The good news for today's BradCast is that, thanks to so much breaking news on yesterday's show, we've got at least one encouraging new piece of news on a story that we had to bump yesterday regarding Donald Trump's absentee voter fraud felony in the state of Florida. Between that and the false claims made by him and U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (in the pages of the New York Times, shamefully enough) charging that "antifa" is behind the violence seen at some of the mostly peaceful protests across the country over the past week and a half, we've got a lot of fact-checking to do on today's program. [Audio link to full show is at bottom of summary.]
First, Times staffers are livid that that the paper of record gave space to Cotton for an editorial on Wednesday calling for U.S. military troops to be deployed across the country against U.S. citizens under the Insurrection Act. The far-right Republican Senator charged in the piece that "cadres of left-wing radicals like antifa [are] infiltrating protest marches to exploit [George] Floyd's death for their own anarchic purposes." His remarks echo those of Trump, who, on Sunday, declared (falsely) that antifa will be designated as "a Terrorist Organization". In fact, antifa is not an organization. It's a movement of people who oppose fascism and authoritarianism and there is no such federal designation for domestic organizations, even if antifa was one. But the calls of Trump and Barr and Cotton echo what the Times itself described as "misinformation" just two days earlier in an article debunking that myth and several others related to the protest and being circulated widely (and falsely) on social media.
Moreover, the charge that antifa is behind the violence at protests is contradicted by intelligence reports this week from both the FBI and DHS, which find little evidence of antifa involvement, but seem to find plenty of evidence that rightwing white nationalist groups have organized to instigate chaos at otherwise peaceful demonstration around the nation. Continuing video tape evidence of police violently abusing peaceful protesters, including on Wednesday night after many of the demonstrations had otherwise calmed down, doesn't help either. But this week Twitter reported they'd shut down a European white nationalist group posting as "@ANTIFA_US" and tweeting out, for example, messages with a brown raised first emoji and declaring: "Tonight's the night, Comrades. Tonight we say 'F--- The City' and we move into the residential areas... the white hoods.... and we take what's ours."
While that account has been shut down, the white nationalists on the street have not all been. We still do not know the identity of the white man with full face gas mask (pictured above) and a black umbrella, who strolled down the sidewalk in front of the Minneapolis AutoZone last week with a hammer by his side, casually smashing each window of the store. Protesters tried to stop him and to identify him before he slipped away, leading Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to post the video of the man on Twitter, along with the remark: "This man doesn't look like any civil rights protester I have ever seen. Looks like a provocateur. Can anyone ID him?"
And yesterday, in Las Vegas, AP reported on terrorism charges filed against three Nevada men with ties to a rightwing extremist group. They were arrested on Saturday heading to a protest on the Strip after "filling gas cans at a parking lot and making Molotov cocktails in glass bottles," according to the criminal complaint obtained by AP. Two of the men, according to an informant, "discussed causing an incident to incite chaos and possibly a riot, in response to the death" of George Floyd. They are all said to be members of the anti-government "boogaloo" movement, advocating for a new civil war.
It seems its easier to find strawmen to blame for years of systemic racism rather than take responsibility for it. That seems to be what Trump, Barr, Cotton, Fox "News" and all the rest of those looking for someone else to blame for Floyd's death and the resulting outrage seem to be doing. It doesn't seem to be working. But that won't stop them from trying to play a whole bunch of folks just months before the next Presidential election.
Speaking of...as we reported several weeks ago, Donald Trump --- who has been making myriad false claims about absentee voter fraud for weeks now --- is, himself, a voter fraud criminal after illegally voting in Florida this year, by absentee ballot, despite having no lawful permanent residence in the state.
While he claimed late last year to have moved his permanent residence from New York to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, his original 1993 agreement with the city when he purchased the property and turned it from a single-family residence into a commercial club, required that nobody could actually live there. So, yes, that is voter fraud, and people in Florida have been charged and even jailed for much lesser infractions of the Sunshine State's elections code.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported another noteworthy point or two on this story, with yet another update to it today. On Wednesday, the paper reported that Trump, when he filed his Florida voter registration [PDF], listed the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. as his "legal residence". That means his legal residence is not in Florida and he is, therefore, not allowed to vote there. A month later it appears he tried again, this time specifying Mar-a-Lago's address as his "legal residence." It's unknown what happened in the 31 days between the first and second registration, but maybe Florida generously granted him a mulligan. Of course, that still doesn't make his declared residence at his commercial property in Palm Beach a legal domicile in the state.
Making his case even worse, on Monday, during his infamous phone call with the nation's Governors (in which he described peaceful protesters as "terrorists" and instructed the Governors to "dominate" them or he would send in U.S. troops to do so), he stated: "I live in Manhattan". Oops. That prompted Democratic election attorney Marc Elias to tweet: "Sounds like New York may have a good claim for taxes. And Florida for voter fraud."
And, on that point, the Post updated its story today with the news that a Florida resident has now filed a formal election fraud complaint against Trump, which is what we've been calling for weeks! Under Florida law, the state is now required to investigate the complaint. And because it's a violation of state, not federal, law there is nothing to my knowledge that should prevent the President from being charged with felony voter fraud there. He did it. He should be charged with fraud.
When we painstakingly detailed the voter fraud by former GOP superstar Ann Coulter more than a decade ago after she illegally lied about her address in Palm Beach on her registration application and then unlawfully voted at a precinct she was not entitled to vote in, the state slow-walked their investigation until the statute of limitations ran out. (She also got a helping hand from a former FBI boyfriend). We'll hope that Florida Law Enforcement doesn't try something similar here. Though it would be much harder to do in this instance, given that the crime happened just months ago in this case.
Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with coverage of a tropical storm barrelling towards the Gulf Coast; evidence that global warming is increasing extreme rainfall events in North America; a new study finding that building new wind and solar plants is now cheaper than using existing coal power plants; and the good news that the University of California is divesting it's $120 billion endowment from all fossil fuels...
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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)