It was a lot of show on today's BradCast. But at least one of my seemingly ridiculous-at-the-time theories from way back at the beginning of this year has now been vindicated. Buckle up. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]
Among our many stories covered today...
- The latest on the Israel-Hamas war, including rising death tolls, the retaliatory destruction of entire neighborhoods in Gaza, the potential for spread to other countries and more. We also observe some curiously repeated comments by President Biden in recent days. Whenever he cites his conversations with Israel's controversial, criminally-indicted, far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden takes pains to mention "rules of war" for some reason. (See his remarks on Tuesday and Wednesday.)
- In related news, it looks like it may take a while --- if ever --- for Republicans in the U.S. House to elect a new Speaker. (Since we got off air, the winner of yesterday's caucus vote, Steve Scalise, says he is dropping out of contention.) In the meantime, that means almost all business in Congress is ground to a halt. But, given the rising tenor of Republicans seemingly hoping to rope us into a war with Iran in the wake of the horrific Hamas attack on Israel, and the way both Republicans and Democrats tragically over-reacted following 9/11, perhaps there is an upside to a cooling off period in Congress right about now?
- In other news, the GOP push to impeach a newly-seated Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice may now be all but dead. The election of Justice Janet Protasiewicz gave liberals a 4 to 3 majority on the state's High Court for the first time in 15 years. And now a challenge to the Republicans' rigged Assembly and Senate districts is before the Justices. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has threatened to impeach Protasiewicz if she didn't recuse herself from the case (for no good reason). On Friday, she announced she wouldn't. But now not one but two former rightwing WI Supreme Court Justices have weighed in --- hilariously, at Vos' request --- to say impeachment is both uncalled for and a violation of the Badger State constitution.
- Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (NJ) and his wife have been slapped with yet another criminal felony charge. This time for unlawfully conspiring to act as an agent of Egypt, even while serving as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The pair were previously charged for accepting bribes of cash, gold bars and a luxury car. More than 30 of Menendez' Democratic colleagues in the Senate have called for him to resign. He has, so far, refused.
- Everyone's favorite, wildly corrupt Republican Congressman, grifter and pathological liar, Rep. George Santos (NY), was charged with an additional 10 federal felony charges this week for identify theft and credit card fraud after allegedly using donor's cards to steal tens of thousands of dollars from them. He previously faced 13 counts for, among other things, lying on financial disclosure forms about being a millionaire and receiving unemployment funds when he was actually employed.
But it was last week's guilty plea by his former campaign treasurer that has now seemingly vindicated what I had described last January as my "ridiculous, couldn't-possibly-be-true George Santos theory" that I seemed to be the only one raising at the time. This was when Santos' life of lies had recently come to light following his 2022 election to Congress, and after he had amended some FEC paperwork from his campaign to claim that he had made a personal loan to it of some $500,000.
There were plenty of reasons to doubt that claim --- when he lost his 2020 campaign his disclosures revealed that he made less than $50,000/year --- but most assumed the donation was real, at least, even if probably came from someone else. But who?
My question was different. On several occasions, including with a campaign finance expert we had on the show in January, I kept wondering if the donation itself to Santos' campaign actually existed, if the FEC or anyone else had ever bothered to check his bank account to see if that money actually came in when he claimed it did, or whether the whole thing was just on paper.
While it seemed crazy to some at the time (even to me!), guess what his Campaign Treasurer revealed when she pleaded guilty to a fraud conspiracy charge last week?...
- Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with some grim news for humanity (as usual); suspected sabotage of a natural gas pipeline off the coast of Finland; and the quiet launch of the European Union's first-in-the-world carbon border tax...
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