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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, July 22, 2024
Another Birthday for Brad
(It seems like they happen almost every year!...)
BIDEN DROPS REELECTION BID
President announces intention in letter to American people, follows up with Tweet declaring endorsement of Vice President Kamala Harris...
Sunday 'You Are Here' Toons
THIS WEEK: Recovering nicely! Hillbilly heroin! Cooling rhetoric! Standing by!...And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons...
What J.D. Vance Forgot to Tell You (and Lied About) at the RNC: 'BradCast' 7/18/24
Also: More pressure from top Dems for Biden to reconsider candidacy; Judge nixes GOP vote suppression suit in NV; Biden calls for SCOTUS reform, national rent control...
'Green News Report' 7/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Toronto crippled by extreme storms, flooding; Heat related costs rising in U.S.; Extreme weather and aging dams; PLUS: Marathon Oil pays record fine under Clean Air Act...
Previous GNRs: 7/16/24 - 7/11/24 - Archives...
Holding on for Dear Life Amid the Political Whirlwind: 'BradCast' 7/17/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton and 'Driftglass' on politics after the shooting, Dems still fighting over Biden; Trump's chooses Vance, RNC's 'unity' convention...
Cannon's Corruption: 'BradCast' 7/16/24
Guest: Attorney Keith Barber; Also: Menendez 'guilty' on all counts...
'Green News Report' 7/16/24
Texas grid buckles under multiple disasters; Hurricane Beryl damages now estimated at $3 billion; PLUS: Climate crisis flip-flopper J.D. Vance gets GOP Veep nod...
Amid the Assassination Attempt Aftermath:
'BradCast' 7/15/24
Also: Trump stolen docs case dismissed; Vance named as GOP Veep nom; Callers ring in...
Sunday Monday 'Google Project 2025' Toons
After a brief pause following Saturday's assassination attempt of Donald Trump, we are back with our latest collection of last week's best political toons...
Meanwhile... : 'BradCast' 7/11/24
Biden's tenuous candidacy; Trump and Orban; Inflation, prices falling; Climate liar Inhofe dies; California's stunning solar revolution...
'Green News Report' 7/11/24
Beryl fallout continues: Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Repubs seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Noteworthy election results from NY, CO, UT, SC; SCOTUS opinions on public corruption, social media; More long-overdue pardons by Biden...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2024 6:56pm PT  

Stand by for news --- some good-ish, some not-ish --- on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up today, some noteworthy results from yesterday's primary elections. Among a bunch of races covered today from four different states...

  • Progressive New York "Squad" member Rep. Jamaal Bowman was soundly defeated in his 16th District U.S. House primary race by longtime local Democratic official George Latimer in what was, notoriously, the most expensive House primary ever run. The cost of the contest was largely due to the American Israeli Political Affairs Conference (AIPAC)'s investment of millions of dollars to defeat Bowman, who, among other sins, described Israel's war in Gaza as a genocide. That said, as many pointed out before Tuesday and as we detail today, Bowman, as a movement progressive, was likely to have lost this race anyway in a very diverse "normie Dem" district, even without the flood of AIPAC money.
  • Far-right Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert's carpetbagging jump from her right-leaning, but swingy-ish 3rd District to the farther right 4th district --- after barely winning in the 3rd in 2022 by just a few hundred votes --- paid off as she managed to beat off three other Republicans to win the GOP nomination in the new district on Tuesday and, with it, most likely, another term in Congress this November.
  • U.S. Rep. John Curtis, a not-insane, Mitt Romney-like, pro-climate action Republican from Utah, defeated a Trump-endorsed opponent to win the GOP nomination to fill the seat being vacated by the retiring Romney in the very red, but not completely Trumpy state this November.
  • Another Trump-endorsed Republican lost, if narrowly, on Tuesday to Republican Sheri Biggs in South Carolina's primary runoff election for the U.S. House in the state's solidly red 3rd Congressional District.

And, some noteworthy news today from the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court, where a number of still-outstanding decisions remain, suggesting they may still be releasing opinions after the usual end of term in June, after we'll be on break over the Independence Day holiday week. Among the still-unreleased opinions are two that relate to criminal accountability for Donald Trump. It's up to you if you want to check out the (seemingly encouraging) abortion-related opinion that the Court appears to have accidentally released prematurely on their website for a few minutes on Wednesday morning. Beyond that, the two they meant to release today include...

  • A seemingly absurd finding that federal law does not prevent payoffs by private parties to public officials after an official has done something --- such as award a multimillionaire contract --- to the private party. The case overturns a conviction against an Indiana Mayor who received $13,000 after fixing the bidding process to award a million-dollar contract to a local trucking company. A payoff, or an agreement for one before such the contract was awarded, in a direct quid pro quo, would be considered unlawful bribery. But a payoff after the action in question, no matter how much, is considered a "gratuity" that, the Court ruled [PDF] in a 6 to 3 partisan decision today, is not barred by federal law. State and local jurisdictions may still prosecute such payoffs under their own laws, however, if they wish.
  • In a slightly more encouraging 6 to 3 ruling [PDF] today --- with three Republican-appointed Justices joining all three Liberals in the majority opinion --- the Court sided with the Biden Administration to reject claims by several Republican states and private plaintiffs that federal officials were unconstitutionally forcing social media sites to remove posts by so-called conservatives. The Court ruled that Plaintiffs had no standing here, since they all failed to demonstrate they faced any Constitutional harms by actions taken by federal officials --- in both the Trump and Biden Administrations --- to advise social media companies like Twitter and Facebook about potentially dangerous or misleading posts regarding COVID-19, election integrity and more.

And finally, on his HBO show last week, Bill Maher lauded Maryland's Democratic Governor Wes Moore for recently announced pardons to tens of thousands convicted over the years under state marijuana laws that have since been lifted. Maher then lamented how sad it was that Joe Biden wasn't smart enough to do the same thing at the federal level...even though Biden did exactly that two years ago when he also encouraged state Governors like Moore to do the same, as most marijuana convictions are at the state level. Of course, we covered both Biden and Moore's pardons as they happened. But, since Maher apparently never heard about it, I also want to make sure that at least you know about the new set of pardons issued today by the Biden White House...

  • As the military news outlet Task & Purpose reports: "U.S. troops who were convicted under a now-defunct military law that targeted gay service members will receive formal pardons, the White House announced Wednesday." The pardons will apply to thousands of LGBTQI+ troops who were discharged, going back to 1951, for military rules that have since been removed and/or found unconstitutional. Said President Biden in a statement: "Today, I am righting an historic wrong by using my clemency authority to pardon many former service members who were convicted simply for being themselves." I hope someone tells Bill Maher before he misinforms millions yet again...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Dan Froomkin of Press Watch; Also: A whole bunch of long-overdue accountability news for a whole bunch of rightwingers!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2024 5:03pm PT  

No matter what happens in this year's election, the year will be like none other in the U.S. Are the mainstream media --- which arguably helped lead us to our current mess at the edge of a potential collapse of American democracy --- able to meet the challenge? To serve a nation that badly news an unapologetic press able to call out the corrupted without "both sidesing" every issue? That's where we begin on today's BradCast, before covering a whole bunch of accountability for rightwingers and rightwing organizations in recent days and weeks. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

It seems impossible to believe that the U.S. mainstream media will be able to meet this moment. And yet, there are signs, suggests our guest today, longtime journalist and media critic DAN FROOMKIN of Press Watch, formerly of Washington Post, Huff Post, The Intercept and Harvard's journalism watchdog, the Neiman Foundation.

In a column late last year, Froomkin detailed the "intense internal pressure to defend democracy" that newsrooms will be facing in 2024. The greatest pressure, he reports, is likely to come not from outside those newsrooms, but from inside, where "traditional bosses are still in control," holding fast to "both sides" journalism, but where they are finally being challenged by what he describes as a "silent journalistic majority", an often younger and/or more diverse group of reporters "whose sense of self is defined by more than just not taking sides. It’s defined by informing the public of the truth."

With the stakes now higher than ever, he observes, there are signs, at least, that some in the traditional, unhelpful mainstream are begin to change in order to meet the moment. It's a tall order --- especially after so many decades of failure --- but there are some positive signs that even the traditionalists are beginning to understand the threat posed to American democracy itself by a Republican party which has now all but fallen to the fascistic, autocratic demands of its cult leader.

"The good news --- and it is unusual for me to focus on the good news in the media --- is that I think we're seeing two steps forward, one step back, in that I do see some braver, more honest, more upfront journalism happening on occasion at the major institutions," Froomkin tells me, before adding, "And then every so often, they'll backslide terribly."

He argues that many are "getting really impatient with this 'both-side'-ism, this 'a pox on both your houses' stuff."

"If you talk to any journalist who is not personally invested in the old way of doing things, you'll find that they actually agree with this critique. It is not a radical critique anymore. It is very much a 'How do we do journalism in this day and age?' question. And I think the answer is increasingly becoming that we need to call it out the way we see it. And that we need to stand up for democracy and for a free press, and for core journalistic values. It doesn't mean telling people to go vote Democratic, it doesn't mean being easy on the Democrats. But it does mean pointing out what this danger is right now."

"If Trump takes power, he's going to go after the media. And he will criminalize journalism in a lot of ways, and the free press will be under a lot of pressure. I don't think any journalist can sit there and say, 'I'll be fine if Trump wins.' They should all be terrified," Froomkin asserts, adding: "An increasing number are. You're seeing some of that, for instance, in this story on political violence. That was one of the big issues swept under the rug until recently."

As Froomkin explains, the jury is very much still out. But what he once saw as a "generational project" now needs to happen much quicker. "The stakes feel so high right at this moment --- for obvious reasons --- that I think there’s pretty good chance of change before November," he wrote last month. We'll see if he's right about that.

In the meantime, there has been some encouraging news elsewhere, at least from the court system in recent weeks, resulting in a rush of long-overdue accountability for people and organizations of the corrupted right.

  • Last week, New York Attorney General Tish James' office filed motions seeking $370 million from Donald Trump, his company, and its top executives for years of massive bank, tax and insurance fraud. She is also seeking a lifetime ban from the NY real estate market for Trump, and a five-year ban for his eldest sons. The whole crew has already been found liable by the state judge overseeing the case. The only question now is what the penalties will ultimately be. Closing arguments are this week and Trump will not be allowed to make part of them himself, after failing to agree he would do so without attacking prosecutors, the judge or his staff, or turn the remarks into a political statement.
  • Also last week, Wayne LaPierre, the wildly corrupt 30-year leader of the terrorist-supporting National Rifle Association, finally resigned on the eve of his corruption trial --- also thanks to Tish James in New York --- which began this week. LaPierre and other top NRA officials allegedly bilked millions of dollars from the non-profit organization to fund their own lavish lifestyles. James hopes to force LaPierre and the others to pay it all back and permanently bar them from serving on the board of any NY charity. Thoughts and prayers.
  • Longtime Republican grifter James O'Keefe's sleazy, fake "journalism" organization called Project Veritas, finally seems to be all but permanently dead. That, after O'Keefe was found to have overseen years of "financial malfeasance" according to its Board and newly seated CEO, Hannah Giles, who resigned last month citing "an unsalvageable mess" at the organization, "one wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and past financial improprieties." Giles originally played the "prostitute" in heavily edited videos published years ago by Andrew Breitbart targeting the community organizing and voter registration group ACORN. O'Keefe --- as we spent quite a bit of time some years ago detailing to mainstream media outlets who had also fallen for the hoax --- pretended to have dressed up as a "pimp" in those fraudulent videos. Though scams, they still resulted in rightwing millionaire, billionaire and just plain old dupes donating tens of millions of dollars to O'Keefe's organization over the years in support of their phony, frequently unlawful, partisan schemes targeting groups and individuals on the left. The organization and O'Keefe himself are reportedly under criminal and/or civil investigation for a number of those schemes.
  • Remember Kim Davis? The sleazy, far-right Kentucky county clerk who, in 2015, refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling? Last week, a federal judge found her liable for $260,000 in legal fees and expenses incurred by one of the couples who she unlawfully refused to license. In 2022, a federal jury said she had to pay the couple $100,000 in damages. The rightwing legal organization representing Davis for free, Liberty Counsel, says they will appeal the original verdict, the order for attorneys fees, and Obergefell itself at the U.S. Supreme Court.

FINALLY, as today's show ended, it looks like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has decided to suspend his 2024 GOP Presidential campaign (much as we called for him to do --- if he was truly serious about keeping Trump out of the White House --- on yesterday's program.) The announcement comes just hours before a debate tonight between Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis in advance of Monday's Iowa Caucuses. Presumptive frontrunner Donald Trump won't be at this debate either, but we will have Special Coverage, nonetheless, for some reason, on tomorrow's BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Some good (and not so good) legal news at year's end, and some hope for what next year's elections could bring in our final show of the year...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2023 7:12pm PT  

Tonight's breaking news about the disgraced former President and insurrectionist being barred from the 2024 ballot in Colorado under the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause" came just minutes before we were finishing up today's BradCast --- our last one of the year! But I suspect we'll have plenty to discuss when we return in 2024. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories we did have time to cover in full on today's program...

  • We open with a homerun public comment from a young man at a meeting of the Sarasota County, Florida School Board last week, calling for the resignation of Board Member and co-founder of Moms for Liberty, Bridget Ziegler. That, following the rape allegations against her husband, Christian Ziegler, Chair of the Florida Republican Party, by a woman who says she was involved in a threesome relationship with Christian and Bridget, a supposed "conservative" who rocketed to rightwing national fame as her Moms for Liberty group worked with FL Gov. Ron DeSantis to adopt the state's "Don't Say Gay Law" and to ban books from schools on LGBTQ-related issues. That, even as Bridget was allegedly involved in a sexual affair with another woman. But the guy's comment at the Sarasota School Board --- from which Bridget is still refusing to resign --- was killer.
  • Good news at the end of the year for voting rights out of --- of all places --- the very far-right 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in two different opinions issued on Friday, in fact. In one, the full court allowed a lower court ruling to stand mandating a new U.S. House map for Louisiana before 2024, after finding that the current map was an unlawful racial gerrymander by state Republicans under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The other decision by the 5th Circuit allows a Texas voter suppression law --- which bans online voter registration, in a state with the lowest voter turnout in 2020 --- to stand. That's not good. But both decisions re-affirmed that voters and private organizations do have a legal right to sue to block racist voter suppression laws under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Those affirmations come after the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled just last month, for the first time since the creation of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, that only the U.S. Attorney General can sue to enforce Section 2 of the VRA. If allowed to stand at SCOTUS, the 8th Circuit's ruling would be an extraordinary blow to the landmark Act. So the 5th Circuit's rejection of those arguments, filed in both cases by Republicans, is a very encouraging sign.
  • On Monday, Texas' authoritarian Governor Greg Abbott signed a new state law allowing state police to arrest --- and local judges to deport --- anyone suspected of being an undocumented immigrant. On Tuesday, civil rights groups sued to block the almost certainly unconstitutional new law. At least it used to be unconstitutional, back when SCOTUS overturned a similar "Papers, please!" law out of Arizona in 2012. But that was before there was a packed, stolen and corrupted 6 to 3 Republican majority on the High Court.
  • Very bad news for both Donald Trump and Mark Meadows out of the also very conservative 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, as a three-judge panel rejected Meadows' attempt to remove his Georgia state criminal indictment related to 2020 election interference from state to federal court. As Law Professor Lee Kovarksy of the University of Texas explained last night, the ruling, written by the court's Chief Judge and very close Clarence Thomas ally, is very bad news for appeals of the "immunity" defenses filed by both Trump and Meadows in several different cases where they are attempting to use that legal gambit to skirt accountability.
  • We received a lot of email following yesterday's lively call-in show, in which I asked folks who'd voted for Joe Biden in 2020, but who were planning on not doing so again in 2024, to call in and tell me why. Today we share a few of those notes in response.
  • But, for something for nervous pro-democracy Americans to consider over the holidays until we return after the new year, we share a recent column from University of Illinois' Political Science Professor Nicholas Grossman, explaining why folks should not (yet) be freaked out about polls showing Trump defeating Biden next year, and why "pro-democracy Americans [should] approach the 2024 election with enthusiasm, not only dread."
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our final Green News Report of the year! She includes a boatload of details on why, though we may be done with 2023, 2023 ain't yet done with us yet! But she also has some encouraging news on how long-overdue actions to tackle our climate crisis by the Biden Administration are finally beginning to take root as we move into the new year...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'ProLeft Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2023 5:27pm PT  

It was debate number four for all of the eligible GOP 2024 primary candidates who decided to show up. And, for reasons best left to one of our guests to explain on today's BradCast, we once again offer Special Coverage of yet another LOL bat-crap insane evening! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

This one was broadcast from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was sponsored by new media outlet NewsNation and moderated (for the first time?) by three women. The GOP's Race for Second Place on Wednesday night featured just four candidate who qualified: former UN Ambassador and former SC Gov. Nikki Haley; FL Gov. Ron DeSantis; former NJ Gov. Chris Christie and scammy business dude and unspeakably annoying conspiracy theory bro Vivek Ramaswamy. Presumed front-runner Donald Trump didn't bother to show up again. Though, after winning the three previous debates by not being there, he may have actually lost a few points this time around, for reasons discussed on today's program.

We're joined once again today by our tireless 2024 post-debate panelists and long-time OG bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo and 'DRIFTGLASS' of the weekly Professional Left Podcast and its companion show, No Fair Remembering Stuff.

It was a lively, if insane affair, as expected from today's broken Republican Party, with the candidates viciously attacking each other throughout the night as "obnoxious blowhard", "corrupt", "toxic", "fascist" and "liar". But who are we to disagree with the GOP's own carefully curated collection of 2024 candidates for President of the United States?

Aside from the smaller group of participants, the biggest change was that Christie decided to finally weigh in both as the adult in the room with actual old-school Republican "conservative" values, and to finally take on Trump head on as he'd long promised. As we discuss, the room did not boo him as vigorously this time out, and may (may!) have actually listened to a word or two he had to say about Trump. While Christie scored a number of direct hits on the four-time criminally indicted former President, his best moments --- other than beating the hell out of DeSantis and Ramaswamy --- came in calling out Trump as "unfit for office", before noting in closing that Trump is likely to be disqualified from even voting for himself next year.

"I want you all to kinda picture in your mind its Election Day. You all will be heading to the polls to vote, and that's something that Donald Trump will not be able to do. Because he will be convicted of felonies before then and his right to vote will be taken away," explained Christie, followed by a bit of half-hearted booing from the assembled crowd at the University of Alabama. "You can boo about it all you like and continue to deny reality," he continued. "But if we deny reality as a party, we're gonna have four more years of Joe Biden." He went on to add for his fellow candidates: "If you're too timid to take on Trump, believe me, others will see that timidity: Xi, Putin and the Ayatollah, the border-crossers on the southern border and the criminals on our streets."

The full frontal --- and accurate --- attack may or may not work. But it was the message that the crowd eventually seemed to be listening to and that Christie had long promised to deliver, but hadn't until last night. It was also the argument that every other major candidate in the party has, so far, been too "timid" to make. In fact, the lawless, autocratic threat posed by Donald Trump to his own party, our nation, and this world is really the only issue that matters in 2024.

We discuss all of that and much more today, including...

  • Why we're devoting an hour to this madness at all.
  • The reasons for the lack of a single question about abortion.
  • Why the sponsors of this debate thought it appropriate to feature two video questions for the candidates from the far-right Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton, identified as one of Trump's many unindicted co-conspirators in his Georgia election theft indictment and likely in his federal indictment for same.
  • Why the party that used to pretend to oppose Big Government clearly doesn't anymore (and never actually did.)
  • How Haley and DeSantis claim to support "freedom", while each opposing freedom of speech on the Internet (and elsewhere.)
  • Who would actually be the best GOP candidate to defeat Joe Biden and who would actually be the easiest for Joe Biden to defeat.

Please enjoy our...for some reason...BradCast Special Coverage!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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Guest: Pulitzer Prize-winning business columnist Michael Hiltzik; Also: Otis becomes Cat 5 hurricane in 12 hours before slamming Acapulco...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2023 6:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover, once again, the thoroughly corrupted "conservative" cabals in both the U.S. House and U.S. Supreme Court as they flex their ill-gotten powers.

But FIRST...on our Green News Report yesterday, we briefly referenced a storm named Otis in the Pacific as a "tropical storm" heading toward Mexico. It was set to be the fourth major storm in a month to slam its Pacific coast. We also happened to discuss a new study of recent hurricanes in the Atlantic, finding that warming waters due to climate change have increased the speed and strength, along with the rapid intensification, of such storms. That behavior, as it turns out, was on full display last night with Otis, which stunned meteorologists and public officials by spinning up from a tropical storm during yesterday's show to become a major Category 5 hurricane in less than 12 hours, before slamming into Acapulco.

With some one million residents and tourists in the resort city caught largely by surprise, we await news and hope for the best, as power and cell phone coverage has been down most of the day, and major roads are said to be unpassable in the region following the catastrophic storm. In addition to being the fourth major storm to slam the coast, it was also the most powerful ever. Acapulco has never seen higher than a Cat 1 hurricane --- until now.

NEXT...The dysfunctional U.S. House Republican majority was finally able to re-open Congress on Wednesday, after selecting a new House Speaker. It was their fourth try after moving to remove Kevin McCarthy more than three weeks ago. Last night the party nominated --- and crucially, today, actually elected on the House floor --- hard-right Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson as their new leader.

Johnson is being described today as the "architect" of the GOP's attempt to block the certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory in 2020. He is a close all of Donald Trump; an ardent religious opponent of abortion rights, supporting jail time and "hard labor" for those who carry them out; he supports government restrictions on medical care for trans people; and opposes further aid to Ukraine to help defend democracy against imperialistic fascism.

In other words, he shares the same positions as Ohio's Jim Jordan --- whose Speakership was blocked by so-called Republican "moderates" last week --- only more so. Apparently, despite their claims, it wasn't Jordan's positions that those "moderates" objected to. It was the fact that Americans knew about them. The little-known Johnson shares no such baggage. So they're fine with him.

FINALLY...The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear another case in December ginned up by the billionaire-funded, rightwing legal mill that looks for --- or creates out of whole cloth --- aggrieved victims of tyrannical government laws and regulations. From fake website designers worried they may someday have to create a site for a same-sex couple, to red state attorneys general falsely claiming that loan agencies are suffering from President Biden's attempted student loan debt relief program, there seems to be an endless supply of "victims" that the industry is able to come up with to parade before the far-right SCOTUS supermajority that the same rightwing billionaires continue to lavish with luxury gifts, travel, and even just cash money.

But Moore v. United States goes even farther. Its proponents hope for a ruling from their friends on the High Court majority which might knee-cap a future progressive wealth tax, akin to the ones long-proposed by Senators like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Warren's proposal, for example, would add a 2% tax --- two cents of every dollar --- to those with an accrued wealth of more than $50 million. Currently, unrealized gains in the value of real estate portfolios, stocks and bonds, fine art, etc., are not taxed, even at death, allowing for heirs of the richest 0.1% to inherit and continue generational, dynastic fortunes of billions of dollars.

The wealthy can then borrow against those accumulated assets without ever having to cash them in, which would otherwise trigger a capital gains tax (at an already very low rate.) "That is a scam and a scandal," my guest tells me today. Taxing just a portion of that wealth would result in "trillions of dollars of revenue for the U.S. Treasury that could be captured just by instituting a small percentage wealth tax on the richest families [with] more than $50 million in assets." That revenue could then be used for universal childcare, healthcare, education, and pretty much everything else that Republicans like to claim that America is just too broke to be able to afford.

So how will the Supreme Court be able to kill a still non-existent "wealth tax", when the Constitution and long-standing precedent prevents it from issuing advisory rulings on issues that aren't currently resulting in actual harm to any victims?

We're joined today by the L.A. Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning business columnist, investigative journalist and author MICHAEL HILTZIK to explain. He argues the case "stinks to high heaven," citing opponents of this case who charge that the GOP billionaire patrons of Justices Sam Alito and Clarence Thomas "have their fingerprints all over this case."

"The miasma of corruption really is laid all over this case," asserts Hiltzik. "I think it's one of the reasons that legal scholars who are watching this are very concerned that, once again, the Supreme Court's conservative majority is going to step out of its proper limited role, and essentially legislate" from the bench. "When the Supreme Court, or any federal court, actually rules on something that is not a real case or controversy, then almost by definition they are making new law, they are legislating. That is something under the Constitution that they are not supposed to do."

As Hiltzik notes, we are now seeing more and more of that from this corrupted Court. So, how can it possibly be stopped at this point? Hiltzik, who has written best-selling books about FDR's New Deal and the robber barons who originally corrupted the entire system, has some ideas on that today that as well...

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With smart special guests Heather Digby Parton of Salon and 'Driftglass' of 'The Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2023 5:20pm PT  

Woah, Nelly! Today's BradCast may arguably be both the dumbest and most fun ever! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The subject material --- Wednesday night's ridiculous GOP 2024 "Presidential Primary Debate" (if it's even worth calling it that) at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library out here in Simi Valley, California --- is what makes it dumb.

It featured seven "candidates" --- former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, supposed businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum --- but not the much-indicted guy who Republicans apparently intend, for now, to actually nominate for the job next year.

Our excellent special coverage panelists --- award-winning blogger and columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and "DRIFTGLASS" of the Professional Left Podcast from "Flyover Country, Illinois" --- are what make it fun.

Hear Digby discuss the GOP's "Bizarro World alternet universe" and the "big orange elephant in the room"! Hear Driftglass explain the "Doomsday machine with no off switch" and "the smelly wet sock of the mainstream media"! Also, Doug Burgum!

To paraphrase Haley last night, hearing us today may help you "feel a little bit dumber." I'd tell you more, but that would ruin all the fun...and most of the dumbness! Enjoy!...

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Also: Unspeakable Libya death toll; Record global heat; Hunter Biden charged; Hurricane Lee; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2023 7:03pm PT  

It's still kind of hilarious that the Republican Speaker of the House this week, in announcing an impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden for...(fill in actual crime here when available)...described the Democratic President as "the picture of a culture of corruption". It's particularly amusing given the bulk of today's news on The BradCast. [Audio link to full show follow below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The unspeakable death toll from flooding in Libya is now expected to be in the tens of thousands as bodies line the streets in the eastern coastal town of Derna, where 16 inches of rain fell in one day over the weekend resulting in the collapse of two dams. Given some of the horrifying new numbers from Berkeley Earth this week, however, suggesting that the planet has a good chance of exceeding the 1.5 degree Celsius increase of warming since pre-industrial times which the Paris Climate Agreement seeks to avoid, we could be in for many more such horrific disasters in the years ahead.
  • Following a nearly 5-year probe by a Trump appointed U.S. Attorney and a recently failed plea agreement, Hunter Biden was charged today with 3 felony counts related to using illegal narcotics while buying a gun. These are crimes which almost nobody is ever charged with, especially when they have never fired or even loaded the gun, which Hunter reportedly had for only 11 days. But that must be a part of the "special preferential treatment" the President's son has received, if you hear Republicans tell it. Try not to laugh.
  • The state judge overseeing the sprawling, 41-count racketeering conspiracy indictment [PDF] against the former President of the United States, Donald Trump and his 18 co-conspirators for their attempts to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, has determined that all 19 defendants will not be tried in a single group beginning in October, as Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis had sought. So far, former Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell will stand trial next month, but a trial date for all of the others will be set later, likely for some time next year --- if a slot when Trump isn't standing trial on felony charges in three other jurisdictions can be found.
  • The civil trial Trump faces --- along with his two eldest sons, his company and two top executives --- via New York state Attorney General Letitia James, for falsely and unlawfully inflating his company's net worth by billions of dollars in order to fraudulently receive bank loans and other benefits, begins on October 2. Just mentioning that since it seems few others are doing so these days for some reason.
  • The Fox Corporation was sued yet again this week, related to the knowing lies Fox "News" told about the 2020 election being "rigged". The latest suit comes courtesy of New York City's huge pension funds. They charge neglect of corporate duty to protect shareholders by opening themselves up to defamation suits like the one from Dominion Voting Systems. That one cost the pretend news outlet $787.5 million to settle earlier this year. The state of Oregon, on behalf of their public employee retirement fund, has joined the suit. All of which begs the question as to why anybody's money is actually invested in a company known, for years. to be as corrupt as Fox. I might suggest that those whose retirement funds are being handled by NYC and Oregon (and elsewhere) demand the funds pull their money from similarly irresponsible and corrupt corporations --- such as the major fossil fuel companies --- before they too face the huge financial liabilities that await them.
  • Are Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his fellow corrupt Republicans in the state's obscenely gerrymandered Legislature blinking in their recent threats to impeach newly-seated state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz before she has even heard a case? The High Court's new liberal majority will soon be hearing two citizen petitions challenging the GOP's corrupt state district maps, which have ensured Republican majorities in both the Assembly and Senate for most of the past decade. But this week, just after state Dems announced a $4 million ad buy to let voters in the Badger State known what Republicans are up to in advance of 2024, Vos floated a new legislative "deal" to create new maps. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers immediately rejected the proposal as "bogus". We explain.
  • Remember that Kentucky County Clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples back in 2015? Kim Davis will now have to pay one of those couples $100,000 for having refused to do so, according to a decision this week by a federal jury.
  • Ken Paxton, the unspeakably corrupt Texas state Attorney General and close Trump ally who is facing trial in the Republican-dominated state Senate on 20 articles of impeachment brought by the state's Republican-dominated House this week, may have dodged at least one bullet. A last-minute deal was struck between the opposing attorneys to skip testimony from Paxton's mistress on Wednesday. She's the one who was given a job by a Paxton donor to make it easier for them to continue their secret affair. The impeachment trial of the state's top law enforcement officer continues in the Senate, which will soon decide if the Republican should be removed from office based on charges of bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of power. Paxton's wife is a state Senator and has been present all week at the trial. She will, however, be barred from voting on his fate.
  • Washington Post reports today that Florida's corrupt Republican Governor Ron DeSantis enjoyed a whole bunch of unreported and undisclosed private plane flights, luxury resort accommodations and meals with wealthy donors after being first elected in 2018. With his Presidential aspirations now failing, he must be angling for a Supreme Court nomination.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest 'Green News Report' with more on the horrific news out of Libya; the record costs of U.S. weather-related disasters so far this year; more bad news for Texas water drinkers; and a bit of encouraging news courtesy of Biden and the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act. Oh, we're also still keeping an eye on the powerful, slow-moving Hurricane Lee, a monster storm in the Atlantic which is currently brushing by Bermuda and threatening New England, Canada and Newfoundland over the next several days...

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Also: Hurricane Hillary eyes Southern CA and/or AZ...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2023 7:11pm PT  

If you had "Hurricane in Southern California" on your Climate Crisis 2023 Bingo card, please come on up to accept your prize. Details on that on today's BradCast, along with a whole bunch of other stuff we've had to set aside of late, thanks to the now 91 criminal felony charges being faced by our corrupt and disgraced former President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories covered today that (largely) have nothing to do with felony indictments...

  • Hurricane Hilary spins up suddenly off the coast of Mexico and is now gaining strength amid an El Nino. The storm is said to be heading north to make what could be an "exceedingly rare" landfall over the next few days somewhere here in Southern California or along the Baja Peninsula before moving up and into Arizona --- if you believe scientists who are experts in this sort of thing.
  • The gerrymandered Republican state legislature in North Carolina on Wednesday overrode vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to enact new laws that are unspeakable cruel to, among others, transgender children. If you are unaware, we explain exactly why these types of laws --- now adopted by 22 GOP-controlled states (though being challenged in court in most of them) --- are so awful and cruel. That is, unless you are a Republican, like those who stole control of the NC legislature, who believe Big Government should intercede between doctors and patients and that so-called "parental rights" should also be overruled by Big Government autocratic fiat.
  • Speaking of autocracy, gerrymanders and Big Government Republicans now dictating to small, local government and voters...the morally and ethically broken GOP-controlled state legislature in Texas has recently passed a law to oust the chief election official in Harris County (Houston) --- and only in Harris County --- just months before upcoming municipal elections in the state's largest and most Democratic-leaning County. A state judge this week found the new law in violation of the Lone Star State's constitution. But, just hours later, the state put that ruling on hold by appealing it to the TX Supreme Court (all Republican). The November elections are now just weeks away and, unless something changes quickly, will apparently be run by the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector who has zero experience running elections and had nothing to do with the months-long planning for the one where early voting is set to begin next month.
  • In far more encouraging news about autocracy, gerrymandering and, in this case, democracy, we head to the great state of Wisconsin. On August 1, Justice Janet Protasiewicz became the state Supreme Court's newest member after being elected earlier this year. Her landslide (for Wisconsin) 11-point victory in April means that liberals now hold a majority on the state's High Court for the first time in about 15 years. On August 2, a group of petitioners filed with the state Supremes to not only force new, fair legislative maps for the state's House and Senate for the first time in more than a decade, but also for emergency elections next year for all members of the state Senate, many of whom will not otherwise face reelection until 2026 despite occupying seats that petitioners argue are held only thanks to the GOP's unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernie Canning wrote about this challenge to the state's illicit, entrenched legislative majorities this week and the potentially very good news it represents for Badger State voters. Just after airtime today, however, he updated his article with...well, some more good news but also...some troubling news about the gerrymandered GOP's new scheme to undermine democracy, the rule of law, the state constitution and state voters with impeachment proceedings against Protasiewicz in hopes of stealing back the Court to hold onto their entrenched, corrupt state legislative majorities. (See Ernie's UPDATE today on that story for more details.)
  • Then, a bit of listener mail in response to my apparently controversial suggestions of late that Donald Trump may very well not be on the general election ballot by November of next year.
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report with updates on the horrific fires on Maui and in Canada, but some very encouraging news about President Biden and the Democrats' landmark climate law, signed one year ago this week, which is already resulting in a clean energy manufacturing, construction and jobs boom in the U.S. --- and even overseas!...

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?...

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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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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...

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Judge finds state statue would cause child plaintiffs 'irreparable harm'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/14/2023 9:57am PT  

Last week, a U.S. District Court judge in the Southern District of Florida issued an important preliminary injunction [PDF] to a cruel state measure blocking medical treatment for transgender kids.

Relying upon medical science and a U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeal decision handed-down last year, Judge Robert Hinkle temporarily enjoined provisions of a Republican-engineered state statute and rules issued by state medical boards to enforce it, which make it a crime and grounds for terminating a license to practice medicine, for physicians who furnish minors (under 18) with gender-affirming care.

In his 44-page ruling, Judge Hinkle found that the plaintiffs (adolescent transgender children and their parents) were likely to succeed in their claims that the state's new restriction on gender-affirming care violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Allowing the law to take effect, he explained, was likely to cause "irreparable harm" to the child plaintiffs...

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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...

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The historic news breaks as we are on air; Also: Newly unredacted evidence from the Fox 'News' 'Brain Room' in Dominion's defamation suit; Disney hilariously out-foxes DeSantis...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2023 4:52pm PT  

On the other hand, Donald Trump's statement at his own social media website says he's been "INDICATED". But why quibble? The news caught us mid-BradCast today. We did our best to make sense of it all on the fly. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, we were covering the newly unredacted evidence from Dominion Voting System's $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the wildly corrupt Fox "News" outfit, regarding the Republican propaganda outlet's knowing lies and evidence-free claims that the voting machine company somehow helped to steal the 2020 Presidential election from Donald Trump. Dominion didn't, and Fox knew as much, according to their own "Brain Room", which they ignored. (Yes, they have a "Brain Room", apparently, at Fox. So, that must be where they keep them?) As bad for Fox as the previously released evidence was, this is the stuff they had redacted from that, for some reason, until a judge ordered it released on Wednesday. So, imagine how bad this stuff is? You don't have to. We discuss it on today's show before today's big breaking news.

Then, we were covering the hilarious case of Disney out-foxing (no pun intended) Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his attempt to weaponize the state government against them. That, because Disney dared speak out against his "Don't Say Gay" law which was written to allow the government to ban discussion of sexual orientation and general identity in ALL public school grades. (Not just K through 3.) So, how did Disney out-fox, DeSantis? It's pretty hilarious. So, tune in to find out.

Next, we were going to cover a whole bunch of important labor union news from this past week...BUT...news then broke of Trump's indictment by a criminal grand jury in New York.

Thus, we moved our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen from the end of the show to the middle, to buy some time to figure out the breaking news hubbub. Sadly, there's some pretty important news in today's GNR, including the fact that electricity generated renewables outpaced coal last year for the first time in the U.S. That big news will all almost certain be forgotten because...well...

TRUMP WAS INDICTED today. Reportedly, the charges are in relation to his secret hush-money payoff of porn star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election, in hopes of improving his chance of winning. But we don't know, because the indictment by a New York grand jury is still sealed until next week.

The charges, brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whatever they are, represent the first indictment of a U.S. President in history. Trump will reportedly surrender next week in NYC, according to his attorney Joe Tacopina. He will then be finger-printed, booked and perhaps hand-cuffed before his arraignment. We'll see if that all happens.

We share several related thoughts on all of this on today's program, on the fly, as based on the historic news as it broke in real time this afternoon...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Alex Burness of Bolts Magazine; Also: More on need for media to call out pro-murder, anti-democracy Republicans; KY Repubs ban health care for trans kids; AR's GOP Guv further restricts absentee voting...
By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2023 5:30pm PT  

We'll just have to keep saying it on The BradCast: Republicans are pro-murder and anti-democracy. It's just that simple. And we've got too much more evidence of that today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, the fallout continues following Monday's school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, where three 9-year olds and three adults were killed by an AR-15 wielding shooter at a private Christian elementary school. The U.S. Congressman representing the district where The Covenant School is located is Republican Congressman Andy Ogles.

Last year, Ogles sent out Christmas cards featuring himself, his wife and his children in front of a Christmas tree, proudly posing with their AR-15 style assault rifles. Since the shooting in his district, he has apparently taken down his social media posting of the festive card. A reporter from Sky News confronted him this week to try and learn why he hadn't taken it down previously, after other similar massacres, and why he seems to favor guns and murder over the lives of children and their right to be safe at school.

Jon Stewart, earlier this month, also had a related conversation with a Republican state lawmaker in Oklahoma by the name of Nathan Dahm. The GOP state Senator has authored bills to loosen restrictions on firearms and apparently believes that drag shows that may be seen by children must be banned, because "the government does have a responsibility to protect" them. But, as Stewart points out, Dahm appears to have no similar concerns about protecting kids from being murdered with guns, which is now the leading cause of death for U.S. children and teens.

In a similar vein, Big Government Republicans in Kentucky's legislature today voted to override the veto of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, to enact a law that will ban health care for trans kids and mandate that doctors begin "detransitioning" children currently on puberty blockers and hormones, despite the alarming rate of suicide by such kids. The bill also bars all discussion of sexual orientation and gender identify in schools for students of any age, as the Nanny State Republican party continues to pretend they favor free speech.

Meanwhile, this is an election year in Virginia, where the entire state legislature comes up for reelection in odd-numbered years and where the commonwealth's 1902 constitutional provision created to prevent black people from voting remains in place. The measure in question allows VA's Governor to decide, on any criteria they may like, whether or not to re-enfranchise former felons.

Under processes enacted first by former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and then broadly expanded and automated by subsequent Democratic Governors Terry McCauliffe and Ralph Northam, the voting rights for hundreds of thousands of Virginians were restored. But, since taking office last year, VA's new, so-called "moderate" Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has re-enfranchised almost nobody. Moreover, his office has finally informed state lawmakers that he will be using a secret process to personally decide, on a case-by-case basis, who will and won't be allowed to vote.

We're joined today by voting rights, criminalization and justice reporter ALEX BURNESS, staff writer at the progressive Bolts Magazine. He has been reporting on Youngkin's appalling, anti-democracy policy, and how it is harming those who are simply hoping to return to civil society after imprisonment in Virginia.

"We still don't know what the criteria is going to be, but it is clarifying in the sense that the policy is 'I'm going to do whatever I want and, at least for the moment, I'm not going to tell you what that means,'" Burness tells me, adding that the commonwealth's constitution mandates the Governor "literally has the power to make up criteria, based on whether you own a dog or a cat, or anything."

Burness explains why Democrats in the state have yet to pass a constitutional amendment to change this absurd, Jim Crow relic, despite the heartbreaking stories from so many who have served their time and simply want to have their rights as citizens fully restored. "This is one of a million reasons why Virginia's upcoming elections matter. Particularly with what Youngkin has done now, there is some renewed passion by folks to settle this once and for all and not leave it up to the whims of the Governor," says Burness.

The pathetic vote suppression by Youngkin comes on the heels of Minnesota's Democratic Governor signing a law this month to re-enfranchise some 55,000 citizens of voting age who are no longer incarcerated, whether they are on parole or probation or not; New Mexico's Democratic Governor signing a similar law that will restore voting rights to about 11,000 New Mexicans; and a recently advanced measure by Democratic lawmakers in Oregon to allow voting even for those still in prison, akin to the rights afforded to the incarcerated in Maine, Vermont and Washington D.C.

Finally today, more voter suppression is enacted by Arkansas' new Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Yesterday, we detailed her newly signed law adopted by Republican state lawmakers that will make it much much harder for Democrats to place citizen initiatives on the statewide ballot. (Even though the statute appears to be a violation of the state constitution.) Today, the American Democracy Minute's Brian Beihl details three other new bills recently signed by Huckabee Sanders to make absentee voting much more difficult in the state...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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