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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, June 13, 2024
Life With COVID
What goes around comes around. Again...
Hunter Biden's Conviction and Donald Trump's Weaponized Ignorance: 'BradCast' 6/11/24
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  w/ Brad & Desi
Big win for far-right in EU, climate action in crosshairs; NY Guv halts NYC congestion pricing; PLUS: Biden's new mileage rules save consumers money, combat climate change...
Previous GNRs: 6/6/24 - 6/4/24 - Archives...
After Trump Verdict, GOPers Suddenly Warm to Voting for Felons: 'BradCast' 6/10/24
Listeners call in with explanations; Also: U.N. Security Council approves Biden's Israel/Hamas ceasefire plan; Europe moves toward far-right in EU elections...
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THIS WEEK: 80 Years Later ... Fascism Returns ... How Laws Work ... Summer Forecast ... And much more to be proud terrified of in our latest weekly collection...
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Guest: Prof. Joshua Douglas; Also: Bannon's prison date; U.N. chief: Ban fossil fuel ads...
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  w/ Brad & Desi
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What Happens in Texas Does NOT Stay in Texas: 'BradCast' 6/5/24
Guest: Andrea Grimes warns of TX GOP's insane new party platform, as underplayed by mainstream media; Also: Election results from MT, NJ, NM, SD, IA, DC...
GOP's Absurd 'Weaponization of Justice' Hoax Continues: 'BradCast' 6/4/24
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GUILTY (x 34)!: NY Trump Trial Conviction Ketchup Show!: 'BradCast' 6/3/24
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THIS WEEK: 34 for 45! A Special Presidential Felons Collector's Edition of the week's very best political toons!...
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THIS WEEK: The Alito Stomp ... Brave, Sir Donald ... Darling Nikki ... Uncle Sam's Toast ... And more warnings in the wind of our latest weekly toons...
'Green News Report' 5/23/24
Extreme weather unleashes disasters from Iowa to Mexico; DeSantis signs 'Don't Say Climate Change' law in FL; PLUS: Study finds microplastics in human testicles...
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VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
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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...

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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
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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...

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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guests: Former Deputy Asst. A.G. Lisa Graves; Legal journalist Chris Geidner; Also: Haley wins a primary; And a Super Tuesday preview...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2024 6:38pm PT  

In case I haven't mentioned it lately on The BradCast, the U.S. Supreme Court is wildly corrupt. They proved that again on Monday in their ruling on whether Donald Trump, who they don't dispute in their ruling is an insurrectionist, should be disqualified from the 2024 election for having "engaged in insurrection", as barred by the simple text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We knew this ruling from the corrupt Court was coming, based on their questions at Oral Argument last month. We also knew that the packed, stolen and rightwing SCOTUS majority was corrupt. But their hypocrisy was what shined through most in today's relatively brief 13-page ruling [PDF] and the additional dissenting opinions that followed it. The one by the Democratic appointees was fairly seething.

After years of pretending to be "conservative Constitutionalists"; pretending to be "textualists" who are focused only on the simple meaning of what the words in the founding document say; who pretend to be "originalists", concerned only with what the framers were trying to accomplish at the time they adopted the Constitutional amendment in question, the Court, once again, gave away the ghost. They don't care about any of that. They are an activist rightwing Court finding stuff in the Constitution that doesn't exist to arrive at the political result they wanted in the first place.

On Monday --- in their 9 to 0 opinion (which, the dissenters made clear, was actually a 5 to 4 ruling, but for Democrats on the Court trying to go along to get along in an election year) --- the High Court reversed the Colorado Supreme Court's 213-page ruling [PDF] in December barring Trump from this year's ballot for having violated the Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause". So much for states rights as well, apparently.

But, not only did the SCOTUS majority twist itself into pretzels to come up with "logic" for doing so, they further perverted Section 3 of the 14th Amendment beyond recognition in order to do so. In the bargain, they have killed 14.3 to the point that it can likely never be used to bar insurrectionists from public office --- at least at the federal level. (That's another distinction they made up from whole cloth that appears nowhere in the actual Constitution.)

Congress, the Court decided, must pass a law before the 150 year old 14.3 may be used. It is not self-executing, they ruled, unlike all of the other sections of the 14th Amendment and the other Amendments adopted with it following the Civil War that prohibit slavery, guarantee due process and equal justice under the law for all. But only the two-sentence Section 3, apparently, is not self-executing. At least at the federal level. It can still, apparently, be used by states to bar state and local officials from public office for insurrection for some reason. That, even though Section 3 itself requires a two-thirds super-majority in Congress for the disqualification to be lifted for any insurrectionist to serve in office.

We're joined today by two experts on this matter, former Asst. Deputy Attorney General at the DOJ, LISA GRAVES of True North Research, and "recovering lawyer" and longtime legal journalist CHRIS GEIDNER of Law Dork to try and make sense of what the corrupt, hypocritical Justices did.

Geidner details how the dissenters in this case, the Court's three Democratic Justices, Sotomayor, Kagan and Jackson --- but also, in part, even Justice Amy Coney Barrett --- "explained how the majority had basically cut off the use of Section 3 going forward."

And they did so, according to Graves, in the most cowardly way, with a per curiam decision that speaks for the whole court, without saying who actually wrote it. "Like Bush v. Gore," they didn't sign their names to, she observed, noting that "issuing a per curiam opinion is an act of cowardice by these rightwing justices."

Geidner adds: "It truly is just an example, like 'Bush v. Gore', of 'Let's work backwards from the principle that we want, and we're going to shoehorn in some principle of law that clearly can't make sense in light of the interpretation of these amendments over the past 150 years.'"

"The Colorado Supreme Court's decision was so well-reasoned," Graves argues about the ruling overturned by SCOTUS today. "It sought to vindicate the plain language of the 14th Amendment. But here you had the Supreme Court not wanting to allow Colorado to make that independent determination based on the plain language. It really shows how outrageous this anonymous Republican-appointee decision --- how outrageous and wrong --- that decision is." She also notes, given what was actually a 5 to 4 ruling, how outrageous it is that Justice Clarence Thomas --- whose wife actually participated in the insurrection --- didn't bother to recuse himself.

Last Summer, Geidner tells us, when he wrote about this case, he says he argued, "It's pretty clear that Trump is barred from being President again. Will it matter?" He adds: "That was the right question to ask, and we got our answer today."

As usual, there is much more covered in today's program on all of this, so please tune in for the full show.

Also today, a wrap-up of of the weekend's GOP nominating contests in which Nikki Haley finally notched her first primary victory after Trump actually threatened the voters participating in it. And we close with a preview of tomorrow's 15-state Super Tuesday primaries in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and American Samoa. If you live in one of those states and have yet to vote, NOW is the time!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/29/2024 5:03pm PT  

I should be in bed nursing my illness (whatever it is), rather than doing today's BradCast. But given the firehose of news, some of it huge, that broke after yesterday's guest-hosted show with Nicole and Desi (thank you, guys!) and today, I felt I had to come in for this one. Nasal congestion be damned. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Back in 2018, as Trump-nominated Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was lying his way through his Senate Confirmation hearings, he made what sure sounded like a threat at the time. "This confirmation process has become a national disgrace," he whined through angry tears. "And as we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around."

There has been a boatload of important news over the past 24 hours. But what may have been Kavanaugh's long-promised "comes around" moment may have finally occurred last night. The U.S. Supreme Court came up with at least 4 votes to hear Oral Argument of Donald Trump's ridiculous claim that Presidents enjoy "absolutely immunity" for any and all crimes they may commit while in office --- including ordering Seal Team Six to murder domestic political opponents, as Trump's lawyer's argued in this case at the lower D.C. Court of Appeals.

The federal appellate court, as well as the trial court below it, unanimously rejected the argument. But, rather than taking up the case three months ago, when Special Counsel Jack Smith asked them to, the corrupt SCOTUS waited more than two months before deciding, in a terse, one-page order [PDF], to "expedite" the matter by hearing it...seven weeks from now. The question will be: "Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office." --- Which "official acts" they may be referring to are uncited.

In the bargain, Trump's previously scheduled May 4th federal trial date for attempting to steal the 2020 election remains on on pause and may not now even begin before the 2024 election.

At the same time, in New York state court on Wednesday, an appellate judge, within hours after Trump's filing, rejected his attempt to offer a $100 million bond to prevent Attorney General Letitia James from beginning seizure of his assets in about 30 days for failure to post cash or a bond for the full $454 million penalty he faces for a decade of massive fraud via his corrupt real estate company. And Trump's criminal trial in the state, on 34 charges related to cheating to win the 2016 election with hush-money payments to a porn star, is set to begin at the end of next month.

Given my physical condition of late, we called in our good friends and very wise longtime fellow bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and 'DRIFTGLASS' of The Professional Left Podcast, to help make sense of these key, historic events. They each offer context and analysis of what appears --- to them at least --- to be one of the most corrupt actions ever taken by our corrupted, far-right, Trump-appointed supermajority on the High Court.

Driftglass argues the news from the Court on Wednesday is that "It's a corrupt court. And that corrupt court has rendered a corrupt decision," underscores his belief that Trump will never see a day in prison. Digby reminds us that true accountability was always going to come from only one place: the voters at the ballot box this November. "I'm sorry to have to tell you," she tells me, "but it's going to have to be a grinding out of a Presidential campaign and people are going to have to vote this guy out."

We've got a lot of ground to cover on today's program, with smart insights from both of them as usual, even if I don't have the energy to document much of it here for you today. So, please tune in.

There's one point, however, that I didn't get to on the show --- blame the cold medicine --- in response to the somewhat grim and arguably cynical (if accurate) assessments from Digby and Driftglass. That is, that even if Trump's federal trial for attempting to steal the 2020 election had moved forward, as scheduled, well before this November's election, I think the magic bullet moment that had been applied to that trial --- as if a guilty conviction would be an elixir that finally woke up the nation to how corrupt he truly was, leading supporters to abandon him --- was always, in my estimation, somewhat overblown.

When (not if) Trump is found guilty on any of the 91 criminal counts he is currently facing at both the state and federal level, his supporters will find a way to justify it and continue their support nonetheless. It'll be a evidence of a "corrupt system" or "Joe Biden's witch hunt" against Trump, etc.

I have never quite bought into the prodigious polling which suggests his 2024 support would crater once he was finally found guilty of a crime. His supporters know what he did. We all do. It's obvious. A criminal conviction is unlikely to change many opinions of him either way. This was and still will be --- as both Digby and Drifty point out --- about the VOTERS showing up and VOTING to save our democracy from the clutches of a fascistic, sociopathic, narcissist hell-bent on destroying it for revenge. Whatever happens between now and November 5, nobody else was ever gonna do it for us.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as winter heat in the center of this nation blew away records for February, topping out in the 80s and 90s in huge swaths of the region over the past week. That helped touch off what is now the largest wildfire in Texas history. In February! That, and much more on today's GNR.

Now I'm going back to bed. I'm sure the last 24 hours have been nothing more than a bad Nyquil-induced fever dream...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
CELEBRATING 15 YEARS!
By Desi Doyen on 2/29/2024 10:26am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Historic winter heat smashes records across U.S., sparks massive wildfires in Texas; Groundbreaking Colorado lawsuit seeks to force oil companies to clean up abandoned wells; PLUS: Shifting to EVs and clean electricity will dramatically improve children's health, study finds... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Exxon CEO blames public for failure to fix climate change; Marine heat wave kills thousands of humpback whales in the North Pacific; Boiling tap water may be solution to microplastics; Microplastics found in every human placenta tested in study; 'Nobody really knows what you're supposed to do': Leaking, abandoned wells wreak havoc in West Texas... PLUS: The Butterfly Redemption: How scientists, volunteers, and incarcerated women are finding hope through supporting a struggling butterfly... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guests: Former Dep. Asst. AG Lisa Graves and attorney Keith Barber on today's oral argument on the 'Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2024 5:15pm PT  

We've been telling you for years on The BradCast that most rightwingers who claim to be "Constitutional Conservatives" --- such as the corrupted bunch now packed onto the Republican U.S. Supreme Court supermajority --- are nothing of the sort. Today's oral argument at SCOTUS, on whether Donald Trump must be disqualified from the 2024 ballot under the very clear text of the Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause", appear set to prove that point yet again. [Audio link to full program is posted below this summary.]

In December, the SCOTUS Appears Set to Ignore Text of Constitution's 'Insurrectionist' Clause: 'BradCast' 2/8/2024 found Trump had violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars from office public officials who, after taking an oath to support the Constitution, "have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same". The mandate applies, according to the actual text of the clause, to "any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State". The Colorado Supremes compiled an airtight, 200+ page ruling [PDF] that was both "textualist" (adhering to the simple text of the clause) and "originalist" (carefully hewing to the original intent of its post-Civil War framers) in order to appeal to the legal principles supposedly most important to the Republican majority at SCOTUS.

The CO court, finding that Trump had indeed "engaged in insurrection" and was thus barred from holding the office of President of the United States, disqualified him from the state's 2024 Presidential ballot. Trump appealed their ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard the case on Thursday. (Transcript, audio)

While we can't know for certain from questions asked at the hearing, the Justices appear set to simply ignore the clear meaning of the text of 14.3 in order to allow Trump to run for President this year. Arguments put forward today for doing so --- some of them preposterous and in direct conflict with the framer's intent, according to the Congressional Record at the time the 14th Amendment was adopted --- include that the President is not an officer of the United States; that 14.3 bars insurrectionists from holding office, but not from running for office; and that the clause, unlike every other section of the 14th Amendment, is not "self-executing". Rather, Congress must create legislation before it can be used against a federal official. (Never mind its history over the past 150 years or so.)

We're joined today to somehow make sense of all of this by former U.S. Deputy Asst. Attorney General LISA GRAVES, now of True North Research, and retired attorney KEITH BARBER, who writes on legal and Constitutional matters as 'KeithDB' at Daily Kos. They both joined us just after Trump filed his appeal to the High Court earlier this year and do so again today to discuss how it all appears to be working out for him.

A fair amount of time during Thursday's hearing was spent on the argument that Section 3 allows Congress, by a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber, to waive disqualification for insurrectionists. Thus, the argument goes, Trump can still run for President, even if he cannot "hold" the position if elected. That's because Congress could, ya never know, decide to grant him amnesty after he is elected and before he is sworn in to office.

Graves characterizes the argument as "absurd", describing it as "counter to the plain-language, commonsense argument on its face." It could also, as the attorney for the challengers (a group of Republican and independent voters), noted today, result in the same Congressional chaos on January 6, 2025 that we saw in 2021. If Trump were to win, but Congress fail to grant him an insurrectionist's waiver, he would be barred, according to 14.3, from actually being sworn in to office. SCOTUS seems to be begging for this scenario based on much of today's questioning.

Barber suggests it is likely "that challenges are raised in the electoral certification process" if Trump wins in November, "saying that Trump is not eligible for the office, and any Electoral College votes for him must not be counted for that reason."

"The meaning" of Section 3 of the 14th "could not be clearer in the intent of the drafters," argues Graves. "These supposed 'originalists,' these supposed 'strict constructionists' claim to be so devoted to it when striking down access to abortion, marriage equality, our ability to regulate corporations. But here, suddenly they're confused. It's not confusing if you look at the history and read it."

Indeed, the Justices --- including at least two of the Court's liberals --- appear set to come up with a reason or set of reasons that the Constitution doesn't say what it actually says. Why, for example, does Section 3 --- unlike the other sections of the landmark 14th Amendment, such as the requirement for Due Process under the law for all U.S. persons --- suddenly require a law to be written by Congress before it can be executed? (But only against Trump, apparently. It's been used without issue many times in the past.) "In this case, it's because the Supreme Court needed it to be," says Barber, a former lifelong Republican. "I don't have a better explanation than that."

"Are we living under the Constitution or not?," asks Graves. "It seems we are, only to the extent that this faction of the Court wants to impose it. And when it doesn't, it does not apply."

We discuss much more on all of this today's, including why Clarence Thomas (and, perhaps three other Justices on the Court) have not recused themselves from this case given their extraordinary conflicts of interest; whether there is a "grand bargain" in the works to strike down the CO Supreme Court's mandate while upholding the D.C. Court of Appeals' ruling this week on "Presidential Immunity"; and how the attorneys arguing on behalf of Colorado voters missed the opportunity to underscore that, as bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress have already voted, Donald Trump is an insurrectionist.

ALSO TODAY: Brighter news, believe it or not, in our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen! Yes, another one of them shows where the GNR actually offers more encouraging news than the rest of the program. Apologies in advance!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Survival of democracy and rule of law also on docket, as potential for political chaos looms no matter how Court ultimately rules...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/5/2024 9:05am PT  

Only a month has passed since the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear, on an expedited basis, a legal challenge to the Colorado Supreme Court's determination that Donald J. Trump is disqualified from holding any state or federal office by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment.

Both the CO trial and state Supreme Court expressly found that Trump "engaged in" an "insurrection" on January 6, 2021. The CO Supremes ordered Trump's name removed from the Centennial State's Republican presidential primary ballot. However, the CO Supreme Court stayed their order pending the outcome of a final determination by SCOTUS.

A final SCOTUS decision will likely have profound electoral and constitutional impacts, irrespective of whether our nation's highest court upholds or overturns the CO Supreme Court's ruling...

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Despite media punditry, the facts, the law, lightning-fast scheduling and an insulated Judiciary may not bode well for the former President...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/15/2024 11:35am PT  

As a poll-obsessed media focuses on what many see as a seemingly inevitable contest next November between the former and current Presidents, it has become easy to look past the distinct possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court might bring about a swift end to the 2024 Presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.

By way of a Jan. 5 decision, in Trump v. Anderson, SCOTUS agreed to hear the former President's Jan. 3 legal challenge to the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling, in Anderson v. Griswold. In that case, the high court in CO ruled that, by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment, Trump is an insurrectionist and, therefore, disqualified from running for the Office of President of the United States. The CO ruling has been stayed pending a final decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

There are multiple reasons why the SCOTUS decision to hear this landmark case may not bode well for the former President, even if the many pundits are inclined to believe that a majority of Justices on the High Court will concoct some extra-Constitutional reason to allow him off the hook. Neither the facts, the law, nor published opinions advanced by conservative constitutional scholars support a decision to overturn the CO Supremes' landmark ruling.

While widely overlooked by most in the media, the identity of the parties could also be critically important. The Anderson Respondents --- 4 Republicans and 2 independents eligible to vote in the Colorado Republican Primary --- essentially represent the dwindling number of honest conservatives, who make up what might be described as the Liz Cheney Wing of the GOP.

Unlike Congressional Republican cowards, who know better, yet shamelessly embrace the dangerous Orwellian lies of a would-be dictator, GOP-appointed, life-tenured members of the federal judiciary need not fear being removed from the bench during a primary election by the MAGA base. While Trump sycophants in the U.S. House have demonstrated a willingness to initiate baseless, partisan impeachment inquiries, the prospect of impeachment of any Justice who voted to uphold Colorado's §3 disqualification decision, followed by a 2/3 vote to convict in the Senate, are so remote as to not even be worthy of consideration.

The lightning fast scheduling set forth in the Court's order to hear the CO matter reflects a recognition that, if it upholds the state trial court's factual finding that Trump "engaged" in an "insurrection" and the Colorado Supreme Court's legal determination that Trump is therefore disqualified by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment, SCOTUS can both prevent the former President from running for office and afford voters --- especially Republican primary voters --- the opportunity to make an informed choice between qualified candidates.

The facts of the case --- if not necessarily the media punditry or courage of our Republican-appointed Supremes --- reflect that reality...

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Trump likely to appear on CO GOP's 2024 primary ballots nonetheless...
UPDATE, 1/3/24: Trump contests 'engaged' in 'insurrection' finding in separate SCOTUS; UPDATE, 1/5/24 SCOTUS grants cert; sets oral argument for Feb. 8...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/30/2023 1:23pm PT  

Apparently, the Colorado Republican Party does not dispute that Donald J. Trump "engaged in" an insurrection on January 6, 2021.

That's interesting. Perhaps astounding. Or perhaps they just don't want the U.S. Supreme Court to officially agree as much.

In asking SCOTUS to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court decision, in Anderson v. Griswold --- which directed the CO Secretary of State not to place the name, Donald J. Trump, on the Colorado Republican Presidential Primary Ballot --- the CO GOP, in its Petition for Writ of Certiorari, failed to contest the factual findings, initially made by a trial court and later upheld by the CO Supremes, that what took place on January 6, 2021 was an "insurrection" and that former President Donald J. Trump "engaged" in that insurrection.

(Those currently uncontested findings also provided the basis for the administrative law ruling [PDF] issued by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on Thursday, determining that the name Donald J. Trump may not appear on Maine's Republican Presidential Primary ballot.)

Instead, the CO GOP confined its legal arguments to (1) whether a "President falls within the list of officials subject to disqualification under §3 of the 14th Amendment", (2) whether §3 is "self-executing", and (3) whether a court-ordered disqualification violates the Party's First Amendment right of association.

As observed by Harvard's constitutional scholar, Lawrence Tribe, the claim that a President is not an "officer" subject to §3 disqualification is "as baseless textually as it is off base intuitively."

The 1st Amendment right of association argument is also remarkably weak.

The U.S. Constitution mandates anyone running for President must be at least 35-years old at the time they enter office. If a refusal to place the name of a 25-year old on a Presidential primary ballot doesn't violate 1st Amendment associational rights, then surely the refusal to place the name of someone disqualified by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment doesn't violate the 1st Amendment either.

Nonetheless, despite weak arguments, absent a swift SCOTUS denial of cert, it's likely the name Donald J. Trump will appear on the CO Republican Primary ballot...

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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EPA to mandate removal of nation's lead water pipes; Interior's firefighter, wildfire resilience funding; OPEC to cut production again; NY re-gags Trump; Biden in CO touts clean energy jobs, manufacturing boom...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2023 6:29pm PT  

We've got an unusually large amount of somewhat encouraging environmental-related news on today's BradCast. We apologize in advance. Don't worry. It's not all good.

Among today's stories...

  • More than 40 inches of snow fell on parts of the Northeast over the past two days. Desi Doyen explains why that may --- or may not be (though probably is) --- related to climate change.
  • Donald Trump's very narrow gag order in his $250 million civil fraud trial in New York, meant to bar him from attacking the court clerk --- which had resulted in hundreds of vile death threats against her --- has been reinstated by the state appeals court. Trump and his lawyers are pretending this is the greatest "tragedy" and injustice in world history. Shortly after the ruling [PDF] was handed down, Trump began posting attacks on social media against the Judge's wife.
  • OPEC+ member states, including cartel leader Saudi Arabia, Russia and others, announced they will be cutting oil production in 2024 in hopes of raising your gas prices in an election year. They had already cut production in late 2022, but, thanks in part to record U.S. oil production under the Biden Administration, prices came down anyway. (Yes, we realize that's the oppose of what you've been told by Republicans.) Sick of manipulation of global gas prices by foreign adversaries hoping to interfere in U.S. elections? We've got a few answers to that in the rest of today's show.
  • The Biden Interior Dept. announced on Thursday that it had invested some $468 million to advance wildfire resilience and a temporary increase in pay for firefighters across the nation under the Administration's "Investing in America" agenda, as wildfire season gets longer and more deadly thanks to our climate crisis. (The Biden-Harris Administration says it is working hard to find a way to make those pay increases permanent. But GOP members of Congress may have to play along.)
  • The Biden EPA also announced some very big news on Thursday. The Administration has proposed new restrictions on lead levels in drinking water that will result in all 9 million of the nation's lead water pipes --- which can cause brain damage and behavior disorders, particularly in children --- being replaced over the next 10 years! "To finally have a rule that mandates the removal of lead pipes is exactly what the government should be doing,” declared the Michigan pediatrician whose research first discovered the 2014 Flint, Michigan lead poisoning water crisis. This is very very good news and, yes, exactly the sort of thing that the federal government should be doing --- and should have done long ago!
  • But for, perhaps, the best examples of the federal government doing what it should be doing to help Americans this week came from Joe Biden's own remarks at a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Pueblo, Colorado on Wednesday. It is the largest such plant in the world, and will be even larger soon thanks to a number of pieces of legislation adopted during his Presidency. In his remarks, Biden touted the Administration's multifaceted jobs and manufacturing agenda --- via bills such as the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the CHIPS Act and more --- which has resulted in a clean energy jobs and manufacturing boom across the country. In this case, he was speaking in the district of --- and pushing back at --- handsy far-right Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert and other Republicans who voted against all of the measures that have brought thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars to her own district.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a suspiciously high ratio of good to bad news for a change today. It must be something in the water today. Hopefully it's not lead.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/30/2023 10:52am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 'Unprecedented' heat waves set all-time high national records in Brazil and South Africa; Commercial jet the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean powered by waste fat and sugar, not fossil fuels; PLUS: President Biden touts booming clean energy jobs, manufacturing in MAGA Republican's district... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): CA's Salton Sea has even more lithium than previously thought; Cybersecurity agency warns that water utilities are vulnerable to hackers after PA attack; New life for old coal: Minelands and power plants are hot renewable development spots; Biden Admin sued for hiding records on opposition to fossil fuel phaseout; LA liquefied natural gas facility is the next carbon bomb ... PLUS: Biden’s paradox: Can a green grid coexist with industrial surge?... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Grim news in Maine, Acapulco and the U.S. House, followed by much better news in Colorado, Georgia, and for union workers of the UAW...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2023 6:54pm PT  

I promise, things get brighter after the first segment of today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our stories, first grim, and then much less so, today...

  • We begin with the horrible news out of Lewiston, Maine, following Wednesday night's mass shootings that have, so far, resulted in 18 dead and another 13 wounded, with several still in critical condition. The state was largely shut down as of airtime, with a broad, statewide manhunt underway for the suspect who is alleged to have had serious mental health issues...but was still able to obtain a deadly, high-powered, military-style assault rifle for his rampage somehow, because...freedom!
  • Similarly grim news out of Acapulco, where a climate change-fueled Hurricane Otis experienced explosive intensification off the Pacific Coast this week, as it spun up from Tropical Storm to a catastrophic Category 5 in just twelve hours time. As of airtime, 27 were confirmed dead in Mexico, with searches underway for more missing as authorities struggle to clear major roads of knee-deep mud and restore power to the battered resort city and nearby villages.
  • All of that, amid what is likely to be the hottest year ever recorded, as Republicans in the U.S. House just elected a long-time climate science denier from the oil and gas state of Louisiana to be House Speaker. Rep. Mike Johnson received more money last year from the fossil fuel industry than any other. Since 2018, the far-right religious zealot has received some $240,000 from the industry. Some of it, as it turns out, came --- unlawfully --- from Russian oligarchs, according to FEC investigators last year.
  • IN BRIGHTER NEWS...A federal judge in Georgia has ordered the state's legislature to reconvene to redraw its Congressional and state legislative maps before 2024, after being found in violation of the Voting Rights Act. The state must now add new Black-majority voting districts to all three of its maps. The judge's 516-page(!) ruling [PDF] issued today, finds the Republican-controlled legislature drew new maps following the 2020 Census which completely ignored the fact that ALL of the state's population growth since 2010 has been among the non-white population. U.S. District Judge Steven Jones has ordered one new Black-majority Congressional district, two new districts in the state Senate, and five for the state House by December 8, or he would have the maps drawn himself.
  • More good news for U.S. Constitution lovers, this time in Colorado, where a state judge ruled on Wednesday that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause", is self-executing. In other words, public officials who have "engaged in insurrection" are simply disqualified from running for public office, even without a federal law detailing precise enforcement of the provision. Donald Trump, whose qualifications for the 2024 Presidential ballot have been challenged in a state lawsuit, argued to the contrary. But he lost. Next week, a hearing will be held to determine if the former President "engaged in insurrection", as per the Constitutional Amendment. Similar challenges to Trump's eligibility for office are also pending in Michigan and Minnesota.
  • And good news for striking autoworkers, as the United Auto Workers union announced on Wednesday night that they reached a tentative agreement with Ford. The new four-year contract, if approved by workers, will boost base pay by at least 25%, increase starting hourly wages to $28/hour and includes a myriad of other benefits sought by the labor union. It is hoped that the agreement will also pressure management for a similar contract at the other two "Big Three" automakers, G.M. and Stellantis, where the UAW also began its walk-outs about six weeks ago. Chalk up yet another in a series of very big wins for organized labor over the past year!
  • Finally, both good news and bad, as usual, with Desi Doyen in our latest Green News Report. She has more on Hurricane Otis; more on our new climate denying U.S. House Speaker; More on Big Oil doubling down before the bottom falls out for the industry; and an encouraging projection from a normally very conservative international body for the beginning of the end of fossil fuels...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Nothing but tough breaks for Trump in GA, NY, D.C. and CO courtrooms; Also: House GOP selects new Speaker nominee...he quits hours later...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2023 6:20pm PT  

A bad day in court for the former President is a good day for America and democracy. Happily, as reported on today's BradCast, it was a very bad day for the former President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Rudy Giuliani's attempted election theft sidekick, rightwing media darling, accomplished liar and opportunistically Christian Trump attorney Jenna Ellis offered a teary apology-ish in an Atlanta courtroom today, as she threw Rudy under the bus and pretended to be contrite for helping him and Donald Trump try to steal the 2020 election in Georgia.

Ellis was allowed to plead guilty to a single felony charge (she was originally charged with two) in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering conspiracy indictment [PDF] against Trump and 18 co-defendants. She will receive no jailtime if she follows the terms of her plea deal and cooperates with prosecutors against her fellow co-defendants, which include Trump, Giuliani, Mark Meadows, John Eastman and others.

The manipulative Ms. Ellis (pictured above either crying or smiling following her remarks to the judge on Tuesday) boasted just last month about raising more than $200,000 for her legal defense in the case, which she characterized as "the criminalization of the practice of law" by a "weaponized government."

On Tuesday, however, she suddenly decided to claim "deep remorse" and that she should have made sure "that the facts the other lawyers alleged to be true were in fact true." She told the judge through her tears: "I believe in and I value election integrity. If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges."

And you shouldn't believe her for a second, as discussed today. Ellis is the fourth co-defendant to plead guilty in Willis' case, and the third attorney to do so after Sidney Powell and Ken Chesebro last week. To date, all have avoided any jail time...as we discuss as well.

Elsewhere, on a very Trumpy news day (sorry, not sorry)...

  • Moments before midnight last night, at the deadline for pre-trial motions, Trump filed a flurry of desperate pleadings in the felony indictment case against him by Special Counsel Jack Smith in federal court in D.C. for efforts related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election, including the January 6 insurrection. TPM's David Kurtz has an excellent quick round-up of the filings; former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade characterizes them as "all losers"; and our friend Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel offers the shortest, sharpest round-up of the pleadings which appear destined to fail miserably.
  • In a New York state courtroom on Tuesday, where Trump, his company and his two eldest sons face the loss of their fraudulent business empire in Attorney General Letitia James' civil case against him, Trump's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen testified --- as Trump glowered from the defense table --- that, when he worked for the Trump Organization he was "tasked by Mr. Trump" to inflate the value of company assets to "whatever number Trump told us." The judge in the case has already found Trump et al guilty on the key fraud claims brought by James. Several other issues and the final size of the judgement against the defendants remain at stake. Also, the question of whether Trump and his attorneys will be sickened by COVID again.
  • In Congress, Republicans in the U.S. House spent the last two days selecting their newest Speaker Designate after moving to fire Kevin McCarthy three weeks ago. On Tuesday, after five rounds of voting in a close-door conference meeting, House Republicans selected Majority Whip Tom Emmer (MN). A few hours later, after being attacked by Trump, Emmer --- following in the footsteps of Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan before him over the past two weeks --- dropped out of the running. And we're back to square one with no Speaker and a House that is unable to do any business until the GOP can grow up and govern before next month's deadline for a full government shutdown.
  • And, in one more Trump-related story from Friday. A state judge in Colorado rejected three different attempts by the disgraced former President to dismiss a lawsuit charging that he is ineligible to appear on the state's ballot next year under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrection Disqualification Clause". The filings from both Trump and the Colorado GOP were all but laughed out of court by the judge. The trial in the matter begins in state court next week!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report. The good news: Trump's name doesn't come up. The bad news: Pretty much everything in our latest Green News Report...

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Callers ring in on the politics of the 'Insurrection Disqualification Clause'; Also: Horrific disasters in Morocco, Libya; Somewhat brighter news for Maui; Lee continues to strengthen, menace the U.S. East Coast...
By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2023 6:15pm PT  

Thanks to recent travel, holidays, studio construction, Presidential indictments and arraignments, hurricanes, wildfires and more, we've been unable to open our phones to listeners on The BradCast for several weeks. Today, we try to begin making up for failing! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, Planet Earth is angry. The frantic search for survivors continues today in Morocco, where a 6.8 magnitude quake on Friday was already confirmed to have killed more than 2,700 as of airtime. In eastern Libya, 2,000 are feared dead today in massive, climate change-enhanced flooding over the weekend. In what suffices for slightly less grim news over the same weekend, Hawaii's Governor reported that the number of missing following last month's climate change-enhanced wildfires on Maui has now dropped to 66, as the horrific confirmed death toll holds steady, for now, at 115. And, Desi Doyen joins us as we continue to keep our eyes on the massive, climate change-enhanced Hurricane Lee in the Atlantic, as it continues to gain strength as it moves northward through exceedingly warm waters toward Bermuda and threatens the northern East Coast of the U.S. and Canada.

Next, we've been talking for some time (about two years now, if memory serves, but who's counting?) about the fact that the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" bars Donald Trump from office and, therefore, next year's 2024 ballot. Over the last several weeks, the corporate media has finally decided to take notice, largely after two Constitutional law scholars from the right-wing Federalist Society issued a 126-page law review paper [PDF] concluding that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies the former President from running again, due to his having "engaged in insurrection" on January 6, 2021.

Secretaries of State and other chief election officials across the country are now grappling with whether Trump can Constitutionally qualify for the 2024 GOP Primary ballot and some Democratic U.S. Senators are finally speaking up about the matter --- even if several of them believe the matter should be left up to voters next year, as opposed to the Constitution and the Courts.

It is our position that an originalist, textualist reading of the Constitution's Civil War-era 14th Amendment is clear. Trump is, in fact, now barred from running for or serving in office. That may be a good or a bad thing for Democrats. But the decision will ultimately be made by the Courts. In this case, almost certainly, by the stolen, packed and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court whose rightwing majority is, no doubt, already twisting itself into a pretzel trying to figure out how to declare the Constitution to be unconstitutional.

But the political question is a very different one. Sure, Trump is disqualified based on a fair, simple or even scholarly reading of the Constitution. But is that a trigger that should be pulled? For that matter, will it lead to actual triggers being pulled in response?

We open up the phones today to listeners on those very questions and, I'm happy to say, they did not disappoint...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Bad news for Trump in second rape, defamation suit and on his Constitutional eligibility for the 2024 ballot...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2023 6:31pm PT  

It's been a few months since she's been on BradCast, but she returns today, for the first time since the sprawling RICO indictment against Donald Trump and 18 co-conspirators for attempting to steal Georgia's 2020 Presidential election. The indictment includes charges based on a phone call she received --- and was smart enough to have recorded --- from a Team Trumper who essentially confessed to the now-notorious breach of the state's voting system software in Coffee County. She deserves, and receives, a bit of a victory lap today, while breaking still more news about the breach which, she warns, has yet to be investigated by the state's Secretary of State or its Board of Elections in advance of 2024. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But first up today, a few somewhat related items...

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that E. Jean Carroll's upcoming civil trial against Trump will only be on damages --- how much he will have to pay the former magazine columnist who accused him of raping her in the 1990's and then lying about her years later. A civil trial that ended in May found Trump liable for sexual assault and defamatory remarks made about Carroll in 2022. Today, the judge found that the previous finding of assault and defamation already establish Trump's liability regarding defamatory comments he made about her in 2019, while serving as President and, therefore, the only question to be resolved in this separate suit is how much he will have to pay her. She is seeking not less than $10 million in this case and the judge has allowed her to add defamatory comments Trump made about Carroll on a CNN Townhall the day after he was found liable in the earlier case.

Picking up on our detailed coverage on yesterday's show of the various chief election officials around the country now grappling with whether Trump is even eligible for the 2024 ballot next year, based on his violation of the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" (14th Amendment, Section 3), the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's eligibility for the ballot in Colorado on Wednesday on behalf of six Republican and unaffiliated voters there. The matter is likely to move quickly all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, given that the state must settle its 2024 Primary ballot by January 5th!

A hearing was held on Wednesday in Fulton County, Georgia in Fanni Willis' RICO case [PDF] against Trump with co-defendant attorneys Ken Chesebro (alleged architect of the fake electors plot) and Sidney Powell (alleged organizer of the Coffee County voting system software breach) each seeking to be tried quickly and alone. The judge appears to have agreed on "quickly", setting a trial date for both beginning on October 23. But he he denied their motion to have their cases severed from each other. Still to be determined, however: the question of whether all 19 co-defendants must be tried at the same time, as Willis' team argues, given that guilt for any one defendant in the covert actions listed in the RICO charge (Count 1 of 41) means that all co-conspirators are guilty under state law. Prosecutors told the judge today that they expect the trial to take at least four months and will include more than 150 witnesses. (One of whom might be our guest on today's show!)

At the same time, a filing last week in the case by Powell claims she had nothing at all to do with the scheme to unlawfully breach, copy and distribute Georgia's state voting system software in the rural, Republican-leaning Coffee County. A report last week at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, however, which (literally) has the receipts, suggests otherwise.

But all of that --- including the receipts --- is only known publicly thanks to our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the small, critical non-profit, Coalition for Good Governance. As first aired on this program in May of last year, Marks received a phone call from an Atlanta bail bondsman named Scott Hall, who, essentially, confessed to the entire Coffee County scheme. That is how we even know that the breach happened at all, and why four people involved with it --- one of whom is Powell, another of whom is Hall --- were charged last month in the scheme that still endangers elections both across the entire state of Georgia, where the same systems will be used again next year, and in more than a dozen other states.

Marks explains today how Hall originally "confessed" to the breach after calling out of the blue to bully her into turning over documents from her long-running civil lawsuit which is challenging the use of GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's unverifiable, wildly insecure touchscreen voting systems. Hall claimed he had actually "hacked" into her group's legal documents.

"Instead of slamming the phone down, which was my first inclination, I instead decided to go into playing the sweet little old lady mode," Marks explains today, noting that she "kept him on the phone for about an hour" before he "just blurted out" the fact that he and other MAGA folks were allowed in to the Coffee County elections building to scan, image and copy everything. Two local officials, Coffee's then Election Supervisor Misty Hampton and the County's GOP chair Cathy Latham, have also been indicted in the same RICO conspiracy. (In addition to helping facilitate the software breach, Latham is also charged for her role as a fake elector in Georgia.)

Marks quipped that Hall has likely by now "realized that he, unlike Trump, had not made a 'perfect phone call."

In the meantime, Marks warns that, despite the indictments, the threat posed by the breach has still not been fully investigated by either federal or state officials. Two and a half years since the breach, which she believes Raffensperger learned of almost immediately afterward and has been covering up, "the Secretary and State Election Board have not even begun an investigation of Coffee County," Marks emphasized, telling me that "there are so many people that were involved in the Coffee County Breach that have not been held to any kind of accountability."

"What they did was just turn the criminal aspects of this over to Georgia Bureau of Investigation," she asserts. "But they are doing nothing at all. They have not even conducted one interview. They have not picked up the first piece of paper. They have not done anything to consider what are the impacts on the voting system? What are the impacts for future elections? How did this go wrong? What kind of better rules should have been in place? What kind of reporting structure should we have had? They have still not put in a single rule or requirement for reporting a security incident. If Coffee happened today, they would not have to report it."

That, Marks warns, remains a serious threat moving forward, especially since the software still remains in the wild and Raffensperger has refused to install Dominion touchscreen voting system security patches certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and strongly recommended by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the wake of the January 7th, 2021 breach in Coffee County until after the 2024 elections.

Marks' long-running lawsuit seeking to replace Raffensperger's Dominion touchscreens with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots is finally set to go on trial in January. "We are really looking forward to putting on all of this evidence," she tells me, after explaining why the Coffee County breach is so key to her case. "And, certainly we are hoping for a decision that will at least protect the November elections for 2024. After all, these breaches that happened in Coffee County --- they are still ongoing."

"Remember, all that software was posted on the Internet. Lots of people took it. Nothing has been done to mitigate it. So, if you think about it, every day that people have their hands on that software, sharing it with others, the breach continues."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Thomas Frank of E&E News; Also: Globe continues to swelter; GOP's climate change 'solution'; Trump loses again in federal court...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2023 6:46pm PT  

Just last week, amid record temperatures, massive flooding and the choking smoke across a dozen states from hundreds of wildfires, U.S. House "Freedom Caucus" Chair Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), partying like it's 1999, declared during a Congressional hearing that climate change is "a problem that doesn't exist." Today's BradCast, demonstrable scientific facts, and the insurance industry running for the exits from Ron DeSantis' Florida, all beg to differ. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, it was another humiliating loss for the disgraced former President in court today, as a federal judge soundly rejected Donald Trump's effort to move Alvin Bragg's 34 felony count indictment in New York from state to federal court. The judge found in his order that, "Hush money paid to an adult film star is not related to a President’s official acts. It does not reflect in any way the color of the President’s official duties." Thus, the criminal case against Trump will remain in state court and Trump will not be allowed to have the Dept. of Justice substituted as defendant instead of him. He will have to answer for his own acts of fraud in paying out nearly half a million dollars --- while serving in the White House --- in hopes of covering up his payoffs to a porn star to help him win the 2016 election.

Beyond that, no more Trump news for today! (You're welcome!) Though we've got a lot of consequences from our worsening climate crisis which may or may not be more welcome.

A few House Republicans, of late, are pretending they are not climate crisis deniers anymore. Their plan: Hugely increase the production of the fossil fuels that are responsible for global heating, but plant a whole bunch of trees --- a trillion of them, in fact (which would require a space as large as the continental U.S.) --- to make balance it all out. Or something. The ridiculous plan, of course, wouldn't even come close to working. We discuss.

Then, after a quick spin around the nation and globe today, through hundreds of shattered heat records and sweltering cities and tourist attractions throughout Europe and the U.S. over the past several weeks (with no end in sight), we land back in Florida, where the insurance industry continues to head for the doors. Last week it was Farmers. This week, AAA. There are no climate denialists, as it turns out, in the insurance actuarial business.

Premiums for homeowners insurance have risen about 7% over the past year nationwide, on average. But they have spiked some 40% in Ron DeSantis' Florida as ocean temps in the south of the state reach bathwater temps of over 90 degrees. All a recipe for hurricane disaster as this year's storm season is barely underway.

We're joined today by Pulitzer Prize finalist THOMAS FRANK, climate impacts reporter for E&E News, where he focuses on disasters, disaster recovery and federal efforts by FEMA and other federal agencies to serve as a backstop to the growing number of billion dollar disasters across the nation.

We spoke with Frank last year, just after Hurricane Ian devastated parts of Florida, including parts inland where few even bother to buy flood insurance. Even if they want to now, it's nearly impossible for many to afford it.

"The recent news involving Farmers, one of the nation's largest insurance companies, and AAA, is the opposite of what the Governor and the State Legislature envisioned happening when they had a special session back in December and enacted a couple of laws aimed at bringing insurers back. Those are very bad signals," Frank explains, detailing why the state's insurance market continues to collapse, along with fears that the housing market itself may not be far behind.

But the DeSantis denial continues. Last week, the Florida Governor and 2024 GOP hopeful invoked what one media wag describes as his "wish upon a star" strategy. DeSantis claimed insurance companies would soon return to the state. "I think they're gonna wait through this hurricane season," he told rightwing radio host Howie Carr, before adding, "Knock on wood we won't have a big storm this summer."

It's not only Florida, of course, though it is a canary in the national coal mine. The climate crisis --- created by the burning of fossil fuels --- is flashing bright red warning signs everywhere at this point, even as the fossil fuel industry and mostly Republican politicians they have bought off, continue to shamefully ignore, obfuscate and lie about it as long as they can.

"The phrase you use, 'canary in the coal mine' is completely appropriate," Frank tells me. Florida, he says, is "a canary in the coal mine for hurricane-prone states. California is the canary in the coal mine for wildfire-prone states. People in Colorado, Oregon and Washington should be watching California. It's a similar scenario unfolding there."

"What you're starting to see happen is the insurance industry is becoming aware of climate risks, and they're starting to incorporate that into their prices. If someone has to pay $7,000 for their home on the coast of Florida, maybe that is what they should pay," he argues. "The reality is that the insurance industry --- I know a lot of people hate it --- but one thing it does very well is it prices risk. That's all it does. When the insurance industry starts increasing your premiums, they're not doing it because they just want to scam you, they're doing it because that's what their actuaries and algorithms think the risk is to your home."

"You see that happening in a lot of states," says Frank, recent adjustments to premium pricing in parts of Colorado. "You are building in a wildfire zone. Colorado had a couple of very bad wildfires in the past year. So insurers start raising their rates, they start leaving the state, cancelling policies, non-renewing policies. It's happening in more and more states. It's a trend that is not going to be reversed."

Sounds like a very real problem. Then again, we could just start planting a lot of trees, knock on wood, and hope for the best...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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