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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 25, 2024
Alito's an Insurrection Supporter. So, What Are Dems Gonna Do?: 'BradCast' 5/23/24
Also: SCOTUS allows SC racial gerrymander; OH still blocking Biden from ballot; Smartmatic says Newsmax destroyed evidence; Biden cancels still more student debt...
'Green News Report' 5/23/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Extreme weather unleashes disasters from Iowa to Mexico; DeSantis signs 'Don't Say Climate Change' law in FL; PLUS: Study finds microplastics in human testicles...
Previous GNRs: 5/16/24 - 5/14/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Costello Fails, Trump Bails, Defense Rests: 'BradCast' 5/22/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: Election results and problem reports from KY, OR, GA, CA and MD...
Trump Dark Money Group Dumping Tens of Millions on Racist, Transphobic Disinfo Ads: 'BradCast' 5/21/24
Guest: Victoria Cadostin; Also: Rudy arraigned in AZ; Trump defense rests in NY; More...
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Researcher Victoria Cadostin on 'Citizens for Sanity'; Also: Giuliani arraigned with fake electors in AZ; Defense rests in NY Trump trial; More...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2024 6:42pm PT  

We're back on today's BradCast after an unavoidable extended weekend due to a family funeral. We've got a lot to get caught up on today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to today's guest, a few quick headlines from over the weekend and through today...

  • Iran's President and Foreign Minister were killed over the weekend in a helicopter crash in foggy conditions in the northern part of the country.
  • The top prosecutor at the International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as three Hamas leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity in both Gaza and Israel.
  • A British court has granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the right to appeal his extradition to the U.S. on 17 espionage charges and one for computer misuse related to the publication of classified U.S. documents 15 years ago.
  • The New York Times revealed last week that rightwing Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito flew an upside down American flag --- a MAGA "stop the steal" symbol --- at his home for several days following the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Nonetheless, the corrupt Alito has failed to recuse himself from cases involving the 2020 election, including the Court's pending opinion on "Presidential Immunity" which has held up Trump's federal trial for months in his indictment on multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 election.
  • Rudy Giuliani and 11 others, including Kelli Ward, the former chair of the Arizona Republican Party, were arraigned on Tuesday in Phoenix for their roles in attempting to steal the state's 2020 election for Trump. Giuliani and the others face multiple counts each (nine in Rudy's case) related to conspiracy, forgery and fraud.
  • The Defense rested on Tuesday in Donald Trump's 2016 election interference trial in New York, where he is facing 34 felony charges related to the falsification of documents to hide a hush-money payment to a porn star just before that year's election day. The disgraced former President, who repeatedly vowed that he would testify in his own defense at the criminal trial, did not do so. As expected. Closing arguments are next week.
  • Voters headed to the polls on Tuesday for down-ballot primaries and special elections in Kentucky, Oregon, Georgia and California on Tuesday. We'll have any available noteworthy results and problems reports on tomorrow's BradCast.

Then we're joined by VICTORIA CADOSTIN, researcher and writer at the non-profit watchdog organization DOCUMENTED to explain who is behind the new Trump-aligned extremist group known as "Citizens for Sanity". In a weekend article at The Guardian, Cadostin and her colleague Brendan Fischer break down details from newly obtained filings by the dark money group revealing they spent more more than $90 million dollars in the final few months of 2022 alone on a flood of what have been described as "vile, racist and transphobic" ads designed to disinform, terrify, divide and incite the voting public.

"They were one of the biggest election spenders in the last election cycle," Cadostin explains. "What's really alarming about it is that our records show that Citizens For Sanity is housed at the Conservative Partnership Institute, which has been characterized as the 'nerve center' of the rightwing." She describes the group as the homebase for the Trump Administration in exile, as it's led by former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as well as one of his former attorneys (and election fraudsters) Cleta Mitchell. It also shares the same leadership with American First Legal, a rightwing extremist lawfare organization headed up by Trump's MAGA anti-immigrant henchman Stephen Miller.

"CPI represents the creation of MAGA political infrastructure," says Cadostin. "These are all folks who are in the MAGA world very deeply, and who have a lot of power in that world, who are pushing out this messaging and pushing out extremism."

The group spent tens of millions of dollars from unknown donors on ads that air heavily in battleground states and swing districts, and even during highly-viewed mainstream events such as the World Series.

The organization uses racist messaging against Blacks and Latino immigrants in its ads, even while it also targets those same communities with different ads in hopes of suppressing their voters. "It's really a targeted effort to stoke racial hostility and suppress the vote however they can for the base that they don't think will vote Republican or conservative," she says. "While at the same time pushing out messaging that will move a conservative base, a white American base, to show up at the polls. It is very sinister, the way they are twisting this, using this information to mobilize one particular base against another."

"These divisive ads and the spreading of misinformation in order to sway folks in swing districts have a real impact outside of just voting," argues Cadostin. "This kind of messaging supports the rise of anti-trans legislation and violence against trans folks, as well as the rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, legislation and violence. Powerful folks are throwing money around to manufacture racial and gendered hostility in the voting population. And it's also further evidence that attacks on equality and democracy are often coming from the exact same place."

What can be done about any of it, since, as disgusting as it all is, it's all largely been legalized by a string of rightwing SCOTUS decisions over the years? We discuss that as well on today's BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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A veteran reporter speaks out; DHS marshals election defenses; Lara Trump lies about ballots; Johnson lies about 'illegals' voting; Also: MTG's spectacular fail; Stormy wins the day; Biden finally cuts off Israel...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2024 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Why we're taking sides for democracy in this year's election. And why every real journalist should. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program (and not necessarily in this order)...

  • Journalist John Harwood: "As a Veteran Reporter, I've Always Valued Neutrality. But Trump's Threat To Democracy Should be the Biggest Political Story of 2024"
  • USA Today: "Exclusive: Homeland Security ramping up 'with intensity' to respond to election threats"
  • The RNC, recently taken over by Donald Trump in full, is now little more than an election denialist/voter suppression operation (and, of course, a personal ATM for Trump). They recently fired their newly hired election law expert for not pretending enough that the 2020 election was stolen; New co-chair Lara Trump is taking to Fox "News" to spread disinformation about absentee ballots and ballot counting; House Speaker Mike Johnson is introducing a bill to make it illegal for non-U.S. citizens to vote in federal elections --- which is already illegal --- and claiming that, while there may be zero evidence, "we all know intuitively that a lot of illegals are voting".

Also, some news since we last spoke...

  • Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tried and then failed spectacularly (thanks to help from House Democrats) to remove the Republican House Speaker again.
  • Stormy Daniels completed her testimony in Trump's 2016 election interference case in New York. The cross-examination, according to many reports, did not go well for Team Trump.
  • Joe Biden finally cuts off offensive weapons to Israel for Benjamin Netanyahu's promised threat of a full ground invasion in southern Gaza.

And finally...

  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as tornadoes leave trails of destruction in the U.S.; Florida bans "climate change" as hurricane season begins; House Republicans open a new pretend battle in their "War on Woke Appliances"; and U.S. culture finally begins to reflect climate reality...

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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Also: Latest in Israel's war on Gaza; Latest in Trump's NY criminal trial...
By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2024 6:52pm PT  

We've got a lot of news from around the globe and right here at home on today's BradCast. Some of it is even not terrible! But, yeah, much of it is. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • It will be eight years next month since the 2016 BREXIT referendum in Great Britain offered a foreboding omen in advance of that year's Presidential election here in the U.S. We'll hope this past weekend's election results for mayoral races in London and elsewhere in Britain --- where the Conservative Party suffered crushing defeats against the Labour Party --- offer a much brighter omen for the UK's national elections later this year and the 2024 Presidential election here in the U.S. in November.
  • On the other hand, hopefully it is not Panama's weekend elections offering us an omen instead. A last-minute replacement for the country's former, popular, charismatic but criminal President --- who is barred from the ballot as he seeks sanctuary in the Nicaraguan Embassy after being sentenced to 10 years in prison for money laundering --- defeated three other rivals to win the Presidency on Sunday.
  • In other foreign affairs, we've got a lot of news out of Israel today. Over the weekend, the government of rightwing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shut down the local operations of Qatar-based news agency Al-Jazeera in a crackdown being decried by world journalism organizations as an attack on press freedoms. Hamas announced on Monday that it had accepted a cease-fire proposal forwarded via the Egyptian-Qatari based negotiations with Israel, but Israel --- which says it is studying the proposal --- appeared to be rejecting it as they began striking targets in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. That, as the Biden Administration has been warning Israel of threatened changes in U.S. support if a ground invasion in southern Gaza does not include measures to insure the safety of hundreds of thousands of civilian refugees. And all of that follows on what Axios reported last week as a hold placed by the Administration on a shipment of U.S.-made ammo earmarked for Israel, which may now be caught up in President Biden's push for more guarantees about its use by Israel.
  • But I thought the disgraced former President told us that the U.S. Justice Department has been weaponized by Democrats to go after Republicans?! If so, they've got a funny way of showing it. Last year, the DoJ indicted New Jersey's sitting Democratic Senator Bob Menendez (and his wife) on bribery and corruption charges. On Friday, the DoJ indicted Texas' Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar (and his wife) on bribery and corruption charges. Its almost as if Trump was lying about the justice system being "weaponized" by Democrats to go after him and Republicans.
  • Speaking of our corrupt, lying, former President. Donald Trump was slapped with another fine on Monday for violating the court's gag-order against attacking jurors and witnesses. That brings the total number of contempt violations during his 2016 election interference case to 10. New York Superior Court Justice Juan Merchan once again warned that a jail sentence may be imposed after any more violations. As to the actual trial on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to hide a hush-money payment made to a porn star to help him win in 2016, the Trump Organization's former Controller and its Accounts Payable Supervisor testified for the Prosecution on Monday about how Trump, while serving in the White House, signed checks from his personal account, fraudulently logged as legal expenses, to reimburse his former attorney Michael Cohen for the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels.
  • Record flooding from climate change-fueled downpours in a wealthy section of Brazil is being described as among the worst disasters in its history, leading to chaos, the shutdown of highways and airports, hospitals without power, widespread looting, helicopter rooftop rescues, 20,000 left homeless and, so far, at least 83 deaths. "This was the third record flood in the same region of the country in less than a year," lamented Brazil's President, decrying his nation's lack of preparedness for the worst effects of climate change and for the "historic debt" that wealthy nations who caused this problem through the unfettered emission of climate warming greenhouse gasses owe to poorer countries who emitted little of it, but are now suffering the worst of the global consequences nonetheless.
  • Brazil's weekend disaster reportedly evoked scenes from post-Katrina New Orleans and post-Harvey Houston here in the U.S. But, over the same weekend, new scenes from Houston itself evoked the same thing, following days of downpours that pummeled the region and left residents stranded on rooftops requiring hundreds of rescues. Again. Some 23 inches of rain fell in Harris County over the past week, as floodwaters are finally beginning to recede in the nation's third-largest county today. Flood insurance has become all but unaffordable for many residents after years of ever-worsening storms as our global climate crisis continues to tighten its deadly grip. A disaster declaration was issued by the state's Governor in 91 counties impacted by the latest round of extreme weather in Texas.
  • Finally, with increased heat and moisture in the air, traditionally mosquito-free Los Angeles County is mosquito-free no more. County officials are now unleashing tens of thousands of irradiated male mosquitos (which don't bite), as part of a pilot program to target the female population (which do) for a particularly aggressive strain of bugs that have grown more aggressive in recent years, and are now said to be a vector for a number of deadly diseases. All thanks to climate change. Happy Spring!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Congressional Dems expose depths of Big Oil deception, denial...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2024 6:16pm PT  

Today's BradCast is perhaps better listened to than explained. But here's a quick summary and some links for more details. [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

We focus today on the largely peaceful pro-Palestinian protests that have sprung up on college campuses across the U.S. over the past week or two in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's punishing, ongoing assault of Gaza and the Biden Administration's facilitation --- reluctant or otherwise --- of that effort. Our central focus is on the responses to the protests here in the U.S. by counter protesters, media, politicians (including remarks by Joe Biden today), and, most disturbingly, armed riot police who seem to be touching off the bulk of the violence, or at least the eye-catching "if it bleeds it leads" scenes of chaotic confrontations that are easy to show on television news, whether they capture the truth of the moment or not.

As noted, today's program is better listened to than explained, I think. But, among the source material referenced in our coverage...

As usual, I welcome your responses in comments below or via email. If you can keep 'em short and sweet perhaps I'll share them on the show.

Also today, Desi Doyen covers the damning new report [PDF] from Congressional Democrats exposing how the oil industry spent decades deceiving the public and sowing doubt about the dangers of burning the fossil fuels that are the primary drivers of our climate crisis. Internal documents reveal how Big Oil shifted from outright climate denial to a covert strategy of "deception, disinformation and doublespeak" to delay the transition to clean energy and preserve their profits --- publicly professing support for reducing emissions while privately lobbying against climate laws and regulations. The tranche of subpoenaed communications were the focus of a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Wednesday, with expert testimony delving into the details of the oil industry's ongoing efforts to mislead the public about fossil fuels and the climate crisis.

And finally, our latest Green News Report with a bit more on the above, and on the unforgiving costs the world continues to pay for it, including this week with extreme heat and storms in Asia and the oil industry-facilitated plastic pollution crisis across the globe...

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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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: PA primary results; Biden signs Ukraine aid bill; SCOTUS revisits abortion rights; AZ House Dems repeal 1864 near-total abortion ban...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2024 6:48pm PT  

The court takes Wednesdays off in Donald Trump's New York criminal trial on 34 felony counts related to his use of hush-money paid to a porn star to help him cheat his way to winning the 2016 Presidential election. So, today is a good opportunity for us here on The BradCast to get caught up on our trial story so far with two guests who are following it closely. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, FIRST UP, it was Primary day in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, and though the nominations for both major party's Presidential candidates are long ago all but official, the turnout and results from the Keystone State's closed primaries on both sides are somewhat revealing. Tune in for details, but suffice to say, Joe Biden appears to have outperformed Trump in the narrowly divided battleground state yesterday, where Dem turnout outpaced Republicans and Nikki Haley, who quit the race weeks ago, racked up nearly 17% of the GOP Presidential vote. There were several U.S. House races of note and uncontested primaries for this year's critical U.S. Senate race in PA, where incumbent Democrat Bob Casey is taking on billionaire hedge-fund manager Dave McCormick (who has been less than forthright about his upbringing.)

President Biden signed a long-overdue $61 billion aid package for our democratic allies in Ukraine after overwhelming Senate passage on Tuesday night. That followed on the heels of Saturday's passage in the House by Democrats following an about-face by GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson. The package adopted by Congress and signed by the President today is for $95 billion in all, including funding to replenish Israel's missile defense systems following Iran's attack last week, billions of dollars in humanitarian aid in Gaza, and military aid to Taiwan. The bill also includes a ridiculous measure that may result in the popular social media app TikTok being banned in the U.S.

In reproductive rights (or lack thereof) news, the corrupted far-right majority on the U.S. Supreme Court appeared skeptical during heated Oral Argument on Wednesday over a Biden Administration mandate under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The 1986 statute requires hospitals that accept federal medicare funding to offer emergency, life-stabilizing care to all patients who arrive in the emergency room. After SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, the Administration reminded facilities that such care includes abortions when a patient is "in serious jeopardy" or any condition that might impair bodily functions or organs, no matter the state's own restrictions on reproductive care. Idaho disagreed and sued. The packed rightwing supermajority on the High Court was working hard today to side with Idaho.

There was somewhat brighter related news in Arizona on Wednesday when, after three weeks of trying, Democrats in the state's House were finally able to vote to repeal the state's 1864 territorial ban on nearly all abortions. Three Republicans joined all 29 Democrats to repeal the law. The measure still needs passage in the GOP-controlled state Senate, after which AZ's 15-week abortion ban would take the place of the 160-year old near-total ban.

And THEN, we're joined again today our friends award-winning columnist and blogger HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullaballoo and former attorney (and former Republican) KEITH BARBER of Daily Kos to get up to speed on this week's fits and starts in Donald J. Trump's New York criminal trial.

After last week's faster-than-expected jury selection, the trial began with Opening Statements on Monday in which prosecutors described Trump's criminal scheme to hide several sexual affairs just before the 2016 election as "election fraud, pure and simple". On Tuesday morning, during a contempt hearing on at least 10 instances in which Defendant Trump violated the court's gag order against attacking jurors and witness, the judge instructed Trump's attorney Todd Blanche that he was "losing all credibility with the court." Says Barber today: "In a list of phrases that could be the worst to come out of a judge's mouth in the first two days of a trial, that would be right at the top of the list."

On both days, shortened for the Passover holidays, David Pecker, former National Enquirer publisher and longtime friend of Trump, took the stand on behalf of the prosecution to discuss hush-money payoffs he'd arranged as part of an alleged conspiracy with Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen to publish damaging stories about Trump's political opponents and quash stories that might be damaging to him. As Pecker detailed, that included paying off a Trump Tower doorman to shut up about his claim that Trump fathered an out-of-wedlock child with a maid who also worked there, and to "catch and kill" the story of Playboy model Karen McDougal who says she carried on a nearly year-long affair with Trump while his wife Melania was pregnant.

Parton describes the first witness in this case as offering several ironies since Pecker "said that their little scheme back in 2015 and 2016 was all fake news. Literally fake news. They made up stories. They killed negative stories about Trump and pushed negative stories that were literally fake news about his rivals. It's like gaslighting to the thousandth power."

Pecker's is expected to continue his testimony on Thursday regarding the $130,000 hush-money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, which was repaid to Cohen by Trump via monthly installments during his first year in the White House. Those payments became the falsified business records at the center of this trial, as the Trump Organization logged them as legal retainer fees, rather than unreported reimbursements that ran afoul of campaign finance laws, according to prosecutors.

Both Parton and Barber find it curious that, while Trump has been relentless in his attacks on witnesses like his longtime attorney and fixer Cohen, he has not said a negative word about his friend Pecker since the former Enquirer chief signed a cooperation agreement with prosecutors in 2018. She believes there is much more that Pecker knows about Trump above and beyond the scandals he's already detailed in this case. Barber concurs: "There's reason to believe that David Pecker has more of Trump's bodies buried in various places."

Each offer many more thoughts and insights on all of the above, including much more that we've learned over just the first two days of this historic trial, the legal hurdles faced by prosecutors, and what we should expect in the days ahead...

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: Labor journalist Steven Greenhouse; Also: House finally passes aid package for Ukraine; Prosecutors accuse Trump of 'election fraud' in NY criminal trial opening statement...
By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2024 6:05pm PT  

Nothing but huge news --- all of several different sorts --- on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP: After months of stalling to the benefit of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and our wannabe dictator former President, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, to his credit, bucked the majority of his own caucus and reversed course last week on Ukraine. The full reason for his sudden about-face remains unclear --- and a majority of his own party still voted against aid to our besieged democratic allies in Europe --- but whatever the reason, it is very good news for both Ukraine and global democracy. The full Democratic caucus in the House backed Johnson's plan to adopt some $95 billion in military, humanitarian and economy aid to Ukraine, Israel (including more than $9 billion in assistance to residents of Gaza), Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies. Far-right House Republicans derided the legislation as "America Last" aid to foreign wars and have been threatening to invoke another motion to vacate the Speaker's chair. So far, however, they've failed to pull the trigger.

NEXT UP: The first criminal trial of a former (and perhaps future) U.S. President got underway for reals on Monday in New York, with opening statements presented by both sides in what Prosecutors are characterizing as a 2016 "election fraud" via hush-money case against Donald J. Trump. We step through the opening presentations of each side's case today. NY prosecutors detailed how they intend to demonstrate that Trump, in a panic following the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, where he boasted about assaulting women, took measures just before the 2016 election to pay off women he was alleged to have had affairs with, including Playboy Model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The schemes to silence the women, according to state prosecutor Matthew Colangelo, were carried out via an elaborate conspiracy between Trump, his then attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, and then publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker. The plot involved 34 allegedly falsified business transactions --- including checks signed by Trump while serving in the White House --- disguised as legal retainers to Cohen, rather than reimbursement money for hush-money payments. The Trump Organization couldn’t cut a check to Cohen with the memo "reimbursement for porn star payoff," so "they agreed to cook the books," said Colangelo, to make the payments appear to be for legal services.

The Enquirer produced what prosecutors described as "checkbook journalism" on Trump's behalf to "catch and kill" McDougal's story of a nearly year-long affair with Trump while his wife Melania was pregnant in 2006. And Cohen paid Daniels directly in exchange for signing a $130,000 non-disclosure agreement that prevented her from revealing her 2006 tryst with Trump while Melania was nursing their infant son. "He covered up that criminal conspiracy by lying in his New York business records over and over and over again," Colangelo told the jury, detailing what he characterized as "election fraud, pure and simple."

In Trump's defense, his attorney Todd Blanche made the case that none of the actions described by prosecutors are crimes. "I have a spoiler alert," he told the jury, "there’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. It’s called democracy."

Prosecutors called Pecker as their first witness on Monday, but the court session was cut short on due to a dental emergency for one of the jurors and a planned early finish to the day due to the Jewish Passover holiday. Pecker is set to return to the stand for the prosecution on Tuesday.

FINALLY: The story that (understandably, given the above) is not getting nearly the attention it deserves today. On Friday, by an overwhelming 3 to 1 margin, workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee voted to unionize by joining the United Auto Workers. The landmark vote came after a full-court press against it the day before the unionization election was to begin last Wednesday, via an unprecedented joint statement by six Republican southern state Governors. TN's Gov. Bill Lee and the Governors of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas warned in the statement against workers voting to join the union, charging that it would result in jobs leaving the state.

Nonetheless, VW's workers overwhelmingly approved the historic resolution, in what UAW leader Shawn Fain described on Sunday to our guest today, veteran labor journalist and author STEVEN GREENHOUSE of The Guardian, as "the first domino to fall" in what Greenhouse describes as the UAW's "ambitious $40m campaign targeting 13 automakers, including VW, Mercedes, Tesla, BMW, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai, with a total of 35 non-union plants across the US."

"It's a very big deal," Greenhouse tells me today. "It's a big deal because unions have had a very hard time organizing the South. Indeed, unions and union leaders are often told 'it's impossible to win the South, don't even bother.' Factory-workers are so worried that if they vote to unionize, the plant will close and move overseas. So this victory really bursts the citadel, breaks down the tradition of all these losses in the South. This finally shows you can win."

In fact, two previous efforts to unionize the same VW plant failed some 10 and 15 years ago. But now, post-pandemic and, most notably, with the rise and inspiration of the UAW's new, charismatic leader Fain, there is renewed action and optimism. "This gives a lot of momentum, a lot of energy and inspiration to autoworkers, and I think to the larger labor movement," says Greenhouse, the author of several books on the subject including his latest, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present and Future of American Labor.

We discuss, among other things today: why this effort at VW succeeded where previous votes failed; how unprecedented the statement was from those six southern Governors (In Greenhouse's interview with Fain on Sunday, the labor leader called them "liars" and "puppets for corporate America" that "don't give a damn about working-class people...even though workers are the ones who elect them."); how the unionization in the auto industry may inspire similar efforts by workers in other industries for the first time in man years; whether the UAW will actually be able to unionize Tesla, as led by the very anti-union Elon Musk, as well as the other non-union plants being targeted by the UAW around the country, following their wildly successful strike against Detroit's Big Three automakers last year.

One of those targeted non-union plants belongs to Mercedes-Benz in Vance, Alabama where workers are scheduled to hold a unionization vote next month. If both VW and Mercedes are unionized, as Greenhouse reported a Georgetown labor historian observing last week, it would "be nothing less than an earthquake [and] the biggest breakthrough in private-sector organizing in decades."

As noted, some pretty huge news on today's program...

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Three strikes for former Prez; 'No Labels' out; Soft sentence for GOP vote fraudster; WI reconsiders drop-boxes; NE nixes Electoral College change; Biden v. Israel; Sanders joins Biden to tout success against Big Pharma...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2024 6:36pm PT  

It was yet another busy news day and, thus, it was another very busy BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among the many stories covered today...

  • It has been a very very bad 24 hours for our disgraced former President in three of his four criminal cases, as he's now received rejections from three different judges to three different motions to dismiss or delay in three different jurisdictions over that period. Last night, Juan Merchan, the judge in his New York hush-money fraud case rejected his last minute motion to delay his April 15th trial until after SCOTUS rules on his laughable "Presidential Immunity" claim. The judge in his Georgia election theft conspiracy case, Scott McAfee, rejected Trump's effort to dismiss on ridiculous First Amendment "protected political speech" grounds. And even Aileen Cannon, the corrupt Trump-appointed federal judge overseeing his case in Florida for stealing national security documents upon leaving the White House, finally issued an order rejecting his absurd Presidential Records Act defense as cause for pre-trial dismissal. Sad!
  • The secretive, supposedly "centrist" No Labels group announced they will not be running a third-party candidate for President in 2024 after all.
  • Kim Taylor, the wife of an elected Republican official in Iowa who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator, will get just four months in prison after being found guilty last year of 52(!) election fraud crimes, including registering and casting votes for her husband in the names of others. (Tip for vote fraudsters looking to get off easy: Be a Republican.)
  • Wisconsin's newly progressive Supreme Court majority will now decide whether to reverse the previous right-wing majority's ban on the use of absentee ballot drop-boxes in the critical battleground state this year.
  • An out-of-the-blue call on Tuesday by a rightwing extremist on Twitter to change the way Nebraska will allocate its Electoral College votes in 2024 --- in hopes of awarding an extra vote for Trump this year --- gained support just hours later from the state's Governor and the desperate former President before failing in a vote by the state legislature Wednesday night. Bigly. The measure still could come back up for another vote, however, before the legislative session's end on April 18, or in a Special Session thereafter if called by the Governor.
  • Following a reportedly tense call on Thursday between the nation's two leaders, the White House announced that President Biden issued a warning to Israel's far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Change course in Gaza or...else. The White House said the President demanded swift changes to Israel's war on Gaza to allow much more food and humanitarian aid to reach starving citizens and protection for both civilians and relief workers. Though it remains unclear how U.S. support may change, an Administration spokesperson said they expected to see action from Israel "in hours or days" before reassessing current policy.
  • On Wednesday, Senator Bernie Sanders joined President Biden at the White House to tout their successful efforts at lowering the cost of healthcare and, specially, prescription drug prices following the adoption of the Inflation Reduction Act which every Republican in Congress voted again. After forcing Big Pharma to lower the cost of insulin and certain asthma medication for Medicare recipients to no more than $35/month, both men called for still more cuts in the price of overpriced prescription drugs sold in America to everyone, not just those on Medicare.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with news on a looming, climate-change fueled hunger crisis in Southern Africa; the Biden Administration's largest-ever investment to decarbonize American manufacturing; how melting polar ice is bending time itself; and the opening of America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm...which is decidedly not killing whales (insists Desi.)

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Guest: Alex Burness of Bolts Magazine; Also: OK voters remove neo-Nazi from office; Noteworthy Presidential Primary results from RI, CT, NY, WI...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2024 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: When democracy works as it's supposed to. And when it doesn't. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, encouraging news from Tuesday's elections out of the small town of Enid in supposedly "deep red" Oklahoma. After electing a guy by just 36 votes last year to the City Council --- a guy who turned out to be a neo-Nazi --- progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans in Enid rallied to remove Judd Blevins from office by nearly 20 points in a recall election. Republican Cheryl Patterson was elected to take the seat instead.

“We did it!,” said Kristi Balden, chair of the group called the Enid Social Justice Committee, which organized the signature drive to trigger Tuesday's recall after learning about Blevins' background as a participant in the White Supremacist riots in Charlottesville in 2017 and as an Oklahoma chapter head for a well known white nationalist group. Following the win for democracy in Enid on Tuesday night, she told NBC News that folks in the rural town discovered that even a small group can join together to effectively defeat extremism. “You can do this because we did this,” she said. “We didn’t even know what we were doing, and we did this. This is possible.”

In other election related news from Tuesday, Presidential Primaries were held in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Wisconsin despite the leading candidates for both major parties already having secured the delegates needed to clinch the 2024 nominations at their respective party conventions this summer. But there were still some interesting revelations from Tuesday's results.

While President Biden continues to see a small, if noteworthy, number of protest votes against him in Democratic primaries, largely in response to his position on Israel's war in Gaza, Donald Trump continues to do far worse among his own Republican party voters. Biden is still defeating challengers on the ballot as well as those registering votes for "uncommitted" by margins from the high 60s to the high 80s. Trump, on the other hand, is still having trouble topping a 70% percent margin on the GOP side, with Nikki Haley, who dropped out of the race weeks ago, still winning double-digit percentages in all four state primaries held on Tuesday.

In Wisconsin, for example, after an organized effort to encourage Dems to register a protest vote for "Uninstructed", the state's equivalent of "Uncommitted", approximately 48,000 (8.3%) of Democratic voters did so. That is certainly a concern in a state he won in 2020 by only about 21,000 votes --- and where Trump won by just 23,000 votes in 2016. On the other hand, about 125,000 voters in that state's Republican primary voted against the disgraced former President yesterday.

But the biggest news out of Tuesday's contests was arguably the fact that voters in Wisconsin approved two different Constitutional Amendments involving elections administration in the state. Both were placed on the ballot by Trump-allied Republicans in the GOP's still wildly gerrymandered state legislature after both measures were previously vetoed by the Democratic Governor.

Question 1 bans private funding of elections and Question 2 (the more troubling of the two), mandates that "only election officials designated by law" may perform election-related "tasks". Both measures sound fairly innocuous on paper. That, and a lack of organized opposition to either measure is undoubtedly why both were adopted by large margins statewide on Tuesday.

Some 27 other states won by Trump in 2020 have already adopted legislation similar to WI's Question 1, after Republicans decided to lie to themselves about private funding from non-profit organizations to help run elections during the pandemic as somehow related to Trump's loss. But Question 2 is a new idea and could, according to our guest today, result in chaos for election officials in the Badger State's nearly 2,000 decentralized election jurisdictions this November; frighten voting rights advocates away from helping voters at the polls; and spread to other states controlled by GOP election deniers, conspiracists and vote suppressors.

"These offices, even in better times, are chronically underfunded [and] understaffed," says my guest today, veteran voting rights journalist ALEX BURNESS, who published a deep dive warning about the dangers of these two ballot measures several weeks ago at the progressive Bolts Magazine. "It's hard to quantify what exactly the damage is going to be" regarding the ban on private funding of elections, "but if you can't afford to pay pollworkers, if you can't afford to recruit pollworkers, if you can't afford the extra dropboxes or those modern voting machines or tabulators, that's a problem," warns Burness.

But Question 2's vaguely worded requirement that "only election officials designated by law" may perform election-related "tasks" is what could really wreak havoc for voters and officials this November in the critical battleground state. Election-related "tasks" remains undefined in the new Amendment. It could relate to contractors who help design and program ballots for voting systems; outside experts who help officials analyze voting patterns to ensure the proper number of polling sites and printed ballots; voting rights groups who help disabled voters at the polls; municipal workers who are drafted by election officials to help set up tables at polling places; local volunteers who help officials in small towns seal envelopes to send voters absentee ballots, and many others.

It is all "straight out of the Big Lie," Burness explains today. "And in the absence of organized opposition to educate people about this, in the absence of much information from the media on this," he argues that it was easy for voters to look at these measures and think they make perfect sense --- as they apparently did on Tuesday. And yet, he asserts, the measures may turn out to be "a wolf in sheep's clothing."

"There is so much vagueness baked into that word 'tasks,'" Burness explains. "If 2020 is any indication, we can definitely expect that Wisconsin is going to play host to any number of election lawsuits. So, I think the passage of this measure kicks off many months of confusion and potentially chaos, of added stress for local election administrators, and added stress for the kind of people who would be inclined to assist in local election administration. The final word on what exactly Question 2 even means is probably yet to come."

"I can't say why this didn't get more attention, why folks didn't spend on it," he tells me in response to my question about why there was little warning from media and virtually no organized opposition to these measures from Democrats or voting rights advocates. "I could dream up reasons, such as fatigue," Burness says, summing up his guess as "the general normalization of Big Lie politics."

Unlike last night's story out of Enid, OK, that is decidedly not good news for democracy...

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Guests: 'Driftglass' and Frances Langum of 'The Pro Left' podcast on (almost) everything we missed last week, and why it matters this week...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2024 5:40pm PT  

It may be April Fools Day, but its no joke that we are back on today's BradCast after a half-planned, half-doctor-advised Spring Break week off! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we left, it seemed like last week might prove to be a slow news week, with Congress on vacation, no primary elections last Tuesday and Trump's New York felony hush-money trial postponed a few weeks until this month.

Boy were we wrong about that. Last week was anything but a slow news week, and we've got the headlines today to prove it! To add some actual context, depth and insight to those headlines --- and to hold my hand after I'd been trying to look away for the past week --- we're joined by two old friends, though only one who you may have heard on this program before.

Our friend known mostly as 'DRIFTGLASS' is back with us again today. He is co-host, along with his wife, of The Professional Left podcast recorded each week from "Flyover Country, Illinois." He is also, today, celebrating his 19th blogiversary at the Driftglass blog, so we're honored he agreed to spend it with us!

And, as if that's not swell enough, his Pro Left Pod co-hosting wife, FRANCES LANGUM, who is also a longtime Associate Editor over at the Crooks & Liars blog, joins us as well today for a romping, rollicking, breathless review of much that we missed last week and why most of it still matters this week!

Among the huge number of topics from last week covered on today's program...

  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)'s vow to call for removing House Speaker Mike Johnson for his daring to work with Democrats to keep the government from shutting down by passing a long-delayed 2024 spending bill just over a week ago.
  • The failed attempted conspiracy theories forwarded by Russia and its supporters following the horrific massacre by ISIS-K at a concert venue in Moscow a week ago Sunday.
  • Donald Trump's failure to cough up a $454 million bond during the appeal of his New York civil fraud case and the various lifelines thrown to him (for now) by the Appeals Court in NY.
  • Trump's scammy, just-in-time merger of his failing social media site with a public company that could result in billions of dollars --- including "straight-up bribery" as Driftglass describes it --- for the disgraced former President.
  • Trump's New York criminal trial on 34 felony charges related to hush-money payments to porn-star Stormy Daniels to help him win the 2016 Presidential election is now set to begin on April 15. And, as Fran believes, Trump "will do anything to make the evidence that's going to appear in this case not come to trial." Including, she argues, even if he must "spend two or three nights in jail, violating the gag orders, in order to make this case not happen."
  • What the Biden Administration's decision last week to abstain from a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza may mean for Israel and for some on the Left in the U.S. And why, if you don't like what Israel is doing, Fran advises: "Don't elect Bibi Netanyahu President of the United States --- which is what Trump is."
  • Why NBC News' ill-considered hiring and then firing of former RNC Chair and attempted election thief Ronna Romney McDaniel matters.
  • What Arizona's failed 2022 Republican Gubernatorial candidate and election liar turned 2024 Senate candidate Kari Lake's decision not to contest the claims in an election fraud defamation lawsuit filed against her by Maricopa County's Republican County Recorder (and chief election official) Stephen Richer means and how Lake is hoping to be saved --- somehow --- by a victorious Trump this year. (We wish her the best of luck with that.)
  • The remarkable, 25-point Special Election victory last week by Democrat Marilyn Lands in Alabama who focused her campaign on reproductive rights and subsequently flipped a state legislative seat from "red" to "blue" after losing her race for that same seat by 7 points in the 2022 general election. What will a post-Dobbs, post-IVF general election look like in supposedly "deep red" AL and elsewhere this November?
  • The desperate-for-quick-cash former President and huckster-in-chief is now selling bibles for $59.99 a piece. Though, to be fair, this version also includes the U.S. Constitution. Has Donald Trump ever read either of them? Says Driftglass today: "Good thing he did this to raise money to pay for the court costs of paying off a [porn star] that he was sleeping with while his wife was nursing their child. So the circle of absolute blasphemy is now complete."
  • Joe Lieberman died last week.
  • Independent 2024 Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., currently on the ballot in 8 states, thrilled dozens with his announcement of his running mate last week, the former wife of one of Google's founders, Nicole Shanahan. Or, as Driftglass describes her, "a big bag of money who is as crazy as he is".

That's just some of the firehose of news from both last week and this that we cover in today's very lively BradCast...

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Trump staring down barrel of both civil and criminal accountability in Empire State; Also: Biden forgives another $6B in student loans; U.S. calls for 'immediate, sustained ceasefire' in Gaza; Scientists baffled by spike in record year of global heating...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2024 7:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's crunch time for our disgraced former President in his old home state. Sad! But they ain't playin' in New York. So, get your popcorn ready. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But first, a few other news items of note...

  • The past year has been the warmest on record globally --- on both land and sea --- for likely the last 100,000 years. Some of that warming has long been predicted by scientists, thanks to the continuing release of emissions from burning fossil fuels that are the main cause of global warming. But the sudden spike over the past 12 months has been far worse than predicted based on years of data and computer modeling. Top climate scientists are now baffled about the cause and wondering if, perhaps, they've been low-balling the climate change crisis in their modelling.
  • More good news for student loan borrowers today. The Biden Administration is forgiving another $6 billion in loans to some 78,000 public-service workers who were promised over a decade ago that their service would eventually help forgive their debt, only to be lied to and misled by schools and private companies administering their federal loans. President Biden is correcting that today, and will also be informing an additional 380,000 borrowers that they will also see their debt wiped out over the next two years if they keep their payments up to date. As of now, the Administration has forgiven nearly $144 billion in debt, even after the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court corruptly blocked his original plan for $430 billion in debt relief.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Cairo on Thursday called for an "immediate, sustained ceasefire" and the release of all hostages in Gaza. He said the Administration is supporting U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for same, and reiterated U.S. opposition to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's promised offensive in Rafah unless accommodations are in place to prevent still more harm, death and starvation of the civilian population sheltering in southern Gaza. At the same time, the far-right Prime Minister --- facing felony charges whenever he finally leaves office --- is taking aim at high-ranking Jewish leaders in the U.S. like longtime Israel supporter and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, for having dared to call for new elections in Israel.
  • New campaign fundraising numbers are out this week via the Federal Election Commission and reveal that the Biden Campaign and his affiliated fundraising groups are far outpacing the Trump Campaign and its affiliated groups. The Biden Campaign now has more than double the amount of cash on hand as Trump does, even as most of the funds raised by the former President has gone to cover his legal bills over the past year.
  • But the jig may finally be up for Donald Trump in New York, where he must come up with some $464 million dollars in cash or bonds by this Monday to avoid the start of seizure of his assets by the state following his loss in the state's civil trial against him, his company and his two eldest sons for massive bank, tax and insurance fraud. Reportedly, the office of state Attorney General Letitia James has already filed judgements in both New York City (home of Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street and other major property assets) and Westchester County (the location of one of his golf courses and an estate he owns called Seven Springs). The filing of judgements is the first step toward the state's seizure of Trump properties as well as bank and brokerage accounts. That process could begin as early as Monday if Trump is unable to come up with a half-billion dollar bond or get some other form of emergency relief from the NY state appeals court between now and then. Moreover, today the trial judge in the case expanded strict oversight by a court-appointed monitor of just about every financial event or attempted event at the Trump Organization to help ensure the longtime con-man is unable to move funds around or pull off any other chicanery to avoid accountability. As noted, they ain't playin' in NY!
  • But it's not only civil accountability barreling toward Trump in New York. The judge overseeing his upcoming criminal trial, likely to begin next month, related to hush-money payments made before and after the 2016 election, issued a ruling this week on what evidence may and may not be presented at trial by each side. As WaPo's Jennifer Rubin detailed today, it "couldn't have gone worse for Trump". Judge Juan Merchan, she reports, "ruled against [Trump] in virtually all of his motions to exclude evidence. By contrast, the judge largely granted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s motions to exclude evidence for trial that Trump believed might be exculpatory." The ruling, Rubin suggests, indicates Merchan "will not indulge Trump’s antics nor allow the trial to devolve into a spectacle." We'll see about that. But, she adds: "Based on these rulings, Trump should be quaking in his boots."
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more stunning heat records in South America (144°F heat index in Rio!); the Biden EPA's largest climate regulation ever; a climate "red alert" issued by the U.N.; and new remarks from ExxonMobil's sleazy CEO Darren Woods claiming that climate change isn't his company's fault, it's YOURS!...

NOTE: Both BradCast and Green News Report will be standing down next week for a much-needed Spring Break! I'm sure it'll be a totally slow news week anyway. We'll see you after Easter!

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Also: TikTok foolishness; NY hush-money trial delay?; Navarro must go to jail; Trump owes $400k for failed 'Steele Dossier' lawsuit in UK...
By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2024 6:51pm PT  

Lots (and lots) of news on today's BradCast, from Israel to TikTok foolishness to lots (and lots) of Trump accountability news. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our lead stories today...

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, an ardent, longtime supporter of Israel, called on Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold new elections. New York's Schumer, a Jew who happens to come from NYC, which has the world's largest Jewish population, cited the far-right Prime Minister as an obstacle to peace who is turning Israel into the world's "pariah". In a 40-minute floor speech, the Senate's top Democrat charged that the unpopular Netanyahu, who is avoiding facing felony charges while remaining in office and avoiding a new election until his war against Hamas in Gaza is over (which it will never be, as long as these are the stakes), "has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel." This is a very big deal in a whole bunch of ways. We discuss some of them today.
  • There has been a bipartisan push this week to adopt a bill that would result in the banning of the TikTok app in the U.S. if the company which owns it does not divest from China. Donald Trump, who, as President, issued a failed Executive Order to ban the popular social media video app (it was blocked by the Courts for violating First Amendment free speech rights) has recently flip-flopped to support the app, after meeting with a billionaire hedge fund manager heavily invested in the company. But, despite the popularity of the bill which has now passed in the House, we discuss why it is a terrible idea. Social media regulations are long overdue. But the menace of China's (theoretical) ownership of TikTok is no worse than Elon Musk's actual ownership of Twitter/X. And, in case Democrats failed to notice today, Trump's former Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, announced that he is trying to bring together an investor group to purchase the company. Still think this is a good idea, Dems?
  • The UK's Guardian, in an excellent piece today, details the Trump business associates who prosecutors say paid Alexander Smirnov $600,000 in 2020, the year that Smirnov, now charged with lying to the FBI, fed them false claims that Joe Biden accepted bribes from the Ukrainian energy company named Burisma. Prosecutors have also charged that Smirnov met with Russian Intelligence officials before passing on the lie to the FBI, which House Republicans cited at the center of their doomed impeachment probe of the President. So, Smirnov passed on disinformation from Russian intelligence to the FBI and was paid by longtime business associates in the U.S., UK and Dubai of the then-President who was running for re-election that year. And, after losing the election, those lies were used to try and impeach the guy who defeated him. This movie keeps getting worse and worse.

In Trump accountability news today (there is lots of that as well)...

  • U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by Trump after he lost the election, but before he left the White House, rejected a Team Trump motion, for a happy change, in the case of the highly classified documents he stole when leaving the White House, and then hid from prosecutors seeking to get them back. Cannon turned down his attempt to dismiss the felony charges based on his claim that the Espionage Act he is charged under is too vague.
  • Meanwhile, the one criminal case that Trump is facing which had not yet been derailed by Trump's various delay tactics --- his New York state hush-money case --- may now be delayed following a tranche of thousands of documents from a previous federal investigation recently turned over to Manhattan prosecutors. We explain what happened here and why the NY D.A.'s office cites the defendants actions for this surprise revelation. Prosecutors have agreed to a 30-day delay before the start of the trial, which was previously scheduled to begin on March 25. The judge overseeing the case, however, Judge Juan Merchan, has yet to decide how much, if any, delay he will allow.
  • Trump's former White House trade advisor, and one of his top 2020 "voter fraud" fraudsters, Peter Navarro must report to federal prison in Miami next Tuesday, according to a federal appeals court panel today. Navarro was charged with criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to answer subpoenas from the House January 6 Committee. Like former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who has managed to remain free pending appeal, Navarro was sentenced to four months for his crimes.
  • And, in a bit of Trump accountability news that appears to have slipped through the cracks, last week, a judge in the UK ordered Trump to pay some $382,000 in attorneys fees to the lawyers of former British spy Christopher Steele and his private intelligence company. Trump had filed sued in the UK, charging that the "shocking and scandalous" allegations in the so-called Steele Dossier had harmed his reputation. (Please hold your laughter.) The British judge determined the claims were "bound to fail" and ordered Trump to cough up legal fees to cover the frivolous suit. In 2022, Trump lost a similar case he filed in Florida against Steele, Hillary Clinton and a number of top former FBI officials. That case was also tossed and he was ordered to pay nearly a million dollars for that fiasco. I guess he's still not tired of winning.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with cruel news out of Ron DeSantis' Florida; disturbing news about the fossil fuel industry's continuing methane leaks; terrifying news about GOP plans if Trump retakes the White House; and sad news for California salmon...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Listeners ring in on that, Brad's hack of Daylight Saving Time and more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2024 6:01pm PT  

We were able to open up the phones today to listeners regarding last week's State of the Union Address, the GOP's stunningly failed Rebuttal, and what has become a seemingly annual debate on The BradCast over Daylight Savings Time --- about which I am right and everyone else, of course, is wrong. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to those phones, we review and/or discuss...

  • How I hacked Daylight Savings Time over this past weekend --- and how you can (and should!) next year too!
  • Joe Biden's new budget proposal for fiscal year 2025 calls for the expansion of social programs and new taxes on corporations and the wealthy to pay for it and to shave $3 trillion off the national debt.
  • Biden's new post-SOTU ad: "Look, I'm not a young guy. That's no secret! But, here's the deal..."
  • How Donald Trump welcomed, and praised, Hungarian dictator Viktor Orban at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend, celebrating the rightwing strongman's rule: "He said this is the way it's gonna be and that's the end of it, right? He's the boss."
  • 1,000 protesters against Israel's attack on Gaza marched near the Sunday's Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater here in Hollywood --- whether you heard about them or not.
  • A few key points from Biden's rousing, lively, feisty SOTU Address (video | transcript) that drove the GOP crazy, and...
  • The outrageous lie, told amidst Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL)'s incredibly bizarre SOTU Rebuttal, regarding a 12-year old girl who was held captive and repeatedly raped by drug traffickers at the U.S. southern border during the Biden Administration which, as we have subsequently learned, didn't actually happen during the Biden Administration nor even in the U.S. at all. (Here's journalist Jonathan Katz' full, well-documented evisceration of Britt's incredible border lie.)

Then, we open up the phones to callers on all of the above, including on the never-ending DST debate and the almost-as-important debate over the importance of re-electing Joe Biden to save democracy and, yes, Gaza...if either can be saved at this point...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 3/8/2024 10:35am PT  

At a moment of a potential Holocaust in Gaza, Donald Trump's Super Tuesday call for Israel's right wing extremist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "finish the problem" in Gaza sounds ominously like Adolf Hitler's "Final Solution" to the "Jewish Problem".

Whether or not one accepts South Africa's claim that the "scale of destruction in Gaza" reflects "genocidal intent", there can be no question but that a failure to heed VP Kamala Harris' poignant call on Sunday for an "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza, along with an unhindered flow of humanitarian aid, could lead to an annihilation of Gaza's civilian population.

Over the past 5 months, the Israeli military has reduced most of Northern Gaza into an uninhabitable wasteland. Approximately 80% of the Palestinian population (1.9 million) has been internally displaced and pushed to the brink of famine.

In normal times, Hitler comparisons might seem over the top. These are not normal times...

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

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Guest: Ron Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech for People; Also: Sweden joins NATO; Biden to aid Gaza via sea port; 'No Labels' to choose 'Unity' ticket; TX utility admits culpability in state's record wildfires...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2024 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're honored to be joined by one of the Constitutional law experts who first brought the issue of the Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" to the attention of the nation...before our corrupted, activist U.S. Supreme Court, he explains, "invented" a way to nullify it to help protect our disgraced former President on Monday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Free Speech for People (FSFP) is the non-partisan government accountability group which first raised the issue of Donald Trump's clear violation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment way back during the summer of 2021. At the time, they sent letters to chief election officials in all 50 states warning them not to place Trump on the ballot should the disgraced former President chose to run again in 2024, as he was in violation of the Constitutional clause barring oath-breakers from public office after having "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the nation. After having incited the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, they explained to state officials, he was no longer eligible for office under the post-Civil War Amendment.

They were, of course, correct. Both chambers of Congress, in bipartisan votes, found that Trump had, in fact, incited the insurrection while attempting to prevent Joe Biden, the winner of the 2020 election from being certified by Congress. Late last year the Colorado Supreme Court agreed [PDF], and barred Trump from the state's ballot. He appealed the ruling to SCOTUS, which quickly heard the matter and issued its 13-page ruling [PDF] on Monday, pulling reasons out of thin air for why Colorado could not bar Trump from running in the state.

The Republican Supremes went even further by inventing a new mandate that will prevent insurrectionists from being barred from federal office under 14.3 unless Congress adopts a new law to execute the 150 year old Amendment. (Or, at least, to execute it's two-sentence Section 3. All of the other mandates of the 14th --- such as citizenship for those born or naturalized in the U.S., due process for all and equal protection under the law --- are all self-executing. A special law by Congress is, apparently, only necessary for Section 3, for some reason, according to the Supreme Court as of this week.)

We're joined today by FSFP's Legal Director, RON FEIN, who, with fellow FSFP Constitutional law experts John Bonifaz and Ben Clement, penned an op-ed on Wednesday, describing the Court's ruling as "an error of historic proportions and a sham."

The Court's ruling, he argues today, "had nothing to do with the text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, nor of the history, or the original public understanding of Section 3. Instead, the Justices --- and it's not just the six conservative Justices but also the three so-called liberals --- started from the endpoint of the result that they wanted to reach and then worked backwards to find a rationale."

"If they had wanted to say that Trump didn't engage in insurrection," he tells me, "I would have had a little bit more respect. It would have been very brazen and obviously ridiculous. But at least they would have been straightforwardly saying something that would have meant that he wasn't disqualified --- if they wanted to defy all evidence and say that he didn't engage in insurrection. But instead, they fabricated an exception that can be found nowhere in the Constitution, that basically lets Trump and others off without ever confronting the merits of what he did."

As anyone who has read Monday's ruling may have noticed, the Justices never dispute the Colorado Supreme Court's finding --- following a five-day trial --- that, yes, Trump is, in fact, an insurrectionist. In fact, the Court's three liberals, in response to the part of the majority's Opinion from which they dissent, refer to Trump as an "oathbreaking insurrectionist" on numerous occasions.

Fein describes how the SCOTUS ruling makes a mockery of their claim to require "uniformity" in elections. "This is something that they pull when they want to, but it has no real basis in reality," he notes, describing how our Presidential election system is actually set up to allow each state to determine their own way of running elections.

"We have state by state elections," he asserts, "both at the primary stage and in the general election. We have, for better or worse, an Electoral College system. That's the system under which Donald Trump became President under in 2016. It is not at all uncommon, both in the primaries and in the general election, for some candidates to be on some states' ballots and not others. In fact, we're going to see that in this election. We're going to see RFK Jr. will be on some states' ballots, but not all of them. Cornel West will probably be in the same situation. The Constitution says that states have the power to determine how they appoint electors."

Those facts make the Court's argument that removing Trump from the ballot would allow a single state to determine the result of the election a joke. Then again, the entire ruling is exactly that, if not a particularly amusing one.

Fein eviscerates the rest of their opinion as well today, while warning that there may now be further Constitutional bastardizations regarding Trump in the days and years ahead. As he, Bonifaz and Clement explain in the chilling conclusion of their op-ed: "If Trump wins, prepare for a third term. Sure, the Twenty-Second Amendment says that '[n]o person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.' But Trump has already claimed that he is entitled to a third term because 'they spied on my campaign.' When Trump’s lawyers make this argument, what credibility will the Supreme Court have as he runs roughshod over our constitutional democracy?"

ALSO TODAY...

  • Sweden formally joins NATO. (I guess Russia will have "no choice" but to attack them now too, amirite Putin fans?)
  • Joe Biden will announce plans to use the U.S. military to deploy food and humanitarian aid to Gaza by sea via a temporary port.
  • The group calling itself No Labels is reportedly planning to select a "Unity Ticket" for this year's Presidential election that nobody, other than No Labels and their secret funders, actually seem to want.
  • Texas utility company Xcel Energy admits their equipment sparked the largest wildfire in state history.
  • And Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the enormous climate stakes of this year's Presidential election and more...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Biden, Trump (mostly) sweep; Haley drops out; McConnell endorses; Protests haunt Dem victories in MN, CA; Few (though some noteworthy) Election Day voting system failures...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2024 7:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We distill a whole bunch of stuff --- results, problems, politics, concerns --- from Super Tuesday's primaries and caucuses in some 15 states and one U.S. territory. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Included in our coverage today...

  • Donald Trump won most, if not all, of the GOP nominating contests on Tuesday by largely anywhere from 60% to 80% over Nikki Haley who defeated Trump in Vermont. Nonetheless, she subsequently announced on Wednesday that she is suspending her campaign, without (yet) endorsing Trump, saying he must now earn her support and those of her backers.
  • Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell --- after pretending to be outraged by the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection which he described Trump as "morally responsible" for --- endorsed him for President on Wednesday. I've got a word or two about that today.
  • Joe Biden won the Democratic contests in all of the states which voted on Super Tuesday, most by well over 80%. (He only received 70% and 73% respectively in Minnesota and Oklahoma. More on that below.) Nonetheless, if you were watching CNN last night, you'd have heard how Trump "DOMINATED!" his primaries, while Biden just did "very well" on the Democratic side.
  • After the U.S. Supreme Court, last year, required Alabama to finally add a second U.S. House District where Black voters might elect a candidate of their choosing --- in a state where 27% of the population is Black but only 1 of 7 U.S. House seats are even held by a Democrat --- more than 6,500 voters in that newly redrawn district were misinformed by County officials about which Congressional District they were supposed to vote in on Tuesday. The Chair of Montgomery County's Board of Registrars blamed a computer "software glitch" for what several candidates worried may have led to mass disenfranchisement.
  • Meanwhile, in Utah, where Republicans decided to run their own statewide Caucuses this year, an untold number of voters end up going home without voting when the Party's computer systems crashed or were otherwise unusable at many Caucus sites. The Salt Lake Tribune describes the "chaos" that ensued.
  • In North Carolina, GOP voters elected their Holocaust-denying Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson as their nominee for Governor this year. Democrats, who selected state A.G. Josh Stein for the job on Tuesday are likely delighted about that. Also in NC, preacher and former Rep. Mark Harris appears to be heading back to the U.S. House after his 2018 campaign for the state's 8th Congressional District resulted in a do-over election after Harris hired a known election thief who illegally collected ballots and filled them in for Harris. That election was tossed by the state Election Board and a chastened Harris chose not to run again. But now he's back! And on Tuesday, he apparently won enough votes to avoid a run-off. So, he appears headed back to D.C. next year thanks to further GOP gerrymandering of his NC district since he last tried to steal the election there.
  • In Texas, Democrats elected Rep. Colin Allred to take on Senator Ted Cruz this fall. Though state Republicans drew the line, apparently, at nominating a convicted January 6th insurrectionist for the U.S. House in the state's 19th Congressional District, sticking with the current Republican incumbent instead.
  • Jason Palmer defeated Joe Biden on Tuesday to win the Democratic Caucus in American Samoa! Who is Jason Palmer? We discuss, while noting that the victory came in a 51 to 40 vote (Not percentage points! That's the actual vote tally!) on the U.S. territorial island some 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Apparently it pays to actually show up and campaign! Palmer was the only Democratic candidate who actually did so. Other than that, yeah, Biden actually "DOMINATED!" on the Dem side last night.
  • There was, however, a noteable vote for "Uncommitted" in Minnesota's Democratic Primary on Tuesday, with some 19% of voters casting a protest vote against the President, presumably as a statement in opposition to the Biden Administration policy regarding Israel's war in Gaza. The state has a sizeable Arab-American population. MN Democrats' bump for "Uncommitted" this year, as compared to the last time a Dem President ran for reelection in 2012, was substantial --- much more than a similar protest vote in Michigan last week --- even as all of the other states with similar "None of the Above" options on the ballot to date (Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Tennessee) all saw a decrease in such votes this year as compared to 2012.
  • Still, the protests from a small faction of the Left are unmistakable. Democrats dismiss those voters at their peril. Especially in critical battleground states like MI and MN. The protest was impossible to not notice at Rep. Adam Schiff's victory celebration last night in California. He will face Republican former MLB star Steve Garvey for the state's open U.S. Senate seat this November, after outpacing fellow progressive Congressmembers Katie Porter and Barbara Lee last night. But protesters chanted "Cease-fire Now!" and "Free Palestine!" throughout Schiff's entire victory speech on Tuesday, which the L.A.-based Dem handled gracefully. The Biden Administration does seem to be taking notice. Over the weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris gave remarks on Sunday calling for an "immediate cease-fire", "given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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