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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Interference Threats Loom Over November's Presidential Election: 'BradCast' 6/18/24
Also: Lake loses again in AZ; Trump loses again in NY; MD Guv pardons 175k; Biden goes on offensive against 'liar and fraud'...
'Green News Report' 6/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Heat, fires explode across U.S. (and Greece and Middle East); Calgary's water crisis; Wind and solar knock out nukes in France; Rail company ordered to pay tribe $400 million...
Previous GNRs: 6/13/24 - 6/11/24 - Archives...
Inside the White House Press Corps During COVID in the Age of Trump: 'BradCast' 6/17/24
Guest: Voice of America's Steve Herman on pulling back 'The White House Curtain'; Also: CA Wildfires explode; Israel war cabinet ends...
Sunday 'Show' Toons
THIS WEEK: Two-Tiered Justice ... False Flags ... The Retribution Machine ... and much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
The Corrupt Anti-Abortion TX-to-SCOTUS Legal Mill Pipeline: 'BradCast' 6/13/24
Guest: Salon's Amanda Marcotte; Also: Dems outperform in OH Special Election; Brad gets COVID again goddammit...
'Green News Report' 6/13/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Heat wave coming to much of U.S., cooling systems can't keep up; Record rain from Sarasota to Spain to China; NY passes law to charge Big Oil for climate damage...
Previous GNRs: 6/11/24 - 6/6/24 - Archives...
Life With COVID
What goes around comes around. Again...
Hunter Biden's Conviction; Donald Trump's Weaponized Ignorance: 'BradCast' 6/11/24
Also: Biden rising; Fall of Alex Jones' corrupt empire; Phony '2000 Mules' doc pulled; More GOP voter fraud...
'Green News Report' 6/11/24
Big win for far-right in EU, climate action in crosshairs; NY Guv halts NYC congestion pricing; PLUS: Biden mileage rules save consumers money, combat climate change...
After Trump Verdict, GOPers Suddenly Warm to Voting for Felons: 'BradCast' 6/10/24
Listeners call in with explanations; Also: U.N. Security Council approves Biden's Israel/Hamas ceasefire plan; Europe moves toward far-right in EU elections...
Sunday 'Antifa' Toons
THIS WEEK: 80 Years Later ... Fascism Returns ... How Laws Work ... Summer Forecast ... And much more to be proud terrified of in our latest weekly collection...
'Green News Report' 6/6/24
Hottest 12 months ever; US Heat deaths hit new record in 2023; World's largest solar farm now online -- in China; PLUS: U.N. Sec.-Gen's warning to the world...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Rich Templin of Florida AFL-CIO; Also: NY A.G. may seize Trump building to cover fines; Biden forgives another $1.2B in student loans...
By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2024 6:54pm PT  

Don't forget to laugh out loud next time you hear a Republican pretending to oppose "Big Government regulations" or acting as if they give a damn about "forgotten working folks". Those are two of the biggest lies in the GOP toolbox, as discussed on today's BradCast, and actively demonstrated down in Emperor Ron DeSantis' Republic of Florida even as I write. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST... A few cheerier pieces of news to kick things off. The size of the fines against Donald Trump, his company and two of his sons in the New York fraud verdict against them is more staggering than you may realize following Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling [PDF] last Friday. Most outlets have cited the $355 million that Trump must cough up. But that doesn't include another $100 million or so already tacked on in interest to cover the fraudulent inflation of assets going back as far as 2019 or so. In truth, he now owes NY about $455 million, with some $87,000 in new interest accruing each day that he fails to pay up. But don't worry. He'll pay. NY A.G. Tish James said yesterday that she is prepared to seize his assets, including buildings, if he fails to do so.

While the corrupt former President's life is on the precipice of ruin, the not-corrupt current President, Joe Biden, was busy today forgiving another $1.2 billion in student loans for some 153,00 borrowers. That brings the total to nearly 4 million Americans who have seen some or all of their student debt wiped out by the Biden Administration, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Biden's original plan to forgive debt for 40 million borrowers. (That, even though the corrupt rightwing SCOTUS allowed Trump to change loan terms for borrowers under the very same law Biden tried to use.)

THEN... On yesterday's program with my guest John Nichols of The Nation, we discussed the possibility of rolling back the notorious anti-union law, known as ACT 10, in Wisconsin. The measure, which gutted most public sector unions (if not right-leaning police and firefighter unions) was muscled through to law more than a decade ago by the state's far-right then Gov. Scott Walker and his gerrymandered GOP toughs in the state legislature. Now that a newly liberal state Supreme Court has allowed Democratic Governor Tony Evers to implement fairer, non-gerrymandered legislative maps for the 2024 election, its conceivable Dems could finally return to power and restore collective bargaining rights to state workers next year.

Nichols cited neighboring Michigan as a role model for repealing Republican anti-union measures in a previously gerrymandered state, after its Democratic Governor and now Democratically-controlled state legislature rolled back that state's union-busting laws last week.

So, good news in the North this week...but really bad news down in Ron DeSantis' Florida, where a hastily-enacted 2023 law by the GOP legislature, passed in hopes of buttressing the Governor's ill-fated run for President, may now, literally, wipe out the very existence of hundreds of local public sector unions, with tens of thousands of workers, across the entire state.

Thousands of teachers, civil engineers, state and local clerical workers, mechanics, city park workers, those that answer 911 calls (but not police, firefighters or correctional officers, whose unions support DeSantis and are thus exempted from the law) are now seeing their unions decertified and dissolved by the state under Senate Bill 256, or are now on the brink of seeing that happening.

We're joined today by RICH TEMPLIN --- Legislative and Political Director of Florida AFL-CIO, the state's largest labor organization, representing more than 500 local unions --- to explain what is going on here, and what, if anything can be done about it.

None of this should be happening, he explains, because decades-old provisions in Florida's state Constitution protect the right to collective bargaining for public sector workers. But, "Constitutional Conservatism" is apparently for lefties and liberals now down in the Sunshine State, where Templin describes this attack on unions as "a sordid, complicated tale," that began "when Ron DeSantis decided to run for President."

"He was rewarding his biggest donors. Not only past donors but future donors he could count on for the campaign," Templin says, detailing how the wannabe President was "catering favor with national organizations that can provide national endorsements and national money. That's how we got sucked up into it. The extensive Koch Brothers network...He did this for them."

"When the bill was passed," Templin asserts, "there was no constituency group asking for it. There was no public sector employers asking for it. There were no public sector employees asking for it. It was 100% driven by billionaire out-of-state think tanks who the Governor was currying favor with for his Presidential run, and a legislature that was all too willing to turn their constituents over to his political ambitions."

At its heart, SB256 takes away the option for union members to voluntarily have their dues taken out of their paychecks each month. (Most unions anyway. Remember, police and firefighters unions are exempt from SB256.) Then the measure simply decertifies unions that do not have more than 60% dues-paying membership, even though Florida is a so-called "Right to Work" state where all workers must be allowed to "freeload" off of union contracts without being paying members of the union. They "took away the ability for members to conveniently pay their dues, and then they say, 'If there's not enough of you paying dues, you lose your union altogether.'"

While DeSantis didn't win the Koch Network endorsement or money --- or GOP Presidential nomination --- "he has really destroyed the state of Florida," in his failed attempt, according to Templin. "We are in shambles. It is going to take us a decade to dig out from what he's done."

SB256 is already a disaster, and not just because it was hurriedly pushed through the state legislature without regard to existing protections in the state constitution. But because nobody really knows how to implement it. How can unions be recertified after they've become decertified? What happens to existing union contracts?

Templin spoke to us today from the capital building in Tallahassee as a measure to try and fix some of SB256's most egregious disasters may come to the floor, and he is hoping to see amendments added to correct some of the law's most unworkable elements.

"This has been a time of great chaos," Templin laments. "There's a whole bunch of other bureaucratic hurdles that have been established to make it impossible for public sector unions to exist. They did this 'death by a thousand paper cuts' because the constitution doesn't allow them" to simply end collective bargaining for public sector workers as then Gov. Walker did in Wisconsin over a decade ago.

Templin has much more to say about all of this today, on the legal challenges to the measure, and how voters can help to turn things around in the state after years of rightwing autocracy, especially under DeSantis.

For some of the horrifying details on the ongoing effects of SB256 across the state, as it has fully taken effect as of the first of the year, be sure to check out investigative journalist Daniel Rivero's excellent and exhaustive recent article at South Florida's public radio outlet, WLRN.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 1/18/2024 10:41am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: U.S. Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority appears ready to gut federal agency authority on environmental regulations and more; Social media sites profiting off of a new breed of climate denial, new study finds; PLUS: Frigid Arctic air strands drivers of both electric and gasoline vehicles... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): An unprecedented flu strain is attacking hundreds of animal species. Humans could be next; 'Control the narrative': Alabama utility wields influence by financing news; EU bans 'misleading' environmental claims that rely on offsetting; Bird populations are declining. Some are in your neighborhood; Dr. Michael Mann’s defamation case over online attacks finally comes to trial... PLUS: These startups are teaming up to decarbonize cement and concrete... and much, MUCH more! ...

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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?

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former Dep. Asst. AG, Chief Counsel for U.S. Senate, Dep. Chief of Article III Judges Div. for U.S. court system, Lisa Graves of True North Research; Also: Biden officially announces 2024 run...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2023 6:56pm PT  

If there is anyone more uniquely qualified than to discuss to discuss several issues of note on today's BradCast, I don't know who it could possibly be.

But FIRST UP, President Biden released a video today titled "Freedom", officially declaring his intention to run for a second term in 2024. The announcement comes four years to the day after releasing his video declaring his successful 2020 run. He faces long-shot Democratic primary challenges, so far, from vaccine opponent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and self-help author/spiritual guru Marianne Williamson, who also ran in 2020 but dropped out before primary voting began.

We share Biden's video today and discuss the challenges he will be facing, which mostly include his age and health, according to many Democratic and other voters who say they'd prefer someone younger. Recent polling, however, shows that most of those voters will likely support Biden if he becomes the party's nominee.

The RNC and their most likely (for now) 2024 GOP nominee, Donald Trump, responded somewhat predictably with apocalyptic statements and AI video renderings of a dystopian nation wracked by disaster under a second Biden term, ironically describing Biden, ironically enough. as "out-of-touch". The disgraced former President, as recent polling reveals, will likely be the easiest nominee for Biden to defeat.

NEXT UP, since it's a day that ends in "y", we have yet another revelation of corruption by Clarence Thomas, almost certainly the most corrupt Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history. Bloomberg News and CNN report today that, despite previous claims to the contrary by both men, Thomas did, in fact, sit on a case at the high court in which Harlan Crow --- billionaire GOP megadonor and longtime giver of lavish worldwide travel and luxury vacations that went unlawfully undisclosed for decades by Thomas --- had business before SCOTUS in the 2000's. Thomas failed to recuse himself from the case involving the company of his "personal friend".

We're joined today to discuss the seemingly endless decades of both unethical and unlawful corruption by Thomas (and his corrupt, far-right activist wife Ginni), by LISA GRAVES. She previously served as Deputy Asst. Attorney General at the U.S. Justice Department, Chief Counsel for nominations in the US Senate, and as a Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division for the U.S. court system. Graves is now a muckraking political researcher and founder of Truth North Research. She has been exposing massive corruption of our electoral system by folks like Thomas, Crow, the Koch Brothers, wealthy rightwing federal court operative Leonard Leo and many others for years.

That means we've got a lot to discuss with Graves today, including Thomas' long history of corruption and failure to disclose stuff like his wife's annual salary for about twenty years from the rightwing Heritage Foundation back in 2011, and the undisclosed sponsorship of Leo and the group Citizens United that helped him win his controversial nomination to SCOTUS back in 1991. (That was well before Thomas failed to recuse himself from the infamous 2010 Citizens United case.)

"This new revelation is really important because it does show that there were cases, at least one case [at the Supreme Court] that directly affected Harlan Crow's company," Graves explains today. "But I think that's just the tip of the iceberg. Because the reality is that you have a number of instances that have been documented by the press where Clarence Thomas has failed to disclose to the American people his financial ties to Harlan Crow, who also has ties to Leonard Leo, who has been the architect of moving the Court to the far right. Including the fact that Leo cut his teeth trying to get Clarence Thomas confirmed in the first place. So these are deep and long relationships."

It's not only Thomas on the High Court who has recently been revealed as playing fast and loose with ethics rules and laws. Today, Politico reports that Justice Neil Gorsuch sold a nearly 3,000-square foot log home and a 40-acre tract of land in Colorado for nearly $2 million to the top executive of one of the nation's largest law firms just days after being nominated by Trump to SCOTUS in 2017. While Gorsuch disclosed the property sale, he failed to identify the purchaser on his disclosure forms, leaving that box blank. Since then, the firm has been involved in at least 22 cases before the Court.

And it's not only corrupt Republican appointees to the High Court. CNN recently unearthed interviews by a Christian talk radio outlet with far-right U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, the corrupt judge who banned the popular abortion pill, mifepristone, earlier this month. During the interviews he describes his opinion that being gay is "a lifestyle" and criticizes both "no-fault divorce" and "permissive policies on contraception." He failed to disclose those interviews during his 2017 confirmation process.

Perhaps more disturbingly, Washington Post recently reported what would appear to be out and out fraud by the controversial judge. He not only failed to disclose a law review article he authored, in which he criticized President Obama's protections of transgender people and those seeking abortions, but, after being nominated by Trump, he instructed the journal to remove his name as author and substitute the names of two junior colleagues at his activist law firm who appear to have had nothing to do with the article.

Graves charges Kacsmaryk should be held to account by the DoJ for possible prosecution under Section 1001 of Title 18 of the US Code, which deals with giving materially false statements to Congress. "You have someone who affirmatively, deceptively, actively, willfully hid from the Senate that he wrote this article. He did so purposely. He did so knowing he was about to be nominated for this position. He affirmatively deceived Congress," she tells me.

"Kacsmaryk deceived Congress in his quest to become a judge, and then he had no restraint on his efforts to impose those various same types of personal anti-abortion views in a case where he has now injected himself in overturning nearly a quarter century of law in defiance of long-standing Supreme Court precedence."

Given the massive corruption of both the federal bench and Republicans in Congress, what, if anything can be done about any of it? We discuss what can and should be done by Congress, by the U.S. Judicial Conference which oversees operations of the federal courts, and by the U.S. Department of Justice, all of whom Graves has worked with in various capacities over the years...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Turkey, Syria earthquake; Campaign finance limits raised; Koch Net to oppose Trump in 2024 primary; WI 2020 Trump campaign worked to 'fan flame' of fake fraud; Callers ring in before Tuesday's SOTU...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2023 5:55pm PT  

Breaking news today and a weekend full of otherwise dumb news resulted in a bit of a hodge-podge on today's BradCast. I hope you'll enjoy it anyway! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

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

  • Rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of Sunday's horrific, pre-dawn, 7.8 magnitude earthquake --- and several huge aftershocks --- in Southern Turkey and Northern Syria. As we went to air, the death toll from both countries was more than 3,400. That tragic number is likely to continue to rise.
  • American Republicans are, no doubt, breathing easier today following the great Chinese Spy Balloon Crisis that gripped them with fear and threatened their very lives and those of their families for several days since last week. On Saturday, the U.S. military shot down the high altitude balloon off the coast of South Carolina and have been collecting its remnants for study. Thankfully, nobody was hurt throughout this days long national nightmare, and the Dept. of Defense suggests the U.S. gained more from the exercise, on balance, than China did. The DoD claims our borders were similarly breached by Chinese spy balloons three times during the Trump Administration. Despite fevered demands from some on the Right, neither President Biden nor Vice President Harris resigned in shame amid "the catastrophic Chinese Spy Balloon spectacle [that] clearly threatened American families" from coast to coast.
  • Great news for the wealthy! Thanks to campaign finance legislation adopted during the George W. Bush era in 2002, and huge inflation numbers in 2022, the amount of money that can now be donated to a single candidate for a single election has been increased from $2,900 to $3,300. The amount that can be given to national party committees, according to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) has increased from $36,500 to $41,300 per year. And the amount allowed for payoffs to special national party committees, such as for national party conventions, has spiked from $109,500 to $123,900. Of course, those limits also apply to poor and working-class people instead. So, it's all totally fair and just some good ol' American "free speech" at work!
  • After declining to support Donald Trump's two Presidential runs in 2016 and 2020, the Koch Network is getting back in the game, vowing to oppose Trump this year by declaring their support for one non-Trump Republican by summer's end. We'll see if they have any better luck this year than their similar losing strategy back in 2016.
  • Despite conceding that Trump lost the 2020 election in Wisconsin, according to an audio recording obtained by AP, his campaign team in the Badger State vowed to help "fan the flame" of phony fraud as early as two days after Biden's win there.
  • Love him (or his policies) or hate him (or his policies), Joe Biden has accomplished more in the first two years of his Presidency than perhaps any other American President in history going back to at least FDR. Nonetheless, just one day before his second official State of the Union address on Tuesday, new polling out today from Washington Post and ABC News finds that 62% of Americans believe Biden has accomplished "not very much" or "little or nothing" in the first two years of his term. That may be an extraordinary failure by Democrats and the White House to get the word out about their own accomplishments. But the greatest indictment here should be for the corporate mainstream media whose only actual (Constitutionally-protected) job is to inform the public and educate the American electorate! Clearly, they have failed. Again. We discuss.
  • Finally, callers ring in today mostly on the topic of Biden's accomplishments or --- as several incorrectly see it --- lack thereof...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/4/2022 9:39am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Back-to-back extreme storms reveal the U.S. is not ready for climate impacts; Climate change is increasing summertime humidity; Big corporations launch ad blitz to sink Democrats' landmark budget deal; PLUS: America's first-ever national EV charging network is on its way... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The Manchin climate deal is both a big win and a deal with the Devil; Why utilities are lining up behind the climate bill; 'They are not slowing down': The rise of billion-dollar disasters; China has a new global development initiative; A hiker tried to burn a spider and sparked a wildfire in Utah; Will a Nile Canal project dry up Africa's largest wetland?; How coal mining and years of neglect left Kentucky towns at the mercy of flooding; 'Apocalyptic skies': the dust storms devastating Gulf states and Syria; Why the Texas grid causes the High Plains to turn off its wind turbines; Inside the fight over California's last nuclear power plant... PLUS: Hyperion, world's tallest tree, now off-limits to visitors... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: Prof. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of Yale School of Management; Also: More climate-fueled disasters in LA, TX; And, where is Clarence Thomas?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2022 6:47pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: If you might otherwise expect a Senior Associate Dean at Yale University's School of Business Management to be a stodgy, rightwing, so-called pro-business conservative, think again. The one joining us today, naming and shaming major international corporations for continuing to do business with Russia even after their barbaric, nearly month-long destruction of Ukraine, is anything but. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first up today, very quickly, what you need to know about the deadly tornado swarm that slammed Louisiana and Texas overnight. It's just the latest in an increasingly long and violent string of climate change-fueled disasters slamming both states. Desi Doyen explains what climate scientists are learning about changes in tornadic weather as our climate crisis worsens in places like her old home state of Texas which, in recent years, has faced one such costly and deadly disaster after another (as the Republicans who control the state pretend fossil fuels have nothing to do with it.) From hurricanes to flooding to cold snaps that knock out power to the recent drought and wild fires which, at least last night's storms helped, in part, to have quelled a bit for now.

Next: Where is Clarence Thomas? The wildly corrupt U.S. Supreme Court Justice was admitted to the hospital last Friday, though the Court didn't announce it until Sunday, when their statement said he was being treated with intravenous antibiotics for an "infection" and "flu-like symptoms." The Court said on Sunday that the 73-year old Thomas would be out of the hospital by Monday or Tuesday. But, as of Wednesday, the Court had no comment on his whereabouts or his condition. Hmm...That, as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson faced another ridiculous day of childish questioning from Republicans in her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the High Court.

Then, we're joined by Yale School of Management's Senior Associate Dean and Professor of Management Practice JEFFREY SONNENFELD for a very lively discussion of the more than 450 American and international corporations that have withdrawn partially or fully from Russia, and the smaller (but still substantive and extremely shameful) number of companies still doing business there during Putin's deadly siege on his sovereign neighbor.

Sonnenfeld and his team of colleagues and researchers at the school began by compiling a list of those companies who had pulled out of Russia shortly after Putin's invasion, and those that had yet to. That "Hall of Shame" list has since gained a great deal of public attention and, he tells us, has both helped to both encourage and shame CEOs into shutting their doors in Russia.

"We just had a session with 70 CEOs --- you're the first to know about this --- major CEOs across the face of American industry, with General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," Sonnenfeld tells us. "And he did emphasize that they are working off our list. We're humbled by that, but we know that people on Wall Street and the activist community are using it" as well.

Since its initial creation, the list is now broken down into more specific categories, including companies that have announced a full "Withdrawal"; others which merely declared a "Suspension" of operations for now; those that are "Scaling Back" by reducing operations; and the two most pernicious categories of companies that are either "Buying Time" by postponing new investments while continuing substantive business or, worst of all, "Digging In" by defying all demands to leave or even reduce operations there.

While Sonnenfeld notes that the list remains "a moving target", with several companies see their rating changed even as we went to air (the fossil fuel services giant Halliburton was moved from the worst, "Digging In," to the second worst, "Buying Time" today, for example), you'll be delighted to know our friends at the rightwing dark money conglomerate Koch Industries and its crappy paper subsidiaries like Georgia-Pacific, are staying put with Team Fascist Dictator for now.

On the other hand, Sonnenfeld says that he was pleasantly surprised that a number of Big Oil companies, "not usually on the leading edge of social change," pulled out early on. But, he has a thought or two for companies like Dunkin Donuts, Nestle, Mars candy and, yes, the rightwing Koch Industries, which, for its part, says they are staying in Russia for what they describe as the "health, safety and wellbeing of all employees. Leaving, they assert, "would only put our employees there at greater risk and do more harm than good."

Koch also justified their decision by claiming they refuse to "hand over these manufacturing facilities to the Russian government so it can operate and benefit from them." Sonnefeld identifies that as closer to the real reason Koch doesn't want to leave. "It's so ludicrous, on every level," he tells me. "There are now millions and million of employees that used to work for Western companies" now out of work in Russia. If all of those companies pulled out, "there wouldn't be a shred of legitimacy for the government. It would make the revolution happen instantly." He argues Russia couldn't "round up fifteen million people and then figure out what to do with them because they're not working for Western companies anymore. It's ridiculous."

Even companies like McDonald's, which has at least done the right thing by shuttering its 850 stores in Russia, only gets a "B" grade on the list's second, "Suspension" category, as they continue to pay their workers there in hopes of returning. "It allows Putin and Putin supporters to say, 'This was just ceremonial, it's temporary. You don't need to worry, they're not really leaving, they'll be back.'"

When asked if the company should receive plaudits for helping to keep their from going hungry, Sonnenfeld is unimpressed. "Those 60,000 people should be out of work and in the streets. That's what people don't understand on this," he insists. "They say, 'Oh, innocent Russians aren't responsible for what Putin is doing.' Yes, they are! It's their complacency. Putin is in power, not because he is popularly elected. He rules because of this iron fist of being a murderous tyrant. To take that on you've got to go in there with warfare. If we don't want to do that, one thing we can do to help those innocent Russians is to at least get them angry to be part of a civil disobedience, to be part of a shutdown of civil society."

He cites "bloodless revolutions" elsewhere, charging that "if you freeze up the economy, then you get people angry, out on the streets, and they bring down the government. But to keep them complacent and comfortable, that does no good whatsoever."

While recognizing the lack of a free press in Russia at this point, Sonnenfeld also has little sympathy. "It's because they willingly don't want to know. It isn't just because they don't get a free press. When all their favorite brands shut down and they're out of work --- if all of these non-Russian companies say 'You're a rogue nation!' --- maybe they'll start to realize that what Putin is telling them, that he's trying to 'liberate' Ukraine, they'll realize that's not true."

As you might guess, Sonnenfeld, the author of many books and academic papers on business management, leadership, and corporate governance, has much more to say on this subject and on the many companies who have done what he sees as the right thing, as well as those he feels should be penalized by the American people for failing to do so.

You can view the list or download a searchable Excel version here. But, first, you'll want to tune in for today's very lively and colorful conversation with Sonnenfeld...

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Vote 'NO' on recalling Gov. Newsom on the first question and for the Green Party's Dan Kapelovitz on the second. Here's why...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/18/2021 10:35am PT  

"For the September 14, 2021 Gubernatorial Recall Election," according to the CA Secretary of State's Quick Facts Sheet [PDF], "all active registered California voters will receive their ballot in the mail." The ballot will contain two questions: (1) Whether California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom shall be Recalled, and (2) if Recalled, which of 46 official candidates should succeed him. Voters are expected to complete both parts of the ballot, even if they vote "NO" on the first question, though it is not a requirement.

California residents, who are 17-years old but will turn 18 on or before Sept. 14, can pre-register to vote. Otherwise eligible voters, who are not yet registered, can register to vote within 14 days of the Recall Election (by August 30) in order to receive a Vote-by-Mail ballot. Or, they can fill out a Conditional Voter Registration at the polls during either early, in-person voting or on Election Day.

For the reasons set forth in my July article, "Now May Be a Good Time to Reform or Eliminate California's Gubernatorial Recall System", this progressive believes the answer to question (1) of the ballot is simple and straightforward. I'll vote "NO" only because the ballot does not contain the option to vote "HELL NO!"

This GOP-initiated Recall, which, per the California Voters' Guide, will cost state taxpayers an estimated $246 million, is the product of a purely partisan abuse of the Recall process. It was engineered by an increasingly authoritarian and immensely unpopular Republican Party --- a Party which hasn't won a statewide election in California since 2006; a Party that accounts for less than 1 in 4 registered CA voters; a Party which lost the last Presidential Election in the Golden State by more than 5 million votes; a Party that knows its only prospect for winning lies in what it hopes to be a low turnout, Special Recall Election. It's a cynical divide-the-vote-among-multiple-and-largely-unknown-candidates strategy that could potentially allow an otherwise unelectable Republican to prevail.

In recent television ads, sponsored by state Democrats and labor unions, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) described what will take place on Sept. 14 as a "Republican Recall". Question (2) on the ballot reflects the accuracy of that assessment. Out of a total of 46 candidates on the second part of the ballot, 24 are Republicans. One other candidate, Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt, is a Libertarian --- the Party that embraces the deceptive ideology of the infamous Koch Brothers and hard-right ideologues like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

The difficult decision for progressives is how to unite behind only one of the 21 remaining candidates so as to avert the disaster that could ensue if more than 50% of the electorate vote to recall the incumbent Governor, as recent polling suggests a very tight race on the ballot's first question.

Allow me to explain why the election of either of the two leading question (2) candidates --- Democrat Kevin Paffrath and Republican Larry Elder --- both represent a clear and present danger if Newsom is recalled on question (1). Then, I'll share my conclusion --- along with information on each of the non-Republican/Libertarian candidates on the ballot --- as to why Green Party Candidate Dan Kapelovitz, an ardent opponent of the "Republican Recall", who is running only to avert disaster should the Recall succeed, is the candidate Democrats and progressives would do well to support...

[Disclaimer: The opinions set forth here are solely those of the author and should not be construed as an endorsement of any one candidate by The BRAD BLOG.]

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Guest: 9th generation West Virginian Robyn Kincaid; Also: Keystone XL is over!; COVID vaccines for the world; Biden to reportedly close Gitmo...
By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2021 6:15pm PT  

Yes. We're obsessed of late with Joe Manchin on The BradCast. But that's only because the fate of the entire progressive Biden and Democratic Party agenda is now being blocked by him...which also means the fate of American Democracy and even life on Planet Earth depends on the seemingly inexplicable whims of one obstructionist Democratic Senator from West Virginia. Other than that, no biggie. Why obsess? [Audio link to full show is posted at end of summary.]

Before diving back headlong into that frustration today with someone whose endured it first-hand far longer than many of us, some slightly more encouraging news today, beginning with the rather huge breaking news that broke, literally, as we began today's show.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is dead. Kaput. Over. Done. Yeah, we know you've heard that before, but this time it's the pipeline's owner themselves, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada), conceding that their 13-year dream of a massive 1,200 mile pipeline to ship 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil each day from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas for shipment overseas amid catastrophically dangerous global warming due to the burning of fossil fuels is now, officially, cancelled. That, after Joe Biden cancelled the permit granted to the company by Donald Trump. And while we've got some other good-ish news items today, that one will likely prove to be the most expansive and enduring. Finally.

As far as news we'd actually planned to cover today, President Biden will reportedly commit at the G7 in Britain this week to buying some 500 million doses of COVID vaccine to donate to nations who desperately need them, as infection and death rates plummet in the U.S. while soaring in much of the world. The announcement will come as a new, highly transmissible and more dangerous viral variant is overtaking much of the UK and beginning to gain a foothold in the U.S.

The Administration also, according to NBC News today, has begun efforts to permanently close the extra-judicial, extra-constitutional detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in advance of the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that led to then-President George W. Bush opening the shameful Gitmo chapter in the first place. While President Obama, upon taking office, had ordered the facility to be shut down in 2009, Congressional Democrats helped block that effort. Obama did, however, succeed in radically reducing Gitmo's prison population from about 250 to about 40 until Donald Trump stopped the U.S. relocation program. Biden's Administration reportedly hopes to close the facility permanently during his first term.

While Presidents can take certain Executive Actions regarding things like vaccines and Gitmo, acts of Congress are needed for the big stuff. Which bring us --- maddeningly enough --- back to Manchin today. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's plan to bring up stuff for a vote this month that Manchin supports --- only to see all of it filibustered and blocked by Republicans --- got underway, with the GOP filibuster of the Paycheck Fairness Act on Tuesday. The measure, originally co-sponsored by Manchin and already passed by the House, is aimed at eliminating the appalling gender pay gap between women and men. Manchin announced he was "disappointed" by the floor vote that received support from ZERO Republicans, much less the ten votes that is currently required to overcome obstructionist GOP filibusters in the Senate.

But Manchin has long vowed to oppose the simple majority vote needed to eliminate or even reform the filibuster. He announced as much again last weekend when he also declared his opposition to the Democrats' For the People Act, a massive election and campaign reform bill that, among other things, mandates early voting and no-excuse absentee ballots in all 50 states, ends partisan gerrymandering, and curbs dark money in campaigns. 49 out of 50 Democratic Senators are co-sponsors. Every Republican and Joe Manchin oppose it (even though he co-sponsored the bill in 2019!) Manchin's reason for opposition is, apparently, because no Republicans support it (nor did they in 2019!), even as they are adopting voter suppression measures at the state level all over the country right now.

All of that, amid a massive rightwing effort by dark money groups led by the Koch Network to target Manchin to keep him opposed to both filibuster reform and the For the People Act, while a stunning 79% of West Virginians (including 76% of Republicans in the state!) support the Democrats' sweeping election reform package.

We've been trying of late to figure out Manchin's game and a way to move the country (and planet) forward through it. We've struck out so far. So today we turn to our old friend ROBYN KINCAID (formerly known as Bob Kincaid), a 9th generation West Virginian, host and creator of the progressive Head-On Radio Network, co-founder of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Campaign and President of the Coal River Mountain Watch.

As a longtime opponent of deadly mountain top removal coal mining, Kincaid has years of experience in dealing with Manchin beginning during his days as a state official, including as Governor. If anyone has insight and helpful advice on how to deal with Manchin, it's the always colorful Kincaid, who kicks things off by explaining what it is that the rest of the nation may not know, but needs to, in order to understand him, beginning with the contention that also includes Manchin's politico father, that "No Manchin has ever voted for a Democrat whose name wasn't Manchin."

"He is the Queen of the May right now," Kincaid tells me. "Everybody is paying attention to him. He is on the lips of every political observer in the country, and he is, I assure you, basking in it."

But why the intransigence when it comes to taking the action necessary to move litigation forward that he, himself (not to mention his own constituents, in big numbers), actually supports?

"He gets hold of an idea and he hangs onto it like a junkyard dog with a bone," explains Kincaid. "For years and years, when we would talk about mountaintop removal, he would answer by saying 'We have to have balance', for about ten years. Now the word is 'bipartisan.' I don't think he fully understands how 'bipartisan' works. Because if he wants bipartisanship, it's HIS job to lean in and use coercive power and say, 'Listen, y'all can come along, or I break the filibuster.' But I don't think he's as willing to play hardball with the Republicans as he is with somebody like Joe Biden and Democrats because he is more philosophically aligned with the Republicans."

Offering a very generous benefit of the doubt that some of Manchin's institutional concerns about doing away with the filibuster are sincere, Kincaid explains that "West Virginia relies profoundly on things like Medicaid and Medicare, and forms of federal government assistance for a workforce that has been beaten and bedraggled and tormented over the years. ... I think in the back of his mind, he can foresee a future where there's a Republican-controlled Senate with no filibuster where they they can do what they wish. He knows as well as anybody else what the Republican wish-list is in the modern Republican Party of Nitwit Nero [Trump]. That is a world without Social Security, a world without the Affordable Care Act, a world without Medicaid. And that means a West Virginia that is already as...as... [heavy sigh]...as beaten down as we are, that we'll be even more so, and left to perish."

Among the many other mysteries of Manchin on which Kincaid offers insight today:

  • Is he captured by the rightwing Koch Network's dark money?
  • Is there any hope in threatening to primary him (even though he's not up for reelection again until 2024)?
  • Why would he oppose a measure (the For the People Act) THAT HE HAD CO-SPONSORED IN 2019(!) and that is so wildly popular in WV?
  • What does he want and can he be bought off, given that Democrats are looking to spend hundreds of billions right now via Biden's American Jobs and Families Plans?

We also take a few minutes to discuss Kincaid's Appalachian Communities Health Emergency (ACHE) Act, "that has the power to stop mountaintop [coal] removal once and for all". The bill has been reintroduced as H.R. 2073 and Kincaid asks BradCast listeners to "please, pretty please, go to the phone, go to your keyboards, call, send an email to your members of the House of Representatives and say please co-sponsor H.R. 2073, the ACHE Act, because it means the world to West Virginia. It means the world to Appalachia. It literally means a future for us."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Secret audio reveals 'conservatives' support Dems' For the People Act (H.R.1); Also: Economists giddy about Biden's infrastructure, jobs and climate plan; Third lawsuit filed against GA's new vote suppression law...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2021 6:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More evidence that the rightwing billionaire Koch network really needs a better security plan. And Republicans really need a more popular agenda. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]

We now have still more audio that has leaked out of a super-secret Koch Network event. The latest is embarrassing yet again for them, as it reveals that even Republican voters want corrupting "dark money" out of politics. Sorry, Koch folks like Mitch McConnell and all of the other elected GOPers who owe their corrupt careers (and votes in Congress) to whatever it is that the Koch Network wants from them! Looks like they'll need to rely on out-and-out lies about what is actually in the Democrats' popular election and campaign finance reform bill known as H.R.1 (the For the People Act) in order to undermine it. But they've become very good at that sort of thing by now.

On Monday, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer published a story about audio she obtained from a super-secret conference call in which the guy running a Koch-backed effort to figure out how to message against H.R.1 concedes that even "conservative" voters appear to like the proposal, which includes disclosure requirements for donations larger than $10,000 to "dark money" non-profit groups like the dozens of "non-partisan" groups run and funded by billionaire donors to the Koch Network.

As Mayer reports: "The speakers on the call expressed alarm at the broad popularity of the bill's provision calling for more public disclosure about secret political donors. The participants conceded that the bill, which would stem the flow of dark money from such political donors as the billionaire oil magnate Charles Koch, was so popular that it wasn't worth trying to mount a public-advocacy campaign to shift opinion. Instead, a senior Koch operative said that opponents would be better off ignoring the will of American voters and trying to kill the bill in Congress."

The research director for a Koch-run advocacy group is heard explaining on the call, which reportedly included a partisan representative from McConnell's office, that when even "conservative" voters hear that the legislation "stops billionaires from buying elections," they support it. "Unfortunately," he tells the group somewhat sheepishly, "we've found that that is a winning message, for both the general public and also conservatives."

We share the full audio disclosed by Mayer on today's program. (And, since I referenced it it today, here's a link to my 2011 exposé of the Koch Brothers' super-secret billionaire confab at a resort near Vail, CO. The first, to my knowledge, to include audio from one of the group's meetings. The several-part exposé I published at Mother Jones and at The BRAD BLOG at the time included audio I obtained revealing the undisclosed keynote speech by NJ's then Gov. Chris Christie, as well as remarks from Charles Koch and others at the highly secured --- but not highly enough secured --- event.)

Also today, Axios reports that economists are very excited about the approximately $3 trillion infrastructure, jobs and, yes, climate plan that Joe Biden is set to roll out in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. He previewed a bit of that plan during his press conference last week. The plan, in theory, will create millions of new, high paying jobs repairing, improving and building roads, bridges, electrical grids and other infrastructure that has been dilapidating for years, while hardening it all for climate resilience in a dangerously warming world. The Koch Network and Congressional Republicans are likely to have a hard time messaging against that long-overdue proposal as well. But we'll find out as much after Biden introduces the plan tomorrow.

Then, a bit of a follow-up to my conversation with Caren Short, Senior Voting Rights Attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on Monday's show, about Georgia's sweeping new voter suppression bill. Yesterday, I had asked Short whether SPLC was planning to join either of the so-far two different lawsuits filed by civil rights groups just after the controversial GOP measure was passed by both houses in the state legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp last Thursday, all within a 7-hour time span. She told me the group was looking closely at the suits, but had made no decision yet. Today, SPLC touched base with the news announcing a third suit [PDF] now filed in federal court against the GA law. This one has been filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and others on behalf of several Black, Latino and Muslim organizations in the Peach State.

Finally today, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, with more news on Biden's infrastructure plan; deadly storms in Nashville; a disturbing update to the death toll in Texas after last month's winter storm; and more...some of it actually good enough news that we close with a song that many of you likely hoped we'd have forgotten by now. But, sorry not sorry...we didn't!...

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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Computer check-in system causing long Early Voting lines in GA; FBI warns of 'unauthorized access to elections support systems'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2020 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's full speed ahead for Senate Republicans' desperate attempt to further pack the U.S. Supreme Court while they still have the chance. And it's anything but feel speed for voters forced to wait in hours-long Early Voting lines in Georgia. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The Peach State could very well turn "blue" this year, according to Nate Silver at Five Thirty Eight, in both the Presidential election and not one, but two U.S. Senate races there this year. But voters will have to work like hell to make that happen. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports today that the state's new voting check-in computers --- needed to operate the state's new unverifiable touchscreen voting machines --- appear to be the main cause of intolerably long lines for voters since Early Voting began on Monday. Some voters have reportedly left without voting, others waited as long as 12 hours to cast their votes. Now that AJC has identified the check-in computers to be a main bottleneck, Georgia's terrible Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger --- who previously attributed the hours-long lines to "voter enthusiasm" --- has apparently told the private software vendor responsible for those check-in computers at Voting Centers to increase network bandwidth to speed up the process. Early reports in Atlanta suggest the expanded bandwidth may be helping to speed things up, but we'll see.

In the meantime, as voters in Georgia must now navigate at least 4 different computer systems (programmed by private companies) to cast their one vote, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of the Dept. of Homeland Security, are warning they are aware of "some instances" in which malicious actors (most likely foreign, they suggest) have obtained "unauthorized access to elections support systems." They quickly note, however, they have "no evidence to date that integrity of elections data has been compromised." Feel better?

Our guest today, Slate's great legal reporter, MARK JOSEPH STERN, is definitely not feeling better after a week of hearings in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, meant to further pack the Republicans' already-stolen Supreme Court with Amy Coney Barrett before Election Day. The hearings revealed little or nothing about Donald Trump's third far-right nominee to the highest court in the land, Stern reports. "It was a terrible week. It was one of the worst on record," he tells me, describing the proceedings as a "deranged power grab" and the nominee as establishing a new low for such hearings.

"Amy Coney Barrett has established a new rule for Supreme Court confirmations, which is that the nominee doesn't just have to be kind of evasive or squirrelly. The nominee can literally say nothing of substance and simply announce a rule at the outset that she won't say anything of substance, and then just swat down questions that try to get her to say anything meaningful."

Barrett refused to (or couldn't?) answer even simple, non-political questions and matters of basic federal law, such as whether it is illegal to intimidate voters at the polls. (It is.) "I don't understand why we all had to go through this entire experience. It was a psychic wound, it was demeaning to all of us. She won't even say whether this federal law exists, whether it is real," Stern observes. "Will she acknowledge that gravity exists?"

Among the many related points we discuss today...

  • While Barrett allies herself with the great myth of the late Justice Antonin Scalia's so-called "Constitutional originalism," is she in fact "a legal lightweight"?;
  • Do Republicans even care about her "remarkable paucity of experience"? (Stern charges: "I don't think that she's necessarily being picked on the merits of her own scholarship.");
  • If SCOTUS nominees are now going to refuse to answer any question on virtually anything, have these hearings and the Advise and Consent clause itself become little more than a meaningless joke at this point?;
  • Is Barrett's bizarre assertion that Roe v. Wade is not a "super-precedent" --- apparently meaning a ruling that cannot be overturned --- actually a real legal concept in any way, shape or form?;
  • What, if anything, was the impact of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's stunning thirty-minute detailing on Tuesday (video here, transcript here) of the decades-long, $250 million, rightwing dark-money court-packing conspiracy? And did it help Americans appreciate the insidious scam that wealthy rightwingers have been running with the GOP for years now to capture our entire federal judicial system? ("Amy Coney Barrett didn't just magically appear in that seat. She didn't just find herself nominated to the Supreme Court. She has been elevated, propped up, by this massive dark money machine," Stern notes.);
  • Did Democrats do all that they could to highlight the outrage of how Republicans are undermining the very legitimacy of our federal courts, even as Dems have little or no way to stop it right now?;
  • Will Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have the courage to do the right thing for justice and the American people by expanding the Supreme Court to save cherished American rights and the court system itself IF they are able to win the White House and Senate majority this November?;
  • And, why the hell was ranking Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) hugging the Judiciary Committee Chair, Sen. Lindsey Graham (maskless!), at the end of today's final day of hearings?

All of those questions asked and mostly answered on today's lively --- if maddening --- program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Dark money researcher Lisa Graves on Sen. Whitehouse's Judiciary Committee revelations on the GOP's decades-long, $250 million Supreme Court-packing coup; Also: Good news for voters in VA, TX, AK!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/14/2020 6:56pm PT  

We begin today's BradCast with some good news from the courts, for a change, regarding voting rights in several states today, as the GOP's trench warfare to suppress the vote wherever they can continues, now 20 days out from Election Day. Then, it's on to the $250 million dark-money scheme that a closely interconnected conspiracy of mostly low-profile rightwing groups have orchestrated with Republicans in the U.S. Senate to pack the federal courts --- specifically the U.S. Supreme Court --- and push specific cases to them that are similarly rigged by "orchestrated amicus flotillas" to help achieve very specific results that just happen to benefit all of the well-moneyed interests involved in the well-orchestrated and well-funded conspiracy that made it all happen. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, we go light before we go "dark". In Virginia, where a severed fiber optic cable knocked out online voter registration for the entire state on Tuesday, the last day to do so this year, a federal judge has granted an extra 48 hours for residents in the Commonwealth to sign up. You've now got until 11:59pm Thursday, Virginians! Get busy!

In Texas, where desperate Republicans are challenging absolutely every new measure instituted to make voting easier and safer amid the pandemic --- even going so far as to sue their own Republican Governor for extending early voting by one week --- a state court of appeals has tossed a case filed Monday by the GOP to block Harris County's plan for "drive-thru" voting. The case was filed just one day before Early Voting began in the state yesterday. Some 11,000 votes were reportedly cast from vehicles via curbside voting centers in Harris County's Houston on Tuesday, as implemented by the County's new, 34-year old County Clerk, Chris Hollins. Dem-leaning Houston has a population of 4.7 million and a geographical area larger than the state of Rhode Island. It is the nation's third most populous voting jurisdiction. A total of 10 drive-thru sites are planned for use during Early Voting. The court win comes as another too-rare victory for voters in the Lone Star State, where the GOP is desperately trying to block the demographic writing on the wall against them.

And, in Alaska, the state Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that nullifies the state's witness signature requirement for mail-in ballots during the pandemic. The suit was brought by Alaskan Native Americans and voting rights groups who successfully argued that the requirement "impermissibly burdens the right to vote" while many Alaskans are quarantining alone during the crisis. The state's top election official, Republican Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, had appealed the lower court ruling all the way to the state Supremes...and has now lost. But voters have won.

Then, we head into the "darkness" following Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)'s remarkable, must watch revelations (transcript here) on Tuesday during the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's appalling and hypocritical push to ram through the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before Election Day. In short, Whitehouse summarized the broad and insidious network of interconnected rightwing dark-money groups that select federal court judges for Republicans to nominate to the bench; quietly fund the PR campaigns to push for their confirmations; seek out specific cases to bring to those same judges for a desired outcome that enriches their well-moneyed interests; and then bury the Supreme Court with amicus briefs spelling out that desired outcome.

Whitehouse details the remarkable success that the groups have seen in recent years in not only packing the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, but in an 80 to 0 record of wins at the high court with partisan 5 to 4 victories in each and every case.

Teeing off the Senate Republicans' eagerness to push through Barrett's confirmation closer to any Presidential election in U.S. history --- despite vows from the party in 2016 that they would never support filling a Supreme Court seat during a Presidential election year until American voters have had a say in the matter --- Whitehouse observes near the beginning of his remarks that, in his "experience around politics, when you find hypocrisy in the daylight, look for power in the shadows."

Using charts and magic-markers to break down the sprawling case and evidence of the closely-allied, secretly-funded groups making up that "power in the shadows" --- from the Federalist Society (which promoted Barrett's nomination), to the so-called Judicial Crisis Network, to the Bradley Foundation to Donors Trust and the Koch Brothers --- the Rhode Island Senator neatly unfolds the very clear conspiracy that has successfully resulted in cases that benefit its dark-money funders to the tune of billions of dollars returned on their investments.

Much of Whitehouse's case cited evidence first revealed by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), a non-profit good government watchdog and research organization headed up for many years by LISA GRAVES, a former Deputy Asst. Attorney General at the U.S. Justice Department, a former Chief Counsel for nominations in the U.S. Senate, and a former Deputy Chief for the U.S. Court system. She still serves as President of the Board of Directors at CMD and is currently the Executive Director of True North Research.

With all of those qualifications, Graves is uniquely positioned to offer much more insight into Whitehouse's Tuesday revelations of the, yes, actual, decades-long GOP judicial conspiracy now in play; Barrett's qualifications for a lifetime appointment to highest court in the land; her performance during this week's confirmation hearings; and whether Democrats should expand not only the U.S. Supreme Court --- if they win both the Presidency and Senate majority in November --- but the lower federal courts as well.

Graves tells me that Whitehouse's remarks were "very, very important, because he was able to use this forum to shine a light on something that most Americans have no idea is going on, as part of this capture of our courts, which is really about changing our rights and doing it through judicial fiat." She explains that "that thirty minutes is really a class, a course, on understanding this puppet show that we're seeing with this nomination, of who is really calling the shots, and how this is happening."

She also offers a reaction to my own monologue from the top of yesterday's BradCast, in which I detailed the under-appreciated hypocrisy and judicial dishonesty of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, regarding his professed claims of "conservative" Constitutional "originalism" and "strict consructionism". Barrett worked hard during her opening statement on Monday to associate herself with Scalia's disingenuous judicial philosophy, citing the late rightwing extremist Justice, for whom she once clerked, as a model for own tenure as a federal jurist.

There is much ground to cover in all of the above with Graves, so I hope you'll tune in for this one!...

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Guest: Longtime Koch researcher Lisa Graves; Also: Biden, Obama, Gates Twitter accounts hacked, but Nov. voting should be fine; KS Repub Congressman indicted on four voter fraud counts! Trump should be next...
By Brad Friedman on 7/15/2020 7:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: New insight on the nearly 50-year long effort to abolish and/or privatize one of the nation's most-beloved, 250-year old institutions. Just another disaster waiting to happen under the Presidency of Donald J. Trump. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First, however, today's show is once again shaken up by breaking news. But some of it, at least regarding Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg --- who has now been released from the hospital and said to be "doing well" --- is good news. The hack of top Twitter accounts today, including Joe Biden's, Barack Obama's, Bill Gates', Elon Musk's and many others, is not such good news. If a multi-billion dollar company like Twitter can't protect its own servers from hackers, how do you suspect local election officials will be doing this November when it comes to protecting complicated computerized voting, tabulation and registration systems?

Speaking of elections, first-term Republican U.S. Congressman Steve Watkins of Kansas was charged on Tuesday night with three felonies charges and a misdemeanor related to voter fraud after he registered to vote (and then did so) using an address at a Topeka UPS store, where he obviously does not actually live.

Donald Trump committed nearly identical voter fraud crimes. Last year, he also specified an address where he does not live --- a commercial business in Florida (Mar-a-Lago) --- as his "legal address" for voting purposes on his voter registration application [PDF] in the Sunshine State, and unlawfully voted via absentee ballot there this year. Rep. Watkins may go to jail for the same crimes that Trump committed. Will Trump be charged with felonies as well?

And, speaking of voting by mail (lawfully or otherwise), that may also be threatened this year, even as states are expanding access to mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. A new, Trump-appointed (and wholly unqualified) Postmaster General has just been seated and, this week, sent a series of disturbing memos to all Postal Workers directing them, essentially, to slow down mail delivery and stop all overtime work, even with package delivery (often of much-needed medication and other quarantine-necessary supplies) rapidly increasing during the COVID crisis.

Louis DeJoy, a Trump donor and our new Postmaster General, has postal workers, including hundreds of thousands of union workers, up in arms about the new mandated slowdowns that will accomplish little more than giving a competitive boost to FedEx and UPS, two of the USPS' top private competitors. That, as it turns out, is likely the whole point, according to our guest today, LISA GRAVES of True North Research. Last week, Graves published an 18-page brief [PDF] at In The Public Interest on the billionaire who has been behind what is now a nearly 50-year effort to privatize the Postal Service.

That billionaire is none other than Charles Koch who has spent decades recruiting a rogues gallery of hard-right "libertarians" and Republicans, beginning in the 1970s, up through the Reagan and Bush Administrations, and now into the Trump Administration, to undermine the USPS despite its mandates specified by the U.S. Constitution and the fact that it is among the most popular and important institutions in the nation.

"Charles Koch has mapped out a very dystopian view of America, and has tried to push it into reality," Graves says, and he and his cronies have been successful. "They oppose having public transportation. They have oppose Amtrak, and any kind of public train system. They want public airports to be sold to the highest bidder and operated by the private sector. It's just one thing after another, including public parks! National parks, local parks, public parks --- these are all anathema to these very fringey rightwing libertarians who have been fueled and funded and stoked by Charles Koch and his billions from Koch Industries."

Graves, a former Deputy Asst. Attorney General at the U.S. Dept. of Justice, has been researching and documenting the billionaire Koch's rightwing ideological agenda for years, as he and his late brother David, have worked to undermine and/or buy our democracy and most important public institutions. Her new exposé on Koch and cronies' decades-long effort to kill and/or privatize the USPS is another critical chapter of that important work, and one that highlights, as she describes it today, a perfect "marriage between [his] ideological agenda and greed".

With the USPS now on the brink of insolvency, thanks to the COVID crisis --- and, even more, the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), championed at the time by Koch-backed Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), which handcuffed the independent federal agency --- things could get much worse for the Service very quickly.

Describing Louis DeJoy, Graves tells me today, "It's irresponsible and reckless for them to have put this partisan hack, this Republican fundraiser, at the helm of the Postal Service at the time that it's facing such a great need to have a leader who is committed to it as a truly public institution, versus someone who is behaving in this predatory way to try to basically ruin the Postal Service and push it toward the idea that it should be a for-profit company. It's in the worst possible hands at the worst possible time." But, of course, that is largely the point.

"If it's destabilized right before the election, that sort of destabilization could not happen at a worse time. But it would be convenient for a Trump ally to destabilize it, since Trump is trying to attack the very idea of Vote-by-Mail," Graves warns, along with much more in a must-listen conversation today.

Finally, a few quick words on Tuesday's primary election and runoff results in Alabama, Texas and Maine where, by the way, Sen. Susan Collins will be facing her most difficult re-election bid ever this November against Democrat Sara Gideon, who appears to have sealed up the Democratic nomination to run against Collins in Maine on Tuesday...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/27/2019 11:02am PT  


Follow @GreenNewsReport...

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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: International pressure and protests grow over record fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest; Democratic National Committee shoots down climate-focused presidential debate; Keystone XL pipeline clears another hurdle in Nebraska; PLUS: The President of the United States floated nuking hurricanes... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): David Koch escaped the climate hell he helped create; The Amazon rainforest fires are a form of 'genocide'; If carbon offsets require forests to stay standing, what happens when the Amazon is on fire?; A trailblazing plan to fight CA wildfires; Summer on the swollen, flooded shores of the Great Lakes; Plan allows drilling, grazing near GSE national monument in Utah; Colorado electric cooperative to hit clean energy goal a decade early... PLUS: Much ado about Greta: Why does one Swedish teenager manage to drive so many pundits off the deep end?... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: SMART Elections co-founder, documentarian Lulu Friesdat: Also: RGB treated for pancreatic cancer; David Koch dies; Trump blows up markets, trade war with China; Amazon burning...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2019 6:38pm PT  

Just before airtime for today's BradCast, everything seemed to blow up at once (figuratively!) But we do our best to navigate through the most important explosions, including one that is likely receiving little coverage around the country. An astounding vote by the North Carolina Board of Elections --- led by a new appointee of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper --- has allowed the certification of controversial, new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in the state for the 2020 elections. The Board's vote was 3 to 2 against a motion that would have blocked the dangerous and expensive voting systems made by ES&S, with the newly-appointed Democratic chair voting with the Board's two Republicans to kill the motion. It had been put forward and supported by the two Democratic Commissioners and supported by virtually every public commenter who packed today's SBE meeting. We discuss that remarkable news and much more with our guest today. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of article.]

But first, a few of the other items blowing up in today's news that you have likely heard a bit more about than the very bad news out of NC today. The U.S. Supreme Court released a statement that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has completed radiation therapy for a malignant cancerous tumor discovered on her pancreas at the end of July, but that there is no evidence of the disease remaining in her body at this time. The 86-year old Justice underwent surgery for lung cancer in December and was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009.

Rightwing billionaire David Koch has died, according to his brother Charles. Collectively, the pair had raised and spent about $1 billion on elections and in support of almost exclusively Republican candidates and causes in recent years. Just last week, brother Charles was allowed to absurdly opine in a Washington Post op-ed that "both sides" of the political spectrum "have made it harder to come together as a country."

And, the Dow Jones took another 600+ point dive on Friday, after China announced retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods and as Donald Trump pitched a tirade on Twitter in response. Not only did he announce intentions to double-down several times in kind today, but he also attacked his own Fed chair Jerome Powell by calling him an "enemy" of the U.S. and comparing him to China's Chairman Xi. But, that's not all. He then absurdly declared that he has "hereby ordered" U.S. companies to stop doing business with China and their 1.4 billion consumers. White House officials, as well as Republicans in Congress and rightwing business groups were reportedly left dumbstruck by the President's latest and increasingly unhinged Twitter pronouncements as he headed off to France for a G-7 summit with allies --- and as the market headed sharply "south" in response to it all.

With the figurative national cancer in the White House seemingly metastasizing quickly at this point, and with corporate media focused almost exclusively on the horse race elements of the 2020 Presidential election, we look once again toward the quickly deteriorating track conditions on which next year's horses will be running. That issue has received a lot of coverage on The BradCast over the past several weeks, if not from the rest of the media, including news of the federal judge finding Georgia's entire touchscreen voting system unconstitutional; voting and tabulation systems discovered online in at least ten states, including several battleground states, despite claims by elections officials and private vendors that the systems were never connected to the Internet; ransomeware attacks that have shutdown city government computer systems in 22 Texas municipalities over the past week; and the successful efforts by citizens in New York, Pennsylvania and Georgia to demand new security reviews of recently certified, hackable touchscreen voting systems.

But the wild twists and turns in the battle against the new systems in the battleground state North Carolina came to a shocking and disappointing conclusion today, after scores of citizens spoke out against the dangers of the new computer-printed, barcoded ballot system being unleashed in the state. While largely the only person to testify in favor of the systems was a representative of the company selling and servicing them, the State Board of Elections certified them for use anyway, with the help of the Board's new Democratic chair voting with its Republican Commissioners in a series of stunning 3 to 2 votes.

We spoke to a number of folks on the ground in NC today, who testified against the new systems, and they were both stunned and furious. Frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks of the Coalition for Good Governance (a plaintiff in the successful federal case against Georgia's touchscreen voting machines) is a North Carolina resident who testified today. She sent me a statement just before airtime: "As a North Carolina voter I am embarrassed by the level of ignorance shown by three of the five members of the Board. The arguments they made wouldn't pass muster in fifth grade civics class." Another opponent of the new systems, Lynn Bernstein, an election security advocate, aerospace test engineer and ardent supporter of hand-marked paper ballot systems also spoke today and told me afterward that the new Chairman Damon Circosta "couldn't cite a single reason" for his vote, "other than he has confidence the new system will be fine."

We're joined today by longtime, award-winning journalist, columnist, documentarian and SMART Elections co-founder LULU FRIESDAT for her response to today's stunning news from NC, which she says she regards as a "coup" that will allow the new, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems next year in the closely divided battleground state of North Carolina as well as other jurisdictions such as Philadelphia and Los Angeles, unless the public can rollback this alarming trend.

"We have state after state after state --- we have this in Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, we've had it in New York, they had it in Kansas --- it's the same ES&S machines. And now you're seeing it in North Carolina, where you have a vast majority of citizens coming to these Board of Election meetings saying 'We want hand-marked paper ballots! We want voting systems that we can trust! We don't want touchscreen barcode systems!' And the election officials are putting in place those electronic touchscreen barcode systems that are the exact ones that people are protesting against."

She cites broad donations by vendors to many of the officials tasked with selecting the systems and passing statutes which allow them.

We also discuss the disturbing news out of DefCon's Voting Village a week ago, where she witnessed new voting and electronic pollbook systems --- like the ones now set for use in NC --- being easily hacked by attendees in minutes time. "This is the third year that they've had a Voting Village, where they have voting machines that are in use in the United States available there. And each year it becomes more clear that really, every system is extremely vulnerable. There was not a single system there, to my knowledge, that was not penetrated in some way, or they didn't find vulnerabilities," Friesdat tells me.

And, finally, we discuss her newly-launched effort at SmartElections.US to help train and organize voters nationally to help oversee our own public elections via her new #CountTheVote citizens initiative to help people "get involved on a very local level" .

CountTheVote will be "training people who care across the country, in county by county, especially targeting states where we know this is really going to come down to the wire, swing-states, giving people the toolkits that they need and the skills and information they need.," she explains. "You can have conversations with your election officials to try to influence them to purchase secure voting equipment. Get other groups involved to start pressuring them. This is happening all over the country."

Finally, if it seems that the world is on fire of late, that's because it is --- both figuratively (see everything above) and literally, from the Arctic to the Amazon. We close with a few words on the troubling developments in the Brazilian rainforest where that country's Trump-like authoritarian climate science-denying leader, Jair Bolsonaro, is actually blaming non-profit groups fighting to save the Amazon rainforest for the global warming conditions and Bolsonaro policies that are actually helping to spark the massive fires in a region of the world that otherwise helps turn climate warning C02 into oxygen. At least it did before the record fires have become to consume the region...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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