable for in such disasters. It earned the nickname "The Titanic Law" back in 1912, when White Star Line, the British-owner of the doomed ship, invoked the Act to pay no more than $430 for each of the more than 1,500 passengers who were lost in that fatal tragedy.

The Act has seen some small reforms over the years, but most attempts in recent years to finally modernize the 1851 law have been stymied by Congressional Republicans at the behest of lobbyists from Big Oil and other industries in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that same year.

"It was pretty crazy going back and seeing that people have been complaining about this law since the Titanic crashed in 1912," Santoro tells me. "And yet the reforms have been, I would argue, pretty minimal, in terms of upping the amount that a company has to pay."

"Big Oil has really latched on to the Limitation of Liability Act to get themselves out of paying a lot of money for the Deepwater Horizon fiasco and other issues," she says. "There's a lot of industry funding and interest that is big on keeping damage control and the amount they're paying out for damages as low as possible."

Will Maryland's popular former Governor Hogan face accountability in his Senate race to fill the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin this fall for dismissing years of warnings about the very tragedy that has now befallen his state (and the national economy along with it)? Will Congress finally update the antiquated Titanic Law when they return this week, so that major corporations --- which, unlike in the 1850s, are well insured to cover the costs of such disasters --- can be held to real account for the damage they cause in the name of greater and greater profit? Those are just some of the many questions we discuss with Santoro on today's program...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern on two ridiculous cases, increasing court dysfunction; Also: Primary, Special Election results from AZ, FL, IL, KS, OH, CA; And the Biden EPA's 'biggest climate move yet'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2024 6:36pm PT  

From top to bottom, the Federal Judiciary, as evidenced several times this week alone and discussed in detail on today's BradCast, seems to be coming undone. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, first up today, a quick review of Tuesday's Primary and Special Election results in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio and California. Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have already won enough delegates to clinch their respective party's nomination, but there are still a several interesting data points of notes to be gleaned from Tuesday's results.

Among them, Trump is consistently losing a far larger share of Republican votes than Biden is losing on the Democratic side. On Tuesday, for example, Biden's reported margin of victory in the states where he was on the ballot was anywhere from 74 to 88 points, while Trump's margin never cracked even 70 points, ranging from 59 to 67. In short, Biden seems to be far more popular among Democratic primary voters than Trump is among Republicans.

We've got other noteworthy tales of the tape today, along with Senate Primary results out of Ohio, where both Democrats and Donald Trump appear to be very happy that Trump-backed Bernie Moreno will be the GOP's nominee running against three-term progressive Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown in November. And, in California, Democrats are no doubt happy to see that nobody won more than 50% of the vote in the Special Election to fill the seat left vacant by ousted Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday. That means his seat in the closely divided U.S. House, which will almost certainly go to a Republican eventually, will remain empty until at least the Special Election runoff in May.

Also of note today, what the Washington Post is describing as the Biden Administration's "biggest climate move yet". Desi Doyen joins us to explain the EPA's new final rule that is set to increase the speed of the nation's transition to cleaner Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles; how rightwing media are already lying about the EPA's new rule; and how Republican states and the fossil fuel industry will soon be seeking out friendly judges in the federal judiciary to try and undermine the new rule and its billions of dollars in life-saving new vehicle emissions standards for the American people and the planet.

Then, speaking of friendly rightwing judges, two cases that came before the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court this week --- when, in fact, neither of them should have --- serve to highlight our increasingly brittle judicial system and how it is being gamed by the far-right.

We're joined today by Slate's great legal journalist, MARK JOSEPH STERN to discuss both cases and what they might tell us about a court system, and perhaps a U.S. Supreme Court, nearing a breaking point.

We originally invited Stern for today's show to discuss Monday's absurd case brought by Republican-run states falsely claiming the Biden Administration is somehow violating First Amendment free speech rights by forcing social media companies like Twitter and Facebook to take down posts they don't like regarding COVID, election fraud and more. Of course, the government is not doing that at all. Stern describes the case at Slate --- Murthy v. Missouri (originally Missouri v. Biden) --- as "brain-meltingly dumb", "asinine", and "what happens when a lawless judge and a terrible appeals court embrace the dopiest First Amendment claim you’ve ever heard out of pure spite toward a Democratic president."

The case should never have even made it out of the lowest District Court, but for a Trump-appointed judge who "completely butchered the record and, I think, willfully misrepresented a huge amount of communications between federal officials and social media companies," Stern tells me. "He would pluck individual little clauses from those emails, rearrange them to make it sound like coercion, and then use that to develop what is frankly a conspiracy theory that the federal government strong-armed these companies into silencing their users and censoring speech. It's just not true." (See this article for just some of the gobsmacking examples of ways in which U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty "butchered the record" by falsely representing the evidence record in his ruling.)

Making matters worse, the nation's most extreme appellate court, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, further butchered the record to accomplish what corrupt Supreme Court Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch laughably described when the case came up to SCOTUS as "extensive findings of fact" that "showed the existence of ‘a coordinated campaign’ of unprecedented ‘magnitude orchestrated by federal officials that jeopardized a fundamental aspect of American life.'"

Monday's Oral Argument at SCOTUS, however, pulled the rug out from under pretty much all of that, as the phony allegations met skepticism from even the bulk of the Court's rightwingers. But before we could get to that case today, as previously planned, we had to get through the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' other recent clown show (which the rightwingers on SCOTUS were happy to play along with last night): their attempt to allow Texas' new law that overturns a century of legal precedent and the U.S. Constitution itself to grant powers to state and local police that override federal immigration law, allowing them to arrest and deport suspected undocumented immigrants.

Stern unpacks the bizarre twists and turns the case has seen over the past 24 hours, and charges that the procedural nonsense from the 5th Circuit and subsequent acquiescence by SCOTUS simply "boggles the mind."

So, what might we learn from all of this --- and all that has come before it --- regarding corrupt Trump-appointed judges, a corrupt 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, a corrupt and increasingly volatile SCOTUS, and the rightwing judge shopping that exploits all of it? We discuss all of that and more with Stern who details "a kind of terrifying intramural war within the judiciary," as some of the courts are pushing back against an attempt by the U.S. Judicial Conference (headed up by Chief Justice Roberts) to rein in judge shopping, and, ultimately, how restoring confidence in the High Court itself may "all come down to what Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett want to do with the courts and want their legacy to be."

"Until they take a harder line here, it's going to remain just as broken as it looks," Stern asserts. "It's going to be even worse behind the scenes, based on what I'm hearing about how these judges' relationships are breaking down over this stuff --- and we're going to have different factions within the judiciary that are fighting for power, not unlike the Kremlin at the height of Soviet-era madness"...

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Trump is promising political violence whether he wins or loses; Also: Navarro goes to prison; Scofflaw MI MAGA attorney arrested; SCOTUS allows TX to override federal law, Constitution; Biden's SOTU success...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2024 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, some much needed "context" for what will absolutely be the most important election in U.S. history this November. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Donald Trump is now running on the promise of political violence --- whether he wins or loses. He made that clear (again) during this past weekend's rallies, interviews and social media postings as he continues to up his violent rhetoric with each passing day, embraces strongman tropes and celebrates his supporters' deadly attempt to overthrow the Constitution and U.S. Government on his behalf on January 6, 2021.

The real context of Trump's weekend rally in Ohio, threatening a "bloodbath for the country" if he loses this November, should be clear by now to anyone who hasn't already drunk his Kool-Aid. If it isn't, we attempt to rectify that today. And it has little to nothing to do with cars from China as his Kool-Aid drunk cultists and apologists are attempting to argue. Historians like Timothy Snyder (author of On Tyranny and The Road to Unfreedom) and Jason Stanley (author of How Fascism Works) are shouting from the rooftops to make that clear. So are folks like conservative attorney George Conway and progressive journalist Josh Marshall.

In other largely related news today...

  • Former Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro, a key player in the disgraced former President's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, reported to a federal corrections facility in Miami today to begin a fourth month sentence, becoming the first Trump White House official to go to prison on charges related to Trump's failed attempt to steal the 2020 election from the American people.
  • Election denying Michigan MAGA attorney Stefanie Lambert, charged on four counts related to the unlawful breach of voting systems in the state, was arrested in D.C. on Monday after a hearing in a separate case in which she is defending billionaire election denier Patrick Byrne who is being sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems. Her arrest by U.S. Marshals was related to her failure to show up for a hearing in her own case back in MI, even as she improperly released discovery documents from the Dominion case to the public.
  • The corrupted U.S. Supreme Court allowed a Texas law to take effect today that overturns more than a century of federal immigration authority and the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution which has long held that federal law trumps state law. The TX statute, which allows state and local police to arrest people they suspect have violated federal immigration law, is similar to Arizona's 2012 "Papers Please" law that was blocked at the time by SCOTUS. But neither Court precedent nor the Constitution appear to mean much anymore to the current, far-right supermajority on the High Court.
  • There is a movement among Congressional Republicans to prevent Joe Biden from giving a State of the Union Address to Congress next year under the premise that his speech two weeks ago was "divisive" and "hyper-partisan". (And you know how much Republicans hate that sort of thing, especially at SOTU!) At the same time, Republicans are pretending that polls suggest Biden's SOTU was not "well received". Actual numbers from viewers of the speech before and after strongly suggest the contrary.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with the EPA finally banning all uses of toxic asbestos; extreme heat in Africa; the Biden Administration's investment of billions of dollars to rebuild under-privileged communities that were broken into pieces decades ago by highway construction; and the remarkable climate change deniers in a wealthy coastal community in Massachusetts who want millions of dollars from the state, in perpetuity, to save their beaches and property values, despite the ravages of global warming and rising seas.

All of that and a whole lot more on today's BradCast!...

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Guest: Labor journalist, author Steven Greenhouse; Also: Putin steals another election; Trump tries to avoid coughing up $450M in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2024 6:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Given all of the ongoing madness, this story has not yet broken through all of the noise. But there is a concerted effort by several large corporations underway right now to undermine nearly 100 years of labor law in these United States. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

After some news headlines from today and the past several, we're joined by longtime, award-winning labor journalist STEVEN GREENHOUSE, formerly of the New York Times, now at The Guardian, and author of the new book, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present and Future of American Labor.

At The Guardian last week, Greenhouse reported on the disturbing effort now under way by a number of major corporations, including Amazon, Starbucks, Trader Joe's and Elon Musk's SpaceX, to have the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) --- established as part of the 89-yeard old National Labor Relations Act --- declared unconstitutional by the federal courts.

The NLRB is critical to the survival of workers' rights and the unionization of workplaces. "The NLRB functions, essentially, as a referee, as an umpire, when workers seek to unionize. It tries to get workers, unions and companies to follow certain rules," Greenhouse explains today. "It's illegal, for instance, for companies to fire workers for supporting a union. Starbucks is accused of this. Companies fire the leaders of unionization efforts to decapitate, to kill the effort. The NLRB comes in as the empire and blows the whistle, saying, 'You can't do that. You can't fire people for supporting a union.'"

That said, the Board and its team of Administrative Judges who make determinations about violations of labor law, don't have the power to do much more than make findings. "It doesn't have the power to fine companies one penny for firing ten or twenty or thirty workers for supporting a union." Thus, companies like Starbucks have been in violation of the law more than a hundreds times over the past year, but clearly see the largely non-existent "penalties" for doing so, worth the crime.

The NLRB tends to side with management when Republicans are in the White House and control the Board, and with labor when a Democrat occupies the Oval Office. Greenhouse explains that Democrats have made efforts over the years to give more muscle to the NLRB, but have been blocked, for decades, by Republicans.

Still, as weak as the NLRB is, it plays a vital role in American labor law and workers right to collectively bargain for better pay and working conditions. "Corporations have long gloated at how weak the NRLB is. But what's really different now is that corporations, instead of just shrugging when they're slapped on the wrist, they're really taking a bazooka and going to court trying to have the NLRB declared unconstitutional," Greenhouse tells me.

Even though the NLRB has "been found constitutional time and again" over the past century, now that the federal court system --- including the Supreme Court --- has been so thoroughly captured by rightwing judges, these companies appear to be trying to gut the entire apparatus. And they may get away with it. Unions "fear that the Supreme Court and many judges have moved so far to the right that they are ready to blow up the system of federal agencies that generally has worked very well, over the past 90 years, protecting workers, protecting consumers, protecting investors."

But, Greenhouse warns, these companies "should be careful what they wish for." Finding the NLRB or the Act itself unconstitutional could return labor law to "the law of the jungle", as one labor expert cited in Greenhouse's report suggests. It could also work out much worse for the companies themselves than they may be realizing.

Tune in today for much more on all of the above.

Then, we dive into a bit more detail on some of the news of note since last week, including dictator Vladimir Putin's illegitimate reelection over the weekend to a third term --- and third decade --- of rule in Russia, and Donald Trump's claim that he is unable to come up with a bond to cover the $464 million fine he, his company, and his top execs (including his two eldest sons) now owe in New York after being found liable for years of massive bank, tax and insurance fraud...

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Guest: Kelly Sampson of the Brady Center; Also: Biden, Trump clinch noms; Judge nixes 6 counts in Trump's GA conspiracy indictment...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2024 6:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The most powerful pro-gun lobbying group in the nation --- along with its wildly corrupt leadership --- has finally been held to account for years of massive fraud. So what comes next for the NRA, for the firearms industry's ironclad death grip on the Republican Party, and for the continuing battle to enact popular gun safety reforms in the U.S.? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We've got some answers to those questions but, first up, a bit of news today...

Both the disgraced former President Donald Trump and the current President Joe Biden each notched the number of delegates needed in their respective parties to clinch the 2024 nominations for President as of Tuesday's primaries and caucuses in Georgia, Mississippi, Washington state, Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands. (And, of course, there was some trouble on Tuesday regarding GA's unverifiable, computerized touchscreen voting system.) Based on the results in each state last night, Biden is clearly favored by more of his party's primary voters than Trump. Though we have a few noteworthy observations today.

And, also in Georgia, where Trump and 18 co-conspirators are facing criminal indictment in Fulton County for their multiple failed attempts to steal the state's 2020 election, the judge overseeing the case tossed six of the 41 felony counts brought against, though he allowed 35 others to move forward. In his 9-page order [PDF] on Wednesday, Judge Scott McAfee wrote that Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis will be able refile those six charges, though she'll have to add additional specificity if she does. Refiling the charges would also likely further delay the state's currently scheduled August trial date. Of course, many court watchers are on pins and needles this week waiting for McAfee's ruling, expected by Friday, on whether Willis, accused by one of Trump's co-defendants of inappropriately hiring one of her prosecutors, will be allowed to remain on the case.

Then, we're joined by KELLY SAMPSON Senior Counsel at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation's oldest gun violence prevention organization, to discuss the fate of the beleaguered National Rifle Association, the group that began as a non-profit gun safety organization 150 years ago in New York City, only to become the nation's most powerful firearms industry lobbying group, opposing any and all gun safety reforms.

Late last month, a New York jury determined the NRA's longtime leader, Wayne LaPierre, had unlawfully misallocated millions of dollars of member money for years on his extravagant personal lifestyle, which included private plane travel and exotic vacations for himself and his family, among with many other luxuries. He also authorized hundreds of millions of dollars in NRA contracts in exchange for free trips and access to a 108-foot superyacht. In addition, the jury also ruled that the NRA engaged in years of fraudulent tax filings and violated whistleblower protections under NY law. LaPierre, who resigned in disgrace on the eve of the trial late last year --- brought by state A.G. Letitia James --- was ordered to repay nearly $5.5 million to the NRA. The group had attempted, after James' filing, to seek federal bankruptcy protection, but was blocked after a federal court determined it was only doing so in hopes of moving the organization to Texas to avoid accountability in NY.

So, what now? "Wayne LaPierre is indicative of a particular type of corruption, taking advantage of people and basically grifting," Sampson explains today. "He's not concerned with people's safety. He's concerned with enriching himself. This is a win in terms of accountability for that."

But, she says, there are other pro-gun groups that are now filling the gaps left by the faltering NRA in blocking gun safety reforms at both the state and federal level, despite support from broad, bipartisan majorities of Americans --- if not from Republican lawmakers captured by the gun lobby. "There are organizations like the National Shooting Sports Foundation, or NSSF, which is the gun industry's almost corporate wing," she warns. "Regardless of what happens with the NRA, we still have to deal with the rhetoric, the false information, and the fact that, yes, there are some politicians who feel beholden to what the NRA wants."

We discuss the broad popularity of policies such as universal background checks for gun purchases, which GOP lawmakers have long stymied, as well as cases now before the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court which seek to block the ban on bumpstocks that turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns, and on a federal law designed to help keep guns out of the hands of those under domestic violence restraining orders.

Also, Sampson discusses a number of landmark initiatives by the Biden-Harris Administration to address the nation's ever-worsening gun violence epidemic, including "the first White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which is really using the power of the Executive to have a 'whole of government' approach" to the continuing scourge.

There is much to discuss, as you may imagine, in our conversation today with Sampson, the Brady Center's Director of Racial Justice and co-host of their Red, Blue and Brady podcast. Happily, today's discussion does not take place, for a change, just hours after another high-profile gun massacre...

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Guest: Ron Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech for People; Also: Sweden joins NATO; Biden to aid Gaza via sea port; 'No Labels' to choose 'Unity' ticket; TX utility admits culpability in state's record wildfires...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2024 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're honored to be joined by one of the Constitutional law experts who first brought the issue of the Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" to the attention of the nation...before our corrupted, activist U.S. Supreme Court, he explains, "invented" a way to nullify it to help protect our disgraced former President on Monday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Free Speech for People (FSFP) is the non-partisan government accountability group which first raised the issue of Donald Trump's clear violation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment way back during the summer of 2021. At the time, they sent letters to chief election officials in all 50 states warning them not to place Trump on the ballot should the disgraced former President chose to run again in 2024, as he was in violation of the Constitutional clause barring oath-breakers from public office after having "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the nation. After having incited the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, they explained to state officials, he was no longer eligible for office under the post-Civil War Amendment.

They were, of course, correct. Both chambers of Congress, in bipartisan votes, found that Trump had, in fact, incited the insurrection while attempting to prevent Joe Biden, the winner of the 2020 election from being certified by Congress. Late last year the Colorado Supreme Court agreed [PDF], and barred Trump from the state's ballot. He appealed the ruling to SCOTUS, which quickly heard the matter and issued its 13-page ruling [PDF] on Monday, pulling reasons out of thin air for why Colorado could not bar Trump from running in the state.

The Republican Supremes went even further by inventing a new mandate that will prevent insurrectionists from being barred from federal office under 14.3 unless Congress adopts a new law to execute the 150 year old Amendment. (Or, at least, to execute it's two-sentence Section 3. All of the other mandates of the 14th --- such as citizenship for those born or naturalized in the U.S., due process for all and equal protection under the law --- are all self-executing. A special law by Congress is, apparently, only necessary for Section 3, for some reason, according to the Supreme Court as of this week.)

We're joined today by FSFP's Legal Director, RON FEIN, who, with fellow FSFP Constitutional law experts John Bonifaz and Ben Clement, penned an op-ed on Wednesday, describing the Court's ruling as "an error of historic proportions and a sham."

The Court's ruling, he argues today, "had nothing to do with the text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, nor of the history, or the original public understanding of Section 3. Instead, the Justices --- and it's not just the six conservative Justices but also the three so-called liberals --- started from the endpoint of the result that they wanted to reach and then worked backwards to find a rationale."

"If they had wanted to say that Trump didn't engage in insurrection," he tells me, "I would have had a little bit more respect. It would have been very brazen and obviously ridiculous. But at least they would have been straightforwardly saying something that would have meant that he wasn't disqualified --- if they wanted to defy all evidence and say that he didn't engage in insurrection. But instead, they fabricated an exception that can be found nowhere in the Constitution, that basically lets Trump and others off without ever confronting the merits of what he did."

As anyone who has read Monday's ruling may have noticed, the Justices never dispute the Colorado Supreme Court's finding --- following a five-day trial --- that, yes, Trump is, in fact, an insurrectionist. In fact, the Court's three liberals, in response to the part of the majority's Opinion from which they dissent, refer to Trump as an "oathbreaking insurrectionist" on numerous occasions.

Fein describes how the SCOTUS ruling makes a mockery of their claim to require "uniformity" in elections. "This is something that they pull when they want to, but it has no real basis in reality," he notes, describing how our Presidential election system is actually set up to allow each state to determine their own way of running elections.

"We have state by state elections," he asserts, "both at the primary stage and in the general election. We have, for better or worse, an Electoral College system. That's the system under which Donald Trump became President under in 2016. It is not at all uncommon, both in the primaries and in the general election, for some candidates to be on some states' ballots and not others. In fact, we're going to see that in this election. We're going to see RFK Jr. will be on some states' ballots, but not all of them. Cornel West will probably be in the same situation. The Constitution says that states have the power to determine how they appoint electors."

Those facts make the Court's argument that removing Trump from the ballot would allow a single state to determine the result of the election a joke. Then again, the entire ruling is exactly that, if not a particularly amusing one.

Fein eviscerates the rest of their opinion as well today, while warning that there may now be further Constitutional bastardizations regarding Trump in the days and years ahead. As he, Bonifaz and Clement explain in the chilling conclusion of their op-ed: "If Trump wins, prepare for a third term. Sure, the Twenty-Second Amendment says that '[n]o person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.' But Trump has already claimed that he is entitled to a third term because 'they spied on my campaign.' When Trump’s lawyers make this argument, what credibility will the Supreme Court have as he runs roughshod over our constitutional democracy?"

ALSO TODAY...

  • Sweden formally joins NATO. (I guess Russia will have "no choice" but to attack them now too, amirite Putin fans?)
  • Joe Biden will announce plans to use the U.S. military to deploy food and humanitarian aid to Gaza by sea via a temporary port.
  • The group calling itself No Labels is reportedly planning to select a "Unity Ticket" for this year's Presidential election that nobody, other than No Labels and their secret funders, actually seem to want.
  • Texas utility company Xcel Energy admits their equipment sparked the largest wildfire in state history.
  • And Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the enormous climate stakes of this year's Presidential election and more...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Biden, Trump (mostly) sweep; Haley drops out; McConnell endorses; Protests haunt Dem victories in MN, CA; Few (though some noteworthy) Election Day voting system failures...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2024 7:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We distill a whole bunch of stuff --- results, problems, politics, concerns --- from Super Tuesday's primaries and caucuses in some 15 states and one U.S. territory. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Included in our coverage today...

  • Donald Trump won most, if not all, of the GOP nominating contests on Tuesday by largely anywhere from 60% to 80% over Nikki Haley who defeated Trump in Vermont. Nonetheless, she subsequently announced on Wednesday that she is suspending her campaign, without (yet) endorsing Trump, saying he must now earn her support and those of her backers.
  • Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell --- after pretending to be outraged by the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection which he described Trump as "morally responsible" for --- endorsed him for President on Wednesday. I've got a word or two about that today.
  • Joe Biden won the Democratic contests in all of the states which voted on Super Tuesday, most by well over 80%. (He only received 70% and 73% respectively in Minnesota and Oklahoma. More on that below.) Nonetheless, if you were watching CNN last night, you'd have heard how Trump "DOMINATED!" his primaries, while Biden just did "very well" on the Democratic side.
  • After the U.S. Supreme Court, last year, required Alabama to finally add a second U.S. House District where Black voters might elect a candidate of their choosing --- in a state where 27% of the population is Black but only 1 of 7 U.S. House seats are even held by a Democrat --- more than 6,500 voters in that newly redrawn district were misinformed by County officials about which Congressional District they were supposed to vote in on Tuesday. The Chair of Montgomery County's Board of Registrars blamed a computer "software glitch" for what several candidates worried may have led to mass disenfranchisement.
  • Meanwhile, in Utah, where Republicans decided to run their own statewide Caucuses this year, an untold number of voters end up going home without voting when the Party's computer systems crashed or were otherwise unusable at many Caucus sites. The Salt Lake Tribune describes the "chaos" that ensued.
  • In North Carolina, GOP voters elected their Holocaust-denying Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson as their nominee for Governor this year. Democrats, who selected state A.G. Josh Stein for the job on Tuesday are likely delighted about that. Also in NC, preacher and former Rep. Mark Harris appears to be heading back to the U.S. House after his 2018 campaign for the state's 8th Congressional District resulted in a do-over election after Harris hired a known election thief who illegally collected ballots and filled them in for Harris. That election was tossed by the state Election Board and a chastened Harris chose not to run again. But now he's back! And on Tuesday, he apparently won enough votes to avoid a run-off. So, he appears headed back to D.C. next year thanks to further GOP gerrymandering of his NC district since he last tried to steal the election there.
  • In Texas, Democrats elected Rep. Colin Allred to take on Senator Ted Cruz this fall. Though state Republicans drew the line, apparently, at nominating a convicted January 6th insurrectionist for the U.S. House in the state's 19th Congressional District, sticking with the current Republican incumbent instead.
  • Jason Palmer defeated Joe Biden on Tuesday to win the Democratic Caucus in American Samoa! Who is Jason Palmer? We discuss, while noting that the victory came in a 51 to 40 vote (Not percentage points! That's the actual vote tally!) on the U.S. territorial island some 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Apparently it pays to actually show up and campaign! Palmer was the only Democratic candidate who actually did so. Other than that, yeah, Biden actually "DOMINATED!" on the Dem side last night.
  • There was, however, a noteable vote for "Uncommitted" in Minnesota's Democratic Primary on Tuesday, with some 19% of voters casting a protest vote against the President, presumably as a statement in opposition to the Biden Administration policy regarding Israel's war in Gaza. The state has a sizeable Arab-American population. MN Democrats' bump for "Uncommitted" this year, as compared to the last time a Dem President ran for reelection in 2012, was substantial --- much more than a similar protest vote in Michigan last week --- even as all of the other states with similar "None of the Above" options on the ballot to date (Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Tennessee) all saw a decrease in such votes this year as compared to 2012.
  • Still, the protests from a small faction of the Left are unmistakable. Democrats dismiss those voters at their peril. Especially in critical battleground states like MI and MN. The protest was impossible to not notice at Rep. Adam Schiff's victory celebration last night in California. He will face Republican former MLB star Steve Garvey for the state's open U.S. Senate seat this November, after outpacing fellow progressive Congressmembers Katie Porter and Barbara Lee last night. But protesters chanted "Cease-fire Now!" and "Free Palestine!" throughout Schiff's entire victory speech on Tuesday, which the L.A.-based Dem handled gracefully. The Biden Administration does seem to be taking notice. Over the weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris gave remarks on Sunday calling for an "immediate cease-fire", "given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: New rightwing voter suppression schemes in swing-states; Sinema not running again; Trump CFO headed back to prison; New charges for Menendez; 'Christian' Liberty U. covered up sex abuse, rape crimes...
By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2024 5:32pm PT  

We'll have likely-unsurprising results from today's Super Tuesday elections in 16 states on tomorrow's BradCast, but we've got a few reminders today of the stakes, the challenges ahead and why it all matters. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • Arizona's former corporatist Democrat turned corporatist independent U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema says she will not run for re-election this November, clearing the way for a 2-person race to fill her U.S. Senate seat this fall. (And, perhaps, with both her and West Virginia's Joe Manchin also not running for re-election this year, a path someday to restoring the gutted Voting Rights Act and much more.)
  • Speaking of the Voting Rights Act, a new study from NYU's Brennan Center of Justice out this week finds that the racial gap between white and black voters has been widening since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the law's key provision in 2013's Shelby v. Holder, claiming the landmark Act's protections against racially discriminatory voting laws and rules was out of date and no longer needed. While the racial disparity gap has grown everywhere across the country, it has grown twice as much in jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination at the polls where minority voters were previously protected by the VRA's currently-gutted Section 5 "preclearance" requirement.
  • As if that is not disturbing enough, Republican "voter fraud" fraudster groups, such as the disgraced disinformationists at True the Vote, are ramping up efforts to suppress the vote in advance of this year's general election. According to a new New York Times investigation, a "grassroots" campaign has been quietly challenging the eligibility of thousands of legally registered voters at the County level in a number of swing-states around the country since 2020, removing eligible voters in the bargain and otherwise setting up for post-election challenges to the rolls this November, in the event that Donald Trump loses again.
  • And speaking of the disgraced former President and current 2024 GOP front-runner, his longtime Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg is headed back to prison after spending about 100 days in Rikers last year related to a years long tax fraud scheme with the Trump Organization. On Monday, the 78-year old pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury after lying on the stand and in depositions with New York state prosecutors regarding his role in the massive, years-long fraud scheme by Trump, his company and his top executives. Trump and the executives, including his two eldest sons and Weisselberg were all found liable in the state's civil fraud case against them. Trump must now pay more than $450 million in penalties. His NY state criminal trial on 34 felony counts related to hush-money payments to help him win the 2016 election begins later this month, as Weisselberg prepares for another five months in the pokey, though he will not be required to testify against Trump under the plea deal.
  • But it's not just rightwingers facing justice this week. On Tuesday, New Jersey's Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and his wife saw new obstruction charges added to their existing indictments related to allegedly accepting gold bars, cash and a luxury car as bribes in return for favors to several businessmen. Menendez stands accused of using his former position as Chair of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee to help his business associates get multi-millionaire deals with Qatari investment funds and the government of Egypt.
  • Okay, it's just mostly rightwingers. Liberty University, one of the nation's largest so-called "Christian" schools, founded by the late Jerry Falwell, Sr., and subsequently run by his son Jerry Falwell, Jr. (until he was forced out in scandal) has agreed to pay the largest fine ever under the federal Clery Act, requiring that colleges and universities that receive federal funding keep detailed public lists of campus crime statistics. The school must cough up an unprecedented $14 million related to its years-long cover-up of sexual abuse and rape allegations, while fostering a community of fear for women who were often victimized and/or ignored after reporting such incidents to school officials.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as record heat and wildfires continue in Texas; California's Sierra Mountains dig out from an intense weekend blizzard with hurricane-force wind gusts; And as the Biden Administration announced billions of dollars for cleaning up and modernizing the nation's ports under the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Former Deputy Asst. A.G. Lisa Graves; Legal journalist Chris Geidner; Also: Haley wins a primary; And a Super Tuesday preview...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2024 6:38pm PT  

In case I haven't mentioned it lately on The BradCast, the U.S. Supreme Court is wildly corrupt. They proved that again on Monday in their ruling on whether Donald Trump, who they don't dispute in their ruling is an insurrectionist, should be disqualified from the 2024 election for having "engaged in insurrection", as barred by the simple text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We knew this ruling from the corrupt Court was coming, based on their questions at Oral Argument last month. We also knew that the packed, stolen and rightwing SCOTUS majority was corrupt. But their hypocrisy was what shined through most in today's relatively brief 13-page ruling [PDF] and the additional dissenting opinions that followed it. The one by the Democratic appointees was fairly seething.

After years of pretending to be "conservative Constitutionalists"; pretending to be "textualists" who are focused only on the simple meaning of what the words in the founding document say; who pretend to be "originalists", concerned only with what the framers were trying to accomplish at the time they adopted the Constitutional amendment in question, the Court, once again, gave away the ghost. They don't care about any of that. They are an activist rightwing Court finding stuff in the Constitution that doesn't exist to arrive at the political result they wanted in the first place.

On Monday --- in their 9 to 0 opinion (which, the dissenters made clear, was actually a 5 to 4 ruling, but for Democrats on the Court trying to go along to get along in an election year) --- the High Court reversed the Colorado Supreme Court's 213-page ruling [PDF] in December barring Trump from this year's ballot for having violated the Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause". So much for states rights as well, apparently.

But, not only did the SCOTUS majority twist itself into pretzels to come up with "logic" for doing so, they further perverted Section 3 of the 14th Amendment beyond recognition in order to do so. In the bargain, they have killed 14.3 to the point that it can likely never be used to bar insurrectionists from public office --- at least at the federal level. (That's another distinction they made up from whole cloth that appears nowhere in the actual Constitution.)

Congress, the Court decided, must pass a law before the 150 year old 14.3 may be used. It is not self-executing, they ruled, unlike all of the other sections of the 14th Amendment and the other Amendments adopted with it following the Civil War that prohibit slavery, guarantee due process and equal justice under the law for all. But only the two-sentence Section 3, apparently, is not self-executing. At least at the federal level. It can still, apparently, be used by states to bar state and local officials from public office for insurrection for some reason. That, even though Section 3 itself requires a two-thirds super-majority in Congress for the disqualification to be lifted for any insurrectionist to serve in office.

We're joined today by two experts on this matter, former Asst. Deputy Attorney General at the DOJ, LISA GRAVES of True North Research, and "recovering lawyer" and longtime legal journalist CHRIS GEIDNER of Law Dork to try and make sense of what the corrupt, hypocritical Justices did.

Geidner details how the dissenters in this case, the Court's three Democratic Justices, Sotomayor, Kagan and Jackson --- but also, in part, even Justice Amy Coney Barrett --- "explained how the majority had basically cut off the use of Section 3 going forward."

And they did so, according to Graves, in the most cowardly way, with a per curiam decision that speaks for the whole court, without saying who actually wrote it. "Like Bush v. Gore," they didn't sign their names to, she observed, noting that "issuing a per curiam opinion is an act of cowardice by these rightwing justices."

Geidner adds: "It truly is just an example, like 'Bush v. Gore', of 'Let's work backwards from the principle that we want, and we're going to shoehorn in some principle of law that clearly can't make sense in light of the interpretation of these amendments over the past 150 years.'"

"The Colorado Supreme Court's decision was so well-reasoned," Graves argues about the ruling overturned by SCOTUS today. "It sought to vindicate the plain language of the 14th Amendment. But here you had the Supreme Court not wanting to allow Colorado to make that independent determination based on the plain language. It really shows how outrageous this anonymous Republican-appointee decision --- how outrageous and wrong --- that decision is." She also notes, given what was actually a 5 to 4 ruling, how outrageous it is that Justice Clarence Thomas --- whose wife actually participated in the insurrection --- didn't bother to recuse himself.

Last Summer, Geidner tells us, when he wrote about this case, he says he argued, "It's pretty clear that Trump is barred from being President again. Will it matter?" He adds: "That was the right question to ask, and we got our answer today."

As usual, there is much more covered in today's program on all of this, so please tune in for the full show.

Also today, a wrap-up of of the weekend's GOP nominating contests in which Nikki Haley finally notched her first primary victory after Trump actually threatened the voters participating in it. And we close with a preview of tomorrow's 15-state Super Tuesday primaries in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and American Samoa. If you live in one of those states and have yet to vote, NOW is the time!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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