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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 14, 2024
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 4/9/24 - 4/4/24 - Archives...
'Pink Slime': Fake 'Local News' Sites Proliferating in Advance of Election: 'BradCast' 4/10/24
Guest: Alex Mahadevan of MediaWise; Also: Trump CFO goes back to jail; GOP chaos, panic in AZ after 1864 abortion ban restored...
Dirty Tricks and the Dirtiest Candidate Of All Time: 'BradCast' 4/9/24
A CA three-way!; Polls shift toward Biden; RW scam artists pay the price; Trump rejected again in NY criminal case, facing trouble for phony $175M bond in NY civil case...
'Green News Report' 4/9/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Big hurricane season coming; Colorado River water used mostly for cattle; Good news for CA mountain snowpack, for now; PLUS: Disney's Tomorrowland says goodbye to Yesterdayville...
Previous GNRs: 4/4/24 - 4/2/24 - Archives...
'Titanic Law' Reform Just Tip of Iceberg in Quest for Key Bridge Accountability: 'BradCast' 4/8/24
Guest: Helen Santoro; Also: Media echo Trump abortion lies; Biden's new debt relief for 30M...
Sunday 'Dark Days Indeed' Toons
FEATURING: The Eclipse! Disinformation! 'Victimless' Crimes! And much more in our latest collection of the week's darkest toons...
Trump's Very Bad Day in Court(s) & Other Good (& Less Good) News: 'BradCast' 4/4/24
No Labels out; Soft sentence for GOP vote fraudster; WI reconsiders drop-boxes; NE nixes Electoral College change; Biden v. Israel; Sanders and Biden tout drug price success...
WI Supremes May Restore Drop-Box Voting
High Court approves expedited hearing in advance of 2024 election...
'Green News Report' 4/4/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hunger crisis amid drought in Africa; Biden invests billions to decarbonize manufacturing; Melting ice is bending time; America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm...
Previous GNRs: 4/2/24 - 3/21/24 - Archives...
WI Voters Approve Ballot Measures That Could Cripple Its Elections: 'BradCast' 4/3/24
Guest: Alex Burness; Also: OK voters remove neo-Nazi from office; Prez Primary results from RI, CT, NY, WI...
Politico's Josh Gerstein Owes a Retraction
Misleading tweet suggests Hillary Clinton was invited to 'join' the Federalist Society in 1997. Archival documents show no such thing...
More GOP Election Fraud; Overdue Justice for Crystal Mason: 'BradCast' 4/2/24
Also: AZ Repubs move to end early, mail-in voting; Trump files $175M bond in NY, gag order expanded; FL approves abortion ban and abortion rights ballot measure...
'Green News Report' 4/2/24
Biden vows Key Bridge money, Repubs: 'Maybe'; Storms collapse part of CA's iconic Highway 1; PLUS: Admin clamps down on methane leaks, truck pollution, more...
Last Week Today with OG Bloggers:
'BradCast' 4/1/24
Guests: 'Driftglass' and Frances Langum of 'The Pro Left' podcast on (almost) everything we missed last week, and why it still matters this week...
Sunday 'He Is Ris' Toons
FEATURING: Jesus Christ! State Border Brownshirts! SCOTUS To-Do List! More! Check out our holy roller collection of the week's best Holy Week toons!...
BRAD BLOG Spring Breaking
And not a moment too soon...
Sunday 'Roll Out the Barrel' Toons
FEATURING: Rich Con, Poor Con!...Sex-Havers!...March Madness!...More! Have a barrel of fun with our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
It's Up to You, New York:
'BradCast' 3/21/24
Trump facing civil, criminal reckoning in NY; Also: Biden forgives $6B more in student loans; U.S. seeks 'ceasefire' in Gaza; Scientists baffled by global heat spike...
'Green News Report' 3/21/24
Biden EPA issues biggest climate regs in U.S. history; Rio hits 144°F heat index!; Exxon CEO blames YOU for climate change; PLUS: U.N. issues 'red alert'!...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Also: Unrelenting climate change-fueled weather pummels nation...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2023 6:17pm PT  

Welp, it was another slow news weekend [insert eyes-rolling emoji here]. But we try to come up with something to cover on today's BradCast nonetheless. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Extreme weather and warnings of same walloping much of the nation today, as two weeks of historic triple digit temperatures in Texas spread to other states, resulting in major storms, deadly tornadoes, widespread power outages and cancelled flights from Arizona through the mid-west up into New England and down to the Carolinas and Florida. But if you hear about these seemingly ever-worsening nightmares from some major U.S. outlets --- like Fox "News" (and even ABC, etc.) --- you may hear absolutely nothing about the man-made climate change that is fueling our intensifying global crisis.
  • On Friday, Politico finally covered the story that we broke on this show six weeks ago about how Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger says he will not be installing urgently recommended security upgrades to its horribly vulnerable Dominion voting systems until after the 2024 Presidential election in the critical battleground state. We covered that news exclusively here in mid-May. Politico covered it here on Friday. And my tweet pointing both out was throttled by Twitter over the weekend so that it's nearly impossible to find without a direct link. That is here. (More, hopefully, on this issue tomorrow!)
  • Speaking of Georgia, a federal judge has ordered Rudy Giuliani to pay the legal fees for the two Atlanta election workers --- Shaye Moss and her elderly mother Ruby Freeman --- who are suing him for defamation after he (and Trump, and the rest of the MAGA crew) falsely accused them of committing fraud in the ballot tabulation room during the 2020 Presidential election.
  • Curiously enough, the far-right, wildly corrupted U.S. Supreme Court keeps making not terrible rulings at the end of this year's term. Today, a challenge to a ruling on a case out of Louisiana, where a federal court mandated an additional black majority U.S. House district, was rejected. The case will be sent back to a lower court. If the lower court rules as SCOTUS did a few weeks ago --- when they stunned the world by upholding the Voting Rights Act and requiring another black majority House district in Alabama --- today's decision could be very good news for those that care about voting rights, the Constitution, and equal representation for all.
  • Also today, SCOTUS allowed several lawsuits against Ohio State University to proceed, after it was discovered the school had, for years, protected a serial sexual abuser who served as a team doctor for years. This is probably not good news for OSU's former wrestling coach and serial denier Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
  • The lower courts are holding as well, for now. Last week, a federal judge permanently overturned Arkansas' unspeakably cruel ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender kids, and a federal judge in Florida temporarily blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis' anti-freedom crusade to ban minors from attending drag shows. Amusingly, one of the reasons the judge blocked the new law was because it was in conflict with DeSantis' so-called "Parents Bill of Rights" legislation adopted in 2021.
  • Finally today, before opening the phones to listeners, we discuss the bizarre story of whatever the hell happened over the weekend in Russia where, for about 24 hours or so, civil war nearly broke out. That, as Yevgeny Prigozhin, formerly a close ally of Vladimir Putin and commander of the mercenary Wagner Group (arguably Russia's best fighting force in Ukraine), declared Russia's justification for attacking Ukraine --- to demilitarize and de-Nazify the sovereign nation --- to be a lie. Wagner's march toward Moscow, however, ended as quickly as it began, with Putin theoretically granting Prigozhin safe harbor in Belarus, even if both his future and those of the troops in the Wagner brigade remain uncertain at this hour. We open the phones with what is left of today's show to discuss what the hell is going on and where both Russia and Putin's fortunes may be heading from here...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former DoJ, U.S. Senate, U.S. Court system official Lisa Graves of True North Research; Also: Texas heat; Ridiculous House GOP majority...
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2023 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's yet another "tour de force" of rightwing U.S. Supreme Court Justice corruption by billionaire Republican megadonors. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, FIRST UP, a few words on the climate change-intensified heatwaves continuing to pulse through Texas and threatening to max out its rickety privatized electric grid, as officials attempt to conserve their way out of the crisis and as the state's cruel GOP Governor Greg Abbott enacts a big government ban on local ordinances mandating water breaks for construction workers.

Also, a few thoughts today on the indescribably dumb GOP House majority, hellbent on shooting themselves, repeatedly, in their collective feet --- over and over again --- and why they've decided to take out their impotency, frustration and failure, at least this week, on the very effective Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

THEN, the investigative team at non-profit news outlet ProPublica strikes again this week. On the heels of recent blockbuster reports detailing decades of corruption by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas via hundreds of thousands of dollars in undeclared luxury vacations and travel, gifts, real estate deals and cash payments from rightwing megadonor Harlan Crow (and the Federalist Society's Leonard Leo), it was apparently Justice Sam Alito's time in the barrel this week.

As ProPublica's Justin Elliott, Joshua Kaplan and Alex Mierjeski documented Wednesday, Alito enjoyed private jet travel to a fancy Alaskan fishing excursion some years ago courtesy of rightwing billionaire megadonor Paul Singer. The hedge fund "vulture capitalist" would go on to repeatedly sing the praises of his fishing buddy over the years as "a model Supreme Court Justice" when introducing him at rightwing fundraisers, even as Singer had repeated business before the Court. Alito never declared the subsidized travel with Singer on annual disclosure forms, nor did he recuse himself from SCOTUS cases in which Singer would eventually reap billions of dollars.

Sound familiar? It should. In both Alito and Thomas' cases, the blooming friendships between Justices and billionaires was fostered and massaged by Leo, longtime leader of the far-right Federalist Society, which has been shaping the federal judiciary via Republican Presidents --- and matchmaking between Justices and wealthy benefactors --- for decades now.

We're joined today by the great LISA GRAVES, who previously served as Deputy Asst. A.G. at the Justice Department, Chief Counsel for nominations in the US Senate, and as a Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division for the U.S. court system. She now rakes muck as the founder of Truth North Research, helping to expose the toxic and corrupting effect of unbridled rightwing money poured into our political and judicial system from those like Crow, Singer, Leo and the Koch network.

Graves responds to a number of claims made by Alito in his unusual op-ed published by rightwing billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal this week, where he chose to prebut ProPublica's reporting on Tuesday, instead of either responding to the journalists questions or doing so through the Court's communications office. Graves describes his remarks in the Journal as "extraordinarily deceitful and deceptive."

"Everyone knows that private jet travel is not permissible as a gift of supposed 'hospitality'," she explains. "The hospitality exception in those long-standing gift rules is basically meant to cover things like your high school friend throws you a party for your birthday at their house. Not this sort of post-appointment currying of favor by super-rich people subsidizing a luxury lifestyle through fabulous trips."

She argues the subsidized travel violates the law, along with Alito's failure to disclose it on his annual financial statements. There's false statements on those disclosure forms in which they [both Alito and Thomas] assert there's nothing more to disclose, that they've disclosed everything that they've been obligated to, and they clearly haven't."

"One of the things that this reveals is that the Court actually has no enforceable ethical code which would require the Justices to recuse themselves if there is bias or the appearance of bias, similar to the language that's in the Code of Conduct for US judges that does not apply to the Supreme Court, that they've chosen to not have any enforceable mechanism for."

"If an ordinary person would think that this sort of thing would create bias, a judge basically has an obligation to disclose it and/or to recuse themselves from cases where that bias might be raised," she says. But those rules only apply to the lower courts. When it comes to SCOTUS, the decision of whether to recuse is left entirely up to each Justice.

Graves also offers insight on the corrosive effect of "travel agent" and "matchmaker" Leo, who wields power with donors by hooking them up with Justices for "luxury travel subsidized by billionaires who have business before the Court."

When it comes to Alito, "this is a man who has acted as though he is the keeper of the kingdom in terms of strictly reading the Constitution, claiming this 'strict constructionist' or so-called 'originalist' approach, a faux neutral approach to the law. This is the man who orchestrated the overturning of almost 50 years of legal precedent on abortion. If this guy can't read the actual statute and regulations which expressly describe how [private] jets don't count as hospitality, how can we possibly have any confidence --- and I think most people don't --- that he would act impartially to read the Constitution or the case law around abortion or other issues that he doesn't like?" --- Or, other issues that his billionaire benefactors don't like.

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, which begins with astonishing heat in Texas and India and ends on an even more fowl note...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: More disturbingly good news from SCOTUS and the lower courts!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2023 6:20pm PT  

Seriously worried about what's going on at SCOTUS. Yet another good decision today. Are they okay? And what does all of this good news mean for their opinions yet to come before term's end at the end of this month? We worry about that and more on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Nonetheless, most of our stories today are, happily, not horrible. Among the many covered today...

  • An obnoxious Fox "News" chyron describing President Joe Biden as a "wannabe dictator" on the day of Donald Trump's federal arraignment on 37 criminal felony counts (and their ham-fisted crocodilian "cover up" thereafter) offers a telling illustration of how the Trump Mind Virus has been implanted into the poisoned brains of his cult followers.
  • The faintest of cracks may be emerging in the otherwise seemingly solid GOP support for their disgraced, criminal defendant former President, including an unmistakable plunge of some 15 points for Trump in Ipsos/Reuters polling among Republicans from April to June.
  • The attorney for 2016 Russian election interference whistleblower Reality Winner, however, has a few thoughts on our actual two-tiered justice system.
  • After stunningly good decisions last week protecting both the Voting Rights Act and Medicaid, the otherwise-corrupted U.S. Supreme Court did it again today, with a 7 to 2 ruling upholding the Indian Child Welfare Act, with Amy Coney Barrett(!) writing the opinion that rejects "all of petitioners' challenges to the statute". Still to come by the end of the month, however: SCOTUS rulings on Affirmative Action in college admissions; the Independent State Legislature theory decision that could wreak utter havoc in the 2024 Presidential election; and whether they will deign to allow Biden to waive up to $20,000 for each federal student loan borrower.
  • We've also had some very good news from the lower federal courts as well in recent weeks, including a U.S. District Court judge rejecting Tennessee's Republican Gov. Bill Lee's attempt to stifle free speech by unconstitutionally banning drag shows, and a temporary injunction on portions of Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' unspeakably cruel law that places his state's Big Government between doctors and medically necessary treatments for trans children. That, in a state where DeSantis laughably ran for reelection last year with the slogan "Freedom Lives" in Florida.
  • Of course, as we've learned since 2016, for GOP American Idiots infected with the Trump Mind Virus, "The Cruelty is the Point". They seem to think it will somehow help them gain or hold power. Illinois' Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, however, in his Commencement Address at Northwestern University this week, has some helpful advice on how to spot an idiot. (Hint: Their cruelty is a dead giveaway.)
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with troubling news for the Summer on both sides of the Canadian border and in Texas. But, there is also a very encouraging landmark trial playing out right now in a Montana courtroom...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Author, redistricting expert David Daley of FairVote; Also: House Republicans mutiny against House Republicans...
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2023 6:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Yes, some actual, unqualified good and, frankly, surprisingly good news from our otherwise wildly corrupted U.S. Supreme Court on voting rights and racial gerrymandering! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Last year, following oral argument at the High Court in Allen v. Milligan, a Voting Rights Act challenge in Alabama, pretty much all Court watchers and voting rights advocates thought that Section 2 of the VRA was in big, big trouble. That, after the Supremes had already gutted Section 5 of the Act in the Shelby County case back in 2013 and have been nibbling away at the rest of the landmark 1965 law ever since.

But on Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh actually joined with the Court's three liberals in a 5 to 4 majority opinion [PDF], upholding a lower court ruling by a three-judge panel --- including two Trump appointees --- which had determined that Alabama must rewrite its redistricted Congressional maps after the 2020 Census to include a second majority Black U.S. House District.

Early last year SCOTUS had used the "shadow docket" to temporarily put the lower court's ruling on hold without a hearing, allowing the 2022 elections to move forward with just one out of AL's seven U.S. House Districts having a Black majority, despite African-Americans comprising some 27% of the state's population. That ruling --- along with tea leaves read from oral argument last year and Roberts' history of working to dismantle the VRA --- led many to believe the Court would permanently allow the state's racial gerrymander to remain in place, effectively overturning the ban on election laws and House maps created with a racially discriminatory intent.

Alabama's GOP gerrymander had been challenged as a violation of both the Constitution and Section 2 of the VRA, after the Supremes' previous gutting of Section 5 of the Act removed the mandate for jurisdictions to demonstrate in advance that new election laws did not discriminate on the basis of race. Challenges under the Act may still be filed under Section 2, but only after the discriminatory voting measure has been enacted.

The Court's actions last year also allowed similar racial gerrymanders in several other states, including Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and elsewhere, resulting in the GOP winning a razor-thin 5-seat majority in the U.S. House in November.

Thursday's stunning decision, according to experts, could net Democrats as many as four or more seats in the House in the 2024 elections, and is likely to affect ongoing legal challenges in as many as 10 states.

Our guest on today's program believes that, "Gerrymandering and redistricting was one of the big reasons why Republicans probably had about a net gain of between 12 and 15 seats [last year] when you look at the various partisan gerrymanders and the various racial gerrymanders that the Court allowed."

We're joined today to discuss all of this, the details of how it happened, and what it appears to mean going by forward by a stunned DAVID DALEY of FairVote, where he is an expert on gerrymandering and author of two different books on the topic.

"I don't even know what to say," Daley explains at the top of our conversation. "I'm so used to delivering the bad news, and all of a sudden I'm a doctor telling you you're going to live forever. This is an unusual role for me."

But, don't worry. Daley is still able to share a number of concerns about several other cases with opinions coming soon from SCOTUS, despite today's unreservedly good news for voters, voting rights, and the future of the not-dead-yet Voting Rights Act!

THEN, with today's excellent news that may well result in Democrats regaining the majority arguably stolen from them by unlawful GOP gerrymanders last November, the current GOP majority in the House is busy eating itself alive. The party's far-right flank has mounted a mutiny on the House floor this week, in rebellion against Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's debt ceiling deal last week with President Biden to avoid the first-ever default of the U.S. Government. And it's all quite hilarious.

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the worsening affects of our climate crisis are now choking Americans across much of the east coast and midwest with toxic smoke from hundreds of record, out-of-control, Canadian wildfires blanketing much of the nation. We also cover the Biden EPA's long-overdue upgrades of Jackson, Mississippi's water system and the ecological disaster in the wake of the destruction of a critical dam in Russian-occupied Ukraine.

[NOTE: Today's program was completed just prior to the breaking news late today of Donald Trump's reportedly 7-count federal criminal indictment in Special Counsel Jack Smith's probe in the disgraced former President's stolen documents case. We'll pick up on that historically good news, no doubt, next week!]

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former AL Gov. Don Siegelman; Also: A smoky climate crisis wake-up call; Biden EPA upgrades Jackson, MS water system; Clarence Thomas delays annual financial disclosure for some reason...
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2023 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Amidst all the madness, we take a moment to revisit a continuing stain on the nation and what can be done about it, with a longtime friend of this program. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST UP, however, a few news headlines...

  • The cost of our climate crisis strikes home for a huge swath of the nation, as smoke from hundreds of Canadian wildfires chokes American states from Minnesota to New York to the Ohio Valley to the Carolinas.
  • Joe Biden's EPA announces it is sending $115 million to Jackson, Mississippi to begin repairing the city's long deteriorating water system. It's the first of some $600 million Congress has allocated to support long-overdue water infrastructure upgrades in the state's capital city, where more than 80% of the population is Black and drinking water supplies have repeatedly failed in recent years.
  • The corrupt U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has asked for another 90 days before filing his annual financial disclosures, following months of brutal investigative reporting revealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of his undisclosed luxury vacations, real estate deals and more with billionaire GOP megadonor Harlan Crow.

THEN, we're joined by Alabama's former Democratic Governor DON SIEGELMAN, who recently penned an op-ed at Washington Post with the state's former Republican Governor Robert Bentley. As explained in their piece, both men have come to "regret" overseeing executions during their time as the state's chief executive after witnessing, first hand, "the flaws in our nation's justice system" during their own prosecutions.

Siegelman discusses one death penalty case in particular, the 2000 execution of Freddie Lee Wright, which he says he is now "personally haunted by", telling me today that Wright "should never have been charged with capital murder in the first place. He was exonerated by a jury, 11-1 voted to acquit him of this crime. Then the D.A. came back and struck Blacks from the jury and got a conviction."

There are many other such cases, and he details a few of them. In fact, while AL currently has 167 people on death row, both Bentley and Siegelman write that "at least" 146 of them should have their death sentences commuted. Siegelman tells me he believes all of them should be spared from the barbaric practice of state execution.

He and Bentley are calling for several reforms of the criminal justice system, particularly as it applies to the death penalty. Siegelman details reforms he seeks for the secret Grand Jury system and the outrage of "judicial overrides" that allowed judges to overrule juries to issue death sentences and the lack of unanimous verdicts required for sentencing a convicted criminal to death.

Siegelman also discusses the politics of the death penalty, including during the time that he held the power to block executions as Governor. We discuss that awesome and horrible power as it is wielded by government officials today, even after all that we now know about the racial injustices of a Jim Crow era system that disproportionately targets people of color and has been found to have been exercised against innocent people in the cases of at least 12% of those who have been put to death.

"Here we are in 2023, still using a method that was devised after the Civil War as a way of thwarting a Black juror. The white power structure at the time had a unanimous verdict. But they said, 'No, you know, with Blacks being able to be on a jury, we can't risk not being able to put somebody to death when we want to, so let's go with a non-unanimous jury.' So that's where this relic of the Jim Crow era came from. It was purely a racist process."

"It is just wrong, certainly morally wrong, for Alabama or for any other state. Now Florida has even lowered the bar," notes Siegelman, citing a bill recently signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. "Alabama has a 10-2 verdict. Florida has an 8-4 verdict, to make it even easier to put people to death by this relic of the 1870s."

"Until I was actually convicted of something that didn't exist except in the minds of the prosecutors, I thought that our system would somehow or another work itself out and be fair," he tells me. "But at the moment that I heard the word 'guilty' from the foreman of my jury, I said a prayer. It was instantaneous, more like a flash, asking God to forgive me because I remembered setting execution dates as Attorney General. And I remembered those that came before me while I was Governor asking that their sentences be commuted."

"But it wasn't even then that I realized how perverted our system of justice is. If in everything there is a purpose, or in every situation one should find a purpose, it was as if God was telling me, 'Okay, Governor, you see what's wrong. Now go fix it.'"

NOTE: We have covered Gov. Siegelman's personal story many times over the past two decades, before, during and after his time as a political prisoner as he was targeted for prosecution by a corrupt Republican cabal, including Karl Rove, state officials, and a federal judge who was eventually forced to resign after being arrested for beating his wife. Alabama's Governor from 1999 to 2003 and the only Democrat to serve in every statewide office, Siegelman tells his story in full in his 2020 book, STEALING OUR DEMOCRACY: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation.

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Also: Jack Smith appears! Trump indictment as soon as 'this week'?...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2023 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The whole scam seems to be collapsing in on them. Sad! [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

  • Trump troubles: Last week, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer was sentenced to three years in federal prison for unlawfully keeping classified documents related to national defense in his home. If he got three years for what he reportedly did, life should be getting very very difficult for what Donald Trump did when he stole thousands of pages of documents, many of them highly classified, upon leaving office, stored them at his home, and obstructed attempts by the federal government to retrieve them. A former federal prosecutor believes an indictment in Special Counsel Jack Smith's stolen document case against the former President could come as early as "this week". Given the Trump attorneys meeting at DoJ on Monday, and the apparent panic exhibited by Trump at his dumb social media site thereafter, that prosecutor could be correct.
  • More trouble for more GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters: Last week, longtime GOP fraudster and fake journalist James O'Keefe was sued by his own fake news organization for abusive behavior and allegedly ripping off the company, including, for example, for $150,000 in luxury car services. This week, Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips, the "voter fraud" fraudsters behind the discredited 2,000 Mules film and who run the phony, rightwing True the Vote nonprofit, were called out in a complaint to the IRS for allegedly violating state and federal laws in using the nonprofit to enrich themselves with unlawful loans, unreported lucrative contracts and other apparent self-dealing.
  • Kurt Cut the Wires: Since 2020, we've been reporting on Republican election officials unlawfully breaching, copying, and distributing computerized voting system software in states such as Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and, in most detail (where there is more coming soon, methinks), Coffee County, Georgia. Those incidents appear to have been part of a multi-state conspiracy overseen by disgraced Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and hatched in the Oval Office with Donald Trump and others on December 18, 2020, according to testimony given to the House January 6 Committee. But, in what appears to be a separate (if somewhat related) incident this week, a nonprofit group in Missouri is calling out the Director and Deputy Director of Elections in the very right-leaning town of St. Charles for breaking the seals on voting machines and cutting wires inside them to prevent what they believe is the ability for the systems to connect to the Internet. Tampering with voting systems is a violation of several state laws. And these yutzes, Director Kurt Bahr and Deputy Director Mark Parkinson, appear to admit to the whole thing. On video tape. Viewable at KurtCutTheWires.com.
  • Unequal justice: Last year, just before the primary elections in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis called a televised press conference in the Democratic stronghold of Broward County to announce the arrests of 20 former felons for voter fraud just days before the state's 2022 primary elections. The stunned and mostly people of color --- who were allowed to register and vote by the state --- were rounded up on video tape for what DeSantis declared to be unlawful voting as former felons convicted on charges related to murder or sex crimes. But, as the Orlando Sentinel reports this week, a State Attorney in a Republican stronghold, just months earlier, "declined to prosecute six voter fraud cases that involved circumstances strikingly similar to the cases later brought against 20 ex-felons by Gov. Ron DeSantis' election police unit and statewide prosecutors." Those cases were dismissed because, as the prosecutor determined, their fraud was "not willful"...just like the 20 who DeSantis had rounded up and arrested in Broward just days before last year's elections. Despite DeSantis' promise at his presser last year that there would be more arrests, there have only been four. The six from Republican Lake County are not among them.
  • GNR returns!: Desi Doyen is back with our first Green News Report since returning from a much-needed break last week. Somehow, she manages to get us all caught up with everything we missed and in just 6 minutes!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/6/2023 10:14am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Biden's debt ceiling deal averts economic crisis, while Joe Manchin gets his pipeline payoff; Major insurer ditches California over wildfire risk; Arizona slams the brakes on new developments over water concerns; PLUS: Rightwing U.S. Supreme Court's wetlands ruling is a major victory for polluters and developers... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Ukraine accuses Russia of blowing up a major dam; Kremlin blames Kyiv; Atmospheric CO2 levels hit new peak, growing at near-record rate; Debt-ceiling deal wildly profitable for mystery trader; Earth past its safe limits for humans, scientists say; Chemical makers settle PFAS-related claims for $1.19 billion; Chaco Canyon moratorium sparks calls for wider oil ban; New alarms over consequences of Antarctic ice melt; Industry documents show firms knew about forever chemicals for decades... PLUS: How wind energy became 'woke'... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Also: Is Biden playing 3-D chess with Repubs on the Debt Ceiling?...
By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2023 6:55pm PT  

The only good day in court this week for rightwing extremist yutzes was at the U.S. Supreme Court today, unfortunately. Other than that, as detailed on today's BradCast, it's not going well for them. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • Last year, the corrupted, far-right, activist extremists on the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out precedent and ignored the text of federal law to gut the EPA's ability to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. Today, those same corrupted yutzes gutted the EPA's ability to regulate pollution of our wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Once again legislating from the bench, Justice Sam Alito was even opposed on this matter by Justice Brett Kavanaugh who accused the majority of rewriting federal law and undermining the original intent of Congress.
  • 58-year old Oath Keepers founder, one-time BradCast guest, convicted seditionist and rightwing extremist yutz who shot his own eye out back in 1993, Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison on Thursday for the terrorist attack he helped organize on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. It was the longest sentence to date for the Trump insurrectionists who failed in their attempt to overthrow the government in order to steal the 2020 Presidential election.
  • This week, Richard "Bigo" Barnett, the 63-year old rightwing extremist yutz who made himself infamous among the 1/6 insurrectionists by posing for photos with his feet up on a desk in the office of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (carrying a "stun device" and a 10-pound steel pole he brought with him from Arkansas), was sentenced to 4 and a half years in federal prison. Sad!
  • Former TV news anchor, Trump Mini-Me Wannabee election denier and rightwing extremist yutz Kari Lake lost yet again in Arizona court this week, in what was her last chance to prove that the 2022 election for Governor was somehow stolen from her by Republican officials in Maricopa County (Phoenix). She not only lost again, but lost hilariously and is now, along with her attorneys, facing potential sanctions for their "heinous and profoundly harmful" claims that the 2022 election was "rigged", according to County attorneys citing Lake's multiple false claims, both before and during the latest trial, about the election she lost to Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs by about 17,000 votes last year.
  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his merry band of rightwing extremist yutzes in the U.S. House continue to hold the global economy hostage with their demands for massive cuts to popular social safety net programs in exchange for voting to raise the dumb debt ceiling. We've spent many shows in recent weeks discussing their dangerous threats, and the several ways that President Biden could fairly easily avoid a catastrophic, first-ever default by the U.S. Government without acceding to their threats.

    So why hasn't he taken advantage of those options, such as his ability to invoke the section of the 14th Amendment which declares "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law...shall not be questioned"? What explains Biden's various inscrutable responses when asked by reporters of late about using the 14th? And why has the Administration been hedging in their response to a lawsuit from a union of government employees suing them to invoke the 14th?

    Well, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell offered a sort of grand unification theory this week that could explain all of that. Matching up his theory --- which posits that Biden and his lead negotiator, Steve Richetti, are up to some serious Dark Brandon 3-D chess --- with the various public reporting available to those of us outside of the negotiating room, would actually explain some of the inexplicable comments from Biden and, frankly, his willingness to negotiate on the debt ceiling with Republicans at all after months of the Administration saying they refused to do so.

    O'Donnell concedes his theory is little more than a well-educated guess, based on his personal knowledge of Biden and Richetti from his time as a U.S. Senate staffer some years ago. But, if he is right, and if Biden can pull all of this off, it would avoid not one, but two upcoming fiscal cliffs at the same time, both the Debt Ceiling and the budget negotiations later this year which Republicans would otherwise almost certainly use to shut down the government as they have in years past in advance of next year's elections. O'Donnell's theory could even include ending the ability for rightwing Congressional yutzes to use the Debt Ceiling law as a hostage taking device ever again in the future.

    I realize that's a lot of "ifs", but, yes, all of that is actually a possibility based on all of the reporting on the matter so far, including late updates today from both Reuters and New York Times. It's all explained in detail on today's show.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with grim news on global heating and the rightwing extremist yutzes both causing it and refusing to do anything about it...

* * * SHOW NOTE: We're taking a very much-needed break over Memorial Day week from both the The BradCast and Green News Report. So it may be quieter than usual around here over the next week. Please forgive us, and we'll see ya shortly thereafter!...

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Guest: Former federal prosecutor Randall D. Eliason; Also: How DeSantis robbed freedoms and weaponized Big Government 'cancel culture' in FL...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2023 6:47pm PT  

After more than twenty years of rolling back corruption and bribery statutes, is it any wonder, as our guest on today's BradCast observed in his latest op-ed, that the U.S. Supreme Court is now "blind to its own corruption"?

BUT FIRST, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is announcing his 2024 Presidential run today, and corporate media outlets are focusing on his horse race with the disgraced former President. We mark the day, however, by focusing on several of the latest victims of DeSantis' Big Government weaponization against people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. That, by a guy whose 2022 re-election slogan in Florida was, laughably, "Freedom Lives Here".

DeSantis deserves credit for leading the way for other, similarly gerrymandered and GOP-controlled states which have begun to adopt many of the same, hateful, Big Government "cancel culture" statutes that, in Florida, have resulted in banned books, muzzled teachers, lost rights, vile threats against those who support freedom and travel warnings issued for those visiting the Sunshine State.

Today, the effort is playing out in terroristic threats against Target employees; an investigation of a Florida grade school teacher for showing an animated Disney film to her class; and the removal of The Hill We Climb --- a poem by Amanda Gorman which she read at Joe Biden's 2021 inauguration --- from a grade school library. That's just a sampling of some of the latest victims of DeSantis' cruel agenda during his tenure as Governor.

As California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted in response to Target's removal of items from its Pride Month collection under threats from the MAGA right, "Wake up America. This doesn’t stop here. You’re black? You’re Asian? You’re Jewish? You’re a woman? You’re next."

THEN, it's back to the seemingly never-ending, decades-long corruption of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and some similar, recently revealed corruption by Justice Neil Gorsuch and even Chief Justice John Roberts who, by and large, refuses to do anything about any of it.

There's an explanation for that, argues RANDALL D. ELIASON, George Washington University Law School professor and former chief of the fraud and public corruption section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C.

"Over more than two decades, the Supreme Court has gutted laws aimed at fighting corruption and at limiting the ability of the powerful to enrich public officials in a position to advance their interests. As a result, today wealthy individuals and corporations may buy political access and influence with little fear of legal consequences, either for them or for the beneficiaries of their largess," Eliason argued in a New York Times op-ed over the weekend, adding: "No wonder Justice Thomas apparently thought his behavior was no big deal."

Today, Eliason tells me, "the Court itself has contributed to a legal environment over the last twenty years, where, at least as far as the Court is concerned, many of the things that are going on are not, in fact, corrupt, because they've taken this extremely narrow view of what corruption is." Essentially, he explains, cases such as Citizens United v. FEC; United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers; Skilling v. U.S.; and McDonnell v. U.S. have all greatly narrowed the definition of corruption to largely nothing less than a very specific quid pro quo bribe where a politician promises a very specific official act in exchange for payment.

That means, as some on the Court may now see it, long-term relationships where a GOP megadonor like Harlan Crow has sponsored hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed luxury travel for Thomas, or purchased his mother's house, improved it, and allowed her to live there rent-free to this day, or even paying private school tuition for Thomas' grand-nephew, is not seen as "corruption" if it wasn't in return for a specific thing. Even Thomas' wife Ginni can receive tens of thousands of dollars in payoffs by far-right activists, and it's not considered corruption.

"These long term relationships, where wealthy donors can shower a politician or a Supreme Court justice with huge gifts over years --- that's okay. At least it's not criminal, unless prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one particular gift was because of one particular thing they did," Eliason explains, detailing how the Court has cloistered itself into a world where all of this is somehow okay.

"The reality of corruption is usually much more subtle that that, and pervasive than that. It's a long-term 'You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' kind of arrangement. 'I'll give you these fancy trips and gifts and things over time, and then when things happen to come up that I'm interested in, you'll do the right thing for me, and we don't even have to talk about it. We don't have to have an explicit deal, it's just an understanding between us.' That's what real-world corruption is like. But for more than twenty years, the Court has issued a series of opinions that have largely put arrangements like that --- like the arrangement between Harlan Crow and Clarence Thomas --- out of the reach of the law."

We've got a lot to discuss on these matters with Eliason today, including his suggestions for how Congress could fix this clearly broken and corrupt system, even as the Chief Justice suggests (inaccurately) that doing so would somehow be a violation of the Constitution's Separation of Powers doctrine. Ironically enough, if Congress finally does manage to legislate ethics reform for the Court and someone did challenge it as unconstitutional, guess who would get to be the final arbiter? "I wonder how they are going to rule?," quips Eliason...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/16/2023 10:09am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Powerful Cyclone Mocha causes widespread destruction in Myanmar, Bangladesh; It'll cost $30 billion to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico alone; PLUS: Biden EPA unveils new rules to clean up carbon pollution from the nation's power plants... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate/crop impacts could come sooner than previously thought; Unusually early heat wave in Pacific Northwest tests records; Youth lawsuit challenging Montana’s pro-fossil fuel policies is heading to trial; Is carbon capture viable? In a new rule, the EPA is asking power plants to prove it; What’s behind the severe decline in Florida’s citrus harvest?; Your homeowners' insurance bill is the canary in the climate coal mine; EPA looks to toss 'deceptive' plastics recycling symbol... PLUS: Nature lawyers up: growing number of countries and courts say the environment should be endowed with legal rights... and much, MUCH more! ...

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And how the Fairness Doctrine, extended to cable, could have prevented Jan. 6 and the threat to democracy's survival...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/12/2023 10:05am PT  

A decision by President Ronald Reagan to veto [PDF] an Act of Congress that would have codified the FCC's Fairness Doctrine into law, rather than just FCC regulation, coupled with the failure of both the FCC and Congress to expand the Doctrine to apply not only to over-the-air broadcasting, but also to ubiquitous cable television networks like Fox "News", gave birth to today's mendacious right-wing media echo chamber.

The rationale offered by Reagan in his veto at the time, and by the Commissioners he appointed to the FCC when it repealed [PDF] the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, was that the Doctrine had a "chilling effect" on broadcasters' willingness to cover controversial topics. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, in Red Lion Broadcasting v. FCC (1969), brushed aside that same argument as speculative.

"It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited market-place of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail," JFK-appointee Justice Byron White wrote on behalf of the unanimous Supreme Court in the Red Lion opinion. "Speech concerning public affairs," he added, "is more than self-expression; it is the essence of self-government."

That observation aligns with the words of James Madison, who introduced the First Amendment at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance," Madison proffered; "and a People who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives."

Because the "goal" of the First Amendment is to produce "an informed public capable of conducting its own affairs," the Court, in Red Lion, ruled that it's the First Amendment "right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, that is paramount."

The Supreme Court has never recognized a First Amendment right of a broadcaster to lie to the public, let alone a broadcaster's right to erect a pervasive, yet entirely fictional alternative reality, like the one created when Fox "News" embraced and amplified the same "Big Lie" that led to the January 6 insurrection.

If the Doctrine had been retained and expanded to cable TV outlets, it might well have prevented the January 6 insurrection. An expanded Fairness Doctrine would also have the potential to fend off today's ominous threat to the very survival of democracy in these United States...

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Also: 'Blue Wave' in NE; OH, MO Repubs gaming ballot initiatives; DeSantis suppressing more FL voters; Proud Boys guilty; Trump's NYT suit tossed; More gob-smacking Clarence Thomas corruption...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2023 6:53pm PT  

There was far too much news to fit into one BradCast today. We tried to do it anyway. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our many stories...

  • It was difficult to notice this week, but there was yet another very good election day on Tuesday for non-Rightwingers, including more bad news for MAGA World in several local contests around the country. In Lincoln, Nebraska, incumbent Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, supported by Democrats, defeated a well-funded opponent supported by the state's billionaire Republican U.S. Senator (and former Governor) Pete Ricketts and fellow billionaire publisher Thomas Peed. Gaylor Baird won by nearly 10 points. Apparently, ads describing Lincoln, the state capital, as a dystopian hellhole did not go over well with voters...in Lincoln.
  • A MAGA election conspiracist and local elections clerk named Stephanie Scott (pictured above), was tossed out of her job in a rare recall election on Tuesday in Adams Township, Michigan in Hillsdale County, one of the state's most Republican-leaning areas. Scott is under state criminal investigation after refusing to turn over her town's computer vote tabulator in 2021, which she believed held evidence of fraud revealing Democrats had stolen the state's Presidential election in 2020. That, in a town that Trump/Pence won with 75% of the vote that year. (If the story sounds familiar, see Tina Peters, former Mesa County, Colorado Clerk, who has since been tossed out of her job and indicted on 10 counts.) This appears to be part of the multi-state MAGA conspiracy to breach voting systems, hatched at the Trump White House in December 2020, as we detailed again last week. Scott was defeated by a 2 to 1 margin on Tuesday by an independent challenger running on the slogan "Make Adams Township Boring Again".
  • But, if ya can't beat 'em, suppress their vote! That seems to be the Republican plan for "winning" elections from here on out, apparently. After losing statewide ballot initiatives that would have restricted abortion rights last year, including in so-called "red" states like Kansas and Kentucky, the GOP is now hoping to game the ballot initiative process itself in several states. The most immediate and noteworthy is Ohio, where supporters of reproductive freedom hope to place an initiative on the ballot in November to establish a state Constitutional right to abortion. But Republicans, who just four months ago adopted a statute ending costly August elections, are now moving to place an amendment on the ballot in a $20 million Special Election in August that would raise the requirement for adoption of Constitutional Amendments from a simple majority vote to a required 60% for passage. (Ironically, the GOP lawmakers own Amendment, if voted on in August, would only require 50% to be adopted.) Other gerrymandered GOP states are now attempted to do the same thing, including Missouri, where Republican lawmakers there are doing something arguably even more insidious in their own attempt to fool voters into supporting their anti-democracy measure.
  • And then there's Florida, where democracy goes to die. The state legislature has just passed a one of their final gifts to beleaguered Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis: a 96-page law that will, among other things, severely restrict voter registration by nonpartisan third-party organizations. As recent research finds, Black and Latino voters are more than five times more likely to be registered by third-party groups than White voters. DeSantis is expected to sign the legislation soon as one of his last official acts before declaring his 2024 candidacy. It will be the third year in a row that Sunshine State Republicans have adopted new voting restrictions.
  • A D.C. jury on Thursday convicted four members of the far-right, racist militia group, Proud Boys, of seditious conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, conspiring to impede Congress from performing its duties, obstructing law enforcement and other federal crimes related to their participation in Donald Trump's Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The charges for conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding both carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison. Their former leader, like Donald Trump, was not even at the Capitol during the riot, but was among those found guilty. All of that good news is likely very bad news for the former President and the specific federal charges likely to soon be brought against him.
  • In still more bad news for Trump today, his lawsuit against the New York Times and several of their reporters, charging an "insidious plot" to obtain his tax records resulting in Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting by the paper, was tossed out by a New York judge on Wednesday. Moreover, the judge --- finding Trump's claims "fail as a matter of constitutional law" and that the paper's newsgathering efforts were "the very core of protected First Amendment activity" --- ordered Trump to pay all of the attorneys fees, legal expenses and other associated costs for the Times and their reporters.
  • ProPublica strikes again. First they revealed that GOP megadonor Harlan Crow showered U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for decades with hundreds of thousands of dollars in luxury vacations which he unlawfully failed to disclose. Then they reported that Crow had actually purchased Thomas' mother's house from him, made nearly $40,000 worth of improvements to it, and has allowed the corrupt Justices mom in it, rent-free, ever since. None of that was ever disclosed by Thomas either, in violation of the law. And now, on Wednesday, they did it again. Their latest bombshell scoop documents how Crow's company paid for years of tuition to private schools for Thomas' grandnephew who the nation's longest serving Justice says he raised "as a son" since taking legal custody at the age of 6. The tuition for the boy, now in his 30s, amounted to approximately $100,000. Congressional Republicans continue to applaud the unspeakably corrupt Thomas.
  • Finally, as you haven't had enough already today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report to detail the unprecedented heat wave in Spain, as Italy's rivers dry up; the EU's passage of "the biggest climate protection law of all time"; and New York's adoption of a landmark law banning natural gas hookups in new building construction...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Abortion bans blocked by GOPers in two 'red' states; Trump Camp also paid a second research firm to find zero fraud in the 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2023 6:27pm PT  

Time is running out on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many clock-ticking stories covered today...

  • The contract for film and television writers ran out as of midnight last night. Today, 11,500 union members in the Writers Guild of America went on strike. The late-night comedy shows have already been shut down and, sadly, Americans are likely to be less well-informed because of it. We explain.
  • The deadline for how long Republicans can hold the nation and world economy hostage to ill-considered, self-destructive extremist idiocy --- before blowing everything up and creating a first-ever default of the U.S. Government in the process --- got much closer as of Monday. The new earliest date for when the U.S. Government may run out of authority to borrow the funds needed to pay for stuff that Republicans and Democrats alike long ago committed to paying for is now June 1, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

    Yet, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his band of reckless Republicans in Congress continue to exploit our dumb debt limit law to try and extort huge cuts to food and health care to millions of Americans (including veterans) along with a rollback of critical climate crisis initiatives in exchange for not destroying the nation's economy.

    President Biden is right not to negotiate with terrorists on this matter. The way the media covers this mess, however, will make a big difference in whether or not Biden's able to continue to do the right thing. In the meantime, we sure do hope he has a plan to handle the worst-case scenario that today's gerrymandered, death-wish GOPers may actually be dumb enough to cause for the first time in U.S. history.

  • Not all Republicans have a death wish, apparently. On the same day last week, in two different "red" states, South Carolina and Nebraska, a handful of Republican state lawmakers voted to protect abortion rights. For now. It took the only two female Republican state Senators in South Carolina and one 80-year old Republican in Nebraska to block complete bans on reproductive freedoms. We'll see how long that lasts and/or if any other GOPers can figure out why they keep losing elections that they should have won after the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
  • Back in February we covered the news from Washington Post's Josh Dawsey that the Donald Trump's Campaign paid $600,000 to a research firm to investigate every single potential claim of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. They found absolutely nothing and told Trump as much in December of that year. Nonetheless, on January 6, 2021, Trump went out and lied yet again to his supporters about fraud in the election, even though he was told all such claims were baseless. And now, Dawsey reports, a second firm was paid $750,000 by the Trump Campaign at the same time to also find no evidence of fraud. That firm told him as well, in advance of January 6. Special Counsel Jack Smith has now reportedly subpoenaed records and testimony from both firms, as he probes the Trump Campaign fraudulently raising more than $250 million from their own supporters based on fraudulent claims we now know Trump absolutely knew to be fraudulent at the time he made the fraudulent claims.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with non-fraudulent news on the impact of climate change on East Africa's deadly drought; the corrupted SCOTUS plans to undermine climate regulations next term; SpaceX grounded in Texas; and some better news for the climate out of the great state of California...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/2/2023 10:57am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Drought in East Africa was caused by man-made climate change; U.S. Supreme Court to hear case challenging federal agency authority to regulate pollution; PLUS: SpaceX grounded in Texas after catastrophic rocket failure damages wildlife reserves... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Global ocean temperatures spike to record levels as El Niño nears; EU adopts "biggest climate protection law of all time"; Farewell Transmission: Texas’ plan to fix its power grid is a disaster; Lack of snow condemns Italy's Po River to a desperately dry summer; GM announces Chevy Bolt is over, long live the Equinox; Flooding on Upper Mississippi River to halt barge traffic for weeks; New York to ban natural gas, including stoves, in new buildings; Deadly Illinois dust storm raises soil questions - is solar the answer?... PLUS: U.S. coal plants cost more money to maintain than to simply replace ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: Dan Vicuña, Nat'l Redistricting Manager at Common Cause...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2023 6:22pm PT  

It's another red alert day on The BradCast today, regarding the precedent crushing plans of our stolen, corrupted and packed Rightwing U.S. Supreme Court majority. They've got two different plans, in fact, for two different ways to overturn decades, if not centuries of critical precedent on federal elections and the power of federal agencies. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP, we begin in the state of North Carolina where, last year, a 4 to 3 Democratic majority on the state's Supreme Court found the GOP-majority state legislature had drawn up new legislative and Congressional district maps that constituted unlawful partisan gerrymanders under the state Constitution. The state court ordered fair maps to be drawn up, resulting in the election of a Congressional delegation in 2022 that had 7 Democrats and 7 Republicans in the very closely divided state.

State Republicans, however, challenged the high court's ruling by filing a case named Moore v. Harper with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that an obscure clause in the U.S. Constitution allows state legislatures and only state legislatures to create rules and laws for federal elections. Neither state courts nor constitutions can tell them otherwise, they are arguing.

It's a fringe concept known as the Independent State Legislature theory, which has never been blessed by a majority at SCOTUS. But Republicans are hoping the current, corrupted Republican Court will approve the theory, blocking Governors or Secretaries of State or state Supreme Courts or state constitutions or even voters from setting election laws. We have long warned of the dangers of this case for American elections as we know them. Under this theory, if SCOTUS grants its blessing as many fear [raises hand!], state legislatures could even choose Presidential electors no matter how the state's voters may vote. The U.S. Supreme Court heard Moore v. Harper last December, after we'd spent months setting off sirens to try and let you know about what could happen in that case in advance of next year's 2024 Presidential election.

Last November, however, NC voters elected two new Republicans for their state's high court, giving Republicans a 5 to 2 majority. And, last Friday, after rehearing the exact same gerrymandering case in which they had previously ordered new maps, the new Republican court majority reversed the same court's previous ruling, allowing partisan gerrymanders to return in advance of 2024. The likely result will be a House delegation with 10 Republicans and 4 Democrats. That, even though there had been no changes to the law, and no new facts were presented to the newly GOP-led state Supreme Court. (They also reversed a previous ruling that had restored voting rights to some 55,000 former felons, and a ruling that had blocked a photo ID voting restriction that violated the state's Constitution.)

What does this unprecedented reversal at the NC Supreme Court of a month's old ruling mean for the U.S. Supreme Court's pending ruling in Moore v. Harper? We're joined today to discuss exactly that by DAN VICUÑA, national redistricting manager at Common Cause, plaintiffs in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case challenging an earlier gerrymandered map in North Carolina following the 2010 U.S. Census.

"I think just the blatant hypocrisy, the clear partisanship, is laid so bare it's hard to see how a decision like this stands" in North Carolina, at least over time, argues Vicuña. But, as to what may happen in Moore v. Harper at SCOTUS, and whether the case will be found moot or the Court will go ahead and issue an opinion anyway, Vicuña would rather get a ruling now than in the next term, when a ruling would come in the middle of the 2024 Presidential election.

"We didn't want this case to be heard in the first place, because the Independent State Legislature theory is, quite frankly, ridiculous," he tells me. "It defies logic, defies legal precedent, defies the intent of the framers of the Constitution. But it was heard. We made our case. We think we won very clearly on the law and the facts, and the history. So getting clarity on the facts well in advance of the 2024 election makes a lot of sense. So we're okay with that, and hope it goes our way."

NEXT UP, more disturbing news today out of SCOTUS. The Court announced on Monday they will take up a case next term that challenges the so-called "Chevron Deference", a landmark ruling from a 1984 case (Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council) which established that experts at federal agencies should be given deference when creating rules and regulations meant to enforce federal laws in which Congress may have been ambiguous regarding certain details.

For example, as Desi Doyen joins us to explain today, the Clean Air Act may grant the EPA a mandate to regulate pollution, but it may not specifically mention which pollutants must be regulated, or how many parts per million constitute unlawful pollution. That's left to experts at the EPA to determine through the rule-making procedures. But Republicans wish to dismantle the ability of federal agencies to make any such rules, granting that authority instead to courts (without expertise) and the industry lobbyists who influence them.

Our corrupted, packed and stolen rightwing SCOTUS now appears ready to "dismantle the administrative state" (as Steve Bannon has long been promising) in a ruling next term that could affect the ability of agencies to create federal regulations regarding everything from the climate crisis to health care to immigration and beyond.

Finally, we finish up with some listener email and phone calls to round out another disturbing hour of The BradCast. Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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