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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, February 20, 2024
'Green News Report' 2/20/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
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...
Previous GNRs: 2/15/24 - 2/13/24 - Archives...
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
  w/ Brad & Desi
Mysterious oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago; Big changes as Greenland gets greener; Wildfires reversing hard-won gains against air pollution; PLUS: Climate change comes for chocolate...
Previous GNRs: 2/13/24 - 2/8/24 - Archives...
New Chesebro Docs Detail Trump's Failed 2020 'Legal Coup': 'BradCast' 2/14/24
Guest: TPM's Josh Kovensky; Also: Another huge night for Dems in NY, PA; WI gets closer to fair maps; MI 'fake elector' says GOP lied...
Stewart Return to 'Daily Show' Not a Moment Too Soon!: 'BradCast' 2/13/24
Also: GOP takes mulligan on Mayorkas impeachment; Sen. passes Ukraine bill; Media's epic fail on Hur's obnoxious vindication of Biden in classified docs probe...
'Green News Report' 2/13/24
Culture shift from fossil fuels in Super Bowl EV ads; Big Oil/Gas spending big on Trump; PLUS: Climate scientist wins $1 million defamation suit against rightwing deniers...
Russia, If You're Listening, Trump Says 'Do Whatever the Hell You Want' to NATO Allies: 'BradCast' 2/12/24
Also: Last week's GOP Caucuses in NV, V.I.; Special Election in NY-3; Callers ring in...
Super Sunday 'Borderline Insanity' Toons
Just a few too many tokes over the line in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
Biden Should Federalize TX National Guard Amid State's Defiance of SCOTUS Order
POTUS must address, expose 'moral crisis' of GOP hypocrisy, cruelty, dehumanizing anti-immigrant propaganda...
'Green News Report' 2/8/24
EPA cracks down on deadly soot pollution; January was hottest ever recorded on Planet Earth; PLUS: Hurricanes are getting so intense, scientists propose a 'Category 6'...
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...


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

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

Among our many stories covered today...

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former AL Gov. Don Siegelman; Also: A smoky climate crisis wake-up call; Biden EPA upgrades Jackson, MS water system; Clarence Thomas delays annual financial disclosure for some reason...
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2023 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Amidst all the madness, we take a moment to revisit a continuing stain on the nation and what can be done about it, with a longtime friend of this program. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST UP, however, a few news headlines...

  • The cost of our climate crisis strikes home for a huge swath of the nation, as smoke from hundreds of Canadian wildfires chokes American states from Minnesota to New York to the Ohio Valley to the Carolinas.
  • Joe Biden's EPA announces it is sending $115 million to Jackson, Mississippi to begin repairing the city's long deteriorating water system. It's the first of some $600 million Congress has allocated to support long-overdue water infrastructure upgrades in the state's capital city, where more than 80% of the population is Black and drinking water supplies have repeatedly failed in recent years.
  • The corrupt U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has asked for another 90 days before filing his annual financial disclosures, following months of brutal investigative reporting revealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of his undisclosed luxury vacations, real estate deals and more with billionaire GOP megadonor Harlan Crow.

THEN, we're joined by Alabama's former Democratic Governor DON SIEGELMAN, who recently penned an op-ed at Washington Post with the state's former Republican Governor Robert Bentley. As explained in their piece, both men have come to "regret" overseeing executions during their time as the state's chief executive after witnessing, first hand, "the flaws in our nation's justice system" during their own prosecutions.

Siegelman discusses one death penalty case in particular, the 2000 execution of Freddie Lee Wright, which he says he is now "personally haunted by", telling me today that Wright "should never have been charged with capital murder in the first place. He was exonerated by a jury, 11-1 voted to acquit him of this crime. Then the D.A. came back and struck Blacks from the jury and got a conviction."

There are many other such cases, and he details a few of them. In fact, while AL currently has 167 people on death row, both Bentley and Siegelman write that "at least" 146 of them should have their death sentences commuted. Siegelman tells me he believes all of them should be spared from the barbaric practice of state execution.

He and Bentley are calling for several reforms of the criminal justice system, particularly as it applies to the death penalty. Siegelman details reforms he seeks for the secret Grand Jury system and the outrage of "judicial overrides" that allowed judges to overrule juries to issue death sentences and the lack of unanimous verdicts required for sentencing a convicted criminal to death.

Siegelman also discusses the politics of the death penalty, including during the time that he held the power to block executions as Governor. We discuss that awesome and horrible power as it is wielded by government officials today, even after all that we now know about the racial injustices of a Jim Crow era system that disproportionately targets people of color and has been found to have been exercised against innocent people in the cases of at least 12% of those who have been put to death.

"Here we are in 2023, still using a method that was devised after the Civil War as a way of thwarting a Black juror. The white power structure at the time had a unanimous verdict. But they said, 'No, you know, with Blacks being able to be on a jury, we can't risk not being able to put somebody to death when we want to, so let's go with a non-unanimous jury.' So that's where this relic of the Jim Crow era came from. It was purely a racist process."

"It is just wrong, certainly morally wrong, for Alabama or for any other state. Now Florida has even lowered the bar," notes Siegelman, citing a bill recently signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. "Alabama has a 10-2 verdict. Florida has an 8-4 verdict, to make it even easier to put people to death by this relic of the 1870s."

"Until I was actually convicted of something that didn't exist except in the minds of the prosecutors, I thought that our system would somehow or another work itself out and be fair," he tells me. "But at the moment that I heard the word 'guilty' from the foreman of my jury, I said a prayer. It was instantaneous, more like a flash, asking God to forgive me because I remembered setting execution dates as Attorney General. And I remembered those that came before me while I was Governor asking that their sentences be commuted."

"But it wasn't even then that I realized how perverted our system of justice is. If in everything there is a purpose, or in every situation one should find a purpose, it was as if God was telling me, 'Okay, Governor, you see what's wrong. Now go fix it.'"

NOTE: We have covered Gov. Siegelman's personal story many times over the past two decades, before, during and after his time as a political prisoner as he was targeted for prosecution by a corrupt Republican cabal, including Karl Rove, state officials, and a federal judge who was eventually forced to resign after being arrested for beating his wife. Alabama's Governor from 1999 to 2003 and the only Democrat to serve in every statewide office, Siegelman tells his story in full in his 2020 book, STEALING OUR DEMOCRACY: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Fox 'News' lied about Dominion and 2020. Now they're lying about Trump's indictment. It's what they do.; Callers ring in on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2023 5:06pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Nobody knows what we'll learn when the indictment against Donald Trump is unsealed, hopefully on Tuesday, when he will reportedly surrender to arrest and arraignment in downtown Manhattan. But that hasn't kept Fox "News" and the rest of the Republican Party (including even folks like Jeb Bush, whose own political career was destroyed, in no small part, by Trump) from lying about all of it. It's what they do. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We'll find out soon enough what the charges are, as brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg against the disgraced former President. But among the lies that Fox and friends are having trouble keeping straight: Is the indictment a "political prosecution" mean to harm Trump's chances of re-election in 2024? If so, why do they all keep claiming that the indictment is gonna help him win in 2024?

For the record, new polling since the indictment was confirmed last week show a huge bump for Trump in the Republican Primary contest against Ron DeSantis and others. On the other hand, new polling since last Thursday also reveals that a majority of Americans, in every single demographic, approve of Trump being indicted. We'll see if that holds after we finally learn what's in the New York charges.

But, as we now know, in no uncertain terms as of Judge Eric Davis' Friday blistering ruling against Fox in Dominion's $1.6 billion defamation suit, lying in order to dupe viewers is no accident. It is actually the Fox business model. They are not a news outlet and never have been. They are Republican activists and propagandists. Period. And the evidence in the case now makes all of that "CRYSTAL clear," as the court noted.

Of course, the Republican Party and Fox "News" also like to pretend that the Department of Justice declined to prosecute the charges they believe Bragg will be unveiling this week. They claim the DoJ examined, but decided against bringing charges related to Trump's hush-money payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election, and about the payments he made while serving in the White House to keep it all quiet.

But DoJ didn't decline to prosecute. In fact, Trump's own DoJ prosecuted Trump's own attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years for his part in the conspiracy. At the time of Cohen's sentencing, both he and Trump's own DoJ admitted the scheme was "directed by" and "for the benefit of" Trump himself. That, before Trump's own Attorney General Bill Barr ordered the probe be shut down, according to Geoffrey Berman, Trump's own U.S. Attorney in New York. DoJ didn't "decline to prosecute," as Jeb and Fox and the rest of the Republicans have been lying.

Of course, given who Jeb's brother and father were, its little wonder he has joined the parade of Republican who now oppose criminal accountability for former Presidents of the United States.

Anyway, much more to discuss on today's show regarding the importance of accountability for criminal U.S. Presidents. And lots of good callers ringing in today in response. Tune in for the full program tonight before the "fun" really begins as of Tuesday in New York City. Buckle up...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Investigative journalist, author, Russ Baker; Also: Climate change and tornadoes; Fox 'News' is 'tired' of school shootings...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2023 5:07pm PT  

Accountability still matters. Even for apparent Presidential misdeeds from more than 40 years ago, as discussed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Last week, New York Times' Peter Baker had quite a scoop. Ben Barnes, an 85-year old, longtime Democratic operative from Texas, detailed his claim that he and former Democratic Texas Governor turned Republican Presidential candidate John Connally took a trip through Middle Eastern capitals in the summer of 1980 to help convince Iran to not release the 52 Americans being held hostage until after that year's election.

His claim was that Connally, eyeing a cabinet role in the Reagan Administration, was hoping to send the message to Iran that they would get a better deal with Reagan than with Carter. Barnes said the pair were debriefed upon returning stateside by Reagan campaign manager and, later, CIA Director, William Casey. The campaign was reportedly terrified that Carter would win the release of the hostages that year in what would become known as the "October Surprise".

Instead, the hostages were ultimately released within an hour after Reagan being sworn in in January of 1981.

Our guest today, RUSS BAKER, (no relation to the Times' Peter Baker), is a longtime investigative journalist, author and now Editor-in-Chief of WhoWhatWhy.org. He has personally known Barnes for years and tells us that he isn't buying his story in the Times, said to have been revealed now by Barnes because the 98-year old Carter, who recently began hospice care, deserves to know the truth about what really happened.

Baker has been investigating the claim for decades that Casey himself engineered the "traitorous" deal on behalf of the Reagan camp and finds that explanation far more plausible than the Barnes/Connally scheme. Baker wrote his own response to Peter Baker's exclusive in a detailed newsletter article over the weekend headlined "The Iran Hostages, Carter, Reagan, and Bush: What the NY Times ‘Scoop’ Missed."

But whether it happened as Barnes claims or in some other way, Russ Baker, author of the 2009 best seller, FAMILY OF SECRETS: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years explains why all of this still matters 43 years later; how the corporate media has largely ignored what would have been an extraordinary scandal by the Reagan campaign, George Bush Sr.'s role in all of this, and how different the world would likely be today if not for Reagan's defeat --- by hook or by crook --- of Carter.

"If Reagan had not been elected, I think it's safe to say that George HW Bush would not have been elected President himself," Baker tells me. "Then we wouldn't have had the Gulf War. His son wouldn't have become President and we wouldn't have had the Iraq War. You might not even have had 9/11, frankly, because a lot of the anger that generated these activities that led to 9/11 [which] had to do with policies that were carried out by these presidencies. Maybe even more importantly, there are huge differences between Democratic and Republican Administrations around climate change. Think of what would have happened if Al Gore had been President. You can be pretty sure we would have had a very different policy years ago about climate change. So our very ability to continue to live on Earth may have been affected by all of these things."

"I don't think they would have changed the media ownership laws. I think there would have been a lot more regulation. I don't think you would have even had a Rupert Murdoch and a Fox News. I don't think you would have had the current composition of the Supreme Court and all of their rulings for business and the wealthy. I think campaign contributions would have been restricted, and that would have changed Congress itself," He continues. "So whatever you want to pick, I think it basically was a coup, by making sure Carter didn't get re-elected. And all of these regimes since then were extensions of that coup government. With some partial breaks, I would say --- people like Clinton and Obama, very very limited in their ability to do much. I think their hands were largely tied. So a very profound change to everything as a result of this October Surprise situation."

As to the corporate media's failure in all of this, it's not that they won't hold Presidents and candidates accountable, says Baker, as he lists a bunch of Democratic candidates and Presidents whose "scandals" have been covered in great detail by the media, "but they seem to go hard only on certain people, and not always for the right reasons."

There is much more to tune in for in today's conversation that it'd be impossible to summarize here.

Finally, we close with some news of the day, including the huge, deadly tornado that ravaged parts of rural Mississippi over the weekend, and the connection to climate change, as Desi Doyen joins to explain.

Also, we have the latest on today's mass shooting at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, where three 9-year old and three adults were murdered by an assault weapon-wielding 28-year old woman. It was the 129th mass shooting of the year in the U.S., according to CNN and the Gun Violence Archive.

As the breaking news of the shooting was being broadcast live today on Fox "News", a woman whose family was victim to another recent school shooting in a different state happened to be visiting Nashville. She briefly took over the cameras to explain how tired she was of all of this. Fox, after breaking away and then returning to the woman several times, finally cut her off, with anchor John Roberts concurring that he and his colleagues are, in fact, also becoming tired of the carnage. But are they really? You certainly wouldn't know it from all the activism that Fox "News" does in favor of elected officials who continue to block any and all rational gun safety legislation.

We have a few words for Roberts and Fox in response at the end of today's program...

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: Wisconsin author, journalist John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: Stunning overnight legal developments in Trump stolen documents case...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2023 5:41pm PT  

In what appears to be a momentary pause (of sorts) in the Indictment Watch this week for our disgraced former President, we take the opportunity on today's BradCast to make sure you're up to date with what our guest today describes as "the most important election of the year." [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Before we get to that guest today, even with the momentary break from the likely criminal indictment for Donald Trump in New York, there was quite the extraordinary flurry of activity overnight (literally) in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal grand jury investigation of the thousands of documents --- many highly classified --- that Trump stole from the White House upon leaving office.

Last week, D.C.'s Chief District Court judge Beryl Howell, in a sealed ruling, ordered Evan Corcoran, one of Trump's attorneys in the Mar-a-Lago stolen documents case, to give both documents (reportedly including transcripts of audio tapes!) and testimony to the grand jury. Corcoran had previously invoked attorney-client privilege to avoid testifying about his conversations with Trump. But Howell reportedly viewed evidence leading her to determine there was a prima facie case that Trump used Corcoran in the furtherance of yet another crime, thus piercing the attorney-client privilege with the fraud-crime exception to it.

Trump appealed Howell's Friday order to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal which, last night, issued an administrative stay while ordering Team Trump to submit their brief in the appeal by midnight last night! They further ordered the DoJ's response to it by 6 a.m. this morning! Longtime attorneys and prosecutors were stunned by the unheard of speed in the court's scheduling. Some suggested that may be a sign that federal judges are fed up with Trump's stalling tactics. Others suggest the emergency order signaled "an urgent issue of National Security" was at stake or even "potential espionage." Yikes! We discuss.

In any event, late this afternoon, the three-judge Appeals Court panel lifted the stay on Howell's ruling and ordered Corcoran to both turn over the documents in question and testify to the grand jury. Trump could still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it's believed he'll be no more successful there on this motion. Much more to come in this case.

Next, we're joined by longtime progressive journalist, author and Wisconsin native JOHN NICHOLS, National Affairs Correspondent at The Nation and Associate Editor at Madison WI's Capitol Times, to discuss this bizarre moment in Presidential accountability history and the extraordinarily heated, expensive and important WI state Supreme Court election now underway. Early voting began this week for the April 4 contest that may finally flip control of the state's high court to liberal jurists for the first time in 15 years.

Nichols explains why the supposedly non-partisan race --- between liberal Milwaukee County Circuit judge Janet Protasiewicz and far-right former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly --- is so critical to both Wisconsin and to the rest of the nation in advance of the 2024 Presidential election in the battleground state.

The Protasiewicz camp has accused Kelly, who was unseated from the high court in 2020 after being soundly defeated, of receiving $120,000 from the Republican Party to advise them on overturning that year's Presidential election results in the Badger State, via the failed "fake electors" scheme. Protasiewicz also describes Kelly, who is endorsed by several anti-abortion rights groups as a "radical" "extremist".

For his part, Kelly's campaign characterizes Protasiewicz as "soft on crime", "woke", and several other standard GOP smears that may not be quite as effective as Republicans think, according to Nichols.

That said, there are ton of issues likely to come before WI's high court in the coming months and years that will have a huge impact on both Badger State residents and the rest of the nation, including the validity of the state's 1849 abortion ban "that Republicans want to reanimate," as Nichols explains; the state's recent "anti-labor laws that [former Gov. Scott] Walker" enacted; "a chance to undo gerrymandering to make sure that voting rights are protected and elections are fair," not to mention rulings that could determine who ends up winning the 2024 Presidential election in the state, where, Nichols notes, "four of our last six Presidential elections in Wisconsin were decided by under 25,000 votes" out of more than 3 million votes cast.

"Bottom line is," Nichols tells me, "if you end up with a 4-3 liberal majority on this court that actually looks at cases in a fair and reasonable way," there are myriad rulings from the last 15 years of far-right state Supreme Court control that could finally be reversed.

Among other topics discussed with Nichols today: Whether, after well over a decade of covering WI Supreme Court elections, we will finally see it flip on April 4; a point of disagreement regarding whether judges should be forced to compete in elections at all, much less in so-called "non-partisan" ones like those in WI; and his new best seller, just published with co-author Bernie Sanders, titled It's Okay to be Angry About Capitalism.

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Uncertainty and necessity of Trump indictment(s); Bragg ponders 'perp walk' protocol; MAGA fears a protest 'trap'; Fox 'News' eating its own...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2023 5:33pm PT  

Looks like Donald Trump was not "ARRESTED ON TUESDAY" as he lied (again) to his easily-duped followers over the weekend. But, just to put this up front on today's BradCast: We reject the notion that indicting the former President in relation to a hush-money payment made to help him win the 2016 Presidential election --- and the payments made while he was in the White House to cover it all up --- is a "minor crime" not worth indicting a former President for. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

That point is explained in much more detail on today's program, along with other related stories and important points, as the GOP begins to collapse in on itself...

  • Given that no U.S. President has ever been indicted, nobody knows how (or if) this will work out, and what will happen after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in New York (or Fani Willis in Georgia, or Special Counsel Jack Smith at the federal level), actually brings an indictment against Trump. That is, presuming one or more of them actually do, as we also discussed with callers on yesterday's program.
  • A so-called "liberal" at Facebook was critical of our coverage yesterday, even if he doesn't appear to have either listened to it, or even read the item we posted along with it. His critique seems to be that, on this week's 20th Anniversary of George W. Bush's unlawful, accountability-free invasion of Iraq and the war crimes that followed it (as discussed yesterday as well), we shouldn't be wasting time discussing accountability for Donald Trump. He is wrong for a host of reasons...
  • ...Several of which also happen to be discussed in Will Bunch's newsletter at Philly Inquirer today, headlined "U.S. presidents and their crime spree since 1968." Bunch concludes his piece with this on-point observation:

    So let me get this straight: We look the other way when our leaders oversee war crimes or greenlight torture or commit quasi-treason with foreign adversaries because the American presidency is too big to fail, but we're also going to ignore a cut-and-dried lower-level crime because it's too small? I'd argue that charging Trump with violating a law that applies to 333 million other Americans is a first baby step toward undoing 55 years of gross injustice, and it's long overdue. We need to rediscover that it's still illegal even when a president does it.
  • Meanwhile, as GOP House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (along with the Republican chairs of the Oversight and Administration Committees) is demanding NY D.A. Bragg come in to testify and turn over all documents from his criminal grand jury probe of Trump --- before any indictment has even been issued --- it seems worth noting that Congressional subpoenas are now optional. Jordan and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and several other GOP members made that clear last year when they ignored similar requests from the House January 6 Committee and faced no accountability for their Contempt. Nonetheless, they are apparently hoping to weaponize the federal government at this point to prevent elected state law enforcement officials from doing their job of fighting crime.
  • All of that, while Bragg is reportedly considering whether Trump will be forced to carry out the same "perp walk" that all other white collar criminals facing felony crimes in NYC must face, or whether a former President should be given special consideration for some reason.
  • At the same time, in the wake of Trump exhorting supporters to "PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!", very few seem to be answering his call so far. That may be because many of them reportedly believe it's all a trap by the Feds! (Marjorie Taylor Greene, however, believes there's no need to protest, because any indictment of Trump only assures he will be re-elected in 2024. Maybe. Though it begs the question as to how other Republicans, like Jordan and Trump himself, can claim that indictments are only being brought to hurt his chances in 2024.)
  • And while all of those rightwingers collapse in on themselves, Fox "News" appears to be doing the same thing. A producer named in Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation suit against the Republican propaganda outlet is now suing Fox, claiming misogyny by Tucker Carlson and his staff and that she and Maria Bartiromo are being sacrificed by the company for their false reporting on fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. She is also charging she was coerced by Fox attorneys into offering misleading testimony in the Dominion lawsuit. As Media Matters' Angelo Carusone told us on this show several weeks ago regarding the damage that Dominion's suit may due to Fox: "It's sort of like a Jenga puzzle. Pulling one block is not going topple it down, but its certainly gonna make it a lot more vulnerable to toppling. The tiniest little breeze will probably knock the rest of it over." --- Well, it's getting pretty windy at Fox "News" these days.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, including news on the 12th(!) major winter storm now slamming California this season; unprecedented heat records smashed in Argentina; and the latest warning from the U.N. that the window for avoiding catastrophic, irreversible damage to the climate is almost closed, requiring an unprecedented worldwide effort to radically cut fossil fuel emissions before the end of this decade...

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Also: 20th anniv. of U.S. invasion of Iraq (still no accountability); DeSantis was instrumental in torture at Gitmo; Callers ring in on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2023 5:06pm PT  

I have no idea what this week is going to bring. As noted on today's BradCast, nobody, save for (maybe) the Manhattan District Attorney does. And I suspect even he is largely flying blind about what happens once (and if) Trump is ultimately indicted in New York State. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get to discussion about that --- and callers on the same topic --- today is the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. As we said at the time, and have been saying for the 20 years since, we were lied into war under false premises by the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney regime. In the bargain, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed and about 5,000 Americans. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found. More disturbingly, no one was ever held accountable for that pointless war and the lies that were told to get us there.

Back in 2003, 66% of Americans supported the invasion, in no small part because opposition voices in the U.S. were largely shut out of the mainstream media conversation. Now, 61% of Americans, according to new polling, think that war was a mistake.

And, because there was never any accountability for the war criminals, guys like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are considered to be front-runners to become the next Republican nominee for President of the United States. That, despite the fact that, as Washington Post detailed over the weekend, DeSantis played a key role in torturing detainees with forced-feeding at Guantanamo Bay while he served as a 27-year old Navy lawyer there.

Meanwhile, now playing the part of imperialistic invader and war criminal is Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin, who the International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for, accusing him of abductions of thousands of Ukrainian children since his unlawful invasion just over one year ago.

If you're wondering just how terrible Putin actually is, please do yourself a favor soon and watch last week's Academy Award winning Best Documentary, Navalny (currently available via HBO Max and Amazon Prime). As discussed today, it is jaw-dropping. For a whole bunch of reasons. And, don't worry, it's also uplifting and hilarious at times...even as we see, live and as it happens, the attempted assassination of Russia's incredibly likable opposition leader, Alexei Novalny, and the remarkable moment when he actually tricks one of his own would be assassins into confessing to his attempted murder. All caught live on camera!

Then, we get to the story that I have a feeling we'll be covering for some time on this program: the first criminal indictment of a U.S. President in our nation's history. It may finally happen this week in New York (emphasis on "may"), thanks to Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg. He is believed likely to bring charges against Donald Trump related to the hush-money payments the disgraced former President made to porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up a sexual affair. That payoff, carried out at his direction by his then-attorney Michael Cohen, helped Trump win the 2016 Presidential election. Cohen went to jail for it. Trump never did. At least not yet.

Trump is almost certainly not going to be "BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY", as he claimed in a panicked, weekend, ALL-CAPS statement on his social media site. Tuesday is seen as the earliest time he could possibly be indicted by a Grand Jury in New York. But, even if so, he will not be "ARRESTED" by New York law enforcement officials in Florida, where he now lives.

If Trump finally is indicted on criminal state charges, whether it's this week or next, will he actually go back to New York to turn himself in? Seems unlikely. But, if not, then what? Would NY ask Ron DeSantis' Florida law enforcement to arrest and extradite Fugitive Trump from Mar-a-Lago? Also seems unlikely, even with DeSantis believed almost certain to run for the GOP's 2024 Presidential nomination against Trump. Will Trump's supporters actually "PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!" as the cowardly ex-President is begging them?

And why are House Republicans, led by House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan --- who pretends to support law and order --- now actually weaponizing the federal government to try and undermine Bragg's case?

In fact, nobody knows what is coming next. There is no playbook for what is about to happen --- whether it happens this week, or next, or even in a different state, like Georgia. But it does seem to be a good day to open our phones to listeners on the topic, to talk about it all and get their best guess about what where things go from here.

Tune in for all of that and much more on today's program!...

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Guest: Dr. Nelson Lichtenstein, UCSB labor historian; Also: Landmark U.N. deal to protect world oceans; Fighting (again) for permanent DST...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2023 6:12pm PT  

As discussed on today's BradCast, support for labor unions in the U.S. is now near all-time highs. At the same time, the lawlessness by major companies willingly and repeatedly violating labor law is through the roof. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Last week, by way of just one example, a federal Administrative law judge found Starbucks had committed "egregious" violations of labor law in just one case that combined unfair labor practices charges at 21 union stores in the Buffalo, New York area alone. In fact, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has brought some 75 complaints against the coffee company accusing them of more than 1,000 illegal actions over just the past year or two.

Despite a newly aggressive, pro-labor, pro-union NLRB under President Biden and an explosion of unionization efforts over the past two years at hundreds of shops and facilities owned by firms like Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, REI and Chipotle, those companies have spent tens of millions on attorneys specializing in breaking unions, according to our guest today.

DR. NELSON LICHTENSTEIN, author and longtime professor of labor history at Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, joins us today to discuss both the successes and obstacles faced by the new union movement rising in the U.S. since he was here in 2021. While the companies mentioned have long attempted to project a friendly, progressive image to the public, they have been very aggressive in attempting, frequently unlawfully, to block unionization of stores and facilities around the country. Firing workers who support unions; shutting down shops where union votes have been requested and/or have succeeded; and, where union votes have succeeded, companies have simply refused to negotiate union contracts. That "is par for the course," Lichtenstein argues.

He cites "almost fifty years of specialized anti-labor law firms" now being employed by those companies. "And it works! Why change it?," he quips. "Despite the public relations hit that it has had for Starbucks and the other companies, the managers had their meetings, they've run the numbers, they've decided they'll take a small reduction in their growth and it's worth it."

"The tremendous push-back is really a tribute to the importance of unionism," says Lichtenstein. "The official line of these companies is '[unionization is] not going to change anything!'...While they are moving heaven and earth to stop the union."

Lichtenstein describes "the most aggressively pro-labor" NLRB in decades, noting "they don't have much money and they're putting together real indictments of these companies. The problem is that the NLRB doesn't really have any disciplinary tools at its command. The penalties for breaking the law are really minuscule." And, with those small penalties, these anti-union companies have simply decided that repeatedly and "egregiously" violating the law is merely the cost of doing business.

Republicans in the last Congress blocked passage of the federal Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act which would make many of these violations much more painful for company management. But, Lichtenstein explains, there are already laws on the books --- both anti-trust and RICO statutes --- that could be used by the federal government to bring anti-union companies to heal by making them feel real pain for violating the law.

We discuss all of that and much more today, including what Lichtenstein attributes to the recent rise in support for unions and unionization, and whether he is optimistic or pessimistic about the current state of labor and the new unionization movement.

Also today
, Desi Doyen joins us to explain some very big news from over the weekend on protecting the planet's oceans, after the U.N. sealed a landmark deal in overtime on Saturday, following a nearly 20-year effort for the framework of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. The breakthrough agreement, as she details, will help protect about 50% of the world's "high seas" which are currently outside national boundary waters or otherwise protected only by a patchwork of regional agreements.

And finally, with the clocks mercifully changing once again to Daylight Saving Time this coming weekend, it's time for our annual call to make it permanent. Once again this year, we are backed by a bipartisan effort in both the House and Senate to do just that...

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Guest: National security and accountability journalist Marcy Wheeler...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2023 6:00pm PT  

As we've advised many times on The BradCast, accountability takes a while. Particularly when you're talking about criminal accountability for a President of the United States for the first time ever. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

We're joined today, for the first time in several months, by perhaps the one person who may know nearly as much (and, in some cases, even more) about the many criminal cases against Donald Trump than the many prosecutors currently considering indictments against him for those crimes.

Longtime, independent national security and accountability journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel.net joins us for the full hour today. There is now just too much going on all at once in the various federal investigations being overseen by Special Counsel Jack Smith (not to mention the several criminal and civil probes underway in Georgia and New York), to fit into a single segment.

We dive into details with Wheeler on both the probe of Trump's hundreds of stolen, classified documents recovered by the FBI last year at Mar-a-Lago, and the ongoing investigation of the broad conspiracy surrounding the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol (and his many other attempts to steal the 2020 election.)

Among the many points and questions discussed with Wheeler on today's show...

ON SPECIAL COUNSEL JACK SMITH:

  • Where is he? Literally. And why are there no known new photos or videos of him Special Counseling?
  • And what, if anything, does his incredibly low profile tell us about the work that he is doing?

ON THE TRUMP STOLEN DOCUMENTS PROBE:

  • What does this week's news that Smith is hoping to pierce the attorney-client privilege by invoking the crime-fraud exception to force federal grand jury testimony from Trump attorneys like Evan Corcoran actually mean? And, is it true, as the New York Times reported on Tuesday, that Smith's motion to do so is "an aggressive new dimension to the inquiry"?
  • What exactly is the crime being investigated that Smith contends took place between Corcoran and Trump that would nullify the attorney-client privilege?
  • What do we need to know about this past weekend's startling news that Team Trump has now turned over still more classified documents and that some of them were reportedly scanned onto a laptop computer (and thumb drive) said to belong to a Trump aide at his main fundraising PAC?
  • Why weren't those documents found at Mar-a-Lago during the FBI's very thorough search last August?
  • Should we be concerned that more classified documents are out in the wild after being digitized and shared with others?
  • Where are the dozens of documents that were previously in the now-empty classified document folders recovered by the FBI last August? And, is Trump's claim that he kept empty classified document folders as trophy keepsakes even plausible?
  • Does the discovery and quick return of a handful of classified and other Presidential records found by aides at the offices and residences of Joe Biden and Mike Pence make any difference in a potential decision to charge Trump for having stolen thousands of documents and then lying about them to federal officials?

ON THE JANUARY 6 CONSPIRACY PROBE:

  • Mike Pence has now been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury investigating the January 6 attack. He says he will challenge the subpoena based on the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause that, he claims, prevents him --- as President of the Senate on January 6 --- from having to answer questions by the Executive Branch. That, after Pence previously refused to testify to the House J6 Committee on the basis of separation of powers and Executive privilege.
  • Many are describing Pence's defense "novel", but Wheeler (and I) recall when the previous Republican Vice President, Dick Cheney, hoping to also have it both ways, attempted to play the exact same hand to avoid testifying to both the Legislative and Executive branches during the George W. Bush era.
  • In any event, will Pence's ploy work? And, if so, will it prevent Smith from being able to bring indictments?
  • How do the recent guilty verdicts for Seditious Conspiracy, in the trials of a number of rightwing Oath Keepers militia members (and the ongoing trial of racist Proud Boys members), affect potential indictments of the former President?
  • Is it likely that the DoJ will simply take the "Al Capone tax evasion" route by charging Trump with a simpler crime, such as wire fraud, based on his fundraising scheme that raked in some $250 million after the 2020 election for an "official election defense fund" that didn't actually exist?
  • And, by the way, can a former President --- with a 24/7 Secret Service detail and all of that --- actually be sent to prison in the event he ever actually is indicted, convicted and sentenced?

As you can tell, just a few things to discuss with Wheeler today. And, as usual, she offers a ton of important, smart and keenly-informed insight!...

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Also: Trump's secret $600k study that failed to find 2020 fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2023 5:47pm PT  

In the first 43 days of 2023, there were 67 mass shootings. This is America. What, if anything, are we ever gonna do about it? Welcome to today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered today...

  • Three students were killed, five were in critical condition at Michigan State University's East Lansing campus as we went to air today, following yet another mass shooting massacre on Monday night. "Run, Hide, Fight" was the message texted to students by MSU at 8:31pm, as gun fire broke out. That might as well be the national anthem for a generation of students who grew up in the wake of the demise of the federal Assault Weapons Ban. It was allowed to expire in 2004 by George W. Bush and every terrorist-supporting Congressional Republican who, since then, has refused to renew it. They have chosen to place support for their donors in the deadly gun industry over the lives of tens of thousands of Americans killed by guns each and every year since. Horrifically, some of the students victimized by Monday's shooting at MSU had also lived through another mass shooting at their high school back in 2021.
  • The author of the now-sunsetted 1994 federal Assault Weapons Ban, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), announced today that she will not be seeking reelection next year. The news was not a surprise. Three Democratic House members --- Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee --- have already announced or made clear their intentions to run for the 89-year old Senator's seat next year. Feinstein's political career was formed, in no small part, out of gun violence after she personally attempted to save the life of Harvey Milk after the assassination of the San Francisco City Supervisor and then-Mayor George Moscone. She was elected to replace Moscone as Mayor and eventually became California's first female Senator. Today we share just one of the petty, ironic, patronizing attacks against her on the floor of the U.S. Senate in 1993 --- by a later-discredited Republican Senator --- during her successful campaign to pass the landmark gun safety legislation.
  • Former South Carolina Governor and Donald Trump's U.N. Ambassador Nikky Haley released a video on Tuesday declaring her intention to run for the 2024 Republican Presidential nomination. In it, she claims, "I don't put up with bullies". But her history as a 2016 Trump critic --- of his lying, support for the KKK and more --- before then choosing to become his U.N. Ambassador and sing his praises for years thereafter, suggests otherwise. That said, Trump, for reasons we explain today, is delighted to have her in the race.
  • A lot of horrible stuff came out of Donald Trump's endless lies about voter fraud and his evidence-free claims that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from him when, in fact, he was actually trying to steal the election from Joe Biden and the American people. There was his deadly 1/6/21 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, followed by a host of newly restrictive voting laws adopted by Republican-controlled states, using his false claims of fraud as cover for new means of voter suppression. But, in a (very) few cases, some GOPers have figured out that the computer voting systems and tabulators their party has supported for years, actually make it more difficult, if not impossible, for Americans to oversee the results of their own elections. Last month, a court in rural Cleburne County, Arkansas mandated a change from computer tabulated elections to hand-marked and hand-counted paper ballots. The group who pushed the measure hopes to do the same in the state's 74 other counties. At the same time, the County Clerk in Nye County, Nevada --- which moved last year to a hand-count protocol as a parallel tally to its computer tabulation --- says that the hand-counts by some 200 volunteers in the rural county were ultimately more accurate than the computer tallies. (Just as we've been trying to tell ya for about 20 years now.)
  • Also, some important news was broken by the Washington Post over the weekend. But it was largely buried by the media's over-inflated panic about "balloons". As it turns out, Donald Trump's campaign paid some $600,000 to a research group in late 2020 for a study on that year's election results. Specifically, the firm was tasked to ferret out any possible evidence of fraud in six key swing-states that might have swung the election from Trump to Biden. As one of those familiar with the study explained to WaPo: "They looked at everything: change of addresses, illegal immigrants, ballot harvesting, people voting twice, machines being tampered with, ballots that were sent to vacant addresses that were returned and voted. Literally anything you could think of. Voter turnout anomalies, date of birth anomalies, whether dead people voted. If there was anything under the sun that could be thought of, they looked at it." But the results of the study were never released. Why? Because the well-paid researchers were unable to find any evidence that the election was stolen, fraudulent or even in error in anyway. The results were given to Trump, however, in December of 2020. Nonetheless, days later, on January 6, 2021, he continued his lies anyway, leading directly to the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, for which he has yet to be held to account in any way.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with the wildly under-reported news of the chemical train derailment, fire and controlled release of toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio last week; After ExxonMobil declared record profits last year, they have signaled their intent this year to do away with their algae biofuel research scam they've been green-washing their company with for years now; And some seemingly good news for EVs following Sunday's Super Bowl...

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Guest: Congressional historian, political scientist Norm Ornstein; Also: Leahy's Iraq War spy story...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2022 5:41pm PT  

We've spent quite a bit of time of late on The BradCast discussing what could happen if Democrats are able to hold their majority in the U.S. House this year and pick up two more seats in the Senate. Codifying privacy rights and reproductive freedoms into federal law; passage of the much-needed Freedom to Vote Act; expansion of the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court to un-corrupt it. That all become possible in such an event, just to cite a few of the most pressing issues. But what happens if they don't? [Audio link to today's full show follows this summary.]

We've noted that it remains an uphill battle for Democrats to hold their majorities in either chamber of Congress this year, much less expand one of them. So, what happens if Republicans win a majority in one or both?

In short, it would be very very bad for a host of reasons, including for democracy itself. But TPM's Kate Riga detailed just some of the political nightmares that are likely to occur, as Republicans have revealed in their own words. From endless Congressional investigations of nonsense (think "Benghazi on steroids") to pointless culture war legislation that would be vetoed by President Biden even if it somehow overcame a Senate filibuster, to impotent efforts to impeach the President and various members of his Cabinet...for something or other.

But, even without majorities in both chambers, Republicans can wreak extraordinary damage to both the U.S. and global economies simply by re-upping their 2011 "Tea Party" scheme to hold the nation (and world) hostage to any number of demands in exchange for raising the dumb debt ceiling next year. ("Dumb", because it's absurd that the U.S. even has such a statute requiring Congressional permission to borrow money to pay for stuff that has already been purchased with Congressional and Presidential authority. Also "dumb" because Republicans only use it as a dangerous bargaining chip when a Democrat is in the White House. Despite blowing up the deficit by trillions during the Trump Administration, the debt limit was raised three times by Congress with nary a peep.)

As Riga and others have reported this week, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the GOP's presumptive House Speaker if they take back a majority, has signaled that his party intends to hold cuts to Medicare and Social Security among hostages in exchange for agreeing to lift the debt ceiling. That, in the words of our guest today, would be "catastrophic" on several levels.

We're joined today by Congressional historian, political scientist and author NORM ORNSTEIN, who has been covering Congress for nearly 50 years via the conservative American Enterprise Institute, where he is a Senior Fellow Emeritus and now as contributing editor and columnist for The Atlantic.

Last week at The Atlantic, Ornstein warned that it's not just "democracy at stake this fall", as he asked "how far would a Republican majority go?" in undermining the U.S. economy in advance of the 2024 Presidential election. He recounts the first real use of the debt ceiling as a blunt political instrument to wreak havoc on U.S. policy and the economy along with it by the "Tea Party" back in 2011. While a last minute compromise at the time avoided a first-ever default of the U.S. government and the inability to pay its debts, the brinkmanship and hostage-taking cost the economy billions. Our credit rating was downgraded for the first time ever and the Dow plunged some 2,000 points.

But Ornstein is now more worried about what may happen next year if the GOP wins a House majority. As he explains today, "back in 2011, there were grownups in the room who kept it from getting out of control." Today, however "we're in a different world."

"In the past," he tells me, citing Donald Trump as an "accelerant" for GOP "dysfunction," "we still had what we could think of as a political party, even as it began to go downhill. But now it's a full-blown cult. The willingness of new members coming in, joining with a lot of radical members who will be returning to blow the whole thing up, the lack of interest in fundamental institutions or in the need to be responsible at governance is astonishing."

"I have never, in fifty-plus years of being immersed in the institution, seen a weaker or more pathetic leader than Kevin McCarthy," he says. "The idea that he would stop them from mayhem is, at this point, not believable."

"Other than that the fact that these are radicals dominating the party, they can't pass legislation on their own. They can't impeach and convict and remove from office the officials they would want to, including the President and the Attorney General and Sec. of Homeland Security, among many others."

But, as Ornstein adds, they will have "the power for the purse" with which they can cause extraordinary damage both here and around the world. He details both the chaos and what Democrats can do to try and preempt it during the Lame Duck period after the November midterms in the event that Republicans win back a majority in one or both chambers.

"The best thing to do is to do as every other country does and eliminate this ridiculous device [the debt ceiling]," but, since Dems can't do that on their own via reconciliation, they could invoke "the ironically named McConnell Rule" through reconciliation to stave off the threat of GOP debt ceiling brinkmanship that could result in a first-ever financial default by the nation. Tune in for an explanation of that ironically named rule and much more on all of this today.

Or, of course, Americans could simply reelect Democrats to majorities in both chambers and avoid the guaranteed nightmares that lie ahead with GOP control of either, now that they have wasted away into little more than a radical, extremist, "full-blown cult."

Finally, we close today with a fascinating spy story, of sorts, regarding retiring, eight-term Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and the U.S. intel agencies during the lead-up to the Iraq War (which he voted against), based on false evidence of WMDs hyped by the Bush/Cheney Administration...

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Guest: Stephanie Foggett of The Soufan Center...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2022 6:53pm PT  

We really do have (at least) two Americas at this point. One America, led by President Joe Biden and his Democratic party in Congress, who have now triumphantly signed into law the largest climate bill in U.S. history, which also includes landmark measures to make healthcare cheaper for tens of millions of Americans. And another America, which is calling for violence, mayhem and murder of American law enforcement officials, and they are led there by the disgraced former President of the United States. We discuss both Americas on today's BradCast. Apologies in advance for the whiplash. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Tuesday, Joe Biden signed the historic, if somewhat misleadingly named, Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a trimmed down version of his Build Back Better Act which was blocked by all 50 Senate Republicans and two Democrat last year. The IRA, however, includes some $400 billion to finally begin tackling climate change and moving the nation from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy; institutes a $2,000 annual cap on prescription drug costs for seniors; allows Medicare to negotiate for cheaper prices with drug companies for the first time ever; and increases taxes on hugely profitable corporations that currently pay no taxes at all. It also helps pays down the deficit and a bunch of other things.

It was passed in both chambers of Congress, where Democrats hold the thinnest of majorities in each, without one single Republican vote, as the President took pains to note during his White House signing ceremony today.

"Let’s be clear," Biden said, "In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people, and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interests in this vote — every single one. In fact, big drug companies spent nearly $100 million to defeat this bill. A hundred million dollars. And remember: Every single Republican in Congress voted against this bill."

"We’re delivering results for the American people," the President boasted. "We didn’t tear down; we built up. We didn’t look back; we looked forward. And today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real and just beginning."

"I know there are those here today who hold a dark and despairing view of this country," Biden said. "I’m not one of them. I believe in the promise of America. I believe in the future of this country. I believe in the very soul of this nation. And most of all, I believe in you, the American people."

As to those who do "hold a dark and despairing view of this country," many of them have been showing their true, dark colors over the past week since the FBI obtained a lawful warrant to search Donald Trump's Florida compound for highly classified and sensitive national security documents that he stole from the White House upon leaving office last year.

After Trump revealed the search publicly last week, using rhetoric seemingly chosen to incite violence --- falsely citing "prosecutorial misconduct," "weaponization of the Justice System," describing the U.S. as a "broken, Third-World Country" --- there has been what the DHS and FBI described in a bulletin last week as an "unprecedented" number of "violent threats" against federal law enforcement, courts and government personnel and facilities.

"These threats are occurring primarily online and across multiple platforms, including social media sites, web forums, video sharing platforms, and image boards," the bulletin warns. It was published the day after a Donald Trump supporter was killed following his attempt to attack an FBI field office in Ohio with a nail gun and an AR-15, and as another Trump supporter was taken into custody and charged for issuing graphic calls to "slaughter" federal officers on several different social media cites.

And while threats on far-right, neo-Nazi Internet sites reportedly spiked following Trump's announcement of the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, it has also spiked on "mainstream" Rightwing media outlets like Fox "News", where the rhetoric --- from many of its prime time hosts and elected Republican officials alike --- has become hauntingly similar to that found on the darkest, far-right cesspools of the Internet.

We're joined today by STEPHANIE FOGGETT, a Research Fellow at The Soufan Center and Director of Global Communications at The Soufan Group, where her areas of expertise include terrorism, online extremism and the rise of white supremacy. She has a great deal of perspective to offer on this issue.

"This rhetoric is alarming, but it is not surprising, especially given the online spaces and activity that I watch every day," she tells me. "I monitor the darkest and most violent corners of this information ecosystem, and I really think, above all, it's important to know that these threats and attacks on law enforcement, they're not coming out of a vacuum."

Indeed, as Matt Gertz at Media Matters observed last week "Fox and other right-wing outlets describe the search as 'the worst attack on this republic in modern history,' part of a 'preemptive coup' to prevent Trump’s reelection, and a sign the country is now a 'tyranny.' They say the FBI is acting like 'the East German Stasi in the Cold War' and the Nazi 'Gestapo,' and call its agents part of a 'lawless criminal organization' that 'planted evidence,' bugged Trump’s bedroom, and may be planning his 'assassination.'"

"And they are quick to tell their viewers that they should fear their own persecution in the wake of the search," Gertz writes. "According to right-wing outlets, 'the real target of this investigation is you'." Just last night, Tucker Carlson, the most popular host on the nation's most popular cable "news" outlet, told viewers that President Biden is now "declar[ing] war on his own population."

"It's rinsing and repeating narratives and concerns that we saw with the Stop the Steal campaign and things like that," Foggett explains. "It's really tapping into this narrative on the far-right that if they can go after a President they will be able to come after you one day."

She worries even more "about what comes next," while offering both historical context for this current moment --- in which "every agency in America, from intelligence agencies to law enforcement agencies [have] come to the assessment that the far-right and domestic extremism is the greatest threat that America is facing today" --- and ways in which responsible Americans can respond in hopes of decreasing the threat.

"It is tricky, and there is no silver bullet. There's no one single thing that can be done to address this," Foggett asserts, before describing how individuals can be mindful of what they share online --- stuff that is meant to go viral with misleading messages --- and how "it's really about individuals in positions of power to be much more careful about the things that they say, and how they interact with the violence that this movement promises."

In short, solving this problem won't be easy, and things may get much worse before they get better. But there are ways to educate Americans about these now main-streamed extremists and ways to "isolate them by rejecting them, by ignoring them, and by denouncing them."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more on the Democrats' historic climate bill and several alarming new reports underscoring how the measure has finally become law not a moment too soon...

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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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How the Uvalde school shooting came to happen, who must be held accountable, and what must come next; Also: Noteworthy results from Tuesday's midterm primaries in AL, AR, GA and TX...
By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2022 5:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: While seemingly separate issues, the school shooting in Texas on Tuesday and the same day's midterm primary elections aren't separate issues in the least. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Tuesday, at least 19 fourth graders and two teachers were murdered at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. As in Buffalo, New York just over a week ago, the shooter in TX was 18-years old, armed to the teeth with sophisticated semi-automatic weaponry, wearing body armor and able to easily overcome "a good guy with a gun." In Buffalo, the "good guy" was an ex-cop turned grocery store security guard who was killed trying to stop the gunman. In Uvalde it was a school security guard and two local cops --- three law enforcement officials in all --- who were unable to prevent the gunman from battling his way into the school to use the two AR-15 style assault rifles and nearly 400 rounds of ammo that he'd just purchased immediately upon turning 18 this month. All of that, thanks to the Republicans in Texas, from the Governor to the state Legislature to the Attorney General to the state's voters, who made it all not just possible, but easy.

While so much of this has become normalized, none of it actually is. We cover a lot of territory on all of this today, from the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that worked well from 1994 to 2004, before Republicans, by then fully captured by the gun lobby, allowed it to end; to President Biden's emotional and at times angry remarks in response; to the horrific increase in recent years in crimes carried out with these types of weapons; to the pathetic statements from Texas' chief law enforcement official Attorney General Ken Paxton and its Governor Greg Abbott who both worked hard to make all of this carnage not just possible but much more likely; to responses from Abbott's Democratic opponent this November, Beto O'Rourke and even the Golden State Warriors head coach Bill Kerr; to a sobering reminder from Richard Nixon's conservative Republican U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger in 1991, when he made it clear that 2nd Amendment has been the subject of "one of the greatest frauds every committed on the American people."

While the demons at the NRA and in the Republican party and on the GOP's stolen and packed Supreme Court all share in the blame, so do we the people for continuing to elect the (mostly) Republican lawmakers who have helped to ensure these unspeakable tragedies will continue by refusing, for decades now, to take any legislative action at all to prevent them.

The ballot box is now our only way out.

To that end today, we also cover noteworthy results from Tuesday's critical primary elections in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and, yes, the very bloody state of Texas...

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Also: Cruz TX disbarment sought for 2020 steal efforts; GOP Sen. booed in WY; Young voters eager for 2022; Record majority for abortion rights...
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2022 7:19pm PT  

What's the difference between a white supremacist mass murderer in Buffalo, NY and a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate? Well, in terms of their racist rhetoric not a heck of a lot, it seems. That and many more reasons to both pay close attention and be skeptical of "conventional wisdom" regarding this November's critical midterm elections on today's BradCast, as American Democracy v. Violent Strongman Authoritarianism is most definitely on the ballot in every state this year. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories underscoring all of that on today's program...

  • A number of the attorneys who helped Donald Trump try to steal the 2020 election have had their law licenses suspended or are facing permanent disbarment. One attorney who has yet to be held accountable in any way, however, is Sen. Ted Cruz, who volunteered to represent Trump in two different bogus election challenges before the U.S. Supreme Court; knowingly spread false claims of fraud; and then voted against certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory even after Trump's deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. A bipartisan group is now hoping to change that. This week, they filed a complaint with the State Bar of Texas, seeking an investigation into possible disbarment for the sleazy Texas Senator/still-licensed attorney.
  • Speaking of sleazy still-licensed Texas attorneys, the state's chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Ken Paxton now says he has been sued by the Texas State Bar for misconduct. Paxton has already been charged with several securities fraud felonies; is being investigated by the FBI for abuse of power and bribery after a federal criminal complaint by eight of his top former deputies; and brought a laughable case to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to toss the 2020 election results in four states that were not Texas. It is for his help in trying to steal the election for Trump at SCOTUS that has resulted in the state Bar's lawsuit against him. Paxton is running for re-election anyway. On Tuesday he's in a runoff election with the state's Land Commissioner George P. Bush (the very Trumpy son of Jeb and nephew of the guy who made "one of the biggest Freudian slips of all time" at Southern Methodist University yesterday.) No sooner did Paxton get sued by the state bar then he turned around and opened an investigation into the Texas Bar Foundation for "facilitating mass influx of illegal aliens" --- ya know, the stuff that racist "great replacement" conspiracy theories are made of.
  • And speaking of the racist "great replacement" conspiracy theory, as repeatedly cited by the white supremacist domestic terrorist who murdered 10 and wounded 3 others in a Buffalo supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood last weekend, a whole bunch of Republicans running for the U.S. Senate this year have been using nearly identical rhetoric to that racist murderer for a very long time. The once-fringe, now mainstream rightwing theory claims that Democrats are hoping to replace white American voters with immigrants, Jews and people of color to control the electorate with one-party rule. Or something. And, in the wake of Trump's embrace of white nationalism as President, AP highlighted a bevvy of mainstream GOP Senate candidates this year --- either running for reelection or for the party's nomination --- whose rhetoric on immigration directly echoes the same baseless, racist fear-mongering. Their list includes Blake Masters in Arizona; A.G. Eric Schmitt and disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens in Missouri; GOP Senate nominee J.D. Vance in Ohio; and two-term U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. The full list of elected and hopeful GOP officials who also espouse rhetoric shared by rightwing domestic terrorists is obviously much, much longer.
  • And speaking of domestic terrorists, the U.S. House passed the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (again) on Wednesday. All Democrats voted for it. Every Republican, except for retiring Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, voted against it. Democrats vow to bring it up in the Senate next week. It may be a heavy lift over the undemocratic 60-vote filibuster threshold in the upper chamber. Too bad it wasn't called the Domestic Terrorism by Non-White People Prevention Act. It might have easily passed in both chambers, as most legislation related to terrorism that doesn't target white supremacists tends to.
  • And, speaking of extremism, on Thursday, the Oklahoma legislature passed a new law that, if signed by the Governor, would ban nearly all abortions starting at fertilization, which would make it the nation's strictest abortion law. It would also, in turn, make certain forms of birth control --- like IUDs, The Bill, Plan B, which don't necessarily prevent fertilization, but prevent implantation of a fertilized egg --- a form of "abortion" or, in Oklahoma, a homicide. More Republican-controlled states are likely to follow suit, despite the vast majority of Americans who support abortion rights. Please keep all of this in mind in November.
  • And, speaking of this November, polling last month from the Harvard Youth Poll suggests --- contrary to "conventional wisdom" --- that young voters are very eager to vote this year. The number who say they are "definitely" voting in the 2022 election is almost identical to the number who said same before the 2018 "blue wave" election. That could be good news for Democrats. Again, please ignore "conventional wisdom" in these decidedly unconventional times.
  • And, speaking of young people, even in deep "red" Wyoming, they don't dig attacks on LGBTQ+ people --- yes, even trans people --- as the state's U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis found out the embarrassing way during a commencement address she gave over the weekend at the University of Wyoming. It took a while, but now she "apologizes" if she offended anyone with her remarks that were broadly booed during the speech at the school once attended by Matthew Shepard, the young gay man who was brutally beaten and left to die on a fence nearly 25 years ago. He became one of the namesakes of the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
  • And, speaking of civil rights for all --- and of keeping Big Government and the GOP's stolen and packed Supreme Court out of our bedrooms and doctor's offices --- support for abortion rights has reached a record high in a new NBC News poll following the leak of SCOTUS' draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and its 50 years of protection for reproductive rights. The poll also finds support for same-sex marriage (perhaps next on the chopping block after Roe's Constitutionally established right to privacy is killed) at an all time high, while approval for the High Court is at an all time, 30-year low in this particular poll.

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