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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, July 13, 2024
Meanwhile... :
'BradCast' 7/11/24
Biden's tenuous candidacy; Trump and Orban; Inflation, prices falling; Climate liar Inhofe dies; California's stunning solar revolution...
'Green News Report' 7/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat as deadly Beryl fallout continues; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Republicans bravely seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
Previous GNRs: 7/9/24 - 6/25/24 - Archives...
Paging 'Johnny Unbeatable'! Dems in Disarray! (But Really This Time): 'BradCast' 7/10/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
SCOTUS Immunity Ruling 'As Bad as it Sounds', Arguably Worse: 'BradCast' 7/9/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner on that and the Court's massive 'power grab'; Also: Record-breaking Beryl; U.S. heat records smashed...
'Green News Report' 7/9/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Beryl breaks records, slams TX; 140 million Americans under heat advisories; Big SCOTUS gifts for polluters; PLUS: Biden unveils first-ever extreme heat protections for workers...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/24 - 6/27/24 - Archives...
So, What Now?:
'BradCast' 7/8/24
We're back! And our listeners have strong opinions about where the hell we are and how to move forward to save democracy after corrupt SCOTUS rulings and a disastrous Presidential Debate...
Overdue Debunking of MAGA Cult Xenophobia
CANNING: Throughout U.S. history, decent, hard-working immigrants (like me) have contributed to the economy and our nation's security: CANNING
Sunday 'Courting Disaster' Toons
THIS WEEK: Kings and Things! In our special SCOTUS-sized edition of the last impossible week's best political toons!...
Sunday 'Bad Medicine' Toons
THIS WEEK: Trump's hot pants ... Biden's cool reception ... SCOTUS gone wild ... and more in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
A Friendly Suggestion:
Harris-Newsom 2024
An orderly transition to save the nation...if Biden himself agrees...
Former Fed Prosecutor: SCOTUS Corruption Ruling Less Corrupt Than Appears: 'BradCast' 6/27/24
Guest: Randall D. Eliason; Also: 'Chevron Deference'; SCOTUS nixes EPA pollution rule...
'Green News Report' 6/27/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Disasterous flooding in China; Heatwave, crop failure in Inida; Fisaster upon disaster for NM town; On edge for SCOTUS decision; PLUS: Biden climate law creates 300,000 jobs!...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/24 - 6/20/24 - Archives...
Good News and Bad: At the Polls and From the Corrupted Court: 'BradCast' 6/26/24
NY, CO, UT, SC election results; SCOTUS on public corruption, social media; Long-overdue Biden pardons...
'Not Something Journalists Do': A NatSec Journo on Assange Hacking, Plea Deal: 'BradCast' 6/25/24
Guest: Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel; Also: VA Rep. vows to block apparent primary loss...
'Green News Report' 6/25/24
Extreme U.S. heat, flooding; FEMA warns of funding shortfall; Climate change spiking home insurance; PLUS: Global warming turbocharging heat, wildfires...
Fox 'News' Grooming Viewers for Another Insurrection: 'BradCast' 6/24/24
Guest: Matt Gertz of Media Matters; Also: Climate change is now wreaking brutal, deadly, expensive consequences...
Sunday 'Shark Jumping' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unsavable ... Untouchable ... Undebatable ... Undeniable... And more unavoidable mischief in our latest collection of the week's best political toons...
The Prophecy and Warning of the White Buffalo: 'BradCast' 6/20/24
Our global air pollution and climate crisis and what we can do about it; Also: Biden now leads in Fox 'News' polling; Trump Media stock tanking again; CNN debate set...
'Green News Report' 6/20/24
Extreme U.S. heat intensifies; First named storm of year; Evacuations in NM; Astonishing heat in India, Saudi Arabia; PLUS: U.S. schools grapple with extreme heat...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel; Also: VA's far-right Rep. Good vows to block certification of apparent narrow primary loss...
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2024 6:36pm PT  

Quite literally, as I signed off at the end of yesterday's show, a ton of alerts popped up on my iPhone with some pretty big and surprising news. News that turns out to be far more complex and/or nuanced than many seem to appreciate. So, that's where we pick things up on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST... As voters headed to the polls today in New York, Colorado, Utah and South Carolina for the last group of Congressional Primary Elections before next month's Republican National Convention, we're still keeping our eyes on a primary election from last week in Virginia.

Far-right Republican Rep. Bob Good, Chair of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, is currently just about 375 votes, out of more than 62,500 tallied, behind the even farther-right Republican state Sen. John McGuire in the GOP primary contest in VA's 16th Congressional District. With a margin that slim --- less than 1% --- whoever is certified next week as the winner of the currently "too close to call" race has every right to seek a recount. But Good --- who was opposed in the race by both Donald Trump and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy for various offenses against them --- is already on the offensive, charging that "this race cannot and must not be certified." He is claiming (without evidence, to date) "inappropriate activity" related to drop box voting in Lynchburg City, the largest in the district, that should prevent all votes in the city from being certified. That, even before a recount, apparently.

Good's own colleagues (all largely 2020 election deniers themselves!) appear to be laughing at him. Or worse. "No one is buying it," one House Republican told Axios. "What a loser," said another. "F**k Bob Good," said still another. But a Republican-turned-independent who lost to Good in 2020 may have best summed things up: "I don't find it surprising that an election between an election denier and an election denier would end with one of them denying the election was fair based on conspiracy theories."

In any event, we'll be watching and doing our best to ensure a fair, transparent recount, hopefully by hand and overseen by the public. We'll also be popping a fair amount of popcorn as it all plays out.

THEN... News broke last night that WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange had, at long last, struck a plea deal with the U.S. Dept. of Justice after years in a British maximum security prison fighting extradition to the U.S. and, before that, seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange was facing charges filed in 2019 by Donald Trump's DoJ related to the release, beginning in 2010, of a trove of stolen classified documents, many of which related to alleged war crimes carried out by the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan. But many of the documents were related to other things that were less than criminal or even newsworthy. And some, in fact, put a number of people in grave danger.

Moreover, as our guest --- a journalist who wrote a number of articles based on WikiLeaks documents herself --- details today, many of the documents were obtained via unlawful hacking that Assange himself appears to have participated in. Other documents published by WikiLeaks, such as a trove of emails from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's Campaign Chair, are believed to have been hacked by Russia and given to WikiLeaks for publication before the 2016 Presidential election with dubious or no news value whatsoever.

Still, Assange and his supporters have maintained that WikiLeaks is a journalism outfit and, as a journalist, he can't be held to account under U.S. law for simply publishing documents in the public's interest, even classified or stolen ones --- at least if he was not involved in the theft.

But there is far more to the story, as detailed on today's program by longtime, independent national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of EmptyWheel.net. As of airtime, the plea agreement detailing the single charge he agreed to plead guilty to --- reportedly related to the Espionage Act --- had not been released. But Wheeler attempts to clear up some of what she characterizes as propaganda that has long been circulated by Assange's supporters.

"His hacking into other countries started before he reached out to Chelsea Manning," the military intelligence analyst who turned over reams of documents to WikiLeaks, Wheeler tells me. Among the documents from Manning was the famous "Collateral Murder" video, revealing U.S. helicopter pilots gunning down 11 people in Iraq, including 2 Reuters journalists. Wheeler charges that Assange "tried to help Chelsea Manning break a password. Then the hacking conspiracy continued through 2016. In other words, the attempt to get other people to hack things. It was a larger hacking conspiracy that other people pled guilty to and went to jail for." All decidedly not the behavior of an actual journalist, she says.

She details the "very, very deliberate effort on the part of Wikileaks to hide the fact that the hacking conspiracy started before, and continued long after, the Chelsea Manning stuff," and notes, by way of another example, that, "in 2015, WikiLeaks helped Edward Snowden [a national security whistleblower] flee to Russia."

"That's not something journalists do," Wheeler asserts. "You might think it's honorable or heroic, but that's not something journalists ever do."

Of course, if the charge against Assange relates only to journalistic activity, but not hacking, then, Wheeler believes, it would be a serious threat to press freedoms, "this precedent of somebody being prosecuted for publishing something, especially if they've taken the hacking part away entirely."

Wheeler was "reasonably comfortable" if hacking was tied to the charges against Assange, "but once you take the hacking away, yeah, it is a terrible precedent we should all be worried about."

"Regardless of how much you hate Julian Assange, or regardless of whether you think what he did was newsworthy, just the precedent is a worrying precedent," she warns. "That may be what we're left with going forward."

UPDATE 6/26/2024: With the plea agreement [PDF] now released, Wheeler has a detailed article on the "Damaging Precedent of the Julian Assange Espionage Guilty Plea" that, as she explains, fails to focus "on the alleged hacking, which always distinguished Assange from journalists". She notes, "This plea could have been written in a way that limited the damage of the precedent. For reasons we have yet to discover (but which may have been dictated by Assange’s side, not DOJ’s), it was not.":

It's over. Both sides lost. Chelsea Manning especially lost, given the additional time she spent in jail resisting a subpoena for testimony that would never be used at trial.

The question remains how much damage this loss for both sides will do in the future.

FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with Climate Change Gone Wild as summer begins, with disastrous record flooding in the Upper Midwest compounding record heat and wildfires already over much of the country. And, with hurricane season heating up, FEMA warns of a shortfall in disaster funding if Congress doesn't act quickly...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Lake loses again in AZ; Trump loses again in NY; MD Guv pardons 175k for pot; Biden goes on offensive against 'liar and fraud' opponent...
By Brad Friedman on 6/18/2024 6:24pm PT  

There are just 140 days until the November 5 General Elections. Threats against them by adversaries both foreign and domestic are simmering and/or growing. We discuss some of them --- and much more --- on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • Kari Lake loses yet again. This time, it's the Arizona state Court of Appeals which has, again, rejected her claims that the 2022 gubernatorial election was stolen from her when she lost it by some 17,000 votes to Democrat Katie Hobbs.
  • Unexplained mass texts, warning of voter intimidation, falsely suggesting they were sent by the Spartanburg County Elections Office during South Carolina's down-ballot primaries last week, should serve as a warning for this November's elections.
  • U.S. officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are reportedly sending their own warnings, privately, to candidates in the U.S. who, they say, are being targeted with disinformation campaigns by foreign adversaries, including Russia, China and Iran.
  • And, in what should serve as yet another warning before November, a pro-Kremlin hacker group, said to be closely allied with Russia's intelligence services, reportedly took down the websites of a number of political parties and other institutions on the first day of voting in Europe's recent parliamentary elections.
  • New York's highest court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Donald Trump to lift the gag order barring him from attacking witnesses, jurors and the family members of prosecutors or the judge in the hush money/election interference case in which the disgraced former President was recently found guilty of 34 criminal felonies.
  • And, speaking of, the Biden-Harris Campaign is finally using Trump's shameful court losses --- for both felony crimes and civil liabilities --- against him, in an aggressive television ad and mass emails to supporters taking him to task as a "convicted felon" as well as "a liar and a fraud". Of course, even now, Team Biden will have to overcome ridiculous reporting on the effort by the New York Times, whose headline yesterday (until it was changed) read "Biden Campaign Ad Paints Trump as a Felon". Um...."paints" him as a felon?! He is a felon!
  • After telling us for months that President Biden is so mentally debilitated that "he can't string two sentences together," Donald Trump supporters like Sean Hannity at Fox "News" are now working overtime to try and lower expectations for him in advance of next week's first Presidential debate.
  • Maryland's Democratic Governor Wes Moore on Monday pardoned about 175,000 convictions related to marijuana and paraphernalia possession over the years. The long-overdue pardons, following the state's full legalization of marijuana last year, will help tens of thousands of Black and Brown people who were disproportionately charged and convicted over the many decades of our failed, frequently racist "war on drugs". Moore's action follows President Biden's 2022 mass pardon of thousands charged under federal marijuana law and his request to state Governors to take similar action given that most cannabis related crimes were brought under state law.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with news on hundreds of millions in the U.S. now (or soon) facing record heat from the Midwest to the East Coast and an early wildfire season out West; Similarly oppressive heat has been bearing down from Greece to the Middle East; Calgary is facing a serious water crisis in Canada; France's nukes are being shut down by cheaper renewable energy sources like wind and solar; And a major rail company must cough up some $400 million for unlawful trespass against a native American tribe...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Biden rising in polls; The fall of Alex Jones' corrupt empire; Producers pull phony '2000 Mules' doc; More GOP voter fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 6/11/2024 11:38am PT  

Yup. They'll believe anything. As discussed on today's BradCast, the MAGA dupes even have a new, insane explanation for why President Biden "allowed" his own, supposedly "weaponized"-against-Republicans DoJ to bring felony charges against his own son. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • The President's son, Hunter Biden, was found guilty by a federal jury in a Delaware courtroom on Tuesday, on charges that he had lied about his drug use on a federal background check form while purchasing a revolver in 2018, as he was overcoming his battle with drug addiction following the death of his brother. He never loaded the gun and owned it for just 11 days before his girlfriend thew it away. He was charged for something that nobody else has ever been charged with, unless they also committed an additional gun-related crime. Oddly enough, despite the "weaponization of the Justice Department" by Joe Biden to go after Trump and Republicans that we've heard so much about from Donald Trump and his MAGA minions, Hunter was found guilty on charges brought by a Trump-appointed federal prosecutor in a trial presided over by a Trump-appointed federal judge. President Biden said he "accepts" the jury verdict and does not plan to issue a pardon to his last living son.
  • That news comes on the heels of yesterday's program, in which we heard from Donald Trump supporting listeners about why they still support him, even after his conviction on 34 felony counts in New York related to a hush money payment to help him successfully rig the 2016 Presidential election. If you heard the show, you know that the reasons those callers still support Trump is that they have been wildly disinformed about all manner of facts, including their belief that Biden and/or his DoJ orchestrated the NY state prosecution. Even Trump's own former defense attorney in the case has called the evidence-free claim "ridiculous". But the dupes believe it nonetheless, along with a whole bunch of other Republicans who buy that nonsense and many more evidence-free claims regarding the 2020 election, the 2021 insurrection and more.
  • But, there is a bit of good news for Joe Biden and Democrats in recent polling following Trump's conviction in New York.
  • There is also good news for all of us, in that some of the biggest rightwing disinformers, other than Donald Trump, are finally facing some real accountability. Last week, it was reported that rightwing radio/podcast propagandist Alex Jones was liquidating his businesses, including his InfoWars program, to begin paying off his $1.5 billion defamation liability to families of Sandy Hook victims after years of lying about the tragic 2012 mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school as a "hoax."
  • And, at the end of May, the rightwing radio outfit Salem Media Group, apologized and retracted the hoax documentary called 2000 Mules, made by convicted rightwing election fraudster Dinesh D'Souza and the long-disgraced rightwing fraudster group called True the Vote. The film details a wholly debunked, wild conspiracy about Democrats scheming to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump through an insanely complex plot involving tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots deposited secretly into drop-boxes in battleground states. Salem pulled the film from distribution and apologies for it in response to a defamation suit filed by a man featured in the film via security camera footage and falsely described as committing election fraud. None of that, of course, will keep Trump and the MAGA dupes from continuing to cite the film as "evidence" of a stolen election --- even as it contains no actual, ya know, evidence of such any such scheme.
  • On the other hand, we have more actual voter fraud documented as having been committed by Republican voters. This time, its an 85-year old GOP voter who was found guilty last month of double voting at two different houses he owned in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire during the 2016 election.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with disturbing news on gains by far-right, anti-climate action political parties in the European Union's parliamentary elections over the weekend; dumb news on New York Governor Kathy Hochul's much-criticized halt to New York City congestion pricing; and good news on new vehicle mileage standards by the Biden Administration that will save consumers money and combat climate change...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Listeners call in with explanations; Also: U.N. Security Council approves Biden's Israel/Hamas ceasefire plan; EU moves toward far-right in parliamentary elections...
By Brad Friedman on 6/10/2024 6:10pm PT  

In the months leading up to the disgraced former President's recent felony convictions in New York, related to rigging the 2016 election in his favor, many Trump supporters told pollsters that they would reconsider their support for him if he was eventually convicted of a crime. As discussed on today's BradCast (and warned about on many programs prior), that was just another MAGA lie. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, first up today, some big news over the weekend and then again just about an hour before airtime today...

  • On Sunday, Israeli centrist Benny Gantz quit Israel's war Cabinet citing far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placing his own "political survival" above the country's security interests. Gantz, the popular former chief of the Israel Defense Forces, had joined Netanyahu in a unity coalition after Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel. But more recently he vowed to leave if Netanyahu continued to refuse to formulate a plan for postwar Gaza. On Sunday, Gantz made good on that promise though, ironically, his move now makes Netanyahu more beholden to his far-right coalition partners.
  • In related news, just before air today, the United Nations Security Council voted in favor of an Israel/Hamas peace proposal outlined and backed by President Biden. Russia abstained from the vote and the remaining 14 members of the Council all voted in favor of the resolution that seeks an immediate ceasefire, a return of all hostages and a permanent end to the eight-month war. Hamas welcomed the resolution. We will see if Netanyahu does the same. Don't hold your breath.
  • And, over the weekend, far-right political parties across Europe --- particularly in France, Germany and Italy --- made significant gains in EU parliamentary elections. While the center right is still expected to hold, the vote in favor of anti-migrant, anti-climate action factions has seriously shaken up the Eurozone and led to French President Emmanuel Macron dissolving the French government and calling for snap elections. The far-right's parliamentary gains, according to some analysts, are tied to a failure of progressive voters to simply show up to vote. You have been warned.
  • Finally, with convicted felon Donald Trump's sentencing in New York set for July 11, he was allowed to participate in a pre-sentencing probation interview remotely on Monday with his attorney present. (Both are privileges that no other convict enjoys) But, where many Republicans told pollsters before his conviction that they would rethink their support of the former President if he was found guilty of felonies, polling since the unanimous verdict finding him guilty of 34 counts of falsifying records as part of a hush-money scheme to rig the 2016 election, finds that many of those same Republicans are suddenly very much in favor of felonious criminals running for office. (See this and this and this and this, for more details.) Go figure. We take some calls today from listeners on that point, including several Trump supporters who try to explain why they are still supporting him even after his felony convictions. It was remarkably enlightening...at least for me...and will probably be absolutely maddening to you (as it also was for me)...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: We're back! With more COVID! And Mexico elects first female Prez...
By Brad Friedman on 6/3/2024 5:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: FINALLY! Accountability for a criminal U.S. President. And, no matter what you've heard, there's nothing "sad" about it at all. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

As noted at the top of show, after a week away for a holiday break, we had hoped to be at KPFK, our flagship station here in L.A., for today's show, to open the phones to listener calls on last week's big news. Alas, that will have to wait. Two (yes, two!) mostly mild, but otherwise kinda out-of-the-blue cases of COVID (both of them for Desi --- for now) over the past week, necessarily changed our plans at the last moment today. We explain all of that at the top of the show, along with the news out of Mexico where, on Sunday, Claudia Sheinbaum was elected as President. She will be the first female (and Jewish, and climate scientist!) elected President of the 200-year old nation.

With the popular leftist Sheinbaum's two opposing candidates conceding and congratulating her almost immediately after partial results of her landslide victory were announced, Mexico will enjoy a peaceful transfer of power later this year. Unfortunately, we can't predict the same here anymore. Not after our former President and current presumptive Republican nominee for 2024 tried to steal the 2020 election and, as confirmed by 12 citizen jurors last week in New York, successfully rigged the 2016 election by paying hush-money to a porn star.

As you may have heard, Donald J. Trump was convicted on 34 criminal felony counts late on Thursday following a six week trial and two days of jury deliberation. It was a first in American history and great news for those of us who actually believe in the Rule of Law and Accountability. (Ya know, as Republicans used to pretend to.) It was not a 'sad day for this country' as many on both the Right and, curiously, Left have described it. It is a day to celebrate. There is nothing sad about it. The verdict represents long overdue accountability for a criminal President. And not just long (and very) overdue for Trump himself, but long overdue for any American President, many of whom arguably should have faced similar consequences in years past. Perhaps now, current and future Presidents may think twice before breaking violating the law while in office or trying to win office.

While unable to be at the station to take calls from listeners today as hoped, we were able to call in two of our old friends --- award-winning columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullaballoo, and former attorney and lifelong Republican KEITH BARBER, who blogs on legal matters (as "KeithDB") at the progressive Daily Kos --- to join us for today's program. Both have been covering the trial closely, and both have been with us each week (for the most part) over the course of Trump's criminal trial in New York for our weekly "ketchup" shows, covering its goings on. And today, we've got a LOT to ketchup with!

Among the topics discussed related to the first-ever criminal felony conviction of a former (and perhaps future) U.S. President...

  • Parton and Barber's initial takes on last week's somewhat surprisingly swift and unanimous jury verdict.
  • The "sadness" (or lack thereof) of this historic moment.
  • The ridiculously muted response from elected Democrats.
  • The obscenely angry, disingenuous and lie-filled responses from brain-poisoned MAGA Republicans, elected and otherwise.
  • GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson's claim that his personal friends on the U.S. Supreme Court must now to step in to vacate this criminal conviction under state laws.
  • House Republicans call for Congressional subpoenas for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (who never ran on indicting Trump, as he and his supporters have been falsely claiming) and the daughter of presiding judge, Justice Juan Merchan (even as the case remains ongoing, before sentencing and months of appeals.)
  • And, finally, some thoughts on the trial underway as of today in Delaware against President Biden's son Hunter Biden on gun charges brought against him by a Trump-appointed Special Counsel, before a Trump-appointed federal judge, on a charge that has apparently never been brought against any other defendant in the nation without another charge related to something like felony misuse of the weapon along with it. (He owned the revolver in question for 11 days and reportedly never even loaded it before it was thrown away.) Not sure why Republicans are furiously opposing that trial. Go figure.

And, of course, much more...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: Election results and problem reports from KY, OR, GA, CA and MD...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2024 6:19pm PT  

How many times did the disgraced, twice-impeached, four-time criminally indicted former President tell us he would "absolutely" be taking the oath to testify in his own defense at his 2016 election interference trial in New York? More times than we can count. Each time was a lie, as discussed among other matters on today's BradCast, as closing arguments are set to begin next week, before jury deliberations in the first-ever criminal trial of a U.S. President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to today's "ketchup" konversation on Trump's first criminal trial, we touch on a few noteworthy results out of primary and special elections in Georgia, Kentucky, Oregon and California on Tuesday, along with problem reports for voters and tabulation out of Georgia, Kentucky and, from last week's primaries, in both Baltimore and Prince George's County, Maryland.

Then, we're joined once again by award-winning columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, of Salon and Hullaballoo, and former attorney and lifelong Republican KEITH BARBER, who now regularly blogs on legal matters as "KeithDB" at the progressive Daily Kos.

On Tuesday, the Defense rested in Donald J. Trump's criminal trial in New York on 34 felony counts related to a hush-money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels in the weeks before the 2016 election, in a successful effort to help him cheat to win it. The trial has focused on the subsequent, allegedly falsified reimbursements made by Trump during his first year in the White House to his then lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen to cover it all up.

Last week, Cohen finished his testimony as the final witness for the Prosecution. This week, Robert Costello, a cartoonishly thuggish lawyer buddy of both Trump and Rudy Giuliani, took the stand as one of just two witnesses called by the Defense. After a turn last week before the GOP's U.S. House "Weaponization of Justice" Committee, Costello would be the final witness for the Defense, in what turned out to be a wildly failed effort to try and discredit Cohen.

We catch up on all of that today, as we discuss, among other things...

  • Justice Juan Merchan's upbraiding of Costello during his obnoxious testimony as the Defense's star witness, turning what might have been a mild win for Trump following cross-examination last week of Cohen, into what both Parton and Barber characterize as a disaster for the Defense. According to Parton, "It was really stupid of them to call him, knowing that the prosecution already knew what he had to say...He was bombastic, he was rude. ... Costello looked like a hired gun."
  • To the surprise of absolutely no one, Trump failed to take the witness stand in his own defense after all, following months of promising to do so. It may have been the only smart thing he has done to help his case during the entire trial. As Parton notes, "Trump saw him as a good stand-in for himself," as he was almost certainly testifying at the instance of Trump and against advice of counsel. It went at least as poorly for Costello as it would have gone for the former President turned current Defendant, had he taken the stand.
  • Barber details what he sees as "the missing link" in the Prosecution's case and "the biggest weakness" in the Defense's cases; how the jury is likely to view Trump's lack of testifying in his own defense ("The jury will be strongly admonished by the judge to not consider Donald Trump's failure to testify"); and what exactly they will be charged with deciding when they are finally instructed by the judge --- likely beginning next week --- to begin deliberations.
  • Parton discusses her biggest concerns about the case, and how the mainstream corporate media has failed, yet again, in its responsibility of accurately reporting on the threat to the nation represented by Trump. Barber casts more blame on his old party, the Republicans.
  • And, in a related matter today, we turn to the federal criminal indictment against Trump down in Florida for stealing highly classified national security documents and refusing to return them to the Government. On Wednesday, earlier court documents related to the eventual search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago, were unsealed, leading Trump to lie about the FBI being "locked and loaded" in an attempt to "assassinate" him during the search...when Trump was in an entirely different state.

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Guest: Researcher Victoria Cadostin on 'Citizens for Sanity'; Also: Giuliani arraigned with fake electors in AZ; Defense rests in NY Trump trial; More...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2024 6:42pm PT  

We're back on today's BradCast after an unavoidable extended weekend due to a family funeral. We've got a lot to get caught up on today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to today's guest, a few quick headlines from over the weekend and through today...

  • Iran's President and Foreign Minister were killed over the weekend in a helicopter crash in foggy conditions in the northern part of the country.
  • The top prosecutor at the International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as three Hamas leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity in both Gaza and Israel.
  • A British court has granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the right to appeal his extradition to the U.S. on 17 espionage charges and one for computer misuse related to the publication of classified U.S. documents 15 years ago.
  • The New York Times revealed last week that rightwing Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito flew an upside down American flag --- a MAGA "stop the steal" symbol --- at his home for several days following the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Nonetheless, the corrupt Alito has failed to recuse himself from cases involving the 2020 election, including the Court's pending opinion on "Presidential Immunity" which has held up Trump's federal trial for months in his indictment on multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 election.
  • Rudy Giuliani and 11 others, including Kelli Ward, the former chair of the Arizona Republican Party, were arraigned on Tuesday in Phoenix for their roles in attempting to steal the state's 2020 election for Trump. Giuliani and the others face multiple counts each (nine in Rudy's case) related to conspiracy, forgery and fraud.
  • The Defense rested on Tuesday in Donald Trump's 2016 election interference trial in New York, where he is facing 34 felony charges related to the falsification of documents to hide a hush-money payment to a porn star just before that year's election day. The disgraced former President, who repeatedly vowed that he would testify in his own defense at the criminal trial, did not do so. As expected. Closing arguments are next week.
  • Voters headed to the polls on Tuesday for down-ballot primaries and special elections in Kentucky, Oregon, Georgia and California on Tuesday. We'll have any available noteworthy results and problems reports on tomorrow's BradCast.

Then we're joined by VICTORIA CADOSTIN, researcher and writer at the non-profit watchdog organization DOCUMENTED to explain who is behind the new Trump-aligned extremist group known as "Citizens for Sanity". In a weekend article at The Guardian, Cadostin and her colleague Brendan Fischer break down details from newly obtained filings by the dark money group revealing they spent more more than $90 million dollars in the final few months of 2022 alone on a flood of what have been described as "vile, racist and transphobic" ads designed to disinform, terrify, divide and incite the voting public.

"They were one of the biggest election spenders in the last election cycle," Cadostin explains. "What's really alarming about it is that our records show that Citizens For Sanity is housed at the Conservative Partnership Institute, which has been characterized as the 'nerve center' of the rightwing." She describes the group as the homebase for the Trump Administration in exile, as it's led by former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as well as one of his former attorneys (and election fraudsters) Cleta Mitchell. It also shares the same leadership with American First Legal, a rightwing extremist lawfare organization headed up by Trump's MAGA anti-immigrant henchman Stephen Miller.

"CPI represents the creation of MAGA political infrastructure," says Cadostin. "These are all folks who are in the MAGA world very deeply, and who have a lot of power in that world, who are pushing out this messaging and pushing out extremism."

The group spent tens of millions of dollars from unknown donors on ads that air heavily in battleground states and swing districts, and even during highly-viewed mainstream events such as the World Series.

The organization uses racist messaging against Blacks and Latino immigrants in its ads, even while it also targets those same communities with different ads in hopes of suppressing their voters. "It's really a targeted effort to stoke racial hostility and suppress the vote however they can for the base that they don't think will vote Republican or conservative," she says. "While at the same time pushing out messaging that will move a conservative base, a white American base, to show up at the polls. It is very sinister, the way they are twisting this, using this information to mobilize one particular base against another."

"These divisive ads and the spreading of misinformation in order to sway folks in swing districts have a real impact outside of just voting," argues Cadostin. "This kind of messaging supports the rise of anti-trans legislation and violence against trans folks, as well as the rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, legislation and violence. Powerful folks are throwing money around to manufacture racial and gendered hostility in the voting population. And it's also further evidence that attacks on equality and democracy are often coming from the exact same place."

What can be done about any of it, since, as disgusting as it all is, it's all largely been legalized by a string of rightwing SCOTUS decisions over the years? We discuss that as well on today's BradCast...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2024 6:38pm PT  

It has been the most important week in the New York criminal trial of Donald J. Trump, as the last witness for the prosecution, Trump's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen took the stand. The court is off today, so we have time on today's BradCast to catch our breath for yet another Trump Trial "ketchup" show for you. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST, we've got a few noteworthy results from Tuesday's primary elections in Nebraska, Maryland and West Virginia, where, once again --- other than in WV --- Joe Biden outperformed Donald Trump among their respective party voters. Yes, the zombie campaign of Nikki Haley keeps on going. The former South Carolina Governor, who dropped out of the race months ago at this point, won 20% of the GOP vote in MD, while she and one other GOP candidate (that few have heard of) won about the same percentage among Republicans in Nebraska. In both states, Biden outpaced Trump among his own party's primary voters. FWIW.

On Wednesday, Biden threw down the gauntlet to challenge Trump to two early debates hosted by media outlets --- in a studio, without an audience --- rather than by the non-partisan Committee on Presidential Debates. The Biden-Harris Campaign explained their several reasons for pre-empting the CPD in a letter. They are mostly good ones. Among them, the fact that the group has failed to update its schedule for debates to hold them before tens of millions of Americans have already cast their ballots this year via early and absentee voting.

Trump quickly accepted the challenge, and within hours the pair had agreed to allow CNN host the first debate in Atlanta on June 27, and ABC to host the second on September 10.

THEN, it's on to today's coverage of noteworthy news from the 5th week of the first-ever criminal trial of a former American President. We're joined again today for insight and commentary by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning Salon columnist and Hullaballoo blogger, and former attorney and former Republican KEITH BARBER, who now blogs on legal matters as "KeithDB" at the progressive Daily Kos.

Among our many topics of discussion today...

  • Parton discusses the embarrassing parade of elected Republican deplorables now showing up at the courthouse in Manhattan --- mostly in red ties and navy suits --- to display their love for the boss, audition to become his Vice Presidential nominee, and/or say the things that the Court has barred Trump from saying via a gag order. Among the "toadies [who] came a-croaking," as Barber quips: Senators JD Vance (OH) and Tommy Tuberville (AL), Rep. Byron Donalds (FL), Gov. Doug Burgham (ND), Vivek Ramaswamy, and, perhaps most shamefully from the former "Rule of Law" party, House Speaker Mike Johnson (LA). "These people are playing to Donald Trump," explains Parton, along with the warning that many of them are "the Michael Cohens the future."
  • This week's critical testimony of Michael Cohen --- who Parton describes as a "diminished, humiliated man sitting on the witness stand having to admit, over and over again, that he was a liar, a fool, a dupe, he got sent to jail, all in service to Donald Trump" --- and the "smoking gun" bank statement featuring proof of Cohen's $130,000 hush-money payment to porn storm Stormy Daniels. That document, we have now learned, also features Cohen's own hand-writing and that of former (now jailed for perjury) Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. Their marginalia details how the falsified reimbursements to Cohen, fraudulently described in the Trump Org's books as "legal retainer" fees, would be made in $35,000 monthly payments by Trump during his first year in the White House. But, as importantly, Cohen testified that Trump personally approved the fraudulent reimbursement scheme during a meeting at Trump Tower with both Cohen and Weisselberg present after Trump's hush-money scheme helped him to win the 2016 election.
  • Barber describes what he saw as a surprisingly limp start to cross-examination of Cohen by Trump's lead attorney, Todd Blanche, on Tuesday and how, frankly, Team Trump doesn't seem to have much to work with after the Prosecution spent much of their direct examination "inoculating the jury" to Cohen's many years of lying on behalf of Trump before he came clean and pleaded guilty to many of the crimes Trump is now being held to account for. Trump's attorneys have presented no alternative theory in the case, says Barber. Which also means they are unlikely to offer much, if any, defense case at all after the Prosecution rests. On Tuesday, they informed the judge that Cohen will be their final witness. Team Trump, meanwhile, is still pretending that Trump might actually testify. (He won't.)

Cohen's cross-examination of continues and likely completes on Thursday, and then the court will be off on Friday to allow Trump to go to his son Baron's high-school graduation (if the disgraced former President actually bothers to show up for it.) But it's been a fascinating and critical week of testimony so far, including Cohen's explanation of how he spent years "knee-deep in the cult of Donald Trump".

"Cult of Donald Trump"? What "cult of Donald Trump"?...

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Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon appeal denied; Giuliani fired; Trial begins for Menendez; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal case...
By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2024 6:23pm PT  

We've got a whole lotta Trump accountability news (and some for one high-ranking Democrat as well) since we last spoke to you on The BradCast last week. We'll get you up to speed on all of that today, but not before getting caught up on a crazy recount situation out here in the Golden State which I hope does not serve as a precursor to election challenges this Fall. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The March 5th Super Tuesday primary elections here in California ended in an exact tie in the race to fill the Northern California U.S. House seat being vacated by long-serving, now-retiring Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo in the state's 16th Congressional District.

The exact tie --- with 30,249 votes for each candidate --- was not for first place, but for second place. Since 2010, California has used a Top-Two primary system where all candidates in a race, from any and all parties, run in the same primary. The top two vote getters --- regardless of party --- then move on to the general election in November.

In the CA-16 race, with 11 candidates running in March, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo won with a fairly comfortable 5 point margin. In second place, however, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and state Assemblymember Evan Low were tied according to the certified results in early April.

Under CA law, that meant all three --- all Democrats in the very left-leaning Bay Area district --- would advance to the general, for the first time in CA's Top-Two primary history. That left all three men seemingly happy enough. Liccardo, in first place, would have his competition split between two competitors and Simitian and Low would each go to the general election. Neither dared asked for a recount, because a single change of even one vote would knock one of the second-place finishers out.

CA law doesn't allow for an automatic, state-funded recount in such closes races (as dozens of other states do). But it does allow any voter to request a recount in any race they like, so long as they are willing to pay for it. If the final recounted results cause a change to the certified results of the election, the requester is supposed to be refunded. At least, in theory.

A guy by the name of Jonathan Padilla sought a recount in the race. He filed on behalf of Low, because you have to file on behalf of one of the candidates, even though Low says he had nothing to do with the request. Padilla, it seems, had worked for first-place finisher Liccardo during his 2014 run for Mayor in San Jose, though not lately. And while Liccardo says he knows nothing about Padilla's effort here, and nobody seems to know who actually funded the recount, it was carried out over several weeks recently in both San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, which the 16th CD splits across.

Padilla was initially told that the recount would cost about $320,000 in Santa Clara alone. It would cost another $84,000 to recount in San Mateo, astronomically high numbers in a state which still allows County Registrars to charge pretty much anything they like. Those charges vary wildly from county to county (as we have detailed multiple times over the years) and all votes cast in a race must be re-tallied in order for results to be official recertified.

The costs to Padilla were then largely cut in half once he agreed to a recount by the same computer scanners that tallied the ballots in the initial count, rather than by a manual hand-count wherein results can be known to be accurate.

In any event, please tune in to find out who won the recount (by just 5 votes total!) and why it is that the CA Sec. of State now says Padilla is not due a refund after all, even though the results of the recount changed the results of the election to send just two candidates, instead of three, to this year's general.

We're joined today by DR. JOHN MAA, a San Francisco-based surgeon who was the first voter ever in California to seek and fund a statewide recount of a ballot initiative way back in 2010. He has become a bit of an expert in CA recounts since then, and advised both Low and Simitian during the recent 16th District recount.

Maa explains a number of vulnerabilities in CA's antiquated recount laws that were once again exposed by this latest recount, from seemingly arbitrary costs to requesters in each CA county (making recounts unaffordable to all but the weathiest of voters or candidates), to the concerns about retallying votes by the same computer scanners that tallied them in the first place, to the absurd ruling by the SoS that Padilla should not be refunded for the entire thing.

"Ultimately, I believe that the requester is a hero for Election Integrity," Maa tells me about Padilla. "And they bore the cost of what I believe that the Registrar's office should have done, because their certification of a tie was actually in error."

Tune in for much more.

THEN, in the second half of today's program, we get caught up on a whole bunch of legal woes for Donald Trump and several of his top supporters, as well as accountability for New Jersey's sitting Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, who is accused, along with his wife, of bribery and corruption to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. His criminal trial began jury selection in Manhattan today.

As to the Trumpers, 2016 Campaign Manager and top Trump White House Advisor Steve Bannon's appeal was rejected late last week in the two Contempt of Congress charges he was found guilty of, resulting in a four-month sentence for defying subpoenas from the Congressional Committee investigating the Trump-incited January 6th insurrection. Bannon has a few more appeal options left before he, like White House trade advisor Pete Navarro (already serving four months for the same crime) is sent off to a federal penal facility.

Trump's disgraced 2020 attorney and former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani --- who is also facing criminal charges in Arizona and Georgia, a bunch of civil lawsuits and has already been found liable for $148 million for repeatedly defaming two Atlanta poll workers in 2020 --- was fired from his daily radio show gig at WABC in New York. Apparently, the billionaire Republican owner of the station let him go because Rudy refused to stop lying about the results of the 2020 election on air. Sad!

And, also in New York on Monday, Trump's former personal lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen finally took the stand to offer pivotal testimony in the disgraced former President's first criminal trial on 34 felony counts related to the falsification of business records meant to hide his White House repayments to Cohen for hush-money given to porn star Stormy Daniels to help him win the 2016 election.

Oh, and a few callers ring in today as well, in another very busy BradCast to kick off the week!...

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A veteran reporter speaks out; DHS marshals election defenses; Lara Trump lies about ballots; Johnson lies about 'illegals' voting; Also: MTG's spectacular fail; Stormy wins the day; Biden finally cuts off Israel...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2024 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Why we're taking sides for democracy in this year's election. And why every real journalist should. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program (and not necessarily in this order)...

  • Journalist John Harwood: "As a Veteran Reporter, I've Always Valued Neutrality. But Trump's Threat To Democracy Should be the Biggest Political Story of 2024"
  • USA Today: "Exclusive: Homeland Security ramping up 'with intensity' to respond to election threats"
  • The RNC, recently taken over by Donald Trump in full, is now little more than an election denialist/voter suppression operation (and, of course, a personal ATM for Trump). They recently fired their newly hired election law expert for not pretending enough that the 2020 election was stolen; New co-chair Lara Trump is taking to Fox "News" to spread disinformation about absentee ballots and ballot counting; House Speaker Mike Johnson is introducing a bill to make it illegal for non-U.S. citizens to vote in federal elections --- which is already illegal --- and claiming that, while there may be zero evidence, "we all know intuitively that a lot of illegals are voting".

Also, some news since we last spoke...

  • Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tried and then failed spectacularly (thanks to help from House Democrats) to remove the Republican House Speaker again.
  • Stormy Daniels completed her testimony in Trump's 2016 election interference case in New York. The cross-examination, according to many reports, did not go well for Team Trump.
  • Joe Biden finally cuts off offensive weapons to Israel for Benjamin Netanyahu's promised threat of a full ground invasion in southern Gaza.

And finally...

  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as tornadoes leave trails of destruction in the U.S.; Florida bans "climate change" as hurricane season begins; House Republicans open a new pretend battle in their "War on Woke Appliances"; and U.S. culture finally begins to reflect climate reality...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: 'Warning signs' from IN primary results; Blankenship's run in WV...
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2024 5:23pm PT  

Once again, on today's BradCast, we've got a mid-week "ketchup" for you, with everything you need to know about the disgraced former President's still-ongoing, first criminal trial. And it's been a very big week in that regard. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, first up today, interesting results out of Indiana on Tuesday, where the "zombie campaign" of Nikki Haley, who quit the race two months ago, still racked up nearly 22% of the vote in the Republican Presidential Primary against Donald Trump. (Joe Biden ran uncontested on the Democratic side.)

Next week's primaries will be in Nebraska, Maryland and West Virginia, where former coal baron and federally convicted criminal Don Blankenship --- a hard-right loon --- has decided to run in the Democratic primary to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by rightwing Democrat Joe Manchin. Blankenship lost as the Republican nominee against Manchin in 2018. This year, as a "Democrat", he'll be running next week in WV against staunch pro-union candidate Glenn Elliot and Marine Corp vet and grassroots organizer Zach Shrewsbury. The winner will likely be taking on current Governor and coal baron billionaire Jim Justice who ran for Governor as a Democrat in 2016 before flipping to Republican in 2017 just after he was elected.

Then, it's on to today's coverage of the past week's criminal Trump Trial in New York, where the former (and future?) President faces 34 felony charges related to hush-money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels to help him win the 2016 Presidential election. Daniels was called by the Prosecution for testimony on Tuesday and, as you likely know by now, it was a bit of a blockbuster.

We're joined today by our old friends HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning columnist at Salon and longtime blogger at Hullaballoo, and former attorney and former Republican KEITH BARBER, who now blogs on legal and Constitutional matters as "KeithDB" at the progressive Daily Kos website.

Among the topics of today's conversation...

  • Daniels' disturbing testimony about her disturbing, apparently "quasi-non-consensual" (as Barber describes it) sexual encounter with Trump during a celebrity golf event in Lake Tahoe and why specific details of that counter either are or are not important to the Prosecution's case. (Barber: "If Trump invites you to a dinner date, don't expect dinner.")
  • Why Trump's attorneys sought a mistrial on Tuesday, but were rejected by the trial judge.
  • How Team Trump's various over-ruled objections are likely working against them.
  • How the Defense is doing in its attempt, so far, to cross-examine Daniels. (Barber: Trump's team was "too ham-fisted" and "outsmarted by the adult industry star.") The cross continues on Thursday.
  • Why last week's testimony by former, longtime Trump aid Hope Hicks was so important to the State's case, and why she broke down in tears as the cross-examination began. (Parton: "A devastating blow to his defense.")
  • Why Monday's testimony from the Trump Organization's former Controller and its current chief of Accounts Payable was so important to the Prosecution's case.
  • How all of this is being reported (or not) by mainstream media and rightwing media (Parton: "Fox is not covering it. Neither is Newsmax or OAN.") and heard by voters in both cases.
  • Whether the lack, so far, of testimony describing Trump himself as ordering the falsification of business records is going to be a problem for the Prosecution, and whether upcoming testimony by Michael Cohen can fix that.
  • Whether Trump will be held in criminal contempt by the judge for the eleventh time and if he'll actually be given jail time for his next violation of the court's gag-order. (Parton: "Trump doesn't want to go to jail. They don't have hair and makeup people in there." Barber: "He doesn't want to go to jail, no matter how much he'll tell his stupid MAGA followers that he does.")

All of that and much more on today's lively Trump Trial Ketchup show!...

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Guest: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks; Also: Stormy takes the stand in NY; GA's Republican former Lt. Gov. endorses Biden...
By Brad Friedman on 5/7/2024 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A new cybersecurity incident has emerged in Coffee County, Georgia. That's the now-notorious rural enclave in the southeastern part of the Presidential battleground state where Donald Trump allies and operatives, in January of 2021, unlawfully breached, copied and distributed the state's proprietary touchscreen voting system software after the 2020 Presidential election. Five participants in that breach were charged with felonies as part of the broad racketeering conspiracy case against Trump filed in Fulton County, GA. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get there today, however, some quick news on Trump's New York criminal trial, where he stands accused of 34 felonies related to hush-money payments made just before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels. She took the stand today. We cover a few quick details, but will cover that and other related news in more depth on tomorrow's mid-week Trump Trial "Ketchup" program.

Also today, we're happy to announce another very rarely-bestowed BRAD BLOG Intellectually Honest Conservative Award. This one for Georgia's Republican former Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. The prestigious honor comes in response to his courageous op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution this week, in which he endorsed Joe Biden and encouraged fellow Never Trump Republicans to do the same, noting, "Unlike Trump, I’ve belonged to the GOP my entire life. This November, I am voting for a decent person I disagree with on policy over a criminal defendant without a moral compass."

Then, it's back to Georgia, where the Coffee County Board of Commissioners released a notice [PDF] late last month that they'd been notified by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), 11 days earlier, about "unusual cyberactivity" on the County's local IT system. The terse statement from the County confirmed indications of "cyber-activity by an unknown malicious actor(s)". It claimed that "Steps have been taken to further secure the network and protect Coffee County's IT infrastructure", while noting that it had "informed Federal Authorities of the incident". (Yes, that would seemingly be the same incident that the very same press release says Federal Authorities, DHS and CISA, notified THEM about.)

We're joined today by longtime Election Integrity and Transparency champion MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG). Marks was the one who first learned about Team Trump's unlawful breach of GA's statewide voting system hardware and software in Coffee County that first took place on January 7, 2021 (the day after Trump's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.) Her revelations resulted in the charges filed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis against Trump attorney Sidney Powell (who pleaded guilty) and others involved in the Coffee County break in.

As Director of CGG, Marks is also the plaintiff in civil lawsuit in federal court, filed in 2017, seeking to ban GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's mandated use of the state's easily-hacked, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in favor of verifiable hand-marked paper ballots. The trial in that long-running case, known as Curling v. Raffensperger, was finally held in January of this year. As Marks explains today, plaintiffs are still waiting on a verdict from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg who oversaw the trial, which included demonstrations from plaintiffs' experts revealing that Raffensperger's systems can be hacked by any voter at the polling place with nothing more than a ballpoint pen.

Today, Marks charges that Coffee County appears to have "hid and concealed" information about the new cybersecurity incident from the Sec. of State's office "for some number of days." Though little is still known publicly about the new hack, she is troubled by the news. "This cannot just be coincidence that there have been two such cyberattacks this year on counties, one in Fulton and one in Coffee. That's it. The two counties that have a lot of information challenging Trump and his allies related to [the earlier breach in Coffee] and the theft of the [voting] software to begin with."

We also get an update from Marks on the status of the Curling case, where it is getting very late in the election year for the judge to issue a ruling that would require Georgia to make hand-marked paper ballots available to voters at the polls this November. Marks, however, remains ever hopeful, noting that the move to hand-marked ballots would require no new equipment above and beyond what is already available at each GA precinct.

Marks also discusses a new Georgia law (signed by Gov. Brian Kemp this evening) that will eventually ban the use of tabulation via QRCodes on computer-marked ballots, requiring computer scanners to tabulate from the ballots' human-readable text that is supposedly verified by voters after it is printed and before its cast. Unfortunately, as she explains, that bill, even if implemented in 2026 as mandated by the legislation, will not make the state's touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices any less vulnerable to manipulation or any more verifiable by the public after an election.

Marks, whose organization found no evidence that Biden's 2020 victory in the Peach State was decided incorrectly, is also offering testimony this week to the GA State Board of Elections, advocating that recounts in the state must be carried out by hand, rather than by the same computerized scanners that tallied ballots in the first place.

"The state law is quite clear, a recount is to be done by hand, for obvious reasons such as the machine [used to tally ballots] is coded wrong," she explains. Otherwise, she adds, you're going to get the same incorrect results "if you just run the ballot back through the machine that is miscoded."

The reason that Trump supporters are still arguing over the 2020 tally in the state, she believes, is thanks to the lack of a public hand-count after that very close election. Raffensperger insisted on a machine tally instead. "All of that could have been solved if they had done a manual recount, as the law required. Which would have allowed Trump to appoint a counter at every table, handle every single ballot. And they would have had a hard time arguing then about counterfeit ballots, wrong counts, no transparency," Marks tells me. "A lot of the problems that we've lived with now over three years would have been solved if they had just followed the law and done a manual recount."

Finally today, we close with our latest Green News Report, with Desi Doyen's coverage of relentless rain and deadly flooding in both Brazil and Houston; the hottest April ever recorded on Planet Earth; and President Biden's unveiling of billions of dollars to spur clean energy production in rural areas and the removal and replacement of toxic lead water pipes across the nation...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Latest in Israel's war on Gaza; Latest in Trump's NY criminal trial...
By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2024 6:52pm PT  

We've got a lot of news from around the globe and right here at home on today's BradCast. Some of it is even not terrible! But, yeah, much of it is. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • It will be eight years next month since the 2016 BREXIT referendum in Great Britain offered a foreboding omen in advance of that year's Presidential election here in the U.S. We'll hope this past weekend's election results for mayoral races in London and elsewhere in Britain --- where the Conservative Party suffered crushing defeats against the Labour Party --- offer a much brighter omen for the UK's national elections later this year and the 2024 Presidential election here in the U.S. in November.
  • On the other hand, hopefully it is not Panama's weekend elections offering us an omen instead. A last-minute replacement for the country's former, popular, charismatic but criminal President --- who is barred from the ballot as he seeks sanctuary in the Nicaraguan Embassy after being sentenced to 10 years in prison for money laundering --- defeated three other rivals to win the Presidency on Sunday.
  • In other foreign affairs, we've got a lot of news out of Israel today. Over the weekend, the government of rightwing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shut down the local operations of Qatar-based news agency Al-Jazeera in a crackdown being decried by world journalism organizations as an attack on press freedoms. Hamas announced on Monday that it had accepted a cease-fire proposal forwarded via the Egyptian-Qatari based negotiations with Israel, but Israel --- which says it is studying the proposal --- appeared to be rejecting it as they began striking targets in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. That, as the Biden Administration has been warning Israel of threatened changes in U.S. support if a ground invasion in southern Gaza does not include measures to insure the safety of hundreds of thousands of civilian refugees. And all of that follows on what Axios reported last week as a hold placed by the Administration on a shipment of U.S.-made ammo earmarked for Israel, which may now be caught up in President Biden's push for more guarantees about its use by Israel.
  • But I thought the disgraced former President told us that the U.S. Justice Department has been weaponized by Democrats to go after Republicans?! If so, they've got a funny way of showing it. Last year, the DoJ indicted New Jersey's sitting Democratic Senator Bob Menendez (and his wife) on bribery and corruption charges. On Friday, the DoJ indicted Texas' Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar (and his wife) on bribery and corruption charges. Its almost as if Trump was lying about the justice system being "weaponized" by Democrats to go after him and Republicans.
  • Speaking of our corrupt, lying, former President. Donald Trump was slapped with another fine on Monday for violating the court's gag-order against attacking jurors and witnesses. That brings the total number of contempt violations during his 2016 election interference case to 10. New York Superior Court Justice Juan Merchan once again warned that a jail sentence may be imposed after any more violations. As to the actual trial on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to hide a hush-money payment made to a porn star to help him win in 2016, the Trump Organization's former Controller and its Accounts Payable Supervisor testified for the Prosecution on Monday about how Trump, while serving in the White House, signed checks from his personal account, fraudulently logged as legal expenses, to reimburse his former attorney Michael Cohen for the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels.
  • Record flooding from climate change-fueled downpours in a wealthy section of Brazil is being described as among the worst disasters in its history, leading to chaos, the shutdown of highways and airports, hospitals without power, widespread looting, helicopter rooftop rescues, 20,000 left homeless and, so far, at least 83 deaths. "This was the third record flood in the same region of the country in less than a year," lamented Brazil's President, decrying his nation's lack of preparedness for the worst effects of climate change and for the "historic debt" that wealthy nations who caused this problem through the unfettered emission of climate warming greenhouse gasses owe to poorer countries who emitted little of it, but are now suffering the worst of the global consequences nonetheless.
  • Brazil's weekend disaster reportedly evoked scenes from post-Katrina New Orleans and post-Harvey Houston here in the U.S. But, over the same weekend, new scenes from Houston itself evoked the same thing, following days of downpours that pummeled the region and left residents stranded on rooftops requiring hundreds of rescues. Again. Some 23 inches of rain fell in Harris County over the past week, as floodwaters are finally beginning to recede in the nation's third-largest county today. Flood insurance has become all but unaffordable for many residents after years of ever-worsening storms as our global climate crisis continues to tighten its deadly grip. A disaster declaration was issued by the state's Governor in 91 counties impacted by the latest round of extreme weather in Texas.
  • Finally, with increased heat and moisture in the air, traditionally mosquito-free Los Angeles County is mosquito-free no more. County officials are now unleashing tens of thousands of irradiated male mosquitos (which don't bite), as part of a pilot program to target the female population (which do) for a particularly aggressive strain of bugs that have grown more aggressive in recent years, and are now said to be a vector for a number of deadly diseases. All thanks to climate change. Happy Spring!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Dr. Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote', Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: Dems outperform again in NY; 4th Circuit nixes some PA ballots; Federal judges strike down LA's new Black majority House district...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2024 6:15pm PT  

The historic trial for Donald Trump's 2016 election interference indictment continues, but was on a break today in New York. That gives us an opportunity to get caught up with all the action since our previous mid-week "ketchup" episode in the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. President. We have much to discuss to that end on today's BradCast, but we first kick it off with some election and voting rights news. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • Democrats "massively outperformed" pre-election polling yet again on Tuesday, in a Special Election for the U.S. House in New York's 26th Congressional District. Timothy Kennedy was predicted to win the seat by 9 points. He won by 36!!!
  • The Trump-appointee heavy 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals voted to uphold a three-judge panel finding that mail-in ballots with missing or incorrect dates on their outer envelope in Pennsylvania must be tossed out, even though, as both sides agree, that date is used for exactly nothing. If a voter, for example, writes 2023 instead of 2024 on the ballot's outer sleeve this November, it cannot be counted, according to the Court. Democrats disproportionately vote by mail, as compared to Republicans, in the Keystone State. Voting Rights advocates are now deciding whether to take the matter to SCOTUS (good luck with that) or rehear the matter on a different basis at the trial court. Both options offer a perilous path before this year's election in the critical battleground state.
  • In an absolutely twisted ruling, a three-judge federal panel ruled on Tuesday struck down Louisiana's newly-drawn second majority-Black U.S. House district, declaring it to be "an impermissible racial gerrymander". The new House map was approved by the state's GOP-controlled legislature earlier this year after they'd lost their long fight in federal court against adding a second Black voting district in a state which has long had just one (out of six), despite Black voters comprising one-third of the state. The new map with the newly redrawn district was already used to select candidates in the state's primaries last month. As explained today, this is likely to become a real test of the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court's often opportunistically used, so-called "Purcell Principle".

NEXT, we're joined by longtime Trump-crime watchers DR. ALLISON GILL of the notorious Mueller, She Wrote and The Daily Beans Podcast, and attorney KEITH BARBER of Daily Kos. Among the topics we finally get caught up on today...

  • Why Trump is reportedly furious at his attorneys.
  • Trump's Tuesday conviction on criminal contempt of court charges for violating his gag order nine times, and what those charges may mean for the bail conditions in his three other criminal indictments.
  • How Trump is benefiting from --- and staying out of jail due to --- an obviously two-tiered justice system.
  • Drowsy Don's reported inability to stay awake during the trial, why it's happening and what jurors are likely to make of it.
  • What we've learned from recent witnesses including CSPAN's archivist; Stormy Daniels' and Karen McDougal's former attorney Keith Davidson (and why they both had the same attorney?!); and Gary Farro, the banker who set up the account that then Trump attorney Michael Cohen used to send $130,000 in hush-money to Daniels just before the 2016 election.
  • Why Trump's family, friends and supporters are largely failing to show up for him in NY at all.
  • And how convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein's recently overturned NY conviction may affect the case against our disgraced former President...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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2024 needs transformative solidarity to overcome corrupt, authoritarian forces unleashed with the help of past third-party campaigns...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/1/2024 9:35am PT  

At a moment when, as President Joe Biden has aptly warned, both "democracy" and "freedom" will be on the ballot in November, third-party myopia poses a clear and present danger to survival of constitutional democracy in these United States.

Metaphorically, the word "myopia" refers to "cognitive thinking and decision making that is narrow in scope or lacking in foresight or in concern for wider interests or for longer-term consequences." It is a metaphor that, in this current cycle, can be applied to the Presidential campaigns of Green Party candidate Jill Stein, People's Party candidate Cornell West, and the independent candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Third-party myopia lies in the near mathematical certainty that none of these three candidates can secure a single electoral vote, let alone the 270 needed to become the next POTUS. It also lies in the failure of progressive third-party candidates to recognize the potential for "blowback" --- for example, the creation of a supermajority of corrupt, democracy-subverting rightwing SCOTUS ideologues as an unintended consequence of past third-party Presidential campaigns. Myopia can also be found in the polemic canard that there's no ideological difference between the two major parties. That thinking is false on countless levels, but especially when it comes to the very core of our democracy: voting rights. On that score alone, the two major parties are polar opposites.

By their very nature, third-party campaigns are divisive --- a truly unfortunate circumstance at this pivotal moment in our nation's history. But if ever there was a time for We the People to unite in our resolve that, in the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln, "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth", it would be on Nov. 5, 2024. Only "transformative solidarity" can save our precious constitutional democracy.

Here's why...

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

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