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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, September 20, 2021
Sunday 'End of the Roe' Toons
PDiddie's latest, timely, not-yet-banned collection of the week's best political toons...
It's The Fox 'News', Stupid! (Or, How a Fake News
Channel Broke America):
'BradCast' 9/17/21
Guest: Kevin Drum; Also: Catastrophic heat; Fires threaten Sequoia's 3,000-yr old giants...
Whitehouse Presses Wray on FBI Whitewash of Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Probe: 'BradCast' 9/16/21
Also: Debunking CA Recall 'fraud' claim; Unvaxxed surging hospital death panels...
'Green News Report' 9/16/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nicholas adds insult to injury in LA; Biden continues urgent climate action pitch; States hold plastic producers accountable; PLUS: VT latest to sue fossil fuel giants for lies...
Previous GNRs: 9/14/21 - 9/9/21 - Archives...
NEWSOM WINS LANDSLIDE, GOP'S CA RECALL FAILS: 'BradCast' 9/15/21
Guest: The Prospect's Harold Meyerson; Also: Senate's 'Freedom to Vote Act' mandates hand-marked paper ballots for all!...
Repubs Threaten 'War' Over CA Recall and COVID, Dems Threaten Voting Rights for All: 'BradCast' 9/14/21
Elder's fraud lies; Dems' awesome new election bill; More anti-vax RWers 'bite the dust'...
'Green News Report' 9/14/21
Nicholas drowns Gulf Coast; Biden urges Congress to move on climate infrastructure; EPA protects drinking water; PLUS: Another nail in Pebble Mine's coffin...
Last Call Before Perils, Security Dangers of CA Recall Election: 'BradCast' 9/13/21
Also: No, we weren't 'united' after 9/11. My 'Presidential Speech', written 20 years ago this week. Plus: Callers...
Sunday 'Not Forgetting' Toons
PDiddie's latest, memorable collection of the week's best toons...
CA SoS Asks Election Experts to be 'Cheerleaders' for Recall Election Security Procedures: 'BradCast' 9/10/21
Guests: Emily Levy, Jim Soper; Also: GOP freakout over Biden vaccine mandate...
Thanks for the Death Panels, Anti-Vaxxers!:
'BradCast' 9/9/21
Hospitals now rationing healthcare as Delta surges, even among kids (as DeSantis tries to kill them); Better news in AK; Good jobs numbers; DoJ sues TX; More...
'Green News Report' 9/9/21
Biden presses infrastructure resilience after deadly Ida's devastation; Mindy forms and slams FL in mere hours; PLUS: World finally ends use of leaded gas...
'Too Much Hubris': CA Recall Officials Dismiss Experts' Warning After Software Theft: 'BradCast' 9/8/21
Guest: Dr. Duncan Buell; Also: Trump probe in GA; Pillow Guy is really REALLY stupid...
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...


Monsoons taking out Trump's crappy border fence; Also: TX, FL out of beds, oxygen amid explosion of unvaxxed COVID patients; Pelosi holds off 'suicide squad' Dems to pass landmark $3.5 trillion budget blueprint...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2021 6:40pm PT  

One upside to our worsening climate emergency, nothing but downsides to our worsening COVID emergency, and Pelosi brokers a deal (for now) between House Democrats to prevent them from destroying themselves. All that and more jammed into today's very busy BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted at bottom of this summary.]

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

  • Somehow we managed to find at least one bright spot in our endless Climate Changed Summer: global warming is helping to take down Trump's shoddily constructed border fence --- proving that bypassing critical environmental impact studies before handing out sweetheart contracts for multi-billion dollar government boondoggles is a really dumb idea. Especially in an area like Arizona, prone to summer monsoons. Especially for a fence that can be scaled with a $5 ladder. It's an even dumber idea --- a potentially deadly and catastrophic one, in fact --- to flatten existing river levees on the Rio Grande in Texas to make room for a border wall in a flood plain amid ever-worsening hurricane seasons.
  • In still more news of disasters denied and left behind by the Trump Administration for all of us to try and survive, the seemingly unstoppable surge of unvaccinated COVID patients in states run by politically ambitious Republicans is having an horrifically deadly effect --- and not just for COVID patients. In Orlando, Florida, officials are asking residents to immediately cut back water usage as much as 50 percent to avoid potential boil water orders. That's due to a lack of liquid oxygen to purify the water, as the oxygen is currently needed to take care of critically ill COVID patients. In the same state, children now lead all other age groups in the rate at which they are testing positive for the coronavirus. That, as Gov. Ron DeSantis continues his failing war to block school districts from mandating masks, even for kids younger than 12 who can't be vaccinated, but who now have a 23% test positivity rate. And all of that as scores of physicians walked out this week to demonstrate the need for Floridians to get vaccinated as hospitals and ICU's are now filling up and even preventing more non-COVID patients than COVID patients from receiving critical care.
  • The story is no better and no less shameful in Texas, where their Republican Governor, Greg Abbott, is also at war with school districts who choose to try and keep their children and teachers safe by instituting mask mandates. The west Texas town of Iraan (Ira-Ann) is now entirely shut down after an explosion of cases just five days into the school year, with just 14 beds total in the small town's hospital and no critical care facilities anywhere nearer than at least 80 miles away. But those facilities, like the ones in crowded Southeast Texas, in places like Houston, are also completely out of both nurses and beds in both emergency and ICU rooms with hundreds of critically ill patients on waiting lists for both. "Are there patients dying because of this that might not have died? Absolutely, yes," says the doctor who serves as CEO of the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council, adding ominously: "I am very concerned about the fatalities that are about to happen." The Lone Star State is now shipping patients out of state as far as Minnesota to get them care. Of course, "it didn't have to be this way," notes Washington Post's Catherine Rampell, calling on "the GOP to dole out some tough love on vaccines." Good luck with that.
  • In brighter news, after a standoff by a rump caucus of conservative "suicide squad" Democrats in the U.S. House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to broker a deal to move forward with passage of the landmark $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation blueprint that would, if ultimately signed into law, expand health care, child care, access to education, begin to take on climate change and raise taxes on corporations and the rich to help pay for it all. Nine or 10 so-called Democratic "moderates" in the House had been holding the measure hostage over the past day, in hopes of forcing Pelosi to allow a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package already passed by the Senate. But Pelosi and President Biden and House progressives have already said that both bills comprising Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda must be passed at the same time. The House standoff ended with an agreement by Pelosi that the infrastructure bill would get a vote by September 27. Whether progressives will vote for it by then likely depends on whether the larger spending bill --- which can pass in both chambers without any Republicans --- is complete. There is still a long, tough road ahead for that agenda. If adopted, it would be a landmark achievement on par with FDR's New Deal. But, after an attempt to undermine by a few Democrats, it is now moving forward again, even as Mitch McConnell is rooting on those Democratic "moderates" in the House, in hopes of scuttling both long-overdue initiatives for the American people.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, which, as usual, is filled with nothing but "fantastic" news...and Barry Manilow...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Dr. Brian Hughes of American University's PERIL; Also: Criminal charges soon for Trump Org?; DoJ sues GA for vote suppression; More on climate change effects on collapsed FL high-rise...
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2021 6:30pm PT  

As usual in this country, we're dealing with the crisis all wrong. Violent domestic extremism --- domestic terrorism --- has become a public-health issue in this country, according to our guest today on The BradCast. If we treat it as such, it may not become the security problem that we're currently treating it as. We're good at law enforcement and security issues in this country. Public-health issues? Not so much. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, first up today, a few breaking news stories of note...

  • Several news outlets this afternoon are confirming that Donald Trump's family business could face criminal charges as soon as next week. Not Trump himself --- yet --- or his family members or other employees, but the Trump Organization itself. New York Times was first to report that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance could file criminal indictments next week against the Trump Organization, based on fringe benefits given to employees, such as expensive apartments, cars and school tuition for employee family members on which taxes were not properly paid. The Trump Org's CFO Allen Weisselberg and possibly his son, who also work for the company, seem to be targeted here. Both Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James have been investigating whether the disgraced former President committed bank and tax fraud and whether he committed campaign finance felonies with hush-money payments to two different women before the 2016 election. It's believed that prosecutors are hoping that the company's longtime financial chief, Weisselberg, will flip against his boss. These charges are likely part of that effort.
  • Also today, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the filing of a federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia over it's expansive new voter-suppression law, SB202. Seven non-profit voting and civil rights organizations have filed separate complaints (including one, filed by the Coalition for Good Governance, in which I am a named plaintiff). But the big guns of a federal lawsuit by the DOJ suggest that the Biden Administration is taking seriously the spate of new laws being adopted by GOP-controlled legislatures around the country aimed at making it harder for Americans --- specifically, minorities --- to vote. Comments from Garland and his deputies in the Voting Rights Division today, when announcing the legal action, suggest there may be more such suits against other states coming soon as well.
  • Finally, before we get to our guest today, some additional information on a question we posed yesterday, as to whether rising seas due to human-caused climate change may have played a part in the tragic, deadly collapse of a 12-story high-rise condominium in Surfside, Florida near Miami Beach on Thursday. A number of experts have hinted at the possibility over the past 24 hours since our last show. One is a professor at the Florida International University’s Institute of Environment, speaking to CNN, citing the building's subsidence rate (how much it is sinking into the ground) during a study in the 1990s. And NBC News spoke to a number of experts who cited the towns along the sandy, reclaimed wetlands barrier island on which Miami Beach and Surfside stand --- an island which, we now understand, actually migrates and moves along with rising sea levels. One geologist quoted suggests that the necessity of a coastal retreat from barrier islands --- where currently $3 trillion worth of property is now located in the U.S. --- may soon be upon us. "It’s a tough conversation to have, but the building shouldn’t have been there --- along with a lot of other buildings," he says. "We’re due for a real awakening."

Next, it's on to the rise in violent domestic extremism, particularly fostered by White Supremacy in the wake of Donald Trump's presidency and the deadly, Trump-incited attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. After Republicans reneged on a deal with House Democrats to form an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the 1/6 attack, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week announced plans to create a House Select Committee to get to the root cause of what happened and why. During a House hearing this week, the nation's highest ranking military leader, Gen. Mark Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered an impassioned response to criticism of interest in Critical Race Theory among military leadership, and the causes of "white rage", in which he spoke to the importance of learning "what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America."

Our guest today, DR. BRIAN HUGHES of American University's Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL), suggests Pelosi and Milley and "the Biden Administration's proposal for how to tackle domestic terrorism and extremism points in the right direction." Hughes' colleague, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, also of PERIL, recently penned an op-ed at The Atlantic arguing that far-right domestic extremism has now spread into the mainstream, and must be dealt with as more than simply a security and law-enforcement issue. It is no longer a matter of tracking specific organizations, but now a matter of radicalization by individuals "who are influenced by ideas online rather than by plots hatched by group leaders in secret gatherings," Miller-Idriss posits. It is now a public-health issue, she argues, and must be dealt with by a whole-of-society approach.

"We, as a society, are incredibly militarized, we're incredibly securitized, and so the solutions that we reach to, when we have a problem, are almost inevitably securitized or militarized and  contain some element of that securitization," Hughes explains today. "Our approach to extremism and terrorism is no different.  Certainly law enforcement and intelligence have a very important role to play here.  But it can never be more than a band-aid solution. As we see now, there aren't enough band-aids in the world to deal with the violence that this country is facing.  We really have to go deeper to the root causes of these issues."

Hughes cites the Biden Administration's proposal to incorporate the Dept. of Health and Human Services and the Dept. of Education into their initiative to take on violent extremism as "really, really critical. But even more critical is allocating resources to local communities.  The more locally we can distribute the necessary training, the necessary education, and the necessary funding to address radicalization before it even starts, the fewer of those security, and law enforcement, and militarized solutions that we're going to have to come up with in the future."

As we delve into details, we discuss ways that state and local communities must take on the issue as well. (The "seven minutes of reading to improve understanding of how radical ideas spread online," which we discuss as having helped some 750 parents and caregivers in a recent study by PERIL and the Southern Poverty Law Center is posted here.) We also discuss the paradox of how coming to a collective understanding of the effects of systemic racism in the U.S., as well as actions taken by social media companies to help curb the effectiveness of propaganda and far-right radicalism, can also serve to increase the "white rage" that new policies and new ways of facing this as a public-health issue are meant to counteract.

Hughes also shares his experience in working with former extremists and the "deep, deep sense of shame" and "horror" they ultimately experience after they come to terms with having been radicalized. "It just tears families apart. It absolutely ruins relationships as surely as drugs and alcohol do. This isn't just a matter of a person becoming a jerk. This is a question of a person blowing up their own life and the lives of the people around them." All of which is just part of the reason why we must rethink our approach to the problem as one of public-health.

As Hughes concedes, none of this is "going to change overnight," but there are ways that we can start taking action right now, particularly at the local level, where he urges people to get involved with their local school systems on this matter in order to prevent the radicalization long before it begins. "Request this kind of education, request these kinds of materials. Education happens at the local level in the United States, so it's really on all of us to improve things in our local communities."

I hope you'll tune in for this fascinating and insightful conversation...

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Condo collapse in FL; Dems hopeful, cautious on bipartisan infrastructure 'deal'; Pelosi's announces 1/6 committee; Giuliani's NY law license suspended; MI Repubs eviscerate 2020 'fraud' claims...
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2021 5:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was one of those days. Again. Everything all at once. Again. We do our best to help you make sense of it all. Again. [Audio link to today's full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories, many of them still breaking as we went to air, covered on today's program...

  • High-rise condominium building collapses in South Florida near Miami Beach. As of air-time, 1 person was announced as dead and 99 others currently unaccounted for, as rescuers continue to comb through the deadly rubble searching for survivors.
  • President Biden declared "we have a deal" on an infrastructure package. It's a $1.2 trillion bipartisan "compromise" deal in the U.S. Senate on his proposed $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan. That proposal is one part of his infrastructure plan for things like roads, bridges, the electrical grid, and broadband Internet. The other part of his two-part proposal is the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which includes the "human infrastructure" part of the package, focused on childcare, education and healthcare. While Biden lauded the "compromise" struck among Republicans and conservative Democrats in the Senate, House Speaker Pelosi promised she would not bring up the compromise proposal for a vote in the House until the other part of the package --- the American Families Plan and, presumably, whatever is being left out of the "compromise" bill --- is passed with a simple majority vote in the Senate under Budget Reconciliation rules which allow lawmakers to avoid the anti-democratic Senate filibuster rule. "Make sure you understand this," the Speaker vowed during her presser today, "there ain't gonna be no bipartisan bill unless we are going to have the Reconciliation bill."
  • Pelosi, who has seen her fair share of Republicans reneging on deals at the last minute, also announced that she intends to create a House Committee to investigate the deadly, Trump-incited attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. That, after House Dems had struck a deal with Republicans earlier this year for a bi-partisan, evenly divided, independent Commission, only to see Republican leadership, after the deal was already struck, go on to vote against the bill in the House and kill it entirely with the filibuster in the Senate.
  • Speaking of the filibuster, which would need to be reformed if Democrats hope to pass their sweeping elections, voting rights and campaign finance reform bill known as the For the People Act through the Senate, three moderate Senate Democrats (Mark Kelley of Arizona, Michael Bennett of Colorado, and Catherine Cortez-Masto of NV) spoke to the need to do exactly that during a private conference call this week. The audio, obtained by the Colorado Newsline, reveals each moderate Dem discussing the need to reform the filibuster and suggesting that intra-caucus negotiations are well underway to try and figure out how to do exactly that.
  • In New York, an appeals court has accepted the recommendation of a state committee of attorneys to immediately suspend Rudy Giuliani's license to practice law, citing "uncontroverted evidence” that he “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020." That conduct, the court agreed, "immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law." While the disgraced former U.S. Attorney and NYC Mayor will be allowed to argue against the suspension in an upcoming hearing, experts believe the action today, however, is likely to lead to permanent disbarment. "The seriousness of respondent's uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated," the court wrote [PDF]. "This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden." That, after Giuliani spent months on behalf of Trump, following the November election offering one false claim after another to one state legislative committee after another, pretending to cite evidence that the election was stolen from the disgraced former President.
  • Those unsubstantiated and false claims, at least in Michigan, were devastatingly rebutted and debunked on Wednesday, by a Republican state Senate committee on Wednesday. In their unsparing 35-page point-by-point report [PDF], the lawmakers absolutely eviscerate Giuliani's, Trump's, Sidney Powell's, Jovan Pulitizer's and all of the other GOP grifters and con-artist's evidence-free claims about "voter fraud" and theft by computer voting and tabulation systems. Every Republican on the state's Senate Oversight Committee signed on to the brutal report, compiled over the past eight months, and responding to each and every phony claim suggesting systematic fraud in the state. The Committee found no basis for any of the wild accusations and even calls for a legal investigation and potential prosecution by the state's Attorney General for "those who have been utilizing misleading and false information...to raise money or publicity for their own ends." Ouch.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with, well, not much good news today. The worsening drought in the West is now threatening drinking water; The Siberian Arctic(!) is facing a record heatwave, with temperatures topping out above 110 (in the Arctic!); A new report finds climate change is making heat waves hotter; And a whole bunch of other news that I don't have the heart to share with you here...

Enjoy!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Adam Green of Progressive Change Campaign Committee; Also: Gaetz' ex-girlfriend flipping on him, Trump's finance chief may flip on Trump, Trump may flip on everyone, including his own family...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2021 7:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Everyone in Trump World is now either flipping on everyone else in Trump World, or appears on their way to doing so. Including Trump himself Fun! Less fun: Democrats in Congress wasting their time in negotiations on Biden's bold Build Back Better agenda with Republicans who are decidedly not negotiating in good faith, as they made clear to everyone once again this week. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

But first, the flippin' fun part of the show! Just before airtime, CNN reported that Rep. Matt Gaetz' ex-girlfriend is now said to be cooperating with federal investigators believed to be looking into the Republican Congressman from Florida's many alleged payments for sex and illicit sex trafficking of a minor.

And while Gaetz, Donald Trump's number one fan in Congress, is facing a world of trouble (and years in prison), so, of course, is Trump, as it appears to be getting hotter by the hour inside the Trump Organization. This week, we learned that the New York state Attorney General, Letitia James, who had been looking at civil violations of bank and tax fraud laws by Trump and his company, joined the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance's criminal investigation of many of the same matters.

The next day, we learned that Allen Weisselberg, the long time Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization --- beginning all the way back to when Trump's dad Fred was in charge --- is now facing his own criminal tax-related probe by the NY AG's office as well. That, as our guest earlier in the week, former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall Eliason explained at the time, is a likely precursor to getting him to flip on his boss, the disgraced former President.

And the next day after that, Weisselberg's former daughter-in-law Jennifer --- who has announced that she's been cooperating with prosecutors for some time, after explaining that her former husband Barry (also a Trump employee) was often paid with free rent in expensive luxury apartments and some $500,000 worth of private school tuition for their kids --- believes that her former father-in-law, Allen, will absolutely flip on Trump to save himself.

That revelation came as Trump's own former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen --- who flipped on Trump long ago, as he earned federal prison time by pleading guilty to participating in a campaign finance hush-money conspiracy "directed" by Trump --- believes that Trump will eventually flip on everyone, including Allen Weisselberg, and even his own kids(!) if necessary, to save himself! "I think Donald Trump is going to flip on all of them, including his children," Cohen told MSNBC, adding: "I really believe that Donald Trump cares for only himself and he realizes that his goose is cooked."

It's all flippin' hilarious, in truth. We'll see if things continue to come crashing down on the former Criminal-in-Chief --- as they sure seem set to do, at this point --- in the coming days and weeks. Fun!

Less fun, unfortunately, is the continuing obstruction campaign being waged by Congressional Republicans, who laid bare their bad faith yet again this week, after spending months negotiating with Democrats on an evenly balanced January 6th Commission, only for GOP leadership in both chambers to then whip their members against it after the bipartisan deal was finally struck in the House Homeland Security Committee.

A similar pageant of bad faith negotiations have been underway for several weeks now with Republicans pretending they are interested in working with Democrats on Biden's $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan, and his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, to support "human infrastructure", such as child care, paid family leave and free daycare and community college.

We've seen this bad movie before. Just look back at the months that Dems spent "negotiating" with Republicans in 2009 and 2010 over the Affordable Care Act, when the GOP failed to offer a single vote in favor of the landmark healthcare law, even after winning all kinds of concessions from Dems to water down the plan.

Now, Democrats are finally saying enough is enough. At least some of them, who, Politico reports, are speaking up and calling for the Jobs Plan and Families Plan to be combined into a megabill and passed in one fell swoop under the Senate's Budget Reconciliation rules allowing passage of almost all of it with a simple majority vote. The only problem: Not all Dems are ready to do so, especially West Virginia's Joe Manchin, who is also not yet onboard with the Dems' sweeping proposal for election and campaign finance reform --- the For the People Act (or H.R.1 in the House and S.1 in the Senate) --- and the filibuster reform that would be required to pass it with just 50 Democratic votes.

Joining us to today to explain how Dems and progressives can possibly move forward through all of these obstacles is ADAM GREEN, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, who told Politico this week that: "The only two scenarios for Democrats are to go big or get nothing."

Green expands on those comments today, arguing that the process of negotiation going on right now is, by and large, meant to convince Manchin, and maybe a few other conservative Democrats, that there is only one real path forward to carry out Biden's truly ambitious progressive agenda.

"I think that there are two genres in working with Republicans," he tells me. "One, that hearkens back to the Obama era, where they really thought that Republicans were potentially willing to deal with them, and wasted a year and quarter negotiating with them before passing Obamacare. It wasted a lot of time that led to a lack of results by the 2010 election. And the lack of results meant low motivation for voters to turnout and vote, or vote Democrat."

"In this case, " Green continues, "I think we have a little bit of a different scenario, where most people understand the game. The game here is there are one or two Senate Democrats with that old mindset --- they genuinely believe Republicans will deal in good faith.  Everybody else is ready to get this done but has to play ball for a couple of months to make abundantly clear that these Republicans don't come in good faith."

Green also cites this week's last minute u-turn on the January 6th Commission as a perfect example, where the GOP had "pretty much of all of their demands met," only to see "Republican leaders coming out against it." That, he says, leads him to feel "hopeful that we're nearing the time when  even the Joe Manchins of the world realize that they did their best, but too bad, it's time to go it alone with Democratic votes and score big for the American people."

But even if Manchin is ultimately willing to agree to pass the infrastructure plans with a simple majority under Senate Reconciliation rules, is there ANY path that would allow for passage of other top Dem priorities like the For the People Act? That bill would almost certainly fail to meet Senate Parliamentarian muster to be passed under the same rules, so would somehow have to overcome a GOP filibuster to be adopted. An optimistic Green believes there is a VERY narrow path to make that happen as well, and he details how progressives in not just West Virginia, but every state, can help push Dems --- and Manchin --- through that narrow path. It includes, among other things, a new "Democracy exception" to Senate filibuster rules. Such an exception, he notes, could also allow D.C. to finally become a state in the bargain. As I said, optimistic!

Finally, we're always happy to end another mad week in these "United" States with another gem from the great Randy Rainbow, this one dedicated to all of the swell, not-at-all horrible Republican lawmakers in Congress. Enjoy!...

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Guest: BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning; Also: CA GOP's Newsom recall falling flat so far; Israel, Hamas agree to cease-fire; GOP disgraces self, infuriates cops by trying to block Jan. 6th Commission...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2021 6:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the fight for truth and justice continues from Palestine to Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, CA. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

Just before airtime today, encouraging news broke that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire after nearly two weeks of fighting that left at least 230 Palestinians (including at least 65 children) dead in Gaza, and 12 Israels (including two children) dead on the other side. The promised pause in hostilities comes after President Biden's long-overdue pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which came after pressure from Congressional Democrats on Biden.

Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, revealed once again this week the bad faith with which they are supposedly "working" with Democrats. After the top Democrat and Republican on the Homeland Security Committee in the House negotiated a deal for the structure of an evenly partisan divided, independent commission to examine the deadly January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the GOP minority leaders in both the House and Senate whipped their own members to reject it. Nonetheless, the House passed the resolution to create the Jan. 6 Commission on Wednesday, after some stunning and dramatic debate, with 35 Republicans joining all of the Dems to adopt the Commission. The rest of the House GOPers scoffed at the attack on the Capitol and even at the U.S. Capitol Police themselves, the very law enforcement officials who risked life and limb to protect all Congressional members on that shameful, historic day. The measure must still overcome a Republican filibuster to be adopted in the Senate, where Mitch McConnell is opposing with lies about it being "unbalanced", in hopes of protecting his party, his counterpart in the House, Kevin McCarthy, and our disgraced former President who incited the riot.

Meanwhile, back here in California, we catch up with the GOP's ongoing recall attempt of progressive Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, whose poll numbers are on the rise, as the rates of COVID infections, deaths and positive tests are now among the lowest --- if not THE lowest --- in the nation. The CA GOP, unable to win statewide elections anymore, unless they can fool voters during a low turnout recall election, had cited Newsom's handling of the pandemic and the state's homelessness crisis as reason to unseat the first term Governor in a recall election later this year.

As our guest today, retired attorney and longtime BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING explained in a fascinating post this week, however, a federal judge may have recently buttressed Newsom's case when it comes to his efforts on the housing crisis in the Golden State as well.

Specifically, while noting the high marks given to the Governor in the judge's ruling in the case filed by the Los Angeles Alliance for Human Rights seeking federal intervention on the homelessness crisis in L.A. City and County, U.S. District Court Judge David Carter's 110-page decision cites the real reason for, as Canning described it, "the nightmare of homelessness at the heart of a place that dares to call itself the City of Angels."

Canning explains Judge Carter's "eye-opening" historical revelations as he detailed a century of systemic racism and corruption in Southern California that has directly resulted in the crisis which now disproportionately affects African-Americans. From "racially restrictive covenants, redlining and eminent domain" used by Los Angeles "to racially segregate neighborhoods" to "Ku Klux Klan violence [that] further targeted Black families who resided in majority white neighborhoods" to sea-side property taken "from Black families and turn[ed]...into a whites-only park," the judge offered an insightful and maddening history of the horrors that have come to haunt all of us --- or, certainly should --- here in Southern California.

"There were no African Americans," says Canning, where he went to school while growing up in SoCal in the 50s and 60s. "The thing that Judge Carter reveals is that that didn't happen by happenstance. Back in 1910, 36% of African Americans were living in racially-diverse neighborhoods, and they were homeowners. In steps, the KKK, enforcement of racially restrictive covenants, redlining, and eminent domain" changed all of that. "We're not talking about Georgia or any of the former Confederate states, we're talking about Southern California."

I hope you'll take a look at his coverage of Judge Carter's ruling here.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with some not horrible, landmark news from the International Energy Agency on how the usually fossil fuel-friendly agency is now calling for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050; and some incredibly exciting news on Wednesday night's unveiling by the Ford Motor Company of their brand-new, game-changing, all-electric F-150 Lightning pick-up truck, that could just save the world...and power your entire house for days...

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Also: Russia to draw down troop build-up on Ukrainian border...
By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2021 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast: After a disastrous four year mistake by the name of Donald Trump, the United States, under the leadership of Joe Biden, is taking the lead once again on our global climate emergency on Earth Day 2021. Or, at least, trying to. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

Among our coverage today...

  • Global tensions were greatly eased on Thursday with the announcement that Russia --- which had been amassing more than 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine --- plans to deescalate and pull most of its troops back by May 1. The tensions continue to simmer, however, amid the years-long, ongoing conflict in the region, between NATO-backed Ukraine and Russia-backed separatists, where 14,000 have died over the past 6 or 7 years of war. And, of course, the U.S. and Russia remain at odds over any number of things. But today's announcement at least lowers figurative global temperatures just a bit.
  • As to lowering literal global temperatures, more than 40 world leaders --- including Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jingping --- met today for Day 1 of a virtual global climate summit hosted by Joe Biden and the White House, as the U.S. rejoins the landmark Paris Climate Agreement and hopes to assert its critical leadership role once again after Trump left the pact, increased the dangerous production of fossil fuels, and dismissed deadly global warming as a "hoax". President Biden, on the other hand, doubled-down on President Obama's previous commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement today, by announcing today that the U.S. vows to cut deadly greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Desi Doyen binge-watched hours of today's worldwide Zoom conference and shares both key details and those that may not make the corporate media headlines. Including desperate pleas for help and funding from some of the nations most effected by --- but least responsible for --- climate change, and from young climate activists who urge the nations of the world to stop making excuses and take far more decisive action to meet the true, scientific urgency of the moment.
  • Back in D.C., Republicans continue to block the formation of a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to examine the deadly, Trump-fueled insurrection on January 6th, despite a rapidly growing number of troubling new questions about the disastrous failure to protect the U.S. Capitol from the angry MAGA Mob while Joe Biden's 2020 Electoral College victory was ratified during a joint session of Congress. Last week, an Inspector General's report found that both DHS and the FBI had warned Capitol Police, days before the attack, that "Congress is the target". And yet, Capitol Police leadership instructed officers NOT to use their most effective methods to defend the Capitol. Why? A Washington Post investigation subsequently found that D.C. Metro Police --- out-manned by 58 to 1 on the west side of the Capitol --- radioed for emergency back-up at least 17 times over 78 minutes at the height of the attack, but received no response. Why? New evidence has been emerging from more than 400 indictments made in the days following the insurrection to reveal that the assault, which injured and hospitalized more than 140 law enforcement officials, was far more violent than many have understood. And, on Wednesday, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) revealed during a hearing in the House Administration Committee that she chairs, that undisclosed internal investigations suggest Capitol Police were instructed to seek out anti-Trump protesters, but not pro-Trump protesters. Why? We ask those questions and many more, as the chaos and confusion of disparate investigations continues while the GOP obstructs the formation of an over-arching commission that might be able to make sense of what actually happened on January 6th, and who should actually be held accountable.
  • Finally, Desi returns for our latest Green News Report on Earth Day, documenting new commitments to stave off the worst effects of our climate emergency by world powers; Rep. AOC and Sen. Markey reintroduce their Green New Deal; And Nobel-prize winning climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann offers his thoughts as to whether the latest actions may be enough to save humanity...

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Landmark bill would enact long-overdue voting reforms, but needs at least one key rewrite to close a loophole regarding hand-marked paper ballots...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/5/2021 10:35am PT  

As their first official bills in each chamber of Congress --- H.R.1 in the House and S.1 in the Senate --- Democrats are proposing a remarkably ambitious election, campaign and ethics reform measure which would go a long way towards enhancing our system of democracy. At least one important rewrite is needed, however, in order to close a loophole in its mandate regarding hand-marked paper ballots.

H.R.1 or the For The People Act of 2021, was introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) with hundreds of Democratic co-sponsors on January 4. It is supported by both Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

With the exception of partisan gerrymandering as applied to State legislative offices --- which is out of the hands of federal lawmakers --- the bill would, for all intents and purposes, outlaw a wide array of voter suppression, intimidation and deceptive practices that have, for decades, been used to undermine American democracy.

The massive bill, clocking in at nearly 800 pages, also includes Congressional ethics reforms and other important measures, but we focus here on the statute's provisions to help outlaw suppressive measures and improve election security, transparency and the verifiability of results.

As presently written, the measure appears to mandate the use of "voter verified permanent paper ballots" in all federal elections. That aspect, however, must be improved with minor, but very important revisions to mandate the availability of hand-marked paper ballots --- the only type that can be known to be "voter verifiable" --- for all voters at the polling place for both early and Election Day voting.

H.R.1 also includes provisions for either hand-counting of paper ballots or the use of optical scanning computers accompanied by Risk Limiting Audits. It includes mechanisms to fund those post-election activities.

The bill provides for minimum periods during which States must make early voting available in federal elections and promotes, streamlines and secures mail-in voting. It tightens ethical standards and also takes a stab at reducing the role of dark money in campaigns, while prohibiting the presence of foreign money and interference in our elections. This includes a mandate that TV, radio and online platforms "make reasonable efforts to ensure that [election-related] communications...are not purchased by a foreign national".

The real question isn't whether H.R.1, if appropriately amended, should become law. The question is whether a sufficient number of Senators are willing and able to do what is necessary to ensure it becomes law...

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




Guest: Former diplomat, Rep. Tom Perriello of Open Society Foundations US on our nation's need for accountability beyond impeachment...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2021 6:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald John Trump made history yet again on Wednesday by becoming the first President to be Impeached twice. Plus, a former Congressman and diplomat warns accountability is needed if the nation ever hopes to recover. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

The U.S. House voted 232 to 197, with 10 Republicans joining all of the Democrats, to charge the soon-to-be-former President with "Incitement of Insurrection" [PDF] for inflaming his violent MAGA mob before they stormed the U.S. Capitol just one week earlier. Using false claims that he had actually won the election in a landslide, he told his infuriated supporters to "fight like hell" to prevent the 2020 election from being stolen for Joe Biden. At least five people, including a police officer, were killed during the insurrection, another officer later committed suicide. Scores of both law enforcement officials and rioters were hospitalized as the marauders attempted to find and kill Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers.

Soon-to-be-former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to the historic day by ruling out a trial on the charge in the U.S. Senate before next week's inauguration of Joe Biden. He did not, however, rule out his own vote to convict the twice-impeached President. Some close to McConnell have reportedly suggested that he may see the impeachment and a subsequent conviction of Trump as a way to distance the GOP from the nation's worst and most divisive President.

We share a number of the statements made during the House floor debate, both for and against Trump's impeachment, on Wednesday, including from one of the Republicans who broke with his party to vote to impeach the President.

Then, we're joined by former Democratic Congressman and diplomat TOM PERRIELLO, who now heads the Open Society Foundation for the U.S. Perriello, after serving as Representative for Virginia's 5th Congressional District, went on to serve as the U.S. Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes Region during the Obama Administration. Earlier in the 2000s he worked as a U.S. diplomat with the UN-mandated Special Court for Sierra Leone and as a consultant to the International Center for Transitional Justice in Kosovo (2003), Darfur (2005), and Afghanistan (2007).

Comments from Perriello caught our eye last week when he was quoted by the New York Times following the attempted coup at the Capitol. It was an article on the growing demands by Democrats for accountability for Trump, his family and his associates after he leaves office. In the piece, Perriello is cited --- based on his experience helping to resolve political crises in various developing nations, including one in which a President attempted to stay in office beyond his constitutional term --- noting: "Countries that skip the accountability phase end up repeating 100 percent of the time --- but the next time the crisis is worse."

“People who think that the way forward is to brush this under the rug," he told the paper, "seem to have missed the fact that there is a ticking time bomb under the rug."

On a day in which a majority of House Republicans argued and voted against accountability for last week's Trump-incited violent assault on the U.S. Capitol --- with many arguing, hypocritically, that impeachment would merely serve to anger Trump supporters and lead to more divisiveness and hostility at a time the nation needs healing --- Perriello's insight based on his years of experience abroad is enlightening. Citing, for example, the efforts to rebuild Liberia following the tumultuous, criminal reign of its former President Charles Taylor, was to bring charges. "The only real path to peace involved accountability for him and the other warlords who had driven so much of that conflict across the region."

"Accountability can take a lot of different forms, but there's a reason you don't have a lot of candidates out there and politicians saying they want to be the next Richard Nixon or the next Joe McCarthy. These are people who faced public accountability in the form of censure and resignation, with real consequences to them. And that tends to define the path forward," ," Perriello tells me. "There's a reason that in Germany, there are not statues set up to Hitler and other Third Reich figures. The way in which we choose to understand our history and hold people to account has real consequences for other leaders in the future, and the actions they choose to take."

Citing his concern about what could happen in the coming days, in the wake of last week's attempted coup, he notes: "The insurrectionists are already planning escalations. The failure to take seriously such similar provocations or promises, really, is part of what got us into this mess. ... To me, as someone who has worked in conflict zones and on transitional justice, the most scary image was them walking out not in handcuffs, because those images were ones that simply invited the idea of impunity. And impunity leads people to repeat those events, and repeat them with escalation. Allowing even a 24-hour news cycle in which these people could exit as heroes, was something that was almost certainly going to lead to more violence down the road. And that's why this issue of introducing accountability is important." 

So, is the best way for Joe Biden to help "heal" the country to look forward, not back, as the Obama Administration did when taking office after George W. Bush, when they failed to bring accountability for torture and domestic spying by the Administration or for those whose crimes resulted in the 2008 financial crisis? Or should the Biden Administration hold Trump and his enablers to account for their actions? Should some sort of Truth and Reconciliation Committee be formed to help the U.S. out of its current seemingly-intractable morass, as Perriello helped oversee in overseas, third-world nations?

He offers his thoughts on all of that, on Biden's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General, as well as on today's history second impeachment of Donald Trump, and even explains why he believes "this may yet be our finest hour." All of that on today's jam-packed program!...

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Callers ring in on demands for accountability following last week's deadly, Trump-incited riot at the U.S. Capitol. But timing looms large before Inauguration Day, and as the MAGA Mob gears up for more violence...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2021 7:40pm PT  

We open up the phone lines on today's BradCast for the first time since Donald Trump's deadly attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol last week, to get feedback from callers on whether it makes sense to impeach him again with just about a week and a half left in his term. (For the record, my own opinion is "YES!," and I explain why throughout the course of today's show.) [Audio link to full show is below the summary.]

We start with some of the latest breaking news...

  • Trump's illegally appointed Acting Homeland Security Chief Chad Wolf announced, just before air time, that he is stepping down after being critical of Trump following last week's insurrection that killed at least five people, including a Capitol Police officer. Wolf called the riot "tragic and sickening".
  • The FBI has reportedly notified all 50 states of the possibility of armed attacks on state houses, as Trump's MAGA Mob are continuing to tell each other that Trump will be inaugurated on January 20th (he won't be) and that we should all prepare for a national emergency in which Trump invokes the Insurrection Act and begins "high profile arrests" between now and Inauguration Day. All of that, his minions have convinced themselves, come amid what they describe to each other as "a battle for our republic against elites that are attempting the very coup that they are accusing Trump of doing."
  • Over the weekend, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed House Dems that if Trump refused to resign, she would hold a vote on a resolution calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power. If that doesn't work (it doesn't appear that it will), a vote on a second Impeachment could be held in the House as early as Wednesday. We share the Article [PDF], formally filed in the House today by Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ted Lieu (D-CA), David Cicilline's (D-RI), and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) for "Incitement of Insurrection", on today's program.
  • Over the weekend, both Democrats (like AOC) and Republicans like Sen. Pat Toomey (PA), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Ben Sasse (NE) and Trump ally and former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie all suggested they might support impeachment and removal of the President. As Christie noted, "If inciting to insurrection" isn't an impeachable offense then "I don't really know what is."
  • Nonetheless, a number of Republicans are suggesting that if either the 25th or impeachment are invoked, it would lead to further violence. As Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) pathetically tweeted on Saturday, "Those calling for impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment in response to President Trump's rhetoric this week are themselves engaging in intemperate and inflammatory language and calling for action that is equally irresponsible and could well incite further violence." --- In other words, if you hold anybody accountable for inciting violence, you are inciting the same people to more violence. So, best to do absolutely nothing, apparently. Very patriotic and courageous, Congressman.
  • On Sunday night, the PGA pulled their planned 2022 Championship from Trump's Bedminster, NJ golf resort, adding to the schadenfreude already most likely being enjoyed by anti-Trumpers since Twitter permanently banned him from the social media platform late on Friday.

As to the timing of how to pull off an impeachment with just days left in Trump's Presidency, it's important to understand --- as we discussed with former federal prosecutor Ben Clements on last Friday's show --- that an official doesn't even have to still be in office to be impeached. There is historical precedent for that. Clements, and others, argue it's important to impeach Trump if only to convict him at trial so that he cannot run for public office ever again.

It should also be noted that the House may vote to impeach this week or next, but wait until after Biden is sworn into office before sending the Articles to the Senate for a trial. That's what some Dems are now calling for. Rep. James Clyburn wants to wait until Biden's first 100 days are over. Others suggest waiting just long enough to allow Biden's cabinet to be sworn in, since all Senate business must stop when a Senate impeachment trial begins. With Chuck Schumer as Majority Leader, after Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are sworn in, a real trial could be held in the Senate, with dozens and dozens of witnesses, unlike the show trial McConnell held to quash the charges Trump was previously impeached for last year.

So, lots to chew over on today's program, and lots of callers ringing in with thoughts on all of the above...

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Guest: Former federal prosecutor Ben Clements; Also: Capitol Police officer dead after riot; Pelosi demands Trump resign or face second impeachment; Dominion files $1.3B defamation suit against Powell...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2021 8:24pm PT  

The walls are closing in very quickly now --- even throughout our hour today --- on the man who President-elect Joe Biden correctly, if generously, described today as "not fit to serve" and "one of the most incompetent Presidents in the history of the United States of America." As we go to air, Donald Trump is still in office. We can't tell you for certain if that will still be the case by the time you hear today's BradCast. [Audio link is posted at bottom of article.]

On Thursday night, U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick succumbed to injuries sustained during the attempted coup at the Capitol on Wednesday, as incited by Trump. He was the fifth person to have died amid the mayhem wrought by our outgoing criminal President. Sicknick's death, which Trump didn't bother to mention today, may add yet another crime --- conspiracy to incite murder or manslaughter --- to Trump's quickly growing rap-sheet.

On Friday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued an ultimatum. Either Trump resigns now or new Articles of Impeachment will be filed on Monday. That, as the Administration rats continue to flee his sinking ship, with more resignations and the welcome news that sore loser Trump will not attend Biden's inauguration and plans to leave D.C. as of the day before. "Good riddance," we say, in echoing the two word statement issued by the American Federation of Teachers last night upon the news that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was also quitting (though only after four convicted murderers and war criminals who worked for her brother received Presidential Pardons.)

More on Trump's growing legal perils and calls for accountability with my guest today, but first a few words on the news that Dominion Voting Systems has filed a $1.3 billion lawsuit against Team Trump attorney  and his fellow perpetual liar and con-artist Sidney Powell. The private voting systems vendor charges Powell led a campaign to spread "wild" and "demonstrably false" claims about the company, including lies about their voting systems being developed with communist money in Venezuela by the late Hugo Chavez and, with the help of George Soros and China and Cuba, being used to steal the election for Biden.

(Her absurd Venezuela/Chavez claims are bastardized and re-imagined versions of my detailed, accurate, exclusive investigative reporting at The BRAD BLOG from approximately 2008 to 2010. And, while I've been wildly critical for many years of Dominion's unverifiable voting systems, as deployed by Georgia's Republican Sec. of State, there is nothing to support Powell's fantastical claims, including her evidence-free assertions that the state's SoS and Governor received kickbacks from the company to deploy their machines in the Peach State, for the first time, in 2020.)

Dominion, which previously warned they were likely to sue for slander and defamation if Powell did not retract her false claims (she refused and "doubled down" instead, according to the 124-page complaint [PDF]), also has sent similar warnings to other Team Trump liars such as Rudy Giuliani, Fox "News", Newsmax and One America News. They suggest they may even sue Trump himself. We'll hope they do, even if I'm called to testify by the private election vendor which should have no place in our public election system.

But, for now, according to our guest today, Constitutional expert and former federal prosecutor BEN CLEMENTS, Board Chair and Senior Legal Advisor of the non-partisan government accountability group, Free Speech for People (FSFP), it's accountability for the "seditious" President of the United States that is of the greatest immediate concern.

Clements, along with FSFP's  John Bonifaz and Ron Fein, filed an op-ed in the Boston Globe on Tuesday --- the day before the Trump-instigated insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday --- calling for Trump to be immediately impeached for a second time.

"At the time we wrote the op-ed, we were only dealing with the first major set of felonies that the President committed this week, in the effort to falsify the Georgia election results in his favor," he tells me today, referring to last Saturday's phone call by the President to GA's Sec. of State, cajoling and threatening him to "find" enough votes to steal the election for him there. (Yes! That was just this past week as well!) "At this point, we obviously have a second set of felonies in connection with his incitement of a seditious mob on Congress, which creates an even greater urgency."

But the reason Clements is calling for a second impeachment this late in Trump's term is because, as he explains: "There is really, for the most part, only one sure way to ensure that Donald Trump is not permitted to again run for office in this country...And that way is through the impeachment power.   If the Senate convicts, an official can be removed, but they can also be disqualified from ever holding federal office again. Aside from removal, which is now needed more urgently than ever, there is the need to disqualify him, to prevent him from running in 2024, or from running for anything else at any time in the federal government."

With just 12 days left before Biden's Inauguration, is there even enough time for such a proceeding?  As Clements, who authored a book with Bonifaz and Fein called The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump, details that impeachment and a Senate trial can happen even after an official is out of office. Indeed, as he (and his op-ed) recounts, there is even historical precedent for it.

We also discuss whether the Constitution allows for a Presidential self-pardon, whether Trump will try to execute one, whether lawful or not, and as FSFP called for yesterday, the need for Joe Biden's Attorney General-designate, Judge Merrick Garland, to immediately empanel an independent task force, once confirmed, to coordinate and investigate "any potential federal criminal or civil violations that may have been committed by President Trump, members of his administration, or his campaign, business, or other associates."  Clements argues that, without public pressure, Democratic Administrations have had a tendency in the past, when taking office "after a corrupt and sometimes lawless Republican administration" to make a "a quick call to 'turn the page.'"

"We are hearing those calls broadly already," he says. But "if we really want to move forward, if we really want to restore the integrity of the Department of Justice, there must be accountability for the crimes of this Administration and particularly of Donald Trump. And there must be accountability for the destruction that he created to our democracy and to the Department of Justice. The reason we're calling for this is there is a risk that there will be this temptation to say 'he's out of office and let's move on.' And I think that would be a GRAVE mistake that will invite more lawless activity, that will invite more of the kind of activity that we saw on Wednesday with the attack on the Capitol."

As we chatted, news came in that Alaska's Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski, is now calling for Trump to resign, declaring "I want him out" and threatening to leave her party if they continue to align with him. And Twitter finally did the right thing (years belatedly) by permanently banning Trump, citing the risk of further incitement of violence.

It's going to be a very dark weekend for Trump. But, for us, we close a dark week today with a long overdue, brand new and hilarious parody tune for the seditious moment, from the great Randy Rainbow! Enjoy!...

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Biden's victory is affirmed by Congress following Trump's attempted MAGA Mob insurrection; Fallout continues, including White House resignations, calls for impeachment, 25th Amendment...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2021 8:28pm PT  

Today's BradCast picks up where yesterday's left off, amid the Trump-instigated attempted insurrection by his MAGA Mob at the nation's Capitol amid the formal affirmation of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. We continue then with all of the mind-boggling fallout thereafter. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Morning Joe speaks for us, in his response to Wednesday's shameful attempted coup and pathetic response to it by the Capitol Police;
  • So does Joe Biden, who, like Joe Scarborough, notes how differently a white rightwing MAGA Mob was dealt with, versus how things would have played out had those violent rioters who invaded the Capitol building been BLM protesters;
  • Once the Capitol building was cleared of Trump's lawless marauders on Wednesday night --- and four insurrectionists had died in the bargain --- the Electoral College affirmation by Congress that they'd attempted to prevent, picked up once again, with a (very slightly) chastened GOP. We share several outstanding speeches from the Senate floor in the middle of the night/early morning, as delivered by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mitt Romney (R-UT). That, before seven Republican U.S. Senators and 138 GOP House Members (68% of the caucus!) voted, unsuccessfully, to nullify millions of votes cast by the voters of Arizona and Pennsylvania;
  • For the record, the seven Republican Senators who voted to nullify the voters in those two states --- even after the attempted coup at their own place of work --- are: Cruz (TX), Hawley (MO), Lummis (WY), Marshall (KS), Scott (FL), Tuberville (AL) and Hyde-Smith (MS). May their names live in eternal infamy and shame;
  • Trump and his Republican Party's shameful, evidence-free attempt to use the Electoral Count Act of 1887 or 12th Amendment to the Constitution in order to steal the 2020 Presidential election has officially failed, as Biden's Electoral College "landslide" was affirmed by Congress at 3:45am on Thursday morning, January 7th. The MAGA Mob riots served no purpose other than to kill several Trump supporters and injure more than a dozen Capitol police. The results of the election were exactly as they were certified by all 50 states weeks ago;
  • Amid the insurrection and while being locked out of his account at both Twitter and Facebook overnight (he has since been allowed to return to Twitter, though Facebook says he will be banned until at least after Inauguration Day), Trump's mood was said to have grown increasingly erratic. His rage reportedly resulted in Mike Pence's Chief of Staff (and Trump's own former Legislative Director) being banned from the White House, and staffers were reportedly instructed by the White House Counsel to stay away from him, lest they find themselves as an accessory to treason under the Sedition Act;
  • About eight staffers have resigned following Wednesday's events, including Trump's former Press Secretary (Stephanie Grisham), his former Acting Chief of Staff (Mick Mulvaney) and his Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the only cabinet member, so far, to jump off the sinking ship. Chao also happens to be married to the soon-to-be-former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will presumably be the Republican Minority Leader following the apparent victories by Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on Tuesday in Georgia's U.S. Senate runoffs. None of those who waited until now to resign should be hailed as heroes;
  • By Thursday morning, both incoming presumptive Senate Majority Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had issued statements calling for the 25th Amendment to be invoked by Vice President Pence and Trump's remaining cabinet members to remove him from office immediately. Pelosi correctly describes Trump as having incited "an unpseakable assault on our nation and our people." Short of impeachment, both Democratic leaders say, another impeachment for "willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States"; "gravely endanger[ing] the security of the United States"; and "demonstrat[ing] that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office" remain a possibility, as detailed in Articles now being circulated for consideration by House Democrats;
  • If you're not familiar with how the 25th Amendment would work, should it be invoked (there is also at least one Republican lawmaker calling for it today, describing Trump as "unfit" and "unwell"), here's a quick primer;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for some much brighter news, believe it or not, in our latest Green News Report, where the overlooked news about Democrats clawing back a legislative majority in the Senate may be very very good news indeed...as long as WV's coal-loving Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin, decides to help save the planet by playing along...

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Guest: Democracy activist, legal scholar Paul Lehto; Also: New Congress, same old problems; Former SecDefs issue warning about Trump; Unhinged President's unhinged phone call threatening GA's Sec. of State...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2021 7:39pm PT  

After a not-nearly-long-enough break, The BradCast is back for the new year, when everything will be entirely better than the old year, right? Well, if the last several days of insanity that we now refer to as "news" is any indication, the answer is: "Not so much!"  It will be impossible to adequately cover all we discussed on today's program in today's summary. But, we'll give you the basics here and hope you tune in for the full story. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

While we were off, both houses of Congress overrode Donald Trump's ridiculous veto of the "must-pass", $780 billion National Defense Authorization Act to fund the military for another year. But GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was nonetheless successful in preventing Americans from receiving $2,000 pandemic checks, despite best efforts of Democrats, a tiny, uninspiring handful of Republicans, and even Trump himself. That, as the nation clocked an unfathomable 350,000 COVID deaths, which is the equivalent of blowing up about 17 sold-out NBA arenas and killing every single person in every single one of them, or 115 9/11s over the past 10 months in the U.S.

With that, the new 117th Congress convened for the first time on Sunday, with a narrow majority for Republicans in the Senate (pending Tuesday's two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia) and with a narrow majority for Democrats in the House, where they elected Nancy Pelosi as Speaker for another two years.

Despite all of that pretty big news, it all seemed to pale in comparison to Donald Trump's ongoing electoral death rattle. With concerns about how our unstable President may react as his days in office dwindle, every living former Defense Secretary (10 of them, Republican and Democratic, including the two fired by Trump and even Dick Cheney, who was apparently concerned enough that he reportedly led this effort), published a short, sharp group op-ed, making it crystal clear that any "efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory," and that "civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic."

Even as that was being published on Saturday, Trump was on the phone for an unhinged hour with the Republican Secretary of State of Georgia, haranguing, threatening and cajoling him to change the state's Presidential election results to award the state's electoral college votes to Trump. We play part of that call, which may have been in violation of both state and federal laws, on today's show. We do not do it justice. The Washington Post has published the full bonkers audio and transcript, including Trump's long-ago debunked fraud claims and repeated false assertions that he won the state by about a half million votes (he lost it by about 12,000) and that he just wants "to find 11,780" votes to "win" the state.

The news of that madness came on Sunday, as Georgia will have it's last day of voting in two U.S. Senate runoffs to determine partisan control of the Senate for the next two years on Tuesday, and as the new Congress meets in a joint session on Wednesday, January 6th, to affirm (or not) the results of Biden's Electoral College victory over Trump by a seemingly comfortable 306 to 232 margin.

Over the weekend, however, more than a dozen Republican U.S. Senators led by 2024 hopefuls Josh Hawley of MO and Ted Cruz of TX, announced they intend to challenge the Electoral College results on Wednesday during what is normally a pro forma procedural affair presided over by the President of the Senate (Vice President Mike Pence, in this case).

And this bring us to crux of where we are and what could happen on Wednesday, as Republicans continue to claim --- through failed lawsuits and other protests --- that the Electoral College Act (ECA) of 1887, which has determined the procedure to be used on Wednesday for about 150 years and 33 Presidential elections without question, is somehow a violation of the Constitution's 12th Amendment.

If Republicans can figure out how to make this argument on Wednesday --- with Pence potentially holding the reins to help them --- we could find ourselves in a Constitutional quagmire leading to....lord knows what.

We're joined today to help explain all of this madness by longtime election integrity advocate, election law scholar and democracy activist, PAUL LEHTO. He argues that, despite so many claims to the contrary (by many of the same folks who said that Trump could never become President back in 2016, by the way) there is, in fact, still a "path" for Trump and his Republicans to steal the election from Biden on Wednesday.

Tune in for the details, but it has to do with how the 12th Amendment says that questions about the validity of Electoral Votes should be dealt with (via a one vote per state vote in the U.S. House), versus how the ECA handles such challenges (with a regular, up or down majority vote in both houses needed to support such a challenge.)

Why is this even a question at this point? Lehto explains in detail.

He also cites the lesson that we should learn from all of this madness: "What we should learn is that what you and election integrity activists have talked about now for decades is coming home to roost," Lehto explains. "And that is that a big, big part of this is the inherent uncertainty when votes are purely processed through computers. Nobody really knows --- until there's a hand recount --- what the result is, and partisan people can attach to that uncertainty and that doubt any theory that they wish to in order to keep hope alive."

"So we need a voting system that leaves no doubt as to that result . And in order to have that you have to have transparency," he says, adding: "Basically, this is all the chickens coming home to roost, in terms of our non-transparent voting system."

There's more. But, again, you'll need to tune in for it. Happy New Year?...

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 12/23/2020 7:48pm PT  

Our long national nightmare may be over in about 28 days...but it ain't over yet. Not by a long shot. And, as detailed on today's BradCast, it's becoming more unnerving by the second, with Donald Trump's mental health seemingly devolving rapidly with each and every one. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Curiously, corporate media are sounding more and more like The BradCast with each passing day. Among the stories underscoring that point as Trump's days in the White House continue to wane (whether he is able to admit that out-loud or not)...

  • "Trump turns on everyone," reports Jonathan Swan at Axios. "Everyone" now appears to include "Vice President Pence, chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Secretary of State Pompeo and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell." (With a hat-tip to Lincoln Project, for their video getting inside Trump's head regarding Pence);
  • Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reports anxiety is rising at DoD, with one officer telling her "We don't know what he might do" in these final days. They were particularly alarmed after talk from disgraced and pardoned former National Security Advisor, Lt. General Michael Flynn's call for Trump to invoke Martial Law and order the military to "re-run" the election in some states that Trump lost. The military, according to Starr, wants nothing to do with any of it. We hope her reporting is accurate;
  • Amid all of this, Trump unleashed another wave of Presidential pardons for his friends and the friends of his friends on Tuesday night. This time for 4 war criminals charged with murder for carrying out a massacre of Iraqi civilians while employees for Blackwater, the mercenary company owned by Eric Prince (brother of Trump's Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos); 3 corrupt, felonious Republican former Congressmembers (including the first two members of Congress to endorse him, Chris Collins of NY and Duncan Hunter, Jr. of CA); and 2 Campaign staffers who plead guilty to felonies tied to the Robert Mueller Special Counsel probe into Russian interference during the 2016 election. (And, after getting off air tonight, Trump has issued still more pardons for still more of his friends, including for his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former campaign advisor Roger Stone, and for Charles Kushner, father of his son-in-law Jared, all convicted of multiple felonies);
  • But wait, there's more. Much more! During an unhinged, pre-taped White House video posted to Twitter last night, Trump threatened to veto the $900 billion COVID relief bill attached to the government's must-pass annual spending bill to avoid shutting down again. The long-overdue emergency relief was finally passed by Congress after eight months of Trump refusing to participate in negotiations. He's now pretending to be upset that stimulus checks to be sent to many Americans will only be $600. Congressional Republicans and White House negotiators insisted it could be more no more than that. But Trump now suggests he may veto the measure unless payments are increased to $2000. Dems, who had been trying to increase the amount of payments for months immediately joined Trump's call. Congressional Republicans (and the two incumbent Republican Senators running in the January 5th runoffs) are apparently furious, confused, and not sure how to fulfill the demands of their Frankenstein's monster;
  • And, just before airtime, Trump vetoed another long-negotiated must-pass bill, the $790 billion Military Authorization spending bill which was enacted last week by veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress;
  • That's only a taste of what, according to the Washington Post today, has now "plunged" the GOP "into open warfare over President elect Joe Biden's election victory --- with President Trump taunting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and threatening primary challenges against other Republicans, House lawmakers egging on senators to contest the counting of electoral college votes next month, and senior GOP senators rebuffing that effort as a pointless political exercise";
  • All of which, as the New York Times reports today, has resulted in Trump at the "most unleashed...and...most unpredictable point in his presidency," while he is desperately "focused on the one area in which he is powerless to get what he wants: a way to avoid leaving office as a loser";

With that nightmarish backdrop, our guest today, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo joins us to explain why Trump's final days are "more frightening than Nixon's" as he "seems to be having a very public nervous breakdown."

"We knew he wasn't going to act like a normal President and be gracious and have Biden over coffee. I didn't expect that," she tells me. "But this? He's so incredibly afraid of being called a loser that he's turned himself into the greatest sore loser in world history!"

"He's clearly melting down," she adds. "As far as I am concerned, when you have a President who is melting down, who has this capacity to launch a nuclear war, we're in a very dangerous situation."

She also has a number of thoughts on where this all goes "beyond Trump," after the (theoretically) inevitable Inauguration of Joe Biden, if we manage to get there. "The rationalization of these people. The brain-poisoning...The absolutely servile Republican Party that has completely abdicated all responsibility," observes Parton. "He is the Republican party. They are part of it, if they choose to be. But there is no Republican Establishment. There's only him."

This, she cautions, is "Trump's last stand," before adding ominously: "At least, we think it is."

We've tried to touch base with Parton at many of the landmark moments throughout the nightmarish Trump Presidency (and candidacy --- she was also with us the day he descended the gilded escalator at Trump Tower to announce his run for office in 2015.) So, with all of this madness swirling and our long national nightmare before Christmas continuing, it seems like today was another perfect moment to check in with her for our last interview before standing down for the holidays. (Don't worry! Nicole Sandler will be in for us with fresh shows next week! So please stay tuned in!)

Finally, with the critical U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia now underway, and control of the U.S. Senate hanging in the balance --- (we also discuss with Parton what the January 5 Election Day in GA could mean for the January 6 affirmation of Biden's Electoral College win in Congress on January 6) --- we close with a new tune from Patty Austin with a very important message for our friends in the Peach State: "Georgia, You're Voting for Me Too!"...

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Guest: The American Prospect's David Dayen; Also: Election chaos at White House; Barr nixes Special Counsel probe of 2020 'fraud'; Fox 'News', running scared, debunks self after legal threat from election vendor...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2020 7:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's days in the White House are ending, but his response to that reality (and the reality of the most devastating hack of the U.S. government ever) is becoming more manic and desperate by the day. But at least, after nine months, Republicans have seen fit to allow some much-needed, long-overdue financial relief for sick, dying and desperate Americans as both Trump and the GOP's failed response to the pandemic has killed more than 316,000 Americans and may finally be catching up to them politically.

There was reportedly shouting and chaos --- even more than usual --- at the White House over the weekend, as Trump and his clown car friends and attorneys met to propose last gasp efforts to somehow steal and/or undermine the 2020 election. Trump's disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn --- recently pardoned by Trump for lying to the FBI --- is said to have called on the President to declare martial law to allow the military to re-run the Presidential election in swing-states that Trump lost; Team Trump attorney and professional conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell sought to be appointed as a Special Counsel to investigate 2020 "fraud"; and Team Trump's other corrupt, nut-ball attorney, Rudy Giuliani, reportedly wanted DHS to impound voting machines from battleground states for some reason. Trump's very Trumpy White House staff reportedly pushed back on all of those ideas, incredibly enough, and his outgoing Attorney General, Bill Barr, whose last day at DoJ is Wednesday, said in his final presser as AG on Monday that he saw no reason to appoint a special counsel and no legal grounds for the federal government to seize voting machines.

As that played out, over in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who had refused to even negotiate with Democrats on a new COVID relief bill for the past nine months following the passage of the initial $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March, finally relented to allow another round of relief --- albeit much smaller --- to be adopted by Congress. That, following more than 16 million infections, hundreds of thousands of deaths and an economy in tatters. The $900 billion package he finally agreed to includes one time $600 payments for many Americans and extends unemployment insurance which runs out entirely by the end of the year, as tens of millions of Americans are now out of work due to the Administration's wildly mishandled pandemic. The package also includes nutrition assistance for the hungry, another round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses, money for hospitals and vaccine distribution, and even rent assistance, for the first time, among other things.

It's not nearly enough, says our guest today. But it's something, and it includes "nothing objectionable," at least for the most part. We're joined today by The American Prospect's Executive Editor, investigative financial journalist and author DAVID DAYEN, for details on the measure which he has been covering in-depth for months in his daily, indispensable "UNSANITIZED" report. Dayen explains what's in the bill and what is not, and why that is, along with why it is that McConnell even allowed the measure to come up for a vote at all after months of refusing to do so.

He argues that It's all about the January 5th U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia, which will determine control of Congress' upper chamber for the next two years. "Mitch McConnell's Senate majority was on the line if he didn't get something done," says Dayen. "If McConnell manages to win at least one of those races in Georgia, he's going to be in control again. Joe Biden will be President, and every dollar that Mitch McConnell agrees to put into the economy is a dollar that helps Joe Biden."

"The question of how 'Not Enough' this bill is entirely is predicated on how fast we can vaccinate people," Dayen explains. "If we can vaccinate everyone by April, then we're probably going to get a rickety but sufficient bridge." But, he adds, if Biden's incoming Surgeon General is right when he noted over the weekend that "we won't get widespread availability of the vaccine until early Fall, then we're in big, big trouble. Because there's no more must-pass bills. The government is now funded through September of next year." That, Dayen notes, means that there is little if any leverage for Democrats to force Republicans to act on behalf of the American people.

"Democrats had to take out grants for state and local government relief," to get this bill passed, he tells me. "So when we get into next year, cities and states that have had these tremendous budget shortfalls, they are the ones who have to figure out how to fill that shortfall when they have no help from the federal government coming. It's likely going to result in cuts to public safety, teachers, firefighters, and public employees and not filling your potholes --- all sort of things at the local level that are going to have to be foregone because there is no money available. Mitch McConnell knows this, [and] that it could have the effect of offsetting any kind of recovery efforts at the federal level. We saw that in 2009. That stunted the overall recovery of the economy, and we're walking into it again." And with McConnell's eyes on 2022, he's likely just fine with that.

All of this underscores the importance of those two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia in January, and that Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff ought to be reminding voters every day that if they want any real relief from the federal government for the economic disasters that are almost certain to worsen due to all of this, they must elect both of them to give Senate control to the Democrats under a Biden Administration.

Finally, we've been reporting over the past week on two voting machines companies who have been threatening defamation lawsuits against Rightwing media outlets and the Team Trump attorneys who have been offering false claims that the companies were somehow involved in stealing the election for Joe Biden by flipping votes cast for Donald Trump. Last week, Smartmatic, which has no voting systems in any of the swing-states where Trump is trying to reverse his losses to Biden, threatened rightwing propaganda channels Fox "News", Newsmax and One American News Network (OANN) with defamation suits. They were sent a letter to instruct them that they would be sued if they did not retract false claims about the company, including allegations (apparently bastardized from our original, accurate investigative reporting from 10 years ago) that Smartmatic was somehow working with Venezuela's dead President Hugo Chavez and George Soros, along with the company's competitor Dominion Voting Systems in an international conspiracy to steal the election for Biden.

A day or two after Smartmatic's letter, Dominion sent a similar defamation threat letter to Team Trump attorney Powell seeking a retraction for her outlandish, evidence-free claims about the company.

On Friday then, in a bizarre segment on Fox' Lou Dobbs Tonight' --- which looked and sounded a lot like a deposition led by a disembodied off-camera voice --- Eddie Perez of the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) institute (he most recently appeared on The BradCast just a few weeks ago) answered a whole bunch of questions basically disabusing the evidence-free claims about Smartmatic that have been forwarded for weeks on Dobbs' show and many others. Reportedly Jeanine Pirro's and Maria Bartiromo's Fox shows ran the exact same segment with Perez, using almost identical introductions. The segments then led straight to commercial without comment from the hosts.

Fox is clearly terrified, and should be. As the New York Times' Ben Smith reported over the weekend, Smartmatic has retained attorney "J. Erik Connolly, who not coincidentally won the largest settlement in the history of American media defamation in 2017, for at least $177 million."

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Guest: Press Run's Eric Boehlert; Also: Historic Biden noms at EPA, Interior; Record nor'easter; Conservative Steve Schmidt now a Dem...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2020 8:13pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: His days left in office only seem like years, but for Donald Trump, they are quickly waning. Trumpism, however, among the completely captured and off-the-rails Republican Party, is doing anything but. Despite the very real danger that continues to pose to the nation --- measured by hundreds of thousands of lives lost when it comes to the worsening COVID crisis, and American democracy itself when it comes to the GOP's evidence-free claims of a "stolen" 2020 election --- the corporate media continue to downplay and "both sides" the root of the nation's massive problems, my guest argues today. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But first up today, a few quick late breaking news items. Desi Doyen joins us for coverage of the massive snowstorm smashing records and wreaking havoc across a huge swath of the Northeast today, as well as two reported and very important climate-related Joe Biden cabinet nominations. The first is North Carolina's chief climate regulator Michael Regan, now reportedly tapped as the first African-American EPA Administrator. And the second is Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, who would be the first native American Secretary of the Interior Department. Desi explains why the two landmark appointments appear to be very good news --- even if the latter cuts very close to the Democrats' dangerously thin majority in the new Congress.

Then, we're joined by longtime political media analyst and author ERIC BOEHLERT, publisher of Press Run, where he has been covering, of late, what he describes as the "media's defining failure of 2020". That includes its "bogus Both Sides narrative" on the Republican Party's utter failure to respond to the COVID crisis with a long-overdue emergency relief bill for struggling Americans and an economy on the brink of disaster, as well as madness displayed by the more than 100 Congressional GOPers who recently signed on to indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's failed SCOTUS attempt to throw out the votes of 20 million Americans in four states in order to steal the election for Donald Trump.

On those two issues of serious, existential denialism, as Boehlert detailed in a recent column, "the press has no idea how to cover it."

"In terms of election denialism, COVID fantasies, the Republican Party is a pro-pandemic party, the Republican Party is an anti-democratic party," he argues. He cites mainstream corporate media coverage which fails to clearly explain these points to the American people, as they refer instead to "Washington" being broken and "Congress" failing to do more. The result, he notes, can be found in a recent poll with a plurality of Americans blaming Nancy Pelosi for the failure to pass a new COVID relief bill, despite the Democrats passage of a $3 trillion bill in the House last Spring, and a Republican Senate led by Mitch McConnell who refused to even negotiate at all until very recently, much less allow it to come up for a vote.

"The corrupt, insane behavior, even if we just look at this election nonsense...Right after the election, I wrote about how Politico was saying, 'This is all just performance art. Republicans don't believe that Trump wants to steal the election, they're just letting him blow off some steam...everyone just calm down.' We've been told by the beltway press to calm down for four years, and the beltway press has been wrong every single time."

"CNN did a report saying, 'Republicans had no choice but to go along with Trump' as he tried to overturn election results 'because Trump controls the base,' says Boehlert. "It's all viewed as this game. No one was laughing last week when more than 100 members of Congress signed on to a lawsuit that wanted to throw out 20 million votes."

"Those 100-plus Republican members of Congress signing off on that obliterated, forever, this narrative that the press has held onto for four years that the Republican Party is privately very concerned about Trump," he argues. "They can't sleep at night because of his tweets, and gosh, they can't say it publicly. And when Trump leaves everything will be fine. Baloney! That is garbage. This is going to define the next four years. And how the press treats this radical, dangerous political party over the next four years is going to be a really big story."

He (and I) have much more to say on all of that, but before we finish up today, there is one more idea I wanted to get his thoughts on. Longtime conservative Republican strategist and John McCain's 2008 campaign manager Steve Schmidt this week announced he was joining the Democratic Party. Schmidt left the GOP some time ago, fed up with their increasing radicalism and Trump lunacy. He became an independent and helped to found The Lincoln Project which created killer videos attacking Trump and the GOP alike during the run-up to the November election (and beyond). But a number of Democrats and progressives have expressed concerns about longtime Republican "Never Trumpers" and their political influence on the party as they join forces with Democrats and what that might mean for the party's progressive future.

We share Schmidt's announcement on the show today, explaining some of the reasons for his decision to become a Democrat, and get Boehlert's take on whether this is a positive sign or troubling omen for the Democratic Party as the Biden Administration prepares to take office...

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