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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, May 19, 2024
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Becoming a single-issue voter is getting pretty easy; Also: Holding election officials accountable; Biden delivering on renewable energy projects in all 50 states; Madness in 'Darth Valley'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2023 6:37pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Why I'm quickly becoming a single-issue voter and you should too. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

It's getting easier and easier by the day --- as Trump's Republican Party completes its transition to full-on autocracy --- to make my choices for next year's general election before I even know who will be running. If a candidate is pro-democracy and running against a pro-autocracy candidate, I'll choose the one who supports democracy every time. It's simple.

It's not a partisan issue either. If there is anyone left within the Republican Party willing to support democracy and oppose authoritarianism, I'm happy to examine the rest of their record and consider voting for them. The way things are shaking out, however, I'm not sure where I would find such a Republican candidate, all of which is discussed in varying degrees of detail on today's program.

Among the many stories today that help illustrate what I believe will be the single most defining issue in American elections for the foreseeable future...

  • A Township Clerk in Michigan is stripped of his election administration duties after being one of 16 people indicted this week for defrauding the state by pretending to be a "duly elected" elector after the 2020 Presidential election. Each of the 16 Republicans are charged with 8 criminal counts related to conspiracy to commit election forgery. Each charge carries a penalty of anywhere from 4 to 14 years in prison. While they all deserve punishment, I especially hope they throw the book at the longtime, elected Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot, who violated the trust of the people he serves, who definitely understood what he was doing wrong, and that Donald Trump did not win Michigan's 2020 election.
  • While GOP election officials are violating election laws (Grot is not the only one), the Republican lawmakers are otherwise working hard to prevent (certain) people from voting at all. Happily, a U.S. District Judge in Florida recently blocked a new state law that prevented certain former felons and non-citizens from participating in voter registration drives. The judge found the measure, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, to "reduce individual rights to ashes" in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Meanwhile, Republicans in the U.S. House are attempting to force similar measures on all 50 states, reducing states rights to ashes (despite long pretending to care about them, but only in certain, very specific circumstances). Their newly introduced measure is called The American Confidence in Elections Act. It makes it more difficult for many to vote, easier to cheat, and easier for millionaires and billionaires to further purchase American elections. Contrast that with two Democratic voting and election reform measures being reintroduced --- the Freedom to Vote Act and John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act --- which would, among other things, make it easier for legal voters to cast their votes, provide support for election workers, regulate dark money in elections, ban partisan gerrymandering, revive portions of the Voting Rights Act gutted by SCOTUS, and allow every voter a hand-marked paper ballot. Again, another clear illustration of a pro-democracy party versus an anti-democracy party. Next year's choices should be simple.
  • And, if there are any remaining questions about Democracy v. Autocracy as the stark new stakes our country now faces, there is likely no clearer illustration of it than Monday's explosive New York Times story detailing the Republican's $22 million "Project 2025". The plan, being prepared by former Trump White House officials for Trump or whichever Republican next wins the White House, involves what NYU Historian and fascism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat described as "autocratic capture". The scheme, which they are not trying to hide, calls for the consolidation of all Executive Branch power into the White House, allowing the President to purge tens of thousands of career public officials deemed as insufficiently loyal, and to allow him or her to take over complete control of all independent Executive Branch agencies, such as the Dept. of Justice, FCC, FTC, Federal Reserve and many others. The President would also grant himself the power to block the allocation of monies appropriated by Congress. As one of the Republicans behind the project explains: "There is no way to make the existing structure function in a conservative manner. ... What’s necessary is a complete system overhaul." Another tells the Times: "What we’re trying to do is identify the pockets of independence and seize them." Are the extraordinary 2024 stakes making sense out there yet?
  • All of that as the planet's climate continues to degenerate thanks to the continuing burning of fossil fuels and those in the industry --- and politicians they've purchased --- who continue to lie to the public about it. In California's "Darth Valley Run" one guy is making the best (or worst?) of it...even as he seems to concede he is certifiably insane. (See the photo above for a hint.)
  • And, in Philadelphia on Thursday, President Biden, speaking at a shipyard, detailed an extraordinary array of remarkable new renewable energy projects now underway --- mostly off-shore wind in this case --- and the thousands of good-paying, union jobs that come with them, created by Biden and Congressional Democrats in all 50 states as part of last year's Inflation Reduction Act.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen further breaks down the stakes for the planet --- as all-time, mind-blowing heat records continue to be shattered across the Northern Hemisphere --- in our latest Green News Report...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Alexandra Flores-Quilty of Free Speech for People; Also: Kari Lake attorneys sanctioned; DeSantis campaign sinking; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2023 6:40pm PT  

The question posed by today's BradCast: Donald Trump is arguably ineligible to serve as President of the United States, according to the "insurrection disqualification clause" of the U.S. Constitution (Section 3 of the 14th Amendment). And yet, he is also arguably the easiest GOP candidate for Joe Biden to defeat next year in a race that will, once again, be a proxy battle between democracy and autocracy. With that in mind, should the former President be barred from running nonetheless? [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

As the New York Times detailed today, the stakes couldn't be higher. A team of former Trump White House officials has been constructing an agenda for whoever becomes the next Republican President that will involve a radical takeover of independent Executive Branch agencies and a consolidation of all "Unitary Executive" power in the Oval Office. (Here's a free gift link to read the NYT piece. You should be terrified by it.)

As the paper makes clear, no matter who the GOP nominee is next year, if they win, American democracy as we know it is in very very big trouble. With that in mind --- and the argument that Trump is likely to be the easiest for Biden to defeat --- are pro-democracy and good government advocates certain they want to disqualify Trump from the ballot next year?

We're joined today by ALEXANDRA FLORES-QUILTY, Campaign Director at the non-profit, non-partisan, pro-democracy good government group, Free Speech for People. Her organization, along with Mia Familia Vota, recently launched a campaign to argue that "Trump is Disqualified from the Ballot". They sent letters [PDF] to the top election officials in ten states, informing them of the need to bar him from the 2024 ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment which disqualifying those who, "having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States" from holding office if they subsequently "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same." Of course, that's exactly what a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate found that Trump did on January 6, 2021, as well as the bipartisan U.S. House Committee which also investigated the matter.

Recently, a spokesperson for Colorado's Democratic Sec. of State Jena Griswold declined to comment "at this time" on whether Trump will be allowed on next year's ballot. She has until January 5 to decide in the state. FSFP and MFV have also sent similar letters to chief election officials in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania. They argue that those officials have the ability --- and responsibility --- to disqualify Trump, just as they do for any candidate who does not meet requirements (age, residency, etc.) for office.

"Secretaries of State have a duty to ensure that candidates who seek to appear on their state ballots meet the Constitutional qualifications for serving in public office. In fact," notes Flores-Quilty, "Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has actually confirmed that Secretaries of State may refuse ballot placement to candidates for President who do not meet the Constitutional requirements of the office. [See 2012's Hassan v. Colorado in which Gorsuch, while still a 10th Circuit Appeals Court judge, found that states may "exclude from the ballot candidates who are constitutionally prohibited from assuming office."]

Moreover, Flores-Quilty argues it "is not a requirement" for Trump to have been criminally charged and found guilty of "insurrection" to be disqualified under the clause, which dates back to the post-Civil War era, when the 14th Amendment was adopted. "There is clear precedent from when it was originally enacted that that was not a requirement. No criminal conviction is necessary in order to enforce this critical provision of the Constitution."

"It's really important that we're doing public education and creating a public mandate that Secretaries of State --- it's not only within their power but it's their responsibility --- ensure that somebody who has so clearly violated this provision of the Constitution is not allowed to appear on the ballot. Trump has been able to get away with breaking the law, time and time again. Impunity is emboldening. So the rules need to be enforced."

Okay, but is it politically smart for either Democrats or pro-democracy advocates at this precarious moment to press this point to disqualify Trump from the ballot and potentially pave the way for a Republican candidate who may be equally authoritarian, but more able to defeat Biden next year?

Flores-Quilty --- and a bunch of our callers today --- ring in with their answers to that critical question!

Also today: Ron DeSantis' floundering campaign fires at least 10 workers. Failed AZ Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake's attorneys (including Alan Dershowitz) sanctioned for $122,000 for bogus election fraud claims.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Actors on strike; Contraceptives for sale; GOP megadonors blown off; New U.S. House maps for NY; Free tuition at UNC; Biden's new student loan repayment plan; And much more...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2023 6:30pm PT  

We not only cover a whole bunch of news stories on today's BradCast, we also explain what they mean and why they matter. As always, we want you to not only know what happened, but understand why it did and what can be done about it, so you can pass that important information on to others. [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

Among the many stories both reported and explained on today's program...

  • Film and TV actors of SAG-AFTRA join the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in going on strike against producers in hopes of proper payment and residuals for streaming services and AI usage, among other appropriate demands.
  • We take another quick spin through my new favorite website --- FoxWeather.com --- where they report on all of the catastrophic effects of climate change now devastating much of the planet, but because Fox hates its duped readers and viewers so much, they never even once explain why all of these disasters are now happening. (Hint for Fox "News" dupes, if I'm lucky enough that you stopped by: It's the climate change, stupid, as caused by the burning of fossil fuels.)
  • The Biden FDA approves the first ever over-the-counter birth control pill. Happily, this should be bring the abortion rate way down. So, rightwingers will be delighted with this news, right?
  • Dumb GOP megadonors in Illinois lose their ill-considered fight to prevent the use of clean, electric leaf blowers on their 22-acre estate. But it's a win for their neighbors and for the rest of us. (And even for them, whether they too dumb to know it or not!)
  • A state court orders New York to redraw U.S. House maps before the 2024 elections. That alone could end up flipping the House back to Democratic control next year, after the GOP flipped four NY seats from "blue" to "red" last year, after the state court blocked an attempted Democratic gerrymander. It's complicated.
  • Great news for North Carolina residents! After Republicans on the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court recently blocked Affirmative Action for college admissions at the University of North Carolina (and everywhere else in the bargain), the school has announced it will be offering FREE tuition to many in-state students "as part of their continued effort to boost diversity".
  • Late last month, the corrupt rightwing SCOTUS majority used their recently invented-from-whole-cloth "Major Questions Doctrine" to block the Biden Administration from using the specific text of the federal HEROES Act to forgive up to $20,000 in student loans to borrowers. The President has announced a new plan to use a different law to accomplish even broader forgiveness, though it will take a bit more time than his initial plan. In the meantime, beginning next month, a newly restructured repayment plan for loans will allow millions to pay just $0 a month (you read that right) without seeing any interest added. Their entire loan may then be considered as paid in full after 10 years. We break down the key details of the new plan and how Republicans are already attempting to undermine it, because they hate people who aren't millionaires or billionaires.
  • Finally, it's our latest disturbing Green News Report with Desi Doyen here to drive you crazy as the summer of climate catastrophes continue. Among our coverage: another major insurer flees Florida; California works out a deal with manufacturers to phase out polluting big rigs; and the U.S. becomes the blackout capital of the world, thanks to the many failures of natural gas...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate on that and other 'Major Questions' from our radical, activist, corrupted U.S. Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2023 6:35pm PT  

It's been too long, but we're delighted to have one of our favorite guests back on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first, in a rare, one day only special session of the State Legislature called by Iowa's Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday, GOP lawmakers in the Hawkeye State hastily adopted a ban on almost all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before most know they are even pregnant.

Reynolds had the temerity to declare that "the voices of Iowans and their democratically elected representatives cannot be ignored any longer." That, despite recent state polling finding that 61% of voters in Iowa support legal abortion in all or most cases, with just 35% saying it should be banned.

Well, the "elected representatives" have now been heard --- Reynolds plans to sign the measure on Friday, when it will immediately take effect --- but the voices of Iowans certainly haven't. The new law was passed with only Republican votes. It allows limited exceptions after 6 weeks in some cases of rape, incest and certain medical emergencies. A lawsuit by proponents of reproductive freedom was filed today. We explain the details and the news that former Vice President and current 2024 GOP candidate for President, Mike Pence, is both calling for a similar ban at the federal level and believes abortion should be banned even when a pregnancy is not viable and doctors have determined a baby cannot survive outside of the womb. (None of the other 2024 GOP candidates has been willing to say they disagree with Pence.)

That cruelty, unfortunately, is now par for the course in the Republican Party, and is reflected in similar legislative bans on reproductive freedoms now in at least 17 states just one year after the corrupted, far-right U.S. Supreme Court activist majority overturned Roe v. Wade's 50 years of Constitutional reproductive freedoms.

Rulings made by SCOTUS this year, sadly, are no less radical, even as several of them issued at term's end last month have been cited by some in the media to suggest that Chief Justice John Roberts has somewhat "moderated" the most extreme positions of the Court. That would be inaccurate, but exactly what Roberts had hoped for.

We're joined today by the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist at Slate to discuss a number of those decisions, and what has now emerged as Roberts' neat trick to hoax the media into regarding him and some of the opinions issued by the Court this year as "moderate".

In short, as Stern details today, Roberts is essentially manipulating the Court's docket --- by determining which cases to hear and which ones not to --- in order to make SCOTUS' end-of-term opinions appear less extreme, overall, than they actually are.

"They have consistently taken up these cases that sort of seem designed to terrify liberals. Then, when the case comes down in a way that's not the end of the world, they get good headlines," he explains.

"The Court really shouldn't have been hearing a lot of these cases in the first place. So, by deciding them in a so-called 'liberal way', they create this image of balance and moderation that's not really deserved," he argues. "There's no better example of that than the Independent State Legislature case [Moore v. Harper]. There was absolutely no reason for the Supreme Court to intervene, and yet it reached down and grabbed that case. And, by deciding it in a somewhat moderate way --- although Roberts left the door open for mischief, as he so often does --- the Court got great headlines as being so moderate and thoughtful."

"That is a trick that the Chief Justice is very good at playing on the media. But it's not one I think we should fall for, given how obvious it is and how many decisions that he really cares about [that] end up coming out so far to the right over and over again."

"We pretend as though these cases emerged out of nowhere, when in reality, the Court is building a very careful story, using each individual case to try to show something about the Court that it thinks will appeal to the public." But that doesn't reveal the full story, Stern argues. "The 'liberal victories' simply leave the law as it was, without making any changes. Whereas the conservative victories radically overhaul the law in ways that were unimaginable just five or six years ago. That's also something that I think is very difficult to explain to people who don't watch the Court closely, but becomes blazingly obvious once you apply a little bit of scrutiny to how this Court operates."

And now, it's all making much more sense.

We saw that neat trick play out once again this year, as the stolen, packed and corrupted far-right majority, at terms end, ultimately reverted to form to overturn decades-old precedents regarding race-based Affirmative Action in college admissions (though not other Affirmative Actions, for example, legacy admissions and those for the kids of high ticket donors); the Court expanded newly discovered Constitutional "religious freedoms" to allow web page designers (and, actually, any other business) to discriminate against LGBTQ+ customers based on imaginary --- in fact, wholly fraudulent --- grievances; they picked up on last year's Judicial Activism by further restricting the EPA's ability to meet mandates of landmark laws passed by Congress, in this year's case, the Clean Water Act; and, they determined that while forgiving millions of dollar in loans to so-called small businesses and cutting taxes for billionaires was just fine, forgiving $10,000 to student loan borrowers during a national emergency --- in specific accordance with the original text of federal law --- was a bridge too far for a President of the United States...or, at least for the current President of the United States. (The Court showed no such "conservatism" when Donald Trump used the same exact law to "modify or waive" conditions for the same student loans.)

As bad as all of those decisions were, I had specific questions about one of them that sort of seems to give away the game for this far-right Court, with six Republican-appointed Justices now more than happy to legislate from the bench after years of their party pretending to be against that sort of thing.

As it turns out, the case I had questions about --- the one I saw as the most alarming and worst ruling of the term --- is one that Stern felt the same about. It's the one in which the Court relies on a made-up-out-of-whole-cloth, completely subjective test they now refer to as the "Major Questions Doctrine" whenever they don't have a legitimate reason to block an Executive Branch action, even when it's based on the specific text of a law they may not like.

"Justice Kagan has called this a 'get-out-of-text-free card,'" Stern tells me. "This is not a legitimate tool of statutory interpretation, because it means that the Court can set aside what the actual words of the law say, and just apply their own opinion, under this very thin guise of trying to uphold Congress' will." Last year they cited this pretend "doctrine" to say the EPA couldn't regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, despite the specific text of the law, because it was just too much of a "Major Question" that Congress had to speak to in more specific language somehow. This year, they used it to block President Biden from forgiving certain student loans amid the COVID pandemic, as specifically allowed by the HEROES Act.

"When you're dealing with the federal government, every policy is going to be major," Stern argues. "Every policy is going to affect as many as 300 million Americans. Every policy is going to have a fiscal impact of more than billions of dollars. So this is really just an excuse, in every single case, for the Court to ignore the law that Congress has passed, perversely while claiming to uphold Congress' wishes."

We discuss that and much more today, including which upcoming cases most concern him on the docket for the Court's next term. Should we freak out about them? Or are they also now just part of Robert's insidious manipulation to be sure to have a few cases on which the Court's rightwingers can appear to be far less radical than they actually are?...

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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Trump and his henchmen facing more consequences by the day; Trump apologists in Congress hilariously face-planting...
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2023 6:42pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It's taken longer than it should have to get here, but Accountability Season for Trump World is finally beginning to fire on all pistons, even as his stooges in Congress, pretending to bring "accountability" for..."Biden crime family" something or other...continue to step on rakes. That part is hilarious. [Audio link to show follows this summary.]

First up today, the GOP House "whistleblower" face-plants...

  • Yesterday, we quickly detailed a supposed "IRS whistleblower" claim that Trump-appointed and Biden-retained U.S. Attorney David Weiss was somehow blocked by Biden's DoJ from bringing anything more than a couple of minor misdemeanor charges against Hunter Biden for under-paying two years of taxes. In a letter sent to Sen. Lindsey Graham, however, Weiss made clear that the GOP argument was completely false and that he was given full agency to investigate and prosecute anything he wanted.
  • Then, just after airtime last night, there was news about yet another supposed GOP "whistleblower" blowing up. This one has long been touted by House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer...at least until the guy, Gal Luft, suddenly went missing a few months ago. Still, Comer, claimed the dude was ready to spill the goods on a massive bribery scandal regarding the Bidens and illicit payoffs from China. Comer appeared on Newsmax just three days ago with a host describing Luft as "well connected in intelligence circles in Washington" and "not just some weird guy who popped up out of nowhere." Comer agreed that Luft was "very credible" and that people on MSNBC who said he looked like a fool would be sorry. Well, the guy is still on the lam, but on Monday, we learned why. The DoJ unsealed an 8-count indictment against Luft, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, related to working as an unregistered foreign agent for China; brokering illicit Chinese weapons and Iranian oil deals; and unlawfully trafficking arms to places like Libya, UAE and Kenya. Other than that, he's "very credible" and will soon be cracking open the Biden Crime Family case with House Republicans who don't look like "fools" at all.

In news today of actual accountability for real crimes...

  • Grand jurors are being convened in Atlanta today, where they will soon be voting on indictments in Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' broad criminal probe of the attempt to steal the 2020 Peach State election by Donald Trump and his henchmen, including Rudy Giuliani, fake electors, and likely many others. Let the accountability begin!
  • Accountability is already under way for a number of Trump's top 2020 legal henchmen. In recent days, a panel of the D.C. Bar found Rudy Giuliani should be disbarred in the District for bringing "frivolous" and "destructive" lawsuits after the 2020 election that falsely alleged fraud. The formerly respectable NYC Mayor turned disgraced Trump attorney has already had his license to practice law suspended in New York, but still has a few more chances to appeal his case in D.C., even after the panel determined that his misconduct was so disgraceful that it "sadly transcends all his past accomplishments."
  • L. Lin Wood, a formerly respected Georgia attorney turned Trump wingnut was allowed by the State Bar of Georgia last week to transfer to "Retired Status effective immediately," rather than face disciplinary charges from the state Bar for his part in attempting to steal the 2020 election for Trump with bogus lawsuits. The retirement is "unqualified, irrevocable, and permanent," and bans him from practicing law in Georgia or any other jurisdiction. But it allows the seemingly mentally unstable, formerly high-profile 70-year old attorney to retire to his $16 million South Carolina plantation without consequence.
  • John Eastman, the disgraced, far-right Trump attorney responsible for dreaming up the unlawful and unconstitutional scheme to have then Vice President Mike Pence block Joe Biden's Electoral College certification in Congress on January 6, 2021, is in an ongoing trial with the California Bar Association facing 11 disciplinary charges likely to result in the loss of his license to practice law in the Golden State.
  • Late last week, disgraced, deadbeat Trump advisor and former Campaign Chair Steve Bannon was ordered by a New York Judge to pay his own former attorneys nearly $500,000 after stiffing them for legal fees related to representation in his unsuccessful trial for Contempt of Congress after refusing to answer subpoenas from the House Jan. 6 Committee (he was sentenced to 4-months in prison, but is currently free pending appeal) and many other crimes and grifts.
  • MyPillow, the Minnesota-based company founded and run by 2020 election fraud conspiracist Mike Lindell, is reportedly auctioning off factory equipment and sub-leasing manufacturing space after, according to Lindell, losing $100 million in business following his continuing, evidence-free claims that the election was stolen from Trump. Now he's mad at "the box stores, the shopping networks, the shopping channels" because "all of them did cancel culture on us." We're all crying in our Bud Light beer for ya, Mike.

And finally...

  • While Accountability Season is finally beginning, Climate Season is, sadly, fully underway all across the globe and, as Desi Doyen details in our latest Green News Report, here at home with record temps broiling the U.S. Southwest and hurricane-like downpours drenching the U.S. Northeast. (Rainfall in Vermont over the past 24 hours has now reportedly outpaced 2011's Hurricane Irene.)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 7/11/2023 10:34am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Surge of global heat, fire and floods shatter records from North America to Antarctica; Extreme heat in Europe killed at least 61,000 people last year; Biden's Inflation Reduction Act already reducing U.S. emissions; PLUS: Torrential rains trigger catastrophic floods in U.S. Northeast and Europe... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Rough years ahead as new El Nino spikes global temps, disasters; Disasters daily? Welcome to our 'new normal'; Disaster towns: Victims of environmental catastrophes — and Americans’ short attention spans; Toxic slime hits Florida's Lake Okeechobee again; Study says drinking water from nearly half of US faucets contains potentially harmful chemicals; Another major insurance company limits new homeowners insurance in California; EPA: common cleaning product chemical poses cancer threat; U.S. carbon emissions fall for first time in Biden era...PLUS: Biden announces $650 million to plug orphaned oil and gas wells ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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The fight against propaganda, denial, corruption and racism continues...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2023 6:37pm PT  

We wrap up our last BradCast before standing down next week with a bunch of disparate stuff, both good and bad, and even a song to help you whistle as you leave the theater before next week's holiday. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

WE DID START THE FIRE: And we're also responsible for the smoke from hundreds of them in Canada, now threatening the health of more than 100 million Americans. We're also responsible for the record, weeks-long deadly, triple-digit heat wave in Texas now spreading north and east and touching off deadly severe storms along with it. Of course, those who watch Fox "News" and the read their deceptive Fox Weather website will never know who's to blame for it all and who is endangering their lives and those of their great grand-kids. But keeping their viewers and readers dumb and disinformed is the whole purpose of the Fox fake news project. Sadly, we all pay the price.

'CEASEFIRE AND NEGOTIATE!': Happily, it seems the 24-hour mutiny in Russia last weekend --- wherein longtime Vladimir Putin-ally, Yevgeny Prigozhin, gave the game away by declaring that their imperialist invasion of Ukraine was built on lies and was never about either "demilitarizing" or "de-Nazifying" Ukraine --- has helped the scales fall from a bunch of Americans' eyes. New polling from Reuters/Ipsos since the Prigozhin's short-lived insurrection finds a nearly 20-point bump since last month in American support for Joe Biden's policy of helping Ukraine defend themselves. That includes majorities in both major parties as well as independents. That's very good news. And, while I'm unlikely to reach many of the duped rightwingers who have fallen hook, line and sinker for Putin (and Trump) propaganda about the conflict, I am hoping that I might still be able to help some of those on the supposed anti-war Left who have fallen for the same propaganda. I'm talking largely about the "ceasefire and negotiate!" crowd. A few words for them today in hopes of helping a least a few of them understand how they have also been played by the same, authoritarian sources as the rightwingers.

'THIS IS NOT A NORMAL COURT': President Biden was right about that today, at least. We knew after all of the surprisingly good rulings of late from our otherwise corrupted, stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court majority --- on issues of democracy and voting, in particular --- that it was almost certainly too good to last. As the high court's 2022 term comes to a close, they returned to their corrupted form on Thursday by overturning more than 40 years of precedent to bar Affirmative Action policies in college admissions for all private and public colleges and universities (while exempting military academies for some odd reason). Though it's not easy, we try to make sense of the Court's dizzying 237-page ruling [PDF], including multiple concurrences and dissents, as the far-right activists on the bench --- and those that put them there --- get to cross another long-term project off their list today.

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: And lungs, from the record shattering Canadian wildfires. At least if you live in any of a whole bunch of states in the mid-west or east this week. That, and more climate news, both good and bad, as Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report.

THEY DEFINITELY DIDN'T START THE FIRE: But they did, after 34 years, put all news words to it! And not a moment too soon, in my opinion! Yours may vary. Either way, we're happy to close out today's final show before taking off next week over the Independence Day holiday, with Fall Out Boy's brand-new version of a 1989 Billy Joel classic...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Hunter Biden's plea deal; A plague of locusts; Daniel Ellsberg RIP...
By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2023 6:40pm PT  

Somehow, all of the disparate stories on today's BradCast seem to come together in the end. Whether they make sense or not, we'll leave to you. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • We start with End Times. A plague of locusts --- of a sort --- across six counties in Nevada. And, yes, the infestation is thanks in no small part to climate change.
  • It appears to be the end of the DoJ's 5-year criminal probe of Hunter Biden by a Donald Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney who President Biden allowed, upon taking office, to remain in his job to finish the probe. The younger Biden has agreed to a deal to plead guilty to two tax-related misdemeanors and will be allowed to avoid jail on an even less-often prosecuted gun-related charge which likely would never have been raised at all but for the fact that he is Joe Biden's son and Trump weaponized his Dept. of Justice against his political rivals.
  • The federal judge currently overseeing Trump's stolen documents indictment in Florida. U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, has set an August 14 start date for the trial. Nobody, however, believes it will begin anywhere close to that date.
  • Over the weekend, Trump continued to make his defense more difficult and ridiculous in the 37-count federal felony indictment he faces for charges under Section 793(e) of the Espionage Act related to retention of national defense information. He originally (wrongly) claimed that the Presidential Records Act allowed him to take anything he wanted from the White House upon leaving office and it would become his personal property. The Act does the opposite. Nonetheless, Trump blew that defense over the weekend, offering a different explanation for why he refused to respond to a DoJ subpoena requiring he return all documents during a very good interview by Bret Baier of Fox "News". The remarks will almost certainly be used against him at trial --- if one ever happens --- by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
  • Another one of Trump's repeated lies (also attempted again during his interview with Baier) is that he declassified all of the highly classified documents he stole before leaving office. While there is no evidence in support of that lie, there is at least one document --- Document #19 in the indictment --- which can't be declassified solely by the Executive, as it pertains to U.S. nuclear weapons. According to the federal Atomic Energy Act, that highly classified record may only be declassified via a lengthy process that includes sign-off from the top officials at both the Dept. of Defense and Energy.
  • Another recent defense of Trump's, this one hauled out the night after his arraignment last week, is that "the Espionage Act has been used to go after traitors and spies. It has nothing to do with a former President legally keeping his own documents." In fact, while the Espionage Act of 1917 does have provisions that "go after traitors and spies", it also has a provision that goes after anyone who "willfully retains" national defense information "and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it." In fact, there are tons of folks in prison right now who you have never heard of, serving years after pleading guilty to a single count of what Trump has now been charged with in 31 counts. Many of those Americans, who neither spied nor transmitted the documents, were charged, convicted and sentenced between the time Trump became President in 2017 through today.
  • And then there are those who are charged under the Espionage Act who should never have been. Reality Winner, for example, was an NSA contractor who stole a classified document detailing Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election and unlawfully shared it with media in 2017. (Trump shared documents with media as well, according to his federal indictment, though, unlike Winner, not for altruistic reasons.) She was sentenced to more than 5 years in prison under the Trump Administration's Dept. of Justice, even after pleading guilty. She was neither a traitor nor a spy and said she "acted out of love for what this country stands for," in response to Trump's lies that there had been no Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • Which brings us to some thoughts about a different American whistleblower and hero, DANIEL ELLSBERG (pictured above). While working at a defense contractor in the 1960s, Ellsberg photocopied and leaked the so-called "Pentagon Papers" report to the New York Times and Washington Post in 1971. The 7,000-page classified document detailed U.S. lies and atrocities surrounding the Vietnam War. Though never identified by the media he leaked to, Ellsberg turned himself in to federal authorities despite facing more than 100 years in prison under the Espionage Act. The case was eventually dismissed due to government misconduct after the discovery of Nixon's dirty tricksters, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, overseeing the break-in of Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office seeking incriminating medical records.

    For the next five decades, Ellsberg would go on to become an inspirational anti-war and anti-nuclear advocate, as well as a supporter of whistleblowers like Reality Winner, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. He was also a longtime friend of both this show and The BRAD BLOG.

    Dan Ellsberg died last Friday at the age of 92 after a struggle with inoperable pancreatic cancer. He remains a hero and inspiration to many of us.

    His final appearance on this program was as a guest on our first show after The BradCast moved from a weekly to a daily program back in April of 2015. We share some of our conversation with Ellsberg from that day's show --- regarding the Obama Administration's aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers and a bit more --- on today's program.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as early extreme summer weather slams much of the south while renewable energy saves the day in parts of Texas and reaches an encouraging new milestone across the rest of the nation...

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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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2023 5:41pm PT  

Not only was it another historic Arraignment Day on today's BradCast, but it was also an opportunity to wish a very happy 77th birthday to our disgraced former President, who was celebrated with the circus-like atmosphere of a smattering of supporters, protesters and observers outside of the federal courthouse in Miami today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Donald J. Trump's attorney pleaded "Not Guilty" on his client's behalf Tuesday, during his historic arraignment in the Southern District of Florida on 37 federal felonies related to his theft of hundreds of highly classified documents and repeated attempts at obstructing the government from taking them back. Those attempts included, according to the indictment [PDF] filed last week by Special Counsel Jack Smith, efforts to have his attorney Evan Corcoran commit a list of crimes on his behalf.

Former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut, detailing the seriousness of these charges yesterday, explained how highly the documents in question were classified and the "bone-chilling" concerns about specific foreign nationals who visited Mar-a-Lago under false identities as Trump stored dozens of boxes of stolen documents haphazardly in a ballroom, a bathroom, a storage room and other unsecured locations at his resort property. "There's never been anything remotely like it," Aftergut contended, adding that Trump's legal peril is "extreme" and "that prosecutors' obligation, should there be convictions, would be to ask for the maximum term of imprisonment available." That would amount to decades in prison for the Birthday Boy.

We're joined today for special coverage analysis by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning columnist at Salon and Hullabaloo, and KEITH BARBER, a former Republican attorney who now writes for Daily Kos and Medium.

Among the many points discussed in our very lively conversation today...

  • Whether Democrats previously critical of Attorney General Merrick Garland may now have changed their tune.
  • The breathtaking nature of this "slam dunk" indictment and these charges.
  • Whether Trump's problems finding lawyers to represent him will help or hurt in this case.
  • What a lawyer would normally do when a client asks them to violate the law, as Trump allegedly did with his attorney --- and, now, likely star witness --- Corcoran.
  • What should we make of the horrible Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon currently presiding over this case?
  • Are we any closer to knowing why Trump refused to return the documents, despite repeated polite requests from the National Archives for over a year and a subpoena from the Dept. of Justice?
  • What legal strategy should an attorney recommend at this point for Trump --- for example, to seek a plea deal to avoid jail time --- and would Trump even consider such deal?

We also spend some time debunking (yet again) the absurd claims still being made by duped Republicans that Trump is somehow the persecuted victim of unequal justice and that "Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton did the exact same thing, but were never charged for it!" Over the weekend, dopey, dishonest Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) even ridiculously claimed on Fox "News" that Trump "decided not to pursue any kind of prosecution of Hillary Clinton" and that "Joe Biden could have made the exact same decision, but he didn't. He allowed a SWAT raid on the very secure residence of President Trump."

Every point made by the lying Senator is simply false. Biden had nothing to do with the FBI search warrant approved by a federal judge after finding probable cause that Trump was committing several serous crimes, including those he's now been charged with under the Espionage Act, at his South Florida resort.

As to the handful of classified documents found at an old office of Biden's and at his Delaware home, Barber explains: "Of course they say, 'They should be treated the same!' So I say, fine, let's treat them the same. Donald Trump was not charged for anything related to any of the documents that he voluntarily returned. So, if you're going to treat them similarly, then Biden [who immediately returned all documents inappropriately found in his possession] should not be charged for any documents that he voluntarily returned. It's simple. And that is what's going to happen."

For her part, Parton dismantles Johnson's stupidly false claims about Trump having "declined" to prosecute Clinton. "There were five investigations into the Clinton email server," she explains, after writing about this very point on Monday. "There was the original FBI investigation. There was a DOJ Inspector General's investigation. There were two State Department investigations. And Bill Barr himself...named a US Attorney in Utah to also look into all that stuff. They all concluded the same thing: Hillary Clinton didn't break any laws with this."

"The facts of the case don't match at all on the Clinton thing," says Parton. "All of this is nonsense, it's what-aboutism. It is, of course, what they would do. And there are a million cases of poor schmucks that worked in the government that did much less than anything that Trump did, much lesser kinds of offenses, that actually went to jail."

All of that and much more in today's special coverage!

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, because even as Trump now faces a total of 71 criminal felony charges in both New York and at the federal level (with more to come soon), our worsening climate crisis is undeterred and making life much much worse (and deadly) for everyone on the planet...

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37 federal felony counts for Trump; Calls for violence by top GOP officials, supporters; And callers ring in on all of it today, including many who are still duped by the world's greatest-ever criminal conman...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2023 5:52pm PT  

Thanks, kudos and apologies to our friend Tom Sullivan of Hullabaloo for the headline of today's BradCast (even if he smartly picked it up from someone else). [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We've had a weekend of experts and pundits on the TV opining on Donald J. Trump's Friday federal indictment [PDF] on 37 criminal felony counts related to Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation of Trump's theft of documents from the White House and multiple attempts to conceal his crimes. So it was very good to hear from a lot of listeners on the matter on today's program!

That, as experts warn that comments from Republican elected officials and wannabe elected officials could result in acts of lone wolf violence, if not an organized January 6th-style attack. Just some of those folks would include GOP Trump supporters like Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who described the attempt at accountability for Trump's criminal violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice a "war phase" requiring an "eye for an eye". And wannabe elected officials, like Arizona's losing Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake warning "Merrick Garland and Jack Smith and Joe Biden" that she and 75 million Americans who support Trump "are card-carrying members of the N.R.A." at the Georgia state GOP convention over the weekend.

Even Trump's own, wildly corrupt Attorney General Bill Barr scraped up the decency to tell Fox "News" on Sunday that the evidence in the indictment by 23 random citizens in South Florida last week demonstrates Trump is likely "toast" for having stolen highly classified state secrets belonging to the American people, not to the former President. One would think the photos in the charging documents alone, of dozens of document boxes fill with sensitive materials, stored haphazardly at Mar-a-Lago in a public ballroom, a bathroom, a storage space, his office and bedroom, would turn even the most braindead 2016 MAGA "Lock Her Up!" supporter against their cult leader.

But, alas, there remain plenty of disinformed folks out there who still actually believe Trump's preposterous claims belied by his own well-documented actions recorded on tape and by his own attorneys who documented his attempts to use them to commit crimes such as hiding the documents on his behalf and lying to federal officials about them.

And, yes, some of those still-duped folks (who admit they didn't bother to read the indictment) called us on today's show to try and make the case for Trump. A lively call-in segment ensued. Hope you'll enjoy it!

The disgraced former President will be arraigned on Tuesday in Miami at 3p ET, after which he will officially be facing a gob-smacking total of 71 criminal felony counts at both the federal level and in New York state. But there are still more felony charges to come before America's Summer of Accountability concludes...

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.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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  


Follow @GreenNewsReport...

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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!

Click here to listen or download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 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! ...

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

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Also: New 2024 Presidential candidates; Accountability arriving for corrupt TX A.G. Paxton, conman James O'Keefe; Callers ring in on the debt deal...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2023 5:54pm PT  

We're back! And with good news on today's BradCast...whether the media have been reporting it that way over the past week, as we've been on a break, or not. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP, some notable quick news headlines today --- and some from last week --- which we'll undoubtedly jump deeper into in the days and weeks ahead. Including...

  • Cartoonishly corrupt Republican Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, is impeached by the hard-right Texas legislature.
  • Cartoonishly corrupt Republican activist and pretend journalist James O'Keefe is sued by Project Veritas --- his own ironically named nonprofit --- for waste, fraud and abuse.
  • A bunch of new Republicans entered the fray for the 2024 Presidential nod (the unhung Mike Pence, the disgraced Chris Christie and some guy named Doug Burgum).
  • One Republican, popular New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, smartly announces he's not running.
  • And progressive activist and academic Cornel West announces he's running for President under a third-party banner.

THEN, its on to the one story that made me wish I wasn't on vacation last week (well, a little, anyway.) And that's the story of President Biden outfoxing the GOP to take three Republican-engineered fiscal cliffs off the table over the next two years, all for the price of less than one, in his ingenious debt ceiling deal with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy...who got hosed in the bargain.

As you may know, we were all in favor of Biden avoiding negotiations entirely, invoking the 14th Amendment to declare the dumb Debt Ceiling law unconstitutional, and ordering the Treasury Department to simply pay our bills without disruption to avoid a first-ever U.S. default. If anyone had a prob with that, they could sue him --- or try to --- in order to force the global economy meltdown that would have come with such a default.

But Biden, and his lead negotiator, Steve Richetti, came up with a much better idea. In the bargain, they took not one, not two, but three GOP fiscal cliffs off the table for the price of less than one budget negotiation this fall. And it all would have been much more difficult if Biden had taken the leverage of invoking the 14th off the table.

In short (much more detail on today's show), the President outfoxed Republicans. Bigly. And where they had demanded some 18% in cuts to government spending, they got a measly 0.2% over the next ten years. In the bargain, the Debt Ceiling is suspended until 2025 and spending will largely stay flat over the next two years on a few non-defense matters.

Make no mistake. There are some cuts in the deal that suck. But nothing more than Biden would have been forced to give away anyway in order to avoid a protracted Government shutdown with obstructionist Republicans when a new budget would be needed at the beginning of the next fiscal year this October.

As British columnist Will Hutton correctly opined on Sunday, while "It is easy to write off President Joe Biden as a senile, 80-year-old duffer," the deal was "massively weighted in his favour" and represented an "extraordinary victory".

It's a shame that so many in the U.S. media --- on the Right, Left and Other --- seem incapable of reporting it that way, in order to properly educate the American electorate about what actually just happened.

We try to balance the scales a bit on that score on today's program before opening the phones to callers in the second half of the show to hear why they believe we might be wrong about all of this. (SPOILER ALERT: We're not!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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