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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


New RNC Chair suggests Ukraine a U.S. enemy; GA Lt. Guv facing fake elector probe; OH, AL may keep Biden off ballot; Fox 'News' hides AZ abortion ruling, then Hannity blames Dems; Liberal WI Justice to retire...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2024 6:49pm PT  

Desperate times, desperate measures and all that that entails on today's BradCast. Plus, we've got several pieces of long-overdue and wildly under-reported very good news as well. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • Yes, Donald Trump's newly hand-picked RNC Chair Michael Whatley really did argue this week that America's enemies include Ukraine and charged that the President's "feckless leadership" encourages them to "meddle with our elections here." He also mentioned China and Iran as U.S. adversaries, but failed to say a word about Russia.
  • Gun safety advocates --- which is to say, the vast majority of Americans --- have been hoping for years to see the so-called "gun show loophole" to avoid background checks closed. Today, after a lengthy rule-making process by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) following passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in 2022, President Biden and the Dept. of Justice announced they are finally doing it. "This is going to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons," said Biden in a statement today. His Attorney General, Merrick Garland, who signed off on the rule on Thursday, told reporters: "Under this regulation, it will not matter if guns are sold on the Internet, at a gun show or in a brick and mortar store. If you sell guns [you] must conduct background checks."
  • Last week it was Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, and now Alabama's is warning Democrats that he may not allow Joe Biden on the state's ballot this November because the Democratic National Convention falls several days after state ballot deadlines. Both Secretaries of State had previously opposed Trump's removal from the ballot in Colorado due to the state Supreme Court's finding that he violated the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause". And both OH and AL allowed Donald Trump on their state's ballots in 2020 despite the Republican National Convention being convened after each state's statutory deadlines that year. Are Republicans really that desperate?
  • In 2022, Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis was disqualified from criminally investigating Georgia's Lt. Governor Burt Jones, who aided Trump's attempt to steal the Peach State's 2020 election as a "fake elector". Willis was blocked because she had hosted a fund-raiser for a political rival of Jones. Now, two years later, a former Republican D.A. in the state, Pete Skandalakis, who was tasked with naming an alternate prosecutor to probe Jones --- and sued for taking so long to do it --- has finally named a replacement. Himself.
  • The rightwing propagandists at Fox "News" are definitely getting desperate following the all-Republican Arizona Supreme Court's ruling this week that reinstates an 1864 territorial law mandating a near-total ban on abortion in the state. On Tuesday, the day the ruling was handed down, not one of the rightwing propaganda outlet's evening prime-time stars even discussed it on their shows. That day, the topic was discussed for just 12 minutes across three different Fox programs earlier in the day, as compared to more than two-hours each of coverage on both CNN and MSNBC that same day and night. The next day, on Wednesday, Sean Hannity decided the 160-year old law should now be overturned and blamed the AZ Court's wildly unpopular decision --- and the predicament it offers to both women in the state and Republican candidates around the country --- on Arizona's Democratic Governor and Attorney General (who opposed the ruling.)
  • After the most expensive state Supreme Court race in U.S. history last year, resulting in liberals retaking a majority on Wisconsin's high court for the first time in 15 years, the longest serving member of its now-liberal majority, 73-year old Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, announced she will not run for another 10-year term next year as previously planned. Thursday's decision by the popular, longtime jurist offers a chance for rightwingers to retake control of the Court in the state's 2025 Spring election. They will have to defend seats on the Court in both 2026 and 2027 thereafter. So, if they don't win next year, they won't get another chance at winning back a majority until 2028. The stakes could hardly be higher.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more wildly under-reported good news on the Biden EPA's new rules to end deadly airborne pollution from chemical plants pollution and cancer-causing PFAS "forever chemicals" in our drinking water. It's about damn time. She's got still more good --- and not so good --- news in today's report as well...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Next election may end GOP entrenchment in WI Assembly, though GOP entrenchment in Senate unlikely to be fully eradicated before 2026...
UPDATE 1/15/24: Court denies GOP motion to reconsider. UPDATE 2/19/29: Gov. Evers approves new map, likely ending litigation...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/27/2023 11:09am PT  

2024 begins with long-overdue good news for the voters of Wisconsin.

Three days before Christmas, by way of a 4-3 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the most recent of two GOP drawn state legislative maps. The two maps were the product of partisan gerrymandering that was so extreme that it permitted the Republican Party to maintain supermajority (2/3) or near supermajority control of both chambers of the Badger State Legislature over the past 12 years --- even when Democrats received as much as 53% of the statewide vote.

The detailed procedures for drawing up new maps in time for the state's 2024 primary elections are set forth in the Court's Post Decision Order, maximizing, at long last, the prospect of a state Legislature whose members will be politically accountable to the will of a majority of the Wisconsin electorate.

If timely developed and approved, the new 2024 maps will permit a majority of WI voters to put an end to a decade-long GOP gerrymandered entrenchment in the state Assembly, though a majority of voters will not be empowered to fully eradicate GOP entrenchment in the WI Senate until 2026. Because it would have been tantamount to overturning the results of the 2022 election, the Court denied the petitioners' request that it compel those Senators, whose terms would not otherwise expire until 2027, to run for reelection in 2024...

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Also: Latest on Israel-Hamas; Biden's curiously repeated comments about 'rules of war'; WI Repubs' impeachment threat now all but dead...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2023 6:35pm PT  

It was a lot of show on today's BradCast. But at least one of my seemingly ridiculous-at-the-time theories from way back at the beginning of this year has now been vindicated. Buckle up. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • The latest on the Israel-Hamas war, including rising death tolls, the retaliatory destruction of entire neighborhoods in Gaza, the potential for spread to other countries and more. We also observe some curiously repeated comments by President Biden in recent days. Whenever he cites his conversations with Israel's controversial, criminally-indicted, far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden takes pains to mention "rules of war" for some reason. (See his remarks on Tuesday and Wednesday.)
  • In related news, it looks like it may take a while --- if ever --- for Republicans in the U.S. House to elect a new Speaker. (Since we got off air, the winner of yesterday's caucus vote, Steve Scalise, says he is dropping out of contention.) In the meantime, that means almost all business in Congress is ground to a halt. But, given the rising tenor of Republicans seemingly hoping to rope us into a war with Iran in the wake of the horrific Hamas attack on Israel, and the way both Republicans and Democrats tragically over-reacted following 9/11, perhaps there is an upside to a cooling off period in Congress right about now?
  • In other news, the GOP push to impeach a newly-seated Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice may now be all but dead. The election of Justice Janet Protasiewicz gave liberals a 4 to 3 majority on the state's High Court for the first time in 15 years. And now a challenge to the Republicans' rigged Assembly and Senate districts is before the Justices. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has threatened to impeach Protasiewicz if she didn't recuse herself from the case (for no good reason). On Friday, she announced she wouldn't. But now not one but two former rightwing WI Supreme Court Justices have weighed in --- hilariously, at Vos' request --- to say impeachment is both uncalled for and a violation of the Badger State constitution.
  • Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (NJ) and his wife have been slapped with yet another criminal felony charge. This time for unlawfully conspiring to act as an agent of Egypt, even while serving as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The pair were previously charged for accepting bribes of cash, gold bars and a luxury car. More than 30 of Menendez' Democratic colleagues in the Senate have called for him to resign. He has, so far, refused.
  • Everyone's favorite, wildly corrupt Republican Congressman, grifter and pathological liar, Rep. George Santos (NY), was charged with an additional 10 federal felony charges this week for identify theft and credit card fraud after allegedly using donor's cards to steal tens of thousands of dollars from them. He previously faced 13 counts for, among other things, lying on financial disclosure forms about being a millionaire and receiving unemployment funds when he was actually employed.

    But it was last week's guilty plea by his former campaign treasurer that has now seemingly vindicated what I had described last January as my "ridiculous, couldn't-possibly-be-true George Santos theory" that I seemed to be the only one raising at the time. This was when Santos' life of lies had recently come to light following his 2022 election to Congress, and after he had amended some FEC paperwork from his campaign to claim that he had made a personal loan to it of some $500,000.

    There were plenty of reasons to doubt that claim --- when he lost his 2020 campaign his disclosures revealed that he made less than $50,000/year --- but most assumed the donation was real, at least, even if probably came from someone else. But who?

    My question was different. On several occasions, including with a campaign finance expert we had on the show in January, I kept wondering if the donation itself to Santos' campaign actually existed, if the FEC or anyone else had ever bothered to check his bank account to see if that money actually came in when he claimed it did, or whether the whole thing was just on paper.

    While it seemed crazy to some at the time (even to me!), guess what his Campaign Treasurer revealed when she pleaded guilty to a fraud conspiracy charge last week?...

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with some grim news for humanity (as usual); suspected sabotage of a natural gas pipeline off the coast of Finland; and the quiet launch of the European Union's first-in-the-world carbon border tax...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Newly liberal state Supreme Court majority decides to hear challenge to the Badger State's wildly gerrymandered legislative maps in time for 2024 elections, even as unprecedented impeachment threat looms...
UPDATE, 10/12/23: Governor Evers files motion to intervene...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/10/2023 12:32pm PT  

It's game on, Wisconsin!

Last Friday, eight days after it declined to hear an emergency request to block the Wisconsin Assembly from initiating impeachment proceedings against recently seated Justice Janet Protasiewicz, the state's Supreme Court partially granted a request to determine whether The Badger State's existing legislative maps violate the state Constitution.

The Court's 4-3 Decision [PDF] to review the constitutionality of arguably the most politically gerrymandered maps in the nation comes on the heels of liberals recently assuming a majority on the bench for the first time in more than 15 years.

In their initial filing [PDF] seeking new, fairer maps, the petitioners in Clarke vs. Wisconsin Elections Commission argued (1) the Wisconsin Supreme Court should grant the petition because it is the only entity that can resolve the issue; (2) that extreme partisan gerrymanders violate the Wisconsin Constitution; (3) that the current legislative districts, both in the state Senate and Assembly, are unconstitutionally noncontiguous, and (4) that the current maps violate separation of powers.

The High Court's narrow majority determined that it will only hear issues (3) and (4). It directed the parties to file briefs by Oct. 16 that will address four specified questions, including the standards the Court should apply in adopting a remedy if it finds the existing maps to be unconstitutional and "the legislature and governor fail to adopt maps that comply with the Wisconsin constitution."

That wasn't the only critical decision issued on Friday regarding what is likely to be a landmark ruling by the High Court...

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Petitioners argue GOP plan to remove recently seated Justice violates state Constitutional limitation to 'crimes' or 'corrupt conduct in office'...
UPDATE 10/3/23: Wisconsin Supremes declined to hear the case...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/18/2023 9:35am PT  

Last week at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a pair of voters filed an Emergency Petition [PDF] seeking to block a GOP scheme to impeach a newly seated Justice on the High Court.

The filing includes an ex parte request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent Republicans in Wisconsin's gerrymandered state Assembly from carrying out their recent threats to impeach Justice Janet Protasiewicz. Petitioners charge that an impeachment brought by the state legislature at this point would be in violation of The Badger State Constitution.

Shortly after Protasiewicz was sworn-in last month --- giving liberals a majority on the WI Supreme Court for the first time in more than 15-years --- voters and a group of mathematicians and computer scientists filed two petitions, Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission and Wright v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, in the state's High Court. The petitions allege Wisconsin's wildly gerrymandered legislative maps violate multiple provisions of the state Constitution. The Clarke and Wright petitioners seek the creation of a fair map prior to the 2024 election.

The new emergency petition, Hanson-Hysel v. Wisconsin State Assembly, was filed last week on behalf of the 1,021,370 Badger State electors whose votes handed Protasiewicz an 11-point victory over her right-wing opponent, Dan Kelly, last April.

The Hanson-Hysel petition advances several core contentions. Most notably: Article 7, Section 1 of the state's Constitution mandates the WI Assembly may initiate impeachment against a judge or justice only in response to "corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes and misdemeanors."

In the 175 years since Wisconsin adopted its founding document, just one member of the Badger State judiciary, Circuit Judge Levi Hubbel, was impeached, in 1853 in relation to bribery accusations. He was acquitted of the charges.

Protasiewicz, on the other hand, has not been accused of either a crime or corrupt conduct in office. She has yet to even hear a case. But her presence on the Badger State's high court has arguably become an existential threat to the survival of the Republicans' more than a decade of unfairly gerrymandered majorities in both chambers of the state legislature...

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Also: Unspeakable Libya death toll; Record global heat; Hunter Biden charged; Hurricane Lee; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2023 7:03pm PT  

It's still kind of hilarious that the Republican Speaker of the House this week, in announcing an impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden for...(fill in actual crime here when available)...described the Democratic President as "the picture of a culture of corruption". It's particularly amusing given the bulk of today's news on The BradCast. [Audio link to full show follow below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The unspeakable death toll from flooding in Libya is now expected to be in the tens of thousands as bodies line the streets in the eastern coastal town of Derna, where 16 inches of rain fell in one day over the weekend resulting in the collapse of two dams. Given some of the horrifying new numbers from Berkeley Earth this week, however, suggesting that the planet has a good chance of exceeding the 1.5 degree Celsius increase of warming since pre-industrial times which the Paris Climate Agreement seeks to avoid, we could be in for many more such horrific disasters in the years ahead.
  • Following a nearly 5-year probe by a Trump appointed U.S. Attorney and a recently failed plea agreement, Hunter Biden was charged today with 3 felony counts related to using illegal narcotics while buying a gun. These are crimes which almost nobody is ever charged with, especially when they have never fired or even loaded the gun, which Hunter reportedly had for only 11 days. But that must be a part of the "special preferential treatment" the President's son has received, if you hear Republicans tell it. Try not to laugh.
  • The state judge overseeing the sprawling, 41-count racketeering conspiracy indictment [PDF] against the former President of the United States, Donald Trump and his 18 co-conspirators for their attempts to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, has determined that all 19 defendants will not be tried in a single group beginning in October, as Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis had sought. So far, former Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell will stand trial next month, but a trial date for all of the others will be set later, likely for some time next year --- if a slot when Trump isn't standing trial on felony charges in three other jurisdictions can be found.
  • The civil trial Trump faces --- along with his two eldest sons, his company and two top executives --- via New York state Attorney General Letitia James, for falsely and unlawfully inflating his company's net worth by billions of dollars in order to fraudulently receive bank loans and other benefits, begins on October 2. Just mentioning that since it seems few others are doing so these days for some reason.
  • The Fox Corporation was sued yet again this week, related to the knowing lies Fox "News" told about the 2020 election being "rigged". The latest suit comes courtesy of New York City's huge pension funds. They charge neglect of corporate duty to protect shareholders by opening themselves up to defamation suits like the one from Dominion Voting Systems. That one cost the pretend news outlet $787.5 million to settle earlier this year. The state of Oregon, on behalf of their public employee retirement fund, has joined the suit. All of which begs the question as to why anybody's money is actually invested in a company known, for years. to be as corrupt as Fox. I might suggest that those whose retirement funds are being handled by NYC and Oregon (and elsewhere) demand the funds pull their money from similarly irresponsible and corrupt corporations --- such as the major fossil fuel companies --- before they too face the huge financial liabilities that await them.
  • Are Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his fellow corrupt Republicans in the state's obscenely gerrymandered Legislature blinking in their recent threats to impeach newly-seated state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz before she has even heard a case? The High Court's new liberal majority will soon be hearing two citizen petitions challenging the GOP's corrupt state district maps, which have ensured Republican majorities in both the Assembly and Senate for most of the past decade. But this week, just after state Dems announced a $4 million ad buy to let voters in the Badger State known what Republicans are up to in advance of 2024, Vos floated a new legislative "deal" to create new maps. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers immediately rejected the proposal as "bogus". We explain.
  • Remember that Kentucky County Clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples back in 2015? Kim Davis will now have to pay one of those couples $100,000 for having refused to do so, according to a decision this week by a federal jury.
  • Ken Paxton, the unspeakably corrupt Texas state Attorney General and close Trump ally who is facing trial in the Republican-dominated state Senate on 20 articles of impeachment brought by the state's Republican-dominated House this week, may have dodged at least one bullet. A last-minute deal was struck between the opposing attorneys to skip testimony from Paxton's mistress on Wednesday. She's the one who was given a job by a Paxton donor to make it easier for them to continue their secret affair. The impeachment trial of the state's top law enforcement officer continues in the Senate, which will soon decide if the Republican should be removed from office based on charges of bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of power. Paxton's wife is a state Senator and has been present all week at the trial. She will, however, be barred from voting on his fate.
  • Washington Post reports today that Florida's corrupt Republican Governor Ron DeSantis enjoyed a whole bunch of unreported and undisclosed private plane flights, luxury resort accommodations and meals with wealthy donors after being first elected in 2018. With his Presidential aspirations now failing, he must be angling for a Supreme Court nomination.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest 'Green News Report' with more on the horrific news out of Libya; the record costs of U.S. weather-related disasters so far this year; more bad news for Texas water drinkers; and a bit of encouraging news courtesy of Biden and the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act. Oh, we're also still keeping an eye on the powerful, slow-moving Hurricane Lee, a monster storm in the Atlantic which is currently brushing by Bermuda and threatening New England, Canada and Newfoundland over the next several days...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Guest: John Nichols on the WI GOP's state Supreme Court impeachment threat to save their gerrymandered majorities; Also: McCarthy announces House GOP's evidence-free impeachment inquiry of President Biden...
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2023 6:48pm PT  

Republicans have railed against the use of impeachment in recent years, describing it as little more than "election interference" --- at least when it was their obscenely corrupt, four-time indicted former President being twice impeached. Well, the party seems to have had a change of heart, as discussed on today's BradCast, as they are now threatening impeachments in both D.C. and Wisconsin. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST UP: Just 11 days ago, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told a rightwing news outlet that, unlike those corrupt Democrats under Nancy Pelosi during the Trump era, Republicans wouldn't open an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden without a full vote of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“To open an impeachment inquiry is a serious matter, and House Republicans would not take it lightly or use it for political purposes," McCarthy vowed in his statement just 11 days ago. "The American people deserve to be heard on this matter through their elected representatives. That’s why, if we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person."

On Tuesday, one person, Kevin McCarthy, declared he was opening an Impeachment Inquiry in the People's House into Joe Biden's "culture of corruption". That, of course, is a nice way of describing an impeachment inquiry of the sitting President that has no actual evidence of either high crimes or misdemeanors. The unilaterally announced inquiry (he took no questions from media afterward) comes on the heels of three ongoing, GOP-led U.S. House probes into the business dealings of the President's son, Hunter Biden, which includes a five-year long (and continuing) criminal probe by a Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney.

Despite all of that, there remains no independently verifiable evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, or even evidence that he had anything to do with his son's business affairs. There is a mountain of evidence, however, that the far-right Freedom Caucus in the House has fully captured the Speaker, who they allowed to take the gavel this year, after 15 rounds of voting, in exchange for a host of concessions. One is that any single member of the House may call a vote at any time to remove McCarthy as Speaker.

With the federal fiscal year ending on September 30, the far-right GOP House mob is now threatening to shut down the Government without passing spending bills that McCarthy agreed to with Biden earlier this year (as part of a deal to avoid GOP threats, at the time, to allow the federal government to default on its bills for the first time in history.) McCarthy's announcement today appears to be an effort to win back his radicalized caucus at least long enough to adopt a 30-day Continuing Resolution to keep the government open before the end of the month and/or prevent himself from being ousted as Speaker. We wish him luck on all of the above.

NEXT: The U.S. House is not the only place where Republicans are desperately embracing impeachment in hopes of salvaging their political fortunes. Wisconsin's state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has been threatening to impeach state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz unless she recuses from two challenges to the state's wildly gerrymandered state legislative maps.

She was elected by an 11-point landslide in the previously closely-divided battleground state earlier this year, giving liberals a 4 to 3 majority on the High Court for the first time in 15 years. She was seated August 1 and, the very next day, petitions were filed with the Court seeking to replace the GOP's rigged maps with fair ones.

Vos is demanding that Protasiewicz recuse from the cases based on the fact that, while running for the job, she referred to the state's rigged maps as "rigged". Which, of course, they are. So much so that --- despite a majority on the Supreme Court and the top statewide elected offices being filled by Democrats, including two-term Governor Tony Evers --- Republicans still have more than enough votes, most likely, to impeach Protasiewicz in the Assembly and a two-thirds majority in the Senate, as needed to remove her from office before she's even heard a single case.

As one of the petitions [PDF] now before the Court argues: "Since 2012, even when Democrats have won as much as 53% of the vote, they have held no more than 39 of the 99 Assembly seats. In the same period, when Republicans have won as little as 44.8% of the statewide vote, they have held no fewer than 66 of the 99 seats and saw victories that yielded them 22 of 33 senate seats."

Native Wisconsinite, longtime progressive author and journalist JOHN NICHOLS joins us today to help make sense of and offer context to what he characterizes as the Wisconsin GOP's "unprecedented" use of the impeachment power in the Badger State --- or any other.

He describes the "high stakes political war" as "a game of chicken," with Republicans "upping their threat" to remove Protasiewicz, "not because it's legitimate, but because these folks might well do something crazy."

"I don't think you can say it's a foregone conclusion that they will impeach," he cautions. "I would say we've moved to the point where it's likely. They have realized, once the lawsuits were filed, that if the Court moves forward on these, they are going to be upended politically. Basically, this is self-preservation at this point. If you know anything about politics, self-preservation is a stronger motivation than partisanship or ideology. That's what tips the balance toward the likelihood of impeachment."

"The best way to understand the Republican Party of Wisconsin is that this is a political party that's in crisis," Nichols tells me. "Their crisis is that the state, which really was pretty evenly divided [is now leaning Democratic.] If that's the case, then for the Republicans, the only way they survive politically is to either change, become a much more moderate party --- they're unlikely to do that --- or game the process."

And, while one single Republican in the state Senate could prevent Protasiewicz' removal, the WI Constitution, as Nichols explains, has a provision "that's really become the heart of the whole matter. The clause says that if you are impeached by the state Assembly, you cannot rule on cases that come before the court. This is the key to it. We've always known there aren't the votes in the state Senate. But because of that clause, they don't have to send it to the Senate. They can just impeach her, and then leave her in limbo for a year and a half, at least until the legislative session ends. Which would eliminate any action as regards the 2024 maps, potentially the 2026 maps."

Could she simply resign and be reappointed by Evers until the next election? Yes, says Nichols, but there is a rub. Tune in for it.

All of this, however, may come at a great cost to Republicans, he explains, as voters respond to this radical tactic as Constitutional abortion rights, union rights and voting rights are all expected to come before the liberal Court that voters elected this year.

How does this "game of chicken" end? Nichols, who told me a month ago, when Vos' threat first emerged, that we were likely "in for a wild ride," now promises a "roller coaster" in his home state in the coming weeks, as state Dems are now spending at least $4 million to let Wisconsin voters know what Republicans are up to in advance of 2024. If the GOP pulls this trigger, Nichols believes, they could be in for serious trouble when voters return to the polls next year.

FINALLY: Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as horrific flooding moves from Greece to Libya where it has taken thousands of lives over the past several days; Africa holds its first-ever climate summit and calls for a global fossil fuel carbon tax; and climate protesters interrupt the U.S. Open...

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Guest: BRAD BLOG legal contributor Ernest A. Canning; Also: Trump co-defendants begin surrenders on 2020 election theft RICO charges in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2023 6:31pm PT  

There is no small amount of irony throughout today's BradCast, as Republican lawmakers threaten to impeach a newly elected state Supreme Court Justice just days after she was sworn in. Do they think we don't remember how they pretended to be outraged(!) in 2020 and 2021, charging Democrats were offending voters with attempted "election nullification" by twice impeaching the former President at the end of his four-year term?

Before we get to that mess in Wisconsin today, speaking of The Former Guy, two of his co-defendants in his fourth criminal indictment of the year (the RICO case in Georgia for his attempted to steal the 2020 election there) surrendered at a Fulton County jail on Tuesday. John Eastman and Scott Hall both turned themselves in after arranging to be released on bond after booking.

Eastman is the far-right Trump attorney and architect of the unlawful/unconstitutional failed scheme to have then Vice President Mike Pence toss out legitimate Electoral College votes on January 6th, 2021. Hall, little known to most of the nation but well known by now to longtime BradCast listeners, is the Atlanta bail bondsman (well, that'll come in handy!) who confessed to frequent guest on this program, Marilyn Marks of the Coalition for Good Governance, that he helped run the unlawful MAGA breach of Georgia's sensitive voting system hardware and software in Coffee County, GA on January 7th, 2021.

Marks had the wherewithal to record Hall's phone call to her. We aired it for the first time on this program last year and have been closely covering the Coffee County breach ever since (even as GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger appears to still be covering it up.) That scheme, part of a multi-state conspiracy, was allegedly hatched in Trump's Oval Office in December of 2020, and paid for by another co-defendant, Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and plays a key role in the 41-count grand jury RICO indictment [PDF] secured last week by Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis. More surrenders, including Trump's own, are to come this week before the Friday deadline, after which Willis has vowed to seek arrest warrants.

As that plays out in the Peach State, desperate Republican lawmakers in the Badger State may be seeing the writing on the wall. Their 15 years of autocratic, partisan gerrymandered majority rule of both chambers of the Wisconsin state Legislature may finally be coming to an end following the statewide landslide election victory last April of Janet Protasiewicz to the state Supreme Court.

On August 1, Justice Protasiewicz was finally sworn in (as pictured above), giving liberals on the High Court a 4 to 3 majority for the first time in some 15 years. The next day, August 2, the first of two petitions was filed with the Court seeking a ruling that the GOP's extreme partisan gerrymandered Legislative maps for both the state Assembly and Senate are unlawful violations of the state's Constitution. Plaintiffs seek not only new, fair maps in advance of the 2024 elections, but they are also asking the Court to order an emergency special election for all seats in the Senate next year. According to plaintiffs, current office holders "lack legal entitlement" to hold those seats due to the unlawful maps in place since 2011, as first approved by the state's hard-right radical then-Governor Scott Walker.

Republicans are both furious and terrified about the two new lawsuits filed by voters, leading current, far-right Assembly Speaker and autocracy fan, Robin Vos (arguably one of the biggest benefactors of the states "rigged" maps), to float the idea of impeaching Protasiewicz if she fails to recuse herself from both cases. Vos argues that, during her campaign earlier this year, Protasiewicz "prejudged" the cases by describing the obviously unfair maps as both unfair and rigged.

There are a whole bunch of problems with Vos' argument, one that was laughably shared in a recent "intemperate dissent" penned in response to these cases by Walker-appointed Justice Rebecca Bradley.

Longtime BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING has been closely following and writing about the matter. He joins us today to detail the allegations against Protasiewicz, the hypocrisy of Bradley, and the constitutional crisis that could occur in the Badger State if Vos moves ahead with impeachment and removal by the state's Republican gerrymandered Assembly and Senate.

"For the Republicans to hold on to a 2/3rds majority in the Senate, even when they received as little as 45% of the vote, tells you what they've done. This is a deeply anti-democratic project," Canning explains. "If they're willing to impeach simply to hold on to power, that in itself is a direct assault on democracy. Particularly when you consider the argument that they really don't have a legal basis for the seats they are holding right now."

We also share a comment today on this entire fine mess from friend of the show, national affairs correspondent at The Nation and WI favorite son, John Nichols.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as hurricane season suddenly kicks into full gear in the U.S., wildfire season continues unabated across Canada, and extreme drought partially shuts down operations at the Panama Canal. Also, before we close today, some grim news out of this year's climate change-fueled wildfires in Greece, and a quick update on Wednesday night's upcoming "Trump-free" 2024 Republican Presidential debate in Milwaukee...

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GOPers in gerrymandered state legislative seats float possibility of removing newly elected Justice over state gerrymandering case...
UPDATE 08/23/23: Elections Commission files neutral response; WI Legislature moves to intervene; named GOP Senators oppose, named Dems respond in support; UPDATE 08/26/23 briefing scheduled on GOP recusal motion...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/21/2023 9:19am PT  

If acted upon, a recent threat by Wisconsin's Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to impeach newly seated state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz could give rise to a Badger State constitutional crisis --- albeit, a crisis that can be somewhat ameliorated by the ability of Wisconsin's Democratic Governor Tony Evers to appoint her replacement.

The political gamesmanship that could play out in the weeks ahead, thanks to sore loser Republicans in the state's gerrymandered Legislature, may rival or even surpass some of the worst partisan excesses of the fading Scott Walker era.

As detailed last week, Wisconsin voters, mathematicians and computer scientists filed a pair of petitions (Clarke v. Wisconsin Election Commission and Wright v. Wisconsin Election Commission) directly with the Wisconsin Supreme Court earlier this month.

Petitioners seek to break the chains of the GOP's 12-year entrenched and politically-engineered control of both chambers of the Badger State legislature --- control that was and is the product of what petitioners allege to be unlawful extreme partisan gerrymandering.

The petitions, consistent with a dissent issued by three of the Court's liberal justices last year in Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, allege that the Badger State's existing Legislative maps violate voter rights as guaranteed by multiple provisions of the Wisconsin Constitution.

The voters' petition in Clarke not only seeks the creation of fair state Senate and Assembly maps in time for next year's election, but also seeks the issuance of an emergency writ that would schedule a Special Election for those WI Senators whose terms would not otherwise expire until 2027. The voter petitioners argue that all currently serving state Senators "lack legal entitlement" to their respective offices because they were procured via unconstitutionally configured districts.

Vos, who owes his position as Speaker to those partisan gerrymandered maps, claims Protasiewicz "prejudged" the outcome of the new cases during her campaign for the seat earlier this year. He threatened to impeach her if she dared take part in the pending challenges. That "prejudgment" accusation, however, would be far more apt when applied to right-wing WI Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley when, last year, she joined with the right wing majority, in Johnson --- a decision, which, per the dissent, violated Wisconsin's constitutionally-mandated separation of powers by overriding a governor's veto in order to saddle the electorate with the Republican-drawn, partisan gerrymandered Legislative map.

Bradley authored an intemperate dissent in the new cases...

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Also: Hurricane Hillary eyes Southern CA and/or AZ...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2023 7:11pm PT  

If you had "Hurricane in Southern California" on your Climate Crisis 2023 Bingo card, please come on up to accept your prize. Details on that on today's BradCast, along with a whole bunch of other stuff we've had to set aside of late, thanks to the now 91 criminal felony charges being faced by our corrupt and disgraced former President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories covered today that (largely) have nothing to do with felony indictments...

  • Hurricane Hilary spins up suddenly off the coast of Mexico and is now gaining strength amid an El Nino. The storm is said to be heading north to make what could be an "exceedingly rare" landfall over the next few days somewhere here in Southern California or along the Baja Peninsula before moving up and into Arizona --- if you believe scientists who are experts in this sort of thing.
  • The gerrymandered Republican state legislature in North Carolina on Wednesday overrode vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to enact new laws that are unspeakable cruel to, among others, transgender children. If you are unaware, we explain exactly why these types of laws --- now adopted by 22 GOP-controlled states (though being challenged in court in most of them) --- are so awful and cruel. That is, unless you are a Republican, like those who stole control of the NC legislature, who believe Big Government should intercede between doctors and patients and that so-called "parental rights" should also be overruled by Big Government autocratic fiat.
  • Speaking of autocracy, gerrymanders and Big Government Republicans now dictating to small, local government and voters...the morally and ethically broken GOP-controlled state legislature in Texas has recently passed a law to oust the chief election official in Harris County (Houston) --- and only in Harris County --- just months before upcoming municipal elections in the state's largest and most Democratic-leaning County. A state judge this week found the new law in violation of the Lone Star State's constitution. But, just hours later, the state put that ruling on hold by appealing it to the TX Supreme Court (all Republican). The November elections are now just weeks away and, unless something changes quickly, will apparently be run by the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector who has zero experience running elections and had nothing to do with the months-long planning for the one where early voting is set to begin next month.
  • In far more encouraging news about autocracy, gerrymandering and, in this case, democracy, we head to the great state of Wisconsin. On August 1, Justice Janet Protasiewicz became the state Supreme Court's newest member after being elected earlier this year. Her landslide (for Wisconsin) 11-point victory in April means that liberals now hold a majority on the state's High Court for the first time in about 15 years. On August 2, a group of petitioners filed with the state Supremes to not only force new, fair legislative maps for the state's House and Senate for the first time in more than a decade, but also for emergency elections next year for all members of the state Senate, many of whom will not otherwise face reelection until 2026 despite occupying seats that petitioners argue are held only thanks to the GOP's unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernie Canning wrote about this challenge to the state's illicit, entrenched legislative majorities this week and the potentially very good news it represents for Badger State voters. Just after airtime today, however, he updated his article with...well, some more good news but also...some troubling news about the gerrymandered GOP's new scheme to undermine democracy, the rule of law, the state constitution and state voters with impeachment proceedings against Protasiewicz in hopes of stealing back the Court to hold onto their entrenched, corrupt state legislative majorities. (See Ernie's UPDATE today on that story for more details.)
  • Then, a bit of listener mail in response to my apparently controversial suggestions of late that Donald Trump may very well not be on the general election ballot by November of next year.
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report with updates on the horrific fires on Maui and in Canada, but some very encouraging news about President Biden and the Democrats' landmark climate law, signed one year ago this week, which is already resulting in a clean energy manufacturing, construction and jobs boom in the U.S. --- and even overseas!...

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Success would offer a fair shot at flipping state legislative seats, but leave Republicans' gerrymandered U.S. House delegation in place...
UPDATED: Court orders responsive brief; Gerrymandered legislature threatens impeachment...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/14/2023 9:35am PT  

Elections have consequences.

Recently, in "The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn", we described how the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court's corrupt, right-wing "radicals in robes" last year to overturn the Constitutional right to an abortion led directly to the election of pro-choice Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz "by 11 percentage points, a huge margin in a narrowly divided state," as The New York Times described it.

On Aug. 1, the new Justice was seated, thereby flipping the WI's Supreme Court from a 4-3 right-wing majority to a 4-3 liberal majority for the first time in more than 15 years.

The very next day, on Aug. 2, state voters filed a Petition [PDF] directly with the WI Supreme Court. In Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, petitioners seek to break the chains of the GOP's 12-year entrenched control in both Houses of the Badger State legislature --- control that was and is the product of what petitioners allege to be unlawful, extreme partisan gerrymandering.

Two days after that, a second Petition [PDF] (Wright v. Wisconsin Elections Commission) was also filed in the WI Supreme Court by a group of mathematicians and computer scientists. In addition to presenting essentially the same legal challenge, the Wright petitioners bolstered both cases with objective scientific evidence establishing that the 2011 and 2021 Wisconsin legislative maps are the product of unlawful gerrymandering.

Both petitions are based upon a scathing judicial dissent issued last year in Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission. In their dissenting opinion, the Court's three liberal Justices --- then in the minority --- opined that the WI Supreme Court's right-wing majority usurped the constitutional functions of the Badger State's other branches. In Johnson, the Court's then-majority overrode Democratic Governor Tony Evers' veto of the 2021 gerrymander after Badger State Republicans in the Legislature failed to muster sufficient votes to override the Governor's veto on their own. Both petitions and the dissent identify multiple provisions within the WI Constitution that were violated by extreme partisan gerrymandering.

The Clarke Petition not only seeks to replace the partisan gerrymandered map with a fair map in time for next year's legislative elections but also seeks an emergency writ that would schedule a 2024 special election for all Badger State senators, including those whose terms would not otherwise expire until 2027. This is based upon the argument that all state Senators "lack legal entitlement to their office" because their respective offices are the product of unconstitutionally configured districts.

The Petitions, however, do not seek to redress Wisconsin's partisan gerrymandered Congressional map which helped hand Republicans six of the Badger State's eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, in a state where almost all statewide seats are now held by Democrats and where Joe Biden won in 2020...

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Democracy can reverse the damage wrought by corrupt, right-wing Supreme Court ideologues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/7/2023 9:49am PT  

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that."
-- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When our corrupted U.S. Supreme Court, in June, handed down their closing opinions for last year's term, it became clear that we are facing a dark judicial hour in this nation.

Dark for women whose reproductive liberty and very lives have been placed at risk; dark for those who are drowning in seemingly insurmountable student debt; dark for those in the LGBTQ+ community who are seeing their very existence and right to medical care being challenged; dark for young African-American students hoping to acquire a higher education so as to overcome our nation's legacy of systemic racism; dark for the families of the ever-growing number of victims of mass shootings.

Our judicial institutions, for the moment, are still holding when it comes to accountability for the scoundrel who served as our 45th President. But, for too many others, the High Court has wrought a darkness brought on by the corrosive influence of the billionaire class and the "dark money" that billionaires and corporations use to corrupt our political and legal institutions.

That darkness comes courtesy of the Supreme Court's infamous 2010 Citizens United decision. It is a darkness also facilitated by political chicanery resulting in a Republican Party, which lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight Presidential Elections, packing a "corrupt" supermajority of six right-wing ideologues onto the nine-member High Court.

Their dark, radical interpretations of the Rule of Law have done more than simply endanger democracy's survival. By inventing a Second Amendment right of an individual to bear arms unrelated to military service in a State's "well-regulated" militia, the Roberts Court has become "destructive" of the first of the "unalienable Rights" listed in our nation's Declaration of Independence --- the right to "Life"!

Early last month, for example, CBS published a jaw-dropping U.S. statistic, citing "26 mass shootings in the first five days of July."

Yet, it is the dark and oppressive nature of the immensely unpopular decisions handed down by six unelected "radicals in robes", that, ironically, may help to facilitate a new dawn. The bright side of their decisions can be found in an incensed electorate, whose approval of the Court, as presently constituted, has plunged to a dismal 29%.

Democracy, as the late British MP Tony Benn described it, is "more revolutionary than socialist ideas." It is the light that can drive out the darkness.

The very existence of public revulsion towards the dark turn by the Court in recent years, such as overturning abortion rights and much more, make a 2024 Blue Tsunami possible. If the source of the darkness lies in the decisions of a corrupt and radicalized Supreme Court, then Democrats must convey a clear and coherent message that a vote for their candidates will serve to restore the light...including with reform of the Court itself...

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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...

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Guest: Political strategist Simon Rosenberg; Also: A horrible week in court for Fox 'News' is a very good week for American democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2023 6:41pm PT  

Today on The BradCast we talk with one of the few folks who got it right in 2022, when arguing that the data in the run-up to the midterms did not suggest a "red wave" would be coming for Republicans. Naturally, he was dismissed by the corporate media at the time. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first up, it's been a really really rough legal week for Fox "News", as jury selection in the $1.6 billion defamation suit they are facing from Dominion Voting Systems is supposed to begin tomorrow. We'll see if that happens. But we begin today with an explanation of why this case is so important and why Fox is now, arguably, the most dangerous institution in America (and, potentially, the world.) It's not due to their Republican politics, but due to the danger their propaganda poses to democracy itself.

Relatedly, over the weekend Fox reportedly settled with a Venezuelan businessman who sued the Republican propaganda outlet for having falsely named him on air as having participated in a scheme to steal the 2020 election from the former President. The terms of the settlement are undisclosed. But, given the evidence revealed so far in the Dominion lawsuit, it's safe to assume Fox likely paid a whole lotta money to make that other guy's suit go away.

On Tuesday in the Dominion case, Judge Eric Davis issued several pre-trial rulings, limiting what Fox could argue in court. Among them was that Fox would not be allowed to argue that the false claims they aired about the 2020 election being rigged against Trump were only made because Fox believed them to be "newsworthy" at the time. (They didn't, as evidence has already shown. They were lying about that on air.) Judge Davis was also furious to learn only this week that Fox lied to both Dominion and the court about Fox Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch's position as an officer at Fox "News", where he apparently serves as "executive chair" but failed multiple times to report as much.

On Wednesday, Judge Davis sanctioned Fox after it became clear they had withheld evidence that should have been turned over during discovery long ago. He stated he was launching a third-party investigation of the circumstances and was concerned about "very serious" "misrepresentations to the court," later adding: "I need people to tell me the truth. And by the way, omission is a lie." All not a very good way for Fox to begin a defamation case regarding their alleged lies.

But also, there was this: A Fox Corp. shareholder has now filed a lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch, his son Lachlan, and several Fox Corp. board members, due to their "decision to chase viewers by promoting the false stolen election claims [which] has exposed the Company to public ridicule and negatively impacted the credibility of Fox News." The shareholder, Robert Schwarz, charges that "FOX knew --- from the Board on down --- that Fox News was reporting false and dangerous misinformation ... [and] ... was more concerned about short-term ratings and market share than the long-term damages of its failure to tell the truth."

For those who may remember my interview in February with Media Matters CEO Angelo Carusone, this is exactly the type of shareholder lawsuit for violation of fiduciary duty that he predicted would come in the wake of Dominion's suit. And here they come. Bloomberg Law reports more are likely on the way. "They won't be able to sustain that from a financial perspective" Carusone predicted on the show in late February, noting that the "cascading effects" from the voting machine company's lawsuit "puts control of the company in jeopardy." Good.

Then, we're joined by SIMON ROSENBERG, longtime political strategist, creator and President of NDN/New Policy Institute, and now creator and publisher of the "Hopium Chronicles" newsletter. We've got a lot too deep dive with Rosenberg about. Along with another favorite guest of ours, Tom Bonier of TargetSmart, Rosenberg led the way last year in arguing that, contrary to claims from Republicans and misleading reporting by corporate media, data clearly suggested there was unlikely to be a "red wave" in the 2022 midterms. He was right. There wasn't. But that didn't prevent folks like FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver from accusing him at the time of relying on "hopium" in his analysis.

Now Rosenberg is gathering allies for a new project he describes as "Get to 55". As he details today, it's an effort to grow the Democratic and pro-democracy coalition to increase the Democratic President's victory margin from 51.4% in 2020 to 55% in 2024 and keep it there for a while. "It may be the only way we’re going to get the Republicans to abandon MAGA and become a more traditional center-right party," he recently wrote. Getting to 55%, he argued, "will be good for Democrats of course, but it will also be good for the country and the long-term future of the Republican Party itself."

Part of that strategy includes pulling in both disaffected Republican Never Trumpers and, especially, young voters into the Democratic coalition. What young voters pulled off last week, through a concerted effort to successfully help flip the Wisconsin Supreme Court to a liberal majority for the first time in 15 years, serves as a great object lesson in how it can be done. That remarkable effort resulted in a jaw-dropping 11-point win for the Supreme Court candidate endorsed by the Democrats and for what Republicans were describing the next day as "a five-alarm warning to Republicans about 2024."

But, while increasing turnout of young voters is one thing, will working with Never Trumpers like Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney force the Dems off of more popular, progressive policies in order to win over that 55% coalition? Tune in for Rosenberg's thoughts on that and much more on today's BradCast!...

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Guest: John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 'Let's Go, Brandon!', progressive Dem wins Chicago Mayoral race; Desperate state level Repubs grinding toward violence, all-out autocracy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2023 5:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The good news just seems to keep on coming. We'll take it while it lasts! Tuesday brought huge election victories for democracy and progressives in Chicago and Wisconsin! [Audio liNk to full show follows this summary.]

In Chicago, Democratic progressive teacher and union member Brandon Johnson defeated conservative, self-proclaimed "tough on crime" Democrat Paul Vallas to become the new Windy City Mayor in a stunning victory.

But the biggest election of the night, and perhaps of 2023, was the Wisconsin state Supreme Court victory of liberal Milwaukee Judge Janet Protasiewicz over far-right former state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, a Republican activist supported by anti-choice groups who advised his party in their failed attempt to overturn the state's 2020 election. Her victory creates a progressive majority on the high court for the first time in 15 years.

In a closely divided state where elections are traditionally very close, often within 1 or 2 points, Protasiewicz reportedly blew Kelly away by a whopping 11 points as of this afternoon's tally. It was Kelly's second defeat in running for the Supreme Court in as many years.

And it comes not a moment too soon. The Badger State's new, 4 to 3 progressive high court majority will likely face a host of critical issues for both the state and nation in the years ahead, including an 1849 abortion ban which Republicans are hoping to enforce; wildly gerrymandered state and Congressional district maps in one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation; voting rights issues; and hopes by Republicans of trying to steal the 2024 Presidential election.

We're delighted to be joined once again today to discuss all of this good news by Wisconsin's favorite son and progressive journalist, JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, and co-author, with Bernie Sanders, of the new book, It's Okay to be Angry About Capitalism.

Nichols says Tuesday's mayoral race in Chicago was "one of the most significant election results in the country for urban politics in quite awhile." He describes the previously little-known Johnson as having built a "multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational rainbow coalition" that propelled him to victory. "He beat the guy that everybody bet was going to be the next mayor of Chicago. Brandon Johnson will take office as a progressive who ran on taxing the rich, reforming the police, and investing money in public education, public health, and public services. A pretty remarkable win."

But the bulk of our time is spent discussing the extraordinary, long-awaited Supreme Court victory in Wisconsin, which, with some $45 million spent on both candidates, clocks in as the most expensive judicial race in U.S. history.

"It was a bitter race. It was an intense race," Nichols tells me in trying to explain Kelly's incredible election night remarks in which he attempted to eviscerate his opponent in one of the most incredible sore-loser "concession" speeches in modern memory. Kelly described the contest as "the most deeply deceitful, dishonorable, despicable campaigns I have ever seen run for the courts," going on to attack Protasiewicz as "a serial liar" who has "demeaned the judiciary."

"It's going to go down in history," Nichols says referring to Kelly's election night outburst. "I've seen bitter concessions. I've seen angry concessions. I have seen refusals to concede. I have never, up until now, seen a concession that literally made people cringe."

We've got a lot to discuss about the new majority on the state's high court; what it means for Wisconsin moving forward; whether Republicans, with a narrow state Senate Special Election victory last night will attempt to impeach Protasiewicz with their newly won, gerrymandered super-majority in the upper chamber; and why Nichols, as he reports at The Nation today, believes this was "the most important election of 2023...for any American who cares about democracy, fair elections, voting rights, and much more."

Despite the good news, however, Nichols reminds us that WI is still a closely divided state, capable of wild swings. "The bottom line is this: Don't take your eyes away from Wisconsin," he advises. "It is a battleground state. This is the state of Robert M. LaFollette, the greatest progressive ever to serve in the U.S. Senate, and of Joe McCarthy, the most reactionary person, I would argue, to serve in the U.S. Senate. Those realities still exist. And this Supreme Court race is a very encouraging result as part of a very encouraging pattern in Wisconsin. But when you take your eyes off the prize, when you aren't paying attention, patterns can shift back."

Finally today, with all of the encouraging news of late, a few reminders that all of this good news at the national level, where Republican policies are wildly unpopular, also means that Rightwingers are embracing violent responses and GOP-controlled states are upping their desperation in hopes of holding on to control by hook and by crook. In many such states, it's not creeping authoritarianism in play, it's actual authoritarianism.

In Tennessee, for example, state Republicans are hoping to expel three Democratic state House members who dared support peaceful protesters calling for gun safety measures following last week's school shooting in Nashville. In Texas, GOP state lawmakers have quietly introduced a bill to allow the Sec. of State to overturn election results in the state's most populous and Democratic-leaning County; and in Florida, authoritarian Gov. Ron DeSantis is deploying Big Government weaponization against those, like the Walt Disney Company, who disagree with his anti-freedom, anti-LGBTQ policies...

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