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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, April 20, 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
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'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: Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Also: Landmark court victory for kids challenging climate change in MT!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2023 6:11pm PT  

New indictments did not yet come in Georgia as of airtime on today's BradCast. But, as the nation awaits the former President's almost certain fourth criminal indictment in about as many months --- and this could be the broadest and most sweeping yet --- a somewhat related "exclusive" by CNN on Sunday seems to have made a lot of folks suddenly pay attention to a story we've been covering in great detail on this show and at The BRAD BLOG for the better part of the past year.

The Coffee County, Georgia voting system breach by Trump supporters is likely to play a role in the expected new indictments from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, even though there was largely nothing "exclusive" at all about CNN's weekend report. At least to those of us who have been paying attention and reporting on it ourselves for the past year. But, that's okay. If CNN's coverage makes people sit up and pay attention to this critical issue, we'll take it.

If it helps people --- including other media outlets --- notice that the multi-state conspiracy is still either being ignored or actively covered-up by the folks who SHOULD be investigating it --- from GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) and even the Dept. of Justice --- then, okay, bring on more such "exclusives".

CNN's Sunday report, deceptively headlined "Exclusive: Georgia prosecutors have messages showing Trump’s team is behind voting system breach," repackages material already reported long ago by outlets like Washington Post, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta's NBC affiliate 11-Alive and, yes, The BradCast and BRAD BLOG. Almost all of CNN's material comes thanks to information discovered in a long-running federal lawsuit challenging the use of Raffensperger's new, unverifiable and insecure touchscreen voting systems, as filed years ago by the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG). CNN didn't even have the decency to name the nonprofit group in their "exclusive", referring simply to material "originally unearthed as part of a long-running civil suit focused on election security in Georgia."

As to the content of the story well, see our program from April headlined: "The Multi-State MAGA Conspiracy to Breach Voting Systems Was Hatched in Trump's Oval Office: 'BradCast' 4/24/2023". That show, from four months ago, features most of what CNN describes in their weekend "exclusive".

On that program, we were joined by guest SUSAN GREENHALGH, a election integrity and transparency expert who now serves as Senior Advisor on Election Security at FreeSpeechForPeople.org. Greenhalgh had discovered admissions in sworn testimony given to the U.S. House January 6 Committee revealing that the plot to have MAGA activists unlawfully obtain and copy sensitive, proprietary voting and tabulation system hard drives in multiple states (Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania) was a scheme dreamt up during Trump's crazy December 18, 2020 meeting in the Oval Office with attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO and billionaire Patrick Byrne and others. Yes, the breaches in several states were not over-zealous local MAGA activists. It was a scheme hatched with the President of the Unites States himself.

Greenhalgh joins us again on today's program to continue connecting dots in the multi-state criminal scheme which remain uninvestigated or prosecuted to this day. (Pay attention, or wait to read them at CNN in about 6 months as "exclusive".)

Were it not for folks like Greenhalgh and CGG founder Marilyn Marks --- who had the wherewithal to hit the record button when one of the apparent MAGA breachers (Atlanta businessman Scott Hall) called her to essentially confess to the crimes in Coffee County --- we might not even know about it today. Lord knows Raffensperger and his friends in the Peach State have largely been covering it all up ever since the breach first occurred on January 7, 2021, the day after Trump's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

"Who knows if there were other counties that they went into in Georgia?," Greenhalgh observes. "There might have been similar breaches in other counties. Because we've lacked a real, robust investigation from the people that are paid to protect our citizens and our government from these types of illegal activities, they haven't uncovered it!"

Charges were recently brought against some of the participants in Michigan's several breaches --- at least five of whom are also known to have been involved in the Georgia breach --- and charges may soon be brought against some of them by Willis in Georgia in the coming hours. But, as Greenhalgh argues, the threat posed by theses breaches to next year's 2024 election --- and accountability for all of the people who allowed it to happen --- is crying out for a federal conspiracy probe of this organized crime that took place in multiple states following the 2020 election.

"There's no deterrence," Greenhalgh asserts. "What we saw happen in Coffee County --- if these people do not face any consequences, the message that is being presented is, 'It's okay. Go ahead and do this. If you can get a complicit election official, go in and do whatever you want to the voting machines and nothing is going to happen to you.' This crime happened on videotape. There's no question about it. If this was a corner store robbed by some kids, they'd be in prison by now."

There is a lot more of note in my conversation with Greenhalgh, and she offers much more in a well-sourced and linked "Background Briefing" document published late last week.

Finally today, some very good news out of Montana, where a landmark legal challenge by young plaintiffs, aged 5 to 22, challenging Republican state lawmakers for failing to follow the state constitution's mandate guaranteeing a "clean and healthful environment," was victorious! The court found that the Montana Environmental Policy Act, which weakened environment protections on behalf of the state's fossil fuel industry, is unconstitutional. The first-of-its-kind ruling by a judge in the U.S. may very well affect similar suits by youth plaintiffs as now filed in all 50 states and nations around the world...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Maui radio veteran Shaggy Jenkins; Also: Record U.S. storm damage; Tim Scott's climate change lies; Listener mail and more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2023 6:34pm PT  

The death toll stood at 36 as we went to air on today's BradCast, with nearly 300 structures confirmed as destroyed. But officials have since bumped up the confirmed death toll to 53, with more than 1,000 homes and buildings destroyed in the town of Lahaina and surrounding areas on Hawaii's island of Maui. According to our guest today, who has been on the ground there since the blazes were first sparked on Tuesday, those numbers could still get far worse as he describes what has happened in his community as if "Hell opened its mouth."

You have likely heard, by now, that devastating wildfires were whipped up this week in Hawaii, amid near hurricane force wind gusts from the northern edge of Hurricane Dora, passing about 500 miles to the south. The high winds made it impossible for firefighting helicopters to snuff out the blazes in their early hours on Tuesday. Those fires then grew out of control amid dry and windy conditions over the next two days.

Officials are still battling to contain the fires as search and rescue efforts are ramping up, even as they attempt to find shelter for displaced residents and tourists in the once tropical paradise.

We're joined today by radio veteran SHAGGY JENKINS from Maui, where he formerly served as the longtime Program Director at our affiliate station there, KAKU 88.5FM. Jenkins now serves as Operations Manager for a group of Hawaii stations and has been putting in a ton of overnight on-air hours along with his regularly scheduled morning show, to try and help keep the community informed over our public airwaves during the ongoing emergency.

In addition to the firestorms that seemingly sprang up from nowhere and have leveled much of the historic, 1700s-era town of Lahaina --- once the Hawaiian kingdom's capitol city --- on the western side of Maui, Jenkins explains that fires are also raging somewhat to the east and on the Big Island as well.

"Although Lahaina made a lot of national headlines, parts of the neighborhoods upcountry, far away from Lahaina, have also had devastation. We've had complete neighborhoods and subdivisions wiped out for local families," he tells me, describing scenes that look more like bombed out cities of post-WWII Europe or in Ukraine today. "It's on a scale that we've never seen. It's just exhausting to look at, because it's still happening. I don't know how to describe Lahaina other than it's like Hell opened its mouth."

I hope you'll tune in for this must-listen conversation, particularly if you both want to know what appears to have happened and how you can help.

"It's all gone," laments Jenkins, as he becomes swept up in emotion describing the fate of Lahaina, "one of the most historic cities in the entire state."

"It's kind of hard to put into scale how much history, and how much of our old families that were born here and raised for generations, have lost everything. Some of the places that have been devastated --- they're the postcard images that you send everybody when you come to a vacation here. And they're all gone."

"The families that lived in those areas ... they're gone ... I'm sorry ... It's hard," he tells me as he chokes up, "...because we on the island, we're very close, as far as the local population. We know everybody."

Jenkins details how environmental conditions have changed in recent years as our climate crisis has taken a toll in drying out the once idyllic tropical paradise, and as "Big Ag" sugar operations up and left behind unrestored swaths of land.

"It is appreciably different" in recent years, he explains. "Part of the reason for that, not too long ago, we shut down the sugar industry here. The center body of the island is mostly ag land. And when the sugar industry left, a lot of that land went barren waiting for different owners. As all of these changes have happened, it's dried out the island. For the past five years, we have seen more and more brown than we usually do. Those conditions --- those dry, big, open-area fields --- were some of the reasons that the fires here spread so much. And since the sugar industry ended, we have had a step up in our wildfires."

One of the biggest ways we can help, Jenkins says, is to not come to Maui right now. While the island thrives on the tourism industry, now is not the time, as empty hotel rooms are being used to help house those who have lost everything. "We do not have the water, we do not have the power, we do not have the space," he asserts, noting that he is not "anti-tourist", but "every single resort that we have that has an empty room, we are trying to put in a local displaced family."

"The way that you can help us, the best way, is to stay away, and let us have the time to find and bury our dead, to fix our broken infrastructure. And, sadly, to start the very dangerous and long, arduous process of rebuilding one of the most historic cities in the state."

Jenkins does point those who would like to offer help to visit MauiFoodBank.org/Donate. As noted, I hope you will tune in for today's conversation with Shaggy.

Meanwhile, in other, very much related, news today...

  • Reinsurance giant Swiss Re Group released a report asserting that severe thunderstorms during the first half of this year in the U.S. have resulted in unprecedented levels of damage, including some $34 billion in insured losses. That number accounted for 70% of the $50 billion in global catastrophic damage from similar storms over the same period.
  • All of this, even as 2024 Republican (Vice-)Presidential hopeful and U.S. Senator Tim Scott of climate change-threatened South Carolina took to Fox "News" on Wednesday with faux outrage claiming that the idea that we are facing a "climate emergency is ridiculous"(!) Of far greater import, he asserted, is that "we have a border emergency that is an existential threat right now." Desi Doyen has a few choice words for the embarrassing Senator, who apparently hasn't noticed the actual existential threat of climate change, right now, which has, over the same 24-hour period during which Scott was blathering his dangerous, wingnut, fossil-fueled disinformation on Fox, taken the lives of at least 53 of Scott's fellow American citizens in Hawaii. That, just days after hundreds have died from prolonged extreme heat in places like Arizona.
  • More on all of this follows in Desi's latest Green News Report today, before we then close out the week with some listener mail on "autocracy v. fascism" and some anecdotal evidence that support for our disgraced, so-far thrice-indicted former President may finally be flagging among some his supporters...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Robin Marty of the West Alabama Women's Center, author of 'The End of Roe v. Wade'; Also: Deadly, climate fueled wildfires in Maui, HI...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2023 6:33pm PT  

It was a great day for democracy in Ohio on Tuesday. And how often do we get to say that on The BradCast? [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But first, it's not a great day for our friends in Maui, Hawaii, where windswept wildfires have leveled homes and businesses and a historic town; killed at least six and injured dozens so far; and sent some residents fleeing into the ocean to avoid the flames. That, as wind gusts above 60 mph --- part of Hurricane Dora passing about 500 miles safely to the south --- kept firefighting helicopters out of the sky, while climate change-fueled dry conditions and non-native, non-drought tolerant plant species (brought there by humans) went up like torches. Sending our best wishes to our listeners at our affiliate station, KAKU 88.5FM, "The Voice of Maui"! Please drop us a line when you can to let us know how you're doing!

Moving on from that terrible news, to much better news out of Ohio last night, where democracy was literally on the ballot. The Buckeye State GOP's anti-democracy constitutional amendment, known as Issue 1 on Tuesday's special election ballot, went down to huge defeat by some 13 points --- 57% to 43% --- according to the latest unconfirmed tallies. The measure, which could have passed with a simple majority, would have changed the state constitution to require 60% voter approval for all future constitutional amendments. As it turns out, voters don't like voting their own democracy away.

As Ohio's Sec. of State Frank LaRose was eventually caught on tape admitting to supporters --- after claiming for months it had nothing to do with abortion --- the measure was "100% about abortion". It was meant to preempt a citizen-led ballot initiative set for this November that will codify reproductive freedoms into the constitution of the otherwise right-leaning and wildly gerrymandered state.

We spend some time today explaining what happened, why it happened, and just how extraordinarily corrupt and hypocritical the measure's lead proponent, LaRose, actually is, as he hopes to become the state's GOP nominee to square off with Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown next year. Good luck after Tuesday's $20 million, anti-democracy boondoggle, Frank!

But what happened in Ohio on Tuesday is reverberating throughout the nation today and will, almost certainly, continue to reverberate into next year's 2024 general election. It is also giving hope to a lot of otherwise "deep red" states, proving again that their citizenry can also successfully push back against GOP forces of hypocrisy, anti-democracy and pro-autocracy. Even in states like "deep red" Alabama.

We're joined today by ROBIN MARTY, Operations Director at the West Alabama Women's Center, and the prescient author of 2019's The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America and The End of Roe v. Wade: Inside the Right's Plan to Destroy Legal Abortion.

Marty, as you might guess, is elated about the great news out of Ohio. "Of course, I am very excited about it," she says, before adding: "I'm not surprised, though. This is yet another in a series of wins for abortion rights when it is put up to a statewide vote." Indeed, every time a measure even tangentially related to reproductive rights has appeared on a statewide ballot since the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, reproductive freedoms have ultimately won. That is true in both "red" and "blue" states alike.

But Marty also shares just some of the authoritarian horror still playing out in her own home state where abortion has now been banned entirely by state Republicans, and where her West Alabama Women's Center still offers much-needed healthcare for woman...but may no longer provide them with abortion services.

Most incredibly, as Marty tells details today, the medical professionals at her clinic are not even allowed, by law, to tell patients where they might go --- which states or clinics --- to receive lawful abortion care elsewhere. That, she says, could result in felony charges and up to 99 years in prison. In fact, she wasn't even certain she could tell me about that on air!

"The moment it became illegal in our state, not only did we have to stop every bit of abortion care that we were doing in the clinic," she explains, "our Attorney General made statements saying that, in his opinion, he believed that providing a person with information about how they could access abortion care somewhere else would, in fact, constitute a criminal conspiracy. And people could be arrested over that."

The center has just filed suit against the state A.G., hoping to win back their free speech rights. As the ACLU describes the case, the lawsuit was last month "in federal court to prevent Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and district attorneys throughout the state from prosecuting those who assist Alabamians seeking to travel across state lines to access abortion care where abortion is legal. Attorney General Marshall has explicitly threatened that health care providers could face felony charges for assisting Alabamians seeking to travel out of state to obtain abortion where it is legal."

The health care providers are fighting the law adopted by the very same hypocritical GOP lawmakers who pretended to be "outraged" about "Big Government coming between a patient and their doctor" during the passage of ObamaCare in 2010. And the very same ones who, today, are pretending to be "outraged" about Trump being prosecuted for "nothing more than exercising his Free Speech rights!" (that's not why he is being prosecuted) and pretending to be concerned that social media sites are "censoring" rightwing opinions.

Marty has a lot to say on all of these topics, so I hope you'll tune in for today's very lively conversation with her!...

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Guest: Attorney Keith Barber's primer on the crime of Racketeering; Also: Raskin on Trump trying to 'steal' the 2020 election; Election Day in OH...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2023 6:17pm PT  

For some reason, it seemed like a good moment on today's BradCast to bone up on exactly what "racketeering" or RICO charges are. I have a feeling it may come in handy in the days ahead. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, FIRST UP, it's Election Day in Ohio. One single statewide ballot issue, in the middle of August. That's because Republican lawmakers were hoping to undermine a ballot measure set for this November which, if successful, will codify protection for reproductive freedoms into the state Constitution.

For more than 100 years in the Buckeye State, Constitutional Amendments were adopted via the ballot with a simple majority vote. Today's measure, Issue 1, would raise the requirement needed for passage to a 60% super-majority. Of course, the GOP's Issue 1 on the ballot today would require just 50% + 1 for passage.

As we've been reporting, despite the state Republicans' attempt to sneak their anti-democracy Amendment past voters (after, earlier this year, adopting legislation to ban August Special Elections), early voting has been huge. Today's Election Day turnout was reportedly higher than expected as well. Happily, there were, so far, only a few reported problems at the polls. We'll see if that changes and we'll have reported results on this critical measure tomorrow.

THEN, over the weekend, Donald Trump's top attorney on his new indictment by Special Counsel Jack Smith for his many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election, was all over the news shows offering absurd defenses for his client's crimes. John Laura told Meet the Press, for example, that "a technical violation of the Constitution" isn't actually unlawful.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who happens to be a Constitutional law professor (as well as both the Lead Manager for the U.S. House during Trump's second impeachment for insurrection and a member of the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating it) strongly begged to differ. Critically, he noted in his response to Lauro's remarks, there are people serving years in jail in this country for falsifying one single vote, whereas Trump "tried to steal the entire election."

Thank you, Congressman!

NEXT, we continue to await what is almost certainly going to be Trump's fourth criminal indictment in about as many months. This one will come any day now, likely this week or next, courtesy of Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis in relation to Team Trump's failed attempts to steal the Peach State's election in 2020 from Joe Biden and the state's voters.

Her case, for reasons explained on today's program, could be expansive, including many charges and many conspirators acting in concert with Trump. Exactly who will be charged and what they will be charged with remains unknown.

Among the many questions about Willis' case: Will she invoke the state's "Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations" (or RICO) Act or just simple conspiracy charges? And, oh, by the way, what are the difference between the two, as RICO is best known for use against organized crime by the mafia, etc.?

Luckily, KEITH BARBER, former attorney, former Republican and current Daily Kos contributor on law and Constitutional matters, recently wrote about exactly that and joins us today for a helpful RICO primer and insights into Willis' likely imminent indictments.

Short version of the difference between "conspiracy" and "RICO", as Barber wrote last month: "Conspiracy requires an agreement between the co-conspirators to commit what are usually specific crimes. RICO does not require proving any such agreement. So long as the parties commit the required predicate offenses, as part of the same 'enterprise,' acting 'in furtherance of a common purpose,' RICO can be satisfied."

As Barber tells me today: "The mob boss doesn't necessarily plan anything with the guy who is running the protection racket He may not even know him. But they are both engaged in the same broad criminal enterprise. That's the distinction between RICO and conspiracy. You don't have to show the connections that are shown in the [Jack] Smith indictment of Trump between the co-conspirators. It's sufficient if they engage in a pattern of racketeering activity in furtherance of the same general objective."

If you'd like a more detailed explanation, tune in to today's show, when Barber also offers his thoughts on who is likely to be indicted. "All indications are, all the hints are, that it's going to be a whole lot of people, with a whole lot of charges. It's kind of mind-boggling how many people it could be."

Also discussed: last night's court ruling in columnist E. Jean Carroll's rape and defamation case against Trump and his counter-suit for defamation against Carroll. Short version: Trump's suit was tossed as the judge confirmed that, yes, Trump was found by a jury to have been a rapist according to common vernacular, and Carroll's second civil trial against him (she already won $5 million from him during the last one, now she's suing for at least $10 million) is scheduled to begin early next year and could be a very very short trial given everything that was already established as a fact in the first trial.

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the death toll rises under prolonged extreme heat in Arizona; climate change unleashes a brand new flooding problem in Alaska; President Biden moves to protect a million acres from uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, and extreme rains and deadly flooding continue to pummel parts of Europe...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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The two Justins win back their seats in TN; Huge turnout in response to OH's Issue 1 scam; Deadline for military PACT Act benefits; Also: Callers want to talk about our thrice-indicted former President...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2023 6:32pm PT  

It may be the dead of Summer, not exactly when most Americans are thinking about elections. But they were thinking about them last week in Tennessee and Ohio. No matter what these days, Americans are still thinking about Donald Trump. We cover all of that and more on today's busy BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among the stuff covered on today's program...

  • Another victory for Americans and our current President. Months earlier than expected and ordered by Congress, Joe Biden signed a landmark Presidential order just over a week ago that officially updates the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for the first time in decades. The update changes the way the military handles sexual assault cases and other violent crimes, many of which, advocates of the new system have argued for some twenty years, were swept under the rug in the military chain of command.
  • In somewhat related-ish news, the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act [or PACT] Act has an important deadline this week that former Daily Show host Jon Stewart wants you to know about. The PACT Act greatly expanded medical benefits for veterans harmed by toxic burnpits, agent orange and other toxins while in service to the country. The landmark measure was signed by President Biden in 2022 --- also after years of advocacy by proponents --- and, while eligible vets can sign up anytime, those who either sign up or offer their intent to sign up by Wednesday, August 9, will be able to get full benefits going back to August of 2022. So make sure you let anyone you served and may have been sicked while on duty know about it! Learn more and sign up at VA.gov/PACT.
  • Remember the Two Justins --- Tennessee State Rep. Justin Pearson of Memphis and Justin Jones of Nashville --- the two young, black, progressive Democratic lawmakers [pictured above] who were expelled by Republicans from the TN State House for supporting children and teachers protesting for new gun safety legislation following the mass school shooting in Nashville in March? Both Justins just won back their seats in the state House of Representatives during special elections held last Thursday. They were expelled by the racist white Republican House super-majority last April when an older white woman --- Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville --- was spared from expulsion by the same lawmakers, despite participating in the same protest on the House floor with the two Justins. Jones reportedly won his race with a whopping 78% of the vote. Pearson won his election to his old seat with 94% of the vote. Well done, Tennessee voters!
  • Meanwhile, in Ohio, far-right Republicans in that state's gerrymandered state legislature and their dark money supporters have been lying to voters for weeks now about Issue 1, which will be decided tomorrow (Tuesday, August 8th) at polls across the Buckeye State. The statewide ballot measure would make it harder for citizens to adopt citizen led initiatives to amend the Constitution by, among other things, requiring 60% for passage. Just a few months ago, in May, just weeks after adopting legislation to outlaw August special elections, GOP lawmakers voted to hold a special election for this ballot measure (which would only need a simple 50% majority for passage, just like all other ballot measures in state history) in hopes of pre-empting a citizen-led Constitutional ballot measure scheduled for this November that would enshrine reproductive freedoms into the state Constitution. Rightwingers have reportedly been blanketing the airwaves with false claims about Issue 1, telling voters that a "yes" vote will prevent your daughter from receiving a sex change operation without your approval. (Seriously.) But, again, democracy rising? Early voting turnout is through the roof, surpassing even last year's 2022 mid-term primaries. But we'll see how it turns out. A number of counties are reporting poll closures and precinct changes just days before tomorrow's Election Day.
  • Finally, after awarding our kudos to the latest member of the corporate media to be brought to our attention correctly describing Donald Trump's multiple failed attempts to "STEAL" the 2020 election, we open up the phone to callers. Many of whom want to talk about Donald Trump, his latest four-count federal indictment [PDF] last week, and how the hell the guy is even allowed to run for President after inciting an insurrection (he shouldn't be), much less serving as the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination. I still believe it's possible that he will not ultimately be the GOP nominee next year, for a number of reasons I suspect we'll be discussing in the days ahead. For today, however, it was great to talk to a number of very good callers about all of the above!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Former Prez pleads 'not guilty' in election theft conspiracy; Also: U.S. credit rating cut thanks to 'fiscal conservatives'; WI GOP threaten 2024 election administration; MI GOP A.G. nominee charged with vote machine tampering; Willis threatened, but 'ready to go' in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2023 7:22pm PT  

Ten years ago, a BradCast like today's would have been unimaginable. Today, it's just our latest BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered (some of which we've been trying to get to all week but for all the breaking news that kept bumping them!)...

  • The former President of the United States pleaded "not guilty" to felony crimes in his third arraignment in four months. This one at the federal courthouse in D.C., on four alleged charges [PDF] brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith related to Donald J. Trump's failed conspiracies to steal the 2020 Presidential election before, during and after his January 6, 2021 insurrection. Defendant Trump was reportedly warned by the magistrate judge overseeing his arraignment about committing more crimes, tampering with jurors or communicating with co-conspirators while he was freed pending trial.
  • Congressional Republicans still pretend they are "fiscal conservatives". Shamefully, the media still allows them to do so. But their brand of "fiscal conservatism" is, once again, costing the Government and American people untold billions. This week, the Fitch Rating service downgraded the U.S. credit rating from top tier AAA to AA+, citing principally the GOP's recent brinkmanship threatening to allow the U.S. government to default on its debts for the first time in history, and even due to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The newly lowered credit rating led the stock market to dive in response, is already increasing the cost of government borrowing and mortgage rates for homeowners.
  • On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court in Wisconsin officially flipped to a liberal majority for the first time in about 15 years after the election of Milwaukee Judge Janet Protasiewicz to the high court back in early April. The new era in the critical Presidential battleground state comes not a moment too soon, as Republicans in the gerrymandered state Senate are attempting to oust Elections Administrator Meagan Wolfe from the state's Election Commission after unanimously appointing her four years ago. When Trump lost the state in 2020, state Republicans decided the experienced administrator who has successfully overseen thousands of state election jurisdictions and is well-respected by clerks and experts of all parties, had cheated --- or didn't cheat enough --- or something. And now, amusingly, Democrats on the Election Commission are citing a ridiculous, 4 to 3 opinion by the state Supremes from last year, when the court had a rightwing majority, which allowed agency heads to remain in place after their term had ended. (The ruling was meant to support a sleazy GOP scheme to prevent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers from being able to appoint his own nominees to state agencies.) The 2024 election in the critical battleground state now hangs in the balance and may --- or may not --- as Bolt's Cameron Joseph reports, lead the Court's liberals to change their position on the issue when this matter, almost certainly, makes it's way to the newly liberal high court.
  • Michigan's failed 2022 Republican candidate for Attorney General, Matt DePerno, was indicted this week along with a former GOP State Rep. on state charges related to accessing and tampering with voting systems. The Trump-endorsed Matt DePerno was a 2020 election denier already under investigation for the alleged crimes when he was nominated by his party to become the state's top law enforcement official last year. State Attorney General Dana Nessell then referred the probe to a Special Prosecutor who brought charges this week against DePerno, former State Rep. Daire Rendon and, as we've learned since getting off air, GOP attorney and Trump ally Stefanie Lambert. The Special Prosecutor, D.J. Hilson, suggests more charges are likely coming as part of a scheme by the MAGA Republicans to take voting system tabulators from several counties in order to "test" them for...something or other. Lambert and four others targeted by the probe, also participated in the breach of sensitive voting system hardware and software in Coffee County, Georgia, a story which we broke on this show last year and have been covering in detail ever since.
  • Speaking of Georgia, election deniers, voting system breaches and GOP attempts to steal the 2020 election, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, over the weekend, said she is "ready to go". She made the remarks to a local news outlet, suggesting she will be bringing indictments in her broad conspiracy probe of Team Trump's failed attempt to steal the Peach State's 2020 election "before September the first of 2023". Willis recently warned County officials to "stay alert" and keep staffers "safe" as barricades have now been erected around the County Courthouse in anticipation of new indictments. In her warning to County Commissioners, she shared a sample of the appalling, racist threats her office has received recently. All signs suggest that Trump --- and perhaps many others --- are about to be indicted in her probe. It would be Trump's fourth such criminal indictment in the past four months. We told you long ago accountability would be coming. Now, it finally is. Bigly!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with a climate in crisis that couldn't care less about politics. A new study finds that man-made climate change is getting very costly for small businesses; record high temps are, ironically, forcing the shut down of oil refineries and raising gas prices in the bargain (neat trick, eh?); and, speaking of Georgia, the state has finally opened the nation's first new nuclear plant in decades. It is already costing state ratepayers a lot more money...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Pro Left Podcast's 'Driftglass'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2023 6:06pm PT  

The quote in the headline for today's BradCast comes, according to one of our guests today, from former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who knows quite a bit about both Constitutional crimes and American history. Finally, Donald J. Trump is facing accountability for his worst (known) crime of all: Attempting to overthrow American democracy itself by stealing a Presidential election from the American people before our very eyes. Luckily, he was as bad at that as he is at everything else. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

"This is a momentous legal event. It's the most significant legal event of our lifetimes, one of the most significant legal events ever in the history of this country. It is up there with Marbury vs Madison, Brown vs Board of Education, Dred Scott as a defining case for the times," Katyal told MSNBC after the new indictment against the the disgraced former President was handed up in D.C. yesterday. "This indictment lays out a case that a guy who was President of the United States --- while he was President of the US --- leveraged his office, used his power to thwart the will of the people in the most solemn thing they do in our country, vote. This is the biggest constitutional crime in our history."

We're joined today discuss that crime and Trump's latest indictment (his third in four months, and his second at the federal level) for it by two favorite BradCast special coverage guests. HEATHER DIGBY PARTON is the award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog; and our old friend "DRIFTGLASS" is otherwise known as both @Mr_Electrico on Twitter and simply "Bill" at home in "Flyover Country, Illinois" where he has long and proudly produced The Professional Left Podcast.

Following the release of Special Counsel Jack Smith's new, very readable 45-page indictment [PDF] against Trump just minutes before airtime on Tuesday --- including four felony fraud, obstruction and conspiracy charges related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election before, during, and after the January 6, 2021 insurrection he incited at the U.S. Capitol --- we've had a bit of time to finally read the charges and evidence presented with them in full.

Also, we've had some time to learn about the judge assigned to the case, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan. And, boy howdy, is Trump not gonna like her. She was appointed by President Obama, has been particularly tough on January 6 insurrectionists, and famously (and correctly) wrote, in a 2021 ruling allowing the bipartisan House Jan. 6 Select Committee access to documents from the Trump White House that "Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President."

As noted, he's not gonna like her one bit. Oh, well. Perhaps it balances out the Trump-appointed federal judge/stooge overseeing his federal indictment on 40 felony charges related to his theft and retention of national security documents and his attempts to obstruct the government's investigation and attempts to retrieve them down in Florida.

Among the topics discussed with "Digby" and "Driftglass" on today's special coverage...

  • Why it took so long to bring this case, particularly as so much of it had already been revealed by the House Jan. 6 Committee last year.
  • What either struck or surprised them about the new indictment.
  • Who the still-unidentified "Co-Conspirator 6" might be.
  • Will history better remember Mike Pence's moment of courage on January 6 or his pathetic turnabout ever since?
  • Why this case feels so much different than the other two indictments filed against Trump.
  • Why it seems that nobody in the media is able to describe what Trump did as an attempt to STEAL a Presidential election. (Though MSNBC's Joy Reid and Parton --- both of whom have long followed me on Twitter --- get well-deserved kudos for doing so today!)
  • Whether, as folks on the Right like to claim, Tuesday's new indictment (and the others) actually help him in the 2024 election.
  • And, would they support or oppose a plea agreement in which the disgraced former President was allowed to plead guilty, get some home confinement, pay a huge fine and, most importantly, drop out of the 2024 race and vow to never run for public office again in exchange for escaping prison time (akin to Nixon VP Spiro Agnew's deal with federal prosecutors)?

Answers to all of those questions and many others on today's BradCast Special Coverage! Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Six co-conspirators cited, but still unnamed, in charges handed up by federal grand jury in Special Counsel Jack Smith's Jan. 6-related probe; Also: NJ Lt. Gov. Oliver dies suddenly; OH's critical Aug. 8 election...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2023 6:23pm PT  

Literally minutes before today's BradCast, news broke that the grand jury in D.C. hearing Special Counsel Jack Smith conspiracy case against Donald J. Trump regarding his many failed attempts to steal 2020 Presidential election had handed up a four-count federal indictment against Donald J. Trump. Seconds before airtime, Smith offered a brief statement on the new indictment. We cover both today...on the fly...

As Smith announced (we share his brief remarks in full), Trump was indicted on four federal felonies...

Count 1: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States [18 USC 371]
Count 2: Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding [18 USC 1512(k)]
Count 3: Obstruction of, and Attempt to Obstruct, an Official Proceeding [18 USC 1512(c)(2)]
Count 4: Conspiracy Against Rights [specifically, the right to vote and to have one's vote counted, 18 USC 241]

Six of Defendant Trump's alleged co-conspirators are briefly described in the 45-page indictment [PDF], though not named within it. The co-conspirators appear to be uncharged at this time. Most of their names were pretty simple to identify based on their description in the indictment (see pages 3 and 4). According to Washington Post, which names 5 of the 6 of them, it appears we got them pretty much correct as we read through the early portion of the charges on today's show. WaPo identifies them as...

Co-Conspirator 1: Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani
Co-Conspirator 2: Trump attorney John Eastman
Co-Conspirator 3: Trump attorney Sidney Powell
Co-Conspirator 4: DoJ Asst. Attorney General Jeffrey Clark
Co-Conspirator 5: Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro
Co-Conspirator 6: A still unidentified "political consultant" whose description matches several potential different Trump henchmen.

Looks like we were correct, at least, on Co-Conspirators 1 through 4. Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler agrees WaPo's ID of Chesebro as number 5 is "sound". He is described in the indictment as "an attorney who assisted in devising and attempting to implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding". We speculate on the show that Co-Conspirator 6 could be Trump's 2020 campaign Director of Election Day Operations Michael Roman, but that's just an on-the-fly guess.

The most central aspect of the charges, at least to my eyes, is that Donald Trump not only attempted to steal the election by lying about it, using dozens of fraudulent claims for months after the November election, but knew that he was lying about every aspect of it.

"The Defendant lost the 2020 presidential election," the indictment reads in its first paragraph...

Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false. But the Defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway --- to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.

He lost. He knew it, because he was told by his closest advisors and all the top state and federal officials with whom he conferred. And, yet, he fraudulently claimed otherwise in hopes of defrauding the American people and stealing a Presidential election. He is finally be charged for all of the above.

It's all spelled out, quite readably, in the indictment [PDF] which Smith, in his brief remarks, encouraged "everyone" to "read in full".

We will, no doubt, have more on all of this in the days ahead. In the remaining time on today's show, as salvaged somewhat from our previous planned program...

  • The sudden death of New Jersey's Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, the first statewide black official in the Garden State and a central character in my 2011 blockbuster exclusive on then Gov. Chris Christie's secret address to the Koch Brothers secret political gathering that year in Vale, CO.
  • The critical election next Tuesday, August 8, in Ohio, where corrupt, authoritarian Republicans have suddenly called a special election to try and adopt a constitutional amendment that would require 60% approval by voters for all future constitutional amendments placed on the ballot. This measure, however, would still need only 50% to be adopted. The scheme is meant to undermine a citizen's ballot initiative planned for this November that would write protections for reproductive freedoms into the Buckeye State constitution.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report with news on the hottest month ever recorded in human history (July 2023); President Biden's new federal heat protections for workers; Canada's first steps toward ending subsidies for the fossil fuel industry; and the landmark banning of natural gas hook-ups in new construction by a major state in Australia...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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And his inability to read the simple text of the U.S. Constitution; Also: Callers ring in on him, Trump and other democracy v. autocracy issues...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2023 6:07pm PT  

Whenever we're able to open up the phones to callers on The BradCast, I invite listeners to ring in and disrupt all of my plans for the day. Happily, they took me up on the offer today! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Thus, my plan for the second half of today's show --- to focus on Trump's latest criminal charges (Which ones? Take your pick!) --- was largely waylaid by folks who wanted to discuss both him and the topic of my monologue in the first part of today's show regarding the wildly corrupt U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page ran parts of fawning 4-hour interview with Alito, in which he falsely claimed: "No provision in the Constitution gives [Congress] the authority to regulate the Supreme Court-period."

Perhaps Alito has never read the U.S. Constitution? For example, he must have missed the part (Article III, Section 2) which reads: "[T]he supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact...and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make." [Emphasis mine.]

As Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) pointed out on CNN over the weekend in response to Alito's B.S., Alito arguably owes his seat to the fact that Congress has regulated the number of seats that are on the Court (and have changed that number many times over the years) since the Constitution was founded! Of course, Alito likely also hates the fact that Congress, after Watergate, as per the Constitution, created legislation (regulations!) requiring annual financial disclosures by SCOTUS Justices. As ProPublica recently detailed, Alito has flouted that legislation by failing to disclose his luxury travel funded by GOP megadonors and other Republican ideologues.

Arguably worse, however, is the fact that one of the authors of the WSJ piece is attorney David Rivkin. He is currently representing the far-right Leonard Leo before the U.S. Senate, which is seeking Leo's testimony as part of their consideration of reforming the corrupted Court. Leo is the longtime head of the Federalist Society, which has spent decades shaping the federal judiciary --- including SCOTUS --- to the liking of billionaire rightwing ideologues.

Even more shameful than that, Rivkin currently has a case pending before the High Court next term! Moore v. U.S. is likely to result in a landmark ruling that could establish whether or not a wealth tax --- long sought by progressive Dems and opposed by rightwing ideologues --- is Constitutional or not.

And yet, Rivkin arguably gave Alito something of value --- presumably for free --- in his four-hour softball interview with the Justice, headlined "Samuel Alito, The Supreme Court's Plain Spoken Defender," in which Rivkin and his co-writer (WSJ Editorial Page Editor James Taranto) fluffed him up with a 2,400-word puff piece including remarks praising Alito, for instance, for his "candor that is refreshing and can be startling."

I'm sure Sammy appreciates it and will remember the favor when it's time to decide Moore v. U.S next year. That's because Alito is damned near as corrupt as Clarence Thomas and don't even get me started here on him today. (I had a few words for the corrupted Clarence on today's show, however.)

After that, my plans to cover Donald Trump's latest criminal problems and two recent Court losses (one today, one last Friday) in the second part of the show, as mentioned, were largely waylaid by callers. And happily so! We had some very good ones! Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Election theft related charges coming soon; Smith hasn't talked to Mo Brooks?!; MI 'indictment' for vote system breach; Biden's strong economy; Inflation Reduction Act success; Record heat continues...
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2023 6:27pm PT  

Note: The barest of headlines about the huge news regarding new, additional charges filed by Special Counsel Jack Smith in Donald Trump's stolen documents case began coming in just minutes before the end of today's BradCast. Up until then, however...we had plenty of other stuff to cover.

Among that stuff...

  • We have another new winner in the corporate media's never-ending effort to find new euphemisms to avoid accurately informing the American people about what Donald Trump did after the 2020 Presidential election. (For those still unclear, he used every tool he could muster to try and STEAL a Presidential election from the American people). Today's winner in the Euphemism Olympics is the New York Times, which ended a short piece on Trump attorneys meeting with Jack Smith's prosecutors on Thursday, in anticipation of indictments in D.C., with this ridiculous turn of phrase: "Mr. Trump also faces scrutiny from the district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., who is investigating his efforts to bend the results of the 2020 election in that state in his favor." --- To "bend the results"?! Really, New York Times?!
  • Yes, I admit to being obsessed with the above point, but for good reason. A few words today on why the media (and Democrats!) failure to accurately inform the American people about the simple fact that Trump tried to STEAL the last Presidential Election is so critical right now, especially in advance of next year's Presidential election.
  • While Jack Smith is clearly digging very deep in both of the federal Trump investigations he is overseeing --- the stolen documents case and the attempted theft of the 2020 election --- it's quite bizarre that, according to former, far-right Rep. Mo Brooks, the Special Counsel has, to date, failed to interview him! That, even though Brooks spoke before Trump at the January 6, 2021 pre-insurrection rally in D.C. where Brooks instructed the angry, duped crowd to "start taking down names and kicking ass". But it's all the more odd because of the four very specific things that Brooks claims Trump instructed him to do last year, seven months after Trump was out of office, including instructions to advocate "rescinding the election" and "physically removing Joe Biden from the White House". All of which, according to the now former Alabama Congressman and one-time Trump endorsee, "violate the U.S. Constitution and federal law."
  • Meanwhile, accountability continues in Michigan where, last week, state Attorney General Dana Nessel charged the state's 16 fake Trump electors with 8 felony counts each related to their attempt to help the former President steal the state's 2020 election. On Wednesday night, Stefanie Lambert, a Michigan attorney who was part of a group being investigated by a MI Special Prosecutor, claimed that she has "been indicted" for her role in breaching voting systems in several townships across the state. Nessel appointed the Special Prosecutor late last Summer to investigate the activities by a bunch of MAGA folks believed to have unlawfully stolen and breached vote tabulation systems after 2020. The group includes a former State Rep, a sitting County Sheriff, a few of the clowns from that Cyber Ninjas outfit, and the failed former Republican A.G. candidate Matt DePerno. After the Trump-endorsed DePerno was nominated by the state GOP to run for A.G. last year, Nessel referred the probe to a Special Prosecutor, so as to not be seen as prosecuting her own election opponent. We'll soon find out if Lambert (who is a real piece of work, apparently) and the others, including DePerno, have indeed been indicted by the Special Prosecutor's grand jury.
  • Even Fox "News" was agog today at the latest numbers on the U.S. economy under Joe Biden, as released by the Commerce Department on Thursday. The new numbers revealed, among other things, higher-than-expected growth in GDP in the second quarter and extraordinary resilience of Biden's economy which many had expected to be in recession by now. It isn't.
  • Joe Biden and the Democrats' landmark climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act, turns one year old next month and, according to experts, it is already "turbocharging clean energy technology" in the U.S. and producing massive investment in U.S. manufacturing and jobs for the first time in decades. No wonder the fossil fuel industry and Republicans worked so hard for so many years to prevent such investments --- and why Congressional Republicans are working so hard to try and repeal it.
  • With July now likely to have been the hottest single month that any human being has ever lived through on Planet Earth, the President, in remarks today at the White House, detailed efforts across his Administration to help folks survive the extreme heat now slamming about 170 million Americans across about 40% of the nation. His remarks offered yet another opportunity for Biden to sing the praises of the Inflation Reduction Act, which not one Republican in Congress supported when the landmark bill was adopted last year.
  • Finally (as today's big news about new charges against Trump in the documents case just began to break at show's end), Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with several items related to the extreme heat in both the U.S. and Europe --- and, some very good news about EV charging!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Meteorologist, author Guy Walton; Also: Rudy admits he lied about GA election workers; Trump 'Wall' scammer gets 5 years in prison; Bundy found liable for $50M in defamation suit...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2023 6:58pm PT  

Hot enough for ya? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. More on that on today's BradCast, but we lead off with some slightly better news on accountability for a few Team Trump wingnuts. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Rudy Giuliani admitted in court documents filed on Tuesday night that he made "false" claims about Georgia poll workers Shaye Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman. The filing was part of their defamation suit against the disgraced Trump attorney and former NYC Mayor. They were the two women who risked their lives to valiantly help tally votes during the COVID pandemic in 2020 at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, only to be falsely targeted by Giuliani and Donald Trump (and then their minions) for mistallying ballots. Trump called Freeman a "vote hustler." Giuliani falsely charged the two African-American women were passing USB drives back and forth in the counting room "like vials of heroin or cocaine". (In fact, it was Freeman passing a ginger mint to her daughter.) Rudy's legal admission, however, appears to be an attempt at avoid turning over critical discovery documents, including emails from during the period when he and Trump were actually attempting to steal the 2020 election. We'll see if his ploy works. More to come in that suit, I suspect.

Another Trump grifter was sentenced to federal prison on Tuesday for stealing money from donors to the private, MAGA "We Build the Wall" project. Colorado "businessman" Timothy Shea was sentenced to five years and three months after two other men who also organized the scheme were previously sentenced to multiple years in prison. All three were charged along with Trump's former top advisor Steve Bannon, who was pardoned by Trump for this crime on his way out of office. Bannon, however, has since been charged for related crimes by New York state.

Then there is the dope Ammon Bundy. Remember him? (Look him up.) He's an old school wingnut who has now been found liable by a jury for more than $50 million as part of a defamation suit filed against him by a hospital in Idaho that he and fellow rightwingers falsely accused, according to the Idaho Statesman, of "working with the government to take children away from Christian families to be sexually abused and given to gay couples."

That, however, is the good news today. As to the rest of it, well...

The ocean water off the tip of Florida now appears to have hit an all-time record for seawater anywhere on Planet Earth since man has been here anyway. Literally hot tub-like temps of 101.1 and 100.2 Fahrenheit were recorded over the past two days. That, as a new study of ocean currents published by the journal Nature on Tuesday finds a key part of the Gulf Stream known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (or AMOC) could collapse entirely by mid-century or even as early as 2025 as waters continue to warm. The result would be catastrophic and, according to scientists, "affect every person on the planet."

We explain what that means --- and doesn't --- along with a bunch of newly shattered heat, wildfire and flooding records this summer by way of prelude to today's guest, meteorologist GUY WALTON, 30-year Weather Channel veteran, tracker of worldwide climate records, and author of the World of Thermo illustrated children's book series on our quickly worsening climate crisis.

"We are smashing more records than usual," Walton tells me today, "except for the United States. Globally there have been more" broken records than usual this Summer. He does stick his neck out to predict this one: "I have no doubt that July of 2023 will go down, when the figures get computed, as the warmest month in recorded history. Not just the warmest July, but the warmest month ever."

While Walton has been observing and reporting on these new records for years, he concedes there is one that he didn't expect, at least so soon. "That warm water temperature down near Miami of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Didn't think I'd live to see something like that."

Other landmarks, such as "the disappearance of Arctic sea ice," he explains, "was not predicted until about the year 2050. Now it's going to be more like 2030 [or] 2040." That is part of our discussion about how climate scientists tend to be quite conservative in their predictions, despite rightwing climate deniers who falsely claim they are just "liberal grifters" trying to make a buck on the extremely lucrative career (insert rolling eyes emoji here) of climate science.

Other topics of note discussed with Walton today: His attempt to "kill two proverbial birds with one stone" by his naming of major heat waves after oil companies. (We are currently suffering through Heat Wave Chevron); The extraordinary number of climate deniers who (incredibly) still exist at this point. ("I find that a large number of climate deniers actually failed their science classes when they were going to high school, because they can't read charts [or] very simple graphics."); And the dark turn taken in the third, recently published book in his World of Thermo climate change series for kids, this one titled World of Thermo: Grim Reaping.

Finally today, some listener comments in response to my conversation last week with E&E News climate impacts journalist Thomas Frank on the "canary in the coal mine" climate change-fueled home insurance crisis now roiling the state of Florida. As listener Wendy noted, what is happening there now has been predicted for years, as the insurance crisis threatens to become a home mortgage crisis, as also discussed with Frank. She notes that climate and investment researcher Spencer Glendon offered brief, yet remarkably prescient remarks on these points during a Sohn Institute conference back in 2019. We shared a few on-point minutes today from Glendon's 2019 remarks at that conference. His full 15 minutes, however, are well-worth listening to and can be viewed right here...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: First 2024 GOP debate takes shape; Majority says Trump should drop out; Fox, Repubs and Fossil Fuel industry turbo-charge EV attacks...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2023 6:04pm PT  

As the nation awaits new, almost-certainly coming indictments of the former President at both the federal and state level within the next few days and/or weeks, we were able to catch up on several related and unrelated items on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Among today's stories...

  • Congrats to AP for coming up with yet another novel way to not report directly on the fact that Donald Trump tried to STEAL the 2020 election! I'm fairly certain theirs is the first reference I've seen over the past two and half years of media trying to avoid the most accurate term for what he did by, in this case, reporting on his efforts to "unravel" his 2020 loss. Really, AP? Unravel?
  • Meanwhile, we've been reporting for well over a year now, in detail, on the dangerous, unlawful, MAGA-led breach of wildly vulnerable statewide voting systems in Coffee County, Georgia beginning the day after the January 6 insurrection in D.C. We've come at it from all angles over that year, and are still digging in to critical, uninvestigated elements of the story --- including the attempts to cover it all up by the County itself and GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. But I've been asked by a number of readers and listeners of late if I know whether or not Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis is probing that breach --- which could help unravel the 2024 election --- as part of her broad conspiracy investigation into Trump's various attempts to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State. The short answer is "sorta". The Guardian's Hugo Lowell has been reporting of late that "computer trespass", in reference to what Team Trump did in Coffee, is likely to be included among the charges for some named in Willis' "imminent" indictments. (See here today and a few more details four days ago from Lowell here. For more details beyond that, tune in to today's show!)
  • While the odds are getting longer by the day, there is still a chance that Trump will not ultimately be the GOP candidate for President in 2024. I explain why that could still be the case and, with that in mind, which of the many GOP also-rans appear likely to qualify for the first GOP Presidential debate next month in Milwaukee.
  • As to the "imminent" indictments expected from Special Counsel Jack Smith in relation to Trump's attempts to steal the 2020 election before, during and after January 6, 2021, new polling suggests a majority of Americans (if not Republican voters) believe that a third indictment would be a good enough reason for the disgraced former President to drop out of next year's race. Not that he will.
  • While our fossil-fueled climate continues to wreak havoc across the globe this Summer, it seems as if a switch has been flipped in recent days, with Fox "News" and the Republican Party suddenly launching a last-gasp, desperate attempt at preventing the quickly accelerating global transition to clean, Electric Vehicles. Now who could possibly be behind such an effort? We discuss and debunk the everything-old-is-new again attacks on EVs coming from the Fossil Fuel industry's tools on the right.
  • Finally, speaking of climate havoc, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report as the Summer of 2023 continues to break records for record-breaking heat, fire and flooding. Oh, and Fox "News" has found their newest dumb thing to pretend to freak about in the bargain: saving money with more efficient water heaters! Sigh...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Gov. Don Siegelman on GOP lawmakers ignoring Court order on racial gerrymander; Also: More on Democracy v. Autocracy and GOP efforts in MO, OH to undermine voters, abortion rights ballot measures...
By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2023 6:42pm PT  

With two major stories in the last several days regarding Alabama and the U.S. Supreme Court, it seemed like another good opportunity to bring their former Governor onto The BradCast to discuss both matters. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, a bit more from where we left off last week in my rant about the 2024 election coming down to the ongoing existential battle between democracy and autocracy as, sadly, represented largely now by the two major political parties. Democrats largely represent the pro-democracy forces, while the Republican party now, by and large, firmly on the side of the autocrats from Donald Trump on down to the state and local level.

Just one example this week comes out of my old home state of Missouri, where the state Supreme Court unanimously ordered its state Attorney General Andrew Bailey last week to approve the certification for a Constitutional ballot measure that would enshrine the right to make personal decisions about abortion, birth control, childbirth and other issues related to pregnancy directly into the state constitution. That, in a state with one of the most draconian bans on reproductive rights in the nation.

Bailey had been holding up the measure for 135 days for a process that usually takes his office just over 50 days. He had been claiming that the State Auditors assessments that the measure might cost the state about $50,000 a year was "drastically" wrong, and that it would actually cost the Show-Me State some $12 billion instead! Either way, the state Supremes held that the A.G.'s office has no statutory right to hold up signature gathering for a ballot initiative based on his own personal disagreement with a State Auditor's cost assessment.

The MO A.G. is hardly the only GOP state official of late to simply defy the law, the courts and the Constitution. Republican lawmakers in Ohio recently engineered a special election for August 8 --- in defiance of their own law passed just months ago that largely bans August elections --- in order to feature a Constitutional measure to raise the approval percentage needed to enact a ballot initiative from 50% to 60%. That, just in time to interfere with an abortion rights ballot measure in November. The state GOP's measure on the ballot next month to make future initiatives more difficult for voters to adopt, of course, will require only 50% for passage.

Ohio's Republican lawmakers also spent the last year simply ignoring orders from the state's Supreme Court to redraw partisan gerrymandered U.S. House districts. And, last week, the GOP legislature in Alabama simply chose to defy the U.S. Supreme Court which, in June, ordered the state to redraw their House maps to include two Black-majority voting districts. Currently, the state has just one such district out of seven U.S. House seats, despite Black voters comprising more than a quarter of the state's voting age population.

While shamefully approving a new map drawn in a special session last week with just one Black majority district again --- it was signed by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey just hours later --- the state had no problem following a separate SCOTUS ruling last week that allowed them to kill a prisoner, even though three prior attempted executions were a disaster in the state. Two were called off indefinitely as officials couldn't figure out how to find a vein to insert an IV, and the other one took three hours to complete. The three liberals Justices dissented from the Court's six, corrupted, blood-thirsty rightwingers.

We're joined once again today by Alabama's former Gov. DON SIEGELMAN, the last Democrat to serve in that role, after being the only one in state history to serve in all four statewide positions, SoS, A.G., Lt. Gov. and Gov.

Early last month, Siegelman joined us to discuss an op-ed he'd written for WaPo with Alabama's former Republican Gov. Robert Bentley on the death penalty, with the two men conceding that they had come to regret presiding over the barbaric punishment, largely thanks to so many instances of prosecutorial misconduct --- particularly in cases where Black men are convicted and executed.

We picked up on some similar themes today in the wake of last week's SCOTUS ruling and the state killing of James Barber. "It's tragic," Siegelman tells me today. "But the worst part is that we have 167 on Alabama's death row. 115 of those people are sentenced to death growing out of an 1870 Jim Crow law that took Alabama from a state that required a unanimous jury to execute people to one now that allows someone to be sentenced to death on a jury recommendation that is non-unanimous. To my knowledge, Alabama is the only state in the country that is continuing this practice."

"We also have the distinction of having 31 people on Alabama's death row who were not sentenced to death by a jury, but sentenced to death by a judge who overrode the jury," he explains. "The jury recommended life in prison without parole, and the judge said, 'No, I think I'm going to go ahead and kill you anyway.'"

Siegelman also emphasizes that, "If we want to end wrongful prosecutions, if we want to end mass incarcerations, if we want to end the abuse of power by police, prosecutors --- and, I would say, by Presidents --- we've got to repeal the immunity that's been given to prosecutors," when they purposely mishandle a case.

As to Alabama Republicans stunning defiance of last month's Supreme Court order to add a second Black majority U.S. House district in the state under the Voting Rights Act, Siegelman argues: "I would hope the federal court would take action if their order is disobeyed. Including sending U.S. Marshals to pick up the state Attorney General and put him jail for a little while until he comes to his senses."

That's no small assertion from a former state Attorney General himself. Siegelman's got a lot more to say about the matter today, but hopefully that comment will entice you to tune in for our full conversation...

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Becoming a single-issue voter is getting pretty easy; Also: Holding election officials accountable; Biden delivering on renewable energy projects in all 50 states; Madness in 'Darth Valley'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2023 6:37pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Why I'm quickly becoming a single-issue voter and you should too. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

It's getting easier and easier by the day --- as Trump's Republican Party completes its transition to full-on autocracy --- to make my choices for next year's general election before I even know who will be running. If a candidate is pro-democracy and running against a pro-autocracy candidate, I'll choose the one who supports democracy every time. It's simple.

It's not a partisan issue either. If there is anyone left within the Republican Party willing to support democracy and oppose authoritarianism, I'm happy to examine the rest of their record and consider voting for them. The way things are shaking out, however, I'm not sure where I would find such a Republican candidate, all of which is discussed in varying degrees of detail on today's program.

Among the many stories today that help illustrate what I believe will be the single most defining issue in American elections for the foreseeable future...

  • A Township Clerk in Michigan is stripped of his election administration duties after being one of 16 people indicted this week for defrauding the state by pretending to be a "duly elected" elector after the 2020 Presidential election. Each of the 16 Republicans are charged with 8 criminal counts related to conspiracy to commit election forgery. Each charge carries a penalty of anywhere from 4 to 14 years in prison. While they all deserve punishment, I especially hope they throw the book at the longtime, elected Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot, who violated the trust of the people he serves, who definitely understood what he was doing wrong, and that Donald Trump did not win Michigan's 2020 election.
  • While GOP election officials are violating election laws (Grot is not the only one), the Republican lawmakers are otherwise working hard to prevent (certain) people from voting at all. Happily, a U.S. District Judge in Florida recently blocked a new state law that prevented certain former felons and non-citizens from participating in voter registration drives. The judge found the measure, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, to "reduce individual rights to ashes" in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Meanwhile, Republicans in the U.S. House are attempting to force similar measures on all 50 states, reducing states rights to ashes (despite long pretending to care about them, but only in certain, very specific circumstances). Their newly introduced measure is called The American Confidence in Elections Act. It makes it more difficult for many to vote, easier to cheat, and easier for millionaires and billionaires to further purchase American elections. Contrast that with two Democratic voting and election reform measures being reintroduced --- the Freedom to Vote Act and John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act --- which would, among other things, make it easier for legal voters to cast their votes, provide support for election workers, regulate dark money in elections, ban partisan gerrymandering, revive portions of the Voting Rights Act gutted by SCOTUS, and allow every voter a hand-marked paper ballot. Again, another clear illustration of a pro-democracy party versus an anti-democracy party. Next year's choices should be simple.
  • And, if there are any remaining questions about Democracy v. Autocracy as the stark new stakes our country now faces, there is likely no clearer illustration of it than Monday's explosive New York Times story detailing the Republican's $22 million "Project 2025". The plan, being prepared by former Trump White House officials for Trump or whichever Republican next wins the White House, involves what NYU Historian and fascism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat described as "autocratic capture". The scheme, which they are not trying to hide, calls for the consolidation of all Executive Branch power into the White House, allowing the President to purge tens of thousands of career public officials deemed as insufficiently loyal, and to allow him or her to take over complete control of all independent Executive Branch agencies, such as the Dept. of Justice, FCC, FTC, Federal Reserve and many others. The President would also grant himself the power to block the allocation of monies appropriated by Congress. As one of the Republicans behind the project explains: "There is no way to make the existing structure function in a conservative manner. ... What’s necessary is a complete system overhaul." Another tells the Times: "What we’re trying to do is identify the pockets of independence and seize them." Are the extraordinary 2024 stakes making sense out there yet?
  • All of that as the planet's climate continues to degenerate thanks to the continuing burning of fossil fuels and those in the industry --- and politicians they've purchased --- who continue to lie to the public about it. In California's "Darth Valley Run" one guy is making the best (or worst?) of it...even as he seems to concede he is certifiably insane. (See the photo above for a hint.)
  • And, in Philadelphia on Thursday, President Biden, speaking at a shipyard, detailed an extraordinary array of remarkable new renewable energy projects now underway --- mostly off-shore wind in this case --- and the thousands of good-paying, union jobs that come with them, created by Biden and Congressional Democrats in all 50 states as part of last year's Inflation Reduction Act.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen further breaks down the stakes for the planet --- as all-time, mind-blowing heat records continue to be shattered across the Northern Hemisphere --- in our latest Green News Report...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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