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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, February 28, 2024
COVID: The Afterparty
The fun continues! (But, no, thankfully, it's not COVID this time...)
'Green News Report' at 15
Some thoughts on 15 years of the longest-running program on our public airwaves focused on connecting the critical climate change dots through coverage of environmental news, politics, analysis (and a helpful dose of snarky comment!)...
'Green News Report' 2/27/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
OUR 15th ANNIV. EPISODE! 2.5M Americans displaced by weather last year; TX home prices plunge after new law; PLUS: Chicago sues major oil companies over climate damages...
Previous GNRs: 2/22/24 - 2/20/24 - Archives...
From Russia With...The Left: 'BradCast' 2/26/24
Some on the progressive Left have fallen prey to Kremlin propaganda. Today, we call them out and they call in; Also: SC GOP primary and the mad election, govt shutdown, SOTU, Trump accountability week ahead...
Sunday 'Useful Idiot' Toons
Comrades! Please enjoy our latest weekly toon collection! Courtesy of highly trusted whistleblowers and military-grade informants!...
Our Russian Nesting Doll: 'BradCast' 2/22/2024
How the U.S. has fallen prey to a decade-long Russian intel op; Also: Lindell owes $5M for lost 2020 contest; Media ignore good Biden polling amid ill-considered bids to replace him...
'Green News Report' 2/22/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
EPA's 'Good Neighbor' pollution rule at SCOTUS; Bizarre heat in Japan; Near-universal global public support for climate action; PLUS: Biden Admin cleans up nation's drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 2/20/24 - 2/15/24 - Archives...
DeSantis' Anti-Labor Law Now Nixing Unions for 1000s of FL Workers: 'BradCast' 2/21
Guest: Rich Templin of FL's AFL-CIO; Also: NY A.G. may seize Trump building to cover fines; Biden forgives another $1.2B in student loans...
Wisconsin's Decade-Long Un-Democracy Finally Undone. (Almost.): 'BradCast' 2/20
Guest: WI's John Nichols; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
'Green News Report' 2/20/24
Record ocean heat decimating FL's coral reefs; Plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam; PLUS: Nearly half of world's migratory species in decline, U.N. study finds...
After Navalny: 'BradCast' 2/19/24
Also: Massive election fraud alleged in Pakistan; Final death blow for GOP fraudsters' phony election fraud film, '2000 Mules'...
Sunday 'Partying With Putin' Toons
Can someone let Tucker know that Vlad got another one? It's our latest collection of the week's best toons...
In Memoriam: Alexei Navalny (1976-2024)
So, remind me again how wonderful Vladimir Putin is...
Guns Again, Trump as Ever, Media Failure and the Way Forward: 'BradCast' 2/15/24
Also: Special Counsel probing Hunter Biden indicts informant who lied about 'bribes' to the Bidens from a Ukrainian energy company...
'Green News Report' 2/15/24
Oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago; Greenland getting greener; Wildfires reversing hard-won gains against air pollution; PLUS: Climate change comes for chocolate...
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...


Guest: David Dayen of The American Prospect; Also: Biden forgives another $9B in student loans; Jordan, Scalise to run for Speaker; Republicans try to blame Dems for Repub removal of McCarthy...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2023 6:47pm PT  

The corrupt House GOP is in shambles but, for some reason, the corrupt Republicans at SCOTUS appear to have momentarily lost the plot, as all discussed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We begin where we left off yesterday, as the historic and stunning news had just broken that far-right Republican members succeeded in their scheme to unseat Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the U.S. House. Moments later, he announced he would not run again for the position. Then, after Republicans adjourned the House until next Tuesday to try and regroup, they immediately began trying to blame Democrats for the Republican coup. They even kicked former Speaker Nancy Pelosi out of her Capitol office, despite her being in California yesterday for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's funeral.

Of course, despite GOP politicians and pundits hoping to blame Dems for their own failure, none of it was evidence of Democratic genius, but of a thoroughly broken Republican party. They may not yet have noticed --- or care to admit it to themselves --- but the party has been collapsing for years under the strain of its own corruption, lack of self awareness, dedication to an autocratic cult leader, and its own toxic mix of of victim-hood, grievance, entitlement, rage and revenge.

Today, far-right Republicans Jim Jordan of Ohio and Steve Scalise of Louisiana tossed their hat into the ring to become the next Speaker. Others may jump in before next week. It may take even more than the record 15 rounds of voting the Republicans needed just nine months ago in January to install McCarthy as their new, if short-lived Speaker.

While the GOP continues to fall apart, the White House continues to fight for Americans by battling back against the corrupted rightwing U.S. Supreme Court. On Wednesday, the Biden Administration announced another $9 billion of student loan debt relief, for a total of $127 billion in loan forgiveness to date for some 3.6 million borrowers. That, as the Administration reformulates a plan to forgive the debt of tens of millions of Americans after SCOTUS made up a reason out of whole cloth earlier this year to reject Biden's previous plan.

But SCOTUS, as their new term got under way on Monday, has already unleashed some surprises. On Monday, the most corrupt Justice on the Court, Clarence Thomas, actually did the right thing and recused himself from a case where he obviously should have. (Are you okay, Clarence?) And on Tuesday, the majority of the Court, including Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh and several other rightwingers, appeared to push back hard against the attempt by Payday Lenders to dismantle the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) entirely on wildly dubious grounds.

The effort to undo the CFPB was actually spearheaded by rightwing extremists on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguably the most "conservative" (and corrupt) appellate court in the nation. They used a narrow lawsuit by the lenders to declare the CFPB's entire funding mechanism to somehow be unconstitutional, even though, when the consumer bureau was stood up, as the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren during the Obama Administration (before she went on to become a U.S. Senator), its funding mechanism was similar to many other quasi-independent Executive Branch agencies since the founding of the republic.

Thomas noted during oral argument on Tuesday that he did not see "a Constitutional problem" with the funding mechanism. Kavanaugh observed that Congress could change it "tomorrow" if they had a problem with it. Justice Elana Kagan charged the claims of the case were "flying in the face of 250 years of history." Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, at one point, characterized the challenger's argument to say that "a provision of the Constitution is unconstitutional."

In short, it didn't go well for the lenders or Donald Trump's former Solicitor General who represented them at SCOTUS.

We're joined today to discuss what happened and what it all means --- including for other Executive Branch agencies that the right is similarly hoping to see dismantled, piece by piece, by the Judicial Branch --- by progressive financial journalist, author and Executive Editor of The American Prospect, DAVID DAYEN. He wrote a award-winning 2016 book about the same 2008 financial crisis that spurred the creation of the CFPB.

As Dayen explains today, the agency was created by Congress specifically to protect American consumers against scams by payday lenders, banks, credit card companies and other corporations. It receives its annual funding via the Federal Reserve, with a cap set by Congress. He argues that this case "threatens practically every consumer financial transaction that is made in the country."

After citing dozens of other federal agencies that are not funded via annual appropriates by Congress itself, Dayen asks, "If CFPB is unconstitutional, why wouldn't all these other things also be unconstitutional? In fact, there are plenty of other programs that are not funded by direct annual appropriations by Congress. I'll give you two big ones: Medicare and Social Security. They are mandatory spending. 60% of the federal budget is funded this way. Are they also unconstitutional because they are not exclusively funded by Congress?"

The 5th Circuit, he notes, "made this one ruling trying to help out payday lenders, but it really affects the functioning of daily life." The right has been gunning for the CFPB ever since its creation, and this case was supposed to be the one that finally killed it once and for all. But, Dayen suggests, with the caveat that anything could happen with this Court, after yesterday's argument at SCOTUS, he doesn't see the five votes that would be needed there to kill the CFPB...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Democracy, accountability, corruption and hypocrisy news from Sudan to Russia to SCOTUS and beyond...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2023 6:12pm PT  

Just to be clear, while we're debating whether California's senior Democratic Senator should step down on today's BradCast, the longest-serving U.S. Supreme Court Justice should not only have stepped down long ago, he should have been removed by the force of impeachment long ago as well. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

It was a very busy and lively show today, covering a bunch of interesting and occasionally related news. Among today's story's...

  • Democracy seems to be out of reach yet again in the Middle Eastern/Sub-Saharan nation of Sudan, as deadly fighting broke out between two military factions in the country's capital and elsewhere over the weekend.
  • A well-known Kremlin opposition figure and critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin's horrific invasion of Ukraine was sentenced to 25-years of hard labor today for daring to speak out against the war last year. 41-year old Vladimir Kara-Murza is just the latest facing a long prison sentence for public opposition to Putin's barbaric, criminal assault on his sovereign neighbor.
  • Last week we explained why Fox "News", if they were smart, would do everything in their power to reach a settlement with Dominion Voting Systems before the trial in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by the voting machine vendor against the Republican propaganda outlet began in earnest this week. Jury selection in the trial, in which Dominion has Fox dead to rights for repeatedly, falsely and knowingly lying to viewers that Dominion somehow rigged the 2020 election for Joe Biden, was supposed to begin today. But Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis, without explanation, announced the trial would begin tomorrow instead, leading some to believe Fox may be trying to strike a last minute settlement.
  • On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a brief, administrative stay on the rulings by far-right, activist U.S. District Judge Mathew Kacsmaryk and the far-right U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that ban the FDA-approved use of mifepristone, the nation's top abortion medication, in all 50 states. The temporary stay will only remain in place until Wednesday, at which time the full SCOTUS will either keep it in place throughout the appeal to Kacsmaryk's unprecedented, activist ruling --- in which he is attempting to legislate from the bench and overrule the FDA's 23-year old approval of the safe and effective drug --- or they will allow a first-of-its-kind ban to go into effect while the appeal moves forward. Today, we cite a few of the 5th Circuit's huge errors in their recent ruling, as detailed by The BRAD BLOG's Ernie Canning.
  • And, speaking of our corrupted, rightwing federal judiciary, there was yet more jaw-dropping news over the weekend of the unspeakable corruption and seemingly endless lawlessness of Justice Clarence Thomas, the longest-serving current member of the U.S. Supreme Court. We quickly review the full story again today, from Clarence's unlawful failure to disclose his activist wife Ginni's salary from the Heritage Foundation for some 20 years, until called out for it in 2011; to Ginni's apparent "Judicial Insider Trading" on the infamous 2010 Citizens United ruling; to ProPublica's blockbuster exclusive two weeks ago detailing decades of Clarence's unlawfully undisclosed luxury travel courtesy of GOP megadonor Harlan Crow; to last week's second ProPublica jaw-dropper revealing that Crow purchased properties from Thomas, including his mother's house (which she still lives in, rent free!) and which also went unlawfully undisclosed in in his annual disclosure forms; and then this weekend's latest scoop from WaPo finding Clarence hasn't bothered for years to report income from a real estate firm owned by Ginni and her family.
  • Finally, speaking of both the rightwing federal judiciary and people who should arguably resign immediately, California's 89-year old senior Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein has missed about 60 of 80 floor votes in the U.S. Senate this year, as she is sidelined in San Francisco with shingles. There is currently no date for her return to the 51-49 upper chamber. But, even more importantly, her extended absence from the Senate Judiciary Committee has stalled the confirmation process for more than a dozen federal court judges nominated by President Biden. As calls for her resignation began last week, the fading trailblazer has asked to be removed, temporarily, from the powerful Judiciary Committee. Unfortunately, it's not quite as easy as that, as we explain today.

    In the bargain, a debate has surfaced among Congressional Democrats, some of whom are calling for her resignation after decades of service, others describing the push as misogynistic, others defending her during her convalescence, while still others appear to be supporting her at the moment, though their patience is clearly wearing thin.

    We cover all of that today before opening our phones to listeners --- her constituents in Southern California --- for their opinions on whether DiFi should stay or go. We had a lot of really smart and interesting callers today...even if their opinions were ultimately in sync. They believe its time for her to fly...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton joins us for our final show of 2022...
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2022 6:54pm PT  

Before our Holiday Hiatus, we wrap up the year on today's BradCast with a look both back and forward along with one of our favorite regular guests. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, first up today, I've noticed a number of folks from what I describe as the Left's "Contrarian Industrial Complex" --- comprised of some of the same folks who, like most of the Right, also fell for Trump's cons about Russia, COVID, 2020 election fraud, etc. --- now falling for the many new cons and lies being propagated by Latter Day Trump, Elon Musk, on Twitter.

The continuing public prat falls from the world's previously richest man (at least until he bought Twitter for about $30 billion more than it was worth, began driving it into the ground, along with the stock price of Tesla) are too numerous and ridiculous to detail here tonight. But one of Musk's latest and greatest scams at his social media site since since taking it over and blowing it all up deserves quick notice today. Specifically, the scam that resulted in Musk's temporary "permanent suspension" of a number of top journalists late last week, including recent in-studio BradCast guest, Steve Herman of Voice of America.

As you probably know, those suspensions happened as part of the fallout from what Musk described as a stalker incident that threatened him and/or his family. He blamed it on a Twitter account that tracks the whereabouts of his private jet based on publicly available data. He likened the posting of that information as "assassination coordinates" and then banned journalists from Twitter who had simply reported on his original suspension of the @ElonJet account.

As it turns out, however, Washington Post dug into the story over the weekend to report that the original incident appears to have had absolutely nothing to do with that Twitter account. Two of its journalists, both of whom had also been suspended by Musk, report that the incident between the alleged stalker and a member of Musk's security team actually "took place at a gas station 26 miles from Los Angeles International Airport and 23 hours after the @ElonJet account had last located the jet’s whereabouts."

Moreover, The Guardian reports today that Musk's tweet about the "crazy stalker" who supposedly followed a car carrying one of his children, may have been even more misleading than previously known. According to their report of a statement obtained from the South Pasadena Police Department, "a member of Elon Musk’s security team is currently a suspect in the investigation, not a victim."

The full story --- and its subsequent fallout, including Musk holding a poll on his Twitter account on Sunday in which a majority of users voted for him to step down as Chief Twit --- is sort of the perfectly insane way to end 2022. Whether at the social media site at year's end or in the U.S. House of Representatives next month, when the GOP is set to regain a slim majority, "the inmates have literally taken over the asylum," as our guest notes today.

We're joined for our final show of the year by old friend, award-winning Salon columnist and Hullabaloo's OG blogger HEATHER DIGBY PARTON. She's been with us for post-game analysis following every single one of this year's ten or so hearings held by the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the former President's many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election from the American people. She joins us once again today for that and more.

Among the topics of today's lively discussion...

  • The House J6 Committee's unprecedented referral of a former U.S. President on four criminal charges, including Insurrection, to the U.S. Dept. of Justice at their final hearing on Monday;
  • The critical importance to the nation of real accountability for Donald Trump;
  • Whether potential criminal charges against him will hurt or help his political fortunes for 2024;
  • The extraordinary success of the House J6 Committee as its mission comes to a close along with this session of Congress;
  • Whether GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy will actually be able to close the deal this time and win the Speakership in 2023 among his fractured caucus (and what may happen if his caucuses asylum inmates have their way);
  • What we should expect from the Democrats' new leader in the House, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries;
  • And how to make any sense at all of Elon Musk and his ever-increasing Twitter madness.

Finally, Desi Doyen delivers what is also our final Green News Report of 2022, with all of the good news and bad (even at holiday time!), that you've come to expect from the nation's preeminent, twice-weekly, six-minute environmental radio news feature.

Please enjoy the show. We'll see you next year. And here's to a happy and healthy holiday season for all and perhaps a less insane 2023...though I wouldn't count on it...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: GA election integrity expert, observer Jeanne Dufort; Also: Dems unite behind new House leadership; Bills passed to help avert rail strike; Meadows ordered to testify in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2022 6:24pm PT  

As early voting records are smashed and lines are obscenely long once again in advance of Tuesday's U.S. Senate Runoff Election Day, today's BradCast offers a maddening reminder of why we've been covering Georgia elections, in such detail, for so many years. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Thanks to state Republicans who cut the time for runoff elections by more than half after the 2020 elections, voters across the GA are now forced to wait in hours-long lines to vote early this week in the contest between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Trump-backed former football player and unapologetic liar Herschel Walker. While early voting records are being broken, as we detailed yesterday, much of that is thanks to the GOP's SB202 voter suppression bill [PDF], adopted last year by the state legislature, supported by its Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger and signed by its Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

Where Peach State voters had as many as 17 early voting days in the November 8 elections, they now have no more than 7. And with the compressed time between the general and the runoff, few are able to request, receive and return absentee mail ballots in time. Instead, voters are now being forced to stand in line to vote at polling places on the state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen computer voting systems.

We're joined today to discuss that and much more by longtime election integrity champion JEANNE DUFORT of the Coalition for Good Governance. Dufort has served as Georgia election observer for many years, representing both the Democratic and Libertarian Parties at various times in the Peach State's rural, Republican-leaning Morgan County. She is also a named plaintiff (Full Disclosure: Along with me!) in the Coalition's lawsuit challenging several of the many disturbing provisions of SB202.

Dufort offers insight today from on the ground on how things went for voters on November 8, with most of SB202's voting restrictions in place; why it's now so difficult to vote there once again in the runoff; and why voters should be concerned about the ability to know if results reported next week by Raffensperger's insecure and unverifiable touchscreen systems --- forced on voters at every polling place, instead of verifiable hand-marked paper ballots! --- will actually reflect the intent of state voters.

"You can break all the daily [early voting] records that you want and still not have enough capacity for everybody who wants to vote," she explains. "All of the bottlenecks are at check-in. They haven't been able to figure out how to get enough check-in stations to get 17 days-worth of early voting, plus people who would prefer to vote by mail but don't think they can" into the short early voting period now allotted by SB202. "Compressing all that into these seven days is ten pounds in a five pound sack."

In addition to check-in bottlenecks, the computerized voting systems don't make any of it easier or faster, particularly in an election with one single race on most ballots across the state. "It would be faster if they handed them a ballot and just marked it. That would be faster than putting the card into the machine, bringing it up, tabbing through the things, do the check and waiting for the printer. It's just stupid. When you think about marking a ballot by a pen and then watch the process on a machine, it seems amazing that somebody would spend $3,000 on a machine to do what a $1 pen would do. But here we are."

As usual, there is much much more to discuss with Dufort about all of this today!

Also on today's program...

  • "Dems in array!" In a rare display of unity on the left, House Democrats voted unanimously on Wednesday for their new leadership beginning in January. New York's Rep. Hakeem Jeffries will be the first black American to head up a major political party in Congress, taking the reigns following Nancy Pelosi's historic tenure as she and the rest of the party's longtime leadership team step aside to allow a new, younger generation to take over. All of that by way of contrast with the chaos on the GOP side and whether Rep. Kevin McCarthy will be able to muster enough votes from his own caucus to become the new Republican House Speaker next year.
  • With Pelosi still serving as Speaker in the lame duck session of Congress, the House passed two bills today to try and help avert a rail strike that would cripple the nation's economy. With 4 of 12 rail unions opposing a new contract negotiated with the help of the White House in September --- granting a 24% pay raise to workers, but failing to allow for paid sick days --- a bipartisan bill would force the agreement to be adopted. A second bill passed by all Democrats and only three Republicans in the House on Wednesday would mandate seven paid sick days per year. Whether either measure can now be passed in the Senate, where approval by 10 Republicans would be needed to overcome a filibuster, remains to be seen.
  • And, in a unanimous three-paragraph ruling late Tuesday, the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered Trump's last Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, to testify before the Special Grand Jury in Atlanta convened by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to probe the Trump-lead conspiracy to strong-arm GA election officials into changing the 2020 results in his favor. Meadows argued he didn't have to testify due to executive privilege. SC's Supreme Court tersely responded in their order: "We have reviewed the arguments raised by [Meadows] and find them to be manifestly without merit." Ouch...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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Guest: Dr. Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote'; Also: Pelosi leaves Dem leadership; GOP secures House majority; Bass wins L.A. Mayor...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2022 6:10pm PT  

There are just too many crimes. Next time we'll need to plan a longer BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We're not yet beyond the 2022 elections. Votes are still being tallied and races still being called. Only last night, media outlets finally were able to project the GOP would win back a majority in the U.S. House next year, if barely, and that progressive Rep. Karen Bass would be the winner of the Los Angeles Mayoral race over billion real estate developer Rick Caruso. Of course, the fallout from the election will continue for a while. Today, two-time Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi --- love her or hate her, one of the most effective Speaker's in history --- announced that, while she plans to remain in Congress, she will not seek a leadership role next session. The first women to hold that job said during floor remarks today, that she is passing the torch to a new generation.

Most notably, however --- at least when it comes to accountability for the most corrupt man likely to ever hold public office in this nation, much less as President of the United States --- actual 2022 midterm voting continues as well, in the December 6th U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia.

That means the Dept. of Justice guidelines barring overt action in politically-related cases during the 60-day window prior to elections is likely still in effect. But even after the GA runoff on December 6th, as our friend Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel recently explained, "Merrick Garland hasn't done the specific thing you want because DoJ has been busy doing things they have to do first." In other words, before federal indictments can be brought against Donald Trump, as many (yours truly included) are eager to see, there remains a lot of legal work that must be done in order to ensure that any such indictments result in actual convictions.

Our guest today is DR. ALLISON GILL of the notorious "Mueller, She Wrote" Twitter account and podcast, which tracks the many (seemingly endless) criminal and civil cases and investigations under way against the disgraced former President about as closely as anyone in the country. She agrees that patience remains a virtue in these cases. Depending on the case, as she explains today, we are looking at a matter of weeks to a matter of months before indictments can be brought against Trump. Though she does believe they are coming and that his announcement this week that he is running again in 2024 provides no protection against prosecution in any of these cases.

As we begin to move beyond the midterms, today seemed a good day to touch base with Gill to help us try and reset where things are regarding to the many ongoing criminal and civil probes, indictments and lawsuits still bearing down on Trump. To be honest, we've lost track of some of them in recent weeks as we'd moved largely full time to 2022 election coverage.

Those pending cases include (but are not limited to):

  • The New York state criminal tax fraud trial currently underway against the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg, as brought by Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg;
  • Bragg's New York state criminal investigation into bank, tax and insurance fraud by Trump himself, as seemingly abandoned earlier this year, but which could be revived following the trial against his company;
  • The $250 million New York state civil lawsuit for bank, tax and insurance fraud against Trump, his company, and his three oldest kids, Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka, filed by NY A.G. Letitia James, which Gill sees as extraordinarily damaging to Trump;
  • The Georgia Special Grand Jury probe, as brought by Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis, of the Trump-led criminal conspiracy to convince state officials to steal the 2020 Presidential election on his behalf;
  • The Dept. of Justice's federal probe of thousands of pages of classified documents stolen from the White House by Trump upon leaving office, in apparent violation of the Espionage Act, Presidential Records Act and obstruction of justice;
  • The DoJ's federal probe of the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and his other many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election, including via a fake electors plot.

Add to those, Trump's failure to show up for his deposition this week in response to a lawful subpoena.from the the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. (Trump's former advisor Steve Bannon was recently sentenced to two months in prison for Contempt of Congress for failing to answer similar subpoenas from the Committee.)

"Don't forget," Gill adds today, "his Save America PAC is under federal criminal investigation. His Truth Social [companies] are under FINRA, FEC, and federal criminal investigation. He is facing a lot --- a lot --- of legal problems. We've got the E. Jean Carroll case, the Mary Trump case, the Hillary sanctions, the Michigan sanctions. He's in a lot of trouble from a lot of things. We're going to just have to see who drops the hammer first."

"If we just look at the Watergate timeline," she posits, regarding the sprawling January 6 investigation, "we won't see indictments until April 2023. And this is far more complex [than Watergate]. So it's going to be interesting to see how the timing plays out. Or whether maybe Garland says, 'Hey, Fani Willis, you take the fraudulent electors stuff, I'll take the documents stuff.'" That, she explains, would have the advantage of potentially convicting Trump under state law for which he can't be pardoned by a future President (or even by a Georgia Governor, since they are not granted state pardon power.)

Gill does believe --- in fact, she is "very, very certain" --- that Trump will be indicted in at least one of the federal cases we discuss today. Tune in to find out which one!

Finally today, Desi Doyen's got our latest Green News Report, as the COP27 U.N. climate conference in Egypt nears crunch time this weekend; Trump offers well-worn climate lies at his 2024 announcement; and some good energy related news to close out today's program...

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'Democracy came out victorious' in Lula's defeat of Bolsonaro; U.S. democracy at stake in next week's midterms; New Senate polling; Pelosi's would-be assassin was a follower of Trump's election lies; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2022 5:51pm PT  

We're just over one week from the most critical midterm elections in these United States since the Civil War. So, we've got a lot to discuss on today's BradCast. And the phones are finally fixed at KPFK, so we were actually able to hear from callers today as well! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered on today's program before listeners ring...

  • Why it really matters: A few thoughts on why, exactly, these elections are so critical, in all 50 states, for the future of American democracy itself; why you need to vote in whatever state you live in by Tuesday; and why, depending on how it all goes, this could be the last democratic election in this country. An overstatement? I don't think so in the least. But tune in for much more on all of that and for listner calls from folks who may or may not agree with me.
  • If they can do it in Brazil: Great news! The far-right, Donald Trump-supported autocrat Jair Bolsonaro was deposed in a runoff election on Sunday to Brazil's former leftist President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known as "Lula". The race was closer than polls had predicted, but it was the first time since the nation became democratized in the 1980s that an incumbent President went down to defeat. That is good for workers, that is good for the planet (given Bolsonaro's destruction of the Amazon rainforest), and, as Lula said up winning, good for democracy itself. "This isn’t a victory of mine or the Workers’ Party, nor the parties that supported me in the campaign," said the once and future President. "It's the victory of a democratic movement that formed above political parties, personal interests and ideologies so that democracy came out victorious."
  • After all that: New polling out today from New York Times and Siena College finds four key U.S. Senate races are still polling pretty much where they were several weeks ago, despite recent breathless corporate media reports that Dem support was tanking and a "red" wave was forming. Perhaps it is, but that's not what today's new polling suggests. The Democratic Senate candidates in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia all still lead their Republican opponents, if by slim margins, and the race in Nevada is said to be a dead heat. At least, if you believe pre-election polling. (And I wouldn't, if I were you.) It's all likely to be very close. All of it. Everywhere. Please get out and vote, as they did in Brazil...for democracy.
  • Another assassination attempt on the Speaker of the House: We were off on Friday, so didn't get to ring in on it, but we've learned more over the weekend about the attacker who, echoing January 6, 2021 insurrectionists, was hunting for Nancy Pelosi as he hoped to use zip ties to restrain her 82-year old husband Paul last Friday morning at their house in San Francisco. The attacker ended up cracking Paul Pelosi's skull with a hammer before he was tackled by police. By way of contrast with the "outrage" expressed for weeks by Republicans at peaceful protests outside the homes of corrupt Supreme Court Justices several months ago, many of those same GOPers made jokes over the weekend about the attack on the Pelosis by a man who appears to have been a supporter of QAnon conspiracies and far-right commentators and who believed Trump's lie that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from him. The 42-year old assailant has now been charged with both state and federal felonies, including attempted murder; assault with a deadly weapon; assault on the immediate family member of a federal official; and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. Paul Pelosi is said to be recovering after emergency surgery for a fractured skull.
  • Calls forward: Finally, we open up the phone lines --- for the first time in a month, now that they're fixed here at the station! --- on all of the above and more with some very lively callers (several of whom, as usual, don't agree with me on every li'l thang...)

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Also: MAGA leader now recruiting, training MI poll workers; DeSantis finally issues post-Ian election plan for GOP-leaning FL counties...
By Brad Friedman on 10/14/2022 6:12pm PT  

As another exhausting week wraps up on The BradCast, we've got a number of follow-ups today on several stories we've been covering throughout the week, and a few all-new reasons to be concerned about the critical upcoming midterm elections. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered today...

  • Newly-released footage from January 6, 2021 reveals then 80-year old Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying she wanted to "punch out" Donald Trump after he had sent insurrectionists to attack the U.S. Capitol. Tom Fitton, rightwing operative, conman and Trump henchman, is just outraged by that! Curiously, he is not at all outraged, by yesterday's House J6 Committee revelation that he wrote a speech for then President Trump, days before the 2020 election, instructing him to declare victory on Election Night --- whether he'd actually won or not --- and then demand the counting of all ballots immediately be stopped. "We had an election today, and I won," the memo suggested Trump declare, as detailed by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) on Thursday. The memo then instructed Trump demand only votes counted by the end of Election Day be allowed. That, of course, would disenfranchise millions of lawful American voters. The disgraceful Fitton serves as President of the far-right Judicial Watch activist nonprofit and reportedly also advised Trump that he was legally allowed to steal thousands of classified documents from the White House upon leaving office.
  • Meanwhile, Trump's allies in Congress, lead by Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, are pretending to be furious that the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating Trump's insurrection and failed attempts to steal the 2020 election voted to subpoena the former President for documents and testimony on Thursday. House Republicans were so eager to demonstrate their clownish fury that they even attacked one of their own employees, as "just another liar and pawn in Pelosi's witch-hunt"...until they realized she worked them, and quickly deleted the tweet.
  • Of course, there was Trump's own hilarious, 14-page response [PDF] to the subpoena (which has not actually been issued to him yet). Clearly written for his duped followers who he hopes haven't watched any of the J6 hearings, it offers his usual tired bogus claims and long-ago debunked nonsense to falsely insist (in all-caps, because that makes it extra true): "THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 2020 WAS RIGGED AND STOLEN!" Will he actually answer the subpoena and testify under oath before the Committee? The cowardly liar failed to say as much.
  • One of the millions of dupes who were dumb and incurious enough to buy into Trump's evidence-free claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him is a woman named Genevieve Peters. She helped encourage J6 protesters to attack the Capitol in D.C. on January 6, participated in other so-called "Stop the Steal" rallies, and hung around with the leader of the Proud Boys, according to social media posts that she has been furiously removing from her own Facebook page. She has now been hired by Macomb County, Michigan, its third most populous, to recruit and train pollworkers for the 2022 midterms.
  • More than two weeks after Hurricane Ian made its devastating landfall in Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis finally issued an Executive Order [PDF] on Thursday expanding early voting and vote-by-mail in the state's three hardest hit counties (Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota). On Monday's BradCast, we discussed the delay in approving the plan sought by Lee County, home of Fort Myers, and others where Ian made landfall, with the now-retired, legendary 30-year Florida election official Ion Sancho, who was very worried about whether many Floridians would be able to vote at all this year. We checked back with Sancho to get his reaction to DeSantis' newly-issued EO. He lauds the plan for granting "the flexibility sought by the election officials in three of the most damaged counties," before noting that "Counties further inland had record flooding," leaving still-displaced citizens completely ignored by DeSantis' order. "The counties granted flexibility are heavily Republican," Sancho told me. "The hurricane hit counties further inland are much more Democratic leaning."
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with her usual mix of bad (more billion-dollar weather disasters than ever and wetter storms than ever) and good (an explosion of investment in renewable energy and EV manufacturing in the U.S., and Joe Biden's first declaration of a new national monument) news...

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Special Coverage of final(?) public hearing with Heather Digby Parton of Salon and 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'; Also: SCOTUS rejects Trump's emergency motion on stolen classified docs retrieved from Mar-a-Lago...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2022 6:17pm PT  

It was a very bad day for our disgraced former President. So, it was a good day for the nation and for today's special BradCast coverage of what is likely to be the final public hearing of the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the Trump-incited insurrection of January 6, 2021 and his many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The Committee on Thursday presented both new video footage and documents obtained since their last public hearing back in July. Among the new video: Chilling footage of Democratic and Republican lawmakers attempting to fill the leadership gap left by the President during the three hours the Capitol was under siege while Donald Trump sat in the White House dining room watching Fox "News" coverage of the violence he sparked unfolding.

Among the new documents: email and chat messages from the Secret Service revealing they knew damned well about the threat of violence on Jan. 6, long prior to the insurrection. Also: more evidence from well before Election Day revealing Trump planned to falsely claim the election was stolen from him, and that he knew damned well that he lost and there was no evidence of election-changing fraud.

But, of course, the biggest news from Thursday's hearing was the panel's unanimous, 9 to 0 vote taken at the end to subpoena documents and under-oath testimony from the ringleader of the riot.

"Our duty today is to our country and our children and our Constitution. We are obligated to seek answers from the man who set this all in motion, and every American is entitled to those answers so we can act now to protect our republic," explained Republican Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, introducing the motion. "So, this afternoon I am offering this resolution that the Committee direct the Chairman to issue a subpoena for relevant documents and testimony under oath from Donald John Trump in connection with the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol."

That wasn't the only bad news for the disgraced former President today. As the hearing was playing out, his corrupt, stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court majority rejected his emergency motion regarding the classified documents he stole from the White House and retrieved by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago in early August. The High Court nixed, without comment, his appeal of a lower court ruling that blocked the documents marked as classified from a privilege review by a Special Master.

All of that came the day after Washington Post and New York Times each published stories last night reporting that a Trump employee was captured on security camera video from inside Mar-a-Lago moving boxes of documents both in and out of a storage room both before and after Trump had been subpoenaed by the Dept. of Justice earlier this year for the return of all documents that he had stolen from the White House upon leaving office. The reports allege that the employee is said to be cooperating with DoJ, at least to some extent, and was ordered to move the documents by Trump himself.

Like I said, a bad day for Trump...but a great day for everyone else!

Joining us for a very lively conversation attempting to make sense of all of this madness and much more today in our Special Coverage, are HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo and 'DRIFTGLASS' of the Professional Left Podcast. And while both of them have been right about pretty much everything over the last 20 years, they disagree today on whether Trump will actually answer that Congressional subpoena to testify. Tune in to find out why.

As usual, they offer smart insight today on the new video footage and many other fresh revelations from this afternoon's J6 hearing, and we discuss whether Trump will now finally be indicted; on which of the several different criminal investigations he's now facing; and when such charges will --- or won't --- finally come...

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Guest: Craig Holman of Public Citizen; Also: Ian's death toll cracks 100; Biden in Puerto Rico after Fiona; Putin's failures; Brazil's election lessons for upcoming U.S. midterms...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2022 6:29pm PT  

With unspeakable devastation from Florida to Ukraine, the stakes couldn't be higher for our upcoming midterm elections. We cover all of that on today's BradCast, even while tending to some long overdue accountability and grotesque conflicts of interest in Congress. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The horrifying death toll from last week's climate change-fueled Hurricane Ian continues to rise. More than 100 were confirmed dead in Florida alone as of airtime. That number is likely to keep growing, along with the growing questions about why state officials did not call for evacuations before they finally did. Put those questions into the same file that may explain the state's years of climate crisis denial and its now collapsing insurance industry.

At the same time, corrupt authoritarian regimes elsewhere are similarly ill-serving their citizens. We get caught up a bit today on Russia's sham referendums and unlawful annexation of four regions in eastern Ukraine last week. That, as Russia's military offensive continues to collapse and lose ground to Ukrainians defending their sovereign homeland; as Vladimir Putin faces growing unrest after announcing the forced draft of hundreds of thousands of Russians; and as he continues to threaten the use of nuclear weapons as his political and military fortunes devolve.

Then, we move to Brazil, where far-right President Jair Bolsonaro lost in the first round of voting on Sunday to the nation's former leftist President known to the people simply as "Lula". While Lula defeated Bolsonaro over the weekend, neither candidate received the votes necessary to avoid a run-off later this month. Lula's victory was much narrower than expected based on pre-election polling showing that he was likely to defeat Bolsonaro by about 14 points. He won by just less than 6 points in what should serve as another object lesson for U.S. voters before our own critical midterm elections in just 35 days.

Next, we're joined by longtime government affairs and ethics lobbyist CRAIG HOLMAN of Public Citizen to discuss the Combatting Financial Conflicts of Interest Act that he had hoped to see passed in the House before next month's midterms. Holman helped shepherd passage of 2012's STOCK Act. It was hoped that the decade old measure --- requiring immediate disclosure of stock trades by members of Congress and ending their exemption from insider trading laws --- would shame members into avoid conflicts of interest when trading stocks in companies which they also oversaw in Congressional committees.

As Holman details today, the STOCK Act failed in that regard for several reasons. As a New York Times analysis found last month, at least 97 members of the House and Senate, of both parties, continue to hold stocks in companies that they oversee on Congressional committees. But it is hoped that the new measure will end that as well. It would bar members and their direct family (spouses and children) from buying and selling stocks at all, and require them to divest their portfolio entirely or place such assets into blind trusts.

"Prior to the STOCK Act in 2012," Holman explains, "insider trading was illegal for you and I and Martha Stewart, but it was perfectly legal for members of Congress. And they were making use of it. There was one economist who came out with a study that showed members of Congress enjoy a 12% higher rate of return than the rest of us on the stock market. Which means either they're geniuses at trading in the stock market, or they know something that we don't know. Quite obviously, it's the latter."

While the STOCK Act did reduce members' trading in stocks by about two-thirds, he says, the other third "are still out there trading. They are sitting on the same committees and in their same official capacities overlooking the same businesses that they're buying and selling stocks in."

The new bill, however, would finally end those bipartisan conflicts of interest, and/or the appearance of same, once and for all. But, Holman also explains how the bill he had hoped to see passed by both chambers before this year's midterms was derailed last week He tells us whodunnit and how he hopes to see the measure adopted nonetheless in the lame duck session after the elections. Here's hoping!

Does Holman have any concerns that this new law would prevent qualified folks from running for Congress in the first place? "Not on my end," he responds. "That is one argument that you always run into. But, quite frankly, if you've got a huge financial conflict of interest with your official duties of serving in Congress, I don't want you here. If you're not going to get rid of that conflict of interest, you pose more of a threat to the integrity of our legislative process, no matter how competent you are."

Finally, President Biden visited Puerto Rico on Monday in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Fiona (the storm that took out power across the island, yet again, just two weeks before Ian's devastation in Florida). He didn't throw paper towels at residents, as the former guy did following Hurricane Maria, though he did vow to help get their infrastructure back up and hardened to withstand many more of these storms that will be coming their way as the climate crisis worsens. We share some of Biden's remarks today...

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Guest: Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-4), on his bills to expand the Court, impose term limits and ethics rules for 'unaccountable', 'corrupt' Justices; Also: TN's Thursday primaries and unverifiable voting systems...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2022 6:49pm PT  

I suspect you'll get much more out of listening to today's BradCast than I can possibly share in this summary. Hearing my conversation with the Congressman --- who has a very dry wit --- is also much, much funnier than reading about it. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, before we get there today, voters in Tennessee were voting in their midterm primaries on Thursday. Yes, on a Thursday! In a state where the right-wingers who run it aren't all that interested in democracy, apparently. Otherwise, they would hold primaries on a normal Tuesday, and they wouldn't have upended a state law passed years ago --- when Democrats held the legislative majority there --- to move from unverifiable touchscreen voting systems to hand-marked paper ballots. A story today out of one of their counties where a touchscreen system appears to have failed for one of their voters (described misleadingly in the report as "a rare glitch") underscores this point and my continuing, expanding, years-long nightmare.

Then, we're joined by REP. HANK JOHNSON, Democrat from Georgia's 4th Congressional District and Chair of the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Courts, for a detailed and lively discussion about his ongoing attempts to bring accountability to what he describes as the "corrupt system" embodied by today's U.S. Supreme Court.

In April of last year, Johnson introduced the Judiciary Act of 2021, a simple, single paragraph bill [PDF], co-sponsored by a number of House colleagues and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) who declared, at the time, that when "Republicans stole the Court’s majority" they "undermined its legitimacy, and threatened the rights of millions of Americans". Over a year later, with little progress for the measure, after a full term with the Republicans' packed majority now having run roughshod over longstanding Constitutional rights and Court precedents --- on everything from the rights of voters to those of detainees, to gun safety and the environment and, of course, privacy rights and reproductive freedoms --- the bill's sponsors held another press event last month in front of the Capitol to try and bring focus to the need to, as Johnson describes it today, "re-balance the Court away from this current 6-3 rightwing extremist majority that was packed by Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and the Federalist Society."

This week Johnson also introduced another measure --- this one, just three pages [PDF] long --- called the Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization (TERM) Act of 2022, to introduce term limits for Justices and mandating that new appointees shall be appointed solely by each President in the first and third years of their terms.

"It would establish an 18-year term limit for Supreme Court Justices, if that legislation passes --- and it needs to pass along with the Judiciary Act to expand the Court. We don't really need Justices letting the grass grow under their feet, becoming insulated and removed from accountability from the public", Johnson charges. "You can appoint a conservative judge, but that judge's views would have to end up being subject to being replaced by another judge at the end of that judge's tenure. So, in this way, we give every President the opportunity to appoint new blood into the Supreme Court. Keep the Supreme Court from getting old, stale, and rotten, as it is now...starting with the Honorable Clarence Thomas. "

The Georgia Congressman has also introduced the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act of 2022 [PDF], recently marked-up in the Judiciary Committee to bring ethics reform to the High Court, where Justices currently are allowed to police themselves and are exempt from the judicial ethics rules and requirements which govern the rest of the federal judiciary. That, he asserts, has brought us to the "corrupt system" we have to today.

"The Supreme Court can simply decide to ignore all of the cases it chooses to ignore, and cherry-pick cases that have been inserted into the legal pipeline by activists who are intent on getting their way in the United States Supreme Court," says Johnson. "These are the same activists that have these same Supreme Court Justices traveling to exotic locations to be wined and dined, to deliver a speech to the assembled audience, who happen to be stakeholders in one position or another, that they want to insert into the Court and have the Court decide it their way."

"This is the system that we have now, with the Court being able to select a few cases in the pipeline, for that pipeline to be packed with issues that are ripe for these rightwing Justices carefully indoctrinated through their law school years with Federalist Society 'free market' thinking," the Congressman continues. "They have gotten the jobs with the law firms and with the prosecutors' offices that put them on a track to be nominated by a Republican to a judgeship. And they preside over the judgeship and then they get elevated to the United States Supreme Court, after being recommended by the same Federalist Society that indoctrinated them from law school and secured the job for them. These Justices are primed to rule in favor of the rightwing, 'free-market' capitalist interests that put them in the pipeline. It's a corrupt system that we have at this point, and Congress definitely is in position to do something about it."

Johnson has created a website called CourtReformNow.com to detail these measure and many others in order "to do something about it."

That said, many of these long-overdue reforms have had trouble gaining traction in Congress. I ask the Congressman if there is any reason, for example, that his Subcommittee couldn't call in Justice Thomas (who he describes as "ethically bankrupt") to discuss years of impropriety, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars those same activist groups have given his wife Ginni. (She was also recently revealed to have been a key player in helping Donald Trump to try and steal the 2020 Presidential election.) In response, Johnson offers a fascinating --- and amusing --- insight into how the House and its leadership work. That alone is worth tuning in for. But, the central point is that Committee and Subcommittee Chairs don't necessarily have the final say on what those committees may do and who they may call in for testimony. Moreover, as Johnson collegially chafes against some of those restrictions, he also underscores the need to "educate my colleagues about the power that we have and the need for us to use the power."

At "a political moment when the future of our democracy, our freedoms, are at risk," he notes, pressure from the public "has a lot of bearing" on what Committees and the Party itself in Congress are able and allowed to do.

As mentioned, tune in for this one for a much more expansive and colorful explanation on all of this.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a very "sexy" close to today's show...

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Guest: George Beebe of the Quincy Inst. for Responsible Statecraft...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2022 5:58pm PT  

While voters were at the polls for primary elections in six states (Arizona, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri and Washington) on Tuesday, we take the moment to turn to foreign affairs for a hot minute on today's BradCast.

Happily, few problems were reported for voters at the polls in those six states --- at least that we could find so far today --- beyond another predictable failure of electronic poll books, this time across Mohave County, AZ, for about six hours when polls opened. More issues may reveal themselves before tomorrow, or thereafter, of course. Meanwhile, there are a whole bunch of far-right, Trump-backed, 2020 election deniers on the ballot today, with several running for critical offices such as Governor, Sec. of State and the U.S. Senate. All of which, if those candidates win on Tuesday and again this November, could cause very serious problems for democracy itself in 2024. We'll pick all of that up on tomorrow's show, with whatever noteworthy reported results may be available by then.

But today, we had the opportunity circle back to Russia's ongoing war with it's sovereign neighbor Ukraine, now entering it's sixth horrific month following Russia's invasion on February 24. If you follow most Western media, Ukraine's military is making valiant if deadly headway in pushing back at over-extended and exhausted Russian troops in the South, while Russia presses its offensive in the East.

If you follow Kremlin-controlled media, this is a war special military operation that can never be won by Ukraine, and continues to threaten expansion into a global conflict, including the use of nuclear weapons, as Russia takes great pains to note --- on an alarmingly regular basis.

But, it's not only Russian-controlled media suggesting the war is ultimately unwinnable for Ukraine. A number of foreign policy-centered Western media outlets and think-tanks have long argued similarly in a push for peace talks and a ceasefire in the now war-torn nation of Ukraine.

There was some good news this week, in that an agreement brokered by Turkey and the U.N. between the two warring nations last month has resulted in ships carrying Ukrainian grain finally able to leave port to deliver food around the world. Russian ships will also be allowed to do so through safe corridors established amid mined waters in the Black Sea. If the agreement holds, millions of tons of grain and other agricultural products will finally be able to flow from "the breadbasket of Europe" to help ease rising global food prices and the threat of hunger and political instability in developing nations.

The first ship to leave port on Monday was "loaded with two commodities in short supply: corn and hope," as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described it. Beyond that, there is not much to be hopeful about in the protracted conflict.

Writing at The National Interest over the weekend, veteran foreign policy experts and former U.S. National Security officials Steven Simon and Jonathon Stevenson made the case for diplomacy. They called on the U.S. to help encourage a negotiated settlement by making clear to Ukraine that "Neither side can fulfill its maximal war aims" and they must find opportunities for peace talks and, if possible, a cessation of hostilities, despite Vladimir Putin's apparent disinclination to negotiate.

"It is well and good for the United States and its NATO allies to keep arming Ukraine. But it is also time to encourage both sides to start exploring possibilities for a political solution before escalation puts diplomacy even farther from reach," the pair conclude. "And unless the United States and NATO condition military assistance on Ukraine’s constructive political engagement, they will lack the leverage to work effectively towards a stable objective."

But is such a demand appropriate or even possible under the current conditions in the war torn nation? Isn't it up to Ukraine --- which has lost so much in blood, treasure and sovereign territory --- not the U.S. or NATO, to decide when and if Ukraine is ready to negotiate an end to the war?

Those are just some of the difficult and nuanced questions we discuss with our guest today, GEORGE BEEBE, Director of Grand Strategy (yes, I know, an ominous sounding title!) at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, one of our go-to think-tanks for smart, no-nonsense foreign policy solutions.

Beebe's is the author of 2019's The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe. He served over two decades in the U.S. government as an intelligence analyst, diplomat, and policy advisor, including as director of the CIA’s Russia analysis and as an advisor on Russia to Vice President Dick Cheney. (Yes, we discuss both of those ominous matters --- his work with the CIA and for Cheney --- as well!)

Among the questions and issues Beebe speaks to today: His concern that there is no real exit plan for our current strategy, not unlike the lack of a U.S. plan when we launched the Iraq War in 2003; Is it true that there is no way for Ukraine to "win" this war? That the only way is via diplomacy?; Should it be up to the U.S. and NATO, who are supplying much-needed armaments to help Ukraine defend itself, to decide when Ukraine should negotiate towards a settlement? Or should that remain Ukraine's sole decision?; Does Russia even have an interest in negotiations?; What should we learn from their repeated reminders that a continuation of the war could lead to a potentially nuclear expansion?; And, since it's actually a somewhat related matter, what does Beebe make of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit on Tuesday to Taiwan, and what effect is that likely to have on the Russia/Ukraine conflict?

"This is a very complex issue," Beebe tells me on the matter of the United States' own culpability in the matter. "Most foreign policy issues don't have single factor origins. They're usually the result of a confluence of different forces. What's happened in Russia's invasion of Ukraine is that it is the culmination of a series of developments, missteps on the part of a lot of different players over time, that all contributed to the situation that we're facing today."

"That doesn't excuse the Russians and it doesn't excuse Putin from making the choice to invade Ukraine. I think he is fully responsible for that choice, regardless of what preceded it. It didn't have to happen," he argues. But "Russia certainly has what I regard as understandable security concerns...That doesn't mean that the invasion was justified [or] that the manner in which this operation was carried out was at all justifiable."

"But I also would not say that Putin simply woke up in February and said, 'Hey, I would like to invade Ukraine.' There was a lot that went into shaping that decision, and I think a lot of blame on both the Russian and the Western sides."

As you can tell, there is much to discuss and try to make sense of with the Director of Grand Strategy at the Quincy Institute today. I hope you'll tune in for it!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with more on the potentially "game changing" compromise bill hashed out by Senator Joe Manchin with Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer last week, to invest an historic $370 billion in incentives to help us move from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy in hopes of mitigating our worsening climate emergency; And, on the latest deadly costs of that ongoing emergency across the U.S., as Big Oil --- whose product, and decades of lies about it, are at the heart of the crisis --- declare their most profitable quarter in history...

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Packed Court of radical, activist GOP Justices invent imaginary 'historical' reasons to cancel reproductive freedoms, personal privacy rights, gun safety laws; Also: Many more well-established Constitutional rights now in peril; Biden, Pelosi respond; Voting remains the answer...
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2022 6:29pm PT  

On a dark and historic day in America (and, apparently, on The BradCast), I offer a few thoughts on how unelected, radical, extremist, activists Justices (who are not "conservative" by any stretch of the imagination, please stop calling them that), who have been packed onto a stolen U.S. Supreme Court majority have only just begun the corrupt work for which their lifetime seats on the High Court were purchased. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

On Thursday, the illegitimate Republican majority simply ignored the written text of the 2nd Amendment's mandate to "well regulate" the right to bear arms by cancelling [PDF] New York's century-old law limiting the concealed carrying of weapons in public, robbing elected state officials of their right to protect their citizenry from gun violence.

Then, on Friday, after declaring in their gun ruling that officials elected by the voters have no right to well regulate firearms, the same corrupt Justices cancelled [PDF] a half century of well-established Constitutional rights to personal privacy and reproductive freedom. The rightwing Court extremists declared that states and, indeed, the federal government, do have the right to force women to bear the child of their rapist --- even as the product of incest or sex trafficking.

In overturning 1973's Roe v. Wade (the landmark 7 to 2 majority opinion written by a non-corrupt Republican-appointed Justice), Sam Alito echoed Clarence Thomas' gun ruling one day earlier by pretending that any specific rights not in existence 233 years ago, when the Bill of Rights was written, lacks the "historical tradition" to be considered a Constitutionally-protected right. (Never mind that whole "well regulated" mandate of the 2nd Amendment which is, as it turns out, literally in the Bill of Rights.)

Neither Thomas' newly divined "historical tradition" requirement for Constitutional rights or Alito's "historical understanding of ordered liberty", are made up out of whole cloth. The concept appears nowhere in the Constitution, which actual, if uncorrupted, conservative legal experts know very well.

As horrible as all of this is, it will only get worse until the corrupt Court is unpacked and expanded to reflect the actual will of the American electorate. The Court's rulings on abortion and on gun safety are opposed by huge, bipartisan majorities.

In a separate opinion on Roe, Thomas --- arguably the Court's most corrupt Justice --- called for the Court to cancel other long-standing Constitutional rights established under the same 14th Amendment privacy rights which the Court has now dismantled in cancelling Roe. "We have a duty to 'correct the error'" by reversing the landmark opinions that established Constitutional rights to contraception, same-sex intimacy and marriage...though not inter-racial marriage for reasons that the inter-racially married Thomas failed to explain.

We share both President Biden and House Speaker Pelosi's responses to today's historically corrupt ruling, as they vow that the fight for Constitutional freedoms is not over and call on Americans to make their voices heard in response this November.

"Today the Supreme Court of the United States expressly took away a Constitutional right from the American people that it had already recognized," the President said. "They didn't limit it, they simply took it away. That's never been done to a right so important to so many Americans. But they did it."

"This fall," he later emphasized, "Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality --- they're all on the ballot."

They are indeed.

After plenty more on all of the above, we conclude today with our latest Green News Report, most topics of which are also on the ballot this November. Please prepare your voting plans now...

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Callers respond on Kremlin talking points echoed by some on the Left, and on why Americans support Biden's Ukraine policies while disapproving of his policy on Ukraine. (You read that right.)
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2022 5:51pm PT  

We had a very lively call-in show today on The BradCast, as we stacked the deck with folks who disagree with me, in response to my calling out those, particularly on the (supposed) Left, for forwarding Kremlin propaganda (including at on our own flagship station, KPFK, here in Los Angeles), over our public airwaves, amid Russia's deadly and grotesque war and war crimes against Ukraine. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get to that and to a bunch of callers on that topic...The midterm primary season gets under way in earnest this week --- with Ohio and Indiana voters holding Election Day tomorrow. So, we've got a few quick words on that, and on the gerrymandered U.S. House District map that Republicans have managed to keep in play this year, even though it was found --- four times to date! --- to be in violation of the Ohio state Constitution by its state Supreme Court. But, as we discussed in detail last week, the GOP's packed federal courts allowed the even more gerrymandered map drawn after 2010 to be used once again in this year's election, as Ohio's GOP-majority Redistricting Commission purposely ran out the clock on drawing new legal maps following the 2020 Census.

Then, it's on to our main topic: Namely, Russia's ongoing military invasion of its sovereign neighbor and the propaganda help Vladimir Putin is getting from some on the far-Left in this country who are lying and/or misinformed about it all. Hopefully, via at least some of the calls from listeners today, we straighten out at least some of what happens to be Kremlin propaganda and what is not.

It remains unclear some on the Left --- who claim to be anti-war (like us), who were critical of the U.S. when we were the empire invading a sovereign nation (as we were) --- are now having such a difficult time condemning Russia for doing the very same thing. Our anti-war position has been both accurate and consistent. As you'll hear on today's program, at least a few of our listeners seem to have a problem with that sort of consistency, choosing to blame the U.S. for Russia's war.

Today's lively conversation also comes as new polling from WaPo/ABC finds huge, bipartisan majorities of Americans support Joe Biden's actions in Ukraine, including his vow to keep American troops out of the conflict, sanctions against Russia; and sending defensive weaponry, humanitarian and economic aid to Ukraine. Despite that, in the very same poll, only a minority of Americans say they support Joe Biden's actions in Ukraine! Ya know, the same ones they previously said in the very same poll that they supported. Seriously. So, what's going on here? We open the phones to callers to try and help us understand that puzzle as well today.

Among the lively calls, several who try to forward more Russia propaganda on Ukraine (it didn't go well), and one who seemed disappointed, oddly enough, that the U.S. was trying to stay out of the direct conflict in hopes of avoiding a nuclear World War III.

As noted...a lively, but also kinda crazy program today with a lot of callers both fun and "fun". So we expect you may enjoy it!...Or you won't...

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Guest: John Nichols of The Nation on what went right and wrong; Also: E-Pollbook failures in NJ open door for loser to challenge results...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2021 6:24pm PT  

Today on BradCast: No, Tuesday's off-year elections were not nearly as disastrous for Democrats as the national media seems to want to insist. But there were both red flag warnings and important lessons they should absolutely pay attention to, and quickly. There were also wholly avoidable voting system failures which, unfortunately, open the door for some results to be challenged. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, the latest summary on the marquee Gubernatorial races that seemed to encompass the entirety of the national media's coverage on Tuesday and into Wednesday. In Virginia, decades of modern history repeated itself, as the party that didn't win the White House last year appears to have taken control of the Governor's mansion this year. Trump-endorsed businessman and first-time candidate Glenn Youngkin was declared the narrow winner over VA's Democratic former Gov. Terry McCauliffe, after Youngkin dog-whistled his kinder, gentler not-Donald-Trump-at-all act into office.

His campaign leaned heavily on pretend, Fox "News"-generated phony outrage issues like opposition to teaching Critical Race Theory in public schools, even though there are no public schools in VA who actually teach it. But fake issues are much easier for Republicans to run on than the unpopular ones they actually support. So, with that, it appears Republicans may also have narrowly taken back majority control of the Commonwealth's House of Delegates, though those final numbers were still too close to call as of airtime.

In New Jersey, it appears that history will not repeat itself. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was declared the unofficial winner by media outlets late during today's show. If officially certified, Murphy will have defeated Republican John Ciaterelli to become the first Democrat to win a second term in the Garden State since the 1970s. But Ciaterelli made clear on Election Night that he plans to challenge the results. Reported electronic pollbook failures across the state on Tuesday (little noticed by most of the media, though we covered the pretty serious issue in some detail on our previous BradCast) may well give him an opening to mount such a challenge --- not that Republican election challengers these days generally need real problems to buttress false claims of fraud when they lose. If Murphy ends up falling behind again, he too could use the failure in his own contest.

We detail what appears to have happened across the state, preventing many voters from being able to vote at the polls for several hours on Tuesday morning, and why we've been warning about issues exactly like this for years when it comes to electronic voting, tabulation and pollbook issues that continue to threaten democracy itself.

But while many Democrats have been beside themselves since the polls closed on Tuesday night, wondering where they went wrong --- at least in those statewide contests --- in truth, if you dig below the national headlines, progressives had a bunch of victories on Tuesday in local races and on ballot initiatives.

We're joined today by one of our favorite post-election guests (following both good and bad nights for Democrats over the years), progressive champion, JOHN NICHOLS, Washington Correspondent for for The Nation, longtime contributor to The Progressive and Associate Editor of Madison, Wisconsin's Capital Times. We try to make sense of where both Dems and national media went both right and wrong during both the election and its aftermath. Why, for example, in both VA and NJ, where Democrats held control and adopted a host of very popular progressive policies in the past several years, did they have such a difficult time turning that record into victories yesterday? We also discuss several progressive wins that flew beneath the radar, and what Dems in D.C. and across the nation should take from what happened on Tuesday.

Finally, we close with a boatload of under-reported progressive wins in Tuesday's elections across the country, including historic mayoral victories from Boston to Pittsburgh to Albuquerque to Cincinnati to Durham, NC and beyond, along with a number of local ballot initiatives that defy the media narrative of the past 24 hours which seems to be arguing that Dems must immediately start acting more like Republicans if they hope to have any chance of victory during next year's critical 2022 mid-terms...

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Bill to keep U.S. government open (for two more months) gets passed, but the three more difficult and critical bills remain blocked by obstructionists with economic disaster and Biden agenda hanging in the balance...
By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2021 6:46pm PT  

Hopefully today's BradCast is at least slightly less chaotic than Capitol Hill right now. We do our best to help you make sense of the Democrats' attempts to move four critical bills through to law, as they all come due at about the same time, and all must overcome obstructionists from both the Right and the Left. One bill today, has made it through. The fates of the other three --- and those of the nation, the economy, the Presidency and the Democrats --- are less than clear at this hour.

Among the stories covered, discussed, referenced and/or ranted upon on today's program...

  • We start with some listener email in response to our interview last week with NASA climate scientist Dr. Peter Kalmus, who argues that our planet's climate emergency is far worse and more immediate than many other climate scientists are willing to say. Emailer RC concurs, and explains why current plans to curb carbon emissions by both the US and EU are not nearly enough to meet the moment, and entirely unfair to the rest of the world.
  • With those thoughts underscoring much of the rest of our coverage today, we move to the ongoing mess in D.C., where Dems must pass four different pieces of critical legislation in the next few days and/or weeks for various critical reasons. One is a bill to keep the government open and operating after midnight tonight. After a Republican filibuster and a decoupling of that measure from the lifting of the debt ceiling before the government runs out of the ability to borrow money on October 18, the bill to keep the government open was passed by both chambers today (and signed by the President tonight). That Continuing Resolution will keep the government operating until December 3rd, when this ridiculousness will happen again, and Republicans are sure to create still more chaos and uncertainty...just because they can. Their filibuster of raising or suspending the debt ceiling, however, continues to march toward fiscal calamity [PDF] and deep recession as of October 18, unless they relent or Dems come up with some other idea.
  • As we went to air today, it was still unclear whether a vote would be held in the House on the bipartisan $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill, which all Democrats in both chambers agreed to couple for passage with the much larger, very popular $3.5 trillion Build Back Better social spending and climate change bill that encompasses the bulk of the Biden agenda. At least it had been coupled until a small handful of shameless corporatist Dems in the House and Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in the Senate reneged on the original agreement. Now, they are trying to force Pelosi into calling a vote on the smaller bill, which was already passed by the Senate, and which House progressives have vowed to vote against unless the larger bill is adopted along with it. And though we hadn't seen anyone else make this point before airtime (Josh Marshall mentions it tonight), while House Repubs have been whipping against the smaller bill in the House, if they really wanted to muck things up for the Dems, they could vote in favor of the measure that many of their Republican colleagues in the Senate have already approved. That would replace the votes of the objecting progressives and remove pretty much all of the leverage they currently have to force passage of the larger reconciliation bill. So don't tell Republicans.
  • The log jam on that larger bill, of course, has been Manchin and Sinema. And while neither Democratic Senator had made their objections to the measure particularly clear --- other than they didn't want to spend that much money (even though, unlike the deficit spending of the bipartisan infrastructure bill they supported, the larger one is actually paid for with tax increases on corporations and the wealthy!) --- at least Manchin was open to negotiation. Sinema, who is a terrible person, has said she wouldn't negotiate on the larger bill at all until the smaller one was passed. That is, apparently, still her position. But as of shortly before air today, we now know a bit more about Manchin's position. That, based on a bullet-point memo [PDF] obtained by Politico, which he gave to Chuck Schumer in late July, detailing his demands. Among them, the bill can't spend more than $1.5 trillion, and the coal state Senator (whose family makes millions on fossil fuel extraction each year) really really wants to undermine the critical climate components at the heart of the Biden agenda. We discuss.
  • While Democrats are trying to move their wildly popular agenda forward, despite the obstructionism from both the Right and Left, Republicans and their media machine are busy lying to the public about the effort. We do our part to correct the record today with more information on what Democrats are actually hoping to do --- so you can help be the media and counter the rightwing lies on social media and elsewhere. (Pretty please?) Among those lies, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) offered a whopper today, describing the Biden agenda as "Marxism" on Twitter. And fake news site Newsmax is lying to their gullible viewers about the bipartisan infrastructure bill including an 8-cent per mile "driving tax". It doesn't. We try and help correct the record on both scores.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report. Today, we have yet another California utility company coughing up billions to settle with residents after their negligence led to disaster following the largest methane leak in U.S. history; New polling finds a dramatic spike in concern among a majority of Americans regarding our climate crisis; And another major automaker makes another major bet on our electric vehicle future...

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