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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, July 9, 2020
The Truth About Fraudulent Claims About Absentee Fraud: 'BradCast' 7/8/20
Guest: OSET Institute's Eddie Perez; Also: Trump's COVID Death March continues; SCOTUS lets religious groups discriminate...
Faithless Judiciary: SCOTUS, Appeals Courts Block Voting Rights Amid Pandemic: 'BradCast' 7/7/20
Guest: Mark Joseph Stern on new Court opinions and their (now deadly) war on voting...
'Green News Report' 7/7/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Bad news for pipelines, good news for those who oppose them; Japan reels from more record storms; PLUS: House Dems unveil climate plan for net zero emissions by 2050...
Previous GNRs: 6/30/20 - 6/25/20 - Archives...
Trump's July 4th 'Declaration of War Against Fellow Americans': 'BradCast' 7/6/20
Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Non-U.S nations getting COVID under control; SCOTUS on robocalls, 'faithless electors'...
Sunday 'Statuesque' Toons
PDiddie's latest monumental collection of the week's political toons!...
Eric Swalwell on Impeachment Revisited: 'BradCast' 7/3/20
Guest host Nicole Sandler with the CA Congressman on his new book, 'Endgame', and a different look at the 4th of July...
Cult of Traitorous Trump: 'BradCast' 7/2/20
Guest host Nicole Sandler with Jeff Sharlet on the cult and former CIA officer Jack Rice on the bounties...
Supreme Hope, Broken Justice: 'BradCast' 7/1/20
Guest host Nicole Sandler w/ The Nation's justice correspondent Elie Mystal on SCOTUS, DOJ corruption...
'Green News Report' 6/30/20
U.S. fracking giant files for bankruptcy; BP issues warning; SCOTUS dismisses endangered species; PLUS: Flood risks to U.S. far higher than known...
Despite Recent Rulings, No, Roberts Isn't Now a Liberal Squish: 'BradCast' 6/29/20
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on the 'canny legal' maneuverings of the Chief Justice...
Barr DOJ's Abuse of Antitrust Laws
Ernest A. Canning on the OTHER Department whistleblower's astonishing testimony of gross misconduct by Trump's corrupt AG...
Sunday 'Electoral Distancing' Toons
It's another killer collection of political toons this week from PDiddie! (One of our favorites in many weeks, in fact!)
Do IN's SoS Emails 'Expose Vulnerability to Terror Attack'? A Judge Wants to Know: 'BradCast' 6/26/20
Guest: Ron Fein; Also: Trump 'emergency' nixed; TX, FL re-close; Trump, Pence lie...
'It Was Never Politics, It Was Always Science': 'BradCast' 6/25/20
COVID-19 surging in U.S. at record rates as hard evidence confirms that yes, Trump told his 'people' to 'slow the testing down, please'...
'Green News Report' 6/25/20
MN sues Exxon, Koch for climate fraud; DoJ whistle-blowers out Trump's corrupt probe of CA automaker deal; PLUS: Bayer to pay billions to settle Monsanto lawsuits...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Also: Carl Reiner, RIP...
By Brad Friedman on 6/30/2020 6:34pm PT  

In case you need something to celebrate this July 4th, it will be just 200 days exactly from that date until Donald Trump will no longer be the President of the United States next January! ... Presuming he is not able to somehow steal a second term anyway. Let's not let him. Therefore, go celebrate Independence Day in advance this Saturday on July 4th!

In the meantime, as we work our way towards that glorious day, a few related news items of note on today's BradCast [Audio link to full show follows summary below]...

  • Wyoming Republicans are beating themselves up over...well, apparently being Republicans. Literally! A fist-fight broke out over the weekend at the Wyoming Republican Party state convention in Gillette, as the party's extremist and less extremist factions duke it out, with one County Party chair who wielded an ax-handle and a pistol, versus another drunk County Party chair who ended up unconscious and in need of surgery as the whole debacle is investigated by local police. Grab your popcorn, because it's as insane as it sounds. We've got the blow-by-blow details!;
  • As to the battle between the Democratic Party's progressive and conservative wings, that appears to be playing out a bit more peacefully, at the ballot box instead. AP has now called a winner in Kentucky's Democratic U.S. Senate Primary a week after it was held. The delay was due to absentee ballot counting in two of the state's largest and most diverse counties, Jefferson (Louisville) and Fayette (Lexington). Neither released any results from the state's June 23 primaries until today. If the reported results are accurate, it appears that party establishment-supported former fighter pilot Amy McGrath will be the Democratic nominee to take on GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this November. She is said to have narrowly edged out progressive African-American state legislator Charles Booker, who surged to mount a serious challenge to McGrath and her large campaign war chest at the end of the campaign during protests for racial justice in the state. In the end, if the computer-tallied results are accurate, Booker's late surge --- as a Sanders/Warren/AOC-endorsed supporter of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal --- came up just short of the votes needed to defeat the front-runner who had been the presumptive nominee since being recruited by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer last summer. We'll see if McGrath also has what it takes to take down McConnell this fall. That, according to recent polling, will be no easy feat in a state that went for Trump by 30 points in 2016. But it will be well worth the effort in trying;
  • The National Republican Committee, the Trump Campaign and several sitting GOP Congressmembers are now filed a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania, claiming that their use of secure absentee ballot drop-off boxes somehow violates the U.S. Constitution, even though absentee voting was approved last year by the state's GOP-majority legislature and the use of drop-off boxes is a recommended best practice by vote-by-mail experts and the federal government alike;
  • We'll see if the Republicans' federal lawsuit in PA has any better chances for success than a similar attempt by the GOP and Trump Campaign to sue California in an effort to prevent absentee ballots being mailed to all active registered voters. That initiative was mandated by Gov. Gavin Newsom's recent Executive Order in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in a subsequent Republican-supported bill passed by the state legislature and signed by the Governor;
  • And here's that article I referenced by Ernie Canning on the other Dept. of Justice whistleblower who testified in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee last week about Bill Barr's abuse of the DoJ's Antitrust division to harass California and automakers who are working with the state (to the consternation of Donald Trump) and legal cannabis companies (perhaps to prevent the division from being able to probe real antitrust issues and anti-competitive monopolies in the banking, Big Tech, and telecom sectors.);
  • Then, we've got a brief and heart-felt tribute to the legendary and much-beloved Carl Reiner --- creator of the Dick Van Dyke Show, the 2000 Year Old Man with Mel Brooks and much more --- who passed away today at the age of 98. From nothin'.;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with news on a fracking giant filing for bankruptcy, SCOTUS signing a death warrant for endangered species and new data finding that millions of U.S. homes, far more than previously thoughts, are now at risk of flooding thanks to climate change...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

PLEASE NOTE: Desi and I are checking out for a few days of MUCH needed down time before the holiday. Nicole Sandler will be filling in for us until we see ya next Monday! Until then, please stay safe, healthy and don't forget to celebrate independence from the Trump Presidency in just 200 days as of July 4th!

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Guest: Howie Klein of 'Down With Tyranny' on Tuesday results; Also: DoJ corruption spreads to Judiciary in Flynn case; DoJ whistleblowers in Congress; All eyes on 'last firewall' of November election...
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2020 6:36pm PT  

Given the disturbing news out of a D.C. Appeals Court today in the Michael Flynn case, we begin today's BradCast with a few words of warning about what is likely to come between now and November 3rd (and even beyond), and how we all must now collectively approach that day in order to save this Republic. This is not a test. This is the real thing. And, as our darkest hour gets darker still --- and it will --- we must stay focused on the only thing that offers hope right now, the only thing that matters: making very real changes at the White House and Congress this November.

After that serious-as-a-heart-attack public service announcement/warning, we break down just why the surprise ruling by two Republican appointees to the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. today --- in response to an unprecedented motion by Donald Trump's former National Security Advisor and confessed federal felon Michael Flynn --- is so damning, dangerous and unprecedented.

The three-judge panel's majority ruling [PDF], ordering Flynn's case to be dismissed --- as Trump demanded and as corrupt Attorney General Bill Barr facilitated in opposition to the career prosecutors who successfully obtained Flynn's guilty plea (twice, before two different judges) --- was written by Judge Neomi Rao, a former White House staffer who Trump recently appointed as a federal appeals court judge. The entire matter is about as corrupt as it can get, but it may not be over yet. The full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals may decide to rehear Flynn's unprecedented motion, given "the question of exceptional importance" raised by the matter, as allowed by law. The lower U.S. District Court was not even allowed to hold a hearing on the Dept. of Justice's Motion to Dismiss their own case before Flynn filed for a writ of mandamus to force U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan to approve the DoJ's motion before it was even heard.

As Judge Robert Wilkins, the lone Democratic-appointed judge on the three-judge appellate panel wrote in his dissent, his colleagues "grievously" overstepped their judicial powers with their order. If the surprising ruling holds, it will, as BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernie Canning wrote last week, mean that the court has become "complicit in the President's corruption of the rule of law," which is "tantamount to an abandonment of the Judiciary's constitutional function to act as a check against Executive Branch abuses of power."

At the same time as that stunning order was issued by the D.C. Court of Appeals panel, two DoJ whistleblowers were testifying about similar cases of corruption at the Department by senior political appointees working at the behest of Barr and Trump in the case of Roger Stone, another Trump crony found guilty of lying to federal officials (just as Flynn had admitted he did as well) in relation to the Robert Mueller Special Counsel probe into Russian inference in the 2016 election. We share some of today's disturbing testimony by Aaron Zelinsky, one of the career prosecutors who refused to sign off on the DoJ's attempt to reduce the sentencing recommendation for Stone, Trump's pal and longtime dirty-tricksters (found guilty here on all seven counts), despite what he described as "heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice," including senior political appointees who, he alleged, were "afraid of the President."

"It’s very important that we recognize what’s happening now," warned Donald Ayer, another witness at today's hearing and a former Deputy Attorney General under George W. Bush. "What’s happening now is much worse than what happened in Watergate --- much worse. It’s across-the-board. It’s a systematic effort to undo the checks that were put in place in Watergate and others that existed in the Constitution. And we need to do something about it."

The corruption of the Flynn and Stone prosecutions are now so far off the rails from what the U.S. Department of Justice is supposed to stand for that it is difficult to fully express how much dark trouble this now portends for our nation. Thus, we have one hope left --- our last firewall against full-blown authoritarianism in this country --- this year's critical general elections. To that end, there were primaries held on Tuesday in Kentucky, New York and Virginia along with a few other key races elsewhere. We're joined today by longtime progressive political blogger and Congressional campaign expert HOWIE KLEIN of Down With Tyranny to discuss a number of election results from Tuesday in New York and Kentucky which appear to suggest some very good news for progressives. We say "appear" because several of those elections are currently reported to be very close and, due to the coronavirus (which had its single biggest day of new infections in the U.S. on Wednesday), it will take some time for officials to tally the unprecedented number of absentee mail-in ballots cast. We run through several of the key races with Klein (he details many more here today) why they matter, and how a number of them they are likely to scare the hell out of the establishment on both the Left and Right.

"There were wins and losses," Klein tells me. "It wasn't like the progressives wiped out the [Democratic] conservatives. But thank goodness it didn't go the other way. So yes, it was a good night for progressive Democrats."

Also worth a quick mention today: The 24-year old Republican dude named Madison Cawthorn, who defeated the Trump-endorsed candidate in the GOP runoff to become the nominee to fill former Congressman turned White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' seat in North Carolina. And ALL of the electronic pollbooks in Virginia Beach, Virginia's 100 precincts failed on Tuesday...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Farmer, teacher, Marine Lt. Col. turned candidate Mike Broihier; Also: Latest in Minneapolis protests over police killing of George Floyd...
By Brad Friedman on 5/29/2020 6:32pm PT  

It has been a harrowing 24 hours since getting off air on Thursday night, with protests exploding in major cities across the country overnight in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. On today's BradCast, we cover the latest developments including the arrest, just before airtime, of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, seen in videos taking a knee on Floyd's neck as the 46-year old African-American security guard pleaded for his life. We are also joined by a progressive Democratic U.S. Senate candidate from Kentucky hoping to unseat Mitch McConnell this year, and to discuss the mysterious shooting of protesters in Louisville last night. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of summary below.]

First, we cover several aspects of the Minneapolis protest, including the appalling tweet by the President of the United States which earned him yet another warning lable from Twitter as he actually seemed to call for shooting of protesters Thursday night, using a phrase first uttered by a racist Florida sheriff at the height of the 1960s civil right movement; the on-air arrest of a black Latino CNN reporter as he was covering the protests in Minnesota, while his white colleague, one block away, was politely allowed by police to continue reporting; and some of the other protests around the country in response to the latest appalling police killing in the Twin Cities.

One of those protests was in Louisville, Kentucky, where 26-year old African-American emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor was killed by police inside her own home after cops broke down the door in the middle of the night in mid-March. That protest, like many of the others across the country overnight Thursday and Friday morning, turned violent and 7 protesters in the crowd were suddenly shot, leaving at least one of them in critical condition today. The Louisville Mayor says no officers discharged a weapon last night and that no police were shot. So who shot the protesters and why?

We're joined today by MIKE BROIHIER, a Kentucky farmer, teacher and retired U.S. Marine Lt. Colonel who is vying for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in hopes of ousting Republican Senator and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November. The Senate primary election, with about 10 Democrats running for the nod, will be held on June 23rd.

The progressive Broihier offers his thoughts on this week's protests around the country and in Louisville on Thursday night where the still-mysterious shootings took place just days after rightwing anti-lockdown and gun rights protesters hung an effigy of the state's Democratic Governor Andy Beshear outside the State Capitol on Sunday. Broihier, who calls the threat to Beshear an act of "terrorism", ties that incident to the Bluegrass State's long history of institutionalized racism and lynchings. "You can't deny the image," he says. "n the face of it, it's a white man with a rope and a gun. As a white male, the significance is not lost on me. We have 168 documented lynchings in the history of Kentucky. 168. That is still an open wound with African-Americans here in Kentucky."

"The message was very, very clear that they were trying to send. This is terrorism. It's intimidation. The thing is, this starts at the top --- when the President of the United States says things like, 'When the looting starts, the shooting starts' --- that is the message that these ... self-styled patriots tromp around the woods in mismatched camouflage, this is what they're waiting for. This is the kind of chaos they're waiting for. We don't know where those shots came from last night. I am having a hard time separating them in my head."

On the Taylor killing, where none of the cops involved have yet to be arrested, Broihier tells me: "There's an old saying: 'In his own home, no Kentuckian need ever run.' But that apparently doesn't apply when you're an African-American man in Louisville."

We also discuss Kentucky's plans for reopening the state amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis; his Democratic (and establishment-supported) opponent for the U.S. Senate nomination, Amy McGrath, who is also a Marine Lt. Colonel, and her flip-flop-flip support for Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; Broihier's endorsements from Indivisible Kentucky and from Andrew Yang (the first endorsement by the former Democratic Presidential candidate), among others; his support for progressive policies such as Universal Basic Income (UBI), much of the Green New Deal, the need to shut down deadly and dying coal mines in his own state and to help the industry's workers move to better, safer jobs; and whether the unpopular McConnell can finally be defeated in Kentucky this year.

"Mitch doesn't show up back here in Kentucky too much. He was here back at the beginning of the pandemic with Brett Kavanaugh, of all people, to celebrate the elevation of a judge rated 'unqualified' by the ABA to the 2nd Circuit Court, the second highest court in the land," Broihier notes. "He's the one who said let the states go bankrupt, and he was talking specifically about Kentucky." He also tells me: "I see McConnell as an existential threat to our republic. While I disagree heartily with Lt. Col. McGrath on many things, she would still be better than Mitch McConnell."

As to whether he'd be a better choice to defeat McConnell than McGrath, he says: "If it's just electability, I'm the candidate. I am a retired lieutenant colonel as well. Being a veteran is very important here in Kentucky. But I'm also a public school teacher. I was a rural journalist. I learned how to communicate progressive ideas to religious, conservative people. The most important thing, probably, for the heart of Kentucky is I am a farmer. We know what it is like to struggle on a farm and try to support your family."

"You have to win in all of Kentucky. As a veteran, a teacher and a farmer, that cuts a pretty wide swath across almost all of Kentucky. I've got some pretty visionary plans of what America should look like when we're done with this pandemic, but you've got to be able to back it up with plans. And I've got plans! Plans that people will get tired of reading because I've been able to engage some really talented experts to help craft them. I'm for UBI but I've got a plan. There's meat on the bones."

There is much more, including his position on the Green New Deal in a coal state and more. Please tune in.

Finally, because we really needed a bit of a laugh at the end of yet another harrowing week, Desi Doyen joins us to close today's show with a pretty hilarious, unaired "outtake" from our most recent Green News Report...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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* If 'Greatness' means record unemployment and tens of thousands of unnecessarily dead Americans..
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2020 6:59pm PT  

Remember waaay back on Monday when we warned you to take the news from biotech company Moderna about their self-proclaimed early success in tests of a coronavirus vaccine with a huge grain of salt? The announcement that spiked their stock price some 50% in one single day and resulted in a 900 point rally for the Dow? Well, the market is still enjoying its irrational exuberance, but Moderna's stock price is largely back to where it was before Monday's "science by press release". Not to be a party pooper before the Memorial Day weekend, but that seems an apt analog, somehow, for much of what we cover/warn about on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is at bottom of summary.]

Donald Trump and his Republican henchmen in Congress are running into a problem. Pretending the coronavirus crisis away only goes so far. Sure, you can announce that you have "reopened" for business, but that doesn't mean anybody will show up. Even with all 50 states now relaxing various restrictions, demand remains low and, therefore, unemployment remains high and is still getting higher each week.

New numbers from the U.S. Dept. of Labor report that 2.4 million Americans filed new unemployment claims last week. It is the ninth week in a row of new claims higher than 2 million --- some weeks were larger than 6 million --- even though the all-time weekly record, prior to COVID-19, was less than one million. Even during the 2008 Great Recession, initial claims for unemployment insurance never topped one million. The good news is the number of new filers has been decreasing in recent weeks. The bad news is that almost all of those people, nearly 40 million of them, remain out of work. For now, however, they have been able to rely on expanded benefits enacted by Congress that offer an additional $600 a week through the end of July. The program was designed to, yes, keep people at home in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Those payments have, by and large, prevented the U.S. economy from tanking entirely. And now, Republicans in Congress are insisting that they will not extend those benefits, as they join Trump in trying to convince themselves and the nation that the crisis is over. It isn't. Not by a long shot. Ending that expansion of unemployment right now in hopes of forcing workers back to their jobs --- where they may well get sick and die, just as had been happening before the shutdowns --- in hopes of restarting the economy, is likely to kill the economy entirely, according to economists, anyway. But what do they know? We discuss.

In lieu of an actual plan --- versus a Jedi Mind Trick --- to prevent a new rise in infections and deaths, Trump and his GOP pals seem prepared to hide the statistics and otherwise distract us with things like a new, wholly (and statutorily) unqualified Director of National Intelligence! Gutting a long-standing arms control deal with Russia! And trying to blame Obama for all sorts of imaginary scandals in hopes of harming presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden.

It shouldn't work. But, given our gullible corporate media, who knows? Satirist Randy Rainbow, however, has a new musical take on it all for us today.

While Republicans on Fox "News" are instructing their "patriotic" American cult members to get out there and get back to work, their star anchors continue to do so from the safety of their own home studios, where Fox Corp has directed them to remain for at least another month. YOU are supposed to die for the economy and the President's reelection! Not THEM!

And the irrational exuberant premature reopenings could well make a huge difference in the ultimate COVID-19 death toll, if a new study about the timing of the initial lockdowns from Columbia University disease modelers tells us anything. They find that a heart-breaking 36,000 fewer Americans would have died if the country had implemented stay-at-home restrictions just one week earlier in March. Moreover, the researchers found, had shutdowns occurred on March 1 the vast majority (83%) of deaths would have been avoided. Each single day that Trump and Governors around the country ignored or refused too take the crisis seriously resulted in the unnecessary loss of thousands of American lives.Depending on how quickly and/or irresponsibly states now lift restrictions, many more thousands of lives could be lost. Given the way a number of GOP-run states are now attempting to hide or censor infection and death rates, the cost could ultimately become unspeakable.

Another new study from the University of Wisconsin and Ball State University offers a real life example of all of this. The analysis found that last month's primary election in Wisconsin --- when the state's rightwing Supreme Court blocked attempts by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to postpone the election or switch it to an all Vote-by-Mail election --- resulted in a "statistically and economically significant association between in-person voting and the spread of COVID-19 two to three weeks after the election." They found that WI counties "with higher levels of in-person voting per polling location led to increases in the weekly positive rate of COVID-19 tests. Furthermore, counties with higher absentee voting participation had lower rates of detecting COVID-19 two to three weeks after the election."

Yes, these decisions matter. Lives hang in the balance. No matter the Jedi Mind Trick Trump was hoping to pull off when he recently declared: "We're opening up; the states are opening up. It's a transition to greatness!" Perhaps "greatness" is now just another word for mass murder.

Finally today, a bit of email from a listener in the Badger State who now regards it as "Wississippi," and Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with ongoing climate disasters --- yes, our climate crisis continues even as the coronavirus has temporarily cleared the air a bit --- from the state of Michigan to the Bay of Bengal...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

P.S. By the way, we are ducking out early for some much needed Memorial Day weekend down time. Yes, my brain actually hurts each day these days. Hopefully a few days off will help. See ya on the other side! Stay safe and healthy until then!

* * *
While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Burr gets served; Barr gets blowback; Flynn gets a new 'prosecutor'; Trump gets overturned; Also: American Prospect's David Dayen on coronavirus economics and what Congress is (and isn't) doing about it...
By Brad Friedman on 5/14/2020 7:01pm PT  

It's another one of those days on The BradCast when we've got more news than we can adequately handle. On the upside, much of it is actually encouraging news for a happy change! At least for those of us who have yet to give up on the idea of accountability for corrupt, very very bad people. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

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

  • The FBI served a warrant on Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) Wednesday night, seizing his cell phone as part of an investigation into a huge number of stocks he unloaded on a single day before the stock market crashed on bad coronavirus news which he received early as the Chair of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee and a member of the Committee overseeing health care issues. On Thursday, amid what appears to be a very serious scandal, Burr "temporarily" stepped down as head of the bipartisan Intel Committee. But there may be much more behind this otherwise seemingly good news of a Republican Senator actually being held accountable for something. We discuss;
  • The federal judge overseeing the case against Donald Trump's first National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is not taking the DoJ's unprecedented recent motion to dismiss all charges against him at face value. Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to FBI officials about his contacts with Russians before Trump's inauguration and about secretly serving as a Turkish agent even while serving as National Security Advisor in the White House may not yet be off the hook. That, even after Trump's corrupt AG/fixer Bill Barr is attempting to toss two years of DoJ prosecution, without the approval of the actual DoJ career prosecutors, in hopes of keeping Trump's pal out of jail. The federal judge on the case has appointed a bulldog former prosecutor and federal judge to argue against the DoJ's new position after Barr merged it with that of Flynn's Defense team. Judge Emmet Sullivan has also asked the newly retained Judge John Gleeson to investigate whether Flynn committed perjury by lying to the court when he twice admitted lying to federal officials;
  • Still more encouraging accountability news came out of a federal appeals court in Virginia today, with the Fourth Circuit reversing a ruling from a three-judge panel (of Republican-appointed judges) last year. The full en banc panel held, in a 9 to 6 ruling, that the smaller group of judges had wrongly dismissed a Constitutional Emoluments Clause lawsuit filed against Trump. The complaint was brought by the Attorneys General of Maryland and D.C., arguing that Trump's hotel in the nation's capital --- now a favorite spot of world diplomats and others seeking favor from the Administration --- violates the Constitutional prohibition against President's receiving "any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any king, prince, or foreign state" or any state in the U.S. Naturally, the DoJ is now vowing to appeal to the Republicans' stolen U.S. Supreme Court;

From all of that (potentially) encouraging accountability news, we move on to....the economy and DAVID DAYEN of The American Prospect. First, new jobless numbers from the Labor Department once again highlight the crushing toll that the COVID-19 crisis is taking on the nation's economy, with nearly 3 million having filed for unemployment last week. We have now seen two straight months of unprecedented new weekly jobless claims from 3 to 6.5 million each and every week. The previous weekly record, before this crisis, was less than one million. The official unemployment rate soared to 14.7% in April, the highest since the Great Depression, after more than 20 million jobs --- a decade's worth or job growth --- simply vanished over the past two months. Economist believe the actual unemployment rate, including those not currently looking for work or who are still unable to access overburdened state facilities to apply for unemployment --- is closer to 24%. At the same time, a new Kaiser Family Foundation report estimates that 27 million Americans have lost their employer-based health insurance due to the crisis, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell is calling for much more money to be appropriated by Congress to "avoid long-term economic damage". That, even after Congress already appropriated a record $2 trillion in stimulus and relief packages and the Fed itself has committed nearly $4 trillion to shore up companies and, in theory, the economy.

Dayen, an author and investigative financial journalist, has been documenting the stumbling Congressional responses to the crisis in his daily "Unsanitized" column and newsletter, and explains how the massive unemployment numbers we are now seeing was largely by Congressional design. He also details the state of play today for the next Congressional relief package, including a mini uprising from progressives on Nancy Pelosi's Democratic side in the House and the complete inaction on the Republican side from Mitch McConnell in the Senate and Trump in the White House. Dayen details the "laundry list of ideas" included in Pelosi's $3 trilion Heroes Act, which may come up for a vote on Friday in the House, though is unlikely to get much further as is, and a disturbing provision in the measure that would actually serve as a bailout for lobbyists and dark money groups. We debate whether that would be a good or bad idea and exactly why. (David calls it "insane", I'm not quite as certain...)

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Guest: Investigative journalist David Dayen of The American Prospect; Also: Biden leads Trump by 8 in MI and PA, according to Fox 'News' poll...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2020 6:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We start with good news for Democrats and Joe Biden before moving to the bad for Nancy Pelosi and her puzzling pick for a key oversight panel and seemingly terrible negotiation skills on emergency relief bills. [Link to full audio of today's show is posted below.]

On Wednesday, moments after we got off air yesterday, Donald Trump tossed his sorry pal Brian Kemp, Georgia's dumb-as-dirt and illegitimate Governor, under the bus, by pretending that he "disagreed strongly" with and felt it was "too soon" for Kemp's scheme to re-open nail salons, barber shops, tattoo and massage parlors and more in the Peach State as of Friday. That, even though Trump had reportedly called Kemp the day before to congratulate him on the move. At the same time, he was condescendingly tweeting about how much he cares about the old people who will be killed when Republican Governors across the country begun re-opening their states against the advice of health experts.

Trump's latest reversal is likely for good reason. One, the top health officials on his coronavirus task force pretty much insisted that he condemn Kemp's deadly decision and two, older voters --- a key part of his base --- appear to be abandoning Trump in droves thanks to his terrible response to the virus. New polling from Trump's favorite source, Fox "News", now shows Joe Biden beating Trump by 8 points in both Michigan and Pennsylvania, two states that are crucial to Trump's hopes of being re-elected. The Democratic Governors of both states, according to Fox, are very popular while Trump is decidedly not. In both states, large majorities of voters strongly support current stay-at-home restrictions, even if it continues to damage the economy.

The information in those polls amounts to the good news today for Dems. Then we turn to the mess that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems to be creating in D.C., while members are back in their districts and she is left to negotiate new relief bills, largely by herself with Mitch McConnell in the Senate.

DAVID DAYEN, Executive Editor of The American Prospect and author of the upcoming book, Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power, joins us again today to catch us up on just some of the very important scoops he has been churning out each day in his daily, must-read "Unsanitized" report at The Prospect.

He has been causing a lot of problems for Pelosi of late, after exposing her embarrassingly poor pick for the four-person Congressional oversight board created by the CARES Act to oversee trillions of dollars of corporate bailouts and giveaways in the bill. Each of the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate get to pick one member each for the panel. Freshman oversight bulldog Rep. Katie Porter (CA) --- who would be perfect for the job --- had made clear she was hoping to get it. Nonetheless, Pelosi selected her friend, freshman Rep. Donna Shalala (FL), who has absolutely no experience in financial oversight. Worse, much worse, as Dayen first revealed last weekend, Shalala, who previously served as Bill Clinton's Health and Human Services Secretary and CEO of The Clinton Foundation, had mountains of conflicts due to stock investments in dozens of companies whose bailout funds she was being asked to oversee.

The story gets even worse, however, as Shalala first claimed she had sold most (if not all) of those stocks, before Dayen found that, if she had, she failed to publicly report those transactions as mandated by the federal STOCK Act, as her office had previously tried to claim she had. After another day or so of this fact-pummeling by Dayen at The Prospect --- eventually picked up by the corporate media --- Shalala was forced to admit that she, in fact, failed to file those mandatory disclosures. She apologized, claiming she had failed to understand the requirements of the Act, despite it being incredibly simple --- unlike the task of overseeing trillions of dollars in loans and grants by the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve, as required by the oversight panel on which she is now seated.

"How is Donna Shalala going to be in a hearing with the Federal Reserve, asking them about the rules and procedures of the corporate bailout, when she couldn't follow the most simple, basic step required of her as a member of Congress?," Dayen wonders.

Not a promising sign, even as Dayen reports that Shalala continues to have large holdings in a health care company that would also be subject to oversight by her panel. "The one stock she did not sell was in United Health, the health insurance company that she was on the board of for several years. She still holds that now. So she is a walking conflict of interest even in her normal duties in Congress," he tells me.

Nonetheless, nearly a week into Dayen's coverage, after a belated apology from Shalala for her violations of federal law, Pelosi continues to stand by her poor selection. Why? Well, Dayen discusses that and much more on today's show (including the much better selection of former Elizabeth Warren protege, Bharat Ramamurti, by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for the same panel.)

We also discuss what is --- and, more disturbingly, is NOT! --- in the nearly $500 billion bailout bill passed by the House on Thursday, after largely being crafted by Mitch McConnell in the Senate as Dems continue to give away pretty much all of the leverage they may have had for a list of things Dayen argues they should have fought for, including: "State and local government funding...Payroll support along the lines of just having the government operate these payrolls rather than having people laid off...Money for the Postal Service, which is about to go under...Health insurance expansion for the duration of the crisis...Rent relief...foreclosure relief...Nor did they guarantee Vote-By-Mail for every American during the November election."

It's a very lively and troubling conversation, with lots of stuff --- maddening, amusing and informative --- including why Congress has failed to adopt some way of remote voting so that they can somehow continue to carry on the people's business, even during the need for physical distancing.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, with some good news (believe or not) and bad in the age of the coronavirus...as well as some swingin' music to take us out for the day!...

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The so-called 'pro-life' party is now anything but...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2020 6:47pm PT  

We've been hearing a lot of references to the GOP as a "death cult" of late. And while it sounds, at first, like little more than a partisan smear by Democrats, it's not. Just ask this longtime Republican. The description actually seems to be more and more apt with each passing day, as today's BradCast helps to make all too clear. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

Among the many Death Cult GOP stories in evidence on today's program...

  • In March, a woman and mother of two in Texas took to Facebook to offer a rant on the global coronavirus pandemic as little more than a "media driven" hoax meant for "overthrowing Trump". She warned readers to "Wake up!!! This is what the beginning of socialism looks like," adding "You don't need hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and Lysol. You need common sense, a sense of direction, faith, a will to fight, and of course guns!" She died from COVID-19 just a few weeks later in April.
  • And just a few weeks after that, even as bodies continue to pile up in Texas, with it's coronavirus peak predicted to be still two weeks away, the state's Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced on a Friday his plan to open the state back up for business. Among his plans for doing so: state parks will be opened on Monday and large venues such as restaurants and movie theaters could be re-opened as early as April 27.
  • Abbott's announcement follows a record 4,591 American deaths formally attributed to COVID-19 in a single 24 hour period, as the official death toll climbed above 33,000 as of Friday morning.
  • Even as the body count grows and Trump has backed off his claim of "total authority" to order Governors to end stay-at-home orders just a day earlier, leaving the decision to Governors instead, the President of the United States took to Twitter to seemingly call for violent overthrows of three states with Democratic Governors. "LIBERATE MINNESOTA," he tweeted. And later, "LIBERATE MICHIGAN". Followed by "LIBERATE VIRGINIA," adding "And save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!"
  • Yes. It's a death cult. But if you had any question about that, we review his EPA's latest rollback of environmental regulations, including today's which guts an Obama-era rule to curb the emissions of mercury and other toxins. It is just the latest rule overturned by the Trump Administration, following his recent reversal of vehicle mileage standards and the toxic emissions that would have been curbed with them and this week's decision to ignore the EPA's own scientists calling for the tightening of National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate pollution (soot) which might help lessen some 50,000 deaths per year. Each of those regulations save tens of thousands of American lives annually. But they are now quickly being overturned one after the next to not only help a few of his corporate campaign contributors, but also to avoid the Congressional Review Act which allows Congress to reverse regulations passed in the final six months of a President's term with a simple majority vote.
  • Not enough GOP Death Cultism for ya? Then we turn to elections once again, where Republicans continue to draw the battle-lines for 2020 with new efforts to force voters to choose between risking their lives to vote in person during a pandemic or losing their right to vote altogether. That, versus attempts by Democrats to make voting easier and safer for all. Yesterday we highlighted the fight in Texas where its Republican Attorney General has threatened criminal prosecution against those who advise voters to seek absentee ballots for fear of the coronavirus. Today's example comes out of Kentucky, where the GOP legislature has voted to override the veto of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in order to force the enactment of disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions this November. Good luck to Kentucky voters who lack an ID in getting one. All of the state's driver's license offices are closed across the state due to the COVID crisis. Darn the luck, am I right GOPers? No worries, with Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell on the ballot this year, locked in a potentially close fight with his likely challenger Amy McGrath, I'm sure everything will work out just fine.
  • And, yes, if all of this idiotic death and mayhem sounds like a terrible movie that couldn't get greenlighted in Hollywood, it's because it is...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/9/2020 11:23am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Climate champion Sen. Bernie Sanders exits 2020 Presidential race; New study finds air pollution may increase risk of dying from COVID-19; Great Barrier Reef suffering another extreme bleaching event; PLUS: Good news for breathers, as polluting coal plant closes in Kentucky... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US WITH A (MUCH-NEEDED) DONATION to celebrate 1000+ episodes of independent, listener-supported climate, energy and environmental news! Thank you!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Unchecked Global Warming Could Collapse Whole Ecosystems, Maybe Within 10 Years; The World Is on Track to See Its Biggest Yearly Drop in Carbon Pollution Ever; John Prine’s ‘Paradise’ Taught Us Why We Can't Give in to Climate Hell; Why we need to transition, quickly, from fossil fuels to clean energy; In the Midwest- anti-renewable zealots push fear, not facts; With Boats Stuck in Harbor Because of COVID-19, Will Fish Bounce Back?... PLUS: 'Dinosaurs walked through Antarctic rainforests'... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Staggering unemployment numbers; McConnell tells Pelosi to 'stand down' from new relief measure; WI set to hold deadly vote on Tuesday...
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2020 6:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Yes, it is as bad as we warned it would be. And it is getting even worse. And the way some state officials are now behaving, even upcoming elections may be unable to reverse much of this madness. [Audio link to full program is posted at end of summary.]

On Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department released gobsmacking statistics revealing that a record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the past week. That follows more than 3 million doing so the week before. Both weeks blow to smithereens the previous all-time record high for weekly jobless claims since such records have been kept. That numbers was of 695,000, as set in 1982. We are quickly blowing past the disastrous economic tailspin of the 2008 Great Recession and moving into Great Depression territory.

In response, House Dems are attempting to move to another relief bill, in the form of a $2 trillion infrastructure plan to follow up last week's $2.2 trillion stimulus/corporate bailout bill. But Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is, so far, rejecting Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's proposal to do so, while telling her to "stand down" as the GOP does nothing instead. That, as NBC News reports today that Americans may be waiting as long as five months for the paltry $1,200 check promised them by last week's emergency relief bill.

But, of course, Congressional Republicans aren't doing absolutely nothing. McConnell has vowed to continuing packing the federal courts with unqualified judges, even among this disaster. And several GOP members of the House and Senate are proposing a bill to punish those who disseminated false information about coronavirus or who profited from it --- so long as those people are from other countries. Luckily, Donald Trump's months of repeated and purposeful and deadly disinformation that he and his Administration fed to the American people about the pandemic is all cool! So, apparently, are any U.S. Senators who may have profited from early information about the virus by trading millions of dollars of stock based on insider information, including Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA). Presumably, they will not be held to account by the GOP's proposal to punish anyone who "financially benefits from acts intended to deliberately conceal or distort information about a public health emergency of international concern."

In the House, at the same time, Pelosi has announced the formation of a new bipartisan Select Committee to oversee the Trump Administration's response to the pandemic and its use of the $2 trillion allocated by last week's relief package. The committee, she says, will have subpoena power. So, if there are any questions the panel may have for members of the Administration dolling out that record amount of tax payer funds, we're certain that all of the President's men will undoubtedly respect any lawful Congressional subpoena they may receive.

Meanwhile, we continue to keep our eyes on how to help to begin to end many of these ongoing nightmares, somehow, via the ballot box. Toward that end, the Democratic National Committee announced they are postponing their national nominating convention, previously scheduled for Milwaukee, Wisconsin in July, back to August instead, in hopes that it will be possible to gather in person by that time (it likely will not be.) It would be held the week before Republicans plan to hold theirs in Charlotte, North Carolina, which Trump has vowed to hold with delegates gathered in person in the final week of August.

But, we're still in utter disbelief that Wisconsin is actually --- seriously --- going to hold their Presidential Primary, statewide Supreme Court election and municipal contests NEXT TUESDAY on April 7, despite, as we noted yesterday, the ongoing unprecedented health emergency, statewide stay-at-home order, and "a massive shortage of poll workers across the state, with more than 100 communities having no poll workers at all as of [this past Tuesday, and] an overall shortage of some 7,000 workers in 60% of the state's municipalities."

As we reported Wednesday, the only thing set to stop this madness with both the state's Democratic Governor and Republican heads of the state House and Senate also on board, is a federal lawsuit filed by voting rights advocates. Well, U.S. District Judge Mark M. Conley issued his ruling on Thursday, declining to postpone the election, while making clear that though he disagrees with the state's decision to move forward, he does not have the authority to postpone it due to a health emergency in which, he suggested correctly, residents could die. "That may be something that happens," he said during closing arguments, adding "that would be outside my jurisdiction. But it will be on the hands of the legislature and the governor."

Yes, it will. Judge Conley did, however, extend a few deadlines for absentee balloting, which has also reportedly already overwhelmed local elections officials who are having trouble keeping up with incoming ballots as well as sending out a record number of requested ballots. The Wisconsin Election Commission has already stated that it is very likely, barring a legislative change by the Republican-controlled legislature, that many votes will not be able to be counted at all in time for the state's statutory deadline. Republicans appear to be very happy about that. Conley suggested he may rule again, if voting rights are seen as imperiled on Election Day.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with the U.N. cancelling its critical upcoming climate conference due to the corona virus pandemic; a bankrupt U.S. coal company attempting to pass its obligations to retired miners over to tax payers instead; several states use the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to pass laws criminalizing pipeline protests; and Trump's Interior Dept. keeps national parks open despite worker illnesses and their pleas to close the parks in the name of public safety...

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Coronavirus infects Congress; Sen. Burr knew; National chaos over lack of testing for non-celebrities; Unemployment claims skyrocket; Socialist Repubs propose trillion dollar bailout (that won't be nearly enough)...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2020 6:30pm PT  

To be frank, after getting off air from today's BradCast, I'm still almost too furious and/or exhausted to write about it. Tune in to find out why. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, in short, among the stories we covered...

  • Tulsi Gabbard ends her Presidential run, endorses Joe Biden;
  • Two members of Congress (one D, one R) test positive for coronavirus as leadership defies calls to allow for remote voting for members;
  • Despite weeks of repeated BS claims to the contrary by Trump and his White House, coronavirus testing (or lack thereof) is causing chaos across the U.S., with those who need tests still, obscenely, unable to get one;
  • Secretly recorded audio reveals that GOP Senator Richard Burr, speaking to wealthy political funders, knew well about the likely catastrophic dangers of the coming pandemic long before he (or Trump or anyone in the Administration) was willing to warn as much to the public, much less take what would have been live-saving action weeks ago. (But, as Trump said during a WH presser yesterday in response to why celebrities, and apparently members of Congress, seem to have no trouble getting tested quickly: "Perhaps that's the story of life. I've heard that happens on occasion.");
  • There is a ray of hope from China, where the city of Wuhan, where the virus was first identified, reported zero new homegrown infections on Wednesday and only eight additional deaths there. Those are remarkably encouraging numbers, but come at a very steep price of mandatory isolation and a central government able to act quickly to shore up its medical system to rise appropriately to meet the moment;
  • The good news from China is offset by the bad news from Italy, where 475 people died in a single day on Wednesday. The death toll there has now officially surpassed China's, even though the Asian nation has 1.4 billion citizens compared to Italy's 60 million. The numbers in the U.S. look more and more like Italy's every day, with the response from our own federal government being far worse;
  • The pandemic has, virtually overnight, begun to show up in the U.S. economy with an enormous spike in unemployment claims in states across the nation and a federal government so gutted through huge, reckless, unending tax cuts for the wealthy and interest rate cuts during boom times that there are very few economic tools left in the federal arsenal to mitigate the cataclysmic shock to the economy that is almost certainly now in place;
  • So, of course, yet again, every Republican in government who pretends to not be a socialist --- who couldn't wait for Sanders to win the Democratic nomination so they could pretend as much even louder --- is now, once again, relying on the federal government for enormous bailouts. (Funny how this happens every time Republicans are allowed to take control of the federal government, no?) Socialist GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is now leading his party in calling for teeny-tiny checks to be sent to individual Americans and for more huge tax cuts --- as if there is anything left to cut --- for giant corporations. Yes, those would be same huge corporations which already received a trillion dollar tax cut from Trump and the same GOP just about a year ago, and the same ones who give huge money to Republicans year after year to call those seeking to end these economic nightmares "socialists" for wanting to do so. Nice work if you can get it. But "perhaps that's the story of life. I've heard that happens on occasion.";
  • And with all of that cheery news --- and a few choice Brad Rants to go with it all --- we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, as she finds amidst more disasters than we have the heart to describe here, at least one or two silver linings inside of it all...

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Guest: Roosevelt University political scientist David Faris...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2020 6:00pm PT  

While it seemed impossible previously, Republicans in the U.S. Senate appear to have outdone their phony confirmation proceedings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in late 2018, with their sham Impeachment "trial" of Donald John Trump. As we went to air for today's BradCast, the Senate was preparing to vote on whether witnesses would be blocked from a Senate Impeachment Trial for the first time in U.S. History. By the time we got off air, the shameful, dirty deed was done. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of article.]

The day of the fateful vote began with yet another explosive piece of breaking news from the New York Times, reporting that Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton's forthcoming book charges that "More than two months before he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents" Trump directed Bolton "to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton." Moreover, the paper reports, Bolton describes an Oval Office conversation on the matter in early May of 2019 "that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense."

Yes, that's right. The Trump attorney now leading his defense in the Senate trial, who has accused Democratic House Managers of "hiding the facts" in their arguments in favor of two Articles of Impeachment against Trump, is now allegedly a co-conspirator in the very plot that resulted in only the third impeachment of a U.S. President in history. Little wonder they'd prefer to have no witnesses testify.

Bolton has stated he would be willing to testify in the trial, as has Lev Parnas, a right-hand man to Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer at the center of the scheme to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations of Joe Biden before Trump would agree to a White House meeting or release $391 million in military assistance to war torn Ukraine. On Friday morning, Parnas' attorney submitted a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, explaining his client's willingness to testify at the trial with relevant information that alleges Trump, Mulvaney, Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Senator Lindsey Graham, Congressman Devon Nunes and many others worked on Trump's plot to force Ukraine to help him undermine the 2020 Presidential election. So, yes, as Gordon Sondland said weeks ago, "everyone was in the loop. So, yeah, no witnesses please and thanks.

Despite all of that astonishing news --- and all that has come before it --- by the end of today's program, Republicans in the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 51 to 49, would vote to block subpoenas for all witnesses and documents in the Impeachment Trial, for the first time in U.S. history. Only two Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, were willing to cross the aisle to vote with all 47 Democrats to call for witnesses. We discuss the pathetic excuses offered by supposedly "moderate" GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and the retiring Lamar Alexander of Tennessee for voting against witnesses. That vote now paves the way for an acquittal vote for the President. One of the few remaining questions by show's end was when that vote may come. As of this hour, it may now happen next Wednesday, the day after the President's State of the Union Address on Tuesday night --- but we'll see.

Another major question of note is what price, if any, Republicans may ultimately pay for what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer described after the vote as the GOP's act of "perfidy...where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, turned away from truth, and went along with a sham trial." With "no witnesses and no documents", he described the proceedings as "not a real trial" and "a tragedy on a grand scale."

We're joined today by DAVID FARIS, Associate Professor of Political Science at Roosevelt University, author of It's Time to Fight Dirty, to discuss today's historic events, and his two most recent columns at The Week, where he is a regular contributor. In one, he finds fault with the House Democrats' strategy of sending over the Articles to the Senate too quickly and, in the other, with McConnell's strategy of blocking witnesses. Faris describes the latter as a "rare blunder" for the Republican leader and explains why. I disagree with him on the latter, as he and I discuss what all of this may now mean for Republicans, for Democrats, for the President and for the voters who will kick off the 2020 Presidential Election in Iowa this coming Monday.

"I don't know that there's anybody who could look at the Senate this week and say that a fair trial happened here," Faris tells me. "What McConnell did was he handed Democrats a bat to beat them with for the next eleven months about the legitimacy of the trial in the Senate."

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Trump team wraps up, Bolton reverberates, GOP lacks votes to block him; Smartphone app at Iowa Caucus; Internet election underway in Seattle...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2020 6:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The President's defense team wrapped up their Opening (and, they hope, Closing) Argument in the Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump on Tuesday, even as we are now less than one week away from the official start of the 2020 Election season with worries about the integrity of the Iowa Caucuses, set for Monday night, February 3rd, now looming. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We break away momentarily, for the first half of today's program, from our ongoing coverage of the Impeachment Trial to cover some issues of concern for some, regarding the Iowa Caucuses and an arguably more troubling development regarding an election that is now underway in Washington state. First to Iowa, where Bernie Sanders is now said to have taken a slight lead, according to most of the recent polling in the Hawkeye State, over his nearest competitors, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren. At the same time, a number of listeners have written to express concerns about a smartphone app developed by the state Democratic Party to help report results quickly to Party headquarters on Caucus night.

We discuss the way Democrats caucus in Iowa, what this app --- developed by the state Party in secret --- is supposedly designed to do to assist in the otherwise-open Democratic caucus process, and the worries that some have about the possibility of this new app being hacked to report inaccurate caucus results on Monday night. (Misreporting of Caucus night results has caused problems in the past, at least for Republicans.)

Of far greater concern, however, is an election underway right now in the Seattle area where more than a million voters are eligible to cast their vote via the Internet for the first time on either a computer or smart phone. The first-of-its-kind online election will fill a vacancy on the board of the obscure King Conservation District, responsible for managing natural resources in King County, Washington. The online voting is being carried out in partnership between the County's Board of Elections and a nonprofit named Tusk Philanthropies, headed up by a venture capitalist and Democratic political strategist by the name of Bradley Tusk.

The landmark pilot election comes despite a years-long, nearly-unanimous consensus from cybsersecurity experts (we've interviewed tons of them over the years on The BradCast) that the Internet is nowhere near secure enough for public elections. It also comes in the wake of last Summer's bipartisan U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's report finding all 50 states were targeted by Russia during the 2016 election, and the panel's recommendation that "States should resist pushes for online voting".

While she has no oversight of this particular election, Washington's top election official, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, opposes the King County effort and hopes to roll back the use of electronic ballots in the state, charging (correctly!) that the Internet is "too risky for voting". Nonetheless, Tusk, King County Elections Director Julie Wise, and a Seattle company named Democracy Live are barreling ahead with this disturbing experiment that is set to further poison the all-too-quickly disappearing idea of publicly overseeable elections in the U.S.

You have been warned. Again.

Then, its back to impeachment today, at the end of Tuesday's brief, two-hour wrap up of the President's case in the Senate. Trump's attorneys argued largely that the President did nothing wrong, and even if he did, it's not impeachable, because the dispute boils down to little more than a "policy disagreement" between Democrats and the White House. Impeachment over such matters, Trump's bombastic TV/radio lawyer Jay Sekulow and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone argued, sets a dangerous precedent by lowering the bar on future Presidential impeachments.

But the biggest looming question over the U.S. Senate at the moment is whether four or more Republican Senators will agree to call for witnesses when they vote again on the matter later in the week, following two days of written questions for the attorneys on both side. The issue that has turned the Republicans' previous plans for a quick acquittal on its head is the reported bombshell claims by Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton, in the manuscript of his still-unpublished new book, that Trump did exactly what he is being accused of in the first of the two Articles of Impeachment. That Article charges Abuse of Power by Trump for withholding nearly $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine in order to force them to help Trump in his reelection bid by announcing an investigation of Joe Biden and other Democrats.

Bolton's explosive disclosure, first reported on Sunday night by the New York Times, has reverberated ever since, with Trump's former Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, asserting on Monday night that he believes Bolton and agrees he should be called in as a witness for the trial against his old boss. The shake-up also comes as a new national poll out on Tuesday afternoon from Quinnipiac finds that registered voters by an astounding margin of 75 to 20 percent, agree that witnesses should be allowed to testify. The tally includes nearly half of Republicans and an astonishing 75 percent of Independent voters. According to the new survey, more than half of those polled believe Trump "is not telling the truth about his actions involving Ukraine"; should "provide more details" about it; has "abused his power" in the matter; has "obstructed Congress" in the bargain; and that the "withholding of U.S. aid to Ukraine was not justified". All of which has left Republicans reeling in a panic to find the votes needed to block witnesses in the trial. But they're still trying, and will likely have until Friday to pull it off.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, filled with several ongoing plagues, catastrophes and warnings of nearly biblical proportion...

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Guest: Martin Longman of Washington Monthly and Progress Pond...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2020 6:31pm PT  

Our special coverage of the ongoing U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump continues on today's BradCast following Tuesday's marathon session that ended at nearly 2am in the nation's capital, before beginning again with opening arguments on Wednesday. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

On Tuesday, Republicans voted repeatedly along party lines to block 11 different amendments proposed by Democrats to allow for various first-hand witnesses to Trump's alleged High Crimes and Misdemeanors and documents being withheld by the White House that underscore other evidence in the two Articles of Impeachment.

Republican Senators blocked amendments proposed by Democrats to subpoena documents from White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney; Documents from the State Department detailing the President's call with Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelinsky, as Trump withheld military assistance and a White House meeting in hopes of strong-arming Ukraine's new anti-corruption President to announce (not to carry out, just to announce) investigations into Trump's potential 2020 political rival Joe Biden; Documents from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which the President illegally ordered to withhold nearly $400 million in Congressionally-appropriated military assistance; Documents from the Pentagon where officials were reportedly troubled about potential violations of law in withholding the funds; a subpoena for Mulvaney himself to give testimony in the trial; A subpoena to two OMB staffers who carried out the hold on military assistance to the war-torn country; A subpoena for Trump's own former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who regarded Trump's Ukraine scheme as a "drug deal" and who has said he'd be willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate because, as he claims, he knows more about all of this than is currently publicly known.

In vote after vote, Republicans voted as a block, with 53 votes, to deny every Amendment offered by Democrats, even against ensuring votes for subpoenas at a later date or to have the Chief Justice authorize subpoenas if the Republican-appointed John Roberts, who presides over the trial, felt any particular witness or document would have probative value by being relevant to the case. "One side is not afraid of a fair trial," lead House Manager Adam Schiff argued, "one is terrified" that the truth might come out.

Meanwhile, Trump offered false comments to reporters overseas at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he echoed his previous lies that he would "love" to have Bolton and Mulvaney and his Sec. of State Mike Pompeo and former Energy Secretary Rick Perry testify at the Senate trial, but he just can't allow it due to "national security" and "executive privilege" concerns.

Back home, the White House team's public defense at the first day of the trial was not well received, even by Republicans, including Chris Wallace of Fox "News" (which is now, unlike actual news outlets like CNN and MSNBC, breaking away during trial coverage for commercials and regular programming, while leaving the impeachment proceedings in a little silent box in the corner of the screen), the House Republicans' own Constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley, and George Conway, the longtime Republican attorney and activist husband of Trump's Senior White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway.

In a blistering interview with CNN on Wednesday, George Conway charged that Senate Republicans "don't want to hear the evidence because they know the truth, they know he's guilty"; that the charges against Trump are "much, much more serious" than those against Bill Clinton during his impeachment (on which Conway worked); that Trump is a "pathological liar" who "needs to be removed now" from office, because he is "thoroughly unfit for office". Kellyanne's husband also said that he is "deeply saddened" by what has happened to his Republican Party, but sees this historic event as a "moment of reckoning" for the nation and his party.

We're joined today by MARTIN LONGMAN (long known as "BooMan" to many old time progressive blog readers) from Washington Monthly and Progress Pond, for commentary as the Democratic House Managers begin their first day of opening arguments (which could also be their closing arguments if Republicans vote again next week to block witness subpoenas following the White House attorneys' opening argument). We also discuss the rules for McConnell's "scam trial" and why it is that Republicans seem to "lose every round and still win on the scorecard" --- not just in this matter, but going back as far as the Florida 2000 election.

Finally, we close with a few audio clips from Tuesday, when Democratic House Manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler accurately charged that Trump's lawyers "lie and lie and lie and lie", and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said in response --- with a straight face --- that "President Trump is a man of his word." The heated late-night exchange resulted in a reprimand for both sides as Tuesday's marathon 13-hour session drew toward its close.

But we close today with a clip from Rep. Schiff's opening argument, citing a chillingly apt warning from founder Alexander Hamilton about "a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents...despotic in his ordinary demeanour [and] known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty [who] is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty --- to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion --- to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day --- It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind."

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Republican Senate votes to block document, witness subpoenas as White House offers remarkably hypocritical defense...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2020 6:10pm PT  

"Can I get a witness?" That appears to be the big question, at the moment, for Democrats in the historic U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial of President Donald John Trump. On today's BradCast, we offer special coverage of the beginning of the trial, which, at least for today, is turning out to be a trial about whether there will be a real trial or not, with evidence, documents and witnesses, as Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his caucus seem prepared to do everything in their power to ensure there will not be such an actual trial. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Before we get to today's action in the Senate, we bring you up to date on the holiday weekend's pre-trial briefs presented by the Democratic U.S. House Managers, who are serving as prosecutors for Trump's two Articles of Impeachment on Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress, and the brief responses filed by the White House defense team.

Newly added to to Trump's legal team is hypocritical TV attorney Alan Dershowitz, who spent his weekend arguing on the Sunday news shows that the Articles were invalid because they did not include a specific crime. "You need proof of an actual crime," he argued. That, by way of contrast with Alan Dershowitz in 1998 during the Bill Clinton impeachment when he argued, literally, "it certainly doesn't have to be a crime" that qualifies a President for impeachment.

Trump's 6-page response to the Impeachment Managers 111-page brief describes the Impeachment as a "brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election" (which is what he is actually accused of doing in the Articles for which he is being impeached), and as "nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their fundamental right to vote." That's right. Donald Trump is now pretending to be concerned with the "fundamental right to vote." That, in the middle of an impeachment trial where he is accused of attempting to cheat in his 2020 reelection contest by withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in Congressionally-allocated military aid for war-torn Ukraine in hopes of forcing them to create dirt he can use against Joe Biden and other Democrats.

Tuesday's opening agenda was on the adoption of McConnell's proposed rules for the trial that would postpone votes on whether to include witnesses and documents previously blocked by the White House during the House's initial impeachment inquiry (the basis of Article 2's Obstruction of Congress charges) and even evidence gathered during the House Inquiry itself. Under McConnell's resolution, both sides would spend days in opening statements, and then take as many as 16 hours of written questions from Senators before they even vote on whether to allow witnesses or not. Legal observers have noted that is the opposite of how actual trials are carried out.

We share audio from today's terse opening statement by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, followed by an extended excerpt from lead House Manager Adam Schiff on the unprecedented attempt to exclude all witnesses and documents from a Senate impeachment. No trial in the upper chamber of Congress has lacked witnesses since the founding of our nation.

As we went to air for today's BradCast (and as we write tonight), all Democratic amendments to McConnell's resolution, attempting to subpoena documents from the White House, the State Dept. and elsewhere, and for witness testimony, have been rejected along strict party line votes with all 53 Republicans voting to table the amendments, and all 47 Democrats voting to move forward with the subpoenas.

Also today, a few quick points of news elsewhere regarding the public fight to stop the controversial certification of new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in Los Angeles County and the massive gun rights demonstration (over nothing) held on the Martin Luther King Day holiday in Virginia.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with exceedingly disturbing news about ocean warming, slightly more encouraging news about Wall Street beginning to wake up to worries about our climate crisis, and a big loss (for now) in the federal climate change lawsuit filed by a group of kids in California...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: National security law expert Karen J. Greenberg; Also: McConnell says has votes to begin fixed impeachment trial; 'GNR' returns for 2020!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2020 5:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the world remains on edge in the wake of Donald Trump's targeted assassination of Iran's top military general Qassem Soleimani. [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of summary.]

At least 56 mourners reportedly died during a stampede at funeral processions for the revered figured in Iran, were millions turned out to show their respects and to vow revenge against the U.S. Meanwhile, U.S. customs and border officials were reportedly detaining Iranian-American citizens for extended questioning as they re-entered the country; Trump's Secretaries of Defense and State each tried to walk back Trump's twice-threatened war crimes against Iran, should they dare to retaliate; And both Secretaries along with the White House continued to claim, without evidence, that an "imminent attack" that would have killed "hundreds" of Americans was prevented by the killing and served to justify the targeted drone strike against Soleimani and several Iraqi officials; Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell claimed to have the votes necessary to move Donald Trump's impeachment trial forward in the U.S. Senate (which Trump had clearly hoped to distract from with his attack on Iran) without allowing for either first-hand witnesses or subpoenaed White House documents to be presented as evidence; and the Foreign Minister of Iran described the assassination of Soleimani as "state terrorism" and President Trump as "lawless".

On that last point, and many related, we are joined today by KAREN J. GREENBERG, Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University School of Law and the author of Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State. Professor Greenberg, an expert on national security, terrorism, and civil liberties, detailed in a New York Times op-ed today headlined "Killing Qassim Suleimani Was Illegal. And Predictable.," how American Presidents have been expanding their own executive authority for "targeted killings" and assassination since the post-Watergate Church Committee in the Senate called for reforms to ban such activity by the Executive Branch in 1975. President Gerald Ford, in 1976, issued an Executive Order to ban all political assassinations by the U.S.

Over the years since, however, as Greenberg documents, Presidents from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Barack Obama have each stretched the definitions of what amounts to an allowable "targeted killing" under certain restricted circumstances in order to prevent an "imminent attack". And while such killings eventually numbered in the hundreds under Obama (and included at least one U.S. citizen, albeit in a different country), Greenberg explains that no President, until Donald Trump, has broadened the definitions to include an out-and-out assassination of a state official, much less one as highly revered as Soleimani in Iran.

"President Obama attempted to expand the authority for targeted killing, excepting it from the category 'assassination', and giving many reasons --- including international law reasons --- for why this would be lawful. And tying it, however, to the War on Terror, which in a way, puts it in a different scenario than what we're now seeing. Because what we've seen this week is a successful attempt to attack a leading member of a sovereign state," Greenberg tells me. "It distinguishes in many ways from what the Obama Administration had done. But what the Obama Administration did was to open the window for that. They did it because they wanted to expand the targeted killing program of George [W.] Bush. Obama said it would cause less trouble, less reprisal on the ground, and therefore less violence against American troops. And they thought it would work in cases where they couldn't capture somebody who they thought was being tremendously detrimental to the United States."

The authority he and other Presidents granted to themselves, however, "essentially bypasses the idea of laws that restrain" and "comes down to 'trust me' government", in that the public must rely on classified evidence by the Intelligence Community --- and, hopefully, its review by members of Congress --- as legal justification for the actions. But Trump, she explains, while previously dismissing the assessments of the intelligence community as dishonest "Deep State" actors, is now citing what he claims to be their evidence and asking us to trust it.

The result of all of this is what Greenberg describes as "a lack of foresight to put in place policies, by any President or any administration that, should it get into the wrong hands, can prove truly dangerous. We've now crossed that threshold." She goes on to note that "The basic bottom line is this is not something that the United States has supported or allowed since the Church Committee" in 1975.

We discuss how Ford's Executive Order, the War Powers Act of 1973 (meant to constrain Presidents from acts of war without approval by Congress), and the Authorizations for Use of Military Force adopted by Congress after 9/11 and again before our invasion of Iraq, have all now been stretched to the point of near meaningless. At the same time, the U.S. has also pushed the boundaries of Geneva Convention restrictions against war crimes to fit its defensive/aggressive needs of the moment, with as little enforcement by international agencies as Congress has brought against U.S. Presidents from both major parties at home for violations of domestic laws and Constitutional mandates.

There is quite a bit in this conversation that can't adequately be summarized here, so I hope you'll tune in for much more.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our first Green News Report of the new year, which, sadly, picks up with the continuing, record, devastating Australian wildfires which also led our last GNR of the year in 2019, some two and a half weeks ago...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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