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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Even GOP Election Officials in FL 'Cannot Stomach' DeSantis' New Vote-by-Mail Restrictions: 'BradCast' 2/7/23
Guest: Former FL election official, Ion Sancho; Also: FL revokes Orlando Phil's liquor license...
'Green News Report' 2/7/23
  w/ Brad & Desi
Ohio chemical train derailment forces evacuations; Record heat, wildfires in Chile; EU has replaced Russian fossil fuels; PLUS: Global investment in clean energy matches fossil fuel...
Recent GNRs: 2/2/23 - 1/31/23 - Archives...
Of Biden, Balloons and Bad Media: 'BradCast' 2/6/23
Also: Turkey, Syria earthquake; Campaign finance limits raised; Koch Net to oppose Trump in 2024 primary; WI 2020 Trump campaign worked to 'fan flame' of fake fraud; Callers ring in before Tuesday's SOTU...
Sunday 'Full Faith and Credit' Toons
PDiddie dances on the ceiling with his latest collection of the week's best political toons...
Hunter Biden Appears to Read Newspapers, Not Classified Docs: 'BradCast' 2/2/23
Prez' son threatens legal action against RWers, seeks legal probe; Also: Omar pushes back; And, a BradCast show announcement!...
'Green News Report' 2/2/23
  w/ Brad & Desi
Big Oil's all-time record profits; Biden hits road to promote infrastructure upgrades; Banner year for billion-dollar disasters; PLUS: Biden EPA finally vetoes AK's Pebble Mine...
Recent GNRs: 1/31/23 - 1/26/23 - Archives...
Can Biden Just Ignore the Debt Limit if Repubs Refuse to Raise It?: 'BradCast' 2/1/23
Guest: Kevin Drum of Jabberwocking; Also: Prepare yourself for GOP's crash and burn 'investigations'...
'Clocks Striking Thirteen': Court Cites Orwell in Response to FL's 'Stop W.O.K.E. Act'
But DeSantis' totalitarian new law has even darker echoes, Ernest Canning explains...
Are You Okay, Chuck Todd?:
'BradCast' 1/31/23
Jordan's FBI lies called out on 'MTP'; Also: Barr's weaponization of DoJ; 'Red' state murder rates; More FL voter fraud; Sore-loser Lake violates AZ election law...
'Green News Report' 1/31/23
Torrential flooding in NZ; New wind and solar projects now cheaper than existing coal plants; 1000s of abandoned wells in PA; PLUS: Admin blocks MN wildnerness mining...
Trump's 1/6 Attny Eastman Faces CA Disbarment Charges: 'BradCast' 1/30/23
Guest: Former UT Asst. A.G. Michael Teter of 65 Project; Also: NY D.A. eyeing Trump criminal charges...
Sunday 'Bullet Points' Toons
PDiddie takes aim at the problem in this week's collection of targeted toons...
NJ 2022 Computer Mistally Means Loser Actually Won: 'BradCast' 1/26/2023
Also: 'Doomsday Clock' ticked forward; Opposing war and supporting Ukraine; And, 'Russia, please!'...
'Green News Report' 1/26/23
Spate of new studies find climate impacts escalating; Logging banned (again) in Alaskan rainforest; PLUS: 'Doomsday Clock' moved closer than ever to 'midnight'...
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...


Jordan's FBI lies called out on 'Meet the Press'; Also: Barr's weaponization of the DoJ; 'Red' state murder rates far exceed 'blue' states; More white people voter fraud in FL; Sore-loser Lake violates AZ election law...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2023 6:32pm PT  

We've got another grab-bag for you on today's BradCast, from the new challenges faced by corporate media during a U.S. House controlled by GOP liars, to more evidence of the former guy's weaponization of the federal government, to still more voter fraud by wealthy white people in Florida.

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

  • NBC's Chuck Todd, the usually milquetoast host of Meet the Press, actually stood up to a few lies by accomplished GOP liar Rep. Jim Jordan on Sunday. That is never easy, given the flurry of lies the Ohio Congressman is capable of spewing at light speed. But Todd, who traditionally allows rightwingers to get away with all manner of BS with little if any response at all, did an impressive job this week --- at least for a few minutes --- in calling out several of Jordan's patently false assertions attempting to equate Donald Trump's theft of hundreds of classified documents and refusal, for more than a year, to return them to the federal government, with the discovery by Joe Biden's attorneys of a few dozen such documents from during his Vice Presidency found stored by aides at his former office at the Penn Center and his home in Wilmington, Delaware. We share the tale of the tape.
  • Jordan now serves as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and its silly, newly formed select Subcommittee on "the Weaponization of the Federal Government". The new panel is meant to promote all sorts of QAnon and Fox "News" fantasies and victimization porn about the FBI and DoJ somehow having it out for Republicans. Or something. They will pretend to expose false claims such as the FBI paying millions of dollars to Twitter to censor and ban rightwingers during the Trump years. Or something. Will Democrats and our corporate media be up to the task of countering their nonsense over the next two years?
  • If you're looking for actual "weaponization of the federal government", however, look no further than what the disgraced former President did with his appointment of DoJ weaponizer-in-chief Bill Barr as Attorney General. Late last week, the New York Times published a jaw-dropping exclusive on Barr's failed attempt at revealing "deep state liberals" at the FBI and DoJ with the appointment of John Durham as Special Counsel to "investigate the investigators" of Russia's well-documented plot to interfere in the 2016 election. After four years, Barr and Durham have found none of the corruption that Trump and Barr pretended was there. But they did, apparently, find evidence of financial crimes by Donald Trump that, until the Times report just last week, remained their own little secret. Paging Jack Smith.
  • Speaking of lies propagated by rightwingers and the corporate media, you may recall that, during the runup to the 2022 midterms, allegations of rampant, out-of-control crime in big "blue" state cities was all the rage. Trouble is, that was mostly lies as well. Now, a new analysis puts some meat on those bones and dispels another longtime rightwing myth. As it turns out, murder rates in "red" states not only far exceed "blue" states, but that has been the case since at least 2000, according to evidence documented by the new report.
  • Speaking of elections, yet another wealthy white vote fraudster has been arrested for double-voting during the 2020 election in Ron DeSantis' GOP enclave known as The Villages in Florida. He is the fourth, to date. And you won't believe how easy the penalty was for this guy who, like the others, purposely voted twice. Especially as compared to the people of color who were rounded up at gun point by DeSantis' new "Election Crimes and Security" police force just before last year's elections. Those rounded up and tossed in jail by the GOP Governor and Presidential hopeful's personal police squad were former felons who had apparently been allowed by the state to vote two years earlier, despite a loophole in a new law that bars some former felons from being allowed to vote. They had no idea they were voting unlawfully, unlike the white criminals in The Villages who got off with (less than) a slap on the wrist.
  • And speaking of GOP election liars, Kari Lake, 2022's failed, Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate in Arizona who lost by 17,000 votes but is still pretending she won, may now be facing legal issues of her own. According to a complaint filed by the state's newly elected Sec. of State Adrian Fontes (D), in a letter sent to the state's newly elected Attorney General Kris Mayes (D), Lake violated state law by publishing the signatures of several voters on Twitter last week. Fontes is seeking a criminal investigation.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as New Zealand is swamped by stunning, record rainfall; a new study finds building solar and wind projects is now cheaper than using existing coal-fired power plants; Tax payers in Pennsylvania are now on the hook for the clean up of thousands of recently discovered abandoned oil and gas wells; and the Biden Administration reverses a Trump scheme in Minnesota in order to protect a vast wilderness from toxic mining for the next 20 years...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Or, 'All the news that's fit to fight about over our public airwaves'...from the debit limit to the Biden and Trump docs to mass shootings to insurrection accountability and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2023 6:17pm PT  

There has been a boatload of news from late on Friday, over the weekend, right on up to airtime before today's BradCast. That seems to happen a lot these days. In any event, we tried to keep up or get caught up with a whole bunch of it today, and to take calls from a diverse range of listeners on almost all of it.

Among the topics and news items we discussed today (along with a number of callers who saw some of these things differently than me...at least when their calls began)...

  • The House GOP's dangerous plan to hold the nation's borrowing limit (and the nation's and world's economy along with it) hostage to their disingenuous demands to cut spending programs such as Social Security and Medicare. The White House is refusing to negotiate on the stupid, statutory debt limit, but should they?
  • The corporate media's ridiculous coverage of some more classified documents discovered at Joe Biden's home over the weekend, thanks to a 13-hour consensual search by the DoJ that uncovered a few more documents. Despite the entirely different nature of this case as compared to Donald Trump actually stealing classified documents, refusing to return them, even after subpoenaed, and lying to officials about them, corporate media outlets --- and elected Democrats who are too cowardly to challenge them --- are painting the two cases as somehow similar. Or, at least, claiming that Biden's case means charges cannot not be be brought against Trump for some reason. As explained, that is absurd.

    In fact, this is the "Goofus and Gallant" of document scandals, as fans of Highlights Magazine from the dentist office of your childhood may remember. Goofus (Trump) stole documents and, when caught, lied and refused to return them. Gallant (Biden) discovered he had documents he wasn't supposed to have, promptly notified authorities and returned them. As explained today, if anything, that stark difference should make it more, not less likely that Trump is charged. Or even that both are charged. But to suggest Trump can't be charged now --- as media and some Dems are doing --- is patently ridiculous. We discuss. Including with callers. One of whom tells us she also got in trouble regarding classified documents that were accidentally mishandled by someone who worked with her.

  • An 11th victim was pronounced dead shortly before airtime today in the mass shooting that took place at a dance hall Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, just east of L.A. over the weekend. One interesting caller tried to make the case that the problem with all of these mass shootings is not semi-automatic weapons with extended magazines that can kill dozens of people within second. The real problem is mental health issues in America, he argued. Our conversation was very interesting, I thought. You'll let me know if you agree.
  • Four more Oath Keepers were found guilty today of Seditious Conspiracy for their part in attacking the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection on January 6, 2021. The leader of that conspiracy, however --- the disgraced former President --- has yet to be charged.
  • The idiot infamously photographed putting his feet up on the desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the Jan. 6 insurrection was found guilty today on all 8 counts on which he was charged after just two hours of jury deliberation. He also brought a weapon into the office with him and stole an envelope. Apparently, the jury didn't buy his "I was just looking for the bathroom" defense.
  • A few thoughts on the nearly $1 million in sanctions slapped on Donald Trump and his attorney last week by a federal judge in response to a laughable dismissed-with-prejudice lawsuit filed by the former President against Hillary Clinton, James Comey and more than a dozen other FBI agents and elected officials. The largest single recipient of those sanctions will be Clinton, who Trump will have to give nearly $172,000 to. But Trump's litigation grift continues, as our own Ernie Canning wrote about here earlier this afternoon.
  • Another reminder today as to why elections and democracy matter. On Friday, the newly-elected Attorney General and newly-elected Governor in Arizona --- both Democrats for the first time in years --- finally put the state's death penalty on hold, following an horrifically "botched" execution that took more than two hours to complete in 2014. Hopefully, this will eventually result in a full moratorium on the barbaric practice in the state. None of this would have happened had Republicans been elected as Governor or Attorney General last November.
  • And, though I don't believe I raised the issue myself today, a caller rang in to explain why Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine is actually all the fault of the United States...or something. I disagreed and explained why. But, in fairness, as we got to the call very late in the hour, I had to end it much sooner than I would have liked. Hopefully we can pick it up again with more time the next time we're able to open up the phone lines! Always happy to have the conversation and appreciative of all of today's excellent callers!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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Nothing less than a criminal prosecution will end it. (Maybe.)
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/23/2023 10:47am PT  

"Everything Donald does is transactional," Mary Trump, a licensed psychologist and niece of the disgraced former President has explained.

A scathing federal court decision late last week, awarding nearly one million dollars in sanctions against Don the Con and his attorney in response to just one of his many recent frivolous lawsuits against perceived political enemies, underscores Mary's point. It also details how, since leaving office, 2020's biggest loser has engaged in and continues to engage in a litigation grift.

The withering 46-page order [PDF] handed down last Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks in Donald J. Trump v. Hillary Clinton, et al. does more than explain why the veteran federal jurist awarded an eye-popping $937,989 in attorney's fee sanctions against the former President and his New Jersey lawyer, Alina Habba. The erudite legal ruling also contained an in-depth discussion of more than a half-dozen other deceptive and frivolous lawsuits that this "predator" and "successful sociopath" filed against those he has long hoped to paint as enemies since leaving office.

In an attempt at reversing his more than 7 million vote loss at the polls, Trump and his allies filed and lost 61 out of 62 post-election lawsuits. The cases were so devoid of merit, so replete with deceptive allegations, that many of the former President's attorneys were later confronted with ethics complaints and sanctions ranging from fines, to censure and even disbarment.

In the aftermath of that debacle, a normal, non-sociopathic person would have slunk off towards oblivion, tail between his/her legs. Not The Donald.

From a "transactional" perspective, those 61 "losing" cases were a smashing success. They provided the failed President an opportunity to rake-in $250 million from his gullible "base".

But, along with imposing nearly $1 million in attorney's fees sanctions --- including almost $172,000 that Trump will now have to pay out to perhaps his greatest perceived personal nemesis, Hillary Clinton --- Judge Middlebrooks expressed the need to remediate the harm caused to the 31 named Defendants, whom he regarded as the victims of an "abusive" and "completely frivolous" complaint. His Honor eviscerated Trump's lawsuit as one "that should never have been filed"; a lawsuit that was drafted only "to advance a political narrative; not to address legal harm caused by any Defendant." The veteran and very able jurist also expressed a hope that the eye-popping amount of court sanctions might act as a deterrent.

Nonetheless, as long as Trump's litigation fundraising continues to rake-in enormous sums, it's unlikely that anything short of criminal prosecution for some of his many alleged crimes will ultimately accomplish that worthy goal. Maybe...

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




Guest: Chris Melody Fields Figueredo of Ballot Initiative Strategy Center; Also: Trump sanctioned by federal judge, ordered to pay Hillary Clinton and others nearly $1 million...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2023 5:56pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Naturally. Now they're coming for citizen ballot initiatives too. They really do hate democracy, don't they?

But, first up today... As we await several criminal indictments hopefully headed the way of our failed, twice-impeached former President, an order released by a federal Judge in Florida last night was particularly satisfying.

It came in response to a motion for sanctions by Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and more than a dozen other defendants in a failed lawsuit filed by Donald Trump and his latest foolish attorney/sucker, Alina Habba, last year. In fact, the first version of Trump's suit was so deficient and devoid of facts or even actual charges, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks was kind enough to allow them to refile it before dismissing the second, longer, but no better version with prejudice.

On Thursday night, Judge Middlebrooks, in a blistering (and I mean blistering) 46-page order [PDF], explained why he was granting the defendants' request for sanctions. He began thusly: "This case should never have been brought. Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it. Intended for a political purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim. ... Thirty-one individuals and entities were needlessly harmed in order to dishonestly advance a political narrative. A continuing pattern of misuse of the courts by Mr. Trump and his lawyers undermines the rule of law, portrays judges as partisans, and diverts resources from those who have suffered actual legal harm."

And that's just the first two paragraphs! It gets even more brutally scathing from there, before concluding with an order for Trump and Habba to pay nearly $1 million to the defendants for the "completely frivolous bad faith" suit brought for "an improper purpose" amounting to "abusive litigation tactics." Perhaps most fun: the single biggest award of fees for a single defendant went to Clinton, who Trump must now pay almost $172,000!

Then, in more serious news today... Progressive citizen ballot initiatives did exceptionally well in 2022, on everything from abortion rights to the legalization of marijuana to the expansion of health care. Yes, even in so-called "red" states. As it turns out, progressive ideas seem to be wildly popular among voters of all stripes! And there is likely much more to come in 2023 and 2024, on abortion rights, minimum wage, gun safety, independent redistricting commissions and much more.

Therefore, in a number of states where Republicans have locked themselves into power with gerrymandered legislatures, they are moving toward making such statewide exercises in "direct democracy" more difficult to get onto the ballot in the first place, and hoping to make them harder to adopt by raising the threshold for passage, for example, from 50% to 60% where they can get away with it.

We're joined today by CHRIS MELODY FIELDS FIGUEREDO, Executive Director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center to discuss both progressive successes on statewide ballot measures around the country in 2022 and what the GOP is now doing to try and prevent those successes from happening again.

"That was a huge moment last year in a trend that I know is going to continue as we look at 2023 and '24, where we really see, in many states, that our elected officials are out of touch with the people," Figueredo tells me. "And in most states where they tried to limit the ability of the people to bring forth issues to their community through the ballot measure process, in most cases those were rejected in the states. So there's a lot of opportunity ahead of us."

But, she cautions, "We are seeing a direct backlash to what is happening across the country, of progressive issues winning when they're put before the voters. We're not seeing those changes, which the people say are urgent and important, through our representatives in government, whether it's at city council, whether it's at the state legislative level, and even in the federal government."

We've got a lot to discuss on all of this, including where the direct democracy ballot initiative process has seemingly been captured by corporate interests (in states like California) and about the dozens of states which still don't even allow citizens to place measures on the statewide ballot at all.

I'm also curious how much of the new blowback against such initiatives Figueredo attributes to the number of them in recent years that have instituted independent redistricting commissions in hopes of breaking gerrymandered strangleholds that the GOP still has on many state legislatures. "You have to connect the dots," Figueredo responds. "I think this is ultimately the question that is before us right now in our democracy. Is it of, for and by the people? And who ultimately has the power to make decisions for all of us? That's what's at stake right now."

"It's ultimately this question about power. You can connect the dots. And if we are looking at the ballot initiative process, or the initiatives in general, as a tool for power in our democracy, then yes, if you are an elected official who does not agree with people who may be your constituents and it doesn't fit your agenda, then your next step would be to undermine or weaken the will of the people."

There is much more in our conversation today, including what the U.S. Supreme Court may soon do to gut all such statewide initiatives regarding elections in their upcoming Moore v. Harper decision. Please tune in!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Oath Keepers chief 'guilty'; GOP money launderer 'guilty'; AZ's Dem SoS/Guv-elect fights to keep Repubs from disenfranchising themselves...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2022 6:36pm PT  

It's another crazy day in MAGA Land on today's BradCast, as Accountability Season gets a very good start even before the 2022's Election Season fully wraps up. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our stories today from Accountability Season...

  • BREAKING at the top of today's program: Stewart Rhodes, founder of the far-right Oath Keepers clan (and former BradCast guest!) is found guilty of seditious conspiracy for his involvement in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Fellow Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs was found guilty as well. Both now face as much as 20 years in prison on the sedition charges alone. They, and others, were also charged with Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and more. Perhaps our former President who inspired them should begin to be concerned.
  • Speaking of the former guy... Earlier this month, Kremlin-linked Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as "Putin's Chef", boasted on social media that "we have interfered, are interfering and will interfere" with U.S. elections. "Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do." A week or two later, longtime GOP operative Jesse Benton --- who worked for Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, among others --- was found guilty on six counts related to money laundering some $100,000 for another Russian businessman before the 2016 election. He was charged with helping to funnel money to both the Trump campaign and RNC that year. As it happens, both Benton and seditious conspirator Rhodes both got their start in politics working as aides for Rep. Ron Paul. Benton is now married to Paul's granddaughter. He was charged last year (along with yet another BradCast guest --- who died shortly after being charged) just months after Trump had pardoned Benton for separate charges against him regarding campaign finance violations and bribery during the 2012 election. We 'splain the full sordid story and Russian collusion along with wistful memories of Tibetan monks and nuns and Al Gore from back in the day when Republicans used to pretend to care about unlawful campaign donations from foreign sources.

And from Election Season...

  • Welp, the days are getting crazier and crazier in Arizona. On Monday, the deadline for counties there to certify election results before the state certifies all results next Monday, the Board of Supervisors in Cochise County voted against doing so. They claim they will reconsider the matter on Friday. That, despite any evidence of fraud or voting system failure in the Republican-leaning county. Katie Hobbs, the state's Democratic Sec. of State and apparent Governor-elect, quickly went to court yesterday in an attempt to force Cochise to certify their result as, she argues, they are required by law. If they don't, all of the county's voters may be disenfranchised and the results of at least one U.S. House race would flip from Republican to Democratic, along with the statewide contest for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Moreover, any remaining chance for Abe Hamadeh, the GOP candidate running for Attorney General, to overcome his current 510-vote deficit against Democrat Kris Mayes, would almost certainly be gone. As the Arizona Republic's EJ Montini snarks today, if Hobbs was gaming the system to somehow help state Dems this year, as MAGA Republicans baselessly claim, "she really, really stinks at cheating"!
  • Meanwhile, Georgia voters are proving to be really, really good at early voting. They shattered all-time records for doing so on Sunday and again on Monday of this week, outpacing both Presidential and other general elections alike in the state's current runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker (R) for \ U.S. Senate. The big turnout could be a good sign for Democrats, though that's not certain. The long wait times it is causing for many voters around the Peach State, however, is a certain disgrace. (More on all of that, I hope, on tomorrow's show.)

And in other matters...

  • A bipartisan "Respect for Marriage" bill has been passed by the lame duck U.S. Senate to protect same-sex marriages following corrupt U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' recent opinion with the overturning of Roe v. Wade arguing that marriage equality should be one of the next rights stolen by the Court from the American people.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Trump's running again; House, Senate GOP leadership chaos; MS moves to hand-marked paper ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2022 5:40pm PT  

It may be a somewhat disconcerting deja vu on today's BradCast for longtime listeners. Apologies in advance. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Seven and a half years ago, on the day Donald Trump came down his golden escalator at Trump Tower to declare that Mexicans were rapists and he was running for President, our guest was HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo. Since then, she's joined us to try and make sense of virtually every landmark event during his disastrous candidacy, Presidency and post-Presidency.

Back in June of 2015, when posting that day's show at The BRAD BLOG, I headlined it "The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster'". Most in the media considered Trump's candidacy a joke at the time. We felt otherwise. I believe history has proven us right on that one.

After multiple failed attempts at trying to steal the 2020 election, including inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in hopes of stealing it by force, and with multiple criminal investigations against him now underway at both the state and federal level, Trump announced (to the nation's chagrin) his third run for President on Tuesday night. He did so at a really long and boring super-spreader event at Mar-a-Lago, the scene of at least one of the many crimes for which he's being investigated. Parton joins us once again today to discuss whether we should be as worried this time about Trump's candidacy (she describes it at Salon today as "the America First Vengeance Tour 2024") and whether he or Ron DeSantis would be more difficult for Democrats to defeat in 2024.

We spend more time, however, discussing the three-ring circus, circular firing squad, or whatever metaphor you wish to use, for the Republican House and Senate leadership battles now under way following last week's midterm elections in which the GOP appears to have won the narrowest of majorities in the U.S. House --- but not much more than that anywhere else. Will the splintered, increasingly loony GOP caucus in the House even be able to get 218 votes for anybody as House Speaker come January? ("They have created an absolutely insane caucus filled with lunatics, and now they're having to pay the piper on this," says Parton. "This is what happens when you embolden people like Marjorie Taylor-Greene. She'll be operating as a shadow Speaker.")

Also today...A note of caution at the top of the show: Do not be fooled by Trump's deceptive call at his announcement speech on Tuesday night for "paper ballots" to help fight fraud in elections. He has no clue what he's talking about. Else he would have called for "hand-marked paper ballots," since all of the states he lost (but pretends to have won) already use paper ballots! He's also demanding new voter suppression measures. We explain all of the above today.

In related news, two counties in the state of Mississippi used hand-marked paper ballots in the 2022 midterms for the first time. After some 20 years of forcing voters to vote on 100% unverifiable touchscreen systems --- while we've been begging them to move to hand-counted paper ballots for all of those years --- the clerks of both counties report that voters and pollworkers loved the new system and it worked great! In fact, the clerks also found that it was both faster and more cost-efficient than their 20-year old unverifiable touchscreens. Who could have predicted it?

Following a new state law adopted in April, all counties in MS must upgrade their systems before the 2024 Presidential elections. As noted on today's show, I've long argued that it would likely take a high-profile Republican getting screwed by touchscreen voting systems before GOPers finally demanded a move to verifiable voting systems. I was close. What I should have said was that it would take a high-profile Republican pretending to be screwed by touchscreen voting systems before they'd finally demand such changes.

Finally, we close with some listener email. Enjoy!...

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A long time Bernie Sanders supporter on why we must vote 'blue' in '22...
UPDATE: Independent progressive Ralph Nader joins call to vote 'blue' in '22...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/24/2022 10:05am PT  

I was a long time Bernie Sanders supporter. I still am. As an attorney and Vietnam veteran I even served as a Senior Adviser to Vets for Bernie during his 2016 campaign. I also supported Sen. Sanders during the 2020 primaries. That was then. This is 2022.

President Biden was not engaging in hyperbole when he recently warned the nation that "democracy will be on the ballot" this November.

I recently underscored his message with my coverage of the amicus brief to SCOTUS from all 50 State Supreme Court Chief Justices warning in no uncertain terms against the dangers of the "fringe", so-called "Independent State Legislature" (ISL) theory, soon to be decided by the High Court. The case, Moore v. Harper, was brought to the Court via North Carolina Republicans seeking to override their own state Supreme Court regarding partisan gerrymandering. The theory they are using to do so echoes the radical interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause as advanced by disgraced former law professor, John Eastman, during his attempt to help Donald Trump steal the 2020 Presidential election.

Irrespective of whether it comes by way of a violent insurrection or via judicial fiat handed down from the U.S. Supreme Court's "radicals in robes", American democracy may soon be all but lost absent a massive turnout for the midterms by everyone who desires to save it.

If a SCOTUS majority embraces the ISL theory, it could lead to a circumstance where MAGA Republican State legislatures can not only rig all future U.S. House elections via partisan gerrymandering, voter suppression and intimidation but also present what the Brennan Center described as a "nightmare scenario" in which a partisan, gerrymandered State legislature "would invoke [the ISL] as a pretext to refuse to certify the results of a presidential election and instead select its own slate of electors." In other words, under the ISL theory a partisan gerrymandered State Legislature, and not the People, would hold the ultimate power to "elect" all future Presidents. Neither gubernatorial vetoes, nor state voters nor state Constitutions nor state Supreme Courts would be able to overrule them.

Where MAGA Republicans proponents of the ISL theory offer an absurd bastardization of the Constitution's Elections Clause as a ticket to undermine democracy, most legal scholars regard the same Clause as providing a means by which democracy can be saved...

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




UT's Sen. Lee in dead heat; Biden Admin begins student loan forgiveness; Biden vows to codify 'Roe' if Dems hold House, increase Senate majority; Also: Trump/Barr's dumb Special Counsel Durham loses another case...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2022 6:20pm PT  

Democratic voters, it seems, are an easily spooked bunch. A few bad polls and some seem ready to all but throw in the towel on the November midterms. But now is not the time for that sort of thinking. As discussed on today's BradCast, there is simply too much at stake this year --- Constitutional freedoms, democracy itself, survival on Planet Earth, just to name a few --- to get sidetracked by despair. To paraphrase Obama, don't boo-hoo! Vote! (And make sure everyone else you know does the same!) [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

It was always gonna be an uphill fight this year. It still is. But it makes no sense to wallow. It does make sense to get to work. As President Biden correctly noted this afternoon, "Today we face an inflection point, one of those moments that only come around every several generations where there's so much change happening --- technologically, politically, and socially --- that the decisions we make now are going to determine the future of our nation and the future of your generation for the next 30 or more years."

With all of that in mind, these are among the stories covered on today's program...

  • Breaking just before airtime: Special Counsel John Durham --- tapped by Donald Trump and Bill Barr to investigate the investigators who investigated Russia's interference in the 2016 election --- is now 0 for 2 in Court. Igor Danchenko, said to have been a primary source for the so-called "Steel dossier", was charged in Durham's probe with five counts of lying to the FBI. He was acquitted today by a jury on all charges. He was the second to be indicted by Durham and then fully exonerated at trial. Even more humiliating for Durham: he personally handled most of the argument and questioning in court and reportedly ended up being rebuffed by his own witnesses who provided support for the defense. Worse, Danchenko, a Russian citizen living in the U.S., was reportedly "a treasured FBI informant" whose indictment "hurt U.S. national security."
  • Last week we detailed the five U.S. Senate seats that could plausibly be flipped this year from Republican to Democratic (in PA, OH, WI, NC and FL) and the two Democratic seats that could plausibly be won by Republicans (in NV and GA). At the end of yesterday's show, however, we added another to the Plausible Red to Blue list when the "gold standard" Des Moines Register poll over the weekend found Iowa's 89-year old, 7-term Republican Senator Chuck Grassley to be just three points ahead of his Democratic challenger Mike Franken. Today, there's yet another Republican Senate seat said to be in jeopardy --- in deep red Utah of all places! According to two different polls, independent candidate Evan McMullin is said to be in a dead heat with GOP Senator Presidential election theft enthusiast and not Trump "bootlicker" Mike Lee. On Monday, the two sparred in their only debate. It didn't go all that well for Lee.
  • On Monday, the Biden Administration opened its student loan forgiveness program at StudentAid.gov. The process has reportedly already served some 12 million applicants who may be forgiven for as much as $20,000 in debt. The process to apply reportedly takes no more than five minutes. All that is needed is a name, birthdate and social security number. The government will supposedly take care of the rest. At the same time, Republicans are suing to block Biden's program, created via Executive Order. But if they believe it's truly illegal, as Slate's Mark Joseph Stern observes today, they should introduce a bill to force those who received debt forgiveness to pay the money back. Do you think Republicans will do so?
  • On Tuesday, President Biden spoke at a DNC event and vowed to codify the Constitutional rights and freedoms previously guaranteed by Roe v. Wade into federal law as his first order of business in January, after our corrupt, stolen and packed Republican Supreme Court majority took privacy rights and reproductive freedoms away from Americans last June. We share Biden's remarks today. But, in order to enact those protections, as he points out, Dems will need to hold their House majority and pick up at least two more Democratic Senators willing to reform the undemocratic Senate filibuster rule in November. If that happens, not only can abortion and privacy rights be protected by federal law, but voting rights can be expanded and protected, and the corrupt Supreme Court itself can be expanded and un-corrupted. But, again, if that's what you'd like to see, you better to get to work between now and November 8!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on how GOP rollbacks to climate policies made things worse for Florida; how the Pacific Northwest is facing record heat and wildfires in mid-October(!); how FL's Sen. Rick Scott wants the government to do less for disaster victims; and how a can of soup and a priceless Van Gogh have sparked debate over climate protest tactics...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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New poll finds democracy now top issue for voters; Also: Latest Trump accountability news; Midterm election news; Callers ring in on why they're voting this November...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2022 6:24pm PT  

Longtime listeners of The BradCast know that we see democracy as pretty much the number one issue that makes pretty much everything else possible. Even the climate crisis comes second for that reason. Congressional Democrats, on the other hand, have yet to make the threat that democracy itself now faces in America, thanks to Donald Trump and his GOP, much of a campaign issue. That's both curious and troubling, particularly following a new poll out today finding that democracy is "the most important issue facing the country for a plurality of registered voters." [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's show --- followed by some great callers in the second half today...

  • On Sunday, a federal appeals court gave Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) a short reprieve from his scheduled testimony before the special grand jury in Georgia investigating the Trump-led criminal conspiracy to try and steal Georgia's 2020 election. Graham, who reportedly called the GA Sec. of State to see if it might be possible to toss thousands of lawfully cast votes, claims he was just doing his job as a Senator...from South Carolina...and has absolute immunity under the Constitution's "speech and debate" clause. His reprieve [PDF] from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' probe is unlikely to last for long.
  • A different federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the Justice Department must release a memo written by its Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) during the Trump Administration, regarding then-Attorney General Bill Barr's decision to not charge the former President for some ten instances of obstruction of Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. The DoJ claimed the memo, sought by a good government watchdog group under FOIA laws, was exempt from disclosure because it was part of the deliberative process in deciding whether or not to charge Trump. In fact, as a lower court previously determined, the memo was written after the DoJ had already determined they would not charge Trump.
  • Then, we move from the 2016 and 2020 elections back to the current one, now just 78 days away, when political pundits had long been telling us that Democrats would take a shellacking in Congress this November. But, as we've long noted, that Conventional Wisdom is by no means a certainty during these decidedly UNconventional times. Among the latest examples from 2022's UNconventional Times files, emotional remarks last week from a Republican South Carolina lawmaker who regrets his vote --- just weeks after casting it --- to restrict abortion in the state. He relates a disturbing story of a pregnant 19-year old woman whose water broke at 15 weeks, making the pregnancy unviable. But thanks to the state's new "fetal heartbeat" law, attorneys advised her doctors they could not extract the fetus until its heart stopped beating...two weeks later. She could have lost her uterus or even died during the interim. We share some of the state Rep's emotional response and his reasons for refusing to vote in favor of an even more draconian restriction on reproductive freedom now moving through the SC state legislature.
  • Still more today from the UNconventional Times file: Signs that inflation appears to be coming down on tons of products whose prices had surged last year. And signs, along with it, that pandemic supply chain snarls appear to finally be easing up as well.
  • Of course, all of that good news for American consumers is bad news for Republicans who have been hoping for a terrible economy to help them win back majorities in Congress this November. A new forecast from Fox "News" out today, however, finds that to be less and less likely as polling and other conditions continue to trend back in favor of Democrats. It's still an uphill climb for them in the gerrymandered House, but the GOP is clearly getting nervous. We discuss.
  • At the same time, in a lengthy deep-dive, Politico Magazine reported over the weekend that a number of old school Dems from the Carter Administration are concerned that Congressional Democrats are not making enough of a campaign issue out of the threat that Republicans now pose to American democracy itself. That, following Trump's January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection and the boatload of bat-crap insane, Trump-endorsed 2020 election deniers who have been nominated for key positions to help decide the 2024 election in swing-states and non-swing-states alike this year. While Congressional Dems offer a reasonable argument for why they have been sticking with other issues this year --- "from energy and the environment to education, roads and infrastructure, abortion, health care, Trump and guns" --- rather than the threat posed by Republicans to democracy itself....
  • So, what do our listeners care most about this November? What issues are leading them to vote (or not vote)? We open the phones to find out and get some very good callers in response including a fun one from a confused Republican...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Callers ring in; Also: Russia attacks Ukrainian shopping mall; Surprise J6 hearing announced; SCOTUS, at all time low approval, further erodes separation of church and state with new ruling...
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2022 5:50pm PT  

Before we get to a bunch of callers on today's BradCast, responding to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey by our corrupt, extremist, activist, rightwing Republican Supreme Court majority, a few news items. [Audio link to full show follows this summary...]

  • Russia reportedly launched a missile strike on a crowded shopping mall in a central Ukrainian city with some 1,000 civilians reportedly inside. The number of dead and wounded are still unknown, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at least "scores" are likely dead.
  • The bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Donald Trump's multiple attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election announced a surprise last-minute hearing scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday, 6/28). They did not announce a witness list, though some have speculated that documentarian Alex Holder, who was granted insider access to interviews with and footage of Trump, his kids, Vice President Mike Pence, and other insiders both before and after January 6, might be testifying. The Committee has said only that they are calling the hearing due to "recently obtained evidence." We'll have Special Coverage, as usual, on tomorrow's BradCast.
  • The radical rightwingers packed onto our Supreme Court are continuing to dismantle Constitutional rights and freedoms. On Monday they found in favor of a public high school football coach from Bremerton, Washington who was eventually fired after he refused to stop kneeling on the 50-yard line after games to hold prayers. White guy who takes a knee to pray on the public high school football field cannot be fired. Will be paid with your tax-payer dollars. Meanwhile, a black guy who takes a knee on the football field to protest racial injustice can absolutely be fired for it, apparently. That, as the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state continues to be corruptly eroded by our radical, stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court.
  • The extremist Court, according to Gallup polling last week, is now seeing it's all time lowest approval rating in the 50-years that Gallup has been polling on confidence among Americans in the High Court. Just 25% of Americans now have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the Court. That's 11 points down from one year ago and 5 points lower than the Court's all time low in the Gallup survey. And the kicker: that survey was taken prior to Friday's unprecedented ruling overturning the long-established Constitutional right to privacy and reproductive freedoms in Roe v. Wade.

And with that and a few other points of related note, we open the phones to listeners on what comes next, how the nation must respond, and which long-established Constitutional rights this illegitimate Court is likely to strike down next.

While callers may offer some other notes, I'm happy to offer the reminder that the solution still remains voting and organizing, along with the reminder that had Hillary Clinton received 2 votes that otherwise went to Donald Trump in 2016 in each precinct in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, we'd not be in the authoritarian mess we're facing now. Moreover, as political scientist Rachel Bitcofer observed following the Court's ruling on Friday, a Supreme Court with Clinton's nominees on board, rather than the three Trump nominees packed onto the Court by Republicans, likely means that gerrymandering would have been blocked by now, and Citizens United might have been overturned...just two name a couple things we missed out on because too many decided to stay home or vote for Trump in 2016. "We can't continue to hurt ourselves by not voting," she correctly concludes.

Enjoy our lively callers today on all of that and much more...

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Guest Host Nicole Sandler with Emptywheel's investigative journalist on the Durham probe, Sussman acquittal, Jan. 6 hearings, more...
By Nicole Sandler on 6/1/2022 3:47pm PT  

It's NICOLE SANDLER back with you, guest hosting the BradCast once more this week. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Tuesday, a jury in DC acquitted Michael Sussman, an attorney whose firm worked for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, of lying to the FBI. The failed prosecution comes three years after Donald Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr tapped U.S. Attorney John Durham to open a Special Counsel investigation into the origins of the FBI's probe into Russian interference in that election. Or, as the former guy demanded at the time: "They now go and take a look at the oranges of the investigation... the beginnings of the investigation, about the Mueller report."

The jury only deliberated for six hours before finding Sussman not guilty of lying to his FBI contact about working with the Clinton campaign when he tried to warn the federal agency about unexplained data transmissions between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank. Sad!

I'll admit that I have not followed this case or Durham's overall investigation very closely, despite many on the right desperately describing Durham's case against Sussman as a "BOMBSHELL!". But, that's probably because I don't watch Fox Not-News.

Investigative journalist MARCY WHEELER, on the other hand, has followed all of this very closely, takes her work very seriously and explains this insane prosecution and much more today. As she notes toward the end of the today's interview, "I've lived and breathed this stuff for 18 months now." She covers all of it in great detail at her somewhat eponymous website, Emptywheel.net.

So, Marcy is my guest whole hour. She's filled with details and stories, tells us all we need to know about this trial and Durham's overall (largely fruitless) investigation, which had no real predicate to begin with, other than Barr believing something didn't seem right about the original investigation into Russia's involvement in 2016.

Then we also look ahead to next week, as the U.S. House Select Committee's public hearings on the January 6, 2021 investigation begin next Thursday night...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Biden ends Russian imports, destroys Fox/GOP/Big Oil lies; Jan 6. insurrectionist 'guilty' on all counts; 'Proud Boy' indicted for U.S. Capitol conspiracy; Pardoned GOPer indicted for funneling Russian money to Trump 2016; Another former 'BradCast' guest indicted...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2022 7:10pm PT  

As the horrors of war continue in Ukraine today, we focus on the latest efforts to counter it by ending --- or trying to --- Russian oil and gas imports to the EU and US, and as we enjoy more accountability for GOP election fraudsters and insurrectionists, including one who funneled Russian money to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and another who used to appear on The BradCast from time to time. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Fossil fuel profiteer Shell Oil apologizes after getting caught secretly buying cheap Russian oil, even after pretending last week that it was ending its business with the country after their invasion of Ukraine. Does it smell "like Ukrainian blood?," Ukraine's Foreign Minister wonders.
  • On Tuesday, after nearly two hellish weeks of unspeakable humanitarian suffering in Ukraine and pressure from the public to do the right thing, several more major American companies --- McDonald's, Starbucks, Coke and Pepsi --- finally decided to "pause" doing business in Russia.
  • The European Union, which has made the mistake of becoming reliant on Russia for about 45% of its gas imports, announced plans to try and wean themselves off two-thirds of it by year's end. Hopefully this will help hasten their move to clean, renewable energy.
  • President Biden announced today that the U.S. will halt all imports of Russian oil and gas. Hopefully this will help hasten our move to clean, renewable energy.
  • Also, both White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and President Biden pushed back hard against the obnoxiously phony claims by Republicans, Fox "News" and the oil industry that opening up more public land to oil and drilling leases and permits would lower surging U.S. gas prices. As both Psaki and Biden point out, Big Oil is already sitting on some 9,000 currently unused permits on millions of acres of land, as is. The GOP/Fox "News"/Big Oil axis of evil is really hoping that Americans don't know that, so they can blame Biden for the surge in global oil and gas prices...even as new polling finds American majorities are willing to pay more at the pump to help Ukraine and they want to expand renewable energy development, not fossil fuels.
  • The International Energy Agency (IAE) has a list of 10 things the EU can do to decrease gas use by at least 10% before year's end. Many of those things the U.S. can do as well. One thing many of us could and should do to lower the cost of gas in a big way during Russia's war on Ukraine --- since many of us already did it for much of the past two and a half years anyway, cleaning the skies and drastically lowering gas prices in the bargain --- WORK AT HOME AGAIN if possible!
  • The first January 6th insurrectionist to stand trial before a jury, was found guilty on all five felony counts today. (He's a helluva guy, apparently. Threatened to kill his own teenage children if they told on him. Ya know, as "patriots" do.) The DoJ hopes the result may lead other Trump insurrectionists to plead guilty. We hope it leads the DoJ to keep working their way up to the top of the insurrectionist cabal.
  • The leader of the violent rightwing street gang calling itself Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio --- who wasn't even at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021 (because he was in police custody on a separate crime) --- was indicted, with several others in his gang of white hoodlums, on conspiracy charges related to their violent, coordinated attack on the Capitol. Tarrio had reportedly met with Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes in a parking garage in the hours before the Republican assault on American democracy. Rhodes and several other Oath Keepers were also recently indicted on seditious conspiracy charges. And Rhodes, like another rightwing hoodlum facing new felony indictments in a separate matter (discussed below), had been a guest on The BradCast several years ago.
  • This story is amazing. Jesse Benton, a longtime Republican operative and former campaign manager for Senators Rand Paul (in 2010) and Mitch McConnell (in 2014), has already been pardoned for felony election fraud once, by Donald Trump in the closing days of his Administration. Now Benton has been indicted again, for more election fraud, and along with another former guest on The BradCast! Tune in for the full story, but Benton was originally charged and convicted some years ago for buying away an endorsement for about $75,000 from a Michele Bachmann supporter during the GOP Iowa Caucus in the 2012 Presidential campaign. At the time, he worked for Rand's father Ron Paul's Presidential campaign. Benton was sentenced to two years probation and a $10,000 fine just days before the scheme he has now been indicted for which includes receiving $100,000 from an unnamed Russian national, keeping $75,000 for himself, and giving $25,000 of it to the campaign of "Political Candidate 1" in his own name, an unlawful straw donation to avoid laws barring foreign money in American elections. Benton promised a meeting with "Political Candidate 1" in Philadelphia on September 22, 2016, the day that Donald Trump happened to be holding a fundraiser there. They all took pictures together, according to the September indictment unsealed on Monday, along with Doug Wead, a GOP Presidential historian and, in recent years, far-right operative who appeared a number of times on this program some years ago. Wead, a Senior Advisor to Ron Paul's 2012 campaign was indicted as a co-conspirator with Benton. They both face the potential of a lot of time in prison. Each of the six counts charged against both of them carries sentencing of 5 to 20 years. But, yup, more Russian money in Donald Trump's 2016 election. Who could have guessed it?
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, in which we can barely keep up with Russia/Ukraine related events in the energy industry (including nuclear) and as the U.N. offers some good news for a change, in this case regarding global plastic pollution.

All of the above is much funnier, outraging, and/or more enlightening when heard in full on today's surprisingly lively BradCast (given what we have to work with at times like these)...

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Guest host Nicole Sandler with Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler...
By Nicole Sandler on 2/25/2022 4:07pm PT  

It's Nicole Sandler, back for another day guest hosting the BradCast. Friday was another brutal day of war perpetrated by Vladimir Putin on the people of Ukraine. It's unfathomable that this is happening. There's coverage of it everywhere, so I thought that today, we'd focus on the rest of the news.

Well, obviously not all of it... but there were three areas I wanted to talk with the always brilliant MARCY WHEELER about. Marcy is an independent journalist who focuses on matters of national security and civil liberties at her own Emptywheel blog.

I spoke with her on Monday, Presidents' Day, which was a few days before Putin invaded Ukraine. Nevertheless, her thoughts on what brought us to that point are interesting, as she weaves all the threads together...

The first of the three areas she enlightened on was filing by Bill Barr-appointed Special Counsel John Durham, which Fox not-News covered ad nauseum for days, criticizing the responsible media for not reporting on it...until Fox themselves suddenly stopped talking about it.

Second, the progress being made on the Jan 6 insurrectionists prosecutions and House Select Committee investigation.

And, of course, Russia/Ukraine.

Marcy spends most of the hour with us, for which I am very grateful. Listen and be informed...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Spotify's shame; Disgraced CO County Clerk to run for SoS; BRAD BLOG server failure; 13th Anniversary 'Green News Report'; MORE...
By Brad Friedman on 2/17/2022 6:05pm PT  

"If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?," Donald Trump used to repeatedly bellow at his campaign rallies. "It's disgraceful," he would tell his MAGA Mob over and over again in 2016. "Only the mob takes the Fifth!" All words that, we just have a feeling on today's BradCast, may soon come back to haunt the disgraced, twice-impeached former President. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

Trump, and his family, and his family business, are now just losing motion after motion, case after case in courts across the country. And the more the losers lose, the more they have to lose.

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

  • The BRAD BLOG web server was offline for much of the past 24 hours. We explain what happened and why we're likely gonna need to some shows off in the days ahead in hopes of finally fixing it. (And, yes, we could really use your help!)
  • Of course, if we had an obscene $200 million contract from Spotify (not just $100 million as previously reported), it might be much easier to fix it. But nobody is worth $200 million just to talk on air or on a webstream, no matter how important what they may have to say. But that's especially true for folks like Joe Rogan, who just fills the time with words --- entertaining or otherwise --- that may also have the affect of killing people. Moral of the pathetic Spotify/Rogan story: the company doesn't pay its musical artists nearly enough and, if they have that much extra money lying around to blow on one guy to help spread deadly misinformation, they are also definitely not paying enough in taxes.
  • As to our loser former President and his loser family, Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka and son Don Jr. lost bigly in New York court on Thursday, where a judge ordered them to answer questions under oath within the next 21 days from state Attorney General Letitia James. She is investigating the family and their business for very clear evidence of years of bank, tax and insurance fraud. Their gambit to sue to the AG to avoid sitting for a deposition has failed and each of them may well consider pleading the Fifth very soon. Ya know, like the mob does.
  • The news was no better for Trump in his hopes of avoiding accountability regarding the insurrection he incited last year on January 6th, in his last desperate bid to steal the 2020 election. On Wednesday, President Biden and the White House counsel rejected Trump's attempt to invoke Executive Privilege to block White House visitor logs from January 6th, 2021.
  • And, also in D.C. this week, the Attorney General there had another victory in court over the Mob Family Trump, when a federal judge allowed him to restore the Trump Organization back into his lawsuit regarding millions of dollars that Trump and his family and his Trump Organization appear to have unlawfully stolen from the non-profit Presidential Inauguration Committee back in 2017. In a stunning ruling by a different judge last year, the company had been released from the lawsuit. But D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine brought evidence to the Court revealing that the unspeakably cheap and greedy Trump Organization inappropriately billed the Committee for about $50,000 in Inaugural weekend hotel rooms that they never ended up using. We explain the sleazy backstory.
  • In somewhat similarly amusing news, out in Colorado, the very Trumpy disgraced and recently arrested Mesa County Clerk, Tina Peters has now declared her intention to run for Secretary of State! Her backstory of recent disgraces --- apparently helping to steal and distribute proprietary voting system software after sneaking into a secure warehouse and turning off security cameras in the middle of the night; being relieved of her duties and barred from overseeing her county's election by a state judge; being investigated for election-related crimes by local, state and federal prosecutors; and being hilariously arrested last week for refusing to turn over evidence that she violated a judge's order by video-taping a court proceeding (among other stuff) --- should make her a top-notch candidate to win the GOP primary for the state's top election official this year! That, even as state Republicans are pretending as if they'd really rather she didn't run at all.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our 13th Anniversary Green News Report! Despite almost certainly being the nation's longest-running bi-weekly national broadcast devoted to coverage of our climate crisis, the news on that front continues get largely worse, not better, as revealed again in today's episode. Though, as usual, there is also a bit of very good news on that front to help the medicine go down a bit easier...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason; Also: Climate disaster in Rio; Retail sales boom under Biden; I.G. finds Trump Interior Sec. 'misused public office for private gain'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2022 6:05pm PT  

The clean up on aisle 45 seems to never end on The BradCast. But a whole bunch of experts (including our guest today) suggests our disgraced former President is inching ever closer to some very bad news --- at least in New York. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

First up, some other news not getting enough coverage today...

  • Our climate emergency continues to worsen, as 10 inches of rain fell in three hours in a mountainous tourist area near Rio in Brazil on Tuesday. As of airtime at least 58 were confirmed killed by the downpour and the deadly mudslides it triggered. That comes on the heels of at least 40 killed in similar storms in Brazil last month, as the nation's President, Jair Bolsonaro, has allowed for the acceleration of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, contributing to our worsening climate crisis and resulting in these deadly, extreme weather disasters.
  • The Biden economic boom continues, despite corporate media's continuing obsession with inflation. On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported consumer spending surged in January, and at much higher numbers than can be attributed to inflation. Retail sales nearly doubled what Dow Jones had previously estimated would be seen in January. A separate report today also found that industrial production spiked three times higher than estimates for last month.
  • Donald Trump's disgraced Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, "misused his public office for private gain" and lied about it to government ethics officials, according to a report [PDF] released Wednesday by the Department's Inspector General. Despite vowing, upon his confirmation as Trump's Interior chief in 2017, to disassociate with a foundation he worked with and a related commercial venture while serving as Secretary, Zinke was found to have communicated with the group dozens of times via email and text; had private meetings with them in D.C.; and played an "extensive, direct, and substantive role" in a commercial development project that would also benefit a private commercial project of his own in Montana. The I.G. reportedly referred the matter to Biden's Dept. of Justice, which --- for reasons unknown --- declined to bring criminal charges against Trump's disgraced former Interior chief. And, because no accountability was ever brought over this matter --- or a host of other personal Zinke scandals revealed while he served under Trump --- the wildly corrupt Zinke is now running again for high office in Montana, hoping to win back his old U.S. House seat this year.

Then, it's on to our guest today, for insight on a number of related matters.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Trump's longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, informed him and his family business last week that they would no longer be doing business with them. Moreover, they informed Trump that nearly 10 years of annual financial statements they'd prepared for him and the Trump Organization should no longer be relied upon to be accurate in any way, as it was based on faulty information supplied by Trump.

The company informed Trump that Statements of Financial Condition created from 2011 to 2020 were being retracted and that, due to a "conflict of interest", they would no longer be working for his company. The news came via a court filing on Monday by New York state Attorney General Letitia James in response to the attempt by Trump and his children to avoid depositions in James' civil investigation into alleged bank, tax and insurance fraud by all of them. The Manhattan D.A. is also running a concurrent criminal probe into many of the same matters.

Since that news became public this week, a number of legal experts have explained that Mazars' "conflict of interest" almost certainly means the firm is now cooperating with New York prosecutors against Trump and his businesses. Longtime Trump investigative reporter David Cay Johnston told CNN on Tuesday that he believes Trump and his company and maybe even his kids, will, in fact, be indicted on racketeering charges in the state.

We're joined today by former Asst. U.S. Attorney RANDALL D. ELIASON, who spent years as Chief of the DoJ's Public Corruption/Government Fraud section in D.C. He's now a law professor at George Washington University Law School where he is an expert in white collar criminal law. Eliason offers helpful insight into Trump's increasingly serious New York troubles and discusses his recent opinion piece at Washington Post calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to explain himself in regard to the DoJ's probe (or lack thereof) into the 10 or more obstruction of justice allegations detailed by Robert Mueller in the report on his Special Counsel investigation.

On the New York matter(s), Eliason cites a recent comment he'd heard that Mazars' dumping of Trump suggests "the ship is leaving the rats." He charges that the financial firm is clearly "trying to distance themselves, and that suggests they see something bad coming down the road for their client." He concurs that "the most likely explanation for what's going on is that Mazars is now cooperating, either in the criminal case or the civil case, or both, and potentially testifying against Trump and the Trump Organization. That definitely creates a conflict of interest, to where they'd say, 'Well, I can't be your accountant anymore because now I'm actually a witness against you.'"

Eliason also offers a very helpful explanation of what racketeering charges actually are, and how, if Johnston is right, that might play into the New York state prosecutions and even the investigation by Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis into Trump's conspiracy to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State. Eliason further helps us understand how both the NY state Attorney General and Manhattan D.A. could both ultimately bring charges for the same set of fraud crimes, but as a civil matter (resulting in fines and other such penalties) by the A.G. and as a criminal indictment (potentially resulting in prison time) by the D.A.

As to the curious case of Merrick Garland, as Eliason highlighted in his recent Post op-ed, he does not count himself among those who think that Biden's Attorney General is necessarily dropping the ball. But he does believe an explanation is warranted to the American people regarding any potential investigations of Trump on the many cases of obstruction painstakingly spelled out in Mueller's Special Counsel report on Russian interference in 2016 and Trump's related firing of FBI Director James Comey.

On Monday, the statute of limitations into the oldest such obstruction allegation cited by Mueller has now run out. (That, as Eliason detailed at the Post, was "Trump’s alleged request to then-FBI Director James B. Comey to drop the criminal investigation of disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Other acts of possible obstruction soon will be similarly time-barred.")

"This clock is ticking away," Eliason tells me today. "Given the size of the investigation, the seriousness of the investigation, the detail in that report, even though DoJ doesn't normally comment on cases that it's not going to bring, or that it's not prosecuting, in this case they should. They should tell us something about what's happened with that Mueller Report now that we have an administration in office that is not filled with Trump appointees."

Eliason spells out why he believes that, while the DoJ doesn't usually comment on such cases, "this is a unique case" where "a lot of people are really convinced that the evidence of obstruction was pretty overwhelming" and that "it's bad for the Department and bad for the country if that just is allowed to fade into the distance and nobody ever says, 'Hey, we did take a look at this, and here's what we decided.'"

In fact, Eliason believes there is evidence to suggest that Garland is carefully looking at Trump's potential criminal exposure in regard to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, but is less certain about his handling of the Mueller allegations and thinks "there should be some closure on that.".

All of this, of course, as the clock may also be ticking toward an announcement by Trump that he plans to run for President again in 2024. How would that affect any potential federal indictments against the twice-impeached former President? We discuss that matter --- "practically speaking, that gets really hairy --- as well.

Finally, in our closing few minutes, a few more thoughts on Trump's worsening New York woes from someone else with a unique perspective. George Conway, the longtime Republican attorney and husband of Trump's former Campaign Manager and White House aide Kellyanne Conway, tells CNN why he believes the Mazars news to be far worse for Trump than his two impeachments as President...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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