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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, June 14, 2024
The Corrupt Anti-Abortion TX-to-SCOTUS Legal Mill Pipeline: 'BradCast' 6/13/24
Guest: Salon's Amanda Marcotte; Also: Dems outperform in OH Special Election; Brad gets COVID again goddammit...
'Green News Report' 6/13/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Heat wave coming to much of U.S., cooling systems can't keep up; Record rain from Sarasota to Spain to China; NY passes law to charge Big Oil for climate damage...
Previous GNRs: 6/11/24 - 6/6/24 - Archives...
Life With COVID
What goes around comes around. Again...
Hunter Biden's Conviction and Donald Trump's Weaponized Ignorance: 'BradCast' 6/11/24
Also: Biden rising in polls; The fall of Alex Jones' corrupt empire; Producers pull phony '2000 Mules' doc; More GOP voter fraud...
'Green News Report' 6/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Big win for far-right in EU, climate action in crosshairs; NY Guv halts NYC congestion pricing; PLUS: Biden's new mileage rules save consumers money, combat climate change...
Previous GNRs: 6/6/24 - 6/4/24 - Archives...
After Trump Verdict, GOPers Suddenly Warm to Voting for Felons: 'BradCast' 6/10/24
Listeners call in with explanations; Also: U.N. Security Council approves Biden's Israel/Hamas ceasefire plan; Europe moves toward far-right in EU elections...
Sunday 'Antifa' Toons
THIS WEEK: 80 Years Later ... Fascism Returns ... How Laws Work ... Summer Forecast ... And much more to be proud terrified of in our latest weekly collection...
How SCOTUS Has Been Undermining American Democracy for 50 Years: 'BradCast' 6/6/24
Guest: Prof. Joshua Douglas; Also: Bannon's prison date; U.N. chief: Ban fossil fuel ads...
'Green News Report' 6/6/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
The hottest 12 months ever recorded; ; Heat deaths in U.S. hit a new record in 2023; World's largest solar farm now online -- in China; PLUS: The U.N. Sec.-Gen's message to the world...
Previous GNRs: 6/4/24 - 5/23/24 - Archives...
What Happens in Texas Does NOT Stay in Texas: 'BradCast' 6/5/24
Guest: Andrea Grimes warns of TX GOP's insane new party platform, as underplayed by mainstream media; Also: Election results from MT, NJ, NM, SD, IA, DC...
GOP's Absurd 'Weaponization of Justice' Hoax Continues: 'BradCast' 6/4/24
Also: Indicted Menendez to run as indie in NJ; 2020 Fake Elector plot indictments in WI; Biden will be on OH ballot after all, convicted felon Trump may not be on WA's...
'Green News Report' 6/4/24
Brutal India heat; Power outages double in U.S.; Mexico elects a climate scientist; PLUS: VT's new first-in-nation law requires Big Oil to pay up for climate damages...
GUILTY (x 34)!: NY Trump Trial Conviction Ketchup Show!: 'BradCast' 6/3/24
Guests: Salon's Heather Digby Parton, DKos' Keith Barber; Also: We're back! With more COVID! And Mexico elects first female (Jewish, climate scientist) Prez...
Sunday 'Guilty Pleasure' Toons
THIS WEEK: 34 for 45! A Special Presidential Felons Collector's Edition of the week's very best political toons!...
Sunday 'Red Flag' Toons
THIS WEEK: The Alito Stomp ... Brave, Sir Donald ... Darling Nikki ... Uncle Sam's Toast ... And more warnings in the wind of our latest weekly toons...
'Green News Report' 5/23/24
Extreme weather unleashes disasters from Iowa to Mexico; DeSantis signs 'Don't Say Climate Change' law in FL; PLUS: Study finds microplastics in human testicles...
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...


Guest: Kelly Sampson of the Brady Center; Also: Biden, Trump clinch noms; Judge nixes 6 counts in Trump's GA conspiracy indictment...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2024 6:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The most powerful pro-gun lobbying group in the nation --- along with its wildly corrupt leadership --- has finally been held to account for years of massive fraud. So what comes next for the NRA, for the firearms industry's ironclad death grip on the Republican Party, and for the continuing battle to enact popular gun safety reforms in the U.S.? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We've got some answers to those questions but, first up, a bit of news today...

Both the disgraced former President Donald Trump and the current President Joe Biden each notched the number of delegates needed in their respective parties to clinch the 2024 nominations for President as of Tuesday's primaries and caucuses in Georgia, Mississippi, Washington state, Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands. (And, of course, there was some trouble on Tuesday regarding GA's unverifiable, computerized touchscreen voting system.) Based on the results in each state last night, Biden is clearly favored by more of his party's primary voters than Trump. Though we have a few noteworthy observations today.

And, also in Georgia, where Trump and 18 co-conspirators are facing criminal indictment in Fulton County for their multiple failed attempts to steal the state's 2020 election, the judge overseeing the case tossed six of the 41 felony counts brought against, though he allowed 35 others to move forward. In his 9-page order [PDF] on Wednesday, Judge Scott McAfee wrote that Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis will be able refile those six charges, though she'll have to add additional specificity if she does. Refiling the charges would also likely further delay the state's currently scheduled August trial date. Of course, many court watchers are on pins and needles this week waiting for McAfee's ruling, expected by Friday, on whether Willis, accused by one of Trump's co-defendants of inappropriately hiring one of her prosecutors, will be allowed to remain on the case.

Then, we're joined by KELLY SAMPSON Senior Counsel at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation's oldest gun violence prevention organization, to discuss the fate of the beleaguered National Rifle Association, the group that began as a non-profit gun safety organization 150 years ago in New York City, only to become the nation's most powerful firearms industry lobbying group, opposing any and all gun safety reforms.

Late last month, a New York jury determined the NRA's longtime leader, Wayne LaPierre, had unlawfully misallocated millions of dollars of member money for years on his extravagant personal lifestyle, which included private plane travel and exotic vacations for himself and his family, among with many other luxuries. He also authorized hundreds of millions of dollars in NRA contracts in exchange for free trips and access to a 108-foot superyacht. In addition, the jury also ruled that the NRA engaged in years of fraudulent tax filings and violated whistleblower protections under NY law. LaPierre, who resigned in disgrace on the eve of the trial late last year --- brought by state A.G. Letitia James --- was ordered to repay nearly $5.5 million to the NRA. The group had attempted, after James' filing, to seek federal bankruptcy protection, but was blocked after a federal court determined it was only doing so in hopes of moving the organization to Texas to avoid accountability in NY.

So, what now? "Wayne LaPierre is indicative of a particular type of corruption, taking advantage of people and basically grifting," Sampson explains today. "He's not concerned with people's safety. He's concerned with enriching himself. This is a win in terms of accountability for that."

But, she says, there are other pro-gun groups that are now filling the gaps left by the faltering NRA in blocking gun safety reforms at both the state and federal level, despite support from broad, bipartisan majorities of Americans --- if not from Republican lawmakers captured by the gun lobby. "There are organizations like the National Shooting Sports Foundation, or NSSF, which is the gun industry's almost corporate wing," she warns. "Regardless of what happens with the NRA, we still have to deal with the rhetoric, the false information, and the fact that, yes, there are some politicians who feel beholden to what the NRA wants."

We discuss the broad popularity of policies such as universal background checks for gun purchases, which GOP lawmakers have long stymied, as well as cases now before the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court which seek to block the ban on bumpstocks that turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns, and on a federal law designed to help keep guns out of the hands of those under domestic violence restraining orders.

Also, Sampson discusses a number of landmark initiatives by the Biden-Harris Administration to address the nation's ever-worsening gun violence epidemic, including "the first White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which is really using the power of the Executive to have a 'whole of government' approach" to the continuing scourge.

There is much to discuss, as you may imagine, in our conversation today with Sampson, the Brady Center's Director of Racial Justice and co-host of their Red, Blue and Brady podcast. Happily, today's discussion does not take place, for a change, just hours after another high-profile gun massacre...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Corporate press quietly reset weeks of misreporting on Biden; Suggestions for NYT reporters; Stephanopoulos v. Mace; Also: Buck quits; Trump's RNC 'bloodbath'; WI's far-right Speaker facing MAGA Recall...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2024 6:49pm PT  

Corporate media failure and a small, if noteworthy, success (for a change) are just part of today's BradCast, which also includes a 'bloodbath', more House GOP dysfunction, a wingnut Recall, and plenty of rape victim shaming...by a rape victim. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

  • Colorado's far-right Republican Rep. Ken Buck, who announced he would not be running for reelection earlier this year due to party dysfunction, announces he is quitting Congress entirely next week instead, further narrowing the House GOP's razor-thin majority. Buck says he has another "job to do out there", claims that voters are unhappy with both Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and vows to find "the right organization to join" and "start working on the issue" of "hav[ing] better candidates up and down the ballot." Is he on his way toward joining the supposedly bi-partisan Presidential "Unity Ticket" promised by secretive, Republican-funded, third-party group No Labels?
  • Donald Trump's personal takeover of the Republican National Committee is now complete, with his inexperienced daughter-in-law as co-chair, his Campaign's information officer as RNC Chief of Staff, and a "bloodbath" of firing as many as 60 longtime officials on Monday, their first day of operational control. The fired will be replaced with Trump loyalists (or with nobody, so Trump can pocket more RNC cash?) If you are wondering what he will do to tens of thousands of federal agency workers on his dictatorial Day One if he's allowed to win the Presidency this year, what he is doing to the RNC right now should be considered Exhibit A. Don't say you weren't warned.
  • More eating their own, this time in Wisconsin. A Trump-endorsed MAGA group says they've submitted more than enough signatures to the state to schedule a Recall Election for the far-right, longtime Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for, apparently, not being Trumpy enough. Or, at least being unwilling to break the law to steal the 2020 election in the state for the disgraced former President. [UPDATE since air time: Looks like the effort is not going well so far.]
  • Mainstream corporate media outlets begin quietly resetting their dozens of misleading reports last month on Special Counsel Robert Hur's findings about Joe Biden's "faltering memory" after the release of the actual transcripts of recorded interviews with the President by Hur (a Trump-appointee at DoJ) reveal a pretty different story. The interviews were part of Hur's probe of classified documents found by Biden's attorneys in one of his old offices and elsewhere. Hur determined "no criminal charges are warranted," but slimed Biden in the bargain and media ran with it. Now, they are quickly revising the earlier misleading reports. NYT: Biden was "clearheaded". WaPo: Biden "doesn't come across as absent-minded as Hur made him out to be." WSJ: Biden was "not stumped on basic factual questions". That after each paper published dozens of stories each in the days following the release of Hur's report questioning Biden's mental faculties and fitness for office...just as Republicans had been hoping they would.
  • George Stephanopoulos deserves kudos for refusing to fold or be intimidated by the ridiculous and relentless attack from South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace who claimed that the ABC reporter, during his interview with her on Sunday, was attempting to "victim shame" her by asking her to justify her endorsement of Donald Trump after he was found liable for rape and repeatedly defaming the victim by two separate juries in New York. Mace bizarrely charged that, because she was a rape victim herself, Stephanopoulos' question was a "disgusting" attempt to "shame" her. In the bargain, she offered a mountain of victim shaming for Trump's rape victim, E. Jean Carroll and suggested that rape wasn't real because Trump's nearly $90 million liability for the rape and defamation came from civil trials instead of criminal ones.
  • Longtime media critic Dan Froomkin accuses the New York Times of "repeatedly abus[ing] the English language in its political reporting," and offers some really good suggestions for much-needed additions to their style guide. Smart suggestions from the former, longtime Washington Post, HuffPost and Intercept columnist include the proper use of words such as "baseless", "Congress", "conservative" and "moderate".
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with climate related news from Joe Biden's State of the Union Address; horrific global temp and ocean heat records from February; and more terrible news for Australia's Great Barrier Reef (and, in fact, coral reefs everywhere!)...

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, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Listeners ring in on that, Brad's hack of Daylight Saving Time and more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2024 6:01pm PT  

We were able to open up the phones today to listeners regarding last week's State of the Union Address, the GOP's stunningly failed Rebuttal, and what has become a seemingly annual debate on The BradCast over Daylight Savings Time --- about which I am right and everyone else, of course, is wrong. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to those phones, we review and/or discuss...

  • How I hacked Daylight Savings Time over this past weekend --- and how you can (and should!) next year too!
  • Joe Biden's new budget proposal for fiscal year 2025 calls for the expansion of social programs and new taxes on corporations and the wealthy to pay for it and to shave $3 trillion off the national debt.
  • Biden's new post-SOTU ad: "Look, I'm not a young guy. That's no secret! But, here's the deal..."
  • How Donald Trump welcomed, and praised, Hungarian dictator Viktor Orban at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend, celebrating the rightwing strongman's rule: "He said this is the way it's gonna be and that's the end of it, right? He's the boss."
  • 1,000 protesters against Israel's attack on Gaza marched near the Sunday's Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater here in Hollywood --- whether you heard about them or not.
  • A few key points from Biden's rousing, lively, feisty SOTU Address (video | transcript) that drove the GOP crazy, and...
  • The outrageous lie, told amidst Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL)'s incredibly bizarre SOTU Rebuttal, regarding a 12-year old girl who was held captive and repeatedly raped by drug traffickers at the U.S. southern border during the Biden Administration which, as we have subsequently learned, didn't actually happen during the Biden Administration nor even in the U.S. at all. (Here's journalist Jonathan Katz' full, well-documented evisceration of Britt's incredible border lie.)

Then, we open up the phones to callers on all of the above, including on the never-ending DST debate and the almost-as-important debate over the importance of re-electing Joe Biden to save democracy and, yes, Gaza...if either can be saved at this point...

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, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Guest: Ron Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech for People; Also: Sweden joins NATO; Biden to aid Gaza via sea port; 'No Labels' to choose 'Unity' ticket; TX utility admits culpability in state's record wildfires...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2024 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're honored to be joined by one of the Constitutional law experts who first brought the issue of the Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" to the attention of the nation...before our corrupted, activist U.S. Supreme Court, he explains, "invented" a way to nullify it to help protect our disgraced former President on Monday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Free Speech for People (FSFP) is the non-partisan government accountability group which first raised the issue of Donald Trump's clear violation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment way back during the summer of 2021. At the time, they sent letters to chief election officials in all 50 states warning them not to place Trump on the ballot should the disgraced former President chose to run again in 2024, as he was in violation of the Constitutional clause barring oath-breakers from public office after having "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the nation. After having incited the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, they explained to state officials, he was no longer eligible for office under the post-Civil War Amendment.

They were, of course, correct. Both chambers of Congress, in bipartisan votes, found that Trump had, in fact, incited the insurrection while attempting to prevent Joe Biden, the winner of the 2020 election from being certified by Congress. Late last year the Colorado Supreme Court agreed [PDF], and barred Trump from the state's ballot. He appealed the ruling to SCOTUS, which quickly heard the matter and issued its 13-page ruling [PDF] on Monday, pulling reasons out of thin air for why Colorado could not bar Trump from running in the state.

The Republican Supremes went even further by inventing a new mandate that will prevent insurrectionists from being barred from federal office under 14.3 unless Congress adopts a new law to execute the 150 year old Amendment. (Or, at least, to execute it's two-sentence Section 3. All of the other mandates of the 14th --- such as citizenship for those born or naturalized in the U.S., due process for all and equal protection under the law --- are all self-executing. A special law by Congress is, apparently, only necessary for Section 3, for some reason, according to the Supreme Court as of this week.)

We're joined today by FSFP's Legal Director, RON FEIN, who, with fellow FSFP Constitutional law experts John Bonifaz and Ben Clement, penned an op-ed on Wednesday, describing the Court's ruling as "an error of historic proportions and a sham."

The Court's ruling, he argues today, "had nothing to do with the text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, nor of the history, or the original public understanding of Section 3. Instead, the Justices --- and it's not just the six conservative Justices but also the three so-called liberals --- started from the endpoint of the result that they wanted to reach and then worked backwards to find a rationale."

"If they had wanted to say that Trump didn't engage in insurrection," he tells me, "I would have had a little bit more respect. It would have been very brazen and obviously ridiculous. But at least they would have been straightforwardly saying something that would have meant that he wasn't disqualified --- if they wanted to defy all evidence and say that he didn't engage in insurrection. But instead, they fabricated an exception that can be found nowhere in the Constitution, that basically lets Trump and others off without ever confronting the merits of what he did."

As anyone who has read Monday's ruling may have noticed, the Justices never dispute the Colorado Supreme Court's finding --- following a five-day trial --- that, yes, Trump is, in fact, an insurrectionist. In fact, the Court's three liberals, in response to the part of the majority's Opinion from which they dissent, refer to Trump as an "oathbreaking insurrectionist" on numerous occasions.

Fein describes how the SCOTUS ruling makes a mockery of their claim to require "uniformity" in elections. "This is something that they pull when they want to, but it has no real basis in reality," he notes, describing how our Presidential election system is actually set up to allow each state to determine their own way of running elections.

"We have state by state elections," he asserts, "both at the primary stage and in the general election. We have, for better or worse, an Electoral College system. That's the system under which Donald Trump became President under in 2016. It is not at all uncommon, both in the primaries and in the general election, for some candidates to be on some states' ballots and not others. In fact, we're going to see that in this election. We're going to see RFK Jr. will be on some states' ballots, but not all of them. Cornel West will probably be in the same situation. The Constitution says that states have the power to determine how they appoint electors."

Those facts make the Court's argument that removing Trump from the ballot would allow a single state to determine the result of the election a joke. Then again, the entire ruling is exactly that, if not a particularly amusing one.

Fein eviscerates the rest of their opinion as well today, while warning that there may now be further Constitutional bastardizations regarding Trump in the days and years ahead. As he, Bonifaz and Clement explain in the chilling conclusion of their op-ed: "If Trump wins, prepare for a third term. Sure, the Twenty-Second Amendment says that '[n]o person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.' But Trump has already claimed that he is entitled to a third term because 'they spied on my campaign.' When Trump’s lawyers make this argument, what credibility will the Supreme Court have as he runs roughshod over our constitutional democracy?"

ALSO TODAY...

  • Sweden formally joins NATO. (I guess Russia will have "no choice" but to attack them now too, amirite Putin fans?)
  • Joe Biden will announce plans to use the U.S. military to deploy food and humanitarian aid to Gaza by sea via a temporary port.
  • The group calling itself No Labels is reportedly planning to select a "Unity Ticket" for this year's Presidential election that nobody, other than No Labels and their secret funders, actually seem to want.
  • Texas utility company Xcel Energy admits their equipment sparked the largest wildfire in state history.
  • And Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the enormous climate stakes of this year's Presidential election and more...

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, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Biden, Trump (mostly) sweep; Haley drops out; McConnell endorses; Protests haunt Dem victories in MN, CA; Few (though some noteworthy) Election Day voting system failures...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2024 7:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We distill a whole bunch of stuff --- results, problems, politics, concerns --- from Super Tuesday's primaries and caucuses in some 15 states and one U.S. territory. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Included in our coverage today...

  • Donald Trump won most, if not all, of the GOP nominating contests on Tuesday by largely anywhere from 60% to 80% over Nikki Haley who defeated Trump in Vermont. Nonetheless, she subsequently announced on Wednesday that she is suspending her campaign, without (yet) endorsing Trump, saying he must now earn her support and those of her backers.
  • Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell --- after pretending to be outraged by the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection which he described Trump as "morally responsible" for --- endorsed him for President on Wednesday. I've got a word or two about that today.
  • Joe Biden won the Democratic contests in all of the states which voted on Super Tuesday, most by well over 80%. (He only received 70% and 73% respectively in Minnesota and Oklahoma. More on that below.) Nonetheless, if you were watching CNN last night, you'd have heard how Trump "DOMINATED!" his primaries, while Biden just did "very well" on the Democratic side.
  • After the U.S. Supreme Court, last year, required Alabama to finally add a second U.S. House District where Black voters might elect a candidate of their choosing --- in a state where 27% of the population is Black but only 1 of 7 U.S. House seats are even held by a Democrat --- more than 6,500 voters in that newly redrawn district were misinformed by County officials about which Congressional District they were supposed to vote in on Tuesday. The Chair of Montgomery County's Board of Registrars blamed a computer "software glitch" for what several candidates worried may have led to mass disenfranchisement.
  • Meanwhile, in Utah, where Republicans decided to run their own statewide Caucuses this year, an untold number of voters end up going home without voting when the Party's computer systems crashed or were otherwise unusable at many Caucus sites. The Salt Lake Tribune describes the "chaos" that ensued.
  • In North Carolina, GOP voters elected their Holocaust-denying Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson as their nominee for Governor this year. Democrats, who selected state A.G. Josh Stein for the job on Tuesday are likely delighted about that. Also in NC, preacher and former Rep. Mark Harris appears to be heading back to the U.S. House after his 2018 campaign for the state's 8th Congressional District resulted in a do-over election after Harris hired a known election thief who illegally collected ballots and filled them in for Harris. That election was tossed by the state Election Board and a chastened Harris chose not to run again. But now he's back! And on Tuesday, he apparently won enough votes to avoid a run-off. So, he appears headed back to D.C. next year thanks to further GOP gerrymandering of his NC district since he last tried to steal the election there.
  • In Texas, Democrats elected Rep. Colin Allred to take on Senator Ted Cruz this fall. Though state Republicans drew the line, apparently, at nominating a convicted January 6th insurrectionist for the U.S. House in the state's 19th Congressional District, sticking with the current Republican incumbent instead.
  • Jason Palmer defeated Joe Biden on Tuesday to win the Democratic Caucus in American Samoa! Who is Jason Palmer? We discuss, while noting that the victory came in a 51 to 40 vote (Not percentage points! That's the actual vote tally!) on the U.S. territorial island some 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Apparently it pays to actually show up and campaign! Palmer was the only Democratic candidate who actually did so. Other than that, yeah, Biden actually "DOMINATED!" on the Dem side last night.
  • There was, however, a noteable vote for "Uncommitted" in Minnesota's Democratic Primary on Tuesday, with some 19% of voters casting a protest vote against the President, presumably as a statement in opposition to the Biden Administration policy regarding Israel's war in Gaza. The state has a sizeable Arab-American population. MN Democrats' bump for "Uncommitted" this year, as compared to the last time a Dem President ran for reelection in 2012, was substantial --- much more than a similar protest vote in Michigan last week --- even as all of the other states with similar "None of the Above" options on the ballot to date (Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Tennessee) all saw a decrease in such votes this year as compared to 2012.
  • Still, the protests from a small faction of the Left are unmistakable. Democrats dismiss those voters at their peril. Especially in critical battleground states like MI and MN. The protest was impossible to not notice at Rep. Adam Schiff's victory celebration last night in California. He will face Republican former MLB star Steve Garvey for the state's open U.S. Senate seat this November, after outpacing fellow progressive Congressmembers Katie Porter and Barbara Lee last night. But protesters chanted "Cease-fire Now!" and "Free Palestine!" throughout Schiff's entire victory speech on Tuesday, which the L.A.-based Dem handled gracefully. The Biden Administration does seem to be taking notice. Over the weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris gave remarks on Sunday calling for an "immediate cease-fire", "given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza."

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Also: New rightwing voter suppression schemes in swing-states; Sinema not running again; Trump CFO headed back to prison; New charges for Menendez; 'Christian' Liberty U. covered up sex abuse, rape crimes...
By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2024 5:32pm PT  

We'll have likely-unsurprising results from today's Super Tuesday elections in 16 states on tomorrow's BradCast, but we've got a few reminders today of the stakes, the challenges ahead and why it all matters. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • Arizona's former corporatist Democrat turned corporatist independent U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema says she will not run for re-election this November, clearing the way for a 2-person race to fill her U.S. Senate seat this fall. (And, perhaps, with both her and West Virginia's Joe Manchin also not running for re-election this year, a path someday to restoring the gutted Voting Rights Act and much more.)
  • Speaking of the Voting Rights Act, a new study from NYU's Brennan Center of Justice out this week finds that the racial gap between white and black voters has been widening since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the law's key provision in 2013's Shelby v. Holder, claiming the landmark Act's protections against racially discriminatory voting laws and rules was out of date and no longer needed. While the racial disparity gap has grown everywhere across the country, it has grown twice as much in jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination at the polls where minority voters were previously protected by the VRA's currently-gutted Section 5 "preclearance" requirement.
  • As if that is not disturbing enough, Republican "voter fraud" fraudster groups, such as the disgraced disinformationists at True the Vote, are ramping up efforts to suppress the vote in advance of this year's general election. According to a new New York Times investigation, a "grassroots" campaign has been quietly challenging the eligibility of thousands of legally registered voters at the County level in a number of swing-states around the country since 2020, removing eligible voters in the bargain and otherwise setting up for post-election challenges to the rolls this November, in the event that Donald Trump loses again.
  • And speaking of the disgraced former President and current 2024 GOP front-runner, his longtime Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg is headed back to prison after spending about 100 days in Rikers last year related to a years long tax fraud scheme with the Trump Organization. On Monday, the 78-year old pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury after lying on the stand and in depositions with New York state prosecutors regarding his role in the massive, years-long fraud scheme by Trump, his company and his top executives. Trump and the executives, including his two eldest sons and Weisselberg were all found liable in the state's civil fraud case against them. Trump must now pay more than $450 million in penalties. His NY state criminal trial on 34 felony counts related to hush-money payments to help him win the 2016 election begins later this month, as Weisselberg prepares for another five months in the pokey, though he will not be required to testify against Trump under the plea deal.
  • But it's not just rightwingers facing justice this week. On Tuesday, New Jersey's Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and his wife saw new obstruction charges added to their existing indictments related to allegedly accepting gold bars, cash and a luxury car as bribes in return for favors to several businessmen. Menendez stands accused of using his former position as Chair of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee to help his business associates get multi-millionaire deals with Qatari investment funds and the government of Egypt.
  • Okay, it's just mostly rightwingers. Liberty University, one of the nation's largest so-called "Christian" schools, founded by the late Jerry Falwell, Sr., and subsequently run by his son Jerry Falwell, Jr. (until he was forced out in scandal) has agreed to pay the largest fine ever under the federal Clery Act, requiring that colleges and universities that receive federal funding keep detailed public lists of campus crime statistics. The school must cough up an unprecedented $14 million related to its years-long cover-up of sexual abuse and rape allegations, while fostering a community of fear for women who were often victimized and/or ignored after reporting such incidents to school officials.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as record heat and wildfires continue in Texas; California's Sierra Mountains dig out from an intense weekend blizzard with hurricane-force wind gusts; And as the Biden Administration announced billions of dollars for cleaning up and modernizing the nation's ports under the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act...

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Guests: Former Deputy Asst. A.G. Lisa Graves; Legal journalist Chris Geidner; Also: Haley wins a primary; And a Super Tuesday preview...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2024 6:38pm PT  

In case I haven't mentioned it lately on The BradCast, the U.S. Supreme Court is wildly corrupt. They proved that again on Monday in their ruling on whether Donald Trump, who they don't dispute in their ruling is an insurrectionist, should be disqualified from the 2024 election for having "engaged in insurrection", as barred by the simple text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We knew this ruling from the corrupt Court was coming, based on their questions at Oral Argument last month. We also knew that the packed, stolen and rightwing SCOTUS majority was corrupt. But their hypocrisy was what shined through most in today's relatively brief 13-page ruling [PDF] and the additional dissenting opinions that followed it. The one by the Democratic appointees was fairly seething.

After years of pretending to be "conservative Constitutionalists"; pretending to be "textualists" who are focused only on the simple meaning of what the words in the founding document say; who pretend to be "originalists", concerned only with what the framers were trying to accomplish at the time they adopted the Constitutional amendment in question, the Court, once again, gave away the ghost. They don't care about any of that. They are an activist rightwing Court finding stuff in the Constitution that doesn't exist to arrive at the political result they wanted in the first place.

On Monday --- in their 9 to 0 opinion (which, the dissenters made clear, was actually a 5 to 4 ruling, but for Democrats on the Court trying to go along to get along in an election year) --- the High Court reversed the Colorado Supreme Court's 213-page ruling [PDF] in December barring Trump from this year's ballot for having violated the Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause". So much for states rights as well, apparently.

But, not only did the SCOTUS majority twist itself into pretzels to come up with "logic" for doing so, they further perverted Section 3 of the 14th Amendment beyond recognition in order to do so. In the bargain, they have killed 14.3 to the point that it can likely never be used to bar insurrectionists from public office --- at least at the federal level. (That's another distinction they made up from whole cloth that appears nowhere in the actual Constitution.)

Congress, the Court decided, must pass a law before the 150 year old 14.3 may be used. It is not self-executing, they ruled, unlike all of the other sections of the 14th Amendment and the other Amendments adopted with it following the Civil War that prohibit slavery, guarantee due process and equal justice under the law for all. But only the two-sentence Section 3, apparently, is not self-executing. At least at the federal level. It can still, apparently, be used by states to bar state and local officials from public office for insurrection for some reason. That, even though Section 3 itself requires a two-thirds super-majority in Congress for the disqualification to be lifted for any insurrectionist to serve in office.

We're joined today by two experts on this matter, former Asst. Deputy Attorney General at the DOJ, LISA GRAVES of True North Research, and "recovering lawyer" and longtime legal journalist CHRIS GEIDNER of Law Dork to try and make sense of what the corrupt, hypocritical Justices did.

Geidner details how the dissenters in this case, the Court's three Democratic Justices, Sotomayor, Kagan and Jackson --- but also, in part, even Justice Amy Coney Barrett --- "explained how the majority had basically cut off the use of Section 3 going forward."

And they did so, according to Graves, in the most cowardly way, with a per curiam decision that speaks for the whole court, without saying who actually wrote it. "Like Bush v. Gore," they didn't sign their names to, she observed, noting that "issuing a per curiam opinion is an act of cowardice by these rightwing justices."

Geidner adds: "It truly is just an example, like 'Bush v. Gore', of 'Let's work backwards from the principle that we want, and we're going to shoehorn in some principle of law that clearly can't make sense in light of the interpretation of these amendments over the past 150 years.'"

"The Colorado Supreme Court's decision was so well-reasoned," Graves argues about the ruling overturned by SCOTUS today. "It sought to vindicate the plain language of the 14th Amendment. But here you had the Supreme Court not wanting to allow Colorado to make that independent determination based on the plain language. It really shows how outrageous this anonymous Republican-appointee decision --- how outrageous and wrong --- that decision is." She also notes, given what was actually a 5 to 4 ruling, how outrageous it is that Justice Clarence Thomas --- whose wife actually participated in the insurrection --- didn't bother to recuse himself.

Last Summer, Geidner tells us, when he wrote about this case, he says he argued, "It's pretty clear that Trump is barred from being President again. Will it matter?" He adds: "That was the right question to ask, and we got our answer today."

As usual, there is much more covered in today's program on all of this, so please tune in for the full show.

Also today, a wrap-up of of the weekend's GOP nominating contests in which Nikki Haley finally notched her first primary victory after Trump actually threatened the voters participating in it. And we close with a preview of tomorrow's 15-state Super Tuesday primaries in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and American Samoa. If you live in one of those states and have yet to vote, NOW is the time!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/29/2024 5:03pm PT  

I should be in bed nursing my illness (whatever it is), rather than doing today's BradCast. But given the firehose of news, some of it huge, that broke after yesterday's guest-hosted show with Nicole and Desi (thank you, guys!) and today, I felt I had to come in for this one. Nasal congestion be damned. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Back in 2018, as Trump-nominated Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was lying his way through his Senate Confirmation hearings, he made what sure sounded like a threat at the time. "This confirmation process has become a national disgrace," he whined through angry tears. "And as we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around."

There has been a boatload of important news over the past 24 hours. But what may have been Kavanaugh's long-promised "comes around" moment may have finally occurred last night. The U.S. Supreme Court came up with at least 4 votes to hear Oral Argument of Donald Trump's ridiculous claim that Presidents enjoy "absolutely immunity" for any and all crimes they may commit while in office --- including ordering Seal Team Six to murder domestic political opponents, as Trump's lawyer's argued in this case at the lower D.C. Court of Appeals.

The federal appellate court, as well as the trial court below it, unanimously rejected the argument. But, rather than taking up the case three months ago, when Special Counsel Jack Smith asked them to, the corrupt SCOTUS waited more than two months before deciding, in a terse, one-page order [PDF], to "expedite" the matter by hearing it...seven weeks from now. The question will be: "Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office." --- Which "official acts" they may be referring to are uncited.

In the bargain, Trump's previously scheduled May 4th federal trial date for attempting to steal the 2020 election remains on on pause and may not now even begin before the 2024 election.

At the same time, in New York state court on Wednesday, an appellate judge, within hours after Trump's filing, rejected his attempt to offer a $100 million bond to prevent Attorney General Letitia James from beginning seizure of his assets in about 30 days for failure to post cash or a bond for the full $454 million penalty he faces for a decade of massive fraud via his corrupt real estate company. And Trump's criminal trial in the state, on 34 charges related to cheating to win the 2016 election with hush-money payments to a porn star, is set to begin at the end of next month.

Given my physical condition of late, we called in our good friends and very wise longtime fellow bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and 'DRIFTGLASS' of The Professional Left Podcast, to help make sense of these key, historic events. They each offer context and analysis of what appears --- to them at least --- to be one of the most corrupt actions ever taken by our corrupted, far-right, Trump-appointed supermajority on the High Court.

Driftglass argues the news from the Court on Wednesday is that "It's a corrupt court. And that corrupt court has rendered a corrupt decision," underscores his belief that Trump will never see a day in prison. Digby reminds us that true accountability was always going to come from only one place: the voters at the ballot box this November. "I'm sorry to have to tell you," she tells me, "but it's going to have to be a grinding out of a Presidential campaign and people are going to have to vote this guy out."

We've got a lot of ground to cover on today's program, with smart insights from both of them as usual, even if I don't have the energy to document much of it here for you today. So, please tune in.

There's one point, however, that I didn't get to on the show --- blame the cold medicine --- in response to the somewhat grim and arguably cynical (if accurate) assessments from Digby and Driftglass. That is, that even if Trump's federal trial for attempting to steal the 2020 election had moved forward, as scheduled, well before this November's election, I think the magic bullet moment that had been applied to that trial --- as if a guilty conviction would be an elixir that finally woke up the nation to how corrupt he truly was, leading supporters to abandon him --- was always, in my estimation, somewhat overblown.

When (not if) Trump is found guilty on any of the 91 criminal counts he is currently facing at both the state and federal level, his supporters will find a way to justify it and continue their support nonetheless. It'll be a evidence of a "corrupt system" or "Joe Biden's witch hunt" against Trump, etc.

I have never quite bought into the prodigious polling which suggests his 2024 support would crater once he was finally found guilty of a crime. His supporters know what he did. We all do. It's obvious. A criminal conviction is unlikely to change many opinions of him either way. This was and still will be --- as both Digby and Drifty point out --- about the VOTERS showing up and VOTING to save our democracy from the clutches of a fascistic, sociopathic, narcissist hell-bent on destroying it for revenge. Whatever happens between now and November 5, nobody else was ever gonna do it for us.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as winter heat in the center of this nation blew away records for February, topping out in the 80s and 90s in huge swaths of the region over the past week. That helped touch off what is now the largest wildfire in Texas history. In February! That, and much more on today's GNR.

Now I'm going back to bed. I'm sure the last 24 hours have been nothing more than a bad Nyquil-induced fever dream...

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Guest host Nicole Sandler with Raw Story reporter Jordan Green; Also: MI Primary results; McConnell to resign from Leadership role in November...
By Desi Doyen on 2/28/2024 6:00pm PT  

Brad is still under the (non-COVID) weather today, so guest host Nicole Sandler joins us to take the captain's chair for today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST: We start with some of today's breaking news (and there was a lot of it that came after airtime today, which we'll try to get to tomorrow), beginning in Congress, with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing plans to retire from Senate leadership (although not from the Senate itself) after this November's election. Also, the question of whether the House GOP majority will be able to agree on a government funding package to avoid another Republican government shutdown by Midnight on Friday.

Also today, what to make of the reported results of Tuesday's Primary elections in Michigan, where both Joe Biden and Donald Trump easily won each of their respective party's contests, but where the New York Times and other corporate outlets found a strange way to spin the results. (As Brad pointed out on Twitter last night, Biden faced "significant challenge" in winning over 81% of the vote, while Trump "coasted to victory" with just over 68% on the GOP side against Nikki Haley's 27%, according to the Times' headlines.)

Biden did face just over 13% of Democratic voters who selected "Uncommitted" on Tuesday to register a protest vote against the Administration's policies in Israel amid its brutal invasion of Gaza. We try to offer a bit of context, however, amid the corporate media's too often misleading and/or context-free coverage.

THEN: Nicole speaks with investigative reporter JORDAN GREEN of Raw Story, who has spent months investigating a group of neo-Nazi teenagers who are working to recruit and indoctrinate even younger white kids online. Green reports on the neo-Nazi hate groups who are using the Internet to draw in teenage boys, "grooming children for a race war"; how their parents are reacting; and how these extremist groups have now turned to targeting Green, attempting to menace and intimidate him into halting his reporting.

He reports on being doxxed and seeing protests outside his own home, as the groups use similar fear and intimidation tactics against him that they also use to terrorize blacks, Jews, LGBTQ+ people and others.

Green discusses his investigation of the teen neo-Nazi recruitment group, his fight to protect his family and himself, and his resolve to continue: "That's not going to deter me from reporting," he tells Nicole. "This is the bedrock principle of democracy, to report without fear or favor. So I will continue to do that....They are certainly using the same tactics against journalists that they use against other groups that they dislike."

FINALLY: We finish up today with our latest Green News Report (featuring an ailing Brad!) which happens to be our 15th Anniversary episode! As a new study reveals that extreme weather disasters displaced 2.5 million Americans from their homes in 2023; Texas home prices have plunged in areas affected by a new state flood risk disclosure law; Chicago's lawsuit against Big Oil over climate damages. All of that as we celebrate 15 years of environmental news, politics, analysis and snarky comment over your public airwaves! (Thanks to YOU!)...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2024 4:47pm PT  

Just after the first of the year, and despite being fully up to date with our shots, COVID finally found its way into BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters for the first time, after we'd successfully avoided it since the jump. Desi unknowingly picked it up in Texas, then brought it back to me about a week later.

Quick prescriptions for the anti-viral Paxlovid knocked it out for each of us almost immediately. In my case, over a single weekend. I didn't even miss a BradCast!

Then, about a week or so later, I got a rebound case of COVID, as is sometimes the case, even with Paxlovid. Desi didn't. That bout was far worse than the first, particularly since they won't prescribe the anti-viral drugs again in such a case. Largely had to suffer it out. Wasn't too bad. Like a mild cold, though it kept me from the show for a couple of days.

Now, a month later, guess what?...

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




Some on the progressive Left have fallen prey to Kremlin propaganda. Today, we call them out and they call in; Also: SC GOP primary and the mad election, govt shutdown, SOTU, Trump accountability week ahead...
By Brad Friedman on 2/26/2024 6:19pm PT  

I'm fighting (and losing to) a sinus infection, so otherwise exhausted after today's very lively BradCast. Thus, Imma try to keep this short and leave you to tune in for all the juicy fun on today's program. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

In general, amongst the stuff we covered...

  • A whole bunch of primaries (and caucuses and dysfunctional GOP party conventions) are coming up in a whole bunch of states over the next week, beginning with Michigan tomorrow and some 16 states and territories next Tuesday --- Super Tuesday --- March 5th. We lay out all of the confusing details, attempts by Trump to game the GOP nomination, and a move from some on the Left in Michigan to call out President Biden or his position on Israel.
  • In addition to a whole bunch of nominating contests over the next week, the inept House GOP has scheduled a potential (if partial) government shutdown for this Friday, the same day that President Biden is set to deliver his State of the Union Address. At the same time, SCOTUS could come down with two key rulings any minute on whether Trump is allowed to be on the ballot at all this year, as per the Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause", and on his ridiculous "Presidential Immunity" argument in his criminal trials. Buckle up for all of the above over the next week or so.
  • AND THEN: Russia's deadly invasion of its peaceful, democratic sovereign neighbor of Ukraine has now entered its third horrific year. More and more evidence over the past week has emerged to document both Vladimir Putin's treachery and his Kremlin's decade-long, active intelligence operation to interfere with the U.S. electoral system. All of it highlights the perfidy and/or stupidity of a whole bunch of Useful Idiots on the Right --- from Trump to rightwing media to Republicans in Congress --- who are all too happy to echo blatant Kremlin propaganda for (potential) political gain.

    But what of the small, if intense, number of folks on the supposed, "anti-war" progressive Left who have also spent years at this point echoing much of the same Kremlin propaganda? The one who, today, agree with Republicans who want to simply throw Ukraine to the Russian wolves because, something something "World War III", something something NATO, something something "negotiate" with the invaders, something something "privileged few" who want Ukraine to "fight to the last Ukrainian"? (That last, literally a documented Russian intel talking point, repeated endlessly now by many on the Left and Right who oppose aid to Ukraine to allow them to both defend themselves and democracy itself against imperialist foreign military aggression.)

    We call out some of those on the Left today for falling for disinformation and talking points, knowingly or unknowingly...because someone has to...and they call in to today's BradCast in response.

    Lively conversation ensues... :-)

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How the U.S. has fallen prey to a decade-long Russian intel op; Also: Lindell owes $5 million for 2020 'election data' challenge; Media ignore good Biden polling amid ill-considered bids to replace him...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2024 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As of this week, if it wasn't clear before (and, obviously, for many, it was not) it is now clearer than ever that the U.S., its corporate media, the Republican Party, its front-runner for the 2024 Presidential nomination (and, sadly, even too many on the "left"), have all fallen prey --- knowingly or unknowingly (it doesn't really matter) --- to a wildly successful, decade-long Russian intel op. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

From the Hillary emails in 2016 to the Hunter Biden laptop in 2020 to the Biden Burisma "bribery" allegations that fell apart so spectacularly this week with the arrest of the man who House GOPers cited as the lynch-pin for their entire Revenge Impeachment case against President Biden, it turns out it was all part of a wildly successful foreign campaign to divide and threaten American political system.

Turns out Alexander Smirnov, that guy with the false Burisma claims about the Bidens, apparently got it all from Russian intel operatives who have, for the past ten years, been pushing all of these phony narratives straight out from the Kremlin through various useful idiots, onto the set of Fox "News" and the rest of the rightwing media, into the mouth of the disgraced former President, and straight through to the hearing rooms of the U.S. Congress where it was shared --- either knowing or unknowingly (it doesn't really matter) --- by GOP dupes.

It's quite an extraordinary success story, in truth. For Vladimir Putin. And a shameful failure of our corporate mainstream media to even notice much of it happening in real time. They also played the role of useful idiots when it counted the most over much of the past decade and right on up until today.

Josh Marshall described it as "A Bigger Story Than You Can Possibly Imagine" this week, and I believe he is correct. Much more on all of that --- and Putin's deadly rise --- on today's program.

ALSO TODAY...

  • MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is not only an election denier and grifter. He also won't pay off a bet. In 2021, Lindell claimed to have obtained "irrefutable" evidence that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump by China over the Internet. His evidence was Internet data packets that he claims to have obtained from a "whistleblower". He offered $5 million to anyone who could prove the data wasn't from the election. A two-time Trump voter did so in 2022. The data, he proved, was nothing but junk. But Mike wouldn't pay up the $5 million he offered via his "Prove Mike Wrong" challenge. A private arbitration panel agreed the man was owed the money. Cheap chiseler Mike still wouldn't pay. This week, a federal judge ordered him to do so.
  • Corporate media spend a lot of time focusing on Joe Biden's bad polling numbers against Donald Trump. This week, a new survey by Quinnipiac University, a major pollster, found Biden beating Trump among registered voters nationally by 4 points. So Politico covered the new survey with this headline: "Poll: Nearly 70 percent of voters say Biden is too old to serve again".
  • Is it any wonder so many on the left are still under the misguided impression that someone, anyone, who knows who?, but certainly someone, should replace Joe Biden on the 2024 ballot! Because that unidentified someone would certainly have a better chance of defeating Donald Trump this year! Well, even if there was evidence of Biden not running this year (there isn't), recent polling doesn't even back up the assertion that other Dems would do better against Trump than Biden would. But, hey, if you've got a realistic scenario to replace Joe Biden that won't result in a second Trump Presidency, please feel free to email me! I'd love to hear it and maybe even share it with listeners!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as SCOTUS seems set to gut yet another landmark environmental protection; A bizarre winter heat wave slams Japan; and the Biden Administration continues moving forward with its historic effort to replace all of the nation's toxic lead water pipes...

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Guest: Rich Templin of Florida AFL-CIO; Also: NY A.G. may seize Trump building to cover fines; Biden forgives another $1.2B in student loans...
By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2024 6:54pm PT  

Don't forget to laugh out loud next time you hear a Republican pretending to oppose "Big Government regulations" or acting as if they give a damn about "forgotten working folks". Those are two of the biggest lies in the GOP toolbox, as discussed on today's BradCast, and actively demonstrated down in Emperor Ron DeSantis' Republic of Florida even as I write. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST... A few cheerier pieces of news to kick things off. The size of the fines against Donald Trump, his company and two of his sons in the New York fraud verdict against them is more staggering than you may realize following Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling [PDF] last Friday. Most outlets have cited the $355 million that Trump must cough up. But that doesn't include another $100 million or so already tacked on in interest to cover the fraudulent inflation of assets going back as far as 2019 or so. In truth, he now owes NY about $455 million, with some $87,000 in new interest accruing each day that he fails to pay up. But don't worry. He'll pay. NY A.G. Tish James said yesterday that she is prepared to seize his assets, including buildings, if he fails to do so.

While the corrupt former President's life is on the precipice of ruin, the not-corrupt current President, Joe Biden, was busy today forgiving another $1.2 billion in student loans for some 153,00 borrowers. That brings the total to nearly 4 million Americans who have seen some or all of their student debt wiped out by the Biden Administration, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Biden's original plan to forgive debt for 40 million borrowers. (That, even though the corrupt rightwing SCOTUS allowed Trump to change loan terms for borrowers under the very same law Biden tried to use.)

THEN... On yesterday's program with my guest John Nichols of The Nation, we discussed the possibility of rolling back the notorious anti-union law, known as ACT 10, in Wisconsin. The measure, which gutted most public sector unions (if not right-leaning police and firefighter unions) was muscled through to law more than a decade ago by the state's far-right then Gov. Scott Walker and his gerrymandered GOP toughs in the state legislature. Now that a newly liberal state Supreme Court has allowed Democratic Governor Tony Evers to implement fairer, non-gerrymandered legislative maps for the 2024 election, its conceivable Dems could finally return to power and restore collective bargaining rights to state workers next year.

Nichols cited neighboring Michigan as a role model for repealing Republican anti-union measures in a previously gerrymandered state, after its Democratic Governor and now Democratically-controlled state legislature rolled back that state's union-busting laws last week.

So, good news in the North this week...but really bad news down in Ron DeSantis' Florida, where a hastily-enacted 2023 law by the GOP legislature, passed in hopes of buttressing the Governor's ill-fated run for President, may now, literally, wipe out the very existence of hundreds of local public sector unions, with tens of thousands of workers, across the entire state.

Thousands of teachers, civil engineers, state and local clerical workers, mechanics, city park workers, those that answer 911 calls (but not police, firefighters or correctional officers, whose unions support DeSantis and are thus exempted from the law) are now seeing their unions decertified and dissolved by the state under Senate Bill 256, or are now on the brink of seeing that happening.

We're joined today by RICH TEMPLIN --- Legislative and Political Director of Florida AFL-CIO, the state's largest labor organization, representing more than 500 local unions --- to explain what is going on here, and what, if anything can be done about it.

None of this should be happening, he explains, because decades-old provisions in Florida's state Constitution protect the right to collective bargaining for public sector workers. But, "Constitutional Conservatism" is apparently for lefties and liberals now down in the Sunshine State, where Templin describes this attack on unions as "a sordid, complicated tale," that began "when Ron DeSantis decided to run for President."

"He was rewarding his biggest donors. Not only past donors but future donors he could count on for the campaign," Templin says, detailing how the wannabe President was "catering favor with national organizations that can provide national endorsements and national money. That's how we got sucked up into it. The extensive Koch Brothers network...He did this for them."

"When the bill was passed," Templin asserts, "there was no constituency group asking for it. There was no public sector employers asking for it. There were no public sector employees asking for it. It was 100% driven by billionaire out-of-state think tanks who the Governor was currying favor with for his Presidential run, and a legislature that was all too willing to turn their constituents over to his political ambitions."

At its heart, SB256 takes away the option for union members to voluntarily have their dues taken out of their paychecks each month. (Most unions anyway. Remember, police and firefighters unions are exempt from SB256.) Then the measure simply decertifies unions that do not have more than 60% dues-paying membership, even though Florida is a so-called "Right to Work" state where all workers must be allowed to "freeload" off of union contracts without being paying members of the union. They "took away the ability for members to conveniently pay their dues, and then they say, 'If there's not enough of you paying dues, you lose your union altogether.'"

While DeSantis didn't win the Koch Network endorsement or money --- or GOP Presidential nomination --- "he has really destroyed the state of Florida," in his failed attempt, according to Templin. "We are in shambles. It is going to take us a decade to dig out from what he's done."

SB256 is already a disaster, and not just because it was hurriedly pushed through the state legislature without regard to existing protections in the state constitution. But because nobody really knows how to implement it. How can unions be recertified after they've become decertified? What happens to existing union contracts?

Templin spoke to us today from the capital building in Tallahassee as a measure to try and fix some of SB256's most egregious disasters may come to the floor, and he is hoping to see amendments added to correct some of the law's most unworkable elements.

"This has been a time of great chaos," Templin laments. "There's a whole bunch of other bureaucratic hurdles that have been established to make it impossible for public sector unions to exist. They did this 'death by a thousand paper cuts' because the constitution doesn't allow them" to simply end collective bargaining for public sector workers as then Gov. Walker did in Wisconsin over a decade ago.

Templin has much more to say about all of this today, on the legal challenges to the measure, and how voters can help to turn things around in the state after years of rightwing autocracy, especially under DeSantis.

For some of the horrifying details on the ongoing effects of SB256 across the state, as it has fully taken effect as of the first of the year, be sure to check out investigative journalist Daniel Rivero's excellent and exhaustive recent article at South Florida's public radio outlet, WLRN.

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Guest: WI's John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2024 6:03pm PT  

Yesterday was a very good day for democracy in Wisconsin. On today's BradCast, we take a few minutes to celebrate. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We have been covering the GOP's autocratic takeover of the state following the 2010 elections for some 13 years at this point. After the 2010 Census, state Republicans implemented one of the most extreme gerrymanders in the nation at both the legislative (state Senate and Assembly) level as well as for their U.S. House districts.

The gerrymanders were so extreme that, despite Democrats winning 14 of the past 17 statewide elections in the Badger State, Republicans have maintained super-majority or near super-majority control of both chambers of the Legislature for more than a decade. Meanwhile, WI's 8-seat U.S. House delegation includes just 2 Democrats in the very closely divided Presidential battleground state.

With no fear of losing their legislative majorities, Republicans ran wild. They stripped labor unions of their right to collective bargaining, loosened gun safety laws, suppressed voters, etc. over the past decade. But, as of last year, everything finally began to change when voters finally won back a progressive majority on the state Supreme Court. The day after the liberals 4 to 3 majority was seated, voters filed a challenge to the Constitutionality of the state's legislative gerrymanders and they won. The Court ordered that new maps must be drawn up in time for the 2024 elections.

On Monday, after declaring, "Folks, it's a new day in Wisconsin, and today is a beautiful day for democracy," the state's Democratic Governor Tony Evers signed legislation adopted by the gerrymandered Assembly and House last week, approving new fairer legislative maps that Evers' office itself had drawn up for the state. Those maps will now take effect for this year's elections and democracy may, at long last, be at least partially restored to the Badger State.

We're joined today by our old friend, longtime Wisconsin native and progressive journalist and author, JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, to discuss all of this very good news --- not for Democrats, per se, but for voters and democracy itself.

"The Republicans tried everything" to prevent this from happening, he tells me. "They threatened to impeach one of the Supreme Court justices. They tried all sorts of stunts." But, on the verge of the high court handing down its own maps, which would arguably have been worse for Republicans, "the very wily Speaker of the State Assembly, Robin Vos, decided he had no options, so he passed the Governor's maps."

Those maps, notes Nichols, are "not a particularly good set of maps for Democrats. In fact, Democrats have a little hill to climb in order to win." He explains, however, that "if it's a good year for the Republicans, it's very likely the Republicans are going to control the legislature. If it's a good year for the Democrats, there's a decent chance that Democrats will control the legislature." That, of course, is how representative democracy is supposed to work, after all.

As Evers declared before signing the measure on Monday: "When I promised I wanted fair maps --- not maps that are better for one party or another, including my own --- I damn well meant it." He added, "Wisconsin is not a red state or a blue state --- we’re a purple state, and I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact."

Interestingly enough, Democrats in the Legislature voted against the Democratic Governor's maps...before celebrating their adoption. We discuss why. But, Nichols also notes this bottom line: "If the Democrats take both chambers of the legislature" this year with the Democratic Evers in the Governor's mansion, "they will be able to, in a matter of weeks, reverse" more than a decade of GOP power grabs and union stripping, not to mention the state's 1849 anti-abortion law and much more. "Every disappointment that Democrats have had over the last twelve, thirteen years could be undone," Nichols argues, and almost as quickly as Republicans implemented their regressive policies (even while they had to bulldoze the rule of law to do so.)

"Look to Michigan," advises Nichols. "Because Wisconsin is still in process. Wisconsin is still struggling to get there. Michigan got there. They got independent redistricting which drew fair maps after the 2018 election. In 2022 they had fair maps, finally, after a long process. They elected a Democratic state assembly [and] a Democratic state senate. On Tuesday, the laws officially went on the books eliminating their anti-labor 'right-to-work' law, expanding collective bargaining rights for teachers and graduate students, restoring all sorts of wage protections for construction workers. Michigan has now gone --- just a couple of years ago --- from being one of the more anti-labor states in the northern part of the country to having probably the best, or very close to the best, labor laws in the country. That's what you get when you don't give up. You get to actually transform it."

We also discuss who gets credit for this long-fought win in WI, from the state's indefatigable Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler who declared on Monday that "the long, dark night of ultra-partisan gerrymandering is over, and a new day for democracy now dawns in the Badger State," to the progressive grassroots activists who, says Nichols, deserve "the most credit."

And the lesson for other states to take from Wisconsin, as litigation continues in more than a dozen of them over both legislative and the U.S. House districts (including in WI, where that gerrymander could also soon be ended by the state Supreme Court): "Don't give up," urges Nichols, echoing the words, by the way, of the late Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

ALSO TODAY:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court rejects an appeal from Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and six others, of the $150,000 in legal sanctions they were forced by a judge to pay for abusing the court system in Detroit via Powell's sham, post-2020 "Kraken" lawsuit, challenging the results of MI's election that year.
  • A bedtime story to help you understand the propaganda now coming from Trump supporters claiming there were "no victims" in the New York civil lawsuit against Trump and his company and two eldest sons for inflating the value of their assets to the tune of more than $2 billion each year over the past 11, to receive better rates on bank loans and lower taxes. Last Friday, NY Superior Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled [PDF] Trump and his eldest sons must pay nearly $400 million in penalties for their decades-long fraud.
  • And finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, to bunk our high over all of today's good news (as usual!) with some chilling reports on Florida's disappearing coral reefs; the plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam, and nearly half of the world's migratory species now in decline thanks to climate change, according to a new U.N. report...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Massive election fraud alleged in Pakistan; Final death blow for GOP fraudsters' phony '2000 Mules' election fraud documentary...
By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2024 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast we mark the Presidents' Day holiday honoring the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, with a quip from our friend Marcy Wheeler, independent national security journalist at Emptywheel, who tweeted: "Happy President's Day, America, a holiday celebrating the guy who said Presidents should not be kings and the guy who said insurrectionists should not be President." [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories covered in that spirit today...

FIRST: During a stunning, hastily called news conference over the weekend in Pakistan, a top official alleged that the nation's recent parliamentary election was littered with fraud. He claims to know because, he says, he was in charge of it in one of the country's largest provinces. The official now claims to be ashamed of what he did, "stabbing the country in its back", and announced that he was both resigning and turning himself in to law enforcement. "We converted losers into winners, reversing margins of 70,000 votes of independent candidates for 13 national Parliament seats," he said on Saturday, as fraud allegations stemmed from, among other things, Internet and cell service that was shut down on Election Day, as polling locations were moved at the last minute.

THEN: Contrast that potentially very real election fraud, announced by a real whistleblower who expects to be thrown in prison for his crime, with the endless phony allegations of "election fraud" by Donald Trump and his duped supporters following the 2020 election. Those claims, shamefully, continue all the way up through today. Just last year, when Trump was again asked for evidence of fraud in the 2020 election, he cited an oft-debunked documentary film released in 2022 called 2000 Mules. It was a film made by convicted (and Trump-pardoned) election fraudster Dinesh D'Souza in partnership with the long-ago discredited Rightwing Texas-based "election fraud" group called True the Vote, as headed up by a woman named Catherine Engelbrecht.

Trump told CNN that the group had "found millions of votes on camera, on government cameras, where they were stuffing ballot boxes.” We already knew all of that was a lie. The much-debunked 2000 Mules film actually showed no such thing to anyone actually paying attention to it. But last week, it was reported that True the Vote was forced to admit in a court filing to the state of Georgia --- which is suing the group for information on their so-called "whistleblowers", who they had claimed were insiders to massive Democratic fraud in 2020 --- that they actually have no such information. They have no documentation, records of any conversations, or even contact details for the so-called "whistleblowers" and "informants" they said they had built their case on in their phony "documentary".

FINALLY: On Friday, Russia's democratic hero and Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny died in an Arctic penal colony. He had been a prisoner of Vladimir Putin's on trumped-up charges since returning to Russia in 2021 after an assassination attempt (stunning details of which are revealed "live" in the extraordinary 2022 documentary Navalny). His death at 47-years of age stunned supporters, many of whom had assumed he would one day unseat Putin to become "Russia's first George Washington", it's first truly democratic leader. Instead, as one lamented, he will be their "Martin Luther King", as a moral example that will inspire generations of freedom seeking Russians.

On Monday, Navalny's widow Yulia Navalnaya again demanded the return of his body, which she charges Russia will keep long enough to hide allow any traces of the nerve agent she believes was used to kill him to dissipate. She also vowed to continue his fight against the Kremlin.

World leaders, including President Biden, upon word of Navalny's death, condemned Putin. Our own disgraced former President, however --- a huge Putin fan --- waited for three days before issuing an unhinged rant on his social media in which, after mentioning Navalny's name, quickly became a lengthy screed about his own legal problems.

In a chilling --- if inspiring --- portion of the documentary film Navalny, when asked by the filmmaker for a message to supporters if he is killed upon his then-planned return to Russia. He says, in English, "My message is very simple: don't give up." The filmmaker then asks him to respond directly to the camera in Russian.

"Listen, I've got something very obvious to tell you," Navalny quips. "You're not allowed to give up. If they decide to kill me, it means that we are incredibly strong. We need to utilize this power --- to not give up, to remember we are a huge power that is being oppressed by these bad dudes. We don't realize how strong we actually are."

Navalny then adds a familiar quote: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. So don't be inactive."

Putin is expected to win his fourth term as Russia's leader in Presidential "elections" next month. He faces no real opposition given that any such candidates have now been either jailed, killed or forced to live in exile.

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