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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, February 20, 2024
'Green News Report' 2/20/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record ocean heat decimating FL's coral reefs; Plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam; PLUS: Nearly half of world's migratory species in decline, U.N. study finds...
Previous GNRs: 2/15/24 - 2/13/24 - Archives...
After Navalny:
'BradCast' 2/19/24
Also: Massive election fraud alleged in Pakistan; Final death blow for GOP fraudsters' phony election fraud film, '2000 Mules'
Sunday 'Partying With Putin' Toons
Can someone let Tucker know that Vlad got another one? It's our latest collection of the week's best toons...
In Memoriam: Alexei Navalny (1976-2024)
So, remind me again how wonderful Vladimir Putin is...
Guns Again, Trump as Ever, Media Failure and the Way Forward: 'BradCast' 2/15/24
Also: Special Counsel probing Hunter Biden indicts informant who lied about 'bribes' to the Bidens from a Ukrainian energy company...
'Green News Report' 2/15/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Mysterious oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago; Big changes as Greenland gets greener; Wildfires reversing hard-won gains against air pollution; PLUS: Climate change comes for chocolate...
Previous GNRs: 2/13/24 - 2/8/24 - Archives...
New Chesebro Docs Detail Trump's Failed 2020 'Legal Coup': 'BradCast' 2/14/24
Guest: TPM's Josh Kovensky; Also: Another huge night for Dems in NY, PA; WI gets closer to fair maps; MI 'fake elector' says GOP lied...
Stewart Return to 'Daily Show' Not a Moment Too Soon!: 'BradCast' 2/13/24
Also: GOP takes mulligan on Mayorkas impeachment; Sen. passes Ukraine bill; Media's epic fail on Hur's obnoxious vindication of Biden in classified docs probe...
'Green News Report' 2/13/24
Culture shift from fossil fuels in Super Bowl EV ads; Big Oil/Gas spending big on Trump; PLUS: Climate scientist wins $1 million defamation suit against rightwing deniers...
Russia, If You're Listening, Trump Says 'Do Whatever the Hell You Want' to NATO Allies: 'BradCast' 2/12/24
Also: Last week's GOP Caucuses in NV, V.I.; Special Election in NY-3; Callers ring in...
Super Sunday 'Borderline Insanity' Toons
Just a few too many tokes over the line in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
Biden Should Federalize TX National Guard Amid State's Defiance of SCOTUS Order
POTUS must address, expose 'moral crisis' of GOP hypocrisy, cruelty, dehumanizing anti-immigrant propaganda...
'Green News Report' 2/8/24
EPA cracks down on deadly soot pollution; January was hottest ever recorded on Planet Earth; PLUS: Hurricanes are getting so intense, scientists propose a 'Category 6'...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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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...


Trump likely to appear on CO GOP's 2024 primary ballots nonetheless...
UPDATE, 1/3/24: Trump contests 'engaged' in 'insurrection' finding in separate SCOTUS; UPDATE, 1/5/24 SCOTUS grants cert; sets oral argument for Feb. 8...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/30/2023 1:23pm PT  

Apparently, the Colorado Republican Party does not dispute that Donald J. Trump "engaged in" an insurrection on January 6, 2021.

That's interesting. Perhaps astounding. Or perhaps they just don't want the U.S. Supreme Court to officially agree as much.

In asking SCOTUS to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court decision, in Anderson v. Griswold --- which directed the CO Secretary of State not to place the name, Donald J. Trump, on the Colorado Republican Presidential Primary Ballot --- the CO GOP, in its Petition for Writ of Certiorari, failed to contest the factual findings, initially made by a trial court and later upheld by the CO Supremes, that what took place on January 6, 2021 was an "insurrection" and that former President Donald J. Trump "engaged" in that insurrection.

(Those currently uncontested findings also provided the basis for the administrative law ruling [PDF] issued by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on Thursday, determining that the name Donald J. Trump may not appear on Maine's Republican Presidential Primary ballot.)

Instead, the CO GOP confined its legal arguments to (1) whether a "President falls within the list of officials subject to disqualification under §3 of the 14th Amendment", (2) whether §3 is "self-executing", and (3) whether a court-ordered disqualification violates the Party's First Amendment right of association.

As observed by Harvard's constitutional scholar, Lawrence Tribe, the claim that a President is not an "officer" subject to §3 disqualification is "as baseless textually as it is off base intuitively."

The 1st Amendment right of association argument is also remarkably weak.

The U.S. Constitution mandates anyone running for President must be at least 35-years old at the time they enter office. If a refusal to place the name of a 25-year old on a Presidential primary ballot doesn't violate 1st Amendment associational rights, then surely the refusal to place the name of someone disqualified by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment doesn't violate the 1st Amendment either.

Nonetheless, despite weak arguments, absent a swift SCOTUS denial of cert, it's likely the name Donald J. Trump will appear on the CO Republican Primary ballot...

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




Top of mind thoughts at year's end...
By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2023 1:37pm PT  

It seems to me this could be the year that the corrupted, packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court could pull a Michael Corleone and "settle all family businesses". But in a good way.

If they wanted to, they could finally say "no" to Trump on the ridiculous notion of "Presidential Immunity". They'd have nothing to lose. They could say "yes" to his disqualification from public office under the text of Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, which its founders obviously wrote to bar someone like Trump, who clearly "engaged in insurrection" against the Constitutional order, from being allowed to ever serve in public office again.

As far to the right as the Court's Republican Justices are, they already have everything they now need. They have nothing to gain from continuing to entertain Trump. In fact, he has made their lives as much of a living hell as he has for the rest of us. They've already got a 6 to 3 majority. That will sadly but largely hold. Even if Thomas decides, for once in his life, to do the right thing (he won't; why start now?) and retire.

And while a Democratic President might be the one to replace Thomas in such an event, it is arguable that virtually any other Republican candidate for President in 2024 would have an easier path to defeating Biden than Trump would, if a SCOTUS majority followed an originalist interpretation of 14.3 and disqualified Trump from the ballot. Win win for the Court, if not necessarily for us. Of course, most Pundits and Experts --- particularly on the Left, always girding for defeat --- seem to think SCOTUS will conjure up, from whole cloth, transparently absurd "judicial reasoning" to allow Trump to run anyway. Certainly possible. Perhaps probable. Though I'm not as certain as those Pundits. I'm an optimist. Somehow. Even now. Even if his removal wouldn't bode electorally well for Democrats.

Allow his criminal trial in D.C. to proceed before the election, in regards his ridiculous Immunity claim. Allow state's rights to hold on Insurrection Disqualification. The Court could, if it wanted to, Settle all Family Business.

Sure. It would get ugly. But while the Republican Justices are corrupt, they aren't stupid. They known ugly is coming no matter. The only question is when and how cowardly they are. They know another day of MAGA Reckoning --- as January 6 --- remains. Do they prefer it Sooner or Later? Their call. They've talked themselves into doing The Right Thing once or twice in recent years. They can do it again. Their jobs, no matter, will still be secure for life, and made easier by the day. That is their 2024 dilemma.

2023 ends on too many cliff-hangers. 2024 will begin by reconciling a few. The horrific Trump Show will continue nonetheless. We collectively decided as much when we allowed it to begin in the first place in 2015/16. It's unlikely to end in 2024. But it could finally Jump the Shark towards its long-forestalled Series Finale. Perhaps it already has.

No matter, we live in this show together, come hell and highwater. Hold fast. It'll get choppier still. But it can get better. We can decide as much. Eventually.

With that news --- as bright as I can offer as the calendar turns --- Happy New Year to all! And, most especially, thanks to those of you who have made The BRAD BLOG and all of its various element parts possible for --- as of later in January --- 20 mind-blowing years.

-- BF




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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buckle up....

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

Among our many stories covered today...

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

Among our stories covered today....

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

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Guest: John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: Jack Smith takes Jan. 6 case to SCOTUS; Trump chickens out in NY fraud trial; Rudy's defamation trial on damages begins...
By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2023 6:21pm PT  

Today on 'The BradCast: Lots of accountability under way for Trump and henchmen. And, also...for progressive author and journalist John Nichols?! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP: Donald Trump's best, if not only, chance of avoiding a verdict (and potential felony conviction) before next year's Presidential Election (after which, if he wins, he'll have the power to make most, if not all, of his legal troubles disappear) is to delay Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal Jan. 6-related trial against him from proceeding as scheduled on March 4th.

Trump has one legit chance to do that: his legal challenge regarding whether a President enjoys total immunity from criminal prosecution for crimes committed while in office. U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan has already ruled firmly against him. But he has the right to appeal the ruling all the way up the U.S. Supreme Court. The appeals --- first with a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit, then with the full D.C. Circuit court, and then, eventually, at the U.S. Supreme Court --- could absolutely prevent the trial from beginning or ending before Election Day next year.

So, on Monday, Smith attempted to leapfrog the D.C. appeals court entirely by asking SCOTUS to hear Trump's appeal on an expedited basis. Smith's filing [PDF] to the high court asks: "Whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin."

The federal prosecutor argues that "it is of imperative public importance that respondent’s claims of immunity be resolved by this Court and that respondent’s trial proceed as promptly as possible if his claim of immunity is rejected."

Citing similar, if very rare, action by SCOTUS in, for example, U.S. v. Nixon, Smith's filing makes the case that "The public importance of the issues, the imminence of the scheduled trial date, and the need for a prompt and final resolution of respondent’s immunity claims counsel in favor of this court’s expedited review at this time."

And now we wait for at least four Justices to agree to take the case up. Everything rides on that and their ultimate ruling --- and the timeliness of same.

MEANWHILE: As far as a substantive defense in the federal Jan. 6-related case in which Trump stands accused of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as one of several attempts to steal the 2020 election from Joe Biden, recent filings by Trump, as Washington Post reported last week, "revealed that he has been pressing the Justice Department for information on far-right claims" that the Jan. 6 insurrection was secretly the work of "foreign actors" or "Antifa" or the U.S. Capitol Police somehow in cahoots with Nancy Pelosi, or..."John Nichols," described by WaPo as "a liberal journalist in Wisconsin".

John Nichols?! Our friend and frequent guest John Nichols?! Really?!...Apparently so!

We're joined today by longtime progressive journalist and author JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, The Progressive and Madison Wisconsin's Capital Times to learn if he, in fact, was at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021 (if not, where was he?); participated in inciting the riot there for some reason; and if he is now, or ever has been, a member of the Deep State?!

His answers today ('In Wisconsin at his daughter's orthodontist office'; 'No.'; And 'No.') may not surprise you!

So, how did all this happen? How did he come to be named in a Trump filing? Should we believe his many alibis (like filing an article at The Nation and speaking on the phone to many locked-down members of Congress that day)? Has he received any threats from MAGA in light of these Trump allegations? And what does any of this actually mean? Well...Nichols is here to explain it all to you.

FINALLY: Trump's $250 million New York State fraud case against him, his companies and his top executives (including his two eldest sons) was to reach a zenith today in Manhattan with the long-promised testimony of Donald Trump himself. On Sunday night, however, he announced on his social media cite he was chickening out and wouldn't be testifying after all. Surprised?

Also today, the civil defamation trial against Trump's disgraced alleged criminal co-conspirator Rudy Giuliani got under way in D.C. During the pre-trial proceedings, the federal judge in the case had already found Rudy guilty of defamation against Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss. He falsely accused them of rigging the election in Atlanta against Trump in the Fulton County counting room in 2020, charging that the two black women were secretly seen on video surveillance tapes passing USB thumb drives back and forth "like they were vials of heroin or cocaine."

They weren't. Freeman was, however, handing her daughter Moss a ginger mint and their lives have been turned upside by the baseless claims repeatedly made by Giuliani, Trump and his many supporters and the vile threats which followed them. The trial is now only needed to determine the amount of damages against the former New York City Mayor. The pair are seeking between $15.5 and $43 million. Giuliani's attorney admitted in his opening statements that Rudy lied about the two women, but he argued that the amount they are seeking "would be the end of Mr. Giuliani."

We can only hope so.

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'ProLeft Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2023 5:27pm PT  

It was debate number four for all of the eligible GOP 2024 primary candidates who decided to show up. And, for reasons best left to one of our guests to explain on today's BradCast, we once again offer Special Coverage of yet another LOL bat-crap insane evening! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

This one was broadcast from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was sponsored by new media outlet NewsNation and moderated (for the first time?) by three women. The GOP's Race for Second Place on Wednesday night featured just four candidate who qualified: former UN Ambassador and former SC Gov. Nikki Haley; FL Gov. Ron DeSantis; former NJ Gov. Chris Christie and scammy business dude and unspeakably annoying conspiracy theory bro Vivek Ramaswamy. Presumed front-runner Donald Trump didn't bother to show up again. Though, after winning the three previous debates by not being there, he may have actually lost a few points this time around, for reasons discussed on today's program.

We're joined once again today by our tireless 2024 post-debate panelists and long-time OG bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo and 'DRIFTGLASS' of the weekly Professional Left Podcast and its companion show, No Fair Remembering Stuff.

It was a lively, if insane affair, as expected from today's broken Republican Party, with the candidates viciously attacking each other throughout the night as "obnoxious blowhard", "corrupt", "toxic", "fascist" and "liar". But who are we to disagree with the GOP's own carefully curated collection of 2024 candidates for President of the United States?

Aside from the smaller group of participants, the biggest change was that Christie decided to finally weigh in both as the adult in the room with actual old-school Republican "conservative" values, and to finally take on Trump head on as he'd long promised. As we discuss, the room did not boo him as vigorously this time out, and may (may!) have actually listened to a word or two he had to say about Trump. While Christie scored a number of direct hits on the four-time criminally indicted former President, his best moments --- other than beating the hell out of DeSantis and Ramaswamy --- came in calling out Trump as "unfit for office", before noting in closing that Trump is likely to be disqualified from even voting for himself next year.

"I want you all to kinda picture in your mind its Election Day. You all will be heading to the polls to vote, and that's something that Donald Trump will not be able to do. Because he will be convicted of felonies before then and his right to vote will be taken away," explained Christie, followed by a bit of half-hearted booing from the assembled crowd at the University of Alabama. "You can boo about it all you like and continue to deny reality," he continued. "But if we deny reality as a party, we're gonna have four more years of Joe Biden." He went on to add for his fellow candidates: "If you're too timid to take on Trump, believe me, others will see that timidity: Xi, Putin and the Ayatollah, the border-crossers on the southern border and the criminals on our streets."

The full frontal --- and accurate --- attack may or may not work. But it was the message that the crowd eventually seemed to be listening to and that Christie had long promised to deliver, but hadn't until last night. It was also the argument that every other major candidate in the party has, so far, been too "timid" to make. In fact, the lawless, autocratic threat posed by Donald Trump to his own party, our nation, and this world is really the only issue that matters in 2024.

We discuss all of that and much more today, including...

  • Why we're devoting an hour to this madness at all.
  • The reasons for the lack of a single question about abortion.
  • Why the sponsors of this debate thought it appropriate to feature two video questions for the candidates from the far-right Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton, identified as one of Trump's many unindicted co-conspirators in his Georgia election theft indictment and likely in his federal indictment for same.
  • Why the party that used to pretend to oppose Big Government clearly doesn't anymore (and never actually did.)
  • How Haley and DeSantis claim to support "freedom", while each opposing freedom of speech on the Internet (and elsewhere.)
  • Who would actually be the best GOP candidate to defeat Joe Biden and who would actually be the easiest for Joe Biden to defeat.

Please enjoy our...for some reason...BradCast Special Coverage!...

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Also: McHenry quits; Tuberville folds; DeSantis Never Back Down staffers back down; GOP officials indicted for 2022 election interference in AZ; GOP official's wife convicted on 52 counts of 2020 election fraud in IA...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2023 6:12pm PT  

It's impeachment madness on today's BradCast! Also, a whole bunch of Republicans are otherwise quitting, backing down or facing jail time. In other words, Tuesday. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program...

  • Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), a U.S. Senator and grown man who goes by the name Tommy, finally backed down from his pointless, one-man, months-long blockade of promotions for more than 400 U.S. military officials. He had been protesting a Pentagon abortion policy that none of the officers in question had anything to do with. The Senate quickly promoted all of them by simple voice vote shortly thereafter.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announces he has "no choice" but to hold a floor vote for a (revenge) Impeachment inquiry of President Biden next week. The announcement follows the latest bombshell disclosure by Oversight Committee Chair and supergenius Rep. James Comer (R-KY) that Republican investigators have discovered secret monthly payments made by China to Joe Biden and laundered through his son, Hunter! Err...Three monthly payments of about a $1,400 each from Hunter Biden to his dad in 2018 to repay him for the purchase of a used truck the then former Vice President helped him buy. (Yes, the same bombshell loan repayment reported almost two years ago by the New York Post.)
  • The bow-tied, far-right, but not-insane-enough-for-today's-House-Republicans Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has had enough. He joined a growing number of colleagues announcing they will be quitting at the end of this term.
  • An important CORRECTION following my mention yesterday of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum dropping out of the GOP 2024 Presidential race, and the RNC announces the four candidates who have qualified to appear at Wednesday's night's "Presidential Primary Debate" in Alabama. (Neither Burgum nor Trump will be there. DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy and Christie will, for some reason.)
  • The three top officials for Ron DeSantis' "Never Back Down" super PAC have backed down. They quite over the weekend, joining a growing number of other Never Back Downers who have exited the Florida Governor's losing 2024 campaign in recent days.
  • Two Republican Cochise County officials, Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby, have been indicted on state charges in Arizona for conspiracy and interference of an election officer after refusing to certify the county's 2022 election results because...well, tune in.
  • Kim Taylor, the wife of Republican Woodbury County, Iowa Supervisor and failed GOP Congressional candidate has been convicted on 52 counts of election fraud-related charges for falsifying voter registrations and casting dozens of fraudulent votes in the names of others in the 2020 election. Her husband, Jeremy Taylor, named as a co-conspirator, has yet to be indicted for some reason.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report (and our only one this week, due to our coverage of this week's dumb GOP "Presidential Primary Debate") with a bit of surprisingly good news out of the U.N.'s COP28 climate conference this week in Dubai, and more good news on the Biden EPA's new rule that will eliminate all 9 million toxic lead water pipes across the entire nation...

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EPA to mandate removal of nation's lead water pipes; Interior's firefighter, wildfire resilience funding; OPEC to cut production again; NY re-gags Trump; Biden in CO touts clean energy jobs, manufacturing boom...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2023 6:29pm PT  

We've got an unusually large amount of somewhat encouraging environmental-related news on today's BradCast. We apologize in advance. Don't worry. It's not all good.

Among today's stories...

  • More than 40 inches of snow fell on parts of the Northeast over the past two days. Desi Doyen explains why that may --- or may not be (though probably is) --- related to climate change.
  • Donald Trump's very narrow gag order in his $250 million civil fraud trial in New York, meant to bar him from attacking the court clerk --- which had resulted in hundreds of vile death threats against her --- has been reinstated by the state appeals court. Trump and his lawyers are pretending this is the greatest "tragedy" and injustice in world history. Shortly after the ruling [PDF] was handed down, Trump began posting attacks on social media against the Judge's wife.
  • OPEC+ member states, including cartel leader Saudi Arabia, Russia and others, announced they will be cutting oil production in 2024 in hopes of raising your gas prices in an election year. They had already cut production in late 2022, but, thanks in part to record U.S. oil production under the Biden Administration, prices came down anyway. (Yes, we realize that's the oppose of what you've been told by Republicans.) Sick of manipulation of global gas prices by foreign adversaries hoping to interfere in U.S. elections? We've got a few answers to that in the rest of today's show.
  • The Biden Interior Dept. announced on Thursday that it had invested some $468 million to advance wildfire resilience and a temporary increase in pay for firefighters across the nation under the Administration's "Investing in America" agenda, as wildfire season gets longer and more deadly thanks to our climate crisis. (The Biden-Harris Administration says it is working hard to find a way to make those pay increases permanent. But GOP members of Congress may have to play along.)
  • The Biden EPA also announced some very big news on Thursday. The Administration has proposed new restrictions on lead levels in drinking water that will result in all 9 million of the nation's lead water pipes --- which can cause brain damage and behavior disorders, particularly in children --- being replaced over the next 10 years! "To finally have a rule that mandates the removal of lead pipes is exactly what the government should be doing,” declared the Michigan pediatrician whose research first discovered the 2014 Flint, Michigan lead poisoning water crisis. This is very very good news and, yes, exactly the sort of thing that the federal government should be doing --- and should have done long ago!
  • But for, perhaps, the best examples of the federal government doing what it should be doing to help Americans this week came from Joe Biden's own remarks at a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Pueblo, Colorado on Wednesday. It is the largest such plant in the world, and will be even larger soon thanks to a number of pieces of legislation adopted during his Presidency. In his remarks, Biden touted the Administration's multifaceted jobs and manufacturing agenda --- via bills such as the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the CHIPS Act and more --- which has resulted in a clean energy jobs and manufacturing boom across the country. In this case, he was speaking in the district of --- and pushing back at --- handsy far-right Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert and other Republicans who voted against all of the measures that have brought thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars to her own district.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a suspiciously high ratio of good to bad news for a change today. It must be something in the water today. Hopefully it's not lead.

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Guest: Lawfare's Anna Bower on inexplicable omissions in the Georgia state agency's long-awaited, nearly 400-page criminal investigation...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2023 5:46pm PT  

This is just getting ridiculous. As detailed on today's BradCast, the long-awaited, criminal report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) on Team Trump's unlawful January 7, 2021 breach, copying and distribution of Georgia's statewide voting system software in rural Coffee County, appears to leave out more than it includes! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Our guest today is ANNA BOWER, Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent at Lawfare. She recently obtained the report [PDF] and yesterday published extensive coverage under the headline, "What the GBI Missed in Coffee County: At almost 400 pages, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation report on the Coffee County caper looks impressive. It's not."

"One could be forgiven for thinking initially that the GBI's report on Coffee County is an authoritative account. It is, after all, nearly 400 pages long, and those pages summarize a voluminous body of evidence. ... But the document turns out to reflect a less vigorous investigation of the effort to unlawfully access the state's voting machines than may initially appear," Bowers reports.

In fact, she continues, "The document suggests, rather, that the GBI did not investigate the Coffee County affair fully at all. The agency relied almost entirely on the previous work of civil litigants [that would be frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks and her Coalition for Good Governance] and the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. It failed to seek interviews with key witnesses, and it omitted relevant evidence that is readily available in public documents."

And yet, GA's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger has been citing the GBI's long-running investigation as one of the reasons that his office has taken virtually no action over the past two and a half years in response to the unprecedented breach which threatens the legitimacy of next year's Presidential election in the critical battleground state. He has even ignored the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's warning to immediately apply security patches created by Dominion Voting Systems following the breach.

While Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has brought criminal charges [PDF] against five of Donald Trump's alleged co-conspirators involved in the scheme --- including Trump attorney Sidney Powell, Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall (both of whom have pleaded guilty), former Coffee County GOP Chair and fake elector Cathy Latham and former Coffee County Election Supervisor Misty Hampton (both of whom pleaded not guilty) --- there were dozens more involved in the plot that have yet to be brought to account by anyone.

Moreover, according to Bower, GA's Republican state Attorney General Chris Carr, who has also cited the GBI's criminal probe as explanation for a lack of state charges to date, has "been ill served" by his investigative department. Maybe, however, like Raffensperger and the State Board of Elections, he's just fine with that.

While there is almost zero new information of note in the GBI's long-awaited report, as Bower details on today's program, the state agency inexplicably leaves out enormous, well known chunks of the story --- such as the infamous Trump Oval Office meeting on December 18, 2020 when the Coffee County plot was hatched with Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn and others who were not interviewed in the agency's criminal probe. "In total," Bower explains, the GBI "interviewed only about 15 individuals" in their year and a half probe, "Many, if not most, of those interviews were conducted in under an hour."

"This account does not even attempt to answer certain key questions. Who devised the plan to access voting systems in Coffee County? When did the plan first arise? Who or what connected the then-president's attorneys to several locals in rural South Georgia? The report bizarrely omits readily available facts that help connect these dots."

On today's show, we attempt to connect at least some of the dots that the GBI didn't bother to, including those involving bedding impresario Mike Lindell and his still-unexplained, two-hour visit to the County in his private plane after flying from Mar-a-Lago to D.C. and back down to rural Southeast Georgia just prior to the breach; why the GBI would be seemingly be working so hard to cover up what actually happened; and why all of this is critically important to the state's (and nation's!) 2024 elections.

"For Georgians who care about elections, for Georgians who think that it's very serious that the then-President's legal team, aided by local allies in Coffee County, had a plot, a conspiracy, to copy and distribute Georgia's most sensitive voting system data, that is incredibly serious, and it warrants a serious investigation. And that just didn't happen here," Bower tells me.

"Georgia continues to use the same software and the Sec. of State's office has said there will not be an update before the 2024 elections. Election security experts have said that means that we could have increased risk in terms of vulnerability during the 2024 election. That software data that has been distributed and is still out in the wild from Coffee County [and] could be used for disinformation campaigns, because people can take the otherwise legitimate data, and make it look either edited or selectively presented. Adversaries could basically use that software to test it for vulnerabilities, and then potentially use that in the future for subverting the operation of that software through malware or other" means.

Federally, she observes, she has seen few signs that Special Counsel Jack Smith is investigating "these multi-state breaches. That, in itself, is concerning"...

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Warning from a top conservative federal judge; Far-right electoral victories in Argentina, Netherlands; Trump threatens use of Insurrection Act; Biden invokes DPA to save climate...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2023 6:20pm PT  

The warning signs continue to blink bright red after the holiday on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among those warnings...

  • Well-respected, very conservative former federal Judge Michael Luttig warns: "If American democracy was on a knife's edge on January 6, 2021, today it is teetering on that knife's edge [and] in greater peril today than it's ever been in American history." He argues that a second term for the former President would be "catastrophic".
  • TPM's David Kurtz: "The Rule Of Law Is The Only Thing That Matters In 2024"
  • The warning signs are coming from abroad as well, with the "impossible" electoral victory a week ago Sunday of far-right "libertarian" Javier Milei as Argentina's new President and the "massive shock win" and "stunning lurch to the far right" for The Netherlands with last Wednesday's victory for Geert Wilders' extreme right party in Dutch parliamentary elections. Both are wild-haired versions of our own former President, who gleefully celebrated their electoral victories. Both are extreme anti-immigrant, anti-government populists --- to put it very nicely.
  • Here at home, Donald Trump remains the GOP front-runner for the 2024 nomination (though Nikki Haley received a major boost today from the billionaires of the Koch Network), and continues to ratchet up his own far-right authoritarian threats, including with his promised domestic deployment of the U.S. Military under the Insurrection Act should voters of this nation prove foolish and self-defeating enough to allow him a second term next year.
  • Meanwhile, our current President, continues to use his powers for good instead of evil, including a new Biden Administration invocation of the Defense Production Act to boost domestic manufacturing of clean, efficient residential and business heat pump technology to replace dirty fossil fuel-burning furnaces and low-efficiency AC systems. The $169 million program, according to the Department of Energy, "will help families and businesses save money with efficient heating and cooling technology...create thousands of high-quality, good-paying manufacturing jobs and strengthen America's energy supply chain, while creating healthier indoor spaces through home-grown clean energy technologies." It is all part of a program to encourage more efficient appliances that "will save Americans $570 billion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.4 billion metric tons over the next 30 years." So, little wonder Fox "News" is furious about it.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as world leaders descend upon Dubai for the latest annual United Nations climate conference (COP28) on the heels of a number of startling new reports warning that the globe will soon blow past targets set at previous conferences. This one is being hosted by the petro-state of the United Arab Emirates. What could possibly go wrong?

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Guest: ACLU voting rights attorney Jonathan Topaz; Also: Israel-Hamas truce extended for two more days amid more hostage releases...
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2023 6:05pm PT  

We're back live on today's BradCast after a much-needed holiday break. Thanks to those of you who helped us avoid disaster last week! Now the question is whether we'll be able to avoid disaster in next year's Presidential election where we will have "as stark a choice as the United States has ever faced."

A lot happened while we were off (as usual), but none as critical, as far as I'm concerned, as the mind-blowing ruling issued last week by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, upholding an insane lower U.S. District Court Judge's ruling in an Arkansas voting rights case.

The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP, challenges Arkansas' gerrymandered legislative maps which should --- if the rule of law and Constitution mean anything anymore --- include another five Black-majority voting districts before the 2024 elections.

However, last year, a Trump-appointed District Court Judge, while recognizing the merits of the case, found for the first time in U.S. history that individual voters and private organizations like the NAACP and ACLU have no "right to private action" to sue against violations of Section 2 of the landmark Voting Rights Act. The lower court judge found that only the U.S. Attorney General may sue to block racially discriminatory laws under Section 2. And, last week, incredibly enough, that ruling was upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals panel featuring two Trump judges and one George W. Bush appointed judge.

We're joined today by JONATHAN TOPAZ, Staff Attorney at the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, who worked on the case at both the district and appellate court level. He explains that the District Court ruling "was the first court in the history of the United States to determine that Section 2 lacked a private right of action, which means that private plaintiffs are unable to vindicate their rights under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. This, at the time, and is today, is an incredibly radical ruling. We appealed, because it had no basis in the text and structure of the Voting Rights Act, it had no basis in the precedent, and it certainly had no basis in the practice of decades and decades of private plaintiffs bringing suits to vindicate the incredibly important right to vote free of racial discrimination under the Voting Rights Act."

But, as Topaz goes on to explain, it got worse. Last week "a divided panel of the 8th Circuit voted to affirm the District Court's finding. So now these are the only two courts in the history of the United States that have ever made such a finding."

Indeed, the arguably even more "conservative" 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, recently found the opposite, that private plaintiffs do have the right to sue. So, the 8th Circuit Court is an outlier, with what Topaz describes as "a radical opinion on appeal to the voters of Arkansas and voters around the country."

What happens next? What will it mean if it is upheld by SCOTUS? What are the chances of that actually happening? How can it be that neither SCOTUS nor Congress nor dozens and dozens of courts have previously noticed this flaw in the VRA over the past six decades? And, if SCOTUS does find in favor of the 8th Circuit, what will that mean for the hundreds of Section 2 cases previously decided in favor of private plaintiffs? Tune in for answers to all of those questions and many more.

Also today, a bit of what suffices for "good news" out of the Middle East on Monday, as Israel and Hamas agreed to extend their four-day pause in hostilities for another two days to allow for the release of more hostages from Gaza and more Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.

That largely encouraging news, however, is somewhat tempered by events back here in the U.S. over the weekend, where three Palestinian students were shot at close range in otherwise peaceful Burlington, Vermont. The three young men, all 20 years old, were heading to dinner at one of the men's grandmother's house. A suspect was arrested on Sunday. We discuss.

Then, we open things up to listeners via phone and email in our closing few minutes...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of plaintiff Coalition for Good Governance; Also in GA: Who leaked the Fulton County tapes?; Jail time for a Trump co-defendant?; Defamed Atlanta election workers seek millions from Rudy...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2023 6:57pm PT  

You may have noticed the nation is a bit of a tinder box right now. If the currently presumptive 2024 GOP nominee loses in Georgia again next year and just one precinct, out of thousands in the state, experiences something akin to what happened last week during elections in Northampton County, Pennsylvania... well, I don't even wanna think about the likely ramifications. Though we do discuss that today as part of our BradCast, which focuses almost exclusively on election-related lawsuits and criminal cases in the Peach State. Our guest is one of the plaintiffs in one of the most important cases you probably haven't heard about on your favorite cable news station. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The long-awaited Curling v. Raffensperger voting system trial is finally set to begin in Atlanta in January, just after the start of the new Presidential election year in the critical battleground state Originally filed in 2017, the long-running federal lawsuit has already been extraordinarily consequential.

Among other things, it resulted in the 2019 banning of Georgia's then nearly 20-year old, unverifiable, insecure touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold after the judge still overseeing the case, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg, found the systems so deficient that their use was determined to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

In response, and ignoring the advice of voting system and cybersecurity experts, GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger replaced the Diebold systems with newer, similarly unverifiable and insecure touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion. The plaintiffs challenged the use of those systems on similar Constitutional grounds, hoping to see the state move to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots at all polling places, where voters are now forced to vote on the unverifiable touchscreen systems. Raffensperger has refused.

As AP noted last weekend, the case also "spawned a landmark expert report that identified vulnerabilities in the election system used in Georgia that led [the US Dept. of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (or CISA)] to issue an advisory" to all jurisdictions around the nation that use the same equipment, recommending they immediately apply security patches produced by Dominion to mitigate at least some of the systems' known insecurities. Raffensperger stunned the federal court in Atlanta earlier this year when his office announced they do not plan to apply the recommended security patches until after the 2024 Presidential election in the highly contested swing-state.

Perhaps most famously (or infamously?) the Curling case also resulted in the revelation of the January 7, 2021 statewide voting system software breach in Coffee County, GA. That led to the criminal indictment of Sidney Powell and four others, with Donald Trump, in Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering conspiracy case against the former President and 18 alleged co-conspirators. The revelation of the unprecedented Coffee County breach, copying and Internet distribution of Dominion's sensitive software occurred when Atlanta bail bondsman, Scott Hall (who, along with Powell, has since pleaded guilty in the indictment), called and essentially confessed the entire plot to one of the plaintiffs in the 'Curling' case, who was smart enough to record the phone call. That call was originally aired by The BradCast in May of 2022.

That plaintiff, MARILYN MARKS, longtime, indefatigable election integrity champion and Executive Director of the non-profit good government group, Coalition for Good Governance, is once again our guest on today's program, as she and her team prepare for trial against Raffensperger and GA, now set by Judge Totenberg to begin on January 9th.

Late last week, Totenberg released a 135-page Opinion and Order [PDF], denying the State's attempt to dismiss the case and setting a trial date. For clarity, she took pains to note: "the record evidence does not suggest that the Plaintiffs are conspiracy theorists of any variety. Indeed, some of the nation's leading cybersecurity experts and computer scientists have provided testimony and affidavits on behalf of Plaintiffs' case in the long course of this litigation."

In the Order's conclusion, the federal judge emphasized: "The importance of the security, reliability, and functionality of state election systems, classified by the U.S. Homeland Security Department as critical national infrastructure, cannot be overstated in a world where cybersecurity challenges have exponentially increased in the last decade. The dynamics of how a breach in one part of a cyber system may potentially carry cybersecurity reverberations for the entire system for years to come exemplifies the important concerns raised in this case."

But, Totenberg also writes in her ruling that she is unable to order the use of a new voting system for the State, asserting that only the Legislature may do that. Thus, she urges the parties to find a compromise resolution. Nonetheless, as Marks explains today, this same judge, who will oversee a bench trial without a jury, found the old Diebold systems so dangerously deficient nearly five years ago, that she not only found them unconstitutional, she barred their use in any further Georgia elections.

"We've never asked for her to order hand-marked paper ballots," Marks clarifies today. "That ultimately just becomes the default, because state law already says that if the electronic system is not working, hand-marked paper ballots is what you go to. That's what the law says." She notes that Judge Totenberg "has the power to enjoin unconstitutional behavior, and that's what we are asking her to do."

"No amount of software patching is going to fix this Constitutional problem. No amount of so-called auditing. You can't do a real audit with those machine-printed ballots," argues Marks. After an election, only hand-marked paper ballots can be known to have been verified by the voter. Studies have found that voters didn't notice more than 93% of the time when a touchscreen voting system flipped their vote on a computer-printed paper ballot summary.

Last week, in Northampton, PA's elections, similar touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices to those used all across GA were showing voter selections one way on the screen in two different contests, in some cases, but printing the opposite on the paper that gets tallied. Imagine if that occurred in even one precinct next year in GA with Trump on the ballot. That is among the nightmare scenarios Marks is hoping to side-step by forcing the state to finally dump their insane --- and insanely expensive --- statewide system.

She says the solution is simple and inexpensive and can be done immediately. Emergency hand-markable paper ballots are already required at every precinct in the state. Just print more of them, and use the existing scanners in each polling location to tally them. "70% of Americans vote this way. This is not hard," Marks asserts. "Of course, the State pretends that it would take rocket science to make this happen."

There is, to say the least, much at stake in this upcoming trial, even as it is not receiving nearly the amount of attention of the other election-related case underway in GA right now, the Fulton County criminal case against Trump and his co-defendants. On that, we have some news as well on today's program, including...

  • An attorney for defendant Misty Hampton, the former Coffee County Elections Director, claims he is the one who leaked video proffers of Powell, Hall, and Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Jenna Ellis to the media. But is he really?
  • Willis is seeking the jailing of co-defendant Harrison Floyd for attempted witness intimidation. He is among those indicted in the conspiracy for threatening Atlanta election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss over false claims that they carried out ballot fraud in 2020.
  • And Freeman and Moss are now seeking between $15 and $43 million from former NYC Mayor and Fulton County co-defendant Rudy Giuliani in their civil defamation trial against him in federal court. The Judge in that case has already found Giuliani liable. The D.C. trial set to begin in December against him will now determine how much he'll have to pay to the two women.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our last Green News Report before our Thanksgiving break! We will be off --- from both The BradCast and GNR next week. So we send our best and thanks to everyone! We will return after the holiday...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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