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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 19, 2024
Bad Climate News for Home, Car Owners; Good Labor News for Workers in the South: 'BradCast' 4/18/24
Also: Jury seated in NY; NV okays abortion initiative; OH Repubs block Biden from ballot...
'Green News Report' 4/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deluge in Dubai; Climate impacts to cost trillions per year; New lightbulb efficiency standards; PLUS: Biden Admin cracks down on toxic silica dust to protect workers' lungs...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/24 - 4/11/24 - Archives...
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Previous GNRs: 4/11/24 - 4/9/24 - Archives...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 4/9/24 - 4/4/24 - Archives...
'Pink Slime': Fake 'Local News' Sites Proliferating in Advance of Election: 'BradCast' 4/10/24
Guest: Alex Mahadevan; Also: Trump CFO back to jail; GOP chaos, panic after AZ's 1864 abortion ban restored...
Dirty Tricks and the Dirtiest Candidate Of All Time: 'BradCast' 4/9/24
A CA three-way!; Polls shift toward Biden; RW scam artists pay the price; Trump rejected again in NY criminal case, facing trouble for phony $175M bond in NY civil case...
'Green News Report' 4/9/24
Big hurricane season coming; Colorado River used mostly for cattle; Good news for CA snowpack, for now; PLUS: Disney's Tomorrowland says goodbye to Yesterdayville...
'Titanic Law' Reform Just Tip of Iceberg in Quest for Key Bridge Accountability: 'BradCast' 4/8/24
Guest: Helen Santoro; Also: Media echo Trump abortion lies; Biden's new debt relief for 30M...
Sunday 'Dark Days Indeed' Toons
FEATURING: The Eclipse! Disinformation! 'Victimless' Crimes! And much more in our latest collection of the week's darkest toons...
Trump's Very Bad Day in Court(s), Other Good (& Less Good) News: 'BradCast' 4/4
No Labels out; Soft sentence for vote fraudster; WI reconsiders drop-boxes; NE nixes Elctrl College change; Biden v. Israel; Sanders, Biden tout drug price success...
'Green News Report' 4/4/24
Hunger crisis amid drought in Africa; Biden invests billions to decarbonize manufacturing; Melting ice is bending time; America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm...
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: Haley notches small victory in Dixville, NH; 2020 mistallies in VA benefited Trump; Deadly, climate-fueled storms slam nation...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2024 4:12pm PT  

As noted on today's BradCast, CBS News' legendary radio and TV broadcaster Charles Osgood has passed away at age 91. Other than that, we've got some arguably much brighter news throughout the bulk of today's program. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered today...

  • Last night, just after midnight, Nikki Haley won every single vote cast in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the first town in the state to vote in the state's first-in-the-nation Primary on Tuesday. They had a 100% turnout. Haley won all 6 votes. Donald Trump won 0. We discuss why that matters (and doesn't). Voters across the entire state are voting today on hand-marked paper ballots. In Dixville Notch --- and about 40% of towns in the state --- ballots are publicly hand-counted by human beings after polls close. The rest of the towns, the larger ones in general, are tallied by 15 or 20-year old computerized optical scanners. Though, due to a write-in campaign for Joe Biden in the state, where there is no officially sanctioned Democratic primary, most of those towns will be hand-counting a lot of ballots as well. We'll have full reported results out of NH --- and why they matter (or don't) --- on tomorrow's show, of course.
  • For years, Republicans have been citing evidence of miscounted votes in Prince William County, Virginia as evidence of massive fraud in the 2020 Presidential race. The state's Republican A.G., after taking office in 2022, even filed criminal charges against the County's Registrar. Recently, however, the charges were unceremoniously dropped. And now we learn that, due to largely understandable tabulation errors, Joe Biden should have received 1,648 more votes than he was credited for, and that Donald Trump was given 2,327 votes that he shouldn't have, in a county that Biden won by more than 60,000 votes --- in a state where the Democrat won the Presidential race by some 450,000 votes. Races for U.S. Senate and U.S. House were also affected by the counting errors, though none of errors would reportedly have changed the results of any contest. We explain the whole mess.
  • We've got quite a bit of good news for you today when it comes to redistricting and rolling back GOP racial and partisan gerrymanders! In North Dakota, a federal judge has ordered new state legislative map after Republicans, following the 2020 Census, cracked two Native American reservations into different districts in order to flip both state House and Senate seats from D to R. It worked in 2022. But now, the judge has ordered not only new maps, but also new elections this fall in the districts found to have been in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Louisiana's new Republican Governor approved a new U.S. House map for the state this week, after the GOP state legislature finally adopted it last week, following a federal court order to draw an additional majority-Black voting district in the state. The Republican-controlled legislature previously had just 1 such district out of its 6 Congressional seats, despite African-Americans accounting for nearly a third of the statewide population. GOP lawmakers only agreed to do so after many appeals, and after realizing that if they didn't draw up their own maps, the court would do it for them. The new map will likely result in an additional Democratic member of Congress from the Bayou State next year.
  • And, in Wisconsin last week, voters filed a motion with the state's newly liberal-leaning Supreme Court seeking a new U.S. House map in time for the 2024 elections. Last month, the state's high court agreed with petitioners that the state GOP's state legislative maps for the Assembly and Senate, in place for more than a decade, were unlawful gerrymanders in violation of state Constitutional requirements. The new motion filed last week asks the same Supreme Court to order a new U.S. House map as well, on the same basis that the Justices determined the state legislative districts were unconstitutional. Petitioners argue that the unconstitutional and politically gerrymandered map resulted in Republicans winning 75% of the state’s Congressional seats despite winning just 50% of the statewide vote in the 2022 election. That year, the closely divided, if Dem-leaning Presidential battleground state also re-elected its Democratic Governor in the same statewide election.
  • Finally today, San Diego was deluged on Monday with a year's worth of rain in a matter of three hours, overwhelming infrastructure in the usually mild Southern California city. But, as discussed in our latest Green News Report today with Desi Doyen, it was just one of dozens of cities across the U.S. in recent weeks where infrastructure has been hammered by climate change-fueled extreme Winter weather. Nearly 100 have been killed in the recent storms in a number of states as of airtime. That, as Big Oil gears up a multi-million ad blitz to hoax Americans into supporting fossil fuel friendly candidates in 2024, as the unstoppable transition to clean, renewable energy is finally underway...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Catching up after conquering COVID (again!); Also: DeSantis drops out, 'kisses the ring'; SCOTUS sides with Biden on border (for now); Callers ring in for first time this year...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2024 6:12pm PT  

Okay. I'm back. COVID free! (Again!) Hopefully for good this time, as discussed --- along with many other things --- on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the news we begin to get caught up with today after my rebound sidelining last week...

  • My surprise COVID rebound last week and lessons learned in the bargain. If the news out of the federal courtroom in New York today in the second E. Jean Carroll defamation trial is to be believed, our disgraced former President may have his own new infection again soon.
  • After, just last week, condemning those Republicans who "kiss the ring" of Donald Trump in order to save themselves, Florida Governor and failed 2024 Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race on Sunday. And, yes, he kissed the ring in hopes of saving himself for 2028 by endorsing Donald Trump. DeSantis also used a fake quote from Winston Churchill when doing so, just so he could fail as spectacularly as possible on his way out the door.
  • New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary is Tuesday and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is the last GOPer left in the race other than the twice-impeached, four-time criminally indicted former President. If one believes the pre-primary polling, the race will be over by Wednesday. And the guy who was, literally, praising the idea of a "strongman running the country" during rallies in New Hampshire over the weekend, and telling supporters that U.S. Presidents must have complete immunity to commit any and all crimes, will be on a glide path toward becoming the 2024 Republican nominee for President of the United States.
  • While the DNC has not authorized a Democratic Primary in New Hampshire this year --- choosing instead to make South Carolina's February 3 contest the first official one for the Dems --- that hasn't stopped a write-in effort for Joe Biden in New Hampshire UNsanctioned Democratic Primary, in which Biden does not appear on the ballot. It has also resulted in what appears to be the first (known) dirty trick of 2024. NH voters began receiving robocalls over the weekend from "Joe Biden" instructing them not to vote at all on Tuesday. The incident is being investigated by law enforcement, but may give us an idea of what the abuse of Artificial Intelligence may have in store for us in this unprecedented 2024 election season.
  • On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court --- in a 5 to 4 ruling --- sided with the Biden Administration's Border Patrol and said that they may, in fact, remove razor-wire placed on the Rio Grande by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, after Abbott's actions have already resulted in the death of a mother and her two young children drowning in the river. But four Justices (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) apparently have no use anymore for the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause which gives deference to federal law over state law.
  • Finally, after weeks away from our flagship station (KPFK in L.A.) over the holidays and then during our multiple brushes with COVID, we were finally live in studio again and able to open the phone lines today to listeners on anything they wanted to discuss. Even if one of them felt like they had to lie to get on the air to say it.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest-host Nicole Sandler with the late comedian's daughter Kelly Carlin; Also: DOJ cites 'cascading failures' in Uvalde, TX school shooting...
By Desi Doyen on 1/18/2024 5:46pm PT  

Nicole Sandler is back on today's BradCast with a special interview, and otherwise taking up guest hosting duties while Brad remains out with his COVID rebound. (He's doing better and hopes to be back soon!) [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The U.S. Dept. of Justice released a damning, 575-page report [PDF] detailing 'cascading failures' of law enforcement in responding to the 2022 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen children and 2 teachers were killed before law enforcement officers in Texas eventually shot the perpetrator. The report catalogues multiple points of failure by law enforcement officials, including a lack of leadership, training, coordination, communication, and poor decision-making that created confusion at the scene and delayed a confrontation with the gunman until a full 77 minutes after the first 911 call. The report also highlights the misinformation and poor handling of communications with victims' families in its aftermath. In a press conference regarding the DOJ's report on Thursday morning, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland charged: "The victims and survivors of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School deserved better...It is now widely understood by law enforcement agencies that in active shooter incidents, time is not on the side of law enforcement. Every second counts. And the priority of law enforcement must be to immediately enter the room and stop the shooter."
  • It was another potentially expensive day in court for the disgraced former President, in the second civil trial brought against him by writer E. Jean Carroll. Today, however, as his mother-in-law was buried, Donald Trump was absent. That followed admonishments by the federal judge on Wednesday for disrupting court proceedings. An earlier jury already established that Trump sexually assaulted Carroll in the 1990's and then defamed her following his Presidency, awarding her $5 million dollars. This new jury will determine how much more he has to pay for his defamatory comments about her while serving as President.
  • Next, Nicole speaks with author KELLY CARLIN (pictured above), the only child of the late, legendary comedian George Carlin, about a disturbing new, unauthorized, AI-generated, hour-long YouTube 'comedy special' which used Artificial Intelligence to generate a fake version of her father. The video uses his likeness and signature style to say and do things her dad never said and never did. Reviews of the hour-long "special" have been brutal. But Kelly, who has also condemned the bastardized version of her father's work, details how AI is not only hoovering up and stealing the works of artists, writers and performers without permission, but also poses dangers to average citizens, whose likenesses can similarly be misused and abused with little hope for recourse under current laws. As Carlin warns in her conversation with Nicole: "This is bigger than a famous comedian, or a dead actor, or a live actor. This is about humanity having their autonomy and agency protected legally in this country."
  • Finally, we close with our latest Green News Report, as the rightwing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court signals its readiness to gut federal agency authority to craft environmental regulations; a new breed of climate denialism is flooding social media; and how, while the rest of the globe is having its warmest January on record, frigid Arctic air in the U.S. is stranding drivers of both gas-powered and electric vehicles alike...

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 host Nicole Sandler with messaging expert Anat Shenker-Osorio; Also: Trump trials continue; SCOTUS eyes another landmark precedent...
By Desi Doyen on 1/17/2024 5:28pm PT  

Brad is out today, trying to recover once and for all from his rebound case of COVID. So guest host Nicole Sandler joins me (producer Desi Doyen) to bring you a fresh, new BradCast to tickle your ears and brain cells. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories covered today...

  • The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday in two important cases: Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless v. Department of Commerce. On the surface, the two cases appear to be somewhat innocuous, focused on technical issues about the scope of federal fees and regulations. But, in reality, the cases are vehicles of the fossil fuel industry and rightwing legal groups to achieve their long-sought goal of dismantling federal regulatory and administrative authority by overturning the four-decade old, landmark precedent known as the "Chevron deference". It is, as Cornell Law School describes, "One of the most important principles in administrative law."

    Established in 1984's Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council, the ruling is a key underpinning of federal administrative law with broad applications to nearly every single aspect of American life. At its core, it holds that judges are not technical experts, so they should defer to federal agency expertise when determining Congressional intent on an ambiguous law or statute.

    According to legal analyst Ian Millhiser at Vox, Chevron "places strict limits on unelected federal judges’ ability to make policy decisions for the entire nation," establishing that it is "better for federal agencies, and not judges, to make these sorts of decisions". Millhiser concludes that overturning it would "shift policymaking authority from the executive branch to the judiciary," allowing unelected judges to effectively make policy and insert their own political or ideological preferences.

    In oral arguments at SCOTUS on Wednesday morning, four members of the rightwing supermajority on the packed and corrupted Court --- Justices Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh --- each signaled they were likely to overturn this landmark precedent.

  • Details from the contentious federal court hearing in New York on Wednesday in the second civil defamation trial brought by author and former columnist E. Jean Carroll against disgraced ex-President Donald Trump. The judge threatened to expel Trump from the courtroom after he repeatedly ignored warnings to remain quiet as Carroll testified that he shattered her reputation after she publicly accused him of sexual abuse. A previous state case in NY established that Trump did, in fact, sexually abuse Carroll at a department store in the 1990s. That jury awarded her $5 million for the defamatory comments he made about her after leaving office. He has continued his defamation since then. The jury in this federal case will only determine how much, if any, damages should be for the defamatory remarks he made about her while serving as President.
  • Finally, Nicole's speaks with author and communications expert ANAT SHENKER-OSORIO, founder of ASO Communications and host of the Words to Win By podcast. In an illuminating interview, Shenker-Osorio offers key insights and practical advice on winning political messaging, the ways in which the words that we use matter, and how to help ensure voters are engaged and informed that the critical 2024 election is now a choice between "freedom or fascism."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Our COVID rebound and more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2024 4:40pm PT  

Lucky me. I now have a rebound case of COVID. But with the first votes cast in the critical 2024 Presidential race in frozen Iowa on Monday night, I mustered as well as I could to bring you a fresh BradCast today. (No promises for tomorrow, however!) [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

With that in mind, I need to keep this short and get back to bed. Among our stories covered today...

  • Iowa's far-right GOP caucus-goers have a habit of backing losers. On Monday, a bare majority of them (51%) voted for Donald Trump in far below zero temps. Almost half of IA's GOP caucus-goers voted against him. But that was still more than enough to defeat the disgraced former President's splintered and woeful challengers. After burning about $150 million in his all or nothing quest to win Iowa, Ron DeSantis lost it. He came out with just 21.2% of the vote, narrowly edging out third-placer Nikki Haley, who still has a not-impossible-chance of defeating or, at least, challenging Trump in next week's first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary. She finished just behind DeSantis with 19.1% on Monday night in IA. Both challengers have vowed to move on to NH. Vivek Ramaswamy, however, who finished in a distance fourth in IA, quickly bowed out and endorsed Trump. That's about all you need to know about Monday night when it comes to the horse race. Beneath that, however, there is much more, underscoring this unprecedented moment for the nation and the need for an overwhelming majority of voters to step up and save American Democracy this year.
  • Meanwhile, down in Texas in recent days, 2028 Presidential hopeful, far-right Republican Governor Greg Abbott appears hoping to touch off a new civil war between his state's military and the federal government. In a multi-prong effort to goose his political fortunes by ensuring that immigration concerns will not be dealt with until a Republican President is in the White House (to get credit for it), and to further fuel his party's latest grift that, without a return to power for the GOP, a new "civil war" is looming, Abbott has deployed the Texas Military Dept. to the nation's Southern border. In doing so --- despite migration numbers recently plummeting thanks to high-level talks between the U.S. and Mexico --- Abbott has erected razor wire on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande and new steel fencing and gates to physically lock out U.S. Border Patrol from protecting miles of our national border. He has done so without permission of either the feds or local city governments. As the Biden Administration challenges Abbott's extra-Constitutional tin-pot authoritarianism at SCOTUS, a mother and her two young children died while attempting to cross the river over the weekend. TX troopers reportedly blocked federal officials from responding to a distress call from the Mexican government. As discussed, Republicans don't fear a new civil war. They want one. Or pretend to. And they certainly don't want to actually solve any issues at the border, else they'd have nothing to run on this November.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with new numbers from 2023's record heat and climate disasters; as Republican climate crisis denial continues on the campaign trail on behalf of fossil fuel industry funders (with increasingly deadly results); and as the Biden Administration moves ahead with rules to force polluting oil and gas companies to finally pay their fair share in return...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'ProLeft Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2024 5:13pm PT  

And then there were two. Well, actually three. (Well, probably still just one.) It's another episode of Special Coverage on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Former SC Gov. Nikki Haley squared off with FL Gov. Ron DeSantis in Des Moines, Iowa on CNN Wednesday night for the 5th, so-called "GOP Presidential Debate," just hours after former NJ Gov. Chris Christie decided to drop out and as the disgraced former President and presumptive Republican front-runner did a live town hall on Fox "News" just up the road. All just days before voters trudge out into -6 degree ("Feels Like" -25 degree) temps on Monday night for the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses.

Topline: Haley and DeSantis repeatedly called each other liars (she even created a website for his); DeSantis largely dominated Haley (while calling in some sexist tropes for good measure); and nobody laid much of a glove on GOP polling leader and four-time indictee, Donald Trump --- as usual.

Of course, there was much more than just that going on. Which is why we're joined today for smart insights on all of it by our 2024 post-debate analytical champeens and long-time OG bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo and 'DRIFTGLASS' of the weekly Professional Left Podcast and its companion show, No Fair Remembering Stuff.

"This is not a debate," explains the sage Driftglass. "This is a televised entertainment for a very specific audience." On the other hand, argues the insightful Digby, "this is the most irrelevant political spectacle I have ever observed."

And yet, we still had more to talk about than we could fit into an hour! About what all of it means (if anything) for the GOP, for Americans, for Democrats, for Joe Biden and --- most importantly --- for American democracy. Enjoy!...

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: Dan Froomkin of Press Watch; Also: A whole bunch of long-overdue accountability news for a whole bunch of rightwingers!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2024 5:03pm PT  

No matter what happens in this year's election, the year will be like none other in the U.S. Are the mainstream media --- which arguably helped lead us to our current mess at the edge of a potential collapse of American democracy --- able to meet the challenge? To serve a nation that badly news an unapologetic press able to call out the corrupted without "both sidesing" every issue? That's where we begin on today's BradCast, before covering a whole bunch of accountability for rightwingers and rightwing organizations in recent days and weeks. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

It seems impossible to believe that the U.S. mainstream media will be able to meet this moment. And yet, there are signs, suggests our guest today, longtime journalist and media critic DAN FROOMKIN of Press Watch, formerly of Washington Post, Huff Post, The Intercept and Harvard's journalism watchdog, the Neiman Foundation.

In a column late last year, Froomkin detailed the "intense internal pressure to defend democracy" that newsrooms will be facing in 2024. The greatest pressure, he reports, is likely to come not from outside those newsrooms, but from inside, where "traditional bosses are still in control," holding fast to "both sides" journalism, but where they are finally being challenged by what he describes as a "silent journalistic majority", an often younger and/or more diverse group of reporters "whose sense of self is defined by more than just not taking sides. It’s defined by informing the public of the truth."

With the stakes now higher than ever, he observes, there are signs, at least, that some in the traditional, unhelpful mainstream are begin to change in order to meet the moment. It's a tall order --- especially after so many decades of failure --- but there are some positive signs that even the traditionalists are beginning to understand the threat posed to American democracy itself by a Republican party which has now all but fallen to the fascistic, autocratic demands of its cult leader.

"The good news --- and it is unusual for me to focus on the good news in the media --- is that I think we're seeing two steps forward, one step back, in that I do see some braver, more honest, more upfront journalism happening on occasion at the major institutions," Froomkin tells me, before adding, "And then every so often, they'll backslide terribly."

He argues that many are "getting really impatient with this 'both-side'-ism, this 'a pox on both your houses' stuff."

"If you talk to any journalist who is not personally invested in the old way of doing things, you'll find that they actually agree with this critique. It is not a radical critique anymore. It is very much a 'How do we do journalism in this day and age?' question. And I think the answer is increasingly becoming that we need to call it out the way we see it. And that we need to stand up for democracy and for a free press, and for core journalistic values. It doesn't mean telling people to go vote Democratic, it doesn't mean being easy on the Democrats. But it does mean pointing out what this danger is right now."

"If Trump takes power, he's going to go after the media. And he will criminalize journalism in a lot of ways, and the free press will be under a lot of pressure. I don't think any journalist can sit there and say, 'I'll be fine if Trump wins.' They should all be terrified," Froomkin asserts, adding: "An increasing number are. You're seeing some of that, for instance, in this story on political violence. That was one of the big issues swept under the rug until recently."

As Froomkin explains, the jury is very much still out. But what he once saw as a "generational project" now needs to happen much quicker. "The stakes feel so high right at this moment --- for obvious reasons --- that I think there’s pretty good chance of change before November," he wrote last month. We'll see if he's right about that.

In the meantime, there has been some encouraging news elsewhere, at least from the court system in recent weeks, resulting in a rush of long-overdue accountability for people and organizations of the corrupted right.

  • Last week, New York Attorney General Tish James' office filed motions seeking $370 million from Donald Trump, his company, and its top executives for years of massive bank, tax and insurance fraud. She is also seeking a lifetime ban from the NY real estate market for Trump, and a five-year ban for his eldest sons. The whole crew has already been found liable by the state judge overseeing the case. The only question now is what the penalties will ultimately be. Closing arguments are this week and Trump will not be allowed to make part of them himself, after failing to agree he would do so without attacking prosecutors, the judge or his staff, or turn the remarks into a political statement.
  • Also last week, Wayne LaPierre, the wildly corrupt 30-year leader of the terrorist-supporting National Rifle Association, finally resigned on the eve of his corruption trial --- also thanks to Tish James in New York --- which began this week. LaPierre and other top NRA officials allegedly bilked millions of dollars from the non-profit organization to fund their own lavish lifestyles. James hopes to force LaPierre and the others to pay it all back and permanently bar them from serving on the board of any NY charity. Thoughts and prayers.
  • Longtime Republican grifter James O'Keefe's sleazy, fake "journalism" organization called Project Veritas, finally seems to be all but permanently dead. That, after O'Keefe was found to have overseen years of "financial malfeasance" according to its Board and newly seated CEO, Hannah Giles, who resigned last month citing "an unsalvageable mess" at the organization, "one wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and past financial improprieties." Giles originally played the "prostitute" in heavily edited videos published years ago by Andrew Breitbart targeting the community organizing and voter registration group ACORN. O'Keefe --- as we spent quite a bit of time some years ago detailing to mainstream media outlets who had also fallen for the hoax --- pretended to have dressed up as a "pimp" in those fraudulent videos. Though scams, they still resulted in rightwing millionaire, billionaire and just plain old dupes donating tens of millions of dollars to O'Keefe's organization over the years in support of their phony, frequently unlawful, partisan schemes targeting groups and individuals on the left. The organization and O'Keefe himself are reportedly under criminal and/or civil investigation for a number of those schemes.
  • Remember Kim Davis? The sleazy, far-right Kentucky county clerk who, in 2015, refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling? Last week, a federal judge found her liable for $260,000 in legal fees and expenses incurred by one of the couples who she unlawfully refused to license. In 2022, a federal jury said she had to pay the couple $100,000 in damages. The rightwing legal organization representing Davis for free, Liberty Counsel, says they will appeal the original verdict, the order for attorneys fees, and Obergefell itself at the U.S. Supreme Court.

FINALLY, as today's show ended, it looks like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has decided to suspend his 2024 GOP Presidential campaign (much as we called for him to do --- if he was truly serious about keeping Trump out of the White House --- on yesterday's program.) The announcement comes just hours before a debate tonight between Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis in advance of Monday's Iowa Caucuses. Presumptive frontrunner Donald Trump won't be at this debate either, but we will have Special Coverage, nonetheless, for some reason, on tomorrow's BradCast...

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Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity' argument at D.C. Court of Appeals...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2024 6:19pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, we continue our COVID recovery, revisit some of the Biden v. Trump horseraces that sent so many Dems scurrying under their bed sheets late last year, and try to make sense of the disgraced former President's ridiculous argument (his attempt to delay his Jan. 6 criminal trial until after this year's election) at the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. on Tuesday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories cited and/or referenced today...

  • New CNN/University of New Hampshire polling finds Nikki Haley within single digits of Donald Trump in New Hampshire with the first-in-the-nation primary now just two weeks away. Their polling is not the only one showing Haley within spitting distance.
  • USA Today buries the lede in their coverage of a new USA Today/Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll finding Joe Biden seven points ahead of Trump in a general election match-up in New Hampshire and reveals that "American democracy" is the issue that both Dems and independent voters are most concerned about this year.
  • Donald Trump and his attorney apparently believe that a U.S. President may lawfully order Seal Team 6 to assassinate an American political rival. Seriously, the question was raised on Tuesday by one of the three judges on the D.C. appeals court panel tapped to hear Trump's claims of "absolute immunity" for crimes committed while serving as President. Can he sell pardons? Can he accept bribes? Sell nuclear secrets? According to Trump's attorney, sure he can! As long as he is not impeached and convicted first. Trump's other appeal argument, that being "acquitted" by the U.S. Senate at his second impeachment trial (when a majority of bipartisan Senators found him guilty of inciting an insurrection), somehow renders him immune from criminal prosecution in the judicial system because that would be unconstitutional "double jeopardy". As one of the three judges pointed out, Trump's own attorneys during the impeachment argued exactly the contrary. "It's in the Congressional Record," she said. It's all as absurd as it sounds. But, in fact, it is simply meant as a way to push Trump's March 4 trial date in his federal indictment for attempting to steal the 2020 election back past the 2024 election, when he hopes to win and make all of his many indictments go away. The three judges on the D.C. panel, however, didn't seem to be buying any of it.
  • Finally, as deadly winter weather whiplashes much of the nation today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with bad news for the snow crab season in Alaska and good news, thanks to the Joe Biden Administration, for American school buses...

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Guest: Voting system expert Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Also: Our COVID chronicles continue; Biden charges Trump an 'insurrectionist', tried to 'steal' 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2024 6:05pm PT  

We're still fighting COVID, but we think we're almost over the hump on today's BradCast, just as a long awaited voting system trial in a critical swing-state is finally set to begin. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Friday, just as Desi had days earlier, I too tested positive for COVID. After avoiding it for four years, we both finally got hit. But, thanks to keeping up with our boosters, free rapid home tests and the miracle anti-viral drug Paxlovid, both she and I are almost back to normal this week. She is now testing negative and I am, very faintly, still positive, but suspect I'll be fully clear by tomorrow. Most of our symptoms are gone and, most importantly --- because we were both positive --- we're able to be in the same room again! So, I think we're finally back to our usual schedule after an unexpectedly long holiday break and a bumpy start to what is likely to be a very bumpy new year.

As it turns out, we're not the only ones swept up among the largest spate of cases in the U.S. since the initial Omicron wave back in late 2021. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still on the rise. If you haven't already, please get your COVID and flu shots this year, as that is also seeing a big bump right now. And, if you want to get over COVID quickly, ask your doctor for Paxlovid as soon as you test positive, because it must be taken right away. It has certainly worked wonders, so far, for us.

With that medical sidebar out of the way, for now, we're back to the grind of the 2024 elections and the former President's threat to American democracy itself on today's program. Last week, Donald Trump failed to sign a pledge against advocating for the overthrow of the government in his Illinois candidacy paperwork, despite signing the optional pledge when he ran in both 2016 and 2020.

And, on Friday, President Biden, in his campaign launch in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, called out Trump, by name (44 times), including as an "insurrectionist". During his remarks, marking the third anniversary of Trump's deadly January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol attack, Biden also finally took our advice in calling out Trump in plain language for what he tried to do in 2020: "In trying to rewrite the facts of January 6th, Trump is trying to steal history the same way he tried to steal the election."

Thank you, Mr. President.

As to helping to prevent another attempted election theft in 2024, the long-awaited federal trial finally begins in Georgia this week in Curling v. Raffensperger, the 2017 lawsuit led by our friend Marilyn Marks of the Coalition for Good Governance. The suit seeks to the block the use of Georgia's insecure, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion and see them replaced with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots in the battleground state.

In 2019, the federal judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg, blocked the further use of the state's old touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold, finding them to have unconstitutional security infirmities. Unfortunately, against the advice of cybersecurity and voting system experts, GA's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger then moved the entire state to touchscreens made by a different manufacturer with many of the same problems featured in the old systems.

This is also the case which uncovered, during the discovery phase in 2022, the now-notorious Coffee County, GA voting system software breach by Team Trump. That unprecedented theft and distribution of sensitive voting system software resulted in the indictment [PDF] of Trump attorney and breach organizer Sidney Powell as part of Fulton County, GA District Attorney Fani Willis' criminal conspiracy charges against the disgraced former President and 18 co-conspirators.

As Washington Post detailed in its own lengthy preview on Sunday, the trial, set to begin this week, has already resulted in MAGA election deniers and conspiracists like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell pretending to be vindicated by one of the judge's earlier rulings finding that the Curling plaintiffs, unlike Lindell, are not "conspiracy theorists of any variety" and that, as Judge Totenberg found, they have the support of "some of the nation's leading cybersecurity experts and computer scientists."

Those scientists and experts have documented how the touchscreen systems used across the entirety of Georgia (and in jurisdictions in more than a dozen states) are wildly "vulnerable" to hacking and system failure, even as no evidence has been found that the 2020 or 2022 elections were actually hacked. As Judge Totenberg noted in a 2020 ruling, the plaintiffs "convincingly present evidence that this is not a question of 'might this actually ever happen?' - but 'when it will happen,' especially if further protective measures are not taken."

We're joined today by SUSAN GREENHALGH, Senior Advisor on Election Security at Free Speech for People. She has worked very closely on this case with the plaintiffs from Coalition for Good Governance and has joined us on the program many times to discuss it since it was initially filed seven years ago.

Among the details discussed in today's "curtain raiser" before trial: How Democrats have become frightened of challenging unverifiable voting systems in the wake of the MAGA election denial movement. The gob-smacking ruling on Friday from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that Raffensperger does not have to testify as a witness, despite the lower court judge ordering him to do so, and Raffensberger's insistence [PDF] in his own recent book, amusingly titled Integrity Counts, that "the ultimate fact-check in the United States...occurs in courts of law, where witnesses swear to tell the truth or risk imprisonment and where lawyers must also tell the truth or risk disbarment. If you want to know the truth, watch what happens in court."

Sadly, we won't be able to watch Raffensperger in court. He fought tooth and nail up to the appellate level to avoid 75 minutes of testimony as a witness in the Curling case.

Also, as Greenhalgh explains today, Raffensperger has now ordered the election security reviewer at the Sec. of State Office's "not to provide any reports in writing any longer, to only give them orally." She describes the order as "really strange," begging the question, yet again, as to why the rightwing 11th Circuit would allow Raffensperger to avoid testifying.

"There are a lot of questions that Raffensperger should be answering," she argues, while noting that despite the absence of the guy who, in defiance of experts, ordered the use of these machines in the first place --- and then failed to investigate the 2021 MAGA breach and distribution of statewide voting system software in Coffee County for more than a year --- there is still plenty of evidence for plaintiffs to make their case against these godforsaken, unreliable, unnecessary voting computers in advance of the 2024 general election.

"There are a lot of questions that really should have been answered by Raffensperger," Greenhalgh laments, before adding : "But they still have overwhelming evidence."

The trial is scheduled to begin in federal court in Atlanta on Tuesday...

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We're back! (Sort of.) With former Dep. Asst. AG Lisa Graves of True North Research and attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2024 6:21pm PT  

We're still wrestling and/or dodging COVID on today's BradCast --- and not sure we can pull it off again until everyone tests negative (see this for more details.) But we really wanted to get back on the air for the first time this year after a longer-than-planned holiday break! And so we did. (No promises as to our next air date, however! Working on it. Not easy.) [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Our guests today are former U.S. Deputy Asst. Attorney General LISA GRAVES, now of True North Research, and retired attorney KEITH BARBER ('KeithDB' at Daily Kos), who, like Desi, is also fighting a post-holiday bout with COVID.

After new news today on Donald J. Trump's never-ending corruption, we pick up in 2024 following the several cliff-hangers of 2023. We literally left off at the end of our final show last year, when, just minutes before signing off, the Colorado Supreme Court released its 200-page Opinion [PDF] that the disgraced former President and presumptive GOP front-runner was in violation of Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, barring insurrectionists from public office. Thus, the SCOCO ordered that he may not appear on the Colorado ballot as a candidate in 2024.

Since then (among a thousand other things), the Maine Sec. of State has similarly barred Trump from the ballot in her state. He has appealed that ruling to the state's Superior Court. and both the Colorado Republican Party and Trump himself have now appealed CO's ruling directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

That, of course, is just one of the many critical cases on which American democracy may hang, as pending either now or soon before the corrupted and disgraced Republican majority at SCOTUS. They will also likely soon be wrestling with Trump's claim --- in Jack Smith's federal case against him related to his attempts to steal the 2020 election --- that Presidents have "absolute immunity" from charges for any crime they commit while serving in office.

Moreover, SCOTUS has already decided to hear a challenge to the charge of Obstruction of an Official Proceeding --- as successfully brought against hundreds of January 6 defendants --- on the basis that the law was originally intended only for white collar financial crimes. In addition to hundreds of J6 defendants charged with and/or convicted of that crime, two of Trump's four counts in his federal indictment for 2020 election interference are based on that same statute.

So, what does all of this mean for Trump and the High Court --- and the American voters! --- as we enter the 2024 election year? Will his corrupt SCOTUS friends (and appointees) use any of those three cases to let Trump off the accountability hook? Will the Court's so-called "conservatives", who have claimed for years to believe in a strict textualist and originalist interpretations of the Constitution, conjure up some excuse to ignore the simple text of the 14th Amendment and the original intent of its post-Civil War framers? Will they allow Trump's March 4 trial date in the Jan. 6 case to slip beyond the election as they determine whether Presidents are allowed to violate any law they wish? Or will they choose instead to "settle all family business" by doing the right thing in the above-noted matters and, thus, end their own Trump-fueled nightmares along with the nation's?

"The same people that went to the courts scores of times trying to keep Obama off the ballot, under the absurd birther argument, are now trying to say the courts can't decide" on the Insurrection Disqualification Clause, observes Barber, a former Republican, today. "They let the courts decide before, and no one argued then that the courts couldn't."

Warns Graves about Trump's argument in favor of Presidential Immunity, it "is literally a recipe for tyranny," as it would allow any President (even the current one, apparently) to commit any crime at any time without possibility of ever facing charges.

Tune in for a bunch of smart thoughts and helpful insights on all of the above today as we head into what Graves aptly describes as a "land of uncertainty" as 2024 unfolds (unravels?) before our very eyes.

Also, while she was unable to join us for today's full show due to her COVID diagnosis, Desi Doyen joins us nonetheless for our first Green News Report of the year today, as we try to begin catching up with a whole bunch of stuff we missed over our longer-than-expected holiday break...which --- depending on how a whole bunch of antigen tests go for both of us in the days ahead --- may or may not continue, whether we like it or not...

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

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

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

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

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Callers ring in with answers to that question; Also: Trump doubles down on racist strongman immigration plans; Defamed GA election workers awarded $148M in case against Rudy, before suing him again...
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2023 6:00pm PT  

We dumped a big planned portion of today's BradCast to open phone lines to listeners, in hopes of taking their end of year temperature before next year's Presidential election year begins in earnest. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Specifically, I wanted to hear from voters who claim to have supported Joe Biden in 2020, but are now planning to...do something else in 2024. Why would they want to do that with so much --- including American democracy itself --- on the line next year? They call in to explain. Lively conversations ensue.

Also today, before we took our right turn toward callers: Donald Trump is getting more and more dictator-y with each new rally and social media post of late. Over the weekend, in Nevada and New Hampshire, it was in regard to immigration (and his increasing love for fellow dictator, Vladimir Putin).

On Friday, a D.C federal jury awarded Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss $148 million dollars in their civil defamation lawsuit against the racist Rudy Giuliani, who lied about the women falsifying 2020 election results in Atlanta and turning their lives upside down ever since in the bargain. The judgment was $100 million more than they'd even asked for. And, on Monday, the pair filed yet another suit against Giuliani following new defamatory remarks he made outside the federal courthouse after the first day of his trial last week.

But ya know who was arguably the most terrified by the verdict in Rudy's case? One Donald J. Trump, who is both facing a huge multi-million dollar judgement in his own civil trial in New York State for years of fraud, even as he is facing a federal criminal trial, scheduled to begin in just over two months time, for crimes related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election. That trial will have a jury pulled from the very same D.C. federal jury pool that just awarded Freeman and Moss $100 million more than they even asked for.

Buckle up....

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U.N. climate conference wraps in Dubai; Bad news for Trump in three courts; Heartbreaking testimony as Giuliani heads for world of hurt...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2023 6:54pm PT  

This week in Dubai, the U.N.'s Climate Secretary declared "the beginning of the end" of the fossil fuel era. Also this week, in a D.C. federal courtroom, Rudy Giuliani's attorney warned a jury that awarding a penalty of tens of millions of dollars against his client "would be the end of Mr. Giuliani". Both sound good to us on today's BradCast.

Among our many stories covered today...

  • The last minute, final agreement between 200 world nations at the COP28 U.N. climate conference hosted by the United Arab Emirates this week, calls for a "transition" away from fossil fuels. It wasn't the call for either a "phase out" or even "phase down" that many had sought. But it was a first. Including the first time in 28 years of such annual conferences that the words "fossil fuels" even appeared in the final unanimous joint statement issued by the parties. What does it all mean? It's both good and bad. We delve into some of the details with Desi Doyen today.
  • As the world was working toward moving beyond deadly fossil fuels, the disgraced, twice-impeached Donald Trump was campaigning in Iowa by lying to his supporters that gas now costs as much as $8/gallon, only cost $1.87 when he was President (during the pandemic in which nobody traveled and he helped nearly a million Americans die --- though he didn't mention any of that) and vowing to renege on the U.S. pledge at COP28 to give $3 billion to the joint "Green Climate Fund" to help poorer countries leapfrog fossil fuels and transition straight to clean, renewable energy. He even vowed that he would claw it back if he was elected next year.
  • As to Donald Trump's legal woes, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is now moving at "lightning speed" [PDF] to hear (and almost certainly reject) the twice-impeached former President's appeal on "absolute immunity" from the rule of law, in which he claims that he had the right to break any law he wanted while serving as President of the United States. On Wednesday, in a separate case related to defamation claims by writer E. Jean Carrol (who a court previously found Trump liable for sexually abusing), the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected [PDF] a similar immunity claim. In yet another courtroom in Manhattan this week, testimony ended in Trump's New York State fraud trial, in which he and his companies and his two eldest sons have already been found guilty. The only question is on the penalties they will face. They are likely to be substantial, to say the least. The judge's ruling will likely come early in the new year.
  • In a different D.C. courtroom, Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman testified on Wednesday in the defamation damages trial against one of Trump's sleazebag attorneys, Rudy Giuliani who, along with Trump, repeatedly lied about her and her daughter Shay Moss committing fraud while serving as election workers in Fulton County, Georgia in 2000 in the middle of a pandemic. Both Freeman and Moss were viciously targeted by Trump's supporters after the lies were told about them, and Freeman offered heartbreaking and harrowing testimony on Wednesday about the horrific threats she received from Trump's supporters and how their lives were turned upside-down in the bargain. Giuliani's attorney, Joseph Sibley, didn't even try to cross-examine Freeman. And, in his closing statement, reportedly agreed that the disgraced former NYC Mayor's behavior was appalling. His appeal to the jury was that Rudy is old, and they should try to remember that, decades ago following the 9/11 attacks, Giuliani wasn't as appalling. The jury may be more likely to remember last Monday, after the first day of trial this week, when Rudy repeated his pathetic false claims about the two women in front of cameras on the courthouse steps.

    Just like Trump on Monday in his NY fraud trial, after vowing to take the stand, Rudy didn't. Both cowards and liars.

    The U.S. District Court Judge overseeing the federal case has already determined Giuliani defamed the two women. The only question is how much Freeman and Moss will be awarded by a jury for their pain and suffering (they are seeking as much as $43 million) and for additional punitive damages. If it will "be the end of Mr. Giuliani," as his attorney warned, it won't come soon enough. But it's unlikely to be the end. He still faces criminal charges [PDF] in GA for attempting to steal the 2020 election there; billion dollar defamation lawsuits from Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems; and a grotesque sexual assault suit by his longtime personal assistant, among other legal woes.

  • A listener in Amsterdam writes in this week to correct us on a small, but important, error we offered this week regarding last month's shocking electoral victory in The Netherlands' parliament for the far-right political party of anti-immigrant extremist Geert Wilders.
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us again for our latest Green News Report with a wrap-up of COP28 in Dubai, and some very troubling news in the Arctic...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Dow tops record high; Chutkan pauses Trump case; Hunter Biden pushes back at U.S. Capitol; House GOP votes to open revenge Impeachment inquiry...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2023 6:32pm PT  

We couldn't keep up with everything as it kept breaking all day and throughout today's BradCast. But we tried. Even while welcoming back one of our favorite guests. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We're happy to joined once again today by Slate's top shelf legal journalist, the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, who is now back from his recent parental leave. (That, thanks, in no small part, to an excellent contract by his union, the Writers Guild of America!) And, while we had previously planned to talk with Mark today about far-right Trump appointees to the lower federal courts undermining voting rights and even the Supreme Court itself, the news just kept coming today out of SCOTUS. Thankfully, Stern was here to hold our hand through it all.

After indicating earlier this week they were prepared to move quickly in response to Special Counsel Jack Smith's request for an expedited hearing on Donald Trump's ridiculous appeal regarding Presidential Immunity, the Supremes announced on Wednesday they would be taking up a challenge to the federal law used to charge hundreds of January 6 insurrectionists, including Trump himself. Two of the four charges he is facing in his federal election interference case are related to unlawful obstruction of an official proceeding. But a lower federal court Trump judge, Carl Nichols, has decided those obstruction charges --- adopted by Congress as part of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, focused mostly on white-collar crime --- are inappropriate for use against J6 rioters.

What will that mean for the pending charges against Trump and his trial currently scheduled for March 4 next year? Stern describes it today as "a troubling development", if only because "there wasn't a significant dispute over the interpretation of this particular statute" which has been used to convict hundreds of J6 attackers. While he explains that it is not necessarily fatal to either Smith's indictment against Trump in D.C. or the ability for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to complete the trial before next year's election, Stern regards it as "an ominous sign for those of us who wanted Chutkan to be able to move forward on her own timeline."

Nonetheless, it is, once again, another example of a lower court Trump judge "try[ing] to wield their power in aggressive and truly unprecedented ways." That similar effort to go "beyond the judicial power to essentially act as a free-floating veto over any Democratic policy, and trying to smuggle in Republican policies under the guise of judicial review," as Stern characterizes it, was similarly on view today as the High Court also announced plans to hear a challenge to the use of the widely prescribed abortion drug Mifipristone. That, after abortion opponents filed their case specifically so that it would be taken up earlier this year by Trump-appointed anti-choice activist Matthew Kacsmaryk, the only U.S. District Court Judge in the Northern District of Texas.

But where the "dead hand of the Trump Administration," as a recent article by Stern describes it, may be most troubling is in a series of recent rulings by Trump judges focused on undermining the Voting Rights Act, which is facing a tenuous moment at the stolen, packed and corrupted GOP-majority Supreme Court. Stern details three different recent cases --- one of them "almost too painfully stupid to explain" --- where jurists appointed by Trump in the lower courts are targeting and/or undermining the landmark civil rights law, even in violation of both long-standing SCOTUS precedent and very recent opinions by the High Court.

But, the news just kept on breaking today. Chutkan declared that Trump's Jan. 6 case would have to largely be "paused" until Trump's ridiculous immunity appeal is resolved, further imperiling next year's scheduled March 4 trial date.

The Dow hit a record high on Wall Street, as investors became jubilant at news from the Federal Reserve that it is likely to finally begin lowering interest rates next year --- even more aggressively than previously expected.

The 200 nations meeting in Dubai for the U.N.'s COP28 finally came to an agreement on their final statement after this year's climate conference. They deigned to mention the phrase "fossil fuels" for the first time ever. But more on that (hopefully!) tomorrow.

And the GOP-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, in a strict party-line vote, adopted a resolution to officially open an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden for...well...something or other. It remains unclear.

In truth, it's a revenge impeachment inquiry meant to placate the disgraced, twice-impeached former President, and to distract from the many failures of a corrupted, dysfunctional GOP-run House in advance of next year's elections. The vote was held on the same day that Republicans again refused to accept Hunter Biden's offer to testify in a public hearing. He had a few words about that for assembled media on the U.S. Capitol steps earlier today...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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COP28 in 'overtime'; Democracy rises in Poland; New U.S. House maps for NY; More good economic news; Trump at SCOTUS; Rudy defames amid defamation trial; Johnson lies about WI's fake electors...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2023 6:36pm PT  

If, like me, you're old enough to get the joke in today's headline, congratulations on still being alive! (If you don't remember it, here's a reminder.) But, no, we didn't forget Poland on today's chocked-with-a-surprising-amount-of-not-awful-news BradCast!

Among our stories covered today....

  • Who knew that holding a U.N. conference (COP28) on our climate catastrophe in a petrostate like the United Arab Emirates might end without an agreement --- or with a bad one --- from all 200 participating nations for the first time in the annual summit's 28 year history? Well, it ain't over until it's over, with nations now officially in "overtime" at the Conference, which was otherwise set to end last night. Will they dare mention the phrase "fossil fuels" in whatever final statement they finally unanimously agree to make? Stay tuned!
  • In what is being described as a "political earthquake", after eight years under the heavy hand of a far-right anti-immigrant, anti-media, anti-woman authoritarian party's Prime Minister and President, Poland --- with a front-row seat over the past two years to Russia's autocratic invasion of Ukraine --- elected a centrist, pro-EU Prime Minister on Monday! That is good news on a whole bunch of fronts. It became official today when Donald Tusk received a vote of confidence from parliament after a brief delay when a right-wing lawmaker used a fire-extinguisher to douse candles in a Hanukkah menorah in parliament. "This is a wonderful day," said Tusk to the Polish people on Monday night. "Not for me, but for all those who have deeply believed over these years that things will get even better, that we will chase away the darkness, that we will chase away evil. From tomorrow, we will be able to right the wrongs so that everyone, without exception, can feel at home." The news is a welcome counter-point to the recent rise of right-wing authoritarianism in nations from Argentina to The Netherlands. And, hopefully, its a good omen for 2024 in the U.S.
  • On the other hand, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had to fly all the way to the U.S. on Tuesday to, essentially, beg far-right Congressional Republicans --- who have apparently lost the plot of democracy --- to continue supporting Ukraine's efforts to hold off the imperialist invasion of his country by fascist Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
  • Speaking of Congress and democracy, very good news out of New York's high court today, which ordered a new U.S. House map for next year's 2024 Congressional elections, after the map used in 2022 resulted in a bunch of seats flipping from D to R in newly drawn districts after state Dems kinda screwed up the whole process. We explain.
  • And in more potentially good news for 2024, inflation continues to fall faster than expected, as the U.S. economy continues to show surprising resilience and little sign of the recession that many had feared when Donald Trump's Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, began raising interest rates last year to combat inflation. Inflation is almost back to normal at 3.1% over last year; gasoline is down 11% over the past two months; employers are still hiring and unemployment remains at a near record-low rate of 3.7%. But, some prices are still high at grocery stores, as is rent and the cost of a home mortgage. Economists are watching Powell closely for a read as to when the Fed may deign to finally lower interest rates next year.
  • No sooner had we gotten off air yesterday, than the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would consider an expedited petition filed on Monday by Special Counsel Jack Smith to hear Donald Trump's appeal on Presidential Immunity in his January 6 federal indictment. It doesn't necessarily mean SCOTUS will hear the full case. But it means they will consider doing so. Smith had filed the petition for cert just hours earlier, leapfrogging the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in hopes of keeping next year's scheduled March 4th trial date for Trump on track. All of which, at least for now, is encouraging news to suggest that SCOTUS may both do the right thing and do so with the alacrity that would allow the American people a verdict in the case against Trump in advance of next year's Presidential election.
  • The defamation damages trial against dirtbag former NYC Mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani --- in which he's already been found guilty of defamation --- continued into its second day on Tuesday. But not before his attorney admitted in Court on Monday (as the federal judge has already found), that Rudy's horrendous claims about two Georgia election workers in 2020 committing fraud for Joe Biden were false. And not before Giuliani then stepped out of the courtroom on Monday and repeated the same baseless claims yet again on the courthouse stairs. Today, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell scolded both Rudy and his attorney, noting that Giuliani's remarks on Monday night "could support another defamation claim" by mother and daughter plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. The pair are currently seeking damages in the amount of $15.5 to $43 million in their civil lawsuit. And they will deserve every penny they receive.
  • Speaking of dirtbags, following the news last week that Wisconsin's 10 fake Trump electors had settled a civil lawsuit against them, the state's U.S. Senator Ron Johnson --- already on record as having encouraged state lawmakers to steal the Badger State's 2020 election for Trump --- described the settlement as a "travesty of justice." He insisted that Democrats had done the very same thing "repeatedly" and "in multiple states" in the past. Nonetheless, he couldn't name any state where Democrats had secretly created false slates of electors in hopes of stealing an election when pressed by CNN's Kaitlan Collins. (If Johnson was referring to what happened in Hawaii in 1960, he is wrong about that as well.)
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with both the good and bad, so far, out of the COP28 Climate Conference in Dubai, and some very good news indeed from President Biden regarding the nation's largest ever investment in high speed rail and U.S. passenger rail service.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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